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  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.

 

 

Placing a Global Bet that Psychology Infused Via Education Can Change Human Beings and their Institutions

Supposedly for the better which is why the initiative is called Positive Psychology to sound inspirational. But citing back to Abraham Maslow and Carl Rodgers’ work as foundational makes this push about more than instilling good work habits and hope. This Organizational Development (OD) push, that Appreciative Inquiry from the last post and systems thinking a la the higher profile Peter Senge and Otto Scharmer are an intrinsic part of, plans to act on the theory that human beings can be changed for the better. Globally but especially the US.

And it fully intends to try using the Global Quest for Educational Excellence and all those poorly understood international tests like PISA and TIMSS as the drivers of change. While you are thinking it’s about finally getting more knowledgeable students who are better at reading or math, these taxpayer funded visionaries have figured out how to also use Positive Behavior Interventions and Positive School Climate Executive Orders and data collection around Student Growth to drive continuous improvement toward “inspiring and shared moral purposes.” How very communitarian.

Apparently all the hyping about closing the Achievement Gap is just a ruse. Instead, the US CCSSI is part of a global attempt at “establishing the new and eclipsing the old in human systems.” So exciting that it really was italicized just like that in the 2010 Framework document I am describing today.  Coupled to a 2012 book by two Boston College professors called The Global Fourth Way laying out what really makes for a high performing school system. Hint: it’s not what you know but what you feel and are willing to do about it. Supposedly equitable outcomes for ALL students and Deweyan Quality Learning that changes the Whole Personality are just the thing that will “produce the economic and social outcomes that are essential for economic dynamism, social cohesion, and democratic ways of life.”

And before you get excited about the economic dynamism aspect during this Great Recession you should know it is premised on the idea that “going green might well become the biggest business opportunity of the twenty-first century.” Or not as all those bankruptcies from ventures like Fisker and Solyndra that got tax dollars in the 2009 Stimulus Act should show.

So once again the education component that is the real Common Core implementation is tied into a political and social upheaval that is not being advertised and an economic vision that shows no likelihood of working. No matter how many AI Summits like “Green City on a Blue Lake” cities like Cleveland hold envisioning a new green future and an extension of relatedness that will somehow save the Inner Cities and economic blight. The vision, that has Positive Psychology architect, Marty Seligman of UPenn (save Philly somehow please!) and David Cooperrider (a Taos Institute founder and Case Western, in Cleveland, prof), reportedly giving speeches to lots of famous companies, the US Army and Navy and the US Environmental Agency (no wonder it now plans with systems thinking), and the UN Global Compact among others around 2010, is called Innovation-inspired Positive Organization Development. Or IPOD as they call it to create an “economy and ecology of strengths.”

I wonder if they put their IPOD speeches on an IPad? Sorry. That IPOD Framework even mentioned that there was a “recent business leaders meeting at the UN to collaboratively design the future.” I guess it’s not collusion when it is for a good cause like Sustainability and preserving current markets. Which we should all keep in mind every time you hear “Business needs the Common Core or 21st Century Skills or Career Pathways.” This is SO not about what is best for our individual futures. In fact that’s why you keep hearing all these references to organizations. According to IPOD’s vision, organizations like schools and businesses are to become:

“institutions that serve to bring our highest human strengths into the world in a magnified way…They exist to serve a life-enriching purpose, and accomplish things no individual set of strengths can accomplish alone.”

Oh, I don’t know about that. An individual mind can be quite intrepid which is truthfully the whole problem with the old transmission of knowledge curriculum. It’s the real reason it must be jettisoned in the 21st century. None of these people want herd-defying individuals figuring things out without authorization or creating world-altering technology breakthroughs without permission. So they take Uncle Karl’s human development theory and give it a new disguise that sounds inspiring. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/who-knew-karl-marx-had-a-human-development-model-or-that-it-fit-our-facts-so-well/ .

The IPOD approach to change then is to be “collaborative [like group projects and Communities of Learners], educational based on experiential learning [hands on projects! service learning for credit!], dialogical [Courtney Cazden's discourse classroom community], and contextually conditioned upon inquiry [just like a good IB Learner!] into the relevant content and process of a human system.”

No wonder we keep hearing a requirement for relevance and a link to real world problems. You get the IPOD, Fourth Way, vision implemented without having to mention it or get approval. Thus the IPOD framework says the “DNA pulsating through” it can be described by three essential features:

1. That special spirit of inquiry [they do love italics for emphasis] that seeks “to learn, experiment, seek feedback and build shared understanding through dialogue and open exploration of things that may never have been collectively explored.” How expensive and unproductive if simply based on the feelings of deliberately created Know-Nothings. Next.

2. The collaborative design of the future. Now this impossibility is based on the very accurate observation that “people build their commitment to change in direct proportion to the degree that they are actively engaged in designing the change.” Which is why you are unlikely to get the PTA President or members of your local School Council to listen to you when you point out, for example, that Spence Rogers’ own books cite Mao as a good example of leadership and that makes him a poor choice for teacher professional development.

The collaboration also primes all participants for the “assumed centrality of interdependence in organizational life” to force recognition that it is “the quality of the relationships, the processes–how the relationships give or deplete life” that make a human system work. No wonder relationships are one of the new 3 R’s along with Relevance and the imaginative Rigor [think of that Spirit of Inquiry above as what Rigor is really about].

3. A positive view of the human being. Now this is the age old question that has kept philosophers speculating for centuries. You will be glad to know that IPOD comes down on the side not supported by history. IPOD has not only “proclaimed a belief in people” from its “infancy.” It goes on to [this is a little long but it is a vision worth quoting in full. Maslow to Marx with the behavioral sciences thrown in to boot]

“Insofar as we might discover the conditions that help bring out the best in life–for example, Abraham Maslow’s studies into peak experiences–then we might well be able to apply this knowledge in our institutions. Drawing from the entire mosaic of the social sciences–from anthropology, sociology, psychology, political science, and biology and more–OD would be unique in not only propagating a collaborative, inquiry-driven approach to change but would be centered on advancing the developmental potentials of the human being. [And you thought I was being sarcastic about Uncle Karl or his 20th century leading advocate Erik Erikson and why they matter to CCSSI] Instead of being woven at random, like an afterthought design into our economic and organizational fabric, human development would be at the center. Lines would radiate out from the human dimension to all the others–the economic, technological, strategic, structural, political, etc.”

That would be truly all-encompassing and people focusing on who owns the means of production are not keying in on what parts of Marx’s vision are back for a 21st Century run.  The framework also mentions the good prof Csik as a key component of this positive psychology vision http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/excellence-means-education-putting-what-we-feel-wish-for-and-think-in-harmony/ . Why look, excellence just like the Fourth Way. What a coincidence. Not.  But it also notes that for a new OD as described here to “truly emerge, it would need a new human science knowledge base.”

Well, guess what? All that data being thrown off –measuring Student Growth or soft skills or attitudes, values, and beliefs and continuous improvement in PBIS or PATHS and other “mental health first aid” or social and emotional learning curricula as we see from CASEL– is just what OD needs to be its “human science knowledge base.” No wonder ICT vendors are so excited. No wonder the accreditors now require its collection. And the US federal government by requiring teacher evals based on “multiple measures of Student Growth.”

Should it trouble us that the World Economic Forum just put out a report on creating the 21st century economy around ICT and Big Data? Coincidences surely abound these days.

Coercing Teachers to be Social and Political Saboteurs–What Can Be Done?

