Curriculum Now Needs to Become an Itinerary of Transformative Experiences of Participation

Mulling over the Transdisciplinary, Intrapsychological themes we have been looking at beginning with the October 28 “Opting Out” post, I decided to hit my bookshelves to find some guidance to put these declared initiatives for our children and all of our futures into context. In my book Credentialed to Destroy, I cited Harvard Historian Richard Pipes’ Survival is Not Enough to share insights from behind the Iron Curtain on why collectivists always target consciousness. Today I want to go back to a different point he made about the need to control language and communication. Remember please that communication is one of the 4Cs of 21st Century Learning and is now being used as a euphemism to insist that students need to negotiate and come to a ‘shared understanding.’  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/experimenting-on-people-and-places-via-the-rockefeller-process-of-communication-for-social-change/ is just one example of the latter use.

“Just as the private initiative of ordinary people, with its ‘second economy’ [the Black Market], has broken the state’s hold on the production and distribution of goods, so the courage of its intellectuals has given Russia a ‘second reality.’ This restoration to language of its proper function as a means of communication instead of domination is an act of revolutionary significance. In the words of Alain Besancon:

The Communist regime was, in effect, inaugurated by the public (state’s) appropriation of the means not of production but of communication. Well before the factories and fields were seized, it had been the newspapers, the printing establishments, the media…Much more directly fatal than the restoration of the market is the restoration of the human word, the privatization of the organs of speech, individual ownership of the throat…The writer breaks the compact of lies on which the entire equilibrium of ideological power rests. He gives words their meaning. He redresses the ideological inversion of language. He restores reality in its capacity as the unique reality and vaporizes surreality.”

Professor Pipes follows that Besancon quote from 1980 with this recognition: “Once the spell has been broken, the regime may never again be able to reassert its control over human perceptions and means of communication, a control that in some respects constitutes the irreducible essence of Communist power.” I think the Transdisciplinary agenda UNESCO is pushing and the rest of the education agenda centered on constructivism in reading and math it and so many other global entities are pushing in a coordinated manner are simply another way to get back that control. “We’ve found another way!” could be the theme of that Cooperation Agreement with Microsoft that Bill Gates signed.

I want to go back to the 1998 book cited in the Appendix of that Agreement because that’s where the title quote came from. Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning, and Identity ‘s last chapter is on Education. This is the lead-in on its new purpose: “Education, in its deepest sense and at whatever age it takes place, concerns the opening of identities–exploring new ways of being that lie beyond our current state.” Now when governments, and their allies in foundations or accreditation, decree that the negotiation of Identity is the purpose of K-12 education and they intend to prescribe, guide, and then assess for what that Identity can be, we are back beyond the scope of domination and control that Pipes and Besancon wrote about.

When education is now required to be “a mutual developmental process between communities and individuals, one that goes beyond mere socialization. It is an investment of a community in its own future, not as a reproduction of the past through cultural transmission, but as the formation of new identities that can take it history of learning forward,” we actually are back to a little c vision of the future of the kind Uncle Karl wrote about. This time though it is far more surreptitious. It definitely has a better PR campaign and a more alluring set of names.

I have stated repeatedly that Common Core is not about the transmission of knowledge and subject content in the traditional sense, no matter how much certain people now hype their reviews of textbooks and other instructional materials. Why? Because under the Transdisciplinary vision of education that is coming (even to Texas), “delivery of codified knowledge takes place away from actual practice, with a focus on instructional structure and pedagogical authority that discourages negotiation.” Negotiation–remember that obligation to come to a shared understanding I mentioned above? How many times have you heard that under the Common Core learning must be relevant and involve real world applications? Here’s the next line: “As a form of educational design, the reification of knowledge is thus not itself a guarantee that relevant or applicable learning will take place.”

That would be coursework that makes a student feel compelled to act to change the world. Remember we have encountered what Transdisciplinary means before and its explicit links to Agenda 21. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/inventing-the-education-of-the-future-by-insuring-planet-wide-activity-to-produce-unified-outlooks/
I have tried repeatedly to explain what the new assessments are really aiming to do, but let’s look to what UNESCO, Etienne Wenger, and, we must assume Mr Gates with all his sponsorship of new forms of assessment, have in mind.

“Students with a literal relation to a subject matter [like a traditional Algebra textbook, Geometry proofs, or that famous Catherine the Great World History lecture] can reproduce reified knowledge [or not and accept that C-] without attempting to gain some ownership of its meaning [in the sense of how it can impact their daily lives]. An evaluation process will become more informative regarding the learning that has actually taken place to the extent that its structure does not parallel that of instruction too closely, but instead conforms to the structure of engagement in actual practice and the forms of competence inherent in it.”

