If we wanted to turn the current protections of the First Amendment on its head, we might argue that its new function is to “ensure the democratic legitimation of the state” and “create a new state of Mind for citizenship.” If books like The Constitution in 2020 (that the typical person will never even hear about, much less read) assert such claims, while also arguing for national standards for K-12 education to create the desired values and belief system, we would have a United States running on parallel tracks. There is the world as the typical person still believes it to be. Then the parallel, actual, purposes of the changed practices and institutions designed quietly to create:
“A democratic agenda truly concerned with human freedom, equality, and flourishing must conceive of itself in terms broader than the Constitution as law. It must be concerned with the constitution of US society, rather than with the US Constitution.”
If anyone does not believe that K-12 education policy and the new emphasis on “personalized learning” are actually about achieving the vision of the above quote that dovetails with the previous essay on “A Progressive Perspective on Freedom of Speech,” read this inviting “progressives normatively [they set the new rules but do not bother to tell us] to clarify the forms of participation that they believe are essential to a healthy public sphere.” Last week President Obama’s FCC announced its intention to regulate the Internet in the name of net neutrality. Want to guess how the progs illustrated that desire to clarify the new terms of participation and debate?
The book pointed out that “the Internet, for example, is rapidly becoming an extremely important medium for the formation of public opinion.” If that sounds like we are about to have an uh-oh confession here it goes:
“In the coming decades, issues such as net neutrality or the installation of centralized (versus decentralized) filters will hugely impact the precise ways in which the Internet will contribute to the formation of public opinion. Progressives will need a convincing normative vision [remember the experiential Right Brain that is the new focus of K-12 education adores narratives] of a healthy public sphere in order to assess the constitutional implications [little c, as in constitution of society and maybe that other little c] of potential government interventions. They will need this vision as much to shape a progressive regulatory policy as to litigate for the maintenance of progressive constitutional rights.” [No more negative liberties in other words. Look up FDR's Scond Bill of Rights].
We get a glimmer of what is really going on in what the new Conceptual Frameworks in AP US History are actually designed to do. I covered that in depth in a trilogy starting here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/mischievous-masquerade-apush-as-the-sought-coherent-framework-justifying-intervention-in-history/ I also address the function of critical theory and why it is also called Cultural Marxism in Chapter 5 of my book. This recent controversy http://www.dallasnews.com/news/community-news/park-cities/headlines/20150128-highland-park-isd-parent-calls-book-socialist-marxist.ece illustrates that high school coursework across the country is now training students to apply conceptual lenses like poverty, race, gender, sexuality, etc. in how they interpret the world.
Instead of treating Marxism as an insult that only an unhinged kook would hurl, it’s important to appreciate the crucial importance that the human perception of the here and now has on a widespread willingness to act to transform society. It’s why the prog quotes above talk about “a new State of Mind” for the necessary citizenship. It’s why we keep hearing about desired Dispositions (including explicitly from the Common Core’s formal sponsor, the CCSSO) and all students having a flexible Growth Mindset. We are all assuming a world and the rule and protections of the law still functioning largely the same while influential, well-funded profs and federal regulators declare “the First Amendment does not protect speech as such, but only such speech as is necessary for democracy.”
That would again be democracy in the economic justice, positive rights, vision for all that desperately needs both K-12 and higher education policies and practices to enable its vision of the future. The progs recognize that the traditional view of the First Amendment will “undermine important and desirable forms of state regulation.” I have long recognized that where the schools intend to go is actually off limits once properly understood. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/if-the-system-seeks-to-destroy-the-ability-to-think-can-james-madison-save-us/ Apparently the progs concede that as well. They followed that concern over the current First Amendment language with this statement:
“a progressive constitutional vision for 2020 must advance a robust theory of democracy that can identify the forms of speech and association that deserve constitutional protection because they are essential to the formation of democratic public opinion.”
That’s a First Amendment that has done a 180 and intends to protect only the forms of speech and association that fit with the desired transformative vision. Anything else and the motto is gather data, resculpt, and infringe away. The parents still think this is all about the best way to transmit knowledge and many businessmen still believe they cannot find able employees despite the K-12 system trying really hard and doing its best. Neither is true and it hasn’t been for a while.
