October 2007 Archives

2007 - Session #20 - "Great Decisions" Work Time

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Well, last Thursday's class certainly took a direction that I was not expecting. That's not a problem, as we do have some "wiggle" time in the schedule. Now that Quarter 2 is starting, some of you are looking at new classes and work loads, etc. Today seems like a good day to give you a nice chunk of time to work on those "Great Decisions" presentations.

REMINDERS: You were asked to have Chapter #8, "The Quiet Crisis," read before today's class. I'll ask that you complete Blog Entry #8 before class on Thursday, November 1st.

We'll take the "International Organizations" matching quiz on Monday, November 5th.

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Expect that these Great Decisions presentations may begin the week of Monday, November 18th. We'll decide on a specific order and schedule as our roster of guest speakers is finalized...

Migration - Adam, Will, Ross
War Crimes - Andrew G., Dan, Philip, Vance
Central Asia - Kiley, Roz
Mexico - Jake, Mark, Tom
South Africa - Alex, Anna, Chris, Rebecca
Children - Abbey, Christine, Ellen, Julia
Climate - Lindsey, Nicholas
Middle East is also available...
To be placed in groups: Mirdalys, Andrew J., Darren


"GREAT DECISIONS" Expectations:

Expect that this will be worth roughly the same as one of the two "take home" essays that you have done/will do.

We'll have a schedule set as soon as my guest speaker dates fall into place.

I figure you'll have roughly 45-60 minutes for your group. Anything short of 40 minutes will be viewed suspiciously...

Here's what I want from you:
* overview of the key issue(s) at stake
* presentation of necessary background information
* some sort of discussion or other activity

Yeah, that's pretty broad. You're teaching, so you decide how to do it. Remember that I have the 30-minute video excerpts on each topic available for you. (We'll say you can use 15-25 minutes from the DVD if you want, but I won't count any more than that toward your time.) Their website, which contains additional resources, is again linked above.

If you want to make a handout, go ahead. Want me to put something on the blog? Get it to me. Need something copied? I can do that. Most of you will be leaving home in about ten months. I think you can figure out how to do a nice job on a presentation...

Please ask with any questions or make any suggestions. I'll develop a more formal "score sheet" but it will be based on the comments above.

2007 - Blog Entry #8 - "The Quiet Crisis"

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By Tuesday, you are supposed to read Chapter 8, “The Quiet Crisis.” Answer one of the following questions. I’ll expect a comment of one good paragraph or more. (To me, that means 5-6 sentences at a minimum.) You do not need to worry about perfect grammar, spelling and punctuation, but they should be understandable. Remember that this is a public site, and you are responsible for the content of your postings.

YOUR COMMENT SHOULD BE POSTED BEFORE CLASS TIME ON THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 1 IN ORDER TO GET FULL CREDIT.

All page references are from the paperback, "Release 3.0, edition of The World Is Flat. (You subtract about 14 pages to get the corresponding stuff in the hardcover edition.)

1. (One for the jocks...) Friedman starts the chapter with a discussion of the 2004 US Olympic Men's Basketball team. To what degree do you believe globalization and similar trends explain the difficulties America has had in international athletics recently? Use specific examples.

2. Shirley Ann Jackson (page 340) - "The U.S. today is in a truly global environment, and those competitor countries are not only wide awake, they are running a marathon while we are running sprints." What can government (not private business) do to help rectify this problem?

3. Friedman had lunch with some dude named Eric Stern at Yale one day. (page 351) Pretend you were there with them and react to some of what Stern has to say.

4. Which two of the six "dirty little secrets" do you believe will most limit the United States over the next decade? Explain why.

5. "In China today, Bill Gates is Britney Spears. In America today, Britney Spears is Britney Spears - and that is our problem." (page 365) Discuss.

6. In the "real" world, what can be done to increase America's status on these international math and science exams and to increase the numbers of students studying this subjects at higher levels?

2007 - Session #19 - People on the Move: Migration

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Interesting Editorial: As many of you may know, Katherine Kersten is a conservative columnist who writes for the StarTribune. This editorial (with 70+ comments as of this writing), "The pariahs of our college campuses," caught my eye, particularly because of the film, "Indoctrinate U," that will be showing. It would be very interesting to hear your views on this a year or two from today...

We'll kick off today with the "World Leaders" quiz. I clarified a couple items in the footer at the bottom of the quiz...

