Targeting How Students See the World So They Will Feel An Irresistible Compulsion For Change

As I have charted through the economic or political or ecological visions of the future that underlie all these ed reforms,  I keep mentioning the lack of knowledge. The insistence that being able to search for information with a search engine is enough. That it no longer needs to be either in a student’s brain or a conceptual remnant, developed by the student from facts that passed through of how the world worked. What had led to tragedies in the past. What character traits worked well. What acceleration towards a personal abyss always felt like and what tends to provoke it.

The fact that education at all levels, K-12 and higher ed, plans to largely take that away under accreditation mandates or visions of equity that require only curricula ALL can engage in (even if it’s as a member of the group with project or problem-based learning) is so counter-intuitive to each of our experiences of what works. And what will not. So I wanted to spend some time today quoting these no knowledge aspirations. I am really not kidding. Or exaggerating. Or going to great trouble to locate a juicy nugget to get you outraged to take action. Every once in a while only a nerdy, 10 dollar word will do and here comes one—omnipresent. This essential component of the vision of the future is everywhere in these sources. It goes back decades. And it is integral to the vision.

As my readers who read the Climate Skeptics sites like Jo Nova or Watts Up With That or Bishop Hill  all know, yesterday the remainder of the ClimateGate emails as well as the password were released,. As we await those revelations of additional coordination to prevent reality from intruding on lucrative grants and false models intended to guide public policy, let’s think about the determination to shut down unapproved knowledge itself. This post was already outlined when that wonderful news came out yesterday. But the facts in this post just became more important.

Because paradigm shifts away from anything other than experiential education are being sold as supposedly necessary to prevent ecological calamity. This quote is from a Pew financed book published in the US by two Australian professors ready to accept a global authoritarian government to force compliance with this Climate catastrophe vision of the future. The Climate Change Challenge and the Failure of Democracy, published in 2007, put it this way in describing universities in the future:

“The freedom to pursue knowledge as the individual sees fit is a mistake, for freedom must be considered in the context of the needs of society as a whole. . . The Real University will have an agenda, which includes priorities for those tasks to be pursued that are essential to the future well-being of humanity.”

And you can bet it will be Paul Ehrlich’s and UN or OECD bureaucrats, with their tax-free salaries, deciding what will be in humanity’s interests and what will constitute well-being. I will get to that in a minute. Once again reminding you that Agenda 21 is no legend. It’s the mandate for action repeatedly cited in everything from the definition of Global Citizenship to Education for Sustainability degree programs. In fact, here’s a cite to a 2008 publication in case I run out of room in this post  http://www.developmenteducationreview.com/print/issue6-focus3?page=show . You can read about how education for knowledge is akin to “colonization of the mind” and thus unacceptable or how Education for Sustainability needs a systems or relational approach to be taught in the schools and universities. That way students will be trained to always look for “contexts and connections in order to build up whole pictures of phenomena rather than breaking things into individual parts. It is a way of seeing which focuses on processes, patterns and dynamics…”

And it will likely create ways of seeing that are factually untrue but they will be politically powerful and likely to compel action to create change. Why? Because as Oberlin Professor David Orr describes it as Biophilia and the Next Generation Science Standards just call “hands-on science,” the new preferred method based on experience:

“links sensory knowledge with the emotions that make us love and sometimes fight.”

In fact, Orr wants students to redefine what is patriotic and unpatriotic in terms of the environment and also fair shares of natural resources. Patriotism “should in the future also come to mean the use made of land, forests, air, water, and wildlife. To abuse natural resources, to erode soils, to destroy natural diversity, to waste, to take more than one’s fair share, or to fail to replenish what has been used, must someday come to be regarded as unpatriotic. And ‘politics’ once again must come to mean, in Vaclav Havel’s words, ‘serving the community and serving those who will come after us.”

http://exacteditions.theecologist.org/read/resurgence/vol-29-no-3-may-june-1999-6536/85/3?dps= is a link to the full 1999 Orr essay on “Rethinking Education.” As you will see it is a paradigm shift and it looks just like the implementation we now have coming to classrooms near us soon. Or already there. All actually based on the disputable premise that “the skills, aptitudes, and attitudes that were necessary to industrialize the Earth are not the same as those that are needed now to heal the Earth, or to build durable economies and good communities.”

And if that durable economy sounds like a needs economy as Scharmer and Zuboff envision in that earlier post or Harry Boyte’s concept of community, they do seem to have read each other’s work even if they do not actually talk. Who knows? They all, including that Pew book above, keep talking about wisdom and usually italicizing it just like that. Before we talk about that “approved deep understanding that compels approved action, ” I want to mention a crucial point on all this Harry Boyte lays out in his Chapter on “Spreading Everyday Politics.” He recognizes that in the information age, “those who do the conceptual organizing are in a particularly powerful position.”

That’s true of Hollywood and the nightly news but it is especially true in an education world both trying to deemphasize factual knowledge AND come up with the filtering metaphors that students will come to see the world through without appreciating they are metaphors and not reality itself. We know Don Schon saw this and loved its possibilities for social change with just the right Generative Metaphors. We have seen it with Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory now being taught as fact to both teachers and students. Harvard Professor AN Whitehead even came up with a name for it–”the fallacy of misplaced concreteness.” Now instead of a warning, that fallacy is being deliberately cultivated as a key, politically useful component of desired 21st century thinking.