One of the many taxpayer-funded trade groups doing its part to advance the prog view of future American society and reshaping the mind of the citizen is the American Library Association. In fact, its Association of School Librarians has even created Standards for the 21st-Century Learner http://www.ala.org/aasl/standards-guidelines/learning-standards and a helpful crosswalk to the Common Core. Category 3 is that “Learners Will Use Skills, Resources, & Tools to Share Knowledge and Participate Ethically and Productively as Members of Our Democratic Society.” I do believe that is called picking a dog in the fight.
Especially given AASL’s constant focus on pushing Inquiry-Learning, which of course, MUST be experiential. It also prescribes desired student “Dispositions in Action” repeatedly as part of its Learning Standards. Students are also told to “show social responsibility by participating actively with others in learning situations” and not just turning to a book they love or refusing to volunteer the excellent vocabulary their parents diligently built up over the preschool years.
Again, creating Learning Standards that insist that students have that social responsibility or that students must “use information and knowledge in the service of democratic values” is taking sides in this mostly invisible battle for the future of what the US will ever be. We are going to pivot because the ALA was brought in as the so-called neutral authority to proclaim that somehow complaining of bias in what is taught, and the explicit prescription, and required practicing, with conceptual lenses that students are to now use (to interpret their experiences and the reality they perceive around them), is somehow a violation of the student’s Intellectual Freedom. Who is the real infringer here? This is the Have Your Cake and Eat It Too Booklet the ALA has created. http://www.ala.org/alsc/sites/ala.org.alsc/files/content/issuesadv/intellectualfreedom/kidsknowyourrights.pdf
It showed up as a defense in Highland Park. Now won’t the facts laid out in this post be useful if it shows up in your community next trying to prevent accurate criticisms? After all, these stipulated ‘lenses’ are designed to guide new kinds of student minds and beliefs about their responsibilities to others all while sculpting that needed “democratic public opinion”. The booklet is fantastically wrong in so many of its assertions, but it does still have an excellent command of the historic purpose of the Bill of Rights. “Before the Bill of Rights was written, governments usually told people what their rights and freedoms were. Our Founding Fathers did not like this, and so they flipped the idea around. Instead, the Bill of Rights said the citizens would be free to tell the government what it could or could not do.”
Not exactly consistent with those 21st Century Learning Standards is it? See what I mean about parallel tracks? At the same time that the ALA tries to portray challenges to the slant in curricula as akin to the right of citizens to “take the government to court” and “use the words from the First Amendment to prove that the government has violated their rights,” the ALA itself is actively involved in helping to resculpt the student’s internal mental structures and values, attitudes, and beliefs. In violation of that same First Amendment they claim to be a defender of. Maybe so, but the first allegiance is clearly to advancing ‘democracy’. That booklet called it the “form of government where all people are heard,” which sounds remarkably like the prog vision of the public sphere above.
In fact, the 2020 book asserted that redistribution of wealth and interference with private contracts are now acceptable as long as the minority can complain in a public forum about what governments are doing. Legitimate practices as long as there is an opportunity to participate and try to sway public opinion sounds remarkably like the ALA’s assertion that democracy cannot “work if all people cannot express themselves and talk to one another to make informed choices.” Sounds like John Dewey’s participatory democracy to me that we are seeing advocated for now at the local level as a forum for binding decision-making as long as all Stakeholders are represented.
I think the ALA’s desire to advance this vision of the future probably has something to do with why it repeatedly and flagrantly misstates the tenets of the First Amendment. But the typical parent or student will likely not know that “The First Amendment guarantees you the right to think your own thoughts, speak your own opinions, and read and write what you want” is factually wrong. The Government at any level cannot infringe that. The ALA though wants that Discourse Classroom where all students bring their perspectives and share their experiences before negotiating to a common understanding. That practiced obligation is needed for this new vision of a “democratic public sphere.”
This is a self-confessed March through the Institutions that is proceeding on a Parallel Track. Let’s not take any groups’ word for what our rights and obligations are. Always look for the conflict of interest.
We really are engaged in a cultural war over the constitution of our society. The law and K-12 education are primary battlefields. None of us have to accept a claim that we are violating Intellectual Freedom by accurately pointing all this out.