Nothing As Practical As a Good Theory For Gaining Access to Action Research

If a political theory gets you grant money or a job at a foundation, it “works” whether it is true or not. And puts its creator in a position to drive social change. The same is true with a learning theory. It does not have to be grounded in how kids actually gain knowledge if imposing it on a classroom will change future behaviors of soon-to-be voters in desired ways. Or might. That’s the great thing about action research theories. You impose them in real-life situations and see what happens. And you call them “research-based” to add an additional touch of legitimacy. Slyly leaving off the key point that the research is yet to come.

We already encountered Anthony Giddens saying it did not matter if global warming theory did not turn out to be factually true. That the theory itself would drive desired changes in individual behavior and social and economic changes. German sociology prof Ulrich Beck was even more forthright in declaring CAGW theory created a basis for a post-Berlin Wall Metamorphosis of the State all over the  traditionally capitalistic and individualistic West.

Social science researcher Kurt Lewin is the one who made the observation that there is “nothing as practical as a good theory.” He is considered the Godfather of all political theory action research and is intimately involved in what education pedagogy has become. Culmination of his life work you might say if you look him up.  The fact that he is quoted by name as a justification that:

“in order to learn how to sustain the development of the whole of humankind, individual human minds develop new mental models that can be used for representing worldviews in innovative ways. One way that knowledge of a global view of the world can be enhanced is through the use of systems thinking, from which merges the concept of global interdependence.”

Now the part in the next section about systems thinking being a useful metaphor and not literally true gets left out when systems thinking comes to a classroom. There it takes on its intended function of creating new mental models and worldviews. By the way that IB presentation I mentioned in an earlier post recently had multiple slides on creating new worldviews. It was the purpose of the Critical Thinking and Global Citizenship emphasis.

The disturbing fact that these new mental models and worldviews are intended to use education to drive a Biosocial Evolution should give us pause. So should the reality that I pulled the language from a UNESCO Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS). Especially as the National Geographic Society is helping to draft the Chapter called “Global Interdependence and Biosocial Systems.” It’s not like NGS is involved also with the drafting of the new US Common Core Science Standards.

That’s us. A biosocial system. And the introduction of such systems thinking into the classroom likely will not have the intended effect but it will alter values, beliefs, emotions and perceptions. That highly useful foursome to change future behavior. Just like Paul Ehrlich says his MAHB is more than five years into doing. Now Paul Ehrlich has a history of outrageous predictions of future calamities that never turn out to be true. I have noticed a tendency recently to mock his predictions and ridiculous statements on Twitter and in books and publications. It can make it easy to forget that Ehrlich’s theories do not have to be right. They are not intended to be. What they are intended to be is Influential. To become the excuse for someone’s desired change. That Metamorphosis of government power over people and an economy and the political structure. And in those domains his theorizing seems to be working splendidly.

That’s also why the influence of his Stanford colleague psychology prof Albert Bandura on the classroom implementation of the Common Core in the US and education reforms globally matters to all of us. That would be Bandura who is now trumpeted as the most cited living psychology prof. It appears we have located MAHB’s how to fundamentally change human behavior via UNESCO’s sought global education reforms. It is Bandura who Ehrlich and Orenstein thank first in their Humanity on a Tightrope book. Bandura is intimately in the hyping of overpopulation with Ehrlich. He and Ehrlich were working together to get the Palo Alto schools to study how to motivate students to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Oh and Stephen Schneider too for those who know his work. And if you wonder if he hypes quite as much as Paul I suggest locating Bandura’s 2007 “Impeding Ecological Sustainability through Selective Moral Disengagement.”

Not like access to the classroom would give a means to do something about Moral Disengagement on this issue in the future. That’s Bandura’s Self Efficacy Theory by the way creating a new theory for equity and student success in the Classroom that I described in this post. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/self-efficacy-cultural-proficiency-training-critical-reflection-and-change-agency-development/ Based on that 2010 Framework created by California Tomorrow to become a national template. That’s also his theories involved when I wondered why the Facing History theory taught students that “history is largely manmade” even though that is clearly not true. Described in this important previous post  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/changing-the-filtering-perception-the-way-we-see-the-world-is-key/

Stressing the idea that each person can make a difference turns out to be based on Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory. He has discovered it encourages motivation to take action if students believe they can manage fortuity as he calls it. So he has developed theories of Social Agency to encourage students to take action, individually and collectively. So Kurt Lewin was right. Good theories are practical means of  trying to change the future in Transformative Ways. And it is important that we remember that and not get caught up in the falsity of the theory.

