Dynamic Digital Dialectical Classrooms=Deliberate Transformational Change in Students and Society

Do you remember the decal from the Ghostbusters movies with the Ghost within the circle with a line struck through it? In the 90s excited high school students participating in an Educational Testing Service (the famous and lucrative ETS based in Princeton) Systems Thinking and Curriculum Innovation–STACI–Project (with ties to Harvard, MIT, and Stanford just like today’s Curriculum Redesign) using computers and simulation software came up with a graphically similar “No More Funnels” decal. These Tucson students in the same Sunnyside School District where the League of Innovative Schools had their annual conference last week celebrated the rejection of the “system of education that uses teachers as the dispensers of knowledge, dumping information into students’ heads for the purpose of regurgitating those facts onto tests, after which they promptly forget what they have learned.”

Now I have heard virtually the same verbatim sales pitch before from principals and administrators selling a school or district’s shift to constructivism many times before. Every time I hear it I know the speaker was a poor student who wants everyone to reject the importance of what they were lousy at. Honestly though there is tremendous irony in celebrating “no more funnels” in a school district that has been longitudinally tracking all students, including motivation, in order to reliably create a designed mental keel. Instead of a funnel effect that leaves each student free to build up their own understandings of how the world works and a teacher or professor to monitor whether those concepts are brilliant, confused, or just parroting others, the students get their internal mental images, associations, and concepts examined. Precisely in the manner envisioned and hoped for by Piotr Galperin in his Soviet research over decades and sought under that cybernetic theory of control we keep running into.

This is from a 1994 book on the STACI Project and its use of Jay Forester’s modelling World Dynamics software modified for the K-12 classroom as STELLA–Structural Thinking Experiential Learning Laboratory with Animation. Just the thing in other words to successfully join in reliable, replicable ways the inner representations of physical image, associated relationships, and conceptual understandings. The book’s title was Classroom Dynamics: Implementing a Technology-Based Learning Environment and it was very much a learning environment of the sort envisioned under obuchenie psychological theories. As far as I know no one is calling this STACI Project How to Get Inside Each Student’s Mental Black Box for Lasting Results, but that’s the intention.

No wonder so many radical ed reforms around 21st century skills and systems thinking are tied to the Tucson area–25 years of longitudinal data being thrown off by computers and crunched and analyzed by ETS in its quest for equity in education.   Here’s what the book says is targeted in the “No funnels” classroom:

“In the learner-centered environment the focus of instruction is on procedural knowledge and general problem solving skills, rather than on declarative knowledge and rote learning. Furthermore, environments such as those created by the systems thinking approach shift the focus of instruction to real-world applications and problems. In doing so, learning is concretized, rather than dealing with abstractions that have little apparent relevance to anything. Finally, a computer-based curriculum innovation project can diminish ‘teacher talk’ and provide students with opportunities for individual and group intellectual exploration.”

Concrete then means those mental representations remain tied to real world events and applications, increasing the likelihood that the inner beliefs will produce the desired future behavior to take transformational action. That internal keel from the last post is also influenced by the constant desire to take the way physical systems operate and apply the concepts to human or social systems or real world phenomena like war, conflict, or the economy. Perception of reality gets predictably influenced by the conceptual ‘lenses’ being supplied by teachers or virtual reality or gaming software, even if a well-informed expert in the area of transfer would immediately recognize the comparison is inapt. Without funneling, few students will. Remember to a social schemer with intentions for radical transformation there is “nothing as valuable as a good theory.” Or simulation of supposed systems to amend the slogan to 21st century intentions.

So now we know why the White House sponsored League of Innovative Schools chose Tucson. It was NOT the Titan Missile Museum or the chance to see saguaro cactus. What is so fascinating to me though is that ETS began actively looking for a curriculum innovation to push “higher order thinking skills” back in the mid-80s, soon after Galperin’s research became available in English. The 1994 book was quite graphic that students were being taught to visualize systems so it will change how they view the world. Since I knew that ETS also funded the Gordon Commission on the Future of Assessment in Education from 2011 to 2013, I wondered if the Commission’s work dovetailed with what I am calling this shift to an obuchenie mindset being cultivated in the student.

First of all, it turns out that one of Edmund Gordon’s mentors, the psychologist Bob Glaser, is the same person whose phrase for the new purpose of education–”developmental theory of performance change”–led me to James Raven and the socio-cybernetics aspirations we encountered in the last post. The Gordon Commission in its February 2012 newsletter stated it was looking for “a bifocal and bi-directional” teaching and learning process (aka dialectical). The vision is “less focused on what we want learners to know and do, and are more sharply focused on what it is that we want learners to become, to be disposed toward, and to be (i.e., thinking and compassionate human beings).”

No funnels, just that invisible mental and psychological keel again. Rejecting the traditional emphasis on “scholastic abilities,” students are to have “intellective competence.” If that sounds vague, it is supposedly the necessary focus for education “with equity and justice at its core.” Once again, we are requiring a shift in emphasis to cultivating non-Axemaker Minds while arguing it’s a fulfillment of social justice obligations and civil rights law requirements to provide opportunity for all. Gordon defined this intellective competence back in 2001 as a “way of adapting, appreciating, knowing, and understanding the phenomena of human experience through the domains of cognitive, affective, and situative competence.” Sounds like consciously cultivated stupidity to me, but I suppose that works better given the kind of social transformation plans we keep encountering. If you are in Vienna in late April, you may want to go to this conference and join in the planning.http://emcsr.net/general-information/

Just how very low this “intellective competence” goal actually is gets hidden by asserting the now acquired ability to “engage and solve quotidian, as well as novel, problems adaptively.” Quotidian sounds most impressive until we look it up in the dictionary and see it translates into everyday problems. Somewhat akin to putting the basketball goal at 5 feet and celebrating everyone’s ability to suddenly dunk. We could call it Basketball for Excellence or Success for All. Gordon did admit though that what is driving him, and one can assume ETS as well since it bankrolled the Commission, is his desire for “developmental democratization” and measures of student achievement not tied to “hegemonic indicators of developed ability.” Those are the intentions behind Gordon and ETS’s beliefs about what should be measured in students.

So when you hear the words Growth or Achievement it may reflect computer gaming or group project participation with a change in values and beliefs as the focus. It may mean that the student’s internal representations brought from home and the interactions within a family have now been successfully altered in a student urged to show Grit and Perseverence in novel and ambiguous real world scenarios where there is no right answer and Cognitive Dissonance may be the intention of the scenario. The student may be showing they view all the world including other people as systems that can be gutted and redesigned to see if a better world is possible. As if all things smashed can be reglued after impact.

Or that cited higher achievement or Growth may reflect Edmund Gordon’s hope for an intellective competence focus. Then the assessment might be measuring “the effective orchestration of affective, cognition, and situative processes in the interest of intentional human agency. I place affect first for reasons other than respect for alphabetical order. Human activity appears to begin with affect, and I have come to believe that while cognition ultimately informs affect, it is affect that gives rise to cognitive functions.”

That’s the developmental obuchenie focus that the banner of the Common Core is obscuring. It’s coming in at various rates depending on the venality of consultants and administrators or their naivete. Peter Senge’s version may be more famous, but Spence Rogers’ Teaching for Excellence is another example of the Change the Student focus. That’s why teacher development is so crucial. It’s also the real reason teacher tenure rules are being targeted. Compliance with the developmental vision is required.

Only the time schedule and extent of the frenzy to implement varies now.

No more funnels. Just internal keels to steer with. With no need for consent.

Should we call this all totalitarian education?

