19th Century Blueprints for 20th Century Tragedies: Is a Repeat Pending in the 21st?

I would be willing to bet virtually everyone reading this post is familiar with Harriett Beecher Stowe’s book, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The little lady who started that big war is I believe how Lincoln described her and the book. Yet the second biggest bestseller in the US in the 19th Century, Edward Bellamy’s influential and chilling utopian novel Looking Backward: 2000-1887 is virtually unknown now to most of us. That’s a problem as we evaluate where education is really going and what it hopes to accomplish now because virtually everyone I have ever written about on this blog from Professor Fecho in the last post to the Best Practices book detailing the Standards for Teaching and Learning to Bill Ayers or Nel Noddings or John Goodlad or Ralph Tyler and his 8 Year Study all agree on one thing across the decades. They are implementing John Dewey’s vision for using education to transform the nature of American society.

So what drove Dewey and influenced his vision matters as his work is still being cited as the inspiration for what is being pushed in 2013. What if we know many things now that Dewey did not know when he wrote in the late 19th and early 20th century? Shouldn’t those things matter to whether his education vision is likely to produce a toxic society and economy in the 21st Century? Can’t we learn from history? The Bolsheviks in 1918 in Russia spent precious hard currency having Dewey’s works translated into Russian before Lenin had even prevailed in his Revolution. Should the other things they wanted that were so harmful give us pause that they viewed Dewey as an ideological comrade? Or that Mao in the 1920s cited Dewey as hid favorite philosopher? Shouldn’t that make us uncomfortable in 2013 on whether we should be blindly implementing his vision?

In 1935 John Dewey put Looking Backward second to Marx’s Capital on a list of the most influential books of the past 50 years. Two Dewey biographers, Robert B Westbrook and Alan Ryan, write about how much Dewey was influenced by Bellamy’s vision of the future. Please remember when both Bellamy and Dewey were writing, the US and Europe were going through the “coming of technological, urban society” which I believe can accurately be described as the “most deep-seated and sweeping transformation of human affairs in all of recorded history.” That sounds dramatic but these were hugely uprooting, unprecedented changes that must have been bewildering and alienating to live through. Dewey and Bellamy’s writings reflect that. But we now know much that they did not. Shouldn’t our knowledge of what happened in the 20th century chasing after collectivist ideas matter in the 21st? Especially since what is sought is so strikingly similar?

Economist Brink Lindsay describes these 19th and 20th Century movements as the Industrial Counterrevolution. He wrote of Bellamy’s role. I remembered how much Bellamy influenced Dewey and decided to include him as well. He fits. In explaining what drove this counterrevolution of an anti-individual sweeping reorganization of society and economic life, I think Lindsay nails the driving rationale with this quote:

“Amidst the spiritual turmoil and disorientation, collectivism promised deliverance–a return to the age-old verities of village life and the sense of community and rootedness that had been lost in industrialization. The agent of deliverance would be the centralizing state; its means, the nationalization of economic life.”

Looking Backward (I am using Ryan’s description of the book as an admirer of Dewey to be fair) involves a well-to-do man put into a hypnotic trance in 1887 who awakens in 2000. “In this Boston poverty has been abolished, and absolute equality established. ” The book envisioned a 2000 where there is “no politics, no money, no free market, and no social disorder.” Every citizen of the country, regardless of age or occupation receives the same income and all commerce has been replaced by a system of direct distribution of goods and services. Looking Backward sells the idea that economic competition is wasteful and central planning allows for vastly superior productivity.

From our 21st century vantage point we know from the miseries of the 20th that central planning is not more productive. It is hugely wasteful because so much critical information never makes it through. And that’s apart from the political capture by crony favorites that is inevitable in such a system.

By the way, when I talk about free markets working better than government planning, that’s the historian in me. I think the 20th Century facts make it abundantly clear that the competitive system Marx and Bellamy and Dewey rejected back in the 19th and early 20th was in fact a “marvelously subtle and sophisticated social order whose greatest virtues are in its fertility in developing and facility in applying useful knowledge.”

That marvelously creative and innovative fertility and facility, plus a tremendous amount of useful knowledge that will no longer be transmitted via schoo,l is what is being jettisoned in 2013. By professors and politicians and Supers and Principals trying to still implement Dewey’s dream and collectivization and central planning. For them, it is either that the 20th Century’s tragedies never occurred or a belief that supercomputers and an ignorance among the masses on what is being changed via the schools will make all the difference this time.

Capitalism is actually a term created to be a pejorative. An insult. Propaganda. I like the idea of economic historian Deirdre McCloskey of substituting phrases like “continuously emergent novelty” or the “explosion of consensual creativity” to describe what makes free markets so conducive to prosperity. If we make the rules regarding contracts and property law fixed instead of trying to fix outcomes and then get out of peoples way, history shows a natural tendency for human betterment that benefits everyone to some degree. We really should think twice or more about the determination to shut this all down in the name of Equity and democracy and social justice and fairness.

Instead of Social Justice, why not explain the Bourgeois Deal to students? How much of what they take for granted now was produced by this dynamic:

“the poor have been the chief beneficiaries of modern capitalism. It is an irrefutable historical finding, obscured by the logical truth that the profits from innovation go in the first act mostly to the bourgeois rich. But in the second act, and in massively documented historical fact, other bourgeois rush forward at the smell of profit. Prices fall relative to wages, which is to say that goods and services expand per person–they have again and again and again–and the poor get better off in real terms.”

Marx and Bellamy and Dewey could not know that. But it is part of the historic facts available to us in 2013. Yet these ed reforms and the economic and social vision that goes with it ignore these facts.

We ended up in World War I, which all sides initially rejoiced in, because of widespread fallacies like German Prof Gustav Schmoller who said:

“We are convinced that the unchecked reign of partially antagonistic and unequal individual interests cannot guarantee the common welfare.”

