Imaging the Past to Experience and Reshape the Present More Fully: APUSH as Social Science

I tend to come at the same issues from a different approach in part because I usually pick up on all the terms that have quietly acquired a non-dictionary meaning. The real definitions completely change what people are actually admitting they intend to do. When it comes to history now, at whatever age, approach all courses or activities, even for elementary students, with a recognition that “Personal Transformation on our Minds” is the motto crooned to the tune of “Georgia on My Mind”. You will never be far off from what the real goals are. Facts are really only important in this view of history if they can be used to shift how we see ourselves or others in the present.

Did you know that historian Thomas Bender (he actually seems to prefer the term Humanities professor) from the previous APUSH post and another NYU historian (now Harvard) Walter Johnson, also at La Pietra, have each been fellows at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences since the Conference and before the formal relationship with the College Board began? History as a tool for altering human behavior in the present certainly puts the purposes of that otherwise mystifying Conceptual Framework in a new light, doesn’t it?

Did you know that back in 1934 the American Historical Association issued a Carnegie-financed report (remember they are now sponsoring Competency-Based Learning and so much more) called the “Report of the Commission of the Social Studies.” My thanks to the reader who read the previous post and directed my attention to this report on the american deception website. All the way back then, the AHA announced that “the American people are part of Western Civilization now merging into a world order.” Schools therefore needed to modify any coursework that would encourage “the traditional faith in economic individualism.” The US would be “embarking on vast experiments in social planning and control which call for large-scale cooperation on the part of the people.”

Compliant is probably a more apt description for the new desired attitudes, but the soothing PR sales pitch in the report is that “education so conceived is concerned with the development of rich and many-sided personalities capable of co-operating.” Education that continued to focus on subject-matter content would simply “intensify the conflicts, contradictions, maladjustments, and perils of the transition.” Just thinking of us then is why we have been lied to about what has been really going on. The view that school could become primarily a matter of social adjustment and experiences while the real purposes hid behind continuing use of Academic Course Names has been on the record for a very long time.

When I said in the last post that the La Pietra Conference immediately made me think of the World Order Models Project, the original book that I reached for was the 1990 Contending Sovereignties: Redefining Political Community. That book was essentially the post-Soviet Blueprint of how to proceed to ‘reform’ the West as if it actually did not ‘win’ anything at all. It grew out of a 1988 Moscow Workshop that launched the Global Civilization Project. I know. Another lost invite. The essential premises going forward were that the era of the nation-state was over and that the historic state form was insufficient as a “political community.” Instead, the locality should be the focus of the political community and politics should now be reconceived as “purposive social action directed at the conditions of social existence.”

If you redefine “democratic theory” going forward as “a theory of social movements rather than states” and you do not want to tell the masses in case they do not want to go along with such an oligarchy power play, you hide the shifts in education. You create a Common Core and use Close Reading to foster the desired perceptions of “which human identities are crucial, what forms of social action are necessary, what political communities have to be created.” You use the school to create classroom practices that involve “politics as an everyday experience” and never disclose why. You create an APUSH Framework that is missing most of the crucial facts, but is full of activities and concepts offering students a means for “working out new understandings of themselves and bringing those understandings into the world.”

That’s because it’s the Flyv Social Science definition of understanding as grounded in subjective experience and how the student learns to perceive it using the provided concepts and disciplinary Big Ideas. I will pull one more nerdy word out of Robin’s Magical Glossary of Pertinent Education Terms: phronesis. Every time you see the word ‘understand’ from now on having to do with what students are to ‘know’ it means grounded in experience and perception and not logic or facts. A phronetic, Arational understanding is what the social scientists and educators intent on fundamental transformations call it and we should appreciate it is not a fact-grounded, analytical sense of the word ‘understanding.’ Is APUSH making more sense now?

How about if I add that Bender’s 1978 book Community and Social Change in America explained the now close relationships between sociologists and historians to create a means to “illuminate the dynamics of a complex society.” To use historical data and sociological ideas to examine “the ways in which the roles, statuses, and identities held by individual Americans changed over time.” Now that’s a view of the purpose of history that would fit right in with a Global Civilization Project interested in bypassing the factual history that might preserve the legitimacy of the nation-state. Instead we quietly build up senses of entitlement and grievance in social movements.

Bender acknowledged that “ideology can create a national community held together by emotional bonds similar to those associated with the social experience of community” that we are discussing here. What Bender seems to want to focus on as history is the “network of social relations in which the individual is embedded” and what the “structure of social experience is.” He wants to look for and hopefully use history coursework to start a course back towards relationships and interactions grounded in the “qualities of mutuality and sentiment associated with community.”

If that sounds like Bender is interested in fostering the kind of communitarianism we just keep stumbling across in the actual Common Core implementation, I think that is exactly right. It would also explain all the foundation sponsorship of the La Pietra Conference. It is history as a social practice of students and teachers acting as a community to explore the past to better appreciate what is wrong with the present.

I have one more place I want to look to put APUSH into perspective while once again encountering the communitarian emphasis that never seems to be far away from what will be imposed on students in a K-12 school or classroom. The goal always seems to be to accustom each student to a more communitarian, interdependent approach in society and the economy. This book from 1992, Responsive Schools, Renewed Communities, is by Clifford W Cobb, a co-author of the very troubling for the common good, with a Foreword by famous communitarian prof Amitai Etzioni. It actually advocated for vouchers and charter schools and school choice generally as a more reliable vehicle for achieving the communitarian focus. That surprise would suggest I am not the only one who understands that accreditation is the monkey wrench that undermines genuine choice for parents.

So beware what remedies we advocate for without reading the footnotes and small print. My purpose for using that book is how well it fits with the template from both the 1934 Report and the methods for transformation of political community laid out in Contending Sovereignties. That 1992 book wanted schools that depend on “fostering concrete experiences of commitment to an immediate community. Those experiences can then be generalized into a devotion to the common good.” School becomes a means to “generate allegiance to core values,” which would of course put it in line with the global education template UNESCO and Pearson are quietly pushing.

Relevant to our igniter of social movements goal as the new actual purpose of history coursework (or Civics or English or STEM…) is the desire that Multiculturalism and Diversity be seen as goals that will allow the “continuing distinctiveness and autonomy of subcultures, particularly those based on ethnicity.” Well, let’s face it, not all ethnicities qualify. A few sentences further is the real point of cultural pluralism. Those “ethnic nuclei” that are to be respected are those that can constitute “enduring centers of social action.” Oh, that will go well with the new, post nation-state emphasis. The next page, revealing that our prying eyes were never meant to read that book and really grasp all the Diversity hype, “stresses the tactical value of limited separatism.”

Especially in our new world with its focus on the locality and everyday experience. Whatever the intentions of individual advocates today, please be aware that back in 1992 School Choice was being pushed by some as yet another means to get back to:

“the context of a community of personal affiliations that imposed moral expectations and sanctions on its members. That tradition can be revived by shifting from devotion to an abstract national community to reliance on particular, local communities. In other words, rather than expecting the state to resolve our disagreements with each other on moral issues, we should learn to rely on participatory communities to guide the behavior of individuals.”

I think that is what all education at every level globally is now geared to if, like me, you know where to look. We have been looking at an astonishing consistency of aims now from a huge variety of starting points and assumed affiliations.

Next I will walk us through how history is actually to be used before APUSH to get to the Global Civilization Project goals.

Ready for the assessment to be a class quilt?

 

 

Sculpting the Inner Eyes that Guide What Real Eyes Perceive from Daily Experiences

All the references to Global Competency or World Citizenship may have us looking for a new flag we will be expected to salute or a quiz on world capital cities, but that is not what these terms actually mean. I took on Global Competency and the CCSSO’s explicit push of it in US K-12 classrooms in Chapter 7 of my book so please look there for the initial foundation for what is coming. We are off to Finland today, not to get frequent flyer miles or to look for stunning vistas in majestic fjords, but simply because professors there have been far more graphic in what the required Human Dignity Paradigm/Justice for All inclusive classroom looks like. They have also laid out with stunning candor what it intends to do and why. It explains why US suburban high schools would be nonconsensually shifting students to ‘problem-based learning’ with an affirmative Student Code of Conduct that most parents are unlikely to even catch in time.

