ACES: Individual Psychological Change as an Effective but Hidden Route to Ameliorate the Whole Society

Anyone wondering if we are about to play an exciting game of cards here at ISC? ACES is an acronym I just created because the phrase Anticipatory Cognitive Embodied Systems is simply too long to keep typing over and over again. Now every time we see the phrases ‘learner-centric education,’ ‘competency-based,’ ‘personalized learning to meet needs and achieve success and full potential,’ or ‘continuous improvement’ as the world’s largest education accreditor used recently , we can accurately recognize that political power–local, state governors and legislatures, Congress and the White Houses led by both parties, and international groups–has decreed that students are simply systems to be measured, monitored and manipulated.

ACES is a defined-term globally and I hope you have as much fun seeing what it pulls up as I did when I first came across it and recognized the implications. I cannot summarize all those papers on this blog although reading many of them did cause me to put this blog into hiatus as I dealt with the implications. Then I pulled a book I have discussing what were known as the Macy Cybernetic Conferences or Feedback Mechanisms and Circular Causal Systems in Biology and the Social Sciences back in the 1940s into the early 50s. That is when what is now known as brain-based learning was first discussed. Here’s a quote for an aim that gets obscured now under all these euphemisms and more:

“Granted that personality and culture could be viewed as a cybernetic system with purposes, feedbacks, and communication links, which if analyzed [think of all that glorious data now being gathered under various mandates] might lend credence to the notion that individual psychological change could be an effective route toward ameliorating the whole society…By individuals changing their ways, the culture is changed.”

This is supposedly the ‘gentle’ approach to social change. Use education as a means to alter “styles of personal relations [Positive School Climate], child rearing [mandatory parent involvement at school], family and sexual patterns [transgender bathroom edicts], and promoting mental health [now usually called student wellbeing]. However gentle, it contained a strong element of the managerial, the manipulative, and the controlling.” Those aims still do and they are now everywhere in 21st century schooling. These aims now go back to a view that “human nature is not fixed but adaptable and changeable. Human nature, i.e., personality structure, is contingent on social patterns prevailing in a culture…and can be altered by changing these cultural patterns.”

When that AdvancED White Paper above writes about “a personalized journey of continuous improvement” where the student can be improved by schools “using evidence to pinpoint what must happen in the areas of need identified through the continuous improvement process,” we are back using education and the social sciences to achieve the aims laid out so long ago at those Macy conferences. When the paper talks about social and emotional factors and the “type of additional measures it will use” so that a “school or district must support the development of its students in ways not identified in test scores, but that directly impact student learning and development,” we are actually back to the goals for the future a Macy participant, Larry Frank, laid out in 1951.

In his book Nature and Human Nature, Frank wrote that that cybernetic notions could create a revolution where:

“Today we can assert with full conviction that culture is a human creation, man’s attempt to order and pattern his personal life and to provide for orderly group or social living…This indicates that culture is not a superhuman system, final and unchanging, beyond man’s reach and control; also it shows that we can and do change culture by modifying what we think and do and feel and what we teach and how we rear our children. Again, this new viewpoint, when once grasped, brings an immense relief and a feeling of freedom we have never had before under the older beliefs in a supernaturally imposed culture, sanctioned by immemorial tradition.”

Now, if we parents and taxpayers were presented with that graphic intention for today’s ‘education reforms’ we could accurately perceive what is intended for us and appropriately rebel in time. So we get all these euphemisms instead that still utterly reek of a cybernetic viewpoint for controlling individuals and planning a society once we recognize the terminology. Here’s AdvancED again on when ‘a system is considered effective’:

* Various processes and components of the system are connected and aligned so that they work together as part of a complex whole in support of a common purpose.

* System improvements are driven by a process of continuous measurement and feedback with a focus on collecting and sharing data that informs and transforms.”

I am going to interrupt my quoting of AdvancED talking about both students and schools in such cybernetic language using systems metaphors to point out what is wrong with so much of the Faux Narrative and outrage over Student Privacy that wants to make the conversation about Personally Identifiable Information. That is a static database emphasis regarding student data that has been openly declared to be interested in constantly changing students from the inside-out to the specifications sought by political power as if they were just a ‘system.’ And the point of concern is only PII and whether it is the feds imposing it as opposed to what is really going on here? Back to quoting again:

“* System actors understand and engage each other and the system successfully.

