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?

 

Building the Sentiment, Forging the Real Feeling that Goes Deep: Rigor does Not Mean What You Think

Do you believe in coincidences? Of course they happen, but not about some things, especially when little known professors are suddenly brought back to be the quote of the day in a daily education newsletter. The day after the last post where I mentioned the 1948 push for a World Constitution at meetings held at the University of Chicago, the EdTech SmartBrief cited ‘Italian Writer Giuseppe Antonio Borgese’ for an inspiring vision about Change not only being possible, but necessary. How apropos when fundamental change is the daily meme. Borgese of course is more than an Italian writer. He was one of the prime participants in those meetings, a prof there, and the draftsman. He also wrote the 1953 book Foundations of the World Republic laying out the vision.

You don’t really think I grasp how all this fits just from Abstracts or the Cliff Notes versions, do you? No, I had read that book and get the connection to ed. So does someone apparently at Smart Brief and they are fully aware of the pertinence of today’s K-12 juggernaut of changes too. Few terms though come up more often these days or are used so consistently to mislead parents and taxpayers  on the true nature of the intended changes as ‘rigor.’ There’s a reason education consultant, Willard Daggett, with a ridiculously lucrative national professional development business (for someone who used to be in Vo-Tech. I have a few of those mediocre textbooks) says that “relevance makes rigor possible.” Rigor is always grounded in emotion and personal experiences.

When a District Super tells concerned parents that Rigor is about higher standards and provides the metaphor that you cannot turn up the temperature suddenly on an oven from 350 to 550 without burning the turkey and leaving it frozen on the inside, I think that explanation deserves a Pinocchio award. That example of rigor may make parents feel better about upcoming higher than average failure rates on the new state Common Core math assessments, but it does not accurately reflect the nature of the problem. Rigor is about what a student feels, perceives, and does when there is no single correct answer or there are insufficient facts stated to reach a definitive conclusion or the asked about material has never been taught. It provides superb behavioral science data on likely future actions and it primes students to be willing to act in the face of uncertainty. Just what people with visions of transforming and then redesigning societies and societies around Big Data need from a compliant, malleable citizenry.

Facing History and Ourselves, which we met again in the last post, keeps being cited as the perfect example of a curriculum offering ‘rigorous engagement’ and ‘deeper learning.’ Deeper Learning is being trumpeted, formally assessed, and funded generously as the cornerstone of the Common Core and the OECD’s global vision for education by the Hewlett Foundation. Building on the previous post’s revelations and the return of Life Adjustment before that, why is FHAO so crucial for an international bureaucracy pushing for fundamental transformations in the economy, society, and political structures and institutions? Let’s look.

http://trustnet.learningtrust.co.uk/partners/Community%20Cohesion/Case%20Study_Facing_History_and_Ourselves_at_Skinners.pdf advocates that teaching materials force students (their bolding) through the process of Text to Self (this reminds me of a time when… so that personal experiences become involved), Text to Text (building those links to previous school activities or discussions and the concepts involved so that a predictable mental web is being woven by schoolwork), and Text to World (students connect the ideas to things happening in the world today). Did you realize that’s what ‘personalizing learning’ meant? Constantly reenforcing schoolwork to a student’s life experiences and then creating life experiences in school and elsewhere to reenforce the desired concepts and attitudes? As the link says, FHAO allows students to have Mindsets that allow “better questioning of the world and what goes on it. But most importantly, students become more engaged in their own communities and apply the knowledge they learn to their own lives.” (my bolding this time).

Knowledge grounded again more in emotions and instincts than facts, but all the more likely to compel future action for that very reason. Remember Harlan Cleveland from my book? Well, about 10 years before his 80s vision I explain there he did a report in 1976 for UN Leaders meeting in Philadelphia. It laid out his vision on what the significance of the US Bicentennial was for the future. He saw it as igniting the Next Great World Movement: the Global Fairness Revolution. Like the odd sudden citing this week of Borgese, these visions do not go away. They simply keep looking for new sales jobs to have education finally bring them to fruition. That’s precisely what FHAO and PBS intended to do when they created Choosing to Participate to be used as part of what it would mean to be Literate under the Common Core. http://web.uri.edu/nonviolence/files/ChoosingToParticipate.pdf

When the “challenge for educators” now is announced to be creating “settings that can help young people develop as thoughtful, caring, compassionate, and responsible citizens,” the vision of citizenry is to be Change Agents for Transformation. That is also blatantly a view of education that is primarily focused on Psychosocial Development, not knowledge as academic content. Students are to be deliberately primed, at a deep level, to be unwilling to accept the world as it now exists. They are also to be intentionally manipulated to misperceive the current nature of that world. Ignorance and grievance may be one of the most volatile combinations in the universe. Unlike nitroglycerin though, these Students with carefully cultivated and shaped Mindsets and emotional Push Buttons will not have warning labels. Not yet anyway. I am working on that one.

