Facing the Implications of Education that Rejects Reality and Truth as Political Impediments

As we continue to ponder the reality that education has embarked globally on an enormous social experiment designed to change what students believe, value, and care about, without regard to likely consequences or the world as it actually exists, two more publications came my way this week. Each really hammered hard that it is change in personal development and a hoped for transformation in political, social, and economic institutions that is the point of education reform.

Misportraying reality is just an acceptable means to political goals. This can be quite hard for us to read or even contemplate. I always feel like the English fighting what they saw as overreach by the Stuart kings or how the American colonists saw King George and Parliament’s actions. I am not asserting a desire to finally be free. Will future students and the adults they will become though ever have that same sense that “service before self” is not a good slogan to live life by? Will they grasp that schools and universities forcing acceptance of such a belief are dramatically changing what it will now mean to be educated?

The first paper came from the National Education Policy Center and it touted the ability of the Common Core framework to promote a “race-conscious and progressive agenda” focused on equity. http://nepc.colorado.edu/publication/seeing-past-the-colorblind-myth Yep, we can only wish I was exaggerating a smidgen, but no–”We see the Common Core as a powerful opportunity to build diversity into instruction and encourage powerful dialogue.” Not the least bit of interest in looking at the created dysfunction in urban schools from earlier piloting of Vygotsky’s sociocultural psychology in those classrooms or the deliberate destruction of Inner Cities by political machines. Those would not be politically useful facts on our way to forcing enactment of King’s Beloved Community vision to properly commemorate the man.

The 2nd paper dated November 2013 from the Asia Society and the Rand Corporation once again confirmed that the word Competencies is the global euphemism obscuring the actual developmental focus of these required shifts in education. Common Core is merely the means to get the US on board and to eliminate tests that focus on content and facts. In the 21st century content can be used to practice essential skills. The rest of its use though is to change what the student believes, how she behaves, when she feels compelled to act and how, and what she cares for and how she will show it. The paper “Measuring 21st Century Competencies: Guidance for Educators” gave examples of the kind of Assessments that would be used in the 21st Century. One, a Mission Skills Assessment, developed by ETS for use in private independent schools, gets incorporated into classwork to affirmatively shift student’s values and beliefs.

Another, the PISA Collaborative Problem Solving assessment intends to use a computer generated avatar to interact with the student in virtual reality simulations. In the give-and-take with the computer, it will be the actual student who will be changing as a result of the programmed interaction. The SimScientists are cited as another curriculum with embedded assessments that rely on a designed virtual reality to replace the old textbook focus on facts and proven theories. Most people though will believe what they have experienced even if the experiences were carefully created to instill influential false beliefs. In fact, by breaking the competencies into the categories of cognitive, interpersonal, and intrapersonal, that report replicated the very same explicitly proclaimed developmental focus that the Obama Administration http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/college-ready-as-a-goal-of-k-12-is-not-helpful-if-first-you-gut-the-historic-purpose-of-college/   wants to require from colleges and universities now. The one grounded in Robert Kegan’s work that the OECD is also stressing.

The report revealed that the Asia Society has joined with SCALE at Stanford to create a Graduation Performance System (GPS) Framework to look for whether a student has developed the desired values and beliefs, including empathy for others, to be deemed globally competent. Perhaps if I had not been simultaneously focusing on Vygotsky and what a developmental focus for the classroom would really mean I might not have read the report and recognized that all these assessments were designed to change the student’s values, attitudes, and beliefs and then monitor that they remained altered until adulthood. But I was and when I got to the Jaan Valsiner’s discussion of the Double Stimulation experimental method created by Vygotsky where [replace subject with student and think adaptive software on a computer while you read]:

“The experimenter sets up the situation of the task, together with other possible means that can result in a solution if the subject uses them… The structure of the task constitutes the subject’s experimental setting. The subject, put into such a situation, is expected to act constructively in devising a way to reach a solution to the problem… The original aspect of double stimulation is introduced when the emphasis of the observations becomes the child’s construction of new means that can help solve the problem and then restructure the whole task situation once invented.”

Remember how many times we have confronted the command that tasks or assessments be “untaught material” or “ambiguous situations with no fixed solution”? Valsineer went on to say expressly that this emphasis on the active role of the student who changes himself through his use of cultural tools and collaboration with others was grounded in the “dialectical philosophy (that was widely propagated in the Soviet Union in the 1920s.)” Well, at least they had a formal bloody revolution and a new flag and the Bolshevik creed to tip the average person that there was a political transformation going on at the level of the psychological characteristics of the individual. How about us?

I read that description of the experimental method and immediately recognized it fit with many of the computer scenarios I was reading about and gaming and the learning tasks funded by the Gates Foundation and especially what are being called formative assessments. A fairly simple search pulled up articles all over the world that had made that very same connection between Vygotsky’s experimental double stimulation method to change the person, and what is being planned for the classroom under the banner of the Common Core or Competencies or becoming a High Performing country on internationally benchmarked ‘tests.’

Valsineer tells us that “In cultural-historical thinking, historical implies the connection between past, present, and future.” By limiting access to what has been created by humans in the past, especially fluent use of symbol systems like reading and math that promote abstract thought, in today’s classrooms, CHAT seeks to change the nature of the future in predictable ways. It was created for a totalitarian regime. Transported to a free society like the US or Canada or Australia, this developmental focus is intended to change those cultures in collectivist directions. Remember the intentions of the creators travel with education and psychological theories even if they are left unstated in the present implementation. As we have discovered though the communitarian focus is actually stated in the real definition of career ready as well as in Character Education and Positive School Climate materials.

As I so often do when I am presented with an unpleasant but inescapable conclusion of what the actual education reforms are intended to do, I once again dug into some history. I went back to political scientist Kenneth Minogue’s 1963 book The Liberal Mind. He recognized the importance of subverting facts and the truth every time there is an aspiration to utopian thinking. Anytime we are looking at visions that “aim at nothing less than the transformation of human life,” we will find that “so ambitious a project necessarily takes a great interest in education, for like all movements, it is eager to recruit the young.” Amen to that. Minogue also foresaw that once change in the student is viewed as “a means to something else” that “outside manipulation is not far away.” Amen again and hiding as a Whole Child emphasis or in mindfulness practices tucked into definitions of physical fitness or Positive School Climate practices to supposedly combat bullying.

Truth is always such a target when transformation is the aim because “the moral character of truth-seeking is one which did not always play a prominent part in the world’s affairs, and could return to obscurity. Whenever men have, in recent history, attempted to snatch at political salvation, it is truth that has always been the first casualty, since, of all the causes of human turmoil, facts are the most obvious, and therefore the first to be suppressed. The more we dream of utopia, the less we can bear to face our imperfections.”

History also tells us that these utopian ends are never achieved and that horrible damage comes from this official instrumental focus on people as simply a means to desired  political ends. Especially when, as now, the desired ends are being duplicitously withheld as the true justification for the education reforms.

Or fraudulently sold as 21st century personalized learning that requires that tablets replace textbooks and group projects need to substitute for lectures.

Is the typical Principal or District Super these days to be an intentional social revolutionary or just an inadvertent one?

 

 

Science Fiction Made Real: Were We Ever To Know In Time?

This is not the kind of science fiction we read in Frankenstein where the experimentation is physical change. Well, it might be physical, but it will be at the mostly invisible neural level. MRIs would do it though. What lights up and where is a very good indication on whether classroom practices are having the intended effect of putting certain capacities like reason and logic to sleep, while building up the habit of channeling all thought through emotions. Hard not to think of that functional MRI study I went over in the book isn’t it? Political purposes for educational manipulation via the schools. Now see this October 2013 paper on using values analysis and psychology to shift and manipulate a “new electorate.” http://www.cultdyn.co.uk/ART067736u/new-electorate-voter-values_Oct2013_11359.pdf

The new central role of the behavioral and social sciences in trying to create and manage an entirely new and theoretical vision of the world turns out to be openly announced, repeatedly, if we know where to look. I was not particularly looking. In fact, my intention was to make this post about Connected digital Learning and how that initiative is openly grounding itself in Cultural-Historical Activity Theory, our beloved CHAT, and proclaiming the plan to remake the American economy and society in the name of equity for all. I have been writing for a while about the kind of personal, unconscious level, data adaptive software and gaming and virtual reality exercises will be accumulating. I have also been researching the new federally established Learning Registry (linked via its ADL partner to comparable global initiatives in other countries) and recognize it is about accumulating practices shown to create desired change at the level of a student’s mindset–what they believe and value.

