Change Perception, Change Behavior, Change Rules, Change Systems–the Real Common Core/Teacher Coercion Story

Today’s post reenforces my consistent point that what is going on in education ‘reforms’ at all levels is not about the how and what of getting as many students as possible as knowledgeable and able as possible. What most of us view as the historic role of schools. Even something as fundamental as the new teacher evaluations and measures of what constitutes student ‘achievement’ or ‘growth’ are actually bound up in the broader social, economic, and political transformation agenda. And once again the aim is not limited to the US or Canada or the UK or Australia. It truly is global in aim as this short video called ‘Purpose’ show us. http://www.purpose.com/

Now the first part of the title comes from that circle chart at the 1:21 mark that the way to achieve this comprehensive vision of global transformation is to Change Perception which causes Individual Behaviors to Change, hopefully along the preselected pathways. That in turn allows Changes in the governing Rules (either explicitly or as we saw with Harold Berman through the concept of evolving law that shifts with needs and new contexts). Finally, all of these shifts over a majority of voters results in a Change in the economic, social, and political Systems.

We could also call that chart a Graphic Organizer illustrating how to accomplish Dialectical Materialism in the real world. Now I still find that to be an off-putting phrase and just using the initials might not alert my readers to what I mean. I am also darn sure we are going to keep needing to refer to this Theory with an Infamous Past so I hereby rechristen it DiaMat for short. Why am I so sure this theory will need a nickname to allow for easy use?

Because I believe that the new teacher evaluations and professional development standards, and even the new definition of professional learning that is coming out of Kentucky, are all about getting DiaMat into everyday practice in our schools and classrooms. DiaMat in the teachers’ daily instructional practices of course allows that Obuchenie mindset to be developed in the students. Then the new alternative assessments being administered by Pearson, even in states like Texas that are not adopters of the Common Core, get to measure whether the desired changes in perception are occurring.

If we look at the inner core of that circle chart, we see Perception changes through new Story Telling, which of course is most vividly accomplished by ditching textbooks and making virtual reality Gaming and Cyberlearning the new focus of the classroom (under the motto that it keeps students engaged and thus keeps them from dropping out). Next, at the inner core under Change Behavior we find ‘Motivator,’ which is precisely what the League of Innovative Schools and the federally promoted Digital Promise hope to use technology in the classroom to determine. Under Change Rules, we find ‘Mobilizer,’ which I believe is a euphemism for the better known–’community organizer.’ Finally, under Change Systems, we find ‘Platform Builder.’ Like Peter Senge promoting systems thinking or Mark Greenberg pushing positive psychology on schools or Angela Duckworth on Grit and Tenacity as examples in education? Or to take it up a notch, we have Harry Boyte and his concept of the cooperative commonwealth or Gar Alperowitz and his Democracy Collaborative or King’s Beloved Community as only being satisfied via economic democracy.

The point of just those few examples is that the world itself and all the individuals in it may not be interdependent, but the idea behind radical ed reform and the transformation visions that accompany it certainly are. My book and this blog are dedicated to trying to sound the alarm of these connections in time. You may not have read Imagine Living in a Socialist USA that came out about two weeks ago from HarperCollins Publishing, but I have. It is a historically and economically illiterate vision with a devastating conclusion of what a Thanksgiving 2077 could be like in the transformed US. In the middle is an essay from Bill Ayers of Weathermen and “Just another guy in the neighborhood” fame laying out the associated ed vision. Ayers calls it “Teach Freedom!” but the Common Core calls it student-centered deep learning of the desired concepts with application to real world problems. DiaMat again.

Remember how we discovered that the omnipresent around the classroom implementation dual phrase “teaching and learning” was an inexact stealth attempt to bring in the Russian psychology and political theory of obuchenie to alter the student’s perception? Well, we did not dwell on it then but it is the teacher’s perception that is also  under active attack. The students are not the only ones to be asked to Ascend from the Abstract to the Concrete based on preassigned concepts to be understood as desired and acted upon. Teachers must shift too. Think of it as forcing everyone to become a change agent or to find a new job or career.

That’s what the new classroom observations and teacher evaluations are all about according to the developers of the Common Core standards themselves, Student Achievement Partners. Well, they did not mention obuchenie or Ilyenkov’s Ascending theory but they are intimately tied to the new definition of student achievement and how to end educational inequality. You see? This is why radical schemers are so hostile to us having our own personal store of accurate facts about the past. We go beyond the assigned story and interject our own conceptual understandings based on a pertinent solid foundation. Naughty me! Seriously in November 2013 TNTP (yes it is the entity Michelle Rhee started) released an Issue Analysis Report co-developed with Student Achievement Partners called “Fixing Classroom Observations: How Common Core Will Change the Way We Look at Teaching.”

That report itself says that “the implementation of improved teacher evaluation systems in a growing number of states and school districts, and the introduction of Common Core State Standards across the country” are “inextricably linked by their shared goal: better instruction for students.” Once again so much for the talking point about Common Core NOT being about how to teach the content. It is ALL about how to teach the content and in fact greatly limits what the content may be. Common Core and TNTP together ( they are distinct only to minimize the previous public outcries that supposedly derailed outcomes based education) are all about obuchenie instruction. On the circle graph we talked about above it is a certain type of instruction that changes perception so that behavior itself changes. Then the DiaMat process that should result in transformed systems can begin in earnest.

DiaMat is why the TNTP report stresses the need to teach the “right content.” Interpolating again, I believe that means content that will shift perception in politically powerful ways so that “students are learning what they should be learning.” Learning remember has been redefined as a change in values, attitudes, beliefs, feelings, or behaviors. That redefinition then fits well within the Purpose Chart for Change. If you really believe that outcomes-based education went away instead of morphing into new names and a different PR strategy, look at page 6 of that TNTP report under “student outcomes” (the italics are in original) about “Rubrics should draw a clear distinction between the  outcomes teachers are responsible for producing in a successful lesson and the strategies that can help them achieve those outcomes.”

Because I really am trying my best to alert teachers and students and parents in time about what is really going on and where it is all designed to lead, here is one more heads up addressed especially to teachers. It also goes to my certainty that what we are dealing with is in fact obuchenie and DiaMat and that they are integrally interrelated to the actual Common Core implementation and the Competency ultimate fallback. “State Lessons for Transforming Professional Learning” http://learningforward.org/docs/default-source/commoncore/seizing-the-moment.pdf Launched in 2011 from the official CCSSI sponsors and coming from Kentucky, the remainder of the 6 pilot states are Georgia, Illinois, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Utah, and Washington. It will be going national though and it is tied to what TNTP is developing as well. It also ties into the history of what it means to be an effective teacher that I laid out in my book Credentialed to Destroy: How and Why Education Became a Weapon.

It is DiaMat that ultimately weaponizes students and teachers and administrators caught up in this tragic vision. They are being credentialed and coerced to be change agents to transform the world. Meanwhile their educations at the K-12, collegiate, and graduate levels are being systematically stripped of anything accurate that might be an obstacle to a willingness to seek transformation–first at the level of perception, then behavior, then reality itself.

While people like me who have studied history and economics and classical lit and science are jumping up and down and screaming like that silly robot in Lost in Space with his “Danger! Danger!”

This has been a week in Atlanta where the dangers perceptible to anyone paying attention were unrecognized, or disregarded, by too many education decision-makers. Expanding the authority of this sector nationally and globally so that it can ignite transformational systems change will create comparable results to what happened Tuesday.

Nowhere to Go. No Way to Get There. Except this time there will be no innate southern kindnesses to keep us and our loved ones and our resources safe.

When Gaming Intends to Shape and Distort Our Perceptions of Everything Around Us. Viva La Revolution!

A title that provocative really should be based on at least some speculation. Maybe with me looking bug-eyed and highly excitable. Nope. Everywhere I looked to try to make the K-12 gamification focus we encountered in the last post a fringe ambition–on the periphery–I just ran into more graphic, open declarations. From people with the money and power to make their visions a reality. A 2011 book laying out these aspirations approvingly pointed out that the “Microsoft game-testing lab ‘looks more like a psychological research institute than a game studio.”

That author, Jane McGonigal, of the Institute for the Future, is a keynote speaker of this month’s annual International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) in San Antonio, Texas. She explicitly mentions Robert Torres’ Quest To Learn charter school vision in NYC as a means of reinventing public education as we know it. That Gates and MacArthur and Pearson Foundations vision of Reimagining Education. http://reimaginingeducation.org/ shows it is now the feds vision too.

