Revolution of the Heart–Right Actions, Good Thoughts, and Correct Intentions

I wish I could tell you I made up that title because it sounded alarming and I wanted attention. No such luck, unfortunately. I followed the trail of deceit surrounding the Common Core, competency-based education, and School Choice to a 1990 book by Neil Flinders called Teach the Children: An Agency Approach and started quoting. I remain a curious and pondering Individual even if that concept is now to be openly ridiculed and rejected. Notice that it will not be that much discredited Individual (which the Orwellian term ‘School Choice’ wishes to reengineer noetically) that gets to decide what is Right, Good, or Correct. No, we are in the era now of Brain-based learning and as the Institute for American Values’ Hardwired to Connect: The New Scientific Case for Authoritative Communities put it, we need a new kind of education and a new model of human development to fit with the italicized fact that “Social context can alter genetic expression and impact neurocircuitry itself.”

Nothing like neural rewiring to implement a desired new “bio-psycho-social-cultural model of child development” grounded on the fundamental premise that morality is about “love of neighbor.” The sought “authoritative community” trumps the historical set of values that built up the West’s prosperity and advanced levels of technology known as “individualism.” Community will now define “what’s virtuous” which is probably why I can track that IAV document to the NIH funded Science of Virtues guiding K-12 education and a new communitarian definition of Liberty that I covered last March in this post.

Little did I know that just barely a year later, we would link that to a declaration that “an authoritative community stands for certain principles [ideas, concepts, Enduring Understandings!] and, in its treatment of children, seeks to shape and launch a certain kind of person. Put a bit more formally, an authoritative community clearly embodies a substantive conception of the good and includes effective communal support for ethical behavior.” We will get back to that confessional report and its IAV 1997 predecessor A Call to Civil Society in a minute after we cover the how. Through euphemisms like Growth, Student Achievement, Social and Emotional Learning, or federally required Higher Order Thinking Skills  that mask an Education that puts the heart in charge of how the brain thinks.

Agency education then (which based on what I know from writing Credentialed to Destroy acts like what that book laid out as Tranzi OBE and competency-based education) states that “what people think, how they feel, and the way they act in relationship to themselves and others is more central to education than what methods, techniques, or organizational strategies are supplied.” Under any of these names, I can recognize its tenets and it is tied to this call for radical “Authoritative Communities”. It is, according to that book’s dedication, the kind of education needed for “those individuals who will occupy the twenty-first century.

Flinders stated that his book was for those seeking to use education “for establishing moral and intellectual rather than economic order.” Much like these other two reports though, Flinders did tie his education vision to the “unequal distribution of wealth” and that “current economic orders are driven by greed, power, and pride” with “some people…sensitive to the divine alternative to these faulty economic orders.” It’s not that I see Uncle Karl behind every tree or new vision of education. I simply recognize both his handiwork and the updated Marxist Humanism vision launched on the rich and technologically advanced West in the early 60s when I run across it. It is everywhere present in the language of these reports and books, even though there is no alarming use of the M word.

Just its themes so let’s get back to quoting so we can also see that this Third Way to be grounded in community, new values, neurocircuitry, and false narratives like the 2011 Closing the Door on Innovation is tied to what I usually simply shorthand as the MH vision, instead of always writing out Marxist Humanism. It does explain that new definition of Liberty noted above as well as why the Hoover Institution seemed to like A Call to Civil Society when it came out. In case anyone is hoping I am being overly alarmed when told that “we Americans understand freedom, our primary civic end, as an ethical condition–not simply as immunity from restraint,” I personally want a buzzer I can sound every time we track new visions of education or “civic obligations” to such redefinitions of historical terms.

If I am told that “our core imperative is democratic renewal through civic engagement” and that “effective civic engagement…depends on a larger set of shared ideas about human virtue and the common good,” do we as parents and taxpayers have a right to a head’s up to such a fundamental shift before this new vision is simply instilled as Habits of Mind in student-centered, personalized education? Where’s the actual Choice in School Choice if all the available educational choices are quietly committed, under a myriad of differing terms, to neurally instilling these selected virtues and ideas that will guide Right Actions, Good Thoughts, and Correct Intentions grounded in a New Golden Rule as Hardwired to Connect put it.

Flinders is not the only one tying this vision of education to concern over economic inequality. Also remember that the same Bradley Foundation that supports Harvard’s PEPG and its Education Next visions proudly funds the IAV behind both reports I am quoting from. In 2016, my research showed that the same Hewlett Foundation behind Deeper Learning and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund were too. Those philanthropries make strange bedfellows unless I am right that the Right and Left Pincers behind School Choice are headed in the same direction and that direction is the stealth enactment of the MH vision. Education and the law, two of my personal specialties, are primary tools. Here is A Call to Civil Society again:

“The economy exists to support human flourishing. It is not an end in itself…the weakening of civil society, including its moral foundations, is closely connected to the persistence and spread of economic inequality.” Does anyone doubt that IAV would be quoting Thomas Picketty if this report were reissued now? At least Picketty is honest about his agenda. What happens to us all when students are simply taught to feel and act on “our belief that we are one people, with obligations to one another”? If you are lucky enough to have escaped reading reading Uncle Karl and the MH template expressed without any mention of him, here is the IAV 1998 expression of it:

“…the basic subject of society is the human person, and the basic purpose of government–and all other institutions–is to help foster the conditions for human flourishing. In turn, the essential conditions for human flourishing are the elements of what we are calling democratic civil society, anchored in moral truth.” That moral truth is apparently that we have obligations to all others to meet their needs and that it is only in community “can we approach authentic self-realization.”

No wonder I kept stumbling over mandated communitarian concepts and practices as I tracked the actual requisite Common Core implementation in schools and classrooms. If think tanks and universities are going to push a vision of education that deliberately overrides the beliefs common to “most Americans today–[that] we humans, at least in the US, are autonomous units of desires, rights, and legitimate values of our own choosings. We are self-originating sources of valid claims, essentially unencumbered, self-owning, and auto-telological” they need to be open about it. Otherwise we have deceit to parents about what the Common Core is really about and how the various remedies they are being sold actually tie directly to this agenda I am describing in this post.

We are due more than a dismissal like “we view this understanding of the human person as fundamentally flawed” in a document most of us have never heard of. If this masked vision of education  reforms and its true purpose is tied to adopting “a new ‘civil society model’ for evaluating public policies and solving social problems,” aren’t we entitled to be told of the linkage? If we are told that the “new model is essentially ecological. It strives to view social environments the way ecologists view natural environments,” shouldn’t we know that so we can recognize the implications of adopting what Urie Bronfenbrenner called his Ecological Systems Theory? That his colleague, Soviet psychologist Leontiev said would be the Great Experiment on the West?

I guess we cannot react to what we are unaware of and thus spoil this great Third Way experiment . I wish these ideas and practices had no ancestry, much less one I stumbled across years ago. The old model of civil society in the US was supposedly “a stool with two legs: government and economics. The new model adds the missing third leg: social institutions and values.” Schools being the most useful and common of those needed new social institutions, which will come in handy since the “new model seeks directly to protect and nourish social capital.” Our kids, their ‘social capital’ in other words, since in the “new model society consists of individual members who are encultured by institutions and obligated to the common good.”

Now that quote seems like a good stopping point before we discuss the implications of binding us all to a New Golden Rule we are largely unaware of.

If our children are taught, at an emotional level, to be a good 21st Century Comrade and act accordingly, do we parents and taxpayers have a right to know? Are we simply left to follow the tales grounded in deceit until we notice all the open and connected coordination as this post just begins to lay out?

I really wish this post came with a big sheet of paper and magic markers so we could simply draw all those connections. Some things really are more easily explained visually than in print. Nevertheless, all these quotes are quite clear on the essence of the desired shifts.

More next time.

Neural Enslavement to Instill Desired Virtues for Social Change: Deceitpalooza

Silly me. I got the bright idea of distracting myself and decided to just read some history. I picked Ian Mortimer’s millennium, which turned out to have been published on November 8, 2016. It hoped that a woman would be the most significant agent of change in the 21st Century. Not yet, but after making my way through the centuries, I get to the conclusion only to discover I was not getting a break from the familiar refrain after all. Mortimer wanted to “focus our attention on the forces that are likely to act upon our nature in the future.” The fantastic wealth and levels of technology the world now enjoys were accomplished via the “breaking of boundaries…Many of these boundary crossings can be characterized in terms of the “go West, young man’ paradigm…This paradigm underpinned scientific discoveries, world exploration and economic growth. But with the recognition of the approaching exhaustion of our fossil resources on Earth, this boundary-breaking mentality is out of date.”

Long time readers will recognize this hostility to what I nicknamed the Axemaker Mind and the hope of ecologist Paul Ehrlich for Newmindedness. Part of what we will do in this post is tie this hostility and desire for a new kind of mind to what is being pushed as Classical Education as in this piece touted last week.  It is also tied to much of the organized deceit surrounding the Common Core as so many think tank employees and their mysteriously connected colleagues “against the Common Core” turn out to be tied to instilling a common core of moral virtue using education to create a neurally-grounded, ‘well-ordered soul.’

