Engineering Human Souls to Challenge and Redesign a Profoundly Unjust Status Quo

Remember the old strategy of accusing someone else of the precise wrong you are actually up to in order to obscure your own mischief? This recent story in Foreign Policy magazine called “Beyond Propaganda”  https://foreignpolicy.com/2015/06/23/beyond-propaganda-legatum-transitions-forum-russia-china-venezuela-syria/ would have us believe only authoritarian countries like those listed are intent in the 21st century in what the article describes as “what the Chinese call ‘thought work’–and the Soviets called the ‘engineering of human souls.’” Since my book Credentialed to Destroy and recently this blog have been full of techniques, practices, and theories that unabashedly track back to the USSR and even Stalin’s druthers, I thought that declaration of intent deserved a place in one of my titles. Especially if I can trace it all the way into the current draft of the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015, scheduled to come up for debate in the US Senate next week on July 7.

I can now do even more tracing than that though, all the way back to what Frankfurt School member (look it up if unfamiliar) and social psychologist Kurt Lewin called the Principles of Re-Education. I found this recently in a 1951 book on using Curriculum Change in K-12 schools to engineer social change and new kinds of Human Relations. See if this quote doesn’t bear a striking resemblance to what came to be called Outcomes-Based Education (covered in my book) in the 90s and what now gets covered as Conceptual Understandings and Core Disciplinary Ideas or “Lenses”, a Whole Child/SEL focus that is written into ECAA as well as most state waivers I have seen, and the reason ‘tests’ are being eliminated in favor of performance assessments like tasks and Project-Based Learning. Italics in original.

“…The re-educative process affects the individual in three ways. It changes his cognitive structure, the way he sees the physical and social worlds, including all his facts, concepts, beliefs, and expectations. It modifies his valences and values, and these embrace both his attractions and aversions to groups and group standards, his feelings in regard to status differences, and his reactions to sources of approval or disapproval. And it affects motoric action, involving the degree of the individual’s control over his physical and social movements.”

If that’s too long, Lewin also put it more succinctly in writing that the “basic task of re-education can thus be viewed as one of changing the individual’s social perception.” To the degree that the actual language in ECAA or in Competency-based education local initiatives mirrors Lewin’s focus for re-education then, the real purposes of these classroom shifts and mandates are the same as his. Even though that goes unstated and even unknown by the local teachers or administrators and politicians pushing the change. Even Project-Based Learning and the Maker Movement hype should be filtered through another Lewin confession that “a factor of great importance in bringing about a change in sentiment is the degree to which the individual becomes actively involved in the problem…Lacking this involvement, no objective fact is likely to reach the status of a fact for the individual concerned and therefore influence his social conduct.”

That quote would also account for all that role-playing we are seeing pushed as the new way to do history and social studies. Anyway, I will come back to the present but not quite yet. We do get to officially tie these sought K-12 changes though to the WIOA required systems thinking and Uncle Karl’s Human Development Society that also goes by the name of little c communism. We also get to tie it officially to the Carnegie Corporation and Rockefeller Foundation’s World Order Models Project from the 70s I have written about before. It turns out Ervin Laszlo (who has a tag) may be pushing a Holos Consciousness now with the Dalai Llama and Club of Budapest http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/evolution-to-a-holos-consciousness-is-certainly-not-my-idea-of-education-reform-is-it-yours/ , but in 1974 he wrote about the need for a new “conceptual synthesis” as being necessary along with new values to get the needed behavioral change.

“if the coming world order will be a viable one, its conceptual synthesis will be explicit, far-ranging, scientifically-based, and pregnant with normative guidelines for practical behaviors.”

And monitoring for the presence of that conceptual synthesis, or what Lewin called the change in cognitive structure to guide perception and thus future behavior, is precisely why the Civil Rights groups want ECAA to mandate that all states and districts must assess for Higher-Order Thinking Skills and Understanding. Laszlo makes it clear that the phrase “scientifically-based” means “guidelines for concrete action” that will be necessary to bring about the “needed societal-cultural transformations” toward the necessity of meeting the ‘needs’ of all the world’s peoples. I have covered the Human Development/Little c vision before but this is officially what collectivism looks like as described by Laszlo:

“The rights of individuals, organizations, nation-states, multinational, national, and regional actors are defined in relation to the equitable distribution of goods, services, and institutional patterns required to meet the demands of human need fulfillment on all principal levels, with especial attention to the basic needs for survival, safety, and group belongingness.”

Laszlo recognized that perceived coercion a la the authoritarian states we started this post with creates hostility to changing values and behaviors as needed. He suggested that communication (one of the 4 Cs of 21st century learning) could be used to change the value and belief structures subtly. These planned “systematic communication techniques provide a much more suited and humanly dignified method of producing adequate responses in people than any coercive technique bypassing the individual’s will and self-determination.” Laszlo called this approach psychocivilization and both Competency-based education generally and the language used in ECAA just reeks of transitioning the US to it. It also fits with UNESCO’s push starting in 2010 to Media Education to cover all aspects of the desired tools of communication to shift the globe towards Marxist Humanism. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/decreeing-the-interdependence-of-environment-economy-society-and-cultural-diversity-in-the-21st/ Yes, it was that explicit and fits with what Laszlo envisioned too.

Laszlo concluded with a mention of John Dewey as in: “As Dewey emphasized and humanistic psychologists constantly reaffirm, people require objective goals toward which they can strive and toward which they can progressively approach, rather than states of saturation where the goals are achieved and there is nothing more left to do. The goal is in the seeking, not in final possession.” Now that is a horrifyingly dictatorial view of people as pawns of the powerful, but let’s face it. That IS the intention for the 21st century where political power wants to dictate our goals to us and how we are to behave and even perceive the world and our experiences. What we have is a desire for authoritarian power over the individual in the US and elsewhere without the adverse consequences on compliance of that being accurately perceived and perhaps fought.

Now I am ready to come to the present and what the Consortium on Chicago School Research called “Foundations for Young Adult Success: A Developmental Approach”. http://ccsr.uchicago.edu/sites/default/files/publications/Wallace%20Report.pdf That June 2015 report that begins with “Every society in every age needs to grapple with the question of what outcomes it hopes to produce in raising its young.” Now if that seems to be a case of sloppy pronouns, it’s not. The report asks that we all take on a “collective responsibility for all young people.” Gee, didn’t Uncle Karl have a name for that and isn’t that what Laszlo also envisioned as the reason we needed a psychocivilization? The latter part of this post’s title comes from the report’s complaining that:

“there is an fundamental tension between preparing children to live in a world that is often cast as a tacit acceptance of a profoundly unjust status quo and equipping them to face, navigate, and challenge the inequitable distribution of resources and access that so often limit their opportunities and constrain their potential.”

The July Newsletter from the UCLA Center for Mental Health in Schools calls for “Equity of opportunity at school as a civil right”, which plays right in with that CCSR Report. As someone who has read ECAA as well as all these books and reports I am hereby asserting two crucial points. First, that the language in ECAA about meeting students’ ‘learning needs’ is intended to incorporate the ‘developmental needs’ criteria laid out in that  are laid out in that CCSR framework for Young Adult Success. Further, the identified key factors of young adult success (agency, an integrated identity, and competencies) and the listed four foundational components that underlie them (self-regulation, knowledge and skills, mindsets, and values) are intended to use federal law to force Kurt Lewin’s Principles of Re-Education into every classroom and upon every student.

It also reflects the necessary components for Laszlo’s vision of using General Systems Theory and a conceptual synthesis to force an internalization of the needed change in consciousness for the desired future. When the CCSR Framework touts success as “young people can fulfill individual goals and have the agency and competencies to influence the world around them,” that is language straight out of the USSR and the 1930s when Stalin sought to change the purpose of K-12 education so that Soviet students would come to see themselves as purposeful actors capable of acting on and changing their physical and social world.

I am not really alleging that. I have Luria’s autobiography and the books published in the early 50s by the Carnegie-financed Russian Studies Center at Harvard. It is what it is and we get to recognize the similarities in language and purposes across the decades and continents. I have already written that in my opinion ECAA fits with what UNESCO and Brookings are pushing countries to quietly adopt as the Learning Metrics Task Force that will fit the UN and the OECD’s Post-2015 Agenda. Now I am saying the language also encompasses what Lewin called the Principles for Re-Education and Laszlo called a psychocivilization.

And I always say, “with the methods and theories come the proclaimed purposes.” And the US Senators pushing this and who vote for ECAA can take their place as the most Effective Marxist Change Agents of the 21st Century, whatever their personal intentions.

Because John Dewey, Ervin Laszlo, UNESCO, the OECD, and Kurt Lewin could hardly be more forthcoming about their intentions for these changes.

 

 

Sneaking Into the Cracks to Instill the Outlined Characteristics of the New Soviet Man While the Fatal Conceit Returns

Once again what may seem like just a graphic means for me to try to grab attention to the level of sought intrusion turns out to actually be a quote of declared intentions from someone who matters. In this case we are back to the Remake Learning Playbook, where the Executive Director of the Mozilla Foundation, Mark Surman, described how to reach “everyone’s hands and minds. And this means everyone.” Now Hands and Minds may seem like a clever phrase, and I have heard State Ed Commissioners gush about it so we know it gets hyped in the meetings we are not invited to, but what it is really getting at is Action (Hands) and what will compel someone to act in the future (Mind; Emotions). Surman in hyping the potential for innovative learning experiences to force Equity and “tackle systems change”, pointed out that “networks have the potential to slowly transform potential by sneaking through the cracks.”

Hands and Minds and Sneaking through the Cracks–this may be an effective way to use the schools for transformation, but it’s an invisible to most one. When Surman wrote about “young people have the skills and mindsets they need to thrive in today’s world,” his writing could be taken from the English language and 2015 and the American continent and taken back to the 30s and Eurasia and translated into Russian. Stalin too was anxious to turn his young people into purposeful change agents ready to act on and to bring change to their surroundings. To shift the emphasis from the world as it had been and what currently existed to what might be with enough collaborative effort and the right set of guiding ideas.