Before I talk about the book Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World and its prescriptions for using immersion role-playing games and alternate reality games to encourage students to want to reinvent reality, let’s talk about how we get to this point in K-12. Last week President Obama issued a directive to the FCC “to take the steps necessary to build high-speed digital connections to all of America’s schools and libraries.” http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/connected_fact_sheet.pdf . The directive on Jumpstarting Learning Technology says our schools “do not prepare our student’s for a collaborative and networked economy” . Which really does sound like the kind of reenvisioned needs economy I have been telling you is integrally linked to these ed reforms. Anyway, here’s a full extended quote:

“We must make our schools an integral part of the broadband and technology transformation–particularly when that same technology can be harnessed to drive empowered, more personalized learning. From digital textbooks that help students visualize and interact with complex concepts to apps and platforms that adapt to the level of individual student knowledge and help teachers know precisely which lessons or activities are working. This technology is real, it is available, and its capacity to improve education is profound.”

That’s the real fundamental shift. All that wonderful personal data plus there’s no longer any need to use print to mentally envision what an author is describing or how things work. The video in the digital textbook or videogame will show the student.  Not influenced in the least by the fact that the creator of the game or textbook publisher openly acknowledged that as “we’re making these games, we dream of the other revolutionary things swarm intelligence might make possible. Low-carbon futures, mass creativity, living happily with less.”

Swarm intelligence by the way is part of what massive online player games can create.  The idea is that “experiencing communitas in an everyday game can spark a taste for the kinds of community action that makes the world a better place. Learning to improvise with strangers toward a shared goal” teaches that “swarm intelligence”–which game designers hope “makes people better able and more likely to band together toward positive ends.” I am really tempted here to bring in a comment about cultivating the little c era of association and community using the the benefits of a profoundly different new technology but I will refrain. Maybe. But even the White House says it is a new age–the Digital Age–and certain notorious political philosophies do believe that new ages grounded in new technology call for a new kind of consciousness. Do you agree?

At the 2008 meeting of the professional group for education professors, the AERA (yes that is the group that elected Bill Ayers to an executive position), Eva Baker of the National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing–CRESST–presented a paper called “What Do We Know About Assessment in Games?” She pointed out that Games work well when the point is measuring, as in the now federally-required measures of Student Growth. Rather than evaluating, as in traditional testing of the now-defunct knowledge unsuitable for the Digital Age. Her work seems to be the foundation for what GlassLab  is now doing. You “embed the assessment in the transactions of the game and build it into a game’s underlying engine.” The game then becomes the “types of learning to be experienced.”

But that would require coordination with game developers. Good thing then Eva (who you may remember also evaluated SBAC and PARCC for the Hewlett Foundation to ensure these would be measurements of Deep Learning) was a speaker at the 2012 Serious Games Summit. And CRESST is listed as a sponsor of the 2013 Summit. Also conveniently Jane McGonigal started writing her book soon after Eva’s AERA speech. Laying  out a vision on the Rise of the Happiness Engineers. The game designers who use the elements of Positive Psychology so that gaming can set off “the orgasm of positive emotions” such as awe. McGonigal quoted Dacher Kalter as saying that:

“The experience of awe is about finding your place in the larger scheme of things. It is about quieting the press of self-interest. It is about folding into social collectives. It is about feeling reverential toward participating in some expansive process that unites us all and ennobles our life’s endeavors.”

I am not trying to spook you. But if these are the intentions of the designers of the games that are now to constitute what is learning in the 21st century, it matters. The Institute of the Future does a great deal of consulting to famous companies and foundations. Apart from Jane’s high venue speeches.  Jane believes that games “have an important role to play in how we achieve our democratic, scientific, and humanitarian goals over the next decade and beyond.” Now her goals (or Eva’s or these foundations) may not be yours but they are the goals being designed into the objectives of these games.

And whether the student exhibits the desired beliefs, values, and attitudes (suitable for Transformation) is what is being assessed and measured as Student Growth. Jane by the way described her vision of a Sustainable Engagement Economy in the book. It reminded me of Shoshana Zuboff’s Needs Support Economy with its distributed capitalism. She also envisioned reinventing the workplace except she sees the new attitudes coming out of the gaming experiences as driving the desire for change. Making reality more like games is how she put it.

Reading Reality is Broken really is alarming since there really is no intermediary between the vision of the future designed into these games, the psychological and emotional methods incorporated into the games, and the student. And it’s not like I am inferring the vision here. There are many more troubling, to me, examples in the book. But the book reminded me of another troubling book I had read from 1988 called Global Mind Change: The New Age Revolution In the Way We Think. So I went back and reread the marked passages. It was a reminder that if you want social transformation, which that author Willis Harman certainly did as well, you need to target the unconscious belief system. Harman even mentioned our old friend Milton Rokeach (see tags if not familiar). Here’s the vision:

“This concept of unconscious beliefs and the extent to which they are capable of shaping and distorting our perceptions of everything around us–and within us–is so central to understanding the global mind change that we shall make a temporary digression to look into it more deeply.

Each of us holds some set of beliefs with which we conceptualize our experience–beliefs about history, beliefs about things, beliefs about the future, about what is to be valued, or about what one ought to do.”

That’s precisely the real Common Core implementation targets. That’s what Digital Learning is designed to assess and reshape if needed. The assessments have to be performances and activities because as Harman said in 1988: “persons may not realize they have these unconscious beliefs, but the beliefs can be inferred from behavior–from slips of the tongue, compulsive acts, ‘body language’, and so on.”

Now think about this next quote and whether the phrase common core may be a metaphor and not just a factual statement about skills and knowledge and consistency among students.

“In the innermost core of the belief system are basic unconscious assumptions about the nature of the self and its relationship to others, and about the nature of the universe.”

The Game Designers say that is what is being targeted. Ed professors and ed labs and implementation theories openly call these reforms “second-order thinking” and “Irreversible Change” because it is the unconscious being targeted.

We are priming the emotions and using virtual reality to practice how to change reality. While simultaneously leaving the mind empty of knowledge of likely consequences.

Which might foresee a Revolution more likely to deteriorate as the French one did than build something wondrous. As the American one did.

 

 

 

Naming Educators as the Levers Shifting the Human Personality To Marx’s Moral Revolution

The full quote was Change Producing Levers and it bemoaned their current disassembled status. But that was decades ago before education doctorates became about implementing Marx’s Human Development Theory in the schools and classrooms. And before all that psychology research from the late Soviet Union got rolled into pedagogy as we have discussed several times. And before Cultural-Historical Activity Theory, grounded in Hegel and Uncle Karl’s hope that man could change himself and his values and external conditions through practical activity in the world, got renamed to pitch to parents as student centered or project based learning.

Honestly I was a history major and I have spent the first five decades of my life not giving the disgruntled German revolutionary dreamer much thought. Especially since I wrongfully assumed it was a tired old defunct ideology anyway. But it just kept coming up as I charted what the real Common Core implementation, the one compelled by degree programs and actual definitions and the accreditors and laws and regs no one else seems to be reading, looked like.   So I dusted off my Phi Beta Kappa key for inspiration and rubbed it like a charm for good luck, shook the cobwebs out of my non-student brain, and dove into what turns out to be a still vibrant world of Marxist scholars looking for our answers. Especially why I kept seeing references to some unpublished 1844 manuscript that was still supposedly a vibrant vision for the future. The 21st century future.

I started with Gar Alperovitz’s new book that had struck me as fitting a vision of a small “c” communist future. That insight then pulled up economists Richard Wolff and Stephen Resnick lecturing and writing away in an inspired way that showed no signs of being a defunct ideology. In fact they have said there are more Marxists today teaching in American colleges and universities than ever. I believe them but it also suggests that our collective guard is down about something that is still a real but unappreciated threat. If educators in higher ed and K-12, especially administrators, are committed to reorganizing our society and economy around Uncle Karl’s belief that:

“In a properly human society, we would find our freedom through our relations with other human beings. A proper human life is one which is lived, at least in part, for the sake of others.”

And no, Karl was not referring to spouse, kids, and friends. But that does read remarkably consistently with what is called Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral Development and the Universal Love Principle which we encountered in Hong Kong and all through teacher training in the US. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/using-education-to-shut-down-free-choices-and-then-redefining-as-personal-autonomy-orwell-lives/

So lucky me tackled several books by NYU prof Bertell Ollman that were quite enlightening on how important it was to Uncle Karl to provide the Concepts of Understanding that would then filter daily perceptions. Check. We had rather noticed the omnipresence of conceptual frameworks and how the planned assessments are tied to those supplied Enduring Understandings and Understandings of Consequence. And Harvard Project Zero’s CORE–Cognitive Reorganization. So the lineage goes back to how to spark an inner change at the level of the mind and personality. That will then ramp up the motivation to take action to change the world.

