Rejecting Reading to Avoid the Magic Elixir Bolstering of the Independent Human Mind

We are making a pit stop in our discussion of the actual global vision of how to use K-12 education to create revolutionary transformations in our social, economic, and political systems without bothering to get consent. That’s some definition of democracy, huh? We are just going to talk today about reading and why political radicals do not want a widespread ability to read well anymore. If I was a sarcastic sort, I could have called this post “Literacy to Create Malleable Illiterates Via Stealth,” but since I do not have an ironic bone in my body I decided to refrain. Ooops, maybe not. I also want to dedicate the revelations I am about to volunteer to long-time UK Reading Instruction Advocate Mona McNee, who is now 91, ailing, and wondering why authorities there continue to reject her fine work that she has made freely available. This is for you, Mona.

I have explained repeatedly that it is individual perception of reality that K-12 education seeks to attack. Within the last week the World Bank in its 2015 Report was kind enough to admit to us that it is subjective mental models being targeted in case anyone wants to think that the aspirations I am about to lay out were limited to a particular time or place. http://www.worldbank.org/content/dam/Worldbank/Publications/WDR/WDR%202015/WDR-2015-Full-Report.pdf Now that we have recent confirmation that this all still matters, let’s go back to the Soviet Union of 1929, the year after John Dewey’s troubling trip there that I described in my book Credentialed to Destroy . Deeply disturbed that what translates into English as Abstract Objectivism and rational views of causality and “a reverence for ‘fact’ understood not in a dialectical sense but as something fixed and stable” are all impeding the revolutions in all spheres envisioned by Marx and Engels, a VN Volosinov decided it was time for Marxism to directly alter the prevailing view of language.

Why? We all want to reasonably ask. Because the traditional dictionary view of print removes words “from the pressures of the social struggle,” which is of course not OK to an ideology that turns out to be more about historical progression through various economic stages than who actually, technically, owns what. Reading instruction, like what could go on in the classroom generally, then became a means in a political struggle with the goal being to alter “the conscious, subjective human psyche” just as the World Bank still admits is its target. Both want to get at human behavior and, then and now, Mental Models are the way in. I want to stop this historical discussion for just a second to link this to our CTE emphasis in the previous post.

http://maxteaching.com/files/Cornell-U-MAX-Teaching-Study.pdf is called “Authentic Literacy Applications in CTE: Helping All Students Learn” and is used by SREB’s High Schools that Work and was created by one of the listed consultants, James Stone. It’s all about paying attention to context and situations as a guide to how words are to be interpreted, just as Volosinov wanted. We could even describe this vision of authentic CTE Literacy as dialectical. Again, this all may seem from far away, but these aims remain current. In fact, the book Marxism and the Philosophy of Language was translated into English in 1973 with Harvard controlling the English copyright. Alert readers will recognize that’s precisely when the World Order Models Project began as well as the Rand Change Agent Study looking into why the 60s radical education reforms described in Chapter 6 of my book did not go as envisioned.

One more fascinating detail setting up the assault of what would be called psycholinguistics or Whole Language in the West initially. In August 1977 Harvard Educational Review published an article by Lauren Resnick (creator of the terms Rigor and Higher Order Thinking Skills 10 years later and also on the Common Core validation committee. See Tag) and Daniel Resnick called “The Nature of Literacy: An Historical Exploration.” The paper states that it was financed by the US National Institute of Education and written during the Resnicks’ stay at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford, where so much of the other elements of Radical Ed Reform and Economic Justice theory also took place. The article argues that a goal of mass literacy is unprecedented in US history and that such a goal creates the need for a new way to teach reading.

The article does not fit with my knowledge of reading history, but the mere existence of the article becomes the cite for a new way to teach reading to be imposed on all schools, especially in urban areas. That new way of teaching reading would put the emphasis not on sounds and letters since that would be a static, fixed “concern with the cadavers of written languages,” but on understanding the meaning of words “in a particular, concrete context.” The idea was that this method of teaching reading would allow language to be adaptable and changeable and fit to be a means for altering an individual’s subjective psyche to fit with the beliefs needed for the hoped-for transformations.

It is a view of language grounded in the oral traditions of preliterate or aboriginal people where words are understood to have varying meanings depending on their use to describe real things. That’s what Whole Language hoped to accomplish back in the 70s and it’s what the Common Core’s use of the required Close Reading and the term Literacy seem to mean now. It is what Volosinov said was “understanding in the proper sense of the word, i.e., orientation in the particular given context and in the particular, given situation–orientation in the dynamic process of becoming and not ‘orientation’ in some inert state.”

Dictionaries, textbooks, lectures, traditional algebra not tied to the actual world but as an abstract tool, and systematic phonetic instruction of reading are all treating language as an inert state. None of these are suitable for a world that is supposed to be in the process of guided transformations and historical change along a hoped-for pathway. In other words, none of these instructional changes is about a better way to teach or an argument over content. At its rotten core this is about traditional practices that innoculate the human mind against manipulation from outside. That’s not acceptable anytime political authority insists it has the right to transform the mental models of the masses. That was the aspiration of Power in Russia in 1929. Unfortunately it lays behind the real aspirations in the US and elsewhere in 2014.

Volosinov said that “one of Marxism’s fundamental and most urgent tasks is to construct a genuinely objective psychology, which means a psychology based on sociological [emphasis in original text], not physiological or biological, principles.” Marxism did just that and the Soviets researched precisely how to access and impact the individual, objective psyche and in the 60s, 70s, and 80s, as again I explained in the book and am supplementing here, the US imported and translated that research. It took that Marxian objective psychology and made implementing it in the classroom to alter individual students’ perceptions from the inside-out the emphasis of education degree programs, especially doctorates. It took away the offensive, but accurate, M label and simply declared the practices and policies to be Pedagogy.

Classrooms were to be experiential and those experiences were created to alter subjective perception in prescribed ways. If there was a popular outcry, parents and taxpayers were deceitfully told this was a dispute over how to teach reading and math and that the administrators were the degreed professionals that must be deferred to. Political radicals have long understood that words and vocabulary “constitute the foundation, the skeleton of inner life” and the are absolutely determined this time to irreversibly alter it. Since skeleton has a yucky factor, the same philosophy gets better names like schema, mental models, or Frameworks. The intention is the same.

