Learning to Walk Naked into the Land of Uncertainty While Calling It Math, Science or Lit Class

Did that get your attention? Mine too. The first part came from a January 2003 article in the Journal of Transformative Education. The latter part is me recognizing from all the Common Core rubrics I have seen how the same principle makes it to classrooms as higher order cognitive tasks or rigor. This is taken from the body of the National  Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM)’s recent report Principles to Action. Mathematical tasks are “classified as low level when they have little or no ambiguity about what needs to be done.” So those word problems you remember doing in Algebra that involved using symbols for ratios tied to the real world that taught logic and analytical skills and also might have genuine uses in life as an adult are unacceptable because there is a fixed solution. Beyond the reenforcement of the Axemaker Mind, the traditional type of math problem supposedly does not prepare a student to deal with a world in flux and to act despite uncertainty on the likely consequences.

When humanist psychologist Carl Rogers shifted his focus “from psychotherapy with individuals [and writing books as we have seen with Abraham Maslow and the NEA] to transformation in larger social systems,” he decided that large group work would be a fine way to go about “changing hearts and changing consciousness” in order to get to the desired Person of Tomorrow.  http://insightu.net/content/library/journals/jtevol01no01january200364-79.pdf Since the Quartet of planned Transformations we just finished to supposedly create Climate-Resilient Pathways in advance fit so well with the “deep change is different from incremental change in that it requires new ways of thinking and behaving…Making a deep change requires walking naked into the land of uncertainty” theme, I thought it would make a fine way to illustrate the targeting of the inner mental models and value systems of the student in classes that still have subject names.

Back to NCTM’s P to A again as they like to shorthand it where, speaking of using large groups to provide a mind altering herd effect per Rogers, teachers are to “establish an equitable environment that engages all students in the collective work of understanding mathematics.” As Rogers foresaw “person-centered group processes” are a good place to acquaint individuals “with the urgent societal need for people to voluntarily make personal sacrifice for the common good.” The group becomes a place to reject the West’s conception of “the individual as a separate, conscious agent disappears into the service of the interconnected whole. The African concept of umbuntu (“I become me through you and you become you through me”) is an example of such a connected worldview.” Since we have already tied down that those Career Ready and Positive School Climate edicts lead straight to cites of expected communitarianism, we might as well add an African name for what will be expected of students to show the desired proper attitude of change and inclusion.

Again from P to A “students are actively involved in learning that involves productive struggle with mathematical ideas leading to a disposition of perseverance in problem solving.” Such struggle, perseverance, and Grit is far  less embarrassing for most of us than walking around in our birthday suit, but every bit as deliberately intended to cultivate a mindset to act in the face of uncertainty and “tolerating ambiguity.” You see, it’s not just teachers, Principals, and those Gypsy Supers who are being primed to be Transformational Change Agents. NCTM one more time–” mathematical tasks are viewed as placing high-level cognitive demands on students when they allow students to engage in active inquiry and exploration or encourages students to use procedures in ways that are meaningfully connected to concepts or understanding.”

http://www.nextgenscience.org/sites/ngss/files/EQuIP%20Rubric%20for%20Science%20%26%20Response%20Form_Finalv1.pdf is the new eval that tells us when there is meaningful connection going on so that a lesson includes “the blending of practices [behaviors], disciplinary core ideas, and crosscutting concepts” to create “three-dimensional learning to make sense of phenomena or design solutions.” That instructional materials eval was for the Common Core Science Standards, but the same three dimensional concept is in the comparable rubrics for ELA and Math. Not only does that account for the second part of this post’s title, but the required 3 dimensions are targeting the student’s inner mental models of reality in precisely the way the cybernetic theory of control over human behavior laid out. Gold stars to all readers who read 3 dimensions and gasped: “but that’s Piotr Galperin’s image [provided by activity in a physical context], associations [those cross cutting concepts], and overall core understandings.”

NCTM also just loves the idea of concepts to guide perception of reality. In fact, they have also figured out a way to make math class a place to ignite the burning passion for transformation in the social, economic, and political spheres too. P to A insists “mathematics educators must be pushed to grapple with the complexity and particularities of race, marginalized status, and differential treatment by providing a lens for examining social, institutional, and structural inequities that contribute to differentials in the opportunities to learn mathematics.” Not to worry though, the teacher will be provided with an accurate understanding of history and economics to use in explaining the causes of such inequities to the students. Christopher Columbus started it.

Sorry, but turning math class into a medium for theorizing about social justice as a group process to reach consensus reminds me again of that Rogers’ article talking about “members of the group suspend their assumptions and judgements to become empathically attuned to others in the group as equally unique and sovereign coparticipants in the same larger community.” No. No. No. Particularly when the article went on to describe the mind altering and compliance enforcement potential of such conscious communities or integral groups and praised the belief that members will undergo deep change as a result of their willingness “to go along with it–not because they are conforming but because they believe that their individuated aims and the community’s aims are one.” Remember it’s not just math or Lit class. To be an Effective Principal under ASCD guidelines is to be pushing the Fostering Communities of Learners and Whole Child visions.

Notice that the Rogers article quoted the creator of the term ‘Excellence’ in education, Mihaly Csiksentmihalyi, who we just keep running into. In all the Professional Development for the Common Core using Csik’s flow concepts though, no one has ever mentioned that the altered consciousness sought in teachers and students is “like being on some mind altering drug without the chemicals.” Sure does explain the giddiness of the administrators afterwards though on the utter joy from using the techniques in classrooms. Gets you to that same place again in altering consciousness then with all your clothes still on. Thank goodness.

The NCTM vision of mathematics education “that works for all students” where students may work on “problems that take hours, days or even weeks to solve–mirroring the world for which we are preparing them” really does sound like math class to change how the world is perceived. The hyping of “digital tools that allow teachers to take learning much deeper” sets up the vision we just keep coming across to let programmed virtual reality be the preferred substitute now for the real world. Students come to see “math as a useful tool in understanding the world in which students live,” with nothing to tip them off that false perceptions are being deliberately cultivated to drive the belief in the need for fundamental transformational changes.

Digital learning for all gets mandated to supposedly drive equity and then those “available tools and technology help teachers and students concretize and visualize [Galperin's Image again] mathematical abstractions.” Suddenly a discipline created to provide a symbolic system to reliably and unambiguously describe, and abstractly manipulate, actual reality in ways that created the civilizational progress we take for granted becomes a conceptual tool for misperceiving reality in politically useful ways.

At least if you have fundamental transformations on your mind.

Like Rogers, NCTM, and most of the central office employees in your local school district.

Deep Diving to Internal Mental Models to Increase Leverage for Accomplishing the Great Transition

No, deep diving is not a Grab Your Attention Play on the ubiquity of the ambiguous term ‘deeper learning’ as a fundamental goal of 21st century education globally. The last fundamental transformation confession that was lurking in that IPCC definition of Adaptation we have been discussing in this Spheres of Desired Transformation Quartet was from a 2011 Conference in London where once again our invitation went missing. Sponsored primarily by the World Wildlife Fund-UK and called the Smart CSOs Conference, the report was called Effective Change Strategies for the Great Transition: Five Leverage Points for Civil Society Organizations. Troublingly and in disregard of my recollection of civics in the US, the document seeks to achieve invisible global change because “similar to governments, CSOs have a mandate to serve society’s interests, but they do not face the same constraints as governments.”

Oh, goody. Especially since the report notes in discussing the leverage points for the wholesale transformations intended by the Great Transition that “increased leverage can be found by diving to the deeper levels of the iceberg depicted [in the report but taken from Peter Senge's 1990 book The Fifth Discipline Handbook] and draw our attention to and shift system structures and mental models.” When people tell me they wish my book or this blog would simply stick to education, I keep repeating that I cannot. The constantly recurring end goal is always that education is a means for obtaining a new kind of consciousness and revised societal values for desired fundamental transformations “across every realm” at both a “broad and deep systemic” level. The report states that this “includes technologies, legislation, economic and governance institutions, social relations, culture and values.”

Education is deemed to be the key means of leveraging the transition because it is the “internal models of the world” that will allow the needed changes in behaviors going forward. All the explanations of mandated Constructivism and Curriculum Redesign and Gaming and systems thinking and digital learning all become clear when we read the complaints of how existing political, social, and economic structures are resisting the desired transformational changes. The key the report says is to “go even deeper and explore how real structures are shaped by our thinking. We create internal models of the world–mental models, which we use for making sense of the world and taking action.” The fact that these internal mental representations are the target gets hidden behind euphemisms like deep learning, brain-based learning, teaching students ‘how to think,’ and rigor and higher order thinking skills that will allow Transfer.

