America’s ‘mathletes’ need a history lesson

The nation’s schools have been quick to adopt STEM focused education, “but the study of science, technology, engineering and math in a vacuum stymies innovation and invention. It is the knowledge of history that puts America’s innovative and inventive spirit into context and encourages even greater achievements,” according to history advocate David Bruce Smith.

STEM education is creating a student body of so-called “mathletes,” says Smith. “They graduate with the tools and knowledge needed for the jobs of the future as intended by President Obama when he announced his Educate to Innovate initiative in 2013. But that’s not what a well-rounded education is all about.”

The arts and the humanities, and history in particular, are critical components of a well-developed mind, he says.

One of the nation’s most innovative and successful champions of the computer age, Steve Jobs, put it this way: “It’s in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough — it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the result that makes our heart sing.”

Smith, who is co-founder of the Grateful American Book Prize, says he is a proponent of the new educational emphasis on technical skills, as long as we don’t forget that students need to understand the world in which we live. “And the only way to teach students that part of the equation is to ensure they know how and why the events and personalities of the past shaped our society and its future.”

The Prize is Smith’s way of making sure that the “mathletes” understand America’s success as a nation is the result of efforts to provide our children with a comprehensive education over nearly two and a half centuries. The award is meant to encourage authors and publishers to produce works of fiction and non-fiction that are focused on history, and can capture the imaginations of young learners—particularly those in middle school. The books are not intended to replace the history texts that students find so boring, but to inspire them to learn more about who we are and how we got here.

“There are those who rely on the results of international testing to show how lacking is our system of education. But the fact remains: the U.S. has consistently dominated technology and science. Founding Father Benjamin Franklin’s scientific discoveries and advancements give proof to that, as do the inventions of Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell. America gave birth to the Industrial Revolution with the help of people like Henry Ford and Andrew Carnegie. We harnessed the atom. And, we produced the minds of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates– arguably the brains behind the computer age.”

America’s ‘mathletes’ need a history lesson

America’s ‘mathletes’ need a history lesson

The nation’s schools have been quick to adopt STEM focused education, “but the study of science, technology, engineering and math in a vacuum stymies innovation and invention. It is the knowledge of history that puts America’s innovative and inventive spirit into context and encourages even greater achievements,” according to history advocate David Bruce Smith.

STEM education is creating a student body of so-called “mathletes,” says Smith. “They graduate with the tools and knowledge needed for the jobs of the future as intended by President Obama when he announced his Educate to Innovate initiative in 2013. But that’s not what a well-rounded education is all about.”

The arts and the humanities, and history in particular, are critical components of a well-developed mind, he says.

One of the nation’s most innovative and successful champions of the computer age, Steve Jobs, put it this way: “It’s in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough — it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the result that makes our heart sing.”

Smith, who is co-founder of the Grateful American Book Prize, says he is a proponent of the new educational emphasis on technical skills, as long as we don’t forget that students need to understand the world in which we live. “And the only way to teach students that part of the equation is to ensure they know how and why the events and personalities of the past shaped our society and its future.”

The Prize is Smith’s way of making sure that the “mathletes” understand America’s success as a nation is the result of efforts to provide our children with a comprehensive education over nearly two and a half centuries. The award is meant to encourage authors and publishers to produce works of fiction and non-fiction that are focused on history, and can capture the imaginations of young learners—particularly those in middle school. The books are not intended to replace the history texts that students find so boring, but to inspire them to learn more about who we are and how we got here.

“There are those who rely on the results of international testing to show how lacking is our system of education. But the fact remains: the U.S. has consistently dominated technology and science. Founding Father Benjamin Franklin’s scientific discoveries and advancements give proof to that, as do the inventions of Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell. America gave birth to the Industrial Revolution with the help of people like Henry Ford and Andrew Carnegie. We harnessed the atom. And, we produced the minds of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates– arguably the brains behind the computer age.”

America’s ‘mathletes’ need a history lesson

America’s ‘mathletes’ need a history lesson

WASHINGTON, DC, July 30 — The nation’s schools have been quick to adopt STEM focused education, “but the study of science, technology, engineering and math in a vacuum stymies innovation and invention. It is the knowledge of history that puts America’s innovative and inventive spirit into context and encourages even greater achievements,” according to history advocate David Bruce Smith.

