Squelching Climate Skepticism While Employing Operant Conditioning Tactics Against Schoolchildren

For those of you who never took a psychology course and never helped turn BF Skinner’s troubling books into bestsellers, operant conditioning was his idea on training people so that their behavior would be as programmed and predictable as a homing pigeon. Skinner always thought K-12 education had great potential as a social programming device. In the 80s the systems theorists decided that systems thinking would make a stealthier, more effective and lasting, means for operant conditioning. Simply target values, attitudes, and beliefs via the classroom and you impact future behavior decisively.

That targeting was what was going on in the Outcomes Based Education (OBE) controversies in the 90s. Looking at the 2012 Camp Snowball presentations and the flyers for the Summer 2012 Teaching for Excellence training sessions it appears to me to be updated operant conditioning techniques under new names from people like Spence Rogers and Peter Senge with ties to OBE. Engage even the most resistant student!

Plus this week the US Department of Ed announced that it would award 10 bonus points to any district applying for the $400 million of your tax dollars or future indebtedness in the so-called Race to the Top district competition that included “plans to work with public and private partners to help improve the social, emotional and behavioral needs of students.” Ah, comrade, may I suggest the unbelievably well-connected Responsive Classroom we profiled here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/locusts-of-the-mind-boring-gaping-holes-altering-wiring-and-living-on-our-dime/ .

The Ed Week article dated October 19, 2012 (after the national Presidential Polls began to suggest that Arne Duncan may be out of a job in January and unable to continue to shepherd these mind and personality altering plans in person. Best to award grants so the dedicated political minions in the respective district central offices can continue the practices whoever wins on November 6. I mean who will know?) states that these bonus points could make all the difference. Apparently 900 school districts applied already and only 15 to 25 grants will be awarded. Applications are due October 30, the week before the election. So there is still time for a scheming Super to file that amendment and sell future voters into mental servitude. Part of the democratic purposes of schooling indeed.

Now I have been warning you all summer about the dominance of social and emotional learning in the real Common Core implementation and PBIS coming in through federal disabilities law mandates and the ASCD’s Whole Child Initiative and the NEA’s Purple America/Project Love. I have also been trumpeting the unappreciated psychological components of new state definitions of student Growth (especially CO, NC and NV) and Student Achievement. The district Race to the Top requirements give a perfect example of what has really been the rationale for all these so-called reforms.   Mandate SEL or measures designed to destroy the Axemaker Mind and fund alternative means of measuring the outcomes of what is to be going on in these classrooms to gain the desired future political mindset and likely behaviors. Here’s a quote from the Ed Week article again:

“Districts must pay some attention to students’ physical and mental health regardless of whether they shoot for the bonus points. Districts must propose measures of age-appropriate growth in other areas, including at least one health or social-emotional indicator for students in 4th through 8th grades as well as a similar indicator for high school students. For its youngest students, a district must propose at least one age appropriate non-cognitive indicator of growth–for which the department offers physical well-being and motor development or social-emotional development as hypotheticals.”

So the same administrators intent on stopping lecturing of facts and who insist that reading be taught inefficiently through a whole word sight approach will get to pick what social and emotional characteristics children will need for the future. You know that collectivist future where the economy has been designated an ecosystem and redesigned around Sustainability and the Common Good we have been profiling? Because that is what is going on in those professional development sessions we are not invited to.

I know because every day a certain portion of mystified teachers leave those meetings and do online searches of the terms and concepts they found most troubling or mystifying. Or both. Guess whose doorstep the searches gravitate to? There is evil afoot and the teachers seem to have a greater radar detector for the mischief than the administrators. Their bosses. Perhaps because too many are drawn to administration after they proved to not be very good at teaching subjects. Now they have power and our tax money and a federal government and its cronies intent on using education to mount a political coup. For Equality!! One that is supposed to survive a change in White House occupancy or a shift in a state’s governor or a loss of control of Congress.

This week the horrifically politicized National Academy of Sciences continued its efforts to make Lysenko seem like a scheming piker when it comes to using political power to destroy the natural sciences for political reasons.  This report, called “Climate Change Education, Formal Settings, K-14″ announced the intention to use education to stamp out widespread skepticism over Climate Change. Our modern-day political officers have determined that a belief in catastrophic man-made temperature increases is in the best interests of their future plans for transforming the US away from free market capitalism and individualism.

And by golly they intend to use the monopoly over education to inculcate that widespread belief in impressionable children. The report was based on a workshop that took place on August 31 and September 1, 2011 and seems to have been part of the effort to use education and the social sciences to bolster  the Future Earth Alliance vision whatever the actual temps as we profiled here  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/if-reality-is-ignored-or-disregarded-when-do-we-become-a-state-against-its-people/

The report contemplates that the new Science Standards issued in the name of Common Core will be very controversial. That would be consistent with what we have already discussed in our systems thinking stories that the West and the US especially is being pushed away from the science of the Enlightenment and a distinction between the natural sciences and the social sciences. In their place we are to get the UN pushed (and Marxist belief) in a Unified Science as well as what the Chinese call Experience Science grounded in a Confucianist belief that there should not be such a distinction between people and nature. Which sounds a great deal like what Thomas Berry and the ecologists are pushing that we profiled here. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/we-need-a-radical-change-in-our-mode-of-consciousness-even-a-new-sense-of-being-human/

So we are to get a new definition of Science no matter the controversy from those with the proper ed credentials and we must believe in Man-made Catastrophic Climate Change whatever the actual temperature trends or real causes. But since that might become the source of controversy if it was a discrete segment of a particular school subject, the report suggests using Systems Thinking to instill the desired beliefs and to make Systems Thinking a part of all academic coursework.

