Deliberate Cultural Evolution Via Developmental Psychology to Force Social Change, Or, Gypsy Supers Lobby DC

Gypsy Supers and Gypsy Principals are terms I came up with to describe how certain people regularly shift schools and districts for promotions and pay raises. Each shift pushes the new location further towards the ultimate goal of Transformational Outcomes Based Education (OBE). I am still using the 90s terminology from its creation and I explain how it still fits in now in the book (Chapter 4). Since OBE became infamous, we have new terms for these old pursuits. In particular, Competency as used in that RSA report (check Milton Rokeach tag) and “21st Century Outcomes” and “College-and-Career-Readiness Outcomes” as used in this  recent lobbying effort by suburban districts on how federal law should be rewritten.  http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/District_Dossier/Consortium%20-%20%20Recommendations%20for%20a%20New%20Federal%20Accountability%20Framework%20February%202014.pdf

I wonder if the taxpayers in the metro Atlanta or Greenville or Charlotte or Virginia Beach or DC areas understand what their employees are lobbying for? You see, I know what all those words mean and I know precisely what the implications of invoking the Effective Schools Research is (in the book I describe it in relation to the 1966 Coleman Report, which is how the Consortium uses it too). The “Members of Congress who have invited the Consortium to propose a new framework for our nation’s education policy” should seek retirement before angry voters exile them by ballot box.

Why turn to people with such a record of demonstrable deceit about what they are really doing to our schools, our children, and many fine teachers? Because of current high test scores in suburbs? With tests disappearing and the intentional gutting of academics there already proceeding in earnest? Did any of these people looking “forward to working collaboratively with Congress to bring about positive change in federal law” bother to explain what enshrining Developmental Psychology as a Human Enterprise as entitled to deference under federal law would mean?

Those RSA and FuturICT visions in the last post reveal hubristic social engineering nightmares. It is easy to take comfort from wrongfully assuming it cannot actually happen. Then read that Consortium Framework. Perhaps with the ISC and Credentialed to Destroy explanations of the terms used somewhere handy, but that Framework is the way in. With our money and no recourse and no real likelihood anyone being deferred to truly has any idea of the true genesis of what they are pushing. But then they do not have to. Their paychecks, courtesy of us, show up because of what they are willing to do, not what they know. In my hope springs eternal world, let’s assume that knowing would make a difference. Let’s talk some about the history and intentions of making developmental psychology the focus of schools.

Into the largely unknown history of the events in education globally that I documented in the 80s and the entire concept of cultural evolution via education that is in the book, let’s add two more conferences that affect us still. The first was a supposedly “secret meeting in Budapest of scientists from both sides of the Iron Curtain.”  http://www.thedarwinproject.com/gerg/gerg.html The sales pitch for the General Evolution Research Group is that “spurred by the mounting threat to our species of rapid nuclear proliferation and overkill, the purpose was to see if it might be possible to use the chaos theory then coming into vogue to develop a new general theory of evolution that might serve as a road map for our species out of the mounting chaos of our times to the reassuring order of a better world.”

Using education to change mindsets and personalities to try and get to a different future. Tied to GERG though are a number of the people who have been actively involved in what I call Radical Ed Reform with a developmental focus from the late 80s until now. They all have tags and multiple posts so I will just give you some idea where to look if you wish to reread those posts now. Riane Eisler (new 3 Rs and Partnership education, a UN NGO), Bela Banathy (systems view of education), Nel Noddings (now at Stanford. Now we know why she wrote preface to Eisler’s book), and Mihaly Csiksentmihalyi, whose definition of Excellence and positive psychology practices are so crucial to the professional development and to be required classroom practices of many of those Consortium districts. Yes, there are reasons beyond word meanings I am so sure.

Do you remember the post about “transforming perspectives” as the new purpose of business education globally? The UN-affiliated Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative (GRLI) recently published its Towards 2024 vision pushing a Global Forum on Business as an Agent of World Benefit. Well, that would certainly explain the Chamber of Commerce’s support for all these bad ed ideas, wouldn’t it? Again it fit the vision in FuturICT and cited a book by a Chris Laszlo with a foreword by Peter Senge and an afterword by David Cooperrider. One of the major proponents of systems over the decades as a means of global social change was Hungarian Ervin Laszlo and sure enough, Professor Chris is his son. So GERG came out of looking at Ervin’s work since he was the founder and following his son pulls in the associated GRLI Business/Flourishing Cities/Everything Planned agenda and we also have the Appreciative Inquiry Model again (Cooperrider and Kenneth Gergen, see tags).

All that is to say we have lots of different names of similar concepts from people who actually do, and have for a long time, work and coordinate together around the idea of deliberate social evolution via education and government planning. That’s what developmental psychology is intended to do by the way. Its purpose according to a 2005 book celebrating the career and vision of Sheldon White at Harvard is to be a “Science of Personal and Societal Design.” Now wouldn’t that be an ironic overreach to enshrine into federal law via the Consortium? In comes what CHAT creator Michael Cole called a “second psychology” grounded in Vygotsky’s and Luria’s Soviet research where it would be possible to pursue the “unity of individualism and collectivism in any society or person.” Yes, especially with all the data being collected.

To really understand this second or developmental psychology and the implications of it, event number two took place in November 1987 in Paris. Again we had researchers from both sides of the Iron Curtain meeting on the issue of Artificial Intelligence and basically pushing ideas that would make the potentially unpredictable human mind weaker.  I am looking at a paper from a Swedish prof, Ragnar Rommerveld, that Cole cited. It has a title that’s a mouthful. I will let you guess which approach is to be jettisoned–as bolstering the rational individual mind–and which is actually another term for the philosophy behind developmental psychology. “On human beings, computers, and representational-computational versus hermeneutic-dialogical approaches to human cognition and communication.”

Let’s lobby Congress citing the actual ancestry of the hoped-for federal framework. Let me add in one more definition–the one for cognitive science. As a “critical-emancipatory social science,” it seeks to use education to get at what it calls in quotations– a person’s “cognitively penetrable functions.”  If it’s not a changeable personal process then, it’s not the domain of cognitive science. No wonder the radicals keep referring to themselves as taking a “cognitive approach.” Examples listed as penetrable are “goals, beliefs, tacit knowledge [experiential] and so on.” In other words the area OBE targeted and what college and career-ready and ‘learning’ do now. And here comes what gets redefined as metacognitive to become part of the definition of College-ready from the Swedish prof’s paper: “though they [skills] need not be consciously performed, they can be described and identified by the agent…and in many cases actually brought to consciousness while they are being performed.”

That consciousness if needed is what allows the penetration. The change. All in all the perfect ed theory if deliberate cultural evolution is what is sought, which of course both RSA and FuturICT already acknowledged. Both need a view of education that shifts from knowledge to a theory that each student “harbors an indeterminate capacity or propensity for change.” That the new purpose of assessment is to “provide an ongoing evaluation of the qualitative and quantitative discrepancy between the child’s manifest functioning and his or her modifiability and to suggest appropriate intervention.” That gap is why data is so important to FuturICT and the Consortium Supers.

It all goes back to their declared, but publicly unacknowledged, embrace of developmental psychology to try to change society and the future in deliberate ways. Let’s end with GRLI’s open embrace of what it calls Whole Person Learning, “based in humanistic psychology” [Maslow/Rogers]. WPL is not just about business schools. The perspectives transformation goes along with the wider plans we have been discussing. When the Consortium is pushing its vision of education on Congress, this is what they are actually pushing:

“Integral to the notion of Whole Person Learning is understanding of self, of how this self relates to others and how this sits within the wider global context–how I am influenced by and can influence myself, my immediate relationships and the whole. This is reflected in GRLI’s very logo– three interlocking ellipses representing I, We and All of Us.”

Imposed invisibly as a matter of federal law. Reconciling the unity of individualism and collectivism.

Spearheading Human Evolution towards a New Vision of the Future Via Instilled Core Values and Ideas

I really think life would be better for all of us if aspiring philosophers and current ed professors and everyone else planning on creating a new society and a different kind of human behavior used a word processing system that came with a Hubris warning. Beeping to alert that kind of presumption and conceit has always brought grief in the past. Maybe a squeaky voice could pipe up with a “Would you like to reconsider?” The overt goals laid out in the last several posts sent me back to rereading Bela Banathy’s Systems Design of Education: A Journey to Create the Future as well as what Donella and friends wrote in 1992: Beyond the Limits: Confronting Global Collapse, Envisioning a Sustainable Future. I wanted to see how closely these visions from the 90s aligned with what we saw being sought in those World System Models in the 70s and those recent Great Transition documents.

