Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies: Is This Really Mental Health First-Aid?

Let’s say the political transformation truth came out instead of talking about the Common Core as a means of creating common content expectations from state to state using common tests (neither of which happens to be true as I have shown). That is unless you count content as those Life Skills of Psychosocial Competence that now go by 21st Century Skills to sound better and move us towards our planned future. And I actually do mean Planning with all the fervor of a PhD candidate in Urban Studies at an Ivy League school. Maybe one of the Cambridge Cousins where too many profs have been enthralled with Systems Thinking and Theorizing and trying to get people’s behavior to fit the computer models for decades.

But no we can’t make it about 21st century skills up front as the reason because that P21 Partnership was going over like a lead balloon as attendees at conferences kept wondering “Where’s the content knowledge?” So P21 said it was folding up shop and leaving its Tucson home where it was in such close proximity to Peter Senge’s version of Systems Thinking. That it would just move into the CCSSO’s offices in DC. And thanks so much for offering the room.

Now some people were relieved and others alarmed since the conflict-laden CCSSO (look at who sponsors it to see what I mean. Hello tech companies and accreditors!) was a co-sponsor of the Common Core State Standards Initiative. And CCSSI is what the states have adopted supposedly to make content consistent. Might P21 influence the implementation? Yes. See previous post. Now we know this CCSSO interest group of the top ed officials from each state have also sponsored several other troubling initiatives that are clearly warping what the classroom implementation will look like. There’s that C3 Social Studies Framework to impact curricula and assessments and give students false beliefs to practice filtering reality through during their school years. There’s CCSSO’s work with the Asia Society on Global Competence and with Harvard’s Project Zero. PZ is also doing Global Citizenship work for IB as you may remember. And saying both its IB and CCSSO work can just go by the name Global Consciousness. Just call me “Robin Reads A Lot.”

We are going to talk about Consciousness in this post. Cultivating it with the desired concepts and filtering metaphors and desired values, attitudes, and beliefs. For a collective, common-good primary orientation. And actively manipulating it when the Mind that Came from Home has undesired beliefs and is too independent. Maybe they deny an Obligation to All Humanity or maybe their dad is a Physics prof wondering how it is Science to have no interest in actual data that is inconsistent with the hypothesis that increasing carbon dioxide because of man’s activities must lead to catastrophic consequences.

http://pss.sagepub.com/content/early/2013/01/09/0956797612452864.full.pdf+html is an article published recently  in Psychological Science by some Stanford profs (do you think they know Paul Ehrlich or Bandera or Roy Pea or Linda Darling-Hammond?) discovering that interdependent action and awareness is not such a good motivator in Western countries, especially the US. This research was funded by our ubiquitous and increasingly interested in our personal behavior and changing it federal agency–the National Science Foundation. The article closes like this:

“For interdependent action to become chronically motivating, it needs to be valued and promoted in American worlds and by American selves to the same extent as independence is. Until interdependence is more consistently and effectively represented in the ideas, practices, products, and institutions–that is, the culture of the American mainstream, successfully encouraging the perspective that our destiny is “stitched together” may require invoking independent behavior to achieve interdependent ends.”

Like those the Millennium Assessment of Human Behavior or the Belmont Challenge or the International Human Dimensions Programme are all pursuing now with our tax money as I have described? All eyeing education as the answer to the mindsets they need? What are the odds of all this being coincidental? Especially when I add in that the UK in 2001 got a much more up front standard to prompt all the social and emotional change and interdependent emphasis. No slipping through the windows and chimney and unpublicized Executive Orders as in the US. No, the “Standards in Scotland’s School Bill (2001) indicates that education should be directed at the development of the personality, talents and mental and physical abilities of the child or young person encouraging the development of their fullest potential.”

