These policies were developed well before Obama----these were ROBBER BARON global banking policies---the US FED being the source of PENSION POLICY.
'Today, public school teachers remain one of the largest groups of uncovered workers. Nationwide, about 1.2 million teachers (40 percent of all public K-12 teachers) are not covered by Social Security. Those teachers are concentrated in 15 states — Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Texas — and the District of Columbia, where many or all public school teachers lack coverage'.
So, these are the US states having the most national corporate charter chain and Teach for America privatization policies MOVING FORWARD -----our 99% of citizens need to WAKE UP------it's not just ANY JOB. MD was first to receive these funds as a state not intending to provide teacher pensions and having a majority of 99% of citizens tied to FEDERAL PUBLIC PENSIONS WITH NO SOCIAL SECURITY. WHAT???? Maryland with all those FEDERAL employees with policy of no Social Security----who knew these goals were in place? CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA 5% to the 1% pols and players.
'The winners are Arizona, $25.1 million; Colorado, $17.9 million; Illinois, $42.8 million; Kentucky, $17 million; Louisiana, $17.5 million; Pennsylvania, $41.3 million; and New Jersey, $37.9 million'. The finalists are: Colorado, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Tennessee'.
Very nasty carrot policies followed by BIG STICKS forcing US citizens to support very, very, very, very, very, very bad education policy.
Nine States and the District of Columbia Win Second Round Race to the Top Grants
August 24, 2010
Contact: Press Office, (202) 401-1576, firstname.lastname@example.org
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced today that 10 applicants have won grants in the second phase of the Race to the Top competition. Along with Phase 1 winners Delaware and Tennessee, 11 states and the District of Columbia have now been awarded money in the Obama Administration's groundbreaking education reform program that will directly impact 13.6 million students, and 980,000 teachers in 25,000 schools.
The 10 winning Phase 2 applications in alphabetical order are: the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, and Rhode Island.
"These states show what is possible when adults come together to do the right thing for children," said Secretary Arne Duncan. "Every state that applied showed a tremendous amount of leadership and a bold commitment to education reform. The creativity and innovation in each of these applications is breathtaking," Duncan continued. "We set a high bar and these states met the challenge."
While peer reviewers rated these 10 as having the highest scoring plans, very few points separated them from the remaining applications. The deciding factor on the number of winners selected hinged on both the quality of the applications and the funds available.
"We had many more competitive applications than money to fund them in this round," Duncan said. "We're very hopeful there will be a Phase 3 of Race to the Top and have requested $1.35 billion dollars in next year's budget. In the meantime, we will partner with each and every state that applied to help them find ways to carry out the bold reforms they've proposed in their applications."
A total of 46 states and the District of Columbia put together comprehensive education reform plans to apply for Race to the Top in Phases 1 and 2. Over the course of the Race to the Top competition, 35 states and the District of Columbia have adopted rigorous common, college- and career-ready standards in reading and math, and 34 states have changed laws or policies to improve education.
Every state that applied has already done the hard work of collaboratively creating a comprehensive education reform agenda. In the coming months, the Department plans to bring all States together to help ensure the success of their work implementing reforms around college- and career-ready standards, data systems, great teachers and leaders, and school turnarounds.
In addition to the reforms supported by Race to the Top, the Department has made unprecedented resources available through reform programs like the Investing in Innovation Fund, the Teacher Incentive Fund, and the School Improvement Grants under Title I.
Through all of these programs, the Department of Education will be distributing almost $10 billion to support reform in states and local communities.
"As we look at the last 18 months, it is absolutely stunning to see how much change has happened at the state and local levels, unleashed in part by these incentive programs," Duncan said.
As with any federal grant program, budgets will be finalized after discussions between the grantees and the Department, and the money will be distributed over time as the grantees meet established benchmarks.
The $4.35 billion Race to the Top Fund is an unprecedented federal investment in reform. The program includes $4 billion for statewide reform grants and $350 million to support states working together to improve the quality of their assessments, which the Department plans to award in September. The Race to the Top state competition is designed to reward states that are leading the way in comprehensive, coherent, statewide education reform across four key areas:
- Adopting standards and assessments that prepare students to succeed in college and the workplace;
- Building data systems that measure student growth and success, and inform teachers and principals how to improve instruction;
- Recruiting, developing, rewarding, and retaining effective teachers and principals, especially where they are needed most; and
- Turning around their lowest-performing schools.
The 10 winning applicants have adopted rigorous common, college- and career-ready standards in reading and math, created pipelines and incentives to put the most effective teachers in high-need schools, and all have alternative pathways to teacher and principal certification.
In the first round of competition supporting state-based reforms, Delaware and Tennessee won grants based on their comprehensive plans to reform their schools and the statewide support for those plans.
The Department of Education has posted all Phase 2 applications online. Phase 2 peer reviewers' comments, and scores will be available on the website by August 25th; videos of states' presentations will be posted by September 10th. Phase 1 materials are available online.
Phase 2 Grantee Budget Not to Exceed... Phase 2 Score Phase 1 Score Score Change 1 Massachusetts $250,000,000 471.0 411.4 59.6 2 New York $700,000,000 464.8 408.6 56.2 3 Hawaii $75,000,000 462.4 364.6 97.8 4 Florida $700,000,000 452.4 431.4 21 5 Rhode Island $75,000,000 451.2 419.0 32.2 6 District of Columbia $75,000,000 450.0 402.4 47.6 7 Maryland $250,000,000 450.0 N/A N/A 8 Georgia $400,000,000 446.4 433.6 12.8 9 North Carolina $400,000,000 441.6 414.0 27.6 10 Ohio $400,000,000 440.8 418.6 22.2
Here is BALTIMORE SUN calling RACE TO TOP funding a CARROT ----not a BIG STICK. Baltimore Sun controlling all our area print media is a great big global banking 1% propaganda machine----NOT JOURNALISM. We see education reporter LIZ BOWIE below but also featured in an online media outlet GOVERNING.COM. We know GOVERNING is where to go to know global banking 1% propaganda policy and we then research to find out what that goal really is.
Race To The Top Maryland | Maryland wins Race to the Top
...articles.baltimoresun.com/2010-08-24/news/bs-md-win-race... Maryland wins Race to the Top funds. ... If the state had not won, ... Race to the Top was a carrot held out to states that agreed to go along with the Obama ...
We also notice from this Baltimore Sun article as many national media outlets----they are archiving these news features so that only GOOGLE SHARING is capable. This lets 99% WE THE PEOPLE know that GOOGLE is being staged as the only method of sharing information and of course GOOGLE is KRACKEN--BIG, BAD ONE WORLD ONE GOVERNANCE. Sharing in social media like FACEBOOK will end soon.
Remember, today's US media is filled with those dastardly 5% to the 1% freemason/Greeks committed to saying exactly what global banking tells them----propaganda----and not free speech, holding power accountable US journalism.
Maryland wins Race to the fund
State to receive $250 million for schools
August 24, 2010|By Liz Bowie, The Baltimore Sun
Maryland was one of nine states and the District of Columbia declared a winner Tuesday in the $4.3 billion education competition designed to reshape teaching in schools across the country.