Surreptitious Vision: Ed Reforms as Designing an Internal Keel to Control People and Manage Society

No I am not a sailor although I did once have a very fun weekend on a sailboat in the Chesapeake as a hapless, but supportive, passenger. I am afraid this metaphor of a keel that allows steering regardless of the direction of the wind has been invoked as the official analogy of those who wish to use education in the 21st century globally to change human behavior and ” design a new, organic, socio-cybernetic system for the management of society.” Please do take a deep breath before we continue. At least now we know why the virtual reality science simulations planned under Common Core Next Generation Standards have been focusing on illustrating force and motion in addition to all the ‘supposed’ threats to the environment. These days any content allowed through virtually always has a purpose in creating a transformational mindset.

Today’s discussion is largely from a 2011 paper by Scotland’s John Raven called “Competence, Education, Professional Development, Psychology, and Socio-Cybernetics.” It has global aspirations and fits perfectly with UNESCO’s use of the term “Cybernetics of Global Change” as part of its MOST-Management of Social Transformations-official program. Apparently, we, the hoped-for victims and funders of these transformation plans, are the only ones NOT familiar with just how often the planners have begun to think in terms of how to invisibly gain control of human behavior to manage society.

That control lever can occur, according to Raven, through a socio-cybernetic, competence, focus in education plus new political rules. Since stating this out loud would create a popular outcry that might interfere with plans for subjugation, the same developmental push gets sold globally now under the blissful, but misleading, term–focus on Excellence. The other necessary component involves changing the political governance arrangements, which is of course exactly what the UN’s Agenda 21 seeks to do. Majority rule, judicial overreach or neglect, regulations, and power to appointed boards instead of elected ones all work quite nicely too.

Today’s focus though is on education since both UNESCO and Raven declare this is the Yellow Brick Road to Social Control. Just as adding a keel to a sailing boat is cited by Raven as “key to getting the boat to sail into the wind” so an education that rejects the primacy of individual “technico-rational competence” and content knowledge in favor of “helping people to develop and get recognition for, the diverse, often idiosyncratic, talents they possess” is key to the radical vision of social transformation. If that seems a bit odd, how about the admission that the key to “changing the way we run society,” (don’t you just want to ask “who is we, Kemosabe?” as if this were a Tonto-Lone Ranger skit), is rejecting the traditional focus of school since it “reinforces a social order which offers major benefits to ‘able’ people.”

Poor dear, all of civilization that these writers and planners take for granted is thankfully due to the herd-defying curiosity and mischief of just a few ‘able’ people. We will rue the day when their minds came to be molded into whatever was necessary to tolerate transformations.  Instead, we are to get education designed to change “people’s beliefs about society, how it works, and their place in it” even if none of those beliefs are grounded in reality. In fact in acknowledging and laying out the intent that project-based learning will no longer be a way to discover content, Raven begins to disclose the radically different goals of what is also euphemistically called ‘student-centered learning.’ As he states explicitly (and he is the one who loves italics), the purpose of the letters or pictures or slogans or poems “was not to depict what was seen accurately, but to represent it in such a way as to evoke emotions that would lead to action.”

Remember in the last post when I kept reminding that curriculum grounded in virtual reality likely would be whatever simulation created politically useful beliefs and values and that Holos Consciousness? That statement was based on having hung out with more than one software developer in my life and career. Turns out though the 1995 book Cybersociety: Computer-Mediated Communication and Community warned several times about the very same thing. The whole purpose of stressing computer simulations in the classroom is the computer’s “capacity to represent action in which humans could participate.” Perfect way to prime the pump for revolution we might say. In fact science fiction writer Jerry Pournelle, then a Byte columnist, was quoted as fearing that “technology masks the constructedness of any simulation.” Here are his exact words and they remain hugely relevant to the mental keel being created within the student by digital learning and assessments of 21st century competencies:

“The simulation is pretty convincing–and that’s the problem because…it’s a simulation of the designer’s theories, not of reality…The fact is, though, the computer doesn’t say anything at all. It merely tells you what the programmers want it to tell you.”

And the programmers, such as ISTE keynoter Jane McGonnigal, have been quite graphic that these games are being designed to create a mindset that believes in the need for social transformation. Sim City creator, Will Wright, was quoted as saying his games are adapted from Jay Forester’s World Dynamics work, which once again takes us back to the Club of Rome, the 1970s, and the desire to push systems thinking in education, economic planning, and the now-proverbial means of managing society. Cybersociety recognized that “representing flux and change is exactly what a simulation can do”, making it a far more effective tool for altering the nature of human experience and illustrating the possible causes of social change.

A very powerful, highly visual, weapon we are mandating for classrooms and ‘assessments’ without giving a second thought to its use as a driver of how the student’s mind will perceive the need for social change. Computer games have become so ubiquitous that remembering that they were once recognized as “where we go to play with the future” gets overlooked. So does the fact that the future is not the least bit bound to follow the variables set up in a software virtual simulation. Just ask Putin. Fostering a belief in things that are not true, and collectivist values that leave you unprotected against either foreign invaders or domestic predator politicians, is no way to become an adult.

Making computer gaming the focus of the classroom because it is engaging and increases graduation rates still omits a crucial fact all the programming world still remembers. The gamer unconsciously and intuitively “internalizes the logic of the program.” Just the thing in other words for those who want social transformation and people who can be steered like the keel of a boat. Precisely the metaphor Raven chose to both use and illustrate with drawings of a boat. Marry those manipulative visuals to an express declaration for a “dramatic reorganisation of most peoples’ thoughtways” via schools and universities and we indeed have a problem. All being implemented into a classroom near you without a By Your Leave under banners like the Common Core or Positive School Climate or a 1:1 Laptop Initiative.

Left out will be the acknowledgment that now ‘intelligence’ is to be understood as an emergent property of a group rather than an individual characteristic. Furthermore, this intelligence depends on releasing and harnessing a huge variety of individual talents that are scarcely related to intelligence as conventionally understood. Thus conventional ways of thinking are unethical–destructive of both individuals and society.”

The attempts to manage society and achieve new forms of governance will not be successful. Only the extent of wealth lost and prosperity trashed is in dispute. The intended damage to be delivered via education to the psyche, false beliefs, and pernicious or naive values is unstoppable unless enough people realize there is no dispute at what is being sought or why.

Intentionally created financial conflicts of interest seem to be the norm to coerce adults into either complying with, or actively advocating for, this vision of education. In the US I see it being pushed under federal civil rights laws as necessary to have Equity and Excellence. The very title of the global ed summit that commenced today in New Zealand-”Excellence, Equity, and Inclusiveness: High Quality Teaching For All” tells me this developmental, obuchenie, new view of ‘intelligence’ grounded in group interactions is a deliberate global phenomena.

If only someone could create a computer simulation for politicians and school administrators showing the true social effects of such widespread mind arson.

 

 

 

Translating the Off-Putting Term Dialectical Materialism and Discovering the Intended Process in ALL Classrooms

And if ALL classrooms, preschool through graduate school, is not sufficiently alarming, how about in ALL students and teachers and professors and administrators? Plus with a little luck, and using active coordination of themes and cultivated beliefs between education and the media, those interested in transformative change in the 21st century hope to spread the mental and emotional contagion to parents and enough voters generally to ignite the change via the ballot box and ALL institutions.

So how does the mouthful phrase ‘dialectical materialism’ fit into this vision? That is something I have struggled with for a couple of years now. I basically got it, but not well enough to translate into a pithy analogy for mass consumption. I suspect much of that is deliberate to prevent alarms from going off recognizing its use to prompt revolutionary cultural change. I knew it was about consciousness and had been coined not by Marx or Engels, but by Joseph Dietzgen. Like them, his revolutionary intentions forced him into exile in the Anglosphere, countries much more accommodating of dissent than Germany or other parts of 19th-century Europe. Instead of London or Manchester, England though, Dietzgen relocated to the Chicago area. But what precisely merited exile by authorities wishing to retain existing political power?

