Hiding Education’s Theft of Individual Freedom Behind the Positive School Climate Mandate

Sometimes, like today, I am so stunned by the gap between the provided story of what is going on in education and the actual unknown, likely to be tragic, reality that I have to stop after gathering together the facts and take a history detour. “Who can I turn to with experience in such official folly?” “What can I use to illustrate the enormous likely consequences?” I found this quote Nobel Prize-winning Economist Friedrich Hayek used to explain The Value of Freedom in his book The Constitution of Liberty to be a great start in our quest to avert tyranny via education.

“In an advancing society, any restriction on liberty reduces the number of things tried and so reduces the rate of progress. In such a society freedom of action is granted to the individual, not because it gives him greater satisfaction but because if allowed to go his own way he will on average serve the rest of us better than any orders we know how to give.”

Or any Collective Vision we force others to adhere to would be a good update to the practical importance of individual liberty. That seems to be the 21st Century Means of Giving such Orders.

The Positive School Climate Mandate the feds are now forcing on all schools in all states is being interpreted as requiring “graduates who are other oriented and see their lives as having a larger purpose than advancing their own self-interest.” Students are no longer to see their education as being “all about me.” Instead, they need to learn to moderate their performance goals to “honor the interests of others” and reflect “a shared commitment to bringing out the best in each other.”

I guess that encountering what could best be described as the Collective Communitarian Classroom should not be a big shock given our careful deconstruction of what College and Career Ready actually means. But is a long way from the stated goals of consistent criteria of knowledge that will no longer vary from state to state to run so consistently into no knowledge, New Kinds of Minds, Manipulated Personalities, Revised Values, and now Mandated Altruism as some sort of First Directive. All enforceable via the Data Being Collected and Archived to monitor all this about each student. Collected under poorly understood definitions of “Growth” and “Achievement.” And accompanied by repeated snide remarks about “even students who do strive for excellence and achieve it honestly may be doing so in a very individualistic way.

Now hardly anyone seems to know about the Positive School Climate Mandate, much less the related social and emotional learning focus we have been chronicling. Add to that ignorance a counterintuitive definition that insists that the students and faculty must create and then adhere to  “shared expectations, values, and patterns of behavior that define who we are” and we have a vehicle for enforced personality coercion via our schools. All being promoted as Moral Education. Character Education. Performance Values. Supers are now bringing in Cambridge Education to tell teachers that they can no longer lecture or systematically teach content from a textbook. Then the Supers and Principals plan to turn around and tell that same teacher that she and her students “must work hard in order to create and sustain a caring school environment” and “build caring relationships.” Riane Eisler must be so pleased.

Hayek defined coercion as being when a person is “forced to act not according to a coherent plan of his own but to serve the ends of another.” I could go on for pages describing what is planned as part of that Positive School Climate Mandate but at its essence it is an initiative sponsored by our federal government to force American citizens, our young students, to be led to believe from an early age that such coercion is not only justified but actually a positive, laudable, permissable role of government. To mold students who will selflessly

“contribute to the lives of others, . . . make a positive difference in the world, take initiative to right a wrong or be of service to others; we persevere to overcome problems and mend relationships; we work selflessly on behalf of others or for a noble cause, often without recognition or reward.”

Government officials and employees have decided that it is to their benefit to use K-12 education to squelch out anything that fosters reason or individuality. They believe no one can stop them. I think Ayn Rand had it precisely right when she said “collectivist slogans serve as a rationalization for those who intend, not to follow the people, but to rule it.” The mediocre or naive or greedy insist that no one may be exceptional and would also like good benefits and an inflation adjusted retirement while they enforce such an education for servitude. Despite having lied to us repeatedly about what they are up to. Education to create citizens who are willing and need to be ruled is precisely the Bag of Goods we have been sold under such names as the Common Core and UNESCO’s Education for All.

Perhaps the best way to dramatize just how intrusive this political vision intends to be can be illustrated by describing the Flock of Geese classroom activity to teach Collective Responsibility to every person in the classroom. Excerpts from Page 55 of the Pathway to Excellence & Ethics Resource Manual. The idea is for children to start seeing the classroom as one flock. Is this what a free society teaches its children when not selling them on the joys of cooperative learning via group projects? (Bold face is from story)

“It has been learned that as each bird flaps its wings, it creates uplift for the bird immediately following. By flying in a “V” formation, the whole flock adds at least 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own. As each goose flaps its wings, it creates an up-lift for others behind it.