Oooh, I know. I know. Let’s call those latter types of evaluations High Quality Assessments or formative assessments. Then we can tell relieved parents there will be no more high stakes testing, just embedded learning tasks. We can all be certain the parents will not be told that school is now to be a place for “experiments of identity that students can engage in while there.” Keep that in mind though next time you hear of an assignment that basically amounts to role-playing. I want to close with Six Transdisciplinary Primary School Curriculum Themes so that students, parents, and teachers can better recognize when they have actually embarked on a UNESCO/Microsoft approved transformational educational experience. http://inquiryblog.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/td-themes.png is the source.

Six Sided Figure Going Clockwise from the Top

Who we are: An exploration of the nature of the self; of our beliefs and values; of personal, physical, mental, social and spiritual health; of our families,

Where we are in space and time: An exploration of our orientation in space and time; of our personal histories; the discoveries, explorations and migrations of humankind.

How we express ourselves: An exploration of the way which we discover and express our nature, ideas, feelings, beliefs and values through language and the arts.

How we organise ourselves: An exploration of human systems and communities; the structure and function of organisations; societal decision making; economic activities and their impact.

How the world works: An exploration of the physical and material world; of natural and human-made phenomena; of the world of science and technology.

Sharing the planet: An exploration of rights and responsibilities in the struggle to share finite resources with other people; access to equal opportunities, peace and conflict resolution.

Yes, I too would classify that last one as Social Justice at 10 o’clock. The ultimate tragedy is that if we are in fact looking at a future of ‘finite resources,’ the ultimate cause is this officially endorsed Mind Arson view of Education to create Transformative Change Agents. This push to circumscribe the human mind to lock in the kind of control over individuals and their likely behaviors that the Soviets could only dream of.

The late Julian Simon knew that “The essence of wealth is the capacity to control the forces of nature, and the extent of wealth depends upon the level of technology and the ability to create new knowledge.” All over the world that open-ended source of future wealth is being extinguished via K-12 education precisely, and almost solely, to once again gain the kind of control over the sources of production and communication that the Soviets lost and the Chinese wish to preserve and now extend. Globally.

Using the help of politically connected friends and corporations. There’s nothing unprecedented about what is being sought. The Internet and digital learning are just new means of communication. Plus the research the behavioral scientists documented in the 20th century has them itching for some real-time research across the globe.

So instead of being glum this holiday season that what is being attempted is so ugly, let’s be thankful for All We Now Know and Our Increasing Recognition of How Very Much this all matters.

Julian Simon knew that “minds matter economically as much as, or more than, hands or mouths.” Now, we do too. No more accepting the declared PR pitches at face value.

 

Structuring Minds and Hearts to Quietly Gain Power to Act Directly on the Individual Citizen

You may have noticed that first I figure out what is really planned for K-12 classrooms and then I figure out why. It helps when I discover that certain foundations, like Rockefeller or Carnegie, have been financing specific education visions for decades. Hard not to intuit “So you believe this fits in with your other work and gets to the same ends as initiatives that now go by different names?” It’s almost like a Treasure Hunt except what drives me is a recognition that if this continues there will cease to be much treasure outside of political connections or a tax-free endowment. Being a dedicated researcher though I was recently reading Michael Cole’s  1989 The Construction Zone: Working for Cognitive Change in School laying out how to use classroom activity, especially via computer interactions, to create the desired ‘intrapsychological’ changes that would guide perception and likely behavior going forward. That precise word kept being used.

Now before you exclaim that I am not going to be in the running for How to Have Fun on a Weekend, let me say in my defense I knew I was going to be stuck somewhere for several hours and wanted a few options on what to focus on. So I was also reading Martin Erdman’s Building the Kingdom of God on Earth as suggested by a blog reader. Maybe that simultaneous pondering first of how, made the proclaimed why jump out at me. Back when the Protestant churches were far more influential than they are today, there was a pre-World War II global vision that they could be the institutions that to create the “state of mind which must precede any genuine progress toward world order.” That quote was by future Secretary of State John Foster Dulles in 1944 to the graduating class of the Princeton Theological Seminary.

It is precisely the same view of changing hearts and minds we now see in the schools, especially K-12 education. Education became the social vehicle for transformations in prevailing beliefs in a collectivist direction. Beyond this constant theme over the last 100 years that the way to change the nature of the real world, politically and socially going forward, “consists no longer in physical obstacles but only in the minds of men. The difficulty of so changing the minds of men, even in commonwealths so advanced, is hard to exaggerate…The work of effecting that change is essentially work for the churches; but they cannot begin it till political thinkers have clearly said what the change should be.”

Now substitute the word ‘schools’ there for ‘churches’ as the far more effective long term influence now. Also recognize from the last post that Uncle Karl is absolutely one of those political thinkers and that the principals and administrators dictating required classroom practices, and psychologists creating the measuring assessments, are all now actually looking to force and then monitor precisely just those sought changes in students’ minds and hearts. Now one more quote is crucial to what I really think is now intended under euphemistically phrased practices and policies like Competency-Based Education, digital learning, formative assessment or assessment for learning (notice next time you see that phrase that for is italicized just like that for emphasis).