Before we take off though I want to lay out the known links of the same model to the US beyond the descriptions to the Folk School vision laid out in the previous post. I noticed last May that all the school principals and district administrators in the high achieving part of Metro Atlanta’s Fulton County had switched to referring to classwork under the Common Core as either being ‘STEM’ or ‘Humanities.’ Recognizing this meant a jettisoning of academic content as something to be transmitted from what STEM meant (also in book), I have been keeping an eye out for a means of explaining explicitly what the shift to a Humanities focus would specifically mean in the classroom. Professor Martha Nussbaum, so usefully loquacious as to what is really intended that we have given her a tag already, thankfully laid it out in a 1997 book called Cultivating Humanity.

Using classwork to “cultivate in ourselves a capacity for sympathetic imagination.” Such empathy in all students is necessary “in order to foster an informed and compassionate vision of the different.” This “narrative imagination is an essential preparation for moral interaction. Habits of empathy and conjecture conduce to a certain type of citizenship and a certain form of community.” A Blue Ribbon for Astuteness to each of us that picked up that this compassion towards others is the consistent core we are finding in K-12 ‘reforms’ all over the world. It is desired because it “cultivates a sympathetic responsiveness to another’s needs” that is in turn necessary for a world determined to make meeting needs the new focus of the global economy. What Karl Marx called the Human Development Model of Society and Harry Boyte now calls the cooperative commonwealth.

One more well-connected American prof willing to reveal what is being laid out in meetings we are not invited to is Wharton’s Jeremy Rifkin. Since his discussion of the “new pedagogical revolution emphasizing empathic development” is in the context of a broader 2009 social vision called The Empathic Civilization, Rifkin is also usefully forthcoming. In fact he discloses that “Collaborative education, at its core, is concerned with shifting the center of educational concern from the individual mind, to forms of relationship.” We have encountered this before http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/distributive-justice-is-not-enough-we-must-break-the-illusion-of-the-unitary-self/  in the early days of this blog so I know even beyond the clear links to the Positive School Climate mandate that these mentions of a ‘relational self’ as the new focus are truly an insistent, very real, aim of K-12 education reform globally.

Let’s quote Jeremy one more time as he explains that the “new classroom emphasizes cooperation over competition and the sharing of minds. [Exhale, please! Some of you dear readers are now turning Blue in the Face with Outrage.] Education becomes a collaborative venture rather than an individual pursuit. The aim of all knowledge is existential: that is, to come ever closer to understanding the meaning of existence as well as our place in evolution through our shared experiences and the meanings we glean from them. Technical or vocational knowledge [like digital learning] becomes merely instrumental to the pursuit of this larger goal.”

Now we can go to Finland where we will recognize the curriculum as merely the more graphic announcements of the same classroom intent that we are supposed to be transitioning to in the US, Canada, Australia, the UK, Hong Kong, and everywhere else that ever cherished the individual. The Finns stated that the solutions to the world’s problems are to be found “in a shift in our view of how we see ourselves and our relationship to society, and its future…Whatever lies in the future, the ability to collaborate with others in the identification and resolution of problems is crucial. If humankind does not have this capacity, our fate is sealed. If it does, the skills for collective action must be nurtured and strengthened.”

Hence all the ties we are seeing between deliberative democracy and participatory citizenship and the actual K-12 required classroom implementation. I highlighted evolution above not to talk about Darwin or Apes but in the Brameld/Huxley sense of cultural evolution laid out in my book. Or as the Finns have decreed: ” the function of education is not only academic skills, but the skills needed to play a protagonist role in the evolution of society. Rather than working for socialization to the status quo, schools can create pro-active agents of social change.” Now before I shift to quoting from the actual intentions so that parents will have it as a guidebook for the future whatever happens to Professor Margaret Tuomi’s research, I want to make two more points.

First, the Finns state this is based on the Baha’i Curriculum for Global Education. Like the UN as we saw, the Finns like that the Baha’i do not merely speak of rights, as in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These guidelines also speak of obligations. Such duties to others are believed to be important to drill into each student at an unconscious level that will guide action. Secondly, please do not let all this high-minded talk of Equality and Success For All conceal the actual reality of what is being attempted here. The creator of Cultural Marxism theory in the 20s, Antonio Gramsci, did not just come up with an intention to March Through the Institutions of Power in the Individualistic West. He also developed the concept of the Integral State that all that marching was intended to create.

Civil Society would not be just an area of activity in his vision, existing independently of the State. Gramsci conceived of Civil Society, which would especially include schools and higher ed, as the terrain where the political elite’s world vision would be imposed. Troublingly the word he used translates as a required consensus. We encountered the same concept of few posts ago as the Rockefeller Theory of Communication For Social Change. The classroom would become the place where the psychological reality perceived by each student when they entered the classroom would give way to a Shared Understanding of Physical and Social Reality.

The five goals of Global Education then are [verbatim]:

1. To adopt the values necessary for the evolution of a global human society. (Ethics)

2. To acquire knowledge of mankind’s development, current state and achievements. (Knowledge).

3. To include in the world view a discernment as to how mankind has always formed ever greater social systems, and how this process has been encouraged by man’s natural urge to work in cooperation. (Understanding)

4. To see the future of mankind as bright, and to picture in one’s mind how mankind can through cooperation reach unprecedented achievements. (Vision)

5. To learn skills concerning cooperation and the management of information, and become directed towards acquiring skills necessary for the development of mankind. (Skills)

To give some idea of the sort of things the new Common Core assessments will actually be looking for, especially the formative assessments or assessments for learning, let’s look at the listed subgoals under 5. My bolding.

5.1 To learn and explore sources of knowledge logically in order to form holistic pictures and to apply the understanding thus gained to different challenges and activities; to learn to express clearly and logically one’s considered views for the development of human society.

5.2 To learn the skill of consultation in which the purpose is to promote the common good, not to advance one’s own interest; in which the aspiration is to achieve a common understanding; in which one’s view is expressed clearly and freely, but politely; and in which all participants seek to build their opinion based primarily upon knowledge and understanding.

5.3 To learn to consider those skills and capabilities that are needed for the realization of mankind’s future in practice when orienting for studies and choosing professions.

Well I must admit reading through all this that I did NOT become a lawyer to help realize mankind’s future. Interestingly enough though, having a solid base of unapproved factual knowledge and an Axemaker Mind is quite a useful tool in accurately perceiving the likely consequences of all this Manipulation and Mind Arson. That must be why the political elite and cronies are trying to discontinue these useful Mindsets all over the world right now.

Talking about it in the sunlight truly is the only antidote. Next time I will continue some quoting that will make the need for an affirmative Student Code of Conduct quite obvious.

Maybe we should nickname it the Fulton Comrade Code of Conduct Necessary for the Cooperative Vision of Our Future. Brought to us by people lying to our faces about what is really intended.

Some cooperation. No denial of self-interest by the public sector here. No wonder these coercive common good schemes always lead to kleptocracies.

Priority Economic Citizenship for Some, Officially Sanctioned Status as Prey for Most of Us

A large part of what made America exceptional and historically prosperous officially died yesterday. It’s probably why there has been so little mention of a huge new source of funds to states and localities approved in a landslide yesterday by the US House.  So we are taking a side trip but still related detour from the last post to discuss what has been done to us by our political class. Booth parties. Do not call them public servants. Many obviously cannot be bothered to read what they force on us in every state and every locality now in the US. Straight out of the radical Left Handbook that we saw at this conference.  http://www.whitehouse.gov/files/documents/ostp/opengov/sond2%20final%20report.pdf

“The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which would update jobs training programs in the U.S., passed the House by a vote of 415-6 Wednesday afternoon and now heads to President Barack Obama’s desk. Obama applauded Congress for passing the bill last night and said he looks forward to signing it into law. ‘This bipartisan compromise will help workers, including workers with disabilities, access employment, education, job-driven training, and support services,’ Obama said. Labor Secretary Tom Perez called the bill “good for workers, employers and the economy as a whole.” Lobbyists and business groups were also thrilled.

