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Life is absurd

I am severely frustrated. The ways in which the United States functions is not working. No one seems to be able to bring about effective organized change or resistance to these ridiculous systems and policies. The wealthy and political classes are free to enjoy and run life as they see fit, and representative democracy seems to be taking more and more voice and power away from most citizens. We have insane racial profiling as evidenced by New York city’s stop and frisk program, ever increasing desire from the government to control internet usage, and then there is the NDAA law that the media has long forgotten. The debates are a sham, to the point where third party candidates like Jill stein WHO HAVE 85% BALLOT ACCESS are arrested for trying to participate. The electoral college makes voting unequal and takes power away from the citizens. Our education system SUCKS. Testing is pointless because it destroys teacher autonomy and puts everyone’s focus on scores rather than the substance of the lessons. Schools have useless age segregation, ever increasing police presence, and dry/expensive textbooks managed solely by the political classes in California and Texas. People are being imprisoned at an ever increasing rate due to an abstract “war on drugs”. Minorities are the main people going to jail because such communities struggle the most with drug related problems, and other systemic factors that the political classes in the states and in Washington D.C. are unwilling to investigate or alleviate. The government’s best attempts to solve the nations devastating problems is through laws and legislature that is inaccessible to most people. If there is a problem with drugs, people are imprisoned rather than helped with rehabilitation. If schools are failing, all the political class is willing to do is create standards in a vacuum, that disregard local school and community needs. They either raise pay or bring down sanctions on teachers as if that will cause teachers to magically know all the best ways to educate students. The political class has said time and time again that they only care about schooling in terms of whether or not it makes people ready to plug into the workforce. And people just sit there and accept that? They accept that school is only good to producing workers? Capitalism is a failing economic system that needs to be abolished. At present, we have vast amounts of overproduction that could easily be given to the homeless and poor for free. Companies make so much these days that giving up the surplus would barely put a dent in their profits. Goods are increasingly unable to be repaired by most people, increasing the amount of goods that end up in the landfills. We have a problem of overconsumption and a throwaway culture that cares more about keeping up with trends than preserving what they have, sharing, or repurposing. This country has thousands of empty buildings and lots that could become community centers, schools, homes for the homeless, and food producing gardens. But because of the stubborn idea of private property owned by banks and corporations, all of these resources are left to rot and deteriorate until the next bank or business can afford to buy it. All of this waste, war, incarceration, and failure to get to the root of the problems plagues our society and what are the citizens doing? Because of rampant consumerism most people are compelled to work constantly. The amount of hours people spend working then contributes to crippling alienation and isolation from others. So when it comes time for the population to decide on critical issues like war and education, we are too tired and overwhelmed by work and paying off debt to get together with our neighbors and communities to decide how best to live. We throw our hands up in exhaustion and give every last drop of our decision making power to the political class. Politicians live in a world of their own. They are usually too wealthy to be connected to the needs of most people. Their whole lives are caught up in corporate and bureaucratic negotiations behind closed doors. Or they are televised on C-Span, but never watched by the majority of citizens living here. And why? Because the media has been degraded into a circus of ignorance and irrelevant issues that are paraded as if they are the most pressing issues of our time. Celebrity issues ARE NOT news. Beyond their performances, their lives are none of the nation’s business. The rest of the media features faux-reality tv, or shows that do nothing other than provide a numbing comfort at the end of a long day at work or at school. There is virtually NO reasonable argument to continue to defend and keep the crap media we have today. People should be boycotting, protesting, and making noise about this trash that litters homes across the nation. There are tv series that are both entertaining and get viewers to make connections to society at large. There are shows that allow people to think critically about universal human issues, but those are not the most viewed shows in this country. Music is even worse! All of the radio music today is vapid, and the lyrics are empty and dull. The beats and rhythms are the only thing that keep people listening. All the while, people whose lyrics cover more universal issues and critical ideas are ignored! And why? Because no one wants to hear all that “depressing stuff”. They “just wanna have fun and forget”. And the fire is fueled. This inaction, silence on serious issues, and alienation is destroying our lives. More needs to be done. I’m frustrated that there aren’t more direct action groups or publicized efforts to change the root of society’s ills. It’s disappointing.

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Wal-Mart, The Epitome of “I Can’t.”

