Are the New 3 R’s and the Student-Centered, Inquiry Driven Classroom a Means to Eastern Spirituality?

We are so trained to defer to religious beliefs as a private matter and something that, at least in the US, Government is supposed to stay out of, that it can take a sledgehammer hit to force us to look at what was staring us in the face all along. I would write stories and then run into the advocates as teachers in a California Wisdom Center. And ignore it. I have traced many of the education reformers/professors to discussions about Third Order Consciousness. And ignored it. Mustn’t be controversial.  It’s a private matter.

I wrote posts about sought Deep and Continual Personal Change  within each Student and ignored the clear references to Meditation Practices. It’s just not how I think. It’s an area I did not want to go to. I have written about Peter Senge and his Systems Thinking and his Presencing book but chose to overlook the links of his sought education and organization practices to his Buddhist practices and beliefs. Again we want to see spirituality as a private, personal matter. Bringing it up and discussing it are off limits. Even when personal Spiritual/ Internal Values are clearly targeted by the Full Personality/holistic education/Systems Thinking focus we are discussing.

The Sledgehammer forced me to confront this Reality recently when I was filing some of my research and glanced at a xeroxed Preface called “Education Trends in a World Crisis” from a 1954 book Education in the New Age. Now its author, Alice A. Bailey, is a controversial New Age enthusiast/Theosophist and apparently much more (you can search out the more lurid details. That’s not my point) but the description in the Preface fit the emotionally driven, intuitive, nonrational mind we have been chronicling. That was the desired Goal. Bailey was the one describing the Sought Mental Global Reality in Students and Future Voters we have been examining in terms  of synthesizing Tibetan spirituality practices.

She was the one writing about using education globally to “resynthesize the objective and subjective, the extrovert [the West] and the introvert [Oriental Asian] civilizations and to achieve a great orchestration of culture.” When you mention culture like that and it turns out the book is a write-up of a 1953 seminar in Chicago funded by the Ford Foundation and you go on to describe your education “project” as based on a UNESCO document you have my full, undivided attention. Most of what we have encountered throughout this blog’s journey traces back to UNESCO involvement and Ford funding. The Regional Equity Movement now is a high priority of Ford and they have hired a John Goodlad confederate, Jeanne Oakes, away from UCLA’s Center for Democracy and Education. She is behind most of the research claiming academic tracking is a bad idea. Ford Foundation employees edited Breakthrough Communities: Sustainability and Justice in the Next American Metropolis. The book I got the Van Jones essay from.  Same involved employees were listed as part of that CA Wisdom Center I already chose to ignore.

Sledgehammer moment caused me to go check to see if Bailey’s book was still in print. The answer? Yes, with its Twelfth Printing listed as 2012. This year. Someone thinks this is still a relevant global vision. For UNESCO’s Education for All globally? For its Decade of Education for Sustainable Development? To promote the Orwellian named, John Dewey inspired, Quality Learning, globally? Only one way to find out. So I bought Bailey’s 1954 book as well as a 1932 book, with a 1960 copyright published in 1972, called From Intellect to Intuition. You see I remembered the kind of emotionally-driven, Arational Minds being sought via education and wanted to see if part of the impetus for rejecting Axemaker Minds was coming out of this Altered Consciousness to fit with Eastern Spirituality emphasis. That would be a huge, emphatic YES!! More on that shortly or in the next post. Remember I am providing those dates above for a reason. Think of World Affairs at those times.

Bailey’s Goal for Education is not the least bit modest. She wants to inculcate a World-view in each person on the planet Earth that “will make possible a planetary civilization by integrating whatever trans-temporal and trans-spatial truths about man and the universe we can extract from all regional cultures in their local times and places.” That was Thomas Berry’s Bioregional Vision too. Also involved with the CA Wisdom Center I ignored.

Bailey was seeking a totalizing World-view or Governing Ideology that guides one through all elements of daily living. Her aspiration, in 1954, was that the World-view taught provide “the kind of overall synthesis that Marxism and neo-Scholasticism provide for their followers [no need then for individual free decision-making], but to get this by the freely chosen cooperative methods that Dewey advocated.”

That would be the Student-Centered, Inquiry Driven Classroom John Dewey wanted with its Quality Learning goal. . The kind of classroom and practices the accreditors like AdvancED and consulting companies like Cambridge Education mandate in their reports about Quality. Now. In 2011 and 2012.

That would be the same Quality Learning that is “intuited rather than deduced, felt rather than described, and is immediate to the situation [concrete real world problems in context] rather than removed from it [the forbidden abstract conceptualizations within the privacy of your own mind with your own set of known facts].

Now it is time to pivot to the 1932 From Intellect to Intuition since the sought focus in Quality Learning is feeling and intuition as well. The book is about meditation and “leading man into his heritage as a human being” through educational and psychological practices so that together these two “lead him to the door of the mystical world.” This occurs by training students to use Direct Experience and then turn inwards toward themselves to Reflect upon it. Remember the constancy of this phrase? “The heart and mind become united in their endeavor.” Bailey’s idea is that through “right education,” emotionally-driven, experiential education, (No she did not use the word Hands-On Education but that would be the 21st century version of her idea), the “mind and soul” learn

“to be receptive towards impressions emanating from the mind.” This to Bailey is meditation but to work it requires moving education away from “education of the memory and the cataloguing of world knowledge.” Sound Familiar? Can’t be “the old education with its memory training, its books and lectures and its appropriation of so-called facts.” This is the actual CCSSI implementation model. Cannot be about the teacher transmitting knowledge. That’s a Barrier to a Mind open to Bailey’s New Knowledge. Must be about the New 3 R’s–Relationships, Rigor, and Relevance.