STEM education is creating a student body of so-called “mathletes,” says Smith. “They graduate with the tools and knowledge needed for the jobs of the future as intended by President Obama when he announced his Educate to Innovate initiative in 2013. But that’s not what a well-rounded education is all about.”

The arts and the humanities, and history in particular, are critical components of a well-developed mind, he says.

One of the nation’s most innovative and successful champions of the computer age, Steve Jobs, put it this way: “It’s in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough — it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the result that makes our heart sing.”

Smith, who is co-founder of the Grateful American Book Prize, says he is a proponent of the new educational emphasis on technical skills, as long as we don’t forget that students need to understand the world in which we live. “And the only way to teach students that part of the equation is to ensure they know how and why the events and personalities of the past shaped our society and its future.”

The Prize is Smith’s way of making sure that the “mathletes” understand America’s success as a nation is the result of efforts to provide our children with a comprehensive education over nearly two and a half centuries. The award is meant to encourage authors and publishers to produce works of fiction and non-fiction that are focused on history, and can capture the imaginations of young learners—particularly those in middle school. The books are not intended to replace the history texts that students find so boring, but to inspire them to learn more about who we are and how we got here.

“There are those who rely on the results of international testing to show how lacking is our system of education. But the fact remains: the U.S. has consistently dominated technology and science. Founding Father Benjamin Franklin’s scientific discoveries and advancements give proof to that, as do the inventions of Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell. America gave birth to the Industrial Revolution with the help of people like Henry Ford and Andrew Carnegie. We harnessed the atom. And, we produced the minds of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates—arguably the brains behind the computer age.”

August 2015 Book Recommendations

INTO THIN AIR by Jon Krakauer
Not everyone who plans to climb Mt. Everest survives.

THE INTIMATE LIVES OF THE FOUNDING FATHERS by Thomas Fleming
Happy times and sad: a less public view of Washington, Hamilton, Franklin, Madison, Adams, and Jefferson.

A FAREWELL TO ARMS by Ernest Hemingway
Fiery love between an ambulance driver and a beautiful nurse in the midst of World War 1.

MEMOIRS by Tennessee Williams
America’s Shakespeare tells his story.

 

August 2015 Book Recommendations

Smilow Design Is Supporting Member of Be Original Initiative

Smilow Design LLC is proud to be a supporting Member of Be Original, an initiative conceived to bring awareness to the topic of original design, to illustrate how creativity enriches our lives, and to support authenticity as something we should care about as individuals.

The founding members of Be Original are ten of the most legendary names in the international furnishings industry: Alessi, Artek, Bernhardt Design, Cassina/Poltrona Frau/Cappellini, Emeco, Flos, Fritz Hansen, Herman Miller, Ligne Roset and Vitra. We are thrilled to join them in supporting the work of the Be Original initiative.

A manifesto of nine basic beliefs serves as the guiding tenet of the initiative.
IN THE DESIGNER AND CREATORS
The designs and ideas of the designer are the property of the designer and the company they have partnered with in creating and manufacturing the work.
IN THE CUSTOMER
The customer will choose the originals when knowing and understanding the background of the designer, the quality, the manufacturing and the creative and commercial investment it takes to create something original.
THAT INVESTING IN ORIGINAL DESIGN IS GOOD BUSINESS
Investing in original design pays off. It keeps its value, is more durable and ages with beauty.
IN PROTECTING THE DESIGNER AND COMPANY
Young designers and ambitious design brands deserve design protection in order to keep designing new products and investing in bringing the design to the market.
IN CREATIVITY
It takes creativity to create something original and that inspiration from others and historic traditions is part of the inspiration to be creative and creating something new. We believe in creating NOT imitating.
THAT GOOD DESIGN MAKES A DIFFERENCE
Good design makes a difference in the world and in the way we live and work as it surrounds us in our public and private lives. Good design improves quality of life and therefore, needs to be encouraged.
IN THE FUTURE OF DESIGN
Design gives back to the industry as a whole and to the people it serves. By purchasing authentic design you are investing in the future of design.
IN AUTHENTICITY
The authentic way is the right way – for the customers, the designers, the public and the company that develops new authentic design through research, creativity, investments and skills.
IN TRUE PARTNERS
True partners also believe in this manifesto and all of the items

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A history lesson from a former Education Secretary

Houston, July 16 — Former Education Secretary Rod Paige says STEM education [science, technology, engineering and math] is an important focus in schools today, but teachers also need to re-engage their students in the study of American history.

