Locking in Marx’s Dream: Psychophysiological Means Precisely What We Fear as the Real Goal of Education

I always feel odd writing down that infamous name, but as I learned when I was researching my book, Uncle Karl is never very far away from the theories behind the actual classroom implementation. Sometimes the link is too direct and too huge in its implications for me to use a cute euphemism either. Especially when Marx is cited directly as the support that leads to all the current hyping of Neuroscience and Brain-based instruction. How direct? Well, Etienne Wenger from our last post wrote a book Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning, and Identity that I found deeply troubling. Diving into the relevant footnotes pulled up a book I had never heard of that turned out to be $800 used on Amazon when I looked.

Not wanting to eat PB& J sandwiches for the next 6 months to secure a copy of The Concept of Activity in Soviet Psychology, I decided to go internet surfing to see what cited Soviet psychologist AN Leontiev actually wrote about “The problem of activity in psychology.” In case you haven’t noticed, the requirement of active learning and a shift away from print, lectures, and textbooks is what I would call omnipresent in the real Common Core implementation. Knowing how crucial learning tasks are I thought I would gain some more useful insights. What I was not anticipating was for Leontiev to lay out aims and practices I recognized from all my research and then cite repeatedly to pages from Marx and Engels or from some of Marx’s other works.

Suddenly euphemisms won’t do, not with stated aims like using education and carefully crafted classroom or digital virtual activities to literally “lead to a reconstruction of the ensemble of brain psychophysiological functions.” If the aim becomes analyzing which kinds of student activities produce what types of physical changes in their brains, it sure would explain all the interest now in functional MRI, adaptive software, and longitudinal data. When I read those words and others being attributed by Leontiev to what Marx and Engels really desired that are as provocative as stating:

“This convenient formula [of separating psychology and physiology] leads into a greater sin, the sin of isolating the psyche from the work of the brain”

Waiting until the next book could be published simply will not do. Just last week, independent of this research, someone asked me if I was familiar with the White House’s new Fattah Neuoroscience Initiative. The answer was no, but it did not take much insight to guess that it would be linked to John Holdren, which turned out to be quite correct. http://docs.house.gov/meetings/AP/AP19/20140227/101775/HHRG-113-AP19-Wstate-HoldrenJ-20140227.PDF is some recent testimony from him on all that federal activity involving the physical structure of the human brain. Notice though that Holdren leaves out that Digital Promise and the League of Innovative Schools also report to him and they happen to be carrying out precisely the kind of education activity that Leontiev wrote about.

Holdren also leaves out his long time ties to Paul Ehrlich and his stated desire for Newmindedness no longer grounded in a logical, rational mind. Just think of the implications of all this Neuroscience and Grit, Perseverence research for Ehrlich’s current global research project–MAHB–the Millennium Assessment of Human Behavior. Now that I have reminded everyone of the real current links to where K-12 in the US and globally is going, let me add one more thing. I found this graphic Leontiev book on servers at the Laboratory for Comparative Human Cognition at UC-San Diego. The place where Michael Cole and Yrjo Engestrom [see tags] have created the global base for Cultural Historical Activity Theory in the years since the Berlin Wall fell.

Happy 25th anniversary for that Happy Event by the way. Let’s commemorate that Death of Tyranny by continuing to expose that so much of the ideology we thought we were leaving behind in 1989 came on into the West invisibly through a new kind of psychology and a new vision for K-12 education. To bury such destructive required collectivism once and for all we have to know it is there. If you have not yet read my book Credentialed to Destroy: How and Why Education Became a Weapon, get it.

The findings on this blog are not a substitute for it. They are the icing, cherries, and birthday candles. It simply keeps getting more pertinent with time. Given Leontiev’s disclosures though, we simply cannot escape the fact that everything now envisioned for the K-12 classroom globally in the 21st century is based on  a decision “at the beginning of the 1920s” in the Soviet Union to “consciously structure psychology on the basis of Marxism.”

Specific cites and everything. That psychology is sensory in its base, not mental as we have historically assumed, which really does explain all the links in the previous post. It is a view of psychology and education that “in the modern world psychology fulfills an ideological function.” Yes, which is why Leontiev keeps mentioning its use to create a consciousness in people suitable for a “socialistic, communistic society.” All three words, just like that. Apparently all our encounters with communitarianism and the references to meeting needs are part of this vision linked now directly to Uncle Karl. There’s that softening euphemism again. I guess I just cannot quite adjust to open proclamations of intent of the sort Leontiev uses:

“It must not be said that psychology has exhausted the treasure chest of Marxist-Leninist ideas. For this reason we turn again and again to the works of Karl Marx, which resolve even the most profound and complex theoretical problems of psychological science.”

What do we do when the actual and only support for what a charter or Principal or District Office or foundation grant are mandating for a K-12 classroom turns out to be Karl Marx’s social theories for how to gain the kind of brain and personality that would fit his vision for the future? Here again is what Leontiev wrote, the old view of psychology and education:

“isolated cognition from sensory activity, from the living practical ties of man with the world that surrounded him…Introducing the concept of activity into the theory of cognition, Marx gave it a strictly materialistic sense: For Marx, activity in its primary and basic form was sensory, practical activity in which people enter into a practical contact with objects of the surrounding world, test their resistance, and act on them, acknowledging their objective properties.”

What happens when doing all that as a physical, sensory activity involving group participation becomes the very assessment of student ‘achievement’ or Growth?

What happens when the purpose of digital learning is to access a student’s internal “picture of the world” so that learning tasks, virtual reality gaming, and adaptive software can provide virtual and physical experiences to alter that picture in desired ways? Ways that are chosen by others for their intended effects on the student at a physical level.

What happens when, having cited to Marx and Engels on the effect of vocabulary and words generally on consciousness and perception, educators then do everything they can to limit vocabulary, manipulate the words and concepts that are supplied, and minimize the historic role of print on the mind?

What if K-12 education seeks to circumscribe human thought in the 21st century so that it is “nothing else but a derivative of practical activity”? With the stated goal being a “true solution to this problem of the origin and essence of human thought.” And why is human thought problematic?

Because independent rational human thought with access to a store of facts does not submit to Overlordship easily. All these required practices hiding now as pedagogy and Effective Teaching are all actually about subjugation of the mind.

And personality too. Leontiev’s Chapter 5 has with a lead-in header of “Personality as a Subject of Psychological Investigation.” How’s that for aspirational? Do free societies do that nonconsensually using deceit? That analysis, by the way, has to get to the relationship of “motives and needs” just like innovative education seeks to do.

Let’s end with an aspiration that does explain all the intended use of social and emotional learning and an emphasis on the Whole Child. It fits with all the current UN hype of the post-2015 Sustainable World that will meet the needs of all. It fits with the goals we have encountered that we become a “Spirit Society”. This is how Leontiev ended his vision of a new kind of education arising from a scientific, materialistic psychology grounded, he declared, in Marxism:

“Lost from view here is the fact that it is necessary also to go through a transformation of material consumption, that the possibility for everyone to satisfy these needs does away with the intrinsic value of things that satisfy them and eliminates that unnatural function that they fulfill in private ownership society…”

Lost no more and just in time. Historian Richard Pipes in the book mentioned in the two previous posts pointed out that even animals show repeatedly that acquisitivesness is innate. Trying to dislodge what is innate via K-12 Whole Child education premised on practical activity and social participation is simply not going to end well.