Sure enough there is Bela talking about the need to “attain global consciousness and forge a global system of the human community.” Insisting that education has a new role of “spearheading societal evolution by design” and making me wonder if he ever took a history course.  See what I mean about a hubris key coming in handy? I also discovered that soon after publishing that book Groping in the Dark in 1982, Donella and Dennis Meadows formed the Balaton Group named for the lovely lake in Hungary where meetings on Sustainability could be held that would allow members from the Soviet bloc to easily attend. http://www.donellameadows.org/from-sustainability-science-to-real-world-action-a-short-history-of-the-balaton-group/ Those of you about my age may remember those Alka-Seltzer commercials that went Plop. Plop. Fizz. Fizz. Oh What a Relief This Is. Easy access of schemers from East and West throughout the 80s to make plans for all of us under the banner of Sustainability. This just keeps getting better and better, doesn’t it?

I wonder if Bela was ever invited? He was after all not just a Senior Research Director at the federally-funded  Far West Ed Lab, he was also Chair of the Board of Trustees of the International Society of the Systems Sciences.  I wrote about his deeply troubling vision here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/who-granted-permission-to-spearhead-societal-evolution-to-a-global-cooperative-consciousness/ . Banathy’s sought global consciousness is certainly consistent with what Beyond the Limits was pushing hard in 1992:

“So what if the world’s people decide to moderate not only their demand for children, but also their economic demands? What if they set themselves a goal of a simple but adequate material standard of living and, when they reach that goal, they turn their attention to other nonmaterial, nonconsuming pursuits? [Doesn't that sound just like Quality of Life from the Bariloche model in the last post?] This, too, is a hypothetical information change, a change not in the physical world, but in people’s heads (an enormous one, we realize). It means that people define their purposes, establish their status, challenge themselves with goals other than ever-increasing production and ever-accumulating material wealth.”

So for people who insist there are no universal Truths we have close to unanimous agreement that the key to getting to a political, social, and economic transformation for the 21st century lies in getting inside people’s heads and hearts and really into the essence of their souls. What drives them from a deep unconscious level? So now we know why we started hearing about the need for transformative education in the 90s. After all, Beyond the Limits goes on to quote visionary Lewis Mumford about the “re-establishment of the person as the ultimate term of all human effort. Cultivation, humanization, co-operation, symbiosis: these are the watchwords of the new world-enveloping culture. Every department of life will record the change: it will affect the task of education and the procedures of science no less than the organization of industrial enterprises, the planning of cities, the development of regions, the interchange of world resources.”

Fascinating, huh, that Mumford’s description of what was sought from 1944 could still be cited as current in 1992 and still sounds like the vision of the Great Transition and these city planning summits in 2013. The vision never really seems to change nor the vehicles. Only the descriptive language when the necessity for such transformation is pitched to the people. Like me and you and our children. Which is also why I can go back to economists writing in the 60s and 70s to find what’s wrong with these visions of justice and equality and central planning. One, Henry Hazlitt, in his 1964 The Foundations of Morality, even goes back to the Victorian Age for this jingle:

What is a Communist?

A man who has yearnings,

For equal division

Of unequal earnings.

To make his point that “a system under which the talented and the skilled and industrious received no more than the incompetent and shiftless and lazy, and which equalized material rewards irrespective of effort, would certainly be unproductive; and to most of us, I think, it would also be unjust.” Hazlitt nailed precisely what concerns me so. We are risking “splendidly realized destitution” precisely because the planners and professors take continued production at the same overall global levels for granted. And by drastically affecting both knowledge and incentives all of these transformational plans and models create a great likelihood, that foreseeably to us if not to these decision-makers, the output or product to be divided is likely to be substantially diminished. Maybe they have learned. Is that why we are supposed to learn to make do with the quality of our relationships with each other? Just the price of oligarchical power?

That leads us straight to the points of the other economist we are going to consult–PT Bauer from his 1981 Equality, the Third World, and Economic Delusion.  Bauer reminds us that the term ‘differences’ is a more appropriate descriptive term in most instances than ‘inequality’ and he mentions the “accepted practice of referring to people’s physical characteristics, such as height, weight and strength, as differences rather than inequalities, and never as inequities.” Financial differences among people and countries “result from people’s widely differing aptitudes and motivations”, and to some extent luck. Bauer astutely looks at Africa and development policies in the third world generally and declares that “once the moral and political case for egalitarian policies is taken for granted, the movement for egalitarianism feeds on itself.” Something to remember as formulating social justice values becomes the Raison D’etre of both K-12 and higher ed.

When people begin to take for granted that people’s economic positions “are properly the concern of official policy,” a feeding frenzy develops for sterner and more drastic measures. Especially if results are not what was expected because diminished knowledge and poor incentives are decreasing the size of that ‘pie’ now being deliberately carved up. Hard to read any of the documents we have been examining in recent posts and not see that is precisely what is coming. Political power can adjust inequalities but it does so first by treating all of us as if we were subjects and then restricting the choices that will be open to us in the future. We can be Competent and that’s enough. To try to gain equality and justice we are turbocharging political power over us and our society and our economy in a way that “implies a relationship of command between rulers and subjects.”

Which means equality and justice can be the slogan justifying what is being done but only genuinely entrenched inequality between the ruled and the rulers can result.

Sustainability in action may seem more blissful than my references to Uncle Karl and that little c theory but the beggaring and self-perpetration of a malevolent process are likely to be the same in the end.

Who knew studying the Middle Ages and serfdom and feudalism would prove to be so relevant to combating the fallacies in 21st century political schemes and toxic social visions?

Foisted on us in the name of education.

Forging New Categories of Consciousness Globally to Make Political Power the Key Determinant of 21st Century Life

If you are like me when I initially encountered the true story behind education reform, you wish political change was not a crucial aspect to the story. Let’s face it, it’s quite off-putting and can seem to be quite kooky at first. It’s an unbelievable story except it’s a factually provable one even if it’s hard to believe. So like it or not I had to go there in my new book. And I have to go there now on the blog to give additional information about what is coming at us from our politicians and agencies but also from international groups like UNESCO and the OECD that can bind us without being on our radar.

When I raise the concept of the little c theory of future human development from a certain notorious historical figure I mischievously refer to as Uncle Karl, or I simply keep reiterating the political purpose behind all these education reforms and the OECD’s PISA or the UN’s sustainability pushes and climate hyping, it is natural to want me to stop it. Keep it simple. Only tell the story from the angle someone is prepared to hear it from. That is really difficult to do though if we are to have any chance for avoiding this fiasco. Tracking all this over decades really does lead us to statements like “restructuring social, economic, and political systems was much more effective” in order to “bring about a desirable future.” So said one of the Club of Rome’s favorite world system modellers, Donella Meadows, in her 1982 book Groping in the Dark: The First Decade of Global Modelling.

Donella conceded something that is crucial for understanding what the UN is really up to with its IPCC Climate reports since plenty of observers have noticed there seems to be little effort to reflect reality. That’s not the purpose of these models. Their purpose is to model social systems. There was a great deal of frustration at the 1978 6th Annual Meeting of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) that the book came from that the world’s environment and its social, behavioral, and political systems were so hard to model. Who else thinks that between the education reforms that began in earnest in the 80s and the Sustainability push that commenced via Our Common Future in 1987, the policy makers hit upon strategies to try to make people conform better to the desired model of the future? And a single world system that everyone in 1978 seemed to assume was coming into being over the next several decades.

Who knew? Now we know why I found what I describe in the book or the World Order Models Project I previously described on this blog that began in 1973. Did you know Moscow had an “All-Union Institute for Systems Studies” or that it participated in IIASA’s work? No wonder the emphasis of all this is towards collective planning and decision-making and “managing human affairs during the transition.” The kind of transition I laid out in the last post was being assumed by East and West in the 70s. At least if tied to the UN or OECD or the Club of Rome and now it is hurtling at us. Before I shift back to the current vision, let me quote Donella since I believe it explains why we cannot ignore the little c pursuit:

“There is no known physical or technical reason why basic needs cannot be supplied for all the world’s people into the foreseeable future. These needs are not being met now because of social and political structures, values, norms, and world views, not because of absolute physical scarcities.”

That’s the dangerous wealth as a fixed sum view of the world. And it guides international entities, systems thinkers, national and local politicians, and too many public employees. They see the environment as the justifying issue and education as the favored method for changing all those things Donella just listed to make such redistribution towards the poor in the North and South generally the point of public policy globally in the 21st century. Because those are goals that require the dominance of political power in all decision-making and the ability to bind the individual. There was actually a particular world model that was created in South America and financed by the Canadians that fits with the scenario laid out as the Great Transition. It was called the Bariloche model and was all about “fundamentally” changing global “values and institutions” and “sketching a way of arriving at the final goals of a world liberated from backwardness and misery.”

The Bariloche model from 1976 envisioned a world “in which human needs and human rights, rather than the desires to consume and to accumulate wealth, would become the basis for resource allocation.” And of course create the need for both a dominant public sector globally and docile masses capable of doing little more than Groping in the Dark. Except now with spiffier names like Competency and 21st Century Skills and Capability as a Human Right. Always essential to this vision though is a new way of thinking grounded in emotion that will see the world and its inevitable problems in ways that are beneficial to those who currently hold political power or would like to. Think of it as Mindsets suitable for an Oligarchy in power pretending it is really all about human needs, Gaia, and Successful Learning for All Kids.

