Once Again the Official Target is Scrambling Rational Thinking, Do Pro-Social Purposes Make It OK?

What should horrify us more–the intention? Or the fact that numerous editors at Ed Week must have read the language and merely nodded. Because after all the idea that now “Teachers design spaces and experiences that rearrange the neurons in young people’s brains for pro-social purposes” is not news to readers of this blog. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/edtechresearcher/2013/06 /change_the_frame_two_ways_to_rethink_education_for_reform.html?cmp=ENL-EU-VIEWS2 is the link from last week. It is the lead-in to paragraph 4. And the author is the educator who first led me to focus on gaming after a conference he hosted at MIT.

Ramping up for the 90s version of these same “reshape the personality and values” reforms, which became infamous as Outcomes Based Education, there was a flurry of books on creating new kinds of minds. Willis Harman’s Global Mind Change from the previous post was one. Paul Ehrlich wrote New World New Mind and we also had The Axemaker’s Gift that gave us the useful Axemaker’s Mind metaphor to explain what is being targeted. Well, the sought goal has never gone away. Apparently the era of Positive Humanism (aka little c you-know-what) can only commence if the rational “ego-mind” that promotes individuality has been anesthetized. Put into deep sleep via K-12 education. To be reenforced periodically through lifelong learning and today’s new term–media education.

This time around we again have more illuminating books to guide us toward the future others want for us. First we have Ecomind: Changing the Way We Think, to Create the World We Want published in 2011. Ecologist Frances Moore Lappe, who also serves on a new global entity http://www.worldfuturecouncil.org/ (with Riane Eisler if you have ever read the Caring Economics post)  wants to reframe the “largely unconscious mental map made up of big ideas orienting our lives.” She points out a very useful phrase to keep in mind as we keep reading about Enduring Understandings and systems theory “lenses” and Understandings of Consequence that are to be provided in the Common Core classroom to help organize every student’s beliefs about the world and the past. “Can we remake our mental map?” Lappe asks. Because she points out that “while we often hear that ‘seeing is believing,’ actually believing is seeing.

Which will of course come in quite handy in an education now to be focused on the visual and modeling future scenarios on the computer.  Because the tech companies and their broadcasting allies globally have been quietly sponsoring (as in literally funding the conferences) the idea that “society has evolved from a literacy culture to a media culture. To be able to function in this new culture, people need to develop sufficient proficiency in media literacy in much the same way as people in a literacy culture need to be able to read and write.”

And if this is news to you the Common Core literacy standards do mention media literacy but no one seems to be focusing on the implications yet. Probably because they have not been reading the programs of the Media & Learning Conferences that started in Brussels in 2010 and noted the significance of the statement that “different media provide access to different parts of the brain.” And, yes, games are an important component of this new view of K-12 education as digital and media-based.

As the 2011 “Harnessing the power of Media to support Learning” Conference put it so succinctly, games are “tools to support training in soft skills and understanding of complex situations.” Of course this is all in the context of an assumption that globally we are moving toward a “more participatory,” equitable society. And to get there as a speaker noted, the role of education needs to be seen as the “physiological and psychological growth of the child.”

Why that sounds just like Student Growth in the US! What the feds are now requiring as the measure of an effective teacher. Just coincidental I am sure. Actually you have probably already noticed the shift to integrating media creation into the classroom. You just did not know it was part of an organized, ideological shift. Or that a conference would be organized to push “the underlying principle was that video production includes a whole process of skills which, once acquired, can be transferred to solve other complex tasks.” Oh good. What IB and UNESCO call homo faber–man the maker.

By the 2012 Conference called “Media as an Agent for Change in Education and Training,” a keynote speaker, Andrew Keen, was warning the audience that digital learning was a “form of ideology that is shifting us to a flatter global societal structure” with a “disappearing middle class.” We could heed his points that “such widespread democratisation in education is already leading to the radicalisation of education” if only anyone in the US or anywhere outside of Europe were being honest with the general public on what is really going on with these ed reforms.

If you think this is just a European problem, then you are unaware that the New Media Consortium and this new view of education actually originated in the US. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, it just had its 15th anniversary conference. http://www.nmc.org/ And I listened to Karen Cator’s Keynote speech on “Participatory Learning-Powered by Technology”. And then I found the federal reports she mentioned. Which told me precisely how important ICT is to the new assessments. It allows a move away from “covering subject matter” to a “concern with cognitive skills, including those that have been identified as 21st-century skills.” The “subject matter content emphasis” of traditional schooling led schools to “neglect the higher order or complex cognitive components such as inquiry, problem solving, and explanation.”

The new assessments via ICT are “designed to handle the interdependencies among a learner’s actions in dealing with complex, multistep problems or inquiries.” Now remember from our previous posts that these complex problems are deliberately “ill-structured” or “Indeterminate Situations” for which there is no fixed answer. And the computer is obtaining a tremendous amount of data generated by students at an unconscious level as they try to come up with an answer. And we also know that part of the intended aim of this confusing structure is to force the students to rely on creative, deep intuition to apply existing concepts or big ideas to new situations. Then the computer can adapt to give students immediate feedback to get the students back on whatever the pathway the game or software designers programmed into the instructions.