The $250 million the state will receive by Sept. 30 will help to fund what state leaders call a new wave of education reforms.
In the past year, state education officials and lawmakers have changed the rules governing teacher tenure and evaluations, adopted a new set of standards for what will be taught in the classroom, agreed to overhaul failing schools and pledged to develop a new system for collecting student data — all in hopes of winning the federal money.
"Maryland had a great application," said U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, noting that the state made significant changes to its laws and regulations last winter after forgoing an application during a first round of funding.
"That time they took got them to a very good place," Duncan said. Maryland, he said, "has been one of those states that have helped to shape the conversation around education for some time."
INDEED, MARYLAND WAS CENTRAL IN ROBBER BARON FLEECING OF OUR FEDERAL PUBLIC EDUCATION FUNDS.
Both the governor and the state superintendent of schools, Nancy Grasmick, had staked much on the Race to the Top, a U.S. Department of Education program that sparked a fierce competition among states by dangling the prospect of hundreds of millions in additional money. In the round of winners announced Tuesday, $3.4 billion was distributed; only Tennessee and Delaware were awarded money in an earlier round.
Grasmick, who said she had not slept for two nights in anticipation of the announcement, was visibly relieved when the news came during a state school board meeting. "I am very excited," she said during a standing ovation and hugs. "Thanks to everyone in this room."
Gov. Martin O'Malley, a Democrat in a tight re-election race, visited the state school board later in the day to mark the victory. "We think of this as an opportunity, not so much to race to the top," he said, adding that the state has been judged to have the best schools on several measures. "But this is an opportunity to give our students in Maryland an education that is world-class."
O'Malley called it "a tough competition and not without its risks."
If the state had not won, Grasmick's reputation as leading the state to the forefront of education could have been tarnished, and O'Malley could have had a tougher time campaigning on his education record.
GRASMICK WAS MARYLAND'S EDUCATION LEADER WHILE INSTALLING CLINTON ERA DUMBING DOWN OF AMERICA 1990S EDUCATION REFORM---WORKING NOW FOR HER FORMER BOSS JOHNS HOPKINS AS IS O'MALLEY.
Besides Maryland and the District of Columbia, winning states included Massachusetts, New York, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, North Carolina, Ohio and Rhode Island.
Observers began picking apart the results immediately, with critics noting that winning states were concentrated on the East Coast and have large urban areas. The Fordham Foundation and the Center for Education Reform both said Louisiana and Colorado — which have recently enacted reforms — should have won, while Maryland and Hawaii should have been excluded.
Most of the federal money will be passed to local school districts for new programs. The remainder will go to statewide projects, including training teachers in a new national curriculum and building a more sophisticated data-collection system to track teachers and students.
Baltimore City will get at least $46 million; Baltimore County, $15 million; Prince George's County $20 million; Anne Arundel, $6 million; and Howard, $700,000. Montgomery and Frederick counties, which refused to sign the application, will not receive any money.
Baltimore schools chief Andrés Alonso said the award was "tremendous in terms of our ability to do some really great things. It has been quite a journey, so if I am happy today, I can imagine how the governor and Nancy [Grasmick] feel," he said. "They took risks and this is an election year."
The contest became as much about the prestige of a state and its ability to launch a complex initiative as it did about the money.
Unlike No Child Left Behind, which was a top-down federal law for improving schools, Race to the Top was a carrot held out to states that agreed to go along with the Obama administration agenda for how to improve schools.
No state had to take part, but 46 did. And the competition has been credited with accomplishing in a short time what most observers thought would take years. For instance, the common standards, developed by the National Governors Association and the state superintendents, were adopted in a short few months by a majority of states, although such a move was considered unlikely last year.
"We have unleashed this unbelievable creativity," said Duncan.
States like Maryland adopted laws that raised the ire of teachers unions and school districts as they pushed through reforms. As a kind of educational World Series, bloggers and educational advocates assessed each state's chances of success in detail. Education junkies guessed the number of points each state would get.
Now, BlackAgendaReport we know is tied to global Green Corporation Party so it has good articles and lot's of real policy concerns---but we are seeing too many MORPHING INTO FAR-RIGHT WING MARXISTS fake 5% leaders tying themselves to this media outlet.
We just shared an article telling us BALTIMORE'S GLOBAL IVY LEAGUE is MOVING FORWARD in installing US cities deemed Foreign Economic Zone privatization of our local police force to global militarized corporations. With that comes what this article states-----indeed, we are already seeing local corporate charters teaching our children to salute----stand at attention-----often PRETENDING these policies are about fighting for the 99% ---when in fact they are global banking 1% policies of taking the US to far-right, authoritarian, extreme wealth extreme poverty LIBERTARIAN MARXISM.
Indeed, in Maryland and especially Baltimore we are seeing these military charter schools----we discussed this earlier as AR, CA, TX et al have already as well opened military charter schools once called PUBLIC K-12.
Below we see Chicago is being that INNOVATIVE CORPORATE CHARTER source for these education structures. No doubt all that RACE TO THE TOP funding was used to create these national corporate military charter schools. The 5% black players tied to global banking 1% WAKANDA are often those creating these MILITARY CHARTERS----as corporate fascism MOVES FORWARD----
End Game For Corporate School Reform: Privatized Holding Tanks, Remote Ed, Military Charter Schools
30 Oct 2013
A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon
Chicago, the city the president and his secretary of education hail from, has been the laboratory of corporate education reform and privatization. Among its “innovations” are the mass closings of public schools, and handing over entire schools to the army, the navy and the marines.
End Game For Corporate School Reform: Privatized Holding Tanks, Remote Ed, Military Charter Schools
A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon
Doug Henwood, a radical economist and founder of Left Business Observer, says it as succinctly as anyone when he sums up the goal of bipartisan corporate education reform imposed on poorer neighborhoods as “...low cost privatized holding tanks leading to McDonalds jobs for the lucky, or to prison for the not so lucky...” along with classes delivered by computers rather than unionized teachers. But as useful as this summation is, it leaves out one element worth noting. You can't run a global empire without a military class, any more than you can run a prison without prison guards.
So in Chicago, widely touted as a laboratory of educational innovation, mostly because its current mayor, President Obama's former chief of staff holds dictatorial power over its public schools, one of the showpieces of education reform has been the handing over of entire high schools and even middle schools to the army, the navy and the marine corps.
Before the era of corporate reform there was at least one achievement of genuine small d democratic education reform pushed through by the administration of Chicago mayor Harold Washington in the 1980s. Since then parents in every public school have been allowed to elect parent councils, with reps from among rank and file teachers, which have veto power over title one funds and principal's contracts, which are limited to two years. The “innovative” answer of downtown bureaucrats, corporate elites and subsequent mayors to parents taking a hand in running the schools has been to simply close Chicago public schools and replace them with charters over which parents have no say.
