Authoritarian FantasyLand: A Place With Required Habits of Mind but Disdain for Facts

Back from my jaunt this week to Orange County, California to talk about all the things coming into K-12 classrooms under the cloaking banner of the Common Core. Since I was taking notes on Monday night and the pro-CC side zealously conceded a great deal in their prepared presentations, I thought we would talk about what was admitted upfront and what the implications are for all of us. It is safe to say that California is further along than many states so this will fit with what is or will soon be going on everywhere. If authoritarian seems awfully strong, it is partly a reaction to the number of speakers who insisted that the Common Core was now “the law” and there was thus no reason for further discussion. Now no one actually uttered the phrase “resistance is futile” or “submission is mandatory,” but that was the drift of the arguments.

Gone is any concept that the United States is a country conceived on a premise that the individual is ultimately so sacrosanct that even a king needs to ask permission to cross his threshold. No, if a school board, legislature, or city or regional council adopts a law or enacts a regulation, apparently obedience is now mandatory without further discussion. That crucial shift is one reason the authoritarian description seems apt. The other is the number of times I heard speakers, especially one who was a former California 4th District PTA President and a current Huntington Beach school board member utter phrases in support of the Common Core like “its purpose is to create habits of mind” and dictate “concepts to be absorbed” by the student. Another speaker spoke of “internalizing” knowledge.

All of those references, whether the speakers know this or not, are to what Soviet psychologist Piotr Galperin called theoretical instruction to guide future behavior. We covered it here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/transcending-the-individual-mind-as-the-analytical-unit-of-learning-while-still-guiding-how-we-will-act/ . My dictionary defines authoritarian as “unquestioning obedience to authority rather than individual freedom of judgment and action.” Now let’s face it, if concepts have been implanted in student’s psyche at an unconscious level, which all these speakers are admitting and I have been warning about, there’s not even any opportunity to question. Is there anybody out there that denies our definition is being more than met with these openly declared intentions?

One of the Board members read two passages from my book. One is that we are looking at the “Marxist theory of education.” I suppose he was trying to paint me as some kind of 21st Century McCarthy threatening to name names. As the book lays out in detail, Uncle Karl wanted education to be all about controlling consciousness. Let’s face it, the pro-CC speakers themselves admitted that aim several times. If educational theorists and professors use the M word among themselves for what they advocate, we get to use the term as well. That’s me–factual, not raving. The 2nd quote had to do with the assertion in the book that Common Core actually wants to limit knowledge. I explained quickly about how a concept-based education worked, but I have a better example to actually quote now that I am home with access to all my materials.

The term “rigor” and “cognitively demanding” both got used a lot as reasons for the shift to the Common Core. No one mentioned though that the purpose of this kind of classroom work was to foster a “tolerance for ambiguity” in the student. More psyche in the classroom crosshairs then. I mentioned in my testimony that to work the problem MUST be ambiguous, be previously untaught, or have no single correct answer.  http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/oct08/vol66/num02/Rigor-Redefined.aspx is a 2008 article by Harvard prof Tony Wagner elaborating just that–”a complex, multi-step problem that is different from any they’ve seen in the past.”

The pro-side did not care for my pointing out that when they stated that CC were “learning standards” they were saying it was about “social and emotional changes in the student” and “goals” for changing a student’s values, attitudes, beliefs, or behaviors.  That came out on rebuttal even though our former PTA President and Board member had cited “engaging experiences” as one of her reasons to support the CC transformation of the classroom. What precisely does she believe the “experiences” are getting at? Plus, I now have access to the standard definition of ‘rigor’ which is “the goal of helping all students develop the capacity to understand content that is complex, ambiguous, provocative, and personally or emotionally challenging.” I took that from an SREB powerpoint, but plenty of school districts use that quoted definition verbatim too.

Another reason cited in support of CC was it “promotes Equity.” As we say in the South “Yeehaw.” Dissimilar treatment of students in order to get them to the same outcomes is not likely to be a popular selling point, at least until we get a generation trained with those Anti-bias Standards from the last post. So we get Equity imposed invisibly by Supers and Civil Rights edicts and local city councils. Alarmingly, Brookings’ Metropolitanism guru, Bruce Katz (see tags)  announced this week http://www.brookings.edu/research/papers/2014/10/22-metro-growth-uk-us-katz  that  “it’s time we rewrote our own federalist contract [that would be the US Constitution] and realign power and responsibility for the modern era in which cities and metropolitan areas, rather than nations and states, drive economies and progress.”

Right into a ditch in all likelihood, but this is the political vision all these education reforms embodied in the full CC implementation are relying on as the future they are preparing our students for. In that link, you will find a link to a UK report that makes it clear that geography is being used to disguise the shift to the needs-based, economic justice vision that Uncle Karl lusted about achieving at some point in the future. As the report said “the scale of metros means they are best placed to drive the strategic integration of public services and economic development.”

That’s the vision for Manchester in the UK and the greater LA area, my neck of the woods in Georgia, and everywhere else as well. Everything I have read suggests a Folly of monumental proportions is planned, but it will be quite lucrative for a while to those connected vendors who form public-private partnerships to receive taxpayer money for meeting ‘needs’ like housing, education, or healthcare.

I want to close this discussion with a Keynote Address noted Change Agent Shirley McCune gave back in 1981 called “The Future of Educational Equity.” She saw “struggles for equity” as the “whole rationale for the formation of the United States” which tells us what can happen when we let graduate degrees in social work dictate how we educate our kids. What I found fascinating since I had always seen the Reagan Block Grants to state and local governments as a ‘conservative’ shift was how A-OK she was with this plan. So someone who wanted to see comparable economic and social outcomes among groups and “groups of people represented throughout society in proportion to their representation in the population” viewed state and local governments as the place to achieve that.

Something to think about as commentators assume that the Common Core is an acceptable dictate if a local school board requires it. That the only problem with the Common Core is the federal fingerprints all over it from Arne Duncan’s actions. Really? Authoritarianism that goes so far as to dictate personality traits at an unconscious level to drive future behavior is not a problem now as long as it is not federal authorities mandating it? McCune believed that the “only way that persons would be willing to ‘buy equity concerns’ is if it is demonstrated that it is an innate part of quality education.” That of course is precisely what embedding Racial Equity Outcomes in coursework or those Anti-Bias Framework do.

It’s McCune and others view of how to use a misleading term like quality education for “building a new consensus on equity.” She also viewed quality education for equity as about equipping students with the “highest level basic verbal and mathematical skills consistent with their individual ability.” The only way to read that language is that slower students will get a variety of ways to show their skills, but able students still cannot go beyond basic. They can just go faster through the basics.

Just as we are seeing with all the current emphasis on Career Pathways, where California is one of the lead pilots http://www.clasp.org/resources-and-publications/files/aqcp-framework-version-1-0/AQCP-Framework.pdf McCune’s plan for equity relied on ALL students now receiving a combined academic and vocational education where everyone would obtain “the skills and attitudes necessary for working cooperatively with both the same sex and opposite sex in the paid workforce and in the home.”

Finally McCune’s version of quality education “would equip students with the flexibility and self-confidence that would enable them to cope with the rapidly changing society through continuing adult learning and growth.” Doesn’t that sound just like what the Common Core is touting as having a Growth Mindset? Everything old is new again apparently until total transformation is finally achieved.

Apparently the products of a “quality education” grounded in ‘rigor’ will not object to the fundamental rewrite of our “federalist contract” and in the mean time, governments at all levels seem to be pursuing this Equity vision without any genuine disclosure or consent. Leaving it to the lady who reads too much and has for a very long time to lay it all out.

Hopefully Just In Time as the slogan goes.

Backward Mapping: Bundling Human and Social Engineering While Trumpeting International Competition

Sometimes people feel deeply shaken by the things I write about. Me too, except there is no ambiguity in what is being sought by the time I am willing to discuss it in public. If the declarations appear to be Tragic or even just a horrifically wasteful idea, someone needs to be bringing these intentions into the sunlight of public scrutiny in time. So after an admittedly needed rest to watch the sand and surf and mull over the enormity of the materials I have, here we go again.

I must say though I was relieved to learn as I pondered the implications of today’s disclosures that the late UK economist, Kenneth Minogue, had also been distressed by what was being intentionally done to the minds and personalities of people in order to force the acceptance of the welfare state and equality for all. His 2010 book The Servile Mind noted that in the 21st century “large areas of what were previously of private concern have become subject to political regulation.” Amen to that from this side of the Atlantic pond. He pointed out that “new pieties have arisen according to which individuals are able to demonstrate their decency by the political attitudes they adopt.”

Having just finished reading http://www.competencyworks.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/CW-An-International-Study-in-Competency-Education-Postcards-from-Abroad-October-2014.pdf released two days ago, I would word that much more strongly than Minogue did. Globally those desired attitudes are simply being declared a necessary Competency or disposition. Then learning experiences are created to make sure the desired changes in personal outlooks occur. Minogue noted a “coercive centralism of attitude and policy.” I agree, but how few recognize that has become the new purpose of K-12 curriculum and what is actually being assessed? Minogue reminded us that historically in the US and the elsewhere in the West individuals “constructed their own identity in terms of personally chosen commitments.”

