Forcing Equality of Communicative Competence as an Expedient Way to Promote Mental Time Travel

One of the benefits of now having an extensive research library documenting what I write about is being able to recognize what I am looking at now and then going back in time to when the hoped for means of transformation was first laid out. That’s what we did with Futuribles. Looking at that OECD paper from last week from the previous post as well as the aspirations from the Third Way Global Progress summit held by the Center for American Progress (CAP) in March reminded me I should go back and look at sociologist Anthony Giddens’ 2001 book called The Global Third Way Debate. Fitting right in with the Ford Foundation’s financing of both the behavioral sciences by founding CASBS in Palo Alto in the 50s and then Futuribles research in the 60s we have their Director of the Program of Governance and Civil Society, Michael Edwards insisting in writing that:

“So we are left with the task of humanising capitalism, that is, preserving the dynamism of markets, trade and entrepreneurial energy while finding better ways to distribute the surplus they create and reshape the processes that produce it…[I think we are included in the processes to be reshaped, but here's more] Inequalities result from political decisions about the distribution of gains from economic activity. What is allocated to private consumption, public spending, and social responsibilities is never fixed, and it is democracy’s job–not the role of the markets–to determine our collective goals and common interests.”

Now since ‘markets’ are actually just lots of individuals making their own choices with the information they havebased on their own values, what Edwards was really saying was that, in the Third Way vision, political power will determine what ‘our collective goals and common interests’ must now be. Needless to say, education to alter consciousness in prescribed and unappreciated ways is Tool Para Excellence. Especially if it can be sold as helpful brain-based learning http://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2016/04/14/how-to-get-past-negativity-bias-and-hardwire-positive-experiences/

Another speaker, Simon Szreter, stressed the need for ‘moral principles and priorities’, which could be “practically related to the workings of ‘the real world’, real people and their relationships to each other and to the economy; a specification of the practical policies and measures which are required in order to change the economy and society towards the desirable model of social and economic relationships that has been elaborated.” Now we could simply surmise education would once again be a handy tool for such deliberate change by political process, except barely two pages later we have the confession for “enabling us to focus on the crucial issue of the means by which the capacities of individuals to process information are distributed across an economy. In particular it can show how the politics of a society and its institutions critically influences the information-processing capacities of its citizens.”

Now wanting to control that information-processing capacity at the level of the mind is precisely what redefining people as simply ‘goal-seeking systems’ actually does. We have covered that in some depth on this blog and in far more detail in my book Credentialed to Destroy. Here’s the tragic element beyond the tyrannical control issues of such aspirations: “it is a crucial goal to maximise and equalise the the social and cultural scope of information exchange among the economy’s workers. Through generating the capacity to process information effectively–the promotion of communicative competence–on the part of the greatest proportion and diversity of citizens…One of the most significant and powerful sources of disruption of the possibility that citizens might enjoy a state of equality of communicative competence with each other is a dramatically unequal distribution of wealth and income in society.”

Well we know that’s on the OECD’s To Do list. With the US and CAP also having a Larry Summers-led Inclusive Prosperity Commission and the UN announcing Dignity for All by 2030, income and wealth distribution are supposedly on the current global Must Change through PolicyMaking and Think Tanks To Do List. What’s the other pincer per Szreter and out Third Way Fabians in 2001? This is a long quote, but very useful as a long term explanation of why education always comes up as a tool and where it fits in with the broader collectivist scheme (as usual, my bolding).

“The national education system is the other principal general influence, after income and wealth distribution, upon the formation of social capital, and the possibilities for equality of communicative competence. This is because it is simultaneously producing not just one economic product, as previously understood by economists, but two: both human capital and social capital. And it is only a good overall education system, in which all can have pride in their schools and from which all can derive a sense of personal achievement and worth, which can lay the necessary foundations for the proliferation of social capital all across the economy, by providing its basis in common communicative competence and mutual respect. [Anyone thinking Positive School Climate is just practice for these relationships of justice?] The argument from social capital holds in principle for a range of other important social policies which affect the equality of citizens’ capacities, such as health, housing and social security.”

Now that common communicative competence to be required would also be what guides perception, interprets experience, and motivates future behavior and it is to be common and predictable. Very useful for that social and individual steering capacity governments at all levels are now seeking. A useful paper on all this came out of Europe in 2009 and it’s called “Thinking as the control of imagination: a conceptual framework for goal-directed systems.” That’s us, remember? And the common communicative competence means comparable goals that are invisibly manipulated via educational ‘standards,’ desired competencies that are targeted for ‘testing,’ and other statutory or regulatory mandates.

Before I offer up the following quote that is pertinent to all the reimagining of the future and the offering of guiding fictions from the last two posts, it leaves out what phonetically fluent readers have always been able to do. Get a handle on the nature of the world and people historically and consistently through massive amounts of diverse reading. Common communicative competence rules that obstacle to mental reengineering out. The researchers in that article stated that “behavior consists in the control of perceptions.” Yet, we know the whole purpose of using standards to prescribe the categories and concepts all are now to learn as the Framework of a Discipline is to control perception. Now let’s move forward to the quote of what is desired in our ‘goal-seeking system’ as the students and eventually us are being called.

“when a comparison is done not between sensed and desired states, but between internally simulated and desired states, the architecture acquires control over its own imagination: this makes it able to interactively set its goals and plans, and ultimately to think by mentally simulating actions.”

Now I offered that long quote from Szreter because it’s not just the common communicative competence guiding what will be internally simulated in most people. With his definition of social capital and how it was to be obtained, the Third Way made it quite clear the desired states were also to be the focus of manipulation via education. That is what policymakers mean when they insist what they lay out is a normative vision for how the future should change. Robert Heilbroner, a well-known Marxist professor wrote Visions of the Future in 1995. He started the chapter on Visions of Tomorrow by acknowledging he did not wish to predict the shape of tomorrow, but he did want to guide what was imaginable. As he wrote, “I stress this crucial word–to exercise effective control over the future-shaping forces of Today…leaves us with the somewhat less futile effort of inquiring into the possibilities of changing or controlling the trends of the present.”

Now let’s leave aside the enormous potential of digital learning and the simulations of virtual reality assessments to reconfigure what a mind will soon be internalizing as imaginable. Let’s just get back to all the role-playing assignments that now form such a tremendous part of history and social studies classes. The ubiquity making more sense now? Now let’s go back to David J Staley’s History and Future book to see how common communicative competence in the name of Equity and controlling the Imagination come together.

“The result of these imagination leadership thought exercises is a mental map of a future business space. The goal of these scenario exercises is to, first, clarify or otherwise expose preexisting mental maps, and to especially reveal unarticulated assumptions. Second, these scenario exercises help the group to refine their mental maps by suggesting new or unforeseen opportunities and threats. Third, the goal is to create many of these mental maps in the maps of audience members, to replace the monolithic mental map of the future with a ‘diversified portfolio’ of mental maps, to allow us to better cope with change. This is related to the fourth goal of these thought experiments: to help us order our perceptions, to create effective mental filters that allow us to make sense of all the data and information that bombards our senses. As we take data and information, we have a better way to categorize and organize the data.”

Now with that last quote, I think I will stop and let everyone contemplate the implications of education allowing political power to now create those mental filters for whatever transformational purposes politicians or their cronies find expedient.

All going on without telling the students, their parents, or the taxpayers accurately what is being targeted and why.

Mental time travel using these parameters is likely to leave us all Lost in Space, except the space is not Outer anymore.

 

 

Futuribles: Seeking the Levers of History by Focusing on the Types of Individuals In Societies to be Governed

Please try not to get whiplash as we move back and forth through the decades. Just this week the OECD conceded openly that instead of focusing on structures and incentives, which both traditional government approaches and New Public Management theory (arose in the 1980s and 90s and tied to what is also called the Third Way) “are prone to do, it is more important and fruitful to focus on the type of individuals, particularly their competences and skills, which are populating these governance structures.” Explains so much, doesn’t it? That’s why education now targets what the Paris-based Futuribles initiative funded by the Ford Foundation in the early 60s called the ‘inner self’.

http://oecdeducationtoday.blogspot.com/2016/04/governing-complex-education-systems.html is the truly stunning confessional document on ‘steering’ people and places to fit with desired theories of change in the “socials sciences, it [complexity theory, which the OECD itself states is akin to the Dynamic Systems Theory fiction we met in the last post] offers a metaphor, or a lens, through which we might better understand what it takes to initiate and sustain systemic change.” All of our recent encounters with various members of the Atlas Network and their frequent teaming now with either the Brookings Institute or Center for American Progress makes much more sense when we recognize that the official OECD position on how to achieve “socio-historical change in human society” is through “policy making” and changes in consciousness.

This is also why it matters so much that, unbeknownst to us, the behavioral sciences have been thoroughly embedded in education ‘reforms.’  They now define students as ‘goal-seeking systems’ as Boulding laid it out. Competency-based education and ‘evidence-based policy in education’ are simply the newest obscuring euphemisms for what the Futuribles contemplated as the way to use education to ensure that the “social sciences should orient themselves toward the future.” Futuribles wanted “to instigate or stimulate efforts of social and especially political forecasting.” It would be based on using the human imagination, unrestrained by fact-based moorings to the present or the past, to speculate on different futures and then to motivate personal action to make it so.

Quoting Destutt de Tracy who was declared to have “said very well: ‘It is the constant march of the human mind. First it acts, then it reflects on what is has done, and by so doing learns to do it still better.’” That’s the theory of education being espoused now when we hear a Principal or Super declare that a school or district no longer embraces a ‘deficit view of the child.’ For any readers who are unaware, the same Ford Foundation funding the Futuribles research organization and the translation of The Art of Conjecture into English in 1967 also financed the creation of our often-encountered Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences in the 50s. That would also be the place where Kenneth Boulding and others created systems theory.

A chapter of that book is called “The Project” and seeks to use mental images “that do not represent any reality past or present” to become a person’s goals for acting in the future. Here is the vision for the Project (italics in original).

“There is no volition without object, and the object of a volition is that a fiction of the mind become a ‘fact’. This fact is the goal of action (in the sense of ‘action’ defined below). When we retain a fiction as something to be enacted, it serves as the source of systematic action. This fiction–a non-fact–can be situated only in the future, which is necessary as a receptacle for a fiction accompanied by an injunction to become real.”

I am going to stop for a moment to come back to the present. Just this week I got an announcement from a company called ProExam of a new product called Tessera that could be used by schools to assess non-cognitive attributes and qualities of students using what it called Forced Choice and Situational Judgment scenarios. It also reminded educators that these social and emotional learning attributes were now a statutory mandate for measuring and monitoring under federal law. Now we can go back to what was laid out in 1967 in the intro to the next chapter called ‘The Conditional’:

“I have formed a representation that does not correspond to observable reality and placed it in a domain suited to receive it; now my activity tends toward validation of what my imagination has constructed. [Anyone tying this aim then to the rise of Project-Based Learning and the Maker Movement now?] For the event to comply with my design, the moral force of my intention must hold and push me on the road to the goal. But the road must really lead to the goal; and this implies that the appropriate road has been discerned (an intellectual operation). Hobbes put it all like this: ‘For the thoughts are to the desires as scouts, and spies to range abroad, and find the way to the things desired.’”