Quite similar to people who are part of a team and share a common direction get where they are going quicker and easier, because they are traveling on the trust of one another and lift each other along the way.

If we have as much sense as a goose, we will stay in formation and share information with those who are headed the same way we are going.

When one of us is down, it’s up to the others to stand by us in our time of trouble.

If we have the sense of a goose, we will stand by each other when things get rough.

We will stay in formation with those headed where we want to go.

The next time you see a formation of geese, remember their message that “IT IS INDEED A REWARD, A CHALLENGE, AND A PRIVILEGE TO BE A CONTRIBUTING MEMBER OF A TEAM.”

Words almost fail me. That’s what the cultivation of an emotional herd instinct looks like. The Germans did that in the 19th Century and there were too few to stop a widely held Bad Idea. We had Two World Wars as a result. Friedrich Hayek, an Austrian, saw both of them and never forgot the dangers of state power that systematically sought to squelch and devalue human freedom. Once again, let’s listen to his wisdom born of tragic experience.

Coercion is a person “unable to use his own intelligence or knowledge or to follow his own aims and beliefs. . . coercion is evil precisely because it thus eliminates the individual as a thinking and valuing person and makes him a bare tool in the achievement of the ends of another.”

I reject the idea that in the United States that politicians can authorize supers and principals and accreditors to enact what is clearly intended to be an unprecedented level of personal coercion. And via our taxpayer funded schools no less. This is ultimately the core of the so-called Common Core. And it was designed to be undetectable.

We had components of this already but it was actually laid out in the November ASCD Whole Child Newsletter. Then I followed up on the references. There is no question this is intended to be a key component of the Fundamental Transformation of the United States promised just before our current President won office the first time. The November timing makes it clear this is to be carried into effect largely out of sight whoever wins the Presidential Election on Tuesday.

The fundamental Transformation is apparently on Autopilot at this point. Let’s think about what Ayn Rand learned from her experience with the Bolsheviks.

“In real life, there is no such thing as a gradual descent from civilization to savagery. There is a crash. There is no such thing as retrogressing ‘a little.’ There is no such thing as a ‘restrained progress.’”

We are looking at a certain crash in the US unless we turn away soon. Can one indeed be elected or credentialed to abrogate human freedom now with impunity?

 

 

 

Instilling Desired Feelings and Political Values via SEL in Children–Taps for the Republic?

If the purpose of preschool education and K-12 and college are all now to be centered around changing guiding human values that might be obstacles to redesigning all of our social systems, like schools, businesses, the economy, and cities, is there anything left of the historic concept of individuality? Personal liberty? If an education degree or a credential in social systems or systems design or organizational learning gives a carte blanche at taxpayer expense to reenvision human systems to be other than what they are, shouldn’t we just face the facts and march to the National Archives and just light that US Constitution afire now? Say never mind, it was a good run. Nice experiment in prosperity. Time to move on?

Do educators and professors and accreditors get to unilaterally decide among themselves that we live in “changing times” and they have decided to “revisit” our “many traditions, rituals and customs” to determine their continued “appropriateness?” Do they get to decide what will be “sustainable behavioral choices” for us and then select what “values systems” will be appropriate for the future they have picked out? For us? Assuming of course that they will be part of the leadership? Here’s an example of the kind of nonsense guiding the systems thinkers who are training educators to change the nature of education with this vision (think of holographic as the opposite of hierarchy. They believe such terms make this sound Scientific instead of a political theory looking for guinea pigs):

“The holographic diffusion of culture means that it pervades activity in a way that is not amenable to direct control by any single group of individuals. [Because that direct approach was apparently the schemers first choice] What we can do, however, is design social systems with the conditions for desirable cultures to emerge. This process of design results in the human creation of intentional community.”

No, that is not how it has ever worked successfully. This has, however, been tried numerous times in the past with the levels of the disaster varying from financial ruin to destroyed futures to mass murder on an epic scale. Treating people and their social systems as if they can be manipulated like a circulatory system or planetary gravity is called scientism. Friedrich Hayek, Nobel Prize-winning economist, wrote quite a bit about this fallacy of treating the social sciences as if they were natural sciences. It would be good for the sake of our civilization if mastering this important distinction were a prerequisite to having any authority over a student and their education. But, no, we get the educators excitedly speculating over “how to recreate our systems, how to redesign them.”

