Staring Down the Sudden PISA & 21st Century Learning Hype Leads Straight to Planned Welfare State

I am going to interrupt our troubling tour into the psychological theories and practices being pushed on our students at our expense. Using euphemistic names like soft skills or student growth or metacognition or ‘innovative practices’ for suburban schools. Including lovely confessions that if it works in achieving desired behavioral changes in students it can be rolled out nationally. Some innovation. Certain school districts really need to stop calling parents anytime there is a school shooting tragedy or potential tragedy claiming that “student safety is our first priority.” Horse manure and lots of it. If that is true then we have a widespread epidemic of administrators and consultants pushing ideas on schoolchildren and parents at great expense and calling themselves “Doctor” without having the foggiest notion of what they are doing.

Which is entirely possible so that leaves it up to we the parents and taxpayers to get to the bottom of the tsunami of fundamental social, political, and economic transformation coming at us in time. We will need to point out to the current Living Large on the Public Payroll recipients that a vast expansion will simply lead to greater dysfunction and a complete loss of overall prosperity.

Now when I hear and read a coordinated push all of a sudden around a topic, I get to fall back on a specialist horde of knowledge that in fact remains quite useful whatever the OECD bureaucrats like Andreas Schleicher have to say. We have discussed what the OECD’s push to monitor subjective well-being globally will mean for education. What I know and may have forgotten to pass along is that everything the OECD pushes in education, and it is a primary driver globally, comes out of its desire for a public-sector dominant social welfare state and planned economy globally.  Especially in the US.

And Schleicher basically says so in this hugely troubling article from 2010. http://www.oecd.org/general/thecasefor21st-centurylearning.htm “Shifts in ways of doing business, of managing the workplace or linking producers and consumers” are just the kind of wholesale reimagining of our economy that we just keep encountering as attached to education reform. Like the changed Mindsets and New Worldviews created by humanist psychology theories and practices in the classroom, this is all a means to an end.

If you get a chance to read that 2 page paper you will see that Schleicher is describing 21st Century Learning in language that others have come outright and called dialectical thinking. It is to prepare students for a belief quite useful to proponents of wholesale fundamental transformation into Governors and Governed.

“Promote students dialectical thinking–the understanding that what is ‘true’ now may not be true in the future and may not have been true in the past.” [Professor Robert Steinberg, 2009, ASCD, ‘How to Teach the Other 3 Rs’]

Andreas is quite busy and it was the sudden promotion of his July 2012 TED talk hyping PISA but not mentioning the planned roll-out in many American school districts this fall that is part of what caught my interest. It was called “Use Data to Build Better Schools” and the kind of schools to be remade will of course depend on what data is being collected. Schleicher was kind enough to mention in the 20 minute talk that it was international assessments like PISA that have globalized education. I knew that and it’s time everyone else did too. PISA is measuring student values, attitudes, and beliefs and how they apply knowledge (as in Big Ideas or Concepts like Social Justice) to novel situations. Non-linear, no clear cut solution problems that the students have never encountered before.  Can you say Messing with the Mind or Dialectical again or the more common Higher Order Thinking Skills?

There is another very troubling slideshow on “Learning in the 21st Century-Lessons from Around the World” http://prezi.com/fuvde8bjh6qg/learning-in-the-21st-century-policy-lessons-from-around-the-world/ that was Schleicher speaking last fall at WISE in Qatar, the World Innovation Summit in Education. So good to know that the Muslim world has such an interest in limiting the intellectual and economic capacity of the West. It’s especially interesting given that Schleicher mentions that 21st Century Learning is a way to “avert the risks” of new technology. Is that why Big Blue sponsored his TED talk? No more unapproved competition? If that kind of collusion strikes you as unlikely you might want to read the OECD’s “Better Skills, Better Jobs, Better Lives” detailing the extent of the sought collaboration among government and existing employers around a global skills agenda. With the foundation of the largest education company in the world   http://www.pearsonfoundation.org/pr/20120523-Pearson-Foundation-and-OECD-Launch-skills-oecd-org.html signing on as a partner.

I could be here all day explaining the elements but it is clear that 21st Century Learning is tied to the OECD vision of the future global society and PISA functions as the means of measuring how schools and teachers are doing in creating the new desired mindsets amenable to such wholesale political change. Hopefully even clamoring for it as expectations for middle class employment are dashed as the combo of government interventionism in the economy and divorcing actual knowledge from credentials creates its foreseeable dire effects.

That’s why the other component of the full-court propaganda press suddenly surrounding PISA caught my attention. It turns out on August 13, 2013 Simon & Schuster (owned by CBS. Think media education and UNESCO) published a book The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way about who does well on PISA and how combining excellence with equity is necessary for being globally competitive. Now we know what PISA measures and that’s not my definition of smart. Is it yours? If you watch Schleicher’s presentation on prezi, you will hear the Ontario Premier touting Ontario’s success. It also has Ben Levin speaking but his authority on education reform has been compromised since his July 2013 arrest on child porn charges.

The Ontario Premier says that 4 in 10 Canadian students are now immigrants and it is important to change education to deal with that diversity. He points out Ontario is now considered high achieving because immigrant children and Canadian born children do equally well on PISA. If that is so, then they are practicing dialectical type, open-ended thinking in the classroom instead of academics and knowledge transmission and that is what PISA is picking up on. It’s Ontario’s business but we in the US and elsewhere need to not blindly jump aboard the PISA bandwagon like we are being led to do. Just look at the endorsements and reviews on Ripley’s book. Talk about the Appeal to Authority fallacy.

Ooops. I had forgotten her name. Amanda Ripley. She does human behavior and public policy stories for Time Magazine and The Atlantic. Since I assumed she knew the book title was deceitful to put it kindly, I looked into her background and discovered she was a fellow at the New America Foundation. When I took a look at what they were pushing with that troubling name, it turned out that shortly after the President’s reelection and through his inauguration, numerous public policy papers were created on the New America vision. That miraculously dovetails with precisely the sorts of things the OECD wants pushed globally. What. Are. The. Odds. The capstone, culmination paper was released in June and is called the Next Social Contract. http://nsc.newamerica.net/sites/newamerica.net/files/policydocs/Lind_Michael_NextSocialContract_2013.pdf

The New Social Contract completely remakes the America we have known and turns it into a public-sector dominated economic sewer. Complete with VAT, the federal takeover of Medicaid, turning health insurance into social insurance, eliminating “tax-privileged” retirement accounts, and best of all, federal revenue sharing to ensure regional equity of fiscal resources based on population. How exciting for California, NY, Illinois, and poor mismanaged Detroit. It’s a future that sees education and healthcare and state and local governments as the biggest employers and all at taxpayer expense.

“Privileged Americans should not be allowed to use sub-national jurisdictions as excuses for shirking their responsibility to contribute to minimum levels of public services throughout the United States as a whole.”

Welcome to the planned 21st Century America. I can see why that quote did not come out before Florida’s electoral votes were successfully grabbed for reelection.

That’s what we are dealing with behind all the rhetoric. No wonder OECD has taken up password protecting the pdfs surrounding its global Well-being conferences.

I am going to close with something federal Ed Secretary Arne Duncan said in connection with the 50th Anniversary of King’s March on Washington. He “called on educators and students to advance a civil rights agenda that presses for equal opportunities-and not just equal rights.”

He seems to be referring to the vision of that New Social Contract. But a knowledge of history and economics would reveal that the attempt is likely to destroy what does work. We are questing after a unicorn ride and pretending it is possible and jettisoning our current vehicle as we go a-dreaming. Some dreams are impossible.

How far down this road of creating new Mindsets and a new vision of the future will we go before we recognize we have expensively destroyed knowledge and expertise and social institutions we cannot easily remake?

Where will we be when the epiphany finally hits of all we have deliberately trashed? Ridiculously enough, in the name of education for all.

Some common core.

Psychological Approach to a Humane Politics: Restructuring the West Quietly and Effectively Via Ed

We stopped to pick up that nerdy expression Triune Consciousness in the last post because it rather succinctly explains why nothing in education over the last several decades makes much sense to us. We have a worldview on what education should be that makes it very difficult to accurately perceive that education has become about creating a new “framework of values, a philosophy of life, a religion or religion surrogate to live and to understand by.” The German expression for such an all-encompassing guide of daily perception is weltanschauung. We just translate it Worldview and it has been officially under attack for decades. Why? Because of a belief that humanistic psychology could adopt the human development component of Uncle Karl’s vision and use K-12 and higher ed institutions to invisibly change personal perceptions and culture. Shifting “personal politics can make for a more humane politics for both America and our larger world.”

