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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Assessing Deep Knowledge to Monitor Whether Theory is Guiding What Will be Noticed and Observed

Now you can just imagine the popular outcry if the Common Core and its integral 21st Century Skills were being sold as a shift to Abraham Maslow’s Eupsychian education. That would certainly make the current wholesale transformation of the purpose of education and the function of schools and universities much harder to sell. In fact, that overt psychological pitch might even get the attention of a social-climbing PTA President or a politician intent on ever higher elective office. No one but me at the moment is going to describe what is going on now in such explosively impactful terms. But that widespread omission doesn’t mean it’s not still the actual intention.

Professor Daniel Bell, then a professor of Sociology at Harvard, wrote a 1973 book The Coming of Post-Industrial Society: A Venture in Social Forecasting that laid out precisely why people guided by a theoretical understanding of reality was so crucial to any plan for social transformation. Which is precisely what he and others had in mind. The age of the individual and decision-making through free markets was supposedly over and the future was a planned society and decisions through the political process but not really by elected representatives. Bell believed in 1973 precisely what the federal Department of Education’s Equity and Excellence Commission pushed in 2013–that the future political structure would be grounded in “equality of result–by sharing and redistributive policies–rather than equality of opportunity.”

Such a political demand either has to be imposed by brute force, which is another loser PR campaign, or by “being rooted in some powerful ethical system.” That’s why we have Maslow and Rogers in 1962 and Outcomes Based Education in the 80s and 90s and Global Competency and the Whole Child Initiative now all targeting new values. Global values. Humanistic values grounded in popular metaphors like Martin Luther King’s Beloved Community or potential apocalypses like Catastrophic Manmade Climate Change. It’s a rationale for developing what Maslow called the “self-actualizing B-Values” and Bell saw as the “philosophical foundation–a conception of justice as fairness–for a communal society.”  Bell goes on to describe an intention we need to keep in mind to appreciate why a nationally and globally imposed common core of beliefs and values is so sought in 2013:

“In the nature of human consciousness, a scheme of moral equity is the necessary basis for any social order; for legitimacy to exist, power must be justified. In the end it is moral ideas–the conception of what is desirable–that shapes history through human aspirations.”

Bell said the historic “premise of individual freedoms and the satisfaction of private utilities” was crumbling. All of the sought changes over the decades via education and the hyping of first global cooling in the 70s and then later global warming, and now the refusal to take actual temps amid an undisputed increase in Carbon Dioxide into account, all make more sense when you read Bell’s next axiomatic assertion from the 70s: “the political system is now being geared to the realization not of individual ends but of group and communal needs.”

Sounds just like a shift from a profit economy to a needs-based, For Benefit Economy, doesn’t it? Old ideas at social engineering apparently never die. They just get new names, different advocates, and better sales pitches on why they are necessary and must be imposed, something to keep in mind after Friday’s White House Executive Order imposing Climate Change adaptations like it or not. http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/11/01/executive-order-preparing-united-states-impacts-climate-change .

Now the term Post-Industrial Society is used less now. Usually the UN or the OECD prefers the terms Knowledge Society or Information Society but the intentions do not really shift the nature of the transition to be facilitated through governmental planning of desired behaviors, distribution of resources, and public policies generally. All that needs new conceptual schema, a/k/a Big Ideas and Deep Knowledge. Bell says industrial society was the “coordination of machines and men for the production of goods.” Since he says, we have become a society committed to social control in order to shift to equality of results, that “introduces the need for planning and forecasting into society.”

Post-industrial society then, like its alternative names, is “organized around knowledge, for the purpose of social control and the directing of innovation and change: and this in turn gives rise to new social relationships and new structures which have to be managed politically.” Bell doesn’t point it out here but now we have the mayors and City Councils and Governors in the name of Economic Development all ready to do just that. The innovation and change then is not the historic Free Lunch For All/ New Kind of Technology like computer transistors shifting to integrated circuits but the kind of sociological innovation Bruno Latour also had in mind in a previous post. And Bell says it is the “altered awareness of the nature of innovation that makes theoretical knowledge so crucial.”

Although the Common Core is still not producing the level of popular uproar that would come if the actual implementation were better recognized, there has still been enough hype about the feds usurping the role of states and localities that the sponsoring trade group, the CCSSO, sent out a letter dated October 1, 2013.   http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/CCSSO%20Assessment%20Quality%20Principles%2010-1-13%20FINAL.pdf . The CCSSO tells the states the kind of assessments they need to have. Try to control your shock that when you cut through the rhetoric and the Appendix and the mentioned June 2013 CSCOPE report, you end up with a determination that these new kinds of assessments be looking for theoretical knowledge. “These new assessments will not be limited to surface level knowledge–they will better assess the deep knowledge students need to succeed post-graduation.”

