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.

Prescribing Racial Equity Outcomes at All Levels of Social Interaction Will Make Each of Us Truly Bound and Governed

In my ongoing pursuit to track precisely what future is being planned for us, why education is being so radically altered in deceitful ways without consent, and why so many people assume people now exist to be governed and dictated to through political power I went back to that Humane Governance book I mentioned in the last post. Sure enough, in order to offer comprehensive rights “to those most vulnerable” as well as “all peoples on earth” Falk called for “a proper ordering of political life at all levels of social interactions” including the home and personal relationships. We may grasp that such officially sanctioned meddling is likely to turn the world into those who seize, those whose time or property are seized, and distributees, but it really is the new theory of rightful political and economic power being pushed in the 21st century.

No wonder I kept hearing references to governance that assumed that political power can now dictate individual choices. If the aim is indeed the “normative consciousness of society” including “the sense of life’s purpose” it makes perfect sense that education, Preschool, K-12, and higher ed, is so determined to make values, attitudes, and beliefs and the delegitimization of the very concept of the individual its focus.  What I was not prepared for when I tackled the 2006 book The Next Form of Democracy: How Expert Rule is Giving Way to Shared Governance…and Why Politics Will Never Be the Same by Matt Leighninger was discovering that governance of all of us was deemed necessary to achieve Racial Equity Outcomes. Or that there was a White House conference in August 2009 that Leighninger was part of to officially kick start this vision of democracy and governance.  http://www.whitehouse.gov/files/documents/ostp/opengov/sond2%20final%20report.pdf

Another lost invite. Someone who was not only invited but was a co-sponsor of the conference was Everyday Democracy, which is the new name for what used to be called the Study Circles Resource Center. Along with the Southern Poverty Law Center we keep encountering as it protects the Common Core, SCRC created this Upper Grades Handbook called “Reaching Across Boundaries: Talk to Create Change” http://www.racialequitytools.org/resourcefiles/mixitup.pdf in an earlier commitment to required dialogues to supposedly create healthy school communities and a Positive School Climate where “every student can grow socially and academically.” Note that order of priority. That handbook remains in print because this is the kind of transformative school program where all children can be deemed to succeed and ‘grow.’ Plus there is that useful change to the acceptable norms of society beliefs and values.

OK you say, that’s one example but do I really have to make governance about race? The problem is that when I followed the footnotes in Leighninger’s book I discovered unbelievably alarming and sanctioned official initiatives like this 2002 Training for Racial Equity and Inclusion: A Guide to Selected Programs http://www.aspeninstitute.org/sites/default/files/content/docs/rcc/training.pdf It starts with a quote from a Manning Marable that:

“When we talk about race, we don’t mean a biological or genetic category, but, rather, a way of interpreting differences between people which creates or reinforces inequalities between them. In other words, ‘race’ is an unequal relationship between social groups, represented by the privileged access to power and resources over another.”

So the existence of inequality among groups for whatever reason becomes the excuse to Govern everyone and meddle constantly in what people believe, value, have, or what they can do. To seize economic and political power and dictate approved social interactions. To define “modern racism as unconsciously held beliefs and feelings that people of color are making illegitimate demands for changes in the status quo.” To be deemed racist if you are not willing to fund the revolution and do it now. Won’t the omnipresent focus now on social and emotional learning come in handy with such programs prescribing a “psycho-social approach to changing racism emphasizes the importance of individual awareness and emotional literacy–or the ability to read one’s own emotions and those of other’s–in the process of understanding and changing oppression.”

Once again this focus in K-12 is equitable, since everyone has emotions, and transformative for “creating a more equitable and just future.” Just what Falk envisioned as Humane Governance and why Gorbachev joined in in 1986. Race becomes the way to transform behaviors in the West and consciousness all at the same time plus seize economic power. Truly who needs a Cold War when there’s education.

Well, that was a 2002 paper. Maybe the Aspen Institute and the Rockefeller Foundation (which also funded WOMP)  has rejected such a vision of Race Equity and the intertwining of Education and Community (then why was this on naesp’s website yesterday?)  http://www.naesp.org/resources/1/A_New_Day_for_Learning_Resources/Building_and_Sustaining_Partnerships/Education_and_Community_Building_Connecting_Two_Worlds.pdf Unfortunately though a new acronym RETOC and a 2008 publication date show that these unfortunate theories just keep getting more influential as the basis for government decision-making along with nonprofits and charitable foundations.