Now, Wal-Mart  is not an education or school guru, but this commercial must appeal to some critical aspect of schooling that parents can relate to? There are others just like this, which show mothers expressing just how uninvolved they are in their child’s education. Fathers don’t even come into the picture, so you can imagine what he “can’t” do.

“I can’t go to class with him. I can’t do his history report for him, or show the teachers how curious he is. That’s his job. My job is to give him everything he needs to succeed while staying within a budget…I love my job.” Cut to boy with his new affordable laptop. He’s getting applause from his teacher and the students in the class as he delivers a report.*

I can’t go to school with her. I can’t introduce her to new friends.” Cut to girl nervously asking “Can I sit here?” to a group of girls sitting together at lunch. “Sure, I like your top!” one of them answers. “Or tell everyone how amazing she is. But I can give her what she needs to feel good about herself without breaking my budget. All she has to do is be herself.” Cut to smiling girls walking arm-in-arm down the hallway.*

And there’s another silly one that essentially says: “I can’t help him come out of his shell. I can’t help him fit in”…but I sure can give him snacks! Snacks that save money are great, and maybe he can make friends over some baloney and milk, “because you never know when a sandwich is more than a sandwich!”

Right.

I can understand if this was a non-consumerist commercial about giving youth space to grow up and be themselves, heck the “daddy’s little girl” Subaru commercial is about that (to a very limited extent). These commercials don’t speak to that though. They really put into perspective that parents don’t play a significant in their children’s education. From the moment a child catches the bus or crosses that school gate, the next 6 or so hours are unseen and uninfluenced by parents and caregivers. Not all parents are like this of course, but many of them are at most expected to do some fundamentals when their child is a toddler, and afterward that they hand the child in to the compulsory school system. From that point they are only seen at scattered conferences, science fairs, sports games, PTA meetings, and graduations. Many parents just go to graduations. The odd thing is that it’s not like most of these parents don’t care. They often think the opposite, and try very hard to do something, and that usually involves getting the kids into the “best” school available, one with prestige, “rigorous” curricula, and high graduation rates. It is all external – this process of schooling – for everyone involved. A parent “caring” about their child’s education typically involves making sure their child is up to par or above par on all the external markers of success in the system. They ride their youth about grades, homework, and tests. Second to that is making sure their youth is not a behavior problem.

Either they got high grades and were good at science, or they got average grades and were okay in English. In this system it’s hard to go into depth. What is their learning style? Do they have a hobby that they can’t delve into because of curricula? Do they seem to get along with those in their age group or do they say how they mostly hang out with the older or younger kids? What subjects do they find so interesting that they want more time for them? Are these questions ever asked? Please tell me. Parents are somewhat useless in the schooling process in many ways except spending money. What are parents doing other than providing support and goods from a distance? Too often parents are not sufficiently part of the process of their youth’s learning or growth. There’s a huge barrier between what the parent sees, and what the youth experiences. The connection is weak. Because of this, I realize more than before that parent choice in education is very important. How can parent choice be achieved? I am not sure, but what bothers me about them receiving more choice is that they are going to bank on the standards and procedures that be of external motivation, “rigor,” and merely putting youth under the parents’ tough standards rather than the government’s. I say that because right now, “tough standards” and “accountability” are all most parents are familiar with or aware of. “Going with what you know” seems much easier than getting vulnerable and going through your own trail and error. If parents want what’s best for their kids, they’re going to have to do more than just buy things, wrestle with homework, and show up for the big events. I think that for more freedom to be involved in this institution, those who are most silenced and shut out – teachers, parents, AND students – all need freedom of voice, choice, and collaboration in approaches to education.

* Source of commercial transcripts: ClaireMysko.com “Back to School: The Brands, The Labels, and the Pressure to have the ‘Right’ Look”

People Don’t Understand Schooling

In relatively recent news, a high school valedictorian really criticized the nature of compulsory schools, and advocated a changed system of choice and autonomy. In response, I have seen many people say that she was wrong for this, and that although schools aren’t perfect, they do serve a great goal of educating all citizens. When people are critical of compulsory schooling, the response is generally this, “So what, you’re against education? You’re defending ignorance, and blind rebellion.”