This year, Chicago closed more public schools than any other school district in a single year in the nation's history. None were charter schools. This week Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced he was moving the middle school which had earlier been given to the marine corps into the facility of a fully functioning neighborhood school, Ames Middle School.
The fact that Ames parents and community members had testified, had met with officials and overwhelmingly rejected the closing of their school meant less than nothing, and may even have contributed the replacement of their school by a military academy. What mayor, and what alderman really wants organized parents running their own neighborhood institutions? It's bad for business if you're a privatizer, or a politician who takes cues and campaign contributions from privatizers. And ultimately habits of local democracy are bad for empire.
What Chicago, and corporate education reformers and privatizers and their contractors nationwide want, as Henwood observes, are low-cost holding tanks to funnel the well-behaved into low-wage precarious labor for the lucky and jail for the unlucky. They want distance education and computerized instruction because these are cheaper than human, potentially unionized teachers. And to Henwood's list we should add, they want a sprinkling of military charter schools. After all, you can't run an empire without soldiers, or a prison without guards.
For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com.
We have discussed how Baltimore as other US cities deemed FOREIGN ECONOMIC ZONES were used by ROBBER BARON global banking 1% to loot our US Treasury including Federal funding for our US public schools sending that funding to creating FOR-PROFIT EDUCATION CORPORATIONS as we see below. If citizens can imagine -----Baltimore over these few decades either closed what were a thousand public K-12 schools, allowed them to decay, or handed them to OLD WORLD MERCHANTS OF VENICE freemason schools. So, our public K-12 funds were handed to either global corporate global banking 1% freemason schools or the funds were diverted to EDUCATION ALTERNATIVES INC ------we see 11 Baltimore schools tied to this global corporate education structure. Today, all Baltimore 'public' schools are tied to yet another global banking 1% structure----GREAT SCHOOLS---that is the global Wall Street version of MOODY'S ----stock market RATING CORPORATION tied to corporate schools---all of Baltimore 'public' K-12 are corporate charters.
'Education Alternatives, Inc., a publicly traded for-profit company, failed financially while holding an operating contract for nine (then 11) schools within Baltimore City Public Schools and soon after signing a contract with Hartford Connecticut Public Schools'.
These Baltimore FAKE 'PUBLIC' schools are still called public so as to send all our Federal, state, and local education funding to expand those BRANDS.
ECONOMIC POLICY INSTITUTE is a far-right wing global neo-liberal think tank-----it creates good articles but only educates AFTER GLOBAL BANKING DAMAGE IS DONE. Please Google this article---too long to post for what is in fact the state of the state of US K-12 privatization and results which of course had no GOAL of being good for 99% education. Also, note that EPI articles like this were unable to be shared by FACEBOOK.
Wonder if BRUCE BAKER is related to this DEAN BAKER who has been a FAKE 5% Clinton player these few decades pretending to be LEFT PROGRESSIVE
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Born July 13, 1958 (age 59)
Institution Center for Economic and Policy Research
Field Economics, macroeconomics, urban and real estate economics
Alma mater Swarthmore College (BA, 1981)
University of Denver (MA, 1983)
University of Michigan (PhD, 1988)
advisor W. H. Locke Anderson
Information at IDEAS / RePEc
Dean Baker (born July 13, 1958) is an American macroeconomist and co-founder, with Mark Weisbrot, of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) in Washington, D.C.
Sen. Howard Baker dies at 88; majority leader and Reagan’s ...
Former Sen. Howard Baker of Tennessee, who framed the central question of the Watergate scandal before serving as majority leader and Ronald Reagan’s White House chief of staff
Exploring the consequences of charter school expansion in U.S. cities
Report • By Bruce D. Baker • November 30, 2016 Economic Policy Institute
This report highlights patterns of charter school expansion across several large and mid-size U.S. cities since 2000. In this report, the focus is the loss of enrollments and revenues to charter schools in host districts and the response of districts as seen through patterns of overhead expenditures. I begin by identifying those cities and local public school districts that have experienced the largest shifts of students from district-operated to charter schools, and select from among those cities illustrative examples of the effects of charter school expansion on host district finances and enrollments.
Effects of charter expansion
District schools are surviving but under increased stress
In some urban districts, charter schools are serving 20 percent or more of the city or districtwide student population. These host districts have experienced the following effects in common:
- While total enrollment in district schools (the noncharter, traditional public schools) has dropped, districts have largely been able to achieve and maintain reasonable minimum school sizes, with only modest increases in the shares of children served in inefficiently small schools.
- While resources (total available revenues to district schools) have declined, districts have reduced overhead expenditures enough to avoid consuming disproportionate shares of operating spending and increasing pupil/teacher ratios.
- Despite expenditure cutting measures, districts simultaneously facing rapid student population decline and/or operating in states with particularly inequitable, under-resourced school finance systems have faced substantial annual deficits.
- Most charter expansion in these cities has occurred among independently operated charter schools.
- High profile, frequently researched nonprofit charter school operators including the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) have relatively small shares of the charter school market in all cities except Newark.
- In many of these cities, some of the leading charter operators (those with the most market share) have been the subject of federal and state investigations and judicial orders regarding conflicts of interest (self-dealing) and financial malfeasance. These operators include Imagine Schools, Inc., White Hat Management, National Heritage Academies, and Concept Schools.
THIS IS BECAUSE OF PATRONAGE 5% SMALL SCHOOL BUSINESSES THAT WILL CLOSE AND HAND SCHOOLS OVER TO GLOBAL CHARTER CORPORATIONS.
The varied and often opaque financial practices across charter school management companies, while fitting with a competitive portfolio conception, leads to increased disparities across students, irregularities in the accumulation of additional public (publicly obligated) debt, and inequities and irregularities in the ownership and distribution of what were once commonly considered public assets—from buildings and vehicles right down to desks, chairs, and computers.
Charter schools are expanding in predominantly low-income, predominantly minority urban settings
- Few are paying attention to the breaches of legal rights of students, parents, taxpayers, and employees under the increasingly opaque private governance and management structures associated with charter expansion.
- Expansion of charter schooling is exacerbating inequities across schools and children because children are being increasingly segregated by economic status, race, language, and disabilities and further, because charter schools are raising and spending vastly different amounts, without regard for differences in student needs. Often, the charter schools serving the least needy populations also have the greatest resource advantages.
- With the expansion of charter schooling, public districts are being left with legacy debts associated with capital plants and employee retirement systems in district schools while also accumulating higher risk and more costly debt in the form of charter school revenue bonds to support new capital development.
Beyond issues of economies of scale, charter expansion can create inefficiencies and redundancies within district boundaries, from the organization and delivery of educational programs to student transportation, increasing the likelihood of budgetary stress on the system as a whole, and the host government in particular. In addition to increasing per pupil transportation expense, ill-planned (or unplanned) geographic dispersion may put more vehicles on already congested urban streets, contributing to traffic and air quality concerns, and significantly reduces the likelihood that children use active transportation (walking or biking) to school (Baker 2014b; Davison, Werder, and Lawson 2008; Evenson et al. 2012; Merom et al. 2006; Rosenberg et al. 2006; Wilson, Wilson, and Krizek 2007).
