Partnership for Whole School Change

A PROGRAM of COOPERATIVE ARTISTS INSTITUTE (CAI)

MORE ABOUT OUR PROPOSED COMMISSION'S PURPOSE
 
Our commission’s purpose is to develop an effective educational response to globalization that gives our K-12 students a sound, science-based understanding of itA critical part of this response is preparing our children to humanely succeed in a globalized world. To accomplish its purpose, this commission will have to serve and work with the following people and organizations:
  • all our state's education commissions and agencies and our elected representatives from all branches of state government;
  • all our state's local municipal and town government agencies that are concerned with public education;
  • K-12 schools, school systems, their students, their staffs and the unions and professional organizations that support them; 
  • parents and parent organizations;
  • college and university schools of education and their undergraduate and graduate students, professors, and researchers;
  • municipal and state run education, arts, cultural agencies and their service providers; 
  • public health centers, private sector businesses and corporations and non-profit education, arts, and cultural organizations and their service providers; and 
  • our state's general public.
The global marketplace creates powerful social, economic, and ecological dynamics that repeatedly alter our current reality. This changes life outcomes and the environment that all life depends on. Both these dynamics and the changes they cause will hurt some people and benefit other people, and they will hurt or benefit the natural environment. All this speaks to the critical importance of our commission's purpose — to make our state's citizens aware of and knowledgeable about this marketplace and the helpful and hurtful dynamics it causes.
 
Listed below are examples of global market dynamics and changes that both help us and hurt us. How badly our citizens are hurt and how much they are helped by these dynamics will depend upon their social status within: the global market's institutional system; their society; the amount of money they have (their relationship to capital); the level of global market knowledge they have (their ability to understand and relate to today's world); and their ability to establish authentic, caring relationships with othersThe general public's ignorance and misdirected rage when they are victimized will inform their relationship with others, their pursuit of gain, their social and ecological values, and their struggle to survive the often random dynamics listed below.
  • The evidence exposed by the Panama Papers revealed a global net work of off shore tax havens and money laundering that were managed by the worlds leading global banks and financial institutions. This industry made billions hiding trillions of dollars from drug cartel members, major investors, presidents and top political leaders, movie stars, CEOs, top athletes, and the dark money of other wealthy clients. They hide it from legal tax collectors and law enforcement by laundering their illegal income, bribes, and kick-backs that put at-risk their own people and other people's health and well being. When US citizens learned of the Panama Papers and the involvement of their leading institutions, politicians, and popular stars, their ignorance of the meaning of these global dynamics was evident based on their inability to express their rage as a society. When Iceland's citizens learned of it, thousands spontaneously surrounded the office of the leading politician on the list, and voiced so much outrage heaving garbage and throwing eggs that he resign in one day. Iceland's citizens' superior global awareness give them the capacity to understand the meaning of what had been done to them and their beloved nation, so they were able to act in ways that keeps them safer from abuse. 
  • Global market dynamics may place a person in a situation that provides them with an income that is too low to survive on, just enough to pay the bills, or more than enough to support over 100 middle-class families.
  • In some places, the advent of global warming, stimulated by global market demand for energy, has dangerously increased the ocean tides and the energy level of life taking storms. In other areas it has increased the growing season in nations like Russia creating significant economic opportunities for those who previously had few economic prospects.
  • Rapid global innovation has caused people to have to cope with the effects of an ever changing array of smart machines. They take our attention, time, jobs, and money. But they create new jobs, connect us to others, tell us where we are, bring us what we want, transport us, and monitor us and the things around us. They also save us money by increasing the size of the markets that distribute the goods and services that we need and want. 
  • Global market dynamics have created a global labor market that has created an over supply of labor. This generally weakens the power of most of our state's citizens in the workplace. The employer's who are the minority of our state's citizens, experience this as an increase in workplace power. Employers are aware that they can bully and abuse employees if they choose to do so with little or no push back. The employees, who are the overwhelming majority of our state's citizens, feel more powerless and fearful in the workplace. The over supply of labor in this market is so acute, that business owners can negotiate deals with cities and states to do business with no taxes or at a reduced tax rate as long as they offer (not promise) jobs for municipal or state residents.
  • The dynamics before globalization meant that a person, especially a skilled professional, could hold a good job for decades, but after globalization, virtually every employee who holds a good job for five years is fortunate.
  • After globalization, all of us profit from cheaper and better digital entertainment, improved transportation technologies, better health care, the convenience of having a larger more expansive service sector, and food that is cheaper and with more food choices. However, these "positive" dynamics are offset by negative labor, ecological, and human rights outcomes.
  • Vast marketplace dynamics may price us out of home ownership and higher education or they may give us the means to purchase a modest home and attend a state college or they may offer us the means to own multiple homes and have access to the best universities on earth.
Our commission's purpose will be fulfilled when our state's general public demonstrates their capacity to reach their own science-based conclusions about these and other global market dynamics. This means that they can define for themselves what these dynamics are, explain how they function, describe the changes they cause, and communicate their effect on people and the natural world to others. These are the skills our state's general public needs to play a constructive citizenship role in our state and nation.
 