REMINDERS: Please have Chapter #8, "The Quiet Crisis," read before Tuesday's class. I'll ask that you complete Blog Entry #8 before class on Thursday, November 1st.

If you were gone on Tuesday, I've got some reading material to get to each "Great Decisions" group.

Migration - Adam, Will, Ross
War Crimes - Andrew G., Dan, Philip, Vance
Central Asia - Kiley, Roz
Mexico - Jake, Mark, Tom
South Africa - Alex, Anna, Chris, Rebecca
Children - Abbey, Christine, Ellen, Julia
Climate - Lindsey, Nicholas
Middle East is also available...
To be placed in groups: Mirdalys, Andrew J., Darren


"GREAT DECISIONS" Expectations:

Expect that this will be worth roughly the same as one of the two "take home" essays that you have done/will do.

We'll have a schedule set as soon as my guest speaker dates fall into place.

I figure you'll have roughly 45-60 minutes for your group. Anything short of 40 minutes will be viewed suspiciously...

Here's what I want from you:
* overview of the key issue(s) at stake
* presentation of necessary background information
* some sort of discussion or other activity

Yeah, that's pretty broad. You're teaching, so you decide how to do it. Remember that I have the 30-minute video excerpts on each topic available for you. (We'll say you can use 15-25 minutes from the DVD if you want, but I won't count any more than that toward your time.) Their website, which contains additional resources, is again linked above.

If you want to make a handout, go ahead. Want me to put something on the blog? Get it to me. Need something copied? I can do that. Most of you will be leaving home in about ten months. I think you can figure out how to do a nice job on a presentation...

Please ask with any questions or make any suggestions. I'll develop a more formal "score sheet" but it will be based on the comments above.

>>>>>>

In my mind, at least, today's topic is a natural follow-up to last session's focus on population and demographics. Broadly speaking, I want us to take a look at migration. (No, not birds fleeing the oncoming cold, but rather different migrations among peoples around the world.) The issue raises a lot of different specific and interesting questions depending on where we look.

First, some definitions are probably in order. (No, I didn't just go to Wikipedia. I sought some more academic sources...)

migration: the movement of persons from one country or locality to another (Princeton)

Illegal Immigrant: Someone present in the country without authorization. People considered illegal immigrants can enter the United States in two ways: either by sneaking across the border, or by entering the country legally under a temporary visa but then failing to leave once their visa expires. (NPR website)

Refugee: Any person who, owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside of the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, unwilling to return to it. (Source:UN Convention Related to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol)

Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs): Persons or groups of persons who have been forced or obliged to flee or to leave their homes or places of habitual residence, in particular as a result of or in order to avoid the effects of armed conflict, situations of generalized violence, violations of human rights or natural or man-made disasters, and who have not crossed an internationally recognized State border. (Source: "Guiding Principles on Internal Displacements" issued by the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in 1998)

Asylum-seekers: Persons who file an application for asylum in a country other than their own. They remain in the status of asylum-seeker until their application is considered and adjudicated.

Foreign migrant workers: Foreigners admitted by the receiving State for the specific purpose of exercising an economic activity remunerated from within the receiving country. Their length of stay is usually restricted as is the type of employment they can hold.

Trafficking: When a migrant is illegally recruited, coerced and/or forcibly moved within national or across national borders. Traffickers are those who transport migrants and profit economically or otherwise from their relocation. (Source: International Organization for Migration).


WORLDWIDE:

Here's the website for Refugees International. This map is also interesting.

Here's a comprehensive site from Human Rights Watch: Refugees, Internally Displaced Persons, and Asylum Seekers

In case you were wondering, it looks like we currently make provisions for the admission of about 70,000 refugees a year into the US. Specific quotas are set for different areas of the world, and 20,000 spots are held "in reserve."


UNITED STATES:

A New Century: Immigration and the US is an extensive article that provides a good overview of new issues and challenges in immigration policy that face the United States in the 21st Century.

Most estimates place the number of "undocumented" (illegal) immigrants in the country at any one time between 10 and 12 million.

NPR: The Immigration Debate is a very thorough website covering immigration and its status as a very important issue in American politics.


ISSUES FOR DISCUSSION:

1. China is experiencing an unprecedented internal migration. Estimates are that between 300 and 500 million Chinese will leave rural areas and migrate to the cities of China. What implications will these have for China's internal stability? How should Beijing deal with this movement?