Now if Bandura’s influence was limited to what I cited above, it would still be important to write about. UNESCO and friends really are trying to use government mandates over education and what constitutes science and regulatory policy to drive a Biosocial Evolution. Why? Because it brings them power and money and justifies what they already have. A motivation about as old as Ancient Babylon and Eqypt if not just after the Garden of Eden exodus. No Bandura is much more influential than that. Which is how he came to my attention.

I have mentioned that Ed Week wanted to trumpet Fulton County, Georgia’s Conversion to a Charter System as of July 1, 2012. And that when I read that charter it clearly reflected the Hearts Desire of UNESCO for post-Berlin Wall education that I wrote about here.   http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/values-and-vocational-creating-citizen-drones-via-education-worldwide/ . One of the troubling terms used repeatedly in that Charter was Life Skills. Clearly a defined term left undefined in the actual document so I went looking for the origination of the term. And I found it in a 1993 document put out by the World Health Organization, Division of Mental Health with help from UNICEF, TACADE UK, and funding from the Carnegie Corporation in New York.

The idea was that teaching everyday life skills would promote mental well-being and positive health behavior. Something to keep in mind now as social and emotional learning are being trumpeted as necessary post-Sandy Hook “mental first-aid.” These Life Skills for Psychosocial Competence are listed as “Decision making, Problem solving, Creative Thinking, Critical Thinking, Effective communication, Interpersonal relationship skills, Self-awareness, Ability to empathise, Coping with emotions, and Coping with stressors.” The actual document goes on to describe each of these in detail. Leaving no doubt that Life Skills for Psychosocial Competence is the less politically correct name for what are now being called 21st Century Skills. Which is not just a controversial US push under the name P21. As I mentioned in the previous post it is global under the name ATC21S and tied into what Pearson will actually be assessing students for. That will be the next post. I promise.

Today we are talking about Ehrlich and Bandura and the usefulness of theories in driving attempts at social change. Which is why the following paragraph from that WHO report is so important. Not just to education’s real intentions globally. Since its intended purpose is to change future voters from the inside out on what will motivate them to take action and how to behave in the future. That’s really how you get Transformative Change. Here goes:

“The methods used in the teaching of life skills builds upon what we know of how young people learn from the people around them, from observing how others behave and what consequences arise from behaviour. This is described in the Social Learning Theory developed by Bandura (1977).  In Social Learning Theory, learning is considered to be an active acquisition, processing and structuring of experiences. It is this emphasis on the individual as an active processor of reality that lies at the heart of the conceptual basis for teaching life skills using active, learner-centred teaching methods.”

So the actual classroom implementation of what is being called Common Core in the US and Quality Learning and what goes under a variety of names in other countries all ties back to what was laid out in this WHO document in 1993. That ties into what every UN agency wanted before and since. That ties into Ehrlich’s declarations. And the measurements to be used to determine if this is in fact what is going on in classrooms. And the Effective Teacher evaluations. Yes I do have all the relevant documents.

So never ridicule an influential theory or theorist until we successfully defuse those who plan to impose those theories on us anyway. At our expense. Short term financially and long term culturally.

 

We are at the Historical Stage for the Emergence of One Particular New Kind of Person

The ‘portfolio person.’ Before I enrage most of you by quoting that definition in a stomach-churning way, I want to continue on the theme from the title of the last post. It is what caused me to pick out a phrase from one of Uncle Karl’s most famous quotes to illustrate the point. But I think we then turn around and forget it too easily. We are not dealing with Science or Politics or Education here that sees itself as defined by the traditional rules of play. CAGW is not grounded in the natural science of the Enlightenment. Education under the Common Core is actually not about the transmission of knowledge. Even the federal government in July acknowledged that Common Core was not a Product as in knowledge American students should know but a Process of interacting in “culturally relevant contexts.” Monday President Obama turned what had started as his campaign organization with a huge supply of emails into a permanent apparatus to be called Organizing for Action. Legislative, regulatory, whatever is achievable.

What we are dealing with in each of these cases is Rule-redefining Science. Rule and Role-altering Politics. Rule and Institution-altering Education. And if we ignore the underlying political and social and economic theories they are grounded in after going to so much time and trouble to track them down, we are in deep peril. Fundamental Transformation is not just an exciting phrase to stir up supporters and get money. When the lights are off these terms revert to ambiguous language or worse, Orwellian duplicitous language. And we must still remember. Because no one is just playing rhetorical games here.