Or Adolf Wagner who taught that the progress of civilization “necessitated ever-expanding state control over economic life.” This Wagner Law pushed something akin to today’s College and Career Ready Communitarianism by insisting on the need for expanding government controls “not for the sake of the individual or individuals, but for the sake of the whole, the sake of the nation.”

Wagner and Schmoller were tragically wrong but we still seem to be pushing comparable ideas today.

Why are we ignoring so much historical and economic fact as we once again chase after impossible utopias?

Producing Docile Instruments and Captive Souls–Putty at the Hands of the Predator State

Biddable was the term that came to mind for the Desired Heart and Mind from Alice Bailey’s New Education in the last post. The one with the support of UNESCO and its global cultural tentacles. No, I don’t visualize everyone in the classroom holding hands, wearing white robes, and chanting. That would be obvious and the point is clearly not to convert but to minimize everything historically that fostered that sense of individuality. What john a powell deplored fairly recently as the Unitary Self that needed to be destroyed. All this jockeying about the nature of  education, then and now, is really about creating the World-view or Mindset that will interpret the experiences of life it encounters. How Reality is Perceived. Permanently.

In fact that recent CCSSO C3 Social Framework I wrote about is stunningly graphic in its language about the “lenses” students are to practice using over years of classroom experiences. Probably one of the most explicit descriptions of “Creating a False Consciousness for Dummies”  you will ever read.

The first chapter in Bailey’s 1932 book is called “The Purpose of Education.” She does see it as private meditation about how to change the World. Without nuisances like a store of facts getting in the way of the Sought Vision of What Might Be. This quote is a little long but, I believe, this is the passage that gives rise to the mysterious “Sense-Making” Goals of Education now all over the world. Likewise, I maintain this is the source of what CCSSI means by “Understand” throughout the Standards. It also appears to be the driver behind the “Deep Learning” mandates we have covered. Page 32 if you choose to get a copy of From Intellect to Intuition. Emphasis in original.

“All education in the East is purely directed towards Sense-understanding, which . . . is the only way that can be shown as leading to a raising of the level of essential Being . . .The essential thing is not information, but understanding, and understanding can be attained only by personal creative application [now you know why Creativity is one of the 4 C's of 21st Century Skills and why the CCSSI assessments are to be about applications with no fixed answer about real world problems]. . .Sense-perception always means giving a thing a meaning; [not assigned by a textbook or transmitted by a teacher in a lecture] the dimension of Significance lies in the direction from within  to the outside . . . Information is gained from without to the inside; understanding is a creative process in the opposite direction.”

And that emotionally-driven sense-making of experience not grounded in Facts is what Bailey says develops the “capacity to function in the larger consciousness.” which would be highly useful to Schemers wanting to break the Western tradition of Individualism. It certainly sounds like the kind of web of interconnectedness the Systems Thinkers and Deep Ecologists desire. And in 1932 if Education was to be the global vehicle for this Change in Personal Mindsets, John Dewey must be the Prophet of Change. No one else had his influence. So my epiphany in the Car Pool Line as I read Bailey’s Goals was “What’s the connection between John Dewey and Buddhism?” Ding. Ding. Ding. We have a winner.

Bailey herself said that the purpose for what she called the New Education was the “training and development of the individual for social ends, that is, for the largest service to man. . .” We exist to be instruments in other words. Sounds like Dewey too.  Now it turned out that linking Dewey and Buddhism produced an avalanche of links. I am going to give the essence of what is pushed and links for anyone’s further investigation.  And this really matters. It turns out to be inextricably bound up in the UN’s Vision of Education for All and its Sustainability initiatives as well the definitions of Global Citizenship we keep hearing vague references to.   http://www.daisakuikeda.org/sub/resources/works/lect/lect-08.html&pid=print is the seminal lecture from Columbia Teachers College on June 13, 1996 by Daisaku Ikeda, Buddhist philosopher, peacebuilder and educator called “Thoughts on Education for Global Citizenship.” It lays out the similarities between Dewey and Makiguchi, the Japanese inspiration for SGI, Soka Gakkai International (check its partner list if you want to check its active participation among the Who’s who of Global NGOs).

Since everyone reading pays their taxes wanting education to be about:

“true happiness is to be found in a life of value-creation. Put simply, value-creation is the capacity to find meaning, to enhance one’s own existence and contribute to the well-being of others, under any circumstance.”

You do realize that “well-being” obligation and definition of Student Growth is straight out of the Belmont Challenge we chronicled as the Blueprint for Redevelopment of the Global Society, politically and economically going forward by 2020, don’t you? With UNESCO involvement. Read on. This cannot be coincidental.  Ikeda desires education to be about the “all-encompassing interrelatedness that forms the core of the Buddhist worldview.”

Now I have an idea. To get around those sticky concerns about the separation of Church and State, especially in the US, let’s call the interrelatedness a System or Web and require students learn about it. Maybe in the new C3 or Science Frameworks. Then it appears Secular and Perfectly Permissible. In fact, we can take the phrase “Buddhism seeks to cultivate wisdom grounded in this kind of empathetic resonance with all forms of life” and call it Ecology and Sustainability and Systems Thinking. Then it gets to come into the classroom to alter the Student’s Permanent World-view. In a religious way. Without saying so.

In fact Ikeda sees the Concept of a Global Citizen to be grounded in the Buddhist concept of the Bodhisattva–”one who strives without cease for the happiness of others.” Americans get to secularize that Buddhist concept as College and Career Ready as we have seen. Here’s also a 2002 Speech at the Ikeda Center for Peace, Learning, and Dialogue at Harvard called “Democracy and Global Citizenship: Creating Value by Educating for Social Reform” by the Director of the Center for Dewey Studies commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Dewey’s Death. http://www.ikedacenter.org/thinkers/hickman_lecture.htm Hint: Hickman’s Vision for finally enacting fully Dewey’s work looks a lot like the CCSSI and global education reform implementations we have been chronicling.

