Asserting Political Will to Transform the Nature Of Education to Create a New Kind of Electorate

That title might describe the natural implications of the language in the Every Child Achieves Act or the Common Core sponsor CCSSO announcing in February 2014 that the purpose of the Common Core was to create desired ‘Dispositions’ in ‘Citizens,’ but unfortunately that quote comes from the purpose of the dialectical thinking we met in the last post. It’s also the purpose of what the Common Core calls Deeper Learning, ECCA calls ‘higher order thinking,’ and what 21st Century Skills calls Critical Thinking. Can we all say “thoroughly permeates the actual implementation” together in unison? Let’s go back to what Richard Paul wrote back in 1993 in the Introduction to his Critical Thinking book:

“Harnessing social and economic forces to serve the public good and the good of the biosphere…requires mass publics around the world skilled in cooperative, fairminded, critical discourse…it is essential that we foster a new conception of self-identity, both individually and collectively…[we must reconceptualize the nature of teaching and learning so that people learn] something quite new to us: to identify not with the content of our beliefs, but with the integrity of the process by which we arrived at them.”

All those references we keep encountering on having a Growth Mindset instead of a Fixed One make far more sense if education now insists that “we must come to define ourselves, and actually respond in everyday contexts, as people who reason their way into, and can be reasoned out of, beliefs.” Must be a malleable citizen in other words and not like those Bakers in Oregon who think they can decide who to bake a wedding cake for. Governments now get to decide what are unacceptable beliefs and practices. At least they are adults being told what they can and cannot do and believe and are being told openly. How much worse is it when the unacceptable beliefs involve our children and what they brought from our homes? How much more hidden is it when the unacceptable beliefs and values get taken out via formative assessment that a parent never sees or has anyone explain accurately?

Paul was quite honest (and fond of emphasizing with italics) that the required Critical Thinking involves an obligation for students to “have to empathize with and reason within points of view toward which we are hostile. To achieve this end, we must persevere [with Grit?] over an extended period of time, for it takes time and significant effort to learn how to empathically enter a point of view against which we are biased…We must recognize an intellectual responsibility to be fair to views we oppose. We must feel obliged to hear them in their strongest form to ensure that we do not condemn them out of ignorance or bias.”

In case anyone fails to appreciate why it is so revolutionary for the federal government to require all schools in every state to assess all students at least annually for (page 36 of ECAA) “higher-order thinking skills and understanding,” they are looking for whether the student has learned to think as Paul laid out. Is the student fixed in how they view or interpret the world or open to change? What concepts, strategies or ideas do they use in untaught situations where there is no single correct answer? Every group pushing for radical social change wants student assessments to be tied to HOTS because they, and with this post we do too, know that “the character of our mind is one with our moral character. How we think determines how we behave and how we behave determines who we are and who we will become.” [Paul again]

Who we are becoming is the whole point now of K-12 education as reenvisioned because as Paul explained (quoting in turn economist Robert Heilbroner):  “…the problems of capitalist disorder–too many to recite, too complex in their origins to take up one at a time…arise from the workings of the system….The problems must be addressed by the assertion of political will…the undesired dynamics of the economic sphere must be contained, redressed, or redirected by the only agency capable of asserting a counter-force to that of the economic sphere. It is the government.” Paul went on to describe “How are we to cultivate the new kind of electorate?” That cultivation became the focus of the Critical Thinking book.

Now the very same groups like The Leadership Conference head quoted here in describing the actual new purpose of a new kind of accountability in education http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/not-going-to-let-the-us-constitution-stop-us-from-using-schools-to-enshrine-global-social-justice-and-human-rights/ are enthusiastic about the language of ECAA because it forces annual testing of HOTS. Wade Henderson also participated this week in the rollout of this plan http://www.goodjobsforall.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/PFA-GJFA-Launch-Report.pdf calling for Government to massively intervene in the economy to ensure a reduction in inequality and Good, living wage jobs for all. Basically Heilbroner’s vision and Uncle Karl’s updated to 2015. The report also blames current wage stagnation and the weak economy on too little government intervention in the economy.

That kind of economy run by political will calls for a new kind of mind, values, and behaviors, which is precisely what the real implementation is designed to deliver. In my book I cover the first attempt to deliver this desired new mindset via K-12 education in the 60s. One of the things I have learned since the book came out is the widespread anger, especially among intellectuals, that existed in the 1950s and 60s over the American economy and society many of us grew up cherishing. Paul’s vision of Critical Thinking and a new philosophy of education that would deliver the new kind of needed citizen frequently cited a Professor Israel Scheffler. His essay on the New Activism presented in 1970 revealed that a didactic, traditional subject matter, transmission of knowledge approach to education was and still is viewed as immoral and amounted to “Fiddling while Rome burns.”

Transmission of subject-knowledge via lecture or textbook, for example, is held to reenforce the world as it currently exists. Perhaps the student feels no need to explore alternative viewpoints he knows he abhors because he is aware with facts of precisely why. No, K-12 education and ‘Critical’ or ‘Philosophical’ Thinking is designed to create mindsets ready to accept and adopt the “imperative task of altering an utterly evil status quo.” Education as traditionally envisioned and then practiced was “compliant with evil–an obstacle to the revolutionary transformation of society.” School “must transform itself into an agency of radical social change.” Moreover, education must develop people who are aware and feel responsibility for “the suffering of other human beings whose pain he might, through his efforts, alleviate.”

In a follow-up 1971 essay called “Philosophy and the Curriculum” Scheffler insisted that traditional subjects treat education as if it were about “fixed points.” Well, that obviously would be in the way of radical social change. In a passage that sure does presage all the transdisciplinary, Whole Child, conceptual lenses, and Charles Fadel’s Redesign of Curriculum work for the OECD and UNESCO, Scheffler noted:

“The educator needs to consider the possibility of new classifications and interrelations among the subjects not only for educational but also for general intellectual purposes. He must, further, devote his attention to aspects of human development that are too elusive or too central to be encompassed within the framework of subjects; for example, the growth of character [Fadel] and the refinement of the emotions [no wonder ECAA included PBIS, mental health and well-being and "non-academic skills essential for school readiness and academic success".] He ought, moreover, to reflect on schooling as an institution, its organization within society, and its consequences for the career of values.”

ECAA in the form being considered by Congress certainly fits in every respect the functions of K-12 education and Critical Thinking called for by both Richard Paul and Israel Scheffler. That means their expressed goals for these shifts away from didactic transmission of knowledge come with the mandated changes in practice and assessments.

Does Congress understand the nature of what it is actually about to mandate? Do politicians from the federal level to the state and local care?

Or is cultivation of a new kind of electorate the whole point with few willing to openly admit they know this is the entire purpose of these reforms?

Is 21st Century Learning really all about creating that electorate that will tolerate an economy and society premised on political will?

Is the onset of the wage stagnation and economic weakness bemoaned in that report above as the result of too little government intervention actually a result of this announced shift by 1970 to make education an instrument of radical social change?

If so, what will happen now that we are essentially doubling down on that strategy?

Harnessing the Meaning Making Capacities of the Human Mind and then Assessing for the Tightness of the Fit

We talked about NAEP in the last post so we could begin to appreciate its real purpose as both a driver and a monitor of using education to mentally deconstruct any concept of learning as the transmission of factual knowledge. In fact, whenever we see the phrase “meaningful learning” from now on, let’s just be upfront that it means changes in a student’s mind or personality intended to reliably guide future behavior as desired. The quote at the beginning of that title comes from a 2000 book Assessing Science Understanding: A Human Constructivist View that asserted that science is no longer about a body of facts and information about how the world works transmitted from a textbook or a teacher. No, “science is best understood as a formalized and highly adaptive way of harnessing the meaning making capacities of the human mind.”

To ‘Understand’ then in math, science, history, or while reading a book is to interpret in the manner someone else has stipulated so that students will practice perceiving and behaving as desired until these behaviors become unconscious habits. Locked in at a physical level in the brain’s neural pathways. That is what is being assessed and why we keep coming back to an insistence that the ‘performances’ or ‘achievements’ be action-based. It’s why we are getting such a push for Project-based Learning. When I went through the activities in that book, they were not about learning a body of knowledge. They were training students to view the world in a certain way. Did you know back in the mid-80s as these reforms were being dreamed up there was even a term invented for what would be sought-observational competence? Is the student noticing the themes or aspects desired in a given situation and ignoring the elements we would rather not be the focus of attention?