Now any similarities to Uncle Karl’s Human Development Theory we have discussed are wholly coincidental. It’s not like anyone with influence over British education at that time missed Marxism and the influence it had wielded. So this passage brings in intrapersonal and interpersonal skills and Educating the Whole Child and Emotional Intelligence. So the Brits and the Scots and the Aussies and the Canadians all looked at the veterans in developing such curriculums. The Americans. We have CASEL and the recommended Responsive Classroom program. Oh but back in 2001 it would have been known by its earlier name, Peaceable Classroom based on esr’s decades of Conflict Resolution and Social Responsibility work. Or there is PBIS or also Positive Behavior Support Systems. Especially popular in Colorado where the McREL ed lab pushes it as a useful tool of Second-Order Change in education.

Then there is PATHS which those Scots had turned to. PATHS is more than 2 decades old and is considered an ABCD model for the classroom–the affective/behavioural/cognitive/dynamic model of development–”placing primary importance on the developmental integration of affect, the vocabulary of emotion and cognitive understanding as they relate to social and emotional competence.” PATHS is not just for deficit urban areas although that is where it was researched on children and still gets used. See Cleveland last week.  http://www.air.org/files/Avoid_Simple_Solutions_and_Quick_Fixes_Osher_January_2013.pdf . PATHS also gets promoted now by the National Center for Mental Health Promotion and Youth Violence Prevention. And we know from an Ed Week article from a few weeks ago “Making Mental Health Part of the School Safety Solution” that all these SEL curricula are to be used as Mental Health First-Aid, supposedly to make the chances of another Sandy Hook or Columbine less likely.  Long-time readers know Colorado and CT are awash in SEL and other change the student’s personality and have been for a long time.

Why does it always come back to personality development? Beyond the clear connection to Uncle Karl’s aspirations for “creating something that has never yet existed”? I found 3 different passages from 3 sources to be stunningly illuminating on what is really going on. The first came from an essay on “The Changing Vision of Education”:

“We want the concepts, values, and skills of global education to be learned in a deep and genuine way that becomes part of each learner’s repertoire for acting in the world. As David Elkind says, once growth by integration has been accomplished, it is difficult–if not impossible–to break it down.”

Remember that mention of what Growth means because that is the new measure of the effectiveness of what happens in classrooms. Is student growth occurring? And there is nothing coincidental about the use of that term. I know because the 1976 book Schooling in Capitalist America spent a great deal of time describing the vision for “balanced human development for fostering general human fulfillment and growth.”  It’s a vision they said was consistent with the “development of a revolutionary socialist movement in the United States.” They were hoping to use education institutions, “social theory, and concrete political practice” to get most of their vision in place without violence. In their “Strategies for Social Change” passage the authors remind us of why educational institutions are so important.

“socialism is not an event. The consciousness developed in struggle is the very same consciousness which, for better or worse, will guide the process of socialist development itself.”

And they want that consciousness to become widespread among citizens. Now won’t those ill-structured performance assessments grounded in real-life problems be an excellent means of creating that consciousness? Since socialism is seen by its advocates as a State of Mind. One grounded in emotion. Certainly makes all the deliberate cultivation of false beliefs and mentions of filtering lenses to be practiced with in activities at school make far more sense. It is also consistent with a speech Linda Darling-Hammond gave  about 2009 where she giddily and unwisely mentioned that the Common Core was really about social and emotional learning. That content was just something to practice those behaviors on. The latter point can be clearly seen in documents I have where the continuous improvement is to be in desired behaviors, not knowledge.

We really are being scammed here on the difference between rhetoric and reality. And the sought goals behind closed doors could not be more Transformational. Luckily for us behaving as Miss Marple Who Reads A Lot has been a tremendous source of relevant info.

Now my third point is sort of fun. Remember I have mentioned the UN came out with a World Happiness Report in 2012 trying to get us all primed for transitioning to Quality of Life Societies where our happiness consists in the Wellbeing of All? Yes Kumbayah. Well its co-author, Richard Layard, gave a speech in March 2012 called “Mental health: the new frontier for the Welfare State.” It’s on pdf and youtube.

Which I would suggest puts the idea of Mental Health First-Aid as a daily part of every classroom in a whole new, and apt, light. 21st Century Political power for a desired welfare state. Everywhere.

