Specifying New Education, Economic and Social Models as the Final Act of the Civil Rights Movement

Can you imagine what your teenage and early 20s would have been like if you got a Get Out of Jail Free card for your 15th birthday? And were then told it could be used 5 times or, better yet, unlimited usage. OK, stop dwelling on the mischief that would have ensued or already happened but without punishment this time. Bet you learned your lesson. With that card you wouldn’t have had to.

What I am about to point out is that the Common Core has become the all-purpose excuse that generates access to loads of taxpayer money to implement theories that may have never been tried before. Or tried with a tragic history. Or have been created by political theorists and professors and even Soviet psychologists as we keep seeing to create wholesale noetic personal changes to gain transformative system changes. Shifting away from an ethos grounded in the primacy of individuals and the choices they make to groups and collectivism and enforced responsibilities as the hallmark of citizenship. All at our expense. Created by people who do not have to pay a personal price if this is a disaster and have much to benefit from in terms of promotions, new jobs, or locked in revenue streams for the requisite 4G wireless contract that will go with all those tablets for every student after you hire a former urban school super to be your Head of Sales.

Nothing but cronyism where politically connected individuals meet public money but it’s the name of the game now in this Digital Literacy push. And at the end of all those dollar transfers will be muddled, weakened minds waiting for a visual prompt and life to be one big engaging game. What a disappointment being an adult will likely be. You get the picture. Anything and everything gets a pass if Transformation is the actual or potential goal. It’s a free-for-all of change and mostly under the radar for the average taxpayer or parent. If they do notice something is wrong, they simply get told “This is the new Common Core State Standards Initiative so ALL our students will be college and career ready for the 21st century. This will allow us to be internationally competitive.”

Now that’s not the real story as we know well but it buys time and your dollars while the real moral and ethical and affective orientation instead of knowledge continues apace in our schools and higher ed. Called student-centered learning or individualized learning. With potential wakeup calls like “Student Loan Write-offs hit $3 Billion in first two months of Year” being off most people’s radars. http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/sns-rt-us-usa-studentloans-delinquencybre92o11k-20130325,0,6746534.story . Also likely off your radar screen is the related story of the National Science Foundation doing Neuroscience and Cognitive Science research to see how these new forms of instruction and assessment and classroom practices physically impact the brain. http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2013/nsf13067/nsf13067.jsp?WT.mc_id=USNSF_25&WT.mc_ev=click .

Now that’s not quite the wording of that Dear Colleague letter although “how the brain regulates the individual’s biology…and allows organisms to behave in and adapt to changing environments” is awfully close. Especially when we add in NSF’s involvement in the globally transformative in every respect starting at the level of the human mind, Belmont Challenge, or its decision to use education to squelch climate skepticism as part of the USGCRP 2012-2021 initiative. Or the fact that NSF reports to John Holdren whose colleague of many years, Paul Ehrlich, is seeking new kinds of minds that do not fall back easily on rational thought.

I have not mentioned the Axemaker Mind metaphor recently but destroying it is very much part of this ed reform vision plus the accompanying systems transformation for Equity and Equality. Many of you may not know if you use dynamic MRI imaging of a brain that reads phonetically and fluently and compare it with the brain of a teenager or adult of limited literacy you visually see the firing throughout one but not the other. Let’s think about that picture of Korea from space at night with the North in black and the South all lit up. If you are a school or classroom producing brains that still light up like South Korea in five or 10 years, you have not been following the sociocultural model of collective emotional understanding. And it will be physically apparent. The effective classroom at producing new kinds of minds with cyberlearning (also a big NSF initiative) and collaboration and no more lectures may well produce brains that image like North Korea. Some Equity, huh?

Equity and Equality also come into play in the reforming the high school initiatives that are shifting everyone toward what the Soviets called the polytech model (although they did pull out their finest minds and send them to academic boarding schools to retain their abilities). That’s not going to be on your radar either probably even though President Obama did mention P Tech in his State of the Union. Just to point out though that this dramatic overhaul is not really about the Common Core I came up with some links that precede CCSSI. Remember Jeannie Oakes of the Participatory Social Inquiry post?  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/throwing-an-invisibility-cloak-over-the-classroom-to-get-to-deweys-participatory-social-inquiry/ She was involved in this transformation in California before leaving for the Ford Foundation and was kind enough to tie this high school initiative to its real source–John Dewey’s 1915 Democracy and Education and his idea of education by occupations. http://www.connectedcalifornia.org/downloads/LL_Expanding_Pathways.pdf . SREB has also been on this bandwagon for a long time as the high school vision for ALL students as are other groups.