When I called attention to the idea of that ‘proficiency’ under NAEP and state standards after the adoption of NCLB in 2002 was about Proficiency Standards for Reasoning, I found this document   http://www.mathleadership.com/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderfiles/standardsofpracticematrix.pdf assuring me that the Common Core would meet these action-based concepts of the desired proficiency. The students may not know much, but they will have been trained and primed over years to act in certain ways based on stipulated prompts. And look, there are 3 levels of achievement just like what the Every Child Achieves Act requires each state to have as its “aligned academic achievement standards” that will constitute how the ‘content standards’ will be met. Prescribed behaviors. Harness the mind and then ‘assess’ to see if the harness fits properly and guides behavior as desired. If so, herald the student as performing ‘proficiently’ or ‘competently’ and thus being College and Career Ready.

http://www.heinemann.com/fountasandpinnell/supportingMaterials/lli/AlignmentWithNAEP.pdf is not Math or ‘science’ but it is the vision for learning to read and write and then what will be the ELA activities using the Fountas & Pinnell curriculum so beloved by the Common Core (described in Chapter 7 of my book on the Learning Progression). Isn’t it good to know these prescribed literacy activities involve “very specific behaviors and understandings are written for each level and built into every individual lesson?” How very harness-like. Get each student used to the jerk of the tether while they are still young and their minds are oh-so-malleable to manipulation. That link also makes it clear that NAEP after 2000 was being used to quietly implement the performance and proficiency standards from the New Standards Project that grew out of that National Education Goals Panel we met in the last post.

No wonder the National Center for Education and the Economy reuploaded the entire NSP body of work back in December 2010. Just in time to pretend it is actually something new called the Common Core and in time for an ESEA reauthorization like ECAA. NSP’s Performance Standards simply get euphemised as ECAA’s “aligned achievement standards” that quickly gets defined away as just “challenging state academic standards” for the rest of the Act. As if we are still talking about the transmission of knowledge brought to us by the Greatest Minds Who Have Ever Lived. No, instead we get ‘sense-making’ from our prescribed activities using the supplied ideas, themes, principles, and concepts intended to function as a politically transformative mental and emotional harness.

I think it is hard for readers of this blog to fully appreciate how confining this manipulative vision of reading, math, and science will be since we all have Axemaker Minds of some type or another. Some minds may be better stocked than others with accurate facts and abilities to infer, but all of us still had some kind of a knowledge orientation to our K-12 and college experiences. That Heinemann language and the fact we are talking about 6 year olds being manipulated should give some idea of just how constraining and invisible this behavioral harness can become. ECAA though wants to push preschool for all as a basic right so we are actually going back even younger than 5 or 6. We also do not have to speculate about what the “early childhood care and education” vision that fits with this competency/proficiency approach looks like.

New Zealand–tied to the Innovation Lab Network and Competency through the GELP-Global Education Leaders Program that we have discussed on this blog (see tag) adopted Te Whariki–the National Early Childhood Curriculum in the 90s to go along with what was then called Transformational Outcomes Based Education (detailed in Chapter 4 of my book explaining Competency and its history). We know that in 1998 the US-based ERIC asked that the Te Whariki papers be submitted to its database. Te Whariki pushes a developmental approach that rejects the old “focus on the learner as an individual, and learning as furniture in the mind.” Instead, learning is the change brought about in the student as a result of “responsive and reciprocal relationships with people places and things.”

Someone obviously hates commas, but they like hyphens as they see the student as an “individual-in-action” interacting in social, cultural  and purposeful contexts. I mentioned Urie Bronfenbrenner and the Great Experiment in the last post. Te Whariki is explicitly grounded in his Ecological Systems Theory that is concisely explained here.  https://www.uncg.edu/hdf/facultystaff/Tudge/Bronfenbrenner%202005.pdf So are competency and proficiency-based concepts of learning. They all intend to create ‘dispositions’ or “habits of mind, tendencies to respond to situations in certain ways.” And if those dispositions start being baked in and turned into a harness back in early childhood programs (the quote came from the Te Whariki paper) the adolescent and then young adult voter need not even know the harness and guiding bit are there at all.

Te Whariki gives a definition of assessment that fits with where formative assessments intend to go in the US and elsewhere: “the primary purpose of assessment should be to provide information which can be used to identify strengths and guide improvement.” All that is based on what people with political power decide they want to see in the citizens of tomorrow, not what parents or the children themselves want. This harness view of education also gets marketed as a thinking curriculum and it was laid out, before the 90s controversies, in a 1991 book by Edward Fiske called Smart Schools, Smart Kids: Why Do Some Schools Work? once again financed by the Carnegie Corporation that now sponsors Competency-based Education.

I keep hearing news reports wrongly describing what are now performance assessments or other means of checking for the presence and efficacy of the mental harness as ‘standardized tests’. Fiske’s book complained that “the most damaging aspect of standardized tests, though, is their impact  on the curriculum. Since states test reading and math, this is what schools emphasize. [Horrors!! Let's revise the NAEP.] But in doing so they focus on basic skills and factual knowledge that such tests measure and direct schools’ attention from the new agenda of teaching students to think.”  The book then quoted Lauren Resnick (who will go on to co-direct the New Standards Project and be on the Common Core validation committee. She also chaired the 1987 committee that produced the report on Higher Order Thinking Skills a/k/a Teaching Students to Think in a Way that Serves as a Harness) and her husband Daniel.

“Current tests are tuned to a curriculum of the past, one that is not suited to today’s social and economic conditions…[The Resnicks advocate transitioning all students to tests grounded in] Goals such as interpreting unfamiliar texts, constructing convincing arguments, understanding complex systems, developing approaches to problems, or negotiating problem resolutions in a group” that sounds just like the learning tasks and means for assessment being touted as part of the Common Core classroom or a competency/proficiency-based classroom. Fiske’s book also pointed out that powerful tests like the NAEP are a “high-stakes game in itself” and that “whoever controls those powerful tests will control a large measure of what is taught and learned in American schools.”

Once again, that’s why the mandate of ‘aligned achievement standards’ in ECAA that forces a behavioral or performance-based, consistent with Universal Design for Learning, approach in every school in every state matters so very much. It’s a way the federal government mandates the construction of a harness while pretending to return control to states and localities.  Specifying the hows of testing is controlling those tests and the curriculum itself. I want to close with what Linda Darling-Hammond said in Fiske’s book since she is the author of the New Paradigm being pushed for what will constitute meaningful learning. https://edpolicy.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/publications/accountability-college-and-career-readiness-developing-new-paradigm.pdf Standardized testing back when it was still fact-based and right-answer oriented was supposedly based on the “dubious assumption that there is a single right answer to any question worth asking.”

LDH viewed the old-fashioned standardized test as the “triumph of passive learning. It is testing for the TV generation. We don’t ask if students can synthesize information, solve problems, or think independently. We measure what they recognize.” So back in 1991, when she was still a professor at the Teachers College at Columbia, Hammond, like Lauren Resnick, was very involved in advocating for a thinking kind of curriculum that fits with a Harness Function.

No wonder both professors remain so involved now in guiding the actual classroom implementations both in the US and globally through the OECD.

Malleable Minds Fit for an Affirmative State Designed to Meet Needs and Constrain the Ruled

We actually do not have to infer what kinds of minds and personalities and beliefs are suitable for these new visions of tomorrow. One advocate tellingly used this quote from Napoleon that “There are but two powers in the world, the sword, and the mind. In the long run the sword is always beaten by the mind.” That reality is very galling for many powerful people so they now have nationalized and globalized K-12 ‘reforms’ to extinguish that very capacity. Since we would rebel if we actually understood what was intended, we keep getting a sales pitch about ‘human flourishing’ in so many of these blueprints. As James Madison presciently observed “a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”

I want to detour for a minute back to the Deepening Democracy paper from the Real Utopias Project because they kindly laid out new ” transformative democratic strategies” for the “Affirmative State” at all levels to use to quietly, but persistently, “advance our traditional values–egalitarian social justice, individual liberty [in the sense of having governments meet everyone's basic needs] combined with popular control over collective decisions, community and solidarity, and the flourishing of individuals in ways that enable them to realize their potentials.”

Remember Michael Fullan specifically tied the experimental New Pedagogies and Deep Learning in the Global Partnership to the “broader idea of human flourishing?” What we have going on is the marrying of the methods of the Human Potential psychological focus to the political and social ends that track back to Uncle Karl without anyone wanting to ‘fess up’ as we Southerners would say.

All the K-12 education reforms I have tracked, as well as higher ed and increasingly grad schools, are all tied to stealthily pursuing and “accomplishing the central ideas of democratic politics: facilitating active political involvement of the citizenry, forging political consensus through dialogue, devising and implementing public policies that ground a productive economy and healthy society, and in more radical egalitarian versions of the democratic ideal, assuring that all citizens benefit from the nation’s wealth.”

Hard not to remember all those ‘You didn’t build that’ comments from the 2012 Presidential race, isn’t it? Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government by the way calls this new model Empowered Participatory Governance. I am not going to write about it in particular except to point out it ties all the Metropolitanism, Regional Equity, make the mayors and the local the focus of government. The Local is supposed to be the layer that meets the needs, whoever provides the financing or specs on what those needs will be.

So when Lawrence K Grossman and others keep hyping self-governance they are describing a world where everyone’s needs have been met via the political process, not a person’s ability to make their own way independent of governmental interference with their decisions. ‘Self-governance’ is again an Orwellian term tied to the kind of economic and social justice and participatory governance view of democracy that even its advocates above admit is quite radical. I think that’s why its structures and needed values and beliefs frameworks are being quietly put in place through education and the law without any desire for the typical person to catch on in time. Remember Grossman was a prof at the Kennedy School while he worked on The Electronic Republic: Reshaping Democracy in the Information Age.