Triune consciousness then simply reflects the idea that a new, radically different structure of social relations needs to be grounded in emotion and passion. In order to create a need to act to change the world as it now exists to the vision desired. I think such “a ‘knowing-of-the-heart’ which is not an unambiguous knowledge like that of clear and distinct ideas…” is a dangerous thing for our schools, churches, or universities to be cultivating. But I am also warning everyone that such a dramatic shift is precisely what is being sought in the Positive School Climate, Flow, systems thinking, happiness, mental health first aid, and other pushes we have discussed previously. How do I know for sure? Why the people involved have told me in their books and conferences and websites. It is all grounded in the humanistic psychology of Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers. That appears to be the all-encompassing vision we are dealing with. Still.

I am beginning to think that this naive idea that we can redefine what humanity is and promote specieshood and use education to target the foundation of all social institutions: “how people think and feel, how they comprehend the meaning of being human, how they experience the self, how they perceive their relationship to the environment and each other” really came under an organized, global attack back in 1962. First we have Robert Tucker, the Princeton poli sci prof laying out the idea that the US was closer to little c communism than the USSR and pushing Uncle Karl’s human development vision of the future. Then we have Evald Ilyenkov coming up with his new dialectics that supposedly will later inspire Gorbachev but was also very interested in altering perceptions. Remember our trips through the nerdy expression “Ascending from the Abstract to the Concrete” and how Ilyenkov’s work has recently been brought back into print in the US by those Cultural-Historical Activity Theorists in San Diego?

To that interesting cauldron of timing that was almost certainly impacted in a delaying way by the Cuban Missile Crisis later in 1962, let me add a fascinating link. In 1962, the ASCD, then a division of the National Education Association–the NEA–published Perceiving, Behaving, Becoming: A New Focus proposing that the nature of education be dramatically shifted with Maslow and Rogers among the authors. The new type of education would be centered in the psychological tenets of humanist psychology in order to build on human potential to change, instead of the transmission of knowledge. Sound troublingly familiar?

The 1960s and taking these ideas in the direction of hedonism may have stopped much of the historic role of schools in academic learning but the desire to use school’s to alter student’s personalities hit a snag. The Journal of Humanistic Psychology created a dialogue all through the 70s and early 80s on what a good instrument for changing society and the nature of the economy HP (no, not Hewlett Packard even though all the foundations now are imbibing these theories deeply) would make.

Somehow that magical year of 1986 became the point in time to put all those broader political and social intentions and Maslow’s ideal of using education to integrate self-improvement and social zeal into another book. This one was called Politics and Innocence: A Humanistic Debate with Maslow, Rogers, Rollo May and others participating. One of those was a Walter Nord who pointed out that the “writings of Karl Marx have much in common with what modern writers have described as the essence of humanistic psychology.” That’s our HP and we had noticed that striking resemblance in function and sought effects. Nord simply points out that HP needs to be used to create support for “major changes in economic organization and the distribution of power.” Systems thinking and outcomes-based education to the rescue please!

Then in 1999 during the last round of Radical Ed Reform at the federal level before Gore’s loss slowed down the full implementation, the ASCD published an updated book edited by H Jerome Freiberg. It contained the original 1962 essays with new contributions from people like Barbara McComb’s from the Aurora, Co ed lab, McREL, involved in the A+ Achieving Excellence systems thinking, OBE innovation, that would later become an issue in Columbine. This “Motivation and Lifelong Learning” paper  http://www.unco.edu/cebs/psychology/kevinpugh/motivation_project/resources/mccombs91.pdf published in 1991 gives a good feel for what HP sought whatever it calls itself. Plus it makes its links to the current lifelong learning push and what that League of Innovative Schools is really trying to research on suburban school kids without parental consent. The 1999 book was called Perceiving Behaving Becoming: Lessons Learned.

In 2013 HP comes in as the social and emotional learning mandate that the accreditation agencies are requiring in their standards for what constitutes “Quality” as well as what gets incorporated into all that planned gaming. How am I so sure about Positive School Climate though? Because Carl Rogers writes repeatedly about what he calls the “psychological climate” and the “growth-promoting climate.” It’s the necessary school, classroom, and social environment that may prove Rogers belief:

“I do not find that this evil is inherent in human nature. In a psychological climate which is nurturant of growth and choice, I have never known an individual to choose the cruel or destructive path. Choice always seems to be in the direction of greater socialization, improved relationships with others. So my experience leads me to believe that it is cultural influences which are the major factor in our evil behavior.”

I think Rogers is wrong. Rollo May did too but that is the guiding philosophy behind the Positive School Climate mandate. Use education to change the student’s values, attitudes, beliefs, and emotions and you can change future behavior. Do it in enough students, especially if the heads of foundations and other social and political institutions are quietly on board with this invisible revolution and you can supposedly get an out of sight revolution.

How else do I know for sure that we are still dealing with HP in 2013 in the plans for the actual Common Core implementation? Because Martin Seligman of the Positive Psychology and global School Wide Positive Behavior and Happiness pushes said it tied to Maslow’s work.   http://www.pursuit-of-happiness.org/history-of-happiness/martin-seligman/ Because Mihaly Csiksentmihalyi, whose work is described here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/excellence-means-education-putting-what-we-feel-wish-for-and-think-in-harmony/  also ties his work back to Maslow and does the research on that nerdy word “conation” that is tied to the OECD’s Subjective Well-being excuses for making us the Governed.

Finally there was the Third World Congress on Positive Psychology, June 27-30, 2013 in LA that Seligman and Csik basically led. http://www.ippanetwork.org/assets/1/7/IPPAThirdWorldCongressProgram.pdf is the program that clearly ties it all to Maslow and shows the global importance of the Positive School Climate model to achieving the desired transformations.

I think I will close with the admission from the End of Innocence book (citing Frankfurt School member Erich Fromm) on how important it is to use education to reframe “all perceptions of reality” whenever social change is sought. School then becomes a method of social conditioning that gets at the “system of categories which determines the forms of awareness. This system works, as it were, like a socially conditioned filter; experience cannot enter awareness unless it can penetrate the filter.”

Whoever creates that mental filter creates what is perceived as reality. What will guide future action and what will be ignored despite real consequences.

Now you know why we keep hearing about conceptual lenses and Understandings of Consequence and Generative Metaphors and Mental Schemas and frameworks. Every radical with plans of transformations is familiar with Fromm’s insight. We needed to be too.

Student-centered learning=humanist psychology emphasis in the 21st century classroom

Now you know why all recourse from an alarmed parent or taxpayer or teacher is being turned off.

Triune Consciousness-A $100 Phrase We Need to Grasp Why Every Wrong Leads to the Same Remedy

For those of you excited to hear your State may be reconsidering the Common Core, my research has always shown that CCSSI is a Bait and Switch tactic. So I am going to continue my focus on the real change coming to a classroom near you soon. US or elsewhere. Public or private. The consistency across decades and geography is amazing. So we are going to keep our focus on the wealth of confessional riches that looking into that odd word–conative–turned up. Because the vision everywhere seems to be a 21st Century “form of education that provides universal principles from which inner-awakening, self-transformation and self awareness can be enhanced.”

Why is that necessary? Because “without inner transformation, it is not possible to bring about true change as true change in the thinking, must occur at the spiritual level.” (“Towards Self-Sustainability in Education”, 2007, New Zealand) Spiritual as in “the convergence of religions into a universal form of ethics.” That’s supposedly how we get to a cooperative commonwealth or all the other visions of a reorganized collectivist, sustainable economy and society we have looked at that is always attached to these ed reform visions. If the vision of the society or economy of the future makes no sense for most of us, we need to reconsider where the League of Innovative Schools and 21st Century Skills and a Competency focus and social and emotional learning are really taking us. But today we are focusing on how changes this dramatic can manage to make it all the way into a local classroom despite the wishes of parents, taxpayers, a Governor, or a local school board.

