Spearheading Human Evolution towards a New Vision of the Future Via Instilled Core Values and Ideas

I really think life would be better for all of us if aspiring philosophers and current ed professors and everyone else planning on creating a new society and a different kind of human behavior used a word processing system that came with a Hubris warning. Beeping to alert that kind of presumption and conceit has always brought grief in the past. Maybe a squeaky voice could pipe up with a “Would you like to reconsider?” The overt goals laid out in the last several posts sent me back to rereading Bela Banathy’s Systems Design of Education: A Journey to Create the Future as well as what Donella and friends wrote in 1992: Beyond the Limits: Confronting Global Collapse, Envisioning a Sustainable Future. I wanted to see how closely these visions from the 90s aligned with what we saw being sought in those World System Models in the 70s and those recent Great Transition documents.

Sure enough there is Bela talking about the need to “attain global consciousness and forge a global system of the human community.” Insisting that education has a new role of “spearheading societal evolution by design” and making me wonder if he ever took a history course.  See what I mean about a hubris key coming in handy? I also discovered that soon after publishing that book Groping in the Dark in 1982, Donella and Dennis Meadows formed the Balaton Group named for the lovely lake in Hungary where meetings on Sustainability could be held that would allow members from the Soviet bloc to easily attend. http://www.donellameadows.org/from-sustainability-science-to-real-world-action-a-short-history-of-the-balaton-group/ Those of you about my age may remember those Alka-Seltzer commercials that went Plop. Plop. Fizz. Fizz. Oh What a Relief This Is. Easy access of schemers from East and West throughout the 80s to make plans for all of us under the banner of Sustainability. This just keeps getting better and better, doesn’t it?

I wonder if Bela was ever invited? He was after all not just a Senior Research Director at the federally-funded  Far West Ed Lab, he was also Chair of the Board of Trustees of the International Society of the Systems Sciences.  I wrote about his deeply troubling vision here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/who-granted-permission-to-spearhead-societal-evolution-to-a-global-cooperative-consciousness/ . Banathy’s sought global consciousness is certainly consistent with what Beyond the Limits was pushing hard in 1992:

“So what if the world’s people decide to moderate not only their demand for children, but also their economic demands? What if they set themselves a goal of a simple but adequate material standard of living and, when they reach that goal, they turn their attention to other nonmaterial, nonconsuming pursuits? [Doesn't that sound just like Quality of Life from the Bariloche model in the last post?] This, too, is a hypothetical information change, a change not in the physical world, but in people’s heads (an enormous one, we realize). It means that people define their purposes, establish their status, challenge themselves with goals other than ever-increasing production and ever-accumulating material wealth.”

So for people who insist there are no universal Truths we have close to unanimous agreement that the key to getting to a political, social, and economic transformation for the 21st century lies in getting inside people’s heads and hearts and really into the essence of their souls. What drives them from a deep unconscious level? So now we know why we started hearing about the need for transformative education in the 90s. After all, Beyond the Limits goes on to quote visionary Lewis Mumford about the “re-establishment of the person as the ultimate term of all human effort. Cultivation, humanization, co-operation, symbiosis: these are the watchwords of the new world-enveloping culture. Every department of life will record the change: it will affect the task of education and the procedures of science no less than the organization of industrial enterprises, the planning of cities, the development of regions, the interchange of world resources.”

Fascinating, huh, that Mumford’s description of what was sought from 1944 could still be cited as current in 1992 and still sounds like the vision of the Great Transition and these city planning summits in 2013. The vision never really seems to change nor the vehicles. Only the descriptive language when the necessity for such transformation is pitched to the people. Like me and you and our children. Which is also why I can go back to economists writing in the 60s and 70s to find what’s wrong with these visions of justice and equality and central planning. One, Henry Hazlitt, in his 1964 The Foundations of Morality, even goes back to the Victorian Age for this jingle:

What is a Communist?

A man who has yearnings,

For equal division

Of unequal earnings.

To make his point that “a system under which the talented and the skilled and industrious received no more than the incompetent and shiftless and lazy, and which equalized material rewards irrespective of effort, would certainly be unproductive; and to most of us, I think, it would also be unjust.” Hazlitt nailed precisely what concerns me so. We are risking “splendidly realized destitution” precisely because the planners and professors take continued production at the same overall global levels for granted. And by drastically affecting both knowledge and incentives all of these transformational plans and models create a great likelihood, that foreseeably to us if not to these decision-makers, the output or product to be divided is likely to be substantially diminished. Maybe they have learned. Is that why we are supposed to learn to make do with the quality of our relationships with each other? Just the price of oligarchical power?

That leads us straight to the points of the other economist we are going to consult–PT Bauer from his 1981 Equality, the Third World, and Economic Delusion.  Bauer reminds us that the term ‘differences’ is a more appropriate descriptive term in most instances than ‘inequality’ and he mentions the “accepted practice of referring to people’s physical characteristics, such as height, weight and strength, as differences rather than inequalities, and never as inequities.” Financial differences among people and countries “result from people’s widely differing aptitudes and motivations”, and to some extent luck. Bauer astutely looks at Africa and development policies in the third world generally and declares that “once the moral and political case for egalitarian policies is taken for granted, the movement for egalitarianism feeds on itself.” Something to remember as formulating social justice values becomes the Raison D’etre of both K-12 and higher ed.

When people begin to take for granted that people’s economic positions “are properly the concern of official policy,” a feeding frenzy develops for sterner and more drastic measures. Especially if results are not what was expected because diminished knowledge and poor incentives are decreasing the size of that ‘pie’ now being deliberately carved up. Hard to read any of the documents we have been examining in recent posts and not see that is precisely what is coming. Political power can adjust inequalities but it does so first by treating all of us as if we were subjects and then restricting the choices that will be open to us in the future. We can be Competent and that’s enough. To try to gain equality and justice we are turbocharging political power over us and our society and our economy in a way that “implies a relationship of command between rulers and subjects.”

Which means equality and justice can be the slogan justifying what is being done but only genuinely entrenched inequality between the ruled and the rulers can result.

Sustainability in action may seem more blissful than my references to Uncle Karl and that little c theory but the beggaring and self-perpetration of a malevolent process are likely to be the same in the end.

Who knew studying the Middle Ages and serfdom and feudalism would prove to be so relevant to combating the fallacies in 21st century political schemes and toxic social visions?

Foisted on us in the name of education.

Forging New Categories of Consciousness Globally to Make Political Power the Key Determinant of 21st Century Life

If you are like me when I initially encountered the true story behind education reform, you wish political change was not a crucial aspect to the story. Let’s face it, it’s quite off-putting and can seem to be quite kooky at first. It’s an unbelievable story except it’s a factually provable one even if it’s hard to believe. So like it or not I had to go there in my new book. And I have to go there now on the blog to give additional information about what is coming at us from our politicians and agencies but also from international groups like UNESCO and the OECD that can bind us without being on our radar.

When I raise the concept of the little c theory of future human development from a certain notorious historical figure I mischievously refer to as Uncle Karl, or I simply keep reiterating the political purpose behind all these education reforms and the OECD’s PISA or the UN’s sustainability pushes and climate hyping, it is natural to want me to stop it. Keep it simple. Only tell the story from the angle someone is prepared to hear it from. That is really difficult to do though if we are to have any chance for avoiding this fiasco. Tracking all this over decades really does lead us to statements like “restructuring social, economic, and political systems was much more effective” in order to “bring about a desirable future.” So said one of the Club of Rome’s favorite world system modellers, Donella Meadows, in her 1982 book Groping in the Dark: The First Decade of Global Modelling.

Donella conceded something that is crucial for understanding what the UN is really up to with its IPCC Climate reports since plenty of observers have noticed there seems to be little effort to reflect reality. That’s not the purpose of these models. Their purpose is to model social systems. There was a great deal of frustration at the 1978 6th Annual Meeting of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) that the book came from that the world’s environment and its social, behavioral, and political systems were so hard to model. Who else thinks that between the education reforms that began in earnest in the 80s and the Sustainability push that commenced via Our Common Future in 1987, the policy makers hit upon strategies to try to make people conform better to the desired model of the future? And a single world system that everyone in 1978 seemed to assume was coming into being over the next several decades.

Who knew? Now we know why I found what I describe in the book or the World Order Models Project I previously described on this blog that began in 1973. Did you know Moscow had an “All-Union Institute for Systems Studies” or that it participated in IIASA’s work? No wonder the emphasis of all this is towards collective planning and decision-making and “managing human affairs during the transition.” The kind of transition I laid out in the last post was being assumed by East and West in the 70s. At least if tied to the UN or OECD or the Club of Rome and now it is hurtling at us. Before I shift back to the current vision, let me quote Donella since I believe it explains why we cannot ignore the little c pursuit:

“There is no known physical or technical reason why basic needs cannot be supplied for all the world’s people into the foreseeable future. These needs are not being met now because of social and political structures, values, norms, and world views, not because of absolute physical scarcities.”

