We Must Reframe Americans’ Mental Models toward Shared Fate and Equal Opportunity to Drive Well-Being

Our LMS from the last post will be useful for that, won’t it? Let’s get to several quotes before I get to the document called “Thriving Together: A Springboard for Equitable Recovery and Resilience in Communities Across America” that so many of the education visions of transformation actually tie to. The first comes from https://www.facinghistory.org/chunk/student-activities-assessing-strength-democracy recently tied to the subject of one of this summer’s extravaganza funerals, where attendees need not worry about crowd limitations or quarantine orders between states, is quoted in a way that is guaranteed to shift the students’ mental models of what ‘democracy’ means. Here is the offered quote from a posthumously published editorial in the New York Times by “civil rights leader John Lewis”. The Times is one of the listed partners in the “Thriving Together” agenda.

Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do its part to help build what we called the Beloved Community, a nation and world society at peace with itself.

Students are then asked to reflect as follows:

What do you think John Lewis meant when he said democracy is an act not a state?

How do you think John Lewis’s definition of democracy is similar to or different than the one you created on your concept map?

According to John Lewis, each generation is responsible for taking action to support democracy. What actions do you think people in your own generation are taking to create “a nation and world society at peace with itself?”

And just like that a revolutionary theory, that John Lewis himself would have tied to Bayard Rustin [see tags from where we have had related past posts] gets operationalized in classrooms and LMS activities to internalize the new desired mental models. Let’s go with the next quote from the cover of “Thriving Together” from Amanda Gorman, listed there as the US Youth Poet Laureate 2020 (emphasis in original):

The Miracle of Morning

From a wave of woes our world will emerge stronger.

We’ll observe how the burdens braved by humankind

Are also the moments that make us humans kind;

Let every dawn find us courageous, brought closer;

Heeding the light before the fight is over.

When this ends, we’ll smile sweetly, finally seeing

In testing times, we became the best of beings.

One of the themes of all the reenvisoning of education in light of covid and supposed ‘systemic racism’ is this call for education to support Becoming straight out of Humanist Psychology’s launch in the early 60s. It’s back by name [see links to Maslow and Rogers from past] and the education vision ties to this broader social, economic, and political transformation that is far worse than what I first recognized in Credentialed to Destroy. No wonder Tranzi OBE never goes away by function. It just gets new names or incorporated in a school’s charter or mission statement. “Thriving Together” also has a new vision of what Democracy means that is also getting quietly incorporated into new civics activities.

Thriving and well-being for all in the long-term of 10 years and beyond. Transformation to an equitable society where everyone thrives is the goal and is the moral imperative to aspire to. ..Our systems writ large do not work for low-income Americans. ..The democratization of power so that there is a shift to community and local governance models where government resources are provided to local communities who are responsible for making decisions about how to improve their conditions is a key element in successfully financing well-being…This shift will reinvigorate our democracy and help financing of well-being goals. It will create a different social contract between citizens and government that engages citizens in improving their communities [gives a new meaning to learning standards to be ‘citizenship ready’], versus the primacy of individualized pursuits of wealth and prosperity. Social contracts are rooted in reciprocity and mutually beneficial relationships that over time sew bonds and relationships of trust that transcend self-interest and are critical for achieving well-being and for surviving over the long term as a unified prosperous nation and human experiment in freedom and justice.

That last puts a new spin on what is meant by the phrase We the People as a curriculum in the 21st century doesn’t it? We will come back to that in future posts but if you are an eager beaver, track down Professor Danielle Allen’s Education and Equality. Regardless, all these visions where education is now seen as the tool to transform the meta-systems of Capitalism, Racism, and the nature of Democracy state outright, in a reelaboration of our title that (my bolding):

We must pursue comprehensive, long term attitude and mindset shift initiatives to reframe Americans’ mental models toward shared fate and equal opportunity. As a nation, if we understand our shared fate, we will be much more motivated to create an equitable society, not only for the moral imperative, but because it is also in the self-interest of the population as a whole. This is the central argument of our transformational work.

To get at the meta-systems requires “shifts in mindset, beliefs, and values”, which is exactly what education generally, but especially the LMS, is designed to do. It allows for the desired experiences to foster epigenetic change at a neurobiological level to be reliably delivered and then outcomes, improvement, and overall student transformation can be measured. In fact, although we have only covered LMS’s as they pertain to desired changes to student and how to best create them, “Thriving Together” see LMS as a much broader tool for overall systems change.

We recommend choosing, measuring, and tracking process and outcome measures over time that are inclusive of all collaborating sectors to create a ‘learning management system’ that uses harmonized data [subject to a standard like the Common Core and CEDS and ISCED via ISO] shared transparently [interoperability and Project Unicorn] to work together to achieve a common goal of creating an equitable, thriving community. This learning management system can inform the journey towards a thriving community…

Attitudes must shift after all if you are teaching students that “Democracies function effectively with all citizens contributing to the whole and a service mentality.” Put that kind of a statement of prescribed collectivism in a textbook and parents will notice and object. Design learning activities, either in person or online, around creating that very mindset and it is hard to notice until the mindset is in place and your student is spouting theories of how the world should work at the family dinner table, leaving parents rather mystified as to what happened, where it is going, and how.

Well, not if they read ISC or have my book, and we are going to cover this more in the future now that I hopefully will have more of a chance to describe all these confessions that have popped out this summer from all over the globe. I have them documented and know how this all fits. Let’s close though with a quote from the Harvard Redesign Lab at their Graduate Ed School from the “Thriving Together:” section titled “Lifelong Learning: Cradle to Career” as it laid out the ways that the school closings “can be harnessed to shift paradigms”.

We must shatter the myth that our current K-12 education system is the great equalizer, single-handedly creating an equal opportunity society in spite of unprecedented inequality in income and wealth. It’s a noble ideal, but the data over more than a century clearly prove that schools alone, even when substantially reformed, are too weak an intervention to deliver on the promise of giving all children a fair chance to succeed. It’s a myth. Now, we must move from an old-fashioned, schoolhouse-bound model of child development and education to a system of robust, flexible learning opportunities coupled with basic supports available from birth through adulthood.

See you next time, since disclosure is the only way to have any chance of avoiding this vision of collectivism imposed almost invisibly through the mind and personality of students. Luckily for us, it’s not actually invisible and the policy creators have been most communicative, even if they only intended to be speaking to fellow travellers.

Let’s just say I hitchhiked a ride and peered into lots of reports pertinent to the US, but never mentioned to or linked here.