So when the federal DoED this week put on a well-attended Dog and Pony Show around ensuring student data privacy blogs.edweek.org/edweek/DigitalEducation/Student Privacy and Online Educational Services (February 2014).pdf , my reaction could be succinctly described as “What a sham!” and “So not the point.” I actually have been doing my homework around the aspirations for Big Data. My musings though pulled up intentions I never would have guessed about where all these pushes around systems thinking and ICT were going. And what’s more it even announces its links to IBM (Smarter Planet from Conclusion of book), Microsoft (Models of the World, who knew?), Alex Pentland and his MIT Media group (that new Social Physics book I wrote about recently), and George Soros, among others. Oh, and working with Oxford University. Remember that 2013 book Big Data: A Revolution that Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think I wrote about?

Imagine forgetting to mention the FuturICT Project and its plans to remake the world and “manage the future,” that would be our future, you and me, around Big Data and social science theories? To shift to an interaction-oriented view and to seek to change human behavior and values and how we govern ourselves. How COULD you forget to mention those essential facts in a book on Big Data? In all these pushes about the need to shift to digital learning? I cannot quote the entire over grasping and very real agenda so here’s the link http://www.futurict.eu/sites/default/files/docs/files/FuturICT_32p_Project%20Outline%20WITH%20LHS.pdf . I do want to quote a particular passage though that captures the massive, experimental plan of social engineering we are dealing with here (Page 6, my bolding and my voice in the brackets):

“In order to understand systemic risks resulting from the new interdependencies and develop the ability of integrated risks management [telling each of us what we can or may not do or know or value], we need to overcome the classical silo thinking and even more than that: We need a new way of thinking, a paradigm shift from focusing on the components of a system [that would be us] to focusing on their non-linear interactions [what we are to be allowed to do or required to do], as studied by complexity science [a theory not necessarily factual]. This paradigm shift will be of similar importance as the one from a geocentric to a heliocentric worldview (without which modern physics and launching satellites would have been hardly imaginable). It will promote a new understanding of our techno-socio-economic-environmental system and facilitate new solutions to long-standing problems.”

Not so fast on the likelihood of solutions. Have I ever mentioned how much I dislike lousy metaphors? They are generally the mark of either a weak mind or a deceitful one. When the prevailing perception of how our solar system was structured shifted to the heliocentric view, it was simply shifting to reflect demonstrable reality. The solar system as it existed. That is a far cry from analogizing to a paradigm shift grounded in theory of how reality and human behavior and human institutions might be restructured around ICT and Big Data. Especially hoping for new forms of governance with an emphasis on collective behavior and deferring to the democratically adopted consensus. These are theories designed to alter reality, not reflect it, and that is all the difference in the world in whether a paradigm shift is desirable. Especially one that is essentially taking place under cover of darkness.

All the intended modelling via the behavioral and social sciences, by the way, is openly acknowledged by FuturICT to not be an actual forecast. Its admitted purpose is to alter and constrain human behavior. The project intends to “develop a visionary information framework, considering insights from social sciences, complexity theory, and ethics.” It just keeps getting better and better. “The framework would analyze data on a massive scale and leverage them with scientific knowledge [behavioral, not physics!], thereby giving politicians and decision-makers a better understanding to base their decisions on.” And you wonder why the typical legislator or City Council member or Governor is gung-ho on the Common Core. What a king-maker vision.

It gets worse when you tie FuturICT with another recent report that seeks to base “long-term public service reform strategies on themes of reciprocity, responsibility, trust and partnership, and the need for a much closer understanding of how people behave, and what they want, need, and aspire to.” http://www.thersa.org/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/1540126/RSA_Managing-Demand-FINAL.pdf Information that Big Data, especially Big Data coming in through education and connected learning initiatives, has in abundance. Plus in preschool and elementary school it likely reflects what was absorbed from home too.

That RSA report envisions a cultural shift towards what can only be described as the kind of communitarian agenda Amitai Etzioni has always hoped for. No wonder RSA had Harvard’s Robert Kegan (also the OECD’s Key Competences) and his stages vision over to speak. No wonder the Positive Behavior Mandates in the US and the actual definition of Career Ready track back to Etzioni by both function and a cited reference source. No wonder the architect of RSA’s UK ed vision, Guy Claxton, can also be found as the co-author of that 2002 book Learning for Life in the 21st Century that coughed up the importance of Piotr Galperin’s Soviet psychological research to creating desired predictable future behavior.

The hardest thing about writing this blog is synthesizing so many books, reports, and videos that I read all the way through. Condensing is never easy, especially with complicated material, but these aims are quite clear. The use of education as the means is THE essential component of the sought transformations. These reports keep saying this is untried theory, but that does not seem to be stopping a massive social experiment on us, our children, our society, and our economy. Everything I have (too much to cite on a blog) aligns with this vision and the urgency with which it is being pushed from every direction. This idea that the public sector and universities and NGOs and foundations and Big Business are entitled to remake citizens in order to entrench their own power. It’s not an unprecedented aim, but, with Big Data and ICT, the tools of manipulation have gotten so much better.

The theories remain revolting. The way out is to understand this for precisely what it is and to recognize this grasping in real time. It’s why I write. This is not fun, but I believe it is necessary for there to be a way out in time. Perhaps the hardest part of that RSA report on Demand Management is its recommendations to politicians on how to sell this vision without really admitting what is being sought and transformed.

Guess what? We figured it out anyway. No chance of the trust of the public sector and governments that these theories all mention as essential happening now. Let’s see what we can do about the rest of this juggernaut going on at our expense.

We also need to strike the term ‘public servant’ from the way anyone is allowed to describe themselves from now on.

 

Center of the Storm: Requiring Data Collection on Continuous Improvement to a Student’s Full Personality

I started Chapter 3 of my book with a quote that has been haunting me ever since we first confronted the DiaMat theory dead on two posts ago. Professor Jeremy Kilpatrick was speaking at a 1987 Psychology of Mathematics Education international conference. In the book, I was illustrating that there were other intentions involved with what became known as the math, science, and reading wars. What Jeremy said then was:

“We need to determine the moral, social, and political order we believe to be desirable, then set out our educational purposes, and in light of those purposes choose curriculum content and objectives.”

It haunts me because I now realize that quote is a fairly concise definition of DiaMat and how its advocates see education as a means of deliberately changing the culture and altering prevailing perspectives. All this manipulation is to create Mindsets that perceive the world in politically useful ways. Well, useful if you belong to the class that plans to be among the manipulators. For individuals, such mind arson cannot work out well. In the last post, the book I mentioned Imagine Living in a Socialist USA ends with a scifi type essay called “Thanksgiving 2077: A Short Story.” In it, the character Les comments that he doubts that “many folks would have gone for socialism if they had known it meant downsizing.” Ahh, the pertinent parts of the story being left out of the sales pitch.

If conscious evolution along a designed pathway seems a bit scifi to us, it is nevertheless behind the designed to be influential ecosystem STEM metaphor of where all these education reforms are actually going. http://www.noycefdn.org/documents/STEM_ECOSYSTEMS_REPORT_140128.pdf is another report from a few days ago. That’s education to create a new reality, not education to appreciate the world as it currently exists or what great minds have pieced together about how it works. That STEM Ecosystem vision is driven by the DiaMat vision, but it gets to hide under language about Equity and Success for All.

Both the UN and the OECD have detailed their Future Earth and Great Transition and post-2015 plans and I have covered them in various posts. I have also detailed Gar Alperowitz’s vision of the Good Society and Harry Boyte’s for the cooperative commonwealth as other examples of future visions of transformation. So the moral, social, and political order desired by the public sector and their cronies globally or its links to what is called the Common Core now in the US are clear and no longer in doubt. Now Jeremy’s quote is the truth, but not a good PR strategy for a politician or School Super to sell to a community. Well, at least not one who has not had education, K-12 or higher ed, already nurturing for years at a time both a sense of grievance and an attitude of ignorance despite adequate coursework and degrees.

What’s the way in then? How do we get to what the book describes as the goal of accessing a student’s full personality so it can be monitored and manipulated to fit the believed needs of the people with political power? You do it obviously with euphemisms like making “continuous improvement in student learning for all students” the new federal goal. Then you take the work of a Professor like John Bransford and write books and hold conferences where the term “learning” encompasses what became the notorious aim of outcomes based education in the 90s: changing values, attitudes, beliefs, feelings, and behaviors.

That’s what ‘learning’ actually means in 2014 to an education ‘professional’ who is on the lucrative insider track and that’s the information to be gathered by the schools through assessments. Most people hear ‘assessments’ and think examinations of knowledge and hear ‘learning’ and think of the acquisition of knowledge and useful skills. Most people would be wrong, but sticking to duplicitous terms means most people will never know what is going so wrong in education. I have been around school board members who have been led to believe that the phrase ‘continuous improvement’ is also about ever increasing knowledge. Instead, it comes out of the PBIS, Positive Behavior psychology work, and also seeks to cause and then monitor changes in the now-proverbial values, attitudes, beliefs, feelings, and behaviors.