In England before World War I, a politically influential group called the Round Table laid out its 20th Century international vision. It had ties to both the famous Rhodes Trust and to what is now the well-known Council on Foreign Relations. Deep pockets, influential, in a position to maneuver any agreed upon plans into place over time is a succinct way to describe any of these types of groups. What I care about, because I believe it was the goal that led these people to want to use both the churches then and the schools now, was a desired “power to act directly on the individual citizen.” That’s not the view of the role of governments in common law countries like the UK, the US, Canada, or Australia. Being upfront about these intentions and goals is a great way to prevent their ever happening.

Remember that 2004 Cooperation Agreement between UNESCO and Microsoft that global ed reform advocate and financier Bill Gates signed personally (November 6 post)? It explicitly mentioned Etienne Wenger and his concept of Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning and Identity. Needless to say, I got a copy of that 1998 book so we know that to Gates, Microsoft, and the UN entities:

“knowing is not just a matter of information. In practice, understanding is always straddling the known and the unknown in a subtle dance of the self. It is a delicate balance. Whoever we are, understanding in practice is the art of choosing what to know and what to ignore in order to proceed with our lives.”

Except all this insider talk of intrapsychological structuring, mental maps, and cognitive change is actually about someone else designating in advance what is likely to be noticed and ignored. All those references to ‘lenses’ with no optometrist in sight. How’s THAT for the ultimate power to act directly? On the importance of guiding available vocabulary, limiting the genuine ability to read fluently, and moving away from a personal store of factual knowledge, here’s Wenger again:

“An adequate vocabulary is important because the concepts we use to make sense of the world direct both our perception and our actions. We pay attention to what we expect to see, we hear what we can place in our understanding, and we act according to our worldviews.”

That’s why we have a quiet but coordinated global effort per Wenger to mandate a shift in K-12 education so that the “focus [is] not on knowledge as an accumulated commodity–as the ability to repeat the past–but on learning as a social system productive of new meanings.”

Now we can infer that John Foster and friends and the Round Table would be pleased if they were still around, but we can in fact know what UNESCO, the Gates Foundation, and Microsoft have in store for us via this 2012 Video (23 minutes and well worth it) on the New Classroom Experience. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EG6PVCMb3tE Now this Learning Without Frontiers vision is linked by UNESCO http://www.unesco.org/education/lwf/ to the same troubling transdisciplinary vision of changing the student we examined in detail here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/opting-out-as-the-remedy-may-mean-accidentally-accelerating-nonconsensual-transformations/

Maybe Queenstown was picked to be the global Transdisciplinary pilot because it’s just so much fun to travel to the Barrier Reef in Australia at someone else’s expense. Let’s not let that non-updated website fool us since Learning Without Frontiers global conferences ran annually from 2005 to that one in 2012. Now those same aims are lurking in Charles Fadel’s Curriculum Redesign Project, GELP, ATC21S (17:42 mark in that video), and especially in KnowledgeWorks’ High Tech High and the work now of the League of Innovative Schools.

Since we have already examined all those entities previously on this blog, let’s briefly look at what confessions Anthony Salcito made in that video. Consistent with Wenger’s vision, Salcito is annoyed that “what we’re learning hasn’t changed.” He, and his employer we may presume, want to “fundamentally change what we are teaching and assessing” and “get ready for the workplace.” There’s that controversial School to Work vision again coming in by stealth this time. He is excited that it will be a different kind of workplace. I suppose that’s because Microsoft says so.  In what may be my favorite confession of the social engineering intent behind all these sought ‘immersive experiences’ that combine ‘visual representations and emotional connections,’ Salcito explains the “technology advances the emotional response.”

Not your desired emotional response, silly. The emotional response at an intrapsychological level that Planners have decided students need to have to prime that perception and those future actions. Beyond that confession, listen at 18:02 to hear that History is no longer about content, but rather a means to “learn leadership.” Algebra is now a means to learn holistic abstract thinking. Apparently the Planners would like to specify all those internal structures of mental interconnections, instead of having whiz kids develop their own. Neither controlled or equitable I guess. We might be troubled by what Institute for the Future’s Jane MacGonnigal declared as the intentions for Game Based Learning, but Salcito embraces it (19:26).  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/when-gaming-intends-to-shape-and-distort-our-perceptions-of-everything-around-us-viva-la-revolution/

Notice Salcito admits a desire to use Game-based Theory to “reenforce positive behavior.” Their definition of it, not ours. Likewise, he recommends Service Based Learning as a way to get students “fully away from content” in order to apply this theory of learning. This experimental theory of transformative political change created at the intrapsychological level in the minds and hearts of unsuspecting students.

There’s a much shorter Learning Without Frontiers video, also from 2012,  http://vimeo.com/50438579 that says that “if we get it wrong, we will jeopardize an entire generation” of students.