Now would be a great time to start recognizing the ancestry of all these required changes in the nature of education.

No more euphemisms. Not with the stakes this high or the aims so personally intrusive.

Identifying Education Globally as the Crucial Lever for Nonconsensual Behavior and Societal Change

It is one thing to know that education is now a weapon, and another to discover there has been an expensive, calculated frenzy in the last few years to use social science theory, specifically cited as sociology, anthropology, psych, and even political science, to “drive individual processes of change, as well as changes in social practices.” What? Just because someone is a tenured professor or a one-time politician? That enables them to recommend “transformative actions toward equitable sustainability at the local, community level” so that others can examine “how to speed and scale those up into processes of transformative global thinking?” Whoa!!

Welcome to the May 2012 prescription for “Transformative Cornerstones of Social Science Research for Global Change” as our Adaptation Means Each of Us From the Inside-Out Trilogy continues. Any concerns we might have that all this clearly constitutes “processes of social engineering” in order to mandate nonconsensual shifts toward “achieving alternative visions of the future” are supposed to be calmed by uniting these visions with “participatory approaches” at reaching a consensus. Right. At some point after the participants have been manipulated via education and the media. After all, these are transformationalists who KNOW that it is “interpretation and subjective sense making” that actually “confronts the personal and collective values, beliefs, assumptions, interests, worldviews, hopes, needs and desires that underlie people’s experiences of and responses–or lack of responses–to processes of global change.”

A mouthful of aims, but we get what is targeted now. The transformational schemers do not necessarily have a T-shirt or banner and include the greedy, ambitious, or naive servants in the school district or principal’s or even the Governor’s office. Anyone who intends to get at people’s mental models and values, attitudes, and beliefs to drive political change–both at the individual and societal levels. When I wrote my book, I spent years researching what happened during the Cold War and immediately afterwards as I kept  encountering controversial US practices in education that had ties to Soviet psychology. The book explains the whys and recognizes that individual consciousness is always the ultimate target of anyone with aspirations of nonconsensual political control. After several days of wading through all the social science research surrounding Adaptation and how to use education to drive Global Change I have come to a definitive conclusion.

The desire for Planned Geoengineering survived the fall of the Berlin Wall and so did a  desire to control people, places, and things in even more ways than I had previously documented. New methods, new excuses, and more parts to hide the coordination among political levels and regions. Another example also tied into the Belmont Challenge and Future Earth Alliance I first wrote about in June 2012 is called the Global Environmental Change (GEC) Design Project. No, it’s not about what kind of drapes you want in the sunroom. It is, however, all about deliberate transformation using the perception of human-caused climate change as an excuse and asking the “social sciences to take the lead in developing a new integrated, transformative science of global change.” And applying itself through preschool, K-12, and higher ed, which all make good prolonged tools when the aim is:

“Transformation is understood as a process of altering the fundamental attributes of a system, including in this case structures and institutions, infrastructures, regulatory systems, financial regimes, as well as attitudes and practices, lifestyles, policies and power relations.”

Whew! Now you don’t really think that alarming confessional is all I have do you? I thought not. Looking at a few of the Stanford profs involved with the IPCC Report led me to a January 2011 document Called “Knowledge, Learning, and Societal Change: Finding Paths to a Sustainable Future.” This was the Science Plan [notice bolding above] “for a cross-cutting core project of the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change” or IHDP. Don’t get too excited but the social science schemers involved with IHDP see knowledge, learning, and societal change as being in a dialectical relationship where change to one affects and drives changes in the others. KLSC has since ensconced itself in Switzerland with its own website and probably lovely chocolates and fabulous vistas for all its employees, but in discussing it I will stick to the January 2011 declarations for education as well as a 2013 paper kindly laying out the history of IHDP.

We have speculated before on why what Edmund Gordon called “intellective competence” and that’s it, or what is being trumpeted as “equity and excellence” by those seeking economic justice for all, would be useful if you wanted political control, but the KLSC document removes all need to speculate on eliminating Axemaker Minds. Quite simply, we might not behave as desired and we might fail to act when wanted. To put it bluntly, the so-called “science of global change” and the education reforms pushed to accomplish it are all about “how to motivate and empower action by sufficient numbers of people with very different political and economic perspectives, ecological and physical conditions, and cultures.”

The answer is that the inner mental models and new values, attitudes, and beliefs will be carefully sculpted via “personalized learning” until students have different types of “knowledge and different core competencies.” That would be a “broad notion of knowledge that goes beyond a narrow notion of cognitive, science-based forms of knowing.” In fact, “knowledge can be conceptualized as any form of mental representation of the world,” whether true or not, as long as it either changes the student from the “inside-out” or causes him or her to take action.

KLSC is quite aware that “how issues are framed and the way they are communicated appears to influence people’s receptivity to the issues and possible responses” so of course we are in the midst of Curriculum Redesign with ties to IHDP to make students receptive as desired and responsive as wished. All those references to Enduring Understandings or Understandings by Design can be evaluated through this KLSC doctrine: “Knowledge is what empowers its possessors with the capacity for intellectual or physical action.” The KLSC view of the purpose of “education and pedagogies”? The aim is “the formal or informal intervention in an individual’s development to steer learning processes towards socially acceptable behavior.” Not just an intentionally created internal noetic keel then, but consciously aimed at behavior desired to drive transformation.

How do we get that kind of transformation? KLSC points to the “subconscious change of perceptions and [mental] terms of reference over time.” That would mean that the changes are designed to be not just nonconsensual, but at a level past the point of awareness. All the references we keep hearing to Positive School Climate or fostering Communities of Learners? Why “they help link individuals with a shared sense of purpose, so that individual changes are undertaken in the context of a wider social movement.” The KLSC project wishes to “promote research into understanding how to identify a tipping point in attitude and behaviors.” And all of this provides KSLC “with core approaches to understand the positioning of individuals in collectives.”

Oh, a firm knowledge of history gives me such a core understanding, but then I just write books and a blog instead of conducting “action research” on children and young adults for personal profit and professional advancement. KLSC admits that “by societal change, we mean large-scale behavioral change” by “individuals, groups and formal institutions.” And all the while plenty of people continue to believe this is just a good-faith discussion about the natural sciences and climate or how to best teach children for the 21st century.

Well, it is the latter, but only because the nature of life in the 21st century is being radically revised with little notice. I think that all this documentation makes it very clear that “humans” became embedded in “complex systems” according to the social scientists so that human behavior could be controlled and become subject to the “sphere of conscious political calculation.” It allows a shift in the very nature and purpose of governments all over the West without, once again, getting anyone’s consent. These “contemporary efforts to devise strategies for Earth System governance” truly do aim to place the individual chains invisibly within the mind.

The 2013 paper acknowledges that such “geoengineering remains a controversial stewardship ideal also in Earth System science circles.” Well, a touch of sanity at least. Since I am pretty sure I know which side of the debate will get the promotions, lucrative grants, and exotic invites, does anyone think this will remain controversial?

Well, at least before we went to the trouble of documenting Adaptation meant education and personal transformation. Let’s see if we can make this as controversial as it deserves to be.

Science Fiction Made Real: Were We Ever To Know In Time?