FHAO does not mince words when it states its intention to have Choosing to Participate:

“be a catalyst for conversation about how we treat each other, how we should live together, and what our choices mean. The key challenge is to think deeply [emotions again!] about what democracy really means, and what it asks of each of us. Democracy is a fragile enterprise and can only remain vital through the active, thoughtful, and responsible participation of its people. Education for citizenship means encouraging each of us to recognize that our participation matters.”

Jumping to the punch line, FHAO intentionally uses the horrors of the Holocaust and Legal Segregation by race in the US to justify a belief that economic, redistributive, justice, if desired by a majority of current voters, is a perfectly legitimate demand binding everyone. Resistance then becomes akin to the racism that surrounded the Little Rock 9 trying to integrate Arkansas schools in the 50s. FHAO is the perfect accompaniment to the communitarian focus we have already located in the required Positive School Climate for all K-12 schools and lurking oddly in the definition of what it means to be Career Ready under the Common Core. FHAO early on specifically instructs students:

“communities are not built of friends, or groups of friends, or of people with similar styles and tastes, or even of people who like and understand each other. They are built of people who feel they are part of something that is bigger than themselves: a shared goal or enterprise [hence all the hype on collaboration now]…To build a community requires only the ability to see value in others; to look at them and see a potential partner in one’s enterprise…community can also be defined in terms of a ‘universe of obligation’–a group of individuals or groups ‘toward whom obligations are owed, to whom rules apply, and whose injuries call for amends.”

Amends are owed. I am going to end with that quote because clearly this intention is where we should put all these sudden mentions of allegations of White Privilege and conferences centered around preparing teachers to make that and race generally a focus of the K-12 curriculum. Everybody seems to like trilogies so this post is the Human Rights Trilogy’s second part.

I want to come back with considering the implications of targeting values, attitudes, and beliefs about how societies and economies should be structured as just another antiquated area that can, and should be, legitimately targeted by K-12 for change. Comparable in the minds of many educators and certainly the FHAO curriculum to the shifts rightfully needed previously to move beyond legal segregation.

We are going to continue to confront history all right. Especially the implications of requiring that students “prove their humanity” in ways to be mandated by political authority.

Should students be taught that “Built into each individual’s experience must be an occasion for giving, a task of humanity, an act of sharing and sacrifice”?

Is that really Student Achievement? Growth? Should taxpayer-funded education administrators and profs really be making these decisions in a free society?

Or is the disputed nature of freedom itself in the 21st Century the real question?

Masking the New Integral Human Rights Focus: Education Becomes a Tool of the Sought Cohesive, Caring Society

The Great War, as World War I was called in the 20s, had the effect of forcing many Europeans to begin imagining a world where there would never again be such a violent convulsion. HG Wells’ The Open Conspiracy came out of just that kind of search to fundamentally change all the rules for the future. The essential part of Wells’ vision was to use education to remove the “outworn ideas and attitudes” and substitute concepts and values conducive to world reconstruction. To Wells, there could be “no half measures. You have not yet completed your escape to the Open Conspiracy from the cities of the plain while it is still possible for you to take a single backward glance.”

The NEA’s Life Adjustment Model we encountered in the last post came out of America’s reaction to the convulsions of World War II. Then, and in its current iterations stressing school as the source of a psycho-social catharsis of New Communitarian-oriented values, attitudes, feelings, skills, and beliefs, this change in the focus of the curriculum and the classroom should be seen through a recognition that “whatever we retain [of the ancient ideas and order] will come back to life and grow again.”

What I have been calling Mind Arson is actually just the deliberate pruning of educators working as gardeners of the Mind and Personality in pursuit of Wholesale Change. Because,as Wells once again recognized: “the more thoroughly we seek to release our minds and the minds of those about us from them and cut off all thoughts of a return,” the greater the possibility of the desired fundamental transformations in how people act and societies, economies, and countries organize their daily lives.

