Using Teacher Evals To Coerce Irreversible Change in the Drive Towards Statism Globally

One of the ways I deal with all the Schemes and Blueprint reading it has taken to pull together this story of the Common Core’s real aims or the CAGW hyping to cover all the meddling to gain a Crony economy based on Low Carbon or Green Growth or Sustainability–whatever this week’s buzz word is, is to retreat into history. Usually I try to read scholars who have been cited in those ever revealing footnotes in order to get to a “these are our intentions, this is who is involved” level of discussion. This blog is actually not Robin’s opinion for the most part. It is a searching out the actual facts in the relevant places where most people would never think to look.

It’s impossible to read through the last several posts or the entirety of the blog and not recognize all these education reforms and the insistence on redesigning the economy under government direction and not think–”that’s Statism and aren’t we past the L’etat, c’est moi mentality of Louis XIV or a Stalin?” Well no, state control over people and natural resources for the benefit of the political class is actually the historical norm and we forget that at our peril. All the references to the Knowledge Society while actually trying to restrain any unapproved accurate knowledge and then calling it College Ready is par for the course. A common aspiration when the drive is towards organizing people and an economy around Statism.

As an image of the palace at Versailles may remind you, Statism is oriented toward power-maximizing for politicians, public employees, and their Cronies. These can be Big Business wanting to protect their current revenue with no need to innovate. Or media seeking influence and access. Or foundations and colleges and universities all wanting to participate in the redirection of the future. For Statism to work, at least short term, it needs an ideology to march under–like Equity or Social Justice or Sustainability in a World at Grave Risk without Intervention. Check. Statism needs to keep going after an ever increasing number of subjects and issues to control and regulate. And it needs to go after its citizens at ever deeper levels of consciousness. Hence all the social and emotional emphasis with no lecturing unless it’s about a politically useful topic.

Professor Manuel Castells commented on how the Soviet authorities were able to move away from submission due to outright terror to a passive routine based on  “a lack of information and views of the world.” That appears to be the intended model for people all over the West in the 21st century. Use education “reform” to cultivate false beliefs, new values, different attitudes. The dominance of feelings and intuitions and impulse. The exact kind of initiative that enraged people in Hong Kong  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/using-education-to-shut-down-free-choices-and-then-redefining-as-personal-autonomy-orwell-lives/ going on in the US or elsewhere but off our radar screen. The invisible aspect of the drive for power and control.

We have talked on numerous occasions about Michael Barber. From foisting Cambridge Education on the US in 2007 to tell classroom teachers they may no longer teach the material to his leadership in that 2011 UNESCO meeting in London. You know the one where they wrote:

“Responding to climate change also starts in the classroom. Education is the way to shape new ways of thinking and forge new sustainable behaviour. . .

Fundamentally, education is about values.”

Well, back in 2000 when the UK was in the midst of its controversial reforms in education that mirror what is going on in the US now, guess what? Teachers in the classroom were seen as the main impediment to creating “radical change.” That phrase “radical change” and the desire to control and alter the classroom interactions of teachers and students (sound familiar?) caused several papers and presentations by Barber and Vicki Phillips from our last post. Back then she was  the School Superintendent in Lancaster, Pennsylvania but somehow she and Barber knew each other and were seeking to Unleash Irreversible Change-Lessons for the Future of System-Wide School Reform. Apparently their presentation style on how to win consent for Labour’s education programme was memorable because a description of it made it into a 2003 book.

A graphic description. As the authors of the book, Chitty and Simon, describe Barber & Phillips analogizing to prayer saying “You learn to pray by first going down on your knees. Only then will you create the conditions for belief, and be able to address God accordingly.” The analogy for education, they said, was “you don’t try to change minds through argument, consultation, debate, dialogue. You change them first of all through changing people’s behavior, through the element of compulsion.”

Having had children at a high school in the throes of an ideological Super and Principal, using Cambridge classroom reviews and Spence Rogers for professional development of teachers, compulsion is the right word. Psychological terror is also apt. But this was actually already envisioned and long before Vicki had the money and leverage of the Gates Foundation to back up her intentions to coerce. Students and teachers. First do, then believe. Here in Barber and Phillips own words from the book:

“There is a popular misconception about the process of change. It is often assumed that the key to successful change is ‘to win hearts and minds.’ If this is the starting point then the first steps in the process of change are likely to be consultation and public relations campaigns…The popular conception is wrong. Winning hearts and minds is not the best first step in any process of urgent change. Beliefs do not necessarily change behavior. More usually it is the other way around–behaviours shape beliefs. Only when people have experienced a change do they revise their beliefs accordingly…Sometimes it is necessary to mandate the change, implement it well, consciously challenge the prevailing culture [to make it Positive, perhaps?], and then have the courage to sustain it until beliefs shift…The driving force at this critical juncture is leadership.”

That is a mindset that appeals to political fanatics and greedy bureaucrats with a chip on their shoulders about their own childhoods. Or intimidates frightened teachers trying to keep their jobs. It makes promotion these days in education not about what teachers or administrators know or can do with students but what they are willing to impose on teachers and students.

Professor Castells writing in 1998 about the lessons from the collapse of the Soviet Union said this:

“As for intellectuals, the most important political lesson to be learnt from the Communist experiment is the fundamental distance that should be kept between theoretical blueprints and the historical development of political projects. To put it bluntly, all Utopias lead to Terror if there is a serious attempt at implementing them.”

Well the Common Core implementation is overflowing with theories and  blueprints in pursuit of political, social, and economic Transformation. At the level of the student. From the inside-out. The local results of the piloting districts have been miserable when not outright tragic. Yet still we proceed. By compulsion. Nationally and internationally.

Political lesson not learned in the least. And no distance between theory and sought action at all.

 

 

Now More Than Five Years Into An Attempt to Help Organize A Near-Total Revision of Human Behavior

Now won’t Performance Assessments and a total alteration of the nature of education come in really handy for such a goal? That title is from an August 7, 2012 presentation in Portland, Oregon by Paul Ehrlich on conducting research with his Millennium Assessment of Human Behavior (MAHB) that we have already talked about. It was his later remark about “creating a vision of a future in 2050″ that caught my attention most. It reminded me of a remark by Norwegian Jorgen Sanders on why he could be so confident that his 2052 predictions were not just a matter of probability. He said it was because processes were already in place to make the desired future come true. The UN Secretary General has said within the last year that there is no further need for treaties. That UN education initiatives will be sufficient to realize its desired future. That’s a lot more confidence than I feel and I certainly have more control over my future than a bureaucrat talking of societies and economies with millions of people and activities. What’s really up?

This post was originally going to just be about Professor and Change Agent Extraordinaire David T. Conley and how the Common Core implementation is taking terms like Noncognitive and christening them anew as Metacognitive Learning Skills. And the Ed Week essay of January 23, 2013 “Rethinking the Notion of ‘Noncognitive’” was likely to be the last time anyone acknowledged there is no content knowledge there. Just a hat trick to get rid of the deliberate departure from a rational thought focus.

I recognized Conley’s name as being involved with Outcomes Based education in the 90s and Oregon’s push for a change in K-12 focus to proficiency passing and a Certificate of Mastery. And that Proficiency Passing sounded a lot like the current drumbeat to Move On As Soon as a Student reaches Competency.

No new ideas. Just new names. But when I did my search for Conley up popped all the work he has done in recent years for the Gates Foundation and various states getting ready to implement Common Core on what College Ready really means. And it was stunningly inconsistent with what we are all expecting College Ready  to mean. Even apart from the stories I have written on altering the nature of college to fit with where Common Core is taking K-12. Now I really had the makings of a story on the continued duplicity involved with the actual Common Core classroom effect. But it was a remark in a 2010 Kappan interview that shifted my focus back to Portland and Ehrlich and whether I could link Common Core and  MAHB to that Future Earth Alliance I have written about and other UN transformation activities.