As usual I am not speculating, in 1950 the Russian Research Center funded by Carnegie at Harvard under an initial 5 year grant that began in 1948 published a book by Barrington Moore on the Role of Ideas in Social Change. He wrote about the role of planning to the Soviets and their use of it as a “technique of deliberately controlled social change…Socialist planners, he [Trotsky] said, should not have the attitudes toward their figures that an astronomer has toward the movement of the stars, which he can predict but cannot control. Socialist plans [should not be] products of passive prediction, but rather [conceived] as tools for action.”

Now if anyone has any doubts that today it is people, especially children, who have been selected to be both the targets of such intrusive change and the means for achieving it in broader realms like the workplace, society, and the economy, take a look at the All-Inclusive Criteria for Becoming A Brilliant Star: Striving for Excellence. http://www.edpsycinteractive.org/brilstar/brlstr10.pdf is just the latest in the determination to make Learning about combining thinking, feeling, and action. There’s also a new Taxonomy by Robert Marzano schools and districts are being urged to use to turn students into Self-Systems, where their the “attitudes, beliefs and feelings that determine an individual’s motivation to complete a task” are being tracked and manipulated. ftp://download.intel.com/education/common/in/resources/dep/skills/marzano.pdf

Now just ponder the significance of those aims being on a tech company-sponsored site and their participation in the 21st Century Skills global push, ATC21S and Charles Fadel’s Center for Curriculum Redesign. http://educacaosec21.org.br/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Character-Education-Sao-Paulo-Charles-Fadel.pdf In the last post I mentioned Israel Scheffler, let’s see what he wrote back in 1960 in The Language of Education in proposing a “novel [hard to detect] use of the term ‘curriculum’” where the definition would be

“programmatic, that its point is precisely to apply the familiar term in a strange way, in order to rechannel the practice associated with it. In particular, the programmatic point is to extend the school’s responsibility, hitherto limited to a so-called formal course of study, in such a way as to embrace the individual social and psychological development of its pupils.”

Sounds like Whole Child to me or what ECAA called meeting the non-cognitive needs. No wonder the Rockefeller Foundation wanted Scheffler at Harvard in 1952 if in 1950 Moore wrote in the Section called “Today’s Dilemma” in the Chapter “Theory of Equality” that:

“In contrast with Western ideas, which begin with the individual and extend to the group and society as an instrument serving the needs of the individual, the Soviet concept of freedom stresses the role of society and the group. The Russians are fond of asserting that the full development of the individual’s capabilities and personality is possible only under the socialist organization of society.”

So what happens now when district administrators, statutes, and politicians at every level of both parties abbreviate that push as the “full development of the individual’s capabilities and personality” as the goal? Is that possible in a society where individuals still are empowered vs political institutions hyping Equity and necessary ‘governance’? What if those goals are set out in a Beta Credentials Framework created by Mozilla frequent Partner–the Lumina Foundation–http://connectingcredentials.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/ConnectingCredentials-4-29-30.pdf that is intended to bind while remaining unseen.

What if that Framework discloses not just desired ways of Thinking and Personal and Social Skills, but that in the US and internationally there is a Tuning Process to standardize and circumscribe knowledge in each of the disciplines. Also notice the admission of what I warned about in Chapter 4 of my book-the US is adopting Qualifications Frameworks that will bind employers into hiring quotas. There is a recurring theme through the Playbook, the Agency by Design “Maker-Centered Learning and the Determination of Self” mentioned in the last post, and that Lumina Credentials Framework. Young people are to be trained, primed, and credentialed to act with no body of knowledge available to be a barrier to a willingness to act.

When the purpose of all education becomes about how can “students come to see themselves as capable of effecting positive change in their own lives and in the community” and “muster the wherewithal to change things through making,” we are back in the aspirations Nobel-Prize economist Friedrich Hayek called The Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism in his last book. When the declared aspirations are to turn these fostered dispositions and beliefs into “habits of mind” guiding from an unconscious level, we cannot afford to be waved off from a discussion of the likely consequences because we may not have ed degrees and those with them think this is all A-OK. After all, I have listened to Ed Doctorate admins brag about using notorious brainwashing techniques on reluctant teachers without any idea there is any notoriety attached to what they are suggesting.

We parents, in other words, and just average concerned citizens who know what made this country great and what has always doomed civilizations in the past have to be the Cavalry. Even the rare politician with an excellent mind seems to get bad advice from their staff or the ‘conservative’ think tanks on the issue of education and that’s apart from not bothering to read the binding language they are willing to enact or appreciating the presence of a Scheffler Programmatic Novel Definition.  This parent read all the references to designing and making new ways of being in the world and remembered something Harvard psychologist Jerome Bruner wrote in 1951 in the Foreword of the other Russian Research Center book we have covered.

“speak of the need for a psychology that may support democracy. For man’s image of the nature of man is not only a matter of objective inquiry; it is and has always been a prime instrument of social and political control. He who molds that image does so with enormous consequences for the society in which he lives.”

Now we have this exact aspiration of molding going on, but hiding behind terms like Whole Child, learning needs, student-centered or personalized learning, Maker Movement and others that obscure the nature and purpose of the true K-12 and higher ed shift. I can at least track all these shifts and recognize the fallacies involved and go looking for someone far more authoritative and experienced with the tragedies of these idea to cite. What did Hayek mean as the Fatal Conceit? He described it as the socialist or Planning belief that “man is able to shape the world around him according to his wishes.” Sound familiar from even a typical city council meeting these days or a faculty luncheon?

I cover this somewhat in my book Credentialed to Destroy: How and Why Education Became a Weapon, but with the Maker Movement and Agency by Design and engineered Competencies and Habits of Mind bringing all these aspirations once again to the forefront, let’s go back in history to recognize the likely consequences. Historically, economic prosperity arose in “those communities [where] individuals were allowed to make free use of their individual knowledge.” Now in the name of Equity we are limiting and prescribing what is to be known. That would be the Antithesis of what works and is entirely consistent with the norm noted by Hayek where “common local knowledge or that of a ruler determined the activities of all.” Make that rulers plural now between the mayors, legislators, governors, Congress, and the OECD and UN entities.

Talking about the fall of the Roman empire, Hayek noted that the decline and final collapse “came only after the central administration in Rome increasingly displaced free endeavour. This sequence has been repeated again and again: civilisation might spread, but is not likely to advance much further, under a government that takes over the direction of daily affairs from its citizens.”

That is precisely what is being attempted in the US and elsewhere all over the West in 2015 and education is the most formidable arrow in the Planning and Future Alteration Quiver. I do not bring back expressions like the New Soviet Man to hype, but as a reminder that the techniques are the same and so are the goals. The West, and especially the US, is supposedly the place with the technology and wealth to meet everyone’s needs globally. What Uncle Karl called little c communism and the Soviets never thought they were ready for.

The global entities and too many foundations and grievance interest groups think now is the time and we are the place to push for this peaceful shift via education, the ballot box, federal spending, and raw political power. It won’t work for the reasons Hayek cited, but we all have to be able to call a Spade a Spade and recognize what is being attempted, how, and why.

Stopped by powerful governments, parasitic officials, and obtuse politicians is not the epitaph any of us want with an upcoming 239th Anniversary of the Greatest Country in History looming.

 

 

Fodder for Political Exploitation: When ECAA Removes All Barriers and Adds Required Intrusions

Miss me? ECAA (Every Child Achieves Act of 2015) is the acronym for the latest update to federal K-12 legislation and it is scheduled to come to the Senate floor for debate any day now. Yesterday, as I was getting ready to start trumpeting the truth of the tsunami coming at us again, I read a quote from Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson, the Republican sponsor of last summer’s WIOA legislation that I am so horrified by,  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/priority-economic-citizenship-for-some-officially-sanctioned-status-as-prey-for-most-of-us/ . Politico quoted him as hoping for votes from ‘conservatives’ on ECAA because of the provisions allowing parents to Opt Out of testing requirements and also not requiring states to use the Common Core. Having read all 792 pages of that leviathan piece of legislation, a suggestion implying that those voting on it need only look at one or two provisions seemed to me like an excuse to ignore the reality of what the legislation shifts.

Now I have mentioned in previous posts that the practices mandated and theories used track back to Soviet psych research and their 1930s views of the type of citizens they wanted education to create. That’s troubling, but lets leave the S word and its close cousin the M word (as in Uncle Karl) out of today’s concerns. Isakson’s points reminded me that there was language in ECAA that appears to override that Opt Out language since the required ECAA annual assessments are to be “administered to all public elementary school and secondary school students in the state.” I am pretty sure that will be the provision waved in parents faces after the legislation is adopted. Plus the school district can fight parents with litigation expenses funded by the taxpayers. No warm and fuzzy comfort from that page 617 prohibition against federal mandates, direction, and control.

Again what good is that or referencing the Common Core when only certain types of ‘performance standards’ as in desired actions or conduct to be demonstrated by students can meet the criteria already mandated by ECAA under that already noted squirrelly definition of “Challenging State Academic Standards” language.  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/congressionally-mandating-dialectical-thinking-and-then-forcing-states-to-annually-measure-and-manipulate-it/ Now to elaborate on the true essence of what is being targeted by ECAA that ought to be Out of Bounds in a free society I am going to quote from a 2014 UN/ILO report book called Transforming Economies–Making Industrial Policy Work for Growth, Jobs and Development . That report talks about the US so we get to pay attention to what is sought since as the song goes “This is My Country, Land that I Love…”

The UN excitedly said that “Industrial Policies shape opportunities for economy-wide learning” not to mention lots of exploitation opportunities for Senators, legislators, mayors, and local council members. And what do future citizens need to learn for this future of the kind of Industrial Policy that WIOA just happens to have foisted on all 50 states? Probably making the UN Oh So Happy and definitely constituting a shift for the US to more of a CME–Coordinated Market Economy like the cited Japan and Germany? Well, we need generic skills, but more importantly what must be controlled are the Concepts that “allow individuals to categorize and structure information and data, to analyze and interpret empirically observed phenomena, to gain understanding and meaning and make choices.”