Wisdom in the vision ( I am using the Pew book again) being pushed for education in the future is all about “a desire and an active striving for values.” New ones. And just like Milton Rokeach figured out so long ago, it’s because values drive future behavior. This philosophy of wisdom treats the purpose of education as being to “help us develop wiser ways of living, institutions, customs and social relations-a wiser world.” But one not based on book learning from the past. One based on feelings and hopes and what David Orr (cited by name in the book) calls “slow knowledge.” It involves how to do practical things in the belief that book knowledge “may allow people to become greater and greater destroyers of ecological services.”

But which is more likely to lead to actual destruction in the 21st century? Jettisoning the accumulated knowledge of the past for political theories of what might work? Psychological theories of how human nature might change if education becomes more visual and group-oriented and grounded in social and emotional learning of new values daily in the classroom?

And virtually none of these underlying assumptions driving ed reforms globally are on anyone’s radar. Except mine and now yours.

I feel a bit like Mr FOIA of ClimateGate. This is too grave to be allowed to stand without at least trying to stop it by bringing it to your attention.

Done. Time for breakfast and the carpool line.

Viewing Education as the Prime Lever for International Social Change: Community Organizing Everywhere

No I did not add that reference to community organizing as a provocative means of grabbing your attention. Yes I do know that it was the past profession of the current US President and it’s not an area I knew much about. Until about a week ago when a book from the political theorist I kept seeing cited in the footnotes of so many of the books and reports I was reading came. If his was the political vision that went with these education, social, and economic “reforms,” I thought I’d better check out precisely what that vision was. His name is Harry Boyte and the 2004 book was called Everyday Politics: Reconnecting Citizens and Public Life. Boyte lays out his vision for the future direction of society in terms of a “cooperative commonwealth” where citizen groups organize and work together with governments at all levels to identify and solve society’s problems.

I do not find Boyte’s vision to be especially workable but it is the vision of the future that is attached to the real Common Core once you tiptoe through those all important implementing footnotes. Boyte sees a reenvisioned education, K-12 and higher ed, as central to his goal of creating a partnership among citizens and government. He quotes Jane Addams in terms of how to best spread his vision of an Everyday Politics:

“We are gradually requiring of the educator that he free the powers of each man and connect him with the rest of life. We are impatient to use the dynamic power residing in the mass of humankind, and demand that the educator free that power.”

If that sounds like John Dewey, yes we do seem to refighting the issues of the 20th century again in the 21st century. Again, there’s a reason Addams sounds like Dewey. They were both colleagues and friends back in the 1890s Chicago. Old theories do not die in politics or education. They just get renamed for another try regardless of tragic histories.

Boyte wants to use education in the 21st to “reinvent the role of productive citizen and the politics to express it.” Otherwise, “public life is unlikely to improve.” And what precisely does he intend to do? Here’s his precise plan:

“If we are to renew democracy through everyday politics, five things are needed. This first is conceptual: we need an understanding of the commons as something created and sustained by human beings, not simply given. The other four are practical. We need to develop public policy frameworks for productive citizen-government partnerships in problem solving. We need sustained culture-changing organizing in mediating institutions [bolded to make sure everyone recognizes he is referring to preschools, K-12 and colleges and universities], including the addition of everyday politics to political parties, issue groups, and other structures now dominated by experts. We need to understand popular culture itself as a crucial site of democratic organizing [somehow I think Hollywood got this memo long before us and maybe some network execs and newspaper editors]. And we need to develop learning partnerships that spread everyday politics on a global scale.

Boyte mentions Peter Senge and his idea of the learning organization for both schools and businesses admiringly in his book. He also advocates a systems approach. Which is really fortuitous because on July 4, 2012, Senge,  Robert Kegan of Harvard, Michael Fullan (Canada’s premier Driver of Education as Social Change) and others delivered a report to the Hewlett Foundation–that well-funded driver of Deep Learning as the real purpose of the Common Core that we have discussed several times. The report was called “Lessons of Systemic Change for Success in Implementing the New Common Core Standards” and it fits right perfectly with getting to Boyte’s vision of everyday politics with new guiding values and concepts for each student and adult.

The report envisions teachers and students developing and growing initially through classroom experiences that will take them through new stages of awareness and behaviors. Going from the initial Internalized Stage to the Socialized stage is to cause the students and faculty to develop deeper connections with each other. This transition is considered to be critical to “effective education” under the Common Core, which has a definition the parents and taxpayers are not being told about–”social interactions between adults and students and among adults.” Those of you compiling a glossary of unappreciated definitions will also want to add Community of Learners and Professional Learning Communities to the list of terms use to describe this interactive web of relationship learning.

Next stage (3) according to the report is called Self-Authoring or Empathetic but that’s not where they want students or adults to stop. As an Education for Sustainability report noted, empathy is not enough because it may not provoke action to change conditions and structures. It is thus important that education in the future “provoke outrage” about real-world problems. Those same problems that are to be the focus of the assessments of student performance under the Common Core. How convenient.