The recent recovery of some lost Nelson Mandela transcripts that quoted him as saying: “to a nationalist fighting oppression, dialectical materialism is like a rifle, bomb or missile. Once I understood the logic of dialectical materialism, I embraced it without hesitation.” I read that and immediately wished someone would concisely explain that logic as I was quite sure it was still lurking in our midst, ready to mount an invisible attack against existing institutions, values, beliefs, and other cultural norms. Last week, my personal project, supposedly unrelated to the blog or book or speaking engagements, was to investigate when the law shifted to being seen as a cultural weapon. Just a matter of personal curiosity so I ordered a book I had seen mentioned, Law and Revolution: The Formation of the Western Legal Tradition. It was published in 1983 by a then Harvard Law Prof, Harold J. Berman.

I was expecting a more straightforward history than what I encountered. I certainly was not expecting to read on the first page of the Preface that “A world ends when its metaphor has died.” Well, that got my attention as nothing is more prevalent now in education ‘reforms’ than the determination to excise factual knowledge of the past or science or human nature and substitute some type of metaphorical belief, usually called a ‘lens,’ as in the new C3 Social Studies Framework or a Generative Metaphor from Donald Schon and Chris Argyris’ Action Science work.

Continuing on in the Introduction, I found a determination to jettison the reverence for the Anglo tradition of the common law, and language about the law being not “a body of rules,” but a “process.” That statement sounded eerily similar to what radical education reformers like Linda Darling-Hammond, or sponsors like CCSSO, are using to describe what the REAL Common Core implementation is about. Not transmitting a body of knowledge anymore, but cultivating desired ‘habits of mind’ and hoped for ‘dispositions’ amenable and primed to act for wholesale social change.

Perhaps because it is a book designed to change the nature of a particular institution-the nature of law, law schools, and the role of the judiciary, Berman’s book is quite graphic about using the word ‘dialectics’ to describe the process of changing values and beliefs in people so it will have an impact on how and whether they act. Those actions in turn can affect the material world and the physical environment, which in turn acts upon those who inhabit it. A dialectical process back and forth involving the material world, but it all starts in consciousness. Mental and emotional beliefs. Dialectical materialism. Change the consciousness of enough people and the world itself and the future can supposedly be changed in predictable ways.

That’s the theory of how to “transform the social and political and economic realities” and it was revolutionary enough in the 19th century to merit exile and, perhaps, prison in certain times and places in the 20th. Now a willingness to push it can get you a lucrative ed doctorate credential intended to secure a six-figure taxpayer paid salary and then pension for life. That is if you cooperate with the right people and force the right theories on unsuspecting schools and students. What a transition that is for an infamous theory!

Dialectical materialism then is the actual theory that underlay outcomes based education and what was really being sought from it. Because it is an off-putting term with a clear history and proponents calling it the equivalent of a cultural “rifle, bomb or missile,” the real name for the theory gets left out. Instead, we get language about Growth Mindsets and not Fixed and Grit, Perseverance and Tenacity to euphemize the actual dialectical mental and emotional change to arrive at the desired synthesis in a person who will act.

This vision of education as dialectical materialism to change the student’s values, beliefs, and dispositions so they will likely act as desired upon the world can be seen as recently as last Friday as Michael Barber and Pearson released a Michael Fullan authored document called A Rich Seam: How New Pedagogies Find Deep Learning. That report also helpfully ties together the actual intended Common Core implementation in the US to what is going on in Canada, Australia, South America, and Europe. A global vision of the kind of perspectives and Worldviews that education is to inculcate for the future.

Everything is designed around experiential learning and getting students ready to act in desired ways. To see the past through so-called present and future needs. It’s not just the students being primed to act in desired ways. I keep hearing reports of teachers being told to stand and chant as a necessary component of new required professional development, while I notice how the leaders of the training just happened to be active in outcomes based education in the 90s. Or a recent story of videos being shown of enthusiastic cheering at various emotional public events like sports. Then the teachers are told that they must stand and cheer exuberantly at every mention of the phrase “Common Core” during the presentation. Does it remind anyone else of Michael Barber’s work with rebellious UK teachers years ago where the mantra was “First, act, then belief comes?”

To me, it is reminiscent of another of William Henry Chamberlin’s observations from his 30s experiences of collectivism that we encountered in the previous post. He noted that “human personality, for instance, may sometimes be dwarfed and standardized under the influence of democracy. But in the totalitarian states it tends to disappear altogether; the individual is simply sunk in the collectivist mass that votes, marches, salutes, cheers with the regularity and precision of an automatic machine.” That term ‘totalitarian’ may seem a bit misplaced when talking of the US or UK or Canada or Australia, but every one of the political and economic and social philosophies Chamberlin was writing about from personal experience was grounded in dialectical materialism. It is the foundational theory behind changing values and beliefs. What varied, then and now, are the particular beliefs that can be deliberately cultivated as useful for transformative change.

It is easy then to see the belief in Catastrophic Manmade Climate Change as one of today’s useful cultivated beliefs as well as the hyping of Inequality and the push for Communitarianism (misleadingly hiding in the definition of Career Ready as well as what will constitute a Positive School Climate). The intense focus on continued racism and sexism in reading selections and classroom discussions provides the same function. Useful beliefs that will likely compel a belief to act to transform the world in predictable ways. Others are more subtle, like the regular complaints over the religion of Islam being portrayed as inherently innocuous in ways that disregard known, provable, potentially dangerous facts. Or the economic misconceptions being deliberately cultivated and then tied to revered figures like Martin Luther King as Democracy Collaborative/Good Society’s Gar Alperovitz did recently. http://sojo.net/magazine/2014/01/beyond-dreamer

We are going to talk next time about how this dialectical vision has become incorporated into the teacher evals for licensure and promotion to ensure compliance. Another dialectical process to ensure actual change in the material world.

Unfortunately all these intentions just cannot shake off the effects of unintended consequences and perverse incentives in that same material world.

The one where we all live and pay taxes to finance these millenarian visions of unrealistic, and nonconsensual, transformations.

 

 

Targeting Each Student’s Beliefs About the Purpose of Life Influences Every Perception, Feeling or Action

We are dealing with a fundamental shift in the nature of education from the transmission of knowledge to targeting the “mental process that activates and/or directs behavior and action.” That quote is from a different William Huitt paper from 2005 called “An Overview of the Conative Domain.” http://www.edpsycinteractive.org/papers/conative.pdf  The schemers who have major plans to remake the way society and the economy work in the 21st century are quite familiar with the psychological and behavioral science research that says individual human behavior remains unpredictable unless you get at motivations and values and other drivers of action. We are the ones who see the word ‘conative’ and wonder if there is a typo. If you read that paper you will notice that the real David T Conley definition of College Ready that he developed in 2007 for the Gates Foundation fits at getting at the conative domain like the dovetailed joints of a Duncan Phyfe antique table.

Before we talk about what is being aimed at, let’s go back in history to a perceptive soul who had a ringside seat in Austria at what led to both the Great War launched in 1914 and then saw the rumblings again in the 1930s and fled in time. This is from a 1957 book published by Yale University called Theory and History: An Interpretation of Social and Economic Evolution. The author was talking about the popularity of utopia projects which is precisely what we are dealing with here again more than 50 years later as we have UNESCO and the OECD and school districts declaring Subjective Well-being and personal unconscious motivations to be within their jurisdiction of control.

Ludwig Von Mises noted these projects “enrapture the intellectuals. A few skeptics observe that their execution is contrary to human nature. But their supporters are confident that by suppressing all dissenters they can alter human nature.” And Von Mises was writing about the behavioral science temptation before Big Data and supercomputers. Ponder this quote from Tom Vander Ark, the former executive education director for the Gates Foundation, from his book Getting Smart: How Digital Learning is Changing the World. Tellingly it is at the beginning of Chapter 4 on Motivation:

“we need a much more sophisticated and individualized sense of what will capture students’ attention and cause them to persist through discomfort and distraction. Our ability to quickly and efficiently get and use a deep understanding of the intrinsic and extrinsic factors that together cause focused and persistent behavior in each student–a personal motivational profile–will fundamentally change education and the learning professions.”

