Fraud of the Century Via Our Public Sector: the Real Common Core Purpose for Education

Is fraud too strong a word for organized deceit that seeks to override constitutional rights and evade public outcry every time School to Work has reared its unpopular head in the past? Do we have massive, actual, repeated deceit? Check. Are we giving up something of value? Yes, our children’s minds, our tax dollars, plus the foreseeable carnage of all this economic and social planning. Now how many of us upon hearing the now ubiquitous phrase “high standards for all students” understand that this phrase is intended to quietly prescribe project-based learning for all high school students? To marry vocational with academic for all students? To insist that schools be linked with the “adult world of work and learning” and that it is that mandated nexus that constitutes “high standards”?

Before I talk further about the federally-financed, 1998 New Urban High School Project that spun out the High Tech High that is now held up as the exemplar of world-class learning http://zhaolearning.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/WorldClass.pdf or its 2008 Update called “Seeing the Future: A Planning Guide for High Schools” that made it clear that this vision would be applicable to all high schools and every student in each and every community, I want to go back to explaining what is wrong with such a Project-based Learning mandate in the first place. Imagine that we were invited to visit the lovely island of Tortola in the BVI as part of the Social Science Research Council meeting held there in 1989 with so many of the education professors interested in using education for transformational change of the West and its institutions at what was known to be a pivotal time in the world.

Well, we weren’t invited, were we? We will simply have to rely on the book created by participants in that meeting (many of whom already had tags on this blog because of their promotion of Vygotsky and Cultural-Historical Activity Theory) called Distributed cognitions: Psychological and educational considerations. When I was preparing to write this post I discovered an article by an Alex Kozulin called “The Concept of Activity in Soviet Psychology: Vygotsky versus His Disciples” which revealed just how active the deceit has been about the real purpose for pushing these instructional changes. Kozulin tells us that when the first major work of Vygotsky, Thought and Language, was translated into English it eliminated virtually all of the references to Marx, Engels, or Hegel and the philosophical and methodological discussions.

In other words, we in the English speaking world were to get the practices without a heads-up on the purposes. That, of course, would be known to anyone who spoke Russian and many of the behavioral scientists pushing the work. American taxpayers and parents though, if they were even aware of Vygotsky, got referred to the cleansed and much-shrunken (318 pages in Russian to 153 in English with fewer words on each page). Since this blog does not do sound effects I cannot say “we wuz robbed” in an irksome, high-pitched voice, but we were being lied to systematically from the get-go about what was sought for education just like with the “critical thinking” and outcomes-based education we have been covering.

Two of our Tortola-invited profs well-known to ISC readers, Michael Cole and Yrjo Engestrom, were kind enough to tell us what cultural-historical activity theory and its better-known sibling in our curriculum now–project-based learning–was intended to disrupt. They quoted an anthropologist from 1942, Leslie White, describing the capacity that makes human special animals and it is the capacity that transformational education or what I call Radical Ed Reform in my book MUST disrupt, impede, erect an insuperable barrier in front of, etc.:

“man differs from the apes, and indeed all other living creatures so far as we know, in that he is capable of symbolic behavior. With words man creates a new world, a world of ideas and philosophies. In this world man lives just as truly as in the physical world of his senses…This world comes to have a continuity and a permanence that the external world of the senses can never have. It is not made up of the present only but of a past and future as well. Temporally, it is not a succession of disconnected episodes, but a continuum extending to infinity in both directions, from eternity to eternity.”

That capacity reenforces building up from the world as it currently exists in light of what has worked well or poorly in the past. In other words, that capacity is in the way of political power whenever and where ever it seeks to usurp decision-making power away from the individual and bestow it to public officials at the local, state, federal, or UN/OECD global level. As my book made clear those goals had begun in earnest by 1989 in the West, especially the United States. As this blog has repeatedly made clear with cite after cite, similar goals of social, economic, and political transformation are occurring now.

The public sector at every level wants to be in charge of us and what we can become. Rather than be honest with us that they now insist on Overlord Status with no ability to escape, they are using a reimagined type of K-12 education especially to invisibly create the desired barriers. At its core that is what Project-based learning, cooperative learning, required Critical Thinking, mandated assessment of Higher Order Thinking, mental health assessments, social and emotional learning apps for students  http://about.att.com/content/csr/home/blog/2015/05/momentous_institute.html , and constructivism generally are all about: creating minds and personalities amenable to subjugation by the public sector.

And no, subjugation is not too strong a word. I am not sure slavery is either, except this time the chains are to be imposed via formative assessments and classroom activities at a neurobiological level. Cole and Engestrom tell us that the unification of the social and physical sciences like that by changing culture and then locking those changes into place at a neural level was what both John Dewey and the Soviet psychologists always wanted. Why what a wonderful reason to lock those instructional practices into place for all students in every state and then hide those mandates. Cole and Engestrom admit one more time in their own words what must be disrupted if transformational schemes of a different sort of future are to be realized. (my bolding for emphasis)

“only a culture-using human being can ‘reach into’ the cultural past, project it into the future, and then ‘carry’ that (purely conceptual) future ‘back’ into the present in the shape of beliefs that then constrain and organize the present sociocultural environment  ..

The public sector, politicians of both parties at every level, think tanks of every label along the spectrum, foundations, business cronies, self-confessed radicals are all desirous now of using K-12 education to sever that “assumption that the cultural future will be more or less like the cultural past.” Rather than saying so to our faces and dealing with our ire, we get lied to repeatedly. I believe that is why the New Standards Project simply rolled forward in 1998 in many states and six urban districts. That’s why this New Urban High School Project began at the same time and then became updated in 2008 ready to have its covert influence on all US secondary schools without anyone bothering to confess what was up.

I think this is why no one wants to talk about WIOA and its clear determination to force a planned economy in every state.  This playbook released recently http://www.nationalskillscoalition.org/resources/publications/file/2015-04-22-WIOA-playbook_updated-4.pdf makes it quite clear that plans for the entire state’s economy and all the K-12 system should be rolled into  each state’s strategies going forward.

All the active deceit involving the NCLB Rewrite and misportraying its actual language and the clear purposes has the same ultimate goal. Public sector power without confessing as much. This post is running too long to cover all of the stated purposes of the New Urban High School Project. Let’s just call attention for now to the admission that “the great power of School-to-Work is that it situates students in the adult world of work and learning, confronting them with unpredictable situations, new perspectives that cut across subject matters, and invaluable lessons in dealing with people in the world.”

School-to-Work as it is envisioned as part of this Project-based learning remake of US secondary schools severs that historic constraint that linked the cultural future with the cultural past because that cultural past ceases to be the classroom focus. There goes the constraint and no one need be the wiser. Just lots of hype about engagement and the Whole Child and how “exemplary School-to-Work practice puts students—their observations, their actions, their reflections—at the center of learning.” The hype continues without anyone admitting how well the barrier to the cultural past is being created at the level of each student’s mind. Instead we get this salesmanship, “inclusive and democratic [STW] invites students to participate in the creation of new designs for learning.”

The fascinating part for me is that both the 1998 and 2008 reports talk about each student being able to meet their district or school’s “common core goals” such as listed Habits of Mind, Student Learning Objectives, or the skills laid out in the notorious SCANS report of 1991. All of these are examples of listed “common core goals.” That means that the list of desired generic personality traits and skills your school or district is mailing out or creating as a poster on school walls is the real ‘common core’, whatever your state decides to rename its poorly appreciated state ‘standards’.

Anyone else feeling lied to and the object of social engineering to create a new kind of citizen for the future?

See why what is going on in K-12 matters to everyone even if they have no children?