The last Stage is called Self-Transcending. Schools now will be looking to students and adults to commit to “personal transformation” and a willingness to confront and then “cultivate one’s mind-body system and strive to move on to the higher stages.” No I suspect that the public descriptions of what is going on will not be that graphic which is why it is so important to read the underlying blueprints and theories behind the sought school changes. The Hewlett report itself has a chart that describes the “self-transcending stage” as the level that sees school “as a vehicle for societal transformation.” Which is once again left off of the monthly newsletters from the school and district. Also left off from public discussion of the planned vision are a classroom that wants students to “maximize mutual learning and co-creating desired futures.” Based on feelings and wishes and maybe some fairy dust to boot but virtually no accurate knowledge of the past or how the world really works or how we came to be where we are in the 21st century. Apparently knowledge impedes imagination to co-create the future.

Our Self-Authoring striving towards Transcendence student is to seek “deeper awareness.” Just what you want when you put them on the school bus in the morning or drop off a loved one–”the capacity to interact and respond adequately with sensitivity and pertinence to the circumstances, situations or events that arise moment after moment.” And if this systemic/developmental vision of the Common Core does not sound creepy enough, non-progressing students and adults will have the reasons for the “blockage” examined so a remedy plan can be implemented. Individualized learning indeed.

This is the sought and planned reality behind the “student-centered” classroom mantra. The report goes on to inform all the adults, from teachers to principals to Supers, that it is the “fundamental task of leadership at all levels”–that means preschool and college too–to make sure all students “see the larger system of which they are a part and seek higher leverage strategies that address forces in these systems.” Not based on knowledge which is to be little and far between but grounded in feelings and affective beliefs about how the world works.

This is where all the references to hands-on learning and experiences become important and all the references to service learning and civic engagement come in. The best way to move students and keep them at these described higher levels of consciousness is to move them into community activities outside the classroom where they can work to solve real problems. And get primed to both practice Boyte’s everyday politics and to demand as Zuboff and Scharmer envision a different kind of economy to meet everyone’s needs instead of personal choices.

I wish I could tell you I am stretching here to try to provoke you into action on opposing the Common Core but honestly, if anything, this post still underplays just how radically transformational the attached visions of the future really are. I did not go looking for a reason to oppose the Common Core. I went looking for a reason for all the discrepancies between the rhetoric about the Common Core and the reality laid out in regulations and reports and waivers and books by the theorists being cited for support.

I am going to close this reality based thunderbolt revealing the real aspirations for change with a quote Professor David Orr used to describe his reasons for pushing the ecological education and Slow Knowledge that are attached to the actual implementation coming to a school near you. If it is not there already. Damaging and unknown to the public funding it. The words come from EF Schumacher:

“Education which fails to clarify our central convictions is mere training or indulgence. For it is our central convictions that are in disorder, and as long as the present anti-metaphysical temper persists, the disorder will grow worse. Education, far from ranking as [our] greatest resource, will then be an agent of destruction…”

The real Common Core is about new values and mental models and those central, motivating, convictions. And they will not be based on what the student brought from home or what has EVER created mass prosperity in the past. And even the relatively few who are aware, much less concerned about the Common Core, are unaware that the actual common core involves an internal redo of everything we hold dear.

Out of sight. Remaking those minds and Personalities.

The Need to Know as We Understand It Today May be a Lethal Cultural Sport

That needs to be radically restricted if not abolished root and branch. So said anthropologist Bernard James in his 1973 book The Death of Progress in a passage so reminiscent of Paul Ehrlich’s long-expressed desire to use education to create  Newmindedness and James Burke’s to create Non-Axemaker Minds that I just HAD to borrow it. And for similar reasons too. See what I mean?

“There is a sense of desperation in the air, a sense that . . . man has been pitchforked by science and technology into a new and precarious age. [In this age] the final period of decay of our Western world, the predicament is clear. We live on an overcrowded and pillaged planet, and we must stop the pillage or perish.”

And like the Bioregionalists and the Ecology educators like David Orr, it’s always the rational mind that is the central target for change. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/we-need-a-radical-change-in-our-mode-of-consciousness-even-a-new-sense-of-being-human/ . There was one modern scientific discovery and technological innovation though that didn’t send Professor James into a social engineering frenzy–the computer and communications technology. What today usually gets abbreviated as ICT or as the National Science Foundation likes to call it–Cyberlearning. As in let’s throw tens of millions of taxpayer dollars or new debt into making ICT the focus of all education. K-12 and higher ed. No Cronyism there.

http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2013/01/03/15cyber.h32.html?tkn=TLLFZjQZBrz3EptDVf4qQPg2Wz33qWsMGN2A&cmp=ENL-EU-NEWS1 is the January 3, 2013 story called “Federal Effort Aims to Transform Learning Technologies.” Since I have written several posts where education professors and administrators and UNESCO reports explicitly acknowledged that such Digital Literacy efforts actually are designed to gain Equity in Achievement by limiting the ability to think, I decided to look into this expensive program further.

The National Science Foundation’s Cyberlearning Initiative is very much in the Limit the Capacity to Think,Make Tool Use and Social Interaction the Purpose of School, Tradition. You know the one that has everything to do with taking down the basis for Individualism and free markets and disruptive technology innovation and nothing to do with the transmission of useful cultural knowledge from the past? Since that would bolster the rational mind and each person’s ability to conceptualize the future for themselves? Or be ingenious? Oh, but I am getting ahead of myself again.