That “deep knowledge” or what the C3 Social Studies Framework calls “lenses” or what the Hewlett Foundation calls “deep learning” or what Donald Schon (who worked with Bell in the 60s) called “Generative Metaphors” are all examples of what Bell called either “conceptual prisms” or “conceptual schemata.” Having education provide them for ALL Students aids this attempt to bring about a “change in the social framework of society.” I would add and doing so invisibly without bothering to amend annoying barriers like the language of the US Constitution. Friday afternoon Executive Orders on Climate Change Adaptation or Positive School Climate mandates gets the effect without the turmoil that could force policy retrenchment.

If you, like me, have often wondered why it always seems to be the Frameworks that guide the actual classroom curricula being developed or professional development instead of the standards that politicians supposedly adopted, the following passage will finally silence our curiousity about what is really going on. “Nomen est numen, to name is to know, is the ancient maxim” guiding so much of the actual classroom curricula to change values, beliefs, feelings, dispositions, and ultimately future behavior itself.

“Social frameworks are not ‘reflections’ of a social reality but conceptual schemata. History is a flux of events and society a web of many different kind of relations which are known not simply by observation. If we accept the distinction between matters of fact and matters of relation, then knowledge, as a combination of the two, depends on the correct sequence between factual order and logical order. For experience, the factual order is primary; for meaning, the logical order.

Mind knows nature by finding some language in which to express an underlying pattern. Knowledge, thus, is a function of the categories we use to establish relationships just as perception [bolded to remind you of Maslow and Rogers and the 1962 book for the NEA] is a function of the conventions we have accepted in order to see things ‘correctly.’ As Einstein once put it: ‘it is the theory that decides what we can observe.’”

So the social planners and transformational change seekers and psychologists and education profs have recognized all this for decades as an essential component of How to Achieve Equity in a Planned Society 102. Without having having to confess beforehand what is being altered and why.

Isn’t it about time we all knew it as well?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Using Education to Make Giving More Power to Those Who Govern Us the Common Vision

Does that title give more clarity to why those Essential Learning Outcomes from the last post must now be what the student  becomes and believes as a result of school and college? How about the official Democracy push via education for a new cooperative commonwealth in the future? Or using contemplative practices in the classroom to bypass the rational mind and make the Heart the driver of what will become reflexive Habits of the Mind?

We in the US especially, but also as the dominant vision all over the West, simply have always seen ourselves as individuals first. A vision of the Governors and the Governed is alien to our psyche. But unfortunately it is not alien to the druthers of an awful lot of influential people who would like more power please. Or who get together with each other–politicians, foundation heads, Big Business titans, and bemoan their decaying power To Get Things Done. The Loss of Their Grip on Society.

So one way to look at all these education reforms whose true target seems unfathomable to us since it shuts down useful knowledge is as an Oligarch Protection Scheme. Now I have generally known that but in March 2013 the book The End of Power: From Boardrooms to Battlefields and Churches to States, Why Being in Charge Isn’t What It Used to Be was published. Yes, I am considering nominating this book for whiniest title of the year but that is not why it caught my attention. You see, its author, Moises Naim, is a scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the former Editor-in-Chief of Foreign Policy magazine. Now maybe you are unaware of just how many of the controversial ideas in education have been funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York but I am not. So I ordered the book hoping for insights into what Carnegie’s plans were now for all of us. What it is really pushing under the cover of Common Core or EdLeader 21 or High Tech High replicas or Early College High Schools or those Next Generation Science Standards.

Can you say Bingo? Or Touchdown with a conversion for a total of 8 points from the play? Now how’s this for the back cover endorsements of the book–former President Bill Clinton, George Soros, Arianna Huffington, the President of Brazil, and Francis Fukuyama. The last one makes me wonder whether the End of History ended where we thought. The first one is a reminder that all these ed reforms were hoping to be fully implemented in the 90s. If you check the Acknowledgments page, Naim thanks the President of the Carnegie Endowment by name for all her help with the manuscript that became the book. He also thanks the President of the Brookings Institution, Strobe Talbott, by name and former Treasury Secretary, Larry Summers.

So this is the official What the Oligarchs would like to See Going Forward Vision. What drives grantmaking and the research that is pushed in education or other related areas like Metropolitanism or Immigration or Regional Equity generally. I have gradually put together that all these changes are part of a common, governments at all levels, led vision for the future. But the Oligarchs just talk about it over dinner or while jetting to conferences like Davos. They Know because it is part of their ongoing conversations.