And society and the economy too as we have seen in other initiatives of all these groups wanting such intrusive info on what does or will drive future individual behavior. Think of all this as Data for Utopian Planning. Since the typical school district administrator or consultant is unlikely to know history, let’s go back for Von Mises insights again.

“planning for eternity [which is precisely what Sustainability is seeking to do], to substitute an everlasting state of stability, rigidity, and changelessness for historical evolution, is the theme of a special class of literature.[Now it is the topic of many degree programs!]. The utopian author [District Super or Professor] wants to arrange future conditions according to his own ideas and to deprive the rest of mankind once and for all of the faculty to choose and to act. [Precisely what is driving Digital Learning and the Conative research]…There will no longer be any history, as history is the composite effect of the interaction of all men. The superhuman dictator [here we have multiple agencies and NGOs seeking the title of Planner-in-Chief but you get the idea] will rule the universe and reduce all others to pawns in his plans. He [think all the empowered bureaucrats here] will deal with them as the engineer deals with the raw materials out of which he builds, a method pertinently called social engineering.”

Now is the typical Super or Consultant or Principal thinking in those dictatorial terms? No but they are brooking no opposition either and their plans add up to those levels of intrusive social engineering even if the individual pushers are only motivated by greed or envy or just stupidity. It can also be all three. Maybe they cannot even spell the word ‘conative,’ much less define it. But they can still be a pusher for practices that are grounded explicitly in psychological practices from an Abraham Maslow or a Mihaly Csiksentmihalyi intended to transcend the conscious mind.” With a history of disastrous effects.

Last year I wrote two posts explaining first the PEAK model–Performance Excellence for All Kids–and its links to Transformational OBE and the tragedy at Columbine. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/how-much-innocent-blood-will-it-take-to-stop-sel-manipulation-for-political-gain/. And I wrote that before the conative researchers kept pulling in Abraham Maslow and his peak experiences as what they would be aiming for in the classrooms. Hardly seems possible that the acronym PEAK is coincidental. Do you know what the conative researchers say they must have to finally get their desired emphasis in place? Site-based management like School Governance Councils or Advisory Management Councils.

I wrote another post about the Achieving Excellence Model implicated in Columbine that is also relevant to what is being sought. I will link to that as well as the stitches in my right hand that made the blog go silent for almost a week have started telling me the rest of the story can wait for the next post. Quiet please. It cannot all wait lest this be coming to a boil somewhere else. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/using-education-to/ . If you remain unfamiliar with the name Bela Banathy or the link of all this to systems thinking, you must read that post. More dovetailing by a Master Manipulator with blueprints of a utopian tomorrow through education.

This morning I discovered that the Achieving Excellence Program was actually international and the subject of a “School-Year 2020″ International Conference in October 1988 as a joint venture with the McREL (where the term Second-Order Change now comes from) ed lab in Aurora, Colorado and a Norwegian education group, IMTEC. Anyone know of any tragedies in Norway involving schoolchildren? The Autumn 1989 issue of the 2020 Newsletter pointed out that “McREL’s A+ is a site-or school-based management system.” Now the accreditors are pushing all schools to this model but none faster than charter schools or charter districts.

Now last week Tom Vander Ark’s blog ran a puff piece from a taxpayer paid PR consultant touting the wonders of site-based management, Fulton’s charter, and its potential for “innovative practices.” http://gettingsmart.com/2013/08/innovation-happens-at-the-school-house/ Yeah, that’s not how School Governance works and the language of that charter is all about using technology, fostering life skills and soft skills, and closing the achievement gap in a diverse district. So we have taxpayer money going to sing the praises of the charter nationally while the former District Deputy Super who helped draft the charter now runs a consulting business training School Governance Councils in the district on their rights and responsibilities. While chairing the local school’s governance council and insisting when asked that this is no conflict.

The School Governance Council actually seems to have very few rights according to the parent-member who spoke last week at the PTA meeting. That was the same PTA meeting where the PTA turns out to have transferred $20,000 from the pot of required to join dues money to continue to fund Spence Rogers and PEAK no matter what the teacher and parent outcry. Even after a 60% teacher turnover since the training started.

The interest in the conative, the psychological change-the-child model, and site-based management are all inextricably linked. If you have a child at a school with one, you need to get to the bottom of what is considered to be student achievement or Growth going forward at your child’s school.

Take good notes and pay attention. The schools and too many politicians are engaged in a planned assault against students AND teachers.

And I am trying my best to arm everyone with the needed info and the nature of the conflicts of interest.

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.

Now More Than Five Years Into An Attempt to Help Organize A Near-Total Revision of Human Behavior

Now won’t Performance Assessments and a total alteration of the nature of education come in really handy for such a goal? That title is from an August 7, 2012 presentation in Portland, Oregon by Paul Ehrlich on conducting research with his Millennium Assessment of Human Behavior (MAHB) that we have already talked about. It was his later remark about “creating a vision of a future in 2050″ that caught my attention most. It reminded me of a remark by Norwegian Jorgen Sanders on why he could be so confident that his 2052 predictions were not just a matter of probability. He said it was because processes were already in place to make the desired future come true. The UN Secretary General has said within the last year that there is no further need for treaties. That UN education initiatives will be sufficient to realize its desired future. That’s a lot more confidence than I feel and I certainly have more control over my future than a bureaucrat talking of societies and economies with millions of people and activities. What’s really up?

This post was originally going to just be about Professor and Change Agent Extraordinaire David T. Conley and how the Common Core implementation is taking terms like Noncognitive and christening them anew as Metacognitive Learning Skills. And the Ed Week essay of January 23, 2013 “Rethinking the Notion of ‘Noncognitive’” was likely to be the last time anyone acknowledged there is no content knowledge there. Just a hat trick to get rid of the deliberate departure from a rational thought focus.

I recognized Conley’s name as being involved with Outcomes Based education in the 90s and Oregon’s push for a change in K-12 focus to proficiency passing and a Certificate of Mastery. And that Proficiency Passing sounded a lot like the current drumbeat to Move On As Soon as a Student reaches Competency.

No new ideas. Just new names. But when I did my search for Conley up popped all the work he has done in recent years for the Gates Foundation and various states getting ready to implement Common Core on what College Ready really means. And it was stunningly inconsistent with what we are all expecting College Ready  to mean. Even apart from the stories I have written on altering the nature of college to fit with where Common Core is taking K-12. Now I really had the makings of a story on the continued duplicity involved with the actual Common Core classroom effect. But it was a remark in a 2010 Kappan interview that shifted my focus back to Portland and Ehrlich and whether I could link Common Core and  MAHB to that Future Earth Alliance I have written about and other UN transformation activities.

Conley makes no bones about the fact that Common Core is actually “an overhaul of the system from top to bottom”. Absurd but it is what is going on. On top of that though he says this new education system will be “based on the real educational needs of students, with an eye constantly toward the future world and society in which students will live.” Now that futurist talk reminded me of William Spady’s Transformational OBE Future Life Roles http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/future-empowerment-paradigm-or-educentric-tradition-guess-which-began-its-reign-20-years-ago/ . And his links to Portland. And Bela Banathy’s.  And the fact that Spady says in his 1997 book that Oregon stuck with OBE even after it became notorious. And that Peter Senge and the Waters Foundation now consider the Portland School District a Systems Thinking exemplar.

Two more connections you likely do not know, Portland is considered to be the ICLEI Agenda 21 role model for Regionalism. And Vicki Phillips who now heads the Gates Foundation’s Education Initiatives was the Portland School Super. Leaving Pennsylvania to take the job. So Portland is Ground Zero for the idea that education can be an instrument to transform the future. Just like Ehrlich says he wants to do globally.

