Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies: Is This Really Mental Health First-Aid?

Let’s say the political transformation truth came out instead of talking about the Common Core as a means of creating common content expectations from state to state using common tests (neither of which happens to be true as I have shown). That is unless you count content as those Life Skills of Psychosocial Competence that now go by 21st Century Skills to sound better and move us towards our planned future. And I actually do mean Planning with all the fervor of a PhD candidate in Urban Studies at an Ivy League school. Maybe one of the Cambridge Cousins where too many profs have been enthralled with Systems Thinking and Theorizing and trying to get people’s behavior to fit the computer models for decades.

But no we can’t make it about 21st century skills up front as the reason because that P21 Partnership was going over like a lead balloon as attendees at conferences kept wondering “Where’s the content knowledge?” So P21 said it was folding up shop and leaving its Tucson home where it was in such close proximity to Peter Senge’s version of Systems Thinking. That it would just move into the CCSSO’s offices in DC. And thanks so much for offering the room.

Now some people were relieved and others alarmed since the conflict-laden CCSSO (look at who sponsors it to see what I mean. Hello tech companies and accreditors!) was a co-sponsor of the Common Core State Standards Initiative. And CCSSI is what the states have adopted supposedly to make content consistent. Might P21 influence the implementation? Yes. See previous post. Now we know this CCSSO interest group of the top ed officials from each state have also sponsored several other troubling initiatives that are clearly warping what the classroom implementation will look like. There’s that C3 Social Studies Framework to impact curricula and assessments and give students false beliefs to practice filtering reality through during their school years. There’s CCSSO’s work with the Asia Society on Global Competence and with Harvard’s Project Zero. PZ is also doing Global Citizenship work for IB as you may remember. And saying both its IB and CCSSO work can just go by the name Global Consciousness. Just call me “Robin Reads A Lot.”

We are going to talk about Consciousness in this post. Cultivating it with the desired concepts and filtering metaphors and desired values, attitudes, and beliefs. For a collective, common-good primary orientation. And actively manipulating it when the Mind that Came from Home has undesired beliefs and is too independent. Maybe they deny an Obligation to All Humanity or maybe their dad is a Physics prof wondering how it is Science to have no interest in actual data that is inconsistent with the hypothesis that increasing carbon dioxide because of man’s activities must lead to catastrophic consequences. is an article published recently  in Psychological Science by some Stanford profs (do you think they know Paul Ehrlich or Bandera or Roy Pea or Linda Darling-Hammond?) discovering that interdependent action and awareness is not such a good motivator in Western countries, especially the US. This research was funded by our ubiquitous and increasingly interested in our personal behavior and changing it federal agency–the National Science Foundation. The article closes like this:

“For interdependent action to become chronically motivating, it needs to be valued and promoted in American worlds and by American selves to the same extent as independence is. Until interdependence is more consistently and effectively represented in the ideas, practices, products, and institutions–that is, the culture of the American mainstream, successfully encouraging the perspective that our destiny is “stitched together” may require invoking independent behavior to achieve interdependent ends.”

Like those the Millennium Assessment of Human Behavior or the Belmont Challenge or the International Human Dimensions Programme are all pursuing now with our tax money as I have described? All eyeing education as the answer to the mindsets they need? What are the odds of all this being coincidental? Especially when I add in that the UK in 2001 got a much more up front standard to prompt all the social and emotional change and interdependent emphasis. No slipping through the windows and chimney and unpublicized Executive Orders as in the US. No, the “Standards in Scotland’s School Bill (2001) indicates that education should be directed at the development of the personality, talents and mental and physical abilities of the child or young person encouraging the development of their fullest potential.”

Now any similarities to Uncle Karl’s Human Development Theory we have discussed are wholly coincidental. It’s not like anyone with influence over British education at that time missed Marxism and the influence it had wielded. So this passage brings in intrapersonal and interpersonal skills and Educating the Whole Child and Emotional Intelligence. So the Brits and the Scots and the Aussies and the Canadians all looked at the veterans in developing such curriculums. The Americans. We have CASEL and the recommended Responsive Classroom program. Oh but back in 2001 it would have been known by its earlier name, Peaceable Classroom based on esr’s decades of Conflict Resolution and Social Responsibility work. Or there is PBIS or also Positive Behavior Support Systems. Especially popular in Colorado where the McREL ed lab pushes it as a useful tool of Second-Order Change in education.

