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M. Night Shyamalan's 'Sixth Sense' on education

Friday, 6 Dec 2013 | 6:51 AM ET

Talking Squawk, the official "Squawk Box" blog, provides tidbits, insights, and some sarcastic reflections on the WEEK THAT WAS and the WEEK TO COME from the notepad of the show's senior executive producer.

Evgeny Terentev | E+ | Getty Images

The Higher Learning Project

We spent all week on "Squawk Box" launching a new segment to the program called: The Higher Learning Project—featuring the new wave of disruptors poised to rethink everything about how we teach, learn, and think.

If you're currently saving for your son or daughter's college education (or maybe thinking about going back to school yourself) or you're concerned about what your kids are being taught in high school, I strongly suggest you spend some time on the interviews below. They may change your whole approach to what we used to know as "higher education."

M. Night Shyamalan gets 'schooled'
M. Night Shyamalan, filmmaker, explains how he got to see the disparities between two public schools in Philadelphia while scouting for a movie location, and that prompted him to take a closer look at what needs to be done to improve schools in the U.S. He also shares the five key things people must do to close the education gap.

'The Sixth Sense' for success

He's known for his creepy movies like "The Sixth Sense", "Unbreakable", and "Signs", but M. Night Shyamalan's latest project (five years in the works) is a book using "big data" to look at the flaws of public education in this country. He told us this week that it all started when he was scouting schools for locations to shoot scenes for his movie "The Happening."

The book "I Got Schooled" and the interview were a real education on what's wrong and what's right with the way we teach our kids. Shyamalan also gave us five things the United States can do to lead the world in education again.

Pressure on regional creditors to grant: Kerrey
Discussing why college tuition has skyrocketed, with former U.S. Sen. Bob Kerrey (D) of The Minerva Institute for Research and Scholarship. "It's time for the regional creditors to grant now," he says.

College tuition and the Minerva Project

Former Senator Bob Kerrey—who ran The New School for 10 years—helped us understand why college tuition costs have soared so much, and how the college accreditation process is completely upside down.

Kerrey also talked about his work as executive chairman of the Minerva Institute for Research, which supports the Minerva Project's goal of launching an Ivy-caliber university. Founder Bob Nelson joined Kerry on the Squawk set to describe how Minerva plans to reinvent the college experience.

Putting higher education to the test
Sebastian Thrun, Udacity co-founder & CEO, shares his thoughts on how to disrupt and innovate the way students learn in the U.S through enhancing the interactive learning experience.

Enhancing interactive learning

Sebastian Thrun gave up his tenure at Stanford University to try to democratize higher education with his new company, Udacity—which offers accessible, affordable, and engaging online classes that anyone can take, anytime. This guy is a brainiac. He also founded Google X, which is home to projects like Google Glass and the self-driving car. His approach to higher learning is truly unique and may change the face of higher education.

Greg Maffei, president and CEO of Liberty Media.
Scott Eelis | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Greg Maffei, president and CEO of Liberty Media.

Media money

Greg Maffei is America's hidden media mogul. His resume is insane and the billionaire business icons he's worked for is literally off the charts. He's the CEO of Liberty Media (John Malone). He was the CFO of Microsoft (Bill Gates). He was the president of Oracle (Larry Ellison). He's also currently chairman of Sirius XM Satellite Radio, Trip-Advisor, and 360Networks. He serves as a director at Zillow, CORT Business Services, Ragen Mackenzie, Barnes & Noble, and Charter Communications. OK, he's officially a work-a-holic.

Maffei came to the studio on Tuesday to guest host and offered his thoughts on where the cable industry is headed and why he supports a level of à la carte pricing.

He also brought three of his business friends along, including James Meyer, the CEO of Sirius XM, who talked about his strategies to keep all his music stations ad free forever and to try to put a satellite radio in every new and used car.

Charter Communications CEO Thomas Rutledge told us why a bid for Time Warner Cable might make sense but isn't necessary for the company's success.

And Andrea Wong, president of international production at Sony Pictures Television, discussed how women can improve decision-making in the board room.

CNBC TV

'Stella Blues Band'

Steve Liesman is Squawk's official "econo-nerd." He knows this and publicly claims he has no problem being labeled this way. But I've known Steve for way too long now. Hiding deep down in all of that data-driven-mud-of-a-brain is just a kid with a guitar who dreams of playing Madison Square Garden in front of thousands of screaming fans; a larger than life rock star who gets to pick the groupies who get back stage passes that night by just pointing them out of the crowd to the security guys who stand with their arms folded while holding back the masses.

This is your chance to be one of his "groupies" for a mere $10. That's the cost of a ticket to see Steve Liesman and his "Stella Blues Band" play their last gig of the year at DROM on Avenue A in the East Village of New York City. If you're really serious about being a Steve groupie, you need to start engaging him socially. So check out "The Stella Blues" Facebook page; follow them on Twitter at @stellabluesband; or at stellabluesband.net.

'Squawkward Moments' (with Ross Westgate in London about what men wear under their kilts)

Joe Kernen: "If I wear a kilt, I'm gonna wear Spanx just so my tush looks."