Conley’s essay wanted to establish “semantic parity between cognitive knowledge and noncognitive skills” like beliefs, attitudes, and feelings. Conley wants us to see knowledge and unfounded beliefs and feelings as “equals” which I suppose is one way to alter the future. Just needs some Name Laundering. And then he goes on to say that with this declaration of equality, “the relationship between the two would be less hierarchical, more symbiotic.” Instead of the rational, well-stocked mind being in charge of behavior, emotions and false beliefs (or there would be no reason to dethrone knowledge) would govern. Exactly what Ehrlich says he wants to achieve. And quickly. Also sounds like his Newmindedness push of the late 80s.

Now I am not going to tease you further, I was able to locate a January 2013 issue of Human Dimensions where Anne and Paul Ehrlich announced that  MAHB was working with IHDP,  the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change. And IHDP is involved with UNESCO and the Future Earth Alliance and using the social sciences to reorient society. And in 2011 IHDP put out out a document describing precisely how it plans to use education to do just that. And I have a copy as of late yesterday. Busy weekend for Education’s Miss Marple. So I am not speculating about the Ehrlichs being involved with the global education transformation anymore just because of the similarities to what is being sought.

Which makes David Conley’s attempted official laundering of Noncognitive (the elements that made OBE so controversial) and College Ready so important. The Gates, Joyce, and Hewlett Foundations all help underwrite Ed Week  and they are each deeply involved with elements of the implementation that vary tremendously from the popular sales job to parents and taxpayers of what Common Core is about. You don’t get the position of headline essay unless this is an official position to be distributed widely. Which it of course was.

Conley’s March 2007 report for the Gates Foundation called Toward A More Comprehensive Conception of College Readiness wants to put the focus of K-12 on creating “habits of mind,” which he describes as a range of cognitive and metacognitive capabilities. And these are to be intentionally practiced at school until they become habitual. Something you need not even think about. Without that Ed Week essay we would not know he is referring there to our old controversial friends–values, attitudes, beliefs, and dispositions. Every parent sends their child to school to obtain “high degrees of self-awareness and intentionality.”

College Ready does have some knowledge in mind from the phrase “be able to know and do.” Unfortunately it just means the Big Ideas and Concepts. No need for detail. And College Ready rejects a focus on “de-contextualized content and facts.” No what content is allowed through into the classroom must be experiential. Something that can be interacted with as a task or activity or project. So students can apply their little bit of knowledge to real life problems that need solving. Students get to “understand themselves as instruments of communication.” It does sound ludicrous but Conley’s explicit goal is to set a gateway so low that virtually everyone can get through to college. “Academic behaviors,” which sounds solid, turns out to “consist largely of self-monitoring skills and study skills.” Study skills turns into time management, using information resources, and “communicating with teachers and advisors.”

Show up regularly with a pulse and a high school diploma entitling you to attend college no questions asked is yours. Another component of College Readiness, Contextual Skills and Awareness, turns out to be “interpersonal and social skills” and an awareness of the “privileged information necessary to understand how college operates as a system and culture.”

Remember these are the Learning Goals for ALL students. The highly capable as well. This type of Social Engineering via K-12 education hiding behind duplicitous definitions is precisely how UNESCO bureaucrats and the Ehrlichs and numerous professors addicted to all the NSF grants to use the social sciences and education plan to get “a near-total revision of human behavior.” All these schemers can alter the future. What they CANNOT achieve is their desired Vision. And they seem to not know or they have forgotten that lesson from the past. I mentioned Vicki Phillips, the former Portland School Super. In 2010 she moved to Gates with the responsibility College Ready. Not Common Core. Not creating consistent programs of solid content from state to state as the PR campaigns suggest.

College Ready. Conley’s College Ready. Search it out. He has repeated this vision of what College Ready really is numerous times since 2007. EPIC appears to be bringing in the dough that was once your money. Or maybe Bill and Melinda’s or Warren’s. Maybe Andrew Carnegie’s too.

When the Democratic Platform for 2012 mentioned education they did not talk about the Common Core. The content standards really only exist to gain the initial political approval from the states. They mentioned having All Students College and Career Ready. We have already discussed that Career Ready actually has a largely Communitarian mandate. To be demonstrated daily.

Now we know what College Ready means. So nobody gets to know much but they will be well practiced at believing and feeling and collaborating. And self-monitoring. Sounds like a Blood Pressure check.

Being stealthily prepared for that Ehrlich vision. At taxpayer expense. With everything aimed at removing the rational mind and the legitimacy of acting as an individual.

In the name of what sounds like a laudable goal to be embraced.

Using the Common Core’s Performance Assessments to Create a New Kind of Person

Now if the US Common Core Initiative or any other country’s similar UNESCO inspired shift to skills and attitudes and desired personal dispositions were to be accurately described as being about “shaping a kind or person” or:

“about creating a kind of person, with kinds of dispositions and orientations to the world, rather than simply commanding a body of knowledge. These persons will be able to navigate change and diversity, learn-as-they-go, solve problems, collaborate, and be flexible and creative.”

Such a future capacity general focus for all students instead of fixed content knowledge would not be politically popular. Parents and taxpayers and non-politically connected future employers would likely rebel from such Mind Arson via taxation and tuition.

So of course the Parasitical Class of too many professors and education administrators and vendors who want both their inflated salaries and pensions AND political, social, and economic Transformation simply lie to us about what is really going on. Once a controversy develops, we get new names and severed parts but usually not real changes in practices. So when the Future Empowerment Paradigm associated with Transformational Outcomes Based Education and William Spady in the 90s (described here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/future-empowerment-paradigm-or-educentric-tradition-guess-which-began-its-reign-20-years-ago/ )  became controversial, the critical End Game of Life Role Performances got severed. Keep the function. Change the Name. Hire someone other than Spady.

Now it is very difficult for the public to get their arms around just how much scheming and looting and psychological manipulation is going on in this Change the Student Future Capacity Template. When they hear terms like “Performance Standards” they automatically think solid academics at a high level of expected expertise. When they hear Performance Assessment, they think testing that expects solid academic achievement. They certainly do not think of an education model doing everything it can to take mental activity out of the classroom. They would be horrified to know performance standards are all about creating desired behaviors and attitudes in each student at a reflexive level. No conscious thought required.

When the school talks about ability to access information or interpret or produce or communicate, parents and taxpayers assume these are desired abilities within the context of a body of knowledge. Not generic abilities with real world value that are ALL that is desired in the student. Just “life-functioning performance” abilities. That assessments are actually all about:

“Great care should be taken to identify the exact action that will be taught and assessed.”

Action, not knowledge. Project or activity, not tests. When we read references to problem solving most of us assume a math or science word problem. Not necessarily easy but useful. Very bolstering to both a verbal ability to conceptualize mentally and a logical ability to reach a step-by-step, methodical solution. No. No. No. In performance assessment world:

“the problem needs to be ill-structured. [By the way that is also what rigorous means in Ed World]. The problem should not have a single approach or response–in fact, the route taken and the determined solution should be almost unpredictable.”

John Dewey called that type of problem the Indeterminate Situation and valued it greatly because it required emotion and frustration instead of intellectual skill and knowledge. He believed such problems were conducive to striving for a different kind of society instead of accepting the capitalist, individualistic society he abhored. Today’s assessment developers still have a similar intent even if the Principals or teachers themselves are unaware of the history of this peculiar notion of rigor to drive revolution via mental and emotional transformation over time.

So Transformational OBE and Spady became too controversial in most places to acknowledge when that was what was going on in a school or district. So those Life Role Performances got renamed as Performance Assessments and less well-known OBE players like Spence Rogers or Willard Daggett pursued the OBE implementation via their focus on actual classroom activities. All of the activities quoted came from the Third Edition of Spence Rogers’ book The High Performance Toolbox:Succeeding with Performance Tasks, Projects, & Assessments.

