Experimenting on People and Places via the Rockefeller Process of Communication for Social Change

In case anyone is concerned that the description ‘experimenting’ seems a bit harsh, the 2001 book Civic Innovation in America: Community Empowerment, Public Policy, and the Movement for Civic Renewal laid out what was sought by the charitable foundations and the White House in the 90s under initiative names like “Reinventing Public Citizenship.” Then it usefully admitted that all this dialoguing and deliberative democracy and new systems of governance are untried theories. Such mass mandates put in place by mayors or regional authorities or school districts thus qualify as mass experimentation. Aka Experimentation on the Masses since psychological processes aimed at behavior change through K-12 education are involved.

We do get to call a spade a spade when we are able to come up with statements about the use of BCC–Behavior Change Communication. Now I am not picking on the Rockefeller interests although I have been wondering for a while why I keep running into their aggressive support of so many troubling ideas that clearly pertain to desired transformational social change. To be undeniably fair I will quote the definition of social change their foundation used in laying out a desired model of Communication for Social Change in a June 2002 Working Paper:

“social change comprises the transformation of the organization of society, in institutions and in the distribution of power. Most social scientists agree that it entails structural change.”

Rather comprehensive wouldn’t you say? Not exactly what any of us think we are funding when we pay our property taxes to fund schools and local government. So why did I call it the Rockefeller Process? Because that’s what the World Bank called it and it would explain why we keep running into aggressive funding of these Metropolitanism, deliberative democracy, and participatory governance visions for the future. This is what a WB paper called Participatory Communication: A Practical Guide stated:

“Most recently participatory approaches to communication [one of the 4 Cs of 21st Century Skills in case anyone has forgotten] have reenforced the emphasis on structural and social change. A broad-based policy debate initiated by the Rockefeller Foundation in 1997 and pursued by the Communication for Social Change Consortium in subsequent years has focused on structural inequality and social transformation. The ‘Rockefeller process’ led to a definition of communication for social change as ‘a process of public and private dialogue through which people themselves define who they are, what they need and how to get what they need in order to improve their own lives. It utilizes dialogue that leads to collective problem identification, decision-making, and community-based implementation of solutions to development issues.’”

I am sure you have heard of Robert’s Rules on Process. Well, Robin’s Research Rules say that if the World Bank states on the record that this is called the Rockefeller Process, we can call it that too. Those Rules also get to note that the Rockefeller Process as a practical matter increases the power of the public sector since it looks to the political process to give these groups what they want. Think of it as increasing the Cartel Power of governments at all levels. Connected people just love cartels.

The Mind Arson and psychological manipulation and social and emotional learning emphasis both my book Credentialed to Destroy: How and Why Education Became a Weapon and now this blog just keep encountering also have the effect of increasing the power of the public sector and anyone with ties to political power. It all seems to seek to extinguish the ability and capacity of individuals to decide what they need and get it for themselves.

Now I told you in the last post that I wanted to talk about the recent Aspen Institute (you can search for yourself to find out if there are ties to certain great wealth that grew from cartel practices in the past) report Learner at the Center of a Networked World. That report called for ‘new kinds of skills and learning’. Let’s quote again because the crucial point I want to make is that this recent Aspen vision for digital learning and the K-12 classroom is the same as what is being described as Communication for Social Change. It is also the same as what The Deliberative Democracy Handbook said is required for fulfilling its vision. Even more alarmingly the vision fits with what the Club of Rome (search for that connection too if you are bored or wondering if conspiracies around power can be true) called for as ‘innovative learning’ in its Learning Project report issued in 1979. It is now finding its way into regional planning authority mandates on Economic Development and what school districts must be doing.

First let’s look at what No Limits to Learning: Bridging the Human Gap said about the necessary ‘critical judgment’ it would need to bridge to the desired transformative change. The capacity of Critical judgment [now called critical thinking and a 21st century 4C] is not developed by the “transmission of off-the-shelf knowledge, a method characteristic of most schools.” Well there’s incentive to deplore textbooks and lectures as unsuitable for the 21st century. Let’s see how the Club of Rome defined ‘innovative learning’ in the same report:

“Innovative learning is problem formulating and clustering. Its main attributes are integration, synthesis, and the broadening of horizons. It operates in open situations or open systems. Its meaning derives from dissonance among contexts [now known as Rigor]. it leads to critical questioning of conventional assumptions behind traditional thoughts and actions, focusing on necessary changes. Its values are not constant, but rather shifting. Innovative learning advances our thinking by reconstructing wholes, not by fragmenting reality.”

Seems to fit in well then with aspirations of fundamental social change, huh? How’s this for more incentive to force this on the classroom as practice for desired mandatory participatory processes in governance? “Thus a key aim of innovative learning is to enlarge the range of options within sufficient time for sound decision-making processes.” At the political level of course or maybe by fiat by appointed regulators. If you want to know why Radical Ed Reform suddenly is pushing that students exhibit a Growth Mindset instead of Fixed Mindsets and an anti-Content Knowledge fixation, let’s quote the needed preference from The Deliberative Democracy Handbook:

“From the vantage point of deliberative democracy, it is erroneous to suppose that individuals already possess a clear, enlightened, and coherent understanding of their preferences or opinions on complex social and political issues…an essential virtue of deliberation is that it deemphasizes the aggregation of (or bargaining among) pre-established preferences and individual interests. [We can see why Axemaker Minds are obstacles then.]  Instead, deliberation seeks the formation of a consensus view of shared interests and common goods. Such an understanding cannot come about if individuals are unwilling to set aside narrow self-interests or if political practices do not offer the necessary institutional settings and motivations to make this possible.”

Classrooms that require Collaboration (the 3rd of the 4Cs) and new political structures too. No wonder there is to be a Metropolitan Revolution. No wonder we get this constant emphasis on the Community as a whole with an obligation to “improve the health and welfare of all its members.” Boosting the cartel power of the public sector while telling individuals they are not even entitled to hold on to their own personal preferences.

Now let’s look at what last week’s Aspen Report on digital learning called for:

“Rather than systematically accumulating static ‘stocks’ of knowledge, students now need to learn how to actively participate in ‘flows’ of knowledge by engaging with others in the construction of new knowledge. This kind of knowledge is often put to use at the same time it is learned. [Like in an experiment of a theory?] It is most effectively acquired through solving problems with others in an environment that offers an abundance of challenges and unlimited opportunities. [Real world? Authentic?] In this new world, curiosity and creativity becomes critical skills.”

There’s Creativity, that 4th C of 21st Century Skills. Everyone assembled and reporting for duty but in pursuit of Deliberative Democracy and Participatory Governance, not being internationally competitive.

Maybe that’s because all these education and policy visions view Planned State Capitalism and its Cartel Power over Everyone Else as the desired 21st Century vision of society and an economy.

Just pointing all these connections out while there is still time in this global experiment to say: “Stop It. Leave us alone.”

Cartels do hate individual power.

 

 

 

Social Cohesion Can Commence Once Reality is Born Largely from Beliefs and Boundaries Co-Created with Others

“Around Us” was the last part of the quote the title comes from. The next line is “Although we need these boundaries and beliefs to function, we should not take them too seriously.” I suppose that flexibility may be the most succinct definition of the hoped-for Growth Mindset we have encountered yet, but this post is not actually about Carol Dweck. Remember Robert Theobald from our last post? In 1997, still awaiting the long sought revolution, he published yet another book reworking success: new communities at the millenium that laid out in its conclusion the “new belief structure” that would be necessary for a “radically more positive world” where each of us has a “core future commitment to the maintenance and development of social cohesion.”

Since my unusual, but terribly reliable method, of tracking the Common Core via its required actual implementation in schools and classrooms has turned up in just the last week repeated attempts to impose Theobald’s vision, the Baha’i values and compliance vision, and the cybernetic theory of doling out information in a controlled manner to create predictable future behavior we had best move on to the invisible how.  Since the last two have been covered in previous posts, let’s see what Theobald thought would be the New Belief Structure in place by 2011. I can assure you in education, radical intentions and methods do not go away. They don’t even always get new names. First though I want to use the guiding belief that we have now seen recurring consistently as the marching banner since the 60s taken this time from Theobald (quoting Pope John Paul II from 1994):

“If in his providence God had given the earth to humanity, that meant that he had given it to everyone. Therefore the riches of creation were to be considered as a common good of the whole of humanity. Those who possessed these goods as personal property were really only stewards,…since it was God’s will that created goods which serve everyone in a just way.”

Inspirational man, but somehow his sense of where wealth actually comes from was clearly warped. Anyway, this sentiment provides the perfect rationale for massive redistribution both within affluent countries and from rich to poor countries with no thought that anything vital might vanish in the process. Theobald turned this into a fundamental global governing “idea that great wealth and deep poverty were unacceptable in a just society.” He sold the idea that this New Belief Structure should become “one of the  great rallying points for a changed vision adopted by a growing segment of the population.” Yes and continued intentional mind arson and perspective shifting as the mission of K-12 and higher ed combined with weak job growth and explosive student debt only drives the allure of that same rallying cry now.