One of the greatest falsehoods, OK I’ll say it, Outright Lie, about the Common Core has been the repeated insistence that no one would be telling the teachers How. To. Teach. It seems like virtually everyone is. That’s the Whole Purpose of these New Teacher Evals and weakening Tenure. That’s why the NEA goes along. Well, at least its leadership who know the real long-term game. The delegates and members? Not so much.

There’s a reason that the teacher evals to be used now track back to people like Charlotte Danielson, Ray Pecheone, and Robert Pianta who were involved in forcing the related Outcomes Based Education (OBE) on classrooms in previous decades. Same goals of changing the student at the values and attitudes level. Just different language and different enforcement mechanisms so this national and international effort at student and teacher subjugation can be touted as “state-led.” Or the New Super’s Idea of Excellence and Quality Learning which seem to be Benign terms, right? Long time readers know better.

CCSSO (the political interest group that represents the chief state ed officers in each state and is financially sponsored by all sorts of businesses with a vested interest in its policies in a first rate example of Cronyism to the core) came out with Model Teaching Standards in 2011 after most states were on board. http://www.ccsso.org/documents/2011/intasc_model_core_teaching_standards_2011.pdf is a copy if you have never seen it that mandates student-led and new assessment driven (funded in that 2009 Stimulus Act to the tune of hundreds of millions).

By the way, both the SBAC and PARCC assessments to change classroom practice and what gets measured as the results of all that expensive K-12 schooling use the OBE-influenced Norman Webb Depth of Knowledge template we have already talked about. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/the-intentional-insurrection-in-texas-supers-override-governor-legislature-and-taxpayers/ explains why Texas classrooms look like the actual Common Core implementation in other states. All mandating student-led, Depth of Knowledge, and the also OBE-tied Understanding by Design as the means to measure the results of the classroom.

Two more housekeeping matters teachers and parents and then I can get to the juicy part of this story. What is being mandated for the Common Core classroom also is called Standards for Teaching and Learning. It was developed in Chicago and has ties to the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, Bill Ayers, and someone even more famous from back when he was less well-known. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/didnt-the-president-just-admit-ccssi-was-a-ruse-to-change-classroom-interactions/ Finally, President Obama’s 2008 Education Adviser, Linda Darling-Hammond, just came out with a report (with Ford and Sandler Foundations funding) classifying Effective Teaching and what evals should be measuring in light of the behaviors required by those Model Teaching Standards linked above.  http://edpolicy.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/publications/creating-comprehensive-system-evaluating-and-supporting-effective-teaching.pdf

Now that’s a lot of legwork to change classroom practices without it being apparent. Why? Would you believe it goes back to the height of the Cold War and the early 70s and the Soviet Union and China and a very tense world? Yep. And the UN and trying to get everyone in the world during that tense time to change their education practices. Knowing perfectly well that changing education practices would only matter in free societies. In dictatorships, not so much. Which is why this report and its recommendations are so troubling. Not only does it tie to everything going on and being recommended for K-12 and higher ed all over the world right now. But it is clearly education to make one fit to be a subject. Tolerant of being told what to do.

This so-called “right type of education” for the global future was to be a revolution in man’s “inner space also; a new union of science and spirituality.” Yes I was laying a path in those last several posts where we started with Alice Bailey’s From Intellect to Intuition and there is even a listed Ford Foundation adviser who was officially a member of the panel issuing this early 70s UNESCO report. Again, what are the odds?

But to get this “interior revolution” that will lead to a “subsequent social revolution” requires a rejection of traditional instruction and pedagogy to one focused “above all” on developing “personality and attitudes.” Doesn’t that sound just like OBE?

See if this quote sounds like what is being mandated in the classroom and imposed on teachers and students by the accreditation agencies and eval criteria and Cambridge Education’s Quality Reviews and models like Spence Rogers’ Teaching for Excellence?

“Democratizing education will only be possible if we succeed in shaking off the dogmas of conventional pedagogy, if free and permanent dialogue is set up within the educational process, if this enhances individual awareness of life, if learners are guided towards self-education [sounds like the learner-centred classroom to me] and, in short, change from objects to subjects. Education is all the more democratic when it takes the form of a free search, a conquest, a creative act; instead of being, as it so often is, something given or inculcated.”

That’s the type of education the Communists wanted the West to adopt at the height of the Cold War. There was even a Soviet delegate on the panel and he admitted the new desired pedagogy was based on what the Soviets called psychopedaegogy. Which would explain its bloody history upon transferral to free societies like the US. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/how-much-innocent-blood-will-it-take-to-stop-sel-manipulation-for-political-gain/

Sorry but Toxic Social Goals call for Graphic Language if we are to have any chance of halting a Massive Social Engineering Project to remake the national psyche through education. In other places this “non-directive pedagogy” is also referred to as providing “psychotherapeutic data ‘centred on the client.” Given how much of Common Core is about using gathering, and responding to, data on actual student learning. Which is (elsewhere) defined as Changing Student Values, Attitudes, Beliefs, Values, and Behaviors, the acknowledgment that this is psychological data and based on Carl Rogers’ and Kurt Lewin’s work should give everyone involved in education pause.

Teachers being told they can no longer be the “Sage on the Stage” can relate to this passage decreeing that (italics in original):

“the teacher’s duty is less and less to inculcate knowledge and more and more to encourage thinking; his formal functions apart, he will have to become more of an adviser, a partner to talk to; someone who helps seek out conflicting arguments rather than handing out ready-made truths. He will have to devote more time and energy to productive and creative activities: interaction, discussion, stimulation, understanding, encouragement.

Unless relations between teachers and learners evolve accordingly, there can be no authentic democracy in education.”

And authentic democracy in education in the West would help the early 70s Advocates of Evil prevail in the Cold War. Such a psychologizing of education amounts to unilateral intellectual disarmament. Why? To prevent people who can accurately piece together a plan even though no one ever told them what was going on and how it related. There was and is supposed to be no whistle blowing in time.

So the Cold War is officially over despite Putin’s recent sabre rattling and war gaming, why is this still being pushed in 2012? Well, I believe UN Climate Chief Christiana Figueres gave the answer at the end of this recent interview with Yale’s Environment 360. My italics this time.

“It is the most inspiring job in the world because what we are doing here is we are inspiring government, private sector, and civil society to [make] the <i>biggest transformation</i> that they have ever undertaken. The Industrial Revolution was also a transformation, but it wasn’t a <i>guided transformation from a centralized policy perspective</i>. This is a <i>centralized transformation that is taking place</i> because governments have decided that they need to listen to science. So it’s a very, very different transformation and one that is going to make the life of everyone on the planet very different.”

The Cold War may be over. Aspirations of politicians and bureaucrats from the international to the local level to plan society and dictate what individuals are to do (or not) and how economies will work while living at taxpayer expense. Not Over in the Least.

Now that greedy reality appears to be perpetual. It survived the Cold War and is alive and well in 2012. And trying to force teachers to be Agents of Change in a social revolution that will not turn out well or as planned.

This is a good time to talk about this. On the front-end.

Now It’s Head, Heart, and Hands to Get Us to Environmental, Social and Economic Justice

No, we have not had a Dr Faustus moment since the last post where the human soul went missing. Just a matter of tact when you want widespread changes to pedagogy and classroom practices and teaching beliefs. Diplomacy and a desire for successful adoption without a brouhaha over what’s being pushed suggests tucking those intentions to alter values and help the students search for meaning and purpose in their lives into the generic Heart designation. Or in Student Engagement as a Goal. Just some feelings after all coming into the classroom to help the students deal with their experiences. Those existential issues that lead to a sense of crisis and adaptation but otherwise nothing to worry about. The questing for answers is just a part of growing up. It’s not like they have a solid base of history or characters from classical literature to help them frame their lives.

