Shift Facts into Values and Change Values into Facts So That a New Consciousness will Emerge

Since we all just adore an explicit declaration of intent, how’s this for a doozy? “For purposes of organizing [a modern participatory democracy grounded in the common good] it is not important whether there is an objective or subjective reality to this belief since the belief is the basis upon which people act.” That statement certainly gives a reason for all the current focus on skill development for a variety of offered reasons. I have warned that most of the planned assessments should not be described as tests so maybe this description of what is sought will help–”performance assessments are those in which the ‘answer’ is the behavior itself.” Training to act as desired also fits with another quote that gives us the rationale for all these Enduring Understandings, Core Concepts and Disciplinary Ideas we keep encountering as the Knowledge component to go along with all those Skills:

“It is crucial, however, to analyze for people what goes on in areas where they do not have direct experience. Once such analysis comes within their grasp, they will come to see that they can change social reality.”

That would be the same social reality that may not actually exist in the form believed, or be a result of the causes believed, but students, and the adults they will become, will be trained to act anyway. Let’s give one more quote that gives a reason for all the stress on activities and Project-Based Learning and Whole Child SEL Initiatives: “Obviously, one’s capacity to care must be integrated with rationality just because common good requires the reattachment of ‘head to heart’ in our public activities.” To the discussion in my book of everything that started in earnest in the mid-80s with the goal of transforming the political, economic, and social systems of the West, especially in the US, Australia, Canada, and the UK, we need to add another book from 1986–The Common Good: Its Politics, Policies and Philosophy by Marcus Raskin put out by the Institute for Policy Studies (Robert Chandler’s 2008 book Shadow World gives the background on IPS and Raskin as part of the global New Left).

The quote in the title comes from the IPS book as well although I did not know IPS was behind that book when I ordered it. I just recognized the vision desired from the 2001 Learning Society paper and the assumptions being used by that Frameworks Institute from the last post. http://www.ssireview.org/images/articles/2011_WI_Feature_Kania.pdf links to a “Collective Impact” essay hyping Strive in Cincinnati (and other listed cities as well like Houston, Texas and Portland, Oregon) “as an example of collective impact, the commitment of a group of important actors from different sectors to a common agenda for solving a specific social problem.” On the second page is a picture of people bringing together pieces from a jigsaw puzzle so that there can be a collective organized effort around meeting people’s needs without having to confess the total agenda.

This is a long quote but important to appreciating no one is going to run up the flagpole a banner stating: “Our new education agenda is actually tied to these radical transformation descriptions where people actually do mention ‘Marxist thought’ without even a hiccup or a cleared throat.” It’s up to us to find those confessions and put the pieces together:

“complex problems can be solved only by cross-sector coalitions that engage those outside the nonprofit sector…Adaptive problems, by contrast, are complex, the answer is not known, and even if it were, no single entity has the resources or authority to bring about the needed change. Reforming public education, restoring wetland environments, and improving community health are all adaptive problems. In these cases, reaching an effective solution requires learning by the stakeholders involved in the problem, who must then change their own behavior in order to create a solution.”

Good thing the students will have practiced doing that on all those performance assessments and a new definition of learning that now means changes in values, attitudes, beliefs, or behaviors. It does not mean having a solid base of accurate factual knowledge lest we refuse to defer to the Experts or the ‘important actors’ of those coalitions. Or even worse, develop an innovative product that displaces an established business with a superior idea. Think of how handy practice in a Discourse classroom at creating shared beliefs as the 21st century skill of Communication will be in a world where: “collective impact requires all participants to have a shared vision for change, one that includes a common understanding of the problem and a joint approach to solving it through agreed upon actions.”

Did any of us get an invite to go to Dallas in January 2015 to be part of the 75 Metro Area Convening put on by the Lumina Foundation to move forward with these transformations with no need to ask the parents or taxpayers? That’s where I found that Stanford Social Innovation paper cited. It covers our communities, our schools, and our children, but no one is telling us about it openly or giving us a piece of the puzzle to start fitting together. Me? At this point I just gate crash, download the issued reports and presentations, and then notice that it is essentially Raskin’s, Marx’s, and the Learning Society vision all being imposed on us quietly. Negotiated at ‘convenings’ we pay for, but don’t get invited to.

This recent report is from another related ‘convening’–this time in May 2014–http://www.competencyworks.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/CompetencyWorks-Maximizing-Competency-Education-and-Blended-Learning.pdf . That’s a long title so they left off the very end that is designed to gain both automatic implementation and little objective scrutiny–”Insights from Experts.” Should we kneel or curtsey then? And if the tenets in that paper and all the emphasis on Equity mean that only a Marxian or IPS/Raskin vision of education to gain the necessary consciousness for economic democracy to work, are we still obligated to defer? Does an education, urban planning, sociology, or public policy degree come now with a license to lie to the public while everything they value and that works gets jettisoned if a Stakeholder Engagement Process decides to put a theory into practice to see what happens?

http://results4america.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/2015-3-18-Moneyball-for-Education-Report.pdf is yet another attempt to put Theory into Practice sold as “informed by thinking from a select group of seasoned experts from the left and right who have much experience with federal education policy.” Given the tragic history of what those federal policies have done to schools and students, we would prefer that be a disqualifier. Has anyone else noticed that expertise in general is constantly dismissed in all these visions of education in the future? Meantime we are supposed to defer to every social science graduate degree as the only reverenced expertise. Again, that’s the way to get Theory into Practice and false beliefs and new values in place to guide future behavior.

Anyone else ever heard of Dane Linn? Now there’s an expert. He was at the NGA when it co-sponsored Common Core. Then he moved on to the College Board to help David Coleman with his current platform for well-funded mischief, before joining the Business Roundtable. http://www.careertechnj.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Georgetown.BR_.CB-CTE-report-11.2013.pdf is called “The Promise of High-Quality Career and Technical Education:Improving Outcomes for Students, Firms, and the Economy.” It forces the kind of “contextualized learning, in which even academic material is presented in the context of projects or workplaces” that Uncle Karl and his 20th Century social reconstruction supporters like Robert Beck (Chapter 4 of my book) have always dreamed of. This is to be for ALL students, including the most academically gifted, because, just as Beck worried about, CTE must no longer be stigmatized.

That paper advocates “states and local districts can adopt/adapt/develop standards and curricula in collaboration with local businesses. Students must demonstrate competency in these skills.” What skills? Oh, the ones laid out in that Competency Works paper that just came out that provides “Insights from Experts” without really specifying which theories those experts’ opinions are really grounded in. Anybody else finding all the stress on needed skills development as awfully useful as we switch to a vision of education that is no longer really about accurate facts in someone’s personal, private possession? When the ‘answer’ is desired behavior, hyping Skills Development to be globally competitive as the rationale is quite the invisibility cloak.

One of the nice things about being where I am in my research on what is really going on is being able to recognize when we are dealing with pieces of a common puzzle created to be function together. We have every right to examine them as the consolidated whole they are intended to become, even if no one invites us to these ‘convenings’. Sometimes these reports and sources are not created to be pieced together though. Sometimes the linkage is the common destination that allows traveling on unconnected tracks. That’s why I mentioned that Robert Beck called himself a social reconstructionist as he pushed the federally funded polytech vision that also fits with this current CTE vision back in the late 1980s. Beck’s work also fits with Anthony Carnevale’s Workplace Basics vision that we found so troubling in this post  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/ballad-of-the-long-sought-shift-to-being-educable-not-educated-adaptation-via-dissolving-the-logical-mind/

Fascinating, huh, since the Georgetown Center on Poverty, Inequality, and Public Policy issued that CTE report in conjunction with the College Board and the Business Roundtable. Do you know who else calls himself and his vision a social reconstruction philosophy? Andrew Raskin in The Common Good.

This story gets much easier to track when we look for common destinations and then Backward Map to the pathways being used to get there. The blueprint is also discernable when the jigsaw pieces are so clearly designed to fit together.

Combine both and the vision and its constancy through the decades begins to feel like a supernova, blinding in its intensity.

The Frameworks Institute is not the only one who gets to create analogies and metaphors to guide analysis.

Knowledge to Avoid Becoming Roadkill on the Bipartisan Global Road to Dignity by 2030

Sorry for such a graphic metaphor, but somehow reading all the plans to “transform the world to better meet human needs” made me think we have a global class of politicians and cronies, at every level of government, who actually view ordinary people and poverty as their excuse to be in charge and live at our expense in the 21st Century. Human needs and poverty are just excuses for Power where “change in the management of our economies” is the new rationale for Fascism. It prevents at every level ordinary individuals from making their own choices about what they want and what they value. Back in December 2014, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon issued the Post-2015 Global Marching Orders Governments at all Levels are now going about fulfilling. The report is called “The road to dignity by 2030: ending poverty, transforming all lives and protecting the planet.”