That target never varies and looking to make sure those desired Concepts are taking hold and are likely to prompt and guide future actions is PRECISELY what the ECAA required annual HOTS (Higher Order Thinking Skills) assessments that cannot be opted out of are looking for. Now we have come across other names for this focus on Concepts before and I have tagged some of them to this post. Showing just how crucial getting into and manipulating how each student’s mind works and how they are likely to behave in the future is to the global vision of K-12 education ‘reform’ that ECAA is a component of, the Next Generation Science Standards last month, in a draft of its “Primary Evaluation of Essential Criteria for Alignment” in the classroom assessments, created three new acronyms for us.

SEPs–Science and Engineering Practices to make sure the concepts are tied to ongoing actual student activities and behaviors and are not just the subject of a dreaded test of knowledge, or, Horrors!, Rote Learning. We also have DCIs, which can be used in any area and stand for Disciplinary Core Ideas. Then we also have our last new acronym–CCCs or Cross-Cutting Concepts to provoke some genuine interdisciplinary insights and perceptions that apply across all subject areas. Cool, huh? Just think of what Joe Stalin or Fidel Castro could have done with an education system that pushes everyone to have the same perceptual filters embedded unconsciously within the mind and integrated into practiced behaviors until they are reflexes.

Cannot linger because something else came out this past week–the Remake Learning Playbook that is expanding beyond Pittsburgh and working with the White House and Congressional initiative–Digital Promise and getting funding from the MacArthur Foundation. There is so much of the vision of where we are actually going in that Playbook, but relevant to today’s post in particular, was a mention of adhering to the Economic and Sector strategies created by a Harvard Business School prof by the name of Michael Porter. That got my attention since WIOA is full of Sector Strategies and the National Governors Association has cited it as a reason for needing the Common Core to reform the nature of American high school. (August 4 & 10, 2014 posts).

So that name Michael Porter rang a bell from some connections at Harvard from witnesses Lamar Alexander called to testify at the original hearings on the reauthorization. Ignoring his connection to the Monitor Consulting Group bankruptcy since that should have no bearing on the validity of public policy recommendations, I discover http://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Publication%20Files/Clusters_and_Economic_Policy_White_Paper_8e844243-aa23-449d-a7c1-5ef76c74236f.pdf that Clusters are to be the new form of approved American Industrial Policy. As a bonus it allows the federal government and its agencies to coordinate with states and localities, which sounds a great deal like progressive polyphonic federalism (Jan 28, 2015 post) to me. Also goes well again with WIOA and those soon to be filed required state plans. Truly, my bliss at the public sector exploitation potentials knows no bounds.

See why they need K-12 policy to line up with these planned manipulations? Now just imagine the potential for all the plans for metro areas to be the economic drivers and to force Equity in Outcomes from having Professor Porter be the founder of ICIC-the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City. ICIC, by the way, works with the same Brookings that is in charge of the Rockefeller-funded Metropolitanism initiative and the UNESCO/OECD Learning Metrics Task Force. If I had a white board and we were talking in person all these connections would seem to be a game of Whack-a-Mole, but apparently we are the ones about to get whacked.

Now, not to pat myself on the back or anything, but after a book and 3 years of this blog, I really know this area so reading a 1960 book yesterday by a Harvard philosophy prof, Israel Scheffler, brought there in 1952 by the Rockefeller Foundation, I recognized that he, too, was describing the kind of behavior guided by conceptual understanding that has given us the above three new acronyms. Well, a few searches later of people who ought to be involved if my suspicions were correct pulled up a “Teaching for Understanding” initiative from Harvard in the early 90s that was originally funded by the Spencer Foundation, but later by MacArthur.  http://www.exploratorium.edu/ifi/resources/workshops/teachingforunderstanding.html That would be the same MacArthur Foundation now funding the national expansion via the Remake Learning Playbook mentioned above.

That paper explains all about ‘understanding performances’ and how true understanding needs to be demonstrated by behavior and action. Just like what we now know is required under ECAA’s definition of HOTS and what will qualify as the requisite Challenging State Academic Standards. Fascinating, huh? Remember all the references in ECAA to ‘needs’ and ‘personalized learning’? Well, the Playbook talks about that as well and recommends Project-Based Learning and the Maker Movement. How active! Maybe get to practice with all three new acronyms some more and join the “global conversation about learning innovation” while staying “responsive to the real needs and priorities of local communities.” Global and local-what a nice slogan. Probably why the various UN entities keep hyping it.

I will get back to that Playbook in the next post since this one is devoted to all the initiatives ECAA pulls in that we were not supposed to know about. Some of us already know that the White House and various companies have really been hyping the Maker Movement and maker Faires. It’s not just that Playbook. Hint: it also dovetails nicely with Sector Strategy plans for us. When I was updating that Teaching for Understanding work by Harvard’s Project Zero, it pulled up a January 2015 White Paper from them called “Maker-Centered Learning and the Development of Self: Preliminary Findings of the Agency By Design Project” that builds on this desire to redesign our students from the inside-out and then let them practice until the shifts take hold at a neurological level.

I’m afraid that is where the title came from. No boundaries anymore to what the White House, Congress, ed researchers, tax-free ‘philanthropies’ and others apparently plan to do to our students unless we are supposed to be cheered that no one is trying to get authority for sexual exploitation. They want to interfere with, redesign, and then monitor annually each student with mounds of data at the very level of the Self-their Identity.

Mercy me. I think Mao Tse-Tung himself would have lusted after such authority over China’s citizens. Especially if hardly anyone would know of the level of interference and manipulation.

Why, Congress, why?

 

Shaped and Sculpted Young People Ready to be Governable Participants in a New Future

Remember that catchy Peter Paul and Mary song “Leaving on a Jet Plane”? Well, I am practically humming it in my head this afternoon. After reading revelations in the last few months that have me feeling like I have been staring at a supernova without my comrade-approved conceptual goggles, I am taking a little break. Because things have been breaking so fast and furiously just in the last week though, I want to talk first about what is happening and also to bring back a group of posts that bears directly on interpreting the intentions of the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015.

Now I am known for liking a good Grab the Attention metaphor in my titles, but this one is an actual quote of the intentions involving students, education, data, and experimenting to create new kinds of people and societies via public policy. First, we get a declaration of giving the public bogus reasons on why children need to learn to code as a basic new educational skill. Meanwhile admitting that the required practices will reorient students into the new ways of thinking “required to participate in the digital governance of the state” [and thus them, whether our 'new thinkers' ever grasp that real goal]. Later, ‘digital making’ activities are acknowledged as “a way of seeking to shape citizen subjectivities and capacities”, which certainly fits with my insistence that K-12 education globally is now intent on molding future likely behaviors and the student’s personality at a biological level.

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00220620.2015.1038693 will take you to the journal to download this Mother of all Confessions. The title actually comes from this doozy on page 267 where we are told “learning to code is itself a form of digital policy instrumentation–a technical means of operationalizing a particular set of policy ideas and exercising specific effects in terms of the governance and control of the population. It is a channel through which young people are to be shaped and sculpted with both the civic capacities and expertise to become governable participants in emerging strategies, techniques, and methods of digital governance.”

Elsewhere that report announces that these well-connected public and social innovation labs show the “spread of experimentalism as an ideology for how we shape the future.” In case that’s not graphic enough and showing why I had to get one more post up before my Great Adventure, we have adaptive learning, data science in education, and these psi labs generally declared to be seen “unambiguously as part of an ideological project of designing the future.” Now pay attention also because the Next Generation Science Standards put out an advisory on assessment this week that fits with the following as a desirable Practice to be Measured: “based on the assumption that design can envision desirable realities and develop ways to make those futures realities.”

I will deal with NGSS when I return so wish me a safe trip. In the meantime we also have philanthropies and governments at all levels admitting their coordinated efforts with each other to redesign society around place-based initiatives.  https://socialinnovation.usc.edu/files/2014/12/Prioritizing-Place-Moving-to-Higher-Ground.pdf Of course that report further confesses all the particular federal programs we are funding with all this deficit spending and the ties to fed Ed and then the need to transform the broader social and economic systems. We are told excitedly that this is not an ‘Either/Or” situation, but calls for an Integrated Framework that they intend to keep practicing on us with.

Maybe I should find a cave somewhere and just hide in the wilderness. If I did that though, who else would look at a paper like https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B__OTXR_u3RbYkRQX3dKWjNtalE/view “Driving the skills agenda: Preparing students for the future” from Google [who is really psyched about this data emphasis by the way] and notice all the undisclosed connections. Instead of reading it as major employer speaks about what all employers need, I remembered our recent post http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/windows-on-the-mind-to-confiscate-and-control-our-very-essence/ where Google called for changes in public policy to redesign society. Maybe Google is once again speaking as someone with a Stake in this Game of Experimentalism with Data and less as an Employer.

I noticed Google hired the Economist Intelligence Unit to prepare the report, but no one ever mentioned that Pearson, with its global Ed Unit headed by Sir Michael Barber of ISC tag fame himself, owns The Economist. Many of the experts involved with the report are also involved with ATC21S, the global 21st century skills initiative backed by Microsoft, Cisco, and Intel, but that is omitted from the paper as well. Since I covered ATC21S in my book Credentialed to Destroy, I got to call on that knowledge in reading the report. It also allowed me to notice that the very skills “employers need” are the same skills being touted as necessary to be a 21st Century ATC21S Learner. Now since Pearson is officially part of ATC21S and so are UNESCO, the OECD, and the World Bank we are getting what will satisfy the desires of the transformative Learning Metrics Task Force now being pitched as necessary to satisfy what employers need.

I can practically see every county, state, or country bidding to be the next recipient of a jobs-creating data center for Google being presented with that very document. Then the eager-to-please and plan ‘business development’ mayor, council members, governors, legislators, and Congress critters will cry in unison that “this is what our schools must do or there will be no jobs.” That’s how what is openly acknowledged to be Experimentalism and social theories looking for implementation to produce data to see if they work makes it all the way to your local school to start that Shaped and Sculpted Process.

