Wednesday, October 21, 2015

"Common Sense Education For Small Incomes"

The post title is in quotes because it mostly inspired the musings here. If only this were a definitive post on common sense education (sorry!),  given the title seems most appropriate for a "how to" book. Of course, I still daydream about local bookstores which might once again carry useful books for local services needs and more...even in small towns. Knowledge use systems would not only have to rediscover the kinds of education that local participants desire, but also be prepared for ongoing changes in this regard.

My original post title was "What if education had common sense goals?" In a recent post I also looked at education from the perspective of local commitments and time investment capacity."Common sense" is no longer as simple as it should be for learning purposes, because much depends on one's relative level of access in primary equilibrium. As a result, one needs to ask - common sense for who?

While "roads to success" are still in abundance for middle and upper level incomes, these strategies don't hold for lower income levels. As to the latter, reasoned planning for life events is on short supply from media or anyone else. If system stability is important in primary equilibrium, why doesn't it receive ample attention for the smaller incomes which sustain many business operations? As Shane Parrish (of Farnam Street) recently noted: few of us design systems that incorporate duration as an element. We make them short term.
Common sense education would seek to strengthen local economies for the long term, through broad management of both practical and experiential knowledge use. More (compensated) coordination is needed for services product which today's services organizations often expect consumers to provide for free. Also, more economic definition is needed, for knowledge based assistance and skills which families are not always in a position to provide for their children. Plus, in the U.S., problems with Obamacare now have a sizable (and growing) portion of the population in various stages of "do it yourself" healthcare mode. All these areas are good candidates for the redefining of local education.

Even though traditional literature once emphasized maintenance trades as (long term) labor division strategies, those who have lived in areas with a lack of economic diversity, know a focus on technical maintenance isn't enough. Where economies are insufficiently diverse, skills sets need ongoing multiple "backup plans" for time investment, for the same reasons upper income levels need diversity in financial portfolios.

Rural areas - for instance - are like the canary in the coal mine for economic conditions. Since rural areas are the last to benefit from ongoing monetary flows across regions, they are among the first to suffer - even before recessions become obvious, elsewhere. Common sense education needs to provide means for local economies to generate their own wealth flows, so they are not in a constant waiting mode for economic vitality to return to prosperous areas first.

One reason people need to discover common sense education, is the fact that otherwise the bar keeps getting raised for access to primary equilibrium. In Joe Biden's announcement today that he would not be running for president, he also declared:
We all know that twelve years of public education is not enough.
Enough for what? When is more education ever enough? I believe in lifetime education, but for purposes of fulfillment, not as permission to participate in the workplace. If someone could explain to a member of a primitive tribe that we expect our children to be showered with twelve years of public commitment and property taxes, yet young adults come out of that system unprepared to contribute to anyone's circumstance, the tribe member would likely stare at whoever who explained this as if they were crazy.

Knowledge use systems would not only encourage students to assist one another with ongoing studies from a young age, students would be compensated for doing so. Chances are, this is a process which could also encourage friendships where otherwise, children and young adults often do not have sufficient reason to reach out to one another. While work and learning patterns such as this may seem odd at the outset, they could potentially lead to stronger community connections.

As I was getting started on this post, it occurred to me just how appropriate "small income" sounds, as contrast with "low income". Again, low relative to what? Small income hints at opportunities for growing an initial point of compensation, through a diverse range of investment potential. One gains a small income for helping others, and adds to income through personal resource utilization. Hence I'll use the term "small income" in the future, whenever possible.

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