Motivationally Misleading Situations and Wicked Decision Problems: Imposing Psychological Experiments on Students

What would you think if you read the Dear Colleague Letter put out yesterday by the  CCSSO trade group that is funded by tech companies and the accreditors and other beneficiaries of taxpayer education dollars and that supposedly represents state Departments of Ed and you ended up finding this sentence. “There is no experimental evidence to back up this dialectical/constructivist view of self being created by the required assessments being pushed under the Common Core. Or by the OECD to be considered internationally competitive in the future. In fact, we have to look instead to existential philosophy, meditation, spiritual, and history-of religion literatures to locate proof that the kind of personality we want to use education to create is actually possible.” Would you say “that sounds like a wonderful mandate for all schools and all students. Here’s my tax dollars to fund the transformation?”

Well, of course, we wouldn’t. That’s the beauty of the misrepresentations surrounding the Common Core and charters with duplicitous language actually mandating Maslow’s psychological model of growth or the lack of genuine appreciation for what the OECD’s PISA ‘test’ is measuring. It makes the end goal of a revolutionary new purpose for education on automatic pilot towards fruition even though no one would agree to it voluntarily with their own money. Despite the fact that warning after warning is out there in the small print that this is all a massive psychological experiment designed to gain a nonconsensual political and social transformation. Starting at the level of the student’s personality.

Now the letter http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/CCSSO%20Assessment%20Quality%20Principles%2010-1-13%20FINAL.pdf   did not actually say that but when you track back what it did say about what constitutes “high quality assessments” and “deep knowledge” and the ancestry of the term “higher order thinking skills” instead of surface knowledge back about 25 years that descriptive quote I wrote up is precisely what you find. Especially if you go further and click-on the “Criteria for High-Quality Assessment” issued in June 2013 https://edpolicy.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/publications/criteria-higher-quality-assessment_2.pdf .

It lays out precisely the international push to gain personalities amenable to the rise of China and public-sector directed state capitalism as the global model. Citing the Singapore Ed Minister we all need “engaged learning, discovery through experiences, differentiated teaching, the learning of life-long skills, and the building of character, so that students…can develop the attributes, mindsets, character and values for future success.”

Everyone remembering that Dalian New Champions Conference held out Singapore as the model for the desired 21st century state capitalism? Good because that vision is hugely important to such statements as “new assessments must advance competencies that are matched to the era in which we live.” Now if I run through all the rest of the reasons this letter and that report tipped me off as to what was going on we will never get where I need to go. Regular readers should see it and I can answer questions from new readers in the comments but both sent me looking at “An essay on wisdom: toward organismic processes that make it possible” by Professor Juan Pascual-Leone. Why? It’s a combo of what was sought along with what was said at the (co)lab conference as being part of the desired education transformation for this sought future. Especially Sir Ken Robinson’s statement that the revolution he sought was to view education now as “an organic process.”

The easiest way to explain what is being sought is a desire to have all thought grounded in emotions. It is the constant refrain that the problems to be used for assessment have no fixed answer and it is why lecturing and textbooks are becoming abhorrent. They build up the logical, independent, mind and are not necessarily grounded in feelings. Which means they may not produce the behavior desired to fit with all these plans for transformation. To get that requires a personality that has been shaped by “qualitative metamorphoses in affective-cognitive experiencing and thinking.” Which is precisely what the new curricula and gaming and online learning and these new assessments are designed to create. It’s also why you keep hearing so many mentions now globally to ‘quality learning.’

That’s what these ill-defined “motivationally misleading situations” and “wicked decision problems” assessments force. Discomfort in the student so they change values and strategies and how they view the world. Such “reexaminations are actual executive-learning situations, where the subject, little by little, can acquire suitable metaexecutives” that will guide the desired “mental revolution” of when and how student’s choose to act going forward in dealing “with the hard, misleading reality of everyday experience.”

That’s why the problems have to be authentic and grounded in the real world and relevant. It brings in emotions and changes how the world will be viewed going forward. It’s also why this type of education is something all students can do without regard to family income levels or cultural backgrounds. And if this seems like BF Skinner’s operant conditioning or a science fiction novel, Pascual-Leone actually says this will synthesis (he likes italics a lot) is the answer to Skinner’s belief that “the human mind is so strongly conditioned by its learning history that it cannot be free, and thus the will is an illusion.”