 

Producing Docile Instruments and Captive Souls–Putty at the Hands of the Predator State

Biddable was the term that came to mind for the Desired Heart and Mind from Alice Bailey’s New Education in the last post. The one with the support of UNESCO and its global cultural tentacles. No, I don’t visualize everyone in the classroom holding hands, wearing white robes, and chanting. That would be obvious and the point is clearly not to convert but to minimize everything historically that fostered that sense of individuality. What john a powell deplored fairly recently as the Unitary Self that needed to be destroyed. All this jockeying about the nature of  education, then and now, is really about creating the World-view or Mindset that will interpret the experiences of life it encounters. How Reality is Perceived. Permanently.

In fact that recent CCSSO C3 Social Framework I wrote about is stunningly graphic in its language about the “lenses” students are to practice using over years of classroom experiences. Probably one of the most explicit descriptions of “Creating a False Consciousness for Dummies”  you will ever read.

The first chapter in Bailey’s 1932 book is called “The Purpose of Education.” She does see it as private meditation about how to change the World. Without nuisances like a store of facts getting in the way of the Sought Vision of What Might Be. This quote is a little long but, I believe, this is the passage that gives rise to the mysterious “Sense-Making” Goals of Education now all over the world. Likewise, I maintain this is the source of what CCSSI means by “Understand” throughout the Standards. It also appears to be the driver behind the “Deep Learning” mandates we have covered. Page 32 if you choose to get a copy of From Intellect to Intuition. Emphasis in original.

“All education in the East is purely directed towards Sense-understanding, which . . . is the only way that can be shown as leading to a raising of the level of essential Being . . .The essential thing is not information, but understanding, and understanding can be attained only by personal creative application [now you know why Creativity is one of the 4 C's of 21st Century Skills and why the CCSSI assessments are to be about applications with no fixed answer about real world problems]. . .Sense-perception always means giving a thing a meaning; [not assigned by a textbook or transmitted by a teacher in a lecture] the dimension of Significance lies in the direction from within  to the outside . . . Information is gained from without to the inside; understanding is a creative process in the opposite direction.”

And that emotionally-driven sense-making of experience not grounded in Facts is what Bailey says develops the “capacity to function in the larger consciousness.” which would be highly useful to Schemers wanting to break the Western tradition of Individualism. It certainly sounds like the kind of web of interconnectedness the Systems Thinkers and Deep Ecologists desire. And in 1932 if Education was to be the global vehicle for this Change in Personal Mindsets, John Dewey must be the Prophet of Change. No one else had his influence. So my epiphany in the Car Pool Line as I read Bailey’s Goals was “What’s the connection between John Dewey and Buddhism?” Ding. Ding. Ding. We have a winner.

Bailey herself said that the purpose for what she called the New Education was the “training and development of the individual for social ends, that is, for the largest service to man. . .” We exist to be instruments in other words. Sounds like Dewey too.  Now it turned out that linking Dewey and Buddhism produced an avalanche of links. I am going to give the essence of what is pushed and links for anyone’s further investigation.  And this really matters. It turns out to be inextricably bound up in the UN’s Vision of Education for All and its Sustainability initiatives as well the definitions of Global Citizenship we keep hearing vague references to.   http://www.daisakuikeda.org/sub/resources/works/lect/lect-08.html&pid=print is the seminal lecture from Columbia Teachers College on June 13, 1996 by Daisaku Ikeda, Buddhist philosopher, peacebuilder and educator called “Thoughts on Education for Global Citizenship.” It lays out the similarities between Dewey and Makiguchi, the Japanese inspiration for SGI, Soka Gakkai International (check its partner list if you want to check its active participation among the Who’s who of Global NGOs).

Since everyone reading pays their taxes wanting education to be about:

“true happiness is to be found in a life of value-creation. Put simply, value-creation is the capacity to find meaning, to enhance one’s own existence and contribute to the well-being of others, under any circumstance.”

You do realize that “well-being” obligation and definition of Student Growth is straight out of the Belmont Challenge we chronicled as the Blueprint for Redevelopment of the Global Society, politically and economically going forward by 2020, don’t you? With UNESCO involvement. Read on. This cannot be coincidental.  Ikeda desires education to be about the “all-encompassing interrelatedness that forms the core of the Buddhist worldview.”

