Dynamic Digital Dialectical Classrooms=Deliberate Transformational Change in Students and Society

Do you remember the decal from the Ghostbusters movies with the Ghost within the circle with a line struck through it? In the 90s excited high school students participating in an Educational Testing Service (the famous and lucrative ETS based in Princeton) Systems Thinking and Curriculum Innovation–STACI–Project (with ties to Harvard, MIT, and Stanford just like today’s Curriculum Redesign) using computers and simulation software came up with a graphically similar “No More Funnels” decal. These Tucson students in the same Sunnyside School District where the League of Innovative Schools had their annual conference last week celebrated the rejection of the “system of education that uses teachers as the dispensers of knowledge, dumping information into students’ heads for the purpose of regurgitating those facts onto tests, after which they promptly forget what they have learned.”

Now I have heard virtually the same verbatim sales pitch before from principals and administrators selling a school or district’s shift to constructivism many times before. Every time I hear it I know the speaker was a poor student who wants everyone to reject the importance of what they were lousy at. Honestly though there is tremendous irony in celebrating “no more funnels” in a school district that has been longitudinally tracking all students, including motivation, in order to reliably create a designed mental keel. Instead of a funnel effect that leaves each student free to build up their own understandings of how the world works and a teacher or professor to monitor whether those concepts are brilliant, confused, or just parroting others, the students get their internal mental images, associations, and concepts examined. Precisely in the manner envisioned and hoped for by Piotr Galperin in his Soviet research over decades and sought under that cybernetic theory of control we keep running into.

This is from a 1994 book on the STACI Project and its use of Jay Forester’s modelling World Dynamics software modified for the K-12 classroom as STELLA–Structural Thinking Experiential Learning Laboratory with Animation. Just the thing in other words to successfully join in reliable, replicable ways the inner representations of physical image, associated relationships, and conceptual understandings. The book’s title was Classroom Dynamics: Implementing a Technology-Based Learning Environment and it was very much a learning environment of the sort envisioned under obuchenie psychological theories. As far as I know no one is calling this STACI Project How to Get Inside Each Student’s Mental Black Box for Lasting Results, but that’s the intention.

No wonder so many radical ed reforms around 21st century skills and systems thinking are tied to the Tucson area–25 years of longitudinal data being thrown off by computers and crunched and analyzed by ETS in its quest for equity in education.   Here’s what the book says is targeted in the “No funnels” classroom:

“In the learner-centered environment the focus of instruction is on procedural knowledge and general problem solving skills, rather than on declarative knowledge and rote learning. Furthermore, environments such as those created by the systems thinking approach shift the focus of instruction to real-world applications and problems. In doing so, learning is concretized, rather than dealing with abstractions that have little apparent relevance to anything. Finally, a computer-based curriculum innovation project can diminish ‘teacher talk’ and provide students with opportunities for individual and group intellectual exploration.”

Concrete then means those mental representations remain tied to real world events and applications, increasing the likelihood that the inner beliefs will produce the desired future behavior to take transformational action. That internal keel from the last post is also influenced by the constant desire to take the way physical systems operate and apply the concepts to human or social systems or real world phenomena like war, conflict, or the economy. Perception of reality gets predictably influenced by the conceptual ‘lenses’ being supplied by teachers or virtual reality or gaming software, even if a well-informed expert in the area of transfer would immediately recognize the comparison is inapt. Without funneling, few students will. Remember to a social schemer with intentions for radical transformation there is “nothing as valuable as a good theory.” Or simulation of supposed systems to amend the slogan to 21st century intentions.

So now we know why the White House sponsored League of Innovative Schools chose Tucson. It was NOT the Titan Missile Museum or the chance to see saguaro cactus. What is so fascinating to me though is that ETS began actively looking for a curriculum innovation to push “higher order thinking skills” back in the mid-80s, soon after Galperin’s research became available in English. The 1994 book was quite graphic that students were being taught to visualize systems so it will change how they view the world. Since I knew that ETS also funded the Gordon Commission on the Future of Assessment in Education from 2011 to 2013, I wondered if the Commission’s work dovetailed with what I am calling this shift to an obuchenie mindset being cultivated in the student.