Unless, like me, you read the underlying cited psychological research the true definitions and aims remain obscured. In my world though, the intentions could not be more clear. As the CSO report recommended, systems thinking and conceptual ‘lenses’ generally “allows us to open these black boxes.” Numerous papers I have seen in just the last week make it clear this is exactly what the new assessments delivered via adaptive software and the computer are designed to produce data both looking at and changing what’s inside the ‘black box’ within a student’s mind. It is the aim of this recent Nellie Mae report    http://www2.nmefoundation.org/l/30762/2014-03-20/sbd9/30762/14238/Ready_For_College_FullReport.pdf as well as “Measuring Learning Success: Rethinking Assessment to Improve Student Outcomes” from the Center for Digital Education (that is actually a sub of media company erepublic that works with state and local governments on innovations based on Big Data). Can you say “No one will see this coming until it is too late?”

All of these intentions are laid out, including specifically “simulations and role playing games” that let students explore in cyberspace with visual images the “dynamic consequences of our assumptions” in our existing mental models. No one will be tipping off teachers or students that those consequences are simply what has been programmed into the simulation to guide beliefs and values in desired directions. If you are wondering if I am perhaps too cynical on the intentions here, the CSO report wants a new narrative so badly they italicized it that will “speak to the hearts and minds of a very large number of people and tell a creative and emotional story of who we are and who we need to be and tap into the creative worlds of mythmaking.” The narrative will appeal to people’s intrinsic values, which will of course have been cultivated by ed using contemplative education or positive psychology methods and the Positive School Climate/ Fostering Communities of Learners requirements.

Whatever method gets used to embed new communitarian oriented values via school and higher education, CSOs are exhorted to use the laid-out “understanding of values, frames and narratives in their policy and their communication.” Remember the desire of cybernetic theory to create an internal keel that could be used to steer people’s future behavior with? CSOs, the media, governments at all levels with help from companies like erepublic, are all planning to steer as a means of finally achieving this Great Transition. Did you know the report defines narratives as “frameworks for people to understand their lives. They are a way to make sense of life”? Those narratives are being consciously created to get at emotions. They are designed to utilize research from cognitive science obtained from real people via formative assessments, adaptive software, or data from MOOCs (hence all the interest from the Artificial Intelligence community. It is also a research method).

That cognitive science research so far says that to change values in people and ultimately institutions, education needs to target the “mental structures that allow human beings to understand reality.” Accessing these “deep frames–the cognitive structures found in long-term memory–are closely linked with cultural values. Deep frames are relatively stable, but are not unchangeable.” Let’s stop again to remember and discuss why these deep mental structures are being deliberately targeted for change. Politicians, public sector bureaucrats, foundation employees, CSOs, and apparently the entire UN apparatus that guarantees lifetime salaries for all vision-compliant former politicians once voters tire of their shenanigans, have all decided to fundamentally redesign all our civic institutions and economic and political structures in ways that benefit them and screw us. Since we would be crazy to go along if we were asked, we are not being asked.

Education again is the way in. It is why it has become a Weapon to Destroy the world we currently take for granted. It goes to accessing the deepest structures of our minds and the fundamental drivers within our personalities. To dictate that it is now to be “the will of humanity to invent an economic system that is guided by different parameters and that would work for human wellbeing and the planet.” That’s doubtful, but it’s such a nice slogan for the reality of personal greed coerced via the public sector. Schools and higher ed are now to ensure graduates have a “bigger sense of interconnectedness with nature and with others and an empathy with humanity as a whole (global empathy).” And no matter how much a student knows, without hitting that Universal Love stage of Global Citizenship, there will be no badge or diploma. The student will be regarded as Not Ready to Move On.

I want to end on one of the same notes that I drew attention to in my book, especially now that the same vision featured prominently in the recent book Imagine Living in a Socialist USA. The intended redesign of the global economy, especially in developed countries like the US, Canada, Australia, and Europe, is to “start with the question: What level and what type of consumption do people really need to live a good and fulfilling life?”

This is not a minor point. In fact the Ford Foundation funds Global Transformation research around this so-called Line of Plenty. The Thanksgiving 2077 conclusion to that Imagine book talks about how people probably would never have supported the Great Transition if they had realized it would mean meat consumption would be rare and that medical care would cease after a certain age. But those recognized realities are not in the Talking Points for the Great Transition being offered for public consumption. It’s not designed into the scenarios offered by virtual simulation either.

We have a great deal of intended aims and consequences laid out in the documents discussed in this IPCC Adaptation Quartet. Fundamental transformations in all areas without any intention of asking for consent from the so-called Governed. Only calling attention to these intentions and the fact that education is the way in can stop it.

I can and have tracked all this and more. Can you help me spread the word about these dangerous declared intentions?

Identifying Education Globally as the Crucial Lever for Nonconsensual Behavior and Societal Change

It is one thing to know that education is now a weapon, and another to discover there has been an expensive, calculated frenzy in the last few years to use social science theory, specifically cited as sociology, anthropology, psych, and even political science, to “drive individual processes of change, as well as changes in social practices.” What? Just because someone is a tenured professor or a one-time politician? That enables them to recommend “transformative actions toward equitable sustainability at the local, community level” so that others can examine “how to speed and scale those up into processes of transformative global thinking?” Whoa!!

Welcome to the May 2012 prescription for “Transformative Cornerstones of Social Science Research for Global Change” as our Adaptation Means Each of Us From the Inside-Out Trilogy continues. Any concerns we might have that all this clearly constitutes “processes of social engineering” in order to mandate nonconsensual shifts toward “achieving alternative visions of the future” are supposed to be calmed by uniting these visions with “participatory approaches” at reaching a consensus. Right. At some point after the participants have been manipulated via education and the media. After all, these are transformationalists who KNOW that it is “interpretation and subjective sense making” that actually “confronts the personal and collective values, beliefs, assumptions, interests, worldviews, hopes, needs and desires that underlie people’s experiences of and responses–or lack of responses–to processes of global change.”

A mouthful of aims, but we get what is targeted now. The transformational schemers do not necessarily have a T-shirt or banner and include the greedy, ambitious, or naive servants in the school district or principal’s or even the Governor’s office. Anyone who intends to get at people’s mental models and values, attitudes, and beliefs to drive political change–both at the individual and societal levels. When I wrote my book, I spent years researching what happened during the Cold War and immediately afterwards as I kept  encountering controversial US practices in education that had ties to Soviet psychology. The book explains the whys and recognizes that individual consciousness is always the ultimate target of anyone with aspirations of nonconsensual political control. After several days of wading through all the social science research surrounding Adaptation and how to use education to drive Global Change I have come to a definitive conclusion.

The desire for Planned Geoengineering survived the fall of the Berlin Wall and so did a  desire to control people, places, and things in even more ways than I had previously documented. New methods, new excuses, and more parts to hide the coordination among political levels and regions. Another example also tied into the Belmont Challenge and Future Earth Alliance I first wrote about in June 2012 is called the Global Environmental Change (GEC) Design Project. No, it’s not about what kind of drapes you want in the sunroom. It is, however, all about deliberate transformation using the perception of human-caused climate change as an excuse and asking the “social sciences to take the lead in developing a new integrated, transformative science of global change.” And applying itself through preschool, K-12, and higher ed, which all make good prolonged tools when the aim is:

“Transformation is understood as a process of altering the fundamental attributes of a system, including in this case structures and institutions, infrastructures, regulatory systems, financial regimes, as well as attitudes and practices, lifestyles, policies and power relations.”

Whew! Now you don’t really think that alarming confessional is all I have do you? I thought not. Looking at a few of the Stanford profs involved with the IPCC Report led me to a January 2011 document Called “Knowledge, Learning, and Societal Change: Finding Paths to a Sustainable Future.” This was the Science Plan [notice bolding above] “for a cross-cutting core project of the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change” or IHDP. Don’t get too excited but the social science schemers involved with IHDP see knowledge, learning, and societal change as being in a dialectical relationship where change to one affects and drives changes in the others. KLSC has since ensconced itself in Switzerland with its own website and probably lovely chocolates and fabulous vistas for all its employees, but in discussing it I will stick to the January 2011 declarations for education as well as a 2013 paper kindly laying out the history of IHDP.

