Meaningful Learning or Internalized Hammer and Sickle Style Habits of Mind and Behaviors?

Let’s go back to that Herbert Marcuse book from the last post. In making a point about a desired new Soviet rationality Marcuse stressed that if certain ‘attitudes and behaviors’ can be successfully internalized, they will provide unconscious “pragmatic directives for action.” That effect has nothing to do with physical geography. Instilling desired habits of mind and practiced behaviors would have the same effect in the West as was recognized in this old post where Soviet psychologist Leontiev called it the Great Experiment. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/imitating-the-ussr-in-striving-to-discover-how-the-child-can-become-what-he-not-yet-is/ Funny how no one told us about the Great Experiment being conducted on us starting in the 60s with our tax money and education facilities, but filter everything I described in Chapter 6 of my book through that open admission.

I think the “Nation’s Report Card,”–the National Assessment of Educational Progress or NAEP–was always intended to monitor the progress of the Great Experiment. I think that is why the Carnegie Corporation began to finance the development of NAEP back around 1964. Before we talk about the poorly understood, designed always to manipulate, NAEP, let’s get back to the why. Here’s what Marcuse and others believe: obviously false statements about the present do not matter because if people can be made to believe them anyway, they can still become those desired attitudes and habits of mind. People can then be counted on to reliably act in a way so that the “historical process in which the commanded political practice [in the West this gets hidden mostly invisibly in education objectives and little-disclosed mandates like the now omnipresent Positive School Climate] will bring about the desired facts.” (italics in original)

Now if someone actually wants to believe that current reality and the facts about what works is in the way of a desired transformation, it is no wonder we now have education where facts and right answers are to be minimized and concepts and ideas emphasized instead. Sure sounds to me like what Marcuse said was practicing with “the original content of Marxian theory as a truth that must be believed and enacted against all evidence to the contrary [exactly like President Obama and the UN now on Climate Change]: the people must do and feel and think as if their state were the reality of that reason, freedom, and justice which the ideology proclaims, and the ritual is to assure such behavior.” Until it becomes an internalized habit of mind practiced from preschool to high school in an active, engagement-oriented new kind of educational emphasis?

Let’s shift back to the Breakpoint and Beyond book from the last post because it made a similar point. A new kind of society was possible if people could learn the “art of changing one’s mind…After we have put together a new frame of mind, we then rebuild our society by reinventing our organizations.” Without a solid base of historical knowledge, how many people will be aware that we are trying to redesign social institutions around theories? That’s how we get lots of people willing and primed to act with an inability to comprehend the foreseeable consequences. It’s where we are now because none of these pursuits is new as we will see. We have been creating educational objectives around a desire to “devise the means to change our minds about what is real: from a belief in the limits of a rational, past-driven world to belief in the limitless potential of a creative world.”

No one asked us, did they, before embarking on this Bipartisan vision of Creativity, Connecting, and Future Pull? Do the politicians and their all too important staffers actually know why we are now pushing education where the “processes shift from logical and straightforward to innovative and discontinuous. The basic human strategy moves from ‘solving problems,’ by attacking them piecemeal and getting back to normal, to formulating broad and original opportunities. [Maybe by using that appointed regional planning commission so that its edicts are binding and there is no one essentially to complain to]. Attitudes shift from finding and applying the ‘right,’ tried-and-true, traditional answers to energizing the production of unique advances: major breaks with the past. The system moves to creating the impossible [or at least trying while the architects of all this are well-paid with taxpayer funds or foundation grants]; not just doing things differently, but doing different things.”

When NAEP was first being created from 1964 to 1968, Ralph Tyler chaired its development committee. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/is-common-core-a-catalyst-to-dramatically-alter-system/ reminds us of why that matters so much. The 1970 “What is National Assessment?” report made it clear that NAEP’s ultimate goal “is the measurement of change (progress) in knowledges, skills, understandings, and attitudes as they relate to meaningful education objectives.” The emphasis is on “objectives rather than content.” In a 1972 paper “National Assessment: Measuring American Education” Ralph Tyler was interviewed and he made it crystal clear that NAEP was about “helping schools get rid of the right-answer syndrome and replace it with learning how to learn.”

I am the one pointing out that this statement fits with what Marcuse laid out as well as the creative mindset amenable to change that the Breakpoint book had in mind. Tyler stated that the NAEP is not a test. “They are exercises that children, youth and young people are given” that show the “public both what children are learning and how many are learning each thing.” The exercises sought to remove any middle class bias and “attempt to measure the youngsters’ thought processes or their ability to perform [behave] in some way.” Making my point that standards are ‘goals’ and are not about content as traditionally understood, Tyler revealed forthrightly back in 1972 that “the objectives or goals represent a kind of standard which is considered desirable to achieve. The exercises, if they are good measures, tell to what extent the goals are being achieved. This approach tells very specifically what a person knows or can do.”