These cognitive psychologists and education profs are saying no, human will exists but we can use pedagogy and theories of education to both shut it down and guide it in desired ways. Since we would all rebel if that was the way these reforms were presented, they are not being phrased that way. To us. In the materials we are supposed to use to frame our beliefs and attitudes toward education reforms. But I track down to the insider-only material that gets withdrawn from library shelves for a reason and it is quite clear. In fact, the commonly used term  “college and career ready” is clearly a play on gaining over time a progression of how students “create our conscious structuring of the intersubjective world of everyday experience” so that each student structures their vision of reality in the way desired.

Over time these motivationally misleading situations and wicked-decision problems are supposed to create empathy in the student towards others and the world. To be “developmentally sophisticated and advanced” in this vision of education, what is desired in future students is to be “humanistically oriented or psychologically ‘spiritual.” Now you know why we just kept encountering such a psychological emphasis as we explored the real Common Core implementation and why there is so much deceit and  misleading definitions to so many terms. Being upfront and declaring you are seeking a personality suitable for the illicit political revolution may be true but it would make for a bad PR campaign.

Now I have explained this psychological model before.Yesterday’s letter simply clarified how important a particular kind of assessment is to the vision. It’s how the psych model gets mandated in the US and globally without admitting it. This psych model by the way has long been pushed in urban school districts. It’s just that now it is being foisted on the suburbs in a way that is not supposed to be visible. I am very concerned though by the widespread belief among many minorities that the only way for them to succeed is to push this psych model on all schools.

It’s the economy as a fixed pie belief and they want government to intervene to give them a larger share. And the economy is not a fixed pie and the way governments are intervening to push this Competency model as the goal for all students will ultimately be the death knell of mass prosperity. It’s just not appreciated yet. There has been an awful lot of racial hatred that has been nourished over the years to get this psych model and the overall political transformation in place. Breaks my heart to watch and hear.

Commenting on a similar push in Brazil a WSJ letter to the editor pointed out how hard it is to contain “the populist forces of fairness and change once unleashed for political gain…[E]conomic success overseen by leftist populists intensifies the hard-left passion for absolute social justice and equality.” Yes, and that is precisely the blood lust these ed reforms and the Inner Cities vision and all the movies being pushed now on inequality are building up. Not bothering to point out that the public sector dominant remedy being pushed ultimately brings less prosperity for most of us.

I am going to close with a quote from Sir Henry Sumner Maine from 1885 that we need to all keep in mind to confront what most assuredly is coming all of our way (h/t Don Boudreaux, Cafe Hayek blog):

“Yet nothing is more certain, than that the mental picture which enchains the enthusiasts for benevolent democratic government is altogether false, and that, if the mass of mankind were to make an attempt at redividing the common stock of good things, they would resemble, not a number of claimants insisting on the fair division of a fund, but a mutinous crew, feasting on a ship’s provisions, gorging themselves on the meat and intoxicating themselves with the liquors, but refusing to navigate the vessel to port.”

I would add that now the enthusiasts are blindly or greedily insisting no one may have navigational skills in the future either. Then where will we all be?

 

 

Once Again the Official Target is Scrambling Rational Thinking, Do Pro-Social Purposes Make It OK?

What should horrify us more–the intention? Or the fact that numerous editors at Ed Week must have read the language and merely nodded. Because after all the idea that now “Teachers design spaces and experiences that rearrange the neurons in young people’s brains for pro-social purposes” is not news to readers of this blog. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/edtechresearcher/2013/06 /change_the_frame_two_ways_to_rethink_education_for_reform.html?cmp=ENL-EU-VIEWS2 is the link from last week. It is the lead-in to paragraph 4. And the author is the educator who first led me to focus on gaming after a conference he hosted at MIT.

Ramping up for the 90s version of these same “reshape the personality and values” reforms, which became infamous as Outcomes Based Education, there was a flurry of books on creating new kinds of minds. Willis Harman’s Global Mind Change from the previous post was one. Paul Ehrlich wrote New World New Mind and we also had The Axemaker’s Gift that gave us the useful Axemaker’s Mind metaphor to explain what is being targeted. Well, the sought goal has never gone away. Apparently the era of Positive Humanism (aka little c you-know-what) can only commence if the rational “ego-mind” that promotes individuality has been anesthetized. Put into deep sleep via K-12 education. To be reenforced periodically through lifelong learning and today’s new term–media education.