Don’t worry. It’s not like game designers have said they intended to use these programs to target student’s belief systems. It’s not like the designers are using positive psychology principles to make the visual as compelling as possible. Book Number 2 this time around came out in 2010. Marina Gorbis from the last post mentioned The Watchman’s Rattle: Thinking Our Way Out of Extinction by Rebecca Costa. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oyYrSw26jNQ is her as the keynoter at last October’s Bioneers Conference. Costa is a well-connected sociobiologist who considers Capitalism to be an example of “Extreme Economics.” She views widespread public skepticism over Global Warming and whether climate changes are manmade to be an example of the kind of irrational beliefs that have led to catastrophic civilizational collapse in the past.

She says the answer lies in turning to Insight and the unconscious mind as the solution to the increasing complexity of the modern world. The insight she describes sounds much like Harman’s deep intuition or Alice Bailey’s creativity if you want to go even further back to the same pursuit in the 30s and the 50s. It’s once again the nonrational mind that is to be given free rein except for one big difference this time. Rebecca admits she wants to abandon the norm of analytical problem-solving or right-brain synthesis of facts. Rebecca also points out the part of the brain that thinks inspirationally is now known. It can be found in a fold in the brain called the anterior Superior Temporal Gyrus (aSTG).

Functional brain imaging can now show that when someone is using insight or intuition or creativity to solve a problem, this “little-known fold ‘lights up like a Christmas tree.” So radicals have targeted this nonrational, unconscious capacity as part of their Transformation to Utopia plans for decades. All of a sudden numerous commentators are talking about reorganizing the brain’s neurons. Literally. And in early March President Obama announced a brain-imaging initiative.

Costa wants people to make “novel connections rather than continue to rely on reductionist thinking.” The actual implementations in the K-12 classroom globally appear designed to give the aSTG a workout. That’s what all those references to Higher Order Thinking Skills are about. The part of the brain that thinks logically and sequentially is under concentrated, coordinated attack.

And all this desired New Minds for a New Future can be physically measured now.

And we could address the implications of all this for personal freedom and the legitimacy of the individual in the future. If only these reports and conferences and expressed intentions were better known.

 

Political Primer 101: What is the Marxist Theory of the Mind and Why Does It Matter in 2012?

The Berlin Wall is down. Mao is dead. The Soviet Union is no more although I believe their national anthem is back. Why mention Marx at all? Isn’t it offputting in our 21st century to be bringing back previous hobgoblins that are now irrelevant?

But is isn’t irrelevant. That’s the dangerous myth that makes a stealth assault through taxpayer funded and supported institutions possible. The misunderstanding of our adversaries, or even that we have any, acting through something like education that is supposed to be a Public Good. You may have noticed I will usually make references to Uncle Karl to make the point on what is involved without running the risk that readers will step back. The Bridge Too Far.

I think honestly the misappreciation of what Marxism is and the vital importance of education as a primary cultural weapon has been deliberate. If we had rightly understood that consciousness and mindsets were under attack we would have caught on to what was actually going on in the Reading and Math Wars much sooner. We would be paying attention to the actual implementation documents on federalizing education that impact what must, and what Now Cannot, go on in classrooms.

So let me step back now and frame what is under attack and why. At this point because this theory is so ubiquitous and poorly understood it is all the more dangerous. I think we will need the shorthand-”Oh, that’s just another scheme to impose the Marxist Theory of the Mind without us recognizing it” if we are to be able to successfully combat this Evil. I just went back and capitalized Evil because it cost too many human lives in the 20th century not to deserve a Capital “E” for emphasis.

Plus let’s face it the related Bronfenbrenner Ecological Systems Theory and Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Theory of Learning are just a mouthful. And really created to obscure the political derivations while obtaining the desired political effects. Squelch individualism. Stomp the rational mind. Hobble the incredible human capacity to create private mental scenarios to weigh possible consequences of various possibilities and then choose to act or not accordingly. In other words, to crash that Axemakers Mind anywhere it might arise before it can happen.

So Marxist Theory of the Mind is accurate and pithy compared to our alternatives. Which would also include John Dewey’s work. But what is it? Well, actually I just told you and have been all summer. I just avoided calling a spade a spade for as long as possible. The Marxist Theory of the Mind is a political subjugation theory. And I am not using the word Subjugation to show off Robin’s Large Vocabulary and Stock of $5 Words. I mean Subjugation in its sense of deliberate permanent altering of the Human Mind and Personality in order to have lasting Control and Unconscious Influence. See? A great vocabulary word actually does take numerous words to really capture its singular meaning.

And that’s why the Marxist Theory of the Mind remains relevant in the 21st Century. We still have politicians and bureaucrats and Crony Businesses seeking economic and political power over the Individual. And Marx may have been a moocher from his parents and friend Engels who never had a real job in his life. And he may have thoroughly misunderstood capitalism and industrialization and who was benefitting and what was unstable. But his Idea that Your thoughts were not your own and merely reflected the Class you were born into painted a Bullseye on Mental Consciousness as a Target for State Manipulation.

He blew that too by the way. Our thoughts are not merely a reflection of our social interactions and our environment. But think of the power if the nature of school and education could be changed to try and make this part of Karl’s dream a reality. That’s the dream that drove John Dewey and Ralph Tyler of the 8 Year Study (I have an interview he gave just before his death) and so many others. It has become the poorly understood essence of the modern education degrees. It is what drives the accreditation agencies worldwide. We are in Deep Peril if we do not understand this.

