Propagandizing the K-12 Classroom to Create Desired Worldviews for Change: the New Anti-Bias Standards

If we think of the Common Core as a bucket or a banner instead of pretending it is about the transmission of knowledge, its function becomes much clearer. All the changes that would cause an outcry if pursued separately, and in many cases already have created widespread popular rejection, get to Come on Down Anyway as the game show announcer would say. A science fiction geek might explain the Common Core as a cloaking device allowing controversial shifts to be put into place without exposure. Especially if the new materials are all “web-based” and just waiting to be downloaded.

We have already encountered the Southern Poverty Law Center and its social justice/Teaching Tolerance curriculum numerous times, most notably here. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/social-cohesion-can-commence-once-reality-is-born-largely-from-beliefs-and-boundaries-co-created-with-others/ SPLC has been even busier than we recognized though and has also created the US’s very first ABF–Anti-bias Framework-and Literacy-Based K-12 Anti-bias Curriculum called Perspectives for a Diverse America. http://www.tolerance.org/sites/default/files/general/Perspectives%20for%20a%20Diverse%20America%20User%20Experience.pdf

Now before I start raising anyone’s blood pressure by describing the ABF’s intentions, let’s go Down Under to a K-12 pilot Global Change Agent Michael Fullan was involved in about a decade ago. It was called the Dynamic Paradigm of Learning and Change and it “identifies key aspects of the need, nature, and means of changes in identity, dispositions and orientations to the world and others, to be required of educators [that's the real reason why tenure is being taken away or greatly restricted now in the US], in order for them to be able to assist young people [that would be the children we entrust to adults and pay vast sums to actually know something] to achieve similar transformational outcomes.” Got that? Psychological changes. Shifts in values, attitudes, and how the world and other people are now to be perceived.

Education Queensland came right out and phrased the kind of Learning and Personal Change being sought in the individual student through K-12 education as a “new way of being” to be “required” of teachers and students. Remember Backward Mapping from our previous post? Well, Perspectives and the ABF offer “the opportunity to infuse CCSS implementation with social justice values.” How? Well, remember Literacy is now to be taught Across the Curriculum and the ABF has 4 domains: Identity, Diversity, Justice and Action. Does that sound alarmingly similar to “identity, dispositions and orientations to the world and others” to anyone else?

Each teacher now gets to, or must if his or her principal insists, use the Anti-bias anchor standards and “grade level outcomes of the ABF for backward planning” and “engage a spectrum of social justice topics and cultural and [italics in original] social emotional competencies–critical in today’s diverse classrooms.” Yes, that would be the real reason to eliminate tracking of the more academically talented and to require a Whole Child Classroom focus. If you think this is an outlier, remember that the NEA worked with the SPLC on its CARE Guide http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/shaping-a-mind-is-more-important-than-stuffing-it-grasping-the-psychosocial-key-to-fundamental-transformations/ .

The “rich text” available for download highlights and fosters the “exploration of identity, authentic accounts of real-life experiences, intergroup understanding, historical empathy, the awareness of prejudice and injustice, individual and collective struggles against injustice and–finally-action against injustice.” They do mean that latter part about forcing action by the way as in “Students will plan and carry out collective action against bias and injustice in the world and will evaluate what strategies are effective.” Hey, you didn’t think ‘engaging’ classwork was just going to be about video gaming, did you?

And we can all be relieved that the Perspectives topics “will go beyond the more common issues of race and ethnicity to include wealth and poverty, disabilities, religious discrimination and immigration.” Plus, as an added bonus to make sure that the desired changes in consciousness do occur, Perspectives “encompasses…less covered, equally important themes like gender, sexual orientation and class.”  It is supposedly the first “curriculum of its kind to offer an explicit blueprint designed to move students into the position of advocate.” Not to worry though. I can find no indication that the curriculum includes a Che Guevara beret kit or Mao’s Little Red Book as a Graphic Novel to hammer home that these are required orientations and dispositions.

Good to know then that the curriculum’s “marriage to the Common Core will allow it to be widely implemented.” The ‘backwards design’ approach of ABF and Perspectives does sound better than the List of Twenty Things Your Child Must Now Believe and Be Willing To Do, but it merely masks the nature of the sought change through the K-12 classroom. We can just imagine all the hateful things students will hear about the “dominant culture” and how they will just blossom as they are told repeatedly to “develop positive social identities based on their membership in multiple groups in society.” Students may not be able to identify precisely why the US pushed to separate from Britain and form a new country, but they will now learn to “recognize that power and privilege influence relationships on interpersonal, intergroup and institutional levels and consider how they have been affected by those dynamics.”

Feel the Outrage! is such a useful tool if transformative action is the End Game being sought. The outrage might be misplaced. It may be destructive, but those are mere details. I can just imagine how students who have been piloting this framework and thus getting to use the classroom over years to “identify figures, groups, events and a variety of strategies and philosophies relevant to the history of social justice around the world” would feel if a School Board then felt empowered to step in and tell them to remember the parts of American History that encourage patriotism. Walkout maybe? To commemorate what Gandhi would have done? Any other parent think they might slam the door in the face of a child “inspired to go home and talk to their parents about purchasing clothes from companies that practice ethical manufacturing”?

Of course that confrontation may be the first alert to the nature of the fundamental psychological changes going to the core of a child’s ‘being’ occurring in the classroom. By then it may well be hard to reverse, which is, I suspect, a big part of why the Common Core label makes such a fine cloaking device. “Web-based” means even the School Board may not know. I want to close with some related confessions that fit with the desired changes being sought that is probably not on your radar either. In 2004, a book by Seattle educator Barbara Ray Gilles called Nurturing Civilization Builders: Birthing the Best Schools in the World.