This time around we again have more illuminating books to guide us toward the future others want for us. First we have Ecomind: Changing the Way We Think, to Create the World We Want published in 2011. Ecologist Frances Moore Lappe, who also serves on a new global entity http://www.worldfuturecouncil.org/ (with Riane Eisler if you have ever read the Caring Economics post)  wants to reframe the “largely unconscious mental map made up of big ideas orienting our lives.” She points out a very useful phrase to keep in mind as we keep reading about Enduring Understandings and systems theory “lenses” and Understandings of Consequence that are to be provided in the Common Core classroom to help organize every student’s beliefs about the world and the past. “Can we remake our mental map?” Lappe asks. Because she points out that “while we often hear that ‘seeing is believing,’ actually believing is seeing.

Which will of course come in quite handy in an education now to be focused on the visual and modeling future scenarios on the computer.  Because the tech companies and their broadcasting allies globally have been quietly sponsoring (as in literally funding the conferences) the idea that “society has evolved from a literacy culture to a media culture. To be able to function in this new culture, people need to develop sufficient proficiency in media literacy in much the same way as people in a literacy culture need to be able to read and write.”

And if this is news to you the Common Core literacy standards do mention media literacy but no one seems to be focusing on the implications yet. Probably because they have not been reading the programs of the Media & Learning Conferences that started in Brussels in 2010 and noted the significance of the statement that “different media provide access to different parts of the brain.” And, yes, games are an important component of this new view of K-12 education as digital and media-based.

As the 2011 “Harnessing the power of Media to support Learning” Conference put it so succinctly, games are “tools to support training in soft skills and understanding of complex situations.” Of course this is all in the context of an assumption that globally we are moving toward a “more participatory,” equitable society. And to get there as a speaker noted, the role of education needs to be seen as the “physiological and psychological growth of the child.”

Why that sounds just like Student Growth in the US! What the feds are now requiring as the measure of an effective teacher. Just coincidental I am sure. Actually you have probably already noticed the shift to integrating media creation into the classroom. You just did not know it was part of an organized, ideological shift. Or that a conference would be organized to push “the underlying principle was that video production includes a whole process of skills which, once acquired, can be transferred to solve other complex tasks.” Oh good. What IB and UNESCO call homo faber–man the maker.

By the 2012 Conference called “Media as an Agent for Change in Education and Training,” a keynote speaker, Andrew Keen, was warning the audience that digital learning was a “form of ideology that is shifting us to a flatter global societal structure” with a “disappearing middle class.” We could heed his points that “such widespread democratisation in education is already leading to the radicalisation of education” if only anyone in the US or anywhere outside of Europe were being honest with the general public on what is really going on with these ed reforms.

If you think this is just a European problem, then you are unaware that the New Media Consortium and this new view of education actually originated in the US. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, it just had its 15th anniversary conference. http://www.nmc.org/ And I listened to Karen Cator’s Keynote speech on “Participatory Learning-Powered by Technology”. And then I found the federal reports she mentioned. Which told me precisely how important ICT is to the new assessments. It allows a move away from “covering subject matter” to a “concern with cognitive skills, including those that have been identified as 21st-century skills.” The “subject matter content emphasis” of traditional schooling led schools to “neglect the higher order or complex cognitive components such as inquiry, problem solving, and explanation.”

The new assessments via ICT are “designed to handle the interdependencies among a learner’s actions in dealing with complex, multistep problems or inquiries.” Now remember from our previous posts that these complex problems are deliberately “ill-structured” or “Indeterminate Situations” for which there is no fixed answer. And the computer is obtaining a tremendous amount of data generated by students at an unconscious level as they try to come up with an answer. And we also know that part of the intended aim of this confusing structure is to force the students to rely on creative, deep intuition to apply existing concepts or big ideas to new situations. Then the computer can adapt to give students immediate feedback to get the students back on whatever the pathway the game or software designers programmed into the instructions.

Don’t worry. It’s not like game designers have said they intended to use these programs to target student’s belief systems. It’s not like the designers are using positive psychology principles to make the visual as compelling as possible. Book Number 2 this time around came out in 2010. Marina Gorbis from the last post mentioned The Watchman’s Rattle: Thinking Our Way Out of Extinction by Rebecca Costa. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oyYrSw26jNQ is her as the keynoter at last October’s Bioneers Conference. Costa is a well-connected sociobiologist who considers Capitalism to be an example of “Extreme Economics.” She views widespread public skepticism over Global Warming and whether climate changes are manmade to be an example of the kind of irrational beliefs that have led to catastrophic civilizational collapse in the past.