'This article is from Class Action: An Activist Teacher’s Handbook, a joint project of Jacobin and the Chicago Teachers Union’s CORE. The booklet can be downloaded for free and print copies are still available'.
This is how we KNOW JACOBIN is not the LEFT SOCIALIST group it PRETENDS to be----it is global banking 1% Jewish players. REAL left social progressives have known these few decades DEAN BAKER was a global banking Clinton neo-liberal 5% player----so too does JACOBIN.
This article is tied to CHICAGO TEACHERS UNION in a US city deemed Foreign Economic Zone----captured by Clinton/Obama neo-liberalism working out of the UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO-----ground zero for global NEO-LIBERAL policy.
We think Chicago Teachers Union did a good job fighting against RACE TO TOP and against public school closings---but ILLINOIS as Chicago opted out of public teachers having SOCIAL SECURITY =====and therefor our 99% of Chicago public school teachers are being pushed to promote BAD CORPORATE EDUCATION POLICIES ------this is NOT a LEFT activist handbook---JACOBIN is NOT a LEFT socialist group---------
WE CAN BE SURE ANY CITIZEN OR ORGANIZATION TIED TO THIS ACTIVIST TEACHER'S HANDBOOK is a global banking 1% OLD WORLD MERCHANTS OF VENICE freemason-----not a US LEFT social progressive. Please do not tie to these ALT RIGHT ALT LEFT FAKE education groups.
Class Action: An Activist Teacher’s Handbook,
After numerous delays, Class Action: An Activist Teacher's Handbook is finally ready.
A classroom in Edward W. Bok Technical High School, a shuttered public school in Philadelphia. Katrina Ohstrom
Our new issue, “The Health of Nations,” is out now. Subscribe or renew today!
The Keynesian Counterrevolution Mike Beggs Elon Musk is Not the Future Paris Marx Under Neoliberalism, You Can Be Your Own Tyrannical Boss Meagan Day Pablo Iglesias
Thinks There Is an Alternative Pablo Iglesias After many delays, Class Action:
An Activist Teacher’s Handbook is finally ready. Backers of the initial Kickstarter
(and those who order within the next week) should receive their print copies by the end of the month. The booklet will be distributed to educators and school support staff in Chicago, New York, Portland, Newark, Washington DC, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, and elsewhere in March to help support rank-and-file activity.
Our project with the Chicago Teachers Union’s CORE Caucus and other allies ran long — the final supplement is 118 pages, more than the 50 we had budgeted for. But it was so fantastically designed by Remeike Forbes, and the photography by Katrina Ohstrom and written contributions by CTU President Karen Lewis, economist Dean Baker, Jacobin editors Megan Erickson and Shawn Gude, Joanne Barkan, Lois Weiner, and many others were so strong, we couldn’t bring ourselves to cut it down more or reduce our planned run.
Unfortunately, this produced a budget shortfall, which we hope to overcome through the sale of a limited set of print booklets and the help of our readers.
For those who can’t afford to contribute — feel free to enjoy and distribute the digital edition of the booklet. We hope it’s of some use.
'Education does provide a clear avenue for mobility'.
OH,REALLY????? Clinton/Bush/Obama killed that pathway----let's simply return to what we KNOW worked to create the most educated citizens in world history----
Clinton neo-liberals morphing into far-right wing authoritarian LIBERTARIAN MARXISM----will not be promoting strong, broad, most successful in world history US PUBLIC EDUCATION.
Clinton neo-liberals morphing into far-right wing authoritarian LIBERTARIAN MARXISM----will not be promoting strong, broad, most successful in world history US PUBLIC EDUCATION
DEAN BAKER still PRETENDING to be LEFT----when always having been far-right global banking 1%!
Education Is Not the Answer
Everyone deserves a great public education, but better schools alone can’t fight inequality.
Flickr / Noah Vaughn
Our new issue, “The Health of Nations,” is out now. Subscribe or renew today!
The Keynesian Counterrevolution Mike Beggs Elon Musk is Not the Future Paris Marx Under Neoliberalism, You Can Be Your Own Tyrannical Boss Meagan Day Pablo Iglesias Thinks There Is an Alternative Pablo Iglesias
This article is from Class Action: An Activist Teacher’s Handbook, a joint project of Jacobin and the Chicago Teachers Union’s CORE. The booklet can be downloaded for free and print copies are still available.
It’s common in policy circles to claim that improving the quality of education in inner cities and impoverished rural areas is the answer to halting the growing gap between rich and poor. This view reflects not only illusions about the potential for substantially improving education for children from low- and moderate-income families without deeper economic and political shifts, but also a serious misunderstanding about the growth of inequality over the last three decades.
There should be no surprise, then, that the education reform movement has failed in its effort to boost educational outcomes for children from disadvantaged backgrounds.
At this point, education “reform” is hardly new; it is the establishment consensus, having led the national agenda on education for the last quarter century. The extent to which it has produced gains can be debated, but it has, without a doubt, not turned around struggling schools. The children in these schools still perform consistently worse on standardized tests and have much poorer career prospects than children attending wealthy suburban public schools or private ones.
But even if reform had improved education, it is unlikely to have done much about inequality. People with more education have, on average, done better than those with less education, but the growth in inequality over the last three decades has not been mainly a story of the more educated pulling away from the less educated. Rather, it has been a story in which a relatively small group of people (roughly the top one percent) have been able to garner the bulk of economic gains for reasons that have little direct connection to education.
WE ARE SURE THE FAILURE OF LOW-INCOME ACHIEVEMENT THESE FEW DECADES WAS A RESULT OF CLINTON-ERA 1990S EDUCATION REFORM DESIGNED TO DUMB DOWN AMERICA.
The classic story of the education and inequality story is usually captured by the college/non-college premium: the ratio of the pay of those with college degrees to those without college degrees. This premium showed a substantial rise in the 1980s for both men and women. According to data from the Economic Policy Institute, the college premium for men rose from 20.2% at the 1979 business cycle peak to 34% at the business cycle peak in 1989. For women, the premium rose from 25% in 1979 to 40% in 1989.
Interestingly, the sharpest rise, especially for men, was during the high unemployment years at the start of the decade. The rise in the college/non-college pay gap is often attributed to technology and the growing use of computers in the workplace, in particular. But the largest rise in the college premium occurred at a point in time when computers were just being introduced to the workplace.
If the timing of the rise in the pay gap in the 1980s doesn’t fit the technology story very well, the wage trend in the last two decades is even harder to square with this picture. There was a much smaller increase in the college premium in the 1990s than in the 1980s — even though this was the period of the tech boom, when information technology led to a marked acceleration in the rate of productivity growth. After having risen by almost fourteen percent in the 1980s business cycle, the college premium for men rose by just 8% from 1989 to the business cycle peak in 2000. For women, the premium increased by 7.9% points in the 1990s cycle after increasing 15% in the 1980s.
