Illegitimate Extension: the Stealth Substitution of ECAA and the Dystopian Future Triggered by its Mandates and Lures

ECAA is the acronym for the new federal K-12 legislation–the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015. Since Senator Lamar Alexander, assuming unknown to me powers never discussed in Civics in that “How a Bill Becomes a Law” brochure, has pulled what unanimously passed his Senate subcommittee and substituted this more than 200 page longer bill http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-114s1177pcs/pdf/BILLS-114s1177pcs.pdf , we are going to interrupt our trilogy to take a look. Especially since the lack of any genuine public notice of the “Yoohoo, Heads Up” variety makes it appear none of us were supposed to have a chance to notice and object to the switch. I was not fond of the old bill’s language and wrote several posts explaining why back in April.

The new language though requires, as a matter of binding federal law, two revolutionary shifts in American schools. It imposes the UNESCO/OECD Seven Domains (and accompanying subdomains explicitly in numerous instances too often to be coincidental) of Universal Education. I intuited that after I finished the 792 page bill and then located the 3 reports created by the Brookings Institute Learning Metrics Task Force (LMTF) and published in February 2013, July 2013, and June 2014. All the reports start with “Toward Universal Learning”. Report 1 is then titled “What Every Child Should Learn” and lays out those 7 domains of Physical wellbeing, social and emotional, culture and the arts, literacy and communication, Learning approaches and cognition, Numeracy and mathematics, and science and technology. Report 2 is “A Global Framework for Measuring Learning” and Report 3 lays out “Implementing Assessment to Improve Learning.”

Report 2 gives the perfect rationale for why ECAA has had such a stealth approach and why the Opt Out movement seems to really be about shifting to formative assessments and a Whole Child approach. Let’s listen in on this useful confession:

“While measurement may have different purposes at different levels, the systems for measuring and improving learning at the classroom, national, and global levels should not be working in isolation. Globally tracked indicators should be aligned with what is measured nationally and in schools or classrooms, while measurement at the national level should be aligned with the competencies measured in classrooms or schools.”

That is why ECAA is so intent on ensuring that all states and local school districts are using “high-quality assessments” and measuring “higher order thinking and understanding.” Now I have written about the meanings of these terms before, most particularly here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/muzzling-minds-all-over-the-globe-while-trumpeting-higher-order-skills/ , but it is time to reveal that second revolutionary shift mandated as a MATTER OF LAW by ECAA. It forces a vision of theoretical learning and “mastering of the technique of theoretical concept formation” developed in the Soviet Union to create ideological thinkers who could be manipulated by state authorities (or anyone else who knew about the methods). This relates to what is described in Chapter 3 of my book and is also why it is so alarming that ECAA has the National Science Foundation providing recommendations on Best Practices in STEM coursework.

After I had finished reading both the new ECAA and those three Universal Education reports, I pulled a 1984 book Psychology in Utopia: Toward a Social History of Soviet Psychology for insights into what was being mandated via ECAA as “personalized, rigorous learning experiences that are supported through technology” and a repeated obligation to “personalize learning”. This is all under the Innovative Technology Expands Children’s Horizon’s (I-Tech) part that begins on page 551. In other words, after normal people have become too frustrated with ECAA to continue. I have known for a while that the phrase “personalized learning” is a quagmire of misunderstandings and psychologically intrusive practices to lock-in, at a neurological level, how the world will be interpreted going forward.

The book’s author did not think much of this theoretical learning and called the project an “outright utopia,” which should not be extended “illegitimately, to the whole of society.” Can’t imagine then why we should enshrine it in 2015 as an obligation under federal law. The book described all the programs that Vasily Davydov and his group created in the 70s that, from my knowledge of the actual Common Core implementation as detailed in my book, is the basis for all those planned learning tasks and literacy instruction now. Oh. Good. Kozulin noted though that by 1981 Davydov’s research showed that “object-oriented activity” alone had no effect on mental development. To have that effect, a “personalized form” of “educational activity” must be found. I am guessing that is what ECAA means with its constant references to “well-rounded educational experiences.”

To be ‘personalized’ according to the research of the Soviet psychologists, the focus “of the psychological program” must get at “problems of motivation and personal reflection and the construction of individualized programs of educational activity.” That would be what ECAA calls data to ‘personalize learning’ and ‘inform instruction’ and specifically calls for the “use of data, data analytics, and information to personalize learning and provide targeted supplementary instruction.” See what I meant by Windows on the Mind from the last post?

I have a lot to cover so here’s why Universal Design for Learning had to be in ECAA and why it is vital to personalizing learning http://www.eschoolnews.com/2015/05/19/udl-personalized-939/print/ . Here is the Gates Foundation-funded and tied to OECD work and the Achievement Standards Network we have also covered on the Next Generation Learning Environment and its ties to personalizing learning. https://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/eli3035.pdf

So why really must Learning be personalized and why is what now constitutes ‘content’ under ECAA really behavior or the kind of theoretical concept knowledge or principles we have now tracked to the USSR and its visions for utopia in the future? This is from the 2nd Universal Education LMTF report. I put up a link yesterday from 2013 of Arne Duncan hyping this very global agenda of the UN Secretary-General. It is worth quoting in full, but I am bolding the real stunners. Remember the UN Dignity for All by 2030 Agenda I have covered previously.

“The world faces global challenges, which require global solutions. These interconnected global challenges call for far-reaching changes in how we think and act for the dignity of fellow human beings. It is not enough for education to produce individuals who can read, write, and count. Education must be transformative and bring shared values to life. It must cultivate an active care for the world and for those with whom we share it. Education must be relevant in answering the big questions of the day. Technological solutions, political regulation or financial instruments alone cannot achieve sustainable development. It requires transforming the way people think and act. Education must fully assume its central role in helping people to forge more just, peaceful, tolerant and inclusive societies. It must give people the understanding, skills and values they need to cooperate in resolving the interconnected challenges of the 21st century.”

That is precisely what ECAA does when you go through its actual language as I have done. By the way, that quote was from a section of the report titled “An Adaptable, Flexible Skill Set to Meet the Demands of the 21st Century.” In the US and other countries all over the world this gets sold as students having a Growth Mindset. It’s no accident that before hyping that euphemistic term Carol Dweck was a well-known Vygotsky scholar. The 1970s Soviet work is an updating of Vygotsky’s work and what this blog has tagged CHAT-cultural historical activity theory. We have met it all before http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/treating-western-society-and-its-economy-as-a-train-in-need-of-rebuilding-and-central-direction/ and now we know why. These global plans and using education as the vehicle are far more extensive even than what is already alarmingly detailed in my book.

ECAA though is the mother lode because it makes regulating our behavior and personality at a neurological level not just something schools may do, but something they MUST do. As a matter of federal law to further an admitted global agenda. LMTF Report 3 talks about how the countries are to get the global Learning agenda and the Seven Domain emphasis into schools and classrooms as a binding obligation. By the time we trace through the schoolwide PBIS, Positive School Climate, “supporting activities that promote physical and mental health and wellbeing for students and staff,” creating and maintaining “a school environment that is free of weapons and fosters individual responsibility and respect for the rights of others” and other ECAA mandates that the local schools and districts must now provide we can see how Ban Ki-Moon’s transformation through education vision quoted above makes it all the way into each classroom and each child.

I have mentioned the repeated use of “well-rounded educational experiences”. It appears to be an obligation to implement not just a Whole Child emphasis, but also to make up for whatever deficits poverty in the community, a dysfunctional family life, or any other problems like being a migrant that does not speak English may have created. All means all. Physical education language in ECAA turns quietly into a mandate to promote the “social or emotional development of every student” and “opportunities to develop positive social and cooperative skills through physical activity participation.” Again mirroring subdomains laid out in those 3 LMTF reports.

I am going to close with yet more proof that ECAA is all about fostering desired behaviors, emotions, and values as it contains repeated references to meeting students “academic needs”. Now I wouldn’t be much of a lawyer if I did not recognize defined terms left mischieviously undefined. Sure enough here’s a link to a February 2009 statement from the National Association of School Psychologists.   http://www.nasponline.org/about_nasp/positionpapers/AppropriateBehavioralSupports.pdf No wonder there are so many references to school counseling programs and mental health providers in ECAA.