She says the answer lies in turning to Insight and the unconscious mind as the solution to the increasing complexity of the modern world. The insight she describes sounds much like Harman’s deep intuition or Alice Bailey’s creativity if you want to go even further back to the same pursuit in the 30s and the 50s. It’s once again the nonrational mind that is to be given free rein except for one big difference this time. Rebecca admits she wants to abandon the norm of analytical problem-solving or right-brain synthesis of facts. Rebecca also points out the part of the brain that thinks inspirationally is now known. It can be found in a fold in the brain called the anterior Superior Temporal Gyrus (aSTG).

Functional brain imaging can now show that when someone is using insight or intuition or creativity to solve a problem, this “little-known fold ‘lights up like a Christmas tree.” So radicals have targeted this nonrational, unconscious capacity as part of their Transformation to Utopia plans for decades. All of a sudden numerous commentators are talking about reorganizing the brain’s neurons. Literally. And in early March President Obama announced a brain-imaging initiative.

Costa wants people to make “novel connections rather than continue to rely on reductionist thinking.” The actual implementations in the K-12 classroom globally appear designed to give the aSTG a workout. That’s what all those references to Higher Order Thinking Skills are about. The part of the brain that thinks logically and sequentially is under concentrated, coordinated attack.

And all this desired New Minds for a New Future can be physically measured now.

And we could address the implications of all this for personal freedom and the legitimacy of the individual in the future. If only these reports and conferences and expressed intentions were better known.

 

Mandating Global Citizenship Mindsets by Assessing Whether Students Adopt Social Altruism

The out in the open version of education reform in the US never got over that 99-0 Senate vote on the National History Standards in the 90s. Much of the reason today’s Common Core implementation looks so different from what is being publicized tracks back to the memory of that political rejection. And an insistence that this time no one gets to object. I have described more than once that what is going on in the US is linked to comparable education reforms all over the world. Driven primarily by UN agencies insisting we must evolve into a “just and sustainable world in which all may fulfill their potential.” Under the eager administration of UN or OECD or other bureaucratic employees of course. With their generous tax free salaries courtesy of you. But I digress.

Well let’s face it if that were the sales pitch for the Common Core standards or any education reform voters and parents would revolt. So we get vague euphemisms like College and Career Ready for the end goal or words like Excellence or Quality Learning that actually have a unique meaning in Ed World we are not likely to appreciate. But in the UK and Australia the Citizenship Education agenda including its Global Dimension was explicitly laid out. Even if few people in any of these countries appreciated what they were relinquishing at the time.

We have talked numerous times about Sir  “Irreversible Change” Michael Barber who now heads up Pearson Education, the world’s leading education company. You know Pearson. They have the contracts for the SBAC and PARCC and Texas STAAR assessments measuring the results of what goes on in Texas and soon to be most US classrooms. They are global. So the fact that Barber wants to “shape new ways of thinking and forge new, sustainable behavior” as the January 2011 UNESCO meeting in London he helped chair put it probably has something to do with the kind of open ended, no fixed solution real world problems likely to make it on any of these assessments globally.  Especially since the assessments are supposed to be at Levels 3 and 4 of Webb’s Depth of Knowledge. You know the one that mirrors the Dewey Indeterminate Situation I have written about. To foster a recognition of the need for social change? Won’t the nickname “Mad Professor” come in handy imagining potential scenarios for change to use? http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2011/jun/14/michael-barber-education-guru

As will this attitude of Barber’s from 1997 when he set off a firestorm in the UK by suggesting that UK students should learn the ethics of ‘global citizenship’ to replace crumbling religious values. Barber was speaking at a Secondary Schools Heads conference and mentioned that Christianity, although “still hugely influential historically and culturally”, was “no longer able to claim unquestioning obedience.” I bolded that last part because it suggests that unconscious impulse we have seen cultivated before.  He is looking for beliefs or values or feelings that will compel action so student performance assessments grounded in emotional imagining or frustration hold great potential for Learning. In the sense of changing the student from the inside-out.

Barber goes on to say that:

“For a while in the mid-20th century it seemed as if communism might establish new ethics, but by the 1970s all that remained in Western countries was rampant consumerism and ‘the quicksand of cultural relativism’–an abandonment of the morality of right and wrong.”

And “In the absence of God and Marx what are we to do?” Well Barber got his Global Citizenship Standards. I am looking at the Secondary school curriculum that went into effect in 2002.  It explicitly proclaims that its concept of Global Citizenship is grounded in Agenda 21. Which is actually not the urban legend some people seem to believe. If Agenda 21 is a conspiracy, it’s an on-the-record open one. Here it is described as “a universal initiative that recognizes the right of everyone to be consulted about the sort of community in which they want to live. Agenda 21 is about improving the quality of life both locally and globally.”