The Common Core excuse and the College and Career-Ready slogan then mask a whole lot of huge philosophical, politically transformational changes that are mostly unknown. Being implemented without much discussion to avoid the previous controversies or pesky arguments about constitutionality. Especially when you think through a government with police and coercive power collecting and sharing data with vendors on all aspects of students’ developing personalities and interests and attitudes and values. A marketing and political consulting dream come true.

Now that I have pointed out how you get transformative change at the level of the individual student in place without really being seen and also revealed that there will be means of monitoring compliance other than data collection of Student “Growth” (another concept that tracks to Dewey) and those Effective Teacher evals. I want to take the accompanying social, economic, and political vision out of the 21st century or the 1990s. Back to the mid-80s while the Cold War was still simmering if not raging. Because when sociologist Robert Bellah and others wrote the 1985 book Habits of the Heart: Individualism and Commitment in American Life (reissued usefully in 1996) they were describing the communitarian vision for the future we now associate with Amitai Etzioni and that Positive School Climate Executive Order (another off the radar screen initiative). He was describing the workplace vision we have tracked now to Peter Senge’s Fieldbook and Otto Scharmer and Shoshana Zuboff’s similar visions of the future of capitalism.

And he too saw education as the key to getting there. Especially for getting there without a popular outcry that might prevent the stealth revolution. Here’s the vision from the 1996 edition (page 286):

“The transformation of our culture and our society would have to happen at a number of levels…Personal transformation among large numbers is essential, and it must not only be a transformation of consciousness but must also involve individual action…out of existing groups and organizations, there would also have to develop a social movement dedicated to the idea of such transformation… If the Civil Rights movement failed fundamentally to transform the position of black people in our society, it was because to do that would have required just the change in our social ecology that we are now discussing. [See now why urban schools had to remain dysfunctional whatever the resulting chaos?] So a movement to transform our social ecology would, among other things, be a successor and fulfillment of the Civil Rights movement.

Finally, such a social movement would lead to changes between our government and our economy. This would not necessarily mean more direct control of the economy, certainly not nationalization [which by the 80s was known to harm revenue to state coffers. The USSR was telling African dictators much the same]. It would mean changing the climate in which business operates so as to encourage new initiatives in economic democracy and social responsibility…”

Sound familiar? Do you have any idea how many publicly employed administrators and professors and degree holders insisting on being called “Doctor” have credentials designed primarily to get this vision into effect?

Lots. And now they have the perfect cover, in their mind, to finally finish the Civil Rights Movement.

Except to get there they are stripping away the veneers that brought modern civilization and the prosperity of the West like the division of labor and contract instead of status. And all we get are the bills and promises and utopian political theories that this time human nature will change.

 

 

 

What Happens When the Hidden Goal of Education Is Interrupting Pre-existing Social Stratifications?

What if you were a hungry pioneer in a new town in the middle of nowhere in the 19th century and it was a long, cruel winter? Inexperienced you did not appreciate the danger of eating the seed corn that would be needed if there were to be plants for the following years. So you and your family and maybe other starving townspeople consumed it all to get through the winter. Unaware just how precious it might turn out to be in hindsight. But by then it is gone.

That failure to appreciate the precariousness of how we stay where we are culturally and economically, and the preciousness of what it actually took to get to this point in history, is exactly what I worry about when I read statements about “suspending the contributions of inborn capacities” or the “extent to which people expend great effort.” Jettisoning those important things is supposedly necessary to “adequately interrupt the reproduction of pre-existing social stratification.” And I am once again NOT playing Fish Around for Horrific Quotes to Get People Riled Up About the Common Core. Or C-Scope. Or even those preparing for a new type of capitalism 21st Century Skills.

Initially the quotes I am using are from another one of those Gordon Commission reports I have been writing about in recent posts. This one called “Democracy, Meritocracy and the Uses of Education” is by Aundra Saa Meroe. It helps frame the very dangerous mindsets being created in graduate higher ed programs to credential adults to impose what are actually political or sociology theories on students in K-12 institutions. And soon to be preschool.

I am going to detour for a second to reiterate a point Nobel Economist Friedrich Hayek made in his classic 1944 bestseller The Road to Serfdom. It is something to keep in mind as we explore today and generally in this blog the determination to use educational institutions to transform the prevailing worldviews. In the US and all over the world especially anywhere that ever cherished individual liberty and freedom to create and trade and set rules by private contract. Schools and colleges and universities really are being used to alter individual feelings, values, attitudes, and beliefs to embrace, or at least tolerate or not notice, a radically different political, economic, and social structure than what has ever brought mass prosperity. Hayek with his background in prewar Europe and then among the Fabian social planners in London knew what was, and still is being sought.