Let’s come forward in time to the culminating 2006 document outlining the Great Transition. Called “World Lines: Pathways, Pivots and the Global Future” it gives further insights into all the social and emotional learning and Whole Child pushes as a means of “cultural innovation and social adaptation” that call for “emergent social forms [that] were also realms of the heart that broadened the affective sphere of community and reciprocity.” And such realms are necessary now you ask? Well, yes, we are supposedly in a “pivotal” historical moment to achieve a “peaceful, just, and sustainable world.” Don’t you just want to start a list of all the troubling regions of the world that haven’t gotten the memo about the Great Transition we have embarked on?

Do you think everyone will start behaving well if we just give them more of the world’s physical resources and learn to live with less ourselves? Lots less. How about if we use education to create in each student a “sense of planetary affiliation, kinship, and citizenship”?  Is that the ticket to social justice or just more power and resources to an increasingly parasitic public sector that gets to pursue its self-interest at everyone else’s expense while acting as the administrators of the Great Transition society? Making education policy globally and the 21st century visions of governments at all levels about adjusting to “a global future based on human solidarity, human fulfillment, and ecological sustainability–a vision we refer to as a Great Transition” will be a not-so-great transition to devastation of everything that has ever worked. Transitioning based on incentives that have never worked for the benefit of anyone not connected to political power.

Trying to use education reforms like the poorly understood actual intentions of the US Common Core or Quality Learning and Global Competency and 21st Century Skills everywhere as an effort to create “thought and action [that] must rise to the level of this emergent totality, as well as its separate manifestations” is utter madness. Especially when the supposed emergent reality is a factually false statement like:

“History has entered the planetary phase of civilization in which humanity and the biosphere are entwined in a common fate.” Repeat after me, none of us deserve to be classified as comparable to inanimate objects or as just another animal. Well, maybe  certain notorious fraternities on certain college campuses. Here’s more of the attempt to diminish every single one of us as an individual and to try to make us mere parts of a greater whole with no fundamental right to our own decisions.

“rather than independent, these phenomena are separate expressions of a larger process, the formation of a unitary global system.”

Now if you thought the communitarian aspects of all these sought social reforms were intrusive, who exactly will any of us be in a “unitary global system” apart from a source of tax revenue and needed labor in a world where all of the incentives have been perverted to chase after a possible future?

I did not lay out all this info to scare anyone so much as to force us to see the vision that people with considerable power and access to the coffers of public money really are pushing on us. Now.

The actual common core to be cultivated in everyone is a “new suite of values-human solidarity, quality-of-life, and respect for nature” that will be the foundation for a public sector administered “egalitarian social contract, poverty eradication, and democratic political engagement at all levels.” Right. Plus unicorn rides every Wednesday.

We apparently really are at a historical moment.

Will the independent individual really cease to have political legitimacy in the 21st Century?

Targeting Each Student’s Beliefs About the Purpose of Life Influences Every Perception, Feeling or Action

We are dealing with a fundamental shift in the nature of education from the transmission of knowledge to targeting the “mental process that activates and/or directs behavior and action.” That quote is from a different William Huitt paper from 2005 called “An Overview of the Conative Domain.” http://www.edpsycinteractive.org/papers/conative.pdf  The schemers who have major plans to remake the way society and the economy work in the 21st century are quite familiar with the psychological and behavioral science research that says individual human behavior remains unpredictable unless you get at motivations and values and other drivers of action. We are the ones who see the word ‘conative’ and wonder if there is a typo. If you read that paper you will notice that the real David T Conley definition of College Ready that he developed in 2007 for the Gates Foundation fits at getting at the conative domain like the dovetailed joints of a Duncan Phyfe antique table.

Before we talk about what is being aimed at, let’s go back in history to a perceptive soul who had a ringside seat in Austria at what led to both the Great War launched in 1914 and then saw the rumblings again in the 1930s and fled in time. This is from a 1957 book published by Yale University called Theory and History: An Interpretation of Social and Economic Evolution. The author was talking about the popularity of utopia projects which is precisely what we are dealing with here again more than 50 years later as we have UNESCO and the OECD and school districts declaring Subjective Well-being and personal unconscious motivations to be within their jurisdiction of control.

Ludwig Von Mises noted these projects “enrapture the intellectuals. A few skeptics observe that their execution is contrary to human nature. But their supporters are confident that by suppressing all dissenters they can alter human nature.” And Von Mises was writing about the behavioral science temptation before Big Data and supercomputers. Ponder this quote from Tom Vander Ark, the former executive education director for the Gates Foundation, from his book Getting Smart: How Digital Learning is Changing the World. Tellingly it is at the beginning of Chapter 4 on Motivation:

“we need a much more sophisticated and individualized sense of what will capture students’ attention and cause them to persist through discomfort and distraction. Our ability to quickly and efficiently get and use a deep understanding of the intrinsic and extrinsic factors that together cause focused and persistent behavior in each student–a personal motivational profile–will fundamentally change education and the learning professions.”

And society and the economy too as we have seen in other initiatives of all these groups wanting such intrusive info on what does or will drive future individual behavior. Think of all this as Data for Utopian Planning. Since the typical school district administrator or consultant is unlikely to know history, let’s go back for Von Mises insights again.

“planning for eternity [which is precisely what Sustainability is seeking to do], to substitute an everlasting state of stability, rigidity, and changelessness for historical evolution, is the theme of a special class of literature.[Now it is the topic of many degree programs!]. The utopian author [District Super or Professor] wants to arrange future conditions according to his own ideas and to deprive the rest of mankind once and for all of the faculty to choose and to act. [Precisely what is driving Digital Learning and the Conative research]…There will no longer be any history, as history is the composite effect of the interaction of all men. The superhuman dictator [here we have multiple agencies and NGOs seeking the title of Planner-in-Chief but you get the idea] will rule the universe and reduce all others to pawns in his plans. He [think all the empowered bureaucrats here] will deal with them as the engineer deals with the raw materials out of which he builds, a method pertinently called social engineering.”

Now is the typical Super or Consultant or Principal thinking in those dictatorial terms? No but they are brooking no opposition either and their plans add up to those levels of intrusive social engineering even if the individual pushers are only motivated by greed or envy or just stupidity. It can also be all three. Maybe they cannot even spell the word ‘conative,’ much less define it. But they can still be a pusher for practices that are grounded explicitly in psychological practices from an Abraham Maslow or a Mihaly Csiksentmihalyi intended to transcend the conscious mind.” With a history of disastrous effects.

Last year I wrote two posts explaining first the PEAK model–Performance Excellence for All Kids–and its links to Transformational OBE and the tragedy at Columbine. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/how-much-innocent-blood-will-it-take-to-stop-sel-manipulation-for-political-gain/. And I wrote that before the conative researchers kept pulling in Abraham Maslow and his peak experiences as what they would be aiming for in the classrooms. Hardly seems possible that the acronym PEAK is coincidental. Do you know what the conative researchers say they must have to finally get their desired emphasis in place? Site-based management like School Governance Councils or Advisory Management Councils.

I wrote another post about the Achieving Excellence Model implicated in Columbine that is also relevant to what is being sought. I will link to that as well as the stitches in my right hand that made the blog go silent for almost a week have started telling me the rest of the story can wait for the next post. Quiet please. It cannot all wait lest this be coming to a boil somewhere else. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/using-education-to/ . If you remain unfamiliar with the name Bela Banathy or the link of all this to systems thinking, you must read that post. More dovetailing by a Master Manipulator with blueprints of a utopian tomorrow through education.

This morning I discovered that the Achieving Excellence Program was actually international and the subject of a “School-Year 2020″ International Conference in October 1988 as a joint venture with the McREL (where the term Second-Order Change now comes from) ed lab in Aurora, Colorado and a Norwegian education group, IMTEC. Anyone know of any tragedies in Norway involving schoolchildren? The Autumn 1989 issue of the 2020 Newsletter pointed out that “McREL’s A+ is a site-or school-based management system.” Now the accreditors are pushing all schools to this model but none faster than charter schools or charter districts.

Now last week Tom Vander Ark’s blog ran a puff piece from a taxpayer paid PR consultant touting the wonders of site-based management, Fulton’s charter, and its potential for “innovative practices.” http://gettingsmart.com/2013/08/innovation-happens-at-the-school-house/ Yeah, that’s not how School Governance works and the language of that charter is all about using technology, fostering life skills and soft skills, and closing the achievement gap in a diverse district. So we have taxpayer money going to sing the praises of the charter nationally while the former District Deputy Super who helped draft the charter now runs a consulting business training School Governance Councils in the district on their rights and responsibilities. While chairing the local school’s governance council and insisting when asked that this is no conflict.

The School Governance Council actually seems to have very few rights according to the parent-member who spoke last week at the PTA meeting. That was the same PTA meeting where the PTA turns out to have transferred $20,000 from the pot of required to join dues money to continue to fund Spence Rogers and PEAK no matter what the teacher and parent outcry. Even after a 60% teacher turnover since the training started.