Well Kumbayah. As one of my law profs used to say if someone has a right, someone else has an obligation. Precisely who bears that Agenda 21 obligation and at what cost? Or is Global Citizenship trying to create a willing acceptance of that obligation throughout the West? No further questions asked.

We have discussed before how the real common core seems to be new values and attitudes and beliefs and feelings. All to create new behaviors. How’s this for graphic? The Global Dimension of Citizenship will target the student’s “sense of identity” and “secure their commitment to sustainable development at a personal, local, national, and global levels.” Well that will make the UN bureaucrats very happy. If we could get something like this in place in the US it sure would go a long way towards getting Paul Ehrlich his long time Heart’s Desire. Let’s see what else Global Citizenship seeks:

Global dimension emphasizes the moral imperative to understand and empathise with fellow human beings. [Boy doesn't that sound like Kohlberg's Moral Development Theory that is in US classrooms? And Hong Kong too!] It provides young people with a solid foundation on which to base and build their value system. [Convenient for getting back to unquestioned obedience. No wonder Milton Rokeach's name kept coming up as I was researching the real common core implementation]. It helps them make decisions and take action–based on knowledge [opinions and false beliefs is more likely] of the world–which respect the nature of the world we live in and the rights and dignity of others in an interdependent world.”

No wonder Systems Thinking and Peter Senge and Bronfenbrenner Ecological Systems Theory keep coming up as part of the classroom or district implementation of the Common Core. It along with the some of the other theories I snarkily added because I couldn’t help myself at this point in the deception get us where the UK schools are without nearly the controversy. I keep hearing that Senge’s Systems Thinking is OK for US elementary students because “the teachers love it so.” So maybe we should be more honest and just rename it Systems Thinking to Create Permanent Habits of Mind for Global Citizenship?

To link up with the last post on what will be a 3 parter before I am done, the September 2012 IB presentations in Madrid talked repeatedly about Global Citizenship. But IB was citing this 2005 Oxfam document based on the 2001 UK Citizenship Standards I have been describing.  http://www.oxfam.org.uk/~/media/Files/Education/Global%20Citizenship/education_for_global_citizenship_a_guide_for_schools.ashx It sure does fit with all the US Common Core curriculum I have been seeing and the Texas CSCOPE curriculum currently attracting so much controversy. It also calls for “active and participatory learning methods.” Sound familiar? As in Michael Barber recommending Cambridge Education in 2007 to NYC to launch their lucrative US operation of telling schools and teachers they may not teach the content directly anymore. Yes that same Michael Barber. I wrote about it last May.

Oxfam recognizes that “Education is a powerful tool for changing the world” which I would be the last to dispute. I just do not think all this Social Change Education is going to create a bright future for hardly anyone. One more point as we talk about how this GC template seems to be coming into the US surreptitiously through online curriculum and the assessments. When I tracked the other definition of Global Citizenship cited by the IB, I found the AERA’s winning paper for 2003 and a Canadian and a US prof openly changing Dewey’s Social Reconstructionism vision to a new name.  Justice-Oriented Citizens.

I have a lot more evidence that the US is getting this same vision of Global Citizenship and not just in IB schools. All schools is the plan. All students. Yikes!

I am going to close with a link to a July 4, 2012 letter by Pearson to PARCC detailing all the assessment and testing work they do. But insisting there will be no conflicts or breach of confidentiality. http://www.edweek.org/media/37act-pearsonreply.pdf It’s rather startling to have that much power and they leave off the ATC21S work in Australia with Microsoft, Intel, and Cisco. Oh and the US National Academy of Sciences. And others. http://atc21s.org/index.php/about/team/ That’s a great deal of global reach for one company. Especially one led by a visionary for Irreversible Change that compels personal action.

That Pearson letter says Pearson’s services are to “improve student achievement and college-and-career readiness in the United States.” Given the real definitions of those terms there’s a great deal of room to insert this Global Citizenship/Justice-oriented Citizens/ New Ways of Thinking into assessments and curriculum and still be within that mandate.

Second is to “improve access to quality education for all students.”  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/why-quality-learning-may-be-the-last-thing-you-want-for-your-child/ Quality learning and education is a term that tracks back to John Dewey with unappreciated,  emotional and intuition meanings. Again quite convenient if you want students to “use their imagination to consider other people’s experiences.”

It is quite unnerving how much commonality I am finding globally with what is coming to the US and is already in place elsewhere. Looks like a widespread desire to gain  “unquestioning obedience” among the 21st century masses.