Central to this New Belief Structure and New Images of Citizenship in what Theobald called “common ground work” was:

a)controlling our ego needs and growth beyond them;

b) learning to screen reality through our own senses and the stories and myths we have learned;

c) emphasizing our collective intelligence and using our diversity to support the emergence of new systems;

d) acknowledging the importance of spirituality; and

e) “Recognizing the importance of using values–honesty, responsibility, humility, love, faith, cooperation, and a respect for mystery–as a compass that guides our choices.”

Values again. That common core we keep encountering globally. Guess where I found it just this week as an agenda item on a recent School Board Working Agenda in the Metro Atlanta School District with the duplicitous Conversion Charter we have looked at? In the new Student Code of Conduct. When parents sign off at the beginning of the year that they have seen the Student Handbook and agree to abide by it, they will now actually be signing off on listed “Character Traits” with language about desired values and morals and ethics without likely appreciating the wholesale transformation from the inside-out they have just sanctioned in their children.

At least Hong Kong citizens got somewhat of a head’s up when Kohlberg’s  Theory of Moral Development and Universal Love became a controversial component of the new definition of citizenship mandated via education, all we Americans get are vague references to Student Behavior or Positive School Climates. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/hiding-educations-theft-of-individual-freedom-behind-the-positive-school-c/

This post was always going to be about values since I have had UNESCO’s instructional modules to make that a central focus of ed globally for about a month now. I was just laying the groundwork with our Baha’i discussion since UNESCO itself said religion must change back in 2007 and that spirituality was a necessary component of Global Citizenship.  I wanted to make this post about why the Southern Poverty Law Center would recently issue 2 different reports within weeks of each other trying to taint opponents of the Common Core http://www.splcenter.org/sites/default/files/downloads/publication/public_schools_in_the_crosshairs.pdf and Agenda 21/Regional Land/Equity Planning. http://www.splcenter.org/sites/default/files/downloads/publication/agenda_21_final_web_0.pdf

SPLC is clearly engaged in a coordinated effort to prevent people from accurately perceiving admitted facts and declared intentions. We can think of Common Core as the Means to a Quiet Revolution and a Tool to Alter People’s Values, Attitudes, and Beliefs. Agenda 21 and Catastrophic Manmade Global Warming are the Excuses for Why the Transformations are Necessary and Tools to Control Physical Space and People’s Behavior. I can wish more of the critics SPLC cites were paying attention to the objections I am carefully laying out, but anyone’s accurate reporting of openly declared intentions or coursework is not theorizing about conspiracies. So what is SPLC really up to?

Remember how I call Common Core an explanation ‘bucket’ that obscures all the real intended changes like Positive School Climates, making social and emotional learning the primary focus, or making education about using a digital device instead of academic knowledge? Classic Bait and Switch has been my drumbeat in my book and now on this blog. I knew SPLC had created a racially oriented and economic justice focused curriculum. http://www.splcenter.org/what-we-do/teaching-tolerance What I did not know until I started looking into their incentives to issue such misleading reports was that SPLC had partnered with the NEA to create TDSI–Teaching Diverse Students Initiative or that SPLC was partnering with the accreditors of teacher ed institutions to ensure its adoption in all teaching credential programs. Lots of incentive, in other words, for the SPLC to malign critics of effective tools for wholesale radical transformations.

Basically what SPLC is obscuring is the heart of the actual planned implementation in classrooms across the US under the mischievous banner of the Common Core and what now counts as Student Achievement and Growth. How about working with Glenn Singleton to create ‘dispositions’ in students pursuant to “Beginning Courageous Conversations about Race”? That can be one of the Character Traits district administrators now get to require from students under those new mischievous codes of conduct.

Recognizing the intended mischief from Fulton’s proposed new Code of Student Conduct and having asked detailed questions of administrators to make sure I understood precisely what was to be imposed, I came home to think about the potential for that Character Trait Code given what I knew of Fulton’s Charter, accreditation, and the intentions of TDSI.  file:///D:/Downloads/PRRAC%20-%20Race%20_%20Racism.htm Not to pat myself on the back, but it really is no exaggeration to say I speak ed fluently and usually understand the underlying theories now better than all the edudoctorates in the room. After all, most of them now are credentialed because of what they are willing to do to us and our children and this great nation, not for what they actually know.

The phrase–”Student’s Quantity of time on task engaged in desired behavior” may earn a doctorate these days when repeated constantly, but it probably should not be spoken out loud to parents. It does sound like social engineering. Nor should “Nothing as valuable as a good theory for social change” Kurt Lewin be quoted by name publicly as an example of the useful Freeze, Unfreeze, Refreeze behavioral manipulation strategy to deal with current teachers not on board with the technology shift.

If administrators think it’s OK to coercively brainwash adults, just imagine the plight of the children entrusted to their care in a world where changing the child is now the whole point of what is student achievement. Anyway, nobody can say I do not put my angst about where education is going and what the inevitable consequences will be to fruitful use. Yes indeed. Within an hour after leaving that meeting, I had the CARE Guide the NEA created with SPLC to “move beyond the restructuring of schools to the ‘re-culturing of education.” http://www.nea.org/assets/docs/CAREguide2011.pdf

That would be the real  focus of K-12 that SPLC needed to protect. It explains the importance of Core Values to the Vision. That would of course be the vision “Creating Change through Social Justice” and dramatically redefining the purpose of schools and negating academics as traditionally understood. Unless it is useful for new purposes like preparing students for everyday life, or perceiving ‘power relationships,’ or learning to exalt the ‘collectivist perspective’ and reject the ‘individualist perspective.’

We have a lot to talk about that is to be done under the cover of what counts as Excellence or a legally required closure of the Achievement Gap. It’s not what we are expecting and it certainly is something we need to fear as long as we remain unaware.

I have run too long again. Next time we will walk through that 174 page core document together.

Illusion Remains the Deadly Enemy of Hope, its Smiling Murderer: Continuing Our Journey to Keep Hope Alive

To explain the whys of what I have so unambiguously now documented, I frequently go back in time to others who have played the role of prescient Cassandra urging the Trojans not to bring that strange gift of a wooden horse within the unbreachable walls. Today’s title comes from an essay Whittaker Chambers published in Cold Friday to convey his reaction to the mid to late 1950s Eastern European revolts against Communist oppression. Chambers always understood what was under attack from ideologies that target “the view we hold, unconsciously or not, of the world and its meaning and the meaning of our lives in it.” Since I have been asserting for a while that this is precisely what the Common Core and 21st Century Learning and cybernetics and Radical Ed Reform through the decades is actually targeting, let’s look at the full quote:

“In this age, hope is something that must be taken by the throat. This is to say, hope, to be durable and real, must begin with things exactly as they are, not as we suppose they were (even a few tranquillizing months ago), or as we wish they might be…The terms of hope are not to delude ourselves about this in order not to suffer in the shattering spins of fear that casts out hope. The deadly enemy of hope, its smiling murderer–is illusion…hope for you (as it has been for [the Eastern Europeans]) can truly begin only when complacency has been eaten off as by an acid bath, consuming the temptation to illusion.”

Never thought of myself or my book as an acid bath before, but the metaphor may well be apt. The way out is consistent with what I tell audiences when I speak. We need to keep our focus at this point on the actual implementation being required. It is provable and alarming. Right now intentionally created illusions impede our way out of this planned darkness of raw political power merging the religious and the secular, the public and the private, and society and the economy. In fact I found those Chambers’ quotes when I was mulling over that the Baha’i see no boundaries to their planned usurpation of authority over the minute details of our personal beliefs and conduct. With the raw power and all-pervasive tentacles of the UN and its affiliates behind them and UNESCO pushing their values as the integral core of global education reforms, we have a problem.

Confronting the actual intentions seems the only way out. Baha’i came out of Islam and clearly retains Islam’s doctrine of absolute deference to political authority. Likewise, Baha’i clearly contemplates what Totally Integrative Education now seeks as well, the “political and the sacred are indissolubly merged.” I am also seeing in the consensus mandates of the required Discourse Classroom or the Fostering Communities of Learners mandate what an American scholar of Islam, Franz Rosenthal, analyzed as consistent with the Muslim concept of hurriyya where an individual Muslim “was expected to consider subordination of his own freedom to the beliefs, morality and customs of the group as the proper course of behavior.” Moreover, Rosenthal noted “the individual was not expected to exercise any free choice as to how he wished to be governed…”

That attitude, that was common to Communism and is a tenet of both Islam and Baha’i, is radically opposed to the Western conception of the primacy of the individual and reason and the conception of freedom that came out of the Enlightenment. The individual has been the essence of traditional education, especially after the printing press and easy access to books made literacy widespread. Now we are back to a Whole Child education that explicitly targets personal values, attitudes, and beliefs with the federal government collecting data to keep track of how the personal transformation from the inside-out is going. We need a Douglas MacArthur moment from when he confronted State Shinto in Japan after World War II.