Whether we understood it in the 90s [remember the Freeman Butts vision from the book?] or now, K-12 education was and is being restructured to fit with “citizens at large gaining the power of self-governance.” Everyone gets their basic needs met, “with the public at large playing a critical role in the government’s decision-making process” and few focusing on the pesky little detail about the crucial shift to a vision where “rulers are subject to control by the ruled.” Similar to all those references to being Governed, instead of the individual independent decision-making power Madison knew he had structured, we are all supposed to settle for having a say, being ruled, but having our ‘needs’ met. Even then, we as individuals do not get to decide what our needs are. This shift we are not being told about unless we Follow the Documents in the Oligarchy’s admitted paper trail, stems from:

“the United States is moving toward a new modern-day form of direct democracy, made possible by its commitment to universal political equality and propelled by new telecommunications technology.”

It is within these unappreciated declarations of intentions to fundamentally transform the social institutions and functions of government that K-12 is being radically altered to a Student-Centered focus so that “the public’s ability to receive, absorb, and understand information no longer can be left to happenstance.” Prime the Mind and Personality to perceive experience as desired and then have the Michael Fullans and Michael Barbers of the world globe trot and insist that all education now must be based on Learning by Doing. All those deliberately created learning experiences to foster emotional engagement around real-world problems are just the ticket to the Mandarins just ever so worried that “today, the American public is going into political battle armed with increasingly sophisticated tools of electronic decision making but without the information, political, organization, education, or preparation to use these tools wisely.”

So we get Common Core, Competency, Digital Learning, new definitions of Student Achievement, and Growth measures that are ALL actually the “conscious and deliberate effort to inform public judgment, to put the new telecommunications technologies to work on behalf of democracy.” That would be the radical Social and Economic Wellbeing form of democracy with its new reenvisioned view of the roles and responsibilities of citizenship. After all, as Grossman told us: “With citizens an active branch of the government in the electronic republic, they need to know enough to participate in a responsible and intelligent manner.” That’s a long way from Madison’s view of knowledge to be our own Governors, but then Grossman loves this concept of our being ruled. In fact, he either deliberately or obtusely shows a drastically altered view of American history and the Constitution where:

“the citizen’s role is not to govern himself, but at best elect those who would be most competent to govern on their behalf…The new Constitution had put in place a modern-day method of selecting Plato’s Guardians.”

Can we all join in a chorus of No. No. No? How telling though is that misstatement? I do snarkily make repeated references to yokes and serf’s collars and Mind Arson when it comes to describing the real Common Core implementation. Yet here is an insider of insiders admitting to a desire to dictate what we all may do and think akin to what an ancient Greek philosopher saw as Benevolent Despotism. For our own good as determined by the Guardians with their taxpayer funded salaries and pensions. This confession reminded me a great deal of Achibugi also seeing harnessing public opinion as the mechanism to getting to the Global Commonwealth of Citizens we met in the last post:

“the more we learn about how to respond to and understand the public, the more we also increase the potential to influence, change, and even manipulate public opinion. In the electronic republic, political manipulation is the other side of the coin of effective political persuasion. What looks like manipulative propaganda to one, invariably is seen as an honest educational effort to another.”

Well, honest if the purpose of education is the chimera of ‘human flourishing for all’ brought to us by Rulers who see people as a biddable branch of government in a new vision of what the future might be. Before I close this post with a quote Grossman used from the Dean of Columbia’s School of Journalism, that deserves a statue in the Hubris Hall of Fame, I want to remind everyone that in 2010 UNESCO began using the term ‘media education’ as two prongs of a single means to get to its hoped-for Marxist Humanist global future. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/decreeing-the-interdependence-of-environment-economy-society-and-cultural-diversity-in-the-21st/ They said it and wrote it and we do get to take insiders at their word on what they are up to when they declare nefarious intentions.

Now imagine these words not just from a Journalism Dean but from politicians, think tank heads, education administrators, and university professors, just to name a few:

“This is the age of media power. We set the agenda. We are the carriers of the culture and its values…We are the brokers of information and ideas. Our decisions, our news judgments tell the people who they are, what they are doing, what’s important and what they need to know.”

Arrogant, yes, but 100% consistent with the real K-12 education ‘experience’ we are encountering. The vision that would be necessary to achieve these declared goals as well as the radical global democracy vision. Plus all those references to being governed and ruled and sovereignty no longer being in the individual.

Those Aims or Goals all fit with the actual Common Core implementation described in detail in the book and the purposes, visions, and methods we encounter daily and weekly now on this blog.

We can fight this, but not while we remain unaware or unwilling to stare down what we are indisputedly dealing with in our schools and universities and virtually everywhere else when we look hard.

 

 

Banishing Any Distinction Between Academic, Technical, and Life/Employability Skills: Active Deceit Everywhere

Think of me today as holding a microphone breathlessly informing everyone that I am reporting live from investigating a pot of water that is already at a simmer and it’s big enough to hold each of us. The pot has been designed to slowly come to a full rolling boil gradually so we will not notice what is happening in time. More likely, we will notice what is happening and misattribute what is causing it. Calling for more of the poison that is actually already destroying us from within while advocates holler “it’s political fragmentation and income inequality. More planning. More government programs. Integrate them all now” just as this April 4, 2012 letter from HHS, Education, and the federal Department of Labor called for. http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ovae/ten-attachment.pdf

But  we are neither frogs nor lobsters and we get to use our still existing Axemaker Minds to cut through the stories we have been deceitfully, or erroneously, fed and get out of that pot. I thought I knew so much about where Common Core was really going because of accurately discerning the essence of how performance standards [they are behavioral criteria] really worked and that Career Pathways would require a politically directed economy. I was right, but Georgia was piloting something else that is central to this story of our intended future. Then in 2006, the National Governors Association formally climbed aboard as well. It’s why it needed a vehicle like the Common Core to remake academic standards and why high school had to be reformed.

“Workforce intermediaries” (grounded in a 2003 conference in NYC funded by the Casey, Rockefeller, and Ford Foundations) and “sector strategies” are the search terms you will need to pull up the plans for your own state or locality. I have downloaded many of them in the last several days. Enough to recognize what terrible jeopardy we were all in even before the WIOA, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, locked this all thoroughly into place about a month ago. There are lots of NGA documents on this, but http://www.capitalareawdb.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/State-Sector-Strategies-Coming-of-Age-Implications-for-State-Workforce-Policymakers.pdf is the most helpful since it shows high schools on the cover as an integral part of this redo.

Sector strategies involve politicians, public employees, community organizing groups in many cases allied formally with Saul Alinsky’s IAF, colleges and universities, working with established businesses and hopefully getting all involved in comparable areas (like restaurants or construction) to work together to create pathways to good jobs for low income, formerly in prison, non-English speakers, etc. Everyone is bound in other words, but some of us merely finance, while K-12 extinguishes our children’s actual knowledge. Others are the intended beneficiaries of a track to a ‘good job.’ As this recent ACT report on building a National Workforce Skills Credentialing system put it    http://www.act.org/research/policymakers/pdf/BreakingNewGround.pdf , most private businesses, even small ones, will become subject to even more regulation as this belief that the private sector exists primarily to provide good jobs and training and tax revenue becomes pervasive.

The recent Aspen Institute book Connecting People to Work highlights SkillWorks as the long time Boston workforce intermediary. What that book did not point out, but I am, is that the Massachusetts DoED in 2013 redefined College and Career Readiness to get Massachusetts school districts on board with this Sector Strategies economic development planning that is now geared around Workplace Readiness. The BESA wanted to make sure the Connecting Activities would be used in the state’s academic and comprehensive high schools although parents probably will not get an accurate description for the shift. Academic proficiency is officially no longer enough in Massachusetts. http://www.doe.mass.edu/ccr/news/2014/0107Integration.pdf is the official powerpoint.

The ultimate goal in each domain is ‘competency attainment,’ that would be in the Flyv social science sense of intuitive, non-analytical behavior we have been tracking for several posts. As we can see, personal/social development is as important as academic and academic is no longer about book knowledge. Now I am going to pivot to the other huge watershed event we are being lied to about that affects how the Common Core should be seen.  I happen to know that Massachusetts, Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota, and Oregon were picked by the feds to pilot the integration of CTE-Career and Technical Education into State and Local Career Pathways systems. Needless to say, this will blend nicely with Sector Strategies for economic development. No one seems to be dwelling on what will happen when the federal spigot of grants runs out and everyone has become a dependent and hardly anyone knows anything accurate or marketable, but here we are. By the way, CCSSO, the other formal sponsor of the Common Core is also involved with this integration.

It turns out you see, that apart from the Common Core we keep hearing about, there is another ‘state-led initiative created with business and industry representatives’ effort on a similar time frame to create a Common Career Technical Core that will govern ALL programs of secondary study. ALL means all and this parallel effort involves far  more than we might suspect. You know how we keep hearing mentions of ‘rigorous’ academics, well it is what is left after CCTC governs all programs of study under its Ten Components. This is why states formally rejecting CCSS nevertheless retain performance standards to keep the money from Perkins in DoED and the Department of Labor.  http://cte.dpi.wi.gov/files/cte/pdf/tencomponents.pdf shows the framework from Wisconsin, a state with a long history with Industry Partnerships and Sector Strategies.