“Young people will be the torchbearers” of this vision of “inclusive and shared prosperity” grounded in a “human right” to have the State ensure that “social needs” are met, enforceable under the rule of law (reimagined just like federalism). Not interested in having the UN declare that your life must be transformed? Nobody intends to ask any of our permission. The world simply needs “more effective governance and capable and capable institutions, for new and innovative partnerships, including with responsible business and effective local authorities, and for a data revolution.” That last, of course, gets provided both by the digital learning mandates and by the Internet of Things and social media. That’s probably why how to gather and use all this data for new kinds of governments was the focus this week for yet another get together we were not invited to.   https://www.thegovernmentsummit.org/en/knowledgehub.html Ban Ki-Moon was there though and so was Sir Ken Robinson making sure the global vision of “quality learning for all” remained on track.

Expensive Consultants were there and ready to advise governments and discuss the “key role of business” in satisfying these global plans. “Companies are ready to change how they do business and to contribute by transforming markets from within and making production, consumption and the allocation of capital more inclusive and sustainable.” Nobody asked us, the existing customers and taxpayers. I guess existing Big Business knows whose hand will be feeding it in this vision for managing our economies to meet human needs. When the UN is officially calling out to local authorities and Business and stressing the desire to accomplish these plans for transformation by “aligning private action and public policies,” it’s really hard for me not to read this America Next vision of what is supposed to be the ‘conservative’ vision of K-12 education with its emphasis on the local and private providers through the broader intentions.

http://americanext.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/America-Next-K-12-Education-Reform.pdf was released this week. It is chockful of global Terms of Art like “high-quality standards” for all that fits right into Ban Ki-Moon’s Road to Dignity by 2030. All being done with language about free enterprise, a local government emphasis, and the money following the child. The UN laid out in a 2014 World Economic Forum report it co-wrote on its Post-2015 plans that vouchers were the global means for accomplishing its education agenda. We should take them at their word. To turn our young people into the desired torchbearers would be another way to put it. Seeing regulation via “one of the many well-regarded private accreditation agencies” as the answer for private schools to keep their autonomy despite the influx of public money is either deliberately deceitful by whoever wrote that paragraph or it indicates a woeful ignorance by the report’s authors of the nature of accreditation and its links to the UN System.

Talking in terms of a “public safety net, a minimum standard of sustenance beneath which citizens guarantee no neighbor will fall” is to accept the UN and Karl Marx vision of an enforceable obligation to meet human needs. In other words, in language about limited government, that report actually accepts the entire premise of the Welfare State. It’s a ‘conservative’ document that dovetails with the Road to Dignity by 2030 vision and leaves people ready to be blindsided by what is coming from the UN, local and state authorities, and in the name of progressive or polyphonic federalism. If you live in another country though, these same initiatives may be coming at you via what is being called Devolution.

http://www.respublica.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Restoring-Britains-City-States.pdf also came out this week. It’s a reminder that when the UN agenda of Dignity for All translates into a right of every geographic area at the local level to experience ‘prosperity,’ we will find lots of local politicians ready to sign up for the vision. The local emphasis makes the broader agenda of transformation harder to see and easier to enforce against both people and places. Ban Ki-Moon is probably not coming to your town to trumpet this 2030 justice for everyone vision. That will be the School Principal or District Super, the mayor or a state legislator, even if they have not yet gone for their CIFAL Network training for Local Actors created by the UN System. (see tag).

The Welfare State just put on a new outfit with different names when the rest of the UK decides that no one should have to relocate to London or the SouthEast of Britain to succeed and that local economies and their inhabitants should also have a right to success in terms of “health, education and opportunity.” Politicians apparently believe that basic needs can be met by regulatory fiat. Not likely, but in the US Detroit and Chicago really like this vision a great deal. http://www.corecities.com/sites/default/files/images/publications/Modern%20Charter%20for%20Local%20Freedom_0.pdf Have I succeeded in making everyone wary about hyping the Local as the solution with such plans for transformation swirling around us? Good.

A demand out of the UN that “we leave no one behind, ensuring equality, non-discrimination, equity and inclusion at all levels” and a mandate that “we must pay special attention to the people, groups and countries most in need” means that for the vision to have any chance, much of the focus of the actual policies has to be at the local level. The spirit of these demands and mandates is precisely what we are seeing in the ESEA Rewrite we have looked at and also the WIOA (see tag) legislation passed this summer on a Bipartisan basis. It also fits with the vision for Inclusive Capitalism and the NEW American Dream advocated by one of the primary institutions involved in creating the Common Core and the rubrics for what will count as College and Career Ready in the future.The Business Roundtable is also involved to keep the focus on Big Business and academia’s perks.

In August 2014 the ACT Foundation published “National Learning Economy The NEW American Dream: Our Vision for Living, Learning, and Working in the Performance Era.” http://actfdn.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/ACTF_BrochureRv3_LoRes.pdf Now try to control your shock as it too contains a vision that also has us on that Road to Dignity by 2030.  It also sees the answers to the future in “collective efforts” and “collective action”. Individuals now apparently only exist to have their needs met, as determined by someone else, and “their greater life satisfaction” managed for “themselves and their families.” In this Performance Era the role of knowledge is “shifting” lest it interfere with all these plans being made on our behalf. Instead we get the “interconnected factors of productivity, learning, and skills development”. Once again as determined by cooperating politicians and amenable Businessmen to the UN’s plans for us.

Beyond literally tying the Common Core now to “Capitalism evolving toward inclusion and social welfare,” that ACT/ Business Roundtable document also proclaims that the National Learning Economy will need the integration of “three critical mutually reenforcing systems: economic development (employers and policy), workforce development, and education systems (researchers, educators, trainers, etc. in K-12, postsecondary, informal, and other learning systems).” Probably a good thing it’s so chilly outside because I really am tempted to take an I Told You So Victory Lap at that open admission. Even better for those who have read the Conclusion to my book is the open admission that this is all tied to a different conception of economic growth where “sustainability and renewal are the primary goals.”

I guess meeting the human needs of all will mean no more taken-for-granted modern conveniences like disposable diapers for ordinary people. I have pointed out before that meeting human needs once a certain level of technology and overall prosperity is achieved was the hallmark of what Karl Marx called the Human Development Model. It’s the purpose of the vision of the Road to Dignity by 2030. It was there in that America Next K-12 vision and in Devolution’s insistence in using the local to “distribute ownership and agency to all.” This is how the ACT Foundation winds up its vision of the Pathway to the National Learning Economy:

“In essence, we must construct a road to success for everyone in the performance era, where every piece fits together [including people, their sculpted worldviews via education and the media, and their personalities through social and emotional learning and a Whole Child emphasis] to create a stable, dynamic pathway that continues to grow and offer unique new destinations [using someone else's itinerary] for every working learner to explore in ways that fit their living, learning, and working needs.”

There’s that word again. Now whose needs will really be met in this Road to Dignity by 2030 vision?

The way to avoid being Roadkill is to be aware of all these created pieces and how they fit together.

Think of this post as the most useful Valentine we will ever get.

Peeking into the Behavioral Programming Blueprints for Collectivist Subjugation via K-12 Education Deceit

We are going to shift away from the previous post’s concentration on the active refusal to teach reading properly that has been going on for decades. First though we will look at what Marshall McLuhan openly confessed to in his 1962 global bestseller The Gutenberg Galaxy. The entire book bemoaned the analytical habits of mind and sense of individualism created by phonetic literacy and the advent of print as an obstacle to “total human interdependence” and “corporate responsibility and awareness”. In order for the “highly literate and individualist mind…to become more collectively oriented,” a widespread ability to read print fluently and phonetically had to be jettisoned.

We can all agree that that particular scheme has gone quite well for the Collectively-oriented Statist Schemers. Limiting the ability to read well and independently is a necessary condition for a shift to Collectivism because (to quote mcLuhan again):

“Print is the extreme phase of alphabet culture that detribalizes or decollectivizes man in the first instance…Print is the technology of individualism. If men decided to modify this visual technology by an electric technology [Hint: Like Digital Learning as a required 21st Century Skill?], individualism will also be modified. To raise a moral complaint about this is like cussing a buzz-saw for lopping off fingers.”

