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. 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   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. 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  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.

Destroying the Dominant Social Paradigm Via Education for 21st Century Political Power and Personal Gain

Who knew that targeting the Dominant Social Paradigm to facilitate future social change was so thoroughly underway in countries like Germany and the US and the UK by the early 80s that books were being written simply shorthanding the goal as DSP? No wonder Outcomes Based Education and systems thinking were needed via K-12 education reform globally starting in earnest in the 80s. Now that I have firmly attached my deerstalker hat on my head of curls and pulled out by magnifying glass to peruse the footnotes, let’s go back to Lester W. Milbrath and his Environmentalists:Vanguard for a New Society before pivoting to go through the troubling Brookings Institute presentation yesterday of the new Oxford report. Pushing for “a collective vision for society” and “shared global values around which a unified and enduring pathway for society can be built.”

Whew! Good thing thing Brookings has no interest in education or social policy or we might need to be worried about what they are pushing. Why? How? Who really benefits? will all need to become our habitual inquiries as we embark upon our continuing investigation into this hoped for wholesale transformation away from individualism and personal choices to a planned public sector centric economy and society. As we saw in the last several posts, this aim has gone on for decades but whether we know it or not, we are in the final stages.

So let’s go back to 1984 without Orwell to lead us and make it satirical. These have been very real, long term aims. To develop and then unite a new “sophisticated understanding of how the world works with a normative/ethical system that recognizes and addresses those realities.” That would certainly explain why as I traipse around the world via the Internet examining global ed reforms over the last 10 years or so I just keep encountering diagrams of concentric circles with “core values and core beliefs” at the center.

As Milbrath wrote, “social change begins, and is most fundamentally and widely expressed, in the beliefs and values of the people.” And I would add that this level is much easier to access in a mind that has been deprived of its own store of facts and lots of practice with logical thought. Which certainly explains why fluent reading and math and science textbooks and lectures have all come under attacks with explanations that never hold up to detailed scrutiny. That would be due to an organized effort to substitute “an agreed upon ‘story’ that guides the beliefs and behavior of the people.” Well, we didn’t agree. But annoyed by the failures of attempts in previous decades, politicians and profs and district supers and accreditors and state boards of education are brooking no opposition this time from anyone in the way of the desired little c common core. The prevailing beliefs and values to be targeted at school, at work, at church, and especially in higher ed.

Colleges really should just tell parents that a New Worldview comes with the tuition payments and drop the expensive subterfuge. Milbrath used another word in addition to Worldview and the now more common Mindset–paradigm. All of these terms quite simply mean the “belief structure that organizes the way people perceive and interpret the functioning of the world around them.” No wonder constructivism has become all the rage in the Common Core implementation and reading, math, and science instruction. Until reality can be changed, altering the widespread personal perceptions of it will have to do. And that is precisely what is under continuous and coordinated attack now via education. Think of it as cultivating mindsets suitable to prompt action for transformative social, political, and economic change every time you hear of a troubling incident at a university or a curriculum assignment designed to instill hate or confusion or fear.

Here’s what is officially under attack.  Every organized society has a dominant social paradigm–the DSP–which consists of:

“values, metaphysical beliefs, institutions, habits, etc., that collectively provide social lenses through which individuals and groups interpret their social world. [Doesn't the C3 Social Studies Framework and the Bronfenbrenner Ecological Systems metaphor presence make more sense now?]

Social paradigms condition individual goals and expectations, provide a definition of social problems, establish a structure of social and physical rewards for various types of preferred behavior, and create shared gains and deprivations which make social harmony in complex societies possible.”

Now things would certainly not be so harmonious if it were better understood that governments and their beneficiaries and allies have decided to use education to push for new structures and institutions and values and beliefs that reject “once accepted patterns and relationships among people.” I personally deplore analogizing individual choices and markets to slavery and colonialism as other once accepted patterns but then I hate a bad analogy. Milbrath was only too ready to create new premises “about the way we should structure our society and conduct our public business” and going after DSP was the way to do it. Still is but most people do not read the Great Transition documents the OECD is pushing now or the UN’s post-2015 report we have also considered. Much less this Oxford Martin global commission report that came out in mid-October.

