Instilling Desired Feelings and Political Values via SEL in Children–Taps for the Republic?

If the purpose of preschool education and K-12 and college are all now to be centered around changing guiding human values that might be obstacles to redesigning all of our social systems, like schools, businesses, the economy, and cities, is there anything left of the historic concept of individuality? Personal liberty? If an education degree or a credential in social systems or systems design or organizational learning gives a carte blanche at taxpayer expense to reenvision human systems to be other than what they are, shouldn’t we just face the facts and march to the National Archives and just light that US Constitution afire now? Say never mind, it was a good run. Nice experiment in prosperity. Time to move on?

Do educators and professors and accreditors get to unilaterally decide among themselves that we live in “changing times” and they have decided to “revisit” our “many traditions, rituals and customs” to determine their continued “appropriateness?” Do they get to decide what will be “sustainable behavioral choices” for us and then select what “values systems” will be appropriate for the future they have picked out? For us? Assuming of course that they will be part of the leadership? Here’s an example of the kind of nonsense guiding the systems thinkers who are training educators to change the nature of education with this vision (think of holographic as the opposite of hierarchy. They believe such terms make this sound Scientific instead of a political theory looking for guinea pigs):

“The holographic diffusion of culture means that it pervades activity in a way that is not amenable to direct control by any single group of individuals. [Because that direct approach was apparently the schemers first choice] What we can do, however, is design social systems with the conditions for desirable cultures to emerge. This process of design results in the human creation of intentional community.”

No, that is not how it has ever worked successfully. This has, however, been tried numerous times in the past with the levels of the disaster varying from financial ruin to destroyed futures to mass murder on an epic scale. Treating people and their social systems as if they can be manipulated like a circulatory system or planetary gravity is called scientism. Friedrich Hayek, Nobel Prize-winning economist, wrote quite a bit about this fallacy of treating the social sciences as if they were natural sciences. It would be good for the sake of our civilization if mastering this important distinction were a prerequisite to having any authority over a student and their education. But, no, we get the educators excitedly speculating over “how to recreate our systems, how to redesign them.”

Mentioning that the word community is derived from the Latin communis which means to “make common” and that the point of school is now to create a “we” of the students “as meaningful relationships evolve” is NOT the purpose of school in any country wishing to survive as a Republic. It is a quick path to tyranny anywhere it has ever been pursued. It is not the place  of school officials or accreditors or the various parasitical vendors pushing whatever brings in education grant money in a given decade to decide to make the school a holistic community where:

“the more genuine the participation and the more deeply manifested the relationships become, the more ‘whole’ and authentic it seems to be.”

Now this post was originally just going to be about CASEL publishing a 2013 Guide for Preschool and Elementary School Children on Effective Social and Emotional Learning Programs laying out the Five SEL Core Competencies. It reminded me of Milton Rokeach’s work that we have already found so alarming. New names, old Pursuit, same Collectivist political Ends. But a reader sent me a 2005 paper on Banathy and systems thinking in education after the previous post that is where these quotes so far are coming from. The paper envisions that new values instilled through the school can be used to make redesigning social systems possible. And we now know enough about PBIS and what Continuous Improvement is really monitoring and what Growth and Student Achievement as benchmarks will actually be measuring to see that we need to catch this design fallacy and resulting Values targeting early and fast. And in some poor districts like Tucson and Portland, Oregon, it may be too late.

Now I know for a fact that Austin, Texas; Nashville, TN; Oakland, CA; Sacramento, CA; Chicago, IL; Anchorage, Alaska; Cleveland, Ohio, and Washoe County (Reno), Nevada have all formally committed to be Collaborating Districts for this SEL Initiative. is the Logic Model Diagram for one of these districts. As you can see, “permeate” would be an accurate verb to describe the planned SEL presence in the daily classroom of young children.

And remember what I have said before, all children cannot do well academically but everyone has feelings. So SEL is a focus that means everyone can learn the desired behaviors {specify what students are able to do] and there are political benefits if you are of a controlling disposition. Because of the nature of accreditation in education and the various unappreciated obligations and definitions in those NCLB waivers, this is coming everywhere. And soon.

I am going to give CASEL’s descriptions verbatim but before I do that, please remember that this will be in elementary school classrooms where we refuse to teach reading phonetically because that would introduce students to an abstract symbol system and thus nurture abstract thought. I have seen the Common Core literacy progressions and they amount to doling out the words and concepts students are to be allowed to encounter and become familiar with. Years to learn words that most kids could be ready for by second grade if taught properly. And I am not guessing on the reasons either even if the classroom teacher has no idea. Finally, Common Core distinguishes between oral and print and formal and informal in a way that appears tragic. And I really was not happy to read this week that those distinctions tracked back to Mikhail Bakhtin and his war against individualism. So here, please appreciate the planned manipulation already in place:

Self-awareness: The ability to accurately recognize one’s emotions and thoughts and their influence on behavior. This includes accurately assessing one’s strengths and limitations and possessing a well-grounded sense of confidence and optimism.

