Meaningful Learning or Internalized Hammer and Sickle Style Habits of Mind and Behaviors?

Let’s go back to that Herbert Marcuse book from the last post. In making a point about a desired new Soviet rationality Marcuse stressed that if certain ‘attitudes and behaviors’ can be successfully internalized, they will provide unconscious “pragmatic directives for action.” That effect has nothing to do with physical geography. Instilling desired habits of mind and practiced behaviors would have the same effect in the West as was recognized in this old post where Soviet psychologist Leontiev called it the Great Experiment. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/imitating-the-ussr-in-striving-to-discover-how-the-child-can-become-what-he-not-yet-is/ Funny how no one told us about the Great Experiment being conducted on us starting in the 60s with our tax money and education facilities, but filter everything I described in Chapter 6 of my book through that open admission.

I think the “Nation’s Report Card,”–the National Assessment of Educational Progress or NAEP–was always intended to monitor the progress of the Great Experiment. I think that is why the Carnegie Corporation began to finance the development of NAEP back around 1964. Before we talk about the poorly understood, designed always to manipulate, NAEP, let’s get back to the why. Here’s what Marcuse and others believe: obviously false statements about the present do not matter because if people can be made to believe them anyway, they can still become those desired attitudes and habits of mind. People can then be counted on to reliably act in a way so that the “historical process in which the commanded political practice [in the West this gets hidden mostly invisibly in education objectives and little-disclosed mandates like the now omnipresent Positive School Climate] will bring about the desired facts.” (italics in original)

Now if someone actually wants to believe that current reality and the facts about what works is in the way of a desired transformation, it is no wonder we now have education where facts and right answers are to be minimized and concepts and ideas emphasized instead. Sure sounds to me like what Marcuse said was practicing with “the original content of Marxian theory as a truth that must be believed and enacted against all evidence to the contrary [exactly like President Obama and the UN now on Climate Change]: the people must do and feel and think as if their state were the reality of that reason, freedom, and justice which the ideology proclaims, and the ritual is to assure such behavior.” Until it becomes an internalized habit of mind practiced from preschool to high school in an active, engagement-oriented new kind of educational emphasis?

Let’s shift back to the Breakpoint and Beyond book from the last post because it made a similar point. A new kind of society was possible if people could learn the “art of changing one’s mind…After we have put together a new frame of mind, we then rebuild our society by reinventing our organizations.” Without a solid base of historical knowledge, how many people will be aware that we are trying to redesign social institutions around theories? That’s how we get lots of people willing and primed to act with an inability to comprehend the foreseeable consequences. It’s where we are now because none of these pursuits is new as we will see. We have been creating educational objectives around a desire to “devise the means to change our minds about what is real: from a belief in the limits of a rational, past-driven world to belief in the limitless potential of a creative world.”

No one asked us, did they, before embarking on this Bipartisan vision of Creativity, Connecting, and Future Pull? Do the politicians and their all too important staffers actually know why we are now pushing education where the “processes shift from logical and straightforward to innovative and discontinuous. The basic human strategy moves from ‘solving problems,’ by attacking them piecemeal and getting back to normal, to formulating broad and original opportunities. [Maybe by using that appointed regional planning commission so that its edicts are binding and there is no one essentially to complain to]. Attitudes shift from finding and applying the ‘right,’ tried-and-true, traditional answers to energizing the production of unique advances: major breaks with the past. The system moves to creating the impossible [or at least trying while the architects of all this are well-paid with taxpayer funds or foundation grants]; not just doing things differently, but doing different things.”

When NAEP was first being created from 1964 to 1968, Ralph Tyler chaired its development committee. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/is-common-core-a-catalyst-to-dramatically-alter-system/ reminds us of why that matters so much. The 1970 “What is National Assessment?” report made it clear that NAEP’s ultimate goal “is the measurement of change (progress) in knowledges, skills, understandings, and attitudes as they relate to meaningful education objectives.” The emphasis is on “objectives rather than content.” In a 1972 paper “National Assessment: Measuring American Education” Ralph Tyler was interviewed and he made it crystal clear that NAEP was about “helping schools get rid of the right-answer syndrome and replace it with learning how to learn.”

I am the one pointing out that this statement fits with what Marcuse laid out as well as the creative mindset amenable to change that the Breakpoint book had in mind. Tyler stated that the NAEP is not a test. “They are exercises that children, youth and young people are given” that show the “public both what children are learning and how many are learning each thing.” The exercises sought to remove any middle class bias and “attempt to measure the youngsters’ thought processes or their ability to perform [behave] in some way.” Making my point that standards are ‘goals’ and are not about content as traditionally understood, Tyler revealed forthrightly back in 1972 that “the objectives or goals represent a kind of standard which is considered desirable to achieve. The exercises, if they are good measures, tell to what extent the goals are being achieved. This approach tells very specifically what a person knows or can do.”

For anyone unfamiliar with Tyler, he was every bit as much an advocate of transformational collectivism as John Dewey or anyone else we have looked at. From looking at the NAEP reports from that 1970 one coming forward, I do believe that the Washington Sunday Star warning that “What the Kinsey Report was to American sex, the National Assessment may be to American education” is an understatement. I could say something more here, but best not in case my mother or children ever read this post. NAEP was intended to radicalize American education and then monitor which groups were changing, by how much, and where. It was chilling then when this NAEP research pulled up a National Education Goals (NEG) Panel report from the March 3, 1993 meeting where then Education Secretary Lamar Alexander was presiding. Apparently Richard Riley had not yet been confirmed.

To bring us up to the present context, that would be the same Lamar Alexander who has now created the Bipartisan Every Child Achieves Act that we looked at in the last post and especially in the comments. It would also be the same Richard Riley who is now Vice Chair of the Carnegie Corporation that is also working with CCSSO in pushing Next Generation Learning and Competency-based education in addition to the Common Core. Back to 1993 though, the notes show now-Senator Alexander as wanting to get the accreditation agencies “engaged in the dialogue about standards.” He wanted a meeting set up between them and the NEG panel. He also reportedly waxed nostalgic about heading the National Governors Association and getting all the nation’s governors to work with him for the entire one year period from 1985-1986 on just the one subject of education.

He was proud of creating a way for Democratic and Republican governors to work together and was pleased that the NEG Panel was continuing the same tradition. The Senate’s Education Committee apparently continued the Bipartisan selling out of America by approving ECAA last week without dissent. Probably best then for those Senators to now remove the American flag from their lapels. They may not be aware of the Hammer and Sickle ancestry of what they are mandating, but that does not change the lineage of these ideas, practices, and objectives in the least. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/transcending-the-individual-mind-as-the-analytical-unit-of-learning-while-still-guiding-how-we-will-act/ is another good primer for a Congress that is forcing collectivist traditions whether they know it yet or not. We certainly do.

Back to that 1993 meeting because it still affects what is being sought now. It sought to “Establish a National Education Standards and Assessment Council (NESAC) to provide leadership and oversight to the development of national content and performance standards and an assessment system.” The Panel also wanted to “support the continued expansion of NAEP.” Think of NAEP as the enforcer for moving beyond “right-answer syndrome” to assessments that could get at how students think and what behaviors they are ready to perform. Now think of the language in ECAA about “aligned achievement standards” each state must develop to go with their mandated ‘content’ standards as being about what in 1993 was still being called ‘performance standards.’ Behavioral in orientation now and then. Two different terms for the same concept.

I forgot to tell you what sent me down this particular pathway, didn’t I? It was my conclusion that there was some type of connection among the New Standards Project that fits all that the 1993 panel wanted and commenced in 1996, performance standards, and what the NAEP is actually assessing for. Guess what? I was right. Guess what else? All of this ties to what was considered ‘meaningful learning’ in the 90s and in the New Paradigm for College and Career Readiness now.

Oh, and Every Child Achieves Act also ties to what used to be called Proficiency Standards for Reasoning. Because specifying that and then practicing until it’s a habit of mind would get us back to Marcuse’s vision wouldn’t it?

Next Time then we will continue.

Rip Aside the Mask: Society Becomes an Existential and Experiential Lab for Students to Become Citizens

That title comes from combining two different confessional quotes on the purpose of all these education reforms now hiding as the Common Core, Competency, or 21st Century Learning. We are sticking with Marcus Raskin’s book The Common Good we met in the last post. That initial phrase came as Raskin laid out how to “Reorganize the government for the common good. ” The “first task in a program of governmental reorganization which asserts social reconstruction [just like I described in my book Credentialed to Destroy] and citizen participation [no wonder we keep encountering the National Center for Deliberative Democracy] is to rip aside the mask of concern for efficiency to determine which group or class is being served by a particular way of organizing the governmental process.”