This is not the kind of science fiction we read in Frankenstein where the experimentation is physical change. Well, it might be physical, but it will be at the mostly invisible neural level. MRIs would do it though. What lights up and where is a very good indication on whether classroom practices are having the intended effect of putting certain capacities like reason and logic to sleep, while building up the habit of channeling all thought through emotions. Hard not to think of that functional MRI study I went over in the book isn’t it? Political purposes for educational manipulation via the schools. Now see this October 2013 paper on using values analysis and psychology to shift and manipulate a “new electorate.” http://www.cultdyn.co.uk/ART067736u/new-electorate-voter-values_Oct2013_11359.pdf

The new central role of the behavioral and social sciences in trying to create and manage an entirely new and theoretical vision of the world turns out to be openly announced, repeatedly, if we know where to look. I was not particularly looking. In fact, my intention was to make this post about Connected digital Learning and how that initiative is openly grounding itself in Cultural-Historical Activity Theory, our beloved CHAT, and proclaiming the plan to remake the American economy and society in the name of equity for all. I have been writing for a while about the kind of personal, unconscious level, data adaptive software and gaming and virtual reality exercises will be accumulating. I have also been researching the new federally established Learning Registry (linked via its ADL partner to comparable global initiatives in other countries) and recognize it is about accumulating practices shown to create desired change at the level of a student’s mindset–what they believe and value.

So when the federal DoED this week put on a well-attended Dog and Pony Show around ensuring student data privacy blogs.edweek.org/edweek/DigitalEducation/Student Privacy and Online Educational Services (February 2014).pdf , my reaction could be succinctly described as “What a sham!” and “So not the point.” I actually have been doing my homework around the aspirations for Big Data. My musings though pulled up intentions I never would have guessed about where all these pushes around systems thinking and ICT were going. And what’s more it even announces its links to IBM (Smarter Planet from Conclusion of book), Microsoft (Models of the World, who knew?), Alex Pentland and his MIT Media group (that new Social Physics book I wrote about recently), and George Soros, among others. Oh, and working with Oxford University. Remember that 2013 book Big Data: A Revolution that Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think I wrote about?

Imagine forgetting to mention the FuturICT Project and its plans to remake the world and “manage the future,” that would be our future, you and me, around Big Data and social science theories? To shift to an interaction-oriented view and to seek to change human behavior and values and how we govern ourselves. How COULD you forget to mention those essential facts in a book on Big Data? In all these pushes about the need to shift to digital learning? I cannot quote the entire over grasping and very real agenda so here’s the link http://www.futurict.eu/sites/default/files/docs/files/FuturICT_32p_Project%20Outline%20WITH%20LHS.pdf . I do want to quote a particular passage though that captures the massive, experimental plan of social engineering we are dealing with here (Page 6, my bolding and my voice in the brackets):

“In order to understand systemic risks resulting from the new interdependencies and develop the ability of integrated risks management [telling each of us what we can or may not do or know or value], we need to overcome the classical silo thinking and even more than that: We need a new way of thinking, a paradigm shift from focusing on the components of a system [that would be us] to focusing on their non-linear interactions [what we are to be allowed to do or required to do], as studied by complexity science [a theory not necessarily factual]. This paradigm shift will be of similar importance as the one from a geocentric to a heliocentric worldview (without which modern physics and launching satellites would have been hardly imaginable). It will promote a new understanding of our techno-socio-economic-environmental system and facilitate new solutions to long-standing problems.”

Not so fast on the likelihood of solutions. Have I ever mentioned how much I dislike lousy metaphors? They are generally the mark of either a weak mind or a deceitful one. When the prevailing perception of how our solar system was structured shifted to the heliocentric view, it was simply shifting to reflect demonstrable reality. The solar system as it existed. That is a far cry from analogizing to a paradigm shift grounded in theory of how reality and human behavior and human institutions might be restructured around ICT and Big Data. Especially hoping for new forms of governance with an emphasis on collective behavior and deferring to the democratically adopted consensus. These are theories designed to alter reality, not reflect it, and that is all the difference in the world in whether a paradigm shift is desirable. Especially one that is essentially taking place under cover of darkness.

All the intended modelling via the behavioral and social sciences, by the way, is openly acknowledged by FuturICT to not be an actual forecast. Its admitted purpose is to alter and constrain human behavior. The project intends to “develop a visionary information framework, considering insights from social sciences, complexity theory, and ethics.” It just keeps getting better and better. “The framework would analyze data on a massive scale and leverage them with scientific knowledge [behavioral, not physics!], thereby giving politicians and decision-makers a better understanding to base their decisions on.” And you wonder why the typical legislator or City Council member or Governor is gung-ho on the Common Core. What a king-maker vision.

It gets worse when you tie FuturICT with another recent report that seeks to base “long-term public service reform strategies on themes of reciprocity, responsibility, trust and partnership, and the need for a much closer understanding of how people behave, and what they want, need, and aspire to.” http://www.thersa.org/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/1540126/RSA_Managing-Demand-FINAL.pdf Information that Big Data, especially Big Data coming in through education and connected learning initiatives, has in abundance. Plus in preschool and elementary school it likely reflects what was absorbed from home too.

That RSA report envisions a cultural shift towards what can only be described as the kind of communitarian agenda Amitai Etzioni has always hoped for. No wonder RSA had Harvard’s Robert Kegan (also the OECD’s Key Competences) and his stages vision over to speak. No wonder the Positive Behavior Mandates in the US and the actual definition of Career Ready track back to Etzioni by both function and a cited reference source. No wonder the architect of RSA’s UK ed vision, Guy Claxton, can also be found as the co-author of that 2002 book Learning for Life in the 21st Century that coughed up the importance of Piotr Galperin’s Soviet psychological research to creating desired predictable future behavior.

The hardest thing about writing this blog is synthesizing so many books, reports, and videos that I read all the way through. Condensing is never easy, especially with complicated material, but these aims are quite clear. The use of education as the means is THE essential component of the sought transformations. These reports keep saying this is untried theory, but that does not seem to be stopping a massive social experiment on us, our children, our society, and our economy. Everything I have (too much to cite on a blog) aligns with this vision and the urgency with which it is being pushed from every direction. This idea that the public sector and universities and NGOs and foundations and Big Business are entitled to remake citizens in order to entrench their own power. It’s not an unprecedented aim, but, with Big Data and ICT, the tools of manipulation have gotten so much better.

The theories remain revolting. The way out is to understand this for precisely what it is and to recognize this grasping in real time. It’s why I write. This is not fun, but I believe it is necessary for there to be a way out in time. Perhaps the hardest part of that RSA report on Demand Management is its recommendations to politicians on how to sell this vision without really admitting what is being sought and transformed.

Guess what? We figured it out anyway. No chance of the trust of the public sector and governments that these theories all mention as essential happening now. Let’s see what we can do about the rest of this juggernaut going on at our expense.

We also need to strike the term ‘public servant’ from the way anyone is allowed to describe themselves from now on.

 

Cultivating Capacities for Submission and Acquiescence to Power Needed to Drive Fundamental Change

As I go back and forth comparing what is being pursued and implemented now with the stated intentions for the policies in the past, a 1974 book from an economics professor at the New School for Social Research kept coming up as the source. So of course I went used book surfing again to get a copy of Robert L. Heilbroner’s An Inquiry into the Human Prospect. Heilbroner gave the rationale for governments to hype potential future crises like man-made catastrophic global warming. It gives a reason to revisit, out in the open or covertly, “present mechanisms of social control.” If the dangers being hyped are social problems then they “originate in human behavior and [are] capable of amelioration by the alteration of that behavior.” Since Daniel Bell who we have encountered numerous times now, Paul Ehrlich, and the current White House Science Czar John Holdren are all people Heilbroner thanks up front for their help in writing the book we need to pay close attention to what he sought.