That’s what makes Monday’s release by the well connected iNACOL and CompetencyWorks of “A K-12 Federal Policy Framework for Competency Education: Building Capacity for Systems Change” so fascinating. If you are troubled by revelations about the level of personal monitoring being conducted by the NAS according the Edward Snowden’s leaks, how should we feel about schools and school districts becoming primarily personal data collection devices that go to our innermost thoughts and feelings and motivations? About schools using that information and providing it to states and the federal government to chart whether the desired changes in values, attitudes, beliefs, and feelings are occurring? That the idea of protecting privacy becomes a matter of not detailing who is being changed, but requiring and monitoring and guiding wholesale, full personality change nevertheless. And determining what practices and curriculum best foster such change and what type of students they work particularly well on? That’s customized leaning. That’s what personalized education actually means.

The phrase the document keeps using is student-centered accountability, not compliance accountability. Here’s the big idea that all K-12 is now to evolve around. Highly useful remember with DiaMat as the goal, teacher classroom behavior being seriously circumscribed (last post), and that obuchenie mindset being the goal of ‘teaching and learning.’

BIG IDEA: Student-centered data systems should collect, report, and provide transparent information on where every student is along a learning trajectory based on demonstrating high levels of competency [http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/targeting-student-values-attitudes-and-beliefs-to-control-future-behavior/  explains what competency really means and how Milton Rokeach created it as an obscuring term for its actual purpose], to help educators customize learning experiences to ensure that every student can master standards and aligned competencies. Data should provide useful information for improving teaching and learning, as well as for accountability and quality purposes.”

Quality as we know does not mean academics. It means desired personal qualities and an outlook on the world and ties back to John Dewey’s vision. Notice though that competencies and standards are NOT being used here as synonyms. In the paper standards refers to standards for college and career readiness. Since we have tracked the standards for college readiness first to a David Conley 2007 paper for the Gates Foundation and discovered generic adult non-cognitive skills and then on back to Maslow and Rogers humanist psychology work that benchmark doesn’t exactly merit peals of joy. We can see though why ALL students can get there with time though and how much time this standard leaves for all that personality manipulation.

Career ready we actually have tracked back to attitudes and values embracing communitarianism. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/birth-to-career-finally-and-quietly-creating-the-soviet-mindset-but-here-in-the-usa/ Again highly useful if transforming the moral, social, and political order has become the actual point of K-12 and higher ed. Especially if information on precisely where all students are at any given point in the process of desired consciousness transformation is being monitored constantly through data collection.

Ready to reach for something to relieve heart burn and nausea at this point in the post? Here’s the problem with avoidance of these troubling intentions. Then nothing can stop them except perhaps an investigation after all this personality manipulation leads to a tragedy. I think that has already happened and this expansion will only make it even more likely in the future.

We have to focus on what is really being monitored and changed. Next time we will talk about how all the previous safety valves in the education system are being turned off so that there is no one really to complain to about what is intended. I also want to talk about that report’s determination to put some type of deceitful zone of privacy over Georgia’s actions in this area of pushing competency as the new focus of education. The report has it classified as having “No Policies in Competency education.” That’s not true as I know from repeated personal experiences in plenty of meetings with public officials or their advisors. I made Chapter 4 of the book about Competencies as the ultimate end game and the ugly history. I used a troubling Georgia statute nobody seemed to want to acknowledge passing.

Why the deceit and cover up? It’s not because there are no connections between Knowledge Works and what has been going on in Georgia. How many other states have similar deceit going on with so many people in the know having unexplored conflicts of interest that guide their behavior? Talking to people elsewhere it does not seem unique, but the obfuscation here does appear deliberate. Knowing why I believe it is deliberate should be helpful to all of us looking at inexplicable actions in our states and communities.

Maybe I should call the next post Tracking Techniques 102 or “How to tell when someone is lying to you about public policy.”

 

 

Translating the Off-Putting Term Dialectical Materialism and Discovering the Intended Process in ALL Classrooms

And if ALL classrooms, preschool through graduate school, is not sufficiently alarming, how about in ALL students and teachers and professors and administrators? Plus with a little luck, and using active coordination of themes and cultivated beliefs between education and the media, those interested in transformative change in the 21st century hope to spread the mental and emotional contagion to parents and enough voters generally to ignite the change via the ballot box and ALL institutions.

So how does the mouthful phrase ‘dialectical materialism’ fit into this vision? That is something I have struggled with for a couple of years now. I basically got it, but not well enough to translate into a pithy analogy for mass consumption. I suspect much of that is deliberate to prevent alarms from going off recognizing its use to prompt revolutionary cultural change. I knew it was about consciousness and had been coined not by Marx or Engels, but by Joseph Dietzgen. Like them, his revolutionary intentions forced him into exile in the Anglosphere, countries much more accommodating of dissent than Germany or other parts of 19th-century Europe. Instead of London or Manchester, England though, Dietzgen relocated to the Chicago area. But what precisely merited exile by authorities wishing to retain existing political power?

The recent recovery of some lost Nelson Mandela transcripts that quoted him as saying: “to a nationalist fighting oppression, dialectical materialism is like a rifle, bomb or missile. Once I understood the logic of dialectical materialism, I embraced it without hesitation.” I read that and immediately wished someone would concisely explain that logic as I was quite sure it was still lurking in our midst, ready to mount an invisible attack against existing institutions, values, beliefs, and other cultural norms. Last week, my personal project, supposedly unrelated to the blog or book or speaking engagements, was to investigate when the law shifted to being seen as a cultural weapon. Just a matter of personal curiosity so I ordered a book I had seen mentioned, Law and Revolution: The Formation of the Western Legal Tradition. It was published in 1983 by a then Harvard Law Prof, Harold J. Berman.

I was expecting a more straightforward history than what I encountered. I certainly was not expecting to read on the first page of the Preface that “A world ends when its metaphor has died.” Well, that got my attention as nothing is more prevalent now in education ‘reforms’ than the determination to excise factual knowledge of the past or science or human nature and substitute some type of metaphorical belief, usually called a ‘lens,’ as in the new C3 Social Studies Framework or a Generative Metaphor from Donald Schon and Chris Argyris’ Action Science work.

Continuing on in the Introduction, I found a determination to jettison the reverence for the Anglo tradition of the common law, and language about the law being not “a body of rules,” but a “process.” That statement sounded eerily similar to what radical education reformers like Linda Darling-Hammond, or sponsors like CCSSO, are using to describe what the REAL Common Core implementation is about. Not transmitting a body of knowledge anymore, but cultivating desired ‘habits of mind’ and hoped for ‘dispositions’ amenable and primed to act for wholesale social change.

Perhaps because it is a book designed to change the nature of a particular institution-the nature of law, law schools, and the role of the judiciary, Berman’s book is quite graphic about using the word ‘dialectics’ to describe the process of changing values and beliefs in people so it will have an impact on how and whether they act. Those actions in turn can affect the material world and the physical environment, which in turn acts upon those who inhabit it. A dialectical process back and forth involving the material world, but it all starts in consciousness. Mental and emotional beliefs. Dialectical materialism. Change the consciousness of enough people and the world itself and the future can supposedly be changed in predictable ways.

That’s the theory of how to “transform the social and political and economic realities” and it was revolutionary enough in the 19th century to merit exile and, perhaps, prison in certain times and places in the 20th. Now a willingness to push it can get you a lucrative ed doctorate credential intended to secure a six-figure taxpayer paid salary and then pension for life. That is if you cooperate with the right people and force the right theories on unsuspecting schools and students. What a transition that is for an infamous theory!

Dialectical materialism then is the actual theory that underlay outcomes based education and what was really being sought from it. Because it is an off-putting term with a clear history and proponents calling it the equivalent of a cultural “rifle, bomb or missile,” the real name for the theory gets left out. Instead, we get language about Growth Mindsets and not Fixed and Grit, Perseverance and Tenacity to euphemize the actual dialectical mental and emotional change to arrive at the desired synthesis in a person who will act.

This vision of education as dialectical materialism to change the student’s values, beliefs, and dispositions so they will likely act as desired upon the world can be seen as recently as last Friday as Michael Barber and Pearson released a Michael Fullan authored document called A Rich Seam: How New Pedagogies Find Deep Learning. That report also helpfully ties together the actual intended Common Core implementation in the US to what is going on in Canada, Australia, South America, and Europe. A global vision of the kind of perspectives and Worldviews that education is to inculcate for the future.