- Who voted “nay”? Justin Amash (R-Mich.), Paul Broun (R-Ga.), Jimmy Duncan (R-Tenn.), Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.), Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) and Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas).” [Source of Quote is Politico]

Hardly any coverage of the statute. I probably would not have noticed it or read its 812 pages either if members of the radical groups that took out the New York Times ad commemorating the 60th anniversary of Brown v Board of Education and lamenting the lack of fairness and human rights for every person in the US  http://civilrightsdocs.info/pdf/NYT-CCSS.pdf had not been practically doing a lap dance at the prospect of WIOA passing. Remember how often equity comes up these days supposedly as a new legal requirement of what education must accomplish? I have warned repeatedly that the actual definitions of College and Career Readiness are horrifically low and to be binding on all students. http://www.isakson.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/a4766452-3945-44d4-bb34-f8a6670bf166/WIOA%20Final-bill%20KIN14299.pdf is the final bill.

On page 514 we find the official Congressionally approved definition of what it will now mean to be prepared for the workplace, which is also now the official, Congressionally approved, function of all K-12 institutions as well as community colleges. Remember that suburbs or small towns that wish to exceed this standard for all may be accused by the Civil Rights Divisions of Justice and Education of being discriminatory. In many ways this also nullifies the various discussions around the country over the Common Core or other academic standards. Students now are to have a combination of:

basic academic skills, critical thinking skills, digital literacy skills, and self management skills, including competencies in utilizing resources, using information, working with others, understanding systems, and obtaining skills necessary for successful transition into and completion of post secondary education and training.”

Yeahaw! That’s not just the floor. It’s the ceiling as well with political appointees from Big Business, Governments, Unions, and community organizing entities determined to bring about wholesale social change organized into required Local Workforce Development Boards (Sec 107) to make it so. Nobody in any of the permitted groups granted access to these or the required State Workforce Development Boards (p 34) has any interest in Axemaker Minds likely to blow the whistle on cronyism or create a genuine disruptive commercial innovation.

Instead we now get Congressionally approved and to be required Career Pathways (p 10) developed  by the Boards and Industry or Sector Partnerships (p 22) so that what students can do “aligns with the skills of industries in the economy of the State or regional economy involved.” The Middle Ages called the decision that others get to decide what each of us may become feudalism. The 30s and 40s called it Fascism and the 21st century calls it State Capitalism. It is now here in the USA.

No wonder neither side is trumpeting this monstrosity. Thinking about images from what appears to be a planned invasion of the US southern border that simply could not happen without a great deal of official sanctioning, I want to go through some of the considerable ways WIOA gives English Language Learners lots of funding and a priority place at the table of those boards and future employment opportunities. We may not be offering political amnesty yet, but my reading is we certainly have offered economic citizenship without regard to legal status. Now of all things.    https://www.raceforward.org/practice/tools/compact-racial-justice-agenda-fairness-and-unity is an example of the kind of community organizing and democracy revolutionizing that is now intended in the name of race and ethnicity.

To give all of us a better idea of what democracy and equity and fairness and progressive change now mean, I am going to use a 2011 lecture Princeton prof (and Obama colleague and citizenship education advocate) Danielle Allen gave. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrW6HNi9-QU The New York Times featured her vision of a radically transformed Declaration of Independence in a story last week on July 3. In my mind that makes her vision an officially sanctioned one by those with fundamental transformation on their mind.

She views it as the job of governmental institutions to secure and enable factual equality. By this she means five facets that governments must now see to. First, everyone is to have Equal Agency and Political Equality under a Principle of Non-Domination.  Next is a Principle of Equal Opportunity that individuals must have the capacity to pursue their own happiness and that governments and politics will now be used to bring about the material resources needed. Start listening at about the 17:00 mark if you do not believe me.

Next is a Principle that Allen calls Epistemic Potluck. Believe it or not this relates to the affirmative use of the Student Code of Conduct we met in the last post. It also relates to what is called ‘problem-based learning’ in the new vision of high school that goes with this equity and democracy vision. Told you this was a related detour. The idea is that ‘knowledge’ is no longer about experts or specialists or a textbook, but rather the product of democratic conversations among participants magically deemed to be equal no matter how ignorant or emotionally aggrieved anyone is. These conversations will produce a consensus or shared understanding that will be pertinent to solving problems. We have also encountered this same deliberative democracy idea as the Rockefeller Process of Communication For Social Change.

Fourth is the Principle of Reciprocity. Those who have more have an obligation to those who have less so they can supposedly be truly free. Freedom is no longer to be treated as something that comes before the primacy of equality. Finally there is a Principle of Co-ownership of Equality. Allen describes this as a “communitarian commitment to egalitarian sharing of difficulty and prosperity grounds the social bond that sustains a free polity.” Marx was more succinct when he described the same principle as “from each according to his ability and to each according to his needs.” Allen literally wants a communitarian commitment “to social decision-making” and governments empowered to make her vision and what a majority now decides to be necessary for happiness so.

We went back to look at Allen’s Vengeance Will Be Ours Finally Vision because the WIOA not only integrates Adult Education and Literacy for those with deficient skills but mostly for every English Language Learner on American soil. On page 546 WIOA calls for this to also be ‘integrated’ with civics education. That integrated model for those who are supposedly dispossessed comes straight from Marxist radical Paulo Freire even though the statute forgot to mention that. Since you may not be familiar with his work or view of education, here’s an objective source on where this all leads. http://tx.cpusa.org/school/classics/freire.htm Remember community organizers intent on race-based transformational activity are eligible to provide and be paid for WIOA adult literacy, workforce, and civics ed training.

I wish I could say something pithy about WIOA or how it will not be as bad as it looks. If you get one of the federally funded jobs as a trainer at living wages or become a Director or staff member of one of these new Local Workplace Development Boards, you win. The Chamber of Commerce wins. English Language Learners clearly win as they are constantly carved out as Individuals with barriers to employment. The rest of us not so much.

Bound without notice. Prey without consent.

Welcome to US official public policy in 2014.

 

Standing Still As the Yoke Is Fastened: Student Codes of Conduct to Now Build Collectivism

Now I considered making that title a bit longer with the addition of the phrase ‘as a State of Mind.’ People grasping the essence of what I have been describing in my book or this blog will frequently insist that certain reforms would be mind control. I usually respond by pointing out that plenty of advocates readily acknowledge that as their intention if we know where to look. We are not having a conversation actually about possible effects of these theories that want to come into your local schools and classrooms, including the privates, parochial, and charters. There is meant to be no escape.

I frequently now read radicals who want to use the law as simply another form of policy advocacy for social transformation. It’s not though. That’s not what the public thinks it is paying for from lawyers who represent school districts. The law is not just another tool either. It has an ability to make itself binding on those who would reject its coercion if they were aware of it. The law then, be it regulation, the language in a Charter or Student Code of Conduct, or a statute with mischievous obligations no one defined, is the perfect tool for anyone wanting to force change away from the West’s historic emphasis on the primacy of the individual.

Now I have been hearing reports from around the country over the last year about parents objecting to a school’s sudden psychological emphasis or mindfulness training and being told they gave their consent at the beginning of the year when they said they had read and would abide by the Student Code of Conduct. It’s not about agreeing not to misbehave anymore. It’s about language that actually imposes obligations on how you must treat and feel about others and what they say and do into the Student Code of Conduct. Think of it as imposing an obligation to behave and think like a Communitarian instead of an individual into what is now to be required behavior at school. We already know that Sir Michael Barber of Pearson and the Gates Foundation’s Vicki Phillips wrote a book on getting Irreversible Change that emphasized if people are forced to do, believing comes along.

In May I noticed that just such an Affirmative Obligation Code of Conduct was on the agenda for the next Board meeting of Fulton County, the large, diverse Metro Atlanta district that has a conversion charter that guts academics through its wording. Binding unappreciated language that made me wonder what had shifted so radically within the legal profession since I went to law school. The answer is that the law quietly became a tool for forcing normative change on an unwitting public. We all need to appreciate that shift has occurred and not treat ‘the law’ as still a set of established, agreed upon rules. When I saw the language in that Code of Conduct I had the same reaction. It was an attempt to coerce compliance with a classroom vision shifting to psychological manipulation. Most parents would never notice.