Another enlightening prof I tackled this week from London was Jonathan Wolff. His insights may also help explain why Bill Ayers goes running around declaring himself to be a small “c” communist apart from a propensity to be obnoxious. Wolff quoted from The German Ideology where Karl wrote that “communism is not for us a state of affairs which is to be established or an ideal to which reality will have to adjust itself. We call communism the real movement which abolishes the present state of things.”

A quote to keep in mind as education and other degree programs trumpet their purpose of creating Social Change Agents. And with education reforms globally admitting their purpose is wholesale social, political, and economic change. Away from the concept of the individual and the primacy of the rational mind. And before we really dive into our Uncle Karl Scholarship 101 Cliff Notes version dialogue, remember how I have told you several times that the accreditors all over the world answer to UNESCO? That accreditation is actually being used as a driver of cultural and noetic change in higher ed, graduate programs, and K-12 and that the standards tie to what we have identified as the vision of Humanist Marxism we discussed two posts ago?

Well it now turns out UNESCO actually has a division called MOST–Management of Social Transformations–that ties to virtually everything controversial that I have ever written about. Including the Belmont Challenge and International Human Dimensions Programme–IHDP– that Paul Ehrlich has bragged will fundamentally alter human behavior. I mention both of those programs again because they are operational right now with far-reaching visions of global change. Especially to citizens of the world’s only superpower. See the tags on right to find those posts if you have never read them.

Now we come to Princeton political science prof and Sovietologist, Robert Tucker. He wrote a 1961 book called Philosophy and Myth in Karl Marx. Now Professor Tucker had little use for Karl’s economic vision but he believed that:

“the aspect of Marx’s thought that is most live and relevant to the concerns of men in the contemporary West is the purely utopian aspect, the part relating to the post-revolutionary future…his vision of the future world was, if not scientific, at least rather prophetic of real possibilities. Marx’s concept of communism is more nearly applicable to present-day America, for example, than his concept of capitalism.”

That quote calls for both a deep breath and a sit down and gulp reaction. 1961. Especially as Tucker goes on to make the point that is so critical to the education reforms that commenced all over the West in the 1960s. Prompting outrage from the get go but never accurately perceived. The sought revolution is not military confrontation and it needs no pitchforks. “The world revolution would be the universal act of human self-change.” If that’s not clear enough, Tucker goes on:

“The revolution involved is not a political one but rather a revolution of man’s attitude towards himself and the purposes of his existence, a revolution of values.”

And if that is not clear enough Tucker goes on to say the sought change is “psychological” and “a moral revolution within the self”. This Growth (as in each student in the federally mandated teacher evals) is the “outcome of a gradual process” (like over years of collected data now starting in preschool). If you wonder why the ASCD is pushing the Whole Child as an essential component of the Common Core and why every one with any power over the classroom is decreeing a social and emotional learning focus, we need go no further than Tucker’s insistence that the revolutionary change needed to target each person’s personality. As Tucker wrote graphically: “it is only there, and by the individual’s own moral effort, that the egoism can be undone and the revolutionary ‘change of self’ achieved.”

Now I am not trying to spook you but those passages accurately describe precisely what is being targeted. And now we know for sure why. And for most of us the terms Marxism and Communism are bounded by visions of the Kremlin and Mao and Stalin. We remain dangerously unaware of the real threat to the West from Uncle Karl’s philosophies. And how it can come in and create the desired, revolutionary changes in values, attitudes, and beliefs without notice. And at a psychological level within the student.

The year after Tucker’s book many of leaders in the Behavioral Sciences in the US visited the USSR on an officially sanctioned trip to look into the psychological research being done there. Ralph Tyler and BF Skinner were both on that trip and Skinner kept a diary. And Ralph Tyler came back and basically wrote the legislation that launched Title 1 and the massive federal involvement in US education. And Skinner pushed the operant conditioning potential of education, especially if tied to the computer. And in 1965 federally funded research began to change the nature of the colleges of education to make Behavioral Sciences the focus. Others have written about that BSTEP program and the revolution it controversially ignited.

But not in the context of Tucker’s book about where the real communist, little c, revolution needed to begin.

I will leave you to mull all this over. But I will add that all the economic and social transformations we have encountered in post after post that all seem to be different names for the same vision are all consistent with this little c vision of the economic future and social citizenship.

Oh, one more thing. Robert Tucker turned out to be the father-in-law of Robert English. You know who wrote the 2000 book that gave the award-winning, officially sanctioned story of how Gorbachev’s New Thinking was actually the Marxist-Humanist thinking?

Small world, huh?

 

Who Knew Karl Marx had a Human Development Model? Or that It Fit Our Facts So Well?

Or that it could be put in place in the US by executive fiat at the federal level? All you have to do is misinterpret the nature and language and case law of the federal civil rights laws. And then repeat. Early, often, and adamantly. It’s not like someone with a working knowledge of con law also reads education declarations and documents. It’s also not like changing the nature of education in the classroom could have any impact on a society or economy. Or political beliefs. Or future behaviors.

About a week ago the US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan sent school districts a letter announcing that “We Must Provide Equal Opportunity in Sports to Students With Disabilities.” It included a 12 page Dear Colleague letter from the DoEd’s Office of Civil Rights. A number of commentaries (Rick Hess and Mike Petrilli among them) have wondered where such a pronouncement came from and noted how impractical it is. Equal opportunity in sports at whatever cost. What no one seems to be paying attention to is what both letters declared. To  quote Arne directly:

“Federal civil rights laws require schools to provide equal opportunity.”

No actually federal civil rights laws do no such thing. Congress can rewrite them or the courts can change their interpretation of them. But Arne and his employees, even the ones with law degrees, may not. Especially on a Friday afternoon in the first week of a Second Term in office. If you read  http://www.ed.gov/blog/2013/01/we-must-provide-equal-opportunity-in-sports-to-students-with-disabilities/ the OCR letter you will see that sports is just an illustration of a much broader right Arne and his Department want to create. And they explicitly want to include learning disabilities, not just physical ones.

Think about that. If federal law did mandate that those with learning disabilities have an equal opportunity to students without disabilities or who are just plain brilliant, then school and high ed could not really be about intellectual pursuits anymore. That’s a playing field where inequalities in capabilities exist. Must change playing fields then. How about social and emotional learning since everyone has feelings? That would be an equal opportunity arena. All students can also interact at some level. Especially with computers. We also have a push now to promote life skills. Everyone can do that too. Except they usually leave off the full name: Life Skills for Psychosocial Competence. Can’t imagine why anyone would want to ditch such a graphic tipoff as to what is really going on.

There’s another possibility for our Equal Opportunity classroom. A developmental progression that focuses on personality development in a social context. That would be the education theories of Erik H Erikson. He practiced in Chicago and it’s hard to imagine Arne is not familiar with his views of child development or the sociocultural approach to education. Especially since the University of Illinois in 2007 published a paper in Educational Theory announcing all of this as the new approach to education. http://ematusov.soe.udel.edu/vita/Articles/Matusov,%20DePalma,%20Drye,%20Whose%20development,%20ET,%202007.pdf . And also because numerous government agencies including the Department of Education and the National Science Foundation embraced sociocultural theories instead of cognitive theories grounded in individual thinking as the basis of their future work.  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/so-now-common-core-rejects-individual-thinking-to-embrace-soviet-psychology-ecology/ is the post from July 2012 describing that official report and its troubling implications.

What I had not read in July was a 1982 book by CCNY/CUNY professor Marshall Berman called All That Is Solid Melts Into Air: The Experience of Modernity.  That book laid out Marx’s developmental ideal and “how crucial” it was to all his political beliefs. Also that it was grounded in the German humanist and Romanticist culture of Marx’s youth. Berman did leave out the part about how that ideal facilitated the national collective mindset that led Germany to launch two world wars in the 20th century. But then Berman is an admirer of Marx and that’s such a picky little detail for me to mention. Berman does mention though that this Marxian/Romantic German developmental ideal was “still very much alive in our own day” and that Erik Erikson is its “most distinguished living exponent.” Erikson actually passed away in 1994 but his work does clearly seem to be gaining momentum. Probably because without Berman’s book it would be harder to link it directly to Marx.

With that book though we don’t even have to infer. We can quote directly from Berman and Marx (pages 96-98 if you want to locate a copy).  Marx has a vision of education that does not transmit the values and knowledge of the current culture which he of course wanted to disappear. Hence the Melt into Air metaphor he used. Educators pushing Marx’s personal development theories today through later adopters, like Dewey or Erikson or Vygotsky, are pushing the same goals. Change the foundations that support the current economy, society, and political structures.