That’s the dangerous wealth as a fixed sum view of the world. And it guides international entities, systems thinkers, national and local politicians, and too many public employees. They see the environment as the justifying issue and education as the favored method for changing all those things Donella just listed to make such redistribution towards the poor in the North and South generally the point of public policy globally in the 21st century. Because those are goals that require the dominance of political power in all decision-making and the ability to bind the individual. There was actually a particular world model that was created in South America and financed by the Canadians that fits with the scenario laid out as the Great Transition. It was called the Bariloche model and was all about “fundamentally” changing global “values and institutions” and “sketching a way of arriving at the final goals of a world liberated from backwardness and misery.”

The Bariloche model from 1976 envisioned a world “in which human needs and human rights, rather than the desires to consume and to accumulate wealth, would become the basis for resource allocation.” And of course create the need for both a dominant public sector globally and docile masses capable of doing little more than Groping in the Dark. Except now with spiffier names like Competency and 21st Century Skills and Capability as a Human Right. Always essential to this vision though is a new way of thinking grounded in emotion that will see the world and its inevitable problems in ways that are beneficial to those who currently hold political power or would like to. Think of it as Mindsets suitable for an Oligarchy in power pretending it is really all about human needs, Gaia, and Successful Learning for All Kids.

Let’s come forward in time to the culminating 2006 document outlining the Great Transition. Called “World Lines: Pathways, Pivots and the Global Future” it gives further insights into all the social and emotional learning and Whole Child pushes as a means of “cultural innovation and social adaptation” that call for “emergent social forms [that] were also realms of the heart that broadened the affective sphere of community and reciprocity.” And such realms are necessary now you ask? Well, yes, we are supposedly in a “pivotal” historical moment to achieve a “peaceful, just, and sustainable world.” Don’t you just want to start a list of all the troubling regions of the world that haven’t gotten the memo about the Great Transition we have embarked on?

Do you think everyone will start behaving well if we just give them more of the world’s physical resources and learn to live with less ourselves? Lots less. How about if we use education to create in each student a “sense of planetary affiliation, kinship, and citizenship”?  Is that the ticket to social justice or just more power and resources to an increasingly parasitic public sector that gets to pursue its self-interest at everyone else’s expense while acting as the administrators of the Great Transition society? Making education policy globally and the 21st century visions of governments at all levels about adjusting to “a global future based on human solidarity, human fulfillment, and ecological sustainability–a vision we refer to as a Great Transition” will be a not-so-great transition to devastation of everything that has ever worked. Transitioning based on incentives that have never worked for the benefit of anyone not connected to political power.

Trying to use education reforms like the poorly understood actual intentions of the US Common Core or Quality Learning and Global Competency and 21st Century Skills everywhere as an effort to create “thought and action [that] must rise to the level of this emergent totality, as well as its separate manifestations” is utter madness. Especially when the supposed emergent reality is a factually false statement like:

“History has entered the planetary phase of civilization in which humanity and the biosphere are entwined in a common fate.” Repeat after me, none of us deserve to be classified as comparable to inanimate objects or as just another animal. Well, maybe  certain notorious fraternities on certain college campuses. Here’s more of the attempt to diminish every single one of us as an individual and to try to make us mere parts of a greater whole with no fundamental right to our own decisions.

“rather than independent, these phenomena are separate expressions of a larger process, the formation of a unitary global system.”

Now if you thought the communitarian aspects of all these sought social reforms were intrusive, who exactly will any of us be in a “unitary global system” apart from a source of tax revenue and needed labor in a world where all of the incentives have been perverted to chase after a possible future?

I did not lay out all this info to scare anyone so much as to force us to see the vision that people with considerable power and access to the coffers of public money really are pushing on us. Now.

The actual common core to be cultivated in everyone is a “new suite of values-human solidarity, quality-of-life, and respect for nature” that will be the foundation for a public sector administered “egalitarian social contract, poverty eradication, and democratic political engagement at all levels.” Right. Plus unicorn rides every Wednesday.

We apparently really are at a historical moment.

Will the independent individual really cease to have political legitimacy in the 21st Century?

Adjusting Our Conception of Who We Are to Fit the New Global Context of Being Systems to Be Managed

Do you ever read one of my posts and think “surely she’s exaggerating. That cannot be the actual intention. This is America and we are a free society.” Well, maybe less after this past week of barricades blocking open-air monuments keeping veterans from honoring those they served with. Or the elderly tourists being herded and guarded at the Old Faithful Inn lest they actually see and take a picture of an active geyser. Or those orange cones trying to block anyone gaining a view of Mt Rushmore. Plus the mentality that would add to the pain of already grieving families while they are still in shock by essentially telling them politicians and executive appointees did not value the ultimate sacrifice in the least. We have indeed crossed the Rubicon because of the importance of using the federal spending, taxing, and regulatory powers to enforce a different sort of country and society. Without we consent or not.

We think this past week is all a bridge too far when the reality is the transformation is just heating up. Let’s take a hard look then on where we are being led and why and what makes education such a vital weapon for intentional, nonconsensual cultural change. If you are a new reader, I usually refer to Karl Marx as Uncle Karl when I have to go back and pull up his theories and philosophies. Because people are writing that their current plans trace back to him. Still. In 2013. And simply saying that “Karl Marx said” makes me sound a bit hyper instead of ably tracking real declarations and then telling the story with a bit of humor. So if the MIT Press in 2012 decided to publish Ethical Adaptation to Climate Change: Human Virtues of the Future with regular mentions of that notorious Uncle as if he were a respectable theorist with good, untried ideas for us all, we get to take a hard look at what is in store for us.

I see that the Aspen Institute and Bloomberg Philanthropies sponsored CityLab this week in NYC http://www.icic.org/connection/blog-entry/blog-cities-as-the-engines-of-economic-prosperity building on this idea that the Inner Cities are to be new totally managed systems that all federal policies revolve around benefiting. This confab, like the (co)lab summit 2 weeks ago in Atlanta, TED City 2.0, the Brookings Metropolitanism push, and the new Promise Zones initiative announced in August with 11 federal agencies coordinating “prenatal to career nurturing of pathways” are all the second term pushing of what I first described here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/well-no-wonder-no-one-listens-to-common-core-complaints-if-it-is-tied-to-federal-revenue-sharing/ .

Since that book was kind enough to lay out the ties of all this to Uncle Karl, let’s see precisely what is intended for all of us. Like it or not. Pretending this is the fulfillment of MLK’s “beloved community” vision and therefore a dream that is entitled to be seen as a human right. Wouldn’t all these machinations make so much more sense if you believed or wanted to use a philosophy that argued that people will remain ‘alienated’ as long as they act as private individuals? Moreover, and highly useful to the current political class and the beneficiaries of their largesse with our taxpayer money, you insisted (my bolding):

“Overcoming this alienation would take the form of a recognition and reappropriation of these processes as social, which to Marx means putting them under the control of democratically organized planning processes.”

We might not be familiar with that intention since it is contrary to how the US Constitution works but I am pretty sure it is common knowledge in Community Organizing 101 seminars. Also common Marxian knowledge would be that the current world need not be accepted as it is but treated as something that humans produced so it can be redesigned through action and will. In fact, we just need to teach children from an early age that “to be human is to transform the world” and that “our economic and social institutions, our sprawling suburbs, our rapidly warming atmosphere” are all supposedly “something that results from human practices, and is not a ‘fact of nature.”

What is going on now in education, and what our 3 theorists from the last post wanted, and all these redesign the world through concentrating on the cities advocates desire, all make much more sense if you realize lots of people believe that the “problem with capitalism and the market economy” is the “private character of decisions.” Immediately telling me the writer has no clue as to what is involved in becoming successful in the non-cronyistic economy where you can only do well if you give people something they volunteer to buy. The point is the public-sector centric theorists have a desire for a future where the public sector can force people “to decide together what they are going to do” so that they will “act in concert to produce the result they all desire.” And you are thinking why would everyone desire the same thing?

Well, that’s to be the beauty of the Common Core in the US and Quality Learning all over the globe. To get people to have the same beliefs and mental models of reality and cultivate feelings to prompt collective action and new values. What we are dealing with is too many politicians and bureaucrats and university professors who believe that in the 21st Century the “social consequences of our actions [are] themselves [to] be the object of a social, and public, decision and not just the result of a series of private decisions…This cannot happen in the market itself, but rather is a matter of politics. In politics, and more precisely in democratic politics, the community makes a decision to act as a community and no longer as an aggregate of private individuals.”