Everything is designed around experiential learning and getting students ready to act in desired ways. To see the past through so-called present and future needs. It’s not just the students being primed to act in desired ways. I keep hearing reports of teachers being told to stand and chant as a necessary component of new required professional development, while I notice how the leaders of the training just happened to be active in outcomes based education in the 90s. Or a recent story of videos being shown of enthusiastic cheering at various emotional public events like sports. Then the teachers are told that they must stand and cheer exuberantly at every mention of the phrase “Common Core” during the presentation. Does it remind anyone else of Michael Barber’s work with rebellious UK teachers years ago where the mantra was “First, act, then belief comes?”

To me, it is reminiscent of another of William Henry Chamberlin’s observations from his 30s experiences of collectivism that we encountered in the previous post. He noted that “human personality, for instance, may sometimes be dwarfed and standardized under the influence of democracy. But in the totalitarian states it tends to disappear altogether; the individual is simply sunk in the collectivist mass that votes, marches, salutes, cheers with the regularity and precision of an automatic machine.” That term ‘totalitarian’ may seem a bit misplaced when talking of the US or UK or Canada or Australia, but every one of the political and economic and social philosophies Chamberlin was writing about from personal experience was grounded in dialectical materialism. It is the foundational theory behind changing values and beliefs. What varied, then and now, are the particular beliefs that can be deliberately cultivated as useful for transformative change.

It is easy then to see the belief in Catastrophic Manmade Climate Change as one of today’s useful cultivated beliefs as well as the hyping of Inequality and the push for Communitarianism (misleadingly hiding in the definition of Career Ready as well as what will constitute a Positive School Climate). The intense focus on continued racism and sexism in reading selections and classroom discussions provides the same function. Useful beliefs that will likely compel a belief to act to transform the world in predictable ways. Others are more subtle, like the regular complaints over the religion of Islam being portrayed as inherently innocuous in ways that disregard known, provable, potentially dangerous facts. Or the economic misconceptions being deliberately cultivated and then tied to revered figures like Martin Luther King as Democracy Collaborative/Good Society’s Gar Alperovitz did recently. http://sojo.net/magazine/2014/01/beyond-dreamer

We are going to talk next time about how this dialectical vision has become incorporated into the teacher evals for licensure and promotion to ensure compliance. Another dialectical process to ensure actual change in the material world.

Unfortunately all these intentions just cannot shake off the effects of unintended consequences and perverse incentives in that same material world.

The one where we all live and pay taxes to finance these millenarian visions of unrealistic, and nonconsensual, transformations.

 

 

Gratitude over the Timely Official Admissions that Now Leave 2014 Intentions Beyond Dispute

As I write this, I can practically hear the refrain from that 1984 Band Aid concert “Do They Know It’s Christmas Time?” playing in my head. And I certainly do know that. The gifts are wrapped here and the ingredients for pasta bolognese are ready for Christmas Eve dinner. I hope every one of my readers gets the opportunity to engage in the festivities and rituals they and their loved ones also cherish at this unique time of year. I am going to just play mom, chauffeur, and cook  through the New Year after this post although I will likely keep the conversation going in the comments. But two important admissions that clarify what has been going on and what we will likely encounter in 2014 and beyond globally have come my way. This post is just a head’s up, and a reminder that there is a language involved with all these transformational intentions, we now speak it, and we can correctly translate and appraise Whatever comes our way in 2014 in both education and social policies generally.

Clarity is always something to be grateful for even if it does not come in a box with pretty paper and a bow. Some of it did come, however, on this slideshow that arrived in my email to Wish Me a Happy Winter Solstice. http://www.slideshare.net/TheHappinessInitiative/personal-happiness-handbook-25-actions-along-10-domains-of-happiness I suppose longer days of daylight from now on is something to celebrate, but you will find quite a bit of meddling about what is supposed to make us “happy” going forward. Very much grounded in communitarianism as so much else seems to be these days. We had already noted in previous posts that the UN started a World Happiness Report in 2012 and the OECD has been pushing Subjective Well-Being as a means of aiding its Great Transition emphasis.

GT also has its own posts, but briefly one of our 2013 discoveries is a shockingly widespread political  belief that it was always the West, not Russia or China, that actually met Karl Marx’s criteria of the high level of technology produced by capitalism (in our case computers and broadband and ICT generally) that would be necessary to achieve his envisioned little c communism stage of human development -”From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.” The ‘needs’ or support economy (also distributed capitalism and other tagged names) then is another way of philosophers or sociologists or economists or bureaucrats saying we are shifting to this little c vision without anyone actually needing to inform taxpayers or use either the alarming c word or the notorious M name.

A few weeks ago (Dec. 11, 2013) the US National Research Council and UK (Economic and Social Research Council) released a joint report called “Subjective Well-Being: Measuring Happiness, Suffering, and Other Dimensions of Experience.” When governments decide to shift the “focus of economic measurement from production [i.e. consumer choices] toward people’s well-being,” that is a significant enabler of stealthily shifting to a needs economy. Especially when there is to be a focus on “equality, sustainability and nonmarket dimensions of well-being that cannot be captured well by conventional ‘objective’ means.” We could add that all that data on youth from digital learning will prove useful here, but let’s stick to the actual report for now. It wants to have the feds measuring the  experienced (hedonic) well-being (ExWB).

Now that mouthful term means that the governments now want insights into the “emotional states and experiences of people belonging to different groups.” With those insights, factors like “long-term unemployment, depression, or lack of income” that are shown to be drivers of long-term suffering can supposedly be reduced. Because LBJ’s Great Society policies turned out so well. The idea is also that positive experiences can be enhanced or increased. Yes, ‘enhance’ was the word used and this could easily turn into a parody with the  catch-phrase “I’m from the government and I’m here to help,” but the intentions are quite serious. The feds also want to evaluate the purpose or purposelessness in people’s experiences so that they do not miss what the report regards as ‘crucial,’ ‘central drivers of behavior’.

Going into 2014, let’s keep in mind the intentions described in that report which are clearly laying the ground work for attempts at extraordinary levels of social engineering for the future. Think of it as teed up in the dark away from prying eyes that could ring an alarm. We were quietly lurking in the outfield though and have caught what was intended to be a most troubling concept. Now we get to frame sought 2014 policies through the “lens” of making Subjective Well-Being the domain of governments in the 21st century. As if we are all merely wards of the state in need of constant oversight.

Now for that second admission we can make great use of in 2014. We have long known that the accreditors answered to UNESCO and intend to use education to drive cultural change. We also knew that UNESCO globally is the driver of all the tremendous changes in higher ed. We have suspected UNESCO is the driver of K-12 reforms globally including the US Common Core, but I have been looking for the proverbial indisputable link beyond UNESCO being a named partner in the global 21st century skills movement. I now have that proof downloaded and hard copied along with UNESCO’s desired global curriculum and methods. Helpfully available on CD-ROM so with digital learning we parents will never see it.

Here’s the really fun part, UNESCO says it has, since 2002, been addressing education reforms with “renewed vigour” because it serves as the “Task Manager of Chapter 36 of Agenda 21.” So much for people who consider any mention of Agenda 21 to be proof you are a “conspiracy theorist.” It appears that the Paris-based UNESCO bureaucrats and their supporters have clearly been the ones theorizing how to best conspire and with the aid of our money and children. The stated aim is “the educational strategies and action plans at all levels and sectors of education in all countries.” All means all, folks. UNESCO also confirmed what many of us have long suspected. The International Baccalaureate Organization is working hand in hand with it in implementing Chapter 36 of Agenda 21 in unsuspecting schools and districts. Frames the true intentions behind that IB Learner Profile, doesn’t it?

In this time when we commemorate Peace on Earth and Good Will Toward Men, I think we actually enhance our chances of ultimately getting there in as many places as possible through awareness of what the UN is actually up to in our classrooms through the aid of ambitious local administrators and oblivious politicians. I now have the needed proof of all those connections and aspirations.

And with those brief disclosures I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

Assessing Deep Knowledge to Monitor Whether Theory is Guiding What Will be Noticed and Observed

Now you can just imagine the popular outcry if the Common Core and its integral 21st Century Skills were being sold as a shift to Abraham Maslow’s Eupsychian education. That would certainly make the current wholesale transformation of the purpose of education and the function of schools and universities much harder to sell. In fact, that overt psychological pitch might even get the attention of a social-climbing PTA President or a politician intent on ever higher elective office. No one but me at the moment is going to describe what is going on now in such explosively impactful terms. But that widespread omission doesn’t mean it’s not still the actual intention.

Professor Daniel Bell, then a professor of Sociology at Harvard, wrote a 1973 book The Coming of Post-Industrial Society: A Venture in Social Forecasting that laid out precisely why people guided by a theoretical understanding of reality was so crucial to any plan for social transformation. Which is precisely what he and others had in mind. The age of the individual and decision-making through free markets was supposedly over and the future was a planned society and decisions through the political process but not really by elected representatives. Bell believed in 1973 precisely what the federal Department of Education’s Equity and Excellence Commission pushed in 2013–that the future political structure would be grounded in “equality of result–by sharing and redistributive policies–rather than equality of opportunity.”