Apart from money to bribe compliance at the local level and accreditation (which is so poorly understood), this time the Executive branch through both White House edicts and very busy agencies is really working the interpretations of both the federal civil rights laws and the federal disabilities laws into pretzels only a contortionist or a stealth Social Change Agent could love. We already noted a similar previous attempt here. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/who-knew-karl-marx-had-a-human-development-model-or-that-it-fit-our-facts-so-well/

Well, the feds were at it again this week using the Civil Rights Division of DoEd’s Special Ed Division to issue a Dear Colleague letter on the Bullying of Students with Disabilities. But the remedy as we have seen before involves a Positive School Climate (PSC) and required policies and psychological practices and curricula for ALL students.  http://www2.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/idea/memosdcltrs/bullyingdcl-8-20-13.pdf Everybody bound and coming from somewhere few are likely to see. Likewise, the Alliance for Excellent Education just released a paper http://www.all4ed.org/files/HSClimate1.pdf called Climate Change: Creating an Integrated Framework for Improving School Climate. It’s in the name of the poor and minorities and the tragedy of too many schools being drop-out factories. Since much of that is deliberately created, basically we have a case of problems being created so a desired solution can be offered. And framed in terms of Civil Rights since most people never aced Con Law in order to be able to be skeptical about the words “the law requires.”

Beyond the ever present PSC pursuit that gives a reason to require that ALL students in ALL schools “receive the same academic, social, and emotional experience.” PSC gets defined as “an environment that reflects a commitment to meeting and developing the academic, social, and emotional needs of every student.” And collecting Civil Rights Data (CRDC) to make sure that is happening for ALL students. Which will certainly go a long way toward the OECD’s interest in overseeing everyone’s Subjective Well-being.

It also goes a long way towards achieving Education for Sustainability towards this end of the UN’s decade since the data gets at “the driver of intentional change in one’s behaviour, emotions, perceptions and attitudes.” Those changes achieved via federal collection of personal data as a matter of supposed law then is supposed to lead to a greater ability to fuse the needed “shared vision at collective levels.” And all mostly out of sight.

I want to borrow an insight Ludwig Von Mises had on the page before the quote I used in the previous post. If politicians and connected insiders want to call the shots in the 21st century, genuine innovation is an obstacle since it can and has literally changed the world and the course of civilization before. All this PSC emphasis beyond the usefulness of knowing people’s Personal Motivational Profile obtained without their knowledge via digital learning and assessments we cannot see has another important goal. Here is the insight:

“Most people are common men. They do not have thoughts of their own; they are only receptive. They do not create new ideas; they repeat what they have heard and imitate what they have seen. If the world were peopled only by such as these, there would not be any change and any history. What produces change is new ideas and actions guided by them…It is always an individual who starts a new method of doing things, and then other people imitate his example.”

PSC and the resistance to lectures and textbooks and systems thinking now are all fundamentally rationales to prevent uncommon individuals who might create new ideas and fully appreciate and explain the value and necessity  of old ones. But politicians and tech companies wanting to preserve future revenue against competition or media companies aghast at what happened to the profitability of newspapers can’t be honest with us. Money, power, and control may be the real reason but it cannot be the public explanation so we get all these bogus talking points. But in the footnotes that go with the PSC research or holistic learning or Whole Child Initiative or what is wanted from a Conative emphasis is the real story. It will take me several posts as we continue through it but there is tremendous consistency now at the deep level I am. Through place and time and names you might say but never a variance in the function.

Today I want to lay the foundation of why we have encountered so many reasons to switch school to activity and social and emotional learning and the PSC mandate. The 1997 book Head and Heart: Affection, Cognition, Volition as Triune Consciousness by Andrew Tallon laid out the sought vision of a “spontaneous nonconceptual knowing and loving” that will be manifested in “performances.” Yes, indeed, won’t that fit well with ‘performance standards’ and ‘learning tasks’ and projects as the classroom emphasis. That way students can physically practice: “feeling is the way our being resonates with our doing” until it becomes a matter of habit. No wonder ‘engagement’ has become the order of the day. Good thing 21st Century Skills are not interested in fostering habits of mind or deep learning which would start to sound precisely like what Triune Consciousness is getting at.

Think of how useful the PSC mandate and that CRDC data will be if a student’s “capacity to learn means acquiring habits as (re)structuring malleable; it is essential becoming.” Sounds a lot like Peter Senge’s Presencing. And “[t]he goal of learning, at its most personal and interpersonal peak, is to develop triune consciousness. The Developed structures of adult personality and character form the unique constellation of dispositions to act spontaneously and with a directness and immediacy that needs neither thought nor will, primarily in face-to-face relations.” And that Dear Readers fits almost precisely with the vision of the intrapersonal and interpersonal laid out in the Crucible Moment report that launched the American Commonwealth Partnership at a White House ceremony in January 2012.

Triune consciousness is a fancy phrase for a deliberate official pursuit via education to create behaviors and a desire to act that does NOT flow from “discursive reasoning or deliberative will.” Take your pick of reflex or habit or spontaneous or unconscious response. They will all work  as education seeks to join affection, cognition, and volition so that the response comes from internal values, beliefs, and attitudes. School consciously seeks “to sublate [think of anesthesia or other sedation] either or both ‘normal’ discursive reasoning and the deliberations of the will.”

What do we call governments and officials who want to do that?

Who gather personal data to ensure ‘continuous progress’ towards such a goal?

Who frame such a pursuit in terms of disabilities rights or civil rights?

Who call such intentions “innovative school practices”?

 

Targeting Each Student’s Beliefs About the Purpose of Life Influences Every Perception, Feeling or Action

We are dealing with a fundamental shift in the nature of education from the transmission of knowledge to targeting the “mental process that activates and/or directs behavior and action.” That quote is from a different William Huitt paper from 2005 called “An Overview of the Conative Domain.” http://www.edpsycinteractive.org/papers/conative.pdf  The schemers who have major plans to remake the way society and the economy work in the 21st century are quite familiar with the psychological and behavioral science research that says individual human behavior remains unpredictable unless you get at motivations and values and other drivers of action. We are the ones who see the word ‘conative’ and wonder if there is a typo. If you read that paper you will notice that the real David T Conley definition of College Ready that he developed in 2007 for the Gates Foundation fits at getting at the conative domain like the dovetailed joints of a Duncan Phyfe antique table.

Before we talk about what is being aimed at, let’s go back in history to a perceptive soul who had a ringside seat in Austria at what led to both the Great War launched in 1914 and then saw the rumblings again in the 1930s and fled in time. This is from a 1957 book published by Yale University called Theory and History: An Interpretation of Social and Economic Evolution. The author was talking about the popularity of utopia projects which is precisely what we are dealing with here again more than 50 years later as we have UNESCO and the OECD and school districts declaring Subjective Well-being and personal unconscious motivations to be within their jurisdiction of control.

Ludwig Von Mises noted these projects “enrapture the intellectuals. A few skeptics observe that their execution is contrary to human nature. But their supporters are confident that by suppressing all dissenters they can alter human nature.” And Von Mises was writing about the behavioral science temptation before Big Data and supercomputers. Ponder this quote from Tom Vander Ark, the former executive education director for the Gates Foundation, from his book Getting Smart: How Digital Learning is Changing the World. Tellingly it is at the beginning of Chapter 4 on Motivation:

“we need a much more sophisticated and individualized sense of what will capture students’ attention and cause them to persist through discomfort and distraction. Our ability to quickly and efficiently get and use a deep understanding of the intrinsic and extrinsic factors that together cause focused and persistent behavior in each student–a personal motivational profile–will fundamentally change education and the learning professions.”

And society and the economy too as we have seen in other initiatives of all these groups wanting such intrusive info on what does or will drive future individual behavior. Think of all this as Data for Utopian Planning. Since the typical school district administrator or consultant is unlikely to know history, let’s go back for Von Mises insights again.

“planning for eternity [which is precisely what Sustainability is seeking to do], to substitute an everlasting state of stability, rigidity, and changelessness for historical evolution, is the theme of a special class of literature.[Now it is the topic of many degree programs!]. The utopian author [District Super or Professor] wants to arrange future conditions according to his own ideas and to deprive the rest of mankind once and for all of the faculty to choose and to act. [Precisely what is driving Digital Learning and the Conative research]…There will no longer be any history, as history is the composite effect of the interaction of all men. The superhuman dictator [here we have multiple agencies and NGOs seeking the title of Planner-in-Chief but you get the idea] will rule the universe and reduce all others to pawns in his plans. He [think all the empowered bureaucrats here] will deal with them as the engineer deals with the raw materials out of which he builds, a method pertinently called social engineering.”