Now of course altering and controlling other people’s behavior is what political and social radicals interested in fundamental transformation basically lust after every waking hour and in many of their post-midnight dreams so we cannot be surprised 21st Century skills wants to make such a focus of real-world relevant problem-solving. Now, Heilbroner, like the current director of UNESCO or the OECD, makes no pretense of his desire for what he calls “socialism with a humanist face” and he was upfront about the kind of “boldest and most far-reaching exercise of political power [that] will be unavoidable in the future.” That future of course is the 21st century and what we are living through now all over the world at local, state, national, and global levels except no one is really willing to be upfront about all the machinations lest we all rebel before they are fully in place.

Just my research over the last week led me to write this little ditty laid out to the tune of “Jesus Loves the Little Children of the World” you may have learned from Vacation Bible School. “Red and Yellow, Black and White, You are All Just Serfs under Our Oversight” fits with this determination to use education to manipulate emotions and perceptions and limit knowledge and then use political governance arrangements to tell people what they cannot do or must do in the 21st century. These arrangements such as that Metro Atlanta Equity Atlas or all the real Common Core implementation pushes and the Regional Equity pursuits need to be implemented quietly until they can accomplish the needed changes in personality and values and attitudes and dispositions. Why the constant focus over the decades on these affective characteristics?

As Heilbroner pointed out, for “this exercise of power to be successful,” it must “be accepted by those over whom that power will have to be exercised.” That would be me and you and our children and most of our neighbors, especially if we happen to live in the reviled “affluent island suburbs.” Well, I happen to live in the Sandy Springs section of Atlanta, which turns out to be Ground Zero for targeting since in 1966 its voters decisively rejected being annexed by the City of Atlanta and thus supposedly set in motion Atlanta becoming the model of dysfunctional sprawl and turning its back on the needs of the Inner City. Didn’t know we had such a bullseye on us or that people like Heilbroner were writing about the need to foster “political obedience” if radicals wished to increase their political power. In fact, he calls on “the intellectual elements of Western nations” to:

“not only prepare their fellow citizens for the sacrifices that will be required of them but to take the lead in seeking to redefine the legitimate boundaries of power and the permissable sanctuaries of freedom, for a future in which the exercise of power must inevitably increase and many present areas of freedom, especially in economic life, be curtailed.”

Now, obviously if we were aware of such pursuits by our elected politicians and certain public sector employees and numerous Chambers of Commerce, we would likely tell them where they could go with such imperious plans and to “take their little dog Toto too” so such plans from the 60s on in the US always seem to come in through misunderstood education reforms and regional economic planning initiatives. Sometimes as now both at once. Education is always really after what Heilbroner called: “What values and ways of thought would be congenial to such a radical restructuring of things?” He proposed a shift “toward the exploration of inner states of experience rather than the outer world of material accomplishment” which certainly sounds like the focus on contemplative education and mindfulness training we keep encountering. Heilbroner also concluded that “the struggle for individual achievement, especially for material ends, is likely to give way to the acceptance of communally organized and ordained roles.”

Now the little ditty I composed above got its impetus in part from what Heilbroner wanted but it also comes from the Atlanta Regional Competitiveness Strategy http://www.atlantaregional.com/File%20Library/Local%20Gov%20Services/Econ%20Dev%20Strategy/EconoDev_ExecSum_2013.pdf  that came my way last week as it spoke of the entire 10 county Atlanta region pursuing a common education policy and pushing transit oriented development and a “unifying theme of cooperative leadership across economic sectors.” I ran into mentioned people tied to the Equity Atlas and the accreditor AdvancED and higher ed transformation and a partner of the law firm that drafted the duplicitous conversion charter that also represents quite a few large metro school districts and reps from planned anchor institutions in the sought Good Society and sponsors of forums for elected officials telling them to defer to school supers. Just a few of the names or entities I recognized.

Hard not to think then of Heilbroner’s comment about submission to political power or Moises Naim’s declaration in his March 2013 book that we are all to adjust to being governed. Especially when the regional ed campaign obligates to “integrate best practices and innovative programs into PreK-12 classrooms throughout the region.” As we have seen innovation these days always actually means sociological innovation and ‘best practices’ is a term of art that means political or social theories thought to allow for fundamental transformation of a radical nature. Kind of like what Heilbroner intended. I have to admit I wasn’t excited either about the goal  to “adequately prepare the region’s students and workers for 21st century skills and careers.” How Corporatist and mindless that sounds.

I was tickled though by the idea of the best and brightest college and graduate students from the region’s institutions being encouraged to “network through public service.” Apparently all these planners see the public sector as providing the best job prospects in the 21st century. Now my mention above of the antipathy towards Sandy Springs and its 1966 vote and the hatred for affluent suburbs all came from a 2006 book by Matthew Lassiter that was part of the same series on 20th century American life as White Flight: Atlanta and the Making of Modern Conservatism.

The Silent Majority: Suburban Politics in the Sunbelt South lays out precisely what was actually sought via desegregation and it was not limited to the South. Atlanta though is treated as being the “model of metropolitan divergence and regional fragmentation, emulating the national pattern of increasingly poor and heavily minority urban populations surrounded by overwhelmingly white and politically autonomous suburbs.” I think that regional plan above is what radicals want to use to get regional collaboration without the consent of the taxpayers while still keeping lots of school districts and cities and special tax districts in place to serve as lucrative jobs programs for people willing to push the desired programs. Of the kind Heilbroner and others had in mind.

Lassiter makes it clear it is socioeconomic integration that was and is really wanted. He ends the book talking about the Brookings Institute’s Metropolitanism program which is interesting as Bruce Katz addressed the ARC group that put out that report at its annual meeting in October 2012 and then came to Atlanta again last March as part of the Global Cities Network conference on economic development and Low Carbon Growth. Lassiter recommends “policymakers can use regional structures as leverage to overcome fragmented political governance and ameliorate persistent patterns of employment discrimination, housing segregation, and educational inequality.” Precisely what ARC and probably other similar entities in other cities plan to do as well. Largely out of sight. As a means of quietly ending “individual meritocracy and suburban consumer privileges and spatial separation.”

I read that in Lassiter’s book and remembered how many times at the rollout of the Equity Atlas I heard the term “spatial equity.”

If educational equity seems fair let’s add the ire that “children of privilege” in the suburbs are receiving the “advantage of the consumer affluence accumulated by their parents instead of competing on an egalitarian playing field.”

I am not done yet as I have another event to attend this week related to this but my point is what is being sought and how most of these relevant and binding activities affecting all of us are going on out of sight.

Unless you are like me and deliberately monitoring and watching and appreciating the significance of the language you encounter in official reports.

Schools that Break Down Obstacles to the Formation of Revolutionary Personalities

No, David Christian, the Professor pushing the new Big History course has said and written some doozies as we will see but today’s title was not one of them. I borrowed it from aspirations for Italian schools in 1972 since David so clearly wants today’s students to learn to think as idealogues instead of factually. And with Bill Gates’ backing and his Foundation’s funding and McGraw Hill debuting the textbook Big History: Between Nothing and Everything in August, this may be nonsense to those of us who prefer facts and knowledge but it is about to be influential nonsense. And in more places that the “enlightened” high schools already on board. There’s a reason for connections too between Big History–BH for now– and those NSF-funded Understandings of Consequence that are also frequently false. You see, BH combines natural sciences and humanities within a single framework to emphasize the interconnections. Here’s the international newsletter http://ibhanet.org/Resources/Documents/newsletters/Newsletter_III_05.pdf  for April so you can mull over why this is now called Convergence Education in Korea.