The goal then is “like a beacon beckoning me.” Those of you who have read my book know how much research I laid out showing that the real Common Core implementation targets ‘values, attitudes, and beliefs’ as a means to change behavior in the future. On top of those disclosures, let’s now overlay this Futuribles recognition from that same chapter:

“Any power, whether social or political, is maintained by people’s attitudes; any project, short or long, shallow or profound, is founded on their attitudes and behavior. Now each of us is capable of changing his attitude and behavior…Concerning the individuals of a society, we cannot doubt that they have received a code of behavior from their family and from society, that they are subject to pressure from their fellow men, and that they are pushed into particular roles.

But we also know that they are able to form and pursue projects. And each project is the germ of a shoot which may or may not be propitious for the maintenance of the general form of the society. Lesage once made use of a Lame Demon who unroofed houses to reveal what was going on inside. Let us suppose that this diable boiteux could reveal people’s minds in the same way, enabling us to surprise the projects each member of society forms in his inner self.

We could then apprehend, at their origin, those shoots which as they grow will deform the familiar social surface and produce swellings, fractures, and cracks. What will these changes be? How can they be foreseen? Here lies the subject that preoccupies us.”

And I would add that this is the subject that has preoccupied all so-called K-12 education reforms globally from the 60s forward under a variety of names. It absolutely is the lodestar of what is mandated under ESSA and what practices are required to merit federal funding and expansion of charter schools. It also is what drives the social and economic steering visions laid out in that graphic OECD report that is part of its New Approaches to Economic Challenges(NAEC)  initiative. Given that the acknowledged target of all these education reforms is the inner self, which is why I bolded it, we should read carefully that a key component to “building the systemic capacity of the government to improve policy design, steering, and implementation” is Trust.

I am sure that it is entirely coincidental that the same theme of Trust was a major component of House Speaker Paul Ryan’s recent speech on public policy. As the OECD laid out as the requisite means for Governing Complex Systems that includes people and their inner selves (their competences and skills, remember?), “the public’s trust in government must be reenforced, and efforts must be made to strengthen institutions and build capacity across different dimensions of trust (e.g. reliability, fairness and impartiality, integrity and honesty, and inclusiveness).”

That VA Scandal and the lack of actual consequences is just so darn inconvenient to this trust demand, isn’t it? All of our encounters with think tanks and what I call the Faux Common Core narrative, as well as deceit surrounding the nature of federalism and the Constitutional Convention calls, makes much more sense when we throw in this quote:

“Which outcome is realised in the social sciences is a question of intervention at as many levels as possible: for example, at the macro-structural level [WIOA] and at the intentional human agency level [ESSA], so that sufficient momentum is generated in a particular direction to displace the inertial momentum of the current dispensation and to create a dominant inertial momentum for the desired changes.”

Not the desired changes you or I might seek, but the changes desired by political and economic power to secure the futures they seek. DST from the last post, and complexity theory to the OECD oligarchs and their allies, is “first and last, about reaching critical mass among the diverse range of factors, elements and agents that constitute a particular environment.” In other words, complexity theory sounds more scientific that simply citing to the infamous Uncle Karl, but still allows political power to guide the so-called Scientific Management of Society he and the USSR dreamed of.

Instead of openly decreeing the institution of his Human Development Society that is also known as little ‘c’ communism to political theorists, we get the same ends approached through ‘complexity theory.’ We are all to still be the Governed with our inner selves measured and manipulated as “new properties and behaviors in the education system, emerges from the interaction of a myriad factors in the economic, political, social, and cultural environments in which education is situated.” Those would be the same environments currently targeted for steering via legislation that starts with Congress and the federal agencies and goes straight through to all of our local communities. All targeted for steering in the 21st Century.

If this sounds like we are to have sovereigns and be ruled, like it or not, the OECD paper actually used that word when it stated that “complex societies cannot be ruled rationally from one centre, if only because the amount of information that needs to be processed to make that possible far outstrips what any central government can achieve.” I guess that means that we are guided by oligarchs who believe there is nothing wrong with ruling per se. Governance is just a matter of finding better methods, starting again with that inner self.

Next time a think tank or politician hypes the ‘local’ or a private provider as the “Conservative’ position, remember that the OECD said that “privatisation and decentralization are not just about raising efficiency. They can be interpreted as ways in which national governments are moving power to places better able to handle the complexities of global, liquid, and interdependent societies.”

If governance in the 21st century and the Levers of History really have decreed the Inner Self as the key to sustainable change, it certainly does explain why there has been so much deceit surrounding what is really going on in education.

“We are creating the citizens who will be amenable to being governed” is certainly not why we send our kids to school and pay all the taxes that support this industry.

Frankly admitting that the true global aim after the Fall of the Berlin Wall was that “Power has moved away from central governments in different directions: upwards, toward international organizations, sideways to private institutions and non-governmental organizations, and downwards toward local governments and public enterprises such as schools and hospitals” would have each of us reexamining the load of deceit doled out by politicians of both parties over the last thirty years.

Mustn’t have us accurately reexamining the provided narrative of the past. History, after all, is now about imagining what the future could be and what must be done to act to achieve those goals.

The beauty of theorizing that we are all now just goal-setting systems and subject to manipulation by political power.

 

Statutorily Stipulating a Science of the Individual Driven by Useful Internalized Guiding Fictions

The first question then is “Useful to Whom”? Not the students themselves or the adults they will become, but useful to anyone seeking to benefit from this collectivist, steerable, scientifically-managed society and economy we just keep encountering. Useful to the decision-making oligarchs in this hoped for Upravleniye vision. The entire basis of the steerability must get at what each person has internalized at the level of the human mind and personality. Taking comfort that I am probably just exaggerating to drive sales of my book Credentialed to Destroy? Here is the link to the 2013 Harvard Ed School paper called “The Science of the Individual”  https://www.gse.harvard.edu/~ddl/articlesCopy/FischerGroundwork.MBE2009.3.1.pdf

There is a lot in that paper about the “new capacity based on technological innovation to collect and analyze massive amounts of data on individuals…for building realistic models of individual behavior, learning, and development.” What I want to talk about in this post is the confession about the “invention of a framework that can sustain a science of the individual.” In other words, the offered up theory–Dynamic Systems Theory–need not be factually true if enacting its practices through federal and state law mandates and required classroom implementations that get promotions for Principals and lucrative administrative jobs in central offices like being a District Super. Not true but useful to the Politically Connected.

Am I being mean here? No, DST grew out of NIH-funded research at Indiana University and its creators in 1994 classified this learning theory as “consistent with theories of the social construction of knowledge and in fact offers a biologically plausible mechanism for such a process.” Translated into English, the researchers want it to be true because advocating for the theory earns grants. Implementing the theory in school classrooms can have useful effects on guiding and motivating students to behave in desired ways that will ultimately be grounded, if the ‘research’ goes as hoped, into the students’ neural synapses. To quote again, “a dynamic systems approach to cognition and action provides a biological ground for cultural and contextual accounts of human cognition.”

Why am I hyping on these confessions? Because these are the theories adopted for the classroom in the famous 2012 federal “Education for Life and Work” report covered here. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/so-now-common-core-rejects-individual-thinking-to-embrace-soviet-psychology-ecology/ It is the theory guiding both the new federal education Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and its companion 2014 federal Upravleniye legislation WIOA. That 2013 Harvard paper above is part of the IMBES–International Mind, Behavior, Education Society work and this 2014 meeting in Ft Worth, Texas shows just how thoroughly what ought to be off-limits in a free society and what used to be known as cybernetics research is rolling right into Texas classrooms, especially, with nary a barrier to entry.

http://www.imbes.org/Resources/Documents/2014%20IMBES%20Program%20FINAL%20for%20web%20%281%29.pdf They even have state legislators there describing how to get these theories and practices into effect. David Rose, the creator of that very same Universal Design for Learning covered in my book as incorporated into the Common Core required implementation, and now mandated in ESSA, was a speaker. Did you know he is a co-author of the US Educational Technology Plan? Another speaker, Fumiko Hoeft, is described as “interested in ‘understanding interaction between academic achievement, cognitive abilities, external environment, and [the student's] ‘internal environment’ such as resiliency, self-esteem, grit and motivation.”

In other words, all the hype about instilling grit, resilience, and perseverence is not about creating those qualities. It’s simply as excuse to assess and collect data on what yet another speaker there, Paul van Geert (a name I recognized from systems theorizing) referred to as the simplex system. In a 2014 paper called “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly? The Dynamic Interplay Between Educational Practice, Policy and Research” defined what he meant by  a simplex system. He was referring to people and what they have internalized. He used italics for emphasis so so shall I.

“We define such a simplex system as a connected whole of beliefs, representations, values, emotions, habits, practices and material tools that serves as a simplifying representation of the overarching complex system in which a person participates and that organizes the participants’ actions.”

When the Faux anti-Common Core Narrative makes protecting Personally Identifiable Information the focus of their False Flag coordination it leaves no obstacle to manipulating each student’s simplex system as needed so they are amenable to the Upravleniye vision of the 21st Century. When the same groups keep hyping ‘standardized testing’ they create popular support for a switch to the formative assessments (covered in detail in my book) that are far more effective at altering this individual simplex system than anything that can be put on a multiple-choice test of knowledge.

When I was following up on the implications of Kenneth Boulding’s definition of people as purposeful, goal-seeking systems and what that really meant ‘student achievement’ and ‘success’ were now about (my child can meet the behavioral goals prescribed by government officials who want to steer!!Hallelujah, indeed), I kept encountering references to a 1976 book Ego Development where I encountered this alarming passage: “The drives, including the sex drive, are subordinated to a person’s goal or purpose in life, his guiding fiction. The philosophical concept of the fiction was developed by Vaihinger (1911). Fictions are not fantasies but predictive schemes necessary to orient oneself in the world; they are subjective, created by the person, and unconscious in some sense.”

Now by the time I encountered that passage I had read The Scientific Management of Society and recognized the deliberate targeting via assessment and data collection of what we are now calling that internalized simplex. I knew that was what personalized learning was really getting at. I recognized, in other words, the Upravleniye implications if all the mind arson we are encountering and Inapt Metaphors being pushed was actually about Our Steering Keelsmen, in political office or public policy, wanting to create Guiding Fictions because they would be useful in creating that invisible noetic keel. Turned out Vaihinger’s book had recently been brought back into print.

A German, writing before the Great War and very concerned about the warlike, aggressive nature of the German people since the 1871 Franco-Prussian War, Vaihinger wanted to dictate and control “those ideas, associations of ideas, and conceptual constructs” which guide an individual’s perception. As if that’s not enough, given the current HOTS mandate in ESSA for annual assessment and the stipulation of CDIs–Core Disciplinary Ideas and CCCs–Cross-Cutting Concepts and Themes in Common Core and its state successors–Vaihinger also wished to limit thought to what was needed for practical action. Sounds just like Competency to me!