All of these sought global transformations get pushed at meetings we are not invited to and seek to dramatically transform our future and disregard the current political structures and safety valves we take for granted. Education is the way in and altering the DSP invisibly and quickly means the shift is an irreversible done deal while even the attentive are still arguing on whether the Common Core State Standards Initiative tramples  federalism. What? Under a US Constitution that provides no genuine protection when the means of attack is against the DSP once a majority of voters have been affected? We have to understand how the game is actually being played better. We have to understand the nature of political power.

If you do read that Oxford Martin report, don’t stop until you figure out who the C-30 companies are behind this vision and more importantly you trace the C-40 Cities to the core involvement of the Clinton Global Initiative, Bloomberg Philanthropy (also sponsored the NYC citylab recently), and the World Bank. All of this planned transformation has your tax money and the ability to incur debt, loads of contributions hoping for additional political careers, and the ability to regulate and impose public policy. No wonder everyone is talking about mayors and cities as being the correct level to impose change for the future. Usefully also with a high concentration of totally dependent voters looking for a public sector to take care of them.

Well, everyone cannot live at the expense of others and ignoring the inherent parasitic nature of governments under the best of circumstances is dangerous if we hope to keep even the current weakened levels of the economy (that everyone seems intent on redistributing). But getting that essential fact requires some knowledge of history and how can education built around problem and project-based learning create such necessary knowledge? And that seems to be much of the point behind the new games-based focus and design emphasis in the classroom. It encourages the kind of “trial and error [as] the basic element in this kind of social change; it constitutes a type of social learning.” That social learning intention is designed to create “a growing awareness that the present system is not working well.” Milbrath laid it out in his concluding chapter called “Can Modern-day Prophets Redirect Society?” Prophets like the regularly cited Paul and Anne Ehrlich and their rather troubled by now record of catastrophe hyping.

But students raised on a curriculum diet of “successfully navigating open-ended challenges” won’t know that. Expect more of these types of priming projects as students are taught everything around them can be redesigned for a better 21st century. For everyone.

Just need to give the Governors at all levels more power and decision-making authority.

Meanwhile, students will be doing helpful things like:

“After collecting information, students then strive to infer the underlying thoughts and feelings of a user. By immersing themselves in the experiences of users and developing ‘deep empathy,’ they are able to develop a deeper understanding that can lead to key insights.”

Insights that guide future behavior without any likely connection to reality. Such a perception contrary to reality was so helpful for English Prime Minister Chamberlain in Munich in 1938.

So many had that lovely feeling of Peace in Our Time right up until the invasion emboldened by the false perceptions.

History and reality vs perceptions and hope and key insights from ‘deep empathy.’

Where would you place your bet on the 21st century future?

Adjusting Our Conception of Who We Are to Fit the New Global Context of Being Systems to Be Managed

Do you ever read one of my posts and think “surely she’s exaggerating. That cannot be the actual intention. This is America and we are a free society.” Well, maybe less after this past week of barricades blocking open-air monuments keeping veterans from honoring those they served with. Or the elderly tourists being herded and guarded at the Old Faithful Inn lest they actually see and take a picture of an active geyser. Or those orange cones trying to block anyone gaining a view of Mt Rushmore. Plus the mentality that would add to the pain of already grieving families while they are still in shock by essentially telling them politicians and executive appointees did not value the ultimate sacrifice in the least. We have indeed crossed the Rubicon because of the importance of using the federal spending, taxing, and regulatory powers to enforce a different sort of country and society. Without we consent or not.

We think this past week is all a bridge too far when the reality is the transformation is just heating up. Let’s take a hard look then on where we are being led and why and what makes education such a vital weapon for intentional, nonconsensual cultural change. If you are a new reader, I usually refer to Karl Marx as Uncle Karl when I have to go back and pull up his theories and philosophies. Because people are writing that their current plans trace back to him. Still. In 2013. And simply saying that “Karl Marx said” makes me sound a bit hyper instead of ably tracking real declarations and then telling the story with a bit of humor. So if the MIT Press in 2012 decided to publish Ethical Adaptation to Climate Change: Human Virtues of the Future with regular mentions of that notorious Uncle as if he were a respectable theorist with good, untried ideas for us all, we get to take a hard look at what is in store for us.

I see that the Aspen Institute and Bloomberg Philanthropies sponsored CityLab this week in NYC building on this idea that the Inner Cities are to be new totally managed systems that all federal policies revolve around benefiting. This confab, like the (co)lab summit 2 weeks ago in Atlanta, TED City 2.0, the Brookings Metropolitanism push, and the new Promise Zones initiative announced in August with 11 federal agencies coordinating “prenatal to career nurturing of pathways” are all the second term pushing of what I first described here .