That well-ordered soul instilled within the student in turn is designed to know and choose based on instilled habits that are consistent with the UNESCO Ethics Framework from the last post, the Positive Education template, DeVos’ moral mandate, Amitai Etzioni’s Communitarian New Golden Rule, and finally Karl Marx’s vision for his Human Development Society. Since Mortimer put it, like Uncle Karl, in terms of the existing base of wealth and technology that had been reached, let’s go back to the quote above to see why “Hey, Hey, Ho. Ho. The Existing Mentality just has to Go.” Bad pun I know.

“The challenge now is not one of expansion but self-containment: a series of problems with which the all-conquering male is ill-equipped to deal. We, Homo sapiens, have never before had to face the problem of our own instincts threatening our continued existence; they have always been for our benefit, the survival of our genes. The frontiers we face now lie not on the horizon–or even in space–but inside our own minds.”

Now let’s jump to how the 1995 book Seedbed of Virtues defined the “Classical Conception of Virtue.” Please pay attention because this definition and book are closely related to both the new Catholic Curriculum Framework, School Choice, and why the American Principles Project/Pioneer report from last fall that laid the narrative for those frameworks (by misrepresenting the nature of Competency-based Education and Transformational Outcomes Based Education) may have done that. This is a little long, but absent the references to Aristotle and substituting Character or Whole Child for Virtue, think of it as what all 21st century education must be doing.  I will boldface the why so we can tie it to Mortimer and Uncle Karl and snark in brackets for current relevance.

“The classical conception of the relation between virtue and politics was spelled out by Aristotle. Individual virtue (or excellence–the Greek arete will bear both meanings) is knowable through everyday experience [Project-based or service learning?], definable through philosophic inquiry [Higher Order Thinking Skills?], and is always and everywhere the same [Truth. Beauty. Good?]. For Aristotle, the virtues are not just Greek, but rather human, virtues. Political life must be seen as in large measure a means to the attainment of virtue, understood as an end in itself. Once the threshold conditions of physical and material security are met, the political community should structure its institutions and policies to promote virtue in its citizens [remember the NIH and Templeton-funded Science of Virtues at U-Chicago?), and its worth as a community depends on the extent to which it achieves that goal.”

To make a long story short, that book was cited in connection with UNESCO’s Ethical Framework and I recognized the name Mary Ann Glendon (Harvard law prof) from both the Catholic Frameworks that wanted to specify Knowledge, Skills, and Dispositions that students are to have internalized, as well as being a communitarian associate of Amitai Etzioni. If the book sought to elevate the “collectivity over the individual” and duties over individual rights, it would explain so much of what I have found over the years being imposed though education via an affirmative view of the law. As I am prone to do when I find a vision that is both alarming and clearly connected to what we are seeing imposed on classrooms, I looked up the book’s publisher,  the Institute for American Values (IAV).

Remember how the Ethical Framework recognized the need to control and create new values and categories and principles to guide thought if the sought social and economic changes to meet all human needs via Universal Ethics were to be imposed? IAV turned out to have a Sean Fieler as its Chairman. I recognized that name as he is also the Chair of the American  Principles Project. What are the odds? Then I discovered the ubiquitous Bradley Foundation, THE major funder of School Choice and so much else, delightedly recognizing its support of IAV. I have written about what School Choice actually does and it fits with how Tranzi OBE and Competency-based education actually work. Here’s the stated aim from Seedbed of Virtues that would certainly explain both the support of School Choice and all this documentable deceit.

“need to reshape institutions [like schools, universities, and churches] for the sake of revitalizing civil society…the path to better rather than worse judgments–must ultimately be sought, not in the seedbed, but in the seed: the human person…to control his knowing and his choosing.”

Isn’t that what Ian Mortimer called for in that recently published, much hyped book? Interestingly, last week, many of the think tanks pushing either School Choice or Classical Education or both, touted the release of the Classical Learning Test, to be a successor to the ACT or SAT. Its release celebrated that “instead of individualism, we stress community…rather than merely becoming a number, we want to see students use standardized tests as yet another opportunity to mature in wisdom, virtue, and academic competency.” Boy, that aim certainly sounds like the goal is to instill the internalized rudder of desired personality traits and supplied Knowledge to be acted on as a matter of habit.

An article accompanying the release of the CLT–“Happiness and the Moral Dimension of Education” leaves no doubt that the CLT seeks to evaluate the extent to which a student’s “body, emotions, desires, will, and a mind…are in harmony, working together for the true good of the whole person and his community.”

In 1998, IAV released “A Call to Civil Society: Why Democracy Needs Moral Truths” that saw the historic Western civilization “understanding of the human person as fundamentally flawed…Our capacity for reasonable choosing and loving is what allows us to participate in a shared moral life, an order common to us all..”

In the next post we will look at that document and its implications, including where School Choice and all education reforms are really taking us. We will also cover IAV’s 2003 publication Hardwired to Connect: The New Scientific Case for Authoritative Communities since it gives plenty of reasons for the deceit surrounding the Common Core and education reforms generally.

Hard to force what Uncle Karl called communism and others have called Marxist Humanism or Systems Thinking once enough people grasp the presence of its clear tenets. Much better to do what IAV did in that 1998 report, call for a ‘new society model’, where “society consists of individual members who are encultured by institutions and obligated to the common good.”

Gramsci was not the only Transformational Collectivist seeking to March through the Institutions. He was simply more upfront about it.


Anchored to the Human Psyche to Engineer the Invisible Coup: the Narratives Converge

The previous two posts illustrated real-time proclamations from just the last few weeks that fit with what we are going to cover today–the quietly imposed Common Framework for the Ethics of the 21st Century issued by UNESCO in September 1999. It grew out of Universal Ethics Project begun in 1997, imposed invisibly by education, P-12 and higher ed, under obscuring terms like learning, outcomes, standards, and competencies. The Framework was referenced in a footnote I came across while trying to chase down the common education agenda being pushed by the admitted Left Pincers (in this case communitarian prof Amitai Etzioni) and American Principles Project founder, Robert George, as a representative of the School Choice pushing, but headed in the same actual direction, Right Pincers.

Before I could write up the implications of that Framework, we suddenly had Ms DeVos’ statement about the moral obligations none of us may abdicate and the Positive Education practices mandate coming from the World Government Summit. Since they each seemed to assume the shift into the obligations of a Framework few of us are even aware of, I went with the “this is coming now” approach in the previous two posts. Now that the Imminence is crystal clear and not speculative, let’s take a look at what is being concealed from us. Because this is a blog, not a book, this post will be followed next by how I know for sure that this is where all the deceit surrounding the Common Core and School Choice really leads.

Those who have read Credentialed to Destroy are aware of just some of the evidence I cite on why I believe the ending of the Cold War was somewhat stage-managed to let education quietly assume the transformational reins. Let’s add to that body a Gorbachev book, The Search for a New Beginning, I did not have then telling us what Perestroika was really about. Gorbachev wanted to “join politics with morality” and create a Framework for new forms of required interaction and new forms of thinking. Instead of “artificially constructed utopian schemes” that “are not workable anywhere,” he called for:

“The recognition of the world as an integral whole [which] calls for a change in our value system, or to put it more precisely, for actualizing the initial values that are inherent in the nature of the human being as a social and spiritual entity. In one form or another, and in varying degrees, those values are reflected in the world religions and in the great humanistic doctrines.”

In a preview of what will be coming in the next post, substitute the word ‘Virtues’ for ‘values’ in that quote above and we quickly get to precisely where Classical Education is taking Privates and Charter Schools. First though let’s get back to Gorbachev’s bluntness because it explains so well the language we will cover on the need to shift away from traditional views of Individualism and rationality. (the italics are in the original text)

“The future of human society will not be defined in terms of capitalism versus socialism. It was that dichotomy that caused the division of the world community into two blocs and brought about so many catastrophic consequences. We need a paradigm that will integrate all the achievements of the human mind and human action, irrespective of which ideology or political movement can be credited with them. This paradigm can only be based on the common values that humankind has developed over the centuries.”

We will leave Gorby now and shift back to the supposed new values, ideas, and principles that people need to internalize from an early age (enter education tied to behavior and the Whole Child which is precisely what performance standards mandate) so that everyone can “flourish” in the 21st Century. Sure enough, that particular uncommon verb is ubiquitous now throughout the UNESCO Ethics Framework, the Positive Education Practices we encountered in the previous post, as well as the NIH-funded and Templeton Foundation sponsored Science of Virtues going on now at U-Chicago. What are the odds of such common, uncommon, terminology?

The cool thing about the Ethics Framework is that there is no overt, publicized command that makes people feel coerced. The Russians and Chinese noticed those edicts from on high simply did not work as well as using a reenvisioned type of education that affected “the will of individuals in every and all situations in which he or she acts.” Once that Learning becomes a Habit of Mind we have installed an invisible internalized neural rudder that allows society and an economy to be steered and guided without anyone needing to be the wiser. Students will have Moral Dialogues grounded in “philosophical value knowledge” (just like the School Choice-advocating Manhattan Institute laid out recently in an odd “Republic in the Atlantic” piece in City Journal).

