Sneaking Into the Cracks to Instill the Outlined Characteristics of the New Soviet Man While the Fatal Conceit Returns

Once again what may seem like just a graphic means for me to try to grab attention to the level of sought intrusion turns out to actually be a quote of declared intentions from someone who matters. In this case we are back to the Remake Learning Playbook, where the Executive Director of the Mozilla Foundation, Mark Surman, described how to reach “everyone’s hands and minds. And this means everyone.” Now Hands and Minds may seem like a clever phrase, and I have heard State Ed Commissioners gush about it so we know it gets hyped in the meetings we are not invited to, but what it is really getting at is Action (Hands) and what will compel someone to act in the future (Mind; Emotions). Surman in hyping the potential for innovative learning experiences to force Equity and “tackle systems change”, pointed out that “networks have the potential to slowly transform potential by sneaking through the cracks.”

Hands and Minds and Sneaking through the Cracks–this may be an effective way to use the schools for transformation, but it’s an invisible to most one. When Surman wrote about “young people have the skills and mindsets they need to thrive in today’s world,” his writing could be taken from the English language and 2015 and the American continent and taken back to the 30s and Eurasia and translated into Russian. Stalin too was anxious to turn his young people into purposeful change agents ready to act on and to bring change to their surroundings. To shift the emphasis from the world as it had been and what currently existed to what might be with enough collaborative effort and the right set of guiding ideas.

As usual I am not speculating, in 1950 the Russian Research Center funded by Carnegie at Harvard under an initial 5 year grant that began in 1948 published a book by Barrington Moore on the Role of Ideas in Social Change. He wrote about the role of planning to the Soviets and their use of it as a “technique of deliberately controlled social change…Socialist planners, he [Trotsky] said, should not have the attitudes toward their figures that an astronomer has toward the movement of the stars, which he can predict but cannot control. Socialist plans [should not be] products of passive prediction, but rather [conceived] as tools for action.”

Now if anyone has any doubts that today it is people, especially children, who have been selected to be both the targets of such intrusive change and the means for achieving it in broader realms like the workplace, society, and the economy, take a look at the All-Inclusive Criteria for Becoming A Brilliant Star: Striving for Excellence. is just the latest in the determination to make Learning about combining thinking, feeling, and action. There’s also a new Taxonomy by Robert Marzano schools and districts are being urged to use to turn students into Self-Systems, where their the “attitudes, beliefs and feelings that determine an individual’s motivation to complete a task” are being tracked and manipulated.

Now just ponder the significance of those aims being on a tech company-sponsored site and their participation in the 21st Century Skills global push, ATC21S and Charles Fadel’s Center for Curriculum Redesign. In the last post I mentioned Israel Scheffler, let’s see what he wrote back in 1960 in The Language of Education in proposing a “novel [hard to detect] use of the term ‘curriculum'” where the definition would be

“programmatic, that its point is precisely to apply the familiar term in a strange way, in order to rechannel the practice associated with it. In particular, the programmatic point is to extend the school’s responsibility, hitherto limited to a so-called formal course of study, in such a way as to embrace the individual social and psychological development of its pupils.”

Sounds like Whole Child to me or what ECAA called meeting the non-cognitive needs. No wonder the Rockefeller Foundation wanted Scheffler at Harvard in 1952 if in 1950 Moore wrote in the Section called “Today’s Dilemma” in the Chapter “Theory of Equality” that:

“In contrast with Western ideas, which begin with the individual and extend to the group and society as an instrument serving the needs of the individual, the Soviet concept of freedom stresses the role of society and the group. The Russians are fond of asserting that the full development of the individual’s capabilities and personality is possible only under the socialist organization of society.”

So what happens now when district administrators, statutes, and politicians at every level of both parties abbreviate that push as the “full development of the individual’s capabilities and personality” as the goal? Is that possible in a society where individuals still are empowered vs political institutions hyping Equity and necessary ‘governance’? What if those goals are set out in a Beta Credentials Framework created by Mozilla frequent Partner–the Lumina Foundation– that is intended to bind while remaining unseen.

What if that Framework discloses not just desired ways of Thinking and Personal and Social Skills, but that in the US and internationally there is a Tuning Process to standardize and circumscribe knowledge in each of the disciplines. Also notice the admission of what I warned about in Chapter 4 of my book-the US is adopting Qualifications Frameworks that will bind employers into hiring quotas. There is a recurring theme through the Playbook, the Agency by Design “Maker-Centered Learning and the Determination of Self” mentioned in the last post, and that Lumina Credentials Framework. Young people are to be trained, primed, and credentialed to act with no body of knowledge available to be a barrier to a willingness to act.

