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Who Rules America: The Class-Domination Theory of Power

Who has predominant power in the United States? The short answer, from 1776 to the present, is: Those who have the money -- or more specifically, who own income-producing land and businesses -- have the power. George Washington was one of the biggest landowners of his day; presidents in the late 19th century were close to the railroad interests; for the Bush family, it was oil and other natural resources, agribusiness, and finance. In this day and age, this means that banks, corporations, agribusinesses, and big real estate developers, working separately on most policy issues, but in combination on important general issues -- such as taxes, opposition to labor unions, and trade agreements with other countries -- set the rules within which policy battles are waged.

While this conclusion may at first seem too simple or direct, leaving little room for elected officials or voters, the reasons behind it are complex. They involve an understanding of social classes, the role of experts, the two-party system, and the history of the country, especially Southern slavery. In terms of the big world-historical picture, and the Four Networks theory of power advocated on this site, large economic interests rule in America because there are no rival networks that grew up over a long and complex history:

There is no one big church, as in many countries in Europe
No big government, as it took to survive as a nation-state in Europe
No big military until after 1940 (which is not very long ago) to threaten to take over the government
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Reforming the Teaching History Then and Now (Part 1)

Reforming the Teaching History Then and Now (Part 1) | Teacher Tools and Tips | Scoop.it
What Gorton and Limbaugh wanted students to learn was a commemorative version of the past—the familiar “heritage” view–rather than one where students apply historical thinking. Historian Gary Nash and colleagues stated the issue this way:

Should classrooms emphasize the continuing story of America’s struggle to form a ‘more perfect union,’ a narrative that involved a good deal of jostling, elbowing, and bargaining among contending groups? A story that included political tumult, labor strife, racial conflict, and civil war? Or should the curriculum focus on successes, achievements, and ideals, on stories designed to infuse young Americans with patriotism and sentiments of loyalty toward prevailing institutions, traditions, and values?
Sharrock's insight:

This is a powerful blog find after I read about the School As Factory Metaphor article by Larry Cuban that was shared by David Franklin, Ed.D. https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidfranklin. It's part of a series of observations that Larry Cuban is using for a forthcoming book. 


The article itself explores the different philosophies behind the teaching of history. One powerful point was the distinction: "commemorative version of the past—the familiar “heritage” view–rather than one where students apply historical thinking." 


This is something that indicates that there are powerful narratives driving Conservative Thought that is different from the Academic/Progressive Thought that drives some of the subversive Education Reform Thought. 


Those thinkers who are familiar with Duckworth/Bandura's grit and perseverance studies and Carol Dweck's Mindset studies and the promotion of the "open mindset" will take issue with a "curriculum focus on successes, achievements, and ideals, on stories designed to infuse young Americans with patriotism and sentiments of loyalty toward prevailing institutions, traditions, and values". 

 

This kind of curriculum would deny and reject failure and hard work as a factor in success. It also undermines the historical importance of collaboration, communication, problem solving processes, and political processes driving American history and accomplishment. This is a promotion of learning facts rather than encouraging individual thought and inquiry. This "heritage view" of history promotes dogma and the memorizing of dogma. Not to mention, the curriculum promotes a lie.


Secondary School history teachers should offer this article and others from this series to promote discussions in the classroom about the politics of education and learning. It can also explore the meaning of dogma and can explore the importance of "multiple perspectives" to approach truth. 


This article can also help with faculty in schools pursuing reform. Some of the educators may believe in the "heritage view" of history education but may not have understood how destructive it can be for lifelong learning goals. Education impacts attitudes and mindsets of students as well as educators. 

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Studying the American Republic

Studying the American Republic | Teacher Tools and Tips | Scoop.it
What follows is a list of the works I studied prior to launching my blog in late 2008 (it was then independent, not hosted by WordPress), and prior to posting my white papers on Scribd in late 2009 (a move inspired by the moderator of a blogging community - to which I belonged - who asked me to consider a different platform since my posts were too long, a sin which I still commit.)

You will notice that for the most part, I do not recommend specific chapters or sections. In reading courses at university, professors will undertake such recommendations, either out of consideration for the student’s time, or out of desire to guide the student to the professor’s ideologies.

The former is understandable, the latter contemptible.
Sharrock's insight:

Do historians agree with these texts? Are these texts required reading? What are some other suggested texts to add to E. L. Beck's list? Thoughts?

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Differences between the Intellectual Elitist and the Rennaissance Thinker

Just another WordPress.com site (by Lewis Campbell Jr.)
Sharrock's insight:

This is a powerful piece written and shared by Mr. Campbell in a discussion on LinkedIn. In this exploration of patriotism, he delves deeper into the distinctions between the Intellectual Elitist and a Rennaissance Thinker. Ultimately, it is a carefully supported criticism of Professor Cromwell's writings (about which I am unfamiliar). It explores important concepts that make this piece valuable for US History and Government classes (where students might learn some topics that come up regarding founding fathers and the drafting of the US Constitution). It also works as a model for ELA classes for writing a critical piece. It may also help people think differently. I'm not sure I this piece can be categorized as Liberal or Conservative. This ambivalence, for me, increases its value. 

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A broken system

A broken system | Teacher Tools and Tips | Scoop.it
Nicaragua’s police force is in danger of giving socialism a good name. The country is one of the poorest in the hemisphere. Yet its annual murder rate, 11 per 100,000 people, is among the lowest in Latin America and eight times lower than in neighbouring Honduras (see map).
Sharrock's insight:

This article should be explored as a contribution to the debate on Justice systems--criminal justice and the penal system. It might be seen as an argument against the politically conservative attitudes toward criminals. To develop a more sophisticated argument, narratives and case studies should be found and used. 

 

On the other hand, the same article presents cases that support aggressive approaches against crime, like Rio de Janeiro's "pacification policy", in addition to progressive approaches that include education and social programs.

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The 12 Most Infamous Economic Oddball Theories

The 12 Most Infamous Economic Oddball Theories | Teacher Tools and Tips | Scoop.it

These are the myths, theories, and flat out falsehoods that just won't die.


Debunked!
Sharrock's insight:

These conspricacy theories might be both educational as well as entertaining in a secondary school US History or Economics class. Students can explore the attraction of conspiracies and can strive to understand why the "debunks" actually debunked the conspiracy it follows. More advanced students might find economic conspiracy theories that are not listed here or they could find connections between politics and economics.

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10 Scientific Blunders That Could Shake Your Faith in Science - The Epoch Times

10 Scientific Blunders That Could Shake Your Faith in Science - The Epoch Times | Teacher Tools and Tips | Scoop.it
The history of science teaches us to question what we think we know. Some scientists who made great discoveries in history were ridiculed and dismissed. Some scientific "facts" have been proven false.
Sharrock's insight:

this could generate a discussion about science, the scientific method, and politics. this article's title seems to have an agenda as well. 

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