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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Six Sided Figure Going Clockwise from the Top

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Structuring Minds and Hearts to Quietly Gain Power to Act Directly on the Individual Citizen

You may have noticed that first I figure out what is really planned for K-12 classrooms and then I figure out why. It helps when I discover that certain foundations, like Rockefeller or Carnegie, have been financing specific education visions for decades. Hard not to intuit “So you believe this fits in with your other work and gets to the same ends as initiatives that now go by different names?” It’s almost like a Treasure Hunt except what drives me is a recognition that if this continues there will cease to be much treasure outside of political connections or a tax-free endowment. Being a dedicated researcher though I was recently reading Michael Cole’s  1989 The Construction Zone: Working for Cognitive Change in School laying out how to use classroom activity, especially via computer interactions, to create the desired ‘intrapsychological’ changes that would guide perception and likely behavior going forward. That precise word kept being used.

Now before you exclaim that I am not going to be in the running for How to Have Fun on a Weekend, let me say in my defense I knew I was going to be stuck somewhere for several hours and wanted a few options on what to focus on. So I was also reading Martin Erdman’s Building the Kingdom of God on Earth as suggested by a blog reader. Maybe that simultaneous pondering first of how, made the proclaimed why jump out at me. Back when the Protestant churches were far more influential than they are today, there was a pre-World War II global vision that they could be the institutions that to create the “state of mind which must precede any genuine progress toward world order.” That quote was by future Secretary of State John Foster Dulles in 1944 to the graduating class of the Princeton Theological Seminary.

It is precisely the same view of changing hearts and minds we now see in the schools, especially K-12 education. Education became the social vehicle for transformations in prevailing beliefs in a collectivist direction. Beyond this constant theme over the last 100 years that the way to change the nature of the real world, politically and socially going forward, “consists no longer in physical obstacles but only in the minds of men. The difficulty of so changing the minds of men, even in commonwealths so advanced, is hard to exaggerate…The work of effecting that change is essentially work for the churches; but they cannot begin it till political thinkers have clearly said what the change should be.”

Now substitute the word ‘schools’ there for ‘churches’ as the far more effective long term influence now. Also recognize from the last post that Uncle Karl is absolutely one of those political thinkers and that the principals and administrators dictating required classroom practices, and psychologists creating the measuring assessments, are all now actually looking to force and then monitor precisely just those sought changes in students’ minds and hearts. Now one more quote is crucial to what I really think is now intended under euphemistically phrased practices and policies like Competency-Based Education, digital learning, formative assessment or assessment for learning (notice next time you see that phrase that for is italicized just like that for emphasis).

In England before World War I, a politically influential group called the Round Table laid out its 20th Century international vision. It had ties to both the famous Rhodes Trust and to what is now the well-known Council on Foreign Relations. Deep pockets, influential, in a position to maneuver any agreed upon plans into place over time is a succinct way to describe any of these types of groups. What I care about, because I believe it was the goal that led these people to want to use both the churches then and the schools now, was a desired “power to act directly on the individual citizen.” That’s not the view of the role of governments in common law countries like the UK, the US, Canada, or Australia. Being upfront about these intentions and goals is a great way to prevent their ever happening.

Remember that 2004 Cooperation Agreement between UNESCO and Microsoft that global ed reform advocate and financier Bill Gates signed personally (November 6 post)? It explicitly mentioned Etienne Wenger and his concept of Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning and Identity. Needless to say, I got a copy of that 1998 book so we know that to Gates, Microsoft, and the UN entities:

“knowing is not just a matter of information. In practice, understanding is always straddling the known and the unknown in a subtle dance of the self. It is a delicate balance. Whoever we are, understanding in practice is the art of choosing what to know and what to ignore in order to proceed with our lives.”

Except all this insider talk of intrapsychological structuring, mental maps, and cognitive change is actually about someone else designating in advance what is likely to be noticed and ignored. All those references to ‘lenses’ with no optometrist in sight. How’s THAT for the ultimate power to act directly? On the importance of guiding available vocabulary, limiting the genuine ability to read fluently, and moving away from a personal store of factual knowledge, here’s Wenger again:

“An adequate vocabulary is important because the concepts we use to make sense of the world direct both our perception and our actions. We pay attention to what we expect to see, we hear what we can place in our understanding, and we act according to our worldviews.”

That’s why we have a quiet but coordinated global effort per Wenger to mandate a shift in K-12 education so that the “focus [is] not on knowledge as an accumulated commodity–as the ability to repeat the past–but on learning as a social system productive of new meanings.”

Now we can infer that John Foster and friends and the Round Table would be pleased if they were still around, but we can in fact know what UNESCO, the Gates Foundation, and Microsoft have in store for us via this 2012 Video (23 minutes and well worth it) on the New Classroom Experience. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EG6PVCMb3tE Now this Learning Without Frontiers vision is linked by UNESCO http://www.unesco.org/education/lwf/ to the same troubling transdisciplinary vision of changing the student we examined in detail here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/opting-out-as-the-remedy-may-mean-accidentally-accelerating-nonconsensual-transformations/

Maybe Queenstown was picked to be the global Transdisciplinary pilot because it’s just so much fun to travel to the Barrier Reef in Australia at someone else’s expense. Let’s not let that non-updated website fool us since Learning Without Frontiers global conferences ran annually from 2005 to that one in 2012. Now those same aims are lurking in Charles Fadel’s Curriculum Redesign Project, GELP, ATC21S (17:42 mark in that video), and especially in KnowledgeWorks’ High Tech High and the work now of the League of Innovative Schools.