The goal of education then, whether marketed as “knowledge, skills, and dispositions” in K-12 or Essential Learning Outcomes in higher ed, is actually aimed at using reading, classroom conversations, group projects, and virtual reality adaptive learning aimed at:

“developing the capacity of individuals to make right evaluations of others’ actions, of events, situations etc., and to find out, in the light of philosophical value knowledge the implications of such a will: what they should, or can, do, so that human dignity can be protected or be as little damaged as possible in the given unique situation, in which they have to act, as a whole.”

If that aim is not graphic enough that what the Universal Ethics Framework, instilled via education, seeks is a “paradigm shift in consciousness” so that we can all “apply our minds collectively and …work towards a new intellectual and spiritual renaissance,” let me use another. This quote from Paris, March 27, 1997, bemoaned that:

“whereas humanity is transiting to the global society, our minds are still mired in pre-global concepts. And it is this difference, it is this gap between the emergence of the global society and the non-emergence of a global consciousness, that is at the root of many of the problems that we see in the world today.”

If the means of closing that gap and creating the desired new thinking and ethics is new ideas and values, is it coincidental that suddenly the relief offered from the horrors of the Common Core is framed in terms of Character Education, Positive Psychology, Conceptual Understandings and Core Disciplinary Ideas as the ‘content knowledge’, and Virtues?

Does anyone else feel like the remedy offered is actually grounded in this little discussed Ethics Framework? Because apparently reenvisioning the human future is “affected and even determined by the behavior of humans acting on the basis of normative ideas and principles.” If education in the 21st Century is actually premised on the italicized “question: what values and principles may be mobilized in order to steer the forces of technological and economic change for the purposes of human survival and flourishing?”, aren’t we even entitled to know that is the foundational question behind all these imposed changes?

There’s that ubiquitous aspirational verb again. Anyone else wondering who will really flourish in this vision?

Radio Silence and the Dog that did not Bark: Positioning Positive Education Globally

Sometimes the most telling fact for figuring out connections is the non-existence of something we would normally expect to see. For the intrepid detective Sherlock Holmes, it was the failure of anyone to mention hearing a barking dog on the night of a murder. The watchdog, then, must have known the attacker and let him by without alarm. It has been three weeks since the World Government Summit 2017 was held in Dubai. There were two substantial papers released at that summit. One, on desired Innovations in Government, has been written about. The other called “The State of Positive Education” has not. Radio Silence about a desired global paradigm shift so that “schools all around the world should place well-being at the heart of education” means that those of us who are paying attention do not get a chance to bark in alarm.

Why would we be so alarmed you may wonder? The Summit had two Americans as the keynoters on this topic. A U-Penn prof, Martin Seligman, with his own tag who we have previously tied to the UN’s World Happiness Reports and Mihaly Csiksentmihalyi, who is tied quite simply to virtually everything. For starters, it is Csik’s definition of Excellence as bringing together what we want, feel, and think into a single act that is in play every time we hear a desire for Excellence in Education. Think also of the federal civil rights laws and the repeated command for Equity and Excellence.

How does this tie to Mrs DeVos’ statement from the last post and the repeated push to federalize an obligation that every school have a Positive School Climate? Surely I don’t want schools to have a negative culture, belittling the less capable, or strange, student until they can barely look up from their pain. Of course not, but making how students treat each other,  whether they cooperate in joint projects, and whether they show ‘prosocial attitudes’ and reach ‘shared meanings’ of what abstract ideas must mean the new purpose of schools is too transformational to be something imposed under the radar in silence.

Last fall the State of Rhode Island created a Statewide Personalized LearningTemplate for its schools. A little discussed essential component of this student-centered transformation was a requirement for “school culture shifts” of the precise kind laid out by Positive Education. It is also a fundamental component of a Colorado district piloting ‘performance-based education’. Australia, relying on Professor Seligman’s work has crafted a Positive Educational Practices (PEPs) Framework published in 2008 by the British Psychological Society’s Journal. It stated that the “major focus of the positive psychology movement is how to facilitate flourishing lives that promote individual and organisational wellbeing.” Happiness, flourishing, mental health, and ‘what makes life most worth living’ sound like such tremendous goals. Wouldn’t it take someone with the heart of the Grinch, before his Christmas epiphany, to oppose such a focus?

Readers in the United States still unsure about how widespread this focus is and just how much has been put in place under conditions of silence should know that the National Institutes of Health and fed ED have already been funding Positive Education to create “classroom interventions.” It satisfies the criteria for ‘evidence-based’ under federal law and ‘scientifically-based practices’ in legislation passed by states. Last July, the author of that summit paper, the International Positive Education Network, IPEN, held its first ever Festival. 850 delegates from 30 countries came to Dallas, Texas for the event. Apparently those Essential Knowledge and Skills Frameworks Texas has in place marry well with Positive Education.

One more example, this one cited in that Summit Report IPEN created: fed Ed recently announced its “new ‘Skills for Success’ grant competition, aimed at improving students’ mindsets and learning skills. The awarded projects will involve more than 10,000 students in various school districts in the US.” Those districts may brag about the money as demonstrating they are on the Right Track locally. Bet the grants will not be touted as being a Positive Psychology experiment. There are five listed foundations in this approach to education: Social and emotional competency, positive emotions, positive relationships with peers and teachers, engagement through cognitive and character strengths so these can be developed at school, and students having opportunities at school and in the community to develop a sense of meaning and purpose. No need for Personally Identifiable Information at all.

Would anyone like to guess how often anti-bullying is cited as a reason to shift to Positive Education? I bolded the word ‘strengths’ in the last paragraph because the provided definition reminded me so much of how Excellence is also defined. “A ‘strength’ can be defined as a natural capacity for behaving, thinking and feeling in a way that promotes successful goal achievement.” With all the mentions of prosocial actions and instilled values, it is not too clear exactly who will be setting the goals that each student is to achieve. Do remember Mrs DeVos said we all have moral obligations we may not abdicate. I suspect she will just love Professor Seligman’s definition of a ‘meaningful life,’ at least she will if anyone at DoED describes it to her.

“a meaningful life is one that joins with something larger than we are–and the larger that something is, the more meaning our lives have. [Seligman] states that life is given meaning when we use our signature strengths every day in the main realms of living ‘to forward knowledge, power or goodness.'” This really is NOT education in the traditional sense and reads like training for collectivism so that students will not question an obligation to act from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs. We will cover more proof in the next post that whatever the personal intentions of Mrs DeVos or Professor Seligman or others pushing this template, it truly is creating the desired consciousness and personality traits and habits needed for a shift away from the individual’s right to decide their own pathway in life.

Actually I will close with a statement Seligman made in June 2009 for the Oxford Review of Education when he answered the question of “Why Positive Education now?” with “What is all our wealth for, anyway?” I am tempted to pretend to be Tonto when the Indians are attacking him and the Lone Ranger and ask “who is we?” but then no one thinks wealth is easier to come by apparently than politicians and tenured profs. Here is Seligman and the reason for the Radio Silence:

“General well-being–how much positive emotion, how much engagement at work, how much meaning in life our citizens have–is now quantifiable and it complements, and makes sense of, GDP. Public policy can be aimed at increasing general well-being and the successes or failures of policy can be measured quantitatively against the standard.

Prosperity-as-usual has been equated with wealth. The time has come for a new prosperity, a prosperity that combines well-being with wealth. Learning to value and attain this new prosperity must start early–in the formative years of schooling–and it is this new prosperity, kindled by Positive Education, that the world can now choose.”

I bolded that word ‘kindle’ so we can have a chance to make this choice ourselves rather than have it imposed at summits we were not invited to or educators hoping for federal grant money. Because what Positive Education seeks to kindle at the level of each child’s mind, habits, and personality is intended to turn into an invisible bonfire motivating his or her future behaviors.

It really gives new meaning to imposing a cultural revolution from the bottom-up and the inside-out.


Subservient and Malleable Students: DeVos Federalizes Our Moral Obligations

With former President Obama his means were sometimes shadowy, but his goals and views were quite forthcoming. Remember the openly announced “fundamental transformation” before his first election or the “you didn’t build that”? Neither was a mistake in his mind. In his early days in politics he openly expressed his annoyance that courts interpreted the US Constitution as imposing ‘negative liberties’ of what government could not do. Instead, he hoped for a more ‘positive liberties’ vision laying out what governments must do to meet the needs of all citizens.

The Transgender Ruling that the Trump Administration overruled last week involved a federal agency deciding to read statutory language prohibiting discrimination based as ‘sex’ as also prohibiting discrimination based on a student’s perception of their gender. I keep warning that internalized perception is the new favorite bullseye in education, K-12 and after, because it can invisibly alter likely behavior going forward. No need to give the manipulated student a head’s up as to what is actually going on. Let them simply wonder later why no one is ready to hire them simply because they have a college degree.

The Obama Administration simply said that the student’s perception of who they are is more important than the physical reality of penises in girl’s bathrooms and group showers. It’s who people are on the inside that matters legally. What got put in place solely by broad, creative interpretation though can disappear the same way, which is what happened last week. Maybe like me, you heard on the TV or radio that “all President Trump and Betsy DeVos did was leave this delicate matter in the hands of the states or localities.” That may be what President Trump and his Attorney-General meant to do, but Mrs DeVos issued a separate statement laying out the “moral obligation no individual can abdicate.”