Gilles was kind enough to admit why we are hearing so much about collaboration as a necessity and the need for schools to create Communities of Learners with a single shared understanding after perspectives have been shared. She pointed out that “school classrooms encompass the largest community that young people experience.” If changes in “identity, orientations and dispositions” are sought, and globally that is in fact what the new purpose of K-12 education has quietly become, then the behavioral psychologists have come to recognize that the herd effect is needed. It both forces the change initially and then reenforces it over time.

Gilles again: “when you combine the individual wills of each person in a group focused on a unified goal, a ‘group will’ occurs that is greater than any individual. This collaboration is necessary to bring about a massive transformation in consciousness.” Gilles called the End Game she was backward mapping from Living Democracy. It fits with the vision of a New Kind of World we keep encountering as an End Game. Her motto of “Nurturing the compassionate genius within while co-creating a world that works for all” also fits with what SPLC claims is possible and the new goals of education change.

Gilles noted that “our values determine what we pay attention to, which in turn determine our behavior and create our habits.” That is true and there can be no question (going back to Milton Rokeach and his definition of Competency) that changing values is the fundamental purpose of all these planned classroom shifts.

The question becomes whether the World actually will change if this becomes the purpose of K-12 education globally or whether we are simply disarming our young people mentally and psychologically.

Will they be capable of dealing with the Evil and Bullies of the World?

With all our talk of honoring diversity and challenging oppression and injustice, aren’t we pushing an educational template that simply makes it easier to oppress and dominate most people?

If the individual mind is disarmed, what will be our real recourse?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tough luck I say.

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Equality, Fraternity, Democracy, Social Cohesion, Real Utopias and the Electronic Republic

If our 21st Century Lives were just a televised game of Jeopardy, the title would be the answer that would be linked to the championship. The correct question would be: What are the real goals envisioned when Education Reformers, politicians, and Political Radicals use the misleading term ‘standards’ in K-12 education? When that transformative Global Partnership we met in the last post says in bold face type on page 8 that “the pursuit of deep learning goals enabled by new pedagogies and accelerated by technology” is a Moral Imperative that will “guide all of our work,” what goals are really intended? The first part of the title comes from a paper published in the 1999 ASCD Yearbook called “The Role of Standards in Educational Reform for the 21st Century.” We actually do not have to assume that there is a link since one of the co-authors, Peter Hill, is also listed as a participant in the new Global Partnership on page 2 as one of its educational consultants.

http://www.carmelcrevola.com/publications/The_role_of_standards.pdf is the paper that once again makes it clear that the word standards is now being used as an Orwellian synonym. Translating the Common Core State Standards accurately then by its real purpose would be Common Behavioral and Dispositional Goals for All American Students, No Exceptions. Put together by DC-based trade groups hoping to cash in from the attached new vision of a politically-planned economy and society. Perhaps staffers who got to go on one of those trade junkets to China and thought that vision would work better for them. Hill made it clear on page one that the role of standards is to foster “values such as equality, fraternity, and democracy” indicating he may have always wanted to participate in the Storming of the Bastille. Best not to teach why such insistences can lead to a bloody Terror followed by a Napoleon.

Standards also allow for the “flexible, dynamic, and highly-skilled workforce” unlikely to ever create that Change the World innovation that destroys the existing business of a political crony. Ooops! That was my editorializing in a snarky manner on the real purpose, just like in my book. Page 2 mentions standards as a means for countries now to “ensure social cohesion” and page 3 sees standards as a transformative tool for a “society that values equity and a ‘fair go’ for all.”

The latest book tied to the World Order Models Project, the 2008 The Global Commonwealth of Citizens: Toward Cosmopolitan Democracy by Daniele Archibugi, wants to make “prevailing world public opinion” the determinant of what governments ought to be doing on behalf of their people, the governed, in the 21st Century. That aim, of course, puts quite a premium on manipulating that opinion from the Cradle to the Grave, as the current political slogan goes. Or Womb to Tomb in another variation. Archibugi does want a radical transformation where by “virtue of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the subsequent pacts, individuals have been endowed with positive rights that they can claim from their own states,” preferably at the local level via those ever compliant mayors, City Councils, and appointed regional commissions who just love federal grants.

Now you know why that Declaration just keeps coming up now in classroom activities. Archibugi wants this radical transformation in world politics to come about by persuasion, not force, which is of course all the more reason to utilize K-12 education. All the mentions of citizenship and civic competence we keep encountering, make much more sense when we recognize the plan to “demand a role for the citizens of the world” to insist that their “human rights” be provided by their governments. Perhaps as a “moral imperative”? All the mentions of dialogue and creating shared meaning make much more sense when we read again of an intention to bypass elected representatives in favor of:

“creating better and transparent contexts for decision-making. This is why new channels of representation must open up through which the various opinions may be expressed in a dialogical rather than antagonistic fashion. To be effective these channels demand a greater willingness on the part of individuals to participate in the management of global public matters. The making of a global commonwealth of citizens requires that individuals are prepared to act on the ground of key shared values. What principles of political action must the citizen of the world subscribe to?”

That would be the real reason for new pedagogies and forms of assessment to see if the desired principles of political action, needed workforce skills to be an obedient, compliant drone, and desired personality traits are in place. Adding to the quotes from the previous post, this is why New Pedagogies insists the new “goals for education and learning” include “skills that prepare all learners to be life-long creative, connected  and collaborative problem solvers and to be healthy, happy individuals who contribute to the common good.”