For anyone unfamiliar with Tyler, he was every bit as much an advocate of transformational collectivism as John Dewey or anyone else we have looked at. From looking at the NAEP reports from that 1970 one coming forward, I do believe that the Washington Sunday Star warning that “What the Kinsey Report was to American sex, the National Assessment may be to American education” is an understatement. I could say something more here, but best not in case my mother or children ever read this post. NAEP was intended to radicalize American education and then monitor which groups were changing, by how much, and where. It was chilling then when this NAEP research pulled up a National Education Goals (NEG) Panel report from the March 3, 1993 meeting where then Education Secretary Lamar Alexander was presiding. Apparently Richard Riley had not yet been confirmed.

To bring us up to the present context, that would be the same Lamar Alexander who has now created the Bipartisan Every Child Achieves Act that we looked at in the last post and especially in the comments. It would also be the same Richard Riley who is now Vice Chair of the Carnegie Corporation that is also working with CCSSO in pushing Next Generation Learning and Competency-based education in addition to the Common Core. Back to 1993 though, the notes show now-Senator Alexander as wanting to get the accreditation agencies “engaged in the dialogue about standards.” He wanted a meeting set up between them and the NEG panel. He also reportedly waxed nostalgic about heading the National Governors Association and getting all the nation’s governors to work with him for the entire one year period from 1985-1986 on just the one subject of education.

He was proud of creating a way for Democratic and Republican governors to work together and was pleased that the NEG Panel was continuing the same tradition. The Senate’s Education Committee apparently continued the Bipartisan selling out of America by approving ECAA last week without dissent. Probably best then for those Senators to now remove the American flag from their lapels. They may not be aware of the Hammer and Sickle ancestry of what they are mandating, but that does not change the lineage of these ideas, practices, and objectives in the least. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/transcending-the-individual-mind-as-the-analytical-unit-of-learning-while-still-guiding-how-we-will-act/ is another good primer for a Congress that is forcing collectivist traditions whether they know it yet or not. We certainly do.

Back to that 1993 meeting because it still affects what is being sought now. It sought to “Establish a National Education Standards and Assessment Council (NESAC) to provide leadership and oversight to the development of national content and performance standards and an assessment system.” The Panel also wanted to “support the continued expansion of NAEP.” Think of NAEP as the enforcer for moving beyond “right-answer syndrome” to assessments that could get at how students think and what behaviors they are ready to perform. Now think of the language in ECAA about “aligned achievement standards” each state must develop to go with their mandated ‘content’ standards as being about what in 1993 was still being called ‘performance standards.’ Behavioral in orientation now and then. Two different terms for the same concept.

I forgot to tell you what sent me down this particular pathway, didn’t I? It was my conclusion that there was some type of connection among the New Standards Project that fits all that the 1993 panel wanted and commenced in 1996, performance standards, and what the NAEP is actually assessing for. Guess what? I was right. Guess what else? All of this ties to what was considered ‘meaningful learning’ in the 90s and in the New Paradigm for College and Career Readiness now.

Oh, and Every Child Achieves Act also ties to what used to be called Proficiency Standards for Reasoning. Because specifying that and then practicing until it’s a habit of mind would get us back to Marcuse’s vision wouldn’t it?

Next Time then we will continue.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

At least none of this is behind our backs.

 

Stealth Prescriptive Reframing Installs the Progressive Collectivist Vision Masked as Deferring to ‘Experts’

In the same way I could look at the vision laid out in the 1991 Learning Society paper from the last post and see the fundamental corners of what Marx and his followers called the Human Development Society, even before the writers mentioned that term without Uncle Karl’s name attached, this week there has been a series of connected reports taking us in the US and globally in the same direction. Education reform and the aims of social, economic, and political transformations always attached to it through the decades, turn out to be an awful lot like learning another language. Once we can speak it, no one needs to translate for us when we are looking at models or aims that seek to get to the same place. Different words or phrases for the same fundamental ideas simply get added to our glossary of understanding.

How many times have we heard that the schools must change in this or that manner because the ‘experts’ say so or in order to make our country ‘internationally competitive’. Going back to the 1991 paper, policymakers needed to address and redo the “evolving relationship between individual and collective needs” in order for us to be that Learning Society. In turn becoming a Learning Society was sold as necessary “in order to attain (or retain) their ability to participate successfully in the global economy.” That’s lots of fundamental shifting towards collectivism coming in and being sold surreptitiously as necessary steps to be competitive in a global economy. At least if the commands from the policymakers were to strip naked and parade in the public square as a group or stand on our head on the baseball field when our number is called, we could better notice where this is going and the utter loss of individual control.

See the Frameworks Institute is not the only one who can come up with a compelling metaphor and at least mine are more apt than blatantly manipulative.  http://frameworksinstitute.org/pubs/mm/ecs/toc.html is the link of where we are going but we need to pick up more confirmations first. A 1967 John Dewey lecture kindly laid out the definition of desired ‘learning’ to be malleable to the desired transformations. (This was before the 60s efforts described in Chapter 6 of my book ran aground). It remained the relevant definition of learning for the 1991 vision as well and it is still pertinent today. Now it tends to be sold as students having a Growth Mindset with Carol Dweck being cited as the ‘expert’ to defer to. Learning will “enable an adult to change his thought and action in response to the changes occurring around him.”