When the purpose of all education becomes about how can “students come to see themselves as capable of effecting positive change in their own lives and in the community” and “muster the wherewithal to change things through making,” we are back in the aspirations Nobel-Prize economist Friedrich Hayek called The Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism in his last book. When the declared aspirations are to turn these fostered dispositions and beliefs into “habits of mind” guiding from an unconscious level, we cannot afford to be waved off from a discussion of the likely consequences because we may not have ed degrees and those with them think this is all A-OK. After all, I have listened to Ed Doctorate admins brag about using notorious brainwashing techniques on reluctant teachers without any idea there is any notoriety attached to what they are suggesting.

We parents, in other words, and just average concerned citizens who know what made this country great and what has always doomed civilizations in the past have to be the Cavalry. Even the rare politician with an excellent mind seems to get bad advice from their staff or the ‘conservative’ think tanks on the issue of education and that’s apart from not bothering to read the binding language they are willing to enact or appreciating the presence of a Scheffler Programmatic Novel Definition.  This parent read all the references to designing and making new ways of being in the world and remembered something Harvard psychologist Jerome Bruner wrote in 1951 in the Foreword of the other Russian Research Center book we have covered.

“speak of the need for a psychology that may support democracy. For man’s image of the nature of man is not only a matter of objective inquiry; it is and has always been a prime instrument of social and political control. He who molds that image does so with enormous consequences for the society in which he lives.”

Now we have this exact aspiration of molding going on, but hiding behind terms like Whole Child, learning needs, student-centered or personalized learning, Maker Movement and others that obscure the nature and purpose of the true K-12 and higher ed shift. I can at least track all these shifts and recognize the fallacies involved and go looking for someone far more authoritative and experienced with the tragedies of these idea to cite. What did Hayek mean as the Fatal Conceit? He described it as the socialist or Planning belief that “man is able to shape the world around him according to his wishes.” Sound familiar from even a typical city council meeting these days or a faculty luncheon?

I cover this somewhat in my book Credentialed to Destroy: How and Why Education Became a Weapon, but with the Maker Movement and Agency by Design and engineered Competencies and Habits of Mind bringing all these aspirations once again to the forefront, let’s go back in history to recognize the likely consequences. Historically, economic prosperity arose in “those communities [where] individuals were allowed to make free use of their individual knowledge.” Now in the name of Equity we are limiting and prescribing what is to be known. That would be the Antithesis of what works and is entirely consistent with the norm noted by Hayek where “common local knowledge or that of a ruler determined the activities of all.” Make that rulers plural now between the mayors, legislators, governors, Congress, and the OECD and UN entities.

Talking about the fall of the Roman empire, Hayek noted that the decline and final collapse “came only after the central administration in Rome increasingly displaced free endeavour. This sequence has been repeated again and again: civilisation might spread, but is not likely to advance much further, under a government that takes over the direction of daily affairs from its citizens.”

That is precisely what is being attempted in the US and elsewhere all over the West in 2015 and education is the most formidable arrow in the Planning and Future Alteration Quiver. I do not bring back expressions like the New Soviet Man to hype, but as a reminder that the techniques are the same and so are the goals. The West, and especially the US, is supposedly the place with the technology and wealth to meet everyone’s needs globally. What Uncle Karl called little c communism and the Soviets never thought they were ready for.

The global entities and too many foundations and grievance interest groups think now is the time and we are the place to push for this peaceful shift via education, the ballot box, federal spending, and raw political power. It won’t work for the reasons Hayek cited, but we all have to be able to call a Spade a Spade and recognize what is being attempted, how, and why.

Stopped by powerful governments, parasitic officials, and obtuse politicians is not the epitaph any of us want with an upcoming 239th Anniversary of the Greatest Country in History looming.