2. By many estimates, the Palestinians make up one-quarter of the world's refugees. Based on your understanding of their situation, how does it compare with what you typically think of as a refugee issue? If you see it as different, explain why. What should the international community push for if they want to settle this issue?

3. How do you view the plights of refugees in comparison with those of internally displaced peoples? Should the international community treat them differently?

4. In the post-9/11 world, the United States has significantly altered its position on many immigration issues. Which do you think is the greater fear: allowing too much legal immigration or allowing too little? Why?

5. Congress is considering some broad immigration reforms. Assume that you are in charge. What would you do? In particular, what would you do regarding the southern border and the status of the 10-11 million illegal immigrants already in the country?

2007 - Session #18 - Demographics: Destiny or Doom?

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REMINDERS: You were asked to have Blog Entry #7, "The Right Stuff," ready for today's class.

We'll do the "Major World Figures" quiz on Thursday, October 25th. (It's matching.)

Here are the "Great Decisions" topic assignments for the presentations in November and beyond. I've got some reading material to get to each group.
Migration - Adam, Will, Ross
War Crimes - Andrew G., Dan, Philip, Vance
Central Asia - Kiley, Roz
Mexico - Jake, Mark, Tom
South Africa - Alex, Anna, Chris, Rebecca
Children - Abbey, Christine, Ellen, Julia
Climate - Lindsey, Nicholas
Middle East is also available...
To be placed in groups: Mirdalys, Andrew J., Darren

>>>>>>>>>>>>>

So, welcome back. I hope that the college visits and/or applications went well. Heck, if you sat around doing nothing constructive, I hope that went well also. We'll try to get back into the swing of things a little bit today.

Let's start by hearing what you thought about Chapter #7, "The Right Stuff," from The World Is Flat.


As if I needed more examples to confirm my "nerd" status, I will confess that I really like today's topic. Demographics and population issues are neat. Let's see if you agree...

Here's a population clock from the Population Coalition. Watch it change. Here's one from the US Census Bureau. If you'd like to compare the current population with that estimated for any day since 1970 (like your birth), check out this World Population Applet.

Here are the US Census Bureau's world population projections through 2050.


The World's Most Populous Countries - This is a cartogram of world population. Here's another at The Population Map.


IDB Population Pyramids are a cool resource from the US Census Bureau. Look at the way they break down populations by age and gender. In addition, they project changes out through 2050. Play with these a while. Some suggestions: Gaza Strip, Germany, India, Rwanda and the United States. (Click on "dynamic" to get the graphs to move over time. Neat.)

Let's look a little closer to home at some maps and data...

Here's a look at a US population cartogram, but it's mixed in with information from the 2004 Presidential election.

This is another US Census Bureau publication, "Population Projections for States by Age, Sex, Race, and Hispanic Origin: 1995 to 2025." Scroll down to the "HIGHLIGHTS FROM PREFERRED SERIES" to find some highlights. What conclusions can we draw from these trends?


OK, that's enough high-tech nerdiness. We'll start drawing the connections from population to policy issues. (Immigration is yet to come...) I've got two articles for us to work with on population. Both are from one of my favorite new websites, The Globalist.

21st Century Demographics: Highs and Lows Let's look at these and ponder their implications for the future.

Ready for some gloom and doom? Here's an excerpt from Philip Bobbit's book, The Shield of Achilles. He projects a possible future for Africa as a result of projected population growth on the continent. Africa's Plight - The 2050 Scenario. I'm curious as to your reactions to this excerpt.

2007 - Blog Entry #7 - "The Right Stuff"

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By this time, you were supposed to have read Chapter 7, “The Right Stuff.” Answer one of the following questions. I’ll expect a comment of one good paragraph or more. (To me, that means 5-6 sentences at a minimum.) You do not need to worry about perfect grammar, spelling and punctuation, but they should be understandable. Remember that this is a public site, and you are responsible for the content of your postings.

YOUR COMMENT SHOULD BE POSTED BEFORE CLASS TIME ON TUESDAY, OCTOBER 23rd IN ORDER TO GET FULL CREDIT.

All page references are to the paperback version (Release 3.0) of The World is Flat. I'd really recommend that you read that version if at all possible.)

1. On pages 310, Friedman tells of answering a student's question about what courses to take: "Go around to your friends and ask them just one question: 'Who are your favorite teachers?' Then make a list of those teachers and go out and take their courses - no matter what they are teaching, no matter what the subject." Is this sound advice or silly sentimentalism? Explain.