Those tasks, projects, and performance assessments are what drives the actual classroom implementation of every Common Core curriculum I have seen. The Schemers know that what is measured is what gets taught. So the Future Capacity/Empowerment/New Kind of Focus comes in under the poorly understood Performance assessments. Where the task or project is the evaluation. And the task or project is not checking content knowledge but looking for action and generic abilities like the ones described above. This would all be hard to spot unless you were monitoring curricula all over the world and over decades. Which I have. The future capacity orientation gets hidden also in the US under the lovely euphemism College and Career Ready. Sounds like knowledge but avoids the “entrenched subject matter” orientation of traditional education that bolsters those undesirable (if you want state control of society and the economy) Axemaker Minds.

Why you say? You know if ten years from now we continue on our present trajectory I will likely be forced to write a book explaining that the US and the West lost prosperity because too many of the beneficiaries of capitalism never understood how much individual and cultural attitudes and values mattered to economic prosperity. And ALL the anti-capitalism schemers knew precisely how much these mattered. And they used education, K-12 and higher ed, to get at and change the attitudes and values of independence and self-reliance.

And they used education to force out every aspect of the curriculum known to nurture the rational, logical, conceptual mind. Which is the real reason for the math and reading wars. It’s not about how to teach. It’s about limiting the oxygen that ignites the fires of individual mental cognition. That useful ability to spin your own mental scenarios within the privacy of your own mind. Scenarios that can sometimes turn into innovative inventions that alter the known world. Like the Axe did or the computer.

Throughout history and even today in most countries in the world the political sovereign–whether king, dictator, or legislative body and state-employed bureaucrats–controls the economy. That’s the historic norm. What is going on in education in the US now and globally is simply a stealth reversion to that norm. Ironically the changes are frequently being done under the banner of becoming or remaining Internationally Competitive. Yes in the sought Dirigiste, Mercantilist economies of the 21st Century where Education is the Method of Personal Subjugation. And Catastrophic Manmade Global Warming and the spectre of other planet-wide environmental disasters is the Excuse for such planning and control over economies and people’s personal behaviors. And politically connected businesses hope to benefit as well.

If the Statist Schemers living at our expense were honest about what is going on most of us would say No. Freedom may be a burden but it is a burden most of us desire if given the choice.

So we are not being given the choice. And education seeks to become a walled-off profession where no one but the Properly Credentialled may have a say. And the Credentials are grounded in the Marxist political theories that caused so much destruction in the 20th century. And yes I am quite sure about that as well.

It’s also why CAGW, like Marxism in its heyday, must be treated as the unexamined Theory never to be contradicted with reality. Like Marxism or Dewey’s Social Reconstruction, it’s an aspirational theory for changing the future not a scientific theory based on facts. None of these political theories for social control can bear the scrutiny of reality because that is not what they are grounded in.

But reality is still the world every one of us inhabit. And it thus has to govern how we respond to all these sought changes. It’s the reality behind the current “Grab the Guns, Gut the Mind, and Ignore the Temps” that too many are still treating as unrelated.

 

What Happens When Repeated and Intentional Threats to Student Beliefs Becomes Mandated?

That provocative title based on an urgent concern we should all be pondering comes from this quote from an Education Professor credentialling who can teach or be the boss. All at taxpayer expense based on an unappreciated definition of Literacy being imposed everywhere now on classrooms under the Common Core ruse.

“My sense is that all learners need their belief structures to be routinely threatened in ways that move them to interrogate those beliefs. To do otherwise is to deny the opportunity for my students, my colleagues, and myself to teeter on that fulcrum of threat and, using our collective weight, to defy the gravity of our circumstances.

Now, this acknowledges these methods constitute threats to a student’s sense of self that will be painful for some students and teachers. And it acknowledges trying to create mental approaches that students will remain in as they journey through life that  may well repudiate the Mindset brought from homes with educated, involved parents and lots of books and conversation from birth. And it acknowledges that the desired classroom is about encouraging teachers and students to be theorizers–”creating theories about how the world operated, testing those theories, and reassessing” without regard to facts or history or reality. If this is the school and classroom experience you advocate Educators impose, should you immediately write a Op-Ed after the Newtown tragedy complaining that there is something wrong with Upper Middle Class White Students and the US needs gun control?

http://blogs.ajc.com/get-schooled-blog/2012/12/21/fearing-young-black-men-in-hoodies-while-ignoring-while-young-white-men-with-glocks/ is the editorial before Christmas that really struck me as propaganda for the paper that published it. I have chronicled all the social and emotional targeting of students and the repeated rational, abstract  mind attacks. Those are not well-known to the public at large but they seem well-known in the Colleges of Education. That’s where they get created and a willingness to be a blind and deaf advocate for them earns Masters and Doctorate degrees now in too many places.

The fact is that these largely White Middle Class communities and schools that have been the location of school tragedies also are places that all seem to be piloting the Affective, Change the Student Approaches instead of the historic Transmitting of Knowledge. This fact is quite well-known among the education professorate. It’s the public that fails to see the connection among Flow experiences, Transformational Outcomes Based Education (both are described in the previous post), Systems Thinking, or the Best Practice/Standards for Teaching and Learning that I described here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/didnt-the-president-just-admit-ccssi-was-a-ruse-to-change-classroom-interactions/ .

This paragraph is an aside to this post but it may well be enlightening to some of you on how this gets in place. Plus I try to be fair here. We are dealing with troubling or bad ideas on this blog and not people themselves. I would classify Professor Fecho’s work as well as his UGA colleague Peter Smagorinsky as being part of that Standards for Teaching and Learning approach. Their theories of pedagogy and Literacy suggest that UGA was not just interested in constructivist math when it took a huge NSF grant of $10.3 million in 2002 to set up a Center for Learning and Teaching. Lucky Georgians were getting the Whole Language/Psycholinguistics approach to reading and writing as well as part of Georgia’s piloting of the Performance Standards that would in turn become the basis for the actual Common Core implementation now going national. And really catching up to the international initiative being pushed globally through UNESCO.

This matters to me and maybe you too, for example, because it explains why the description of Common Core sent out at the beginning of this school year by high school English teachers did not match what I know about the Common Core and those teachers. They had a new Department head with a UGA Masters in Reading who would have been influenced by Fecho and Smagorinsky’s politically inspired approaches to teaching. She is now an Assistant Principal about a year after joining the school as a teacher. See how advocating certain theories creates a fast track to lucrative promotions? See how all this can affect your child’s classroom or just your community school out of site? In the nicest neighborhoods? Which is the whole idea. No islands of academic knowledge and minds burgeoning with accurate facts and logic are to be allowed. Anywhere.

Back to this post’s concern over what has really been transpiring in many classrooms. It is now to be a national mandate in the name of the Common Core with requirements imposed for schools to remain accredited. Professor Fecho himself advocates a classroom approach for adult and younger students he calls creating “an atmosphere where wobble takes place.” http://www.cocostudio.com/pubs/Fecho-July10_EE.pdf is the 2010 article from English Education that explains the wobble process and the desired “shift in balance” in a student’s belief system. Later (page 429) the article cites Soviet philosopher Bakhtin and politically radical educator Paulo Freire for this theoretical view of Self. It is not a factual view of Self but a political aspiration for accomplishing what everyone involved admits is a radical economic, political, and social Transformation.

In other words, this is not about how to teach subjects but how to transform enough students from the inside-out to use the majority electoral process to impose a New Vision for the future. On all of us. Key to that is treating the student’s identity as not settled. So that the classroom curriculum and activities become a means of creating continuous “centripetal and centrifugal tension” on a student’s personality. That seems to be a fancy way of saying pulling it apart from every direction.

The stronger the personality and mind that walks in the door of one of these soon to be increasingly prevalent classrooms, the harder this type of classroom experience will be. For a sharp mind this highly psychological emphasis makes the school anything but a safe zone. If it was me as a teenager, I would see the process described above in the opening paragraph or the wobble push as turning school into a torture chamber. Forcing teachers to go along is a huge part of of these Effective Teacher Evals you are hearing so much about. See http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/coercing-teachers-to-be-social-and-political-saboteurs-what-can-be-done/ for more on the Eval Coercion and why.