Now I keep flashing back to visions of the Marxist-Leninist political officer in the movie The Hunt for Red October. “Comrades! First it was my job to make sure the schoolchildren and future voters had the desired political beliefs we find conducive to ruling over you and dictating what you are to do and what you may become. In case all those years of Soviet schooling did not take as we wanted, people like me are put in places of power to monitor adult decision-making that contradicts our glorious empowering ideology.”

No, that was not part of the movie but those political officers were a very real part of how the Soviet Union or Mao’s China operated. And how different really is this planned social and emotional and psychological assault and data gathering to gain desired political beliefs via our schools in the West and Paul Ehrlich’s Newmindedness and the collectivist belief in the Common Good from the last post?

Our schools. Our children. Our tax dollars. Are we really defenseless to stop this blatant assault on our individual freedom and the economic system that brought unprecedented prosperity to the average person? Unsurpassed in the history of humanity?

Is it really to be punted in the name of Education?

Real Change will Require New Values and New Ways of Thinking or Social Engineering Is Hard

Well I am combining two different points that aim for the same goal in that title. The latter part is from a March 2012 article in Scientific American explaining that the future science initiatives needed to be in “psychology, sociology, economics and political science” in order to get “species-wide alteration in basic human behavior.” Well how’s that for ambitious? Wouldn’t a deep seated Common human Core of shared values and common attitudes grounded in emotion instead of facts come in handy for such a transformative aspiration? Here’s the premise that all these education reforms in the US, UK, and Australia we have been talking about are based on:

“Human societies must now change course and steer away from critical tipping points in the Earth system that might lead to rapid and irreversible change. This requires fundamental reorientation and restructuring of national and international institutions toward more effective Earth system governance and planetary stewardship.”


If the assumptions in that article are not correct, then all these education reforms grounded in socio-cultural theory and Ecological Systems Theory are actually a fast train to economic catastrophe.  Shifting education from knowledge and marketable skills and a wide variety of human differences to a “search for self and social meaning” that “authentically integrates affect and cognition” (from Australia’s 2000 protocols based on US initiatives)  is a social recipe for widespread tragedy. Expectations for the future without any reasonable way of achieving them apart from luck or petitioning the government means no widespread prosperity anymore.

And there is a substantial amount of science and documented evidence that indicates we are in fact not near any such tipping point. Except those created by overreaching politicians and bureaucrats.

And, unfortunately, too many large corporations who have been told repeatedly for 20 years now that a sustainable Green Economy is the future and are already to cash in on a managed, redesigned economy that is based on political power and relationships.  The first part of the title comes from a 1996 book,  Management for a Small Planet, that is designed to teach business students and management executives what they need to know to get ready for an economy that better matches the “evolutionary processes of Nature (p 13).” Regular readers of this blog would recognize many of the professors cited for authority and the utopian aspirations for the future involved. The acute problem for us is the typical business student or manager does not have the knowledge of history or economics or the natural sciences to recognize the book is based on repeated assertions that lack any basis in fact apart from wishful thinking.

And the 3rd edition came out in 2009 ready to be used as a business text or just an aid to large multinational corporations making “substantial commitments to the ‘triple bottom line’ of economic success, social responsibility, and environmental protection.” (online book description) Now who could be against that “triple bottom line”?

Here’s the problem for all my readers, whether your interest is education or climate change or economics.  This gets us back to that Bronfenbrenner Ecological Systems Theory from the previous post as well as a “Caring Economics” from July 9. Everything is premised on using education to change prevailing economic thought and accepted human values so that “the economic system is not viewed as an entity in and of itself but as a subsystem of the larger social system and ecosystem.” That would be an all-encompassing political ideology to put it mildly, but how many of Small Planet‘s readers and listeners in a seminar or workshop are going to recognize that crucial fact? That the ‘Triple bottom line’ has some really troubling and erroneous foundations?

Here are the five basic shifts in human thinking proposed. You can reflect on how handy Common Core and Transformational OBE and Positive School Climate and SEL will  be to such an aspiration in the US. Comparable pushes are already in place in other Western countries.

(1) A shift from focusing on the parts to focusing on the whole in order to more realistically reflect humankind’s position in Nature.

(2) A shift from focusing on structure to focusing on process in order to better understand that “the entire web of relationships is intrinsically dynamic.”

(3) A shift from objective science, which views humankind as a passive observer in the universe, to epistemic science, which views humankind as a participant in the creation of the universe.

(4) A shift in science from an architectural metaphor, in which knowledge is “built” within discreet scientific domains that focus on the differences among things, to a networking metaphor, in which knowledge emerges through cooperative processes that focus on the relationships among things.