First of all, it turns out that one of Edmund Gordon’s mentors, the psychologist Bob Glaser, is the same person whose phrase for the new purpose of education–”developmental theory of performance change”–led me to James Raven and the socio-cybernetics aspirations we encountered in the last post. The Gordon Commission in its February 2012 newsletter stated it was looking for “a bifocal and bi-directional” teaching and learning process (aka dialectical). The vision is “less focused on what we want learners to know and do, and are more sharply focused on what it is that we want learners to become, to be disposed toward, and to be (i.e., thinking and compassionate human beings).”

No funnels, just that invisible mental and psychological keel again. Rejecting the traditional emphasis on “scholastic abilities,” students are to have “intellective competence.” If that sounds vague, it is supposedly the necessary focus for education “with equity and justice at its core.” Once again, we are requiring a shift in emphasis to cultivating non-Axemaker Minds while arguing it’s a fulfillment of social justice obligations and civil rights law requirements to provide opportunity for all. Gordon defined this intellective competence back in 2001 as a “way of adapting, appreciating, knowing, and understanding the phenomena of human experience through the domains of cognitive, affective, and situative competence.” Sounds like consciously cultivated stupidity to me, but I suppose that works better given the kind of social transformation plans we keep encountering. If you are in Vienna in late April, you may want to go to this conference and join in the planning.http://emcsr.net/general-information/

Just how very low this “intellective competence” goal actually is gets hidden by asserting the now acquired ability to “engage and solve quotidian, as well as novel, problems adaptively.” Quotidian sounds most impressive until we look it up in the dictionary and see it translates into everyday problems. Somewhat akin to putting the basketball goal at 5 feet and celebrating everyone’s ability to suddenly dunk. We could call it Basketball for Excellence or Success for All. Gordon did admit though that what is driving him, and one can assume ETS as well since it bankrolled the Commission, is his desire for “developmental democratization” and measures of student achievement not tied to “hegemonic indicators of developed ability.” Those are the intentions behind Gordon and ETS’s beliefs about what should be measured in students.

So when you hear the words Growth or Achievement it may reflect computer gaming or group project participation with a change in values and beliefs as the focus. It may mean that the student’s internal representations brought from home and the interactions within a family have now been successfully altered in a student urged to show Grit and Perseverence in novel and ambiguous real world scenarios where there is no right answer and Cognitive Dissonance may be the intention of the scenario. The student may be showing they view all the world including other people as systems that can be gutted and redesigned to see if a better world is possible. As if all things smashed can be reglued after impact.

Or that cited higher achievement or Growth may reflect Edmund Gordon’s hope for an intellective competence focus. Then the assessment might be measuring “the effective orchestration of affective, cognition, and situative processes in the interest of intentional human agency. I place affect first for reasons other than respect for alphabetical order. Human activity appears to begin with affect, and I have come to believe that while cognition ultimately informs affect, it is affect that gives rise to cognitive functions.”

That’s the developmental obuchenie focus that the banner of the Common Core is obscuring. It’s coming in at various rates depending on the venality of consultants and administrators or their naivete. Peter Senge’s version may be more famous, but Spence Rogers’ Teaching for Excellence is another example of the Change the Student focus. That’s why teacher development is so crucial. It’s also the real reason teacher tenure rules are being targeted. Compliance with the developmental vision is required.

Only the time schedule and extent of the frenzy to implement varies now.

No more funnels. Just internal keels to steer with. With no need for consent.

Should we call this all totalitarian education?

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.

Develop Learners who Think and Behave and View Themselves as Systems Citizens

Well, that is certainly one way to use education to destroy the concept of the Unitary Self as john a powell and others wish. But is this an acceptable role for educators to take? Have we indeed crossed some sort of a threshold where the planned activities and policies and practices in our schools and classrooms and now our colleges and universities make them some sort of Fifth Columnists? Do their education degrees or sociology degrees or psychology degrees give them immunity from their clear intentions to destroy this economy and seize and manipulate children’s and young adult minds? How about the fact that they have never heard of a Fifth Column? Does that mean they are free to act as one and not be considered traitors? Moral traitors if not legal ones.