The 2000s don’t fit any better with the technology and inequality story, as even college grads could no longer count on sharing in the gains from growth. For men, the premium rose by 2.8% between 2000 and 2011. This corresponded to a 2.4% gain in wages for male college grads between 2000 and 2012. The college premium for women increased by just 0.8% points over this period, with the wages of female college grads rising by 0.7% between 2000 and 2012. This situation holds true even if we look at just the segments of the labor market where we might expect especially strong demand. The average hourly wage for college graduates working in computer and mathematical occupations increased by just 5.3% from 2000 to 2011 — less than one-third of the rate of productivity growth over this period.
The patterns in the data show that inequality is not a question of the more-educated gaining at the expense of the less-educated due to inevitable technological trends. Rather, it has been a story in which a small group of especially well-situated workers — for example, those in finance, doctors, and top-level corporate executives — have been able to gain at the expense of almost everyone else. This pattern of inequality will be little affected by improving the educational outcomes for the bottom quarter or even bottom half of income distribution.
WE ARE PRETTY SURE IT SHOWS THE BUSTING OF LABOR UNIONS AND THEIR STRONG WAGES AND BENEFITS------LEAVING THOSE WORKERS UNEMPLOYED AND IMPOVERISHED----THAT KILLS EDUCATION ACHIEVEMENT.
Of course, this does not argue against efforts to improve education. It is almost always the case that workers with more education do better than workers with less education, both in terms of hourly wages and employment outcomes. Unemployment and non-employment rates are considerably higher for those with less education.
Education does provide a clear avenue for mobility. Certainly it is a positive development if children from low-income families have the opportunity to move into the middle class, even if this might imply that someone from a middle-class background will move in the opposite direction.
And education is tremendously valuable for reasons unrelated to work and income. Literacy, basic numeracy skills, and critical thinking are an essential part of a fulfilling life. Insofar as we have children going through school without developing these skills, it is an enormous failing of society. Any just society would place a top priority on ensuring that all children learn such basic skills before leaving school.
However, it clearly is not the case that plausible increases in education quality and attainment will have a substantial impact on inequality. This will require much deeper structural changes in the economy. As a practical matter, given the dismal track record of the education reformers, substantial improvement in outcomes for children from low- and moderate-income families is likely to require deep structural change in society as well.
SPAIN was thrown under the bus by a political leader PRETENDING to be SOCIALIST. Spain had tied all 99% of SPANISH citizens to PUBLIC BANKS and then that ALT RIGHT ALT LEFT socialist leader tied all those public banks to global banking 1% sovereign debt and subprime mortgage loan frauds----taking Spain as Greece down to bankruptcy by handing SPAIN over to WORLD BANK/IMF and EuroZone bailouts.
So, Iglesias is an OLD WORLD MERCHANT OF VENICE GLOBAL 1% FREEMASON pretending to be populist just as DEAN BAKER here in US. Our 99% of WE THE PEOPLE should not support these FAKE left leaders as they try to MORPH US politics to far-right wing extreme wealth extreme poverty LIBERTARIAN MARXISM.
We are seeing lots of US EDUCATION ACTIVISM and public policy support being directed at these groups and not towards returning our US public schools to full strength and funding.
There is a reason FINANCIAL TIMES highlights PABLO IGLESIAS. Our Latino and Spanish 99% whether citizen or global labor pool need to STOP MOVING FORWARD by supporting these FAKE LEFT GROUPS.
'Pablo Iglesias | Spanish politician | Britannica.com
Pablo Iglesias: Pablo Iglesias, political leader who played a significant role in the development of Spanish democratic socialism and trade unionism'.
SPAIN'S OLD WORLD MERCHANTS OF VENICE GLOBAL 1% were central in creating all the civil unrest and wars in LATIN AMERICA these few decades----we do not want them in our US cities deemed Foreign Economic Zones as solutions for ROBBER BARON MASSIVE FRAUDS and corruption of our US government during CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA---
NO 99% WE THE PEOPLE EDUCATION POLICY COMING FROM THESE FAKE LEFT GROUPS.
This is how Latin America's trade unions became totally controlled by freemasonry-----happening too in US. This article is too long to post but please Goggle to read ---it shows the ALT RIGHT ALT LEFT morphing from Clinton neo-liberalism to far-right MAO/STALIN/HITLER corporate MARXISM
Lunch with the FT:
Pablo Iglesias The leader of Spain’s anti-austerity movement orders ‘neorealist’ salad in Madrid, talks about Merkel and Muhammad Ali and says people fear his party because ‘we have an idea’
Tobias Buck November 27, 2015 30
The lunch venue selected by Pablo Iglesias is strange but compelling. The 8½ bookstore in central Madrid stocks thousands of volumes of film-related literature and criticism. Its walls are plastered with black-and-white pictures of Spanish directors and actors, and there is a small bar and eating area towards the back of the shop. We have a separate, book-filled room to ourselves, also stuffed with cinematic references. As I scan the walls, waiting for my guest to arrive, Dustin Hoffman, Paul Newman and the shark from Jaws stare back at me. Iglesias is running late, which does not come as a surprise. The leader of Spain’s Podemos party is in the middle of a frantic political campaign — the most important yet for the anti-austerity movement he helped found only two years ago. On December 20, Spanish voters will elect a new prime minister, and Iglesias hopes they will pick him, a 37-year-old, pony-tailed political scientist with no experience of public office, to lead one of Europe’s largest economies. As he rushes from one television show to the next, Iglesias’s confidence is disarming (he recently mused about the need to brighten up Moncloa, the prime ministerial compound outside Madrid, with some of his Ikea furniture). But he also knows perfectly well that the polls predict a different outcome. Podemos, which surged earlier this year on the back of frustration with Spain’s economic crisis and political corruption scandals, has recently fallen behind the mainstream parties again — forcing Iglesias to bang his drum louder than ever. It is close to 3pm when we order — not an unusual time to have lunch in Spain, but I am famished. The menu expands on the café’s cinema theme, with dishes and drinks named after European directors and art-house classics. Among the options are a Buñuel ham toast and Mamma Roma meatballs. The choice is limited, but Iglesias does not seem to mind. “Ah, all the salads are Italian neorealist,” he remarks approvingly. After a few seconds, he chooses an Amarcord salad, a goat’s cheese and rucola combination that pays homage to Federico Fellini’s film about adolescence in Mussolini-era Italy. I order partridge with rice, a special of the day which comes without the benefit of a Werner Herzog or Ingmar Bergman title. Iglesias turns down my offer of wine. “When you are campaigning it is fundamental to eat little. If I eat a lot or drink alcohol for lunch, I have to relax in the afternoon.
This article shows what is obvious-----RACE TO TOP creating a deregulated and profiteering corporate charter system filled with corruption failed students so now all US 99% WE THE PEOPLE are supposed to hate EDUCATION ----hate PUBLIC SCHOOLS-----which was the goal of RACE TO THE TOP.
It moved billions of dollars to global banking 1% through corporate K-12 but left our US city citizens desperate to even get into any good school.
