Promulgating a Personality Manipulating System However One Regards Cries of Structural White Supremacy

The word ‘promulgate’ has several meanings per the always useful OED, but today I am using it in the sense of “to make widespread, as, promulgate learning and culture.” Lots of stories in recent days and weeks of the curricula planned beyond the links I have provided, including a Fox News story on Oregon’s Department of Education revising its learning standards, https://thefederalist.com/2021/02/08/how-socio-emotional-learning-became-another-vehicle-for-anti-white-racism-in-schools/ and https://www.dailysignal.com/2021/02/12/activists-outline-their-plan-to-push-black-lives-matter-in-classroom/ as recent examples. These are all rightfully outraged, but erroneously create the impression that there is a special place where these types of emotionally evocative curricula (to go back to the point of the previous post) can be avoided. No, not until the actual source of the contagion, and its true target, is understood.

That’s where ISC comes in as usual using my quite literally huge library of materials, which I mine to put things into perspective. The category White Supremacy is an example of an idea being used in the same twofold process first described in a Dutch book by Fred Polak from the 1950s called The Image of the Future. It won lots of European awards and fellowships for its author, including one at the inaugural program of the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS) in 1954-55. Polak became close friends with the same Kenneth Boulding (see tag) who would create the systems science vision of education and helped found the social science-oriented General Systems Research Group that same year with fellows at CASBS. Kenneth’s wife Elise taught herself Dutch in order to be able to translate and abridge Polak’s book into English.  That’s what I am quoting from:

Man’s attempts to push back the frontier of the unknown…can be seen as a twofold process: the development of ideas concerning the ideal future as it ought to be, and the unfolding of the real future in history, partly as a result of man’s purposeful intervention…The relationship between conceptions of the time-dimension, the future, and the idealistic ethical objectives of mankind for that future, has been a neglected one and offers a fruitful field for research.

Well, it’s no longer neglected and has been a major source for behavioral science research of the kind laid out in my book Credentialed to Destroy and now on ISC where we cover the twists and turns of a new vision of education and student learning. Neither actually seeks a return to the past or a ‘classical time.’ Rather, this new vision seeks concepts and images that:

picture a radically different world in an Other time, and they are imaginatively shaped in a way that they can be applied on behalf of mankind…The more general theory of images may be thought of as ‘eidetics’. This concept, derived from the Greek eidelon, ‘image,’ has a long history…[Not] enough emphasis [has been put] on the significance of the time-dimension in the dynamics of image formation and image propagation…attention must be given to the dynamics of image formation, both in the public and private mind, and the function of images in the economy of the individual personality and the social, national, or cultural group.

What do images mean, how are the meanings transmitted, and how do they affect individual and social behavior? Under what conditions do images change, and why? What can accelerate or retard these changes? How amenable are they to purposeful manipulation, in both the short and the long run?

The answer to the last question is quite amenable to purposeful manipulation, which is precisely how we should start seeing the New York Times’ 1619 Project or Howard Zinn’s work as well. It’s not about history as a body of knowledge, where someone is erroneously changing the facts of the past. This is actually about how education, as a social science, is a tool to where “social science is increasingly making use of these images to increase its analytic power.” That analysis is only the beginning though as this later quote recognizes. The point is to “control social processes” and redirect them to what john a. powell [see tag] described in his 2012 book Racing to Justice: Transforming Our Conceptions of Self and Other to Build an Inclusive Society as the use of allegations of White Supremacy to change our categories of thinking to force “a renewed commitment by all of us to fulfill the promise of a truly democratic society.”

Before getting back to powell and his intention to use White Supremacy as a means to target and alter the unconscious mind to create his desired new kind of self and new kind of citizen, let’s quote again from Polak because powell’s techniques seem to be exploiting Polak’s insights.

The image of the future as such may be an important tool for interdisciplinary social science. The possibility that science may be able to predict and control social processes through analysis of existing images of the future, both private and public, and direct a change of these images, is a thought-provoking one… it is still not too soon to begin pondering the problems of controlled image-change. How could such a possibility be fitted into a democratic system of government?..If we pause to think what can be done with the minds of men…

And women. Boys, and girls. It has happened and is happening even more now. These aims of reconstruction are how we should view not just these White Supremacy curricula currently receiving so much attention, but also the Pandemic, the Holocaust, Reconstruction, the Charlottesville Hoax with the tiki torches, and, finally, the Insurrection at the Capitol. It’s about the Images of the Future  and their potential to incite and justify transformational change in the minds and hearts of students at all levels of society. To quote powell again from his Afterword:

Although our brains develop partly though categorizing and organizing in ways that can be challenging in a diverse society, our hearts orchestrate a system that is hardwired to care and to respond empathically to one another’s suffering and joy. We can’t allow structures–economic or political–to block or blunt these connections…To embrace our commonality in an increasingly diverse public space will require new selves, who are citizens in the truest sense of the term: individual, interconnected, and inclusive in ways that reflect the highest aspirations of our nation and our species. This is a heavy lift for all of us, and it is particularly heavy for those who continue to organize around the myth of the radically isolated individual. The alternative–a just society–requires major realignments with respect to corporations and a remaking of our institutions and ourselves. But it is a dream worth dreaming and a fight worth fighting for.