That’s in fact why this type of education is not just called Progressivism. It’s also known as Social Reconstruction and that is precisely where that Equal Opportunity declaration takes us. Very similarly to the goal Goodwin Liu also laid out for the Common Core here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/morphing-the-common-core-into-a-new-rewritten-us-constitution-by-mandating-false-beliefs/ . Same basic desired Transformation goals coming from a variety of directions. With the same vehicle–education, K-12 and higher ed and creating false beliefs and new values to get different future behaviors. At least from a voting majority. What Paul Ehrlich and his MAHB seek as well

Berman first quotes this passage from Marx’s Communist Manifesto:

“In place of the old bourgeois society, with its classes and class antagonisms, we will have an association in which the free development of each will be the condition of the free development of all.”

A desire that 21st century educators will relabel as the Universal Love Principle or Kohlberg’s Moral Development Theory and impose in the classroom in the name of Character Education or a Positive School Climate. Let’s continue on with how crucial this developmental ideal was to Marx. Berman cites several examples but this one rings consistent with the actual current definition of  College Ready: “the goal of communism is ‘the development of a totality of capacities in the individuals themselves.’ Berman goes on with this passage from The German Ideology that is consistent with the Communitarianism we are have found in Career Ready Practices and the Positive School Climate (again!):

“only in community with others has each individual the means of cultivating his gifts in all directions; only in the community, therefore, is personal freedom possible.”

Bill Ayers just loves that definition of freedom. I do believe it’s what sent him into education in the first place. I mean who would know? Who reads Marxist professors to locate such a quote back to Marx himself? Me when the footnotes cite someone.

This final quote from Marx is reflected in the actual definitions of Student Growth and Student Achievement being used in the States as part of Common Core. It’s why feelings and social and emotional learning and changes in values, attitudes, and beliefs measured through collected data about each student and classroom are so much a part of the actual Common Core implementation. This is from Volume One of Capital:

“it is essential to communism that it transcend the capitalist division of labor [that would be differences in knowledge and skills among students in less stilted language]… the partially developed individual, who is merely the bearer of one specialized social function, must be replaced by the fully developed individual, fit for a variety of labors, ready to face any change in production, for whom the different social functions he performs are only so many modes of giving free scope to his own natural and acquired powers.”

That’s a fairly concise summary of what is now being called College and Career Ready if you go back to the original documents as I have. It also fits perfectly with the OECD’s definition of Competency driving international education reforms through PISA.

Now I am not saying everything going on in education globally is about resurrecting Communism. For one thing it now has a terrible reputation. But education globally is trying to displace any right of individuals to make their own decisions about how to live their lives. Right now the 21st century being shaped for us through education is the Age of Statism where politicians and government employees and Business and Nonprofit cronies make decisions for us. It’s not to be the Age of the Individual or the Consumer or widespread prosperity.

And the educational theories being used to mold New Kinds of Minds and Different Personalities really do track back to Marx. Which then makes 20th Century history hugely relevant to where we are headed in the 21st.

I wish this was not true but it is. And the only way to get us off this current planned pathway is to stare this Marxian foundation square in the face.

 

 

 

Continuing Our Conversation on the Planned Psychologizing of Each Student via the Classroom

Friday was a heartbreaking day. I obviously wrote the previous post before we got the tragic news of those lost precious young children and the Principal, School Psychologist, and Teachers who lost their lives trying to protect them. It is certainly a reminder that in all my writing about what has really been going on in education and what the actual intended goals are, well-intentioned, brave adults are being manipulated in all this to be Inadvertent Agents of Change. Many are unaware of what the actual goals are and any past history. Or they are Intentional Agents of Change but nothing in their background could possibly alert them to the gravity of what is being attempted via education.

I cannot let the topic of what is planned go. After all, for a history geek  the phrase “general objectives of a spiritual, philosophic and cultural nature reflecting a certain idea of mankind” coupled with taxpayer money and an unaccountable bureaucrat in charge of obtaining the sought transformation is akin to waving a red flag in front of a bull. He wants to charge and gore. I want to find a helpful anecdote to illustrate the consequences and write. But being graphic so soon after Friday’s tragedy about what I know about Connecticut education and how long Outcomes Based Education has been ramping up the transformational summit there and then comparing what I know from my other examinations of similar tragic events will wait for another day.

I have a strong insights and lots of hard evidence that we must consider in time. Before these schemes and policies and procedures are fully nationalized. But not today. I have gone back though and pulled two older posts that many of you may never have seen.  I would like for you just to contemplate the kind of mental and emotional manipulation that has been going on with political aims in mind.  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/real-change-will-require-new-values-and-new-ways-of-thinking-or-social-engineering-is-hard/ is based on a March 2012 aspirational article in Scientific American. I also would like you to appreciate that the five basic shifts in human thinking proposed and quoted in that post left the planning stages quite a long time ago in many school districts. Let that reality sink in.

Then I would like you to read http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/priming-delicate-minds-for-a-desired-disruptive-revolution-what-is-the-real-damage/ from early August and begin to appreciate just how Orwellian and manipulative the term “Best Practice” actually is. One of the solutions already being raised for shooting rampages apart from gun control is better Moral and Character Education. Both those terms have been hijacked by political radicals to mean changing values, attitudes, and beliefs through the classroom to again gain a collectively-oriented political and economic Transformation. That post will help you have the proper skepticism that the proposed solution will likely create more of the problem. And appreciate how subtle and mostly out of sight Bill Ayers’ activities really are.

As I so often do, I sought this past weekend’s solace and insights in history and decided to tackle John V Fleming’s The Anti-Communist Manifestos: Four Books that Shaped the Cold War. I thought I was taking a break but it turned into a real lesson on the importance of the “psychological mechanism of belief” as a prominent topic in all the autobiographies of the former Communists. In choosing freedom they had to examine all of their prevailing beliefs. Instilled from an early age. They each recognized and wrote about how it is beliefs that drove their actions and beliefs are not opinions. That really caught my eye.

All those former Communists recognize that beliefs must be confronted if they are to live in freedom. And the schemers who want to use education to gain a more collectivist 21st century society not grounded in Individualism or Capitalism keep referring to “changing values, attitudes, and beliefs” as the Outcomes Based Education mantra phrased it.

(Brief aside to reiterate, that OBE goal is now safely tucked out of sight for the most part in the 2012 poorly understood definition of what constitutes Learning and Student Growth and Achievement. Seriously if I did not know this already, it would be almost impossible to find. That was the idea.)

So like Values but less limited in number, Beliefs drive behavior. Frequently at an unconscious level. Very useful to control of you want to change society. False beliefs and tragic values can still be highly influential. Here are a few of the false beliefs these Communists had been taught to passionately believe. It’s not too much different from what many K-12 and higher ed students are today being led to believe.

“They believed that capitalism was immoral, indeed criminal, in its ‘exploitation of man by man.’ From its very nature capitalism was the cause of conflict, slavery, oppression, and human misery of every kind. The remedy was for them as certain as was the nature of the pathology and its diagnosis. The remedy was ‘socialism’. Just as in the seventeenth century Isaac Newton had for the first time in human history understood and explained the laws of the physical world, so also for the first time in human history had Karl Marx understood and explained the laws of the social world. . . The believed the USSR was a shining beacon, and the harbinger of socialism in the world. They believed the Western democracies were rotten to the core. They believed that the Sovietization of Eastern Europe was the historical equivalent of proletarian revolution, and that it was bringing the blessings of socialism to millions. Imperialist forces, headed by the United States, were actively preparing to initiate a war against the Soviet Union.”

All that strikes us in the West, especially from the vantage point of the 21st century and not the late 1940s, as stunningly false. Unbelievable. And the part I left out about the US and Britain being Sluggish and unreliable World War 2 allies? hits us as ungrateful and ignorant. But beliefs filter reality and each event in the real world was perceived through these set of beliefs as well as the fostered values of Community first. Submission to the wisdom of the Leader. It took quite a long time to reassess such a belief system.

Still does. Which is why creating a useful belief system was the goal of the Catholic Church in the MIddle Ages and the Communists in the 20th. It is also apparently why Ralph Tyler originally created Learning Objectives, which his student and good friend turned into Outcomes Based Education. Which is now called Norman Webb’s Depth of Knowledge and has been incorporated into both the SBAC and PARCC Common Core assessments. Scheming ideas never go away. They simply get new masking names like Higher Order Thinking Skills.

My other weekend diversion of research did not go as planned either. The Teacher’s Workbook for the Facing History curriculum I wrote about in concern here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/changing-the-filtering-perception-the-way-we-see-the-world-is-key/ came. And I was right to be concerned. If ever a curriculum was designed to foster hate (by fostering false equivalence between 19th century blacks in the US and what happened to the Jews in Germany) and drive future political action and create a false and dangerous belief system it is Facing History.