Our commission's purpose will be fulfilled when our citizens perform the skills to obtain more personal and social control over these marketplace dynamics and the changes they cause. In this age of globalization, a general public that has no significant control over these and other market dynamics is in pain. And, the pain and the drive to medicate it will spread to other persons and groups throughout our society placing our state's first world status at-risk.
BEING UNPREPARED: THE TRIGGER FOR PAIN, ADDICTION AND GUN VIOLENCE 

Most people realize that refuges are forced to live in alien cultures they do not understand. Since they are fleeing for their lives, they are too unprepared to have the most basic understanding of the world they are compelled to live in. This situation of being unprepared is usually followed by a public health crises as the extreme poverty and sense of hopelessness it causes overwhelms the refugees and any other person who has to cope with this level of loss and stress

Eric Hoffer coined the phrase "the ordeal of change" to describe the stress of being unprepared for change. Humans unprepared for radical change, even if it is good or profitable, have to deal with elements that will shock and pain them. But, if the change results in loss and what is lost is overwhelming, so is the pain. We know that this is true, because the media has captured this pain on the refugees' faces.

As difficult as the refugee's reality is, what makes it potentially positive is that they, and most of the world's people, are aware that refugees are painfully unprepared. This broad agreement accounts for the many social mechanisms that help refugees experience the comfort, support, and the preparation they need to adjust to their new world.

Both our state officials and members of our general public also need to reach a broad agreement that is critical for Massachusetts.  They need to realize that no matter what policies our state implements, the wellbeing and economic prospects of our state's general public will continue to falter if there is not a widespread agreement that nearly every citizen in our state is unprepared for the world they live in. 

Our present world exists in a global age, yet the need to know about and understand this age is a secret that is not generally shared. Keeping globalization a secret from our children is like keeping swimming a secret from children who live in a world covered by water. Both these secrets are going to cause both sets of children life-long pain no matter what else is done for them. This  poor outcome will continue for as long as the secret knowledge they need to learn is kept from them.

Most of us have had this knowledge hidden from us, because a powerful social taboo prevents people who have sound global market knowledge from sharing it. As long as our general public and our state's officials ignore this oversight and allow this secret to continuethere can be:   

  • no broad social agreement that this destructive situation exists;
  • no development of K-12 schools and other social solutions that help the general public prepare itself to succeed in the world globalization has reformed; and
  • no concrete sustainable relief from the many manifestations of pain that stokes the general public's growing confusion and anger.

Today, we see this mass ignorance, and the growing pain and anger it causes, reflected in this year's presidential election. And, we know this anger is real, because it is written on our citizen's faces. But, suppose these pained and angered citizens had attended K-12 schools that had developed an effective educational response to globalization. Suppose the schools were able to give them a sound, science-based understanding of the global market world they live in and how they can constructively relate to it. Suppose they had the opportunity to study how this massive marketplace's socioeconomic mechanisms distribute all the earth's goods and services to seven billion people. These school experiences would have had a significant effect on the way these citizens thought, felt, and how they responded to others and the world.

They would know that people who do not understanding globalization and its awesome power cannot help but get hurt by it. They would also know that the hurt this ignorance causes will create health challenges and social instability. Having a large population of our citizens hobbled by the pain this hurt causes who have no understanding of where the pain comes from, what the pain is, how to control it, and how to make it stop will not enhance our state's first world status. K-12 education and globalization is one example that tells us that public policy is public health.