* System outputs are of the desired quality and produced within the desired time frame.”

The system is the student in many cases and what is being tracked and manipulated is the internalized Simplex I covered in the April 4 post. is another recently released paper from another group driving what must go on in the classrooms under the synonym of competency-based education. It is also targeting students as if they were simply ACES–Anticipatory Cognitive Embodied Systems–rearrangeable in a “Continuous Improvement (TQM) Process” just as the Macy Conference social engineers always wanted. This is how we measure, monitor, and manipulate the ACES providing whatever learning experiences data shows to be needed until political power and its Business Cronies have the malleable adult they want “upon exiting the education system in 2025.”

I have more recent declarations by connected groups with the power to mandate what must occur in classrooms that fits with what was laid out by those Macy Conferences, but I want us to go back to a 1988 conference that supplements what is laid out in my book Credentialed to Destroy and that fits with both the Macy Conferences and what we are seeing now. Locating it tumbled out of my research on ACES as I played Tiptoe Through the Footnotes once again. In May 1987 Ohio State hosted a conference called “the Educated Citizen and the University of the Future.” It led to the 1989 publication of a book I found on ERIC (indicating current fedED interest) called “Rethinking Patterns of Knowledge,” edited by Richard Bjornson and Marilyn Waldman. Its Introduction complained first about the following:

“The dominant patterns of knowledge in the present educational and social climate are based on linear thinking, rationalistic analysis, and the quest for generalizable simplicity. Under such circumstances, individual success generally results from the competency with which these patterns of knowledge are mastered and then utilized to bring about expected or predictable outcomes.”

Now not only is such individual success not Equitable, but that individual will be using what I am going to call his or her Do-It-Yourself internalized Simplex to decide what to do and how to do it. To perceive what it notices and what guides and motivates its actions and that is thoroughly unacceptable. Saying that forthrightly in the way that Larry Frank did above so long ago might doom all these plans to finally succeed at using education for brain-based social engineering so we get the euphemisms AdvancED and iNacol used or this from 1989 that resonates today in the required ‘systems thinking’ in the Common Core C3 Social Studies Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, and the WIOA economic planning legislation I have covered.

“Alternative views of reality, whether they originate in our culture or outside of it, tend to be resisted or rejected out of hand. Each contributor to the volume challenges the unquestioning acceptance of these patterns and suggests that our creativity, our capacity to understand complex phenomena, and even the future wellbeing of our society depend on our willingness to embrace new patterns of knowledge and not allow ourselves to be defined solely in terms of what has been taught in the past.”

A few pages later and consistent with my insistence that it is that internalized Simplex and a desire for individual psychological change to quietly engineer a planned Upravleniye (March 22 post) society that is and has been for decades the real driver of all these reforms, the editors complain that we need to Rethink Patterns of Knowledge in preschool and K-12 because most college students “have already internalized their guiding beliefs and assumptions by the time they enter college.” Try not to faint in horror out there upon reading that statement.

So if the purpose of education is now to create minds amenable to political coercion without complaint or even noticing and to lock that in invisibly at a neural level, is there a level of government in a free society where such aims can be regarded as lawful and permissible?

Should the accreditors be able to require it working with school boards and their lawyers? Legislatures? Trade groups like the Chamber of Commerce? Is this violation really abhorrent if imposed by the feds but A-OK at a local or state level?

See why it is absolutely necessary to confront what is really being targeted for change and why?