The interest in the conative, the psychological change-the-child model, and site-based management are all inextricably linked. If you have a child at a school with one, you need to get to the bottom of what is considered to be student achievement or Growth going forward at your child’s school.

Take good notes and pay attention. The schools and too many politicians are engaged in a planned assault against students AND teachers.

And I am trying my best to arm everyone with the needed info and the nature of the conflicts of interest.

Digital Promise and 21st Century Skills as the Long-Sought Rapid Change of Minds for the Future

When I was looking for a way to explain what the effects would be from seeking new kinds of minds and personalities through ICT and tracking affective responses, I remembered the 1989 book New World New Mind: Moving Towards Conscious Evolution. Now I do occasionally pull books off the shelf to help illustrate a point vividly but the link of that book to the Digital Promise and 21st Century Skills initiatives is actually quite direct.

http://www.digitalpromise.org/how-practitioners-and-policymakers-can-work-together-to-innovate/ is a July 31, 2013 story on the meeting of League of Innovative Schools Supers and Admins with reps from the federal DoEd, the White House Domestic Policy Council (this push is a high priority for this Administration), and the Office of Science and Technology Policy. John Holdren heads OSTP and his long-time mentor and associate Paul Ehrlich of hyping various global catastrophes fame (with his own tag) co-wrote the New World New Mind book. Ehrlich mentioned and thanked Holdren for his help on the Acknowledgments page.

Chapter 8, “The Beginnings of Real Change,” makes it clear this is a global program to use education to change “the nature of our minds and the training we give them.” According to Ehrlich and Robert Ornstein: “although the problems that humanity now faces are immense, at least they are of our own making. The mismatch of our brains with our environments has been produced by millenia of effort, by the skill, ingenuity, and drive of our species–by the very minds that are now out of step with the world they live in.”

Ornstein and Ehrlich wanted to extinguish that independent ingenuity and drive some people have through “a revolution in the way we bring up children and in the way we teach and what we teach.” They recognized, as all of us now need to, that traditional “schooling also changes the structures of children’s minds significantly [they mean at a physiological level]. Reading, writing, and arithmetic, so commonly taught, are not [emphasis in original] natural acts of the mind, but are radical transformations of the way the nervous system operates. The mind’s default positions are for talking and listening…”

Which is precisely why talking and listening as the purpose of the Discourse classroom, and required projects and group collaboration and communities of learners, is such a huge focus of the actual Common Core implementation. It is why print literacy is minimized and media and digital literacy are held to be just as important. It’s not a better way to learn. It’s an active pursuit using ICT of these New Kinds of Minds. After all Joel Klein, head of Rupert Murdoch’s tech-focused ed subsidiary, Amplify, actually said that was the goal to my face at a luncheon last fall. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/ridiculing-the-1860s-mind-as-unsuitable-for-the-21st-century-cui-bono/

So New Kinds of Minds remains the pursuit almost 25 years later and the other Ehrlich/Ornstein goal then becomes changing prevailing attitudes on politically useful topics. Cultural-historical activity theory or CHAT is a learning theory imported from the USSR created to change  the course of the future by changing the dominant culture itself. Through school specifically but also education generally. I’ll put it this way CHAT theorists also care about what stories get pitched on the nightly news and what the headlines read. What themes will the typical person come to believe are an issue as they go through busy lives? One of the CHAT theorists, a Finnish prof who also works in the US. Yrgo Engestrom (also tagged), kindly put his Learning by Expansion’s theory’s purpose into explicit published words in 2010. http://www.helsinki.fi/cradle/documents/Engestrom%20Publ/Studies%20on%20expansive%20learning.pdf

The article acknowledges a reality that the Supers and ed profs and principals do not bother to tell parents, politicians, and taxpayers so I will: “there are two basic metaphors competing for dominance today: the acquisition metaphor and the participation metaphor.” Now I will stop quoting Yrjo for a minute to point out that the entire actual Common Core classroom implementation this blog has been describing is dedicated to requiring the participation vision. Using misleading terms like equity and excellence and Quality Learning to get there. As I have been explaining, every entity that has a legal ability to regulate or mandate what goes on in the classroom is insisting that participation now win this competition. And it gets hidden in the insistence on group projects and collaboration. But Yrjo was even more graphic about what his and other CHAT learning theories are designed to do and change.

The key dimension underlying the acquisition vs participation “dichotomy is derived from the question: Is the learner to be understood primarily as an individual or as a community?” The participation purpose comes down on the community side of that question in direct contradiction to the West’s historic belief in the primacy of the individual. That is the question at stake in all these ed reforms. Pushing for this new answer behind our backs and without our consent is precisely what Digital Promise and 21st Century Skills are really about.

Yrgo again kindly says there are three more dimensions at stake with all these learning theories like his that are designed to push participation as the new radical vision of education to create “new activity structures for society.” Think workplace, neighborhoods, political processes. These ed profs and administrators have great ambitions while they are living at taxpayer expense. In each of these questions, it is the part I bolded after the “or” that is what is stealthily coming at us like a high-speed freight train whatever our state says it is doing on the Common Core. And in other countries too. Oh, and the ICT focus is a huge tool for gaining this shift.

*Is learning primarily a process that transmits and preserves culture or a process that transforms and creates culture?

*Is learning primarily a process of vertical improvement along some uniform scales of competence or horizontal movement, exchange and hybridization between different cultural contexts and standards of competence? [Think of this as hip hop being as valid a means of communication as a well-written insightful factual paper]

*Is learning primarily a process for acquiring and creating empirical knowledge and concepts [reflects reality in other words] or a process that leads to the formation of theoretical knowledge and concepts?

Now theoretical knowledge and concepts is of course another term for ideology but what do you expect from a theory designed to achieve massive social change as a direct successor to Uncle Karl’s now infamous theorizing? Yrjo leaves no doubt where we are all going with this quote: “While traditional schooling is essentially a subject-producing activity and traditional science is essentially an instrument-producing activity, [expansive] learning is an activity producing activity.” [his italics]

Now that kind of graphic lay out of intent to create transformative action in students is what is coming to our classrooms but the graphic warning is nowhere in sight. Instead we get far more innocuous sounding initiatives being paid for by the National Science Foundation such as Janet Kolodner’s “Learning by Design’s Framework for Promoting Learning of 21st Century Skills.” Janet is also the listed PI for the troubling and related NSF Cyberlearning push that I described here  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/the-need-to-know-as-we-understand-it-today-may-be-a-lethal-cultural-sport/ Now Janet’s CV is simply too solid for me to believe that she really thinks that a case-based method that is suitable for adult med students, who have a well-stocked brain of knowledge and analytical skills to be where they are, is somehow suitable for middle schoolers who generally have neither.

The truth is the whole Next Generation Science and Learning By Design and Case-Based Learning is just a rejection of science as an “instrument-producing activity” as in sharp ingenious minds or new unapproved technology without saying so. What Ehrlich and Ornstein sought in their book so long ago. It’s the excuse for a classroom centered around social interaction and designed to limit the cultural transmission of knowledge built up over generations that makes humans a very special species and some people downright extraordinary in their impact on all of us and the direction of civilization.

Kolodner sees people as “goal processors who make our way through the world trying to achieve our goals” which strikes me as a horrifically hobbling vision for the future. Like so many other reformers she wants to shift our daily perceptions going forward and limit us to our previous experiences coupled to theoretical framing school will provide. Yrjo would approve. The end result of these classroom activities are students who are adaptable to uncertain, new, and rapidly changing conditions. Which of course the ed reforms intend to drive. Students who are capable of complex communication and social interaction. The world trembles at the thought of a superpower preparing ALL students to be in the habit of listening and asking questions of each other and making presentations. We also get students capable of non-routine problem solving and self-management which is starting to sound a great deal like David Conley’s definition of College and Career Ready  created for the Gates Foundation.

Finally, students learn to be good systems thinkers and to see themselves as embedded in systems. Even if it is not true in reality, it is such a useful metaphor to get students to see themselves as part of a community instead of an independent individual.

No wonder Paul Ehrlich is running around giving UN presentations that humanity is more than 5 years into a global program to radically change human behavior.

Yes indeed, driven by education reforms that are poorly understood and collectivist political theories masquerading as learning theories.

 

Turning All of Us into Piggy Banks or Dependents Who Need Direction and Aid and Desired Dispositions

Following up directly from the presentation discussed in the previous post, do you believe that the “best way to prepare students for the future is to equip them to invent it?” Can we in fact design the future we want if we are just all determined enough? What makes one a good inventor? Passion or knowledge? How well do most group efforts where consensus and majority rules prevail work out in the real world?

