Subterranean Fundamental Glue Holding Humanity Together Instilled Via Education

Internalizing a ‘reliable compass’ was one metaphor and the desired ‘New Golden Rule’ was another. Today’s metaphor comes from a Mindshift article called “Why Empathy Holds the Key to Transforming 21st Century Learning” that came out last November and has been cited since then in numerous articles on a “new vision for education that emphasizes mastery of critical knowledge and skills” rather than traditional factual, subject knowledge. It is education aimed at assessing and altering the “complex mix of other meaningful emotions and attitudes that fuel human personality,” which is why the Faux Narrative about social and emotional learning standards being about creating a student database of PII is so laughably wrong. No one gets to keep their emotions, beliefs, and values just because they like them and they work anymore than they got to keep their Doctor under Obamacare.

That’s just sales rhetoric to keep the attention in the wrong place. Why? Well, if the same people pushing the False Narrative are also very vocal about the central role of a certain Faiths in their lives and the leaders of those various faiths (including Progressivism as a secular but guiding force of values and beliefs) are also quite vocal about the desire to use education to create a Revolution of the Heart; a New Golden Rule; the Good, True, and Beautifu; or World Happiness and Human Flourishing (just a few examples), we seem to have our answer. An ability to use the psychological tools provided by a new vision of education without the altered goals, techniques, and practices really being appreciated by parents and taxpayers would make perfect sense. Get the desired alteration that guides future behaviors as Habits of Mind with no outcry.

Outcries require recognition, which means reading this blog and having read my book Credentialed to Destroy. No wonder the Faux Narrative crowd prefers to simply mine selective proven facts to appear authoritative while hiding  or misleading about the true aim of this new vision. Let’s poke at it some more today using some of the sources cited in the footnotes of papers mentioned in the last two posts. Both the Jubilee Centre papers and conferences and the Special Rome Edition to the 2016 UN-issued World Happiness Report called “Human Flourishing, the Common Good, and Catholic Social Teaching” kept mentioning an Alasdair MacIntyre. He turned out to be a retired Prof at Notre Dame and I tracked down the constantly cited book After Virtue.

Remember too that this is not just a template for Catholic schools. The Jubilee Centre materials, the Science of Virtues curriculum, and a Templeton-funded Toolkit on Character and Self-Control (link in the previous post comments) are all examples of an emphasis for all schools–public, private, parochial, and every religion. It explains why the Islamic Tarbiyah Project reminded me so much of the Tranzi OBE template I had laid out in CtD. They are all new visions of education that seek to shift to goals and purposes of student work so that education can create a desired shift “between man-as-he-happens-to-be and man-as-he-could-be-if-he-realized-his-essential-nature.” One thing too all these visions agree on. The school will provide the “precepts” to be internalized through practices and learning activities.

They will mandate the required Virtues, Ethics, or Character Traits. Back to After Virtue then where he described what Classical Education initiatives now call the ‘well-ordered soul’ that is to be the goal of this new vision of education.

“The desires and emotions which we possess are to be put in order and educated by use of such precepts and by the cultivation of those habits of action which the study of ethics prescribes; reason instructs us both as to what our true end is and as to how to reach it.”

I am pretty sure there are plenty of people out there who truly wish they could convince me that my true end is to stop writing, but I was always a much worse student on conduct grades than book knowledge. I did pull out my dictionary though to determine what the difference is between a concept and a precept. Concepts are a category for grouping ideas or experiences, but precepts are even more relevant to aspirations of internalizing a reliable compass. A Precept is “a rule or principle prescribing a particular course of action or conduct.” In other words, Precepts are just the thing if someone is interested in fundamental cultural transformation or simply invisible steering of people and their likely daily activities with each other.

Professor MacIntyre and all these documents quoting him really do want to combine “thought and action,” which certainly sounds like Competency-based education to me. “Abstract changes in moral concepts are always embodied in real, particular events.” Sounds like a reason for performance standards and Project-Based Learning in real world, authentic contexts, doesn’t it? If anyone is still unclear as to precisely how the neural alteration occurs, we thankfully had the Instapundit blog on June 10, 2017 plugging the book Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence. Since I grasp the connections between that blog and the School Choice narrative, I found that particular plug revealing to my Faux Narrative balloon popping.