I have notes on everything I have described here. If I could draw a jigsaw puzzle to show how tight the actual fit is with everything I have described, I would. It’s impossible to get this level of fit accidentally or this level of correspondences coincidentally.

I joke about speaking ed. I understand intuitively and from years of practice how the law can be used to bind people and places against what they would wish. I have put both those skills together to bring everyone a heads up.

I only wish I was speculating on any of this. Hopefully this post will reach enough people in time.

Asserting Political Will to Transform the Nature Of Education to Create a New Kind of Electorate

That title might describe the natural implications of the language in the Every Child Achieves Act or the Common Core sponsor CCSSO announcing in February 2014 that the purpose of the Common Core was to create desired ‘Dispositions’ in ‘Citizens,’ but unfortunately that quote comes from the purpose of the dialectical thinking we met in the last post. It’s also the purpose of what the Common Core calls Deeper Learning, ECCA calls ‘higher order thinking,’ and what 21st Century Skills calls Critical Thinking. Can we all say “thoroughly permeates the actual implementation” together in unison? Let’s go back to what Richard Paul wrote back in 1993 in the Introduction to his Critical Thinking book:

“Harnessing social and economic forces to serve the public good and the good of the biosphere…requires mass publics around the world skilled in cooperative, fairminded, critical discourse…it is essential that we foster a new conception of self-identity, both individually and collectively…[we must reconceptualize the nature of teaching and learning so that people learn] something quite new to us: to identify not with the content of our beliefs, but with the integrity of the process by which we arrived at them.”

All those references we keep encountering on having a Growth Mindset instead of a Fixed One make far more sense if education now insists that “we must come to define ourselves, and actually respond in everyday contexts, as people who reason their way into, and can be reasoned out of, beliefs.” Must be a malleable citizen in other words and not like those Bakers in Oregon who think they can decide who to bake a wedding cake for. Governments now get to decide what are unacceptable beliefs and practices. At least they are adults being told what they can and cannot do and believe and are being told openly. How much worse is it when the unacceptable beliefs involve our children and what they brought from our homes? How much more hidden is it when the unacceptable beliefs and values get taken out via formative assessment that a parent never sees or has anyone explain accurately?

Paul was quite honest (and fond of emphasizing with italics) that the required Critical Thinking involves an obligation for students to “have to empathize with and reason within points of view toward which we are hostile. To achieve this end, we must persevere [with Grit?] over an extended period of time, for it takes time and significant effort to learn how to empathically enter a point of view against which we are biased…We must recognize an intellectual responsibility to be fair to views we oppose. We must feel obliged to hear them in their strongest form to ensure that we do not condemn them out of ignorance or bias.”

In case anyone fails to appreciate why it is so revolutionary for the federal government to require all schools in every state to assess all students at least annually for (page 36 of ECAA) “higher-order thinking skills and understanding,” they are looking for whether the student has learned to think as Paul laid out. Is the student fixed in how they view or interpret the world or open to change? What concepts, strategies or ideas do they use in untaught situations where there is no single correct answer? Every group pushing for radical social change wants student assessments to be tied to HOTS because they, and with this post we do too, know that “the character of our mind is one with our moral character. How we think determines how we behave and how we behave determines who we are and who we will become.” [Paul again]

Who we are becoming is the whole point now of K-12 education as reenvisioned because as Paul explained (quoting in turn economist Robert Heilbroner):  “…the problems of capitalist disorder–too many to recite, too complex in their origins to take up one at a time…arise from the workings of the system….The problems must be addressed by the assertion of political will…the undesired dynamics of the economic sphere must be contained, redressed, or redirected by the only agency capable of asserting a counter-force to that of the economic sphere. It is the government.” Paul went on to describe “How are we to cultivate the new kind of electorate?” That cultivation became the focus of the Critical Thinking book.

Now the very same groups like The Leadership Conference head quoted here in describing the actual new purpose of a new kind of accountability in education http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/not-going-to-let-the-us-constitution-stop-us-from-using-schools-to-enshrine-global-social-justice-and-human-rights/ are enthusiastic about the language of ECAA because it forces annual testing of HOTS. Wade Henderson also participated this week in the rollout of this plan http://www.goodjobsforall.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/PFA-GJFA-Launch-Report.pdf calling for Government to massively intervene in the economy to ensure a reduction in inequality and Good, living wage jobs for all. Basically Heilbroner’s vision and Uncle Karl’s updated to 2015. The report also blames current wage stagnation and the weak economy on too little government intervention in the economy.

That kind of economy run by political will calls for a new kind of mind, values, and behaviors, which is precisely what the real implementation is designed to deliver. In my book I cover the first attempt to deliver this desired new mindset via K-12 education in the 60s. One of the things I have learned since the book came out is the widespread anger, especially among intellectuals, that existed in the 1950s and 60s over the American economy and society many of us grew up cherishing. Paul’s vision of Critical Thinking and a new philosophy of education that would deliver the new kind of needed citizen frequently cited a Professor Israel Scheffler. His essay on the New Activism presented in 1970 revealed that a didactic, traditional subject matter, transmission of knowledge approach to education was and still is viewed as immoral and amounted to “Fiddling while Rome burns.”

Transmission of subject-knowledge via lecture or textbook, for example, is held to reenforce the world as it currently exists. Perhaps the student feels no need to explore alternative viewpoints he knows he abhors because he is aware with facts of precisely why. No, K-12 education and ‘Critical’ or ‘Philosophical’ Thinking is designed to create mindsets ready to accept and adopt the “imperative task of altering an utterly evil status quo.” Education as traditionally envisioned and then practiced was “compliant with evil–an obstacle to the revolutionary transformation of society.” School “must transform itself into an agency of radical social change.” Moreover, education must develop people who are aware and feel responsibility for “the suffering of other human beings whose pain he might, through his efforts, alleviate.”

In a follow-up 1971 essay called “Philosophy and the Curriculum” Scheffler insisted that traditional subjects treat education as if it were about “fixed points.” Well, that obviously would be in the way of radical social change. In a passage that sure does presage all the transdisciplinary, Whole Child, conceptual lenses, and Charles Fadel’s Redesign of Curriculum work for the OECD and UNESCO, Scheffler noted:

“The educator needs to consider the possibility of new classifications and interrelations among the subjects not only for educational but also for general intellectual purposes. He must, further, devote his attention to aspects of human development that are too elusive or too central to be encompassed within the framework of subjects; for example, the growth of character [Fadel] and the refinement of the emotions [no wonder ECAA included PBIS, mental health and well-being and "non-academic skills essential for school readiness and academic success".] He ought, moreover, to reflect on schooling as an institution, its organization within society, and its consequences for the career of values.”

ECAA in the form being considered by Congress certainly fits in every respect the functions of K-12 education and Critical Thinking called for by both Richard Paul and Israel Scheffler. That means their expressed goals for these shifts away from didactic transmission of knowledge come with the mandated changes in practice and assessments.

Does Congress understand the nature of what it is actually about to mandate? Do politicians from the federal level to the state and local care?

Or is cultivation of a new kind of electorate the whole point with few willing to openly admit they know this is the entire purpose of these reforms?

Is 21st Century Learning really all about creating that electorate that will tolerate an economy and society premised on political will?

Is the onset of the wage stagnation and economic weakness bemoaned in that report above as the result of too little government intervention actually a result of this announced shift by 1970 to make education an instrument of radical social change?

If so, what will happen now that we are essentially doubling down on that strategy?

Behind the Backs of Individuals: Creating the Well-Trained Consciousness

Fasten those seatbelts because here we go again. In turns out that back in the 1950s, in Rockefeller Foundation financed research carried out at the Russian Institute at Columbia University, Professor Herbert Marcuse laid out the vision of what kind of changed individual consciousness would be necessary for a “society where the realm of necessity is brought under rational control.” I shorthand that vision using Uncle Karl’s term–the Human Development Society–and this blog has been systematically covering all the various announcements of it recently from the Next System Project from the last post or the Larry Summers-led Commission on Inclusive Prosperity from January 2015. Since this power grab is clearly a current quest, even if it is not being widely covered away from this blog, let’s go back to see what Marcuse laid out, especially as it fits well with the announced goals of the new federal education legislation in hearings this week.