Forcing Equality of Communicative Competence as an Expedient Way to Promote Mental Time Travel

One of the benefits of now having an extensive research library documenting what I write about is being able to recognize what I am looking at now and then going back in time to when the hoped for means of transformation was first laid out. That’s what we did with Futuribles. Looking at that OECD paper from last week from the previous post as well as the aspirations from the Third Way Global Progress summit held by the Center for American Progress (CAP) in March reminded me I should go back and look at sociologist Anthony Giddens’ 2001 book called The Global Third Way Debate. Fitting right in with the Ford Foundation’s financing of both the behavioral sciences by founding CASBS in Palo Alto in the 50s and then Futuribles research in the 60s we have their Director of the Program of Governance and Civil Society, Michael Edwards insisting in writing that:

“So we are left with the task of humanising capitalism, that is, preserving the dynamism of markets, trade and entrepreneurial energy while finding better ways to distribute the surplus they create and reshape the processes that produce it…[I think we are included in the processes to be reshaped, but here’s more] Inequalities result from political decisions about the distribution of gains from economic activity. What is allocated to private consumption, public spending, and social responsibilities is never fixed, and it is democracy’s job–not the role of the markets–to determine our collective goals and common interests.”

Now since ‘markets’ are actually just lots of individuals making their own choices with the information they havebased on their own values, what Edwards was really saying was that, in the Third Way vision, political power will determine what ‘our collective goals and common interests’ must now be. Needless to say, education to alter consciousness in prescribed and unappreciated ways is Tool Para Excellence. Especially if it can be sold as helpful brain-based learning

Another speaker, Simon Szreter, stressed the need for ‘moral principles and priorities’, which could be “practically related to the workings of ‘the real world’, real people and their relationships to each other and to the economy; a specification of the practical policies and measures which are required in order to change the economy and society towards the desirable model of social and economic relationships that has been elaborated.” Now we could simply surmise education would once again be a handy tool for such deliberate change by political process, except barely two pages later we have the confession for “enabling us to focus on the crucial issue of the means by which the capacities of individuals to process information are distributed across an economy. In particular it can show how the politics of a society and its institutions critically influences the information-processing capacities of its citizens.”

Now wanting to control that information-processing capacity at the level of the mind is precisely what redefining people as simply ‘goal-seeking systems’ actually does. We have covered that in some depth on this blog and in far more detail in my book Credentialed to Destroy. Here’s the tragic element beyond the tyrannical control issues of such aspirations: “it is a crucial goal to maximise and equalise the the social and cultural scope of information exchange among the economy’s workers. Through generating the capacity to process information effectively–the promotion of communicative competence–on the part of the greatest proportion and diversity of citizens…One of the most significant and powerful sources of disruption of the possibility that citizens might enjoy a state of equality of communicative competence with each other is a dramatically unequal distribution of wealth and income in society.”

Well we know that’s on the OECD’s To Do list. With the US and CAP also having a Larry Summers-led Inclusive Prosperity Commission and the UN announcing Dignity for All by 2030, income and wealth distribution are supposedly on the current global Must Change through PolicyMaking and Think Tanks To Do List. What’s the other pincer per Szreter and out Third Way Fabians in 2001? This is a long quote, but very useful as a long term explanation of why education always comes up as a tool and where it fits in with the broader collectivist scheme (as usual, my bolding).

“The national education system is the other principal general influence, after income and wealth distribution, upon the formation of social capital, and the possibilities for equality of communicative competence. This is because it is simultaneously producing not just one economic product, as previously understood by economists, but two: both human capital and social capital. And it is only a good overall education system, in which all can have pride in their schools and from which all can derive a sense of personal achievement and worth, which can lay the necessary foundations for the proliferation of social capital all across the economy, by providing its basis in common communicative competence and mutual respect. [Anyone thinking Positive School Climate is just practice for these relationships of justice?] The argument from social capital holds in principle for a range of other important social policies which affect the equality of citizens’ capacities, such as health, housing and social security.”

Now that common communicative competence to be required would also be what guides perception, interprets experience, and motivates future behavior and it is to be common and predictable. Very useful for that social and individual steering capacity governments at all levels are now seeking. A useful paper on all this came out of Europe in 2009 and it’s called “Thinking as the control of imagination: a conceptual framework for goal-directed systems.” That’s us, remember? And the common communicative competence means comparable goals that are invisibly manipulated via educational ‘standards,’ desired competencies that are targeted for ‘testing,’ and other statutory or regulatory mandates.