Then there is PATHS which those Scots had turned to. PATHS is more than 2 decades old and is considered an ABCD model for the classroom–the affective/behavioural/cognitive/dynamic model of development–”placing primary importance on the developmental integration of affect, the vocabulary of emotion and cognitive understanding as they relate to social and emotional competence.” PATHS is not just for deficit urban areas although that is where it was researched on children and still gets used. See Cleveland last week. . PATHS also gets promoted now by the National Center for Mental Health Promotion and Youth Violence Prevention. And we know from an Ed Week article from a few weeks ago “Making Mental Health Part of the School Safety Solution” that all these SEL curricula are to be used as Mental Health First-Aid, supposedly to make the chances of another Sandy Hook or Columbine less likely.  Long-time readers know Colorado and CT are awash in SEL and other change the student’s personality and have been for a long time.

Why does it always come back to personality development? Beyond the clear connection to Uncle Karl’s aspirations for “creating something that has never yet existed”? I found 3 different passages from 3 sources to be stunningly illuminating on what is really going on. The first came from an essay on “The Changing Vision of Education”:

“We want the concepts, values, and skills of global education to be learned in a deep and genuine way that becomes part of each learner’s repertoire for acting in the world. As David Elkind says, once growth by integration has been accomplished, it is difficult–if not impossible–to break it down.”

Remember that mention of what Growth means because that is the new measure of the effectiveness of what happens in classrooms. Is student growth occurring? And there is nothing coincidental about the use of that term. I know because the 1976 book Schooling in Capitalist America spent a great deal of time describing the vision for “balanced human development for fostering general human fulfillment and growth.”  It’s a vision they said was consistent with the “development of a revolutionary socialist movement in the United States.” They were hoping to use education institutions, “social theory, and concrete political practice” to get most of their vision in place without violence. In their “Strategies for Social Change” passage the authors remind us of why educational institutions are so important.

“socialism is not an event. The consciousness developed in struggle is the very same consciousness which, for better or worse, will guide the process of socialist development itself.”

And they want that consciousness to become widespread among citizens. Now won’t those ill-structured performance assessments grounded in real-life problems be an excellent means of creating that consciousness? Since socialism is seen by its advocates as a State of Mind. One grounded in emotion. Certainly makes all the deliberate cultivation of false beliefs and mentions of filtering lenses to be practiced with in activities at school make far more sense. It is also consistent with a speech Linda Darling-Hammond gave  about 2009 where she giddily and unwisely mentioned that the Common Core was really about social and emotional learning. That content was just something to practice those behaviors on. The latter point can be clearly seen in documents I have where the continuous improvement is to be in desired behaviors, not knowledge.

We really are being scammed here on the difference between rhetoric and reality. And the sought goals behind closed doors could not be more Transformational. Luckily for us behaving as Miss Marple Who Reads A Lot has been a tremendous source of relevant info.

Now my third point is sort of fun. Remember I have mentioned the UN came out with a World Happiness Report in 2012 trying to get us all primed for transitioning to Quality of Life Societies where our happiness consists in the Wellbeing of All? Yes Kumbayah. Well its co-author, Richard Layard, gave a speech in March 2012 called “Mental health: the new frontier for the Welfare State.” It’s on pdf and youtube.

Which I would suggest puts the idea of Mental Health First-Aid as a daily part of every classroom in a whole new, and apt, light. 21st Century Political power for a desired welfare state. Everywhere.


Changing the Filtering Perception, the Way We See the World, is Key

Key to shifting the dominant Social World-view away from the fruits of the Enlightenment. Apparently modern-day Schemers who prefer to do our planning for us in the name of a theoretical Ecological Cultural Worldview they have been writing about, and speaking at conferences about, now want to jettison the:

“dominant techno-scientific worldview which influences us all, is essentially positivist, objectivist and reductionist, and based upon the root metaphor of mechanism.”

In plain English, mechanism means Cause and Effect which seems to be a dangerous thing to try to jettison. Bet it really won’t leave. Reality is always out there whatever our manufactured, perhaps false, perceptions or ignorance of it.

My scheming prof from the UK whose Systems Thinking dissertation was widely cited in the run-up to last March’s Planet under Pressure confab in London says we need a new way of thinking. Sounds much like Paul Ehrlich, doesn’t he? Or “reperception.” Whatever is necessary to “allow us to transcend the limits of thinking that appear to have led to the current global predicament.” I am tempted to ask what global predicament and what really caused it.  I can also smell Hayek’s “the fatal conceit” coming where professors or bureaucrats are redesigning complex social systems that were never intentionally designed in the first place.