Now we could make a good case that I contribute to the common good by reading books on all these plans of transformation and then tying them to what is coming to a school and classroom or your business place soon, but I believe Michael Fullan, Pearson, the OECD, and the Rockefeller and Gates Foundations want it to be their idea of appropriate values and the common good. Given all the references to ‘consensus,’ ‘shared purpose,’ and ‘collective will,’ there really does seem to be an organized attempt to erase any concept of individual sovereignty capable of standing supreme against the state. I guess that is what happens when you import your instructional practices from the Soviet Union, nurture the economic vision in a place that worshipped Mao, and look to rich universities full of wanna-be political and social planners for the vision of what “We the People” is supposed to mean in the 21st Century.

The 1995 book The Electronic Republic: Reshaping Democracy in the Information Age, written by a former NPR President and head of the NBC News Division, laid out the planned transition to a participatory democracy using ICT technology. Upfront it asked “What will it take to turn the United States into a nation of qualified citizens who are engaged not as isolated individuals pursuing their own ends but as public-spirited members who are dedicated to the common good?” Why, K-12 education reform centered on the Whole Child and guiding perceptions and a curriculum focused on learning by doing and real world problems of course. Lawrence K. Grossman left NBC News to be a professor at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and work on the democracy project that became that book. It’s where Jal Mehta of the New Pedagogies Project graduated from before moving on to Harvard’s Ed School to use its graduates as tools for the desired public policy changes. http://www.slidefinder.net/t/the_20chastened_20dream_20notes/thechasteneddream–withnotes/13854681

It’s also where the co-authors of the books in the Real Utopias Project, Archon Fung and Erik Olin Wright, are professors. The Kennedy School is also heavily involved now, by the way, with creating ties between the US and China. CELAP from our last post, in fact, is referred to as China’s answer to the Kennedy School. Real Utopia came out of an actual conference at the University of Wisconsin in January 2000, a good time to commence 21st Century Re-Do Plans I suppose. Now think for a second how a deep knowledge of history and human nature full of facts might get in the way of this purpose:

“The Real Utopias Project embraces this tension between dreams and practice. It is founded on the belief that what is pragmatically possible is not fixed independently of our imaginations, but is itself shaped by our visions. Self-fulfilling prophecies are powerful forces in history, and while it may be Pollyanna-ish to say ‘where there is a will there is a way,’ it is certainly true that without ‘will’ many ‘ways’ become impossible. Nurturing clear-sighted understandings of what it would take to create social institutions free of oppression is part of creating a political will for radical social changes to reduce oppression. A vital belief in a utopian destination may be necessary to motivate people to leave on the journey from the status quo in the first place, even though the actual destination may fall far short of the utopian ideal.”

It may also create students like what we are seeing in Denver, Colorado and what we saw during the heyday of the Occupy demonstrations who have no acquaintance with any factual knowledge from the past. Where will they be when OPM-Other People’s Money-inevitably runs out? Can they become self-sufficient as an adult or will change by force, rather than persuasion, feel like the justified response?

Is there any place in history where deposing sovereignty from the individual and placing it in a collective under political control, actually ever diminished oppression? Guaranteed to ignite would be the reality. No wonder perception and student daily experiences are being so manipulated.

Next time we will come back to the new view of politics in a Real Utopia and the Electronic Republic where we each get to be governed.

 

 

Censorship Before the Fact: Prescribing What the Child Does and Believes Invisibly but Reliably Binds the Adult

The problem with censorship, apart from the loss of personal liberty not to have governments intervene in what we think and how we must act, is two-fold if you are a wanna-be Steerer of Human Keels in the 21st Century. Some information always gets through and everyone knows that their flow of information is being regulated and manipulated. By using K-12 education globally in the 21st Century to “control learning experiences” or creating behavioral goals for what students are to “think and do” and then euphemistically labelling those aims as “standards” or “outcomes,” our Steersmen get to create what I am going to call Censorship Before the Fact.  They intend to rule and they get to control what most of us will pay attention to, or ignore, in our daily lives. Plus we will not try to resist what we do not even recognize is there.

Win, Win if the 21st Century continues in the existing desired direction globally where those who are elected at any level of government are being told repeatedly they get to govern, in the literal sense of the word, those who elected them. We cannot resist what we are unaware of and my job on this blog now and in my book previously has been to point out the things that are intended to bind us without our active knowledge or genuine consent. Yesterday this story caught my eye http://legalinsurrection.com/2014/09/is-hong-kong-on-brink-of-its-own-version-of-tiananmen-square/. I knew at least the Hong Kong people could see how the same education reforms being adopted in K-12 globally have been designed to change what their young people value, believe, know, and perceive.  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/using-education-to-shut-down-free-choices-and-then-redefining-as-personal-autonomy-orwell-lives/

I want to go back to the 2014 book The Fourth Revolution that I first mentioned in the September 21 post (2 back).

“China is doing more than promoting a web of connections: It is deliberately promoting a model. When foreign officials come to China [Heads Up!! This means our mayors and state Governors and Chambers of Commerce on 'Trade Missions'], their tutors at places like CELAP [China Executive Leadership Academy at Pudong. It is elsewhere described as the 'cadre training school' that is "an organization bent on world domination"] now emphasize the virtues of the Chinese model–the way the state can focus on national champions or attract foreign investment into special economic zones or ensure the entrepreneurs join the Communist Party [substitute believe and act on the desired Big Ideas and it will fit the era here of new SATs and formative assessments] and thereby contribute to political stability as well as economic dynamism. They also compare China’s sleek government [no visits then to their troubling Ghost Cities] with America’s gridlock and India’s chaos. The government has seeded Confucius Institutes in universities across the world and is trying to use the Boao Forum for Asia as an ideological counterweight to Davos.”