The lawyer who had drafted the Student Code of Conduct was listed so I noticed she worked for President Clinton’s Education Secretary, Richard Riley’s, law firm.  http://www.waldenu.edu/colleges-schools/riley-college-of-education/about/richard-w-riley Ties then to Outcomes-Based Education in the 90s, the Carnegie Corporation and its views that (per Moises Naim) we are now to be the Governed, and the Knowledge Works Foundation with its views of Competency and ownership of the High Tech High concept. As a factual matter we are dealing with a view both of law and education as tools for transformative social change; however nice the actual lawyers involved may be as individuals. It simply is what it is and we ought to recognize this as a different view of legal advocacy and education policy than what they were historically.

Not recognizing these shifts so we can talk about it in the sunlight is what is so dangerous. That Student Code of Conduct came back on my radar last week when the school district picked the quiet holiday week to ask for parent comments on it. If a parent had an objection, the survey software insisted the parent explain their objections. It was tempting to want to write “but I fully support students being allowed to be dishonest” as the sarcastic explanation.

What I really had a problem with was recognizing where a required obligation to show empathy and never be disrespectful to any classmate could go on top of Positive School Climate obligations. I have read enough participatory materials to know there is a real desire not to be allowed to point out that stupid comments or poorly-informed opinions are just that. Only a very mediocre mind or a disingenuous radical transformationalist really believes that all opinions are equally valid and entitled to comparable deference.

You don’t have to be mean and ask someone if they are an intellectual eunuch to their face or just laugh hysterically, but a requirement in a Student Code of Conduct to treat all opinions as valid was a reminder of just how often I have now seen this to-be-required classroom consensus. Yet it was showing up in that Code of Conduct. It would be a reason for the Common Core English Language Arts Standards specifically carving out ‘speaking’ and ‘listening’ like they do. We have already noted that Study Circles Resource Center’s alliance with the Southern Poverty Law Center and its Teaching Tolerance Project and its odd sudden name change to Everyday Democracy (the name of community organizer Harry Boyte’s 2004 book). That Student Code of Conduct would go a long way toward making classrooms function like either the Swedish or Baha’i Study Circles. It would also enshrine that Rockefeller Process of Communication For Social Change in the classroom to force everyone into accepting a common understanding.

So I went back to that 1971 book on what these same ed reforms sought to do in Sweden that I wrote a troubling post about. The New Totalitarians said this about the use of Study Circles and the psychological conditioning they promote (italics in original):

“the A B F study circles promote the supremacy of the collective. Participants are taught that, once a decision has been made, then all further discussion is necessarily at an end and that, whatever their feelings might be, it is their duty to submit to the will of the group. But, as the study circle is designed to give received opinions the appearance of conclusions personally achieved, so is the individual persuaded to accept the will of the group as his own. Even if a person begins by opposing a majority opinion, he will purge himself of previous objections and adopt that opinion as his own as soon as it has been formally established.  By a kind of conditioned reflex, this form of submissiveness is evoked beyond the study circle by this phrase: ‘The decision has been made in a democratic manner, and accepted by the majority.’ Quoted always in the identical wording, it has the force of the liturgical chants of the Buddhists’ O Mane Padme Hum; it need not necessarily be understood to produce a certain state of mind.”

We could call that result Irreversible Change mandated via legal coercion. We could also call it fastening a yoke to a student’s mind and personality or maybe attaching an invisible serfs collar through required classroom experiences. We don’t really have to speculate about the kind of education experiences that created a belief that Student Codes of Conduct of this ilk are an effective policy tool in 21st century American schools because it turned out the drafting lawyer had been a previous member of the Education Policy Fellowship Program in DC. Legal training with non-lawyers to effect policy change. This normative use of the law just gets more interesting

http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/epfp.iel.org/resource/resmgr/50th_anniversary/iel_epfp@50_booklet.pdf explains EPFP from its creation in 1964 with Ford Foundation backing. It is how policy changes get invisibly shifted via education with few the wiser. That booklet lays out the entities in the various states and the mixture of public sector and private involvement. The website shows that the Lumina Foundation (determined to radically alter higher ed) and ETS (same to K-12 with its Gordon Commission) were the national sponsors of the most recent EPFP class.

It’s worth checking out. You may discover as I did that a moderator of the Common Core Listening Tour in your state is involved with EPFP and that the designated advocates of the Common Core serve on the Board of the state sponsor or its Advisory Council. Oh what a tangled web we weave… I would never finish this post if I laid out all the interconnections in my state of Georgia. I suspect each reader will find comparable interesting webs in your own state now that we know this entity exists and who the state players are.

I want to end this post with Reflections on “The Power of the Collective” from a member of the most recent local class. I have never met the writer, but I do recognize the ties between her employer and the world’s largest education accreditor, AdvancED; the State Professional Standards Board for teachers; and the recent Metro Atlanta regional economic development plan that also bound all school districts to ‘innovative learning’ without asking their individual school boards. A tangled web indeed.

http://www.gpee.org/fileadmin/files/PDFs/Brinkley_s_EPFP_speech_FINAL.pdf is the link to the May 21, 2014 speech. The author mentions that “at the end of our monthly colloquiums, Dana [Rickman, previously with the Annie E Casey Foundation] always asks us to reflect upon what we’ve learned [bolding in original] by completing a statement: I used to think … and now I think.

That’s a confession that the technique known as Delphi or study circles or now the Rockefeller Process of Communication for Social Change is a big part of creating the desired mindsets of education policy makers. Adults who have been through this process without recognizing it for what it is are unlikely to have a problem with now imposing it on students.

Just imagine using this technique created for use with adults on malleable minds captive in K-12 classrooms.

 

Prescribing Racial Equity Outcomes at All Levels of Social Interaction Will Make Each of Us Truly Bound and Governed

In my ongoing pursuit to track precisely what future is being planned for us, why education is being so radically altered in deceitful ways without consent, and why so many people assume people now exist to be governed and dictated to through political power I went back to that Humane Governance book I mentioned in the last post. Sure enough, in order to offer comprehensive rights “to those most vulnerable” as well as “all peoples on earth” Falk called for “a proper ordering of political life at all levels of social interactions” including the home and personal relationships. We may grasp that such officially sanctioned meddling is likely to turn the world into those who seize, those whose time or property are seized, and distributees, but it really is the new theory of rightful political and economic power being pushed in the 21st century.

No wonder I kept hearing references to governance that assumed that political power can now dictate individual choices. If the aim is indeed the “normative consciousness of society” including “the sense of life’s purpose” it makes perfect sense that education, Preschool, K-12, and higher ed, is so determined to make values, attitudes, and beliefs and the delegitimization of the very concept of the individual its focus.  What I was not prepared for when I tackled the 2006 book The Next Form of Democracy: How Expert Rule is Giving Way to Shared Governance…and Why Politics Will Never Be the Same by Matt Leighninger was discovering that governance of all of us was deemed necessary to achieve Racial Equity Outcomes. Or that there was a White House conference in August 2009 that Leighninger was part of to officially kick start this vision of democracy and governance.  http://www.whitehouse.gov/files/documents/ostp/opengov/sond2%20final%20report.pdf

Another lost invite. Someone who was not only invited but was a co-sponsor of the conference was Everyday Democracy, which is the new name for what used to be called the Study Circles Resource Center. Along with the Southern Poverty Law Center we keep encountering as it protects the Common Core, SCRC created this Upper Grades Handbook called “Reaching Across Boundaries: Talk to Create Change” http://www.racialequitytools.org/resourcefiles/mixitup.pdf in an earlier commitment to required dialogues to supposedly create healthy school communities and a Positive School Climate where “every student can grow socially and academically.” Note that order of priority. That handbook remains in print because this is the kind of transformative school program where all children can be deemed to succeed and ‘grow.’ Plus there is that useful change to the acceptable norms of society beliefs and values.

OK you say, that’s one example but do I really have to make governance about race? The problem is that when I followed the footnotes in Leighninger’s book I discovered unbelievably alarming and sanctioned official initiatives like this 2002 Training for Racial Equity and Inclusion: A Guide to Selected Programs http://www.aspeninstitute.org/sites/default/files/content/docs/rcc/training.pdf It starts with a quote from a Manning Marable that:

“When we talk about race, we don’t mean a biological or genetic category, but, rather, a way of interpreting differences between people which creates or reinforces inequalities between them. In other words, ‘race’ is an unequal relationship between social groups, represented by the privileged access to power and resources over another.”

