About me

My name is Robin Eubanks and I am an attorney. Not the sort who represents or defends people in a courtroom. I figure things out. Usually about what drives a business or industry, how it makes its money, and what the risks are to its revenue model.

I started off in Big Law doing corporate work and then helped start a legal department for a small healthcare company that grew to be a New York stock-exchange traded company. Healthcare turned into an excellent background for my current work in education as government regulation and special privileges drive the everyday dynamics of what raises money and creates costs. A background in Law is also excellent preparation for determining precisely what the terms commonly used actually mean. Especially in an industry that is consciously using language to hide the actual intended goals. My experience allowed me to recognize that education in the US and globally has been, for decades,¬† engaged in a massive Newspeak (as in George Orwell’s 1984) campaign that creates a public illusion on what is being promised and what is coming to the schools and classrooms that are this country’s future. I know what the words and terms really mean to an Ed insider and how it differs from the common public perception. I have documented what was really behind the reading wars and math wars. I have pulled together what the real intended Common Core implementation looks like. And it is wildly different from the PR sales job used to gain adoption in most of the states.

For me the English language is both a sword and a shield. I have documented what is really going on, written a book describing how and why education became a weapon, and now we are going to talk about what the real Common Core implementation looks like in various communities in the US in this busy Summer of 2012.

Because this time I have treated the American taxpayer as if each of you were the client and gathered everything we need to know going forward. If you want to think of Common Core through the image of the Titanic hitting that iceberg, this blog’s purpose this summer is to slow us down so we can negotiate the icefield in the daylight with accurate information and make it home safely. I do not want to be left describing why we sunk. If we can avoid the iceberg the book can then get us safely to the kind of schools we really need and the 21st century economy¬† that will allow as many of us as possible to prosper just as far as hard work and imagination will take us. It’s what made America great in the past. Unfettered by government seeking to restrict what any American can know or do, we can prosper again.

 

Recent Posts

Progressive Polyphonic Federalism Invisibly Binds People and Places to the Just Society Vision

That’s quite a title, isn’t it, but both alliterative adjectives matter. If you like doublechecking me, try one or the other with ‘federalism’ in your search. I joined them together because they actually work together and I hate synonyms designed to throw us off the real story, its depth, or its trail over decades. This will also remind us why the “state-led” description of the Common Core, as in not a federal initiative, is a Red Herring literally designed to throw off the scent so we look in the wrong places. Both WIOA and the ESEA Rewrite are grounded in both kinds of federalism and its No Child Left Behind predecessor is cited as the ultimate example of polyphonic federalism in this paper “Toward a Theory of Interactive Federalism” http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=734644 by the now Dean of Emory Law School. Notice that the 2006 date is the year after the famous (infamous?) Yale conference put on by the American Constitution Society proposing a new Constitution by 2020 that was followed up with a book in 2009.

Another one of those things that has not been on our radars, but needs to be, because it describes what is actually happening to all of us. Let’s go back in time to the mid-80s when (as my book lays out) so much is already shifting towards intentional social transformation via education. Recognizing that the goals of the ESEA Rewrite could only be met via James Comer’s (also at Yale) views of a social interaction, psychological focus of student achievement, I discovered he had written the Foreword for a 1985 book Choosing Equality: The Case for Democratic Schooling that sought to “qualitatively change the environmental context–the school culture–that conditions the learning process.” That certainly explains why every federal regulatory power since President Obama took office has been directed to achieving a Positive School Climate with a variety of rationales.

The vision of democratic schooling, then and now in the Common Core implementation and the ESEA Rewrite language, insists that “If education were structured around the social needs of children, families, communities, and a democratic society [in the Marxian, John Dewey, participatory sense laid out in the book], the priority would be to endow all children with the basic and higher-order skills [Remember the tethering from the last post] needed to fulfill personal and citizenship roles. The mission of schools would be individual and social empowerment, which itself would promote more equitable chances of survival in the labor market.” Schools, in other words, will increase student achievement for all students by focusing now on enhancing “all children’s capacities to think critically and to acquire social knowledge.”

That was from the “Building a New Agenda” ending, but before that was the “Governance and Funding: Toward Progressive Federalism” chapter. If the basic and social ‘needs’ of all people are to be met, either in the US or anywhere in the world, “new structural mechanisms that allow popular control over resources and priorities” are needed. The book proposed the remedy as the “concept of progressive federalism, expanding the social and fiscal responsibilities of government at all levels–federal, state, and local–and defining the role of each more appropriately to its function.” We can be sure that the UN’s Global CIFAL Network I wrote about on January 6 was created from an awareness of progressive federalism. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/30/us/politics/30federal.html says that President Obama’s Open Data Initiative (see tag), which we know was such a priority that it was his first action on his first day in office, was actually grounded in progressive federalism.

