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 http://neweconomicsinstitute.org/ 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. http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/research/files/papers/2011/4/12-metro-business-muro/1208_metro_summit_business_framing_paper
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. http://www.livingcities.org/integration/theory/
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. http://asiasociety.org/education/international-studies-schools-network/films-documents-how-students-becoming-global-citizen
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.