Since neither education or buzz-saws operate independently, we do reserve every right to complain about the politicians, principals, and other administrators who are lying to us taxpayers and parents about what they are actually up to. At least a lopped off finger leaves a bloody stub so we can immediately take notice of the damage done. It is so much harder when other elements of the collectivization plans are even less visible than a limited ability or inclination to read. Today we will talk about the global push to use Character Education to “define the core ethical and performance values they most wish to instill in their students.” I bolded the ‘they’ because other people now get to decide what your child is to value and believe at an unconscious level so it will predictably guide behavior going forward.

In my book Credentialed to Destroy in the chapter on the real Common Core implementation, I described how everything I had documented pointed to personal values, attitudes, and beliefs being the true new aim of the curriculum. This post is about more than that and it ties into both the Curriculum Redesign Project we looked at here  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/drawing-back-the-standards-curtain-to-discover-the-global-coordination-to-redesign-the-very-nature-of-curriculum/ as well as the Global Education Leaders Programme [see tag]. This also fits closely with the disturbing Education Commission of the States and State Farm Civics Education report we examined in December 1, 2014.

http://www.character.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/ElevenPrinciples_new2010.pdf was distributed last week to make sure all schools and officials now understand that a “comprehensive approach uses all aspects of school as opportunities for character development” and that all “academic content and instruction” is integrated with character development and moral reasoning through discussions of ethical issues.  The core values to be developed “affirm human dignity, promote the development and welfare of the individual, serve the common good, define our rights and responsibilities in a democratic society, and meet the classical tests of universality (i.e., Would you want all persons  to act this way in a similar situation?) and reversibility (i.e., Would you want to be treated this way?)”

Now those are not the requirements written into the US Constitution which is simply being ignored. They are, however, very similar to Kohlberg’s Moral Development Theory (developed by a Harvard prof) that the Chinese imposed on Hong Kong students as soon as that lease was up. We know then it is a theory that fits in well with collectivist aspirations and desires for “guiding the behavior of all those in the school community.” Those core values are to be “integrated into all aspects of school life” including the hiring of teachers and “non-teaching staff.”

Principle 2 “defines ‘character’ comprehensively to include thinking, feeling, and doing.” Yes, that’s why we keep hearing about Whole Child Initiatives as part of the Common Core. How many parents understand that the Growth and Continuous Improvement the schools are hyping as showing improvement in student achievement are actually a shift of definitions to “a holistic approach to character development therefore seeks to develop the cognitive, emotional, and behavioral dispositions required to do the right thing and do one’s best work”? Whose definition of the right thing we reasonably ask? Why the definition used by those seeking Social Justice is the real answer.

How do I know that? Beyond the insistence in Principle 4 that a “school committed to character strives to become a microcosm of a civil, caring, and just society,” I happen to know, as the tenacious lawyer that I am, that the federal government under the civil rights laws and most of the major civil rights groups are all insisting on a commitment from schools to Excellence and Equity. I happen to know that in K-12 education, Excellence has a specific meaning http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/excellence-means-education-putting-what-we-feel-wish-for-and-think-in-harmony/ that quietly dovetails with that redefinition of ‘character’ from Principle 2.

Schools that make academic coursework about helping “students form caring attachments to each other” and “a feeling of responsibility for one another” are laying the foundation for a communitarian society in the near future. A school that leads students to believe that they have a human right to have others satisfy their basic needs and that each student, in turn, has the obligation to meet those basic needs is laying the groundwork for what Uncle Karl and his followers called the Human Development Model http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/who-knew-karl-marx-had-a-human-development-model-or-that-it-fit-our-facts-so-well/ That’s not name-calling or a criticism although I do believe it is an unworkable vision. I am simply recognizing as a factual matter the description of what is being advocated for in phrases like

“the school sets aside time for students to assess community needs, create ideas for meeting those needs, plan and coordinate service learning projects, and reflect on the positive consequences of community service.”

The entire vision of what its advocates refer to as Marxist Humanism as a goal for the West’s society and economy is grounded in meeting human ‘needs’. Interestingly, the requirement that all schools must now have “an academic program that helps all students succeed,” even those with what can only charitably be described as inert minds even on a good day, gets expressed in terms of an obligation to meet all students’ needs. Since inert minds are an unfortunate reality, we get the call for “a variety of active teaching and learning strategies” so that participation and projects become the way to deal with inert minds. Quietly and without alerting the parents, social interaction around topics of interest from the real world and ethical issues for the new hoped-for society become the entire point of the classroom and coursework.

We talked about the reasons for wanting to limit reading fluency, but treating words as a whole and doling them out to guide thought ties right into the plan for how the “core values are woven into the literacy curriculum, where students use their reading selections to reflect on the values and on issues of character, such as discrimination, patriotism, and moral courage. In social studies classes, students are expected to act upon the core values as they select and research national or international causes and then work with community members to carry out related service projects.” I do not think it is a stretch to imagine that the reading selections available in the Cloud or put aside as an ELA Task Set will have a deliberate slant to it.

Here, for example, is how elementary school gets reimagined. “Grade-level curriculum guides show how essential questions [from Grant Wiggins' Understanding By Design, See tags] can be tied to ethical issues and specific service learning projects. Students at every level now engage in service as an integral outgrowth of topics they learn in class. In a fifth-grade unit entitled “Let Freedom Ring,” the essential question Why do we have the Constitution and the Bill of Rights? leads to assignments researching the background of specific amendments and concluding with an advocacy letter written to members of Congress. [We can all just imagine what was advocated for]. In a second-grade class, students respond to a reading assignment about Haiti by raising enough funds to donate 400 pounds of beans to the people in need there. Leary students learn that service is a vital part of good character and meaningful academics.”

I bolded that aspect about “leary students” since we are talking about 7-year-olds who might know a thing or two about what really makes Haiti so dysfunctional and be pondering the chances that any or how much of the 400 pounds will make to those in need there. Well-informed students don’t get to be leary anymore even when they reasonably ought to be. Given this statement: “the school’s approach to student conduct uses all aspects of behavior management–including rule-setting and rule-enforcement–as opportunities to foster students’ character development, especially their understanding of and commitment to core values,” life in K-12 education is about to become very uncomfortable to any students or adults not aboard the collectivist bandwagon.

Previously I mentioned that there is a term for this type of community focused approach–Productive Learning. It’s not particularly productive to the individual student, but it is very productive to the political class laying out what must be done and what may not happen anymore. If we think of this Character Education vision as using K-12 to prepare students to now be members of a Human Development Society, the other crucial aspect of Productive Learning involves preparation for the new Workforce.

We will deal with that aspect next time as we keep tracking the necessary conditions for a transformation away from Individualism as a legitimate 21st Century focus.

Curriculum Now Needs to Become an Itinerary of Transformative Experiences of Participation

Mulling over the Transdisciplinary, Intrapsychological themes we have been looking at beginning with the October 28 “Opting Out” post, I decided to hit my bookshelves to find some guidance to put these declared initiatives for our children and all of our futures into context. In my book Credentialed to Destroy, I cited Harvard Historian Richard Pipes’ Survival is Not Enough to share insights from behind the Iron Curtain on why collectivists always target consciousness. Today I want to go back to a different point he made about the need to control language and communication. Remember please that communication is one of the 4Cs of 21st Century Learning and is now being used as a euphemism to insist that students need to negotiate and come to a ‘shared understanding.’  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/experimenting-on-people-and-places-via-the-rockefeller-process-of-communication-for-social-change/ is just one example of the latter use.

“Just as the private initiative of ordinary people, with its ‘second economy’ [the Black Market], has broken the state’s hold on the production and distribution of goods, so the courage of its intellectuals has given Russia a ‘second reality.’ This restoration to language of its proper function as a means of communication instead of domination is an act of revolutionary significance. In the words of Alain Besancon:

The Communist regime was, in effect, inaugurated by the public (state’s) appropriation of the means not of production but of communication. Well before the factories and fields were seized, it had been the newspapers, the printing establishments, the media…Much more directly fatal than the restoration of the market is the restoration of the human word, the privatization of the organs of speech, individual ownership of the throat…The writer breaks the compact of lies on which the entire equilibrium of ideological power rests. He gives words their meaning. He redresses the ideological inversion of language. He restores reality in its capacity as the unique reality and vaporizes surreality.”