 

DRUGS AND PUBLIC HEALTH

To cope with and participate in the global market and deal with its changes our state's general public has to be prepared. Being prepared is having a sound understand of this market's culture and key cultural patterns
 
Our general public needs to know that the global market's culture embraces all human endeavors. It enables the earth's seven billion people to make the trillions of transactions that sustain their lives. To cope with this institutional mechanism, our general public has to have some sense of control. They need school experiences that help them discover key cultural patterns that speed up, slow down, and sometimes halt transactions that injure the general public. They  need to learn about cultural patterns that encourage businesses and other productive organizations to treat living people like nonliving commodities and machinesThey need to know why the global market treats those who are prepared for it better and those who are unprepared for it worse. 

Pain can be experienced physically, psychologically, and emotionally. Pain can be caused by socioeconomic policies that cause war and race, sex, and class oppression. As bad as they are, pain from these causes usually have medical and social strategies that help people overcome them. Nothing like that exists to help those who, for 13-years, have been taught to be unprepared to understand their world. Our commission purpose is to help our K-12 schools address this oversight.
 
As citizens are injured by sickness, war, or other incidents, they, like any other costly aspect of the productive process are let go. In global market speak its called externalizing anyone or any practice that costs money. That cost often falls on the general public creating stress and pain. Since this market's cultural patterns do not give the general public time to heal, they take drugs to mask their physical and psychological pain. A huge number of people take them to keep their jobs. If workplace activities prevent the injury from healing, the drugs may be taken for so long that the person becomes addicted. Its our developers' hypothesis that our state's rapid expansion of opiate abuse into the white middle class was caused by these labor patterns. The number of opiate abusers started climbing in 1999, and it sharply increased during the Great Recession of 2009. It continues to climb as people without global market knowledge are realizing that they are out of the middle class and the will never recover what they lost in the recession. Today, between 1300 to 1500 mostly young white males are dying every year in Massachusetts from a drug overdose. All these factors cause pain.
 
There is broad agreement among medical and social scientists that any phenomenon that significantly increases pain, that is persistent and deep, will escalate our state's opiate crisesThe relief of pain is a well worn path towards opiate addiction, especially if there is no easy, quick, socially acceptable path towards pain relief. All of us, who have suffered intense pain, know that difficult, slow solutions towards the promise of relieving the pain will soon be abandoned for anything that will work effectively and quickly. This is especially true if employees will lose their job if they do not get back to work, ready to perform. 
 
If the pain is intense enough or if it prevents people from maintaining their socioeconomic position or prevents them from getting ahead in the marketplace, they will tend to embrace any form of self-medication. Some do it to keep functioning for their families, and others do it to make their lives bearable. While this is taking place, the marketplace does not stop charging for food, housing, utilities, health care, transportation, phones, insurance, and clothing. With their pain and these personal and family obligations threatening to overwhelm them, self-medication in the form of a substance (drugs, alcohol, etc.) or a process (compulsive gambling, running, making money, cell phone use, sex, etc.) becomes a form of medicine that gets them through the day. 
 
Our state's efforts to reduce people's access to prescription drugs may be useful, but it does nothing to reverse the general public's growing pain. Sound public health solutions begin with public policies that reduce the general public's pain. Reducing pain gets at the root of the problem, because reducing the number of people who are in pain reduces the number of people who self-medicating themselves. K-12 schools that prepare our general public for today's world reduces our citizens' pain.

 
GUNS AND PUBLIC HEALTH
 
This situation of being unprepared for the world around you can also create cultural patterns that cause poverty and hopelessness. In poor and working class urban settings, it can lead our youths to adopt black market survival strategies that rely on gun violence to maintain territory (turf) and market share. The fact that this low level form of war might have something to do with our schools' inability to prepare inner city youths for living in a globalized world is never mentioned or fully appreciated
 
Our K-12 schools expend 13-years teaching our poor, inner-city youths the wrong information about the world they live in. This misinformation is taught to our middle class youths, but they have more resources to moderate the destructive effects of this oversight. But, for our most neglected and vulnerable youths of color, this oversight creates mayhem in their lives, and too many are predictably overwhelmed by it.
 
