Supposedly Creating a Generation of Solutionaries by Using Education to Create Futures Oriented Change Agents

There is something fundamentally suicidal about intentionally  limiting students’ knowledge of actual facts of what has worked well in the past, or been catastrophic, while emphasizing that they should imagine alternate futures for themselves and the world. Does it strike anyone else as encouraging children to play with nitro while the advocates sit firmly protected in school district or university offices living off collected taxes and tuition? It gets even worse with professors determined to jettison the current political, social, and economic systems using education–K-12, college, and graduate–to create the desired perspectives for change and then planning to build on the “growing movement of discontented young people” to force the change. The motto might as well be “We broke it and intend to use the breakage to get an even bigger hammer to keep breaking while blaming others for the destruction.”

Once again our invitations were lost for yet another planning meeting. The so-called Next System Project did hold a workshop December 12 at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard with many recognizable players that this blog has already looked into. Led by Democracy Collaborative advocate Gar Alperowitz and environmental activist James Speth (author of America the Possible: Manifesto for a New Economy wanting to use a new view of education to build the requisite consciousness), the workshop talked about a project, thenextsystem.org, that would be launched in 2014. Here’s my problem: many of the participants like Tufts Professor Neva Goodwin and the Tellus Institute (The Great Transition post) have been laying out their radical transformative intentions for a number of years so what is really new? I think what is new is the national K-12 initiative known as the Common Core State Standards (CCSSI). It becomes the catch-all excuse to shift all classroom instructional practices and the curriculum towards creating the student beliefs and values and perspectives in the need for such a new system.

Moreover, I think CCSSI gives the perfect excuse to push the Agenda 21 vision percolating out of the UN and the Subjective Well-Being, Green Growth, and Great Transition global initiatives announced by the OECD in Paris. If we go north to Canada and look at a 2012 document from the accounting and consulting firm Deloitte & Touche (apparently having governments as clients and then writing advocacy papers for the dirigiste vision is the consulting and legal nirvana of the future) called “Ready or not? Preparing youth for 21st century responsible citizenship,” we can see what the UN’s Education for Sustainable Development looks like in practice. Once again the focus of education is on changing what the student values and believes and what theories or concepts they use to filter their daily experiences. In fact, the Final Report has the banner “Viewing education through a responsible citizenship lens.”

Obuchenie then is till sought and the Ascending from the Abstract to the Concrete framing Mindset and conceptual lenses are still the new purpose of education globally but rarely will we find those particular terms used. Instead, the philosophy shows up in phrasing like this:

“The goal of responsible citizenship calls upon education to adopt a different set of learning tools and a different teacher-learner relationship that involves learning based upon inquiry and action. Paulo Freire [a major advocate of social justice education globally who viewed the transmission of knowledge as reproducing current privileges] terms this the ‘problem-posing’ method of education, where teachers and students learn together through combining theory with action [a/k/a experiential or hands on ed] and emphasizing the importance of inquiry.”

That inquiry of course occurs with the supplied Big Ideas or Lenses or Enduring Understandings or Understandings of Consequence as we went through in the previous post. They become how the world is seen whether they are true or not. When a student consistently applies them in how they see the world they are deemed to now be ‘autonomous.’ No sense of Orwellian irony that a person is now labeled autonomous only when she appears to be preprogrammed to respond in predictable ways. Another way these concepts come into this new vision of ed is by pushing the idea that K-12 students should “engage in praxis.” Once again this is defined as “combining theory and action–a goal that should be accomplished by taking students outside the classroom to learn from first-hand, real-world experiences.”

This “theory and action” aim seeks to have students come to see the world as in constant flux so they will believe they must be able to adapt to the changes. Supposedly, “learning this can help youth to see democracy as a work in progress, with room for more voices and views in its development and transformation. When the conventional student/teacher dichotomy is altered, learners are able to see that knowledge is not only delivered by those deemed as experts, but can come from personal investigation and interaction. Learning to be open to more forms of knowledge building can allow children to value their own discoveries and understandings.”