We can just imagine how joyful the veterans of these trade junkets to China are to have had the US Congress enact that Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act in July now requiring all states and localities to create state and local economic development plans tied to education.http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/priority-economic-citizenship-for-some-officially-sanctioned-status-as-prey-for-most-of-us/ I just want to point out that the Confucius Institutes mentioned are the same ones the College Board announced a formal alliance with this summer. Common Core Chief Architect David Coleman even made a very odd servile comment about “They are the Sun and we are the Moon.” The Boao Forum mentioned left Asia for the first time for a meeting and decided Seattle, Washington with Microsoft support and Bill Gates keynoting was a good place to meet. Bush Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, who presided over the taxpayer bailout of political favorites during the financial meltdown in 2008, also is deeply involved with Boao.

All of that is relevant to what is coming to the US, Canada, UK, and Australia, but those are connections no one is supposed to be making. Since I have the planned template and blueprints, I know where to look and what counts as connected that would be off most people’s radar screens. We know though from Michael Barber’s Oceans of Innovation report for Pearson covered here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/descending-to-a-connected-kleptocracy-via-the-digital-learning-and-climate-change-ruses/ that he, the US Department of Education, and Pearson all see China and a collectivist future as where K-12 education reforms are going globally. I am sure it is totally coincidental that the book was published by a Pearson entity and the authors write for a different Pearson entity–The Economist.

Pearson, Microsoft, Intel, and a new entity headquartered in Washington State which has gathered actors from all over the world–Collaborative Impact–have developed a partnership designed to promote a new consistent vision for K-12 education globally. This lays out their vision  http://www.newpedagogies.info/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/New_Pedagogies_for_Deep%20Learning_Whitepaper.pdf You may have noticed that today’s post is less about the how of K-12 ‘reforms’ and more about turning a spotlight on the mostly invisible end game. Before We are Bound and while the Necessary Keels are still being laid in the young people who are the voters of tomorrow.

Point Number 1 is that the report acknowledges these are all experimental practices based on behavioral theories. Students are guinea pigs because it is the desired change that is important, not the people being changed by fiat. Secondly, the list of organizations involved includes the federally-created Digital Promise and thus the White House sponsored League of Innovative Schools. Please do not tell me there’s no connection to the Common Core. Yes, because it has already passed Go, collected $200, and gone straight to the Competency-Based Next Generation learning all these entities are pushing globally. Third and most crucially, the wholesale changes are explicitly about “What kind of learning work prepares [students] to be healthy, happy, productive members of our new societies?”

Participants in a Collective in other words. Ruled and Governed. Although Michael Barber is a key component of this partnership, the Lead Global Change Agent is Canadian Michael Fullan. In his 2001 book The New Meaning of Educational Change, Fullan cited personal communication to him from Barber, who was then heading up the equivalent large-scale reform in the UK for Tony Blair. Usefully for us, is the statement that for governments to be successful in the long term requires “creating frameworks for the accountability of public services including education.” Remember in our new “joined-up capitalism” we have private vendors but public regulation of what they do and how they do it. The mirage of free enterprise. Corporatist Enterprise as I have seen it called. Anyone surprised to learn that last week the Center for Reinventing Public Education and Fordham released those very accountability standards to go along with the Common Core?

Secondly, Barber acknowledged K-12 reforms are only a means to a transformative end. Getting there requires “placing education at the heart of a wider approach to social and economic renewal.” Elsewhere Fullan wrote that schools and adults needed to leave “Nostalgia behind” them and focus on the “knowledge and skills your children will need as they become citizens and workers in the future.” Notice that order and the assumption education is about fitting future life roles, not equipping anyone for independent. rational personal decision-making. One more time, Fullan made it clear that this new type of learning that is about changing, prescribing, and then monitoring students’ thoughts and behaviors and ‘reculturing’ the schools to require just that was to “enable the present generation to adapt to this radically new and demanding world.”

Adapt means change. Adapt means transform. Legally imposing this via K-12 education is the kind of Censorship Before the Fact that would be resisted if done visibly or to adults with Axemaker Minds.

I want to stop here so next time we can tie everything we know is coming to our schools and classrooms to the latest vision (2008) to come out of WOMP apart from that Richard Falk essay cited in the previous post. It’s called cosmopolitan democracy and it ties to everything in this post and the previous ones on e-Governance and Deliberative Democracy grounded in Dialogue. It also fits with the Sharing Economy so many of our mayors and cities are signing on to.

Since no one else is willing to admit that all these global K-12 education reforms are about “moving from the polis, founded on borders, to that of the cosmopolis, founded on sharing,” I will keep at it until Epiphanies Abound.

I guess we have also found yet another reason why traditional American History is becoming forbidden. Did I mention the former Head of the Gates Foundation, Tom VanderArk, started pushing the Gates-funded/Russian-created Big History last week as well?

Or as I like to call it, History Suitable for a Collectivist Future anywhere in the World.

Treasure of Social Comity Requires Sacrifices of Individual Sovereignty

Many of us have seen news reports in recent days on student walkouts in the Denver suburbs. The School Board wants to ensure that certain traditional areas are still emphasized in American history, while the students see the intervention as propaganda. The adults involved seem a bit shocked that what they see as facts is seen by high school students as an attempt to manipulate their belief systems. Why can’t the students properly understand who the People in the White Hats are in this controversy they seem to want to ask?