“The important point is that the political ideals of a people and its attitude toward authority are as much an effect as the cause of the political institutions under which it lives. This means, among other things, that even a strong tradition of political liberty is no safeguard if the danger is precisely that the new institutions and policies will gradually undermine and destroy that spirit.”   (HT to Don Boudreaux of Cafe Hayek for that timely Quote)

That destruction is absolutely the hidden intent of the Common Core’s actual planned implementation and its new assessments and the Lumina Diploma Qualifications Profile in higher ed and all the social and emotional emphasis coming to the classrooms. To understand why anyone would contemplate such a wholesale attack I want to quote from a part of this report that sets up the anger and actual hatred for what currently exists:

“The history of nascent democracy and nation-building in the United States among voluntary immigrant populations obscures how the broadening horizons for some were in part realized through the brutal eclipses of basic human freedoms, for many others through land seizure, warfare, the persecution and containment of indigenous populations, the enslavement of African people and the subordination of women. These forms of oppression and subjugated labor underlie the advances made in the nation’s formative forays into farming, commerce and industry.”

In this view everything that exists in our 21st Century America is seen as irrevocably tainted by the past and illegitimate. The remedy? “Absent the larger society’s commitment to an equal distribution of resources, academic institutions are held to be central sites for the distribution of resources.” Hence the Equity in Credentials even if they no longer designate meaningful knowledge or skills. Those unfulfillable expectations merely become more fuel for the desired radical transformation. That’s why all these education reforms are always coupled to a Social Citizenship vision in a Welfare State vision. We first saw it here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/morphing-the-common-core-into-a-new-rewritten-us-constitution-by-mandating-false-beliefs/.

Meroe then follows up her vision of tainted America with a description of Robert Dahl’s vision for democracy to become “an evolving, progressive social enterprise.” This time “all people must have equal opportunities to realize” their “mutual interests and valued goods.” Of course history has shown that that kind of equality can only exist with an overarching government constantly administering “fairness and justice.” And government involved to that extent will ALWAYS be captured by politically connected rent-seekers wanting favors at our expense. And thus be even less fair or just in the long run. But, hey, let’s not let reality intrude quite yet on all these pie-in-the-sky decrees.

One more pivot to the Education Innovation Laboratory at Harvard that philanthropist Eli Broad set up in 2008 with a $6 million contribution. Best known in education for his creation of the Broad Prize for Urban School Districts and training administrators in a Superintendents Academy, I am going to use the description of the purpose of the Ed Labs found on the website of the WEB Du Bois Institute at Harvard. It says the project is “devoted to understanding the causes and consequences of inequality in American society. .. The broader objective of the lab is to employ scientific methods–rather than anecdotal or ideological reasoning–to improve public decision making and policy around issues related to inequality in the US.”

Fair enough although with all the behaviorist economists, psychologists, and sociologists involved in the effort you do have to wonder if the “scientific methods” are not BF Skinner’s vision for a science of education using operant conditioning. It sure would fit our known facts and is something to keep an eye on.

Meroe’s report goes on to announce that the “ubiquity of substandard public education among students of lower-SES ethnic minority groups . . . also reveals the malevolence of meritocratic rationalization.” She is on her way to lay the ground work for “mass-scale capacity for cooperative productivity in the workplace” that we have seen before. She advocates for what she calls “these collectivist goals of ‘democratic equality’ and ‘social efficiency’ [that] can conflict with a view of education as a private good for the purposes of education.”

Meroe is not unique in her angst about the urban areas and seeing the solution as Social Citizenship. We saw it with the Building One America conference and the Regional Equity and Metropolitanism movement I have written about. I read Professor Michael Katz’s The Price of Citizenship: Redefining the American Welfare State this week and got treated to yet more of the Social Citizenship as necessary to give our inner cities a remedy for their devastation argument. Likewise, the involvement of a number of the listed Ed Lab contributors with the Russell Sage Foundation led me to the future vision laid out in 1995 in their Poverty, Inequality and the Future of Social Policy: Western States in the New World Order.