Wondering why all of a sudden the word Equity as an obligation is everywhere? How’s this for an open declaration? –”the criteria which are used to reorganize government should be consistently and deliberately discussed according to specific value standards: equity and caring, egalitarian interdependence and cooperation.” Now before I switch to the other quote and the vision of democratic education to create the necessary citizen to get there, some people may be tempted to ignore these declarations as from decades ago. In one of those serendipitous occurrences that remind us just how thoroughly we are tracking what is really coming at us, since I wrote the last post, Raskin and many others from the Institute for Policy Studies signed on to and published http://thenextsystem.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/NSPReport1_Digital1.pdf .

“The Next System Project: New Political-Economic Possibilities for the 21st Century” features many of the radical names we have already covered on this blog. http://thenextsystem.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/nextsystem_ForWeb.pdf is the list for those who want to play Recognize that Name and Contemplate the Implications. Since everyone can read those for themselves, let’s get back to the source for the second part of the title.  I also want everyone to keep in mind the ubiquity now of CTE for All (last post again) and authentic, real world, active learning for all students.

“For most students a practical, concrete and non-abstract education encourages their productive and imaginative side. [Think of Creativity as one of the 4Cs of 21st Century Learning] If schools pursued this course the society would become an existential and experiential laboratory for students. Schools would become the central place to bring one’s personal experience, other people’s experience and findings together with human needs. The experiences themselves, the way they were described and understood could and should include the ethical ought and the nurturing of the artistic.”

“…the way they were described and understood” sounds precisely like what the Frameworks Institute from our last post does in education and beyond. Minimizing facts makes perfect sense for anyone who believes “the educational process becomes the central way to bring forth value considerations in relation to actual situations in the lives of people and their institutions and in the way human beings relate to nature.” If we did not already know that the phrase Democracy is usually no longer about candidates, voting, and elections, this should do it:

“Democracy’s project is the sharing of responsibility between the citizenry, finding common uses and ownership of property where that benefits the whole [in whose opinion?]–while continuously recognizing the needs of the person…A modern democracy recognizes the need to generate situations and relationships which simultaneously recognize similarity in the Other…it moves beyond individual and group interest to hammer out shared values which can be located in the whole, the group, but which cannot be found in the individual.”

That alarming project, coming at us like pollen on a spring day in Atlanta–fast moving and everywhere–views education as the means for how “skills…where people share their public and private lives and where problems of everyday life and abstract problems are considered.” That sharing and consideration gets masked behind the non-dictionary meaning of yet another 4C–communication. And if that communication is ultimately about “social regulation which needs and demands alternative modes of thinking and living,” values, beliefs, and thinking itself can be changed and molded with few parents being the wiser as long as “the grades are OK.”

I have mentioned that I have learned enough political theory in the last few years to recognize Marxist Humanism whether it uses the M word or simply attributes the change to sociology or brain science. Yet sure enough, there was Raskin quoting “the Marxist philosopher Roger Garaudy” to hype his point that “authentic esthetic education is also the cultivation of the senses that have become atrophied in our Western tradition as a result of the exclusive emphasis of logic and discursive reasoning.” New modes of thinking indeed. Those who wish to dramatically transform society and the economy hate “the cold, abstract madness that parades as reason and ‘objective reality.’” We can each  contemplate where the madness truly is in this vision.

Now Raskin was definitely not afraid to call a spade a spade and used the M word as an apt description of certain beliefs and hopes and the means to get there. Hint: EDUCATION as my book laid out. He did, however, criticize Marxists by name for having “failed in comprehending the ethical dimension to political power and the role it must play.” Raskin saw the role of the “experience and process of democratic education” as a means for transcending the “type of social science that explains passivity from the dominated and control from the dominator as the natural order of things.” Raskin must be in ideological heaven with all the classroom hyping of White Privilege now as he helps roll out the Next System Project.

What happens when education is seen as the means of making some students feel guilty while others are emboldened to feel entitled to “change the political system by integrating procedural rights with political demands. The demands are meant to get the social, legal [Remember progressive, polyphonic federalism and the Constitution in 2020?], and economic systems to change so that the person forges a set of conditions that guarantees his or her egalitarian interdependence in all aspects of society.” ‘Do for me. I am owed’ has never, ever been a basis for mass prosperity. Heaven help us that this vision is to be locked into place invisibly through little known legal shifts binding all of us.

Such as revamping the nature of citizenship “to allow the person to comprehend in concrete terms the way each aspect of life is related and interdependent.” Substituting supplied concepts, core disciplinary ideas in a ‘domain’, and cross-cutting issues for facts plays right into training students to comprehend things that are not so and misattribute causes in ways that will only make the problems worse. For those of us with Axemaker Minds and a factual body of knowledge from history or science it’s hard not to imagine the tragedy from teaching future educators and their administrators and all those public policy degree holders that “social problems can be framed to yield humane and progressive solutions.” Maybe, but probably not.

Enduring Understandings, Understandings of Consequence, Understanding by Design–all huge components of the actual Common Core implementation and especially the new assessments make perfect sense if you believe, as Raskin stated, that “how we categorize can help us organize energies for the common good.”  Social and emotional learning, role playing as a slave to appreciate the Civil War, and a Whole Child emphasis likewise  makes perfect sense as a necessary component if the goal is to “bring the purpose of equity into lived reality.”

In the world of the same curriculum for all from the proverbial dimwit to the Super Nova intellect and the elimination of tracking, I want to close with how Raskin concluded his book’s vision. He saw a “great struggle” although with all these deceitful terms being used to describe the shifts in purpose, policies, and practices, who will know in time to resist?

“People are not prepared to surrender their present comforts or those knowledges which helped them achieve such comforts either for the protection of humanity, the building of a world civilization–let alone egalitarian interdependence.” That’s not just a chilling declaration of purpose.

It reminds us that a huge component of the means to accomplish these admitted transformations is to destroy fine, well-stocked minds. Anywhere they can be discovered.

What a thing to be implementing blindly while hyping the skills gap and the need to be internationally competitive.

Shift Facts into Values and Change Values into Facts So That a New Consciousness will Emerge

Since we all just adore an explicit declaration of intent, how’s this for a doozy? “For purposes of organizing [a modern participatory democracy grounded in the common good] it is not important whether there is an objective or subjective reality to this belief since the belief is the basis upon which people act.” That statement certainly gives a reason for all the current focus on skill development for a variety of offered reasons. I have warned that most of the planned assessments should not be described as tests so maybe this description of what is sought will help–”performance assessments are those in which the ‘answer’ is the behavior itself.” Training to act as desired also fits with another quote that gives us the rationale for all these Enduring Understandings, Core Concepts and Disciplinary Ideas we keep encountering as the Knowledge component to go along with all those Skills:

“It is crucial, however, to analyze for people what goes on in areas where they do not have direct experience. Once such analysis comes within their grasp, they will come to see that they can change social reality.”

That would be the same social reality that may not actually exist in the form believed, or be a result of the causes believed, but students, and the adults they will become, will be trained to act anyway. Let’s give one more quote that gives a reason for all the stress on activities and Project-Based Learning and Whole Child SEL Initiatives: “Obviously, one’s capacity to care must be integrated with rationality just because common good requires the reattachment of ‘head to heart’ in our public activities.” To the discussion in my book of everything that started in earnest in the mid-80s with the goal of transforming the political, economic, and social systems of the West, especially in the US, Australia, Canada, and the UK, we need to add another book from 1986–The Common Good: Its Politics, Policies and Philosophy by Marcus Raskin put out by the Institute for Policy Studies (Robert Chandler’s 2008 book Shadow World gives the background on IPS and Raskin as part of the global New Left).

The quote in the title comes from the IPS book as well although I did not know IPS was behind that book when I ordered it. I just recognized the vision desired from the 2001 Learning Society paper and the assumptions being used by that Frameworks Institute from the last post. http://www.ssireview.org/images/articles/2011_WI_Feature_Kania.pdf links to a “Collective Impact” essay hyping Strive in Cincinnati (and other listed cities as well like Houston, Texas and Portland, Oregon) “as an example of collective impact, the commitment of a group of important actors from different sectors to a common agenda for solving a specific social problem.” On the second page is a picture of people bringing together pieces from a jigsaw puzzle so that there can be a collective organized effort around meeting people’s needs without having to confess the total agenda.