I think it would help if everyone understood high school is too late to introduce facts and knowledge into a curriculum that has long been about shaping values, attitudes, and beliefs in desired directions. The federal ed lab in Aurora, Colorado, McREL, after all, originated the transformational concept in K-12 education of Second Order Change http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/second-order-change-why-reform-is-a-misnomer-for-the-real-common-core/ many years ago to force irreversible change in students’ worldviews.

We can only repair the damage done if we appreciate what has happened in our schools and why. It relates to the e-Governance we started looking at in the last post as well as the creating the shared visions and collective purposes needed to effectively bind the individual to the decisions made by others. In his 1999 book The Double Helix: Technology and Democracy in the American Future, Edward Wenk laid out the new vision of politics our students are actually being prepared for. Government is to be “considered as a steering system and not simply a power broker.” This fits, attentive readers will remember, with the admitted use of conceptual understandings and the manipulated social construction of reality to create an invisible steerable keel in the students who are tomorrow’s citizens. Student-centered learning then instead of the subject-centered emphasis of old is necessary to build that keel. The ultimate consequences also fit with what Hayek warned us of in the previous post.

When the School Board tries to interject facts into the classroom, without appreciating that the keel is already there, it becomes easy for the adults closer to the classroom, who know what they have constructed over years, to steer the outrage. Facts=Propaganda if the Keel is already in place without parents, students, and most taxpayers knowing it’s there. Why is it there again? Ultimately, this generation of adolescents is being and has been primed to regard politics as a term used to “describe how elements of a diverse society use their power to bargain collectively, then strategies and tactics for their achievement, all within an agreed upon set of values and rules of engagement. This is American society in action.” That’s the vision of American society and politics the students are acting on, while the school board is still locked into a vision of traditional representative government.

“Consensus must be generated” so that governments can steer with a “high degree of harmony” towards a vision of Equity and social and economic justice for all. Many K-12 and college students have been thoroughly embedded in this vision for years. The Common Core is merely a means to make sure it is in place everywhere. Public or private. Suburbs, cities, or rural areas. To align the US with what is going on in other countries towards the same ends.

We adults are the ones who simply assumed that the education template had continued on much as it had previously been. Once social comity becomes the established goal of the future at all levels of governments, then “social functioning needs a consensus on goals and a mechanism for its generation and fulfillment.” We get that mechanism by K-12 and higher ed signing on, as well as the media, plus “whoever controls technology.” No wonder their related foundations are so involved.

ICT generates the visual images that serve as a “kaleidoscope” of what the future might be and are not bound by whatever has successfully existed before. Wenk wanted everyone to recognize that “Government is not mainly or the only machinery of governance. In American democracy, everyone should consider themselves part of government rather than holding it at arm’s length and figuratively holding the nose. Only by engagement through enlightened civic literacy, civic discourse and commitment can the diverse needs and desires of all be negotiated.” Hence the C3 Social Studies Framework and CCSSO prescribing desired Citizen Dispositions. As someone deeply steeped in history, this is a prescription for disaster, which is why accurate knowledge of the past is no longer being encouraged or much tolerated.

All the push surrounding Digital Learning and Laptops For All it should give us pause since Wenk recognized, and aimed for, what substituting those manufactured visuals and virtual reality would do to “critically alter the consciousness of the receptor.” That would be the student, your beloved child that you dropped off this morning and entrusted to a system intent on transformation. Well aware of the question that Wenk saw and intended to use: “What does information technology do TO us as well as FOR us.” In Wenk’s world government, industry, and people will all interact and then be bound by what the decision-makers decide. People are supposed to become satisfied with the ability to offer their opinions to “those who govern them.” If this seems like a scifi book or limited to one idealogue, it’s essentially the vision laid out by Marina Gorbis of the Institute for the Future in her 2013 book and speeches globally. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/weak-humanscomputersexpert-modelling-of-captured-data-is-this-your-approved-vision-of-the-21st/

It’s essentially the vision of the future and our new obligation to function as a collective that Richard Falk (of the Carnegie and Rockefeller-funded World Order Models Project) laid out recently here http://greattransition.org/publication/changing-the-political-climate-a-transitional-imperative . The new APUSH Framework and the La Pietra Conference we looked at in that trilogy of posts make much more sense when we are aware of a well-funded and determined effort across decades “about moving from the here of egoistic state-centrism to the there of humane geo-centrism.” Since Falk’s angry quotes at the time of the Boston Marathon bombing show he in no way wants a reality of hate to get in the way of his vision of the future, we can be sure that today’s tragic videos of sliced off heads will not change the vision either. It is up to us to recognize it.

Whether most of us are aware or not, Falk, the OECD, the UN entities, and public officials at all levels are pushing education and land use regulations designed to create the “citizen pilgrim” who “combines the identity of a participant in a community and the acknowledgment that the desired community does not presently exist, that its essential nature is to bond with a community that is in the midst of a birth process.” No wonder those Denver high school students believe accurate facts from America’s past constitute propaganda in the present. They are participating in a birthing process and many may hope to become midwives of it. No wonder we just keep encountering a required communitarian mindset lurking behind actual definitions of being Career Ready or having a Positive School Climate.

If everyone with political power globally is pushing a comparable vision of the collective future and that vision requires what Falk called “drastic shifts in political consciousness,” then preschool, K-12, and higher education will become dedicated to creating those very shifts. Those students are merely showing they are heeding the “call for an engaged citizenry responsive to the need and desire for a reconstituted future as well as a repaired present.” Why, it’s that Neanderthal School Board majority showing it has not yet yielded to the Transition clarion call that requires “infusing both political leadership and the electorate with the values and perceptions of the new realism.”