That’s quite broad, isn’t it? What does the Education Secretary acting apparently in her imagined benevolent despot role impose as our new federalized moral obligations to each other? To return to that gossipy phrase from our childhood, “Do Tell.” Here goes:

“We have a responsibility to protect every student in America and ensure that they have the freedom to learn and thrive in a safe and trusted environment. This is not merely a federal mandate, but a moral obligation no individual, school, district or state can abdicate…We owe students a commitment to ensure they have access to a learning environment that is free of discrimination, bullying and harassment.”

Now that broad assertion of such a mandate is about so much more that “New Title IX Guidance.” It was controversial when President Obama began to sneak in such a mandate to model desired behaviors and control interactions among students to create a so-called Positive School Climate.  If the verb ‘sneak’ sounds too strong, this is a controversial area and it was pushed via regulation with little public discussion. Mrs. DeVos and fed ED are quietly continuing this very alarming declared right. The affirmative, ‘evidence-based’ remedy is to control each student’s internalized values, personal attributes, and emotional dispositions all in the name of a declared moral right “to learn and thrive in a safe environment.”

In the name of that goal, we get a new global emphasis called Positive Education that is supposedly “based on the science of well-being and happiness.” Each student has personality traits that are malleable to changes in instruction and classroom experiences. Do parents get a heads up as to the change in emphasis? Not really when it gets embedded in subject areas and class discussions that are really about moral dilemmas.

Your child is Succeeding. Your child shows Growth. Your child has met the school’s Learning Objectives. All of our students are showing Improvements in Achievement.

What parent will recognize the shift in what is actually being measured or what these terms now mean? How many parents will ever see the actual statement instead of some commentator’s false statement of what it did? Will students as adults recognize that education was used to manipulate, under force of law, the essence of who they are and how they view the world?

Next we will explore the nature of this new mandate. If there is to be an unknown “major paradigm shift in education,” the only way to avoid being its victim is to know it exists.

Does Mrs DeVos even know what she has declared and the history and purpose of these controversial ideas? I do and I am really hoping she simply put her name to a Statement someone else drafted because she thought it sounded nice and noble. The ramifications and likely remedies of her declared federal legal mandate to control the very bases of behavior simply never occurring to her.

Careful. Careful. Every progressive and tyrant in history sought to control this same internalized focus now declared a “federal mandate” in a release with an erroneous title that few are likely to read.

This is no way to get the feds out of the local classroom.



Covert Coercion via Controlling Categories of Consciousness

There is far more than alliteration involved in today’s catchy title and its purpose, like all my writing, is to inform, not to scare. I am not Alfred Hitchcock and this blog is not The Twilight Zone. None of the aspirations laid out here at ISC or in my timelier than ever book, Credentialed to Destroy, are fictional. All of our lives would be easier if they were. Education reform is all about invisibly changing human behavior to bring about a new, collectivist, radical vision of what the future of the 21st century might be. I believe knowing the intended mechanisms for tyranny is the first step in escaping their grasp and then removing them altogether.

When Jean-Francois Revel wrote his 1983 French classic that translated as How Democracies Perish, he wanted to give a heads-up to prevent the demise. That’s why I write about education as well. In a chapter called “Attack. Always Attack” he gave information on Communist tactics that is also applicable to education reforms and the ensuing outcries over decades.

“A standard Communist tactic is to mount a propaganda operation to accompany a practical operation. If the latter hits a snag, the former will leave traces in people’s minds that will help condition them to give future actions a kinder reception.”

Think of my work as first defusing the practical operation of covertly controlling students’ minds and thus their likely future behavior. Meanwhile I call attention to the organized deceit so we can begin to remove those traces from both our adult minds as well as our poor, manipulated children. Since my last post EdSurge on February 10 admitted that the purpose of that Early STEM Learning paper I cited was to provide categories to guide thinking in an article that also redefined the acronym STEM–“Setting, Tension, Explanation, Metaphor: A Storytelling Approach for Early STEM Learning.” Too bad no one gives bonus points for prescience in education writing. The oligarchs met in Dubai last week and launched Positive Psychology as the global classroom education template, expressly showcasing Mihaly Csiksentmihalyi (whose work gets pulled in via civil rights interpretations on Excellence and Equity) and Martin Seligman of PBIS and the World Happiness Report.

Yesterday the US NIH admitted that “Current and future BRAIN Initiative research studies aim to elucidate, and potentially influence, the mechanisms that give rise to consciousness, our innermost thoughts, and our behaviors, thereby prompting novel social and ethical questions.” There’s a reason Congress prefunded years of that intrusive research back In December while Obama remained in office. After all, politicians at all levels want to rule under a new definition of Governance that’s not being discussed enough openly. The just out World Development Report 2017–Governance and the Law-explains that Governance is about delivering on normative goals of Security, Prosperity, and Equity for All achieved through the political process. It has nothing to do with elections and everything to do with the ability to shape internalized personal preferences, values, and beliefs.

Sounds like Chapter 7 from Credentialed to Destroy doesn’t it? Here’s the pithy why for that aim: “the ability to shape other people’s beliefs is a means of eliciting an action from another person–an action the person would not otherwise take. The ability to make others act in one actor’s interest or to bring about a specific outcome–the definition of power in this Report–is thus closely related to the notion of ideas as beliefs.

The dichotomy between ideas (ideology and culture) and power as a primary determinant of social dynamics is thus a false one. The idea of power cannot be understood without taking seriously the power of ideas.”

Using education reforms labelled as competencies or the Common Core to provide conceptual frameworks, lenses, Enduring Understandings, Cross-Cutting Concepts and Themes, and Disciplinary Core Ideas is a crucial aspect of Controlling Consciousness. There’s a reason for so much coordinated deceit surrounding it and why I seem to be the only person writing about it. Control the prevailing ideas used to direct attention and perception and the interpretation of daily experiences and you have covert control over likely future behavior. UNESCO knows that. So do the World Bank, OECD, the behavioral scientist community, and the public policy think tanks across the purported spectrum. It’s us, the parents and taxpayers, who are unaware of just how crucial standardizing the prevailing ideas is to plans for a fundamental transformation.

As Bela Banathy put it from our last post on seeing the student and education (see bolding from me) as a system: “Our main tool in working with human systems is subjectivity: reflection on the sources of knowledge, social practice, community and interest in and commitment to ideas, especially the moral idea, affectivity, and faith.” So how do I know this aim is across the political spectrum? I learn a great deal from reading old books and Professor Amitai Etzioni, Mr Communitarianism with his own tag, is an admitted Man of the Left. Professor Robert George, founder of American Principles Project, Bradley Foundation Board member (thus tied to PEPG), recent AEI award winner, and too many other connections to name, is a designated representative of what purports to be Conservatism. I call it the Right Pincer for a reason.

Given all the deceit I can track and shenanigans involving pilfering material from my book without attribution or compensation, I wanted to read a 2001 book called The Monochrome Society because it contained a Chapter called “Virtue and the State: A Dialogue between a Communitarian and a Social Conservative.” That would be Etzioni and George, respectively. When the book came several months ago, it turned out to be part of a series edited by Professor George with “a special focus on the juncture of culture, law, and politics. New Forum Books is guided by the conviction that law and politics not only reflect culture but help to shape it.”

That aim doesn’t sound particularly conservative to me and is a long time aim of all progressives–cultural evolution. If that is also the aim of so-called conservative and libertarian think tanks it would explain all the deceit, concern over what my book laid out with extensive documentation, and my current observations of where School Choice actually leads. For some reason though, I was too busy initially to read anything other than that particular chapter. After I read that World Development Report though and its laid out aspirations to use the law and the mere global existence of less advantaged people and poverty to force what Marx called his Human Development Society, I went back to reread the rest of the book. Turns out Etzioni laid out the template that the World Bank and others intend to use to alter what a student internalizes so that it alters their preferences.

Clearly when he wrote the Chapter on “Social Norms: The Rubicon of Social Science” and Professor George edited it, no one thought someone would ever track it down after already mastering what Tranzi OBE, the Common Core, and Competency-Based Education really aim at. Turns out the Right and Left Pincers ARE acutely aware of a bullseye where education practices and the curriculum used and the ideas pushed “play a key role in ensuring that certain preferences will never be formed in the first place, while others will be strongly held…a major goal of education (as distinct from teaching) is to foster internalization of social norms by children and thus to affect their preferences.”

Since the local Classical School associated with Hillsdale’s Barney Charter Initiative touts instilling ‘virtuous living’ in its students, let’s tie that to what Etzioni wrote. Turns out that students acting at an advanced stage in Lawrence Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development (that public and private school teachers are now regularly taught is to be part of their new classroom practices) involves “individuals reason in terms of abstract notions” (or ideas or supplied concepts, categories, or ideas) on how, when, and why they should act. Etzioni then quoted Kohlberg that “it is possible to ‘reason in terms of such [high level] principles and not live up to them.'” Etzioni then laid out the essence of what everyone now wants from the classroom and education reforms and too few admit openly so let me quote directly:

“Unfortunately, to know the good cannot be equated with doing the good…To put it in the terminology followed here, [and at the always prescient ISC I must add immodestly], knowledge affects behavior by affecting considerations of costs and benefits but, as a rule, does not shape preferences. Internalization clearly does.”