This 2008 NSF report that must have the tech companies salivating is called “Fostering Learning in the Networked World: The Cyberlearning Opportunity and Challenge: A 21st Century Agenda for the National Science Foundation.” That mouthful, which I quoted in full for a reason, goes a long way towards explaining the NSF’s agenda in creating all the poor math and science curricula in the 90s that became notorious in the Math and Science Wars. Which is important now as NSF also goes after higher ed courses to gain equity in credentialling. Moreover, it explains the education vision in both that USGCRP 2012-2021 report http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/if-reality-is-ignored-or-disregarded-when-do-we-become-a-state-against-its-people/ as well as that troubling Research Goal 6 described in the previous post. And also NSF’s work on the Belmont Challenge and the Future Earth Alliance. Busy folks. In fact, “Altering Minds and Behaviors without Telling You” might be a good 21st Century motto for certain parts of the NSF. So convenient isn’t it that  NSF now reports to a close Ehrlich colleague, John Holdren.  He is not telling us either although if you read his past books and articles, he already has.

Consistent with that remake the world and control human behavior aspirations is cyberlearning as a means of “steering” humanity and signalling

“the intertwined tapestry of concepts relating the goal-directed actions, predictions, feedback, and responses in the systems (physical, social, engineering) for which cybernetics was to be an explanatory framework.”

Yes, long before Peter Senge took up the mantle of Systems Thinking to make a lucrative living foisting it on schoolchildren and naive business executives, we had Norbert Wiener who helped develop Cybernetics to try to make human systems more predictable and controllable. And, no, nobody EVER asks us “Pretty Please” or May I?”. So Cyberlearning is based on Cybernetics theories and involves Learning in a networked world. And the NSF report wants to make it quite clear that cyberlearning involves “learning with” the tablets, Smartphones, and laptops that are currently being pushed at great expense. Absolutely does not mean “learning about” the ICT infrastructure. Mercy no, that might bolster the abstract, logical mind and we need to prevent those as much as possible in the 21st century. No matter what the cost in dollars or forgone future prosperity or destroyed individual promise.

In fact on page 11 of that report you can find a chart called “Advances in Communication and Information Resources for Human Interaction” that puts working with symbol systems like reading and math and academic content very low on the totem pole of 21st century aspirations for students. And what makes it to the top you ask reluctantly? Why, that would be “Virtual Observations [aka videos], Collaborations, Social Networking, and Web 2.0.” I kid you not. That’s the Marxist/Deweyan ultimate wish list of Social Interaction, Participation, and Engagement as the purpose of education. It also dovetails to the 1989 UNESCO agenda described here. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/values-and-vocational-creating-citizen-drones-via-education-worldwide/ . The report still guiding education “reform” globally.

One of the creators of that chart is heavily involved with Cyberlearning and Informal Learning generally. Stanford Professor Roy Pea is not only in a position to “Do Lunch” with the Ehrlichs and Linda Darling-Hammond and so many other of our Transform Education Schemers but he was kind enough to do a Cyberlearning slideshow in 2011. That got uploaded on August 15, 2012 just in time for the new school year.  http://www.slideshare.net/roypea/berkeley-cyberlearning-030811final . Have fun with the whole show but it is Slides 17-19 that really caught my eye. They make it quite clear Professor Pea considers ICT and Cyberlearning to be a Lev Vygotsky mediated tool.  Complete with pictures.

Vygotsky, for newcomers, was a Soviet psychologist determined to use pedagogy and education to create the perfect Soviet man (and woman I am sure). He understood that cognitive tools can either strengthen the abstract mind (like reading phonetically) or weaken it (like ICT substituting for personal knowledge). Slide 19 leaves no doubt in my mind Professor Pea very much understands what Vygotsky aspired to do in his research. Disrupt previous cultural-historical processes [also known as knowledge of the past] in favor of something new. A different future and culture. As in Designing New Minds, Values, and Overall Personalities I suppose. And Pea also leaves no doubt (Slide 49) that the expensive National Education Technology Plan is part of all this mind-weakening, Transformative, Design a New Future through the introduction of new Cognitive Tools, assault.

Designing the Future. Now how hubristic, as in Will Lightning Strike at the Nerve?, does that sound? But sure enough, on January 18, 2012, there was a Cyberlearning 2012 Summit in DC we were not invited to. So we will have to rely on this helpful graphic of what went on. http://cyberlearning.sri.com/w/images/b/b9/Illustration_Banner.jpg . And there on the far left we see “People and Technology Working Together Designing the Future.” Apparently all it takes according to the graphic is the NSF using multimillion dollar grants to bribe educators and institutions who will in turn Transform Education. Making ICT and the Internet and the Visual instead of mental the Whole Point of Education.

Well, that will affect the future as we shut down much of the human capacity to think rationally that brought, quite literally, Civilization. Print and the mental manipulation of it played a big part. Especially after the invention of the printing press and the Reformation made literacy widespread in the 16th century. Leading to the explosion of knowledge and technology Bernard James wanted to stop in our title.

But can we really design the future? I don’t think so. But let’s talk about that latest bit of public sector hubris in the next post. We will look at what Ehrlich and UNESCO and the European Union and NSF all have in mind when they talk about Foresight Knowledge.

Because I am a firm believer that forewarned is forearmed. Especially about Foresight.

Sorry. Couldn’t resist that.