Like it or not, that is the official mantra of the 21st Century vision all over the globe. Man-made climate change is being constantly touted whatever the reality because its solution requires a shift from individuals and markets making decisions to collective, majority binds all, decision-making. And education becomes about reenforcing a human responsibility to change and to engage in a ‘common politics’. Each person must now always consider “what actions would be discursively justifiable to others before acting.” Now that is clearly just a motto to gain power or we would never have seen the events of the past week, but it is the official view of citizenship in the future that our K-12 schools and higher ed are to actively cultivate. Mental transformations in individuals, new cultural models, and new institutions are absolutely precisely what this 2012 book lays out as the intention.

By cultural models, we are to have comparable perceptual conceptions (‘lenses’ and ‘metaphors’ are the two most common euphemisms) for how each of us is to perceive the world in the future and “our relationship to it.” And if you wonder why the name John Dewey just keeps being brought up as the visionary still for both the kind of education and society desired, this passage should relieve all questions:

“To serve as the basis of learning and action in political contexts, new cultural models must be closely associated with the development of new institutions, in particular institutions that function to manage the boundaries of the system to be managed. In their most basic sense, institutions are ‘the external (to the mind) mechanisms individuals create to structure and order the environment’. Through institutions, our ideas about how the world works and what is necessary to act within it, are articulated in language, instantiated into rules and structures, and to a greater or lesser extent empowered (or resisted) by the instruments of the state, business, or civil society. Institutions are essential to create a ‘public’, in John Dewey’s sense (1927): an organic society capable of experimenting, observing and learning in the face of threats and problems.”

Like it or not, this is the genesis of the vision of the future being pushed now all over the globe. It is the vision behind the ambiguous term ‘Sustainable Development’.

I may not be able to make this all go away by myself, being a mere individual and all. But what makes individual minds such a target in all these 21st century calculations is precisely the concern that someone will piece together the story in time. Before the mental and cultural changes are ‘irreversible’. And the new institutions become entrenched.

Now you know. Hope there is still time for the sleeping giant to awake to this danger we are in from our political class and their eager cronies.

 

Targeting How Students See the World So They Will Feel An Irresistible Compulsion For Change

As I have charted through the economic or political or ecological visions of the future that underlie all these ed reforms,  I keep mentioning the lack of knowledge. The insistence that being able to search for information with a search engine is enough. That it no longer needs to be either in a student’s brain or a conceptual remnant, developed by the student from facts that passed through of how the world worked. What had led to tragedies in the past. What character traits worked well. What acceleration towards a personal abyss always felt like and what tends to provoke it.

The fact that education at all levels, K-12 and higher ed, plans to largely take that away under accreditation mandates or visions of equity that require only curricula ALL can engage in (even if it’s as a member of the group with project or problem-based learning) is so counter-intuitive to each of our experiences of what works. And what will not. So I wanted to spend some time today quoting these no knowledge aspirations. I am really not kidding. Or exaggerating. Or going to great trouble to locate a juicy nugget to get you outraged to take action. Every once in a while only a nerdy, 10 dollar word will do and here comes one—omnipresent. This essential component of the vision of the future is everywhere in these sources. It goes back decades. And it is integral to the vision.

As my readers who read the Climate Skeptics sites like Jo Nova or Watts Up With That or Bishop Hill  all know, yesterday the remainder of the ClimateGate emails as well as the password were released,. As we await those revelations of additional coordination to prevent reality from intruding on lucrative grants and false models intended to guide public policy, let’s think about the determination to shut down unapproved knowledge itself. This post was already outlined when that wonderful news came out yesterday. But the facts in this post just became more important.

Because paradigm shifts away from anything other than experiential education are being sold as supposedly necessary to prevent ecological calamity. This quote is from a Pew financed book published in the US by two Australian professors ready to accept a global authoritarian government to force compliance with this Climate catastrophe vision of the future. The Climate Change Challenge and the Failure of Democracy, published in 2007, put it this way in describing universities in the future:

“The freedom to pursue knowledge as the individual sees fit is a mistake, for freedom must be considered in the context of the needs of society as a whole. . . The Real University will have an agenda, which includes priorities for those tasks to be pursued that are essential to the future well-being of humanity.”

And you can bet it will be Paul Ehrlich’s and UN or OECD bureaucrats, with their tax-free salaries, deciding what will be in humanity’s interests and what will constitute well-being. I will get to that in a minute. Once again reminding you that Agenda 21 is no legend. It’s the mandate for action repeatedly cited in everything from the definition of Global Citizenship to Education for Sustainability degree programs. In fact, here’s a cite to a 2008 publication in case I run out of room in this post  http://www.developmenteducationreview.com/print/issue6-focus3?page=show . You can read about how education for knowledge is akin to “colonization of the mind” and thus unacceptable or how Education for Sustainability needs a systems or relational approach to be taught in the schools and universities. That way students will be trained to always look for “contexts and connections in order to build up whole pictures of phenomena rather than breaking things into individual parts. It is a way of seeing which focuses on processes, patterns and dynamics…”

And it will likely create ways of seeing that are factually untrue but they will be politically powerful and likely to compel action to create change. Why? Because as Oberlin Professor David Orr describes it as Biophilia and the Next Generation Science Standards just call “hands-on science,” the new preferred method based on experience:

“links sensory knowledge with the emotions that make us love and sometimes fight.”

In fact, Orr wants students to redefine what is patriotic and unpatriotic in terms of the environment and also fair shares of natural resources. Patriotism “should in the future also come to mean the use made of land, forests, air, water, and wildlife. To abuse natural resources, to erode soils, to destroy natural diversity, to waste, to take more than one’s fair share, or to fail to replenish what has been used, must someday come to be regarded as unpatriotic. And ‘politics’ once again must come to mean, in Vaclav Havel’s words, ‘serving the community and serving those who will come after us.”

http://exacteditions.theecologist.org/read/resurgence/vol-29-no-3-may-june-1999-6536/85/3?dps= is a link to the full 1999 Orr essay on “Rethinking Education.” As you will see it is a paradigm shift and it looks just like the implementation we now have coming to classrooms near us soon. Or already there. All actually based on the disputable premise that “the skills, aptitudes, and attitudes that were necessary to industrialize the Earth are not the same as those that are needed now to heal the Earth, or to build durable economies and good communities.”

And if that durable economy sounds like a needs economy as Scharmer and Zuboff envision in that earlier post or Harry Boyte’s concept of community, they do seem to have read each other’s work even if they do not actually talk. Who knows? They all, including that Pew book above, keep talking about wisdom and usually italicizing it just like that. Before we talk about that “approved deep understanding that compels approved action, ” I want to mention a crucial point on all this Harry Boyte lays out in his Chapter on “Spreading Everyday Politics.” He recognizes that in the information age, “those who do the conceptual organizing are in a particularly powerful position.”

That’s true of Hollywood and the nightly news but it is especially true in an education world both trying to deemphasize factual knowledge AND come up with the filtering metaphors that students will come to see the world through without appreciating they are metaphors and not reality itself. We know Don Schon saw this and loved its possibilities for social change with just the right Generative Metaphors. We have seen it with Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory now being taught as fact to both teachers and students. Harvard Professor AN Whitehead even came up with a name for it–”the fallacy of misplaced concreteness.” Now instead of a warning, that fallacy is being deliberately cultivated as a key, politically useful component of desired 21st century thinking.

Wisdom in the vision ( I am using the Pew book again) being pushed for education in the future is all about “a desire and an active striving for values.” New ones. And just like Milton Rokeach figured out so long ago, it’s because values drive future behavior. This philosophy of wisdom treats the purpose of education as being to “help us develop wiser ways of living, institutions, customs and social relations-a wiser world.” But one not based on book learning from the past. One based on feelings and hopes and what David Orr (cited by name in the book) calls “slow knowledge.” It involves how to do practical things in the belief that book knowledge “may allow people to become greater and greater destroyers of ecological services.”

But which is more likely to lead to actual destruction in the 21st century? Jettisoning the accumulated knowledge of the past for political theories of what might work? Psychological theories of how human nature might change if education becomes more visual and group-oriented and grounded in social and emotional learning of new values daily in the classroom?

And virtually none of these underlying assumptions driving ed reforms globally are on anyone’s radar. Except mine and now yours.

I feel a bit like Mr FOIA of ClimateGate. This is too grave to be allowed to stand without at least trying to stop it by bringing it to your attention.