Conley makes no bones about the fact that Common Core is actually “an overhaul of the system from top to bottom”. Absurd but it is what is going on. On top of that though he says this new education system will be “based on the real educational needs of students, with an eye constantly toward the future world and society in which students will live.” Now that futurist talk reminded me of William Spady’s Transformational OBE Future Life Roles http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/future-empowerment-paradigm-or-educentric-tradition-guess-which-began-its-reign-20-years-ago/ . And his links to Portland. And Bela Banathy’s.  And the fact that Spady says in his 1997 book that Oregon stuck with OBE even after it became notorious. And that Peter Senge and the Waters Foundation now consider the Portland School District a Systems Thinking exemplar.

Two more connections you likely do not know, Portland is considered to be the ICLEI Agenda 21 role model for Regionalism. And Vicki Phillips who now heads the Gates Foundation’s Education Initiatives was the Portland School Super. Leaving Pennsylvania to take the job. So Portland is Ground Zero for the idea that education can be an instrument to transform the future. Just like Ehrlich says he wants to do globally.

Conley’s essay wanted to establish “semantic parity between cognitive knowledge and noncognitive skills” like beliefs, attitudes, and feelings. Conley wants us to see knowledge and unfounded beliefs and feelings as “equals” which I suppose is one way to alter the future. Just needs some Name Laundering. And then he goes on to say that with this declaration of equality, “the relationship between the two would be less hierarchical, more symbiotic.” Instead of the rational, well-stocked mind being in charge of behavior, emotions and false beliefs (or there would be no reason to dethrone knowledge) would govern. Exactly what Ehrlich says he wants to achieve. And quickly. Also sounds like his Newmindedness push of the late 80s.

Now I am not going to tease you further, I was able to locate a January 2013 issue of Human Dimensions where Anne and Paul Ehrlich announced that  MAHB was working with IHDP,  the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change. And IHDP is involved with UNESCO and the Future Earth Alliance and using the social sciences to reorient society. And in 2011 IHDP put out out a document describing precisely how it plans to use education to do just that. And I have a copy as of late yesterday. Busy weekend for Education’s Miss Marple. So I am not speculating about the Ehrlichs being involved with the global education transformation anymore just because of the similarities to what is being sought.

Which makes David Conley’s attempted official laundering of Noncognitive (the elements that made OBE so controversial) and College Ready so important. The Gates, Joyce, and Hewlett Foundations all help underwrite Ed Week  and they are each deeply involved with elements of the implementation that vary tremendously from the popular sales job to parents and taxpayers of what Common Core is about. You don’t get the position of headline essay unless this is an official position to be distributed widely. Which it of course was.

Conley’s March 2007 report for the Gates Foundation called Toward A More Comprehensive Conception of College Readiness wants to put the focus of K-12 on creating “habits of mind,” which he describes as a range of cognitive and metacognitive capabilities. And these are to be intentionally practiced at school until they become habitual. Something you need not even think about. Without that Ed Week essay we would not know he is referring there to our old controversial friends–values, attitudes, beliefs, and dispositions. Every parent sends their child to school to obtain “high degrees of self-awareness and intentionality.”

College Ready does have some knowledge in mind from the phrase “be able to know and do.” Unfortunately it just means the Big Ideas and Concepts. No need for detail. And College Ready rejects a focus on “de-contextualized content and facts.” No what content is allowed through into the classroom must be experiential. Something that can be interacted with as a task or activity or project. So students can apply their little bit of knowledge to real life problems that need solving. Students get to “understand themselves as instruments of communication.” It does sound ludicrous but Conley’s explicit goal is to set a gateway so low that virtually everyone can get through to college. “Academic behaviors,” which sounds solid, turns out to “consist largely of self-monitoring skills and study skills.” Study skills turns into time management, using information resources, and “communicating with teachers and advisors.”

Show up regularly with a pulse and a high school diploma entitling you to attend college no questions asked is yours. Another component of College Readiness, Contextual Skills and Awareness, turns out to be “interpersonal and social skills” and an awareness of the “privileged information necessary to understand how college operates as a system and culture.”

Remember these are the Learning Goals for ALL students. The highly capable as well. This type of Social Engineering via K-12 education hiding behind duplicitous definitions is precisely how UNESCO bureaucrats and the Ehrlichs and numerous professors addicted to all the NSF grants to use the social sciences and education plan to get “a near-total revision of human behavior.” All these schemers can alter the future. What they CANNOT achieve is their desired Vision. And they seem to not know or they have forgotten that lesson from the past. I mentioned Vicki Phillips, the former Portland School Super. In 2010 she moved to Gates with the responsibility College Ready. Not Common Core. Not creating consistent programs of solid content from state to state as the PR campaigns suggest.

College Ready. Conley’s College Ready. Search it out. He has repeated this vision of what College Ready really is numerous times since 2007. EPIC appears to be bringing in the dough that was once your money. Or maybe Bill and Melinda’s or Warren’s. Maybe Andrew Carnegie’s too.

When the Democratic Platform for 2012 mentioned education they did not talk about the Common Core. The content standards really only exist to gain the initial political approval from the states. They mentioned having All Students College and Career Ready. We have already discussed that Career Ready actually has a largely Communitarian mandate. To be demonstrated daily.

Now we know what College Ready means. So nobody gets to know much but they will be well practiced at believing and feeling and collaborating. And self-monitoring. Sounds like a Blood Pressure check.

Being stealthily prepared for that Ehrlich vision. At taxpayer expense. With everything aimed at removing the rational mind and the legitimacy of acting as an individual.

In the name of what sounds like a laudable goal to be embraced.

We are at the Historical Stage for the Emergence of One Particular New Kind of Person

The ‘portfolio person.’ Before I enrage most of you by quoting that definition in a stomach-churning way, I want to continue on the theme from the title of the last post. It is what caused me to pick out a phrase from one of Uncle Karl’s most famous quotes to illustrate the point. But I think we then turn around and forget it too easily. We are not dealing with Science or Politics or Education here that sees itself as defined by the traditional rules of play. CAGW is not grounded in the natural science of the Enlightenment. Education under the Common Core is actually not about the transmission of knowledge. Even the federal government in July acknowledged that Common Core was not a Product as in knowledge American students should know but a Process of interacting in “culturally relevant contexts.” Monday President Obama turned what had started as his campaign organization with a huge supply of emails into a permanent apparatus to be called Organizing for Action. Legislative, regulatory, whatever is achievable.

What we are dealing with in each of these cases is Rule-redefining Science. Rule and Role-altering Politics. Rule and Institution-altering Education. And if we ignore the underlying political and social and economic theories they are grounded in after going to so much time and trouble to track them down, we are in deep peril. Fundamental Transformation is not just an exciting phrase to stir up supporters and get money. When the lights are off these terms revert to ambiguous language or worse, Orwellian duplicitous language. And we must still remember. Because no one is just playing rhetorical games here.

Today’s title comes from yet another one of those books we were not supposed to see. Much less read in full. It is called Multiliteracies: Literacy Learning and the Design of Social Futures. That’s why I quoted the title in full.  Designed Social Futures and not by each of us. Media learning, Cyberlearning, and Digital Learning are all means to an end most of us likely do not want to go to. We have to quit divorcing these methods from the stated intent of the creators of the theories.