Such a political demand either has to be imposed by brute force, which is another loser PR campaign, or by “being rooted in some powerful ethical system.” That’s why we have Maslow and Rogers in 1962 and Outcomes Based Education in the 80s and 90s and Global Competency and the Whole Child Initiative now all targeting new values. Global values. Humanistic values grounded in popular metaphors like Martin Luther King’s Beloved Community or potential apocalypses like Catastrophic Manmade Climate Change. It’s a rationale for developing what Maslow called the “self-actualizing B-Values” and Bell saw as the “philosophical foundation–a conception of justice as fairness–for a communal society.”  Bell goes on to describe an intention we need to keep in mind to appreciate why a nationally and globally imposed common core of beliefs and values is so sought in 2013:

“In the nature of human consciousness, a scheme of moral equity is the necessary basis for any social order; for legitimacy to exist, power must be justified. In the end it is moral ideas–the conception of what is desirable–that shapes history through human aspirations.”

Bell said the historic “premise of individual freedoms and the satisfaction of private utilities” was crumbling. All of the sought changes over the decades via education and the hyping of first global cooling in the 70s and then later global warming, and now the refusal to take actual temps amid an undisputed increase in Carbon Dioxide into account, all make more sense when you read Bell’s next axiomatic assertion from the 70s: “the political system is now being geared to the realization not of individual ends but of group and communal needs.”

Sounds just like a shift from a profit economy to a needs-based, For Benefit Economy, doesn’t it? Old ideas at social engineering apparently never die. They just get new names, different advocates, and better sales pitches on why they are necessary and must be imposed, something to keep in mind after Friday’s White House Executive Order imposing Climate Change adaptations like it or not. http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/11/01/executive-order-preparing-united-states-impacts-climate-change .

Now the term Post-Industrial Society is used less now. Usually the UN or the OECD prefers the terms Knowledge Society or Information Society but the intentions do not really shift the nature of the transition to be facilitated through governmental planning of desired behaviors, distribution of resources, and public policies generally. All that needs new conceptual schema, a/k/a Big Ideas and Deep Knowledge. Bell says industrial society was the “coordination of machines and men for the production of goods.” Since he says, we have become a society committed to social control in order to shift to equality of results, that “introduces the need for planning and forecasting into society.”

Post-industrial society then, like its alternative names, is “organized around knowledge, for the purpose of social control and the directing of innovation and change: and this in turn gives rise to new social relationships and new structures which have to be managed politically.” Bell doesn’t point it out here but now we have the mayors and City Councils and Governors in the name of Economic Development all ready to do just that. The innovation and change then is not the historic Free Lunch For All/ New Kind of Technology like computer transistors shifting to integrated circuits but the kind of sociological innovation Bruno Latour also had in mind in a previous post. And Bell says it is the “altered awareness of the nature of innovation that makes theoretical knowledge so crucial.”

Although the Common Core is still not producing the level of popular uproar that would come if the actual implementation were better recognized, there has still been enough hype about the feds usurping the role of states and localities that the sponsoring trade group, the CCSSO, sent out a letter dated October 1, 2013.   http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/CCSSO%20Assessment%20Quality%20Principles%2010-1-13%20FINAL.pdf . The CCSSO tells the states the kind of assessments they need to have. Try to control your shock that when you cut through the rhetoric and the Appendix and the mentioned June 2013 CSCOPE report, you end up with a determination that these new kinds of assessments be looking for theoretical knowledge. “These new assessments will not be limited to surface level knowledge–they will better assess the deep knowledge students need to succeed post-graduation.”

That “deep knowledge” or what the C3 Social Studies Framework calls “lenses” or what the Hewlett Foundation calls “deep learning” or what Donald Schon (who worked with Bell in the 60s) called “Generative Metaphors” are all examples of what Bell called either “conceptual prisms” or “conceptual schemata.” Having education provide them for ALL Students aids this attempt to bring about a “change in the social framework of society.” I would add and doing so invisibly without bothering to amend annoying barriers like the language of the US Constitution. Friday afternoon Executive Orders on Climate Change Adaptation or Positive School Climate mandates gets the effect without the turmoil that could force policy retrenchment.

If you, like me, have often wondered why it always seems to be the Frameworks that guide the actual classroom curricula being developed or professional development instead of the standards that politicians supposedly adopted, the following passage will finally silence our curiousity about what is really going on. “Nomen est numen, to name is to know, is the ancient maxim” guiding so much of the actual classroom curricula to change values, beliefs, feelings, dispositions, and ultimately future behavior itself.

“Social frameworks are not ‘reflections’ of a social reality but conceptual schemata. History is a flux of events and society a web of many different kind of relations which are known not simply by observation. If we accept the distinction between matters of fact and matters of relation, then knowledge, as a combination of the two, depends on the correct sequence between factual order and logical order. For experience, the factual order is primary; for meaning, the logical order.

Mind knows nature by finding some language in which to express an underlying pattern. Knowledge, thus, is a function of the categories we use to establish relationships just as perception [bolded to remind you of Maslow and Rogers and the 1962 book for the NEA] is a function of the conventions we have accepted in order to see things ‘correctly.’ As Einstein once put it: ‘it is the theory that decides what we can observe.’”

So the social planners and transformational change seekers and psychologists and education profs have recognized all this for decades as an essential component of How to Achieve Equity in a Planned Society 102. Without having having to confess beforehand what is being altered and why.

Isn’t it about time we all knew it as well?

Utopian Education: Creating Mindsets that Push Future Fighters for Something Beyond the Current Real World

I am beginning to think I should get new business cards that say “Reads troubling plans for revolutionary change in the world we take for granted so you don’t have to.” It has been one of those weekends after I read a report from our Competency-pushing OECD in Paris that American taxpayers fund so generously. It was talking about New Economics to be imposed on the West via our institutions and using digital learning and technology and education and social reforms generally (my bolding):

“To turn connectivity into connectedness dedicated policies have to be designed with a twofold goal: first, to guarantee that all the emerging opportunities brought about by technology and its outcomes can be seized in favour of economic and societal development and second, that the resulting benefits of these opportunities are equally accessible to all. Education has to play a major role in the achievement of these two goals.”

Now unlucky me has spent enough time immersed in all these political theories to recognize when I am looking at a description of Uncle Karl’s little c vision of the future. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/naming-educators-as-the-levers-shifting-the-human-personality-to-marxs-moral-revolution/ is where I first addressed why changing values and beliefs is so crucial to achieving this little c vision. And it’s not about Lenin or Mao but it remains toxic to the individual and freedom in the sense of what created the West. Today I want to focus on all the current official publications that verify just how right I am as to what is really being targeted and why.

It’s also why parents are getting no relief when they want to opt out of Statewide Longitudinal Databases. It’s because tracking the changes in attitudes, values, dispositions, and beliefs via efforts at schools, and what curricula force changes more quickly and thoroughly, is an important part of the social engineering research being carried on via the schools. Especially with adaptive software and digital learning that allows immersion in virtual worlds.  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/students-must-see-themselves-as-active-participants-in-social-change-and-designers-of-social-futures/

All through the 70s Arne Naess’s books were bestsellers in Norway for their ecological visions of a new type of society. To prime the West towards a comparable vision of the future in time for the 90s efforts at wholesale transformation, his book Ecology, community and lifestyle was helpfully translated into English in the late 80s. He pointed out that ecology is where the socialist crowd was migrating because it created a belief in the necessity of political change. Central to these efforts is always a “change in consciousness.” As Naess graphically put it, the change “consists of a transition to a more egalitarian attitude to life and the unfolding of life on Earth.” Remember it is the Axemaker Mind that builds on existing cultural knowledge to invent technology and tools that can manipulate nature for man’s benefit. The “unfolding” vision wants people to merely be another creature. Very useful vision for political leaders, bureaucrats, and business leaders wanting to play future overlords and preserve current power. Not so good for the rest of us peons to be administered.

Before I detail more of the current efforts to create such a these New Mindsets, let’s read another Naess explanation on the intentions:

“The necessity of efforts to change mentality is closely associated with the necessity of organised efforts for profound changes in society. These two kinds of effort must be coordinated, not polarised against one another.”