Behind the Backs of Individuals: Creating the Well-Trained Consciousness

Fasten those seatbelts because here we go again. In turns out that back in the 1950s, in Rockefeller Foundation financed research carried out at the Russian Institute at Columbia University, Professor Herbert Marcuse laid out the vision of what kind of changed individual consciousness would be necessary for a “society where the realm of necessity is brought under rational control.” I shorthand that vision using Uncle Karl’s term–the Human Development Society–and this blog has been systematically covering all the various announcements of it recently from the Next System Project from the last post or the Larry Summers-led Commission on Inclusive Prosperity from January 2015. Since this power grab is clearly a current quest, even if it is not being widely covered away from this blog, let’s go back to see what Marcuse laid out, especially as it fits well with the announced goals of the new federal education legislation in hearings this week.

This post should have everyone looking at the announced title of the ECAA–Every Child Achieves Act–and wanting to call Congress to protest calling psychological manipulation–student achievement. First let’s go back in time to look at where that title came from. Marcuse was pointing out that in the USSR “individual behavior and values” are “automatically directed by the political agencies” so that there is no such thing as the distinct individual making his own way apart from what is determined to be in the needs of the remainder of society. Marcuse really hated the Western tradition that views the individual as a ‘private person’ instead of merely a ‘member of society’. He called for “the passing of the bourgeois individual…as the autonomous ‘subject’ which, as ego cogitans and agent, was to be the beginning and the end of Western culture.”

All of the emphasis on the Whole Child and social and emotional learning and as I will show today–the “integration of education and mental health” into a single vision of what effective schooling is now to be–makes far more sense if we are aware of Marcuse laying out the preconditions for achieving the kind of social and economic visions we keep encountering. Think of the 21st Century required skill of collaboration as we read the call for “the shrinking of the ego.” Won’t all the data being gathered come in handy in the next Marcuse call for “the administrative regulation of his material and intellectual needs”? What could be done openly in the USSR in the 50s and 60s (my copy of the 1958 Soviet Marxism book is the 4th printing from 1969) was described by Marcuse as “the coordination between public and private existence, which, at the postliberal stage of Western society, takes place largely unconsciously and behind the backs of the individuals.”

Can we just all join together in unison and yell “No More”? Just because all these visions of transformations need the ‘passing of the individual’ as a ‘private person’ to make it so, and even though, the education reforms are quietly trying to arrange the necessary “internalization” that will otherwise “impair the social cohesion and depth of morality,” does not mean any of us have to accede to this vision, for either ourselves or our children. The political theory involved, being implemented quietly, then and even more so now as federally mandated and financed education policy, insists on redefining freedom. Marcuse even italicized redefine to emphasize this crucial point: “it no longer means being the self-responsible architect of one’s life, of one’s own potentialities and their realization…the standards of freedom are shifted from the autonomous individual to the laws governing the society which governs the individual.” (my bolding)

Well, that quote certainly explains why my tracking Radical Ed Reform via its accompanying legal mandates has always proven so prophetic of actual long term intent. Since the needed shifts must occur, per Marcuse, at the level of ‘inner being’ and we know that is precisely the area that the new kinds of Common Core assessments emphasize, let’s come back to the present. First though a wave to Marcuse for being so usefully graphic. It certainly puts the Common Core’s emphasis on creating and measuring desired Habits of Mind into perspective http://www.tascorp.org/sites/default/files/TASC_SELResourceGuide_FINAL.pdf or “normed measures of social and emotional well-being.” A parent concerned about the increasingly widespread use of the PAX Good Behavior Game can add Marcuse’s confessed purposes to PAX’s admission that it:

“is teaching students to self-regulate, reduce impulsive or emotional reactions, delay gratification, and work together for a higher purpose. This is not achieved by lessons on the brain or behavior or some formal curriculum on social-emotional learning. [All of those would be, of course, somewhat visible rather than behind our backs]. Rather, this is achieved in the context of ordinary life at school that mimics the conditions of human evolution.”

Huh? http://www.promoteprevent.org/sites/www.promoteprevent.org/files/resources/2013%20Purrfect%20PAX%20Rubric2_Text_only.pdf That fascinating remark makes no sense in any biological sense, but it does begin to make sense for anyone who has read my coverage of using education to drive cultural evolution as laid out in my book Credentialed To Destroy. Marcuse also clearly had something similar in mind with his descriptions of targeting ‘internalization’ and an individual’s ‘inner being’. All of these things also become much clearer once we are aware of a desire to Integrate Education and Mental Health in Schools. http://peabody.vanderbilt.edu/docs/pdf/camhs_special_issue/3_Toward_the_integration_of_ED_and_MH.pdf is from the 2009 conference and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2874625/ shows the actual 2010 publication and Health and Human Services’ interest.

In fact, it is not just a federal agency’s interest in “examining models to better integrate learning and behavioral health” or support at the federal level for a “closer alignment between education and mental health.” It’s not just the citing of the P-20 education agenda “embraced by the National Governors Association and the Gates Foundation” or “other reform efforts (e.g. Next Generation Learners)” sponsored by certain states and the CCSSO or ‘personalized learning’ as good vehicles for this desired integration. All that is bad enough and ties directly to what we have been covering on this blog. No, what ties all this directly to ECAA and this week’s Senate hearings is the call-out for making such integrated education about identifying and cultivating “functional competencies.”

Competency-based education. Where have we heard that phrase before in addition to chapter 4 of my book?   If the new ECAA is about anything it about fostering the shift to competency-based education. As the 2009 paper noted a goal of schools focusing on improved student functioning and “this focus on competency could also create a better alignment between educational and mental health policy.” In fact, the paper concluded with “education and mental health will be advanced when the goal of mental health is effective schooling and the goal of effective schools is the healthy functioning of students.” I believe that would be the healthy functioning of students as ‘members of society’, not so much as private persons anymore. Sure does explain the anti-academic emphasis (there goes that pesky ego) and all the hyping of workforce needs.

I want to close with a quote William James, America’s original psychologist and John Dewey’s instructor, laid out a very long time ago, when so many radicals hoped to change the 20th Century towards collectivism. I wish I could say I pulled this from a long dormant book on him or Dewey. Instead, it is the epigraph at the beginning of a concluding chapter called “A Solid Bridge to the Future” from a 1992 book Breakpoint and Beyond: Mastering the Future-Today.”

“Of all the creatures of earth, only human beings can change their patterns. Man alone is the architect of his destiny….Human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.”

Perhaps, given what is laid out in this post, we should rephrase that as having those ‘inner attitudes’ changed for them.

Behind their backs. In the name of Competency or Positive School Climate or Effective Schooling.

At least none of this is behind our backs.

 

Redemptive Constitutionalism, Sector Strategies, ESEA Rewrite, and a Curriculum Designed Around Caring

Sometimes timing is everything. The last post was based on insights developed just days before I wrote it. Then I caught a plane to St Louis, Missouri to the Educational Policy Conference. Listening on Saturday morning I heard repeated references to phrases like “Power in the People,” ‘local control’ as the ubiquitous answer, and “community solutions to community problems.” I was in a position to recognize that these phrases played right into the themes I knew the Rockefeller Foundation also sees as a way to advance its views of the US Constitution via Metropolitanism, the National Center on Dialogue and Deliberation, and the work involving the Democracy Handbook we examined here.  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/silently-and-seismically-shifting-sovereignty-away-from-the-individual/

I do not know if the overlap of memes between what is being pushed as progressive federalism, Rockefeller-funded Deliberative Democracy, and at the Heritage Foundation-sponsored EPC is deliberate or innocent although at some level I am darn sure I am NOT the only one aware there is an overlap. Not wanting good people hearing these themes and still feeling protected by the Constitution to be blind-sided and then sucker punched, I have taken a few days to mull over my concerns and do a bit more research. The post title should give the first clue on where I came out.

First, the book on the aims of progressive federalism The Constitution in 2020 arrived laying out a “framework for developing a political community committed to justice.” The UN and the Club of Rome are not the only institutions now formally advancing a vision for using ‘the rule of law’ as a means “to imagine our collective future.” Emphasis there on the collective. In fact, when I saw the reference to “our successes will come from new mobilizations that emphasize a new constitutional vision that better articulates enduring constitutional values,” the reimagining of K-12 education’s purposes, practices, and policies via the Common Core immediately came to mind.

