Subservient and Malleable Students: DeVos Federalizes Our Moral Obligations

With former President Obama his means were sometimes shadowy, but his goals and views were quite forthcoming. Remember the openly announced “fundamental transformation” before his first election or the “you didn’t build that”? Neither was a mistake in his mind. In his early days in politics he openly expressed his annoyance that courts interpreted the US Constitution as imposing ‘negative liberties’ of what government could not do. Instead, he hoped for a more ‘positive liberties’ vision laying out what governments must do to meet the needs of all citizens.

The Transgender Ruling that the Trump Administration overruled last week involved a federal agency deciding to read statutory language prohibiting discrimination based as ‘sex’ as also prohibiting discrimination based on a student’s perception of their gender. I keep warning that internalized perception is the new favorite bullseye in education, K-12 and after, because it can invisibly alter likely behavior going forward. No need to give the manipulated student a head’s up as to what is actually going on. Let them simply wonder later why no one is ready to hire them simply because they have a college degree.

The Obama Administration simply said that the student’s perception of who they are is more important than the physical reality of penises in girl’s bathrooms and group showers. It’s who people are on the inside that matters legally. What got put in place solely by broad, creative interpretation though can disappear the same way, which is what happened last week. Maybe like me, you heard on the TV or radio that “all President Trump and Betsy DeVos did was leave this delicate matter in the hands of the states or localities.” That may be what President Trump and his Attorney-General meant to do, but Mrs DeVos issued a separate statement laying out the “moral obligation no individual can abdicate.”

That’s quite broad, isn’t it? What does the Education Secretary acting apparently in her imagined benevolent despot role impose as our new federalized moral obligations to each other? To return to that gossipy phrase from our childhood, “Do Tell.” Here goes:

“We have a responsibility to protect every student in America and ensure that they have the freedom to learn and thrive in a safe and trusted environment. This is not merely a federal mandate, but a moral obligation no individual, school, district or state can abdicate…We owe students a commitment to ensure they have access to a learning environment that is free of discrimination, bullying and harassment.”

Now that broad assertion of such a mandate is about so much more that “New Title IX Guidance.” It was controversial when President Obama began to sneak in such a mandate to model desired behaviors and control interactions among students to create a so-called Positive School Climate.  If the verb ‘sneak’ sounds too strong, this is a controversial area and it was pushed via regulation with little public discussion. Mrs. DeVos and fed ED are quietly continuing this very alarming declared right. The affirmative, ‘evidence-based’ remedy is to control each student’s internalized values, personal attributes, and emotional dispositions all in the name of a declared moral right “to learn and thrive in a safe environment.”

In the name of that goal, we get a new global emphasis called Positive Education that is supposedly “based on the science of well-being and happiness.” Each student has personality traits that are malleable to changes in instruction and classroom experiences. Do parents get a heads up as to the change in emphasis? Not really when it gets embedded in subject areas and class discussions that are really about moral dilemmas.

Your child is Succeeding. Your child shows Growth. Your child has met the school’s Learning Objectives. All of our students are showing Improvements in Achievement.

What parent will recognize the shift in what is actually being measured or what these terms now mean? How many parents will ever see the actual statement instead of some commentator’s false statement of what it did? Will students as adults recognize that education was used to manipulate, under force of law, the essence of who they are and how they view the world?

Next we will explore the nature of this new mandate. If there is to be an unknown “major paradigm shift in education,” the only way to avoid being its victim is to know it exists.

Does Mrs DeVos even know what she has declared and the history and purpose of these controversial ideas? I do and I am really hoping she simply put her name to a Statement someone else drafted because she thought it sounded nice and noble. The ramifications and likely remedies of her declared federal legal mandate to control the very bases of behavior simply never occurring to her.

Careful. Careful. Every progressive and tyrant in history sought to control this same internalized focus now declared a “federal mandate” in a release with an erroneous title that few are likely to read.

This is no way to get the feds out of the local classroom.



Covert Coercion via Controlling Categories of Consciousness

There is far more than alliteration involved in today’s catchy title and its purpose, like all my writing, is to inform, not to scare. I am not Alfred Hitchcock and this blog is not The Twilight Zone. None of the aspirations laid out here at ISC or in my timelier than ever book, Credentialed to Destroy, are fictional. All of our lives would be easier if they were. Education reform is all about invisibly changing human behavior to bring about a new, collectivist, radical vision of what the future of the 21st century might be. I believe knowing the intended mechanisms for tyranny is the first step in escaping their grasp and then removing them altogether.