Before I offer up the following quote that is pertinent to all the reimagining of the future and the offering of guiding fictions from the last two posts, it leaves out what phonetically fluent readers have always been able to do. Get a handle on the nature of the world and people historically and consistently through massive amounts of diverse reading. Common communicative competence rules that obstacle to mental reengineering out. The researchers in that article stated that “behavior consists in the control of perceptions.” Yet, we know the whole purpose of using standards to prescribe the categories and concepts all are now to learn as the Framework of a Discipline is to control perception. Now let’s move forward to the quote of what is desired in our ‘goal-seeking system’ as the students and eventually us are being called.

“when a comparison is done not between sensed and desired states, but between internally simulated and desired states, the architecture acquires control over its own imagination: this makes it able to interactively set its goals and plans, and ultimately to think by mentally simulating actions.”

Now I offered that long quote from Szreter because it’s not just the common communicative competence guiding what will be internally simulated in most people. With his definition of social capital and how it was to be obtained, the Third Way made it quite clear the desired states were also to be the focus of manipulation via education. That is what policymakers mean when they insist what they lay out is a normative vision for how the future should change. Robert Heilbroner, a well-known Marxist professor wrote Visions of the Future in 1995. He started the chapter on Visions of Tomorrow by acknowledging he did not wish to predict the shape of tomorrow, but he did want to guide what was imaginable. As he wrote, “I stress this crucial word–to exercise effective control over the future-shaping forces of Today…leaves us with the somewhat less futile effort of inquiring into the possibilities of changing or controlling the trends of the present.”

Now let’s leave aside the enormous potential of digital learning and the simulations of virtual reality assessments to reconfigure what a mind will soon be internalizing as imaginable. Let’s just get back to all the role-playing assignments that now form such a tremendous part of history and social studies classes. The ubiquity making more sense now? Now let’s go back to David J Staley’s History and Future book to see how common communicative competence in the name of Equity and controlling the Imagination come together.

“The result of these imagination leadership thought exercises is a mental map of a future business space. The goal of these scenario exercises is to, first, clarify or otherwise expose preexisting mental maps, and to especially reveal unarticulated assumptions. Second, these scenario exercises help the group to refine their mental maps by suggesting new or unforeseen opportunities and threats. Third, the goal is to create many of these mental maps in the maps of audience members, to replace the monolithic mental map of the future with a ‘diversified portfolio’ of mental maps, to allow us to better cope with change. This is related to the fourth goal of these thought experiments: to help us order our perceptions, to create effective mental filters that allow us to make sense of all the data and information that bombards our senses. As we take data and information, we have a better way to categorize and organize the data.”

Now with that last quote, I think I will stop and let everyone contemplate the implications of education allowing political power to now create those mental filters for whatever transformational purposes politicians or their cronies find expedient.

All going on without telling the students, their parents, or the taxpayers accurately what is being targeted and why.

Mental time travel using these parameters is likely to leave us all Lost in Space, except the space is not Outer anymore.



Futuribles: Seeking the Levers of History by Focusing on the Types of Individuals In Societies to be Governed

Please try not to get whiplash as we move back and forth through the decades. Just this week the OECD conceded openly that instead of focusing on structures and incentives, which both traditional government approaches and New Public Management theory (arose in the 1980s and 90s and tied to what is also called the Third Way) “are prone to do, it is more important and fruitful to focus on the type of individuals, particularly their competences and skills, which are populating these governance structures.” Explains so much, doesn’t it? That’s why education now targets what the Paris-based Futuribles initiative funded by the Ford Foundation in the early 60s called the ‘inner self’. is the truly stunning confessional document on ‘steering’ people and places to fit with desired theories of change in the “socials sciences, it [complexity theory, which the OECD itself states is akin to the Dynamic Systems Theory fiction we met in the last post] offers a metaphor, or a lens, through which we might better understand what it takes to initiate and sustain systemic change.” All of our recent encounters with various members of the Atlas Network and their frequent teaming now with either the Brookings Institute or Center for American Progress makes much more sense when we recognize that the official OECD position on how to achieve “socio-historical change in human society” is through “policy making” and changes in consciousness.