How about education designed to “plant the seeds of peace in children’s minds”? Will that work or is the West, especially the US, simply disarming, mentally and emotionally, its young people while real threats still await? Both of those quotes come from Fernando Reimers, the Harvard Ed School professor who used to be an official with the World Bank, whose three dimensions of global competency were explicitly mentioned in that P21 video. If something is being incorporated by reference into classrooms to get at student values, attitudes, and beliefs, and create new dispositions and behaviors, we had best know what it is. Now. Before we have a toxic collective common core in a majority of voters.

If you are reading this outside the US, we now have our explicit link from a European journal of all this to the 2001 Citizenship initiatives in the UK and Australia I first described here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/mandating-global-citizenship-mindsets-by-assessing-whether-students-adopt-social-altruism/ . Canadians who have never read the 2012 Shifting Minds report from C21Canada should find it. Global indeed in every sense of the word. Not speculating here and it’s not just an American problem. Even though there are apparently additional gold stars and bounties available for change agents whose theories gain international acceptance. Just ask Pearson’s Michael Barber.

What are we dealing with here then? Well, to quote Reimers we “could call these dimensions the three A’s of globalization: the affective dimension, the action dimension and the academic dimension.” By “affective” Reimers means the “development of character, affect, and values” around a “global common framework of values” such as the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I took the title from my own observation that everyone in the world having a right to a certain standard of living means a global class of administrators redistributing from those with the duty to provide to those waiting to benefit from the goodies. History shows the national leaders will want their cut and no one has an incentive to get off the dole or taxpayer teat. Especially if it is just there. At least until the money dries up completely and then where are we? Gimme anyway? And all this gets administered by bureaucrats from the UN or OECD who want tax-free salaries and benefits that only have a reason to exist as long as dependence and tragic dysfunction remain. Anywhere. More lucrative jobs if misery then spreads.

A Global Problem-solving focus is Not a prescription to get better. In other words, global education around competency and sustainability is actually likely to be unsustainable and make existing problems worse. The power to coerce gets used where it exists even if the students mean well in all these Youth Movements being fostered in the name of:

1. “A positive disposition toward cultural difference and a framework of global values to engage in difference. [I always sensed IB was a stalking horse for something bigger for everyone. Yikes!] This requires a sense of identity and self-esteem but also empathy toward others with different identities [remember here how critical Irina Bokova views the relationship between UNESCO and the new UN initiative--the Alliance of Civilizations]. And interest and understanding of different civilizational streams [with a spin that Bokova and AOC and Reimers approve of] and the ability to see those differences as opportunities for constructive, respectful and peaceful transactions among people. This ethical dimension of global competency includes also a commitment to basic equality and rights of all persons and a disposition to act to uphold those rights.” [cites make it clear this is an economic justice/John Dewey definition of democracy, not a structure of government].

Second is the skill dimension that develops the “motivation to act and the competency to act.” By that Reimers means “addressing personal and collective needs and of achieving sustainable human-environmental interactions” through those internalized Global Values created via the Affective Dimension (I am combining about 3 different sources for Reimers. All are the same vision and written since 2006). Reimers wants students to learn to “live these [Universal Declaration of Human] rights (not just to know them).”

Third is that academic dimension and notice it IS knowledge but it is supplied knowledge and concepts to prompt the desire to act politically. To invent a different future around a collective responsibility for the wellbeing of humanity. “To understand the interconnectedness of the entire globe on a range of issues, environmental, political, demographic, and recognize their importance.” Again Reimers–”global competency encompasses the skills and interest to understand the basic interdependence of human beings and the environment on a planetary scale.” Now that’s a definition that will require a global class of tax paid administrators intent on coordinating and regulating and outright restricting.

Here then is a direct quote of the academic dimension taken from Reimers book by way of the NEA Foundation’s website (to show their support and intent I suppose), ALL students will need “Deep knowledge and understanding of world history, geography, the global dimensions of topics such as health, climate and economics and of the process of globalization itself …and a capacity to think critically and creatively about the complexity of current global challenges.” [aka systems thinking, paging Peter Senge and Bela Banathy].

So to be clear Global Competence also comes in under definitions of what constitutes 21st Century Learning. Even if you are not in a Senge affiliated district or state like Nevada, let’s say you live in the Atlanta area where the large districts of Cobb, Fulton, and Gwinnett have joined the 10 districts piloting Ed Leader 21′s Suburban Consortium http://www.edleader21.com/index.php?pg=33&id=2 that will delight their taxpayers no end as they discover no where to run from the policies and practices that led to the dysfunction of the Atlanta cheating scandal. The DC area is in the same situation as Fairfax County, Arlington City, and Prince Georges and Montgomery Counties in Maryland also close off the escape route. And Charlotte, Greenville, SC, and Miami-Dade to complete the long sought attempt to level academics in the suburbs and shift those home-instilled values and dispositions.

I mentioned proof above of global coordination of all these citizenship and global competency initiatives, here’s the 2007 link http://www.citized.info/ejournal/Vol%203%20No%202/Vol%203%20no%202.pdf . It puts a new reason on why we really needed a single set of national standards in the US. Too many of the states you see had created civics and citizenship standards that focused on developing the dreaded accurate knowledge among young people. And since having the federal government push this formally was just not available, as usual, one of the charitable foundations, Carnegie, picked up the tab and “the National Centre for Learning and Citizenship at the Education Commission of the States convened a series of meetings with civic policymakers and practitioners.” Instead of knowledge, these meetings “encourage policymakers to conceptualize citizenship education as ‘strands’ of civic competency that encompass civic-related knowledge [because direct instills patriotism?], cognitive and participative skills, and civic dispositions.  Equally important, there was agreement that these citizenship competencies are best developed through a coherent sequence of learning experiences that extend from kindergarten through twelfth grade.”

Get ‘em emotional often and early for many years in other words should make for igniting a reliable  generation of social change agents. Having “primary grade children …discuss the nature of ‘fairness’ and create a better school environment” are the experiences that “provide the civic foundation for middle and high school.” Where they will be primed to attend Youth Forums in Costa Rica to hear Al Gore or the Global Youth Summit next year in China.

That’s how and why all of these earth-shaking mental and psychological changes get instilled in your child or a majority of voters. And the elections in the West gradually get used to mandate a taxpayer-financed fundamental shift.

That UN and education superintendents and university administrators and too many politicians at all levels and every party are determined to give a 21st Century try.

And because they are adults who have spent their careers living off either the public sector’s ability to extract taxes and incur debt. Or live off the tax-free and compounding wealth left by Andrew or John D or Model T Henry or even today’s Bill, Melinda, Eli, and Warren, they are tragically unaware of what will happen when we make the purpose of education–Global Competency or Sustainability or Transformational Outcomes Based Education–turning out the rational, independent lights of most individual minds.

To “instill seeds of peace” in a dangerous world. To create influential guiding beliefs that are false. To mandate “perspectives” because we wish that is how the world worked.

Breaking the individual and collective piggy banks and then where will we be?

Now More Than Five Years Into An Attempt to Help Organize A Near-Total Revision of Human Behavior

Now won’t Performance Assessments and a total alteration of the nature of education come in really handy for such a goal? That title is from an August 7, 2012 presentation in Portland, Oregon by Paul Ehrlich on conducting research with his Millennium Assessment of Human Behavior (MAHB) that we have already talked about. It was his later remark about “creating a vision of a future in 2050″ that caught my attention most. It reminded me of a remark by Norwegian Jorgen Sanders on why he could be so confident that his 2052 predictions were not just a matter of probability. He said it was because processes were already in place to make the desired future come true. The UN Secretary General has said within the last year that there is no further need for treaties. That UN education initiatives will be sufficient to realize its desired future. That’s a lot more confidence than I feel and I certainly have more control over my future than a bureaucrat talking of societies and economies with millions of people and activities. What’s really up?

This post was originally going to just be about Professor and Change Agent Extraordinaire David T. Conley and how the Common Core implementation is taking terms like Noncognitive and christening them anew as Metacognitive Learning Skills. And the Ed Week essay of January 23, 2013 “Rethinking the Notion of ‘Noncognitive’” was likely to be the last time anyone acknowledged there is no content knowledge there. Just a hat trick to get rid of the deliberate departure from a rational thought focus.

I recognized Conley’s name as being involved with Outcomes Based education in the 90s and Oregon’s push for a change in K-12 focus to proficiency passing and a Certificate of Mastery. And that Proficiency Passing sounded a lot like the current drumbeat to Move On As Soon as a Student reaches Competency.

No new ideas. Just new names. But when I did my search for Conley up popped all the work he has done in recent years for the Gates Foundation and various states getting ready to implement Common Core on what College Ready really means. And it was stunningly inconsistent with what we are all expecting College Ready  to mean. Even apart from the stories I have written on altering the nature of college to fit with where Common Core is taking K-12. Now I really had the makings of a story on the continued duplicity involved with the actual Common Core classroom effect. But it was a remark in a 2010 Kappan interview that shifted my focus back to Portland and Ehrlich and whether I could link Common Core and  MAHB to that Future Earth Alliance I have written about and other UN transformation activities.