So how does it manifest itself almost everyday now in what I am reading? It is embedded deeply in the Digital Literacy Initiative from the last post. There was also Tuesday’s Bridging Differences column claiming that the global economic crisis was due to the “insatiable consumption of our natural resources and control of the world’s wealth by the 1 percent.” Here’s a hint. Most of that One Percent live at the intersection of Politically Directed Capital and Politically Connected Individuals. It’s Al Gore and the Green Business Grants directed by the 2009 Stimulus Act to his investments. It’s the leaders of China and other countries. The imposition of the Marxist Theory of the Mind will simply make this state appropriation and direction worse as there will be no one to fight it. The One Percent should not be the Focus. State Crony Capitalism should be.

It is manifested in the insistence that the transmission of knowledge in urban schools  amounts to the imposition of “white middle-class values on their children” to “mold them so that they are compliant and obedient to authority figures.” That’s pretty brazen given the desire to change everyone’s values to a more Communitarian ethos and Mold Everyone through the collection of data about values, attitudes, and beliefs. That was also yesterday. A thoroughly troubling document called “Teaching Adolescents to Become Learners” which turned out to describe manipulation via the classroom of what are being called “Non-cognitive Skills” or Soft Skills. It claims that:

“racial/ethnic and gender differences in school performance can be reduced by focusing on students’ attitudes and behaviors.”

Delightful details on when these remain malleable and subject to interventions. Lots of mentions of creating desired Mindsets and references to Carol Dweck’s psychology work without bothering to mention she is a noted Lev Vygotsky scholar. Little details. It’s not like that report did not have lots of research to back up what it was mandating. Oh wait, actually it admitted there was little proof for the theories but, hey, what’s the use of a government monopoly over children’s minds if you cannot do widespread research on the Theories after they have been forced into classrooms.

What else just this week? There was Tuesday’s release of a report seeking an official rejection of capitalism in the Advanced Computing businesses and the adoption of an Industrial Policy to have the Government pick the winners and losers and blur the line between public and private when it comes to computer hardware and the semiconductor business. Called “The New Global Ecosystem in Advanced Computing: Implications for US Competitiveness and National Security,” it is a detailed plea for collusion among certain of the tech companies, higher ed, and government regulatory power and tax money.

It is also sought by many of the same businesses pushing the Digital Literacy Initiative and the 21st Century Skills global push. The same businesses that push P-Tech Career Pathways for All in high schools. The same businesses insisting that students only need the 4 C’s and Soft Skills in the 21st Century. Creativity (with little subject knowledge), Critical Thinking (to recognize need for Transformation), Communication (Dewey’s theory that minimizes the cognitive element), and finally Collaboration. Because we know Individualism is so 19th Century.

That’s awfully coincidental and self-serving don’t you think? Industrial Policy, Rejection of non-State Directed Capitalism, and Heavy Involvement in the Radical Restructuring of Education Globally? All essentially at the same time? Think there’s a connection? Let’s not even get started on how much of the actual Common Core curriculum and “Measuring” Assessments the Gates Foundation is also simultaneously funding. Which I have seen by the way. Now I appreciate the omnipresence of Environmental Projects. It really is all connected.

As I wrote about here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/oh-good-grief-now-i-need-to-know-what-a-noetic-system-is-because-it-is-under-attack/, change the noetic system and the economic and political systems must change too. Marx knew that and so do many educators. And apparently tech companies now. It’s the American people and ordinary citizens all over the World in the dark about what is happening right now.

I am going to close with what UNESCO wants, and through its allies in politics, business, education, and accreditation, is well on its way to achieving. Just in case you need reminding of how totalitarian these aspirations are. And global. And happening in Reality. This is from a January 11, 2011 Address in London by Irina Bokova that explicitly addressed Two of the “We Should All Emulate Finland” Crowd, Professors Michael Barber (UK) and Michael Fullan (CA). I reread it this week as I was mulling over the UN’s Digital Technology pushes in light of Joel Klein’s remarks about Amplify. I had previously missed these 3 objectives that typify the subjugation going on all over the world and all the sought manipulation in the classroom.

“Responding to climate change also starts in the classroom. Education is the way to shape new ways of thinking and forge new, sustainable behaviour.  These objectives guide UNESCO in leading the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014).

Fundamentally, education is about values.”

It sure is now. But Whose?

Ridiculing the 1860s Mind as Unsuitable for the 21st Century: Cui Bono?

Sometimes these days my life feels a bit like that Broadway farce A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Yet another official power grabbing, crony rewarding, and individual subjugating report will come out that I catch and know I need to tell you about.  Then as I continue my snooping into what is going on out in the real world, I get the perfect illustration of why this all matters. Even if you don’t currently have a child in K-12 or in higher ed.

I was going to explain this week’s release of the troubling “Using Science as Evidence in Public Policy” from our politicized National Academy of Sciences (again! John Holdren is VERY busy) where the “Science” is the Social Sciences, not Chemistry or Physics. Shades of what we detailed here.http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/if-reality-is-ignored-or-disregarded-when-do-we-become-a-state-against-its-people/ And Evidence is Needed because of the official belief and desire that our economy and society, an Ecosystem according to the Planners, needs to be managed by decisionmakers with the proper credentials instead of people themselves.

So I attended an “Innovation in Education Conference” on October 24 put on by the State Chamber of Commerce with official support from businesses likely to benefit from the new emphasis on digital literacy and technology and  Sustainability and Soft Skills and a new Culture as the focus of the classroom. In the sought Mercantile post-Consumer 21st Century Communitarian world we have discussed numerous times http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/didnt-adam-smith-write-a-book-explaining-why-this-is-a-bad-idea-back-in-1776/ this is not a shocking concept anymore. I do wish though these vendors seeking government contracts and political protection from competition for their current products would quit pretending their education advocacy efforts were all “for the children.” Philanthropic endeavors where they just wanted to give a heads up for future workforce hiring purposes.