No. People like myself, those proposing alternative free schools/democratic schools/holistic schools, or the “Valedictorian [who] speaks out against schooling,” are not against education or learning. We are against compulsory schooling. There is a difference between all these things. Learning is a process, or experience, that leads to education – the acquisition of knowledge. Schooling is a system, a specific environment (school) in which the acquisition of specific subjects and information is obligated to take place at specific times with specific outcomes for all. People against this system realize and propose that learning is not as narrow as we think it is. Learning is not something only invoked in a controlled environment. It happens outside of school buildings. It happens on the internet. It happens in a conversation, on a trip, or through reading a book. People against schooling encourage learning, not by the force of standards, curriculum, or career prospects, but rather, through will and intrinsic motivation. External motivation can be a jump-start toward a goal, but is only valuable up to a limited point. In order to learn and succeed, one seriously has to want the end result.

People also try to argue that without school, there would be no base of knowledge to rely on, and that people would be clueless and ignorant. This would be true – before the advent of the internet, and global electronic communication. In his “Open Letter to Educators,” Dan Brown highlights a great point that many people miss when they defend schools – facts are no longer restricted to schools or things such as physical libraries. We are reaching a point in our existence in which holding in all those facts is not necessary to survive in society. We have that breadth of information available to us for free AT places like libraries, and we can pay to buy laptops and internet connections at home. All cell phones now feature internet access. You can read news papers on smart phones, and phones such as the Black Berry have built in dictionary searches. Now sure, we are in the early stages of this eworld of information and communication, but we can only move forward. Point is, as the world of information and communication opens up for free more and more, the need to go to compulsory school to learn a base of knowledge will be useless. In a sense, it already is, but the government pitifully tries to hold to standards and rigid expectations of how information needs to be obtained, and where. People against schools realize that education is a free form occurrence hardly dependent on a physical space to learn in UNTIL you need to specialize, as with higher education. So schools are only necessary for depth, not breadth, and in lieu with the previous paragraph, that breadth is only meaningful if it is brought about by personal will and interest.

“Shakespeare is the greatest playwright. Everyone should read his work.” “Students need the classics. Students must be well rounded.” Humans are specializers, not generalizers. What use is it for our society to function, for everyone to be required to know the same amounts of things at the same time? Especially when much of this information is now readily accessible, and when people are expected to go off to study and work on what they care about anyway. Some people really like cooking, others really like math, or buildings things, and there are artists and writers. Some people like money and the way economics works. We all have inclinations and talents that push us one way or another. Although standardization’s goal is to have everyone learn the same thing and be on the same path for average knowledge, it fails because again, everyone is different and has a brain for grabbing different information, and it is not necessary to be standardized in “the real world.” The only place in which standardization and not deviating from the norm is valuable is in industrial, “blue collar” jobs, and at the typical “desk job.” But as more technology takes the place of human labor in these areas, creativity and innovation is needed more and more for the eworld of communication and exploration, for space exploration, for art jobs, for new technology, for architecture, for industrial DESIGN. Increased and changing aesthetics and efficiency is very valuable for the new way of society. The government mistakenly thinks that more standardization and indoctrination into our society of information is what will bring about innovators in these fields, but freedom and intrinsic motivation is more important. People need room to breathe, think and experiment outside of standard ways of doing things in order for the tweaks and creativity necessary for our lives to be enhanced. Change does not always come from standardization and knowing the same things. Those opposed to schooling see the detriment of standardization that is praised and enforced on the impressionable youth of our rapidly changing society.

Now, those opposed to standardization do not deny structure, for the most part. Humans are very sensitive and complex beings, and as our societies advance, we must deal with equally complex and sensitive systems. Having a certain amount of structure and familiar procedures in our daily lives can actually have us prepared to think outside the norm. Routines are valuable, but again, in most situations, being standardized in the same way becomes a problem. In many situations, having a variety of personality types and thinkers is critical to problem solving. One major qualm that opponents of compulsory schooling have is that uniform standardization does not prepare youth for the random occurrences of “real time” and “the real world.” The government needs to loosen up or break down the standards, allowing enough diversity of thought and action to penetrate school relationships and actions. Standardization does not take emotional and behavioral factors into account. School is often too much of a controlled environment, far different for what happens in the various environments outside of school. While standardization works for this environment, once youth move on to a different stage, or even a different controlled environment, such as college or a job, the rules change, and many are left unprepared to adjust quickly and appropriately, after 12 years of the same methods and treatment.

