Windows on the Mind to Confiscate and Control Our Very Essence

Building on the last post’s emphasis on the public sector’s plans for us that are rarely acknowledged to our face and which have always quietly persisted whatever the popular outcry, I want to cover quite a few specific acknowledgments of the End Game that have occurred in just the last week. We may get nothing but deceit from those we elected or whose salaries we pay, but in meetings we are not invited to and reports we are unlikely to see, the coordinated juggernaut is open, explicit, and being pushed at a frenzied pace. Well, that’s not quite true, Needs to Get a Real Life here at ISC did manage to get an invite and does pay attention to all the elements of the web my research has previously indicated I should monitor. Let’s take a look and start with this true confession from UNESCO:

“One of the biggest challenges is how the Framework for Action will link education with the broader sustainable development agenda. Here we believe that more can be done – we must go deeper in exploring the connections and must reposition education at the heart of the post-2015 agenda. We have yet to make a compelling enough case that education is not just one of 17 SDGs but rather a key facilitator for achievement of all the goals. We are pleased to see that this is an issue to be addressed in the Report out next year by the EFA GMR team. Fundamental changes are needed in the world and this requires a new generation of active global citizens with new knowledge, attitudes and behaviours – for which education is the essential catalyst.”

For those of us being asked to turn over our children for years at a time to education and whose taxes pay the costs, maybe we should recognize that statement as the Declaration of War against our culture and the political structures we take for granted that it actually is. Taken from here https://efareport.wordpress.com/2015/05/15/civil-society-priorities-at-the-world-education-forum/ , these nonconsensual shifts that supposedly must occur are in preparation for the UN and the OECD’s Post-2015 plans for both people in the developed and developing countries of the world. Instead of Ripley’s “Believe It or Not” Exhibition, perhaps we need an ISC equivalent exhibition of all the confessions called “Desired or Not, Consensual or Not.”

Here’s another from the well-connected Columbia prof Jeffrey Sachs, who also managed to jet to Rome recently to lobby for a papal encyclical on Climate Change, head up the UN’s World Happiness Reports (started in 2012) pushing measures of subjective well-being as the proper concerns of governments, and be on the Broadband Commission pushing the Internet as a human right. Here’s that confession on the need for ‘data’ to force the new global economic vision  https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/sustainable-development-data-by-jeffrey-d-sachs-2015-05 and if you go to page 23 of the underlying report he talks about, you will find the call for an essential component in every country called an emis. Education Management Information System that will track all students to ensure that all schools have “quality learning” in the UNESCO vision (see above for where it leads) and practices that create Equity for all.

Now for those of you who have already located that 2008 “Seeing the Future: A Planning Guide for High Schools” document or soon will, just remember this global call for an emis that will allow education to be the invisible catalyst for the UN’s post-2015 plans while being implemented at local levels to gain control and hopefully avoid detection. Ooops on that one. Sometimes sarcasm is the most potent relief, but seriously that document is just rife with calls for data as are digital learning initiatives generally and adaptive and personalized learning specifically. Carving out protections under Student Privacy Acts (as Georgia just did in legislation touted as a model) for those types of uses means that there really is no privacy from governmental officials and their cronies to manipulate that data that offers a Window on the Mind.

That was an italicized term used to describe what ‘understand’ is to mean under all these new visions for K-12 education we covered in this post. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/harnessing-the-meaning-making-capacities-of-the-human-mind-and-then-assessing-for-the-tightness-of-the-fit/ When I decided to crosscheck this week what one of the co-authors Joseph D. Novak was doing now, it led me troublingly to the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition. He works there now and I had run into that entity before when I was tracking another troubling theorist who is also there. I remember noting at that time that the composition of its Board of Directors http://www.ihmc.us/board_directors.php reminded me of a group of people whose personal livelihoods would certainly incline them to push a political power should control the economy, mercantilist view of how the future could be shaped. However fine and nice they are as individuals, there is a clear trend to that board membership.

Think of how handy connections like that are when WIOA is mandating State Plans and calling for the states (in the Playbook linked in last post) just to go ahead and describe all their plans for education and how it will be incorporated in every locality into economic development. Then we have the new vision of high schools (2008 report) insisting that all high schools “build and sustain relationships with local employers, community and government agencies, industry associations, labor unions, and post-secondary institutions.” Well, won’t that marry well with the WIOA obligations, especially given the call to “set defined goals and a clear vision for meeting the needs of community youth”?