This is also why it matters so much that, unbeknownst to us, the behavioral sciences have been thoroughly embedded in education ‘reforms.’  They now define students as ‘goal-seeking systems’ as Boulding laid it out. Competency-based education and ‘evidence-based policy in education’ are simply the newest obscuring euphemisms for what the Futuribles contemplated as the way to use education to ensure that the “social sciences should orient themselves toward the future.” Futuribles wanted “to instigate or stimulate efforts of social and especially political forecasting.” It would be based on using the human imagination, unrestrained by fact-based moorings to the present or the past, to speculate on different futures and then to motivate personal action to make it so.

Quoting Destutt de Tracy who was declared to have “said very well: ‘It is the constant march of the human mind. First it acts, then it reflects on what is has done, and by so doing learns to do it still better.'” That’s the theory of education being espoused now when we hear a Principal or Super declare that a school or district no longer embraces a ‘deficit view of the child.’ For any readers who are unaware, the same Ford Foundation funding the Futuribles research organization and the translation of The Art of Conjecture into English in 1967 also financed the creation of our often-encountered Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences in the 50s. That would also be the place where Kenneth Boulding and others created systems theory.

A chapter of that book is called “The Project” and seeks to use mental images “that do not represent any reality past or present” to become a person’s goals for acting in the future. Here is the vision for the Project (italics in original).

“There is no volition without object, and the object of a volition is that a fiction of the mind become a ‘fact’. This fact is the goal of action (in the sense of ‘action’ defined below). When we retain a fiction as something to be enacted, it serves as the source of systematic action. This fiction–a non-fact–can be situated only in the future, which is necessary as a receptacle for a fiction accompanied by an injunction to become real.”

I am going to stop for a moment to come back to the present. Just this week I got an announcement from a company called ProExam of a new product called Tessera that could be used by schools to assess non-cognitive attributes and qualities of students using what it called Forced Choice and Situational Judgment scenarios. It also reminded educators that these social and emotional learning attributes were now a statutory mandate for measuring and monitoring under federal law. Now we can go back to what was laid out in 1967 in the intro to the next chapter called ‘The Conditional’:

“I have formed a representation that does not correspond to observable reality and placed it in a domain suited to receive it; now my activity tends toward validation of what my imagination has constructed. [Anyone tying this aim then to the rise of Project-Based Learning and the Maker Movement now?] For the event to comply with my design, the moral force of my intention must hold and push me on the road to the goal. But the road must really lead to the goal; and this implies that the appropriate road has been discerned (an intellectual operation). Hobbes put it all like this: ‘For the thoughts are to the desires as scouts, and spies to range abroad, and find the way to the things desired.'”

The goal then is “like a beacon beckoning me.” Those of you who have read my book know how much research I laid out showing that the real Common Core implementation targets ‘values, attitudes, and beliefs’ as a means to change behavior in the future. On top of those disclosures, let’s now overlay this Futuribles recognition from that same chapter:

“Any power, whether social or political, is maintained by people’s attitudes; any project, short or long, shallow or profound, is founded on their attitudes and behavior. Now each of us is capable of changing his attitude and behavior…Concerning the individuals of a society, we cannot doubt that they have received a code of behavior from their family and from society, that they are subject to pressure from their fellow men, and that they are pushed into particular roles.

But we also know that they are able to form and pursue projects. And each project is the germ of a shoot which may or may not be propitious for the maintenance of the general form of the society. Lesage once made use of a Lame Demon who unroofed houses to reveal what was going on inside. Let us suppose that this diable boiteux could reveal people’s minds in the same way, enabling us to surprise the projects each member of society forms in his inner self.

We could then apprehend, at their origin, those shoots which as they grow will deform the familiar social surface and produce swellings, fractures, and cracks. What will these changes be? How can they be foreseen? Here lies the subject that preoccupies us.”

And I would add that this is the subject that has preoccupied all so-called K-12 education reforms globally from the 60s forward under a variety of names. It absolutely is the lodestar of what is mandated under ESSA and what practices are required to merit federal funding and expansion of charter schools. It also is what drives the social and economic steering visions laid out in that graphic OECD report that is part of its New Approaches to Economic Challenges(NAEC)  initiative. Given that the acknowledged target of all these education reforms is the inner self, which is why I bolded it, we should read carefully that a key component to “building the systemic capacity of the government to improve policy design, steering, and implementation” is Trust.