So I actually do see where all this is going and it is an unworkable remedy. But I want to go back to the rationales. In particular that the low achievement in the urban districts is a result of “malevolence.” Whose? After all it is the urban districts that readily embraced the Vygotskyian “sociocultural” approaches first. Why? Because as we saw in the goals of the last post and as Leontiev and Bronfenbrenner apparently discussed in the 60s in talking about the Western countries and economies, many decision-makers do not want education theories or practices that preserve or reenforce the prevailing capitalist/individualist systems. They want urban students primed for transformation. This was also why Saul Alinsky’s IAF saw urban schools as great places for community organizing. The Alliance Network in Texas and other states now show it still is viewed that way.

I have written about Professor Michael Cole before. In a chapter to a 1985 book called Culture, communication, and cognition: Vygotskyian perspectives, Cole writes “In circumstances where we do not want to take the cultural context as given. . . [sociocultural theory] offers a very fruitful framework because of its militant insistence on linking individual and social activity.” So what was a militant linkage in 1985 is now to be the required classroom practices under the definitions of Effective Teaching under the Common Core. Moreover, that physical and social activity approach had toxic effects in urban areas. Especially when normed or even criterion tests are used against suburban schools which still had an academic focus and parents who could remediate at the proverbial kitchen table or hire a tutor.

That’s not malevolence and the resulting gaps in performance are certainly no reason to wreck everything as we are doing. And it’s not like the sociocultural/Soviet emphasis in the Urban schools was a secret. Professor Cole goes on to thank the Carnegie Corporation for the funding to import the psychology theories from “our Soviet colleagues.”

This went longer than I wanted so I will stop. The dysfunction of the inner cities and the achievement gaps have causes that are not being discussed. They have become excuses for wholesale transformation of all our institutions and even us. From the inside-out.

And when we trace backwards we find either false beliefs or political theories with a tragic past. All being pushed by tax free foundations intent on social change and without any willingness to do the cleanup work from the effects of previous theories.

Equality-the chimera that threatens to ruin the futures of anyone without political connections.

 

Morphing the Common Core into a New Rewritten US Constitution by Mandating False Beliefs

I always feel a bit like Scrooge when pointing out Equality for All enforced by government coercion is not in fact a Lovely Idea. But it’s too easy to malign someone who says “Not so fast” as having their nest egg and wanting to lock others out. But that is actually not how commerce and markets have ever worked in history. Which remains a darn useful guide to how things will likely work in the future. So before I explain how CCSSI turns out to be a huge con to change the nature of the US Constitution away from its historic role, let me explain for a minute what we are losing. Let me point out basically why Prosperity Generation Seed Corn like diversified expert knowledge and incentives should always be protected. While it still exists.

It turns out that throughout history specialized production/diversified consumption has been the key to mass prosperity. So moving everyone to Common Levels of Adequate Skills guts that. As does the open declaration that we are moving back to a Government directed Economy of Protected Political Favorites. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/protected-producers-vs-paying-consumerstaxpayerswho-will-prevail-on-education-and-the-economy/

I have also noticed that in all the scheming I have been describing where education is an essential part of the No Growth, Post-GDP Future, when education is standing alone no one is being honest with the students and taxpayers on what’s really in store for the future. That the claims of Economic Development around education globally are really just a means to steer more money into that compliant sector for Social Control over the masses. As the always graphic Europeans described it, to obtain “a deep, structural shift in the basic premises of thoughts, feelings and actions.”

So before the bolts of the invisible serfs collars to hobble minds, manipulate hearts, and propel future individual actions have been welded shut, let me remind everyone one more time that historically personal economic freedom predicts a country’s prosperity “better than its mineral wealth, education system or infrastructure do.” That an all-powerful state means economic stagnation at best unless you are part of the politically connected few.

Now that I have sounded that warning one more time hoping to save our Prosperity Seed Corn from Official Arson, it turns out that CCSSI is part of a ploy to create a national equal citizenship guarantee. This highly creative theory of “social citizenship” has been created by controversial former Berkeley Law Professor, Goodwin Liu. You may recognize him from his failed nomination to the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals or his subsequent installation on California’s Supreme Court. Where he has apparently been trying to show he would not be a radical jurist after all. Anyone believing that has not read his “Education, Equality, and National Citizenship” Manifesto from the Yale Law Journal. No, not when he was an impetuous law student. Published in 2006. Part of his adult philosophy of how to revamp the nature of the US Constitution through a highly imaginative reconstruction of the citizenship language of the 14th Amendment.