Beyond those links that should probably be read with an adult beverage or your blood pressure medicine nearby, I am providing the links to a series of posts I wrote originally in January 2014. I called it the Obuchenie Trilogy, but there were four of them as it turned out. Obuchenie is a Russian word that does not translate smoothly into English, but understanding it as a goal is crucial for translating the Every Child Achieves Act’s aspirations for our children into the actual goals. In order here are the posts so we can get ready to deal with ECAA when I get back.

http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/obscuring-the-reinvention-of-all-education-around-envisaging-new-ways-of-being-in-the-world/

http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/unveiling-the-true-focus-of-the-common-core-obuchenie-within-students-to-gain-desired-future-behaviors/

http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/supposedly-creating-a-generation-of-solutionaries-by-using-education-to-create-futures-oriented-change-agents/

Finally, we have this  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/finale-of-the-dangerous-mindset-trilogy-spreading-the-contagion-to-fundamentally-alter-how-we-think-and-live/

Reading the language of the new form of ECAA, 1177, made me think of what Benjamin Bloom really intended Mastery Learning to become because that seemed to be a driver behind the 1177 language’s clear intent to fundamentally change our children. When I went back to the early 70s, I found Bloom writing alarmingly about changing the nature of the task in order to change the student in order to get at Cognitive Behaviors and Affective Characteristics. Well, that’s clearly not just another way to teach math or reading so it becomes accessible to all. There was something else noticeable though in the 1974 book schools, society, and mastery learning that wrote up presentations from an AERA annual conference.

Remember what the typeface created by the old typewriters looked like and how much trouble it would be to hyphenate ‘teaching-learning process’ just like that for more than 100 pages of typing. Sometimes it appears several times on a single page. Someone wanted that hyphenation because it helped stipulate the meaning of the phrase. In my mind, that much trouble consistently gone to in the early 70s means we are right about the phrase being a translated Russian word for a psychological and pedagogical practice created over there. Being brought over here and in 2015 it’s about to make it into a federal law when accurately understood.

Don’t expect a thank you from me for THAT importation into our classrooms.

Russian psych research, federal law, and Experimentalism via data as an ideological project of designing the future.

Leaving everyone with lots of relevant reading so no one needs to Miss Me While I’m Gone.

Now humming “Sure Gonna Miss Me While I’m Gone” as I pack. See ya.

Personalized Learning as a Molding Mechanism and Prime Instrument for Social and Political Control

We have discussed some of the implications of the personalized learning language in the Every Child Achieves Act rewrite of the K-12 federal education legislation, but most of what will guide the classroom practices and data being accumulated (“a data warehouse for every student”) lies in documents other than ECAA. Scouring those, as I am prone to do in my research, in turn sent me scurrying back to a Carnegie-funded book from 1952 called The New Man in Soviet Psychology. Similar language, comparable visions, and the same recommended changes to education generally means the same real goals whether that is being acknowledged up front or not. I want to go back to something Stalin told Party members in 1933, since we are highly unlikely to get a comparable confession from members of Congress in 2015, on the need to solve the ‘human problems’ if the desired transformations were to truly take hold in the USSR. “Even though the industrial and social base of the old society had been largely destroyed, the ‘remnants of capitalism’ still lingered in the minds of men.” Quoting Uncle Joe himself:

“You as Marxists should know that in its development the mentality of man lags behind his actual condition. In status the members of collective farms are no longer individual farmers, but collectivists, but their mentality is still the old one–that of the owner of private property.”

Stalin and the Soviets made no bones about their intention to “bring all possible facilities of society to bear on the problem of training and controlling its individual citizens.” They were especially fond of using the law in such a binding manner. Methinks they would have liked the language of ECAA and its close sibling, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act (WIOA) from last summer, a great deal. What these measures share in common is a desire to create an organized society. Now obviously that was not news to any Soviet in the 1930s, but it is news to many Americans in the 21st Century, which is why so much of what is intended to bind and quietly alter the minds of men is hidden and not being discussed openly.

What is an organized society anyway? It’s the idea that a society can be consciously organized and directed. In the case of the US in the 21st century, the organization is around the concept of Equity and an obligation to meet people’s needs, whoever they are and however they came to the US. In pushing this vision of social justice, or as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon calls it–Dignity for All by 2030–the organized society shifts from a place where people make their own choices to a “society in which–insofar as possible–all the parts are coordinated to the service of the whole by the deliberate decisions of persons who are in a position to implement that decision.” Hard to get politicians or public sector employees at any level to back off that kind of decision-making power once they get a whiff of the possibilities.

And the number one “theoretical tool for the coordination of society” in the Soviet Union of the 30s or America in 2015 is education. What the Soviets decided in the 30s and what people pushing all these reforms now know is that if they can train and guide people’s purposeful action, they can control future behaviors reliably without that being apparent. I am pretty sure Carnegie did not fund that book above just because it just loves to spend old Andrew’s steel fortune. It found its vision compatible with where it hoped the US would go as well. That likelihood becomes even more apparent when we look at the Foreword of the book and find Harvard prof and cognitive scientist, Jerome Bruner, wrote it. Bruner, citing John Dewey as having a comparable vision, wrote about:

“the need for a psychology that may support democracy. For man’s image of the nature of man is not only a matter of objective inquiry, it is and has always been a prime instrument of social and political control. He who molds that image does so with enormous consequences for the society in which he lives.”

Words to remember as we delve into personalized learning and so many of the practices and theories we have imported from the Soviet Union. What Bruner knew and what Carnegie knows since it funded the research, we are dealing with a comparable vision of using psychology to mold a consciousness and personality that becomes an activist in remaking the world that exists. Would you like to hazard a guess at the number 1 aspect or trait the Soviets knew they needed to control and mold? Motivation. Would anyone like to hazard a guess as to what the number one feature of ‘personalizing learning’ is in 2015 in the US? That’s right. It’s determining and then accessing student’s at the level of their intrinsic motivation.

I have tracked the meaning of personalizing instruction and learning through a lot of reports, but the most graphic is probably in the January 2015 National Initiative from the School Mental Health Project at UCLA. Given all the references in ECAA to the needs of the students and the communities and ‘learning supports’ it appears to me that the entire 204 page document is intended to be implemented via ECAA without anyone in Congress giving a Heads Up. The report is called “Transforming Student and Learning Supports: Developing a Unified, Comprehensive, and Equitable System” and it tells us upfront it has been created as part of that theme I am asserting is being used to turn us quietly into an organized society. “Equity of opportunity is fundamental to securing civil rights; transforming student and learning supports is fundamental to enabling equity of opportunity.”

Law school was decades ago but there is a trigger threshold in con law once something is deemed a ‘fundamental right’ and that seems to be precisely what this plan wants to trigger. Awfully crucial not to be in the open, isn’t it? Well, it is now so let’s quote what it says about personalization in education:

“personalizing instruction means ensuring conditions for learning are perceived by the learner as good ways to attain goals s/he wants to reach. Thus, a basic intervention concern is eliciting learners’ perceptions of how well what is offered matches both their interests and abilities. This has fundamental implications for all efforts to assess students and manage behavior.”

Manage behavior? Goal-seeking, purposeful actor? Doesn’t this sound precisely like the 30s Soviet shift on how to get at the minds of men to mold a new mentality? Should we be concerned that this 2015 National Initiative says that “From our perspective, the aim of personalizing learning is to enhance stable, positive, intrinsic attitudes that mobilize and maintain engagement in learning.” So all the language about “(a) ensure motivational readiness, (b) enhance motivation during learning, and (c) increase intrinsic motivation as an outcome” seems a bit heavy-handed, but it’s only one document, right? Well, there’s also the ISTE 2014 “Personalized Learning: A Guide for Engaging Students with Technology” that will likely guide what the language of ECAA really means for our students and ultimately all of us.

It helpfully lets us know that “personalized learning is not the digitization of traditional learning” since after all, it is the student’s mind and personality that are the real focus of this digital menu. Showing that unfortunately subject content areas are merely the means to get the desired changes in the students we are told to set goals and then try to achieve those established goals. How purposive! A goal-seeking actor just like Stalin wanted the emphasis to be on. “Progress through subject area content is measured by the demonstration of proficiency in identified skills and understanding.” Those would be the skills and understanding needed not for the world we now have, but that desired future which needs a new kind of citizen and worker.

Now I can say repeatedly that this is not the model of coursework we are all used to and insist how much manipulation is going on, but a vision of “courses built around concepts and learning outcomes” just speaks volumes about how socially engineered this “self-directed learning” will actually be. Let’s look somewhere else since this 2014 Summit on Personalized Learning of the White House-sponsored Digital Promise and League of Innovative Schools was uploaded to the internet about the time this new version of ECAA–1177–became available. http://www.fi.ncsu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/TEPLS_report-FINAL-051415.pdf Let’s go to page 18 since it is describing a federal grant to “revolutionize instruction”.

Now how ‘personalized’ does learning in the ordinary dictionary meaning of the term seem if we specify what all students need to know and then want to assess “How will we know they’ve learned it? and “What will we do if they haven’t learned it?” How a student chooses to show their learning is flexible and the activities they engage in to practice the desired learning has lots of options, but what is to be learned does not. Whether the student gets it or not, there’s actually a great deal mandatory to this personalized vision. That’s just not supposed to be apparent to either the students or us, lest we object to the clear coercion at the levels of mind, values, attitudes, and feeling.

This was true in every recent personalized learning paper I found. Here’s another http://www.siia.net/Portals/0/pdf/Education/PerLearnPaper.pdf The quiet mandatory nature makes perfect sense if this is all intended to be a molding mechanism in pursuit of an organized society where Equity is the lode star for decision-making.

If we go back to that 1952 book it will tell us that “The Bolshevik controls man by training his motives and shaping his ideology.” As someone who has read all these reports and ECAA, I am now asserting that personalizing instruction and “personalized rigorous learning experiences” are intended to train student’s motives for future action as well.