This is a long quote but important to appreciating no one is going to run up the flagpole a banner stating: “Our new education agenda is actually tied to these radical transformation descriptions where people actually do mention ‘Marxist thought’ without even a hiccup or a cleared throat.” It’s up to us to find those confessions and put the pieces together:

“complex problems can be solved only by cross-sector coalitions that engage those outside the nonprofit sector…Adaptive problems, by contrast, are complex, the answer is not known, and even if it were, no single entity has the resources or authority to bring about the needed change. Reforming public education, restoring wetland environments, and improving community health are all adaptive problems. In these cases, reaching an effective solution requires learning by the stakeholders involved in the problem, who must then change their own behavior in order to create a solution.”

Good thing the students will have practiced doing that on all those performance assessments and a new definition of learning that now means changes in values, attitudes, beliefs, or behaviors. It does not mean having a solid base of accurate factual knowledge lest we refuse to defer to the Experts or the ‘important actors’ of those coalitions. Or even worse, develop an innovative product that displaces an established business with a superior idea. Think of how handy practice in a Discourse classroom at creating shared beliefs as the 21st century skill of Communication will be in a world where: “collective impact requires all participants to have a shared vision for change, one that includes a common understanding of the problem and a joint approach to solving it through agreed upon actions.”

Did any of us get an invite to go to Dallas in January 2015 to be part of the 75 Metro Area Convening put on by the Lumina Foundation to move forward with these transformations with no need to ask the parents or taxpayers? That’s where I found that Stanford Social Innovation paper cited. It covers our communities, our schools, and our children, but no one is telling us about it openly or giving us a piece of the puzzle to start fitting together. Me? At this point I just gate crash, download the issued reports and presentations, and then notice that it is essentially Raskin’s, Marx’s, and the Learning Society vision all being imposed on us quietly. Negotiated at ‘convenings’ we pay for, but don’t get invited to.

This recent report is from another related ‘convening’–this time in May 2014–http://www.competencyworks.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/CompetencyWorks-Maximizing-Competency-Education-and-Blended-Learning.pdf . That’s a long title so they left off the very end that is designed to gain both automatic implementation and little objective scrutiny–”Insights from Experts.” Should we kneel or curtsey then? And if the tenets in that paper and all the emphasis on Equity mean that only a Marxian or IPS/Raskin vision of education to gain the necessary consciousness for economic democracy to work, are we still obligated to defer? Does an education, urban planning, sociology, or public policy degree come now with a license to lie to the public while everything they value and that works gets jettisoned if a Stakeholder Engagement Process decides to put a theory into practice to see what happens?

http://results4america.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/2015-3-18-Moneyball-for-Education-Report.pdf is yet another attempt to put Theory into Practice sold as “informed by thinking from a select group of seasoned experts from the left and right who have much experience with federal education policy.” Given the tragic history of what those federal policies have done to schools and students, we would prefer that be a disqualifier. Has anyone else noticed that expertise in general is constantly dismissed in all these visions of education in the future? Meantime we are supposed to defer to every social science graduate degree as the only reverenced expertise. Again, that’s the way to get Theory into Practice and false beliefs and new values in place to guide future behavior.

Anyone else ever heard of Dane Linn? Now there’s an expert. He was at the NGA when it co-sponsored Common Core. Then he moved on to the College Board to help David Coleman with his current platform for well-funded mischief, before joining the Business Roundtable. http://www.careertechnj.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Georgetown.BR_.CB-CTE-report-11.2013.pdf is called “The Promise of High-Quality Career and Technical Education:Improving Outcomes for Students, Firms, and the Economy.” It forces the kind of “contextualized learning, in which even academic material is presented in the context of projects or workplaces” that Uncle Karl and his 20th Century social reconstruction supporters like Robert Beck (Chapter 4 of my book) have always dreamed of. This is to be for ALL students, including the most academically gifted, because, just as Beck worried about, CTE must no longer be stigmatized.

That paper advocates “states and local districts can adopt/adapt/develop standards and curricula in collaboration with local businesses. Students must demonstrate competency in these skills.” What skills? Oh, the ones laid out in that Competency Works paper that just came out that provides “Insights from Experts” without really specifying which theories those experts’ opinions are really grounded in. Anybody else finding all the stress on needed skills development as awfully useful as we switch to a vision of education that is no longer really about accurate facts in someone’s personal, private possession? When the ‘answer’ is desired behavior, hyping Skills Development to be globally competitive as the rationale is quite the invisibility cloak.

One of the nice things about being where I am in my research on what is really going on is being able to recognize when we are dealing with pieces of a common puzzle created to be function together. We have every right to examine them as the consolidated whole they are intended to become, even if no one invites us to these ‘convenings’. Sometimes these reports and sources are not created to be pieced together though. Sometimes the linkage is the common destination that allows traveling on unconnected tracks. That’s why I mentioned that Robert Beck called himself a social reconstructionist as he pushed the federally funded polytech vision that also fits with this current CTE vision back in the late 1980s. Beck’s work also fits with Anthony Carnevale’s Workplace Basics vision that we found so troubling in this post  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/ballad-of-the-long-sought-shift-to-being-educable-not-educated-adaptation-via-dissolving-the-logical-mind/

Fascinating, huh, since the Georgetown Center on Poverty, Inequality, and Public Policy issued that CTE report in conjunction with the College Board and the Business Roundtable. Do you know who else calls himself and his vision a social reconstruction philosophy? Andrew Raskin in The Common Good.

This story gets much easier to track when we look for common destinations and then Backward Map to the pathways being used to get there. The blueprint is also discernable when the jigsaw pieces are so clearly designed to fit together.

Combine both and the vision and its constancy through the decades begins to feel like a supernova, blinding in its intensity.

The Frameworks Institute is not the only one who gets to create analogies and metaphors to guide analysis.

Seeking Transfiguration of the Actual by the Imagination of the Possible: Competency in Context

Don’t we just love it when we can locate the real rationales for what we have indisputedly uncovered? All of this deliberate Mind Arson via our K-12 schools and repeated disdain for a logical Axemaker Mind is too pervasive not to be an essential component of the plans, but an explicit, fully integrated confession of intentions can be hard to find. Pieced together works, but it’s neither as satisfying or as damning.  Luckily for us, my footnote mining recently pulled up a reference to a 1993 book published in the UK by Michael Fullan, still one of the world’s premier drivers of Radical Ed Reform. We covered his cutting-edge transdisciplinary global education vision here. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/opting-out-as-the-remedy-may-mean-accidentally-accelerating-nonconsensual-transformations/

The equity and excellence that are the shorthand phrase to describe the goals of the Quality Education for Minorities Project we met in the last post are essential for all students Fullan asserted, but the “ultimate aim of education is to produce a learning society.” That requires students and teachers with a “combination of moral purpose and change agentry–caring and competence.” If that sounds like Fullan was already pushing for wholesale social change in a collective direction with education as the driver more than 20 years ago, he was. Quoting what he wanted: “Put another way, the ability to cope with change, learning as much as possible with each encounter is the generic capacity needed for the twenty-first century.”

Luckily for us, Fullan confessed that (with italics) that we “are talking about a learning society not just a learning school system. The commitment and practice of learning must find itself in all kinds of organizations and institutions if it is to achieve any kind of force in society as a whole.” (Remember two posts ago, Peter Drucker also saw organizations as key to his government-steered, planned economy and society with education as the transition vehicle). The 1992 program for the “human development project” for Canada and the United States is cited by name and is laid out in a document euphemistically called The Learning Society (because citing to Uncle Karl at that time was considered unwise and his blueprint needed name laundering) and published by CIAR–the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research.

Before we cover those aims, we have another global radical (with a blog tag and a perch at Harvard Law), Roberto Mangabeira Unger, who has also laid out the global transformation vision, including the necessary role of education. He also wants to limit education to “the development of generic capacities by contrast to both training in specialized skills and the passive transmittal of information.” Those latter two traditional purposes of education were thought to impede “wholehearted engagement and action” towards the kind of democratic experimentalism Unger laid out in his 1998 book Democracy Realized: the progressive alternative. I bought that book after a mention of it because I recognized Unger’s influence (he was a professor at Harvard when both the Obamas were in law school there) and all the references we have encountered in the education reforms to democracy as the goal and progressive, polyphonic federalism (Jan 28, 2015 post) as the means to get around the US Constitution.