Since we have already examined all those entities previously on this blog, let’s briefly look at what confessions Anthony Salcito made in that video. Consistent with Wenger’s vision, Salcito is annoyed that “what we’re learning hasn’t changed.” He, and his employer we may presume, want to “fundamentally change what we are teaching and assessing” and “get ready for the workplace.” There’s that controversial School to Work vision again coming in by stealth this time. He is excited that it will be a different kind of workplace. I suppose that’s because Microsoft says so.  In what may be my favorite confession of the social engineering intent behind all these sought ‘immersive experiences’ that combine ‘visual representations and emotional connections,’ Salcito explains the “technology advances the emotional response.”

Not your desired emotional response, silly. The emotional response at an intrapsychological level that Planners have decided students need to have to prime that perception and those future actions. Beyond that confession, listen at 18:02 to hear that History is no longer about content, but rather a means to “learn leadership.” Algebra is now a means to learn holistic abstract thinking. Apparently the Planners would like to specify all those internal structures of mental interconnections, instead of having whiz kids develop their own. Neither controlled or equitable I guess. We might be troubled by what Institute for the Future’s Jane MacGonnigal declared as the intentions for Game Based Learning, but Salcito embraces it (19:26).  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/when-gaming-intends-to-shape-and-distort-our-perceptions-of-everything-around-us-viva-la-revolution/

Notice Salcito admits a desire to use Game-based Theory to “reenforce positive behavior.” Their definition of it, not ours. Likewise, he recommends Service Based Learning as a way to get students “fully away from content” in order to apply this theory of learning. This experimental theory of transformative political change created at the intrapsychological level in the minds and hearts of unsuspecting students.

There’s a much shorter Learning Without Frontiers video, also from 2012,  http://vimeo.com/50438579 that says that “if we get it wrong, we will jeopardize an entire generation” of students.

I am asserting that if this vision of learning goes as intended and planned, we will lose more than a generation of students. Education for transformation at an intrapsychological level is a superb way to generate economic famine for virtually everyone.

Real economic wealth lies in the human mind. And too many are currently determined to extinguish that believing falsely that this mind arson creates willing subjects and more for others.

You can see why I have so little patience for Opt Out as the final parental remedy and solution for what is being changed in the K-12 classroom.

With all these trackable declarations, it may turn out to be a “Look Squirrel!” misdirection while the intrapsychological structural changes are rolling along.

 

Locking in Marx’s Dream: Psychophysiological Means Precisely What We Fear as the Real Goal of Education

I always feel odd writing down that infamous name, but as I learned when I was researching my book, Uncle Karl is never very far away from the theories behind the actual classroom implementation. Sometimes the link is too direct and too huge in its implications for me to use a cute euphemism either. Especially when Marx is cited directly as the support that leads to all the current hyping of Neuroscience and Brain-based instruction. How direct? Well, Etienne Wenger from our last post wrote a book Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning, and Identity that I found deeply troubling. Diving into the relevant footnotes pulled up a book I had never heard of that turned out to be $800 used on Amazon when I looked.

Not wanting to eat PB& J sandwiches for the next 6 months to secure a copy of The Concept of Activity in Soviet Psychology, I decided to go internet surfing to see what cited Soviet psychologist AN Leontiev actually wrote about “The problem of activity in psychology.” In case you haven’t noticed, the requirement of active learning and a shift away from print, lectures, and textbooks is what I would call omnipresent in the real Common Core implementation. Knowing how crucial learning tasks are I thought I would gain some more useful insights. What I was not anticipating was for Leontiev to lay out aims and practices I recognized from all my research and then cite repeatedly to pages from Marx and Engels or from some of Marx’s other works.

Suddenly euphemisms won’t do, not with stated aims like using education and carefully crafted classroom or digital virtual activities to literally “lead to a reconstruction of the ensemble of brain psychophysiological functions.” If the aim becomes analyzing which kinds of student activities produce what types of physical changes in their brains, it sure would explain all the interest now in functional MRI, adaptive software, and longitudinal data. When I read those words and others being attributed by Leontiev to what Marx and Engels really desired that are as provocative as stating:

“This convenient formula [of separating psychology and physiology] leads into a greater sin, the sin of isolating the psyche from the work of the brain”

Waiting until the next book could be published simply will not do. Just last week, independent of this research, someone asked me if I was familiar with the White House’s new Fattah Neuoroscience Initiative. The answer was no, but it did not take much insight to guess that it would be linked to John Holdren, which turned out to be quite correct. http://docs.house.gov/meetings/AP/AP19/20140227/101775/HHRG-113-AP19-Wstate-HoldrenJ-20140227.PDF is some recent testimony from him on all that federal activity involving the physical structure of the human brain. Notice though that Holdren leaves out that Digital Promise and the League of Innovative Schools also report to him and they happen to be carrying out precisely the kind of education activity that Leontiev wrote about.

Holdren also leaves out his long time ties to Paul Ehrlich and his stated desire for Newmindedness no longer grounded in a logical, rational mind. Just think of the implications of all this Neuroscience and Grit, Perseverence research for Ehrlich’s current global research project–MAHB–the Millennium Assessment of Human Behavior. Now that I have reminded everyone of the real current links to where K-12 in the US and globally is going, let me add one more thing. I found this graphic Leontiev book on servers at the Laboratory for Comparative Human Cognition at UC-San Diego. The place where Michael Cole and Yrjo Engestrom [see tags] have created the global base for Cultural Historical Activity Theory in the years since the Berlin Wall fell.

Happy 25th anniversary for that Happy Event by the way. Let’s commemorate that Death of Tyranny by continuing to expose that so much of the ideology we thought we were leaving behind in 1989 came on into the West invisibly through a new kind of psychology and a new vision for K-12 education. To bury such destructive required collectivism once and for all we have to know it is there. If you have not yet read my book Credentialed to Destroy: How and Why Education Became a Weapon, get it.