My understanding of the concept of a Fifth Column is that it comes from the Spanish Civil War in the 30s. It is the idea that people you regard as your supporters and on the same side actually have unknown allegiances to the other side in a conflict. When it comes time to use them to help ward off an assault, they are in your midst and close enough to stab you in the back. That’s a Fifth Column. Your assumed ally is actually a mortal foe and because you trust them, you have let them close enough that they have easy access. Then their treachery becomes apparent. That’s not going on in every school and district and college yet but that is the goal. And the danger is to the integrity of the mind, not death from a visible wound.

One of the reasons we paused for a few posts to discuss what is planned for colleges and universities is the recognition of the “inherent 12-16 year time delay it takes to educate a child through traditional schooling, the time is now to begin to build a citizenry of systems thinkers.” Because getting an Ed.D in Educational Leadership apparently qualifies one to abrogate the language of the US Constitution and plot on how to use schools (compel is the actual word used) to create young people:

“who think and behave as systems citizens (quote italics). Systems citizens view themselves as members of a global community. They understand the complexities of today’s worldly systems and have the capability to face into problems with knowledge and skill.”

Of course the knowledge is generally an erroneous understanding reached by group consensus using visual models (Flow Charts, Connection Circles, Ladders of Inference! etc) to try to convey the shared beliefs as to what may be occurring. Systems Thinkers love visual models (Causal Loops because if you draw it it must be true). Visual examples of Systems Thinking Tools are usefully supplied for use in the classroom where the teacher may well have had her job threatened if she were to lecture accurate facts or just pull out a good handy reference textbook. Both reflect someone else’s activity and are therefore unacceptable.

We are going back to having an acceptable belief that the sun rotates around the Earth as long as that’s the Group Consensus after a Meaningful Dialogue. After all it fits the perceptions of our senses. Have you never watched a sunrise or sunset and seen the bright orb clearly moving? Plus it is consistent with Native American beliefs and their reverence for the Earth that the ecologists wish to nurture in all minds. Look at all the trouble Axemaker Minds created like nuclear weapons, airplanes, cars, air conditioning, washing machines. We do not know what human ingenuity will come up with next so the answer of course is to deliberately use the schools and colleges to make sure there are no more ingenious humans.

All students will now get is a focus on the “holistic ‘big picture’ view of how systems function, seeing beyond the details of individual trees to the forest as a whole.” Now let’s say there is a legitimate scientific dispute on whether temperatures are rising or in an unusual manner or whether it has anything to do with human activity. Actual knowledge ceases to matter in this planned Constructivist World. The model determines what students and then adults are to believe. Does this remind anyone else of what the Catholic clergy wanted to push in the Middle Ages when it came to selling indulgences and the like? The facts are not to be allowed to interfere with sought power and money.

You can only imagine the nonsense that will be spread about how economies really work. And when will we stop this Planned Nonsense via educational institutions we pay the bill for? When we are starving because we slipped beyond the tipping point where widespread ignorance means nothing functions properly anymore? When we have riots from unemployed graduates who have degrees but no marketable knowledge or skills?

The flier “Systems Thinking in Schools” put out by the Waters Foundation this spring says:

“Systems thinking is a worldview, a perspective of seeing and understanding systems as wholes rather than as collections of parts. A whole is a web of interconnections that creates emerging patterns.”

There are no autonomous individuals in that worldview. That worldview is a political aspiration for enforced collectivism. It fits perfectly with how Uncle Karl described his holistic totalizing worldview. What right does any school district have to foist Marxist worldviews on unsuspecting parents and 5 year olds? Just because it will take years to get a lasting mental model in place that will then make gulags unnecessary? Do educators get a pass and permission to impose tragic political ideologies by stealth and with deliberate lies just because this time they are omitting any reference to Uncles Karl and Vladimer in the flier or workshops?

Certain school districts are working with the Waters Foundation specifically and Peter Senge. But the systems thinking comes in just as surely through those districts who are importing systems thinking through Spence Rogers PEAK Training or Daggett’s Model Schools or Responsive Classroom. Every person previously associated with Transformational Outcomes Based Education seems to be getting their share of the federal Race to the Top largesse to foist systems thinking on recalcitrant teachers, students, and parents. Who must submit this time to the mental and financial invasions.