Reading the book I can recognize how closely what Unger wants ties with the actual pushes I am seeing now at the state and local levels in the US. At one point Unger stated specifically that US states were already pursuing his vision of democratic experimentalism by transforming institutions. Unger made it crystal clear he wanted the obstructions of the US political system’s “checks and balances” that impede social transformations aimed at restructuring property and social relations to be disregarded and overriden. That is something we should all keep in mind as the federal government sends money to states and cities and governors, legislators, mayors, and city councils all pursue comparable reforms to what Unger laid out at the necessary, “decentralized”, local level.

With the formal sponsors of the Common Core and several federal agencies all now pushing Competency as the goal of both K-12 and higher ed for all students, let’s keep in mind Unger’s desire for and definition of generic capacities for all. “Such capacities may be practical as well as conceptual [think of Enduring Understandings, Understanding by Design, and core disciplinary ideas in the current implementation], and they include the core substantive tools of learning. The heart of this education in capacities is the transfiguration of the actual by the imagination of the possible. In natural science and social and historical study we come to understand how and why things work by discovering the conditions under which each thing can become something else.” Adapt. Evolve. That certainly puts the C3 Social Studies Framework, Next Generation Science Standards  http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/2015/03/teaching_the_next_generation_s.html , and the APUSH controversy over its new, divisive conceptual framework in the light of their true transformative mindset purposes, doesn’t it?

Actual, factual knowledge and a logical, Axemaker Mind are apparently as much an impediment to all these plans as that pesky US Constitution. By the way, the abstract for The Learning Society specifically mentioned “educating the population for new competencies” so I am not just interpreting Unger or Fullan’s “generic capacities” as fitting the definition of Competency. The basic developmental needs that are not just a floor for everyone, but also the desired ceiling so that herd-defying individuals cannot be transformation barriers in the way of social experimentation, are listed as the following outcomes: “the ability to make effective social connections with others, competence in the tools and skills of the culture and the opportunity to make productive use of them, good coping skills, healthy response patterns in the face of stress [grit? perseverence?], perceived control over one’s life, a sense of psychological well-being, and good self-esteem.”

I have previously pointed out that the Inclusive Prosperity vision (Feb 22, 2015 post) fits Marx’s Human Development Model perfectly and that it is alarming that in December 2013 the UK and US made achieving “subjective well-being” the new purpose of governments (Dec 23, 2013 post). The year after the dissolution of the USSR and 3 years after the Berlin Wall fell, we got a vision of wholesale social and economic, nonconsensual transformation, that stated that “reconceptualizing the nature of learning and the relationship between collective and individual development” provides the “knowledge base for moving our own society forward.” It just so happens that that reconceptualized “learning” fits with the parameters laid out by the QEM Project from the last post so that Uncle Karl’s vision can be shrouded and compelled by interpretations of federal civil rights laws.

The Learning Society foresaw this convenient cover and mentioned the “overdue recognition that as a society, we need to include previously excluded groups on an equitable basis, particularly indigenous peoples and those from minority cultures.” The previous paragraph had discussed the need for a Learning Society to deal with “the problems associated with large scale immigration, with poverty, and with unemployment are increasing.” Collectivism is thus the answer for the very problems governments created in the first place with previous bad policies. Since the Learning Society has little use for what an individual wants, why do governments want prosperity and economic growth? “To ensure that they create sufficient wealth to support a broad range of social, medical, and human services.” No mention of the added bonus of funding lots of public sector pensions for the dispensers of those services.

The return of a surreptitious School to Work emphasis now at the state level after the controversies when it was pushed at the federal level in the 90s makes perfect sense when we read this vision from the 1992 blueprint. “The creation of new ideas and applications is in turn dependent on the availability of a highly skilled and motivated workforce and its orchestrated deployment across a broad array of scientific and industrial tasks.” No wonder those generic capacities are all about “tasks and executions” in Unger’s vision of the needed progressive education and the emancipatory school. Serfs had to stay where they were commanded and we Americans now get to be deployed as “orchestrated” to meet everyone’s “needs.”

So add to the reams of source materials I lay out in my book Credentialed to Destroy: How and Why Education Became a Weapon on how the Cold War did not end quite as advertised, this Learning Society vision. Who precisely did win if the “main objectives of a CIAR program in human development” to be implemented starting in 1992 in Canada and the US is to “reconceptualize the dynamics of collective and individual human development”?

If governments at all levels, and the organizations they are creating and funding, are dedicated to creating an “ability to motivate and organize all members of a society, in an innovative fashion,” did we escape from the Cold War still, factually, a free people?

Especially if taxpayer-funded education and a new definition of Learning binding all of us at the level of our minds and personalities is the declared, intended vehicle.

Perhaps “Not Serfs Yet” as our motto was a premature boast?

 

Questioning the Quandary of Equity: the Quality Education for Minorities Project Lurks in the Shadows

When I said in the last post that we needed to talk about Equity as the constant goal across the decades of those seeking wholesale transformations, I had never heard of what gets abbreviated as the QEM Project. We saw Equity front and center in the Senate’s NCLB Rewrite, that supposedly conservative America Next education report, and as the new responsibility of the federal government mandating a switch to Competency for All. I was also responding to the framing of the purpose for Reinventing Government as being a means to advance Equity and the cause of Progressivism. This is how that book framed Equity in 1992 as the new purpose of public schools:

“they also exist to bring children from all walks of life together. This mixing of social classes and races is extremely important in a democracy; without it, we lose our capacity to understand and empathize with those who are different from us. When that happens, it is not long before our society loses its ability to care for those who need help. We become a collection of individuals,  not a community.”

We have been living for a while in an age where official policy is it’s not OK to function as an individual. Adjust to accepting the new designation as just another member of a community or society goes this stealth mandate. Nobody told us though, leaving us to wonder why we just keep coming across all these pushes for communitarianism as a necessary belief for the 21st century. Would anyone like to guess what change in practice and policy is seen as the premier way to advance Equity, integration, concepts of community, etc? That would be the various school choice schemes like charters and vouchers. In particular, we have these recognitions: “When governments fund programs or institutions directly, equity becomes difficult to enforce…When governments fund individuals rather than institutions, it is much easier to promote equity.” Keep that in mind whenever someone says “Let’s just have the money follow the child.”

That again was from the authors of the bipartisanly touted Reinventing Government. Another relevant, well-known book from that same seminal year was Affirming Diversity: The Sociopolitical Context of Multicultural Education. Sonia Nieto is involved now with Educators for Social Responsibility, Facing History and Ourselves, and the SPLC’s Teaching Tolerance program that we keep encountering in connection with the actual implementation coming in the name of the Common Core.  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/social-cohesion-can-commence-once-reality-is-born-largely-from-beliefs-and-boundaries-co-created-with-others/ and the next post confront those visions and Facing History has a tag. Back in 1992 Nieto had this to say about Equal education and Equity (italics in original):

“education must involve the interaction of students with teachers and schools [dialectical would be a synonym for what is envisioned], not simply the action of teachers and schools on students [the revered transmission of knowledge approach]. Equal education also means that the skills, talents, and experiences that all students bring to their education need to be considered as valid starting points for further schooling. Equity is a more comprehensive term because it includes real educational opportunities and also demands fairness and the real possibility of equality of outcomes for a broader range of students. Throughout this book, multicultural education will be considered as fundamental to educational equity.”

Remember that last sentence but in this age when the phrase White Privilege suddenly seems to be coming to every other K-12 classroom and college campus, let’s learn Nieto’s term when she is not complaining about current “economic, political, and social power.” Dysconscious racism is “a limited and distorted view of racism based on the tacit acceptance of dominant White norms and privileges that fails to take into account basic structural inequities in society.” So with Multiculti ed, only a wholesale transformation will suffice as the remedy and that remedy is now to be legally required as a civil and human right. Since Nieto’s vision of good, exemplary teaching for all students is to be our norm in all schools, we need to appreciate its tenets in addition to a mandate of active involvement of “students in real-life situations [that] allows them to reflect on their own lives.” Are you among the privileged or the prey? would be one way to shorthand the desired mindset.

* students are involved in issues they perceive as vital concerns.

* students are involved with explanations of differences in race, culture, religion, ethnicity, and gender.