2. (I promised very little math in this class, but here's a little algebra...) On page 313, he posts an inequality (I think that's the word for those things...): CQ + PQ > IQ Using specific examples or analysis, assess the truth of this statement in our increasingly flat world.

3. I'm not usually into all the "brain" science, but I've always found the left-brain/ right-brain stuff interesting. React to what Friedman argues in this fourth theme, "The Right Brain Stuff," including at least some specific reference to your own left/right tendencies. (It's on pp. 320-323.)

4. I know we've got some band nerds in here. (You just got called out by a debate coach...) React to the message that underlies the Georgia Tech anecdote. (It begins on page 324.) In particular, I'm interested in any comparisons you see to MPA or other places you may have spent time or heard about.

5. After you sift through Chapter 7, it is time to face the big question. "Can America educate its citizens for the "flat world?" (Friedman concludes both that we have all the necessary conditions and attributes, yet we are not currently doing so.) To make it a little more specific, I want you to comment on how well you think we'll be doing a decade from now.

2007 - Session #17 - "Organizing the 21st Century World"

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Please post your "organization" and brief write-up as a comment on this entry. The instructions for this are found on the Session #16 entry, and you should have signed up for one of these in class on Thursday...

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REMINDERS: You were asked to have Chapter 7, "The Right Stuff" in The World Is Flat read for today's class. Blog Entry #7 is posted, and we'll have it due on Tuesday, October 23rd.

Here are the "Great Decisions" topic assignments for the presentations in November and beyond.
Migration - Adam, Will, Ross
War Crimes - Andrew G., Dan, Philip, Vance
Central Asia - Kiley, Roz
Mexico - Jake, Mark, Tom
South Africa - Alex, Anna, Chris, Rebecca
Children - Abbey, Christine, Ellen, Julia
Climate - Lindsey, Nicholas
Middle East is also available...
To be placed in groups: Mirdalys, Andrew J., Darren

Your "Take-Home Essay Exam #1" is due before the end of school on Tuesday, October 16th. You can either print them out and turn them in during class, or you can email them to me as an attachment. (I will count it late if it is emailed to me later than 3:30 PM on Tuesday, October 16th.) You can find all the questions under the blog entry for the exam.

We'll do the "Major World Figures" quiz on Thursday, October 25th.

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"ORGANIZING" THE 21st CENTURY WORLD: Below is the list of 25 important intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) and non-governmental organizations. You were asked to have a blog comment posted to this entry about your group. (What you are specifically supposed to do in on Blog Entry #16.)

You’ll be asked to talk about your group briefly today, as well as to provide a brief “evaluation” of the organization. These lists and comments will form the basis for a matching quiz on these organizations.

We'll go through these in a way that might make more sense than simply alphabetical...
United Nations General Assembly
United Nations Security Council
United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
World Bank
International Monetary Fund (IMF)
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
World Trade Organization (WTO)
European Union (EU)
Group of 8 (G8)
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
Organization of American States (OAS)
Mercosur
African Union (AU)
League of Arab States
Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)
Organization of Islamic Conferences
Commonwealth of Independent States
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)
World Health Organization (WHO)
World Food Program (WFP)
World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)

You can use any remaining time to touch base with your Great Decisions group...

2007 - Session #16 - Working in the 21st Century

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REMINDERS: Please have Chapter 7, "The Right Stuff" in The World Is Flat read for next Monday's class. I'll post Blog Entry #7, but it won't be due until after MEA break.

Here are the "Great Decisions" topic assignments for the presentations in November and beyond.
Migration - Adam, Will, Ross
War Crimes - Andrew G., Dan, Philip, Vance
Central Asia - Kiley, Roz
Mexico - Jake, Mark, Tom
South Africa - Alex, Anna, Chris, Rebecca
Children - Abbey, Christine, Ellen, Julia
Climate - Lindsey, Nicholas
Middle East is also available...
To be placed in groups: Mirdalys, Andrew J., Darren

Your "Take-Home Essay Exam #1" is due before the end of school on Tuesday, October 16th. (Our only class is on Monday the 15th.) You can either print them out and turn them in during class, or you can email them to me as an attachment. (I will count it late if it is emailed to me later than 3:30 PM on Tuesday, October 16th.) You can find all the questions under the blog entry for the exam.

>>>>>>>>>

We'll kick off today with the Major World Cities quiz. You simply need to list the country in which each of the cities is located. (I'll have key available for you to check your work...)