We have speculated before on why what Edmund Gordon called “intellective competence” and that’s it, or what is being trumpeted as “equity and excellence” by those seeking economic justice for all, would be useful if you wanted political control, but the KLSC document removes all need to speculate on eliminating Axemaker Minds. Quite simply, we might not behave as desired and we might fail to act when wanted. To put it bluntly, the so-called “science of global change” and the education reforms pushed to accomplish it are all about “how to motivate and empower action by sufficient numbers of people with very different political and economic perspectives, ecological and physical conditions, and cultures.”

The answer is that the inner mental models and new values, attitudes, and beliefs will be carefully sculpted via “personalized learning” until students have different types of “knowledge and different core competencies.” That would be a “broad notion of knowledge that goes beyond a narrow notion of cognitive, science-based forms of knowing.” In fact, “knowledge can be conceptualized as any form of mental representation of the world,” whether true or not, as long as it either changes the student from the “inside-out” or causes him or her to take action.

KLSC is quite aware that “how issues are framed and the way they are communicated appears to influence people’s receptivity to the issues and possible responses” so of course we are in the midst of Curriculum Redesign with ties to IHDP to make students receptive as desired and responsive as wished. All those references to Enduring Understandings or Understandings by Design can be evaluated through this KLSC doctrine: “Knowledge is what empowers its possessors with the capacity for intellectual or physical action.” The KLSC view of the purpose of “education and pedagogies”? The aim is “the formal or informal intervention in an individual’s development to steer learning processes towards socially acceptable behavior.” Not just an intentionally created internal noetic keel then, but consciously aimed at behavior desired to drive transformation.

How do we get that kind of transformation? KLSC points to the “subconscious change of perceptions and [mental] terms of reference over time.” That would mean that the changes are designed to be not just nonconsensual, but at a level past the point of awareness. All the references we keep hearing to Positive School Climate or fostering Communities of Learners? Why “they help link individuals with a shared sense of purpose, so that individual changes are undertaken in the context of a wider social movement.” The KLSC project wishes to “promote research into understanding how to identify a tipping point in attitude and behaviors.” And all of this provides KSLC “with core approaches to understand the positioning of individuals in collectives.”

Oh, a firm knowledge of history gives me such a core understanding, but then I just write books and a blog instead of conducting “action research” on children and young adults for personal profit and professional advancement. KLSC admits that “by societal change, we mean large-scale behavioral change” by “individuals, groups and formal institutions.” And all the while plenty of people continue to believe this is just a good-faith discussion about the natural sciences and climate or how to best teach children for the 21st century.

Well, it is the latter, but only because the nature of life in the 21st century is being radically revised with little notice. I think that all this documentation makes it very clear that “humans” became embedded in “complex systems” according to the social scientists so that human behavior could be controlled and become subject to the “sphere of conscious political calculation.” It allows a shift in the very nature and purpose of governments all over the West without, once again, getting anyone’s consent. These “contemporary efforts to devise strategies for Earth System governance” truly do aim to place the individual chains invisibly within the mind.

The 2013 paper acknowledges that such “geoengineering remains a controversial stewardship ideal also in Earth System science circles.” Well, a touch of sanity at least. Since I am pretty sure I know which side of the debate will get the promotions, lucrative grants, and exotic invites, does anyone think this will remain controversial?

Well, at least before we went to the trouble of documenting Adaptation meant education and personal transformation. Let’s see if we can make this as controversial as it deserves to be.

Facing the Implications of Education that Rejects Reality and Truth as Political Impediments

As we continue to ponder the reality that education has embarked globally on an enormous social experiment designed to change what students believe, value, and care about, without regard to likely consequences or the world as it actually exists, two more publications came my way this week. Each really hammered hard that it is change in personal development and a hoped for transformation in political, social, and economic institutions that is the point of education reform.

Misportraying reality is just an acceptable means to political goals. This can be quite hard for us to read or even contemplate. I always feel like the English fighting what they saw as overreach by the Stuart kings or how the American colonists saw King George and Parliament’s actions. I am not asserting a desire to finally be free. Will future students and the adults they will become though ever have that same sense that “service before self” is not a good slogan to live life by? Will they grasp that schools and universities forcing acceptance of such a belief are dramatically changing what it will now mean to be educated?

The first paper came from the National Education Policy Center and it touted the ability of the Common Core framework to promote a “race-conscious and progressive agenda” focused on equity. http://nepc.colorado.edu/publication/seeing-past-the-colorblind-myth Yep, we can only wish I was exaggerating a smidgen, but no–”We see the Common Core as a powerful opportunity to build diversity into instruction and encourage powerful dialogue.” Not the least bit of interest in looking at the created dysfunction in urban schools from earlier piloting of Vygotsky’s sociocultural psychology in those classrooms or the deliberate destruction of Inner Cities by political machines. Those would not be politically useful facts on our way to forcing enactment of King’s Beloved Community vision to properly commemorate the man.

The 2nd paper dated November 2013 from the Asia Society and the Rand Corporation once again confirmed that the word Competencies is the global euphemism obscuring the actual developmental focus of these required shifts in education. Common Core is merely the means to get the US on board and to eliminate tests that focus on content and facts. In the 21st century content can be used to practice essential skills. The rest of its use though is to change what the student believes, how she behaves, when she feels compelled to act and how, and what she cares for and how she will show it. The paper “Measuring 21st Century Competencies: Guidance for Educators” gave examples of the kind of Assessments that would be used in the 21st Century. One, a Mission Skills Assessment, developed by ETS for use in private independent schools, gets incorporated into classwork to affirmatively shift student’s values and beliefs.

Another, the PISA Collaborative Problem Solving assessment intends to use a computer generated avatar to interact with the student in virtual reality simulations. In the give-and-take with the computer, it will be the actual student who will be changing as a result of the programmed interaction. The SimScientists are cited as another curriculum with embedded assessments that rely on a designed virtual reality to replace the old textbook focus on facts and proven theories. Most people though will believe what they have experienced even if the experiences were carefully created to instill influential false beliefs. In fact, by breaking the competencies into the categories of cognitive, interpersonal, and intrapersonal, that report replicated the very same explicitly proclaimed developmental focus that the Obama Administration http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/college-ready-as-a-goal-of-k-12-is-not-helpful-if-first-you-gut-the-historic-purpose-of-college/   wants to require from colleges and universities now. The one grounded in Robert Kegan’s work that the OECD is also stressing.

The report revealed that the Asia Society has joined with SCALE at Stanford to create a Graduation Performance System (GPS) Framework to look for whether a student has developed the desired values and beliefs, including empathy for others, to be deemed globally competent. Perhaps if I had not been simultaneously focusing on Vygotsky and what a developmental focus for the classroom would really mean I might not have read the report and recognized that all these assessments were designed to change the student’s values, attitudes, and beliefs and then monitor that they remained altered until adulthood. But I was and when I got to the Jaan Valsiner’s discussion of the Double Stimulation experimental method created by Vygotsky where [replace subject with student and think adaptive software on a computer while you read]:

“The experimenter sets up the situation of the task, together with other possible means that can result in a solution if the subject uses them… The structure of the task constitutes the subject’s experimental setting. The subject, put into such a situation, is expected to act constructively in devising a way to reach a solution to the problem… The original aspect of double stimulation is introduced when the emphasis of the observations becomes the child’s construction of new means that can help solve the problem and then restructure the whole task situation once invented.”

Remember how many times we have confronted the command that tasks or assessments be “untaught material” or “ambiguous situations with no fixed solution”? Valsineer went on to say expressly that this emphasis on the active role of the student who changes himself through his use of cultural tools and collaboration with others was grounded in the “dialectical philosophy (that was widely propagated in the Soviet Union in the 1920s.)” Well, at least they had a formal bloody revolution and a new flag and the Bolshevik creed to tip the average person that there was a political transformation going on at the level of the psychological characteristics of the individual. How about us?

I read that description of the experimental method and immediately recognized it fit with many of the computer scenarios I was reading about and gaming and the learning tasks funded by the Gates Foundation and especially what are being called formative assessments. A fairly simple search pulled up articles all over the world that had made that very same connection between Vygotsky’s experimental double stimulation method to change the person, and what is being planned for the classroom under the banner of the Common Core or Competencies or becoming a High Performing country on internationally benchmarked ‘tests.’