Today’s title comes from yet another one of those books we were not supposed to see. Much less read in full. It is called Multiliteracies: Literacy Learning and the Design of Social Futures. That’s why I quoted the title in full.  Designed Social Futures and not by each of us. Media learning, Cyberlearning, and Digital Learning are all means to an end most of us likely do not want to go to. We have to quit divorcing these methods from the stated intent of the creators of the theories.

Professor James Paul Gee, then of Wisconsin now at Arizona State, actually uses the mobot, designed in the lab at MIT, to be his metaphor of the type of people he would like to see emerging for a new economic system he has in mind. There would be no effective central brain and that would supposedly be a good thing since it would make people more adaptive and flexible in a fast-changing world. And if you found the pursuit of a Non-Axemaker Mind or the destruction of the sense of a Unitary Self disturbing in previous posts, hold on to your coffee cup. If you are reading this at night perhaps an adult beverage break right now would be bolstering. Here goes (page 47):

“There is no centre. There are no discrete individuals. Only ensembles of skills stored in a person, assembled for a specific project, to be reassembled for other projects, and shared with others within ‘communities of practice.’ Individuals are not defined by fixed ‘essential qualities’, such as ‘intelligence’, ‘a culture’, or ‘a skill’. Rather they are [note he is talking about you and me and our children here], and must come to see themselves as, an ever-changing ‘portfolio’ of rearrangeable skills acquired in their trajectory through ‘project space’–that is, all the projects they have been in. You are, in this way, your projects.”

And he trains teachers. You know the only people who can be licensed to teach? And trains professors of teachers and administrators. And perhaps more importantly, he has spent the last 10 years since that book was published analysing video games. He views them  as embodying a “more cogent and powerful understanding of the nature of learning than is in evidence in most classrooms.” So remember that desired goal and the ‘portfolio person’ image of the individual when you hear about the video gaming push that is part of the actual Common Core implementation (with funding from the Gates Foundation!). And also the Digital Learning mandate and the push to for the all-ICT classroom. It is influenced by the same goals for altered consciousness that Gee laid out above or Roy Pea put into that powerpoint from a previous post. You can bet your District administrators will be leaving this part out of their presentations. But it is still there and the social and economic rule redesign actual purposes remain intact. Even when left unsaid.

Likewise, in 1994 English sociology prof Anthony Giddens wrote that “even should the thesis of global warming prove mistaken,” the “overall consequence” would still be “the creation of new types of feedback effects and system influences.” CAGW is a political theory that accretes economic and social power to government officials and their designated cronies. It offers a reason to exert control over private transactions and property and human activities and those system effects and influences are just too useful to pass up. Giddens went on to mention the UN’s IPCC and pointed out it will be setting up four possible emissions (carbon dioxide) scenarios. He was then brutally honest in what is clearly not designed to be read by us that these scenarios “could reflexively influence what it is they are about.” Just positing the theory and scenario, especially if it gains voluntary or formal adoption, changes behaviors in desired (if you are a statist schemer) ways.

So if you are a scientist or just an interested citizen reading Paul Ehrlich’s latest hype of catastrophe or that US National Climate Assessment draft, please don’t forget Giddens’ quote above when the science quoted or the models used make no objective sense. Just the theorizing coupled with government power and financial resources changes human behavior. Gives an excuse for economic reorganization. A reason for more regulation. Think of it as a full-employment at taxpayer expense for political favorites theory. Because that is what it really is.

But it is also more. German sociology prof Ulrich Beck wrote in the same book Reflexive Modernization that global warming and climate change give a reason for a switching of the rule system governments have lived by.  He apparently thought in a post-Berlin Wall world governments in the West needed an excuse for a Metamorphosis of the State, which is precisely how he described it. A full reconstruction using what he called the sub-politics of the government system and you and I today would recognize as an early description of the potential of community organizing. I do believe ACORN’s creators knew their Beck. In fact Beck called it the sub-politicization of society. We would call it every dimension within the reach of the state. To plan a different future and then impose it and reconceptualize the role of the state in what “tasks” it should be managing.

Ecology and presuming some type of pending environmental global catastrophe (warming or cooling) were apparently needed by the early 90s after the Cold War precisely because it gives a reason for totalizing political action:

“the microcosm of political life conduct is interconnected with the macocosm of terribly insoluble global problems. In order to take a breath without second thoughts, one ultimately has to–or ought to–turn the ordering of the world upside down.”

