For those of you who never took a psychology course and never helped turn BF Skinner’s troubling books into bestsellers, operant conditioning was his idea on training people so that their behavior would be as programmed and predictable as a homing pigeon. Skinner always thought K-12 education had great potential as a social programming device. In the 80s the systems theorists decided that systems thinking would make a stealthier, more effective and lasting, means for operant conditioning. Simply target values, attitudes, and beliefs via the classroom and you impact future behavior decisively.
That targeting was what was going on in the Outcomes Based Education (OBE) controversies in the 90s. Looking at the 2012 Camp Snowball presentations and the flyers for the Summer 2012 Teaching for Excellence training sessions it appears to me to be updated operant conditioning techniques under new names from people like Spence Rogers and Peter Senge with ties to OBE. Engage even the most resistant student!
Plus this week the US Department of Ed announced that it would award 10 bonus points to any district applying for the $400 million of your tax dollars or future indebtedness in the so-called Race to the Top district competition that included “plans to work with public and private partners to help improve the social, emotional and behavioral needs of students.” Ah, comrade, may I suggest the unbelievably well-connected Responsive Classroom we profiled here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/locusts-of-the-mind-boring-gaping-holes-altering-wiring-and-living-on-our-dime/ .
The Ed Week article dated October 19, 2012 (after the national Presidential Polls began to suggest that Arne Duncan may be out of a job in January and unable to continue to shepherd these mind and personality altering plans in person. Best to award grants so the dedicated political minions in the respective district central offices can continue the practices whoever wins on November 6. I mean who will know?) states that these bonus points could make all the difference. Apparently 900 school districts applied already and only 15 to 25 grants will be awarded. Applications are due October 30, the week before the election. So there is still time for a scheming Super to file that amendment and sell future voters into mental servitude. Part of the democratic purposes of schooling indeed.
Now I have been warning you all summer about the dominance of social and emotional learning in the real Common Core implementation and PBIS coming in through federal disabilities law mandates and the ASCD’s Whole Child Initiative and the NEA’s Purple America/Project Love. I have also been trumpeting the unappreciated psychological components of new state definitions of student Growth (especially CO, NC and NV) and Student Achievement. The district Race to the Top requirements give a perfect example of what has really been the rationale for all these so-called reforms. Mandate SEL or measures designed to destroy the Axemaker Mind and fund alternative means of measuring the outcomes of what is to be going on in these classrooms to gain the desired future political mindset and likely behaviors. Here’s a quote from the Ed Week article again:
“Districts must pay some attention to students’ physical and mental health regardless of whether they shoot for the bonus points. Districts must propose measures of age-appropriate growth in other areas, including at least one health or social-emotional indicator for students in 4th through 8th grades as well as a similar indicator for high school students. For its youngest students, a district must propose at least one age appropriate non-cognitive indicator of growth–for which the department offers physical well-being and motor development or social-emotional development as hypotheticals.”
So the same administrators intent on stopping lecturing of facts and who insist that reading be taught inefficiently through a whole word sight approach will get to pick what social and emotional characteristics children will need for the future. You know that collectivist future where the economy has been designated an ecosystem and redesigned around Sustainability and the Common Good we have been profiling? Because that is what is going on in those professional development sessions we are not invited to.
I know because every day a certain portion of mystified teachers leave those meetings and do online searches of the terms and concepts they found most troubling or mystifying. Or both. Guess whose doorstep the searches gravitate to? There is evil afoot and the teachers seem to have a greater radar detector for the mischief than the administrators. Their bosses. Perhaps because too many are drawn to administration after they proved to not be very good at teaching subjects. Now they have power and our tax money and a federal government and its cronies intent on using education to mount a political coup. For Equality!! One that is supposed to survive a change in White House occupancy or a shift in a state’s governor or a loss of control of Congress.
This week the horrifically politicized National Academy of Sciences continued its efforts to make Lysenko seem like a scheming piker when it comes to using political power to destroy the natural sciences for political reasons. This report, called “Climate Change Education, Formal Settings, K-14″ announced the intention to use education to stamp out widespread skepticism over Climate Change. Our modern-day political officers have determined that a belief in catastrophic man-made temperature increases is in the best interests of their future plans for transforming the US away from free market capitalism and individualism.
And by golly they intend to use the monopoly over education to inculcate that widespread belief in impressionable children. The report was based on a workshop that took place on August 31 and September 1, 2011 and seems to have been part of the effort to use education and the social sciences to bolster the Future Earth Alliance vision whatever the actual temps as we profiled here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/if-reality-is-ignored-or-disregarded-when-do-we-become-a-state-against-its-people/
The report contemplates that the new Science Standards issued in the name of Common Core will be very controversial. That would be consistent with what we have already discussed in our systems thinking stories that the West and the US especially is being pushed away from the science of the Enlightenment and a distinction between the natural sciences and the social sciences. In their place we are to get the UN pushed (and Marxist belief) in a Unified Science as well as what the Chinese call Experience Science grounded in a Confucianist belief that there should not be such a distinction between people and nature. Which sounds a great deal like what Thomas Berry and the ecologists are pushing that we profiled here. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/we-need-a-radical-change-in-our-mode-of-consciousness-even-a-new-sense-of-being-human/
So we are to get a new definition of Science no matter the controversy from those with the proper ed credentials and we must believe in Man-made Catastrophic Climate Change whatever the actual temperature trends or real causes. But since that might become the source of controversy if it was a discrete segment of a particular school subject, the report suggests using Systems Thinking to instill the desired beliefs and to make Systems Thinking a part of all academic coursework.
Now I keep flashing back to visions of the Marxist-Leninist political officer in the movie The Hunt for Red October. “Comrades! First it was my job to make sure the schoolchildren and future voters had the desired political beliefs we find conducive to ruling over you and dictating what you are to do and what you may become. In case all those years of Soviet schooling did not take as we wanted, people like me are put in places of power to monitor adult decision-making that contradicts our glorious empowering ideology.”
No, that was not part of the movie but those political officers were a very real part of how the Soviet Union or Mao’s China operated. And how different really is this planned social and emotional and psychological assault and data gathering to gain desired political beliefs via our schools in the West and Paul Ehrlich’s Newmindedness and the collectivist belief in the Common Good from the last post?
Our schools. Our children. Our tax dollars. Are we really defenseless to stop this blatant assault on our individual freedom and the economic system that brought unprecedented prosperity to the average person? Unsurpassed in the history of humanity?
Is it really to be punted in the name of Education?