Fodder for Political Exploitation: When ECAA Removes All Barriers and Adds Required Intrusions

Miss me? ECAA (Every Child Achieves Act of 2015) is the acronym for the latest update to federal K-12 legislation and it is scheduled to come to the Senate floor for debate any day now. Yesterday, as I was getting ready to start trumpeting the truth of the tsunami coming at us again, I read a quote from Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson, the Republican sponsor of last summer’s WIOA legislation that I am so horrified by, . Politico quoted him as hoping for votes from ‘conservatives’ on ECAA because of the provisions allowing parents to Opt Out of testing requirements and also not requiring states to use the Common Core. Having read all 792 pages of that leviathan piece of legislation, a suggestion implying that those voting on it need only look at one or two provisions seemed to me like an excuse to ignore the reality of what the legislation shifts.

Now I have mentioned in previous posts that the practices mandated and theories used track back to Soviet psych research and their 1930s views of the type of citizens they wanted education to create. That’s troubling, but lets leave the S word and its close cousin the M word (as in Uncle Karl) out of today’s concerns. Isakson’s points reminded me that there was language in ECAA that appears to override that Opt Out language since the required ECAA annual assessments are to be “administered to all public elementary school and secondary school students in the state.” I am pretty sure that will be the provision waved in parents faces after the legislation is adopted. Plus the school district can fight parents with litigation expenses funded by the taxpayers. No warm and fuzzy comfort from that page 617 prohibition against federal mandates, direction, and control.

Again what good is that or referencing the Common Core when only certain types of ‘performance standards’ as in desired actions or conduct to be demonstrated by students can meet the criteria already mandated by ECAA under that already noted squirrelly definition of “Challenging State Academic Standards” language. Now to elaborate on the true essence of what is being targeted by ECAA that ought to be Out of Bounds in a free society I am going to quote from a 2014 UN/ILO report book called Transforming Economies–Making Industrial Policy Work for Growth, Jobs and Development . That report talks about the US so we get to pay attention to what is sought since as the song goes “This is My Country, Land that I Love…”

The UN excitedly said that “Industrial Policies shape opportunities for economy-wide learning” not to mention lots of exploitation opportunities for Senators, legislators, mayors, and local council members. And what do future citizens need to learn for this future of the kind of Industrial Policy that WIOA just happens to have foisted on all 50 states? Probably making the UN Oh So Happy and definitely constituting a shift for the US to more of a CME–Coordinated Market Economy like the cited Japan and Germany? Well, we need generic skills, but more importantly what must be controlled are the Concepts that “allow individuals to categorize and structure information and data, to analyze and interpret empirically observed phenomena, to gain understanding and meaning and make choices.”

That target never varies and looking to make sure those desired Concepts are taking hold and are likely to prompt and guide future actions is PRECISELY what the ECAA required annual HOTS (Higher Order Thinking Skills) assessments that cannot be opted out of are looking for. Now we have come across other names for this focus on Concepts before and I have tagged some of them to this post. Showing just how crucial getting into and manipulating how each student’s mind works and how they are likely to behave in the future is to the global vision of K-12 education ‘reform’ that ECAA is a component of, the Next Generation Science Standards last month, in a draft of its “Primary Evaluation of Essential Criteria for Alignment” in the classroom assessments, created three new acronyms for us.

SEPs–Science and Engineering Practices to make sure the concepts are tied to ongoing actual student activities and behaviors and are not just the subject of a dreaded test of knowledge, or, Horrors!, Rote Learning. We also have DCIs, which can be used in any area and stand for Disciplinary Core Ideas. Then we also have our last new acronym–CCCs or Cross-Cutting Concepts to provoke some genuine interdisciplinary insights and perceptions that apply across all subject areas. Cool, huh? Just think of what Joe Stalin or Fidel Castro could have done with an education system that pushes everyone to have the same perceptual filters embedded unconsciously within the mind and integrated into practiced behaviors until they are reflexes.

Cannot linger because something else came out this past week–the Remake Learning Playbook that is expanding beyond Pittsburgh and working with the White House and Congressional initiative–Digital Promise and getting funding from the MacArthur Foundation. There is so much of the vision of where we are actually going in that Playbook, but relevant to today’s post in particular, was a mention of adhering to the Economic and Sector strategies created by a Harvard Business School prof by the name of Michael Porter. That got my attention since WIOA is full of Sector Strategies and the National Governors Association has cited it as a reason for needing the Common Core to reform the nature of American high school. (August 4 & 10, 2014 posts).

