Contrary to the slogans Prosperity really is not available by government fiat but it sure can torpedo it. Beyond regulation, poor choices by politicians and other officials with the power to distribute other people’s money (like School Supers or the accreditors or even “private” businesses like Amplify or IBM or AT&T or other tech companies) who push harmful education ideas while capturing taxpayer money can destroy value. Poof! Take those dollar bills and light them afire! No you say. It was paid in salary or revenue to a connected company, it did not go poof.
But what happens when the resources confiscated from the taxpayer through property taxes or an ESPLOST or their federal or state income taxes buys less than the value that would have been created in the private sector? Where it would have been spent by a purchaser who cared about whether he was getting actual value for what he was spending. We are all poorer because that money was taxed away from private hands to a less efficient spender. So it needs to be spent for a good purpose.
That’s problem No 1 anytime the government decides to take money. That is true of all government but it is especially acute with school districts. Especially now. Why? Education reform now is heavily “influenced by the writings of Vico, Spinoza, and Hegel, Marx, and Engels [who] developed a theory of society now described as historical or dialectical materialism.” I mentioned that here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/so-now-common-core-rejects-individual-thinking-to-embrace-soviet-psychology-ecology/ but the book I mentioned in the last post, Computers as Cognitive Tools, and an article cited there “Beyond Amplification: Using the Computer to Reorganize Mental Functioning” make it crystal clear that the Skill Dominant Initiative and the Digital Learning Mandates and the No Transmission of Knowledge are ALL driven by political ideology. That really is taxpayer money spent poorly. A bonfire in fact, not just a Poof.
Collectivist, Remake Minds and Values Ideology. No ifs, ands, or buts about it even if a particular pushing administrator or Principal is unaware of the tainted past and Horrific Intentions of what they are implementing. That’s the beauty of Government Coercive Power. Do it or find another job. There are always people wanting to do business via political favors rather than crafting a superior product or service and taking real risk of capital.
This is the new view of education sought in the reforms in the 90s and now through the CCSSI ruse we have talked about http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/didnt-the-president-just-admit-ccssi-was-a-ruse-to-change-classroom-interactions/. This is not a dispute then about what to teach or how. Stripped of the rhetoric designed to obscure the reality of sought Political Transformation, we are in the midst of a dispute about what kind of country we will be in the future. Will the individual be free and have real personal autonomy? Or do politicians get to use operant conditioning techniques in K-12 education to change values and make curriculum choices to limit permissable knowledge? Is a student merely a lump of clay to be molded by the state to fit its needs and especially the needs of those employed by or seeking revenue from the government? That’s what the real CCSSI implementation assumes. That’s what Digital Literacy and Mandated Sight Reading Methods are all about.
Symbolic cultural tools identified by Soviet psychologists Vygotsky and Luria as strengthening individual mental capacity like written language must be weakened. Tools with the innate capacity, like the computer, to weaken mental function by becoming a substitute for it, must be pushed. It is desired cultural evolution where we are under attack to STOP “our nature-transcendent innovation as a species.” Just like Paul Ehrlich wanted when he pushed his Newmindedness and James Burke wrote about as the Axemakers Gift that must be stopped. Here’s the political vision being pushed by our ed schools and the accreditation agencies all over the world. It is the essence of what CCSSI is seeking and why Arne Duncan wants all curriculum to be digitized by 2017 at the latest.
“Human nature, on this view [reference to Marx and others listed above], rather than being a product of environmental forces, is of our own making and continually ‘becoming.’ Humankind is reshaped through a dialectic of reciprocal influences: Our productive activities change the world, thereby changing the ways in which the world can change us. By shaping nature and how our interactions with it are mediated, we change ourselves.”
So the computer and digitizing content and making the visual dominant instead of relying on symbolic transformation and haranguing any teacher pushing factual content each become a means of “cultural redefinition”. The dialectic just outlined of “shaping who we are by changing, not just amplifying, what we do.” Together these initiatives being imposed all at once are designed to actually pummel the individual student mentally and psychologically. No wonder there is a tragic history to these mandated social and emotional learning coupled with limits to knowledge shifts.
Over this past weekend, a Canadian education site pushed this Open Letter to Educators. Not complaining mind you but wanting these thoughts to gain widespread attention. Without the paying public even knowing.
“Education isn’t about teaching facts. It is about stoking creativity and new ideas. It is not about teaching students to conform to the world as it is. It is about empowering students to change the world for the better.”
Now how can someone without knowledge of history and what has gone tragically wrong and why, or economics with its built-in appreciation for unintended consequences, actually be in a position to change the world for the better? Changing the world for the better has always grown from the ascendancy of the individual and freedom of choices. Now realistically how can education reform designed to gut all that change the world for the better? This is education reform that destroys value instead of enabling its future production. There is no future prosperity here no matter what Amplify’s press releases say. Just prosperity for connected businesses that hire former School District Supers that can rely on doing business with taxpayer money with their former associates.
Now is wholesale social change an appropriate decision for educators or computer or broadband vendors or accreditors to be making? Especially in a country like the US with the US Constitution protecting the mind as property and the primacy of the individual instead of government? http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/if-the-system-seeks-to-destroy-the-ability-to-think-can-james-madison-save-us/
Instead of knowledge the computer becomes a means of collaboration and testing hypotheses against the computer’s prepackaged scenarios (where the Earth will be frying itself whatever the actual temps or facts) and solving complex problems that may actually be insoluble (at least by a central planner but the computer will not tell you that. And the teacher may now be forbidden to) and making plans and setting goals. That’s knowledge in our new Digital world. I may have been horrified by the educational vision of Mooresville, NC http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/mind-thieves-everyday-examples-that-add-up-to-a-cultural-and-political-tsunami/ but Amplify’s website saw it as the August 10 featured story.
Likewise, I find the vision of graphic novels centered around a pretend Zombie Apocalypse for middle schoolers to be horrid. See for yourself and decide http://www.zombiebased.com/blog/2012/09/30/zbl-featured-on-amplify-com/. Amplify sees it as an innovation to be touted on its website and celebrates that ZBL “appeals to kids the same way a videogame does.” Yes, at an emotional, visual, non-rational level.
Let’s end with what its creator says he intends the students to be learning from ZBL: It is supposed to be a framework for teaching middle school geography (in a way most of us would associate with Cultural Anthropology and Sociology).
“The story has several parts: Students prepare for the impending outbreak, then they have to survive the chaos, find a new settlement, build a new community, and plan for the future of their new home. Instead of just studying existing maps, for example, they have to design their own to track the spread of the zombies. In the end, students have to use higher-order thinking to solve real-world problems, or almost real world that is.”
So students are being taught virtually nothing about the world where they actually dwell and must ultimately get by in. They are immersed in imaginary scenarios that encourage them to trash the world as it exists and aspire to a different future.
Only in a sector of the economy used to living off OPM, Other People’s Money, could such ludicrous ideas as remaking education to fit Marxian political theory gain widespread currency. And I am afraid it will be up to those of us without the magical Education Indoctrination degrees to put a stop to it.
What would we do if medical schools reverted back to bleeding as the remedy for all ailments? This is not dissimilar.