I am asserting that if this vision of learning goes as intended and planned, we will lose more than a generation of students. Education for transformation at an intrapsychological level is a superb way to generate economic famine for virtually everyone.

Real economic wealth lies in the human mind. And too many are currently determined to extinguish that believing falsely that this mind arson creates willing subjects and more for others.

You can see why I have so little patience for Opt Out as the final parental remedy and solution for what is being changed in the K-12 classroom.

With all these trackable declarations, it may turn out to be a “Look Squirrel!” misdirection while the intrapsychological structural changes are rolling along.

 

Locking in Marx’s Dream: Psychophysiological Means Precisely What We Fear as the Real Goal of Education

I always feel odd writing down that infamous name, but as I learned when I was researching my book, Uncle Karl is never very far away from the theories behind the actual classroom implementation. Sometimes the link is too direct and too huge in its implications for me to use a cute euphemism either. Especially when Marx is cited directly as the support that leads to all the current hyping of Neuroscience and Brain-based instruction. How direct? Well, Etienne Wenger from our last post wrote a book Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning, and Identity that I found deeply troubling. Diving into the relevant footnotes pulled up a book I had never heard of that turned out to be $800 used on Amazon when I looked.

Not wanting to eat PB& J sandwiches for the next 6 months to secure a copy of The Concept of Activity in Soviet Psychology, I decided to go internet surfing to see what cited Soviet psychologist AN Leontiev actually wrote about “The problem of activity in psychology.” In case you haven’t noticed, the requirement of active learning and a shift away from print, lectures, and textbooks is what I would call omnipresent in the real Common Core implementation. Knowing how crucial learning tasks are I thought I would gain some more useful insights. What I was not anticipating was for Leontiev to lay out aims and practices I recognized from all my research and then cite repeatedly to pages from Marx and Engels or from some of Marx’s other works.

Suddenly euphemisms won’t do, not with stated aims like using education and carefully crafted classroom or digital virtual activities to literally “lead to a reconstruction of the ensemble of brain psychophysiological functions.” If the aim becomes analyzing which kinds of student activities produce what types of physical changes in their brains, it sure would explain all the interest now in functional MRI, adaptive software, and longitudinal data. When I read those words and others being attributed by Leontiev to what Marx and Engels really desired that are as provocative as stating:

“This convenient formula [of separating psychology and physiology] leads into a greater sin, the sin of isolating the psyche from the work of the brain”

Waiting until the next book could be published simply will not do. Just last week, independent of this research, someone asked me if I was familiar with the White House’s new Fattah Neuoroscience Initiative. The answer was no, but it did not take much insight to guess that it would be linked to John Holdren, which turned out to be quite correct. http://docs.house.gov/meetings/AP/AP19/20140227/101775/HHRG-113-AP19-Wstate-HoldrenJ-20140227.PDF is some recent testimony from him on all that federal activity involving the physical structure of the human brain. Notice though that Holdren leaves out that Digital Promise and the League of Innovative Schools also report to him and they happen to be carrying out precisely the kind of education activity that Leontiev wrote about.

Holdren also leaves out his long time ties to Paul Ehrlich and his stated desire for Newmindedness no longer grounded in a logical, rational mind. Just think of the implications of all this Neuroscience and Grit, Perseverence research for Ehrlich’s current global research project–MAHB–the Millennium Assessment of Human Behavior. Now that I have reminded everyone of the real current links to where K-12 in the US and globally is going, let me add one more thing. I found this graphic Leontiev book on servers at the Laboratory for Comparative Human Cognition at UC-San Diego. The place where Michael Cole and Yrjo Engestrom [see tags] have created the global base for Cultural Historical Activity Theory in the years since the Berlin Wall fell.

Happy 25th anniversary for that Happy Event by the way. Let’s commemorate that Death of Tyranny by continuing to expose that so much of the ideology we thought we were leaving behind in 1989 came on into the West invisibly through a new kind of psychology and a new vision for K-12 education. To bury such destructive required collectivism once and for all we have to know it is there. If you have not yet read my book Credentialed to Destroy: How and Why Education Became a Weapon, get it.

The findings on this blog are not a substitute for it. They are the icing, cherries, and birthday candles. It simply keeps getting more pertinent with time. Given Leontiev’s disclosures though, we simply cannot escape the fact that everything now envisioned for the K-12 classroom globally in the 21st century is based on  a decision “at the beginning of the 1920s” in the Soviet Union to “consciously structure psychology on the basis of Marxism.”

Specific cites and everything. That psychology is sensory in its base, not mental as we have historically assumed, which really does explain all the links in the previous post. It is a view of psychology and education that “in the modern world psychology fulfills an ideological function.” Yes, which is why Leontiev keeps mentioning its use to create a consciousness in people suitable for a “socialistic, communistic society.” All three words, just like that. Apparently all our encounters with communitarianism and the references to meeting needs are part of this vision linked now directly to Uncle Karl. There’s that softening euphemism again. I guess I just cannot quite adjust to open proclamations of intent of the sort Leontiev uses:

“It must not be said that psychology has exhausted the treasure chest of Marxist-Leninist ideas. For this reason we turn again and again to the works of Karl Marx, which resolve even the most profound and complex theoretical problems of psychological science.”