“Shintoism, insofar as it is a religion of individual Japanese, is not to be interfered with. Shintoism, however, insofar as it is directed by the Japanese government, and as a measure enforced from above by the government, is to be done away with.”

And it was. Today we have comparable attempts to indoctrinate students into collectivism as the only viable solution and transformation as the only acceptable action. The Baha’i books I cited in the previous post are full of those aims. Instead of reiterating those, I want to point out that these aims also come from a different direction that greatly influenced what would come to be known as LBJ’s Great Society. Now with the 50th anniversary eminent, we had best fully appreciate what was really sought in the first place. The planners are not done yet. Back in 1961 Robert Theobald published The Challenge of Abundance laying out his vision of how the West must change now that it had sufficient wealth and technology to meet all needs. He also described using education as the means to obtain the necessary new attitudes and values. This is from page 1:

“the attitudes necessary for the most rapid rate of growth are not those which encourage a meaningful life for the individual or a valid sense of community.”

That desire is still what we are dealing with today and it is what also drove the Swedes to dramatically alter their ed system in the 60s as we discussed in ways that mirror what is being sought today in other parts of the world. The idea, which I believe is erroneous but it IS the foundation for all these sought transformations via education, is that the “society of abundance could, at last, provide independent means” for everyone to reach their potential and thus for the first time in history have “true freedom.” It was Marx’s vision and it drives UNESCO today as Scientific Humanism. It also goes by Human Capability theory now  and has an international conference coming up in Greece.

Education is always such a crucial component over the decades this has been sought because, as Theobald wrote: “such a society is possible only with the acceptance of limited desires. We too can have a society of abundance in the rich countries before the end of the twentieth century [yes, a bit off-schedule here in the US!!!. hence the hurry now]. But abundance is not a specific quantity of goods; it is a state of mind, a set of attitudes. Man can never produce all he could use, abundance depends on the acceptance of a reasonable standard of living.”

As of 2012, by the way, the Ford Foundation began calling that very same concept the Line of Plenty. Think about that passage every time you read about education creating a Growth Mindset instead of a Fixed Mindset. The Growth is in the new values and attitudes and beliefs about the role of the individual and the primacy now of the community and the perceived common good. It really is about getting the desired evolution from the inside-out that will allow the social, political, and economic transformations that have been sought for many years, behind our backs. We cannot afford to maintain the illusion of good faith disputes over content or how to best tech reading or math. The reality is that everyone from John Dewey to the Baha’i to the Club of Rome and Theobald are all determined to use education globally are;

“asking that man become unselfish. This is not necessarily impossible. ‘Selfishness’ stems, at least in part, from the fact that Western economic and social systems are set up to encourage individualism. If we reduce the necessity for economic conflict, it may be that we can develop a co-operative form of society.”

History reveals a very expensive mess coming out of these intentions Theobald laid out in 1960, but this remains the true aim in 2014. Common sense tells us that such aims will continue to push us towards a kleptocracy, but too many of the decision-makers now in education have a vested interest in continuing and expanding the organized theft from taxpayers. All the more reason to ramp up the mind arson to avoid detection for long enough to get another lucrative contract or lock-in that pension or promotion.

It does create a tremendous irony though that all these destructive policies and determined pursuit of changes to students’ values, attitudes, and beliefs involve the use of so much deceit to try to put in place “a new idea–we must demand that man should become responsible and willing to make decisions on the basis of the general interest of the community.”

Because that goal is always so beneficial to those who hold the strings of economic, social, and political power. Ever fearful of the magnificence the unencumbered individual mind is capable of.

Keeping hope alive indeed. Piercing through the deceit straight to the core of the actual intentions.

Translating the Off-Putting Term Dialectical Materialism and Discovering the Intended Process in ALL Classrooms

And if ALL classrooms, preschool through graduate school, is not sufficiently alarming, how about in ALL students and teachers and professors and administrators? Plus with a little luck, and using active coordination of themes and cultivated beliefs between education and the media, those interested in transformative change in the 21st century hope to spread the mental and emotional contagion to parents and enough voters generally to ignite the change via the ballot box and ALL institutions.

So how does the mouthful phrase ‘dialectical materialism’ fit into this vision? That is something I have struggled with for a couple of years now. I basically got it, but not well enough to translate into a pithy analogy for mass consumption. I suspect much of that is deliberate to prevent alarms from going off recognizing its use to prompt revolutionary cultural change. I knew it was about consciousness and had been coined not by Marx or Engels, but by Joseph Dietzgen. Like them, his revolutionary intentions forced him into exile in the Anglosphere, countries much more accommodating of dissent than Germany or other parts of 19th-century Europe. Instead of London or Manchester, England though, Dietzgen relocated to the Chicago area. But what precisely merited exile by authorities wishing to retain existing political power?

The recent recovery of some lost Nelson Mandela transcripts that quoted him as saying: “to a nationalist fighting oppression, dialectical materialism is like a rifle, bomb or missile. Once I understood the logic of dialectical materialism, I embraced it without hesitation.” I read that and immediately wished someone would concisely explain that logic as I was quite sure it was still lurking in our midst, ready to mount an invisible attack against existing institutions, values, beliefs, and other cultural norms. Last week, my personal project, supposedly unrelated to the blog or book or speaking engagements, was to investigate when the law shifted to being seen as a cultural weapon. Just a matter of personal curiosity so I ordered a book I had seen mentioned, Law and Revolution: The Formation of the Western Legal Tradition. It was published in 1983 by a then Harvard Law Prof, Harold J. Berman.

I was expecting a more straightforward history than what I encountered. I certainly was not expecting to read on the first page of the Preface that “A world ends when its metaphor has died.” Well, that got my attention as nothing is more prevalent now in education ‘reforms’ than the determination to excise factual knowledge of the past or science or human nature and substitute some type of metaphorical belief, usually called a ‘lens,’ as in the new C3 Social Studies Framework or a Generative Metaphor from Donald Schon and Chris Argyris’ Action Science work.

Continuing on in the Introduction, I found a determination to jettison the reverence for the Anglo tradition of the common law, and language about the law being not “a body of rules,” but a “process.” That statement sounded eerily similar to what radical education reformers like Linda Darling-Hammond, or sponsors like CCSSO, are using to describe what the REAL Common Core implementation is about. Not transmitting a body of knowledge anymore, but cultivating desired ‘habits of mind’ and hoped for ‘dispositions’ amenable and primed to act for wholesale social change.

Perhaps because it is a book designed to change the nature of a particular institution-the nature of law, law schools, and the role of the judiciary, Berman’s book is quite graphic about using the word ‘dialectics’ to describe the process of changing values and beliefs in people so it will have an impact on how and whether they act. Those actions in turn can affect the material world and the physical environment, which in turn acts upon those who inhabit it. A dialectical process back and forth involving the material world, but it all starts in consciousness. Mental and emotional beliefs. Dialectical materialism. Change the consciousness of enough people and the world itself and the future can supposedly be changed in predictable ways.

That’s the theory of how to “transform the social and political and economic realities” and it was revolutionary enough in the 19th century to merit exile and, perhaps, prison in certain times and places in the 20th. Now a willingness to push it can get you a lucrative ed doctorate credential intended to secure a six-figure taxpayer paid salary and then pension for life. That is if you cooperate with the right people and force the right theories on unsuspecting schools and students. What a transition that is for an infamous theory!

Dialectical materialism then is the actual theory that underlay outcomes based education and what was really being sought from it. Because it is an off-putting term with a clear history and proponents calling it the equivalent of a cultural “rifle, bomb or missile,” the real name for the theory gets left out. Instead, we get language about Growth Mindsets and not Fixed and Grit, Perseverance and Tenacity to euphemize the actual dialectical mental and emotional change to arrive at the desired synthesis in a person who will act.

This vision of education as dialectical materialism to change the student’s values, beliefs, and dispositions so they will likely act as desired upon the world can be seen as recently as last Friday as Michael Barber and Pearson released a Michael Fullan authored document called A Rich Seam: How New Pedagogies Find Deep Learning. That report also helpfully ties together the actual intended Common Core implementation in the US to what is going on in Canada, Australia, South America, and Europe. A global vision of the kind of perspectives and Worldviews that education is to inculcate for the future.

Everything is designed around experiential learning and getting students ready to act in desired ways. To see the past through so-called present and future needs. It’s not just the students being primed to act in desired ways. I keep hearing reports of teachers being told to stand and chant as a necessary component of new required professional development, while I notice how the leaders of the training just happened to be active in outcomes based education in the 90s. Or a recent story of videos being shown of enthusiastic cheering at various emotional public events like sports. Then the teachers are told that they must stand and cheer exuberantly at every mention of the phrase “Common Core” during the presentation. Does it remind anyone else of Michael Barber’s work with rebellious UK teachers years ago where the mantra was “First, act, then belief comes?”