“History is an important and integral part of the foundation upon which our education system is built. It provides a logical context for our lives as Americans. It offers an understanding of how to overcome adversity and how to learn from our mistakes. These are life lessons that are just as important as preparing students for jobs in the 21st Century world of bits, bytes and Boolean algebra,” he says.

Paige has always been a proponent of history as part of a well-rounded education. He also understands how “boring” it can be for students to study names, dates and timelines. He also recognizes the need to give students the tools they need to live and work in an environment that requires knowledge of science and math. “But these should not be deterrents for educators. Rather they should challenge teachers to breathe new life into their history lessons by using new tactics such as assigning their students to find and read historical works of fiction and non-fiction.”

Paige, who is on the Panel of Judges for the Grateful American Book Prize, is a firm believer in the tactic of hooking young learners via books that bring history to life. He notes that publishers long ignored Young Adult themes, particularly those with an historical context. “But now the YA genre is in vogue and the Prize was created to ensure a steady flow of new titles that can help teachers entice their charges to learn about the events and personalities that shaped our country from the nation’s founding right up to the present.”

Writer and educator Krista Raye put it this way: “Teaching history can sometimes be a tedious task. Students find it boring and cannot relate it to their own lives. They voice their frustrations by asking why they have to learn it. Using historical fiction in the classroom is one way to curb these complaints. History told in story form reaches students on a level that notes and text-reading simply cannot.”

As for STEM educators, Paige believes they can help by using their pedagogic skills to put technology into the context of American history. After all, it was Benjamin Franklin who helped establish the science of electricity way back in the 18th Century and it was the engineer and inventor Robert Fulton who, in the early part of the 19th Century, built the first commercially viable steamboat. In fact, the former slave-turned-botanist-and-inventor, George Washington Carver, may have been one of the first STEM educators when he taught at the Tuskegee Institute in the latter half of the 19th Century.

“History teaches us about ourselves—who we are, how the U.S. came to be a model for democracy in the world and why our melting-pot population has played and continues to play such an important role in the country’s development and success. If we don’t teach our children these things, they will be doomed to a lifetime of doubt and struggle,” Paige says.

Monticello’s Gabriele Rausse On Wine & Restoring Thomas Jefferson’s Vineyard

Gabriele Rausse, dubbed “The Father of the Modern Virginia Wine Industry,” has been involved in the startup of numerous wineries, including his own, since he first came to Virginia from his native Valdagno, Italy.

Today he is Monticello’s Director of Gardens and Grounds, and joined Monticello as assistant director of gardens and grounds in 1995. During his time at Monticello, he has worked to restore Thomas Jefferson’s vineyard, located just below the vegetable garden.


The Northeast vineyard was replanted using several Jefferson-related European varieties, grated on hardy, pest-resistant native rootstock. The Southwest Vineyard was replanted entirely with the Sangiovese grape, a variety documented by Jefferson in 1807 and the principal ingredient of Chianti. Rausse oversees the production of wine as well as the care of the restored vineyards, which continue to serve as experimental gardens of unusual varieties of vinifera.

In this interview with David Bruce Smith and Hope Katz Gibbs, Rausse answers these questions:

1. Jefferson is known as an agricultural experimenter. What crops did he try to grow on the surrounding plantation?

2. What plants did he experiment with growing in his Kitchen Garden? What were some of his favorites and how did he like to eat them?

3. Jefferson, a wine lover, also experimented with growing grapes. What varieties did he try to grow?

4. How did all of Jefferson’s agricultural experimentation fit into his vision for America and its place in the world?

5. How do we know so much about what Jefferson grew?

Be sure to check out more fascinating facts and interviews on The Grateful American™ TV Show designed to restore enthusiasm in American history for kids, and adults!