Behind the Backs of Individuals: Creating the Well-Trained Consciousness

Fasten those seatbelts because here we go again. In turns out that back in the 1950s, in Rockefeller Foundation financed research carried out at the Russian Institute at Columbia University, Professor Herbert Marcuse laid out the vision of what kind of changed individual consciousness would be necessary for a “society where the realm of necessity is brought under rational control.” I shorthand that vision using Uncle Karl’s term–the Human Development Society–and this blog has been systematically covering all the various announcements of it recently from the Next System Project from the last post or the Larry Summers-led Commission on Inclusive Prosperity from January 2015. Since this power grab is clearly a current quest, even if it is not being widely covered away from this blog, let’s go back to see what Marcuse laid out, especially as it fits well with the announced goals of the new federal education legislation in hearings this week.

This post should have everyone looking at the announced title of the ECAA–Every Child Achieves Act–and wanting to call Congress to protest calling psychological manipulation–student achievement. First let’s go back in time to look at where that title came from. Marcuse was pointing out that in the USSR “individual behavior and values” are “automatically directed by the political agencies” so that there is no such thing as the distinct individual making his own way apart from what is determined to be in the needs of the remainder of society. Marcuse really hated the Western tradition that views the individual as a ‘private person’ instead of merely a ‘member of society’. He called for “the passing of the bourgeois individual…as the autonomous ‘subject’ which, as ego cogitans and agent, was to be the beginning and the end of Western culture.”

All of the emphasis on the Whole Child and social and emotional learning and as I will show today–the “integration of education and mental health” into a single vision of what effective schooling is now to be–makes far more sense if we are aware of Marcuse laying out the preconditions for achieving the kind of social and economic visions we keep encountering. Think of the 21st Century required skill of collaboration as we read the call for “the shrinking of the ego.” Won’t all the data being gathered come in handy in the next Marcuse call for “the administrative regulation of his material and intellectual needs”? What could be done openly in the USSR in the 50s and 60s (my copy of the 1958 Soviet Marxism book is the 4th printing from 1969) was described by Marcuse as “the coordination between public and private existence, which, at the postliberal stage of Western society, takes place largely unconsciously and behind the backs of the individuals.”

Can we just all join together in unison and yell “No More”? Just because all these visions of transformations need the ‘passing of the individual’ as a ‘private person’ to make it so, and even though, the education reforms are quietly trying to arrange the necessary “internalization” that will otherwise “impair the social cohesion and depth of morality,” does not mean any of us have to accede to this vision, for either ourselves or our children. The political theory involved, being implemented quietly, then and even more so now as federally mandated and financed education policy, insists on redefining freedom. Marcuse even italicized redefine to emphasize this crucial point: “it no longer means being the self-responsible architect of one’s life, of one’s own potentialities and their realization…the standards of freedom are shifted from the autonomous individual to the laws governing the society which governs the individual.” (my bolding)

Well, that quote certainly explains why my tracking Radical Ed Reform via its accompanying legal mandates has always proven so prophetic of actual long term intent. Since the needed shifts must occur, per Marcuse, at the level of ‘inner being’ and we know that is precisely the area that the new kinds of Common Core assessments emphasize, let’s come back to the present. First though a wave to Marcuse for being so usefully graphic. It certainly puts the Common Core’s emphasis on creating and measuring desired Habits of Mind into perspective http://www.tascorp.org/sites/default/files/TASC_SELResourceGuide_FINAL.pdf or “normed measures of social and emotional well-being.” A parent concerned about the increasingly widespread use of the PAX Good Behavior Game can add Marcuse’s confessed purposes to PAX’s admission that it:

“is teaching students to self-regulate, reduce impulsive or emotional reactions, delay gratification, and work together for a higher purpose. This is not achieved by lessons on the brain or behavior or some formal curriculum on social-emotional learning. [All of those would be, of course, somewhat visible rather than behind our backs]. Rather, this is achieved in the context of ordinary life at school that mimics the conditions of human evolution.”

Huh? http://www.promoteprevent.org/sites/www.promoteprevent.org/files/resources/2013%20Purrfect%20PAX%20Rubric2_Text_only.pdf That fascinating remark makes no sense in any biological sense, but it does begin to make sense for anyone who has read my coverage of using education to drive cultural evolution as laid out in my book Credentialed To Destroy. Marcuse also clearly had something similar in mind with his descriptions of targeting ‘internalization’ and an individual’s ‘inner being’. All of these things also become much clearer once we are aware of a desire to Integrate Education and Mental Health in Schools. http://peabody.vanderbilt.edu/docs/pdf/camhs_special_issue/3_Toward_the_integration_of_ED_and_MH.pdf is from the 2009 conference and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2874625/ shows the actual 2010 publication and Health and Human Services’ interest.

In fact, it is not just a federal agency’s interest in “examining models to better integrate learning and behavioral health” or support at the federal level for a “closer alignment between education and mental health.” It’s not just the citing of the P-20 education agenda “embraced by the National Governors Association and the Gates Foundation” or “other reform efforts (e.g. Next Generation Learners)” sponsored by certain states and the CCSSO or ‘personalized learning’ as good vehicles for this desired integration. All that is bad enough and ties directly to what we have been covering on this blog. No, what ties all this directly to ECAA and this week’s Senate hearings is the call-out for making such integrated education about identifying and cultivating “functional competencies.”

Competency-based education. Where have we heard that phrase before in addition to chapter 4 of my book?   If the new ECAA is about anything it about fostering the shift to competency-based education. As the 2009 paper noted a goal of schools focusing on improved student functioning and “this focus on competency could also create a better alignment between educational and mental health policy.” In fact, the paper concluded with “education and mental health will be advanced when the goal of mental health is effective schooling and the goal of effective schools is the healthy functioning of students.” I believe that would be the healthy functioning of students as ‘members of society’, not so much as private persons anymore. Sure does explain the anti-academic emphasis (there goes that pesky ego) and all the hyping of workforce needs.

I want to close with a quote William James, America’s original psychologist and John Dewey’s instructor, laid out a very long time ago, when so many radicals hoped to change the 20th Century towards collectivism. I wish I could say I pulled this from a long dormant book on him or Dewey. Instead, it is the epigraph at the beginning of a concluding chapter called “A Solid Bridge to the Future” from a 1992 book Breakpoint and Beyond: Mastering the Future-Today.”

“Of all the creatures of earth, only human beings can change their patterns. Man alone is the architect of his destiny….Human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.”

Perhaps, given what is laid out in this post, we should rephrase that as having those ‘inner attitudes’ changed for them.

Behind their backs. In the name of Competency or Positive School Climate or Effective Schooling.

At least none of this is behind our backs.

 

Rip Aside the Mask: Society Becomes an Existential and Experiential Lab for Students to Become Citizens

That title comes from combining two different confessional quotes on the purpose of all these education reforms now hiding as the Common Core, Competency, or 21st Century Learning. We are sticking with Marcus Raskin’s book The Common Good we met in the last post. That initial phrase came as Raskin laid out how to “Reorganize the government for the common good. ” The “first task in a program of governmental reorganization which asserts social reconstruction [just like I described in my book Credentialed to Destroy] and citizen participation [no wonder we keep encountering the National Center for Deliberative Democracy] is to rip aside the mask of concern for efficiency to determine which group or class is being served by a particular way of organizing the governmental process.”

Wondering why all of a sudden the word Equity as an obligation is everywhere? How’s this for an open declaration? –”the criteria which are used to reorganize government should be consistently and deliberately discussed according to specific value standards: equity and caring, egalitarian interdependence and cooperation.” Now before I switch to the other quote and the vision of democratic education to create the necessary citizen to get there, some people may be tempted to ignore these declarations as from decades ago. In one of those serendipitous occurrences that remind us just how thoroughly we are tracking what is really coming at us, since I wrote the last post, Raskin and many others from the Institute for Policy Studies signed on to and published http://thenextsystem.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/NSPReport1_Digital1.pdf .

“The Next System Project: New Political-Economic Possibilities for the 21st Century” features many of the radical names we have already covered on this blog. http://thenextsystem.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/nextsystem_ForWeb.pdf is the list for those who want to play Recognize that Name and Contemplate the Implications. Since everyone can read those for themselves, let’s get back to the source for the second part of the title.  I also want everyone to keep in mind the ubiquity now of CTE for All (last post again) and authentic, real world, active learning for all students.