Professor Pipes follows that Besancon quote from 1980 with this recognition: “Once the spell has been broken, the regime may never again be able to reassert its control over human perceptions and means of communication, a control that in some respects constitutes the irreducible essence of Communist power.” I think the Transdisciplinary agenda UNESCO is pushing and the rest of the education agenda centered on constructivism in reading and math it and so many other global entities are pushing in a coordinated manner are simply another way to get back that control. “We’ve found another way!” could be the theme of that Cooperation Agreement with Microsoft that Bill Gates signed.

I want to go back to the 1998 book cited in the Appendix of that Agreement because that’s where the title quote came from. Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning, and Identity ‘s last chapter is on Education. This is the lead-in on its new purpose: “Education, in its deepest sense and at whatever age it takes place, concerns the opening of identities–exploring new ways of being that lie beyond our current state.” Now when governments, and their allies in foundations or accreditation, decree that the negotiation of Identity is the purpose of K-12 education and they intend to prescribe, guide, and then assess for what that Identity can be, we are back beyond the scope of domination and control that Pipes and Besancon wrote about.

When education is now required to be “a mutual developmental process between communities and individuals, one that goes beyond mere socialization. It is an investment of a community in its own future, not as a reproduction of the past through cultural transmission, but as the formation of new identities that can take it history of learning forward,” we actually are back to a little c vision of the future of the kind Uncle Karl wrote about. This time though it is far more surreptitious. It definitely has a better PR campaign and a more alluring set of names.

I have stated repeatedly that Common Core is not about the transmission of knowledge and subject content in the traditional sense, no matter how much certain people now hype their reviews of textbooks and other instructional materials. Why? Because under the Transdisciplinary vision of education that is coming (even to Texas), “delivery of codified knowledge takes place away from actual practice, with a focus on instructional structure and pedagogical authority that discourages negotiation.” Negotiation–remember that obligation to come to a shared understanding I mentioned above? How many times have you heard that under the Common Core learning must be relevant and involve real world applications? Here’s the next line: “As a form of educational design, the reification of knowledge is thus not itself a guarantee that relevant or applicable learning will take place.”

That would be coursework that makes a student feel compelled to act to change the world. Remember we have encountered what Transdisciplinary means before and its explicit links to Agenda 21. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/inventing-the-education-of-the-future-by-insuring-planet-wide-activity-to-produce-unified-outlooks/
I have tried repeatedly to explain what the new assessments are really aiming to do, but let’s look to what UNESCO, Etienne Wenger, and, we must assume Mr Gates with all his sponsorship of new forms of assessment, have in mind.

“Students with a literal relation to a subject matter [like a traditional Algebra textbook, Geometry proofs, or that famous Catherine the Great World History lecture] can reproduce reified knowledge [or not and accept that C-] without attempting to gain some ownership of its meaning [in the sense of how it can impact their daily lives]. An evaluation process will become more informative regarding the learning that has actually taken place to the extent that its structure does not parallel that of instruction too closely, but instead conforms to the structure of engagement in actual practice and the forms of competence inherent in it.”

Oooh, I know. I know. Let’s call those latter types of evaluations High Quality Assessments or formative assessments. Then we can tell relieved parents there will be no more high stakes testing, just embedded learning tasks. We can all be certain the parents will not be told that school is now to be a place for “experiments of identity that students can engage in while there.” Keep that in mind though next time you hear of an assignment that basically amounts to role-playing. I want to close with Six Transdisciplinary Primary School Curriculum Themes so that students, parents, and teachers can better recognize when they have actually embarked on a UNESCO/Microsoft approved transformational educational experience. http://inquiryblog.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/td-themes.png is the source.

Six Sided Figure Going Clockwise from the Top

Who we are: An exploration of the nature of the self; of our beliefs and values; of personal, physical, mental, social and spiritual health; of our families,

Where we are in space and time: An exploration of our orientation in space and time; of our personal histories; the discoveries, explorations and migrations of humankind.

How we express ourselves: An exploration of the way which we discover and express our nature, ideas, feelings, beliefs and values through language and the arts.

How we organise ourselves: An exploration of human systems and communities; the structure and function of organisations; societal decision making; economic activities and their impact.

How the world works: An exploration of the physical and material world; of natural and human-made phenomena; of the world of science and technology.

Sharing the planet: An exploration of rights and responsibilities in the struggle to share finite resources with other people; access to equal opportunities, peace and conflict resolution.

Yes, I too would classify that last one as Social Justice at 10 o’clock. The ultimate tragedy is that if we are in fact looking at a future of ‘finite resources,’ the ultimate cause is this officially endorsed Mind Arson view of Education to create Transformative Change Agents. This push to circumscribe the human mind to lock in the kind of control over individuals and their likely behaviors that the Soviets could only dream of.

The late Julian Simon knew that “The essence of wealth is the capacity to control the forces of nature, and the extent of wealth depends upon the level of technology and the ability to create new knowledge.” All over the world that open-ended source of future wealth is being extinguished via K-12 education precisely, and almost solely, to once again gain the kind of control over the sources of production and communication that the Soviets lost and the Chinese wish to preserve and now extend. Globally.

Using the help of politically connected friends and corporations. There’s nothing unprecedented about what is being sought. The Internet and digital learning are just new means of communication. Plus the research the behavioral scientists documented in the 20th century has them itching for some real-time research across the globe.

So instead of being glum this holiday season that what is being attempted is so ugly, let’s be thankful for All We Now Know and Our Increasing Recognition of How Very Much this all matters.

Julian Simon knew that “minds matter economically as much as, or more than, hands or mouths.” Now, we do too. No more accepting the declared PR pitches at face value.

 

Locking in Marx’s Dream: Psychophysiological Means Precisely What We Fear as the Real Goal of Education

I always feel odd writing down that infamous name, but as I learned when I was researching my book, Uncle Karl is never very far away from the theories behind the actual classroom implementation. Sometimes the link is too direct and too huge in its implications for me to use a cute euphemism either. Especially when Marx is cited directly as the support that leads to all the current hyping of Neuroscience and Brain-based instruction. How direct? Well, Etienne Wenger from our last post wrote a book Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning, and Identity that I found deeply troubling. Diving into the relevant footnotes pulled up a book I had never heard of that turned out to be $800 used on Amazon when I looked.

Not wanting to eat PB& J sandwiches for the next 6 months to secure a copy of The Concept of Activity in Soviet Psychology, I decided to go internet surfing to see what cited Soviet psychologist AN Leontiev actually wrote about “The problem of activity in psychology.” In case you haven’t noticed, the requirement of active learning and a shift away from print, lectures, and textbooks is what I would call omnipresent in the real Common Core implementation. Knowing how crucial learning tasks are I thought I would gain some more useful insights. What I was not anticipating was for Leontiev to lay out aims and practices I recognized from all my research and then cite repeatedly to pages from Marx and Engels or from some of Marx’s other works.

Suddenly euphemisms won’t do, not with stated aims like using education and carefully crafted classroom or digital virtual activities to literally “lead to a reconstruction of the ensemble of brain psychophysiological functions.” If the aim becomes analyzing which kinds of student activities produce what types of physical changes in their brains, it sure would explain all the interest now in functional MRI, adaptive software, and longitudinal data. When I read those words and others being attributed by Leontiev to what Marx and Engels really desired that are as provocative as stating:

“This convenient formula [of separating psychology and physiology] leads into a greater sin, the sin of isolating the psyche from the work of the brain”

Waiting until the next book could be published simply will not do. Just last week, independent of this research, someone asked me if I was familiar with the White House’s new Fattah Neuoroscience Initiative. The answer was no, but it did not take much insight to guess that it would be linked to John Holdren, which turned out to be quite correct. http://docs.house.gov/meetings/AP/AP19/20140227/101775/HHRG-113-AP19-Wstate-HoldrenJ-20140227.PDF is some recent testimony from him on all that federal activity involving the physical structure of the human brain. Notice though that Holdren leaves out that Digital Promise and the League of Innovative Schools also report to him and they happen to be carrying out precisely the kind of education activity that Leontiev wrote about.

Holdren also leaves out his long time ties to Paul Ehrlich and his stated desire for Newmindedness no longer grounded in a logical, rational mind. Just think of the implications of all this Neuroscience and Grit, Perseverence research for Ehrlich’s current global research project–MAHB–the Millennium Assessment of Human Behavior. Now that I have reminded everyone of the real current links to where K-12 in the US and globally is going, let me add one more thing. I found this graphic Leontiev book on servers at the Laboratory for Comparative Human Cognition at UC-San Diego. The place where Michael Cole and Yrjo Engestrom [see tags] have created the global base for Cultural Historical Activity Theory in the years since the Berlin Wall fell.