To me, it is reminiscent of another of William Henry Chamberlin’s observations from his 30s experiences of collectivism that we encountered in the previous post. He noted that “human personality, for instance, may sometimes be dwarfed and standardized under the influence of democracy. But in the totalitarian states it tends to disappear altogether; the individual is simply sunk in the collectivist mass that votes, marches, salutes, cheers with the regularity and precision of an automatic machine.” That term ‘totalitarian’ may seem a bit misplaced when talking of the US or UK or Canada or Australia, but every one of the political and economic and social philosophies Chamberlin was writing about from personal experience was grounded in dialectical materialism. It is the foundational theory behind changing values and beliefs. What varied, then and now, are the particular beliefs that can be deliberately cultivated as useful for transformative change.

It is easy then to see the belief in Catastrophic Manmade Climate Change as one of today’s useful cultivated beliefs as well as the hyping of Inequality and the push for Communitarianism (misleadingly hiding in the definition of Career Ready as well as what will constitute a Positive School Climate). The intense focus on continued racism and sexism in reading selections and classroom discussions provides the same function. Useful beliefs that will likely compel a belief to act to transform the world in predictable ways. Others are more subtle, like the regular complaints over the religion of Islam being portrayed as inherently innocuous in ways that disregard known, provable, potentially dangerous facts. Or the economic misconceptions being deliberately cultivated and then tied to revered figures like Martin Luther King as Democracy Collaborative/Good Society’s Gar Alperovitz did recently. http://sojo.net/magazine/2014/01/beyond-dreamer

We are going to talk next time about how this dialectical vision has become incorporated into the teacher evals for licensure and promotion to ensure compliance. Another dialectical process to ensure actual change in the material world.

Unfortunately all these intentions just cannot shake off the effects of unintended consequences and perverse incentives in that same material world.

The one where we all live and pay taxes to finance these millenarian visions of unrealistic, and nonconsensual, transformations.

 

 

Finale of the Dangerous Mindset Trilogy: Spreading the Contagion to Fundamentally Alter How We Think and Live

How many of you read the comment this past week by Christiana Figueres, head of the UN’s Framework on Climate Change, on how much easier it is for a dictatorship like China to do what the UN insists is necessary to deal with climate change? Many people wondered where the mental governor was that would have prevented such a politically inept statement, but immersion in the taxpayer-funded institutions seeking wholesale transformation globally seems to make the people involved tone-deaf about the ramifications and validity of what they are advocating for. The same directness about intentions and acceptable methods can be found in the related 50+20 Agenda of Management Education for the World. Let’s take a look at the future being envisioned by the current K-12 and college “reforms” so that we can become the “content, unified” people who are “ultimately cooperative” in a “well-organized civilization working towards the singular goal of sustainability.” http://www.unprme.org/resource-docs/5020ManagementEducationfortheWorld.pdf

We can see where the jet-setting bureaucrats could begin to believe they are entitled to strong arm people into new sets of values and morals and beliefs. After all they have decided they are working toward a “world worth living in.” One that of course benefits them instead of us, but then we are not supposed to read the small print. With 12 years or so of obuchenie ‘teaching and learning’ and ‘guided reflection’, even if future graduates do read the small print, few will appreciate what is wrong with such intentions.

“Everything within the State” as a motto of a very dark period in World History simply won’t be part of the syllabus of coursework or approved, pre-supplied Enduring Understandings. This time there will be the collaboratory of leaders working together with all stakeholders to ‘solve’ the world’s complex problems as they arise and plan the future. If things do not turn out as envisioned, adjustments can be made. It’s not like such a history-blind approach would be squandering national resources or committing permanent Mind Arson or anything.

In case you don’t recognize the significance of same of the names quoted in that report, they include Peter Senge’s Society for Organizational Learning-SOL-and his long-time collaborator Otto Scharmer (who has his own tag plus his Capitalism 3.0 tag). We also have Howard Gardner of Multiple Intelligences and Harvard’s Project Zero and Joseph Stiglitz who took part in Anthony Gidden’s Global Third Way Debate book and panel that we have looked at as well as heading the Subjective Well-Being (also tagged) panel that commenced in 2009 at French President Nicholas Sarkozy’s request. So please don’t tell me that this vision is unrelated to the so-called Great Transition or that the transformative learning described is not related to the US Common Core or the Australian Core Skills or the Canadian Learning for a Sustainable Future. It’s all the same interconnected ‘transdisciplinary’ vision and we will remain imperiled until we begin to realize this better.

There’s a Goethe expression that keeps being quoted as part of this transformative vision. It goes “Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do.” We also need to take it to heart before deliberately kept ignorant credentialed Change Agents, and business professors who don’t understand how economies work, and self-interested politicians and their cronies and consultants blow up what currently works.  We saw numerous well-compensated false statements in out last post, and PRME quoting, with pictures, George Bernard Shaw’s statement that “We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future” suggests we need to keep our Ignoramus alert gauges firmly in our hands at all times in 2014.

If K-12 education reforms like the Common Core or blended learning or the college tour at that expensive Ivy League school confessed that the “time has come to initiate a fundamental change in the way we think and live,” the alarm bells that need to be going off now would start to peal in more people’s minds. And they would properly keep their wallets shut. Which is precisely why no one in school or higher ed administration or the public sector is being that honest. We have to rely on sleuthing like those Great Transition documents or unwise declarations like Giddens conceding that actual temperature changes do not really matter, it’s just all an excuse for desired social, political, and economic changes in the West. The “Management Education for the World: An Agenda” report is much the same way. Because it is linked but tangential to the area of most people’s focus, its authors are brutally honest about the entire picture.

Making the purpose of K-12 being ‘Career-Ready’ takes on new meaning if management education globally has been simultaneously tasked with the “transformation of business and the economy” so that it serves what the politicians and planners in academia and think-tanks determine to be “serving the common good.” No more relying on consumers and individual choices. It rather puts a new light on selling K-12 education reforms as “What Business Wants” when those businesses have been told they get to be established players “in a new kind of society” with “a revised economic framework where business is celebrated for its contribution to society and the world.”

I will take a break in this quote as we think about how dangerous it is to have management students trying to earn degrees and get jobs in business or governments being told they are to “become custodians of society.” [italics here and elsewhere are in original report] It will be quite flattering to a twenty-something ego, but oh-so-dangerous to the rest of us for them to be trained and believe that is their acceptable 21st century role.

Especially when we realize how few will have enough knowledge of history to know what Fascism looks like, what its dangers are, and why people wrote about ‘vampire economies’ in the 30s. This is the rest of the quote that I broke from (top of page 6). Please pay attention because we have to be the ones who recognize all this for the self-interested, rent-seeking, parasitic justifying nonsense that it is. This is not a minor report.

“The starting point for reframing business is to reassign economics to its appropriate status as a subset of a larger system, not its center. We must develop a global society that is supported by the economy, based on a new environmental, societal and economic framework that serves the global common good. Businesses need to become intimately involved in this transformation by accepting challenges and responsibilities that lie beyond short-term economic performance. The purpose of business should be measured through its positive contribution to the transformation of society towards a better world.”

So the envisioned purpose of business in the future is to no longer satisfy customers making voluntary decisions on how to spend their own money. It will be about satisfying the politicians and bureaucrats like Ms Figueres who get to decide what they believe would be a better world based on a misguided fallacy that economies are a finite collection of goods and resources that can simply be rearranged. It is hardly a shock to those of us who have been tracking all the machinations in education over the decades, and the layers of deceit to hide the actual objectives, that the key to all these sought changes is transformative learning. This requires an awareness of the viewpoints of others and how to change our own beliefs, values, and ethics and proceed with action even in the face of uncertainty. “Achieving such awareness” says the report “requires a fundamentally different approach to teaching and learning.”

There’s that obuchenie reference again where we began our trilogy. Essential to what is sought is always “the process of perspective transformation, enabling individuals to revise their beliefs and modify their behavior. We understand transformative learning not only as a rational or intellectual exercise but fundamentally consider personal experience as a critical enabler to trigger a transformation in the participant. Such learning is embedded in the philosophy of whole person learning: respecting a person in their mental, emotional, physical and spiritual dimensions, and recognizing the need to develop all these aspects of the individual in order to progress towards an increasingly integrated and therefore ‘whole’ person.”

Now let’s end this with some of the names in K-12 education for just that very aim that we have covered on this blog. Assagioli called it psychosynthesis. Carol Dweck is doing CCSSI professional development webinars calling it Growth Mindsets. ASCD has a Whole Child Initiative that it wishes to be an essential component of the Common Core implementation. Personal experience is also the project-based learning being pushed now or hands-on science. References to head, heart, hands, and soul are rampant in the rhetoric being used by Superintendents. We called it Triune Consciousness in our League of Innovative Schools research.

Transformative learning and perspective transformation are the real purpose of the K-12 reforms as well as college. It attaches to the same planned alteration of business and the economy as what the 50+20 report describes.

No wonder we have legislators travelling around states bragging about the collusion going on between politicians and education administrators to promote this vision. They would have probably been more careful if they knew we had the rest of the story.