I hate to frame that desired mindset as being as spineless as a jellyfish and as flexible as an Olympic gymnast, but basically those are good metaphors for the kind of attitudes, values, and dispositions amenable to all these planned ‘progressive’ transformations. No need to inflame the public by mentioning Uncle Karl, the Deweyans call themselves progressive in their intentions and so does the Frameworks Institute. Repeatedly. Same for this recent global call to arms on making sharing and meeting human needs the new basis for the global economy.  http://www.sharing.org/sites/default/files/images/Common_Cause_WEB.pdf Must be focus groups somewhere saying ‘progressive’ is almost as cool as having a sleek sports car.

I want to go back to the dangers of this belief that we can simply use education and the ever compliant media to reframe how people perceive the world in order to make wholesale transformations palatable. Reframing allows radical changes to be invisibly put in place without most people being the wiser in time. This is from another famous progressivist education professor and psychologist, Jerome Bruner, who is famous enough to be the ‘expert’ to be deferred to as the reason changes in instruction, curriculum, and assessment must be made. This came from a 1962 book (my bolding so I can duly express appropriate outrage):

“Knowledge is a model we construct to give meaning and structure to regularities in experience. The organizing ideas of any body of knowledge are inventions for rendering experience economical and connected. We invent concepts such as force in physics, the bond in chemistry, motives in psychology, and style in literature as means to the end of comprehension.”

Professor Bruner, we did not invent the concepts of force in physics or bond in chemistry. We simply came up with an agreed upon term in English to describe an observed phenomenon. That phenomenon, and its cause and effect relationships, existed before we knew about them and regardless of what we named it. There is something objective going on that is not in fact ‘socially constructed’. It is a bit Lysenkoesque (see Chapter 3 of my book) and consistent with a desire for ideological thinking to pretend otherwise. Aptly illustrated and adequately explained all these terms do aid in comprehension, but where Professor Bruner wanted to go, and where the Frameworks Institute does go, is a push into using metaphors to enable false perceptions, incorrect interpretations, and inapt analogies. All without a body of facts to correct what is wrong with what is being provided.

“Reframing Education Using a Core Story Approach” with its tremendous support from cited well-known charitable foundations is worthy of Pravda in its declared intent to manipulate adult “internalized narratives” to create support for the type of education reforms that fit Dewey’s template or those laid out in the Learning Society report. “The goal is to produce a powerful story of education with built-in strategic subplots that can reorient and restructure how Americans think” certainly meets my personal definition of an explicit confession. Who gets to determine what Americans are to think beyond the personnel of all those foundations that pay no taxes while they advocate for collectivism for the rest of us? The report says it is “progressive educators and experts.” Like those educated by Professor Bruner or those seeking the next public or foundation grant, promotion, or consulting contract, and shilling as needed?

It’s not just education, climate change is another area where there is a conflict-ridden insistence that the public accept blindly the ‘framing’ that the ‘experts’ put forward. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/tethering-the-logical-rational-mind-via-k-12-education-to-emotionally-grounded-experience/ In both areas we find well-funded think tanks trying to determine how to alter “the dominant patterns of reasoning employed by the public” as if the US were now the Soviet Union and the think tanks had the role of Pravda. There is nothing quite like reading about a bolded “Gaps in Understanding between experts and ordinary Americans [those without Ed.D's or degrees in public policy, sociology or anthropology, for example]–features that bring into relief the specific locations where translation is needed if expert knowledge is to become accessible to the public in understanding and reasoning about assessment, learning spaces and times, disparities, and the goal of education.”

Now I have mentioned the omission of cites to Uncle Karl in these particular reports even though the Learning Society report does admit to using the concepts of sociology, anthropology, and work with primates as metaphors for what it seeks to experiment with. Theory in Practice and let’s see what happens. My point is that the social science concepts there and the repeated mentions of deferring to experts in these other reports bring in all the tenets of these notorious collectivist political theories and the psychological and cultural research that was carried on in the Soviet Union into our children’s classrooms.Without openly admitting that crucial fact.

What’s the real support? Deferring to expert ‘knowledge’ that is actually nothing but desired theories created to enable social, political, and economic transformations in the future. If our degreed experts do not know that, the creators of the theories trying to gain implementation as ‘expert knowledge to be deferred to’ were more than explicit about what they had in mind. How does that Deferral work beyond school boards being trained to lay down to the whims of the ‘professionals’ in charge of the school districts as schools? We get Frameworks providing “Redirections, research-based recommendations that comprise the Core Story of Education, and represent promising routes for improving public understanding of learning, education and education reform.”

Prevailing cultural models and patterns really are explicitly laid out as the “challenges that the prescriptive reframing research must address.” At least when you put on glasses or put in contacts, you know they are there and how and why your vision is being prescriptively reframed. That kind of open reframing is not what is being ‘prescribed.’ Hence my hauling out the terms stealth, surreptitious, and, honestly, outright deceit, as so many connected insiders (just read the list of who support the Frameworks Institute) seek to alter how “most American make sense of new information.” They could use the motto that Reframing is not just for students or the new AP History courses anymore. It’s apparently been deemed to be a matter of 21st Century citizenship.