The findings on this blog are not a substitute for it. They are the icing, cherries, and birthday candles. It simply keeps getting more pertinent with time. Given Leontiev’s disclosures though, we simply cannot escape the fact that everything now envisioned for the K-12 classroom globally in the 21st century is based on  a decision “at the beginning of the 1920s” in the Soviet Union to “consciously structure psychology on the basis of Marxism.”

Specific cites and everything. That psychology is sensory in its base, not mental as we have historically assumed, which really does explain all the links in the previous post. It is a view of psychology and education that “in the modern world psychology fulfills an ideological function.” Yes, which is why Leontiev keeps mentioning its use to create a consciousness in people suitable for a “socialistic, communistic society.” All three words, just like that. Apparently all our encounters with communitarianism and the references to meeting needs are part of this vision linked now directly to Uncle Karl. There’s that softening euphemism again. I guess I just cannot quite adjust to open proclamations of intent of the sort Leontiev uses:

“It must not be said that psychology has exhausted the treasure chest of Marxist-Leninist ideas. For this reason we turn again and again to the works of Karl Marx, which resolve even the most profound and complex theoretical problems of psychological science.”

What do we do when the actual and only support for what a charter or Principal or District Office or foundation grant are mandating for a K-12 classroom turns out to be Karl Marx’s social theories for how to gain the kind of brain and personality that would fit his vision for the future? Here again is what Leontiev wrote, the old view of psychology and education:

“isolated cognition from sensory activity, from the living practical ties of man with the world that surrounded him…Introducing the concept of activity into the theory of cognition, Marx gave it a strictly materialistic sense: For Marx, activity in its primary and basic form was sensory, practical activity in which people enter into a practical contact with objects of the surrounding world, test their resistance, and act on them, acknowledging their objective properties.”

What happens when doing all that as a physical, sensory activity involving group participation becomes the very assessment of student ‘achievement’ or Growth?

What happens when the purpose of digital learning is to access a student’s internal “picture of the world” so that learning tasks, virtual reality gaming, and adaptive software can provide virtual and physical experiences to alter that picture in desired ways? Ways that are chosen by others for their intended effects on the student at a physical level.

What happens when, having cited to Marx and Engels on the effect of vocabulary and words generally on consciousness and perception, educators then do everything they can to limit vocabulary, manipulate the words and concepts that are supplied, and minimize the historic role of print on the mind?

What if K-12 education seeks to circumscribe human thought in the 21st century so that it is “nothing else but a derivative of practical activity”? With the stated goal being a “true solution to this problem of the origin and essence of human thought.” And why is human thought problematic?

Because independent rational human thought with access to a store of facts does not submit to Overlordship easily. All these required practices hiding now as pedagogy and Effective Teaching are all actually about subjugation of the mind.

And personality too. Leontiev’s Chapter 5 has with a lead-in header of “Personality as a Subject of Psychological Investigation.” How’s that for aspirational? Do free societies do that nonconsensually using deceit? That analysis, by the way, has to get to the relationship of “motives and needs” just like innovative education seeks to do.

Let’s end with an aspiration that does explain all the intended use of social and emotional learning and an emphasis on the Whole Child. It fits with all the current UN hype of the post-2015 Sustainable World that will meet the needs of all. It fits with the goals we have encountered that we become a “Spirit Society”. This is how Leontiev ended his vision of a new kind of education arising from a scientific, materialistic psychology grounded, he declared, in Marxism:

“Lost from view here is the fact that it is necessary also to go through a transformation of material consumption, that the possibility for everyone to satisfy these needs does away with the intrinsic value of things that satisfy them and eliminates that unnatural function that they fulfill in private ownership society…”

Lost no more and just in time. Historian Richard Pipes in the book mentioned in the two previous posts pointed out that even animals show repeatedly that acquisitivesness is innate. Trying to dislodge what is innate via K-12 Whole Child education premised on practical activity and social participation is simply not going to end well.

Now would be a great time to start recognizing the ancestry of all these required changes in the nature of education.

No more euphemisms. Not with the stakes this high or the aims so personally intrusive.

Tyranny Over the Mind: Constraining the Egocentric ‘I the Knower’ Approach in Favor of Participation

Let’s go back and look at the priceless historical value of what is being quietly taken away. Then I will show more of the ways this stealth robbery is occurring through K-12 education. How it both hides under legal mandates most are unaware of and in known initiatives that have unappreciated aspects. You know how I explain in my book and on this blog that Radical Ed Reform is like a giant jigsaw puzzle where the pieces fit so the gears can then engage as designed? Turns out that aspect has a name no one bothered to tell us about. “Plug-and-Play” is the new phrase I stumbled across. We may be the players on the proverbial chessboard of this game we are funding, but no one intends to let us plan our own moves anymore.

The book Property and Freedom: The Story of How Through the Centuries Private Ownership has Promoted Liberty and the Rule of Law reminds us that when governments at all levels decide to “seek not just freedom but opportunity…not just equality as a right and a theory but equality as a fact and as a result,” those aims of social equality require actual coercion. Lack of consent is not an option. Professor Pipes, after quoting President Johnson, points out that “once the elimination of poverty becomes a state objective, the state is bound to treat property not as a fundamental right, which it is its supreme obligation to protect, but [my emphasis] as an obstacle to social justice.”