Here is his theory of Guiding Fiction (and his italics). Think about the Planning Potential of  inaccurate concepts and categorization prescribed by political power, to be instilled by education, under a government mandate. A potentially useful policy to the Steerers, if not to the Steered Student. Just “because such constructs are devoid of reality they are not to be regarded as devoid of utility…Any true insight into the psychological setting and origin of knowledge proves that many things may be theoretically wrong and yet from a practical standpoint be fruitful in results, taking the term ‘practical,’ of course, in a wide sense.”

Let’s go back to that fictional framework Dynamic Systems Theory that can be the foundation of useful classroom practices for guiding, limiting, and predicting thought itself. For motivating desired behaviors in an Upravleniye society where we have become the Governed. The DST authors insisted that there are “compelling theoretical reasons for not putting the cause of developmental change in the frontal lobe.” What if the reasons are that such factually-informed, personally-sculpted Axemaker Minds are simply not amenable to being Governed and will certainly notice all the hoped-for steering and desired false guiding narratives?

DST wants to make the individual-in-context the focus because that theory is useful for Social Engineering purposes, not because it is true. It stresses Perceive. Act. Think. as the desired order because it too wants to limit the nature of thought to what is “emergent from the activities of everyday life.” Just like John Goodlad and UNESCO in the 70s for those of you who have read my book. I will end this post with a story told by another prof who wants to use Guiding Fictions and history as about creating scenarios of the future to guide perceptions of what ought to be done now.

“A Hungarian detachment was lost in the Alps for three days before finally returning to their camp. ‘We considered ourselves lost and waited for the end,’ said the soldiers, ‘but then one of us found a map in his pocket. That calmed us down. We pitched camp, lasted out the snow storm, and then with the map we found our bearings. And here we are.’ Their lieutenant looked at the map and discovered to his surprise that it was a map of the Pyrenees, not the Alps.”

The belief that the map was accurate caused the soldiers to act and action was the way out. Both in the 90s version of standards-based reforms and now, the very word ‘standards’ is yet another misunderstood, ambivalent term that actually is a euphemism for goals. The 90s New Standards Project and the Common Core now are actually efforts by political power to use a fiction that students and people are merely purposeful organisms. To insist that governments now get to monitor and prescribe what our acceptable Goals can and must be. Just a goal-seeking system whose internalized simplex is subject to tracking and manipulation via education. Why? Because that is what political power and its financial cronies believe will benefit them.

They want to prescribe “those ideas, associations of ideas, and conceptual constructs” that they find useful “as a guide to thought and action in the present. The map in the above example was clearly not accurate, and yet ‘by taking some action, the soldiers started to obtain new feedback about their environment, and they entered a new learning loop’ which gradually built up their own understanding and mental map.’ That is, the map facilitated the process by which the soldiers could manage and navigate uncertainty.”

When Congress enacted ESSA it required states to annually assess  Higher Order Thinking Skills and Understandings for each student in most years. I typically summarize HOTS as the categories and ideas students use to decide what they should do when there is no single correct answer. How they will choose to act in a given situation when faced with uncertainty as to how to best proceed. Anyone think this is coincidental?

How about if I add that the author of the 1987 HOTS report, Lauren Resnick, was also co-director of the 90s New Standards Project and on the panel  for the Common Core set of student behavioral goals.

The real aim is so much clearer when ‘standards’ are described more accurately by their explicit purpose.

 

Subjugating the Subjective Factor Via Public Policy Cloaking Upravleniye–Another Useful Term

In his book The Flight from Truth, Jean-Francois Revel noted that most people are indifferent to knowledge. It appears that the so-called ‘conservative’ public policy think tanks have been relying on that truism in constructing their narratives about what is actually going on in education. Only “a tiny minority of human beings,” he wrote, are willing “humbly to explore reality and to expose ourselves to unknown information.” All these redefinitions pushed by public policy entities like Freedom, School Choice, Liberty, Limited Government, Standards, etc. all seem to rely on the truth that “the ideas that interest us most are not new ideas, they are ideas we are accustomed to.” We believe we know what all these terms mean and do not recognize they have become tools of a new political ideology.

Revel pointed out that a young Latin scholar, Georg Friedrich Grotefend, achieved the ability to decipher the Assyrian cuneiform inscriptions at Persepolis. The scholars in Germany were apathetic to the news this 2000 year old secret had been unlocked by someone Not of Their Set of Insiders. There was Henry C. Rawlinson, “an amateur researcher who finally succeeded in deciphering Mesopotamian script,” despite a background in military service for the East India Tea Company. Academic Hellenists also did not welcome the twentieth century’s cracking of the so-called ‘linear B’ script of Crete by an architect. Revel noted that all three men: “even though their main activities did not make them part of the university world, were by no means dilettantes. They simply lacked academic degrees. Well prepared for the tasks they tackled, they had personally undertaken serious and even more exhaustive studies than those of the professionals of their discipline.”

Needless to say I can relate to all three men and even more to this follow-up statement that “If their cases merit attention, it is because an amateur, by definition, is not backed by any power, by any network of alliances and friendships in the social milieu of the scientists and the university bureaucracy.” Now if Revel were still alive and in the US instead of France, he would obviously now need to add public policy think tanks and especially those tied to the Atlas Network to his list of what it takes to get recognized. I thought about Revel this past week when this paper came out by two researchers determined to make their university degrees front and center. http://www.moagainstcommoncore.com/Patience,Privacy,Power,Politics&PensionsBehindESSA_4JRedits.pdf I wouldn’t say the report is wrong so much as irrelevant to the true purpose of ESSA.

The Russian word upravleniye does not have an “entirely satisfactory one-word translation” in English. It follows my mention of ESSA because the word essentially means steering or control of society, the economy, and the people themselves down to the so-called necessary ‘subjective factor’ of human psychology. It seeks to regulate likely activities and the scale of values that motivate and guide likely behavior. The 1976 book from the last post mentioned a 1971 Russian book The Scientific Management of Society that was almost instantaneously translated into English. Having covered a 1976 book by Turchenko in my Credentialed to Destroy, I recognized what such an immediate translation meant. The book arrived Saturday and, just as I feared, it is also the blueprint for ‘steering’ Western countries and their citizens, down to the level of their minds and personalities.

ESSA, and its companion legislation WIOA, are the statutory enactments of a comparable scheme for the Scientific Management of Society using data. It’s what the Open Data Initiatives being pursued all over the world (President Obama’s first Executive Order on the day of his inauguration in 2009) are also about. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/circumscribing-knowledgepart-2-of-imposing-mindsets-to-fit-a-new-political-philosophy/ gets at that as well as covering the intentions of the same Boulding we covered in the last post. It is vitally important for us to understand that in order to treat cities, society, the economy, or other aggregates of people as ‘systems:’

“not only are man’s production activities necessarily subject to control, to regulation, but so is his social behaviour.

As for man’s intellectual activities, they, too, are organized and controlled by society, which moulds its members’ thinking in its own image.”

Clearly the effect of controlling values, attitudes, beliefs, emotions, and any other driver of behavior is not news to me. I wrote a book laying precisely that out. What is so unnerving is how closely the 1971 vision fits with what the public policy think tanks are pushing politicians to enact at every level of society today. Let me relate just a few of my personal experiences with think tank deceit so we can appreciate the true impact of what we are dealing with. I thought about it recently as that public policy major and fan of ‘data-driven decision-making’ by governments, House Speaker Paul Ryan, was lecturing Americans and Trump about ‘violence having no place in a campaign,’ while misportraying what was actually said. Ryan immediately made some comment about the rhetoric being a distraction from Republicans pursuing ‘their Agenda.’ He sounded precisely like someone who regards all of us as the Governed and himself as a ruler.

Interesting, isn’t it, that the consistent term in English used in that 1971 book for the people in a society that was scientifically managed by governments at all levels was ‘the Governed.’ It turned out to be a necessary component of the shift from capitalism to socialism and finally to communism. Another odd moment for me recently was listening to ‘conservative’ think tank employees insisting that a Hillary Presidency would be preferable to a Trump Presidency and looking at the attendees (especially from the tech companies) at the AEI Sea Island event. Is Trump the wildcard who might not be on board for this planned steering process of Upravleniye and that’s why he must be stopped? Was that why Jeb was the preferred candidate for 2016?

Last week I attended a breakfast called “At the Intersection of Education & Aging” that featured Dr Matthew Ladner, of the education-focused think tank and Atlas member, the Foundation for Excellence in Education, that Jeb Bush created in 2008. The presentation hyped the dangers to the state budget from an aging population if the state did not adopt the recommended education changes. Now I have to admit I went partly to hear Dr Ladner who had once responded to my point on Jay Greene’s blog that it was important to actually read a school or district’s charter and not simply to assume that the language was about academic quality. Dr Ladner commented back with a drawing of someone wearing a Tin Foil hat. I am a lawyer. Charters are legal documents intended to bind people to a vision they might not appreciate and when I point out that factual concern, Dr Ladner’s response was that I must be a kook. No interest in facts.

Likewise, the recommendations being pushed for K-12 education actually add up to Mind Arson given my knowledge of how they work as an avid amateur researcher with neither an education nor a political science degree like him. The legislators present at the breakfast would not know that, however. They were told x is a problem and y was the solution and that is what they will enact. The whole purpose of the public policy think tanks appears to be to control the narrative while politicians, blindly or not, adopt statutes that fit with all the details laid out in The Scientific Management of Society for the desired steering of people, places, and things.

Is that why Jeb created FEE two years after he began the Bipartisan, supposedly ‘state-led’ process, that just happens to use K-12 education to impose “a programme for standardizing men’s behaviour”? The Atlas Network needed an affiliate at that precise time that would focus on the crucial Subjective Factor needed for social control under the old Soviet-created blueprints?  In the last post I mentioned Boulding’s 5th grade Systems Analysis curriculum created in 1973 that “paves the way both for tighter scientific analysis of human and social behavior and for important moves in the direction of unified science.” Doesn’t that sound like Boulding and the Social Science Education Consortium sought to use the classroom in the US to also lay the groundwork for the Scientific Management of Society?

If anyone feels the natural desire to be apathetic to this new information, remember that we now know that in 1976 another well-connected think tank, the Aspen Institute, pushed interdependence going forward and systems thinking. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/pivoting-from-the-joy-of-the-us-bicentennial-to-the-planetary-bargain-dictate-yet-another-lost-invite-so-long-ago/  If planning and regulation are desired how useful is it to create a belief in malleable children’s minds that a “system is composed of two or more interacting parts.” Well, that pretty much covers most things that exist in reality. Now Boulding wanted young minds examining if these omnipresent ‘systems’ were “goal oriented or non-goal oriented; that is, there are systems that act in order to fulfill certain objectives, while others exist without any particular purpose or goal.”

