Curriculum Now Needs to Become an Itinerary of Transformative Experiences of Participation

Mulling over the Transdisciplinary, Intrapsychological themes we have been looking at beginning with the October 28 “Opting Out” post, I decided to hit my bookshelves to find some guidance to put these declared initiatives for our children and all of our futures into context. In my book Credentialed to Destroy, I cited Harvard Historian Richard Pipes’ Survival is Not Enough to share insights from behind the Iron Curtain on why collectivists always target consciousness. Today I want to go back to a different point he made about the need to control language and communication. Remember please that communication is one of the 4Cs of 21st Century Learning and is now being used as a euphemism to insist that students need to negotiate and come to a ‘shared understanding.’  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/experimenting-on-people-and-places-via-the-rockefeller-process-of-communication-for-social-change/ is just one example of the latter use.

“Just as the private initiative of ordinary people, with its ‘second economy’ [the Black Market], has broken the state’s hold on the production and distribution of goods, so the courage of its intellectuals has given Russia a ‘second reality.’ This restoration to language of its proper function as a means of communication instead of domination is an act of revolutionary significance. In the words of Alain Besancon:

The Communist regime was, in effect, inaugurated by the public (state’s) appropriation of the means not of production but of communication. Well before the factories and fields were seized, it had been the newspapers, the printing establishments, the media…Much more directly fatal than the restoration of the market is the restoration of the human word, the privatization of the organs of speech, individual ownership of the throat…The writer breaks the compact of lies on which the entire equilibrium of ideological power rests. He gives words their meaning. He redresses the ideological inversion of language. He restores reality in its capacity as the unique reality and vaporizes surreality.”

Professor Pipes follows that Besancon quote from 1980 with this recognition: “Once the spell has been broken, the regime may never again be able to reassert its control over human perceptions and means of communication, a control that in some respects constitutes the irreducible essence of Communist power.” I think the Transdisciplinary agenda UNESCO is pushing and the rest of the education agenda centered on constructivism in reading and math it and so many other global entities are pushing in a coordinated manner are simply another way to get back that control. “We’ve found another way!” could be the theme of that Cooperation Agreement with Microsoft that Bill Gates signed.

I want to go back to the 1998 book cited in the Appendix of that Agreement because that’s where the title quote came from. Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning, and Identity ‘s last chapter is on Education. This is the lead-in on its new purpose: “Education, in its deepest sense and at whatever age it takes place, concerns the opening of identities–exploring new ways of being that lie beyond our current state.” Now when governments, and their allies in foundations or accreditation, decree that the negotiation of Identity is the purpose of K-12 education and they intend to prescribe, guide, and then assess for what that Identity can be, we are back beyond the scope of domination and control that Pipes and Besancon wrote about.

When education is now required to be “a mutual developmental process between communities and individuals, one that goes beyond mere socialization. It is an investment of a community in its own future, not as a reproduction of the past through cultural transmission, but as the formation of new identities that can take it history of learning forward,” we actually are back to a little c vision of the future of the kind Uncle Karl wrote about. This time though it is far more surreptitious. It definitely has a better PR campaign and a more alluring set of names.

I have stated repeatedly that Common Core is not about the transmission of knowledge and subject content in the traditional sense, no matter how much certain people now hype their reviews of textbooks and other instructional materials. Why? Because under the Transdisciplinary vision of education that is coming (even to Texas), “delivery of codified knowledge takes place away from actual practice, with a focus on instructional structure and pedagogical authority that discourages negotiation.” Negotiation–remember that obligation to come to a shared understanding I mentioned above? How many times have you heard that under the Common Core learning must be relevant and involve real world applications? Here’s the next line: “As a form of educational design, the reification of knowledge is thus not itself a guarantee that relevant or applicable learning will take place.”

That would be coursework that makes a student feel compelled to act to change the world. Remember we have encountered what Transdisciplinary means before and its explicit links to Agenda 21. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/inventing-the-education-of-the-future-by-insuring-planet-wide-activity-to-produce-unified-outlooks/
I have tried repeatedly to explain what the new assessments are really aiming to do, but let’s look to what UNESCO, Etienne Wenger, and, we must assume Mr Gates with all his sponsorship of new forms of assessment, have in mind.

“Students with a literal relation to a subject matter [like a traditional Algebra textbook, Geometry proofs, or that famous Catherine the Great World History lecture] can reproduce reified knowledge [or not and accept that C-] without attempting to gain some ownership of its meaning [in the sense of how it can impact their daily lives]. An evaluation process will become more informative regarding the learning that has actually taken place to the extent that its structure does not parallel that of instruction too closely, but instead conforms to the structure of engagement in actual practice and the forms of competence inherent in it.”

Oooh, I know. I know. Let’s call those latter types of evaluations High Quality Assessments or formative assessments. Then we can tell relieved parents there will be no more high stakes testing, just embedded learning tasks. We can all be certain the parents will not be told that school is now to be a place for “experiments of identity that students can engage in while there.” Keep that in mind though next time you hear of an assignment that basically amounts to role-playing. I want to close with Six Transdisciplinary Primary School Curriculum Themes so that students, parents, and teachers can better recognize when they have actually embarked on a UNESCO/Microsoft approved transformational educational experience. http://inquiryblog.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/td-themes.png is the source.

Six Sided Figure Going Clockwise from the Top

Who we are: An exploration of the nature of the self; of our beliefs and values; of personal, physical, mental, social and spiritual health; of our families,

Where we are in space and time: An exploration of our orientation in space and time; of our personal histories; the discoveries, explorations and migrations of humankind.

How we express ourselves: An exploration of the way which we discover and express our nature, ideas, feelings, beliefs and values through language and the arts.

How we organise ourselves: An exploration of human systems and communities; the structure and function of organisations; societal decision making; economic activities and their impact.

How the world works: An exploration of the physical and material world; of natural and human-made phenomena; of the world of science and technology.

Sharing the planet: An exploration of rights and responsibilities in the struggle to share finite resources with other people; access to equal opportunities, peace and conflict resolution.

Yes, I too would classify that last one as Social Justice at 10 o’clock. The ultimate tragedy is that if we are in fact looking at a future of ‘finite resources,’ the ultimate cause is this officially endorsed Mind Arson view of Education to create Transformative Change Agents. This push to circumscribe the human mind to lock in the kind of control over individuals and their likely behaviors that the Soviets could only dream of.

The late Julian Simon knew that “The essence of wealth is the capacity to control the forces of nature, and the extent of wealth depends upon the level of technology and the ability to create new knowledge.” All over the world that open-ended source of future wealth is being extinguished via K-12 education precisely, and almost solely, to once again gain the kind of control over the sources of production and communication that the Soviets lost and the Chinese wish to preserve and now extend. Globally.

Using the help of politically connected friends and corporations. There’s nothing unprecedented about what is being sought. The Internet and digital learning are just new means of communication. Plus the research the behavioral scientists documented in the 20th century has them itching for some real-time research across the globe.

So instead of being glum this holiday season that what is being attempted is so ugly, let’s be thankful for All We Now Know and Our Increasing Recognition of How Very Much this all matters.

Julian Simon knew that “minds matter economically as much as, or more than, hands or mouths.” Now, we do too. No more accepting the declared PR pitches at face value.

 

Opting Out as the Remedy May Mean Accidentally Accelerating Nonconsensual Transformations

Did you notice that transformations is plural? That added ‘s’ is  not a case of early morning hyper typing. As I have mentioned numerous times with substantial evidence in my book Credentialed to Destroy and this blog, we cannot separate out the end goals in our real world from the intention of using education to change what “type of person” students will become as adults. That inextricable reality of global K-12 education reform that the Common Core is tied to was brought painfully home this week when I came across this new report from KnowledgeWorks.  http://www.knowledgeworks.org/sites/default/files/Improving-Student-Outcomes-Through-Collective-Impact.pdf

In case you are not familiar with KnowledgeWorks, it is a well-connected nonprofit that has Clinton’s Education Secretary and Carnegie Vice Chair Richard Riley on its Board. It gets financing from the Gates, Carnegie, and Hewlett Foundations and pushes the Education reforms that were controversial in the 90s. This time though “There will be no Notice so There can be no Choice” could be the motto. So when KW creates a Policy Guide for Federal Policymakers (aka DC bureaucrats) that says that only those communities pushing a shared vision grounded in Uncle Karl’s vision of “from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs” will be getting “federal place-based education grants,” we are about to have a problem. Especially if the local mayor or city council or school board wants to tout the disguised communitarian mandate as a ‘local’ idea.

Committing to transforming workplaces, the built environment, economies, and all the things governments will now do for all citizens is rather a large transformation. Everywhere in the world that is pushing this, which unfortunately amounts to everywhere ordinary people have ever been free to make their own choices, sees education as the means for forcing this change, like it or not. Here is as succinct a description of the end game person to be carved out by all these reforms as I can find. It is as if people now are to be treated as a block of ice to be produced into a form ready for a tony reception centerpiece on demand. Apt snark in brackets.