That old meeting the needs vision of Uncle Karl’s that was also reenforced this week by Google’s (wave hi! to our Internet monitors) UK subsidiary https://www.thersa.org/discover/publications-and-articles/reports/the-new-digital-learning-age/ which takes all the education, links to the workplace, digital learning, etc changes we are encountering and calls for explicit changes in public policy to redesign society “to develop and democratise the Power to Create.” Well, maybe that can be a category of Quality Learning and Equity those emis systems are gathering data to force and then monitor.

Anyone else think Google might have a business stake in this vision of the future? Just like a board composed of real estate developers, bankers, and Chamber of Commerce types might have a stake in a vision of learning as internalized psychological change at a neurological level that makes people highly unlikely as adults to forego the pathway that has been laid out for them. Even less likely to defy the herd. One more example from just this week was the first ever Gigabit Cities conference where everyone seemed to want to push broadband as a human right, especially this speaker http://www.govtech.com/local/Seattles-New-CTO-Focuses-on-People-Infrastructure-Broadband-Access-for-All.html . The hyping of the common good and communitarianism was so constant before I felt sickened and left that I felt tempted to stand up and affirm that historic American vision of people as something other than an instrument of government ambitions.

Seriously, how can people do slides showing the Berlin Wall coming down and mentioning the recognition that “centralized planning does not work” while less than a minute later call for an economy created by the coordination of “governments, universities, civil institutions, and tech companies.” At least no one will be making decisions on our behalf that has any kind of financial conflict for taking the positions they are taking on where K-12 education must go or why Broadband must be a human right or how a requirement of Equity in a naturally unequal world means that intrusive governments will be constantly necessary.

All those financial conflicts of interest in the public, non-profit, AND crony private sector are precisely the impetus for these ed reforms that seek to Confiscate and Control Our Very Essence without notice, or consent, or even knowledgeable consideration of the likely consequences. Is all this intended localized planning somehow going to work because it will be based on real-time data and not be centralized in DC or Brussels? I don’t think so, but these very real, widely-expressed intentions, once we know where to look, are precisely the impetus for these high school reforms and the Common Core.

We must shift to high schools everywhere designed around “rigorous project-based learning experiences in the school, workplace, and communities” (to quote the 1998 NUHS abstract) for the political and social transformation purposes Michael Cole and Yrjo Engestrom usefully described in the last post. Plus the economic cronyism and UN Power-Grabbing laid out in this one.

Clearly I am going to have to make this part 2 of a Trilogy because we still have not chronicled the essence of the manipulation. We should all have a superb handle on the whys behind this manipulation now. We now know that the ubiquitous references to “high standards for all students” designed to reassure us that all these changes are good and necessary actually means the abolition of any distinction between a “college prep” curriculum and a “vocational” one. Add that revelation to our ISC Glossary of Terms.

Let’s close this part of our wading through the muck by quoting something from the 1998 document from a header called “Stories of Change.” It’s a reminder of why everything must be changed and locked in as a mandate for the broader social, economic, and political transformations everyone keeps pointing to to have any chance of occurring.

“High schools are not closed systems: their work and their structure are influenced profoundly by post-secondary entrance requirements, teacher training practices, district policies [hence all the current hyping of charter systems] and assessment practices [why progs love to start Opt Out movements], and community pressures.”

Now of course we know many of the community pressures are deliberately created by the public sector and that the public is being systematically lied to at a level that meets the high thresholds associated with fraud.

We also understand why these calls for a new kind of citizen are rampant at all levels and from every direction.

Next we will close our trilogy with the cited specifics and then link it to the Turchenko vision laid out in my book Credentialed to Destroy as well as the Robert Beck polytech rationale we covered in it as well. That book remains the lens for seeing the rest of the story. This blog cannot do it alone.

 

 

Fraud of the Century Via Our Public Sector: the Real Common Core Purpose for Education

Is fraud too strong a word for organized deceit that seeks to override constitutional rights and evade public outcry every time School to Work has reared its unpopular head in the past? Do we have massive, actual, repeated deceit? Check. Are we giving up something of value? Yes, our children’s minds, our tax dollars, plus the foreseeable carnage of all this economic and social planning. Now how many of us upon hearing the now ubiquitous phrase “high standards for all students” understand that this phrase is intended to quietly prescribe project-based learning for all high school students? To marry vocational with academic for all students? To insist that schools be linked with the “adult world of work and learning” and that it is that mandated nexus that constitutes “high standards”?