Now I hope Deloitte was well-paid to write such nonsense as part of the Learning for a Sustainable Future Initiative. Children and young adults may in fact come to believe that their own discoveries and understandings are just as important as what an expert knows, but they would be WRONG. It is our job as adults and the purpose of education to correct such misconceptions, not to foster ignorance and logical fallacies because such advocacy pays well. Governments at all levels in countries all over the world may have decided it would be nice if they can treat citizens as mere chattel and hide such intentions behind rhetoric about sustainability and responsible citizenship. The mask and obfuscatory language doesn’t change the abusive intent of the public sector and its collaborators within the private and ‘charitable’ sectors one bit.

Self-dealing by public officials, politicians, private sector lackeys, foundations, and higher ed wanting the gravy train to never end are simply hiding behind ostensibly noble language about “creating a generation of ‘solutionaries’… this begins with our young people. As such, we need to address these issues within our learning environments by creating authentic opportunities for young people to experience the power and possibilities democracy provides in loving and supporting community. We can transform our educational system to one based on respect for human rights and one that values freedom and responsibility, participation and collaboration, and equity and justice. To create a more just, sustainable and democratic world, we need democratic education.”

That sounds much more glorious than saying we need education to cripple our young people and future voters mentally and emotionally. When it turns out that they cannot in fact create the future they want despite what we insisted they be told during their K-12 years, few of these young people will have accurate facts to appreciate why there are not enough good jobs anymore. They will thus be the very change agent advocates that the UN and the OECD and all those participants in the next system workshop have said they desire.

Deliberately creating the discontent and then mining it for ever increasing political power and diminishing mass prosperity. That’s the true global vision of education in the 21st century that began in the 1990s and is now truly cranking into high gear.

And the longer we wait to accurately apprehend that this is the true nature of what is sought in K-12 and university classrooms, the more irreplaceable national treasure, both physical and noetic, will be lost.

With these intentions the likeliest next system is chaos as no one’s expectations can be met. The mind arson and destructive public sector spending will simply have consumed too much.

Utopian Education: Creating Mindsets that Push Future Fighters for Something Beyond the Current Real World

I am beginning to think I should get new business cards that say “Reads troubling plans for revolutionary change in the world we take for granted so you don’t have to.” It has been one of those weekends after I read a report from our Competency-pushing OECD in Paris that American taxpayers fund so generously. It was talking about New Economics to be imposed on the West via our institutions and using digital learning and technology and education and social reforms generally (my bolding):

“To turn connectivity into connectedness dedicated policies have to be designed with a twofold goal: first, to guarantee that all the emerging opportunities brought about by technology and its outcomes can be seized in favour of economic and societal development and second, that the resulting benefits of these opportunities are equally accessible to all. Education has to play a major role in the achievement of these two goals.”

Now unlucky me has spent enough time immersed in all these political theories to recognize when I am looking at a description of Uncle Karl’s little c vision of the future. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/naming-educators-as-the-levers-shifting-the-human-personality-to-marxs-moral-revolution/ is where I first addressed why changing values and beliefs is so crucial to achieving this little c vision. And it’s not about Lenin or Mao but it remains toxic to the individual and freedom in the sense of what created the West. Today I want to focus on all the current official publications that verify just how right I am as to what is really being targeted and why.

It’s also why parents are getting no relief when they want to opt out of Statewide Longitudinal Databases. It’s because tracking the changes in attitudes, values, dispositions, and beliefs via efforts at schools, and what curricula force changes more quickly and thoroughly, is an important part of the social engineering research being carried on via the schools. Especially with adaptive software and digital learning that allows immersion in virtual worlds.  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/students-must-see-themselves-as-active-participants-in-social-change-and-designers-of-social-futures/

All through the 70s Arne Naess’s books were bestsellers in Norway for their ecological visions of a new type of society. To prime the West towards a comparable vision of the future in time for the 90s efforts at wholesale transformation, his book Ecology, community and lifestyle was helpfully translated into English in the late 80s. He pointed out that ecology is where the socialist crowd was migrating because it created a belief in the necessity of political change. Central to these efforts is always a “change in consciousness.” As Naess graphically put it, the change “consists of a transition to a more egalitarian attitude to life and the unfolding of life on Earth.” Remember it is the Axemaker Mind that builds on existing cultural knowledge to invent technology and tools that can manipulate nature for man’s benefit. The “unfolding” vision wants people to merely be another creature. Very useful vision for political leaders, bureaucrats, and business leaders wanting to play future overlords and preserve current power. Not so good for the rest of us peons to be administered.