“Individuals who: (1) are constantly authenticating or reconstructing their beliefs through experience and reflection [Dweck's Growth Mindset]; (2) are capable of critically analysing and transcending given texts, contexts, systems and structures [ready to jettison the world as it is for a world that might be and may work even worse]; (3) are able to prosper in changeable social, cultural and economic environments [all those other transformations to be pursued above as collective impact partnerships to get federal funds like the WIOA I despise]; (4) have recognised and developed passions, talents, and capacities which they willingly contribute to productive and cooperative purposes [that would explain why putting others first ended up as a requirement of the Career Ready Standards and all the references to collaboration]; (5) have a strong sense of identity, autonomy and self-efficacy [precisely what Facing History and the Anti-bias Standards are determined to create]; and (6) have a genuine respect for themselves and others [remember the Affirmative Code of Student Conduct now mischievously required in all classrooms?]”

The Australians call that the Key Abilities Model created by Global Change Agent Michael Fullan’s New Theory of Education and we simply cannot get there via a fact-based, lecture curriculum that is about content knowledge in the traditional sense. I mentioned Opt-Out because that is the remedy I kept hearing about while I was out in California. If the model of Next Generation Learning and Competency-based is to get rid of traditional tests altogether, opting out may be the proverbial jump from the frying skillet into the fire itself. Let’s quote an April 2013 Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC) document called “The Pathway to Possibility” on the new type of “measures of learning” desired. Please remember that KnowledgeWorks is closely tied to NGLC.

“Different approaches to learning and revised definitions of success require new metrics that accurately reflect both the process [of personal change] and the product [the changes in the student] of learning and attainment. Such a shift would mean enormous changes in measurement design by itself, but that level of change is compounded by new thinking about the role of assessment in learning, both in the United States and internationally. Rather than being used primarily (often solely) for summative purposes–e.g., an on-demand final exam–assessment is increasingly understood to be an essential, ongoing, highly integrated component of the learning process.”

Embedded then in classwork like gaming or the online software increasingly ubiquitous in classrooms, this change the student capability goes by the names “assessing for learning” and “formative assessment.” If parents are unaware that changing how the student perceives the world from the inside out is the new purpose of curricula and what happens in the classroom, they may miss that the Opt Out hype aids this always intended transition. I personally believe that the pain of constant testing has been deliberately heightened precisely so that frustrated parents will proclaim no more objective measuring of what is happening in the classroom. It’s too frustrating for the kids. Then the real extent of the psychological shifts and the lack of real factual knowledge will be easy to miss. At least until the transformation is irreversible.

That’s the hope anyway. Let’s go back to Australia then to once again appreciate that the student’s basic assumptions about the nature of reality are what these reforms are really targeting. http://www.aare.edu.au/data/publications/2004/sea04954.pdf lays out the New Global Educational Paradigm. It’s just a matter of social science theory and our children and society itself are the intended guinea pigs for real-world testing. Wish we could opt out of this. Maybe we can if enough people are aware in time. These are the 15 Constructs of the desired changes in identity, dispositions and orientations to the world K-12 education is to be creating in students. These are the “transformational outcomes” desired.

Construct 1 is “Reality is not discovered, but constructed“. The world is what a person perceives and believes and there is no objective reality. That would certainly explain the disdain for lectures, textbooks, and phonetic reading to allow a dialogue with the past.

Construct 2 is “Human life transcends the appearance of duality.” That stunner insists we are not in fact separate from the world we inhabit and this historic duality gets bridged by making action and experience the classroom focus.

Construct 3 is “Human life is purposeful.” How a person interprets “objects, concepts, ideas, speech, events, actions and contexts depends on the individual’s purposes or perceptions of a problem.” So facts gets minimised and values and beliefs get all the attention so that purposes and perceptions can be usefully manipulated.

Constructive 4 is “Human Consciousness is evolutionary.” Not in a way that has anything to do with apes. Here the brain must be constantly willing to adapt how it interprets that real world. This theory calls for deliberately introducing conflict [aka rigor] so that the frustrating inconsistency will force a revision of our “internal schemes or internal reference standards (the experiential goals which drive our behavior)”. That would be the authoritarian goals I mentioned in the previous post that are supposed to be superior to mere rote learning of facts.

Construct 5 is “Human individuals are autonomous agents.” This translates into a person will fight external demands or limits imposed by arbitrary authority. So of course the answer is to make the control invisible and internal via education. Construct 6 is that “Human beings need to be familiar with the world around them.” That one bluntly boils down to how people organize their experience impacts their willingness to act to transform the world. Construct 7 is that “Human beings are vulnerable to conditioning.” Exploiting that has become the entire basis for graduate education degrees.

Construct 8 is “Particular forms of experience alienate human beings from our selves and the world.” Book knowledge gets in the way of transforming current reality is the concern. Construct 9 is “Authentic human beings can help others to become authentic.” Authentic means transcending current definitions and given systems and changing everything that currently exists. No, there’s nothing about collective impact but it fits. Construct 10 is “Intelligence is adaptive action.” Beginning to see a pattern? A person should be willing to change how they see the world to fit with their aims. Yes, this is a construct only a tenured prof would come up with, not someone spending their own money.

Construct 11 is “Life is change.” So is drowning, but that’s no reason to actively pursue it. Construct 12 is “Particular forms of experience create a disposition to intelligent action.” Of course those types of experiences must become the virtual reality of gaming or apprenticeships in the new design of high schools. Construct 13 is “A human being’s identity can transcend definitions.” That is particularly easy if the education paradigm proclaims the Death of the Gutenberg Era in order to deemphasize the magical effects on the mind of print.

Construct 14 is “Every human being is a conscious and autonomous process of becoming.” That is almost precisely what the NEA, Abraham Maslow, and Carl Rogers wanted to make the new focus of K-12 education back in 1962. Everything old is new again for the 21st Century as Next Generation Learning. Sounds better than Humanist Psychology, doesn’t it?

Finally, Construct 15 is “Human beings change ourselves and our world.” Education here seeks to create an “awareness that texts, contexts, systems, and structures are not unalterable givens, but things that challenge us.”

That sounds precisely like the goal of that Collective Impact report we started with.

What’s the correct word to describe the intentions of these 15 constructs?

What happens when all these sought changes are involuntary and undisclosed to the people being changed and the taxpayers funding it all?

Authoritarian FantasyLand: A Place With Required Habits of Mind but Disdain for Facts

Back from my jaunt this week to Orange County, California to talk about all the things coming into K-12 classrooms under the cloaking banner of the Common Core. Since I was taking notes on Monday night and the pro-CC side zealously conceded a great deal in their prepared presentations, I thought we would talk about what was admitted upfront and what the implications are for all of us. It is safe to say that California is further along than many states so this will fit with what is or will soon be going on everywhere. If authoritarian seems awfully strong, it is partly a reaction to the number of speakers who insisted that the Common Core was now “the law” and there was thus no reason for further discussion. Now no one actually uttered the phrase “resistance is futile” or “submission is mandatory,” but that was the drift of the arguments.

Gone is any concept that the United States is a country conceived on a premise that the individual is ultimately so sacrosanct that even a king needs to ask permission to cross his threshold. No, if a school board, legislature, or city or regional council adopts a law or enacts a regulation, apparently obedience is now mandatory without further discussion. That crucial shift is one reason the authoritarian description seems apt. The other is the number of times I heard speakers, especially one who was a former California 4th District PTA President and a current Huntington Beach school board member utter phrases in support of the Common Core like “its purpose is to create habits of mind” and dictate “concepts to be absorbed” by the student. Another speaker spoke of “internalizing” knowledge.

All of those references, whether the speakers know this or not, are to what Soviet psychologist Piotr Galperin called theoretical instruction to guide future behavior. We covered it here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/transcending-the-individual-mind-as-the-analytical-unit-of-learning-while-still-guiding-how-we-will-act/ . My dictionary defines authoritarian as “unquestioning obedience to authority rather than individual freedom of judgment and action.” Now let’s face it, if concepts have been implanted in student’s psyche at an unconscious level, which all these speakers are admitting and I have been warning about, there’s not even any opportunity to question. Is there anybody out there that denies our definition is being more than met with these openly declared intentions?

One of the Board members read two passages from my book. One is that we are looking at the “Marxist theory of education.” I suppose he was trying to paint me as some kind of 21st Century McCarthy threatening to name names. As the book lays out in detail, Uncle Karl wanted education to be all about controlling consciousness. Let’s face it, the pro-CC speakers themselves admitted that aim several times. If educational theorists and professors use the M word among themselves for what they advocate, we get to use the term as well. That’s me–factual, not raving. The 2nd quote had to do with the assertion in the book that Common Core actually wants to limit knowledge. I explained quickly about how a concept-based education worked, but I have a better example to actually quote now that I am home with access to all my materials.

The term “rigor” and “cognitively demanding” both got used a lot as reasons for the shift to the Common Core. No one mentioned though that the purpose of this kind of classroom work was to foster a “tolerance for ambiguity” in the student. More psyche in the classroom crosshairs then. I mentioned in my testimony that to work the problem MUST be ambiguous, be previously untaught, or have no single correct answer.  http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/oct08/vol66/num02/Rigor-Redefined.aspx is a 2008 article by Harvard prof Tony Wagner elaborating just that–”a complex, multi-step problem that is different from any they’ve seen in the past.”

The pro-side did not care for my pointing out that when they stated that CC were “learning standards” they were saying it was about “social and emotional changes in the student” and “goals” for changing a student’s values, attitudes, beliefs, or behaviors.  That came out on rebuttal even though our former PTA President and Board member had cited “engaging experiences” as one of her reasons to support the CC transformation of the classroom. What precisely does she believe the “experiences” are getting at? Plus, I now have access to the standard definition of ‘rigor’ which is “the goal of helping all students develop the capacity to understand content that is complex, ambiguous, provocative, and personally or emotionally challenging.” I took that from an SREB powerpoint, but plenty of school districts use that quoted definition verbatim too.