And coordinated they are. It’s why education leaders are such a crucial component of the visions set out at a (co)lab in Atlanta or the cityLab  in NYC recently. It’s also why education is so crucial to the UN and the OECD’s plans. Following up on the OECD’s expressed intentions for change at its most recent forums led me straight to this transformational vision http://www.gtinitiative.org/documents/issueperspectives/gti-perspectives-premises_for_a_new_economy.pdf . It’s the kind of wholesale redistribution vision that would have made Uncle Karl weep with joy over his continued influence. Typical people should note though that this vision plans to take the world’s existing wealth and redistribute for the benefit of the poor in countries in the North and to raise living standards all through the Southern Hemisphere. It also involves shifting globally from a profit economy to a ‘needs’ economy in the 21st century.

Essential to that vision which we have already encountered in Shoshana Zuboff’s support economy book and the Aspen Institute pushing a Fourth Sector “for benefit” economy (see tags) it will “also be necessary to develop non-consumerist ways of understanding and being in the world.” Now won’t all the current reforms in K-12 and higher ed and the expansion into preschool be useful to such goals? How about an article published last month in the Journal of Human Rights and the Environment by Burns H. Weston and David Bollier which seeks to use Martha Nussbaum’s work we have talked about “as the theoretical means to restore ‘the obligation of result’. This would thereby move the discussion from the abstract to the concrete…” Why, yes, it would. It means we are trying to use education at all levels to create mindsets that will come to use the law and capability theory to impose Uncle Karl’s little c vision on societies without saying so.

Using the term “share-and-share-alike Golden Rule” sounds so much better than “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need” that was the hallmark of Uncle Karl’s vision of what would be possible in a society that had used capitalism to get to a certain advanced stage of technology. As the OECD said above, now it can be seized for the benefit of all others who have “needs.” Again this vision “must include a large-scale and sustained commitment to human rights education–as imaginatively pursued, for example, by the People’s Movement for Human Rights Education (PDHRE), a New York-based NGO ‘dedicated to human rights learning for social and economic transformation.’ It is, after all, life on Planet Earth that hangs in the balance.”

Probably not but it makes a good sales pitch for power to the public sector in the 21st century. Clearly this vision of ‘a just society’ laid out by Weston “that honors a public order of human dignity–the essence of human rights–marked by the widest possible shaping and sharing of all basic values among all human beings.”

Since the idea of the Great Transition is central to all these visions of the 21st century and what quality learning really means globally, the planners see a need for a GCM-a Global Citizens Movement demanding this vision of the future as a matter of rights. Legal rights. Useful then is the largely unheralded fact that CCSSO, the sponsors of the Common Core State Standards, has used its subsidiary Ed Steps, to partner with World Savvy  to get students to examine the “historical forces that have shaped the current world system” and push the “knowledge, skills, behaviors, and attitudes [that] are all aspects of Global Competency.” CCSSO’s real aim. Here’s the vision brochure created in August by World Savvy.  http://www.flipsnack.com/WorldSavvy/f7hf2i59 WS “celebrates innovation, art, and the limitless power of youth to make positive change” and is at the “cutting edge of education for the 21st century.”

To guarantee that the classroom work is “relevant and current” WS picks 3 year themes and the 2013-2016 theme is Population and Progress. It “helps students explore how a growing population defines progress, analyze the evolving nature of our collective challenges, and develop innovations that address these issues.” In fact students can pretend to be Uncle Karl’s Makers of History as WS has them create and submit “a Knowledge to Action Plan.” You will be so glad to know current WS students are quoted as saying they have “abandoned the notion of Us and Them in favor of We.”

Finally, CCSSO has quietly conceded that it is the Dispositions of the students themselves being targeted by these education “reforms.” http://www.ccsso.org/Documents/ILN%20Knowledge%20Skills%20and%20Dispositions%20CCR%20Framework%20February%202013.pdf

It adds a new C though. Our children are to be “college, career, and citizenship ready.” And if you are wondering what kind of citizenship CCSSO has in mind they go on to cite their sources and usefully mention every controversial report I have ever written about on this blog down to rejecting the individual mind and mandating communitarianism through the Career Tech guidelines. Thank you CCSSO for your hubris in that document.

People trying to criticize the idea of national education standards have begun to use the phrase “Commie Core” to attack the Common Core State Standards. The irony is if you track CCSSO’s actual planned implementation and the agendas of its named partners in developing classroom curricula and assessments and you compare it to Uncle Karl’s actual vision of little c communism, you get a match to the values, behaviors, dispositions, and mindsets to be fostered.

Perhaps a more apt phrase then would be the Commie Core designed to aid the Great Transition whether we consent or not? Designed to be implemented while we are still unaware of such wholesale changes or wrongfully believe this is about the transmission of academic content in the 21st century.

As Naess wrote, these values need to be internalized so direct regulation of the individual in the future will be unnecessary. “I envisage a change of revolutionary depth and size by means of many smaller steps in a radically new direction.”

That was the plan in the late 80s. In 2013 it feels as a parent like all those smaller steps are being pushed in a frenzy at the same time.

Some people have become very impatient for transformative change that benefits them but not us. And hardly anyone recognizes what is happening.

Empathic Solidarity to Undergird Economic Citizenship: Creating Common Core Beliefs in New Social Obligations

At some point in the last several years someone put up on old interview of President Obama when he was an Illinois state senator where he complained about the US Constitution having a premise of “negative liberties” instead of obligations of when governments must act. Now I have been a bit too busy to spend my time fretting over shifting views on the nature of the law but that video came roaring back to my mind as I explored Martha Nussbaum’s “capability as a human right,” Harvard’s decision to push CRT–Critical Race Theory–in K-12 to eliminate structural differences in society thought to affect Blacks and Latin@s (not a typo this is how book shows gender correctness with Latin nouns now I suppose), and the American Political Sciences Association’s April 2012 report pushing Economic Citizenship.

In all of the political theory reading I have been forced to do I kept coming across references to “Marx said this” and “social justice demands” along with the phrase “materialist conception of the world.” And honestly I never knew quite what that meant beyond disdain for people with Judeo-Christian beliefs in a transcendental God. Until I read the law review articles trying to justify these changes, those reports and the Contesting the Myth of a ‘Post Racial’ Era book from the previous post, and a September 18, 2013 EU report exploring the adoption of the “shareable/collaborative consumption” economic model. The latter reflected the now to be common global vision of creating a “roadmap featuring a world in which every human being can enjoy their human rights, live equitably and free from the injustice of poverty, on a planet that has the natural resources to sustain them.”

All this social justice theorizing that is committed to education that levels the best and brightest and deplores any Constitutional or other legal interpretations that would focus on “negative rights [that] disempower the state from intervening into the private sphere for the democratically progressive purpose of redistributing power or resources within it” are all grounded in the erroneous belief that economies and wealth are about a fixed, finite, tangible, sum of goods and property. In other words, that’s the “materialist conception” the political theorists are referring too.

Once I realized that key fallacy lying under all these planned changes in social policy and political structures for the 21st century, I went back to a book economist George Gilder wrote in 1981 called Wealth and Poverty. He wrote it to describe what he saw as the basis of the economic stagnation prevalent all over the West in the 1970s. He pointed out that “Economies do not grow of their own accord or by dint of government influence. They grow in response to the enterprise of men willing to take risks, to transform ideas into monopolies, and monopolies into industries, and to give before they know what they will get in return.”

All of this theorizing being launched at us now through the spending and regulatory powers of federal, state, and local governments and the education policies I have laid out on this blog and in my new book forget that the prosperity creating capitalism (not the Crony Corporatist variety that is usually parasitic) that we take for granted is mostly psychological. It is about “qualities of thought and spirit” in relatively few people who have the requisite “imagination and purpose, which make wealth” that in turn make all of us better off. Because those unique ideas and effort created goods and services we voluntarily wished to buy. With our own money.

In pushing mind arson in K-12 and our colleges and universities to supposedly gain equity in a finite world and the psychologically manipulative “engaged” learning for the Whole Child to create “empathic solidarity” that will support political power massively redistributing this supposedly finite bowl of goods, we forget that mass prosperity has always grown from the “metaphysical capital of human freedom and creativity” as well as law that applies equally and predictably. Not law that applies unequally to various groups to try to shift opportunity and outcomes in politically chosen directions.

The rule of law matters so much because morale and inspiration, coupled to deep knowledge that takes precious time to build up, are critical to the genuine “conscience of capitalism : the awareness that one must give in order to get, supply in order to demand.” We are instead looking at a 21st century political, social, and economic vision grounded unabashedly in communitarianism that says ” I exist, gimme” and “governments, you step in and make it so and we will reward you with our votes.” But prosperity-creating wealth isn’t physical, it’s psychological. This redistributive zeal based on mistaken assumptions ultimately destroys the very essence that drives all economies that have ever worked for the benefit of broad masses of people.