 

 

 

Tearing Up the Fabric of a Free Society: The New College, Career and Civic Life (C3) Framework

I did not say impair. I did not say damage. I said Tear Up. Why such a dramatic statement? Because the week AFTER Obama was reelected (Nov 12) and then quietly put out more publicly during a holiday week, the CCSSO (Council of Chief State School Officers, the heads of State Departments of Ed which is funded by many of the same businesses who benefit from its edicts including many tech companies and the accreditor AdvancED) issued a Framework that appears designed to create Homo Sovieticus right here in the USA. Seriously. Taking the political theories developed in the USSR to change mindsets there and making them the required perceptual “lenses” for students to confront daily life here going forward. Treating long-held aspirational visions of collectivist decision-making as established “evidence-based” fact. Treating metaphors like BEST, Bronfenbrenner Ecological Systems Thinking, as factual descriptions of how the world works. Oh. My. Goodness. So yes, I stand by the words “Tear Up the Social Fabric.”

Free societies recognize that different individuals have different interests and goals. It leaves them free to each pursue their own perception of reality. Their respective visions of the good. Characterizing that as selfish as the Statist schemers love to do when they are not disparaging it as the Ego-Driven Society is merely an attempt to target the legitimacy of Individualism itself. Amitai Etzioni complains of Egocentrism without Mutuality and Civility Obligations precisely because he wishes for a Communitarian mindset to be imposed via education, K-12 and higher ed. And as we have talked about already that is precisely what the definition of College and Career Ready was already doing by Stealth. In fact, that appears to be a key purpose of Common Core–to gain Etzioni’s long sought reorientation of the nature of relationships among self, others, and the environment. With the government, which is also composed of “selfish” individuals, creating and carrying out edicts as the enforcer of this mandated Realignment.

Free society is actually not just another theory of what might work. Let’s jettison it and see what happens in the 21st Century. No matter what type of government or economic system you have–Communist, free markets, mixed, Republic, authoritarian, Whatever–there are essentially only three ways to get another person to help me or you or a cousin, ANYONE, achieve their desired ends: love, trade, and force.

I am going to borrow David Friedman’s analysis on this fundamental reality of how the world works. Always has. Always will. We ignore at our peril analysis.

“By love I mean making my end your end. Those who love me wish me to get what I want (except for those who think I am very stupid about what is good for me). So they voluntarily, ‘unselfishly’, help me. Love is too narrow a word. You might also share my end not because it is my end but because in a particular respect we perceive the good in the same way.”

You get the point but unlike the Common Good being held out by Statist Schemers, making someone else’s end yours requires knowing them personally or knowing their policies if they are a politician or public figure. It is a free decision. It is not imposed by others.

The second method of cooperation is trade. I cannot do everything. Not enough time in the day and I am not equally good at everything. No one is. Trade then and free markets are all about me agreeing to help you achieve your end if you help me achieve mine. Steve Jobs wanted revenue and to show what technology could do. You love his ideas and voluntarily relinquish your money to get an I-Phone or I-Pad. No coercion.

The third method for achieving ends is force. You do what I want or I shoot you. Or, in the case of these education reforms we have been describing, you get denied the education credentials that are to be necessary to move on. To gain entry to a well-paying Job or prestige college. Common Core has a very curious vision though of the future workplace. Employees participate in it. Collaboratively problem-solving with other employees in a most impractical way outside a bureaucracy or Business with a state granted Monopoly. Which is clearly the whole idea. Classic Dirigisme as we have seen. Little Economic Growth is sought (although that part of the vision is currently being left out for obvious reasons). An official push for a Quality-of-Life Society where the Well-Being of All is to be the source of Psychic Satisfaction for All. Just like the Belmont Challenge lays out.

What. Are. The. Odds.

All this again requires a new Mindset. A New Mode of Consciousness. A New Sense of Being Human as various schemers we have profiled have called it over the last several decades. And that is precisely where the “Vision for the College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Inquiry in Social Studies State Standards” comes in. Think of it as using Option No. 3, Force, to mandate each student make the Majority Decided Consensus Choice or just the Crony Choice Their End. And to hopefully come to see such a mandate as altruistic. Born out of their Love for others. You know, they don’t say catch them while they are young without good reason.

This C3 Framework Vision interestingly enough also reflects the Hewlett Foundation Vision of the Deep Learning implementation of the Common Core. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/when-deep-learning-and-systems-thinking-radicalizes-the-student-factual-reality-ceases-to-matter/. Which is further confirmation of our Common Core Ruse, Bait and Switch, Theory. Students in the C3 Vision are to spend their school days “developing questions and planning investigations” of “societal issues, trends, and events” of relevance to them. The better to emotionally imagine a Utopian Vision for an altered Future.

Secondly, they are to “apply disciplinary concepts and tools” to be the “lenses students use in their investigations, and the consistent and coherent application of those lenses throughout the grades should lead us to deep and enduring understanding.” Yes, this is where Homo Sovieticus comes in because the required lenses are not evidence based as CCSSO asserts. In fact most supplied are not even true.