That again is the new realism that is actually not very realistic to those of us deeply grounded in knowledge of the past and conversant with what has ever created mass economic prosperity. No, we are apparently to be stuck with education designed to create over years “the engaged pilgrim devoted to the here and now of political action (as well as the pursuit of a visionary future), whether by way of exhibiting empathy and solidarity with the sufferings of those most vulnerable or by working toward innovative steps serving human and global interests.”

The good news in all this is that these students have been consciously subjected to behavioral engineering so that they will have Growth Mindsets that are malleable to change. They are only irreversible if parents, taxpayers, future employers, and the students themselves remain unaware of the deliberately constructed Worldview.

That they were subjected to fuzzy math and Whole Language precisely so that their perceptions could be manipulated.

The key to deconstructing the keel is to know it is there.

The key to defeating these open declarations of a planned transition to collectivism is knowing they exist.

Consider this post as joining my book Credentialed to Destroy: How and Why Education Became a Weapon  to be clarion calls towards defeating these collectivist aspirations. While there is still time.

Sounding the alarm truly is the beginning of the way back from the precipice.

Journey to the Center of the Core Yields the Yoke of Citizen-Centric Governance to Force a Shared Vision

I still remember my shock that so many famous and powerful Americans endorsed the view in the March 2013 book by Moises Naim that simply assumed that the American people were now to be Governed as if they were collectively a ship in need of steering by politicians.  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/using-education-to-make-giving-more-power-to-those-who-govern-us-the-common-vision/ Silly me. Turns out there was just a delay in the people at those conferences committing the planned vision to writing. It also turns out, in a carryover from the previous post, that managing the public’s perceptions, expectations, and beliefs about the proper role of government in the 21st Century is a crucial component of the ‘emerging governance relationship.’

Nothing quite as useful as a globally connected consulting firm explicitly committing these new relationships to writing. This is from a 2009 Accenture paper called “From e-Government to e-Governance” as well a letter from their Public Service Managing Director Sean Shine, explaining the new relationship between citizens and their government “that is all about genuine engagement of people in their own governance.” So much for those of us who think we are engaged in our own governance when we pay taxes from hard-earned money or set unpopular curfews for precocious teenagers. No, ‘citizen-centric governance’ may sound good, but it assumes without consulting any of us that:

“It falls to government to balance the demand for increased choice and flexibility with fairness and the common good. Governments can achieve that balance by striving for equality of outcomes for all constituents–that is, by ensuring that everyone has the chance to experience the same social and economic conditions, or at least similar improvements in these conditions.”

Does anyone else appreciate that is where all the hyping of ICT portals and building “social networking and community sites [that] also enable citizens to participate in their governance as never before.” No incentive to infantilize a population with these aspirations for the future. Not when the entire government apparatus is to be about meeting citizen needs and guiding what “citizens expect and want from government.” Now won’t the actual Common Core implementation come in handy here? The Digital Learning emphasis? Anyone think there is a reason to sculpt a misleading but politically powerful conception of what the future might be if consultants from meetings we were not invited to state that:

“Web 2.0 technologies present governments with an unprecedented opportunity to bypass the media [not to mention parents and local school boards] and directly engage citizens in a more mature, reasoned and productive discussion about the strengths and shortcomings of government. [No danger of bias or omissions here.] In this way, public service organizations can, for the first time, play an active role in shaping citizens’ perceptions of government by providing the public with instantly accessible, intelligible information and analysis–enabling a more balanced and objective debate in which citizens are able to consider governments’ perspective.”

Now if that’s the intended propaganda to be launched at adults with taxpayer funding, we can just imagine what will make it to the still malleable minds in the classroom. Completely lost for anyone will be any perspective grounded in the history of what comparable social justice aspirations did in Europe in the 20th century. That led Friedrich Hayek to write in “The Mirage of Social Justice” that:

“the more dependent the position of the individuals or groups is seen to become on the actions of government, the more they will insist that the governments aim at some recognizable scheme of distributive justice; and the more governments try to realize some preconceived pattern of desirable distribution, the more they must subject the position of the different individuals and groups to their control. So long as the belief in ‘social justice’ governs political action, this process must progressively approach nearer and nearer to a totalitarian system.”

Now before anyone accuses me of introducing the T word without sufficiently laying a proper foundation let’s remember that Hayek was writing from personal experience of One Thing Leading to Another. Secondly, if I had a dollar for every time the books or papers I read now used phrases like “shared vision,” “collective aspirations,” “consensus essential for democracy must be built,” or “unified social purpose,” I could head to the beach for some R&R. We saw it embodied in the goals of both the Rockefeller-funded Communication for Social Change and the Club of Rome-created Structured Design Dialogue to produce common political will.

If you would like to believe I am simply collecting injudicious comments made for paying customers, Accenture’s vision fits with the 2014 book Innovative State: How New Technologies Can Transform Government written by the first Chief Technology Officer of the United States Aneesh Chopra. He points out that as a candidate Obama “had mandated that his staff insert a default paragraph about the importance of harnessing technology into every speech.” The idea laid out repeatedly is that “government could be a platform.” Government becomes “a way to engage the public and let them tell us what was important and then support them in accelerating their consensus to a common solution.”