RETOC is short for Racial Equity Theory of Change and it is “the desired alternative to white privilege. Racial equity paints a radically different social outcomes ‘picture’ in which race is not consistently and predictably associated with disadvantage. It envisions a fairer America in which race is not associated with merit and social opportunities. With racial equity, we would not have social strata, prisons, schools, boardrooms and communities that are distinguished by their skewed racial profiles.

A racial equity vision takes for granted that the nation possesses sufficient resources to offer everyone an equal chance to succeed.” http://www.racialequitytools.org/resourcefiles/aspeninst1.pdf Since people have resources, not the nation itself unless we are going to redistribute national parks, racial equity is all about seizing what is desired for redistribution as well as Mind Arson to keep things equitably tied to those transformatively useful emotions. Since RETOC intends to dismantle Structural Racism, it becomes an excuse to meddle everywhere, once again necessitating the concept of Governance. After all, how else can governments and special interest groups alter:

“the many systemic factors that work to produce and maintain racial inequities in America today. [No attempt is being made of course to change factors like unwed teenaged mothers or force urban schools to finally teach reading properly] These are aspects of our history and culture that allow the privileges associated with ‘whiteness’ and the disadvantages associated with ‘color’ to remain deeply embedded within the political economy. Public policies, institutional practices and cultural representations contribute to structural racism by reproducing outcomes that are racially inequitable.”

And if all this meddling and required restructuring of social interactions and relationships extinguishes much of those resources targeted so everyone can succeed, what then? What if the REO-desired Racial Equity Outcome–is not just something that can be imposed or dictated? What will be the effect of targeting the ‘Nuts and Bolts’ of Local power to force these REOs? Governance becomes necessary so that “decision making bodies at the state, local, or regional levels” can dictate the desired changes, whatever the actual costs.

Finally, the Aspen Institute, which again is so determined to push digital learning that replaces mental knowledge with the use of a visual tool as the key component of the Common Core implementation, published this document in September 2009. Highly relevant then to what is also going on in education, the AI Roundtable on Community Change created this “Constructing a Racial Equity Theory of Change: A Practical Guide for Designing Strategies to Close Chronic Racial Outcome Gaps.” http://www.aspeninstitute.org/sites/default/files/content/images/Roundtable%20on%20Community%20Change%20RETOC.pdf That report opens with the declaration in bold print that “As we begin the 21st century, the embeddedness of racism in our institutions and culture continue to exert great influence on how social benefits and burdens are distributed.”

Distributed by whom we should legitimately ask. The fallacy that these benefits and burdens are being inequitably ‘distributed’ is being used to seize power to be able to distribute. To plan societies. To force action by public officials against anyone or anything deemed in the way of an REO. That report helpfully reminds “planners to take the likelihood of sociopolitical resistance and retrenchment into account whenever they design and implement racial equity action strategies.”

So far that outcry has not been a problem because these REOs are being pursued but not under the actual Theory of Change. Not under the name Racial Equity Outcomes. The sought ‘backward mapping’ is going on in the schools, but it goes by names like Growth or Positive School Climate or Equitable Engagement of All Students. The function of transformative change and the seizure of powers of governance without admitting it’s about REO and eliminating Structural Racism.

In writing of the related Humane Governance, Professor Falk acknowledged that this is all about pursuing a “democratizing agenda of bringing law and popular participation to bear upon policies that control the exercise of economic and political power.” Race is just the excuse for seizing that power for the public sector and its allies. It offers emotions of grievance that have been carefully cultivated and boots on the ground voting for transformative change via seizure.

And no one pushing Humane Governance or Racial Equity seems to be grasping that if true wealth is the mind and what it is capable of, these policies may well be creating piles of dust.

No one can seize what has ceased to exist. Creating a sense of righteous revenge in some groups and an obligation to allow predation in others only creates human betterment in a fantasy world. But we can only confront the likely reality if we recognize what is now being pushed in the name of Equity and Democracy.

Consider this post that recognition.