Plus there are all the references we keep coming across for preparing all students for a reimagined view of Citizenship. Knowing how tied all the social and emotional learning and Positive School Climate mandates are to Nel Noddings work (see tags), I pulled her classic book The Challenge to Care in Schools: An Alternative Approach to Education and read that the subject content focus must go because:

“Neither prudential nor ethical arguments move most affluent citizens [to make the alleviation of poverty and economic justice the purpose of politics and social institutions like schools]. This state of affairs suggests strongly that there is something radically wrong with the education that produced these citizens. Both wealthy and poor experience a morally deficient schooling. Is there an alternative?”

Noddings’ curriculum themes to develop caring and pedagogy of the oppressed and of the oppressors bears a striking resemblance to what we are now seeing pushed in AP and IB English and history classes and throughout the disciplines down into elementary school. In fact, the very phrase of the “New 3 Rs” of Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships bowls down at its core to making sure students now perceive the world and its social problems in terms of responsibility to care and act and otherwise fulfill Noddings desire to make education “primarily concerned with what kind of relations we should establish.” That’s not making me feel better about what is intended by think tanks and scholars from what is commonly nicknamed, the Left and the Right, by 2020.

What about “redemptive constitutionalism”? Any hope there? http://moritzlaw.osu.edu/students/groups/oslj/files/2012/01/Schwartzberg.pdf alarmingly informs us that:

“Progressives and popular constitutionalists have two central commitments–one to political equality, one to forward-looking change…Progressives might focus on the achievement of political and social equality, popular constitutionalists on formal equality in political decision making. Both, however, are squarely focused away from the Framers’ intent, and towards the future, in their conceptions of constitutional interpretation. The progressive ambition is to interpret the Constitution in such a way that it helps us to ameliorate deprivation and suffering–i.e., to respond to the felt needs of our community today and in the future.”

Alarming overlap of themes between the Left and Right rhetoric about the Constitution and between K-12 education and the use of the law. Good things to be aware of though to avoid being sucker punched in the future. Especially as redemptive constitutionalism wants to take interpretive power away from the courts and give it to “the People” and ordinary citizens for majorities to decide. All the more reasons then to use education to change what is widely believed and valued. That law review paper called for its aims to be achieved in the future via a constitutional convention called by the states that “ought to focus on majoritarian, popular forms of amendment” which sounds remarkably like what many state ‘conservative’ think-tanks are asking for as the ConCon.

The article called for the adoption of the “progressives’ ambition as a durable alternative vision of constitutionalism, oriented at least in part towards special concern for the most vulnerable populations.” That hope is what was enacted by a bipartisan Congress in July 2014 as WIOA [see tag]. That’s precisely what the ESEA Rewrite hurdling at light speed through Congress plans to do. It’s also what the Sector Strategies, integration of CTE into academics for all students, and Career Pathways for all students that we covered here are explicitly designed to do.  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/banishing-any-distinction-between-academic-technical-and-lifeemployability-skills-active-deceit-everywhere/

As this paper I pulled from Colorado makes clear https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/sites/default/files/PGL%2008-05-WIA%20Attach8%20PY08%20NGA.pdf what is being put in place in K-12 education now under the misleading banner of the Common Core and Equity is to “align its efforts in support of a workforce development system that is employer driven and locally led with those in economic development and education. This model requires the workforce development system to partner with industry to provide a trained workforce that possesses the desired skill sets business requires.”

Honestly, is there any confusion on why progressive federalism is hiding under a variety of labels but involves an alliance between Big Business, the Chambers of Commerce, and the admitted hard Left that wants economic justice as a Constitutional obligation? The third leg of the Sector Strategies/Career Pathways/Employer Partnership vision for the economy that is typically omitted until we start reading the powerpoints from their conferences is a “New Social Compact with Young People.” That’s why several of the witnesses from yesterday’s ESEA Rewrite came from federally-funded Promise Neighborhoods. That’s why this “Community-Based Learning through Community Partnerships” blueprint was recently released. http://www.communityschools.org/assets/1/AssetManager/MBLT%20Boston.pdf It’s why KnowledgeWorks Strive Together model of Cradle to Career is being cited as the exemplar of such a social compact with young people.

http://www.brookings.edu/research/reports2/2015/02/03-advanced-industries#/M10420 released yesterday is yet another example of this envisioned taxpayer-funded vision of an economy built around government direction, blurring of public and private, and providing ‘jobs’ for the least privileged members of American society. It does not appear to be sustainable at all to me once the taxpayer funded spigot runs dry. The difference though between just pointing out the connections among all these things and how they benefit the public sector at all levels, connected Big Business, and community organizers intent on managing the redistribution of existing wealth to their patrons (obvious and mostly invisible) is I have quite a library I use for appreciating the likely consequences of all these plans and mandates.

So I turned to a 1939 book written by a German, Gunter Reiman. Called The Vampire Economy: Doing Business Under Fascism it reminds us that:

“An Italian economist and editor who is familiar with present conditions in Italy was asked by the author: “What are the relations between businessmen and the State bureaucrats in Italy?’

‘I can answer in one word–corruption,’ he declared. ‘The businessmen in Italy has as much influence as he has money to bribe the bureaucrats. Without cash, you are a helpless subject of the State.’

The word ‘corruption’ is not to be taken in the sense in which we normally use it in democratic countries. Under fascism, it is not primarily the power of money that corrupts, but rather does corruption spring from the power of the State.”

From progressive federalism, Sector Strategies, seeing Equity as a Civil Right, the mind arson I have documented as planned for K-12 education, we are looking at a vision of an all-powerful State where the individual is to be nothing but a member of the collective, the subject under political power, and a workforce participant. All these plans for the US Constitution and changing the purpose of the “rule of law” are designed to ensure that this hoped for power “is not illegal but grows naturally out of the system and is organized and made legitimate by the State.” That’s what Reiman saw in Italy and Germany and wrote about without knowing the rest of the story.

We do now so there’s less ability to be blind-sided with a sucker punch than there was a week ago. Does anyone though wonder anymore why WIOA insisted that one of the required skills that all students must have to be “workforce ready” was “systems thinking”?

Just because a great deal of political and economic power is now focused on using the law and education to design and create such systems, starting at the level of the student’s mind and personality, doesn’t mean any of us are obligated to sit still and wait for that sucker punch.

Not Serfs Yet.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Substituting Human Values for Spiritual Growth Lets Education Become the Driver Towards the New World Order

Did you ever come across something that both intrigued and terrified you at the same time? That is how I feel about the official Baha’i materials that I have now gotten a chance to read. Especially alarming was my insight that there was nothing to keep these religious or spiritual principles from simply being renamed and then required as a component of an anti-bullying campaign, or a characteristic of an IB Learner, or as conducive to a Positive School Climate, or even required emotional competencies or Life or Soft Skills. In other words, invisibly part of Student Achievement or Growth with no tip-off to parents or a community for the kind of wholesale change in consciousness schools are now being used for.

So being the intrepid investigator I am, I found the Baha’i tenets being pushed as the Psychology of Child Development, moral education, peace education, character education, and Integrative Ethical Education. Missing of course the Baha’i label for the most part unless you actually go to the website of the Center for Global Integrated Education or check into what Achieving Coherence in education means and discover that the Pedagogy of the Empowered does after-school programs. This link from 1991 and a UN talk is par for the course http://watsongregory.homestead.com/files/un_talk.html as Baha’i universal principles get dropped into what is to be quietly pushed during the 1988-97 World Decade for Cultural Development.

Dangerously for someone trying to look out for such desired conversions many Baha’i remain members of their Christian, Jewish or Muslim faiths as well and there is no “clergy or ecclesiastical order within the Baha’i faith.” It is thus not clear how many, like Watson are “an educator, working on my education doctorate at Harvard University, with an emphasis on sustainable development” using the schools or universities to collect a paycheck and spread their ‘worldview’.