What I want to add is if that is true of physical things, property in the form of personal knowledge, values, attributes, and beliefs is even more at risk as an obstacle. Those personal characteristics of each of us, so targeted now through a Whole Child social and emotional learning emphasis, are precisely what can recognize the loss of what is being taken away. Those are the qualities that allow an individual to stand before a stampeding herd and try to turn it in time. Those are also forms of personal property in the sense recognized by Pipes when he wrote:

“The right to property in and of itself does not guarantee civil rights and liberties. But historically speaking, it has been the single most effective device for ensuring both, because it creates an autonomous sphere, in which by mutual consent, neither the state or society can encroach; by drawing a line between the public and the private, it makes the owner co-sovereign, as it were.”

Since I am neither “oblivious to the consequences” of what these reforms in K-12 education are actually intended to transform, nor as yet unable to “even speak my mind” on the effects of “subordinating individual rights to group rights,” here are some specifics that abrogate any inkling of that personal sovereignty. If you took your solace from the vision of the last post  from a belief that that particular view of the future would not happen, I am guessing KnowledgeWorks failed to send you a copy of the blueprint it created for remaking the traditional high school. Let me fix that omission. http://www.knowledgeworks.org/sites/default/files/High%20School%20Race%20to%20the%20Top.pdf

Does anyone have a personally autonomous sphere when governments decide to partner with the “local workforce system” to prescribe what students are now to know and be able to do? All students are to achieve the stipulated “competencies and learning objectives.” If that sounds innocent enough, with only some overtones of social engineering, how about a requirement that the “knowledge and skills” be suitable for being “applied to complex situations regardless of content area.” That’s sounding quite preprogrammed isn’t it? How about learning objectives that “provide the specific tasks a student must complete to demonstrate proficiency.” Should governments be dictating that the “days of direct instruction are numbered,” while stipulating a requirement for “engaged learning that ignites students’ intrinsic motivation”?

That will require a great deal of personal probing, won’t it? Hard to respect the integrity of the person though in a blueprint that actually has an Element 3 calling for “public-private partnerships” with community organizations and businesses. Whose needs will be met in creating “customized learning pathways for all students”? Pathways for those of us who avoid the woods at all costs and hate looking at maps basically decide where we may tread without being arrested or maybe stepping on a snake. Whose interests are determining these Pathways and how do students get to move beyond the stipulated “essential skills such as collaboration, initiative, global awareness, creativity, critical thinking, and perseverance”?

The federal government’s partner in many of these workforce readiness visions for K-12 education is an entity called Jobs for the Future. They have created an initiative that is also probably off your radar called Students at the Center. It guides the actual classroom implementation while staying hidden to the typical parent, school board member, or taxpayer. An excellent strategy for getting your way without messy controversy. Tracking through those footnotes though pulled up this vision of education in 2020 where education globally now expects less disabling curricula than the historic emphasis on print. http://aim.cast.org/w/resources/indira/text/2020LearningLandscape.pdf;jsessionid=2418E9C0A6ADC89C46B5764CE1F45E0D

Yes, you did read that right since apparently we belong to the last generation that need worry about reading instead of “multimedia experiences” we are immersed in. A print emphasis in school is to be seen as a matter of injustice. Since I covered why print is so liberating to the human mind in Chapter 2: “The Danger of the Fluent Reader”, I will simply refer blog readers there. Please also note that this vision where by 2020, “the basic platform for education is no longer print media” is being pushed by the same group that forced the pernicious Universal Design For Learning into the Common Core in the first place (see Chapter 7 on that). The repeated insistence now in education globally to proclaim the Death of the Gutenberg Era is nothing more than an attempt to constrain the independence of the human mind when it can access books and other information without restraint.

Has anyone noticed an accelerating push around IB programs? Did you know that when people like Linda Darling-Hammond describe their dream type of assessment for the future IB is the one they point to? Did you know IB has revised its required Theory of Knowledge course for its Diploma Programme? It has already been rolled out with the first schedules assessment in 2015.The IBO Guidelines added religion as a New Area of Knowledge since Religious Knowledge Systems have “a major impact on how they understand the world, permeating their thinking and influencing their understanding of other AOKs ..for many, religion provides a backdrop to all the other knowledge they have.”

I do believe that new found reverence for religious belief only extends to certain beliefs since the New TOK officially wants to cross out the following:

* Unsustainable absolutist conception of knowledge

*Black and white thinking: no perspectives (objectivism) or just perspectives (subjectivism)

*Egocentric, “I the knower” approach

* Naked, monolithic, quantitative Ways of Knowing

That last one certainly explains all the fascination for non-linear problem-solving based on instinct instead of logic or known algorithms. As I explained in Chapter 4 of my book “The Danger of the Analytical Thinker”, none of these ‘reforms’ is really about a better way to teach a subject. It’s always a means to change the student at a psychological level. It also tries to train the student in a reverence for the collective and shared knowledge instead of personal knowledge.

Speaking of cronyistic public-private partnerships and a shared knowledge push, others have pointed out that on November 17, 2004 Bill Gates personally signed a Cooperation Agreement between UNESCO and Microsoft. My chief concern was laid out in Appendix 3 on creating “communities of practice” and students becoming merely “a participant of a community,” instead of the autonomous individuals they have historically been in the Western tradition of the always related individualism, property, and freedom. Requiring “shared practice” in education and the classroom is not free. Neither is having UNESCO or Microsoft or Mr Gates developing a required “perspective on knowing and learning that informs efforts to create learning systems in various sectors and at various levels of scale, from local communities, to single organizations, partnerships, cities, regions, and the entire world.”

Well, that’s an ambitious vision of shared knowledge. Rather authoritarian too. Will you or your children adapt well to a sense of ‘empowerment’ no longer coming from what you can do on your own or who you choose to work with? Instead, CoPs “facilitate ‘empowerment’ through their members’ ability to participate in a community and allow the participants to drive the community.” There’s apparently no scheduled Opt Out if we simply want to escape being a required participant in the community or a ‘mere’ member of society.