But since Naim wrote it down and so many powerful people cooperated, let’s see what the Oligarchs have in mind for us. He bemoans the fact that our elected leaders “are paralyzed by the vetocracy” and he wants to change that. He ends the book with this haunting line:

“Driven by the transformation in the acquisition, use, and retention of power, humanity must, and will, find new ways of governing itself.”

According to Naim, we need to “endow our leaders with the capacity to contain the decay of power.” Now at some point Naim was Venezuela’s Minister of Industry and Trade and also with the World Bank so maybe that’s where his tendency to talk in terms of the Governed and the Governors comes from but he’s not in Venezuela anymore. He works in the US for an endowment tied to one of the richest foundations in the world. A global think tank that aspires to be THE global international affairs go to place. For countries all over the world. So when he writes and thinks in terms of “the societies they wish to govern” repeatedly and nobody even thinks to edit it out, we do have a declaration of how the Oligarchs think of each of us. And what they wish to do to push back against “the decay of power.” They wish to change the “one critical area [that] remains surprisingly untouched: the way we govern ourselves, our communities, nations, and the international system.” Naim writes that “we are on the verge of a revolutionary wave of positive political and institutional innovations.”

Positive for whom? For the family paying real estate taxes that put a strain on the family budget while Supers and their staffs deliberately push Mind Arson in the schools? When you deal with a Principal who refuses to listen to valid concerns or a PTA President who does not care that teacher professional development is being led by someone who has openly held up Mao Tse-Tung as an example of leadership, just remember what is really going on is a struggle for the soul of people and nations. A desire that schools now foster Mindsets of dependence and a belief in the need for collective action to address supposedly insuperable global problems and challenges like Climate Change and Overpopulation and Nuclear Proliferation.

Naim repeatedly belittles the Tea Party for its views and for hobbling “one of the world’s most powerful political machines”– the Republican Party. Well, that certainly explains a lot of why it keeps mounting such ineffective Presidential runs. He also disparages “eighteenth-century readings of the American constitution advocated by characters dressed in period costume” although I suspect he would be no more fond of the language of that document if the speaker had on a Bespoke tailored suit with a European cut. In the name of the “social good” for the future, Naim wants to create:

“an increased disposition in democratic societies to give more power to those who govern us. And that is impossible unless we trust them more. Which is of course even more difficult. But also indispensable.”

Well, indispensable to Oligarchs who want to transform the way “humanity organizes itself” for their own benefit. So they use education for Mind Arson and new beliefs and values. All trackable now via personal data. In the name of economic growth, the urban areas are quietly seeking a shift to a planned Cronyistic regional economy and calling it the Metropolitan Revolution. Have you read it yet? All supposedly necessary again so “we will be able to tackle the most pressing global challenges.” Who are they kidding? These global problems are just the excuse for a feast at our expense and a future of invisible chains and continuous taxes as the Oligarchs enjoy themselves. And take care of each other. We are truly to be just passengers that exist for the sake of the ship.

So when you read a presentation like this recent one  http://www.p21.org/storage/documents/Presentations/Education_for_Life_and_Work_Feb_2013.pdf that you and I were not invited to attend since we might have wondered why the Common Core assessments were to actually focus on intrapersonal and interpersonal competencies, remember now it is assessing Mindsets Suitable to be Governed. Don’t forget to notice the slide thanking all the sponsoring foundations including Carnegie.

You may never have heard of the Committee on Defining Deeper Learning and 21st Century Skills of the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences of the National Research Council.  But the NRC also tracks back to Carnegie funding. 1919. But with governmental sponsorship now. Cool, huh? Binding and mostly out of sight. Carnegie also funded this report “The Heart of the Matter” issued in June to change the direction of humanities and social sciences instruction to “address major global challenges.” Of course and all we need are basic competencies now from K-12. http://www.humanitiescommission.org/_pdf/hss_report.pdf . Don’t forget to notice that the head of that NRC Behavioral Division is a member of that Humanities Commission.

And when you read that very troubling report, don’t forget that Paul Ehrlich said the humanities are to be the focus now on how to change human behavior. That his MAHB is now doing for UN entities.

Which are also tied to Carnegie funding. Not having to pay taxes just leaves so much more money to use to mess with the psyche of those of us who do. And to plan and scheme and coordinate. Especially with those other foundations. Who all have such transformative plans for us.