Becky Quick: "You don't have much of a …"

Joe: "Yes! I don't have much of a tush. Good, so you don't think I need Spanx! So you say I should just go ... freeballing?'"

Becky: "I was gonna say commando, but OK ... "

Inquiring minds ...

Joe wondered: Can he order a drone and get it delivered by drone?

Steve Liesman wondered: Would Rogaine make any difference?

Becky wondered: Why do I put up with this?

Joe wondered: Where Davos is on a map?

I wondered why Andrew would admit to reading BusinessWeek while sitting on a beach on vacation?

Joe wondered: Why European hotel beds are so small?

Joe wondered: Why must they light the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree the day before he has to travel to New York City?

Becky Wondered: Why is Joe is such a Scrooge?

Cramer clip

Check out why Cramer thinks Nike is the most exciting growth stock in the Dow right now!

Alan Mulally: We are reinventing the Mustang
Alan Mulally, Ford Motor Company president & CEO, showcases Fords new iconic Mustang and responds to the speculation he will become Microsoft's next CEO. Mulally also comments on minimum wage and how it impacts auto sales.

Mustang Turns 50

Many of us still have our dream Mustang from years gone by fresh in our minds. Mine is a Dark Forest Green Pure-Stock 1993 LX 5.0L with the 5 spoke Pony Wheels.

But now there's a new generation for the muscle car's 50th anniversary. Check out our Phil LeBeau's big debut of the new Mustang and Ford boss Alan Mulally, courtesy of our friends on "Squawk on the Street."

Bubble yuck!

I was a Bubble Yum guy. It's the best! However, Bubblicious and Big League Chew guys might take issue with that. But all of us would agree on one thing. Please Mom don't buy me Trident Sugarfree Bubble in those little brick packets! So uncool.

I bring this up because each week we are getting into bigger and bigger discussions (and some arguments) about bubbles in the stock market. And despite what Bubble gum you like, nobody likes when the bubble pops and sticks to your face (or your portfolio). But one market watcher this week told us that she sees no stock bubble in her sights.

Earnings on tap

Tweets of note

@TonyFratto ‏wrote: "CYBER MONDAY DEAL!!: Today only all my tweets are FREE*! [* Normal RT and Favorites rates apply.]"

(As a retail obsessed society, we invented Black Friday, Pre-Black Friday Thanksgiving Day Thursday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. That leaves only Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday for anybody interested in coining a new sales gimmick.)

Must follow them @

Check out some of these very cool education based accounts via this week's Higher Learning special @udacity and @MNightShyamalan.

Hair Nation (courtesy of Director @PaulDeFabo and Technical Director @Keith_Falcone)

What could be better than Ron Burgundy selling Dodge Durangos? How about Joe Kernen selling Dodge Durangos.

We know the "real" fictional Burgundy is selling them like hotcakes, and AutoNation boss Mike Jackson was gushing over the "Anchorman" tie-in campaign and what it's done for his sales.

Google's barge in San Francisco Bay.
Getty Images
Google's barge in San Francisco Bay.

Party barge

The Google "party" barge is under investigation to see if the proper permits were obtained. Yes, "party" is me editorializing, but I so hope it's actually true. How much great material would a "Revenge of the Nerds"-like party barge floating around San Francisco Bay give us to play with? Imagine the "wear your Google Glass only sunset cruises" while the sounds of Devo's "Whip it, whip it good" blast across the bay.

Overheard on the set

Anchor #1: "So we're all going to Davos!"

Anchor #2: "Ugh, can I go to the bathroom now?"

Word Jumble

Joe and Becky's Word Jumble grudge match (7 years running now) was knotted up 2-2 this week. Here's Joe's bonus word: IDOHSL. Here's Becky's word: MIMDEU.

Mark your calendar (or set your DVR) for our guests hosts

  • Monday: Larry Bossidy, former Honeywell CEO
  • Tuesday: Ken Langone, founder of Home Depot
  • Wednesday: Dennis Gartman, editor of The Gartman Letter, and BB&T CEO Kelly King
  • Thursday: Martin Franklin, Jarden executive chairman
  • Friday: Steve Sadove, former Saks CEO

Next week's economic calendar

  • Tuesday: NFIB Small Biz (7:30 a.m. ET)
  • Thursday: Jobless Claims, Retail Sales, and Import/Export Prices (8:30 a.m. ET)
  • Friday: Producer Price Index (8:30 a.m. ET)

'Corny-Sappy Motivational Business-Based Inspirational Quote'

"Business opportunities are like buses, there's always another one coming."
—Richard Branson

—By CNBC's Matthew Quayle. Follow him on Twitter @matthew_quayle.

*Joe's Jumble bonus word answer: IDOHSL = oldish

*Becky's Jumble bonus word answer: MIMDEU = medium

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  • Joe Kernen is co-anchor of "Squawk Box," CNBC's signature morning program.

  • Becky Quick is co-anchor of "Squawk Box," CNBC's signature morning program. She's also a columnist for Fortune.

  • Andrew Ross Sorkin is a co-anchor of "Squawk Box," a financial columnist for "The New York Times" and the editor-at-large of NYT's DealBook.