Professor James Paul Gee, then of Wisconsin now at Arizona State, actually uses the mobot, designed in the lab at MIT, to be his metaphor of the type of people he would like to see emerging for a new economic system he has in mind. There would be no effective central brain and that would supposedly be a good thing since it would make people more adaptive and flexible in a fast-changing world. And if you found the pursuit of a Non-Axemaker Mind or the destruction of the sense of a Unitary Self disturbing in previous posts, hold on to your coffee cup. If you are reading this at night perhaps an adult beverage break right now would be bolstering. Here goes (page 47):

“There is no centre. There are no discrete individuals. Only ensembles of skills stored in a person, assembled for a specific project, to be reassembled for other projects, and shared with others within ‘communities of practice.’ Individuals are not defined by fixed ‘essential qualities’, such as ‘intelligence’, ‘a culture’, or ‘a skill’. Rather they are [note he is talking about you and me and our children here], and must come to see themselves as, an ever-changing ‘portfolio’ of rearrangeable skills acquired in their trajectory through ‘project space’–that is, all the projects they have been in. You are, in this way, your projects.”

And he trains teachers. You know the only people who can be licensed to teach? And trains professors of teachers and administrators. And perhaps more importantly, he has spent the last 10 years since that book was published analysing video games. He views them  as embodying a “more cogent and powerful understanding of the nature of learning than is in evidence in most classrooms.” So remember that desired goal and the ‘portfolio person’ image of the individual when you hear about the video gaming push that is part of the actual Common Core implementation (with funding from the Gates Foundation!). And also the Digital Learning mandate and the push to for the all-ICT classroom. It is influenced by the same goals for altered consciousness that Gee laid out above or Roy Pea put into that powerpoint from a previous post. You can bet your District administrators will be leaving this part out of their presentations. But it is still there and the social and economic rule redesign actual purposes remain intact. Even when left unsaid.

Likewise, in 1994 English sociology prof Anthony Giddens wrote that “even should the thesis of global warming prove mistaken,” the “overall consequence” would still be “the creation of new types of feedback effects and system influences.” CAGW is a political theory that accretes economic and social power to government officials and their designated cronies. It offers a reason to exert control over private transactions and property and human activities and those system effects and influences are just too useful to pass up. Giddens went on to mention the UN’s IPCC and pointed out it will be setting up four possible emissions (carbon dioxide) scenarios. He was then brutally honest in what is clearly not designed to be read by us that these scenarios “could reflexively influence what it is they are about.” Just positing the theory and scenario, especially if it gains voluntary or formal adoption, changes behaviors in desired (if you are a statist schemer) ways.

So if you are a scientist or just an interested citizen reading Paul Ehrlich’s latest hype of catastrophe or that US National Climate Assessment draft, please don’t forget Giddens’ quote above when the science quoted or the models used make no objective sense. Just the theorizing coupled with government power and financial resources changes human behavior. Gives an excuse for economic reorganization. A reason for more regulation. Think of it as a full-employment at taxpayer expense for political favorites theory. Because that is what it really is.

But it is also more. German sociology prof Ulrich Beck wrote in the same book Reflexive Modernization that global warming and climate change give a reason for a switching of the rule system governments have lived by.  He apparently thought in a post-Berlin Wall world governments in the West needed an excuse for a Metamorphosis of the State, which is precisely how he described it. A full reconstruction using what he called the sub-politics of the government system and you and I today would recognize as an early description of the potential of community organizing. I do believe ACORN’s creators knew their Beck. In fact Beck called it the sub-politicization of society. We would call it every dimension within the reach of the state. To plan a different future and then impose it and reconceptualize the role of the state in what “tasks” it should be managing.

Ecology and presuming some type of pending environmental global catastrophe (warming or cooling) were apparently needed by the early 90s after the Cold War precisely because it gives a reason for totalizing political action:

“the microcosm of political life conduct is interconnected with the macocosm of terribly insoluble global problems. In order to take a breath without second thoughts, one ultimately has to–or ought to–turn the ordering of the world upside down.”

Hence the CAGW hype and the urgency in education and the need for an action politics that Beck also outlines. It is powerful and lucrative for the politically connected to be able to turn the world upside down.

But it certainly does not follow that the world needs to be turned upside down or it will be good for any of the rest of us. In fact, in the end, this Political, scientific, economic, and educational vision could be ruinous if not tragic for virtually everyone.

So let’s talk about the sought Transformations. And quit allowing the schemers in any of these areas to simply pretend we are not dealing with rule-altering intentions.

It is not just politics as usual or a different way to teach or a difference over the relevant scientific facts.

Let’s hold everyone to the declared intentions of the Creators of all these theories and scenarios.

 

 

All That is Solid Melts Into Air–But Does It Really?

That provocative image from a famous 19th century political theorist hoping for dramatic future change was also meant to Prime a Feeling for Planned Complete Transformation. Both within individuals at the level of conscious thought and society wide over time. The repeated and dire coordinated cries of the Ehrlichs and others of Danger, Danger unless We Change, Change appear to have the same impetus. Give up your right to make your own decisions and defer to Our Vision.

It’s supposed to be a matter of necessity of course. Hence the hype. But the repeated push for Newmindedness that rejects rational thought and all the hyping of imminent unprovable global disaster sure is fortuitous. Especially when combined with a global vision of education that describes Foresight Intelligence as essential for transitioning to a Knowledge Society. While state-approved institutions seek to actively limit what anyone may really know. Methinks we are all being played here and the documents I have located certainly support that view.

First the stated determination to “move us away from reliance on fossil fuels” will seem even more like a fantasy to shift us to a redesigned, state directed economy that benefits political favorites and Cronies after you read this December report “Humanity Unbound: How Fossil Fuels Saved Humanity from Nature and Nature from Humanity.” http://www.cato.org/publications/policy-analysis/humanity-unbound-how-fossil-fuels-saved-humanity-nature-nature-humanity  . It details, for example, all the forest that would be gone now just to have an agricultural sector that could support our current population without fossil fuels. Something along the lines of the land mass of Canada, Latin America, and India. It’s a great overview but you simply cannot read it without recognizing that CAGW, the idea that there is substantial manmade global warming and it will prove catastrophic, is just an excuse. An excuse to gain widespread voluntary submission by ordinary people to an economy dominated by the Public Sector. Which means people who can be corrupted by conflicts are in charge and they have the power to tax, coerce, and compel.

Paul Ehrlich and the UN and the European Union all want to push this idea of Foresight Intelligence as the goal of education. How would such a vision benefit them? Foresight Knowledge is about selling people on the idea that they should be thinking about Future Social Transformations so they can together debate its direction and shape the future. Now the 2006 document I located describing this Foresight process came from the Baltic region which remained under Soviet control until 1989. It thus described having to change people’s mindsets that together they could interact and develop a vision for future direction. The participatory aspect was a huge selling point for those with a history of subjugation by state decree.

The flip side though of the Foresight collective decision-making process is the majority’s ability to bind everyone else to its vision guts the West’s vision of the primacy of the Individual. Personal decision-making freedom tossed away because of a perceived crisis. Plus the Imposed Vision is unlikely to actually be realizable. That’s particularly troubling when we think of a majority driven by emotion and false beliefs and new cultivated values as the education vision grounded in Outcomes Based education and social and emotional learning and the visual instead of the intellectual makes clear.

In fact I have always found the use of the term Knowledge Society given all the official documentation and plans to limit anyone’s personal knowledge in the 21st century to be both a bad joke and cruelly ironic. It turns out to be a very good thing that I am both so suspicious and cynical and widely read on what is really going on. Because boy does the United Nations have plans for all of us while we are busy setting goals, interacting with each other and ICT generally, and pretending we get to set our own future courses. Right.