This post should have everyone looking at the announced title of the ECAA–Every Child Achieves Act–and wanting to call Congress to protest calling psychological manipulation–student achievement. First let’s go back in time to look at where that title came from. Marcuse was pointing out that in the USSR “individual behavior and values” are “automatically directed by the political agencies” so that there is no such thing as the distinct individual making his own way apart from what is determined to be in the needs of the remainder of society. Marcuse really hated the Western tradition that views the individual as a ‘private person’ instead of merely a ‘member of society’. He called for “the passing of the bourgeois individual…as the autonomous ‘subject’ which, as ego cogitans and agent, was to be the beginning and the end of Western culture.”

All of the emphasis on the Whole Child and social and emotional learning and as I will show today–the “integration of education and mental health” into a single vision of what effective schooling is now to be–makes far more sense if we are aware of Marcuse laying out the preconditions for achieving the kind of social and economic visions we keep encountering. Think of the 21st Century required skill of collaboration as we read the call for “the shrinking of the ego.” Won’t all the data being gathered come in handy in the next Marcuse call for “the administrative regulation of his material and intellectual needs”? What could be done openly in the USSR in the 50s and 60s (my copy of the 1958 Soviet Marxism book is the 4th printing from 1969) was described by Marcuse as “the coordination between public and private existence, which, at the postliberal stage of Western society, takes place largely unconsciously and behind the backs of the individuals.”

Can we just all join together in unison and yell “No More”? Just because all these visions of transformations need the ‘passing of the individual’ as a ‘private person’ to make it so, and even though, the education reforms are quietly trying to arrange the necessary “internalization” that will otherwise “impair the social cohesion and depth of morality,” does not mean any of us have to accede to this vision, for either ourselves or our children. The political theory involved, being implemented quietly, then and even more so now as federally mandated and financed education policy, insists on redefining freedom. Marcuse even italicized redefine to emphasize this crucial point: “it no longer means being the self-responsible architect of one’s life, of one’s own potentialities and their realization…the standards of freedom are shifted from the autonomous individual to the laws governing the society which governs the individual.” (my bolding)

Well, that quote certainly explains why my tracking Radical Ed Reform via its accompanying legal mandates has always proven so prophetic of actual long term intent. Since the needed shifts must occur, per Marcuse, at the level of ‘inner being’ and we know that is precisely the area that the new kinds of Common Core assessments emphasize, let’s come back to the present. First though a wave to Marcuse for being so usefully graphic. It certainly puts the Common Core’s emphasis on creating and measuring desired Habits of Mind into perspective http://www.tascorp.org/sites/default/files/TASC_SELResourceGuide_FINAL.pdf or “normed measures of social and emotional well-being.” A parent concerned about the increasingly widespread use of the PAX Good Behavior Game can add Marcuse’s confessed purposes to PAX’s admission that it:

“is teaching students to self-regulate, reduce impulsive or emotional reactions, delay gratification, and work together for a higher purpose. This is not achieved by lessons on the brain or behavior or some formal curriculum on social-emotional learning. [All of those would be, of course, somewhat visible rather than behind our backs]. Rather, this is achieved in the context of ordinary life at school that mimics the conditions of human evolution.”

Huh? http://www.promoteprevent.org/sites/www.promoteprevent.org/files/resources/2013%20Purrfect%20PAX%20Rubric2_Text_only.pdf That fascinating remark makes no sense in any biological sense, but it does begin to make sense for anyone who has read my coverage of using education to drive cultural evolution as laid out in my book Credentialed To Destroy. Marcuse also clearly had something similar in mind with his descriptions of targeting ‘internalization’ and an individual’s ‘inner being’. All of these things also become much clearer once we are aware of a desire to Integrate Education and Mental Health in Schools. http://peabody.vanderbilt.edu/docs/pdf/camhs_special_issue/3_Toward_the_integration_of_ED_and_MH.pdf is from the 2009 conference and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2874625/ shows the actual 2010 publication and Health and Human Services’ interest.

In fact, it is not just a federal agency’s interest in “examining models to better integrate learning and behavioral health” or support at the federal level for a “closer alignment between education and mental health.” It’s not just the citing of the P-20 education agenda “embraced by the National Governors Association and the Gates Foundation” or “other reform efforts (e.g. Next Generation Learners)” sponsored by certain states and the CCSSO or ‘personalized learning’ as good vehicles for this desired integration. All that is bad enough and ties directly to what we have been covering on this blog. No, what ties all this directly to ECAA and this week’s Senate hearings is the call-out for making such integrated education about identifying and cultivating “functional competencies.”

Competency-based education. Where have we heard that phrase before in addition to chapter 4 of my book?   If the new ECAA is about anything it about fostering the shift to competency-based education. As the 2009 paper noted a goal of schools focusing on improved student functioning and “this focus on competency could also create a better alignment between educational and mental health policy.” In fact, the paper concluded with “education and mental health will be advanced when the goal of mental health is effective schooling and the goal of effective schools is the healthy functioning of students.” I believe that would be the healthy functioning of students as ‘members of society’, not so much as private persons anymore. Sure does explain the anti-academic emphasis (there goes that pesky ego) and all the hyping of workforce needs.

I want to close with a quote William James, America’s original psychologist and John Dewey’s instructor, laid out a very long time ago, when so many radicals hoped to change the 20th Century towards collectivism. I wish I could say I pulled this from a long dormant book on him or Dewey. Instead, it is the epigraph at the beginning of a concluding chapter called “A Solid Bridge to the Future” from a 1992 book Breakpoint and Beyond: Mastering the Future-Today.”

“Of all the creatures of earth, only human beings can change their patterns. Man alone is the architect of his destiny….Human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.”

Perhaps, given what is laid out in this post, we should rephrase that as having those ‘inner attitudes’ changed for them.

Behind their backs. In the name of Competency or Positive School Climate or Effective Schooling.

At least none of this is behind our backs.

 

Wider World is Primary, Not the Stifling Prison of the Instantaneous Present

Education is the entry way, but it is by no means the ultimate goal. Those of us who want to believe that all would be well if only all decisions were made locally instead of at state, federal, or international levels should be aware that the Local was preselected back in the mid-80s as the place where “equity, implementation of human rights, promotion of democracy, and environmental protection” could best be invisibly put into place, especially in the capitalistic West like Canada, the UK, Australia, and the US. It was at the local level that the “world must evolve structures of governance (not necessarily government) that offer improved prospects of achieving sustainability…and decency.” The global belief that the local is the place to impose authoritarianism while pretending it is participatory democracy can also be seen here http://www.ted.com/talks/benjamin_barber_why_mayors_should_rule_the_world as long time activist Benjamin Barber wants binding power now centered in the cities.

The following discussion needs to be added to what we already know from the book on unappreciated events that took place in the 80s getting ready for a pivot away from communism and the Cold War that impacted education so much in the 90s and now. The World Orders Models Project we have already disturbingly met http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/reorienting-world-order-values-via-the-intervention-of-activist-education-and-progressive-politics/  began  a Global Civilization Project in the 80s after a visit in the fall of 1986 from a special assistant to Mikhail Gorbachev. This Georgi Shakhnarov “discerning the changes which were about to take place [prescient, huh?] in the Soviet Union and elsewhere, and possessing an impressive familiarity with WOMP materials, he felt that recent events were vindicating many of the WOMP policy objectives while obligating many in the global community to revisit the security doctrines that had authorized Cold War hostilities.”