But I am a tough, old, experienced corporate negotiator who has seen a great deal of what makes a business work and recommended walking away from deals that do not. When your audience is politicians and public and private sector bureaucrats, they can be fine, well-intentioned people. But you get a bobbing heads agreement to social policy talking points where the individual with his or her own money on the line in a free market would say ” Wait a minute. What are you really urging?”

The dangers of the herd and trying to manage and rearrange an economy at the political level are even more acute when the policies sought go to changing personality traits of children and limiting their ability to think rationally at all. While locking in the policies as a taxpayer paid contract with a district Super or School Principal or even the state. As a Student of History, let me just say that Benito in the 20s and 30s had a name for that kind of Corporatism trying to squelch the individual in favor of the collective while profiting from the lucrative connections. And no it was not a movement of the Right. It was collectivist socialism with the revenues of the economy being split among political favorites in addition to government officials. Jonah Goldberg wrote an excellent book about it.

Back to the Luncheon. The talking point was the supposed need for a new kind of education for the 21st century centered around the student (let’s all chime in snarkily “to actually change their values, attitudes, and beliefs”) through making school about using computers and digital technology. Missing was the fact that Soviet Psychologist Lev Vygotsky recognized that these external cognitive tools would change  people mentally once you made use of the device the focus. The known and desired hobbling effects on the human mind were conveniently left out of the presentation.

So whatever the convenience of the computer as a tool,  Totalitarian governments have also rejoiced that it can become an Individualism Extraction Device. The repeated rhetoric about lecturing by the best prof or teacher you ever met is mostly an illusion to sell the devices and broadband and get it to the classroom. And education conferences in the US were giddily calling this digital tech initiative a Trojan Horse and a subversion technique to finally get John Dewey’s vision of democracy by 1990. Yes, I do have a copy of the book. And rereading it yesterday did delay this post.

So politically connected Joel Klein who is now heading up the company Amplify  http://www.newscorp.com/news/news_536.html was the Keynote Luncheon Speaker. A state politician did the introduction and emphasized the constantly pitched need to change education for the 21st century economy. The intro made a reference to not needing the kind of education suitable for the 1960s. That was an odd decade to use since that is when the onslaught via federal government money coercing changes via behavioral and social sciences really began in earnest. It was also when SAT scores stopped advancing. Plus economists have noted it is when real per capita growth in the economy began to slow down dramatically.

So I am thinking a 1960s mind would probably be darn useful for a genuinely innovative 21st Century economy that really was about mass prosperity. And here is where I believe Joel Klein went off his prepared normal presentation based on quotes I recognized and reports I have actually read celebrating education that is visual and Tablet-based instead of intellectual. He got up and said, probably to emphasize the need for dramatic change, that traditional education was actually promoting an 1860s mind. Horrors was the desired reaction Joel wanted from his audience and nodding and bobbing heads in agreement is what he got. Not surprising as every experienced trial lawyer I know can play an audience.

But let’s think about this for a minute as I think this is an important herd lesson on precisely why you do not want the government using education to monitor and plan people’s personalities so they develop a communitarian mindset. Selling contracts with taxpayer funds to put devices in place that consciously seek to shut down the ability to think abstractly and independently. Manipulating emotions of 5 Year Olds via chosen vendors in the name of Soft Skills and Positive School Culture.

The 1860s mind being belittled and scorned was the Age of the Individual with almost universal genuine literacy. Did you know coal mining camps in the 1870s put on Shakespeare plays with widespread participation from the miners? The 1860s Mind fought the bloodiest war in US history because it so valued the individual that slavery became unacceptable. The 1860s Mind hatched the Industrial Revolution and the great inventions of the 20th century. And the greatest mass prosperity the world has ever known. And if bad things happened in the 20th century, they were never launched in a society or a culture that cherished the individual. They were always launched in societies that pushed the collective.

There is a mention in that Amplify press release above about Digital Learning leading to an “equitable society” which sounds like John Dewey’s little “d” democracy to me.  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/why-quality-learning-may-be-the-last-thing-you-want-for-your-child/ . I think taxpayers have a right to know that is what is being sought and what the likely costs are even if they have already stupidly approved the revenues to be delivered up in an ESPLOST referendum. Taxpayers and parents should know that the real assault is on Axemaker Minds  in suburban schools created at home by attentive parents. Now to be under organized assault at school. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/blending-sustainability-and-education-to-gain-arational-nonlinear-minds-and-new-behaviors/

I am going to close with a point from the Computers as Cognitive Tools book  I mentioned above coupled with a point from a book on Ecological Literacy to get to a new Postmodern World that came out about the same time. The 1990 conference focused on the ability of the computer to be a pedagogical tool that would reshape the student’s mental processing. The computer can also be used to instruct and transmit knowledge but that is expressly not the function educators want. Recognizing that reality lurking behind the lovely videos or Powerpoint speeches, lets go back to  Professor David Orr who we have met before.

As always the whole point of Ecology Policy Making has to do with “changing the way we think and what we think about” to shift away from the Modern World’s emphasis on the “I’, the interiorized ego” capable of rational thought.

“I think it is time to ask about the software of sustainability as well, and thus about the qualities people will need to build and maintain a durable civilization. . . [One with] people motivated by a sense that their wellbeing is linked to that of others and to other life forms.”