So the SDG agenda pushed globally by institutions like the UN, OECD, and the World Bank can only change those preferences, as they have declared they aim to do, by education that is about getting at what a student internalizes as their values, attitudes, and guiding beliefs. Precisely what I warned about in my book that the False Narrative pretends is about some database of intrusive personal information. The need for Deceit is caused by others wishing to also use this tool of subjectivity and internalization, while being covert about it as well.

Once accurately perceived, this aim does not just seem tyrannical. It is unabashedly so. Etzioni sees it as a matter of the community having the right to establish the values that all citizens are to internalize. The World Bank does too since that is part of what Governance is to mean. I have pointed out already that this is the essence of what ED Choice laid out as the new definition of Accountability that is pertinent then to School Choice advocacy.

If our individual internalized preferences can now be changed by education reforms that no one is being honest with us about, are we free? Etzioni said no that “if the preferences themselves are changeable by social and historical factors and processes [or just federal laws like ESSA or state Student Privacy Statutes like Georgia’s] the actor is neither aware of nor controls, the actor’s behavior may be nonrational and is not free.”

Etzioni, with his long-time plans for fundamental social and economic transformations is OK with ‘the community’ controlling what must be internalized. Are we?

Is this really the kind of education reforms that anyone should blindly accept on the basis of catchy phrases or an appeal citing some famous person from history?


Metamorphizing the Function of the Human Mind Invisibly through Catchy Slogans and Phrases

The original version of this post used the term School Choice instead of Catchy Slogans and Phrases, but that seemed to imply I was picking on the Dearest Policy Desires of our new federal Secretary of Ed. So I broadened the title to make the same point. I may be able to read the School Choice layout and her AFC reports and see the plans of both Uncle Karl and what is called the systems view of education at play, but hopefully she does not. Like many people Mrs DeVos may falsely believe that her personal intentions and understandings of terms guide what they really mean and how they work in practice. That’s a dangerous belief that those surrounding her will likely encourage so let me explain why I recognize this as the Systems View of Education.

While I am at it, let me lay out a few more Catchy and Melodious slogans that are widely repeated AND headed in a different direction with a specific aim whatever the personal intentions of the advocates–Personalized Learning, Excellence, Reaching a Child’s Full Potential, and Quality Learning are a start. One more clarification as well on what I mean when I write about targeting a person’s decision-making capacity.  Another transformationalist put the importance of understanding subjective experience quite well in his book Global Mind Change. Willis Harman wrote that education and “science should now accommodate consciousness as a causal reality.” So crucial a point to target that Harman even italicized it just like that.

Boulding considered “the primacy of inner conscious awareness as a causal reality” to be so crucial if Man was to Become a Maker of History and a Driver of the Future that he gave this internalized realm of core values, concepts, and guiding perspectives the nerdiest phrase ever–noogenetics. The odd name though should not distract us from the role Boulding gave this realm in his 1978 book Ecodynamics: A New Theory of Societal Evolution. Boulding wanted to create common “mental structures and images” that would be transmitted as “learned behavior coded in nervous systems.” That’s what noogenetics and full potential means because the “biogenetic structure contributes only potential.” He told us why targeting what is internalized within a student’s mind and personality was so crucial so let’s listen:

“It may well be that biological evolution is approaching its end and that it will be succeeded by an evolutionary process wholly dominated by noogenetic processes directed by human values.”

See how Making Man Moral and Accountability fit right in with these transformational plans unless that aim for education is well disclosed and not shrouded in catchy phrases about Classical Learning, Character, or Virtuous Living? If anyone is tired of me bringing up Uncle Karl like this was a pinball game and I get 50 points for each mention, let’s listen again to what Boulding said was the purpose of what he and all the others I have now tagged to this post called General Systems Theory.

“The evolutionary vision, however, must be seen quite clearly as an alternative to Marxism as a general theory. The general idea of an overall theory of social and historical dynamic processes owes a great deal to Marx, but his particular theories are quite inadequate to describe the complexities of reality and must be relegated to the position of a rather unusual special case.”

I think that statement should have the Slogan “New and Improved” attached to Systems Science covers the relationships among all these education phrases we believe have just an innocuous, common-sense meaning. Following up on the implications of my last post’s citing of both the Right and Left public policy think tanks and academics embracing  Boulding pulled up a relevant paper written by Bela Banathy from the early 90s called “Systems Inquiry and its Application to Education.” The paper was “dedicated to the memory of my dear friend and colleague, Kenneth Boulding, one of the founders of the systems movement and the first president of the Society for General Systems Research.” As an aside, SGSR (created at Stanford) merged into ISSS–International Systems Science Society, so all this ties now too to the Laszlos, GELP, the MIT/Skolkovo 2030/2035 Project, and so much more.

In other words, this is not a history lesson and the goals Banathy laid out are still pertinent. Best then to examine the Systems View of Education since we and our children have been Ground Zero of the systems to be transformed. One more point gets clarified for those of us wondering why Mind Arson has become so common and why relatively few concepts and principles are now to serve as Knowledge, instead of a body of facts. Boulding believed systems science needed people to “develop ‘generalized ears'” that could make for common connections of understanding that would “overcome the ‘specialized deafness’ of the specific disciplines.”

I have encountered this before where what we call reason and logic or the Axemaker Mind is regarded as in the way of revolutionary social change. John Dryzek called for something very similar–communicative rationality–to accommodate the defeat of ‘capitalism’ in favor of a more economically just society he called democracy back in 1996. Last week, the Cooney Center (funded by Sesame Street revenue), the Frameworks Institute, and the New America Foundation released “STEM Starts early” that called for much the same if we read the small print, or in this case, Appendix B. It called for a “two-science approach” because “policies are the product of politics, and politics is the product of culture.” I could add that culture is an aggregate of what gets shifted when education becomes about targeting individual consciousness and what guides it, but let’s get back to quoting.

“Determining the narrative needed to engage the public…requires research. A coherent narrative can only be developed by mapping the cognitive terrain so that communicators know which ‘pictures in people’s heads’ they wish to evoke and which to bypass.”

That intrusive analysis, whether obtained by survey or student assessments looking for Higher Order Thinking Skills, is in either case carried out so that politicians, academics, think tanks (the paper keeps quoting the head of Heritage, Jim DeMint), and others “to predict what policy prescriptions are likely to ‘fit’ people’s operative cultural models.” So education operates to manipulate those internalized cultural models and also pushes Generalized Ears and communicative rationality so that “policy science can be coupled with communications science.” Well, that “two-science approach” or “systems science” is indeed a new, not appreciated enough in the least, form of self-governance. Each approach:

“emphasizes using social science to understand where ordinary Americans part way with experts, what this means for public support of [desired] policies, and what kinds of narratives help people engage, reconsider, and endorse meaningful policies.”

It is tempting to add ‘meaningful’ to whom and to wonder how we can get a job as one of those ‘experts’. Let’s get back though to Banathy’s confessions. After all, if my analysis that School Choice, as pushed by all the think tanks we have tied to PEPG and the Atlas Network, is actually a shroud covering what Banathy called GSTE–Guidance System for the Transformation of Education–we need to know its aims and elements. Banathy told us that “working with human systems, we are confronted with problem situations that comprise a system of problems rather than a collection of problems. Problems are embedded in uncertainty and require subjective interpretation…Our main tool in working with human systems is subjectivity: reflection on the sources of knowledge, social practice, community, and interest in and commitment to ideas, especially the moral idea, affectivity, and faith.”

Readers of my book Credentialed to Destroy should recognize that I have boldfaced words that fit with what the phrase Rigor actually means now and also much of what is assessed for in its name. Can we repeat Not. A. Coincidence. before moving on. Banathy did not just want to redesign and transform education, he wanted to redesign all social systems to fit the “new realities of the current era.” People, and especially children, were merely a start and the way to effect the desired change without popular outcry. Anyone implementing the systems view of education template unwittingly because they fail to understand what these catchy phrases really mean is still engaged in:

“systems design in the context of human activity systems is a future-creating disciplined inquiry. People engage in design in order to devise and implement a new system based on their vision of what that system should be.”

With only Generalized Ears and carefully instilled guiding Core Values, Ideas, and Perspectives we can all grasp that few students will be in a position to appreciate what actually cannot be as we are all encouraged to help design better tomorrows. When I was so concerned about that Roadmap for the Next Administration I uncovered before the election, this is precisely the assumption built into that Roadmap. Bela must be so pleased his and Boulding’s work endures so, even if it is dangerously wrong to be pushing via education.

“Social systems are created for attaining purposes that are shared by those in the system [see values, ideas, and perspectives above]. Activities in which people in the system are engaged are guided by those purposes. There are times when there is a discrepancy between what our system actually attains and what we designated as the desired outcome of the system. [Data, especially with respect to what counts as Learning]. Once we sense such discrepancy, we realize that something has gone wrong, and we need to make some changes in the activities or in the way we carry out activities. The focus is changes within the system.  Changes within the system are accomplished by adjustment, modification, or improvement.”