What was italicized by Volosinov as superficial phonetic empiricism is a view of language that was and is in the way of the (also italicized) unity of the social milieu and the unity of the immediate social event of communication. Must be relevant to a person in a way that engages them and tied to real world problems and active and experiential like projects would be the current update of what Volosinov sought. Language must always be viewed in context just as Literacy-in-CTE lays out now.

Abstract Objectivism as a traditional, rational, content-focused subject matter view of the purpose of education and a dictionary-based phonetic view of language quite simply “exclude any possibility for the speaker’s consciousness to be actively in touch with the process of historical evolution.” Got that? Here, quickly, are the problems with language and academics unless they are playing a role in the “dynamic process” of changing what an individual values and believes.

1) The factor of stable self-identity in linguistic forms takes precedence over their mutability.

2) The abstract takes precedence over the concrete.

3) Abstract systematization takes precedence over historical actuality.

4) The forms of elements take precedence over the form of the whole.

5) Reification of the isolated linguistic element to the neglect of the dynamics of speech.

6) Singularization of word meaning and accent to the neglect of its living multiplicity of meaning and accent.

7) The notion of language as a ready-made artifact handed down from one generation to another.

8) Inability to conceptualize the inner generative process of a language.

That last one really is a confession of the extent to which the ideological focus requires drilling down into all the mental tools any individual is to have access to. This is fascinating, isn’t it, and explains so much that was previously inexplicable.

Good thing for us that the earlier “idea of language as a system of conventional, arbitrary signs of a fundamentally rational nature [as] propounded by representatives of the Age of Enlightenment in the 18th century” has not yet been completely decimated by this M view of language and academic knowledge.

 

 

Gaining Access To and Then Guiding Each Student’s Subjective Perception of Reality to Change the Here and Now

Let’s pretend for a moment that we are all in the same room mulling over why K-12 education is shutting down what works and expanding everything that has ever been controversial or even tragic. We could get out a White Board and pretend to be detective Kate Beckett on the TV show Castle and create columns of what concerns and mystifies us. Concrete, Down to Earth, Tangible Concerns. Then later as I am researching and footnote hopping, I read the title of a 1966 book called The Social Construction of Reality. I remember that White Board and how no one wants to allow Declarative Knowledge anymore (defined in previous post) that would accurately allow me to factually understand the Here and Now.

In fact, we have been noticing that everything to be required in the classroom now seems to be about guiding personal perception of what is actually going on in the here and now. Filtering how we conceive the who or what caused all the problems we are to now notice. We keep wondering why all the focus on emotions and showing your work instead of getting a right answer and making activities and experiences the point of classroom work. To quote again from The Parallel Curriculum book from two posts ago, when did we switch to reading a historical fiction book so that we can imagine how it must have felt to be alive during a time period like the Civil War? Is that history? How about if we use the book to “document the feelings, perspectives, and changes that occur for your characters over time.” That’s not factual knowledge. It’s simply priming the student to accept that a change in conditions could be a reason for personal change.

Psychological role-playing, in other words, seems to be all over classes that are supposed to be about science, literature, history, or civics. Even math. “How would you feel if… ” is psychological role-playing even if the description of your feelings, frustrations, and strategies for what to do next is going in your math journal so that “your teacher can read it and get to know you better.”

I keep bringing up the fact that the term ‘knowledge’ now is not about facts, but is rather concepts that are supposed to guide how we perceive all those activities and experiences. Why does that distinction matter so much? Well, the social psychologists have plenty of research they share among themselves that goes as follows:

“The notion of a concept is essential for understanding thought and behavior. If we want to understand, say, how a child learns through experience that stoves can burn, we assume that the child uses the concepts stove and burn; without this assumption, it is not clear why a child’s experience with one particular stove and one particular burn will be related to his or her experience with another stove and another possible burn. [In other words, if we want to get students or adults to analogize from one situation to another, we convince them that they involve comparable concepts. If we want to convince them about false connections, we train students repeatedly from a young age to believe that situations are connected or equivalent even if they are not.]

“It is only when we treat the objects and events of a situation as instances of concepts that we see what there is to learn. And just as it is hard to think about learning without concepts, it is hard to think about communication and reason without concepts. In short, concepts reflect the way we divide the world into classes, and much of what we learn, communicate, and reason involves relations among these classes.”

Providing the concepts to everyone then instead of each person building them up from facts is a tremendously fruitful means for psychological manipulation. Effective and largely invisible once created. What’s not to love if fundamentally transforming the here and now is the Goal, and undermining the historical Western sacrosanct treatment of the individual and the mind is the Means. Just target how that individual, while they are still young, learns to categorize their everyday experiences. Then make sure that any classroom work that previously bolstered the “ability of language to be an objective repository of vast accumulations of meaning and experiences, which it can then preserve in time and transmit to following generations” is either destroyed or seriously limited in duration and purpose.

We are back to our pretend Murder Board of what’s Being Discontinued and Expanded in Education and my reading nerdy books and then translating them so no one else has to. That is how I felt reading The Social Construction of Reality. It was like getting a Treasure Map to what would need to be stopped or emphasized if manipulation of how an individual saw reality was the Goal. Why? So that their future actions could be reliably planned from afar. How we order social experiences turns out to be a crucial fact to know if someone wants to predict and control other people’s behavior. It’s also something that adaptive software in a Digital Learning program or journals or showing your work in an open-ended question where there is no right answer all reveal. Rigorous assessments of the type required by the Common Core, a Higher Order Thinking Skills emphasis , or the ‘high-quality’ tests of 21st Century Learning all ferret it out too.

Coincidental? I think not as a TV detective would get to say. Keeping school work relevant to real life and everyday life situations makes the routine social stock of knowledge of the average student paramount. If school is no longer about facts, reading is Guided and not fluent, and visual presentations are considered on par with writing papers, then the typical person now exists in a place where “the reality of everyday life always appears as a zone of lucidity behind which there is a background of darkness.” Reading that passage from the 1966 book made me gasp because circumscribing personal knowledge in effect makes that zone of lucidity easy to manipulate. Later in the book, the importance of concepts and subjective categorization of experiences is mentioned as what makes us notice certain aspects of what happens and ignore others.

Now imagine that the Concepts and Principles provided are deliberately chosen to have just that very effect. The Goal? To make the student and the future ‘citizen’ they will become not just amenable to fundamental transformations in society, the economy, and political structures we now take for granted like the US Constitution. The student is to come to believe that radical changes are necessary and desirable. Hopefully the student will be ready to act on conditions and problems in the here and now to make fundamental transformations a reality sooner rather than later.