Another thing defenders of school don’t realize is that everyone is different. Now this seems obvious, but when you look at the nature of compulsory schools, the goal is to have everyone be the same in what they know or aspire to do. Government standards invariably describe what each student should know at each stage of the schooling system and process. It also sets the prescription of what level they should understand the favored information. Advocates of alternatives and learner centered education assert that this isn’t possible, and since the standardization of schooling, it doesn’t appear that the model student is ever lived out truly. It can appear as if standards work because many people graduate from the school system. However, democratic and alternative education advocates don’t see that as a success. Most students save for the valedictorian and a group of contenders probably did the basics to get by, or more realistically, performed at various levels of competence while still meeting the basics of the standards. In “low performing” schools, students get by to the next grade automatically, whether they individually meet the standard or not. People opposed to schooling assert and show through various alternative school models and programs, that learning and education takes place on a case by case basis. People learn in various ways, on various levels. Just look at multiple intelligence theory, emotional intelligence, and learning style theory. People have the aptitude and competence for some areas over others, and demonstrate their education in different ways. This intellectual diversity is crucial to innovation and creative developments, and trying to marginalize this leads to a lessening of creativity and out-of-the-box thinking.

Then there is the argument that, “If it was left up to me at that age [high school, middle school, etc.] I would have sat around and done nothing.” Now, this argument holds some weight and validity. Most youth as they get older in the schooling system probably would do nothing for a while if they suddenly stopped schooling. Actually, many youth do that while they are IN school, and IN a classroom. When a teacher is absent, the class slumps into apathy. On school breaks, students forget everything and they seek opportunities to play and do things relevant to them. The argument goes awry however, because of the reason for this apathy. Think about the lower grades, and children. Years of being told what, how, when, where, and why to learn have not settled into to these youths minds. What to THEY do when given a break? They play, explore, and discover. They are prone to asking more questions, and engaging in conversations about fantasy and possibility that lead them to wonder about life and the world around them. The very young are always looking to discover something that captures their interest. They may not go for depth right away, but they do search a wide array of things until eventually something does stick. But over time of having the learning process being decided for you by everyone but yourself, it starts to sink in that discovering things on your own is not possible, and maybe even useless in the face of the agenda set before you. When a youth seeks to learn something outside of the curriculum, it often is penalized and scorned as “slacking off.” Extracurriculars not done for college resume one-upmanship are also seen as useless. After having your outer school goals and interests put down continually, the experience can lead to apathy, a sort of learned helplessness brought about by lack of autonomy. Youth have no meaningful or powerful stake in their education. Proponents of alternative education assert that youth should have more to input.

This ties into the rebellion argument, saying that those against schooling are romanticizing opposition to authority, and encouraging rebellion for rebellion sake. This is far from the reality of views on this topic. Many, if not all alternatives usually seek to create an environment of empowerment and having a stake in choices made in ones life. Through learner choice and voice in education, students gain responsible freedom and understanding of their personal goals and desires. Many alternatives seek to create an environment of inquisition, in which students don’t take rules and those doling them out at face value. At democratic schools for instance, students vote on the rules of the school, and the hiring of staff. If offenses are committed, legitimate school trials are held to solve the matter and everyone present has say in how the conflict will be resolved. Often at these schools, other barriers such as age segregation are removed for more equality and realistic interactions. In unschooling, a form of homeschooling in which the youth has free reign and guidance from those around him or her to learn what he or she pleases, respect for the youth’s choices is a given. Again, running a muck with TV, video games, and apathy will most often occur in those who have been oppressed. It is a means of escape to finally do something, anything, of your own will before you have to go back to doing merely what you are told and expected to do. Now, for most who have been in the compulsory system, giving power to youth seems silly, but think about the society we live in. Isn’t the United States a democracy? Isn’t this country founded upon the motto of  “power to the people,” and “individual liberty?” Those against schooling argue that compulsory and standardized schools do not allow the freedom of choice and the power of voice necessary to raise citizens of a democracy. They are in opposition to the blatant authoritarianism and top down lack of freedom inherent in most schools.

Many arguments against the learner centered approach are weak if thoroughly examined. I make this bold claim because the rhetoric for their arguments often goes towards the easiest assertions based on the way things were in the past. We need basic facts and skills – but they don’t only come from schools. Technology has changed this access. Most kids would do nothing if given a chance to learn – only if their personal attempts to learn and discover are thwarted by the expectations and systems of those with power. You just want a rebellion – only if that’s what it takes to give youth the early experiences with power, choice, and autonomy necessary for democracy. People won’t even know what the basics are without school’s telling us what the basics are – as if we don’t realize that you cannot get along in modern society without reading, writing, comprehension, and basic math. Kids can’t just learn by themselves – as if parents, books, the internet, libraries, friends, mentors, internships, community organizations, tools and materials don’t exist or cannot be found without school.