Hence the CAGW hype and the urgency in education and the need for an action politics that Beck also outlines. It is powerful and lucrative for the politically connected to be able to turn the world upside down.

But it certainly does not follow that the world needs to be turned upside down or it will be good for any of the rest of us. In fact, in the end, this Political, scientific, economic, and educational vision could be ruinous if not tragic for virtually everyone.

So let’s talk about the sought Transformations. And quit allowing the schemers in any of these areas to simply pretend we are not dealing with rule-altering intentions.

It is not just politics as usual or a different way to teach or a difference over the relevant scientific facts.

Let’s hold everyone to the declared intentions of the Creators of all these theories and scenarios.

 

 

Future Empowerment Paradigm or Educentric Tradition? Guess Which Began Its Reign 20 Years Ago?

Of all the snow jobs I have to hear on why education needs to change away from the transmission of knowledge and instruction of subject matter, the one that spikes my blood pressure the most has to be the sanctimonious–”What we have been doing is not working.” Trust me, the credentialling Colleges of Education declared war on content back in the 60s. It became a hot war in the 90s with honesty among themselves about “revolutionary, unprecedented” changes and “radical” transformations. When controversies erupted, the dishonest revolutionaries though wanted to keep their pensions and taxpayer paid health benefits and monopoly over the classroom. All we heard then was that there was a difference of opinion of how to teach reading or math.

No one publicly mentioned this Paradigm shift or that the Educrats had taken to wearing the mantle of being Social Change Agents at war with an economic and political system they likely did not really understand. That they had decided to push for a different future for Americans and Canadians. Indeed globally. That educators, especially a group selling their “expertise” to states and school districts for a Paradigm transformation they admit their was no public demand for. Nevertheless, the schemers like Bill Spady and Spence Rogers embarked on new lucrative careers pushing:

“a colossal process that involves redefining and reshaping entire institutions and the belief systems and cultures surrounding them.”

No hubris there. After all Spady holds humanities, education, and sociology degrees from the University of Chicago and had been involved in education his entire life. What better preparation for Wholesale Transformation? The fact that the culture and traditions being replaced grew spontaneously over time and had created the highest level of prosperity the world had ever seen should not matter, right? And Rogers had been a high school math teacher. That’s an excellent background for:

“fundamental and widespread shifts . . . in the perceptions, beliefs, values, and preferences of the countless people involved in and directly affected by the transformation.”

Is it now hard to comprehend why districts and states aggressive in this wholesale transformation have had such poor academic results? If not even worse tragedies. Spady’s description of his desired new paradigm was even written in 1997 after the controversies over OBE generally and Transformational OBE in particular. This is from his defend himself and the paradigm book. Transformational has the students being assessed on life role performances based on a presumptuous future Spheres of Living Template. That would be the areas of “Work & Productive Endeavors, Close & Significant Relationships, Meaningful & Fulfilling Pursuits, Physical & Cultural Environment, and Group & Community Memberships.” These will teach students the practical “Life & Resource Management” so that each student as an adult can achieve “Personal Potential & Wellness.”

And according to Spady the Aurora, Colorado school district just spontaneously came up with this Great Idea of Empowering Student Life Performance Outcomes as the future focus of school. And other school districts just adored the idea and wanted to transition their schools and communities as well to this vision of the new perfect planned future. Ooops. They left out the planned society part although that is clearly where this is all going. Even if Spady suggests setting up committees to develop proposed future conditions to get widespread ownership of this vision. Two things stand out now in 2012 and going forward. One is that Spady by 1997 is already misrepresenting the history of OBE, what happened in Aurora, and who was involved as we covered here  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/using-education-to/

At the time I wrote that post about Creating the Behavior Government Officials Want in Future Citizens, I was reacting to the implications of what Bela Banathy had written and ASCD’s Educational Leadership were pushing on schools. And I understood Transformational OBE and its life role performances around an imagined future. Never have thought much of it as you can imagine.

Looking back now though I think we need to look at all these OBE and Systems Thinking transformations as related tools to get K-12 education in the West generally but especially the US to the 1989 UNESCO blueprint vision I described here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/values-and-vocational-creating-citizen-drones-via-education-worldwide/. Moreover, now that I have seen the early 70s during the Cold War UNESCO vision for a planned society called the Learning Society that I described here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/coercing-teachers-to-be-social-and-political-saboteurs-what-can-be-done/ , all of these education programs are clearly just strategies to target the West economically and politically and achieve control over a great deal of what should be free human behavior through the K-12 schools as well as colleges and universities.