Not in the Competency vision. It is purely grounded in a belief that in the 21st Century, all over the world, government officials at all levels get to pick out the desired “sentiment and belief [that] can be adequately entrenched in the human mind” in order to “determine conduct” in the manner desired for the new vision of society and the economy laid out. Political power is now mandating in advance what is to be acceptable individual behavior, beliefs, and values. Since that sounds unabashedly authoritarian to anyone with a modicum of history knowledge, the same goals get hidden under an invisibility cloak with terms like standards, learning, or Competency.

Or ‘entrepreneurship’ in UNESCO’s recent report called Toward an Entrepreneurial Culture for the Twenty-First Century. Backward Mapping is a term used to describe the desired quality, attribute, sentiment, or behavior to be instilled through school experiences in a student. It sounds much better than political engineering of a person’s personality and behavior, but those are the true aims if we can just be blunt and honest. Saves time and wasteful use of taxpayer dollars. Here’s a sample of what I mean from that UNESCO report:

“Across nations, what is needed [in K-12 and all approaches to economic and social development] are programmes that show young people how they can directly contribute to raising levels of well-being and prosperity in their communities. Preparation starts in the classroom where students, future workers, business owners and community members must learn how to be responsible citizens.”

That’s the vision that K-12 education must now engineer, which would certainly explain the need for a student-centered behavioral approach instead of the traditional subject-matter emphasis. It also explains why we just keep running into a required communitarian orientation that students are to demonstrate daily. Again UNESCO reminds us that “education is not only acquiring academic knowledge but the way to prepare young people for work and living in the society.” Of course that would be the new view of society so we are Backward Mapping twice. Desired Society needs a certain kind of citizen with a stipulated Outlook on what is desirable for the future. That type of citizen then gets sculpted via K-12 Whole Child focused education. No intention though to confess all this to the parents or taxpayers.

What’s important is the Goal of Equity and “a decent quality of growth for all.” Now I think all this is delusional, but this is in fact what Competency globally is tied to as well as those Common Core standards when rightfully understood in the supporters’ own words. If this social and economic vision is deranged, then we are implementing a tragic form of behavioral engineering for ridiculous ends in our schools, and nobody is supposed to have a veto power to stop the shift in time. Please read the End Game while mentally humming “To Dream the Impossible Dream” to add to the context. To give our mayors, city councils, and community organizers, not to mention district School Supers, ever more power over people and places, this is all to occur at the level of “local governments.”

“…rests on finding a balance between economic, social and environmental goals. This requires dialogue and partnerships through which different stakeholders work together for their broad range of concerns. [Won't the new real world problem-based focus for high school come in handy?] And while this may not always be as effective as desired [that's OK because taxpayer dollars can always be levied again since they come from a magic tree surrounded by unicorns], there are at least greater civil society inputs into strategies to maintain social cohesion to protect cultural identity and to promote environmentally friendly behaviours in local communities. Putting the future of the community in the hands of its own members reduces dependency on outside forces and rejuvenates the economic and social fabric.”

Now would be a good time to transition to the song “Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows” because, as I said, that’s a ridiculous vision. A rational mind filled with facts and attuned to making its own decisions and setting its own goals would grasp that easily, which is precisely why such minds are being disallowed all over the globe. They are in the way of the desired all-encompassing exercise of political power in the 21st Century. That reality again would never be something most people would voluntarily acquiesce to so we get namby-pamby visions for 21st century education like this from the same document:

“We learn from a young age that the development of positive, engaging and equitable relationships is critical to our success as human beings. Basic social skills enable us to interact in the community, as well as to understand the meaning of citizenship. Sound social skills allow us to understand both social rights and claims, as well as obligations and responsibilities. But imagination and emotional engagement are as important as social skills. More than ever, there is a need to engage young people in finding creative solutions to improving the welfare of their communities, while contributing to collective prosperity in ways that do not damage natural resources. Intelligence should include the ability to envisage alternative futures, to resolve open-ended problems with more than one way of doing things.”

That’s the vision of society and the economy and our new future that all the education reforms going on globally in both public and private schools are driving towards. There is absolutely no ambiguity whatsoever in what is being sought and why. The only fluctuation seems to be where in the progression  a given school, district, or country is.

I am going to close this post with the open declaration of one of the insiders who brags about her access and tutoring of Fortune 100 CEOs and Pentagon officials and her desire to use education to gain new kinds of nonlinear minds to get a new kind of society. In her 2010 book Rebecca Costa wrote that “we have to challenge [the human brain] in very specific ways. And we are getting very close to understanding exactly what those ways are. Word by word, we are now constructing a user’s manual to the human brain–ground zero for everything we do, know, think, and feel–and the sustainability of human progress.”

Told you there was no ambiguity and no, we are apparently not supposed to get a copy of that user’s manual. Fortunately for all of us, I found it anyway and laid it out in my book originally. I continue to explore it on this blog.

We can only stop what we know exists. The creators of that user’s manual and these visions of the future never wanted us to link K-12 reforms to what was really the End Game in time.

Tough luck I say.

 

 

Malleable Minds Fit for an Affirmative State Designed to Meet Needs and Constrain the Ruled

We actually do not have to infer what kinds of minds and personalities and beliefs are suitable for these new visions of tomorrow. One advocate tellingly used this quote from Napoleon that “There are but two powers in the world, the sword, and the mind. In the long run the sword is always beaten by the mind.” That reality is very galling for many powerful people so they now have nationalized and globalized K-12 ‘reforms’ to extinguish that very capacity. Since we would rebel if we actually understood what was intended, we keep getting a sales pitch about ‘human flourishing’ in so many of these blueprints. As James Madison presciently observed “a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”

I want to detour for a minute back to the Deepening Democracy paper from the Real Utopias Project because they kindly laid out new ” transformative democratic strategies” for the “Affirmative State” at all levels to use to quietly, but persistently, “advance our traditional values–egalitarian social justice, individual liberty [in the sense of having governments meet everyone's basic needs] combined with popular control over collective decisions, community and solidarity, and the flourishing of individuals in ways that enable them to realize their potentials.”

Remember Michael Fullan specifically tied the experimental New Pedagogies and Deep Learning in the Global Partnership to the “broader idea of human flourishing?” What we have going on is the marrying of the methods of the Human Potential psychological focus to the political and social ends that track back to Uncle Karl without anyone wanting to ‘fess up’ as we Southerners would say.

All the K-12 education reforms I have tracked, as well as higher ed and increasingly grad schools, are all tied to stealthily pursuing and “accomplishing the central ideas of democratic politics: facilitating active political involvement of the citizenry, forging political consensus through dialogue, devising and implementing public policies that ground a productive economy and healthy society, and in more radical egalitarian versions of the democratic ideal, assuring that all citizens benefit from the nation’s wealth.”

Hard not to remember all those ‘You didn’t build that’ comments from the 2012 Presidential race, isn’t it? Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government by the way calls this new model Empowered Participatory Governance. I am not going to write about it in particular except to point out it ties all the Metropolitanism, Regional Equity, make the mayors and the local the focus of government. The Local is supposed to be the layer that meets the needs, whoever provides the financing or specs on what those needs will be.

So when Lawrence K Grossman and others keep hyping self-governance they are describing a world where everyone’s needs have been met via the political process, not a person’s ability to make their own way independent of governmental interference with their decisions. ‘Self-governance’ is again an Orwellian term tied to the kind of economic and social justice and participatory governance view of democracy that even its advocates above admit is quite radical. I think that’s why its structures and needed values and beliefs frameworks are being quietly put in place through education and the law without any desire for the typical person to catch on in time. Remember Grossman was a prof at the Kennedy School while he worked on The Electronic Republic: Reshaping Democracy in the Information Age.

Whether we understood it in the 90s [remember the Freeman Butts vision from the book?] or now, K-12 education was and is being restructured to fit with “citizens at large gaining the power of self-governance.” Everyone gets their basic needs met, “with the public at large playing a critical role in the government’s decision-making process” and few focusing on the pesky little detail about the crucial shift to a vision where “rulers are subject to control by the ruled.” Similar to all those references to being Governed, instead of the individual independent decision-making power Madison knew he had structured, we are all supposed to settle for having a say, being ruled, but having our ‘needs’ met. Even then, we as individuals do not get to decide what our needs are. This shift we are not being told about unless we Follow the Documents in the Oligarchy’s admitted paper trail, stems from:

“the United States is moving toward a new modern-day form of direct democracy, made possible by its commitment to universal political equality and propelled by new telecommunications technology.”