Let us be forever grateful that the Oligarchs put so much in writing upfront.

And that we can still read and think and act.

Mystical Marxism, Shapers of Our Current World System, or Building New Mental Software

Please. Oh, please, can I opt for a Door Number 4 as I continue to track down the actual planned social, political, and economic transformative vision for the future? Global and using so-called education reforms as the vehicle. Without our consent and apparently without our knowledge. Modelled on of all things, Soviet psychology and philosophy, but now renamed and spun in terms of Confucius or transpersonal, Integral, philosophy and the ever present systems thinking. Because of course the mindsets that the Chinese leaders find appropriate for their “under our thumb” (to the music of the Rolling Stones please) citizens is precisely appropriate for a US or Australian or Korean classroom. Anywhere I suppose where anyone with political power dreams of looking at the masses of taxpayers and voters and assigning a role of permanent subordination.

Mystical Marxism. That’s what Ken Wilber called his Integral Worldview that explores, honors, and acknowledges “all the dimensions of men and women’s experiences–sensory, emotional, mental, social, spiritual.” Now Ken has actually been on my radar for a while because Harvard ed prof Robert Kegan seems to like partnering with the Integral Life philosophy when he is not pushing “Lessons of Systemic Change for Success in Implementing the New Common Core Standards” with Peter Senge and Hewlett Foundation funding. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/viewing-education-as-the-prime-lever-for-international-social-change-community-organizing-everywhere/ . But I do not talk about people on the periphery no matter how troubling the implications of their views. No I was following up on the definition of Global Competence and the Smithsonian’s involvement with both Understandings of Consequence and Big History.

Which caused me to take a look at the SHOUT education conferences Smithsonian has been sponsoring with Microsoft and another entity I was not familiar with. TakingITGlobal–Inspire, Inform, Involve. It turns out to be a student social media site promoting Global Citizenship. Disturbingly to me, their Theory of Change http://www.tigweb.org/about/why/change.html is “inspired by the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber, which posits that there are 4 areas (quadrants) where progressive development can occur: Interior Individual, Exterior Individual, Interior Collective, and Exterior Collective. Through our programs and project, young people move along a linear path through each quadrant …(A) Youth Development; (B) Youth Action & Participation; (C) Social Movements; and (D) Societal Values.” There’s more specifics on that site to help inculcate that individual and collective common core that prompts transformative action. Parents happily thinking their children have become involved in service learning may want to search out Wilber’s aspirations for Achieving Binding Democratic Global Governance.

Part 2 of our title comes from more detectiving around this issue of Global Competence and its integral (couldn’t resist because it’s true) part in CCSSO’s vision of the Common Core’s actual implementation. Turns out in 2009 the Gates Foundation funded a  CCSSO project called EdSteps to essentially obscure the key implementation components that might be controversial. Mustn’t allow any disruption of the political narrative being used to con the public on what was coming. It’s the EdSteps frameworks then that announce that the Common Core is about “a nation transforming its business and education systems in response to the evolving global economy.” That would be the Capitalism 3.0 or  what Shoshana Zuboff called distributed capitalism and the Aspen Institute the fourth sector/for benefit economy.

http://edsteps.org/CCSSO/SampleWorks/EdSteps%20Framework-08_29_12.pdf is the framework. Virginians and Texans may want to note their involvement with EdSteps as more proof you can get the common core implementation without the actual math or ELA standards. The Five EdSteps skill areas are the key implementation components that no one had been previously and systematically assessing: Creativity, Problem Solving for Learning, Analyzing Information, Global Competence, and Writing. Now honestly as EdSteps describes all these areas they will go a long way towards training students to Ascend from the Abstract to the Concrete or what Paul Ehrlich called organizing around Big Ideas and Concepts that will instill a compulsion to act. But you now have those Frameworks and my earlier posts. I need to move on to the even more troubling ideas behind the EdSteps screen.

EdSteps is a partner in yet another entity, world savvy, framing transformative curricula and practices for the 21st century student. And without the above link you would never see the ties to CCSSO. http://worldsavvy.org/assets/documents/uploads/WorldSavvy_ComponentsofGlobalCompetency.pdf lays out the Knowledge, Skills, Values & Attitudes, and Behaviors to be instilled in students. It’s all troubling but it’s the Knowledge component we need to focus on now. Especially as it primes for Big History or something comparably false and influential.