So the feds, whatever state legislative committees may decide by majority vote or consensus to the contrary, have decreed that states are to have Career Pathways and combine “both academic/basic education content and CTE/skills training.” The combo of CCSS and CCTC makes this marriage easier to accomplish and easier to hide. In May 2014 the federal DoED rolled out its Employability Skills Framework that puts personal qualities, once again, front and center of future education in communities [hence all the hyping of local] and the states. All of the related ingredients I have been describing will of course be omitted lest we climb out of the simmering pot in time.

We are nowhere close to covering all I have read on these topics in the last week. I am merely building an outline to allow each of us to know what is intended and how the so-called Common Core fits into the deceit. It explains why the Chambers of Commerce, radical groups intent on political and social transformation, and legislators and governors of both parties are so tied to these ideas of national standards whatever the uproar. When I wrote my book, I explained that Competency never goes away because it fits the polytech vision of John Dewey. Now we know it fits with the new Workforce Readiness for all purpose of all K-12 education.

Another aspect that never goes away in the actual implementation materials is 21st Century Skills. I explained that with illustrations that remain 100% right on the money of intentions because they fit with the CTE focus on experiential and real world applications. It’s why those phrases keep recurring now through the relevance command. There are two P21 papers I did not have when I wrote the book that really lock in this marriage of CTE for All Students and how it comes full force to the unsuspecting suburbs. The first is from 2006 and has the long revealing title: ” Are They Really Ready to Work?   Employers Perspectives on the Basic Knowledge and Applied Skills of the New Entrants to the 21st Century Workforce.”

That well-connected report tells us that “the education and business communities must agree that applied skills integrated with core academic subjects are the ‘design specs’ for creating an education system that will prepare our high school and college graduates to succeed in the modern workplace and community life.” P21 did leave out the part about that workplace being reimagined via Sector Strategies and the community life being grounded in required consensus and shared understandings, but that would be how all these actual pieces fit together. “Business leaders must take an active role in outlining the kinds of skills we need from our employees” and the “business community must speak with one voice.” Lots of authoritarianism as we can see sprinkled consistently through this vision of our future.

What is hugely important about that report beyond the tells of attitude for anyone not with the collectivist program is the cite of New Tech High School in California and its project-based learning as an example of the kind of skills incorporated into academics desired. New Tech is now a network of high schools operating in many states and its flagship, High Tech High, is the poster child of both the federally-sponsored League of Innovative Schools and the Hewlett Foundation-sponsored Deeper Learning frameworks. Project-based learning and problem-based learning is how the CTE model comes quietly into the suburbs.

The second report from P21 is the 2010 “Up to the Challenge: The Role of Career and Technical Education and 21st Century Skills in College and Career Readiness.” It does not just call for breaking “down silos among academic, CTE and 21st century initiatives, programs, and teachers” as we now know the feds are pursuing in earnest. The creator of P21, Ken Kay, has since moved on to form EdLeader 21 (has its own tag as I have followed for a while) . EdLeader 21 is a consortium of large suburban school districts in or around metro areas, especially in the South. All of the district supers I have ever looked into involved with this group are what I classify as Gypsy Supers. Each school district they get an administrative job in transitions to ever more radicalized versions of John Dewey’s vision for education.

That’s how CTE comes to Atlanta, Charlotte, Greenville, Raleigh, the DC area, and other districts who have joined. Since no one employed by state or federal agencies or advising school districts shows any inclination of explaining all these vital, demonstrable facts to any of us in time to escape from the pot,

I just have.

**As usual, where I have given dates and titles of reports here and other specific references but no links, I am trying to ensure that particularly dramatic revelations do not get taken down before most of you get a chance to read this post. There is sufficient info provided to make searching easy for anyone who just loves to doublecheck me.

Building the Sentiment, Forging the Real Feeling that Goes Deep: Rigor does Not Mean What You Think

Do you believe in coincidences? Of course they happen, but not about some things, especially when little known professors are suddenly brought back to be the quote of the day in a daily education newsletter. The day after the last post where I mentioned the 1948 push for a World Constitution at meetings held at the University of Chicago, the EdTech SmartBrief cited ‘Italian Writer Giuseppe Antonio Borgese’ for an inspiring vision about Change not only being possible, but necessary. How apropos when fundamental change is the daily meme. Borgese of course is more than an Italian writer. He was one of the prime participants in those meetings, a prof there, and the draftsman. He also wrote the 1953 book Foundations of the World Republic laying out the vision.

You don’t really think I grasp how all this fits just from Abstracts or the Cliff Notes versions, do you? No, I had read that book and get the connection to ed. So does someone apparently at Smart Brief and they are fully aware of the pertinence of today’s K-12 juggernaut of changes too. Few terms though come up more often these days or are used so consistently to mislead parents and taxpayers  on the true nature of the intended changes as ‘rigor.’ There’s a reason education consultant, Willard Daggett, with a ridiculously lucrative national professional development business (for someone who used to be in Vo-Tech. I have a few of those mediocre textbooks) says that “relevance makes rigor possible.” Rigor is always grounded in emotion and personal experiences.

When a District Super tells concerned parents that Rigor is about higher standards and provides the metaphor that you cannot turn up the temperature suddenly on an oven from 350 to 550 without burning the turkey and leaving it frozen on the inside, I think that explanation deserves a Pinocchio award. That example of rigor may make parents feel better about upcoming higher than average failure rates on the new state Common Core math assessments, but it does not accurately reflect the nature of the problem. Rigor is about what a student feels, perceives, and does when there is no single correct answer or there are insufficient facts stated to reach a definitive conclusion or the asked about material has never been taught. It provides superb behavioral science data on likely future actions and it primes students to be willing to act in the face of uncertainty. Just what people with visions of transforming and then redesigning societies and societies around Big Data need from a compliant, malleable citizenry.

Facing History and Ourselves, which we met again in the last post, keeps being cited as the perfect example of a curriculum offering ‘rigorous engagement’ and ‘deeper learning.’ Deeper Learning is being trumpeted, formally assessed, and funded generously as the cornerstone of the Common Core and the OECD’s global vision for education by the Hewlett Foundation. Building on the previous post’s revelations and the return of Life Adjustment before that, why is FHAO so crucial for an international bureaucracy pushing for fundamental transformations in the economy, society, and political structures and institutions? Let’s look.

http://trustnet.learningtrust.co.uk/partners/Community%20Cohesion/Case%20Study_Facing_History_and_Ourselves_at_Skinners.pdf advocates that teaching materials force students (their bolding) through the process of Text to Self (this reminds me of a time when… so that personal experiences become involved), Text to Text (building those links to previous school activities or discussions and the concepts involved so that a predictable mental web is being woven by schoolwork), and Text to World (students connect the ideas to things happening in the world today). Did you realize that’s what ‘personalizing learning’ meant? Constantly reenforcing schoolwork to a student’s life experiences and then creating life experiences in school and elsewhere to reenforce the desired concepts and attitudes? As the link says, FHAO allows students to have Mindsets that allow “better questioning of the world and what goes on it. But most importantly, students become more engaged in their own communities and apply the knowledge they learn to their own lives.” (my bolding this time).

Knowledge grounded again more in emotions and instincts than facts, but all the more likely to compel future action for that very reason. Remember Harlan Cleveland from my book? Well, about 10 years before his 80s vision I explain there he did a report in 1976 for UN Leaders meeting in Philadelphia. It laid out his vision on what the significance of the US Bicentennial was for the future. He saw it as igniting the Next Great World Movement: the Global Fairness Revolution. Like the odd sudden citing this week of Borgese, these visions do not go away. They simply keep looking for new sales jobs to have education finally bring them to fruition. That’s precisely what FHAO and PBS intended to do when they created Choosing to Participate to be used as part of what it would mean to be Literate under the Common Core. http://web.uri.edu/nonviolence/files/ChoosingToParticipate.pdf

When the “challenge for educators” now is announced to be creating “settings that can help young people develop as thoughtful, caring, compassionate, and responsible citizens,” the vision of citizenry is to be Change Agents for Transformation. That is also blatantly a view of education that is primarily focused on Psychosocial Development, not knowledge as academic content. Students are to be deliberately primed, at a deep level, to be unwilling to accept the world as it now exists. They are also to be intentionally manipulated to misperceive the current nature of that world. Ignorance and grievance may be one of the most volatile combinations in the universe. Unlike nitroglycerin though, these Students with carefully cultivated and shaped Mindsets and emotional Push Buttons will not have warning labels. Not yet anyway. I am working on that one.

FHAO does not mince words when it states its intention to have Choosing to Participate:

“be a catalyst for conversation about how we treat each other, how we should live together, and what our choices mean. The key challenge is to think deeply [emotions again!] about what democracy really means, and what it asks of each of us. Democracy is a fragile enterprise and can only remain vital through the active, thoughtful, and responsible participation of its people. Education for citizenship means encouraging each of us to recognize that our participation matters.”