Now is the typical Super or Consultant or Principal thinking in those dictatorial terms? No but they are brooking no opposition either and their plans add up to those levels of intrusive social engineering even if the individual pushers are only motivated by greed or envy or just stupidity. It can also be all three. Maybe they cannot even spell the word ‘conative,’ much less define it. But they can still be a pusher for practices that are grounded explicitly in psychological practices from an Abraham Maslow or a Mihaly Csiksentmihalyi intended to transcend the conscious mind.” With a history of disastrous effects.

Last year I wrote two posts explaining first the PEAK model–Performance Excellence for All Kids–and its links to Transformational OBE and the tragedy at Columbine. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/how-much-innocent-blood-will-it-take-to-stop-sel-manipulation-for-political-gain/. And I wrote that before the conative researchers kept pulling in Abraham Maslow and his peak experiences as what they would be aiming for in the classrooms. Hardly seems possible that the acronym PEAK is coincidental. Do you know what the conative researchers say they must have to finally get their desired emphasis in place? Site-based management like School Governance Councils or Advisory Management Councils.

I wrote another post about the Achieving Excellence Model implicated in Columbine that is also relevant to what is being sought. I will link to that as well as the stitches in my right hand that made the blog go silent for almost a week have started telling me the rest of the story can wait for the next post. Quiet please. It cannot all wait lest this be coming to a boil somewhere else. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/using-education-to/ . If you remain unfamiliar with the name Bela Banathy or the link of all this to systems thinking, you must read that post. More dovetailing by a Master Manipulator with blueprints of a utopian tomorrow through education.

This morning I discovered that the Achieving Excellence Program was actually international and the subject of a “School-Year 2020” International Conference in October 1988 as a joint venture with the McREL (where the term Second-Order Change now comes from) ed lab in Aurora, Colorado and a Norwegian education group, IMTEC. Anyone know of any tragedies in Norway involving schoolchildren? The Autumn 1989 issue of the 2020 Newsletter pointed out that “McREL’s A+ is a site-or school-based management system.” Now the accreditors are pushing all schools to this model but none faster than charter schools or charter districts.

Now last week Tom Vander Ark’s blog ran a puff piece from a taxpayer paid PR consultant touting the wonders of site-based management, Fulton’s charter, and its potential for “innovative practices.” http://gettingsmart.com/2013/08/innovation-happens-at-the-school-house/ Yeah, that’s not how School Governance works and the language of that charter is all about using technology, fostering life skills and soft skills, and closing the achievement gap in a diverse district. So we have taxpayer money going to sing the praises of the charter nationally while the former District Deputy Super who helped draft the charter now runs a consulting business training School Governance Councils in the district on their rights and responsibilities. While chairing the local school’s governance council and insisting when asked that this is no conflict.

The School Governance Council actually seems to have very few rights according to the parent-member who spoke last week at the PTA meeting. That was the same PTA meeting where the PTA turns out to have transferred $20,000 from the pot of required to join dues money to continue to fund Spence Rogers and PEAK no matter what the teacher and parent outcry. Even after a 60% teacher turnover since the training started.

The interest in the conative, the psychological change-the-child model, and site-based management are all inextricably linked. If you have a child at a school with one, you need to get to the bottom of what is considered to be student achievement or Growth going forward at your child’s school.

Take good notes and pay attention. The schools and too many politicians are engaged in a planned assault against students AND teachers.

And I am trying my best to arm everyone with the needed info and the nature of the conflicts of interest.

Progressively Producing New Kinds of Students Pre-equipped Via Schools to Work Harmoniously

Education professor James Paul Gee has once again told us graphically what is really intended. Even if I did have to go back to 1996 and a book printed in Australia to locate the toxic vision for using schooling to obtain “indirect control” over students and their future behavior. It’s all about the “arrangement of environments” like schools and the required classroom focus and later a mandated change in workplaces. The idea is that these environments can be restructured so that the physical environments and the required nature of the social interactions can “themselves, in a sense, encode control.” Gee concedes that “[s]uch an approach can easily take on the tones of manipulation.” You think? Anything for the Good Society or ‘cooperative commonwealth’ I suppose if you are on the receiving end of taxpayer or other money to Make It So.

The book the new work order: behind the language of the new capitalism explains how cognitive science and the school classroom can be used to ease the transition to a reimagined economic system for the 21st century. And fairly invisibly too. “Such new classrooms may very well progressively produce students pre-equipped to work harmoniously in distributed systems by internalizing core values, values that issue from the social practices and organizational structures of the system itself and not from any visible controlling center.” Now those required new social practices and the change in focus can come from a charter agreement that parents and taxpayers do not understand. From what I am seeing that recognition of “Oh My. What have we really agreed to?” is about to hit full force around many parts of the US.

But the example Gee used from 1996 is about to be a key component of all schools because a requirement of creating a Community of Learners is part of what will measure who will be deemed an effective principal in the future. And the accreditor AdvancED requires a transition to these Learning Communities with their requisite collective visions in its Quality Standards that went into effect in 2012. That’s how this comes in without parents or taxpayers knowing the schools have done a U-turn and gone to the kind of psychological change the student focus that Uncle Karl and John Dewey have pursued in their philosophies towards education for more than a century.

Gee kindly gives us the money quote on how these Communities of Learners are really to work and what the so-called ‘learning theories’ or ‘cognitive science research’ we are really dealing with here. These ‘learning communities’ are

“based on the idea that knowledge does not reside privately in individual heads but rather it is situated in activities and distributed, or as Lave puts it, ‘stretched over–not divided among–mind, body, activity and culturally organized settings (which include other actors)’. This is, of course, precisely our theme of distributed systems.”

Now none of this is factually true but implementing these theories at school and workplaces goes a long way towards shifting towards the type of transformed society I described in the last post. The Good Society Gal Alperowitz is pushing or the cooperative commonwealth of a Harry Boyte or the All-in Nation or The Spirit Society or that welfare state based on subjective well-being the OECD is pushing. Trust me as someone who has read all these reports and books. Remarkable  consistency of vision going on with ed based on technology and the imposition of these psychological theories in the classrooms as the vehicle. And if you are unlucky enough to live in a League of Innovative Schools district, your Central Office has volunteered your children and dollars to fund the research into what works and what produces change and what really motivates your children at an unconscious level they may even be unaware of.

Are we going to get what is being sought? Mercy no. Let’s remember something the French commentator Jean-Francois Revel wrote more than 20 years ago in Last Exit to Utopia reacting to similar nonsense in France. Where of course UNESCO and the OECD are based.

“there can be no society without inequalities. These may derive from differences between individual performance or from disparities in advantages controlled by the state–or more simply from the wall separating those who have one or more state privileges and those who have none. Here I am using the word ‘privilege’ in the exact sense defined by Littre as ‘an advantage granted to an individual or group and enjoyed to the exclusion of others, to the detriment of the common law.’…

The inequalities within productive liberal societies are constantly subject to a mixing process and always in flux. In statist, redistributionist societies, the inequalities are frozen in place.”

That’s where all this is actually headed. The Meeting of the Minds is all about seeking special favors from an alliance with political power. So is the Global Cities Initiative or that Citistates conference at the Rockefeller Foundation estate in Bellagio, Italy in 2002, 2007, and 2012 that we discussed in the comments. Another invitation lost. We are using misunderstood reforms in education globally to change to societies where “the state creates the special privileges that generate inequalities, beginning with those that [politicians and the public sector and their unions] bestow on themselves.” And then quickly their cronies. And we will not be prospering in this static society and we would probably not consent if asked. So we are not being asked. Through federal grants and regional equity initiatives and planning around urban economies, it is all simply happening.

And a subjective well-being global and national focus is a tremendously useful way to make all this invisibly so. All you have to do is use the schools to make new social relationships the focus and limit transmission of facts. Anyone noticed a movement in that direction? Then you simply have to target social and emotional learning just like that July 28, 2012 Positive School Climate Executive Order plus the accreditation standards require. And then you go after an area that uses another $100 word–the conative. What motivates the student? Precisely what Digital Promise is researching and adaptive computer software, gaming, and learner analytics throw off. Massively.