Valsineer tells us that “In cultural-historical thinking, historical implies the connection between past, present, and future.” By limiting access to what has been created by humans in the past, especially fluent use of symbol systems like reading and math that promote abstract thought, in today’s classrooms, CHAT seeks to change the nature of the future in predictable ways. It was created for a totalitarian regime. Transported to a free society like the US or Canada or Australia, this developmental focus is intended to change those cultures in collectivist directions. Remember the intentions of the creators travel with education and psychological theories even if they are left unstated in the present implementation. As we have discovered though the communitarian focus is actually stated in the real definition of career ready as well as in Character Education and Positive School Climate materials.

As I so often do when I am presented with an unpleasant but inescapable conclusion of what the actual education reforms are intended to do, I once again dug into some history. I went back to political scientist Kenneth Minogue’s 1963 book The Liberal Mind. He recognized the importance of subverting facts and the truth every time there is an aspiration to utopian thinking. Anytime we are looking at visions that “aim at nothing less than the transformation of human life,” we will find that “so ambitious a project necessarily takes a great interest in education, for like all movements, it is eager to recruit the young.” Amen to that. Minogue also foresaw that once change in the student is viewed as “a means to something else” that “outside manipulation is not far away.” Amen again and hiding as a Whole Child emphasis or in mindfulness practices tucked into definitions of physical fitness or Positive School Climate practices to supposedly combat bullying.

Truth is always such a target when transformation is the aim because “the moral character of truth-seeking is one which did not always play a prominent part in the world’s affairs, and could return to obscurity. Whenever men have, in recent history, attempted to snatch at political salvation, it is truth that has always been the first casualty, since, of all the causes of human turmoil, facts are the most obvious, and therefore the first to be suppressed. The more we dream of utopia, the less we can bear to face our imperfections.”

History also tells us that these utopian ends are never achieved and that horrible damage comes from this official instrumental focus on people as simply a means to desired  political ends. Especially when, as now, the desired ends are being duplicitously withheld as the true justification for the education reforms.

Or fraudulently sold as 21st century personalized learning that requires that tablets replace textbooks and group projects need to substitute for lectures.

Is the typical Principal or District Super these days to be an intentional social revolutionary or just an inadvertent one?

 

 

Science Fiction Made Real: Were We Ever To Know In Time?

This is not the kind of science fiction we read in Frankenstein where the experimentation is physical change. Well, it might be physical, but it will be at the mostly invisible neural level. MRIs would do it though. What lights up and where is a very good indication on whether classroom practices are having the intended effect of putting certain capacities like reason and logic to sleep, while building up the habit of channeling all thought through emotions. Hard not to think of that functional MRI study I went over in the book isn’t it? Political purposes for educational manipulation via the schools. Now see this October 2013 paper on using values analysis and psychology to shift and manipulate a “new electorate.” http://www.cultdyn.co.uk/ART067736u/new-electorate-voter-values_Oct2013_11359.pdf

The new central role of the behavioral and social sciences in trying to create and manage an entirely new and theoretical vision of the world turns out to be openly announced, repeatedly, if we know where to look. I was not particularly looking. In fact, my intention was to make this post about Connected digital Learning and how that initiative is openly grounding itself in Cultural-Historical Activity Theory, our beloved CHAT, and proclaiming the plan to remake the American economy and society in the name of equity for all. I have been writing for a while about the kind of personal, unconscious level, data adaptive software and gaming and virtual reality exercises will be accumulating. I have also been researching the new federally established Learning Registry (linked via its ADL partner to comparable global initiatives in other countries) and recognize it is about accumulating practices shown to create desired change at the level of a student’s mindset–what they believe and value.

So when the federal DoED this week put on a well-attended Dog and Pony Show around ensuring student data privacy blogs.edweek.org/edweek/DigitalEducation/Student Privacy and Online Educational Services (February 2014).pdf , my reaction could be succinctly described as “What a sham!” and “So not the point.” I actually have been doing my homework around the aspirations for Big Data. My musings though pulled up intentions I never would have guessed about where all these pushes around systems thinking and ICT were going. And what’s more it even announces its links to IBM (Smarter Planet from Conclusion of book), Microsoft (Models of the World, who knew?), Alex Pentland and his MIT Media group (that new Social Physics book I wrote about recently), and George Soros, among others. Oh, and working with Oxford University. Remember that 2013 book Big Data: A Revolution that Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think I wrote about?

Imagine forgetting to mention the FuturICT Project and its plans to remake the world and “manage the future,” that would be our future, you and me, around Big Data and social science theories? To shift to an interaction-oriented view and to seek to change human behavior and values and how we govern ourselves. How COULD you forget to mention those essential facts in a book on Big Data? In all these pushes about the need to shift to digital learning? I cannot quote the entire over grasping and very real agenda so here’s the link http://www.futurict.eu/sites/default/files/docs/files/FuturICT_32p_Project%20Outline%20WITH%20LHS.pdf . I do want to quote a particular passage though that captures the massive, experimental plan of social engineering we are dealing with here (Page 6, my bolding and my voice in the brackets):

“In order to understand systemic risks resulting from the new interdependencies and develop the ability of integrated risks management [telling each of us what we can or may not do or know or value], we need to overcome the classical silo thinking and even more than that: We need a new way of thinking, a paradigm shift from focusing on the components of a system [that would be us] to focusing on their non-linear interactions [what we are to be allowed to do or required to do], as studied by complexity science [a theory not necessarily factual]. This paradigm shift will be of similar importance as the one from a geocentric to a heliocentric worldview (without which modern physics and launching satellites would have been hardly imaginable). It will promote a new understanding of our techno-socio-economic-environmental system and facilitate new solutions to long-standing problems.”

Not so fast on the likelihood of solutions. Have I ever mentioned how much I dislike lousy metaphors? They are generally the mark of either a weak mind or a deceitful one. When the prevailing perception of how our solar system was structured shifted to the heliocentric view, it was simply shifting to reflect demonstrable reality. The solar system as it existed. That is a far cry from analogizing to a paradigm shift grounded in theory of how reality and human behavior and human institutions might be restructured around ICT and Big Data. Especially hoping for new forms of governance with an emphasis on collective behavior and deferring to the democratically adopted consensus. These are theories designed to alter reality, not reflect it, and that is all the difference in the world in whether a paradigm shift is desirable. Especially one that is essentially taking place under cover of darkness.

All the intended modelling via the behavioral and social sciences, by the way, is openly acknowledged by FuturICT to not be an actual forecast. Its admitted purpose is to alter and constrain human behavior. The project intends to “develop a visionary information framework, considering insights from social sciences, complexity theory, and ethics.” It just keeps getting better and better. “The framework would analyze data on a massive scale and leverage them with scientific knowledge [behavioral, not physics!], thereby giving politicians and decision-makers a better understanding to base their decisions on.” And you wonder why the typical legislator or City Council member or Governor is gung-ho on the Common Core. What a king-maker vision.

It gets worse when you tie FuturICT with another recent report that seeks to base “long-term public service reform strategies on themes of reciprocity, responsibility, trust and partnership, and the need for a much closer understanding of how people behave, and what they want, need, and aspire to.” http://www.thersa.org/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/1540126/RSA_Managing-Demand-FINAL.pdf Information that Big Data, especially Big Data coming in through education and connected learning initiatives, has in abundance. Plus in preschool and elementary school it likely reflects what was absorbed from home too.

That RSA report envisions a cultural shift towards what can only be described as the kind of communitarian agenda Amitai Etzioni has always hoped for. No wonder RSA had Harvard’s Robert Kegan (also the OECD’s Key Competences) and his stages vision over to speak. No wonder the Positive Behavior Mandates in the US and the actual definition of Career Ready track back to Etzioni by both function and a cited reference source. No wonder the architect of RSA’s UK ed vision, Guy Claxton, can also be found as the co-author of that 2002 book Learning for Life in the 21st Century that coughed up the importance of Piotr Galperin’s Soviet psychological research to creating desired predictable future behavior.

The hardest thing about writing this blog is synthesizing so many books, reports, and videos that I read all the way through. Condensing is never easy, especially with complicated material, but these aims are quite clear. The use of education as the means is THE essential component of the sought transformations. These reports keep saying this is untried theory, but that does not seem to be stopping a massive social experiment on us, our children, our society, and our economy. Everything I have (too much to cite on a blog) aligns with this vision and the urgency with which it is being pushed from every direction. This idea that the public sector and universities and NGOs and foundations and Big Business are entitled to remake citizens in order to entrench their own power. It’s not an unprecedented aim, but, with Big Data and ICT, the tools of manipulation have gotten so much better.