If you are still not sure why we have to talk about spirituality apart from its omnipresence in the intentions for K-12 and higher ed, it goes to quietly gaining widespread acceptance of the planned transformative social, economic, and political change. Not just in the US but all over the West. Because the literature leaves no doubt over what is sought. The only real question takes us back to how much economic redistribution–strict Equality of Results or Bounded Inequality? What level of personal freedom will be left? Are fossil fuels still allowed in a Low Carbon future? What if that means no reliable efficient energy? If these admissions seem startling and you are just reading this blog wondering what Common Core will look like in the classroom or why the UN and the US EPA keep pushing to regulate carbon dioxide, four simple words for you.

Means. To. An. End. Several in fact. Not really about content or temperatures. We are in fact about to have a rerun of the State vs Individual and desire to control the economy that is very similar to what happened about 100 years ago. Igniting a conflagration in 1914 that was supposed to be a lark and over by Christmas. I personally am hoping for better results this time which is why I write. But I have no delusions about what the stakes are. And if all these mentions of values and meaning-making and Authenticity and College and Career Ready actually having a Communitarian emphasis make no sense, maybe this passage based on insights from previous attempts at such equality will help (my bolding):

“a political-economic framework that can execute the redistribution standard requires a cultural context in which social actors are guided by a shared view of themselves a embodying a ‘community of attitudes’ or ‘collective conscience’ . . . The harmony and stability of the collectivist society envisioned by Rousseau and Durkheim depend on people viewing the constraints of society and sovereign will of the state [how Washington DC seems to see itself] as the natural order of things. They must also transfer to civil society the commitment they had traditionally held for the sacred, and schools must teach children the importance of the political community’s claim to their loyalty and of their commitment to the morality of the collective.” Anne Wortham, http://mises.org/daily/6288/Obamas-World-of-Social-Justice under The Cultural Context

Professor Wortham nailed the why. Let’s look at just how broad the definition of Spirituality becomes as the target of education now and the source of Education as Transformation. This is from an essay called “Spiritually Engaged Pedagogy:The Possibilities of Spiritual Development Through Social Justice Education” and is intended to be a warning on how easy all these Values, Attitudes, and Belief altering plans are to now get into the classroom. All classrooms. Holistic spirituality is what it aspires to be. Also looks like the IB Learner Profile for some of you. This is also why we have to have a Student-Centered focus.

*Spirituality is a lifelong development of a sense of the authentic self.

*Spirituality places us in relationships with others through care and outreach.

*Spirituality involves ongoing construction of meaning and knowledge.

*Spirituality and spiritual experiences can be symbolic, unexpected, and present in learning environments.

* Spirituality emphasizes interconnectedness and wholeness.

Long-term readers of this blog may have just spilt their morning coffee on what may now be a sticky keyboard. But those intentions pick up Peter Senge’s Systems Thinking and Bronfenbrenner Ecological Systems Theory and powell’s insistence we are not Unitary Selves anymore. It’s also the New 3 R’s-Rigor, Relevance, and Relationship. It’s  Vygotsky and the Sociocultural Theory that got adopted as part of Education for Life and Work. This broad concept of Spirituality completely saturates the actual Common Core implementation we have been documenting. And for good reason.

Transformative change, to have any chance of success (I imagine you and I have a different definition of success than the bureaucrats) has to start with the individual. Changing him or her from the inside-out, while they are young enough to be malleable. Some revolutions have the best chance for success as a fait accompli. That could be the operating motto for Transformative education for a radically transformed society. And planet when you add in the Environmental intent to no longer exploit nature. Different advocates take that goal anywhere from a little backwards to a Leap as if you can moderate the rejection of reason and the “free play of intelligence.”

I have protested before that my caution in advocating for 21st Century Utopias does not make me a Scrooge.  I have read through all the Henriot & Holland Pastoral Cycles Linking Faith,  Action, and Social Issues many religious faiths are putting out as they advocate for social justice and cannot find much more to the analysis than “It’s not fair” and “I wish it were different.” Feelings that the world could be more just may lead us to ignore what works that we are not seeing in favor of the remnants that could be better. But blindly jettisoning what works. Asking K-12 or college students to be aware of their positions of privilege and to name and understand injustice, while “providing opportunities for students to consider their own vision and participation in a more just world” strikes me as dangerous. Would you let an art major design a load-bearing bridge? Of course not. Why would we push people who do not know what got civilization to this point of progress and what failed in the past to decide what would be better?

“Social justice is a set of principles and a process that governs humans’ behavior to one another and the natural world. Social justice is based on the premises that society is characterized by inequalities in resources and influence, and that individual and collective actions can and will transform society. Social justice promotes awareness of inequalities, action to redress inequalities, and ongoing habits of mind and actions that continue to address inequalities.”

Does that strike anyone else as a dangerously naive mantra to be learning to habituate? No one defends inequalities or differences in influence as good in themselves. They are just the natural by products of a focus on the individual and freedom to trade and develop ideas that benefit more than the people involved in the trades. The inequality from economic freedom is tolerated because our choices are (a) to have inequality of incomes but at a higher average income for all. Or (b) to have a relatively equal distribution but at lower average levels for everyone. That’s the choice. Is anyone explaining that fundamental fact to the students learning about social justice? Would that reality affect how they feel about social justice? No, you know why no one wants to frame it honestly. It would influence the advocacy for redistribution.

And the desired sense for community. That will make today’s students so easy to exploit emotionally as adults. And politically. I mean grow up. There are individuals involved in these various Justice movements with good intentions. But this in the aggregate is not a well-intentioned initiative, not at the UN-level or the national or locally. It’s a power play by politicians and bureaucrats and their Cronies. There will be no parades or trenches or poison gas to tell you that your future, your wallet, your children, and the legitimacy of Individualism and self-interest are under organized attack. Hoping for a lasting victory.

I call these types of pedagogies and political theories unilateral intellectual disarmament. Everything that brought progress and prosperity is being jettisoned so that Government officials and their Cronies can direct the economy, control natural resources, and dictate permissible personal behavior. Social Justice education at its core cultivates a self that will go along. Preferably without recognizing what is to be lost.

No wonder Bill Ayers advocates it as far superior to bombs.

 

Are the New 3 R’s and the Student-Centered, Inquiry Driven Classroom a Means to Eastern Spirituality?

We are so trained to defer to religious beliefs as a private matter and something that, at least in the US, Government is supposed to stay out of, that it can take a sledgehammer hit to force us to look at what was staring us in the face all along. I would write stories and then run into the advocates as teachers in a California Wisdom Center. And ignore it. I have traced many of the education reformers/professors to discussions about Third Order Consciousness. And ignored it. Mustn’t be controversial.  It’s a private matter.

I wrote posts about sought Deep and Continual Personal Change  within each Student and ignored the clear references to Meditation Practices. It’s just not how I think. It’s an area I did not want to go to. I have written about Peter Senge and his Systems Thinking and his Presencing book but chose to overlook the links of his sought education and organization practices to his Buddhist practices and beliefs. Again we want to see spirituality as a private, personal matter. Bringing it up and discussing it are off limits. Even when personal Spiritual/ Internal Values are clearly targeted by the Full Personality/holistic education/Systems Thinking focus we are discussing.