We have nodding heads about matters with unappreciated actual stakes and likely tragic consequences. We have a current federal desire for Policy Making via Social Sciences being sought in the name of implementing Peter Senge’s Systems Thinking and destroying lingering Climate Skepticism. Once again we see why the schemers do not want Axemaker Minds with knowledge of history coming out of classrooms or sitting in the audience.

Ooops.

Embrace and Seize Technology’s Potential to Capture the Hearts and Minds of Today’s Students

That quote comes again from the Texas Vision Statement that we started talking about in the previous post. “Hearts and Minds”–that unconscious level that motivates and guides human behavior. No wonder one of the listed Participating Insurrectionist Supers has since moved on from Dallas to Cobb County, Georgia (a major suburb of Atlanta) where he is now pushing Digital Learning on middle schoolers despite parent and taxpayer objections. As the Vision Statement makes clear, apart from the fortunes to connected vendors, the digital mandate has a political purpose.

Digital devices like computers are cultural tools that diminish individual mental functioning. The tool does much of the work instead of the mind. Careful then with still developing minds.  And, no, that’s not just my opinion. There is a great deal of research that has now been translated and imported from Soviet psychology explaining which cultural tools aid the mind’s independent functioning. And which ones function like a vacuum cleaner sucking away the ability to conceptualize and think rationally. Guess where anything that kicks up the visual lies? Especially computers?

But before we talk about some of the silly and downright harmful assumptions in that Vision Statement about the Digital Revolution, let’s look at why the Hearts and Minds are being actively targeted. With all the zeal of a sugary cereal maker during Saturday morning cartoons. I am going to give the full quote here because I want you to appreciate how this links up to the planned dominance of social and emotional learning in the classroom and the Positive School Climate and Culture we have been chronicling. It really is about targeting future behavior of what should be independent individuals. Why? Well, consistent with what we have found in the real definitions of what College and Career Ready actually mean, our Insurrectionist Supers want to create “a new sense of community committed to the common good.” See how influential Amitai Etzioni is in education now?

And how do the Credentialled Comrades living (and retiring) at taxpayer expense intend to accomplish that Community-first Goal? Well they have apparently been reading all the Transformational Outcomes Based Education (OBE) work from the 90s because the Vision Statement also announces that “Beliefs create vision and drive action.” Which means if you can just impose OBE, or its more in vogue now sibling–Systems Thinking/ Systems Dynamics, in the classroom early enough, you can get future voters emotionally committed to Sustainability, Biodiversity, the evils of Capitalism, the idea that “Governments Must Facilitate everything.” Whatever. Factual reality ceases to guide perceptions from daily experience once you have captured the Hearts and Minds of the children. And that apparently is exactly what our Supers have in mind and want from the Principals under their command. I mean, employ. (my bolding for emphasis).

“Attention of leaders is focused on the dominant social systems that govern behavior beginning with those that clarify beliefs and direction, develop and transmit knowledge [notice that wording. This knowledge is not the product of the Best Minds of the Ages], and that provide for recruitment and induction of all employees and students into the values and vision.”

Oh, comrades, Employees AND students. No wonder tenure is finally being reformed with the NEA’s blessing. It’s to be part of getting us to a single Purple America instead of Blue States and Red States. Doesn’t that sound more like something that would come out of Moscow in the 30s in connection with Young Pioneers recruitment?

And how do you capture Hearts and Minds? Why you need “engagement-centered schools” where “student engagement is and remains the first focus.” That’s emotional engagement, remember? The whole premise of Second Order Change and Dewey’s Quality Learning. And that Level 4 Thinking on the Webb Depth of Knowledge Florida and Texas, those two gigantic states, both now use.

Willard Daggett, another one of those well-paid facilitators of first OBE and now the CCSSI and STAAR school implementations, has a new saying that “Relevance makes Rigor Possible.”  In other words, like John Dewey, these educators want to use student’s personal interests to get them emotionally engaged with developing possible solutions to the World’s Many Problems. To believe as Bela Banathy asserted in his Nine Dimensions for Human and Social Development that we are all just part of larger social systems that can be redesigned if only you embrace the proper vision.

So instead of using K-12 schooling and then colleges and universities or vocational training to counteract some of the visual input and artificial stimulation and hybrid text messaging that is so dominant now outside of schools, the vision coming at us all over the country is to make school activities and experiences mirror this digital reality. The digital reality that actually weakens mental functioning.  And of course we conveniently have Systems Dynamics computer modelling available so that classes can reenvision what will happen to various sub-systems if only you shift a variable here and an assumption there. Utopia via software Transformation.

There is a dangerous assumption permeating all these documents on ed reform and digital literacy and even the values accreditors want fostered in K-12, colleges, and now even grad schools like law and medicine. That employers and private sector businesses and our economy and professions will all need to change fundamentally to reflect the types of Minds and Values and Beliefs and Feelings the educational institutions intend to produce. (And as a former client I would not pay for lawyers who prefer to do Group Work.) Plus we have been at this long enough to recognize that was the whole point of attacking the Noetic system in the first place through education.

Education is a means of both getting at future voters and targeting the ultimate control and direction of markets and the economy and production and consumption. Processes that work best as individual decisions. Schools were the undefended, already socialized, part of the US and all Western economies. They give easy access to Hearts and Minds and in they come. On our Dime. Lying to our faces if we are prescient enough to discern this is not about how to best teach desired academic content to students.

