If the last two posts have made anyone feel like they are on a roller coaster with a sickening feeling in the pit of their stomach, I am genuinely petrified about all the references to using K-12 education to try to physiologically redesign the brain. The OECD really did state in a report issued just this week on Metacognition that ‘we’ need to “control cognition”. We cannot ask anyone if their meddling knows no bounds if we are not aware of what is being targeted or why. I was detailed on this in my book. What has shifted since I wrote it is how often images of the physical brain are showing up in Learning Presentations to administrators. http://www.lbusd.k12.ca.us/Main_Offices/High_Schools/Linked_Learning/videos.cfm gives a High School PLC Institute example on the new 3 Rs–Rigor/Relevance Framework.
Someone who runs a hugely followed Internet site on the Common Core said to me in person at a hearing and then via email that the psychological emphasis of my work scared her so she would make no effort to let her readers know what was in the offing. A lapel pin with an Apple Core with a Red Line through it shows valid concern, but it will do nothing to protect the children from this actual psychological focus. http://www.oecd.org/edu/ceri/IS%20Project_Conference%20Brochure_FINAL.pdf states that the OECD (remember DeSeCo from the book and the transformations outlined in the conclusion?) has a new project to “further develop and refine a framework and prototype formative assessment tool for 21st century skills.” Do you live in a district where the children will be used as guinea pigs to develop those “Behavioral and social skills (character)” and “Skills in thinking and creativity” that are conducive to the OECD’s idea of innovation?
That would be entirely new institutions, a transformed ‘grassroots’ society centered on subjective wellbeing, and a sharing economy centered on cities and laid out here. http://newclimateeconomy.report/ That’s the actual vision attached now to being “internationally competitive” when we follow the facts. Today I want to take us (maybe want is not the right word). Let me rephrase. Today we are going to look at what the KnowledgeWorks Foundation calls “Recombinant Education” and its partner, the Institute for the Future, that brags about having developed the manipulative Delphi Technique, calls Future Work Skills 2020. The latter report by the way http://www.iftf.org/uploads/media/SR-1382A_UPRI_future_work_skills_sm.pdf was created with the University of Phoenix in case anyone wants to believe these shocking statements will not influence degrees and online programs.
Why did I put Neuroscience in the title beyond the fact that I am using a literal quote? Because we are dealing with a futurist mentality that insists on changing K-12 and higher ed around the assumption that “Massive increases in sensors and processing make the world a programmable system” all the way down to a micro-level. The micro-level is a euphemism for ‘people’–you and me folks, and especially our still malleable children. We are in big trouble if the children believe what these reports state–that we can “use data to design for desired outcomes.” Someone else’s desires, not ours, especially given the number of references to “collective intelligence.”
Somebody really needs to go read Harvard history prof Richard Pipes’ book called Property and Freedom and remember that all these education schemes ignore the Western tradition, particularly in the US:
“we ‘own ourselves,’ that is, are our own ‘property’…that is tantamount to saying that we are free to dispose of ourselves, which is the meaning of freedom.”
Pipes, an expert on Russia, communism, and the Soviet Union, recognizes a utopian scheme that accepts no boundaries on the control of the State when he sees it. He was reminded of the philosophy of the English social historian RH Tawney who wrote the following in 1920:
“The individual has no absolute rights…all rights…are conditional and derivative…they are derived from the end or purpose of the society in which they exist…this means in practice that if a society is to be healthy, men must regard themselves not as the owners of rights, but as trustees for the discharge of functions and the instruments of a social purpose.”
When someone of Richard Pipes’ eminence follows up that quote with an observation that “Hitler held the same view of rights, including property rights”, please do not retort anything about Godwin’s Law. It’s a warning pertinent to where this is all going as we encounter those 15 Constructs from the last past and formative assessments to make sure individuals are ‘guided’ by the desired concepts in how they interpret their daily experiences. That WorkSkills report even mentioned the Key Skill of Transdisciplinarity as needed for the Future Workforce. Precisely what those 15 Constructs from the last post said they were creating from the inside-out.