So that name Michael Porter rang a bell from some connections at Harvard from witnesses Lamar Alexander called to testify at the original hearings on the reauthorization. Ignoring his connection to the Monitor Consulting Group bankruptcy since that should have no bearing on the validity of public policy recommendations, I discover that Clusters are to be the new form of approved American Industrial Policy. As a bonus it allows the federal government and its agencies to coordinate with states and localities, which sounds a great deal like progressive polyphonic federalism (Jan 28, 2015 post) to me. Also goes well again with WIOA and those soon to be filed required state plans. Truly, my bliss at the public sector exploitation potentials knows no bounds.

See why they need K-12 policy to line up with these planned manipulations? Now just imagine the potential for all the plans for metro areas to be the economic drivers and to force Equity in Outcomes from having Professor Porter be the founder of ICIC-the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City. ICIC, by the way, works with the same Brookings that is in charge of the Rockefeller-funded Metropolitanism initiative and the UNESCO/OECD Learning Metrics Task Force. If I had a white board and we were talking in person all these connections would seem to be a game of Whack-a-Mole, but apparently we are the ones about to get whacked.

Now, not to pat myself on the back or anything, but after a book and 3 years of this blog, I really know this area so reading a 1960 book yesterday by a Harvard philosophy prof, Israel Scheffler, brought there in 1952 by the Rockefeller Foundation, I recognized that he, too, was describing the kind of behavior guided by conceptual understanding that has given us the above three new acronyms. Well, a few searches later of people who ought to be involved if my suspicions were correct pulled up a “Teaching for Understanding” initiative from Harvard in the early 90s that was originally funded by the Spencer Foundation, but later by MacArthur. That would be the same MacArthur Foundation now funding the national expansion via the Remake Learning Playbook mentioned above.

That paper explains all about ‘understanding performances’ and how true understanding needs to be demonstrated by behavior and action. Just like what we now know is required under ECAA’s definition of HOTS and what will qualify as the requisite Challenging State Academic Standards. Fascinating, huh? Remember all the references in ECAA to ‘needs’ and ‘personalized learning’? Well, the Playbook talks about that as well and recommends Project-Based Learning and the Maker Movement. How active! Maybe get to practice with all three new acronyms some more and join the “global conversation about learning innovation” while staying “responsive to the real needs and priorities of local communities.” Global and local-what a nice slogan. Probably why the various UN entities keep hyping it.

I will get back to that Playbook in the next post since this one is devoted to all the initiatives ECAA pulls in that we were not supposed to know about. Some of us already know that the White House and various companies have really been hyping the Maker Movement and maker Faires. It’s not just that Playbook. Hint: it also dovetails nicely with Sector Strategy plans for us. When I was updating that Teaching for Understanding work by Harvard’s Project Zero, it pulled up a January 2015 White Paper from them called “Maker-Centered Learning and the Development of Self: Preliminary Findings of the Agency By Design Project” that builds on this desire to redesign our students from the inside-out and then let them practice until the shifts take hold at a neurological level.

I’m afraid that is where the title came from. No boundaries anymore to what the White House, Congress, ed researchers, tax-free ‘philanthropies’ and others apparently plan to do to our students unless we are supposed to be cheered that no one is trying to get authority for sexual exploitation. They want to interfere with, redesign, and then monitor annually each student with mounds of data at the very level of the Self-their Identity.

Mercy me. I think Mao Tse-Tung himself would have lusted after such authority over China’s citizens. Especially if hardly anyone would know of the level of interference and manipulation.

Why, Congress, why?


Shaped and Sculpted Young People Ready to be Governable Participants in a New Future

Remember that catchy Peter Paul and Mary song “Leaving on a Jet Plane”? Well, I am practically humming it in my head this afternoon. After reading revelations in the last few months that have me feeling like I have been staring at a supernova without my comrade-approved conceptual goggles, I am taking a little break. Because things have been breaking so fast and furiously just in the last week though, I want to talk first about what is happening and also to bring back a group of posts that bears directly on interpreting the intentions of the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015.

Now I am known for liking a good Grab the Attention metaphor in my titles, but this one is an actual quote of the intentions involving students, education, data, and experimenting to create new kinds of people and societies via public policy. First, we get a declaration of giving the public bogus reasons on why children need to learn to code as a basic new educational skill. Meanwhile admitting that the required practices will reorient students into the new ways of thinking “required to participate in the digital governance of the state” [and thus them, whether our ‘new thinkers’ ever grasp that real goal]. Later, ‘digital making’ activities are acknowledged as “a way of seeking to shape citizen subjectivities and capacities”, which certainly fits with my insistence that K-12 education globally is now intent on molding future likely behaviors and the student’s personality at a biological level. will take you to the journal to download this Mother of all Confessions. The title actually comes from this doozy on page 267 where we are told “learning to code is itself a form of digital policy instrumentation–a technical means of operationalizing a particular set of policy ideas and exercising specific effects in terms of the governance and control of the population. It is a channel through which young people are to be shaped and sculpted with both the civic capacities and expertise to become governable participants in emerging strategies, techniques, and methods of digital governance.”