I think that Dream fits with the essence of what ‘public policy’ is always about, whatever the expressed goals of any think tank, is, which is why we keep getting cries for School Choice that actually enable the planned mechanism of change when examined closely. I think it’s why there has been so much deceit surrounding the Common Core, competency frameworks, and especially CtD’s coverage of what I nicknamed Tranzi OBE. There is a desire for this kind of change to a just society grounded in the minds and hearts of a new kind of citizen. Powell mentioned the unconscious target, but his footnote went to a 2002 book Strangers to Ourselves: Discovering the Adaptive Unconscious . It is that adaptive unconscious, a term I had never encountered before, that I immediately recognized as the true realm of Tranzi OBE, the actual language in charters for schools and districts, mission statements for private schools now, the Catholic Curriculum Frameworks, state Portrait of a Graduate mandates, and other redirections with the same aim.

Let’s finish this Part 1 on Images of the Future, the ‘adaptive unconscious’ with its “distinctive characteristic ways of interpreting the social environment and stable motives that guide peoples behavior”, and how it can be manipulated by quoting the ‘personality mediating system’ it creates. Yes, I substituted the word ‘manipulating’ for the original term ‘mediating,, but it fits with what media actually means and does. Media, whether print, broadcast, or social platforms for dissemination, has now set itself up as the Lighthouse that gets human perception to notice and then the Interpreter that explains the to be accepted significance of what got noticed. It is no accident that the Oregon pamphlet on Equity in its new curricula intends to target the ‘lived experiences’ of the students as the area of change to supposedly end White Supremacy. It gets at what Walter Mischel in 1968 found in a review of personality research (my numbering to ease the categories):

people possess a unique set of cognitive and affective variables that determine how they react to the social world. They describe five components of this ‘personality mediating system’ that guide people’s behavior: [1] encodings (people’s construals of themselves, others, and situations); [2] expectancies about themselves and the social world; [3] affect and emotions; [4] goals and values; and [5] competencies and self-regulatory plans. In short, they argue, people have distinctive ‘if-then’ rules that determine how they respond in a particular situation; for example, ‘If I feel I’m being ignored, then I get angry and aggressive.’ [Remember] a fundamental property of the adaptive unconscious is that people have no access to the ways in which it selects, interprets, and evaluates information.

The student may not know that, but personalized learning, formative assessments, and holistic, evidence-based strategies can all ferret that out, call it personalized learning, and use curricula to instill the desired images, ethics, categories of thought, and interpretive tools to be changed. Feelings and emotions can be changed through role play. Digital learning is a particularly rich source for mining and manipulating this ‘personality mediating system.’ The system each and every student has so targeting it for change is equitable and coincidentally, conducive to the sought change to “ourselves and institutions”. The other part of the rallying cry and civil rights mandates of Equity and Excellence turns out to mean getting at students at the level of what they want, think, and feel. http://invisibleserfscollar.com/excellence-means-education-putting-what-we-feel-wish-for-and-think-in-harmony/

Sounds just like a bullseye of the Adaptive Unconscious to me.

Gaslighting We the People In the Name of Well-Being to Avoid a Dictatorship of the Dead

Welcome to 2021 and if any of you have ever read a book or seen a film where Gaslighting by some villain was a tool of control, you will remember that the sanity of the person being manipulated always becomes an issue. Think of this post as a means of illuminating what may appear to be Gaslighting, but actually serves a long-term, even more insidious purpose, than making someone seem disturbed and crazed. As always I have lots of quotes. No need to speculate here.

First, I want to build on our ESS insight from the previous post by quoting from https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3761438 a recent legal paper on “Rescuing Our Democracy” by changing the legal standard involving defamation. It asserted that “a basic requirement of a healthy democracy [is] the development of a set of broadly agreed-upon facts.” No, not really, but later the paper asserts again that “a functioning democracy must have a basic consensus on what is real and what is fake and the way to reach such determinations.” Clearly, the Powers-that-Be want to Control the Narrative, while insisting erroneously that accepting such narrative is the essence of a democracy. Beginning to get a headache from the gas yet? Hold on.

In early January, a link to a June 2020 paper called “Rethinking Humanity: Five Foundational Sector Disruptions, the Lifecycle of Civilizations, and the Coming Age of Freedom” came my way. It called forthrightly for:

a new Organizing System, one governed by new rules with new belief systems, conceptual frameworks, and models of thought to better explain the world, leading to new political, economic, and social systems to influence, control, and manage society.

Not the first to call for that, but the ESS aspiration, the Fake News definition that is not about veracity but an approved source, the labeling of demonstrably true statements as Disinformation, and the above insistence that democracy is about a set of broadly agreed-upon facts should all be seen as a means to impose that New Organizing System without admitting that is the true shift. Learning Standards and competency frameworks further enable this stealth shift to a New Organizing System. The Dictatorship of the Dead quote is from Harvard Prof Roberto Unger and covered in this post http://invisibleserfscollar.com/multiple-recent-proclamations-laying-out-commitment-to-revolutionary-transformation-of-our-entire-society/

Unger has been referenced recently in numerous footnotes and this July 2020 interview https://www.thenation.com/article/culture/roberto-mangabeira-ungers-alternative-progressive-vision/ makes it clear that his imagination first wholesale restructuring would be greatly aided by outrage at present conditions and his call that education has “as its primary goal the enhancement of analytic and syntheticcapabilities, rather than the mastery of information.” How to Think is a great way to substitute a New Organizing System. What better way to get new conceptual frameworks than to insist that “what matters with respect to content is less encyclopedic coverage than it is selective depth.”