And the requirements about annual assessing of “higher order thinking and understanding” are monitoring whether the minds are being suitably molded and trained in “ideological thinking.” Because at its core, that’s where there is no flexibility.

Is the student using the desired concepts? Is she demonstrating desired values and appropriate attitudes?

Will he be motivated to act when and in the way desired? At least Uncle Joe was transparent in his aims, unlike Congress and most legislatures, governors, and city councils.

Eager to benefit from such social and political control over us.

 

 

Commanding Students to Treat Themselves as Manipulable Objects Means Invisible, Ongoing Predation

This post ends what began as a Trilogy but became a Quartet of posts when Senator Lamar Alexander substituted a substantially new version of his K-12 federal legislation rewrite with virtually no attempt to let the voting public know of the switch. As the last post covered in part, as a whole 1177, as the bill is called, reads as if it is the fulfillment of everything the behavioral and social scientists in Palo Alto have ever wanted from education to remake the existing world. It will take the sequel to my book Credentialed to Destroy to lay out all the connections I have documented, but I have them and I get to read 1177 with the informed mind and well-stocked glossary from books and papers going back to its founding in the early 50s. 1177 is also deeply embued with the communitarian ethos and seeks to turn it into collective obligations under federal law. Quite a combo.

I began this Quartet with the Fraud of the Century post because I thought it was important to begin to frame these shifts accurately as a usurpation by governments at all levels of an ability to make decisions that traditionally and legitimately belonged to private individuals. Now please forgive me for what is about to be a graphic metaphor, but it is the best comparison I can come up with and it unfortunately fits. Back in China under Mao or the USSR, the ordinary people knew perfectly well that they were coerced and manipulated by the power of the State. I won’t say imagine because this may be an apt image, but it’s not a pleasant one, that you wake up to someone with a knife to your throat and they insist that if you submit to sex they will not hurt you further. You may not have black eyes, but you were still raped and you would know that.

What the behavioral and social scientists in the East and West have been looking for over decades in a horrifyingly coordinated manner (also documented repeatedly beyond what is in first book) is an ability to gain that physical submission to whatever schemes the public sector decides on without the public appreciating the extent of the sought submission. That of course requires psychological manipulation and a limiting of knowledge, which is precisely what K-12 education in the US has sought to do from the original legislation in 1965 forward. On page 32,  the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015 (ECAA) prescribes that  each state “shall include the same knowledge, skills, and levels of achievement expected of all public school students in the state.” The ‘same’ and ‘all’ are deliberate language that limits what can now go on in K-12 public education for every child, regardless of ability.

Accessible to all as a legal requirement means that the focus has to be on emotions, beliefs, and behaviors because those are the only things all children have in common. Usefully those are the areas that the behavioral scientists have always wanted to access and now it’s the only legally acceptable focus. How useful. Now we are going to go back to one of the Big Fish among those behavioral scientists, Benjamin Bloom, to something he wrote back in 1976, where he believed his Mastery Learning techniques (notice how many times ‘mastery’ appears in ECAA) could create equality of learning.

He also wanted to shift the focus of school away from subject-content to affective characteristics, cognitive behaviors, and psychomotor skills. He pointed out that making equality of learning outcomes (italicized just like that) be a goal of education rather than equality of opportunity would mean “teachers and instructional material and procedures should  emphasize acceptable levels of learning for all children.” High standards gets its height from the percentage meeting the goal, not from the height of the goals themselves.

We see that same planned focus in the remake of all high schools project that started in 1998 as the National Urban High School project that the National Governors Association and the federal DoED saw no reason to tell us about. We have already discussed how all secondary schoolwork will meet distressingly low ‘common core goals’ such as the listed low, non-intellectual skills the federal Department of Labor created for its SCANS-Secretary’s Commission on Acquiring Necessary Skills in 1992. Oh, that would be when Alexander was the federal Education Secretary. What are the odds? From the 2008 NUHS “Seeing the Future” report, let me quote two more examples of “Common Core Goals” that would “cut across disciplines, drive the curriculum, and serve as the standards for assessing student work.”

The Six Hoover Learner Outcomes: What All Students Should Know and Be Able to Do on Graduation

1. Demonstrate habits of inquiry

2. Experience high technology

3. Collect, analyze, and organize resources and information

4. Communicate ideas and information

5. Work effectively with others

6. Organize personal resources, plan goals for the future, and show a commitment to lifelong learning

Now try to control your enthusiasm at these generic skills and personal qualities as I list The Five Habits of Mind from Central Park East Secondary, NYC.

Connection: How is it connected to other things?

Perspective: What is the viewpoint?

Evidence: How do we know what we know?

Speculation: How else may it be considered?

Significance: What difference does it make?

With those thresholds, what will now constitute mandated ‘learning for all’ judged as meeting federal law requirements, these very low and largely non-academic ‘common core goals’ asked of high schoolers will make a great deal of difference to where the US and other countries with comparable goals are really headed. Just imagine College and Career Readiness based on those as the high school completion goals and we will see why we found what we covered in this post. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/now-more-than-five-years-into-an-attempt-to-help-organize-a-near-total-revision-of-human-behavior/ , which usefully gets us back to a global focus as we all ask why, why? For that answer we need to go to Uzbekistan to some research Alexander Luria did there in the early 30s to test the effect literacy had on the mind based on a theory he and Lev Vygotsky had developed.

What Luria found was that: “For illiterate peasants speech and reasoning simply echoed practical and situational activity. For somewhat educated people the relationship was reversed: Abstract categories dominated and restructured situational experience.” In other words, illiteracy is problemmatic for pushing theoretical thinking as a reliable guide to altering perception, and thus future behavior, because it simply does not work. It works poorly with an Axemaker Mind that recognizes inapt metaphors and can develop its own concepts from its personal store of facts. So if that Davydov vision of a restructured curriculum and purpose of school we met in the last post and in Chapters 2 and 3 of my book is to work students need to be kept at a Basic Skills and low levels of factual knowledge threshold. Are things making more sense now?

And we have also documented repeatedly that in mandating assessments tied to higher order thinking skills and understanding ECAA mandates that Davydov vision. Now the title came out of reading the following passage in a book from 1981 called Educating because the described vision throughout the book dovetailed so well with the real Common Core implementation I documented in my book and all the references to ‘learning’ now in ECAA. Gowin stated that “voluntary individual learning probably cannot begin until the person can regard the self as an object…One must be able to treat oneself as an object in order to probe one’s self, to see it as an instrument in learning.” What ECAA does is mandate that the student must view themselves that way and accept the school’s right to manipulate his beliefs, attitudes, values, behaviors, and even the hardwiring of his brain as he wishes.

That’s what that language in the statute translates into when it is run through the behavioral sciences glossary and existing papers and books. Gowin called it  a ‘controlled yielding’ and viewed the reorganization of the mind and personality at a neural level as necessary. All of this is bad enough and quickly leads to all sorts of literature on precisely what Transformational Learning really means that makes me long for that first post where we were angry that “high standards” meant combining college prep and vocational into project-based learning for all students. A reader though has passed on the most aggressive charter language I have ever read from the school district, Clarke County, whose leader was recently named National School Superintendent of the Year. https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B8U0imqlmoA-alFFRU1aNGxBQjQ/view?pli=1

It was this local school district declaring the right to reorganize its students minds and personalities via required “personalized dynamic learning experiences” that really brought home the level of predatory invasions governments at every level are insisting on. Dynamic means transformative change in the student so I want to close with a quote from the late Professor Jack Mezirow on Transformative Learning Theory that fits with where that charter, the ECAA, and this entire learning focus takes us. Long, but vital.

“Transformative learning is defined as the process by which we transform problemmatic frames of reference (mindsets, habits of mind, meaning perspectives)–sets of assumption and expectation–to make them more inclusive, discriminating, open, reflective and emotionally able to change. Such frames are better because they are more likely to generate beliefs and opinions that will prove more true or justified to guide action.

Frames of reference are the structures of culture and language through which we construe meaning by attributing coherence and significance to our experience. They selectively shape and delimit our perception, cognition and feelings by predisposing our intentions, beliefs, expectations, and purposes. These preconceptions set our ‘line of action’. Once set or programmed, we automatically move from one specific mental or behavioural activity to another, and we have a strong tendency to reject ideas that fail to fit our preconceptions.”

No wonder the behavioural scientists wanted a shift to theoretical instruction (called there frames of reference) as I have repeatedly documented. No wonder the government officials and employees who want all this power are lying to us.

The public sector gets to determine what is problemmatic and decide the desired fix and it’s all out of sight. Except for in the language it is using in laws, regulations, and charters to try to make all these personal intrusions mandatory.

Luckily for us the latter is my playground.

 

Illegitimate Extension: the Stealth Substitution of ECAA and the Dystopian Future Triggered by its Mandates and Lures

ECAA is the acronym for the new federal K-12 legislation–the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015. Since Senator Lamar Alexander, assuming unknown to me powers never discussed in Civics in that “How a Bill Becomes a Law” brochure, has pulled what unanimously passed his Senate subcommittee and substituted this more than 200 page longer bill http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-114s1177pcs/pdf/BILLS-114s1177pcs.pdf , we are going to interrupt our trilogy to take a look. Especially since the lack of any genuine public notice of the “Yoohoo, Heads Up” variety makes it appear none of us were supposed to have a chance to notice and object to the switch. I was not fond of the old bill’s language and wrote several posts explaining why back in April.

The new language though requires, as a matter of binding federal law, two revolutionary shifts in American schools. It imposes the UNESCO/OECD Seven Domains (and accompanying subdomains explicitly in numerous instances too often to be coincidental) of Universal Education. I intuited that after I finished the 792 page bill and then located the 3 reports created by the Brookings Institute Learning Metrics Task Force (LMTF) and published in February 2013, July 2013, and June 2014. All the reports start with “Toward Universal Learning”. Report 1 is then titled “What Every Child Should Learn” and lays out those 7 domains of Physical wellbeing, social and emotional, culture and the arts, literacy and communication, Learning approaches and cognition, Numeracy and mathematics, and science and technology. Report 2 is “A Global Framework for Measuring Learning” and Report 3 lays out “Implementing Assessment to Improve Learning.”