The Future Workforce report assumed that “immersive and visually stimulating presentations of information [will] become the norm.” That will replace print for most people, which will mean the loss of the one thing known to create the rational, logical, independent mind. It is certainly ironic that John Holdren’s Digital Promise federal initiative is being used to bring about the precise Arational Newmindedness Paul Ehrlich longed for back in the late 80s. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/blending-sustainability-and-education-to-gain-arational-nonlinear-minds-and-new-behaviors/ Give the long time colleague a Gold Star for effort!
IFTF insists that we can “plan our environments so that they are conducive to the outcomes that we are most interested in.” That is known as a sociological wish, not a fact, that has a notorious past. Nevertheless, we get to hear about neurogenesis research (the creation of new neurons), where it is hoped that “change the environment, change the brain, change the behavior.” All without any need to give notice or get consent from the individuals being targeted for a new “Design Mindset.” IFTF wants government policymakers to make “education a national priority” and “consider the full range of skills citizens will require.” No need to consult the individual citizens or respect their or their parents’ desire not to have a New Kind of Mind grounded in emotion and Arational.
We actually do not need to speculate about the broader transformations KnowledgeWorks and IFTF are assuming. Beyond all the Strive Together links to a needs based communitarian economy based in urban areas and the Recombinant Education document I mentioned, there was an earlier joint 2020 Forecast that laid out their Map of the Future Affecting Education that called for Altered Bodies: experimenting at the intersection of environment and performance.” Again, not what we expect when we put our kid on a school bus. Are we sending them to schools to “develop new capacities” consistent with a collectivist vision someone else created and did not mean for us to find out about? Should schools “become focal points for interventions focused not only on educating resilient students, but also on promoting resilience in their communities.”
Resilience is one of the listed IFTF categories and it is designed to prevent individual or community responses that focus on “resisting disruption or maintaining the status quo.” In other words, whatever happens in the future K-12 education is trying to take the likely response out of the hands of individual citizens. They get instead “A New Civic Discourse–Rearticulating Identity and Community in a Global Society” that does not care one bit what the US Constitution established so long ago. Another category–“Pattern of Recognition–An Extremely Visible World demands New Sensemaking” discusses the impact of data a great deal and calls for fostering “collective sensemaking.” No wonder the need for classrooms to develop a shared understanding of everyone after Discourse keeps coming up when we look close. Remember the Rockefeller Funded Communication for Social Change?
Here’s the link to the subsequent Recombinant Education vision http://www.knowledgeworks.org/sites/default/files/Forecast3_0_0.pdf. You may want to read that on an empty stomach or with a Hot Toddy. It is enough to chill the bones. Here’s a sample from the High-Fidelity Living category:
“Deeper insights into brain processes and into cognition and motivation under varying conditions [likely discovered from real children without parental consent] will inform both the design of cognitive assistants and our [whose precisely?] understanding of how to structure learning and work environments to maximize focus, intrinsic motivation, and creativity.”
If that seems troubling, there’s a break-out later that admits that data will monitor a student’s “social and emotional conditions, to predict performance and suggest personalized strategies for success.” Still excited about Personalized Learning and what the League of Innovative Schools is pushing with its federal mandate? How about the admitted ability for “Reading Your Mind”? There’s no indication the student will actually be informed of the results of the ‘reading.’ How is a futurist or policymaker in education different from the typical Palm Reader or Clairvoyent could be the new question given these admitted aims with students.
I am running out of time so I want to alert everyone to one more thing that such a Learning Ecosystem will be designed to do to supposedly Create the Future. How often are we hearing about the need for Equity in education? The last bullet point in the vision states: *”Track and address any new inequities that emerge within the learning ecosystem.”
How will the inequities be addressed? Building up the learners who have not yet shown “what learners will need to know”?
Or using Complex, Unknown, and Nonroutine Problem-solving to try to scramble the rational brains of the more able students? To try to force them to respond from emotion instead of logic and facts.
And if you wonder why I keep remembering Uncle Karl’s vision for all this, let’s get a dime for every time we encounter a reference to meeting ‘needs’ in this vision of the future.
Notice the reference under Shareable Cities to “open governance” and remember my warning over the e-Republic and e-Democracy.
Time to pull more open nefarious declarations into the sunlight of public scrutiny. There is still time, but not if we continue to make this simply a Debate about the Common Core.
It is So. Much. More.