Jumping to the punch line, FHAO intentionally uses the horrors of the Holocaust and Legal Segregation by race in the US to justify a belief that economic, redistributive, justice, if desired by a majority of current voters, is a perfectly legitimate demand binding everyone. Resistance then becomes akin to the racism that surrounded the Little Rock 9 trying to integrate Arkansas schools in the 50s. FHAO is the perfect accompaniment to the communitarian focus we have already located in the required Positive School Climate for all K-12 schools and lurking oddly in the definition of what it means to be Career Ready under the Common Core. FHAO early on specifically instructs students:

“communities are not built of friends, or groups of friends, or of people with similar styles and tastes, or even of people who like and understand each other. They are built of people who feel they are part of something that is bigger than themselves: a shared goal or enterprise [hence all the hype on collaboration now]…To build a community requires only the ability to see value in others; to look at them and see a potential partner in one’s enterprise…community can also be defined in terms of a ‘universe of obligation’–a group of individuals or groups ‘toward whom obligations are owed, to whom rules apply, and whose injuries call for amends.”

Amends are owed. I am going to end with that quote because clearly this intention is where we should put all these sudden mentions of allegations of White Privilege and conferences centered around preparing teachers to make that and race generally a focus of the K-12 curriculum. Everybody seems to like trilogies so this post is the Human Rights Trilogy’s second part.

I want to come back with considering the implications of targeting values, attitudes, and beliefs about how societies and economies should be structured as just another antiquated area that can, and should be, legitimately targeted by K-12 for change. Comparable in the minds of many educators and certainly the FHAO curriculum to the shifts rightfully needed previously to move beyond legal segregation.

We are going to continue to confront history all right. Especially the implications of requiring that students “prove their humanity” in ways to be mandated by political authority.

Should students be taught that “Built into each individual’s experience must be an occasion for giving, a task of humanity, an act of sharing and sacrifice”?

Is that really Student Achievement? Growth? Should taxpayer-funded education administrators and profs really be making these decisions in a free society?

Or is the disputed nature of freedom itself in the 21st Century the real question?

Echoes from the Past: Preparing the Ground for Social Engineers Requires Malleable Human Material

The rather graphic quote in the title of the last post is so useful because it was so upfront about the intention to condition students via education to act in disregard of their natural instincts. Today’s title is from the lead-in to a book chapter called “Education in the Service of Conditioning” from a 1971 book called The New Totalitarians by UK writer Roland Huntford. It is a book specifically on Sweden and how Huntford saw Sweden as embodying the vision laid out by Aldous Huxley in his classic book Brave New World. A place where politicians and bureaucrats used their power over media and education to “induce the requisite change in mentality, so that physical compulsion is superfluous.”

It has always bothered me how often education in Sweden comes up in the story of Radical Ed Reform in other countries. For example, it was where Benjamin Bloom and UNESCO chose to put the summer institutes that started in 1971 to shift countries all over the world towards outcomes-based education. When I researched the creation of the PISA assessment by the OECD in the 90s and what Competency really means as I wrote my book, I learned the OECD already regarded Sweden as being where it wanted PISA to drive other countries towards. When I tracked Paul Ehrlich’s work in education it pushed me towards the Scandinavian model and the UN’s World Happiness Report created in 2012 has the same effect. Recently there was a mention of new charter schools in NYC grounded specifically in the Swedish model. Can you say omnipresent, given what is in fact a small country?

Huntford laid out the reasons he said “of all people it is the Swedes who have come closest to the state of affairs” described by Huxley in the Foreword of his book of the “really efficient totalitarian state would be the one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude.” We are not there yet in the West, but what I have read and listened to make it quite clear we are dealing with a conscious effort to create an electoral majority of people who do feel that way so they can then bind everyone else to the declared consensus.

To appreciate why we are dealing with what is coming in the US and elsewhere via assessments and curriculum and altered instructional practices and massive amounts of intrusive data on unconscious beliefs, feelings, attitudes, and values, let’s go back to Sweden to find out what made it such a fertile ground for education and societal change research. As Huntford pointed out Sweden was the ideal place to study what it takes to make a person servile since “the Swede has never emerged from behind the veil of the group; he is conscious of himself only through some general category, as a member of a people, a clan or a party.” As we saw in the last post, when race and ethnicity and social justice become must provide ‘lenses’ to bring into a Common Core math classroom, we are being compelled to take on the perspective of the aggrieved group, and not the individual, as well.

This is how Huntford began the chapter on education. It remains dangerously pertinent to what we are dealing with today. Since we have trouble getting officials to be honest with us on their true intentions, we will need to rely on the confessions Huntford obtained so long ago. In a 2014 world where a belief in the Common Good and an obligation for the well-being of others is to be nursed via the classroom, let’s go back to a place where the collective mentality is so strong that there were no words in the Swedish language for the concept of the individual without derogatory overtones. There also were not any words for the collective that do not have positive overtones, as in glorifying it. Sweden by 1971 was a place where Swedes were raised to have a “feeling that solidarity is a cardinal virtue.” It was a place where “Swedes are afraid of owning up to an opinion against the consensus” with a widely-held nurtured belief that it is proper to “repress the individual in order to preserve the consensus.”

As the then Swedish Prime Minister (who had once been Minister of Ed), Olof Palme stated in an address to schoolchildren: “You don’t go to school to achieve anything personally, but to learn to function as members of a group.” What Huntford described here as the need of Swedish planners now seems to be the guiding desire behind the US Common Core and what is called Competency and 21st Century Skills everywhere else. Think of it as the new mantra for the wanna-be nomenklatura all over the world:

“For their intended society, the Swedish planners require a type of person that, thinking collectively, and suppressing his individuality in favour of the group, is technologically orientated, and socially well adjusted. To this end, the educational system was profoundly altered during the 1950s and 1960s. From imparting knowledge, its aim was changed to that of guiding social behaviour.” Remarkably reminiscent then of what we are seeing as the actual implementation and the focus on social and emotional learning and assessing non-cognitive factors in each student. So let’s go back to the social engineering purposes repeatedly stated by the Swedes for comparable ed reforms.

Teaching practices and textbooks (and for us now obtained via the inherent control possible with digital learning) were all tightly controlled by State officials as a “means of controlling what was put into the minds of the population–and what was kept out.” A passage that Huntford wrote about adult education “study circles” in Sweden also reflects what I am seeing as the vision behind the Fostering Communities of Learners Mandate and the so-called Discourse Classroom:

“Participants are taught that, once a decision has been made, then all further discussion is necessarily at an end and that, whatever their feelings might be, it is their duty to submit to the will of the group.”

Huntford called attention to this intention to deliberately create submissiveness as a “kind of conditioned reflex” that is then evoked whenever needed “by this phrase: The decision has been made in a democratic manner, and accepted by the majority.” One of the speakers I heard last fall describing her version of the future and the fulfillment of King’s Beloved Community at last uttered almost verbatim that same phrase. Coming here and soon, indeed. Just like the now ubiquitous phrase of “Equity and Excellence” as the new vision of K-12 education coming from all levels of governments in the US, the Swedish reforms of the 50s and 60s were sold to the public as a “device to promote egalitarian principles.”

Today’s teachers upset over the extent to which their classroom activities are so scripted can relate to the Swedish desire to deliver instruction “in the form of discussions so guided that the pupils felt that they had themselves arrived at the conclusions.” This method ensures that “conviction was deep” within each student and is frighteningly reminiscent of the Common Core’s steady drumbeat of the now required “deeper learning.”

A university prof wrote an editorial admiring the Swedish ed system in a Stockholm paper where he pointed out precisely what we are seeing with the insistence on “authentic tasks” and relevance of curricula to real world problems. He wrote that in Sweden “we’ve got to concentrate on society today” and relate everything taught to “reality.” He noted the need for schools to produce “people predisposed to change. If they were not, they would be unhappy.” Building up on that same theme of avoiding unhappiness, the prof declared it was “useless to build up individuality, because unless people learned to adapt themselves to society, they would be unhappy.”

Reading such plans via education on malleable minds compelled to attend for years of the most impressionable time in their lives makes me unhappy. So does the intention I am also reading regularly of our now aping the Swedes by constantly pointing “out the necessity of togetherness as the only tenable way of life.”  I could go on providing quotes of comparable intentions and the use of agitprop in both ed and the media so that “slogans fall on fertile ground” and people become primed to vote reliably as desired by the current political class.

Instead I will end with a warning that is pertinent to the current reworking of the nature of educational and social science research generally in the US, using students as guinea pigs in real time. Theory in practice in schools near you, including private and parochial ones.  Education in Sweden then like education virtually everywhere now is being reformed with the goal as “not the advancement of knowledge, but the manipulation of society is the highest of aims.”

Therefore we need to remember what Huntford wrote so long ago and why he named his book as he did.

Because when “government and [political] party say that education is to be used to change society, it is no idle chatter.”

Now if we can only widen the circle of those listening in time.