Since that book was kind enough to lay out the ties of all this to Uncle Karl, let’s see precisely what is intended for all of us. Like it or not. Pretending this is the fulfillment of MLK’s “beloved community” vision and therefore a dream that is entitled to be seen as a human right. Wouldn’t all these machinations make so much more sense if you believed or wanted to use a philosophy that argued that people will remain ‘alienated’ as long as they act as private individuals? Moreover, and highly useful to the current political class and the beneficiaries of their largesse with our taxpayer money, you insisted (my bolding):

“Overcoming this alienation would take the form of a recognition and reappropriation of these processes as social, which to Marx means putting them under the control of democratically organized planning processes.”

We might not be familiar with that intention since it is contrary to how the US Constitution works but I am pretty sure it is common knowledge in Community Organizing 101 seminars. Also common Marxian knowledge would be that the current world need not be accepted as it is but treated as something that humans produced so it can be redesigned through action and will. In fact, we just need to teach children from an early age that “to be human is to transform the world” and that “our economic and social institutions, our sprawling suburbs, our rapidly warming atmosphere” are all supposedly “something that results from human practices, and is not a ‘fact of nature.”

What is going on now in education, and what our 3 theorists from the last post wanted, and all these redesign the world through concentrating on the cities advocates desire, all make much more sense if you realize lots of people believe that the “problem with capitalism and the market economy” is the “private character of decisions.” Immediately telling me the writer has no clue as to what is involved in becoming successful in the non-cronyistic economy where you can only do well if you give people something they volunteer to buy. The point is the public-sector centric theorists have a desire for a future where the public sector can force people “to decide together what they are going to do” so that they will “act in concert to produce the result they all desire.” And you are thinking why would everyone desire the same thing?

Well, that’s to be the beauty of the Common Core in the US and Quality Learning all over the globe. To get people to have the same beliefs and mental models of reality and cultivate feelings to prompt collective action and new values. What we are dealing with is too many politicians and bureaucrats and university professors who believe that in the 21st Century the “social consequences of our actions [are] themselves [to] be the object of a social, and public, decision and not just the result of a series of private decisions…This cannot happen in the market itself, but rather is a matter of politics. In politics, and more precisely in democratic politics, the community makes a decision to act as a community and no longer as an aggregate of private individuals.”

Like it or not, that is the official mantra of the 21st Century vision all over the globe. Man-made climate change is being constantly touted whatever the reality because its solution requires a shift from individuals and markets making decisions to collective, majority binds all, decision-making. And education becomes about reenforcing a human responsibility to change and to engage in a ‘common politics’. Each person must now always consider “what actions would be discursively justifiable to others before acting.” Now that is clearly just a motto to gain power or we would never have seen the events of the past week, but it is the official view of citizenship in the future that our K-12 schools and higher ed are to actively cultivate. Mental transformations in individuals, new cultural models, and new institutions are absolutely precisely what this 2012 book lays out as the intention.

By cultural models, we are to have comparable perceptual conceptions (‘lenses’ and ‘metaphors’ are the two most common euphemisms) for how each of us is to perceive the world in the future and “our relationship to it.” And if you wonder why the name John Dewey just keeps being brought up as the visionary still for both the kind of education and society desired, this passage should relieve all questions:

“To serve as the basis of learning and action in political contexts, new cultural models must be closely associated with the development of new institutions, in particular institutions that function to manage the boundaries of the system to be managed. In their most basic sense, institutions are ‘the external (to the mind) mechanisms individuals create to structure and order the environment’. Through institutions, our ideas about how the world works and what is necessary to act within it, are articulated in language, instantiated into rules and structures, and to a greater or lesser extent empowered (or resisted) by the instruments of the state, business, or civil society. Institutions are essential to create a ‘public’, in John Dewey’s sense (1927): an organic society capable of experimenting, observing and learning in the face of threats and problems.”

Like it or not, this is the genesis of the vision of the future being pushed now all over the globe. It is the vision behind the ambiguous term ‘Sustainable Development’.

I may not be able to make this all go away by myself, being a mere individual and all. But what makes individual minds such a target in all these 21st century calculations is precisely the concern that someone will piece together the story in time. Before the mental and cultural changes are ‘irreversible’. And the new institutions become entrenched.

