Antonio Gramsci definitely claimed that the way to subdue the West was through changing its culture and manipulating its institutions. My recollection is that Nikita Khrushchev said something similar about subduing the US while making us love what we were ignorantly advocating for. Hard for me not to view the proposed Bipartisan rewrite of the No Child Left Behind federal K-12 authorization statute as anything but the great enabler with this as its new stated purpose (I bolded the especially troubling code words and phrases):
“to ensure that all children have a fair, equitable, and significant opportunity to receive a high-quality education that prepares them for postsecondary education or the workforce, without the need for remediation, and to close the achievement gap between high-and low-performing children, especially the achievement gaps between minority and nonminority children, and between disadvantaged children and their more advantaged peers.”
Elsewhere, the ESEA Rewrite being called the “Every Child Ready for College or Career Act of 2015″ states explicitly that the advantages and disadvantages to be focused on are economic. In other words, factual differences in parenting like a family’s vocabulary, willingness to let a 2 year old play videogames in the grocery store cart, children’s travel opportunities, and other toddler experiences that affect whether a child is low-performing or high in traditional academics can no longer affect academic outcomes. It means that K-12 education in the US can no longer be about academics in the traditional sense or that purpose cannot be met. Not exactly a huge revelation to anyone who has read the details laid out in my book and the explanations why, but about to be enshrined in federal law.
Seeing everything through results in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, and class used to be acknowledged as using a Marxian analysis. Now it is to guide the results of what can occur in K-12 education. I want to go back though to another Term of Art used in that purpose: quality education. That term has a very special defined meaning in the world of the UN System that we just keep running into that ties to its vision of a sustainable global Human Development society. How did an analysis grounded Karl Marx’s vision of categories that would guide consciousness to see the need for transformational change end up in that ESEA Rewrite Statement of Purpose? I think I’ll abbreviate it NCGA–No Child Gets Ahead. No matter how talented they are or how much care and time their parents offered them.
The UN’s vision of quality is grounded in John Dewey’s work http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/why-quality-learning-may-be-the-last-thing-you-want-for-your-child/ and thus fits with this emphasis on pushing the intuitive, holistic Right Hemisphere while hobbling the analytical Left that we keep encountering. Creating a search around “UNESCO quality education” will pull up a great many consistent powerpoints and reports. The one in particular I am quoting from is from the EFA Global Monitoring Report 2005 and was called “Education for All: The Quality Imperative.” It explains precisely how those pesky achievement gaps will be made to go away. Schooling concentrates on helping “children develop creatively and emotionally and acquire the skills, knowledge, values and attitudes necessary for responsible, active and productive citizenship.”
Think of it as practical knowledge for what the Institute for the Future calls our “new participatory economy” and the UN CIFAL Network calls a sustainable society and the UN System calls its Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development. In every case quality education is viewed as a “prerequisite for achieving the fundamental goal of equity.” Equity is yet another explicit term in that new purpose of US K-12 education, which makes sense since the unacceptable differences that rewrite mentions are precisely those laid out by the UN for understanding, monitoring and improving education quality–learner characteristics like “socio-economic background, health, place of residence, cultural and religious background and the amount and nature of prior learning” are all to be noted and monitored. No wonder we are hearing about “testing in preschool.”
So Quality Learning is experiential, social and emotional, relevant, constructivist, and is to fit the criteria of “Quality in the critical tradition” like Paulo Freire that “equates education that prompts social change,” encourages “critical analysis of social power,” and lets learners design their own experiences. Precisely what we keep noticing in the required implementation and had been hoping were out-of-line administrators just trying to get a promotion. Not enshrined into the federal definition of what K-12 must now become, like it or not, with virtually no recourse.
Rather than dwell on quality education per the UN and its declared intentions, let’s pivot to the five witnesses scheduled to appear at the first committee hearing on the rewrite on Wednesday, January 21. Several are names we recognize. There is civil rights advocate Wade Henderson whose vivid statement became the title of this post. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/not-going-to-let-the-us-constitution-stop-us-from-using-schools-to-enshrine-global-social-justice-and-human-rights/ We also have Jia Lee, a teacher at the Earth School in NYC who shows up in links as wanting to Opt Out of standardized testing because it interferes with the progressive education vision. That would be the one created by John Dewey as my book also detailed extensively so let’s give Jia a check for on board with quality education in the UN vision.