Done. Time for breakfast and the carpool line.

Imitating the USSR in Striving to Discover How the Child can Become What He Not Yet Is

Well of course that lurid title is based on an actual quote. And one that goes to the heart not only of the actual Common Core implementation but also the broader social, economic, and political transformations being sought. And it is from the 70s so this has been the driver of what has gone on in the decades ever since. All over the world but especially in the US as education and cultural and social transformation were always poorly understood components of the Cold War era struggles. It is time to do some fundamental explanations of those misunderstandings and woeful ignorance of where the battlegrounds really have been.

Now I have talked about American psychology prof Urie Bronfenbrenner numerous times because his Ecological Systems Theory has been so influential in what future teachers are now taught in ed schools all over the world. And the BEST metaphor of systems thinking is a key component of global ed reform. Except the fact that it is an interpretive theory and non-factual metaphor to influence future thought and action tends to get left out of both the teachers and the students’ classroom exposure to systems thinking. For them, especially when you add in lots of graphically visual computer modelling of the supposed “interdependencies” and possible impacts, this Systems Thinking metaphor quickly becomes reality. Which is of course the goal. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/so-now-common-core-rejects-individual-thinking-to-embrace-soviet-psychology-ecology/ is where I first address BEST and cite the US embrace of it and the sociocultural understanding of the mind last summer.

And that aspiration of false beliefs to influence future behavior calls to mind what Urie (that name is too long to keep typing. Anyone with aspirations of changing the future to a world that has never been should be on a first-name basis with us–his funders and victims) described as “perhaps the only proposition in social science that approaches the status of an immutable law–WI Thomas’s inexorable dictum: ‘If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences.’”

False beliefs and supplied manipulative mental concepts can be, and in fact are being designed to be, hugely influential on future behavior. Real in their consequences. And we may all think of education as being about the transmission of knowledge from the past, but the social scientists think education is all about changing future behaviors. Changing moral and spiritual values and feelings and all the components of the personality that will turn into the adult’s character. And the behavioral scientists, especially in the US at the premier ed schools, have controlled the agenda for decades.

The US, especially Columbia, Harvard, Chicago, and Stanford, is where the world came for their Graduate Training in the behavioral sciences. Before going back to Sweden or Germany or the Netherlands or Australia to then drive ed reforms there. Ed reforms that were always designed to go hand in hand with an inexorable drive towards a Government-Directed Welfare State. Here’s the order according to an influential Swede (who cites to Urie and Margaret Mead) speaking in 1980 who was heavily involved with UNESCO, OECD, and those poorly understood but influential international “assessments.”

“legislation and implementation of the Welfare State to a large extent has to precede commitments to educational change: first full employment and decent standards of living, and then education.”

And what does the last stage of ed reform that is an integral component of that Welfare State look like? Described in a book on Quality Education from the 60s based on everyone globally adopting the Swedish ed reforms, see if this vision does not sound familiar. Think of the “student-centered,” activity and task and project oriented, and social and emotional learning focus we have been chronicling as the real Common Core implementation.

“The fourth [stage], finally, is characterized by emphasis on meaning [as in a meaning-making approach to literacy?] and understanding [as in deep and grounded in emotion?], problem-solving [real world and thus authentic?] and pupil activity. Discipline is more relaxed and positive [introduce PATHS or PBIS as in Cleveland instead of expulsions]. More stress is put on the emotional life of the children.”

So when Urie developed BEST he was looking to, in his own words, restructure established institutions and their values and what he called their ideologies. To Urie capitalism and individualism were just as much an ideology as Communism. We apparently get no bonus points for success or mass prosperity or the absence of gulags. Even mass murders but maybe Urie just did not want to believe bad consequences of his preferred systems. And we are not talking about his personal political beliefs here. Beyond his influence over teacher ed and the Systems Thinking permeating the classroom and psychology in general, not a single day goes by that I do not get multiple searches looking into Bronfenbrenner or BEST. It is clearly dominant in the teacher professional training for Common Core and many teachers are alarmed at what they are hearing. And seeing.

Well these next revelations will be like throwing kerosene on a fire then. But unlike the false beliefs dominating the Common Core and the sought transformations in all the rest of our systems, including us since we are designated as socio-technical systems, this is all factual. Socio-technical may sound nerdy but it was in a federal Ecosystem rebuilt around Sustainability report from this summer that the major tech companies helped on. Thanks so much.

Apparently Urie was an exchange scientist at the Soviet Institute of Psychology in the mid-60s. He wrote that Soviet psychologist A N Leontiev personally pointed out to him the fact that American research on human development was limited to social and economic systems that presently exist or occurred in the past. He quotes Leontiev as saying:

“It seems to me that American researchers are constantly seeking to explain how the child came to be what he is; we in the USSR are striving to discover not how the child came to be what he is, but how he can become what he not yet is.”

So when I write about changing American education to the Soviet model or using Vygotsky’s research or sociocultural theory or the troubling implications of BEST or even Marx’s human development theory, I am not trying to be provocative. Well, maybe just a little to get attention as this is gravely important. This is education to try to gain a different type of mind and motivating personality. That’s not just my opinion. I am like a court reporter here with all these quotes that date back to mid-70s speeches before publication in the July 1977 issue of American Psychologist. Urie developed BEST to move educational research outside of the lab to try to no longer “perpetuate the status quo.” He wanted to see if what he called “evolving social systems” in the West were “susceptible to significant and novel transformation.”

And to give you some idea just how serious and all-encompassing Urie’s aspirations for BEST were he complained that:

“We are loath to experiment with new social forms as contexts for realizing human potential. ‘After all,’ we say, ‘you can’t change human nature.’ This precept underlies our national stance on social policy and much of our science in human development as well.”

Urie also described what the Soviets called the “transforming experiment.” According to him:

“By this term they mean an experiment that radically restructures the environment, producing a new configuration that activates previously unrealized behavioral potentials of the subject.”

But the Soviets had a problem. When they left the lab, the ‘transforming experiment’ “degenerates into dutiful demonstration of ideologically prescribed processes and outcomes.” Ahh, poor things. By the 60s and 70s the indoctrination had been too penetrating for too long and the Soviet Union has ceased to be a reliable place to employ a useful “transforming experiment.” Where to go? What to do? Go West young man was apparently the answer and that is what has happened.

It is hard not to see the ed lab pushes of the 80s and all the curriculum and instructional transformation centers on campuses as not being Leontiev-Urie transforming experiments on the unsuspecting West. Especially the US. Or the 90s Outcomes Based Education or Achieving Excellence push that swept the globe, especially anywhere with a tie to English-speaking people.

Or the actual Common Core implementation today. Transform every aspect fundamentally all at once. Include the economic system to gain a radically new form of capitalism as we discussed in the last post.

Urie complained that in the 60s USSR “systematic data yield to anecdotal accounts.” No worry. Now we have a national Data Quality Campaign and the Harvard Strategic Data Project and the longitudinal ability to track each student’s Growth.

Too bad Leontiev and Urie passed away before all their dreams came to fruition.

What will the “significant and novel transformations” be? All the way down the unconscious level of each student.

I guess we are now revisiting the always tragic issue of can you change human nature.

 

Will Your Schools Be Used as an Information Age Experiment for Economic Democracy?

That title comes out of a 2004 essay published in Columbia’s Teachers College Record laying out the desired “Pedagogical Praxis” to use computers and other ICT technology in the classroom to reinvigorate John Dewey’s 1915 idea of linking school with society. The idea is that we are living in a technological Postindustrial society that calls for different habits of mind and understandings than in the past.  And let there be no doubt, the author, an AI prof by the name of David W Shaffer, said explicitly that “the approach is psychological” and involves the social and moral development of students. Which really does sound like what the Canadians have acknowledged is the real common core being imposed on global education–new values, attitudes, and beliefs. Another prof we will get to today added changed “mores” to that list as well.

Apparently we all need changed beliefs for the 21st century as Goodwin Liu alluded to when he called for something like CCSSI-the Common Core State Standards Initiative.

http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/morphing-the-common-core-into-a-new-rewritten-us-constitution-by-mandating-false-beliefs/ Which is certainly convenient as yesterday a US federal government commission released a report called “For Each and Every Child” that talked about using CCSSI to get the US K-12 “system” to “distribute opportunity equitably” so there would cease to be “disparities in student outcomes.” http://www2.ed.gov/about/bdscomm/list/eec/equity-excellence-commission-report.pdf Now people are different and long-time readers know I have talked a good bit about what Excellence in education really means. See Mihaly Csiksentmihalyi in tags. No you do not have to pronounce his name. Everyone just calls the prof Csik as it is easier. All joking aside Csik’s view of Excellence aligns perfectly with Shaffer’s view of a psychological moral and social development focus in the classroom to change students from the inside out.

