Listening in On the Confessional Drumbeat of the Common Core’s True Purpose: Jettisoning Traditional High School

Remember the classic expression to explain when something is really done of “three strikes and you’re out?” How about a new version that three insider confessions of the same real purpose constitutes an indisputable revelation that we are being lied to. Let’s face it, a PR campaign for so-called academic standards, new types of assessments, and overarching K-12 mission repurposing promoted as an effort to remake the nature of high school for all students would have led to a lot more questions and scrutiny and open public rebellion. So that has not been the pitch, but it is the real purpose. Let me tell you how I was able to ferret this out. Then we will talk about the real purpose for limiting what students know and this attempt to reliably guide future behavior without the consent or awareness of these soon-to-be adults and voters.

In last Wednesday’s hearing at the Georgia State Capitol the well-connected, long-time Super of the largest school system in the state and one of the largest in the country, Alvin Wilbanks, made a rather startling point in his attempt to minimize the federal role in education and highlight the state-led initiatives that led to the creation of the Common Core. He stated that CCSS grew out of the 2005 National Governors Association decision to remake the nature of high school. Now, in some ways this was not news to me since I was familiar from writing my book of the central role polytechism was supposed to play in the 90s version of Radical Ed Reform, but I had never heard anyone who was always at the table and behind the relevant closed doors saying high school transformation was the foundation for the Common Core.

Sure enough a bit of research now that I had the tip-off led to the role of the new 3 R’s of rigor, relevance and relationships and the new type of ‘engaging’ career-oriented high school for all to Jeb Bush’s ed reforms in Florida in 2006  http://www.floridatrend.com/article/10686/splendor-in-the-class and the same confession in Illinois by Willard Daggett in 2007. http://archives.iasb.com/journal/j050607_02.htm Daggett has been providing a great deal of the very expensive professional development training for school districts getting ready to implement the Common Core. His professional background before catching a ride on the taxpayer-funded Midas consulting express was as a Vocational Ed specialist in New York State.

Now I located that additional proof AFTER I found confirming clue number 2 in a presentation I read as I was following up on Innovative Lab Network states piloting competency-based learning as the post-CCSS vision for K-12. Remember that stealth ILN initiative that lines up with the global vision being advocated for by the Global Education Leaders Program? GELP was two posts ago, but it has its own tag now. So I was not really looking for a high school reform confession, but I found one anyway and the GELP ties mean this is part of the international template for the countries in the Anglosphere especially. The places that have historically reverenced the individual and put personal liberty ahead of government druthers of coercion.

One more link to previous posts, the #2 confessor, a Paul Leathers from New Hampshire, was also a speaker at the Rethinking Accountability conference this title came from and covered. www.invisibleserfscollar.com/not-going-to-let-the-us-constitution-stop-us-from-using-schools-to-enshrine-global-social-justice-and-human-rights/

Leather, in a 2012 Colorado Summit on Blended Learning in a presentation titled “The New Hampshire Story,” laid out that all the cutting-edge reforms now being advanced under the banner of Competency to be a beacon for other states and districts, stemmed from the desire to ‘revitalize’ New Hampshire high schools. He revealed that these efforts went back tellingly to 1995 and that “focus groups showed students and educators want schooling to be more relevant and more rigorous.” As a side note, many of the participants must have since moved to the Atlanta area because that is the precise same sales pitch Fulton County is using to sell its current remake of high school around technology and ‘problem-based learning.’”

Even more confirmation that this same vision being sold as ‘locally-inspired’ is actually a global vision is the name of New Hampshire’s 2007 Vision for Redesign–Moving from High Schools to Learning Communities . Precisely the term that ties to what is planned now for Fulton and your community as well in the near future. Crystal Ball Alert! In this redesign, the “primary acquisition of knowledge and skills” will occur “outside the traditional classroom” or using a different, non-traditional means of instruction. Explanation for the  shift? To eliminate high school dropouts by 2012 per the NH Governor’s Top Priority. Most places now are selling this as a means to increase the graduation rate.

Third confirmation was at a 2013 Grantmakers in Education conference telling the big donors that “what was really driving Common Core and the Competency agenda is the determination to change the nature of high school.” The report fascinatingly also cited to Fordham’s Chester Finn as saying in 2012 that this effort had been going on a long time, and everyone was surprised with the resilience of the traditional high school model. Funny how Fordham has left that part of the story out of its exuberant advocacy work for the Common Core.

