Deciphering the Deceit to Discern Accelerants Dispensed By False Education Narratives

The point of being right about what is really going on in the name of education reforms is not a matter of pride of authorship or who figured out something accurately first. The point is how easy it is to create an even more psychologically intrusive version of the concerns parents are raising when it turns out that the remedies advocated for do not work as parents have been told. Before I give a current example I have noticed involving yet another acronym–GDPR–or General Data Privacy Regulation, and what actually benefits Microsoft, no matter how many times some commentator complains about Gates Foundation funding, lets go back to 1969 when one of the original Education Policy Research Centers (Syracuse, NY) was actually upfront about the intended switcheroo. Warren Ziegler wrote the report and he wanted to change the goals of education going forward in order to “shape policy not in order to accommodate ourselves to a future continuous with the past, but to bring about–to ‘invent’–a future different from and, in significant ways, discontinuous with the past…might we not think about inventing the future itself through policy implementation?”

Think about that quote as we go from false think tank narrative involving education to deliberately sponsored misinterpretations and spread deceit. Your goals as parents may well not be the goals of think tanks that are all about using planning, public policy, the law, and transformative education (unperceived as a radical shift) to change the future. Maybe the Delphi technique keeps coming up in public forums not just to control what we all think on an issue, but “to set some approximate limits within which reasonable alternative futures might be developed” as Ziegler put it. That was 1969 but reinventing the future by having education globally focus on the “values, attitudes, and behaviours that must be accepted and practiced in earnest by decision-makers as well as ordinary people…This principle of constant ‘attuning’ is central to the New Humanism. Peace and shared welfare are two sides of the same coin. And humanism is that coin” to quote from a 2014 UNESCO paper called “Envisioning a New Humanism for the 21st Century: New Avenues for Reflection and Action.”

Linking us functionally to that enhanced view of ‘self-government’ from the last post, UNESCO wants to “explore new or renewed ideas, values, attitudes, behaviours, and models, and through these to address the challenges faced by the international community.” That means UNESCO loves concentrating on local officials with political authority over just those very things. In fact, the local is probably the easiest domain for a philosophy that “seeks to create their own future…It is a resource for all individuals and all communities to pursue their own progress and development. This presupposes social inclusion of everyone and at all levels of society.” When Irina Bokova became UNESCO Director-General in 2009, her installation speech should give us all pause, especially when education is now collecting the very kind of learner analytic data in student-centered learning pilots that reveals whether her desired aims are being met.

Bokova had plans “for bringing people together and sharpening their conscience with regard to the potential of a world based on peace, democracy, justice, and human rights.” If conceptual frameworks and Disciplinary Core Ideas for math, science, and history, just to give 3 current examples, are no longer actually about the transmission of knowledge as this article https://townhall.com/columnists/janerobbins/2018/06/05/whats-wrong-with-common-core-math-n2487580 still asserts misleadingly, but rather topics that can be used to solve everyday current problems and image the future as UNESCO keeps asserting, then all of these intentions are already in play unbeknownst to most of us.

If Bokova stated that it is “through the nature of their intentions and the strength of their will” that UNESCO intends to work and ‘their’ refers to human beings generally and her desire to see “peace constructed in the minds of people” we better be paying attention to those goals when all the elements  are in place or are being put in place by advocates complaining in the US about SEL abuses or the need for stronger data privacy. Remember what I said about Beware of the Offered Remedy? https://pulse.microsoft.com/uploads/prod/2018/03/WorkProductivity_GDPRforEducation_KickStartGuide.pdf shows that Microsoft regards GDPR as beneficial to its business much like how Brer Rabbit felt about that Briar Patch. After all, it even boldfaced that it has the most comprehensive set of compliance offerings of any cloud service provider.

Want to make sure a school or other online education provider is in compliance with GDPR? Just load all that data gathered to Microsoft proprietary servers and they will see that you “meet your GDPR requirements.” In all my prowling across the Internet in the EU I could not find any provider who did a good job describing the nature of the data being gathered in the name of “learner analytics.” Just that the student or parent acknowledged it was being collected and was integral to the desired changes education hoped to achieve in the student. Not much of a remedy so far, is it? But wait, just like those Ronco holiday commercials when we were younger, there’s more! https://news.microsoft.com/en-au/features/microsoft-launches-transforming-education/ came out on June 5. Along with a greatly revised vision of education for the 21st century, it provides us with a new term to get us there–the Analytics Trinity.

That Trinity turns out to be data about the student “from all student learning activities and assessments” and it works just fine even if there is nothing Personally Identifiable about it, cloud processing, and machine learning. In other words, Microsoft’s model for transforming education globally is actually supercharged by GDPR as well as the Student Achievement Standards Network and the learner data it needs that the Gates Foundation has funded. The My Ways Framework from the last post feeds into that kind of data nicely and so do competency-based curriculum frameworks like the Common Core. Here we have a perfectly lovely Microsoft confession that ties to UNESCO’s goals above, the true nature of evidence-based policymaking in education, and new conceptions of accountability (my italics for emphasis):

“once you have accessible, usable data, you can report accurately, demonstrate that you are spending tax dollars effectively, measure the impact of new initiatives and comply with new sustainable development monitoring requirements in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals agenda.”