Report 2 gives the perfect rationale for why ECAA has had such a stealth approach and why the Opt Out movement seems to really be about shifting to formative assessments and a Whole Child approach. Let’s listen in on this useful confession:

“While measurement may have different purposes at different levels, the systems for measuring and improving learning at the classroom, national, and global levels should not be working in isolation. Globally tracked indicators should be aligned with what is measured nationally and in schools or classrooms, while measurement at the national level should be aligned with the competencies measured in classrooms or schools.”

That is why ECAA is so intent on ensuring that all states and local school districts are using “high-quality assessments” and measuring “higher order thinking and understanding.” Now I have written about the meanings of these terms before, most particularly here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/muzzling-minds-all-over-the-globe-while-trumpeting-higher-order-skills/ , but it is time to reveal that second revolutionary shift mandated as a MATTER OF LAW by ECAA. It forces a vision of theoretical learning and “mastering of the technique of theoretical concept formation” developed in the Soviet Union to create ideological thinkers who could be manipulated by state authorities (or anyone else who knew about the methods). This relates to what is described in Chapter 3 of my book and is also why it is so alarming that ECAA has the National Science Foundation providing recommendations on Best Practices in STEM coursework.

After I had finished reading both the new ECAA and those three Universal Education reports, I pulled a 1984 book Psychology in Utopia: Toward a Social History of Soviet Psychology for insights into what was being mandated via ECAA as “personalized, rigorous learning experiences that are supported through technology” and a repeated obligation to “personalize learning”. This is all under the Innovative Technology Expands Children’s Horizon’s (I-Tech) part that begins on page 551. In other words, after normal people have become too frustrated with ECAA to continue. I have known for a while that the phrase “personalized learning” is a quagmire of misunderstandings and psychologically intrusive practices to lock-in, at a neurological level, how the world will be interpreted going forward.

The book’s author did not think much of this theoretical learning and called the project an “outright utopia,” which should not be extended “illegitimately, to the whole of society.” Can’t imagine then why we should enshrine it in 2015 as an obligation under federal law. The book described all the programs that Vasily Davydov and his group created in the 70s that, from my knowledge of the actual Common Core implementation as detailed in my book, is the basis for all those planned learning tasks and literacy instruction now. Oh. Good. Kozulin noted though that by 1981 Davydov’s research showed that “object-oriented activity” alone had no effect on mental development. To have that effect, a “personalized form” of “educational activity” must be found. I am guessing that is what ECAA means with its constant references to “well-rounded educational experiences.”

To be ‘personalized’ according to the research of the Soviet psychologists, the focus “of the psychological program” must get at “problems of motivation and personal reflection and the construction of individualized programs of educational activity.” That would be what ECAA calls data to ‘personalize learning’ and ‘inform instruction’ and specifically calls for the “use of data, data analytics, and information to personalize learning and provide targeted supplementary instruction.” See what I meant by Windows on the Mind from the last post?

I have a lot to cover so here’s why Universal Design for Learning had to be in ECAA and why it is vital to personalizing learning http://www.eschoolnews.com/2015/05/19/udl-personalized-939/print/ . Here is the Gates Foundation-funded and tied to OECD work and the Achievement Standards Network we have also covered on the Next Generation Learning Environment and its ties to personalizing learning. https://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/eli3035.pdf

So why really must Learning be personalized and why is what now constitutes ‘content’ under ECAA really behavior or the kind of theoretical concept knowledge or principles we have now tracked to the USSR and its visions for utopia in the future? This is from the 2nd Universal Education LMTF report. I put up a link yesterday from 2013 of Arne Duncan hyping this very global agenda of the UN Secretary-General. It is worth quoting in full, but I am bolding the real stunners. Remember the UN Dignity for All by 2030 Agenda I have covered previously.

“The world faces global challenges, which require global solutions. These interconnected global challenges call for far-reaching changes in how we think and act for the dignity of fellow human beings. It is not enough for education to produce individuals who can read, write, and count. Education must be transformative and bring shared values to life. It must cultivate an active care for the world and for those with whom we share it. Education must be relevant in answering the big questions of the day. Technological solutions, political regulation or financial instruments alone cannot achieve sustainable development. It requires transforming the way people think and act. Education must fully assume its central role in helping people to forge more just, peaceful, tolerant and inclusive societies. It must give people the understanding, skills and values they need to cooperate in resolving the interconnected challenges of the 21st century.”

That is precisely what ECAA does when you go through its actual language as I have done. By the way, that quote was from a section of the report titled “An Adaptable, Flexible Skill Set to Meet the Demands of the 21st Century.” In the US and other countries all over the world this gets sold as students having a Growth Mindset. It’s no accident that before hyping that euphemistic term Carol Dweck was a well-known Vygotsky scholar. The 1970s Soviet work is an updating of Vygotsky’s work and what this blog has tagged CHAT-cultural historical activity theory. We have met it all before http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/treating-western-society-and-its-economy-as-a-train-in-need-of-rebuilding-and-central-direction/ and now we know why. These global plans and using education as the vehicle are far more extensive even than what is already alarmingly detailed in my book.

ECAA though is the mother lode because it makes regulating our behavior and personality at a neurological level not just something schools may do, but something they MUST do. As a matter of federal law to further an admitted global agenda. LMTF Report 3 talks about how the countries are to get the global Learning agenda and the Seven Domain emphasis into schools and classrooms as a binding obligation. By the time we trace through the schoolwide PBIS, Positive School Climate, “supporting activities that promote physical and mental health and wellbeing for students and staff,” creating and maintaining “a school environment that is free of weapons and fosters individual responsibility and respect for the rights of others” and other ECAA mandates that the local schools and districts must now provide we can see how Ban Ki-Moon’s transformation through education vision quoted above makes it all the way into each classroom and each child.

I have mentioned the repeated use of “well-rounded educational experiences”. It appears to be an obligation to implement not just a Whole Child emphasis, but also to make up for whatever deficits poverty in the community, a dysfunctional family life, or any other problems like being a migrant that does not speak English may have created. All means all. Physical education language in ECAA turns quietly into a mandate to promote the “social or emotional development of every student” and “opportunities to develop positive social and cooperative skills through physical activity participation.” Again mirroring subdomains laid out in those 3 LMTF reports.

I am going to close with yet more proof that ECAA is all about fostering desired behaviors, emotions, and values as it contains repeated references to meeting students “academic needs”. Now I wouldn’t be much of a lawyer if I did not recognize defined terms left mischieviously undefined. Sure enough here’s a link to a February 2009 statement from the National Association of School Psychologists.   http://www.nasponline.org/about_nasp/positionpapers/AppropriateBehavioralSupports.pdf No wonder there are so many references to school counseling programs and mental health providers in ECAA.

I have notes on everything I have described here. If I could draw a jigsaw puzzle to show how tight the actual fit is with everything I have described, I would. It’s impossible to get this level of fit accidentally or this level of correspondences coincidentally.

I joke about speaking ed. I understand intuitively and from years of practice how the law can be used to bind people and places against what they would wish. I have put both those skills together to bring everyone a heads up.

I only wish I was speculating on any of this. Hopefully this post will reach enough people in time.

Windows on the Mind to Confiscate and Control Our Very Essence

Building on the last post’s emphasis on the public sector’s plans for us that are rarely acknowledged to our face and which have always quietly persisted whatever the popular outcry, I want to cover quite a few specific acknowledgments of the End Game that have occurred in just the last week. We may get nothing but deceit from those we elected or whose salaries we pay, but in meetings we are not invited to and reports we are unlikely to see, the coordinated juggernaut is open, explicit, and being pushed at a frenzied pace. Well, that’s not quite true, Needs to Get a Real Life here at ISC did manage to get an invite and does pay attention to all the elements of the web my research has previously indicated I should monitor. Let’s take a look and start with this true confession from UNESCO:

“One of the biggest challenges is how the Framework for Action will link education with the broader sustainable development agenda. Here we believe that more can be done – we must go deeper in exploring the connections and must reposition education at the heart of the post-2015 agenda. We have yet to make a compelling enough case that education is not just one of 17 SDGs but rather a key facilitator for achievement of all the goals. We are pleased to see that this is an issue to be addressed in the Report out next year by the EFA GMR team. Fundamental changes are needed in the world and this requires a new generation of active global citizens with new knowledge, attitudes and behaviours – for which education is the essential catalyst.”

For those of us being asked to turn over our children for years at a time to education and whose taxes pay the costs, maybe we should recognize that statement as the Declaration of War against our culture and the political structures we take for granted that it actually is. Taken from here https://efareport.wordpress.com/2015/05/15/civil-society-priorities-at-the-world-education-forum/ , these nonconsensual shifts that supposedly must occur are in preparation for the UN and the OECD’s Post-2015 plans for both people in the developed and developing countries of the world. Instead of Ripley’s “Believe It or Not” Exhibition, perhaps we need an ISC equivalent exhibition of all the confessions called “Desired or Not, Consensual or Not.”

Here’s another from the well-connected Columbia prof Jeffrey Sachs, who also managed to jet to Rome recently to lobby for a papal encyclical on Climate Change, head up the UN’s World Happiness Reports (started in 2012) pushing measures of subjective well-being as the proper concerns of governments, and be on the Broadband Commission pushing the Internet as a human right. Here’s that confession on the need for ‘data’ to force the new global economic vision  https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/sustainable-development-data-by-jeffrey-d-sachs-2015-05 and if you go to page 23 of the underlying report he talks about, you will find the call for an essential component in every country called an emis. Education Management Information System that will track all students to ensure that all schools have “quality learning” in the UNESCO vision (see above for where it leads) and practices that create Equity for all.