* students are helped to see major concepts, big ideas, and general principles rather than isolated facts [now called 'lenses,' Enduring Understandings, or cross-disciplinary ideas]

* students are involved in planning their education.

* students are involved in applying ideals such as fairness, equity, or justice to their world.

* students are actively involved in heterogeneous groups [no tracking is fundamental to QME].

* students are asked to question commonsense or widely accepted assumptions [all that pooh-poohing of facts now comes in handy].

Problem solvers and critical thinkers just does not sound like such a great goal anymore does it, after that breakdown? Now I joke about tiptoeing through the footnotes, but honestly that’s where the gold pebbles and jewel admissions are. Nieto in a footnote mentions a January 1990 publication from the MIT Quality Education for Minorities Project called “Education That Works: An Action Plan for the Education of Minorities.” The QEM Project turns out to have begun in 1987 with Carnegie funding. Now remember Carnegie is the chief sponsor of Competency-based education now, including sponsoring the 2011 summit with federal officials. Marc Tucker of the National Commission on Education and the Economy (Carnegie-funding) was also involved in the QEM Project, which puts a new spin on all his work in the 90s on School to Work and new types of authentic assessments called the New Standards Project.

Texans need to be aware that MIT was one partner in QEM, but the other was the Marshall Center at the University of Texas. As I have warned, Texas did not actually need to be part of the Common Core to have its K-12 system in the same place as other states, if not ahead of the curve. QEM cared about the following groups by name: (1) Alaska Natives; (2) American Indians; (3) Black Americans; (4) Mexican Americans; and (5) Puerto Ricans. Two vital points about that list. First, Competency education and the Reinventing Schools Consortium involved in the February 2014 Dallas convening is being hyped as coming from work with natives in Chugach, Alaska. Now I know where the funding for all that expensive air travel came from. Secondly, Senator Ted Kennedy was also involved with the Action Council on Minority Education that issued this January 1990 report. That matters because Kennedy had always had an interest in amnesty for illegals.

Open that door and then use the presence to force a remake of K-12 education. Make that the “restructuring” of American education. Remember this report is after the 1989 Williamsburg education summit President George HW Bush called of the nation’s governors. This report came out before the official announcement of the proposed national goals. The idea was that all the restructuring and K-12 plans announced in the 1990 QEM report would piggy-back quietly on the national goals to be proposed later that year. We have the goals for public dissemination and then we have the QEM vision surreptitiously attached.

My question is did anyone unconnected to DC and the K-12 education vision of that time (which would mean that now Senator Lamar Alexander had to have known) know we had this QEM Project vision attached to all the federal pushes in the 90s and what is coming in under the banner of the Common Core now? I have never seen a reference to it before Nieto cited it, but it certainly makes everything make so much more sense. I would seriously love to hear from readers who lived through those earlier reforms on whether this attached Stealth QEM Agenda was ever discussed or even acknowledged.

This matters because the required QEM vision of education for all becomes the necessary type of K-12 education to shift to what I recognize as Uncle Karl’s Human Development Society. In 1991 it was renamed with the much more soothing name of the Learning Society and laid out for all of North America. I will get to that next time. Let’s close with a quote used to lay out the Challenge for Education that Works. Attributed to FDR, it stated that “We seek to build an America where no one is left out.”

Remind anyone else of federal legislation nicknamed as No Child Left Behind that was also based on the vision of education in Texas? How about the sentiment advanced by the UN recently in its Dignity for All by 2030 vision to guide post-2015 restructurings of education, economies, and societies generally?

We have a great deal of commonality here that appears to have been lurking in the shadows. Ready to bind us without any overt discussion.

Not anymore.

 

 

Fostering Faithful Followers for Anticipatory Democracy Created by Reinventing Governments

Anticipatory democracy may sound like a mouthful, but it’s really just a nerdy term policymakers created to justify governments at all levels becoming the decision-makers. We see it in the Inclusive Prosperity, America Next, and Dignity for All by 2030 vision from the previous two posts. Goals for our collective future are set out at forums we are not invited to and then officials decide how to get there from the present. Do you know what “Anticipatory Democracy and Aspirational Futures” http://www.jfs.tku.edu.tw/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/152-S06.pdf  always needs? It needs to develop a shared vision for the future across a broad spectrum of society that justifies governments as decision-makers. How can it do that? Well, it might want to seize control over the Internet now, but even before there was an ICT industry, every radical with transformational plans knew to look to education.

On February 17, 2015 the well-connected KnowledgeWorks put out its vision for the ESEA Rewrite wanting it to be grounded in Competency, including social and emotional ones, and for the federal, state, and local levels to operate together as a single system. http://knowledgeworks.org/sites/default/files/policy-political-landscape-k12-competency-education.PDF Sounds like polyphonic, progressive federalism to me as we covered in a previous post. Now I am assuming knowledge of Competency as laid out in Chapter 4 of my book Credentialed to Destroy and how it fits with the real Common Core implementation and learning progressions. What I want to do here is overlay the pertinent visions we are dealing with where people have confessed the need for New Mindsets, perceptions, and personality traits that will fit with their new visions of what governments at all levels are to be doing in the developed world.

Nobody was ever going to put us on notice or ask our permission. This was to be a fait accompli and somehow tenacious me has stumbled across it all with my constant listening and reading and musing over “why are they saying that? It’s not how the world has ever worked. What’s going on?” Now my reaction to the manipulative deceit of the language in that America Next report sent me scurrying back to a cited book from 1992 called Reinventing Government: How the Entrepreneurial Spirit is Transforming the Public Sector . It made me see what was going on in the name of Outcomes-based education and School to Work in the 90s in a whole new light. Remember how I have been bothered by the sudden ubiquity of all the references now to ‘Governance’ and our being governed? Read this (my bolding throughout this post):

“Governance is the process by which we collectively solve our problems and meet our society’s needs. [In other words it's a euphemism for what Marx called the purpose of his Human Development Society]. Government is the instrument we use. The instrument is outdated, and the process of reinvention has begun. We do not need another New Deal, nor another Reagan Revolution. We need an American perestroika.”

Interesting choice of language in 1992. Since the Reinventing book also cites Harlan Cleveland multiple times, let’s overlay this post into what my book laid out on what seems to really been going on in the 80s and 90s and who was really to undergo the wholesale restructuring. In this new vision the “job of government is to steer, not to row the boat.” Well, that grabbed my attention given the number of times I have encountered the idea that Competency-based education is creating a desired keel at the useful level of the student’s mind and personality. This is the fundamental vision of what the 1992 book called “third-party government” where governments look to third parties to carry out the public objectives they have set. So please do not disingenuously describe it as free enterprise or limited government or conservative policymaking.

A confessed goal of steering society and “using public leverage to shape private decisions to achieve collective goals” is using sovereign power for personal manipulation and control over individuals. Pure and simple. This Entrepreneurial (R)evolution needs a Crisis, which is basically what a hyped ‘skills gap’ and high unemployment provides. It needs Trust in Government, which requires an absence of factual knowledge about the past. It needs Shared Vision and Goals, which is precisely where education again comes in. Where better to go about sculpting “the key element is a collective vision of a city or state’s future–a sense of where it’s headed.” That was John Parr, executive director of the National Civic League, speaking in the book. Parr went on to say: “If you haven’t put that [vision] together, it’s very difficult to make these innovative approaches work, because people become so confused about the role of government. They become very confused about why government is changing.”

If that quote is not hitting anyone else like a ton of bricks given all the hype on a new paradigm for education, how about the open declaration that the cultivated shared vision about the new role of governments “simply assures that enough of the community shares the leaders’ vision to overcome the opposition.” No wonder we keep hearing all those mentions of democracy. Has there ever been a more meaningful confession of majority rules? Now the Reinventing Government book left me breathless because it fit the facts I have noticed or laid out in my book so well going back to the 60s. It said the original version of this reprivitization/steering vision though had come from Peter Drucker and cited a 1968 book The Age of Discontinuity.

Now the 1992 book did own up to needing to change the “mental image of government” each of us has, but Drucker thankfully set out a graphic description of the kind of education for ALL students that would be necessary to fit his vision that “after 250 years, political theory and social theory” would once again join together. If that sounds like the historic concept of the individual is about to go poof, Drucker did call for a “new individualism” and a “new concept of freedom.” To clarify “the purpose of government is to make fundamental decisions and to make them effectively.” Next time you hear that “citizenship dispositions” is a stated purpose of Competency education and the Common Core, remember that Drucker wrote that “In a free society, the citizen takes responsibility, above all, for his society and its institutions.”