(5) A shift from defining truth in terms of absolute dogma to defining truth in terms of approximations of interconnections, reflecting the reality that truth is something humans seek, not something they know.

I disagree even if I have to be loud and obnoxious and disrespectful about it. There are lots of truths we can know. At least until Common Core gains full implementation in a school or university near you soon. But I would agree with the Scientific American author’s point about social engineering being a killer. Except what he sees as salvation I see as ruination.

Future Earth Alliance: Where Education, Climate, and Economic Planning are All Cores

I can still remember the sense of betrayal I felt when I was researching the why of a statewide integrated math mandate. It turned out to be tied into tens of millions in grants to certain universities and state agencies and school districts. All undisclosed to the taxpayers paying for the schools and watching real learning stop for so many students. Later I became a bit of an expert on how a certain part of the National Science Foundation created these conflict ridden abuse of trust partnerships to corrupt math and science instruction in obliging states and districts all over the country. It was part of NSF’s human sciences and behavioral sciences research, but that is never readily identified when you first hear about an NSF grant.

You don’t think of using American schoolchildren as guinea pigs in something called Project 2061, an earlier NSF project (its math curricula are what ignited the math wars in the 90s) to blend the natural and social sciences. It remains active.  Now with the Belmont Challenge and the Future Earth Alliance documents, we know why. It turns out NSF has a Geosciences Division too. And it is a ringleader in saying goodbye to the concept of the free individual or economic liberty or even US sovereignty. The Earth is to be viewed as a single system with lots of planning to do to manage people and societies and economies.

But not to worry. The Belmont Forum is working with a Swedish group, IGBP, to focus on the “social and economic dimensions.” And IGBP:

will actively promote a new era of inter-and trans-disciplinary research and will work with relevant partners to support solutions to societal transformation.”

Guess who those partners are? The Belmont Forum and its US NSF and UK NERC managing partners.  And ICSU–the International Council for Science. Your tax dollars at work I suppose. Did anyone put such a societal transformation up for a vote? In any of these countries? Well actually President Obama mentioned recently in an interview that climate change would be the dominant priority for his 2nd term. Could he have meant the Belmont Challenge and the IGBP-led Earth System Visioning Process and the International Earth System Science Partnership that are all scheduled to begin their formal operations and work together in 2013? Under the name Future Earth Alliance. And a 10 Year time frame to be put fully into place.

Now would you be more comfortable if I told you further that UNESCO of Education for All and Education for Sustainable Development and Quality Assurance accreditation fame was formally participating in the Future Earth Alliance (let’s call it FEA)?  How about the United Nations Environment Programme? Those busy bureaucrats sponsoring that Rio+20 Sustainable Development conference June 20-23 next week where tens of thousands are planning and bonding and festivaling. Not reassured yet? How about the active involvement of ISSC, the International Social Science Council? Doesn’t it make you just a tiny bit relieved to know that “the primary international body representing the social, economic and behavioural sciences” is involved too? There really is always pedagogy, huh?

Now actually we do have some good news if we are prepared to act quickly. The Future Earth final framework document is dated February 2012, a few months ago. Rio+20 is just cranking up and FEA is to begin its machinations next year in 2013. Let’s talk now about where our national and international politicians and bureaucrats are dragging us with our own money and Just Say No. No to such a grasping effort “to manage and govern our activities to reach and sustain global sustainability.”

We know human ingenuity is the ultimate natural resource on the planet Earth and we are tired of funding an expensive, organized effort through education reforms globally to shut down that marvelous, unique capacity some people have for genuine, life-altering innovation. We are also tired of funding and living with the consequences of pedagogy and instructional practices designed to bring about “behavioural change” for some international pie-in-the-sky scheme like FEA to benefit the politically connected. We want the continued freedom to pursue our own dreams, thank you very much. If all do not benefit equally, all will do better than before the innovation in the end. Those buggy whip makers did go on to different vocations.

We do not want a centrally designed and managed future based on taxpayer funded bureaucrats unaccountable to anyone. They haven’t even been forthcoming in telling us what was going on. Now they want us to pay for and be docile while they:

“provide solutions and transition pathways; ranging from economics to behavioural change and governance”

“creation of partnerships between research, organizations, policy and practice to deliver knowledge that is useful to decision makers, responds to development priorities, and can be easily explained to citizens.“  Yes simpletons that we are and in need of guidance by decision makers.

“research that is co-designed by the partners represented in the Alliance, bringing together natural, social, human and applied/professional/engineering sciences for consultation and input”

So these academics and bureaucrats develop theories and then jet around to conferences at our expense to discuss which ones to implement on us in practice in the real world. Involving virtually every aspect of daily living. Rejecting traditions and practices that evolved over a millenia and survived because those who used them prospered. Can’t anyone see what a catastrophe this would be? Or is the lure of grant money and those awesome trips just too blinding?

Gee. And we thought using students as guinea pigs for integrated math and Transformational Outcomes Based Education was economic suicide. Apparently the schemers living and travelling at our expense were just getting warmed up.