Come on Robin, you say, quit sounding like you’d prefer the option of being a hermit. Well, OK, let’s look quickly at what the cited creator of these CoPs has in mind in education. No need to speculate    http://wenger-trayner.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/09-10-27-CoPs-and-systems-v2.01.pdf Wenger wants to see the student as a “social participant, as a meaning-making entity for whom the social world is a resource for constituting an identity.”

Oh. Good. Grief. First Prescribed Pathways and now Preformed Molds for fostering a Desired Identity in order to “organize our participation.”

And people keep wondering why the actual focus is so psychological.

See where requiring Equity is taking us?

 

Opting Out as the Remedy May Mean Accidentally Accelerating Nonconsensual Transformations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hopefully Just In Time as the slogan goes.

Backward Mapping: Bundling Human and Social Engineering While Trumpeting International Competition

Sometimes people feel deeply shaken by the things I write about. Me too, except there is no ambiguity in what is being sought by the time I am willing to discuss it in public. If the declarations appear to be Tragic or even just a horrifically wasteful idea, someone needs to be bringing these intentions into the sunlight of public scrutiny in time. So after an admittedly needed rest to watch the sand and surf and mull over the enormity of the materials I have, here we go again.

I must say though I was relieved to learn as I pondered the implications of today’s disclosures that the late UK economist, Kenneth Minogue, had also been distressed by what was being intentionally done to the minds and personalities of people in order to force the acceptance of the welfare state and equality for all. His 2010 book The Servile Mind noted that in the 21st century “large areas of what were previously of private concern have become subject to political regulation.” Amen to that from this side of the Atlantic pond. He pointed out that “new pieties have arisen according to which individuals are able to demonstrate their decency by the political attitudes they adopt.”

Having just finished reading http://www.competencyworks.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/CW-An-International-Study-in-Competency-Education-Postcards-from-Abroad-October-2014.pdf released two days ago, I would word that much more strongly than Minogue did. Globally those desired attitudes are simply being declared a necessary Competency or disposition. Then learning experiences are created to make sure the desired changes in personal outlooks occur. Minogue noted a “coercive centralism of attitude and policy.” I agree, but how few recognize that has become the new purpose of K-12 curriculum and what is actually being assessed? Minogue reminded us that historically in the US and the elsewhere in the West individuals “constructed their own identity in terms of personally chosen commitments.”

Not in the Competency vision. It is purely grounded in a belief that in the 21st Century, all over the world, government officials at all levels get to pick out the desired “sentiment and belief [that] can be adequately entrenched in the human mind” in order to “determine conduct” in the manner desired for the new vision of society and the economy laid out. Political power is now mandating in advance what is to be acceptable individual behavior, beliefs, and values. Since that sounds unabashedly authoritarian to anyone with a modicum of history knowledge, the same goals get hidden under an invisibility cloak with terms like standards, learning, or Competency.

Or ‘entrepreneurship’ in UNESCO’s recent report called Toward an Entrepreneurial Culture for the Twenty-First Century. Backward Mapping is a term used to describe the desired quality, attribute, sentiment, or behavior to be instilled through school experiences in a student. It sounds much better than political engineering of a person’s personality and behavior, but those are the true aims if we can just be blunt and honest. Saves time and wasteful use of taxpayer dollars. Here’s a sample of what I mean from that UNESCO report:

“Across nations, what is needed [in K-12 and all approaches to economic and social development] are programmes that show young people how they can directly contribute to raising levels of well-being and prosperity in their communities. Preparation starts in the classroom where students, future workers, business owners and community members must learn how to be responsible citizens.”

That’s the vision that K-12 education must now engineer, which would certainly explain the need for a student-centered behavioral approach instead of the traditional subject-matter emphasis. It also explains why we just keep running into a required communitarian orientation that students are to demonstrate daily. Again UNESCO reminds us that “education is not only acquiring academic knowledge but the way to prepare young people for work and living in the society.” Of course that would be the new view of society so we are Backward Mapping twice. Desired Society needs a certain kind of citizen with a stipulated Outlook on what is desirable for the future. That type of citizen then gets sculpted via K-12 Whole Child focused education. No intention though to confess all this to the parents or taxpayers.

What’s important is the Goal of Equity and “a decent quality of growth for all.” Now I think all this is delusional, but this is in fact what Competency globally is tied to as well as those Common Core standards when rightfully understood in the supporters’ own words. If this social and economic vision is deranged, then we are implementing a tragic form of behavioral engineering for ridiculous ends in our schools, and nobody is supposed to have a veto power to stop the shift in time. Please read the End Game while mentally humming “To Dream the Impossible Dream” to add to the context. To give our mayors, city councils, and community organizers, not to mention district School Supers, ever more power over people and places, this is all to occur at the level of “local governments.”

“…rests on finding a balance between economic, social and environmental goals. This requires dialogue and partnerships through which different stakeholders work together for their broad range of concerns. [Won't the new real world problem-based focus for high school come in handy?] And while this may not always be as effective as desired [that's OK because taxpayer dollars can always be levied again since they come from a magic tree surrounded by unicorns], there are at least greater civil society inputs into strategies to maintain social cohesion to protect cultural identity and to promote environmentally friendly behaviours in local communities. Putting the future of the community in the hands of its own members reduces dependency on outside forces and rejuvenates the economic and social fabric.”