Now I could stop this post now and we would have lots of useful facts to now drill public officials with, but as regular readers know, I like to give insights into the why. This is from a 1980 book by physicist David Bohm, a man whose views of education and what was needed were greatly influenced by his desire for radical political transformations. Bohm recognized that traditional education prevented students from having a mindset or worldview that would “seriously think of mankind as the basic reality, whose claims come first.” Here Bohm laid out the rationale that still guides so much education reform today when we chase down the real reason for the shifts. No it really is NOT about reducing dropouts. That’s merely the excuse that sounds good and just.

“man’s general way of thinking of the totality, i.e, his general world view, is crucial for overall order of the human mind itself. If he thinks of the totality as constituted of independent fragments, then that is how his mind will tend to operate, but if he can include everything coherently and harmoniously in an overall whole that is undivided, unbroken, and without a border (for every border is a division or break) then his mind will tend to move in a similar way, and from this will flow an orderly action within the whole.”

‘Rigorous’ curriculum, ‘Higher Order Thinking Skills,’ ‘high-quality’ assessments, and the definition now of College and Career Ready used by the National PTA  ALL tie back to looking for indications of that kind of holistic world view from grades 6 to 12. Charming, huh? Let’s just say I have really deep learning in this area in the traditional sense of both of those words. To give one more illustration of the same basic point and why ‘performance standards’ in the sense of actual physical activity and behavior are so essential to this vision of how to use education and the social sciences generally to reprogram the human brain to act at an unconscious level, let’s return to Professor Flyv from the last post. This is what competent or proficient behavior in the future is supposed to be patterned on.

“Logically based action is replaced by experientially based action.” Behavior becomes “intuitive, holistic, and synchronic, understood in the way that a given situation releases a picture of problem, goal, plan, decision, and action in one instant and with no division. This is the level of true human expertise. Experts are characterized by a flowing, effortless performance, unhindered by analytical deliberations.”

Not capable of them either under this new definition of ‘expert’ or competent performance to be practiced at for years in K-12 education. Now I told you precisely where Bohm’s vision was hiding today in the real Common Core implementation. The one that turns out to be all about high school and middle school transformation to get the needed Worldview that at least tolerates collectivism. Perhaps it will not even notice the difference.

Where’s Flyv’s vision lurking? That would be in the actual definition of the ubiquitous term Excellence. As In Equity and Excellence, supposedly a federal mandate under a rather grasping interpretation of the civil rights laws. But what school or district can afford to run the chance of being sued?

So this is how very radical visions of the personal world view needed for fundamental transformations make it all the way to our children’s classrooms and so-called ‘tests’ while we are still being told it is all about making Algebra the same state to state in case families want to move.

Common Core: grounded in deceit from the get-go because otherwise who would submit to the very real desire of our political class to insist that we are to now be Governed?

Hopefully the numbed mind will be trained not to recognize that crucial fact and fundamental shift in the State vs Individual dynamics of the 21st Century.

Anyone else want to join me in the Not Going Quietly into Submission Brigade? We do not have a lot of time to get the word out.

Building the Sentiment, Forging the Real Feeling that Goes Deep: Rigor does Not Mean What You Think

Do you believe in coincidences? Of course they happen, but not about some things, especially when little known professors are suddenly brought back to be the quote of the day in a daily education newsletter. The day after the last post where I mentioned the 1948 push for a World Constitution at meetings held at the University of Chicago, the EdTech SmartBrief cited ‘Italian Writer Giuseppe Antonio Borgese’ for an inspiring vision about Change not only being possible, but necessary. How apropos when fundamental change is the daily meme. Borgese of course is more than an Italian writer. He was one of the prime participants in those meetings, a prof there, and the draftsman. He also wrote the 1953 book Foundations of the World Republic laying out the vision.

You don’t really think I grasp how all this fits just from Abstracts or the Cliff Notes versions, do you? No, I had read that book and get the connection to ed. So does someone apparently at Smart Brief and they are fully aware of the pertinence of today’s K-12 juggernaut of changes too. Few terms though come up more often these days or are used so consistently to mislead parents and taxpayers  on the true nature of the intended changes as ‘rigor.’ There’s a reason education consultant, Willard Daggett, with a ridiculously lucrative national professional development business (for someone who used to be in Vo-Tech. I have a few of those mediocre textbooks) says that “relevance makes rigor possible.” Rigor is always grounded in emotion and personal experiences.