Elsewhere that report announces that these well-connected public and social innovation labs show the “spread of experimentalism as an ideology for how we shape the future.” In case that’s not graphic enough and showing why I had to get one more post up before my Great Adventure, we have adaptive learning, data science in education, and these psi labs generally declared to be seen “unambiguously as part of an ideological project of designing the future.” Now pay attention also because the Next Generation Science Standards put out an advisory on assessment this week that fits with the following as a desirable Practice to be Measured: “based on the assumption that design can envision desirable realities and develop ways to make those futures realities.”

I will deal with NGSS when I return so wish me a safe trip. In the meantime we also have philanthropies and governments at all levels admitting their coordinated efforts with each other to redesign society around place-based initiatives. Of course that report further confesses all the particular federal programs we are funding with all this deficit spending and the ties to fed Ed and then the need to transform the broader social and economic systems. We are told excitedly that this is not an ‘Either/Or” situation, but calls for an Integrated Framework that they intend to keep practicing on us with.

Maybe I should find a cave somewhere and just hide in the wilderness. If I did that though, who else would look at a paper like “Driving the skills agenda: Preparing students for the future” from Google [who is really psyched about this data emphasis by the way] and notice all the undisclosed connections. Instead of reading it as major employer speaks about what all employers need, I remembered our recent post where Google called for changes in public policy to redesign society. Maybe Google is once again speaking as someone with a Stake in this Game of Experimentalism with Data and less as an Employer.

I noticed Google hired the Economist Intelligence Unit to prepare the report, but no one ever mentioned that Pearson, with its global Ed Unit headed by Sir Michael Barber of ISC tag fame himself, owns The Economist. Many of the experts involved with the report are also involved with ATC21S, the global 21st century skills initiative backed by Microsoft, Cisco, and Intel, but that is omitted from the paper as well. Since I covered ATC21S in my book Credentialed to Destroy, I got to call on that knowledge in reading the report. It also allowed me to notice that the very skills “employers need” are the same skills being touted as necessary to be a 21st Century ATC21S Learner. Now since Pearson is officially part of ATC21S and so are UNESCO, the OECD, and the World Bank we are getting what will satisfy the desires of the transformative Learning Metrics Task Force now being pitched as necessary to satisfy what employers need.

I can practically see every county, state, or country bidding to be the next recipient of a jobs-creating data center for Google being presented with that very document. Then the eager-to-please and plan ‘business development’ mayor, council members, governors, legislators, and Congress critters will cry in unison that “this is what our schools must do or there will be no jobs.” That’s how what is openly acknowledged to be Experimentalism and social theories looking for implementation to produce data to see if they work makes it all the way to your local school to start that Shaped and Sculpted Process.

Beyond those links that should probably be read with an adult beverage or your blood pressure medicine nearby, I am providing the links to a series of posts I wrote originally in January 2014. I called it the Obuchenie Trilogy, but there were four of them as it turned out. Obuchenie is a Russian word that does not translate smoothly into English, but understanding it as a goal is crucial for translating the Every Child Achieves Act’s aspirations for our children into the actual goals. In order here are the posts so we can get ready to deal with ECAA when I get back.

Finally, we have this

Reading the language of the new form of ECAA, 1177, made me think of what Benjamin Bloom really intended Mastery Learning to become because that seemed to be a driver behind the 1177 language’s clear intent to fundamentally change our children. When I went back to the early 70s, I found Bloom writing alarmingly about changing the nature of the task in order to change the student in order to get at Cognitive Behaviors and Affective Characteristics. Well, that’s clearly not just another way to teach math or reading so it becomes accessible to all. There was something else noticeable though in the 1974 book schools, society, and mastery learning that wrote up presentations from an AERA annual conference.