Next is the Denver School Super Tom Boasberg whose School Performance Framework is being touted http://spf.dpsk12.org/ as a model for other districts and states to use. Make that another check. Then there is Paul Leathers from New Hampshire that is piloting the Competency focus for high school that is also mentioned in the language of the rewrite. We met him here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/listening-in-on-the-confessional-drumbeat-of-the-common-cores-true-purpose-jettisoning-traditional-high-school/ Now, the last listed witness is a Marty West, listed as a professor at Harvard ed school. He also teaches though at the Harvard School of Government and was an advisor to Mitt Romney in 2012 and Lamar Alexander, the Republican committee Chairman, now.
Looking into his education writings I found this “Global Lessons for Improving US Education” http://issues.org/28-3/west/ that so fully misrepresents the nature of the OECD PISA and its emphasis on pushing a Competency focus (it’s described in Chapter 4 of my book with plenty of cites on intentions) that Professor West is either a sloppy researcher or interested in pushing the global quality education agenda via stealth. Asking myself what his connection was to Quality Education pulled up this Gates Foundation-financed 2014 vision for putting the K-12 emphasis on “non-cognitive skills” as a means for closing the achievement gap. http://cepr.harvard.edu/cepr-resources/files/news-events/cepr-promise-paradox.pdf
Those “non-cognitive skills” also go by the names of “social and emotional learning” or “21st century skills” says the paper. They are important traits “for success in school and in life.” They are “more amenable to direct intervention than cognitive ability, particularly beyond infancy and early childhood.” Sounds like quality education so far, doesn’t it? The paper’s intro that “disparities in so-called non-cognitive skills appear to contribute to the academic achievement gap separating wealthy from disadvantaged students.” Sounds just like that new purpose again. It’s not then just the use of the term “quality education” and its well-documented purpose that is the problem, but the declared interests of those first chosen to testify.
But it’s actually worse than that. Remember when the federal DoED issued that awful “Grit Tenacity and Perseverance” report and critics were told it had no connection to the Common Core? The psychologist known for pushing the Grit and Perseverence sociocultural emphasis, Angela Duckworth, is a co-author of that cepr paper. When you follow a different co-author, Amy Finn, http://languagemagazine.com/?page_id=78313 on how to turn off “effortful learning” and the adult “prefrontal cortex using a technique called transcranial magnetic stimulation.” I have warned that there is a real interest in locking in psychological transformations at a physiological level. Following another co-author, Rebecca Martin, turned up that in 2008 SANS–the SocioAffective Neuroscience Society– Lab Network was set up globally to trade research. More checks for Quality Education globally then.
Another author, John Gabrieli of MIT, turned up the McGovern Institute for Brain Research with a goal to “understand the organization of memory, thought, and emotions in the human brain. By combining brain imaging with behavioral tests, he studies the neural basis of these abilities in human subjects.” Gulp. Another co-author, Christopher Gabrieli is the Director of the National Center on Time and Learning, where 90s Outcomes-Based Education primary architect Marc Tucker is an advisor.
It’s all back. It is the UN’s workforce and change the child’s values and personality vision and it is about to be quietly enshrined again into federal law like WIOA. But nobody is hitting their shoe against a UN lectern trying to get everyone’s attention on these intentions in time. Writing is the closest I can get in this Paul Revere effort of mine announcing that the transformation is planned, coming, and hiding in laws, charters, executive orders, and regulations no one is supposed to read.Well, I have and we all need to sound the alarm or we will be encased into a vassals and fiefdoms view of citizenship primed for a collectivist future.
On that note, I did get a timely kick this morning when an article quoted Benjamin Franklin as noting “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb deciding what to eat for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.”
Quality education and the purposes of this NCLB rewrite and the entire actual Common Core implementation should be seen as government officials at all levels insisting that the lamb must come to lunch unarmed. Armed lambs will be checked via benchmarks and then forcibly disarmed.
Just say no. To every politician you know and everyone they hire or appoint.
Remember our motto–Not Serfs Yet.