GDPR is indeed an accelerant in the UN’s agenda of reimagining the future starting with the minds and personalities of people. Let’s look once again at what Microsoft sees that vision of education as being so we can focus on where we are really going and not where think tanks want us to believe we are going. https://www.hoover.org/research/californias-common-core-mistake is another recent example. This transformed vision gives us still more insights into why social and emotional learning is suddenly such a necessary component of 21st century education. Microsoft looks to Daniel Pink, who says the “role of school is to help students identify their purpose, learn how to pursue that purpose, and experience achieving self-defined goals.”

It’s both ironic and tragic that two of the people who for some reason are so actively pushing these false narratives of where GDPR takes us and what the data gathering is really about, Cheri Kiesecker and Michele Malkin, are both residents of a state, Colorado, that has a Student Centered Learning Pilot with clear ties to UNESCO. To illustrate its aims we have graphics of the desired changes in the brain synapses and dendritic connections. As I warned about in the beginning, this is a dangerous area to write about if you misinterpret what you are looking at or call for remedies like GDPR that only make the problem worse. I called attention to that Colorado pilot because of this next Microsoft quote:

“For learning transformation, student centricity should be the core of your ‘disruption’. This makes it possible to move successfully from a traditional model based on mastery of a curriculum, to a model of learning that is about giving students the practical experience to achieve their personal potential.”

The latter bolding is what the Gates Foundation regards as student achievement globally and what will be called in the US–Success for All Students–under the various state plans that become operative in the upcoming 2018-19 school year. In other words, this summer is actually a crucial time for parents to toss away the false narratives and start listening to what connected organizations are saying they intend to do in the name of education, data, student-centered learning, and the future.

I really am not picking on anyone in this post or other recent ones where we showed the difference between dispersed narratives and provable facts. To some extent I think this is a matter of money or employment being available if certain memes are pushed and the pusher may have no idea what is wrong with the vision they are pushing. Remember when I called attention to how David Horowitz and the Freedom Center were pushing the “Teaching Students How to Think, Not What to Think” vision and I accurately said that supplying the desired categories of thought and concepts WAS teaching students what to think? I will close this post trying to reset the discussion in actual reality, not pretend narratives, by pointing out that Microsoft gave an example of its desired Future Ready Skills that all students are to have. They want the “Focus on teaching students how to think, not what to think.”

Not to pick on Mr Horowitz since I also found that exact same quote as an education aim in in The Conservatarian Manifesto.

See why I am so worried about the remedies being put out now?

Missing That Invite for More Strenuous Forms of Soulcraft to Erect the Formative Project?

Me too, but as usual following up on coordinated deceitful narratives like I laid out in the previous post led to pay dirt. So today let’s try to avoid using the M word at all and focus on the related upfront transformational plans laid out once we know where to look. It even pops up in that long-winded Sermon of Love by Bishop Michael Curry at the Meghan Markle/Prince Harry wedding if we are familiar with Curry’s Beloved Community work that the Episcopal Church launched in May 2017. The so-called Formative Project is a belief that governments at every level (not just the federal that the False Narrative always wants to make the Bogeyman) have an obligation NOT to be “neutral towards the values and ends that its citizens espouse.” If your dictionary isn’t handy think of ‘espouse’ as a fancier term for what ‘motivates’ people to act and then remember that this aim is precisely what ‘learning standards’ like the Common Core or any competency frameworks also want to target for control.

Before I quote further from a seminal 1996 book by Harvard law prof and communitarian Michael Sandel called Democracy’s Discontent: America in Search of a Public Philosophy, I want to pull this broader discussion of why K-12 education reforms matter to broader plans to a MYWays document that came out this week. https://s3.amazonaws.com/nglc/resource-files/MyWays_06CompetencyList.pdf sets out “Habits of Success–for learning, work, and well-being”; “Creative Know How–for a novel, complex world”; “Content knowledge–for the life students will lead”; and “Wayfinding Abilities–for destinations unknown” that get at what a student has internalized as beliefs, concepts, and values that motivate behavior and guide perception.

That internalized mindset is what learning standards always target and the euphemisms used to obscure this common aim vary from “self-discipline” per the Fordham Institute this week and also Grit advocate Angela Duckworth (who also heads up a Character lab). The OECD calls it ‘self-regulation’ and says it is the central purpose of education globally in the 21st century.  Sandel, Hillsdale College, and the Heritage Foundation all seem to prefer the term ‘self-government’. However these entities bill themselves on the political spectrum, these euphemisms function the same as what Sandel terms as a “republican conception of freedom” and liberty, which “requires a formative politics, a politics that cultivates in citizens the qualities of character self-government requires.”