RACE TO THE TOP targeted our US city low-income communities filled with majority 99% black and brown citizens making these families ANGRY. MOVING FORWARD will of course now take our US city low-income white communities as all our US public school system is swallowed by ONE WORLD ONE GOVERNANCE COMMONER CORE global banking 1% corporate education.
Our Baltimore City 99% have the worst of conditions for public schools----as our 99% LATINO are tracked into DIGITAL vocational K-career leading to lowest paying jobs.
Who created this mess? NOT DEMOCRATS-----global banking 1% Clinton/Bush/Obama 5% to the 1% pols and players. If we are angry be sure to hold those 5% black, white, and brown pols and players ACCOUNTABLE.
A Sea of Charter Schools in Detroit Leaves Students Adrift
By KATE ZERNIKEJUNE 28, 2016
Students at Detroit Leadership Academy, a charter school, last month. Credit Joshua Lott for The New York Times
DETROIT — On the face of it, Ana Rivera could have had almost any choice when it came to educating her two sons. For all the abandoned buildings and burned-down houses in her neighborhood in the southwest part of this city, national charter school companies had seen a market and were setting up shop within blocks of each other, making it easier to find a charter school than to buy a carton of milk.
But hers became the story of public education in a city grasping for its comeback: lots of choice, with no good choice.
She enrolled her older son, Damian, at the charter school across from her house, where she could watch him walk into the building. He got all A’s and said he wanted to be an engineer. But the summer before seventh grade, he found himself in the back of a classroom at a science program at the University of Michigan, struggling to keep up with students from Detroit Public Schools, known as the worst urban district in the nation. They knew the human body is made up of many cells; he had never learned that.
When his school stopped assigning homework, Ms. Rivera tried enrolling Damian at other charters, but the deadlines were past, the applications onerous. Finally, she found him a scholarship at a Catholic school, where he struggled to rise above D’s all year. “He doesn’t want to hear the word engineering,” she said.
Michigan leapt at the promise of charter schools 23 years ago, betting big that choice and competition would improve public schools. It got competition, and chaos.
Detroit schools have long been in decline academically and financially. But over the past five years, divisive politics and educational ideology and a scramble for money have combined to produced a public education fiasco that is perhaps unparalleled in the United States.
While the idea was to foster academic competition, the unchecked growth of charters has created a glut of schools competing for some of the nation’s poorest students, enticing them to enroll with cash bonuses, laptops, raffle tickets for iPads and bicycles. Leaders of charter and traditional schools alike say they are being cannibalized, fighting so hard over students and the limited public dollars that follow them that no one thrives.
Detroit now has a bigger share of students in charters than any American city except New Orleans, which turned almost all its schools into charters after Hurricane Katrina. But half the charters perform only as well, or worse than, Detroit’s traditional public schools.
“The point was to raise all schools,” said Scott Romney, a lawyer and board member of New Detroit, a civic group formed after the 1967 race riots here. “Instead, we’ve had a total and complete collapse of education in this city.”
The city has emerged almost miraculously fast from the largest municipal bankruptcy in American history. Downtown Detroit hums with development — a maze of detours around construction sites with luxury apartments, a new Nike store along a stretch of prime but empty storefronts. Even where blight resumes a few blocks out, farm-to-table restaurants and modern design stores sprout hopefully. Last year, the city had its smallest population decline since the 1950s.
But the city’s residents — many of them stranded here after whites and middle-class blacks fled in waves — will not share in any renaissance as long as only 10 percent of rising high school seniors score “college ready” on reading tests.
“We’ll either invest in our own children and prepare them to fill these jobs, or I suppose maybe people will migrate from other places in the country to fill them,” said Thomas F. Stallworth III, a former state representative who steered the passage of the 2014 legislation that paved Detroit’s way out of bankruptcy. “If that’s the case, we are still left with this underbelly of generational poverty with no clear path out.”
Ana Rivera with her son Omar, a fourth grader. He and his older brother have attended several charter schools. Credit Joshua Lott for The New York Times
Creating Competition, and ‘Replicating Failure’
The 1993 state law permitting charter schools was not brought on by academic or financial crisis in Detroit — those would come later — but by a free-market-inclined governor, John Engler. An early warrior against public employee unions, he embraced the idea of creating schools that were publicly financed but independently run to force public schools to innovate.
To throw the competition wide open, Michigan allowed an unusually large number of institutions, more than any other state, to create charters: public school districts, community colleges and universities. It gave those institutions a financial incentive: a 3 percent share of the dollars that go to the charter schools. And only they — not the governor, not the state commissioner or board of education — could shut down failing schools.
For-profit companies seized on the opportunity; they now operate about 80 percent of charters in Michigan, far more than in any other state. The companies and those who grant the charters became major lobbying forces for unfettered growth of the schools, as did some of the state’s biggest Republican donors.
Sometimes, they were one and the same, as with J. C. Huizenga, a Grand Rapids entrepreneur who founded Michigan’s largest charter school operator, the for-profit National Heritage Academies. Two of the biggest players in Michigan politics, Betsy and Dick DeVos — she the former head of the state Republican Party, he the heir to the Amway fortune and a 2006 candidate for governor — established the Great Lakes Education Project, which became the state’s most pugnacious protector of the charter school prerogative.
Even as Michigan and Detroit continued to hemorrhage residents, the number of schools grew. The state has nearly 220,000 fewer students than it did in 2003, but more than 100 new charter schools.
As elsewhere across the country, charters concentrated in urban areas, particularly Detroit, where the public schools had been put under state control in 1999. In 2009, it was found to be the lowest-performing urban school district on national tests.
Operators were lining up to get into the city, and in 2011, after a conservative wave returned the governor’s office and the Legislature to Republican control for the first time in eight years, the Legislature abolished a cap that had limited the number of charter schools that universities could create to 150.
Some charter school backers pushed for a so-called smart cap that would allow only successful charters to expand. But they could not agree on what success should look like, and ultimately settled for assurances from lawmakers that they could add quality controls after the cap was lifted.
In fact, the law repealed a longstanding requirement that the State Department of Education issue yearly reports monitoring charter school performance.
At the same time, the law included a provision that seemed to benefit Mr. Huizenga, whose company profits from buying buildings and renting them back to the charters it operates. Earlier that year he had lost a tax appeal in which he argued that a for-profit company should not have to pay taxes on properties leased to schools. The new law granted for-profit charter companies the exemption he had sought.
Just as universities were allowed to charter more schools, Gov. Rick Snyder created a state-run district, with new charters, to try to turn around the city’s worst schools. Detroit was soon awash in choice, but not quality.
Twenty-four charter schools have opened in the city since the cap was lifted in 2011. Eighteen charters whose existing schools were at or below the district’s dismal performance expanded or opened new schools.
We have shouted for over a decade that these CODING BOOT CAMPS as with corporate charter K-career digital schools will be a dead-end for our US 99% of WE THE PEOPLE and our 99% global labor pool citizens. We already see CODING BOOT CAMPS overseas in third world nations tying students and adult workers to CODING for $2 a day. As this article shows---there will be no higher paid professional employment in these fields as well.