“For most students a practical, concrete and non-abstract education encourages their productive and imaginative side. [Think of Creativity as one of the 4Cs of 21st Century Learning] If schools pursued this course the society would become an existential and experiential laboratory for students. Schools would become the central place to bring one’s personal experience, other people’s experience and findings together with human needs. The experiences themselves, the way they were described and understood could and should include the ethical ought and the nurturing of the artistic.”

“…the way they were described and understood” sounds precisely like what the Frameworks Institute from our last post does in education and beyond. Minimizing facts makes perfect sense for anyone who believes “the educational process becomes the central way to bring forth value considerations in relation to actual situations in the lives of people and their institutions and in the way human beings relate to nature.” If we did not already know that the phrase Democracy is usually no longer about candidates, voting, and elections, this should do it:

“Democracy’s project is the sharing of responsibility between the citizenry, finding common uses and ownership of property where that benefits the whole [in whose opinion?]–while continuously recognizing the needs of the person…A modern democracy recognizes the need to generate situations and relationships which simultaneously recognize similarity in the Other…it moves beyond individual and group interest to hammer out shared values which can be located in the whole, the group, but which cannot be found in the individual.”

That alarming project, coming at us like pollen on a spring day in Atlanta–fast moving and everywhere–views education as the means for how “skills…where people share their public and private lives and where problems of everyday life and abstract problems are considered.” That sharing and consideration gets masked behind the non-dictionary meaning of yet another 4C–communication. And if that communication is ultimately about “social regulation which needs and demands alternative modes of thinking and living,” values, beliefs, and thinking itself can be changed and molded with few parents being the wiser as long as “the grades are OK.”

I have mentioned that I have learned enough political theory in the last few years to recognize Marxist Humanism whether it uses the M word or simply attributes the change to sociology or brain science. Yet sure enough, there was Raskin quoting “the Marxist philosopher Roger Garaudy” to hype his point that “authentic esthetic education is also the cultivation of the senses that have become atrophied in our Western tradition as a result of the exclusive emphasis of logic and discursive reasoning.” New modes of thinking indeed. Those who wish to dramatically transform society and the economy hate “the cold, abstract madness that parades as reason and ‘objective reality.’” We can each  contemplate where the madness truly is in this vision.

Now Raskin was definitely not afraid to call a spade a spade and used the M word as an apt description of certain beliefs and hopes and the means to get there. Hint: EDUCATION as my book laid out. He did, however, criticize Marxists by name for having “failed in comprehending the ethical dimension to political power and the role it must play.” Raskin saw the role of the “experience and process of democratic education” as a means for transcending the “type of social science that explains passivity from the dominated and control from the dominator as the natural order of things.” Raskin must be in ideological heaven with all the classroom hyping of White Privilege now as he helps roll out the Next System Project.

What happens when education is seen as the means of making some students feel guilty while others are emboldened to feel entitled to “change the political system by integrating procedural rights with political demands. The demands are meant to get the social, legal [Remember progressive, polyphonic federalism and the Constitution in 2020?], and economic systems to change so that the person forges a set of conditions that guarantees his or her egalitarian interdependence in all aspects of society.” ‘Do for me. I am owed’ has never, ever been a basis for mass prosperity. Heaven help us that this vision is to be locked into place invisibly through little known legal shifts binding all of us.

Such as revamping the nature of citizenship “to allow the person to comprehend in concrete terms the way each aspect of life is related and interdependent.” Substituting supplied concepts, core disciplinary ideas in a ‘domain’, and cross-cutting issues for facts plays right into training students to comprehend things that are not so and misattribute causes in ways that will only make the problems worse. For those of us with Axemaker Minds and a factual body of knowledge from history or science it’s hard not to imagine the tragedy from teaching future educators and their administrators and all those public policy degree holders that “social problems can be framed to yield humane and progressive solutions.” Maybe, but probably not.

Enduring Understandings, Understandings of Consequence, Understanding by Design–all huge components of the actual Common Core implementation and especially the new assessments make perfect sense if you believe, as Raskin stated, that “how we categorize can help us organize energies for the common good.”  Social and emotional learning, role playing as a slave to appreciate the Civil War, and a Whole Child emphasis likewise  makes perfect sense as a necessary component if the goal is to “bring the purpose of equity into lived reality.”

In the world of the same curriculum for all from the proverbial dimwit to the Super Nova intellect and the elimination of tracking, I want to close with how Raskin concluded his book’s vision. He saw a “great struggle” although with all these deceitful terms being used to describe the shifts in purpose, policies, and practices, who will know in time to resist?

“People are not prepared to surrender their present comforts or those knowledges which helped them achieve such comforts either for the protection of humanity, the building of a world civilization–let alone egalitarian interdependence.” That’s not just a chilling declaration of purpose.

It reminds us that a huge component of the means to accomplish these admitted transformations is to destroy fine, well-stocked minds. Anywhere they can be discovered.

What a thing to be implementing blindly while hyping the skills gap and the need to be internationally competitive.

Shift Facts into Values and Change Values into Facts So That a New Consciousness will Emerge

Since we all just adore an explicit declaration of intent, how’s this for a doozy? “For purposes of organizing [a modern participatory democracy grounded in the common good] it is not important whether there is an objective or subjective reality to this belief since the belief is the basis upon which people act.” That statement certainly gives a reason for all the current focus on skill development for a variety of offered reasons. I have warned that most of the planned assessments should not be described as tests so maybe this description of what is sought will help–”performance assessments are those in which the ‘answer’ is the behavior itself.” Training to act as desired also fits with another quote that gives us the rationale for all these Enduring Understandings, Core Concepts and Disciplinary Ideas we keep encountering as the Knowledge component to go along with all those Skills:

“It is crucial, however, to analyze for people what goes on in areas where they do not have direct experience. Once such analysis comes within their grasp, they will come to see that they can change social reality.”

That would be the same social reality that may not actually exist in the form believed, or be a result of the causes believed, but students, and the adults they will become, will be trained to act anyway. Let’s give one more quote that gives a reason for all the stress on activities and Project-Based Learning and Whole Child SEL Initiatives: “Obviously, one’s capacity to care must be integrated with rationality just because common good requires the reattachment of ‘head to heart’ in our public activities.” To the discussion in my book of everything that started in earnest in the mid-80s with the goal of transforming the political, economic, and social systems of the West, especially in the US, Australia, Canada, and the UK, we need to add another book from 1986–The Common Good: Its Politics, Policies and Philosophy by Marcus Raskin put out by the Institute for Policy Studies (Robert Chandler’s 2008 book Shadow World gives the background on IPS and Raskin as part of the global New Left).

The quote in the title comes from the IPS book as well although I did not know IPS was behind that book when I ordered it. I just recognized the vision desired from the 2001 Learning Society paper and the assumptions being used by that Frameworks Institute from the last post. http://www.ssireview.org/images/articles/2011_WI_Feature_Kania.pdf links to a “Collective Impact” essay hyping Strive in Cincinnati (and other listed cities as well like Houston, Texas and Portland, Oregon) “as an example of collective impact, the commitment of a group of important actors from different sectors to a common agenda for solving a specific social problem.” On the second page is a picture of people bringing together pieces from a jigsaw puzzle so that there can be a collective organized effort around meeting people’s needs without having to confess the total agenda.

This is a long quote but important to appreciating no one is going to run up the flagpole a banner stating: “Our new education agenda is actually tied to these radical transformation descriptions where people actually do mention ‘Marxist thought’ without even a hiccup or a cleared throat.” It’s up to us to find those confessions and put the pieces together:

“complex problems can be solved only by cross-sector coalitions that engage those outside the nonprofit sector…Adaptive problems, by contrast, are complex, the answer is not known, and even if it were, no single entity has the resources or authority to bring about the needed change. Reforming public education, restoring wetland environments, and improving community health are all adaptive problems. In these cases, reaching an effective solution requires learning by the stakeholders involved in the problem, who must then change their own behavior in order to create a solution.”

Good thing the students will have practiced doing that on all those performance assessments and a new definition of learning that now means changes in values, attitudes, beliefs, or behaviors. It does not mean having a solid base of accurate factual knowledge lest we refuse to defer to the Experts or the ‘important actors’ of those coalitions. Or even worse, develop an innovative product that displaces an established business with a superior idea. Think of how handy practice in a Discourse classroom at creating shared beliefs as the 21st century skill of Communication will be in a world where: “collective impact requires all participants to have a shared vision for change, one that includes a common understanding of the problem and a joint approach to solving it through agreed upon actions.”