What do we do when the actual and only support for what a charter or Principal or District Office or foundation grant are mandating for a K-12 classroom turns out to be Karl Marx’s social theories for how to gain the kind of brain and personality that would fit his vision for the future? Here again is what Leontiev wrote, the old view of psychology and education:

“isolated cognition from sensory activity, from the living practical ties of man with the world that surrounded him…Introducing the concept of activity into the theory of cognition, Marx gave it a strictly materialistic sense: For Marx, activity in its primary and basic form was sensory, practical activity in which people enter into a practical contact with objects of the surrounding world, test their resistance, and act on them, acknowledging their objective properties.”

What happens when doing all that as a physical, sensory activity involving group participation becomes the very assessment of student ‘achievement’ or Growth?

What happens when the purpose of digital learning is to access a student’s internal “picture of the world” so that learning tasks, virtual reality gaming, and adaptive software can provide virtual and physical experiences to alter that picture in desired ways? Ways that are chosen by others for their intended effects on the student at a physical level.

What happens when, having cited to Marx and Engels on the effect of vocabulary and words generally on consciousness and perception, educators then do everything they can to limit vocabulary, manipulate the words and concepts that are supplied, and minimize the historic role of print on the mind?

What if K-12 education seeks to circumscribe human thought in the 21st century so that it is “nothing else but a derivative of practical activity”? With the stated goal being a “true solution to this problem of the origin and essence of human thought.” And why is human thought problematic?

Because independent rational human thought with access to a store of facts does not submit to Overlordship easily. All these required practices hiding now as pedagogy and Effective Teaching are all actually about subjugation of the mind.

And personality too. Leontiev’s Chapter 5 has with a lead-in header of “Personality as a Subject of Psychological Investigation.” How’s that for aspirational? Do free societies do that nonconsensually using deceit? That analysis, by the way, has to get to the relationship of “motives and needs” just like innovative education seeks to do.

Let’s end with an aspiration that does explain all the intended use of social and emotional learning and an emphasis on the Whole Child. It fits with all the current UN hype of the post-2015 Sustainable World that will meet the needs of all. It fits with the goals we have encountered that we become a “Spirit Society”. This is how Leontiev ended his vision of a new kind of education arising from a scientific, materialistic psychology grounded, he declared, in Marxism:

“Lost from view here is the fact that it is necessary also to go through a transformation of material consumption, that the possibility for everyone to satisfy these needs does away with the intrinsic value of things that satisfy them and eliminates that unnatural function that they fulfill in private ownership society…”

Lost no more and just in time. Historian Richard Pipes in the book mentioned in the two previous posts pointed out that even animals show repeatedly that acquisitivesness is innate. Trying to dislodge what is innate via K-12 Whole Child education premised on practical activity and social participation is simply not going to end well.

Now would be a great time to start recognizing the ancestry of all these required changes in the nature of education.

No more euphemisms. Not with the stakes this high or the aims so personally intrusive.

Tyranny Over the Mind: Constraining the Egocentric ‘I the Knower’ Approach in Favor of Participation

Let’s go back and look at the priceless historical value of what is being quietly taken away. Then I will show more of the ways this stealth robbery is occurring through K-12 education. How it both hides under legal mandates most are unaware of and in known initiatives that have unappreciated aspects. You know how I explain in my book and on this blog that Radical Ed Reform is like a giant jigsaw puzzle where the pieces fit so the gears can then engage as designed? Turns out that aspect has a name no one bothered to tell us about. “Plug-and-Play” is the new phrase I stumbled across. We may be the players on the proverbial chessboard of this game we are funding, but no one intends to let us plan our own moves anymore.

The book Property and Freedom: The Story of How Through the Centuries Private Ownership has Promoted Liberty and the Rule of Law reminds us that when governments at all levels decide to “seek not just freedom but opportunity…not just equality as a right and a theory but equality as a fact and as a result,” those aims of social equality require actual coercion. Lack of consent is not an option. Professor Pipes, after quoting President Johnson, points out that “once the elimination of poverty becomes a state objective, the state is bound to treat property not as a fundamental right, which it is its supreme obligation to protect, but [my emphasis] as an obstacle to social justice.”

What I want to add is if that is true of physical things, property in the form of personal knowledge, values, attributes, and beliefs is even more at risk as an obstacle. Those personal characteristics of each of us, so targeted now through a Whole Child social and emotional learning emphasis, are precisely what can recognize the loss of what is being taken away. Those are the qualities that allow an individual to stand before a stampeding herd and try to turn it in time. Those are also forms of personal property in the sense recognized by Pipes when he wrote:

“The right to property in and of itself does not guarantee civil rights and liberties. But historically speaking, it has been the single most effective device for ensuring both, because it creates an autonomous sphere, in which by mutual consent, neither the state or society can encroach; by drawing a line between the public and the private, it makes the owner co-sovereign, as it were.”