Lastly let’s take a look AT computers and AT the internet. Who really taught those who grew up in the information age how to use the internet? Aside from educational games and sparse typing courses, many of use have self taught when it came to the internet, and we still do it. When the latest operating system comes out, do you learn how to use it at school? No, you need to get a feel for it and read the instructions on your own. Do teachers make you learn how to host a website, or do you delve into instructions, css, and html on your own? Is it necessary for everyone to know html and css to navigate the Internet at this point? Not really. Do you need to be a computer programmer to run anti-virus software? No. These are some of the most complex systems in our society, and we have come a long way through experimentation, with some taking interest in more complex parts of the system, and learning along the way. Education is a process and an experiment. It is not final or fixed, and that is what those against schooling really stand for.

A “Rainforest” Brain in a Sea of Standardization

I read two articles today that lifted and sank my heart. The first was an article in ODE Magazine (“for intelligent optimists”) written by Thomas Armstrong. It was an excerpt of his book, “Neurodiversity: Exploring the Extraordinary Gifts of Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia, and Other Brain Differences.” The second was an education article by Our Weekly, a newspaper about current events in the African American community that circulates in my town. The title of that article is, “California’s Education Transformation: New standards, programs, and funds introduced.”

The Ode article indeed was a source of optimism for me. Thomas argues that rather than focusing on the stigmas of psychological or developmental disorders, psychiatrists and others should start looking at the unseen abilities people with these issues have, the three disorders in the title of his book being the major contenders for investigation. Based on strides in neuroscience (neroplasticity and neurodiversity), Thomas likens the human brain to “more like an ecosystem than a machine.” He essentially says that just as different environments fluidly change from place to place, so to does the human brain lie on a continuum of potential and ability. He recalled from watching the scenery on his way to  Yosemite National Park that “The green fields did not stop cold to become brown foothills. Foothills didn’t abruptly become mountains. It all happened naturally along a continuum.” He says it’s the same way even with these disorders. Not everything is as black and white as we continue to hope for it to be. Humans are biological just like everything else in nature despite our need for concretion and completion. Nature is a fluid and flowing thing, and our brains follow suit.

Much of nature also works by adaption, and I will admit that with our industrial and technological progress, humanity understands adaptivity for everything but our our brains, until now. From season to season, environment to environment, organisms respond accordingly. Much of that is automatic, but in this article I believe Thomas’s argument in relation to neuroscience is that with current findings, people have the ability to adapt by will, rather than by influence or instinct. He notes that autistic people “are systematizers. rather than empathizers…[and] that they often work better with non-human factors such as machines, computers, schedules, maps, and other systems.” Someone with ADHD can be good in quick response situations and rapid-paced careers. Everyone is different and needs to find their place in their society, but having a developmental or mood disorder doesn’t mean you’re doomed or will never fit in. To provide people like this with opportunities to succeed, Thomas argues that it is important to look into other characteristics, environments, and skills that can benefit these people. Nothing is really one sided.

This is very important to consider, given the continual push for more standardization and the rising rates of disorders and grief. On that note I feel the key thing Thomas mentioned was this, “Instead of pretending that hidden away in a vault somewhere is a perfectly ‘normal’ brain, to which all other brains must be compared to…we need to admit that there is no standard brain, just as there is no standard flower, or standard cultural or racial group, and that, in fact, diversity among brains is just as wonderfully enriching as biodiversity and the diversity among cultures and races.” Here are seven tenants to realizing this neurodiversity, and doing something about it (number 4 strikes a chord in the theme of Malcolm Gladwell’s, “Outliers”; number 6 tunes in with Mark Hyman’s “The Ultramind Solution”):

  1. The human brain works more like an ecosystem than a machine
  2. Human beings and human brains exist along continuums of competence
  3. Human competence is defined by the values of the culture to which you belong
  4. Whether you are disabled or gifted depends largely on when and where you live
  5. Success in life is based upon adapting one’s brain to the needs of the surrounding environment [likewise…]
  6. Success in life depends upon modifying your surrounding environment to fit the needs of your unique brain
  7. Niche construction includes career and lifestyle choices and assistive technologies tailored to the needs of a neurodiverse individual
  8. Positive niche construction, directly modifies the brain which in turn enhances its ability to adapt to the environment

His article can be found here.