Another reason cited in support of CC was it “promotes Equity.” As we say in the South “Yeehaw.” Dissimilar treatment of students in order to get them to the same outcomes is not likely to be a popular selling point, at least until we get a generation trained with those Anti-bias Standards from the last post. So we get Equity imposed invisibly by Supers and Civil Rights edicts and local city councils. Alarmingly, Brookings’ Metropolitanism guru, Bruce Katz (see tags)  announced this week http://www.brookings.edu/research/papers/2014/10/22-metro-growth-uk-us-katz  that  “it’s time we rewrote our own federalist contract [that would be the US Constitution] and realign power and responsibility for the modern era in which cities and metropolitan areas, rather than nations and states, drive economies and progress.”

Right into a ditch in all likelihood, but this is the political vision all these education reforms embodied in the full CC implementation are relying on as the future they are preparing our students for. In that link, you will find a link to a UK report that makes it clear that geography is being used to disguise the shift to the needs-based, economic justice vision that Uncle Karl lusted about achieving at some point in the future. As the report said “the scale of metros means they are best placed to drive the strategic integration of public services and economic development.”

That’s the vision for Manchester in the UK and the greater LA area, my neck of the woods in Georgia, and everywhere else as well. Everything I have read suggests a Folly of monumental proportions is planned, but it will be quite lucrative for a while to those connected vendors who form public-private partnerships to receive taxpayer money for meeting ‘needs’ like housing, education, or healthcare.

I want to close this discussion with a Keynote Address noted Change Agent Shirley McCune gave back in 1981 called “The Future of Educational Equity.” She saw “struggles for equity” as the “whole rationale for the formation of the United States” which tells us what can happen when we let graduate degrees in social work dictate how we educate our kids. What I found fascinating since I had always seen the Reagan Block Grants to state and local governments as a ‘conservative’ shift was how A-OK she was with this plan. So someone who wanted to see comparable economic and social outcomes among groups and “groups of people represented throughout society in proportion to their representation in the population” viewed state and local governments as the place to achieve that.

Something to think about as commentators assume that the Common Core is an acceptable dictate if a local school board requires it. That the only problem with the Common Core is the federal fingerprints all over it from Arne Duncan’s actions. Really? Authoritarianism that goes so far as to dictate personality traits at an unconscious level to drive future behavior is not a problem now as long as it is not federal authorities mandating it? McCune believed that the “only way that persons would be willing to ‘buy equity concerns’ is if it is demonstrated that it is an innate part of quality education.” That of course is precisely what embedding Racial Equity Outcomes in coursework or those Anti-Bias Framework do.

It’s McCune and others view of how to use a misleading term like quality education for “building a new consensus on equity.” She also viewed quality education for equity as about equipping students with the “highest level basic verbal and mathematical skills consistent with their individual ability.” The only way to read that language is that slower students will get a variety of ways to show their skills, but able students still cannot go beyond basic. They can just go faster through the basics.

Just as we are seeing with all the current emphasis on Career Pathways, where California is one of the lead pilots http://www.clasp.org/resources-and-publications/files/aqcp-framework-version-1-0/AQCP-Framework.pdf McCune’s plan for equity relied on ALL students now receiving a combined academic and vocational education where everyone would obtain “the skills and attitudes necessary for working cooperatively with both the same sex and opposite sex in the paid workforce and in the home.”

Finally McCune’s version of quality education “would equip students with the flexibility and self-confidence that would enable them to cope with the rapidly changing society through continuing adult learning and growth.” Doesn’t that sound just like what the Common Core is touting as having a Growth Mindset? Everything old is new again apparently until total transformation is finally achieved.

Apparently the products of a “quality education” grounded in ‘rigor’ will not object to the fundamental rewrite of our “federalist contract” and in the mean time, governments at all levels seem to be pursuing this Equity vision without any genuine disclosure or consent. Leaving it to the lady who reads too much and has for a very long time to lay it all out.

Hopefully Just In Time as the slogan goes.

Gaining Access To and Then Guiding Each Student’s Subjective Perception of Reality to Change the Here and Now

Let’s pretend for a moment that we are all in the same room mulling over why K-12 education is shutting down what works and expanding everything that has ever been controversial or even tragic. We could get out a White Board and pretend to be detective Kate Beckett on the TV show Castle and create columns of what concerns and mystifies us. Concrete, Down to Earth, Tangible Concerns. Then later as I am researching and footnote hopping, I read the title of a 1966 book called The Social Construction of Reality. I remember that White Board and how no one wants to allow Declarative Knowledge anymore (defined in previous post) that would accurately allow me to factually understand the Here and Now.

In fact, we have been noticing that everything to be required in the classroom now seems to be about guiding personal perception of what is actually going on in the here and now. Filtering how we conceive the who or what caused all the problems we are to now notice. We keep wondering why all the focus on emotions and showing your work instead of getting a right answer and making activities and experiences the point of classroom work. To quote again from The Parallel Curriculum book from two posts ago, when did we switch to reading a historical fiction book so that we can imagine how it must have felt to be alive during a time period like the Civil War? Is that history? How about if we use the book to “document the feelings, perspectives, and changes that occur for your characters over time.” That’s not factual knowledge. It’s simply priming the student to accept that a change in conditions could be a reason for personal change.

Psychological role-playing, in other words, seems to be all over classes that are supposed to be about science, literature, history, or civics. Even math. “How would you feel if… ” is psychological role-playing even if the description of your feelings, frustrations, and strategies for what to do next is going in your math journal so that “your teacher can read it and get to know you better.”

I keep bringing up the fact that the term ‘knowledge’ now is not about facts, but is rather concepts that are supposed to guide how we perceive all those activities and experiences. Why does that distinction matter so much? Well, the social psychologists have plenty of research they share among themselves that goes as follows:

“The notion of a concept is essential for understanding thought and behavior. If we want to understand, say, how a child learns through experience that stoves can burn, we assume that the child uses the concepts stove and burn; without this assumption, it is not clear why a child’s experience with one particular stove and one particular burn will be related to his or her experience with another stove and another possible burn. [In other words, if we want to get students or adults to analogize from one situation to another, we convince them that they involve comparable concepts. If we want to convince them about false connections, we train students repeatedly from a young age to believe that situations are connected or equivalent even if they are not.]

“It is only when we treat the objects and events of a situation as instances of concepts that we see what there is to learn. And just as it is hard to think about learning without concepts, it is hard to think about communication and reason without concepts. In short, concepts reflect the way we divide the world into classes, and much of what we learn, communicate, and reason involves relations among these classes.”

Providing the concepts to everyone then instead of each person building them up from facts is a tremendously fruitful means for psychological manipulation. Effective and largely invisible once created. What’s not to love if fundamentally transforming the here and now is the Goal, and undermining the historical Western sacrosanct treatment of the individual and the mind is the Means. Just target how that individual, while they are still young, learns to categorize their everyday experiences. Then make sure that any classroom work that previously bolstered the “ability of language to be an objective repository of vast accumulations of meaning and experiences, which it can then preserve in time and transmit to following generations” is either destroyed or seriously limited in duration and purpose.

We are back to our pretend Murder Board of what’s Being Discontinued and Expanded in Education and my reading nerdy books and then translating them so no one else has to. That is how I felt reading The Social Construction of Reality. It was like getting a Treasure Map to what would need to be stopped or emphasized if manipulation of how an individual saw reality was the Goal. Why? So that their future actions could be reliably planned from afar. How we order social experiences turns out to be a crucial fact to know if someone wants to predict and control other people’s behavior. It’s also something that adaptive software in a Digital Learning program or journals or showing your work in an open-ended question where there is no right answer all reveal. Rigorous assessments of the type required by the Common Core, a Higher Order Thinking Skills emphasis , or the ‘high-quality’ tests of 21st Century Learning all ferret it out too.

Coincidental? I think not as a TV detective would get to say. Keeping school work relevant to real life and everyday life situations makes the routine social stock of knowledge of the average student paramount. If school is no longer about facts, reading is Guided and not fluent, and visual presentations are considered on par with writing papers, then the typical person now exists in a place where “the reality of everyday life always appears as a zone of lucidity behind which there is a background of darkness.” Reading that passage from the 1966 book made me gasp because circumscribing personal knowledge in effect makes that zone of lucidity easy to manipulate. Later in the book, the importance of concepts and subjective categorization of experiences is mentioned as what makes us notice certain aspects of what happens and ignore others.

Now imagine that the Concepts and Principles provided are deliberately chosen to have just that very effect. The Goal? To make the student and the future ‘citizen’ they will become not just amenable to fundamental transformations in society, the economy, and political structures we now take for granted like the US Constitution. The student is to come to believe that radical changes are necessary and desirable. Hopefully the student will be ready to act on conditions and problems in the here and now to make fundamental transformations a reality sooner rather than later.

It turns out that a reverence for logic as in traditional math, chemistry, or physics and abstract proofs or grammar and old-fashioned vocabulary that can contain a sentence full of meaning in a single word are examples of how “language now constructs immense edifices of symbolic representations that appear to tower over the reality of everyday life like gigantic processes from another world.” Well, someone does still appreciate flowery language when they are driving home a point. Unfortunately, the point is how much preferable face-to-face interaction is, which would explain why the Common Core stresses listening and speaking and group dialogues and learning to reach that all important consensus within the classroom.