Sure enough WOMP had a meeting in Moscow in 1987 that we were not invited to (although I did manage to locate the resulting book) that began the new vision we are still dealing with now, whether we recognize the sources or not. The post-Cold War world, much like the Great Transition, Subjective Well-Being, and post-2015 hype from the OECD and UN entities now, wanted “alternative policies that promote the ‘world order values’ of peace, economic well-being, social justice, ecological balance, and positive human identity.” From those goals came a radically transformed vision of education where:

“To realise the potential of the twenty-first century we will need to put aside the obsessions of the 20th century, especially the fixation on what we may have, and return our attention to the perennial question of what we may be. That process can begin now, in schools. This book has been informed by the view that the outer world is an expression of the inner one. The biggest step forward would be re-establishing a map of culture which includes more than the material and the instrumental. We can then use the new map, the new world-view, both to frame and define futures which breach the bounds of instrumental rationality and see human life as a self-aware part of the whole.”

That was the conclusion of a book Education for the Twenty-First Century published simultaneously in 1993 in the UK, Canada, and the US. That’s a lot of kick starting via the schools of a new vision of values to guide perceptions of reality going forward. The reason the core, then and now, of transformative changes in human behavior has to be values is because human values guide preferences. If you want social action for change, education and other social institutions where people gather, like religions or mass media programming, have to constantly be pushing the envelope on values and ethical issues and reimagining morality. And you wondered why values clarification suddenly dropped into the schools in the 90s or why a Kairos Center is being launched now.

Another one of those assumptions that was invisibly altered in the 80s and early 90s to commence the social and economic justice assault on the West was to push Socio-Economics as envisioned by the very same Professor Amitai Etzioni regarded as the Communitarianism Guru. We first encountered his work being cited to justify Positive School Climates and Positive Behavior interventions for all students. Then he came up again when we discovered the communitarian focus for what Career Ready Standards actually meant. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/does-common-core-target-hearts-and-minds-to-sway-future-voters/ Big surprise. His work on the ‘totality’ having primacy over the individual is to guide this new vision of economics. No wonder his work  keeps making uninvited appearances.

Let’s take a look at the three characteristics an economic system must adopt to prepare for the kind of reorientation Etzioni, WOMP, Gorbachev, and too many others in well-compensated positions of leadership have decreed without our consent. Being shaped and then imposed invisibly via education: K-12 and college and now preschool and graduate programs.  First, the individual is no longer to be independent and able to exercise their own free will. Instead, he or she must see themselves as interdependent. Part of interlocking systems. So when we have come across initiatives like Fostering Communities of Learners that are to be required and made a measure of whether a Principal is deemed Effective, that focus is priming students and teachers for the new way the economic and social systems of the future are to work.

The second rejection is the idea of maximizing value from a given choice. Instead, the emphasis shifts to ‘satisficing behavior’–good enough. No need to hold out for the ideal or a perfect fit. Students practice for this element of the reenvisioned social and economic systems via all those ‘rigorous’ assessments where there is no correct answer or the material has never been taught. It is what counts as operating at Higher Levels of Thinking under a Depth of Knowledge template for evaluating student work. Practicing a good enough strategy and being willing to act anyway. In satisficing behavior the focus is always on the future so that image of what could be can begin to reshape the current reality. Once again brought to you by people paid to push these pernicious ideas without having to live with the consequences. Yet anyway.

Number 3 is “consensus formation as the essential nature of interaction between individuals and institutions within the economic system.” This is the part where we all have an obligation not to point out to the community organizer or Area School Super that their vision is stuck at the level of a dull 12-year old mind or grounded in the anger of a thwarted teenager. All perspectives are equally valid, remember? This new behavioral characteristic gets modelled in the Common Core Discourse Classroom as students in the end do not get to retain their own opinions. They must practice learning to accept the consensus because in the Totality vision: “once a consensus is reached, all entities party to that consensus will embrace the final decision and quickly integrate that decision into their behavior.”

So just as many of us have feared all this pushing for consensus and mentions of governance really can accurately be viewed as authoritarianism imposed in the 21st century from below, rather than above. Locally, instead of globally even if it is the international wanna-be nomenklatura class that has always been behind the advocacy and architecture of these local and Totality visions of the future. I am going to continue to talk about this atrocious binding vision of Governance in the next post. I may have forgotten to mention that some of this post came from what is laid out in another WOMP book On Humane Governance: Toward a New Global Politics.

Not if, and I mean this sincerely, I can still write and type and speak. There will be nothing humane in the end about this vision of the future. I want to end with a question. Have you noticed the sudden rise of signs guiding people to the physical location of the Chamber of Commerce in your community? Perhaps that is because, previously unbeknownst to us, “in the totality model, the means of resolving potential areas of conflict will be institutionalized within the economic system.” Suddenly then the Chamber’s headquarters may be as important for prosecuting interests as the courthouse or state capitol. At the table or on the menu has always been the reality in a politically planned and directed economy.

Have you noticed the ubiquity of touting ‘public-private partnerships’? Perhaps again it is a reflection of this hoped-for reality from the Totality vision:

“Thus, government does not operate in a contentious relationship with corporations (the public versus private dichotomization so prevalent in an individualistic economic system). As coequal institutions within the totality of the economic system, government and corporations recognize their interdependent relationship and realize the welfare of both institutions will be increased through cooperation rather than conflict.”

Did you notice in all this collusion at our expense no one is the least bit concerned with our welfare?

And to think all these truly lousy ideas are coming at us first and foremost through the schools. That of course would be precisely where the rollback needs to start as well.

 

Shaping a Mind is More Important than Stuffing It: Grasping the Psychosocial Key to Fundamental Transformations

In fact, after that essay “An Education for Humanity” was written in the early 60s, psychological research began to show that a fact-filled mind was hard to reshape. The excuses for making education about mind arson would vary from then on, but never the aim: “a new organized system of thought and belief” that “would provide a new vision of human destiny.” This is the same intentional cultural evolution I explain in my book, except I was missing the precise term Julian Huxley created for this new type of evolution–’psychosocial’. Now doesn’t that intention make all the focus now on the Whole Child and a Positive School Climate and Positive Behavior Interventions for all students and Pearson owning the rights to BASC, Behavior Assessment System for Children, and desired utopian Character Traits hiding in a new Student Code of Conduct so much clearer?

If that “inside the student’s mind and personality” target was always the change arena of this revised vision of an education that could supposedly bridge the gap between the cultures on both sides of the Cold War (according again to UNESCO’s first Director General Julian Huxley), what were the actual goals? First, to create a “strong moral bond” between each student and the “wider community” where he lives. Secondly, to foster a belief in the “oneness of mankind.” OK, you say, that does sound a lot like a communitarian emphasis we found when we followed the actual definition of Career Ready in the 21st Century back to the actual guidelines as well as the definition of Global Citizenship the Common Core is pushing through affiliates.

Third should really begin to sound familiar. Definitely not a goal for education that got stuck in the 60s with the Bay of Pigs or the Cuban Missile Crisis. To “give the rising generation a ‘world view.’” Now Elvin acknowledged this would likely be controversial so, then as now, it is simply to be made into the domain of professional deference of what it means to be an educator. And not just a right to dictate the acceptable world view–defined as “a view of man and his nature, of the earth and its history, and of the universe of which it is a minute part” to be enforced by adminstrators and Edudoctorates who mostly have no individual knowledge of any of those particulars. This was, and is, not to be just an intellectual understanding. No, the idea is for the world view to create “a total response” that encompasses the imagination, morality, and the sciences all at the same time.

This all encompassing vision of what education should do to a student, literally described as “should fuse in a total personal synthesis” may sound like the realm traditionally associated with religion. Elvin appreciated that and said this:

“I should make it clear that I mean a type of response that for some people takes place in association with their religious beliefs but that per se is not dependent on any religious creed or dogma and is felt equally by those who are in this sense without religion.”

Before I move on to the current CARE Guide from the NEA and that Teaching Diverse Students Initiative being imposed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a component of Equity and Excellence under the Common Core, I want to juxtapose that admitted new goal for education as a means for finally achieving what was then called the Fulfillment Society. Its new names of course are now a Subjective Well Being focus as part of the Great Transition.