It turns out that a reverence for logic as in traditional math, chemistry, or physics and abstract proofs or grammar and old-fashioned vocabulary that can contain a sentence full of meaning in a single word are examples of how “language now constructs immense edifices of symbolic representations that appear to tower over the reality of everyday life like gigantic processes from another world.” Well, someone does still appreciate flowery language when they are driving home a point. Unfortunately, the point is how much preferable face-to-face interaction is, which would explain why the Common Core stresses listening and speaking and group dialogues and learning to reach that all important consensus within the classroom.

Once again the groundwork revealing the why in the classroom mysteries of the here and now was laid out back in the 60s attempt at fundamental transformations. We just had to peel back enough layers of the onion to locate this quote:

“In the face-to-face situation language possesses an inherent quality of reciprocity that distinguishes it from any other sign system. [In other words, we can see facial expressions and body movements and infer emotions from them.] The ongoing production of vocal signs in conversation can be sensitively synchronized with the ongoing subjective intentions of the conversants.”

A less convoluted way of making the same point is that conversation becomes the way to get everyone on the same page in how they describe their experiences and using the same concepts. Well, no wonder, we keep hearing hype for Blended Learning or the Flipped Classroom. Just let the computer or Kahn Academy provide what the last post called procedural knowledge and the 1966 book calls recipe knowledge–”that is, knowledge limited to pragmatic competence in routine performances.”

Does that sound like a Competency focus to anyone else?

So what’s your interpretation of why the actual planned classroom implementation under its variety of Orwellian names lines up so perfectly with how the known Social Construction of Reality by most people?

Could it be an organized attempt to manipulate their future behavior as long as accurate factual knowledge is kept to a minimum?

Is it politically useful to keep voters ignorant, aggrieved, and reliable in their likely reactions?

 

House of Tomorrow: Targeting Behavior Change Requires Move Away from Declarative Knowledge

If you hang out in the dungeons and attics of the Transformation Blueprints like I do, one of the omnipresent confessions that is crucial, but not making it into the public domain YET, is that classroom activities and experiences are now “aims-based” or “goal-directed,” not “subject-matter based.” History, math, literature, or science course names still get used, but it hides the new broader purposes of social change. They have ceased to be, unfortunately, ends in themselves. The very phrase “standards-based” over the last two decades is also intended to hide what is indisputedly a shift to a personal behavior emphasis that is still too obscured.

This post is designed to remedy that and build on the facts and declarations laid out in the recently finished APUSH trilogy as well as particularly Chapter 7 of my book–”What if Common Core Actually Limits What Everyone Can Know or Do While Targeting Feelings,  Beliefs, and Values Instead?” The Question that Grows in Pertinence on a Daily Basis. Often times the best way to illustrate what is being required in education is to consult a professor in another area, who is unlikely to mask his statements about what is intended. Do you remember the London School of Economics where that troubling Fabian Stained Glass window has now found a new home? As a symbol of reverence, not infamy, unfortunately.

Back in 1994, LSE’s then Director, sociologist Anthony Giddens, kindly explained the role of History to political radicals in a book called Beyond Left and Right. It matters because not enough of us appreciate that the Fall of the Berlin Wall, death of Mao, or dissolution of the USSR, never altered the widespread desire for History to be progressing somewhere. If facts get in the way, education becomes the preferred tool to get the process headed in the desired direction again. Tell me this quote is not behind the spirit of the activities I spelled out in the previous posts: “For socialists, the past is not comforting; it is valued at most because it has provided the means whereby we can actively move on to grasp and appropriate the future.”

If you make K-12 education about altering and creating desired feelings, values, beliefs, perceptions, and behaviors (performances or learning are the preferred K-12 euphemisms obscuring this reality), education can supposedly create the conditions for the House of Tomorrow. http://www.ascd.org/ASCD/pdf/journals/ed_lead/el_198312_mcnay.pdf  When I write posts explaining the NEA CARE Guide created with the Southern Poverty Law Center to use in the Common Core classroom or the Aspen Institute’s  RETOC-Racial Equity Theory of Change, tie those intentions to highlight race, class, and ethnicity to create feelings of grievance or guilt to Giddens telling us that Marxism’s allure for so many is and was the “metaphysical idea that history, in its more consequential and revolutionary moments, is made by the oppressed.”

If that quote seems a bit too ‘metaphysical’ for anyone’s taste, let’s simply make real-world problem solving the focus of K-12 education, and see if the classroom over time doesn’t create a consciousness precisely as Uncle Karl would have wanted. In 2013 the Journal of Teacher Education for Sustainability published a helpful confession from Erin Redman complaining that traditional education and declarative knowledge like facts, lectures, and textbooks were too “value-free, didactic” and “one-way methods of communication” (instead of the now glorified classroom ‘Dialogue” among ‘Equals’).  Education in the 21st Century is supposed to be about long-term behavior change from an unconscious basis at the level of each individual. Those Aims or Goals require “require real-world, experiential and problem-based learning.”

Thanks for the honesty even if it is tucked away. Keep in mind the calm assertion that “Behavioural scholars have, however, clearly established that the linear, information-deficit approach [aka Transmission of Knowledge of the Best that has Been Thought or Done by the Sages of the Past] to education is insufficient in promoting behaviour change.” Since we have been concentrating on what these Aims and Goals do to history coursework, let’s end with the recommendation that this Normative view of the purpose of curriculum results in a suggestion for “shifting away from scientific facts as the primary discourse in sustainability.” That ‘s why it’s so important to emphasize feelings and the Whole Child.

It is why Procedural Knowledge gets so hyped now in the form of the Skills Deficit. That is the needed action-related process knowledge and how-to skills useful for real-world transformations. Effectiveness Knowledge now gets hyped because Beliefs about the Need for transformations in the present to alter the future are very much influenced by “perceived consequences associated with different behaviours as well as beliefs about who is responsible for given outcomes.” That’s the Aim that really finds factual knowledge to be an obstacle since it might prevent viewing the assigned Villains as culpable or notice that local politicians will blow even more money if given ever more planning power.

But then I am no teenager and we have already concluded I would be on the first shipment to Perception Re-education Camps to extinguish Factual Knowledge as an Impediment to Fundamental Change. The typical adolescent will be easy prey though for classrooms built around: “One of the central ways for enhancing effectiveness knowledge is by focusing on problems that are locally relevant and at a scale with which students feel empowered to act, while also examining the positive impact of individual and collective change.” Lack of much factual knowledge, unless the parents have stepped in or the child is the rare fluent, voracious reader, means that a capacity or willingness to conceive of any negative impact is unlikely happen in most classrooms anymore.