Before I detail more of the current efforts to create such a these New Mindsets, let’s read another Naess explanation on the intentions:

“The necessity of efforts to change mentality is closely associated with the necessity of organised efforts for profound changes in society. These two kinds of effort must be coordinated, not polarised against one another.”

And coordinated they are. It’s why education leaders are such a crucial component of the visions set out at a (co)lab in Atlanta or the cityLab  in NYC recently. It’s also why education is so crucial to the UN and the OECD’s plans. Following up on the OECD’s expressed intentions for change at its most recent forums led me straight to this transformational vision http://www.gtinitiative.org/documents/issueperspectives/gti-perspectives-premises_for_a_new_economy.pdf . It’s the kind of wholesale redistribution vision that would have made Uncle Karl weep with joy over his continued influence. Typical people should note though that this vision plans to take the world’s existing wealth and redistribute for the benefit of the poor in countries in the North and to raise living standards all through the Southern Hemisphere. It also involves shifting globally from a profit economy to a ‘needs’ economy in the 21st century.

Essential to that vision which we have already encountered in Shoshana Zuboff’s support economy book and the Aspen Institute pushing a Fourth Sector “for benefit” economy (see tags) it will “also be necessary to develop non-consumerist ways of understanding and being in the world.” Now won’t all the current reforms in K-12 and higher ed and the expansion into preschool be useful to such goals? How about an article published last month in the Journal of Human Rights and the Environment by Burns H. Weston and David Bollier which seeks to use Martha Nussbaum’s work we have talked about “as the theoretical means to restore ‘the obligation of result’. This would thereby move the discussion from the abstract to the concrete…” Why, yes, it would. It means we are trying to use education at all levels to create mindsets that will come to use the law and capability theory to impose Uncle Karl’s little c vision on societies without saying so.

Using the term “share-and-share-alike Golden Rule” sounds so much better than “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need” that was the hallmark of Uncle Karl’s vision of what would be possible in a society that had used capitalism to get to a certain advanced stage of technology. As the OECD said above, now it can be seized for the benefit of all others who have “needs.” Again this vision “must include a large-scale and sustained commitment to human rights education–as imaginatively pursued, for example, by the People’s Movement for Human Rights Education (PDHRE), a New York-based NGO ‘dedicated to human rights learning for social and economic transformation.’ It is, after all, life on Planet Earth that hangs in the balance.”

Probably not but it makes a good sales pitch for power to the public sector in the 21st century. Clearly this vision of ‘a just society’ laid out by Weston “that honors a public order of human dignity–the essence of human rights–marked by the widest possible shaping and sharing of all basic values among all human beings.”

Since the idea of the Great Transition is central to all these visions of the 21st century and what quality learning really means globally, the planners see a need for a GCM-a Global Citizens Movement demanding this vision of the future as a matter of rights. Legal rights. Useful then is the largely unheralded fact that CCSSO, the sponsors of the Common Core State Standards, has used its subsidiary Ed Steps, to partner with World Savvy  to get students to examine the “historical forces that have shaped the current world system” and push the “knowledge, skills, behaviors, and attitudes [that] are all aspects of Global Competency.” CCSSO’s real aim. Here’s the vision brochure created in August by World Savvy.  http://www.flipsnack.com/WorldSavvy/f7hf2i59 WS “celebrates innovation, art, and the limitless power of youth to make positive change” and is at the “cutting edge of education for the 21st century.”

To guarantee that the classroom work is “relevant and current” WS picks 3 year themes and the 2013-2016 theme is Population and Progress. It “helps students explore how a growing population defines progress, analyze the evolving nature of our collective challenges, and develop innovations that address these issues.” In fact students can pretend to be Uncle Karl’s Makers of History as WS has them create and submit “a Knowledge to Action Plan.” You will be so glad to know current WS students are quoted as saying they have “abandoned the notion of Us and Them in favor of We.”