Learning to Walk Naked into the Land of Uncertainty While Calling It Math, Science or Lit Class

Did that get your attention? Mine too. The first part came from a January 2003 article in the Journal of Transformative Education. The latter part is me recognizing from all the Common Core rubrics I have seen how the same principle makes it to classrooms as higher order cognitive tasks or rigor. This is taken from the body of the National  Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM)’s recent report Principles to Action. Mathematical tasks are “classified as low level when they have little or no ambiguity about what needs to be done.” So those word problems you remember doing in Algebra that involved using symbols for ratios tied to the real world that taught logic and analytical skills and also might have genuine uses in life as an adult are unacceptable because there is a fixed solution. Beyond the reenforcement of the Axemaker Mind, the traditional type of math problem supposedly does not prepare a student to deal with a world in flux and to act despite uncertainty on the likely consequences.

When humanist psychologist Carl Rogers shifted his focus “from psychotherapy with individuals [and writing books as we have seen with Abraham Maslow and the NEA] to transformation in larger social systems,” he decided that large group work would be a fine way to go about “changing hearts and changing consciousness” in order to get to the desired Person of Tomorrow.  http://insightu.net/content/library/journals/jtevol01no01january200364-79.pdf Since the Quartet of planned Transformations we just finished to supposedly create Climate-Resilient Pathways in advance fit so well with the “deep change is different from incremental change in that it requires new ways of thinking and behaving…Making a deep change requires walking naked into the land of uncertainty” theme, I thought it would make a fine way to illustrate the targeting of the inner mental models and value systems of the student in classes that still have subject names.

Back to NCTM’s P to A again as they like to shorthand it where, speaking of using large groups to provide a mind altering herd effect per Rogers, teachers are to “establish an equitable environment that engages all students in the collective work of understanding mathematics.” As Rogers foresaw “person-centered group processes” are a good place to acquaint individuals “with the urgent societal need for people to voluntarily make personal sacrifice for the common good.” The group becomes a place to reject the West’s conception of “the individual as a separate, conscious agent disappears into the service of the interconnected whole. The African concept of umbuntu (“I become me through you and you become you through me”) is an example of such a connected worldview.” Since we have already tied down that those Career Ready and Positive School Climate edicts lead straight to cites of expected communitarianism, we might as well add an African name for what will be expected of students to show the desired proper attitude of change and inclusion.

Again from P to A “students are actively involved in learning that involves productive struggle with mathematical ideas leading to a disposition of perseverance in problem solving.” Such struggle, perseverance, and Grit is far  less embarrassing for most of us than walking around in our birthday suit, but every bit as deliberately intended to cultivate a mindset to act in the face of uncertainty and “tolerating ambiguity.” You see, it’s not just teachers, Principals, and those Gypsy Supers who are being primed to be Transformational Change Agents. NCTM one more time–” mathematical tasks are viewed as placing high-level cognitive demands on students when they allow students to engage in active inquiry and exploration or encourages students to use procedures in ways that are meaningfully connected to concepts or understanding.”

http://www.nextgenscience.org/sites/ngss/files/EQuIP%20Rubric%20for%20Science%20%26%20Response%20Form_Finalv1.pdf is the new eval that tells us when there is meaningful connection going on so that a lesson includes “the blending of practices [behaviors], disciplinary core ideas, and crosscutting concepts” to create “three-dimensional learning to make sense of phenomena or design solutions.” That instructional materials eval was for the Common Core Science Standards, but the same three dimensional concept is in the comparable rubrics for ELA and Math. Not only does that account for the second part of this post’s title, but the required 3 dimensions are targeting the student’s inner mental models of reality in precisely the way the cybernetic theory of control over human behavior laid out. Gold stars to all readers who read 3 dimensions and gasped: “but that’s Piotr Galperin’s image [provided by activity in a physical context], associations [those cross cutting concepts], and overall core understandings.”

NCTM also just loves the idea of concepts to guide perception of reality. In fact, they have also figured out a way to make math class a place to ignite the burning passion for transformation in the social, economic, and political spheres too. P to A insists “mathematics educators must be pushed to grapple with the complexity and particularities of race, marginalized status, and differential treatment by providing a lens for examining social, institutional, and structural inequities that contribute to differentials in the opportunities to learn mathematics.” Not to worry though, the teacher will be provided with an accurate understanding of history and economics to use in explaining the causes of such inequities to the students. Christopher Columbus started it.

Sorry, but turning math class into a medium for theorizing about social justice as a group process to reach consensus reminds me again of that Rogers’ article talking about “members of the group suspend their assumptions and judgements to become empathically attuned to others in the group as equally unique and sovereign coparticipants in the same larger community.” No. No. No. Particularly when the article went on to describe the mind altering and compliance enforcement potential of such conscious communities or integral groups and praised the belief that members will undergo deep change as a result of their willingness “to go along with it–not because they are conforming but because they believe that their individuated aims and the community’s aims are one.” Remember it’s not just math or Lit class. To be an Effective Principal under ASCD guidelines is to be pushing the Fostering Communities of Learners and Whole Child visions.

Notice that the Rogers article quoted the creator of the term ‘Excellence’ in education, Mihaly Csiksentmihalyi, who we just keep running into. In all the Professional Development for the Common Core using Csik’s flow concepts though, no one has ever mentioned that the altered consciousness sought in teachers and students is “like being on some mind altering drug without the chemicals.” Sure does explain the giddiness of the administrators afterwards though on the utter joy from using the techniques in classrooms. Gets you to that same place again in altering consciousness then with all your clothes still on. Thank goodness.

The NCTM vision of mathematics education “that works for all students” where students may work on “problems that take hours, days or even weeks to solve–mirroring the world for which we are preparing them” really does sound like math class to change how the world is perceived. The hyping of “digital tools that allow teachers to take learning much deeper” sets up the vision we just keep coming across to let programmed virtual reality be the preferred substitute now for the real world. Students come to see “math as a useful tool in understanding the world in which students live,” with nothing to tip them off that false perceptions are being deliberately cultivated to drive the belief in the need for fundamental transformational changes.

Digital learning for all gets mandated to supposedly drive equity and then those “available tools and technology help teachers and students concretize and visualize [Galperin's Image again] mathematical abstractions.” Suddenly a discipline created to provide a symbolic system to reliably and unambiguously describe, and abstractly manipulate, actual reality in ways that created the civilizational progress we take for granted becomes a conceptual tool for misperceiving reality in politically useful ways.

At least if you have fundamental transformations on your mind.

Like Rogers, NCTM, and most of the central office employees in your local school district.

Deep Diving to Internal Mental Models to Increase Leverage for Accomplishing the Great Transition

No, deep diving is not a Grab Your Attention Play on the ubiquity of the ambiguous term ‘deeper learning’ as a fundamental goal of 21st century education globally. The last fundamental transformation confession that was lurking in that IPCC definition of Adaptation we have been discussing in this Spheres of Desired Transformation Quartet was from a 2011 Conference in London where once again our invitation went missing. Sponsored primarily by the World Wildlife Fund-UK and called the Smart CSOs Conference, the report was called Effective Change Strategies for the Great Transition: Five Leverage Points for Civil Society Organizations. Troublingly and in disregard of my recollection of civics in the US, the document seeks to achieve invisible global change because “similar to governments, CSOs have a mandate to serve society’s interests, but they do not face the same constraints as governments.”

Oh, goody. Especially since the report notes in discussing the leverage points for the wholesale transformations intended by the Great Transition that “increased leverage can be found by diving to the deeper levels of the iceberg depicted [in the report but taken from Peter Senge's 1990 book The Fifth Discipline Handbook] and draw our attention to and shift system structures and mental models.” When people tell me they wish my book or this blog would simply stick to education, I keep repeating that I cannot. The constantly recurring end goal is always that education is a means for obtaining a new kind of consciousness and revised societal values for desired fundamental transformations “across every realm” at both a “broad and deep systemic” level. The report states that this “includes technologies, legislation, economic and governance institutions, social relations, culture and values.”

Education is deemed to be the key means of leveraging the transition because it is the “internal models of the world” that will allow the needed changes in behaviors going forward. All the explanations of mandated Constructivism and Curriculum Redesign and Gaming and systems thinking and digital learning all become clear when we read the complaints of how existing political, social, and economic structures are resisting the desired transformational changes. The key the report says is to “go even deeper and explore how real structures are shaped by our thinking. We create internal models of the world–mental models, which we use for making sense of the world and taking action.” The fact that these internal mental representations are the target gets hidden behind euphemisms like deep learning, brain-based learning, teaching students ‘how to think,’ and rigor and higher order thinking skills that will allow Transfer.

Unless, like me, you read the underlying cited psychological research the true definitions and aims remain obscured. In my world though, the intentions could not be more clear. As the CSO report recommended, systems thinking and conceptual ‘lenses’ generally “allows us to open these black boxes.” Numerous papers I have seen in just the last week make it clear this is exactly what the new assessments delivered via adaptive software and the computer are designed to produce data both looking at and changing what’s inside the ‘black box’ within a student’s mind. It is the aim of this recent Nellie Mae report    http://www2.nmefoundation.org/l/30762/2014-03-20/sbd9/30762/14238/Ready_For_College_FullReport.pdf as well as “Measuring Learning Success: Rethinking Assessment to Improve Student Outcomes” from the Center for Digital Education (that is actually a sub of media company erepublic that works with state and local governments on innovations based on Big Data). Can you say “No one will see this coming until it is too late?”

