The previous two posts illustrated real-time proclamations from just the last few weeks that fit with what we are going to cover today–the quietly imposed Common Framework for the Ethics of the 21st Century issued by UNESCO in September 1999. It grew out of Universal Ethics Project begun in 1997, imposed invisibly by education, P-12 and higher ed, under obscuring terms like learning, outcomes, standards, and competencies. The Framework was referenced in a footnote I came across while trying to chase down the common education agenda being pushed by the admitted Left Pincers (in this case communitarian prof Amitai Etzioni) and American Principles Project founder, Robert George, as a representative of the School Choice pushing, but headed in the same actual direction, Right Pincers.
Before I could write up the implications of that Framework, we suddenly had Ms DeVos’ statement about the moral obligations none of us may abdicate and the Positive Education practices mandate coming from the World Government Summit. Since they each seemed to assume the shift into the obligations of a Framework few of us are even aware of, I went with the “this is coming now” approach in the previous two posts. Now that the Imminence is crystal clear and not speculative, let’s take a look at what is being concealed from us. Because this is a blog, not a book, this post will be followed next by how I know for sure that this is where all the deceit surrounding the Common Core and School Choice really leads.
Those who have read Credentialed to Destroy are aware of just some of the evidence I cite on why I believe the ending of the Cold War was somewhat stage-managed to let education quietly assume the transformational reins. Let’s add to that body a Gorbachev book, The Search for a New Beginning, I did not have then telling us what Perestroika was really about. Gorbachev wanted to “join politics with morality” and create a Framework for new forms of required interaction and new forms of thinking. Instead of “artificially constructed utopian schemes” that “are not workable anywhere,” he called for:
“The recognition of the world as an integral whole [which] calls for a change in our value system, or to put it more precisely, for actualizing the initial values that are inherent in the nature of the human being as a social and spiritual entity. In one form or another, and in varying degrees, those values are reflected in the world religions and in the great humanistic doctrines.”
In a preview of what will be coming in the next post, substitute the word ‘Virtues’ for ‘values’ in that quote above and we quickly get to precisely where Classical Education is taking Privates and Charter Schools. First though let’s get back to Gorbachev’s bluntness because it explains so well the language we will cover on the need to shift away from traditional views of Individualism and rationality. (the italics are in the original text)
“The future of human society will not be defined in terms of capitalism versus socialism. It was that dichotomy that caused the division of the world community into two blocs and brought about so many catastrophic consequences. We need a paradigm that will integrate all the achievements of the human mind and human action, irrespective of which ideology or political movement can be credited with them. This paradigm can only be based on the common values that humankind has developed over the centuries.”
We will leave Gorby now and shift back to the supposed new values, ideas, and principles that people need to internalize from an early age (enter education tied to behavior and the Whole Child which is precisely what performance standards mandate) so that everyone can “flourish” in the 21st Century. Sure enough, that particular uncommon verb is ubiquitous now throughout the UNESCO Ethics Framework, the Positive Education Practices we encountered in the previous post, as well as the NIH-funded and Templeton Foundation sponsored Science of Virtues going on now at U-Chicago. What are the odds of such common, uncommon, terminology?
The cool thing about the Ethics Framework is that there is no overt, publicized command that makes people feel coerced. The Russians and Chinese noticed those edicts from on high simply did not work as well as using a reenvisioned type of education that affected “the will of individuals in every and all situations in which he or she acts.” Once that Learning becomes a Habit of Mind we have installed an invisible internalized neural rudder that allows society and an economy to be steered and guided without anyone needing to be the wiser. Students will have Moral Dialogues grounded in “philosophical value knowledge” (just like the School Choice-advocating Manhattan Institute laid out recently in an odd “Republic in the Atlantic” piece in City Journal).
The goal of education then, whether marketed as “knowledge, skills, and dispositions” in K-12 or Essential Learning Outcomes in higher ed, is actually aimed at using reading, classroom conversations, group projects, and virtual reality adaptive learning aimed at:
“developing the capacity of individuals to make right evaluations of others’ actions, of events, situations etc., and to find out, in the light of philosophical value knowledge the implications of such a will: what they should, or can, do, so that human dignity can be protected or be as little damaged as possible in the given unique situation, in which they have to act, as a whole.”
If that aim is not graphic enough that what the Universal Ethics Framework, instilled via education, seeks is a “paradigm shift in consciousness” so that we can all “apply our minds collectively and …work towards a new intellectual and spiritual renaissance,” let me use another. This quote from Paris, March 27, 1997, bemoaned that:
“whereas humanity is transiting to the global society, our minds are still mired in pre-global concepts. And it is this difference, it is this gap between the emergence of the global society and the non-emergence of a global consciousness, that is at the root of many of the problems that we see in the world today.”
If the means of closing that gap and creating the desired new thinking and ethics is new ideas and values, is it coincidental that suddenly the relief offered from the horrors of the Common Core is framed in terms of Character Education, Positive Psychology, Conceptual Understandings and Core Disciplinary Ideas as the ‘content knowledge’, and Virtues?
Does anyone else feel like the remedy offered is actually grounded in this little discussed Ethics Framework? Because apparently reenvisioning the human future is “affected and even determined by the behavior of humans acting on the basis of normative ideas and principles.” If education in the 21st Century is actually premised on the italicized “question: what values and principles may be mobilized in order to steer the forces of technological and economic change for the purposes of human survival and flourishing?”, aren’t we even entitled to know that is the foundational question behind all these imposed changes?
There’s that ubiquitous aspirational verb again. Anyone else wondering who will really flourish in this vision?