Think of the Giant from Jack’s Beanstalk or Jabba the Hut gleefully rubbing their hands together while eyeing their captured prey. All the while repeating “You are Mine. Mine, All Mine” to appreciate what the bureaucrats and politicians have planned for us. After they use their monopoly over education to take out those Axemaker, rational minds and create an expectation that a majority can bind everyone else because it is now necessary to “save the world.” For the Future.

Following up on Foresight Intelligence led me to a UN document from its Economic & Social Affairs division called “Understanding Knowledge Societies.” It’s not a 21st Century vision any of us are likely to be OK with but it is very real. And very grasping. At the level of “Right now, we do not have a unifying central cultural thought for humanity.” That would be what the 20th century called Ideology as a political organizing principle and it proved to be positively lethal on  a mass scale. Having the UN push for “universal acceptance of the central cultural thought” (both quotes are from page 115) in the 21st  is just not likely to go well either. Unless you have a job with the UN or a coordinating agency.

Getting a majority to go along with that “central cultural thought” may be why the UN and quite frankly its global allies in accreditation and colleges of education and other federal agencies are all quietly mandating reforms that limit explicit knowledge–aka accurate information in a person’s own brain in favor of what the UN calls Tacit Knowledge. It’s also behind their interest in having ICT dominate future education. Here’s the definition of such bureaucratically approved knowledge:

“a fluid mix of framed experience, contextual information, and expert insights [those with the proper credentials. Conflicts of interest need not be mentioned] that provides an individual with a framework for evaluating and incorporating new experiences and information. Tacit knowledge is information combined with experience, context, interpretation, and judgment. It is acquired through one’s own experience or reflections on the experiences of others. It is intangible, without boundaries and dynamic. It is highly personal and hard to formalize, making it difficult to communicate or share with others. Subjective insights, intuitions and hunches all fall into the category of tacit knowledge.”

Sounds like feelings and guessing and impressions to me. But we still have those no longer to be sanctioned Axemaker Minds unwarped by the planned daily immersion in ICT from an early age. And I don’t think the UN’s plan to have governments “reinvent themselves” to create “public value” is going to work well either. At least for us. No wonder the Statist Planners only want Tacit Knowledge among the masses. This is not really funny and I was clearly not on the approved list to see or read that document. C’est La Vie Schemers. Include me in that not going quietly into the Dark Night Brigade.

Actually the document makes so many things we have discussed make more sense. From all Peter Senge’s Systems Thinking and Presencing work:

“Recently, new qualities are stressed by management experts as crucial for business leaders: visioning, intuition, understanding of the patterns for change and an ability to imaginatively act on this understanding.”

To all the focus now on racism and oppression and Social Justice and Equity:

“By definition, the fully developed Knowledge Society cannot accommodate social exclusion and marginalization. This would result in weakening its very foundations.”

And finally our old UNESCO vision of human solidarity:

“The way in which this will play out in transition to the advanced Knowledge Society will eventually depend on values [which the helpful Canadians have already acknowledged as being the real sought for common core], and especially on the value that this new human civilization may wish to place on human solidarity. It may also be influenced by the economic interest of engaging the whole available store of human creativity and tacit knowledge.”

As I said when we started this post all these visions being cultivated will not turn out as hoped for. But one thing will. This clear determination to make individual freedom and liberty a relic of the past will go as planned unless we quickly recognize that it is the mind the Schemers so want (bolding in original p 44) .

Or as the document itself says “as society shifts from an old order to a new order through a transitional phase of relative chaos . . . Thought is the spiritus movens of this process.”

And right now in K-12 and higher ed with preschool programs being ramped up, thought is precisely fully within the current domain of these Schemers. In fact that’s what education reform all over the world is really all about. And it is quite coordinated.

And now finally it is becoming much better understood.

Please join me in not going quietly into this Planned Vision.

The Need to Know as We Understand It Today May be a Lethal Cultural Sport

That needs to be radically restricted if not abolished root and branch. So said anthropologist Bernard James in his 1973 book The Death of Progress in a passage so reminiscent of Paul Ehrlich’s long-expressed desire to use education to create  Newmindedness and James Burke’s to create Non-Axemaker Minds that I just HAD to borrow it. And for similar reasons too. See what I mean?

“There is a sense of desperation in the air, a sense that . . . man has been pitchforked by science and technology into a new and precarious age. [In this age] the final period of decay of our Western world, the predicament is clear. We live on an overcrowded and pillaged planet, and we must stop the pillage or perish.”

And like the Bioregionalists and the Ecology educators like David Orr, it’s always the rational mind that is the central target for change. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/we-need-a-radical-change-in-our-mode-of-consciousness-even-a-new-sense-of-being-human/ . There was one modern scientific discovery and technological innovation though that didn’t send Professor James into a social engineering frenzy–the computer and communications technology. What today usually gets abbreviated as ICT or as the National Science Foundation likes to call it–Cyberlearning. As in let’s throw tens of millions of taxpayer dollars or new debt into making ICT the focus of all education. K-12 and higher ed. No Cronyism there.

http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2013/01/03/15cyber.h32.html?tkn=TLLFZjQZBrz3EptDVf4qQPg2Wz33qWsMGN2A&cmp=ENL-EU-NEWS1 is the January 3, 2013 story called “Federal Effort Aims to Transform Learning Technologies.” Since I have written several posts where education professors and administrators and UNESCO reports explicitly acknowledged that such Digital Literacy efforts actually are designed to gain Equity in Achievement by limiting the ability to think, I decided to look into this expensive program further.

The National Science Foundation’s Cyberlearning Initiative is very much in the Limit the Capacity to Think,Make Tool Use and Social Interaction the Purpose of School, Tradition. You know the one that has everything to do with taking down the basis for Individualism and free markets and disruptive technology innovation and nothing to do with the transmission of useful cultural knowledge from the past? Since that would bolster the rational mind and each person’s ability to conceptualize the future for themselves? Or be ingenious? Oh, but I am getting ahead of myself again.

This 2008 NSF report that must have the tech companies salivating is called “Fostering Learning in the Networked World: The Cyberlearning Opportunity and Challenge: A 21st Century Agenda for the National Science Foundation.” That mouthful, which I quoted in full for a reason, goes a long way towards explaining the NSF’s agenda in creating all the poor math and science curricula in the 90s that became notorious in the Math and Science Wars. Which is important now as NSF also goes after higher ed courses to gain equity in credentialling. Moreover, it explains the education vision in both that USGCRP 2012-2021 report http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/if-reality-is-ignored-or-disregarded-when-do-we-become-a-state-against-its-people/ as well as that troubling Research Goal 6 described in the previous post. And also NSF’s work on the Belmont Challenge and the Future Earth Alliance. Busy folks. In fact, “Altering Minds and Behaviors without Telling You” might be a good 21st Century motto for certain parts of the NSF. So convenient isn’t it that  NSF now reports to a close Ehrlich colleague, John Holdren.  He is not telling us either although if you read his past books and articles, he already has.

Consistent with that remake the world and control human behavior aspirations is cyberlearning as a means of “steering” humanity and signalling

“the intertwined tapestry of concepts relating the goal-directed actions, predictions, feedback, and responses in the systems (physical, social, engineering) for which cybernetics was to be an explanatory framework.”