Mentioning that the word community is derived from the Latin communis which means to “make common” and that the point of school is now to create a “we” of the students “as meaningful relationships evolve” is NOT the purpose of school in any country wishing to survive as a Republic. It is a quick path to tyranny anywhere it has ever been pursued. It is not the place  of school officials or accreditors or the various parasitical vendors pushing whatever brings in education grant money in a given decade to decide to make the school a holistic community where:

“the more genuine the participation and the more deeply manifested the relationships become, the more ‘whole’ and authentic it seems to be.”

Now this post was originally just going to be about CASEL publishing a 2013 Guide for Preschool and Elementary School Children on Effective Social and Emotional Learning Programs laying out the Five SEL Core Competencies. It reminded me of Milton Rokeach’s work   http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/targeting-student-values-attitudes-and-beliefs-to-control-future-behavior/ that we have already found so alarming. New names, old Pursuit, same Collectivist political Ends. But a reader sent me a 2005 paper on Banathy and systems thinking in education after the previous post that is where these quotes so far are coming from. The paper envisions that new values instilled through the school can be used to make redesigning social systems possible. And we now know enough about PBIS and what Continuous Improvement is really monitoring and what Growth and Student Achievement as benchmarks will actually be measuring to see that we need to catch this design fallacy and resulting Values targeting early and fast. And in some poor districts like Tucson and Portland, Oregon, it may be too late.

Now I know for a fact that Austin, Texas; Nashville, TN; Oakland, CA; Sacramento, CA; Chicago, IL; Anchorage, Alaska; Cleveland, Ohio, and Washoe County (Reno), Nevada have all formally committed to be Collaborating Districts for this SEL Initiative.  http://www.austinisd.org/sites/default/files/dept/sel/docs/TOA%20combined.pdf is the Logic Model Diagram for one of these districts. As you can see, “permeate” would be an accurate verb to describe the planned SEL presence in the daily classroom of young children.

And remember what I have said before, all children cannot do well academically but everyone has feelings. So SEL is a focus that means everyone can learn the desired behaviors {specify what students are able to do] and there are political benefits if you are of a controlling disposition. Because of the nature of accreditation in education and the various unappreciated obligations and definitions in those NCLB waivers, this is coming everywhere. And soon.

I am going to give CASEL’s descriptions verbatim but before I do that, please remember that this will be in elementary school classrooms where we refuse to teach reading phonetically because that would introduce students to an abstract symbol system and thus nurture abstract thought. I have seen the Common Core literacy progressions and they amount to doling out the words and concepts students are to be allowed to encounter and become familiar with. Years to learn words that most kids could be ready for by second grade if taught properly. And I am not guessing on the reasons either even if the classroom teacher has no idea. Finally, Common Core distinguishes between oral and print and formal and informal in a way that appears tragic. And I really was not happy to read this week that those distinctions tracked back to Mikhail Bakhtin and his war against individualism. So here, please appreciate the planned manipulation already in place:

Self-awareness: The ability to accurately recognize one’s emotions and thoughts and their influence on behavior. This includes accurately assessing one’s strengths and limitations and possessing a well-grounded sense of confidence and optimism.

Self-management: The ability to regulate one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors effectively in different situations. This includes managing stress, controlling impulses, motivating oneself, and setting and working toward achieving personal and academic goals.

Social awareness: The ability to take the perspective of and empathize with others from diverse backgrounds and cultures, to understand social and ethical norms for behavior, and to recognize family, school, and community resources and supports.

Relationship skills: The ability to establish and maintain healthy and rewarding relationships with diverse individuals and groups. This includes communicating clearly, listening actively, cooperating, resisting inappropriate social pressure, negotiating conflict constructively, and seeking and offering help when needed.

Responsible decision making: The ability to make constructive and respectful choices about personal behavior and social interactions based on consideration of ethical standards, safety concerns, social norms, the realistic evaluation of consequences of various actions, and the well-being of self and others.

Whatever you expect from your area schools or need in future employees, Race to the Top and Common Core are premised upon the classroom being accessible to ALL students. Repeated references are made to a levelling purpose for public education. I have seen what the accreditors envision and it fits with those Five SEL Competencies and virtually no transmission of knowledge beyond basic, politically useful concepts.

The systems theorists have plans for radical transformation as we saw in the last post and others. As a result their goal of education in the 21st century is an “individually and socially competent citizen.” Not much knowledge there, but remember these same schemers plan to redesign the economy. To fit the education qualifications they are willing to provide.

All on our dime as usual.