Did any of us get an invite to go to Dallas in January 2015 to be part of the 75 Metro Area Convening put on by the Lumina Foundation to move forward with these transformations with no need to ask the parents or taxpayers? That’s where I found that Stanford Social Innovation paper cited. It covers our communities, our schools, and our children, but no one is telling us about it openly or giving us a piece of the puzzle to start fitting together. Me? At this point I just gate crash, download the issued reports and presentations, and then notice that it is essentially Raskin’s, Marx’s, and the Learning Society vision all being imposed on us quietly. Negotiated at ‘convenings’ we pay for, but don’t get invited to.

This recent report is from another related ‘convening’–this time in May 2014–http://www.competencyworks.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/CompetencyWorks-Maximizing-Competency-Education-and-Blended-Learning.pdf . That’s a long title so they left off the very end that is designed to gain both automatic implementation and little objective scrutiny–”Insights from Experts.” Should we kneel or curtsey then? And if the tenets in that paper and all the emphasis on Equity mean that only a Marxian or IPS/Raskin vision of education to gain the necessary consciousness for economic democracy to work, are we still obligated to defer? Does an education, urban planning, sociology, or public policy degree come now with a license to lie to the public while everything they value and that works gets jettisoned if a Stakeholder Engagement Process decides to put a theory into practice to see what happens?

http://results4america.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/2015-3-18-Moneyball-for-Education-Report.pdf is yet another attempt to put Theory into Practice sold as “informed by thinking from a select group of seasoned experts from the left and right who have much experience with federal education policy.” Given the tragic history of what those federal policies have done to schools and students, we would prefer that be a disqualifier. Has anyone else noticed that expertise in general is constantly dismissed in all these visions of education in the future? Meantime we are supposed to defer to every social science graduate degree as the only reverenced expertise. Again, that’s the way to get Theory into Practice and false beliefs and new values in place to guide future behavior.

Anyone else ever heard of Dane Linn? Now there’s an expert. He was at the NGA when it co-sponsored Common Core. Then he moved on to the College Board to help David Coleman with his current platform for well-funded mischief, before joining the Business Roundtable. http://www.careertechnj.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Georgetown.BR_.CB-CTE-report-11.2013.pdf is called “The Promise of High-Quality Career and Technical Education:Improving Outcomes for Students, Firms, and the Economy.” It forces the kind of “contextualized learning, in which even academic material is presented in the context of projects or workplaces” that Uncle Karl and his 20th Century social reconstruction supporters like Robert Beck (Chapter 4 of my book) have always dreamed of. This is to be for ALL students, including the most academically gifted, because, just as Beck worried about, CTE must no longer be stigmatized.

That paper advocates “states and local districts can adopt/adapt/develop standards and curricula in collaboration with local businesses. Students must demonstrate competency in these skills.” What skills? Oh, the ones laid out in that Competency Works paper that just came out that provides “Insights from Experts” without really specifying which theories those experts’ opinions are really grounded in. Anybody else finding all the stress on needed skills development as awfully useful as we switch to a vision of education that is no longer really about accurate facts in someone’s personal, private possession? When the ‘answer’ is desired behavior, hyping Skills Development to be globally competitive as the rationale is quite the invisibility cloak.

One of the nice things about being where I am in my research on what is really going on is being able to recognize when we are dealing with pieces of a common puzzle created to be function together. We have every right to examine them as the consolidated whole they are intended to become, even if no one invites us to these ‘convenings’. Sometimes these reports and sources are not created to be pieced together though. Sometimes the linkage is the common destination that allows traveling on unconnected tracks. That’s why I mentioned that Robert Beck called himself a social reconstructionist as he pushed the federally funded polytech vision that also fits with this current CTE vision back in the late 1980s. Beck’s work also fits with Anthony Carnevale’s Workplace Basics vision that we found so troubling in this post  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/ballad-of-the-long-sought-shift-to-being-educable-not-educated-adaptation-via-dissolving-the-logical-mind/

Fascinating, huh, since the Georgetown Center on Poverty, Inequality, and Public Policy issued that CTE report in conjunction with the College Board and the Business Roundtable. Do you know who else calls himself and his vision a social reconstruction philosophy? Andrew Raskin in The Common Good.

This story gets much easier to track when we look for common destinations and then Backward Map to the pathways being used to get there. The blueprint is also discernable when the jigsaw pieces are so clearly designed to fit together.

Combine both and the vision and its constancy through the decades begins to feel like a supernova, blinding in its intensity.

The Frameworks Institute is not the only one who gets to create analogies and metaphors to guide analysis.

Seeking Transfiguration of the Actual by the Imagination of the Possible: Competency in Context

Don’t we just love it when we can locate the real rationales for what we have indisputedly uncovered? All of this deliberate Mind Arson via our K-12 schools and repeated disdain for a logical Axemaker Mind is too pervasive not to be an essential component of the plans, but an explicit, fully integrated confession of intentions can be hard to find. Pieced together works, but it’s neither as satisfying or as damning.  Luckily for us, my footnote mining recently pulled up a reference to a 1993 book published in the UK by Michael Fullan, still one of the world’s premier drivers of Radical Ed Reform. We covered his cutting-edge transdisciplinary global education vision here. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/opting-out-as-the-remedy-may-mean-accidentally-accelerating-nonconsensual-transformations/

The equity and excellence that are the shorthand phrase to describe the goals of the Quality Education for Minorities Project we met in the last post are essential for all students Fullan asserted, but the “ultimate aim of education is to produce a learning society.” That requires students and teachers with a “combination of moral purpose and change agentry–caring and competence.” If that sounds like Fullan was already pushing for wholesale social change in a collective direction with education as the driver more than 20 years ago, he was. Quoting what he wanted: “Put another way, the ability to cope with change, learning as much as possible with each encounter is the generic capacity needed for the twenty-first century.”

Luckily for us, Fullan confessed that (with italics) that we “are talking about a learning society not just a learning school system. The commitment and practice of learning must find itself in all kinds of organizations and institutions if it is to achieve any kind of force in society as a whole.” (Remember two posts ago, Peter Drucker also saw organizations as key to his government-steered, planned economy and society with education as the transition vehicle). The 1992 program for the “human development project” for Canada and the United States is cited by name and is laid out in a document euphemistically called The Learning Society (because citing to Uncle Karl at that time was considered unwise and his blueprint needed name laundering) and published by CIAR–the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research.

Before we cover those aims, we have another global radical (with a blog tag and a perch at Harvard Law), Roberto Mangabeira Unger, who has also laid out the global transformation vision, including the necessary role of education. He also wants to limit education to “the development of generic capacities by contrast to both training in specialized skills and the passive transmittal of information.” Those latter two traditional purposes of education were thought to impede “wholehearted engagement and action” towards the kind of democratic experimentalism Unger laid out in his 1998 book Democracy Realized: the progressive alternative. I bought that book after a mention of it because I recognized Unger’s influence (he was a professor at Harvard when both the Obamas were in law school there) and all the references we have encountered in the education reforms to democracy as the goal and progressive, polyphonic federalism (Jan 28, 2015 post) as the means to get around the US Constitution.

Reading the book I can recognize how closely what Unger wants ties with the actual pushes I am seeing now at the state and local levels in the US. At one point Unger stated specifically that US states were already pursuing his vision of democratic experimentalism by transforming institutions. Unger made it crystal clear he wanted the obstructions of the US political system’s “checks and balances” that impede social transformations aimed at restructuring property and social relations to be disregarded and overriden. That is something we should all keep in mind as the federal government sends money to states and cities and governors, legislators, mayors, and city councils all pursue comparable reforms to what Unger laid out at the necessary, “decentralized”, local level.

With the formal sponsors of the Common Core and several federal agencies all now pushing Competency as the goal of both K-12 and higher ed for all students, let’s keep in mind Unger’s desire for and definition of generic capacities for all. “Such capacities may be practical as well as conceptual [think of Enduring Understandings, Understanding by Design, and core disciplinary ideas in the current implementation], and they include the core substantive tools of learning. The heart of this education in capacities is the transfiguration of the actual by the imagination of the possible. In natural science and social and historical study we come to understand how and why things work by discovering the conditions under which each thing can become something else.” Adapt. Evolve. That certainly puts the C3 Social Studies Framework, Next Generation Science Standards  http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/2015/03/teaching_the_next_generation_s.html , and the APUSH controversy over its new, divisive conceptual framework in the light of their true transformative mindset purposes, doesn’t it?