Using the Common Core’s Performance Assessments to Create a New Kind of Person

Now if the US Common Core Initiative or any other country’s similar UNESCO inspired shift to skills and attitudes and desired personal dispositions were to be accurately described as being about “shaping a kind or person” or:

“about creating a kind of person, with kinds of dispositions and orientations to the world, rather than simply commanding a body of knowledge. These persons will be able to navigate change and diversity, learn-as-they-go, solve problems, collaborate, and be flexible and creative.”

Such a future capacity general focus for all students instead of fixed content knowledge would not be politically popular. Parents and taxpayers and non-politically connected future employers would likely rebel from such Mind Arson via taxation and tuition.

So of course the Parasitical Class of too many professors and education administrators and vendors who want both their inflated salaries and pensions AND political, social, and economic Transformation simply lie to us about what is really going on. Once a controversy develops, we get new names and severed parts but usually not real changes in practices. So when the Future Empowerment Paradigm associated with Transformational Outcomes Based Education and William Spady in the 90s (described here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/future-empowerment-paradigm-or-educentric-tradition-guess-which-began-its-reign-20-years-ago/ )  became controversial, the critical End Game of Life Role Performances got severed. Keep the function. Change the Name. Hire someone other than Spady.

Now it is very difficult for the public to get their arms around just how much scheming and looting and psychological manipulation is going on in this Change the Student Future Capacity Template. When they hear terms like “Performance Standards” they automatically think solid academics at a high level of expected expertise. When they hear Performance Assessment, they think testing that expects solid academic achievement. They certainly do not think of an education model doing everything it can to take mental activity out of the classroom. They would be horrified to know performance standards are all about creating desired behaviors and attitudes in each student at a reflexive level. No conscious thought required.

When the school talks about ability to access information or interpret or produce or communicate, parents and taxpayers assume these are desired abilities within the context of a body of knowledge. Not generic abilities with real world value that are ALL that is desired in the student. Just “life-functioning performance” abilities. That assessments are actually all about:

“Great care should be taken to identify the exact action that will be taught and assessed.”

Action, not knowledge. Project or activity, not tests. When we read references to problem solving most of us assume a math or science word problem. Not necessarily easy but useful. Very bolstering to both a verbal ability to conceptualize mentally and a logical ability to reach a step-by-step, methodical solution. No. No. No. In performance assessment world:

“the problem needs to be ill-structured. [By the way that is also what rigorous means in Ed World]. The problem should not have a single approach or response–in fact, the route taken and the determined solution should be almost unpredictable.”

John Dewey called that type of problem the Indeterminate Situation and valued it greatly because it required emotion and frustration instead of intellectual skill and knowledge. He believed such problems were conducive to striving for a different kind of society instead of accepting the capitalist, individualistic society he abhored. Today’s assessment developers still have a similar intent even if the Principals or teachers themselves are unaware of the history of this peculiar notion of rigor to drive revolution via mental and emotional transformation over time.

So Transformational OBE and Spady became too controversial in most places to acknowledge when that was what was going on in a school or district. So those Life Role Performances got renamed as Performance Assessments and less well-known OBE players like Spence Rogers or Willard Daggett pursued the OBE implementation via their focus on actual classroom activities. All of the activities quoted came from the Third Edition of Spence Rogers’ book The High Performance Toolbox:Succeeding with Performance Tasks, Projects, & Assessments.

Those tasks, projects, and performance assessments are what drives the actual classroom implementation of every Common Core curriculum I have seen. The Schemers know that what is measured is what gets taught. So the Future Capacity/Empowerment/New Kind of Focus comes in under the poorly understood Performance assessments. Where the task or project is the evaluation. And the task or project is not checking content knowledge but looking for action and generic abilities like the ones described above. This would all be hard to spot unless you were monitoring curricula all over the world and over decades. Which I have. The future capacity orientation gets hidden also in the US under the lovely euphemism College and Career Ready. Sounds like knowledge but avoids the “entrenched subject matter” orientation of traditional education that bolsters those undesirable (if you want state control of society and the economy) Axemaker Minds.

Why you say? You know if ten years from now we continue on our present trajectory I will likely be forced to write a book explaining that the US and the West lost prosperity because too many of the beneficiaries of capitalism never understood how much individual and cultural attitudes and values mattered to economic prosperity. And ALL the anti-capitalism schemers knew precisely how much these mattered. And they used education, K-12 and higher ed, to get at and change the attitudes and values of independence and self-reliance.