Not to sound paranoid, but reading  that the son of the founder of a faith, that so closely tracks the tenets of Marxism in pushing the unity of mankind and reconstruction of society through converting the heart and values and ‘mental processes’ via an emphasis on education, also saw North America as the “cradle of the administrative order which Baha’u'llah had conceived” was quite an epiphany. So was discovering that the Baha’i faith in the West was based in Chicago where in 1912 that same son and anointed spiritual leader  had laid the cornerstone of the building that became the “Mother Temple of the West” while on a tour of 40 American cities and towns. That would be the same place that gave rise to the Behavioral Sciences in 1948 and where CASEL, the hatchery of so much social and emotional learning curriculum, is now located.

We can add the overdrive expansion of the influence of Baha’i faith to those troubling ideas that simply erupted in the 80s that I describe in my book that indicated that plenty of people in decision-making positions all over the world had gotten the word that State Communism was about to have a funeral. But not so strangely anymore with No Autopsy of the Ideology. Successor ideologies that would serve similar ends were apparently to get their chance.

In 1984 the entity in charge of Baha’i, the Universal House of Justice, published The Promise of World Peace. In 1985, the book Ervin Laszlo recommended in his 1989 The Inner Limits of Mankind was published so we also have The Baha’i Faith: The Emerging Global Religion to consult on what those tenets might be. A universal system of values and beliefs to be adopted in full and adhered to in full that simply substitutes the phrase ‘human values’ for what are in fact acknowledged ‘spiritual principles’ of Baha’i is a school that is proseletyzing even though a Christian prayer at a graduation or sports game would bring the ACLU swooping in threatening litigation.

Is the difference that Baha’i teaches submission to the authority of government? The Oneness of all Mankind? That of course, according to the basic teachings of Baha’i, “implies not only a new individual consciousness, but the establishment of the unity of nations, of world government, and ultimately of a planetary civilization.” All this from a book advocating for Baha’i and insisting that “We must express unity by building a truly universal and unified social system based on spiritual principles. The achievement of such a system represents the God-directed goal of human social evolution.” Oh good, because that’s within the purview of someone with a teaching certificate or a foundation job or a doctorate in education.

What if you do not believe that all the world’s religions push the same basic message? Is that no longer a sanctioned belief to have and act on in the 21st century? What if a Baha’i commitment to the “spiritual conquest of the planet” makes us nervous and a statement that religion is not “personal salvation we are seeking, but a universal one” seems like a political coup towards collectivism using education as the stealth means of destruction? Is there no recourse when the principles being pushed, quoting Shoghi Effendi, this time acknowledge:

“Our aim is to produce a world civilization which will in turn react on the character of the individual. It is in a way, the inverse of Christianity, which started with the individual unit and through it reached out to the conglomerate life of man.”

You know if something is the inverse of something else, don’t then later assert that all religions are basically equal as part of a bootstrapping sales pitch for the “newest” one. If K-12 education is requiring that all students perceive the fundamental ‘connectedness’ and interdependence of all peoples and treating such system thinking as required under the C3 Social Studies Common Core Framework, what recourse do we have when we discover it is a core Baha’i principle? What do we do when the actual Common Core classroom implementation replicates what Gregory Watson laid out as “Educational Imperatives from the Science of Systems“?  What happens when the sought change in perception or new schemes of thoughts to be coerced through the K-12 classroom tracks back to Baha’i as well as an explicit rejection of the “concepts of an outdated worldview–the mechanistic worldview of Cartesian/Newtonian science” when those concepts remain factually true but unwanted? Not a transformational tool to change hearts and minds and inspire action for change and global justice?

What happens when the reform required tracks back to a Baha’i desire that “once we begin to see things differently, we can begin to feel differently, after which we can begin to behave differently. Abstract knowledge does not have the potential to empower changes in our behavior to the degree that experiential knowledge does, especially when this experience comes to us as children.” Doesn’t that give new meaning to the push for universal preschool and an accreditation mandate too or the so-called Maker Culture and project orientation that is equitably accessible to all learners? Do self-declared religions get a free pass to sponsor revolutionary change through education that will lead to new social structures just as long as the UN recognizes them and loves their potential for empowering change?

Historian Arnold Toynbee is quoted in The Promise of World Peace that the “present threat to mankind’s survival can be removed only by a revolutionary change of heart in individual human beings. This change of heart must be inspired by religion in order to generate the will power needed for putting arduous ideals into practice.” Is there no recourse to such a declared intention as long as the Baha’i link is left off the worksheet? How about required service learning actually grounded in the Baha’i principle that “religious values are expressed in the service to others” and that “work performed in the spirit of service is worship”?

What if the transformative education going euphemistically by ‘quality learning’ also tracks back to the Baha’i desire for a “rebirth of the human personality.” That goal of “individual development is always seen in the context of the collective progress of the entire human race… and this places an emphasis on the qualities which the individual needs to acquire in order to help that collective progress.”

What do we do when the acknowledged intention of a curriculum or instructional practices or Whole Child mandate turns out to be “not to produce a human being whose greatest virtue is to harm no one, but to give rise to social activists and change agents?”

What happens when the definition of ‘culture’ quietly shifts to “include behavior patterns, the individual view of him/herself, of society, and of the outside world”?

Especially when such a stealth shift also wants “those who hold power in the world” or “decision-making authority” to simply mandate and lead the change?

Schools are thus not the only place being pushed to impose a nonconsensual coup over all grounded in new values and beliefs.

 

Echoes from the Past: Preparing the Ground for Social Engineers Requires Malleable Human Material

The rather graphic quote in the title of the last post is so useful because it was so upfront about the intention to condition students via education to act in disregard of their natural instincts. Today’s title is from the lead-in to a book chapter called “Education in the Service of Conditioning” from a 1971 book called The New Totalitarians by UK writer Roland Huntford. It is a book specifically on Sweden and how Huntford saw Sweden as embodying the vision laid out by Aldous Huxley in his classic book Brave New World. A place where politicians and bureaucrats used their power over media and education to “induce the requisite change in mentality, so that physical compulsion is superfluous.”

It has always bothered me how often education in Sweden comes up in the story of Radical Ed Reform in other countries. For example, it was where Benjamin Bloom and UNESCO chose to put the summer institutes that started in 1971 to shift countries all over the world towards outcomes-based education. When I researched the creation of the PISA assessment by the OECD in the 90s and what Competency really means as I wrote my book, I learned the OECD already regarded Sweden as being where it wanted PISA to drive other countries towards. When I tracked Paul Ehrlich’s work in education it pushed me towards the Scandinavian model and the UN’s World Happiness Report created in 2012 has the same effect. Recently there was a mention of new charter schools in NYC grounded specifically in the Swedish model. Can you say omnipresent, given what is in fact a small country?

Huntford laid out the reasons he said “of all people it is the Swedes who have come closest to the state of affairs” described by Huxley in the Foreword of his book of the “really efficient totalitarian state would be the one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude.” We are not there yet in the West, but what I have read and listened to make it quite clear we are dealing with a conscious effort to create an electoral majority of people who do feel that way so they can then bind everyone else to the declared consensus.

To appreciate why we are dealing with what is coming in the US and elsewhere via assessments and curriculum and altered instructional practices and massive amounts of intrusive data on unconscious beliefs, feelings, attitudes, and values, let’s go back to Sweden to find out what made it such a fertile ground for education and societal change research. As Huntford pointed out Sweden was the ideal place to study what it takes to make a person servile since “the Swede has never emerged from behind the veil of the group; he is conscious of himself only through some general category, as a member of a people, a clan or a party.” As we saw in the last post, when race and ethnicity and social justice become must provide ‘lenses’ to bring into a Common Core math classroom, we are being compelled to take on the perspective of the aggrieved group, and not the individual, as well.