Now Banathy was talking about more than a student and education in that quote on redesigning systems, but both are included in the systems to be purposefully redesigned at the level of what creates purpose, motivates action, and guides perception. That’s what the systems view of education does under whatever catchy slogan it uses in any generation to stay under the radar of public scrutiny. It has been known as Tranzi OBE (covered in my book) and is now more commonly called Competency-Based Education. It is enshrined into the federal Every Student Succeeds Act and how states and localities must redesign education to get its funding. Both Mrs DeVos and President Trump need to accept that reality and decide what kind of a country and polity we will have with this vision of education and the “two-science” approach to managing the public that was funded by American taxpayers via the National Science Foundation.

That’s the beauty of systems science under whatever its current name acting as a cloaking device. Personal intentions can only become the point again when the elements that make education a ‘system’ designed to control what each student has internalized at a neurobiological level are grasped. Remember noogenetics? We have to understand that control over the decision-making capacity of a student so that their future behavior is now predictable and plannable is what gets touted as Evidence-Based Education grounded in science. That aim is what makes a student assessment “high-quality”. Controlling Learning at this level is what gets a charter renewed and access to federal money to expand into new states.

Where’s the Actual choice in any of these visions with this common aim?

Systems Science is really ceasing to be a catchy slogan. Best to grasp its essence before it gets yet another new name.

Making Man Moral through Integrative, Holistic Education Focused on Purpose

Sometimes these days I feel like I am a part of that old musical comedy “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” not because all these machinations via education and deceit are funny, but because suddenly between posts something happens that proves just how correct I am on how this fits together. Last week, the blog Cafe Hayek run by George Mason economic profs mentioned a January 24 piece by “my colleague Peter Boettke on the late economist Kenneth Boulding.” Now that may seem innocuous and even dry, but there cannot be a more seminal person other than John Dewey to the sought transformation of education. Boulding laid out its purpose and how it could be used to control other social systems. Is this further evidence of a Convergence of the Right and Left Pincers we can see so much evidence of? Confessions, after all, are so much nicer. is the post and it tied in my mind to why everyone suddenly wants education to be about moral values, guiding principles, Disciplinary Core Ideas, Classical Concepts, and other ideas first that can then guide a child’s perception. How they interpret their daily experiences and what they never even notice. This is the end of the Trilogy so let’s pull all this together so we can appreciate How to Invisibly Control Future Personal Decision-making with No Need to Admit It. Bolding (without the ‘u’) is mine.

“Themes without facts may be barren, but facts without theories are meaningless. It is only ‘theory’–i.e., a body of principles–which enables us to approach the bewildering complexity and chaos of fact, select the facts significant for our purposes and interpret the significance.

Indeed, it is hardly too much to claim that without a theory to interpret it there is no such thing as a ‘fact’ at all…what, then, is the ‘fact’ about the wart? [Boulding’s example that should be read in full while thinking about the meaning of Disciplinary Core Ideas or Enduring Understandings] It may be any or all of the above, depending on the particular scheme of interpretation into which it is placed.”

When I was a student, part of what made for A+ work was the ability to develop an appropriate scheme of interpretation by myself, in the privacy of my mind, using what I saw as the pertinent facts. Something that made the prof go “That’s it! Wish I had expressed it that way.” This is something else. These are essentially presupplied ‘constructs’ designed to guide perception and future action in a way that makes a person likely to desire and instigate transformational change in the circumstances we all live under. If they cannot do it, they can organize together so politicians will implement the changes. That’s why I created the term Politicalism. What Boulding was known for was “incorporating the ideas, concepts and tools from the natural sciences into social scientific analysis.” Why?

His good friend Bela Banathy, who also has a tag and was involved in the creation of the concept of charter schools and what now goes by School Choice, told this story that his close friend Boulding shared with him in 1983. In 1954, at Stanford’s Center for Advanced Studies in Behavioral Sciences (CASBS) where so much else was hatched:

“four Center fellows–Bertalanffy (biology), Boulding (economics), Gerard (psychology), and Rappoport (mathematics)–had a discussion  in a meeting room. Another Center Fellow walked in and asked: ‘What’s going on here?’ Ken answered: ‘We were angered about the state of the human condition’ and ask: ‘What can we–what can science–do about improving the human condition‘ Oh!’ their visitor said: ‘This is not my field.’ At that meeting the four scientists felt that in the statement of their visitor they heard the statement of the fragmented disciplines that have little concern for doing anything practical about the fate of humanity. So they asked themselves, ‘What would happen if science would be redefined by crossing disciplinary boundaries and forge a general theory that would bring us together in the service of humanity?'”

That overdone analogy to the ‘outmoded factory model of education’ is actually a cloaking metaphor to mask this complete change in the purpose of education that drove the education reforms in the 60s, 80s, and now covered in my book Credentialed to Destroy. It’s also why Tranzi OBE and Competency needed to be deliberately misdefined as we saw in the last post. Why do we keep coming across an emphasis on Character or Moral Dispositions and Attributes? Because social and political scientists like Boulding came to recognize “that the universe of ethical values is a driving force in human life” and can be altered to drive a transformation in what is acceptable in the future.

If you want to drive cultural change, alter human consciousness by instilling new ‘active principles’ that people must now use to organize their lives and institutions. Then have them practice it in the classroom or workplace or even their church until relying on these principles becomes a Habit of Mind. In his 1969 AEA Presidential Address, Boulding informed those economics professionals that “any system contains the seeds of its own transformation or future genesis, and that this works through a learning process.” See why education had to change away from an emphasis on facts? Economics was just one of the human social systems that interested Boulding and he knew change had to start with the very mental models each person internalized:

“All these social systems are linked together dynamically through the process of human learning which is the main dynamic factor in all social systems.”

That’s such a useful quote for anyone who wonders why I cannot stick to just writing about education. Because it’s a tool to a transformation for a different purpose and a new, unlikely to succeed well for most of us, vision of the future. When should we talk about it? After the carnage is more advanced and even more resources depleted in the name of education? I am going to shift away from Boulding for a moment, but his vision was covered in the Trilogy begun here with his book The Meaning of the 20th Century and its effect on the Commission on the Year 2000 covered in the post that followed. Rereading those yesterday almost took my breath away because it fits so closely with what was in the Roadmap for the Next Administration and the Architecture of Innovation on what data can be made to now do.

This post’s title comes from a book Robert George–Princeton professor, Bradley Foundation board member, well-known spokesperson for Catholicism, and founder of the same American Principles Project that did not want to define certain terms accurately in the last post, wrote in 1993. If ‘common guiding principles’ and shared meanings are in fact what makes people and organizations act as ‘systems’ as Boulding and systems science generally believed, it makes perfect sense not to concede that is what ALL Competency-based education reforms, and what I nicknamed Tranzi OBE, are about. The aims are no different then from the Catholic Curriculum Framework although some of the offered concepts, principles, and the justifications for the changes may differ.

Like Boulding in the quote Boettke chose or in my quotes from his 1969 AEA address, George in his making men moral: Civil Liberties and Public Morality wanted education to provide “first principles of practical reason…to guide choice and action.” Fascinating, huh? Everybody seems to want to carve that rudder that will guide future decision-making without being forthright on the connection. All we get are School Choice!, Federal Misedukation, and Autonomy to the Locals and parents. Some autonomy as both education and “laws have a legitimate subsidiary role to play in helping people to make themselves moral.” Then sell it to parents that way and admit Classical Education IS designed to create a steerable rudder both parents and students are not being told about.

Character is a wonderful thing, but not when it operates at an unconscious level as a Habit of Mind and parents are not told that their children are being steered in the name of Goodness. Truth. and Beauty or Equity and Justice or Sustainability or other Guiding Principles to guide practical reason and likely future action. The same Spiritual and Moral Framework that can be used by New Agers like the Ross School from the last post or Social Justice Warriors grounded in Paulo Freire Pedagogy for the Oppressed aligns with the aim of instilled Knowledge, Skills, and Dispositions from the Catholic Curriculum Frameworks. They ALL want to provide the ideas, emotional motivations, and values students internalize as their guide to future decision-making. School now wants to provide their purpose for living and the vision of what the future might be.

To truly get the dangers of this personalized, student-centered, transformative vision of education perhaps it will help if we follow those Moral and Spiritual Frameworks (as well as the cited Ron Miller’s “What are Schools For?”) right straight to a School of Education and Psychology in Isfahan, Iran. If “Holistic Education: An Approach for 21st Century” from 2011 is okay with the mullahs and their tyrannical vision of people, we really need to quit using the word ‘autonomy’ to describe the student when this vision of education is through with them. Yes, they have a purpose, but is it really theirs? I will quote from the Abstract because it fits with the vision I have described in this Trilogy. Think of the implications of that.

“Holistic education encompasses a wide range of philosophical orientations and pedagogical practices. Its focus is on wholeness, and it attempts to avoid excluding any significant aspects of the human experience. It is an eclectic and inclusive movement whose main characteristic is that educational experiences foster a less materialistic and more spiritual worldview along with more dynamic and holistic views of reality.