Before I talk further about the federally-financed, 1998 New Urban High School Project that spun out the High Tech High that is now held up as the exemplar of world-class learning http://zhaolearning.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/WorldClass.pdf or its 2008 Update called “Seeing the Future: A Planning Guide for High Schools” that made it clear that this vision would be applicable to all high schools and every student in each and every community, I want to go back to explaining what is wrong with such a Project-based Learning mandate in the first place. Imagine that we were invited to visit the lovely island of Tortola in the BVI as part of the Social Science Research Council meeting held there in 1989 with so many of the education professors interested in using education for transformational change of the West and its institutions at what was known to be a pivotal time in the world.

Well, we weren’t invited, were we? We will simply have to rely on the book created by participants in that meeting (many of whom already had tags on this blog because of their promotion of Vygotsky and Cultural-Historical Activity Theory) called Distributed cognitions: Psychological and educational considerations. When I was preparing to write this post I discovered an article by an Alex Kozulin called “The Concept of Activity in Soviet Psychology: Vygotsky versus His Disciples” which revealed just how active the deceit has been about the real purpose for pushing these instructional changes. Kozulin tells us that when the first major work of Vygotsky, Thought and Language, was translated into English it eliminated virtually all of the references to Marx, Engels, or Hegel and the philosophical and methodological discussions.

In other words, we in the English speaking world were to get the practices without a heads-up on the purposes. That, of course, would be known to anyone who spoke Russian and many of the behavioral scientists pushing the work. American taxpayers and parents though, if they were even aware of Vygotsky, got referred to the cleansed and much-shrunken (318 pages in Russian to 153 in English with fewer words on each page). Since this blog does not do sound effects I cannot say “we wuz robbed” in an irksome, high-pitched voice, but we were being lied to systematically from the get-go about what was sought for education just like with the “critical thinking” and outcomes-based education we have been covering.

Two of our Tortola-invited profs well-known to ISC readers, Michael Cole and Yrjo Engestrom, were kind enough to tell us what cultural-historical activity theory and its better-known sibling in our curriculum now–project-based learning–was intended to disrupt. They quoted an anthropologist from 1942, Leslie White, describing the capacity that makes human special animals and it is the capacity that transformational education or what I call Radical Ed Reform in my book MUST disrupt, impede, erect an insuperable barrier in front of, etc.:

“man differs from the apes, and indeed all other living creatures so far as we know, in that he is capable of symbolic behavior. With words man creates a new world, a world of ideas and philosophies. In this world man lives just as truly as in the physical world of his senses…This world comes to have a continuity and a permanence that the external world of the senses can never have. It is not made up of the present only but of a past and future as well. Temporally, it is not a succession of disconnected episodes, but a continuum extending to infinity in both directions, from eternity to eternity.”

That capacity reenforces building up from the world as it currently exists in light of what has worked well or poorly in the past. In other words, that capacity is in the way of political power whenever and where ever it seeks to usurp decision-making power away from the individual and bestow it to public officials at the local, state, federal, or UN/OECD global level. As my book made clear those goals had begun in earnest by 1989 in the West, especially the United States. As this blog has repeatedly made clear with cite after cite, similar goals of social, economic, and political transformation are occurring now.

The public sector at every level wants to be in charge of us and what we can become. Rather than be honest with us that they now insist on Overlord Status with no ability to escape, they are using a reimagined type of K-12 education especially to invisibly create the desired barriers. At its core that is what Project-based learning, cooperative learning, required Critical Thinking, mandated assessment of Higher Order Thinking, mental health assessments, social and emotional learning apps for students  http://about.att.com/content/csr/home/blog/2015/05/momentous_institute.html , and constructivism generally are all about: creating minds and personalities amenable to subjugation by the public sector.

And no, subjugation is not too strong a word. I am not sure slavery is either, except this time the chains are to be imposed via formative assessments and classroom activities at a neurobiological level. Cole and Engestrom tell us that the unification of the social and physical sciences like that by changing culture and then locking those changes into place at a neural level was what both John Dewey and the Soviet psychologists always wanted. Why what a wonderful reason to lock those instructional practices into place for all students in every state and then hide those mandates. Cole and Engestrom admit one more time in their own words what must be disrupted if transformational schemes of a different sort of future are to be realized. (my bolding for emphasis)

“only a culture-using human being can ‘reach into’ the cultural past, project it into the future, and then ‘carry’ that (purely conceptual) future ‘back’ into the present in the shape of beliefs that then constrain and organize the present sociocultural environment  ..

The public sector, politicians of both parties at every level, think tanks of every label along the spectrum, foundations, business cronies, self-confessed radicals are all desirous now of using K-12 education to sever that “assumption that the cultural future will be more or less like the cultural past.” Rather than saying so to our faces and dealing with our ire, we get lied to repeatedly. I believe that is why the New Standards Project simply rolled forward in 1998 in many states and six urban districts. That’s why this New Urban High School Project began at the same time and then became updated in 2008 ready to have its covert influence on all US secondary schools without anyone bothering to confess what was up.

