Future Empowerment Paradigm or Educentric Tradition? Guess Which Began Its Reign 20 Years Ago?

Of all the snow jobs I have to hear on why education needs to change away from the transmission of knowledge and instruction of subject matter, the one that spikes my blood pressure the most has to be the sanctimonious–”What we have been doing is not working.” Trust me, the credentialling Colleges of Education declared war on content back in the 60s. It became a hot war in the 90s with honesty among themselves about “revolutionary, unprecedented” changes and “radical” transformations. When controversies erupted, the dishonest revolutionaries though wanted to keep their pensions and taxpayer paid health benefits and monopoly over the classroom. All we heard then was that there was a difference of opinion of how to teach reading or math.

No one publicly mentioned this Paradigm shift or that the Educrats had taken to wearing the mantle of being Social Change Agents at war with an economic and political system they likely did not really understand. That they had decided to push for a different future for Americans and Canadians. Indeed globally. That educators, especially a group selling their “expertise” to states and school districts for a Paradigm transformation they admit their was no public demand for. Nevertheless, the schemers like Bill Spady and Spence Rogers embarked on new lucrative careers pushing:

“a colossal process that involves redefining and reshaping entire institutions and the belief systems and cultures surrounding them.”

No hubris there. After all Spady holds humanities, education, and sociology degrees from the University of Chicago and had been involved in education his entire life. What better preparation for Wholesale Transformation? The fact that the culture and traditions being replaced grew spontaneously over time and had created the highest level of prosperity the world had ever seen should not matter, right? And Rogers had been a high school math teacher. That’s an excellent background for:

“fundamental and widespread shifts . . . in the perceptions, beliefs, values, and preferences of the countless people involved in and directly affected by the transformation.”

Is it now hard to comprehend why districts and states aggressive in this wholesale transformation have had such poor academic results? If not even worse tragedies. Spady’s description of his desired new paradigm was even written in 1997 after the controversies over OBE generally and Transformational OBE in particular. This is from his defend himself and the paradigm book. Transformational has the students being assessed on life role performances based on a presumptuous future Spheres of Living Template. That would be the areas of “Work & Productive Endeavors, Close & Significant Relationships, Meaningful & Fulfilling Pursuits, Physical & Cultural Environment, and Group & Community Memberships.” These will teach students the practical “Life & Resource Management” so that each student as an adult can achieve “Personal Potential & Wellness.”

And according to Spady the Aurora, Colorado school district just spontaneously came up with this Great Idea of Empowering Student Life Performance Outcomes as the future focus of school. And other school districts just adored the idea and wanted to transition their schools and communities as well to this vision of the new perfect planned future. Ooops. They left out the planned society part although that is clearly where this is all going. Even if Spady suggests setting up committees to develop proposed future conditions to get widespread ownership of this vision. Two things stand out now in 2012 and going forward. One is that Spady by 1997 is already misrepresenting the history of OBE, what happened in Aurora, and who was involved as we covered hereĀ  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/using-education-to/

At the time I wrote that post about Creating the Behavior Government Officials Want in Future Citizens, I was reacting to the implications of what Bela Banathy had written and ASCD’s Educational Leadership were pushing on schools. And I understood Transformational OBE and its life role performances around an imagined future. Never have thought much of it as you can imagine.

Looking back now though I think we need to look at all these OBE and Systems Thinking transformations as related tools to get K-12 education in the West generally but especially the US to the 1989 UNESCO blueprint vision I described here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/values-and-vocational-creating-citizen-drones-via-education-worldwide/. Moreover, now that I have seen the early 70s during the Cold War UNESCO vision for a planned society called the Learning Society that I described here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/coercing-teachers-to-be-social-and-political-saboteurs-what-can-be-done/ , all of these education programs are clearly just strategies to target the West economically and politically and achieve control over a great deal of what should be free human behavior through the K-12 schools as well as colleges and universities.

No wonder it does not really go away no matter the poor effects on students or declines in test scores or even school tragedies that seem to have common factors being left undiscussed. That 70s report was quite graphic about the concept of employing mentally and psychologically invasive means in order to get transformed individual mindsets and visions for the future. The idea commonly phrased now as “You can’t get an omelette without breaking eggs.” I once wrote that students are not trees. Neither are their brains and personalities eggs to be broken and scrambled using data and feedback to adjust beliefs and values and feelings and attitudes to go along with a collectivist vision for the future in the name of the Common Good. Imagine what the officials who brought us Oil for Food’s corruption partnering with Education Leadership degrees have in mind for the future. No wonder we are being prepped for a post-GDP, Quality of Life society.

I find it interesting that in his book Flow published in 1990 then U-Chicago psychologist, now Harvard, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, has a cover that advocates this ecstatic union of feelings, thoughts, and actions (discussed in the previous post) as a means to enhance the Quality of Life. Of course he also says that Flow is easier for other species of animals and preliterate primitive societies to achieve. That may have a lot to do with UNESCO push for Basic Skills for All and only basic skills that began about the same time. And, oh, that unappreciated change in the definition of Literacy.

Communitarian prof Amitai Etzioni whose work is implicated so in what will constitute the required Positive School Climate and the actual definition of College and Career Ready also wrote back in the 80s about the Quality of Life society. Of course he was also honest enough to admit that such a society would be at the expense of future economic growth and development. The Quality of Life/Personal Wellbeing Society is also the focus of those Belmont Challenge/ Future Earth Alliance documents I have written about. I know you are shocked, shocked, that UNESCO is also a partner of the Belmont Forum in the going operational in 2013 Future Earth Alliance as well. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/future-earth-alliance-where-education-climate-and-economic-planning-are-all-cores/

Now I think I see some patterns here. And reasons for the continued disregard for the reality of what these reforms cause. A second aspect from Spady’s descriptions has a bearing now to what is coming to a classroom near you soon if it has not happened already. First he outlines the use of what he calls the Learning Community concept to ensure compliance with his Transformational OBE vision among Teachers, other faculty, and students. That is still its function now and too many parents are still envisioning academic rap sessions among Sage Teachers and involved, interested students when the Principal excitedly announces a Learning Community. Think of it as no one having the freedom to reject these bad ideas and the consensus being created by those without the knowledge or acuity to recognize what can lead to tragedy.