When a District Super tells concerned parents that Rigor is about higher standards and provides the metaphor that you cannot turn up the temperature suddenly on an oven from 350 to 550 without burning the turkey and leaving it frozen on the inside, I think that explanation deserves a Pinocchio award. That example of rigor may make parents feel better about upcoming higher than average failure rates on the new state Common Core math assessments, but it does not accurately reflect the nature of the problem. Rigor is about what a student feels, perceives, and does when there is no single correct answer or there are insufficient facts stated to reach a definitive conclusion or the asked about material has never been taught. It provides superb behavioral science data on likely future actions and it primes students to be willing to act in the face of uncertainty. Just what people with visions of transforming and then redesigning societies and societies around Big Data need from a compliant, malleable citizenry.

Facing History and Ourselves, which we met again in the last post, keeps being cited as the perfect example of a curriculum offering ‘rigorous engagement’ and ‘deeper learning.’ Deeper Learning is being trumpeted, formally assessed, and funded generously as the cornerstone of the Common Core and the OECD’s global vision for education by the Hewlett Foundation. Building on the previous post’s revelations and the return of Life Adjustment before that, why is FHAO so crucial for an international bureaucracy pushing for fundamental transformations in the economy, society, and political structures and institutions? Let’s look.

http://trustnet.learningtrust.co.uk/partners/Community%20Cohesion/Case%20Study_Facing_History_and_Ourselves_at_Skinners.pdf advocates that teaching materials force students (their bolding) through the process of Text to Self (this reminds me of a time when… so that personal experiences become involved), Text to Text (building those links to previous school activities or discussions and the concepts involved so that a predictable mental web is being woven by schoolwork), and Text to World (students connect the ideas to things happening in the world today). Did you realize that’s what ‘personalizing learning’ meant? Constantly reenforcing schoolwork to a student’s life experiences and then creating life experiences in school and elsewhere to reenforce the desired concepts and attitudes? As the link says, FHAO allows students to have Mindsets that allow “better questioning of the world and what goes on it. But most importantly, students become more engaged in their own communities and apply the knowledge they learn to their own lives.” (my bolding this time).

Knowledge grounded again more in emotions and instincts than facts, but all the more likely to compel future action for that very reason. Remember Harlan Cleveland from my book? Well, about 10 years before his 80s vision I explain there he did a report in 1976 for UN Leaders meeting in Philadelphia. It laid out his vision on what the significance of the US Bicentennial was for the future. He saw it as igniting the Next Great World Movement: the Global Fairness Revolution. Like the odd sudden citing this week of Borgese, these visions do not go away. They simply keep looking for new sales jobs to have education finally bring them to fruition. That’s precisely what FHAO and PBS intended to do when they created Choosing to Participate to be used as part of what it would mean to be Literate under the Common Core. http://web.uri.edu/nonviolence/files/ChoosingToParticipate.pdf

When the “challenge for educators” now is announced to be creating “settings that can help young people develop as thoughtful, caring, compassionate, and responsible citizens,” the vision of citizenry is to be Change Agents for Transformation. That is also blatantly a view of education that is primarily focused on Psychosocial Development, not knowledge as academic content. Students are to be deliberately primed, at a deep level, to be unwilling to accept the world as it now exists. They are also to be intentionally manipulated to misperceive the current nature of that world. Ignorance and grievance may be one of the most volatile combinations in the universe. Unlike nitroglycerin though, these Students with carefully cultivated and shaped Mindsets and emotional Push Buttons will not have warning labels. Not yet anyway. I am working on that one.

FHAO does not mince words when it states its intention to have Choosing to Participate:

“be a catalyst for conversation about how we treat each other, how we should live together, and what our choices mean. The key challenge is to think deeply [emotions again!] about what democracy really means, and what it asks of each of us. Democracy is a fragile enterprise and can only remain vital through the active, thoughtful, and responsible participation of its people. Education for citizenship means encouraging each of us to recognize that our participation matters.”