Finally, “social knowledge (i.e. norms) encompasses subjective and local knowledge including the motives, intentions and actions of other people. In order to enhance social knowledge, it is critical that sustainable behaviours are positioned as the normal and the desired way to act.” Objective, norm-referenced tests of knowledge have to go away quietly in this sought scenario for the future since they center on Declarative Knowledge. Radicals always needed alternative assessments to examine whether the desired behavior and attitude changes were occurring and what strategies and concepts are used when there is no correct answer and not enough information is given. Today’s Rigorous Assessments merely build on what was known as the New Standards Reference Examination in the 90s http://www.cse.ucla.edu/products/reports/TECH470.pdf Created again by the Mother of both Higher Order Thinking Skills as well as the related term Rigor, Professor Lauren Resnick.

We should simply view them correctly as Cultural Activity Research on our kids with our tax dollars. Remember the ISCAR 2011 Conference in Rome, Italy? It’s all about Aims-Based Education too. Transformational Aims with Political and Social Purposes. Just like the Common Core or 21st Century Learning or Competency-Based Instruction now. It’s all about Behavior Change if we climb down to the dungeons or up to the attics or just trace back to the footnotes in the typical Aspen Institute Report.

Those interested in fundamental transformations in the political and social spheres that is the Progressive View of the Role of History now need the tool of K-12 education, if not preschool as well, to reach those same Aims and Goals. It’s why so many education graduate degrees today openly trumpet their grounding in Change Agent Theories. To make students the mass carriers of new cultural memes and behaviors without most parents or the typical taxpayer even being aware of the shift. That’s the purpose of all the Orwellian language that has me climbing down, then up, and flipping back to those footnotes again and again.

I may have to understand all this at a very nerdy level just bursting with facts and wordy declarations of intent to once again try out notorious theories in the real world, but that is not the level where most people live. When I explain what is intended in order to get real traction in the real world, I always have to find ways to bring these intentions into the everyday lives of my readers. Unfortunately, though, I am not the only one who understands that crucial point.

In fact, the shift away from Declarative Knowledge to granting parity to subjective ways of knowing and interpreting, along with that targeting of Procedural, Effectiveness, and Social Knowledge we have just talked about, is all about meeting people and students at the level of knowledge that “guides conduct in everyday life.” Just the arena, in other words, if long-term behavior change is the admitted (if only quietly shared among insiders), new Goal or Aim of K-12 education.

Behavior Change Architects intent on Political and Social Transformations to kick History Back into Gear on the Planned Pathway of Change would need to appreciate each person’s “subjective experience of reality.” To get at the perception of reality held by the “common-sense of the ordinary members of society.”

That’s what alternative ‘high-quality’ assessments like the NSRE above got at and what the Common Core and formative assessments get at now. It’s what adaptive software gets at as well.

Then we have performance standards under their variety of masking names like College and Career Ready or Next Generation Learning to capture and then remediate over time behaviors, values, and attitudes that are not desirable for transitioning to the Planned Pathway for History.

Not to mention what all the social and emotional programs being sold as Character Education or Bullying Prevention or Positive Behaviors for the Whole Child do.

Am I finally reaching the everyday recognition of what is coming at all of us?

Ballad of the Long Sought Shift to Being Educable, Not Educated: Adaptation Via Dissolving the Logical Mind

Do you ever wonder where these titles come from? The second part comes from descriptions in the 2004 book The Great Adventure: Toward a Fully Human Theory of Evolution that I will end this post with. First it described eliminating the “bricks and mortar” of the tradition-oriented logical mind. Later, the same book, having laid out its plans on using K-12 education to get a more “flexible,” intuitive, mind, then proceeded to describe how to lock those changes firmly and invisibly in place. Long term readers can probably guess that those changes will be hidden in the real definitions of Student ‘Growth’ and ‘achievement’ and whether the student is showing progress to being Workplace or College and Career Ready. The techniques used to dissolve that logical mind and practice new behaviors come in using strategies created in the classroom via activities billed to parents as ‘rigorous’ and involving ‘Higher Order Thinking Skills.”

It all links together. Let’s go back to the 1960s first to a professor, Philip H. Coombs, who also served in the Kennedy administration before bolting for Paris to help UNESCO (the UN entity created in 1948 for the express purpose of using education globally to gradual shift culture away from the West’s historic focus on the individual as my book explains) set up its International Institute for Educational Planning. In 1967 President Johnson, a former elementary teacher with a life-long reverence for John Dewey (the reason that matters is also in the book), initiated an International Conference on the World Crisis in Education in Williamsburg, Virginia. The resulting book The World Educational Crisis pointed out that K-12 needed to “expand and democratize itself and that keeping “the old logistics, curriculum, and hallowed monolithic standards” would be:

“as if a specialized gift shop for the well-to-do was summoned to convert itself into a massive department store for consumers of every description, including a thrift basement for those in straitened circumstances.”

Now, of course, all students are being asked to accept to offerings of the thrift basement. Elaborate name changes and unknown initiatives as we saw in the last post simply obscure the dramatic shift. Interestingly, it all still fits with what LBJ, Coombs, and UNESCO all wanted back in 1968 (italics in original text; bolding from me):

“Educational systems must undergo a shift of emphasis. The new stress must be not so much on producing an educated person as on producing an educable person who can learn and adapt himself efficiently all through his life to an environment that is ceaselessly changing.”

That’s the new goal of K-12 education in the West, which is why the academic results have been deteriorating ever since. Those insiders who know the real reason cannot remain empowered to bring about the change desired via the schools if they admit to what is going on. People like me now, who know and can prove the reality, always run up against parents who cannot bear to know. The problem is these sought changes are psychological and the Common Core in the US and 21st century skills everywhere mask that reality.

Continued ignorance means that techniques that really are grounded in acknowledged brainwashing techniques are being imposed on teachers and students in our classrooms. Let’s continue our journey to examine how crucial this ability to have an adaptable mind and personality is to those who really want wholesale political, social, and economic change. Always seeking ambitious administrators willing to impose this on classrooms.