A business that wanted to make a profit would be a ‘purposeful system’ then and a pond was the given example of parts that interact but “they do not interact together to achieve a common goal or purpose.” Now getting students to begin to analyze the world like this does a number of useful things for anyone wanting to encourage collectivism and social planning as a new norm. It focuses attention on dialectical processes so the student sees adaptation and change as normal and desirable. It creates the belief that people working together in any organization are not supposed to retain differing purposes or goals. By focusing the student on seeing a “city, for example, is not itself a goal-oriented supersystem,” the students are primed to believe that politicians will need to adopt goals on their behalf.

To do that, of course, politicians will not have direct knowledge and will need to rely on public policy think tank employees to tell them what the goals should be and how to best enact them. See why WIOA requires systems thinking in all students to be workforce ready? If Upravleniye needs an alliance of government employees and non-governmental actors to push the vision of Scientific management of Society as the 1971 book said, don’t we now have the rationale for the sudden proliferation of public policy think tanks starting in the 1980s and in earnest since 1990? Telling teachers to raise the question with students of “what must the system ‘know’ if it wants to reach its goals effectively?” prepares students to believe that society and an economy can be successfully managed and should be.

Telling them that people are poor because they ‘lack power’ and that “to bring about the desired result, the poor must communicate to the candidate that they are a bloc and that they have particular wants” encourages students to come to believe that all social and personal problems are solvable via political processes. Laying out classroom activities so that students will ‘relate system concepts’ directly to their daily lives really explains why people seem to have changed so much in what they can do and what they expect. It wasn’t accidental cultural change. With WIOA, ESSA, and Open Data Initiatives, we are all at risk of being governed in the sense sought by Soviet totalitarians unless we recognize how all these elements function together.

These false narratives pushed in the name of ‘public policy’ have a common direction and it was laid out in 1971, originally in Russian. Please do not continue to fall for the conflicts of interest surrounding these think tanks and what they or their employees push.

Better tell elected pols at all levels too where the phrase ‘the Governed’ really comes from as well.

And it is not Our Founding Fathers being quoted.

Triggers of Action: Carving the Noetic Keels Needed for Politics to Steer Society and People

Serendipity has always been one of my favorite words. I used to tell my children that a great vocabulary word has a sentence full of meaning in a single word. Several weeks ago I was out of town and catching up on emails when an investment newsletter just happened to use the following quote to make a point:

“A world of unseen dictatorship is conceivable, still using the forms of democratic government.”–Kenneth Boulding, University of Michigan

Yes, that is a troubling quote, but I recognized the name as being the professor I had cited in my book Credentialed to Destroy. He was behind the push that began in the 1970s to force ‘systems thinking’ into the classrooms. The quote was credited to a 1957 bestseller I had never heard of called The Hidden Persuaders by Vance Packard. Getting that book zoomed to the top of my To Do list even before I knew that the quote introduced a section of the book called “Persuading Us as Citizens.” It covered how the motivational research the PR and marketing firms were using to sell products and services had been introduced into politics in order to “influence the state of our mind and to channel our behavior as citizens.”

What was then at least understood by its dispensers as ‘depth psychology,’ and controversial enough to drive a bestselling tell-all explaining it, is precisely what is now known as Whole Child Education and Deep Learning. It must be used by teachers and principals, who may never have encountered anyone explaining the true background of these practices and techniques. Why? To be deemed Effective. This is why I created the term Inadvertent Change Agent in my book. It is also tied to what the new K-12 federal legislation, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), mandates as the means of establishing ‘success’.

“Forced ideological homogenization” and “equitable economic development” have long been regarded as necessary components of an attempt by systems thinkers to reorganize society and individuals and redefine what constitutes ‘self-reliance.’ I am really getting tired of all these non-asterisked redefinitions, aren’t you? There was a February 1976 annual meeting of Boulding’s General Systems Research Group followed the next day by a meeting at Harvard of virtually every group we have ever covered on this blog or in the book including representatives from the Club of Rome and the World Order Models Project. I located the minutes of the meetings in a book which was kind enough to tell us this:

“in order to carry out the program proposed by the model, one really has to carry out very deep structural and attitudinal changes. This is why we say that the main problem is a sociopolitical, not a material, resource kind of problem, in the sense that there are paths and strategies which can take us to the satisfaction of basic needs. But the main problem remains of a sociopolitical nature.”

Good thing, huh, that systems thinkers specialize in a remaking of education and the creation of think tanks and a public policy network that will cause politicians to believe that they need to mandate and plan all these areas in the name of Equitable Economic Development? In fact, that is what the 2014 federal legislation–WIOA–now has all states and localities on record as planning. Since all the legislation to force the needed sociopolitical changes is now in place in the US, let’s go back to see what motivational research already knew in the 50s. After all the Congressionally created and White House visiting League of Innovative Schools was created to obtain desired research into what ‘motivates’ students.

Boulding, in a 1973 paper he wrote for the Social Science Education Consortium, laid out his interest in viewing the “whole human being as a system” whose “concepts and perceptions are often strongly influenced by our motives.” Is it any wonder then that motives have been officially targeted for research and that ‘concepts and perceptions’ are officially required for annual assessment via ESSA? Vance Packard shorthanded Motivational Research and its goals and techniques as MR in his book The Hidden Persuaders so we will too as we access some of its insights as to why education is now taking the same techniques and forcing them deceitfully on classrooms and students everywhere.

Packard quoted the magazine Advertising Age as stating the wide use of MR in politics–”This is all to the good.” What was not good, however, was the “growing public discussion of the importance of advertising in politics.” If public awareness that politicians were seeking to influence them emotionally and at subconscious and unconscious levels was problematic in the 50s, by all means let me continue to try to force a discussion of these same MR methods into K-12 education now. After all, if ‘role playing’ is a ‘psychological technique’ used to ‘modify the behavior and attitudes’ when it is used on ‘key personnel’ in large industrial organizations, it still has that same function when it becomes a required classroom practice for students.

If an insurance exec admitted role playing was used widely because “we needed a motivational device…[that] at the same time teaches at the emotional level,” that remains true when the methods are transferred from adults to the far more malleable minds of students. When Packard quoted the book The Engineering of Consent on how the MR methods are of “considerable value…to those who wish to modify society” and that “People must be controlled by manipulating their [instincts and emotions] rather than by changing their reasonings,” we get to remember that quote when the Davos crowd suddenly this month calls for  https://www.weforum.org/reports/new-vision-for-education-fostering-social-and-emotional-learning-through-technology .

That’s even more true once we realize that MR users in the 50s knew already that “if you are engineering consent, then I think the social sciences would like to warn you that you should begin with a basic analysis of three levels upon which consent moves in a society like ours.” Try not to get ill when we recognize that education now is all about manipulating level two and public policy think tanks and many pundits from every spectrum and announced party affiliation are all about targeting level three. The man being quoted above and below is a social anthropologist Lyman Bryson describing 1953 seminars on the social sciences held at Teachers College, Columbia for PR firms. My bolding.

“The first level, he said, is human nature. He added that little really could be done here to ‘manipulate’ people. The second level was cultural change, which is where you must operate, he said, if you want to influence people’s ideas. The third level is the region of choice. Here is where an impulse is running in a particular direction, and some sort of choice will be made regardless, ‘as when a choice between similar products [think tank or media deceit functions here] is made.’ At this level, he said, ‘it is relatively easy to manipulate people.’ On the other hand, if you are trying to change their ideas, ‘you work on the second level,’ where different ‘psychological pressures, techniques, and devices from those successful on the third level’ must be used.”

Think of that quote and the ubiquity of the School Choice mantra that the think tanks push as their solution to education and the needs of public policy. Suddenly the imperviousness of the phrase to facts that show there is actually no choice becomes clearer. Likewise, Packard quoted a Dr Samuel Stouffer, director of Harvard’s Laboratory of Social Relations telling his listeners that “it was a good working rule that people’s attitudes are more easily reached through their emotions than through their intellects.” Back to role playing and a Whole Child emphasis and that Science of Virtues, then, huh?

It should bother us a great deal that Dr Stouffer considered that to be ‘learning theory’ research. Looking for ‘triggers of action’ in the form of words or visuals, learning theory even in the 50s knew that “behaviors can be changed by changing ‘the motivational forces working upon them.’” Think about that when you reread Chapter 7 of my book about how the Common Core and Competency-based education really target values, attitudes, and beliefs. If people are systems as Boulding and others hoped, then those are the areas that must be changed in order for personal behavioral goals to change as well. Once again the redefinitions kick in as the socially reengineered student, and then adult, gets described as ‘autonomous.’ It’s called Hidden Persuaders for a reason as the MR techniques “can create wants in people that they still didn’t realize existed.”

Trained through learning tasks and classroom experiences to act. Requiring ‘performance standards’ precisely to force daily practice with engineered mental models and manipulated emotions. Meanwhile no one planned to disclose the engineered existence of an internalized noetic keel consciously carved during years of preschool-high school ‘student-centered’ education. Carved precisely so that politicians and agency planners can steer society as they wish and reward cronies as they want. Packard ended his book with this worry:

“The most serious offense many of the depth manipulators commit, it seems to me, is that they try to invade the privacy of our minds. It is this right to privacy in our minds–privacy to be either rational or irrational–that I believe we must strive to protect.”

Federal law now requires, and states and schools, public and private, everywhere are happy to go along with, a now mandated invasion of the privacy of our minds. That’s the purpose of education research and the mandated databases. Longitudinal is another word for what used to be called more clearly ‘time series data’. The point is not what is personally identifiable, but the changes over time to allow this desired steering process. Packard was lucky. He was able to get the word out to enough people that MR became notorious. So it went underground and got new names and is now mandated for all of our children. To ultimately control enough of us for this steering to guide all institutions, but installed through deceitful false narratives and K-12 education.

Let me end with the remaining purpose that I believe has motivated who has been  deemed acceptable for the Presidency and other political offices by either party since at least 1988. I think it is why ESSA and WIOA were “Bipartisan and Bicameral” as necessary components of the mostly invisible steering process. It’s 2016 and the oligarchs think it has taken far too long for what was planned in earnest from the 1950s on. Removing all obstacles, down to the level of the mental models of our minds, that might block the planned:

“most important social engineering role of them all–the gradual reorganization of human society, piece by piece and structure by structure.”

Person by person, starting with the children and euphemised as being about Learning, Student Growth, and Success for All.

 

 

Locating the Internalized Information Guiding Human Behavior So It Can Be Controlled and Transformed

Dictating such a transformation via preschool through high school, students would then essentially have a common core of prescribed values, attitudes and beliefs. For our Want-to-Be social and economic planning set that means future actions of most people would be both predictable and manipulable. The Planning Set, as I will call them, that we now know contains many different groups intent on fundamentally transforming the world that exists whether anyone consents or not, will know precisely what Values and Beliefs have been internalized and what visual Images, Words, and Phrases instilled. All become unconscious triggers available to command action.

