"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Sons of the Pioneers theme for TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon artist's musings melding metaphors and journalism, for readers in more than 150 countries.

Monday, February 6, 2012

The pages of constant change

I'm reading Friedman and Mandelbaum's book, "That Used To Be Us" about "How America fell behind in the world it invented and how we can come back."

It's one of those slow read books that make your brain hurt. A chapter a night is about all you can take, because it's heavy food that takes time to digest.
On top of that, since so much depends on education, I keep comparing what they're saying being disconnected to the functioning of higher education, especially at UCO, and realizing how many people know this, but more alarmingly, how many people don't get it, or won't get it, or don't care. I'm referring to the need of creativity and leadership versus a system that demands lots of forms and standardization, with more and more rules coming down everyday.  Consider this comment from a business CEO:  "More and more, innovation that happens from the top down tends to be orderly but dumb. Innovation that happens from  the bottom up tends to be chaotic but smart."

Other points  I underlined: "So sometimes you need to inject chaos into the classroom." ""Challenging the status quo is the most critical thing," for employees if a company is going to survive.

At any rate, it's been five years since Friedman wrote the landmark "The World Is Flat, "and there's been so much change since then. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oM2BguxRSyY
The authors say the merger of globalization and the IT revolutions (specifically the mobile IT revolution) is what America is not adapting to. Consider this  from one of the book's chapters about education:
"In 2005 Facebook wasn't even it it. It had just started up....'twitter' was still a sound, the 'cloud' was something in the sky, '3G' was a parking space, 'applications' were what you sent to college, and 'Skype' was a typo."  And the iPhone didn't exist. They write about one new businessman: "His head office is an iPad."

It's not a gloomy book, but a disturbing one. Consider this conclusion, quoting a businessman, "Once all the technology is evenly spread, "all the old-fashioned stuff will start to matter even more....the only advantage you can have is the human self....How good is your school system?,,,"The technology everyone will have."


  1. Loved the quote about innovation. Great words of wisdom.

  2. You should check out the movie 'Waiting for Superman' .. its about Americas educational system.

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