No wonder it does not really go away no matter the poor effects on students or declines in test scores or even school tragedies that seem to have common factors being left undiscussed. That 70s report was quite graphic about the concept of employing mentally and psychologically invasive means in order to get transformed individual mindsets and visions for the future. The idea commonly phrased now as “You can’t get an omelette without breaking eggs.” I once wrote that students are not trees. Neither are their brains and personalities eggs to be broken and scrambled using data and feedback to adjust beliefs and values and feelings and attitudes to go along with a collectivist vision for the future in the name of the Common Good. Imagine what the officials who brought us Oil for Food’s corruption partnering with Education Leadership degrees have in mind for the future. No wonder we are being prepped for a post-GDP, Quality of Life society.

I find it interesting that in his book Flow published in 1990 then U-Chicago psychologist, now Harvard, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, has a cover that advocates this ecstatic union of feelings, thoughts, and actions (discussed in the previous post) as a means to enhance the Quality of Life. Of course he also says that Flow is easier for other species of animals and preliterate primitive societies to achieve. That may have a lot to do with UNESCO push for Basic Skills for All and only basic skills that began about the same time. And, oh, that unappreciated change in the definition of Literacy.

Communitarian prof Amitai Etzioni whose work is implicated so in what will constitute the required Positive School Climate and the actual definition of College and Career Ready also wrote back in the 80s about the Quality of Life society. Of course he was also honest enough to admit that such a society would be at the expense of future economic growth and development. The Quality of Life/Personal Wellbeing Society is also the focus of those Belmont Challenge/ Future Earth Alliance documents I have written about. I know you are shocked, shocked, that UNESCO is also a partner of the Belmont Forum in the going operational in 2013 Future Earth Alliance as well. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/future-earth-alliance-where-education-climate-and-economic-planning-are-all-cores/

Now I think I see some patterns here. And reasons for the continued disregard for the reality of what these reforms cause. A second aspect from Spady’s descriptions has a bearing now to what is coming to a classroom near you soon if it has not happened already. First he outlines the use of what he calls the Learning Community concept to ensure compliance with his Transformational OBE vision among Teachers, other faculty, and students. That is still its function now and too many parents are still envisioning academic rap sessions among Sage Teachers and involved, interested students when the Principal excitedly announces a Learning Community. Think of it as no one having the freedom to reject these bad ideas and the consensus being created by those without the knowledge or acuity to recognize what can lead to tragedy.

Secondly, the Common Core measurements of what is being accomplished in the classroom are largely formative assessments. Based on what Spady called performance assessments of empowering outcomes. The mentions of tests are largely attempts to mislead the nature of the wholesale change. The forming involves the student in the largely affective ways I have outlined in other posts. But having read a lot of SBAC, PARCC, and Gates Foundation funded assessments as well as the OECD work creating the entire concept, Csik’s psychology transformation of Optimal Experience appears to me to be thoroughly embedded into what is to occur.

And Csik thinks Karl Marx’s work has been misunderstood and misapplied and had lovely things to say about Antonio Gramsci and his brand of “humane socialism.” He now wants to develop and remake man’s consciousness as he believes  “we now need to learn how to reunite ourselves with other entities.” It is the disciplines and academic knowledge, he believes, that “produced science, technology, and the unprecedented power of mankind to build up and to destroy its environment.” Gosh, darn, amazingly enough, another UN priority.

If the vision of education, K-12 and higher ed, all over the world, under UN influence, is premised on this belief:

“Recognizing the limitations of human will, accepting a cooperative rather than a ruling role in the universe, we should feel the relief of the exile returning home. The problem of meaning will then be resolved as the individual’s purpose merges with the universal flow.”

We all have a right and need to know that. Now. Before the New Year. Before the Future Earth Alliance commences working with the education accreditation agencies and unions to impose this vision via education. Even further than it is now.

That’s a Vision of Submission if I ever read one. And it’s totalizing in its aspirations.

But luckily some of us still have the knowledge and acuity to recognize what we are dealing with. Be brave and forthright now with what we know. We are not naive Chamberlains hoping for the best in 1938.

Squelching Climate Skepticism While Employing Operant Conditioning Tactics Against Schoolchildren

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So Now Common Core Rejects Individual Thinking to Embrace Soviet Psychology & Ecology?

