Know The System

Know The System is a bipartisan organization dedicated to elevating public understanding and public dialogue, to take democracy in the United States to the next level.

Making a Direct Impact: Call for Academic Participation

Know The System is developing a powerful new citizen education resource. We are looking for patriots in Political Science, Public Policy, Economics, and Sociology to step forward and use their knowledge to make a large, direct impact on our struggling democracy.

What we are doing is not easy: teaching busy, ordinary citizens—of all backgrounds—about national issues and political realities. But it is the unavoidable first step on the road to stopping political polarization and its crippling effects on governance.

Know The System is seeking Academic Advisors who will help shape the educational content. Interested professors and political experts are invited to think about the following question: “Given my expertise, my policy concerns, and my observations of today’s public dialogue... what is the one thing that I would like all voters to understand, that most currently do not?”

Contact Us. Let us tell you about our plan and show you a demonstration of our approach.

Big Picture: The World Today is Changing

  • Social media.
  • Elites no longer have the power to control or filter public discussion.
  • Automation and globalization.
  • Demand for semi-skilled labor in the US continues to weaken.
  • Demography.
  • The percentage of the US population that is white continues to shrink.
  • Cultural mores.
  • Recognition of rights for women and minority groups is seeing a generational shift.

Navigating these challenges has been difficult because of increasing political polarization. Each side publicly vilifies the other and makes reasonable discussion impossible.

Poisonous discourse prevails in the public sphere because ordinary citizens have difficulty evaluating it. They lack basic concepts about their government, economics, and the tricks of political rhetoric. Aside from some basic terminology and slogans, the Civics classes from their school days are forgotten, and anyway were never much help with the tough issues.

Meanwhile in our society, though, other changes and innovations have occurred, bringing fundamentally new possibilities. In particular, innovations in:

  • cognitive science
  • web infrastructure
  • instructional design technique
  • e-learning

If these innovations are fully harnessed, it can transform the mentality of ordinary voters. When we give them "meat," and rapidly increase their understanding and discernment, the character of public dialogue will change. Many voters, certainly, will be skeptical or reluctant to participate, but their inertia will be overcome by making the experience fun, no-effort, and so personally satisfying that they'll want to show their friends.

Contact Us. Know The System is developing a new citizen education site that will launch in time for the 2020 national election season. We are searching for partners in this endeavor who are educators and scholars in fields such as Political Science, Public Policy, Economics, and Sociology. People who are interested in making a tangible difference, who feel it should be possible to explain deep issues to any voter, and who share our vision of a democracy that works the way it is supposed to.

 

Leadership

David Foster is the Executive Director of Know The System, Inc. Prior to Know The System, David was Chief Academic Officer at ExecOnline, a New York based provider of online education. He earned an MBA from U.C. Berkeley in 1986, and a Ph.D. in learning technology and cognitive science from Northwestern University in 1996. He has since led e-learning development at companies including Accenture, UNext, DeVry Online, and 2U.