In 1943 the US Supreme Court reversed previous case law to hold that students could not be punished for failing to perform the Pledge of Allegiance if it violated their religious creed. Justice Jackson wrote the majority opinion where he decried any “compulsory unification of opinion.” He wrote a passage I want us all to reflect on in a time when every education degree is now apparently coming with a compulsory unification permission slip in a country where that ought to be unconstitutional: “If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein. If there are any circumstances which permit an exception, they do not know occur to us.”

That SCOTUS opinion was about the classic clash between the “power of the majority to command conformity from the individual” which is unfortunately the lode star of the 21st century even though it could only command a dissent in 1943. Back then the belief that the US Bill of Rights was created to be a bulwark to curtail Majority Mischief was still firmly in place. The CARE Guide and the Diversity Kit takes all these traditions and throws them out the 3rd story window into a bonfire below. Under it, education becomes the means to “prepare students for their responsibilities in an interdependent world.” The Guide takes on with excitement  “the role schools play in developing the attitudes and values necessary for a democratic society.” In case we have any illusions about what is to constitute such a society, the Guide wants public schools to challenge “all forms of discrimination in schools and society through the promotion of social justice.”

Public schools are explicitly to push the idea that this new vision of education and “appreciation of diverse cultures” as long as they are not White or grounded in traditional Judeo-Christianity or Asian American, is built on the supposed “American ideals of freedom, justice, equality, equity, and human dignity. This is acknowledged in documents as varied as the US Declaration of Independence and the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.” No, actually those are not American ideals and they are frequently in opposition to what is laid out in that Declaration of Independence. The US refused to ratify that UN  Declaration that is now to be imposed via education affirmation anyway.

Wondering why I pulled out Asian Americans? Because they are listed in the Power Relationships Activity for Educator Reflection as a ‘voluntary minority’ who ‘freely’ immigrated to the US. Involuntary minorities “are those who have been conquered, colonized, or subjugated by the US, such as Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, African Americans, and American Indian/Alaska Natives.” So much for the 2008 Presidential election being about putting race behind us. No, students are to learn that “all people share basic needs” and that “each of us learns a set of behaviors and beliefs from the people we grow up with.” Some of those are now to be deemed unacceptable and slated for an extinguishing process via education and others will be glorified for intact preservation. Guess which?

Also slated for discussion as a new value is that a student should ‘achieve her potential’ in order to contribute to the social whole. If that holistic orientation instead of an individual one is not clear enough, how about a statement that “positive feedback should be stated in terms of student’s ability to help family or community?” If that servant function on behalf of the supposed greater good is still not bearing down on our sense of where this is all going, how about “student should be helpful and cooperate with his peers, giving assistance when needed. Helping is not considered cheating?” All can learn in the 21st century, but for the bright kids most of the learning will be social.

The Guide really does expect all schools to be having constant discussions of race and to simply accept that “people of color are more likely to perceive prejudice than others. Not surprisingly then, there will be intergroup tensions in many schools, especially when students live in separate, racially homogeneous neighborhoods.” Which is of course now to be regarded as unacceptable. No longer free to live where we wish or believe as we wish or to value what we wish, courtesy of the Whole Child reeducation process to create a new kind of guiding common core. Does this sound totally toxic all the time for every student to anyone else?

I am going to close this post with the declaration that “one of the primary roles of educational leaders is to give voice to shared values.” It is thus quite clear that education degrees now are to be all about enacting Elvin’s vision of Education for Humanity and not Justice Jackson’s holding of what is an acceptable purview for any official relying on the coercive power of government.

If the intended level of personal coercion via education to create responses from an unconscious level is not already crystal clear, let me end with the purpose of Positive School Climate per the explanation of questions in the Student Survey:

“Repeated articulation of these values, backed by relevant action, can increase consensus and motivate others to act accordingly.”

That’s a great deal of incentive to insist that real differences among students must be addressed by making joint activity the classroom focus to allow “modeling behaviors, thinking processes, and procedures.”

With this vision in place some of us really need to update the Declaration of Independence so that these Educrats can grasp its real significance.

It may take a multimedia powerpoint though to get through. Maybe role playing through the inevitable toxic consequences of these to be required activities and behaviors and discussions.

Center of the Storm: Requiring Data Collection on Continuous Improvement to a Student’s Full Personality

I started Chapter 3 of my book with a quote that has been haunting me ever since we first confronted the DiaMat theory dead on two posts ago. Professor Jeremy Kilpatrick was speaking at a 1987 Psychology of Mathematics Education international conference. In the book, I was illustrating that there were other intentions involved with what became known as the math, science, and reading wars. What Jeremy said then was:

“We need to determine the moral, social, and political order we believe to be desirable, then set out our educational purposes, and in light of those purposes choose curriculum content and objectives.”

It haunts me because I now realize that quote is a fairly concise definition of DiaMat and how its advocates see education as a means of deliberately changing the culture and altering prevailing perspectives. All this manipulation is to create Mindsets that perceive the world in politically useful ways. Well, useful if you belong to the class that plans to be among the manipulators. For individuals, such mind arson cannot work out well. In the last post, the book I mentioned Imagine Living in a Socialist USA ends with a scifi type essay called “Thanksgiving 2077: A Short Story.” In it, the character Les comments that he doubts that “many folks would have gone for socialism if they had known it meant downsizing.” Ahh, the pertinent parts of the story being left out of the sales pitch.

If conscious evolution along a designed pathway seems a bit scifi to us, it is nevertheless behind the designed to be influential ecosystem STEM metaphor of where all these education reforms are actually going. http://www.noycefdn.org/documents/STEM_ECOSYSTEMS_REPORT_140128.pdf is another report from a few days ago. That’s education to create a new reality, not education to appreciate the world as it currently exists or what great minds have pieced together about how it works. That STEM Ecosystem vision is driven by the DiaMat vision, but it gets to hide under language about Equity and Success for All.

Both the UN and the OECD have detailed their Future Earth and Great Transition and post-2015 plans and I have covered them in various posts. I have also detailed Gar Alperowitz’s vision of the Good Society and Harry Boyte’s for the cooperative commonwealth as other examples of future visions of transformation. So the moral, social, and political order desired by the public sector and their cronies globally or its links to what is called the Common Core now in the US are clear and no longer in doubt. Now Jeremy’s quote is the truth, but not a good PR strategy for a politician or School Super to sell to a community. Well, at least not one who has not had education, K-12 or higher ed, already nurturing for years at a time both a sense of grievance and an attitude of ignorance despite adequate coursework and degrees.

What’s the way in then? How do we get to what the book describes as the goal of accessing a student’s full personality so it can be monitored and manipulated to fit the believed needs of the people with political power? You do it obviously with euphemisms like making “continuous improvement in student learning for all students” the new federal goal. Then you take the work of a Professor like John Bransford and write books and hold conferences where the term “learning” encompasses what became the notorious aim of outcomes based education in the 90s: changing values, attitudes, beliefs, feelings, and behaviors.

That’s what ‘learning’ actually means in 2014 to an education ‘professional’ who is on the lucrative insider track and that’s the information to be gathered by the schools through assessments. Most people hear ‘assessments’ and think examinations of knowledge and hear ‘learning’ and think of the acquisition of knowledge and useful skills. Most people would be wrong, but sticking to duplicitous terms means most people will never know what is going so wrong in education. I have been around school board members who have been led to believe that the phrase ‘continuous improvement’ is also about ever increasing knowledge. Instead, it comes out of the PBIS, Positive Behavior psychology work, and also seeks to cause and then monitor changes in the now-proverbial values, attitudes, beliefs, feelings, and behaviors.

That’s what makes Monday’s release by the well connected iNACOL and CompetencyWorks of “A K-12 Federal Policy Framework for Competency Education: Building Capacity for Systems Change” so fascinating. If you are troubled by revelations about the level of personal monitoring being conducted by the NAS according the Edward Snowden’s leaks, how should we feel about schools and school districts becoming primarily personal data collection devices that go to our innermost thoughts and feelings and motivations? About schools using that information and providing it to states and the federal government to chart whether the desired changes in values, attitudes, beliefs, and feelings are occurring? That the idea of protecting privacy becomes a matter of not detailing who is being changed, but requiring and monitoring and guiding wholesale, full personality change nevertheless. And determining what practices and curriculum best foster such change and what type of students they work particularly well on? That’s customized leaning. That’s what personalized education actually means.