Now in case you have always thought of ideology as an insult, let’s use the working definitions of some experts who knew it well and spent a lifetime pointing them out and refuting them. Here’s the great Kenneth Minogue again, this time from his 1963 classic The Liberal Mind: [my snark in brackets]

“An ideology may therefore be defined as a set of ideas whose primary coherence results not from their truth and consistency, as in science and philosophy, but from some external cause; most immediately, this external cause will be some mood, vision, or emotion. [Wouldn't an emphasis on values, attitudes, beliefs, and feelings be oh so useful?] The psychological mark of ideological entrapment is the feeling of despair which accompanies the prospect of defeat in argument. [usually resulting in an irrelevant but nasty personal attack] Ideologies seek to avoid such painful experiences by framing their key utterances in a vague or tautological form, in order to make these propositions impregnable. The intellectual mark of ideology is the presence of dogma, beliefs which have been dug into the ground and surrounded by semantic barbed wire. [Think Climate Change models that ignore actual temps and omit key influences]. Ideologies incorporate some kind of general instructions about behavior–ideals or value-judgments, as they would commonly be called.”

Now since we learned in the last post for sure that we have a modern class of international nomenklatura who wish to govern us whether we like it or not, what better tool than schools that dispense Mindsets of Ideology instead of facts. No more making your own concepts, remember? Those will now be assigned as the acceptable Big Ideas to guide 21st Century student thinking. No parent need ever know. Who are they compared to a Social Studies Education major anyway. Now the typical ed major or doctorate that gets to be in charge of such a change in curricula may be blissfully unaware of the dangerous, even murderous, past of ideologies, but we are not. Especially after this post. Let’s borrow a few more key components from Jean-Francois Revel’s 1988 (1991 translation into English) book, The Flight from Truth: The Reign of Deceit in the Age of Information. Our title came from one of his stories.

Ideology is

–”concerned with a view to action. It transforms reality, indeed far more powerfully than exact knowledge does.”

–”refuse to heed displeasing arguments and facts–something that is the very negation of the scientific spirit.”

–”One can only begin to talk of an ideology with respect to collective beliefs.”

–”always active…a mixture of strong emotions and simple ideas, linked to a certain mode of behavior.”

Now I am going through this at some link because truthfully a push to have K-12 and higher ed be active dispensers of ideologies is exactly what we are dealing with in so many areas. And it is especially what the ed degree programs are all about. The District Central Office and the college deans and maybe your principal have all been trained to think ideologically without really knowing it. So we have to know ideology better than they do so we can always recognize both the poison and its advocates. Yes, this is about far more than BH.

Revel has one more vital insight we need to keep in mind. Many people prefer to think ideologically if they must think at all. As he notes:

“Human beings experience all sorts of needs for intellectual activity other than the need to know. The libido sciendi is not, contrary to what Pascal said, the principal motor of the human mind. It is only an accessory inspirer, and only among a small number of us. [See why TAG and Honors classes must go?] The average human being seeks the truth only after having exhausted all other possibilities.”

Well, not on this info-filled blog but Revel raises an important point for us to remember. Now I am going to start with a link to 1991 since David started pushing this project before the broken glass had been cleaned up at Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin. http://www.uhpress.hawaii.edu/journals/jwh/jwh022p223.pdf And David’s specialty was not just history but Sovietology. So I want you to remember this desire for “large-scale maps” that “reestablish {history’s} centrality as a discussion about what it means to be human” in light of a certain ideology that had come into disrepute at the time he was writing whenever it was upfront with its name. Beyond usurping the roles of philosophy and religion, BH wants to delve into “human impact on the environment” so ecology comes in too. In fact, BH is to play “as significant a role in modern industrial society as traditional creation myths have played in nonindustrial societies.” By that I guess he means “who are we and why are we here?” Boy, will BH get along well with contemplative education.

Christian is far more graphic on his intentions in the 91 article than he is now. He pointed out there “that growth, far from being the normal condition of humanity, is an aberration.” Trust me with these education policies and practices, that aberration is about to cease if it hasn’t already. Somehow if BH referred to how “the ‘bacillus’ man is taking over the world”, I am wondering if it might slow down textbook sales and funding. Probably not but someone who writes about the “sudden breakdown in an ancient equilibrium between a large mammal species and the environment it inhabits” will certainly be on board with the No More Axemaker Minds campaign Paul Ehrlich and the UN are mounting.

Honestly if BH “blurs the borderline between history and the natural sciences” then none of these subjects are in a form we would recognize. http://www.thegreatstory.org/universal-history.pdf is that troubling “History and Theory: The Next 50 Years.” Christian makes his intention that history “will have a powerful impact on public thinking about the past” quite clear. He thinks this “shared history” suitable for China or the US, Russia or South Africa will “help educators generate a sense of global citizenship.” Gag. That phrase again. Since Christian is fairly deceitful in marveling over where have all the Universal Histories gone, he is avoiding saying that was the role played by Uncle Karl’s theories. He clearly does NOT want to point that out. So I will and cite to Robert Heilbroner in his 1980 Marxism For and Against for pointing out that “No other study of history is so consciously oriented to mastering history, as is Marxism. For that reason alone it warrants our respect.” You didn’t think I would quote a Tea Party historian to refute Christian did you?

Here’s Heilbroner again: “Marxism is intended to provide more than an understanding of history. It is intended to serve as a guide for making history.” Why, how active. See above under Ideology.  So a “history that looks to the future” as Christian claims for BH is a history that functions just like what Uncle Karl envisioned. Something to think about as it becomes mainstreamed.

http://worldhistoryconnected.press.illinois.edu/6.3/christian.html makes it clear that David is quite aware that it is the power of symbolic language and the storehouse of cultural info across generations that has driven the human ability to adapt. To change our environment. He and others involved with global education reform know it is unique to our species and they are not too happy about its potential. You can take a look yourself to see if you think BH, like Whole Language, is an attempt to diminish that human ability to adapt and innovate.  http://usm.maine.edu/sites/default/files/The%20Collaborative%20of%20Global%20and%20Big%20History/christian%20historically%20speaking%20big%20history.pdf is one more link for you to see if you share my belief that this type of “underlying unity of modern knowledge” is because it fits Minogue and Revel’s definitions of ideology.

Because if it does, this is just another tool in that giving more power to Governments and the Public Sector vision. Which is precisely where ideology is the most entrenched.

Who knew it was going to be such a ferocious struggle to maintain the legitimacy of the individual in the 21st century?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And that we can still read and think and act.

Who Needs Pitchforks to Get Political and Economic Revolution? Education and Time Will Do Fine

Back during a previous coordinated stealth assault on our economy and political structures, Professor Benjamin Barber published a Clarion Call book called A Place For Us: How to Make Society Civil and Democracy Strong. It is the perfect illustration of why I see the actual Common Core implementation and the real End Game intentions so much differently than anyone else. Not only am I reading documents and regs that will control what is to happen, I read the support for the vision as well. Which includes Professor Barber. And simply withdrawing the book from library shelves will not stop the analysis. That merely emphasizes how important the vision and the explanation in the book actually is.