It is within these unappreciated declarations of intentions to fundamentally transform the social institutions and functions of government that K-12 is being radically altered to a Student-Centered focus so that “the public’s ability to receive, absorb, and understand information no longer can be left to happenstance.” Prime the Mind and Personality to perceive experience as desired and then have the Michael Fullans and Michael Barbers of the world globe trot and insist that all education now must be based on Learning by Doing. All those deliberately created learning experiences to foster emotional engagement around real-world problems are just the ticket to the Mandarins just ever so worried that “today, the American public is going into political battle armed with increasingly sophisticated tools of electronic decision making but without the information, political, organization, education, or preparation to use these tools wisely.”

So we get Common Core, Competency, Digital Learning, new definitions of Student Achievement, and Growth measures that are ALL actually the “conscious and deliberate effort to inform public judgment, to put the new telecommunications technologies to work on behalf of democracy.” That would be the radical Social and Economic Wellbeing form of democracy with its new reenvisioned view of the roles and responsibilities of citizenship. After all, as Grossman told us: “With citizens an active branch of the government in the electronic republic, they need to know enough to participate in a responsible and intelligent manner.” That’s a long way from Madison’s view of knowledge to be our own Governors, but then Grossman loves this concept of our being ruled. In fact, he either deliberately or obtusely shows a drastically altered view of American history and the Constitution where:

“the citizen’s role is not to govern himself, but at best elect those who would be most competent to govern on their behalf…The new Constitution had put in place a modern-day method of selecting Plato’s Guardians.”

Can we all join in a chorus of No. No. No? How telling though is that misstatement? I do snarkily make repeated references to yokes and serf’s collars and Mind Arson when it comes to describing the real Common Core implementation. Yet here is an insider of insiders admitting to a desire to dictate what we all may do and think akin to what an ancient Greek philosopher saw as Benevolent Despotism. For our own good as determined by the Guardians with their taxpayer funded salaries and pensions. This confession reminded me a great deal of Achibugi also seeing harnessing public opinion as the mechanism to getting to the Global Commonwealth of Citizens we met in the last post:

“the more we learn about how to respond to and understand the public, the more we also increase the potential to influence, change, and even manipulate public opinion. In the electronic republic, political manipulation is the other side of the coin of effective political persuasion. What looks like manipulative propaganda to one, invariably is seen as an honest educational effort to another.”

Well, honest if the purpose of education is the chimera of ‘human flourishing for all’ brought to us by Rulers who see people as a biddable branch of government in a new vision of what the future might be. Before I close this post with a quote Grossman used from the Dean of Columbia’s School of Journalism, that deserves a statue in the Hubris Hall of Fame, I want to remind everyone that in 2010 UNESCO began using the term ‘media education’ as two prongs of a single means to get to its hoped-for Marxist Humanist global future. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/decreeing-the-interdependence-of-environment-economy-society-and-cultural-diversity-in-the-21st/ They said it and wrote it and we do get to take insiders at their word on what they are up to when they declare nefarious intentions.

Now imagine these words not just from a Journalism Dean but from politicians, think tank heads, education administrators, and university professors, just to name a few:

“This is the age of media power. We set the agenda. We are the carriers of the culture and its values…We are the brokers of information and ideas. Our decisions, our news judgments tell the people who they are, what they are doing, what’s important and what they need to know.”

Arrogant, yes, but 100% consistent with the real K-12 education ‘experience’ we are encountering. The vision that would be necessary to achieve these declared goals as well as the radical global democracy vision. Plus all those references to being governed and ruled and sovereignty no longer being in the individual.

Those Aims or Goals all fit with the actual Common Core implementation described in detail in the book and the purposes, visions, and methods we encounter daily and weekly now on this blog.

We can fight this, but not while we remain unaware or unwilling to stare down what we are indisputedly dealing with in our schools and universities and virtually everywhere else when we look hard.

 

 

Equality, Fraternity, Democracy, Social Cohesion, Real Utopias and the Electronic Republic

If our 21st Century Lives were just a televised game of Jeopardy, the title would be the answer that would be linked to the championship. The correct question would be: What are the real goals envisioned when Education Reformers, politicians, and Political Radicals use the misleading term ‘standards’ in K-12 education? When that transformative Global Partnership we met in the last post says in bold face type on page 8 that “the pursuit of deep learning goals enabled by new pedagogies and accelerated by technology” is a Moral Imperative that will “guide all of our work,” what goals are really intended? The first part of the title comes from a paper published in the 1999 ASCD Yearbook called “The Role of Standards in Educational Reform for the 21st Century.” We actually do not have to assume that there is a link since one of the co-authors, Peter Hill, is also listed as a participant in the new Global Partnership on page 2 as one of its educational consultants.

http://www.carmelcrevola.com/publications/The_role_of_standards.pdf is the paper that once again makes it clear that the word standards is now being used as an Orwellian synonym. Translating the Common Core State Standards accurately then by its real purpose would be Common Behavioral and Dispositional Goals for All American Students, No Exceptions. Put together by DC-based trade groups hoping to cash in from the attached new vision of a politically-planned economy and society. Perhaps staffers who got to go on one of those trade junkets to China and thought that vision would work better for them. Hill made it clear on page one that the role of standards is to foster “values such as equality, fraternity, and democracy” indicating he may have always wanted to participate in the Storming of the Bastille. Best not to teach why such insistences can lead to a bloody Terror followed by a Napoleon.

Standards also allow for the “flexible, dynamic, and highly-skilled workforce” unlikely to ever create that Change the World innovation that destroys the existing business of a political crony. Ooops! That was my editorializing in a snarky manner on the real purpose, just like in my book. Page 2 mentions standards as a means for countries now to “ensure social cohesion” and page 3 sees standards as a transformative tool for a “society that values equity and a ‘fair go’ for all.”

The latest book tied to the World Order Models Project, the 2008 The Global Commonwealth of Citizens: Toward Cosmopolitan Democracy by Daniele Archibugi, wants to make “prevailing world public opinion” the determinant of what governments ought to be doing on behalf of their people, the governed, in the 21st Century. That aim, of course, puts quite a premium on manipulating that opinion from the Cradle to the Grave, as the current political slogan goes. Or Womb to Tomb in another variation. Archibugi does want a radical transformation where by “virtue of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the subsequent pacts, individuals have been endowed with positive rights that they can claim from their own states,” preferably at the local level via those ever compliant mayors, City Councils, and appointed regional commissions who just love federal grants.

Now you know why that Declaration just keeps coming up now in classroom activities. Archibugi wants this radical transformation in world politics to come about by persuasion, not force, which is of course all the more reason to utilize K-12 education. All the mentions of citizenship and civic competence we keep encountering, make much more sense when we recognize the plan to “demand a role for the citizens of the world” to insist that their “human rights” be provided by their governments. Perhaps as a “moral imperative”? All the mentions of dialogue and creating shared meaning make much more sense when we read again of an intention to bypass elected representatives in favor of:

“creating better and transparent contexts for decision-making. This is why new channels of representation must open up through which the various opinions may be expressed in a dialogical rather than antagonistic fashion. To be effective these channels demand a greater willingness on the part of individuals to participate in the management of global public matters. The making of a global commonwealth of citizens requires that individuals are prepared to act on the ground of key shared values. What principles of political action must the citizen of the world subscribe to?”

That would be the real reason for new pedagogies and forms of assessment to see if the desired principles of political action, needed workforce skills to be an obedient, compliant drone, and desired personality traits are in place. Adding to the quotes from the previous post, this is why New Pedagogies insists the new “goals for education and learning” include “skills that prepare all learners to be life-long creative, connected  and collaborative problem solvers and to be healthy, happy individuals who contribute to the common good.”

Now we could make a good case that I contribute to the common good by reading books on all these plans of transformation and then tying them to what is coming to a school and classroom or your business place soon, but I believe Michael Fullan, Pearson, the OECD, and the Rockefeller and Gates Foundations want it to be their idea of appropriate values and the common good. Given all the references to ‘consensus,’ ‘shared purpose,’ and ‘collective will,’ there really does seem to be an organized attempt to erase any concept of individual sovereignty capable of standing supreme against the state. I guess that is what happens when you import your instructional practices from the Soviet Union, nurture the economic vision in a place that worshipped Mao, and look to rich universities full of wanna-be political and social planners for the vision of what “We the People” is supposed to mean in the 21st Century.