It also proposes that educational experience promote a more balanced development of–and cultivate the relationship among–the different aspects of the individual (intellectual, physical, spiritual, emotional, social and Aesthetic), as well as the relationships between the individual and other people, the individual and natural environment, the inner-self of students and external world, emotion and reason, different disciplines of knowledge and forms of knowing, holistic education is concerned with life experience, not with narrowly defined ‘basic skills.'”

Doesn’t that life experience/basic skills distinction sound just like the erroneous definition of Competency from the last post? Isn’t the US goal of College and Career Ready just another euphemism for this holistic life experience vision that seeks to control what gets internalized to guide the adults our children will become?

How is it not authoritarian for any government at any level to make education holistic or integrative using those aims?

How on Earth can this really be “education for humanity” when the type of human we become is subject to undisclosed political control?

Butterflies of the Soul: Using Education Reforms as the Chrysalis for Social Reengineering

I have to admit that the first part of that title is not my metaphor. It does, however, perfectly capture the true story behind of where education reforms, learning standards like the Common Core, SEL competencies, or School Choice, actually lead. The true story is found via a converging mixture of open declarations by insiders, coupled to deceitful narratives by people also tied to ‘public policy’. The False Narratives always seem to be trying to obscure the same actual goals as what someone else openly declares. Either that obstruction, as in “Don’t Look Here!”, or we get a deliberate misrepresentation of what something means or how it works (based on Robin’s handy Education Glossary of terms).

In other words, both shrouding something I know is there or misrepresenting a definition are telling facts of what the deception is about. Using my own metaphor now, if the Open Admitters of education as a transformational tool are Hansel, and the Deceiving Craftsmen (and women) are Gretel, the crumbs Hansel is leaving, and the areas of the pathway that Gretel’s crumbs never touch, are headed in the same direction. Let’s look there!

One of the documentable facts I have uncovered in the last few months of footnote tiptoeing and then reading is that in 2003 the International Mind, Brain, and Education Society was launched at a conference at the Vatican. At an opening session workshop, the Senior Scientist of One Laptop Per Child, Antonio Battro, presented a video called Mysterious Butterflies of the Soul, which was a metaphor for the neurons in the student’s physiological brain. The idea was how to transform education to target the ‘living brain’ so its structures reliably guide future actions and behaviors. This future activity is to be grounded in the supposed “spiritual roots of humanity.” That true neurobiological focus then gets obscured by frequently substituting the terms cognition or mind.

Linking up with the last post’s observation that all these aims, when uncovered or deciphered, turn out to be about the student’s decision-making capacities, Antonio Damasio, from the same conference (USC prof involved with BRAIN Initiative and author of Descartes’ Error) told us why SEL Standards are really so important. Hint: it has nothing to do with any government database of PII.

“We use emotions and the devices that underpin them every day of our lives, frequently as a helping hand in the conscious decision-making process and just as often to orient our behaviors and enrich our humanity. Creativity [one of the 4 Cs of 21st Century Learning] is not conceivable without emotion. Neither is moral behavior. As for education, it is difficult to imagine how to proceed without two of the leading consequences of emotion: engagement and attention. The brain uses emotional processes to identify salient features of the environment that are especially relevant to the management of life.”

When the think tanks, American Principles Project and the Pioneer Institute, decided to pilfer from the footnotes of my book Credentialed to Destroy, with neither proper attribution nor permission, to misrepresent the true focus of both Competency-based Education and Transformational Outcomes Based Education, the misleading pathway constructed led away from that very same Life Roles focus as what Damasio and IMBES were getting at. “After the Fall: Catholic Education Beyond the Common Core” made public education supposedly all about preparation for the workforce. It also alleged the Common Core was “devoid of any attention to ‘the true, the good, the beautiful,” and catered to “man with the soul amputated.” Well, that butterfly metaphor makes a mockery of that statement.

Plus, on the next page Professor Damasio told us that “the importance of emotion in education  is not confined to its role in engagement and attention. The role that emotions play in the construction of moral behavior and, by extension, building a citizen is just as important.” I bolded those phrases because when the Atlanta Classical Academy, which is part of both the Atlanta Public Schools and where the head of Hillsdale’s Barney Charter School Initiative, Terrence Moore, is the principal,  ran an ad in the local paper recently it touted its curriculum as building the basis for Virtuous Living and Good Citizenship. Sounds like synonyms for Damasio’s vision for MBE education to me.

Moreover, in following our trails of crumbs and no crumbs, an October 13, 2016 story in The Federalist entitled “Meet the Americans Revitalizing Freedom, One Child at a Home” on Classical Education and the charter schools opened under the Barney Initiative cited how Moore had spoken at “a summer institute dedicated to introducing new volunteers to the ideas behind the Barney initiative.” We can all decide if this seems to be a fact-based curriculum to us.

“Moore playacted the part of the Federalists and Anti-Federalists of the American Revolution, illustrating ways to engage children in Western civilization’s great ideas. The seminar’s whiteboards proclaimed: ‘I will learn the true. I will do the good. I will love the beautiful.‘”

I bolded that because we are going back to what Antonio Battro of the Mysterious Butterflies of the Soul metaphor wrote just before he described the IMBES launch from the Vatican. In his section called “Truth, Goodness, and Beauty,” he latinized these tenets everyone seems to be using to make education about transforming the emotional bases, values, and beliefs that guide future behavior. Just like what the Barney Charter initiative says it wishes to do and which is also supposedly the purpose of the new Catholic Curriculum Framework. What are the odds of such consistent similarities if not outright congruence?–Quoting Battro: “In the words of the old scholastic dictum, Verum, bonum et pulchrum convertuntur (Truth, goodness, and beauty are interchangeable.)”

At this rate so are the visions of the schools being created by School Choice advocates and public education generally. The pro-Common Core and Anti-Common Core organized forces are also headed in a common direction when we delve far enough. Interchangeable is truly the perfect word if we pay attention to function and not slight differences in phrasing or supposed purposes. I am also sure it is totally coincidental that the same day the Catholic Curriculum Frameworks rolled out with its admitted aims that somehow tie to the same behavioral science template as what Tranzi OBE and Competency-Based Ed really mean, the Center for Assessment in Dover, New Hampshire rolled out its Framework for what would constitute innovative, student-centered quality assessments under federal law.

Headed to the same place with measurable results of what is being internalized, in other words. Apparently no one is ever supposed to recognize all this commonality as long as different talking points are used in the official descriptions we are just to accept demurely.

One more example of all that can be learned about the real agenda from affiliated think tanks and the desire that we all accept analogical thinking using the presupplied metaphors that take us in a non-factual direction. This one seemed to be about once again wanting us to misunderstand the Common Core and ‘standards’ generally. We are also supposed to move on. First, the Bradley Foundation-financed, Harvard PEPG publication, Education Next, went with the story “Lessons on the Common Core” by Robert Pondiscio on January 5, 2017. The next week the PEPG partner and Education Excellence Network absorber, Fordham Institute, republished the same article. Later, that week, my local School Choice pusher think tank led its Friday Facts newsletter with this quote:

“to be upset by academic standards is to invest them with a power they neither have nor deserve. In my five years of teaching fifth graders, I never–not even once–reached for English language arts standards when deciding what to teach. I would wager that when I.M. Pei was commissioned to design the Louvre Pyramid, his first move was not to reach for a copy of the Paris building codes for inspiration.” A clever, but totally inapt metaphor, for the purpose of ‘standards’. They are not ‘academic standards’ in the historical sense of that term as transmitting a fact-based curriculum. A better metaphor would have Pei mulling over the laws of physics governing the desired design. True ‘learning standards.’ like the Common Core or Competency-Based Education, are always so interested in neurons and biology after all.

And why are everyone’s learning standards so focused on transmitting knowledge in terms of concepts, instead of building up from known facts and cause-effect relationships? Our IMBES template again had Vartan Gregorian, the President of the hugely influential Carnegie Corporation, telling us that “concepts are far more important than facts and the ability to analyze and synthesize has much greater value than the ability to memorize. In short, school may be multiple choice but real life is all essay.” All this interest in pushing concepts, categories, themes, topics, and ideas as the essence of Knowledge makes more sense if, like Gregorian said, there is now to be “no boundaries between learning and life.” Just like in Tranzi OBE, Competency-Based Ed, and apparently Classical Education too, once properly understood without deceit.

An admitted Marxist poli sci prof, back in 1996, laid out his vision of the future and what needed to be altered in italicized, reconstructive terms, in a way that someone writing about just education reform for an audience of parents, politicians, and taxpayers is typically unwilling to do. That does not change the fact that the desired poli sci or economic transformations can only occur with a certain type of change in the nature of education. Education reforms, to be deemed effective or what is now called ‘evidence-based’ should be gathering student data studying “mass dispositions and capabilities and associated discourses of democracy. Reconstructive science is concerned with the social competences of individuals and the corresponding grammars of human interaction. Its categories are sought in how its subjects apprehend the world.”

Everyone cited in this post, whether being honest or providing a metaphor or narrative to mislead, appears to be interested in providing the basis for how we ‘subjects’ in this 21st Century Age of undisclosed collectivist Politicalism–‘apprehend the world’.

In the next post we will cover how someone with ties to virtually everyone cited in this post wants education to be about practicing the desired “internal acts of reason and will.” A vision incorporating “the moral norms available to guide choice and action.”