Wells even had a beguiling phrase for this intent–’mental sanitation,’ which would certainly explain why it looks like mind arson and psychological manipulation to us. It is. An aspect we have been dealing with all along in the US and also the West generally is the idea of ‘myth’ hatched at the University of Chicago in 1948 (the year after the NEA began its revolutionary push in ed to make human relations its focus) where the ‘myth’ ceased to be a story that had never happened. Instead, a myth would become a vision of the world as it might be and ought to be. Education then quietly became a means of changing the student to make him or her ready to take action to fulfill that vision. Like the role of today’s similar terms-’relevance’ and ‘real world problems’–the idea was that “constructive change of the world” would become the “guiding form of all human activities.”

Today we call those Learning Tasks as my book lays out. Consider this post further filling in around the edges of these long term pursuits at social reconstruction on a global basis, like it or not. Aware or not. I don’t know about you but I think we can attribute Ralph Tyler’s creation of the term ‘behavioral sciences’ in 1948 to the other activities going on at that Chicago campus on how to move the US and the West towards a World Republic grounded in distributive justice as a human award, not a reward for merit or a pick-up after bad luck. Likewise, Tyler’s 1949 book shifting the curriculum focus of school to Learning Objectives and away from knowledge. Those Learning Objectives remain the basis for the very outcomes-based education we dealt with in the 90s version of these reforms and what goes by the name Competency today. It always comes back because …

Following up on what I heard in year end meetings in a local school district that combines suburban affluence and urban poverty with a racially and ethnically diverse student body, with that 2011 NEA CARE Guide we have talked about, turned up once again the behavior modification and character manipulation curriculum hiding under the deceitful phrase Facing History and Ourselves. I have written about it before (see tag), which is why I was so alarmed to see it going international as the UK used it as part of its Journey to Justice, which also seeks distributive economic justice for all as a matter of human rights. Since I was already dismayed about this related upcoming conference in Boston  http://commonbound.org/page/about-commonbound, it is hard not to feel that revolutionary change is coming from every direction to go along with these ed reforms in preschool, K-12, and higher ed.

FHAO turned out to be everywhere now with its proclaimed goal of pushing “policies and practices that prevent violence and promote peace.” Working with PBS, for example, to create a Choosing to Participate curriculum to “think deeply about what democracy really means, and what it asks of us.” Pretty sure that will not be the democracy as the tyranny of the mob that so concerned the US Founding Fathers since knowledge of that history might result in the forbidden backward glance. No, it will be democracy as a vision of what might be. Another reason to be concerned when FHAO representatives are listed on the program of this recent Immigration Day program that also talked about A New American Majority: Political and Personal Perspectives. http://www.kbcc.cuny.edu/nac/Documents/ImmigDay_2014.pdf

The US-based Human Rights Education Associates, as part of its Citizenship Education, Globalization, and Democratization push used FHAO to create a curriculum for South Africa called Facing the Past. http://www.hrea.org/pubs/tibbitts-prospects-sep06.pdf Instead of a focus on facts the point is to “infuse the question of values in the learning of content.” Teachers were told they must “‘unlearn’ any ‘official narrative’ of apartheid.” Instead the students and teachers would use “interactive, participatory methods of learning” to explore each other’s perspectives. They would role play and examine “human behavior and universal themes such as identity, group membership, obedience, and taking action.” Through “working with personal experiences and choice in these histories, links were intended to be made to issues and moral dilemmas facing young people today.”

First, have the students explore if “hate is innately a part of human behavior and experience? If so, how can we change that within ourselves?” Note to radicals, this amounts to the child who would never think about bullying others on the playground being asked to wear a T-shirt that says “Violence never works” and then wondering why he gets picked on. This type of emotional curriculum consciously milks stories to produce a sense of grievance, or guilt, depending on where in life one was born. There’s no knowledge being instilled of what actions might make the situation worse for everyone. This is a curriculum that actually cites that “[DM] was particularly moved by the video. He was crying afterwards. He wanted to know what the youth today can do to make up for the wrongs of the past–that their ‘white’ parents had committed and/or benefitted from.”