Surreptitious Vision: Ed Reforms as Designing an Internal Keel to Control People and Manage Society

No I am not a sailor although I did once have a very fun weekend on a sailboat in the Chesapeake as a hapless, but supportive, passenger. I am afraid this metaphor of a keel that allows steering regardless of the direction of the wind has been invoked as the official analogy of those who wish to use education in the 21st century globally to change human behavior and ” design a new, organic, socio-cybernetic system for the management of society.” Please do take a deep breath before we continue. At least now we know why the virtual reality science simulations planned under Common Core Next Generation Standards have been focusing on illustrating force and motion in addition to all the ‘supposed’ threats to the environment. These days any content allowed through virtually always has a purpose in creating a transformational mindset.

Today’s discussion is largely from a 2011 paper by Scotland’s John Raven called “Competence, Education, Professional Development, Psychology, and Socio-Cybernetics.” It has global aspirations and fits perfectly with UNESCO’s use of the term “Cybernetics of Global Change” as part of its MOST-Management of Social Transformations-official program. Apparently, we, the hoped-for victims and funders of these transformation plans, are the only ones NOT familiar with just how often the planners have begun to think in terms of how to invisibly gain control of human behavior to manage society.

That control lever can occur, according to Raven, through a socio-cybernetic, competence, focus in education plus new political rules. Since stating this out loud would create a popular outcry that might interfere with plans for subjugation, the same developmental push gets sold globally now under the blissful, but misleading, term–focus on Excellence. The other necessary component involves changing the political governance arrangements, which is of course exactly what the UN’s Agenda 21 seeks to do. Majority rule, judicial overreach or neglect, regulations, and power to appointed boards instead of elected ones all work quite nicely too.

Today’s focus though is on education since both UNESCO and Raven declare this is the Yellow Brick Road to Social Control. Just as adding a keel to a sailing boat is cited by Raven as “key to getting the boat to sail into the wind” so an education that rejects the primacy of individual “technico-rational competence” and content knowledge in favor of “helping people to develop and get recognition for, the diverse, often idiosyncratic, talents they possess” is key to the radical vision of social transformation. If that seems a bit odd, how about the admission that the key to “changing the way we run society,” (don’t you just want to ask “who is we, Kemosabe?” as if this were a Tonto-Lone Ranger skit), is rejecting the traditional focus of school since it “reinforces a social order which offers major benefits to ‘able’ people.”

Poor dear, all of civilization that these writers and planners take for granted is thankfully due to the herd-defying curiosity and mischief of just a few ‘able’ people. We will rue the day when their minds came to be molded into whatever was necessary to tolerate transformations.  Instead, we are to get education designed to change “people’s beliefs about society, how it works, and their place in it” even if none of those beliefs are grounded in reality. In fact in acknowledging and laying out the intent that project-based learning will no longer be a way to discover content, Raven begins to disclose the radically different goals of what is also euphemistically called ‘student-centered learning.’ As he states explicitly (and he is the one who loves italics), the purpose of the letters or pictures or slogans or poems “was not to depict what was seen accurately, but to represent it in such a way as to evoke emotions that would lead to action.”

Remember in the last post when I kept reminding that curriculum grounded in virtual reality likely would be whatever simulation created politically useful beliefs and values and that Holos Consciousness? That statement was based on having hung out with more than one software developer in my life and career. Turns out though the 1995 book Cybersociety: Computer-Mediated Communication and Community warned several times about the very same thing. The whole purpose of stressing computer simulations in the classroom is the computer’s “capacity to represent action in which humans could participate.” Perfect way to prime the pump for revolution we might say. In fact science fiction writer Jerry Pournelle, then a Byte columnist, was quoted as fearing that “technology masks the constructedness of any simulation.” Here are his exact words and they remain hugely relevant to the mental keel being created within the student by digital learning and assessments of 21st century competencies:

“The simulation is pretty convincing–and that’s the problem because…it’s a simulation of the designer’s theories, not of reality…The fact is, though, the computer doesn’t say anything at all. It merely tells you what the programmers want it to tell you.”

And the programmers, such as ISTE keynoter Jane McGonnigal, have been quite graphic that these games are being designed to create a mindset that believes in the need for social transformation. Sim City creator, Will Wright, was quoted as saying his games are adapted from Jay Forester’s World Dynamics work, which once again takes us back to the Club of Rome, the 1970s, and the desire to push systems thinking in education, economic planning, and the now-proverbial means of managing society. Cybersociety recognized that “representing flux and change is exactly what a simulation can do”, making it a far more effective tool for altering the nature of human experience and illustrating the possible causes of social change.