In particular the phrase “Historical forces that have shaped the current world system.” We don’t have a current singular world system. If we did it would by definition be totalitarian. The aspiration for one was a huge part of what drove one side in the Cold War. As long time readers know, I have been describing what appears to be an effort by UNESCO and other UN agencies to use initiatives like the Belmont Challenge and the Future Earth Alliance (still have not seen anyone involved in tights with lettering on their chest) to get to a singular world system.

That phraseology in the Components of Global Competency tells us a lot about the assumptions inherent in meetings none of us have been invited to. It also indicates all these transformational reforms are being driven either by some woefully ignorant people or idealogues enthralled by Utopia. Not to mention the Champagne Tastes and Caviar Dreams of being a connected Business in this vision no longer worried about consumers or competitors.

But a key component of this social vision starts at the city or regional level. Where it is much easier to get all the relevant politicians on board and bought off with grants and revenue sharing to finance a transformation. At least in the short term. It’s called the Learning City or Region and shifting the US towards it to dovetail with its Asian push is the purpose of both the Metropolitanism initiatives we have covered several times and the planned shift in federal revenue sharing we covered here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/well-no-wonder-no-one-listens-to-common-core-complaints-if-it-is-tied-to-federal-revenue-sharing/ .

But inexplicably the mayors and city councils always leave out the key component of the vision about “building mental software conditions for human wellbeing.” Or that learning cities and regions are the vital first step in “building the structural concept of a ‘learning society’…based upon an emphasis that ‘a society should be rewired and re-constructed in a way that human learning is put at the very front and maximized to fulfill the idea of a whole person.”

Well that sounds outlandish and remember learning means changes in values, attitudes, beliefs, or behaviors. I seriously doubt UNESCO’s or the Chinese vision of a whole person would be ours. And again aiming at those personal traits is essential to anyone with an aspiration of an integral human system. Local, national, or global. Bad track record people. And the above links have the Common Core in the US linked to at least two strategies for such a totalizing vision of personal and collective transcendence. The one Hewlett paid for in that previous post and Ken Wilber’s Integral Theory of Change.

It will be no fun to be an individual in a “complex adaptive system” being reorganized and centrally directed. Which is probably why the 2010 UNESCO document I am pulling this global Learning City vision from is quoting from Korea, Shanghai, and Changzhou, China versions. Where “education is an instrument to rebuild the community” around the planned vision. A community where “all” is so “co-related and connected to make a whole complex ecosystem of human learning. It is like a human body which cannot be detached from other parts. If so detached, the human simply dies.”

There’s no place for the genuinely autonomous person in that UNESCO-inspired vision of the Lifelong Learning Community (LLC). And if you think nothing like this can happen in the US or other countries like Australia I suggest you read this Leading Learning Communities report to be an effective elementary school principal. http://www.naesp.org/sites/default/files/LLC2-ES-1.pdf . That LLC vision is supposedly necessary “as we face squarely the challenges inherent in the transformation of our global society.” A learning society. One where, to once again quote UNESCO and a Korean prof of Lifelong Education in Seoul:

‘learning functions as a key attribute and defines what a society should be [functioning like what the Chinese Communists used to call 'thought reform' and others had a darker term for]…a key apparatus of social production and reproduction [which sounds better than the reality of social engineering]…In sum, a learning society is a self-organising emergence [in a centrally planned and dictated sort of way] where new patterns of social fabric and learning systems are merged and deployed. Here my point is this: a learning city is not just an old-timer’s economic project, but a whole new idea where a whole new learning system emerges, revolves, and grows to lead economic, social, and political development as a whole.”

How totalising. No room for the unitary self there. No wonder john a powell said that the Regional Equity Movement in the US and its accompanying education vision was not just looking for distributive justice. Not when you can join a vision where “learning is considered an authentic and generic DNA for cultivating the post-industrial society as a complex adaptive system. In this vein, systems thinking is the key mode of planning and implementing the whole situation in action.”

Which would explain why systems thinking just keeps popping up. All the function and little of the notoriety of the M word.

Explicitly treating all of us as if “cultivating a forest of learning systems, which needs patience, systems thinking and collective minds.”

No I am not done yet. But that is quite enough to chew on for today.

 

 

Viewing Education as the Prime Lever for International Social Change: Community Organizing Everywhere

No I did not add that reference to community organizing as a provocative means of grabbing your attention. Yes I do know that it was the past profession of the current US President and it’s not an area I knew much about. Until about a week ago when a book from the political theorist I kept seeing cited in the footnotes of so many of the books and reports I was reading came. If his was the political vision that went with these education, social, and economic “reforms,” I thought I’d better check out precisely what that vision was. His name is Harry Boyte and the 2004 book was called Everyday Politics: Reconnecting Citizens and Public Life. Boyte lays out his vision for the future direction of society in terms of a “cooperative commonwealth” where citizen groups organize and work together with governments at all levels to identify and solve society’s problems.

