Most of the reporting I saw of last summer’s celebration of 20 years of Sustainability and Agenda 21 (so not an urban legend) at Rio de Janeiro viewed it as a failure because “no definitive agreement was reached.” Well while the world paying attention was breathing a sigh of relief at another bullet dodged, the ICLEI component of this UN-led Reorganize the World program at your expense launched a new initiative to clarify what Sustainable Development would mean in the future–the Green Urban Economy. Generally in Initial Caps just like that for emphasis.
Now this is not the story I planned on doing today. That can stay in the holding pen until the weekend. This story was prompted by the very strange reaction locally to the criminal indictment using RICO of former Atlanta School Super, Beverly Hall. Something along the lines of “she’s not a mobster. It can’t merit RICO.” When lots of non-Mafia types have been pulled in through RICO over the years. http://blogs.ajc.com/get-schooled-blog/2013/04/02/criminal-indictment-of-beverly-hall-is-it-illegal-to-be-a-demanding-leader/ is an example of the kind of nonsense being peddled that it can’t be a RICO conspiracy. Now the idea that what Bev was up to was about being a demanding leader or having too high an expectation for minority students given the educational and psychological policies and practices APS was piloting for national (and international as you are about to see) implementation is preposterous.
My experience is that that kind of preemptive “I am a lawyer and I read the indictment and this was no conspiracy meriting RICO” treatment gets pulled in when big bucks are at stake. And Atlanta’s business image. The good news Atlanta movers and shakers is I am about to make what is going on an Urban juggernaut and boondoggle connected to that reimagining of federal revenue sharing we talked about in the last post. Because while I was still fuming over that exculpatory blog post, I learned that the week before the indictment Bruce, the last post’s Race to the Shop, Katz had been back in Atlanta. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/protected-producers-vs-paying-consumerstaxpayerswho-will-prevail-on-education-and-the-economy/ is the post explaining the Low Carbon and punt consumer choice regional vision from last fall’s visit.
Except this time he brought former Chicago mayor Richard Daley to pitch the Global Cities Initiative. A Joint Project of Brookings and JP Morgan Chase. Chase said its role was about its “longstanding commitment to investing in cities.” As a former corporate securities lawyer who has written her share of bond prospectuses, I am sure the prospect of underwriting fees from municipal bonds to finance infrastructure expansions plays no role. Purely altruistic. Which is why GCI began in 2012 with events in San Diego, Columbus, Tampa Bay, and Los Angeles. If you are in Texas, maybe you can make it to the GCI forum on May 15. Other 2013 opportunities are in Dallas, Denver, and Mexico City.
Something else began in May 2012 that does seem related to this rebuild urban areas and insist everyone globally push the sociocultural model just like the urban schools. It’s called the Global Cities Education Network and its participating cities are Chicago, Denver, Hong Kong, Melbourne, Seattle, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, and Toronto. None of which are cities with any interest in an export economy of the type GCI is hyping. Seriously, the JP Morgan, Gates, Hewlett and Pearson Foundations are among the sponsors. So the profit parts bring in revenue from underwriting or selling technology and digital literacy or writing and grading those all important assessments and remaking urban America to be Green. While the “charitable” arms push the policies that control the next generation’s values and belief systems and their ability to think at all.
So I am not trying to rain on revenue dreams from a Corporatist redesigned 21st century economy so much as trying to prevent the kind of insider boondoggle and user and taxpayer expensive nightmare now being used to describe the Chicago Parking Meter Lease Deal (look it up. I need to move on). You see, I don’t know just a sliver of this story. And one of the things I understand is precisely how these urban school systems have been operating and why and how it has related for years to the hoped for political, economic, and social transformation. I literally have the blueprints as I was reminded again yesterday as I read this driving assumption. It is why outcomes based education always comes back. In function if not name and why the economic vision must have the schools:
“Without appropriate beliefs, many elementary acts of internal forethought, external colloquy [apparently discussion was not a sufficient term] and operational realignment would be unlikely. In so far as these acts depend on conscience, the beliefs of those involved is crucial.”
That was from 1990 and the UK but it actually laid out the global blueprint that mirrors what we are seeing now. Behind on its 21st century implementation schedule but definitely shifting into 3rd gear while we pay and pay and pay. That’s why all Transformation plans in any area rely on using education to alter the prevailing values, attitudes, beliefs, and feelings through education. It’s why the herd-defying, propaganda busting, abstract mind must not be nurtured anymore. So making equity in education and closing the achievement gap for urban youth the global focus prevents an academic/transmission of knowledge focus. That is inherently unequal so emotions and physical activity become the default classroom focus. Which is really convenient since that is the area of research from all those Soviet psychologists as we have talked about. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/imitating-the-ussr-in-striving-to-discover-how-the-child-can-become-what-he-not-yet-is/
And to invoke all this as being a matter of fairness to all and needed in light of the 50th anniversary of the Brown US Supreme Court decision on school desegregation (it is aboriginal rights being pushed in Oz by the way. Whatever pitch is needed) you get law review articles like “Toward Everyday Justice: On Demanding Equal Educational Opportunity in the New Civil Rights Era” by Mica Pollock. Now Mica is now an ed prof at UC San Diego and Harvard but she wrote that Ohio State Law Journal article that is ready to be cited in support of many a legally dubious practice to get it into place. Get it embedded into daily practice is how she describes it while our civil rights laws remain too focused on intent to discriminate. Instead of focusing on ANY harmful effects to a particular racial or ethnic group.
Mica is an anthropologist, not a lawyer, by training with a PhD from Stanford. She is thus in a position to credential away future professors, teachers, and District School Supers and administrators committed to her vision of using schools to “transcend current legal tools” and really get to wholesale structural transformation. You just focus on changing the aggregate of ordinary daily practices and policies that might give some children benefits not available to others.
All out of sight. All admittedly in violation of the actual statutory or case law. It’s not like anyone will ever know or those District Supers really have to answer to anyone in what they choose to push. And that’s how Equity and Equal Opportunity are bringing in sociocultural practices for all schools that the creators admit they based on USSR research. I don’t think it is coincidental Mica is now where Michael Cole and his Cultural-Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) set up shop after the Rockefeller Foundation stopped funding that type of psychological research.
The Spencer Foundation has also been funding research designed to equalize opportunity to learn. They italicized it just like that. And equalizing OTL requires, they say, using those sociocultural practices like CHAT and alternative assessments like what the Gordon Commission is pushing. That would again be the influential commission led by Edmund Gordon with his life long interest in urban youth and equal justice for minorities. One of the Commission members, our friend James Paul Gee , explained OTL in his work for Spencer:
“New Knowledge that cannot be tied to any prior knowledge is not learned well or at all.” That means that what we would call book knowledge is off limits with an OTL focus because people have varying degrees of ability to take it in based on their prior life experiences. a/k/a homelife and parental education and financial resources.
Gee then goes on to say:
“For true and equal OTL, learners must all have the capacity to form the required representations [concepts, mental models] at the required degree of ‘power.’” Now since people differ in their ability to think abstractly, genuine abstractions like real Algebra or geometric proofs or even grammatical logic are all now off limits as a violation of OTL. If concepts or mental representations are needed, the kindly proprietors of an equity focus will supply them. Helps create consistency in beliefs too. No need to be skeptical and think there might be a political agenda that would make influential false beliefs or metaphors a temptation. Oh wait. We already did that post on Professor Donald Schon.
In the end our urban focus and OTL equity priority leaves classrooms largely devoted to “people’s participation in shared talk and social practice.”
A perfect opportunity to both level and change those beliefs that form the conscience that drives action. That can create a broader fundamental Transformation. Of everything.