That vision of changing the person, which I guess we could euphemise as “student-centered learning” like Jeb Bush and the Aspen Institute like to do, needs a new kind of education. K-12 students get the MyWays Competencies or some kind of formative pillars or Portrait of a Graduate laying out the person they are to become. Adults get something like the Antiracism Training Manual of the Episcopal Church Seeing the Face of God in Each Other https://www.episcopalchurch.org/files/antiracism_book-revise3.pdf to lay out “a theology of inclusion and justice for our work in this time and place in our history” or the http://www.reclaimingjesus.org/sites/default/files/downloads/reclaiming_jesus_civil_discourse_curriculum_2018_1.pdf which lays the Curry Agenda beyond just the Episcopal Church that led him to a Candlelight Vigil at the White House the week after the wedding.

Everybody seems to want to use institutions like churches, the media, and schools to dictate what we are all to believe in the future and what we are to act to bring about in a collective, non-individualistic manner. Let’s get back to those plans in Sandel’s book (that I really did find following up on something odd the Hoover Institution wrote) as he wants us to move away from the procedural republic we have been for the last 50 or so years according to him (that would be 70 years now in 2018) and use our social institutions to instill in students and adults the “capacity to deliberate well about the common good.” In order to be able to engage in the (required for our own good so that we are no longer ‘discontent’) roles of “sharing in self-rule…then citizens must possess certain excellences–of character, judgment, and concern for the whole.” Also remember that since we live in the world of K-12 that mandates Success for All and churches now want Inclusion for All, both visions effectively mean:

“…given the demands of republican citizenship [we could substitute Beloved Community, depending on our audience, with no real loss of meaning], the more expansive the bounds of membership, the more demanding the task of cultivating virtue. In Aristotle’s polis, the formative task was to cultivate virtue among a small group of people who shared a common life and a natural bent for citizenship. When republican thought turns democratic, however, and when the natural bent of persons to be citizens can no longer be assumed, the formative project becomes more daunting. The task of forging a common citizenship among a vast and disparate people invites more strenuous forms of soulcraft.”

Not usually what a parent has in mind when they hear the euphemism “learning experiences”, but at least we know now why social and emotional learning is so ubiquitous and embedded in daily activities. Sandel, by the way, called the idea that “liberty can be detached from the exercise of self-government and conceived instead as the capacity of persons to choose their own ends…the voluntarist conception of freedom, [which]…no longer needs soulcraft, except in a limited domain.” No wonder we get euphemisms like parental or school choice or the classical theory of education so that political power anywhere in the 21st century is “accorded a stake in the character of its citizens”, whatever their wishes. We should be wary of the term ‘civil society’  too when we read Sandel concluding with:

“different forms of political association would govern different spheres of life and engage different aspects of our identities. Only a regime that disperses sovereignty both upward and downward can combine the power required to rival global market forces with the differentiation required of a public life that hopes to inspire the reflective allegiance of its citizens.”

Is it treasonous to say “No Thanks”? That a formative project of governments enabled through the human mind and deceitfully euphemised about by philanthropies and the think tanks, professors, media outlets, and others they pay is no way to successfully run the 21st century, no matter how much data is now available?

How many people now reflexively use the term “self-government” to mean I am my own person and should be able to select my own ends in life? In the last post, we noted that what now turn out to be some of the same actors pushing this coercive vision of self-government were not being accurate in describing King’s Agenda, at least by the end of his life. If you look at the Beloved Community materials through the links provided, have any Familiarity with the Marxist Humanist agenda from earlier posts, and look at what Sandel wants to solve Democracy’s Discontent, they are all headed to the same place. They also all need a new vision for education. As Sandel notes:

“To assimilate the civil rights movement to the liberalism of the procedural republic is to miss its most important lessons for our time. More than a means to equal rights, the movement itself was a movement of empowerment, an instance of the civic strand of freedom. The laws that desegregated public facilities and secured voting rights for blacks served freedom in the voluntarist sense–the freedom to choose and pursue one’s purposes and ends. But the struggle to win these rights displayed a higher, republican freedom–the freedom that consists in acting collectively to shape the public world.”

We, and especially our children caught up in these related education reforms, are involved with a Formative (re)Project hiding behind deceit and euphonious euphemisms like liberty, freedom, and high standards for all. At their core though, these are all psychological changes being sought in each of us “aimed at the moral and civic ‘transformation of a whole people’. Our minds and personalities targeted for political purposes to transform the neural levels that “tell the tales that order our lives.”

The only way out is to understand it and I seriously doubt it was any accident that the MyWays document was put out the week of so many Memorial Day vacations when few but the designated change makers would ever read it.

Levers and Logic Models: A Framework to Guide Research and Design of High-Quality Competency-Based Education Systems

came out the same day. Remember Logic Models turn out to be a euphemism used for Evidence-Based Policymaking that turned out to be another euphemism for scientific techniques employed in the name of that word we were not going to use today.

Methinks someone views summertime as a wonderful time to get significant changes in place without anyone paying alarming attention. If it’s pretty where you are, just read these summer posts on a rainy day.

Some times people tell me they are best read with a stiff drink anyway.