Bailey talks a lot about Right Relations with all of humanity in her books. That was the first tip-off that reminded me of the New 3 R’s. I remembered Willard Daggett in CCSSI training of teachers saying that “Relevance makes Rigor Possible.” I got he meant relevance makes an emotional approach primary. Then I read the following passage in Bailey’s book on creating the Meditative Mind:

“The question may be asked, what is the easiest way to teach oneself to concentrate? . . . one way that may be employed is to utilize what has been called the ‘expulsive power of a new affection.’ To be profoundly interested in some new and intriguing subject, and to have one’s attention focussed on some fresh and dynamic matter will automatically tend to make the mind one-pointed.”

That passage on getting to an inward feeling focus that is not rational provides a good definition of Relevance. But it also makes the arrival of the new C3 Framework, Social Studies Standards, from the previous post, even more important. Making the classroom focus Questions about “societal issues, trends, and events” that the student is interested in is precisely the kind of “new and intriguing” and “fresh and dynamic” matter Bailey wrote about so long ago.

I am just getting started. This turned into quite an illuminating inquiry once I recognized where I had to look. Except my inquiry is not John Dewey’s definition.

Mine is driven by facts and open declarations of intent.



Being Grateful for What We Know and Appreciating Why It Matters

I had actually outlined another barnburner story but the day before Thanksgiving is no time to serve up indigestion. So I thought I would write a tale of appreciating why individual liberty has mattered in the past and why Freed Markets resulted in mass prosperity would be a nice tribute. And I do not mean that in a Pollyanish sense. One of the books I am tackling this holiday week is Robert P Moses’ radical equations: Civil Rights from Mississippi to the Algebra Project. I want every child to learn to the best of their ability. I want to really appreciate the desperation that is driving this Equality for All even if it guts the economy philosophy. It is why I read what attracted Van Jones to the Green Growth Economy as a manifestation of his self-confessed preference for Communism.

I think the history lessons of the Predator State declaring its Goals for People and then using its powers to coerce are too easy to forget. It’s not an ideological preference. It’s a factual story. A repeated pattern once government reaches a certain size of the economy. I think history consistently bears out the truth of what Nobel Prize-winning economist Friedrich Hayek said in his 1945 lecture “Individualism: True and False.” I give extra credit for people who have first hand experience in what led to most of the great tragedies of the 20th Century. It’s called Walking the Walk and there is great validity to the hard-earned wisdom it imparts.

“There is all the difference in the world between treating people equally and attempting to make them equal. While the first is a condition of a free society, the second means, as De Tocqueville described it, ‘a new form of servitude.”

There is just no getting around the fact that government officials and their Business Allies deciding they get to fine tune personalities and reset Values, Attitudes, and Beliefs to guide an Individual’s Future Behavior is a 21st Century form of servitude. Especially when the inappropriately named Positive School Climate is now a tool to retrain each student’s filtering Mindset. The worldview they will use from now on as they encounter daily reality. With their preferred non-Axemaker Mind and habits grounded in emotion. All quite consciously cultivated and monitored.

But we now know all this up front and that really is something to be Thankful for. As an active pursuer of these plans and blueprints this is decidedly unauthorized knowledge that was not supposed to become available. A 2012 Deerstalker Gold Star Award for Me. The most common question I get from frustrated parents especially is Why? What I am saying simply rings too true with their daily reality to discount it. But why the Deliberate Operant Conditioning towards a Future that’s not really about prosperity?

Like I have said, I take great comfort in putting all this in its Historical Context and its real Self-Dealing Context. Because honestly that is where it belongs. So I am going to quote you a passage from Hayek’s 1944 book The Road to Serfdom (page 176 in my 2007 copy). He really nails the drivers behind making education miseducation. Notice he also nails down the frequent unholy alliance between government and the media. Simply refusing to report or cover accurately anything that might caste a poor light on desired government policies. My bolding and snark is in the brackets.

“Facts and theories [Sustainability, Man-made Catastrophic Global Warming, Diversity, Social Justice] must thus become no less the object of an official doctrine than views about values. And the whole apparatus for spreading knowledge–the schools and the press, radio and motion picture–will be used exclusively to spread those views which, whether true or false, will strengthen the belief in the rightness of the decisions taken by the authority; and all information that might cast doubt or hesitation will be withheld. The probable effect on the people’s loyalty to the system [Peter Senge just swooned that we so understand the essence of Systems Thinking and Why It Must Be Pushed] becomes the only criterion for deciding whether a particular piece of information is to be published or suppressed. [Benghazi; Actual Employment Numbers] The situation in a totalitarian state is permanently and in all fields the same that it is elsewhere in some fields in wartime. Everything which might cause doubt about the wisdom of the government or create discontent will be kept from the people. [Hard not to think of Candy Crowley and that 2nd Debate]. The basis of unfavorable comparisons with conditions elsewhere, the knowledge of possible alternatives to the course actually taken, information which might suggest failure on the part of the government to live up to its promises or to take advantage of opportunities to improve conditions–all will be suppressed. There is consequently no field where the systematic control of information will not be practiced and uniformity of views not enforced.”

There you have the incentive of Government officials for using education for merely Competent, Mentally Hobbled Citizens. Especially ones who are being bred to see a Duty to the State. And the Business Angle. They are politically connected and want special privileges and protections from their Cronies. That’s not Capitalism though. It’s Mercantilism where there is no mass prosperity. It is what Adam Smith rejected as he accounted for Britain’s phenomenal 18th century economic growth.

So enjoy your friends and loved ones on this cherished American holiday. Whatever happens in education in 2013, we WILL understand what is really going on and what the likely consequences are actually going to be.

And that really is something to be Thankful for.