By Jay Gillette, Network World, 01/24/07

HONOLULU - For the second year running, no U.S. city has made the list of the
world's top Intelligent Communities of 2007, as selected by global think tank
Intelligent Community Forum. The ICF met and announced this list as part of the
29th annual Pacific Telecommunications Council (PTC) conference here in Hawaii
last week.

The ICF selects the Intelligent Community list based on how advanced the
communities are in deploying broadband, building a knowledge-based workforce,
combining government and private-sector "digital inclusion," fostering
innovation and marketing economic development.

 As announced by ICF chairman John Jung, the intelligent city finalists are:

 * Dundee, Scotland, United Kingdom
 * Gangnam District, Seoul, South Korea
 * Issy-les-Moulineaux, France
 * Ottawa-Gatineau, Ontario-Quebec, Canada
 * Sunderland, Tyne & Wear, United Kingdom
 * Tallinn, Estonia
 * Waterloo, Ontario, Canada [Read more here

Alan Millhone comments: 

Is that report telling us something about a possible problem with our entire educational system in the USA ? Everything in this country revolves around sports and the money it generates. It would be a dream to see chess and checkers taught in our schools at an early level. Bob Pike of Chula Vista, CA teaches a two week checker program in the local schools in his area. He can prove that a class taking his two week program will perform better on tests during the year than a class that does not take his program.

The current World 3-Move Style Checker Champion, Mr. Alexander Moiseyev, came over from Russia in the early 90's. He told me that in Russia, at a very early age, his parents put him in a special school to learn checkers and chess and was taught to record his games, use a clock and other academics in the second grade.

I will make a bet that the winning cities still use some form of discipline in their schools. In my school years, almost every teacher had a paddle under their desk or a belt, and I still respect every teacher I had even if they were still living today.

Stefan Jovanovich adds: 

Benet developed "intelligence" testing to identify those relatively few people whose cognitive faculties were impaired. He saw it as a diagnostic tool for confirming other symptoms of physical brain damage, Down syndrome and other mental impairments. He considered Stanford's use of the testing methodology to rank all people's intelligence as a gross misuse of his methodology. My dad made a sizable personal fortune from being an executive and shareholder in a company that was the largest for-profit publisher of standardized tests in the world. He knew what every cramming coach since Samuel Johnson has known; if you have a willing student and you teach to the test, you can change someone's scores. Just before he died, we had a brief discussion of what the effect of the No Child Left Behind Act would be. His answer was "some teachers will cheat on the scoring and within a decade everyone will be teaching to the test." The well-to-do and their children seem to agree. Why else would they pay for Kaplan, Princeton Review, etc.? For the SAT, LSAT and GRE, if a student puts in four to six good months of steady cramming, someone with an "average" IQ can produce well above average scores. The extraordinary literacy of Americans in the period before the Civil War (compare the Grade Levels of the State of Union addresses of Andrew Jackson with that of the most recent of his populist Democratic successors) was the product of the same kind of instruction. Students were crammed in reading and writing in a daily grind. After only a few years of study, they knew the language thoroughly.

There is no logical reason why compulsory American education cannot be limited to the span of Lincoln's formal education - four to five calendar years - and the curriculum "dumbed down" (sic) to nothing more than reading, writing and arithmetic. That would be a sufficient tool set for people to be able to go on in life and learn to become plumbers or lawyers or GrandMasters by their own means. Politically, this is an impossible dream, of course. We can rely on the private market to provide us with food and shelter and images for the walls of our caves, but the state must be guaranteed in its monopoly over the teaching of young children. Who says America has no official religion?





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