The 1995 book The Electronic Republic: Reshaping Democracy in the Information Age, written by a former NPR President and head of the NBC News Division, laid out the planned transition to a participatory democracy using ICT technology. Upfront it asked “What will it take to turn the United States into a nation of qualified citizens who are engaged not as isolated individuals pursuing their own ends but as public-spirited members who are dedicated to the common good?” Why, K-12 education reform centered on the Whole Child and guiding perceptions and a curriculum focused on learning by doing and real world problems of course. Lawrence K. Grossman left NBC News to be a professor at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and work on the democracy project that became that book. It’s where Jal Mehta of the New Pedagogies Project graduated from before moving on to Harvard’s Ed School to use its graduates as tools for the desired public policy changes. http://www.slidefinder.net/t/the_20chastened_20dream_20notes/thechasteneddream–withnotes/13854681

It’s also where the co-authors of the books in the Real Utopias Project, Archon Fung and Erik Olin Wright, are professors. The Kennedy School is also heavily involved now, by the way, with creating ties between the US and China. CELAP from our last post, in fact, is referred to as China’s answer to the Kennedy School. Real Utopia came out of an actual conference at the University of Wisconsin in January 2000, a good time to commence 21st Century Re-Do Plans I suppose. Now think for a second how a deep knowledge of history and human nature full of facts might get in the way of this purpose:

“The Real Utopias Project embraces this tension between dreams and practice. It is founded on the belief that what is pragmatically possible is not fixed independently of our imaginations, but is itself shaped by our visions. Self-fulfilling prophecies are powerful forces in history, and while it may be Pollyanna-ish to say ‘where there is a will there is a way,’ it is certainly true that without ‘will’ many ‘ways’ become impossible. Nurturing clear-sighted understandings of what it would take to create social institutions free of oppression is part of creating a political will for radical social changes to reduce oppression. A vital belief in a utopian destination may be necessary to motivate people to leave on the journey from the status quo in the first place, even though the actual destination may fall far short of the utopian ideal.”

It may also create students like what we are seeing in Denver, Colorado and what we saw during the heyday of the Occupy demonstrations who have no acquaintance with any factual knowledge from the past. Where will they be when OPM-Other People’s Money-inevitably runs out? Can they become self-sufficient as an adult or will change by force, rather than persuasion, feel like the justified response?

Is there any place in history where deposing sovereignty from the individual and placing it in a collective under political control, actually ever diminished oppression? Guaranteed to ignite would be the reality. No wonder perception and student daily experiences are being so manipulated.

Next time we will come back to the new view of politics in a Real Utopia and the Electronic Republic where we each get to be governed.

 

 

Journey to the Center of the Core Yields the Yoke of Citizen-Centric Governance to Force a Shared Vision

I still remember my shock that so many famous and powerful Americans endorsed the view in the March 2013 book by Moises Naim that simply assumed that the American people were now to be Governed as if they were collectively a ship in need of steering by politicians.  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/using-education-to-make-giving-more-power-to-those-who-govern-us-the-common-vision/ Silly me. Turns out there was just a delay in the people at those conferences committing the planned vision to writing. It also turns out, in a carryover from the previous post, that managing the public’s perceptions, expectations, and beliefs about the proper role of government in the 21st Century is a crucial component of the ‘emerging governance relationship.’

Nothing quite as useful as a globally connected consulting firm explicitly committing these new relationships to writing. This is from a 2009 Accenture paper called “From e-Government to e-Governance” as well a letter from their Public Service Managing Director Sean Shine, explaining the new relationship between citizens and their government “that is all about genuine engagement of people in their own governance.” So much for those of us who think we are engaged in our own governance when we pay taxes from hard-earned money or set unpopular curfews for precocious teenagers. No, ‘citizen-centric governance’ may sound good, but it assumes without consulting any of us that:

“It falls to government to balance the demand for increased choice and flexibility with fairness and the common good. Governments can achieve that balance by striving for equality of outcomes for all constituents–that is, by ensuring that everyone has the chance to experience the same social and economic conditions, or at least similar improvements in these conditions.”

Does anyone else appreciate that is where all the hyping of ICT portals and building “social networking and community sites [that] also enable citizens to participate in their governance as never before.” No incentive to infantilize a population with these aspirations for the future. Not when the entire government apparatus is to be about meeting citizen needs and guiding what “citizens expect and want from government.” Now won’t the actual Common Core implementation come in handy here? The Digital Learning emphasis? Anyone think there is a reason to sculpt a misleading but politically powerful conception of what the future might be if consultants from meetings we were not invited to state that:

“Web 2.0 technologies present governments with an unprecedented opportunity to bypass the media [not to mention parents and local school boards] and directly engage citizens in a more mature, reasoned and productive discussion about the strengths and shortcomings of government. [No danger of bias or omissions here.] In this way, public service organizations can, for the first time, play an active role in shaping citizens’ perceptions of government by providing the public with instantly accessible, intelligible information and analysis–enabling a more balanced and objective debate in which citizens are able to consider governments’ perspective.”

Now if that’s the intended propaganda to be launched at adults with taxpayer funding, we can just imagine what will make it to the still malleable minds in the classroom. Completely lost for anyone will be any perspective grounded in the history of what comparable social justice aspirations did in Europe in the 20th century. That led Friedrich Hayek to write in “The Mirage of Social Justice” that:

“the more dependent the position of the individuals or groups is seen to become on the actions of government, the more they will insist that the governments aim at some recognizable scheme of distributive justice; and the more governments try to realize some preconceived pattern of desirable distribution, the more they must subject the position of the different individuals and groups to their control. So long as the belief in ‘social justice’ governs political action, this process must progressively approach nearer and nearer to a totalitarian system.”

Now before anyone accuses me of introducing the T word without sufficiently laying a proper foundation let’s remember that Hayek was writing from personal experience of One Thing Leading to Another. Secondly, if I had a dollar for every time the books or papers I read now used phrases like “shared vision,” “collective aspirations,” “consensus essential for democracy must be built,” or “unified social purpose,” I could head to the beach for some R&R. We saw it embodied in the goals of both the Rockefeller-funded Communication for Social Change and the Club of Rome-created Structured Design Dialogue to produce common political will.

If you would like to believe I am simply collecting injudicious comments made for paying customers, Accenture’s vision fits with the 2014 book Innovative State: How New Technologies Can Transform Government written by the first Chief Technology Officer of the United States Aneesh Chopra. He points out that as a candidate Obama “had mandated that his staff insert a default paragraph about the importance of harnessing technology into every speech.” The idea laid out repeatedly is that “government could be a platform.” Government becomes “a way to engage the public and let them tell us what was important and then support them in accelerating their consensus to a common solution.”

We have open admissions of trying to manage those citizen beliefs and perspectives that go into the now to be required consensus and common solution. If the guiding hand does seem to be getting quite heavy in the direction Hayek had seen before, how is this quote for the naivete on what government is. “When the relationship is participatory, when the relationship is open, it really does foster a sense that the government is not a thing; it’s what we do together.” [Italics in original passage]

Some people have the legal power to coerce. Others generate taxes to the public sector while some live off those taxes. Those are not balanced, equal relationships even if government was not trying to rig how it is perceived in the 21st Century. All while singing the joys of the Big Data being collected on its citizens and the need to minimize any distinction between the public and private sectors. This is Chopra’s vision towards the end of the book. He makes Pollyanna seem like a sourpuss by comparison:

“Today, we need to explore new frontiers not only in terms of the problems we try to solve but in the manner in which we attempt to solve them. Collectively and creatively. Much more is possible, if the government makes the populace part of the process so the greater number of people can assemble and share their ideas and gifts for the greater good.”

Lighting dollar bills afire is one way to describe the likely consequences of that vision or an excuse for borrowing more from the Chinese. Speaking of which, the second book I mentioned enthusiastically advocates that the West adopt the Chinese vision of state-directed capitalism. Anyone think there might be a connection to the Chinese willingness to fund US deficit spending to push an ICT-centered vision for meeting citizen needs and achieving social justice for all? The Fourth Revolution: The Global Race to Reinvent the State also came out in 2014 and it’s laying out a comparable blueprint to Chopra and Accenture. If we could shift government by acclamation anymore, we would be close to a global fait accompli.

Alarmingly the book tells us that the current leadership of our primary deficit financier believes that “Western democracy is no longer efficient; that both capitalism and society need to be directed; and that getting government right is the key” to the future. Something to remember as we have trillion-dollar deficit plans in the US as far as the eye can see. It would be wrong to assume it’s just an another interest-bearing investment for the Chinese. It’s also probably good to know that Accenture has a long-term formal relationship with the World Economic Forum when we read that “the one thing that the world’s tycoons agree upon when they meet at the World Economic Forum in Davos is that the Chinese state is a paragon of efficiency–especially compared with the fevered gridlock of Washington or the panicky incompetence of Brussels.”

I think we have a Convergence of visions here around what the purpose of citizenship will be going forward globally. I think we Americans are taking too much solace in the protections of the US Constitution when it’s obviously seen as just another old document that can be bypassed now by many powerful decision-makers, here and globally.

I think we are dangerously assuming the world will continue as it has been despite so many open proclamations. If enough people had simply read what I have documented, they would immediately see how much danger we are in if we continue unaware.

It usually takes three taps for me to write about a painful topic. I listed two 2014 books here and I found the Accenture materials later. The third book is called The Double Helix: Technology and Democracy in the American Future. Unfortunately, it fits with the later books even though it came out in 1999.

Fortunately, I am aware of its aspirations for us as well and we will cover that in the next post. The non-science types like me though should appreciate that the reference to the Double Helix is all about how to force cultural change.

Wenk thinks government “serves as a steering system to set goals arrived at by consensus.”

Really starting to hate that word.