I think this is why no one wants to talk about WIOA and its clear determination to force a planned economy in every state.  This playbook released recently http://www.nationalskillscoalition.org/resources/publications/file/2015-04-22-WIOA-playbook_updated-4.pdf makes it quite clear that plans for the entire state’s economy and all the K-12 system should be rolled into  each state’s strategies going forward.

All the active deceit involving the NCLB Rewrite and misportraying its actual language and the clear purposes has the same ultimate goal. Public sector power without confessing as much. This post is running too long to cover all of the stated purposes of the New Urban High School Project. Let’s just call attention for now to the admission that “the great power of School-to-Work is that it situates students in the adult world of work and learning, confronting them with unpredictable situations, new perspectives that cut across subject matters, and invaluable lessons in dealing with people in the world.”

School-to-Work as it is envisioned as part of this Project-based learning remake of US secondary schools severs that historic constraint that linked the cultural future with the cultural past because that cultural past ceases to be the classroom focus. There goes the constraint and no one need be the wiser. Just lots of hype about engagement and the Whole Child and how “exemplary School-to-Work practice puts students—their observations, their actions, their reflections—at the center of learning.” The hype continues without anyone admitting how well the barrier to the cultural past is being created at the level of each student’s mind. Instead we get this salesmanship, “inclusive and democratic [STW] invites students to participate in the creation of new designs for learning.”

The fascinating part for me is that both the 1998 and 2008 reports talk about each student being able to meet their district or school’s “common core goals” such as listed Habits of Mind, Student Learning Objectives, or the skills laid out in the notorious SCANS report of 1991. All of these are examples of listed “common core goals.” That means that the list of desired generic personality traits and skills your school or district is mailing out or creating as a poster on school walls is the real ‘common core’, whatever your state decides to rename its poorly appreciated state ‘standards’.

Anyone else feeling lied to and the object of social engineering to create a new kind of citizen for the future?

See why what is going on in K-12 matters to everyone even if they have no children?

Asserting Political Will to Transform the Nature Of Education to Create a New Kind of Electorate

That title might describe the natural implications of the language in the Every Child Achieves Act or the Common Core sponsor CCSSO announcing in February 2014 that the purpose of the Common Core was to create desired ‘Dispositions’ in ‘Citizens,’ but unfortunately that quote comes from the purpose of the dialectical thinking we met in the last post. It’s also the purpose of what the Common Core calls Deeper Learning, ECCA calls ‘higher order thinking,’ and what 21st Century Skills calls Critical Thinking. Can we all say “thoroughly permeates the actual implementation” together in unison? Let’s go back to what Richard Paul wrote back in 1993 in the Introduction to his Critical Thinking book:

“Harnessing social and economic forces to serve the public good and the good of the biosphere…requires mass publics around the world skilled in cooperative, fairminded, critical discourse…it is essential that we foster a new conception of self-identity, both individually and collectively…[we must reconceptualize the nature of teaching and learning so that people learn] something quite new to us: to identify not with the content of our beliefs, but with the integrity of the process by which we arrived at them.”

All those references we keep encountering on having a Growth Mindset instead of a Fixed One make far more sense if education now insists that “we must come to define ourselves, and actually respond in everyday contexts, as people who reason their way into, and can be reasoned out of, beliefs.” Must be a malleable citizen in other words and not like those Bakers in Oregon who think they can decide who to bake a wedding cake for. Governments now get to decide what are unacceptable beliefs and practices. At least they are adults being told what they can and cannot do and believe and are being told openly. How much worse is it when the unacceptable beliefs involve our children and what they brought from our homes? How much more hidden is it when the unacceptable beliefs and values get taken out via formative assessment that a parent never sees or has anyone explain accurately?

Paul was quite honest (and fond of emphasizing with italics) that the required Critical Thinking involves an obligation for students to “have to empathize with and reason within points of view toward which we are hostile. To achieve this end, we must persevere [with Grit?] over an extended period of time, for it takes time and significant effort to learn how to empathically enter a point of view against which we are biased…We must recognize an intellectual responsibility to be fair to views we oppose. We must feel obliged to hear them in their strongest form to ensure that we do not condemn them out of ignorance or bias.”