Once again the groundwork revealing the why in the classroom mysteries of the here and now was laid out back in the 60s attempt at fundamental transformations. We just had to peel back enough layers of the onion to locate this quote:

“In the face-to-face situation language possesses an inherent quality of reciprocity that distinguishes it from any other sign system. [In other words, we can see facial expressions and body movements and infer emotions from them.] The ongoing production of vocal signs in conversation can be sensitively synchronized with the ongoing subjective intentions of the conversants.”

A less convoluted way of making the same point is that conversation becomes the way to get everyone on the same page in how they describe their experiences and using the same concepts. Well, no wonder, we keep hearing hype for Blended Learning or the Flipped Classroom. Just let the computer or Kahn Academy provide what the last post called procedural knowledge and the 1966 book calls recipe knowledge–”that is, knowledge limited to pragmatic competence in routine performances.”

Does that sound like a Competency focus to anyone else?

So what’s your interpretation of why the actual planned classroom implementation under its variety of Orwellian names lines up so perfectly with how the known Social Construction of Reality by most people?

Could it be an organized attempt to manipulate their future behavior as long as accurate factual knowledge is kept to a minimum?

Is it politically useful to keep voters ignorant, aggrieved, and reliable in their likely reactions?

 

House of Tomorrow: Targeting Behavior Change Requires Move Away from Declarative Knowledge

If you hang out in the dungeons and attics of the Transformation Blueprints like I do, one of the omnipresent confessions that is crucial, but not making it into the public domain YET, is that classroom activities and experiences are now “aims-based” or “goal-directed,” not “subject-matter based.” History, math, literature, or science course names still get used, but it hides the new broader purposes of social change. They have ceased to be, unfortunately, ends in themselves. The very phrase “standards-based” over the last two decades is also intended to hide what is indisputedly a shift to a personal behavior emphasis that is still too obscured.

This post is designed to remedy that and build on the facts and declarations laid out in the recently finished APUSH trilogy as well as particularly Chapter 7 of my book–”What if Common Core Actually Limits What Everyone Can Know or Do While Targeting Feelings,  Beliefs, and Values Instead?” The Question that Grows in Pertinence on a Daily Basis. Often times the best way to illustrate what is being required in education is to consult a professor in another area, who is unlikely to mask his statements about what is intended. Do you remember the London School of Economics where that troubling Fabian Stained Glass window has now found a new home? As a symbol of reverence, not infamy, unfortunately.

Back in 1994, LSE’s then Director, sociologist Anthony Giddens, kindly explained the role of History to political radicals in a book called Beyond Left and Right. It matters because not enough of us appreciate that the Fall of the Berlin Wall, death of Mao, or dissolution of the USSR, never altered the widespread desire for History to be progressing somewhere. If facts get in the way, education becomes the preferred tool to get the process headed in the desired direction again. Tell me this quote is not behind the spirit of the activities I spelled out in the previous posts: “For socialists, the past is not comforting; it is valued at most because it has provided the means whereby we can actively move on to grasp and appropriate the future.”

If you make K-12 education about altering and creating desired feelings, values, beliefs, perceptions, and behaviors (performances or learning are the preferred K-12 euphemisms obscuring this reality), education can supposedly create the conditions for the House of Tomorrow. http://www.ascd.org/ASCD/pdf/journals/ed_lead/el_198312_mcnay.pdf  When I write posts explaining the NEA CARE Guide created with the Southern Poverty Law Center to use in the Common Core classroom or the Aspen Institute’s  RETOC-Racial Equity Theory of Change, tie those intentions to highlight race, class, and ethnicity to create feelings of grievance or guilt to Giddens telling us that Marxism’s allure for so many is and was the “metaphysical idea that history, in its more consequential and revolutionary moments, is made by the oppressed.”

If that quote seems a bit too ‘metaphysical’ for anyone’s taste, let’s simply make real-world problem solving the focus of K-12 education, and see if the classroom over time doesn’t create a consciousness precisely as Uncle Karl would have wanted. In 2013 the Journal of Teacher Education for Sustainability published a helpful confession from Erin Redman complaining that traditional education and declarative knowledge like facts, lectures, and textbooks were too “value-free, didactic” and “one-way methods of communication” (instead of the now glorified classroom ‘Dialogue” among ‘Equals’).  Education in the 21st Century is supposed to be about long-term behavior change from an unconscious basis at the level of each individual. Those Aims or Goals require “require real-world, experiential and problem-based learning.”

Thanks for the honesty even if it is tucked away. Keep in mind the calm assertion that “Behavioural scholars have, however, clearly established that the linear, information-deficit approach [aka Transmission of Knowledge of the Best that has Been Thought or Done by the Sages of the Past] to education is insufficient in promoting behaviour change.” Since we have been concentrating on what these Aims and Goals do to history coursework, let’s end with the recommendation that this Normative view of the purpose of curriculum results in a suggestion for “shifting away from scientific facts as the primary discourse in sustainability.” That ‘s why it’s so important to emphasize feelings and the Whole Child.

It is why Procedural Knowledge gets so hyped now in the form of the Skills Deficit. That is the needed action-related process knowledge and how-to skills useful for real-world transformations. Effectiveness Knowledge now gets hyped because Beliefs about the Need for transformations in the present to alter the future are very much influenced by “perceived consequences associated with different behaviours as well as beliefs about who is responsible for given outcomes.” That’s the Aim that really finds factual knowledge to be an obstacle since it might prevent viewing the assigned Villains as culpable or notice that local politicians will blow even more money if given ever more planning power.

But then I am no teenager and we have already concluded I would be on the first shipment to Perception Re-education Camps to extinguish Factual Knowledge as an Impediment to Fundamental Change. The typical adolescent will be easy prey though for classrooms built around: “One of the central ways for enhancing effectiveness knowledge is by focusing on problems that are locally relevant and at a scale with which students feel empowered to act, while also examining the positive impact of individual and collective change.” Lack of much factual knowledge, unless the parents have stepped in or the child is the rare fluent, voracious reader, means that a capacity or willingness to conceive of any negative impact is unlikely happen in most classrooms anymore.

Finally, “social knowledge (i.e. norms) encompasses subjective and local knowledge including the motives, intentions and actions of other people. In order to enhance social knowledge, it is critical that sustainable behaviours are positioned as the normal and the desired way to act.” Objective, norm-referenced tests of knowledge have to go away quietly in this sought scenario for the future since they center on Declarative Knowledge. Radicals always needed alternative assessments to examine whether the desired behavior and attitude changes were occurring and what strategies and concepts are used when there is no correct answer and not enough information is given. Today’s Rigorous Assessments merely build on what was known as the New Standards Reference Examination in the 90s http://www.cse.ucla.edu/products/reports/TECH470.pdf Created again by the Mother of both Higher Order Thinking Skills as well as the related term Rigor, Professor Lauren Resnick.

We should simply view them correctly as Cultural Activity Research on our kids with our tax dollars. Remember the ISCAR 2011 Conference in Rome, Italy? It’s all about Aims-Based Education too. Transformational Aims with Political and Social Purposes. Just like the Common Core or 21st Century Learning or Competency-Based Instruction now. It’s all about Behavior Change if we climb down to the dungeons or up to the attics or just trace back to the footnotes in the typical Aspen Institute Report.

Those interested in fundamental transformations in the political and social spheres that is the Progressive View of the Role of History now need the tool of K-12 education, if not preschool as well, to reach those same Aims and Goals. It’s why so many education graduate degrees today openly trumpet their grounding in Change Agent Theories. To make students the mass carriers of new cultural memes and behaviors without most parents or the typical taxpayer even being aware of the shift. That’s the purpose of all the Orwellian language that has me climbing down, then up, and flipping back to those footnotes again and again.

I may have to understand all this at a very nerdy level just bursting with facts and wordy declarations of intent to once again try out notorious theories in the real world, but that is not the level where most people live. When I explain what is intended in order to get real traction in the real world, I always have to find ways to bring these intentions into the everyday lives of my readers. Unfortunately, though, I am not the only one who understands that crucial point.

In fact, the shift away from Declarative Knowledge to granting parity to subjective ways of knowing and interpreting, along with that targeting of Procedural, Effectiveness, and Social Knowledge we have just talked about, is all about meeting people and students at the level of knowledge that “guides conduct in everyday life.” Just the arena, in other words, if long-term behavior change is the admitted (if only quietly shared among insiders), new Goal or Aim of K-12 education.

Behavior Change Architects intent on Political and Social Transformations to kick History Back into Gear on the Planned Pathway of Change would need to appreciate each person’s “subjective experience of reality.” To get at the perception of reality held by the “common-sense of the ordinary members of society.”

That’s what alternative ‘high-quality’ assessments like the NSRE above got at and what the Common Core and formative assessments get at now. It’s what adaptive software gets at as well.

Then we have performance standards under their variety of masking names like College and Career Ready or Next Generation Learning to capture and then remediate over time behaviors, values, and attitudes that are not desirable for transitioning to the Planned Pathway for History.

Not to mention what all the social and emotional programs being sold as Character Education or Bullying Prevention or Positive Behaviors for the Whole Child do.