A very powerful, highly visual, weapon we are mandating for classrooms and ‘assessments’ without giving a second thought to its use as a driver of how the student’s mind will perceive the need for social change. Computer games have become so ubiquitous that remembering that they were once recognized as “where we go to play with the future” gets overlooked. So does the fact that the future is not the least bit bound to follow the variables set up in a software virtual simulation. Just ask Putin. Fostering a belief in things that are not true, and collectivist values that leave you unprotected against either foreign invaders or domestic predator politicians, is no way to become an adult.

Making computer gaming the focus of the classroom because it is engaging and increases graduation rates still omits a crucial fact all the programming world still remembers. The gamer unconsciously and intuitively “internalizes the logic of the program.” Just the thing in other words for those who want social transformation and people who can be steered like the keel of a boat. Precisely the metaphor Raven chose to both use and illustrate with drawings of a boat. Marry those manipulative visuals to an express declaration for a “dramatic reorganisation of most peoples’ thoughtways” via schools and universities and we indeed have a problem. All being implemented into a classroom near you without a By Your Leave under banners like the Common Core or Positive School Climate or a 1:1 Laptop Initiative.

Left out will be the acknowledgment that now ‘intelligence’ is to be understood as an emergent property of a group rather than an individual characteristic. Furthermore, this intelligence depends on releasing and harnessing a huge variety of individual talents that are scarcely related to intelligence as conventionally understood. Thus conventional ways of thinking are unethical–destructive of both individuals and society.”

The attempts to manage society and achieve new forms of governance will not be successful. Only the extent of wealth lost and prosperity trashed is in dispute. The intended damage to be delivered via education to the psyche, false beliefs, and pernicious or naive values is unstoppable unless enough people realize there is no dispute at what is being sought or why.

Intentionally created financial conflicts of interest seem to be the norm to coerce adults into either complying with, or actively advocating for, this vision of education. In the US I see it being pushed under federal civil rights laws as necessary to have Equity and Excellence. The very title of the global ed summit that commenced today in New Zealand-”Excellence, Equity, and Inclusiveness: High Quality Teaching For All” tells me this developmental, obuchenie, new view of ‘intelligence’ grounded in group interactions is a deliberate global phenomena.

If only someone could create a computer simulation for politicians and school administrators showing the true social effects of such widespread mind arson.




Facing the Implications of Education that Rejects Reality and Truth as Political Impediments

As we continue to ponder the reality that education has embarked globally on an enormous social experiment designed to change what students believe, value, and care about, without regard to likely consequences or the world as it actually exists, two more publications came my way this week. Each really hammered hard that it is change in personal development and a hoped for transformation in political, social, and economic institutions that is the point of education reform.

Misportraying reality is just an acceptable means to political goals. This can be quite hard for us to read or even contemplate. I always feel like the English fighting what they saw as overreach by the Stuart kings or how the American colonists saw King George and Parliament’s actions. I am not asserting a desire to finally be free. Will future students and the adults they will become though ever have that same sense that “service before self” is not a good slogan to live life by? Will they grasp that schools and universities forcing acceptance of such a belief are dramatically changing what it will now mean to be educated?

The first paper came from the National Education Policy Center and it touted the ability of the Common Core framework to promote a “race-conscious and progressive agenda” focused on equity. http://nepc.colorado.edu/publication/seeing-past-the-colorblind-myth Yep, we can only wish I was exaggerating a smidgen, but no–”We see the Common Core as a powerful opportunity to build diversity into instruction and encourage powerful dialogue.” Not the least bit of interest in looking at the created dysfunction in urban schools from earlier piloting of Vygotsky’s sociocultural psychology in those classrooms or the deliberate destruction of Inner Cities by political machines. Those would not be politically useful facts on our way to forcing enactment of King’s Beloved Community vision to properly commemorate the man.

The 2nd paper dated November 2013 from the Asia Society and the Rand Corporation once again confirmed that the word Competencies is the global euphemism obscuring the actual developmental focus of these required shifts in education. Common Core is merely the means to get the US on board and to eliminate tests that focus on content and facts. In the 21st century content can be used to practice essential skills. The rest of its use though is to change what the student believes, how she behaves, when she feels compelled to act and how, and what she cares for and how she will show it. The paper “Measuring 21st Century Competencies: Guidance for Educators” gave examples of the kind of Assessments that would be used in the 21st Century. One, a Mission Skills Assessment, developed by ETS for use in private independent schools, gets incorporated into classwork to affirmatively shift student’s values and beliefs.