Mischievous Masquerade: APUSH as the Sought Coherent Framework Justifying Intervention in History

Before I explain why I have decided to join the current discussion surrounding the remake of the AP US History course (“APUSH”) course, let’s remember that most people who have ever sought fundamental transformations of the real world as it currently exists think of history as a consciousness altering tool. We will never get back to the “grand narrative supported by well-known documents, events, and historical personae” many of us long for unless we recognize this political pursuit of history. That history as a body of knowledge, even one dominated by Leftist figures and radical ideas, is Ahistorical to anyone who looks now at all coursework, in all subjects, in K-12 or higher ed, as determined by “the kind of society and world we would like to bring about as the United States enters its third century.”

That quote is from a 1988 paper by the same Freeman Butts I wrote about in my book describing all the transformative shifts obscured within the term Competency. http://www.civiced.org/papers/morality/morality_ch1c.html We cannot then be surprised that Butts also saw the Teaching of History as a means for creating a new kind of citizen. One who will believe fervently in, and be ready to act, to bring about Democracy in the sense of Economic Justice. The original advocate for this view of history though as a Framework for creating change in the here and now was actually not Uncle Karl. Luckily there is no buzzer in this post so no one loses points for a wrong guess.

Let’s meet an 18th century man from the Naples area of Italy-Giambattista Vico. He matters so much to anyone writing about education as a means of social change because Vico believed that the means of transforming the real world of social relations, institutions, and everyday life lay in “modifying” how our human minds see that world. Change the mental concepts and a process begins, Radicals hope, whereby one “historical structure succeeds another.” That’s real history to someone intent on transformational change. So with the push for conscious evolution, or requiring a common understanding as the Rockefeller-funded Communication for Social Change or the Structured Dialogue Design do, we are back to Vico’s view:

“Mind is, however, the thread connecting the present with the past, a means of access to a knowledge of these changing modes of social reality. Human nature ( the modifications of mind) and human institutions are identical with human history.”

Change how the mind perceives the past and the theory then is we can change human nature itself. I think that’s a bad bet, which is why I interjected myself into the APUSH discussion. Continuing to discuss any AP course or any other coursework for any age being touted as the Common Core, Next Generation Learning, 21st Century Skills or Competency as if we are still talking about conveying a body of knowledge is a mistake with potentially tragic consequences since we are literally talking about social engineering. This past Monday there was once again a hearing in Georgia on the Federal Role In Education. It was conducted with a level of conscious deceit that would have been right at home at the Trotsky Trial. In the midst of all the lies though, there was consistent and accurate testimony across witnesses about one thing: concepts.

Knowledge to the extent its still exists under the Common Core is about concepts. We have encountered this before as the Enduring Understandings or Ilyenkov’s Ascending from the Abstract to the Concrete. Concepts that can be used within and across subjects to guide how a student and later the adult he will become will perceive everyday experiences. Guess who it goes back to? Now you do long for a buzzer to press, don’t you? Yes, “Vico’s project, which we would now call social science, was to arrive at a ‘mental dictionary,’ or set of common concepts, with which one is able to comprehend the process of ‘ideal eternal history.’”

Well, it’s ideal if Transformative Social Change is the name of your game. In the real world, deliberately trying to mentally engineer how the masses view the existing world has a terrible, bloody track record. Since controlling history is now seen as just another tool to create a desired Worldview, those objectionable, bloody parts will be omitted just as surely as anything that might foster pride in the world as it currently exists. Years ago, I first encountered this idea of teaching history through broad concepts instead of facts when I encountered the new AP World History framework that was full of hatred for capitalism and the environmental destruction it supposedly caused. It literally treated the term Communism as an “international means of structuring economic relations.” Talk about a whitewash. That Framework was supposed to go into effect first, then APUSH.

In looking into the history of that Framework I discovered that what all the participants in its planning had in common was a reverence for the work of historian William H. McNeill. Now President Obama appreciates his work as well as we can see from this smile as he hands the professor the 2009 National Humanities medal. http://chicagomaroon.com/2010/03/02/obama-honors-history-prof-mcneill-for-u-of-c-experience/ McNeill sees history as the “search for a normative matrix connecting the world in its totality” and built around “the idea of gradual progress.” The progress, by the way, once again supposedly heads towards Economic Justice.

When I read Stanley Kurtz’s article this past week “How the College Board Politicized US History” http://www.nationalreview.com/node/386202/print and he wrote about the 1998 La Pietra Conference, two things jumped out at me. One, that Thomas Bender was clearly seeing history through the same conceptual lens as William McNeill and that I should look into that. Secondly, that La Pietra should be seen as a continuation of everything I knew about the still extant World Order Models Project. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/reorienting-world-order-values-via-the-intervention-of-activist-education-and-progressive-politics/

The Giambattista Vico discussion is from a 1984 book tied to WOMP called Culture, Ideology, and World Order. It basically is the global blueprint for all the changes that have come in as education reform and in the name of Sustainability, except there it is acknowledged to be a New World Order intent on making sure the poor of the world anywhere get their fair share. Nary a concern at all about temperatures or carbon dioxide levels. That’s a book that recognized that fundamental transformations need a “common conceptual paradigm or vision” as well as “a coherent framework of intervention in the historical process” and set about to provide it.

That’s how APUSH as well as the La Pietra conference should be seen. Needless to say, it was no surprise to me to discover that the Rockefeller Foundation had also helped to fund La Pietra. Just another way to influence the prevailing common understanding of the masses, just like WOMP, CFSC-Communication for Social Change, Metropolitanism, or its deliberative democracy funding. Useful ties all for grounding APUSH into other components of a common transformative vision, as is that Freeman Butts piece I linked to above on how to use history “to reclaim the public realm, where groups interact to make a national politics and culture, as the central territory of history.” Using history then to change prevailing conceptions to create support for new ways of living together and organizing the society and economy politically.

That turned out to be how McNeill, Butts, and Thomas Bender all saw history back in the mid-80s. History should be about creating a “commitment to deeply held humane values.” As McNeill put it, “Better than any discipline, history can defend shared, public identities.” Those identities of ordinary citizens are public because they have been deeply grounded in achieving “the positive ends of a society dedicated to ‘liberty and justice for all.’” As Bender noted in 1985, “public life” is crucial because it is “that essentially civic arena where groups interact, even compete, to establish the configuration of political power in a society and its cultural forms and their meanings.”

That philosophy of history as a handmaiden to contemporary change just cannot cohabit with a view of education or history as the transmission of a body of knowledge. It might nurture a nostalgia for the past that could become a barrier to a transition to a new kind of citizenship in a different kind of democracy. As Butts noted, quoting the 1987 New York State Social Studies Framework: “The principles of a democratic system should serve as organizing ideas for the social studies program and for student learning. The development of civic values consistent with life in a democratic system is an overriding goal of the entire program.”

That’s not a goal that can be met if students become acquainted with what the American Revolution really sought to achieve. Given that the CCSSO last year emphasized the necessary Dispositions for Citizenship and Citizenship is the 3rd C of the Social Studies C3 Framework, Butts’ idea that the “morality of citizenship should be the central theme” of all K-12 coursework clearly remains alive and well. Any analysis now needs to remember what was said and sought back in the 80s too since these admissions were made before School to Work and outcomes-based education ran into controversy in the 90s.

Let’s close this intro to a transformational view of history with what Bender wrote in 1986:

“The present task is to begin establishing the relationship over time of the interclass, multiethnic, and multicultural center, which I call public culture, and the smaller, more homogenous gemeinschaftlich groups of the periphery…A focus on public culture and its changing connections with cultures smaller than the whole offers an image of society capacious enough to sustain a synthetic narrative.”

Synthetic narrative is fancy Profspeak for a common transformative vision of what the future ought to be and why. It’s not a Franklin or George Washington view of history, but Vico and Uncle Karl would be pleased.

 

Framing, then Refining Lasting Webs of Mutual Social Understanding to Fulfill Aspirations Grounded in Infamy

Since I do not want to be accused of a Godwin’s Law violation, I will not tell precisely who uttered this sentiment that still lurks behind all of the current rhetoric of priming students to act for the Common Good. True idealism is nothing but subjecting the individual’s interests and life to the community. I will note though that when Governors and Mayors are now being instructed by multiple federal agencies to make workforce preparation the goal of K-12 and teachers and principals plan to target the Whole Child for monitoring and manipulation, everyone is thinking like a collectivist even if no one involved is really familiar with the crucial distinctions anymore. Luckily for us though, I have a copy of E. Merrill Root’s 1955 book Collectivism on the Campus so we can revisit these vital concepts during a previous heyday when people still recognized what was at risk.

Root goes back to people like the famous 19th century poet Ralph Waldo Emerson and reminds us that this struggle with the coercive potential of the State has a long history:

“collectivism would reduce unique persons to efficient functions of a dominant mass; and individualism, that would exalt the status of the persons who freely constitute it… By nature, individualism sees society as the means and the individual as the end. Man does not exist to serve society, as among the bees and the ants; society exists to serve unique, individual persons…collectivism by its very nature and by its efficient practice regulates, prohibits, and compels.”