Now you know. Hope there is still time for the sleeping giant to awake to this danger we are in from our political class and their eager cronies.


What Happens When Sovereign Political Powers Get to Dictate the Way People Should Behave in the Future?

Years ago the Frankfurt School researchers stumbled upon a useful fact. Once people have heard the same pitch or story from someone they view as authoritative about five times or so, most people simply come to accept the pitch as true whether it is or not. Now as you can imagine, given the stated Frankfurter aim of altering the nature of Western culture towards a more collectivist orientation, this key point (from the Radio Project work if you want to look it up) became a Masterful Manipulation 101 strategy to be used for transformative political and social change. I think whoever was creating the broad outline of points to be pushed at last week’s (co)lab in Atlanta knew all about the Radio Project research.

As Harvard’s new Innovation Fellow Tony Wagner put it, perhaps not realizing someone was taking notes so determinedly, “we need to prime the adults for the change needed” and we need to “create the consensus necessary to preserve this change once it is introduced.” So what was the vision being pushed at (co)lab in addition to King’s ‘beloved community’ we talked about in the last post? Since the head of the US Council of Competitiveness, Deborah Wince-Smith, said the inaugural (co)lab is “going to be transformative for our country,” we really ought to know what is in store for us. It’s this new social and economic vision that requires a new ‘revolutionary’ vision of education as Ken Robinson called it. A vision of the future that requires us to be able to “think differently in the future” in order to meet that revolution and “do things in a different way.” Minds that are “responsive and flexible” so they can “adapt to a world of change” is how Sir Ken described it. Of course he also really liked the vision of change laid out in that Fulton district conversion charter and said so, which may well mean it will be coming to a community near you soon. Yikes!

So if Ms Wince-Smith is right and (co)lab was about Atlanta getting ready to “pioneer new policies and models for our nation,” what might we all expect? Well, the retired head of  Ernst Young said it was part of what is the “most profound geoeconomic shift in history.” Of course, he also said that this push started at the World Economic Forum in Davos about 3 or 4 years ago and was being pushed by CEOs globally. The dramatic changes sought were not just in “education but also infrastructure, transportation, and logistics.” In other words, a boondoggle for globally-operating, politically-connected, established businesses which is probably why it looks so much like Corporatism and authority capitalism.

In case you are getting worried that State capitalism is not a place where mass prosperity has ever reigned no matter how many times Statist professors utter the word ‘innovation’, one of the urban planning speakers informed us that “it was not the government deciding this is the future,” but rather “government plus nonprofits and business all together.” Feel better? Me neither but apparently a solid knowledge of history that recognized what comparable visions were called back in the 30s was in short supply. Or people who would have gasped in horror at the comment that “every half century we reinvent the paradigm for how communities should exist.” No, when planners and politicians make that call historically it never works out well. Someone is unfamiliar with the tragedies of Urban Renewal in the 60s in an earlier version of this state planning vision or the Chinese Ghost Cities of the present.

Other descriptions were the Post Post-World War 2 Model and the collaborative consumption new economy where human needs could be met by ‘currently underutilized assets’. That vision sponsored by April Rinne with her ties to WEF and its Dalian/Davos confabs we keep not getting invited to seems to be priming for the needs/support economy Shoshana Zuboff laid out in her 2002 book we have talked about. The sharing economy dovetails quite nicely April said (with her Harvard law degree she may have taken classes from Shoshana) with what would be its “largest beneficiary-the city.” April made it clear that her vision of the sharing economy was a “reintroduction of the social contract” and about  “building communities, not the marketplace.” In fact she said it was a new “way of seeing the world” where “I need” gets matched to “you have.”

Of course in this vision pretty soon any concept of private property goes away in function if not name since private property has always ultimately been about having a “Do Not Enter” personal zone that even a king could not infringe upon without consent. In this new vision, as we will see with ed in a minute, there is no more sphere that the political sovereign cannot try to direct or remake. Personal ‘sensibilities’ and ‘dispositions’ become the stated subject of needed change and more than one speaker also said that. You can only have private property in a society that has established the primacy of the rule of law and respect for the rights of individuals. As we have seen repeatedly, both of those are areas under coordinated attack by this new ‘revolutionary’ vision of education. Probably because they are impediments to the beloved community society with its new economy.