I delayed posting a few days on this so I could read Professor Fecho’s book “Is This English?” Race, Language, and the Culture in the Classroom to make sure I was being fair. The title and opening quote comes from that book (page 146 to be exact). I am not going to second guess the Professors belief that this was a good approach in an urban Philadelphia classroom with minority children that seemed disengaged from school.

I am saying that the insistence on Equity and Levelling and eliminating the Axemaker Mind anywhere it appears means that school in some of our suburbs became and is becoming a place where teachers are being forced to push theories and psychological practices that already have a tragic history. They may be unfamiliar with the background of these theories and practices but we are not any longer. The creators of these theories and practices want Change in students mentally and emotionally and what they value and believe in going forward. They want those changes to gain a Collectivist oriented political and economic future. This time it is supposed to be “humane” socialism with politically connected amenable Big Business allowed as Collaborators with this Government Led and Enforced Vision.

I don’t think it will work well. Most people will be looking at a much lower standard of living in the future with less differences among us. That’s a high price to pay for Equity. No more widespread prosperity.

I genuinely believe that the “inexplicable” school shootings of the last 20 or so years in the US are too consistently tied to places that are cutting edge in pushing these transformative theories in the classroom for it to be coincidental. School ceases to be a place of safety when the intention is to create something akin to wobble. Deliberately trying to break the mind brought from home. Intentionally using education to mount a political coup by stealth may avoid the Gulags that were necessary elsewhere. But this education theory approach has not been without victims.

If these theories and practices become nationalized as planned, I fear these tragedies may become more common. The answer is to first stop this psychologized, mentally abusive and emotionally intrusive political classroom.

Not to insist that everyone must be disarmed so that guns and rational minds are both being deliberately taken away by what amounts to government fiat.

Future Empowerment Paradigm or Educentric Tradition? Guess Which Began Its Reign 20 Years Ago?

Of all the snow jobs I have to hear on why education needs to change away from the transmission of knowledge and instruction of subject matter, the one that spikes my blood pressure the most has to be the sanctimonious–”What we have been doing is not working.” Trust me, the credentialling Colleges of Education declared war on content back in the 60s. It became a hot war in the 90s with honesty among themselves about “revolutionary, unprecedented” changes and “radical” transformations. When controversies erupted, the dishonest revolutionaries though wanted to keep their pensions and taxpayer paid health benefits and monopoly over the classroom. All we heard then was that there was a difference of opinion of how to teach reading or math.

No one publicly mentioned this Paradigm shift or that the Educrats had taken to wearing the mantle of being Social Change Agents at war with an economic and political system they likely did not really understand. That they had decided to push for a different future for Americans and Canadians. Indeed globally. That educators, especially a group selling their “expertise” to states and school districts for a Paradigm transformation they admit their was no public demand for. Nevertheless, the schemers like Bill Spady and Spence Rogers embarked on new lucrative careers pushing:

“a colossal process that involves redefining and reshaping entire institutions and the belief systems and cultures surrounding them.”

No hubris there. After all Spady holds humanities, education, and sociology degrees from the University of Chicago and had been involved in education his entire life. What better preparation for Wholesale Transformation? The fact that the culture and traditions being replaced grew spontaneously over time and had created the highest level of prosperity the world had ever seen should not matter, right? And Rogers had been a high school math teacher. That’s an excellent background for:

“fundamental and widespread shifts . . . in the perceptions, beliefs, values, and preferences of the countless people involved in and directly affected by the transformation.”

Is it now hard to comprehend why districts and states aggressive in this wholesale transformation have had such poor academic results? If not even worse tragedies. Spady’s description of his desired new paradigm was even written in 1997 after the controversies over OBE generally and Transformational OBE in particular. This is from his defend himself and the paradigm book. Transformational has the students being assessed on life role performances based on a presumptuous future Spheres of Living Template. That would be the areas of “Work & Productive Endeavors, Close & Significant Relationships, Meaningful & Fulfilling Pursuits, Physical & Cultural Environment, and Group & Community Memberships.” These will teach students the practical “Life & Resource Management” so that each student as an adult can achieve “Personal Potential & Wellness.”

And according to Spady the Aurora, Colorado school district just spontaneously came up with this Great Idea of Empowering Student Life Performance Outcomes as the future focus of school. And other school districts just adored the idea and wanted to transition their schools and communities as well to this vision of the new perfect planned future. Ooops. They left out the planned society part although that is clearly where this is all going. Even if Spady suggests setting up committees to develop proposed future conditions to get widespread ownership of this vision. Two things stand out now in 2012 and going forward. One is that Spady by 1997 is already misrepresenting the history of OBE, what happened in Aurora, and who was involved as we covered here  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/using-education-to/

At the time I wrote that post about Creating the Behavior Government Officials Want in Future Citizens, I was reacting to the implications of what Bela Banathy had written and ASCD’s Educational Leadership were pushing on schools. And I understood Transformational OBE and its life role performances around an imagined future. Never have thought much of it as you can imagine.

Looking back now though I think we need to look at all these OBE and Systems Thinking transformations as related tools to get K-12 education in the West generally but especially the US to the 1989 UNESCO blueprint vision I described here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/values-and-vocational-creating-citizen-drones-via-education-worldwide/. Moreover, now that I have seen the early 70s during the Cold War UNESCO vision for a planned society called the Learning Society that I described here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/coercing-teachers-to-be-social-and-political-saboteurs-what-can-be-done/ , all of these education programs are clearly just strategies to target the West economically and politically and achieve control over a great deal of what should be free human behavior through the K-12 schools as well as colleges and universities.

No wonder it does not really go away no matter the poor effects on students or declines in test scores or even school tragedies that seem to have common factors being left undiscussed. That 70s report was quite graphic about the concept of employing mentally and psychologically invasive means in order to get transformed individual mindsets and visions for the future. The idea commonly phrased now as “You can’t get an omelette without breaking eggs.” I once wrote that students are not trees. Neither are their brains and personalities eggs to be broken and scrambled using data and feedback to adjust beliefs and values and feelings and attitudes to go along with a collectivist vision for the future in the name of the Common Good. Imagine what the officials who brought us Oil for Food’s corruption partnering with Education Leadership degrees have in mind for the future. No wonder we are being prepped for a post-GDP, Quality of Life society.

I find it interesting that in his book Flow published in 1990 then U-Chicago psychologist, now Harvard, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, has a cover that advocates this ecstatic union of feelings, thoughts, and actions (discussed in the previous post) as a means to enhance the Quality of Life. Of course he also says that Flow is easier for other species of animals and preliterate primitive societies to achieve. That may have a lot to do with UNESCO push for Basic Skills for All and only basic skills that began about the same time. And, oh, that unappreciated change in the definition of Literacy.

Communitarian prof Amitai Etzioni whose work is implicated so in what will constitute the required Positive School Climate and the actual definition of College and Career Ready also wrote back in the 80s about the Quality of Life society. Of course he was also honest enough to admit that such a society would be at the expense of future economic growth and development. The Quality of Life/Personal Wellbeing Society is also the focus of those Belmont Challenge/ Future Earth Alliance documents I have written about. I know you are shocked, shocked, that UNESCO is also a partner of the Belmont Forum in the going operational in 2013 Future Earth Alliance as well. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/future-earth-alliance-where-education-climate-and-economic-planning-are-all-cores/

Now I think I see some patterns here. And reasons for the continued disregard for the reality of what these reforms cause. A second aspect from Spady’s descriptions has a bearing now to what is coming to a classroom near you soon if it has not happened already. First he outlines the use of what he calls the Learning Community concept to ensure compliance with his Transformational OBE vision among Teachers, other faculty, and students. That is still its function now and too many parents are still envisioning academic rap sessions among Sage Teachers and involved, interested students when the Principal excitedly announces a Learning Community. Think of it as no one having the freedom to reject these bad ideas and the consensus being created by those without the knowledge or acuity to recognize what can lead to tragedy.