And they used education to force out every aspect of the curriculum known to nurture the rational, logical, conceptual mind. Which is the real reason for the math and reading wars. It’s not about how to teach. It’s about limiting the oxygen that ignites the fires of individual mental cognition. That useful ability to spin your own mental scenarios within the privacy of your own mind. Scenarios that can sometimes turn into innovative inventions that alter the known world. Like the Axe did or the computer.

Throughout history and even today in most countries in the world the political sovereign–whether king, dictator, or legislative body and state-employed bureaucrats–controls the economy. That’s the historic norm. What is going on in education in the US now and globally is simply a stealth reversion to that norm. Ironically the changes are frequently being done under the banner of becoming or remaining Internationally Competitive. Yes in the sought Dirigiste, Mercantilist economies of the 21st Century where Education is the Method of Personal Subjugation. And Catastrophic Manmade Global Warming and the spectre of other planet-wide environmental disasters is the Excuse for such planning and control over economies and people’s personal behaviors. And politically connected businesses hope to benefit as well.

If the Statist Schemers living at our expense were honest about what is going on most of us would say No. Freedom may be a burden but it is a burden most of us desire if given the choice.

So we are not being given the choice. And education seeks to become a walled-off profession where no one but the Properly Credentialled may have a say. And the Credentials are grounded in the Marxist political theories that caused so much destruction in the 20th century. And yes I am quite sure about that as well.

It’s also why CAGW, like Marxism in its heyday, must be treated as the unexamined Theory never to be contradicted with reality. Like Marxism or Dewey’s Social Reconstruction, it’s an aspirational theory for changing the future not a scientific theory based on facts. None of these political theories for social control can bear the scrutiny of reality because that is not what they are grounded in.

But reality is still the world every one of us inhabit. And it thus has to govern how we respond to all these sought changes. It’s the reality behind the current “Grab the Guns, Gut the Mind, and Ignore the Temps” that too many are still treating as unrelated.

 

The Intentional Insurrection in Texas–Supers Override Governor, Legislature, and Taxpayers

Because the desired social, political, and economic Transformation is always the actual Goal behind all these ed reforms that become notorious, or will when fully implemented, I have joked that the only real question for a Principal, Super, Prof, or Accreditor mandating them is “Are you an Intentional Insurrectionist or an Inadvertent One?” In other words, are you on board with the attempts at a Mental Revolution of the Western Mind to devolve back to the Visual and Emotional and Instinct and away from the Abstract and Reason and Genuine Intellectual Analysis based on Actual Individual Knowledge? And if that seems to be an unduly strong statement, please read some of the earlier posts. Especially why Paul Ehrlich wants Newmindedness and James Burke wants education to reject the Axemaker Mind.

Texas is a fascinating special case because what was going on there became the subject of discussion in the 2000 Presidential Race and a Model for NCLB. And now it is an issue because Texas, one of the largest states and an important driver of textbook content, has very loudly and deliberately rejected participation in either Race to the Top or CCSSI. Wanting to be able to drive its own ed policy and its own content. Last month I explained that both President Obama and Ed Week were using the term “common core” to describe not the CCSSI content standards but the “Standards of Teaching and Learning.” http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/didnt-the-president-just-admit-ccssi-was-a-ruse-to-change-classroom-interactions/ Texans need to read that description because the school and classroom practices and activities I am seeing at Annual Meetings and professional development sessions and conferences around preparing for the new STAAR assessment and the new Readiness Standards look just like what I would see in any state with a Learner-Centered Classroom, not a Content/Instruction Centered One.

Texas is thus proof you can get to what I call the Transformational Outcomes Based Education Stage without the political establishment at the State level ever Knowing what has happened. Part of the ease of deception is the Orwellian use of Language and Unappreciated Definitions in Ed World, notably Rigorous when STAAR was adopted. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/what-if-higher-order-thinkingdeliberate-confusion/ The fact that the Legislature was now gearing a measuring assessment to John Dewey’s Indeterminate Situation where students react from emotion because there is no fixed solution and the problem-solving is not linear or based on the resolution of taught material was apparently left out of those presentations in Austin. I wonder if the presenters were some of the same people involved with pushing Saul Alinsky’s community organizing in the Austin schools or now adopting SEL (Social and Emotional Learning) for Austin preschoolers and elementary school students as part of a national program as we described in the last post? Be very careful who you get advice from in this area.