The Sledgehammer forced me to confront this Reality recently when I was filing some of my research and glanced at a xeroxed Preface called “Education Trends in a World Crisis” from a 1954 book Education in the New Age. Now its author, Alice A. Bailey, is a controversial New Age enthusiast/Theosophist and apparently much more (you can search out the more lurid details. That’s not my point) but the description in the Preface fit the emotionally driven, intuitive, nonrational mind we have been chronicling. That was the desired Goal. Bailey was the one describing the Sought Mental Global Reality in Students and Future Voters we have been examining in terms  of synthesizing Tibetan spirituality practices.

She was the one writing about using education globally to “resynthesize the objective and subjective, the extrovert [the West] and the introvert [Oriental Asian] civilizations and to achieve a great orchestration of culture.” When you mention culture like that and it turns out the book is a write-up of a 1953 seminar in Chicago funded by the Ford Foundation and you go on to describe your education “project” as based on a UNESCO document you have my full, undivided attention. Most of what we have encountered throughout this blog’s journey traces back to UNESCO involvement and Ford funding. The Regional Equity Movement now is a high priority of Ford and they have hired a John Goodlad confederate, Jeanne Oakes, away from UCLA’s Center for Democracy and Education. She is behind most of the research claiming academic tracking is a bad idea. Ford Foundation employees edited Breakthrough Communities: Sustainability and Justice in the Next American Metropolis. The book I got the Van Jones essay from.  Same involved employees were listed as part of that CA Wisdom Center I already chose to ignore.

Sledgehammer moment caused me to go check to see if Bailey’s book was still in print. The answer? Yes, with its Twelfth Printing listed as 2012. This year. Someone thinks this is still a relevant global vision. For UNESCO’s Education for All globally? For its Decade of Education for Sustainable Development? To promote the Orwellian named, John Dewey inspired, Quality Learning, globally? Only one way to find out. So I bought Bailey’s 1954 book as well as a 1932 book, with a 1960 copyright published in 1972, called From Intellect to Intuition. You see I remembered the kind of emotionally-driven, Arational Minds being sought via education http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/blending-sustainability-and-education-to-gain-arational-nonlinear-minds-and-new-behaviors/ and wanted to see if part of the impetus for rejecting Axemaker Minds was coming out of this Altered Consciousness to fit with Eastern Spirituality emphasis. That would be a huge, emphatic YES!! More on that shortly or in the next post. Remember I am providing those dates above for a reason. Think of World Affairs at those times.

Bailey’s Goal for Education is not the least bit modest. She wants to inculcate a World-view in each person on the planet Earth that “will make possible a planetary civilization by integrating whatever trans-temporal and trans-spatial truths about man and the universe we can extract from all regional cultures in their local times and places.” That was Thomas Berry’s Bioregional Vision too. Also involved with the CA Wisdom Center I ignored.

Bailey was seeking a totalizing World-view or Governing Ideology that guides one through all elements of daily living. Her aspiration, in 1954, was that the World-view taught provide “the kind of overall synthesis that Marxism and neo-Scholasticism provide for their followers [no need then for individual free decision-making], but to get this by the freely chosen cooperative methods that Dewey advocated.”

That would be the Student-Centered, Inquiry Driven Classroom John Dewey wanted with its Quality Learning goal. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/why-quality-learning-may-be-the-last-thing-you-want-for-your-child/ . The kind of classroom and practices the accreditors like AdvancED and consulting companies like Cambridge Education mandate in their reports about Quality. Now. In 2011 and 2012.

That would be the same Quality Learning that is “intuited rather than deduced, felt rather than described, and is immediate to the situation [concrete real world problems in context] rather than removed from it [the forbidden abstract conceptualizations within the privacy of your own mind with your own set of known facts].

Now it is time to pivot to the 1932 From Intellect to Intuition since the sought focus in Quality Learning is feeling and intuition as well. The book is about meditation and “leading man into his heritage as a human being” through educational and psychological practices so that together these two “lead him to the door of the mystical world.” This occurs by training students to use Direct Experience and then turn inwards toward themselves to Reflect upon it. Remember the constancy of this phrase? “The heart and mind become united in their endeavor.” Bailey’s idea is that through “right education,” emotionally-driven, experiential education, (No she did not use the word Hands-On Education but that would be the 21st century version of her idea), the “mind and soul” learn

“to be receptive towards impressions emanating from the mind.” This to Bailey is meditation but to work it requires moving education away from “education of the memory and the cataloguing of world knowledge.” Sound Familiar? Can’t be “the old education with its memory training, its books and lectures and its appropriation of so-called facts.” This is the actual CCSSI implementation model. Cannot be about the teacher transmitting knowledge. That’s a Barrier to a Mind open to Bailey’s New Knowledge. Must be about the New 3 R’s–Relationships, Rigor, and Relevance.

Bailey talks a lot about Right Relations with all of humanity in her books. That was the first tip-off that reminded me of the New 3 R’s. I remembered Willard Daggett in CCSSI training of teachers saying that “Relevance makes Rigor Possible.” I got he meant relevance makes an emotional approach primary. Then I read the following passage in Bailey’s book on creating the Meditative Mind:

“The question may be asked, what is the easiest way to teach oneself to concentrate? . . . one way that may be employed is to utilize what has been called the ‘expulsive power of a new affection.’ To be profoundly interested in some new and intriguing subject, and to have one’s attention focussed on some fresh and dynamic matter will automatically tend to make the mind one-pointed.”

That passage on getting to an inward feeling focus that is not rational provides a good definition of Relevance. But it also makes the arrival of the new C3 Framework, Social Studies Standards, from the previous post, even more important. Making the classroom focus Questions about “societal issues, trends, and events” that the student is interested in is precisely the kind of “new and intriguing” and “fresh and dynamic” matter Bailey wrote about so long ago.

I am just getting started. This turned into quite an illuminating inquiry once I recognized where I had to look. Except my inquiry is not John Dewey’s definition.

Mine is driven by facts and open declarations of intent.

 

 

Why Make the Long Sought Goal of Anarchists and Socialists the 21st Century Education Ideal?

That quote involving the democratic purposes of schools that emphasized how the “democratic approach creates opportunities for local communities to publicly deliberate and self-govern” that we talked about sarcastically in the last post just kept gnawing at my subconscious from the time I published the post. It was no accident that Equity Pushers put such a place-based participatory democracy and create consensus and majority rules position in an October 2012 Position Paper to guide the CCSSI implementation. It is a shout out to the Bela Banathy and Texas Super position of making education about a New Desired Collective Future. That Future that needs a New Kind of Mind and Heart. Which is precisely what all these reforms we have chronicled seek to create.

That quote not only implies resuscitating John Dewey’s ideal of Participatory Democracy (which would explain all the push around Quality Learning and the Arts inclusion) but also its previous modern incarnation in the 1962 Port Huron Statement that created the Students for a Democratic Society. No wonder so many former SDSers like Bill Ayers or Mike Klonsky were drawn into education. Perfect cultural weapon for mass political, social, and economic Transformation. Go after the noetic system and change beliefs, attitudes, values, and feelings (sound like a familiar goal by various names?) and predictable future behavior will soon follow. People in fact may be easier to program via education than computers are for a developer. One need not be specific and logical to achieve the desired outcome in people.

That quote also reminded me especially of the Regional Equity Movement we have talked about several times that is to be a primary goal of an Obama Second Term.   http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/distributive-justice-is-not-enough-we-must-break-the-illusion-of-the-unitary-self/ is the discussion of the Building One America conference and how I see this as relating to education and the Future Earth Alliance.