To better appreciate why, let me quote Alexander N Christakis from a 2006 book How People Harness their Collective Wisdom and Power to Construct the Future in Co-Laboratories of Democracy (my bolding to show what Planners take for granted):

“Different people in different situations cooperatively develop different interpretations of realities, especially social realities. In our efforts to understand social realities and design better futures, therefore, we must not assume commonly agreed upon linguistic domains. People come from different cultures and have different cultural sensitivities. They see things differently; have opposing ambitions; prize different values. The first priority, then, in a designing effort is to create a consensual linguistic domain among many diverse voices.”

Students, adults, cities, economies, and societies have each been designated by the Planning Set as subject to their designing efforts. We may start with differing values, beliefs, and experiences, but the new vision of education puts all these things on the table for change. Keeping us lulled as to what is being done to us and our children we get euphemisms like Classical Education as we have just covered, OBE, or Competency-based education to describe the new techniques. Stated goals of ‘Learning’ and ‘Student Growth’ make the changes seem salutary. As I mentioned in a comment to the previous post, that internalized set of Images, Ideas, Principles, Concepts, Values, and Beliefs gets assessed via initial Benchmarks, and then changed and monitored through assessments. Can you say Continuous Improvement?

Some Planners and educators call what is targeted–’Worldview,’ as we just saw in the last 3 posts. Others use the phrases ‘Mental Models’ or ‘Cognitive Maps’. All are phrases with the same Target and the same aim of where the Bullseye is. To show just how long this has been a target of official Global Policy Planning, I was even able to chase these to the Oval Office of Bush 41 in May 1989.   https://bush41library.tamu.edu/files/memcons-telcons/1989-05-23–Finnbogadottir.pdf To prove that this still matters, here is the recent NSF letter announcing the Brain Observatory to develop a research infrastructure for neuroscience with the same target, techniques, and bullseye.  http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2016/nsf16047/nsf16047.jsp

In all my posts from 2016 I have been building up from a theme of what is wrong with an Ideas or Concepts first curricula that are not built up from facts. Instead, the purpose of the provided Concepts and Categories is to interpret experiences in a classroom emphasizing activity. Sometimes the activity is physical as in group projects or role-playing. Sometimes it is virtual reality where only the software designer controls the Cognitive Map being created or shifted, mostly out of sight of the student, the parents, and maybe even the teacher. https://libertymuseum.org/in-the-news/groundbreaking-evaluation-study-released/ is a new curricula and assessment designed for building character and civic purpose by “exploring the concept of liberty as a living moral construct in contemporary society.”

Everyone ready to sign their kids up for one of the bedrock principles underlying the American heritage? Not so fast if we read the report and discover that Liberty has been reconceptualized to be “grounded in the notion that liberty must be just and must serve the common good…liberty [must be] reciprocal and responsible…[Otherwise] when liberty is de-coupled from one’s responsibilities as a citizen, it threatens to become selfish and divisive.” I have linked to the report and know both American and English history and, unfortunately, the fundamental tenets of the Marxist Humanist political philosophy. I get to recognize when Liberty as a guiding concept has been completely redefined to mask committing the student to a notorious normative vision for how the world might operate.

Students and parents though do not get that opportunity. They are not likely to recognize that Liberty “as conceptualized by the Museum and this study…becomes the bedrock for societal flourishing and ethical growth of both individuals and society” just turned into a tool for achieving Marx’s famed Human Development Society. Like the Classical Education we just examined the web-based curricula and interactive exhibits with Young Heroes is designed to create “pro-social changes in student behaviors” grounded in the stipulated virtues.

Most parents though will just think of Liberty in its historic meaning and not know that on top of the above redefinitions students also get experiences designed to change their knowledge, attitudes and behaviors with regard to “the liberty of society as a collective (collective liberty), as well as the liberty of each individual within society (relational liberty).” Think of this then as a Comrade Reinterpretation of the Concept of Liberty, which gets even more troubling because part of the assessment is looking for signs that the Young Heroes Outreach Program “participants consistently evidenced greater retention of all five pillar virtues associated with liberty…lasting at least three months after their involvement with the program ended.”

Why is that post-program search for continued changes in behavior so crucial? Because it is looking for proof the learning experiences created a change at a neural level in each of those student’s Cognitive Map, Worldview, or Mental Model. When researchers found “increased action-oriented civic and social engagement, identifying a number of social issues, upon which to focus their community projects,” they found that the changes in what was believed and valued were driving a change in behavior in desired directions. Desired first, of course, by the Planning Set and now by the students themselves, if they are even aware of why they are now interested in things they may have previously never noticed, much less acted to change.

Anyone else noticing that Liberty has been quietly redefined in much the same way and for the same purpose as how Amartya Sen defined Freedom? Yes, the nuisance of people who actually read the small print and footnotes. That Torchbearers Report and the redefinition of Liberty was supported by the John Templeton Foundation and the Jubilee Center on Character and Virtues in the UK. When the Report used this quote from Sir John Templeton: “perhaps true freedom is not the freedom to do but rather the freedom to become all we can be,” I recognized the sentiment. Since I found a treasure trove back in January when I searched for the connections between Sen’s philosophy and the Atlas Network members, this time I searched for “Templeton Foundation Amartya Sen.”

http://scienceofvirtues.org/ came up as the Templeton-funded Project at U-Chicago to create a New Science of Virtues. If that sounds like an excellent way to get at the values part of the Cognitive Map, I thought so too. There were conferences in 2010 and 2011. Perusing the Virtues Project Abstracts I discovered that the Divinity School was involved since Virtues were seen as a means to achieving ‘new spiritual knowledge.’ Chicago’s Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience administers the Project. Now would probably be a good time to remember Chapter 6 of my book and how the Planning Set wants to use education to gain a cultural evolution since biological change takes too long.

In the last post we talked about the sudden ubiquity of phrases like self-rule, self-regulation, and self-government. We can now add the Virtue of Self-Control where one of the members of the team of investigators is psychologist Angela Duckworth of Grit and Perseverence fame. More importantly she is involved through her Character Lab with the national Growth Mindset study being pushed by the White House Behavioral and Social Sciences ‘Nudge’ Team. That means this Science of Virtues is involved too. That certainly puts new meaning to this expressed goal:

“The proposed research will produce a comprehensive framework for formulating and evaluating economic and social policy with deeper psychological and ethical foundations than are traditional in economic analyses. It will develop a more comprehensive understanding of the origins and consequences of human differences.”

Very exciting then for the Planning Set! Another investigator on that same team is a Philosophy prof with a focus on ancient Greek and Roman philosophy. That’s a useful link to what we saw as we examined Classical Ed which somehow also loves to name drop Aristotle, Plato, and Socrates while making the point about enacting their ‘virtue-ethics.’ More rationale for transforming the internalized cognitive maps controlling behavior. Another part of the Project seeks “The Transformation of Virtues: Imagination, Vision and Dreams and Sources of Human Excellence and Practical Knowledge.” Sounds good even though it intends to prescribe and create an internalized Worldview of guiding values and beliefs to help students “understand the virtue of being able to face up to a collapse of the virtues when a culture is collapsing or being destroyed-as well as the virtue of living well in the aftermath of such catastrophe.”

Oh, Joy. The Planning Set creates the catastrophe while prescribing the beliefs and values to supposedly adjust to what is now broken. The 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development again defines “virtues, then, are psychological and behavioral characteristics that guide a person towards integrative and positive, or even noble, purposes for self and the world. In short, virtues are understood to play a key role in a person’s positive life trajectory and in the quality of civil society.”

But those characteristics are being prescribed and instilled via education without notice or even consent. Like the experiences obtained though the reconceptualization of Liberty, the curriculum is designed to guide and motivate certain behavior from a subconscious or even unconscious level.

Cool for the Planning Set who get power, grants, and promotions for pushing this transformation of the purposes of education.

Not cool at all for parents and students unaware of what ‘brain-based learning’ now really means or the taxpayers being asked to fund all these transformations.

Before anyone thinks that the answer is just to monitor what philanthropies or the NSF are funding in the name of education, please appreciate the National Institutes of Health is also launching research with the same Target and Bullseye. http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-DA-16-009.html

Theories about Mental Models or Computational Neuroscience are not innocuous terms for research either.

 

 

 

Foiling False Narratives Amidst Unsupported Cries of Balderdash!

The last post was not designed to ruffle feathers so much as continue to warn that words like Classical or Christian when applied to education, much like what we have already seen with Critical Thinking and Rigor, may not have the actual meaning assumed. I am genuinely worried about the extent to which Classical Education is modeling a psychological template that came out of the Soviet Union to bind the mind and personality. A reader in the comments put up this slideshow http://slideplayer.com/slide/695610/ that reveals a troubling and intentional use of cybernetic techniques via education to mentally and emotionally bind a person for religious purposes. Please scrutinize what on-line vendors or actual charters or privates have in mind when they use these terms.

Today we will continue to explore the broader template of what is being pushed under the Classical label and its very troubling bedfellows that were turbocharged in December with the language in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). A reader contacted a well-known education writer known for being anti-Common Core and pro-Classical Education asking for a rebuttal of what I wrote in the last post. We are going to go through the various responses because they illustrate so well what a muddle these Great Ideas centric educations can actually create. Response 1 was that the post was “Balderdash.” Since that descriptive word would mean writing that is contrary to facts and nonsensical, the natural question became “what is not true?” That provoked a link http://www.nationalreview.com/article/431182/donald-trump-bernie-sanders-gnostic-campaigns  that the frustrated reader forwarded to me.

I pointed out I never theorize in writing about conspiracies, but that I do get to quote people who declare they are involved in a coordinated effort to use education to achieve some declared transformation of society. Secondly, that article basically insults certain political supporters as acting like people who use a Gnostic simplistic analysis to view the world around them. Well, that was a new criticism and not particularly consistent with the facts. Maybe I was supposed to be horrified, but I did wonder whether someone needed my Inapt Metaphor lesson on lousy analogizing. A few days later I got the final response from the reader who really wanted there not to be some kind of misuse of the phrase ‘Classical Christian education’ for purposes unappreciated by parents. Here is the final criticism of that post and apparently the reason for trying to protect people from either my book Credentialed to Destroy or this blog. I have a few responses in brackets.

“My point is addressing it does nothing because verifying people’s intentions is impossible. [What's to verify if I am quoting what they write as to intentions?] And there is no high volume of readers. [Of course that has nothing to do with any coordination to hijack what can be said or written about the Common Core by certain well-funded think tanks] Because global warming crazies say the earth is round I need to wonder if the earth is flat. Absurd. And Robin’s assertion that we need to prioritize facts but not their connections is a non-starter to thinking people. [Someone skipped the class day devoted to the Strawman Fallacy] She does that herself. There are not demons under every doily that she has not herself made.”

That last part about “demons under every doily” was too alliterative to have been original. You too may want to put it in quotes and see the results of the search. The real question though is what makes me write about something on this blog at any given time? Usually I  am responding to something that appears to be hidden by a wall of deceit. That type of factual investigation may be annoying and inconvenient, but it’s not nonsensical.  Let’s get back to why I am so concerned and right to be so. Another book, Classical Education: Towards the Revival of American Schooling by Gene Edward Veith, Jr. and Andrew Kern, came and only heightened my concern. They do a chapter on Douglas Wilson’s model, then Mortimer Adler’s Paideia Proposal as an example of Democratic Classicism, and then David Hicks’ Moral Classism and its emphasis on the “importance of character development and the full flowering of the human personality.”