In case anyone fails to appreciate why it is so revolutionary for the federal government to require all schools in every state to assess all students at least annually for (page 36 of ECAA) “higher-order thinking skills and understanding,” they are looking for whether the student has learned to think as Paul laid out. Is the student fixed in how they view or interpret the world or open to change? What concepts, strategies or ideas do they use in untaught situations where there is no single correct answer? Every group pushing for radical social change wants student assessments to be tied to HOTS because they, and with this post we do too, know that “the character of our mind is one with our moral character. How we think determines how we behave and how we behave determines who we are and who we will become.” [Paul again]

Who we are becoming is the whole point now of K-12 education as reenvisioned because as Paul explained (quoting in turn economist Robert Heilbroner):  “…the problems of capitalist disorder–too many to recite, too complex in their origins to take up one at a time…arise from the workings of the system….The problems must be addressed by the assertion of political will…the undesired dynamics of the economic sphere must be contained, redressed, or redirected by the only agency capable of asserting a counter-force to that of the economic sphere. It is the government.” Paul went on to describe “How are we to cultivate the new kind of electorate?” That cultivation became the focus of the Critical Thinking book.

Now the very same groups like The Leadership Conference head quoted here in describing the actual new purpose of a new kind of accountability in education http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/not-going-to-let-the-us-constitution-stop-us-from-using-schools-to-enshrine-global-social-justice-and-human-rights/ are enthusiastic about the language of ECAA because it forces annual testing of HOTS. Wade Henderson also participated this week in the rollout of this plan http://www.goodjobsforall.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/PFA-GJFA-Launch-Report.pdf calling for Government to massively intervene in the economy to ensure a reduction in inequality and Good, living wage jobs for all. Basically Heilbroner’s vision and Uncle Karl’s updated to 2015. The report also blames current wage stagnation and the weak economy on too little government intervention in the economy.

That kind of economy run by political will calls for a new kind of mind, values, and behaviors, which is precisely what the real implementation is designed to deliver. In my book I cover the first attempt to deliver this desired new mindset via K-12 education in the 60s. One of the things I have learned since the book came out is the widespread anger, especially among intellectuals, that existed in the 1950s and 60s over the American economy and society many of us grew up cherishing. Paul’s vision of Critical Thinking and a new philosophy of education that would deliver the new kind of needed citizen frequently cited a Professor Israel Scheffler. His essay on the New Activism presented in 1970 revealed that a didactic, traditional subject matter, transmission of knowledge approach to education was and still is viewed as immoral and amounted to “Fiddling while Rome burns.”

Transmission of subject-knowledge via lecture or textbook, for example, is held to reenforce the world as it currently exists. Perhaps the student feels no need to explore alternative viewpoints he knows he abhors because he is aware with facts of precisely why. No, K-12 education and ‘Critical’ or ‘Philosophical’ Thinking is designed to create mindsets ready to accept and adopt the “imperative task of altering an utterly evil status quo.” Education as traditionally envisioned and then practiced was “compliant with evil–an obstacle to the revolutionary transformation of society.” School “must transform itself into an agency of radical social change.” Moreover, education must develop people who are aware and feel responsibility for “the suffering of other human beings whose pain he might, through his efforts, alleviate.”

In a follow-up 1971 essay called “Philosophy and the Curriculum” Scheffler insisted that traditional subjects treat education as if it were about “fixed points.” Well, that obviously would be in the way of radical social change. In a passage that sure does presage all the transdisciplinary, Whole Child, conceptual lenses, and Charles Fadel’s Redesign of Curriculum work for the OECD and UNESCO, Scheffler noted:

“The educator needs to consider the possibility of new classifications and interrelations among the subjects not only for educational but also for general intellectual purposes. He must, further, devote his attention to aspects of human development that are too elusive or too central to be encompassed within the framework of subjects; for example, the growth of character [Fadel] and the refinement of the emotions [no wonder ECAA included PBIS, mental health and well-being and "non-academic skills essential for school readiness and academic success".] He ought, moreover, to reflect on schooling as an institution, its organization within society, and its consequences for the career of values.”

ECAA in the form being considered by Congress certainly fits in every respect the functions of K-12 education and Critical Thinking called for by both Richard Paul and Israel Scheffler. That means their expressed goals for these shifts away from didactic transmission of knowledge come with the mandated changes in practice and assessments.

Does Congress understand the nature of what it is actually about to mandate? Do politicians from the federal level to the state and local care?

Or is cultivation of a new kind of electorate the whole point with few willing to openly admit they know this is the entire purpose of these reforms?

Is 21st Century Learning really all about creating that electorate that will tolerate an economy and society premised on political will?

Is the onset of the wage stagnation and economic weakness bemoaned in that report above as the result of too little government intervention actually a result of this announced shift by 1970 to make education an instrument of radical social change?

If so, what will happen now that we are essentially doubling down on that strategy?

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.