When Jean-Francois Revel wrote his 1983 French classic that translated as How Democracies Perish, he wanted to give a heads-up to prevent the demise. That’s why I write about education as well. In a chapter called “Attack. Always Attack” he gave information on Communist tactics that is also applicable to education reforms and the ensuing outcries over decades.

“A standard Communist tactic is to mount a propaganda operation to accompany a practical operation. If the latter hits a snag, the former will leave traces in people’s minds that will help condition them to give future actions a kinder reception.”

Think of my work as first defusing the practical operation of covertly controlling students’ minds and thus their likely future behavior. Meanwhile I call attention to the organized deceit so we can begin to remove those traces from both our adult minds as well as our poor, manipulated children. Since my last post EdSurge on February 10 admitted that the purpose of that Early STEM Learning paper I cited was to provide categories to guide thinking in an article that also redefined the acronym STEM–“Setting, Tension, Explanation, Metaphor: A Storytelling Approach for Early STEM Learning.” Too bad no one gives bonus points for prescience in education writing. The oligarchs met in Dubai last week and launched Positive Psychology as the global classroom education template, expressly showcasing Mihaly Csiksentmihalyi (whose work gets pulled in via civil rights interpretations on Excellence and Equity) and Martin Seligman of PBIS and the World Happiness Report.

Yesterday the US NIH admitted that “Current and future BRAIN Initiative research studies aim to elucidate, and potentially influence, the mechanisms that give rise to consciousness, our innermost thoughts, and our behaviors, thereby prompting novel social and ethical questions.” There’s a reason Congress prefunded years of that intrusive research back In December while Obama remained in office. After all, politicians at all levels want to rule under a new definition of Governance that’s not being discussed enough openly. The just out World Development Report 2017–Governance and the Law-explains that Governance is about delivering on normative goals of Security, Prosperity, and Equity for All achieved through the political process. It has nothing to do with elections and everything to do with the ability to shape internalized personal preferences, values, and beliefs.

Sounds like Chapter 7 from Credentialed to Destroy doesn’t it? Here’s the pithy why for that aim: “the ability to shape other people’s beliefs is a means of eliciting an action from another person–an action the person would not otherwise take. The ability to make others act in one actor’s interest or to bring about a specific outcome–the definition of power in this Report–is thus closely related to the notion of ideas as beliefs.

The dichotomy between ideas (ideology and culture) and power as a primary determinant of social dynamics is thus a false one. The idea of power cannot be understood without taking seriously the power of ideas.”

Using education reforms labelled as competencies or the Common Core to provide conceptual frameworks, lenses, Enduring Understandings, Cross-Cutting Concepts and Themes, and Disciplinary Core Ideas is a crucial aspect of Controlling Consciousness. There’s a reason for so much coordinated deceit surrounding it and why I seem to be the only person writing about it. Control the prevailing ideas used to direct attention and perception and the interpretation of daily experiences and you have covert control over likely future behavior. UNESCO knows that. So do the World Bank, OECD, the behavioral scientist community, and the public policy think tanks across the purported spectrum. It’s us, the parents and taxpayers, who are unaware of just how crucial standardizing the prevailing ideas is to plans for a fundamental transformation.

As Bela Banathy put it from our last post on seeing the student and education (see bolding from me) as a system: “Our main tool in working with human systems is subjectivity: reflection on the sources of knowledge, social practice, community and interest in and commitment to ideas, especially the moral idea, affectivity, and faith.” So how do I know this aim is across the political spectrum? I learn a great deal from reading old books and Professor Amitai Etzioni, Mr Communitarianism with his own tag, is an admitted Man of the Left. Professor Robert George, founder of American Principles Project, Bradley Foundation Board member (thus tied to PEPG), recent AEI award winner, and too many other connections to name, is a designated representative of what purports to be Conservatism. I call it the Right Pincer for a reason.