First note to Social Engineers–”Remember, Piecemeal is Your Friend!!” But no one invited me to participate in the Caviar and Champagne confab so I will have to tell you my thoughts instead. Then track this through to the All Important How. We deviated to discuss Spirituality as a Target and a desire to manipulate the human desire for inspiring motivational beliefs for a reason.

My scheming Ecology Prof says Perception is “informed by the inspirational, the affective, the imaginal, and the experiential domains.” I think we can now agree that radicals with plans for fundamental transformation via education are targeting all those areas. That’s what the last 3 posts especially have been about plus everything all summer on social and emotional learning. Check Box 1.  Moreover, the perceptual filter each of us has, whether we are aware of it or not, is “colored by:

1)Our spiritual grounding and awareness;

2) Our Belief System;

3) Our creative imagination; and

4) Our experiential histories.

So education targeting any of those goes after Perception. This is especially critical to reforms like Outcomes Based Education and Systems Thinking that are really targeting all of the above. Why? Want a refresher?

Before murderer Che Guevara became venerated as a pop art icon suitable for mass apparel, he wrote a book called Man and Socialism in Cuba. In it he wrote that (my bold):

“The vanguard group is ideologically more advanced than the mass; the latter is   acquainted with the new values but insufficiently.”

If you want a revolution or a paradigm change or a rejection of the dominant world-view, especially one that did bring unprecedented levels of global prosperity to the masses, you need New Values. It’s apparently part of the Overthrow 101 Syllabus. And that is consistent with what we are seeing throughout the real Common Core implementation and what we are seeing all over the world.

Now for the how. On November 30 Ed Week had a small story called “Multiple Perspectives in an International Classroom.” This paragraph jumped out at me. The Multiple Perspectives Instructional Design:

“compels students to analyze the past not through a textbook, but through various primary-source documents. The aim is to integrate the stories of conquered groups with the opinions of the conquerors, thereby enriching the classroom discussion. By incorporating these new perspectives, students develop a clearer understanding of how historical events have shaped society today.”

Misunderstandings building on emotion and ignorance and perhaps valid frustrations is far more likely. Then there is the alarming passage that “teaching with student perspectives refines students’ identities and beliefs.” Well, how fragile those must be then. I wasn’t quite hyperventilating yet but this is a painful strategy to read about. Especially when something called a four-corners discussion got thrown into the Bubbling Cauldron of Emotion. This technique pushed by the cited group “Facing History” is meant to “illustrate how political statements draw upon personal experience to articulate a viewpoint.”

The question asked was–”Those who make more money should be taxed more money.” Students go to corners based on Strongly Agree, Agree, Disagree, and Strongly Disagree. Then they try to persuade each other to switch corners. Two points come to Mind. First, this is not History whatever the name of the class and it is only Social Studies in the Deweyan sense of Social Engagement and Interaction as the purpose of the classroom. Secondly, what a tremendous exercise in priming students to yield to the herd instinct. To the primacy of the Group. All alone in your corner? What do you think you know that we don’t? Or what selfish interest are you trying to protect?

I am also tempted to tell you what I think of seeing former colonies as about having been conquered when it was the only time some ever had a rule of law and some protection against predation by the Ruler over the Ruled. And yes there should be a special ring in Hell for what the Belgian King did to the Congo. This is a curriculum that builds on Ignorance and plays to Stereotypes and then lards on Grievances and then Builds up Personal Identities from that Bubbling Brew? I had enough false lenses in that new C3–College, Career, and Civic Life Framework.

To make sure I was fair though I went to the “Facing History” website to take a further look at what was being pushed. I knew it had famous patrons now living in DC but I had never systematically looked at it. My analysis so far from looking at the website and reading both “Margot’s Journey” about founder Margot Stern Strom and her “A Work in Progress” is this is not a history course in any traditional sense of the term. In fact, it appears to be a fair amount of Bad History. Why? It is a combo of creating New Moral Values and a Sense of Identity from the “lessons” and a Personal Behavior Intervention program. All to create a Mindset for Social Justice.

And not to be elitist about History but Totalitarianism and its causes is a dangerous thing to misapprehend. Pushing emotional false beliefs for political gain is playing with fire. Especially when using the Holocaust and talking about a regime that itself rejected reason in favor of cultivated emotional beliefs. What gave rise to the Nazis was not individual hate so much as using education in the 19th century to create a widespread unconscious motivating belief that the Group and the Race and the Country had Primacy. There was no room for the individual in that Belief System. It was not a place where individuals and their personal choices were the prevailing drivers.