This is how Huntford began the chapter on education. It remains dangerously pertinent to what we are dealing with today. Since we have trouble getting officials to be honest with us on their true intentions, we will need to rely on the confessions Huntford obtained so long ago. In a 2014 world where a belief in the Common Good and an obligation for the well-being of others is to be nursed via the classroom, let’s go back to a place where the collective mentality is so strong that there were no words in the Swedish language for the concept of the individual without derogatory overtones. There also were not any words for the collective that do not have positive overtones, as in glorifying it. Sweden by 1971 was a place where Swedes were raised to have a “feeling that solidarity is a cardinal virtue.” It was a place where “Swedes are afraid of owning up to an opinion against the consensus” with a widely-held nurtured belief that it is proper to “repress the individual in order to preserve the consensus.”

As the then Swedish Prime Minister (who had once been Minister of Ed), Olof Palme stated in an address to schoolchildren: “You don’t go to school to achieve anything personally, but to learn to function as members of a group.” What Huntford described here as the need of Swedish planners now seems to be the guiding desire behind the US Common Core and what is called Competency and 21st Century Skills everywhere else. Think of it as the new mantra for the wanna-be nomenklatura all over the world:

“For their intended society, the Swedish planners require a type of person that, thinking collectively, and suppressing his individuality in favour of the group, is technologically orientated, and socially well adjusted. To this end, the educational system was profoundly altered during the 1950s and 1960s. From imparting knowledge, its aim was changed to that of guiding social behaviour.” Remarkably reminiscent then of what we are seeing as the actual implementation and the focus on social and emotional learning and assessing non-cognitive factors in each student. So let’s go back to the social engineering purposes repeatedly stated by the Swedes for comparable ed reforms.

Teaching practices and textbooks (and for us now obtained via the inherent control possible with digital learning) were all tightly controlled by State officials as a “means of controlling what was put into the minds of the population–and what was kept out.” A passage that Huntford wrote about adult education “study circles” in Sweden also reflects what I am seeing as the vision behind the Fostering Communities of Learners Mandate and the so-called Discourse Classroom:

“Participants are taught that, once a decision has been made, then all further discussion is necessarily at an end and that, whatever their feelings might be, it is their duty to submit to the will of the group.”

Huntford called attention to this intention to deliberately create submissiveness as a “kind of conditioned reflex” that is then evoked whenever needed “by this phrase: The decision has been made in a democratic manner, and accepted by the majority.” One of the speakers I heard last fall describing her version of the future and the fulfillment of King’s Beloved Community at last uttered almost verbatim that same phrase. Coming here and soon, indeed. Just like the now ubiquitous phrase of “Equity and Excellence” as the new vision of K-12 education coming from all levels of governments in the US, the Swedish reforms of the 50s and 60s were sold to the public as a “device to promote egalitarian principles.”

Today’s teachers upset over the extent to which their classroom activities are so scripted can relate to the Swedish desire to deliver instruction “in the form of discussions so guided that the pupils felt that they had themselves arrived at the conclusions.” This method ensures that “conviction was deep” within each student and is frighteningly reminiscent of the Common Core’s steady drumbeat of the now required “deeper learning.”

A university prof wrote an editorial admiring the Swedish ed system in a Stockholm paper where he pointed out precisely what we are seeing with the insistence on “authentic tasks” and relevance of curricula to real world problems. He wrote that in Sweden “we’ve got to concentrate on society today” and relate everything taught to “reality.” He noted the need for schools to produce “people predisposed to change. If they were not, they would be unhappy.” Building up on that same theme of avoiding unhappiness, the prof declared it was “useless to build up individuality, because unless people learned to adapt themselves to society, they would be unhappy.”

Reading such plans via education on malleable minds compelled to attend for years of the most impressionable time in their lives makes me unhappy. So does the intention I am also reading regularly of our now aping the Swedes by constantly pointing “out the necessity of togetherness as the only tenable way of life.”  I could go on providing quotes of comparable intentions and the use of agitprop in both ed and the media so that “slogans fall on fertile ground” and people become primed to vote reliably as desired by the current political class.

Instead I will end with a warning that is pertinent to the current reworking of the nature of educational and social science research generally in the US, using students as guinea pigs in real time. Theory in practice in schools near you, including private and parochial ones.  Education in Sweden then like education virtually everywhere now is being reformed with the goal as “not the advancement of knowledge, but the manipulation of society is the highest of aims.”

Therefore we need to remember what Huntford wrote so long ago and why he named his book as he did.

Because when “government and [political] party say that education is to be used to change society, it is no idle chatter.”

Now if we can only widen the circle of those listening in time.

Tackling the Dilemmas of Collective Action Requires a Shared Cognitive Base: the IPCC Adaptation Trilogy Begins

You know if we were radical political schemers or simply bureaucrats or politicians addicted to Other People’s Money, and the ordinary people we wanted to have behave as we wished were resisting our rationales and explanations, we might decide to jettison the top-down, visible, policy-making approach. Instead, we might take our control over all levels of education and develop a “cognitive climate change strategy.” We might turn to systems thinking or social and emotional learning as curricular pushes to establish that “shared cognitive base” and published articles in international journals such as “The Art of the Cognitive War to Save the Planet” that urge a “bottom up ‘social learning’ experimental approach.”

We could simply decide not to actually focus on physical reality as much anymore since it is rather hard to control. Instead, we could turn to education with its invisible ability to focus “on the belief systems with which individuals make sense of their interactions with the social and biophysical environment.”  Recognizing this “need to change values, beliefs, and worldviews as a response to [assumed] climate change,” but also that “forced” transformations are generally visible, controversial, and subject to being blocked, we could use “transformative education” as a means of altering consciousness. We could even come up with a catchy phrase about a Common Core that allows physical movement among states and  lets a student be internationally competitive in the fast-changing 21st century.

Earlier in the week the IPCC, the UN-affiliated Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, released its Working Group II Summary For Policy-Makers, http://ipcc-wg2.gov/AR5/images/uploads/IPCC_WG2AR5_SPM_Approved.pdf with its language on pages 22-23 about Effective Adaptation. Suddenly, the discussion was not about science in the physical sense. We were talking about education and new forms of governance and what is called systems science and no one was talking about waiting to see what happened in the physical world. I recognized the crucial importance of this language about adaptation and immediately put on my Deerstalker Hat and turned on my printer to collect more proof. That has turned the last few days into a whirlwind of in-motion plans, with cites to many of the same ed schemers we have been so horrified by–both in my book when I explained constructivism over the decades, or on this blog as we explored the cybernetic theory of control over human behavior.

Those of us that remember the Tyndall Centre in the UK for its participation in the email obfuscation of ClimateGate may see the need to obscure reality deviating from models when we look at how they are now pushing an Integrative Worldview Framework. Reminiscent of Ervin Laszlo’s Holos Consciousness that we have covered, it goes after the “Overarching systems of meaning and meaning-making that to a substantial extent inform how we interpret, enact, and co-create reality.” Can you say Intrusive? Authoritarian aspirations unsuitable for a free society? Me too.

Alarmed by the language in that Summary Report with Policymakers and how it fit with so much of what I had read as intentions in education or heard in terms of new forms of governance at that (co)lab summit last September, I went to the full report itself. Chapter 20 lays out the Climate-Resilient Pathways and no one is waiting for permission. Think of Common Core and 21st Century and Deep Learning globally as action research. Implement and see what happens to real students in real communities. The paper Chapter 20 actually cited was from a June 2013 conference in Oslo, Norway we were not invited to called “Proceedings of Transformation in a Changing Climate.” IPCC was one of the sponsors and it is clearly tired of waiting for the weather to coincide with its plans for “shared action to transform social structures and institutions,” while pretending it is necessary “in service of climate change adaptation.”

Climate-Resilient Pathways is all about  a priori, or in anticipation of, Transformational Change so supposedly the need to mitigate later will not be as catastrophic. Professors O’Brien and Sygna laid out “three interacting spheres or realms where transformational changes towards sustainability may be initiated.” The actual diagram had the Practical Sphere–Behaviors and Technical Responses–as the central core within a larger sphere of Political Systems and Structures. Are you still wondering why there is such a push to take decision-making power away from elected local officials while replacing with appointed regional bodies unaccountable to voters?