I want to pivot though to a March 2009 lecture called “Daisaku Ikeda and John Dewey: A Religious Dialogue” http://www.iop.or.jp/0919/garrison.pdf which chronicles the similarities to Buddhism but calls Dewey’s vision for education and the schools “religious humanism.” Here’s a taste:

“The primary difference between ‘religion’ and ‘the religious’ for Dewey is that religion confines itself to a special domain of human experience usually associated with the supernatural and, therefore, does not intervene to alter the affairs of daily living.”

Dewey wanted to change the nature of the world, politically, economically, and socially. His education vision starts with classroom activity that “moves forward to restore the wholeness of the self through right relationships of dependent origination in the world.” Not just the new 3 R’s again but the impetus for all the Group Projects and Mandates of Collaboration. What Ikeda and Dewey want is education that is a “religious” experience as in students who “feel the desire to engage the world to transform it and make things better while experiencing a sense of being sustained by the larger whole that they serve.”

But no one, except me, is being forthcoming with the public around the world that these are the visions and ends being mandated for 21st Century Classrooms. All we get are vague “the process is more important than the content” or “must now be a student-centered classroom.” No one mentions Alice Bailey’s troubling one-world vision from the Cold War Era that is no friend of traditional Western culture. Or Ikeda’s vision that is admittedly grounded in attaining Buddahood in this life. We now seem to be calling that Service Learning and insist that it is Suitable for All Students because it is Engaging. Or Dewey’s Political Vision for Social Reconstruction Education grounded in his admitted Atheism.

Did you know John Dewey was one of the founders of the ACLU? None of this would be news to the ACLU so determined to take Judeo-Christian influences out of the public schools. So much for claims Secularism is the Goal. A different Kind of Spirituality is a More Accurate Description. One Useful to Those who Seek a Stronger Economic Role for the State that does Not Want to Worry about Pesky Individuals Impeding Progress Towards a Sure to be Great Collectivist Future. Yes, the post title is based on something written about Stalinism  in 1954 on what the State there needed in Citizens. Seemed apt.

All the great historic civilizations of the past recognize that it is spiritual values or ends that influence individual behavior or social culture. When Madalyn Murray O’Hare and the ACLU took the prayer case to the US Supreme Court, they were really trying to take out the traditions that impeded a different Vision for where the US should go. SCOTUS was in no position to know the reality of Sought Influence I have laid in this post.

These prevailing Values and Ends are what Ikeda and John Dewey and Milton Rokeach and Peter Senge and Spence Rogers and William Spady and Outcomes Based Education and Systems Thinking and Competency all want to change.

They are the key to how individuals interpret reality and their concepts of moral order. And right now only the Communitarians and Collectivists are at the table to influence the Values and Ends allowed into the Classroom.

Now what are we going to do about That going forward?

Are the New 3 R’s and the Student-Centered, Inquiry Driven Classroom a Means to Eastern Spirituality?

We are so trained to defer to religious beliefs as a private matter and something that, at least in the US, Government is supposed to stay out of, that it can take a sledgehammer hit to force us to look at what was staring us in the face all along. I would write stories and then run into the advocates as teachers in a California Wisdom Center. And ignore it. I have traced many of the education reformers/professors to discussions about Third Order Consciousness. And ignored it. Mustn’t be controversial.  It’s a private matter.

I wrote posts about sought Deep and Continual Personal Change  within each Student and ignored the clear references to Meditation Practices. It’s just not how I think. It’s an area I did not want to go to. I have written about Peter Senge and his Systems Thinking and his Presencing book but chose to overlook the links of his sought education and organization practices to his Buddhist practices and beliefs. Again we want to see spirituality as a private, personal matter. Bringing it up and discussing it are off limits. Even when personal Spiritual/ Internal Values are clearly targeted by the Full Personality/holistic education/Systems Thinking focus we are discussing.

The Sledgehammer forced me to confront this Reality recently when I was filing some of my research and glanced at a xeroxed Preface called “Education Trends in a World Crisis” from a 1954 book Education in the New Age. Now its author, Alice A. Bailey, is a controversial New Age enthusiast/Theosophist and apparently much more (you can search out the more lurid details. That’s not my point) but the description in the Preface fit the emotionally driven, intuitive, nonrational mind we have been chronicling. That was the desired Goal. Bailey was the one describing the Sought Mental Global Reality in Students and Future Voters we have been examining in terms  of synthesizing Tibetan spirituality practices.

She was the one writing about using education globally to “resynthesize the objective and subjective, the extrovert [the West] and the introvert [Oriental Asian] civilizations and to achieve a great orchestration of culture.” When you mention culture like that and it turns out the book is a write-up of a 1953 seminar in Chicago funded by the Ford Foundation and you go on to describe your education “project” as based on a UNESCO document you have my full, undivided attention. Most of what we have encountered throughout this blog’s journey traces back to UNESCO involvement and Ford funding. The Regional Equity Movement now is a high priority of Ford and they have hired a John Goodlad confederate, Jeanne Oakes, away from UCLA’s Center for Democracy and Education. She is behind most of the research claiming academic tracking is a bad idea. Ford Foundation employees edited Breakthrough Communities: Sustainability and Justice in the Next American Metropolis. The book I got the Van Jones essay from.  Same involved employees were listed as part of that CA Wisdom Center I already chose to ignore.

Sledgehammer moment caused me to go check to see if Bailey’s book was still in print. The answer? Yes, with its Twelfth Printing listed as 2012. This year. Someone thinks this is still a relevant global vision. For UNESCO’s Education for All globally? For its Decade of Education for Sustainable Development? To promote the Orwellian named, John Dewey inspired, Quality Learning, globally? Only one way to find out. So I bought Bailey’s 1954 book as well as a 1932 book, with a 1960 copyright published in 1972, called From Intellect to Intuition. You see I remembered the kind of emotionally-driven, Arational Minds being sought via education http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/blending-sustainability-and-education-to-gain-arational-nonlinear-minds-and-new-behaviors/ and wanted to see if part of the impetus for rejecting Axemaker Minds was coming out of this Altered Consciousness to fit with Eastern Spirituality emphasis. That would be a huge, emphatic YES!! More on that shortly or in the next post. Remember I am providing those dates above for a reason. Think of World Affairs at those times.