Around 1986, just after the 1985 agreement on education among the US, USSR, and the Carnegie Corporation (the same one Richard Riley is now a Vice Chair of that is now pushing Competency-Based Next Generation Learning to guide the real global shift) was signed (www.americandeception.com is a good source for the actual document), a study began under the banner of the US Department of Labor. It produced in 1990 a series of Workplace Basics, Training for a Changing Workforce, manuals that provide the actual Blueprint still being followed in today’s K-12 education reforms.  The longest and most graphic of the books on The Essential Skills Employers Want lays out the need for students and employees to “transcend logical and sequential thinking and make the leap to innovation.”

Where have we heard that hostility to the Axemaker Mind before? Paul Ehrlich’s 1989 pitch for Newmindedness. What a timely coincidence. Now tell me if this quote from the 1990 manual does not sound like today’s sales pitch for a Growth Mindset, instead of a Fixed Mindset? “Each adult brings a different personal data base of experience and learning to the workplace. This base cannot remain static because our lives are a caldron of experiments responding to the need to adapt to changing circumstances.” Students in school are to be targeted for change for the same reason. Analytical, rule-based thinking like traditional algebra, geometry proofs, or grammar all impede this desired adaptability. It is fascinating to me that the professor, Lauren Resnick, who created the terms ‘rigor’ and Higher Order Thinking Skills back in the 80s is quoted by name in the book making this point:

“School should focus its efforts on preparing people to be good adaptive learners, so they can perform effectively [aka be competent or proficient] when situations are unpredictable and task demands change.”

The now-ubiquitous goal that Students should Learn How to Learn is also in the 1990 manual of new Workplace Basics. It goes back to citing notorious Humanist psychologist Carl Rogers and his 1969 book Freedom to Learn to illustrate the concept of Learning to Learn: “The only man who is educated is the man who has learned how to learn…how to adapt and change.”

I had a reader recently who also teaches ask me how the omnipresent concept of ‘problem-solving’ under the Common Core differed from the classic (if painful) classic math word problems. Let’s use the still relevant definition from the 1990 manual: “Problem solving is the process of bridging a perceived gap between what is and what ought to be.” A very useful skill indeed along with adaptability if fundamental transformations are the real goal and education and people have become mere conduits or tools to effect the sought changes. Here’s another useful tool: the POWER Model of Problem Solving.

Project a vision of how the situation should be different

Observe the discrepancy between what exists and what should be

Work out, after considering choices, an action plan and implement it

Evaluate/monitor progress and achievement

Revise plans as indicated by evaluation findings

As someone who has read many of the blueprints involved over the decades with these sought transformations, that POWER model is precisely what Big Data and supercomputers and governments at all levels think is the new way to plan societies and economies. Education at all levels simply needs to produce the people with mindsets and worldviews to either tolerate the wholesale shifts or to embrace them. Both involve dissolving the logical mind of the Enlightenment and believe me, the advocates just keep saying that.

Interestingly too, here is the new definition of leadership. Notice how useful this will be to bringing about wholesale change, especially when it becomes the entire basis for graduate degrees, as in education or public policy doctorates.

“The most successful leader of all is one who sees another picture not yet actualized. He sees the things which belong in his present picture but which are not yet there.”

Now imagine if a willingness to ‘problem solve’ using the POWER Model or be a leader as described above gets you lucrative jobs or grants from massively rich charitable foundations or public sector jobs where promotions are tied to how aggressively you push this transformational vision to make students ‘adaptable’ and ‘trainable.’ You would get precisely what is going on now as this Next Generation Learning graphic across all sectors and institutions from Ford makes clear.   https://fordngl.com/sites/fordpas.org/files/ford_ngl_three_strands_graphic_0.pdf

On July 17 and 19, 2000 there was a meeting of so many of the long time advocates for transformation social and political change using education in Toronto, Canada. They laid out their plans to use a “teacher-student-driven, globally active alliance between evolutionary systems science and humanistic, transpersonal, and positive psychology to kick-start what is needed.”

What was needed, of course, is that very same adaptability and malleable mind and personality we just keep encountering as the new goal of education. To be educable, not educated. Learning how to Learn and Growth sound so much better than the real goals of a “radical expansion of brain, mind, and consciousness” that will allow step-by-step achievement of “personal, cultural, social, political, economic, educational, and technological evolution.” The term revolution probably better describes what is sought, but since these fundamental changes are all supposed to be bloodless, evolution sounds better. Plus it fits the invisible shifts involved over time until the dramatic changes over time can be locked into place.

How? Through a moral and spiritual transformation in what enough people to be the majority electorate value and believe about how the world works, what they are owed by others, and what the world should be.

David Loye in that The Great Adventure book laid out “how to actually build it.” Next time we will trace that blueprint against the real implementation. It started last week where I live.

Unless you want the next generation to remain psychological adaptation guinea pigs, this is something all parents and taxpayers need to know. This is no time for rose-colored glasses.

Listening in On the Confessional Drumbeat of the Common Core’s True Purpose: Jettisoning Traditional High School

Remember the classic expression to explain when something is really done of “three strikes and you’re out?” How about a new version that three insider confessions of the same real purpose constitutes an indisputable revelation that we are being lied to. Let’s face it, a PR campaign for so-called academic standards, new types of assessments, and overarching K-12 mission repurposing promoted as an effort to remake the nature of high school for all students would have led to a lot more questions and scrutiny and open public rebellion. So that has not been the pitch, but it is the real purpose. Let me tell you how I was able to ferret this out. Then we will talk about the real purpose for limiting what students know and this attempt to reliably guide future behavior without the consent or awareness of these soon-to-be adults and voters.

In last Wednesday’s hearing at the Georgia State Capitol the well-connected, long-time Super of the largest school system in the state and one of the largest in the country, Alvin Wilbanks, made a rather startling point in his attempt to minimize the federal role in education and highlight the state-led initiatives that led to the creation of the Common Core. He stated that CCSS grew out of the 2005 National Governors Association decision to remake the nature of high school. Now, in some ways this was not news to me since I was familiar from writing my book of the central role polytechism was supposed to play in the 90s version of Radical Ed Reform, but I had never heard anyone who was always at the table and behind the relevant closed doors saying high school transformation was the foundation for the Common Core.

Sure enough a bit of research now that I had the tip-off led to the role of the new 3 R’s of rigor, relevance and relationships and the new type of ‘engaging’ career-oriented high school for all to Jeb Bush’s ed reforms in Florida in 2006  http://www.floridatrend.com/article/10686/splendor-in-the-class and the same confession in Illinois by Willard Daggett in 2007. http://archives.iasb.com/journal/j050607_02.htm Daggett has been providing a great deal of the very expensive professional development training for school districts getting ready to implement the Common Core. His professional background before catching a ride on the taxpayer-funded Midas consulting express was as a Vocational Ed specialist in New York State.