Everything I have written on this blog to date lays out various ways and means and goals to use education to Transform, in the most radical sense of the word, the US and the rest of the West. Starting at the level of the human mind and motivating Values and Beliefs and Feelings and coming outward. ALL of it. Community, Environment, Economy. All redesigned and subject to the guidance of a cadre of Leaders who are quite sure that this time they will not be among those devoured in pursuit of a Communitarian-first Ideal. Because Leaders who would push such schemes on an unsuspecting, trusting public, will be so much better at creating and guiding the future than independent individuals who get to keep the upside and live with the downside of their personal decisions. Because governments and their coercive powers NEVER get captured by selfish people.

I am going to close with the vision of the values and capabilities to be fostered with digital devices in pursuit of democracy with a small d. Which sure does function like a 21st Century version of Communism with a small “c” unless, I suppose, you work for one of the Connected Businesses or the Government itself.

“Its goal is to provide all students with equitable opportunities to learn, participate in society, and further social change.”

To be a Cog in the redesigned sub-systems. To accept your assigned role. To glory in the dictated Values and Beliefs.

To be a modern day Serf to a 21st Century Nomenklatura. That’s the real vision behind these ed reforms. Everywhere. Not just Texas. They were just arrogant enough to write it up.

Thanks for that by the way.

 

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. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/how-social-and-emotional-learning-as-the-primary-focus-is-coming-in-all-the-windows/ 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 http://billayers.wordpress.com/biographyhistory/ . 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. http://esrnational.org/ 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. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/real-change-will-require-new-values-and-new-ways-of-thinking-or-social-engineering-is-hard/ 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.http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/keep-urban-schools-weak-to-force-economic-and-social-justice-then-make-the-suburbs-close-the-gap/ )

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 Marxists.org 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?

 

Are Educators Free to Plot Mental Insurrections in Students with Impunity?

Does being an educator–Teacher, Principal, Super, Professor–come with a magic “Get Out of Jail Free” card along with the degree? Especially those doctorates. Can educators push emotional and psychological practices in the classroom or Systems Thinking or Values Clarification or Soft Skills or Character Education or Inquiry Learning or the Student Centered Classroom or a myriad other terms that the Creators acknowledge are means to alter a Student’s Consciousness? To try to get to the Blind Spot that impels behaviors in an effort to obtain Communitarian Social Change?

A mentality that ceases to think of itself as a legitimate individual and finds its Sense of Self in doing for others. Where that altruism is not a free choice but was carefully cultivated in the classroom when the mind and personality remained malleable. If I can locate the originators of the theory or policy or practice saying what its real purpose is, and that purpose seeks to use the school to obtain social and political and economic transformation, does an education degree or title make it a permissable practice anyway? Are we Americans or Canadians or Brits or Australians or anyone else under political attack via education really without recourse?

John Dewey first developed the term “Social Reconstruction” to define the use of the school and classroom to change the student from the inside-out. It needs a mind that is not dominated by the abstract or the logical and is not full of facts that allow its own analysis. For Dewey the rational needed to be heavily infused with emotion so the mind would not be constrained from imagining the world as it might be. He recognized that a fact-filled brain will want to see possibilities from preexisting alternatives. John Dewey wanted a world as it had never been. His modern-day acolytes want that now. For all of them freedom gets redefined not as a matter of individual liberty and personal choices. No to be free in Dewey world:

“we need to imagine the possible beyond the actual, and to be moral we must distinguish those possibilities that ought to be (i.e., that are truly desirable) from those that are not.”

Most of the classroom practices track back to Dewey or someone who models their aspirations around Dewey. He is not the point of the post so let’s shorthand the essence of his vision by saying that the real website Marxists.org has numerous postings about Dewey. His biographers and his friend Sidney Hook and the Bolsheviks themselves all believed he took Karl Marx’s unfinished vision for using education as a cultural tool and made it into an effective weapon. We should take them then at their word and discuss whether it has any place in a country with aspirations of continued freedom for the individual. Otherwise the Colleges of Education and accreditation bodies and UNESCO etc have a license for insurrection. To simply use Dewey’s theories and practices but give them appealing names like Excellence or Quality Learning. Insurrection with Impunity at are Expense. Pension and Generous Health Benefits too.

In his Pedagogic Creed John Dewey said:

“Education is a regulation of the process of coming to share in the social consciousness; and that the adjustment of individual activity on the basis of this social consciousness is the only sure method of social reconstruction.”

That attack on individual consciousness these days comes in through an IB Learner Profile or a Positive School Climate/PBIS  requirement or the 3 R’s. It comes in through the letter home to parents describing an Honors Lit class that mentions interpreting books through personal experiences and cultural backgrounds and written reflections. That class may say lit and they may still “read” books but the focus of the class has shifted to the students. Who They Are, Where They Come From, What They Value, and What Needs to Be Changed to Have Growth. You the parent will simply assume the Growth is academic and relates to knowledge. That’s a social interaction classroom and you will likely only know it if your child already has an Axemaker Mind and feels bored and manipulated.

Remember the post when I told you the US Government had announced its intention to use education and the social sciences to shape mindsets for Sustainability and anti-fossil fuels regardless of the actual temperatures or whether there is fraud involved in the so-called science? http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/if-reality-is-ignored-or-disregarded-when-do-we-become-a-state-against-its-people/ This week the head of Australia’s Green Party, Christine Milne, who is a vital part of that country’s governing coalition, displayed her anger over anyone still disputing Manmade Global Warming even though, as I hope you are aware, there is a lot to dispute and the 4th IPCC Report has been shown to be full of unfounded assertions or propaganda.  Here’s her response with my bolding:

“Denialism has much more to do about values and world view than it has to do with actually understanding the science. So we should have been using the social sciences a lot sooner than we have been to work out ways to talking to people’s values systems rather than to their intellectual capacity.”