Am I finally reaching the everyday recognition of what is coming at all of us?

Imaging the Past to Experience and Reshape the Present More Fully: APUSH as Social Science

I tend to come at the same issues from a different approach in part because I usually pick up on all the terms that have quietly acquired a non-dictionary meaning. The real definitions completely change what people are actually admitting they intend to do. When it comes to history now, at whatever age, approach all courses or activities, even for elementary students, with a recognition that “Personal Transformation on our Minds” is the motto crooned to the tune of “Georgia on My Mind”. You will never be far off from what the real goals are. Facts are really only important in this view of history if they can be used to shift how we see ourselves or others in the present.

Did you know that historian Thomas Bender (he actually seems to prefer the term Humanities professor) from the previous APUSH post and another NYU historian (now Harvard) Walter Johnson, also at La Pietra, have each been fellows at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences since the Conference and before the formal relationship with the College Board began? History as a tool for altering human behavior in the present certainly puts the purposes of that otherwise mystifying Conceptual Framework in a new light, doesn’t it?

Did you know that back in 1934 the American Historical Association issued a Carnegie-financed report (remember they are now sponsoring Competency-Based Learning and so much more) called the “Report of the Commission of the Social Studies.” My thanks to the reader who read the previous post and directed my attention to this report on the american deception website. All the way back then, the AHA announced that “the American people are part of Western Civilization now merging into a world order.” Schools therefore needed to modify any coursework that would encourage “the traditional faith in economic individualism.” The US would be “embarking on vast experiments in social planning and control which call for large-scale cooperation on the part of the people.”

Compliant is probably a more apt description for the new desired attitudes, but the soothing PR sales pitch in the report is that “education so conceived is concerned with the development of rich and many-sided personalities capable of co-operating.” Education that continued to focus on subject-matter content would simply “intensify the conflicts, contradictions, maladjustments, and perils of the transition.” Just thinking of us then is why we have been lied to about what has been really going on. The view that school could become primarily a matter of social adjustment and experiences while the real purposes hid behind continuing use of Academic Course Names has been on the record for a very long time.

When I said in the last post that the La Pietra Conference immediately made me think of the World Order Models Project, the original book that I reached for was the 1990 Contending Sovereignties: Redefining Political Community. That book was essentially the post-Soviet Blueprint of how to proceed to ‘reform’ the West as if it actually did not ‘win’ anything at all. It grew out of a 1988 Moscow Workshop that launched the Global Civilization Project. I know. Another lost invite. The essential premises going forward were that the era of the nation-state was over and that the historic state form was insufficient as a “political community.” Instead, the locality should be the focus of the political community and politics should now be reconceived as “purposive social action directed at the conditions of social existence.”

If you redefine “democratic theory” going forward as “a theory of social movements rather than states” and you do not want to tell the masses in case they do not want to go along with such an oligarchy power play, you hide the shifts in education. You create a Common Core and use Close Reading to foster the desired perceptions of “which human identities are crucial, what forms of social action are necessary, what political communities have to be created.” You use the school to create classroom practices that involve “politics as an everyday experience” and never disclose why. You create an APUSH Framework that is missing most of the crucial facts, but is full of activities and concepts offering students a means for “working out new understandings of themselves and bringing those understandings into the world.”

That’s because it’s the Flyv Social Science definition of understanding as grounded in subjective experience and how the student learns to perceive it using the provided concepts and disciplinary Big Ideas. I will pull one more nerdy word out of Robin’s Magical Glossary of Pertinent Education Terms: phronesis. Every time you see the word ‘understand’ from now on having to do with what students are to ‘know’ it means grounded in experience and perception and not logic or facts. A phronetic, Arational understanding is what the social scientists and educators intent on fundamental transformations call it and we should appreciate it is not a fact-grounded, analytical sense of the word ‘understanding.’ Is APUSH making more sense now?

How about if I add that Bender’s 1978 book Community and Social Change in America explained the now close relationships between sociologists and historians to create a means to “illuminate the dynamics of a complex society.” To use historical data and sociological ideas to examine “the ways in which the roles, statuses, and identities held by individual Americans changed over time.” Now that’s a view of the purpose of history that would fit right in with a Global Civilization Project interested in bypassing the factual history that might preserve the legitimacy of the nation-state. Instead we quietly build up senses of entitlement and grievance in social movements.

Bender acknowledged that “ideology can create a national community held together by emotional bonds similar to those associated with the social experience of community” that we are discussing here. What Bender seems to want to focus on as history is the “network of social relations in which the individual is embedded” and what the “structure of social experience is.” He wants to look for and hopefully use history coursework to start a course back towards relationships and interactions grounded in the “qualities of mutuality and sentiment associated with community.”

If that sounds like Bender is interested in fostering the kind of communitarianism we just keep stumbling across in the actual Common Core implementation, I think that is exactly right. It would also explain all the foundation sponsorship of the La Pietra Conference. It is history as a social practice of students and teachers acting as a community to explore the past to better appreciate what is wrong with the present.

I have one more place I want to look to put APUSH into perspective while once again encountering the communitarian emphasis that never seems to be far away from what will be imposed on students in a K-12 school or classroom. The goal always seems to be to accustom each student to a more communitarian, interdependent approach in society and the economy. This book from 1992, Responsive Schools, Renewed Communities, is by Clifford W Cobb, a co-author of the very troubling for the common good, with a Foreword by famous communitarian prof Amitai Etzioni. It actually advocated for vouchers and charter schools and school choice generally as a more reliable vehicle for achieving the communitarian focus. That surprise would suggest I am not the only one who understands that accreditation is the monkey wrench that undermines genuine choice for parents.

So beware what remedies we advocate for without reading the footnotes and small print. My purpose for using that book is how well it fits with the template from both the 1934 Report and the methods for transformation of political community laid out in Contending Sovereignties. That 1992 book wanted schools that depend on “fostering concrete experiences of commitment to an immediate community. Those experiences can then be generalized into a devotion to the common good.” School becomes a means to “generate allegiance to core values,” which would of course put it in line with the global education template UNESCO and Pearson are quietly pushing.

Relevant to our igniter of social movements goal as the new actual purpose of history coursework (or Civics or English or STEM…) is the desire that Multiculturalism and Diversity be seen as goals that will allow the “continuing distinctiveness and autonomy of subcultures, particularly those based on ethnicity.” Well, let’s face it, not all ethnicities qualify. A few sentences further is the real point of cultural pluralism. Those “ethnic nuclei” that are to be respected are those that can constitute “enduring centers of social action.” Oh, that will go well with the new, post nation-state emphasis. The next page, revealing that our prying eyes were never meant to read that book and really grasp all the Diversity hype, “stresses the tactical value of limited separatism.”

Especially in our new world with its focus on the locality and everyday experience. Whatever the intentions of individual advocates today, please be aware that back in 1992 School Choice was being pushed by some as yet another means to get back to:

“the context of a community of personal affiliations that imposed moral expectations and sanctions on its members. That tradition can be revived by shifting from devotion to an abstract national community to reliance on particular, local communities. In other words, rather than expecting the state to resolve our disagreements with each other on moral issues, we should learn to rely on participatory communities to guide the behavior of individuals.”

I think that is what all education at every level globally is now geared to if, like me, you know where to look. We have been looking at an astonishing consistency of aims now from a huge variety of starting points and assumed affiliations.

Next I will walk us through how history is actually to be used before APUSH to get to the Global Civilization Project goals.

Ready for the assessment to be a class quilt?

 

 

Openly Admitting Global Coordination to Impose Behavioral Programming Using Education and the Law

I thought about using the word Conspiracy in the title but I was afraid readers might be confused and think we are merely theorizing. Oh no, turns out that in 2012 there was another of those Movers and Shakers meetings we were not invited to. GELP–Global Education Leaders Program–chose to have that particular meeting in Helsinki, Finland with sponsorship from the Gates Foundation, Promethean Boards (in case you have always wondered why they get bought and then remain in boxes), and Cisco. Apparently they all wanted to look up close at the Finnish education system we met in the last post. The US-based CCSSO, the formal sponsors of the Common Core State Standards in the US, was also there, except the focus was on its Innovation Learning Network–ILN–and what CCSS is really bridging the US towards.

Yes, I did go through and systematically download all those presentations. Hope you had a more congenial Saturday than me, but it was all in a good cause. The GELP Co-Director, Tony MacKay from Australia (also heads ATC21S for those who have read the book. The rest of you are missing the foundation of this story) kindly announced in a related paper on Future-Oriented Education he placed on a New Zealand Server  http://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/109317/994_Future-oriented-07062012.pdf that GELP has been “designed to accelerate and sustain transformation within GELP members ‘local’ systems and nations–and to advocate and continually refine the vision of 21st century teaching and learning.”

When we first encountered the Consortium vision http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/District_Dossier/Consortium%20-%20%20Recommendations%20for%20a%20New%20Federal%20Accountability%20Framework%20February%202014.pdf I warned in that March 3, 2014 post that the Gypsy Supers were lobbying DC for supposed ‘local’ power to impose what was actually a global vision. But I did not at that time know about GELP or that Helsinki Conference or Tony MacKay’s useful admission of a global effort that can be deceitfully sold as ‘homemade’. The law firm (whose education practice we have tied to the creation of that Consortium, the Fulton County Conversion Charter that contractually guts academics whatever the School Board believes, and the affirmative Student Code of Conduct) is cited by CCSSO, through its Education Counsel affiliate, to be working with ILN and the CCSSO to shift states and districts towards the Competency-oriented Next Generation Learning. (Chapter 4 of my book as I did accurately perceive where CCSSI was really going).