Happy 25th anniversary for that Happy Event by the way. Let’s commemorate that Death of Tyranny by continuing to expose that so much of the ideology we thought we were leaving behind in 1989 came on into the West invisibly through a new kind of psychology and a new vision for K-12 education. To bury such destructive required collectivism once and for all we have to know it is there. If you have not yet read my book Credentialed to Destroy: How and Why Education Became a Weapon, get it.

The findings on this blog are not a substitute for it. They are the icing, cherries, and birthday candles. It simply keeps getting more pertinent with time. Given Leontiev’s disclosures though, we simply cannot escape the fact that everything now envisioned for the K-12 classroom globally in the 21st century is based on  a decision “at the beginning of the 1920s” in the Soviet Union to “consciously structure psychology on the basis of Marxism.”

Specific cites and everything. That psychology is sensory in its base, not mental as we have historically assumed, which really does explain all the links in the previous post. It is a view of psychology and education that “in the modern world psychology fulfills an ideological function.” Yes, which is why Leontiev keeps mentioning its use to create a consciousness in people suitable for a “socialistic, communistic society.” All three words, just like that. Apparently all our encounters with communitarianism and the references to meeting needs are part of this vision linked now directly to Uncle Karl. There’s that softening euphemism again. I guess I just cannot quite adjust to open proclamations of intent of the sort Leontiev uses:

“It must not be said that psychology has exhausted the treasure chest of Marxist-Leninist ideas. For this reason we turn again and again to the works of Karl Marx, which resolve even the most profound and complex theoretical problems of psychological science.”

What do we do when the actual and only support for what a charter or Principal or District Office or foundation grant are mandating for a K-12 classroom turns out to be Karl Marx’s social theories for how to gain the kind of brain and personality that would fit his vision for the future? Here again is what Leontiev wrote, the old view of psychology and education:

“isolated cognition from sensory activity, from the living practical ties of man with the world that surrounded him…Introducing the concept of activity into the theory of cognition, Marx gave it a strictly materialistic sense: For Marx, activity in its primary and basic form was sensory, practical activity in which people enter into a practical contact with objects of the surrounding world, test their resistance, and act on them, acknowledging their objective properties.”

What happens when doing all that as a physical, sensory activity involving group participation becomes the very assessment of student ‘achievement’ or Growth?

What happens when the purpose of digital learning is to access a student’s internal “picture of the world” so that learning tasks, virtual reality gaming, and adaptive software can provide virtual and physical experiences to alter that picture in desired ways? Ways that are chosen by others for their intended effects on the student at a physical level.

What happens when, having cited to Marx and Engels on the effect of vocabulary and words generally on consciousness and perception, educators then do everything they can to limit vocabulary, manipulate the words and concepts that are supplied, and minimize the historic role of print on the mind?

What if K-12 education seeks to circumscribe human thought in the 21st century so that it is “nothing else but a derivative of practical activity”? With the stated goal being a “true solution to this problem of the origin and essence of human thought.” And why is human thought problematic?

Because independent rational human thought with access to a store of facts does not submit to Overlordship easily. All these required practices hiding now as pedagogy and Effective Teaching are all actually about subjugation of the mind.

And personality too. Leontiev’s Chapter 5 has with a lead-in header of “Personality as a Subject of Psychological Investigation.” How’s that for aspirational? Do free societies do that nonconsensually using deceit? That analysis, by the way, has to get to the relationship of “motives and needs” just like innovative education seeks to do.

Let’s end with an aspiration that does explain all the intended use of social and emotional learning and an emphasis on the Whole Child. It fits with all the current UN hype of the post-2015 Sustainable World that will meet the needs of all. It fits with the goals we have encountered that we become a “Spirit Society”. This is how Leontiev ended his vision of a new kind of education arising from a scientific, materialistic psychology grounded, he declared, in Marxism:

“Lost from view here is the fact that it is necessary also to go through a transformation of material consumption, that the possibility for everyone to satisfy these needs does away with the intrinsic value of things that satisfy them and eliminates that unnatural function that they fulfill in private ownership society…”

Lost no more and just in time. Historian Richard Pipes in the book mentioned in the two previous posts pointed out that even animals show repeatedly that acquisitivesness is innate. Trying to dislodge what is innate via K-12 Whole Child education premised on practical activity and social participation is simply not going to end well.

Now would be a great time to start recognizing the ancestry of all these required changes in the nature of education.

No more euphemisms. Not with the stakes this high or the aims so personally intrusive.

Tyranny Over the Mind: Constraining the Egocentric ‘I the Knower’ Approach in Favor of Participation

Let’s go back and look at the priceless historical value of what is being quietly taken away. Then I will show more of the ways this stealth robbery is occurring through K-12 education. How it both hides under legal mandates most are unaware of and in known initiatives that have unappreciated aspects. You know how I explain in my book and on this blog that Radical Ed Reform is like a giant jigsaw puzzle where the pieces fit so the gears can then engage as designed? Turns out that aspect has a name no one bothered to tell us about. “Plug-and-Play” is the new phrase I stumbled across. We may be the players on the proverbial chessboard of this game we are funding, but no one intends to let us plan our own moves anymore.

The book Property and Freedom: The Story of How Through the Centuries Private Ownership has Promoted Liberty and the Rule of Law reminds us that when governments at all levels decide to “seek not just freedom but opportunity…not just equality as a right and a theory but equality as a fact and as a result,” those aims of social equality require actual coercion. Lack of consent is not an option. Professor Pipes, after quoting President Johnson, points out that “once the elimination of poverty becomes a state objective, the state is bound to treat property not as a fundamental right, which it is its supreme obligation to protect, but [my emphasis] as an obstacle to social justice.”

What I want to add is if that is true of physical things, property in the form of personal knowledge, values, attributes, and beliefs is even more at risk as an obstacle. Those personal characteristics of each of us, so targeted now through a Whole Child social and emotional learning emphasis, are precisely what can recognize the loss of what is being taken away. Those are the qualities that allow an individual to stand before a stampeding herd and try to turn it in time. Those are also forms of personal property in the sense recognized by Pipes when he wrote:

“The right to property in and of itself does not guarantee civil rights and liberties. But historically speaking, it has been the single most effective device for ensuring both, because it creates an autonomous sphere, in which by mutual consent, neither the state or society can encroach; by drawing a line between the public and the private, it makes the owner co-sovereign, as it were.”

Since I am neither “oblivious to the consequences” of what these reforms in K-12 education are actually intended to transform, nor as yet unable to “even speak my mind” on the effects of “subordinating individual rights to group rights,” here are some specifics that abrogate any inkling of that personal sovereignty. If you took your solace from the vision of the last post  from a belief that that particular view of the future would not happen, I am guessing KnowledgeWorks failed to send you a copy of the blueprint it created for remaking the traditional high school. Let me fix that omission. http://www.knowledgeworks.org/sites/default/files/High%20School%20Race%20to%20the%20Top.pdf

Does anyone have a personally autonomous sphere when governments decide to partner with the “local workforce system” to prescribe what students are now to know and be able to do? All students are to achieve the stipulated “competencies and learning objectives.” If that sounds innocent enough, with only some overtones of social engineering, how about a requirement that the “knowledge and skills” be suitable for being “applied to complex situations regardless of content area.” That’s sounding quite preprogrammed isn’t it? How about learning objectives that “provide the specific tasks a student must complete to demonstrate proficiency.” Should governments be dictating that the “days of direct instruction are numbered,” while stipulating a requirement for “engaged learning that ignites students’ intrinsic motivation”?

That will require a great deal of personal probing, won’t it? Hard to respect the integrity of the person though in a blueprint that actually has an Element 3 calling for “public-private partnerships” with community organizations and businesses. Whose needs will be met in creating “customized learning pathways for all students”? Pathways for those of us who avoid the woods at all costs and hate looking at maps basically decide where we may tread without being arrested or maybe stepping on a snake. Whose interests are determining these Pathways and how do students get to move beyond the stipulated “essential skills such as collaboration, initiative, global awareness, creativity, critical thinking, and perseverance”?