So I am worried that horrific events are being used to create false Beliefs and erroneous but Useful (to a Political Schemer intent on Transformation) Values. We seem to be back to a curriculum similar to the one Robert Hutchins laid out in 1968 without being honest that is what is being pushed. I picked that post for a reason. Carol Gilligan and Kohlberg a la Stages of Moral Development are both involved with “Facing History.” So is esr, Educators for Social Responsibility, with its PBIS/ Social and Emotional Curriculum for Middle and High Schoolers, that we saw in our Responsive Classroom post. And honestly too many other people we have encountered in this blog. All pushing changing values and mindsets and morals to change society. Selling the Vision that 21st Century Utopias could be a Reality.

I think it is dangerous to teach students, especially those whose misperceptions are unlikely to be corrected at home that “history is largely manmade.” History is a lot of accidents and unintended consequences. Intentions are not the viable reality. Going on to tell students that “what civilization is and what it may become is directly related to each one of us” is misguided and downright dangerous. It’s woefully not true and leaves students unguided by accurate lessons from the past. It leaves them prone to jettisoning what is flawed but fixable in favor of a Dream that is unworkable.

So how do you get to a new Paradigm or Prevailing World-view? In the name of history you teach false but Transformative Values, Attitudes, and Beliefs utilizing the power of the Group and encourage each student to use them “in our lives, take it in, and make it a part of our identity, individually or as a community” as the recommended way of “dealing with ourselves.”

Then you make the definitions of Growth or Student Achievement measuring each Student’s developing Competencies about what a curriculum like “Facing History” is pushing. How is it changing the student? With that Change being defined as Learning.

Orwellian redefinition being another part of the Overthrow 101 Syllabus.



Locusts of the Mind–Boring Gaping Holes, Altering Wiring, and Living on Our Dime

You know Mind Arson is one of my favorite terms for describing just what a genuine knowledge desert Transformational OBE (under its various names) or systems thinking are in a K-12 classroom. And how emotionally intrusive. But it misses the whole angle of these educators being deliberately brought in by the accredition agencies to push the John Dewey political vision on unsuspecting and uncooperative school districts wanting to return to neighborhood schools after years of busing. Or on suburban districts with a history of solid academics for those students wanting to soak up the knowledge and skills created and cultivated by the Best Minds of the Past. Gypsy Principals and Gypsy Supers caught some of that will push anything and ask no questions if there is a lucrative promotion in it. But the phrase Locusts of the Mind really captures both and it’s a reminder of how these educators move profitably (for them. It’s gradually bankrupting us, morally AND financially) across states in deliberate pushes of ever more intense Mind Arson and bring in the same expensive vendors over and over again.

Would it surprise you to know that many of the most toxic ideas we have discussed somehow miraculously all come together for an SEL campaign called Responsive Classroom for elementary students? I mean what are the odds of it being a coincidence? What are the odds of everyone reconnecting because they are each functioning as different components of our old nemesis, Transformational OBE? In addition to the stealth capabilities of such a break-up, think of all the greater possibilities for many retired educators to supplement their taxpayer paid pensions by joining one of these vendors as a consultant. And you can bet these lucrative employment after retirement opportunities to capture even more taxpayer dollars are simply not available for anyone who showed a refusal to play along with this internal mental insurrection ploy while still on the official government payroll. See how it works? Being a talented, lecturing, purveyor of knowledge and real skills in the classroom vs an Insurrectionist Administrator is the employment decision that keeps on haunting everyone. Even after retirement.

Responsive Classroom came to my attention when a Toledo, Ohio newspaper mentioned that teachers, administrators and “even a member of the school board studied … a philosophy called social emotional learning, which focuses on school climate and student behavior.” Now longtime readers know I have stood on my tippie-toes and hollered via the Internet all summer that SEL and altering fundamental student values and attitudes are in fact the real focus of what is coming to schools and classrooms via the now openly-acknowledged CCSSI ruse. is the first of many posts detailing the extent of the intentional holistic redesign of each student’s personality in lieu of non-relevant knowledge like what led to the US Civil War or World War 2.