Conley makes no bones about the fact that Common Core is actually “an overhaul of the system from top to bottom”. Absurd but it is what is going on. On top of that though he says this new education system will be “based on the real educational needs of students, with an eye constantly toward the future world and society in which students will live.” Now that futurist talk reminded me of William Spady’s Transformational OBE Future Life Roles http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/future-empowerment-paradigm-or-educentric-tradition-guess-which-began-its-reign-20-years-ago/ . And his links to Portland. And Bela Banathy’s.  And the fact that Spady says in his 1997 book that Oregon stuck with OBE even after it became notorious. And that Peter Senge and the Waters Foundation now consider the Portland School District a Systems Thinking exemplar.

Two more connections you likely do not know, Portland is considered to be the ICLEI Agenda 21 role model for Regionalism. And Vicki Phillips who now heads the Gates Foundation’s Education Initiatives was the Portland School Super. Leaving Pennsylvania to take the job. So Portland is Ground Zero for the idea that education can be an instrument to transform the future. Just like Ehrlich says he wants to do globally.

Conley’s essay wanted to establish “semantic parity between cognitive knowledge and noncognitive skills” like beliefs, attitudes, and feelings. Conley wants us to see knowledge and unfounded beliefs and feelings as “equals” which I suppose is one way to alter the future. Just needs some Name Laundering. And then he goes on to say that with this declaration of equality, “the relationship between the two would be less hierarchical, more symbiotic.” Instead of the rational, well-stocked mind being in charge of behavior, emotions and false beliefs (or there would be no reason to dethrone knowledge) would govern. Exactly what Ehrlich says he wants to achieve. And quickly. Also sounds like his Newmindedness push of the late 80s.

Now I am not going to tease you further, I was able to locate a January 2013 issue of Human Dimensions where Anne and Paul Ehrlich announced that  MAHB was working with IHDP,  the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change. And IHDP is involved with UNESCO and the Future Earth Alliance and using the social sciences to reorient society. And in 2011 IHDP put out out a document describing precisely how it plans to use education to do just that. And I have a copy as of late yesterday. Busy weekend for Education’s Miss Marple. So I am not speculating about the Ehrlichs being involved with the global education transformation anymore just because of the similarities to what is being sought.

Which makes David Conley’s attempted official laundering of Noncognitive (the elements that made OBE so controversial) and College Ready so important. The Gates, Joyce, and Hewlett Foundations all help underwrite Ed Week  and they are each deeply involved with elements of the implementation that vary tremendously from the popular sales job to parents and taxpayers of what Common Core is about. You don’t get the position of headline essay unless this is an official position to be distributed widely. Which it of course was.

Conley’s March 2007 report for the Gates Foundation called Toward A More Comprehensive Conception of College Readiness wants to put the focus of K-12 on creating “habits of mind,” which he describes as a range of cognitive and metacognitive capabilities. And these are to be intentionally practiced at school until they become habitual. Something you need not even think about. Without that Ed Week essay we would not know he is referring there to our old controversial friends–values, attitudes, beliefs, and dispositions. Every parent sends their child to school to obtain “high degrees of self-awareness and intentionality.”

College Ready does have some knowledge in mind from the phrase “be able to know and do.” Unfortunately it just means the Big Ideas and Concepts. No need for detail. And College Ready rejects a focus on “de-contextualized content and facts.” No what content is allowed through into the classroom must be experiential. Something that can be interacted with as a task or activity or project. So students can apply their little bit of knowledge to real life problems that need solving. Students get to “understand themselves as instruments of communication.” It does sound ludicrous but Conley’s explicit goal is to set a gateway so low that virtually everyone can get through to college. “Academic behaviors,” which sounds solid, turns out to “consist largely of self-monitoring skills and study skills.” Study skills turns into time management, using information resources, and “communicating with teachers and advisors.”

Show up regularly with a pulse and a high school diploma entitling you to attend college no questions asked is yours. Another component of College Readiness, Contextual Skills and Awareness, turns out to be “interpersonal and social skills” and an awareness of the “privileged information necessary to understand how college operates as a system and culture.”

Remember these are the Learning Goals for ALL students. The highly capable as well. This type of Social Engineering via K-12 education hiding behind duplicitous definitions is precisely how UNESCO bureaucrats and the Ehrlichs and numerous professors addicted to all the NSF grants to use the social sciences and education plan to get “a near-total revision of human behavior.” All these schemers can alter the future. What they CANNOT achieve is their desired Vision. And they seem to not know or they have forgotten that lesson from the past. I mentioned Vicki Phillips, the former Portland School Super. In 2010 she moved to Gates with the responsibility College Ready. Not Common Core. Not creating consistent programs of solid content from state to state as the PR campaigns suggest.

College Ready. Conley’s College Ready. Search it out. He has repeated this vision of what College Ready really is numerous times since 2007. EPIC appears to be bringing in the dough that was once your money. Or maybe Bill and Melinda’s or Warren’s. Maybe Andrew Carnegie’s too.

When the Democratic Platform for 2012 mentioned education they did not talk about the Common Core. The content standards really only exist to gain the initial political approval from the states. They mentioned having All Students College and Career Ready. We have already discussed that Career Ready actually has a largely Communitarian mandate. To be demonstrated daily.

Now we know what College Ready means. So nobody gets to know much but they will be well practiced at believing and feeling and collaborating. And self-monitoring. Sounds like a Blood Pressure check.

Being stealthily prepared for that Ehrlich vision. At taxpayer expense. With everything aimed at removing the rational mind and the legitimacy of acting as an individual.

In the name of what sounds like a laudable goal to be embraced.

Future Empowerment Paradigm or Educentric Tradition? Guess Which Began Its Reign 20 Years Ago?

Of all the snow jobs I have to hear on why education needs to change away from the transmission of knowledge and instruction of subject matter, the one that spikes my blood pressure the most has to be the sanctimonious–”What we have been doing is not working.” Trust me, the credentialling Colleges of Education declared war on content back in the 60s. It became a hot war in the 90s with honesty among themselves about “revolutionary, unprecedented” changes and “radical” transformations. When controversies erupted, the dishonest revolutionaries though wanted to keep their pensions and taxpayer paid health benefits and monopoly over the classroom. All we heard then was that there was a difference of opinion of how to teach reading or math.

No one publicly mentioned this Paradigm shift or that the Educrats had taken to wearing the mantle of being Social Change Agents at war with an economic and political system they likely did not really understand. That they had decided to push for a different future for Americans and Canadians. Indeed globally. That educators, especially a group selling their “expertise” to states and school districts for a Paradigm transformation they admit their was no public demand for. Nevertheless, the schemers like Bill Spady and Spence Rogers embarked on new lucrative careers pushing:

“a colossal process that involves redefining and reshaping entire institutions and the belief systems and cultures surrounding them.”

No hubris there. After all Spady holds humanities, education, and sociology degrees from the University of Chicago and had been involved in education his entire life. What better preparation for Wholesale Transformation? The fact that the culture and traditions being replaced grew spontaneously over time and had created the highest level of prosperity the world had ever seen should not matter, right? And Rogers had been a high school math teacher. That’s an excellent background for:

“fundamental and widespread shifts . . . in the perceptions, beliefs, values, and preferences of the countless people involved in and directly affected by the transformation.”

Is it now hard to comprehend why districts and states aggressive in this wholesale transformation have had such poor academic results? If not even worse tragedies. Spady’s description of his desired new paradigm was even written in 1997 after the controversies over OBE generally and Transformational OBE in particular. This is from his defend himself and the paradigm book. Transformational has the students being assessed on life role performances based on a presumptuous future Spheres of Living Template. That would be the areas of “Work & Productive Endeavors, Close & Significant Relationships, Meaningful & Fulfilling Pursuits, Physical & Cultural Environment, and Group & Community Memberships.” These will teach students the practical “Life & Resource Management” so that each student as an adult can achieve “Personal Potential & Wellness.”

And according to Spady the Aurora, Colorado school district just spontaneously came up with this Great Idea of Empowering Student Life Performance Outcomes as the future focus of school. And other school districts just adored the idea and wanted to transition their schools and communities as well to this vision of the new perfect planned future. Ooops. They left out the planned society part although that is clearly where this is all going. Even if Spady suggests setting up committees to develop proposed future conditions to get widespread ownership of this vision. Two things stand out now in 2012 and going forward. One is that Spady by 1997 is already misrepresenting the history of OBE, what happened in Aurora, and who was involved as we covered here  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/using-education-to/

At the time I wrote that post about Creating the Behavior Government Officials Want in Future Citizens, I was reacting to the implications of what Bela Banathy had written and ASCD’s Educational Leadership were pushing on schools. And I understood Transformational OBE and its life role performances around an imagined future. Never have thought much of it as you can imagine.