Bailey’s Goal for Education is not the least bit modest. She wants to inculcate a World-view in each person on the planet Earth that “will make possible a planetary civilization by integrating whatever trans-temporal and trans-spatial truths about man and the universe we can extract from all regional cultures in their local times and places.” That was Thomas Berry’s Bioregional Vision too. Also involved with the CA Wisdom Center I ignored.

Bailey was seeking a totalizing World-view or Governing Ideology that guides one through all elements of daily living. Her aspiration, in 1954, was that the World-view taught provide “the kind of overall synthesis that Marxism and neo-Scholasticism provide for their followers [no need then for individual free decision-making], but to get this by the freely chosen cooperative methods that Dewey advocated.”

That would be the Student-Centered, Inquiry Driven Classroom John Dewey wanted with its Quality Learning goal. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/why-quality-learning-may-be-the-last-thing-you-want-for-your-child/ . The kind of classroom and practices the accreditors like AdvancED and consulting companies like Cambridge Education mandate in their reports about Quality. Now. In 2011 and 2012.

That would be the same Quality Learning that is “intuited rather than deduced, felt rather than described, and is immediate to the situation [concrete real world problems in context] rather than removed from it [the forbidden abstract conceptualizations within the privacy of your own mind with your own set of known facts].

Now it is time to pivot to the 1932 From Intellect to Intuition since the sought focus in Quality Learning is feeling and intuition as well. The book is about meditation and “leading man into his heritage as a human being” through educational and psychological practices so that together these two “lead him to the door of the mystical world.” This occurs by training students to use Direct Experience and then turn inwards toward themselves to Reflect upon it. Remember the constancy of this phrase? “The heart and mind become united in their endeavor.” Bailey’s idea is that through “right education,” emotionally-driven, experiential education, (No she did not use the word Hands-On Education but that would be the 21st century version of her idea), the “mind and soul” learn

“to be receptive towards impressions emanating from the mind.” This to Bailey is meditation but to work it requires moving education away from “education of the memory and the cataloguing of world knowledge.” Sound Familiar? Can’t be “the old education with its memory training, its books and lectures and its appropriation of so-called facts.” This is the actual CCSSI implementation model. Cannot be about the teacher transmitting knowledge. That’s a Barrier to a Mind open to Bailey’s New Knowledge. Must be about the New 3 R’s–Relationships, Rigor, and Relevance.

Bailey talks a lot about Right Relations with all of humanity in her books. That was the first tip-off that reminded me of the New 3 R’s. I remembered Willard Daggett in CCSSI training of teachers saying that “Relevance makes Rigor Possible.” I got he meant relevance makes an emotional approach primary. Then I read the following passage in Bailey’s book on creating the Meditative Mind:

“The question may be asked, what is the easiest way to teach oneself to concentrate? . . . one way that may be employed is to utilize what has been called the ‘expulsive power of a new affection.’ To be profoundly interested in some new and intriguing subject, and to have one’s attention focussed on some fresh and dynamic matter will automatically tend to make the mind one-pointed.”

That passage on getting to an inward feeling focus that is not rational provides a good definition of Relevance. But it also makes the arrival of the new C3 Framework, Social Studies Standards, from the previous post, even more important. Making the classroom focus Questions about “societal issues, trends, and events” that the student is interested in is precisely the kind of “new and intriguing” and “fresh and dynamic” matter Bailey wrote about so long ago.

I am just getting started. This turned into quite an illuminating inquiry once I recognized where I had to look. Except my inquiry is not John Dewey’s definition.

Mine is driven by facts and open declarations of intent.

 

 

Political Primer 101: What is the Marxist Theory of the Mind and Why Does It Matter in 2012?

The Berlin Wall is down. Mao is dead. The Soviet Union is no more although I believe their national anthem is back. Why mention Marx at all? Isn’t it offputting in our 21st century to be bringing back previous hobgoblins that are now irrelevant?

But is isn’t irrelevant. That’s the dangerous myth that makes a stealth assault through taxpayer funded and supported institutions possible. The misunderstanding of our adversaries, or even that we have any, acting through something like education that is supposed to be a Public Good. You may have noticed I will usually make references to Uncle Karl to make the point on what is involved without running the risk that readers will step back. The Bridge Too Far.

I think honestly the misappreciation of what Marxism is and the vital importance of education as a primary cultural weapon has been deliberate. If we had rightly understood that consciousness and mindsets were under attack we would have caught on to what was actually going on in the Reading and Math Wars much sooner. We would be paying attention to the actual implementation documents on federalizing education that impact what must, and what Now Cannot, go on in classrooms.

So let me step back now and frame what is under attack and why. At this point because this theory is so ubiquitous and poorly understood it is all the more dangerous. I think we will need the shorthand-”Oh, that’s just another scheme to impose the Marxist Theory of the Mind without us recognizing it” if we are to be able to successfully combat this Evil. I just went back and capitalized Evil because it cost too many human lives in the 20th century not to deserve a Capital “E” for emphasis.

Plus let’s face it the related Bronfenbrenner Ecological Systems Theory and Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Theory of Learning are just a mouthful. And really created to obscure the political derivations while obtaining the desired political effects. Squelch individualism. Stomp the rational mind. Hobble the incredible human capacity to create private mental scenarios to weigh possible consequences of various possibilities and then choose to act or not accordingly. In other words, to crash that Axemakers Mind anywhere it might arise before it can happen.