In other words, in this zeal to get to a Good Society/cooperative commonwealth /economic citizenship/capability vision for the future we are extinguishing the very basis for the wealth planners and politicians and naive educators believe everyone can live on as a matter of “right” in the 21st century. Let’s take a look at what is being demanded as a matter of “right.” The APSA report called “Democratic Imperatives: Innovations in Rights, Participation, and Economic Citizenship” certainly supports our speculation in the recent Bruno Latour post that all these current mentions of innovation mean sociological inventions that consume existing wealth. Not the wealth-creating, Free Lunch for Others, kind that created the unprecedented economic prosperity and living standards of the modern world in the West.

No, APSA simply declared its determination to push “human-rights based approaches to democratization, welfare, and development” that will be based on “participatory governance.” Notice that “-ance.” An ability to bind all of us with no recourse for an individual because I am seeing that term in OECD documents tied to their education and subjective well-being/welfare state agendas all over the globe. APSA kindly lets us know the reason as “participatory governance is a process through which [created now via law reviews or federal agency overspending] rights are exercised and citizenship and political agency enacted. [in a majority will takes what it wishes sense of we take the benefits of ownership and you pay the taxes]. It can help bring traditionally marginalized groups into politics and can enhance accountability [to the will of those groups], responsiveness [ditto], and social justice. Participation is a vital element of rights-based approaches, [I have little doubt of that or why a community organizer would disdain 'negative liberties'] and rights facilitate political participation. [As the place where give me demands are made].

Let me include the definition of economic citizenship after I first point out that APSA is insisting that this program with its “inclusive, pro-poor” emphasis is premised on the factually untrue “key finding” that the “more egalitarian and democratic the state, the better its overall economic performance.” So once again, as happens so often in education, we are enacting policies and theories based on factually untrue premises. And we wonder why we spend so much with such poor consequences for all those dollars.

“Economic citizenship refers to the substantive aim of making economic security and social justice entitlements of democratic citizenship. It is, in a sense, the objective of human-rights based approaches, and it, in turn, enables meaningful political agency.” Well, of course, it does in a collective and groups matter but the individual does not vision.  As Georgetown Law Prof, Robin West, put it in her 2001 aspirational Law Review article “Rights, Capabilities, and the Good Society” where we also took that negative rights ‘disempower’ quote above, the state is obligated to provide that “threshold level of material well-being” that is necessary for ALL citizens to “be able to be free and equal participants in the collective project of self-rule.” Those individuals not wishing to be bound will discover why those 5 little letters in ‘governance’ are to prove so binding. And “equity” and poverty and race become the excuses for a public sector-centric vision globally for the 21st century.

Professor Wright’s sense of the law strikes me as indicative of someone who has lived their life safely ensconced in an Ivory Tower but deluded does not mean not influential. Unfortunately. She finds it reasonable that citizens should be able to “demand, that the law both can and should structure a decent social world” as if ‘the law’ were a magic wand that does not first take whatever resources it plans to spend as politicians see fit. In fact, she believes “states and state actors” should “focus on the utopian aspirations we might universally hold, and then to bring that vision to earth.” How magnanimous of her!

Respect for Individualism might be the crucial ingredient in the economic prosperity professors like Robin Wright or Martha Nussbaum or those Harvard CRTers plan to try to redistribute using legal theories and political power and new education visions. Only later will we all understand these huge fallacies in what is now being pursued in earnest. From so many different directions and levels of government.

But what can we expect from tenured profs who can look at the world that exists and desire “a relational and communitarian world substantially different from the overly atomized [current] individualistic hell.”

With these plans and theories we all may be about to learn a huge lesson in what really creates living hells. Generally they come from the misuse of political power.

I guess they don’t teach that these days in law schools or education graduate schools. Certainly not in the psych or sociology or political science departments. Too bad.

 

Adjusting Our Conception of Who We Are to Fit the New Global Context of Being Systems to Be Managed

Do you ever read one of my posts and think “surely she’s exaggerating. That cannot be the actual intention. This is America and we are a free society.” Well, maybe less after this past week of barricades blocking open-air monuments keeping veterans from honoring those they served with. Or the elderly tourists being herded and guarded at the Old Faithful Inn lest they actually see and take a picture of an active geyser. Or those orange cones trying to block anyone gaining a view of Mt Rushmore. Plus the mentality that would add to the pain of already grieving families while they are still in shock by essentially telling them politicians and executive appointees did not value the ultimate sacrifice in the least. We have indeed crossed the Rubicon because of the importance of using the federal spending, taxing, and regulatory powers to enforce a different sort of country and society. Without we consent or not.

We think this past week is all a bridge too far when the reality is the transformation is just heating up. Let’s take a hard look then on where we are being led and why and what makes education such a vital weapon for intentional, nonconsensual cultural change. If you are a new reader, I usually refer to Karl Marx as Uncle Karl when I have to go back and pull up his theories and philosophies. Because people are writing that their current plans trace back to him. Still. In 2013. And simply saying that “Karl Marx said” makes me sound a bit hyper instead of ably tracking real declarations and then telling the story with a bit of humor. So if the MIT Press in 2012 decided to publish Ethical Adaptation to Climate Change: Human Virtues of the Future with regular mentions of that notorious Uncle as if he were a respectable theorist with good, untried ideas for us all, we get to take a hard look at what is in store for us.

I see that the Aspen Institute and Bloomberg Philanthropies sponsored CityLab this week in NYC http://www.icic.org/connection/blog-entry/blog-cities-as-the-engines-of-economic-prosperity building on this idea that the Inner Cities are to be new totally managed systems that all federal policies revolve around benefiting. This confab, like the (co)lab summit 2 weeks ago in Atlanta, TED City 2.0, the Brookings Metropolitanism push, and the new Promise Zones initiative announced in August with 11 federal agencies coordinating “prenatal to career nurturing of pathways” are all the second term pushing of what I first described here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/well-no-wonder-no-one-listens-to-common-core-complaints-if-it-is-tied-to-federal-revenue-sharing/ .

Since that book was kind enough to lay out the ties of all this to Uncle Karl, let’s see precisely what is intended for all of us. Like it or not. Pretending this is the fulfillment of MLK’s “beloved community” vision and therefore a dream that is entitled to be seen as a human right. Wouldn’t all these machinations make so much more sense if you believed or wanted to use a philosophy that argued that people will remain ‘alienated’ as long as they act as private individuals? Moreover, and highly useful to the current political class and the beneficiaries of their largesse with our taxpayer money, you insisted (my bolding):

“Overcoming this alienation would take the form of a recognition and reappropriation of these processes as social, which to Marx means putting them under the control of democratically organized planning processes.”

We might not be familiar with that intention since it is contrary to how the US Constitution works but I am pretty sure it is common knowledge in Community Organizing 101 seminars. Also common Marxian knowledge would be that the current world need not be accepted as it is but treated as something that humans produced so it can be redesigned through action and will. In fact, we just need to teach children from an early age that “to be human is to transform the world” and that “our economic and social institutions, our sprawling suburbs, our rapidly warming atmosphere” are all supposedly “something that results from human practices, and is not a ‘fact of nature.”

What is going on now in education, and what our 3 theorists from the last post wanted, and all these redesign the world through concentrating on the cities advocates desire, all make much more sense if you realize lots of people believe that the “problem with capitalism and the market economy” is the “private character of decisions.” Immediately telling me the writer has no clue as to what is involved in becoming successful in the non-cronyistic economy where you can only do well if you give people something they volunteer to buy. The point is the public-sector centric theorists have a desire for a future where the public sector can force people “to decide together what they are going to do” so that they will “act in concert to produce the result they all desire.” And you are thinking why would everyone desire the same thing?

Well, that’s to be the beauty of the Common Core in the US and Quality Learning all over the globe. To get people to have the same beliefs and mental models of reality and cultivate feelings to prompt collective action and new values. What we are dealing with is too many politicians and bureaucrats and university professors who believe that in the 21st Century the “social consequences of our actions [are] themselves [to] be the object of a social, and public, decision and not just the result of a series of private decisions…This cannot happen in the market itself, but rather is a matter of politics. In politics, and more precisely in democratic politics, the community makes a decision to act as a community and no longer as an aggregate of private individuals.”

Like it or not, that is the official mantra of the 21st Century vision all over the globe. Man-made climate change is being constantly touted whatever the reality because its solution requires a shift from individuals and markets making decisions to collective, majority binds all, decision-making. And education becomes about reenforcing a human responsibility to change and to engage in a ‘common politics’. Each person must now always consider “what actions would be discursively justifiable to others before acting.” Now that is clearly just a motto to gain power or we would never have seen the events of the past week, but it is the official view of citizenship in the future that our K-12 schools and higher ed are to actively cultivate. Mental transformations in individuals, new cultural models, and new institutions are absolutely precisely what this 2012 book lays out as the intention.