Not news to me, but hopefully helpful to everyone trying to grasp the real aims of this new vision of education. Happiness is about having the right “neural traits” (think about those Graduate Profiles now!) and “what you pay attention to–what you rest your mind on–is the primary shaper of your brain…This means you can deliberately prolong and even create the experiences that will shape your brain for the better.” With the new school year dawning too early in too many places, notice if that phone call from the District Super or letter from the principal or headmaster this year does not mention hopes for your child’s learning experiences during the upcoming school year. They are not referring to lectures and those experiences will be dictated by the desired outcomes to be instilled at a neural level in the student.

Hardwiring Happiness then indisputably defined the word ‘learning’ as the “conversion of fleeting mental events into lasting neural structures.” That means that learning standards like the Common Core are really about what type of neural structures each student is to have per governmental edict. Does it really matter what level of government imposes it when it is without effective notice or consent and it is surrounded by coordinated deceit? It turns out the reason SEL standards are required for this new vision of education has to do with getting the desired neural transformation. Think about this quote as the shift to role playing and Global Challenges where Justice and Equity are not yet universal becomes the focus of so much educational activities.

“Often we see a good fact but don’t have any feelings about it. This seemingly small step–from idea to embodied experience–is critically important, for without it, there’s not much to install in your brain. In terms of building neural structures, what matters is not the event or circumstance or condition itself but your experience of it. Knowing without feeling is like a menu without a meal.”

On that provocative note, I need to end this post without getting to all I wanted to cover. My real life is calling and I need to take off my writing/analyst hat and switch to my Nursemaid role.

Reliable Compass: Wiring a Neural Noetic Keel without Popular Outrage or Scrutiny

How often do we see education changes pushed in the name of being ‘internationally competitive’? Let’s take a look at something Andreas Schleicher of the OECD said just a few months ago: “In the past, education was about teaching people something. Now, it’s about making sure that students develop a reliable compass and the navigation skills to find their own way through an increasingly uncertain, volatile, and ambiguous world.” Disagree with that new vision of education? Well, realistically most of us do not get a chance to because that wholesale shift in direction is hidden behind a phrase we simply assume we understand.

Let’s try another one, should the primary purpose of education in the 21st Century be “the intentional attempt in schools to foster the development of students’ psychological characteristics that motivate and enable them to act in ethical, democratic, and socially effective ways”? Again, that’s a shift that parents or taxpayers may never see as it hides behind phrases like Whole Child, Classical or Character Education, or College and Career Ready. In other words, if the typical child is being supplied with the Ideas and Concepts to guide their thinking in predictable ways, we adults are likewise being supplied with poorly grasped new definitions and false narratives about the Common Core or competency-based education that are also intended to guide our thinking and areas of concern.

While my tendons were healing I noticed a sudden push from a variety of education sites for a Parent Toolkit for Student Privacy that I decided to take a look at. I read it and recognized that it wasn’t going to solve the real problems and its release would simply obscure parents ever truly grasping the nature of these education ‘reforms’ and the purpose of standards and data gathering. To use Schleicher’s term, the internalized compass at the level of our children’s minds and personalities would still be wired up at school and parents would remain unaware. Meanwhile they would believe they had ‘protected their child.’ Since parents would remain unaware of the presence of the compass they could not discern the vision it was invisibly steering their child to adopt and support in daily behaviors.