Actual, factual knowledge and a logical, Axemaker Mind are apparently as much an impediment to all these plans as that pesky US Constitution. By the way, the abstract for The Learning Society specifically mentioned “educating the population for new competencies” so I am not just interpreting Unger or Fullan’s “generic capacities” as fitting the definition of Competency. The basic developmental needs that are not just a floor for everyone, but also the desired ceiling so that herd-defying individuals cannot be transformation barriers in the way of social experimentation, are listed as the following outcomes: “the ability to make effective social connections with others, competence in the tools and skills of the culture and the opportunity to make productive use of them, good coping skills, healthy response patterns in the face of stress [grit? perseverence?], perceived control over one’s life, a sense of psychological well-being, and good self-esteem.”

I have previously pointed out that the Inclusive Prosperity vision (Feb 22, 2015 post) fits Marx’s Human Development Model perfectly and that it is alarming that in December 2013 the UK and US made achieving “subjective well-being” the new purpose of governments (Dec 23, 2013 post). The year after the dissolution of the USSR and 3 years after the Berlin Wall fell, we got a vision of wholesale social and economic, nonconsensual transformation, that stated that “reconceptualizing the nature of learning and the relationship between collective and individual development” provides the “knowledge base for moving our own society forward.” It just so happens that that reconceptualized “learning” fits with the parameters laid out by the QEM Project from the last post so that Uncle Karl’s vision can be shrouded and compelled by interpretations of federal civil rights laws.

The Learning Society foresaw this convenient cover and mentioned the “overdue recognition that as a society, we need to include previously excluded groups on an equitable basis, particularly indigenous peoples and those from minority cultures.” The previous paragraph had discussed the need for a Learning Society to deal with “the problems associated with large scale immigration, with poverty, and with unemployment are increasing.” Collectivism is thus the answer for the very problems governments created in the first place with previous bad policies. Since the Learning Society has little use for what an individual wants, why do governments want prosperity and economic growth? “To ensure that they create sufficient wealth to support a broad range of social, medical, and human services.” No mention of the added bonus of funding lots of public sector pensions for the dispensers of those services.

The return of a surreptitious School to Work emphasis now at the state level after the controversies when it was pushed at the federal level in the 90s makes perfect sense when we read this vision from the 1992 blueprint. “The creation of new ideas and applications is in turn dependent on the availability of a highly skilled and motivated workforce and its orchestrated deployment across a broad array of scientific and industrial tasks.” No wonder those generic capacities are all about “tasks and executions” in Unger’s vision of the needed progressive education and the emancipatory school. Serfs had to stay where they were commanded and we Americans now get to be deployed as “orchestrated” to meet everyone’s “needs.”

So add to the reams of source materials I lay out in my book Credentialed to Destroy: How and Why Education Became a Weapon on how the Cold War did not end quite as advertised, this Learning Society vision. Who precisely did win if the “main objectives of a CIAR program in human development” to be implemented starting in 1992 in Canada and the US is to “reconceptualize the dynamics of collective and individual human development”?

If governments at all levels, and the organizations they are creating and funding, are dedicated to creating an “ability to motivate and organize all members of a society, in an innovative fashion,” did we escape from the Cold War still, factually, a free people?

Especially if taxpayer-funded education and a new definition of Learning binding all of us at the level of our minds and personalities is the declared, intended vehicle.

Perhaps “Not Serfs Yet” as our motto was a premature boast?

 

Questioning the Quandary of Equity: the Quality Education for Minorities Project Lurks in the Shadows

When I said in the last post that we needed to talk about Equity as the constant goal across the decades of those seeking wholesale transformations, I had never heard of what gets abbreviated as the QEM Project. We saw Equity front and center in the Senate’s NCLB Rewrite, that supposedly conservative America Next education report, and as the new responsibility of the federal government mandating a switch to Competency for All. I was also responding to the framing of the purpose for Reinventing Government as being a means to advance Equity and the cause of Progressivism. This is how that book framed Equity in 1992 as the new purpose of public schools:

“they also exist to bring children from all walks of life together. This mixing of social classes and races is extremely important in a democracy; without it, we lose our capacity to understand and empathize with those who are different from us. When that happens, it is not long before our society loses its ability to care for those who need help. We become a collection of individuals,  not a community.”

We have been living for a while in an age where official policy is it’s not OK to function as an individual. Adjust to accepting the new designation as just another member of a community or society goes this stealth mandate. Nobody told us though, leaving us to wonder why we just keep coming across all these pushes for communitarianism as a necessary belief for the 21st century. Would anyone like to guess what change in practice and policy is seen as the premier way to advance Equity, integration, concepts of community, etc? That would be the various school choice schemes like charters and vouchers. In particular, we have these recognitions: “When governments fund programs or institutions directly, equity becomes difficult to enforce…When governments fund individuals rather than institutions, it is much easier to promote equity.” Keep that in mind whenever someone says “Let’s just have the money follow the child.”

That again was from the authors of the bipartisanly touted Reinventing Government. Another relevant, well-known book from that same seminal year was Affirming Diversity: The Sociopolitical Context of Multicultural Education. Sonia Nieto is involved now with Educators for Social Responsibility, Facing History and Ourselves, and the SPLC’s Teaching Tolerance program that we keep encountering in connection with the actual implementation coming in the name of the Common Core.  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/social-cohesion-can-commence-once-reality-is-born-largely-from-beliefs-and-boundaries-co-created-with-others/ and the next post confront those visions and Facing History has a tag. Back in 1992 Nieto had this to say about Equal education and Equity (italics in original):

“education must involve the interaction of students with teachers and schools [dialectical would be a synonym for what is envisioned], not simply the action of teachers and schools on students [the revered transmission of knowledge approach]. Equal education also means that the skills, talents, and experiences that all students bring to their education need to be considered as valid starting points for further schooling. Equity is a more comprehensive term because it includes real educational opportunities and also demands fairness and the real possibility of equality of outcomes for a broader range of students. Throughout this book, multicultural education will be considered as fundamental to educational equity.”

Remember that last sentence but in this age when the phrase White Privilege suddenly seems to be coming to every other K-12 classroom and college campus, let’s learn Nieto’s term when she is not complaining about current “economic, political, and social power.” Dysconscious racism is “a limited and distorted view of racism based on the tacit acceptance of dominant White norms and privileges that fails to take into account basic structural inequities in society.” So with Multiculti ed, only a wholesale transformation will suffice as the remedy and that remedy is now to be legally required as a civil and human right. Since Nieto’s vision of good, exemplary teaching for all students is to be our norm in all schools, we need to appreciate its tenets in addition to a mandate of active involvement of “students in real-life situations [that] allows them to reflect on their own lives.” Are you among the privileged or the prey? would be one way to shorthand the desired mindset.

* students are involved in issues they perceive as vital concerns.

* students are involved with explanations of differences in race, culture, religion, ethnicity, and gender.

* students are helped to see major concepts, big ideas, and general principles rather than isolated facts [now called 'lenses,' Enduring Understandings, or cross-disciplinary ideas]

* students are involved in planning their education.

* students are involved in applying ideals such as fairness, equity, or justice to their world.

* students are actively involved in heterogeneous groups [no tracking is fundamental to QME].

* students are asked to question commonsense or widely accepted assumptions [all that pooh-poohing of facts now comes in handy].

Problem solvers and critical thinkers just does not sound like such a great goal anymore does it, after that breakdown? Now I joke about tiptoeing through the footnotes, but honestly that’s where the gold pebbles and jewel admissions are. Nieto in a footnote mentions a January 1990 publication from the MIT Quality Education for Minorities Project called “Education That Works: An Action Plan for the Education of Minorities.” The QEM Project turns out to have begun in 1987 with Carnegie funding. Now remember Carnegie is the chief sponsor of Competency-based education now, including sponsoring the 2011 summit with federal officials. Marc Tucker of the National Commission on Education and the Economy (Carnegie-funding) was also involved in the QEM Project, which puts a new spin on all his work in the 90s on School to Work and new types of authentic assessments called the New Standards Project.