I am going to go into the US versions of FHAO more in the next post, but this New York Times ad from a week ago on the need for Equitable Implementation of the Common Core Standards in commemoration of the 60th Anniversary of the Brown segregation decision should give us pause on the real intended purpose of the standards. http://civilrightsdocs.info/pdf/NYT-CCSS.pdf The listed Leadership Conference changed its name formally in 2010 to add “human rights” to its title and purpose of pushing “for progressive change in the United States.” Using the same concepts of distributive economic justice those World Republic dreamers in 1948 or Wells’ Open Conspirators in the 30s wanted to pursue.

Also pertinent to where all these reforms are really going is this recent Communique, a term always intended to announce revolutionary intent, from National Civil Rights and Education Groups http://nul.iamempowered.com/content/communique%CC%81-joint-statement-support-common-core-state-standards-and-equitable-implementation . Trust me on this as someone with a mother lode of implementation materials from my book and this blog, no one is planning on teaching that inner-city kid how to read properly. The equity comes from changing values in a manner that emboldens the belief in the need for fundamental transformations in how we live and what we all believe.

I am going to close by showing what such equitable education aimed at personal and social change actually looks like to a participant in programs like FHAO. “For the first time during my education, I was feeling and experiencing what I was learning. I was doing an inherently human thing, and my education was coming alive. [her bolding].

“Learning is felt.”

“that feeling that I can’t quite name, the one that gets my head all hot and my insides queasy and my muscles just aching to get up and go out and do something. Learning is experiencing what someone teaches me, letting it soak through and change me.”

Change me. Guided Inquiry. Planned activities and role playing “infusing the use of narrative, interactive methods and multi-media sources.”

No danger of a backward glance from these programs aimed at creating a “new collective memory.”

The danger comes from the internal redesign of what is clearly intended to be programmed future behavior.

In the name of democracy. Social Justice. Fairness. Globalization. Engagement.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Shaping a Mind is More Important than Stuffing It: Grasping the Psychosocial Key to Fundamental Transformations

In fact, after that essay “An Education for Humanity” was written in the early 60s, psychological research began to show that a fact-filled mind was hard to reshape. The excuses for making education about mind arson would vary from then on, but never the aim: “a new organized system of thought and belief” that “would provide a new vision of human destiny.” This is the same intentional cultural evolution I explain in my book, except I was missing the precise term Julian Huxley created for this new type of evolution–’psychosocial’. Now doesn’t that intention make all the focus now on the Whole Child and a Positive School Climate and Positive Behavior Interventions for all students and Pearson owning the rights to BASC, Behavior Assessment System for Children, and desired utopian Character Traits hiding in a new Student Code of Conduct so much clearer?

If that “inside the student’s mind and personality” target was always the change arena of this revised vision of an education that could supposedly bridge the gap between the cultures on both sides of the Cold War (according again to UNESCO’s first Director General Julian Huxley), what were the actual goals? First, to create a “strong moral bond” between each student and the “wider community” where he lives. Secondly, to foster a belief in the “oneness of mankind.” OK, you say, that does sound a lot like a communitarian emphasis we found when we followed the actual definition of Career Ready in the 21st Century back to the actual guidelines as well as the definition of Global Citizenship the Common Core is pushing through affiliates.

Third should really begin to sound familiar. Definitely not a goal for education that got stuck in the 60s with the Bay of Pigs or the Cuban Missile Crisis. To “give the rising generation a ‘world view.’” Now Elvin acknowledged this would likely be controversial so, then as now, it is simply to be made into the domain of professional deference of what it means to be an educator. And not just a right to dictate the acceptable world view–defined as “a view of man and his nature, of the earth and its history, and of the universe of which it is a minute part” to be enforced by adminstrators and Edudoctorates who mostly have no individual knowledge of any of those particulars. This was, and is, not to be just an intellectual understanding. No, the idea is for the world view to create “a total response” that encompasses the imagination, morality, and the sciences all at the same time.

This all encompassing vision of what education should do to a student, literally described as “should fuse in a total personal synthesis” may sound like the realm traditionally associated with religion. Elvin appreciated that and said this:

“I should make it clear that I mean a type of response that for some people takes place in association with their religious beliefs but that per se is not dependent on any religious creed or dogma and is felt equally by those who are in this sense without religion.”

Before I move on to the current CARE Guide from the NEA and that Teaching Diverse Students Initiative being imposed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a component of Equity and Excellence under the Common Core, I want to juxtapose that admitted new goal for education as a means for finally achieving what was then called the Fulfillment Society. Its new names of course are now a Subjective Well Being focus as part of the Great Transition.