The federal government’s partner in many of these workforce readiness visions for K-12 education is an entity called Jobs for the Future. They have created an initiative that is also probably off your radar called Students at the Center. It guides the actual classroom implementation while staying hidden to the typical parent, school board member, or taxpayer. An excellent strategy for getting your way without messy controversy. Tracking through those footnotes though pulled up this vision of education in 2020 where education globally now expects less disabling curricula than the historic emphasis on print. http://aim.cast.org/w/resources/indira/text/2020LearningLandscape.pdf;jsessionid=2418E9C0A6ADC89C46B5764CE1F45E0D

Yes, you did read that right since apparently we belong to the last generation that need worry about reading instead of “multimedia experiences” we are immersed in. A print emphasis in school is to be seen as a matter of injustice. Since I covered why print is so liberating to the human mind in Chapter 2: “The Danger of the Fluent Reader”, I will simply refer blog readers there. Please also note that this vision where by 2020, “the basic platform for education is no longer print media” is being pushed by the same group that forced the pernicious Universal Design For Learning into the Common Core in the first place (see Chapter 7 on that). The repeated insistence now in education globally to proclaim the Death of the Gutenberg Era is nothing more than an attempt to constrain the independence of the human mind when it can access books and other information without restraint.

Has anyone noticed an accelerating push around IB programs? Did you know that when people like Linda Darling-Hammond describe their dream type of assessment for the future IB is the one they point to? Did you know IB has revised its required Theory of Knowledge course for its Diploma Programme? It has already been rolled out with the first schedules assessment in 2015.The IBO Guidelines added religion as a New Area of Knowledge since Religious Knowledge Systems have “a major impact on how they understand the world, permeating their thinking and influencing their understanding of other AOKs ..for many, religion provides a backdrop to all the other knowledge they have.”

I do believe that new found reverence for religious belief only extends to certain beliefs since the New TOK officially wants to cross out the following:

* Unsustainable absolutist conception of knowledge

*Black and white thinking: no perspectives (objectivism) or just perspectives (subjectivism)

*Egocentric, “I the knower” approach

* Naked, monolithic, quantitative Ways of Knowing

That last one certainly explains all the fascination for non-linear problem-solving based on instinct instead of logic or known algorithms. As I explained in Chapter 4 of my book “The Danger of the Analytical Thinker”, none of these ‘reforms’ is really about a better way to teach a subject. It’s always a means to change the student at a psychological level. It also tries to train the student in a reverence for the collective and shared knowledge instead of personal knowledge.

Speaking of cronyistic public-private partnerships and a shared knowledge push, others have pointed out that on November 17, 2004 Bill Gates personally signed a Cooperation Agreement between UNESCO and Microsoft. My chief concern was laid out in Appendix 3 on creating “communities of practice” and students becoming merely “a participant of a community,” instead of the autonomous individuals they have historically been in the Western tradition of the always related individualism, property, and freedom. Requiring “shared practice” in education and the classroom is not free. Neither is having UNESCO or Microsoft or Mr Gates developing a required “perspective on knowing and learning that informs efforts to create learning systems in various sectors and at various levels of scale, from local communities, to single organizations, partnerships, cities, regions, and the entire world.”

Well, that’s an ambitious vision of shared knowledge. Rather authoritarian too. Will you or your children adapt well to a sense of ‘empowerment’ no longer coming from what you can do on your own or who you choose to work with? Instead, CoPs “facilitate ‘empowerment’ through their members’ ability to participate in a community and allow the participants to drive the community.” There’s apparently no scheduled Opt Out if we simply want to escape being a required participant in the community or a ‘mere’ member of society.

Come on Robin, you say, quit sounding like you’d prefer the option of being a hermit. Well, OK, let’s look quickly at what the cited creator of these CoPs has in mind in education. No need to speculate    http://wenger-trayner.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/09-10-27-CoPs-and-systems-v2.01.pdf Wenger wants to see the student as a “social participant, as a meaning-making entity for whom the social world is a resource for constituting an identity.”

Oh. Good. Grief. First Prescribed Pathways and now Preformed Molds for fostering a Desired Identity in order to “organize our participation.”

And people keep wondering why the actual focus is so psychological.

See where requiring Equity is taking us?

 

Propagandizing the K-12 Classroom to Create Desired Worldviews for Change: the New Anti-Bias Standards

If we think of the Common Core as a bucket or a banner instead of pretending it is about the transmission of knowledge, its function becomes much clearer. All the changes that would cause an outcry if pursued separately, and in many cases already have created widespread popular rejection, get to Come on Down Anyway as the game show announcer would say. A science fiction geek might explain the Common Core as a cloaking device allowing controversial shifts to be put into place without exposure. Especially if the new materials are all “web-based” and just waiting to be downloaded.

We have already encountered the Southern Poverty Law Center and its social justice/Teaching Tolerance curriculum numerous times, most notably here. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/social-cohesion-can-commence-once-reality-is-born-largely-from-beliefs-and-boundaries-co-created-with-others/ SPLC has been even busier than we recognized though and has also created the US’s very first ABF–Anti-bias Framework-and Literacy-Based K-12 Anti-bias Curriculum called Perspectives for a Diverse America. http://www.tolerance.org/sites/default/files/general/Perspectives%20for%20a%20Diverse%20America%20User%20Experience.pdf

Now before I start raising anyone’s blood pressure by describing the ABF’s intentions, let’s go Down Under to a K-12 pilot Global Change Agent Michael Fullan was involved in about a decade ago. It was called the Dynamic Paradigm of Learning and Change and it “identifies key aspects of the need, nature, and means of changes in identity, dispositions and orientations to the world and others, to be required of educators [that's the real reason why tenure is being taken away or greatly restricted now in the US], in order for them to be able to assist young people [that would be the children we entrust to adults and pay vast sums to actually know something] to achieve similar transformational outcomes.” Got that? Psychological changes. Shifts in values, attitudes, and how the world and other people are now to be perceived.

Education Queensland came right out and phrased the kind of Learning and Personal Change being sought in the individual student through K-12 education as a “new way of being” to be “required” of teachers and students. Remember Backward Mapping from our previous post? Well, Perspectives and the ABF offer “the opportunity to infuse CCSS implementation with social justice values.” How? Well, remember Literacy is now to be taught Across the Curriculum and the ABF has 4 domains: Identity, Diversity, Justice and Action. Does that sound alarmingly similar to “identity, dispositions and orientations to the world and others” to anyone else?

Each teacher now gets to, or must if his or her principal insists, use the Anti-bias anchor standards and “grade level outcomes of the ABF for backward planning” and “engage a spectrum of social justice topics and cultural and [italics in original] social emotional competencies–critical in today’s diverse classrooms.” Yes, that would be the real reason to eliminate tracking of the more academically talented and to require a Whole Child Classroom focus. If you think this is an outlier, remember that the NEA worked with the SPLC on its CARE Guide http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/shaping-a-mind-is-more-important-than-stuffing-it-grasping-the-psychosocial-key-to-fundamental-transformations/ .

The “rich text” available for download highlights and fosters the “exploration of identity, authentic accounts of real-life experiences, intergroup understanding, historical empathy, the awareness of prejudice and injustice, individual and collective struggles against injustice and–finally-action against injustice.” They do mean that latter part about forcing action by the way as in “Students will plan and carry out collective action against bias and injustice in the world and will evaluate what strategies are effective.” Hey, you didn’t think ‘engaging’ classwork was just going to be about video gaming, did you?

And we can all be relieved that the Perspectives topics “will go beyond the more common issues of race and ethnicity to include wealth and poverty, disabilities, religious discrimination and immigration.” Plus, as an added bonus to make sure that the desired changes in consciousness do occur, Perspectives “encompasses…less covered, equally important themes like gender, sexual orientation and class.”  It is supposedly the first “curriculum of its kind to offer an explicit blueprint designed to move students into the position of advocate.” Not to worry though. I can find no indication that the curriculum includes a Che Guevara beret kit or Mao’s Little Red Book as a Graphic Novel to hammer home that these are required orientations and dispositions.

Good to know then that the curriculum’s “marriage to the Common Core will allow it to be widely implemented.” The ‘backwards design’ approach of ABF and Perspectives does sound better than the List of Twenty Things Your Child Must Now Believe and Be Willing To Do, but it merely masks the nature of the sought change through the K-12 classroom. We can just imagine all the hateful things students will hear about the “dominant culture” and how they will just blossom as they are told repeatedly to “develop positive social identities based on their membership in multiple groups in society.” Students may not be able to identify precisely why the US pushed to separate from Britain and form a new country, but they will now learn to “recognize that power and privilege influence relationships on interpersonal, intergroup and institutional levels and consider how they have been affected by those dynamics.”