So time and time again I hear people discuss the fluidity of the individual over the standardization of all. I’ve also read segments of a book on neuroplasticity, “The Brain that Changes Itself.” And what does the California Department of education (CDE) do? They “Race to the top” after the external motivators of money, and will use that money to cash in on national academic standardization. State Superintendent of public instruction, Jack O’connell  will “adopt the Common Core Standards which were developed to establish consistent  and clear education standards for English language arts and mathematics that would better prepare students for success in the competitive economy.” I knew I wasn’t crazy in thinking education is only about a job, and that this new/global/competitive economy is cropping up fast and being tossed around as the ultimate goal for learners of the 21st century. “Common core standards are a set of guidelines that detail what students should know at each grade level,” the article reads. The overall goal with these implementations is to “close the achievement gap” in low economic areas, and “prepare all students for college and careers in the 21st century.” So, this is the third ring towards my “College is Mandatoryfears. California is a finalist for $700 million dollars in funding according to that article, and the state is getting ready along with 34 other states for “phase 2” of the race. The claim by the CDE is that adopting standards will cause schools to have new curriculum, better instruction tools, batter assessments and better ways to gauge accountability. Sounds great, but what about individual choice, ability, and interest. This Common Core Standard program also coincides with STEM, “student achievement in science technology, engineering, and mathematics. So to add insult to injury, there will be nationwide intellectual standardization, as well as emphasis on science in math rather than all subjects. This narrows things down more, and from the findings of the previous article and neuroscience, this is bad news for people who are different or have disorders.

Rather than look to see how people can live and benefit from things in various ways, the government looks to bring people even more into narrow unified systems, while those who are different or learning disabled become or continue to be the minority, only left with disability services or various forms of maladjustment in their lives. Alternative learner-centered education is in for a hard struggle I realize, as the people implementing these monetary-centered standards have money, the media, and tradition on their side.

How to be Popular on Youtube…

…if you have an intellectual message or goal…if you want to spread your ideas and engage in discourse. If you want to just have people watch you, then just be senseless, have cool effects and get in front of a camera, like FRED. Anyway…

  1. Simply talking about your ideas won’t work. If you do that, you will NOT get over the hundreds cap. You can’t just sit there and say, “This is what I think.” You need to ACT. Be an actor or actress (or both for more viewer interest). Or at the least, be a reporter – you need to pitch, not just talk.
  2. ARTICULATE. Please speak clearly. Yammering on, staring up at the ceiling and losing your points will bore viewers. Keep your pace vocally. Long pauses decrease attention. If you feature written word, triple check your spelling because there are no 2nd chances to make corrections.
  3. A consistent backdrop, or video room. Even if you change it every view months or days or whatever – HAVE ONE. It makes viewers feel that you’re going to give them something, and they’ll be ready for it. It also encourages viewers to think you’re original, creative, and witty. One of the greatest ways to do this is to have a collage or art piece of your own. A bookcase or any interesting or clean room/background will also suffice.
  4. An opening theme. Original. Witty. Comical/witty. It gets viewers geared up in the same ways that 1 and 3 does. They expect to be entertained as well as informed ideologically.
  5. Have Changed-Channel recording or know how to digress into different but somehow related (or unrelated) topics. Think of Robot Chicken. It works because it has that novel and fresh feel. You see one sketch and then it turns (scheeerch) over to another. If Robot chicken was just one consistently streaming claymation – it would fail as a popular animation. I just know this. I know that on youtube, this is done to edit out mistakes, but I’ve seen the ones that continuously stream and they sort of drag on, mistakes and all.
  6. Have at least 3 different topics to discuss. BE DIVERSE…unless you are a movie reviewer, because the diversity is already supplied for you. If you go for a specific thing, you really need to take numbers 1-3 heavily into account and make sure you are on point in all of your deliveries.
  7. Debate or engage in discourse with other Youtubers. If you want a lot of people to know what you have to say and why your ideas are worth considering, you need to debate sometimes (not always) and put these ideas to the test. Having a conversation also excites readers to feel that you are part of the community and that you are open minded and reachable.
  8. RANT. Just rant and get heated about your topic. Viewers love rants. Be warned, when you rant, don’t just curse and be vexed alone. Keep to your topic and be coherent.
  9. “Invite” other people onto your show, because that’s what it is, a show. Every now and then have someone on. It gets you to connect with the audience, because on Youtube, you need to talk, but also show that you are real. Viewers expect this connection because they know that they too could have videos, and they have the ability to talk to you directly and give feedback directly, unlike with television.
  10. In flow with 8, have days where you just show normal things. Go for a walk, show your pets, talk about your favorite music.
  11. Musical videos are also good for delivering your voice for ideas.
  12. Discuss relevant issues that you feel are important. It seems silly to include this, but if you’re just talking about something only going on in your town that doesn’t apply to others, or your own personal history and your views on that, then no one will care. Make a side channel or playlist for that sort of thing.
  13. Go documentary style (this isn’t necessary, but if you can pull it off then do it).
  14. An HD (or equivalent) camera is also important. People don’t take fuzzy video seriously, our technology is too crisp. Clean it up as best as possible.

