Who knew that targeting the Dominant Social Paradigm to facilitate future social change was so thoroughly underway in countries like Germany and the US and the UK by the early 80s that books were being written simply shorthanding the goal as DSP? No wonder Outcomes Based Education and systems thinking were needed via K-12 education reform globally starting in earnest in the 80s. Now that I have firmly attached my deerstalker hat on my head of curls and pulled out by magnifying glass to peruse the footnotes, let’s go back to Lester W. Milbrath and his Environmentalists:Vanguard for a New Society before pivoting to go through the troubling Brookings Institute presentation yesterday of the new Oxford report. Pushing for “a collective vision for society” and “shared global values around which a unified and enduring pathway for society can be built.”
Whew! Good thing thing Brookings has no interest in education or social policy or we might need to be worried about what they are pushing. Why? How? Who really benefits? will all need to become our habitual inquiries as we embark upon our continuing investigation into this hoped for wholesale transformation away from individualism and personal choices to a planned public sector centric economy and society. As we saw in the last several posts, this aim has gone on for decades but whether we know it or not, we are in the final stages.
So let’s go back to 1984 without Orwell to lead us and make it satirical. These have been very real, long term aims. To develop and then unite a new “sophisticated understanding of how the world works with a normative/ethical system that recognizes and addresses those realities.” That would certainly explain why as I traipse around the world via the Internet examining global ed reforms over the last 10 years or so I just keep encountering diagrams of concentric circles with “core values and core beliefs” at the center.
As Milbrath wrote, “social change begins, and is most fundamentally and widely expressed, in the beliefs and values of the people.” And I would add that this level is much easier to access in a mind that has been deprived of its own store of facts and lots of practice with logical thought. Which certainly explains why fluent reading and math and science textbooks and lectures have all come under attacks with explanations that never hold up to detailed scrutiny. That would be due to an organized effort to substitute “an agreed upon ‘story’ that guides the beliefs and behavior of the people.” Well, we didn’t agree. But annoyed by the failures of attempts in previous decades, politicians and profs and district supers and accreditors and state boards of education are brooking no opposition this time from anyone in the way of the desired little c common core. The prevailing beliefs and values to be targeted at school, at work, at church, and especially in higher ed.
Colleges really should just tell parents that a New Worldview comes with the tuition payments and drop the expensive subterfuge. Milbrath used another word in addition to Worldview and the now more common Mindset–paradigm. All of these terms quite simply mean the “belief structure that organizes the way people perceive and interpret the functioning of the world around them.” No wonder constructivism has become all the rage in the Common Core implementation and reading, math, and science instruction. Until reality can be changed, altering the widespread personal perceptions of it will have to do. And that is precisely what is under continuous and coordinated attack now via education. Think of it as cultivating mindsets suitable to prompt action for transformative social, political, and economic change every time you hear of a troubling incident at a university or a curriculum assignment designed to instill hate or confusion or fear.
Here’s what is officially under attack. Every organized society has a dominant social paradigm–the DSP–which consists of:
“values, metaphysical beliefs, institutions, habits, etc., that collectively provide social lenses through which individuals and groups interpret their social world. [Doesn't the C3 Social Studies Framework and the Bronfenbrenner Ecological Systems metaphor presence make more sense now?]
Social paradigms condition individual goals and expectations, provide a definition of social problems, establish a structure of social and physical rewards for various types of preferred behavior, and create shared gains and deprivations which make social harmony in complex societies possible.”
Now things would certainly not be so harmonious if it were better understood that governments and their beneficiaries and allies have decided to use education to push for new structures and institutions and values and beliefs that reject “once accepted patterns and relationships among people.” I personally deplore analogizing individual choices and markets to slavery and colonialism as other once accepted patterns but then I hate a bad analogy. Milbrath was only too ready to create new premises “about the way we should structure our society and conduct our public business” and going after DSP was the way to do it. Still is but most people do not read the Great Transition documents the OECD is pushing now or the UN’s post-2015 report we have also considered. Much less this Oxford Martin global commission report http://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/downloads/commission/Oxford_Martin_Now_for_the_Long_Term.pdf that came out in mid-October.
All of these sought global transformations get pushed at meetings we are not invited to and seek to dramatically transform our future and disregard the current political structures and safety valves we take for granted. Education is the way in and altering the DSP invisibly and quickly means the shift is an irreversible done deal while even the attentive are still arguing on whether the Common Core State Standards Initiative tramples federalism. What? Under a US Constitution that provides no genuine protection when the means of attack is against the DSP once a majority of voters have been affected? We have to understand how the game is actually being played better. We have to understand the nature of political power.
If you do read that Oxford Martin report, don’t stop until you figure out who the C-30 companies are behind this vision and more importantly you trace the C-40 Cities to the core involvement of the Clinton Global Initiative, Bloomberg Philanthropy (also sponsored the NYC citylab recently), and the World Bank. All of this planned transformation has your tax money and the ability to incur debt, loads of contributions hoping for additional political careers, and the ability to regulate and impose public policy. No wonder everyone is talking about mayors and cities as being the correct level to impose change for the future. Usefully also with a high concentration of totally dependent voters looking for a public sector to take care of them.
Well, everyone cannot live at the expense of others and ignoring the inherent parasitic nature of governments under the best of circumstances is dangerous if we hope to keep even the current weakened levels of the economy (that everyone seems intent on redistributing). But getting that essential fact requires some knowledge of history and how can education built around problem and project-based learning create such necessary knowledge? And that seems to be much of the point behind the new games-based focus and design emphasis in the classroom. It encourages the kind of “trial and error [as] the basic element in this kind of social change; it constitutes a type of social learning.” That social learning intention is designed to create “a growing awareness that the present system is not working well.” Milbrath laid it out in his concluding chapter called “Can Modern-day Prophets Redirect Society?” Prophets like the regularly cited Paul and Anne Ehrlich and their rather troubled by now record of catastrophe hyping.
But students raised on a curriculum diet of “successfully navigating open-ended challenges” won’t know that. Expect more of these types of priming projects http://d1lhirsz7m8sbi.cloudfront.net/mindshift/wp-content/blogs.dir/42/files/2013/10/iLab_infographic_11x171.pdf as students are taught everything around them can be redesigned for a better 21st century. For everyone.
Just need to give the Governors at all levels more power and decision-making authority.
Meanwhile, students will be doing helpful things like:
“After collecting information, students then strive to infer the underlying thoughts and feelings of a user. By immersing themselves in the experiences of users and developing ‘deep empathy,’ they are able to develop a deeper understanding that can lead to key insights.”
Insights that guide future behavior without any likely connection to reality. Such a perception contrary to reality was so helpful for English Prime Minister Chamberlain in Munich in 1938.
So many had that lovely feeling of Peace in Our Time right up until the invasion emboldened by the false perceptions.
History and reality vs perceptions and hope and key insights from ‘deep empathy.’
Where would you place your bet on the 21st century future?