All of these intentions are laid out, including specifically “simulations and role playing games” that let students explore in cyberspace with visual images the “dynamic consequences of our assumptions” in our existing mental models. No one will be tipping off teachers or students that those consequences are simply what has been programmed into the simulation to guide beliefs and values in desired directions. If you are wondering if I am perhaps too cynical on the intentions here, the CSO report wants a new narrative so badly they italicized it that will “speak to the hearts and minds of a very large number of people and tell a creative and emotional story of who we are and who we need to be and tap into the creative worlds of mythmaking.” The narrative will appeal to people’s intrinsic values, which will of course have been cultivated by ed using contemplative education or positive psychology methods and the Positive School Climate/ Fostering Communities of Learners requirements.

Whatever method gets used to embed new communitarian oriented values via school and higher education, CSOs are exhorted to use the laid-out “understanding of values, frames and narratives in their policy and their communication.” Remember the desire of cybernetic theory to create an internal keel that could be used to steer people’s future behavior with? CSOs, the media, governments at all levels with help from companies like erepublic, are all planning to steer as a means of finally achieving this Great Transition. Did you know the report defines narratives as “frameworks for people to understand their lives. They are a way to make sense of life”? Those narratives are being consciously created to get at emotions. They are designed to utilize research from cognitive science obtained from real people via formative assessments, adaptive software, or data from MOOCs (hence all the interest from the Artificial Intelligence community. It is also a research method).

That cognitive science research so far says that to change values in people and ultimately institutions, education needs to target the “mental structures that allow human beings to understand reality.” Accessing these “deep frames–the cognitive structures found in long-term memory–are closely linked with cultural values. Deep frames are relatively stable, but are not unchangeable.” Let’s stop again to remember and discuss why these deep mental structures are being deliberately targeted for change. Politicians, public sector bureaucrats, foundation employees, CSOs, and apparently the entire UN apparatus that guarantees lifetime salaries for all vision-compliant former politicians once voters tire of their shenanigans, have all decided to fundamentally redesign all our civic institutions and economic and political structures in ways that benefit them and screw us. Since we would be crazy to go along if we were asked, we are not being asked.

Education again is the way in. It is why it has become a Weapon to Destroy the world we currently take for granted. It goes to accessing the deepest structures of our minds and the fundamental drivers within our personalities. To dictate that it is now to be “the will of humanity to invent an economic system that is guided by different parameters and that would work for human wellbeing and the planet.” That’s doubtful, but it’s such a nice slogan for the reality of personal greed coerced via the public sector. Schools and higher ed are now to ensure graduates have a “bigger sense of interconnectedness with nature and with others and an empathy with humanity as a whole (global empathy).” And no matter how much a student knows, without hitting that Universal Love stage of Global Citizenship, there will be no badge or diploma. The student will be regarded as Not Ready to Move On.

I want to end on one of the same notes that I drew attention to in my book, especially now that the same vision featured prominently in the recent book Imagine Living in a Socialist USA. The intended redesign of the global economy, especially in developed countries like the US, Canada, Australia, and Europe, is to “start with the question: What level and what type of consumption do people really need to live a good and fulfilling life?”

This is not a minor point. In fact the Ford Foundation funds Global Transformation research around this so-called Line of Plenty. The Thanksgiving 2077 conclusion to that Imagine book talks about how people probably would never have supported the Great Transition if they had realized it would mean meat consumption would be rare and that medical care would cease after a certain age. But those recognized realities are not in the Talking Points for the Great Transition being offered for public consumption. It’s not designed into the scenarios offered by virtual simulation either.

We have a great deal of intended aims and consequences laid out in the documents discussed in this IPCC Adaptation Quartet. Fundamental transformations in all areas without any intention of asking for consent from the so-called Governed. Only calling attention to these intentions and the fact that education is the way in can stop it.

I can and have tracked all this and more. Can you help me spread the word about these dangerous declared intentions?

Quality Education Shapes What Will Be Valued and Provides Unifying Concepts to Guide Political Consciousness

Now that we know that there is a deliberate global coordination to redesign the very nature of school curricula, I thought it would be helpful to understand what these various entities and institutions believe constitutes ‘knowledge’ in the 21st century. After all creating a ‘Knowledge Society’ has been the UN’s euphemism for their intended economic, social, and political transformation since at least 2005. (Explained in the conclusion of the book so I am merely adding now to what is there.) In 2013 UNESCO created a report called Renewing the Knowledge Societies Vision for Peace and Sustainable Development by Professors Robin Mansell and Gaetan Tremblay. We will be using the definitions usefully laid out in that report.

We might be tempted to equate knowledge with facts, but that would be an erroneous translation of what is to be meant by the word now. “Information and knowledge are not the same because knowledge requires interpretation by human beings.” Now if there was a Cliff Notes Guide to all these plans of transformation, it would now say in bold print that phrases like “quality education,” “teaching and learning” that we have now retranslated into the original obuchenie from the psych theories, and “competency” among others are ALL about deliberately guiding that likely interpretation. Why? This editorial from a UK paper a few days ago provides the answer. http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/behavioural-insights/2014/feb/14/seven-dimensions-action-climate-change . It wants not a set of disparate facts, but a “more energising set of associations” that create a “political consciousness” that will then act predictably in response to raised issues. How? Because each person will “connect with the deep roots of the problem.” Deep Learning in other words.

So with education and the media working in tandem planners and politicians hoping for radical change can create, and then manipulate, that deliberately cultivated mindset. That worldview. Those perceptual lenses. Why? Because the knowledge societies intend to push for “new forms of political deliberation, representation and decision making” and to make that seem like a matter of individual choice in a democracy when it actually could not be more planned. As the report mentions “what is valued in tomorrow’s knowledge societies will be shaped by the strategies and actions towards information, communication and education that are taken in the near term.”

Given that recognition by people pushing for radical transformation it really should bother us that in September 2013 there was a first ever international conference in Sakhalin, Russia organized by UNESCO on “Internet and Socio-Cultural Transformations in Information Society.” Most of the discussed documents remain in Russian, but an English translation of what the participants agreed upon said that ICT should be “embraced” by the knowledge societies “as an essential but not sufficient component of converging the nano, biological, information and cognitive sciences and technologies.” It even assigned an acronym for that merger–NBIC. The participants agreed that “the Internet creates a basic environment for the socialization of future generations, changing their values and ways of thinking.”

Now if that reminds anyone else of Paul Ehrlich’s decades old push for New Minds or what I have described as the official Statist desire to eliminate Axemaker Minds, let me continue to quote from what these advocates of ICT use in education readily acknowledge:

* Logocentric, narrative ways of thinking is losing its dominance, getting supplemented and partly replaced by ‘clip’ mentality characterized by a lower degree of logical connectivity, criticality and consistency.

*Consciousness immersed in cyberspace largely loses the ability for supra-situational activities and long-term planning. As a result traditional models of intellect-enabled basic processes of social control are defied.”

Instead, of Run as Fast as We Can away from such pernicious personal consequences, we get open embrace and advocacy. Apparently the loss of reason and an ability to think well is useful to the planners and funders (like the foundations financing so much of this) of these knowledge societies. Maybe it’s because such Manipulated Minds are thought to be useful for the hoped for sustainable development. After all one of the Earth Charter International Recommendations Outcome Documents from 2012 openly declared that the Just Transition hoped for would require “a shared vision of ethical and spiritual values that inspires and guides cooperative action for change. Shared values awaken a sense of common purpose and build community spirit.” Reading manipulative language like that from people who are lying to us about what they are really up to always makes me want to chuckle with the irony of it all.

Won’t work, never has. The only question is how much destruction of individual minds and personalities will continue to occur before enough people begin to grasp the true causes. With this kind of deliberate mind arson I suppose the hope is to keep an electoral majority mindless and manipulated with these politically useful values. Well, values is not all we get along with the taxpayer bill for all these machinations.  We are also to get Competencies says the 2013 report to “empower people to make changes in their lives.” How thrilling. And you wonder why I developed the metaphor of the Invisible Serf’s Collar to describe what education is being used to do.

The UN hoped-to-be Overlords and their agents like politicians and profs and accreditors and school district supers all believe we also need “information and media literacies.” These “need to encompass conceptual competencies such as critical thinking, innovative approaches to problem solving; practical competencies for navigating in media and information environments; and competencies such as social networking, digital citizenship and cross-cultural interaction skills.” No wonder one of the leading advocates for this global ed vision, Marc Tucker, used the metaphor “On the Shoulders of Giants” to obscure that there will be no such further building on or transmitting the great cultural knowledge developed over centuries.