Now conveniently this highly intrusive report that reenvisions the Government-Citizen and federal/state/local roles in so many areas that the ground at Montpelier, Va may have shaken yesterday sees technology and its use in the classroom as the key to gaining Equity and Excellence. You probably should check which tech stocks were up yesterday as vendors rejoiced at such an access to taxpayer coffers. OK. Less sarcasm as we hear the call for “technology systems that support learning.” There will be absolutely no references to BF Skinner and his call for using computers to be Teaching Machines delivering Operant Conditioning to the students to benefit the politically connected’s vision for the future. Ooops. Sorry. I guess it was an unconscious response to seeing that word Learning in that federal report since we know it means changes in values, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. It’s almost like there is a theme going here.

Now many of the reports and books pushing ICT in the classroom as the primary emphasis cite back to a 1988 book by a Harvard business prof called In the Age of the Smart Machine: The Future of Work and Power. Such cited support is intended to pave the way for a no questions school ICT implementation mere mortals without a Cambridge pedigree may not question. Unfortunately the systems thinkers at MIT had already, through footnotes, pointed me in Zuboff’s direction. I had her book and knew it aspired to use the new ICT technology and its ability to “informate” as she calls it and not just automate to change the nature of employee-employer work relations. She wants it to move away from hierarchical, managerial relationships in the workplace to collaboration as a “learning community.” So to her ICT is the hoped for avenue to the Democratic Vision in the Workplace and Industrial Democracy and she cites her own work as well as openly socialist labor leaders like Robert Schrank among others.

Which is her privilege but that aspiration for a new society and a new economy rather goes along with her vision for the role of ICT. It goes with the visions of the Equity Commission too given the number of times that report mentioned “levelling the playing field.” It fits with Goodwin Liu’s vision for a social citizenship obligation he wants to see accepted in a new interpretation of the 14th Amendment. So once again the cite to Zuboff merely reenforces our developing sense that the ICT push is not about getting everyone ready for the 21st century. Maybe it’s to get enough people primed to envision a nonhierarchical workplace but that may also not function very well in practice. But how would the typical student know that?

Zuboff tells the stories of numerous plants and companies transitioning away from the world of physical activity to produce products to a computerized production. Now the workers watch a computer screen and many, over time, especially those without a background in the physical production processes, lose touch with the reality those screen images represent. She writes about the disorientation. When I read that passage I immediately reverse engineered the effect on students of the schools pushing virtual reality and gaming and so much use of a computer. Wouldn’t those students likewise come to believe that reality acted much like the simulations they were creating? That the world could be made to behave like the designed models and programs they had been immersed in? Some almost from birth given the ubiquity of screens among the toddler set in the grocery store now.

Isn’t the insistence on using devices and tablets and reflecting popular culture at school just going to prime these students further? Won’t many student have trouble separating real social systems that consist of independent individuals and millions of consumer transactions that are not programs and were never designed from the online models about Society and the Economy and the Ecosystem? Especially since the reformers now want students to spend so much of their school day in virtual worlds too?

That was my concern and then the next step in my pursuit of what is really going on led to a 2009 book–Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology: The Digital Revolution and Schooling in America. Now that book is being pushed by some of the biggest names in American education over the last 20 years. It makes no bones about pushing for the fulfillment of Dewey’s dream to use school to change the nature of American society toward economic democracy. It’s as if the entire 20th century nightmare of governments trying to remake human nature and shift the emphasis to the collective that occurred after Dewey wrote his theories never happened. Let’s try again. This time with the magic ICT technology and already industrialized societies instead of agricultural ones.

Do you think that will really make all the difference in likely outcomes? Even if I am alone out on this limb frantically trying to call attention to where the Common Core in the US and education globally is really going? Now Professor James Paul Gee who we met before with his insistence that there really is no such thing as discrete individuals, http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/we-are-at-the-historical-stage-for-the-emergence-of-one-particular-new-kind-of-person/ , is cited in Rethinking Education. The writers are explaining the envisioned push in the classroom for computer gaming that has now become such an unappreciated part of the actual planned Common Core implementation. The idea is that computer “simulation is the key to letting learners explore new situations.” So the computer gets used to let students explore various possibilities for the world of the future. Unfortunately reenforcing beliefs that reality can likewise be redesigned to reflect desired assumptions.

Mentioned among the useful possibilities for video gaming in the classroom is “draw players into roles that may conflict with everyday values and encourage players to notice the gap with their own beliefs.” There are listed war games that will allow the player to “switch sides to take on the perspective of the enemy.” I would assert the enemy is probably not created to reflect reality by people who also push PATHS to PAX SEL programs from our previous post or the Peaceable Classroom. Especially since the purpose of switching sides is to see the “conflict from multiple perspectives.”

Other programs are to involve “local environmental and social issues” where students will be urged to “co-create the world they inhabit.” Market economies and self-policing communities are also mentioned for the virtual world. I will let you guess how realistic the assumptions written into the programs are likely to be. And how many students will really recognize the assumptions factored into what is truly a Designed and Created Social System. That is likely a far cry from the real world the students do have to live in.

Now all this designing and reimagining is about to take us to an MIT prof who seems to function much like the Rosetta Stone for figuring out where all this is going. And we are going back to both Cambridge Cousins and more than one of the graduate programs at both places. And the continued dominance of Systems Thinking. In business and education and apparently, the planners hope, in society itself.

I hate to stop here but our Planning Prof who actually wrote his PhD dissertation in the 50s on John Dewey and his inquiry method is just too important. He came up in too many places we talked about today and deserves his own post.

I feel like humming that tune about being able to see clearly now after rain has come.

 

Mandating Global Citizenship Mindsets by Assessing Whether Students Adopt Social Altruism

The out in the open version of education reform in the US never got over that 99-0 Senate vote on the National History Standards in the 90s. Much of the reason today’s Common Core implementation looks so different from what is being publicized tracks back to the memory of that political rejection. And an insistence that this time no one gets to object. I have described more than once that what is going on in the US is linked to comparable education reforms all over the world. Driven primarily by UN agencies insisting we must evolve into a “just and sustainable world in which all may fulfill their potential.” Under the eager administration of UN or OECD or other bureaucratic employees of course. With their generous tax free salaries courtesy of you. But I digress.

Well let’s face it if that were the sales pitch for the Common Core standards or any education reform voters and parents would revolt. So we get vague euphemisms like College and Career Ready for the end goal or words like Excellence or Quality Learning that actually have a unique meaning in Ed World we are not likely to appreciate. But in the UK and Australia the Citizenship Education agenda including its Global Dimension was explicitly laid out. Even if few people in any of these countries appreciated what they were relinquishing at the time.

We have talked numerous times about Sir  “Irreversible Change” Michael Barber who now heads up Pearson Education, the world’s leading education company. You know Pearson. They have the contracts for the SBAC and PARCC and Texas STAAR assessments measuring the results of what goes on in Texas and soon to be most US classrooms. They are global. So the fact that Barber wants to “shape new ways of thinking and forge new, sustainable behavior” as the January 2011 UNESCO meeting in London he helped chair put it probably has something to do with the kind of open ended, no fixed solution real world problems likely to make it on any of these assessments globally.  Especially since the assessments are supposed to be at Levels 3 and 4 of Webb’s Depth of Knowledge. You know the one that mirrors the Dewey Indeterminate Situation I have written about. To foster a recognition of the need for social change? Won’t the nickname “Mad Professor” come in handy imagining potential scenarios for change to use? http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2011/jun/14/michael-barber-education-guru

As will this attitude of Barber’s from 1997 when he set off a firestorm in the UK by suggesting that UK students should learn the ethics of ‘global citizenship’ to replace crumbling religious values. Barber was speaking at a Secondary Schools Heads conference and mentioned that Christianity, although “still hugely influential historically and culturally”, was “no longer able to claim unquestioning obedience.” I bolded that last part because it suggests that unconscious impulse we have seen cultivated before.  He is looking for beliefs or values or feelings that will compel action so student performance assessments grounded in emotional imagining or frustration hold great potential for Learning. In the sense of changing the student from the inside-out.

Barber goes on to say that:

“For a while in the mid-20th century it seemed as if communism might establish new ethics, but by the 1970s all that remained in Western countries was rampant consumerism and ‘the quicksand of cultural relativism’–an abandonment of the morality of right and wrong.”