So the existence of inequality among groups for whatever reason becomes the excuse to Govern everyone and meddle constantly in what people believe, value, have, or what they can do. To seize economic and political power and dictate approved social interactions. To define “modern racism as unconsciously held beliefs and feelings that people of color are making illegitimate demands for changes in the status quo.” To be deemed racist if you are not willing to fund the revolution and do it now. Won’t the omnipresent focus now on social and emotional learning come in handy with such programs prescribing a “psycho-social approach to changing racism emphasizes the importance of individual awareness and emotional literacy–or the ability to read one’s own emotions and those of other’s–in the process of understanding and changing oppression.”

Once again this focus in K-12 is equitable, since everyone has emotions, and transformative for “creating a more equitable and just future.” Just what Falk envisioned as Humane Governance and why Gorbachev joined in in 1986. Race becomes the way to transform behaviors in the West and consciousness all at the same time plus seize economic power. Truly who needs a Cold War when there’s education.

Well, that was a 2002 paper. Maybe the Aspen Institute and the Rockefeller Foundation (which also funded WOMP)  has rejected such a vision of Race Equity and the intertwining of Education and Community (then why was this on naesp’s website yesterday?)  http://www.naesp.org/resources/1/A_New_Day_for_Learning_Resources/Building_and_Sustaining_Partnerships/Education_and_Community_Building_Connecting_Two_Worlds.pdf Unfortunately though a new acronym RETOC and a 2008 publication date show that these unfortunate theories just keep getting more influential as the basis for government decision-making along with nonprofits and charitable foundations.

RETOC is short for Racial Equity Theory of Change and it is “the desired alternative to white privilege. Racial equity paints a radically different social outcomes ‘picture’ in which race is not consistently and predictably associated with disadvantage. It envisions a fairer America in which race is not associated with merit and social opportunities. With racial equity, we would not have social strata, prisons, schools, boardrooms and communities that are distinguished by their skewed racial profiles.

A racial equity vision takes for granted that the nation possesses sufficient resources to offer everyone an equal chance to succeed.” http://www.racialequitytools.org/resourcefiles/aspeninst1.pdf Since people have resources, not the nation itself unless we are going to redistribute national parks, racial equity is all about seizing what is desired for redistribution as well as Mind Arson to keep things equitably tied to those transformatively useful emotions. Since RETOC intends to dismantle Structural Racism, it becomes an excuse to meddle everywhere, once again necessitating the concept of Governance. After all, how else can governments and special interest groups alter:

“the many systemic factors that work to produce and maintain racial inequities in America today. [No attempt is being made of course to change factors like unwed teenaged mothers or force urban schools to finally teach reading properly] These are aspects of our history and culture that allow the privileges associated with ‘whiteness’ and the disadvantages associated with ‘color’ to remain deeply embedded within the political economy. Public policies, institutional practices and cultural representations contribute to structural racism by reproducing outcomes that are racially inequitable.”

And if all this meddling and required restructuring of social interactions and relationships extinguishes much of those resources targeted so everyone can succeed, what then? What if the REO-desired Racial Equity Outcome–is not just something that can be imposed or dictated? What will be the effect of targeting the ‘Nuts and Bolts’ of Local power to force these REOs? Governance becomes necessary so that “decision making bodies at the state, local, or regional levels” can dictate the desired changes, whatever the actual costs.

Finally, the Aspen Institute, which again is so determined to push digital learning that replaces mental knowledge with the use of a visual tool as the key component of the Common Core implementation, published this document in September 2009. Highly relevant then to what is also going on in education, the AI Roundtable on Community Change created this “Constructing a Racial Equity Theory of Change: A Practical Guide for Designing Strategies to Close Chronic Racial Outcome Gaps.” http://www.aspeninstitute.org/sites/default/files/content/images/Roundtable%20on%20Community%20Change%20RETOC.pdf That report opens with the declaration in bold print that “As we begin the 21st century, the embeddedness of racism in our institutions and culture continue to exert great influence on how social benefits and burdens are distributed.”

Distributed by whom we should legitimately ask. The fallacy that these benefits and burdens are being inequitably ‘distributed’ is being used to seize power to be able to distribute. To plan societies. To force action by public officials against anyone or anything deemed in the way of an REO. That report helpfully reminds “planners to take the likelihood of sociopolitical resistance and retrenchment into account whenever they design and implement racial equity action strategies.”

So far that outcry has not been a problem because these REOs are being pursued but not under the actual Theory of Change. Not under the name Racial Equity Outcomes. The sought ‘backward mapping’ is going on in the schools, but it goes by names like Growth or Positive School Climate or Equitable Engagement of All Students. The function of transformative change and the seizure of powers of governance without admitting it’s about REO and eliminating Structural Racism.

In writing of the related Humane Governance, Professor Falk acknowledged that this is all about pursuing a “democratizing agenda of bringing law and popular participation to bear upon policies that control the exercise of economic and political power.” Race is just the excuse for seizing that power for the public sector and its allies. It offers emotions of grievance that have been carefully cultivated and boots on the ground voting for transformative change via seizure.

And no one pushing Humane Governance or Racial Equity seems to be grasping that if true wealth is the mind and what it is capable of, these policies may well be creating piles of dust.

No one can seize what has ceased to exist. Creating a sense of righteous revenge in some groups and an obligation to allow predation in others only creates human betterment in a fantasy world. But we can only confront the likely reality if we recognize what is now being pushed in the name of Equity and Democracy.

Consider this post that recognition.

 

 

Wider World is Primary, Not the Stifling Prison of the Instantaneous Present

Education is the entry way, but it is by no means the ultimate goal. Those of us who want to believe that all would be well if only all decisions were made locally instead of at state, federal, or international levels should be aware that the Local was preselected back in the mid-80s as the place where “equity, implementation of human rights, promotion of democracy, and environmental protection” could best be invisibly put into place, especially in the capitalistic West like Canada, the UK, Australia, and the US. It was at the local level that the “world must evolve structures of governance (not necessarily government) that offer improved prospects of achieving sustainability…and decency.” The global belief that the local is the place to impose authoritarianism while pretending it is participatory democracy can also be seen here http://www.ted.com/talks/benjamin_barber_why_mayors_should_rule_the_world as long time activist Benjamin Barber wants binding power now centered in the cities.

The following discussion needs to be added to what we already know from the book on unappreciated events that took place in the 80s getting ready for a pivot away from communism and the Cold War that impacted education so much in the 90s and now. The World Orders Models Project we have already disturbingly met http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/reorienting-world-order-values-via-the-intervention-of-activist-education-and-progressive-politics/  began  a Global Civilization Project in the 80s after a visit in the fall of 1986 from a special assistant to Mikhail Gorbachev. This Georgi Shakhnarov “discerning the changes which were about to take place [prescient, huh?] in the Soviet Union and elsewhere, and possessing an impressive familiarity with WOMP materials, he felt that recent events were vindicating many of the WOMP policy objectives while obligating many in the global community to revisit the security doctrines that had authorized Cold War hostilities.”

Sure enough WOMP had a meeting in Moscow in 1987 that we were not invited to (although I did manage to locate the resulting book) that began the new vision we are still dealing with now, whether we recognize the sources or not. The post-Cold War world, much like the Great Transition, Subjective Well-Being, and post-2015 hype from the OECD and UN entities now, wanted “alternative policies that promote the ‘world order values’ of peace, economic well-being, social justice, ecological balance, and positive human identity.” From those goals came a radically transformed vision of education where:

“To realise the potential of the twenty-first century we will need to put aside the obsessions of the 20th century, especially the fixation on what we may have, and return our attention to the perennial question of what we may be. That process can begin now, in schools. This book has been informed by the view that the outer world is an expression of the inner one. The biggest step forward would be re-establishing a map of culture which includes more than the material and the instrumental. We can then use the new map, the new world-view, both to frame and define futures which breach the bounds of instrumental rationality and see human life as a self-aware part of the whole.”