We have open admissions of trying to manage those citizen beliefs and perspectives that go into the now to be required consensus and common solution. If the guiding hand does seem to be getting quite heavy in the direction Hayek had seen before, how is this quote for the naivete on what government is. “When the relationship is participatory, when the relationship is open, it really does foster a sense that the government is not a thing; it’s what we do together.” [Italics in original passage]

Some people have the legal power to coerce. Others generate taxes to the public sector while some live off those taxes. Those are not balanced, equal relationships even if government was not trying to rig how it is perceived in the 21st Century. All while singing the joys of the Big Data being collected on its citizens and the need to minimize any distinction between the public and private sectors. This is Chopra’s vision towards the end of the book. He makes Pollyanna seem like a sourpuss by comparison:

“Today, we need to explore new frontiers not only in terms of the problems we try to solve but in the manner in which we attempt to solve them. Collectively and creatively. Much more is possible, if the government makes the populace part of the process so the greater number of people can assemble and share their ideas and gifts for the greater good.”

Lighting dollar bills afire is one way to describe the likely consequences of that vision or an excuse for borrowing more from the Chinese. Speaking of which, the second book I mentioned enthusiastically advocates that the West adopt the Chinese vision of state-directed capitalism. Anyone think there might be a connection to the Chinese willingness to fund US deficit spending to push an ICT-centered vision for meeting citizen needs and achieving social justice for all? The Fourth Revolution: The Global Race to Reinvent the State also came out in 2014 and it’s laying out a comparable blueprint to Chopra and Accenture. If we could shift government by acclamation anymore, we would be close to a global fait accompli.

Alarmingly the book tells us that the current leadership of our primary deficit financier believes that “Western democracy is no longer efficient; that both capitalism and society need to be directed; and that getting government right is the key” to the future. Something to remember as we have trillion-dollar deficit plans in the US as far as the eye can see. It would be wrong to assume it’s just an another interest-bearing investment for the Chinese. It’s also probably good to know that Accenture has a long-term formal relationship with the World Economic Forum when we read that “the one thing that the world’s tycoons agree upon when they meet at the World Economic Forum in Davos is that the Chinese state is a paragon of efficiency–especially compared with the fevered gridlock of Washington or the panicky incompetence of Brussels.”

I think we have a Convergence of visions here around what the purpose of citizenship will be going forward globally. I think we Americans are taking too much solace in the protections of the US Constitution when it’s obviously seen as just another old document that can be bypassed now by many powerful decision-makers, here and globally.

I think we are dangerously assuming the world will continue as it has been despite so many open proclamations. If enough people had simply read what I have documented, they would immediately see how much danger we are in if we continue unaware.

It usually takes three taps for me to write about a painful topic. I listed two 2014 books here and I found the Accenture materials later. The third book is called The Double Helix: Technology and Democracy in the American Future. Unfortunately, it fits with the later books even though it came out in 1999.

Fortunately, I am aware of its aspirations for us as well and we will cover that in the next post. The non-science types like me though should appreciate that the reference to the Double Helix is all about how to force cultural change.

Wenk thinks government “serves as a steering system to set goals arrived at by consensus.”

Really starting to hate that word.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Does that sound like a Competency focus to anyone else?

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

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

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

 

House of Tomorrow: Targeting Behavior Change Requires Move Away from Declarative Knowledge

If you hang out in the dungeons and attics of the Transformation Blueprints like I do, one of the omnipresent confessions that is crucial, but not making it into the public domain YET, is that classroom activities and experiences are now “aims-based” or “goal-directed,” not “subject-matter based.” History, math, literature, or science course names still get used, but it hides the new broader purposes of social change. They have ceased to be, unfortunately, ends in themselves. The very phrase “standards-based” over the last two decades is also intended to hide what is indisputedly a shift to a personal behavior emphasis that is still too obscured.

This post is designed to remedy that and build on the facts and declarations laid out in the recently finished APUSH trilogy as well as particularly Chapter 7 of my book–”What if Common Core Actually Limits What Everyone Can Know or Do While Targeting Feelings,  Beliefs, and Values Instead?” The Question that Grows in Pertinence on a Daily Basis. Often times the best way to illustrate what is being required in education is to consult a professor in another area, who is unlikely to mask his statements about what is intended. Do you remember the London School of Economics where that troubling Fabian Stained Glass window has now found a new home? As a symbol of reverence, not infamy, unfortunately.

Back in 1994, LSE’s then Director, sociologist Anthony Giddens, kindly explained the role of History to political radicals in a book called Beyond Left and Right. It matters because not enough of us appreciate that the Fall of the Berlin Wall, death of Mao, or dissolution of the USSR, never altered the widespread desire for History to be progressing somewhere. If facts get in the way, education becomes the preferred tool to get the process headed in the desired direction again. Tell me this quote is not behind the spirit of the activities I spelled out in the previous posts: “For socialists, the past is not comforting; it is valued at most because it has provided the means whereby we can actively move on to grasp and appropriate the future.”

If you make K-12 education about altering and creating desired feelings, values, beliefs, perceptions, and behaviors (performances or learning are the preferred K-12 euphemisms obscuring this reality), education can supposedly create the conditions for the House of Tomorrow. http://www.ascd.org/ASCD/pdf/journals/ed_lead/el_198312_mcnay.pdf  When I write posts explaining the NEA CARE Guide created with the Southern Poverty Law Center to use in the Common Core classroom or the Aspen Institute’s  RETOC-Racial Equity Theory of Change, tie those intentions to highlight race, class, and ethnicity to create feelings of grievance or guilt to Giddens telling us that Marxism’s allure for so many is and was the “metaphysical idea that history, in its more consequential and revolutionary moments, is made by the oppressed.”