Texans need to be aware that MIT was one partner in QEM, but the other was the Marshall Center at the University of Texas. As I have warned, Texas did not actually need to be part of the Common Core to have its K-12 system in the same place as other states, if not ahead of the curve. QEM cared about the following groups by name: (1) Alaska Natives; (2) American Indians; (3) Black Americans; (4) Mexican Americans; and (5) Puerto Ricans. Two vital points about that list. First, Competency education and the Reinventing Schools Consortium involved in the February 2014 Dallas convening is being hyped as coming from work with natives in Chugach, Alaska. Now I know where the funding for all that expensive air travel came from. Secondly, Senator Ted Kennedy was also involved with the Action Council on Minority Education that issued this January 1990 report. That matters because Kennedy had always had an interest in amnesty for illegals.

Open that door and then use the presence to force a remake of K-12 education. Make that the “restructuring” of American education. Remember this report is after the 1989 Williamsburg education summit President George HW Bush called of the nation’s governors. This report came out before the official announcement of the proposed national goals. The idea was that all the restructuring and K-12 plans announced in the 1990 QEM report would piggy-back quietly on the national goals to be proposed later that year. We have the goals for public dissemination and then we have the QEM vision surreptitiously attached.

My question is did anyone unconnected to DC and the K-12 education vision of that time (which would mean that now Senator Lamar Alexander had to have known) know we had this QEM Project vision attached to all the federal pushes in the 90s and what is coming in under the banner of the Common Core now? I have never seen a reference to it before Nieto cited it, but it certainly makes everything make so much more sense. I would seriously love to hear from readers who lived through those earlier reforms on whether this attached Stealth QEM Agenda was ever discussed or even acknowledged.

This matters because the required QEM vision of education for all becomes the necessary type of K-12 education to shift to what I recognize as Uncle Karl’s Human Development Society. In 1991 it was renamed with the much more soothing name of the Learning Society and laid out for all of North America. I will get to that next time. Let’s close with a quote used to lay out the Challenge for Education that Works. Attributed to FDR, it stated that “We seek to build an America where no one is left out.”

Remind anyone else of federal legislation nicknamed as No Child Left Behind that was also based on the vision of education in Texas? How about the sentiment advanced by the UN recently in its Dignity for All by 2030 vision to guide post-2015 restructurings of education, economies, and societies generally?

We have a great deal of commonality here that appears to have been lurking in the shadows. Ready to bind us without any overt discussion.

Not anymore.

 

 

Fostering Faithful Followers for Anticipatory Democracy Created by Reinventing Governments

Anticipatory democracy may sound like a mouthful, but it’s really just a nerdy term policymakers created to justify governments at all levels becoming the decision-makers. We see it in the Inclusive Prosperity, America Next, and Dignity for All by 2030 vision from the previous two posts. Goals for our collective future are set out at forums we are not invited to and then officials decide how to get there from the present. Do you know what “Anticipatory Democracy and Aspirational Futures” http://www.jfs.tku.edu.tw/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/152-S06.pdf  always needs? It needs to develop a shared vision for the future across a broad spectrum of society that justifies governments as decision-makers. How can it do that? Well, it might want to seize control over the Internet now, but even before there was an ICT industry, every radical with transformational plans knew to look to education.

On February 17, 2015 the well-connected KnowledgeWorks put out its vision for the ESEA Rewrite wanting it to be grounded in Competency, including social and emotional ones, and for the federal, state, and local levels to operate together as a single system. http://knowledgeworks.org/sites/default/files/policy-political-landscape-k12-competency-education.PDF Sounds like polyphonic, progressive federalism to me as we covered in a previous post. Now I am assuming knowledge of Competency as laid out in Chapter 4 of my book Credentialed to Destroy and how it fits with the real Common Core implementation and learning progressions. What I want to do here is overlay the pertinent visions we are dealing with where people have confessed the need for New Mindsets, perceptions, and personality traits that will fit with their new visions of what governments at all levels are to be doing in the developed world.

Nobody was ever going to put us on notice or ask our permission. This was to be a fait accompli and somehow tenacious me has stumbled across it all with my constant listening and reading and musing over “why are they saying that? It’s not how the world has ever worked. What’s going on?” Now my reaction to the manipulative deceit of the language in that America Next report sent me scurrying back to a cited book from 1992 called Reinventing Government: How the Entrepreneurial Spirit is Transforming the Public Sector . It made me see what was going on in the name of Outcomes-based education and School to Work in the 90s in a whole new light. Remember how I have been bothered by the sudden ubiquity of all the references now to ‘Governance’ and our being governed? Read this (my bolding throughout this post):

“Governance is the process by which we collectively solve our problems and meet our society’s needs. [In other words it's a euphemism for what Marx called the purpose of his Human Development Society]. Government is the instrument we use. The instrument is outdated, and the process of reinvention has begun. We do not need another New Deal, nor another Reagan Revolution. We need an American perestroika.”

Interesting choice of language in 1992. Since the Reinventing book also cites Harlan Cleveland multiple times, let’s overlay this post into what my book laid out on what seems to really been going on in the 80s and 90s and who was really to undergo the wholesale restructuring. In this new vision the “job of government is to steer, not to row the boat.” Well, that grabbed my attention given the number of times I have encountered the idea that Competency-based education is creating a desired keel at the useful level of the student’s mind and personality. This is the fundamental vision of what the 1992 book called “third-party government” where governments look to third parties to carry out the public objectives they have set. So please do not disingenuously describe it as free enterprise or limited government or conservative policymaking.

A confessed goal of steering society and “using public leverage to shape private decisions to achieve collective goals” is using sovereign power for personal manipulation and control over individuals. Pure and simple. This Entrepreneurial (R)evolution needs a Crisis, which is basically what a hyped ‘skills gap’ and high unemployment provides. It needs Trust in Government, which requires an absence of factual knowledge about the past. It needs Shared Vision and Goals, which is precisely where education again comes in. Where better to go about sculpting “the key element is a collective vision of a city or state’s future–a sense of where it’s headed.” That was John Parr, executive director of the National Civic League, speaking in the book. Parr went on to say: “If you haven’t put that [vision] together, it’s very difficult to make these innovative approaches work, because people become so confused about the role of government. They become very confused about why government is changing.”

If that quote is not hitting anyone else like a ton of bricks given all the hype on a new paradigm for education, how about the open declaration that the cultivated shared vision about the new role of governments “simply assures that enough of the community shares the leaders’ vision to overcome the opposition.” No wonder we keep hearing all those mentions of democracy. Has there ever been a more meaningful confession of majority rules? Now the Reinventing Government book left me breathless because it fit the facts I have noticed or laid out in my book so well going back to the 60s. It said the original version of this reprivitization/steering vision though had come from Peter Drucker and cited a 1968 book The Age of Discontinuity.

Now the 1992 book did own up to needing to change the “mental image of government” each of us has, but Drucker thankfully set out a graphic description of the kind of education for ALL students that would be necessary to fit his vision that “after 250 years, political theory and social theory” would once again join together. If that sounds like the historic concept of the individual is about to go poof, Drucker did call for a “new individualism” and a “new concept of freedom.” To clarify “the purpose of government is to make fundamental decisions and to make them effectively.” Next time you hear that “citizenship dispositions” is a stated purpose of Competency education and the Common Core, remember that Drucker wrote that “In a free society, the citizen takes responsibility, above all, for his society and its institutions.”

Drucker’s vision called for education and learning grounded in skills that would be the “cornerstone of tomorrow’s education for everybody.” This would not be an academic education grounded in subject content and he wanted the focus to be on nonverbal experience and performance. Like performance standards and assessments and learning experiences? What is now being described as Competency education suitable for the workforce or college open to all sounds like what Drucker called in 1968 his “education of technologists.” Education suitable for an equitable society where governments now do the steering and see that all people’s needs are met.

Drucker’s “education of technologists” had three essential components. Now when Drucker says “apply knowledge to work” or “using theory” he does not mean book knowledge. He means what we are now encountering as Enduring Understandings, core disciplinary ideas, cross-cutting issues, and other terms for the supplied Big Ideas and ‘lenses’ to be used to guide our interpretation of the world. Drucker wanted “an infinite number of people capable of using theory as the basis of skill for practical application in work.” What today we would call Project-based Learning and Competency-based education. If my interpretation of the likely end result of Fostering Faithful Followers seems a bit too cynical it’s because we have not yet covered the other two essential elements. “Equally important is the training and formation of perception and emotion in school.”