No, I don’t want the human personality to be allowed to wilt and I also want to develop character. There is an alignment here though of what everyone from Charles Fadel and his well-connected Center for Curriculum Redesign is now pushing as Four-Dimensional Education, what the Dewey acolytes want, and what is being pushed as Classical Education. Every single one is targeting the same areas of what the student is to have internalized and how they are to work together to guide the vision of the future and motivate likely behavior. Common Core talks about its purpose as being College and Career Ready and the Classicist aim is said to be “to form the adult-to-be”? Does that sound like a similar destination to anyone else?

I have written before about Carol Dweck, what is called the Growth Mindset, and even that the White House Behavioral and Social Sciences Team has now commenced a national Growth Mindset study. Tell me if that aim fits with the following passage from the Moral Classicism template (my bolding). Notice this is not about the transmission of factual knowledge.

“…classical learning is neither doctrinaire religious instruction nor analytical scientific positivism. Even though the classical student begins by accepting dogma (i.e, ‘that which seems good’,) he personalizes it by questioning it –that is, by employing dialectic. As the student refines his understanding, his insight grows, ‘ascending a dialectical staircase to an upper room of fragile truths and intangible beliefs.’ Challenges and contradictions arise to dogma and within it by the process of dialectic, and this leads to dogma’s reformulation. Using his conscience and the process of dialectic, and guided by the universal vision of the ideal type, the student grows toward the Ideal. Commitment to dialectic is thus the first principle in Hicks’ version of classical education: the conscious development of the internal dialogue guides us to the fulfillment of our natures.”

Well, someone is specifying those Ideals and creating an education intended to internalize them. I am not sure the student gets much say. Neither will the parents unless they scrutinize what comes in now under the banner of ‘classical’ education. Now I honestly do not know how much those pushing this template as ‘classical education’ appreciate why Evald Ilyenkov created the New Dialectics in the USSR to advance the Human Development Society vision of Marxism that commenced in earnest globally around 1962. I do, however, know an institution that has had a very good handle on this integration of East and West using education. If Harvard’s Project Zero classifies Hicks’ Interdisciplinary  Humanities Program as a Pre-Collegiate Program conducive to bringing about “an all-encompassing framework of meaning,” we need to take them at their word on the links to the IB Theory of Knowledge coursework and the notorious constructivist Math and Science programs.

http://www.interdisciplinarystudiespz.org/pdf/Nikitina_Strategies_2002.pdf If all of these are cited as means to teach contextualizing or context-building, conceptualization, and problem-solving so that inquiry-oriented coursework becomes a means of teaching social responsibility, the need for social change, and the “primary goal of finding causes and cures for human calamities,” we can assume that the Change Agent Licensors understand where Classical Education is actually going, even if its proponents do not. At this point, I was thoroughly concerned that we once again have Inadvertent Change Agents pushing a remedy to the Common Core they have repeatedly deplored that amounts to jumping from the frying pan into the fire, I went back to who Douglas Wilson cited as his source for his Trivium.

He put Dorothy Sayers’ 1947 essay The Lost Tools of Learning as an Appendix to the book covered in the last post. I found her emphasis on the “medieval scheme of education” to be a little odd as that was a preliterate society. To quote historian William Manchester in his fine A World Lit Only By Fire, the Middle Ages was a time when “literacy was scorned” and Holy Roman Emperors themselves would respond to a correction of their Latin as being ‘above grammar.’ It was a time when the “devout scorned reason…Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153), the most influential Christian of his time, bore a deep distrust of the intellect and declared that the pursuit of knowledge, unless sanctified by a holy mission, was a pagan act and therefore vile.”

Anyone else beginning to question whether the whole Trivium and Quadrivium hype is just a narrative manufactured by someone wanting to hide the clear connections to cybernetic psychological theory and systems thinking? Then the narrative gets repeated until it seems true. Back to Manchester, who pointed out that “there was no room in the medieval mind for doubt, the possibility of skepticism simply did not exist.” He also pointed out “medieval man’s total lack of ego. Even those with creative powers had no sense of self” and “an almost total indifference to privacy. In summertime peasants went about naked.” Aren’t we glad this post is written and not a multimedia presentation? See why I am so suspicious we have yet another false narrative.

The “rediscovery of Aristotelian learning–in dialectic, logic, natural science, and metaphysics” did happen during the 1198-1216 pontificate of Innocent III. It was “synthesized with traditional Church doctrine,” beginning a shattering process known in Italy as the Rinascimento. I bet we are all more familiar with the French term. There is no question that Dorothy Sayers hyped the medieval mind and going back to her essay I think she was making ahistorical assertions looking for a remedy via education against the just lived through horrors of World War II. Under the heading “Unarmed and Unequipped,” she wrote this:

“For we let our young men and women go out unarmed in a day when armor was never so necessary. By teaching them to read, we have left them at the mercy of the printed word. By the invention of the film and the radio, we have made certain that no aversion to reading shall secure them from the incessant battery of words, words, words. They do not know what the words mean; they do not know how to ward them off or blunt their edge or fling them back; they are a prey to words in their emotions instead of being the masters of them in their intellects. We who were scandalized in 1940 when men were sent to fight armored tanks with rifles, are not scandalized when young men and women are sent into the world to fight mass propaganda with a smattering of ‘subjects’; and when whole classes and whole nations become hypnotized by the arts of the spellbinder, we have the impudence to be astonished.

We dole out lip-service to the importance of education–lip-service and, just occasionally, a little grant of money; we postpone the school leaving-age, and plan to build bigger and better schools; the teachers slave conscientiously in and out of school hours, till responsibility becomes a burden and a nightmare; and yet, as I believe, all this devoted effort is largely frustrated, because we have lost the tools of learning, and in their absence can only make a botched and piecemeal effort of it.”

Can’t you still hear the anguish decades later? Sayers thought she had a very good reason for using education to mandate a worldview.

Maybe she did. Our problem is that so many now have the same intentions, but obscure the real new purpose and focus of education behind terms we believe still have their dictionary meanings.

Dragging this documented reality into the sunlight should not result in cries of Balderdash.

Bringing Every Thought Captive So that Panglossian Visions Appear Real or Achievable

In the early days of this blog we covered psychologist Urie Bronfenbrenners’ Ecological Systems Theory (BEST) and the fact that he acknowledged that all those nesting ‘systems’ starting with the individual was simply a metaphor. Unfortunately when BEST is taught now to teachers or K-12 students it is treated as a description of the world as it is and more importantly, should be. Maybe it was that admission that started my worrying about the implications of students unable to recognize the Inapt Metaphor or False Guiding Principles or Core Concepts. When I read though that Christian Classical Education intended to be Ideas-First instead of fact-based, I was alarmed and decided to investigate further. Not because I am against that kind of education, but because I believe all parents and students have a right to know when their mental models at a neurological level are being manipulated via the classroom or digital learning.

Dr Pangloss, for anyone who skipped over reading Candide in college, had a naively optimistic view of the world and what might be. My fact-based knowledge of history and the enduring consistency of human nature under an amazing variety of situations through the ages tells me that deliberately cultivating Panglossian visions “through which to understand the world and imagine how one could be” is a dangerous thing. That latter quote was from a then Yale Law Prof who has now moved on to Harvard and is connected to their Berkman Center for Society and the Internet. A wonderful position in other words to use digital learning to target students’ mental models of how the world works. That’s precisely what Yochai Benkler’s The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom does and it is the source Coding for All and Connected Coding were relying on when they wrote: “In this book, we have viewed teaching and learning computer coding as being wrapped in theories of mind, community, and culture.”

The fact that these to-be-required ‘computer science’ or digital learning initiatives we have covered in the last two posts are grounded in theories and not fact (and Marxist political theories at that) is generally not disclosed. The fact that these theories are very useful for anyone desiring Social Reconstruction of the Real World is also not generally mentioned. The fact that the World Bank in its Annual Meeting in October 2015 in Lima, Peru stated its determination to target Mental Models as its new global emphasis on development and cited the Mind, Society, and Behavior program at Harvard’s Ed School and Cass Sunstein’s Nudging and Behavioral Insights work at that same law school that Benkler is now at should be remembered as well. Cambridge along the Charles, in other words, is a very good place to be to plan theories and a means to gain implementation for:

“This new practical individual freedom, made feasible by the digital environment, is at the root of the improvements I describe here for political participation, for justice and human development, for the creation of a more critical culture, and for the emergence of the networked individual as a more fluid member of the community.”

Gives a whole new meaning, doesn’t it, to where ‘computational participation,’ as Coding for All turned out to entail, is actually going? Beckler wanted to “enable us to look at the world as potential participants in discourse, rather than potential viewers only.” Since I have the book and recognized an Amartya Sen Development as Freedom/ Capability Theory influence in Beckler insisting that “what matters is the extent to which a particular configuration of material, social, and institutional conditions allows the individual to be the author of his own life,” Beckler does in fact cite Sen as the source of his inspiration later in the book. Where, oh where, is the K-12, college, law, or public policy student supposed to understand all these pushed practices are simply grounded in theories hoping to change the perception of the world as it is? Will they even have heard of Pangloss if Making Caring Common becomes the basis for their very admission ticket?

Also going on in Cambridge (covered in a previous post) with the involvement of both MIT and Harvard, the State of Massachusetts, UNESCO, the OECD, the World Bank, and others is the Center for Curriculum Redesign under Charles Fadel. CCR recently published the “overarching purpose for education in society” and it is straight out of Sen’s global work again. Does this sound Panglossian to anyone else?

“In the ideal case, all the individuals within each society (and the global society) have their physiological, safety, belonging, esteem, self-actualization, and self-transcendence needs met, and the society itself is thriving and meeting all of its needs, with each level enhancing the others.”

Oh, dear. That sounds like CCR is building its Theory of the Competencies Learners Need to Succeed around Urie’s BEST theory being true. Behavioral Science 101 I suppose: false beliefs that are created to drive future behavior in desired ways are theoretically true, even though they are factually false. Speaking of Panglossian and theoretically true but factually false, we had the announcement of the New Citizenship Project this past week to shift the dominant idea of the role of the individual in society. https://issuu.com/newcitizenshipproject/docs/ncp_report/1 It too fits in fully with everything this reenvisioning of education is pushing to implement in reality, with deceitful and false explanations for why. Does a push for ‘computational participation’ as the new focus for the classroom make more sense if one wishes to shift “the idea of the citizen can be understood almost entirely as the societal manifestation of digital technology”?