So Marxist Theory of the Mind is accurate and pithy compared to our alternatives. Which would also include John Dewey’s work. But what is it? Well, actually I just told you and have been all summer. I just avoided calling a spade a spade for as long as possible. The Marxist Theory of the Mind is a political subjugation theory. And I am not using the word Subjugation to show off Robin’s Large Vocabulary and Stock of $5 Words. I mean Subjugation in its sense of deliberate permanent altering of the Human Mind and Personality in order to have lasting Control and Unconscious Influence. See? A great vocabulary word actually does take numerous words to really capture its singular meaning.

And that’s why the Marxist Theory of the Mind remains relevant in the 21st Century. We still have politicians and bureaucrats and Crony Businesses seeking economic and political power over the Individual. And Marx may have been a moocher from his parents and friend Engels who never had a real job in his life. And he may have thoroughly misunderstood capitalism and industrialization and who was benefitting and what was unstable. But his Idea that Your thoughts were not your own and merely reflected the Class you were born into painted a Bullseye on Mental Consciousness as a Target for State Manipulation.

He blew that too by the way. Our thoughts are not merely a reflection of our social interactions and our environment. But think of the power if the nature of school and education could be changed to try and make this part of Karl’s dream a reality. That’s the dream that drove John Dewey and Ralph Tyler of the 8 Year Study (I have an interview he gave just before his death) and so many others. It has become the poorly understood essence of the modern education degrees. It is what drives the accreditation agencies worldwide. We are in Deep Peril if we do not understand this.

So how does it manifest itself almost everyday now in what I am reading? It is embedded deeply in the Digital Literacy Initiative from the last post. There was also Tuesday’s Bridging Differences column claiming that the global economic crisis was due to the “insatiable consumption of our natural resources and control of the world’s wealth by the 1 percent.” Here’s a hint. Most of that One Percent live at the intersection of Politically Directed Capital and Politically Connected Individuals. It’s Al Gore and the Green Business Grants directed by the 2009 Stimulus Act to his investments. It’s the leaders of China and other countries. The imposition of the Marxist Theory of the Mind will simply make this state appropriation and direction worse as there will be no one to fight it. The One Percent should not be the Focus. State Crony Capitalism should be.

It is manifested in the insistence that the transmission of knowledge in urban schools  amounts to the imposition of “white middle-class values on their children” to “mold them so that they are compliant and obedient to authority figures.” That’s pretty brazen given the desire to change everyone’s values to a more Communitarian ethos and Mold Everyone through the collection of data about values, attitudes, and beliefs. That was also yesterday. A thoroughly troubling document called “Teaching Adolescents to Become Learners” which turned out to describe manipulation via the classroom of what are being called “Non-cognitive Skills” or Soft Skills. It claims that:

“racial/ethnic and gender differences in school performance can be reduced by focusing on students’ attitudes and behaviors.”

Delightful details on when these remain malleable and subject to interventions. Lots of mentions of creating desired Mindsets and references to Carol Dweck’s psychology work without bothering to mention she is a noted Lev Vygotsky scholar. Little details. It’s not like that report did not have lots of research to back up what it was mandating. Oh wait, actually it admitted there was little proof for the theories but, hey, what’s the use of a government monopoly over children’s minds if you cannot do widespread research on the Theories after they have been forced into classrooms.

What else just this week? There was Tuesday’s release of a report seeking an official rejection of capitalism in the Advanced Computing businesses and the adoption of an Industrial Policy to have the Government pick the winners and losers and blur the line between public and private when it comes to computer hardware and the semiconductor business. Called “The New Global Ecosystem in Advanced Computing: Implications for US Competitiveness and National Security,” it is a detailed plea for collusion among certain of the tech companies, higher ed, and government regulatory power and tax money.

It is also sought by many of the same businesses pushing the Digital Literacy Initiative and the 21st Century Skills global push. The same businesses that push P-Tech Career Pathways for All in high schools. The same businesses insisting that students only need the 4 C’s and Soft Skills in the 21st Century. Creativity (with little subject knowledge), Critical Thinking (to recognize need for Transformation), Communication (Dewey’s theory that minimizes the cognitive element), and finally Collaboration. Because we know Individualism is so 19th Century.

That’s awfully coincidental and self-serving don’t you think? Industrial Policy, Rejection of non-State Directed Capitalism, and Heavy Involvement in the Radical Restructuring of Education Globally? All essentially at the same time? Think there’s a connection? Let’s not even get started on how much of the actual Common Core curriculum and “Measuring” Assessments the Gates Foundation is also simultaneously funding. Which I have seen by the way. Now I appreciate the omnipresence of Environmental Projects. It really is all connected.

As I wrote about here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/oh-good-grief-now-i-need-to-know-what-a-noetic-system-is-because-it-is-under-attack/, change the noetic system and the economic and political systems must change too. Marx knew that and so do many educators. And apparently tech companies now. It’s the American people and ordinary citizens all over the World in the dark about what is happening right now.

I am going to close with what UNESCO wants, and through its allies in politics, business, education, and accreditation, is well on its way to achieving. Just in case you need reminding of how totalitarian these aspirations are. And global. And happening in Reality. This is from a January 11, 2011 Address in London by Irina Bokova that explicitly addressed Two of the “We Should All Emulate Finland” Crowd, Professors Michael Barber (UK) and Michael Fullan (CA). I reread it this week as I was mulling over the UN’s Digital Technology pushes in light of Joel Klein’s remarks about Amplify. I had previously missed these 3 objectives that typify the subjugation going on all over the world and all the sought manipulation in the classroom.

“Responding to climate change also starts in the classroom. Education is the way to shape new ways of thinking and forge new, sustainable behaviour.  These objectives guide UNESCO in leading the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014).

Fundamentally, education is about values.”

It sure is now. But Whose?

Using Education to Shut Down Free Choices and then Redefining as Personal Autonomy: Orwell Lives!