Drucker’s vision called for education and learning grounded in skills that would be the “cornerstone of tomorrow’s education for everybody.” This would not be an academic education grounded in subject content and he wanted the focus to be on nonverbal experience and performance. Like performance standards and assessments and learning experiences? What is now being described as Competency education suitable for the workforce or college open to all sounds like what Drucker called in 1968 his “education of technologists.” Education suitable for an equitable society where governments now do the steering and see that all people’s needs are met.

Drucker’s “education of technologists” had three essential components. Now when Drucker says “apply knowledge to work” or “using theory” he does not mean book knowledge. He means what we are now encountering as Enduring Understandings, core disciplinary ideas, cross-cutting issues, and other terms for the supplied Big Ideas and ‘lenses’ to be used to guide our interpretation of the world. Drucker wanted “an infinite number of people capable of using theory as the basis of skill for practical application in work.” What today we would call Project-based Learning and Competency-based education. If my interpretation of the likely end result of Fostering Faithful Followers seems a bit too cynical it’s because we have not yet covered the other two essential elements. “Equally important is the training and formation of perception and emotion in school.”

In the next post I want to talk about how the push to make Equity an essential obligation of the federal government makes this steering vision and collectivism necessary. We need to challenge that fundamental false premise before all that is left is a discussion over means. Meanwhile, I want to end with a quote that fits the current, actual K-12 implementation as well as where something in higher ed called the ETS Proficiency Profile is taking us. Remember what I always say about the purpose of policies and practices attaching to them even if the school and classroom users remain unaware. Drucker and the Reinventing Government authors were very graphic. Here goes:

“Perception and emotion are trained, developed, and disciplined only in the experience of performance, that is, only under the challenge of objective standards that exist no matter what the individual’s ability, inclinations, or proficiency.”

Those are standards in the sense of goals for everyone. That is a vision that allows for Student Success for ALL. It fulfills the current attempt to create a federal civil rights obligation grounded in quality education that provides Equity and Excellence.

And at its fundamental foundation it uses governments in the Developed World to steer economies and society to finally fulfill what Uncle Karl called his Human Development Society.

One last revelation from Reinventing Government in 1992–A Global Revolution–that fits with the worldwide push towards Competency.

“If the rise of entrepreneurial government is an inevitable shift rather than a temporary fad, as we argue, one would expect it in other nations as well. And to a startling degree, it has. A similar process of transformation is under way throughout the developed world.”

Using similar mechanisms for comparable reasons.

 

Peeking into the Behavioral Programming Blueprints for Collectivist Subjugation via K-12 Education Deceit

We are going to shift away from the previous post’s concentration on the active refusal to teach reading properly that has been going on for decades. First though we will look at what Marshall McLuhan openly confessed to in his 1962 global bestseller The Gutenberg Galaxy. The entire book bemoaned the analytical habits of mind and sense of individualism created by phonetic literacy and the advent of print as an obstacle to “total human interdependence” and “corporate responsibility and awareness”. In order for the “highly literate and individualist mind…to become more collectively oriented,” a widespread ability to read print fluently and phonetically had to be jettisoned.

We can all agree that that particular scheme has gone quite well for the Collectively-oriented Statist Schemers. Limiting the ability to read well and independently is a necessary condition for a shift to Collectivism because (to quote mcLuhan again):

“Print is the extreme phase of alphabet culture that detribalizes or decollectivizes man in the first instance…Print is the technology of individualism. If men decided to modify this visual technology by an electric technology [Hint: Like Digital Learning as a required 21st Century Skill?], individualism will also be modified. To raise a moral complaint about this is like cussing a buzz-saw for lopping off fingers.”

Since neither education or buzz-saws operate independently, we do reserve every right to complain about the politicians, principals, and other administrators who are lying to us taxpayers and parents about what they are actually up to. At least a lopped off finger leaves a bloody stub so we can immediately take notice of the damage done. It is so much harder when other elements of the collectivization plans are even less visible than a limited ability or inclination to read. Today we will talk about the global push to use Character Education to “define the core ethical and performance values they most wish to instill in their students.” I bolded the ‘they’ because other people now get to decide what your child is to value and believe at an unconscious level so it will predictably guide behavior going forward.

In my book Credentialed to Destroy in the chapter on the real Common Core implementation, I described how everything I had documented pointed to personal values, attitudes, and beliefs being the true new aim of the curriculum. This post is about more than that and it ties into both the Curriculum Redesign Project we looked at here  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/drawing-back-the-standards-curtain-to-discover-the-global-coordination-to-redesign-the-very-nature-of-curriculum/ as well as the Global Education Leaders Programme [see tag]. This also fits closely with the disturbing Education Commission of the States and State Farm Civics Education report we examined in December 1, 2014.

http://www.character.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/ElevenPrinciples_new2010.pdf was distributed last week to make sure all schools and officials now understand that a “comprehensive approach uses all aspects of school as opportunities for character development” and that all “academic content and instruction” is integrated with character development and moral reasoning through discussions of ethical issues.  The core values to be developed “affirm human dignity, promote the development and welfare of the individual, serve the common good, define our rights and responsibilities in a democratic society, and meet the classical tests of universality (i.e., Would you want all persons  to act this way in a similar situation?) and reversibility (i.e., Would you want to be treated this way?)”

Now those are not the requirements written into the US Constitution which is simply being ignored. They are, however, very similar to Kohlberg’s Moral Development Theory (developed by a Harvard prof) that the Chinese imposed on Hong Kong students as soon as that lease was up. We know then it is a theory that fits in well with collectivist aspirations and desires for “guiding the behavior of all those in the school community.” Those core values are to be “integrated into all aspects of school life” including the hiring of teachers and “non-teaching staff.”

Principle 2 “defines ‘character’ comprehensively to include thinking, feeling, and doing.” Yes, that’s why we keep hearing about Whole Child Initiatives as part of the Common Core. How many parents understand that the Growth and Continuous Improvement the schools are hyping as showing improvement in student achievement are actually a shift of definitions to “a holistic approach to character development therefore seeks to develop the cognitive, emotional, and behavioral dispositions required to do the right thing and do one’s best work”? Whose definition of the right thing we reasonably ask? Why the definition used by those seeking Social Justice is the real answer.

How do I know that? Beyond the insistence in Principle 4 that a “school committed to character strives to become a microcosm of a civil, caring, and just society,” I happen to know, as the tenacious lawyer that I am, that the federal government under the civil rights laws and most of the major civil rights groups are all insisting on a commitment from schools to Excellence and Equity. I happen to know that in K-12 education, Excellence has a specific meaning http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/excellence-means-education-putting-what-we-feel-wish-for-and-think-in-harmony/ that quietly dovetails with that redefinition of ‘character’ from Principle 2.

Schools that make academic coursework about helping “students form caring attachments to each other” and “a feeling of responsibility for one another” are laying the foundation for a communitarian society in the near future. A school that leads students to believe that they have a human right to have others satisfy their basic needs and that each student, in turn, has the obligation to meet those basic needs is laying the groundwork for what Uncle Karl and his followers called the Human Development Model http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/who-knew-karl-marx-had-a-human-development-model-or-that-it-fit-our-facts-so-well/ That’s not name-calling or a criticism although I do believe it is an unworkable vision. I am simply recognizing as a factual matter the description of what is being advocated for in phrases like

“the school sets aside time for students to assess community needs, create ideas for meeting those needs, plan and coordinate service learning projects, and reflect on the positive consequences of community service.”

The entire vision of what its advocates refer to as Marxist Humanism as a goal for the West’s society and economy is grounded in meeting human ‘needs’. Interestingly, the requirement that all schools must now have “an academic program that helps all students succeed,” even those with what can only charitably be described as inert minds even on a good day, gets expressed in terms of an obligation to meet all students’ needs. Since inert minds are an unfortunate reality, we get the call for “a variety of active teaching and learning strategies” so that participation and projects become the way to deal with inert minds. Quietly and without alerting the parents, social interaction around topics of interest from the real world and ethical issues for the new hoped-for society become the entire point of the classroom and coursework.