Now I located that additional proof AFTER I found confirming clue number 2 in a presentation I read as I was following up on Innovative Lab Network states piloting competency-based learning as the post-CCSS vision for K-12. Remember that stealth ILN initiative that lines up with the global vision being advocated for by the Global Education Leaders Program? GELP was two posts ago, but it has its own tag now. So I was not really looking for a high school reform confession, but I found one anyway and the GELP ties mean this is part of the international template for the countries in the Anglosphere especially. The places that have historically reverenced the individual and put personal liberty ahead of government druthers of coercion.

One more link to previous posts, the #2 confessor, a Paul Leathers from New Hampshire, was also a speaker at the Rethinking Accountability conference this title came from and covered. www.invisibleserfscollar.com/not-going-to-let-the-us-constitution-stop-us-from-using-schools-to-enshrine-global-social-justice-and-human-rights/

Leather, in a 2012 Colorado Summit on Blended Learning in a presentation titled “The New Hampshire Story,” laid out that all the cutting-edge reforms now being advanced under the banner of Competency to be a beacon for other states and districts, stemmed from the desire to ‘revitalize’ New Hampshire high schools. He revealed that these efforts went back tellingly to 1995 and that “focus groups showed students and educators want schooling to be more relevant and more rigorous.” As a side note, many of the participants must have since moved to the Atlanta area because that is the precise same sales pitch Fulton County is using to sell its current remake of high school around technology and ‘problem-based learning.’”

Even more confirmation that this same vision being sold as ‘locally-inspired’ is actually a global vision is the name of New Hampshire’s 2007 Vision for Redesign–Moving from High Schools to Learning Communities . Precisely the term that ties to what is planned now for Fulton and your community as well in the near future. Crystal Ball Alert! In this redesign, the “primary acquisition of knowledge and skills” will occur “outside the traditional classroom” or using a different, non-traditional means of instruction. Explanation for the  shift? To eliminate high school dropouts by 2012 per the NH Governor’s Top Priority. Most places now are selling this as a means to increase the graduation rate.

Third confirmation was at a 2013 Grantmakers in Education conference telling the big donors that “what was really driving Common Core and the Competency agenda is the determination to change the nature of high school.” The report fascinatingly also cited to Fordham’s Chester Finn as saying in 2012 that this effort had been going on a long time, and everyone was surprised with the resilience of the traditional high school model. Funny how Fordham has left that part of the story out of its exuberant advocacy work for the Common Core.

Now I could stop this post now and we would have lots of useful facts to now drill public officials with, but as regular readers know, I like to give insights into the why. This is from a 1980 book by physicist David Bohm, a man whose views of education and what was needed were greatly influenced by his desire for radical political transformations. Bohm recognized that traditional education prevented students from having a mindset or worldview that would “seriously think of mankind as the basic reality, whose claims come first.” Here Bohm laid out the rationale that still guides so much education reform today when we chase down the real reason for the shifts. No it really is NOT about reducing dropouts. That’s merely the excuse that sounds good and just.

“man’s general way of thinking of the totality, i.e, his general world view, is crucial for overall order of the human mind itself. If he thinks of the totality as constituted of independent fragments, then that is how his mind will tend to operate, but if he can include everything coherently and harmoniously in an overall whole that is undivided, unbroken, and without a border (for every border is a division or break) then his mind will tend to move in a similar way, and from this will flow an orderly action within the whole.”

‘Rigorous’ curriculum, ‘Higher Order Thinking Skills,’ ‘high-quality’ assessments, and the definition now of College and Career Ready used by the National PTA  ALL tie back to looking for indications of that kind of holistic world view from grades 6 to 12. Charming, huh? Let’s just say I have really deep learning in this area in the traditional sense of both of those words. To give one more illustration of the same basic point and why ‘performance standards’ in the sense of actual physical activity and behavior are so essential to this vision of how to use education and the social sciences generally to reprogram the human brain to act at an unconscious level, let’s return to Professor Flyv from the last post. This is what competent or proficient behavior in the future is supposed to be patterned on.

“Logically based action is replaced by experientially based action.” Behavior becomes “intuitive, holistic, and synchronic, understood in the way that a given situation releases a picture of problem, goal, plan, decision, and action in one instant and with no division. This is the level of true human expertise. Experts are characterized by a flowing, effortless performance, unhindered by analytical deliberations.”

Not capable of them either under this new definition of ‘expert’ or competent performance to be practiced at for years in K-12 education. Now I told you precisely where Bohm’s vision was hiding today in the real Common Core implementation. The one that turns out to be all about high school and middle school transformation to get the needed Worldview that at least tolerates collectivism. Perhaps it will not even notice the difference.

Where’s Flyv’s vision lurking? That would be in the actual definition of the ubiquitous term Excellence. As In Equity and Excellence, supposedly a federal mandate under a rather grasping interpretation of the civil rights laws. But what school or district can afford to run the chance of being sued?

So this is how very radical visions of the personal world view needed for fundamental transformations make it all the way to our children’s classrooms and so-called ‘tests’ while we are still being told it is all about making Algebra the same state to state in case families want to move.

Common Core: grounded in deceit from the get-go because otherwise who would submit to the very real desire of our political class to insist that we are to now be Governed?

Hopefully the numbed mind will be trained not to recognize that crucial fact and fundamental shift in the State vs Individual dynamics of the 21st Century.

Anyone else want to join me in the Not Going Quietly into Submission Brigade? We do not have a lot of time to get the word out.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

At least if you have fundamental transformations on your mind.

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

Eupsychia and Humanist Education-Shouldn’t the Links to 21st Century Skills and Common Core Be Emphasized?

Those of us who play a mean game of Trivial Pursuit tend to remember that the word “Utopia” literally translates as “Nowhere.” And Nowhere is an unacceptable expression for philosophers and dreamers and self-interested planners who do want to reorganize society going forward towards new values and new beliefs and a hoped-for vision of the future. One of those people was the creator of Humanist Psychology and the Eupsychia vision of the Good Society, Abraham Maslow, who laid out theories for education and a new type of school in a book published after his death in 1971. It builds on the New Focus of Education/NEA financed vision from 1962 that I wrote about here. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/psychological-approach-to-a-humane-politics-restructuring-the-west-quietly-and-effectively-via-ed/

Ever since I wrote that post as I have sat in Mindfulness seminars that curiously enough now count as continuing legal education and all our encounters with Robert Kegan and the competences vision being pushed by the UN and the OECD, I keep coming back to that 1962 vision as the foundation for so much that has been called “transformational” ever since. I think it is the grounds for the increasing acknowledgment that long-term behavioral change is a major purpose of the Common Core classroom. http://www.edweek.org/tm/articles/2013/10/14/cm_socialemotional.html?tkn=NXTFXS1JDKswLa9ZdPz%2Fis6ez0YbkU87li9t&cmp=ENL-EU-NEWS2 . So when I saw a recent reference to the later book, I thought we might gain some important insights into what is coming at us.