Now for those of you who have already located that 2008 “Seeing the Future: A Planning Guide for High Schools” document or soon will, just remember this global call for an emis that will allow education to be the invisible catalyst for the UN’s post-2015 plans while being implemented at local levels to gain control and hopefully avoid detection. Ooops on that one. Sometimes sarcasm is the most potent relief, but seriously that document is just rife with calls for data as are digital learning initiatives generally and adaptive and personalized learning specifically. Carving out protections under Student Privacy Acts (as Georgia just did in legislation touted as a model) for those types of uses means that there really is no privacy from governmental officials and their cronies to manipulate that data that offers a Window on the Mind.

That was an italicized term used to describe what ‘understand’ is to mean under all these new visions for K-12 education we covered in this post. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/harnessing-the-meaning-making-capacities-of-the-human-mind-and-then-assessing-for-the-tightness-of-the-fit/ When I decided to crosscheck this week what one of the co-authors Joseph D. Novak was doing now, it led me troublingly to the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition. He works there now and I had run into that entity before when I was tracking another troubling theorist who is also there. I remember noting at that time that the composition of its Board of Directors http://www.ihmc.us/board_directors.php reminded me of a group of people whose personal livelihoods would certainly incline them to push a political power should control the economy, mercantilist view of how the future could be shaped. However fine and nice they are as individuals, there is a clear trend to that board membership.

Think of how handy connections like that are when WIOA is mandating State Plans and calling for the states (in the Playbook linked in last post) just to go ahead and describe all their plans for education and how it will be incorporated in every locality into economic development. Then we have the new vision of high schools (2008 report) insisting that all high schools “build and sustain relationships with local employers, community and government agencies, industry associations, labor unions, and post-secondary institutions.” Well, won’t that marry well with the WIOA obligations, especially given the call to “set defined goals and a clear vision for meeting the needs of community youth”?

That old meeting the needs vision of Uncle Karl’s that was also reenforced this week by Google’s (wave hi! to our Internet monitors) UK subsidiary https://www.thersa.org/discover/publications-and-articles/reports/the-new-digital-learning-age/ which takes all the education, links to the workplace, digital learning, etc changes we are encountering and calls for explicit changes in public policy to redesign society “to develop and democratise the Power to Create.” Well, maybe that can be a category of Quality Learning and Equity those emis systems are gathering data to force and then monitor.

Anyone else think Google might have a business stake in this vision of the future? Just like a board composed of real estate developers, bankers, and Chamber of Commerce types might have a stake in a vision of learning as internalized psychological change at a neurological level that makes people highly unlikely as adults to forego the pathway that has been laid out for them. Even less likely to defy the herd. One more example from just this week was the first ever Gigabit Cities conference where everyone seemed to want to push broadband as a human right, especially this speaker http://www.govtech.com/local/Seattles-New-CTO-Focuses-on-People-Infrastructure-Broadband-Access-for-All.html . The hyping of the common good and communitarianism was so constant before I felt sickened and left that I felt tempted to stand up and affirm that historic American vision of people as something other than an instrument of government ambitions.

Seriously, how can people do slides showing the Berlin Wall coming down and mentioning the recognition that “centralized planning does not work” while less than a minute later call for an economy created by the coordination of “governments, universities, civil institutions, and tech companies.” At least no one will be making decisions on our behalf that has any kind of financial conflict for taking the positions they are taking on where K-12 education must go or why Broadband must be a human right or how a requirement of Equity in a naturally unequal world means that intrusive governments will be constantly necessary.

All those financial conflicts of interest in the public, non-profit, AND crony private sector are precisely the impetus for these ed reforms that seek to Confiscate and Control Our Very Essence without notice, or consent, or even knowledgeable consideration of the likely consequences. Is all this intended localized planning somehow going to work because it will be based on real-time data and not be centralized in DC or Brussels? I don’t think so, but these very real, widely-expressed intentions, once we know where to look, are precisely the impetus for these high school reforms and the Common Core.

We must shift to high schools everywhere designed around “rigorous project-based learning experiences in the school, workplace, and communities” (to quote the 1998 NUHS abstract) for the political and social transformation purposes Michael Cole and Yrjo Engestrom usefully described in the last post. Plus the economic cronyism and UN Power-Grabbing laid out in this one.

Clearly I am going to have to make this part 2 of a Trilogy because we still have not chronicled the essence of the manipulation. We should all have a superb handle on the whys behind this manipulation now. We now know that the ubiquitous references to “high standards for all students” designed to reassure us that all these changes are good and necessary actually means the abolition of any distinction between a “college prep” curriculum and a “vocational” one. Add that revelation to our ISC Glossary of Terms.

Let’s close this part of our wading through the muck by quoting something from the 1998 document from a header called “Stories of Change.” It’s a reminder of why everything must be changed and locked in as a mandate for the broader social, economic, and political transformations everyone keeps pointing to to have any chance of occurring.

“High schools are not closed systems: their work and their structure are influenced profoundly by post-secondary entrance requirements, teacher training practices, district policies [hence all the current hyping of charter systems] and assessment practices [why progs love to start Opt Out movements], and community pressures.”

Now of course we know many of the community pressures are deliberately created by the public sector and that the public is being systematically lied to at a level that meets the high thresholds associated with fraud.

We also understand why these calls for a new kind of citizen are rampant at all levels and from every direction.

Next we will close our trilogy with the cited specifics and then link it to the Turchenko vision laid out in my book Credentialed to Destroy as well as the Robert Beck polytech rationale we covered in it as well. That book remains the lens for seeing the rest of the story. This blog cannot do it alone.

 

 

Fraud of the Century Via Our Public Sector: the Real Common Core Purpose for Education

Is fraud too strong a word for organized deceit that seeks to override constitutional rights and evade public outcry every time School to Work has reared its unpopular head in the past? Do we have massive, actual, repeated deceit? Check. Are we giving up something of value? Yes, our children’s minds, our tax dollars, plus the foreseeable carnage of all this economic and social planning. Now how many of us upon hearing the now ubiquitous phrase “high standards for all students” understand that this phrase is intended to quietly prescribe project-based learning for all high school students? To marry vocational with academic for all students? To insist that schools be linked with the “adult world of work and learning” and that it is that mandated nexus that constitutes “high standards”?

Before I talk further about the federally-financed, 1998 New Urban High School Project that spun out the High Tech High that is now held up as the exemplar of world-class learning http://zhaolearning.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/WorldClass.pdf or its 2008 Update called “Seeing the Future: A Planning Guide for High Schools” that made it clear that this vision would be applicable to all high schools and every student in each and every community, I want to go back to explaining what is wrong with such a Project-based Learning mandate in the first place. Imagine that we were invited to visit the lovely island of Tortola in the BVI as part of the Social Science Research Council meeting held there in 1989 with so many of the education professors interested in using education for transformational change of the West and its institutions at what was known to be a pivotal time in the world.

Well, we weren’t invited, were we? We will simply have to rely on the book created by participants in that meeting (many of whom already had tags on this blog because of their promotion of Vygotsky and Cultural-Historical Activity Theory) called Distributed cognitions: Psychological and educational considerations. When I was preparing to write this post I discovered an article by an Alex Kozulin called “The Concept of Activity in Soviet Psychology: Vygotsky versus His Disciples” which revealed just how active the deceit has been about the real purpose for pushing these instructional changes. Kozulin tells us that when the first major work of Vygotsky, Thought and Language, was translated into English it eliminated virtually all of the references to Marx, Engels, or Hegel and the philosophical and methodological discussions.

In other words, we in the English speaking world were to get the practices without a heads-up on the purposes. That, of course, would be known to anyone who spoke Russian and many of the behavioral scientists pushing the work. American taxpayers and parents though, if they were even aware of Vygotsky, got referred to the cleansed and much-shrunken (318 pages in Russian to 153 in English with fewer words on each page). Since this blog does not do sound effects I cannot say “we wuz robbed” in an irksome, high-pitched voice, but we were being lied to systematically from the get-go about what was sought for education just like with the “critical thinking” and outcomes-based education we have been covering.

Two of our Tortola-invited profs well-known to ISC readers, Michael Cole and Yrjo Engestrom, were kind enough to tell us what cultural-historical activity theory and its better-known sibling in our curriculum now–project-based learning–was intended to disrupt. They quoted an anthropologist from 1942, Leslie White, describing the capacity that makes human special animals and it is the capacity that transformational education or what I call Radical Ed Reform in my book MUST disrupt, impede, erect an insuperable barrier in front of, etc.:

“man differs from the apes, and indeed all other living creatures so far as we know, in that he is capable of symbolic behavior. With words man creates a new world, a world of ideas and philosophies. In this world man lives just as truly as in the physical world of his senses…This world comes to have a continuity and a permanence that the external world of the senses can never have. It is not made up of the present only but of a past and future as well. Temporally, it is not a succession of disconnected episodes, but a continuum extending to infinity in both directions, from eternity to eternity.”

That capacity reenforces building up from the world as it currently exists in light of what has worked well or poorly in the past. In other words, that capacity is in the way of political power whenever and where ever it seeks to usurp decision-making power away from the individual and bestow it to public officials at the local, state, federal, or UN/OECD global level. As my book made clear those goals had begun in earnest by 1989 in the West, especially the United States. As this blog has repeatedly made clear with cite after cite, similar goals of social, economic, and political transformation are occurring now.

The public sector at every level wants to be in charge of us and what we can become. Rather than be honest with us that they now insist on Overlord Status with no ability to escape, they are using a reimagined type of K-12 education especially to invisibly create the desired barriers. At its core that is what Project-based learning, cooperative learning, required Critical Thinking, mandated assessment of Higher Order Thinking, mental health assessments, social and emotional learning apps for students  http://about.att.com/content/csr/home/blog/2015/05/momentous_institute.html , and constructivism generally are all about: creating minds and personalities amenable to subjugation by the public sector.