Looking back now though I think we need to look at all these OBE and Systems Thinking transformations as related tools to get K-12 education in the West generally but especially the US to the 1989 UNESCO blueprint vision I described here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/values-and-vocational-creating-citizen-drones-via-education-worldwide/. Moreover, now that I have seen the early 70s during the Cold War UNESCO vision for a planned society called the Learning Society that I described here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/coercing-teachers-to-be-social-and-political-saboteurs-what-can-be-done/ , all of these education programs are clearly just strategies to target the West economically and politically and achieve control over a great deal of what should be free human behavior through the K-12 schools as well as colleges and universities.

No wonder it does not really go away no matter the poor effects on students or declines in test scores or even school tragedies that seem to have common factors being left undiscussed. That 70s report was quite graphic about the concept of employing mentally and psychologically invasive means in order to get transformed individual mindsets and visions for the future. The idea commonly phrased now as “You can’t get an omelette without breaking eggs.” I once wrote that students are not trees. Neither are their brains and personalities eggs to be broken and scrambled using data and feedback to adjust beliefs and values and feelings and attitudes to go along with a collectivist vision for the future in the name of the Common Good. Imagine what the officials who brought us Oil for Food’s corruption partnering with Education Leadership degrees have in mind for the future. No wonder we are being prepped for a post-GDP, Quality of Life society.

I find it interesting that in his book Flow published in 1990 then U-Chicago psychologist, now Harvard, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, has a cover that advocates this ecstatic union of feelings, thoughts, and actions (discussed in the previous post) as a means to enhance the Quality of Life. Of course he also says that Flow is easier for other species of animals and preliterate primitive societies to achieve. That may have a lot to do with UNESCO push for Basic Skills for All and only basic skills that began about the same time. And, oh, that unappreciated change in the definition of Literacy.

Communitarian prof Amitai Etzioni whose work is implicated so in what will constitute the required Positive School Climate and the actual definition of College and Career Ready also wrote back in the 80s about the Quality of Life society. Of course he was also honest enough to admit that such a society would be at the expense of future economic growth and development. The Quality of Life/Personal Wellbeing Society is also the focus of those Belmont Challenge/ Future Earth Alliance documents I have written about. I know you are shocked, shocked, that UNESCO is also a partner of the Belmont Forum in the going operational in 2013 Future Earth Alliance as well. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/future-earth-alliance-where-education-climate-and-economic-planning-are-all-cores/

Now I think I see some patterns here. And reasons for the continued disregard for the reality of what these reforms cause. A second aspect from Spady’s descriptions has a bearing now to what is coming to a classroom near you soon if it has not happened already. First he outlines the use of what he calls the Learning Community concept to ensure compliance with his Transformational OBE vision among Teachers, other faculty, and students. That is still its function now and too many parents are still envisioning academic rap sessions among Sage Teachers and involved, interested students when the Principal excitedly announces a Learning Community. Think of it as no one having the freedom to reject these bad ideas and the consensus being created by those without the knowledge or acuity to recognize what can lead to tragedy.

Secondly, the Common Core measurements of what is being accomplished in the classroom are largely formative assessments. Based on what Spady called performance assessments of empowering outcomes. The mentions of tests are largely attempts to mislead the nature of the wholesale change. The forming involves the student in the largely affective ways I have outlined in other posts. But having read a lot of SBAC, PARCC, and Gates Foundation funded assessments as well as the OECD work creating the entire concept, Csik’s psychology transformation of Optimal Experience appears to me to be thoroughly embedded into what is to occur.

And Csik thinks Karl Marx’s work has been misunderstood and misapplied and had lovely things to say about Antonio Gramsci and his brand of “humane socialism.” He now wants to develop and remake man’s consciousness as he believes  “we now need to learn how to reunite ourselves with other entities.” It is the disciplines and academic knowledge, he believes, that “produced science, technology, and the unprecedented power of mankind to build up and to destroy its environment.” Gosh, darn, amazingly enough, another UN priority.

If the vision of education, K-12 and higher ed, all over the world, under UN influence, is premised on this belief:

“Recognizing the limitations of human will, accepting a cooperative rather than a ruling role in the universe, we should feel the relief of the exile returning home. The problem of meaning will then be resolved as the individual’s purpose merges with the universal flow.”

We all have a right and need to know that. Now. Before the New Year. Before the Future Earth Alliance commences working with the education accreditation agencies and unions to impose this vision via education. Even further than it is now.

That’s a Vision of Submission if I ever read one. And it’s totalizing in its aspirations.

But luckily some of us still have the knowledge and acuity to recognize what we are dealing with. Be brave and forthright now with what we know. We are not naive Chamberlains hoping for the best in 1938.

Excellence Means Education Putting What We Feel, Wish For, and Think In Harmony

Is that what you think of when you hear a Super or Principal or Politician say they want excellence in education?  Can you appreciate how useful it would then be to create a false belief system about reality through curricula like Facing History or a UN report about catastrophic manmade global warming regardless of actual temperatures? Check on the feelings component. How about the utility of a rather limited store of facts coupled with a new value system driven by a perceived need for fairness and social justice? That sure would affect what was wished for. Top it all off with a mind that was never taught to read phonetically and uses context strategies to guess at unknown words. Couple that to a brain that was never taught logic through grammar or systemmatic, sequential coverage of math topics (abstractions are taboo, remember?), and you have precisely the classroom recipe we have been dealing with in some schools, districts, and states for about twenty years.

If our Colleges of Education aspire to create mushbrains and then have their graduates meddle in the students’ inner subjective emotions to create a new sense of self and personal identity, professors pushing such a dialogic vision for the engaged classroom should not turn around and write Editorial letters that school tragedies must be the result of guns. The Second Amendment.  Lots more has changed in education. Targeting that inner self is a big part of what changed in the last 25 years or so.

The economist Thomas Sowell writes presciently that:

“Civilization has been aptly called a ‘thin crust over a volcano.’ The annointed are constantly picking at that crust.”

Well, in our case the annointed are largely education professors or those with sociology or psych degrees who have decided they get to decide what kind of future there is going to be and they plan to use their monopolies over K-12 and higher education to get there. Even though they clearly do not understand economics or history. I am going to stop what is not a funny topic to tell a funny, telling, story I read this week on the Cafe Hayek blog about Amitai Etzioni.

As you may recall, he’s the Communitarian professor whose vision of the future is so much a part of the Positive School Climate mandate, the real definitions of College and Career Ready, and the C 3 civics push for a Common Good emphasis. Apparently he suggested that until we can get national gun control legislation, people should voluntarily get rid of their guns and then put a sign in front of their home announcing that fact to strangers as they go by. Now should someone who finds that to be an inspirational idea really be who we are listening to on their vision of the future?

I had a similar thought this week as I looked through Spence Rogers’ Teaching for Excellence Materials. The co-creator of Transformational Outcomes Based Education with Bill Spady recommended pushing psychology prof Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s book Flow for all teachers using his classroom template. Since I have children in a school and district using Rogers’ work and had already written about Csik  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/what-if-higher-order-thinkingdeliberate-confusion/  it was time to get his other books. I already had Csik and his co-authors saying their education reform work was about “trying to direct the course of the future” and maligning capitalism.

I am actually using Csik’s 1997 book Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement with Everyday Life for this post and the title. If you believe excellence is about using the classroom to train students to “curb the goals” arising from “their genetic or cultural inheritance” (Ripping the whole cover right off Sowell’s volcano) and your psychological theories are being widely implemented, tragic results simply cannot be treated as unexpected. Or inexplicable. Just because tragic results were not Csik’s or Rogers or Spady’s or the principal or super’s intentions.  We are explicitly targeting feelings via the classroom to supposedly “restore an inner subjective order” and develop new attitudes not shaped by “our peculiar capitalist heritage.” Csik’s vision is to use school to push the idea that as the Hindus believe “persons were not considered to be separate individuals as we think of them, but rather nodes in an extended social network.”

This excellence via flow vision of Csik’s that is now part of teacher professional development rejects the transmission of knowledge purpose of the school. The emphasis on student performance outcomes and goals are all reflected in IB and the Common Core and the Standards for Learning and Teaching. All insist that education must be about experiences. Not abstract ruminating. By golly, if you are thinking and comparing on an assignment you need to be able to cite the passage behind your thoughts. Gee, I remember when A work was making a point even the professor had not thought of. Students today supposedly need a consciousness “full of experiences” where “what we feel, what we wish, and what we think are in harmony.”

That’s a flow experience to Csik and that aspiration by the government into the full spectrum of a student’s personality to be monitored via data and feedback to measure “personal growth” should not really be considered intrusive. It’s in pursuit of a different future after all. And if you wonder why teachers or principals sometimes get a glazed zealot look in their eyes when describing their PEAK teacher training or Peter Senge’s systems thinking seminars or Camp Snowball, this is Csik’s description of a flow experience.

“The metaphor of “flow” is one that many people have used to describe the sense of effortless action they feel in moments that stand out as the best in their lives. Athletes refer to it as “being in the zone,” religious mystics as being in “ecstasy,” artists and musicians as aesthetic rapture.”