Because I now live in a world where a Professor Emeritus at the New School for Social Research, Hans Jonas, laid out in the early 80s his understanding of the then planned shift from each of us being “responsible subjects” to “programmed behavior systems.” And that was before the rise of adaptive software, blended learning, Big Data, and Gaming to constantly crosscheck how the new psychological emphasis in the classroom was doing. When we talk about education reform and assessments that are not measuring knowledge that parents are not allowed to see, keep this long-term aspiration in mind:

“Here I merely point to this most ambitious dream of homo faber, summed up in the phrase that man will take his own evolution in hand, with the aim of not just preserving the integrity of the species but of modifying it by improvements of his own design.”

Well, neither you or I have been invited to participate in such designing but Maslow was and Jonas was aware of it. Jonas presciently asked the question that should be on posters at Dalian, China and Davos, Switzerland and plenty of ed labs globally:

“Who will be the image-makers, by what standards, and on the basis of what knowledge? Also, the question of the moral right to experiment on future human beings must be asked.”

That’s still a critical question to ask now as consultants and district administrators and principals are all being paid to push just such experimentation of untried psychological theories. Or if not untried, ignoring the indisputable linkage to prior tragedies from such probing of the “deeper self. (Maslow’s italics)” Maslow notes that primary creativeness (one of the 4 Cs of 21st Century Skills) “comes out of the unconscious, which is the source of new discovery-of real novelty-of ideas that depart from what exists at the moment.”  You see, the psychological emphasis in education that has been trying to come in the front door of being the new focus of education globally since the 60s in earnest is based on Maslow’s belief that “We need a new kind of human being who can divorce himself from his past, who …[can] handle the problem well in an improvising way, without previous preparation, if need be.”

Now the latter is called the 4C of critical thinking & problem solving and gets measured via new planned Common Core assessments of Higher Order Thinking Skills where there is no fixed, linear answer and ambiguity is preferred. By the way, in 1970 Maslow wanted a “new kind of human being that we would need even if there were no cold war, and even if we were all united in a brotherly species, is needed simply to confront the new kind of world in which we live.” Now that’s a sentiment that fits right into what a conference of ed professors or administrators is still hearing in 2013. They simply may not know it comes from Maslow saying:

“What I am really interested in is the new kind of education which we must develop which moves towards fostering the new kind of human being that we need, the process person, the creative person, the improvising person, the self-trusting, courageous person, the autonomous person.”

That latter reference to autonomy frequently came with a cite to Erich Fromm of the Frankfurt School so please do not get excited that there was a glimmer of legitimate individualism being allowed through. No, in fact real education should impel the student on an “Ought-Is-Quest” that does NOT distinguish anymore between facts and values. Maslow called those Species-Brotherhood new values Being Values like Justice and Equality that are to “guide human action” in the future. They should be instilled and monitored via education. In fact, humanistic education had a “new conception of learning, of teaching, of education. Stated simply, such a concept holds that the function of education, the goal of education–the human goal, the humanistic goal, the goal as far as human beings are concerned–is ultimately the ‘self-actualization’ of a person, the becoming fully human, the development of the fullest height that the human species can stand up to or that the particular individual can come to.”

And of course, Maslow noted that such a shift in vision would require a substantial shift in the psychology of teaching. Which as my new book details is precisely what has happened. I am going to leave you to mull over another part of this new vision of education and school which you may well also discover to be embodied in charter language that was designed to both bind and not be well understood by outsiders. Or as Maslow noted tactlessly: “even morons can learn emotionally and spiritually” so beware of mandates that instructional methods used MUST close the achievement gaps. Just think of the enhancement of power in a desired public-centric economy of the future based on officially designated needs rather individual consumer choices this goal of future education will be:

“this is a way of discovering what the self is like. There are signals from inside, there are voices that yell out. ‘By gosh this is good, don’t ever doubt it!’ This is a path, one of the ways we try to teach self-actualization and the discovery of self. The discovery of identity comes via the impulse voices, via the ability to listen to your own guts, and to their reactions and to what is going on inside of you.

This is also an experimental kind of education that, if we had the time to talk about it, would lead us into another parallel education establishment, another kind of school.”

Like a student-centered school that must be engaging and provide success for all students?

That sees all students as “assets” and refuses to accept any “deficit” visions for 21st century education?

Those last two are quotes from the education vision I heard being pushed at the September (co)lab summit in Atlanta.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In time.

 

 

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?

 

 

Staring Down the Sudden PISA & 21st Century Learning Hype Leads Straight to Planned Welfare State

I am going to interrupt our troubling tour into the psychological theories and practices being pushed on our students at our expense. Using euphemistic names like soft skills or student growth or metacognition or ‘innovative practices’ for suburban schools. Including lovely confessions that if it works in achieving desired behavioral changes in students it can be rolled out nationally. Some innovation. Certain school districts really need to stop calling parents anytime there is a school shooting tragedy or potential tragedy claiming that “student safety is our first priority.” Horse manure and lots of it. If that is true then we have a widespread epidemic of administrators and consultants pushing ideas on schoolchildren and parents at great expense and calling themselves “Doctor” without having the foggiest notion of what they are doing.

Which is entirely possible so that leaves it up to we the parents and taxpayers to get to the bottom of the tsunami of fundamental social, political, and economic transformation coming at us in time. We will need to point out to the current Living Large on the Public Payroll recipients that a vast expansion will simply lead to greater dysfunction and a complete loss of overall prosperity.

Now when I hear and read a coordinated push all of a sudden around a topic, I get to fall back on a specialist horde of knowledge that in fact remains quite useful whatever the OECD bureaucrats like Andreas Schleicher have to say. We have discussed what the OECD’s push to monitor subjective well-being globally will mean for education. What I know and may have forgotten to pass along is that everything the OECD pushes in education, and it is a primary driver globally, comes out of its desire for a public-sector dominant social welfare state and planned economy globally.  Especially in the US.