Yes, long before Peter Senge took up the mantle of Systems Thinking to make a lucrative living foisting it on schoolchildren and naive business executives, we had Norbert Wiener who helped develop Cybernetics to try to make human systems more predictable and controllable. And, no, nobody EVER asks us “Pretty Please” or May I?”. So Cyberlearning is based on Cybernetics theories and involves Learning in a networked world. And the NSF report wants to make it quite clear that cyberlearning involves “learning with” the tablets, Smartphones, and laptops that are currently being pushed at great expense. Absolutely does not mean “learning about” the ICT infrastructure. Mercy no, that might bolster the abstract, logical mind and we need to prevent those as much as possible in the 21st century. No matter what the cost in dollars or forgone future prosperity or destroyed individual promise.

In fact on page 11 of that report you can find a chart called “Advances in Communication and Information Resources for Human Interaction” that puts working with symbol systems like reading and math and academic content very low on the totem pole of 21st century aspirations for students. And what makes it to the top you ask reluctantly? Why, that would be “Virtual Observations [aka videos], Collaborations, Social Networking, and Web 2.0.” I kid you not. That’s the Marxist/Deweyan ultimate wish list of Social Interaction, Participation, and Engagement as the purpose of education. It also dovetails to the 1989 UNESCO agenda described here. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/values-and-vocational-creating-citizen-drones-via-education-worldwide/ . The report still guiding education “reform” globally.

One of the creators of that chart is heavily involved with Cyberlearning and Informal Learning generally. Stanford Professor Roy Pea is not only in a position to “Do Lunch” with the Ehrlichs and Linda Darling-Hammond and so many other of our Transform Education Schemers but he was kind enough to do a Cyberlearning slideshow in 2011. That got uploaded on August 15, 2012 just in time for the new school year.  http://www.slideshare.net/roypea/berkeley-cyberlearning-030811final . Have fun with the whole show but it is Slides 17-19 that really caught my eye. They make it quite clear Professor Pea considers ICT and Cyberlearning to be a Lev Vygotsky mediated tool.  Complete with pictures.

Vygotsky, for newcomers, was a Soviet psychologist determined to use pedagogy and education to create the perfect Soviet man (and woman I am sure). He understood that cognitive tools can either strengthen the abstract mind (like reading phonetically) or weaken it (like ICT substituting for personal knowledge). Slide 19 leaves no doubt in my mind Professor Pea very much understands what Vygotsky aspired to do in his research. Disrupt previous cultural-historical processes [also known as knowledge of the past] in favor of something new. A different future and culture. As in Designing New Minds, Values, and Overall Personalities I suppose. And Pea also leaves no doubt (Slide 49) that the expensive National Education Technology Plan is part of all this mind-weakening, Transformative, Design a New Future through the introduction of new Cognitive Tools, assault.

Designing the Future. Now how hubristic, as in Will Lightning Strike at the Nerve?, does that sound? But sure enough, on January 18, 2012, there was a Cyberlearning 2012 Summit in DC we were not invited to. So we will have to rely on this helpful graphic of what went on. http://cyberlearning.sri.com/w/images/b/b9/Illustration_Banner.jpg . And there on the far left we see “People and Technology Working Together Designing the Future.” Apparently all it takes according to the graphic is the NSF using multimillion dollar grants to bribe educators and institutions who will in turn Transform Education. Making ICT and the Internet and the Visual instead of mental the Whole Point of Education.

Well, that will affect the future as we shut down much of the human capacity to think rationally that brought, quite literally, Civilization. Print and the mental manipulation of it played a big part. Especially after the invention of the printing press and the Reformation made literacy widespread in the 16th century. Leading to the explosion of knowledge and technology Bernard James wanted to stop in our title.

But can we really design the future? I don’t think so. But let’s talk about that latest bit of public sector hubris in the next post. We will look at what Ehrlich and UNESCO and the European Union and NSF all have in mind when they talk about Foresight Knowledge.

Because I am a firm believer that forewarned is forearmed. Especially about Foresight.

Sorry. Couldn’t resist that.

 

 

 

Hyping Catastrophe to Eliminate the Supposed Mismatch Between Human Minds and the World We Inhabit

Going through the actual Performance Assessments in the last post reminded me of what a useful mind altering and emotion manipulation tool they will be for someone like Climate and Population Alarmist Paul Ehrlich. Ehrlich has long wanted  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/learning-to-learn-or-how-to-replace-old-minds-with-sustainable-new-ones/  to use education to “change the way we perceive the world, the way humanity sees the world in order to survive.”   But I did not know when I wrote that post that both he and the US Climate Change Aspiring Professional Bureaucracy and Collection of Rent Seekers would publish reports that came out late last week. Just full of plans on how to use education to physically change minds and arouse emotions to support their lucrative “research” agenda.

Now Research Agenda has clearly become a euphemism for telling us what we must or cannot do and to gain unprecedented levels of political, social, and economic control. At least in the US and any other country of free citizens. I will start with Ehrlich since we have been tracking his aspirations for New Human Minds Incapable of Ingenuity and Inventiveness for a while. His essay entitled “Can a Collapse of Global Civilization Be Avoided?” is clearly designed to elicit an “I certainly hope so. What must we do right now?” response. It starts with a mention of previous collapses and then cites to Jared Diamond’s 2005 book Collapse: How societies choose to fail or succeed. Very dramatic. We instinctively visualize those statues on Easter Island with no trees around and wonder will that be us? Except Ehrlich’s 1989 book on the conscious evolution of new human minds has a Jared M. Diamond listed as one of the helpful commenters on his manuscript to be thanked. I am starting to think that civilizational collapse books unless we change as outlined are a booming business.   http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/280/1754/20122845.full.pdf+html

Not to be mean but it is a hyperbolic essay clearly designed to try to create hysteria and the Ehrlichs’ mania for control over us shows through repeatedly. He also envisions some sort of rule by academics which appears to be all the rage at Stanford. I wonder if he and Linda Darling-Hammond do lunch in the sunshine to talk about those SBAC Performance Assessments or how Effective Teaching just happens to coincide with creating New Minds? Anyway, to avoid collapse:

“there is a need for natural scientists to collaborate with social scientists, especially those who study the dynamics of social movements. Such collaborations could develop ways to stimulate a significant increase in popular support for decisive and immediate action on the predicament.”

So we taxpayers get to pick up the bill for all those social and natural scientists whose payday is contingent on finding such potential catastrophes and planning for them. And lobbying us and persuading us we are the misguided ones. No conflicts there. And then hitting us up for more money to fund continuous planning. Now Ehrlich wants “fundamental institutional change” in educational systems and he happens to mention a new project at Stanford–the Millennium Alliance for Humanity and the Biosphere.” MAHB wants to create a new kind of intelligence, foresight intelligence, that sounds ever so much better than Newmindedness or Peter Senge’s Systems Thinking even if it works much the same. FI as I shall call it is the 21st century aspiration to “implement behavioral, institutional and cultural changes necessary for humans to ensure a sustainable and equitable future for all.”

Which sounds to me like the kind of aspiration likely to produce civilization collapse as all sorts of unappreciated reasons that things work at all get punted in the name of wholesale Transformation to “reduce humanity’s ecological footprint and social inequities before it is too late.” Collapse triggered by computer modelling by rent seeking parasites determined to ignore reality in their lust for power and money or just naivete. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2261577/Global-warming-stopped-16-years-ago-Met-Office-report-reveals-MoS-got-right-warming–deniers-now.html?ito=feeds-newsxml came out over this weekend directly on point.