If that quote seems a bit too ‘metaphysical’ for anyone’s taste, let’s simply make real-world problem solving the focus of K-12 education, and see if the classroom over time doesn’t create a consciousness precisely as Uncle Karl would have wanted. In 2013 the Journal of Teacher Education for Sustainability published a helpful confession from Erin Redman complaining that traditional education and declarative knowledge like facts, lectures, and textbooks were too “value-free, didactic” and “one-way methods of communication” (instead of the now glorified classroom ‘Dialogue” among ‘Equals’).  Education in the 21st Century is supposed to be about long-term behavior change from an unconscious basis at the level of each individual. Those Aims or Goals require “require real-world, experiential and problem-based learning.”

Thanks for the honesty even if it is tucked away. Keep in mind the calm assertion that “Behavioural scholars have, however, clearly established that the linear, information-deficit approach [aka Transmission of Knowledge of the Best that has Been Thought or Done by the Sages of the Past] to education is insufficient in promoting behaviour change.” Since we have been concentrating on what these Aims and Goals do to history coursework, let’s end with the recommendation that this Normative view of the purpose of curriculum results in a suggestion for “shifting away from scientific facts as the primary discourse in sustainability.” That ‘s why it’s so important to emphasize feelings and the Whole Child.

It is why Procedural Knowledge gets so hyped now in the form of the Skills Deficit. That is the needed action-related process knowledge and how-to skills useful for real-world transformations. Effectiveness Knowledge now gets hyped because Beliefs about the Need for transformations in the present to alter the future are very much influenced by “perceived consequences associated with different behaviours as well as beliefs about who is responsible for given outcomes.” That’s the Aim that really finds factual knowledge to be an obstacle since it might prevent viewing the assigned Villains as culpable or notice that local politicians will blow even more money if given ever more planning power.

But then I am no teenager and we have already concluded I would be on the first shipment to Perception Re-education Camps to extinguish Factual Knowledge as an Impediment to Fundamental Change. The typical adolescent will be easy prey though for classrooms built around: “One of the central ways for enhancing effectiveness knowledge is by focusing on problems that are locally relevant and at a scale with which students feel empowered to act, while also examining the positive impact of individual and collective change.” Lack of much factual knowledge, unless the parents have stepped in or the child is the rare fluent, voracious reader, means that a capacity or willingness to conceive of any negative impact is unlikely happen in most classrooms anymore.

Finally, “social knowledge (i.e. norms) encompasses subjective and local knowledge including the motives, intentions and actions of other people. In order to enhance social knowledge, it is critical that sustainable behaviours are positioned as the normal and the desired way to act.” Objective, norm-referenced tests of knowledge have to go away quietly in this sought scenario for the future since they center on Declarative Knowledge. Radicals always needed alternative assessments to examine whether the desired behavior and attitude changes were occurring and what strategies and concepts are used when there is no correct answer and not enough information is given. Today’s Rigorous Assessments merely build on what was known as the New Standards Reference Examination in the 90s http://www.cse.ucla.edu/products/reports/TECH470.pdf Created again by the Mother of both Higher Order Thinking Skills as well as the related term Rigor, Professor Lauren Resnick.

We should simply view them correctly as Cultural Activity Research on our kids with our tax dollars. Remember the ISCAR 2011 Conference in Rome, Italy? It’s all about Aims-Based Education too. Transformational Aims with Political and Social Purposes. Just like the Common Core or 21st Century Learning or Competency-Based Instruction now. It’s all about Behavior Change if we climb down to the dungeons or up to the attics or just trace back to the footnotes in the typical Aspen Institute Report.

Those interested in fundamental transformations in the political and social spheres that is the Progressive View of the Role of History now need the tool of K-12 education, if not preschool as well, to reach those same Aims and Goals. It’s why so many education graduate degrees today openly trumpet their grounding in Change Agent Theories. To make students the mass carriers of new cultural memes and behaviors without most parents or the typical taxpayer even being aware of the shift. That’s the purpose of all the Orwellian language that has me climbing down, then up, and flipping back to those footnotes again and again.

I may have to understand all this at a very nerdy level just bursting with facts and wordy declarations of intent to once again try out notorious theories in the real world, but that is not the level where most people live. When I explain what is intended in order to get real traction in the real world, I always have to find ways to bring these intentions into the everyday lives of my readers. Unfortunately, though, I am not the only one who understands that crucial point.

In fact, the shift away from Declarative Knowledge to granting parity to subjective ways of knowing and interpreting, along with that targeting of Procedural, Effectiveness, and Social Knowledge we have just talked about, is all about meeting people and students at the level of knowledge that “guides conduct in everyday life.” Just the arena, in other words, if long-term behavior change is the admitted (if only quietly shared among insiders), new Goal or Aim of K-12 education.

Behavior Change Architects intent on Political and Social Transformations to kick History Back into Gear on the Planned Pathway of Change would need to appreciate each person’s “subjective experience of reality.” To get at the perception of reality held by the “common-sense of the ordinary members of society.”

That’s what alternative ‘high-quality’ assessments like the NSRE above got at and what the Common Core and formative assessments get at now. It’s what adaptive software gets at as well.

Then we have performance standards under their variety of masking names like College and Career Ready or Next Generation Learning to capture and then remediate over time behaviors, values, and attitudes that are not desirable for transitioning to the Planned Pathway for History.

Not to mention what all the social and emotional programs being sold as Character Education or Bullying Prevention or Positive Behaviors for the Whole Child do.

Am I finally reaching the everyday recognition of what is coming at all of us?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Will the next generation know anything that is true?

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