Now would be a good time to transition to the song “Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows” because, as I said, that’s a ridiculous vision. A rational mind filled with facts and attuned to making its own decisions and setting its own goals would grasp that easily, which is precisely why such minds are being disallowed all over the globe. They are in the way of the desired all-encompassing exercise of political power in the 21st Century. That reality again would never be something most people would voluntarily acquiesce to so we get namby-pamby visions for 21st century education like this from the same document:

“We learn from a young age that the development of positive, engaging and equitable relationships is critical to our success as human beings. Basic social skills enable us to interact in the community, as well as to understand the meaning of citizenship. Sound social skills allow us to understand both social rights and claims, as well as obligations and responsibilities. But imagination and emotional engagement are as important as social skills. More than ever, there is a need to engage young people in finding creative solutions to improving the welfare of their communities, while contributing to collective prosperity in ways that do not damage natural resources. Intelligence should include the ability to envisage alternative futures, to resolve open-ended problems with more than one way of doing things.”

That’s the vision of society and the economy and our new future that all the education reforms going on globally in both public and private schools are driving towards. There is absolutely no ambiguity whatsoever in what is being sought and why. The only fluctuation seems to be where in the progression  a given school, district, or country is.

I am going to close this post with the open declaration of one of the insiders who brags about her access and tutoring of Fortune 100 CEOs and Pentagon officials and her desire to use education to gain new kinds of nonlinear minds to get a new kind of society. In her 2010 book Rebecca Costa wrote that “we have to challenge [the human brain] in very specific ways. And we are getting very close to understanding exactly what those ways are. Word by word, we are now constructing a user’s manual to the human brain–ground zero for everything we do, know, think, and feel–and the sustainability of human progress.”

Told you there was no ambiguity and no, we are apparently not supposed to get a copy of that user’s manual. Fortunately for all of us, I found it anyway and laid it out in my book originally. I continue to explore it on this blog.

We can only stop what we know exists. The creators of that user’s manual and these visions of the future never wanted us to link K-12 reforms to what was really the End Game in time.

Tough luck I say.

 

 

Malleable Minds Fit for an Affirmative State Designed to Meet Needs and Constrain the Ruled

We actually do not have to infer what kinds of minds and personalities and beliefs are suitable for these new visions of tomorrow. One advocate tellingly used this quote from Napoleon that “There are but two powers in the world, the sword, and the mind. In the long run the sword is always beaten by the mind.” That reality is very galling for many powerful people so they now have nationalized and globalized K-12 ‘reforms’ to extinguish that very capacity. Since we would rebel if we actually understood what was intended, we keep getting a sales pitch about ‘human flourishing’ in so many of these blueprints. As James Madison presciently observed “a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”

I want to detour for a minute back to the Deepening Democracy paper from the Real Utopias Project because they kindly laid out new ” transformative democratic strategies” for the “Affirmative State” at all levels to use to quietly, but persistently, “advance our traditional values–egalitarian social justice, individual liberty [in the sense of having governments meet everyone's basic needs] combined with popular control over collective decisions, community and solidarity, and the flourishing of individuals in ways that enable them to realize their potentials.”

Remember Michael Fullan specifically tied the experimental New Pedagogies and Deep Learning in the Global Partnership to the “broader idea of human flourishing?” What we have going on is the marrying of the methods of the Human Potential psychological focus to the political and social ends that track back to Uncle Karl without anyone wanting to ‘fess up’ as we Southerners would say.

All the K-12 education reforms I have tracked, as well as higher ed and increasingly grad schools, are all tied to stealthily pursuing and “accomplishing the central ideas of democratic politics: facilitating active political involvement of the citizenry, forging political consensus through dialogue, devising and implementing public policies that ground a productive economy and healthy society, and in more radical egalitarian versions of the democratic ideal, assuring that all citizens benefit from the nation’s wealth.”

Hard not to remember all those ‘You didn’t build that’ comments from the 2012 Presidential race, isn’t it? Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government by the way calls this new model Empowered Participatory Governance. I am not going to write about it in particular except to point out it ties all the Metropolitanism, Regional Equity, make the mayors and the local the focus of government. The Local is supposed to be the layer that meets the needs, whoever provides the financing or specs on what those needs will be.

So when Lawrence K Grossman and others keep hyping self-governance they are describing a world where everyone’s needs have been met via the political process, not a person’s ability to make their own way independent of governmental interference with their decisions. ‘Self-governance’ is again an Orwellian term tied to the kind of economic and social justice and participatory governance view of democracy that even its advocates above admit is quite radical. I think that’s why its structures and needed values and beliefs frameworks are being quietly put in place through education and the law without any desire for the typical person to catch on in time. Remember Grossman was a prof at the Kennedy School while he worked on The Electronic Republic: Reshaping Democracy in the Information Age.

Whether we understood it in the 90s [remember the Freeman Butts vision from the book?] or now, K-12 education was and is being restructured to fit with “citizens at large gaining the power of self-governance.” Everyone gets their basic needs met, “with the public at large playing a critical role in the government’s decision-making process” and few focusing on the pesky little detail about the crucial shift to a vision where “rulers are subject to control by the ruled.” Similar to all those references to being Governed, instead of the individual independent decision-making power Madison knew he had structured, we are all supposed to settle for having a say, being ruled, but having our ‘needs’ met. Even then, we as individuals do not get to decide what our needs are. This shift we are not being told about unless we Follow the Documents in the Oligarchy’s admitted paper trail, stems from:

“the United States is moving toward a new modern-day form of direct democracy, made possible by its commitment to universal political equality and propelled by new telecommunications technology.”

It is within these unappreciated declarations of intentions to fundamentally transform the social institutions and functions of government that K-12 is being radically altered to a Student-Centered focus so that “the public’s ability to receive, absorb, and understand information no longer can be left to happenstance.” Prime the Mind and Personality to perceive experience as desired and then have the Michael Fullans and Michael Barbers of the world globe trot and insist that all education now must be based on Learning by Doing. All those deliberately created learning experiences to foster emotional engagement around real-world problems are just the ticket to the Mandarins just ever so worried that “today, the American public is going into political battle armed with increasingly sophisticated tools of electronic decision making but without the information, political, organization, education, or preparation to use these tools wisely.”