Since I am neither “oblivious to the consequences” of what these reforms in K-12 education are actually intended to transform, nor as yet unable to “even speak my mind” on the effects of “subordinating individual rights to group rights,” here are some specifics that abrogate any inkling of that personal sovereignty. If you took your solace from the vision of the last post  from a belief that that particular view of the future would not happen, I am guessing KnowledgeWorks failed to send you a copy of the blueprint it created for remaking the traditional high school. Let me fix that omission. http://www.knowledgeworks.org/sites/default/files/High%20School%20Race%20to%20the%20Top.pdf

Does anyone have a personally autonomous sphere when governments decide to partner with the “local workforce system” to prescribe what students are now to know and be able to do? All students are to achieve the stipulated “competencies and learning objectives.” If that sounds innocent enough, with only some overtones of social engineering, how about a requirement that the “knowledge and skills” be suitable for being “applied to complex situations regardless of content area.” That’s sounding quite preprogrammed isn’t it? How about learning objectives that “provide the specific tasks a student must complete to demonstrate proficiency.” Should governments be dictating that the “days of direct instruction are numbered,” while stipulating a requirement for “engaged learning that ignites students’ intrinsic motivation”?

That will require a great deal of personal probing, won’t it? Hard to respect the integrity of the person though in a blueprint that actually has an Element 3 calling for “public-private partnerships” with community organizations and businesses. Whose needs will be met in creating “customized learning pathways for all students”? Pathways for those of us who avoid the woods at all costs and hate looking at maps basically decide where we may tread without being arrested or maybe stepping on a snake. Whose interests are determining these Pathways and how do students get to move beyond the stipulated “essential skills such as collaboration, initiative, global awareness, creativity, critical thinking, and perseverance”?

The federal government’s partner in many of these workforce readiness visions for K-12 education is an entity called Jobs for the Future. They have created an initiative that is also probably off your radar called Students at the Center. It guides the actual classroom implementation while staying hidden to the typical parent, school board member, or taxpayer. An excellent strategy for getting your way without messy controversy. Tracking through those footnotes though pulled up this vision of education in 2020 where education globally now expects less disabling curricula than the historic emphasis on print. http://aim.cast.org/w/resources/indira/text/2020LearningLandscape.pdf;jsessionid=2418E9C0A6ADC89C46B5764CE1F45E0D

Yes, you did read that right since apparently we belong to the last generation that need worry about reading instead of “multimedia experiences” we are immersed in. A print emphasis in school is to be seen as a matter of injustice. Since I covered why print is so liberating to the human mind in Chapter 2: “The Danger of the Fluent Reader”, I will simply refer blog readers there. Please also note that this vision where by 2020, “the basic platform for education is no longer print media” is being pushed by the same group that forced the pernicious Universal Design For Learning into the Common Core in the first place (see Chapter 7 on that). The repeated insistence now in education globally to proclaim the Death of the Gutenberg Era is nothing more than an attempt to constrain the independence of the human mind when it can access books and other information without restraint.

Has anyone noticed an accelerating push around IB programs? Did you know that when people like Linda Darling-Hammond describe their dream type of assessment for the future IB is the one they point to? Did you know IB has revised its required Theory of Knowledge course for its Diploma Programme? It has already been rolled out with the first schedules assessment in 2015.The IBO Guidelines added religion as a New Area of Knowledge since Religious Knowledge Systems have “a major impact on how they understand the world, permeating their thinking and influencing their understanding of other AOKs ..for many, religion provides a backdrop to all the other knowledge they have.”

I do believe that new found reverence for religious belief only extends to certain beliefs since the New TOK officially wants to cross out the following:

* Unsustainable absolutist conception of knowledge

*Black and white thinking: no perspectives (objectivism) or just perspectives (subjectivism)

*Egocentric, “I the knower” approach

* Naked, monolithic, quantitative Ways of Knowing

That last one certainly explains all the fascination for non-linear problem-solving based on instinct instead of logic or known algorithms. As I explained in Chapter 4 of my book “The Danger of the Analytical Thinker”, none of these ‘reforms’ is really about a better way to teach a subject. It’s always a means to change the student at a psychological level. It also tries to train the student in a reverence for the collective and shared knowledge instead of personal knowledge.

Speaking of cronyistic public-private partnerships and a shared knowledge push, others have pointed out that on November 17, 2004 Bill Gates personally signed a Cooperation Agreement between UNESCO and Microsoft. My chief concern was laid out in Appendix 3 on creating “communities of practice” and students becoming merely “a participant of a community,” instead of the autonomous individuals they have historically been in the Western tradition of the always related individualism, property, and freedom. Requiring “shared practice” in education and the classroom is not free. Neither is having UNESCO or Microsoft or Mr Gates developing a required “perspective on knowing and learning that informs efforts to create learning systems in various sectors and at various levels of scale, from local communities, to single organizations, partnerships, cities, regions, and the entire world.”