Because as Tracy Benson wrote honestly in the piece “Developing a Systems Thinking Capacity in Learners of All Ages”  http://www.watersfoundation.org/webed/library/articles/Developing-ST-capacity.pdf, the goal of this systems thinking initiative is to control our personal behavior. We don’t get to be free citizens anymore and it is principals and supers and accreditors and professors who seek to take away the freedom the US Constitution supposedly guaranteed us.

http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/if-the-system-seeks-to-destroy-the-ability-to-think-can-james-madison-save-us/ is a piece I wrote several months ago explaining that thoughts remain a protected area under the Constitution because they are a form of personal property. No Principal or Super is legally entitled to be doing what they are forcing on school classrooms in the name of Common Core and Systems Thinking and holistic learning and School Climate and Culture. Not even if it is in the Charter or a School Improvement Plan.

Honors English Lit teachers should not be forcing 9th Graders to write about rejecting Fixed Mindsets in favor of Growth Mindsets. Calling her work the more palatable sounding Brainiology does not change its function. Professor Carol Dweck’s specialty is getting Lev Vygotsky’s Soviet psychology practices into unsuspecting Western classrooms to prey on still forming Western minds. And you wonder why no one corrects the writing. The act of imagining why you need to reject fixed values and attitudes and beliefs is the point of the exercise because you are forcing students to write from emotion and unfounded speculation, not knowledge. All in the Name of the Common Core. A ruse just like the President and the Hewlett Foundation have acknowledged.

In playing Tiptoe through the Systems Thinking footnotes, I came across repeated references to Milton Rokeach. It turns out he laid out the blueprint for targeting values, attitudes, and beliefs via education and reeducation to overcome the historic preference in the West on the individual. And change and control behavior without notice or permission.

So explaining the blueprint for what clearly became Outcomes Based Education and now Systems Thinking is next on our journey. Our journey to protect ourselves from mental servitude-that Invisible Serfs Collar.

Hobbling Minds and Misrepresenting Reality, Mounting a Political Coup From Within

Raise your hand if you think the purpose of education, P-12 or higher ed, is to change a person’s values, attitudes, and beliefs from within so that we can create a new sustainable or harmonious culture?  Where we reject our current economic, political, and social systems and “learn to live in harmony with one another and Mother Earth at the level of the whole?” My reaction to Peter Senge and his Standards of Learning (SoL) and SoL Sustainability Consortium work that pushes comparable mindsets of an altered future and a need to change individual consciousness has always been to wonder if he spent enough time observing the dynamics of the playground when a bully comes along. Plus I am getting very tired of reading all these professors disparaging the “focus on the individual [that] is so deeply embedded in our culture.”

Damn straight and Proud of it is the proper retort for anyone with a love of history. I disagree with the idea that schools need to create “new ways we will need to think and interact in the 21st century” where we learn to collaborate as a collective first and foremost. There are times when it is useful to develop a shared vision but we do not need teachers and Principals and Supers and accreditors insisting it is mandatory and collecting data on students to monitor continuous improvement and Growth in what are quite frankly attitudes of submission. We want this country’s children, this globe’s children, exposed to all the knowledge of our existing cultures that they can take in. If some take in more than others, we need that diversity of knowledge and skills among individuals. Anyone who necessarily assumes that book learning translates into financial success has not known very many valedictorians as adults. Useful but no be all and end all.

Instead we get systems thinkers like Peter Senge enjoying a lucrative lecture circuit and workshop living seeking to make learning about changing “people’s beliefs, ways of seeing the world, and ultimately their skills and capabilities.” I do not want professors who are hostile to the concept of individuals and free market economic systems dictating beliefs in workshops for superintendents, principals, and teachers to bring home and apply in a classroom.

We talked about systems theory some in the previous post. Let’s look at it some more and appreciate just how many high powered corporations have signed onto Senge’s SOL Sustainability Consortium. It certainly puts new meaning into how Bad Ideas get pushed at us via our schools with the explanation “Business wants this.” Maybe so but not necessarily because it is good for students or any country’s long term economic health.