We talked about the reasons for wanting to limit reading fluency, but treating words as a whole and doling them out to guide thought ties right into the plan for how the “core values are woven into the literacy curriculum, where students use their reading selections to reflect on the values and on issues of character, such as discrimination, patriotism, and moral courage. In social studies classes, students are expected to act upon the core values as they select and research national or international causes and then work with community members to carry out related service projects.” I do not think it is a stretch to imagine that the reading selections available in the Cloud or put aside as an ELA Task Set will have a deliberate slant to it.

Here, for example, is how elementary school gets reimagined. “Grade-level curriculum guides show how essential questions [from Grant Wiggins' Understanding By Design, See tags] can be tied to ethical issues and specific service learning projects. Students at every level now engage in service as an integral outgrowth of topics they learn in class. In a fifth-grade unit entitled “Let Freedom Ring,” the essential question Why do we have the Constitution and the Bill of Rights? leads to assignments researching the background of specific amendments and concluding with an advocacy letter written to members of Congress. [We can all just imagine what was advocated for]. In a second-grade class, students respond to a reading assignment about Haiti by raising enough funds to donate 400 pounds of beans to the people in need there. Leary students learn that service is a vital part of good character and meaningful academics.”

I bolded that aspect about “leary students” since we are talking about 7-year-olds who might know a thing or two about what really makes Haiti so dysfunctional and be pondering the chances that any or how much of the 400 pounds will make to those in need there. Well-informed students don’t get to be leary anymore even when they reasonably ought to be. Given this statement: “the school’s approach to student conduct uses all aspects of behavior management–including rule-setting and rule-enforcement–as opportunities to foster students’ character development, especially their understanding of and commitment to core values,” life in K-12 education is about to become very uncomfortable to any students or adults not aboard the collectivist bandwagon.

Previously I mentioned that there is a term for this type of community focused approach–Productive Learning. It’s not particularly productive to the individual student, but it is very productive to the political class laying out what must be done and what may not happen anymore. If we think of this Character Education vision as using K-12 to prepare students to now be members of a Human Development Society, the other crucial aspect of Productive Learning involves preparation for the new Workforce.

We will deal with that aspect next time as we keep tracking the necessary conditions for a transformation away from Individualism as a legitimate 21st Century focus.

Backward Mapping: Bundling Human and Social Engineering While Trumpeting International Competition

Sometimes people feel deeply shaken by the things I write about. Me too, except there is no ambiguity in what is being sought by the time I am willing to discuss it in public. If the declarations appear to be Tragic or even just a horrifically wasteful idea, someone needs to be bringing these intentions into the sunlight of public scrutiny in time. So after an admittedly needed rest to watch the sand and surf and mull over the enormity of the materials I have, here we go again.

I must say though I was relieved to learn as I pondered the implications of today’s disclosures that the late UK economist, Kenneth Minogue, had also been distressed by what was being intentionally done to the minds and personalities of people in order to force the acceptance of the welfare state and equality for all. His 2010 book The Servile Mind noted that in the 21st century “large areas of what were previously of private concern have become subject to political regulation.” Amen to that from this side of the Atlantic pond. He pointed out that “new pieties have arisen according to which individuals are able to demonstrate their decency by the political attitudes they adopt.”

Having just finished reading http://www.competencyworks.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/CW-An-International-Study-in-Competency-Education-Postcards-from-Abroad-October-2014.pdf released two days ago, I would word that much more strongly than Minogue did. Globally those desired attitudes are simply being declared a necessary Competency or disposition. Then learning experiences are created to make sure the desired changes in personal outlooks occur. Minogue noted a “coercive centralism of attitude and policy.” I agree, but how few recognize that has become the new purpose of K-12 curriculum and what is actually being assessed? Minogue reminded us that historically in the US and the elsewhere in the West individuals “constructed their own identity in terms of personally chosen commitments.”

Not in the Competency vision. It is purely grounded in a belief that in the 21st Century, all over the world, government officials at all levels get to pick out the desired “sentiment and belief [that] can be adequately entrenched in the human mind” in order to “determine conduct” in the manner desired for the new vision of society and the economy laid out. Political power is now mandating in advance what is to be acceptable individual behavior, beliefs, and values. Since that sounds unabashedly authoritarian to anyone with a modicum of history knowledge, the same goals get hidden under an invisibility cloak with terms like standards, learning, or Competency.

Or ‘entrepreneurship’ in UNESCO’s recent report called Toward an Entrepreneurial Culture for the Twenty-First Century. Backward Mapping is a term used to describe the desired quality, attribute, sentiment, or behavior to be instilled through school experiences in a student. It sounds much better than political engineering of a person’s personality and behavior, but those are the true aims if we can just be blunt and honest. Saves time and wasteful use of taxpayer dollars. Here’s a sample of what I mean from that UNESCO report:

“Across nations, what is needed [in K-12 and all approaches to economic and social development] are programmes that show young people how they can directly contribute to raising levels of well-being and prosperity in their communities. Preparation starts in the classroom where students, future workers, business owners and community members must learn how to be responsible citizens.”

That’s the vision that K-12 education must now engineer, which would certainly explain the need for a student-centered behavioral approach instead of the traditional subject-matter emphasis. It also explains why we just keep running into a required communitarian orientation that students are to demonstrate daily. Again UNESCO reminds us that “education is not only acquiring academic knowledge but the way to prepare young people for work and living in the society.” Of course that would be the new view of society so we are Backward Mapping twice. Desired Society needs a certain kind of citizen with a stipulated Outlook on what is desirable for the future. That type of citizen then gets sculpted via K-12 Whole Child focused education. No intention though to confess all this to the parents or taxpayers.

What’s important is the Goal of Equity and “a decent quality of growth for all.” Now I think all this is delusional, but this is in fact what Competency globally is tied to as well as those Common Core standards when rightfully understood in the supporters’ own words. If this social and economic vision is deranged, then we are implementing a tragic form of behavioral engineering for ridiculous ends in our schools, and nobody is supposed to have a veto power to stop the shift in time. Please read the End Game while mentally humming “To Dream the Impossible Dream” to add to the context. To give our mayors, city councils, and community organizers, not to mention district School Supers, ever more power over people and places, this is all to occur at the level of “local governments.”

“…rests on finding a balance between economic, social and environmental goals. This requires dialogue and partnerships through which different stakeholders work together for their broad range of concerns. [Won't the new real world problem-based focus for high school come in handy?] And while this may not always be as effective as desired [that's OK because taxpayer dollars can always be levied again since they come from a magic tree surrounded by unicorns], there are at least greater civil society inputs into strategies to maintain social cohesion to protect cultural identity and to promote environmentally friendly behaviours in local communities. Putting the future of the community in the hands of its own members reduces dependency on outside forces and rejuvenates the economic and social fabric.”

Now would be a good time to transition to the song “Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows” because, as I said, that’s a ridiculous vision. A rational mind filled with facts and attuned to making its own decisions and setting its own goals would grasp that easily, which is precisely why such minds are being disallowed all over the globe. They are in the way of the desired all-encompassing exercise of political power in the 21st Century. That reality again would never be something most people would voluntarily acquiesce to so we get namby-pamby visions for 21st century education like this from the same document:

“We learn from a young age that the development of positive, engaging and equitable relationships is critical to our success as human beings. Basic social skills enable us to interact in the community, as well as to understand the meaning of citizenship. Sound social skills allow us to understand both social rights and claims, as well as obligations and responsibilities. But imagination and emotional engagement are as important as social skills. More than ever, there is a need to engage young people in finding creative solutions to improving the welfare of their communities, while contributing to collective prosperity in ways that do not damage natural resources. Intelligence should include the ability to envisage alternative futures, to resolve open-ended problems with more than one way of doing things.”

That’s the vision of society and the economy and our new future that all the education reforms going on globally in both public and private schools are driving towards. There is absolutely no ambiguity whatsoever in what is being sought and why. The only fluctuation seems to be where in the progression  a given school, district, or country is.

I am going to close this post with the open declaration of one of the insiders who brags about her access and tutoring of Fortune 100 CEOs and Pentagon officials and her desire to use education to gain new kinds of nonlinear minds to get a new kind of society. In her 2010 book Rebecca Costa wrote that “we have to challenge [the human brain] in very specific ways. And we are getting very close to understanding exactly what those ways are. Word by word, we are now constructing a user’s manual to the human brain–ground zero for everything we do, know, think, and feel–and the sustainability of human progress.”