But the Regional Equity Movement is a political means. The broader movement is called Bioregionalism and it unites systems thinking, new 3 R’s, education with ICLEI and Agenda 21. I have had all the Bioregional implementation books from the early 90s for a while. But when I read the plans they always struck me as so ludicrous to be proposing as 21st Century aspirations that I would get frustrated and put the books away. But the ludicrous aspirations just kept coming up over and over as real goals. Actual intentions. Where Banathy and Peter Senge and Paul Ehrlich and the No More Axemaker Minds and Democratic Purpose of Education were going. So I gathered the books together and took them to my favorite place for systematically taking on a really troubling book or concept–the Beach. I firmly believe lovely vistas help bolster the soul whenever life’s ugliness must be dealt with.

We could describe the last few days research on Bioregionalism as Revelations from the Sand and Surf. Vacationers who did not know me probably wondered why the lady sat scribbling furiously in the margins while sitting under the beach umbrella. The very picture of the Quintessential Nerd in Paradise. Well, in my defense it is not every day that you get so many open declarations and admissions against interest describing a Long Term Political Scheme in detail. With memorable details like “the murderous sociopathology of capitalism” or how:

“Cancer stalks the Earth. Its name is profit, its nature poison. In the name of profit our lakes and rivers die. Our oceans are dying. . .For the sake of profit our food, water and air are poisoned.” It goes on but you get the idea. No wonder so many new college grads think they must work in the nonprofit sector. They have been inundated with a very false view of the world and how it works and they lack enough historical knowledge to reject such foolish propaganda. After all they grew up in an education system that is preaching that process and theory are more important than facts. Guided already by this several decades old Transform the Future vision without bothering to tell the students, parents, or taxpayers.

The Bioregional vision goes on to make the municipality (after being broken up into authentic communities “scaled to human dimensions”) the place (and they do seem to mean this in the sense of physical space and physical activity) where:

“the individual can be transformed from a mere person into an active citizen, from a private being into a public being. Given this crucial arena that literally renders the citizen a functional being who can participate directly in the future of society, we are dealing with a level of human interaction that is more basic (apart from the family itself) than any level that is expressed in representative forms of governance, where collective power is literally transmuted into power embodied by one or a few individuals. The municipality is thus the most authentic arena of public life, however much it may have been distorted over the course of history.”

Now I did warn you civics education and the Civic Mission of Schools can be a dangerous thing to advocate blindly for these days. It is a different view of citizenship and government than what the US Constitution laid out. The mayors, however, are delighted and this explains their enthusiasm for Sustainability and Green Initiatives apart from federal dollars. They think they get to be where the long term action is in a world that really is envisioned to work like a commune with transportation by “collective vehicles.” A world where there ceases to be “independence or dependence.” In its place we are supposed to have “a more richly articulated form of interdependence” after each person has engaged in “a conscious reconstruction of our relationship to each other and the natural world.”

Now, you must be wishing you had a lovely vista to stand up and walk around in and then glance away to the horizon before reading more such nonsense. But when you have monopoly power through government, access to taxpayer money, and little real knowledge of history nonsensical visions can still be very real. Literally be the impetus behind actual education reforms and political policies and regulations and sought economic transformations. Which is precisely what is going on right now in so many areas. It tracks back in the US and globally (yes, the UN is behind this. 1973 was the initiation date days my books) to this Bioregionalist vision. That hits us as nonsensical.

And do you know where this no more Division of Labor or market exchange economy and society starts? The one to be a sharing society “based on the pleasure that is felt in distributing among communities according to their needs”? Why it starts in a new vision for education for the Full Personality. Education to “reflect on what it means to think–yes, to reason–and to live ecologically in the full meaning of the term.” That sure does sound like Peter Senge and Otto Scharmer’s Systems Thinking and the UN’s Education for Sustainable Development.

Education that makes “for more rounded personalities with a rich sense of selfhood and competence” which was a goal “long cherished by the anarchists and socialists of the last century.”

Really? Are we really going to keep implementing K-12 and college education designed to unite us all “in an ecological continuum to feed the spirit as well as the body, sharpening one’s sensitivity to the nonhuman and human world around us.” No wonder it is to be about hands-on science instead of the science in textbooks. No wonder school is now to be about Relationships.

Can we stand up now and look at the full future vision of society that this Equitable Education and democratic purpose of schooling and systems thinking and Competence is taking us to?

Embrace and Seize Technology’s Potential to Capture the Hearts and Minds of Today’s Students

That quote comes again from the Texas Vision Statement that we started talking about in the previous post. “Hearts and Minds”–that unconscious level that motivates and guides human behavior. No wonder one of the listed Participating Insurrectionist Supers has since moved on from Dallas to Cobb County, Georgia (a major suburb of Atlanta) where he is now pushing Digital Learning on middle schoolers despite parent and taxpayer objections. As the Vision Statement makes clear, apart from the fortunes to connected vendors, the digital mandate has a political purpose.

Digital devices like computers are cultural tools that diminish individual mental functioning. The tool does much of the work instead of the mind. Careful then with still developing minds.  And, no, that’s not just my opinion. There is a great deal of research that has now been translated and imported from Soviet psychology explaining which cultural tools aid the mind’s independent functioning. And which ones function like a vacuum cleaner sucking away the ability to conceptualize and think rationally. Guess where anything that kicks up the visual lies? Especially computers?

But before we talk about some of the silly and downright harmful assumptions in that Vision Statement about the Digital Revolution, let’s look at why the Hearts and Minds are being actively targeted. With all the zeal of a sugary cereal maker during Saturday morning cartoons. I am going to give the full quote here because I want you to appreciate how this links up to the planned dominance of social and emotional learning in the classroom and the Positive School Climate and Culture we have been chronicling. It really is about targeting future behavior of what should be independent individuals. Why? Well, consistent with what we have found in the real definitions of what College and Career Ready actually mean, our Insurrectionist Supers want to create “a new sense of community committed to the common good.” See how influential Amitai Etzioni is in education now?

And how do the Credentialled Comrades living (and retiring) at taxpayer expense intend to accomplish that Community-first Goal? Well they have apparently been reading all the Transformational Outcomes Based Education (OBE) work from the 90s because the Vision Statement also announces that “Beliefs create vision and drive action.” Which means if you can just impose OBE, or its more in vogue now sibling–Systems Thinking/ Systems Dynamics, in the classroom early enough, you can get future voters emotionally committed to Sustainability, Biodiversity, the evils of Capitalism, the idea that “Governments Must Facilitate everything.” Whatever. Factual reality ceases to guide perceptions from daily experience once you have captured the Hearts and Minds of the children. And that apparently is exactly what our Supers have in mind and want from the Principals under their command. I mean, employ. (my bolding for emphasis).

“Attention of leaders is focused on the dominant social systems that govern behavior beginning with those that clarify beliefs and direction, develop and transmit knowledge [notice that wording. This knowledge is not the product of the Best Minds of the Ages], and that provide for recruitment and induction of all employees and students into the values and vision.”

Oh, comrades, Employees AND students. No wonder tenure is finally being reformed with the NEA’s blessing. It’s to be part of getting us to a single Purple America instead of Blue States and Red States. Doesn’t that sound more like something that would come out of Moscow in the 30s in connection with Young Pioneers recruitment?

And how do you capture Hearts and Minds? Why you need “engagement-centered schools” where “student engagement is and remains the first focus.” That’s emotional engagement, remember? The whole premise of Second Order Change and Dewey’s Quality Learning. And that Level 4 Thinking on the Webb Depth of Knowledge Florida and Texas, those two gigantic states, both now use.