Another, the PISA Collaborative Problem Solving assessment intends to use a computer generated avatar to interact with the student in virtual reality simulations. In the give-and-take with the computer, it will be the actual student who will be changing as a result of the programmed interaction. The SimScientists are cited as another curriculum with embedded assessments that rely on a designed virtual reality to replace the old textbook focus on facts and proven theories. Most people though will believe what they have experienced even if the experiences were carefully created to instill influential false beliefs. In fact, by breaking the competencies into the categories of cognitive, interpersonal, and intrapersonal, that report replicated the very same explicitly proclaimed developmental focus that the Obama Administration http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/college-ready-as-a-goal-of-k-12-is-not-helpful-if-first-you-gut-the-historic-purpose-of-college/   wants to require from colleges and universities now. The one grounded in Robert Kegan’s work that the OECD is also stressing.

The report revealed that the Asia Society has joined with SCALE at Stanford to create a Graduation Performance System (GPS) Framework to look for whether a student has developed the desired values and beliefs, including empathy for others, to be deemed globally competent. Perhaps if I had not been simultaneously focusing on Vygotsky and what a developmental focus for the classroom would really mean I might not have read the report and recognized that all these assessments were designed to change the student’s values, attitudes, and beliefs and then monitor that they remained altered until adulthood. But I was and when I got to the Jaan Valsiner’s discussion of the Double Stimulation experimental method created by Vygotsky where [replace subject with student and think adaptive software on a computer while you read]:

“The experimenter sets up the situation of the task, together with other possible means that can result in a solution if the subject uses them… The structure of the task constitutes the subject’s experimental setting. The subject, put into such a situation, is expected to act constructively in devising a way to reach a solution to the problem… The original aspect of double stimulation is introduced when the emphasis of the observations becomes the child’s construction of new means that can help solve the problem and then restructure the whole task situation once invented.”

Remember how many times we have confronted the command that tasks or assessments be “untaught material” or “ambiguous situations with no fixed solution”? Valsineer went on to say expressly that this emphasis on the active role of the student who changes himself through his use of cultural tools and collaboration with others was grounded in the “dialectical philosophy (that was widely propagated in the Soviet Union in the 1920s.)” Well, at least they had a formal bloody revolution and a new flag and the Bolshevik creed to tip the average person that there was a political transformation going on at the level of the psychological characteristics of the individual. How about us?

I read that description of the experimental method and immediately recognized it fit with many of the computer scenarios I was reading about and gaming and the learning tasks funded by the Gates Foundation and especially what are being called formative assessments. A fairly simple search pulled up articles all over the world that had made that very same connection between Vygotsky’s experimental double stimulation method to change the person, and what is being planned for the classroom under the banner of the Common Core or Competencies or becoming a High Performing country on internationally benchmarked ‘tests.’

Valsineer tells us that “In cultural-historical thinking, historical implies the connection between past, present, and future.” By limiting access to what has been created by humans in the past, especially fluent use of symbol systems like reading and math that promote abstract thought, in today’s classrooms, CHAT seeks to change the nature of the future in predictable ways. It was created for a totalitarian regime. Transported to a free society like the US or Canada or Australia, this developmental focus is intended to change those cultures in collectivist directions. Remember the intentions of the creators travel with education and psychological theories even if they are left unstated in the present implementation. As we have discovered though the communitarian focus is actually stated in the real definition of career ready as well as in Character Education and Positive School Climate materials.

As I so often do when I am presented with an unpleasant but inescapable conclusion of what the actual education reforms are intended to do, I once again dug into some history. I went back to political scientist Kenneth Minogue’s 1963 book The Liberal Mind. He recognized the importance of subverting facts and the truth every time there is an aspiration to utopian thinking. Anytime we are looking at visions that “aim at nothing less than the transformation of human life,” we will find that “so ambitious a project necessarily takes a great interest in education, for like all movements, it is eager to recruit the young.” Amen to that. Minogue also foresaw that once change in the student is viewed as “a means to something else” that “outside manipulation is not far away.” Amen again and hiding as a Whole Child emphasis or in mindfulness practices tucked into definitions of physical fitness or Positive School Climate practices to supposedly combat bullying.