For example, the US is in fact NOT a “constitutional democracy” whatever the Educrats declare. And the day it becomes a democracy it will not be based on the US Constitution. There are also no such civics requirements of the kind CCSSO aspirationally lays out. Apparently trying to shoehorn John Dewey’s Vision of a Participatory Democracy by credential fiat. Then there is the desired Economic Beliefs to Serve as a Permanent Filtering Lens. What do you think will be the effect of teaching students to “understand” the:

“ways in which individuals, businesses, governments, and societies make decisions to allocate labor, capital, and natural resources among alternative uses. This economic reasoning process involves consideration of costs and benefits with the ultimate goal of making decisions that will enable individuals and societies to be as well off as possible.”

Thus priming the mindset to legitimize Central Economic Planning and Industrial Policy as Natural and Useful instead of their historic norm of Wasteful and leading to Stagnation if not worse.

If those examples are not bad enough, somehow Geography gets morphed into mandating Thomas Berry’s Ecological View of the World as Man is Just Another Species. Called the “Environmental Perspective” it is to train students to view “humans as living in interdependent relationships within diverse environments among the planet’s many species.” Paul Ehrlich’s Newmindedness there you are. BEST comes in under Geography as well as the required comprehension for students “that the world is composed of ecosystems at multiple scales interacting in complex webs of inter-relationships within nature and between nature and societies.” That’s also Vygotsky’s socio-cultural theory to create the Soviet Man with his new human nature. And Peter Senge’s Systems Thinking to boot.

Quite a web of collectivist theories against Individualism or Genuine Freedom. So, yes, I stand by my declaration that this Framework to be mandated on US classrooms constitutes a full-frontal assault on the entire concept of a Free Society.

Under this vision, the US will not actually be a Free Society. But students will be kept too ignorant and emotionally-driven to know they are perceiving reality with a deliberately created False Filter.

Now you know why Knowledge itself is under attack. We are dealing with an organized attempt to impose political ideologies and dogmas that would be unacceptable at the Ballot Box by stealth. Via a Coup by the Credentialed Educrats and Politicians and Cronies hoping to benefit from such a centrally managed economy. Classic Rent Seeking.

That’s a lot of power. Certainly worth lying about. But again, we get back to the reality that no one is honestly willing to assert that there is any mass prosperity in this vision.

Talk about forcefully imposing ends. Accept diminished consumption, lower standard of living in most of the West, a different kind of mind, and mandated “all in this together” whatever the work ethic or ability.

Isn’t this just a renamed rerun of history’s most tragic notions?

 

Ridiculing the 1860s Mind as Unsuitable for the 21st Century: Cui Bono?

Sometimes these days my life feels a bit like that Broadway farce A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Yet another official power grabbing, crony rewarding, and individual subjugating report will come out that I catch and know I need to tell you about.  Then as I continue my snooping into what is going on out in the real world, I get the perfect illustration of why this all matters. Even if you don’t currently have a child in K-12 or in higher ed.

I was going to explain this week’s release of the troubling “Using Science as Evidence in Public Policy” from our politicized National Academy of Sciences (again! John Holdren is VERY busy) where the “Science” is the Social Sciences, not Chemistry or Physics. Shades of what we detailed here.http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/if-reality-is-ignored-or-disregarded-when-do-we-become-a-state-against-its-people/ And Evidence is Needed because of the official belief and desire that our economy and society, an Ecosystem according to the Planners, needs to be managed by decisionmakers with the proper credentials instead of people themselves.

So I attended an “Innovation in Education Conference” on October 24 put on by the State Chamber of Commerce with official support from businesses likely to benefit from the new emphasis on digital literacy and technology and  Sustainability and Soft Skills and a new Culture as the focus of the classroom. In the sought Mercantile post-Consumer 21st Century Communitarian world we have discussed numerous times http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/didnt-adam-smith-write-a-book-explaining-why-this-is-a-bad-idea-back-in-1776/ this is not a shocking concept anymore. I do wish though these vendors seeking government contracts and political protection from competition for their current products would quit pretending their education advocacy efforts were all “for the children.” Philanthropic endeavors where they just wanted to give a heads up for future workforce hiring purposes.

But I am a tough, old, experienced corporate negotiator who has seen a great deal of what makes a business work and recommended walking away from deals that do not. When your audience is politicians and public and private sector bureaucrats, they can be fine, well-intentioned people. But you get a bobbing heads agreement to social policy talking points where the individual with his or her own money on the line in a free market would say ” Wait a minute. What are you really urging?”

The dangers of the herd and trying to manage and rearrange an economy at the political level are even more acute when the policies sought go to changing personality traits of children and limiting their ability to think rationally at all. While locking in the policies as a taxpayer paid contract with a district Super or School Principal or even the state. As a Student of History, let me just say that Benito in the 20s and 30s had a name for that kind of Corporatism trying to squelch the individual in favor of the collective while profiting from the lucrative connections. And no it was not a movement of the Right. It was collectivist socialism with the revenues of the economy being split among political favorites in addition to government officials. Jonah Goldberg wrote an excellent book about it.

Back to the Luncheon. The talking point was the supposed need for a new kind of education for the 21st century centered around the student (let’s all chime in snarkily “to actually change their values, attitudes, and beliefs”) through making school about using computers and digital technology. Missing was the fact that Soviet Psychologist Lev Vygotsky recognized that these external cognitive tools would change  people mentally once you made use of the device the focus. The known and desired hobbling effects on the human mind were conveniently left out of the presentation.