Willard Daggett, another one of those well-paid facilitators of first OBE and now the CCSSI and STAAR school implementations, has a new saying that “Relevance makes Rigor Possible.”  In other words, like John Dewey, these educators want to use student’s personal interests to get them emotionally engaged with developing possible solutions to the World’s Many Problems. To believe as Bela Banathy asserted in his Nine Dimensions for Human and Social Development that we are all just part of larger social systems that can be redesigned if only you embrace the proper vision.

So instead of using K-12 schooling and then colleges and universities or vocational training to counteract some of the visual input and artificial stimulation and hybrid text messaging that is so dominant now outside of schools, the vision coming at us all over the country is to make school activities and experiences mirror this digital reality. The digital reality that actually weakens mental functioning.  And of course we conveniently have Systems Dynamics computer modelling available so that classes can reenvision what will happen to various sub-systems if only you shift a variable here and an assumption there. Utopia via software Transformation.

There is a dangerous assumption permeating all these documents on ed reform and digital literacy and even the values accreditors want fostered in K-12, colleges, and now even grad schools like law and medicine. That employers and private sector businesses and our economy and professions will all need to change fundamentally to reflect the types of Minds and Values and Beliefs and Feelings the educational institutions intend to produce. (And as a former client I would not pay for lawyers who prefer to do Group Work.) Plus we have been at this long enough to recognize that was the whole point of attacking the Noetic system in the first place through education.

Education is a means of both getting at future voters and targeting the ultimate control and direction of markets and the economy and production and consumption. Processes that work best as individual decisions. Schools were the undefended, already socialized, part of the US and all Western economies. They give easy access to Hearts and Minds and in they come. On our Dime. Lying to our faces if we are prescient enough to discern this is not about how to best teach desired academic content to students.

Everything I have written on this blog to date lays out various ways and means and goals to use education to Transform, in the most radical sense of the word, the US and the rest of the West. Starting at the level of the human mind and motivating Values and Beliefs and Feelings and coming outward. ALL of it. Community, Environment, Economy. All redesigned and subject to the guidance of a cadre of Leaders who are quite sure that this time they will not be among those devoured in pursuit of a Communitarian-first Ideal. Because Leaders who would push such schemes on an unsuspecting, trusting public, will be so much better at creating and guiding the future than independent individuals who get to keep the upside and live with the downside of their personal decisions. Because governments and their coercive powers NEVER get captured by selfish people.

I am going to close with the vision of the values and capabilities to be fostered with digital devices in pursuit of democracy with a small d. Which sure does function like a 21st Century version of Communism with a small “c” unless, I suppose, you work for one of the Connected Businesses or the Government itself.

“Its goal is to provide all students with equitable opportunities to learn, participate in society, and further social change.”

To be a Cog in the redesigned sub-systems. To accept your assigned role. To glory in the dictated Values and Beliefs.

To be a modern day Serf to a 21st Century Nomenklatura. That’s the real vision behind these ed reforms. Everywhere. Not just Texas. They were just arrogant enough to write it up.

Thanks for that by the way.

 

Using Education To Create the Behavior Government Officials Want in Future Citizens

Until we begin to better appreciate the Newspeak straight out of George Orwell futurist satire, we will remain subject to having words like Excellence and Quality Learning and Growth and School Improvement masking terrible things. Tragic behavioral and psychological practices being pushed in schools and classrooms right now despite a tragic history. I wrote this post back in early August recognizing where the announced facts were leading, and horrified that ambitious Principals and Supers and naive politicians and greedy professional development vendors are forcing this all again on an unsuspecting American public. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/how-much-innocent-blood-will-it-take-to-stop-sel-manipulation-for-political-gain/ The saddest post I ever wrote. Maybe until this one.

Back in November 1992 in the last go-around of national radical ed reform to try to create Transformational political, social, and economic change via education, an essay “How Systems Thinking Applies to Education” described what makes a systems approach to ed reform so different than previous piecemeal attempts at reform.  It announced that the World had moved to a new evolutionary paradigm Stage 4 while schools erroneously acting as “pattern maintenance institutions” were stuck at Stage 3. That schools needed a new paradigm. The essay then goes on to describe what we now recognize as Transformational Outcomes Based Education as that new paradigm. Now, not to pat myself on the back but I have a real love for both history and economics. Passionate lifelong interests and if I were a professor I would give the essay author at best a D+.

The education schemers like to talk about designing backwards from the actual goals for behavior and desired values and beliefs and emotions to what should be taking place now in the classroom to get there. That’s what was going on in 1992 to sell a new paradigm. The real aim was to create Paul Ehrlich’s Newmindedness and remove the Axemaker Mind as we have discussed before. That November 1992 date meant that article would have gone to press about the time of the original Earth Summit in Rio in June 1992. The one that created Agenda 21 and laid out the blueprint for reorganizing the global societies politically and economically around the Environment and Sustainability. Education was explicitly to be a recognized tool  in this Transformation.

That’s the end goal driving the so-called new paradigm for education then and now. It’s aspirational. It’s to justify an attack on the noetic system in the name of history. Evoking a myth of existing transformation as a means of actually gaining a real transformation by attacking values, attitudes, and beliefs and limiting factual knowledge and opportunities for abstract, logical analysis. That’s what was going on in the 1990s and all the public knew was that there were “reading wars” and “math wars” and “science wars.” The myth was that it was a dispute about instruction. No, we had a political coup being attempted surreptitiously via student minds. They are young adults now and likely have no idea how much their minds have been subject to attack all of their lives.

The 1992 article cites a book Systems Design of Education: A Journey to Create the Future by Bela H Banathy as its support for this new paradigm and a systems approach to education. Guess who happens to have a copy of this 1991 book? So the book acknowledges that it aspires to design schools in order to change people from the inside-out so it can then change society. Officially a Scheme with a capital “S.” The book was trying to design a complete education system to do that which would perform as predictably as your body’s circulatory system or gravity. To perform that predictably, humans need to be deprived of much of what has historically bolstered rational, conscious thought.

The always busy ed lab in Aurora, Colorado, McREL, that is still pushing these ideas as Second-order Change to be part of the Common Core implementation, used Banathy’s book and a systems approach to design (Checkland’s 1981 Systems Thinking Systems Practice) to create A*chieving Excellence. Because a well-stocked, capable of reasoning mind is an obstacle to the sought manipulation, McREL developed a list of what it wanted from each student in this new paradigm. What each student should be able to do, not know. See if these described attributes look familiar–

Access information.

Interpret or decode that information so as to produce understanding.

Process that information so as to reason and solve problems.

Produce a broad range of outcomes and use technology.

Develop his/her own “executive” or “self-regulating” function to: make decisions about himself/herself, set goals, create a positive self-image, monitor and learn from his/her past performance, experience enjoyment, pleasure, excitement, accomplishment, etc.

Work well with other people and things in his/her environment.

Feeling like an officially programmed robot yet? Does this seem like an appropriate role for the federal government? Banathy was the Senior Research Director at the Far West Ed Lab in Portland, Oregon and McREL was another federally funded ed lab. Those were and are your tax dollars funding these Mental Transformation Schemes that amount to deliberate psychological abuse for political or financial gain. For lucrative grants. For a government directed economy.

