Because the desired social, political, and economic Transformation is always the actual Goal behind all these ed reforms that become notorious, or will when fully implemented, I have joked that the only real question for a Principal, Super, Prof, or Accreditor mandating them is “Are you an Intentional Insurrectionist or an Inadvertent One?” In other words, are you on board with the attempts at a Mental Revolution of the Western Mind to devolve back to the Visual and Emotional and Instinct and away from the Abstract and Reason and Genuine Intellectual Analysis based on Actual Individual Knowledge? And if that seems to be an unduly strong statement, please read some of the earlier posts. Especially why Paul Ehrlich wants Newmindedness and James Burke wants education to reject the Axemaker Mind.
Texas is a fascinating special case because what was going on there became the subject of discussion in the 2000 Presidential Race and a Model for NCLB. And now it is an issue because Texas, one of the largest states and an important driver of textbook content, has very loudly and deliberately rejected participation in either Race to the Top or CCSSI. Wanting to be able to drive its own ed policy and its own content. Last month I explained that both President Obama and Ed Week were using the term “common core” to describe not the CCSSI content standards but the “Standards of Teaching and Learning.” http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/didnt-the-president-just-admit-ccssi-was-a-ruse-to-change-classroom-interactions/ Texans need to read that description because the school and classroom practices and activities I am seeing at Annual Meetings and professional development sessions and conferences around preparing for the new STAAR assessment and the new Readiness Standards look just like what I would see in any state with a Learner-Centered Classroom, not a Content/Instruction Centered One.
Texas is thus proof you can get to what I call the Transformational Outcomes Based Education Stage without the political establishment at the State level ever Knowing what has happened. Part of the ease of deception is the Orwellian use of Language and Unappreciated Definitions in Ed World, notably Rigorous when STAAR was adopted. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/what-if-higher-order-thinkingdeliberate-confusion/ The fact that the Legislature was now gearing a measuring assessment to John Dewey’s Indeterminate Situation where students react from emotion because there is no fixed solution and the problem-solving is not linear or based on the resolution of taught material was apparently left out of those presentations in Austin. I wonder if the presenters were some of the same people involved with pushing Saul Alinsky’s community organizing in the Austin schools or now adopting SEL (Social and Emotional Learning) for Austin preschoolers and elementary school students as part of a national program as we described in the last post? Be very careful who you get advice from in this area.
That’s always good advice but especially so in Texas where as the title says, we have Intentional Insurrectionists determined to implement Equity Education and Education (in their determination) fit for a democracy (little d just like Dewey) in the 21st Century. The May 2008 document “Creating a New Vision for Public Education in Texas” was based on meetings that started back in September 2006. Before I get into the specifics of those radical intentions of listed Supers (who actually regard themselves as acting as Modern Day Founding Fathers rejecting the Articles of Confederation as insufficient for their intentions), how many Texans know that Texas went to Outcomes-Based Education back in 1984? That would make Texas an early adopter.
According to a 2001 Dana Center report Texas deliberately jettisoned what it called the “deficit model” of knowledge transmission that was impacted by where students lived and who their parents were to measuring what all students are able to do. And using something termed Proactive Redundancy–multiple ways to achieve specific learning goals. My purpose is not to give a history of Texas education. It is to point out that the Achievement for All Students Transformation in Texas was done at the cost of changing the rules and the purpose of K-12 education. And constantly changing the measurements of what was going on in the classroom to obscure the effects of ever decreasing knowledge that is the inevitable and sought result of the OBE focus.
The newest so-called test, the STAAR assessment, is based on Norman Webb’s Depth of Knowledge (DOK) Chart that is also used in Florida. It is what the Critical Thinking push is actually all about there as well. No I am not going to state the obvious connection. You can in your own mind but leave me out of it. Too many well-connected people involved who seem to genuinely believe they are doing Good Things in Education. But the facts are what they are and Webb’s DOK is expressly based on Ralph Tyler’s Objectives work and Benjamin Bloom’s Taxonomy (Mastery Learning, OBE’s previous name) work. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/if-standardsoutcomesobjectives-what-is-the-real-common-core/ Sometimes the true connections exceed anything a writer of fiction would ever come up with.
So Level 4, Extended Thinking in the DOK, gets met if the student if the student does not know anything but is engaged in a nonroutine investigation with multiple solutions that the student examines and then processes the possibilities over an extended period of time. Dewey loved his Indeterminate Situation Theory because he believed the resulting emotion of frustration would be a great motivator in students to reject the world as it currently exists. Linear, factual, traditional solutions apparently are insufficient motivators to be a Social Change Agent. Instead, the Indeterminate Situation was thought to motivate Transformative Social and Political Change.
In the 21st century then we can anticipate lots of Critical Thinking around Sustainability Modelling and overpopulation. The actual facts and temps be damned. After all factual knowledge is only Level 1 on the DOK and thus totally unsatisfactory. I guess all that Systems Computer Modelling around the discredited 1976 Club of Rome report Limits to Growth also qualifies now in Texas as Level 4 Thinking in the classroom. Systems Thinking also fits with the language of that Super Insurrectionist Vision. Someone had clearly read their Bela Banathy and Peter Senge.
By the way, since Outcomes and Objectives became notorious terms in the past as synonyms for the whole behavioral and affective orientation (values, attitudes, beliefs, and feelings) of these student goals and performance is the term the CCSSI assessments are using, I see the creative minds in Texas have come up with another euphemism–Expectations. Student Expectations. What the student can do with the Content listed. Which reminded me quite frankly of a CCSSI document I had seen less than 2 weeks ago. Put out to make sure that supers and principals and teachers in the CCSSI adopting states were not teaching the content and emphasizing knowledge as the point of CCSSI. That the point of content learning is the worthy task performances and problem solving activities and projects that students engage in. The authors Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins want to make sure everyone understands that that the Common Core rejects this previous “content” coverage mentality.
Now I got someone very angry at me recently when I called CCSSI a Bait and Switch since no aspect of the real implementation does anything but dispute the fact that it is about national criteria of content knowledge applicable from state to state. But then I have analyzed all the relevant documents too carefully to have any room left for wishful thinking. I think what is happening in Texas reenforces the point I have made earlier that this really is about using the schools to mount a stealth political coup. The way Banathy described his purposes for the Learner Centered Classroom is consistent with how the Best Practices book describes the purposes for Standards for Teaching and Learning and what the Hewlett Foundation describes as the purpose for Deep Learning (which is deemed to align with CCSSI). They are all also consistent with that Texas Super 2008 Visioning document that will have to wait until the next post for its own description.
Recognizing the points being made in the descriptions of Texas Student Expectations for STAAR and the Readiness Standards now in effect and the troublesome implications of official references to P-16, I decided to see if McTighe and Wiggins and their Understanding by Design had any role in Texas transitioning to STAAR. Oh. My. Goodness. They are every where there in the last year. So whatever the intentions of Texans and their politicians, what is coming to your schools and classrooms reflects what the rest of the country is being forced into under the CCSSI mantle.
Isn’t that interesting? You would think the actual impetus really was national and international.