When human beings are overwhelmed at every turn by the life situations they are in, they often create survival-based cultural patterns that go against the culture their society upholds. Like the 1850's gangs of New York, all poor, male urban youths of all races, down through the ages internalized similar gang based cultural patterns the greater society suppressed. The youths established their own world view based on this gang culture. Being segregated from wealth creation, they provided the resources to support their gang's world view using both legal and illegal means. 
 
Violence tends to haunt all illegal activities, but gun violence is more clearly associated with the trafficking of illegal commodities. The reason for this is the need to maintain, acquire, and defend the gang's market share and the territory where the commodity is sold. These market dynamics are too often regulated through the barrel of a gun. Our state's general public and civic leaders are not focused enough on market driven causes, even though a significant portion of youth gun violence is fueled by it.  

The civic and political leaders and public health providers who have the power and responsibility to overcome this violence have woefully misread what is needed to stop it, so for decades this lethal urban war has been allowed to continue within our urban centers. These leaders' strategy offers youths of color ethics (do the right thing, just say no, etc.) and threats (arrest and jail), but no concrete way to humanely create the wealth our youths need to sustain and socially connect them within the global market world they live in.  
 
Below is one of the main strategies our adult leaders have continued to use. It is a ritual they repeat over and over again. However, the reader must keep in mind that this ritual is radically altered when the shooting takes place in an upscale part of the city and white professionals are hit in the cross fire.
  1. A young person of color is shot dead in the street. The police, who are searching for the shooter, make the street and his body a crime scene as local people gather. 
  2. If the victim is a gang member and has little status in the community and the greater society, he (the youth often is male) becomes a statistic. His death is mentioned one day in the local media, and then he and the shooting is soon forgotten by everyone but his family, friends, and fellow gang members or crew. To uphold their sense of loyalty to their fallen brother and protect their turf and market share, his crew is strongly motivated to avenge his death. This often leads to an epidemic that maims and kills scores of gang members and bystanders.
  3. If the victim is shoot in a crossfire and is not a gang member, but a young child or a promising, popular student, or a prominent athlete of color, the ritual changes. The media covers the shooting for days and the victim's life and promise is revealed to the state and sometimes to the entire nation. And, the victim is not soon forgotten. Local, even national politicians, celebrities, and religious leaders, attend the funeral. This draws the local and national media and can make these tragic events a kind of industry that benefits the careers of everyone. The politicians, the police, and the religious leaders tend to blame the easy access to guns and other things, but they rarely put fourth the energy needed to stop the flow of guns. Then they promise to work closer together to stop the "senseless" violence, but the violence continues. 
  4. This ritual has been repeated over and over again with little or no effect. The ritual is a good ritual in many ways, but it cannot succeed without giving youths of color the opportunity to participate in wealth creation and do so humanely 
To reduce this gun violence, youths of color need adults to add to this ritual concrete ways they can participate in wealth creation. But, to participate in wealth creation, they need to acquire global market knowledge. Sound knowledge has always been one of humanity's most reliable tool for overcoming challenges. But here is the rub. Global market knowledge is currently privatized. This means only a small number of elites and academic experts are taught this knowledge in a comprehensive way. Today, this knowledge is passed on to the elite's children in private settings where it is obtained from: 

  • knowledgeable parents who model their power in the world to their children; 
  • the modeling they receive from other elite adults who are extended family and friends and part of their social class. The children learn from their extended family and friends as they apply and profit from the global market knowledge they have mastered; and 
  • the informal learning gleaned from elite exclusive institutions like Ivy league university cultures that expose them to fraternities, exclusive clubs, and secret societies where this knowledge is shared among the elite.

The privatization of this knowledge not only segregates it from youth of color, it segregates it from our state’s middle, working, and poor classes. Not having this knowledge creates a public health situation that places them all at-risk. This situation traps seventy to eighty percent of our state’s population in an unfair, and for most, a painful situation that is not sustainable for our state. Thirty-years of flat wages is just one of the costs our general public pays for being segregated from global market knowledge.

Our proposed commission will work from the premise that relief will come when the privatization of this knowledge is made public through the agency of our state's public school systems. With each high school graduation, an increasing number of citizens will acquire the tools to successfully and compassionately navigate the globalized world they live in.

For each citizen's psychological health, they have to have some understanding of the world they live in, and they need tools and skills that give them a healthy sense of control. Our commission's purpose is being fulfilled when our state's K-12 students acquire the healthy sense of control in their lives that learning global market knowledge offers them.

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