These are the traits of intelligent people that peak into the thousands with viewers and subscribers. Here are a few examples:

Pogobat

Underground Wellness

Ryan Is Hungry

The Amazing Atheist

Onision Speaks

Mickeleh

Melody Sheep

I could be wrong! 😯

An Inner Push

More and more I feel inclined to fight for education! I’ve checked out three books from the library, and it was a gamble, but fate led me to three books about free schooling and the problem of urban schools! I feel so happy and excited and alive when I read these things. I guess it was meant for me to miss out on science camp as a counselor this year*.
The books are really old. They were published well before I was born, but the concepts are still applicable to current times; I would say even more so than in the past. I’ll be honest, some of the text is boring when things like how the state comes is in concerned.  I kind of just want to jump right into the personal stories. And I don’t know what I want to do with these books. While my peers feel and express in our secret groups the disdain we have to conventional education, I feel alone in the fight for democratic schools. Most people, especially my parents, are too content with cursing behind closed doors rather than voicing their opinion. I sometimes wish that I didn’t feel this tugging, this constant yearning telling me that this is what I need to do.
If you think about it, it’s not normal. I feel so alienated. I still like art, but that’s on hold because this sudden desire is so strong. And c’mon, who says, “Mom, Dad…when I graduate from high school, I want to be an activist for democratic education. I want to end the tyrannical reign of conventional schools.” Or what about this, “When I’m older, I want to travel around the world on humanitarian crusades for the Peace Corps.” And like I stated, I like art, but  I often would seriously tell my Mom that I want to make art and own my own art gallery. Today, I told my friends that maybe I’d be a vagabond for a while so that I can clear my head and gather my thoughts about education. Be an autodidact. I worry my U.S. History teacher because I confessed to him that I don’t want to go to college at all. I’ve got other things in mind.
My Mom worries that I won’t make money, and she encourages me to instead pursue my interest in psychology so that I can “make big bucks” or “buku money”, although I really think that’s a variation of “beaucoup”.
Anyway, I’m rambling. In school students are being drilled on “bragging rights questions”, for the “bragging rights test”. Yes, more standardized testing – the CST. My principal freaks out every year finding booklets to copy out of the arse. It’s annoying because these tests don’t matter other than to make the school “look good” and be eligible for a certain amount of funds, despite the fact that my school is poorly facilitated and lacks sports, art, music and other fundamental programs. She keeps saying that colleges look at these things when technically they don’t – not for us personally anyhow. I’m sure these colleges skim over that to see how good we are at remembering useless facts, excuse me, “critical reasoning”, but it’s not a critical factor for college acceptance. And you know what I thought? Why doesn’t our principal borrow SAT & ACT booklets from students who own them, copy those and let us study for those with our teachers? You know, since college is so important and all, why not?
Schools are Prisons.
Free the Students.
These are my slogans. These are my guns. And I’m sticking to them.

Books:
URBAN EDUCATION: Crisis or Opportunity?; Written by Sheldon Marcus & Philip D. Vairo
Starting your Own High School: The Story of an Alternative High School by the Elizabeth Cleaners Street School People
Free the Children: Radical Reform and the Free School Movement; Written by Allen Grauthbard

*Outdoor Science School information.