In 1943 the US Supreme Court reversed previous case law to hold that students could not be punished for failing to perform the Pledge of Allegiance if it violated their religious creed. Justice Jackson wrote the majority opinion where he decried any “compulsory unification of opinion.” He wrote a passage I want us all to reflect on in a time when every education degree is now apparently coming with a compulsory unification permission slip in a country where that ought to be unconstitutional: “If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein. If there are any circumstances which permit an exception, they do not know occur to us.”

That SCOTUS opinion was about the classic clash between the “power of the majority to command conformity from the individual” which is unfortunately the lode star of the 21st century even though it could only command a dissent in 1943. Back then the belief that the US Bill of Rights was created to be a bulwark to curtail Majority Mischief was still firmly in place. The CARE Guide and the Diversity Kit takes all these traditions and throws them out the 3rd story window into a bonfire below. Under it, education becomes the means to “prepare students for their responsibilities in an interdependent world.” The Guide takes on with excitement  “the role schools play in developing the attitudes and values necessary for a democratic society.” In case we have any illusions about what is to constitute such a society, the Guide wants public schools to challenge “all forms of discrimination in schools and society through the promotion of social justice.”

Public schools are explicitly to push the idea that this new vision of education and “appreciation of diverse cultures” as long as they are not White or grounded in traditional Judeo-Christianity or Asian American, is built on the supposed “American ideals of freedom, justice, equality, equity, and human dignity. This is acknowledged in documents as varied as the US Declaration of Independence and the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.” No, actually those are not American ideals and they are frequently in opposition to what is laid out in that Declaration of Independence. The US refused to ratify that UN  Declaration that is now to be imposed via education affirmation anyway.

Wondering why I pulled out Asian Americans? Because they are listed in the Power Relationships Activity for Educator Reflection as a ‘voluntary minority’ who ‘freely’ immigrated to the US. Involuntary minorities “are those who have been conquered, colonized, or subjugated by the US, such as Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, African Americans, and American Indian/Alaska Natives.” So much for the 2008 Presidential election being about putting race behind us. No, students are to learn that “all people share basic needs” and that “each of us learns a set of behaviors and beliefs from the people we grow up with.” Some of those are now to be deemed unacceptable and slated for an extinguishing process via education and others will be glorified for intact preservation. Guess which?

Also slated for discussion as a new value is that a student should ‘achieve her potential’ in order to contribute to the social whole. If that holistic orientation instead of an individual one is not clear enough, how about a statement that “positive feedback should be stated in terms of student’s ability to help family or community?” If that servant function on behalf of the supposed greater good is still not bearing down on our sense of where this is all going, how about “student should be helpful and cooperate with his peers, giving assistance when needed. Helping is not considered cheating?” All can learn in the 21st century, but for the bright kids most of the learning will be social.

The Guide really does expect all schools to be having constant discussions of race and to simply accept that “people of color are more likely to perceive prejudice than others. Not surprisingly then, there will be intergroup tensions in many schools, especially when students live in separate, racially homogeneous neighborhoods.” Which is of course now to be regarded as unacceptable. No longer free to live where we wish or believe as we wish or to value what we wish, courtesy of the Whole Child reeducation process to create a new kind of guiding common core. Does this sound totally toxic all the time for every student to anyone else?

I am going to close this post with the declaration that “one of the primary roles of educational leaders is to give voice to shared values.” It is thus quite clear that education degrees now are to be all about enacting Elvin’s vision of Education for Humanity and not Justice Jackson’s holding of what is an acceptable purview for any official relying on the coercive power of government.

If the intended level of personal coercion via education to create responses from an unconscious level is not already crystal clear, let me end with the purpose of Positive School Climate per the explanation of questions in the Student Survey:

“Repeated articulation of these values, backed by relevant action, can increase consensus and motivate others to act accordingly.”

That’s a great deal of incentive to insist that real differences among students must be addressed by making joint activity the classroom focus to allow “modeling behaviors, thinking processes, and procedures.”

With this vision in place some of us really need to update the Declaration of Independence so that these Educrats can grasp its real significance.

It may take a multimedia powerpoint though to get through. Maybe role playing through the inevitable toxic consequences of these to be required activities and behaviors and discussions.