The phrase the document keeps using is student-centered accountability, not compliance accountability. Here’s the big idea that all K-12 is now to evolve around. Highly useful remember with DiaMat as the goal, teacher classroom behavior being seriously circumscribed (last post), and that obuchenie mindset being the goal of ‘teaching and learning.’

BIG IDEA: Student-centered data systems should collect, report, and provide transparent information on where every student is along a learning trajectory based on demonstrating high levels of competency [http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/targeting-student-values-attitudes-and-beliefs-to-control-future-behavior/  explains what competency really means and how Milton Rokeach created it as an obscuring term for its actual purpose], to help educators customize learning experiences to ensure that every student can master standards and aligned competencies. Data should provide useful information for improving teaching and learning, as well as for accountability and quality purposes.”

Quality as we know does not mean academics. It means desired personal qualities and an outlook on the world and ties back to John Dewey’s vision. Notice though that competencies and standards are NOT being used here as synonyms. In the paper standards refers to standards for college and career readiness. Since we have tracked the standards for college readiness first to a David Conley 2007 paper for the Gates Foundation and discovered generic adult non-cognitive skills and then on back to Maslow and Rogers humanist psychology work that benchmark doesn’t exactly merit peals of joy. We can see though why ALL students can get there with time though and how much time this standard leaves for all that personality manipulation.

Career ready we actually have tracked back to attitudes and values embracing communitarianism. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/birth-to-career-finally-and-quietly-creating-the-soviet-mindset-but-here-in-the-usa/ Again highly useful if transforming the moral, social, and political order has become the actual point of K-12 and higher ed. Especially if information on precisely where all students are at any given point in the process of desired consciousness transformation is being monitored constantly through data collection.

Ready to reach for something to relieve heart burn and nausea at this point in the post? Here’s the problem with avoidance of these troubling intentions. Then nothing can stop them except perhaps an investigation after all this personality manipulation leads to a tragedy. I think that has already happened and this expansion will only make it even more likely in the future.

We have to focus on what is really being monitored and changed. Next time we will talk about how all the previous safety valves in the education system are being turned off so that there is no one really to complain to about what is intended. I also want to talk about that report’s determination to put some type of deceitful zone of privacy over Georgia’s actions in this area of pushing competency as the new focus of education. The report has it classified as having “No Policies in Competency education.” That’s not true as I know from repeated personal experiences in plenty of meetings with public officials or their advisors. I made Chapter 4 of the book about Competencies as the ultimate end game and the ugly history. I used a troubling Georgia statute nobody seemed to want to acknowledge passing.

Why the deceit and cover up? It’s not because there are no connections between Knowledge Works and what has been going on in Georgia. How many other states have similar deceit going on with so many people in the know having unexplored conflicts of interest that guide their behavior? Talking to people elsewhere it does not seem unique, but the obfuscation here does appear deliberate. Knowing why I believe it is deliberate should be helpful to all of us looking at inexplicable actions in our states and communities.

Maybe I should call the next post Tracking Techniques 102 or “How to tell when someone is lying to you about public policy.”

 

 

Revealing the Ruse that Masks the Level of Global Coordination Around Education

December in Paris is not nearly as lovely as April in Paris, but the food remains delicious and the vistas from the Eiffel Tower are still worth the climb. But once again our invites were lost. Wouldn’t we all like to be consulted about “The World We Want” instead of merely picking up most of the bill and being told how we must change? But no, UNESCO and UNICEF held a Thematic Consultation meeting on December 5-6, 2013 of the North American States, Western Europe, and Turkey to lay out the Post-2015 Development Agenda and left us out of the room. Unfortunately, we and our children remained very much on the agenda.

In case you are thinking that “someone’s” participation as speakers or attendees is no reason to assume US or Canadian or UK ed policies are actually being determined abroad and most definitely no longer at the district or school levels, how would you feel about a link to the US DoED first ever “International Strategy”? Published in November 2012 just after someone got reelected and apparently we all shifted into a whole new level of planned implementation. http://www2.ed.gov/about/inits/ed/internationaled/international-strategy-2012-16.pdf And I scoured that document and I can see we agreed to work with the OECD as to what is meant by “internationally benchmarking” what is going on in our schools. We also signed on with international labor representing teachers’ unions globally, but there was nary a mention of the Common Core.

Just like it was merely a ruse to get US schools on board with the OECD’s Great Transition we have talked about (and mourned over the implications of). It also mentions though a great deal about Quality Learning and Equity and Global Competency and 21st Century Skills and working with Brazil to Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Discrimination and Promote Equality. It shows such openmindedness that an open socialist orientation in one country is no longer a barrier to a Joint Action Plan.  It’s also so nice to see the US commitment to participation in all those international assessments that were actually created to drive global convergence around the Great Transition/Time to redistribute based on Uncle Karl’s vision of the Future. All put into place through education changes driven by poorly understood international assessments. No, that’s not my opinion. I have a copy of Torsten Husen’s The Learning Society where he laid out what these assessments were actually evaluating, and what the intentions were. He helped create them all.

Based on that Brookings Institute link in the last post Husen would be so pleased that the non-Scandinavian countries are finally going along with his desire that “educational planning must be integrated with social and economic planning in general.” Honestly, from just the documents I have read in the last few weeks, I am not sure there is much now not being planned on our behalf in any of these areas. And I know for sure that in the age of the Whole Child Initiative and the social and emotional learning/Positive Behavior mandates that Husen’s desire to put “more stress on the emotional life of the children” is definitely part of the current gameplan. It’s been almost 40 years since Husen wrote that book (1974), but we had already noticed that the underlying vision never varies.

So what’s the current post-2015 UN/OECD Development Agenda the feds have committed us to? And all those pundits and politicians and foundation employees denying the extent of the federal overreach should look at this line from “Succeeding Globally Through International Education and Engagement” (my bolding):

“The Department will also examine how the learning can be applied in the United States and at what level (national, state, district or school).”

Somehow it’s beginning to feel like we have federal and international bureaucrats looking at our suburbs and schools, public and private, and our students and rubbing their hands together gleefully muttering “Mine, Mine, All Mine. For Years At a Time.” So what do these schemers have in mind in the post-2015 vision for us all? Well, that Paris meeting said “achieving sustainable development requires a change in the way people think and act, and this is where education has a crucial role to play.” Especially now that the US Secretary of Education has declared we are all in with the international agenda. We all are to get the “opportunity to acquire the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values necessary to cope with existing and emerging challenges and shape resilient and sustainable societies.”

Oh I do hope we are not first on the list for some reeducation to drop our attachment to the Unitary Self as john a powell disdainfully called it. Then there was also the thematic discussion on Global Citizenship Education (which apparently will not be celebrating its foundations every 4th of July).  GCE “aims to empower learners to engage and assume active roles both locally and globally to face and resolve global challenges and ultimately to become proactive contributors to a more just, peaceful, tolerant, inclusive and secure and sustainable world.” With unicorn rides every other Friday afternoon. Please note that “youth is a particularly important target group” for GCE. Target group? Could we get more of an admission of propagandist intent via the schools and universities?

Then we also have “Quality of Education and Learning Outcomes.” Remember outcomes always has to do with behavioral or personality changes in the student, and it should greatly trouble us that the UN is deeply interested in this regard in “the new digital platforms on which teaching and learning are taking place and through which knowledge, skills and values are developed, transmitted, validated, and applied by young people.” And we parents and taxpayers may not be able to see what will be assaulting our students and what virtual worlds they are to be embedded in for much of their school time, but apparently UN personnel may have better luck. Checking out the potential for the unfiltered indoctrination of politically desired new values, attitudes, and beliefs thought to be amenable to global transformation. We would be worried if any of these entities had expressed intentions about wanting radical change. Oh, wait. Ooops.