Self-management: The ability to regulate one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors effectively in different situations. This includes managing stress, controlling impulses, motivating oneself, and setting and working toward achieving personal and academic goals.

Social awareness: The ability to take the perspective of and empathize with others from diverse backgrounds and cultures, to understand social and ethical norms for behavior, and to recognize family, school, and community resources and supports.

Relationship skills: The ability to establish and maintain healthy and rewarding relationships with diverse individuals and groups. This includes communicating clearly, listening actively, cooperating, resisting inappropriate social pressure, negotiating conflict constructively, and seeking and offering help when needed.

Responsible decision making: The ability to make constructive and respectful choices about personal behavior and social interactions based on consideration of ethical standards, safety concerns, social norms, the realistic evaluation of consequences of various actions, and the well-being of self and others.

Whatever you expect from your area schools or need in future employees, Race to the Top and Common Core are premised upon the classroom being accessible to ALL students. Repeated references are made to a levelling purpose for public education. I have seen what the accreditors envision and it fits with those Five SEL Competencies and virtually no transmission of knowledge beyond basic, politically useful concepts.

The systems theorists have plans for radical transformation as we saw in the last post and others. As a result their goal of education in the 21st century is an “individually and socially competent citizen.” Not much knowledge there, but remember these same schemers plan to redesign the economy. To fit the education qualifications they are willing to provide.

All on our dime as usual.

2 thoughts on “Instilling Desired Feelings and Political Values via SEL in Children–Taps for the Republic?

  1. You may have already seen this somewhere, ( but I’ll put it up here for everybody. What caught my attention here was the terms “positive school climate” which the article uses in a purely descriptive manner but which, given the specific terms used and the nature of the executive order (essentially, a system of quotas and non-behavior related criteria to achieve racial balance or alleviate “disparate impact” in school discipline), should probably have used capital letters for the first words of each term, as I do suspect this to be the very values modification/thought restructuring program of the same name.

    The desire to ignore empirical and historical realities in the name of abstract ideological goals, the moral stupor required to actually impose this kind of national socialist-like “leveling of the playing field” between racial/ethnic groups as if average disparities in behavior and culture between certain groups were not real but the purely subjective construction of biased bigots who punish and suspend black kids at greater rates for no other reason than racial animus and which can be made right through the decree of the state, is utterly jaw dropping.

    If all groups, and indeed, human beings, are inherently equal in talents, ability, aptitude, capacity, and general psychological and intellectual attributes, and if all cultures and sub-cultures are essentially equal as to their innate capacity to encourage civilized, productive, socially positive behaviors (ALL children can be brilliant scholars, EVERYONE should go to college, and NO ethnic/sub-cultural groups actually engage in pathological and socially destructive behavior in disproportionate numbers, the belief that they do being the subjective (and of course “structural”) concoction of racist bigots in positions of power), then making punishment and suspension equal for all is simply returning these inherently uniform human beings to their natural state of social, psychological, moral, and intellectual equality.

    As Charlie Brown once said, “Frightening, isn’t it?”

    • Loran,

      I have the original Positive School Climate report from 2007 back when the now School Climate Center I have written about was still called the Center for Social and Emotional Education. Pushed by the Education Commission of the States where official policy gets spread that the fed will not and should not be doing that gets us to a de facto national ed policy.I plan to get a post up today explaining how one of our largest states that has openly refused to participate in CCSSI or RTT is nevertheless at Transformational OBE anyway through a failure to appreciate what constitutes rigorous and complex thinking skills these days. And I am not intuiting from my official Glossary of what these ed terms really mean. One of the regionals described it quite graphically and I have that. In the course of that investigation, I pulled the May presentation of Dallas’ New Super. He talks a great deal about Positive School Climate and Culture in that presentation of his transformational model. He even says explicitly that it is not incremental. It is meant to be disruptive.

      As I have noted Positive School Climate is incorporated into Georgia’s new definition of student achievement that is part of its NCLB waiver. In other states it becomes part of the components of that A-F grading system some of the waivers have pushed. Elsewhere, like Nevada, it comes in under the amorphous term “Growth” that becomes the goal for students.

      Many of the primary insights I have used this summer in the blog came from reading the bibliography of research supporting the School Climate Center’s program. Herman Daly, Amitai Etzioni, and Richard Layard are all cited authorities for this school climate vision. To say each of those men aspires to a radical Transformation of the West politically, socially, and economically would be putting it mildly.

      Yes it is frightening. But at least we understand it now. Just a matter of getting the word out.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>