I want to close with a couple of the ideological doozies sold as Gaps in Understanding that are non-compliant with what experts know. “Experts understand disparities [among individuals] as a collective concern–because equal opportunity is a moral imperative.” That’s not a matter of ‘knowledge’. It’s a matter of political preference pretending to be knowledge and ignoring the realities that created those disparities. Likewise, “for experts, learning is a process of interaction” is a euphemistic way to describe education under Uncle Karl’s political and social theories and the cultural models they have inspired. Being accurate would require admitting that under the theory of dialectical materialism, education needs to be a process of personal interaction with other people and the environment. That interaction, in turn, creates the desired changes, both internally within the mind and externally within the surrounding physical world, that may enable the desired broader transformations.

Being honest as usual would impede any chance of experimenting with the future on a massive scale involving most of our collective existence. So instead we are told deceitfully we must defer to the ‘experts’.

Who frequently know far less about what is actually meaningful than we ordinary Americans.

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* students are involved in planning their education.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not anymore.

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Tethering the Logical Rational Mind Via K-12 Education to Emotionally Grounded Experience

The language from the ESEA Rewrite on closing the achievement gaps between groups that objectively have had very different life experiences basically limits what can now go on in a K-12 classroom in any state or locality. Some local control, huh? Interestingly the only kind of education that will now suffice is precisely the same as what political and social transformationalists intent on social justice also want. It’s the same kind of K-12 education that members of the Chamber of Commerce also endorse since it makes genuine, shift the paradigm invention and technology far less likely.

To illustrate how once again all roads lead to the same place and how it does not benefit ordinary, non-politically connected, people at all, let me turn to an essay “Educating the Rainbow: Authentic Assessment and Authentic Practice for Diverse Classrooms” from a 1997 UK book Assessment for Equity and Inclusion: Embracing All Our Children. What that paper calls authentic assessment that is activity-based, group-oriented, real world problem-based, and designed to get at the motivating emotions, values, and attitudes that get hidden now in the phrase “high-quality” are called formative assessment or assessment for learning most often in 2015. Whatever the name, what’s the real purpose? That would be to create shared beliefs among all the participants in the classroom and eventually the school so that the students can also embrace shared meanings from interpreting their experiences and ultimately develop shared language to describe them.

Now won’t those things come in handy if the goal of K-12 education globally has shifted to “Introducing a new way to think, talk, and act”? http://www.thersa.org/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/1550609/The-Seven-Dimensions-of-Climate-Change.pdf came out last week on basically the same day that the President of the Rockefeller Foundation went to the RSA to speak about building Better, More Resilient Cities. Hmm, wouldn’t authentic or formative assessment then be helpful to the Rockefeller-funded Communication for Social Change they are pushing all charities to guide their funding by? Talk about tethering. That paper seeks to skip over the entire debate over whether 2014 was the hottest year on record and whether we are warming, cooling, or the physical climate is simply behaving like a ‘climate’. “Changing climate” must become what “social scientists call ‘a social fact’.”

The great thing about ‘social facts’ in sociology theory (which is after all a huge component of education theory and pedagogy in degree programs) is that they are designed to ultimately change us, from the inside-out. Hmm, just like authentic or formative assessments? Why yes and won’t those be so useful if people now need to have a “new sense of collective purpose that embraces the diverse elements of human experience–without new vocabulary and cultural currency that allows us to overcome climate fatigue, a social silence, and stealth denial.” Not to mention actual documentable facts about the reality of scientific principles that must now be excluded because such abstractions are not equally accessible to all people. Equity excludes what builds up the analytical and intellectually-oriented Left Hemisphere of the brain from acceptable classroom practices. Equity does, however, provide education with a means for developing shared beliefs, meanings, and language.

How convenient, huh? Especially with the Center for Research on Environmental Decisions (CRED) that is part of the Earth Institute at Columbia University (where so many of the authors listed in the above book are profs at the Teacher’s College) creating reports on how to frame climate communication so that it can “Speak to the Two Parts of the Brain.”  http://guide.cred.columbia.edu/pdfs/CREDguide_full-res.pdf   That’s, first of all, the Analytic Processing System that concerns about Equity, social justice, and civil rights now insists must be starved of everything but pre-approved,  politically useful ‘concepts’, Enduring Understandings [see tag], or disciplinary core ideas and cross-cutting issues. The second side, what Marshall McLuhan called the visual-aural, holistic Right Hemisphere, is referred to as the “Experiential Processing System.” Fascinating, huh, since “learning experiences” are now to be the focus of K-12 classrooms since only they meet the Equity Gateway that allows Success for All.

That “Psychology of Climate Change Communication” paper helpfully tells us what a Mental Model is. Since that’s precisely what Rigor and authentic or formative assessment is designed to shape and alter and what concerns over Equity and Opting Out of ‘tests’ are forcing on all students, lets quote the report:

“A mental model represents a person’s thought process for how something works (i.e., a person’s understanding of the surrounding world). Mental models, which are based on often-incomplete facts [especially in a K-12 world where lectures and textbooks are treated as inequitable], past experiences [which will now include experiences of virtual reality created as gaming for the very purpose of manipulating mental models. See Jane McGonigal tag], and even intuitive perceptions, help shape actions and behavior, influence what people pay attention to in complicated situations, and define how people approach and solve problems. Perhaps most important to climate change communicators, mental models serve as the framework into which people fit new information.”