A*chieving Excellence was still being field tested and pilot tested by McREL when the book was published in1991. We unfortunately though know a lot about which districts and schools in Colorado were piloting Transformational OBE because it came out during the Columbine tragedy. That should have closed the door on such a psychological manipulation of students but it didn’t. In fact, all that seems to really have happened is William Spady went to Australia and South Africa where he was not infamous to push OBE there. And Spence Rogers took over the Vail Summer programs and lucrative professional development franchise and renamed it–Performance Excellence for All Kids or PEAK.

So now I am at a high school open house last night where the Principal sent some teachers for summer PEAK training and now wants to bring PEAK trainers to the high school. The official address to the school excitedly announced that the Teachers are to be trained in the Teaching for Excellence Program. That the IB high school operating in a “charter school system” (that duplicitous charter I have written about too) aspires to lead the way in reforming high school education in the US. That the high school will be based on the new 3 R’s: Relevance, Rigor, and Relationships that we have become so familiar with as key to the collectivist, anti-individual political coup.

Columbine is back. In more places than in just my backyard. How many other schools and districts have similar aspirations this fall but no parent trained to recognize the symptoms and rhetoric?

I have to go gather more information and I have struck solid goal on how key these charter agreements are to the systems Transformational Coup. You can just imagine how chilled to the bone I felt when I heard the words “Dedicated to Excellence in All We Do” from a Principal who obtained his education degree from a school affiliated with John Goodlad’s National Network for Educational Renewal. Goodlad created the term Excellence in the 1960s to mask the largely affective focus he had in mind to move the US to what he and John Dewey and now apparently, the current US President, called small “c” democracy.

Boy we have a lot to talk about. Any advice on how I should handle the high school machinations? See, this is not speculative. It is very real for me too.

 

College Ready as a Goal of K-12 is not Helpful if First You Gut the Historic Purpose of College

That would be the Transmission of Knowledge about what the Greatest Minds in History Understood and Wrote About and Lived Through and Experimented Over until they had figured out many of the mysteries of Nature. But then that knowledge supposedly allowed man to subordinate nature and our systems theorists like Senge and Scharmer and Deep Ecologists like Orr and Berry from the previous post think we need to stop exploiting nature. Assume our new position as just another species without the magical gift of abstract reason. Rely on feelings and instinct and working on relationships with others and surely Peace will finally come. And the species will all get along just like everyone did in their natural environment before that intrusive stranger Christopher Columbus showed up in the Americas and ruined it all.

As I am reading these high on hopes and short on facts utopian schemes related to Ecology and New Minds, I keep wanting to scream at the book- “You are celebrating cultures that engaged in human sacrifice.” Often. But then my history major and Axemaker Mind are proving to be an obstacle with climbing aboard the Sustainability nirvana train.

We talked about how the President used the term “standards for teaching and learning” and “first time in a generation” and Ed Week insisted he meant CCSSI. We said not so fast http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/didnt-the-president-just-admit-ccssi-was-a-ruse-to-change-classroom-interactions/ . Well he said the same thing in his nomination acceptance speech last week. Moreover, the Democratic platform itself does not mention CCSSI by name or make any commitment to content or the transmission of knowledge. Its goal is to have ALL students “College and Career Ready.” Sounds good except we have already determined Career Ready is just generic skills of getting along coupled with a communitarian emphasis on daily demonstrating that you put others first. The primacy of the Common Good. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/birth-to-career-finally-and-quietly-creating-the-soviet-mindset-but-here-in-the-usa/ Now with that title we can be sure the platform drafters have not been reading my posts. Otherwise they would have recognized they were tipping off their real goals for American education and local schools and classrooms.

Today we take on the second half of that express K-12 Goal for All Students. What does College Ready actually mean when we put all the pieces together? Well back in January, the White House put out its vision for American higher education complete with festivities. Called A Crucible Moment: College Learning & Democracy’s Future http://www.aacu.org/civic_learning/crucible/documents/crucible_508F.pdf it contains an extremely troubling political vision where your campus activities and what you are willing to actively advocate for determine who gets a diploma in the future. Others, notably Peter Wood at the National Association of Scholars, have mentioned this report. I am going to focus on aspects that have not been covered.

The first involves picking a new company formed in 2008, Global Perspectives, to essentially shepherd the Crucible Moment vision on behalf of the federal government. Paid of course. That seems a surprising and lucky break for a newcomer until we look into Global Perspectives and discover the Dean of the College of Ed where Bill Ayers was deemed a suitable prof and where CASEL is located. Social and Emotional Learning for a Political Purpose Grand Central Station is apparently an accurate name for certain departments at U-Illinois at Chicago. When we pull up the Global Perspective Inventory to be used on college students, ages 18-24, on their “journey of life.” GPI wants these young adults to

“grow, change, and develop along several dimensions–intellectual, social, civic, physical, moral, spiritual, and religious. And we develop holistically and not departmentally, i.e., we simultaneously develop our mind, sense of self, and relationships [remember our new 3 R's?] with others. . . We live in a global world, in which multiple perspectives about knowing, sense of identity, and relationships with others are distinct and serve as powerful influences in our society.”

College as a real time, experiential Cultural Anthropology dialogue. How enlightening. Now GPI’s college vision for what it calls “holistic human development” is based on two theoretical perspectives [have you noticed no one implements based on theory when they are paying, only when the taxpayer is?]: intercultural maturity and intercultural communication. GPI then cites our old friend Robert Kegan as the source of its views of intercultural maturity. You know, the Harvard prof working with Peter Senge to get K-12 school districts pushing systems thinking as part of their Common Core implementation? http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/do-you-live-in-a-district-piloting-deep-and-continual-personal-change-in-the-individual-student/ How exciting for students to have the opportunity for Deep and Continual Personal Change for years at a time extending into college. Except that kind of psychological and emotional manipulation using data and feedback and grading and credentials is not typically associated with a Free Society. At least not one that will remain free for long except on paper that few will really understand anymore.

Since students are going to be swimming in systems thinking throughout their formative years, let’s look at the college version to go along with all the posts we have done on K-12. Intercultural maturity is the theory that:

“as people grow [bolded because Growth is now the measure a number of states are using to measure what happens in the classroom] they are engaged [my Gypsy Principal's favorite word] in meaning making, i.e., trying to make sense of their journey in life. In doing so they not only rely on their thinking, but also on their feelings [there it is again, to be dominant over reason and logic and facts] and relating with others [a synonym for relationships again] in forming and reforming their journey in life. He [Kegan] has identified and labeled three major domains of human development: cognitive, intrapersonal, and interpersonal.”

Now before you get too excited at the mention of the word Cognitive remember this is all holistic human development which is based on the silly notion of using education to promote the idea that thinking, feeling, and relating are all equally important. Two come naturally and one only kicks in with instruction and practice. Treating them equally in school and college means thinking will actually be little more than instinct and emotion itself. Sure enough Cognitive becomes about “How do I know?” and acknowledging multiple perspectives and no Universal Truths. A point that is itself I must say Not True. If you do not believe me try going out a 5th story window asserting that Gravity is a Social Construct.

So despite all the knowledge of the Ages this is a view of college that celebrates ignorance and reinventing the wheel, maybe if you are lucky which the American Native Tribes never did. The Intrapersonal domain is “Who am I?” and becoming aware of your values, strengths, and personal characteristics and sense of self. Seems like a waste of tuition to me. I can remember having those insights from studying the Great Works and having the Great Conversation. Now it is just a dialogue among representatives of various interest groups to discuss grievances. How sad.