We use, someone else selects. If we happen to still have Axemaker Minds with encyclopedic elements and we notice the selected concept is inapt, we are not using the New Organizing System. We must be sent outside the mainstream of thought. Accusations of Sedition, being a Conspiracy Theorist, or deplatforming to shut up should do. The Gaslighting aspect has to do with the insistence of the New Way of Thinking. It’s actually not about facts. Now we are going back to the early 90s, when the hope for a Science of Emotion was just getting underway. A book The Nature of Emotion: Fundamental Questions came out and Richard J. Davidson was one of its two editors. Close friend of the Dalai Lama with whom he works regularly, on the Board of UNESCO’s MGIEP based out of India, author of Buddha’s Brain: Neuroplasticity and Meditation, and quietly while most of us were unwrapping Christmas presents, he coauthored “The plasticity of well-being: A training-based framework for the cultivation of human flourishing”.

That framework published by his Center for Healthy Minds in December https://www.pnas.org/content/pnas/117/51/32197.full.pdf wants to get at

four dimensions of well-being: awareness, connection, insight, and purpose. These dimensions are central to the subjective experience of well-being and can be strengthened through training. In this respect, they can be likened to skills, and the cultivation of well-being for a repertoire of skills. The cultivation of well-being thus involves the use of self-regulatory processes to learn, practice, and apply these skills in daily life.

A feeling of interdependence with others, a “heightened and flexible attentiveness to perceptual impressions in one’s environments,” and purpose, all being manipulated by others via provided daily educational experiences, also sounds like a good way to get to a New Organizing System. Since these dimensions all have “neurobiological underpinnings,” the New System of Thought grounded in emotion is a keeper. Last Friday, the SoLD Alliance mentioned in the last post continued its “Who Gets to Thrive?” Series with a particular emphasis on SoLD as a “Tool for Anti-Racism”. When the speaker’s specialty is Affective Neuroscience and she talks about using functional MRI on students to see what is being changed and shows pictures of brain scans, we are once again looking at neurobiological underpinnings.

Professor Mary Helen Immordino-Yang spoke of addressing the notion of white supremacy and “a pivotal moment to grow our young people into the citizens they can be” by targeting each student’s “emotional feeling state that becomes the story a student uses to make meaning.”  She asserted that “meaning making is where it all begins and ends because it’s how we create our reality.” It allows the student to focus on things that don’t currently exist now and she rued the fact that “Deep Reflection and Personal Meaning Making about the Problems of the World and How they can be transcended and what causes them” is not the focus of more school curricula. Suddenly, curricula “becomes about the nature of human rights, what is good and not good and we can see in the brain how it rewires when education asks these kinds of questions.”

That does sound again like a New Organizing System, hardwired in, and my hand was flying taking notes. When I looked up, I noticed the professor seemed to have been crying in excitement at the type of future world this kind of equitable curriculum would enable. She did note that these kind of practices and imagination grounded in feeling experiences did not change with varying socio-economic levels, immigration status, gender, or other characteristics of students. See where a civil rights mandate of Equity and Excellence really takes us? The webinar moderator, Karen Pittman, then lamented that the zoom webinar had no ability for everyone in the audience to stand and applaud as they would be in-person.

Pittman did later ask MHI-L about how to best get at Meaning Making and the response was that a student’s Identity and Cultural History affect the Brain more than Genes. It becomes epigenetically turned on by the experiences provided, especially once students are made aware of “How can I grow myself to be adaptive to what is needed?” It turns out that Karen Pittman is the co-author of a new book that was the subject of this article https://www.gettingsmart.com/2021/01/a-new-vision-for-a-new-administration-whole-child-development-learning-and-thriving/ that came out on the same day as the above webinar. It also explains why she brought up psychologist Urie Bronfenbrenner and his Ecological Systems Thinking and other spheres of influence beyond just the mind, school, and family.

Urie was an exchange student working in the Soviet Union in the 60s so the Theories of Mind involved with pushing Dynamic Systems Thinking go beyond my ability to recover them in this post. http://invisibleserfscollar.com/imitating-the-ussr-in-striving-to-discover-how-the-child-can-become-what-he-not-yet-is/ is that old post. Two more quick points that I can see the Chan Zuckerburg Initiative is financing the research that created that book that came out of the SoLD Alliance. It is especially interested in ACTUAL student’s trajectories of change and what experiences caused them in something called MMDC–Measures and Methods Across the Developmental Continuum. Information based on group averages might not reflect an real human being and what can change them.

Secondly I found this related paper https://forumfyi.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Thriving.Equity.Learning.Report.pdf that also tied to the upcoming book and its desired neurobiological change grounded in a student’s inner characteristics and how they can be altered to cause them to act as desired on existing external conditions.Now we can come back to the 1994 book The Nature of Emotion because it fits with the curricula I saw created in advance before Charlottesville, the Racial Equity curricula capitalizing on the furor surrounding George Floyd’s death, and now the curricula and common narratives created for the so-called ‘Insurrection at the Capitol’. Those links can all be found in the comments on the previous post, this summer’s posts, and back in August 2017. Let’s look at these stated aspirations as looking for a New Organizing System.

Davidson and his co-editor noted that there is a physiological difference in the brain between information processing and “evaluation of events that provoke an emotion.” They further noted that “emotion involves a subjective experience, a feeling state” and that “emotion is not a peripheral phenomenon but involves the organism totally. Emotional experience shapes and reflects individual personality development.” Some of its undisputed functions back in 1994 were that “1.Emotions have motivational properties…; 2. Emotions organize behavioral and physiological patterns to deal with emotion-evoking events, interrupting less important ongoing events…”

I think all these curricula have been designed to get at what is known about the brain, how to alter its neurobiological underpinnings, the role of Image in dynamic systems theories, and what emotion-evoking events can do to help create a New Organizing System. As part of a CASEL Cares webinar on “Discussions about Teaching and Learning that will Last Beyond the Pandemic,” also held on January 22, the teachers were asked about the lessons they used “to help students process the events of January 6.” The teachers discussed how scary those events had been for both themselves and their students and how the students had to “have accurate facts about the events”. The students could then process their feelings by journaling or class discussion.