And Ground Zero for this shift are our urban areas. Washington, DC was said repeatedly to be gridlocked and broken so Atlanta’s mayor, fresh back from speaking at the TED conference in NYC on Reenvisioning The City: 2.0, said that “many of the powers now in DC should be shifted to the 50 largest metros.” Which will of course be an enormous boondoggle for the urban political machines. Taxpayers send money to DC. DC takes its cut to keep that area booming and then the money gets transferred to urban areas all over the country. How could prosperity not ensue? Well beyond political waste there is this pesky little detail that Tony Wagner actually defined the “innovation economy” as both “radically different” and “about solving the pressing problems we face on this planet as a species.”

With federal dollars targeted directly to so many urban areas apparently all things are now possible. I don’t think so but this is in fact the vision attached to all these ed reforms this blog has painstakingly laid out. Getting new kinds of minds and new ‘sensibilities’ and ‘dispositions’ is precisely why we keep encountering such a psychological emphasis as the real theory of how to close the achievement gap in a way that allows all children to ‘learn’ in a definition tied to behavioral change. Now I happen to think both the social and economic vision as well as the education reforms laid out will be toxic. But I do recognize the vision for ed being laid out by the speakers. Beyond Uncle Karl and John Dewey, it is the vision we have described from 1962 that Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers laid out as the new focus. It’s both where Psychosynthesis and the OECD’s Competency/Robert Kegan focus go when you peel away the misleading references to the PISA ‘test’. Now let me explain why all roads and pathways always lead back to a Curriculum of Affect.

In 1970 the Ford Foundation (which also was and is a huge funder of Urban Renewal and Regional Equity visions) published a book called Toward Humanistic Education: A Curriculum of Affect. It complained bitterly that when the focus of education and teaching was on subject matter–what you and I would call content knowledge–it did not “necessarily affect behavior“. And therefore people’s attitudes and actions “with regard to social injustice” needed to be changed in ways that would provoke desired actions. So school should become about discovering “the feelings, fears, and wishes that move pupils emotionally, that can more effectively engage pupils from any background.” By the way, that page kindly cites to Maslow and Rogers for doing research in this area. What are the odds?

That’s how All students can learn and why the methods used must be accessible to the least capable students or those who do not speak English. Which sounds much better as a  rationale than being honest and saying:

“the broad objectives of American education must include the preparation of students to engage in constructive personal and social behavior. We believe existing practice is not affecting behavior adequately. We also believe that in today’s complex, precarious world a society has little choice but to pursue the path toward humanitarian behavior…The ultimate purpose of this report, therefore, is to search for paths to greater consonance between education and the way in which people might or should behave.”

What a coincidence. More than 40 years later that seems to be the real purpose of  (co)lab, that TED-x City 2.0 conference, AND the actual education reforms being hidden as connected to the Common Core implementation.




Dialectical Integration of the Person as a Totality: How Can That Make Anyone Competitive Internationally?

What do you mean no one describes the goal in that language in their powerpoint and it’s rude of me to interject such a graphic description into the public debate? Should it count if the clear trail from what is being pushed in the name of making countries or states internationally competitive in the 21st century global economy tracks back to that kind of explicit language? I think it should too even if the 1990 book I took that language from was intentionally withdrawn from the library shelves at Colorado College precisely to prevent anyone from doing just what I did. Recognizing what the editor had been up to in the last 10 years in his work for the OECD and ordering the previously unknown book when a cite to it cropped up in the footnotes on the psychological, Social Brain Project, focus. Truly as much as I love to read, some descriptions that make it to print need to be buried deep or burned if you want to keep the aim and mystery of “college and career ready for all” and everyone should try to excel on international assessments like PISA.

Otherwise a pesky writer might chase the vision back to lots of references about how to get social systems to evolve to new kinds of mindsets that would no longer see the Soviet Union as the ‘other’ and risk nuclear annihilation. What is it about psychologists and educators who keep insisting we must have empathy towards cultures where the facts actually show plenty of leaders would like to eliminate us to put it mildly if they could. USSR in 1990 and the Alliance of Civilizations in 2013. Dialectical Integration of the Person in 1990 and a Growth Mindset and systems thinking and metacognition and Kegan’s self-authoring, 4th stage, in 2013. Now I think we have had to wind our way through too much psychobabble in recent posts precisely so we could appreciate the sought emphasis coming to schools, classrooms, and maybe your next corporate retreat soon.