Finally, CCSSO has quietly conceded that it is the Dispositions of the students themselves being targeted by these education “reforms.” http://www.ccsso.org/Documents/ILN%20Knowledge%20Skills%20and%20Dispositions%20CCR%20Framework%20February%202013.pdf

It adds a new C though. Our children are to be “college, career, and citizenship ready.” And if you are wondering what kind of citizenship CCSSO has in mind they go on to cite their sources and usefully mention every controversial report I have ever written about on this blog down to rejecting the individual mind and mandating communitarianism through the Career Tech guidelines. Thank you CCSSO for your hubris in that document.

People trying to criticize the idea of national education standards have begun to use the phrase “Commie Core” to attack the Common Core State Standards. The irony is if you track CCSSO’s actual planned implementation and the agendas of its named partners in developing classroom curricula and assessments and you compare it to Uncle Karl’s actual vision of little c communism, you get a match to the values, behaviors, dispositions, and mindsets to be fostered.

Perhaps a more apt phrase then would be the Commie Core designed to aid the Great Transition whether we consent or not? Designed to be implemented while we are still unaware of such wholesale changes or wrongfully believe this is about the transmission of academic content in the 21st century.

As Naess wrote, these values need to be internalized so direct regulation of the individual in the future will be unnecessary. “I envisage a change of revolutionary depth and size by means of many smaller steps in a radically new direction.”

That was the plan in the late 80s. In 2013 it feels as a parent like all those smaller steps are being pushed in a frenzy at the same time.

Some people have become very impatient for transformative change that benefits them but not us. And hardly anyone recognizes what is happening.

Values and Vocational: Creating Citizen Drones Via Education Worldwide

Citizen Drones may seem harsh. Honestly though there are a limited number of times you can insist that the desired education reforms are in “preparation for responsible citizenship” while describing a political and economic coup as part of the program and not trigger an image of Student as a Drone. Future Adult as a Drone. Waiting to be told via communication software where it is to go and what it is to do and what it should care about. And what it should be concerned about.

Especially when the Responsible Citizenship as a Comrade, I mean Citizen, with the Right to Vote in its Desired Representative Government, is in the context of shifting to a Government Led Reorganized Economy. A No Growth Economy in a Post-GDP world. Where the Citizenship and Education Plan writers also mention that they do not intend to Fully Prescribe Individual Behavior. That they See a Government Public Sector that Nudges but does not Shove.

How Enlightened of the Government Apparatus. I am quite sure that Government Officials and Employees all over the world who have been told that the State is rightfully in charge of “human agency and social exchange” will undoubtably show that the 21st Century is in fact a time of miraculous change in Human Nature. That with THAT mandate it is perfectly reasonable to expect an “equal partnership between the public and the public sector.” Unicorns will prance in Fields of Gold and official decrees will go out “putting an end to ‘them and us’.” Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows will be available to all at no cost and with a minimum of work so that this “Equal Partnership” can “co-produce well-being for all.”

Now if you sometimes find my posts painful to read, remember I just provide illustrating anecdotes to make my point. I actually read these documents and books. ALL of them. Those quotes above in a recent new economics foundation (nef) report called The Great Transition came from rereading that report while mulling this Laptops for All, Tablets for All Push, that I first described here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/mind-thieves-everyday-examples-that-add-up-to-a-cultural-and-political-tsunami/ . That post has really been on my mind since I discovered that Mooresville, NC super has been featured on the Amplify website and asked to speak on a panel at the Foundation for Excellence in Education conference in DC. So what we might see as a Problem and a Bug, others view as a Change to be Openly Touted.

Which has really been bothering me since last Thursday when I went to hear a Deputy Super speak in the Large Suburban Atlanta School District with the Duplicitous Charter. I went because I wanted to ask about the Tablets to Gain New Minds Presentation that I wrote about here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/ridiculing-the-1860s-mind-as-unsuitable-for-the-21st-century-cui-bono/ . And I did, flustering the Deputy Super who kept insisting that the Amplify/ AT&T contract was not yet in the RFP stage. What a relief! Then he went on to say that Fulton’s Plan was to top what Forsyth County was doing with technology. Well, fully digitized seems hard to top. Anyway, my whole point was supposed to be concern that we would emulate Forsyth.