Since there is a dispute among reasonable people as to what happened, when, and why, the fact that students are not allowed that knowledge was interesting. Must be because the feelings created by an emotion-evoking event are the primary area to be cultivated. A featured teacher mentioned they got their lessons and the facts from Newsela. Of course I looked it up and the partners include most major print media plus Al Jazeera as well as entities like the Zinn Education Project  and the SEL program Facing History and Ourselves. The latter two repeatedly state that their purpose is to reimagine the events of the past in order to affect how students feel about the present and the future.

We need to remember now that both education and journalism are branches of social science and as Jean-Francois Revel noted in The Flight From Truth :

In the social sciences it is what people want to see proved that becomes the main criterion of the ‘truth’…In the approximative sciences verification and refutation can be indefinitely delayed and contested. Not so in the exact sciences.

Now where exactly do emotionally laden Guiding Fictions created by prescribed subjective experiences that rewire the brain at a biological level to affect a student’s meaning making and view of reality going forward fit into this apt dichotomy between the social and hard sciences?

It’s going to be an interesting 2021 with these admitted aspirations and their ancestry, isn’t it?

Epistemically Secure Society–Phraseology to Explain this Coming Decade of Plans for Us

Since Epistemically Secure Society is rather a mouthful, let’s shorthand this useful phrase as ESS. It’s an important semantic tool to grasp though as it builds on the Shared Reality aspiration we covered in the last post, as well as the rather remarkable set of events set in motion around the US Presidential election. The type of demonstrably provable factual events media platforms will no longer allow to be mentioned or disseminated. The type of assertions, that despite sets of affidavits, may get a lawyer sanctioned now if they push the stories in Michigan. They may be true, but they deviate from the desired narrative of events and thus threaten the ESS. It fits too with how learning standards work and their component conceptual frameworks that now constitute Knowledge with a capital ‘K’. These approved concepts or theories that the standards both disseminate and mandate act as a common core of perception and motivation for future decision-making. The officially approved set of filters installed at a neural level is another way to put it.

The ESS phrase was laid out in a document called “Tackling Misinformation During Crisis” which stated this in October

The current COVID-19 pandemic and the accompanying ‘infodemic’ clearly illustrate that access to reliable information is crucial to coordinating a timely crisis response in democratic societies. Inaccurate information and the muzzling of important information sources have degraded trust in health authorities and slowed public response to the crisis. Misinformation about ineffective cures, the origins and malicious spread of COVID-19, unverified treatment discoveries, and the efficacy of face coverings have increased the difficulty of coordinating a unified public response during the crisis.

In a  recent report researchers at the Cambridge Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER) in collaboration with The Alan Turing Institute and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) workshopped an array of hypothetical crisis scenarios to investigate social and technological factors that interfere with well-informed decision-making and timely collective action in democratic societies.

The UK’s Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence put that out October 21, and a newsletter in the US tied to global change aspirations linked to it in mid-November, after the election. I was struck when I read it how well the expressed aspiration fit with everything I was hearing in the name of Equity in the US and the Science of Learning and Development being led by Biden Education Advisor Linda Darling-Hammond. It fits with an interview I watched before Christmas with the same NCEE that created the New Standards Project where the name David Albury came up. I tracked that new name to a 2016 Australian document called “Innovating for Global Excellence,” which matter-of-factly informed readers that China too had embarked on an ideas-oriented transformation of its educational system. A little research confirmed that shift.

When a well-known dictatorship wanting to be the world’s dominant power thinks an ‘ideas’ curriculum reform is also compatible with its plans, the potential embodied in ESS certainly comes into perspective. It fits with how the media in the US seemed to coordinate to keep out any bad news about one candidate prior to the election, while refusing to cover even documented election fraud. As the Leverhulme paper put it: “If there is no shared belief among the actors in  a community about the nature of a crisis or the efficacy of a proposed response, collective action is less likely to come.”

And it turns out collective action and its need for a common core of a widespread shared belief among the actors is what ESS is all about. Since we are all living in the midst of this, I thought the phrase would be a helpful arrow in our quiver of recognizing what we are dealing with and all these plans for transformation over this next decade. Many of us with 20-something graduates will recognize that the expressed “need for robust and reliable systems of information production and dissemination” is already being met by elite higher ed institutions and the media and tech platforms are merely following suit. The Leverhulme paper may have premised the need for an ESS “in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and the upcoming 2020 elections,” but it also recognized it as the “solution to managing infodemics” which require a coordinated effort to control what information is produced, disseminated, and how it is UNDERSTOOD by individual minds:

the promotion of epistemically secure democracies will help us be more resilient to similar events in the future.

Methinks in an ESS, there will be no inconvenient assertions about fentanyl overdoses when a horrible video emerges that can become a totem for allegations of systemic racism meriting the wholesale transformation of society, its component minds, institutions, and prevailing normative values. Another paper I located in a footnote to that Science of Development and Learning openly called for a New Sociology of Education that would enable a TPS–a Totally Pedagogized Society. No wonder the Chinese are on board and digital learning experiences are now becoming ubiquitous. The TPS and the ESS go together nicely like interlocking gears turning something much bigger. No need to point out that the TPS analogy for what is needed now compared it to “the medieval period during which Religion played a totally pedagogising role and function.”

