The Ledger, Millennials, Dear Hillary, and Free College

In mid-August, Peter Greene posted an article called The Ledger: Lab Rat America on his Curmudgucation blog. His article addresses issues related to a video posted at the end of the article. You can view the video below. Prior to viewing the video, I would encourage you read Peter Greene’s article and keep in mind that the video takes you ten years into the future.

Learning is Earning 2026

Gretchen Logue has written about Greene’s article and the video at the Missouri Education Watchdog in an article called Pour Yourself a Stiff Drink and Read About ‘The Ledger’.

There may be some who think the video is portraying the cat’s meow (upon seeing a lab rat). Others are alarmed by the video because rats frighten them. There may even be some who would say this could and would never happen. Searching online for badge chain technology, blockchain technology, and ledger technology produces results that indicate the technology is already available and in use.

Greene and Logue touch on some topics/issues brought out in the video. Greene mentions “competency based education, data mining, the cradle to grave pipeline” in his article. Logue mentions data gathering, global public/private surveillance plan, digital badges, and education/workforce badging programs.

Watching the video reminded me of two things. Millennials and Marc Tucker’s Dear Hillary Letter.

In the video, Alejandra got a trophy. It didn’t really give information about what she did leading to her being awarded a trophy. It reminded me of Micah Tyler’s You’ve Gotta Love Millennials song and video where “they got trophies just for participating”.

It makes me wonder if this whole ledger/blockchain/badge chain business is a good fit for millennials. Whether it is a good fit or not, I don’t think they earn an edublock for the idea.

In my eyes, Marc Tucker is one person who would earn an edublock for his idea/plan that contributes to things incorporated in the ledger/blockchain/badge chain Learning is Earning 2026. On Nov. 11, 1992, Marc Tucker wrote a letter to Hillary Clinton that has become know as the Dear Hillary Letter. I have heard people discount this letter because it was published on the Eagle Forum’s website. The first thing one learns on this webpage is that this letter was published in the Sept. 25, 1998 Congressional Record, a source that should be credible for those who discount the Eagle Forum. As time goes on, more components of this plan seem to be put in place. In this letter, parts of Tucker’s plan include human resources development, cradle to grave system, outcome based, apprenticeship system, system of labor market boards, seamless system of unending skill development, national standards, free college education, professional and technical certificates, unified training system, computerized employment service, national examination system, large scale data management systems, and early childhood education. The development of State Longitudinal Data Systems and the Common Core (including associated assessments and data collection) put in place many elements of Tucker’s plan. According to his plan, students would get certificates for meeting standards. Certificates might equate to edublocks or badges students earn as they meet standards and progress in a system of unending skill development, all of which is recorded in a massive database, which can be used to fill workforce needs.

While it might not be as Tucker envisioned it 24 years ago, it appears as if Learning is Earning will fulfill his plan. There seem to be some details that need to be worked out but I am sure that by the time this all rolls out, it will be as well thought out as the promotion and implementation of the Common Core. Seamless, top down, error and trouble free, honest, based on evidence. Not. Learning is Earning raises some questions in my mind. I will present a few questions here. You may have additional questions.

Greene brought up some numbers since Learning is Earning mentions one billion people on the ledger. Is Greene right in thinking they may have just picked this number because it sounds cool for marketing? If that is not the case, it raises serious questions and issues. Some of those questions and issues I won’t bring up here—I will leave it for you to bring up on your own. One billion people on the ledger? That is more than the US population (322+ million) and quite a bit less than the world population (7.4 billion). One billion people on the ledger? This takes in more than just the US but not the all of the world. What about the rest of the world’s population? Is this only going to selectively apply to certain people? Who gets to decide who it will apply to? Or is there a global population reduction plan that will result in the world population only being around a billion people in 2026?

Will edublocks and the ledger be used to track the learning and income of people involved with drug cartels? Gangs? Will drug lords and gang leaders serve as teachers? Oh, they already do. What activities will their apprentices get edublocks for? Will this legitimize their business? In the future, will drug lords and lieutenants command someone to search the ledger to find someone with a skill set for an upcoming project that requires a mule?

What about senior citizens? Will those who still want to work but are currently not considered for employment because of their age be included in the ledger? What about other groups? Will the ledger consider all possible candidates on an equal basis based on their skill sets and credentials? Even those in groups often discriminated against? Or will an era of digital discrimination be ushered in? Will noncognitive factors be considered a part of an individual’s skill set and used to determine selection or not for a gig or project?

Since when has it become okay to refer to our country’s children as human capital? You should know the people using this term are interested in workforce development and not in providing an education.

Will there be another Dear Hillary Letter if she wins or will it be a Dear Bill Letter? What plan would such a letter lay out? Would the ledger/blockchain/badge chain technology be an integral part of the plan? Will the blockchain/badge chain be a part of a plan for a free college education (free to students that is, most likely paid for by taxpayers)? Maybe there are other avenues for a free college education for those who are not motivated and don’t have the self-discipline to pursue educblocks and badges on their own.


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1 Response to The Ledger, Millennials, Dear Hillary, and Free College

  1. Pingback: “Learning is Earning” the Rand Corporation way with digital badges and Edublocks | Seattle Education

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