But what is easy for me to see as a history devotee would be difficult for the typical student or teacher to accurately perceive. They will become, as intended, passionately aggrieved. Under the delusion that Fascism has to be about race and involves a dictator. Taught to believe that Propaganda was what the Germans did to the Hitler Youth, not false attribution of historical causes in order to incite their passions.

As I said in that previous post Totalitarianism is a dangerous thing to misapprehend. I did appreciate the quote though of Hannah Arendt, right before introducing the great evil of Adolph Hitler to the students for the first time. Arendt is quoted as saying:

“Of all the forms of political organization that do not permit freedom, only totalitarianism consciously seeks to crowd out the ability to think. Man cannot be silenced, he can only be crowded into not speaking. Under all other conditions, even within the racing noise of our time, thinking is possible.”

Well, everything about OBE under whatever name it goes by and the Facing History curriculum and what we have been chronicling on this blog seeks to “crowd out the ability to think” in the sense Arendt meant as Totalitarian. Yet by including that quote and constantly using the term “thinking” to mean merely expressing an opinion or emotional beliefs and all that reflecting in journals, we are priming students to believe they are free.

When they are not in the least. And that false Belief System and reworked values designed to prompt political action at an unconscious level is the Whole Idea of these Reforms.

We live in interesting times. We will have to continue to look at where this created false belief system and SEL student-centered classroom have been and are going.

We need to stop using the classroom to create an obedient mind to make gulags unnecessary and stealth control possible.

 

 

Coercing Teachers to be Social and Political Saboteurs–What Can Be Done?

One of the greatest falsehoods, OK I’ll say it, Outright Lie, about the Common Core has been the repeated insistence that no one would be telling the teachers How. To. Teach. It seems like virtually everyone is. That’s the Whole Purpose of these New Teacher Evals and weakening Tenure. That’s why the NEA goes along. Well, at least its leadership who know the real long-term game. The delegates and members? Not so much.

There’s a reason that the teacher evals to be used now track back to people like Charlotte Danielson, Ray Pecheone, and Robert Pianta who were involved in forcing the related Outcomes Based Education (OBE) on classrooms in previous decades. Same goals of changing the student at the values and attitudes level. Just different language and different enforcement mechanisms so this national and international effort at student and teacher subjugation can be touted as “state-led.” Or the New Super’s Idea of Excellence and Quality Learning which seem to be Benign terms, right? Long time readers know better.

CCSSO (the political interest group that represents the chief state ed officers in each state and is financially sponsored by all sorts of businesses with a vested interest in its policies in a first rate example of Cronyism to the core) came out with Model Teaching Standards in 2011 after most states were on board. http://www.ccsso.org/documents/2011/intasc_model_core_teaching_standards_2011.pdf is a copy if you have never seen it that mandates student-led and new assessment driven (funded in that 2009 Stimulus Act to the tune of hundreds of millions).

By the way, both the SBAC and PARCC assessments to change classroom practice and what gets measured as the results of all that expensive K-12 schooling use the OBE-influenced Norman Webb Depth of Knowledge template we have already talked about. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/the-intentional-insurrection-in-texas-supers-override-governor-legislature-and-taxpayers/ explains why Texas classrooms look like the actual Common Core implementation in other states. All mandating student-led, Depth of Knowledge, and the also OBE-tied Understanding by Design as the means to measure the results of the classroom.

Two more housekeeping matters teachers and parents and then I can get to the juicy part of this story. What is being mandated for the Common Core classroom also is called Standards for Teaching and Learning. It was developed in Chicago and has ties to the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, Bill Ayers, and someone even more famous from back when he was less well-known. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/didnt-the-president-just-admit-ccssi-was-a-ruse-to-change-classroom-interactions/ Finally, President Obama’s 2008 Education Adviser, Linda Darling-Hammond, just came out with a report (with Ford and Sandler Foundations funding) classifying Effective Teaching and what evals should be measuring in light of the behaviors required by those Model Teaching Standards linked above.  http://edpolicy.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/publications/creating-comprehensive-system-evaluating-and-supporting-effective-teaching.pdf

Now that’s a lot of legwork to change classroom practices without it being apparent. Why? Would you believe it goes back to the height of the Cold War and the early 70s and the Soviet Union and China and a very tense world? Yep. And the UN and trying to get everyone in the world during that tense time to change their education practices. Knowing perfectly well that changing education practices would only matter in free societies. In dictatorships, not so much. Which is why this report and its recommendations are so troubling. Not only does it tie to everything going on and being recommended for K-12 and higher ed all over the world right now. But it is clearly education to make one fit to be a subject. Tolerant of being told what to do.

This so-called “right type of education” for the global future was to be a revolution in man’s “inner space also; a new union of science and spirituality.” Yes I was laying a path in those last several posts where we started with Alice Bailey’s From Intellect to Intuition and there is even a listed Ford Foundation adviser who was officially a member of the panel issuing this early 70s UNESCO report. Again, what are the odds?

But to get this “interior revolution” that will lead to a “subsequent social revolution” requires a rejection of traditional instruction and pedagogy to one focused “above all” on developing “personality and attitudes.” Doesn’t that sound just like OBE?

See if this quote sounds like what is being mandated in the classroom and imposed on teachers and students by the accreditation agencies and eval criteria and Cambridge Education’s Quality Reviews and models like Spence Rogers’ Teaching for Excellence?

“Democratizing education will only be possible if we succeed in shaking off the dogmas of conventional pedagogy, if free and permanent dialogue is set up within the educational process, if this enhances individual awareness of life, if learners are guided towards self-education [sounds like the learner-centred classroom to me] and, in short, change from objects to subjects. Education is all the more democratic when it takes the form of a free search, a conquest, a creative act; instead of being, as it so often is, something given or inculcated.”

That’s the type of education the Communists wanted the West to adopt at the height of the Cold War. There was even a Soviet delegate on the panel and he admitted the new desired pedagogy was based on what the Soviets called psychopedaegogy. Which would explain its bloody history upon transferral to free societies like the US. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/how-much-innocent-blood-will-it-take-to-stop-sel-manipulation-for-political-gain/

Sorry but Toxic Social Goals call for Graphic Language if we are to have any chance of halting a Massive Social Engineering Project to remake the national psyche through education. In other places this “non-directive pedagogy” is also referred to as providing “psychotherapeutic data ‘centred on the client.” Given how much of Common Core is about using gathering, and responding to, data on actual student learning. Which is (elsewhere) defined as Changing Student Values, Attitudes, Beliefs, Values, and Behaviors, the acknowledgment that this is psychological data and based on Carl Rogers’ and Kurt Lewin’s work should give everyone involved in education pause.

Teachers being told they can no longer be the “Sage on the Stage” can relate to this passage decreeing that (italics in original):

“the teacher’s duty is less and less to inculcate knowledge and more and more to encourage thinking; his formal functions apart, he will have to become more of an adviser, a partner to talk to; someone who helps seek out conflicting arguments rather than handing out ready-made truths. He will have to devote more time and energy to productive and creative activities: interaction, discussion, stimulation, understanding, encouragement.

Unless relations between teachers and learners evolve accordingly, there can be no authentic democracy in education.”

And authentic democracy in education in the West would help the early 70s Advocates of Evil prevail in the Cold War. Such a psychologizing of education amounts to unilateral intellectual disarmament. Why? To prevent people who can accurately piece together a plan even though no one ever told them what was going on and how it related. There was and is supposed to be no whistle blowing in time.

So the Cold War is officially over despite Putin’s recent sabre rattling and war gaming, why is this still being pushed in 2012? Well, I believe UN Climate Chief Christiana Figueres gave the answer at the end of this recent interview with Yale’s Environment 360. My italics this time.

“It is the most inspiring job in the world because what we are doing here is we are inspiring government, private sector, and civil society to [make] the <i>biggest transformation</i> that they have ever undertaken. The Industrial Revolution was also a transformation, but it wasn’t a <i>guided transformation from a centralized policy perspective</i>. This is a <i>centralized transformation that is taking place</i> because governments have decided that they need to listen to science. So it’s a very, very different transformation and one that is going to make the life of everyone on the planet very different.”

The Cold War may be over. Aspirations of politicians and bureaucrats from the international to the local level to plan society and dictate what individuals are to do (or not) and how economies will work while living at taxpayer expense. Not Over in the Least.

Now that greedy reality appears to be perpetual. It survived the Cold War and is alive and well in 2012. And trying to force teachers to be Agents of Change in a social revolution that will not turn out well or as planned.

This is a good time to talk about this. On the front-end.