That was the conclusion of a book Education for the Twenty-First Century published simultaneously in 1993 in the UK, Canada, and the US. That’s a lot of kick starting via the schools of a new vision of values to guide perceptions of reality going forward. The reason the core, then and now, of transformative changes in human behavior has to be values is because human values guide preferences. If you want social action for change, education and other social institutions where people gather, like religions or mass media programming, have to constantly be pushing the envelope on values and ethical issues and reimagining morality. And you wondered why values clarification suddenly dropped into the schools in the 90s or why a Kairos Center is being launched now.

Another one of those assumptions that was invisibly altered in the 80s and early 90s to commence the social and economic justice assault on the West was to push Socio-Economics as envisioned by the very same Professor Amitai Etzioni regarded as the Communitarianism Guru. We first encountered his work being cited to justify Positive School Climates and Positive Behavior interventions for all students. Then he came up again when we discovered the communitarian focus for what Career Ready Standards actually meant. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/does-common-core-target-hearts-and-minds-to-sway-future-voters/ Big surprise. His work on the ‘totality’ having primacy over the individual is to guide this new vision of economics. No wonder his work  keeps making uninvited appearances.

Let’s take a look at the three characteristics an economic system must adopt to prepare for the kind of reorientation Etzioni, WOMP, Gorbachev, and too many others in well-compensated positions of leadership have decreed without our consent. Being shaped and then imposed invisibly via education: K-12 and college and now preschool and graduate programs.  First, the individual is no longer to be independent and able to exercise their own free will. Instead, he or she must see themselves as interdependent. Part of interlocking systems. So when we have come across initiatives like Fostering Communities of Learners that are to be required and made a measure of whether a Principal is deemed Effective, that focus is priming students and teachers for the new way the economic and social systems of the future are to work.

The second rejection is the idea of maximizing value from a given choice. Instead, the emphasis shifts to ‘satisficing behavior’–good enough. No need to hold out for the ideal or a perfect fit. Students practice for this element of the reenvisioned social and economic systems via all those ‘rigorous’ assessments where there is no correct answer or the material has never been taught. It is what counts as operating at Higher Levels of Thinking under a Depth of Knowledge template for evaluating student work. Practicing a good enough strategy and being willing to act anyway. In satisficing behavior the focus is always on the future so that image of what could be can begin to reshape the current reality. Once again brought to you by people paid to push these pernicious ideas without having to live with the consequences. Yet anyway.

Number 3 is “consensus formation as the essential nature of interaction between individuals and institutions within the economic system.” This is the part where we all have an obligation not to point out to the community organizer or Area School Super that their vision is stuck at the level of a dull 12-year old mind or grounded in the anger of a thwarted teenager. All perspectives are equally valid, remember? This new behavioral characteristic gets modelled in the Common Core Discourse Classroom as students in the end do not get to retain their own opinions. They must practice learning to accept the consensus because in the Totality vision: “once a consensus is reached, all entities party to that consensus will embrace the final decision and quickly integrate that decision into their behavior.”

So just as many of us have feared all this pushing for consensus and mentions of governance really can accurately be viewed as authoritarianism imposed in the 21st century from below, rather than above. Locally, instead of globally even if it is the international wanna-be nomenklatura class that has always been behind the advocacy and architecture of these local and Totality visions of the future. I am going to continue to talk about this atrocious binding vision of Governance in the next post. I may have forgotten to mention that some of this post came from what is laid out in another WOMP book On Humane Governance: Toward a New Global Politics.

Not if, and I mean this sincerely, I can still write and type and speak. There will be nothing humane in the end about this vision of the future. I want to end with a question. Have you noticed the sudden rise of signs guiding people to the physical location of the Chamber of Commerce in your community? Perhaps that is because, previously unbeknownst to us, “in the totality model, the means of resolving potential areas of conflict will be institutionalized within the economic system.” Suddenly then the Chamber’s headquarters may be as important for prosecuting interests as the courthouse or state capitol. At the table or on the menu has always been the reality in a politically planned and directed economy.

Have you noticed the ubiquity of touting ‘public-private partnerships’? Perhaps again it is a reflection of this hoped-for reality from the Totality vision:

“Thus, government does not operate in a contentious relationship with corporations (the public versus private dichotomization so prevalent in an individualistic economic system). As coequal institutions within the totality of the economic system, government and corporations recognize their interdependent relationship and realize the welfare of both institutions will be increased through cooperation rather than conflict.”

Did you notice in all this collusion at our expense no one is the least bit concerned with our welfare?

And to think all these truly lousy ideas are coming at us first and foremost through the schools. That of course would be precisely where the rollback needs to start as well.

 

Constantly Casting Aside Those Things that Become Useless in this Caravan of Civilization: Who Decides?

No wonder a well-stocked individual mind is becoming forbidden. I had hardly finished the previous post before an insight as I read that day’s materials sent me after the global human rights/human behavioral curriculum clearly intended to come into the US as the Common Core and elsewhere as 21st Century Learning. Every day now seems like a game of Bingo as the real implementation rolls forward in education to finally put into place what HG Wells actually called The Open Conspiracy back in 1928 in a work that was intended to be a blueprint, not the fiction that earned him fame. Then again he and Julian Huxley were old friends and actually wrote a book together–The Science of Life. I guess we shouldn’t be surprised then that so much of the focus is on using education for social experimentation to gain political transformations. So many of the people we run across over time had similar ideas because they all seem to have known each other.

We have been the ones without the knowledge of all these connections and revealing resources. So getting ready to go down the Human Rights road, I read this quote this morning while I steeled myself to write (my bolding):

“At Philadelphia’s Science Leadership Academy, history teacher Matt Baird called his high school’s 1-to-1 program ‘radically democratic.’ Information ‘doesn’t necessarily flow from the teacher to the student in the form of a test. Information is something that can be gathered, used and utilized by students in the way it is in the real world,’ he explained, adding, ‘It’s not an awful lot of people who take standardized tests for a living. We don’t really want school to be a proxy for real life. We want school to look like real life as much as possible.”

The education historian in me immediately recognized that real life focus and the way Baird so obnoxiously preaches its superiority to an academic knowledge focus as what was called Life Adjustment back in the 40s and 50s. Nothing indeed new under the sun of Radical Ed Reform once you have the template I laid out in my book. Life Adjustment had been on my mind this week as well as it fits so well with what are now being called “Authentic Learning Opportunities” in connection to the Common Core. When I went off to find my notes on Life Adjustment, guess what came out that aligns perfectly with the NEA’s 2011 CARE Guide we have looked at in the last 2 posts?

It was the NEA that pushed what was then called Life Adjustment as the new purpose for ed in its 1947 Organizing the Elementary School for Living and Learning. In anticipation of today’s New 3 Rs of Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships the NEA wanted schools to put “human relationships first.” Now that declaration is why the human rights post got bumped behind this one since Why explanations should always precede the How. Does this sound familiar in the current era of Whole Child Codes of Conduct and Positive School Mandates? In 1947, apparently in recognition that an America rich enough to provide one side’s armaments and rebuild Europe afterwards, was rich enough to transition to a Human Needs focused Development Society, suddenly there must be education with “a school environment where the satisfactory adjustment of all pupils is a primary consideration…This ‘R’ is of even greater importance than the 3 ‘Rs’ yet it has received little time or attention in the school’s organization.”

Do Colleges of Education or the accreditation agencies today get to decide the answer to the question the NEA asked back in 1947 as part of its post-war, Let’s Transform the US intentions and make the impending Cold War a moot point, philosophy? “Is it more important for Dick to excel everyone in his class and bring home a report card of all A’s or learn how to live with all the other boys and girls in his neighborhood?” Today’s Collaboration mandate is Educators and Business Interests declaring that they get to decide the answer to that question and none of us are to have any ability to veto that transformation of the historic purpose of education.

Me? I went back to the words that John Keats wrote so well back in 1958 in his Schools Without Scholars that was also a tirade against a Life Adjustment focus. He noted that the difference between making the child’s interests the focus [today's Relevance and Engagement] and making a body of knowledge the focus is about more than just “the nature of learning” and “the nature of things learned” although I will note that today’s Common Core rhetoric tries to ignore that both of those are being turned upside down. If we knew we might refuse to defer to the professional educators’ insistence they now get to decide. No, most importantly, as Keats also recognized, Life Adjustment under whatever name it uses in a particular decade is about “the true role of the individual in society.”

