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December 14, 2017

I Dare You! Top 10

by MattF

To use the ideas in Critical Infrastructure for Children to make a positive difference in New England life. I say I dare you because I feel like I have to; because we as a culture need to get away from paralysis and division and move into the realm of electrifying, creative steps forward.They all offer great opportunities for real doers to honor themselves and bring blessings to those around them through their work and great spirit.

The top ten ways I urge you to commit to are in part influenced by my love of language learning, as well as my belief that maximizing language programs can have a positive influence on every aspect of education and life in New England. These are themes that I focus on in presentations.

The Top Ten
1.Reading out Loud for Daily Progress Integrate the practice of reading out loud in a target language into mainstream studies. Nothing is better for language learning than reading out loud, ideally every day. However, for students to read out loud they need to have the vocabulary to do so, as well as books that match their level.

It is good to imagine just how great this new dimension of our culture could be, even though there are a few steps we have to take before this is possible on a widespread scale. That’s to say that it’s ok to imagine you or your kid enjoying reading out loud, making progress every day and enjoying mental health benefits before you, he or she are quite ready to do so. It’s ok to have a dream, but then we can pursue it.

2. Learn About Frequency Dictionaries The major step to getting students ready to read is to systematically build their vocabulary with the highest frequency words, and then to match the readings with corresponding vocabulary. The “easy readers” with the lowest level vocabulary that I’m aware of use the 300 highest frequency words, which of course means that students need to know that many words to read.

However! It’s important to know that it’s only necessary to recognize those words to read, not to have them fully memorized. This is important, because recognition is much, much easier.

I will add that some think it better to learn words that you’re truly interested in, and this is true, but it’s also good to master at least the core one hundred words before doing that, that you can use those words of interest in a sentence.

3. Learn About Easy Readers The best easy readers I’m aware of are those from Blaine Ray and the ER series. Now, imagine if you will, students reading one of those Spanish books out loud in class and maybe after school, and watching their skills and well-being grow!

A key component of this is the fact that, in my opinion, any school can have awesome language programs where students feel great and feel success. It’s also important to me because as affordable community and state colleges fight for funding and even their existence, they can have incredible language programs, if only we choose to do so.

4. Teach the Basics of Personal Finance This is something I’ve pushed for for ever a decade, and it needs to happen. As it happens, the absolute best approach to making this happen is at a college I went to for graduate school, Salem State. The economics department is leading the way in virtually every dimension of this, with Bridgewater St. reportedly doing similar work. They lead in the realm of

-coursework for majors and non-majors
-one day seminars
-training teachers to teach personal finance
-helping schools find the best materials.

5. Fire Up Manufacturing in New England CIC outlines many ways to make manufacturing happen in New England, as all of it can be supported at the schools. Don’t be afraid to dream the dream of every New England town humming with manufacturers, including in the downtown area. 5% unemployment in New England is fiction; if you include all those who have given up looking for work or those who work part-time, the number is much, much higher. And that’s not to mention those of whom there is no record. What this means is we need to create opportunities as aggressively as possible.

A picture says a thousand words, and I look forward to finding that picture of a thriving manufacturing company that brings new hope to the downtown of a New England community.

6. Fire Up New England Farming Book a presentation and learn how campuses can go about getting New England farming going. Tactics!

7. Fight Animal Cruelty It is an ongoing struggle for my heart to not be filled with contempt for our superficial culture with all the pretense and virtue signaling, when there is no ongoing discussion about the state of animals or on ways to prevent animal cruelty. As a result, I believe there has been an atrocity in animal cruelty and suffering in the last fifteen years, like in no other age. I should also say that I am a hypocrite, because I eat meat. However, I’m working on reducing that amount, and I probably have reduced how much I eat by about 75%. Although, maybe less.

Presentations explore some tactics for reducing the suffering and agony for you to further explore. However, we are going to beed to work together on this one to be effective.

8. Let Students Help Develop a Conservationist Vision for New England Let the young people lead with this and we’ll make progress better every day. First, I should say; that it’s quite possible to improve each and every challenge we’re faced with, but if the result is swarms of humanity multiplying, not celebrating their blessings, abusing animals and biting each others ankles on every peak, valley, nook and cranny of New England, I don’t want it. I want us to celebrate all the great things we can, but also to set aside the wild places in New England. Presentations get into how students can help with that.

9. Take Job Creation in New England to the Next Level Presentations of CIC focus on the role of manufacturing, farming, apprenticeship programs and industry partnerships, and are broken down in presentations. However, what we need are for thousands of people to follow up on the leads I present. However, part of the work of job creation is not just programs, it’s about funding those programs, which is why I advocate for utilization of federal transparency websites on campus.

10. Find a Role for The Boston Herald in our New Economy It’s hard for me to read an article in The Boston Globe without wishing that the Herald had not gone bankrupt, but I’ve responded to their situation as a chance to explore how they cane the engine and go to guide for a new New England economy that I know we can build together. Presentations go into some potential tactics for that, and they can support the goals of this post.

In the meantime, to read about a newspaper that has gone Independent and flourished, check out The Berkshire Eagle

To request a presentation of CIC within a few hours of Boston, you can send me an email at mjfraser@fastmail.fm I only ask that groups or classes buy some copies.

I can also do virtual presentations via Skype.

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