I do not find Boyte’s vision to be especially workable but it is the vision of the future that is attached to the real Common Core once you tiptoe through those all important implementing footnotes. Boyte sees a reenvisioned education, K-12 and higher ed, as central to his goal of creating a partnership among citizens and government. He quotes Jane Addams in terms of how to best spread his vision of an Everyday Politics:

“We are gradually requiring of the educator that he free the powers of each man and connect him with the rest of life. We are impatient to use the dynamic power residing in the mass of humankind, and demand that the educator free that power.”

If that sounds like John Dewey, yes we do seem to refighting the issues of the 20th century again in the 21st century. Again, there’s a reason Addams sounds like Dewey. They were both colleagues and friends back in the 1890s Chicago. Old theories do not die in politics or education. They just get renamed for another try regardless of tragic histories.

Boyte wants to use education in the 21st to “reinvent the role of productive citizen and the politics to express it.” Otherwise, “public life is unlikely to improve.” And what precisely does he intend to do? Here’s his precise plan:

“If we are to renew democracy through everyday politics, five things are needed. This first is conceptual: we need an understanding of the commons as something created and sustained by human beings, not simply given. The other four are practical. We need to develop public policy frameworks for productive citizen-government partnerships in problem solving. We need sustained culture-changing organizing in mediating institutions [bolded to make sure everyone recognizes he is referring to preschools, K-12 and colleges and universities], including the addition of everyday politics to political parties, issue groups, and other structures now dominated by experts. We need to understand popular culture itself as a crucial site of democratic organizing [somehow I think Hollywood got this memo long before us and maybe some network execs and newspaper editors]. And we need to develop learning partnerships that spread everyday politics on a global scale.

Boyte mentions Peter Senge and his idea of the learning organization for both schools and businesses admiringly in his book. He also advocates a systems approach. Which is really fortuitous because on July 4, 2012, Senge,  Robert Kegan of Harvard, Michael Fullan (Canada’s premier Driver of Education as Social Change) and others delivered a report to the Hewlett Foundation–that well-funded driver of Deep Learning as the real purpose of the Common Core that we have discussed several times. The report was called “Lessons of Systemic Change for Success in Implementing the New Common Core Standards” and it fits right perfectly with getting to Boyte’s vision of everyday politics with new guiding values and concepts for each student and adult.

The report envisions teachers and students developing and growing initially through classroom experiences that will take them through new stages of awareness and behaviors. Going from the initial Internalized Stage to the Socialized stage is to cause the students and faculty to develop deeper connections with each other. This transition is considered to be critical to “effective education” under the Common Core, which has a definition the parents and taxpayers are not being told about–”social interactions between adults and students and among adults.” Those of you compiling a glossary of unappreciated definitions will also want to add Community of Learners and Professional Learning Communities to the list of terms use to describe this interactive web of relationship learning.

Next stage (3) according to the report is called Self-Authoring or Empathetic but that’s not where they want students or adults to stop. As an Education for Sustainability report noted, empathy is not enough because it may not provoke action to change conditions and structures. It is thus important that education in the future “provoke outrage” about real-world problems. Those same problems that are to be the focus of the assessments of student performance under the Common Core. How convenient.

The last Stage is called Self-Transcending. Schools now will be looking to students and adults to commit to “personal transformation” and a willingness to confront and then “cultivate one’s mind-body system and strive to move on to the higher stages.” No I suspect that the public descriptions of what is going on will not be that graphic which is why it is so important to read the underlying blueprints and theories behind the sought school changes. The Hewlett report itself has a chart that describes the “self-transcending stage” as the level that sees school “as a vehicle for societal transformation.” Which is once again left off of the monthly newsletters from the school and district. Also left off from public discussion of the planned vision are a classroom that wants students to “maximize mutual learning and co-creating desired futures.” Based on feelings and wishes and maybe some fairy dust to boot but virtually no accurate knowledge of the past or how the world really works or how we came to be where we are in the 21st century. Apparently knowledge impedes imagination to co-create the future.

Our Self-Authoring striving towards Transcendence student is to seek “deeper awareness.” Just what you want when you put them on the school bus in the morning or drop off a loved one–”the capacity to interact and respond adequately with sensitivity and pertinence to the circumstances, situations or events that arise moment after moment.” And if this systemic/developmental vision of the Common Core does not sound creepy enough, non-progressing students and adults will have the reasons for the “blockage” examined so a remedy plan can be implemented. Individualized learning indeed.