This is a good paper on precisely how invasive this holistic focus is and all the aspects of the student’s identity and personality that are to be considered fair game. To get the desired change to tolerate or hopefully help take action for the desired change. To the Good Society that will actually function as an insiders-only kleptocracy of the sort Revel recognized. And the Soviet Union operated for the benefit of its nomenklatura with their special stores and ability to travel abroad. http://www.edpsycinteractive.org/papers/holistic-view-of-schooling-rev.pdf Notice this vision takes the prof in 2011 to Athens, Greece to present this “new vision for educating children and youth” with his whole child and every domain–Spiritual Transcendence, Moral Character, Social, Volition, Thinking, Affect/Emotion, and Physical/Kinesthetic. That Becoming a Brilliant Star Framework certainly qualifies as a Your-Child-Will-Be -Ours, All Ours orientation.

And finally getting to do research through digital literacy initiatives on students to study motivations and the “use of personal agency or volition to make choices regarding thought, emotions, and behaviors” is crucial to getting the desired common good society. And it’s so cool because virtually no one is paying attention to these levels of planned psychological intrusions or the real reasons for them. And again, you cannot make ‘subjective well-being’ the focus of social transformation UNLESS you also make the psychological and emotions and what drives behavior and collecting all that data the focus of school.

By the way, late in the paper Huitt does ask the question of “whose rights should be central to the concept of citizenship” in the 21st century. The individual or the community? Want to guess where he comes out in this well-cited paper? Yes it did have to do with collective benefit and the UN’s Universal declaration of Human Rights and redistribution to ensure REAL “individual autonomy.” Like anyone is autonomous with all this deliberate psychological conditioning coupled to intentionally trying to alter “one’s view of reality and one’s relationship to it.”

As I was researching this post and where subjective well-being and these psychological intrusions inevitably take us, I came across a 2012 paper on Human Behavior Modeling put out by the Cognitive Sciences Lab at the University of Karlsruhe. It laid out how a focus on emotion and motivation and grit and conative drivers and measuring all this via intentional assessments can be used to make human behavior predictable. People can then be made through schooling  to act consistently with desired models of their future behavior.

We have a very high level of intentional social reengineering going on here all being put in place by principals and consultants and central office staff just pushing whatever garners them the next lucrative promotion or grant or contract. Only aware, I hope, of the line to be sold and the changes to be made but no genuine idea of the real reasons why.

Did you know the word ‘quisling’ refers to a real person? Major Vidkun Quisling (1887-1945) was the Norwegian army officer who collaborated with German occupying forces during World War 2 and ruled Norway a head of the puppet government. After being shot for treason after the German defeat his name became synonymous with traitor.

I can accept not knowing the full story I am telling as all these people move towards implementation of this toxic agenda while living at our expense. But if the provable facts do not cause a Cease and Desist, I suggest getting T-shirts printed up for presentation that say:

Quisling.

 

Motto of Living Well as an Individual is Not Functional Anymore; Must Find Ways to Live Well Together

The final Chapter of that 1989 New World New Mind book we have talked about in the last two posts moved on to where all the radical education reform visions go eventually if you know where to look. That new vision of the future with a transformed society and economy. We need to always understand that if the future vision is anathema or likely to lead to unappreciated consequences that may well be tragic, we need to know that up front while the education pathway for these transformations is being put in place. The chapter was called “Changing the World Around Us” and pointed out that “people’s ideas are not as fixed as commonly thought–that in fact much is known about how to change them systematically.”

Which is precisely what the education reforms in the 90s known as Outcomes Based-Education and Whole Language set out to do. Another fascinating point from more than 20 years ago is the statement that “Television, of course, is one of the most important tools for developing new minds that society possesses.” Now that certainly explains an awful lot of series plotlines, doesn’t it?

Ehrlich and Ornstein point out that “the media, with minimal effort, could do a great deal to promote new-mindedness.” Boy did they ever step up to that plate. Greatly enjoying their inclusion among the “people who have leverage in our society” who would be on the list where “We must expose leaders of society to notions that are not now current.” I would say they all bit since virtually every troubling figure I have written about in recent months seems to be doing keynote speech after conference headliner after traipsing to DC or up to Boston to meet with Project Zero. Busy times as we reach the end game of what was laid out in 1989 as:

“Obviously, we need to make new kinds of thinking and new ways of handling our problems immediately available to society’s decision makers. And while changing the form and content of education would be a major step toward conscious evolution, much has to be done outside the schools as well.”

Which did happen. Society’s decision makers from their positions at foundations and think tanks and the UN and OECD and Big Business and ambitious politicians at every level have excitedly answered that call and are busily planning that future in books most of us have not read, in commissions we were not asked to join, in initiatives we have never heard of, and at conferences we have not been invited to. But it is no theory that there is a massive coordinated effort going on at our expense with a common consistent vision that involves our future and it has been in motion for about 25 years now. Let’s take a look at it since it involves no longer permitting the “pursuit of material self-gain” and an insistence a global self-appointed elite will create new systems of governance on our behalf with new “rules, arrangements and institutions that enable us to live well together: minimising destructive conflict and division in society.”

When I read the language in the 2010 National Education Technology Plan about 21st Century Competencies being the real goal, it was not news to me but it reminded me that I had better take a look again at what else the OECD was pushing. I knew they had issued Guidelines in March 2013 declaring that everyone’s subjective well-being was now their concern. How’s that for an all encompassing intrusive edict to justify a hoped-for lifetime of a tax-free salary and then pension? Was there a relationship between this Competencies/ Digital Learning push and the Subjective Well-being Initiative? Well of course. “Everything within the State, Nothing Outside the State, Nothing Beyond the State” as the saying with an unfortunate history goes. The language I quoted in the title and last paragraph came from this April 2013 OECD report. http://www.oecd.org/site/oecdgfd/Session%203.1%20-%20GFD%20Background%20Paper.pdf

This intrusive juggernaut coming out of both the UN and the OECD really tracks back to the Human Development Review reports that started in 1991 just as Ehrlich would have hoped. Over time what was sought just got bigger until now we get NGOs insisting they get to monitor and respond to whether “everyone’s relational and subjective needs are being and will be met” and “what governance in the 21st Century must consist of.” All that personal ed data and visualization will really come in handy when targeting personal “perceptions and aspirations” in order to gain a “cohesive society” is what is sought.

You can read that troubling 19 page report. Please note that the same US National Academy of Sciences now pimping 21st Century Skills and that Soviet pedagogy-inspired Education for Life and Work report has already quietly assembled a panel on Subjective Well-being as well. Another thing we are paying for but we are not invited to. Let me now add the Meeting of the Minds in Toronto in September to the list. 350 invites and they forgot us.  http://cityminded.org/events/toronto/agenda But we all have minds as well. Are we insufficiently newminded to qualify for the event? This annual get together to plan all of our futures without our consent around the concept of sustainable cities and regions started in 2007. We would all love to hear the “Economic Development Case for Urban Social Equity” and how universities and hospitals can become “anchor institutions” controlling the economy of an entire area. Or listen to the EPA official announcing the US is “re-inventing commerce as we know it, pivoting from a consumption model to something more sustainable.” As both the taxpayers paying his salary and the consumers about to be shafted can’t we listen too?

I am also intrigued by the “Dumb Phones, Smart Kids: The Coming Revolution of Citizen Engagement” program since that does seem to put an unacknowledged real purpose on all the Bring a Mobile Device to School hype. Apparently “Present and future generations will have unprecedented leverage with youth ‘voice’ in such areas as mobilization of demand, improvement of services, participatory engagement and accountability in local government.” Will the youth be able to tweet when their relational and subjective needs are not being sufficiently met?

Two of the listed speakers at the conference though are involved with pluralist commonwealth visions for our futures that just happened to come my way last week. These planners all seem to love that commonwealth phrase every bit as much as Harry Boyte and now the White House Office of Public Engagement. Lots of commonality of what the future Good Society is supposed to be in places we would not be likely to look at so let me give this a boost. In July 2013 PolicyLink and the Center for American Progress released the book All-In Nation: An America that Works for All http://www.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/AllInNation-1.pdf with a government-centered/redistribution on steroids vision that will likely imperil almost everyone’s prosperity if it goes forward.