If you need more proof that education and pedagogy no longer accept any boundaries– personal, spiritual, social, or political– in the determination to transform the student from the inside-out. Changing where students find meaning itself, here’s an interview with Professor Kazanjian who headed up the 1998 Wellesley Education as Transformation project that expressly also mentions K-12.   http://www.ikedacenter.org/thinkers/kazanjian_int.htm

If you have never read this post on Bela Banthy’s totalizing vision of education he called Achieving Excellence to take us to a different future, I suggest reading it. Now. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/who-granted-permission-to-spearhead-societal-evolution-to-a-global-cooperative-consciousness/ Then ask yourself why Bill Spady, who had directed Banathy at the Far West ed lab in Oregon later misdescribes the 1991 creation of Transformational OBE in Aurora, Colorado after it became controversial. And never mentions Banathy’s more comprehensive version of the OBE vision at all.

I think it is because Banathy gives the rest of the story. The economic and political transformation that all these education reforms and psychologizing of the classroom are actually leading us to. The planned society. The planned economy.

The highly emotional, manipulated to be servile and give in to the herd mind. Led by too many adults who are now always seeking a continuation of what felt like a mystic experience. Who don’t see anything wrong with trying to create a new world via the classroom. Who lack the knowledge to put the pieces together and then recognize why this cannot end well.

I wish everyone reading this post and blog a very Merry holiday season. Please do not be sad about the gravity of what I have been writing about. I don’t know why I was put in the precise places I needed to be over the last few years to get this story. But I was and I have it.

And I genuinely believe that telling it will make all the difference in really altering the future. But in a good way. Certainly better than what is currently intended for most of us.

Tearing Up the Fabric of a Free Society: The New College, Career and Civic Life (C3) Framework

I did not say impair. I did not say damage. I said Tear Up. Why such a dramatic statement? Because the week AFTER Obama was reelected (Nov 12) and then quietly put out more publicly during a holiday week, the CCSSO (Council of Chief State School Officers, the heads of State Departments of Ed which is funded by many of the same businesses who benefit from its edicts including many tech companies and the accreditor AdvancED) issued a Framework that appears designed to create Homo Sovieticus right here in the USA. Seriously. Taking the political theories developed in the USSR to change mindsets there and making them the required perceptual “lenses” for students to confront daily life here going forward. Treating long-held aspirational visions of collectivist decision-making as established “evidence-based” fact. Treating metaphors like BEST, Bronfenbrenner Ecological Systems Thinking, as factual descriptions of how the world works. Oh. My. Goodness. So yes, I stand by the words “Tear Up the Social Fabric.”

Free societies recognize that different individuals have different interests and goals. It leaves them free to each pursue their own perception of reality. Their respective visions of the good. Characterizing that as selfish as the Statist schemers love to do when they are not disparaging it as the Ego-Driven Society is merely an attempt to target the legitimacy of Individualism itself. Amitai Etzioni complains of Egocentrism without Mutuality and Civility Obligations precisely because he wishes for a Communitarian mindset to be imposed via education, K-12 and higher ed. And as we have talked about already that is precisely what the definition of College and Career Ready was already doing by Stealth. In fact, that appears to be a key purpose of Common Core–to gain Etzioni’s long sought reorientation of the nature of relationships among self, others, and the environment. With the government, which is also composed of “selfish” individuals, creating and carrying out edicts as the enforcer of this mandated Realignment.

Free society is actually not just another theory of what might work. Let’s jettison it and see what happens in the 21st Century. No matter what type of government or economic system you have–Communist, free markets, mixed, Republic, authoritarian, Whatever–there are essentially only three ways to get another person to help me or you or a cousin, ANYONE, achieve their desired ends: love, trade, and force.

I am going to borrow David Friedman’s analysis on this fundamental reality of how the world works. Always has. Always will. We ignore at our peril analysis.

“By love I mean making my end your end. Those who love me wish me to get what I want (except for those who think I am very stupid about what is good for me). So they voluntarily, ‘unselfishly’, help me. Love is too narrow a word. You might also share my end not because it is my end but because in a particular respect we perceive the good in the same way.”

You get the point but unlike the Common Good being held out by Statist Schemers, making someone else’s end yours requires knowing them personally or knowing their policies if they are a politician or public figure. It is a free decision. It is not imposed by others.

The second method of cooperation is trade. I cannot do everything. Not enough time in the day and I am not equally good at everything. No one is. Trade then and free markets are all about me agreeing to help you achieve your end if you help me achieve mine. Steve Jobs wanted revenue and to show what technology could do. You love his ideas and voluntarily relinquish your money to get an I-Phone or I-Pad. No coercion.

The third method for achieving ends is force. You do what I want or I shoot you. Or, in the case of these education reforms we have been describing, you get denied the education credentials that are to be necessary to move on. To gain entry to a well-paying Job or prestige college. Common Core has a very curious vision though of the future workplace. Employees participate in it. Collaboratively problem-solving with other employees in a most impractical way outside a bureaucracy or Business with a state granted Monopoly. Which is clearly the whole idea. Classic Dirigisme as we have seen. Little Economic Growth is sought (although that part of the vision is currently being left out for obvious reasons). An official push for a Quality-of-Life Society where the Well-Being of All is to be the source of Psychic Satisfaction for All. Just like the Belmont Challenge lays out.

What. Are. The. Odds.

All this again requires a new Mindset. A New Mode of Consciousness. A New Sense of Being Human as various schemers we have profiled have called it over the last several decades. And that is precisely where the “Vision for the College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Inquiry in Social Studies State Standards” comes in. Think of it as using Option No. 3, Force, to mandate each student make the Majority Decided Consensus Choice or just the Crony Choice Their End. And to hopefully come to see such a mandate as altruistic. Born out of their Love for others. You know, they don’t say catch them while they are young without good reason.

This C3 Framework Vision interestingly enough also reflects the Hewlett Foundation Vision of the Deep Learning implementation of the Common Core. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/when-deep-learning-and-systems-thinking-radicalizes-the-student-factual-reality-ceases-to-matter/. Which is further confirmation of our Common Core Ruse, Bait and Switch, Theory. Students in the C3 Vision are to spend their school days “developing questions and planning investigations” of “societal issues, trends, and events” of relevance to them. The better to emotionally imagine a Utopian Vision for an altered Future.

Secondly, they are to “apply disciplinary concepts and tools” to be the “lenses students use in their investigations, and the consistent and coherent application of those lenses throughout the grades should lead us to deep and enduring understanding.” Yes, this is where Homo Sovieticus comes in because the required lenses are not evidence based as CCSSO asserts. In fact most supplied are not even true.

For example, the US is in fact NOT a “constitutional democracy” whatever the Educrats declare. And the day it becomes a democracy it will not be based on the US Constitution. There are also no such civics requirements of the kind CCSSO aspirationally lays out. Apparently trying to shoehorn John Dewey’s Vision of a Participatory Democracy by credential fiat. Then there is the desired Economic Beliefs to Serve as a Permanent Filtering Lens. What do you think will be the effect of teaching students to “understand” the:

“ways in which individuals, businesses, governments, and societies make decisions to allocate labor, capital, and natural resources among alternative uses. This economic reasoning process involves consideration of costs and benefits with the ultimate goal of making decisions that will enable individuals and societies to be as well off as possible.”

Thus priming the mindset to legitimize Central Economic Planning and Industrial Policy as Natural and Useful instead of their historic norm of Wasteful and leading to Stagnation if not worse.

If those examples are not bad enough, somehow Geography gets morphed into mandating Thomas Berry’s Ecological View of the World as Man is Just Another Species. Called the “Environmental Perspective” it is to train students to view “humans as living in interdependent relationships within diverse environments among the planet’s many species.” Paul Ehrlich’s Newmindedness there you are. BEST comes in under Geography as well as the required comprehension for students “that the world is composed of ecosystems at multiple scales interacting in complex webs of inter-relationships within nature and between nature and societies.” That’s also Vygotsky’s socio-cultural theory to create the Soviet Man with his new human nature. And Peter Senge’s Systems Thinking to boot.

Quite a web of collectivist theories against Individualism or Genuine Freedom. So, yes, I stand by my declaration that this Framework to be mandated on US classrooms constitutes a full-frontal assault on the entire concept of a Free Society.

Under this vision, the US will not actually be a Free Society. But students will be kept too ignorant and emotionally-driven to know they are perceiving reality with a deliberately created False Filter.

Now you know why Knowledge itself is under attack. We are dealing with an organized attempt to impose political ideologies and dogmas that would be unacceptable at the Ballot Box by stealth. Via a Coup by the Credentialed Educrats and Politicians and Cronies hoping to benefit from such a centrally managed economy. Classic Rent Seeking.

That’s a lot of power. Certainly worth lying about. But again, we get back to the reality that no one is honestly willing to assert that there is any mass prosperity in this vision.

Talk about forcefully imposing ends. Accept diminished consumption, lower standard of living in most of the West, a different kind of mind, and mandated “all in this together” whatever the work ethic or ability.

Isn’t this just a renamed rerun of history’s most tragic notions?