Just after Senge created the Sustainability Consortium he held a conference in Bergen, Norway in July 2000 where the dominant theme was the need to get rid of “non-systemic ways of thinking and acting.” I take that to mean jettisoning individual independent thought with its own arsenal of facts and an ability to apply them logically and without interference from a meddling bureaucrat. But you can see what you think of the need to “invoke a type of learning that moves us away from a conceptual analysis focused on details about ever smaller parts of the world to a holistic model that promotes competent understanding and action based on a grasp of ‘the whole.’”

I bolded the holistic because I kept hearing that the other night in conjunction with promoting the joys of the IB learner Profile. I have learned to see the mention of holistic as a shorthand for telling students what they are to accept or believe at an emotional level. Holistic education integrates the desired concepts or values or beliefs into the very essence of a student’s being without the student having any logical, rational idea why. I think the troubling aspects of Holistic become apparent with Peter’s next probing question that reveals the need to limit facts and personal rationality:

“how do large diverse groups of people come to shared understanding of complex subjects so they can effectively coordinate their actions?”

Well, Peter, that mandated shared understanding is a real problem. Who picks? Who enforces? And aren’t we back to a centrally planned economy and state control over private behaviors? Just in case that statement above was not clear and the extent to which supposedly free people are now to behave consistent with the computer models is not apparent, let’s go to the following quote in the next paragraph. Senge does a brilliant job of explaining why neither OBE or its sibling, systems thinking, wants us to have much knowledge. Nor are we supposed to retain our own beliefs and values and attitudes from home.

“Behavioral complexity arises when diverse agents (I believe he means you and me) have decision making power (that kind of personal liberty will not do apparently in a Sustainable 21st Century), people with different and often conflicting values, mental models, and goals (Oh. No!!). In such situations, seeking common strategies (which is quite beneficial for those seeking wealth and power by government fiat) is typically undermined by behavioral defensiveness and games playing and people ‘conferring immutability (i.e.-not flexible enough with statist collective goals) on value assumptions and ideological considerations.”

If Senge identifies such individualistic recalcitrance as “wicked” problems, which he does, what will he do as parents, taxpayers, school board members, and politicians begin to recognize the collectivist vision of a restructured future he is pushing on our school children via Common Core and the UN. Yes, it turns out Peter has quite an affinity for the UN’s Millenium Development Goals even if we do not. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/you-mean-i-cant-teach-because-the-economy-should-not-grow/ is where we first talked about those MDGs.

And Peter is very well-connected. Lots of big name corporations are part of his Consortium although I have a feeling they are in for the Big Idea part that seems to benefit their bottom line and have not been reading the small print like us. What really worries me most was seeing the open embrace of Columbia Professor Jeffrey Sachs and his ideas on how to end global poverty. I don’t think he has a good track record in the countries he has advised. But I am really worried by how often we keep running into him in our global ed story. First the UN’s Broadband Commission that wants to make that a basic human right that has the tech companies jubilant. Then he is a lead author on the UN’s first ever World Happiness Report as we discussed here. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/is-the-global-happiness-and-wellbeing-push-a-means-for-mental-and-emotional-burglary/. Now this. What an ambitious busy man with a global vision for all of us apparently.

Now that’s enough about Senge and systems thinking, let’s close with an illustration of why this is a spectacularly bad idea being pushed if we are to have any hope of keeping our individual liberty and autonomy and quite frankly our minds intact. At the 2012 Summer ST Conference in July for K-12 educators one of the workshops was called “Five Important Feedback Loops from Limits to Growth.” Now Limits to Growth was a hugely influential and hyped 1972 book put out by the Club of Rome. Its assertions were so over the top that the Club of Rome itself has acknowledged it is not good science, never was, and these are not really valid risks for the Earth.

But systems thinking and dynamic modeling advocates still want this in your child’s classroom because it helps create a politically useful mindset in a malleable mind. And how many teachers or parents would be in a position to know the child was being taught to reimagine the future via repudiated facts and bad science? And you thought NOAA not caring about the actual temperatures was bad.http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/if-reality-is-ignored-or-disregarded-when-do-we-become-a-state-against-its-people/

Told you we have a real problem now with what appears to be an official desire by our government on misrepresenting reality to us. And our children’s ability to ever perceive it accurately. Do you think it has anything to do with that Future Earth Alliance we profiled?

 

 

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.