Now It’s Head, Heart, and Hands to Get Us to Environmental, Social and Economic Justice

No, we have not had a Dr Faustus moment since the last post where the human soul went missing. Just a matter of tact when you want widespread changes to pedagogy and classroom practices and teaching beliefs. Diplomacy and a desire for successful adoption without a brouhaha over what’s being pushed suggests tucking those intentions to alter values and help the students search for meaning and purpose in their lives into the generic Heart designation. Or in Student Engagement as a Goal. Just some feelings after all coming into the classroom to help the students deal with their experiences. Those existential issues that lead to a sense of crisis and adaptation but otherwise nothing to worry about. The questing for answers is just a part of growing up. It’s not like they have a solid base of history or characters from classical literature to help them frame their lives.

If you are still not sure why we have to talk about spirituality apart from its omnipresence in the intentions for K-12 and higher ed, it goes to quietly gaining widespread acceptance of the planned transformative social, economic, and political change. Not just in the US but all over the West. Because the literature leaves no doubt over what is sought. The only real question takes us back to how much economic redistribution–strict Equality of Results or Bounded Inequality? What level of personal freedom will be left? Are fossil fuels still allowed in a Low Carbon future? What if that means no reliable efficient energy? If these admissions seem startling and you are just reading this blog wondering what Common Core will look like in the classroom or why the UN and the US EPA keep pushing to regulate carbon dioxide, four simple words for you.

Means. To. An. End. Several in fact. Not really about content or temperatures. We are in fact about to have a rerun of the State vs Individual and desire to control the economy that is very similar to what happened about 100 years ago. Igniting a conflagration in 1914 that was supposed to be a lark and over by Christmas. I personally am hoping for better results this time which is why I write. But I have no delusions about what the stakes are. And if all these mentions of values and meaning-making and Authenticity and College and Career Ready actually having a Communitarian emphasis make no sense, maybe this passage based on insights from previous attempts at such equality will help (my bolding):

“a political-economic framework that can execute the redistribution standard requires a cultural context in which social actors are guided by a shared view of themselves a embodying a ‘community of attitudes’ or ‘collective conscience’ . . . The harmony and stability of the collectivist society envisioned by Rousseau and Durkheim depend on people viewing the constraints of society and sovereign will of the state [how Washington DC seems to see itself] as the natural order of things. They must also transfer to civil society the commitment they had traditionally held for the sacred, and schools must teach children the importance of the political community’s claim to their loyalty and of their commitment to the morality of the collective.” Anne Wortham, http://mises.org/daily/6288/Obamas-World-of-Social-Justice under The Cultural Context

Professor Wortham nailed the why. Let’s look at just how broad the definition of Spirituality becomes as the target of education now and the source of Education as Transformation. This is from an essay called “Spiritually Engaged Pedagogy:The Possibilities of Spiritual Development Through Social Justice Education” and is intended to be a warning on how easy all these Values, Attitudes, and Belief altering plans are to now get into the classroom. All classrooms. Holistic spirituality is what it aspires to be. Also looks like the IB Learner Profile for some of you. This is also why we have to have a Student-Centered focus.

*Spirituality is a lifelong development of a sense of the authentic self.

*Spirituality places us in relationships with others through care and outreach.

*Spirituality involves ongoing construction of meaning and knowledge.

*Spirituality and spiritual experiences can be symbolic, unexpected, and present in learning environments.

* Spirituality emphasizes interconnectedness and wholeness.

Long-term readers of this blog may have just spilt their morning coffee on what may now be a sticky keyboard. But those intentions pick up Peter Senge’s Systems Thinking and Bronfenbrenner Ecological Systems Theory and powell’s insistence we are not Unitary Selves anymore. It’s also the New 3 R’s-Rigor, Relevance, and Relationship. It’s  Vygotsky and the Sociocultural Theory that got adopted as part of Education for Life and Work. This broad concept of Spirituality completely saturates the actual Common Core implementation we have been documenting. And for good reason.

Transformative change, to have any chance of success (I imagine you and I have a different definition of success than the bureaucrats) has to start with the individual. Changing him or her from the inside-out, while they are young enough to be malleable. Some revolutions have the best chance for success as a fait accompli. That could be the operating motto for Transformative education for a radically transformed society. And planet when you add in the Environmental intent to no longer exploit nature. Different advocates take that goal anywhere from a little backwards to a Leap as if you can moderate the rejection of reason and the “free play of intelligence.”

I have protested before that my caution in advocating for 21st Century Utopias does not make me a Scrooge.  I have read through all the Henriot & Holland Pastoral Cycles Linking Faith,  Action, and Social Issues many religious faiths are putting out as they advocate for social justice and cannot find much more to the analysis than “It’s not fair” and “I wish it were different.” Feelings that the world could be more just may lead us to ignore what works that we are not seeing in favor of the remnants that could be better. But blindly jettisoning what works. Asking K-12 or college students to be aware of their positions of privilege and to name and understand injustice, while “providing opportunities for students to consider their own vision and participation in a more just world” strikes me as dangerous. Would you let an art major design a load-bearing bridge? Of course not. Why would we push people who do not know what got civilization to this point of progress and what failed in the past to decide what would be better?

“Social justice is a set of principles and a process that governs humans’ behavior to one another and the natural world. Social justice is based on the premises that society is characterized by inequalities in resources and influence, and that individual and collective actions can and will transform society. Social justice promotes awareness of inequalities, action to redress inequalities, and ongoing habits of mind and actions that continue to address inequalities.”

Does that strike anyone else as a dangerously naive mantra to be learning to habituate? No one defends inequalities or differences in influence as good in themselves. They are just the natural by products of a focus on the individual and freedom to trade and develop ideas that benefit more than the people involved in the trades. The inequality from economic freedom is tolerated because our choices are (a) to have inequality of incomes but at a higher average income for all. Or (b) to have a relatively equal distribution but at lower average levels for everyone. That’s the choice. Is anyone explaining that fundamental fact to the students learning about social justice? Would that reality affect how they feel about social justice? No, you know why no one wants to frame it honestly. It would influence the advocacy for redistribution.

And the desired sense for community. That will make today’s students so easy to exploit emotionally as adults. And politically. I mean grow up. There are individuals involved in these various Justice movements with good intentions. But this in the aggregate is not a well-intentioned initiative, not at the UN-level or the national or locally. It’s a power play by politicians and bureaucrats and their Cronies. There will be no parades or trenches or poison gas to tell you that your future, your wallet, your children, and the legitimacy of Individualism and self-interest are under organized attack. Hoping for a lasting victory.

I call these types of pedagogies and political theories unilateral intellectual disarmament. Everything that brought progress and prosperity is being jettisoned so that Government officials and their Cronies can direct the economy, control natural resources, and dictate permissible personal behavior. Social Justice education at its core cultivates a self that will go along. Preferably without recognizing what is to be lost.

No wonder Bill Ayers advocates it as far superior to bombs.

 

Why Make the Long Sought Goal of Anarchists and Socialists the 21st Century Education Ideal?

That quote involving the democratic purposes of schools that emphasized how the “democratic approach creates opportunities for local communities to publicly deliberate and self-govern” that we talked about sarcastically in the last post just kept gnawing at my subconscious from the time I published the post. It was no accident that Equity Pushers put such a place-based participatory democracy and create consensus and majority rules position in an October 2012 Position Paper to guide the CCSSI implementation. It is a shout out to the Bela Banathy and Texas Super position of making education about a New Desired Collective Future. That Future that needs a New Kind of Mind and Heart. Which is precisely what all these reforms we have chronicled seek to create.

That quote not only implies resuscitating John Dewey’s ideal of Participatory Democracy (which would explain all the push around Quality Learning and the Arts inclusion) but also its previous modern incarnation in the 1962 Port Huron Statement that created the Students for a Democratic Society. No wonder so many former SDSers like Bill Ayers or Mike Klonsky were drawn into education. Perfect cultural weapon for mass political, social, and economic Transformation. Go after the noetic system and change beliefs, attitudes, values, and feelings (sound like a familiar goal by various names?) and predictable future behavior will soon follow. People in fact may be easier to program via education than computers are for a developer. One need not be specific and logical to achieve the desired outcome in people.

That quote also reminded me especially of the Regional Equity Movement we have talked about several times that is to be a primary goal of an Obama Second Term.   http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/distributive-justice-is-not-enough-we-must-break-the-illusion-of-the-unitary-self/ is the discussion of the Building One America conference and how I see this as relating to education and the Future Earth Alliance.

But the Regional Equity Movement is a political means. The broader movement is called Bioregionalism and it unites systems thinking, new 3 R’s, education with ICLEI and Agenda 21. I have had all the Bioregional implementation books from the early 90s for a while. But when I read the plans they always struck me as so ludicrous to be proposing as 21st Century aspirations that I would get frustrated and put the books away. But the ludicrous aspirations just kept coming up over and over as real goals. Actual intentions. Where Banathy and Peter Senge and Paul Ehrlich and the No More Axemaker Minds and Democratic Purpose of Education were going. So I gathered the books together and took them to my favorite place for systematically taking on a really troubling book or concept–the Beach. I firmly believe lovely vistas help bolster the soul whenever life’s ugliness must be dealt with.