In the next post I want to talk about how the push to make Equity an essential obligation of the federal government makes this steering vision and collectivism necessary. We need to challenge that fundamental false premise before all that is left is a discussion over means. Meanwhile, I want to end with a quote that fits the current, actual K-12 implementation as well as where something in higher ed called the ETS Proficiency Profile is taking us. Remember what I always say about the purpose of policies and practices attaching to them even if the school and classroom users remain unaware. Drucker and the Reinventing Government authors were very graphic. Here goes:

“Perception and emotion are trained, developed, and disciplined only in the experience of performance, that is, only under the challenge of objective standards that exist no matter what the individual’s ability, inclinations, or proficiency.”

Those are standards in the sense of goals for everyone. That is a vision that allows for Student Success for ALL. It fulfills the current attempt to create a federal civil rights obligation grounded in quality education that provides Equity and Excellence.

And at its fundamental foundation it uses governments in the Developed World to steer economies and society to finally fulfill what Uncle Karl called his Human Development Society.

One last revelation from Reinventing Government in 1992–A Global Revolution–that fits with the worldwide push towards Competency.

“If the rise of entrepreneurial government is an inevitable shift rather than a temporary fad, as we argue, one would expect it in other nations as well. And to a startling degree, it has. A similar process of transformation is under way throughout the developed world.”

Using similar mechanisms for comparable reasons.

 

Dwelling in a Void of Unknowing Within a Sculpted Narrative Designed to Manipulate

Credit for the first part of our title goes to British author Peter Hitchens describing how little young people knew of his country’s recent past and that most were “dwelling in a void of unknowing.” Great phrasing for a reality we are now seeing all over the world as we wonder with him: “What is it about our past that has led it to be reformed out of existence?” Well, truthfully, I am not wondering as I have repeatedly laid out the desires for transformational change, first in my book, and now on the blog, as the calls just get more urgent. Dovetailing with that UN call for Dignity for All globally by 2030 we saw in the last post turns out to be a Rockefeller-funded report of the Commission on Inclusive Prosperity released https://cdn.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/IPC-PDF-full.pdf   last month that also includes the related vision for “world-class” education.

That IP report would be the sculpted narrative designed to manipulate. Believing in what it asserts requires either being a beneficiary of the vision or being quite ignorant of either history or economics. The usefulness of people not knowing much, while being blissfully ignorant of the acute absence, was really brought home this week as an advocate of Competency-based learning excitedly mentioned that students are told that they “command the helm” of their own learning. I remembered the number of times we have encountered a psychologist or education professor speaking to fellow insiders about creating an internal “keel” within the student’s mind and personality that makes future behavior quite predictable. It seems a bit ironic to brag on one hand about the levels of behavioral control being fostered by Competency and its related “high-quality learning” and then to sell the manipulated student on how autonomous they are.

“Dwelling in a void of unknowing” and thus quite ready to be conned while governments steer. Looking for a way to explain the dangers of all this, I went back to a 1958 book called Theory and History by an economist, Ludwig Von Mises, who had the good sense to escape Europe in the mid-30s as Hitler was gaining power. He made the terribly pertinent point that “It is ideas that are responsible for the fact that the interests of people are disparate.” If we use education to control the prevailing ideas and, especially to limit them, it becomes much easier to sell visions of solidarity and the need for wholesale transformation.

Apparently the UN report on the 2030 Dignity For All vision or the Inclusive Prosperity report above follow a great tradition of not stressing over the pesky details since Von Mises also noted that “instead of dealing with all these problems Marx contented himself with the dogma that socialism will be an earthly paradise in which everybody will get all he needs.” It’s much easier, of course, to accept and act on dogma (and never even notice it is not grounded in reality) if students are now trained from an early age to dwell in a void of unknowing, while remaining blissfully unaware of that crucial fact. If Von Mises was correct when he stated:

“it is ideas that determine what people consider as their interests. Free men do not act in accordance with their interests. They act in accordance with what they believe furthers their interests.” (my bolding)

Should we be surprised at all that the year after the publication of that book, American educators and psychologists, whose work would evolve into what we now call Competency-based education, began their global push to take an emphasis on facts, textbooks, and lectures out of the classroom? Whoever controls the prevailing ideas also controls what people will believe their interests to be. Something we all need to be aware of now.

In case anyone thinks I am name calling by linking that IP report and Uncle Karl’s vision, the report keeps making statements like “While the economic mission of progressives is unchanging, the means of achievement change from generation to generation as the economy evolves.” That’s darn blunt even before we get to the statement that “we need new social and political institutions to make 21st century capitalism work for the many and not the few.” Anyone else see a problem with a goal that “nations need to ensure both that economic growth takes place and that it is broadly shared”? In order to get widespread acquiescence to that transformative vision education is devoting itself to extinguishing and controlling prevailing ideas. Throughout history, widespread prosperity can either come from plunder a la Ancient Rome (or a pirate ship with a talented crew) or it has to rely on a few hardworking people who have unique ideas–The Vital Few–as a book on the history of entrepreneurship called them.

Mind arson and manipulating what people believe makes widespread prosperity impossible. There is a revealing adjective on page 8 of the IP report that really gives away the whole game in the reference to a “managed global economy.” That’s a wish by a few, not a fact, and of course yet another reason to limit prevailing ideas and make education about specified knowledge, broad vocational skills, and lots of social and emotional training to create the desired dispositions. Oh, and since all desired transformations need a good crisis, we get to hear yet again that “employers are increasingly worried about their ability to find skilled labor.” They are more worried about better ideas and service swiping existing customers, but who needs to admit that fact when the skills gap sounds more noble? Plus the advocated alliance of “government, educational institutions, and businesses must work together” actually takes care of the long-term, keeping customers happy, problem. Governments become the real customer and stabilizer of revenue in this vision.

The IP report’s authors apparently did not have an adult in their lives when they were children telling them that “wishing will not make it so” because they simply proclaim a desire for “renewing the growth of living standards for everyone.” Well, don’t tell the high-falutin’ members of that IP Commission but Mind Arson makes that plan much harder as does the intention that “children from low-and moderate-income backgrounds need the same opportunities to fully develop their talents that wealthy children have.” Since I do not think the plan is Camps in Maine for All at 12 or Grand Tours of Europe using a voucher, school itself becomes the point of levelling and parents of kids perceived as being wealthy need to recognize they are in the line of fire.

In what may be my all time favorite confession of what will make for a “world-class school,” we are told that “education is empowering and allows individuals to become actors rather than passive bystanders in the role of the state.” In other words, we get to participate in this progressive world where governments hold the final say over everyone and everything. No wonder, “world-class schools are essential for achieving inclusive prosperity, fostering community cohesion [more reason to control prevailing ideas], encouraging a genuine stake in society, and participating in democratic structures.” People with a sense of their own unique individuality and the validity of what they know and believe are in the way. Schools are to become the “hub of these experiences” that are required to “deliver on society’s needs for social and economic development, political participation, environmental responsibility, and international solidarity.”

More reason to limit the prevailing ideas and availability of knowledge. Here’s the vision for “a broad and balanced curriculum [that] is vital for the development of inclusive prosperity.” Students in these world-class schools get to “gain the core skills needed for the world of work.” The pitch line, in other words, may be about getting each of our needs met, but the operating reality is that we exist to meet the needs of others and we are to have little input. Oh, but students also get “space and time to develop.” I guess that’s when they can be told they are actually masters of their own ‘helms’. In their voids of unknowing, most will believe it, at least for a while. Plus school “enhances the so-called soft skills–including team working, people management, civic and school engagement, and diversity awareness–to ensure that children are allowed to be fully engaged members of society in preparation for adult life.”

Control the excitement. I am sure the world-class schools all come with t-shirts that say “we are all comrades” since “I am a comrade” would basically negate all this solidarity seeking. Finally, “any curriculum must allow for economic and political literacy,” which is more than a little ironic in a report bereft of anything but the aspirational. Now, I know someone out there is saying that the IP report does not mention the Common Core or even competency by name so where’s the link? The report does call for “globally competitive standards developed through consensus, not ideology,” which is kind of funny in a document calling for education for Inclusive Capitalism to finally fulfill the progressive dream.

