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 http://www.advanc-ed.org/sites/default/files/ESSA%20Call%20to%20Action%20Whitepaper.pdf , 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. http://www.inacol.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/CW_ChugachSchoolDistrict_APersonalizedPerformanceBasedSystem.pdf 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?