In addition we have a special journal issue called The Good Society laying out the commonwealth vision for the future. It did recognize that education is how we get there and that the US Constitution would need to be jettisoned or amended heavily and reenvisioned. http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdfplus/10.5325/goodsociety.22.1.0074.pdf?acceptTC=true lays out how we get to a “Property-Owning Democracy” just as soon as a majority of voters will it apparently.  The contribution from the Democracy Collaborative (which also got invited to speak in Toronto) http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdfplus/10.5325/goodsociety.22.1.0001.pdf  is called “The Possibility of the Pluralist Commonwealth and a Community-Sustaining Economy.”

All the papers are in a similar vein. Public ownership and a state-directed economy and a reimagined workplace can be made to work in the 21st Century if we simply build the right Mindsets and personal perceptions and values through our schools. There is one more book that is being repeatedly cited as the vision for the future that goes along with these educaion reforms. Written by a sociology prof admirer of both Paul Ehrlich and John Holdren and all their environmental economics work. Publishing her (by Pearson’s Penguin Group of course) basically gets their past and current visions but it appears to be a new voice. Called Plenitude: the new economics of true wealth it sees us all swapping used clothes in the future and work sharing and rebuilding a face-to-face, localized, self-sufficiency economy.

Now none of us can debate what we do not know about and apparently only “society’s leaders” are supposed to be the decision makers in this future. No wonder there is so little knowledge in this Competencies/ digital learning vision. No wonder information on emotions and perceptions and motivations is so vital to the vision of future education. These visions of the transformed future that are sitting on unlikely assumptions about changing human nature are literally joined at the hip to the actual planned education reforms galloping into classrooms and schools that start classes tomorrow or in a few weeks at the latest.

Now one of the expressions that gets used all the time to sell this new vision for learning and education is to quit thinking in terms of silos. Well that goes both ways. We parents and taxpayers and believers in individualism and knowers of what actually creates mass prosperity and what dooms it need to start peering into the silos of future plans.

I for one just do not have the disposition to merely be among the ‘governed’ in the 21st or any century.

Digital Trilogy’s End and Perhaps Ours? Revolutionary Transformation as Explicit Goal of the National Ed Tech Plan

In 2010 the US federal Department of Education issued the National Education Technology Plan (NETP) report named Transforming American Education: Learning Powered by Technology. http://www.ed.gov/sites/default/files/netp2010.pdf It calls explicitly for “revolutionary transformation rather than evolutionary tinkering.” Thereby confirming the worst fears of anyone concerned the Common Core was some sort of an attempt to nationalize ed policy. Now I maintain the feds are actually plugging American ed into the internationalization of ed as a vehicle for systematic change with UNESCO and also the Paris-based OECD as the lead drivers but that is not today’s story. But do keep that in mind as part of the why. The Grit Perseverance Report and Digital Promise and media education and the computer gaming as classroom activity and assessment are ALL part of NETP.

So is the Common Core State Standards Initiative that I just abbreviate as CCSSI. Its purpose is described in NETP as creating the standards (used consistently and interchangeably in report as a synonym for outcomes in students) and new alternative assessments to “measure 21st century competencies.” Now I will come back to all this while you mull over the fact that CCSSI was always merely a temporary means to force states and local school districts to make the desired shifts laid out in the NETP and its collateral documents. That were never really intended to be widely read or known about.

CCSSI takes the political heat. NETP lays out the real sought transformation. Except it’s the same transformation at the level of the individual student and future voter as what was sought in the 90s as well. And we know that because in numerous places NETP mirrors both UNESCO’s DeLors, The Treasure Within, report from 1996 and Chapter 9, “A Curriculum About Humanity,” of the Paul Ehrlich book New World New Mind that I wrote about in the last post. Think of it as a long sought global vision for ed.

So why do we need to change what goes on in the classroom? Because we need to literally change the way people think says Ehrlich: “most important, we have to shift our understanding of ourselves as separate individuals, each seeking our own welfare, to an understanding of how we fit into social, biological, and physical environments.[a Blue Ribbon for every reader recognizing that description of Urie Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory graphic] It is not that increasing scientific knowledge makes learning morals obsolete, but that the new world we’ve created makes the nature of moral choices unprecedented.”

Now hiding a deliberate shift in values, attitudes, and beliefs through adaptive software and in vague terms like competencies and 21st century skills and learner outcomes and social and emotional learning to supposedly prevent bullying and create mental health for all is obviously a great back door in for such a Change the Way We Think goal. Especially if you want to teach all these needs to alter moral choices “to children right at the beginning of their education.”

Remember Ehrlich was writing back before the Internet and today’s generation of videogames and stunning, visually compelling multimedia graphics. So his suggested way “to introduce young children to a new view of humanity might be through a cleverly crafted series of Saturday morning cartoons. The first might present humanity, metaphorically, as one single animal. We could show that if humanity were one animal, that ‘creature’ would now weigh more than 100,000 times its original weight. Think about an animal growing until it is now 10 million times more powerful than it was at birth. Wouldn’t that creature have to behave differently at the time of its great power than in its great power than in its weak infancy?”

Now before I continue on with the quote, I want you to keep that intentional manipulation via visuals and emotions on impressionable children in mind from now on every time you read or hear of an intention to use technology in the classroom to engage all students. Or here’s another quote from the NETP “leverage the learning sciences and modern technology to create engaging, relevant, and personalized learning experiences for all learners that mirror students’ daily lives and the reality of their futures.” Elsewhere, NETP lays out technology’s ability to assess non-cognitive features like motivational influences and to do it through virtual reality simulations that can assess personal responses “within the context of relevant societal issues and problems that people care about in everyday life.”

Ehrlich, much like all these education professors whose theories we have looked at, wants to figure out how to change people’s perceptions of their daily reality. Here’s the rest of the quote from above. Ask yourself if Ehrlich would be a fan of David Christian’s Big History curriculum we have discussed.

“If we imagined humanity this way, we and our children could begin to think differently. Instead of pondering the local problems of our own life, we need to think about the collective life of our species. If, instead of thinking in terms of decades, centuries, or even the millenia of recorded history, we contemplated our history for many millions [italics in original] of years, then the problems we now face would take on a vastly different purpose.”

Well if that doesn’t give additional clarity to all the hyping about catastrophic man-made global warming whatever actual temp trends or trumpeting weather events like Hurricane Sandy as proof of too much “carbon” in the air, how about the acknowledgment that “If we could teach this understanding of our history and capabilities, both students and adults might begin to channel the development of humanity in new directions.” Directions that, like NETP’s vision for revolutionizing education, have a likely effect of making people far more malleable to being governed. And more susceptible to the social engineering aspirations of the behavioral sciences.

If you think of curricula in the 21st century not as a body of knowledge but as the prescribed set of learning experiences, it is a lot easier to see that learning sciences and cognitive theory as mentioned repeatedly in these reports as what the new classroom is to be about gets you to Ehrlich’s New Mind goals. Here’s another quote consistent with his intent that “the key to getting new-minded adults seems to be training them early.”

“When we say change the curriculum, therefore, it is really a code for saying change the whole society (since curricula are determined largely at the local level [Not anymore! How convenient.]) and changing the entire education system. It is a big order, our survival depends on it, and it is a task for grown-ups.”

Preferably those grown-ups with an Edudoctorate and a title to mandate all these changes that seek to transform society invisibly at taxpayer expense. These Supers and profs and principals and overpaid consultants have all been totally immersed in all these learning theories that are either political theories that track back to Uncle Karl or based on Soviet psych research. The lack of genuine knowledge in the typical ed degree program at any level leaves these Determined to be Change Agents almost the last people to be able to appreciate the likely dire implications of what they are pushing. Or its known tragic history.

Let’s get back to the NETP since it really is how the federal DoEd and the foundations and the tech companies for starters intend to get Ehrlich’s New Minds in a sufficient number of voters to drive the rest of the sought changes through the ballot box. Two explicit goals that actually sound nice and worthy drive this entire transformation of the ed system. Which of course is intended to drive revolutionary transformations in everything else.

Goal Number 1: “We will raise the proportion of college graduates from where it now stands (around 41 percent) so that 60 percent of our population holds a two-year or four-year degree by 2020.”