I am not picking on the Ehrlichs but this entire operation of gutting it all using the plans of people whose only skin in the game is that they get paid well for such advocacy is ludicrous. The unintended consequences are likely to be horrific and the intended ones seem quite grim as well unless you are in the planning class. That becomes quite apparent when we don’t accept Ehrlich’s description of MAHB as “nascent” like a newborn just opening its eyes. Instead MAHB had a 2011 name change from its previous more apt description of the Millennium Assessment of Human Behavior. And just in case you are worried that MAHB might have all-encompassing aspirations. They do include the “values, attitudes, and actions of individual and collective actors.” Which will certainly make those performance assessments timely since that is what they target and measure. MAHB also wants to change towards sustainablity to take place “across all domains of human life”–mentioning “institutional arrangements, social structures, norms, and cultural practices.”

Only someone without a knowledge of history or economics could advocate deliberately redesigning and changing all those things and proclaim it is to avoid civilizational collapse. It’s much more likely to bring it on as all the factors that create human progress and prosperity get targeted for gutting to enable widespread submission to such schemes. Ehrlich even calls these changes via education a “soft means” to advance public policy but the landing is likely to be quite hard. Laying out the fellow international players does not help. It just adds to the toxicity of the brew being hatched to use “social science and humanities” to sway minds by metaphorically lobotomizing them.

Which brings me to the http://ncadac.globalchange.gov/download/NCAJan11-2013-publicreviewdraft-chap29-researchagenda.pdf National Climate Assessment draft released by more aspiring Planners and Permanent Rent Seekers last week. The US Global Change Research Program was already on my radar screen for its “You will Believe This No matter What the Actual Facts” Attitudes in previous reports.  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/if-reality-is-ignored-or-disregarded-when-do-we-become-a-state-against-its-people/ I wish taxpayer funded agencies in supposedly free countries did not behave in ways that provoke descriptions previously used for the Soviet Union. But the Soviets too were quite consumed in using education to limit the likelihood that citizens had the mental capacity or store of accurate information to challenge the plans of the nomenklatura. So the analogy is unfortunately apt.

Research Goal 6 on page 1041 of that NCA draft lays out the plan for education and workforce development. I know you will be Shocked, Shocked to learn it just happens to mirror what Spady called Life Role Complex Performances and others are describing as Deep Learning (Hewlett), Higher Order Thinking (Webb’s DOK), Second Order Change (MCREL), Global Competence, and 21st Century Skills. You’d almost think there was active coordination going on. Here goes [my snark in brackets]:

“Building human capacity to respond to the emerging challenges described in this Assessment [are you as tired of that word as I am? It should be listed in Terms of Duplicity for Aspiring Statists] requires expansion of skills within the existing public and private sectors [lucrative retraining for academia. Like an annuity] and developing a new workforce that excels at critical and interdisciplinary thinking. [They don't know much and much of what they believe is false but they are passionately devoted to these beliefs and committed to acting on them.] Useful capacities include facilitation and communications skills [a 2 inch leap], integration of new technologies and data sources into existing programs and practices [vocational with lucrative ICT contracts available for Cronies], management of collaborative processes to allow for imaginative solutions [unimpeded by knowledge to prompt a logical "this won't work" response], development and use of sustainable technologies to reduce climate risks [more ICT contracts and Solyndras and Fisker exploding batteries], and building frameworks for decision-making in an internationally interdependent world.”

Education, K-12 and higher ed, used to be about empowering each of us as much as possible with the knowledge of what worked, or didn’t, in the past so we could make good decisions as adults about our own lives and what we valued. No more. Now it is apparently about hobbling our ability to be independent so we will surrender “decision-making” to others.

And we won’t mind or even notice.

Now once again. Where is the likelihood of collapse really coming from?

 

Using the Common Core’s Performance Assessments to Create a New Kind of Person

Now if the US Common Core Initiative or any other country’s similar UNESCO inspired shift to skills and attitudes and desired personal dispositions were to be accurately described as being about “shaping a kind or person” or:

“about creating a kind of person, with kinds of dispositions and orientations to the world, rather than simply commanding a body of knowledge. These persons will be able to navigate change and diversity, learn-as-they-go, solve problems, collaborate, and be flexible and creative.”

Such a future capacity general focus for all students instead of fixed content knowledge would not be politically popular. Parents and taxpayers and non-politically connected future employers would likely rebel from such Mind Arson via taxation and tuition.

So of course the Parasitical Class of too many professors and education administrators and vendors who want both their inflated salaries and pensions AND political, social, and economic Transformation simply lie to us about what is really going on. Once a controversy develops, we get new names and severed parts but usually not real changes in practices. So when the Future Empowerment Paradigm associated with Transformational Outcomes Based Education and William Spady in the 90s (described here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/future-empowerment-paradigm-or-educentric-tradition-guess-which-began-its-reign-20-years-ago/ )  became controversial, the critical End Game of Life Role Performances got severed. Keep the function. Change the Name. Hire someone other than Spady.

Now it is very difficult for the public to get their arms around just how much scheming and looting and psychological manipulation is going on in this Change the Student Future Capacity Template. When they hear terms like “Performance Standards” they automatically think solid academics at a high level of expected expertise. When they hear Performance Assessment, they think testing that expects solid academic achievement. They certainly do not think of an education model doing everything it can to take mental activity out of the classroom. They would be horrified to know performance standards are all about creating desired behaviors and attitudes in each student at a reflexive level. No conscious thought required.

When the school talks about ability to access information or interpret or produce or communicate, parents and taxpayers assume these are desired abilities within the context of a body of knowledge. Not generic abilities with real world value that are ALL that is desired in the student. Just “life-functioning performance” abilities. That assessments are actually all about:

“Great care should be taken to identify the exact action that will be taught and assessed.”

Action, not knowledge. Project or activity, not tests. When we read references to problem solving most of us assume a math or science word problem. Not necessarily easy but useful. Very bolstering to both a verbal ability to conceptualize mentally and a logical ability to reach a step-by-step, methodical solution. No. No. No. In performance assessment world:

“the problem needs to be ill-structured. [By the way that is also what rigorous means in Ed World]. The problem should not have a single approach or response–in fact, the route taken and the determined solution should be almost unpredictable.”

John Dewey called that type of problem the Indeterminate Situation and valued it greatly because it required emotion and frustration instead of intellectual skill and knowledge. He believed such problems were conducive to striving for a different kind of society instead of accepting the capitalist, individualistic society he abhored. Today’s assessment developers still have a similar intent even if the Principals or teachers themselves are unaware of the history of this peculiar notion of rigor to drive revolution via mental and emotional transformation over time.

So Transformational OBE and Spady became too controversial in most places to acknowledge when that was what was going on in a school or district. So those Life Role Performances got renamed as Performance Assessments and less well-known OBE players like Spence Rogers or Willard Daggett pursued the OBE implementation via their focus on actual classroom activities. All of the activities quoted came from the Third Edition of Spence Rogers’ book The High Performance Toolbox:Succeeding with Performance Tasks, Projects, & Assessments.

Those tasks, projects, and performance assessments are what drives the actual classroom implementation of every Common Core curriculum I have seen. The Schemers know that what is measured is what gets taught. So the Future Capacity/Empowerment/New Kind of Focus comes in under the poorly understood Performance assessments. Where the task or project is the evaluation. And the task or project is not checking content knowledge but looking for action and generic abilities like the ones described above. This would all be hard to spot unless you were monitoring curricula all over the world and over decades. Which I have. The future capacity orientation gets hidden also in the US under the lovely euphemism College and Career Ready. Sounds like knowledge but avoids the “entrenched subject matter” orientation of traditional education that bolsters those undesirable (if you want state control of society and the economy) Axemaker Minds.

Why you say? You know if ten years from now we continue on our present trajectory I will likely be forced to write a book explaining that the US and the West lost prosperity because too many of the beneficiaries of capitalism never understood how much individual and cultural attitudes and values mattered to economic prosperity. And ALL the anti-capitalism schemers knew precisely how much these mattered. And they used education, K-12 and higher ed, to get at and change the attitudes and values of independence and self-reliance.

