Josh Anderson

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Josh Anderson
Posted over 2 years ago
Do elite private schools have a responsibility to improve local public schools?
As an adult educator, asked a similar question for a long time, "Doesn't the much better funded K-12 have an obligation to support the adult education system?" I ended up rejecting that question. Weak power tries to force or mandate. Strong, long-lasting effective power comes from winning hearts and minds. Now I look for areas of commonality and try to create, specific, concrete opportunities for partnership. A solution to your problem by way of a proclaimed "responsibility" would abolish the public/private distinction.
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Josh Anderson
Posted over 2 years ago
How can you save a person who does not want to be saved or does not see the need to be saved?
Freedom is dangerous, but it also has tremendous potential. My experience had been that people who are content with terrible circumstances most need people who care for and love them in a consistent and unconditional way. I don't recommend trying to "fix" people, but often if you are around enough and care enough their situation can't be ignored and your caring about them, helps them to care about them. I've also found that it's most effective to not be caring for someone if you're really trying to inspire change. Being cared about is more important than being cared for in the long run.
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Josh Anderson
Posted over 2 years ago
Is the golden rule flawed?
Thanks to all for some interesting reading and to Obey for a worthwhile question. My 2 cents: Jesus says that everything hangs on love God and love your neighbor. Figuring out what that means in a given situation isn't always easy. Sometimes that means acting. Sometimes it means refraining from acting. But in every case it means focusing on the flourishing of the other. The Confucian version is right that impositions are usually bad between mature people, but what about cajoling, encouraging, influencing, modeling, inviting. Finding the right degree of push to give is often a vital part of trying to be "good". In short, rules are where the negotiations should begin.
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Josh Anderson
Posted over 2 years ago
Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is closing 54 schools
I lived in Chicago up until last year and my sister taught at a charter school in Englewood, a high-crime, low-income neighborhood. I have not kept up with everything in this recent push but I know that a huge part of what the city is dealing with now is cleaning up the mess former Mayor Daly left them in. He went on a binge of privatizing revenue sources to get windfalls to make budgets work and then jumped ship when there weren't any more quick fixes. I don't know enough to have an opinion of Rahm Emmanuel's mayorship, but I do know he inherited a really rough situation. Also inflaming this issue are the racial and class tensions in the city. The schools that are getting closed are in black and brown neighborhoods that also happen to be least served by the public transit system. When the transit authority wanted to do work on the Red Line section that serves the mostly black, mostly poor South side, they implemented a plan to close the tracks for months and use shuttle buses in the interim. In the past when they've done major construction on El lines in the white and middle class Brown Line, there has been no interruption in service. It might be that schools need to be closed. I know that the politicians know that the poor and the undereducated will whine and fuss and make noise but closing schools in middle and upper class neighborhoods would undoubtedly lead to an all out political war and plenty of lawyers on the scene. My read on the actual rationale for the situation: When someone has to pay the price, it's always the poor's turn. The best fix I can suggest is Family Literacy programming. Family Literacy is a wonderful model that enables parents to reengage with education and gain the confidence to step up to the plate as their child's first teacher. Education is too big a job for the school system. Always has been. Always will be.
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Josh Anderson
Posted over 2 years ago
How can we consider the bible credible?
There are many Biblical texts that survive from before the year 500 and several that survive from before the year 200. Major modern translations are done by teams of scholars with expertise in the original languages and the cultures in which those languages were situated with access to the earliest manuscripts in the original languages using sophisticated techniques of textual criticism. Any recent major translation is likely a more credible version of the Biblical text than has been available since the first few centuries AD. Along the way, many distortions were made for many ideological reasons. Right now, though, credibility is #1 on the list for translators. If your concern is how to take the Bible seriously, one tool that intelligent people need is awareness of literary styles, or, academically, "form criticism". Understanding what genre of writing a piece of writing is helps a lot. Genesis can be read as a creation myth. Revelation is a poem fully of vivid imagery. The biggest problem though is that these neat categories for types of writing don't hold up over thousands of years. If you read Thucydides accounts of the Peloponesian War as modern history accounts you'll find them lacking as well. Even though most of the Bible is "history", it's tremendously important to have a feel for what the purpose of writing a "history" was at that point and what counted as credibility. Often, credibility in our modern sense is not high on the Biblical author's list of priorities. The gospel writers rearranged events in Jesus ministry to construct narratives that made their points better. To your mind, that might make them less credible, but for them you idea of credibility wasn't at the head of the list of reasons why they were writing. They were primarily writing to communicate in a pure a way as possible the transforming power of knowing Jesus.
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Josh Anderson
Posted over 2 years ago
Does the scientific establishment unwittingly suffer from paradigm bias? Does it assume incorrect axioms of existence?
I'm jumping into the thread far into it. My apologies for the poor etiquette. I couldn't help myself on this one. I just wanted to say that I was a big fan of Kuhn's Structures of Scientific Revolutions and that one of the most persuasive parts of the story he weaves is the biographies of our most famous scientists. Discoveries are mostly made by people who are young and often by people who come from outside the establishment. Einstein's biography certainly should count as evidence that one of Sheldrake's introductory points in his talk has some merit: the current system of centralized education, training, and research funding deserves to be questioned. There's a great synergy I think between Sheldrake's emphasis on the nature of inquiry and Dan Pink's talk about motivation and our system of cultural incentives. His thesis is that highly intellectual tasks require intrinsic rather than extrinsic motivators to be successful. Extrinsic motivators narrow our focus to specific incentivized results and keep us from exploring and using our critical faculties. I'm not up on current scientific practices, but it seems to me that scientist are very driven by grants. Pink's talk on motivation would lead us to hypothesize that this means our current system inhibits intellectual processes and most inhibits the most highly intellectual processes, theoretical science. Also, everything I've read about scientific realism says that scientists have one of two opinions on the question of whether or not their assumptions/theories/laws are "true" of the "real" world. Most commonly, they think it's a stupid question because whether or not the assumptions are correct, they enable us to interact with our environment in predictable ways with a high level of consistency is complicated tasks. And if the assumptions are wrong, they can be changed when necessary. If you can get them to answer the question, they'll most likely say, "No. These are just hypotheses for now."