Feel the Outrage! is such a useful tool if transformative action is the End Game being sought. The outrage might be misplaced. It may be destructive, but those are mere details. I can just imagine how students who have been piloting this framework and thus getting to use the classroom over years to “identify figures, groups, events and a variety of strategies and philosophies relevant to the history of social justice around the world” would feel if a School Board then felt empowered to step in and tell them to remember the parts of American History that encourage patriotism. Walkout maybe? To commemorate what Gandhi would have done? Any other parent think they might slam the door in the face of a child “inspired to go home and talk to their parents about purchasing clothes from companies that practice ethical manufacturing”?

Of course that confrontation may be the first alert to the nature of the fundamental psychological changes going to the core of a child’s ‘being’ occurring in the classroom. By then it may well be hard to reverse, which is, I suspect, a big part of why the Common Core label makes such a fine cloaking device. “Web-based” means even the School Board may not know. I want to close with some related confessions that fit with the desired changes being sought that is probably not on your radar either. In 2004, a book by Seattle educator Barbara Ray Gilles called Nurturing Civilization Builders: Birthing the Best Schools in the World.

Gilles was kind enough to admit why we are hearing so much about collaboration as a necessity and the need for schools to create Communities of Learners with a single shared understanding after perspectives have been shared. She pointed out that “school classrooms encompass the largest community that young people experience.” If changes in “identity, orientations and dispositions” are sought, and globally that is in fact what the new purpose of K-12 education has quietly become, then the behavioral psychologists have come to recognize that the herd effect is needed. It both forces the change initially and then reenforces it over time.

Gilles again: “when you combine the individual wills of each person in a group focused on a unified goal, a ‘group will’ occurs that is greater than any individual. This collaboration is necessary to bring about a massive transformation in consciousness.” Gilles called the End Game she was backward mapping from Living Democracy. It fits with the vision of a New Kind of World we keep encountering as an End Game. Her motto of “Nurturing the compassionate genius within while co-creating a world that works for all” also fits with what SPLC claims is possible and the new goals of education change.

Gilles noted that “our values determine what we pay attention to, which in turn determine our behavior and create our habits.” That is true and there can be no question (going back to Milton Rokeach and his definition of Competency) that changing values is the fundamental purpose of all these planned classroom shifts.

The question becomes whether the World actually will change if this becomes the purpose of K-12 education globally or whether we are simply disarming our young people mentally and psychologically.

Will they be capable of dealing with the Evil and Bullies of the World?

With all our talk of honoring diversity and challenging oppression and injustice, aren’t we pushing an educational template that simply makes it easier to oppress and dominate most people?

If the individual mind is disarmed, what will be our real recourse?

House of Tomorrow: Targeting Behavior Change Requires Move Away from Declarative Knowledge

If you hang out in the dungeons and attics of the Transformation Blueprints like I do, one of the omnipresent confessions that is crucial, but not making it into the public domain YET, is that classroom activities and experiences are now “aims-based” or “goal-directed,” not “subject-matter based.” History, math, literature, or science course names still get used, but it hides the new broader purposes of social change. They have ceased to be, unfortunately, ends in themselves. The very phrase “standards-based” over the last two decades is also intended to hide what is indisputedly a shift to a personal behavior emphasis that is still too obscured.

This post is designed to remedy that and build on the facts and declarations laid out in the recently finished APUSH trilogy as well as particularly Chapter 7 of my book–”What if Common Core Actually Limits What Everyone Can Know or Do While Targeting Feelings,  Beliefs, and Values Instead?” The Question that Grows in Pertinence on a Daily Basis. Often times the best way to illustrate what is being required in education is to consult a professor in another area, who is unlikely to mask his statements about what is intended. Do you remember the London School of Economics where that troubling Fabian Stained Glass window has now found a new home? As a symbol of reverence, not infamy, unfortunately.

Back in 1994, LSE’s then Director, sociologist Anthony Giddens, kindly explained the role of History to political radicals in a book called Beyond Left and Right. It matters because not enough of us appreciate that the Fall of the Berlin Wall, death of Mao, or dissolution of the USSR, never altered the widespread desire for History to be progressing somewhere. If facts get in the way, education becomes the preferred tool to get the process headed in the desired direction again. Tell me this quote is not behind the spirit of the activities I spelled out in the previous posts: “For socialists, the past is not comforting; it is valued at most because it has provided the means whereby we can actively move on to grasp and appropriate the future.”

If you make K-12 education about altering and creating desired feelings, values, beliefs, perceptions, and behaviors (performances or learning are the preferred K-12 euphemisms obscuring this reality), education can supposedly create the conditions for the House of Tomorrow. http://www.ascd.org/ASCD/pdf/journals/ed_lead/el_198312_mcnay.pdf  When I write posts explaining the NEA CARE Guide created with the Southern Poverty Law Center to use in the Common Core classroom or the Aspen Institute’s  RETOC-Racial Equity Theory of Change, tie those intentions to highlight race, class, and ethnicity to create feelings of grievance or guilt to Giddens telling us that Marxism’s allure for so many is and was the “metaphysical idea that history, in its more consequential and revolutionary moments, is made by the oppressed.”

If that quote seems a bit too ‘metaphysical’ for anyone’s taste, let’s simply make real-world problem solving the focus of K-12 education, and see if the classroom over time doesn’t create a consciousness precisely as Uncle Karl would have wanted. In 2013 the Journal of Teacher Education for Sustainability published a helpful confession from Erin Redman complaining that traditional education and declarative knowledge like facts, lectures, and textbooks were too “value-free, didactic” and “one-way methods of communication” (instead of the now glorified classroom ‘Dialogue” among ‘Equals’).  Education in the 21st Century is supposed to be about long-term behavior change from an unconscious basis at the level of each individual. Those Aims or Goals require “require real-world, experiential and problem-based learning.”

Thanks for the honesty even if it is tucked away. Keep in mind the calm assertion that “Behavioural scholars have, however, clearly established that the linear, information-deficit approach [aka Transmission of Knowledge of the Best that has Been Thought or Done by the Sages of the Past] to education is insufficient in promoting behaviour change.” Since we have been concentrating on what these Aims and Goals do to history coursework, let’s end with the recommendation that this Normative view of the purpose of curriculum results in a suggestion for “shifting away from scientific facts as the primary discourse in sustainability.” That ‘s why it’s so important to emphasize feelings and the Whole Child.

It is why Procedural Knowledge gets so hyped now in the form of the Skills Deficit. That is the needed action-related process knowledge and how-to skills useful for real-world transformations. Effectiveness Knowledge now gets hyped because Beliefs about the Need for transformations in the present to alter the future are very much influenced by “perceived consequences associated with different behaviours as well as beliefs about who is responsible for given outcomes.” That’s the Aim that really finds factual knowledge to be an obstacle since it might prevent viewing the assigned Villains as culpable or notice that local politicians will blow even more money if given ever more planning power.

But then I am no teenager and we have already concluded I would be on the first shipment to Perception Re-education Camps to extinguish Factual Knowledge as an Impediment to Fundamental Change. The typical adolescent will be easy prey though for classrooms built around: “One of the central ways for enhancing effectiveness knowledge is by focusing on problems that are locally relevant and at a scale with which students feel empowered to act, while also examining the positive impact of individual and collective change.” Lack of much factual knowledge, unless the parents have stepped in or the child is the rare fluent, voracious reader, means that a capacity or willingness to conceive of any negative impact is unlikely happen in most classrooms anymore.

Finally, “social knowledge (i.e. norms) encompasses subjective and local knowledge including the motives, intentions and actions of other people. In order to enhance social knowledge, it is critical that sustainable behaviours are positioned as the normal and the desired way to act.” Objective, norm-referenced tests of knowledge have to go away quietly in this sought scenario for the future since they center on Declarative Knowledge. Radicals always needed alternative assessments to examine whether the desired behavior and attitude changes were occurring and what strategies and concepts are used when there is no correct answer and not enough information is given. Today’s Rigorous Assessments merely build on what was known as the New Standards Reference Examination in the 90s http://www.cse.ucla.edu/products/reports/TECH470.pdf Created again by the Mother of both Higher Order Thinking Skills as well as the related term Rigor, Professor Lauren Resnick.

We should simply view them correctly as Cultural Activity Research on our kids with our tax dollars. Remember the ISCAR 2011 Conference in Rome, Italy? It’s all about Aims-Based Education too. Transformational Aims with Political and Social Purposes. Just like the Common Core or 21st Century Learning or Competency-Based Instruction now. It’s all about Behavior Change if we climb down to the dungeons or up to the attics or just trace back to the footnotes in the typical Aspen Institute Report.