Given all the deceit I can track and shenanigans involving pilfering material from my book without attribution or compensation, I wanted to read a 2001 book called The Monochrome Society because it contained a Chapter called “Virtue and the State: A Dialogue between a Communitarian and a Social Conservative.” That would be Etzioni and George, respectively. When the book came several months ago, it turned out to be part of a series edited by Professor George with “a special focus on the juncture of culture, law, and politics. New Forum Books is guided by the conviction that law and politics not only reflect culture but help to shape it.”

That aim doesn’t sound particularly conservative to me and is a long time aim of all progressives–cultural evolution. If that is also the aim of so-called conservative and libertarian think tanks it would explain all the deceit, concern over what my book laid out with extensive documentation, and my current observations of where School Choice actually leads. For some reason though, I was too busy initially to read anything other than that particular chapter. After I read that World Development Report though and its laid out aspirations to use the law and the mere global existence of less advantaged people and poverty to force what Marx called his Human Development Society, I went back to reread the rest of the book. Turns out Etzioni laid out the template that the World Bank and others intend to use to alter what a student internalizes so that it alters their preferences.

Clearly when he wrote the Chapter on “Social Norms: The Rubicon of Social Science” and Professor George edited it, no one thought someone would ever track it down after already mastering what Tranzi OBE, the Common Core, and Competency-Based Education really aim at. Turns out the Right and Left Pincers ARE acutely aware of a bullseye where education practices and the curriculum used and the ideas pushed “play a key role in ensuring that certain preferences will never be formed in the first place, while others will be strongly held…a major goal of education (as distinct from teaching) is to foster internalization of social norms by children and thus to affect their preferences.”

Since the local Classical School associated with Hillsdale’s Barney Charter Initiative touts instilling ‘virtuous living’ in its students, let’s tie that to what Etzioni wrote. Turns out that students acting at an advanced stage in Lawrence Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development (that public and private school teachers are now regularly taught is to be part of their new classroom practices) involves “individuals reason in terms of abstract notions” (or ideas or supplied concepts, categories, or ideas) on how, when, and why they should act. Etzioni then quoted Kohlberg that “it is possible to ‘reason in terms of such [high level] principles and not live up to them.'” Etzioni then laid out the essence of what everyone now wants from the classroom and education reforms and too few admit openly so let me quote directly:

“Unfortunately, to know the good cannot be equated with doing the good…To put it in the terminology followed here, [and at the always prescient ISC I must add immodestly], knowledge affects behavior by affecting considerations of costs and benefits but, as a rule, does not shape preferences. Internalization clearly does.”

So the SDG agenda pushed globally by institutions like the UN, OECD, and the World Bank can only change those preferences, as they have declared they aim to do, by education that is about getting at what a student internalizes as their values, attitudes, and guiding beliefs. Precisely what I warned about in my book that the False Narrative pretends is about some database of intrusive personal information. The need for Deceit is caused by others wishing to also use this tool of subjectivity and internalization, while being covert about it as well.

Once accurately perceived, this aim does not just seem tyrannical. It is unabashedly so. Etzioni sees it as a matter of the community having the right to establish the values that all citizens are to internalize. The World Bank does too since that is part of what Governance is to mean. I have pointed out already that this is the essence of what ED Choice laid out as the new definition of Accountability that is pertinent then to School Choice advocacy.

If our individual internalized preferences can now be changed by education reforms that no one is being honest with us about, are we free? Etzioni said no that “if the preferences themselves are changeable by social and historical factors and processes [or just federal laws like ESSA or state Student Privacy Statutes like Georgia’s] the actor is neither aware of nor controls, the actor’s behavior may be nonrational and is not free.”

Etzioni, with his long-time plans for fundamental social and economic transformations is OK with ‘the community’ controlling what must be internalized. Are we?

Is this really the kind of education reforms that anyone should blindly accept on the basis of catchy phrases or an appeal citing some famous person from history?


Metamorphizing the Function of the Human Mind Invisibly through Catchy Slogans and Phrases

The original version of this post used the term School Choice instead of Catchy Slogans and Phrases, but that seemed to imply I was picking on the Dearest Policy Desires of our new federal Secretary of Ed. So I broadened the title to make the same point. I may be able to read the School Choice layout and her AFC reports and see the plans of both Uncle Karl and what is called the systems view of education at play, but hopefully she does not. Like many people Mrs DeVos may falsely believe that her personal intentions and understandings of terms guide what they really mean and how they work in practice. That’s a dangerous belief that those surrounding her will likely encourage so let me explain why I recognize this as the Systems View of Education.