And they used education to force out every aspect of the curriculum known to nurture the rational, logical, conceptual mind. Which is the real reason for the math and reading wars. It’s not about how to teach. It’s about limiting the oxygen that ignites the fires of individual mental cognition. That useful ability to spin your own mental scenarios within the privacy of your own mind. Scenarios that can sometimes turn into innovative inventions that alter the known world. Like the Axe did or the computer.

Throughout history and even today in most countries in the world the political sovereign–whether king, dictator, or legislative body and state-employed bureaucrats–controls the economy. That’s the historic norm. What is going on in education in the US now and globally is simply a stealth reversion to that norm. Ironically the changes are frequently being done under the banner of becoming or remaining Internationally Competitive. Yes in the sought Dirigiste, Mercantilist economies of the 21st Century where Education is the Method of Personal Subjugation. And Catastrophic Manmade Global Warming and the spectre of other planet-wide environmental disasters is the Excuse for such planning and control over economies and people’s personal behaviors. And politically connected businesses hope to benefit as well.

If the Statist Schemers living at our expense were honest about what is going on most of us would say No. Freedom may be a burden but it is a burden most of us desire if given the choice.

So we are not being given the choice. And education seeks to become a walled-off profession where no one but the Properly Credentialled may have a say. And the Credentials are grounded in the Marxist political theories that caused so much destruction in the 20th century. And yes I am quite sure about that as well.

It’s also why CAGW, like Marxism in its heyday, must be treated as the unexamined Theory never to be contradicted with reality. Like Marxism or Dewey’s Social Reconstruction, it’s an aspirational theory for changing the future not a scientific theory based on facts. None of these political theories for social control can bear the scrutiny of reality because that is not what they are grounded in.

But reality is still the world every one of us inhabit. And it thus has to govern how we respond to all these sought changes. It’s the reality behind the current “Grab the Guns, Gut the Mind, and Ignore the Temps” that too many are still treating as unrelated.

 

19th Century Blueprints for 20th Century Tragedies: Is a Repeat Pending in the 21st?

I would be willing to bet virtually everyone reading this post is familiar with Harriett Beecher Stowe’s book, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The little lady who started that big war is I believe how Lincoln described her and the book. Yet the second biggest bestseller in the US in the 19th Century, Edward Bellamy’s influential and chilling utopian novel Looking Backward: 2000-1887 is virtually unknown now to most of us. That’s a problem as we evaluate where education is really going and what it hopes to accomplish now because virtually everyone I have ever written about on this blog from Professor Fecho in the last post to the Best Practices book detailing the Standards for Teaching and Learning to Bill Ayers or Nel Noddings or John Goodlad or Ralph Tyler and his 8 Year Study all agree on one thing across the decades. They are implementing John Dewey’s vision for using education to transform the nature of American society.

So what drove Dewey and influenced his vision matters as his work is still being cited as the inspiration for what is being pushed in 2013. What if we know many things now that Dewey did not know when he wrote in the late 19th and early 20th century? Shouldn’t those things matter to whether his education vision is likely to produce a toxic society and economy in the 21st Century? Can’t we learn from history? The Bolsheviks in 1918 in Russia spent precious hard currency having Dewey’s works translated into Russian before Lenin had even prevailed in his Revolution. Should the other things they wanted that were so harmful give us pause that they viewed Dewey as an ideological comrade? Or that Mao in the 1920s cited Dewey as hid favorite philosopher? Shouldn’t that make us uncomfortable in 2013 on whether we should be blindly implementing his vision?

In 1935 John Dewey put Looking Backward second to Marx’s Capital on a list of the most influential books of the past 50 years. Two Dewey biographers, Robert B Westbrook and Alan Ryan, write about how much Dewey was influenced by Bellamy’s vision of the future. Please remember when both Bellamy and Dewey were writing, the US and Europe were going through the “coming of technological, urban society” which I believe can accurately be described as the “most deep-seated and sweeping transformation of human affairs in all of recorded history.” That sounds dramatic but these were hugely uprooting, unprecedented changes that must have been bewildering and alienating to live through. Dewey and Bellamy’s writings reflect that. But we now know much that they did not. Shouldn’t our knowledge of what happened in the 20th century chasing after collectivist ideas matter in the 21st? Especially since what is sought is so strikingly similar?

Economist Brink Lindsay describes these 19th and 20th Century movements as the Industrial Counterrevolution. He wrote of Bellamy’s role. I remembered how much Bellamy influenced Dewey and decided to include him as well. He fits. In explaining what drove this counterrevolution of an anti-individual sweeping reorganization of society and economic life, I think Lindsay nails the driving rationale with this quote:

“Amidst the spiritual turmoil and disorientation, collectivism promised deliverance–a return to the age-old verities of village life and the sense of community and rootedness that had been lost in industrialization. The agent of deliverance would be the centralizing state; its means, the nationalization of economic life.”

Looking Backward (I am using Ryan’s description of the book as an admirer of Dewey to be fair) involves a well-to-do man put into a hypnotic trance in 1887 who awakens in 2000. “In this Boston poverty has been abolished, and absolute equality established. ” The book envisioned a 2000 where there is “no politics, no money, no free market, and no social disorder.” Every citizen of the country, regardless of age or occupation receives the same income and all commerce has been replaced by a system of direct distribution of goods and services. Looking Backward sells the idea that economic competition is wasteful and central planning allows for vastly superior productivity.

From our 21st century vantage point we know from the miseries of the 20th that central planning is not more productive. It is hugely wasteful because so much critical information never makes it through. And that’s apart from the political capture by crony favorites that is inevitable in such a system.

By the way, when I talk about free markets working better than government planning, that’s the historian in me. I think the 20th Century facts make it abundantly clear that the competitive system Marx and Bellamy and Dewey rejected back in the 19th and early 20th was in fact a “marvelously subtle and sophisticated social order whose greatest virtues are in its fertility in developing and facility in applying useful knowledge.”

That marvelously creative and innovative fertility and facility, plus a tremendous amount of useful knowledge that will no longer be transmitted via schoo,l is what is being jettisoned in 2013. By professors and politicians and Supers and Principals trying to still implement Dewey’s dream and collectivization and central planning. For them, it is either that the 20th Century’s tragedies never occurred or a belief that supercomputers and an ignorance among the masses on what is being changed via the schools will make all the difference this time.

Capitalism is actually a term created to be a pejorative. An insult. Propaganda. I like the idea of economic historian Deirdre McCloskey of substituting phrases like “continuously emergent novelty” or the “explosion of consensual creativity” to describe what makes free markets so conducive to prosperity. If we make the rules regarding contracts and property law fixed instead of trying to fix outcomes and then get out of peoples way, history shows a natural tendency for human betterment that benefits everyone to some degree. We really should think twice or more about the determination to shut this all down in the name of Equity and democracy and social justice and fairness.

Instead of Social Justice, why not explain the Bourgeois Deal to students? How much of what they take for granted now was produced by this dynamic:

“the poor have been the chief beneficiaries of modern capitalism. It is an irrefutable historical finding, obscured by the logical truth that the profits from innovation go in the first act mostly to the bourgeois rich. But in the second act, and in massively documented historical fact, other bourgeois rush forward at the smell of profit. Prices fall relative to wages, which is to say that goods and services expand per person–they have again and again and again–and the poor get better off in real terms.”

Marx and Bellamy and Dewey could not know that. But it is part of the historic facts available to us in 2013. Yet these ed reforms and the economic and social vision that goes with it ignore these facts.