 

Revealing the Ruse that Masks the Level of Global Coordination Around Education

December in Paris is not nearly as lovely as April in Paris, but the food remains delicious and the vistas from the Eiffel Tower are still worth the climb. But once again our invites were lost. Wouldn’t we all like to be consulted about “The World We Want” instead of merely picking up most of the bill and being told how we must change? But no, UNESCO and UNICEF held a Thematic Consultation meeting on December 5-6, 2013 of the North American States, Western Europe, and Turkey to lay out the Post-2015 Development Agenda and left us out of the room. Unfortunately, we and our children remained very much on the agenda.

In case you are thinking that “someone’s” participation as speakers or attendees is no reason to assume US or Canadian or UK ed policies are actually being determined abroad and most definitely no longer at the district or school levels, how would you feel about a link to the US DoED first ever “International Strategy”? Published in November 2012 just after someone got reelected and apparently we all shifted into a whole new level of planned implementation. http://www2.ed.gov/about/inits/ed/internationaled/international-strategy-2012-16.pdf And I scoured that document and I can see we agreed to work with the OECD as to what is meant by “internationally benchmarking” what is going on in our schools. We also signed on with international labor representing teachers’ unions globally, but there was nary a mention of the Common Core.

Just like it was merely a ruse to get US schools on board with the OECD’s Great Transition we have talked about (and mourned over the implications of). It also mentions though a great deal about Quality Learning and Equity and Global Competency and 21st Century Skills and working with Brazil to Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Discrimination and Promote Equality. It shows such openmindedness that an open socialist orientation in one country is no longer a barrier to a Joint Action Plan.  It’s also so nice to see the US commitment to participation in all those international assessments that were actually created to drive global convergence around the Great Transition/Time to redistribute based on Uncle Karl’s vision of the Future. All put into place through education changes driven by poorly understood international assessments. No, that’s not my opinion. I have a copy of Torsten Husen’s The Learning Society where he laid out what these assessments were actually evaluating, and what the intentions were. He helped create them all.

Based on that Brookings Institute link in the last post Husen would be so pleased that the non-Scandinavian countries are finally going along with his desire that “educational planning must be integrated with social and economic planning in general.” Honestly, from just the documents I have read in the last few weeks, I am not sure there is much now not being planned on our behalf in any of these areas. And I know for sure that in the age of the Whole Child Initiative and the social and emotional learning/Positive Behavior mandates that Husen’s desire to put “more stress on the emotional life of the children” is definitely part of the current gameplan. It’s been almost 40 years since Husen wrote that book (1974), but we had already noticed that the underlying vision never varies.

So what’s the current post-2015 UN/OECD Development Agenda the feds have committed us to? And all those pundits and politicians and foundation employees denying the extent of the federal overreach should look at this line from “Succeeding Globally Through International Education and Engagement” (my bolding):

“The Department will also examine how the learning can be applied in the United States and at what level (national, state, district or school).”

Somehow it’s beginning to feel like we have federal and international bureaucrats looking at our suburbs and schools, public and private, and our students and rubbing their hands together gleefully muttering “Mine, Mine, All Mine. For Years At a Time.” So what do these schemers have in mind in the post-2015 vision for us all? Well, that Paris meeting said “achieving sustainable development requires a change in the way people think and act, and this is where education has a crucial role to play.” Especially now that the US Secretary of Education has declared we are all in with the international agenda. We all are to get the “opportunity to acquire the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values necessary to cope with existing and emerging challenges and shape resilient and sustainable societies.”

Oh I do hope we are not first on the list for some reeducation to drop our attachment to the Unitary Self as john a powell disdainfully called it. Then there was also the thematic discussion on Global Citizenship Education (which apparently will not be celebrating its foundations every 4th of July).  GCE “aims to empower learners to engage and assume active roles both locally and globally to face and resolve global challenges and ultimately to become proactive contributors to a more just, peaceful, tolerant, inclusive and secure and sustainable world.” With unicorn rides every other Friday afternoon. Please note that “youth is a particularly important target group” for GCE. Target group? Could we get more of an admission of propagandist intent via the schools and universities?

Then we also have “Quality of Education and Learning Outcomes.” Remember outcomes always has to do with behavioral or personality changes in the student, and it should greatly trouble us that the UN is deeply interested in this regard in “the new digital platforms on which teaching and learning are taking place and through which knowledge, skills and values are developed, transmitted, validated, and applied by young people.” And we parents and taxpayers may not be able to see what will be assaulting our students and what virtual worlds they are to be embedded in for much of their school time, but apparently UN personnel may have better luck. Checking out the potential for the unfiltered indoctrination of politically desired new values, attitudes, and beliefs thought to be amenable to global transformation. We would be worried if any of these entities had expressed intentions about wanting radical change. Oh, wait. Ooops.

Actually I suppose we should be grateful that the ruse surrounding the Common Core in the US as an excuse to cover up the sought radical changes in student perceptions about the world and their future has increasingly come out into the open. The links clearly go far beyond the accreditation agencies’ loyalties now and where Linda Darling-Hammond is jetting off to speak at. I want to finish this post with a British Professor who reaches out to all sorts of names and entities to describe the extent of the active coordination throughout the Anglosphere. His name is Guy Claxton and this was the 2006 Keynote Address to the British Educational Association’s Annual Conference. Called “Expanding the Capacity to Learn: A New End for Education?” the speech gives us the answer of why the US in February 2013 added Dispositions to the list of what it would mean to be College, Career, and Citizenship Ready.

Claxton believes it “is education’s most basic job to expand all young people’s emotional and intellectual resources to cope with life.” And yes that was his order of emphasis and like the UN, he wants everyone able to “cope” with the 21st century. Being left out is the 21st Century going through The Great Transition being launched by bureaucrats, politicians, and professors without our knowledge and consent. No wonder there is such concern for how we will cope. Claxton wants us to be “able to stay calm, focused and engaged when we don’t know what to do” which he believes will be augmented through new “emotional and personal attitudes, beliefs and tolerances” that are to become new habits of mind and character traits. Somehow we will all be better prepared for what is intended for us if we have a “tolerance for hazy or non-articulate ways of knowing.”

So we will do better under these officially hoped for scenarios if we have a Muddled Mind? Well, yes, apparently “those who have no tolerance for fogginess–who have been trained to think that confusion is a sign of stupidity, for instance–have therefore reduced their capacity to learn.” Claxton wants to reverse “any acquired intolerance for confusion.” And he calls all this developing dispositions in italics for emphasis just like that. And dispositions are so important because they “refine our sense of when it is appropriate to use a particular ability.” Then Claxton has this in parentheses– “to become more ready.”

So I think all the references to College Ready, Citizenship Ready, Standards for Career Readiness, etc. as the preferred euphemisms for the Common Core are not about getting students ready for the world and those institutions as they currently exist. All the references to Standards of Readiness seem to be getting at whether the student has developed a willingness to act and to “persist in the face of difficulty.” Let’s call it Grit and Perseverance for short. At least the new Principals and District Supers are being told their credentials are issued to enable them to be Social Change Agents. We are apparently about to embark on the creation of a huge corps of social change agents who are not being told what is being sought. Who ARE being targeted on the basis of what remains malleable to change. Who are being trained to act despite confusion and to keep at it whatever the immediate consequences.

We are going to come back to this next time as I have the new international Quality frameworks and they leave no doubt about the extent that it is student behavior being targeted.

We know why now. And how. We need to examine the methods next.

New Assessments Drive New Minds Primed for the Progressive Composition of the Good Common World

To the extent education reforms going on globally in K-12 and higher ed are even on people’s radar, most observers still believe the dispute is over how to best transmit knowledge. And who gets to decide the type of knowledge that is needed. It is hugely convenient for the advocates of wholesale social, economic, and political transformation in the 21st century that we all continue to misapprehend the nature of the actual debate and the tools being used to drive the desired individual and cultural changes. To help us all bridge the gap between what we expect from schools and higher ed and what these reforms intend to actually do to our children and us, I am going to use quotes from 3 people whose work is at the center of the current transformation globally.

Quoting what they say the political purpose of their work is because it still attaches even if neither we nor the Principal or the legislators or the Governor are aware of those actual purposes. Or what PISA is really measuring. Farthest back in time is from a book by the chief architect of the communitarianism component, Amitai Etzioni. Back in 1983 he wrote:

“schools must first and foremost graduate individuals who can function on their own while relating constructively to one another (mutuality) and to their community (civility). Such individuals, properly ‘put together’ from a psychosocial viewpoint, will have the most important characteristics workplaces require. Moreover, I recognize that schools need to educate for other values than work, such as culture and citizenship.”

That would be the purpose that now gets hidden under the euphemism “College and Career Ready.” And the ‘culture’ and ‘citizenship’ students are being groomed for is grounded in the transformative vision of the future to prime the students to take action to help bring the new world into being. The great advantage of deemphasizing textbooks and lectures and mandating virtual reality gaming as assessment or using group collaboration around the ambiguous real-world grounded “wicked decision problems” from the last post is we are creating young people who will have the right to vote with virtually no capacity to anticipate even the likely consequences of the transformative actions being taken. The insider phrase for this new emphasis of “skilled in the fundamental pragmatics of life” gets omitted from the public sales pitch as too accurate to be acceptable.