I want to talk about how all this rhetoric about being “high performing” and “internationally competitive” and ensuring “economic prosperity” is forcing us to adopt that very psychosynthesized, dialectically integrated, inner core driven by love for all vision accidentally. Because no one seems to bother to look into the actual definitions of terms or the nature of these international assessments. Busy, famous people who hopefully mean well with all their advocacy are pushing ideas that are not actually aimed where these professors and politicians and business executives claim they want us to go.

Now a Swede by the name of Torsten Husen laid out the function of these “tests’ in driving a global socialist, welfare state vision decades ago in his 1974 book The Learning Society and then later in 1986 in The Learning Society Revisited. Not really a dispute over that one.

Likewise the true nature of PISA and the OECD term Competencies and the intentions were well-laid out in February 2002 at the Second DeSeCo Symposium in Geneva, Switzerland. Which again we were not invited to. We could have brought our ski boots and a cute jacket and drank brandies by a fireplace with a view but no. DeSeCo by the way is an abbreviation for Definition and Selection of Key Competencies but how do we, I mean the OECD officials, get to decide what will be key? Well, we could have Robert Kegan come be the keynoter of the symposium. That’s the same person we encountered in the last post and previously when the Hewlett Foundation hired him and Peter Senge to make sure the Common Core vision in the US would align with Hewlett’s deep learning emphasis. And deep learning says the OECD as of 2010 means the same as its term “adaptive competence.” It all fits together like a designed blueprint, huh, once we focus on the actual implementation instead of the PR powerpoints?

So Kegan focused on “Competencies as Working Epistemologies: Ways We Want Adults to Know.” Now he left out the part about “so they will be suitably malleable in our evolving new social systems and take action to achieve what we wish” but that is the gist of it. If you remember genuine disciplinary knowledge and a well-practiced logical mind leads to overintellectualization. And that proves to be an obstacle to the desired consciousness that never forgets it is part of an interdependent collective. Seeking harmony with all others and nature…

So that’s the vision the OECD is chasing with PISA and it’s also the vision the RSA is pushing in its Social Brain Project so that students will be ready for what the OECD regards as a well-functioning 21st century society. Which is still about a public-sector administered subjective well-being society of equity and justice…

Oh quit laughing. Who says it will end poorly this time? We can dream, can’t we? As you can see there’s a reason everyone uses vague illusory phrases and misleading definitions to obscure the real vision. A book came out last week called Endangering Prosperity: A Global View of the American School published by the Brookings Institute with Larry Summers writing the Foreword. Mr Soon-to-Be-Head at the Federal Reserve Maybe. It laid out the need to do well on PISA and other international assessments as a means of “guaranteeing a vibrant economic future.” Poppycock! That’s not what is being measured and chasing after that type of excellence virtually ensures no continuation of economic prosperity.

I mentioned the Brookings angle because chasing after getting good at dialectical thinking and the integration of feeling into thought and new values as PISA actually pushes and monitors fits in perfectly to Brookings’ Metropolitanism, Regional Equity, Let the Public sector and Private sector work in partnership crony economic vision that we have already encountered. Like most things having to do with ed reforms these days the truth is behind the curtain and under the sofa but it IS there. And it is all linked. And surprisingly consistent across the decades once you see the vision of transformative change.

But a means for economic prosperity? No. I went back to another 1990 book so I could explain what really causes the kind of economic success and technological progress that is being used as the misleading sales pitch for all this psychological, change-the-student and society crap. Written by an economic historian, Joel Mokyr, The Lever of Riches: Technological Creativity and Economic Progress lays out the necessary ingredients. And unfortunately for all of us, they are precisely what is being shut down by these ed reforms.

Mokyr points out that what always stops technological progress in its tracks is “social forces that for one reason or another tried to preserve the status quo.” Now the benefits of ed reform and especially the digital literacy focus involve concentrated benefits to a relatively few companies and consultants and widely dispersed costs. Many of those are not even financial but the invisible shift to more malleable mindsets and personalities. Benefits to a few and dispersed, almost unseen costs, are a classic case of when the winners will try to lobby politicians and regulators to “help them out a bit.” And that’s apart from the paranoia that putting Worldcom and DEC on the list of former leading companies will do to surviving tech companies. Can’t imagine being dropped from the Dow Industrial Average will slow down HP’s push into ed in the least. Probably will become part of the turnaround plans. That’s how the cronyism instinct works once the public sector controls so much of who gets what.