Let's return to Friedman's chapter on "The Untouchables" as a starting point for our conversation and activities today.

21st Century "Job Fair" - I thought these were kind of neat. Joyce Gioia and Roger Herman both write for The Futurist magazine, and they composed a list of some jobs they expect to see emerging early in this century. We'll hand out the slips and you can check them out.


The 21st Century Workplace
is the testimony of economist Jared Bernstein before a 2005 US Senate committee. It's quite a bit to process in class, but I'd like you to take ten minutes and browse through it before we share some impressions.

I'd like you to identify four things:
* one statistic, fact or prediction that really surprises you
* one conclusion, inference or question you draw from the graphs and/or tables
* one of his conclusions or arguments with which you strongly agree (or disagree)
* one policy recommendation (his or yours) that follows from the data and/or text


BIG TRANSITION>>>


"ORGANIZING" THE 21st CENTURY WORLD: While political scientists might quibble about whether these all belong on the same list, here are 25 intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) and non-governmental organizations. Here is what you need to do: Do a little research on “your” organization. You’ll be asked to post a comment on the Session #17 blog entry. (It’s the one for Monday that is currently just a title.) Here’s what the comment should contain...

TYPE THE NAME OF THE ORGANIZATION (and ABBREVIATION) IN ALL CAPS.

You are responsible for sharing with us the “TOP TEN” things we should know about your group. We’re interested in things like purpose, origins, important events, membership (not just a long list, but maybe size, role of US, etc,) ideology, key successes and/or failures, challenges to come, etc. You can do a numbered list, and I’ll leave it up to you whether to go 1-10 v. 10-1, rank their order of importance, etc.

You’ll talk about your group briefly on Monday, and you’ll be asked to provide a brief “evaluation” of the organization. I won’t expect anything very extensive, but perhaps comment on the role or value of this organization in our 21st Century world.

These lists and comments will form the basis for a matching quiz on these organizations. HAVE COMMENTS POSTED BY CLASS TIME ON MONDAY. YOU'LL GET SOME CLASS TIME TODAY TO DO THIS...

African Union (AU)
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
Commonwealth of Independent States
European Union (EU)
Group of 8 (G8)
International Monetary Fund (IMF)
League of Arab States
Mercosur
Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
Organization of American States (OAS)
Organization of Islamic Conferences
Organization or Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)
United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
United Nations General Assembly
United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
United Nations Security Council
World Bank
World Food Program (WFP)
World Health Organization (WHO)
World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
World Trade Organization (WTO)

I hope you don't mind doing this, as we'll be doing similar activities a couple of times these next few weeks...

2007 - Session #15 - The "Untouchables" of the 21st Century

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REMINDERS: Your Blog Entry #6 is now past due. I'd like you to have Chapter 7, "The Right Stuff" in The World Is Flat read for next Monday's class.

The second quiz, Major World Cities, will be on Thursday, October 11th. You simply need to list the country in which each of the cities is located.

Let’s chat a bit about the "Great Decisions" topic assignments what we want the presentations to look like in October.

Here's what I have for topic assignments:
Migration - Adam, Will, Ross
War Crimes - Andrew G., Dan, Philip, Vance
Central Asia - Kiley, Roz
Mexico - Jake, Mark, Tom
South Africa - Alex, Anna, Chris, Rebecca
Children - Abbey, Christine, Ellen, Julia
Climate - Lindsey, Nicholas
Middle East is also available...

To be placed in groups: Mirdalys, Andrew J., Darren


Your "Take-Home Essay Exam #1" is due before the end of school on Tuesday, October 16th. (Our only class is on Monday the 15th.) You can either print them out and turn them in during class, or you can email them to me as an attachment. (I will count it late if it is emailed to me later than 3:30 PM on Tuesday, October 16th.) You can find all the questions under the blog entry for the exam.

>>>>>>>

I need to leave early today for debate, so I'll be turning you loose at 2:25. Theoretically, you'd use the time to begin looking into your Great Decisions materials... Otherwise, you can get ready for that quiz and/or do some reading.

“The Untouchables” wasn’t just an early Kevin Costner film, it’s also the title of Chapter 6 in The World Is Flat. I wanted to see where you thought you might best fit in the “flat-world” employment picture of your future. I’ve listed the general categories that Friedman identifies as advantageous in securing the jobs of the future. Take a minute to browse the chapter and the list. I’d like each of you to determine into which one or two categories you see yourself best fitting a decade or so from now. In addition, I'd like you to think of one other person (famous or not) who you believe fits into one of the categories. We'll list these (you and the "other") on the board.