We could describe the last few days research on Bioregionalism as Revelations from the Sand and Surf. Vacationers who did not know me probably wondered why the lady sat scribbling furiously in the margins while sitting under the beach umbrella. The very picture of the Quintessential Nerd in Paradise. Well, in my defense it is not every day that you get so many open declarations and admissions against interest describing a Long Term Political Scheme in detail. With memorable details like “the murderous sociopathology of capitalism” or how:

“Cancer stalks the Earth. Its name is profit, its nature poison. In the name of profit our lakes and rivers die. Our oceans are dying. . .For the sake of profit our food, water and air are poisoned.” It goes on but you get the idea. No wonder so many new college grads think they must work in the nonprofit sector. They have been inundated with a very false view of the world and how it works and they lack enough historical knowledge to reject such foolish propaganda. After all they grew up in an education system that is preaching that process and theory are more important than facts. Guided already by this several decades old Transform the Future vision without bothering to tell the students, parents, or taxpayers.

The Bioregional vision goes on to make the municipality (after being broken up into authentic communities “scaled to human dimensions”) the place (and they do seem to mean this in the sense of physical space and physical activity) where:

“the individual can be transformed from a mere person into an active citizen, from a private being into a public being. Given this crucial arena that literally renders the citizen a functional being who can participate directly in the future of society, we are dealing with a level of human interaction that is more basic (apart from the family itself) than any level that is expressed in representative forms of governance, where collective power is literally transmuted into power embodied by one or a few individuals. The municipality is thus the most authentic arena of public life, however much it may have been distorted over the course of history.”

Now I did warn you civics education and the Civic Mission of Schools can be a dangerous thing to advocate blindly for these days. It is a different view of citizenship and government than what the US Constitution laid out. The mayors, however, are delighted and this explains their enthusiasm for Sustainability and Green Initiatives apart from federal dollars. They think they get to be where the long term action is in a world that really is envisioned to work like a commune with transportation by “collective vehicles.” A world where there ceases to be “independence or dependence.” In its place we are supposed to have “a more richly articulated form of interdependence” after each person has engaged in “a conscious reconstruction of our relationship to each other and the natural world.”

Now, you must be wishing you had a lovely vista to stand up and walk around in and then glance away to the horizon before reading more such nonsense. But when you have monopoly power through government, access to taxpayer money, and little real knowledge of history nonsensical visions can still be very real. Literally be the impetus behind actual education reforms and political policies and regulations and sought economic transformations. Which is precisely what is going on right now in so many areas. It tracks back in the US and globally (yes, the UN is behind this. 1973 was the initiation date days my books) to this Bioregionalist vision. That hits us as nonsensical.

And do you know where this no more Division of Labor or market exchange economy and society starts? The one to be a sharing society “based on the pleasure that is felt in distributing among communities according to their needs”? Why it starts in a new vision for education for the Full Personality. Education to “reflect on what it means to think–yes, to reason–and to live ecologically in the full meaning of the term.” That sure does sound like Peter Senge and Otto Scharmer’s Systems Thinking and the UN’s Education for Sustainable Development.

Education that makes “for more rounded personalities with a rich sense of selfhood and competence” which was a goal “long cherished by the anarchists and socialists of the last century.”

Really? Are we really going to keep implementing K-12 and college education designed to unite us all “in an ecological continuum to feed the spirit as well as the body, sharpening one’s sensitivity to the nonhuman and human world around us.” No wonder it is to be about hands-on science instead of the science in textbooks. No wonder school is now to be about Relationships.

Can we stand up now and look at the full future vision of society that this Equitable Education and democratic purpose of schooling and systems thinking and Competence is taking us to?

Do You Live in a District Piloting Deep and Continual Personal Change in the Individual Student?

In case the term systems thinking always seemed too abstract to get too worked up about. Or the fact that Peter Senge has sold 2 million copies of his book The Fifth Discipline and now holds a Systems Thinking and Dynamic Modeling Conference for K-12 Education was not on your radar screen as Another Thing to Worry About. Now I do not get to do that because I have seen “must teach the children systems thinking” as part of an essential aspect of every radical plan to remake US and global education for decades. It did not take me long to track down its history or see it as a sledgehammer to destroy a student’s belief that he or she is, and is entitled to be, an autonomous individual. It was honestly a relief to read the recent infed story called “peter senge and the learning organization” where they recognized the common visions and social interests between communitarian thinkers like Amitai Etzioni and Senge. You begin to imagine a chant at these conferences along the lines of “Heh, Heh, Ho, Ho, The Unitary Self has Got to Go.” Worked with Western Civ at Stanford.

Since we have already figured out that the definition of Career Ready in Common Core is based on Etzioni http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/birth-to-career-finally-and-quietly-creating-the-soviet-mindset-but-here-in-the-usa/, Peter Senge’s views on implementing Common Core promise to be a hugely important component of what it will actually look like in classrooms.  First of all, we are supposed to recognize that Common Core is a “unifying approach to transforming American education.” Here we are as parents, taxpayers, and business people looking for capable, knowledgeable minds and we are being told that Common Core means there will no longer be variations in the content required of students moving from state to state. A worthy sounding, probably PR-tested slogan to soothe away any concerns about federal intrusions into local issues. Truly that intrusion is the least of these scheming aspirations.

Instead “Lessons from Systemic Change for Utilizing the New Common Core Standards for Transforming Education” gives us Maxine Greene’s vision for education for political transformation by altering each student’s consciousness. The authors are terribly well-connected (including Harvard’s Robert Kegan) as you will see. And there are no side essays or speeches mentioning wanting to join the Abraham Lincoln Brigade during the Spanish Civil War to clue the enterprising reader into the actual political orientation being advocated. Like Maxine Greene and Bill Ayers but without the taint of their open proclamations, these systems thinkers want learners to be the center of the curriculum, not a body of knowledge. As Maxine Greene wrote, that’s the first step in imagining a different world,  toward acting on the belief that things can be changed. Learning as becoming Different than you were at the beginning of the day according to Greene.

For all these Professors and Supers and Principals seeking Transformation with a Capital T, education is merely a tool of alteration that guarantees funding, obscures the political theories being imposed without consent, and grants access to innermost thoughts, values, and emotions. Everything a Mao ever wanted and no one is up in arms. Yet. And if they are, they are focused on side issues about how to teach math and whether to allow ability-grouped classes.  Instead it gets reexpressed without any taint or royalties to Maxine as a “learning community” where the school creates “a culture where people continually learn with and from one another.” Community is no mere slogan either. Rather it becomes the whole point of education. To get this sought environment and Transformation (we are back to the collection of systems thinkers here including Senge):

“the most important point is the basic point: the naive fantasy that there exists such a thing as systemic change independent of deep and continual personal change fails to prepare people for the real work. The “system” in terms of habits of thoughts and actions that shape practices, processes, structures and even metrics lives inside each of us. It (their emphasis, bolding is mine) works the way it works because of how we work. What is most systemic is most personal. Consequently, all processes of real systemic change inevitably arise from developmental processes that are deeply personal.”

Probably the sort of deeply personal interactions fostered through teacher OBE training renamed as “Performance Excellence for All Kids” we met in the last post set in the pastoral settings of Vail to reenforce that this is the Way Things Ought to Be. Or Peter Senge’s Camp Snowball that includes students ready to engage in action learning to promote a Transformation around Sustainability. Since Peter had David Coleman, one of the primary architects of Common Core as a speaker this summer, all of this transforming may seem radical to us but the so-called Transformative Players do all seem to be interacting around this systems thinking vision and Common Core.

I guess David got his Second Wind at Camp Snowball getting ready to go transform AP courses and the SAT as the new, very well-paid, President of the College Board. And if anyone finds this systems thinking/College Board alliance strange you should read all the College Board publications from the 90s on finally achieving Dewey’s vision for American education including transforming the nature of college. Or just read me. I have read all those books and some of them had not absorbed fresh air in over 15 years. Musty smell to go with the toxic ideas is one way to put it.

Now I found the above quote on all that deep and continual personal change in students who are allegedly in an Algebra or World History class to be quite graphic and very troubling. In case we are slow, however, our systems thinkers point out again on the next page:

“When we use the term ‘capacity building,’ it can often mask the depth of the emotional and psychological challenges, as we implied above in emphasizing the personal character of systemic change.”