And no, subjugation is not too strong a word. I am not sure slavery is either, except this time the chains are to be imposed via formative assessments and classroom activities at a neurobiological level. Cole and Engestrom tell us that the unification of the social and physical sciences like that by changing culture and then locking those changes into place at a neural level was what both John Dewey and the Soviet psychologists always wanted. Why what a wonderful reason to lock those instructional practices into place for all students in every state and then hide those mandates. Cole and Engestrom admit one more time in their own words what must be disrupted if transformational schemes of a different sort of future are to be realized. (my bolding for emphasis)

“only a culture-using human being can ‘reach into’ the cultural past, project it into the future, and then ‘carry’ that (purely conceptual) future ‘back’ into the present in the shape of beliefs that then constrain and organize the present sociocultural environment  ..

The public sector, politicians of both parties at every level, think tanks of every label along the spectrum, foundations, business cronies, self-confessed radicals are all desirous now of using K-12 education to sever that “assumption that the cultural future will be more or less like the cultural past.” Rather than saying so to our faces and dealing with our ire, we get lied to repeatedly. I believe that is why the New Standards Project simply rolled forward in 1998 in many states and six urban districts. That’s why this New Urban High School Project began at the same time and then became updated in 2008 ready to have its covert influence on all US secondary schools without anyone bothering to confess what was up.

I think this is why no one wants to talk about WIOA and its clear determination to force a planned economy in every state.  This playbook released recently http://www.nationalskillscoalition.org/resources/publications/file/2015-04-22-WIOA-playbook_updated-4.pdf makes it quite clear that plans for the entire state’s economy and all the K-12 system should be rolled into  each state’s strategies going forward.

All the active deceit involving the NCLB Rewrite and misportraying its actual language and the clear purposes has the same ultimate goal. Public sector power without confessing as much. This post is running too long to cover all of the stated purposes of the New Urban High School Project. Let’s just call attention for now to the admission that “the great power of School-to-Work is that it situates students in the adult world of work and learning, confronting them with unpredictable situations, new perspectives that cut across subject matters, and invaluable lessons in dealing with people in the world.”

School-to-Work as it is envisioned as part of this Project-based learning remake of US secondary schools severs that historic constraint that linked the cultural future with the cultural past because that cultural past ceases to be the classroom focus. There goes the constraint and no one need be the wiser. Just lots of hype about engagement and the Whole Child and how “exemplary School-to-Work practice puts students—their observations, their actions, their reflections—at the center of learning.” The hype continues without anyone admitting how well the barrier to the cultural past is being created at the level of each student’s mind. Instead we get this salesmanship, “inclusive and democratic [STW] invites students to participate in the creation of new designs for learning.”

The fascinating part for me is that both the 1998 and 2008 reports talk about each student being able to meet their district or school’s “common core goals” such as listed Habits of Mind, Student Learning Objectives, or the skills laid out in the notorious SCANS report of 1991. All of these are examples of listed “common core goals.” That means that the list of desired generic personality traits and skills your school or district is mailing out or creating as a poster on school walls is the real ‘common core’, whatever your state decides to rename its poorly appreciated state ‘standards’.

Anyone else feeling lied to and the object of social engineering to create a new kind of citizen for the future?

See why what is going on in K-12 matters to everyone even if they have no children?

Asserting Political Will to Transform the Nature Of Education to Create a New Kind of Electorate

That title might describe the natural implications of the language in the Every Child Achieves Act or the Common Core sponsor CCSSO announcing in February 2014 that the purpose of the Common Core was to create desired ‘Dispositions’ in ‘Citizens,’ but unfortunately that quote comes from the purpose of the dialectical thinking we met in the last post. It’s also the purpose of what the Common Core calls Deeper Learning, ECCA calls ‘higher order thinking,’ and what 21st Century Skills calls Critical Thinking. Can we all say “thoroughly permeates the actual implementation” together in unison? Let’s go back to what Richard Paul wrote back in 1993 in the Introduction to his Critical Thinking book:

“Harnessing social and economic forces to serve the public good and the good of the biosphere…requires mass publics around the world skilled in cooperative, fairminded, critical discourse…it is essential that we foster a new conception of self-identity, both individually and collectively…[we must reconceptualize the nature of teaching and learning so that people learn] something quite new to us: to identify not with the content of our beliefs, but with the integrity of the process by which we arrived at them.”

All those references we keep encountering on having a Growth Mindset instead of a Fixed One make far more sense if education now insists that “we must come to define ourselves, and actually respond in everyday contexts, as people who reason their way into, and can be reasoned out of, beliefs.” Must be a malleable citizen in other words and not like those Bakers in Oregon who think they can decide who to bake a wedding cake for. Governments now get to decide what are unacceptable beliefs and practices. At least they are adults being told what they can and cannot do and believe and are being told openly. How much worse is it when the unacceptable beliefs involve our children and what they brought from our homes? How much more hidden is it when the unacceptable beliefs and values get taken out via formative assessment that a parent never sees or has anyone explain accurately?

Paul was quite honest (and fond of emphasizing with italics) that the required Critical Thinking involves an obligation for students to “have to empathize with and reason within points of view toward which we are hostile. To achieve this end, we must persevere [with Grit?] over an extended period of time, for it takes time and significant effort to learn how to empathically enter a point of view against which we are biased…We must recognize an intellectual responsibility to be fair to views we oppose. We must feel obliged to hear them in their strongest form to ensure that we do not condemn them out of ignorance or bias.”

In case anyone fails to appreciate why it is so revolutionary for the federal government to require all schools in every state to assess all students at least annually for (page 36 of ECAA) “higher-order thinking skills and understanding,” they are looking for whether the student has learned to think as Paul laid out. Is the student fixed in how they view or interpret the world or open to change? What concepts, strategies or ideas do they use in untaught situations where there is no single correct answer? Every group pushing for radical social change wants student assessments to be tied to HOTS because they, and with this post we do too, know that “the character of our mind is one with our moral character. How we think determines how we behave and how we behave determines who we are and who we will become.” [Paul again]

Who we are becoming is the whole point now of K-12 education as reenvisioned because as Paul explained (quoting in turn economist Robert Heilbroner):  “…the problems of capitalist disorder–too many to recite, too complex in their origins to take up one at a time…arise from the workings of the system….The problems must be addressed by the assertion of political will…the undesired dynamics of the economic sphere must be contained, redressed, or redirected by the only agency capable of asserting a counter-force to that of the economic sphere. It is the government.” Paul went on to describe “How are we to cultivate the new kind of electorate?” That cultivation became the focus of the Critical Thinking book.

Now the very same groups like The Leadership Conference head quoted here in describing the actual new purpose of a new kind of accountability in education http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/not-going-to-let-the-us-constitution-stop-us-from-using-schools-to-enshrine-global-social-justice-and-human-rights/ are enthusiastic about the language of ECAA because it forces annual testing of HOTS. Wade Henderson also participated this week in the rollout of this plan http://www.goodjobsforall.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/PFA-GJFA-Launch-Report.pdf calling for Government to massively intervene in the economy to ensure a reduction in inequality and Good, living wage jobs for all. Basically Heilbroner’s vision and Uncle Karl’s updated to 2015. The report also blames current wage stagnation and the weak economy on too little government intervention in the economy.

That kind of economy run by political will calls for a new kind of mind, values, and behaviors, which is precisely what the real implementation is designed to deliver. In my book I cover the first attempt to deliver this desired new mindset via K-12 education in the 60s. One of the things I have learned since the book came out is the widespread anger, especially among intellectuals, that existed in the 1950s and 60s over the American economy and society many of us grew up cherishing. Paul’s vision of Critical Thinking and a new philosophy of education that would deliver the new kind of needed citizen frequently cited a Professor Israel Scheffler. His essay on the New Activism presented in 1970 revealed that a didactic, traditional subject matter, transmission of knowledge approach to education was and still is viewed as immoral and amounted to “Fiddling while Rome burns.”

Transmission of subject-knowledge via lecture or textbook, for example, is held to reenforce the world as it currently exists. Perhaps the student feels no need to explore alternative viewpoints he knows he abhors because he is aware with facts of precisely why. No, K-12 education and ‘Critical’ or ‘Philosophical’ Thinking is designed to create mindsets ready to accept and adopt the “imperative task of altering an utterly evil status quo.” Education as traditionally envisioned and then practiced was “compliant with evil–an obstacle to the revolutionary transformation of society.” School “must transform itself into an agency of radical social change.” Moreover, education must develop people who are aware and feel responsibility for “the suffering of other human beings whose pain he might, through his efforts, alleviate.”

In a follow-up 1971 essay called “Philosophy and the Curriculum” Scheffler insisted that traditional subjects treat education as if it were about “fixed points.” Well, that obviously would be in the way of radical social change. In a passage that sure does presage all the transdisciplinary, Whole Child, conceptual lenses, and Charles Fadel’s Redesign of Curriculum work for the OECD and UNESCO, Scheffler noted:

“The educator needs to consider the possibility of new classifications and interrelations among the subjects not only for educational but also for general intellectual purposes. He must, further, devote his attention to aspects of human development that are too elusive or too central to be encompassed within the framework of subjects; for example, the growth of character [Fadel] and the refinement of the emotions [no wonder ECAA included PBIS, mental health and well-being and "non-academic skills essential for school readiness and academic success".] He ought, moreover, to reflect on schooling as an institution, its organization within society, and its consequences for the career of values.”

ECAA in the form being considered by Congress certainly fits in every respect the functions of K-12 education and Critical Thinking called for by both Richard Paul and Israel Scheffler. That means their expressed goals for these shifts away from didactic transmission of knowledge come with the mandated changes in practice and assessments.

Does Congress understand the nature of what it is actually about to mandate? Do politicians from the federal level to the state and local care?

Or is cultivation of a new kind of electorate the whole point with few willing to openly admit they know this is the entire purpose of these reforms?

Is 21st Century Learning really all about creating that electorate that will tolerate an economy and society premised on political will?

Is the onset of the wage stagnation and economic weakness bemoaned in that report above as the result of too little government intervention actually a result of this announced shift by 1970 to make education an instrument of radical social change?

If so, what will happen now that we are essentially doubling down on that strategy?