Let there be no impediment to future action and let the actions be grounded in the cultivated feelings and values and attitudes that live in the unconscious regions of the self could easily be the new motto of global ed reforms. Let’s move on to Chicago Professor Martha Nussbaum who we first met here. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/isnt-it-political-sabotage-to-use-education-to-eliminate-the-assumption-that-students-are-individuals/ Her work on capability as a human right has increasingly caught the OECD’s and the UN’s attention as the appropriate theoretical vehicle to push for a public sector dominant society and a new kind of welfare state for the 21st century. Apparently we are not supposed to notice the marked resemblance of capability theory to Uncle Karl’s human development theory of the future.

Proponents of stealth transformation via education better hope then that no one reads this passage in Nussbaum’s 2011 book:

“ponder what is implicit in human dignity and a life in accordance with it…Marx’s vivid descriptions of forms of labor that allow continued life, but not a fully human life, resonate the world over. The notion of life in accordance with human dignity is one of the most fertile ideas used in worldwide constitutional jurisprudence.” Ahh, tenured academia–where the term Marx is actually not a pejorative insult but a still revered architect of future ways of organizing life and a society. Later, Nussbaum kindly tells us why it is so important now to have a Whole Child, social focus that grounds all thought in emotion and then uses new assessments to both drive and measure how schools are doing in driving such “growth.” It is “how we might cultivate the helpful sentiments in a socially propitious way.” Those would be the sentiments that will hopefully ground the actions for transformative change with again little ability to recognize likely disasters that would be apparent to anyone with a solid knowledge of history.

Nussbaum goes on in a passage that also primes the vision of Bruno Latour, who we meet next. In the future, political power is deemed to drive all. This is a little long but too revealing not to use:

“politicians can build a public culture that puts altruism and the relief of misery at it core. …An account of the emotions of citizens in a decent society is urgently needed.

This task involves thinking about the family, about social norms, about schools, and about the ways in which political institutions create incentives. It also requires conceptual thought about the emotions, how they arise and unfold, what their structure is, and how they interact with one another.”

In other words, the survey Nussbaum says is needed is precisely what the White House-pushed League of Innovative Schools and the EdLeader21 suburban US school districts have now agreed to research and gather data on. Not to mention all the data being thrown off by the Executive Order mandating Positive School Climates or requiring Positive Behavioral programs for all students under an indefensible reading of federal disabilities law or via adaptive software programs used in the digital learning juggernaut. You’d almost think Professor Nussbaum knew people in DC who could help drive her theories along.

Now Bruno Latour is a name familiar to me because of his role in the ‘science wars’ of the 90s. Plus he is a hugely popular choice as a campus speaker now. A French sociologist. So when I saw a 2004 book of his cited–Politics of Nature: How to Bring the Sciences into Democracy–that Harvard published, I thought we could gain more insights. Confirmation that what is being billed now as ‘innovation’ is really a push for sociological experimentation. A truly shocking book for Harvard to have embraced and for the French government to have originally funded. Reading that the “social sciences would finally become scientific if they agreed ‘to treat humans as things” made me feel like I had slipped into a Hollywood script for a science fiction mini-series. No such luck though. These are real and current aspirations we are dealing with.

The constant references I have located now to new kinds of minds and Growth Mindsets to be psychologically healthy and verbatim references to encouraging ‘dialectical thinking” (shouldn’t computer programs come with a search function that pipes up “do you REALLY want to use that word?”) should be seen through Latour’s blueprint of how we are to now be moving towards the “progressive composition of the good common world.” Not to freak you out, although I did spend the better part of yesterday with my mind racing and hands trembling, but Latour really does talk in terms of “once the collective has been assembled.” He writes of no more distinction between “interests’ and ‘politics’ or ‘nature’ and ‘politics.’ Instead, there is just political power that engages in a ‘groping process’ to ‘deal with matters of human concern.’ These new associations will unabashedly experiment with new ways of living and organizing society using 3 powers: “the power to take into account,” the “power to put in order,” and the “power to follow up.”

Roughly translated that seems to be public officials deciding what to do, then how to do it, and then examining how they did and considering what to do next. All as if public dollars will always be there for the asking to pay for such social transformations even though everything that has ever produced economic wealth is being squelched to get the mindsets that will go along. Justifying statism in the name of equality and justice is another way of looking at this genuine aspiration. That gets linked to the Common Core and other global ed reforms because they are all seeking precisely the same kinds of minds and values that Latour believes are needed and the OECD now counts as Competencies and government officials are calling “higher order thinking skills’ created by “rigor” in the classroom.

Latour actually believes like John Dewey that such a concentration of political power and binding all citizens to the results of majority will (that is in turn cultivated by what is to go on in schools and universities) need not lead to totalitarinism. He really says that Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union simply had the wrong kind of politics and vision injected into their collective decision-making. I am thinking that tenure and being able to live at public expense or courtesy of untaxed endowments held by universities and charitable foundations has seriously left way too many influential people who already have utterly no conception of likely consequences.

Too much theory and not enough reality apparently is possible now on many a campus, think-tank, foundation, or government agency and it shows thoroughly in what is being pushed on all of us.

Who pay the bills and who are to have nowhere to turn if these visions continue to advance via education and cultural transformation.

Reality and Consequences do not care. If the likely consequences appear to be a nightmare, remember the unforeseeable ones we will also encounter.

Instead of cultivating new conceptual lenses and minds for students, we need to impose reality checks on a whole lot of adult professors and bureaucrats and politicians.

In time.

 

 

Dialectical Integration of the Person as a Totality: How Can That Make Anyone Competitive Internationally?

What do you mean no one describes the goal in that language in their powerpoint and it’s rude of me to interject such a graphic description into the public debate? Should it count if the clear trail from what is being pushed in the name of making countries or states internationally competitive in the 21st century global economy tracks back to that kind of explicit language? I think it should too even if the 1990 book I took that language from was intentionally withdrawn from the library shelves at Colorado College precisely to prevent anyone from doing just what I did. Recognizing what the editor had been up to in the last 10 years in his work for the OECD and ordering the previously unknown book when a cite to it cropped up in the footnotes on the psychological, Social Brain Project, focus. Truly as much as I love to read, some descriptions that make it to print need to be buried deep or burned if you want to keep the aim and mystery of “college and career ready for all” and everyone should try to excel on international assessments like PISA.

Otherwise a pesky writer might chase the vision back to lots of references about how to get social systems to evolve to new kinds of mindsets that would no longer see the Soviet Union as the ‘other’ and risk nuclear annihilation. What is it about psychologists and educators who keep insisting we must have empathy towards cultures where the facts actually show plenty of leaders would like to eliminate us to put it mildly if they could. USSR in 1990 and the Alliance of Civilizations in 2013. Dialectical Integration of the Person in 1990 and a Growth Mindset and systems thinking and metacognition and Kegan’s self-authoring, 4th stage, in 2013. Now I think we have had to wind our way through too much psychobabble in recent posts precisely so we could appreciate the sought emphasis coming to schools, classrooms, and maybe your next corporate retreat soon.

I want to talk about how all this rhetoric about being “high performing” and “internationally competitive” and ensuring “economic prosperity” is forcing us to adopt that very psychosynthesized, dialectically integrated, inner core driven by love for all vision accidentally. Because no one seems to bother to look into the actual definitions of terms or the nature of these international assessments. Busy, famous people who hopefully mean well with all their advocacy are pushing ideas that are not actually aimed where these professors and politicians and business executives claim they want us to go.

Now a Swede by the name of Torsten Husen laid out the function of these “tests’ in driving a global socialist, welfare state vision decades ago in his 1974 book The Learning Society and then later in 1986 in The Learning Society Revisited. Not really a dispute over that one.

Likewise the true nature of PISA and the OECD term Competencies and the intentions were well-laid out in February 2002 at the Second DeSeCo Symposium in Geneva, Switzerland. Which again we were not invited to. We could have brought our ski boots and a cute jacket and drank brandies by a fireplace with a view but no. DeSeCo by the way is an abbreviation for Definition and Selection of Key Competencies but how do we, I mean the OECD officials, get to decide what will be key? Well, we could have Robert Kegan come be the keynoter of the symposium. That’s the same person we encountered in the last post and previously when the Hewlett Foundation hired him and Peter Senge to make sure the Common Core vision in the US would align with Hewlett’s deep learning emphasis. And deep learning says the OECD as of 2010 means the same as its term “adaptive competence.” It all fits together like a designed blueprint, huh, once we focus on the actual implementation instead of the PR powerpoints?