Finally we have the Outermost Sphere–the Personal Realm of “Beliefs, Values, Worldviews and Paradigms”. Let’s just say that altering that Personal Sphere is seen by O’Brien, Sygna, and the IPCC “can lead to different ‘action logics,’  or ways of understanding and interacting with the world.” We could call meddling in this area How to Create a Revolutionary Change Agent, or an army of them, with no one’s permission, but maybe I am being snarky from frustration at so much active and coordinated deceit. Think of all the parents who know something is fundamentally wrong at school, but have no idea there is such an active push for transformative education altering this personal sphere. Why? Because say O’Brien and Sygna:

“Discourses and paradigms emerge from the personal sphere, and influence the framing of issues, the questions that are asked or not asked, and the solutions that are prioritized in the political and practical spheres. Changes in the personal sphere often result in ‘seeing’ systems and structures in new ways…place attention on actions that benefit all humans and species…[and] influence the type of actions and strategies considered possible in the practical sphere.”

In part 2 of this Trilogy of Planned Adaptation and Unconsented to Change, I will lay out a new official definition of Knowledge. Mental representations that lead to predictable action. No need in the 21st century apparently to be true, only influential. Theories and models are fine as long as they can be used to alter behavior in the future. Returning now to that 2010 article by Miklos Antal and Janne I Hukkinen that was cited by O’Brien and Sygna, the IPCC’s current methods are “counterproductive” because of “equating the policy mode of operation with the science mode of operation.” That “in fact keeps opening up potential points of attack for the climate skeptics and gives new grounds for psychological defense strategies.” So reports can discuss science issues as if it really mattered as an obfuscation tactic, but the real battlefield will be at the level of the human mind and a student’s personality.

Instead of “individual safety” being “strongly linked to individual performance” as is presently common, people need to be convinced of the “vulnerabilities of the current economic system.” Then they can be convinced of the need to “restructure it by prioritizing system level stability over individual level gain.” Likewise, Antal/Hukkinen wanted to create ” a viable mental representation of the contradiction in people’s minds.” They suggested using “simple, unambiguous, and credible” language and visuals to establish a direct connection between individual safety and system survival” within each person’s belief and value system. They noted that many people will respond to such a simple “We have to save our civilization” statement. I would note that jettisoning textbooks, lectures, fluent reading, and all the other elements we have talked about keeps pesky facts from interfering with this desired worldview and belief system.

Just head straight to the “cognitive underpinnings” they recommend. This “opens up an inspiring perspective” as “the spirit of including individuals in collective efforts for the planet has the potential of enriching personal and collective social identities.”

Glad something is enriched at least in theory. The real world consequences of such transformative education are likely to be anything but for everyone not pushing these visions for hire.

Even they are consuming seed corn without knowing it or apparently caring much.

Part 1 of How to Mount an Invisible Political Coup: Contemplative Education

What do I mean by contemplative education? Exactly what you fear I mean. And this is not a matter of personal religious preferences. This is a matter of the same individuals pushing social and emotional learning in the classroom as a legally mandated component of education reform and the Whole Child initiative of the Common Core. Then turning around and pushing the same programs and practices as core components of incorporating Buddhist and Eastern spirituality practices directly into the classroom.

Somehow it is deemed “secular” though because although the teachers may get lessons on “Educating the Whole Person in the 21st Century: An Evening with Sraddhalu Ranade” or Shamatha techniques to enhance meditation, you just ditch that B word at the classroom door. But you deliberately keep the practices. Which means the intentions come right along with it. Whatever the parents and students and teachers targeted through professional development are told.

And this is not an aberration either. As the 2012 article “Contemplative Practices and Mental Training: Prospects for American Education” makes clear, this is where 21st Century Skills is actually going. This is where CASEL’s work (see tag to right) is going and the article was written by founders and affiliates of CASEL. Also the creator of PATHS that I wrote about here  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/promoting-alternative-thinking-strategies-is-this-really-mental-health-first-aid/ goes back and forth pushing the practices as creating New Agey Mindfulness for entities like the Garrison Institute (where Systems Thinking Advocate Peter Senge serves on the Board) and then calling it SEL, depending on the audience. Same with Inner Resilience’s Linda Lantieri. Just look at the back and forth on her schedule in recent years. Contemplative Education also cites Tools of the Mind as one of its amenable programs. Being introduced like PATHS in Kindergartens and elementary schools.

These articles I will mention today make it clear that the metacognitive skills that David Conley also calls College and Career Ready   http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/now-more-than-five-years-into-an-attempt-to-help-organize-a-near-total-revision-of-human-behavior/ are also to be grounded in these contemplative practices. So this is not a lurid detail designed to get you alarmed about what’s really taking place in K-12 education. Instead as this 2010 Mind and Life Summer Conference brochure makes clear, creating these “mental skills and socio-emotional dispositions that we believe are central to the aims of education in the 21st century” becomes the whole point of preschool and the K-12 years.

And it’s not just students being targeted, educators will also be expected to use these contemplative practices.http://www.mindandlife.org/pdfs/sri_conference_brochure_2010.pdf That’s you teachers, like it or not. Apparently such practices foster those to be mandated “communities of practice” that determine who is an effective principal. No coercion there. Just look at the pictures and speakers and topics and tell me how you would ever turn this into “secular” practices.

All of this is to be introduced first and then investigated to “explore the development of mind and the effect of contemplative practices on mind, behavior, brain, learning, and health of young people and those who care for and educate them.” And if that sounds like students are to be made into guinea pigs of the State, all these articles I have mentioned so far want and expect that these regular practices and experiences in the classroom will produce physical changes to the brain. Specifically the Prefrontal Cortex that we already knew CASEL wanted to target. We were just missing where these practices originated.

There is no ambiguity here that “Many people believe that the kind of education needed in the 21st century includes developmental outcomes well beyond academic learning, including young people’s social, emotional, and ethical development.” The cite after the quote is to Nel Noddings (who also has her own tag), thus making it quite clear that this Contemplative Education push aligns to what is called the Student Wellbeing Initiative in Australia. Explained here about a year ago.  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/if-education-transforms-values-and-feelings-and-beliefs-to-control-behaviors-are-we-free/

The articles make it clear that these physical neural changes to the brain are hoped for as a means of fostering compassion and empathy for others and other politically manipulable “prosocial behaviors.” It does rather feel like something that belongs in a book or short story of science fiction, doesn’t it? And not coming to a classroom or school (including privates. I saw the list) with the intention of “bringing together the converging disciplines of developmental neuroscience, contemplative traditions, education, and social and emotional learning our goal is to create a synergy to inspire and support rigorous research and action to support the development of the whole person (including both students and educators) within more caring and effective families and school communities.”

And yes the word “Growth” which is to be how students are now measured, and what the feds have decreed teacher effectiveness be tied to, is used over and over again in all these Contemplative Education papers. Virtually synonymous with what constitutes “positive habits of the mind and heart.” Or “more adaptive brain functioning and prosocial behavior.”  Here’s one more link since what is sought really does have to be seen to be fully appreciated  http://www.garrisoninstitute.org/component/docman/doc_view/62-developmental-issues-in-contemplative-education-april-2008?Itemid=66

To link this even further to our earlier discussions of global awareness and global competency, the 2010 MLSRI brochure even mentions that at this point ” the use of contemplative practices in educational settings is hypothesized to promote resilience, decrease at-risk behavior, and cultivate positive qualities.” Just a theory in other words and thus ripe for research in American classrooms determined to squelch individualism and the rational mind. The brochure then goes on to mention that this desire for research was the topic of a 2009 “agenda-setting meeting in Washington, DC that brought together world renowned developmentalists, educators, neuroscientists, and contemplatives including HH Dalai Lama.” then it cites to the website created to commemorate that meeting. How’s this for a name that gives up Intentions? educatingworldcitizens.org .