Great collaborators and orchestrators
Great synthesizers
Great explainers
Great leveragers
Great adapters
Green people
Passionate personalizers
Math Lovers
Great localizers

Which of these do you believe to be the most valuable?
Which of these do you believe to be the most rare?
Are there any you do NOT believe to be valuable in the 21st Century?

2007 - Take-Home Exam #1

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Here are your choices for the first, take-home essay exam. You do NOT need to use any resources outside of what we've referenced in class. (You can do outside research if you'd like, and you would, of course, cite any of them appropriately.) I want you to choose 2 of these questions to answer. I'm thinking somewhere between 500-750 words on each. If you go beyond two single-spaced pages on a question, you're doing too much (or using a huge font...)

Let's have these due before the MEA break, meaning MONDAY, OCTOBER 15th. That way, you can head out on all those college trips with a clear conscience...

Remember, you pick two questions from the list...

1. You're at least several hundred pages (hopefully) into Thomas Friedman's The World Is Flat. Now it is your turn to "talk" to him. This is your chance to present your critique of any/all of his ideas and positions. It's your chance to articulate an alternative vision of the events and trends of the early 21st century. It's your turn. (Note that this is not intended to be an evaluation of Freidman as an author, but rather as a thinker or interpreter or whatever. And, no, you shouldn't simply rehash some blog answers here.)

2. This is your chance to show of your prognosticating abilities. Assume that you receive a copy of the 2012 Foreign Policy magazine's "Failed States Index" from me as a college graduation present. Tell me which three states you believe will lead the Index as "failing" or even "failed" states. Your answer should display both an understanding of some of the indicators of a failed state as well as some sort of explanation of what you believe will have transpired over those five years in those states.

3. It's the year 2017. You have your choice of sitting down with Samuel Huntington ("Clash of Civilizations") OR Thomas Barnett (The Pentagon's New Map) and telling him why you believe events in the world over that decade (2007-2017) have proven him to be either a prophet or a liar. Explain why.

4. Maybe you think Jared Diamond and/or Kirkpatrick Sale might be on to something, or maybe you think they are brilliant. Either way, you want to make a name for yourself. Establish your own set of 4 or 5 criteria that you believe can effectively differentiate 'civilizations' or states doomed to fail from those destined to succeed. Obviously, you should explain why you chose the criteria that you did.

5. Mr. Downs decides to take a well-deserved vacation, and he puts you in charge for the next two weeks. Assuming that you have a reasonable (not unlimited) budget, a cooperative faculty, and the power to implement changes quickly, tell me how you would change things at Mounds Park Academy to better prepare its students to succeed in the globalizing world of the 21st century. (Your answer should display an understanding of some of the issues/facts/trends discussed in "Lost in America," the Foreign Policy article reprinted on the extended entry of the Session #13 blog.)

2007 - Blog Entry #6 - "The Untouchables"

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By this time, you are supposed to have read Chapter 6, “The Untouchables.” Answer one of the following questions. I’ll expect a comment of one good paragraph or more. (To me, that means 5-6 sentences at a minimum.) You do not need to worry about perfect grammar, spelling and punctuation, but they should be understandable. Remember that this is a public site, and you are responsible for the content of your postings.

(NOTE: This chapter is significantly different in the paperback version. I'd really recommend that you read that version if at all possible.)

YOUR COMMENT SHOULD BE POSTED BEFORE CLASS TIME ON TUESDAY IN ORDER TO GET FULL CREDIT.

1. Assume that you are one of the following: CEO of a Fortune 500 company, US President needing to fill out your Cabinet or the head of an influential non-profit organization. (Tell us which you are pretending to be.) I want you to identify which two of the "skills" or types described by Friedman you'd be most eager to have join your organization. Be sure you explain why.

2. Is there an additional type or "skill" for the 21st century workplace that you feel Friedman has overlooked? If so, describe what that skill is, and explain why you believe it would be so useful and/or necessary.

3. Do you know of anyone who has already undergone a transition similar to that of Bill Greer? (page 304 in paperback) If so, tell us about it. (It can be a success story or just a story... You can use the real names or make the person anonymous.) Try to incorporate some of the concepts or topics that Friedman introduces into your narrative. (It's page 296 in the older, hardcover edition.)