We ended up in World War I, which all sides initially rejoiced in, because of widespread fallacies like German Prof Gustav Schmoller who said:

“We are convinced that the unchecked reign of partially antagonistic and unequal individual interests cannot guarantee the common welfare.”

Or Adolf Wagner who taught that the progress of civilization “necessitated ever-expanding state control over economic life.” This Wagner Law pushed something akin to today’s College and Career Ready Communitarianism by insisting on the need for expanding government controls “not for the sake of the individual or individuals, but for the sake of the whole, the sake of the nation.”

Wagner and Schmoller were tragically wrong but we still seem to be pushing comparable ideas today.

Why are we ignoring so much historical and economic fact as we once again chase after impossible utopias?

What Happens When Repeated and Intentional Threats to Student Beliefs Becomes Mandated?

That provocative title based on an urgent concern we should all be pondering comes from this quote from an Education Professor credentialling who can teach or be the boss. All at taxpayer expense based on an unappreciated definition of Literacy being imposed everywhere now on classrooms under the Common Core ruse.

“My sense is that all learners need their belief structures to be routinely threatened in ways that move them to interrogate those beliefs. To do otherwise is to deny the opportunity for my students, my colleagues, and myself to teeter on that fulcrum of threat and, using our collective weight, to defy the gravity of our circumstances.

Now, this acknowledges these methods constitute threats to a student’s sense of self that will be painful for some students and teachers. And it acknowledges trying to create mental approaches that students will remain in as they journey through life that  may well repudiate the Mindset brought from homes with educated, involved parents and lots of books and conversation from birth. And it acknowledges that the desired classroom is about encouraging teachers and students to be theorizers–”creating theories about how the world operated, testing those theories, and reassessing” without regard to facts or history or reality. If this is the school and classroom experience you advocate Educators impose, should you immediately write a Op-Ed after the Newtown tragedy complaining that there is something wrong with Upper Middle Class White Students and the US needs gun control?

http://blogs.ajc.com/get-schooled-blog/2012/12/21/fearing-young-black-men-in-hoodies-while-ignoring-while-young-white-men-with-glocks/ is the editorial before Christmas that really struck me as propaganda for the paper that published it. I have chronicled all the social and emotional targeting of students and the repeated rational, abstract  mind attacks. Those are not well-known to the public at large but they seem well-known in the Colleges of Education. That’s where they get created and a willingness to be a blind and deaf advocate for them earns Masters and Doctorate degrees now in too many places.

The fact is that these largely White Middle Class communities and schools that have been the location of school tragedies also are places that all seem to be piloting the Affective, Change the Student Approaches instead of the historic Transmitting of Knowledge. This fact is quite well-known among the education professorate. It’s the public that fails to see the connection among Flow experiences, Transformational Outcomes Based Education (both are described in the previous post), Systems Thinking, or the Best Practice/Standards for Teaching and Learning that I described here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/didnt-the-president-just-admit-ccssi-was-a-ruse-to-change-classroom-interactions/ .

This paragraph is an aside to this post but it may well be enlightening to some of you on how this gets in place. Plus I try to be fair here. We are dealing with troubling or bad ideas on this blog and not people themselves. I would classify Professor Fecho’s work as well as his UGA colleague Peter Smagorinsky as being part of that Standards for Teaching and Learning approach. Their theories of pedagogy and Literacy suggest that UGA was not just interested in constructivist math when it took a huge NSF grant of $10.3 million in 2002 to set up a Center for Learning and Teaching. Lucky Georgians were getting the Whole Language/Psycholinguistics approach to reading and writing as well as part of Georgia’s piloting of the Performance Standards that would in turn become the basis for the actual Common Core implementation now going national. And really catching up to the international initiative being pushed globally through UNESCO.

This matters to me and maybe you too, for example, because it explains why the description of Common Core sent out at the beginning of this school year by high school English teachers did not match what I know about the Common Core and those teachers. They had a new Department head with a UGA Masters in Reading who would have been influenced by Fecho and Smagorinsky’s politically inspired approaches to teaching. She is now an Assistant Principal about a year after joining the school as a teacher. See how advocating certain theories creates a fast track to lucrative promotions? See how all this can affect your child’s classroom or just your community school out of site? In the nicest neighborhoods? Which is the whole idea. No islands of academic knowledge and minds burgeoning with accurate facts and logic are to be allowed. Anywhere.

Back to this post’s concern over what has really been transpiring in many classrooms. It is now to be a national mandate in the name of the Common Core with requirements imposed for schools to remain accredited. Professor Fecho himself advocates a classroom approach for adult and younger students he calls creating “an atmosphere where wobble takes place.” http://www.cocostudio.com/pubs/Fecho-July10_EE.pdf is the 2010 article from English Education that explains the wobble process and the desired “shift in balance” in a student’s belief system. Later (page 429) the article cites Soviet philosopher Bakhtin and politically radical educator Paulo Freire for this theoretical view of Self. It is not a factual view of Self but a political aspiration for accomplishing what everyone involved admits is a radical economic, political, and social Transformation.

In other words, this is not about how to teach subjects but how to transform enough students from the inside-out to use the majority electoral process to impose a New Vision for the future. On all of us. Key to that is treating the student’s identity as not settled. So that the classroom curriculum and activities become a means of creating continuous “centripetal and centrifugal tension” on a student’s personality. That seems to be a fancy way of saying pulling it apart from every direction.

The stronger the personality and mind that walks in the door of one of these soon to be increasingly prevalent classrooms, the harder this type of classroom experience will be. For a sharp mind this highly psychological emphasis makes the school anything but a safe zone. If it was me as a teenager, I would see the process described above in the opening paragraph or the wobble push as turning school into a torture chamber. Forcing teachers to go along is a huge part of of these Effective Teacher Evals you are hearing so much about. See http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/coercing-teachers-to-be-social-and-political-saboteurs-what-can-be-done/ for more on the Eval Coercion and why.

I delayed posting a few days on this so I could read Professor Fecho’s book “Is This English?” Race, Language, and the Culture in the Classroom to make sure I was being fair. The title and opening quote comes from that book (page 146 to be exact). I am not going to second guess the Professors belief that this was a good approach in an urban Philadelphia classroom with minority children that seemed disengaged from school.

I am saying that the insistence on Equity and Levelling and eliminating the Axemaker Mind anywhere it appears means that school in some of our suburbs became and is becoming a place where teachers are being forced to push theories and psychological practices that already have a tragic history. They may be unfamiliar with the background of these theories and practices but we are not any longer. The creators of these theories and practices want Change in students mentally and emotionally and what they value and believe in going forward. They want those changes to gain a Collectivist oriented political and economic future. This time it is supposed to be “humane” socialism with politically connected amenable Big Business allowed as Collaborators with this Government Led and Enforced Vision.

I don’t think it will work well. Most people will be looking at a much lower standard of living in the future with less differences among us. That’s a high price to pay for Equity. No more widespread prosperity.

I genuinely believe that the “inexplicable” school shootings of the last 20 or so years in the US are too consistently tied to places that are cutting edge in pushing these transformative theories in the classroom for it to be coincidental. School ceases to be a place of safety when the intention is to create something akin to wobble. Deliberately trying to break the mind brought from home. Intentionally using education to mount a political coup by stealth may avoid the Gulags that were necessary elsewhere. But this education theory approach has not been without victims.

If these theories and practices become nationalized as planned, I fear these tragedies may become more common. The answer is to first stop this psychologized, mentally abusive and emotionally intrusive political classroom.

Not to insist that everyone must be disarmed so that guns and rational minds are both being deliberately taken away by what amounts to government fiat.