The theories remain revolting. The way out is to understand this for precisely what it is and to recognize this grasping in real time. It’s why I write. This is not fun, but I believe it is necessary for there to be a way out in time. Perhaps the hardest part of that RSA report on Demand Management is its recommendations to politicians on how to sell this vision without really admitting what is being sought and transformed.

Guess what? We figured it out anyway. No chance of the trust of the public sector and governments that these theories all mention as essential happening now. Let’s see what we can do about the rest of this juggernaut going on at our expense.

We also need to strike the term ‘public servant’ from the way anyone is allowed to describe themselves from now on.

 

Once Again Being Grateful for What We Know and Appreciating Why It Matters

And immediately recognizing what we are dealing with and its actual antecedents throughout history is what I am once again grateful for this day before Thanksgiving. Because as outlandish and unexpected as some of what I write about may initially be to you, it is true and I can prove it. If I had not pulled all of these facts together, 2014 would be the year in which so many political and social institutions and their leaders globally decided to go for broke. With our lives, children, future, and tax money. And no one on the outside of these schemes without a lucrative grant or rich employment contract would know how all these pieces fit. Before I let the remainder of the post be the popular philosophical essay from last year, let me add a few updates that I am thankful for.

I am thankful my book Credentialed to Destroy: How and Why Education Became a Weapon is now available on Amazon and for kindle and that I let it simmer on a shelf for more than a year while as I started this blog. The events that left me so alarmed and the unexpected intensity of the psychological focus of the real implementation helped me properly frame what I was dealing with when I went back early last summer. Those of you waiting for the sequel or for me to tell the story through the blog will need the foundation I lay out in the book to appreciate what the blog encounters weekly and what I now know but have not written up yet.

Another thing I am immensely grateful for is the unbelievably confessional nature of certain used books I have obtained in the last year. And that various people had the wisdom to get those still relevant plans and intentions off of library shelves but left them still available for sale for an enterprising, not so young, lawyer trying to piece together the why of what she had located. I hope each of you get much of what you cherish over the next few days and avoids as much as possible that which drives you crazy. No, please do not take  that as an indication I will try to hide from any of my children. I can’t anyway. I am cooking the main meal.

One more update to the previous post. I can promise that together we will be able to piece together and properly interpret every machination and theory and intended policy change anybody comes up with in 2014. Game on, ears open, eyes observant, and mind fully engaged. Typing still hunt and peck but speedier. Here we go…..

I had actually outlined another barnburner story but the day before Thanksgiving is no time to serve up indigestion. So I thought I would write a tale of appreciating why individual liberty has mattered in the past and why Freed Markets resulted in mass prosperity would be a nice tribute. And I do not mean that in a Pollyanish sense. One of the books I am tackling this holiday week is Robert P Moses’ radical equations: Civil Rights from Mississippi to the Algebra Project. I want every child to learn to the best of their ability. I want to really appreciate the desperation that is driving this Equality for All even if it guts the economy philosophy. It is why I read what attracted Van Jones to the Green Growth Economy as a manifestation of his self-confessed preference for Communism.

I think the history lessons of the Predator State declaring its Goals for People and then using its powers to coerce are too easy to forget. It’s not an ideological preference. It’s a factual story. A repeated pattern once government reaches a certain size of the economy. I think history consistently bears out the truth of what Nobel Prize-winning economist Friedrich Hayek said in his 1945 lecture Individualism: True and False. I give extra credit for people who have first hand experience in what led to most of the great tragedies of the 20th Century. It’s called Walking the Walk and there is great validity to the hard-earned wisdom it imparts.

“There is all the difference in the world between treating people equally and attempting to make them equal. While the first is a condition of a free society, the second means, as De Tocqueville described it, ‘a new form of servitude.”

There is just no getting around the fact that government officials and their Business Allies deciding they get to fine tune personalities and reset Values, Attitudes, and Beliefs to guide an Individual’s Future Behavior is a 21st Century form of servitude. Especially when the inappropriately named Positive School Climate is now a tool to retrain each student’s filtering Mindset. The worldview they will use from now on as they encounter daily reality. With their preferred non-Axemaker Mind and habits grounded in emotion. All quite consciously cultivated and monitored.

But we now know all this up front and that really is something to be Thankful for. As an active pursuer of these plans and blueprints this is decidedly unauthorized knowledge that was not supposed to become available. A 2012 Deerstalker Gold Star Award for Me. The most common question I get from frustrated parents especially is Why? What I am saying simply rings too true with their daily reality to discount it. But why the Deliberate Operant Conditioning towards a Future that’s not really about prosperity?

Like I have said, I take great comfort in putting all this in its Historical Context and its real Self-Dealing Context. Because honestly that is where it belongs. So I am going to quote you a passage from Hayek’s 1944 book The Road to Serfdom (page 176 in my 2007 copy). He really nails the drivers behind making education miseducation. Notice he also nails down the frequent unholy alliance between government and the media. Simply refusing to report or cover accurately anything that might caste a poor light on desired government policies. My bolding and snark is in the brackets.

“Facts and theories [Sustainability, Man-made Catastrophic Global Warming, Diversity, Social Justice] must thus become no less the object of an official doctrine than views about values. And the whole apparatus for spreading knowledge–the schools and the press, radio and motion picture–will be used exclusively to spread those views which, whether true or false, will strengthen the belief in the rightness of the decisions taken by the authority; and all information that might cast doubt or hesitation will be withheld. The probable effect on the people’s loyalty to the system [Peter Senge just swooned that we so understand the essence of Systems Thinking and Why It Must Be Pushed] becomes the only criterion for deciding whether a particular piece of information is to be published or suppressed. [Benghazi; Actual Employment Numbers] The situation in a totalitarian state is permanently and in all fields the same that it is elsewhere in some fields in wartime. Everything which might cause doubt about the wisdom of the government or create discontent will be kept from the people. [Hard not to think of Candy Crowley and that 2nd Presidential Debate]. The basis of unfavorable comparisons with conditions elsewhere, the knowledge of possible alternatives to the course actually taken, information which might suggest failure on the part of the government to live up to its promises or to take advantage of opportunities to improve conditions–all will be suppressed. There is consequently no field where the systematic control of information will not be practiced and uniformity of views not enforced.”

There you have the incentive of Government officials for using education for merely Competent, Mentally Hobbled Citizens. Especially ones who are being bred to see a Duty to the State. And the Business Angle. They are politically connected and want special privileges and protections from their Cronies. That’s not Capitalism though. It’s Mercantilism where there is no mass prosperity. It is what Adam Smith rejected as he accounted for Britain’s phenomenal 18th century economic growth.

So enjoy your friends and loved ones on this cherished American holiday. Whatever happens in education in 2013, we WILL understand what is really going on and what the likely consequences are actually going to be.

And that really is something to be Thankful for.

 

Multiple Recent Proclamations Laying Out Commitment To Revolutionary Transformation of Our Entire Society

By recent I mean within the last week.  Either as an early Christmas present or to give us cause for giving thanks at the complete lack of any ambiguity whatsoever we have explicit cites, open proclamations, overt coordination with federal agencies, a veritable cornucopia of intentions that should eliminate any dispute as to what is going on. Only an electronic color billboard in Times Square could be more explicit. It is indeed slam dunk time in our effort to show that the education reforms known as Common Core or 21st Century Skills or social and emotional learning are actually a means of gaining much broader transformations.

And to show that this is truly a bipartisan attempt to make political power the harness for anyone seeking economic power in the 21st century, the first paper I am going to cite came from a blog run by Jay P. Greene tied to a number of what are considered to be Republican think tanks. Not exactly where you think you would encounter a recommendation that would lead to a “truly democratic consciousness to guide the process of socialist development itself.”

On Monday Jay posted a cite to a new NBER Working Paper called “Fostering and Measuring Skills: Interventions that Improve Character and Cognition” from U-Chicago Profs James Heckman and Tim Kautz with a blurb about state achievement tests not getting at these types of important skills. Pulling up the actual paper since I knew what can lurk under such euphemistic names I discovered lots of troubling sponsors but especially the Institute for New Economic Thinking. Founded and funded by George Soros among others including Drummond Pike from the Tides Foundation and Amartya Sen of capability as a human right and other famous names who decidedly do wish to move economic thinking away from anything other than Statism and economic planning. Bad enough connections to be troubling when cited as guidance on what should be going on in the K-12 classroom.