Progressive federalism sees “government action as the central instrument for achieving egalitarian goals and more effective practice in public education.” The book, which described the practices and policies my book and this blog have tracked to what the actual planned implementation looks like everywhere, sought to “develop the role of local and state governance, as well, to promote more comprehensive responses to educational needs and to engage all levels of government in the struggle for progressive reform.” The book complained that progressives were not appreciating the powers over people and places held at the state and local levels. It reiterated that the “concept of progressive federalism includes the necessity of multiple levels of authority, particularly state and federal regulatory functions that safeguard standards and rights.”

Choosing Equality pointed out the reasons for what is now so clearly being foisted on us: “The federal government is the only feasible agency for the redistribution of wealth on a nationwide basis, both in its tax policies and in its priorities for public spending. The federal government is also the primary agent for promoting geographic as well as individual equity.” Equity as in whatever must be done to achieve equality of results for various previously disadvantaged groups. That’s still the impetus behind the global push surrounding Excellence and Equity for All as this recent paper shows.

http://www.yrdsb.edu.on.ca/pdfs/w/innovation/quest/journals/QuestJournal_BenLevin-AvisGlaze.pdf made it quite clear that the required Equity is obtained in the manner described in the 1985 book although its lead author Ben Levin has now become too notorious to call as a Congressional or legislative witness. The co-author, Avis Glaze, wrote yesterday in an EdWeek post entitled “Achieving Excellence with Equity: A Mandate for All Schools” timed around the second day of ESEA Rewrite hearings. Student Learning tied to the tethering view of experiential education from the last post as well as the Rewrite’s Equity focus is a crucial point so many educators are lying to the public about all over the world.

This is from a 2008 UNESCO paper called “Inclusive Education–the Way of the Future.” It laid out the shifts in what is to constitute ‘learning’ to allow the push of equality in outcomes and success for all. It’s also embodied in what is “high-quality education” and Equity and what it takes to be a “high-achieving country” on the PISA assessments created by the OECD.

“So long as learning is understood as the acquisition of bodies of knowledge presented by the teacher, schools are likely to be locked into rigidly-organized curricula and teaching practices. Commonly, therefore, inclusive curricula are based on a view of learning as something that takes place when learners are actively involved in making sense of their experience. [hence the tethering metaphor in the last post] Learners, in other words, cannot simply be told. Rather, they have to discover and understand things for themselves.”

In whatever ways suit political power as governments at all levels coordinate around forcing people and places to accept. or even not notice, the progressive visions of a just society being pursued. As the book Remaking America recently concluded:

“States have the power, and often the will, to meet the needs of citizens in progressive ways…Progressive federalism seeks to harness this potential state contribution to our national democracy without retreating from civil rights and a national affirmative state…to update and give content to the metaphor as ‘laboratories for democracy’.”

Are those kinds of efforts then really ‘state-led’¬† It helps if we look at why Dean Schapiro chose the “Polyphonic Alternative” to describe the new conception of federalism being constructed. Both Eric Holder, the US Attorney General, and Cass Sunstein, the President’s first-term “Regulatory Czar” are involved with the American Constitution Society’s push here as is Janet Reno, Clinton’s Attorney General. Well-connected to federal regulatory power would be an understatement of epic proportions apart from the Soros funding, polyphony has the element of coinciding authority, working in harmony, a “stew” instead of the “adjoining” layered authority symbolized by a “marble cake.” Federalism that “can combine into new melodies, without losing its individual character.”

States and localities in such a mellifluous stew of Statist coordination may still retain their ‘character’. Thus preventing easy recognition of the nature of this crucial shift. They are entirely losing their function though as a barrier to governmental power over the individual as laid out in the still existing US Constitution. The progressive label was at least a tip-off that a shift in the fundamental governing philosophy had occurred, apparently to avoid the cacophony of free enterprise and individual abilities and choices. Looking through that Interactive Federalism paper, I cannot find any protection from overbearing governments at all levels committed to trying to achieve Equality of Outcomes.

As the last several posts combined have pointed out, the “brain is a sculpture carved by experience” as the OECD Neuroscience research has pointed out, and governments at all levels are now committing to sculpting the human brains of students at a neurobiological level. They are pushing the practices and policies thought to advance a society and economy grounded literally in transferring “from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.” Neither the UN or the OECD hides anymore their pursuit of what Marx called his Human Development Model of society. Neither do progressives, where ever they are. Historically, there has been a barrier–the language of the US Constitution, but not under these legal theories or conceptions of federalism.

Education, especially K-12, is the global vehicle, because as the OECD recognized with this quote from Wu Ting-Fang: “Education is like a double-edged sword. It may be turned to dangerous uses if it is not properly handled.”

Just like the law and the supposed checks and balances of federalism.

 

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