And “In the absence of God and Marx what are we to do?” Well Barber got his Global Citizenship Standards. I am looking at the Secondary school curriculum that went into effect in 2002.  It explicitly proclaims that its concept of Global Citizenship is grounded in Agenda 21. Which is actually not the urban legend some people seem to believe. If Agenda 21 is a conspiracy, it’s an on-the-record open one. Here it is described as “a universal initiative that recognizes the right of everyone to be consulted about the sort of community in which they want to live. Agenda 21 is about improving the quality of life both locally and globally.”

Well Kumbayah. As one of my law profs used to say if someone has a right, someone else has an obligation. Precisely who bears that Agenda 21 obligation and at what cost? Or is Global Citizenship trying to create a willing acceptance of that obligation throughout the West? No further questions asked.

We have discussed before how the real common core seems to be new values and attitudes and beliefs and feelings. All to create new behaviors. How’s this for graphic? The Global Dimension of Citizenship will target the student’s “sense of identity” and “secure their commitment to sustainable development at a personal, local, national, and global levels.” Well that will make the UN bureaucrats very happy. If we could get something like this in place in the US it sure would go a long way towards getting Paul Ehrlich his long time Heart’s Desire. Let’s see what else Global Citizenship seeks:

Global dimension emphasizes the moral imperative to understand and empathise with fellow human beings. [Boy doesn't that sound like Kohlberg's Moral Development Theory that is in US classrooms? And Hong Kong too!] It provides young people with a solid foundation on which to base and build their value system. [Convenient for getting back to unquestioned obedience. No wonder Milton Rokeach's name kept coming up as I was researching the real common core implementation]. It helps them make decisions and take action–based on knowledge [opinions and false beliefs is more likely] of the world–which respect the nature of the world we live in and the rights and dignity of others in an interdependent world.”

No wonder Systems Thinking and Peter Senge and Bronfenbrenner Ecological Systems Theory keep coming up as part of the classroom or district implementation of the Common Core. It along with the some of the other theories I snarkily added because I couldn’t help myself at this point in the deception get us where the UK schools are without nearly the controversy. I keep hearing that Senge’s Systems Thinking is OK for US elementary students because “the teachers love it so.” So maybe we should be more honest and just rename it Systems Thinking to Create Permanent Habits of Mind for Global Citizenship?

To link up with the last post on what will be a 3 parter before I am done, the September 2012 IB presentations in Madrid talked repeatedly about Global Citizenship. But IB was citing this 2005 Oxfam document based on the 2001 UK Citizenship Standards I have been describing.  http://www.oxfam.org.uk/~/media/Files/Education/Global%20Citizenship/education_for_global_citizenship_a_guide_for_schools.ashx It sure does fit with all the US Common Core curriculum I have been seeing and the Texas CSCOPE curriculum currently attracting so much controversy. It also calls for “active and participatory learning methods.” Sound familiar? As in Michael Barber recommending Cambridge Education in 2007 to NYC to launch their lucrative US operation of telling schools and teachers they may not teach the content directly anymore. Yes that same Michael Barber. I wrote about it last May.

Oxfam recognizes that “Education is a powerful tool for changing the world” which I would be the last to dispute. I just do not think all this Social Change Education is going to create a bright future for hardly anyone. One more point as we talk about how this GC template seems to be coming into the US surreptitiously through online curriculum and the assessments. When I tracked the other definition of Global Citizenship cited by the IB, I found the AERA’s winning paper for 2003 and a Canadian and a US prof openly changing Dewey’s Social Reconstructionism vision to a new name.  Justice-Oriented Citizens.

I have a lot more evidence that the US is getting this same vision of Global Citizenship and not just in IB schools. All schools is the plan. All students. Yikes!

I am going to close with a link to a July 4, 2012 letter by Pearson to PARCC detailing all the assessment and testing work they do. But insisting there will be no conflicts or breach of confidentiality. http://www.edweek.org/media/37act-pearsonreply.pdf It’s rather startling to have that much power and they leave off the ATC21S work in Australia with Microsoft, Intel, and Cisco. Oh and the US National Academy of Sciences. And others. http://atc21s.org/index.php/about/team/ That’s a great deal of global reach for one company. Especially one led by a visionary for Irreversible Change that compels personal action.

That Pearson letter says Pearson’s services are to “improve student achievement and college-and-career readiness in the United States.” Given the real definitions of those terms there’s a great deal of room to insert this Global Citizenship/Justice-oriented Citizens/ New Ways of Thinking into assessments and curriculum and still be within that mandate.

Second is to “improve access to quality education for all students.”  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/why-quality-learning-may-be-the-last-thing-you-want-for-your-child/ Quality learning and education is a term that tracks back to John Dewey with unappreciated,  emotional and intuition meanings. Again quite convenient if you want students to “use their imagination to consider other people’s experiences.”

It is quite unnerving how much commonality I am finding globally with what is coming to the US and is already in place elsewhere. Looks like a widespread desire to gain  “unquestioning obedience” among the 21st century masses.

All That is Solid Melts Into Air–But Does It Really?

That provocative image from a famous 19th century political theorist hoping for dramatic future change was also meant to Prime a Feeling for Planned Complete Transformation. Both within individuals at the level of conscious thought and society wide over time. The repeated and dire coordinated cries of the Ehrlichs and others of Danger, Danger unless We Change, Change appear to have the same impetus. Give up your right to make your own decisions and defer to Our Vision.

It’s supposed to be a matter of necessity of course. Hence the hype. But the repeated push for Newmindedness that rejects rational thought and all the hyping of imminent unprovable global disaster sure is fortuitous. Especially when combined with a global vision of education that describes Foresight Intelligence as essential for transitioning to a Knowledge Society. While state-approved institutions seek to actively limit what anyone may really know. Methinks we are all being played here and the documents I have located certainly support that view.

First the stated determination to “move us away from reliance on fossil fuels” will seem even more like a fantasy to shift us to a redesigned, state directed economy that benefits political favorites and Cronies after you read this December report “Humanity Unbound: How Fossil Fuels Saved Humanity from Nature and Nature from Humanity.” http://www.cato.org/publications/policy-analysis/humanity-unbound-how-fossil-fuels-saved-humanity-nature-nature-humanity  . It details, for example, all the forest that would be gone now just to have an agricultural sector that could support our current population without fossil fuels. Something along the lines of the land mass of Canada, Latin America, and India. It’s a great overview but you simply cannot read it without recognizing that CAGW, the idea that there is substantial manmade global warming and it will prove catastrophic, is just an excuse. An excuse to gain widespread voluntary submission by ordinary people to an economy dominated by the Public Sector. Which means people who can be corrupted by conflicts are in charge and they have the power to tax, coerce, and compel.

Paul Ehrlich and the UN and the European Union all want to push this idea of Foresight Intelligence as the goal of education. How would such a vision benefit them? Foresight Knowledge is about selling people on the idea that they should be thinking about Future Social Transformations so they can together debate its direction and shape the future. Now the 2006 document I located describing this Foresight process came from the Baltic region which remained under Soviet control until 1989. It thus described having to change people’s mindsets that together they could interact and develop a vision for future direction. The participatory aspect was a huge selling point for those with a history of subjugation by state decree.

The flip side though of the Foresight collective decision-making process is the majority’s ability to bind everyone else to its vision guts the West’s vision of the primacy of the Individual. Personal decision-making freedom tossed away because of a perceived crisis. Plus the Imposed Vision is unlikely to actually be realizable. That’s particularly troubling when we think of a majority driven by emotion and false beliefs and new cultivated values as the education vision grounded in Outcomes Based education and social and emotional learning and the visual instead of the intellectual makes clear.

In fact I have always found the use of the term Knowledge Society given all the official documentation and plans to limit anyone’s personal knowledge in the 21st century to be both a bad joke and cruelly ironic. It turns out to be a very good thing that I am both so suspicious and cynical and widely read on what is really going on. Because boy does the United Nations have plans for all of us while we are busy setting goals, interacting with each other and ICT generally, and pretending we get to set our own future courses. Right.

Think of the Giant from Jack’s Beanstalk or Jabba the Hut gleefully rubbing their hands together while eyeing their captured prey. All the while repeating “You are Mine. Mine, All Mine” to appreciate what the bureaucrats and politicians have planned for us. After they use their monopoly over education to take out those Axemaker, rational minds and create an expectation that a majority can bind everyone else because it is now necessary to “save the world.” For the Future.