This week was the perfect example of why it is important these days to read everything the federal government publishes touching education. It also serves as a reminder that the Summary up front never reveals the juicy relevant details we need to know. This is especially true when the federal government announces that Common Core is not a Product as in knowledge American students should know but a Process of learning in “culturally relevant contexts.” It rejected the traditional view of cognition as “too narrowly focused on individual thinking and learning” and thereby proved why you really do not want unaccountable federal officials with all that money and power and lobbyists wanting a portion of it establishing local education policy.

The report, called Education for Life and Work and published by the National Research Council, rejected the cognitive perspective that has all the confirming research supporting how and why it worked. Instead it embraced the socio-cultural perspective of learning because it was a theory that met its goal of applying equally to all students. Wow! Here’s precisely what they said:

“In the socio-cultural perspective, learning takes place as individuals participate in the practices of a community, using the tools, language, and other cultural artifacts of the community.”

Just in case you were wondering precisely how online computer gaming had become classified as “learning,” there you go. And the push for IPads or SMART phones in class? Interacting with the everyday technology and each other is now the kind of tool use and community practices that are to constitute Common Core learning for the 21st century. If you, like me, are struck by the fact that it would be difficult to come up with a better strategy for creating mindless drones, don’t worry. There is still the NEA’s Purple America values curriculum and all that Positive School Climate moral and character curriculum to create a sense of well-being that we have been talking about.

You really do want to laugh, don’t you? It seems rather preposterous. But remember that pronouncement on learning “through social interactions in a community” involves many of the same agencies and funding entities involved in that Belmont Challenge restructuring of the US economy and society around sustainability and citizen wellbeing. We talked about that in the June 14 post on the Belmont Challenge and the next post on the Future Earth Alliance http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/the-belmont-challenge-and-the-death-of-the-individual-via-education/ .

If you have not yet read those posts the Future Earth Alliance is not a group of comic book characters in tights with masks. It will not be coming to a movie screen near you soon. It is, however,  a UN affiliated group of bureaucrats and federal employees from various countries and professors seeking research grants operating mostly over in Sweden and trying to restructure Western economies away from fossil fuels into a redesigned and managed economy that will be friendly to Mother Earth and her natural resources. It ignores the fact that human ingenuity is the ultimate natural resource. Probably because ingenious humans have always been such a nightmare for any politician or bureaucrat’s planning schemes. Mustn’t happen in the future.

I am joking a bit about a very unfunny subject because all this reimagining of the world and the economy and education seems so absurd to anyone with a knowledge of history. Plus I still can poke fun at destructive theories and plans that cannot work. The government power to tax and coerce and reward cronies with special benefits has always been a danger to the average person. And really that’s all the socio-cultural perspective and the Belmont Challenge and Future Earth really are when you boil them down to their essence. They are power grabs. Schemes to put the average person in an assigned place, dictate their permitted behavior, and gain financial benefits from that ability to assign and dictate.

That was what the Soviet nomenklatura wanted from socio-cultural psychological research into creating the perfect new citizen. It appears to be what the bureaucrats now have in mind for Common Core when they target the human personality in the classroom and proclaim it to be “malleable” and capable of change. Yes they did say that and yes I made copies.

In fact the updated version of the Soviet socio-cultural perspective is called the Bronfenbrenner Ecological Systems Theory. It was created in 1979 to target social programs and practices in Western countries. I became familiar with it because it is the learning theory used to justify the Transformational Outcomes Based Education practices in Australia and New Zealand. I will describe in the next post what BEST looks like in the classroom. BEST is all about the process of interactions among people as the measure of learning. Here’s a brief link to an explanation and graphic showing why it is such a perfect theory and education model for government bureaucrats wanting to restructure an economy around sustainability. http://virtual.yosemite.cc.ca.us/childdevelopment/Cheryl/Sp10/EcologicalHandout.pdf

As you can see it’s all encompassing: mind, people, climate, community, Planet Earth. And it is an honest theory. It does not pretend to be factually true. It acknowledges it was created to justify desired political policies. Except many of us do not desire them. Certainly not in our schools. Using our children as social guinea pigs.

I am going to close with an explanation for all this maneuvering that is tucked into that Good Work book we talked about in the previous post. It develops the idea of memes– “units of information that, once mastered, condition–indeed constitute!–the way we think and that can be passed along from person to person.” The book then goes on to say in that chapter on reshaping minds that “memes can then be mobilized to favor, annihilate, or refashion genes.”

That’s the aspiration. Written by prominent professors whose work has been pushed and adopted all over the West through education “reforms.” The definition of Global Competence comes from this group. This is what transformational education change is all about. It turns out the Common Core to be accessed is deeply embedded.