Actually I suppose we should be grateful that the ruse surrounding the Common Core in the US as an excuse to cover up the sought radical changes in student perceptions about the world and their future has increasingly come out into the open. The links clearly go far beyond the accreditation agencies’ loyalties now and where Linda Darling-Hammond is jetting off to speak at. I want to finish this post with a British Professor who reaches out to all sorts of names and entities to describe the extent of the active coordination throughout the Anglosphere. His name is Guy Claxton and this was the 2006 Keynote Address to the British Educational Association’s Annual Conference. Called “Expanding the Capacity to Learn: A New End for Education?” the speech gives us the answer of why the US in February 2013 added Dispositions to the list of what it would mean to be College, Career, and Citizenship Ready.

Claxton believes it “is education’s most basic job to expand all young people’s emotional and intellectual resources to cope with life.” And yes that was his order of emphasis and like the UN, he wants everyone able to “cope” with the 21st century. Being left out is the 21st Century going through The Great Transition being launched by bureaucrats, politicians, and professors without our knowledge and consent. No wonder there is such concern for how we will cope. Claxton wants us to be “able to stay calm, focused and engaged when we don’t know what to do” which he believes will be augmented through new “emotional and personal attitudes, beliefs and tolerances” that are to become new habits of mind and character traits. Somehow we will all be better prepared for what is intended for us if we have a “tolerance for hazy or non-articulate ways of knowing.”

So we will do better under these officially hoped for scenarios if we have a Muddled Mind? Well, yes, apparently “those who have no tolerance for fogginess–who have been trained to think that confusion is a sign of stupidity, for instance–have therefore reduced their capacity to learn.” Claxton wants to reverse “any acquired intolerance for confusion.” And he calls all this developing dispositions in italics for emphasis just like that. And dispositions are so important because they “refine our sense of when it is appropriate to use a particular ability.” Then Claxton has this in parentheses– “to become more ready.”

So I think all the references to College Ready, Citizenship Ready, Standards for Career Readiness, etc. as the preferred euphemisms for the Common Core are not about getting students ready for the world and those institutions as they currently exist. All the references to Standards of Readiness seem to be getting at whether the student has developed a willingness to act and to “persist in the face of difficulty.” Let’s call it Grit and Perseverance for short. At least the new Principals and District Supers are being told their credentials are issued to enable them to be Social Change Agents. We are apparently about to embark on the creation of a huge corps of social change agents who are not being told what is being sought. Who ARE being targeted on the basis of what remains malleable to change. Who are being trained to act despite confusion and to keep at it whatever the immediate consequences.

We are going to come back to this next time as I have the new international Quality frameworks and they leave no doubt about the extent that it is student behavior being targeted.

We know why now. And how. We need to examine the methods next.

Psychological Approach to a Humane Politics: Restructuring the West Quietly and Effectively Via Ed

We stopped to pick up that nerdy expression Triune Consciousness in the last post because it rather succinctly explains why nothing in education over the last several decades makes much sense to us. We have a worldview on what education should be that makes it very difficult to accurately perceive that education has become about creating a new “framework of values, a philosophy of life, a religion or religion surrogate to live and to understand by.” The German expression for such an all-encompassing guide of daily perception is weltanschauung. We just translate it Worldview and it has been officially under attack for decades. Why? Because of a belief that humanistic psychology could adopt the human development component of Uncle Karl’s vision and use K-12 and higher ed institutions to invisibly change personal perceptions and culture. Shifting “personal politics can make for a more humane politics for both America and our larger world.”

Triune consciousness then simply reflects the idea that a new, radically different structure of social relations needs to be grounded in emotion and passion. In order to create a need to act to change the world as it now exists to the vision desired. I think such “a ‘knowing-of-the-heart’ which is not an unambiguous knowledge like that of clear and distinct ideas…” is a dangerous thing for our schools, churches, or universities to be cultivating. But I am also warning everyone that such a dramatic shift is precisely what is being sought in the Positive School Climate, Flow, systems thinking, happiness, mental health first aid, and other pushes we have discussed previously. How do I know for sure? Why the people involved have told me in their books and conferences and websites. It is all grounded in the humanistic psychology of Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers. That appears to be the all-encompassing vision we are dealing with. Still.

I am beginning to think that this naive idea that we can redefine what humanity is and promote specieshood and use education to target the foundation of all social institutions: “how people think and feel, how they comprehend the meaning of being human, how they experience the self, how they perceive their relationship to the environment and each other” really came under an organized, global attack back in 1962. First we have Robert Tucker, the Princeton poli sci prof laying out the idea that the US was closer to little c communism than the USSR and pushing Uncle Karl’s human development vision of the future. Then we have Evald Ilyenkov coming up with his new dialectics that supposedly will later inspire Gorbachev but was also very interested in altering perceptions. Remember our trips through the nerdy expression “Ascending from the Abstract to the Concrete” and how Ilyenkov’s work has recently been brought back into print in the US by those Cultural-Historical Activity Theorists in San Diego?

To that interesting cauldron of timing that was almost certainly impacted in a delaying way by the Cuban Missile Crisis later in 1962, let me add a fascinating link. In 1962, the ASCD, then a division of the National Education Association–the NEA–published Perceiving, Behaving, Becoming: A New Focus proposing that the nature of education be dramatically shifted with Maslow and Rogers among the authors. The new type of education would be centered in the psychological tenets of humanist psychology in order to build on human potential to change, instead of the transmission of knowledge. Sound troublingly familiar?

The 1960s and taking these ideas in the direction of hedonism may have stopped much of the historic role of schools in academic learning but the desire to use school’s to alter student’s personalities hit a snag. The Journal of Humanistic Psychology created a dialogue all through the 70s and early 80s on what a good instrument for changing society and the nature of the economy HP (no, not Hewlett Packard even though all the foundations now are imbibing these theories deeply) would make.

Somehow that magical year of 1986 became the point in time to put all those broader political and social intentions and Maslow’s ideal of using education to integrate self-improvement and social zeal into another book. This one was called Politics and Innocence: A Humanistic Debate with Maslow, Rogers, Rollo May and others participating. One of those was a Walter Nord who pointed out that the “writings of Karl Marx have much in common with what modern writers have described as the essence of humanistic psychology.” That’s our HP and we had noticed that striking resemblance in function and sought effects. Nord simply points out that HP needs to be used to create support for “major changes in economic organization and the distribution of power.” Systems thinking and outcomes-based education to the rescue please!

Then in 1999 during the last round of Radical Ed Reform at the federal level before Gore’s loss slowed down the full implementation, the ASCD published an updated book edited by H Jerome Freiberg. It contained the original 1962 essays with new contributions from people like Barbara McComb’s from the Aurora, Co ed lab, McREL, involved in the A+ Achieving Excellence systems thinking, OBE innovation, that would later become an issue in Columbine. This “Motivation and Lifelong Learning” paper  http://www.unco.edu/cebs/psychology/kevinpugh/motivation_project/resources/mccombs91.pdf published in 1991 gives a good feel for what HP sought whatever it calls itself. Plus it makes its links to the current lifelong learning push and what that League of Innovative Schools is really trying to research on suburban school kids without parental consent. The 1999 book was called Perceiving Behaving Becoming: Lessons Learned.

In 2013 HP comes in as the social and emotional learning mandate that the accreditation agencies are requiring in their standards for what constitutes “Quality” as well as what gets incorporated into all that planned gaming. How am I so sure about Positive School Climate though? Because Carl Rogers writes repeatedly about what he calls the “psychological climate” and the “growth-promoting climate.” It’s the necessary school, classroom, and social environment that may prove Rogers belief:

“I do not find that this evil is inherent in human nature. In a psychological climate which is nurturant of growth and choice, I have never known an individual to choose the cruel or destructive path. Choice always seems to be in the direction of greater socialization, improved relationships with others. So my experience leads me to believe that it is cultural influences which are the major factor in our evil behavior.”