Secondly, the Common Core measurements of what is being accomplished in the classroom are largely formative assessments. Based on what Spady called performance assessments of empowering outcomes. The mentions of tests are largely attempts to mislead the nature of the wholesale change. The forming involves the student in the largely affective ways I have outlined in other posts. But having read a lot of SBAC, PARCC, and Gates Foundation funded assessments as well as the OECD work creating the entire concept, Csik’s psychology transformation of Optimal Experience appears to me to be thoroughly embedded into what is to occur.

And Csik thinks Karl Marx’s work has been misunderstood and misapplied and had lovely things to say about Antonio Gramsci and his brand of “humane socialism.” He now wants to develop and remake man’s consciousness as he believesĀ  “we now need to learn how to reunite ourselves with other entities.” It is the disciplines and academic knowledge, he believes, that “produced science, technology, and the unprecedented power of mankind to build up and to destroy its environment.” Gosh, darn, amazingly enough, another UN priority.

If the vision of education, K-12 and higher ed, all over the world, under UN influence, is premised on this belief:

“Recognizing the limitations of human will, accepting a cooperative rather than a ruling role in the universe, we should feel the relief of the exile returning home. The problem of meaning will then be resolved as the individual’s purpose merges with the universal flow.”

We all have a right and need to know that. Now. Before the New Year. Before the Future Earth Alliance commences working with the education accreditation agencies and unions to impose this vision via education. Even further than it is now.

That’s a Vision of Submission if I ever read one. And it’s totalizing in its aspirations.

But luckily some of us still have the knowledge and acuity to recognize what we are dealing with. Be brave and forthright now with what we know. We are not naive Chamberlains hoping for the best in 1938.

3 thoughts on “Future Empowerment Paradigm or Educentric Tradition? Guess Which Began Its Reign 20 Years Ago?

  1. I’ve only recently subscribed to this blog so I admit to not knowing the whole story from this teller’s perspective, but I have some comments. First, I am a teacher educator at an institution that gives (gives is the right verb) doctorates in leadership and curriculum studies.
    We do not provide anywhere close to a doctoral experience in either program or in any that we seem to be adding all the time. I have fought this losing fight for years.

    But you are tarring all of us with your brush. I haven’t thought about OBE since I taught high school English but my most recent brush with it has been in preparation for SACS accreditation. Everything had to be in outcome base language. We had already been at work on NCATE accreditation which is a joke and these very dangerous people listen to the Spadys of the world among others.

    On paper my literacy program can be seen fulfilling SACS requirements and then turned right around and everything that was outcomes based was changed into standards based for NCATE. Most of it is fiction and bears no relationship to what I believe or what I teach. I have served on the National Council of Teachers of English NCATE steering committee and NCTE has never formerly adopted NCATE’s approach. I was asked by NCTE’s leadership to join the NCATE Board of Examiners because of my views. This was absolutely futile and mind numbing. I can’t even begin to tell you the insidious influences that form the NCATE standards and what institutions must do to be in compliance. Trust me, it is a war on content. However, the leadership at most colleges of education buy into it and that is where the transforming power starts and how it makes its way into so many classrooms. However, not mine.

    I don’t want to get carried away in this first post but I do know Csik ( am not a Flow fan) and based my dissertation on work he did with Jacob Getzels at the University of Chicago with artists. It was a different era.

    One final comment, I caught up on my reading from being in Boston and read your comments on Maureen’s blog from Bob Fecho. Guess who was the editor of the journal that published his wobble piece? More on this at another time.

    • I appreciate your comments and am glad you are fighting against the anti-content initiatives. I am just trying to raise public awareness of just how counter-intuitive most of what is to now constitute learning really is. I also believe the accreditors would have less leverage to essentially blackmail institutions with our way or you will have no students because no federal student loan program participation if they were accurately recognized as a primary source of social poison.

      The learning community concept must be very frustrating to you when the teachers who have solid knowledge that students will need as adults are being told by a principal and less capable or naive colleagues what they must do or find another occupation.

      I have run into Csik’s work too many places without looking for it not to recognize its significance. He is clearly interested in using education to alter consciousness for a political vision. One that history and economics tell me is unworkable. One place I have not yet mentioned was Stephen Goodlad, John’s son, having Csik write an essay on his vision for the future in the book The Last Best Hope. That was the book that also resurrected the Boyd Bode essay from the 30s that I wrote about on May 16. The post is called “Is Common Core a Catalyst to Dramatically Alter System.” (I am traveling today myself and borrowing my daughter’s laptop. Makes it harder to link directly).

      If you ever think I am being unfair to anyone or am taking something out of context, let me know.

      I actually have the documents from the 80s where NCATE is describing how they intend to use accreditation to change the nature of what constitutes pedagogy and shift the ed leadership degree away from administration. As I mentioned this summer I also have the 2007 documents from Vandy laying out the nature of that Educational Leadership degree. Probably in preparation for what the real Common Core implementation would look like. The one that fits so well with the Standards for Teaching and Learning developed in Chicago in the early 90s.

  2. Pingback: Now More Than Five Years Into An Attempt to Help Organize A Near-Total Revision of Human Behavior | Invisible Serfs Collar

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