While I am at it, let me lay out a few more Catchy and Melodious slogans that are widely repeated AND headed in a different direction with a specific aim whatever the personal intentions of the advocates–Personalized Learning, Excellence, Reaching a Child’s Full Potential, and Quality Learning are a start. One more clarification as well on what I mean when I write about targeting a person’s decision-making capacity.  Another transformationalist put the importance of understanding subjective experience quite well in his book Global Mind Change. Willis Harman wrote that education and “science should now accommodate consciousness as a causal reality.” So crucial a point to target that Harman even italicized it just like that.

Boulding considered “the primacy of inner conscious awareness as a causal reality” to be so crucial if Man was to Become a Maker of History and a Driver of the Future that he gave this internalized realm of core values, concepts, and guiding perspectives the nerdiest phrase ever–noogenetics. The odd name though should not distract us from the role Boulding gave this realm in his 1978 book Ecodynamics: A New Theory of Societal Evolution. Boulding wanted to create common “mental structures and images” that would be transmitted as “learned behavior coded in nervous systems.” That’s what noogenetics and full potential means because the “biogenetic structure contributes only potential.” He told us why targeting what is internalized within a student’s mind and personality was so crucial so let’s listen:

“It may well be that biological evolution is approaching its end and that it will be succeeded by an evolutionary process wholly dominated by noogenetic processes directed by human values.”

See how Making Man Moral and Accountability fit right in with these transformational plans unless that aim for education is well disclosed and not shrouded in catchy phrases about Classical Learning, Character, or Virtuous Living? If anyone is tired of me bringing up Uncle Karl like this was a pinball game and I get 50 points for each mention, let’s listen again to what Boulding said was the purpose of what he and all the others I have now tagged to this post called General Systems Theory.

“The evolutionary vision, however, must be seen quite clearly as an alternative to Marxism as a general theory. The general idea of an overall theory of social and historical dynamic processes owes a great deal to Marx, but his particular theories are quite inadequate to describe the complexities of reality and must be relegated to the position of a rather unusual special case.”

I think that statement should have the Slogan “New and Improved” attached to Systems Science covers the relationships among all these education phrases we believe have just an innocuous, common-sense meaning. Following up on the implications of my last post’s citing of both the Right and Left public policy think tanks and academics embracing  Boulding pulled up a relevant paper written by Bela Banathy from the early 90s called “Systems Inquiry and its Application to Education.” The paper was “dedicated to the memory of my dear friend and colleague, Kenneth Boulding, one of the founders of the systems movement and the first president of the Society for General Systems Research.” As an aside, SGSR (created at Stanford) merged into ISSS–International Systems Science Society, so all this ties now too to the Laszlos, GELP, the MIT/Skolkovo 2030/2035 Project, and so much more.

In other words, this is not a history lesson and the goals Banathy laid out are still pertinent. Best then to examine the Systems View of Education since we and our children have been Ground Zero of the systems to be transformed. One more point gets clarified for those of us wondering why Mind Arson has become so common and why relatively few concepts and principles are now to serve as Knowledge, instead of a body of facts. Boulding believed systems science needed people to “develop ‘generalized ears'” that could make for common connections of understanding that would “overcome the ‘specialized deafness’ of the specific disciplines.”

I have encountered this before where what we call reason and logic or the Axemaker Mind is regarded as in the way of revolutionary social change. John Dryzek called for something very similar–communicative rationality–to accommodate the defeat of ‘capitalism’ in favor of a more economically just society he called democracy back in 1996. Last week, the Cooney Center (funded by Sesame Street revenue), the Frameworks Institute, and the New America Foundation released “STEM Starts early” that called for much the same if we read the small print, or in this case, Appendix B. It called for a “two-science approach” because “policies are the product of politics, and politics is the product of culture.” I could add that culture is an aggregate of what gets shifted when education becomes about targeting individual consciousness and what guides it, but let’s get back to quoting.

“Determining the narrative needed to engage the public…requires research. A coherent narrative can only be developed by mapping the cognitive terrain so that communicators know which ‘pictures in people’s heads’ they wish to evoke and which to bypass.”