Does the invisible targeting of Mental Models, both unconscious and deliberative, make far more sense if there is also to be an organized attempt to sell “a deep shift in our conception of human nature”? Won’t an Ideas-First curriculum and Activities focus come in handy? If a student fails to recognize just how thoroughly what he or she has internalized as values, beliefs, attitudes, motivating ideas, guiding principles and themes has been thoroughly manipulated by political power and educators, then they are primed to believe:

“at its core, the promise of the internet is something much greater: a many-to-many, not just a one-to-many society, in which we can all play a part not just in choosing between the options offered to us, but in shaping them.”

Perfect priming for anyone with the Marxist goals of transforming the world as it currently exists. Without a body of facts, how is a student to reject being told:

“As Citizens, we are not entirely separate from one another as completely independent individuals, but as fundamentally rooted in and interdependent with one another. But this is not a moral statement of what ought to be; it is simply a new understanding of what is, now available to us to act on.”

I bolded that last because that’s how these theories get implemented even though factually untrue or just a statement of desired morality for future conduct. Now we are going to come back to the admissions in the title that were made in the book Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning: An Approach to Distinctively Christian Education. Anyone who ever saw the old detective show Dragnet can think of the music and the episode ending with this admission as “these aspirations are all true. Only the ‘lenses’ change. Those remain consistent with how particular groups of Transformationalists wish the actual world to be perceived.” Here is author Douglas Wilson: “teaching students to think in terms of a fixed reference point is not the same thing as indoctrination…We cannot bring every thought captive by allowing some thoughts to aspire to autonomy.”

Again, Classical Christian Education as conceived and explained by Douglas Wilson simply gave me a wonderfully succinct quote on the goals of Ideas-Driven, neurologically embedded, education, which seeks to specify what a student internalizes as their guiding and motivating models of the world, how it works, and how it might change. The fixed reference point could be Amy Gutman’s Democracy, John Dewey’s Democratic Humanism, Ervin Laszlo’s Systems Thinking, or Uncle Karl’s Human Development Society. Here it is explicitly religious in doctrine. I think we can always make a case though that prescribing the internalized neural web is ALWAYS intended to be religious in how it guides and motivates likely future behavior.

Substitute then other reference points or lenses into what I am quoting:

“God is the Light in which we see and understand everything else…Christian education must therefore present all subjects as an integrated whole with the Scriptures at the center.”

Fascinatingly quoting the Marxist “French existentialist philosopher Sartre understood this when he said that without an infinite reference point, all finite points are absurd.” That’s ironic as I have read plenty of political theories that would put their desired Ideology, internalized via education, as functioning precisely in the way Wilson wants Christ or Scriptures to function. Since I have never encountered a more explicit and quotable explanation of what I shorthand as Cybernetics, here we go.

“We are not to limit the light of Christ to our understanding of Christ. We must understand the world in the light of Christ…every fact, every truth, must be understood in that light…The Bible…does provide a framework for understanding these so-called ‘secular’ subjects…If religion is excluded from our study, every process of thought will be arrested before it reaches its proper goal. The structure of thought must remain a truncated cone, with its proper apex lacking. The Christian educator’s job is not to require the students to spend all their time gazing at the sun. Rather, we want them to examine everything else in the light the sun provides.”

I bolded proper apex because again the nature of the desired guiding and motivating concepts and principles varies between Christian Reconstructionists, which is where Wilson places himself, and the political Reconstructionists with a Marxist Humanist secular orientation, which is who I cited elsewhere in this post. The desire to structure thought does not vary though, unfortunately. Neither does the desire to be the provider of the lenses through which experiences get interpreted. I have written about educator Michael Fullan and how his Transdisciplinary vision is now CCR’s and UNESCO’s push globally. Yet it fits fully with how Wilson wanted subjects to be seen and used as well. Only the lenses change.

“Without God, particulars have no relationship to other particulars. Each subject has no relationship to any other subject. Christian educators must reject this understanding of the universe as a multiverse; the world is more than an infinite array of absurd ‘facts’. The fragmentation of knowledge must therefore be avoided.”

Now does anyone fail to appreciate how this vision would adore K-12 education that is suddenly mandated by federal law to be about cultivating and assessing annually for all students’ Higher Order Thinking Skills and Understanding?

Suddenly it’s not just Lauren Resnick and other education profs wanting to check to see if the interpretive lenses ‘Transfer’ to new untaught subjects or wicked scenarios where there is no single correct answer.

Next-Generation Shop Class: the Undisclosed Merger of Mind and Hand Touted as Coding for All

For anyone with a marketing or PR background who is quite aware it is all about the sales pitch, it still may come as a surprise that the much vaunted, recent, $4 billion computer science for all initiative, could be tied to the phrase–’Next-Generation Shop Class’. The nice thing about accurately recognizing in the last post that this initiative, also hyped as Coding for All, was actually about Visual Programming Languages is that we can now track admissions like it’s to be a “shift from learning code as an individualistic endeavor to learning it as a social enterprise.” Another useful quote for gaining an insight into why this educational shift is such a high priority now is that “learning to code” is actually to be a means of “computational participation” and thus a “model for students who wish to create a more collaborative and open society.”

Connected Code: Why Children Need to Learn Programming was published in 2014 with Mitchel Resnick from the last post writing the Foreword. It is such a blueprint document for the whys of this expensive initiative that it is also part of the MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning. Officially sanctioned by the Powers-that-Be in other words although I do not think there will be any lucrative Genius Award for recognizing the meaning of Coding for All even though I am showing Grit and Perseverence in my research. That’s a sarcastic allusion to Angela Duckworth’s Vygotskyian inspired research that won their Genius Grant last year and is now being built into a National Growth Mindset study the White House and her Character Lab are involved with. Coding for All is also directly tied into the Maker Movement (mold the digital with the tangible),  the White House Behavioral Sciences Team, and these new models for high school reform like High Tech High or what Laurene Powell Jobs is pushing as Project XQ.

Not trotting down any of those other pathways today, but once again we have multiple gears pulling in a common direction and it is always a mistake not to point out those adjacent interlocking and necessary gears. I have also talked in recent posts about why an Ideas first curriculum can be problemmatic, especially at a foundational level. Try to control your shock that ultimately Coding for All also has aspirations to institute a ‘communal practice’ in the classroom where students Learn by Doing (literally in the John Dewey sense we met before, especially in Chapter 2 of my book) “about the cultural and social nature of human behavior through the concepts, practices, and perspectives of computer science.” That’s my bolding. Alert readers with science or AI backgrounds will easily grasp that those ‘concepts, practices, and perspectives’ may not actually be pertinent to accurately understanding human behavior.

That’s the beauty though of training students to ‘act like a expert’ by providing the desired Guiding Ideas, Concepts, Principles, Techniques, and then asking students to apply them in a provided task. They won’t know it’s an Inapt Metaphor for a given situation. They will not get the danger of analogizing via regular practice physical bodily systems like hearts and lungs or designed systems like computer code and software with people and human systems generally like an economy or a city. That’s a real danger in training students to be comfortable again with “the concrete as a mode of thinking and a form of digital production.” They will have zero ability to realize that it is now they who are being neurologically programmed to meet the demands of Big Business and Want-to-Be Social and Political Planners. In one of those quotes that can only happen if you read the entire book and the authors have gotten comfortable in the non-repulsiveness of what they are pushing we find the Maker Movement and Coding for All:

“supporting a culture where members ask for permission before they move forward with new ideas.”

No wonder Big Business is enthused. I really did write ‘No, Thanks’ in the margin, but parents who still assume Coding for All is about algorithmic-based individualist mental acts will get no such chance. Nor will they be told that Coding for All “acts as a community of practice, bringing in new members who grow to understand the prevailing rules of the group.” Comrade Practice to go Along with the Herd Effect seems so much more accurate now than Computing for All. How about “facilitates a better baseline understanding of the nature of systems”? See above critique, but again No. No. No. Connected Code wants to get beyond “code being understood as a proprietary commodity” so that “remix” of existing code and images can become “the essential lens by which individuals participate socially and economically within an increasingly global society.”

Well if it’s not proprietary and we now are to ask permission before we move forward with new ideas, all those existing computer patents owned by the same megacompanies pushing much of this in education just got lots more valuable and secure. Not as cynical as me? It should bother us a great deal that on the same page where John Dewey is quoted at length celebrating the widespread return of his desired Learning by Doing and his desire to make school a “more practical experience for children.” Why is that so important beyond the tendency to never notice the Total Immersion in Inapt Analogy Training? Here’s Dewey:

“the social and educational theories and conceptions must be developed with definite reference to the needs and issues which mark and divide our domestic, economic, and political life in the generation of which we are a part.”

Ackwardly worded, but we can see how much easier that will be if school has taught students that all those areas of human coordination are actually ‘systems’ that were ‘designed’ and can now be reengineered. Usefully that same quote is on a page talking about Seymour Papert and his dream of the reconstruction tool the computer might come to be–”For Papert, the computer provided the materials, situations, and experiences that allow learners to connect to the real world.” Maybe we should rephrase that as “the real world it would be useful to have students imagine” so that they will be keen to act to change it. Just like they practiced successfully in virtual reality. What could go wrong?

The hyped idea in this Next Generation Shop Class that really is a phrase touted in the book is to shift computers from ‘Objects-to-Think-With’ to ‘Objects-to-Share-With that Connect to Others’. This is of course a different way of organizing planning and problem-solving than the previous text-driven individualist acts of logic. Only quoting will pull together the flavor of what will in fact be hidden behind initiatives like Coding for All or integrating CTE into academics for all students. There is a footnote in the middle of what is being quoted. I looked for the cited book and discovered it was $250 used now so then I located the cited supporting article here. https://ccl.northwestern.edu/papers/concrete/

Remember how nerdy that theory we kept encountering of Ascending from the Abstract to the Concrete sounded and how we traced it back to the USSR and a philosophy called the New Dialectics (Evald Ilyenkov tag)? Think of this quote as concretizing that theory at last.

“Learning by connecting knowledge [Core Ideas, UbD, Cross-Cutting Concepts and Themes, etc.] and relationships [new 3 Rs tag] also highlights other distinctions that society has drawn between critical thinking (traditionally understood as conceptually and linguistic based) and physical making (goal-based material work). In providing opportunities to concretize knowledge by creating material objects that embody ideas, we highlight ways that two modes of engagement with the world (that are usually held separate) can be reconnected. By encouraging the externalization of knowledge [journals, show your work, count wrong if solved correctly without explanation], we promote seeing the knowledge object as a distinct ‘other’ with which we can enter a relationship that consists of questions that makers ask themselves about how the external object connects to other bodies of knowledge.

Understanding the boundaries and values that have been associated with such forms of engagement is critical to understanding who and how learners can connect with them.”

No incentive there to manipulate virtual reality or which ideas are deemed to be Core or Essential in having that as the priority for the 21st Century Classroom. I am going to switch myself to something far more tangible and financial to help us grasp precisely how these educational shifts matter. People monitoring the federal Department of Education or even local school boards would simply never think to monitor the Office of the Director of National Intelligence for research into the neuroscience implications of these initiatives. Yet that is precisely where this White House has tucked “several applied research programs that use multidisciplinary approaches to advance our understanding of cognition and computation in the brain.”