Awareness of TPS and ESS as openly expressed global aspirations help us understand what is going on around us and what is ahead of us in a way that clearly deviates from the hoped-for widespread shared belief system. Let’s stick though to the facts as long as we can. I joke about my bookshelf, but I did go looking there yesterday for insights after I decided these unequivocal concepts actually helped me grasp what otherwise seems to live more like bad science fiction than the reality that 2020 has been. I landed first on Richard Falk’s 1975 book A Study of Future Worlds from the World Order Models Project that the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations funded that I have covered previously here at ISC [see tag]. Its Prospectus for Transition seemed to be precisely what Donald Trump’s surprise Presidential election in the US in 2016 or the earlier Brexit referendum shock from that same year seem to have interrupted. See if this sounds familiar if a bit off schedule:

In terms of political action we anticipate t1, the 1970s, to be the decade in which value changes occur mainly on the level of political consciousness, i.e., orientations toward action. In t2, the 1980s, the main value changes will involve mobilization for action to achieve the new value priorities, while in t3, the 1990s, the focus will be on action to achieve transformation of institutions and organizations, both to alter value and goal priorities and to adapt organizational forms to the emerging value consensus.

Just because the timing is off, doesn’t mean the plans changed. Unlike the bolding in this post, those italics were in the original Proposal for Transition. I think Professor Falk and WOMP’s funders were a bit optimistic in how much it would take to change minds. That is probably why both sources of funds began to push educational reforms around conceptual frameworks beginning in 1980. Now we also get Competencies and Performance learning standards that fit right in with Mobilization for Action. Beyond Falk’s plans though, I also pulled Kenneth Minogue’s always excellent book The Servile Mind. His insight of what had changed in our conception of society really hits its mark in 2020, ten years after its publication.

…our very conception of society has changed. It is no longer an association of independent self-moving individuals, but rather an association of vulnerable people whose needs and sufferings must be remedied by the power of the state.

A few pages later in the book’s Introduction Minogue pointed out that

At the heart of Western life as we inherited it within living memory are self-conscious individuals guiding their destinies according to whatever moral sentiments they entertain…this moral idiom is being challenged by another, in which individuals find their identifying essence in supporting public policies that are both morally obligatory and politically imperative.

That’s the essence of learning standards properly understood all over the globe and the ESS and TPS they are to lead to in the 21st century. It is also the reason, I believe, that the False Narrative around education reforms, especially the Common Core, that commenced in earnest in 2011 in a most coordinated manner, keeps tying back to certain public policy think tanks. We will cover that more in 2021 so we can ‘be alert to the semantics’ as Minogue put it in this quote. Seems like an excellent way to finish this post and this troublesome year designed to resurrect the desired Transition and Transformation from unexpected electoral interferences.

I for one am not dismayed that attitudes have a life of their own, and that the demos in the twenty-first century is not entirely plastic material suitable to be sculpted by rulers. Rulers may get excited about ‘changing the culture,’ but modern peoples are usually brutish enough to resist being improved. Being alert to the semantics by which the moral has been transposed into the manipulable is one protection against a gullible acquiescence to the projects of government.

ESS and TPS, election fraud with no legal remedy, allegations of systemic racism with no regard to the facts, mask mandates regardless of whether they work, and lockdowns whatever the economic destruction and lack of efficacy–just a few of 2020’s Projects of Government.

See you in 2021 so we can stay alert to the semantics and try to avoid the mental and socio-emotional sculpting.

 

Shared Reality is Essential but Not Enough. Shared Values Must Also be Instilled to Get Collective Action Globally

After the last post insisting we must all shift to new mental models, the drumbeat of the need to “create a shared reality” as this article laid out https://www.gettingsmart.com/2020/09/invention-opportunity-shared-reality/ explicitly, which was then reenforced by what the Chinese government is calling its Beijing Principles on Artificial Intelligence for Children, has been exceptionally acute. In either vision, AI in education using the kind of LMS we have covered, and the Chinese have been investing in, will be used to “help guide children to form sound and scientific values” as the English translation stated. Given the source, it is especially hard not to remember that ‘scientific values’ sounds a lot like Uncle Karl’s assertion that a ‘moral revolution’ wiithin each individual, or at least the vast majority of present and future citizens, would be necessary for his vision that clearly lies at the core of the “Thriving Together” vision we covered in the last post–the Human Development Society as he called it. Science means social science in other words.

As this previous post in the same series as the one above put it https://www.gettingsmart.com/2020/09/15-invention-opportunities-in-learning/ –“AI is quickly being incorporated into every aspect of learning and systems that support learners–with the opportunity to extend access to powerful learning.” AI thus is a key component of the “visual and logic tools for building a shared reality” which it asserts is essential in order to “invent for equity” and “offer every person on earth access to high-quality learning.” Since that term was also discussed in the Beijing Principles, let’s quote them since we have a common core of common language now being used around the world:

Quality education

The development of AI should help provide more inclusive, fairer, and quality education for children. The development of AI should help protect children’s right to education, help provide children with scientific, high-quality, and ethical educations, help children fully develop their personalities, talents, and abilities, and help avoid dangerous, coercive, unhealthy, and immoral educations.

This link, which came out October 8, is also using much of the same language and conceptions https://education-reimagined.org/next-level-transformation-inventing-community-based-learner-centered-ecosystems/ as the Beijing Principles in its vision of “an education system that provides every single child access to what they need to thrive.” I would argue that “help stimulate children’s potential” is a suitable euphemism for what we are encountering as a prerequisite to ‘thrive’. It also fits with what in the US is now being asserted as “essential for our democracy” https://www.facinghistory.org/educator-resources/current-events/where-do-we-get-our-news-and-why-does-it-matter with its questions: “What effect does the way we all consume news and media have on our society? On our ability to live up to the ideals of democracy?” for each student as part of its Election and Polarization curricula.