George Orwell that is and the Newspeak he warned about in 1984 where thought is  confused because none of the official terms being used means what is commonly assumed. We have talked about that before in education with terms like Quality Learning or Excellence. But what about when personal autonomy means the choices made after primary education is used to monitor personal behaviors and interactions with others to make sure that a person is putting the needs of the group first? Or that the person is building their self-identity during those crucial adolescent years around being a member of a Group?

You think you see where this is going? Yet more insistence on the primacy of the Common Good? You would be correct Sir. Ten Points in the Bonus Round of Diminishing Personal Freedoms as THE 21st Century Goal for All Learning. Everywhere apparently. This is from the controversial Moral and National Education Project that went live for Hong Kong primary children last month and for the remainder of secondary schoolchildren in September 2013. And before anyone says “That’s the other side of the Globe. It will not impact US or Canadian schoolchildren.” The sources cited are American profs. Ontario profs.

This is a global political coup being mounted through our K-12 schools. At least the Hong Kong parents, students, and politicians knew enough to be outraged. They aptly called it brainwashing but to no avail. We in the US still have comparable obligations being imposed in classrooms but it is hiding behind Positive School Climate mandates and the actual Orwellian definitions of College and Career Ready or Deep Learning Strategies or Higher Order, Level 4, Thinking.

“As far as altruism is concerned, children should be taught to extend their love and sacrifices to their parents and significant others to include acquaintances, neighbors, strangers in one’s country and people in other countries.”

How useful to anyone in power to redefine personal autonomy as the choices of someone AFTER they have been indoctrinated through K-12 education to have such a sense of mandated altruism. Isn’t this all the Kremlin or Mao and every tyrant in history ever wanted? To have educators instill this so-called Universal Love Principle so that young people believe:

“They are expected to sacrifice their personal needs, benefits and even their basic rights for the sake of the stability and prosperity of the country. Betraying one’s country is not only immoral but also evil and sinful.”

Betraying one’s country is selling state secrets, not refusing to defer to the majority consensus! Seriously. Moral education is being defined as teaching that the “majority’s opinion and interests precede individual’s opinions and interests.” Now won’t this come in handy with the promotion of Systems Thinking and telling each student they are merely a part of the much broader Whole?

US Constitution be damned if the Colleges of Education decide to remove the primacy of the individual emotionally. Through their monopoly over what happens in the Classroom. And if you think again this is Hong Kong, search out Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development/Universal Principle and see how influential it is in teacher education for the classroom. Or here, about two weeks ago, Bronfenbrenner Ecological Systems Theory as the basis for Child Development activities in Pennsylvania classrooms. http://imaginepennsylvania.com/2012/10/expanding-views-of-child-development-urie-bronfenbrenner/

So yes I am lifting these quotes from Hing-keung Ma’s work but she in turn is quoting the Western education profs and feminist profs like Carol Gilligan and we have the same names for the same interpersonal and mandated social altruism as we are seeing in the West. The highest stage of Ma’s world social altruism in preparation for a desired sense of world citizenship is called Global Perspectives. That just happens to be the name of the  company with its affective inventory (Global Perspectives Inventory) of desired personal traits in college students created to implement the radical new vision for US colleges and universities.http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/college-ready-as-a-goal-of-k-12-is-not-helpful-if-first-you-gut-the-historic-purpose-of-college/

The way to foster world citizenship then is using the concept of moral education to push these ideas of universal love and universal justice on schoolchildren. What a dream for parasitical UN bureaucrats and their tax free salaries to have students all over the West being taught these ideas as Systems Thinking and Education for Wellbeing as we saw in this post on what Australia is mandating with US advisors.  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/if-education-transforms-values-and-feelings-and-beliefs-to-control-behaviors-are-we-free/  In fact the advisors are from the same US college campus where that Global Perspectives Inventory was created. What are the odds?

So self-actualization in this Orwellian world of Newspeak becomes a declared aim “at the greatest happiness of the greatest number.” And woe be us once public employment plus beneficiaries crosses that 51% threshold to be a majority where education says self-actualization means:

“if there is a conflict of interest between an individual and the majority, the individual should be prepared to sacrifice himself/herself for the majority.”

Well this is certainly yet another way to fracture the concept of the Unitary Self as the Regional Equity and Environmental Justice advocates seek.  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/distributive-justice-is-not-enough-we-must-break-the-illusion-of-the-unitary-self/ Seriously long term regular readers are thinking. What is going on? This is all clearly related. And global. And a stealth implementation of what are clearly collectivist political and economic theories. Could you please give us a date you say? Somewhere in particular to help us really frame what we are dealing with here?

Well, I have quite a few illuminating choices to answer that one but this week’s Tiptoe through the Footnotes Journey yielded yet another Glittering Gem of an Epiphany. This one is from 1968–an important year because we are at the height of the Cold War and the beginning of the student riots that changed American culture and education so much.

The book, The Learning Society, is by a man, Robert M. Hutchins, who was once the President of the University of Chicago in the 30s and 40s. We have talked before about Ralph Tyler and his Eight Year Study which laid out a way to implement the progressive vision for education originated by John Dewey http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/if-standardsoutcomesobjectives-what-is-the-real-common-core/ . Hutchins was a close friend and mentor to Ralph Tyler in addition to being his boss. It was Hutchins who put Tyler in the chair positions at Chicago where the entire concept of Behavioral Sciences and Systems Thinking originated. So when one of the scheming Systems Thinkers cited the book, I thought it was time to read it.

Hutchins lays out a new vision for global education that will be applicable to all students–to set their minds free. Education that cultivates the Common Good. What Hutchins called an “education designed to help people become human” by “connecting man with man.” An education that is not about the transmission of information since “why should data be memorized if they can be instantly available by pressing a button?” Education that promotes a “deep understanding” of issues and questions where “there is more than one answer or no answer at all.”