2007 - Session #14 - Are We "Lost in America?"

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REMINDERS: You were asked to post on Wednesday's blog your suggestions for improving public education in the 21st century. We'll look at those in a bit. You were also asked to have read Chpater 6, "The Untouchables," in Friedman's The World Is Flat. I've posted Blog Entry #6, and you should have that submitted before the start of class on Tuesday, October 9th.

We'll plan on doing the next quiz on World Cities on Thursday, October 11th. (You simply need to know the country in which each city is located. No word bank on this one.)


BACK TO GEOGRAPHY: Let's try the 2006 National Geographic - Roper Survey of Geographic Literacy. I'm hoping it will make you feel good about where you're coming from. If not, I'm sorry for getting your weekend off to a bad start...

Test yourself... We'll walk through these together.
Findings - read about what they found, conclusions they drew, etc.


Great Decisions: I plan to let you know what the groups / topics are for this project. We won't worry about a schedule yet, but be assured that no one is on before mid-November...


Education in the 21st Century: Friedman hasn't really weighed in on this one yet very much, but I hope that the Foreign Policy article, "Lost in America," got you thinking about the way we educate in this country. I'm interested in hearing about your recommendations, as well as hearing the reactions of the rest of the group to them.

FUTURE PERSPECTIVE - A Vision of Education for the 21st Century is an interesting article that first appeared in a 2000 issue of T.H.E. Journal. Take a quick look at it and react to two questions.

* How much, if any, progress do you feel has been made toward this type of vision?
* How desirable, if at all, do you feel it would be to attain this vision?

2007 - Session #13 - Educating 21st Century Citizens

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Think of this as our final day of this first "unit." I'm not what it should be called, but I guess that's irrelevant. .. We'll post your choices for the first take-home essay exam by Friday's class. You'll get a week or so to complete them.

We'll start today with the Countries Quiz. Let's do the next quiz on World Cities next Thursday. (You simply need to know the country in which each is located.)

Remember that your Blog Entry #5 is now past due. We can return to that set of questions to see what you have to say today. (Hopefully, it is more than you had to say on Monday...) You're asked to have Chapter #6, "The Untouchables," read for Friday's class.


Jared Diamond v. Kirkpatrick Sale: We'll look at your blog entries from yesterday and hear some of your opinions as well.

Here are quick reminders of what the two established as their criteria:

Jared Diamond:
Environmental damage
Climate change
Hostile neighbors
Friendly neighbors - trade
Cultural response

Kirkpatrick Sale:
Environmental degredation
Economic meltdown
Military overstretch
Domestic dissent and upheaval

You were asked to evaluate the two views and choose the one that more closely matched your own views. Let's hear what you thought.


I've got another quick activity here... Thomas Barnett's sequel to The Pentagon's New Map was called Blueprint for Action: A Future Worth Creating. His final chapter is directed at you folks, the "Echo Boomers," the generation of more than 80 million Americans born between 1980 and 1995. He argues that you will be the cohort doing the most "moving and shaking" in the political and economic worlds come the year 2025. He closes with a list of "heroes" that he believes the world will encounter as it moves forward. He challenges the Echo Boomers to raise, recognize and support these heroes when they can. More importantly, he encourages you to become one of these heroes, "not out of duty or guilt but because you can find yourself in these tasks."

Let's meet some of the heroes Barnett forsees in a "future worth creating"... I've cut the little descriptions up. Browse through the 40 or whatever I have and "claim" one that seems interesting and understandable to you. (A few will be confusing if you haven't read the book.) When you get the word, it's time to "introduce" yourself to others. We'll do that for a few minutes, and then we can reconvene in the full group.


At some point in the class, we'll halt our discussions and shift gears to an activity designed to return our little journey into these nebulous forces and world views back to the safety of our classroom. Clearly, American education needs to adapt to this 21st Century World. I want you to help begin that effort today...

Lost in America
is another Foreign Policy article. It is a very interesting article, and certainly one of high relevance to all of us in the room. It asks the central question of how well we are preparing American students for a globalizing world.

IT IS FOUND ON THE EXTENDED ENTRY BELOW...