Jumping to the punch line, FHAO intentionally uses the horrors of the Holocaust and Legal Segregation by race in the US to justify a belief that economic, redistributive, justice, if desired by a majority of current voters, is a perfectly legitimate demand binding everyone. Resistance then becomes akin to the racism that surrounded the Little Rock 9 trying to integrate Arkansas schools in the 50s. FHAO is the perfect accompaniment to the communitarian focus we have already located in the required Positive School Climate for all K-12 schools and lurking oddly in the definition of what it means to be Career Ready under the Common Core. FHAO early on specifically instructs students:

“communities are not built of friends, or groups of friends, or of people with similar styles and tastes, or even of people who like and understand each other. They are built of people who feel they are part of something that is bigger than themselves: a shared goal or enterprise [hence all the hype on collaboration now]…To build a community requires only the ability to see value in others; to look at them and see a potential partner in one’s enterprise…community can also be defined in terms of a ‘universe of obligation’–a group of individuals or groups ‘toward whom obligations are owed, to whom rules apply, and whose injuries call for amends.”

Amends are owed. I am going to end with that quote because clearly this intention is where we should put all these sudden mentions of allegations of White Privilege and conferences centered around preparing teachers to make that and race generally a focus of the K-12 curriculum. Everybody seems to like trilogies so this post is the Human Rights Trilogy’s second part.

I want to come back with considering the implications of targeting values, attitudes, and beliefs about how societies and economies should be structured as just another antiquated area that can, and should be, legitimately targeted by K-12 for change. Comparable in the minds of many educators and certainly the FHAO curriculum to the shifts rightfully needed previously to move beyond legal segregation.

We are going to continue to confront history all right. Especially the implications of requiring that students “prove their humanity” in ways to be mandated by political authority.

Should students be taught that “Built into each individual’s experience must be an occasion for giving, a task of humanity, an act of sharing and sacrifice”?

Is that really Student Achievement? Growth? Should taxpayer-funded education administrators and profs really be making these decisions in a free society?

Or is the disputed nature of freedom itself in the 21st Century the real question?

Constantly Casting Aside Those Things that Become Useless in this Caravan of Civilization: Who Decides?

No wonder a well-stocked individual mind is becoming forbidden. I had hardly finished the previous post before an insight as I read that day’s materials sent me after the global human rights/human behavioral curriculum clearly intended to come into the US as the Common Core and elsewhere as 21st Century Learning. Every day now seems like a game of Bingo as the real implementation rolls forward in education to finally put into place what HG Wells actually called The Open Conspiracy back in 1928 in a work that was intended to be a blueprint, not the fiction that earned him fame. Then again he and Julian Huxley were old friends and actually wrote a book together–The Science of Life. I guess we shouldn’t be surprised then that so much of the focus is on using education for social experimentation to gain political transformations. So many of the people we run across over time had similar ideas because they all seem to have known each other.

We have been the ones without the knowledge of all these connections and revealing resources. So getting ready to go down the Human Rights road, I read this quote this morning while I steeled myself to write (my bolding):

“At Philadelphia’s Science Leadership Academy, history teacher Matt Baird called his high school’s 1-to-1 program ‘radically democratic.’ Information ‘doesn’t necessarily flow from the teacher to the student in the form of a test. Information is something that can be gathered, used and utilized by students in the way it is in the real world,’ he explained, adding, ‘It’s not an awful lot of people who take standardized tests for a living. We don’t really want school to be a proxy for real life. We want school to look like real life as much as possible.”

The education historian in me immediately recognized that real life focus and the way Baird so obnoxiously preaches its superiority to an academic knowledge focus as what was called Life Adjustment back in the 40s and 50s. Nothing indeed new under the sun of Radical Ed Reform once you have the template I laid out in my book. Life Adjustment had been on my mind this week as well as it fits so well with what are now being called “Authentic Learning Opportunities” in connection to the Common Core. When I went off to find my notes on Life Adjustment, guess what came out that aligns perfectly with the NEA’s 2011 CARE Guide we have looked at in the last 2 posts?