Following up on Foresight Intelligence led me to a UN document from its Economic & Social Affairs division called “Understanding Knowledge Societies.” It’s not a 21st Century vision any of us are likely to be OK with but it is very real. And very grasping. At the level of “Right now, we do not have a unifying central cultural thought for humanity.” That would be what the 20th century called Ideology as a political organizing principle and it proved to be positively lethal on  a mass scale. Having the UN push for “universal acceptance of the central cultural thought” (both quotes are from page 115) in the 21st  is just not likely to go well either. Unless you have a job with the UN or a coordinating agency.

Getting a majority to go along with that “central cultural thought” may be why the UN and quite frankly its global allies in accreditation and colleges of education and other federal agencies are all quietly mandating reforms that limit explicit knowledge–aka accurate information in a person’s own brain in favor of what the UN calls Tacit Knowledge. It’s also behind their interest in having ICT dominate future education. Here’s the definition of such bureaucratically approved knowledge:

“a fluid mix of framed experience, contextual information, and expert insights [those with the proper credentials. Conflicts of interest need not be mentioned] that provides an individual with a framework for evaluating and incorporating new experiences and information. Tacit knowledge is information combined with experience, context, interpretation, and judgment. It is acquired through one’s own experience or reflections on the experiences of others. It is intangible, without boundaries and dynamic. It is highly personal and hard to formalize, making it difficult to communicate or share with others. Subjective insights, intuitions and hunches all fall into the category of tacit knowledge.”

Sounds like feelings and guessing and impressions to me. But we still have those no longer to be sanctioned Axemaker Minds unwarped by the planned daily immersion in ICT from an early age. And I don’t think the UN’s plan to have governments “reinvent themselves” to create “public value” is going to work well either. At least for us. No wonder the Statist Planners only want Tacit Knowledge among the masses. This is not really funny and I was clearly not on the approved list to see or read that document. C’est La Vie Schemers. Include me in that not going quietly into the Dark Night Brigade.

Actually the document makes so many things we have discussed make more sense. From all Peter Senge’s Systems Thinking and Presencing work:

“Recently, new qualities are stressed by management experts as crucial for business leaders: visioning, intuition, understanding of the patterns for change and an ability to imaginatively act on this understanding.”

To all the focus now on racism and oppression and Social Justice and Equity:

“By definition, the fully developed Knowledge Society cannot accommodate social exclusion and marginalization. This would result in weakening its very foundations.”

And finally our old UNESCO vision of human solidarity:

“The way in which this will play out in transition to the advanced Knowledge Society will eventually depend on values [which the helpful Canadians have already acknowledged as being the real sought for common core], and especially on the value that this new human civilization may wish to place on human solidarity. It may also be influenced by the economic interest of engaging the whole available store of human creativity and tacit knowledge.”

As I said when we started this post all these visions being cultivated will not turn out as hoped for. But one thing will. This clear determination to make individual freedom and liberty a relic of the past will go as planned unless we quickly recognize that it is the mind the Schemers so want (bolding in original p 44) .

Or as the document itself says “as society shifts from an old order to a new order through a transitional phase of relative chaos . . . Thought is the spiritus movens of this process.”

And right now in K-12 and higher ed with preschool programs being ramped up, thought is precisely fully within the current domain of these Schemers. In fact that’s what education reform all over the world is really all about. And it is quite coordinated.

And now finally it is becoming much better understood.

Please join me in not going quietly into this Planned Vision.

Hyping Catastrophe to Eliminate the Supposed Mismatch Between Human Minds and the World We Inhabit

Going through the actual Performance Assessments in the last post reminded me of what a useful mind altering and emotion manipulation tool they will be for someone like Climate and Population Alarmist Paul Ehrlich. Ehrlich has long wanted  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/learning-to-learn-or-how-to-replace-old-minds-with-sustainable-new-ones/  to use education to “change the way we perceive the world, the way humanity sees the world in order to survive.”   But I did not know when I wrote that post that both he and the US Climate Change Aspiring Professional Bureaucracy and Collection of Rent Seekers would publish reports that came out late last week. Just full of plans on how to use education to physically change minds and arouse emotions to support their lucrative “research” agenda.

Now Research Agenda has clearly become a euphemism for telling us what we must or cannot do and to gain unprecedented levels of political, social, and economic control. At least in the US and any other country of free citizens. I will start with Ehrlich since we have been tracking his aspirations for New Human Minds Incapable of Ingenuity and Inventiveness for a while. His essay entitled “Can a Collapse of Global Civilization Be Avoided?” is clearly designed to elicit an “I certainly hope so. What must we do right now?” response. It starts with a mention of previous collapses and then cites to Jared Diamond’s 2005 book Collapse: How societies choose to fail or succeed. Very dramatic. We instinctively visualize those statues on Easter Island with no trees around and wonder will that be us? Except Ehrlich’s 1989 book on the conscious evolution of new human minds has a Jared M. Diamond listed as one of the helpful commenters on his manuscript to be thanked. I am starting to think that civilizational collapse books unless we change as outlined are a booming business.   http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/280/1754/20122845.full.pdf+html

Not to be mean but it is a hyperbolic essay clearly designed to try to create hysteria and the Ehrlichs’ mania for control over us shows through repeatedly. He also envisions some sort of rule by academics which appears to be all the rage at Stanford. I wonder if he and Linda Darling-Hammond do lunch in the sunshine to talk about those SBAC Performance Assessments or how Effective Teaching just happens to coincide with creating New Minds? Anyway, to avoid collapse:

“there is a need for natural scientists to collaborate with social scientists, especially those who study the dynamics of social movements. Such collaborations could develop ways to stimulate a significant increase in popular support for decisive and immediate action on the predicament.”

So we taxpayers get to pick up the bill for all those social and natural scientists whose payday is contingent on finding such potential catastrophes and planning for them. And lobbying us and persuading us we are the misguided ones. No conflicts there. And then hitting us up for more money to fund continuous planning. Now Ehrlich wants “fundamental institutional change” in educational systems and he happens to mention a new project at Stanford–the Millennium Alliance for Humanity and the Biosphere.” MAHB wants to create a new kind of intelligence, foresight intelligence, that sounds ever so much better than Newmindedness or Peter Senge’s Systems Thinking even if it works much the same. FI as I shall call it is the 21st century aspiration to “implement behavioral, institutional and cultural changes necessary for humans to ensure a sustainable and equitable future for all.”

Which sounds to me like the kind of aspiration likely to produce civilization collapse as all sorts of unappreciated reasons that things work at all get punted in the name of wholesale Transformation to “reduce humanity’s ecological footprint and social inequities before it is too late.” Collapse triggered by computer modelling by rent seeking parasites determined to ignore reality in their lust for power and money or just naivete. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2261577/Global-warming-stopped-16-years-ago-Met-Office-report-reveals-MoS-got-right-warming–deniers-now.html?ito=feeds-newsxml came out over this weekend directly on point.

I am not picking on the Ehrlichs but this entire operation of gutting it all using the plans of people whose only skin in the game is that they get paid well for such advocacy is ludicrous. The unintended consequences are likely to be horrific and the intended ones seem quite grim as well unless you are in the planning class. That becomes quite apparent when we don’t accept Ehrlich’s description of MAHB as “nascent” like a newborn just opening its eyes. Instead MAHB had a 2011 name change from its previous more apt description of the Millennium Assessment of Human Behavior. And just in case you are worried that MAHB might have all-encompassing aspirations. They do include the “values, attitudes, and actions of individual and collective actors.” Which will certainly make those performance assessments timely since that is what they target and measure. MAHB also wants to change towards sustainablity to take place “across all domains of human life”–mentioning “institutional arrangements, social structures, norms, and cultural practices.”

Only someone without a knowledge of history or economics could advocate deliberately redesigning and changing all those things and proclaim it is to avoid civilizational collapse. It’s much more likely to bring it on as all the factors that create human progress and prosperity get targeted for gutting to enable widespread submission to such schemes. Ehrlich even calls these changes via education a “soft means” to advance public policy but the landing is likely to be quite hard. Laying out the fellow international players does not help. It just adds to the toxicity of the brew being hatched to use “social science and humanities” to sway minds by metaphorically lobotomizing them.

Which brings me to the http://ncadac.globalchange.gov/download/NCAJan11-2013-publicreviewdraft-chap29-researchagenda.pdf National Climate Assessment draft released by more aspiring Planners and Permanent Rent Seekers last week. The US Global Change Research Program was already on my radar screen for its “You will Believe This No matter What the Actual Facts” Attitudes in previous reports.  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/if-reality-is-ignored-or-disregarded-when-do-we-become-a-state-against-its-people/ I wish taxpayer funded agencies in supposedly free countries did not behave in ways that provoke descriptions previously used for the Soviet Union. But the Soviets too were quite consumed in using education to limit the likelihood that citizens had the mental capacity or store of accurate information to challenge the plans of the nomenklatura. So the analogy is unfortunately apt.