Well, that’s an ambitious vision of shared knowledge. Rather authoritarian too. Will you or your children adapt well to a sense of ’empowerment’ no longer coming from what you can do on your own or who you choose to work with? Instead, CoPs “facilitate ’empowerment’ through their members’ ability to participate in a community and allow the participants to drive the community.” There’s apparently no scheduled Opt Out if we simply want to escape being a required participant in the community or a ‘mere’ member of society.

Come on Robin, you say, quit sounding like you’d prefer the option of being a hermit. Well, OK, let’s look quickly at what the cited creator of these CoPs has in mind in education. No need to speculate    http://wenger-trayner.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/09-10-27-CoPs-and-systems-v2.01.pdf Wenger wants to see the student as a “social participant, as a meaning-making entity for whom the social world is a resource for constituting an identity.”

Oh. Good. Grief. First Prescribed Pathways and now Preformed Molds for fostering a Desired Identity in order to “organize our participation.”

And people keep wondering why the actual focus is so psychological.

See where requiring Equity is taking us?

 

Advances in Neuroscience Redefine Notions of Performance and Cognition, Allowing Social Justice in Learning

If the last two posts have made anyone feel like they are on a roller coaster with a sickening feeling in the pit of their stomach, I am genuinely petrified about all the references to using K-12 education to try to physiologically redesign the brain. The OECD really did state in a report issued just this week on Metacognition that ‘we’ need to “control cognition”. We cannot ask anyone if their meddling knows no bounds if we are not aware of what is being targeted or why. I was detailed on this in my book. What has shifted since I wrote it is how often images of the physical brain are showing up in Learning Presentations to administrators. http://www.lbusd.k12.ca.us/Main_Offices/High_Schools/Linked_Learning/videos.cfm gives a High School PLC Institute example on the new 3 Rs–Rigor/Relevance Framework.

Someone who runs a hugely followed Internet site on the Common Core said to me in person at a hearing and then via email that the psychological emphasis of my work scared her so she would make no effort to let her readers know what was in the offing. A lapel pin with an Apple Core with a Red Line through it shows valid concern, but it will do nothing to protect the children from this actual psychological focus. http://www.oecd.org/edu/ceri/IS%20Project_Conference%20Brochure_FINAL.pdf states that the OECD (remember DeSeCo from the book and the transformations outlined in the conclusion?) has a new project to “further develop and refine a framework and prototype formative assessment tool for 21st century skills.” Do you live in a district where the children will be used as guinea pigs to develop those “Behavioral and social skills (character)” and “Skills in thinking and creativity” that are conducive to the OECD’s idea of innovation?

That would be entirely new institutions, a transformed ‘grassroots’ society centered on subjective wellbeing, and a sharing economy centered on cities and laid out here. http://newclimateeconomy.report/ That’s the actual vision attached now to being “internationally competitive” when we follow the facts. Today I want to take us (maybe want is not the right word). Let me rephrase. Today we are going to look at what the KnowledgeWorks Foundation calls “Recombinant Education” and its partner, the Institute for the Future, that brags about having developed the manipulative Delphi Technique, calls Future Work Skills 2020. The latter report by the way   http://www.iftf.org/uploads/media/SR-1382A_UPRI_future_work_skills_sm.pdf was created with the University of Phoenix in case anyone wants to believe these shocking statements will not influence degrees and online programs.

Why did I put Neuroscience in the title beyond the fact that I am using a literal quote? Because we are dealing with a futurist mentality that insists on changing K-12 and higher ed around the assumption that “Massive increases in sensors and processing make the world a programmable system” all the way down to a micro-level. The micro-level is a euphemism for ‘people’–you and me folks, and especially our still malleable children. We are in big trouble if the children believe what these reports state–that we can “use data to design for desired outcomes.” Someone else’s desires, not ours, especially given the number of references to “collective intelligence.”

Somebody really needs to go read Harvard history prof Richard Pipes’ book called Property and Freedom and remember that all these education schemes ignore the Western tradition, particularly in the US:

“we ‘own ourselves,’ that is, are our own ‘property’…that is tantamount to saying that we are free to dispose of ourselves, which is the meaning of freedom.”

Pipes, an expert on Russia, communism, and the Soviet Union, recognizes a utopian scheme that accepts no boundaries on the control of the State when he sees it. He was reminded of the philosophy of the English social historian RH Tawney who wrote the following in 1920:

“The individual has no absolute rights…all rights…are conditional and derivative…they are derived from the end or purpose of the society in which they exist…this means in practice that if a society is to be healthy, men must regard themselves not as the owners of rights, but as trustees for the discharge of functions and the instruments of a social purpose.”