Young people with still malleable minds who have been entrusted to educators in the belief that school is about the transmission of knowledge and marketable skills. Not a means for fostering an insurrection with captive minds as a permanently available vehicle widely distributed among future voters.

Speaking of worldview, what worldview is it to assert that a belief that people have intrinsic abilities and talents is Social Darwinism that must be combated and rejected as a basis for education? What worldview argues that math and science are merely social constructs and gloats that the Common Core implementation will finally allow educators to target those teachers still trying to teach it as a body of knowledge and procedures? What sort of country will we be if genuine math and science can no longer be taught to any student because it is not accessible to all students? Instead all students get applications and open-ended problem-solving and human activities like projects that are a means of interaction.  What kind of worldview equates oil drilling and coal mining as unacceptable forms of oppression and domination of Gaia’s resources and then equates the mindset that would do that to owning slaves?

Different educators seem to have different grievances that make them susceptible to these schemes of Social Reconstruction via education. Some may be Inadvertent Insurrectionists genuinely unaware of the background of what they are pushing. Others, quite frankly are simply not very bright, and love any theory of learning that makes them feel better about how the students with Axemakers Minds made them feel. No more Axemakers Minds though is economic suicide but how would the Less Talented with a Career on the Public Payroll at Taxpayer Expense know that crucial fact?

To close this very legitimate inquiry on “What are we going to do?”, I can tell some of what is going on in professional development for teachers in preparation to implement the Common Core  by searches that end up on my blog doorstep. One of the searches that I have been getting daily for more than a week now is “education misrepresent reality: Discuss.” Clearly trying to convince teachers to move away from the transmission of knowledge. So I did a little Reverse Engineering searching myself and found a 1979 book deliberately seeking Dewey’s vision of using education to alter consciousness to eventually obtain social and political change. Stealthily.

I also though found Paulo Freire and his theory that the transmission of knowledge, what he calls Banking Education, is an “instrument of social control” because it “controls by manipulating the content of the imagination.” Instead he wants a “problem-posing education.” The lecture-based curriculum, says Freire, “is compatible with the aim of promoting the oppressive cultural forces of the dominant authority in society and with the disempowerment of students.”

When educators believe all this nonsense and it guides their policies and practices, why can’t the Hispanics and Blacks and Rich and Poor and Male and Female and Gay and whatever other groups that are being played as Victims or Targets but who know better simply say no? Could there be anything in the US or any country right now that is more unifying than a rejection of the Dewey vision of education as Social Reconstruction? The vision that disparages facts and fluent reading and sequential math because they all foster individuality and are barriers to political manipulation.

Don’t we have a winning, very diverse, coalition here that Just Says No to Social Reconstruction and using education to try to alter perceptions of reality? Some things are simply too important not to be willing to be confrontational over. Respectfully of course. At least at first.

 

Further Confirmation of the Planned Dominance of Social and Emotional Learning

In honor of the upcoming holiday, I am going to pause the march toward the real meaning of “college ready” as the other primary goal of the Common Core national education reforms. There have been so many out of the blue explicit confirmations of earlier posts and points in just the last week. In some cases things that the author probably would not have said so clearly if they were aware of what I have already written about the real implementation. And the true goals once you strip away the phrases that sound good but actually mean something else. So I am going to post shorter and more often to illustrate and reenforce some of the points we have already talked about.

Talking about reality so we can hopefully avoid the full force of these bad ideas seems to me to be a lovely way to celebrate a National Independence Day. It’s also an effective way I hope to keep us independent as individuals. So we can create our own communities based on our own beliefs and priorities. Here goes:

Ground Zero for the initiative to push social and emotional learning in the schools is a Chicago-based center called CASEL, the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning.  http://casel.org/ Now for years CASEL lobbied both state legislatures and Congress to enact legislation to mandate SEL for the schools. Apart from Illinois, it went nowhere because parents and taxpayers were uncomfortable with such intrusions. Also many parents still remembered the story of a tragic suicide in Pennsylvania more than 20 years ago after emotionally manipulative curricula were piloted in the schools there.

So we get the name changes to soft skills and life skills and federal bullying initiatives and School Climate Indexes and Growth as the measure of student achievement and whatever else it takes to get these SEL programs into the schools and classrooms. None of that changes the fact that if you watch the videos at CASEL, they are up front that these SEL behavioral interventions they are pushing are designed to physically alter the biological structure of the brain. CASEL sees education as holistic and aspires to literally shape the child’s brain to produce alterations that lay the foundation for all future learning, emotional regulation, and social function. To leave no doubt the CASEL speaker goes on to state that “qualities such as patience, calmness, cooperation, and kindness are all best regarded as skills that can be trained.”