Now I have known for a while that the Common Core is designed to produce the data and desired changes in the students called for by a global program called the Achievement Standards Network (ASN). Financed as usual by Bill & Melinda. Yesterday I was poking around on this site http://www.imsglobal.org/iipe.html where (yesterday at least) we could still find a paper by Rob Abel called “Creating a Shared Vision for Assessment Reform: Building on the Common Core” that stated expressly that the Common Core was created to constitute the US’s participation in ASN and the Dublin Core and Metadata Applications.

The ‘globally competitive standards’ then and the ability to get to the Inclusive Prosperity vision are all about the data to be thrown off by digital learning, formative assessments, and “high-quality” learning experiences.

If you are like me, none of this vision sounds inviting. No chance whatsoever of it generating broad prosperity, inclusive or not. That’s precisely why we all need to know about these plans now.

I personally want to have the discussion of why a plane cannot fly before it takes off, not after it crashes.

If none of this is stoppable, no one can accuse me of not trying my best to sound the alarm.

Knowledge to Avoid Becoming Roadkill on the Bipartisan Global Road to Dignity by 2030

Sorry for such a graphic metaphor, but somehow reading all the plans to “transform the world to better meet human needs” made me think we have a global class of politicians and cronies, at every level of government, who actually view ordinary people and poverty as their excuse to be in charge and live at our expense in the 21st Century. Human needs and poverty are just excuses for Power where “change in the management of our economies” is the new rationale for Fascism. It prevents at every level ordinary individuals from making their own choices about what they want and what they value. Back in December 2014, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon issued the Post-2015 Global Marching Orders Governments at all Levels are now going about fulfilling. The report is called “The road to dignity by 2030: ending poverty, transforming all lives and protecting the planet.”

“Young people will be the torchbearers” of this vision of “inclusive and shared prosperity” grounded in a “human right” to have the State ensure that “social needs” are met, enforceable under the rule of law (reimagined just like federalism). Not interested in having the UN declare that your life must be transformed? Nobody intends to ask any of our permission. The world simply needs “more effective governance and capable and capable institutions, for new and innovative partnerships, including with responsible business and effective local authorities, and for a data revolution.” That last, of course, gets provided both by the digital learning mandates and by the Internet of Things and social media. That’s probably why how to gather and use all this data for new kinds of governments was the focus this week for yet another get together we were not invited to.   https://www.thegovernmentsummit.org/en/knowledgehub.html Ban Ki-Moon was there though and so was Sir Ken Robinson making sure the global vision of “quality learning for all” remained on track.

Expensive Consultants were there and ready to advise governments and discuss the “key role of business” in satisfying these global plans. “Companies are ready to change how they do business and to contribute by transforming markets from within and making production, consumption and the allocation of capital more inclusive and sustainable.” Nobody asked us, the existing customers and taxpayers. I guess existing Big Business knows whose hand will be feeding it in this vision for managing our economies to meet human needs. When the UN is officially calling out to local authorities and Business and stressing the desire to accomplish these plans for transformation by “aligning private action and public policies,” it’s really hard for me not to read this America Next vision of what is supposed to be the ‘conservative’ vision of K-12 education with its emphasis on the local and private providers through the broader intentions.

http://americanext.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/America-Next-K-12-Education-Reform.pdf was released this week. It is chockful of global Terms of Art like “high-quality standards” for all that fits right into Ban Ki-Moon’s Road to Dignity by 2030. All being done with language about free enterprise, a local government emphasis, and the money following the child. The UN laid out in a 2014 World Economic Forum report it co-wrote on its Post-2015 plans that vouchers were the global means for accomplishing its education agenda. We should take them at their word. To turn our young people into the desired torchbearers would be another way to put it. Seeing regulation via “one of the many well-regarded private accreditation agencies” as the answer for private schools to keep their autonomy despite the influx of public money is either deliberately deceitful by whoever wrote that paragraph or it indicates a woeful ignorance by the report’s authors of the nature of accreditation and its links to the UN System.

Talking in terms of a “public safety net, a minimum standard of sustenance beneath which citizens guarantee no neighbor will fall” is to accept the UN and Karl Marx vision of an enforceable obligation to meet human needs. In other words, in language about limited government, that report actually accepts the entire premise of the Welfare State. It’s a ‘conservative’ document that dovetails with the Road to Dignity by 2030 vision and leaves people ready to be blindsided by what is coming from the UN, local and state authorities, and in the name of progressive or polyphonic federalism. If you live in another country though, these same initiatives may be coming at you via what is being called Devolution.

http://www.respublica.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Restoring-Britains-City-States.pdf also came out this week. It’s a reminder that when the UN agenda of Dignity for All translates into a right of every geographic area at the local level to experience ‘prosperity,’ we will find lots of local politicians ready to sign up for the vision. The local emphasis makes the broader agenda of transformation harder to see and easier to enforce against both people and places. Ban Ki-Moon is probably not coming to your town to trumpet this 2030 justice for everyone vision. That will be the School Principal or District Super, the mayor or a state legislator, even if they have not yet gone for their CIFAL Network training for Local Actors created by the UN System. (see tag).

The Welfare State just put on a new outfit with different names when the rest of the UK decides that no one should have to relocate to London or the SouthEast of Britain to succeed and that local economies and their inhabitants should also have a right to success in terms of “health, education and opportunity.” Politicians apparently believe that basic needs can be met by regulatory fiat. Not likely, but in the US Detroit and Chicago really like this vision a great deal. http://www.corecities.com/sites/default/files/images/publications/Modern%20Charter%20for%20Local%20Freedom_0.pdf Have I succeeded in making everyone wary about hyping the Local as the solution with such plans for transformation swirling around us? Good.

A demand out of the UN that “we leave no one behind, ensuring equality, non-discrimination, equity and inclusion at all levels” and a mandate that “we must pay special attention to the people, groups and countries most in need” means that for the vision to have any chance, much of the focus of the actual policies has to be at the local level. The spirit of these demands and mandates is precisely what we are seeing in the ESEA Rewrite we have looked at and also the WIOA (see tag) legislation passed this summer on a Bipartisan basis. It also fits with the vision for Inclusive Capitalism and the NEW American Dream advocated by one of the primary institutions involved in creating the Common Core and the rubrics for what will count as College and Career Ready in the future.The Business Roundtable is also involved to keep the focus on Big Business and academia’s perks.

In August 2014 the ACT Foundation published “National Learning Economy The NEW American Dream: Our Vision for Living, Learning, and Working in the Performance Era.” http://actfdn.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/ACTF_BrochureRv3_LoRes.pdf Now try to control your shock as it too contains a vision that also has us on that Road to Dignity by 2030.  It also sees the answers to the future in “collective efforts” and “collective action”. Individuals now apparently only exist to have their needs met, as determined by someone else, and “their greater life satisfaction” managed for “themselves and their families.” In this Performance Era the role of knowledge is “shifting” lest it interfere with all these plans being made on our behalf. Instead we get the “interconnected factors of productivity, learning, and skills development”. Once again as determined by cooperating politicians and amenable Businessmen to the UN’s plans for us.

Beyond literally tying the Common Core now to “Capitalism evolving toward inclusion and social welfare,” that ACT/ Business Roundtable document also proclaims that the National Learning Economy will need the integration of “three critical mutually reenforcing systems: economic development (employers and policy), workforce development, and education systems (researchers, educators, trainers, etc. in K-12, postsecondary, informal, and other learning systems).” Probably a good thing it’s so chilly outside because I really am tempted to take an I Told You So Victory Lap at that open admission. Even better for those who have read the Conclusion to my book is the open admission that this is all tied to a different conception of economic growth where “sustainability and renewal are the primary goals.”

I guess meeting the human needs of all will mean no more taken-for-granted modern conveniences like disposable diapers for ordinary people. I have pointed out before that meeting human needs once a certain level of technology and overall prosperity is achieved was the hallmark of what Karl Marx called the Human Development Model. It’s the purpose of the vision of the Road to Dignity by 2030. It was there in that America Next K-12 vision and in Devolution’s insistence in using the local to “distribute ownership and agency to all.” This is how the ACT Foundation winds up its vision of the Pathway to the National Learning Economy:

“In essence, we must construct a road to success for everyone in the performance era, where every piece fits together [including people, their sculpted worldviews via education and the media, and their personalities through social and emotional learning and a Whole Child emphasis] to create a stable, dynamic pathway that continues to grow and offer unique new destinations [using someone else's itinerary] for every working learner to explore in ways that fit their living, learning, and working needs.”

