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Saturday, July 13, 2019

“People have to get over this idea that because the guy is rich he’s that smart”

“People have to get over this idea that 

because the guy is rich he’s that smart”

A recent piece in the Atlantic by Nick Hanauer (@NickHanauer) is titled” Better Schools Won’t fix America” was praised but former President Obama and stirred quite a lot of media activities.

At the beginning of his piece Hanauer writes, quote “Like many rich Americans, I used to think educational investment could heal the country’s ills—but I was wrong. Fighting inequality must come first.”
This piece represents a great illustration of the fact that “People have to get over this idea that because the guy is rich he’s that smart. … The fact that it made him a billionaire is a fluke. All great wealths are flukes”.
I am also in a full agreement with Stephen Colbert who said: “It never ceases to amaze me how money makes people think they know things they don’t know.” 
(watch Bill Maher and Stephen Colbert saying that). 
However, his piece demonstrates that Hanauer does not even really know things he is supposed to know – investing.
He believes that giving money IS the same as making investments.
For a decade or two he and his fellow billionaires have been giving away money to people who called themselves “educational reformers”. But when those money came to a waste, he just throws his hands in the air and says “See, feeding education with money does not work”.
There is Russian folk wisdom that is a good fit for this situation, it goes like that: "A bad dancer always whines that his balls are way too large for dancing" (a folk interpretation of Aesop fable "Fox and Grapes").
My blog www.Cognisity.How provides an extensive discussion on (1) how “rich innovators” think,  (2) what an actual “education reform” must be about, and (3) why hundreds of millions of dollars funneled in the field education did not make any significant difference.
Here are just some of the post on the matters; the titles tell it all.

Seven Reasons Why Rich Philanthropists Fail at Making Systemic Changes in Education

That is why I am not going to repeat here any of the arguments I have used in my previous publications.
“The one who has eyes –  and also a brain – reads”.
Here I just want to say that people have to learn how not to get blinded by the money someone has and take his words critically.
This, on the other hand, requires an ability to take anyone’s word critically.
This, on the other hand, requires teachers who can help students with development of the ability to think critically.
And this requires a specific teacher professional development strategy that is virtually absent in the U.S.
And that is why funneling millions of dollars in anything with a tag that says “education” is simply a way of money laundering.
Does America need to fight poverty?
Of course!!
Does it mean education does not need large investments?
Of course not!!
But those must be investments, not just charitable influx of cash.
However, if even rich investors do not understand that – what to expect from anyone else?
A note to ones who do not know the difference between criticizing and offering a critique.
Anyone can criticize anything - that does not require intellect or knowledge, just point a finger and say "that's bad".
Only a professional in the field (like yours truly in the field of education) can offer a critique - a view that also describes why something is wrong and how to fix it.

Dr. Valentin Voroshilov

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