That nerdy expression from the previous post “Generative Metaphor” from Donald Schon’s tool chest to get us to a new society or my new favorite “anticipatory schemata” from a different well-known prof will certainly come in handy if the Goal is the “transformation of the role of work in our economic system will hence have to await the transvaluation of our civic and moral systems.” No need to make an issue of what Political Ideology you want people to embrace thoroughly. You just make it a supplied concept or metaphor or schemata that their school uses from an early age in the classroom to help the young tykes frame their takeaway perceptions from their daily experiences. Now you didn’t really think that all the talk about activities and tasks and actions was really about a better way to learn, did you? It’s a better way to unknowingly imbibe deeply of ideology and never even be aware of it. Students learn to perceive experiences through the supplied framing concepts.

Next thing you know students believe deeply what all these professors want us all to be shifting towards (from Barber’s conclusion).

“Democracy can be our most magnanimous employer. Citizenship can again be the most human of all occupations. .. [history] appears now to be conspiring with [civility]. In a provocative realization of Marx’s prophecy anticipating a new world of abundance no longer rooted in endless labor, our society is moving toward conditions that could nourish the resuscitation of civil society–not just public work but public play, cultural leisure as well as civic labor, fun no less than ferment, the joys of living in place of the burdens of earning a living.”

Barber is not the only one who sees all this Systems Thinking and reimagining of education as moving us towards a new future vision grounded in what Uncle Karl wrote so long ago. Others though leave out the explicit mention that is probably what got Barber’s book pulled off the shelves. When I read Shoshana Zuboff’s 2002 The Support Economy: Why Corporations Are Failing Individuals and the Next Episode of Capitalism I went back and reread Maurice Berman’s passage on Marx and Modernization in his book to doublecheck that meeting everyone’s needs did in fact form the essence of Uncle Karl’s ultimate economic and social vision.

Yep, so her new enterprise logic of a “distributed capitalism” based on everyone’s “need and support” as its organizing principle basically gets us to a 21st century version of the M word. She wants “Buyer-beware”  to give way to “United We Stand” and a reinvention of the employment relationship and the idea that “all enterprises should work for them.” Honestly this vision, which also fits with Senge’s Fieldbook from the previous post, will have the least capable employees the most assertive about their right to be consulted. Capable people tend to be too busy. I am not picking on Shoshana. She has a right to her beliefs just like we have a right to recognize the political and economic theory she is describing as well as the significance of citing Erik Erikson’s theory of human development in her creation of the “psychologized individuals” who will be demanding that society be changed. Won’t the real Common Core come in handy for that if the goal is to create “powerful drives toward interdependence, affiliation and community-building, but in ways that no longer depend upon a priori criteria such as kinship or geography?” Not to mention the real definitions of College and Career Ready we have tracked down.

So K-12 schooling is where those individuals get “psychologized” so they are “educated, opinionated, rights-claiming, and keen to act. They have concepts, ideals, and information.” Shoshana left out schemata as what organizes their view of the world and I’d be willing to bet most of the information supplied will not be accurate. Shoshana’s new individuals will be primed by school and then university to “demand a high quality of direct participation and influence.” Probably in inverse proportion to the genuine value of their contributions to the workplace apart from showing up. But if you believe in the “evolution of the human-spirit” education is your tool of choice.

And Shoshana is not the least bit alone in her aspirations. http://www.managementexchange.com/hack/develop-support-dna-new-capitalism was a McKinsey award winner last fall at Harvard B School to reimagine a fourth sector of the economy tailored to needs. These ‘for-benefit’ firms will integrate social, environmental and financial value creation. All at the same time. And if that sounds pie in the sky. http://www.fourthsector.net/attachments/39/original/The_Emerging_Fourth_Sector_-_Exec_Summary.pdf?1253667714 shows North Carolina on board to foster this new sector that blurs the distinction between public and private. It has Aspen Institute support which means virtually all the big foundations involved with Common Core are also involved with promoting this Fourth Sector idea. Won’t this go well with Aspen’s Effective Teacher eval push? Evals will likely go a long way towards forcing the classroom teacher to cooperate with “psychologizing” individual students as envisioned above. Plus I found this same paper being pushed in Australia. That means this is a global reimagining.

In the last post I talked about Otto Scharmer’s Seven Accupuncture Points paper but not what he called Capitalism 3.0. What his and Senge’s Systems Thinking work in the schools and businesses and on higher ed campuses is intended to achieve as the End Game. And remember we have the UN-affiliated IHDP describing Senge and Scharmer as pursuing the vision of the future that they and Paul Ehrlich’s MAHB are also pursuing globally. I am thus not alleging anything.  Scharmer’s economic vision functions much like Zuboff’s distributed capitalism. He envisions value-chain relationships of the politically chosen enterprises in “distributed situations” that “link all players along the value chain, from sourcing raw materials to the end consumer.”

Scharmer wants a “new coordination mechanism” other than private choices driving this value chain of goods and services “that revolves around creating collective action that arises from shared attention and common will.” That does sound decidedly like central planning and coercion but I am sure the generative metaphors and schemata and social and emotional learning in K-12 will prime the personality not to mind this time. Then Scharmer moves on to what is really the essence of what everyone really seems to be wanting from Systems Thinking. And I say that after tackling Donald Schon’s very graphic 1971 book Beyond the Stable State yesterday. Just trust me or we will be here all day. If these profs do not actually use the M word as Barber did they keep describing its fundamental tenets as their aspirational vision.

I am going to cite a long passage from Scharmer (p 12 if you pull report) but he is speaking for a large number of others and this is the End Game that goes with both global education reforms AND all the hyping about whether manmade carbon dioxide is leading to imminent catastrophic global warming. Think Vehicle for Change. Excuse for Change. Desired Vision of the Future.

“are we willing to accept that we are not separate from each other, but are economically and socially a highly interdependent field of interrelationships and communities?

And if we agree that the multi-level connection exists, are we willing to lend a hand to each other? If the answer to that is yes, then the highest-leverage economic intervention would be to simply create a basic human right to a basic income for every human being that, if combined with free or inexpensive access to healthcare and education, would create a level playing field that gave everyone a chance to pursue their aspirations and dreams–to put their real creativity into the service of the larger community.”

That’s what all these profs envision. It’s what Uncle Karl and his good friend Friedrich wanted too so long ago. It’s what the Fourth Sector is getting at and Capitalism 3.0 and distributed capitalism. And it utterly ignores human nature and the results of comparable aspirations in the past. And I tackled the futility of this before with some help from Friedrich Hayek here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/being-grateful-for-what-we-know-and-appreciating-why-it-matters/

But we all deserve a public debate on what is really being sought and whether it can work. I am ready. But right now this vision is coming in the backdoor uninvited while we are in another part of the house or at work ourselves.

We have every right to insist if it wants another chance in the 21st century, this radical vision must knock on our front door and make its case. To all of us.

 

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.

 

Nothing As Practical As a Good Theory For Gaining Access to Action Research

If a political theory gets you grant money or a job at a foundation, it “works” whether it is true or not. And puts its creator in a position to drive social change. The same is true with a learning theory. It does not have to be grounded in how kids actually gain knowledge if imposing it on a classroom will change future behaviors of soon-to-be voters in desired ways. Or might. That’s the great thing about action research theories. You impose them in real-life situations and see what happens. And you call them “research-based” to add an additional touch of legitimacy. Slyly leaving off the key point that the research is yet to come.