That very mental model is precisely what so much of the K-12 classroom implementation described in my book Credentialed to Destroy is designed to influence and control. It’s also the focus of so much of the required emphasis on digital learning. Everything being pushed in K-12 education now tethers that Analytic Processing System and forces and then manipulates the Experiential Processing part of the student’s physical brain. Gives new meaning to “brain-based curriculum”, doesn’t it? To be effective on any issue targeted for transformational change or political control, communication (one of the 4Cs of 21st Century Learning) needs to “make use of the following experiential tools”:

“Vivid imagery, in the form of film footage, metaphors, personal accounts, real-world analogies, and concrete comparisons;

Messages designed to create, recall, and highlight relevant personal experience and to elicit an emotional response.”

We see the latter tool in the omnipresent journaling that seems to be a part of every class now, including math. The former tool is not just brought in through computer gaming and the Common Core’s media literacy and relevancy requirements, but also group-based Problem-Based Learning and the Maker Movement. After all that CRED paper explains “How to Tap into Group Identity to Create a Sense of Affiliation and Increase Cooperation.” Very useful if a New Way to Think, Talk, and Act has become the entire point of education and much of the focus of media outlets of all kinds.

In the last post I mentioned Antonio Gramsci’s famous March Through the Institutions as a way to describe the actual effect of what Congress seems prepared to mandate, but RSA actually came right out and called for new societal institutions. All the more reason then to have the law mandate the Orwellian “high-quality education” we covered in the last post. After all, RSA (like the Club of Rome and ValuesQuest in the January 11 post) views “democracy” as a “mechanism for making collective decisions” and the “web of legislation” and the the “comprehensive system of law” as methods for “meaningfully constraining …the global economic engine.” Boy, that was not on the Bar Exam back when I took it.

These new societal institutions created then by a web of legislation like that ESEA Rewrite or your local city council’s edicts will “not be designed to make an economic case, communicate scientific facts or win an argument.” I guess that explains why the Analytical Processing part of the human brain that can do those things well is being tethered and starved of the kind of facts K-12 education traditionally provided. Instead, the experiential, social and emotional learning focus fits with the desire for new societal institutions that “allow people to express and discuss their concerns, fears, dreams, and hopes for the future. They would embed scientific inquiry into the nature of the problem and how it could be solved, in more complex debates about how we should live in a climate-changed world. And in that way, they would likely offer fertile place to explore the links between Science and the other six dimensions of climate change.”

That’s the vision of the future the authentic assessment, student engagement, digital learning shifts in K-12 education are all preparing students for, without anyone trying to tether students to the actually existing physical reality or what works or never has. Students who have a craving for unicorn rides in this socially just future will have nothing to prompt them this is not a realistic goal. Those seven dimensions, by the way, that plan to alter the present reality, like it or not, are:

1. Science: Forging a new social contract

2. Law: Constraining extraction

3. Economy: Investing in the Future

4. Technology: Scaling up deep decarbonisation

5. Democracy: Escaping the governance trap

6. Culture: Breaking stealth denial

7. Behaviour: Overcoming stealth denial

How binding in every way that matters would be one way to describe that list. Now, as a well-read adult in my 50s I can tell that paper is a fantasy. Nothing, however, in the planned K-12 implementation would create that kind of “Danger, Will Robinson!!” prompt. In fact, K-12 education is deliberately priming the mind and personality to prompt just such an urge to plan and act as the Seven Dimensions paper laid out. CRED even came up with an additional paper called “Connecting to Climate” in December that appears both tied to the planned transformations of mental models from K-12 education as well as a cronyistic politically planned economy being sold as ecoAmerica.

Once again this post is a heads up about what social, economic, and political visions are tied to the K-12 transformations everyone with any power is forcing on our children. This is not just about education, but education as a means for broader transformations. It is intended to affect all of us, whether we have children or not, and whatever our ages.

It needs to be on everyone’s radar screen where ever we live. Because no one in education administration is being honest in my experience and we are not likely to be among the cronies invited to an RSA program or an ecoAmerica annual invitation-only summit.

Thank goodness we can still read and our Analytic Processing Systems remain tethered to facts and likely actual consequences.

Bogus Excuses to Always Hype What Extinguishes or Controls the Analytical, Rational Mind

In the ancient world, if all roads did in fact lead to Rome, it would not be much of a stretch to decide that Rome was the place where those who took the time and expense to travel likely needed to go to. Likewise, if every K-12 education reform that I know is part of the mandatory classroom vision has the same actual or intended effect on the human mind and a student’s personality, we can conclude that the global transformationalists we met in the first two posts of this trilogy need a certain mindset for their success. In fact, I considered naming this post “Becoming a Plant” after the video game Reach for the Sun where students will be “challenged to ‘become a plant’ and balance resources like starch and water. “Extend your roots, sprout leaves, and make your flowers bloom before winter hits.’”