When someone of Richard Pipes’ eminence follows up that quote with an observation that “Hitler held the same view of rights, including property rights”, please do not retort anything about Godwin’s Law. It’s a warning pertinent to where this is all going as we encounter those 15 Constructs from the last past and formative assessments to make sure individuals are ‘guided’ by the desired concepts in how they interpret their daily experiences. That  WorkSkills report even mentioned the Key Skill of Transdisciplinarity as needed for the Future Workforce. Precisely what those 15 Constructs from the last post said they were creating from the inside-out.

The Future Workforce report assumed that “immersive and visually stimulating presentations of information [will] become the norm.” That will replace print for most people, which will mean the loss of the one thing known to create the rational, logical, independent mind. It is certainly ironic that John Holdren’s Digital Promise federal initiative is being used to bring about the precise Arational Newmindedness Paul Ehrlich longed for back in the late 80s. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/blending-sustainability-and-education-to-gain-arational-nonlinear-minds-and-new-behaviors/ Give the long time colleague a Gold Star for effort!

IFTF insists that we can “plan our environments so that they are conducive to the outcomes that we are most interested in.” That is known as a sociological wish, not a fact, that has a notorious past. Nevertheless, we get to hear about neurogenesis research (the creation of new neurons), where it is hoped that “change the environment, change the brain, change the behavior.” All without any need to give notice or get consent from the individuals being targeted for a new “Design Mindset.” IFTF wants government policymakers to make “education a national priority” and “consider the full range of skills citizens will require.” No need to consult the individual citizens or respect their or their parents’ desire not to have a New Kind of Mind grounded in emotion and Arational.

We actually do not need to speculate about the broader transformations KnowledgeWorks and IFTF are assuming. Beyond all the Strive Together links to a needs based communitarian economy based in urban areas and the Recombinant Education document I mentioned, there was an earlier joint 2020 Forecast that laid out their Map of the Future Affecting Education that called for Altered Bodies: experimenting at the intersection of environment and performance.” Again, not what we expect when we put our kid on a school bus. Are we sending them to schools to “develop new capacities” consistent with a collectivist vision someone else created and did not mean for us to find out about? Should schools “become focal points for interventions focused not only on educating resilient students, but also on promoting resilience in their communities.”

Resilience is one of the listed IFTF categories and it is designed to prevent individual or community responses that focus on “resisting disruption or maintaining the status quo.” In other words, whatever happens in the future K-12 education is trying to take the likely response out of the hands of individual citizens. They get instead “A New Civic Discourse–Rearticulating Identity and Community in a Global Society” that does not care one bit what the US Constitution established so long ago. Another category–“Pattern of Recognition–An Extremely Visible World demands New Sensemaking” discusses the impact of data a great deal and calls for fostering “collective sensemaking.” No wonder the need for classrooms to develop a shared understanding of everyone after Discourse keeps coming up when we look close. Remember the Rockefeller Funded Communication for Social Change?

Here’s the link to the subsequent Recombinant Education vision http://www.knowledgeworks.org/sites/default/files/Forecast3_0_0.pdf. You may want to read that on an empty stomach or with a Hot Toddy. It is enough to chill the bones. Here’s a sample from the High-Fidelity Living category:

“Deeper insights into brain processes and into cognition and motivation under varying conditions [likely discovered from real children without parental consent] will inform both the design of cognitive assistants and our [whose precisely?] understanding of how to structure learning and work environments to maximize focus, intrinsic motivation, and creativity.”

If that seems troubling, there’s a break-out later that admits that data will monitor a student’s “social and emotional conditions, to predict performance and suggest personalized strategies for success.” Still excited about Personalized Learning and what the League of Innovative Schools is pushing with its federal mandate? How about the admitted ability for “Reading Your Mind”? There’s no indication the student will actually be informed of the results of the ‘reading.’ How is a futurist or policymaker in education different from the typical Palm Reader or Clairvoyent could be the new question given these admitted aims with students.

I am running out of time so I want to alert everyone to one more thing that such a Learning Ecosystem will be designed to do to supposedly Create the Future. How often are we hearing about the need for Equity in education? The last bullet point in the vision states: *”Track and address any new inequities that emerge within the learning ecosystem.”

How will the inequities be addressed? Building up the learners who have not yet shown “what learners will need to know”?

Or using Complex, Unknown, and Nonroutine Problem-solving to try to scramble the rational brains of the more able students? To try to force them to respond from emotion instead of logic and facts.

And if you wonder why I keep remembering Uncle Karl’s vision for all this, let’s get a dime for every time we encounter a reference to meeting ‘needs’ in this vision of the future.

Notice the reference under Shareable Cities to “open governance” and remember my warning over the e-Republic and e-Democracy.

Time to pull more open nefarious declarations into the sunlight of public scrutiny. There is still time, but not if we continue to make this simply a Debate about the Common Core.

It is So. Much. More.