As we keep encountering the principle that democracy is suddenly to mean an ability by the majority in number to bind the minority to its wishes and perceived needs, which, I believe, is why this statistic has been getting so much recent hype  http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/education/white-students-aren-t-going-be-majority-schools, let’s look at all the swirling intentions of fundamental transformations in so many areas by remembering: “all collectivisms, no matter how they differ in mood or means, are united in the socialist principle of control by the people collectively, or the state.”

Now let’s come forward a bit, but not yet all the way to the present. One of the contributors to The Great Adventure book from the last several posts was a creator of the 1970 document The Predicament of Mankind that sought to lay the seeds for using the theories of the social sciences and the research from the behavioral sciences to begin designing social systems in the West. It was to be the foundation of the Club of Rome. Now the CoR chose then instead, as the UN does now, to mask that actual intention in physical science models that understandably never work very well. They are an excuse to alter reality and existing human behaviors, not a means of reliably modelling what exists and predict what probably will be.

So Alexander N. Christakis, who we will now shorthand as Christo, resigned from the CoR and took his Structured Dialogue Design Process with him. It never went away though and it came to my attention in Chapter 6 of the book: “Technology to Liberate Rather Than Imprison Consciousness.” Now if that catches your attention as more and more ‘coursework’ to get ‘degrees’ or ‘workplace credentials’ shifts to online methods, it should. First though let’s see what Christo actually said were his intentions. He opens with this quote from fellow systems thinker and GERG social engineer Bela Banathy [see his tag on blog. We have met him before]. Remember what Dialogue means from the last post:

“Dialogue facilitates the development of a common language and collective mental models. Thus, the ability to engage in dialogue becomes one of the most fundamental and most needed human capabilities. Dialogue becomes a central component of any model of evolutionary transformation.”

Communication For Social Change as the Rockefeller Foundation called it. As the FrameWorks Institute seeks to prepare common mental maps to reliably guide the perceptions of the masses, so too SDD “brings the lack of a commonly shared metanarrative into focus and encourages creative adaptations among participants.” Change within the person in other words just like the shift to student-centered learning. If this all seems a bit Egg-Heady to you and not a real threat to the way of life we all take for granted, http://obamavision.wikispaces.com/file/view/Figure_1-_Amended_Classification_of_59_Inhibitors_to_Bottom-up_Democracy.pdf/50379547/Figure_1-_Amended_Classification_of_59_Inhibitors_to_Bottom-up_Democracy.pdf makes it clear the Obama campaign in 2008 used SDD by name to gather input into the vision that fundamental transformation must be alluding to: “Obama’s vision for engaging stakeholders from all walks of life in a bottom-up democracy employing Internet technology.”

The National Center for Dialogue and Deliberation that we just keep encountering http://ncdd.org/806 announced the giveaway of the SDD software to help encourage the dissemination of the participatory democracy model. Remember the one that lies at the heart of how urban metro areas are to operate politically in the future? The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and sector strategies and Career Pathways with Big Business are such drivers towards a reality of collectivism precisely because they intersect with these declared goals of Metropolitanism and the determination of so many mayors that they are the place for achieving Economic Justice.

Now added to that we get Christo declaring in a 2012 Training Workshop on Why and How We Ought to Reinvent Democracy that SDD is the means “for building capacity internationally for addressing highly complex problems using the science of dialogue.” We also see in this 2012 published paper the intentions to use online coursework delivered internationally to allow broad interaction to reach common understandings of what are called Continuous Critical Problems. Dialogue via the Internet and the virtual realities it can deliver to create common experiences become a means for “Striving for Sustainable Global Democracy Through A Group Decision-Making Process: A Critical Review of an Online Course to Model Transformative Praxis.” http://www.sociostudies.org/journal/files/jogs/2012_1/135-151.pdf

From now on every time we hear the word Sustainable, we need to remember that article’s lead-in quote that “Sustainability is not simply about changing practices but more centrally about agreeing to change practices together.” Think of it as creating a mass perception of consensual collectivism via dialogue and deliberation. SDD trains participants, including K-12 students where it is much more likely to be called Guided Dialogue or the Discourse Classroom (unless we are in Finland where as we saw the required practice over years is a component now of what Global Citizenship is to come to mean). Think of how handy the rejection of facts, logic, lectures, and textbooks will be, as  SDD uses ‘triggering questions’ (or what the related Understanding By Design or Backward Mapping call Essential Questions)  to supposedly examine the roots and ‘deep drivers’ of messy, real world situations.

This allows the question to “frame the context of the dialogue” where “participants articulate their ideas in their own words to the full attention of the other participants.” Now one can see why a new affirmative Student Code of Conduct would be necessary as the clarifying and dialogue is to “authenticate each person irrespective of his or her education level or position of power.” No more ability to engage in that former educational pasttime at all levels of rolling eyes or otherwise indicating when something is clearly ignorant or absurd. It’s a perspective and disrespect, even if deserved to puncture the continued survival of patently BAD Ideas, would interfere with the desire to “build a sense of shared competence within the group.”

The better to build a sense of entitlement to collective decision-making and the use of something like that POWER Model Anthony Carnevale considered a New Workplace Basic 2 posts ago. Whether dealing with captive students in the classroom or adults on retreat or showing up for community input meetings, the idea consistently is to get “participants to rank the clusters of gathered observations according to their relative importance. This step brings into sharp relief the different priorities and values within the group. In the ensuing discussion, parties come to understand where their coparticipants are coming from, which leads to a respectful working relationship, based on defined mutual interest.”

Now common sense and a knowledge of history would reveal this method for “greatly enhanced decision-making and action-planning” is a global prescription for disaster. That would be why this reality of the ultimate goals is so shrouded in deceit and the need to make common sense and actual knowledge of history uncommon indeed. Since I am nothing if not a Deceit Shroud Buster and just drowning in what used to be called Horse Sense, lets end with what Christo said was intended. As you know, the purposes of the creators run with their techniques, theories, and practices, even when all those things are unknown to whomever is actually using or requiring their use.

SDD under its variety of names is a “method for gaining shared meaning, unified goals, and the systemic wisdom needed for effective conscious evolution…We mimic the webs of interdependence that exist in lively, livable communities and the buoyant activity these webs foster. We catalyze and nurture the qualities of Mutualism (or egalitarian give and take), Integration, Distributed Intelligence, Emotional Ties that Bind, Values and Wisdom (or the knowledge web).”

It seems silly, doesn’t it when the actual intentions are spelled out that way? That would be why such declarations are in books and reports we masses are not supposed to see. Discussed in conferences we may fund, but are not invited to.

Instead we get explanations for changes that may be plausible on their face, but never fit the facts. We get euphemisms like Quality Learning that are factually true but never accurately understood.

It is past time to remedy that. Maybe a shared understanding is a good thing when it is about the reality and methods for transformational cultural change.

 

Pivoting from the Joy of the US Bicentennial to the Planetary Bargain Dictate: Yet Another Lost Invite So Long Ago

One of the ways to cope with these very real assertions of wholesale, non-consensual authoritarian change led by people who really do quote Mao Tse-tung for inspiration is to go back in time. To appreciate the same institutions, people, and funding sources were pushing comparable ideas decades ago. Explicitly using education to get there. It’s a holiday week in the US when we celebrate our Declaration of Independence so I thought it was a good time to revisit what was clearly mischief in Philadelphia in 1976. Called the Interdependence Assemblies, we don’t have to speculate about the intentions. Harlan Cleveland, then the head of the same Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies, pushing the Racial Equity Theory of Change now, digital learning, and a new kind of mindset and view of knowledge, wrote the report.

Before I explain what The Third Try at World Order: American Self-Renewal in an Interdependent World laid out, let’s see what helpful piece of advice Harlan wanted to impart from the mass-murdering Mao.  It was in the context of starting to “understand interdependence not by theorizing about it, but by getting on with it.” In a 21st century determined now to make education about activity instead of mental knowledge, it is always good to double check the actual sources of the vision. Here Mao is quoted as saying: “If you want to know the taste of the pear, you must change it by eating it yourself.”

I may never knowingly eat a pear again. Harlan followed that quote with his desire for “the emergence of a new American worldview” through “five parallel and simultaneous shifts in very basic assumptions and attitudes.” Isn’t it useful that 4 years later Jimmy Carter federalized US education with its own agency? So much easier to get this desired shift of perspectives via (1) the discovery of ecology, (2) the nature of power, (3) the double imperative of fairness, (4) doubts about the ‘Western Model’, and (5) a New Style of Leadership. The last one proclaimed by the way that a “collegial, consultative mode of behavior” would now be mandatory.