Progress requires just the kind of willingness to manipulate the physical environment and nature that the ecologists are trying to shut down. The emphasis on holism just does not fit with the reality from history that “Teasing these secrets out of [nature] and then manipulating them for material benefit is the essence of any technological breakthrough.” Moreover, “technological change involves an attack by an individual on a constraint that everyone else takes as a given.” Now how will that happen in a society trying to wipe out the very legitimacy of individualism? Let’s run through the conditions required to be technologically creative and thus economically prosperous and let’s decide what is left standing after these ed reforms:

“First, there has to be a cadre of ingenious and resourceful innovators who are both willing and able to challenge their physical environment for their own improvement. ..Second, economic and social institutions have to encourage potential innovators by presenting them with the right incentive structure. In part such incentives are economic; technological creativity is more likely if an innovator can expect to become rich…Third, innovation requires diversity and tolerance [of ideas!! not skin color or gender]. In every society, there are stabilizing forces that protect the status quo… Technological creativity needs to overcome these forces.”

So the parts of the economy and educational institutions that do promote genuine technological creativity are becoming captive to the public sector and businesses wanting to make sure they don’t become the next defunct or greatly diminished company.

And all those slogans about innovation and entrepreneurship turn out to be about new social systems or different ways of organizing an economy or new kinds of human nature.

In other words, if we are to have ANY chance of preserving mass prosperity and technological progress going forward, we have got to keep our eye on the real implementation.

Verify everything from now on when it comes to education.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And that we can still read and think and act.

Future Common Communicative Competence With Regional Economies Focused on Effective Social Relationships?

Readers beyond a certain age or with a fondness for TV reruns are likely responding to that title with a high-pitched “Say What?” This is one of those seminal posts that ties together the education, social, political, and economic visions for the future. I am using US documents since we do have that pesky US Constitution that vests (or is supposed to) ultimate authority in the individual instead of the state. But the vision works everywhere and actually was kindly laid out in a 2001 book The Global Third Way Debate edited by British sociologist Anthony Giddens but with global participation. Notable US writers included reps from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, the Brookings Institute (now pushing Metropolitanism and the Global Cities Initiative so hard), and the Ford Foundation (financing so much but especially new economics and Global Transition 2012  last year leading up to the Twentieth Anniversary of the original Rio Summit).

This future vision is premised on an economy “enabled and shaped by government” at the federal level through “macroeconomic (top-down) policy” coupled to “tailored, place-based (bottom-up) economic policy” of the type we saw being developed in Cleveland and NE Ohio as part of the Appreciative Inquiry Green City on a Blue Lake Summit we have already covered and the Project 21 vision originating there. NE Ohio, the Minneapolis-St Paul Area, and Seattle were explicitly the three pilot sites for this “new model for federal and state investment in regions, and so for intergovernmental relations in America’s federalist system” as the 2011 Brookings document described it. No, it is not a federal or economic vision Madison or Jefferson would have supported but it does explain the need to tie the Common Core in education to a broader economic development vision.

Every one of the Social Studies 2009 Enduring Understandings I mentioned in the last post would foster a belief that this kind of wholesale political transformation is permitted by a majority consensus in a society. I believe the Concepts laid out in the Next Generation Science Framework are likewise geared to cultivating beliefs that such social and economic change is necessary. As are the Understandings of Consequence videogames we have covered. To be a large part of the equity in credentialing and increased high school graduation rates that are part of the Common Core and associated Metropolitan Business Development visions.

It is no accident that both seek “consortiums of local governments, business and civic organizations, and the private and non-profit sectors to engage in coherent strategic action.” So no more accusing me of being a conspiracy theorist. To the extent we have organized coordination and collusion Brookings has officially pronounced it to be “coherent strategic action.” And it looks just like what the Aspen Institute is now pushing as the Global Fourth Way or Fourth Sector-For Benefit Economy.

The original vision in that Giddens book called all this “a new political economy of the left” which would “become an effective and lasting new political programme which will guide the next generation.” The actual hope was that this would become the global economic and social vision for the entire 21st Century. Something to keep in mind when you hear a sales pitch for skills needed for the 21st Century economy. It really is not supposed to be the vision you have in mind. But virtually all of the major investment banks and huge philanthropies are on board. If you do not believe me take a look at the Board of the Living Cities Initiative or read the theory behind their Integration Initiative.