Liu asserts that the term “citizenship” should now be interpreted to have “social and economic dimensions” instead of just its civil and political meanings. To be a font of substantive guarantees to “secure full and equal citizenship.” Now if this is starting to sound a bit like an insistence on the Scandinavian welfare state as enshrined in the US Constitution when we were not looking, Liu does make quite the use of qualifying language. Well, kind of. See what you think.

This guarantee is not to be “a rigid requirement of national levelling” and “economic inequality is not inherently at odds with equal citizenship.” The “account of citizenship” offered by Liu “does not squarely challenge the competitive norms of  the marketplace and its competitive hierarchies.” Liu just wants to create a principle of “bounded inequality” that looks at what others have so social stratification will cease to be a problem. Right.

So basically creative Liu wants either SCOTUS or Congress to assume that the citizenship language means we are all members of a national community called the United States of America and that Membership has its privileges and duties that do not include an American Express card. Because you would have to pay that bill each month. No membership in the US community means everyone has positive rights to certain forms of government assistance to “secure full and equal national citizenship.” Basically social citizenship turns into a claim encompassing “the whole range from the right to a modicum of economic welfare and security to the right to share to the full in the social heritage and to live the life of a civilised being according to the standards prevailing in the society.”

Now here’s the fascinating concession to our already having found  the confession that the CCSSI sales pitch of national content standards  was a ruse http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/didnt-the-president-just-admit-ccssi-was-a-ruse-to-change-classroom-interactions/. Liu sees the need for his federal guarantee of equal national citizenship to be created via:

“enlisting non-governmental organizations to develop national education standards and by incentivizing states to adopt them voluntarily.”

There could not be a more succinct description of CCSSI, the Common Core State Standards Initiative, than that. Which would also explain why the implementation of CCSSI I have chronicled looks nothing like the rhetoric. And why lawyers rightfully concerned with violations of the 10th Amendment or federal statutes are missing the true story. A sought profound rewriting  of the 14th Amendment to turn the nature of the US Constitution upside-down.  Starting with the need for national education standards. But why that exactly?

Beyond the levelling function we have chronicled, I think the answer lies in the odd definitions of College and Career Ready Standards we have noted along with the Positive School Climate mandate I have described. Plus what we talked about in the last post. There is a desire to create a view of national citizenship not as the source of evenhanded protection against an overbearing state but as the generator of citizenship obligations and duties and responsibilities. All of these words get used over and over again in reference to this new view of education for citizenship. There is to no longer be a right to be left alone. This is not only true in US but in the descriptions from all over the world. Education is being seen as the means for creating the Values and Attitudes, the real common core, that recognizes a personal and collective responsibility towards solidarity with others to achieve social justice, understanding and cooperation amongst peoples.”

And I am retorting that this so-called “model of partnership” created via education with government employees acting as enforcers is unlikely to work out as envisioned. And I think all of this rewriting of the 14th Amendment and UNESCO Education for All and Systems Thinking and Transformational OBE and Career Pathways and OECD Competences are all examples of a return to the Predator State. With a global Nomenklatura this time. No more genuine personal autonomy or economic freedom. By the time anyone could have figured this all out it would have been too late. I think no one intended for a history geek who once aced Con Law to be tracking education policy by its economic function and political results.

And because perceptions can trump reality, if you teach students this altered definition of Citizenship and obligation for the Common Good and demerits for acts of individuality, and then gather data to enforce this Image of the Perfect Collectivist Citizen Drone for the 21st Century, you can create her. Regardless of the language and historical intent of the Constitution. I have seen the College Board’s revisions of their AP history courses. No one is likely to be learning the truth about the Constitution in an American classroom for very much longer.

History shows that self-interest always exists and only free markets channel it in beneficial ways. A government employee with the ability to enforce an education edict that insists that “community means working collectively and collaboratively with others toward a shared vision” still has a self-interest they will try to maximize. That will likely involve pushing this sought mandate to get a raise or promotion no matter how bad the results for students and taxpayers.

Everything that has been a barrier in the past to the Overbearing State is being dismantled. At the exact same time the countries that have social democracy/welfare state for all have found it to be unsustainable. All those realities are being ignored though by politicians and Connected Businesses wanting to preserve power and economically unsophisticated voters and students wanting free stuff at someone else’s expense.

I am not going to tell you we need to stop this before it goes airborne. That really happened in the 90s as Outcomes Based Education. I am just hoping to create enough alarm before we get to the May Not Turn Around part of the Trip.

I mean did anyone even pack a life raft for when we go down? I can hear that left engine sputtering badly and we cannot all fly on only one engine.