A shared reality certainly would cut down on Polarization, wouldn’t it? That’s precisely what the first article laid out in detail

The fundamental problem is one of communication, “The problem of persuasion, the problem of getting people to agree on a shared consensus view of reality, and to acknowledge basic facts and to have their probability assessments of various outcomes to converge through honest conversation,” explained neuroscientist and author Sam Harris

The interrelated problems we face don’t have simple solutions and their early data sets haven’t yielded conclusive answers. Nonetheless, it’s hard to make progress without starting with a common fact base and a shared sense of reality.

Shared reality is the necessary first step of leadership whether that’s a school, a company, or a country. Shared reality starts with the facts but because those are open to interpretation, the shared reality is most likely to emerge within the identity of membership– citizenship of a city or stakeholder of a school system. You’ve got to invite people into a system to have a shot at a shared reality.

Seriously, if I got a quarter for every time that article used the phrase ‘shared reality’, I could have an excellent lunch. Let’s keep looking at why that shared reality and shared values are so crucial that we must  be coerced by the media, tech companies, and all our educational institutions at every level in to migrating to one. As this final link puts it “Mental models underpin systems” and our man-made systems are all targeted for transformation in the 21st century so we can all THRIVE! https://education-reimagined.org/looking-beneath-the-surface-systems-thinking-on-the-journey-toward-transformation/ makes it clear that this means targeting the “values and beliefs that influence how people understand and act in the world.They come from lived experiences.” So if AI gets used to manipulate those ‘lived experiences’ to gain desired internalized changes in students via virtual reality delivered through an LMS, or Project-Based Learning with certain stipulated goals to reach a consensus within the group, we get to alter mental models, with few parents much the wiser on the nature of the shift.

As that final link also asserts, “we all have mental models [that] affect our beliefs, our actions, and our systems’ behavior [so] we can no longer allow those mental models to remain hidden.” Or more crucially, and this is why Tranzi OBE, as described in my book Credentialed to Destroy, remains ubiquitous with only new euphemisms for it changing. The mental models CANNOT remain hidden because our mental models CANNOT remain UNCHANGED.

Shared Reality as an Invention Opportunity

Access to quality learning for the (soon to be) 8 billion of us depends on inventing combinations of new tools and agreements that will expand access to powerful learning and lives of opportunity.

Our list of invention opportunities starts in an unlikely place–a shared set of facts and ways to interpret those shared facts that will enable communities (and countries) to move forward together. Creating a shared reality–a common situational awareness that enables collective action–requires shared facts, shared values, and shared models.

1. Shared Facts. Shared reality tools will, in some ways, be the opposite of current versions of social media which have crafted self-reinforcing information gullies and propagated difference and viral hate…

2. Shared Values. Humans interrupt facts through complicated values-based filters that are shaped by groups we associate with. This tribal psychology motivates how we behave to fit in with our peers.

“At times, since belonging goals are so vital to our survival, we value signaling that we are good members of our tribes much more than we value being correct, and in those circumstances, we will choose to be wrong — if signaling we believe wrong things seems like it will keep us in good standing with our peers,” said David McRaney about why some people don’t wear masks in a pandemic.

As a result of these thick and influential group memberships, just laying out the facts isn’t enough to create a shared reality. It requires involvement and enrollment in shared values.

Journalist Jad Abumrad realized that “hammering at a scientific truth when someone has suffered, that wasn’t going to heal anything.” He began thinking of his job as leading “people to moments of struggle because the truth is no longer just a set of facts to be captured. It’s become a process. It’s gone from being a noun to being a verb. Increasingly in this confusing world, we need to be the bridge between those differences…

These education examples suggest that facilitating shared values are key to doing important sustained collective work. However, as a verb, values dynamic, integrated, and sustained.

3. Shared Models. Three days before landfall, the National Weather Service predicted the time and the location Hurricane Laura would hit the Louisiana coast (see featured image). Scientists at the National Hurricane Center blend information from a half a dozen computer models to achieve super-accurate forecasts. These models save lives and reduce property damage by driving collective action.

Shared realities will be based, in part, on the collective adoption of predictive models.

“Collective adoption of predictive models” like those Climate Change models that never come true or the outlandish predictions of Covid mortality from the Imperial College of London that became the basis for the emergency lockdowns all over the world back in March. We can see the rationale for all the mind arson documented by this blog since I started writing if we must all accept a consensus view of reality because:

It turns out it’s hard to facilitate a shared reality–but it looks more important than ever for moving forward together for communities and countries. A shared sense of what’s happening and what that means is critical for collective action.

There’s that collective action obligation for us again, which then gets followed up by a call for “the invention of new trusted curated sources of truth.” We will talk about that in the next post because using false assertions of Disinformation turns out to be an attempt to get precisely that in place. We can think of calls for a shared reality and values with new mental models as the resculpting of the interior receiver of information within each person. Disinformation seems to be about squelching forbidden information that escaped into the public domain without authorization. It must not be widely read or listened to lest it imperil the desired transformations and willingness to engage in the desired collective actions.

Or help elect any politicians not on board with this agenda for the reimagined role of communication in the 21st century.

 

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.

Education as a Form of Brain Surgery Means We Better All Appreciate the Function of an LMS

Gone for a while and here I show back up with a new acronym. An LMS is a Learning Management System. It provides the learning experiences, prescribes the activities, and collects tremendous amounts of data generated by online experiences about the student so that who the student is at a fundamental level–‘desired character traits’ was the term one LMS used–can be restructured at a neurobiological level. Hope that explicit explanation does not make anyone wish I had stayed gone. In fact, between personal issues this summer I have spent a great deal of time on webinars laying out precisely how LMS’s work. The so-called global pandemic has essentially made them mandatory in districts not already using them since, even in districts with in-school classes, the risk of sudden flareups has forced almost everyone into at least a hybrid model if not purely distance learning.