So we get Common Core, Competency, Digital Learning, new definitions of Student Achievement, and Growth measures that are ALL actually the “conscious and deliberate effort to inform public judgment, to put the new telecommunications technologies to work on behalf of democracy.” That would be the radical Social and Economic Wellbeing form of democracy with its new reenvisioned view of the roles and responsibilities of citizenship. After all, as Grossman told us: “With citizens an active branch of the government in the electronic republic, they need to know enough to participate in a responsible and intelligent manner.” That’s a long way from Madison’s view of knowledge to be our own Governors, but then Grossman loves this concept of our being ruled. In fact, he either deliberately or obtusely shows a drastically altered view of American history and the Constitution where:

“the citizen’s role is not to govern himself, but at best elect those who would be most competent to govern on their behalf…The new Constitution had put in place a modern-day method of selecting Plato’s Guardians.”

Can we all join in a chorus of No. No. No? How telling though is that misstatement? I do snarkily make repeated references to yokes and serf’s collars and Mind Arson when it comes to describing the real Common Core implementation. Yet here is an insider of insiders admitting to a desire to dictate what we all may do and think akin to what an ancient Greek philosopher saw as Benevolent Despotism. For our own good as determined by the Guardians with their taxpayer funded salaries and pensions. This confession reminded me a great deal of Achibugi also seeing harnessing public opinion as the mechanism to getting to the Global Commonwealth of Citizens we met in the last post:

“the more we learn about how to respond to and understand the public, the more we also increase the potential to influence, change, and even manipulate public opinion. In the electronic republic, political manipulation is the other side of the coin of effective political persuasion. What looks like manipulative propaganda to one, invariably is seen as an honest educational effort to another.”

Well, honest if the purpose of education is the chimera of ‘human flourishing for all’ brought to us by Rulers who see people as a biddable branch of government in a new vision of what the future might be. Before I close this post with a quote Grossman used from the Dean of Columbia’s School of Journalism, that deserves a statue in the Hubris Hall of Fame, I want to remind everyone that in 2010 UNESCO began using the term ‘media education’ as two prongs of a single means to get to its hoped-for Marxist Humanist global future. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/decreeing-the-interdependence-of-environment-economy-society-and-cultural-diversity-in-the-21st/ They said it and wrote it and we do get to take insiders at their word on what they are up to when they declare nefarious intentions.

Now imagine these words not just from a Journalism Dean but from politicians, think tank heads, education administrators, and university professors, just to name a few:

“This is the age of media power. We set the agenda. We are the carriers of the culture and its values…We are the brokers of information and ideas. Our decisions, our news judgments tell the people who they are, what they are doing, what’s important and what they need to know.”

Arrogant, yes, but 100% consistent with the real K-12 education ‘experience’ we are encountering. The vision that would be necessary to achieve these declared goals as well as the radical global democracy vision. Plus all those references to being governed and ruled and sovereignty no longer being in the individual.

Those Aims or Goals all fit with the actual Common Core implementation described in detail in the book and the purposes, visions, and methods we encounter daily and weekly now on this blog.

We can fight this, but not while we remain unaware or unwilling to stare down what we are indisputedly dealing with in our schools and universities and virtually everywhere else when we look hard.

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Does that sound like a Competency focus to anyone else?

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

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

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

 

History as Psychological Reality-Transformation Tool Must Begin Well Before High School

We may never have thought of history as a means for altering our Identity–how we see ourselves and what guides how we are likely to behave in the future-but everyone with fundamental transformations on the mind seems to. The previous post’s steering through how all education pathways now seek to push communitarianism was a reminder that in the 21st century, the nation is no longer supposed to be “the community that defines history and political identity.” That quote was from the keynoter at the La Pietra Conference, Professor Prasenjit Duara. Thomas Bender in his Introductory essay to the 2002 Rethinking American History in a Global Age says that the “aim is to contextualize the nation” to avoid the “danger of complicity, conscious or not, in a triumphialism that justifies the current phase of capitalism.”

So if you ever wonder why I regularly see the need on this blog or in my book to discuss the economic transformation intentions, whose theories they are tied to, and why dramatically changing education to minimize anything that bolsters the continued validity of individualism, it is not because I am the One with the proverbial Bee in my Bonnet on this issue. Education may be the means to fundamental revolutionary transformations, hopefully without violence, but it is especially the purpose of subject-matter content that had to shift. Otherwise, traditional knowledge of any sort nurtures a reverence for the world as it is and provides hard factual info that prevents fully imagining a world as it might become. What reality supposedly should look like. When all coursework quietly turns into an examination of current social conditions, it becomes important to see the past in ways that justify and help ignite the passions to change today.

History not grounded to facts, but tied now to experiences, makes an important mechanism for student role-playing in alternative social worlds. Instead, of treating history and anthropology as separate subjects, that division is to be dissolved per Bender’s proposed new framework so that “peoples organized into nations, with literatures and archives” no longer have primacy over “all differently organized peoples.” There’s a good reason, in other words, why the NAACP and La Raza are so excited by the Common Core as a vehicle for transformative broader social change. Now let’s dive into elementary, middle, and high school classrooms to see precisely how classroom activities get reimagined to guide perceptions, nurture current grievances, heighten emotions, and shape Student Identity as if it were an overcoat to be taken on and off whenever cold winds shift.