Those interested in fundamental transformations in the political and social spheres that is the Progressive View of the Role of History now need the tool of K-12 education, if not preschool as well, to reach those same Aims and Goals. It’s why so many education graduate degrees today openly trumpet their grounding in Change Agent Theories. To make students the mass carriers of new cultural memes and behaviors without most parents or the typical taxpayer even being aware of the shift. That’s the purpose of all the Orwellian language that has me climbing down, then up, and flipping back to those footnotes again and again.

I may have to understand all this at a very nerdy level just bursting with facts and wordy declarations of intent to once again try out notorious theories in the real world, but that is not the level where most people live. When I explain what is intended in order to get real traction in the real world, I always have to find ways to bring these intentions into the everyday lives of my readers. Unfortunately, though, I am not the only one who understands that crucial point.

In fact, the shift away from Declarative Knowledge to granting parity to subjective ways of knowing and interpreting, along with that targeting of Procedural, Effectiveness, and Social Knowledge we have just talked about, is all about meeting people and students at the level of knowledge that “guides conduct in everyday life.” Just the arena, in other words, if long-term behavior change is the admitted (if only quietly shared among insiders), new Goal or Aim of K-12 education.

Behavior Change Architects intent on Political and Social Transformations to kick History Back into Gear on the Planned Pathway of Change would need to appreciate each person’s “subjective experience of reality.” To get at the perception of reality held by the “common-sense of the ordinary members of society.”

That’s what alternative ‘high-quality’ assessments like the NSRE above got at and what the Common Core and formative assessments get at now. It’s what adaptive software gets at as well.

Then we have performance standards under their variety of masking names like College and Career Ready or Next Generation Learning to capture and then remediate over time behaviors, values, and attitudes that are not desirable for transitioning to the Planned Pathway for History.

Not to mention what all the social and emotional programs being sold as Character Education or Bullying Prevention or Positive Behaviors for the Whole Child do.

Am I finally reaching the everyday recognition of what is coming at all of us?

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.

 

Persuading Americans in Sufficient Numbers to See Economic and Social Rights as an Entitlement of Being Alive

I was going to call our conclusion of the Human Rights Trilogy by a different title. “Quietly Enshrining a Global Ethic of Binding Values, Irrevocable Standards, and Requisite Personal Attitudes” would have aptly communicated the intended lack of tolerated diversity of opinions in the future. If those aims, authorized and enforced by government officials and publicly-funded institutions like schools or charitable foundations, seem like fundamental infringements to us, perhaps, it is because so many of the explicit plans intended to bind all of us–irrevocably is the giddy term I regularly encounter–are not on our radar. We look at education in light of what it meant to us or it needs to be or at religion in light of our personal faith.

We have no idea that back in 1993 the Parliament of the World’s Religions, meeting in Chicago, issued  a Declaration Toward a Global Ethic that many people in authority have considered to be a binding action plan for transforming the future ever since. http://www.parliamentofreligions.org/_includes/FCKcontent/File/TowardsAGlobalEthic.pdf Transformation of Consciousness, both of individuals and society generally, was so front and center to these plans that it got an ! exclamation mark for emphasis. It also called for a “Commitment to a Culture of Solidarity and a Just Economic Order” and a “distinction must be made between necessary and limitless consumption.” Since the previous page stated:

“Young people must learn at home and at school that property, limited though it may be, carries with it an obligation, and that its uses should at the same time serve the common good. Only thus can a just economic order be built up.

If the plight of the poorest billions on the planet, particularly women and children, is to be improved, the world economy must be structured more justly. Individual good deeds, and assistance projects, indispensable though they be, are insufficient. The participation of all states and the authority of international organizations are needed to build just economic institutions.”

And we wonder why such similar education reforms, pushed via the OECD, UN entities, and various benefiting multinational corporations, are now going on all over the world. So many people are quite well aware of what we now all need to be acutely aware of. Education, like religions, once guided by leaders with the requisite transformative vision: “can provide what obviously cannot be attained by economic plans, political programs, or legal regulations alone–a change in the inner orientation, the whole mentality, the ‘hearts’ of people, and a conversion from a false path to a new orientation for life. Humankind urgently needs social and ecological reforms, but it needs spiritual renewal just as urgently.”

The emphasis we keep encountering in Radical Education Reform and the actual Common Core implementation on the Whole Child, social and emotional learning, Positive School Climate, mindfulness training, Engaging Activities for All students, are all ultimately teeing up precisely what advocates of a new Universal Consensus Global Ethic to obtain a Just Economic Order want and need targeted. And I am not being Scrooge or a Selfish Sally pointing all this out. I just think we may end up with a world that works about as well in the future as the typical US VA hospital does now if we are not careful. After all Facing History and Ourselves ended its Choosing to Participate curriculum we have looked at in this Trilogy by creating the mistaken belief that the War on Poverty in the 1960s had its available resources, and thus its chance for success, cut by the competition for funds from the Vietnam War.

The personal heartache and lost billions spent creating terrible incentives get left out of this version of history, lest accurate facts interfere with a willingness to try again. While our young people are being treated to programs long on emotions and short on a narrative grounded in what actually occurred and what the consequences were and are, the adult activists living off tax money, tuition, and grants have now decreed in earnest that “economic justice work in the United States” should now be framed in terms of human rights.  http://nulj.org/sites/default/files/files/NULJ-ESC-Dorothy-Q-Thomas.pdf “The 99% Solution: Human Rights and Economic Justice in the United States,” a recent law review article, wants to move away from “thinking about social justice in exclusively constitutional or civil rights terms” to a “worldview” that we are “all human and born equal in dignity and rights.”

One way to look at that NEA CARE Guide and the FHAO curricula we have been looking at is to prime young people for the very Global Ethic and Human Rights vision all these advocates desire. If you remember President Obama desperately sought to nominate a federal appellate judge who saw national education standards as the avenue to push just such an economic justice as a legal right vision. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/morphing-the-common-core-into-a-new-rewritten-us-constitution-by-mandating-false-beliefs/ When I first encountered FHAO I wrote that misteaching the causes of the Holocaust struck me as a most dangerous thing. These curricula designed to inspire, tug at the heart strings, or nurture grievances–whatever will prompt future actions for transformative change–are also playing in a most dangerous cultural zone.

Dr Tucker excitedly proclaims that “using human rights not only changes how we conceive of and relate to one another, it also fundamentally alters our relationship to the government. The power of rights belongs to us rather than the state.” Baloney and demerits to the Articles Editor who let that whopper through to publication. Rights that only exist via the constant intervening of government are certainly NOT independent of it. Dr Tucker also points to the Mississippi Workers’ Center as an exemplar of the human rights work she wants to envision going on everywhere. See what you think will be the end result of fostering beliefs like this in workers and minorities–”It has to be [seen as] an international human rights struggle. It is not by default that you are poor. It is not because you messed up. It is by design. You are treated this way because of the historical system of slavery and human bondage.”

Not a helpful worldview to be sponsoring. To think I once wondered why a school district math director in a meeting with suburban parents concerned about integrated math started off with such a look of abject malevolence towards the parents before a word was spoken. So much cultivated antipathy, grounded in inaccuracies, to fuel political transformation. Not just in education graduate programs but throughout the social sciences especially. Credentialed to Destroy indeed.

Following up on Dr Tucker led me to the US Human Rights Fund http://www.thesunriseinitiative.org/Resources/2.%20Larry%20Cox%20&%20Dorothy%20Q%20Thomas%20Remarks.pdf and Larry Cox explaining that the Ford Foundation “has long played a critical and invaluable role in building a global human rights movement.” If you believe such work will require a Revolution of the Mind, as Ford named a Tucker paper it underwrote, it certainly explains so much of Ford’s education and Line of Plenty economic justice grantmaking.

Speaking of Larry Cox, on November 15, 2013, the latest initiative to finally achieve that Global Ethic from 1993 as well as Martin Luther King’s Beloved Community launched. The Kairos Center for Religions, Rights and Social Justice http://kairoscenter.org/ is headed by Cox and is seen as a movement to finally fulfill the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Kairos is an ancient Greek word for a time when conditions are right for the accomplishment of a crucial action; the opportune and decisive moment; also a moment when the eternal breaks into history.

That would NOT be history as in past events, but history that deliberately misportrays past events to justify action in the present to try to alter the future. Lots of people now are using both education and religion and any other institution they can control to take those crucial actions in what they see as a decisive moment.

Economic and Social Justice as a Human Right. What if all that is left after the Mind Arson, the Personality Manipulation, the Consciousness Transformation, and the Redistribution is a right to the dust of what once made us great?