Before I talk further about this vision that we are seeing today in this omnipresent language about “participatory governance” and “deliberate democracy” and a Principle of Affected Interests that gives rights of decision-making to every supposedly affected group, I want to remind you of an old post that really does directly link that 1976 report to the actual Common Core implementation vision. Plus the remake of higher ed around  democracy. I first explained who Harry Boyte was here. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/viewing-education-as-the-prime-lever-for-international-social-change-community-organizing-everywhere/ Harry now has a tag because of his work for the Obama Administration involving remaking the nature of college, but here is also a link to his current plans for K-12 as well and the nature of citizenship generally. http://civicstudies.org/author/harry-boyte/

In the book I explain that Harlan Cleveland announced that in 1986 he began working to transition the US and the USSR to a successor economic system to both capitalism or communism. Details are in the book using Harlan’s own words and why it matters so much. In Boyte’s book described in that post above he mentioned working with Harlan at that same time while both were in Minnesota. Almost all these books I am reading with this new governance vision cite Harry Boyte and Benjamin Barber and his Strong Democracy  Civil Society vision.

That’s why it matters that Benjamin Barber now wants mayors and cities to be the centers of political power in 21st century America. It’s the place to force collectivism and economic justice invisibly. I am going to have more to say on that in the future, but there are in fact plenty of links between what is engulfing us today whether enough people recognize the commonalities or not, and what Harlan Cleveland, the Club of Rome, the Aspen Institute, and the Convocation of UN Leaders he wrote that report for wanted back in 1976.

Harlan saw the Declaration of Interdependence adopted in Philadelphia that most of us have never heard of as the “instrument” of a new planned adventure in “world order politics” that would be based on the primacy of human needs. It would supposedly become a means of “American self-renewal–that is, to get our tail ship back on a course that has history with it, not against it.” I think this vision was actually designed to hobble America, suck away its exceptionalism, destroy its prosperity, and to do much of this destructive work through education. I think outcomes-based education as I explain in the book was to fulfill this toxic vision of altering perspectives and attitudes and values in fundamental ways, and that the actual Common Core implementation is the end game of this same vision.

When you are watching fireworks this week, listening to a rousing Sousa march, chanting “USA. USA” to the US soccer team in World Cup action, or even putting on that tacky Red, White, and Blue swimsuit you only wear once a year, remember there is nothing accidental about the shifts of the last 40 years. The attacks have been cultural and stealthy and at the level of the human mind and personality, but they most definitely are not theoretical or fanciful or the product of an overactive imagination. Harlan pitched into his Mao quote by using the Webster’s dictionary definition of an attitude as a “state of readiness to act…that may be activated by an appropriate stimulus into significant or meaningful behavior.”

Guess who intended to provide the appropriate stimulus? Still do. Harlan went on to say that “we might look for clues to future American behavior in attitudes that are already in transition.” Yes, indeed and to all those who agonize over what is being sought via education to create economic, social, and political change, just watch Americans celebrate on Friday. The way back is to acknowledge what is dear and that it has been under assault. Deliberate attacks through our institutions cannot survive well yet except in the shadows.

That’s why it’s up to each of us to drag these intentions into the sunlight of public scrutiny. If your child or grandchild or employee never learned why America is exceptional and has been the indispensable player in the world, teach them. If the community organizers insist on a different view of civics education and want to enshrine it into new federally mandated workforce training they provide, tell every politician you see this week at a parade or barbeque that it’s not OK. To actually read that 812 page Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

The third try at world order was to be based on the same “growing awareness of the interdependence of peoples, problems, and policies” that is the focus today. If only Americans would adopt “changes in attitudes and institutions at home” and fashion “new cooperative attitudes” abroad, the world could supposedly become a “community.”

Wasn’t true in 1976 during the height of the Cold war when this was a highly dangerous prescription. It’s not true now when this same philosophy appears to be the new basis for the US foreign policy in a very dangerous world. We keep encountering a determination to use education to guide perception about the way the world and the future might be, instead of a factual recognition of reality.

Let this post be a clarion call to enjoy loved ones and friends this week, but do it while recognizing that the way of life we are celebrating and taking for granted has been under continuous assault. Those attacks are scheduled to reach a fever pitch in the next few years with the intention that no one would appreciate the linkages in time.

That isn’t going to happen anymore. Let’s celebrate that epiphany and start our way back.

Together. Collectivism is not always bad as long as it recognizes that renewal can only come from the individual. It can never simply be on his or her behalf.

Experimenting on People and Places via the Rockefeller Process of Communication for Social Change

In case anyone is concerned that the description ‘experimenting’ seems a bit harsh, the 2001 book Civic Innovation in America: Community Empowerment, Public Policy, and the Movement for Civic Renewal laid out what was sought by the charitable foundations and the White House in the 90s under initiative names like “Reinventing Public Citizenship.” Then it usefully admitted that all this dialoguing and deliberative democracy and new systems of governance are untried theories. Such mass mandates put in place by mayors or regional authorities or school districts thus qualify as mass experimentation. Aka Experimentation on the Masses since psychological processes aimed at behavior change through K-12 education are involved.

We do get to call a spade a spade when we are able to come up with statements about the use of BCC–Behavior Change Communication. Now I am not picking on the Rockefeller interests although I have been wondering for a while why I keep running into their aggressive support of so many troubling ideas that clearly pertain to desired transformational social change. To be undeniably fair I will quote the definition of social change their foundation used in laying out a desired model of Communication for Social Change in a June 2002 Working Paper:

“social change comprises the transformation of the organization of society, in institutions and in the distribution of power. Most social scientists agree that it entails structural change.”

Rather comprehensive wouldn’t you say? Not exactly what any of us think we are funding when we pay our property taxes to fund schools and local government. So why did I call it the Rockefeller Process? Because that’s what the World Bank called it and it would explain why we keep running into aggressive funding of these Metropolitanism, deliberative democracy, and participatory governance visions for the future. This is what a WB paper called Participatory Communication: A Practical Guide stated:

“Most recently participatory approaches to communication [one of the 4 Cs of 21st Century Skills in case anyone has forgotten] have reenforced the emphasis on structural and social change. A broad-based policy debate initiated by the Rockefeller Foundation in 1997 and pursued by the Communication for Social Change Consortium in subsequent years has focused on structural inequality and social transformation. The ‘Rockefeller process’ led to a definition of communication for social change as ‘a process of public and private dialogue through which people themselves define who they are, what they need and how to get what they need in order to improve their own lives. It utilizes dialogue that leads to collective problem identification, decision-making, and community-based implementation of solutions to development issues.’”

I am sure you have heard of Robert’s Rules on Process. Well, Robin’s Research Rules say that if the World Bank states on the record that this is called the Rockefeller Process, we can call it that too. Those Rules also get to note that the Rockefeller Process as a practical matter increases the power of the public sector since it looks to the political process to give these groups what they want. Think of it as increasing the Cartel Power of governments at all levels. Connected people just love cartels.

The Mind Arson and psychological manipulation and social and emotional learning emphasis both my book Credentialed to Destroy: How and Why Education Became a Weapon and now this blog just keep encountering also have the effect of increasing the power of the public sector and anyone with ties to political power. It all seems to seek to extinguish the ability and capacity of individuals to decide what they need and get it for themselves.

Now I told you in the last post that I wanted to talk about the recent Aspen Institute (you can search for yourself to find out if there are ties to certain great wealth that grew from cartel practices in the past) report Learner at the Center of a Networked World. That report called for ‘new kinds of skills and learning’. Let’s quote again because the crucial point I want to make is that this recent Aspen vision for digital learning and the K-12 classroom is the same as what is being described as Communication for Social Change. It is also the same as what The Deliberative Democracy Handbook said is required for fulfilling its vision. Even more alarmingly the vision fits with what the Club of Rome (search for that connection too if you are bored or wondering if conspiracies around power can be true) called for as ‘innovative learning’ in its Learning Project report issued in 1979. It is now finding its way into regional planning authority mandates on Economic Development and what school districts must be doing.

First let’s look at what No Limits to Learning: Bridging the Human Gap said about the necessary ‘critical judgment’ it would need to bridge to the desired transformative change. The capacity of Critical judgment [now called critical thinking and a 21st century 4C] is not developed by the “transmission of off-the-shelf knowledge, a method characteristic of most schools.” Well there’s incentive to deplore textbooks and lectures as unsuitable for the 21st century. Let’s see how the Club of Rome defined ‘innovative learning’ in the same report:

“Innovative learning is problem formulating and clustering. Its main attributes are integration, synthesis, and the broadening of horizons. It operates in open situations or open systems. Its meaning derives from dissonance among contexts [now known as Rigor]. it leads to critical questioning of conventional assumptions behind traditional thoughts and actions, focusing on necessary changes. Its values are not constant, but rather shifting. Innovative learning advances our thinking by reconstructing wholes, not by fragmenting reality.”

Seems to fit in well then with aspirations of fundamental social change, huh? How’s this for more incentive to force this on the classroom as practice for desired mandatory participatory processes in governance? “Thus a key aim of innovative learning is to enlarge the range of options within sufficient time for sound decision-making processes.” At the political level of course or maybe by fiat by appointed regulators. If you want to know why Radical Ed Reform suddenly is pushing that students exhibit a Growth Mindset instead of Fixed Mindsets and an anti-Content Knowledge fixation, let’s quote the needed preference from The Deliberative Democracy Handbook:

“From the vantage point of deliberative democracy, it is erroneous to suppose that individuals already possess a clear, enlightened, and coherent understanding of their preferences or opinions on complex social and political issues…an essential virtue of deliberation is that it deemphasizes the aggregation of (or bargaining among) pre-established preferences and individual interests. [We can see why Axemaker Minds are obstacles then.]  Instead, deliberation seeks the formation of a consensus view of shared interests and common goods. Such an understanding cannot come about if individuals are unwilling to set aside narrow self-interests or if political practices do not offer the necessary institutional settings and motivations to make this possible.”