Remember what the typeface created by the old typewriters looked like and how much trouble it would be to hyphenate ‘teaching-learning process’ just like that for more than 100 pages of typing. Sometimes it appears several times on a single page. Someone wanted that hyphenation because it helped stipulate the meaning of the phrase. In my mind, that much trouble consistently gone to in the early 70s means we are right about the phrase being a translated Russian word for a psychological and pedagogical practice created over there. Being brought over here and in 2015 it’s about to make it into a federal law when accurately understood.

Don’t expect a thank you from me for THAT importation into our classrooms.

Russian psych research, federal law, and Experimentalism via data as an ideological project of designing the future.

Leaving everyone with lots of relevant reading so no one needs to Miss Me While I’m Gone.

Now humming “Sure Gonna Miss Me While I’m Gone” as I pack. See ya.

Personalized Learning as a Molding Mechanism and Prime Instrument for Social and Political Control

We have discussed some of the implications of the personalized learning language in the Every Child Achieves Act rewrite of the K-12 federal education legislation, but most of what will guide the classroom practices and data being accumulated (“a data warehouse for every student”) lies in documents other than ECAA. Scouring those, as I am prone to do in my research, in turn sent me scurrying back to a Carnegie-funded book from 1952 called The New Man in Soviet Psychology. Similar language, comparable visions, and the same recommended changes to education generally means the same real goals whether that is being acknowledged up front or not. I want to go back to something Stalin told Party members in 1933, since we are highly unlikely to get a comparable confession from members of Congress in 2015, on the need to solve the ‘human problems’ if the desired transformations were to truly take hold in the USSR. “Even though the industrial and social base of the old society had been largely destroyed, the ‘remnants of capitalism’ still lingered in the minds of men.” Quoting Uncle Joe himself:

“You as Marxists should know that in its development the mentality of man lags behind his actual condition. In status the members of collective farms are no longer individual farmers, but collectivists, but their mentality is still the old one–that of the owner of private property.”

Stalin and the Soviets made no bones about their intention to “bring all possible facilities of society to bear on the problem of training and controlling its individual citizens.” They were especially fond of using the law in such a binding manner. Methinks they would have liked the language of ECAA and its close sibling, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act (WIOA) from last summer, a great deal. What these measures share in common is a desire to create an organized society. Now obviously that was not news to any Soviet in the 1930s, but it is news to many Americans in the 21st Century, which is why so much of what is intended to bind and quietly alter the minds of men is hidden and not being discussed openly.

What is an organized society anyway? It’s the idea that a society can be consciously organized and directed. In the case of the US in the 21st century, the organization is around the concept of Equity and an obligation to meet people’s needs, whoever they are and however they came to the US. In pushing this vision of social justice, or as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon calls it–Dignity for All by 2030–the organized society shifts from a place where people make their own choices to a “society in which–insofar as possible–all the parts are coordinated to the service of the whole by the deliberate decisions of persons who are in a position to implement that decision.” Hard to get politicians or public sector employees at any level to back off that kind of decision-making power once they get a whiff of the possibilities.

And the number one “theoretical tool for the coordination of society” in the Soviet Union of the 30s or America in 2015 is education. What the Soviets decided in the 30s and what people pushing all these reforms now know is that if they can train and guide people’s purposeful action, they can control future behaviors reliably without that being apparent. I am pretty sure Carnegie did not fund that book above just because it just loves to spend old Andrew’s steel fortune. It found its vision compatible with where it hoped the US would go as well. That likelihood becomes even more apparent when we look at the Foreword of the book and find Harvard prof and cognitive scientist, Jerome Bruner, wrote it. Bruner, citing John Dewey as having a comparable vision, wrote about:

“the need for a psychology that may support democracy. For man’s image of the nature of man is not only a matter of objective inquiry, it is and has always been a prime instrument of social and political control. He who molds that image does so with enormous consequences for the society in which he lives.”

Words to remember as we delve into personalized learning and so many of the practices and theories we have imported from the Soviet Union. What Bruner knew and what Carnegie knows since it funded the research, we are dealing with a comparable vision of using psychology to mold a consciousness and personality that becomes an activist in remaking the world that exists. Would you like to hazard a guess at the number 1 aspect or trait the Soviets knew they needed to control and mold? Motivation. Would anyone like to hazard a guess as to what the number one feature of ‘personalizing learning’ is in 2015 in the US? That’s right. It’s determining and then accessing student’s at the level of their intrinsic motivation.