Now I have an idea. To get around those sticky concerns about the separation of Church and State, especially in the US, let’s call the interrelatedness a System or Web and require students learn about it. Maybe in the new C3 or Science Frameworks. Then it appears Secular and Perfectly Permissible. In fact, we can take the phrase “Buddhism seeks to cultivate wisdom grounded in this kind of empathetic resonance with all forms of life” and call it Ecology and Sustainability and Systems Thinking. Then it gets to come into the classroom to alter the Student’s Permanent World-view. In a religious way. Without saying so.

In fact Ikeda sees the Concept of a Global Citizen to be grounded in the Buddhist concept of the Bodhisattva–”one who strives without cease for the happiness of others.” Americans get to secularize that Buddhist concept as College and Career Ready as we have seen. Here’s also a 2002 Speech at the Ikeda Center for Peace, Learning, and Dialogue at Harvard called “Democracy and Global Citizenship: Creating Value by Educating for Social Reform” by the Director of the Center for Dewey Studies commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Dewey’s Death. http://www.ikedacenter.org/thinkers/hickman_lecture.htm Hint: Hickman’s Vision for finally enacting fully Dewey’s work looks a lot like the CCSSI and global education reform implementations we have been chronicling.

I want to pivot though to a March 2009 lecture called “Daisaku Ikeda and John Dewey: A Religious Dialogue” http://www.iop.or.jp/0919/garrison.pdf which chronicles the similarities to Buddhism but calls Dewey’s vision for education and the schools “religious humanism.” Here’s a taste:

“The primary difference between ‘religion’ and ‘the religious’ for Dewey is that religion confines itself to a special domain of human experience usually associated with the supernatural and, therefore, does not intervene to alter the affairs of daily living.”

Dewey wanted to change the nature of the world, politically, economically, and socially. His education vision starts with classroom activity that “moves forward to restore the wholeness of the self through right relationships of dependent origination in the world.” Not just the new 3 R’s again but the impetus for all the Group Projects and Mandates of Collaboration. What Ikeda and Dewey want is education that is a “religious” experience as in students who “feel the desire to engage the world to transform it and make things better while experiencing a sense of being sustained by the larger whole that they serve.”

But no one, except me, is being forthcoming with the public around the world that these are the visions and ends being mandated for 21st Century Classrooms. All we get are vague “the process is more important than the content” or “must now be a student-centered classroom.” No one mentions Alice Bailey’s troubling one-world vision from the Cold War Era that is no friend of traditional Western culture. Or Ikeda’s vision that is admittedly grounded in attaining Buddahood in this life. We now seem to be calling that Service Learning and insist that it is Suitable for All Students because it is Engaging. Or Dewey’s Political Vision for Social Reconstruction Education grounded in his admitted Atheism.

Did you know John Dewey was one of the founders of the ACLU? None of this would be news to the ACLU so determined to take Judeo-Christian influences out of the public schools. So much for claims Secularism is the Goal. A different Kind of Spirituality is a More Accurate Description. One Useful to Those who Seek a Stronger Economic Role for the State that does Not Want to Worry about Pesky Individuals Impeding Progress Towards a Sure to be Great Collectivist Future. Yes, the post title is based on something written about Stalinism  in 1954 on what the State there needed in Citizens. Seemed apt.

All the great historic civilizations of the past recognize that it is spiritual values or ends that influence individual behavior or social culture. When Madalyn Murray O’Hare and the ACLU took the prayer case to the US Supreme Court, they were really trying to take out the traditions that impeded a different Vision for where the US should go. SCOTUS was in no position to know the reality of Sought Influence I have laid in this post.

These prevailing Values and Ends are what Ikeda and John Dewey and Milton Rokeach and Peter Senge and Spence Rogers and William Spady and Outcomes Based Education and Systems Thinking and Competency all want to change.

They are the key to how individuals interpret reality and their concepts of moral order. And right now only the Communitarians and Collectivists are at the table to influence the Values and Ends allowed into the Classroom.

Now what are we going to do about That going forward?