These examples are all from a 2002 book called The Parallel Curriculum that caught my eye because I knew how involved one of the authors had been in developing the new Teacher and Classroom evaluations. See why factual knowledge is such a nuisance for those who view one of the “key goals of education itself–helping people understand the past in order to invent a future“? Again that would be a reenvisioned K-12 education that can create students with “a greater capacity to adapt to change.” Apparently having students with solid textbook knowledge who can tell a grasping mayor or legislator that “we fired King George for less overreaching than that” is in the way of our acceptance of being ‘governed’. So is any coursework that nurtures reverence for what social planners have long referred to derisively as the “distinctive organization of law in the United States” or the dreaded obstacle of the “practically cast-iron Constitution.”

In pursuit of not being the last Generation that Remembers, let’s delve into precisely what is planned. Think about how these activities and areas of emphasis play into the intention we are now aware of to inspire, or at least tolerate, fundamental transformations of current realities most of us take for granted. This is from a planned middle school history unit: “Throughout the year, three concepts are used to organize the curriculum: culture, continuity, and diversity. At the end of the second quarter all students will work with projects that ask them to use these concepts to compare their own culture with that of Russia. Many students will select or develop a family that is similar to theirs but that lives in Russia.”

Raise your hand if you think the unit will stress commonalities, not differences. One of my most frequent observations when reviewing planned activities is to recognize all the deliberate encouragement of inapt analogies. Here’s another example from 4th Grade Science: the class examines the weather ‘systems’ and “other systems (e.g. family systems, the school as a system and body systems.” Notice how natural systems that respond based on physical principles, that are not impacted at all by our intentions or understanding of how they work, are being married to social systems that supposedly involve the decisions of free individuals. This is a recurring theme and, in my opinion, why ‘systems thinking’ as a required component of Radical Ed Reform goes back decades and is now featured prominently in that July 2014 federal legislation, WIOA, defining workforce readiness for every student in every state in the US.

The 4th grade teacher is supposed to “help her students look at it through a conceptual lens, stressing the key concept, ‘system.’” What is ‘it’ referring to there, you ask? Why that would be the goal to have students “generate and test principles that would show the relationship between weather systems and ecosystems in general–and between weather systems and particular elements in ecosystems (animals, plants, rocks, and food chains.)  ” As we can see the ecosystem assignment does leave out at this point the most dominant participant in ecosystems–real people–but it does a nice job of completely muddling in the child’s mind physical systems with natural laws and social systems that some people now hope to socially engineer. What nice preparation from an early age to simply accept such plans with nary a second thought.

That’s the advantage when K-12 education becomes about creating behaviors through “guided experience.” Where the student is to “understand [in that phronetic sense of the last post] the nature of the discipline in a real world manner” and then “assume a role as a means of studying the discipline.” Common Core would certainly have a greater PR hurdle, wouldn’t it, if it owned up to its real purpose of role playing various future behaviors until “what it feels like” becomes a “habit of mind.” So history, for example, becomes a “means of looking and making sense of the world” so that students can begin “escaping the rut of certainty about knowledge.” There is more in the book involving this Curriculum of Practice that can be used for all coursework that still has a content-oriented name. It is all anything other than the Transmission of Knowledge.

How about an elementary social studies class that uses the topic of the American Revolution as a reason to scan newspapers and news magazines “for the purpose of identifying contemporary revolutions.” Anyone else think Inapt Analogies are supposed to become a practiced habit of mind? So the topic of the American Revolution becomes “a means of thinking about causes of, reactions to, and potential effects of a contemporary cultural change.”

How about the new planned use of the Civil War in a 5th grade classroom? Instead of the past emphasis on  “the events related to the Civil War…addressed in chronological fashion, moving from the causes…to the events and people involved in the battles and the war,” the teacher, “equipped with  new knowledge about the importance of big ideas and concept-based teaching,” will have students spend four weeks looking at the livelihoods and economies of various people and groups. The book bold faces those big ideas like nation and federation and especially the plan to have 5th grade students examine “various perspectives within the emerging nation [notice this not-so-subtle intention to time bound the concept of the nation. Forged by the Civil War really and thus expendable as conditions change in the 21st] about state and civil rights issues.”

Next thing the Civil War becomes a vehicle for discussing “perspectives, viewpoints, balance, conflicts, compromise, consensus, and resolution” generally, which is certainly going to be handy since we have already encountered numerous explicit intentions to push shared understanding as the new required norm. Remember the posts on the Rockefeller-funded Communication For Social Change, the participatory governance push of Structured Design Dialogue, or the Discourse Classroom Courtney Cazden envisioned while on a Cold War trip to the USSR? Now the concept of civil itself becomes a means for the students to practice being “thinkers and analyzers.”

Want to guess what the exemplar of an ‘expert’ of the concept would be? Why that is described as the student belief that “People have civil wars when they can’t resolve their conflicts or achieve their rights peaceably.”  Peace is always the answer then. At least until we discover actual evidence in illegal tunnels leading to day care centers of plans to kidnap children during Jewish holidays or, more likely, the actual terrorist event like the World Trade Center occurs. The listed example of an expert acquisition of the desired Principles and Rules is that “Empathy, compromise, and consensus, can be used to resolve conflicts peacefully because they honor individual perspectives and values.”

That’s what Chamberlain naively thought in 1938 because he lacked Churchill’s deep grounding in actual history of events. Destined to repeat itself is a lousy way to face the future just because it is conducive to social planning and engineering by the politically-connected few against the many. To end with that Civil War quilt I mentioned, an individual interpretation of the scenes depicted on the quilt and whether their “conclusions are well supported in information they had studied” is simply an excuse for All Propaganda All the Time.

Now to all this, let’s add on being able to depict any scenario desired in the virtual reality brought in through the laptop or IPad.

Will the next generation know anything that is true?

Or will everything be guided by what is influential in building support for fundamental transformations?