Our US public schools being tied to all that is TECHNOLOGY is killing the futures for 99% black, white, and brown citizens and our 99% new immigrant citizens. All that is tied to RACE TO THE TOP was as bad as AFFORDABLE CARE ACT----it must be repealed to rebuild our strong US city PUBLIC K-UNIVERSITY.
Soon We Won't Program Computers. We'll Train Them Like Dogs
Editor at large Jason Tanz (@jasontanz) WIRED 5/17/2016
Before the invention of the computer, most experimental psychologists thought the brain was an unknowable black box. You could analyze a subject's behavior--ring bell, dog salivates—but thoughts, memories, emotions? That stuff was obscure and inscrutable, beyond the reach of science. So these behaviorists, as they called themselves, confined their work to the study of stimulus and response, feedback and reinforcement, bells and saliva. They gave up trying to understand the inner workings of the mind. They ruled their field for four decades.
Then, in the mid-1950s, a group of rebellious psychologists, linguists, information theorists, and early artificial-intelligence researchers came up with a different conception of the mind. People, they argued, were not just collections of conditioned responses. They absorbed information, processed it, and then acted upon it. They had systems for writing, storing, and recalling memories. They operated via a logical, formal syntax. The brain wasn't a black box at all. It was more like a computer.
June 2016. Subscribe now.The so-called cognitive revolution started small, but as computers became standard equipment in psychology labs across the country, it gained broader acceptance. By the late 1970s, cognitive psychology had overthrown behaviorism, and with the new regime came a whole new language for talking about mental life. Psychologists began describing thoughts as programs, ordinary people talked about storing facts away in their memory banks, and business gurus fretted about the limits of mental bandwidth and processing power in the modern workplace.
This story has repeated itself again and again. As the digital revolution wormed its way into every part of our lives, it also seeped into our language and our deep, basic theories about how things work. Technology always does this. During the Enlightenment, Newton and Descartes inspired people to think of the universe as an elaborate clock. In the industrial age, it was a machine with pistons. (Freud's idea of psychodynamics borrowed from the thermodynamics of steam engines.) Now it's a computer. Which is, when you think about it, a fundamentally empowering idea. Because if the world is a computer, then the world can be coded.
Code is logical. Code is hackable. Code is destiny. These are the central tenets (and self-fulfilling prophecies) of life in the digital age. As software has eaten the world, to paraphrase venture capitalist Marc Andreessen, we have surrounded ourselves with machines that convert our actions, thoughts, and emotions into data—raw material for armies of code-wielding engineers to manipulate. We have come to see life itself as something ruled by a series of instructions that can be discovered, exploited, optimized, maybe even rewritten. Companies use code to understand our most intimate ties; Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg has gone so far as to suggest there might be a “fundamental mathematical law underlying human relationships that governs the balance of who and what we all care about.” In 2013, Craig Venter announced that, a decade after the decoding of the human genome, he had begun to write code that would allow him to create synthetic organisms. “It is becoming clear,” he said, “that all living cells that we know of on this planet are DNA-software-driven biological machines.” Even self-help literature insists that you can hack your own source code, reprogramming your love life, your sleep routine, and your spending habits.
In this world, the ability to write code has become not just a desirable skill but a language that grants insider status to those who speak it. They have access to what in a more mechanical age would have been called the levers of power. “If you control the code, you control the world,” wrote futurist Marc Goodman. (In Bloomberg Businessweek, Paul Ford was slightly more circumspect: “If coders don't run the world, they run the things that run the world.” Tomato, tomahto.)
But whether you like this state of affairs or hate it—whether you're a member of the coding elite or someone who barely feels competent to futz with the settings on your phone—don't get used to it. Our machines are starting to speak a different language now, one that even the best coders can't fully understand.
Over the past several years, the biggest tech companies in Silicon Valley have aggressively pursued an approach to computing called machine learning. In traditional programming, an engineer writes explicit, step-by-step instructions for the computer to follow. With machine learning, programmers don't encode computers with instructions. They train them. If you want to teach a neural network to recognize a cat, for instance, you don't tell it to look for whiskers, ears, fur, and eyes. You simply show it thousands and thousands of photos of cats, and eventually it works things out. If it keeps misclassifying foxes as cats, you don't rewrite the code. You just keep coaching it.
This approach is not new—it's been around for decades—but it has recently become immensely more powerful, thanks in part to the rise of deep neural networks, massively distributed computational systems that mimic the multilayered connections of neurons in the brain. And already, whether you realize it or not, machine learning powers large swaths of our online activity. Facebook uses it to determine which stories show up in your News Feed, and Google Photos uses it to identify faces. Machine learning runs Microsoft's Skype Translator, which converts speech to different languages in real time. Self-driving cars use machine learning to avoid accidents. Even Google's search engine—for so many years a towering edifice of human-written rules—has begun to rely on these deep neural networks. In February the company replaced its longtime head of search with machine-learning expert John Giannandrea, and it has initiated a major program to retrain its engineers in these new techniques. “By building learning systems,” Giannandrea told reporters this fall, “we don't have to write these rules anymore.”
Our machines speak a different language now, one that even the best coders can't fully understand.
But here's the thing: With machine learning, the engineer never knows precisely how the computer accomplishes its tasks. The neural network's operations are largely opaque and inscrutable. It is, in other words, a black box. And as these black boxes assume responsibility for more and more of our daily digital tasks, they are not only going to change our relationship to technology—they are going to change how we think about ourselves, our world, and our place within it.
If in the old view programmers were like gods, authoring the laws that govern computer systems, now they're like parents or dog trainers. And as any parent or dog owner can tell you, that is a much more mysterious relationship to find yourself in.
Andy Rubin is an inveterate tinkerer and coder. The cocreator of the Android operating system, Rubin is notorious in Silicon Valley for filling his workplaces and home with robots. He programs them himself. “I got into computer science when I was very young, and I loved it because I could disappear in the world of the computer. It was a clean slate, a blank canvas, and I could create something from scratch,” he says. “It gave me full control of a world that I played in for many, many years.”
Now, he says, that world is coming to an end. Rubin is excited about the rise of machine learning--his new company, Playground Global, invests in machine-learning startups and is positioning itself to lead the spread of intelligent devices--but it saddens him a little too. Because machine learning changes what it means to be an engineer.
“People don't linearly write the programs,” Rubin says. “After a neural network learns how to do speech recognition, a programmer can't go in and look at it and see how that happened. It's just like your brain. You can't cut your head off and see what you're thinking.” When engineers do peer into a deep neural network, what they see is an ocean of math: a massive, multilayer set of calculus problems that—by constantly deriving the relationship between billions of data points—generate guesses about the world.
Artificial intelligence wasn't supposed to work this way. Until a few years ago, mainstream AI researchers assumed that to create intelligence, we just had to imbue a machine with the right logic. Write enough rules and eventually we'd create a system sophisticated enough to understand the world. They largely ignored, even vilified, early proponents of machine learning, who argued in favor of plying machines with data until they reached their own conclusions. For years computers weren't powerful enough to really prove the merits of either approach, so the argument became a philosophical one. “Most of these debates were based on fixed beliefs about how the world had to be organized and how the brain worked,” says Sebastian Thrun, the former Stanford AI professor who created Google's self-driving car. “Neural nets had no symbols or rules, just numbers. That alienated a lot of people.”