So whatever the convenience of the computer as a tool,  Totalitarian governments have also rejoiced that it can become an Individualism Extraction Device. The repeated rhetoric about lecturing by the best prof or teacher you ever met is mostly an illusion to sell the devices and broadband and get it to the classroom. And education conferences in the US were giddily calling this digital tech initiative a Trojan Horse and a subversion technique to finally get John Dewey’s vision of democracy by 1990. Yes, I do have a copy of the book. And rereading it yesterday did delay this post.

So politically connected Joel Klein who is now heading up the company Amplify  http://www.newscorp.com/news/news_536.html was the Keynote Luncheon Speaker. A state politician did the introduction and emphasized the constantly pitched need to change education for the 21st century economy. The intro made a reference to not needing the kind of education suitable for the 1960s. That was an odd decade to use since that is when the onslaught via federal government money coercing changes via behavioral and social sciences really began in earnest. It was also when SAT scores stopped advancing. Plus economists have noted it is when real per capita growth in the economy began to slow down dramatically.

So I am thinking a 1960s mind would probably be darn useful for a genuinely innovative 21st Century economy that really was about mass prosperity. And here is where I believe Joel Klein went off his prepared normal presentation based on quotes I recognized and reports I have actually read celebrating education that is visual and Tablet-based instead of intellectual. He got up and said, probably to emphasize the need for dramatic change, that traditional education was actually promoting an 1860s mind. Horrors was the desired reaction Joel wanted from his audience and nodding and bobbing heads in agreement is what he got. Not surprising as every experienced trial lawyer I know can play an audience.

But let’s think about this for a minute as I think this is an important herd lesson on precisely why you do not want the government using education to monitor and plan people’s personalities so they develop a communitarian mindset. Selling contracts with taxpayer funds to put devices in place that consciously seek to shut down the ability to think abstractly and independently. Manipulating emotions of 5 Year Olds via chosen vendors in the name of Soft Skills and Positive School Culture.

The 1860s mind being belittled and scorned was the Age of the Individual with almost universal genuine literacy. Did you know coal mining camps in the 1870s put on Shakespeare plays with widespread participation from the miners? The 1860s Mind fought the bloodiest war in US history because it so valued the individual that slavery became unacceptable. The 1860s Mind hatched the Industrial Revolution and the great inventions of the 20th century. And the greatest mass prosperity the world has ever known. And if bad things happened in the 20th century, they were never launched in a society or a culture that cherished the individual. They were always launched in societies that pushed the collective.

There is a mention in that Amplify press release above about Digital Learning leading to an “equitable society” which sounds like John Dewey’s little “d” democracy to me.  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/why-quality-learning-may-be-the-last-thing-you-want-for-your-child/ . I think taxpayers have a right to know that is what is being sought and what the likely costs are even if they have already stupidly approved the revenues to be delivered up in an ESPLOST referendum. Taxpayers and parents should know that the real assault is on Axemaker Minds  in suburban schools created at home by attentive parents. Now to be under organized assault at school. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/blending-sustainability-and-education-to-gain-arational-nonlinear-minds-and-new-behaviors/

I am going to close with a point from the Computers as Cognitive Tools book  I mentioned above coupled with a point from a book on Ecological Literacy to get to a new Postmodern World that came out about the same time. The 1990 conference focused on the ability of the computer to be a pedagogical tool that would reshape the student’s mental processing. The computer can also be used to instruct and transmit knowledge but that is expressly not the function educators want. Recognizing that reality lurking behind the lovely videos or Powerpoint speeches, lets go back to  Professor David Orr who we have met before.

As always the whole point of Ecology Policy Making has to do with “changing the way we think and what we think about” to shift away from the Modern World’s emphasis on the “I’, the interiorized ego” capable of rational thought.

“I think it is time to ask about the software of sustainability as well, and thus about the qualities people will need to build and maintain a durable civilization. . . [One with] people motivated by a sense that their wellbeing is linked to that of others and to other life forms.”

We have nodding heads about matters with unappreciated actual stakes and likely tragic consequences. We have a current federal desire for Policy Making via Social Sciences being sought in the name of implementing Peter Senge’s Systems Thinking and destroying lingering Climate Skepticism. Once again we see why the schemers do not want Axemaker Minds with knowledge of history coming out of classrooms or sitting in the audience.

Ooops.

We Need a Radical Change in Our Mode of Consciousness, Even a New Sense of Being Human

And a “new sense of reality and of value.” And our “primary allegiance” needs to be to the “larger community, ” not just of people but all life forms. And the Earth itself. No more using “human cunning” to dominate natural resources. And, Oh yeah, we also need “planetary socialism” as an explicit goal and the Christian religion needs to lose its dominant emphasis on redemption. Those are just a few morsels from one of the primary books cited and used by many of the systems theorists and Sustainability advocates.

Published in 1988, Thomas Berry’s The Dream of the Earth is the blueprint for the Green Movement and Bioregionalism and Sustainability. It literally sees human intelligence and reason as a problem because it allows people to use and change nature. It really does sound just like Paul Ehrlich’s desire for Newmindedness (Berry cites him a lot) or James Burke’s disdain for the Axemakers Mind that we have discussed.  As far as Berry and Ehrlich and Burke are concerned, we humans are entering an emerging Ecological Age and we need to fit our thinking and our actions within this desired shift from the “human-centered norm of reality and value to a nature-centered norm.”