Now it seems with all the requisite communitarian focus and the “Universe of Obligation” required inquiry I will explain in the next post, Keats could not have been more prescient to our current dilemma being imposed via education. Are we going to allow schools to shift to required practices so that a teacher must now “conduct her class from the point of view that the individual has only a functional significance in society?” That is after all the view of the Career Pathways for All that the federal Departments of Ed, Labor, and HHS are now soliciting proposals for as School to Work is back. http://www.jff.org/news-media/long-sought-compromise-unites-parties-improve-us-workforce-development-system

I would be what Keats called a traditionalist: “dedicated to the proposition that society is merely a function of individuals.” As I put it in my book, do not use the word society as a noun unless we are talking about Mrs Astor’s Ballroom size. The title quote also comes from the 1947 NEA push and the same question still applies. What if the taxpayers paying the bill KNOW what is still useful much better than politicians or cronies or educators who live as parasites off the bounty produced by others? What right does a District Administrator or Principal dedicated to Mind Arson, the political transformation of the US, and active deceit to parents have to decide what is useful for the future and what is to be cast aside? Should a union like the NEA have the right to decide that either? Accreditors? Every one of these people or entities survives off of taxpayer funds and most of the adults leading these entities have no clue what actually produced the financial bounty they take for granted. And they have the veto power over what is needed for the future?

Or what is ‘useful?. This 1947 quote mirrors the School districts touting now that they no longer have a ‘deficit’ focus. Teachers are to “cease thinking of marking children and will start thinking how much the child is growing day after day, week after week, how much progress he’s making toward the kind of boy or girl which our town, our America, and our world finds useful.”

Useful for what? Useful to whom? If that decision is no longer in the realm of the individual student or parents, but has been outsourced to others who benefit from Mind Arson, what kind of society are we becoming?

Instead of town, today’s language is community. What functions does the community want each individual to have? Ask yourself who benefits from making the focus of the school the use of a device like a computer coupled to Non-Cognitive factors. Now that I have refreshed my recollection and augmented yours on Life Adjustment, we can contemplate what that focus has always intended to do. We can now examine the implications of what Columbia prof, Jacques Barzun, wrote in 1961 was an inversion of the entire purpose of education as students are all assumed to have “the supremely gifted mind, which must not be tampered with, and the defective personality which the school must remodel.”

That’s today’s assumption as well. What shall we do about these current unabashed intentions? Most of the barriers that have delayed this desire for wholesale transformation for so long in the purpose of education have fallen or died.

It’s up to us now to become those barriers again. Protect the children. Protect ourselves most of all. There are few things as dangerous as a parasite that has no idea where it actually gets its sustenance.

 

 

Illusion Remains the Deadly Enemy of Hope, its Smiling Murderer: Continuing Our Journey to Keep Hope Alive

To explain the whys of what I have so unambiguously now documented, I frequently go back in time to others who have played the role of prescient Cassandra urging the Trojans not to bring that strange gift of a wooden horse within the unbreachable walls. Today’s title comes from an essay Whittaker Chambers published in Cold Friday to convey his reaction to the mid to late 1950s Eastern European revolts against Communist oppression. Chambers always understood what was under attack from ideologies that target “the view we hold, unconsciously or not, of the world and its meaning and the meaning of our lives in it.” Since I have been asserting for a while that this is precisely what the Common Core and 21st Century Learning and cybernetics and Radical Ed Reform through the decades is actually targeting, let’s look at the full quote:

“In this age, hope is something that must be taken by the throat. This is to say, hope, to be durable and real, must begin with things exactly as they are, not as we suppose they were (even a few tranquillizing months ago), or as we wish they might be…The terms of hope are not to delude ourselves about this in order not to suffer in the shattering spins of fear that casts out hope. The deadly enemy of hope, its smiling murderer–is illusion…hope for you (as it has been for [the Eastern Europeans]) can truly begin only when complacency has been eaten off as by an acid bath, consuming the temptation to illusion.”

Never thought of myself or my book as an acid bath before, but the metaphor may well be apt. The way out is consistent with what I tell audiences when I speak. We need to keep our focus at this point on the actual implementation being required. It is provable and alarming. Right now intentionally created illusions impede our way out of this planned darkness of raw political power merging the religious and the secular, the public and the private, and society and the economy. In fact I found those Chambers’ quotes when I was mulling over that the Baha’i see no boundaries to their planned usurpation of authority over the minute details of our personal beliefs and conduct. With the raw power and all-pervasive tentacles of the UN and its affiliates behind them and UNESCO pushing their values as the integral core of global education reforms, we have a problem.

Confronting the actual intentions seems the only way out. Baha’i came out of Islam and clearly retains Islam’s doctrine of absolute deference to political authority. Likewise, Baha’i clearly contemplates what Totally Integrative Education now seeks as well, the “political and the sacred are indissolubly merged.” I am also seeing in the consensus mandates of the required Discourse Classroom or the Fostering Communities of Learners mandate what an American scholar of Islam, Franz Rosenthal, analyzed as consistent with the Muslim concept of hurriyya where an individual Muslim “was expected to consider subordination of his own freedom to the beliefs, morality and customs of the group as the proper course of behavior.” Moreover, Rosenthal noted “the individual was not expected to exercise any free choice as to how he wished to be governed…”

That attitude, that was common to Communism and is a tenet of both Islam and Baha’i, is radically opposed to the Western conception of the primacy of the individual and reason and the conception of freedom that came out of the Enlightenment. The individual has been the essence of traditional education, especially after the printing press and easy access to books made literacy widespread. Now we are back to a Whole Child education that explicitly targets personal values, attitudes, and beliefs with the federal government collecting data to keep track of how the personal transformation from the inside-out is going. We need a Douglas MacArthur moment from when he confronted State Shinto in Japan after World War II.

“Shintoism, insofar as it is a religion of individual Japanese, is not to be interfered with. Shintoism, however, insofar as it is directed by the Japanese government, and as a measure enforced from above by the government, is to be done away with.”

And it was. Today we have comparable attempts to indoctrinate students into collectivism as the only viable solution and transformation as the only acceptable action. The Baha’i books I cited in the previous post are full of those aims. Instead of reiterating those, I want to point out that these aims also come from a different direction that greatly influenced what would come to be known as LBJ’s Great Society. Now with the 50th anniversary eminent, we had best fully appreciate what was really sought in the first place. The planners are not done yet. Back in 1961 Robert Theobald published The Challenge of Abundance laying out his vision of how the West must change now that it had sufficient wealth and technology to meet all needs. He also described using education as the means to obtain the necessary new attitudes and values. This is from page 1:

“the attitudes necessary for the most rapid rate of growth are not those which encourage a meaningful life for the individual or a valid sense of community.”

That desire is still what we are dealing with today and it is what also drove the Swedes to dramatically alter their ed system in the 60s as we discussed in ways that mirror what is being sought today in other parts of the world. The idea, which I believe is erroneous but it IS the foundation for all these sought transformations via education, is that the “society of abundance could, at last, provide independent means” for everyone to reach their potential and thus for the first time in history have “true freedom.” It was Marx’s vision and it drives UNESCO today as Scientific Humanism. It also goes by Human Capability theory now  and has an international conference coming up in Greece.

Education is always such a crucial component over the decades this has been sought because, as Theobald wrote: “such a society is possible only with the acceptance of limited desires. We too can have a society of abundance in the rich countries before the end of the twentieth century [yes, a bit off-schedule here in the US!!!. hence the hurry now]. But abundance is not a specific quantity of goods; it is a state of mind, a set of attitudes. Man can never produce all he could use, abundance depends on the acceptance of a reasonable standard of living.”

As of 2012, by the way, the Ford Foundation began calling that very same concept the Line of Plenty. Think about that passage every time you read about education creating a Growth Mindset instead of a Fixed Mindset. The Growth is in the new values and attitudes and beliefs about the role of the individual and the primacy now of the community and the perceived common good. It really is about getting the desired evolution from the inside-out that will allow the social, political, and economic transformations that have been sought for many years, behind our backs. We cannot afford to maintain the illusion of good faith disputes over content or how to best tech reading or math. The reality is that everyone from John Dewey to the Baha’i to the Club of Rome and Theobald are all determined to use education globally are;

“asking that man become unselfish. This is not necessarily impossible. ‘Selfishness’ stems, at least in part, from the fact that Western economic and social systems are set up to encourage individualism. If we reduce the necessity for economic conflict, it may be that we can develop a co-operative form of society.”