That earlier quote is not my idea of implication but this 2nd reference leaves no doubt at the depths of the intrusive aspirations. In case you are wondering how I could have written such a graphic title for my previous post, I believe these political aspirations for education have already had real victims.

Today’s title comes from the systems thinking aspirations and their desire to put together school districts to participate as “systems-based CCSS learning communities.” There is a reference to systems “we currently know and are working with.” The “we” seems to be either Senge, the Waters Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation or Harvard. I am going to focus on the Harvard connection since it appears to involve two districts in the metro Atlanta area, Fulton that we discussed from the last post and Gwinnett.

Gwinnett, the largest district in Georgia,  won the Broad Award a few years ago. Parents there say the system went to a PBIS/SEL focus last school year (2011-12) just as soon as the ink was dry on the atrocious soft skills statute giving official permission for these psychological and emotional intrusions in Georgia. Others involved in the Harvard Strategic Data Project are listed as Boston Public Schools, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (which won the Broad last year), and Fort Worth Independent School District.

All this systems thinking emphasis would of course explain why Massachusetts had to give up its well-functioning standards and move to the Common Core. It’s the new assessments and a means to get at consciousness. We talked about Transformational OBE and Dallas and Charlotte along with Cobb County, Georgia, and Fulton here. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/gypsy-principals-gypsy-supers-and-engrenage-3-more-superb-things-to-know/ In addition to Fulton’s duplicitous charter enshrining Transformational OBE that I wrote about here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/what-happens-when-a-charter-pillages-minds-and-wallets/, it turns out Fulton’s new Super of less than a year, Robert Avossa, was asked by Education Week to join as a speaker for its “Scaling Up Student Success” Leadership Forums in April. Ah, the leadership circuit!

Apart from that charter and Transformational OBE in new forms that are less likely to be discovered in time,  let’s look back at that systems document again. The one looking for school systems with “sufficient numbers of leaders who share such a commitment.”

What commitment you warily ask at this point in the post? The one for “using the new CCSS for transformative change.”

Gulp says every taxpayer and parent in any one of these implicated districts.

Such planned intrusions negate the very essence of individual freedom in the US. But my understanding of that and what is coming is not enough.

And so I write.

 

Priming Delicate Minds for a Desired Disruptive Revolution, What is the Real Damage?

One of the great tragedies in American education over the last several decades, and this seems to be true of education globally, is the wolves or utopian dreamers who see schools and colleges as premier weapons to change how a society thinks. Or to prevent a voting majority from being able to think at all. These incendiary political ideas always come wrapped up in phrases of hope. When the strategy to impose a collectivist political theory or manipulative psychological practice makes it to the local school, especially the suburban schools that must be taken down to get equity, it shows up in euphemisms like school improvement, accountability, Best Practice, or a duplicitous charter.

So how do I know the intent? Well, as you may remember, we tracked the language of the charter back to the original 1988 proclamations of manipulation. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/what-happens-when-a-charter-pillages-minds-and-wallets/

Another way is play tiptoe through the footnotes and get your hands on the books and essays allegedly supporting controversial practices. That’s how we knew neuroscientists working for CASEL aspired to physically reshape students’ brains to gain desired personality traits. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/further-confirmation-of-the-planned-dominance-of-social-and-emotional-learning/  I watched the tapes after they were cited in the “research” support of the School Climate Center.

If you do not live in a state like me that got a Positive School Climate mandate tucked into that NCLB waiver authorities rejoiced over, President Obama signed an Executive Order on July 28, 2012 expanding the Positive School Climate mandate to virtually all public schools. I wonder if the advisors pushing that order were prompted by the Positive Psychology to Promote Social Change movement? You know the one that takes advantage of the malleable captive minds to promote alternative values that seek to extinguish that pesky unitary self and promote the amorphous Common Good in its place?

Or we could do what so many of my readers seem to want. Follow former Weatherman advocate for violent revolution Bill Ayers to see why a career as an education “reformer” became his next political move. To understand what makes education reform a viable next weapon for so many 60s radicals and utopian dreamers and greedy or envious gypsy supers, gypsy principals, and the omnipresent political transformation enforcers, the accreditation companies. I think we should explore the vision of Ayers’ proclaimed mentor, Maxine Greene.

For added interest, she is also an inspiring visionary to Linda Darling-Hammond, who served as Obama’s 2008 Education Advisor, and is heavily involved with the SBAC Common Core assessments many states plan to use to measure student progress. She also chairs assessment for ATC21S, the global 21st century skills movement. What drives her affects many students and taxpayers all over the world. Finally, Ayers’ co-author, Janet L Miller, is an education professor involved with the Best Practice movement trying to reimagine American high schools away from content. It is probably not a coincidence that Ayers wanted to be recognized in the 1998 book as a co-founder of the Annenberg Challenge in Chicago (CAC). That would be the one now President Obama chaired. Or that the Best Practice handbook thanks the CAC for development funding.

I have long recognized that Best Practice does not mean that a proposed practice has a good academic result. Frequently it is terrible. Best Practice is about imposing the socio-cultural vision for education and social transformation on a charter district, school or classroom. It is a political weapon and it is designed to break or deprive the logical, sequential mind that some people have of sustenance. Anything that would foster individuality or an independent view of self. Why? Well as Ayers wrote citing Greene, he is interested in “shocking ourselves into new awarenesses as a goal.” Sounds like the kind of cultural bomb that cannot be heard or seen but damages internally nonetheless.

Why do students minds need to be manipulated and shocked? Well Ayers says teaching can be a ” powerful and natural key to social change.” But you must move away from the “transmission of some certified, sanctified stuff.” That would certainly explain the real hostility to standardized testing. The kind of dialoguing and reimagining these “reformers” want going on in a classroom does not do well in a measurement of knowledge. Good thing Common Core is pushing formative assessments like group projects and portfolios instead.

What Ayers and Maxine Greene and Linda Darling-Hammond and another contributor Nel Noddings, who we met previously in the Caring Economics and Australian Student Wellbeing posts, are all interested in fostering in classrooms is “imagining a different world, a more humane social order.”  And these people are all professors in colleges of education. They credential future classroom teachers and principals and district supers. When they push a pedagogy not because it works to transmit knowledge but because it works to foster social, cultural, economic, and political transformation, you get the kind of reading wars and math wars and fights over values clarification that have recurred in district after district and school after school in recent decades. It’s not like these taxpayer funded functionaries can acknowledge openly there’s a declared revolution going on. We might try to stop the funding in time.

I joke a bit but what is not funny in the least is the shock to student minds is not just deprivation of solid content. There really is a great deal of what reads like mental torture trying to prepare students for a desired different future. They want to compel moral action. They want to use the classroom to create “horizonal persons”:

“sensitive to the common good and to their own inner spirit. Their continuous rethinking and re-creating of self nurtures community ventures.”

I can remember being bored in school and always bringing a book to read, usually history. But at least I didn’t have teachers playing with my psyche pushing me to be a “horizonal person” to gain some hoped for utopian future of altered human sensibilities. What did these classroom political pursuits do to young minds? Again:

“Horizonal persons do not define goodness and morality in terms of sets of rules or regulations but rather in terms of increasingly more satisfying moral principles.”

And what is a moral being in their eyes?

“A moral being . . . is a thinking and reflective individual, alive to the paradoxes and dilemmas of life . . .[who] wrestles with the formulation of superior moral principles which can cope with problems of equity and justice for society at large. A moral person . . . is someone irresistibly drawn by the good.”

I make this retort from a great deal of historical knowledge about political theory. A moral person to them has been trained via the classroom to think like a communist idealogue without knowing that is the mindset being deliberately cultivated. No wonder emotion and few facts are so important to this reimagined classroom that has been going on in some places for at least two decades. That’s a lot of psychological manipulation that neither the teachers (I hope) or the students understood the purpose of. But the typical education professor did.

I am going to close with a quote from Nel Noddings from the same tribute to Maxine Greene. The essay is called “Ethics and Imagination” and discusses the importance of role playing for creating the kind of compassion desired for the sought transformation– the new, supposedly better world. It is not enough to:

“imagine ourselves as victims [though] emotion is aroused, and that emotion may increase our compassion for other victims, or it may create hatred for oppressors, or both.”

Politically useful emotion apparently but not sufficient to spark the desired revolutionary attitudes and values (those are Professor Noddings emphasis italics, not mine. Bold is mine).

“when we look at the perpetrator, we are again comforted because we are not, could not be that monster. But when we look at a scene of suffering and see both possibilities for ourselves, then a new horror provides a starting point for real moral growth.

Because confronting “the powers of darkness” is politically useful to fuel a revolution apparently. To get to a Caring Economics? Not unless the school or classroom is actually a gulag for conversion while minds remain malleable.

Does any of this sound equitable or just?