Now I am going to stop this troubling but highly influential vision for a minute. In my role as the Miss Marple of education and economic detecting I encounter lots of different visions for a radically altered future. It is my informed belief after reading so many of these cited works and blueprints that the various end games like Bioregionalism or Future Earth Alliance are primarily designed to build electoral coalitions among various interests and grievances to get control over economies and human behavior through the ballot box and regulation. And to get local and state officials to hand over power to the federal level and federal officials to push it to a global level. That’s the consistency throughout. The statists are not going to give up fossil fuels but pursuing that unrealistic goal accretes power to government officials because they must intervene in what should be private decisions. And it creates tremendous opportunities for Cronyism. Be a political player or be no more is the way Crony economies work and there is no widespread prosperity there.

The other consistency throughout is dramatically changing the nature of education away from the transmission of knowledge and the cultivation of reason and logic. And it is a front-end tool so the education vision gets implemented first as a means to gain the desired economic control and redesign. Education then becomes about changing values, attitudes, and beliefs to affect human behavior without being open about such personal control over citizens. That is the essence of Transformational OBE and Systems Thinking and why attempts to push it under various names never go away in middle and suburban high schools despite all the blood shed at Columbine.

Human Consciousness is still the desired target and grounding decisions in unconscious emotions is still the most successful way to control behaviors permanently and from afar. And the Gypsy Principals and Supers will not stop pushing these toxic ideas with a bloody history they may not even know because that’s the path to the lucrative promotions. So it is up to us parents and taxpayers to understand this template and stop the educators and the politicians and bureaucrats. All of whom live at our expense.

Every totalitarian dictator in history wanted control over Consciousness. It remains tyranny when it comes in through the schools and classrooms through an administrator who insists on being called “Doctor.” Because I am on so many internal distribution lists I know that educators all over the world–US, Canada, Australia, UK, and Europe in particular–have recently been recirculating a 1990 speech called “What is Education For?”. Oberlin Professor David Orr was and still is a well-known member of the ecological movement although that is not in the speech or article. And the vision for education in the article replicates much of Thomas Berry’s vision for education from The Dream of the Earth. Like Berry, Orr believes that modern education and contemporary culture has created a “monster” in the form of the “modern drive to dominate nature.” He goes on to assert that:

“It is a matter of no small consequence that the only people who have lived sustainably on the planet for any length of time could not read or, like the Amish, do not make a fetish of reading.”

How’s that for explaining the reluctance to use effective reading techniques? Reading phonetically allows access to soon-to-be impermissable knowledge. It has the undesirable side effect of honing analytical skills and the ability to internally weigh alternative mental scenarios and possibilities. That’s not acceptable in a community comes first world since all those capabilities enhance a sense of individuality. Orr even goes on to complain that “Galileo’s separation of the intellect foreshadows the dominance of the analytical mind over that part given to creativity, humor, and wholeness.” I’d really like to object to that last point because I think an analytical mind is capable of great humor and more than a little snarkiness. After all who else sees irony everywhere they turn? I must admit though I do find the Three Stooges annoying. And I am very fond of building up my Wholes from lots of different parts as long-time readers know.

Now when the analytical mind itself is so regularly disparaged as an undesirable goal of education is it any surprise that we spend so much for such poor results? What we taxpayers and parents and tuition paying students think we are getting and what the educators intend to sell are two radically different products. Both of which call themselves education. Which is why we are in such an expensive mess. When educators are pursuing a vision for their product that the Earth itself cannot be managed but:

“What might be managed is us: human desires, economies, politics, and communities.”

Like trying to control any of those things, especially by stealth, does not have a tragic track record. And then goes on to say:

“the planet does not need more ‘successful’ people. But it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every shape and form. It needs people who live well in their places. It needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane.”

Now remember this is getting circulated all over the world as an inspirational vision to start the new school year with. It goes on to quote Holistic Review which is important since my Gypsy Principal is openly proclaiming that high school education is now to be holistic. My bet is you should ask yours. Here’s that holistic vision citing Ron Miller:

“Our culture does not nourish that which is best or noblest in the human spirit. It does not cultivate vision, imagination, or aesthetic or spiritual sensitivity. It does not encourage gentleness, generosity, caring, or compassion. Increasingly in the late 20th Century, the economic-technocratic-statist worldview has become a monstrous destroyer of what is loving and life-affirming in the human soul.”

Needless to say, those educators now feel primed to make SEL and a Positive School Climate the focus of school. And the new economy push that surrounds all these ed initiatives? Well, Orr opines that “Communism failed because it produced too little at too high a cost” which is a ludicrous way to describe an ideology that killed 100 million. But how many educators know that? And then Orr claims that “Capitalism failed because it destroys morality altogether.”

I could write a whole blog post on the ignorance in that statement but most educators will believe it and implement curriculum, assessments, and instruction changes accordingly. Blissfully unaware of the seeds they are actually sowing. It is thus up to us. All of us. To take education back. To get the product we are paying for, not the one we are being sold.

It sounds hyperbolic to say human freedom is at stake at its most basic level. But that’s the result of tyrannical overreaches. Describing the actual effects does sound sensational. But it remains an accurate description of why we must speak up and fight. It really is our essence, our souls, being targeted. Pity the children under this vision.