Now if I had described that “learning activity” before Christmas and linked it to the Arational Mind push we have been noticing going back to this post http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/blending-sustainability-and-education-to-gain-arational-nonlinear-minds-and-new-behaviors/ , I would have had the makings of a good freestanding post. Knowing the goals of the global CIFAL Network, the desire to use ICT to extinguish the Left Hemisphere’s historic dominance per that Global Village book, plus the explicit goals transformational goals laid out by ValuesQuest and the Institute for the Future, and the new vision of the role of the law globally, just make it so much easier to grasp why fact-filled, analytical minds would be regarded as barriers to all that planning and collective transitioning.

We have been having a discussion in the comments about the federally required MPOs–Metropolitan Planning Organizations–that push metro-wide transportation projects and how they are now being urged to explicitly get into economic and workforce development. I have noted that one of the things WIOA requires is that all students be trained in ‘systems thinking.’ At a DC conference this week the federal Transportation Secretary Foxx proclaimed transportation plans as the ultimate “system of systems” that merited a 30-year lay-out of plans. Into all this planning about us, our future, and using our money, I believe it’s no accident that videogames and digital learning are being pushed into classrooms. http://www.kqed.org/assets/pdf/news/MindShift-GuidetoDigitalGamesandLearning.pdf

Paul Ehrlich’s co-author of that 1989 New World New Mind book discussed in the linked post above, Robert Ornstein, wrote a 1974 book The Psychology of Consciousness pushing a desire to move away from the rational, analytical mind fostered by phonetic reading and traditional math, science, or grammar to a holistic right brain orientation that would perceive the world in interdependent, relational ways. Very helpfully he tied the ability and need for such a shift to the world now being in a position to meet everyone’s ‘biological needs.’ Time then for a more collaborative, communitarian focus to global problem-solving. Needless to say, K-12 education would need to shift and Ornstein saw great possibilities once “computer-assisted instruction” was able to “take the ‘state’ of the learner into account.”

What would such instruction, maybe called ‘personalized learning,’ look like? How about the Mindshift confession that “When it comes to assessment, many games have robust back ends that provide assessment data about the students who play them. That data can be extremely useful, providing information about your students that is applicable well beyond the game itself.” Information the students themselves may very well not be aware of. Data that adaptive learning ICT platforms need if they are to have the desired effects of changing the child’s perceptions, values, beliefs, and attitudes as the new focus of student-centered K-12 education.

Fits the Ornstein desire for educational activity with the student “embedded in the environment” perfectly, except most people would not be familiar with the Ornstein or Marshall McLuhan work we have looked at. They would simply accept the sales pitch that games-based learning would “replace a points-based extrinsic motivation system with a contextualized hands-on learning experience.” Not being in the habit of reading federal statutes like WIOA or federal agency plans, they probably would not appreciate the significance of the confession:

“Keep in mind: The common attribute of all effective learning games is that they simulate systems [or real-world social structures the trasfomationalists want students to believe are systems comparable to how the heart and lungs reliably interact]. They teach students how to understand academic concepts in relationship to the world around them. Certainly this increases engagement [what Ornstein called Being in the Moment that he tracked to ancient Asian religious practices] and retention, but what really matters is about using knowledge in interdisciplinary ways. [Don't feel under control just because your personal use of knowledge is being prescribed in advance].

Digital or analog, game-based or not, good teaching and learning [Remember obuchenie?] is also about building social awareness, considering the individual’s impact on the wider world.”

Now won’t that latter effect work well with the Sustainability aspirations for the future laid out by the UN CIFAL Network, ValuesQuest, and that Institute for the Future Toolkit to prepare students for new forms of governance? We covered all the proposed role-playing in history classes as part of my AP US History Trilogy, but MindQuest proposes teaching American Government by having a student “role play a member of Congress.” A new form of Governance in utter disregard of the US Constitution is highly likely once curriculum is an “immersive experience” where “students sponsor bills, trade in influence, awareness, and approval. The game simulates meeting with lobbyists, donors, and volunteers. The object is to get reelected to office.”  Now that certainly suffices as allowing “teachers to present academic concepts in a contextualized, experiential way.”

Interestingly enough, precisely what Ornstein said a Right-Brain oriented curriculum should be doing if it intends to shift the focus from intellectual content to personal knowledge. Oh, our joy at effective school reforms that will raise student achievement in meaningful, authentic ways knows no bounds. Why did I start this post’s title with Bogus Excuses? Well, should we buy that games-based learning is OK for the classroom because “a generation of gamers has grown up without a civilization collapsing”? Someone was not listening when their English teacher covered the dangers of hyperbole. How about this rationale? “Positive mood states” or empathy “toward people from another country.” I am also afraid that being told “the way corporations, foundations, and research organizations are thinking about games and learning” is no justification when they are all on record seeking transformational social change using K-12 education.

That’s it, isn’t it? K-12 education globally must be shifted to producing a mind and personality suitable for a collectivist orientation. The simulation will prime the students to act in predictable ways without being in a position to recognize that real world consequences do not follow the prearranged instructions of the software developer. It’s no accident that Jane McGonnigal of Institute for the Future is quoted on this point of how students will come to see the real world, without noting her IFTF affiliation. Only that she wrote a book called Reality is Broken that I covered here. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/when-gaming-intends-to-shape-and-distort-our-perceptions-of-everything-around-us-viva-la-revolution/

If you want a transformed economy, then push education based on “connected, networked ways of knowing that will dominate the digital future. Sharing and collaboration go hand-in-hand with integrating non-competitive and non-commodified ways of playing games.” Will that lead to a shareable economy? Maybe but it will be necessary since so few graduates in such a vision will have the mind or skills that have always been necessary for wealth to arise outside of war and just taking.