The Interpersonal domain “How do I relate to others?” tracks how willing the student is to “interact with persons with different social norms and cultural backgrounds, acceptance of others, and being comfortable when relating to others.” Now does it strike anyone else with these definitions of what should be occurring in college, the Critical Reflection and Change Agency push we discussed here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/self-efficacy-cultural-proficiency-training-critical-reflection-and-change-agency-development/ will be the best K-12 prep for this view of college? Far more than studying Great Literature or knowing Chemistry or what led to World War 1. See the benefits of College Ready as the Goal when you change the nature of College?

Now once again I have run out of space to start another angle to College Ready. Next will be the Diploma Qualification Profile. Accessible to everyone willing to recognize and then campaign for Transformative Political, Social, and Economic Change. In the US and globally. And once again the accreditors are the enforcers for the poisonous vision.

Stay tuned.

Keep Urban Schools Weak to Force Economic and Social Justice Then Make the Suburbs Close the Gap

To be Equitable of course in a tragic and perverse way that insists no one gets to have an Axemaker Mind. Because not everyone is equally good at abstract, logical, sequential ways of thinking. We somehow forget that the Whiz Kid may also be uncoordinated in sports or cannot put together Basic Legos even with detailed instructions. I will come back to Peter Senge and Systems Thinking in a later post. He represents both the how–Forcing Systems Thinking and the related New 3 R’s-Relationships, Rigor, and Relevance in their new meanings forms on what had been high-achieving schools in suburban districts and students in high-achieving courses of study anywhere.

Senge also gives useful insights into the real Where–the reimagined Sustainable Future that he calls the Regenerative Society. Hint: it’s to be built around Relationships with one another and not seeing human beings as a special species. There’s also a great deal of emotional connections so all this SEL emphasis and Dewey’s Quality Learning will be so handy. And after all widespread prosperity was so 20th Century. This Regenerative Society will be so cooperative they need the schools to mandate creating the requisite mindsets. Some cooperation, huh?

Today we are going to focus on the Why. At least some of it. I hope this post will be as much of a shock to each of you reading as it was for me to come across this several times in research. And then to bore in carefully to be sure. For a country where millions of voters in 2008 chose to show they were ready to move to a post-racial America it is painful to discover that the education establishment is not ready to move on at all. Too politically useful and financially rewarding for a directing, planning elite is probably the best way to describe this.

As you will see nothing except equal outcomes  and no more racial or economic segregation by neighborhoods will suffice to stop the manipulation of students and schools. And at that point the governments at all levels will be so intrusive.  And the future voters will know so little and will have been so manipulated in preparation for the redesigned Sustainable Regenerative Society. It is hard to envision anyone surviving with independence and an individual presence of mind. Why?

How many of you remember the confrontations over busing? The long-sought remedy was metro-wide busing to force integrated schools even where the inner cities were separate school systems. When the Supreme Court said no in 1973 in the Detroit case it did leave an opening if officials could prove intentional discrimination by suburban officials impacting the inner city. Many Southern school districts like Charlotte or Montgomery County or Nashville or those in Florida were usually county-wide school districts. But not Atlanta.

Atlanta city schools (APS) (home of the infamous cheating scandal) itself is in the middle of the Fulton County School District. The one we talked about in the last post and the one with what I call the duplicitous charter, enshrining the tenets of Transformational Outcomes Based Education. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/what-happens-when-a-charter-pillages-minds-and-wallets/ Interestingly enough, that charter also adopts the essential policies and practices used by  APS. What are the odds? The metro Atlanta school desegregation case  (Armour v Nix) seeking metro-wide busing was rejected by the federal district court in 1979  despite evidence of official action behind patterns of segregated housing in the metro area.

Other school systems that previously bused students have sought court declarations that they are now “unitary” systems and entitled to leave court supervision and return to neighborhood schools. If these become segregated again, there is no judicial remedy. That has happened in places like Charlotte and Montgomery County, Maryland. The response from the education establishment though is not to make all schools better. Instead the response is the SEL, PBIS, Positive School Climate, Career Pathways for all vocational approach, learner-centered change the student focus we have been describing all summer.

There is tremendous anger over this issue that appears to be actively cultivated in Colleges of Education. Basically the cultivated demand is if economic and social justice is not the norm for all students in the US, no student in a publically-funded school should have access to an academically excellent education. The levelling function of government coercion and the power of the accreditors kicks in to try to deprive any American student of an Axemaker Mind. But we taxpayers and parents might not appreciate this Demand so no one bothered to tell us.

How do I know this is intentional? Well, I read a lot and people like Professor Jean Anyon told me after I accurately pegged her to the Regional Equity Movement. And reading her descriptions in her 2005 book radical possibilities of how to use “injustice to create an outrage that can ultimately be channeled into public demands,” you see there is zero incentive for these educators seeking a Transformative social, political and economic revolution to actually teach the kids to read well. Using the schools to radicalize parents and youth that their poverty is the “congealed result of economic and other social hardships impinging on urban families.” In case there is any ambiguity, Professor Anyon says the economic justice policy changes are necessary first to “provide meaningful life chances for poor families and neighborhoods.” Here’s the full quote from page 127 if you have a copy handy:

“Economic access and the improved social standing its fulfillment provides parents, students, and communities will be prerequisites. . . But economic justice, this important precursor of systemic urban school reform, will not be achieved without concerted, sustained political struggle.”

Enter the community organizers like ACORN or its successor Action Now out of Chicago with much of the same personnel. More importantly though because I think Texans feel protected by their non-participation in Common Core, forgetting Texas adopted OBE statewide in the late 1980s when it was called a radical change, is the role of Saul Alinsky’s Industrial Areas Foundation, using schools and churches to community organize in that state. Do very many Texans understand that? How about people in Cobb County, Georgia where your new Super who came from Dallas ISD would have undergone a great deal of interaction and training around IAF goals and prescriptions? Or the new Super, Mike Myers, who retains a side business seeking federal School Turnaround grants. Is it a valuable asset in seeking those grants to be experienced in dealing with demands of community organizers specializing in urban schools? Makes sense to me that it would. But those are our tax dollars or debt that fund School Turnarounds based on these same Bad Urban Ideas.

“Building Partnerships to Reinvent School Culture” is a 2009 report from the Annenberg Institute for School Reform http://annenberginstitute.org/pdf/Mott_Austin.pdf on IAF’s use of churches to create the Austin Interfaith Alliance and its model of community organizing in Texas schools via the Alliance Schools network. Page 4 has a quote from Jeannie Oakes, who is now with the Ford Foundation, Ground Zero for the Regional Equity Movement, on the “increased interest from both practitioners and researchers in understanding the potential role of community organizing in contributing to sustainable improvements in education.”  If you do get a chance to read that document, do not miss the fact that the Alliance Schools did not want to be subject to standardized testing. They wanted performance based assessments instead similar to what Common Core established via SBAC and PARCC. When these schools could not get an official exemption from testing “they had less time for relational practices. The emphasis on testing changed the schools practically overnight.”

My goodness that sounds a lot like a focus on Relationships instead of content. Just the sort of urban school Quality Learning that Common Core now mandates nationwide. Suburbs too. The community organizers were probably quite pleased those long sought performance assessments were funded from the beginning in the 2009 Stimulus Act. Well, we know all that funding did not stimulate the US economy. Made a lot of educators, professors, and community organizers happy though. No wonder Van Jones says he signed on to the Environmental Green Movement because of the government’s ability to direct money where it wants as so much of the Green Economy is politically directed.

As a funding taxpayer, that hardly seems Sustainable. Or Wise.