Since popping over to that site might be inconvenient at the moment, let me tell you what you would find. A conference with the title “Educators, Scientists and Contemplatives Dialogue on Cultivating a Healthy Mind, Brain and Heart.” And if you still do not believe this will permeate the actual implementation of the Common Core and related global ed reforms, how about sponsorship by the Ed Schools at Harvard, Stanford, UVa, Penn State, and U-Wisc/Madison? How about the college at George Washington where Communitarian Amitai Etzioni teaches (also has his own tag). Rounding up the list of sponsors are CASEL and the American Psychological Association.

Finally, since we just had a poignant July 4 holiday in the US where many of us saw symbols but not enough celebration of the integrity of what the Declaration of Independence really means, there is the overall title of the conference.

Educating World Citizens for the 21st Century

Who apparently are no longer to know what freedom from government oversight and direction actually means.

At least that’s the current intention. Getting on to being time for a Civil Insurrection. Because clearly without one we are about to get invisible mental and psychological ones.

 

Decreeing the Interdependence of Environment, Economy, Society and Cultural Diversity in the 21st

Can you imagine what your workday would be like if your boss or the owner of the company actually  had their own secret boss? Who was giving marching orders on what you should do or not do? You think you know what you are expected to do but there’s this whole other agenda going on in your workplace beyond your sight. It would be confusing and unsettling to say the least. Likely nothing you were being told as feedback would quite make sense.

That is essentially the role that UNESCO now plays in education globally. At both K-12 and higher ed and increasingly professional schools. Hugely influential about the nature of the degree programs that credential the teachers and administrators. Through the poorly understood accreditation process, UNESCO can influence what local school boards themselves can now get involved in or risk property value destroying revocation or just watch status. Then there is the dynamic that promotions from teaching into the much more lucrative administrative positions or from principal to the six-figure world of the Central Office all go to those implementing UNESCO positions with fidelity. Even if only a few recognize that UNESCO and its declared drive for a new Scientific Humanism globally for the 21st century is where so many contentious pushes originate. At the Central Office any chance for your own school district or lucrative post-retirement (or even while also still on the district payroll) consulting jobs go to those who implement with fidelity. Whatever the parent or student outcry.

So failing to understand the role of UNESCO or the accreditation process is literally a failure to grasp what drives what can go on in a school or classroom. Whatever the intentions of parents, school boards, legislators, Congress, or Governors. And that’s apart from currently having a federal DoED that expressly seeks to work in tandem now with UNESCO. If Romney had won the Presidency in the US in 2012 or if you elected a Republican governor, UNESCO remains a primary driver of policies and practices. It would just be less overt.

So when Bulgarian Irina Bokova campaigned to head UNESCO and return it formally to Julian Huxley’s pathway to an evolving Scientific Humanism that has nothing to do with the Renaissance and everything to do with Uncle Karl, it was going to affect local education virtually everywhere. Formal initiatives like the CCSSI in the US or Core Skills and Wellbeing in Australia just give the UNESCO agenda a vehicle to hide in. A vehicle that gets Bokova’s Agenda, or as she called it, her Mission Statement, into the classroom or online software program, where it can begin to alter Worldviews and Values and Beliefs. Just as she has openly declared. http://www.unesco.org/new/fileadmin/MULTIMEDIA/HQ/BPI/EPA/images/media_services/Director-General/mission-statement-bokova.pdf

You may not believe in global governance or that education should be about shifting away from the Western concept of the primacy of the individual to the Eastern concept of the responsibility of the individual to the group but Irina and UNESCO do. And they have huge, poorly understood powers to bring about change. And the fact that Russian speakers at a UNESCO meeting in Paris are saying that this New Humanism and communism (little c, see earlier posts) are the same should really give us pause.

Except we were not supposed to know. And honestly too many Principals and Central Office Admins are too busy blindly pushing whatever will get them the next promotion to care or even pay attention to the real implications of these policies and practices.   http://instituteforscienceandhumanvalues.com/articles/philosophical%20reflection.htm
from February 2012 is a Dutch prof who attended the symposium and was alarmed by what he heard.

So when UNESCO and its Moscow-based Institute for Information Technologies in Education (ISTE) published “Media Literacy and New Humanism” in 2010, it was intended to change education globally to get the Mindsets and values and beliefs UNESCO seeks for a radically altered global future. Behind our backs. Without our consent. But still coming to a classroom or university campus near you soon because of the way education really works. And the relationship between the real drivers like the accreditors or charitable foundations or even multinational corporations (who simply prefer to do business with a government Ministry that can also regulate potential competition) impacts the actual implementation. Not any “standards” or outcomes that contradict the new transformative purposes of education.

So it is not kooky to talk about UNESCO. Instead, it borders on negligence to do work in education and not be aware of its role. And when UNESCO seeks to turn education and the role of the media globally into a partnership designed to limit what we can know or do and what we are to believe, we need to take them at their nefarious word that they are quite serious. This was italicized in the foreword to the original report:

“Considering media literacy from intercultural perspective, the authors describe its role in the world where the notion of the uniqueness of each civilization as an isolated, self-sufficient entity is no longer valid: Humanity must force the media system as a whole to shoulder the obligation to stimulate this intense intercultural relation that the global world demands of us. We must force it to act as an interpreter and translator–cultural translation–among all of humanity’s diverse codes: between our codes and the codes of the Other. In other words, the goal is to align the entire media system with the obligation to make a systematic effort at mutual understanding among all the collectives, peoples. societies and communities in this global world.

And if a certain group’s designs or expressed intentions are incompatible with a sought just, equitable, and peaceful world, do you make the presentation or curriculum about the actual reality or the sought one? See our problem? This alliance may be news to us but probably not to anyone heading up a global media or advertising or even a tech company. It’s simply what passes for the Way Things Now Are at the conferences we do not get invited to. Its assumptions basically pass into the water of influence that filters down from there.

I will say that I did not see a single reference to Uncle Karl in that report. But a restatement of his theories and metaphors so thoroughly runs through it that the book/report would qualify for plagiarism under any campus honor code I have seen. Basically it could be satire of how to get to the same end result without using the M word. Marx talked about the mode of production, the report makes the mode of communication the trigger. In either case though ICT is that trigger and it is time for education and the media to concentrate “on the processes of constructing personal identities” ready for the socially networked world and an era of “universal relationships.” Not too far from the language used in President Obama’s recent high-speed broadband and digital learning edict.

Marx may have come up with the metaphor that “All that is Solid Melts into Air” to describe the time of tremendous change http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/all-that-is-solid-melts-into-air-but-does-it-really/ but that quote might have triggered the real link. So the report cites NYU Prof Bauman and a Spainard instead for the insight that “our (everyday) life has abandoned the solidity of the past and become liquid.” Likewise, Marx’s outrage over what he called the alienation of man gets turned into statements about “a kind of personality dominated by being alone together.”

In case you are wondering what UNESCO seeks to do about all this, oh, nothing much. They just want to use education and the media to “decisively influence our psyche and our character.” Later, they get even more explicit on the goals: “transforming both the manmade environment around human beings and their interior,  that is their intellectual capacities and mental skills.” Two points for every reader who recognizes an intent to gain an EcoMind and prevent Axemaker Minds.

We would be here all day if I quoted every horrifically troubling intention. The next post will have to be the how. Here are some of the highlights. This New Humanism really benefits holders of existing technology since it wants veto power over technological development in the future. So there will be a high degree of cronyism as “the new 21st century humanism must foster a critical sense that is alert to the hypertechnologized environment and capable of discerning between what should be retained and revamped.”

Also the “new humanism in the global communication society must prioritise a new sense of respect for multiplicity and cultural diversity and must support media development with the goal of consolidating the new culture of peace.” Well, kumbayah, at last. A brief look around the world  tells us not to hold our breath but that knowledge is just not going to affect the classroom or newsroom. No, because “now is the time for us to be capable of reviving the classical idea of the cosmopolitan, universal citizen, with very clear rights and responsibilities, that entail a planet-wide commitment.”

And in the Brave New World connection that you just could not make up, here comes Aldous’ brother Julian as the inspiration for this 21st century vision. A vision that explicitly targets “our value system” as UNESCO and ISTE inform us that “We are calling for a global, evolving humanism, in the words of Julian Huxley.”