Truth is always such a target when transformation is the aim because “the moral character of truth-seeking is one which did not always play a prominent part in the world’s affairs, and could return to obscurity. Whenever men have, in recent history, attempted to snatch at political salvation, it is truth that has always been the first casualty, since, of all the causes of human turmoil, facts are the most obvious, and therefore the first to be suppressed. The more we dream of utopia, the less we can bear to face our imperfections.”

History also tells us that these utopian ends are never achieved and that horrible damage comes from this official instrumental focus on people as simply a means to desired  political ends. Especially when, as now, the desired ends are being duplicitously withheld as the true justification for the education reforms.

Or fraudulently sold as 21st century personalized learning that requires that tablets replace textbooks and group projects need to substitute for lectures.

Is the typical Principal or District Super these days to be an intentional social revolutionary or just an inadvertent one?



Molding the Minds of the Masses Toward Myths as an Effective Means of Manipulating Action for Change

Two posts ago I mentioned I had one more equity event to attend as I listened in person to the blueprints of intended transformation for all metro areas, not even just the US. So December 4, I attended the roll-out of the Harvard Equality of Opportunity Project at a  meeting of the Atlanta regional Housing Authority. Among those special guests recognized by name at the event were the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, the group that had just put out that Metro Atlanta Equity Atlas I have written about, and the head of the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education. Apparently I am not the only one who gets that all these entities and terms are linked in a common transformative vision of the future.

As I have been attending all these events or reading mentioned books like White Flight, it has been hard for me not to notice the extent to which beliefs in things that are not so, or which did not happen in the manner described, are being presented as fact. One of the points made at the Wednesday event by representatives of an entity, Georgia StandUp, with ties to ACORN, complained of the still present “plantation mentality.” That this was the reason it was hard in metro Atlanta to move from the bottom percentage of income earners to the top 20%.

Now I can be a pretty serious nerd, but we are not going to have that kind of policy discussion. I was struck at several of these events, however, about the myths about money and power, and who has it and how they got it, that are taken for granted by speakers or audience members. It is as if everyone believes that only predators prevail, and they now want governments to step in so various groups can supposedly take their turn being a predator and dictating who can do what, and where, and with whom. Treating society and the economy and people like we actually are a plantation in need of new owners and overseers.

I keep leaving sad and climbing in my car and thinking we are in great trouble if so many with political power and the ability to coerce taxpayers have so few accurate perceptions about how the world worked to create mass prosperity. As Daniel Hannan from the last post noted:

“In almost every period of human history, people’s circumstances were fixed at birth…The miracles of the past three and a half centuries–the unprecedented improvements in democracy, in longevity, in freedom, in literacy, in calorie intake, in infant survival rates, in height, in equality of opportunity–came about largely because of the individualist market system developed in the Anglosphere.

All these miracles followed from the recognition of people as free individuals, equal before the law, and able to make agreements one with another for mutual benefit.”

And we are now using education reforms like those new civic values and regional planning and new visions of reforming Workforce Development and Human Capital Policies to throw it all away. http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/research/files/papers/2013/12/04%20workforce%20development%20jacobs/fedroleworkforcedev.pdf We have lots of people in power who clearly believe the myths of still dominant racism they were taught to foster a sense of grievance that cannot be extinguished until capitalism goes. With no idea of how much they have been relying on its fruits.

The post title comes from a 1937 quote from Zalmen Slesinger in his book Education and the Class Struggle where he wrote about the desire to use the schools to shift society away from capitalism. Slesinger agreed with Earl Browder, then the head of CPUSA, who had said “The school system must itself be revolutionized before it can become an instrument of revolution–or of any serious social change.” Which is precisely why we are now seeing district conversion charters and limitations on elected local school boards and accreditation agencies assuming classroom policy oversight. Their leaders know what Browder meant even if we do not. As Slesinger wrote:

“[These] molders of the minds of the masses must assume the role of the propagandist, the political strategist, using whatever techniques may be effective in convincing and in converting the minds of the masses as speedily and as effectively as possible. Failure to do so is to expose the masses to the destructive demagogy of the ruling class.”