So yes CASEL is on my radar. There’s nothing like hearing a speaker say that the PreFrontal Cortex of a student’s brain “plays a critical role in the integration of thought and emotion and the regulation of emotion.” Gulp. Gulp. Inhale Deeply. This is just starting up so there is still time in most districts and states. The speaker also mentioned that “adolescence is when the prefrontal cortex develops to the greatest extent.” Which is why I suppose the Middle School Principals are being taught that feeling is more important than knowing.  See   http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/how-social-and-emotional-learning-as-the-primary-focus-is-coming-in-all-the-windows/

Which is why the recent newspaper clipping explaining that the Atlanta-based Educational Advisory Group had held an Anti-Bullying Conference for Buckhead area teachers caught my eye. The speaker, Erin Mason of DePaul University, “focused not only on bullying itself, but also on what behaviors teachers and counselors should be promoting instead.” It then goes on to quote CASEL’s website directly to state that “social and emotional learning is a process for helping children and even adults develop the fundamental skills for life effectiveness.”

Oh good. That certainly is a new, unappreciated definition of student achievement. It explains the administrative excitement over a new definition of student success. I don’t think the parents or taxpayers would be so pleased if they really appreciated what is to be going on at school under the new Common Core. Sounds also like the parents are targets too. Might want to be careful about signing up for parent training luncheons. Unless you want to go and take notes for me.

Who Is Really Standing in the School House Doorway?

My previous post on why the Transcontinental Railroad made a fact free lousy comparison to try to support the so-called Common Core national standards should be sufficient to alert the need to Send Better Metaphors and Get the relevant Facts Straight. But today’s justifying combo of insulting the critic and then throwing in one of the most tragic episodes in American history should really tell us something else beyond consistent high levels of content in every state is really going on here. Last week the Center for American Progress published this story with a rather incendiary title “Critical Education Standards Opposed by Conservative Group: Opposing the ‘Common Core’ Steals an Ugly Page from Our History”. Here’s a link if you want to confirm how well my summaries and quotes are to this smear campaign : http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2012/05/alec_common_core.html .

Now before I go any further in this tale of scorn I want to point out I had never heard of the group being attacked ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, until recently. No one is so much as buying me a cup of coffee, or my favorite tea, for writing this post. In our tale though of the Common Core Deception, such an angry, inaccurate appeal to emotion merits a scrutiny of the actual facts. I grew up in the South.  Legal segregation came before my childhood and always seemed silly to me as a naive child. In fact I loved the story of the college professor’s wife who had seen the signs stating “Colored” and “Whites” in the town’s laundromat upon moving to North Carolina in the 1950s. As the story goes, she separated her prints and colored clothes out and used both washers. That’s the kind of spunk I admired as a child. Let’s be very careful then of throwing out the accusation that someone’s opposition to Common Core is like George Wallace blocking the entrance to University of Alabama buildings to black students trying to attend there. That was Evil with a capital “E”. Opposing Common Core in ALEC’s case seems to come from a belief it is inconsistent with the US federal system. In my case, opposition comes from my ability to read the English language and appreciate the consequences of the words chosen. Neither is personal or ideological. Discussion should be rational and fact-filled, not emotional.

The phrase “what most clear-thinking folks see as a key to America’s future success in a highly competitive economy” is a clear tip-off as to what we are dealing with. Are you not clear-thinking? In case you haven’t yet noticed I am logical to a fault so that dig merely provoked an “Oh. Good. Grief.” After all my postings on how the facts surrounding Common Core’s desired implementation do not fit with the “innovation” rationale, you can see insult coupled with inapt slogan just did not work for me. I will leave ALEC to defend itself against the “hyperaggressive and hyperregressive” charge. They are in the best position to know what they do and do not promote. And what it stands for. What I do not appreciate is the repeated references to “meaningful school reform” and especially the repeated references to blocking “high-quality education” for all America’s public school students. And “low- income students in particular”.

It is my position that the schoolhouse door is being blocked by the effort to use terms that have an unadvertised special meaning, like “high-quality education”, without announcing those unappreciated use of the terms. I am going to talk about “quality” in general this week. For now it is a more holistic approach than the historic transmission of knowledge. It wants to get at values, beliefs, attitudes, and feelings. Sound familiar? Likewise there is an organized attempt to make noncognitive skills the primary focus of the Common Core classroom implementation. Is anyone being forthright about that decisive change in emphasis? Even when it is mentioned the gentler sounding new name-”soft skills” is substituted. Insider teaching professional groups have complained about the “fetish about print and reading each word precisely” among themselves at conventions. They have enacted and mandated reading practices accordingly. When the inevitable student reading problems develop because accurate, phonetic reading was expressly Not The Point, the response is insufficient funding for literacy coaches. Oh, and the need for school-based clinics to eliminate the likely cause of the reading difficulty-insufficient access to healthcare.

I mentioned in a previous post that ed insiders refer to Common Core as “second-order change” among themselves. What exactly does that mean? According to a Fall 2007 newsletter from one of the ed labs, McREL near Denver, second-order change is policy change that is (those are my responses in parentheses):

–A break with the past (history is boring anyway. Not like there are any relevant lessons to be learned from it)

–Outside of existing paradigms (in other words, an entirely untried and theoretical way of doing things. Just what we want to pilot at the cost of billions on a national basis)

Conflicted with prevailing values and norms (because who in our society is better equipped to decide on new values and norms instead of the tried and true ones that generated unprecedented levels of mass prosperity than someone with a series of education degrees. The entire course of study is often tragically free of accurate, provable facts these days. There is thus simply nothing in the way of a decisive political theory hoping for a better result this time)

–Requiring new knowledge and skills (that certainly explains all those new expenses for professional development. Plus the insistence that only the properly certified may teach)

You can now see why throwing out an inflammatory accusation about George Wallace was preferable to scrutinizing the real facts about Common Core opposition.