Education policy is in a position to influence the values, attitudes, and beliefs of the next generation and create the “social capital” and “human capital” of the future. Those beliefs and values can be manipulated to believe in “maximizing communicative equality” through dialogues and the sets of “horizontal relationships” cultivated in school. Bonus points for readers who immediately thought of Fostering Learning Communities as the current example of precisely what is being described. In the aggregate it also fits with the Learning Cities we saw UNESCO pushing globally. I gave you the Integration Theory link because it is my belief that Living Cities is the US version of what is being called Learning Cities elsewhere. They seem to function the same. No wonder effective principals are to be Leading Learning Communities. Perfect priming from a young age for a political transformation is a better description of the effective principal of the future. This is the reason and the vision.

So the third way acknowledged it would need “three structural elements, soundly constructed and mutually articulated.” You can contemplate how useful the ability to impose Enduring Understandings and abstract theories to organize beliefs and filter day to day perceptions of life’s experiences will be to people seeking the following:

“moral principles and priorities (the axioms of the programme: ‘what we believe in and where we are going’);

a fully elaborated ideology which convincingly argues and demonstrates in more detail how these principles and priorities can be practically related to the workings of ‘the real world‘, real people and their relationships to each other and the economy; [Gee wouldn't something like systems thinking, service learning, or the new 3R's of rigor, relevance, and relationships come in handy?] and

a specification of the practical policies and measures which are required in order to change the society and the economy towards the desirable model of social and economic relationships that has been elaborated. [see above links, any or all for examples].

Think of those three elements as a common core to get total transformation over time. So “North American social scientists” and educators figured out that “if third way thinking successfully integrates the concept of social capital into its understanding of the market economy, this will provide it with its own new, rigorous and practical [emphasis in original] analysis of the economy.” Then all you have to do to get the third way implemented is make this sociological view of the economy and its view of social capital part of education and urban planning degree programs, especially those masters and doctorates for future administrators. Easy Peezy Transformation once attached to federal dollars mandating compliance with this vision. Or do without those federal and NGO dollars that will then flow elsewhere to competing cities or regions.

I am going to provide a longer quote that explains why the cities are so important in any country with elections. It’s where a sizable number of votes are concentrated. Especially if the vision promises equity and benefits dependent voters cannot or will not get for themselves. So in:

“a polity actively nurturing its social capital, the state has to perform a vital partnership and facilitation role in at least two obvious ways. Firstly, it needs to deploy resources to empower disadvantaged individuals: the sick, injured, young, old, poor and poorly-educated, and other groups subject to social exclusion for reasons that are beyond their power to alter, such as their gender or ethnic affiliation. This is to endow them with their citizenship and their liberties [it sounds like what Goodwin Liu called Social Citizenship!], and so enable them to participate with their fellow citizens on an equal status basis, in all the networks and associations through which social capital functions. [This is also why metrowide school districts and busing are so important to this political vision].

Secondly, there is the importance of the locally devolved form of ‘state’: participatory, local self-government in active partnership and responsive negotiation with the communities and businesses whose environment it administers.

Now you know why Green Cities and Smart Cities and Global Cities just keep popping up. Why the very real Agenda 21 implementers met separately and plan with ICLEI-the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives at the Rio Summit last summer. And had food and wine and a lovely fashion show to boot.

I also think that is why the Asia Society funded an “Educating for Global Competency Workshop”  facilitated by worldsavvy in Minnesota on April 30th, a few days ago. And is holding a Statewide Summit on Global Learning next week on May 9, 2013 at St Cloud University in Minnesota. Inviting precisely the public and private groups to be involved in the Metropolitan Business Plan on the new economy. With Tony Jackson from the Asia Society as the keynote speaker.

So on top of being part of the Global Competence push as we have seen and a primary sponsor of the Global Cities Education Network we have covered and apparently tied into the Metropolitanism new economy vision in the US, we have the Pearson Foundation in 2011 highlighting with films the Asia Society’s role in promoting Global Citizenship.

That’s right. In the name of standardizing academic content from state to state, we are ending up with a toleration for a new model of intergovernmental relations. Plus Global Citizenship beliefs. Plus the third way’s vision for a new political economy after Communism crashed and Welfare States developed a bad name. Based on the general principle of “maximizing communicative equality.”

That would be why Gifted education is going away and why high-performing suburban schools have to be taken down.

Proper Mindsets and Dependent Mediocrity are needed for this vision of the future.