I am not sure we are supposed to be participants in that ‘our,’ but I have gotten rather good at accurately tracking into places where known outsiders are unlikely to be welcome. Since we are already interlopers into this initiative, we might as well appreciate precisely how it relates to Coding for All, Big Ideas, and the Maker Movement generally.

“programs to be executed in FY15 include: the Knowledge Representation in Neural Systems (KRNS) program, which seeks insights into the brain’s representation of conceptual knowledge; the Strengthening Human Adaptive Reasoning and Problem-solving (SHARP) program, which will develop non-invasive neural interventions for optimizing reasoning and problem-solving; and the Machine Intelligence from Cortical Networks (MICrONS) program, which will reverse-engineer the algorithms of the brain to revolutionize machine learning.”

No wonder we keep having Continuing Resolution Budget Deals no one gets a chance to read. So what seems like Robin’s nerdiness and petulance in worrying about any Ideas First education no matter how glorious the descriptive title, actually turns out to be the current subject of federally-funded research to see what effect such social reengineering can have on the student’s physical brain.

Just be glad this blog has no visual images and still relies on text-based explanations and Apt Metaphors. I am never going to be able to extinguish the images of the scalp-attached electrodes being used in that research.

What happens when innocuous seeming phrases like the Common Core, Coding for All, and Competency obscure a real agenda where governments seek “to map the circuits of the brain, measure the fluctuating patterns of electrical and chemical activity flowing within these circuits, and understand how their interplay creates our unique cognitive and behavioral capabilities”?

Could we get even a pinky promise from politicians that none of that research will be used to diminish those very capabilities?

After all, as my book Credentialed to Destroy explained in detail, that was the real reason for the federal initiatives to change reading, math, and science instruction.

Did I mention that Connected Code concludes by saying that “K-12 educational computing can take the road that K-12 language arts, mathematics, and science education took long ago.”

It’s not about how to teach reading, math, science, or coding. It’s about the threat of the logical, fact-filled individual mind.

What a superb reason to be seen as threatening. Let’s keep it up for us and our children.


 

Pitching Personality Predation But Redefining It as Student Success, Achievement, and Learning

Nothing like a little mental break to help clear out the cobwebs and blow away the fog impeding clarity of thought. As is typical for me when I recognize the connectedness of initiatives that have been announced since my last post, I went back to my bookshelf for a little perspective. In this case it was to a short story Ayn Rand published in 1970 called “The Comprachicos,” where she wrote about the effects of the progressive education in the 60s grounded in John Dewey’s philosophies. This was education designed to cripple the mind and undermine its ability to accurately deal with reality. Sound familiar? Rand created a superb metaphor for what this type of Competency/Ideas first, instead of facts, education could do to the mind of a high school graduate by comparing it to the faculty of sight.

“Try to project what you would feel if your eyesight were damaged in such a way that you were left with nothing but peripheral vision. You would sense vague, unidentifiable shapes floating around you, which would vanish when you tried to focus on them, then would reappear on the periphery and swim and switch and multiply.”

Now that is a good example except this type of manipulation of Ideas, beliefs, values, and emotions starts in preschool now so there would be no memory of any other way to see. Peripheral vision would become each student’s idea of what it meant to “see”. Likewise, a mind taught to use ideas first to filter experiences is being trained “to use concepts, but he uses concepts by a child’s perceptual method. He uses them as concretes, as the immediately given.” [Italics in original]

It is a bit unnerving, isn’t it, to know that Rand was worried about where the behavioral sciences wanted to go with the mind even back in 1970? She even had a term for it–the student’s “psycho-epistemology.” So our student would be trained to use words and concepts like a parrot and believe they had ‘understanding’. To be willing to transfer those ideas and concepts to new situations where an expert would know their use was inappropriate–the Inapt Analogy we can call it. Without facts though, the student will not.

In the Trilogy I just finished I argued that it appears to me to be a consensus about what education should be in the future and that politicians and think tanks from the so-called Right and Left, admittedly Progressive or declaratively conservative or “for limited government and markets,” seem to be describing a common vision. That vision again takes us back to John Dewey as Steven Rockefeller described his vision of Democratic Humanism. It would act as a religious faith best implemented through the schools and other social institutions. So when someone pitches education grounded in Conceptual Understandings, Guiding Ideas, Cross-Cutting Themes and Concepts, or other ways to describe the same general instructional practice, remember why John Dewey wanted this technique to become the core of education. This is true even if the pitch person insists this technique is actually a form of classical education or intended to mold character in desirable ways.

Dewey “proposes that ideas are guides to action in concrete problemmatic situations, that is, ‘plans of operations to be performed or already performed.’” The antipathy we have found towards lectures and textbooks makes far more sense as we switch to education where “ideas are not correctly conceived as reproductions of what already exists, but as plans of something to be done and anticipations of some result to follow. They are tools, instrumentalities.” Fits with the Maker Movement and Project-Based Learning now, doesn’t it? Especially when we add on this quote: “The validity or truth of an idea can only be determined empirically by putting the idea to use and observing the consequences of the actions to which the idea leads.”

Remember all the current emphasis on relevance and real world problems? Evidence-based policy making using data? In Dewey’s vision for an education that can lead to a reconstruction of society, emphasizing moral issues plays a crucial role. Students are expected to regularly identify “the causes of moral and social problems in concrete situations and on framing ideals with reference to the available means for overcoming such problems.” So ideals need to be connected to real world action. Otherwise, “ideals that are framed apart from the study of problems and possibilities in concrete situations are dreams, wish-fantasies, and useless as instrumentalities in directing practical affairs.” Anyone unclear as to why the new federal Every Student Succeeds Act requires not tests per se, but that states use performance assessments that involve activities and tasks to see if the stipulated learning is occurring can simply reread those two sentences.

If it’s not action-oriented it may not guide or motivate future behavior. Likewise, if school is merely intellectual, the desired future behaviors may not occur. Social and emotional learning, whatever the given rationale, a Whole Child emphasis, Head, Heart, and Hand, as well as soft skills, are all consistent with what Dewey also recognized–the Role of the Heart in Moral Life. That way “prizing and appraising unite in the direction of action.” Dewey and every other progressive since culminating now in where Deeper Learning (pushed by the Hewlett Foundation as part of 21st Century Learning) is going recognizes that “Reason divorced from emotional involvement has no moving power.” Can you say student engagement as a necessary 21st century classroom practice to be an effective teacher?

Dewey’s conception of education and learning fits perfectly with what ESSA now requires and Competency education generally. It fits with the kind of effectiveness that will get a school charter renewed and allow a CMO (Charter Management Company) to expand. It fits with what will make online learning an example of Best Practices for Student Growth. In none of these instances though is the Learning about the transmission of knowledge in a traditional sense. No, it’s about what kind of person the classroom activities are helping to create. “Growth means reinforcing those habits that contribute to human well-being and reconstructing those habits that do not.” Since none of us can even get an honest answer from most of the advocates for the Common Core as well as against it as to what they really envision for 21st century education, do not expect to be the arbiter of what constitutes your own or your child’s well-being.

For Dewey then and for any school or other education provider wanting access to taxpayer money now (federal, state, or local), “learning means an increased perception of the meaning of things that leads to a modification of character (i.e., of basic dispositions and attitudes). In short, growing and learning involve the reconstruction and transformation of the self leading to an improved capacity of the self to adjust to its environment and to control and direct subsequent experience.

The concept of habit is the fundamental idea in Dewey’s psychology of the development of the self or character. Dewey insists that the self is essentially identical with its active interests, purposes, and choices. There is no self apart from these activities. The core of the self is formed and defined by the concrete things about which it cares and by the choices it makes in pursuit of these things.”

Guess what? If, like me, you are an expert on the actual implementation it is easy to read that biography of Dewey and recognize the actual current significance. For those of you with more of a life than I have managed since I started researching and writing on all this, first of all I congratulate you. Secondly, let me call everyone’s attention to two examples in just the past week quietly putting Dewey’s vision into widespread effect without even using his name.

First, many of the elite institutions of higher education have joined together to redefine what they intend to look for in an admitted student. The initiative is called Making Caring Common and it looks for non-minority students for whom acting on behalf of others and for the common good and to transform existing institutions and local environments has been shown to be a way of life. http://www.gse.harvard.edu/news/16/01/turning-tide-inspiring-concern-others-and-common-good-through-college-admissions

How’s that for an effective means to change the behaviors and practices at every high school with aspirations of of Ivy League admissions? Anyone reading that report can recognize it will result in a change in emphasis to what Dewey wanted for the schools. The creation of a “free person who is able to form his or her purposes intelligently, evaluating desires and goals by the consequences which will result from acting on them, and one who is able to select and order the means necessary to realize chosen ends.”

A similar end result comes from this paper http://asiasociety.org/files/A_Rosetta_Stone_for_Noncognitive_Skills.pdf except it admits it wants to restructure the emphasis in primary and secondary schools. The omnipresent rationale, as usual, is that this personality and psychological emphasis is necessary for future success in college, career, and life. The real reason, as is true of anything emanating from a Rockefeller-funded philanthropy like the Asia Society, is to advance the vision of the future Dewey called Democratic Humanism and others call Marxist Humanism. As Dewey, Ayn Rand, and Uncle Karl all knew and we need to recognize to protect ourselves and our children, collectivists need to target the emotions and personality to realize their plans for us.

Why? Dewey insisted that “unrest, impatience, irritation, and hurry that are so marked in life are inevitable accompaniments of a situation in which individuals do not find support and contentment in the fact that they are sustaining and sustained members of a social whole.” That’s what education that targets the personality and forces regular practices of altruism and actions grounded in provided ideas can all be manipulated to do. That’s why we have such a coordinated push now.

We have a sustained push from the Left and the Right, from the religious and atheists, from the global bureaucrat or ex-politician to the local mayor or city council member. All pushing practices that, whatever their personal beliefs and expectations in advocating for them, were nevertheless developed to “generate the sense of shared values and organic interconnection needed to harmonize society and to integrate and set free the personalities of contemporary men and women.”

If terms like Marxist Humanism seem off-putting, let’s just translate it as Dewey and his biographer Steven Rockefeller did and ask “Can a material, industrial civilization be converted into a distinctive agency for liberating the minds and refining the emotions of all who take part in it?” If a politician claims to want Quality Education for All Students, you might want to inform him or her as to what that actually entails.

When I get upset about the 2014 Bipartisan and Bicameral piece of federal legislation known as WIOA that all the candidates running for President who are US Senators voted for, it is because it fits perfectly with Dewey’s insistence that a planned economy would be needed for democratic socialism to be achieved and it was best implemented at the local level. After all, what is WIOA but legislation with the effect of controlling the ends of education as well as allowing for “social control of industry and the use of government agencies for constructive social ends” just as Dewey sought.

Let me close by pointing out that those of us not employed by the public sector or businesses getting taxpayer dollars are unlikely to find any of these desired ends particularly constructive.