Sound familiar? An education that “introduces all men to the dialogue about the common good of their own country and the world community.” Now Hutchins wanted this education for new values centered around the concept of Humanity to be pushed everywhere. To use education to change the culture to “one in which living wisely and agreeably and well is the object.” Communist China and the Soviet Union and Kuwait and India and Japan and Africa and the US. But these countries differ drastically in the level of influence their students and citizens have over government actions. Or refusals to act.

What we are seeing in 2012 is just a continuation of this previous attempt to snuff out personal liberty and individualism everywhere on this globe where these ideas have ever flourished. And especially in those countries where they are cherished. So in the US we get our assault on freedom wearing Orwellian masks and tucked into little read but still binding regulations. But the assault is no less real.

And the draw bridge is down. And the Armed Guard went into town to fetch some mead for a planned banquet. And the moat has been drained to allow for easy to access organic gardening.

We are wide open and largely unsuspecting. And it is coming.

 

Constructing an Alternative Vision of Either the Natural or Human World As the Basis for a College Degree

Somehow the Beatles song “Say You Want a Revolution” just popped into my head as I was typing that title and preparing to give you the full quote from “The Degree Qualifications Profile” published by the Lumina Foundation in January 2011.  http://www.luminafoundation.org/publications/The_Degree_Qualifications_Profile.pdf is the link if you want to give this egregiously bad idea a good look. The quote I am about to give you is on page 13 under “Intellectual Skills, Engaging diverse perspectives, bachelor’s level”:

” Constructs a cultural, political, or technological alternative vision of either the natural or human world, embodied in a written project, language, political order, or technological context, and explains how the alternative perspective contributes to results that depart from current norms, dominant cultural assumptions, or technologies–all demonstrated through a project, paper, or performance.”

Perhaps performing a Dance of Despair of what will happen if fossil fuels remain in use and we remain a consumer-oriented society that values economic freedom. Art students could show the lovely Green World that would exist if we returned to an agricultural economy that used windmills and water wheels for power. Oh, that’s right, no artificial damming. Make that just windmills and solar cells and lots of back breaking labor as we return to washing our clothes in streams and drying them on rocks.

I wish I could say I am being facetious but that is close to the vision in these books and speeches (they do leave out the details about laundry but I remember those Little House books well) that underlie this supposedly new economy for the 21st Century that needs a new way of thinking. One that is not very keen on thinking as it has been traditionally understood in the West from the Enlightenment on.

In fact to read Peter Senge and the systems thinkers he represents who aspire to shape K-12 via Common Core or the Lumina DQP I am talking about today or Deep Ecologists like David Orr and Thomas Berry from this post   http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/we-need-a-radical-change-in-our-mode-of-consciousness-even-a-new-sense-of-being-human/ is to constantly be assaulted with an insistence that the 21st Century must embrace radical new minds, mainstream Eastern spiritual practices in everyday life starting in K-12, develop a communitarian economic system that would destroy prosperity, constantly teach and monitor whether students, K-12 and college, are regularly demonstrating that they put others and the common good before their interests, etc.

I have written about the consequences of these initiatives before but the Lumina DQP really is an assault on how little of the past any student is to be allowed to know. And if you think the colleges and universities can escape this noxious mandate, the accreditors got on board almost immediately to “test” Lumina’s framework.  And the accreditors control who gets to participate in the federal student loan program. That’s a lot of leverage for the entities behind the 8 Year Study and developing “objectives” and “outcomes” and alternative assessments to distract the typical taxpayer or parent paying the bill that the focus of first K-12 and now college is shifting away from the transmission of knowledge.

Truly if someone in the Soviet KGB had hatched a scheme during the Cold War and afterwards on how to take down the US specifically and the West generally via its noetic system it would be hard to top the very policies and practices the accreditation agencies have imposed. Whatever their actual intentions or rationales accreditation has been and continues to be a highly effective and lucrative means of national and international cultural destruction.

Finishing up Peter Senge’s 2005 book Presence and its description of an integrated science I found horrifying but that I also recognized from recent carpool comments as I drove, it hit me how much Senge’s systems thinking reminded me of Marx’s famous quote:

“It is not thinking that determines being, but being that determines thinking.”

I think that is just as wrong as can be and I imagine you do too. After all we are essentially having a mental conversation through this blog to discuss some very troubling and potentially tragic ideas. My thoughts and all those private conversations I have had with amazing minds, some long dead, are a large part of the adult I have become. And that’s precisely the problem. That’s not a factual quote or something Marx and Engels and their admirers believe to be true so much as something they want to be true. It is aspirational.

Add in the reality of the K-12 monopoly and who may teach and what and how.  And now all of higher ed, public and private, is subject through the accreditation agencies and their powers to penalize noncompliance via the student loan program. Greedy schemers or political idealogues or just naive ignoramuses making a living as Professors or Principals or Supers and pushing whatever is required are now in a position to realize that Marxian aspiration from so long ago.

To make sure that nothing in education, K-12 or higher ed, public or private, occurs that bolsters the independent, abstract thinking capacity of the individual that would disprove that doctrinal statement. To try to undo the belief system and any Axemaker Mind attributes that came in from home or via religious practices. Instead, if you look at the math wars and reading wars and values clarification and SEL and implementing Dewey’s vision and systems thinking and 21st Century Learning, it is all about the Being side of Marx’s political aspiration.

In fact that is also one of UNESCO’s primary visions for education and Education for All–Learning to Be. Coincidence? I rather doubt it given what historians who have tracked UNESCO practices and preferences have written about which side they empathized with in the Cold War. Do you think celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Ho Chi Minh’s birth is a good reason for an official celebration?

Back to the DQP now that we have put all of these previous posts in a firmer context of where this is all going and why it matters so much. To each of us. Anywhere. It is clear that the DQP builds on the “standards for teaching and learning” ruse version of the Common Core we described here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/didnt-the-president-just-admit-ccssi-was-a-ruse-to-change-classroom-interactions/ . Every description either mentions “learning” or “outcomes” as the goal. The DQP even says explicitly that (their italics, not mine):

“beyond what graduates know, what they can do with what they know is the ultimate benchmark of learning. They emphasize a commitment to analytic inquiry, active learning, real-world problem solving, and innovation–all of which are vital in today’s evolving workplace and in society.”