How’s this for a relevant quote for these times? The discussion was about the ability of the constructed virtual reality experiences an LMS can provide to illustrate how ‘models’ work. The example given in a book published back in 2017 by MIT Press went like this:

models are often used to develop predictions, test predictions, and explore relationships among variables. We use the content area of global pandemics to address different ways that models can facilitate decision making. For example, students work with a simulation model to test predictions about whether disease containment (e.g., quarantine, minimizing potential disease transmission on public transit) or prevention (e.g., vaccination) would more effectively stem a global pandemic.

That particular book was about an LMS being used by a university, but it has since expanded into K-12 https://www.gettingsmart.com/2020/07/new-standards-of-quality-minerva-baccalaureate-and-debt-free-college/ and the location of its use does not alter the planned physical and emotional alteration of students. So feel free to substitute any school using an LMS in the following quote instead of the referenced ‘universities’. Function matters, not the location of the manipulation.

…in order to develop the mind, universities must provide a structured approach. One could think of education as a form of brain surgery: education effectively changes the structure and function of the brain. And, as with other forms of surgery, there must be a clear plan of action before the education operation begins. [See why the prescribed Portrait of a Graduate or Learner Profile matters?] It is not acceptable to start an operation and only then start thinking about what the next step should be. When universities perform this ‘brain surgery’ and try to grow the capability and capacity of the mind, they should not do so in a haphazard way. They should have a plan of action [maybe a Common Core of Learning tied to standardized goals each student is to demonstrate?]. And therefore the structure of the educational path, commonly known as the curriculum, is important.

The LMS is what is providing that curriculum in either Hybrid or Distance Learning. Even physical experiences get uploaded via a rubric to the LMS so it begins to have a picture of each student that functions like ‘Google Maps,’ as one summer webinar laid it out, for the desired Knowledge, Skills, and Personal Characteristics (Attributes or Dispositions are the usual terms used). Let’s abbreviate that as a useful KSA and the LMS acts like many people’s phone prescribing what a student needs to change and how given where they are now in their KSA vs. the desired destination. Skills is self-explanatory since it involves actions and behavior but our ‘K’ is something too few appreciate since it has quietly shifted to something known as ‘practical knowledge’.

We believe the basic task of a liberal arts education [feel free to substitute Classical Education such as the Barney Initiative in K-12] is to provide citizens with a set of intellectual tools that is applicable across a wide range of situations–and that therefore serves as practical knowledge. Practical knowledge, as we use the term, is knowledge that one can use to adapt to a changing world, helping one to achieve one’s goals…[Knowledge] becomes a set of habits of mind and foundational concepts… [that] everyone ought to use–something akin to a basic cognitive operating system.

Two of the terms being used to deal with a new vision of education being pushed in either the name of Covid     https://learningpolicyinstitute.org/product/restarting-reinventing-school-covid-report or systemic racism, or both  https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/brooklyn-laboratory-charter-schools-partners-release-guidebook-on-cultivating-learner-identity-and-agency-to-better-equip-students-to-deal-with-covid-19-this-fall-301117433.html has been Identity and Agency. It also fits with what is called Culturally Relevant Teaching in other summer webinars. It’s omnipresent as the remedy in other words with a variety of justifications. LMS’s are good at cultivating both of these as well since they can use the insights from “new technologies that afforded insight into how the mind functions and the brain reacts to the signals it receives from different modes of communication and different media.”

In fact, “because of their immersive narratives, video games have the potential to play an important role in communication and persuasion for socially beneficial purposes.” The LMS facilitates the creation of a shared understanding because it can be set so that it “requires developing a dialogue with previously unexamined layers of the self and one’s relationship to the world. This [manipulated] interior dialogue and self-examination are [supposedly] the first step to good communication.” Students can learn to use the models and simulations available in the LMS to study “how to change the behavior of groups and individuals” and move on to “some of the most pressing social and political challenges facing the world today.” These activities and experiences create an embedded reality “where students come to see themselves not as mere cogs in the complex systems in which they exist but rather as agents whose behavior and initiative have the power to change these systems, potentially in far-reaching and beneficial ways.”

Let’s pivot just a second away from what the LMS is facilitating to just how very useful it is. Last week, “The Anti-Racist Discussion Guide” came out for higher ed. Now just imagine the use of a higher ed LMS if this is the ultimate goal of the change in the nature of what will now constitute an education.

What we are exposed to shapes our worldviews. And in very real ways, our worldviews shape the world, through our perspectives, our words, and our actions. Because of this educators, have a unique responsibility to play an active role in helping students become aware of their role within larger societal and global systems, and to help students build the critical questioning skills and confidence necessary to create change in these systems.

What underpins an ‘anti-racist’ teaching method–or critical pedagogy–is the desire to help students question and understand the systems and structures of power which exist in our society, both implicit and explicit, and actively critique and dismantle them to create a society that maximizes the happiness, success, and freedom of all of its citizens.

Long time readers will recognize that last line as Uncle Karl’s Human Development Society, which again fits with numerous webinars from this summer, especially some quotes from both PolicyLink’s Angela Glover Blackwell, as well as Beloved Community. It also fits with the Happiness Curriculum being pushed globally. https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Development-of-student-and-teacher-measures-of-HC-factors-FINAL-081920.pdf is from a Center that ties to UNESCO for anyone not familiar with their work.