Do tell. And I will. More in the next post.


 

Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies: Is This Really Mental Health First-Aid?

Let’s say the political transformation truth came out instead of talking about the Common Core as a means of creating common content expectations from state to state using common tests (neither of which happens to be true as I have shown). That is unless you count content as those Life Skills of Psychosocial Competence that now go by 21st Century Skills to sound better and move us towards our planned future. And I actually do mean Planning with all the fervor of a PhD candidate in Urban Studies at an Ivy League school. Maybe one of the Cambridge Cousins where too many profs have been enthralled with Systems Thinking and Theorizing and trying to get people’s behavior to fit the computer models for decades.

But no we can’t make it about 21st century skills up front as the reason because that P21 Partnership was going over like a lead balloon as attendees at conferences kept wondering “Where’s the content knowledge?” So P21 said it was folding up shop and leaving its Tucson home where it was in such close proximity to Peter Senge’s version of Systems Thinking. That it would just move into the CCSSO’s offices in DC. And thanks so much for offering the room.

Now some people were relieved and others alarmed since the conflict-laden CCSSO (look at who sponsors it to see what I mean. Hello tech companies and accreditors!) was a co-sponsor of the Common Core State Standards Initiative. And CCSSI is what the states have adopted supposedly to make content consistent. Might P21 influence the implementation? Yes. See previous post. Now we know this CCSSO interest group of the top ed officials from each state have also sponsored several other troubling initiatives that are clearly warping what the classroom implementation will look like. There’s that C3 Social Studies Framework to impact curricula and assessments and give students false beliefs to practice filtering reality through during their school years. There’s CCSSO’s work with the Asia Society on Global Competence and with Harvard’s Project Zero. PZ is also doing Global Citizenship work for IB as you may remember. And saying both its IB and CCSSO work can just go by the name Global Consciousness. Just call me “Robin Reads A Lot.”

We are going to talk about Consciousness in this post. Cultivating it with the desired concepts and filtering metaphors and desired values, attitudes, and beliefs. For a collective, common-good primary orientation. And actively manipulating it when the Mind that Came from Home has undesired beliefs and is too independent. Maybe they deny an Obligation to All Humanity or maybe their dad is a Physics prof wondering how it is Science to have no interest in actual data that is inconsistent with the hypothesis that increasing carbon dioxide because of man’s activities must lead to catastrophic consequences.

http://pss.sagepub.com/content/early/2013/01/09/0956797612452864.full.pdf+html is an article published recently  in Psychological Science by some Stanford profs (do you think they know Paul Ehrlich or Bandera or Roy Pea or Linda Darling-Hammond?) discovering that interdependent action and awareness is not such a good motivator in Western countries, especially the US. This research was funded by our ubiquitous and increasingly interested in our personal behavior and changing it federal agency–the National Science Foundation. The article closes like this:

“For interdependent action to become chronically motivating, it needs to be valued and promoted in American worlds and by American selves to the same extent as independence is. Until interdependence is more consistently and effectively represented in the ideas, practices, products, and institutions–that is, the culture of the American mainstream, successfully encouraging the perspective that our destiny is “stitched together” may require invoking independent behavior to achieve interdependent ends.”

Like those the Millennium Assessment of Human Behavior or the Belmont Challenge or the International Human Dimensions Programme are all pursuing now with our tax money as I have described? All eyeing education as the answer to the mindsets they need? What are the odds of all this being coincidental? Especially when I add in that the UK in 2001 got a much more up front standard to prompt all the social and emotional change and interdependent emphasis. No slipping through the windows and chimney and unpublicized Executive Orders as in the US. No, the “Standards in Scotland’s School Bill (2001) indicates that education should be directed at the development of the personality, talents and mental and physical abilities of the child or young person encouraging the development of their fullest potential.”

Now any similarities to Uncle Karl’s Human Development Theory we have discussed are wholly coincidental. It’s not like anyone with influence over British education at that time missed Marxism and the influence it had wielded. So this passage brings in intrapersonal and interpersonal skills and Educating the Whole Child and Emotional Intelligence. So the Brits and the Scots and the Aussies and the Canadians all looked at the veterans in developing such curriculums. The Americans. We have CASEL and the recommended Responsive Classroom program. Oh but back in 2001 it would have been known by its earlier name, Peaceable Classroom based on esr’s decades of Conflict Resolution and Social Responsibility work. Or there is PBIS or also Positive Behavior Support Systems. Especially popular in Colorado where the McREL ed lab pushes it as a useful tool of Second-Order Change in education.

Then there is PATHS which those Scots had turned to. PATHS is more than 2 decades old and is considered an ABCD model for the classroom–the affective/behavioural/cognitive/dynamic model of development–”placing primary importance on the developmental integration of affect, the vocabulary of emotion and cognitive understanding as they relate to social and emotional competence.” PATHS is not just for deficit urban areas although that is where it was researched on children and still gets used. See Cleveland last week.  http://www.air.org/files/Avoid_Simple_Solutions_and_Quick_Fixes_Osher_January_2013.pdf . PATHS also gets promoted now by the National Center for Mental Health Promotion and Youth Violence Prevention. And we know from an Ed Week article from a few weeks ago “Making Mental Health Part of the School Safety Solution” that all these SEL curricula are to be used as Mental Health First-Aid, supposedly to make the chances of another Sandy Hook or Columbine less likely.  Long-time readers know Colorado and CT are awash in SEL and other change the student’s personality and have been for a long time.

Why does it always come back to personality development? Beyond the clear connection to Uncle Karl’s aspirations for “creating something that has never yet existed”? I found 3 different passages from 3 sources to be stunningly illuminating on what is really going on. The first came from an essay on “The Changing Vision of Education”:

“We want the concepts, values, and skills of global education to be learned in a deep and genuine way that becomes part of each learner’s repertoire for acting in the world. As David Elkind says, once growth by integration has been accomplished, it is difficult–if not impossible–to break it down.”

Remember that mention of what Growth means because that is the new measure of the effectiveness of what happens in classrooms. Is student growth occurring? And there is nothing coincidental about the use of that term. I know because the 1976 book Schooling in Capitalist America spent a great deal of time describing the vision for “balanced human development for fostering general human fulfillment and growth.”  It’s a vision they said was consistent with the “development of a revolutionary socialist movement in the United States.” They were hoping to use education institutions, “social theory, and concrete political practice” to get most of their vision in place without violence. In their “Strategies for Social Change” passage the authors remind us of why educational institutions are so important.

“socialism is not an event. The consciousness developed in struggle is the very same consciousness which, for better or worse, will guide the process of socialist development itself.”

And they want that consciousness to become widespread among citizens. Now won’t those ill-structured performance assessments grounded in real-life problems be an excellent means of creating that consciousness? Since socialism is seen by its advocates as a State of Mind. One grounded in emotion. Certainly makes all the deliberate cultivation of false beliefs and mentions of filtering lenses to be practiced with in activities at school make far more sense. It is also consistent with a speech Linda Darling-Hammond gave  about 2009 where she giddily and unwisely mentioned that the Common Core was really about social and emotional learning. That content was just something to practice those behaviors on. The latter point can be clearly seen in documents I have where the continuous improvement is to be in desired behaviors, not knowledge.

We really are being scammed here on the difference between rhetoric and reality. And the sought goals behind closed doors could not be more Transformational. Luckily for us behaving as Miss Marple Who Reads A Lot has been a tremendous source of relevant info.

Now my third point is sort of fun. Remember I have mentioned the UN came out with a World Happiness Report in 2012 trying to get us all primed for transitioning to Quality of Life Societies where our happiness consists in the Wellbeing of All? Yes Kumbayah. Well its co-author, Richard Layard, gave a speech in March 2012 called “Mental health: the new frontier for the Welfare State.” It’s on pdf and youtube.

Which I would suggest puts the idea of Mental Health First-Aid as a daily part of every classroom in a whole new, and apt, light. 21st Century Political power for a desired welfare state. Everywhere.