But that’s actually not the big reveal. In footnote #6 if you pull up a copy you will see the cited authority backing up the statements about skills to now be cultivated in classroom and measured via new assessments. The second sentence says “the modern literature traces back to Bowles and Gintis (1976)…” Now I am familiar with that book and I first wrote about it back in February  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/promoting-alternative-thinking-strategies-is-this-really-mental-health-first-aid/ so I immediately recognized the significance of saying that the Grit Perseverance push (yes that Glenn Beck program on the DoEd report last March that raised such a ruckus), Growth Mindset, non-cognitive skills, positive behavior, character education–all the various names these mandates hide under including College and Career Ready go back to a book written by two self-proclaimed Marxist profs of their future vision of education to transform the US away from capitalism. That’s the cite and that’s the purpose of all this and the book again is Schooling in Capitalist America: Educational Reform and the Contradictions of Economic Life.

So all these programs are ultimately grounded in gaining that new consciousness that will promote Gintis and Bowles’ belief that “Capitalism is an irrational system, standing in the way of further social progress. It must be replaced.” G & B also hope that via education the sought revolution can be mostly without blood shed. So of course these intentions now get pursued stealthily with excuses like an anti-bullying agenda and Positive School Climate. How ironic.

Last Wednesday Harvard Law Prof and Brazilian Leftist politician Roberto Mangabiera Unger gave a most alarming lecture at the Royal Science Academy in London. It sent me scurrying for his 2007 book The Self Awakened: Pragmatism Unbound which sure enough laid out his determination to use education to:

“accelerate and direct the permanent invention of the new that we are able to overthrow the dictatorship of the dead over the living and to turn our minds more freely and fully toward the people and the phenomena around us.”

Oh I hope Unger is not the professor who taught US Constitutional Law to President Obama or the First Lady when they were all at Harvard Law together. Not with his expressed intentions “of ambitions for the transformation of humanity” or “direction for the development of the moral experience of mankind under the reign of democracy and experimentalism.” Although that kind of experimentation does rather fit in with a HUD presentation two days ago, November 18, by Gar Alperovitz’s Democracy Collaborative. Now don’t worry. The Annie E. Casey Foundation provided the funding for the actual Anchor Institution reports. Don’t pay any attention to the fact that the Anchor Mission Dashboard lays out a Womb to Tomb Transformative economic Vision that keeps mentioning the words “equitable” and “minority.” Nor that it fits with the Regional 21 or the new Promise Zones 2nd term initiatives. Purely coincidental.

Just like it’s entirely coincidental Unger describes his education vision like this:

“Education, beginning in childhood and continuing throughout the working life, must nourish a core of generic conceptual and practical capacities to make the new out of the old. It must also equip the mind with the means with which to resist the present. For this very reason, the school should not remain under the control of the community of local families, who tell the child: become like us.”

We could make that a goal for all students and call it a common core. Excellent means to invisibly and gradually transform the present to alter the future. And I know just the overpaid consultant who will use the School Governance Council concept and a school district conversion charter to make that vision so. While the high-achieving suburban communities with high taxes to benefit the schools remain entirely ignorant of the real aims. Perhaps if more parents and taxpayers read this Unger quote they would better appreciate the last word they may want to hear is “innovation” in connection with schools. This is certainly innovative:

“democracy grants to ordinary men and women the power to reimagine and to remake the social order. That is why under democracy prophecy speaks louder than memory. That is why democrats discover that the roots of a human being lie in the future rather than in the past.

In a democracy, the school should speak for the future, not for the state or for the family, giving the child the instruments with which to rescue itself from the biases of its family, the interests of its class, and the illusions of its epoch.”

Honestly I think Professor Unger should be the last person criticizing people led by illusions.

Can’t you see now why it is so important to create no effective recourse to a local school board or politician from all the initiatives coming in as education reform?

I don’t go looking for these things. Just monitoring the actually required classroom changes keeps turning up all these self-proclaimed radicals hollering the whys behind  their policies and practices to anyone who will listen or read their words.

May enough parents and taxpayers recognize all this in time.

 

Assessing Deep Knowledge to Monitor Whether Theory is Guiding What Will be Noticed and Observed

Now you can just imagine the popular outcry if the Common Core and its integral 21st Century Skills were being sold as a shift to Abraham Maslow’s Eupsychian education. That would certainly make the current wholesale transformation of the purpose of education and the function of schools and universities much harder to sell. In fact, that overt psychological pitch might even get the attention of a social-climbing PTA President or a politician intent on ever higher elective office. No one but me at the moment is going to describe what is going on now in such explosively impactful terms. But that widespread omission doesn’t mean it’s not still the actual intention.

Professor Daniel Bell, then a professor of Sociology at Harvard, wrote a 1973 book The Coming of Post-Industrial Society: A Venture in Social Forecasting that laid out precisely why people guided by a theoretical understanding of reality was so crucial to any plan for social transformation. Which is precisely what he and others had in mind. The age of the individual and decision-making through free markets was supposedly over and the future was a planned society and decisions through the political process but not really by elected representatives. Bell believed in 1973 precisely what the federal Department of Education’s Equity and Excellence Commission pushed in 2013–that the future political structure would be grounded in “equality of result–by sharing and redistributive policies–rather than equality of opportunity.”

Such a political demand either has to be imposed by brute force, which is another loser PR campaign, or by “being rooted in some powerful ethical system.” That’s why we have Maslow and Rogers in 1962 and Outcomes Based Education in the 80s and 90s and Global Competency and the Whole Child Initiative now all targeting new values. Global values. Humanistic values grounded in popular metaphors like Martin Luther King’s Beloved Community or potential apocalypses like Catastrophic Manmade Climate Change. It’s a rationale for developing what Maslow called the “self-actualizing B-Values” and Bell saw as the “philosophical foundation–a conception of justice as fairness–for a communal society.”  Bell goes on to describe an intention we need to keep in mind to appreciate why a nationally and globally imposed common core of beliefs and values is so sought in 2013:

“In the nature of human consciousness, a scheme of moral equity is the necessary basis for any social order; for legitimacy to exist, power must be justified. In the end it is moral ideas–the conception of what is desirable–that shapes history through human aspirations.”

Bell said the historic “premise of individual freedoms and the satisfaction of private utilities” was crumbling. All of the sought changes over the decades via education and the hyping of first global cooling in the 70s and then later global warming, and now the refusal to take actual temps amid an undisputed increase in Carbon Dioxide into account, all make more sense when you read Bell’s next axiomatic assertion from the 70s: “the political system is now being geared to the realization not of individual ends but of group and communal needs.”

Sounds just like a shift from a profit economy to a needs-based, For Benefit Economy, doesn’t it? Old ideas at social engineering apparently never die. They just get new names, different advocates, and better sales pitches on why they are necessary and must be imposed, something to keep in mind after Friday’s White House Executive Order imposing Climate Change adaptations like it or not. http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/11/01/executive-order-preparing-united-states-impacts-climate-change .

Now the term Post-Industrial Society is used less now. Usually the UN or the OECD prefers the terms Knowledge Society or Information Society but the intentions do not really shift the nature of the transition to be facilitated through governmental planning of desired behaviors, distribution of resources, and public policies generally. All that needs new conceptual schema, a/k/a Big Ideas and Deep Knowledge. Bell says industrial society was the “coordination of machines and men for the production of goods.” Since he says, we have become a society committed to social control in order to shift to equality of results, that “introduces the need for planning and forecasting into society.”

Post-industrial society then, like its alternative names, is “organized around knowledge, for the purpose of social control and the directing of innovation and change: and this in turn gives rise to new social relationships and new structures which have to be managed politically.” Bell doesn’t point it out here but now we have the mayors and City Councils and Governors in the name of Economic Development all ready to do just that. The innovation and change then is not the historic Free Lunch For All/ New Kind of Technology like computer transistors shifting to integrated circuits but the kind of sociological innovation Bruno Latour also had in mind in a previous post. And Bell says it is the “altered awareness of the nature of innovation that makes theoretical knowledge so crucial.”