It was the NEA that pushed what was then called Life Adjustment as the new purpose for ed in its 1947 Organizing the Elementary School for Living and Learning. In anticipation of today’s New 3 Rs of Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships the NEA wanted schools to put “human relationships first.” Now that declaration is why the human rights post got bumped behind this one since Why explanations should always precede the How. Does this sound familiar in the current era of Whole Child Codes of Conduct and Positive School Mandates? In 1947, apparently in recognition that an America rich enough to provide one side’s armaments and rebuild Europe afterwards, was rich enough to transition to a Human Needs focused Development Society, suddenly there must be education with “a school environment where the satisfactory adjustment of all pupils is a primary consideration…This ‘R’ is of even greater importance than the 3 ‘Rs’ yet it has received little time or attention in the school’s organization.”

Do Colleges of Education or the accreditation agencies today get to decide the answer to the question the NEA asked back in 1947 as part of its post-war, Let’s Transform the US intentions and make the impending Cold War a moot point, philosophy? “Is it more important for Dick to excel everyone in his class and bring home a report card of all A’s or learn how to live with all the other boys and girls in his neighborhood?” Today’s Collaboration mandate is Educators and Business Interests declaring that they get to decide the answer to that question and none of us are to have any ability to veto that transformation of the historic purpose of education.

Me? I went back to the words that John Keats wrote so well back in 1958 in his Schools Without Scholars that was also a tirade against a Life Adjustment focus. He noted that the difference between making the child’s interests the focus [today's Relevance and Engagement] and making a body of knowledge the focus is about more than just “the nature of learning” and “the nature of things learned” although I will note that today’s Common Core rhetoric tries to ignore that both of those are being turned upside down. If we knew we might refuse to defer to the professional educators’ insistence they now get to decide. No, most importantly, as Keats also recognized, Life Adjustment under whatever name it uses in a particular decade is about “the true role of the individual in society.”

Now it seems with all the requisite communitarian focus and the “Universe of Obligation” required inquiry I will explain in the next post, Keats could not have been more prescient to our current dilemma being imposed via education. Are we going to allow schools to shift to required practices so that a teacher must now “conduct her class from the point of view that the individual has only a functional significance in society?” That is after all the view of the Career Pathways for All that the federal Departments of Ed, Labor, and HHS are now soliciting proposals for as School to Work is back. http://www.jff.org/news-media/long-sought-compromise-unites-parties-improve-us-workforce-development-system

I would be what Keats called a traditionalist: “dedicated to the proposition that society is merely a function of individuals.” As I put it in my book, do not use the word society as a noun unless we are talking about Mrs Astor’s Ballroom size. The title quote also comes from the 1947 NEA push and the same question still applies. What if the taxpayers paying the bill KNOW what is still useful much better than politicians or cronies or educators who live as parasites off the bounty produced by others? What right does a District Administrator or Principal dedicated to Mind Arson, the political transformation of the US, and active deceit to parents have to decide what is useful for the future and what is to be cast aside? Should a union like the NEA have the right to decide that either? Accreditors? Every one of these people or entities survives off of taxpayer funds and most of the adults leading these entities have no clue what actually produced the financial bounty they take for granted. And they have the veto power over what is needed for the future?

Or what is ‘useful?. This 1947 quote mirrors the School districts touting now that they no longer have a ‘deficit’ focus. Teachers are to “cease thinking of marking children and will start thinking how much the child is growing day after day, week after week, how much progress he’s making toward the kind of boy or girl which our town, our America, and our world finds useful.”

Useful for what? Useful to whom? If that decision is no longer in the realm of the individual student or parents, but has been outsourced to others who benefit from Mind Arson, what kind of society are we becoming?

Instead of town, today’s language is community. What functions does the community want each individual to have? Ask yourself who benefits from making the focus of the school the use of a device like a computer coupled to Non-Cognitive factors. Now that I have refreshed my recollection and augmented yours on Life Adjustment, we can contemplate what that focus has always intended to do. We can now examine the implications of what Columbia prof, Jacques Barzun, wrote in 1961 was an inversion of the entire purpose of education as students are all assumed to have “the supremely gifted mind, which must not be tampered with, and the defective personality which the school must remodel.”

That’s today’s assumption as well. What shall we do about these current unabashed intentions? Most of the barriers that have delayed this desire for wholesale transformation for so long in the purpose of education have fallen or died.

It’s up to us now to become those barriers again. Protect the children. Protect ourselves most of all. There are few things as dangerous as a parasite that has no idea where it actually gets its sustenance.

 

 

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.