So Kegan focused on “Competencies as Working Epistemologies: Ways We Want Adults to Know.” Now he left out the part about “so they will be suitably malleable in our evolving new social systems and take action to achieve what we wish” but that is the gist of it. If you remember genuine disciplinary knowledge and a well-practiced logical mind leads to overintellectualization. And that proves to be an obstacle to the desired consciousness that never forgets it is part of an interdependent collective. Seeking harmony with all others and nature…

So that’s the vision the OECD is chasing with PISA and it’s also the vision the RSA is pushing in its Social Brain Project so that students will be ready for what the OECD regards as a well-functioning 21st century society. Which is still about a public-sector administered subjective well-being society of equity and justice…

Oh quit laughing. Who says it will end poorly this time? We can dream, can’t we? As you can see there’s a reason everyone uses vague illusory phrases and misleading definitions to obscure the real vision. A book came out last week called Endangering Prosperity: A Global View of the American School published by the Brookings Institute with Larry Summers writing the Foreword. Mr Soon-to-Be-Head at the Federal Reserve Maybe. It laid out the need to do well on PISA and other international assessments as a means of “guaranteeing a vibrant economic future.” Poppycock! That’s not what is being measured and chasing after that type of excellence virtually ensures no continuation of economic prosperity.

I mentioned the Brookings angle because chasing after getting good at dialectical thinking and the integration of feeling into thought and new values as PISA actually pushes and monitors fits in perfectly to Brookings’ Metropolitanism, Regional Equity, Let the Public sector and Private sector work in partnership crony economic vision that we have already encountered. Like most things having to do with ed reforms these days the truth is behind the curtain and under the sofa but it IS there. And it is all linked. And surprisingly consistent across the decades once you see the vision of transformative change.

But a means for economic prosperity? No. I went back to another 1990 book so I could explain what really causes the kind of economic success and technological progress that is being used as the misleading sales pitch for all this psychological, change-the-student and society crap. Written by an economic historian, Joel Mokyr, The Lever of Riches: Technological Creativity and Economic Progress lays out the necessary ingredients. And unfortunately for all of us, they are precisely what is being shut down by these ed reforms.

Mokyr points out that what always stops technological progress in its tracks is “social forces that for one reason or another tried to preserve the status quo.” Now the benefits of ed reform and especially the digital literacy focus involve concentrated benefits to a relatively few companies and consultants and widely dispersed costs. Many of those are not even financial but the invisible shift to more malleable mindsets and personalities. Benefits to a few and dispersed, almost unseen costs, are a classic case of when the winners will try to lobby politicians and regulators to “help them out a bit.” And that’s apart from the paranoia that putting Worldcom and DEC on the list of former leading companies will do to surviving tech companies. Can’t imagine being dropped from the Dow Industrial Average will slow down HP’s push into ed in the least. Probably will become part of the turnaround plans. That’s how the cronyism instinct works once the public sector controls so much of who gets what.

Progress requires just the kind of willingness to manipulate the physical environment and nature that the ecologists are trying to shut down. The emphasis on holism just does not fit with the reality from history that “Teasing these secrets out of [nature] and then manipulating them for material benefit is the essence of any technological breakthrough.” Moreover, “technological change involves an attack by an individual on a constraint that everyone else takes as a given.” Now how will that happen in a society trying to wipe out the very legitimacy of individualism? Let’s run through the conditions required to be technologically creative and thus economically prosperous and let’s decide what is left standing after these ed reforms:

“First, there has to be a cadre of ingenious and resourceful innovators who are both willing and able to challenge their physical environment for their own improvement. ..Second, economic and social institutions have to encourage potential innovators by presenting them with the right incentive structure. In part such incentives are economic; technological creativity is more likely if an innovator can expect to become rich…Third, innovation requires diversity and tolerance [of ideas!! not skin color or gender]. In every society, there are stabilizing forces that protect the status quo… Technological creativity needs to overcome these forces.”

So the parts of the economy and educational institutions that do promote genuine technological creativity are becoming captive to the public sector and businesses wanting to make sure they don’t become the next defunct or greatly diminished company.

And all those slogans about innovation and entrepreneurship turn out to be about new social systems or different ways of organizing an economy or new kinds of human nature.

In other words, if we are to have ANY chance of preserving mass prosperity and technological progress going forward, we have got to keep our eye on the real implementation.

Verify everything from now on when it comes to education.

 

Developing Adequate Personalities and Psychosynthesis: An Odd Way to Define College & Career Ready

Sometimes I think I am suspected of shopping for gruesomely grabbing quotes to try to crystallize the extent to which the new focus of education is to be at a psychological level. I wish. These well-paid, frequently tenured or pensioned-for-life clowns really do write and talk about accessing the unconscious so that future actions will be guided as if by auto-pilot. (Search out RSA Social Brain Centre & Robert Kegan if and only if you have an adult beverage handy. A sense of humor and irony will serve you well too.) I can in fact take this all forward in multiple places but first let’s go back and thoroughly check out the enduring vision. And remember we went back to look at psychiatrist Roberto Assagioli’s 1965 Psychosynthesis vision of education used interchangeably with psychotherapy as a means of creating a desired self-identity NOT because I was bored and looking for something tantalizing to read.

The League of Innovative Schools planned research involves conation and personal motivations as does the OECD’s current Subjective Well-being push. Looking into that pulled up 4 giants: Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers, Mihaly Csiksentmihalyi, and a Roberto Assagioli. Who I had never heard of. That book title was a grabber. Even more troubling was seeing the book had been brought back into print for use in 2002, 2008, and 2012. If I was role playing Sherlock Holmes we would call that a keen indicator of current interest.

As I talk in this post about targeting personal perception, if the names Yrjo Engestrom (Finland) and Evald Ilyenkov (Soviet) and the Enduring Understandings and Understandings of Consequence and the C3 Social Studies Framework component to the Common Core classroom vision are not ringing a bell or if you are new to the blog, they all have tags. They are all examples of how crucial getting at the personal perceptual level is if you have the pursuit of government power and utopian transformation of the future as a goal. Let’s go back to 1962 and a vision of dealing with the conflicts and competing ideologies involved in the Cold War globally via education. Here’s Perceiving, Behaving, Becoming:A New Focus again (my bolding):

  “The new situations and new problems we face today and which we cannot predict tomorrow call for new ways of seeing and dealing with the world. Subject matter is too often used as a way of teaching people to look backward, to recite past performances, instead of as a medium for preparing students for future developments. Content then becomes sterile, even negative, if it inhibits new leads and new solutions. Education must deal with subject matter, not as an end in itself, but as a means of helping children to achieve the intelligent imagination and creativity necessary to find adequate answers to the world’s increasingly complex problems.”

I am going to interrupt the quoting for a dictionary alert to add to your Orwellian Decoding Glossary of Education terms. That’s right. It is the ubiquitous but vague term of 21st Century schools–’learning to learn.’ Now if the 1962 vision had gone as planned and for sure in the new Positive School Climate (PSC) classrooms of 2013 the “exciting experience of exploring and discovering meaning is the central activity.” We need a PSC of course because ALL students need to feel an ‘atmosphere’ that is ‘fundamentally accepting’ so they will NOT keep their perceptions safely tucked inside themselves. They will share with their fellow comrades, I mean students, so they can all explore for meaning. That way those personal perceptions can be examined and changed to create new ways of looking at the world.

That’s right ‘if’ the new “objective of instruction becomes that of perception building, students may become aware of, or sensitive to, the importance of meaning…They learn how perceptions or meanings are broadened or changed and how they are built. They learn how to learn.

In 2013 learning how to learn gets billed frequently as self-authoring–Robert Kegan’s 4th stage of consciousness, or Carol Dweck’s Growth Mindset. It is alive and well and coming to a K-12 or college classroom or workplace retreat near you soon. The global bureaucrats and politicians and Big Business are intensely determined that this time we will get a paradigm shift, starting at the unconscious mental level. And it all really does track back to what Maslow and Rogers sought for their humanistic psychology that led to a strikingly Marxian human development vision. Today HP runs around most often calling itself Transpersonal Psychology. As always, new names for enduring transformative ideas anytime notoriety intrudes.

So one more time here’s the vision that is viewed as aiding transformative political, social, and economic change, coming in invisibly via stealth:

“It is the unsolved problem rather than the factual question and answer that encourages freedom of thought and children’s respect for their own mental processes. It can help them to change concepts in light of new evidence and to build a sense of personal responsibility for increasing knowledge and solving problems.”

That’s solving problems by creativity and imagination and feelings unimpeded by a body of knowledge about previous consequences of a similar set of facts. It may be a grand way to encourage attempts to model and redesign societies and economies but the consequences will come from reality. Not the perceptions that launched the attempts to transform. But hey, I am a history major and I just don’t see how peace in our time is going to flow from stressing “emotional as well as intellectual experiencing. Learning about people involves an empathy, a feeling with them, an acceptance of differences, and an appreciation of variability in values and behavior.” That is the kind of nonsense that forgets that there really are bullies in the world who can only be held in check from fear of power and likely retaliation. It also forgets that not all cultures are compatible or willing to co-exist peacefully. It is all a prescription to ignorantly and in good faith lay down and await your fate. No wonder history now is only about reinterpreting the present.

The ‘adequate person’ by the way reminded me greatly of the current drive that students only need to be ‘competent,’ not well informed. The adequate person in 1962 being prepped for social change was to have “a field of perceptions, rich and extensive enough to provide understanding of the events in which he is enmeshed and available when he needs them.”