Classrooms that require Collaboration (the 3rd of the 4Cs) and new political structures too. No wonder there is to be a Metropolitan Revolution. No wonder we get this constant emphasis on the Community as a whole with an obligation to “improve the health and welfare of all its members.” Boosting the cartel power of the public sector while telling individuals they are not even entitled to hold on to their own personal preferences.

Now let’s look at what last week’s Aspen Report on digital learning called for:

“Rather than systematically accumulating static ‘stocks’ of knowledge, students now need to learn how to actively participate in ‘flows’ of knowledge by engaging with others in the construction of new knowledge. This kind of knowledge is often put to use at the same time it is learned. [Like in an experiment of a theory?] It is most effectively acquired through solving problems with others in an environment that offers an abundance of challenges and unlimited opportunities. [Real world? Authentic?] In this new world, curiosity and creativity becomes critical skills.”

There’s Creativity, that 4th C of 21st Century Skills. Everyone assembled and reporting for duty but in pursuit of Deliberative Democracy and Participatory Governance, not being internationally competitive.

Maybe that’s because all these education and policy visions view Planned State Capitalism and its Cartel Power over Everyone Else as the desired 21st Century vision of society and an economy.

Just pointing all these connections out while there is still time in this global experiment to say: “Stop It. Leave us alone.”

Cartels do hate individual power.

 

 

 

Silently and Seismically Shifting Sovereignty Away from the Individual

Unconstitutional earthquakes no one would willingly submit to can be hard to prove. Words like governance or mandatory collective decision-making or public goods get thrown about where the implication of a seismic shift is there, but that is rarely good enough to lay out convincingly on a blog that we are at great, demonstrable risk. If all of the actual Common Core implementation, and the digital learning essential component that runs in tandem with it, are actually designed to “give birth to the new systems and structures through which ordinary people are taking responsibility for their own and their community’s futures,” we have every right to have that included in the upfront public explanation of what is really going on. Especially in a world where Human Rights are now quietly touted as involving Economic Justice based on Racial Equity Outcomes.

That makes who has authority to seize, plan, and redirect people and property of vital importance going forward. As we discussed in the last post, crucial to these shifts is a new theory being pushed by the White House and charitable foundations called Deliberative Democracy. Like Sherlock Holmes fixating on a dog that did not bark, the lawyer and historian in me could just smell the fundamental shift in quotes like this one from the 2005 Deliberate Democracy Handbook (my bolding):

“By stipulating fair procedures of public reasoning that are, in principle, open to everyone, the outcomes of a deliberative procedure will be seen as legitimate because they are the result of a process that is inclusive, voluntary, reasoned, and equal…Deliberative democracy takes seriously the idea that the exercise of collective political authority must be capable of being justified to all those who will be bound by it. To fail to accept this idea is to fail to take the freedom and equality of persons equally.”

Do tell. So like Fulton County’s Conversion School District Charter, the idea is to use contractual language or laws or regulations to invisibly and nonconsensually bind anyone who might complain or resist once they become aware of this seismic shift in where sovereignty over the citizen and student lies in the 21st century. This turns out to be a global pursuit, but the US has a federal Constitution intended to prevent just this sort of public sector power grab. That would explain the desire to bring this in invisibly via education and regional governance compacts and mission statements and vision reports about metro areas.

In case anyone believes that I have an overactive imagination or am reading intentions into perfectly innocent and well-intentioned statements cooperation, here are three links to get your attention that this is a real problem that we were never to recognize in time. The first is The Deliberate Democracy in the Classroom Toolkit created to be compliant with the Common Core classroom and a new vision for what citizenship involves in 21st century America, including new kinds of dispositions. http://cdd.stanford.edu/toolkit/cdd-complete-toolkit.pdf The Toolkit has an interesting view of the relevant facts and obligations and once again PBS has prepared a curriculum called By the People, much as it did for that related transformational curriculum for the Common Core involving Facing History and Ourselves we covered in our recent Human Rights Trilogy.

Now just think about how handy that Toolkit and mandates about a Discourse Classroom involving considering respectfully the perspectives of all others as equally valid and schools Fostering Communities of Learners who come to agreement on a shared understanding will be to this goal:

“[learning democracy] centers share a common goal of lifting the voices and mobilizing the creative energies of diverse community members to improve the quality of life across all sectors and in all its dimensions.”

To those of you who have read the book John Dewey’s concept of ‘participatory democracy’ as the means to force economic justice is indeed alive and well and so is his favorite tool of forcing the seismic shift nonconsensually through the schools. The second point also aligns with the book’s disclosures and what the 1966 Yearbook described as intended for metro regions and urban areas and then what Turchenko described in 1976 in that Soviet report that was so quickly translated into English. Bruce Katz, who we first met here  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/protected-producers-vs-paying-consumerstaxpayerswho-will-prevail-on-education-and-the-economy/ wrote a 2013 book called The Metropolitan Revolution: How Cities and Metros Are Fixing Our Broken Politics and Fragile Economy.

The book was published under the “auspices of the Brookings-Rockefeller Project on State and Metropolitan Innovation.” That matters because the Rockefeller charities are clearly pushing the Deliberative Democracy concept hard according to searches I did over the weekend. That’s actually what turned up the Toolkit since By the People was created with funding from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund as it repeatedly states. Someone is pleased with their efforts and is insistent on saying so.

I am going to resist the temptation to explain to Bruce Katz that economies cannot be built based on federal grants to create manufacturing institutes around clean energy or voters in LA and Denver voting massive sales tax increases around transit projects. Those are transfers involving bureaucrats spending OPM-Other People’s Money. Zero sum is the best case scenario.

Economic illiteracy, like the results of mind arson to get citizens compliant with Deliberate Democracy, matters though to the consequences of public spending. It is very easy to get lots of debt and unmeetable expectations for the future in the public sector-led reimaginings of the way the world should work going forward. That’s why it is so dangerous for Katz to be calling for “another historic shift in federalism.” He wants the “dual sovereigns” of the states and the federal government to be forced to share power with “their subjects, cities and metropolitan areas.”

Sometimes only a $100 word will do. That Usurpation by Fiat of sovereignty away from the individual in the US system, and then insisting sovereignty that is not supposed to exist in fact now be shared with nebulous regional authorities coordinating around Vision Statements, is absolutely Stealth Authoritarianism. It is the politically connected coercing everyone else to go along. How’s this for an open declaration of radical reshaping? This economic vision will amount to waste, but the hoped-for shift to governance of the individual is intended to survive apparently.

“We are trying to advance a theory of federalism that asks how federal and state sovereigns, and other partners and networks in governance, should interact to coproduce the economy. The metropolitan revolution is, at its core, an economic revolution…”

I’ll say. The next page says that “private and public sectors will coproduce the public good.” That’s highly doubtful, but it sure makes a good rationale for an unconstitutional usurpation of authority over people and property. I guess we can now think of what we know, own, or can do as merely in our temporary custody. Subject to seizure by the public sector and its cronies in an economic power grab that’s not that different from the serf forced to work land because it benefits the noble landholder.

Point 3 relates to that Open Data initiative that was President Obama’s first act on taking office in 2009. We have already seen it used as part of the FuturICT Big Data vision that was troublingly outlined here. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/science-fiction-made-real-were-we-ever-to-know-in-time/ When I located this Core Principles for Public Engagement report from 2009 http://ncdd.org/rc/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/PEPfinal-expanded.pdf it made it clear that what I had seen as about data was actually part of an organized redirection of the public and private sectors to begin to collaborate over governance.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/assets/memoranda_fy2009/m09-12.pdf is the actual memo. Hard to believe that the Administration that has supposedly lost incriminating IRS e-mails after they were subpoenaed actually meant to become Transparent, but that National Center for Dialogue & Deliberation makes it quite clear that this vision of public participation and collaboration is very crucial to that openly declared intention of fundamental transformation.

The better to bind us by and invisibly shift sovereignty going forward apparently. This is a good breaking point before I launch into explaining how the mindset perfectly suited for Deliberative Democracy per that Handbook is also the precise Mindset and malleable Worldview that the Common Core and digital learning state that they want to create.

Plus I do not think it’s coincidental that the name of the new Aspen Center report on digital learning and the new kind of mindset needed–”Learner at the Center of a Networked World” uses one of Bruce Katz’s favorite expressions for his desired metro-led economy of the 21st century–the ‘networked world’.

We are so far beyond having to infer any more from a Dog that Did Not Bark in our investigations of what is really going on in education.

And what is intended for most of us. Stealth Usurpation. What a phrase.