Again the Sakhalin participants also mentioned that it was “against this background [the deficits ICT and the Internet are actually promoting quoted above] that the promotion of competencies (skills, knowledge, and attitudes), united by the term ‘media and information literacy’ (MIL) gains importance. MIL ensures responsible safe and critical use of networks for free access, production and exchange of information necessary for living and receiving quality education, as well as for scientific progress.” Now since the next sentence talks about “contemporary socio-cultural processes,” the scientific progress is in Marx’s view of societies inexorably evolving towards communism based on levels of technology. It’s not a Newton dropping his apple to discover gravity view of what is science.

I want to end with another extended quote from the 2013 report because it is so telling about how important to the planners of transformation it is to create predictably guided perceptions at the level of each individual. It is why the nature of the curricula, the classroom, the teaching practices, and what the student is to be doing ALL had to change. My bolding.

“Knowledge is a more complex concept than information. It cannot be reduced to the mere addition of unrelated information elements. Knowledge is a concept that implies meaning, organization and structure. It refers to articulated sets of meaningful observations, analyses, and interpretations that are developed over time (a/k/a a learning progression for those who have read my book) and available for each generation to be discussed and criticized. Access to knowledge implies not only access to technical devices and to stocks of information, but also involvement in learning processes. There is no knowledge without learning.”

So we are to get deliberately created Mindlessness because of the digital learning push as Quality Education globally. What mind is left gets deliberately organized and structured to perceive relationships wherever planners believe it will be politically useful. And why again?

For purposes of the need to drive action for transformative change or not to rise up in time and combat those who are acting.

Oh. My. Word. No wonder the nature of knowledge had to be redefined for such a vision.

Change Perception, Change Behavior, Change Rules, Change Systems–the Real Common Core/Teacher Coercion Story

Today’s post reenforces my consistent point that what is going on in education ‘reforms’ at all levels is not about the how and what of getting as many students as possible as knowledgeable and able as possible. What most of us view as the historic role of schools. Even something as fundamental as the new teacher evaluations and measures of what constitutes student ‘achievement’ or ‘growth’ are actually bound up in the broader social, economic, and political transformation agenda. And once again the aim is not limited to the US or Canada or the UK or Australia. It truly is global in aim as this short video called ‘Purpose’ show us. http://www.purpose.com/

Now the first part of the title comes from that circle chart at the 1:21 mark that the way to achieve this comprehensive vision of global transformation is to Change Perception which causes Individual Behaviors to Change, hopefully along the preselected pathways. That in turn allows Changes in the governing Rules (either explicitly or as we saw with Harold Berman through the concept of evolving law that shifts with needs and new contexts). Finally, all of these shifts over a majority of voters results in a Change in the economic, social, and political Systems.

We could also call that chart a Graphic Organizer illustrating how to accomplish Dialectical Materialism in the real world. Now I still find that to be an off-putting phrase and just using the initials might not alert my readers to what I mean. I am also darn sure we are going to keep needing to refer to this Theory with an Infamous Past so I hereby rechristen it DiaMat for short. Why am I so sure this theory will need a nickname to allow for easy use?

Because I believe that the new teacher evaluations and professional development standards, and even the new definition of professional learning that is coming out of Kentucky, are all about getting DiaMat into everyday practice in our schools and classrooms. DiaMat in the teachers’ daily instructional practices of course allows that Obuchenie mindset to be developed in the students. Then the new alternative assessments being administered by Pearson, even in states like Texas that are not adopters of the Common Core, get to measure whether the desired changes in perception are occurring.

If we look at the inner core of that circle chart, we see Perception changes through new Story Telling, which of course is most vividly accomplished by ditching textbooks and making virtual reality Gaming and Cyberlearning the new focus of the classroom (under the motto that it keeps students engaged and thus keeps them from dropping out). Next, at the inner core under Change Behavior we find ‘Motivator,’ which is precisely what the League of Innovative Schools and the federally promoted Digital Promise hope to use technology in the classroom to determine. Under Change Rules, we find ‘Mobilizer,’ which I believe is a euphemism for the better known–’community organizer.’ Finally, under Change Systems, we find ‘Platform Builder.’ Like Peter Senge promoting systems thinking or Mark Greenberg pushing positive psychology on schools or Angela Duckworth on Grit and Tenacity as examples in education? Or to take it up a notch, we have Harry Boyte and his concept of the cooperative commonwealth or Gar Alperowitz and his Democracy Collaborative or King’s Beloved Community as only being satisfied via economic democracy.

The point of just those few examples is that the world itself and all the individuals in it may not be interdependent, but the idea behind radical ed reform and the transformation visions that accompany it certainly are. My book and this blog are dedicated to trying to sound the alarm of these connections in time. You may not have read Imagine Living in a Socialist USA that came out about two weeks ago from HarperCollins Publishing, but I have. It is a historically and economically illiterate vision with a devastating conclusion of what a Thanksgiving 2077 could be like in the transformed US. In the middle is an essay from Bill Ayers of Weathermen and “Just another guy in the neighborhood” fame laying out the associated ed vision. Ayers calls it “Teach Freedom!” but the Common Core calls it student-centered deep learning of the desired concepts with application to real world problems. DiaMat again.

Remember how we discovered that the omnipresent around the classroom implementation dual phrase “teaching and learning” was an inexact stealth attempt to bring in the Russian psychology and political theory of obuchenie to alter the student’s perception? Well, we did not dwell on it then but it is the teacher’s perception that is also  under active attack. The students are not the only ones to be asked to Ascend from the Abstract to the Concrete based on preassigned concepts to be understood as desired and acted upon. Teachers must shift too. Think of it as forcing everyone to become a change agent or to find a new job or career.

That’s what the new classroom observations and teacher evaluations are all about according to the developers of the Common Core standards themselves, Student Achievement Partners. Well, they did not mention obuchenie or Ilyenkov’s Ascending theory but they are intimately tied to the new definition of student achievement and how to end educational inequality. You see? This is why radical schemers are so hostile to us having our own personal store of accurate facts about the past. We go beyond the assigned story and interject our own conceptual understandings based on a pertinent solid foundation. Naughty me! Seriously in November 2013 TNTP (yes it is the entity Michelle Rhee started) released an Issue Analysis Report co-developed with Student Achievement Partners called “Fixing Classroom Observations: How Common Core Will Change the Way We Look at Teaching.”

That report itself says that “the implementation of improved teacher evaluation systems in a growing number of states and school districts, and the introduction of Common Core State Standards across the country” are “inextricably linked by their shared goal: better instruction for students.” Once again so much for the talking point about Common Core NOT being about how to teach the content. It is ALL about how to teach the content and in fact greatly limits what the content may be. Common Core and TNTP together ( they are distinct only to minimize the previous public outcries that supposedly derailed outcomes based education) are all about obuchenie instruction. On the circle graph we talked about above it is a certain type of instruction that changes perception so that behavior itself changes. Then the DiaMat process that should result in transformed systems can begin in earnest.

DiaMat is why the TNTP report stresses the need to teach the “right content.” Interpolating again, I believe that means content that will shift perception in politically powerful ways so that “students are learning what they should be learning.” Learning remember has been redefined as a change in values, attitudes, beliefs, feelings, or behaviors. That redefinition then fits well within the Purpose Chart for Change. If you really believe that outcomes-based education went away instead of morphing into new names and a different PR strategy, look at page 6 of that TNTP report under “student outcomes” (the italics are in original) about “Rubrics should draw a clear distinction between the  outcomes teachers are responsible for producing in a successful lesson and the strategies that can help them achieve those outcomes.”

Because I really am trying my best to alert teachers and students and parents in time about what is really going on and where it is all designed to lead, here is one more heads up addressed especially to teachers. It also goes to my certainty that what we are dealing with is in fact obuchenie and DiaMat and that they are integrally interrelated to the actual Common Core implementation and the Competency ultimate fallback. “State Lessons for Transforming Professional Learning” http://learningforward.org/docs/default-source/commoncore/seizing-the-moment.pdf Launched in 2011 from the official CCSSI sponsors and coming from Kentucky, the remainder of the 6 pilot states are Georgia, Illinois, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Utah, and Washington. It will be going national though and it is tied to what TNTP is developing as well. It also ties into the history of what it means to be an effective teacher that I laid out in my book Credentialed to Destroy: How and Why Education Became a Weapon.

It is DiaMat that ultimately weaponizes students and teachers and administrators caught up in this tragic vision. They are being credentialed and coerced to be change agents to transform the world. Meanwhile their educations at the K-12, collegiate, and graduate levels are being systematically stripped of anything accurate that might be an obstacle to a willingness to seek transformation–first at the level of perception, then behavior, then reality itself.

While people like me who have studied history and economics and classical lit and science are jumping up and down and screaming like that silly robot in Lost in Space with his “Danger! Danger!”

This has been a week in Atlanta where the dangers perceptible to anyone paying attention were unrecognized, or disregarded, by too many education decision-makers. Expanding the authority of this sector nationally and globally so that it can ignite transformational systems change will create comparable results to what happened Tuesday.

Nowhere to Go. No Way to Get There. Except this time there will be no innate southern kindnesses to keep us and our loved ones and our resources safe.