Now that we better appreciate how people can become bound via laws and documents with legal effect to Transformative Social Change whatever the personal intentions of the drafting lawyers or the authorizing institutions are, I want to call your attention to a group in the past who advocated for a similar strategy of how to quietly get such change in place. The Fabian Socialists (who still exist and were involved in Anthony Giddens’ The Global Third Way conference I wrote about) were willing to be gradual and employ stealth. But as the motto of this stained glass window shows http://www.lse.ac.uk/newsandmedia/news/archives/2006/fabianwindow.aspx with its image of a molten world being hammered on an anvil into the desired shape–”Remould It Nearer to the Hearts Desire,” the end vision is fundamental transformation, like it or not. Whether we are even aware or not.

The law and education globally are both being used to drive wholesale, nonconsensual change at the level of the human mind and personality for purposes of behavioral programming to go along with the same type of vision the Fabian Socialists have always sought. I speak Educationese fluently now and the consistency is stunning. One more point, another of the profs advocating this vision, Princeton’s Philip Pettit, keeps mentioning this same phrasing in his 2014 book Just Freedom: A Moral Compass for a Complex World:

“How should a government organize the shared legal and economic lives of its citizens?”

The answer is that it should not, but Pettit like Nussbaum with her Human Rights work, intends to use the law as a tool to organize nonconsensual submission anyway. We may not have ever thought of the law or education as affirmative weapons for wholesale social change, but they are very good at that purpose. Plus the advocates get to live off the bounty of the taxes we must all pay.

Now we can shift back to Nussbaum and Jeremy Rifkin and Finland once again to fully appreciate the why of what is to be changed. As the GELP conference admitted, the Fabian-adored ‘welfare state’ is crucial to the success of this vision of education transformation globally in so many ways. In talking about the need for classwork and literature assigned to build a compassionate imagination, Martha Nussbaum wrote:

“they are led to notice the sufferings of other living creatures with a new keenness. At this point stories can then begin to confront children more plainly with the uneven fortunes of life, convincing them emotionally of their urgency and importance. ‘Let him see, let him feel the human calamities,’ Rousseau writes of his imaginary pupil. ‘Unsettle and frighten his imagination with the perils by which every human being is constantly surrounded. Let him see around him all these abysses, and, hearing you describe them, hold onto you for fear of falling into them.’”

Now how much more powerful is that intended behavioral manipulation when married to Video Gaming in the classroom? No wonder Amplify hypes its Zombie Apocalypse for Middle Schoolers. Now Jeremy Rifkin, in order to nurture and ‘grow’ (as in Student Growth as the new definition of achievement) this ‘empathic impulse’ happens to cite a Professor Kenneth Gergen and his idea that we move from a “self-centered system of beliefs [as in mine and thine] to a consciousness of an inseparable relatedness with others.” Now in case you are tempted to consider this all tenured mumbo-jumbo cultivated in the shade of all that ivy, remember Gergen was on the Gordon Commission in charge of the future of US student assessment and his Appreciative Inquiry Model [see tags] is commonly now used by urban school systems and community organizers.

So when education critics carelessly assume that the word ‘assessment’ is interchangeable with ‘test’ they lose much of the intended psychological transformation via the classroom experience. They miss that Gergen, the Gordon Commission, Rifkin, Nussbaum, and influential others ALL want to stress a shift to activity and experience precisely because they want to replace the historic concept of the individual with the ‘relational self.’ Having the classroom nurture the belief that a student’s Identity is changeable and simply “a unique constellation of relational experiences with one another.” And why would these people want such a thing? For the Fabian Socialist change of course, but they cannot phrase it that way as we parents and taxpayers would almost certainly rebel.

Instead, as Rifkin states, students get told over years “the idea that those same embedded relationships and experiences make one a unique being, different from all others. It is only by keeping the distinction in mind that empathic consciousness can continue to grow and become the psychic and social glue for a global consciousness.”

That’s why requiring students to have and demonstrate empathy towards one another in the classroom in a new type of legally coercive Student Code of Conduct is such a big deal. As Rifkin admits, the desired transformational glue vanishes once students once again see themselves as individuals instead of “a unique ensemble of relationships.”  Remember in the last post when the Finnish Curriculum for Global Education wanted to require students to “promote the common good” and aspire for a “common understanding” via the classroom? This is verbatim how the Finns break that requirement down into subgoals with the student age range in brackets. Since other countries like the US intend the same approach (as the Rockefeller Foundation funded Communication for Social Change confirmed as well), but without this blueprint for our eyes, here it is anyway:

[5-6]:  To practice bringing up important topics of discussion that are interesting to oneself and others.

To practice a polite and dignified manner of speaking. (To be continued in all age groups.)

[7-8]: To learn to weigh one’s views in the light of facts.

To learn to listen to and ponder carefully the viewpoints presented by others. (To be continued in age group 9-10).

To practice a polite and dignified manner of speaking. ( To be continued in all age groups).

[9-10]: To learn to listen to and ponder carefully the viewpoints presented by others. (Continued from age group 7-8).

To practice striving for a shared view in conversation.

To practice a polite and dignified manner of speaking. (To be continued in all age groups.)

[11-12]: To learn to make joint decisions on the basis of views arrived at mutually (To be continued in age group 13-14.)

To learn to keep one’s emotions under control and one’s thoughts as objective as possible during consultation. (To be continued in age group 13-14.)

To practice a polite and dignified manner of speaking. (To be continued in all age groups.)

[13-14]: To learn to make joint decisions on the basis of views arrived at mutually. (Continued from age group 11-12).

That’s the end of the Finnish vision for Global Education. It’s how education to fulfill the vision of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights gets met. It’s the embodiment in how to educate to create a Mindset to see oneself as a “citizen of humanity” ready to fulfill now imposed obligations to serve the “well-being of all” occurs.

The phrase “behavioral programming’ in the title now seems like an understatement, doesn’t it?

Standing Still As the Yoke Is Fastened: Student Codes of Conduct to Now Build Collectivism

Now I considered making that title a bit longer with the addition of the phrase ‘as a State of Mind.’ People grasping the essence of what I have been describing in my book or this blog will frequently insist that certain reforms would be mind control. I usually respond by pointing out that plenty of advocates readily acknowledge that as their intention if we know where to look. We are not having a conversation actually about possible effects of these theories that want to come into your local schools and classrooms, including the privates, parochial, and charters. There is meant to be no escape.

I frequently now read radicals who want to use the law as simply another form of policy advocacy for social transformation. It’s not though. That’s not what the public thinks it is paying for from lawyers who represent school districts. The law is not just another tool either. It has an ability to make itself binding on those who would reject its coercion if they were aware of it. The law then, be it regulation, the language in a Charter or Student Code of Conduct, or a statute with mischievous obligations no one defined, is the perfect tool for anyone wanting to force change away from the West’s historic emphasis on the primacy of the individual.

Now I have been hearing reports from around the country over the last year about parents objecting to a school’s sudden psychological emphasis or mindfulness training and being told they gave their consent at the beginning of the year when they said they had read and would abide by the Student Code of Conduct. It’s not about agreeing not to misbehave anymore. It’s about language that actually imposes obligations on how you must treat and feel about others and what they say and do into the Student Code of Conduct. Think of it as imposing an obligation to behave and think like a Communitarian instead of an individual into what is now to be required behavior at school. We already know that Sir Michael Barber of Pearson and the Gates Foundation’s Vicki Phillips wrote a book on getting Irreversible Change that emphasized if people are forced to do, believing comes along.

In May I noticed that just such an Affirmative Obligation Code of Conduct was on the agenda for the next Board meeting of Fulton County, the large, diverse Metro Atlanta district that has a conversion charter that guts academics through its wording. Binding unappreciated language that made me wonder what had shifted so radically within the legal profession since I went to law school. The answer is that the law quietly became a tool for forcing normative change on an unwitting public. We all need to appreciate that shift has occurred and not treat ‘the law’ as still a set of established, agreed upon rules. When I saw the language in that Code of Conduct I had the same reaction. It was an attempt to coerce compliance with a classroom vision shifting to psychological manipulation. Most parents would never notice.

The lawyer who had drafted the Student Code of Conduct was listed so I noticed she worked for President Clinton’s Education Secretary, Richard Riley’s, law firm.  http://www.waldenu.edu/colleges-schools/riley-college-of-education/about/richard-w-riley Ties then to Outcomes-Based Education in the 90s, the Carnegie Corporation and its views that (per Moises Naim) we are now to be the Governed, and the Knowledge Works Foundation with its views of Competency and ownership of the High Tech High concept. As a factual matter we are dealing with a view both of law and education as tools for transformative social change; however nice the actual lawyers involved may be as individuals. It simply is what it is and we ought to recognize this as a different view of legal advocacy and education policy than what they were historically.

Not recognizing these shifts so we can talk about it in the sunlight is what is so dangerous. That Student Code of Conduct came back on my radar last week when the school district picked the quiet holiday week to ask for parent comments on it. If a parent had an objection, the survey software insisted the parent explain their objections. It was tempting to want to write “but I fully support students being allowed to be dishonest” as the sarcastic explanation.