That intrusive analysis, whether obtained by survey or student assessments looking for Higher Order Thinking Skills, is in either case carried out so that politicians, academics, think tanks (the paper keeps quoting the head of Heritage, Jim DeMint), and others “to predict what policy prescriptions are likely to ‘fit’ people’s operative cultural models.” So education operates to manipulate those internalized cultural models and also pushes Generalized Ears and communicative rationality so that “policy science can be coupled with communications science.” Well, that “two-science approach” or “systems science” is indeed a new, not appreciated enough in the least, form of self-governance. Each approach:

“emphasizes using social science to understand where ordinary Americans part way with experts, what this means for public support of [desired] policies, and what kinds of narratives help people engage, reconsider, and endorse meaningful policies.”

It is tempting to add ‘meaningful’ to whom and to wonder how we can get a job as one of those ‘experts’. Let’s get back though to Banathy’s confessions. After all, if my analysis that School Choice, as pushed by all the think tanks we have tied to PEPG and the Atlas Network, is actually a shroud covering what Banathy called GSTE–Guidance System for the Transformation of Education–we need to know its aims and elements. Banathy told us that “working with human systems, we are confronted with problem situations that comprise a system of problems rather than a collection of problems. Problems are embedded in uncertainty and require subjective interpretation…Our main tool in working with human systems is subjectivity: reflection on the sources of knowledge, social practice, community, and interest in and commitment to ideas, especially the moral idea, affectivity, and faith.”

Readers of my book Credentialed to Destroy should recognize that I have boldfaced words that fit with what the phrase Rigor actually means now and also much of what is assessed for in its name. Can we repeat Not. A. Coincidence. before moving on. Banathy did not just want to redesign and transform education, he wanted to redesign all social systems to fit the “new realities of the current era.” People, and especially children, were merely a start and the way to effect the desired change without popular outcry. Anyone implementing the systems view of education template unwittingly because they fail to understand what these catchy phrases really mean is still engaged in:

“systems design in the context of human activity systems is a future-creating disciplined inquiry. People engage in design in order to devise and implement a new system based on their vision of what that system should be.”

With only Generalized Ears and carefully instilled guiding Core Values, Ideas, and Perspectives we can all grasp that few students will be in a position to appreciate what actually cannot be as we are all encouraged to help design better tomorrows. When I was so concerned about that Roadmap for the Next Administration I uncovered before the election, this is precisely the assumption built into that Roadmap. Bela must be so pleased his and Boulding’s work endures so, even if it is dangerously wrong to be pushing via education.

“Social systems are created for attaining purposes that are shared by those in the system [see values, ideas, and perspectives above]. Activities in which people in the system are engaged are guided by those purposes. There are times when there is a discrepancy between what our system actually attains and what we designated as the desired outcome of the system. [Data, especially with respect to what counts as Learning]. Once we sense such discrepancy, we realize that something has gone wrong, and we need to make some changes in the activities or in the way we carry out activities. The focus is changes within the system.  Changes within the system are accomplished by adjustment, modification, or improvement.”

Now Banathy was talking about more than a student and education in that quote on redesigning systems, but both are included in the systems to be purposefully redesigned at the level of what creates purpose, motivates action, and guides perception. That’s what the systems view of education does under whatever catchy slogan it uses in any generation to stay under the radar of public scrutiny. It has been known as Tranzi OBE (covered in my book) and is now more commonly called Competency-Based Education. It is enshrined into the federal Every Student Succeeds Act and how states and localities must redesign education to get its funding. Both Mrs DeVos and President Trump need to accept that reality and decide what kind of a country and polity we will have with this vision of education and the “two-science” approach to managing the public that was funded by American taxpayers via the National Science Foundation.

That’s the beauty of systems science under whatever its current name acting as a cloaking device. Personal intentions can only become the point again when the elements that make education a ‘system’ designed to control what each student has internalized at a neurobiological level are grasped. Remember noogenetics? We have to understand that control over the decision-making capacity of a student so that their future behavior is now predictable and plannable is what gets touted as Evidence-Based Education grounded in science. That aim is what makes a student assessment “high-quality”. Controlling Learning at this level is what gets a charter renewed and access to federal money to expand into new states.

Where’s the Actual choice in any of these visions with this common aim?

Systems Science is really ceasing to be a catchy slogan. Best to grasp its essence before it gets yet another new name.