Making school about using a Tool is making school Vocational. And a computer is a Tool. Even Steve Jobs would recognize that. And nonintellectual if it holds the knowledge to be tapped. That is my concern with the mandated integration of the computer. Apart from the repeated declaration that it hobbles the mind. And intentionally so.

In preparation for writing up my concerns I went back and reread the pertinent UNESCO and  nef reports to doublecheck my recollection that they were mandating technology for All precisely because they desired a vocational direction as the primary education experience to be mandated for all. No more Gifted. No more Special Ed. No more English as a Second Language Classroom. Immersive for All with a Vocational Orientation using the Tool of the Computer. Which is precisely what I found but in the Exact Same Documents is this Altered Economy and Society and Political Structure with No Use for the Independent Individual.

That’s a problemmatic Vision to be implementing via education. Especially in the US which still does technically have a Constitution that makes the Individual the Primary Rights holder instead of a Subject looking for the Government’s Permission on what she can do and be. The Thursday meeting actually became more troubling as parents noted that the ESPLOST vote the previous year had been premised on school improvements and rebuilding on a certain schedule because of overcrowding. All of a sudden the plans involving a suburban, affluent,  just outside the city limits line of Atlanta Public Schools, elementary and high school were being postponed despite serious overcrowding. All of the desired technology though was still coming. No changes. Despite a decline in estimated taxes to be received.

No, I have not had the heart to tell anyone else at that meeting that all the School Integration and Resegregation Theories have a big Bullseye painted on that Suburb as a Prime Candidate for Interdistrict Transfers. What Idealogues have been craving in Atlanta and other metro areas for decades. Facts aligning so well with Theories are rarely Coincidental. The point was that there was no give on the Tablets and Technology. Verifying what I had long suspected. The Computer Technology and the resulting shift to a vocational orientation was the whole point of the ESPLOST. Hard to get a property tax increase for such a fungible good.  Visual and Vocational and new Values was always the Primary Goal.

UNESCO’s vision for fully integrating technology into the classroom, which would be the step beyond Forsyth, would be technology as a tool to foster “student engagement and participation.” Which is certainly not what the taxpayers in that high achieving county had in mind when they were sold on the benefits of becoming a charter system. Unfortunately, the language of that Charter dovetails perfectly with the UNESCO Global Education For All vision that decrees:

“an integral part of everyone’s basic education is the form of initiation to technology, the world of work, and human values and standards for responsible citizenship.” Ugh, that phrase again. By the way, this Vocational/Technical Education for All as both the Floor and the Ceiling for All Students expressly includes the

“harmonious development of personality and character, and foster spiritual and human values, the capacity for understanding, judgement, critical thinking and self-expression.”

But that UNESCO vision of Education for All is also tied to a planned “national and, if possible, regional social and economic requirements of the present and future.” That presumed Citizen as Subject Vision again. Finally, I found a rather succinct version of this education to change “human culture, politics, and values” as part of a New Economics based on moving away from fossil fuels and a No Growth Future based on a new Sense of Well-being. Just what we have outlined in previous posts. Not a shock, the description can be found on the website of nef’s US affliate,  New Economics Institute. http://neweconomicsinstitute.org/content/new-economics-21st-century

Written by a Board member, Neva Goodwin, there are already textbooks ready for college students to learn this Economics in Context. A big clue to the hole this fills that was left by Uncle Karl’s bad press and poor results is hinted at by the language translations already-Russian, Vietnamese, and Italian. They don’t call it Red Bologna for nothing.

So if this technology push and Education for All with a vocational orientation and new Values, Communitarian Values, is based on a centrally planned economy with the premise that “we must accept the end of economic growth as we know it,” shouldn’t that be part of the conversation with the future Citizens/Comrades/ Taxpayers?

If we need New Minds to be willing to tolerate a future of Subjugation by the Political Class, can’t we talk about it in advance? Or do we just pay our property taxes and shut up? Deferring to every Edudoctor turned out by a College of Education.

Right now we seem to have a Revolution going on Globally in the Name of Education that will Compromise Tomorrow’s Possibilities for All of us Forever. And all we are getting is Deceit on what is Really Going On. From people whose salaries we pay.

Can we please discuss all this before these Huge Technology Expenditures? In school districts all over the World?