That’s a requirement that forces the nature of both K-12 and higher ed to change so that we have equity in credentials without real knowledge. Which in turn sets up voters who are likely to have expectations for their adult lives that cannot be met under current economic and social structures. They will have no idea that it is government interventionism and overregulation and the “learning sciences and theories” themselves driving the economic stagnation. They will thus be ready to vote for every demagogue promising change.

Goal Number 2: “We will close the achievement gap so that all students graduate from high school ready to succeed in college and careers.”

That second goal again forces changes on what can go on in the classroom since no achievement gap is allowed despite different life experiences, parenting, or language issues. The emphasis on ready to succeed again fuels the drive to reform higher ed AND the nature of the workplace AND the nature of the economy.

It will then become a necessary role of governments to ensure that anticipated adult success. Which is really convenient as I will lay out in the next post what the planners have in mind when they say they want governments to be the designers of new social systems.

For all of us.

Say what?

 

 

Digital Promise and 21st Century Skills as the Long-Sought Rapid Change of Minds for the Future

When I was looking for a way to explain what the effects would be from seeking new kinds of minds and personalities through ICT and tracking affective responses, I remembered the 1989 book New World New Mind: Moving Towards Conscious Evolution. Now I do occasionally pull books off the shelf to help illustrate a point vividly but the link of that book to the Digital Promise and 21st Century Skills initiatives is actually quite direct.

http://www.digitalpromise.org/how-practitioners-and-policymakers-can-work-together-to-innovate/ is a July 31, 2013 story on the meeting of League of Innovative Schools Supers and Admins with reps from the federal DoEd, the White House Domestic Policy Council (this push is a high priority for this Administration), and the Office of Science and Technology Policy. John Holdren heads OSTP and his long-time mentor and associate Paul Ehrlich of hyping various global catastrophes fame (with his own tag) co-wrote the New World New Mind book. Ehrlich mentioned and thanked Holdren for his help on the Acknowledgments page.

Chapter 8, “The Beginnings of Real Change,” makes it clear this is a global program to use education to change “the nature of our minds and the training we give them.” According to Ehrlich and Robert Ornstein: “although the problems that humanity now faces are immense, at least they are of our own making. The mismatch of our brains with our environments has been produced by millenia of effort, by the skill, ingenuity, and drive of our species–by the very minds that are now out of step with the world they live in.”

Ornstein and Ehrlich wanted to extinguish that independent ingenuity and drive some people have through “a revolution in the way we bring up children and in the way we teach and what we teach.” They recognized, as all of us now need to, that traditional “schooling also changes the structures of children’s minds significantly [they mean at a physiological level]. Reading, writing, and arithmetic, so commonly taught, are not [emphasis in original] natural acts of the mind, but are radical transformations of the way the nervous system operates. The mind’s default positions are for talking and listening…”

Which is precisely why talking and listening as the purpose of the Discourse classroom, and required projects and group collaboration and communities of learners, is such a huge focus of the actual Common Core implementation. It is why print literacy is minimized and media and digital literacy are held to be just as important. It’s not a better way to learn. It’s an active pursuit using ICT of these New Kinds of Minds. After all Joel Klein, head of Rupert Murdoch’s tech-focused ed subsidiary, Amplify, actually said that was the goal to my face at a luncheon last fall. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/ridiculing-the-1860s-mind-as-unsuitable-for-the-21st-century-cui-bono/

So New Kinds of Minds remains the pursuit almost 25 years later and the other Ehrlich/Ornstein goal then becomes changing prevailing attitudes on politically useful topics. Cultural-historical activity theory or CHAT is a learning theory imported from the USSR created to change  the course of the future by changing the dominant culture itself. Through school specifically but also education generally. I’ll put it this way CHAT theorists also care about what stories get pitched on the nightly news and what the headlines read. What themes will the typical person come to believe are an issue as they go through busy lives? One of the CHAT theorists, a Finnish prof who also works in the US. Yrgo Engestrom (also tagged), kindly put his Learning by Expansion’s theory’s purpose into explicit published words in 2010. http://www.helsinki.fi/cradle/documents/Engestrom%20Publ/Studies%20on%20expansive%20learning.pdf

The article acknowledges a reality that the Supers and ed profs and principals do not bother to tell parents, politicians, and taxpayers so I will: “there are two basic metaphors competing for dominance today: the acquisition metaphor and the participation metaphor.” Now I will stop quoting Yrjo for a minute to point out that the entire actual Common Core classroom implementation this blog has been describing is dedicated to requiring the participation vision. Using misleading terms like equity and excellence and Quality Learning to get there. As I have been explaining, every entity that has a legal ability to regulate or mandate what goes on in the classroom is insisting that participation now win this competition. And it gets hidden in the insistence on group projects and collaboration. But Yrjo was even more graphic about what his and other CHAT learning theories are designed to do and change.

The key dimension underlying the acquisition vs participation “dichotomy is derived from the question: Is the learner to be understood primarily as an individual or as a community?” The participation purpose comes down on the community side of that question in direct contradiction to the West’s historic belief in the primacy of the individual. That is the question at stake in all these ed reforms. Pushing for this new answer behind our backs and without our consent is precisely what Digital Promise and 21st Century Skills are really about.

Yrgo again kindly says there are three more dimensions at stake with all these learning theories like his that are designed to push participation as the new radical vision of education to create “new activity structures for society.” Think workplace, neighborhoods, political processes. These ed profs and administrators have great ambitions while they are living at taxpayer expense. In each of these questions, it is the part I bolded after the “or” that is what is stealthily coming at us like a high-speed freight train whatever our state says it is doing on the Common Core. And in other countries too. Oh, and the ICT focus is a huge tool for gaining this shift.

*Is learning primarily a process that transmits and preserves culture or a process that transforms and creates culture?

*Is learning primarily a process of vertical improvement along some uniform scales of competence or horizontal movement, exchange and hybridization between different cultural contexts and standards of competence? [Think of this as hip hop being as valid a means of communication as a well-written insightful factual paper]

*Is learning primarily a process for acquiring and creating empirical knowledge and concepts [reflects reality in other words] or a process that leads to the formation of theoretical knowledge and concepts?

Now theoretical knowledge and concepts is of course another term for ideology but what do you expect from a theory designed to achieve massive social change as a direct successor to Uncle Karl’s now infamous theorizing? Yrjo leaves no doubt where we are all going with this quote: “While traditional schooling is essentially a subject-producing activity and traditional science is essentially an instrument-producing activity, [expansive] learning is an activity producing activity.” [his italics]

Now that kind of graphic lay out of intent to create transformative action in students is what is coming to our classrooms but the graphic warning is nowhere in sight. Instead we get far more innocuous sounding initiatives being paid for by the National Science Foundation such as Janet Kolodner’s “Learning by Design’s Framework for Promoting Learning of 21st Century Skills.” Janet is also the listed PI for the troubling and related NSF Cyberlearning push that I described here  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/the-need-to-know-as-we-understand-it-today-may-be-a-lethal-cultural-sport/ Now Janet’s CV is simply too solid for me to believe that she really thinks that a case-based method that is suitable for adult med students, who have a well-stocked brain of knowledge and analytical skills to be where they are, is somehow suitable for middle schoolers who generally have neither.

The truth is the whole Next Generation Science and Learning By Design and Case-Based Learning is just a rejection of science as an “instrument-producing activity” as in sharp ingenious minds or new unapproved technology without saying so. What Ehrlich and Ornstein sought in their book so long ago. It’s the excuse for a classroom centered around social interaction and designed to limit the cultural transmission of knowledge built up over generations that makes humans a very special species and some people downright extraordinary in their impact on all of us and the direction of civilization.

Kolodner sees people as “goal processors who make our way through the world trying to achieve our goals” which strikes me as a horrifically hobbling vision for the future. Like so many other reformers she wants to shift our daily perceptions going forward and limit us to our previous experiences coupled to theoretical framing school will provide. Yrjo would approve. The end result of these classroom activities are students who are adaptable to uncertain, new, and rapidly changing conditions. Which of course the ed reforms intend to drive. Students who are capable of complex communication and social interaction. The world trembles at the thought of a superpower preparing ALL students to be in the habit of listening and asking questions of each other and making presentations. We also get students capable of non-routine problem solving and self-management which is starting to sound a great deal like David Conley’s definition of College and Career Ready  created for the Gates Foundation.