What I really had a problem with was recognizing where a required obligation to show empathy and never be disrespectful to any classmate could go on top of Positive School Climate obligations. I have read enough participatory materials to know there is a real desire not to be allowed to point out that stupid comments or poorly-informed opinions are just that. Only a very mediocre mind or a disingenuous radical transformationalist really believes that all opinions are equally valid and entitled to comparable deference.

You don’t have to be mean and ask someone if they are an intellectual eunuch to their face or just laugh hysterically, but a requirement in a Student Code of Conduct to treat all opinions as valid was a reminder of just how often I have now seen this to-be-required classroom consensus. Yet it was showing up in that Code of Conduct. It would be a reason for the Common Core English Language Arts Standards specifically carving out ‘speaking’ and ‘listening’ like they do. We have already noted that Study Circles Resource Center’s alliance with the Southern Poverty Law Center and its Teaching Tolerance Project and its odd sudden name change to Everyday Democracy (the name of community organizer Harry Boyte’s 2004 book). That Student Code of Conduct would go a long way toward making classrooms function like either the Swedish or Baha’i Study Circles. It would also enshrine that Rockefeller Process of Communication For Social Change in the classroom to force everyone into accepting a common understanding.

So I went back to that 1971 book on what these same ed reforms sought to do in Sweden that I wrote a troubling post about. The New Totalitarians said this about the use of Study Circles and the psychological conditioning they promote (italics in original):

“the A B F study circles promote the supremacy of the collective. Participants are taught that, once a decision has been made, then all further discussion is necessarily at an end and that, whatever their feelings might be, it is their duty to submit to the will of the group. But, as the study circle is designed to give received opinions the appearance of conclusions personally achieved, so is the individual persuaded to accept the will of the group as his own. Even if a person begins by opposing a majority opinion, he will purge himself of previous objections and adopt that opinion as his own as soon as it has been formally established.  By a kind of conditioned reflex, this form of submissiveness is evoked beyond the study circle by this phrase: ‘The decision has been made in a democratic manner, and accepted by the majority.’ Quoted always in the identical wording, it has the force of the liturgical chants of the Buddhists’ O Mane Padme Hum; it need not necessarily be understood to produce a certain state of mind.”

We could call that result Irreversible Change mandated via legal coercion. We could also call it fastening a yoke to a student’s mind and personality or maybe attaching an invisible serfs collar through required classroom experiences. We don’t really have to speculate about the kind of education experiences that created a belief that Student Codes of Conduct of this ilk are an effective policy tool in 21st century American schools because it turned out the drafting lawyer had been a previous member of the Education Policy Fellowship Program in DC. Legal training with non-lawyers to effect policy change. This normative use of the law just gets more interesting

http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/epfp.iel.org/resource/resmgr/50th_anniversary/iel_epfp@50_booklet.pdf explains EPFP from its creation in 1964 with Ford Foundation backing. It is how policy changes get invisibly shifted via education with few the wiser. That booklet lays out the entities in the various states and the mixture of public sector and private involvement. The website shows that the Lumina Foundation (determined to radically alter higher ed) and ETS (same to K-12 with its Gordon Commission) were the national sponsors of the most recent EPFP class.

It’s worth checking out. You may discover as I did that a moderator of the Common Core Listening Tour in your state is involved with EPFP and that the designated advocates of the Common Core serve on the Board of the state sponsor or its Advisory Council. Oh what a tangled web we weave… I would never finish this post if I laid out all the interconnections in my state of Georgia. I suspect each reader will find comparable interesting webs in your own state now that we know this entity exists and who the state players are.

I want to end this post with Reflections on “The Power of the Collective” from a member of the most recent local class. I have never met the writer, but I do recognize the ties between her employer and the world’s largest education accreditor, AdvancED; the State Professional Standards Board for teachers; and the recent Metro Atlanta regional economic development plan that also bound all school districts to ‘innovative learning’ without asking their individual school boards. A tangled web indeed.

http://www.gpee.org/fileadmin/files/PDFs/Brinkley_s_EPFP_speech_FINAL.pdf is the link to the May 21, 2014 speech. The author mentions that “at the end of our monthly colloquiums, Dana [Rickman, previously with the Annie E Casey Foundation] always asks us to reflect upon what we’ve learned [bolding in original] by completing a statement: I used to think … and now I think.

That’s a confession that the technique known as Delphi or study circles or now the Rockefeller Process of Communication for Social Change is a big part of creating the desired mindsets of education policy makers. Adults who have been through this process without recognizing it for what it is are unlikely to have a problem with now imposing it on students.

Just imagine using this technique created for use with adults on malleable minds captive in K-12 classrooms.

 

Experimenting on People and Places via the Rockefeller Process of Communication for Social Change

In case anyone is concerned that the description ‘experimenting’ seems a bit harsh, the 2001 book Civic Innovation in America: Community Empowerment, Public Policy, and the Movement for Civic Renewal laid out what was sought by the charitable foundations and the White House in the 90s under initiative names like “Reinventing Public Citizenship.” Then it usefully admitted that all this dialoguing and deliberative democracy and new systems of governance are untried theories. Such mass mandates put in place by mayors or regional authorities or school districts thus qualify as mass experimentation. Aka Experimentation on the Masses since psychological processes aimed at behavior change through K-12 education are involved.

We do get to call a spade a spade when we are able to come up with statements about the use of BCC–Behavior Change Communication. Now I am not picking on the Rockefeller interests although I have been wondering for a while why I keep running into their aggressive support of so many troubling ideas that clearly pertain to desired transformational social change. To be undeniably fair I will quote the definition of social change their foundation used in laying out a desired model of Communication for Social Change in a June 2002 Working Paper:

“social change comprises the transformation of the organization of society, in institutions and in the distribution of power. Most social scientists agree that it entails structural change.”

Rather comprehensive wouldn’t you say? Not exactly what any of us think we are funding when we pay our property taxes to fund schools and local government. So why did I call it the Rockefeller Process? Because that’s what the World Bank called it and it would explain why we keep running into aggressive funding of these Metropolitanism, deliberative democracy, and participatory governance visions for the future. This is what a WB paper called Participatory Communication: A Practical Guide stated:

“Most recently participatory approaches to communication [one of the 4 Cs of 21st Century Skills in case anyone has forgotten] have reenforced the emphasis on structural and social change. A broad-based policy debate initiated by the Rockefeller Foundation in 1997 and pursued by the Communication for Social Change Consortium in subsequent years has focused on structural inequality and social transformation. The ‘Rockefeller process’ led to a definition of communication for social change as ‘a process of public and private dialogue through which people themselves define who they are, what they need and how to get what they need in order to improve their own lives. It utilizes dialogue that leads to collective problem identification, decision-making, and community-based implementation of solutions to development issues.’”

I am sure you have heard of Robert’s Rules on Process. Well, Robin’s Research Rules say that if the World Bank states on the record that this is called the Rockefeller Process, we can call it that too. Those Rules also get to note that the Rockefeller Process as a practical matter increases the power of the public sector since it looks to the political process to give these groups what they want. Think of it as increasing the Cartel Power of governments at all levels. Connected people just love cartels.

The Mind Arson and psychological manipulation and social and emotional learning emphasis both my book Credentialed to Destroy: How and Why Education Became a Weapon and now this blog just keep encountering also have the effect of increasing the power of the public sector and anyone with ties to political power. It all seems to seek to extinguish the ability and capacity of individuals to decide what they need and get it for themselves.

Now I told you in the last post that I wanted to talk about the recent Aspen Institute (you can search for yourself to find out if there are ties to certain great wealth that grew from cartel practices in the past) report Learner at the Center of a Networked World. That report called for ‘new kinds of skills and learning’. Let’s quote again because the crucial point I want to make is that this recent Aspen vision for digital learning and the K-12 classroom is the same as what is being described as Communication for Social Change. It is also the same as what The Deliberative Democracy Handbook said is required for fulfilling its vision. Even more alarmingly the vision fits with what the Club of Rome (search for that connection too if you are bored or wondering if conspiracies around power can be true) called for as ‘innovative learning’ in its Learning Project report issued in 1979. It is now finding its way into regional planning authority mandates on Economic Development and what school districts must be doing.

First let’s look at what No Limits to Learning: Bridging the Human Gap said about the necessary ‘critical judgment’ it would need to bridge to the desired transformative change. The capacity of Critical judgment [now called critical thinking and a 21st century 4C] is not developed by the “transmission of off-the-shelf knowledge, a method characteristic of most schools.” Well there’s incentive to deplore textbooks and lectures as unsuitable for the 21st century. Let’s see how the Club of Rome defined ‘innovative learning’ in the same report:

“Innovative learning is problem formulating and clustering. Its main attributes are integration, synthesis, and the broadening of horizons. It operates in open situations or open systems. Its meaning derives from dissonance among contexts [now known as Rigor]. it leads to critical questioning of conventional assumptions behind traditional thoughts and actions, focusing on necessary changes. Its values are not constant, but rather shifting. Innovative learning advances our thinking by reconstructing wholes, not by fragmenting reality.”