We already encountered Anthony Giddens saying it did not matter if global warming theory did not turn out to be factually true. That the theory itself would drive desired changes in individual behavior and social and economic changes. German sociology prof Ulrich Beck was even more forthright in declaring CAGW theory created a basis for a post-Berlin Wall Metamorphosis of the State all over the  traditionally capitalistic and individualistic West.

Social science researcher Kurt Lewin is the one who made the observation that there is “nothing as practical as a good theory.” He is considered the Godfather of all political theory action research and is intimately involved in what education pedagogy has become. Culmination of his life work you might say if you look him up.  The fact that he is quoted by name as a justification that:

“in order to learn how to sustain the development of the whole of humankind, individual human minds develop new mental models that can be used for representing worldviews in innovative ways. One way that knowledge of a global view of the world can be enhanced is through the use of systems thinking, from which merges the concept of global interdependence.”

Now the part in the next section about systems thinking being a useful metaphor and not literally true gets left out when systems thinking comes to a classroom. There it takes on its intended function of creating new mental models and worldviews. By the way that IB presentation I mentioned in an earlier post recently had multiple slides on creating new worldviews. It was the purpose of the Critical Thinking and Global Citizenship emphasis.

The disturbing fact that these new mental models and worldviews are intended to use education to drive a Biosocial Evolution should give us pause. So should the reality that I pulled the language from a UNESCO Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS). Especially as the National Geographic Society is helping to draft the Chapter called “Global Interdependence and Biosocial Systems.” It’s not like NGS is involved also with the drafting of the new US Common Core Science Standards.

That’s us. A biosocial system. And the introduction of such systems thinking into the classroom likely will not have the intended effect but it will alter values, beliefs, emotions and perceptions. That highly useful foursome to change future behavior. Just like Paul Ehrlich says his MAHB is more than five years into doing. Now Paul Ehrlich has a history of outrageous predictions of future calamities that never turn out to be true. I have noticed a tendency recently to mock his predictions and ridiculous statements on Twitter and in books and publications. It can make it easy to forget that Ehrlich’s theories do not have to be right. They are not intended to be. What they are intended to be is Influential. To become the excuse for someone’s desired change. That Metamorphosis of government power over people and an economy and the political structure. And in those domains his theorizing seems to be working splendidly.

That’s also why the influence of his Stanford colleague psychology prof Albert Bandura on the classroom implementation of the Common Core in the US and education reforms globally matters to all of us. That would be Bandura who is now trumpeted as the most cited living psychology prof. It appears we have located MAHB’s how to fundamentally change human behavior via UNESCO’s sought global education reforms. It is Bandura who Ehrlich and Orenstein thank first in their Humanity on a Tightrope book. Bandura is intimately in the hyping of overpopulation with Ehrlich. He and Ehrlich were working together to get the Palo Alto schools to study how to motivate students to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Oh and Stephen Schneider too for those who know his work. And if you wonder if he hypes quite as much as Paul I suggest locating Bandura’s 2007 “Impeding Ecological Sustainability through Selective Moral Disengagement.”

Not like access to the classroom would give a means to do something about Moral Disengagement on this issue in the future. That’s Bandura’s Self Efficacy Theory by the way creating a new theory for equity and student success in the Classroom that I described in this post. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/self-efficacy-cultural-proficiency-training-critical-reflection-and-change-agency-development/ Based on that 2010 Framework created by California Tomorrow to become a national template. That’s also his theories involved when I wondered why the Facing History theory taught students that “history is largely manmade” even though that is clearly not true. Described in this important previous post  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/changing-the-filtering-perception-the-way-we-see-the-world-is-key/

Stressing the idea that each person can make a difference turns out to be based on Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory. He has discovered it encourages motivation to take action if students believe they can manage fortuity as he calls it. So he has developed theories of Social Agency to encourage students to take action, individually and collectively. So Kurt Lewin was right. Good theories are practical means of  trying to change the future in Transformative Ways. And it is important that we remember that and not get caught up in the falsity of the theory.

Now if Bandura’s influence was limited to what I cited above, it would still be important to write about. UNESCO and friends really are trying to use government mandates over education and what constitutes science and regulatory policy to drive a Biosocial Evolution. Why? Because it brings them power and money and justifies what they already have. A motivation about as old as Ancient Babylon and Eqypt if not just after the Garden of Eden exodus. No Bandura is much more influential than that. Which is how he came to my attention.

I have mentioned that Ed Week wanted to trumpet Fulton County, Georgia’s Conversion to a Charter System as of July 1, 2012. And that when I read that charter it clearly reflected the Hearts Desire of UNESCO for post-Berlin Wall education that I wrote about here.   http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/values-and-vocational-creating-citizen-drones-via-education-worldwide/ . One of the troubling terms used repeatedly in that Charter was Life Skills. Clearly a defined term left undefined in the actual document so I went looking for the origination of the term. And I found it in a 1993 document put out by the World Health Organization, Division of Mental Health with help from UNICEF, TACADE UK, and funding from the Carnegie Corporation in New York.

The idea was that teaching everyday life skills would promote mental well-being and positive health behavior. Something to keep in mind now as social and emotional learning are being trumpeted as necessary post-Sandy Hook “mental first-aid.” These Life Skills for Psychosocial Competence are listed as “Decision making, Problem solving, Creative Thinking, Critical Thinking, Effective communication, Interpersonal relationship skills, Self-awareness, Ability to empathise, Coping with emotions, and Coping with stressors.” The actual document goes on to describe each of these in detail. Leaving no doubt that Life Skills for Psychosocial Competence is the less politically correct name for what are now being called 21st Century Skills. Which is not just a controversial US push under the name P21. As I mentioned in the previous post it is global under the name ATC21S and tied into what Pearson will actually be assessing students for. That will be the next post. I promise.

Today we are talking about Ehrlich and Bandura and the usefulness of theories in driving attempts at social change. Which is why the following paragraph from that WHO report is so important. Not just to education’s real intentions globally. Since its intended purpose is to change future voters from the inside out on what will motivate them to take action and how to behave in the future. That’s really how you get Transformative Change. Here goes:

“The methods used in the teaching of life skills builds upon what we know of how young people learn from the people around them, from observing how others behave and what consequences arise from behaviour. This is described in the Social Learning Theory developed by Bandura (1977).  In Social Learning Theory, learning is considered to be an active acquisition, processing and structuring of experiences. It is this emphasis on the individual as an active processor of reality that lies at the heart of the conceptual basis for teaching life skills using active, learner-centred teaching methods.”

So the actual classroom implementation of what is being called Common Core in the US and Quality Learning and what goes under a variety of names in other countries all ties back to what was laid out in this WHO document in 1993. That ties into what every UN agency wanted before and since. That ties into Ehrlich’s declarations. And the measurements to be used to determine if this is in fact what is going on in classrooms. And the Effective Teacher evaluations. Yes I do have all the relevant documents.

So never ridicule an influential theory or theorist until we successfully defuse those who plan to impose those theories on us anyway. At our expense. Short term financially and long term culturally.