By cultural models, we are to have comparable perceptual conceptions (‘lenses’ and ‘metaphors’ are the two most common euphemisms) for how each of us is to perceive the world in the future and “our relationship to it.” And if you wonder why the name John Dewey just keeps being brought up as the visionary still for both the kind of education and society desired, this passage should relieve all questions:

“To serve as the basis of learning and action in political contexts, new cultural models must be closely associated with the development of new institutions, in particular institutions that function to manage the boundaries of the system to be managed. In their most basic sense, institutions are ‘the external (to the mind) mechanisms individuals create to structure and order the environment’. Through institutions, our ideas about how the world works and what is necessary to act within it, are articulated in language, instantiated into rules and structures, and to a greater or lesser extent empowered (or resisted) by the instruments of the state, business, or civil society. Institutions are essential to create a ‘public’, in John Dewey’s sense (1927): an organic society capable of experimenting, observing and learning in the face of threats and problems.”

Like it or not, this is the genesis of the vision of the future being pushed now all over the globe. It is the vision behind the ambiguous term ‘Sustainable Development’.

I may not be able to make this all go away by myself, being a mere individual and all. But what makes individual minds such a target in all these 21st century calculations is precisely the concern that someone will piece together the story in time. Before the mental and cultural changes are ‘irreversible’. And the new institutions become entrenched.

Now you know. Hope there is still time for the sleeping giant to awake to this danger we are in from our political class and their eager cronies.

 

New Assessments Drive New Minds Primed for the Progressive Composition of the Good Common World

To the extent education reforms going on globally in K-12 and higher ed are even on people’s radar, most observers still believe the dispute is over how to best transmit knowledge. And who gets to decide the type of knowledge that is needed. It is hugely convenient for the advocates of wholesale social, economic, and political transformation in the 21st century that we all continue to misapprehend the nature of the actual debate and the tools being used to drive the desired individual and cultural changes. To help us all bridge the gap between what we expect from schools and higher ed and what these reforms intend to actually do to our children and us, I am going to use quotes from 3 people whose work is at the center of the current transformation globally.

Quoting what they say the political purpose of their work is because it still attaches even if neither we nor the Principal or the legislators or the Governor are aware of those actual purposes. Or what PISA is really measuring. Farthest back in time is from a book by the chief architect of the communitarianism component, Amitai Etzioni. Back in 1983 he wrote:

“schools must first and foremost graduate individuals who can function on their own while relating constructively to one another (mutuality) and to their community (civility). Such individuals, properly ‘put together’ from a psychosocial viewpoint, will have the most important characteristics workplaces require. Moreover, I recognize that schools need to educate for other values than work, such as culture and citizenship.”

That would be the purpose that now gets hidden under the euphemism “College and Career Ready.” And the ‘culture’ and ‘citizenship’ students are being groomed for is grounded in the transformative vision of the future to prime the students to take action to help bring the new world into being. The great advantage of deemphasizing textbooks and lectures and mandating virtual reality gaming as assessment or using group collaboration around the ambiguous real-world grounded “wicked decision problems” from the last post is we are creating young people who will have the right to vote with virtually no capacity to anticipate even the likely consequences of the transformative actions being taken. The insider phrase for this new emphasis of “skilled in the fundamental pragmatics of life” gets omitted from the public sales pitch as too accurate to be acceptable.

Let there be no impediment to future action and let the actions be grounded in the cultivated feelings and values and attitudes that live in the unconscious regions of the self could easily be the new motto of global ed reforms. Let’s move on to Chicago Professor Martha Nussbaum who we first met here. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/isnt-it-political-sabotage-to-use-education-to-eliminate-the-assumption-that-students-are-individuals/ Her work on capability as a human right has increasingly caught the OECD’s and the UN’s attention as the appropriate theoretical vehicle to push for a public sector dominant society and a new kind of welfare state for the 21st century. Apparently we are not supposed to notice the marked resemblance of capability theory to Uncle Karl’s human development theory of the future.

Proponents of stealth transformation via education better hope then that no one reads this passage in Nussbaum’s 2011 book:

“ponder what is implicit in human dignity and a life in accordance with it…Marx’s vivid descriptions of forms of labor that allow continued life, but not a fully human life, resonate the world over. The notion of life in accordance with human dignity is one of the most fertile ideas used in worldwide constitutional jurisprudence.” Ahh, tenured academia–where the term Marx is actually not a pejorative insult but a still revered architect of future ways of organizing life and a society. Later, Nussbaum kindly tells us why it is so important now to have a Whole Child, social focus that grounds all thought in emotion and then uses new assessments to both drive and measure how schools are doing in driving such “growth.” It is “how we might cultivate the helpful sentiments in a socially propitious way.” Those would be the sentiments that will hopefully ground the actions for transformative change with again little ability to recognize likely disasters that would be apparent to anyone with a solid knowledge of history.

Nussbaum goes on in a passage that also primes the vision of Bruno Latour, who we meet next. In the future, political power is deemed to drive all. This is a little long but too revealing not to use:

“politicians can build a public culture that puts altruism and the relief of misery at it core. …An account of the emotions of citizens in a decent society is urgently needed.

This task involves thinking about the family, about social norms, about schools, and about the ways in which political institutions create incentives. It also requires conceptual thought about the emotions, how they arise and unfold, what their structure is, and how they interact with one another.”

In other words, the survey Nussbaum says is needed is precisely what the White House-pushed League of Innovative Schools and the EdLeader21 suburban US school districts have now agreed to research and gather data on. Not to mention all the data being thrown off by the Executive Order mandating Positive School Climates or requiring Positive Behavioral programs for all students under an indefensible reading of federal disabilities law or via adaptive software programs used in the digital learning juggernaut. You’d almost think Professor Nussbaum knew people in DC who could help drive her theories along.

Now Bruno Latour is a name familiar to me because of his role in the ‘science wars’ of the 90s. Plus he is a hugely popular choice as a campus speaker now. A French sociologist. So when I saw a 2004 book of his cited–Politics of Nature: How to Bring the Sciences into Democracy–that Harvard published, I thought we could gain more insights. Confirmation that what is being billed now as ‘innovation’ is really a push for sociological experimentation. A truly shocking book for Harvard to have embraced and for the French government to have originally funded. Reading that the “social sciences would finally become scientific if they agreed ‘to treat humans as things” made me feel like I had slipped into a Hollywood script for a science fiction mini-series. No such luck though. These are real and current aspirations we are dealing with.

The constant references I have located now to new kinds of minds and Growth Mindsets to be psychologically healthy and verbatim references to encouraging ‘dialectical thinking” (shouldn’t computer programs come with a search function that pipes up “do you REALLY want to use that word?”) should be seen through Latour’s blueprint of how we are to now be moving towards the “progressive composition of the good common world.” Not to freak you out, although I did spend the better part of yesterday with my mind racing and hands trembling, but Latour really does talk in terms of “once the collective has been assembled.” He writes of no more distinction between “interests’ and ‘politics’ or ‘nature’ and ‘politics.’ Instead, there is just political power that engages in a ‘groping process’ to ‘deal with matters of human concern.’ These new associations will unabashedly experiment with new ways of living and organizing society using 3 powers: “the power to take into account,” the “power to put in order,” and the “power to follow up.”

Roughly translated that seems to be public officials deciding what to do, then how to do it, and then examining how they did and considering what to do next. All as if public dollars will always be there for the asking to pay for such social transformations even though everything that has ever produced economic wealth is being squelched to get the mindsets that will go along. Justifying statism in the name of equality and justice is another way of looking at this genuine aspiration. That gets linked to the Common Core and other global ed reforms because they are all seeking precisely the same kinds of minds and values that Latour believes are needed and the OECD now counts as Competencies and government officials are calling “higher order thinking skills’ created by “rigor” in the classroom.

Latour actually believes like John Dewey that such a concentration of political power and binding all citizens to the results of majority will (that is in turn cultivated by what is to go on in schools and universities) need not lead to totalitarinism. He really says that Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union simply had the wrong kind of politics and vision injected into their collective decision-making. I am thinking that tenure and being able to live at public expense or courtesy of untaxed endowments held by universities and charitable foundations has seriously left way too many influential people who already have utterly no conception of likely consequences.

Too much theory and not enough reality apparently is possible now on many a campus, think-tank, foundation, or government agency and it shows thoroughly in what is being pushed on all of us.

Who pay the bills and who are to have nowhere to turn if these visions continue to advance via education and cultural transformation.

Reality and Consequences do not care. If the likely consequences appear to be a nightmare, remember the unforeseeable ones we will also encounter.

Instead of cultivating new conceptual lenses and minds for students, we need to impose reality checks on a whole lot of adult professors and bureaucrats and politicians.

In time.