Seems to fit in well then with aspirations of fundamental social change, huh? How’s this for more incentive to force this on the classroom as practice for desired mandatory participatory processes in governance? “Thus a key aim of innovative learning is to enlarge the range of options within sufficient time for sound decision-making processes.” At the political level of course or maybe by fiat by appointed regulators. If you want to know why Radical Ed Reform suddenly is pushing that students exhibit a Growth Mindset instead of Fixed Mindsets and an anti-Content Knowledge fixation, let’s quote the needed preference from The Deliberative Democracy Handbook:

“From the vantage point of deliberative democracy, it is erroneous to suppose that individuals already possess a clear, enlightened, and coherent understanding of their preferences or opinions on complex social and political issues…an essential virtue of deliberation is that it deemphasizes the aggregation of (or bargaining among) pre-established preferences and individual interests. [We can see why Axemaker Minds are obstacles then.]  Instead, deliberation seeks the formation of a consensus view of shared interests and common goods. Such an understanding cannot come about if individuals are unwilling to set aside narrow self-interests or if political practices do not offer the necessary institutional settings and motivations to make this possible.”

Classrooms that require Collaboration (the 3rd of the 4Cs) and new political structures too. No wonder there is to be a Metropolitan Revolution. No wonder we get this constant emphasis on the Community as a whole with an obligation to “improve the health and welfare of all its members.” Boosting the cartel power of the public sector while telling individuals they are not even entitled to hold on to their own personal preferences.

Now let’s look at what last week’s Aspen Report on digital learning called for:

“Rather than systematically accumulating static ‘stocks’ of knowledge, students now need to learn how to actively participate in ‘flows’ of knowledge by engaging with others in the construction of new knowledge. This kind of knowledge is often put to use at the same time it is learned. [Like in an experiment of a theory?] It is most effectively acquired through solving problems with others in an environment that offers an abundance of challenges and unlimited opportunities. [Real world? Authentic?] In this new world, curiosity and creativity becomes critical skills.”

There’s Creativity, that 4th C of 21st Century Skills. Everyone assembled and reporting for duty but in pursuit of Deliberative Democracy and Participatory Governance, not being internationally competitive.

Maybe that’s because all these education and policy visions view Planned State Capitalism and its Cartel Power over Everyone Else as the desired 21st Century vision of society and an economy.

Just pointing all these connections out while there is still time in this global experiment to say: “Stop It. Leave us alone.”

Cartels do hate individual power.

 

 

 

Silently and Seismically Shifting Sovereignty Away from the Individual

Unconstitutional earthquakes no one would willingly submit to can be hard to prove. Words like governance or mandatory collective decision-making or public goods get thrown about where the implication of a seismic shift is there, but that is rarely good enough to lay out convincingly on a blog that we are at great, demonstrable risk. If all of the actual Common Core implementation, and the digital learning essential component that runs in tandem with it, are actually designed to “give birth to the new systems and structures through which ordinary people are taking responsibility for their own and their community’s futures,” we have every right to have that included in the upfront public explanation of what is really going on. Especially in a world where Human Rights are now quietly touted as involving Economic Justice based on Racial Equity Outcomes.

That makes who has authority to seize, plan, and redirect people and property of vital importance going forward. As we discussed in the last post, crucial to these shifts is a new theory being pushed by the White House and charitable foundations called Deliberative Democracy. Like Sherlock Holmes fixating on a dog that did not bark, the lawyer and historian in me could just smell the fundamental shift in quotes like this one from the 2005 Deliberate Democracy Handbook (my bolding):

“By stipulating fair procedures of public reasoning that are, in principle, open to everyone, the outcomes of a deliberative procedure will be seen as legitimate because they are the result of a process that is inclusive, voluntary, reasoned, and equal…Deliberative democracy takes seriously the idea that the exercise of collective political authority must be capable of being justified to all those who will be bound by it. To fail to accept this idea is to fail to take the freedom and equality of persons equally.”

Do tell. So like Fulton County’s Conversion School District Charter, the idea is to use contractual language or laws or regulations to invisibly and nonconsensually bind anyone who might complain or resist once they become aware of this seismic shift in where sovereignty over the citizen and student lies in the 21st century. This turns out to be a global pursuit, but the US has a federal Constitution intended to prevent just this sort of public sector power grab. That would explain the desire to bring this in invisibly via education and regional governance compacts and mission statements and vision reports about metro areas.

In case anyone believes that I have an overactive imagination or am reading intentions into perfectly innocent and well-intentioned statements cooperation, here are three links to get your attention that this is a real problem that we were never to recognize in time. The first is The Deliberate Democracy in the Classroom Toolkit created to be compliant with the Common Core classroom and a new vision for what citizenship involves in 21st century America, including new kinds of dispositions. http://cdd.stanford.edu/toolkit/cdd-complete-toolkit.pdf The Toolkit has an interesting view of the relevant facts and obligations and once again PBS has prepared a curriculum called By the People, much as it did for that related transformational curriculum for the Common Core involving Facing History and Ourselves we covered in our recent Human Rights Trilogy.

Now just think about how handy that Toolkit and mandates about a Discourse Classroom involving considering respectfully the perspectives of all others as equally valid and schools Fostering Communities of Learners who come to agreement on a shared understanding will be to this goal:

“[learning democracy] centers share a common goal of lifting the voices and mobilizing the creative energies of diverse community members to improve the quality of life across all sectors and in all its dimensions.”

To those of you who have read the book John Dewey’s concept of ‘participatory democracy’ as the means to force economic justice is indeed alive and well and so is his favorite tool of forcing the seismic shift nonconsensually through the schools. The second point also aligns with the book’s disclosures and what the 1966 Yearbook described as intended for metro regions and urban areas and then what Turchenko described in 1976 in that Soviet report that was so quickly translated into English. Bruce Katz, who we first met here  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/protected-producers-vs-paying-consumerstaxpayerswho-will-prevail-on-education-and-the-economy/ wrote a 2013 book called The Metropolitan Revolution: How Cities and Metros Are Fixing Our Broken Politics and Fragile Economy.

The book was published under the “auspices of the Brookings-Rockefeller Project on State and Metropolitan Innovation.” That matters because the Rockefeller charities are clearly pushing the Deliberative Democracy concept hard according to searches I did over the weekend. That’s actually what turned up the Toolkit since By the People was created with funding from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund as it repeatedly states. Someone is pleased with their efforts and is insistent on saying so.

I am going to resist the temptation to explain to Bruce Katz that economies cannot be built based on federal grants to create manufacturing institutes around clean energy or voters in LA and Denver voting massive sales tax increases around transit projects. Those are transfers involving bureaucrats spending OPM-Other People’s Money. Zero sum is the best case scenario.

Economic illiteracy, like the results of mind arson to get citizens compliant with Deliberate Democracy, matters though to the consequences of public spending. It is very easy to get lots of debt and unmeetable expectations for the future in the public sector-led reimaginings of the way the world should work going forward. That’s why it is so dangerous for Katz to be calling for “another historic shift in federalism.” He wants the “dual sovereigns” of the states and the federal government to be forced to share power with “their subjects, cities and metropolitan areas.”

Sometimes only a $100 word will do. That Usurpation by Fiat of sovereignty away from the individual in the US system, and then insisting sovereignty that is not supposed to exist in fact now be shared with nebulous regional authorities coordinating around Vision Statements, is absolutely Stealth Authoritarianism. It is the politically connected coercing everyone else to go along. How’s this for an open declaration of radical reshaping? This economic vision will amount to waste, but the hoped-for shift to governance of the individual is intended to survive apparently.

“We are trying to advance a theory of federalism that asks how federal and state sovereigns, and other partners and networks in governance, should interact to coproduce the economy. The metropolitan revolution is, at its core, an economic revolution…”

I’ll say. The next page says that “private and public sectors will coproduce the public good.” That’s highly doubtful, but it sure makes a good rationale for an unconstitutional usurpation of authority over people and property. I guess we can now think of what we know, own, or can do as merely in our temporary custody. Subject to seizure by the public sector and its cronies in an economic power grab that’s not that different from the serf forced to work land because it benefits the noble landholder.

Point 3 relates to that Open Data initiative that was President Obama’s first act on taking office in 2009. We have already seen it used as part of the FuturICT Big Data vision that was troublingly outlined here. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/science-fiction-made-real-were-we-ever-to-know-in-time/ When I located this Core Principles for Public Engagement report from 2009 http://ncdd.org/rc/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/PEPfinal-expanded.pdf it made it clear that what I had seen as about data was actually part of an organized redirection of the public and private sectors to begin to collaborate over governance.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/assets/memoranda_fy2009/m09-12.pdf is the actual memo. Hard to believe that the Administration that has supposedly lost incriminating IRS e-mails after they were subpoenaed actually meant to become Transparent, but that National Center for Dialogue & Deliberation makes it quite clear that this vision of public participation and collaboration is very crucial to that openly declared intention of fundamental transformation.

The better to bind us by and invisibly shift sovereignty going forward apparently. This is a good breaking point before I launch into explaining how the mindset perfectly suited for Deliberative Democracy per that Handbook is also the precise Mindset and malleable Worldview that the Common Core and digital learning state that they want to create.

Plus I do not think it’s coincidental that the name of the new Aspen Center report on digital learning and the new kind of mindset needed–”Learner at the Center of a Networked World” uses one of Bruce Katz’s favorite expressions for his desired metro-led economy of the 21st century–the ‘networked world’.

We are so far beyond having to infer any more from a Dog that Did Not Bark in our investigations of what is really going on in education.

And what is intended for most of us. Stealth Usurpation. What a phrase.