The implications of an unparsable machine language aren't just philosophical. For the past two decades, learning to code has been one of the surest routes to reliable employment—a fact not lost on all those parents enrolling their kids in after-school code academies. But a world run by neurally networked deep-learning machines requires a different workforce. Analysts have already started worrying about the impact of AI on the job market, as machines render old skills irrelevant. Programmers might soon get a taste of what that feels like themselves.
Just as Newtonian physics wasn't obviated by quantum mechanics, code will remain a powerful tool set to explore the world.
“I was just having a conversation about that this morning,” says tech guru Tim O'Reilly when I ask him about this shift. “I was pointing out how different programming jobs would be by the time all these STEM-educated kids grow up.” Traditional coding won't disappear completely—indeed, O'Reilly predicts that we'll still need coders for a long time yet—but there will likely be less of it, and it will become a meta skill, a way of creating what Oren Etzioni, CEO of the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, calls the “scaffolding” within which machine learning can operate. Just as Newtonian physics wasn't obviated by the discovery of quantum mechanics, code will remain a powerful, if incomplete, tool set to explore the world. But when it comes to powering specific functions, machine learning will do the bulk of the work for us.
Of course, humans still have to train these systems. But for now, at least, that's a rarefied skill. The job requires both a high-level grasp of mathematics and an intuition for pedagogical give-and-take. “It's almost like an art form to get the best out of these systems,” says Demis Hassabis, who leads Google's DeepMind AI team. “There's only a few hundred people in the world that can do that really well.” But even that tiny number has been enough to transform the tech industry in just a couple of years.
Whatever the professional implications of this shift, the cultural consequences will be even bigger. If the rise of human-written software led to the cult of the engineer, and to the notion that human experience can ultimately be reduced to a series of comprehensible instructions, machine learning kicks the pendulum in the opposite direction. The code that runs the universe may defy human analysis. Right now Google, for example, is facing an antitrust investigation in Europe that accuses the company of exerting undue influence over its search results. Such a charge will be difficult to prove when even the company's own engineers can't say exactly how its search algorithms work in the first place.
This explosion of indeterminacy has been a long time coming. It's not news that even simple algorithms can create unpredictable emergent behavior—an insight that goes back to chaos theory and random number generators. Over the past few years, as networks have grown more intertwined and their functions more complex, code has come to seem more like an alien force, the ghosts in the machine ever more elusive and ungovernable. Planes grounded for no reason. Seemingly unpreventable flash crashes in the stock market. Rolling blackouts.
These forces have led technologist Danny Hillis to declare the end of the age of Enlightenment, our centuries-long faith in logic, determinism, and control over nature. Hillis says we're shifting to what he calls the age of Entanglement. “As our technological and institutional creations have become more complex, our relationship to them has changed,” he wrote in the Journal of Design and Science. “Instead of being masters of our creations, we have learned to bargain with them, cajoling and guiding them in the general direction of our goals. We have built our own jungle, and it has a life of its own.” The rise of machine learning is the latest—and perhaps the last—step in this journey.
This can all be pretty frightening. After all, coding was at least the kind of thing that a regular person could imagine picking up at a boot camp. Coders were at least human. Now the technological elite is even smaller, and their command over their creations has waned and become indirect. Already the companies that build this stuff find it behaving in ways that are hard to govern. Last summer, Google rushed to apologize when its photo recognition engine started tagging images of black people as gorillas. The company's blunt first fix was to keep the system from labeling anything as a gorilla.
To nerds of a certain bent, this all suggests a coming era in which we forfeit authority over our machines. “One can imagine such technology outsmarting financial markets, out-inventing human researchers, out-manipulating human leaders, and developing weapons we cannot even understand,” wrote Stephen Hawking—sentiments echoed by Elon Musk and Bill Gates, among others. “Whereas the short-term impact of AI depends on who controls it, the long-term impact depends on whether it can be controlled at all.”
But don't be too scared; this isn't the dawn of Skynet. We're just learning the rules of engagement with a new technology. Already, engineers are working out ways to visualize what's going on under the hood of a deep-learning system. But even if we never fully understand how these new machines think, that doesn't mean we'll be powerless before them. In the future, we won't concern ourselves as much with the underlying sources of their behavior; we'll learn to focus on the behavior itself. The code will become less important than the data we use to train it.
This isn't the dawn of Skynet. We're just learning the rules of engagement with a new technology.
If all this seems a little familiar, that's because it looks a lot like good old 20th-century behaviorism. In fact, the process of training a machine-learning algorithm is often compared to the great behaviorist experiments of the early 1900s. Pavlov triggered his dog's salivation not through a deep understanding of hunger but simply by repeating a sequence of events over and over. He provided data, again and again, until the code rewrote itself. And say what you will about the behaviorists, they did know how to control their subjects.
In the long run, Thrun says, machine learning will have a democratizing influence. In the same way that you don't need to know HTML to build a website these days, you eventually won't need a PhD to tap into the insane power of deep learning. Programming won't be the sole domain of trained coders who have learned a series of arcane languages. It'll be accessible to anyone who has ever taught a dog to roll over. “For me, it's the coolest thing ever in programming,” Thrun says, “because now anyone can program.”
OH, REALLY????? AND WE THINK 99% OF WE THE PEOPLE WILL HAVE ACCESS TO ONE WORLD ONE TECHNOLOGY GRID FOR ONLY THE GLOBAL 1%?
For much of computing history, we have taken an inside-out view of how machines work. First we write the code, then the machine expresses it. This worldview implied plasticity, but it also suggested a kind of rules-based determinism, a sense that things are the product of their underlying instructions. Machine learning suggests the opposite, an outside-in view in which code doesn't just determine behavior, behavior also determines code. Machines are products of the world.
Ultimately we will come to appreciate both the power of handwritten linear code and the power of machine-learning algorithms to adjust it—the give-and-take of design and emergence. It's possible that biologists have already started figuring this out. Gene-editing techniques like Crispr give them the kind of code-manipulating power that traditional software programmers have wielded. But discoveries in the field of epigenetics suggest that genetic material is not in fact an immutable set of instructions but rather a dynamic set of switches that adjusts depending on the environment and experiences of its host. Our code does not exist separate from the physical world; it is deeply influenced and transmogrified by it. Venter may believe cells are DNA-software-driven machines, but epigeneticist Steve Cole suggests a different formulation: “A cell is a machine for turning experience into biology.”
And now, 80 years after Alan Turing first sketched his designs for a problem-solving machine, computers are becoming devices for turning experience into technology. For decades we have sought the secret code that could explain and, with some adjustments, optimize our experience of the world. But our machines won't work that way for much longer—and our world never really did. We're about to have a more complicated but ultimately more rewarding relationship with technology. We will go from commanding our devices to parenting them.