That’s always good advice but especially so in Texas where as the title says, we have Intentional Insurrectionists determined to implement Equity Education and Education (in their determination) fit for a democracy (little d just like Dewey) in the 21st Century. The May 2008 document “Creating a New Vision for Public Education in Texas” was based on meetings that started back in September 2006. Before I get into the specifics of those radical intentions of listed Supers (who actually regard themselves as acting as Modern Day Founding Fathers rejecting the Articles of Confederation as insufficient for their intentions), how many Texans know that Texas went to Outcomes-Based Education back in 1984? That would make Texas an early adopter.

According to a 2001 Dana Center report Texas deliberately jettisoned what it called the “deficit model” of knowledge transmission that was impacted by where students lived and who their parents were to measuring what all students are able to do. And using something termed Proactive Redundancy–multiple ways to achieve specific learning goals. My purpose is not to give a history of Texas education. It is to point out that the Achievement for All Students Transformation in Texas was done at the cost of changing the rules and the purpose of K-12 education. And constantly changing the measurements of what was going on in the classroom  to obscure the effects of ever decreasing knowledge that is the inevitable and sought result of the OBE focus.

The newest so-called test, the STAAR assessment, is based on Norman Webb’s Depth of Knowledge (DOK) Chart that is also used in Florida. It is what the Critical Thinking push is actually all about there as well. No I am not going to state the obvious connection. You can in your own mind but leave me out of it. Too many well-connected people involved who seem to genuinely believe they are doing Good Things in Education. But the facts are what they are and Webb’s DOK is expressly based on Ralph Tyler’s Objectives work and Benjamin Bloom’s Taxonomy (Mastery Learning, OBE’s previous name) work.  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/if-standardsoutcomesobjectives-what-is-the-real-common-core/ Sometimes the true connections exceed anything a writer of fiction would ever come up with.

So Level 4, Extended Thinking in the DOK, gets met if the student if the student does not know anything but is engaged in a nonroutine investigation with multiple solutions that the student examines and then processes the possibilities over an extended period of time. Dewey loved his Indeterminate Situation Theory because he believed the resulting emotion of frustration would be a great motivator in students to reject the world as it currently exists. Linear, factual, traditional solutions apparently are insufficient motivators to be a Social Change Agent. Instead, the Indeterminate Situation was thought to motivate Transformative Social and Political Change.

In the 21st century then we can anticipate lots of Critical Thinking around Sustainability Modelling and overpopulation. The actual facts and temps be damned. After all factual knowledge is only Level 1 on the DOK and thus totally unsatisfactory. I guess all that Systems Computer Modelling around the discredited 1976 Club of Rome report Limits to Growth also qualifies now in Texas as Level 4 Thinking in the classroom. Systems Thinking also fits with the language of that Super Insurrectionist Vision. Someone had clearly read their Bela Banathy and Peter Senge.

By the way, since Outcomes and Objectives became notorious terms in the past as synonyms for the whole behavioral and affective orientation (values, attitudes, beliefs, and feelings) of these student goals and performance is the term the CCSSI assessments are using, I see the creative minds in Texas have come up with another euphemism–Expectations. Student Expectations. What the student can do with the Content listed. Which reminded me quite frankly of a CCSSI document I had seen less than 2 weeks ago. Put out to make sure that supers and principals and teachers in the CCSSI adopting states were not teaching the content and emphasizing knowledge as the point of CCSSI. That the point of content learning is the worthy task performances and problem solving activities and projects that students engage in. The authors Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins want to make sure everyone understands that that the Common Core rejects this previous “content” coverage mentality.

Now I got someone very angry at me recently when I called CCSSI a Bait and Switch since no aspect of the real implementation does anything but dispute the fact that it is about national criteria of content knowledge applicable from state to state. But then I have analyzed all the relevant documents too carefully to have any room left for wishful thinking.  I think what is happening in Texas reenforces the point I have made earlier that this really is about using the schools to mount a stealth political coup. The way Banathy described his purposes for the Learner Centered Classroom is consistent with how the Best Practices book describes the purposes for Standards for Teaching and Learning and what the Hewlett Foundation describes as the purpose for Deep Learning (which is deemed to align with CCSSI). They are all also consistent with that Texas Super 2008 Visioning document that will have to wait until the next post for its own description.

Recognizing the points being made in the descriptions of Texas Student Expectations for STAAR and the Readiness Standards now in effect and the troublesome implications of official references to P-16, I decided to see if McTighe and Wiggins and their Understanding by Design had any role in Texas transitioning to STAAR. Oh. My. Goodness. They are every where there in the last year. So whatever the intentions of Texans and their politicians, what is coming to your schools and classrooms reflects what the rest of the country is being forced into under the CCSSI mantle.

Isn’t that interesting? You would think the actual impetus really was national and international.