 

Now More Than Five Years Into An Attempt to Help Organize A Near-Total Revision of Human Behavior

Now won’t Performance Assessments and a total alteration of the nature of education come in really handy for such a goal? That title is from an August 7, 2012 presentation in Portland, Oregon by Paul Ehrlich on conducting research with his Millennium Assessment of Human Behavior (MAHB) that we have already talked about. It was his later remark about “creating a vision of a future in 2050″ that caught my attention most. It reminded me of a remark by Norwegian Jorgen Sanders on why he could be so confident that his 2052 predictions were not just a matter of probability. He said it was because processes were already in place to make the desired future come true. The UN Secretary General has said within the last year that there is no further need for treaties. That UN education initiatives will be sufficient to realize its desired future. That’s a lot more confidence than I feel and I certainly have more control over my future than a bureaucrat talking of societies and economies with millions of people and activities. What’s really up?

This post was originally going to just be about Professor and Change Agent Extraordinaire David T. Conley and how the Common Core implementation is taking terms like Noncognitive and christening them anew as Metacognitive Learning Skills. And the Ed Week essay of January 23, 2013 “Rethinking the Notion of ‘Noncognitive’” was likely to be the last time anyone acknowledged there is no content knowledge there. Just a hat trick to get rid of the deliberate departure from a rational thought focus.

I recognized Conley’s name as being involved with Outcomes Based education in the 90s and Oregon’s push for a change in K-12 focus to proficiency passing and a Certificate of Mastery. And that Proficiency Passing sounded a lot like the current drumbeat to Move On As Soon as a Student reaches Competency.

No new ideas. Just new names. But when I did my search for Conley up popped all the work he has done in recent years for the Gates Foundation and various states getting ready to implement Common Core on what College Ready really means. And it was stunningly inconsistent with what we are all expecting College Ready  to mean. Even apart from the stories I have written on altering the nature of college to fit with where Common Core is taking K-12. Now I really had the makings of a story on the continued duplicity involved with the actual Common Core classroom effect. But it was a remark in a 2010 Kappan interview that shifted my focus back to Portland and Ehrlich and whether I could link Common Core and  MAHB to that Future Earth Alliance I have written about and other UN transformation activities.

Conley makes no bones about the fact that Common Core is actually “an overhaul of the system from top to bottom”. Absurd but it is what is going on. On top of that though he says this new education system will be “based on the real educational needs of students, with an eye constantly toward the future world and society in which students will live.” Now that futurist talk reminded me of William Spady’s Transformational OBE Future Life Roles http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/future-empowerment-paradigm-or-educentric-tradition-guess-which-began-its-reign-20-years-ago/ . And his links to Portland. And Bela Banathy’s.  And the fact that Spady says in his 1997 book that Oregon stuck with OBE even after it became notorious. And that Peter Senge and the Waters Foundation now consider the Portland School District a Systems Thinking exemplar.

Two more connections you likely do not know, Portland is considered to be the ICLEI Agenda 21 role model for Regionalism. And Vicki Phillips who now heads the Gates Foundation’s Education Initiatives was the Portland School Super. Leaving Pennsylvania to take the job. So Portland is Ground Zero for the idea that education can be an instrument to transform the future. Just like Ehrlich says he wants to do globally.

Conley’s essay wanted to establish “semantic parity between cognitive knowledge and noncognitive skills” like beliefs, attitudes, and feelings. Conley wants us to see knowledge and unfounded beliefs and feelings as “equals” which I suppose is one way to alter the future. Just needs some Name Laundering. And then he goes on to say that with this declaration of equality, “the relationship between the two would be less hierarchical, more symbiotic.” Instead of the rational, well-stocked mind being in charge of behavior, emotions and false beliefs (or there would be no reason to dethrone knowledge) would govern. Exactly what Ehrlich says he wants to achieve. And quickly. Also sounds like his Newmindedness push of the late 80s.

Now I am not going to tease you further, I was able to locate a January 2013 issue of Human Dimensions where Anne and Paul Ehrlich announced that  MAHB was working with IHDP,  the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change. And IHDP is involved with UNESCO and the Future Earth Alliance and using the social sciences to reorient society. And in 2011 IHDP put out out a document describing precisely how it plans to use education to do just that. And I have a copy as of late yesterday. Busy weekend for Education’s Miss Marple. So I am not speculating about the Ehrlichs being involved with the global education transformation anymore just because of the similarities to what is being sought.

Which makes David Conley’s attempted official laundering of Noncognitive (the elements that made OBE so controversial) and College Ready so important. The Gates, Joyce, and Hewlett Foundations all help underwrite Ed Week  and they are each deeply involved with elements of the implementation that vary tremendously from the popular sales job to parents and taxpayers of what Common Core is about. You don’t get the position of headline essay unless this is an official position to be distributed widely. Which it of course was.

Conley’s March 2007 report for the Gates Foundation called Toward A More Comprehensive Conception of College Readiness wants to put the focus of K-12 on creating “habits of mind,” which he describes as a range of cognitive and metacognitive capabilities. And these are to be intentionally practiced at school until they become habitual. Something you need not even think about. Without that Ed Week essay we would not know he is referring there to our old controversial friends–values, attitudes, beliefs, and dispositions. Every parent sends their child to school to obtain “high degrees of self-awareness and intentionality.”

College Ready does have some knowledge in mind from the phrase “be able to know and do.” Unfortunately it just means the Big Ideas and Concepts. No need for detail. And College Ready rejects a focus on “de-contextualized content and facts.” No what content is allowed through into the classroom must be experiential. Something that can be interacted with as a task or activity or project. So students can apply their little bit of knowledge to real life problems that need solving. Students get to “understand themselves as instruments of communication.” It does sound ludicrous but Conley’s explicit goal is to set a gateway so low that virtually everyone can get through to college. “Academic behaviors,” which sounds solid, turns out to “consist largely of self-monitoring skills and study skills.” Study skills turns into time management, using information resources, and “communicating with teachers and advisors.”

Show up regularly with a pulse and a high school diploma entitling you to attend college no questions asked is yours. Another component of College Readiness, Contextual Skills and Awareness, turns out to be “interpersonal and social skills” and an awareness of the “privileged information necessary to understand how college operates as a system and culture.”

Remember these are the Learning Goals for ALL students. The highly capable as well. This type of Social Engineering via K-12 education hiding behind duplicitous definitions is precisely how UNESCO bureaucrats and the Ehrlichs and numerous professors addicted to all the NSF grants to use the social sciences and education plan to get “a near-total revision of human behavior.” All these schemers can alter the future. What they CANNOT achieve is their desired Vision. And they seem to not know or they have forgotten that lesson from the past. I mentioned Vicki Phillips, the former Portland School Super. In 2010 she moved to Gates with the responsibility College Ready. Not Common Core. Not creating consistent programs of solid content from state to state as the PR campaigns suggest.

College Ready. Conley’s College Ready. Search it out. He has repeated this vision of what College Ready really is numerous times since 2007. EPIC appears to be bringing in the dough that was once your money. Or maybe Bill and Melinda’s or Warren’s. Maybe Andrew Carnegie’s too.

When the Democratic Platform for 2012 mentioned education they did not talk about the Common Core. The content standards really only exist to gain the initial political approval from the states. They mentioned having All Students College and Career Ready. We have already discussed that Career Ready actually has a largely Communitarian mandate. To be demonstrated daily.

Now we know what College Ready means. So nobody gets to know much but they will be well practiced at believing and feeling and collaborating. And self-monitoring. Sounds like a Blood Pressure check.

Being stealthily prepared for that Ehrlich vision. At taxpayer expense. With everything aimed at removing the rational mind and the legitimacy of acting as an individual.

In the name of what sounds like a laudable goal to be embraced.