Is it true that “The way students play and learn today is the way they will work tomorrow”? Maybe, but they will be quite poor in such a world unless they can get elected or appointed to office or get a tax-free job in the UN System. Mostly the gaming is prepping for the student to be a participating member of a planned and controlled system, blindly accepting from a deep emotional level that increasing levels of material deprivation are inevitable and not a result of predation by the public sector.

Instead of declaring war on another country for wealth this is a system of predation on citizens. For those of us with a base of history knowledge not grounded in role play, it’s what the nobility did when they imposed serfdom. People exist for the use and benefit of those with power and are not free to make their own choices. No thanks. Another bogus excuse is that “the distinction between STEM and ELA is an arbitrary and superficial one” since they are each “simply forms of expression.” That really is someone determined to extinguish the analytical, rational mind for reasons laid out in Chapters 2 and 3 of my book. “All good games offer challenges in intuitive ways.” Want to guess which side of the brain acts intuitively and which does not?

Another bogus excuse? Gaming needs to be a part of early childhood education because it “teaches those students to associate screens with refined cognitive skills.” In other words, those children are to never know what rational, non-designed, grounded in facts, spinning out of various scenarios and likely consequences actually feels like. And won’t that be helpful to all our self-confessed transformationalists and futurists?

I am going to close this with an update to what has been one of the most controversial Values Clarification exercises for decades. It is called the Lifeboat but gaming lets a similar scenario, and obligation to reach a consensus, be visual so that the body’s physiology gets pulled into the plight. It will respond as if it is actually in a Life or Death situation as Willis Harman recognized in the 80s in his Global Mind Change book. Carried out as part of a Zombie Apocalypse in Norway classrooms, MindQuest ends on that example of a “sociocultural view of learning” where students and teachers “believe in sharing and constructing knowledge together.”

So they and others can build a new kind of economy and society together. Never appreciating in time that none of these things actually are ‘systems’ ready to fall into place like a game.

Peeking into the Behavioral Programming Blueprints for Collectivist Subjugation via K-12 Education Deceit

We are going to shift away from the previous post’s concentration on the active refusal to teach reading properly that has been going on for decades. First though we will look at what Marshall McLuhan openly confessed to in his 1962 global bestseller The Gutenberg Galaxy. The entire book bemoaned the analytical habits of mind and sense of individualism created by phonetic literacy and the advent of print as an obstacle to “total human interdependence” and “corporate responsibility and awareness”. In order for the “highly literate and individualist mind…to become more collectively oriented,” a widespread ability to read print fluently and phonetically had to be jettisoned.

We can all agree that that particular scheme has gone quite well for the Collectively-oriented Statist Schemers. Limiting the ability to read well and independently is a necessary condition for a shift to Collectivism because (to quote mcLuhan again):

“Print is the extreme phase of alphabet culture that detribalizes or decollectivizes man in the first instance…Print is the technology of individualism. If men decided to modify this visual technology by an electric technology [Hint: Like Digital Learning as a required 21st Century Skill?], individualism will also be modified. To raise a moral complaint about this is like cussing a buzz-saw for lopping off fingers.”

Since neither education or buzz-saws operate independently, we do reserve every right to complain about the politicians, principals, and other administrators who are lying to us taxpayers and parents about what they are actually up to. At least a lopped off finger leaves a bloody stub so we can immediately take notice of the damage done. It is so much harder when other elements of the collectivization plans are even less visible than a limited ability or inclination to read. Today we will talk about the global push to use Character Education to “define the core ethical and performance values they most wish to instill in their students.” I bolded the ‘they’ because other people now get to decide what your child is to value and believe at an unconscious level so it will predictably guide behavior going forward.

In my book Credentialed to Destroy in the chapter on the real Common Core implementation, I described how everything I had documented pointed to personal values, attitudes, and beliefs being the true new aim of the curriculum. This post is about more than that and it ties into both the Curriculum Redesign Project we looked at here  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/drawing-back-the-standards-curtain-to-discover-the-global-coordination-to-redesign-the-very-nature-of-curriculum/ as well as the Global Education Leaders Programme [see tag]. This also fits closely with the disturbing Education Commission of the States and State Farm Civics Education report we examined in December 1, 2014.

http://www.character.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/ElevenPrinciples_new2010.pdf was distributed last week to make sure all schools and officials now understand that a “comprehensive approach uses all aspects of school as opportunities for character development” and that all “academic content and instruction” is integrated with character development and moral reasoning through discussions of ethical issues.  The core values to be developed “affirm human dignity, promote the development and welfare of the individual, serve the common good, define our rights and responsibilities in a democratic society, and meet the classical tests of universality (i.e., Would you want all persons  to act this way in a similar situation?) and reversibility (i.e., Would you want to be treated this way?)”