There’s that word again. Now whose needs will really be met in this Road to Dignity by 2030 vision?

The way to avoid being Roadkill is to be aware of all these created pieces and how they fit together.

Think of this post as the most useful Valentine we will ever get.

Redemptive Constitutionalism, Sector Strategies, ESEA Rewrite, and a Curriculum Designed Around Caring

Sometimes timing is everything. The last post was based on insights developed just days before I wrote it. Then I caught a plane to St Louis, Missouri to the Educational Policy Conference. Listening on Saturday morning I heard repeated references to phrases like “Power in the People,” ‘local control’ as the ubiquitous answer, and “community solutions to community problems.” I was in a position to recognize that these phrases played right into the themes I knew the Rockefeller Foundation also sees as a way to advance its views of the US Constitution via Metropolitanism, the National Center on Dialogue and Deliberation, and the work involving the Democracy Handbook we examined here.  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/silently-and-seismically-shifting-sovereignty-away-from-the-individual/

I do not know if the overlap of memes between what is being pushed as progressive federalism, Rockefeller-funded Deliberative Democracy, and at the Heritage Foundation-sponsored EPC is deliberate or innocent although at some level I am darn sure I am NOT the only one aware there is an overlap. Not wanting good people hearing these themes and still feeling protected by the Constitution to be blind-sided and then sucker punched, I have taken a few days to mull over my concerns and do a bit more research. The post title should give the first clue on where I came out.

First, the book on the aims of progressive federalism The Constitution in 2020 arrived laying out a “framework for developing a political community committed to justice.” The UN and the Club of Rome are not the only institutions now formally advancing a vision for using ‘the rule of law’ as a means “to imagine our collective future.” Emphasis there on the collective. In fact, when I saw the reference to “our successes will come from new mobilizations that emphasize a new constitutional vision that better articulates enduring constitutional values,” the reimagining of K-12 education’s purposes, practices, and policies via the Common Core immediately came to mind.

Plus there are all the references we keep coming across for preparing all students for a reimagined view of Citizenship. Knowing how tied all the social and emotional learning and Positive School Climate mandates are to Nel Noddings work (see tags), I pulled her classic book The Challenge to Care in Schools: An Alternative Approach to Education and read that the subject content focus must go because:

“Neither prudential nor ethical arguments move most affluent citizens [to make the alleviation of poverty and economic justice the purpose of politics and social institutions like schools]. This state of affairs suggests strongly that there is something radically wrong with the education that produced these citizens. Both wealthy and poor experience a morally deficient schooling. Is there an alternative?”

Noddings’ curriculum themes to develop caring and pedagogy of the oppressed and of the oppressors bears a striking resemblance to what we are now seeing pushed in AP and IB English and history classes and throughout the disciplines down into elementary school. In fact, the very phrase of the “New 3 Rs” of Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships bowls down at its core to making sure students now perceive the world and its social problems in terms of responsibility to care and act and otherwise fulfill Noddings desire to make education “primarily concerned with what kind of relations we should establish.” That’s not making me feel better about what is intended by think tanks and scholars from what is commonly nicknamed, the Left and the Right, by 2020.

What about “redemptive constitutionalism”? Any hope there? http://moritzlaw.osu.edu/students/groups/oslj/files/2012/01/Schwartzberg.pdf alarmingly informs us that:

“Progressives and popular constitutionalists have two central commitments–one to political equality, one to forward-looking change…Progressives might focus on the achievement of political and social equality, popular constitutionalists on formal equality in political decision making. Both, however, are squarely focused away from the Framers’ intent, and towards the future, in their conceptions of constitutional interpretation. The progressive ambition is to interpret the Constitution in such a way that it helps us to ameliorate deprivation and suffering–i.e., to respond to the felt needs of our community today and in the future.”

Alarming overlap of themes between the Left and Right rhetoric about the Constitution and between K-12 education and the use of the law. Good things to be aware of though to avoid being sucker punched in the future. Especially as redemptive constitutionalism wants to take interpretive power away from the courts and give it to “the People” and ordinary citizens for majorities to decide. All the more reasons then to use education to change what is widely believed and valued. That law review paper called for its aims to be achieved in the future via a constitutional convention called by the states that “ought to focus on majoritarian, popular forms of amendment” which sounds remarkably like what many state ‘conservative’ think-tanks are asking for as the ConCon.

The article called for the adoption of the “progressives’ ambition as a durable alternative vision of constitutionalism, oriented at least in part towards special concern for the most vulnerable populations.” That hope is what was enacted by a bipartisan Congress in July 2014 as WIOA [see tag]. That’s precisely what the ESEA Rewrite hurdling at light speed through Congress plans to do. It’s also what the Sector Strategies, integration of CTE into academics for all students, and Career Pathways for all students that we covered here are explicitly designed to do.  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/banishing-any-distinction-between-academic-technical-and-lifeemployability-skills-active-deceit-everywhere/

As this paper I pulled from Colorado makes clear https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/sites/default/files/PGL%2008-05-WIA%20Attach8%20PY08%20NGA.pdf what is being put in place in K-12 education now under the misleading banner of the Common Core and Equity is to “align its efforts in support of a workforce development system that is employer driven and locally led with those in economic development and education. This model requires the workforce development system to partner with industry to provide a trained workforce that possesses the desired skill sets business requires.”

Honestly, is there any confusion on why progressive federalism is hiding under a variety of labels but involves an alliance between Big Business, the Chambers of Commerce, and the admitted hard Left that wants economic justice as a Constitutional obligation? The third leg of the Sector Strategies/Career Pathways/Employer Partnership vision for the economy that is typically omitted until we start reading the powerpoints from their conferences is a “New Social Compact with Young People.” That’s why several of the witnesses from yesterday’s ESEA Rewrite came from federally-funded Promise Neighborhoods. That’s why this “Community-Based Learning through Community Partnerships” blueprint was recently released. http://www.communityschools.org/assets/1/AssetManager/MBLT%20Boston.pdf It’s why KnowledgeWorks Strive Together model of Cradle to Career is being cited as the exemplar of such a social compact with young people.

http://www.brookings.edu/research/reports2/2015/02/03-advanced-industries#/M10420 released yesterday is yet another example of this envisioned taxpayer-funded vision of an economy built around government direction, blurring of public and private, and providing ‘jobs’ for the least privileged members of American society. It does not appear to be sustainable at all to me once the taxpayer funded spigot runs dry. The difference though between just pointing out the connections among all these things and how they benefit the public sector at all levels, connected Big Business, and community organizers intent on managing the redistribution of existing wealth to their patrons (obvious and mostly invisible) is I have quite a library I use for appreciating the likely consequences of all these plans and mandates.

So I turned to a 1939 book written by a German, Gunter Reiman. Called The Vampire Economy: Doing Business Under Fascism it reminds us that:

“An Italian economist and editor who is familiar with present conditions in Italy was asked by the author: “What are the relations between businessmen and the State bureaucrats in Italy?’

‘I can answer in one word–corruption,’ he declared. ‘The businessmen in Italy has as much influence as he has money to bribe the bureaucrats. Without cash, you are a helpless subject of the State.’

The word ‘corruption’ is not to be taken in the sense in which we normally use it in democratic countries. Under fascism, it is not primarily the power of money that corrupts, but rather does corruption spring from the power of the State.”

From progressive federalism, Sector Strategies, seeing Equity as a Civil Right, the mind arson I have documented as planned for K-12 education, we are looking at a vision of an all-powerful State where the individual is to be nothing but a member of the collective, the subject under political power, and a workforce participant. All these plans for the US Constitution and changing the purpose of the “rule of law” are designed to ensure that this hoped for power “is not illegal but grows naturally out of the system and is organized and made legitimate by the State.” That’s what Reiman saw in Italy and Germany and wrote about without knowing the rest of the story.

We do now so there’s less ability to be blind-sided with a sucker punch than there was a week ago. Does anyone though wonder anymore why WIOA insisted that one of the required skills that all students must have to be “workforce ready” was “systems thinking”?

Just because a great deal of political and economic power is now focused on using the law and education to design and create such systems, starting at the level of the student’s mind and personality, doesn’t mean any of us are obligated to sit still and wait for that sucker punch.

Not Serfs Yet.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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