When I started looking more into that Toolkit I saw admitted Progs and purported conservative think tanks and education blogs all writing about this supposed new panacea. After years of doing Due Diligence on desired acquisitions, my gut instinct is always to first look for the funding. In this case, it was not one of the usual suspects like Hewlett, Gates, or Carnegie. Instead, a Rose Foundation was credited. It turned out to be a social justice advocacy based in Oakland, California that functions as a philanthropy pass through so maybe a better-known or infamous charitable name did fund that toolkit after all. https://rosefdn.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/theorychange.pdf lays out the Rose vision for how to achieve Community Change

Sponsoring a Privacy Toolkit that essentially misdirects the attention of concerned and attentive parents  makes perfect sense for an advocacy seeking community change if the building block for the desired change is creating that desired ‘reliable compass’ within each student during their years of schooling. People cannot rally against initiatives they are unaware of because of a coordinated effort to deceive them. It just cannot be coincidental that so many pushed the same largely irrelevant to the actual problem panacea at the same time. We are apparently supposed to believe that there is a database of PII-Personally Identifiable Information–that will be used to track our child and control their future opportunities for work. We are also being misled that nothing imposed at the state or local level can be dangerous. Sure it can, especially when we are being lied to so we are all unawares.

Last week, the “Engaging the Private Sector and Developing Partnerships to Advance Health and the Sustainable Development Goals” report was released after 2016 workshops took place in NYC and London. Another lost invite. It was all about the need for transforming partnerships at the local level that include business and bind to a different vision of the economy and the purpose of business.” Still think the local is a way out and it is the feds in DC who are the primary promoters of evil? This SDG vision and expansive view of health needs a vision of education that “can facilitate changes in values, worldviews, and behaviour at the level of the individual, community and society as a whole. This works particularly well when agreement exists on common values and the best and most desirable behaviours.”

Agreement exists all right, but it is not on hardly any parents’ radars because of all this organized deceit. A philanthropy interested in social justice and community change would have every reason under this vision of how to achieve the SDGs to push a Privacy Toolkit that makes the desired changes at the level of the individual easier because it is the classic “Look Squirrel!” misdirection. How do we get the desired “empowered, critical, mindful, and competent citizens”? Remember the Positive Education report I covered in the March 6 “Radio Silence” post or the “Inside Out” aims from the last post? Does anyone doubt that the Reliable Compass will also serve as the desired internalized component of Amitai Etzioni’s New Golden Rule I covered on April 4 in “Embody or Perish”?

The June 2017 IPEN Newsletter hyped a new Framework for Character Education in Schools from the same Jubilee Centre we met in this post from last spring on the supposed Science of Virtues. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/locating-the-internalized-information-guiding-human-behavior-so-it-can-be-controlled-and-transformed/ Notice that same aim as well as the word redefinition technique we are still dealing with now. In that case it was what the word ‘Liberty’ is now to mean behind our back. See if this does not sound like the same aims we encountered above repeatedly.

“Schools should consider questions about the kinds of persons their students will become, how the development of good character contributes to a flourishing life, and how to balance various virtues and values…Schools should and do aid students in learning to know the good, love the good, and do the good…Human flourishing is the widely accepted goal of life. To flourish is not only to be happy, but to fulfill one’s potential. Flourishing is the ultimate aim of character education. Human flourishing requires the acquisition and development of intellectual, moral, and civic virtues, excellence specific to diverse domains of practice or human endeavour, and generic virtues of self-management (known as enabling or performance virtues).”

Let’s take a break from that quote to catch our breath and mull over just how manipulative and hidden those aims are. After all, those very same ‘enabling or performance virtues’ are outlined in standards for social and emotional learning. The Faux Narrative though has parents convinced we are back to a concerning database of PII and their poor tracked child. Do you remember my warning about the Marxian Human Development Society and the new kind of citizen with different internalized personal traits, values, and beliefs it would need? Doesn’t this all just fit perfectly? No wonder our attention keeps being directed in unison elsewhere.

“Character education teaches the acquisition and strengthening of virtues: the traits that sustain a well-rounded life and a thriving society…Students also need to grow in their understanding of what is good or valuable and their ability to protect and advance what is good. They need to develop a commitment to serving others, which is an essential manifestation of good character in action.”

If that sounds rather collectivist, it’s because that is precisely the intent we were never supposed to grasp. If fundamental to transforming “social and institutional conditions within all human beings can flourish” is instilling an internalized “ethos of cooperation and mutual goodwill,” what better tool could there be than using education to make that the nature of the “reliable compass”?