It’s that 2nd sentence that is the real killer because that assumed evolution is based on a rejection of capitalism and free markets and individuality and fossil fuels and personal liberty. That’s the Ecosystem redesigned and planned economy with the tech companies gathering data and running models so that government agencies can tell citizens what behaviors are deemed  Sustainable and permitted or unSustainable and forbidden. Every bit of college coursework envisioned by that DQP pertains to physical activity and experiences and projects examining and solving “a contemporary or recurring challenge or problem.” The student even “justifies the importance of the challenge in a social or global context.” No refusing to get on board with the need for a Transformation with a capital “T.”

It is hard to imagine the Soviet or Chinese thought police or the administrators of Moscow or Beijing Universities in the 1970s having more interest in limiting what their citizens were allowed to know or do than what the “standards for teaching and learning” prescribe for Common Core in K-12 or the DQP pushes in higher ed.  And then we have initiatives like AACU’s “Character Traits Associated with the Five Dimensions of Personal and Social Responsibility.” When did personality attributes become a matter for the federal government to intervene on? Or state or local?

Can someone please tell me where freedom is hiding in this vision of education? In the fact that there are no gulags yet?

Trust me, between systems thinking, SEL, and deep learning the mind will become its own permanent prison. And then what? What happens when you have expectations of a future without the knowledge or skills to back it up? What happens when the schemers finally begin to recognize central planning fails for reasons other than inadequate computing power or insufficient personal data?

See Mom. Told you I would make good use of that history major. No wonder it is being officially disallowed.

 

If Standards=Outcomes=Objectives, What is the Real Common Core?

Have you ever thought about the fact the schools are the one social institution that almost everyone of our future voters and workers passes through? Usually for years at a time. Well you should for a minute because every person who aspires to major social or political or economic change has known it and relied on it. And said so repeatedly. And if the designers of what became a controversial policy or practice were open enough initially to tell us why, we should listen. Tomorrow we will focus on why. Today we will focus on the what. The fundamentals of the proposed changes to the schools and why we get name changes from decade to decade, but no real change in the purpose or function of the education establishment’s idea of reform.

To understand Common Core’s reality and not just the sound bytes of its sales/PR campaign, we have to go back to the 1930s and something called the 8 Year Study. OK– I heard that skeptical reader out there who is quite sure I must be stretching it to go for a damning comparison. I am using a copy of the report that was republished and updated by Maine educators in April 2000. Does that sound stale? It looks to me like it was getting ready for implementation under the last round of federal education reform-Goals 2000. You want more up to date? Something that ties directly to our current version of Common Core and how it is really going to be implemented? Would the Fall 2009 AERA Curriculum Studies Newsletter do? Still the template. Still relevant. Right now.

My favorite part is recognizing that what the 8 Year Study and our version of Common Core are actually rejecting is what we are being led to believe we are getting. Does this sound familiar?

“Until recent years learning in school has been thought of as an intellectual process of acquiring certain skills and of mastering prescribed subject matter. It has been assumed that physical and emotional reactions are not involved in the learning process, but if they are, they are not very important.”

So in the name of national consistent content standards out goes school as an intellectual process. Prescribed subject matter. Also known as Content and Knowledge. The best that has been thought and said by the best minds over the centuries. The cultural foundation of the world we have and the worlds that ended tragically. All gone. But we at least get a newfound emphasis on the physical and emotional. That’s convenient isn’t it? What a useful way to make learning accessible to all. Except learning has a new meaning. It now means changing beliefs, feelings, values, and behaviors. No they didn’t give us a Glossary of what these terms actually are now to mean. I guess that’s what I am here for.

And the new concept of learning from the 8 Year Study? Coming to a school and classroom near you soon via Common Core and NCLB state waivers and Race to the Top grants and the current avalanche of publicity over bullying and a few other methods we will be talking about this summer? Those are my snarks in parentheses.

“The newer concept of learning holds that a human being develops through doing those things (Projects! Tasks! Authentic Problem Solving!) which have meaning to him; (Relevant!; Real World!) that the doing involves the whole person in all aspects of his being; (Engaging!) and that growth takes place as each experience leads to greater understanding and more intelligent reaction to new situations.” (Rigor! Higher Order Thinking!)

Well that will certainly not be driving dynamic job growth in the 21st Century or genuine innovation which always requires deep knowledge of the type being soundly, if quietly, rejected. We keep getting name changes of goals and purposes to obscure the changed nature of school from the transmission of knowledge and skills to a place that stimulates the “whole being” so each student has “opportunities for the full exercise of his physical, intellectual (don’t get excited, they mean practical and everyday uses),emotional, and spiritual powers as he strives to achieve recognition and a place of usefulness and honor in adult society.”

Ralph Tyler came up with the obscuring term Objectives in the 1930s as well as “assessment” to try to hide just how very little graduates of such schools would actually know. Outcomes replaced it in the 80s and 90s. Parents and taxpayers of course wanted good outcomes and solid academic results. Nobody told them the entire nature of the education game and purpose had been transformed. All that money wasted because no one would tell the public what was really going on. The inevitably poor academic results, since that was no longer the actual purpose or goal in the schools and districts adopting this vision, created the need for a name change. Standards, high would be nice for a change, replaced outcomes with no change in actual goals or focus.

If you listen carefully to the advocates of Common Core you will hear them frequently use outcomes, objectives, and standards interchangeably. Sometimes skills and competencies as well. The things a student is to believe. How each student should feel. What each student should value. How each student is to behave as a matter of habit.

That’s the Common Core. And tomorrow I will tell you why using the designers actual quotes. From a 21st Century source.