My Political Values: Foundation & Frameworks

Overview:

My values are discovered in the community working together for the common good. Those who seeks the common good are my brothers or sisters, and those who do not seek the common good are also my brothers or sisters. Community is an inclusive phenomenon.  

I define the common good as full consideration and inclusion for “the least of us.” Full inclusion means food and clothing security, good housing, access to information, a safe neighbourhood, easy access to local transportation, a school as fully funded as any public school, and health care, including prescriptions and outpatient care, to the same level as any person in our state. In addition, I believe in a high minimum wage (with exceptions for high school students in part-time jobs who are being mentored at local businesses–not chain, service sector stores.)

“The least of us” extends to full consideration to the environment, including the plants and animals that provide for our nurture. I take to heart these words, “As you do to the least of us, you do to me” and “Love your neighbour as you love yourself.”   

Personhood:

Personhood is a singular, unique phenomenon that exist, and is even distinguished by, participation in community.

Part I: My internal values 

Don't lie. 
Don't leave anyone behind.
Forgive everything.
Be consistent in how you behave with everyone. (This is the toughest value to follow.)

Part II: My community values

Work for the common good.
Build community democracy.
Discuss, participate, give yourself in service.
Forget labels, forget either/or thinking. Think and/both.

Where do I end and the state begins?

We have options to define the boundaries of personhood. The first question is to find a line that marks the division of where I end and where the state begins? Would such a line be straight? Or, is your personhood in a bubble, the wall of which is to be respected as you move through jurisdictional boundaries? Do you at some point become the property of the state, or of the local community? Or, finally, does the meaning of personhood change or merge in a given or absolute context.

Such an answer may depend on the context of the situation. Watch the first fifteen minutes of this lively and often funny Harvard lecture video to a freshman class by Prof. Michael Sandel on the difference between circumstantial and absolute decision making. Does the responsibility of the individual vary depending on the situation? 

As for myself, I fully understand that the state has dominance in matters beyond the individual in many areas of life. To name just a few, coordination of commercial and private airspace; regulation of prescription medication; safety standards for vehicles. These are systems used by each member of the community. In these large systems my voice is mostly not relevant. And I do not disagree with this boundary. However, my voice does matter in my home and in my local community, and my local community may include local communities made of friendships and not restricted to a geographical community. 

 

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Standards-base assessment risks leaving an integrated framework based on a teacher’s experience

General statement: Standards based learning may be too limited a focus for many teachers, especially new teachers. This may be so, first, in the initial years of the common core standards and, second, with the over emphasis of state-wide testing scores on teacher and school ranking.

An integrated framework: The first part of the framework is found in the depth of experience of the teacher as a measure of understanding the social, emotional, and intellectual experience and ability of his or her students.

The second part of the framework is found in understanding the progressions of learning. Here I have postulated the following seven progressions: skills > knowledge > understanding > discernment > judgement > creation > and an aesthetic appreciation of beauty. Human learning is a unique phenomenon best understood as an extended conversation. While skills and knowledge may be assessed quantitatively, the other progressions may only be assessed in conversations.

The third part of the framework is found in the dynamics of the conversations between a teacher and his or her students and/or amongst small groups of students. Human conversation has two essential modes: fast and slow thinking (or reactive and reflective thinking). Fast thinking is how we navigate the day in ordinary conversation; slow thinking is internalized, insightful, and sincere or thoughtful. (cf. the Kahneman cite below)

Conclusion: When a teacher and a student, or two or three students, are engaged in slow/reflective thinking they are sharing the same conceptual space. The progressions of learning are developed and realized within this space.


Note: Daniel Kahneman (2011), Thinking, Fast and Slow. Read the NY Times article by Jim Holt on 25 November 2011 titled Two Brains Running. The article is here. Note: Dr. Kahneman won the Nobel Prize for his work in decision making, the underlying structure and theme of Thinking, Fast and Slow.

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