I am sure that it is entirely coincidental that the same theme of Trust was a major component of House Speaker Paul Ryan’s recent speech on public policy. As the OECD laid out as the requisite means for Governing Complex Systems that includes people and their inner selves (their competences and skills, remember?), “the public’s trust in government must be reenforced, and efforts must be made to strengthen institutions and build capacity across different dimensions of trust (e.g. reliability, fairness and impartiality, integrity and honesty, and inclusiveness).”

That VA Scandal and the lack of actual consequences is just so darn inconvenient to this trust demand, isn’t it? All of our encounters with think tanks and what I call the Faux Common Core narrative, as well as deceit surrounding the nature of federalism and the Constitutional Convention calls, makes much more sense when we throw in this quote:

“Which outcome is realised in the social sciences is a question of intervention at as many levels as possible: for example, at the macro-structural level [WIOA] and at the intentional human agency level [ESSA], so that sufficient momentum is generated in a particular direction to displace the inertial momentum of the current dispensation and to create a dominant inertial momentum for the desired changes.”

Not the desired changes you or I might seek, but the changes desired by political and economic power to secure the futures they seek. DST from the last post, and complexity theory to the OECD oligarchs and their allies, is “first and last, about reaching critical mass among the diverse range of factors, elements and agents that constitute a particular environment.” In other words, complexity theory sounds more scientific that simply citing to the infamous Uncle Karl, but still allows political power to guide the so-called Scientific Management of Society he and the USSR dreamed of.

Instead of openly decreeing the institution of his Human Development Society that is also known as little ‘c’ communism to political theorists, we get the same ends approached through ‘complexity theory.’ We are all to still be the Governed with our inner selves measured and manipulated as “new properties and behaviors in the education system, emerges from the interaction of a myriad factors in the economic, political, social, and cultural environments in which education is situated.” Those would be the same environments currently targeted for steering via legislation that starts with Congress and the federal agencies and goes straight through to all of our local communities. All targeted for steering in the 21st Century.

If this sounds like we are to have sovereigns and be ruled, like it or not, the OECD paper actually used that word when it stated that “complex societies cannot be ruled rationally from one centre, if only because the amount of information that needs to be processed to make that possible far outstrips what any central government can achieve.” I guess that means that we are guided by oligarchs who believe there is nothing wrong with ruling per se. Governance is just a matter of finding better methods, starting again with that inner self.

Next time a think tank or politician hypes the ‘local’ or a private provider as the “Conservative’ position, remember that the OECD said that “privatisation and decentralization are not just about raising efficiency. They can be interpreted as ways in which national governments are moving power to places better able to handle the complexities of global, liquid, and interdependent societies.”

If governance in the 21st century and the Levers of History really have decreed the Inner Self as the key to sustainable change, it certainly does explain why there has been so much deceit surrounding what is really going on in education.

“We are creating the citizens who will be amenable to being governed” is certainly not why we send our kids to school and pay all the taxes that support this industry.

Frankly admitting that the true global aim after the Fall of the Berlin Wall was that “Power has moved away from central governments in different directions: upwards, toward international organizations, sideways to private institutions and non-governmental organizations, and downwards toward local governments and public enterprises such as schools and hospitals” would have each of us reexamining the load of deceit doled out by politicians of both parties over the last thirty years.

Mustn’t have us accurately reexamining the provided narrative of the past. History, after all, is now about imagining what the future could be and what must be done to act to achieve those goals.

The beauty of theorizing that we are all now just goal-setting systems and subject to manipulation by political power.


Statutorily Stipulating a Science of the Individual Driven by Useful Internalized Guiding Fictions

The first question then is “Useful to Whom”? Not the students themselves or the adults they will become, but useful to anyone seeking to benefit from this collectivist, steerable, scientifically-managed society and economy we just keep encountering. Useful to the decision-making oligarchs in this hoped for Upravleniye vision. The entire basis of the steerability must get at what each person has internalized at the level of the human mind and personality. Taking comfort that I am probably just exaggerating to drive sales of my book Credentialed to Destroy? Here is the link to the 2013 Harvard Ed School paper called “The Science of the Individual”

There is a lot in that paper about the “new capacity based on technological innovation to collect and analyze massive amounts of data on individuals…for building realistic models of individual behavior, learning, and development.” What I want to talk about in this post is the confession about the “invention of a framework that can sustain a science of the individual.” In other words, the offered up theory–Dynamic Systems Theory–need not be factually true if enacting its practices through federal and state law mandates and required classroom implementations that get promotions for Principals and lucrative administrative jobs in central offices like being a District Super. Not true but useful to the Politically Connected.