I think Rogers is wrong. Rollo May did too but that is the guiding philosophy behind the Positive School Climate mandate. Use education to change the student’s values, attitudes, beliefs, and emotions and you can change future behavior. Do it in enough students, especially if the heads of foundations and other social and political institutions are quietly on board with this invisible revolution and you can supposedly get an out of sight revolution.

How else do I know for sure that we are still dealing with HP in 2013 in the plans for the actual Common Core implementation? Because Martin Seligman of the Positive Psychology and global School Wide Positive Behavior and Happiness pushes said it tied to Maslow’s work.   http://www.pursuit-of-happiness.org/history-of-happiness/martin-seligman/ Because Mihaly Csiksentmihalyi, whose work is described here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/excellence-means-education-putting-what-we-feel-wish-for-and-think-in-harmony/  also ties his work back to Maslow and does the research on that nerdy word “conation” that is tied to the OECD’s Subjective Well-being excuses for making us the Governed.

Finally there was the Third World Congress on Positive Psychology, June 27-30, 2013 in LA that Seligman and Csik basically led. http://www.ippanetwork.org/assets/1/7/IPPAThirdWorldCongressProgram.pdf is the program that clearly ties it all to Maslow and shows the global importance of the Positive School Climate model to achieving the desired transformations.

I think I will close with the admission from the End of Innocence book (citing Frankfurt School member Erich Fromm) on how important it is to use education to reframe “all perceptions of reality” whenever social change is sought. School then becomes a method of social conditioning that gets at the “system of categories which determines the forms of awareness. This system works, as it were, like a socially conditioned filter; experience cannot enter awareness unless it can penetrate the filter.”

Whoever creates that mental filter creates what is perceived as reality. What will guide future action and what will be ignored despite real consequences.

Now you know why we keep hearing about conceptual lenses and Understandings of Consequence and Generative Metaphors and Mental Schemas and frameworks. Every radical with plans of transformations is familiar with Fromm’s insight. We needed to be too.

Student-centered learning=humanist psychology emphasis in the 21st century classroom

Now you know why all recourse from an alarmed parent or taxpayer or teacher is being turned off.

Part 1 of How to Mount an Invisible Political Coup: Contemplative Education

What do I mean by contemplative education? Exactly what you fear I mean. And this is not a matter of personal religious preferences. This is a matter of the same individuals pushing social and emotional learning in the classroom as a legally mandated component of education reform and the Whole Child initiative of the Common Core. Then turning around and pushing the same programs and practices as core components of incorporating Buddhist and Eastern spirituality practices directly into the classroom.

Somehow it is deemed “secular” though because although the teachers may get lessons on “Educating the Whole Person in the 21st Century: An Evening with Sraddhalu Ranade” or Shamatha techniques to enhance meditation, you just ditch that B word at the classroom door. But you deliberately keep the practices. Which means the intentions come right along with it. Whatever the parents and students and teachers targeted through professional development are told.

And this is not an aberration either. As the 2012 article “Contemplative Practices and Mental Training: Prospects for American Education” makes clear, this is where 21st Century Skills is actually going. This is where CASEL’s work (see tag to right) is going and the article was written by founders and affiliates of CASEL. Also the creator of PATHS that I wrote about here  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/promoting-alternative-thinking-strategies-is-this-really-mental-health-first-aid/ goes back and forth pushing the practices as creating New Agey Mindfulness for entities like the Garrison Institute (where Systems Thinking Advocate Peter Senge serves on the Board) and then calling it SEL, depending on the audience. Same with Inner Resilience’s Linda Lantieri. Just look at the back and forth on her schedule in recent years. Contemplative Education also cites Tools of the Mind as one of its amenable programs. Being introduced like PATHS in Kindergartens and elementary schools.

These articles I will mention today make it clear that the metacognitive skills that David Conley also calls College and Career Ready   http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/now-more-than-five-years-into-an-attempt-to-help-organize-a-near-total-revision-of-human-behavior/ are also to be grounded in these contemplative practices. So this is not a lurid detail designed to get you alarmed about what’s really taking place in K-12 education. Instead as this 2010 Mind and Life Summer Conference brochure makes clear, creating these “mental skills and socio-emotional dispositions that we believe are central to the aims of education in the 21st century” becomes the whole point of preschool and the K-12 years.

And it’s not just students being targeted, educators will also be expected to use these contemplative practices.http://www.mindandlife.org/pdfs/sri_conference_brochure_2010.pdf That’s you teachers, like it or not. Apparently such practices foster those to be mandated “communities of practice” that determine who is an effective principal. No coercion there. Just look at the pictures and speakers and topics and tell me how you would ever turn this into “secular” practices.

All of this is to be introduced first and then investigated to “explore the development of mind and the effect of contemplative practices on mind, behavior, brain, learning, and health of young people and those who care for and educate them.” And if that sounds like students are to be made into guinea pigs of the State, all these articles I have mentioned so far want and expect that these regular practices and experiences in the classroom will produce physical changes to the brain. Specifically the Prefrontal Cortex that we already knew CASEL wanted to target. We were just missing where these practices originated.

There is no ambiguity here that “Many people believe that the kind of education needed in the 21st century includes developmental outcomes well beyond academic learning, including young people’s social, emotional, and ethical development.” The cite after the quote is to Nel Noddings (who also has her own tag), thus making it quite clear that this Contemplative Education push aligns to what is called the Student Wellbeing Initiative in Australia. Explained here about a year ago.  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/if-education-transforms-values-and-feelings-and-beliefs-to-control-behaviors-are-we-free/

The articles make it clear that these physical neural changes to the brain are hoped for as a means of fostering compassion and empathy for others and other politically manipulable “prosocial behaviors.” It does rather feel like something that belongs in a book or short story of science fiction, doesn’t it? And not coming to a classroom or school (including privates. I saw the list) with the intention of “bringing together the converging disciplines of developmental neuroscience, contemplative traditions, education, and social and emotional learning our goal is to create a synergy to inspire and support rigorous research and action to support the development of the whole person (including both students and educators) within more caring and effective families and school communities.”

And yes the word “Growth” which is to be how students are now measured, and what the feds have decreed teacher effectiveness be tied to, is used over and over again in all these Contemplative Education papers. Virtually synonymous with what constitutes “positive habits of the mind and heart.” Or “more adaptive brain functioning and prosocial behavior.”  Here’s one more link since what is sought really does have to be seen to be fully appreciated  http://www.garrisoninstitute.org/component/docman/doc_view/62-developmental-issues-in-contemplative-education-april-2008?Itemid=66

To link this even further to our earlier discussions of global awareness and global competency, the 2010 MLSRI brochure even mentions that at this point ” the use of contemplative practices in educational settings is hypothesized to promote resilience, decrease at-risk behavior, and cultivate positive qualities.” Just a theory in other words and thus ripe for research in American classrooms determined to squelch individualism and the rational mind. The brochure then goes on to mention that this desire for research was the topic of a 2009 “agenda-setting meeting in Washington, DC that brought together world renowned developmentalists, educators, neuroscientists, and contemplatives including HH Dalai Lama.” then it cites to the website created to commemorate that meeting. How’s this for a name that gives up Intentions? educatingworldcitizens.org .

Since popping over to that site might be inconvenient at the moment, let me tell you what you would find. A conference with the title “Educators, Scientists and Contemplatives Dialogue on Cultivating a Healthy Mind, Brain and Heart.” And if you still do not believe this will permeate the actual implementation of the Common Core and related global ed reforms, how about sponsorship by the Ed Schools at Harvard, Stanford, UVa, Penn State, and U-Wisc/Madison? How about the college at George Washington where Communitarian Amitai Etzioni teaches (also has his own tag). Rounding up the list of sponsors are CASEL and the American Psychological Association.

Finally, since we just had a poignant July 4 holiday in the US where many of us saw symbols but not enough celebration of the integrity of what the Declaration of Independence really means, there is the overall title of the conference.

Educating World Citizens for the 21st Century

Who apparently are no longer to know what freedom from government oversight and direction actually means.

At least that’s the current intention. Getting on to being time for a Civil Insurrection. Because clearly without one we are about to get invisible mental and psychological ones.

 

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.