Making Man Moral through Integrative, Holistic Education Focused on Purpose

Sometimes these days I feel like I am a part of that old musical comedy “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” not because all these machinations via education and deceit are funny, but because suddenly between posts something happens that proves just how correct I am on how this fits together. Last week, the blog Cafe Hayek run by George Mason economic profs mentioned a January 24 piece by “my colleague Peter Boettke on the late economist Kenneth Boulding.” Now that may seem innocuous and even dry, but there cannot be a more seminal person other than John Dewey to the sought transformation of education. Boulding laid out its purpose and how it could be used to control other social systems. Is this further evidence of a Convergence of the Right and Left Pincers we can see so much evidence of? Confessions, after all, are so much nicer. is the post and it tied in my mind to why everyone suddenly wants education to be about moral values, guiding principles, Disciplinary Core Ideas, Classical Concepts, and other ideas first that can then guide a child’s perception. How they interpret their daily experiences and what they never even notice. This is the end of the Trilogy so let’s pull all this together so we can appreciate How to Invisibly Control Future Personal Decision-making with No Need to Admit It. Bolding (without the ‘u’) is mine.

“Themes without facts may be barren, but facts without theories are meaningless. It is only ‘theory’–i.e., a body of principles–which enables us to approach the bewildering complexity and chaos of fact, select the facts significant for our purposes and interpret the significance.

Indeed, it is hardly too much to claim that without a theory to interpret it there is no such thing as a ‘fact’ at all…what, then, is the ‘fact’ about the wart? [Boulding’s example that should be read in full while thinking about the meaning of Disciplinary Core Ideas or Enduring Understandings] It may be any or all of the above, depending on the particular scheme of interpretation into which it is placed.”

When I was a student, part of what made for A+ work was the ability to develop an appropriate scheme of interpretation by myself, in the privacy of my mind, using what I saw as the pertinent facts. Something that made the prof go “That’s it! Wish I had expressed it that way.” This is something else. These are essentially presupplied ‘constructs’ designed to guide perception and future action in a way that makes a person likely to desire and instigate transformational change in the circumstances we all live under. If they cannot do it, they can organize together so politicians will implement the changes. That’s why I created the term Politicalism. What Boulding was known for was “incorporating the ideas, concepts and tools from the natural sciences into social scientific analysis.” Why?

His good friend Bela Banathy, who also has a tag and was involved in the creation of the concept of charter schools and what now goes by School Choice, told this story that his close friend Boulding shared with him in 1983. In 1954, at Stanford’s Center for Advanced Studies in Behavioral Sciences (CASBS) where so much else was hatched:

“four Center fellows–Bertalanffy (biology), Boulding (economics), Gerard (psychology), and Rappoport (mathematics)–had a discussion  in a meeting room. Another Center Fellow walked in and asked: ‘What’s going on here?’ Ken answered: ‘We were angered about the state of the human condition’ and ask: ‘What can we–what can science–do about improving the human condition‘ Oh!’ their visitor said: ‘This is not my field.’ At that meeting the four scientists felt that in the statement of their visitor they heard the statement of the fragmented disciplines that have little concern for doing anything practical about the fate of humanity. So they asked themselves, ‘What would happen if science would be redefined by crossing disciplinary boundaries and forge a general theory that would bring us together in the service of humanity?'”

That overdone analogy to the ‘outmoded factory model of education’ is actually a cloaking metaphor to mask this complete change in the purpose of education that drove the education reforms in the 60s, 80s, and now covered in my book Credentialed to Destroy. It’s also why Tranzi OBE and Competency needed to be deliberately misdefined as we saw in the last post. Why do we keep coming across an emphasis on Character or Moral Dispositions and Attributes? Because social and political scientists like Boulding came to recognize “that the universe of ethical values is a driving force in human life” and can be altered to drive a transformation in what is acceptable in the future.

If you want to drive cultural change, alter human consciousness by instilling new ‘active principles’ that people must now use to organize their lives and institutions. Then have them practice it in the classroom or workplace or even their church until relying on these principles becomes a Habit of Mind. In his 1969 AEA Presidential Address, Boulding informed those economics professionals that “any system contains the seeds of its own transformation or future genesis, and that this works through a learning process.” See why education had to change away from an emphasis on facts? Economics was just one of the human social systems that interested Boulding and he knew change had to start with the very mental models each person internalized:

“All these social systems are linked together dynamically through the process of human learning which is the main dynamic factor in all social systems.”