Now those are not the requirements written into the US Constitution which is simply being ignored. They are, however, very similar to Kohlberg’s Moral Development Theory (developed by a Harvard prof) that the Chinese imposed on Hong Kong students as soon as that lease was up. We know then it is a theory that fits in well with collectivist aspirations and desires for “guiding the behavior of all those in the school community.” Those core values are to be “integrated into all aspects of school life” including the hiring of teachers and “non-teaching staff.”

Principle 2 “defines ‘character’ comprehensively to include thinking, feeling, and doing.” Yes, that’s why we keep hearing about Whole Child Initiatives as part of the Common Core. How many parents understand that the Growth and Continuous Improvement the schools are hyping as showing improvement in student achievement are actually a shift of definitions to “a holistic approach to character development therefore seeks to develop the cognitive, emotional, and behavioral dispositions required to do the right thing and do one’s best work”? Whose definition of the right thing we reasonably ask? Why the definition used by those seeking Social Justice is the real answer.

How do I know that? Beyond the insistence in Principle 4 that a “school committed to character strives to become a microcosm of a civil, caring, and just society,” I happen to know, as the tenacious lawyer that I am, that the federal government under the civil rights laws and most of the major civil rights groups are all insisting on a commitment from schools to Excellence and Equity. I happen to know that in K-12 education, Excellence has a specific meaning http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/excellence-means-education-putting-what-we-feel-wish-for-and-think-in-harmony/ that quietly dovetails with that redefinition of ‘character’ from Principle 2.

Schools that make academic coursework about helping “students form caring attachments to each other” and “a feeling of responsibility for one another” are laying the foundation for a communitarian society in the near future. A school that leads students to believe that they have a human right to have others satisfy their basic needs and that each student, in turn, has the obligation to meet those basic needs is laying the groundwork for what Uncle Karl and his followers called the Human Development Model http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/who-knew-karl-marx-had-a-human-development-model-or-that-it-fit-our-facts-so-well/ That’s not name-calling or a criticism although I do believe it is an unworkable vision. I am simply recognizing as a factual matter the description of what is being advocated for in phrases like

“the school sets aside time for students to assess community needs, create ideas for meeting those needs, plan and coordinate service learning projects, and reflect on the positive consequences of community service.”

The entire vision of what its advocates refer to as Marxist Humanism as a goal for the West’s society and economy is grounded in meeting human ‘needs’. Interestingly, the requirement that all schools must now have “an academic program that helps all students succeed,” even those with what can only charitably be described as inert minds even on a good day, gets expressed in terms of an obligation to meet all students’ needs. Since inert minds are an unfortunate reality, we get the call for “a variety of active teaching and learning strategies” so that participation and projects become the way to deal with inert minds. Quietly and without alerting the parents, social interaction around topics of interest from the real world and ethical issues for the new hoped-for society become the entire point of the classroom and coursework.

We talked about the reasons for wanting to limit reading fluency, but treating words as a whole and doling them out to guide thought ties right into the plan for how the “core values are woven into the literacy curriculum, where students use their reading selections to reflect on the values and on issues of character, such as discrimination, patriotism, and moral courage. In social studies classes, students are expected to act upon the core values as they select and research national or international causes and then work with community members to carry out related service projects.” I do not think it is a stretch to imagine that the reading selections available in the Cloud or put aside as an ELA Task Set will have a deliberate slant to it.

Here, for example, is how elementary school gets reimagined. “Grade-level curriculum guides show how essential questions [from Grant Wiggins' Understanding By Design, See tags] can be tied to ethical issues and specific service learning projects. Students at every level now engage in service as an integral outgrowth of topics they learn in class. In a fifth-grade unit entitled “Let Freedom Ring,” the essential question Why do we have the Constitution and the Bill of Rights? leads to assignments researching the background of specific amendments and concluding with an advocacy letter written to members of Congress. [We can all just imagine what was advocated for]. In a second-grade class, students respond to a reading assignment about Haiti by raising enough funds to donate 400 pounds of beans to the people in need there. Leary students learn that service is a vital part of good character and meaningful academics.”

I bolded that aspect about “leary students” since we are talking about 7-year-olds who might know a thing or two about what really makes Haiti so dysfunctional and be pondering the chances that any or how much of the 400 pounds will make to those in need there. Well-informed students don’t get to be leary anymore even when they reasonably ought to be. Given this statement: “the school’s approach to student conduct uses all aspects of behavior management–including rule-setting and rule-enforcement–as opportunities to foster students’ character development, especially their understanding of and commitment to core values,” life in K-12 education is about to become very uncomfortable to any students or adults not aboard the collectivist bandwagon.

Previously I mentioned that there is a term for this type of community focused approach–Productive Learning. It’s not particularly productive to the individual student, but it is very productive to the political class laying out what must be done and what may not happen anymore. If we think of this Character Education vision as using K-12 to prepare students to now be members of a Human Development Society, the other crucial aspect of Productive Learning involves preparation for the new Workforce.

We will deal with that aspect next time as we keep tracking the necessary conditions for a transformation away from Individualism as a legitimate 21st Century focus.