Am I being mean here? No, DST grew out of NIH-funded research at Indiana University and its creators in 1994 classified this learning theory as “consistent with theories of the social construction of knowledge and in fact offers a biologically plausible mechanism for such a process.” Translated into English, the researchers want it to be true because advocating for the theory earns grants. Implementing the theory in school classrooms can have useful effects on guiding and motivating students to behave in desired ways that will ultimately be grounded, if the ‘research’ goes as hoped, into the students’ neural synapses. To quote again, “a dynamic systems approach to cognition and action provides a biological ground for cultural and contextual accounts of human cognition.”

Why am I hyping on these confessions? Because these are the theories adopted for the classroom in the famous 2012 federal “Education for Life and Work” report covered here. It is the theory guiding both the new federal education Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and its companion 2014 federal Upravleniye legislation WIOA. That 2013 Harvard paper above is part of the IMBES–International Mind, Behavior, Education Society work and this 2014 meeting in Ft Worth, Texas shows just how thoroughly what ought to be off-limits in a free society and what used to be known as cybernetics research is rolling right into Texas classrooms, especially, with nary a barrier to entry. They even have state legislators there describing how to get these theories and practices into effect. David Rose, the creator of that very same Universal Design for Learning covered in my book as incorporated into the Common Core required implementation, and now mandated in ESSA, was a speaker. Did you know he is a co-author of the US Educational Technology Plan? Another speaker, Fumiko Hoeft, is described as “interested in ‘understanding interaction between academic achievement, cognitive abilities, external environment, and [the student’s] ‘internal environment’ such as resiliency, self-esteem, grit and motivation.”

In other words, all the hype about instilling grit, resilience, and perseverence is not about creating those qualities. It’s simply as excuse to assess and collect data on what yet another speaker there, Paul van Geert (a name I recognized from systems theorizing) referred to as the simplex system. In a 2014 paper called “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly? The Dynamic Interplay Between Educational Practice, Policy and Research” defined what he meant by  a simplex system. He was referring to people and what they have internalized. He used italics for emphasis so so shall I.

“We define such a simplex system as a connected whole of beliefs, representations, values, emotions, habits, practices and material tools that serves as a simplifying representation of the overarching complex system in which a person participates and that organizes the participants’ actions.”

When the Faux anti-Common Core Narrative makes protecting Personally Identifiable Information the focus of their False Flag coordination it leaves no obstacle to manipulating each student’s simplex system as needed so they are amenable to the Upravleniye vision of the 21st Century. When the same groups keep hyping ‘standardized testing’ they create popular support for a switch to the formative assessments (covered in detail in my book) that are far more effective at altering this individual simplex system than anything that can be put on a multiple-choice test of knowledge.

When I was following up on the implications of Kenneth Boulding’s definition of people as purposeful, goal-seeking systems and what that really meant ‘student achievement’ and ‘success’ were now about (my child can meet the behavioral goals prescribed by government officials who want to steer!!Hallelujah, indeed), I kept encountering references to a 1976 book Ego Development where I encountered this alarming passage: “The drives, including the sex drive, are subordinated to a person’s goal or purpose in life, his guiding fiction. The philosophical concept of the fiction was developed by Vaihinger (1911). Fictions are not fantasies but predictive schemes necessary to orient oneself in the world; they are subjective, created by the person, and unconscious in some sense.”

Now by the time I encountered that passage I had read The Scientific Management of Society and recognized the deliberate targeting via assessment and data collection of what we are now calling that internalized simplex. I knew that was what personalized learning was really getting at. I recognized, in other words, the Upravleniye implications if all the mind arson we are encountering and Inapt Metaphors being pushed was actually about Our Steering Keelsmen, in political office or public policy, wanting to create Guiding Fictions because they would be useful in creating that invisible noetic keel. Turned out Vaihinger’s book had recently been brought back into print.