I have tracked the meaning of personalizing instruction and learning through a lot of reports, but the most graphic is probably in the January 2015 National Initiative from the School Mental Health Project at UCLA. Given all the references in ECAA to the needs of the students and the communities and ‘learning supports’ it appears to me that the entire 204 page document is intended to be implemented via ECAA without anyone in Congress giving a Heads Up. The report is called “Transforming Student and Learning Supports: Developing a Unified, Comprehensive, and Equitable System” and it tells us upfront it has been created as part of that theme I am asserting is being used to turn us quietly into an organized society. “Equity of opportunity is fundamental to securing civil rights; transforming student and learning supports is fundamental to enabling equity of opportunity.”

Law school was decades ago but there is a trigger threshold in con law once something is deemed a ‘fundamental right’ and that seems to be precisely what this plan wants to trigger. Awfully crucial not to be in the open, isn’t it? Well, it is now so let’s quote what it says about personalization in education:

“personalizing instruction means ensuring conditions for learning are perceived by the learner as good ways to attain goals s/he wants to reach. Thus, a basic intervention concern is eliciting learners’ perceptions of how well what is offered matches both their interests and abilities. This has fundamental implications for all efforts to assess students and manage behavior.”

Manage behavior? Goal-seeking, purposeful actor? Doesn’t this sound precisely like the 30s Soviet shift on how to get at the minds of men to mold a new mentality? Should we be concerned that this 2015 National Initiative says that “From our perspective, the aim of personalizing learning is to enhance stable, positive, intrinsic attitudes that mobilize and maintain engagement in learning.” So all the language about “(a) ensure motivational readiness, (b) enhance motivation during learning, and (c) increase intrinsic motivation as an outcome” seems a bit heavy-handed, but it’s only one document, right? Well, there’s also the ISTE 2014 “Personalized Learning: A Guide for Engaging Students with Technology” that will likely guide what the language of ECAA really means for our students and ultimately all of us.

It helpfully lets us know that “personalized learning is not the digitization of traditional learning” since after all, it is the student’s mind and personality that are the real focus of this digital menu. Showing that unfortunately subject content areas are merely the means to get the desired changes in the students we are told to set goals and then try to achieve those established goals. How purposive! A goal-seeking actor just like Stalin wanted the emphasis to be on. “Progress through subject area content is measured by the demonstration of proficiency in identified skills and understanding.” Those would be the skills and understanding needed not for the world we now have, but that desired future which needs a new kind of citizen and worker.

Now I can say repeatedly that this is not the model of coursework we are all used to and insist how much manipulation is going on, but a vision of “courses built around concepts and learning outcomes” just speaks volumes about how socially engineered this “self-directed learning” will actually be. Let’s look somewhere else since this 2014 Summit on Personalized Learning of the White House-sponsored Digital Promise and League of Innovative Schools was uploaded to the internet about the time this new version of ECAA–1177–became available. Let’s go to page 18 since it is describing a federal grant to “revolutionize instruction”.

Now how ‘personalized’ does learning in the ordinary dictionary meaning of the term seem if we specify what all students need to know and then want to assess “How will we know they’ve learned it? and “What will we do if they haven’t learned it?” How a student chooses to show their learning is flexible and the activities they engage in to practice the desired learning has lots of options, but what is to be learned does not. Whether the student gets it or not, there’s actually a great deal mandatory to this personalized vision. That’s just not supposed to be apparent to either the students or us, lest we object to the clear coercion at the levels of mind, values, attitudes, and feeling.

This was true in every recent personalized learning paper I found. Here’s another The quiet mandatory nature makes perfect sense if this is all intended to be a molding mechanism in pursuit of an organized society where Equity is the lode star for decision-making.

If we go back to that 1952 book it will tell us that “The Bolshevik controls man by training his motives and shaping his ideology.” As someone who has read all these reports and ECAA, I am now asserting that personalizing instruction and “personalized rigorous learning experiences” are intended to train student’s motives for future action as well.

And the requirements about annual assessing of “higher order thinking and understanding” are monitoring whether the minds are being suitably molded and trained in “ideological thinking.” Because at its core, that’s where there is no flexibility.

Is the student using the desired concepts? Is she demonstrating desired values and appropriate attitudes?

Will he be motivated to act when and in the way desired? At least Uncle Joe was transparent in his aims, unlike Congress and most legislatures, governors, and city councils.

Eager to benefit from such social and political control over us.