Secondly, the Common Core measurements of what is being accomplished in the classroom are largely formative assessments. Based on what Spady called performance assessments of empowering outcomes. The mentions of tests are largely attempts to mislead the nature of the wholesale change. The forming involves the student in the largely affective ways I have outlined in other posts. But having read a lot of SBAC, PARCC, and Gates Foundation funded assessments as well as the OECD work creating the entire concept, Csik’s psychology transformation of Optimal Experience appears to me to be thoroughly embedded into what is to occur.

And Csik thinks Karl Marx’s work has been misunderstood and misapplied and had lovely things to say about Antonio Gramsci and his brand of “humane socialism.” He now wants to develop and remake man’s consciousness as he believes  “we now need to learn how to reunite ourselves with other entities.” It is the disciplines and academic knowledge, he believes, that “produced science, technology, and the unprecedented power of mankind to build up and to destroy its environment.” Gosh, darn, amazingly enough, another UN priority.

If the vision of education, K-12 and higher ed, all over the world, under UN influence, is premised on this belief:

“Recognizing the limitations of human will, accepting a cooperative rather than a ruling role in the universe, we should feel the relief of the exile returning home. The problem of meaning will then be resolved as the individual’s purpose merges with the universal flow.”

We all have a right and need to know that. Now. Before the New Year. Before the Future Earth Alliance commences working with the education accreditation agencies and unions to impose this vision via education. Even further than it is now.

That’s a Vision of Submission if I ever read one. And it’s totalizing in its aspirations.

But luckily some of us still have the knowledge and acuity to recognize what we are dealing with. Be brave and forthright now with what we know. We are not naive Chamberlains hoping for the best in 1938.

Excellence Means Education Putting What We Feel, Wish For, and Think In Harmony

Is that what you think of when you hear a Super or Principal or Politician say they want excellence in education?  Can you appreciate how useful it would then be to create a false belief system about reality through curricula like Facing History or a UN report about catastrophic manmade global warming regardless of actual temperatures? Check on the feelings component. How about the utility of a rather limited store of facts coupled with a new value system driven by a perceived need for fairness and social justice? That sure would affect what was wished for. Top it all off with a mind that was never taught to read phonetically and uses context strategies to guess at unknown words. Couple that to a brain that was never taught logic through grammar or systemmatic, sequential coverage of math topics (abstractions are taboo, remember?), and you have precisely the classroom recipe we have been dealing with in some schools, districts, and states for about twenty years.

If our Colleges of Education aspire to create mushbrains and then have their graduates meddle in the students’ inner subjective emotions to create a new sense of self and personal identity, professors pushing such a dialogic vision for the engaged classroom should not turn around and write Editorial letters that school tragedies must be the result of guns. The Second Amendment.  Lots more has changed in education. Targeting that inner self is a big part of what changed in the last 25 years or so.

The economist Thomas Sowell writes presciently that:

“Civilization has been aptly called a ‘thin crust over a volcano.’ The annointed are constantly picking at that crust.”

Well, in our case the annointed are largely education professors or those with sociology or psych degrees who have decided they get to decide what kind of future there is going to be and they plan to use their monopolies over K-12 and higher education to get there. Even though they clearly do not understand economics or history. I am going to stop what is not a funny topic to tell a funny, telling, story I read this week on the Cafe Hayek blog about Amitai Etzioni.

As you may recall, he’s the Communitarian professor whose vision of the future is so much a part of the Positive School Climate mandate, the real definitions of College and Career Ready, and the C 3 civics push for a Common Good emphasis. Apparently he suggested that until we can get national gun control legislation, people should voluntarily get rid of their guns and then put a sign in front of their home announcing that fact to strangers as they go by. Now should someone who finds that to be an inspirational idea really be who we are listening to on their vision of the future?

I had a similar thought this week as I looked through Spence Rogers’ Teaching for Excellence Materials. The co-creator of Transformational Outcomes Based Education with Bill Spady recommended pushing psychology prof Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s book Flow for all teachers using his classroom template. Since I have children in a school and district using Rogers’ work and had already written about Csik  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/what-if-higher-order-thinkingdeliberate-confusion/  it was time to get his other books. I already had Csik and his co-authors saying their education reform work was about “trying to direct the course of the future” and maligning capitalism.

I am actually using Csik’s 1997 book Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement with Everyday Life for this post and the title. If you believe excellence is about using the classroom to train students to “curb the goals” arising from “their genetic or cultural inheritance” (Ripping the whole cover right off Sowell’s volcano) and your psychological theories are being widely implemented, tragic results simply cannot be treated as unexpected. Or inexplicable. Just because tragic results were not Csik’s or Rogers or Spady’s or the principal or super’s intentions.  We are explicitly targeting feelings via the classroom to supposedly “restore an inner subjective order” and develop new attitudes not shaped by “our peculiar capitalist heritage.” Csik’s vision is to use school to push the idea that as the Hindus believe “persons were not considered to be separate individuals as we think of them, but rather nodes in an extended social network.”

This excellence via flow vision of Csik’s that is now part of teacher professional development rejects the transmission of knowledge purpose of the school. The emphasis on student performance outcomes and goals are all reflected in IB and the Common Core and the Standards for Learning and Teaching. All insist that education must be about experiences. Not abstract ruminating. By golly, if you are thinking and comparing on an assignment you need to be able to cite the passage behind your thoughts. Gee, I remember when A work was making a point even the professor had not thought of. Students today supposedly need a consciousness “full of experiences” where “what we feel, what we wish, and what we think are in harmony.”

That’s a flow experience to Csik and that aspiration by the government into the full spectrum of a student’s personality to be monitored via data and feedback to measure “personal growth” should not really be considered intrusive. It’s in pursuit of a different future after all. And if you wonder why teachers or principals sometimes get a glazed zealot look in their eyes when describing their PEAK teacher training or Peter Senge’s systems thinking seminars or Camp Snowball, this is Csik’s description of a flow experience.

“The metaphor of “flow” is one that many people have used to describe the sense of effortless action they feel in moments that stand out as the best in their lives. Athletes refer to it as “being in the zone,” religious mystics as being in “ecstasy,” artists and musicians as aesthetic rapture.”

If you need more proof that education and pedagogy no longer accept any boundaries– personal, spiritual, social, or political– in the determination to transform the student from the inside-out. Changing where students find meaning itself, here’s an interview with Professor Kazanjian who headed up the 1998 Wellesley Education as Transformation project that expressly also mentions K-12.   http://www.ikedacenter.org/thinkers/kazanjian_int.htm

If you have never read this post on Bela Banthy’s totalizing vision of education he called Achieving Excellence to take us to a different future, I suggest reading it. Now. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/who-granted-permission-to-spearhead-societal-evolution-to-a-global-cooperative-consciousness/ Then ask yourself why Bill Spady, who had directed Banathy at the Far West ed lab in Oregon later misdescribes the 1991 creation of Transformational OBE in Aurora, Colorado after it became controversial. And never mentions Banathy’s more comprehensive version of the OBE vision at all.

I think it is because Banathy gives the rest of the story. The economic and political transformation that all these education reforms and psychologizing of the classroom are actually leading us to. The planned society. The planned economy.

The highly emotional, manipulated to be servile and give in to the herd mind. Led by too many adults who are now always seeking a continuation of what felt like a mystic experience. Who don’t see anything wrong with trying to create a new world via the classroom. Who lack the knowledge to put the pieces together and then recognize why this cannot end well.

I wish everyone reading this post and blog a very Merry holiday season. Please do not be sad about the gravity of what I have been writing about. I don’t know why I was put in the precise places I needed to be over the last few years to get this story. But I was and I have it.

And I genuinely believe that telling it will make all the difference in really altering the future. But in a good way. Certainly better than what is currently intended for most of us.