That’s such a useful quote for anyone who wonders why I cannot stick to just writing about education. Because it’s a tool to a transformation for a different purpose and a new, unlikely to succeed well for most of us, vision of the future. When should we talk about it? After the carnage is more advanced and even more resources depleted in the name of education? I am going to shift away from Boulding for a moment, but his vision was covered in the Trilogy begun here with his book The Meaning of the 20th Century and its effect on the Commission on the Year 2000 covered in the post that followed. Rereading those yesterday almost took my breath away because it fits so closely with what was in the Roadmap for the Next Administration and the Architecture of Innovation on what data can be made to now do.

This post’s title comes from a book Robert George–Princeton professor, Bradley Foundation board member, well-known spokesperson for Catholicism, and founder of the same American Principles Project that did not want to define certain terms accurately in the last post, wrote in 1993. If ‘common guiding principles’ and shared meanings are in fact what makes people and organizations act as ‘systems’ as Boulding and systems science generally believed, it makes perfect sense not to concede that is what ALL Competency-based education reforms, and what I nicknamed Tranzi OBE, are about. The aims are no different then from the Catholic Curriculum Framework although some of the offered concepts, principles, and the justifications for the changes may differ.

Like Boulding in the quote Boettke chose or in my quotes from his 1969 AEA address, George in his making men moral: Civil Liberties and Public Morality wanted education to provide “first principles of practical reason…to guide choice and action.” Fascinating, huh? Everybody seems to want to carve that rudder that will guide future decision-making without being forthright on the connection. All we get are School Choice!, Federal Misedukation, and Autonomy to the Locals and parents. Some autonomy as both education and “laws have a legitimate subsidiary role to play in helping people to make themselves moral.” Then sell it to parents that way and admit Classical Education IS designed to create a steerable rudder both parents and students are not being told about.

Character is a wonderful thing, but not when it operates at an unconscious level as a Habit of Mind and parents are not told that their children are being steered in the name of Goodness. Truth. and Beauty or Equity and Justice or Sustainability or other Guiding Principles to guide practical reason and likely future action. The same Spiritual and Moral Framework that can be used by New Agers like the Ross School from the last post or Social Justice Warriors grounded in Paulo Freire Pedagogy for the Oppressed aligns with the aim of instilled Knowledge, Skills, and Dispositions from the Catholic Curriculum Frameworks. They ALL want to provide the ideas, emotional motivations, and values students internalize as their guide to future decision-making. School now wants to provide their purpose for living and the vision of what the future might be.

To truly get the dangers of this personalized, student-centered, transformative vision of education perhaps it will help if we follow those Moral and Spiritual Frameworks (as well as the cited Ron Miller’s “What are Schools For?”) right straight to a School of Education and Psychology in Isfahan, Iran. If “Holistic Education: An Approach for 21st Century” from 2011 is okay with the mullahs and their tyrannical vision of people, we really need to quit using the word ‘autonomy’ to describe the student when this vision of education is through with them. Yes, they have a purpose, but is it really theirs? I will quote from the Abstract because it fits with the vision I have described in this Trilogy. Think of the implications of that.

“Holistic education encompasses a wide range of philosophical orientations and pedagogical practices. Its focus is on wholeness, and it attempts to avoid excluding any significant aspects of the human experience. It is an eclectic and inclusive movement whose main characteristic is that educational experiences foster a less materialistic and more spiritual worldview along with more dynamic and holistic views of reality.

It also proposes that educational experience promote a more balanced development of–and cultivate the relationship among–the different aspects of the individual (intellectual, physical, spiritual, emotional, social and Aesthetic), as well as the relationships between the individual and other people, the individual and natural environment, the inner-self of students and external world, emotion and reason, different disciplines of knowledge and forms of knowing, holistic education is concerned with life experience, not with narrowly defined ‘basic skills.'”

Doesn’t that life experience/basic skills distinction sound just like the erroneous definition of Competency from the last post? Isn’t the US goal of College and Career Ready just another euphemism for this holistic life experience vision that seeks to control what gets internalized to guide the adults our children will become?

How is it not authoritarian for any government at any level to make education holistic or integrative using those aims?

How on Earth can this really be “education for humanity” when the type of human we become is subject to undisclosed political control?