A German, writing before the Great War and very concerned about the warlike, aggressive nature of the German people since the 1871 Franco-Prussian War, Vaihinger wanted to dictate and control “those ideas, associations of ideas, and conceptual constructs” which guide an individual’s perception. As if that’s not enough, given the current HOTS mandate in ESSA for annual assessment and the stipulation of CDIs–Core Disciplinary Ideas and CCCs–Cross-Cutting Concepts and Themes in Common Core and its state successors–Vaihinger also wished to limit thought to what was needed for practical action. Sounds just like Competency to me!

Here is his theory of Guiding Fiction (and his italics). Think about the Planning Potential of  inaccurate concepts and categorization prescribed by political power, to be instilled by education, under a government mandate. A potentially useful policy to the Steerers, if not to the Steered Student. Just “because such constructs are devoid of reality they are not to be regarded as devoid of utility…Any true insight into the psychological setting and origin of knowledge proves that many things may be theoretically wrong and yet from a practical standpoint be fruitful in results, taking the term ‘practical,’ of course, in a wide sense.”

Let’s go back to that fictional framework Dynamic Systems Theory that can be the foundation of useful classroom practices for guiding, limiting, and predicting thought itself. For motivating desired behaviors in an Upravleniye society where we have become the Governed. The DST authors insisted that there are “compelling theoretical reasons for not putting the cause of developmental change in the frontal lobe.” What if the reasons are that such factually-informed, personally-sculpted Axemaker Minds are simply not amenable to being Governed and will certainly notice all the hoped-for steering and desired false guiding narratives?

DST wants to make the individual-in-context the focus because that theory is useful for Social Engineering purposes, not because it is true. It stresses Perceive. Act. Think. as the desired order because it too wants to limit the nature of thought to what is “emergent from the activities of everyday life.” Just like John Goodlad and UNESCO in the 70s for those of you who have read my book. I will end this post with a story told by another prof who wants to use Guiding Fictions and history as about creating scenarios of the future to guide perceptions of what ought to be done now.

“A Hungarian detachment was lost in the Alps for three days before finally returning to their camp. ‘We considered ourselves lost and waited for the end,’ said the soldiers, ‘but then one of us found a map in his pocket. That calmed us down. We pitched camp, lasted out the snow storm, and then with the map we found our bearings. And here we are.’ Their lieutenant looked at the map and discovered to his surprise that it was a map of the Pyrenees, not the Alps.”

The belief that the map was accurate caused the soldiers to act and action was the way out. Both in the 90s version of standards-based reforms and now, the very word ‘standards’ is yet another misunderstood, ambivalent term that actually is a euphemism for goals. The 90s New Standards Project and the Common Core now are actually efforts by political power to use a fiction that students and people are merely purposeful organisms. To insist that governments now get to monitor and prescribe what our acceptable Goals can and must be. Just a goal-seeking system whose internalized simplex is subject to tracking and manipulation via education. Why? Because that is what political power and its financial cronies believe will benefit them.

They want to prescribe “those ideas, associations of ideas, and conceptual constructs” that they find useful “as a guide to thought and action in the present. The map in the above example was clearly not accurate, and yet ‘by taking some action, the soldiers started to obtain new feedback about their environment, and they entered a new learning loop’ which gradually built up their own understanding and mental map.’ That is, the map facilitated the process by which the soldiers could manage and navigate uncertainty.”

When Congress enacted ESSA it required states to annually assess  Higher Order Thinking Skills and Understandings for each student in most years. I typically summarize HOTS as the categories and ideas students use to decide what they should do when there is no single correct answer. How they will choose to act in a given situation when faced with uncertainty as to how to best proceed. Anyone think this is coincidental?

How about if I add that the author of the 1987 HOTS report, Lauren Resnick, was also co-director of the 90s New Standards Project and on the panel  for the Common Core set of student behavioral goals.

The real aim is so much clearer when ‘standards’ are described more accurately by their explicit purpose.