And Schleicher basically says so in this hugely troubling article from 2010. http://www.oecd.org/general/thecasefor21st-centurylearning.htm “Shifts in ways of doing business, of managing the workplace or linking producers and consumers” are just the kind of wholesale reimagining of our economy that we just keep encountering as attached to education reform. Like the changed Mindsets and New Worldviews created by humanist psychology theories and practices in the classroom, this is all a means to an end.

If you get a chance to read that 2 page paper you will see that Schleicher is describing 21st Century Learning in language that others have come outright and called dialectical thinking. It is to prepare students for a belief quite useful to proponents of wholesale fundamental transformation into Governors and Governed.

“Promote students dialectical thinking–the understanding that what is ‘true’ now may not be true in the future and may not have been true in the past.” [Professor Robert Steinberg, 2009, ASCD, 'How to Teach the Other 3 Rs']

Andreas is quite busy and it was the sudden promotion of his July 2012 TED talk hyping PISA but not mentioning the planned roll-out in many American school districts this fall that is part of what caught my interest. It was called “Use Data to Build Better Schools” and the kind of schools to be remade will of course depend on what data is being collected. Schleicher was kind enough to mention in the 20 minute talk that it was international assessments like PISA that have globalized education. I knew that and it’s time everyone else did too. PISA is measuring student values, attitudes, and beliefs and how they apply knowledge (as in Big Ideas or Concepts like Social Justice) to novel situations. Non-linear, no clear cut solution problems that the students have never encountered before.  Can you say Messing with the Mind or Dialectical again or the more common Higher Order Thinking Skills?

There is another very troubling slideshow on “Learning in the 21st Century-Lessons from Around the World” http://prezi.com/fuvde8bjh6qg/learning-in-the-21st-century-policy-lessons-from-around-the-world/ that was Schleicher speaking last fall at WISE in Qatar, the World Innovation Summit in Education. So good to know that the Muslim world has such an interest in limiting the intellectual and economic capacity of the West. It’s especially interesting given that Schleicher mentions that 21st Century Learning is a way to “avert the risks” of new technology. Is that why Big Blue sponsored his TED talk? No more unapproved competition? If that kind of collusion strikes you as unlikely you might want to read the OECD’s “Better Skills, Better Jobs, Better Lives” detailing the extent of the sought collaboration among government and existing employers around a global skills agenda. With the foundation of the largest education company in the world   http://www.pearsonfoundation.org/pr/20120523-Pearson-Foundation-and-OECD-Launch-skills-oecd-org.html signing on as a partner.

I could be here all day explaining the elements but it is clear that 21st Century Learning is tied to the OECD vision of the future global society and PISA functions as the means of measuring how schools and teachers are doing in creating the new desired mindsets amenable to such wholesale political change. Hopefully even clamoring for it as expectations for middle class employment are dashed as the combo of government interventionism in the economy and divorcing actual knowledge from credentials creates its foreseeable dire effects.

That’s why the other component of the full-court propaganda press suddenly surrounding PISA caught my attention. It turns out on August 13, 2013 Simon & Schuster (owned by CBS. Think media education and UNESCO) published a book The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way about who does well on PISA and how combining excellence with equity is necessary for being globally competitive. Now we know what PISA measures and that’s not my definition of smart. Is it yours? If you watch Schleicher’s presentation on prezi, you will hear the Ontario Premier touting Ontario’s success. It also has Ben Levin speaking but his authority on education reform has been compromised since his July 2013 arrest on child porn charges.

The Ontario Premier says that 4 in 10 Canadian students are now immigrants and it is important to change education to deal with that diversity. He points out Ontario is now considered high achieving because immigrant children and Canadian born children do equally well on PISA. If that is so, then they are practicing dialectical type, open-ended thinking in the classroom instead of academics and knowledge transmission and that is what PISA is picking up on. It’s Ontario’s business but we in the US and elsewhere need to not blindly jump aboard the PISA bandwagon like we are being led to do. Just look at the endorsements and reviews on Ripley’s book. Talk about the Appeal to Authority fallacy.

Ooops. I had forgotten her name. Amanda Ripley. She does human behavior and public policy stories for Time Magazine and The Atlantic. Since I assumed she knew the book title was deceitful to put it kindly, I looked into her background and discovered she was a fellow at the New America Foundation. When I took a look at what they were pushing with that troubling name, it turned out that shortly after the President’s reelection and through his inauguration, numerous public policy papers were created on the New America vision. That miraculously dovetails with precisely the sorts of things the OECD wants pushed globally. What. Are. The. Odds. The capstone, culmination paper was released in June and is called the Next Social Contract. http://nsc.newamerica.net/sites/newamerica.net/files/policydocs/Lind_Michael_NextSocialContract_2013.pdf

The New Social Contract completely remakes the America we have known and turns it into a public-sector dominated economic sewer. Complete with VAT, the federal takeover of Medicaid, turning health insurance into social insurance, eliminating “tax-privileged” retirement accounts, and best of all, federal revenue sharing to ensure regional equity of fiscal resources based on population. How exciting for California, NY, Illinois, and poor mismanaged Detroit. It’s a future that sees education and healthcare and state and local governments as the biggest employers and all at taxpayer expense.

“Privileged Americans should not be allowed to use sub-national jurisdictions as excuses for shirking their responsibility to contribute to minimum levels of public services throughout the United States as a whole.”

Welcome to the planned 21st Century America. I can see why that quote did not come out before Florida’s electoral votes were successfully grabbed for reelection.

That’s what we are dealing with behind all the rhetoric. No wonder OECD has taken up password protecting the pdfs surrounding its global Well-being conferences.

I am going to close with something federal Ed Secretary Arne Duncan said in connection with the 50th Anniversary of King’s March on Washington. He “called on educators and students to advance a civil rights agenda that presses for equal opportunities-and not just equal rights.”

He seems to be referring to the vision of that New Social Contract. But a knowledge of history and economics would reveal that the attempt is likely to destroy what does work. We are questing after a unicorn ride and pretending it is possible and jettisoning our current vehicle as we go a-dreaming. Some dreams are impossible.

How far down this road of creating new Mindsets and a new vision of the future will we go before we recognize we have expensively destroyed knowledge and expertise and social institutions we cannot easily remake?

Where will we be when the epiphany finally hits of all we have deliberately trashed? Ridiculously enough, in the name of education for all.

Some common core.