Research Goal 6 on page 1041 of that NCA draft lays out the plan for education and workforce development. I know you will be Shocked, Shocked to learn it just happens to mirror what Spady called Life Role Complex Performances and others are describing as Deep Learning (Hewlett), Higher Order Thinking (Webb’s DOK), Second Order Change (MCREL), Global Competence, and 21st Century Skills. You’d almost think there was active coordination going on. Here goes [my snark in brackets]:

“Building human capacity to respond to the emerging challenges described in this Assessment [are you as tired of that word as I am? It should be listed in Terms of Duplicity for Aspiring Statists] requires expansion of skills within the existing public and private sectors [lucrative retraining for academia. Like an annuity] and developing a new workforce that excels at critical and interdisciplinary thinking. [They don't know much and much of what they believe is false but they are passionately devoted to these beliefs and committed to acting on them.] Useful capacities include facilitation and communications skills [a 2 inch leap], integration of new technologies and data sources into existing programs and practices [vocational with lucrative ICT contracts available for Cronies], management of collaborative processes to allow for imaginative solutions [unimpeded by knowledge to prompt a logical "this won't work" response], development and use of sustainable technologies to reduce climate risks [more ICT contracts and Solyndras and Fisker exploding batteries], and building frameworks for decision-making in an internationally interdependent world.”

Education, K-12 and higher ed, used to be about empowering each of us as much as possible with the knowledge of what worked, or didn’t, in the past so we could make good decisions as adults about our own lives and what we valued. No more. Now it is apparently about hobbling our ability to be independent so we will surrender “decision-making” to others.

And we won’t mind or even notice.

Now once again. Where is the likelihood of collapse really coming from?

 

Now It’s Head, Heart, and Hands to Get Us to Environmental, Social and Economic Justice

No, we have not had a Dr Faustus moment since the last post where the human soul went missing. Just a matter of tact when you want widespread changes to pedagogy and classroom practices and teaching beliefs. Diplomacy and a desire for successful adoption without a brouhaha over what’s being pushed suggests tucking those intentions to alter values and help the students search for meaning and purpose in their lives into the generic Heart designation. Or in Student Engagement as a Goal. Just some feelings after all coming into the classroom to help the students deal with their experiences. Those existential issues that lead to a sense of crisis and adaptation but otherwise nothing to worry about. The questing for answers is just a part of growing up. It’s not like they have a solid base of history or characters from classical literature to help them frame their lives.

If you are still not sure why we have to talk about spirituality apart from its omnipresence in the intentions for K-12 and higher ed, it goes to quietly gaining widespread acceptance of the planned transformative social, economic, and political change. Not just in the US but all over the West. Because the literature leaves no doubt over what is sought. The only real question takes us back to how much economic redistribution–strict Equality of Results or Bounded Inequality? What level of personal freedom will be left? Are fossil fuels still allowed in a Low Carbon future? What if that means no reliable efficient energy? If these admissions seem startling and you are just reading this blog wondering what Common Core will look like in the classroom or why the UN and the US EPA keep pushing to regulate carbon dioxide, four simple words for you.

Means. To. An. End. Several in fact. Not really about content or temperatures. We are in fact about to have a rerun of the State vs Individual and desire to control the economy that is very similar to what happened about 100 years ago. Igniting a conflagration in 1914 that was supposed to be a lark and over by Christmas. I personally am hoping for better results this time which is why I write. But I have no delusions about what the stakes are. And if all these mentions of values and meaning-making and Authenticity and College and Career Ready actually having a Communitarian emphasis make no sense, maybe this passage based on insights from previous attempts at such equality will help (my bolding):

“a political-economic framework that can execute the redistribution standard requires a cultural context in which social actors are guided by a shared view of themselves a embodying a ‘community of attitudes’ or ‘collective conscience’ . . . The harmony and stability of the collectivist society envisioned by Rousseau and Durkheim depend on people viewing the constraints of society and sovereign will of the state [how Washington DC seems to see itself] as the natural order of things. They must also transfer to civil society the commitment they had traditionally held for the sacred, and schools must teach children the importance of the political community’s claim to their loyalty and of their commitment to the morality of the collective.” Anne Wortham, http://mises.org/daily/6288/Obamas-World-of-Social-Justice under The Cultural Context

Professor Wortham nailed the why. Let’s look at just how broad the definition of Spirituality becomes as the target of education now and the source of Education as Transformation. This is from an essay called “Spiritually Engaged Pedagogy:The Possibilities of Spiritual Development Through Social Justice Education” and is intended to be a warning on how easy all these Values, Attitudes, and Belief altering plans are to now get into the classroom. All classrooms. Holistic spirituality is what it aspires to be. Also looks like the IB Learner Profile for some of you. This is also why we have to have a Student-Centered focus.

*Spirituality is a lifelong development of a sense of the authentic self.

*Spirituality places us in relationships with others through care and outreach.

*Spirituality involves ongoing construction of meaning and knowledge.

*Spirituality and spiritual experiences can be symbolic, unexpected, and present in learning environments.

* Spirituality emphasizes interconnectedness and wholeness.

Long-term readers of this blog may have just spilt their morning coffee on what may now be a sticky keyboard. But those intentions pick up Peter Senge’s Systems Thinking and Bronfenbrenner Ecological Systems Theory and powell’s insistence we are not Unitary Selves anymore. It’s also the New 3 R’s-Rigor, Relevance, and Relationship. It’s  Vygotsky and the Sociocultural Theory that got adopted as part of Education for Life and Work. This broad concept of Spirituality completely saturates the actual Common Core implementation we have been documenting. And for good reason.

Transformative change, to have any chance of success (I imagine you and I have a different definition of success than the bureaucrats) has to start with the individual. Changing him or her from the inside-out, while they are young enough to be malleable. Some revolutions have the best chance for success as a fait accompli. That could be the operating motto for Transformative education for a radically transformed society. And planet when you add in the Environmental intent to no longer exploit nature. Different advocates take that goal anywhere from a little backwards to a Leap as if you can moderate the rejection of reason and the “free play of intelligence.”

I have protested before that my caution in advocating for 21st Century Utopias does not make me a Scrooge.  I have read through all the Henriot & Holland Pastoral Cycles Linking Faith,  Action, and Social Issues many religious faiths are putting out as they advocate for social justice and cannot find much more to the analysis than “It’s not fair” and “I wish it were different.” Feelings that the world could be more just may lead us to ignore what works that we are not seeing in favor of the remnants that could be better. But blindly jettisoning what works. Asking K-12 or college students to be aware of their positions of privilege and to name and understand injustice, while “providing opportunities for students to consider their own vision and participation in a more just world” strikes me as dangerous. Would you let an art major design a load-bearing bridge? Of course not. Why would we push people who do not know what got civilization to this point of progress and what failed in the past to decide what would be better?

“Social justice is a set of principles and a process that governs humans’ behavior to one another and the natural world. Social justice is based on the premises that society is characterized by inequalities in resources and influence, and that individual and collective actions can and will transform society. Social justice promotes awareness of inequalities, action to redress inequalities, and ongoing habits of mind and actions that continue to address inequalities.”

Does that strike anyone else as a dangerously naive mantra to be learning to habituate? No one defends inequalities or differences in influence as good in themselves. They are just the natural by products of a focus on the individual and freedom to trade and develop ideas that benefit more than the people involved in the trades. The inequality from economic freedom is tolerated because our choices are (a) to have inequality of incomes but at a higher average income for all. Or (b) to have a relatively equal distribution but at lower average levels for everyone. That’s the choice. Is anyone explaining that fundamental fact to the students learning about social justice? Would that reality affect how they feel about social justice? No, you know why no one wants to frame it honestly. It would influence the advocacy for redistribution.

And the desired sense for community. That will make today’s students so easy to exploit emotionally as adults. And politically. I mean grow up. There are individuals involved in these various Justice movements with good intentions. But this in the aggregate is not a well-intentioned initiative, not at the UN-level or the national or locally. It’s a power play by politicians and bureaucrats and their Cronies. There will be no parades or trenches or poison gas to tell you that your future, your wallet, your children, and the legitimacy of Individualism and self-interest are under organized attack. Hoping for a lasting victory.

I call these types of pedagogies and political theories unilateral intellectual disarmament. Everything that brought progress and prosperity is being jettisoned so that Government officials and their Cronies can direct the economy, control natural resources, and dictate permissible personal behavior. Social Justice education at its core cultivates a self that will go along. Preferably without recognizing what is to be lost.

No wonder Bill Ayers advocates it as far superior to bombs.