I guess we will call the next post the End of the Trilogy laying out the Deceit surrounding Manipulating Each Student’s Personal Decision-Making Capacity, with neither notice nor consent.

Can anyone tell I do not like any vision of education that regards us as anyone’s ‘subjects’?

Controlling Consciousness and Planning Society Via Politicalism-a New Helpful Description is Born

Before I turn the term-Politicalism-into the most apt metaphor since Axemakers Mind for describing the true intent behind K-12 education reforms, let me offer up some timely quotes on controlling consciousness. The first is from a December 20, 2016 report called “Behavioural Insights at the United Nations–Achieving Agenda 2030.” I will be bolding or italicizing the passages or phrases I most want everyone to remember.

“Agenda 2030 can only be achieved if we critically examine the behavioural factors that lead people to utilize programs effectively and efficiently. Research in behavioural science–regarding how people make decisions and act on them, how they think about, influence, and relate to one another, and how they develop beliefs and attitudes–can inform optimum programme design. Behavioral science research reveals that even small, subtle, and sometimes counter-intuitive changes to the way a message or choice is framed or how a process is structured, can have an outsized impact on the decisions we make and the actions we take.”

So the areas aimed at by what is now called competency-based education and that used to be called Transformational Outcomes-Based Education (both covered in depth in my book Credentialed to Destroy) are the areas the UN believes are crucial to achieving its agenda of Equity for All globally by 2030. Let’s use a shorter quote from another paper released by UNESCO yesterday from the WEF in Davos, Switzerland. The report on the vision for education needed to achieve that 2030 Agenda was called “Partnering for Prosperity: Education for Green and Inclusive Growth” and its section on the Social Determinants of Health and Inequity led with this quote from Professor Bell Hooks:

“There must exist a paradigm, a practical model for social change that includes an understanding of ways to transform consciousness that are linked to efforts to transform structures.”

If that seems vague please search out the papers on Equity and Empowerment Lenses from Multnomah County, Oregon that public health policymakers are now quietly nationalizing. Many of the links are in the most recent comments to the previous post. Finally, we have a quote from a 2013 edition of the book Violence and Social Orders: A Conceptual Framework for Interpreting Recorded Human History. Before I get to that, I want to reiterate how I research at this point in my work.

I am literally working off of footnotes where people with money and political power are confessing what they intend to do with the models and theories they are creating. One of these books cited a Professor Douglass North and that he had been a Marxist and then laid out a quote from that book that struck me as still thoroughly Marxian in its view of the mind and molding consciousness. That’s not an insult, but a shorthand phrase for a particular view of history and how it can be used to mold consciousness deliberately. When a used copy of the book arrived, the authors thanked the Hoover Institution profusely as well as the Bradley Foundation for its financing of the project of a “new framework for the social sciences.”

So the Hoover Institution behind the Koret Task Force and what I regard as an attempt to create a deceptive narrative around the Common Core in the 2011 paper Closing the Door on Innovation, which is also one of the named partners in the PEPG–Program on Education Policy and Governance at the Kennedy School of Government we have covered, wanted this new framework. And the Bradley Foundation behind that concept-based approach to History from the 80s that also finances PEPG’s publication Education Next and many of the think tanks and other entities pushing School Choice and that owns the book publisher, Encounter Books, financed the framework. Let’s take a look at what it aims at.

In the chapter entitled “A New Research Agenda for the Social Sciences,” we find an explanation for what I keep finding when I dig behind the facade of the ‘School Choice’ slogan.

“A full account of human behavior would begin by asking how the mind deals with the process of change. A necessary preliminary is to understand how the brain interprets signals received by the senses and how the mind structures the results into coherent beliefs. ..How do we think about social processes when individuals, at best, have a limited understanding of what is happening to them as they continue to confront new experiences and novel situations that require an awareness of the dynamic nature of the process of change in which they are participants? How do we deal with the novel problems that emerge as humans reshape the human environment in ways that have no historical precedent?”

So we know that both Hoover and the Bradley Foundation are quite interested in consciousness, how it works, and its use for examining and driving cultural change. Before I get to one more quote, let me go ahead and define Politicalism. Politicalism is how politicians at all levels of government, public policy think tanks across the spectrum, academics, and others believe they can use the law and education to force the transformation by 2030 to what Marx called his Human Development Society where human needs are supposedly met. Politicalism feels empowered to ignore the prohibitions of the First Amendment where governments are rarely allowed to restrict speech and go straight ahead to restricting thought by using education reforms to control consciousness. That’s why the phrase ‘decisionmaking’ just keeps coming up.

Politicians and public policy think tanks have a political, social, and economic vision for the future that requires the monitoring and control over the internalized basis of individual action in order to work effectively. If that aim does not justify a special Proper Noun descriptive term like Politicalism then what will? Not wanting to get called out in advance and have this behavioral science technique prohibited, we get all sorts of euphemisms like competency-based ed, Tranzi OBE, Higher Order Thinking Skills, or School Choice to name a few. The Hoover Framework, with Bradley financing, actively seeks to alter social science research by targeting institutions, which it italicized and defined as follows:

“…the rules of the game, the patterns of interaction that govern and constrain the relationships of individuals. Institutions include formal rules, written laws, formal social conventions, and informal norms of behavior.”

In other words, institutions are not necessarily physical things, but also the values, attitudes, beliefs, ethics, ideas and concepts, and desired behavioral norms we have come now to associate with social emotional learning or Positive School Climate, for example. Anyone sensing why a Bradley Foundation funded think tank would want to misrepresent targeting these areas that govern future action and decisionmaking and pretend it’s about Personally Identifiable Information or a Student Unit Record controversy? Before we leave that book, there was a statement that “we do not have a general theory of belief formation and human cognition,” which strikes me as absolutely not true. If it is technically true, go have lunch with your colleagues at CASBS in Palo Alto or the MBE professors at the ed school at Harvard or the constructionists in the AI work or Media Lab at MIT. They certainly do.

The rest of the statement though suggests our authors do know what their colleagues would pass on. “…we have tried to come to grips with two aspects of beliefs. First, beliefs about causal relationships ultimately affect people’s decisions. Second, the cultural environment–the political, economic, social context–fundamentally influences beliefs.”

That would explain why so much of the actual research at Stanford, MIT, Harvard, and other places goes to using education to influence both those aspects of beliefs. The new federal education legislation, ESSA, even calls for assessing for this at least annually. Note that changing these beliefs or any of the other internalized bases for decisionmaking is what is now called Learning. The reason Learning must be standardized, monitored, and regulated by governments is to get to a broader vision of how society and its people and their relationships are to be structured (both the regulation of Learning and the restructuring and planning are covered by the term-Politicalism).

There was one last recent report we need to cover, released yesterday, called “Communities in Action: Pathways to Health Equity.” It is intended to bind the federal agencies and governments at all levels to the UN’s 2030 Agenda and what is also called Marxist Humanism, whatever President-Elect Trump’s wishes. Apparently, his confirmed political appointees were never to even know. In this vision, ‘quality education’ is simply one of the Social Determinants of Health and public policy and regulation needs to be used to restructure “the conditions in the environments in which people live, learn, work, play, worship, and age that affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks. For the purposes of this report, the social determinants of health are: education; employment; health systems and services; housing; income and wealth; the physical environment; public safety; the social environment; and transportation.”

So first we had to wade through all the false narratives surrounding education reform and then accept that ‘quality education’ is a defined term tied to an all-encompassing plan of transformation. A plan that we are neither supposed to recognize in time nor object to. See why everyone involved wants to target consciousness? Now the reason I think it is not only us normal taxpayers and parents being snookered is that late in that report, we get the revelation that about one week after the Presidential election shocker, President Obama signed an Executive Order establishing a Community Solutions Council on the importance of equity and the determinants of health and well-being to foster “collaboration across [federal] agencies…to coordinate actions, identify working solutions to share broadly, and develop and implement policy recommendations that put the community-driven, locally led vision at the center of policymaking.”

As far as I can tell then all these changes started by President Obama that Hillary Clinton would have continued are still to roll along under President Trump unless he and all his appointees know of their existence and how they work. They simply cannot rely on anyone in Congress to tell them because they benefit from all this intended geographic redistribution and mayors, governors, or school boards will not tell either. The think tanks all seem to think pushing this while misrepresenting it to their readers and petty amount donors is why they exist.

It is up to each of us to appreciate that Politicalism targets all these different levels and sectors of society, down to the neural networks and emotions internalized in our students. Anything that an individual uses, consciously or unconsciously for decisionmaking, is regarded under Politicalism as fair game for manipulation and monitoring. Because the vision of Equity and Empowerment for ALL apparently justifies even the most Preemptive Authoritarianism.

Let me end with a tip to Ms DeVos after yesterday’s testimony. Please read up on Teaching for Competence and Teaching for Growth. When you said you were not familiar with either, you were saying you are unaware of the very tools being used to control and monitor what students internalize as the basis for decisionmaking. If everyone involved in education policymaking wants to target consciousness, best to know now the how and why.

Also, please be careful about throwing out Local Control as the panacea. That would be the Briar Patch in our Glocal, Community Solutions Council world, under Politicalism.