Finally, students learn to be good systems thinkers and to see themselves as embedded in systems. Even if it is not true in reality, it is such a useful metaphor to get students to see themselves as part of a community instead of an independent individual.

No wonder Paul Ehrlich is running around giving UN presentations that humanity is more than 5 years into a global program to radically change human behavior.

Yes indeed, driven by education reforms that are poorly understood and collectivist political theories masquerading as learning theories.

 

Experimenting on American Children with Soviet Psych and Political Theories as Federal Policy

What’s that line from the movie Casablanca about “of all the gin joints in all the world you had to walk into mine?” I read so much troubling stuff, from theories to open declarations, that I tend now to take what is going on for granted and try to figure out ways to explain it.  When I read statements about research into “characteristics of users” I know users refers to actual children and their personalities and what makes them tick and what their family background is. When a federal report talks about “solid evidence of combinations of user characteristics and specific adaptations that matter” the report wants to use American students as guinea pigs to see what it will take to make students change behaviors and feelings and values and other motivational factors. The report seeks to examine how the level of resistance or ease corresponds to personality traits and family back ground.

When I first read http://www.ed.gov/edblogs/technology/files/2013/02/Expanding-Evidence-Approaches.pdf released by the federal DoEd in February about “assessing noncognitive features” I knew the feds wanted to investigate feelings and beliefs and values at a horrifically intrusive level that does not belong in a free society. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/if-the-system-seeks-to-destroy-the-ability-to-think-can-james-madison-save-us/ is a piece I wrote more than a year ago explaining that under the US Constitution the feds are targeting areas that constitute personal private property that is supposed to be off limits. I had no idea then at the level of sought intrusions, only that I was looking at principals and Supers who seemed to assume there were no barriers except personal ambition on what they and their staffs could do to students in the classroom. Think of it as a cultivated belief that a title or Ed doctorate authorizes all except sex with an underage student or embezzlement.

The recognition that the schools plan to conduct cutting edge research through “learning sciences theory” into “metacognitive factors” that have previously been inaccessible in a mass way and use “educational data mining and learning analytics [to] uncover patterns of learner behavior” that can lead to “insights as to whether alternative A or Alternative B is more promising” was alarming when I read it in that federal report. It also put the controversy last winter when both Glenn Beck and Michele Malkin did stories on the hugely troubling Grit, Tenacity and Perseverance Report into context.  http://www.ed.gov/edblogs/technology/files/2013/02/OET-Draft-Grit-Report-2-17-13.pdf .

Grit, tenacity, and perseverance are all the so-called “metacognitive factors” the federal DoEd wanted to use digital learning to do research into. When the stories came out the media dutifully responded with attempts to portray the stories as out-of-line, over-hyped to get readers and viewers, and consistent with a black helicopter view of the world. A rather strange way to characterize accurate reporting of an official federal agency report. That had been quietly released without publicity.

The critical reports would have had more bite if Beck and Malkin and others had known about “Expanding Evidence Approaches Learning in a Digital World” that laid out the broader research agenda. Especially looking at all the Recommendations on page xii that the federal government wants to do or have others push with its support. And great gratitude with its coffers of taxpayer treasure and ability to regulate to show its thanks. When recommendation 2 says “Learning technology developers should use established basic research principles and learning science theory as the foundation for designing and improving digital learning resources,” the feds are saying to the private sector and venture capitalists that to gain the lucrative education contracts, they need to design based on the cultural-historical activity theory that radical professors who studied with Soviet psychologists like Luria and Leontiev developed. The theory that rejects individual mental thought altogether except what is picked up from personal experiences interacting with others. I first explained this shift here  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/so-now-common-core-rejects-individual-thinking-to-embrace-soviet-psychology-ecology/

Coincidentally I was actually reading a 2005 book this week called Culture & Context in Human Behavior Change: Theory, Research and Applications to clarify why this new sociocultural emphasis for the classroom that comes from Soviet psychologist Lev Vygotsky had become so vital to the actual Common Core classroom. The book kindly informed me that references to improved student performance or achievement or learning are all euphemisms in sociocultural, learning sciences, theory for changed human behavior. And that emotions are a type of behavior. Comforting, huh?

So who are the lucky schools and districts doing this experimental research on their students to use computers as the Vygotskyian sociocultural tool that mediates thought and makes collaboration with others the whole point of education? Well the initiative is called Digital Promise and the feds are hyping that it is bipartisan and authorized by Congress. Arne Duncan also likes to call it an independent third party nonprofit which is rather Orwellian since the seed financing was $500,000 from the federal DoEd with another $2,000,000 or so from the Gates, Carnegie, and the Hewlett Foundations. The very foundations who asked for and underwrote that Education For Life & Work report rejecting traditional education research as too oriented to individual thinking. And its governing Board is congressionally appointed. Does anyone on the Rep side on Capitol Hill appreciate what CHAT and learning sciences theory is and why all this matters? Why getting digital and blended learning to US classrooms is an essential part of a stealth long-term political coup financed with taxpayer dollars?

The initial guinea pigs are students in the 32 districts and schools that have signed this Organizational Charter to join the League of Innovative Schools.  http://www.digitalpromise.org/content/uploads/LIS-Charter-FINAL-5.23.12.pdf Unfortunately one of the districts who signed was my school district, Fulton County. I was not following what Fulton was doing but looking at what is cutting edge research now. And Fulton, like many districts with a strong property tax base and lots of upper middle class neighborhoods, is quite full now with ambitious people who want to sell what they are willing to do to children as a means of getting the next promotion or maybe even their own school district to manage.

That’s how ed administration works these days. “What will you agree to do no matter how horrified parents, teachers, students, and taxpayers are? Are you good at deceit? Can you dissemble with a grin as if you care?” Many of the districts on that list like Chicago, NYC, Houston, and Baltimore are typical urban districts but in a suburban district like Fulton, administrators are agreeing to take high schools that used to regularly produce 5s on the AP Calculus B/C exam and leave students only with a “strengthened ability to leverage cutting-edge technologies and to demonstrate 21st century skills.” That’s vocational as the new definition of what it means to be college and career ready. Deliberately levelling down while targeting the student’s personality for change.

To get the desired “real-time updates about what’s working and what isn’t” means taking the taxpayers’ property and sales taxes and using it to fund human behavioral experimentation. On their own or neighborhood children. There is no term better known from the controversial BF Skinner era of behavioral research of Stimulus-Response than the Black Box as in “I don’t care what goes on in the Black Box of wishes, I can train people like pigeons.” So when Digital Promise’s Charter agreement says ” A series of micro-level experiments will be rapidly conducted to unlock the black box of achievement and discover how technologies should be used to make classrooms and schools work more effectively.” these districts and schools are agreeing to impose CHAT sociocultural theory on classrooms and then conduct the kind of noncognitive research outlined above. The research that cared about student characteristics and what it took to gain adaptation. Change within the student.

There are only a few countries in the world that are listed as attempting to carry on the type of research that the League of Innovative Schools has agreed to deliver up their students as sacrificial lambs to do. Denmark, Norway, the UK, and now the US. The type of shifts that will constitute the new learner outcomes and the planned shift in both the classrooms and future workplaces (the attached new type of capitalism, remember?) are laid out if you have the time in a 2010 book called Learning Across Sites: New tools, infrastructures and practices.

So once again what is masquerading in the US as the Common Core is actually part of a much broader global vision to use education and technology to remake the nature of the economy and society. In the West that did not just try to overlay Uncle Karl’s vision of the future on an agricultural society but went though the Industrial Revolution and created high levels of wealth and technology. It is redistribution time.

You know how one of the 4 Cs of 21st Century Skills is Collaboration? That Learning Across Sites book makes it clear that collaboration, either at school or the workplace, is NOT just joint activity. No, participants must see each other’s perspectives and appreciate each other’s experiences and aptitudes and collectively reach an agreement of how to proceed. Collaboration is priming the student to break down beliefs that he or she is entitled to their individuality. Instead, he or she is to adjust to being a contributing member of the group and a proficient user of the tools of technology.

I wish I was exaggerating or making this up. I wish I was straining to make pieces fit to tell a good story instead of dropping pieces into places they were created to fit.

I wish our children were not the next targets to be created to fit.