Comparing the Real Common Core to Notorious Authoritarian Social Engineering Disasters

Soviet collectivization of agriculture. The Tanzanian Ujamaa Villagization Plan. Brasilia. Le Corbusier. Lenin’s Plans for Revolutionary Submission. Clearing away Old Growth Forests for a Single Type Of Timber Planted in Rows.

Last week the newly formed Career Readiness Partner Council issued its Building Blocks for Change: What It Means to Be Career Ready    http://careerreadynow.org/docs/CRPC_4pagerB.pdf. Try not to be overwhelmed by the vision for all that is geared to plugging into that state directed redesigned Mercantile planned economy of the future. Another fiat statement with platitudes like “goal setting and planning” and “effective communication skills” that ends with “ethical decision-making and social responsibility” that could only be developed by bureaucrats who have no idea how free markets work or what produces wealth and prosperity. It really is reminiscent of the mentality of the Soviet Union where higher ed credentials were the means of differentiating salaries so they had the highest percentage of college degrees in the world at one time. Did NOT help the economy. Created a great deal of dashed expectations.

But I have already given you a heads up on what Career Ready Practices as used in “The Goal of Common Core is . . .” really means.  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/birth-to-career-finally-and-quietly-creating-the-soviet-mindset-but-here-in-the-usa/ And I have explained from a myriad of directions why generic knowledge, collectivist values, habituated feelings, and a cultivated non-Axemaker Mind is not in fact the “Pathway to Prosperity” no matter how many times politicians use that phrase to bolster support. Magic credentials without marketable knowledge and skills do not build wealth or create products and services people freely wish to buy. You know all that now. Being deemed to be Competent or Proficient under criteria designed to be accessible to all is celebrating a 2-inch bunny hop and pretending you are suddenly a world-class high jumper.

No, that’s all important but that’s not today’s angle to illuminate the planned destruction. It’s history time. And I read the textbooks so I can tell you a good, relevant story. Today’s is based on a book Yale Political Science Prof James C Scott wrote in 1998. Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed lays out the “pernicious combination of four elements” that together have been the consistent culprit “in the most tragic episodes of state-initiated social engineering.”

One of the reasons we need to talk about these unpleasant realities up front, Right Now, is because the actual Common Core implementation (the one I have painfully detailed for months now, not the only marginally related PR campaign) is a classic social engineering scheme. In fact as you know it loves to call itself a comprehensive System. Must be adopted fully in every aspect. Not Piecemeal.And yes it does tell the teachers how they must teach. That denial is just a publicity stunt.

We know that Effective Teacher Evals and PLCs (Professional Learning Communities) and Data collection on the Student are all compliance devices to get desired behaviors. Here’s the problem though with all these wholesale “Let’s get the Theory  into Practice” schemes or Plans or especially Five Year Strategic Plans: A Vision for the District in 2017 that I read last week (Hint: Do not read except with an empty stomach or an adult beverage. Or several). They jettison “essential features of any real, functioning social order.” Frequently unappreciated aspects or even critical details no one even knew were present. In the planned timber forest example Scott cites that ceased to have debris and clutter on the forest floor, it took declining yields to appreciate how much of the soil’s richness came from the insects attracted by the debris.

But students are not trees. If the school is largely psychological and emotional manipulation in an attempt to alter values and dispositions for political purposes, that is a real, current, tangible loss. As I have detailed already, potentially physically tragic.  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/how-much-innocent-blood-will-it-take-to-stop-sel-manipulation-for-political-gain/ . More likely, a potentially great mind simply learns to check their mind at the door of the school and daydreams time that could have been used to nurture contact with the Greatness of the Ages. All that time spent in middle and high school and then the now revised higher ed with so little to show for it. Except Adult Jobs. Once we gut the transmission of knowledge as this ed model most assuredly does–”old learning, which focused on fixed content knowledge is now redundant as it fosters a rigid way of thinking which will be counterproductive for the workers, citizens and persons of the new future”–that useful, not appreciated but still needed knowledge is gone.

And like the debris in the forest it was needed. And it will not be the life span of timber to learn our mistake. We likely will discover quickly and catastrophically how thin the veneer of civilization actually was once a majority cease to have its fundamental earmarks. You know the ones that were jettisoned because they were not part of the Plan and were not equitably distributed.

All those plans I started this post with have one thing in common with each other and with that quoted reason for rejecting content knowledge. The Future. The reimagined Vision for Society. The New Human Nature. Since that has never worked before and will not now, let’s get back to detailing and examining how applicable those four elements are. While we still have some time left even if it is not much.Because as Scott noted when all four are present, we are on track for a “full-fledged disaster.”

Element number 1 is the “administrative ordering of nature and society.” Now I would argue that with the UN driven Education for Sustainable Development and ICLEI Agenda 21 and Bioregionalism and the related Regional Equity Movement and all the Systems Thinking designed to get to a Green Economy based on Ecology and Paul Ehrlich’s Newmindedness that we have detailed, and that’s just of the top of my head, no one since Lenin or Stalin or that infamous dictator in Germany (whose name is considered to diminish an argument so I won’t) has so ambitiously sought to administratively order nature and society. In an unprecedented fashion with global aspirations. Make that an emphatic check.

Second is what Scott called “high modernist ideology.” It fundamentally means a false belief that the social order as it currently exists was consciously created and thus can be redesigned. Which again is met in spades. Whether it is the omnipresent through the decades vision of John Dewey or Ecology or Caring Economics or Communitarianism or Systems Thinking or Transformational Outcomes Based Education itself. They are all social ordering ideologies around a different future. Like 21st Century Learning for another example.

Scott notes that these two elements become lethal when joined to a third–”an authoritarian state that is willing and able to use the full weight of its coercive power to bring these high-modernist designs into being.” Now I am not arguing that educators have such physically coercive powers although I will note that resulting violence has not deterred continued attempts to implement this vision. But all the oversight capacity over educators have been systematically turned off. The accreditation agencies coerce school boards and threaten property value catastrophe if they fail to get the board’s cooperation. Education degrees have been largely grounded in Marxist political theory and Soviet psychological practices since the late 1980s (with more palatable names of course). Now we have the Teacher Evals and PLCs and Educational Leadership degrees that are based on willingness to push this political vision.

The final element is a “prostrate civil society that lacks the capacity to resist these plans.” We are not prostrate you say. Well, with the Orwellian language being used to mask actual intentions yes we are. With duplicitous charters and accreditation standards designed to lock in compliance out of sight with no effective means of protest, yes we are. Everything about this implementation has been designed to try to predict and preemptively thwart all resistance. To what is unabashedly a political coup.

I am going to close with architect Le Corbusier’s vision for the planned city that failed to appreciate people and their needs and what makes an economy and a society work.

“We must build places where mankind will be reborn. When the collective functions of the urban community have been organized, then there will be individual liberty for all. Each man will live in an ordered relation to the whole.”

Le Corbusier’s utopian cities never functioned very well because he didn’t think the individual or personal freedom were important. He was wrong. The actual Common Core implementation I have been detailing is based on a comparable Future vision. Except it is NOT a blueprint being shopped to dictators around the world with deep pockets. We do not have time for an unofficial Brasilia to spring up to cover the Plan omissions.

Hugely Consequential. Imminent. A Hands-On Mass Experiment to Revert to Non-Axemaker Minds. Too important to Just Stick with the Slogans Anymore.