Here's what I'd like you to do. (Feel free to work alone or in a group of up to 3 people.) Please use the article as a backdrop from which to make your recommendations for improving the future of American education. (For purposes of this activity, let's assume we're talking about public education as a whole, not MPA.) I'd like one member of your group to post a comment to this blog entry. Your group should propose five specific steps you believe will help address the challenges presented in the article. Please list all group members' names at the top as well. Have these posted before class time on Friday.

2007 - Blog Entry #5 - "America and Free Trade"

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By this time, you were supposed to have read Chapter 5, “America and Free Trade.” Answer one of the following questions. I’ll expect a comment of one good paragraph or more. (To me, that means 5-6 sentences at a minimum.) You do not need to worry about perfect grammar, spelling and punctuation, but they should be understandable. Remember that this is a public site, and you are responsible for the content of your postings.

YOUR COMMENT SHOULD BE POSTED BEFORE CLASS TIME ON WEDNESDAY IN ORDER TO GET FULL CREDIT.

(Note that the page references are for the paperback "Release 3.0." "Subtract" 2 and you'll get the corresponding pages in the hardcover "Release 2.0." You're welcome.


A. "When you lose your job, the enemplyment rate is not 5.2 percent; it's 100 percent." (Page 264) How should America balance this reality with the demands of a flat(ter) world and competition? What (if anything) do we owe workers who lose their jobs to globalization?

B. What's your take on this whole "lump of labor" theory? (page 266)

C. "There may be a limit to the number of good factory jobs in the world, but there is no limit to the number of idea-generated jobs in the world." (page 269) Is this realistic, or simply a case of optimism run wild?

D. On page 276, Friedman cites the comparison made between China and India's entry into the global economy with the coming of railroad lines across the American West. Is this an apt comparison, or another instance of "analogy overstretch?" Explain.

2007 - Session #12 - The Clash of Civilizations???

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We're moving toward the end of our "looks at the world as a whole" section, and we'll be getting into more specific issues next week.

REMINDER: The quiz on the 40 countries will take place on Wednesday. You'll get a map with numbers in the 40 countries, and you'll have to name them.

We'll start with looking at chapter 5 from Thomas Friedman's The World is Flat.
I don't have a particular agenda, other than asking if there are any questions or comments on "America and Free Trade." Blog entry #5 will be due by class time Wednesday, and I'd like you to have Chapter 6, "The Untouchables" read by Friday as well.


Great Decisions: We'll let you request preferences in terms of groups and topics for the "Great Decisions" activity that we'll do later in the quarter. The Foreign Policy Association selects 8 issues a year. Later in the semester, we'll basically spend a class period on each of the issues. Your group will "lead" us that day by providing background, introducing conflicting perspectives, leading a discussion, etc. We'll update you more on the specifics and the schedule later, but I thought I'd put the preliminary material in your hands relatively early on. We'll do three to a group on these, although I guess one group will need to be four.


The Clash of Civilizations: I wanted to spend some time with Samuel Huntington's, "A Clash of Civlizations?" article from the 1993 Foreign Affairs issue. I asked people to, in addition to forming a general position on Huntington's thesis, to identify three points of agreement and three points of disagreement with his arguments. Let's start with those.

Here's "The Clash of Ignorance," a response to Huntington from Edward Said published shortly after 9/11 in The Nation. Said, who died in 2003, was a Palestinian-American who taught at Columbia University and wrote and spoke extensively on a wide variety of issues.

"Re-Clash of Civilizations" describes a forum held in 2004 to consider Huntington's views a decade after their initial publication.


The other question for today... Is the American civilization (or, if you prefer, empire) headed for collapse? Two very interesting, and very different, takes on this one come from Jared Diamond and Kirkpatrick Sale.

Jared Diamond: Many of you have probably at least seen Jared Diamond's book, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. (He's also the author of Guns, Germs and Steel.) Diamond is currently a professor of geography and environmental health sciences at UCLA.

Here's a transcript from a 2002 appearance by Diamond on Australian radio.


Kirkpatrick Sale: Sale is an author and technology critic. (He's referred to himself as a 'neo-Luddite.') You'll probably either love him or hate him, but there's no denying he makes for interesting reading.

Here's a 2005 essay by Sale on what he sees as the impending collapse of the American empire.


YOUR TASK: You can either work alone or in a pair on this one. Read the two sources, making note of the factors they each identify in the collapse of civilizations/empires. As you probably guessed, I want to know which of the two views you believe better captures where America is headed. Please post a comment to the blog below telling me with which view you more agree and why. I'd like those comments posted before class time Wednesday.

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