Although the Common Core is still not producing the level of popular uproar that would come if the actual implementation were better recognized, there has still been enough hype about the feds usurping the role of states and localities that the sponsoring trade group, the CCSSO, sent out a letter dated October 1, 2013.   http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/CCSSO%20Assessment%20Quality%20Principles%2010-1-13%20FINAL.pdf . The CCSSO tells the states the kind of assessments they need to have. Try to control your shock that when you cut through the rhetoric and the Appendix and the mentioned June 2013 CSCOPE report, you end up with a determination that these new kinds of assessments be looking for theoretical knowledge. “These new assessments will not be limited to surface level knowledge–they will better assess the deep knowledge students need to succeed post-graduation.”

That “deep knowledge” or what the C3 Social Studies Framework calls “lenses” or what the Hewlett Foundation calls “deep learning” or what Donald Schon (who worked with Bell in the 60s) called “Generative Metaphors” are all examples of what Bell called either “conceptual prisms” or “conceptual schemata.” Having education provide them for ALL Students aids this attempt to bring about a “change in the social framework of society.” I would add and doing so invisibly without bothering to amend annoying barriers like the language of the US Constitution. Friday afternoon Executive Orders on Climate Change Adaptation or Positive School Climate mandates gets the effect without the turmoil that could force policy retrenchment.

If you, like me, have often wondered why it always seems to be the Frameworks that guide the actual classroom curricula being developed or professional development instead of the standards that politicians supposedly adopted, the following passage will finally silence our curiousity about what is really going on. “Nomen est numen, to name is to know, is the ancient maxim” guiding so much of the actual classroom curricula to change values, beliefs, feelings, dispositions, and ultimately future behavior itself.

“Social frameworks are not ‘reflections’ of a social reality but conceptual schemata. History is a flux of events and society a web of many different kind of relations which are known not simply by observation. If we accept the distinction between matters of fact and matters of relation, then knowledge, as a combination of the two, depends on the correct sequence between factual order and logical order. For experience, the factual order is primary; for meaning, the logical order.

Mind knows nature by finding some language in which to express an underlying pattern. Knowledge, thus, is a function of the categories we use to establish relationships just as perception [bolded to remind you of Maslow and Rogers and the 1962 book for the NEA] is a function of the conventions we have accepted in order to see things ‘correctly.’ As Einstein once put it: ‘it is the theory that decides what we can observe.’”

So the social planners and transformational change seekers and psychologists and education profs have recognized all this for decades as an essential component of How to Achieve Equity in a Planned Society 102. Without having having to confess beforehand what is being altered and why.

Isn’t it about time we all knew it as well?

New Assessments Drive New Minds Primed for the Progressive Composition of the Good Common World

To the extent education reforms going on globally in K-12 and higher ed are even on people’s radar, most observers still believe the dispute is over how to best transmit knowledge. And who gets to decide the type of knowledge that is needed. It is hugely convenient for the advocates of wholesale social, economic, and political transformation in the 21st century that we all continue to misapprehend the nature of the actual debate and the tools being used to drive the desired individual and cultural changes. To help us all bridge the gap between what we expect from schools and higher ed and what these reforms intend to actually do to our children and us, I am going to use quotes from 3 people whose work is at the center of the current transformation globally.

Quoting what they say the political purpose of their work is because it still attaches even if neither we nor the Principal or the legislators or the Governor are aware of those actual purposes. Or what PISA is really measuring. Farthest back in time is from a book by the chief architect of the communitarianism component, Amitai Etzioni. Back in 1983 he wrote:

“schools must first and foremost graduate individuals who can function on their own while relating constructively to one another (mutuality) and to their community (civility). Such individuals, properly ‘put together’ from a psychosocial viewpoint, will have the most important characteristics workplaces require. Moreover, I recognize that schools need to educate for other values than work, such as culture and citizenship.”

That would be the purpose that now gets hidden under the euphemism “College and Career Ready.” And the ‘culture’ and ‘citizenship’ students are being groomed for is grounded in the transformative vision of the future to prime the students to take action to help bring the new world into being. The great advantage of deemphasizing textbooks and lectures and mandating virtual reality gaming as assessment or using group collaboration around the ambiguous real-world grounded “wicked decision problems” from the last post is we are creating young people who will have the right to vote with virtually no capacity to anticipate even the likely consequences of the transformative actions being taken. The insider phrase for this new emphasis of “skilled in the fundamental pragmatics of life” gets omitted from the public sales pitch as too accurate to be acceptable.

Let there be no impediment to future action and let the actions be grounded in the cultivated feelings and values and attitudes that live in the unconscious regions of the self could easily be the new motto of global ed reforms. Let’s move on to Chicago Professor Martha Nussbaum who we first met here. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/isnt-it-political-sabotage-to-use-education-to-eliminate-the-assumption-that-students-are-individuals/ Her work on capability as a human right has increasingly caught the OECD’s and the UN’s attention as the appropriate theoretical vehicle to push for a public sector dominant society and a new kind of welfare state for the 21st century. Apparently we are not supposed to notice the marked resemblance of capability theory to Uncle Karl’s human development theory of the future.

Proponents of stealth transformation via education better hope then that no one reads this passage in Nussbaum’s 2011 book:

“ponder what is implicit in human dignity and a life in accordance with it…Marx’s vivid descriptions of forms of labor that allow continued life, but not a fully human life, resonate the world over. The notion of life in accordance with human dignity is one of the most fertile ideas used in worldwide constitutional jurisprudence.” Ahh, tenured academia–where the term Marx is actually not a pejorative insult but a still revered architect of future ways of organizing life and a society. Later, Nussbaum kindly tells us why it is so important now to have a Whole Child, social focus that grounds all thought in emotion and then uses new assessments to both drive and measure how schools are doing in driving such “growth.” It is “how we might cultivate the helpful sentiments in a socially propitious way.” Those would be the sentiments that will hopefully ground the actions for transformative change with again little ability to recognize likely disasters that would be apparent to anyone with a solid knowledge of history.

Nussbaum goes on in a passage that also primes the vision of Bruno Latour, who we meet next. In the future, political power is deemed to drive all. This is a little long but too revealing not to use:

“politicians can build a public culture that puts altruism and the relief of misery at it core. …An account of the emotions of citizens in a decent society is urgently needed.

This task involves thinking about the family, about social norms, about schools, and about the ways in which political institutions create incentives. It also requires conceptual thought about the emotions, how they arise and unfold, what their structure is, and how they interact with one another.”

In other words, the survey Nussbaum says is needed is precisely what the White House-pushed League of Innovative Schools and the EdLeader21 suburban US school districts have now agreed to research and gather data on. Not to mention all the data being thrown off by the Executive Order mandating Positive School Climates or requiring Positive Behavioral programs for all students under an indefensible reading of federal disabilities law or via adaptive software programs used in the digital learning juggernaut. You’d almost think Professor Nussbaum knew people in DC who could help drive her theories along.

Now Bruno Latour is a name familiar to me because of his role in the ‘science wars’ of the 90s. Plus he is a hugely popular choice as a campus speaker now. A French sociologist. So when I saw a 2004 book of his cited–Politics of Nature: How to Bring the Sciences into Democracy–that Harvard published, I thought we could gain more insights. Confirmation that what is being billed now as ‘innovation’ is really a push for sociological experimentation. A truly shocking book for Harvard to have embraced and for the French government to have originally funded. Reading that the “social sciences would finally become scientific if they agreed ‘to treat humans as things” made me feel like I had slipped into a Hollywood script for a science fiction mini-series. No such luck though. These are real and current aspirations we are dealing with.

The constant references I have located now to new kinds of minds and Growth Mindsets to be psychologically healthy and verbatim references to encouraging ‘dialectical thinking” (shouldn’t computer programs come with a search function that pipes up “do you REALLY want to use that word?”) should be seen through Latour’s blueprint of how we are to now be moving towards the “progressive composition of the good common world.” Not to freak you out, although I did spend the better part of yesterday with my mind racing and hands trembling, but Latour really does talk in terms of “once the collective has been assembled.” He writes of no more distinction between “interests’ and ‘politics’ or ‘nature’ and ‘politics.’ Instead, there is just political power that engages in a ‘groping process’ to ‘deal with matters of human concern.’ These new associations will unabashedly experiment with new ways of living and organizing society using 3 powers: “the power to take into account,” the “power to put in order,” and the “power to follow up.”