Available for what? Glad you asked. So the individual “will act on his information when the appropriate time and place occur.” And this kind of hoped for behavioral pre-programming was before Big Data and adaptive computer software and the planned gaming emphasis. Same desire now but much better and effective tools.

What was so special about the 1962 new focus that has guided education as the real pursuit going forward was the “recognition of the part played by perception and the emphasis placed upon perception at the immediate moment and in the life and behavior of the individual. The job of the school is to work with present perceptions, with feelings, attitudes and ideas of learners so that they grow in the direction of greater adequacy.”

That’s adequate for the future plans of transformation. Then and now and at all times in between. Psychosynthesis‘s publication in 1965 gave another tool in targeting the psychological and conation. Assagioli regarded a search for self-identity as the new purpose of education. Of course since he was a psychiatrist, he used the techniques of psychotherapy. Now we just call the same techniques brain-based learning theories or epistemological reflection and launch them on students in return for tax dollars and tuition payments in the case of private schools and colleges and universities.

I used the term ubiquitous before and these theories are everywhere now. And not well understood. The typical doctorate program credentialing a Principal or Super doesn’t go through this as I have. It might impact the sought role as a Social Change Agent. Once again we parents, taxpayers, and students are going to be called on to understand the real drivers in education better than the credentialed professorate and the public sector and their consultants. All of whom we are paying handsomely.

I will close with a mention of a potential tragedy that happened locally last week when a middle schooler took a loaded gun to school. Parents have been concerned with how the incident was handled and what info was provided and the lack of interest in any public airing of what happened. School districts can deal with the world as it is or they can put their energy into switching to this Maslow inspired humanist psychological vision of changing the student at the level of their inner core.

But reality does intrude. I suspect another tragedy that goes all the way through is only a matter of time because the focus of the administrators at all levels is on psychological innovations to gain social transformations. While hiding from the public that this is what is up.

And duplicity takes even more energy and is a distraction from the realities all these students bring to school.

Something to keep in mind.

Laundering Notorious Ideas in Degree Programs to Gain Radical Social and Political Change

Can you imagine if your new District Super or a School Principal or the head of your state’s Workforce Development Panel announced that they were basing their mandates for the classroom on psychotherapy techniques developed at the Tavistock Institute?  Insights from a man best known for his work “stemming from his psychoanalysis of patients in psychotic states.” Now I know Psychanalysis is a change of pace from all those theories and philosophies pretending to be a better way to teach or learn while leaving out their ancestry in the Soviet Union or 19th Century Germany or aspirations of how to gain a Model for a new collectivist World Order as our last post openly touted.

Well kind of openly. It was open in the book and conferences. By the time these ideas make it to coursework for a Masters in Public Policy or a Doctorate in Educational Leadership or Curriculum or School Improvement, we might get more euphemisms. Laundering Ideas to Gain Committed Implementation with Fidelity relies on a large helping of Ignorance with those Degrees.

But maybe the Degree Holders should know something is wrong. I first encountered the name Wilfred Bion in a Masters paper for the Humphrey Institute for Public Affairs called “Eleven Distinctions” and written by a Bryan F Lindsley. Now I am not picking on Bryan as his paper popped up as I was researching innovation and my idea that it is actually being touted so much now to create the conditions to make it much less likely in the future. But since 2009 Bryan has been the Executive Director of the Minnesota Governor’s Workforce Development Council. So his ideas on what constitutes thinking and the purpose of education are relevant and Common Core related education reforms have been a big part of his job.

His paper contemplated creating Learning Work Communities which would go hand in hand with the high school reform model we are quietly seeing in the states. Plus it fits with what we saw being pushed in the Twin Cities in their Living Cities and Regional Equity involvement. Not to mention that Minnesota is where community organizing visionary Harry Boyte lives and works with his aspirations that the US become a “cooperative commonwealth” in the 21st Century. And Minnesota was where the Asia Society went recently to trumpet Global Learning and a Metropolitan Business Plan centered on the new economy. You know the one centered around Green Energy and Sustainable Planned Development involving public and private groups?

So Lindsley is quite influential in a state interested in being cutting edge on shifting to a planned Regional Economy centered on Sustainable Development. And his mentors in his Masters program have been quite busy in getting him to focus on how students supposedly Learn How to Think so they can develop self-efficacy (20 points to the first reader who thinks of psychologist Albert Bandura or the California 2010 Equity Frameworks) and an ability to overcome frustration (another 20 points to remembering Carol Dweck and Fostering Growth Mindsets instead of Fixed Ones).

I am joking, kind of, because Lindsley actually did not mention either Bandura or Dweck but he used their ideas that we have discussed previously. Those ideas have a history and a purpose that come with them even if the Degree Holder like your School Principal or Learning Community Assistant Super are ignorant of it. Lindsley then went on to say:

“In an influential essay entitled “A Theory of Thinking,” pioneering psychoanalyst W.R. Bion examined how ‘inability to tolerate frustration can obstruct the development of thought and a capacity to think.’ By learning to control frustration, learners are able to solve complex problems by determining the causal forces in play [how precisely? By role playing Isaac Newton?] and then determining ways to influence these forces through action. For Bion, this is the entire purpose of thinking. It is about exercising competency when confronted with real-world changing conditions.”

Now I found that passage to be alarming at so many levels I just had to find out who Bion was. You can imagine my horror upon finding the info in my lead-in or Bion’s involvement with the National Training Laboratories in Bethel, Maine. But let’s face it, most Graduate students presented with such a passage would not have investigated further. It would simply be taken as a given theory of the new breakthroughs in Learning or the Social Development Model. Something to be foisted on schools and teachers regardless of outcries.

Genuine outcries since these are actually theories of the Mind developed from working with deeply troubled patients. Bion created these theories to go after the unconscious part of the Mind and change that. “Unconscious functioning” was how he described it. Decreeing an organized assault on it should not be in anyone’s job description outside of a well-advertised psychiatric clinic.

But being a stickler for such details is no way to get mass social change and increasingly Education Doctorates are being upfront that credentialing Social Change Agents is their stated mission. They just leave out the details of the ancestry of the theories and models. Which means we have a collision course going on right now as the definition of an Effective Principal becomes about creating coercive behavioral Learning Communities. When Collaboration is touted as one of the 4Cs of 21st Century Skills. When Randi Weingarten, President of the AFT teachers union wants to postpone Common Core assessments for a year to make sure they are measuring the desired objectives of Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Teamwork.

Because it turns out that there is a surge of interest now in Bion all over the world because of his 1961 book Experiences in Groups, based on his research between 1943 and 1952, and the desire to incorporate his theories into creating better group dynamics in schools and reorganized workplaces.  No mention of the ancestry of this “lens for understanding the dynamics of groups and organizations” or Bion’s “fascination with the dark undercurrents of human interaction” as a 2010 Working Group paper in the UK described it. But not for our benefit as parents or taxpayers. Nor will there be any warning to us or the Credentialed Mandaters of the acknowledged “danger of attempting to work ‘below the surface’ in this way”.

The Powers-that-Be who want radical social change ASAP have decreed that Bion’s research on creating a “Work-Group Mentality” will be useful in fostering their New World and revised Human Nature. So we get deliberate targeting in the classroom of each student’s “capacity to contain emotional tensions, conscious and unconscious.” Apparently the desired emotions and ways of thinking are easier if the group has a purpose. You might want to keep that in mind every time you hear the words “our vision” and “our mission” in connection with education and schools.

So the development of a Work-Group Mentality, WGM, is said to constitute Student Growth. Which not so coincidentally is now to be the measure of TEACHER Effectiveness. And WGM is defined as a willingness to take action in the real world coupled with an engagement with the “psychic reality of group life.”

That psychic reality is quite simply about making school address the “tension between shared intention and individual differences.” The Learning becomes a matter of developing “good interpersonal chemistry” and a recognition that any “intellectual understanding” a student has is “mobilized not for personal advantage or pleasure but ‘in the service of the mission.” The utopian vision behind all these group projects and mentions of Teamwork and Collaboration, that are essential components of Common Core Comes to the Actual Classroom, is the idea that:

“By valuing each other’s areas of expertise, for example, trusting each other and speaking frankly to one another, new ways of thinking, relating and acting together can emerge.”

So Bion’s theories fit in perfectly well with the collectivist vision of a planned economy and society we keep encountering as part of all these education reforms. And there’s a reason. It comes from the UN’s aspirations of global Education for Sustainable Development–that Decade Long Program running quietly from 2006 to 2015. But that toxic political, economic, and social vision gets omitted in most discussions of the Common Core except on this blog.

Also omitted is the truly shocking ancestry of all the psychological theories and political philosophies designed to change values, attitudes, and beliefs. To redirect and channel the very ability to think at all. Plus the focus on the “emotional life” of the group, with all this being gathered and kept as data on Growth, is not being talked about either.

So it is now known to us but not known to most Edudoctorate holders or Workforce Development Directors being paid with your tax dollars to force implementation in every K-12 classroom.

Now what do we do?