These quotes were in a Chapter called “A Fascist and Communist view of the function of the American school” in a book by Professor Clarence J. Karier. I noticed the strong resemblance between what was described there and what the actual Common Core implementation is looking like and the rhetoric being used. As Karier noted when he wrote the book in 1967: “The end clearly justifies the means for each group. If myth satisfies the irrational need of the masses in a mass society and if it serves as an efficient vehicle of manipulating the people, then both would use it for their own purposes.” And that’s still the case even if those who hold such a view of education run under the banner of a mainstream political party, or work in aid of a regional planning authority or taxing district. Lots of ways to effect these same ends while masquerading as a moderate or even a conservative. At least the ACORN affiliates are not masking what they pursue.

One more time with Karier as he noted that “[b]oth totalitarian views conceive of education as a weapon of indoctrination to be wielded by the power elite.” That’s the natural outgrowth of Statism through the ages and suddenly everyone with ambition or greed or a sense of grievance is lobbying to become a member of the planning and predatory power elite. Which is why the myths being created by Harvard history professor Lisa McGirr in her 2001 Suburban Warriors: The Origins of the New American Right are so dangerously effective in creating mass beliefs that it is the Right that is selfish and irrational. Borderline paranoids and delusionals who saw communist threats where none really existed and who held an erroneous “mythic vision of the nation’s past.”

McGirr used Orange County, California as the “lens” for examining the Conservative movement, and the legitimacy of the suburban vision, and ultimately the President they helped first promote as a Governor, Ronald Reagan. In her chapter on “The Conservative Worldview” McGirr complained of hostility “toward liberal ‘equalitarianism’ and conservatives’ skepticism about democracy. She illustrated that ‘radicalism’ and ‘right-wing rhetoric’ by pointing out that conservatives noted “marked distinctions between a republic and a democracy and emphasized that the United States had been founded as a republic.” Such an outrage to actually be familiar with formative documents like The Federalist Papers one can assume will remain unassigned in McGirr’s courses. She also complained about libertarians who “express deep dismay with the voting process, seeing it as a means for the majority to coerce the minority.” Which is kind of funny given how often I read now of the intention to force the minority to submit to the vision of the common good developed by the voting majority.

McGirr also consistently pointed out the irrational, apocalyptic “fear of communism” with “elements of conspiracy theory.” Unfortunately for her, I have an increasingly large collection of people operating in California and elsewhere in the US, especially the Ivies, in the time she is writing about who essentially bragged about what they were up to and who they were actively coordinating with. There may have been loony conspiracy theorists in Orange County, but there was also a great deal of transformative activity being pursued.

McGirr’s Harvard undergrads may believe that such fears were nuts and thus that Conservatives are too, but it is sloppy as factual history. Since McGirr regularly mentioned the work of Harvard sociologist Daniel Bell and what he wrote in his 1963 book The Radical Right, I do not think any of the ‘myths’ about the Right and Orange County and the 1960s legitimacy of anticommunism is an accident. It reads under the now known facts like intentional misdirection.

I guess if you want transformative change the needs for plausible myths abounds. Unfortunately again for Professor McGirr I have read and written about Boulding’s 1962 The Great Transition and Bell’s Commission on the Year 2000 report and his view of The Post-Industrial Society and also the World Order Models Project. None of these leave any doubt about the sought little c vision of world federalism and redistribution being sought. Orange Countians, in other words, had real reasons to be paranoid. But today’s students are being taught it is all myths and people creating a “cast of villains” in order to preserve their own “way of life and a set of power relations in American society” that had been beneficial to them.

My favorite myth that McGirr complains of is “the firm belief in the wastefulness of government.” Only an idealogue with a political view of the use of history would dispute the accuracy of that belief. But then again, McGirr admitted she used the term ‘ideology’ as defined by Eric Foner [an admitted radical historian at Columbia where she got her PhD],   “who calls it ‘the system of beliefs, values, fears, prejudices, reflexes and commitments–in sum, the social consciousness–of a social group, be it a class, a party, or a section.”

Fascinating that the used definition of ideology is precisely what education, and the myths it is now trying to consciously cultivate, are targeting. In preschool, K-12, college, AND grad school.

With all these myths abounding we can appreciate why actual facts and modelling reality are out. And emotional imagination and online gaming is in.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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