Roughly translated that seems to be public officials deciding what to do, then how to do it, and then examining how they did and considering what to do next. All as if public dollars will always be there for the asking to pay for such social transformations even though everything that has ever produced economic wealth is being squelched to get the mindsets that will go along. Justifying statism in the name of equality and justice is another way of looking at this genuine aspiration. That gets linked to the Common Core and other global ed reforms because they are all seeking precisely the same kinds of minds and values that Latour believes are needed and the OECD now counts as Competencies and government officials are calling “higher order thinking skills’ created by “rigor” in the classroom.

Latour actually believes like John Dewey that such a concentration of political power and binding all citizens to the results of majority will (that is in turn cultivated by what is to go on in schools and universities) need not lead to totalitarinism. He really says that Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union simply had the wrong kind of politics and vision injected into their collective decision-making. I am thinking that tenure and being able to live at public expense or courtesy of untaxed endowments held by universities and charitable foundations has seriously left way too many influential people who already have utterly no conception of likely consequences.

Too much theory and not enough reality apparently is possible now on many a campus, think-tank, foundation, or government agency and it shows thoroughly in what is being pushed on all of us.

Who pay the bills and who are to have nowhere to turn if these visions continue to advance via education and cultural transformation.

Reality and Consequences do not care. If the likely consequences appear to be a nightmare, remember the unforeseeable ones we will also encounter.

Instead of cultivating new conceptual lenses and minds for students, we need to impose reality checks on a whole lot of adult professors and bureaucrats and politicians.

In time.

 

 

Developing Adequate Personalities and Psychosynthesis: An Odd Way to Define College & Career Ready

Sometimes I think I am suspected of shopping for gruesomely grabbing quotes to try to crystallize the extent to which the new focus of education is to be at a psychological level. I wish. These well-paid, frequently tenured or pensioned-for-life clowns really do write and talk about accessing the unconscious so that future actions will be guided as if by auto-pilot. (Search out RSA Social Brain Centre & Robert Kegan if and only if you have an adult beverage handy. A sense of humor and irony will serve you well too.) I can in fact take this all forward in multiple places but first let’s go back and thoroughly check out the enduring vision. And remember we went back to look at psychiatrist Roberto Assagioli’s 1965 Psychosynthesis vision of education used interchangeably with psychotherapy as a means of creating a desired self-identity NOT because I was bored and looking for something tantalizing to read.

The League of Innovative Schools planned research involves conation and personal motivations as does the OECD’s current Subjective Well-being push. Looking into that pulled up 4 giants: Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers, Mihaly Csiksentmihalyi, and a Roberto Assagioli. Who I had never heard of. That book title was a grabber. Even more troubling was seeing the book had been brought back into print for use in 2002, 2008, and 2012. If I was role playing Sherlock Holmes we would call that a keen indicator of current interest.

As I talk in this post about targeting personal perception, if the names Yrjo Engestrom (Finland) and Evald Ilyenkov (Soviet) and the Enduring Understandings and Understandings of Consequence and the C3 Social Studies Framework component to the Common Core classroom vision are not ringing a bell or if you are new to the blog, they all have tags. They are all examples of how crucial getting at the personal perceptual level is if you have the pursuit of government power and utopian transformation of the future as a goal. Let’s go back to 1962 and a vision of dealing with the conflicts and competing ideologies involved in the Cold War globally via education. Here’s Perceiving, Behaving, Becoming:A New Focus again (my bolding):

  “The new situations and new problems we face today and which we cannot predict tomorrow call for new ways of seeing and dealing with the world. Subject matter is too often used as a way of teaching people to look backward, to recite past performances, instead of as a medium for preparing students for future developments. Content then becomes sterile, even negative, if it inhibits new leads and new solutions. Education must deal with subject matter, not as an end in itself, but as a means of helping children to achieve the intelligent imagination and creativity necessary to find adequate answers to the world’s increasingly complex problems.”

I am going to interrupt the quoting for a dictionary alert to add to your Orwellian Decoding Glossary of Education terms. That’s right. It is the ubiquitous but vague term of 21st Century schools–’learning to learn.’ Now if the 1962 vision had gone as planned and for sure in the new Positive School Climate (PSC) classrooms of 2013 the “exciting experience of exploring and discovering meaning is the central activity.” We need a PSC of course because ALL students need to feel an ‘atmosphere’ that is ‘fundamentally accepting’ so they will NOT keep their perceptions safely tucked inside themselves. They will share with their fellow comrades, I mean students, so they can all explore for meaning. That way those personal perceptions can be examined and changed to create new ways of looking at the world.

That’s right ‘if’ the new “objective of instruction becomes that of perception building, students may become aware of, or sensitive to, the importance of meaning…They learn how perceptions or meanings are broadened or changed and how they are built. They learn how to learn.

In 2013 learning how to learn gets billed frequently as self-authoring–Robert Kegan’s 4th stage of consciousness, or Carol Dweck’s Growth Mindset. It is alive and well and coming to a K-12 or college classroom or workplace retreat near you soon. The global bureaucrats and politicians and Big Business are intensely determined that this time we will get a paradigm shift, starting at the unconscious mental level. And it all really does track back to what Maslow and Rogers sought for their humanistic psychology that led to a strikingly Marxian human development vision. Today HP runs around most often calling itself Transpersonal Psychology. As always, new names for enduring transformative ideas anytime notoriety intrudes.

So one more time here’s the vision that is viewed as aiding transformative political, social, and economic change, coming in invisibly via stealth:

“It is the unsolved problem rather than the factual question and answer that encourages freedom of thought and children’s respect for their own mental processes. It can help them to change concepts in light of new evidence and to build a sense of personal responsibility for increasing knowledge and solving problems.”

That’s solving problems by creativity and imagination and feelings unimpeded by a body of knowledge about previous consequences of a similar set of facts. It may be a grand way to encourage attempts to model and redesign societies and economies but the consequences will come from reality. Not the perceptions that launched the attempts to transform. But hey, I am a history major and I just don’t see how peace in our time is going to flow from stressing “emotional as well as intellectual experiencing. Learning about people involves an empathy, a feeling with them, an acceptance of differences, and an appreciation of variability in values and behavior.” That is the kind of nonsense that forgets that there really are bullies in the world who can only be held in check from fear of power and likely retaliation. It also forgets that not all cultures are compatible or willing to co-exist peacefully. It is all a prescription to ignorantly and in good faith lay down and await your fate. No wonder history now is only about reinterpreting the present.

The ‘adequate person’ by the way reminded me greatly of the current drive that students only need to be ‘competent,’ not well informed. The adequate person in 1962 being prepped for social change was to have “a field of perceptions, rich and extensive enough to provide understanding of the events in which he is enmeshed and available when he needs them.”

Available for what? Glad you asked. So the individual “will act on his information when the appropriate time and place occur.” And this kind of hoped for behavioral pre-programming was before Big Data and adaptive computer software and the planned gaming emphasis. Same desire now but much better and effective tools.

What was so special about the 1962 new focus that has guided education as the real pursuit going forward was the “recognition of the part played by perception and the emphasis placed upon perception at the immediate moment and in the life and behavior of the individual. The job of the school is to work with present perceptions, with feelings, attitudes and ideas of learners so that they grow in the direction of greater adequacy.”

That’s adequate for the future plans of transformation. Then and now and at all times in between. Psychosynthesis‘s publication in 1965 gave another tool in targeting the psychological and conation. Assagioli regarded a search for self-identity as the new purpose of education. Of course since he was a psychiatrist, he used the techniques of psychotherapy. Now we just call the same techniques brain-based learning theories or epistemological reflection and launch them on students in return for tax dollars and tuition payments in the case of private schools and colleges and universities.

I used the term ubiquitous before and these theories are everywhere now. And not well understood. The typical doctorate program credentialing a Principal or Super doesn’t go through this as I have. It might impact the sought role as a Social Change Agent. Once again we parents, taxpayers, and students are going to be called on to understand the real drivers in education better than the credentialed professorate and the public sector and their consultants. All of whom we are paying handsomely.

I will close with a mention of a potential tragedy that happened locally last week when a middle schooler took a loaded gun to school. Parents have been concerned with how the incident was handled and what info was provided and the lack of interest in any public airing of what happened. School districts can deal with the world as it is or they can put their energy into switching to this Maslow inspired humanist psychological vision of changing the student at the level of their inner core.

But reality does intrude. I suspect another tragedy that goes all the way through is only a matter of time because the focus of the administrators at all levels is on psychological innovations to gain social transformations. While hiding from the public that this is what is up.

And duplicity takes even more energy and is a distraction from the realities all these students bring to school.

Something to keep in mind.