History reveals a very expensive mess coming out of these intentions Theobald laid out in 1960, but this remains the true aim in 2014. Common sense tells us that such aims will continue to push us towards a kleptocracy, but too many of the decision-makers now in education have a vested interest in continuing and expanding the organized theft from taxpayers. All the more reason to ramp up the mind arson to avoid detection for long enough to get another lucrative contract or lock-in that pension or promotion.

It does create a tremendous irony though that all these destructive policies and determined pursuit of changes to students’ values, attitudes, and beliefs involve the use of so much deceit to try to put in place “a new idea–we must demand that man should become responsible and willing to make decisions on the basis of the general interest of the community.”

Because that goal is always so beneficial to those who hold the strings of economic, social, and political power. Ever fearful of the magnificence the unencumbered individual mind is capable of.

Keeping hope alive indeed. Piercing through the deceit straight to the core of the actual intentions.

Educating for Radical Change and New Values in an Age of Abundance: Defining the New Kind of Person to be Produced

Have you noticed that everywhere we look, across time and in other countries, the consistent message is to create a new system of values? New values that form a personal core so they are available to fuel future action or fulfill future psychological needs in these times of change. It’s why certain religions are being urged to shift their belief-systems. It’s why Milton Rokeach originally created the very term Competency back in the 60s that is now with us more than ever. It lies at the heart of what Career Ready turned out to mean and embodies the personal and societal transformations the UN’s IPCC reports want to require preemptively, whatever the actual weather or temperature trends over time.

To ground the consistency of this message I have once again gone back in time. I cover important aspects of this story as it relates to education as a weapon in the Cold War in my book. As a history devotee though, there turns out to be additional details now available to augment our discussion of How to Get to Fundamental Transformation and Why the Pursuit has been Consistent and Unrelenting Over Decades. The Berlin Wall coming down in fact seems to have acted as an accelerant. So let’s go back in time to something anthropologist Margaret Mead wrote in an essay for a 1966 book Automation, Education and Human Values.

I first tried to approach the fact that Uncle Karl was more relevant to what was sought in the West back in this post http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/political-primer-101-what-is-the-marxist-theory-of-the-mind-and-why-does-it-matter-in-2012/ and in a subsequent post explaining that Marx had a Human Development Model of society that would kick in at a certain point as technology developed through capitalist innovation. This was quite frankly to be the utopian time of “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.” Mead, like so many others we have now encountered from the 60s or later in the US or Europe, was assuming that stage had been met. It is also what Sweden was relying on in its changes we looked at and why its former Prime Ministers just keep showing up to guide the UN’s vision over the rest of us.

We will never understand what is being sought via education and why it targets new values so consistently as a prime directive until we appreciate that. We also need to know that in 1974 the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Establishment of a New International Economic Order. The countries of the South and the developing world then have been not so patiently waiting for what they regard as their just due (as a response to colonialism) and the NIEO ever since. The magic technology that the NIEO is intimately intertwined with was information and communications back in the 70s. Now it has been updated to computers and broadband for all courtesy of the affluent West.

Let’s look first at Mead and then at the 1985 UNESCO paper “The New International Economic Order: Links Between Economics and Communications.” Then we can pivot to the ed vision and contemplate the irony of so many foundations created by tech fortunes financing the shift to a planned society built around the use of ICT. Conflict of interest? Mead brought the same kind of lack of bias to discussing economics that she brought to examining the sexuality of Polynesians, which is my sarcastic way of saying her desired ends influenced what she asserted. Nonetheless, she was an influential representative of a then and now common mindset that we best be aware of if we are going to accurately perceive the real aims. She noted that “the problems of a society as abundant as ours, with such extensive natural resources and such a large internal market” are now “problems of distribution rather than production.” Taking on the belief common to those who have never spent a moment in the true private sector, Mead wanted planners and decision-makers to be able to decide “how to distribute buying power.”

She would really like today’s EBT/SNAP cards instead of food stamps, wouldn’t she? She saw the early 60s as the “second phase of the moral revolution” that began when the Great Deal “in practice if not in principle” established the “idea that society was responsible for the subsistence of all its members.” Phase two of the ‘moral revolution’ as she called it, which of course always requires new values, is about each member of society having a “right to share in its productivity” via the “right to live well.” That 1985 paper citing a 1976 paper called Moving Toward Change wanted everyone to recognize once again that the establishment of the NIEO was not just a call for new economic and political structures and institutions, but to transform “socio-cultural factors” to help all peoples struggle against “all forms of domination.” I don’t believe gravity was included as a form of domination to be altered, but it is easy to see why education becomes the magic means for change with aims like these:

“[NIEO] is directed not only to making the best use of things and sharing them out more fairly, but to developing all men and women, and every aspect of the individual, in a comprehensive cultural process, deeply permeated with values, and embracing the national environment, social relationships, education and welfare.”

The paper also put a great deal of emphasis on how mass media and who controls it can help bring about this new vision and noted how the electronics companies like GE and Westinghouse were buying broadcast networks and publishing houses, especially textbook companies. Connections between education and communications media that are even more profound today even if none of us got the memo about the related Human Development Society with its needs economy or the demand of so many countries to force “Equity” on the US, Canada, Europe, and Australia among others. To think we have been wondering why so many global ed conferences now are held in a Middle East waiting for that 1974 resolution to finally be fulfilled.

Now let’s go back to the related ed vision from the 1966 book since it is still relevant and has the kind of graphic descriptions of intent that are only found before a plan runs into obstacles and controversy. For one thing it takes it for granted that the combination of computers and the behavioral sciences will inevitably create a means of “control which must include the manipulation of human beings.”  Since we now know how important the behavior control theory of cybernetics is to the actual planned implementation of the Common Core and digital learning and the new assessments, the quoted New York Times review of Norbert Weiner’s book Cybernetics should still sound alarms so many decades later: John Pfeiffer wrote:

“The story is not entirely a happy one, however, because he [Weiner] did not trust robots. More precisely he did not trust man of affairs to use robots, or their fellow human beings for that matter, with either constraint or compassion.”

Me neither. Just imagine if Weiner had all the open declarations we have put together from fellow profs at MIT and elsewhere. What we now hear as the ubiquitous claim of the primacy of the ‘common good’ in the 21st Century and the need for social justice was clarified in 1966 as the “problem of the one and the many.” The 21st century keeps wanting to redo values to confront this same problem, which is why we keep running into cites to Professor Amitai Etzioni and communitarianism lurking behind poorly known new mandates in the schools. By 1966 the wake for the “notion of individualism in the old sense” was already being planned with glee. Education needed to replace a reverence for the past with an emphasis on the present and future so that “purposeful direction” could begin.

Education was to become ‘general’ with the “wellbeing of all as the key to human relationships powered by justice and compassion.” Education “for technical competence” was to be reconciled with “education for emotional or psychic competence.” No wonder a Whole Child emphasis or social and emotional competencies just keep recurring all over the world. We are just not appreciating that it is all tied to such an enduring vision of  extensive transformations in virtually every sphere. Nor do we quite understand why the template for the Great Society that is so widely viewed as an expensive disaster that created and magnified societal dysfunctions remains a blueprint still being followed.

Let’s end with the confession from the 60s that the “humanities, as historically transmitted, as conventionally conceived and defended, as conventionally organized and taught, just will not do” in an “age of advanced technological and social change.” That is still the attitude today. Education for transformational social, political, and economic change needs fresh voices “of man’s changing efforts, experiences, and aspirations.” So if content is not relevant to either “the world of action or to man’s inner needs,” it needs to no longer be part of the curriculum.

Every once in a while it is important to pause and look back in time for our answers on the whys of what we are dealing with now in education. Now we can better appreciate why education globally is putting new values front and center as both the purpose and focus of the classroom and life experiences generally.

And why so many are so impatient.

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?