This is the sought and planned reality behind the “student-centered” classroom mantra. The report goes on to inform all the adults, from teachers to principals to Supers, that it is the “fundamental task of leadership at all levels”–that means preschool and college too–to make sure all students “see the larger system of which they are a part and seek higher leverage strategies that address forces in these systems.” Not based on knowledge which is to be little and far between but grounded in feelings and affective beliefs about how the world works.

This is where all the references to hands-on learning and experiences become important and all the references to service learning and civic engagement come in. The best way to move students and keep them at these described higher levels of consciousness is to move them into community activities outside the classroom where they can work to solve real problems. And get primed to both practice Boyte’s everyday politics and to demand as Zuboff and Scharmer envision a different kind of economy to meet everyone’s needs instead of personal choices.

I wish I could tell you I am stretching here to try to provoke you into action on opposing the Common Core but honestly, if anything, this post still underplays just how radically transformational the attached visions of the future really are. I did not go looking for a reason to oppose the Common Core. I went looking for a reason for all the discrepancies between the rhetoric about the Common Core and the reality laid out in regulations and reports and waivers and books by the theorists being cited for support.

I am going to close this reality based thunderbolt revealing the real aspirations for change with a quote Professor David Orr used to describe his reasons for pushing the ecological education and Slow Knowledge that are attached to the actual implementation coming to a school near you. If it is not there already. Damaging and unknown to the public funding it. The words come from EF Schumacher:

“Education which fails to clarify our central convictions is mere training or indulgence. For it is our central convictions that are in disorder, and as long as the present anti-metaphysical temper persists, the disorder will grow worse. Education, far from ranking as [our] greatest resource, will then be an agent of destruction…”

The real Common Core is about new values and mental models and those central, motivating, convictions. And they will not be based on what the student brought from home or what has EVER created mass prosperity in the past. And even the relatively few who are aware, much less concerned about the Common Core, are unaware that the actual common core involves an internal redo of everything we hold dear.

Out of sight. Remaking those minds and Personalities.

Throwing an Invisibility Cloak Over the Classroom to Get to Dewey’s Participatory Social Inquiry

The IHDP report from 2011 laying out the use of education “reforms” all over the world to shift all of us towards Societal Change talks about the need of a “positive vision for the future” to mobilize global society toward a perceived “common good.” And yes it is more along the lines of what Paul Ehrlich will pick than anything you or I would freely choose. Listed motivating possibilities for visions include:

“sustainability technologies (non-fossil fuel automobiles, LED light bulbs, geothermal power), policies (the wide scale introduction of policies to promote renewables, recycling and reuse), new strategies and methods for education that foster understanding and practice for sustainability and equity, or innovative approaches to creating synergy between environmental and economic concerns.”

Boy those do sound familiar, don’t they? Interestingly enough in order to deal with these contemplated “environmental and global change challenges,” schools get called in again– “more inclusive ways of knowing are required to bring together the partial and incomplete perspectives of different actors faced with uncertainty, diversity and change.” The more diverse the group of people who can be brought together to problem solve these “new, emerging and complex issues” the more knowledge, experiences, and values that can go into the consensus developed to impose on everyone.

That would Change the World based on theories first despite uncertain and potentially risky and speculative global or local problems. IHDP seems to grasp that tentativeness and recommends using “emotionally connective forms” of media to get ideas across. I guess that’s because spectacular graphics can trump any uncertainty. Now I have a good idea what is planned for getting to Equity because I have read Jeannie Oakes among others (and getting that diverse group into a classroom may be why most of the no tracking “scholarship” tracks back to her). Oakes laid out precisely how Participatory Social Inquiry in Urban Schools is to work. She points out that “equal terms” education conflicts “deeply with a long history of White supremacy and the fundamental norms and power distribution of democratic capitalism.”

I just want you to appreciate now how Open-Ended Performance Assessments calling for real-life scenarios will come in handy for this Equity agenda. The one that aims to move all of us toward a “democracy in which people of all races and social classes engage “on equal terms” to learn from one another as they make decisions about how to live and work together.”

So if you are in a high poverty school everything wrong gets blamed on capitalism and racism and nothing involves any poor personal behavior. Not a contributing factor at all. More upscale schools should be made to feel guilty about any privilege and there’s always Sustainability and lots of other scenarios to push the need for fundamental changes to everyday behaviors. And with online curricula and online assessments, it will be quite hard to see any of this going on. Perfect way to bring in IB’s Critical Thinking and Barber’s Global Citizenship too. You as parents and taxpayers will not be able to see these changes. Just ask anyone in Texas about the controversies over the C Scope curriculum where school kids were told to draw a flag for an imagined socialist country as a classroom activity. Concerned parents were told the curriculum was private and they had no right to learn what their children were being asked to do or believe in the classroom.