Told you there was no ambiguity and no, we are apparently not supposed to get a copy of that user’s manual. Fortunately for all of us, I found it anyway and laid it out in my book originally. I continue to explore it on this blog.

We can only stop what we know exists. The creators of that user’s manual and these visions of the future never wanted us to link K-12 reforms to what was really the End Game in time.

Tough luck I say.

 

 

Framing, then Refining Lasting Webs of Mutual Social Understanding to Fulfill Aspirations Grounded in Infamy

Since I do not want to be accused of a Godwin’s Law violation, I will not tell precisely who uttered this sentiment that still lurks behind all of the current rhetoric of priming students to act for the Common Good. True idealism is nothing but subjecting the individual’s interests and life to the community. I will note though that when Governors and Mayors are now being instructed by multiple federal agencies to make workforce preparation the goal of K-12 and teachers and principals plan to target the Whole Child for monitoring and manipulation, everyone is thinking like a collectivist even if no one involved is really familiar with the crucial distinctions anymore. Luckily for us though, I have a copy of E. Merrill Root’s 1955 book Collectivism on the Campus so we can revisit these vital concepts during a previous heyday when people still recognized what was at risk.

Root goes back to people like the famous 19th century poet Ralph Waldo Emerson and reminds us that this struggle with the coercive potential of the State has a long history:

“collectivism would reduce unique persons to efficient functions of a dominant mass; and individualism, that would exalt the status of the persons who freely constitute it… By nature, individualism sees society as the means and the individual as the end. Man does not exist to serve society, as among the bees and the ants; society exists to serve unique, individual persons…collectivism by its very nature and by its efficient practice regulates, prohibits, and compels.”

As we keep encountering the principle that democracy is suddenly to mean an ability by the majority in number to bind the minority to its wishes and perceived needs, which, I believe, is why this statistic has been getting so much recent hype  http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/education/white-students-aren-t-going-be-majority-schools, let’s look at all the swirling intentions of fundamental transformations in so many areas by remembering: “all collectivisms, no matter how they differ in mood or means, are united in the socialist principle of control by the people collectively, or the state.”

Now let’s come forward a bit, but not yet all the way to the present. One of the contributors to The Great Adventure book from the last several posts was a creator of the 1970 document The Predicament of Mankind that sought to lay the seeds for using the theories of the social sciences and the research from the behavioral sciences to begin designing social systems in the West. It was to be the foundation of the Club of Rome. Now the CoR chose then instead, as the UN does now, to mask that actual intention in physical science models that understandably never work very well. They are an excuse to alter reality and existing human behaviors, not a means of reliably modelling what exists and predict what probably will be.

So Alexander N. Christakis, who we will now shorthand as Christo, resigned from the CoR and took his Structured Dialogue Design Process with him. It never went away though and it came to my attention in Chapter 6 of the book: “Technology to Liberate Rather Than Imprison Consciousness.” Now if that catches your attention as more and more ‘coursework’ to get ‘degrees’ or ‘workplace credentials’ shifts to online methods, it should. First though let’s see what Christo actually said were his intentions. He opens with this quote from fellow systems thinker and GERG social engineer Bela Banathy [see his tag on blog. We have met him before]. Remember what Dialogue means from the last post:

“Dialogue facilitates the development of a common language and collective mental models. Thus, the ability to engage in dialogue becomes one of the most fundamental and most needed human capabilities. Dialogue becomes a central component of any model of evolutionary transformation.”

Communication For Social Change as the Rockefeller Foundation called it. As the FrameWorks Institute seeks to prepare common mental maps to reliably guide the perceptions of the masses, so too SDD “brings the lack of a commonly shared metanarrative into focus and encourages creative adaptations among participants.” Change within the person in other words just like the shift to student-centered learning. If this all seems a bit Egg-Heady to you and not a real threat to the way of life we all take for granted, http://obamavision.wikispaces.com/file/view/Figure_1-_Amended_Classification_of_59_Inhibitors_to_Bottom-up_Democracy.pdf/50379547/Figure_1-_Amended_Classification_of_59_Inhibitors_to_Bottom-up_Democracy.pdf makes it clear the Obama campaign in 2008 used SDD by name to gather input into the vision that fundamental transformation must be alluding to: “Obama’s vision for engaging stakeholders from all walks of life in a bottom-up democracy employing Internet technology.”

The National Center for Dialogue and Deliberation that we just keep encountering http://ncdd.org/806 announced the giveaway of the SDD software to help encourage the dissemination of the participatory democracy model. Remember the one that lies at the heart of how urban metro areas are to operate politically in the future? The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and sector strategies and Career Pathways with Big Business are such drivers towards a reality of collectivism precisely because they intersect with these declared goals of Metropolitanism and the determination of so many mayors that they are the place for achieving Economic Justice.

Now added to that we get Christo declaring in a 2012 Training Workshop on Why and How We Ought to Reinvent Democracy that SDD is the means “for building capacity internationally for addressing highly complex problems using the science of dialogue.” We also see in this 2012 published paper the intentions to use online coursework delivered internationally to allow broad interaction to reach common understandings of what are called Continuous Critical Problems. Dialogue via the Internet and the virtual realities it can deliver to create common experiences become a means for “Striving for Sustainable Global Democracy Through A Group Decision-Making Process: A Critical Review of an Online Course to Model Transformative Praxis.” http://www.sociostudies.org/journal/files/jogs/2012_1/135-151.pdf

From now on every time we hear the word Sustainable, we need to remember that article’s lead-in quote that “Sustainability is not simply about changing practices but more centrally about agreeing to change practices together.” Think of it as creating a mass perception of consensual collectivism via dialogue and deliberation. SDD trains participants, including K-12 students where it is much more likely to be called Guided Dialogue or the Discourse Classroom (unless we are in Finland where as we saw the required practice over years is a component now of what Global Citizenship is to come to mean). Think of how handy the rejection of facts, logic, lectures, and textbooks will be, as  SDD uses ‘triggering questions’ (or what the related Understanding By Design or Backward Mapping call Essential Questions)  to supposedly examine the roots and ‘deep drivers’ of messy, real world situations.

This allows the question to “frame the context of the dialogue” where “participants articulate their ideas in their own words to the full attention of the other participants.” Now one can see why a new affirmative Student Code of Conduct would be necessary as the clarifying and dialogue is to “authenticate each person irrespective of his or her education level or position of power.” No more ability to engage in that former educational pasttime at all levels of rolling eyes or otherwise indicating when something is clearly ignorant or absurd. It’s a perspective and disrespect, even if deserved to puncture the continued survival of patently BAD Ideas, would interfere with the desire to “build a sense of shared competence within the group.”

The better to build a sense of entitlement to collective decision-making and the use of something like that POWER Model Anthony Carnevale considered a New Workplace Basic 2 posts ago. Whether dealing with captive students in the classroom or adults on retreat or showing up for community input meetings, the idea consistently is to get “participants to rank the clusters of gathered observations according to their relative importance. This step brings into sharp relief the different priorities and values within the group. In the ensuing discussion, parties come to understand where their coparticipants are coming from, which leads to a respectful working relationship, based on defined mutual interest.”

Now common sense and a knowledge of history would reveal this method for “greatly enhanced decision-making and action-planning” is a global prescription for disaster. That would be why this reality of the ultimate goals is so shrouded in deceit and the need to make common sense and actual knowledge of history uncommon indeed. Since I am nothing if not a Deceit Shroud Buster and just drowning in what used to be called Horse Sense, lets end with what Christo said was intended. As you know, the purposes of the creators run with their techniques, theories, and practices, even when all those things are unknown to whomever is actually using or requiring their use.

SDD under its variety of names is a “method for gaining shared meaning, unified goals, and the systemic wisdom needed for effective conscious evolution…We mimic the webs of interdependence that exist in lively, livable communities and the buoyant activity these webs foster. We catalyze and nurture the qualities of Mutualism (or egalitarian give and take), Integration, Distributed Intelligence, Emotional Ties that Bind, Values and Wisdom (or the knowledge web).”

It seems silly, doesn’t it when the actual intentions are spelled out that way? That would be why such declarations are in books and reports we masses are not supposed to see. Discussed in conferences we may fund, but are not invited to.

Instead we get explanations for changes that may be plausible on their face, but never fit the facts. We get euphemisms like Quality Learning that are factually true but never accurately understood.

It is past time to remedy that. Maybe a shared understanding is a good thing when it is about the reality and methods for transformational cultural change.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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