So for us SEL is more than a “philosophy” and we are not the least bit surprised to hear the dreaded words “positive behavior intervention programs.” Probably the NEA’s Purple America will be along too as it is Ohio. But what was so telling is who shows up when you actually look into Responsive Classroom, a Massachusetts-based company.  There is the vice president of Academic Affairs at Bank Street College of Ed in NYC where Bill Ayers got his ed degree . And the managing director of Peter Senge’s Society for Organizational Learning to make sure systems theory and sustainability get their due emphasis in the SEL Responsive Classroom. Probably will make sure the SEL finds that Blind Spot that unconsciously guides human behavior. Oh, and a consultant from Cambridge Education to make sure the UNESCO Quality Assurance vision of just basic skills for all and no transmission of any knowledge likely to build up an Axemakers abstract logical mind.

There are others but the most intriguing to me was the executive director of Educators for Social Responsibility. Which unfortunately for us is not an altruistic group that works at soup kitchens and builds houses for the homeless. Nor does it go by its full name when it is brought into a school as part of a turnaround effort. You will just think it is some company called esr that does academic turnarounds, not a company with a preemptive positive behavioral program for middle and high schoolers. Just imagine your child can now have preemptive PBIS monitoring him or her for continuous improvement all through K-12 with all that data flowing to districts and the state and the national Data Quality Campaign. And people used to fret over Social Security Numbers as intrusive.

Back to the Responsive Classroom and the miracle of getting so many advocates of Dewey’s change the child political curriculum conveniently in one place. I wonder where they go for Board retreats? Let’s see how many of the RC fundamental principles you agree with:

1. The social curriculum is as important as the academic curriculum.

2. How children learn is as important as what they learn: Process and content go hand in hand. (Note: If you adhere to the Marxist theory of the mind you want all learning to be physical activity or vocational in nature. Marxists deplore and deny rational thought as too reminiscent in a belief in a human soul.)

3. The greatest cognitive growth occurs through social interaction. (This is essentially the Marxist BEST theory that denies that individuals have an innate mental disposition and aptitudes and holds that all knowledge comes from the physical environment and interacting with others. is one place that describes BEST. This is also the view that permeates the Communitarian philosophy that is so embedded in Common Core’s definition of Career Ready).

4. To be successful academically and socially, children need a set of social skills: cooperation, assertion, responsibility, empathy, and self-control. (You can ponder the manipulation possibilities of those aims in a classroom led by a teacher who has been trained or coerced into believing education is no longer to be about transmitting facts).

5. Knowing the children we teach–individually, culturally, and developmentally–is as important as knowing the content we teach. (In a movement pushing for Critical Race Theory in the classroom, you can just imagine the utter nonsense the teacher will have had foisted on her to then push on to the students).

6. Knowing the families of the children we teach and working with them as partners is essential to children’s education. ( Now you and I know that few parents want this SEL focus. This outreach simply makes the school the home based for political organizing of the parents to stroke their sense of grievance and willingness to act as a group. Alinsky’s IAF organizes schools to get at parents. )

7. How the adults at school work together is as important as their individual competence: Lasting change begins with the adult community. (I’d rather have a knowledgeable teacher over one who isn’t but “plays nice with others” any day. This is just a reminder of how much the entire concept of the individual and especially its legitimacy is under assault via education. ALL individuals. Child, adolescent, or adult.

So that is the sort of program that is coming to your neighborhood school and classroom at great expense in the name of CCSSI, student achievement, soft skills, an anti-bullying campaign, or a federally-funded school turnaround. Changing the student becomes the whole point of education. I will close this post with a deeply troubling story from this weekend that illustrates why recognizing what is going on and stopping it matter so much.

In my other life as a chauffeuring parent to teenage activities I overheard the 9th Graders speculating on why their Honors Lit class had to write a paper on why a Growth Mindset was better than a Fixed Mindset based on an article they had been given called Brainiology. Now I recognized the concepts and knew the other without being told. Already on my Radar of Trouble. They are quite literally based on the Soviet psychological theories designed to create the perfect socialist mindset. They are also the political theories the site deifies Dewey for originally promulgating.

I had been disturbed that was what teachers were to be taught to use on students. But making students directly imbibe and then write about in a graded paper with no one knowing or acknowledging their true nature?

That’s the sort of classroom practices and policies that get imposed by Locusts of the Mind Principals and Supers and Vendors seeking their next promotion or lucrative contract in the Impose Dewey’s Vision No Matter What onslaught. In a suburban 9th Grade Honors Lit class in the first few weeks of school. What will they be pushing by Christmas?