Now I have mentioned that Pearson is involved with the Texas and both Common Core assessments. So the fact  that in 2012 Pearson assessment said all of these assessments were actually assessing 21st Century Skills should interest all of us. They say that the US National Research Council says that’s what college and career readiness means. Which would explain why David Conley’s 2007 report reminded me of the 21st century skills push. It also means that our assessments are really just looking for those listed Life Skills from the last post. That’s a low bar and gives all sorts of flexibility for what can go on in the classroom. But wait, it gets even better. One of the skills that will need to be assessed is collaboration. Which implicates Albert Bandura’s Self-efficacy from the last post. I would snark what are the odds but it was checking for a link among Bandura, Pearson, and the Common Core explicitly that turned up this fascinating report.

Here’s what I found so fascinating especially in light of those IHDP aspirations. Pearson wants open-ended tasks to assess 21st century skills in authentic real-world problem contexts. And these tasks are to be done as a group in order to assess collaboration. And if the tasks were “obvious” or “unambiguous” there would be “few opportunities to observe student negotiation because there is nothing about which to disagree.” Tasks “relying on:

“stimulus materials designed to evoke cognitive conflict (ie, that reflected uncertainty, ambiguity, disorganization, and contradiction) better elicited critical thinking skills than tasks that used stimulus materials that were orderly, well-organized, and coherent.”

You know these quotes really are going to take the fun and comfort out of being told your child is doing well at school and has excellent “higher-order skills.” Instead, she may be stewing in frustration with “ill-structured” problems deliberately created because they:

“have no clearly defined parameters, no clear solution strategies, and either more than one correct solution, or multiple ways of arriving at an acceptable solution.”

Are you like me wondering why no one is being honest that these so-called tests are actually just a means of getting to a Social Interaction classroom centered around Social Justice without saying so? The tasks are deliberately laid out to require “knowledge, information, skills, and strategies that no single individual is likely to possess.” Then Norman Webb of the Depth of Knowledge template Florida and Texas and PARCC and SBAC all admit to using is cited as saying “when ill-structured tasks are used, all group members are more likely to participate actively, even in groups featuring a range of student ability.”

And that’s the whole point beyond using the assessment to drive classroom activities to create a perceived need for Global Transformation–politically, economically, and socially starting at the level of the individual student. “Groups featuring a range of student ability” will limit the top-performers from soaring as they were able to do in the transmission of knowledge classroom. They do not get to keep getting mentally stronger. And the able student’s strengths will mask a great deal of weaknesses. Leaving those students free to focus on the injustice and unfairness of it all.

Back in the late 80s and early 90s when these performance assessments were first proposed they were called alternative measures to boost graduation rates and show student “growth” even though there was very little knowledge and most of the changes were values, attitudes, and beliefs. And the university research center that has always pushed for some alternative to normed-standardized testing in the schools going back decades is CRESST at UCLA. The same UCLA where Jeannie Oakes was an education prof when she wrote the book I quoted from above. CRESST has been getting Gates Foundation funding to help prepare Common Core curricula and assessments. How convenient is that?

In January 2013 CRESST released a report “On the Road to Assessing Deeper Learning” on the status of both SBAC and PARCC. This report though was funded by the Hewlett Foundation. That would be the same Hewlett Foundation that has a Deeper Learning initiative to guide the classroom implementation of the Common Core. The one that says Common Core is not about content but new assessments and curricula and classroom interactions.   http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/when-deep-learning-and-systems-thinking-radicalizes-the-student-factual-reality-ceases-to-matter/ The same Deeper Learning that is part of that Self-efficacy Equity Framework I mentioned in the last post.

Yet more proof that what is coming to our classrooms everywhere is not what we have been told. Toward the end of the book, Jeannie Oakes mentions:

“we step into utopian realms gingerly, knowing that social movements have the power for good and ill associated with all utopian projects. We are also well aware that some social movement scholars caution that such efforts rarely achieve the virtuous ends they seek. Nevertheless, we believe that, given the current threats to our democracy, these risks are all worth taking.”

Now, that’s mighty presumptuous of her and the other professors and foundations involved in all this. Nobody told us the Common Core was about a Journey to a possible Utopia.