In the Bibliography of that last paper was one published in frontiers in Human Neuroscience that also takes us back to the title of this post. “Self-awareness, self-regulation, and self-transcendence (S-ART): a framework for understanding the neurobiological mechanisms of mindfulness” will be fascinating to anyone concerned about mindfulness mandates imposed on their local schools. The practices that go hand in hand with what constitutes education to promote Agency and Identity though also trigger those same neurobiological mechanisms if you actually read the paper along with what is laid out in the papers I have linked to (which are only the tip of the iceberg of what is out there from just this summer).

That’s right. These shifts laid out as remedies to COVID and Systemic Racism literally are designed to both alter the human nervous system, including the brain, as well as finally embody, in the most literal way, the qualities John Dewey laid out as necessary for a citizen in the reimagined democracy of the future. He does get mentioned a lot again in case anyone wants to go back and reread Chapter One of my book Credentialed to Destroy. He would be so excited about the potential of an LMS, as would the Communists who used their then precious resources just after the Russian Revolution to translate Dewey’s work.

It’s all coming together now in earnest. Best to understand now or we will all be targeted by the Revolution at the Level of our Minds–the ultimate microsystem.

Intrinsic and Collective: Race and Restorative Justice as Visions to Upgrade the Brain’s Hardware and Software

If I have ever in my life said the trite phrase “may we live in interesting times,” I take it back. Hopefully, we are not all suffering too much from “What Next?” exhaustion because we have some interesting patterns of honesty peeking through all these released statements and visions that I am going to piece together. Especially since the visions predate George Floyd’s tragic death and the graphic visuals surrounding it and seem to have been waiting for the right incident necessitating transformative societal change as the remedy. There’s a new book coming out this summer called Narrative Change: How Changing the Story can Transform Society, Business, and Ourselves and its author pitches it this way:

Hansen reveals how narratives shape our everyday lives and how we can construct new narratives to enact positive change…Narrative Change provides an unparalleled window into an innovative model of change while telling powerful stories of a fight against injustice. It reminds us that what matters most for any organization, community, or person is the story we tell about ourselves–and the most effective way to shake things up is by changing the story.

On May 27 this article came out https://education-reimagined.org/getting-the-right-problem-before-getting-the-problem-right/ and systemic or structural racism can be considered the ‘right problem’ to generate the “kind of reimagining aimed at opening the door for real systemic change.” Except it was clearly written before Mr Floyd died. Its push for education to create ‘intrinsic’ change within each individual and thus generate a ‘we’ culture and society fits with so many of the statements issued after that video went viral and the protests, and then riots, began. It hypes ‘flourishing’ for all students as the goal of education, with an emphasis now on “What do we want for children we care about?,” instead of transmissive content acquisition. This new visionputs the emphasis on ‘possibility’ and new kinds of ‘created’ citizens:

The conventional K-12 system has learners spend about 14,000 hours in school. If our future selves are created out of who we practice being today, as both Aristotle and modern neuroscience tell us, then the habits and ways of being they practice in school will last a lifetime. These include habits of how students relate to themselves, their learning, and the world; and, habits of how they relate to others, co-create, and participate in communities.

That vision of thinking of education as a ‘design problem’ for the needed new hardware and software instilled in students as habits of mind fits right in with the following statements I culled to show the consistent, almost magical, drumbeat. From my alma mater, after a tie-in to the controversial SEL curriculum Facing History and Ourselves that has a tag already here at ISC, came the helpful nugget that “Education has the power to help us understand the most effective ways to discern what is needed and to do what is right.” Let’s classify that as a software adjustment, if not rewrite. https://education-reimagined.org/more-than-education-this-is-about-racial-justice/ makes the point that:

Calls to ‘say their names’–George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, David McAtee, Michael Lorenzo Dean–have been one of many pleas from the communities across this country for all of us to acknowledge the justified anger and frustration millions who have to live in a society where their rights to safety, justice, and equitable opportunities for success are not guaranteed due to the color of their skin.

Long sentence, but common skin color is the constant focus, never individual behavior or, more importantly, misbehavior. Those wouldn’t call for the desired transformations in other ‘hardware’ systems beyond the individual mind and personality. It wouldn’t merit “creating a learner-centered system that has social justice as its centerpiece.” Here’s one example prior to Mr Floyd’s death, before it could be added to the list of justifications for wholesale change. https://behavioralscientist.org/we-have-a-rare-opportunity-to-create-a-stronger-more-equitable-society/  told us:

there is nothing natural about disasters because their impact is the result of the way society is structured. Viewed from this lens, the goal of policymakers during the pandemic should not be to reactively restore the status quo. Instead, the goal should be to proactively restructure society, so we are all more resilient the next time disaster strikes.

Resilience sounds intrinsic and restructuring society certainly seems like the collective ‘we’.  To appreciate why the mind and personality may the foundations for the desired change, but they are merely the tools for changes to other ‘systems’ we have ChangeLab Solutions on June 3 informing us that:

Everyone has the right to be healthy. However, communities cannot be healthy if they are the target of racist policies. Unjust laws, policies, and practices have shaped the physical, economic, and social environment over many generations and perpetuated unhealthy communities. We must change the systems that perpetuate inequity and create new laws, policies, and practices that remedy the past and institutionalize fairness and justice so that all communities can achieve optimal health.

ASCD put out a statement on June 5 that they would be working with their “more than 80,000 education leaders from school districts around the country to ensure that education lays the foundation for the change that is necessary.” They are assembling resources

to help educators reflect on and address these challenges with their students; identify their own and their communities’ biases; and to assist them to find the words and learnings that enable them to help their students to makes sense of unconscionable murders and other, less visible forms of racism and bias…We will also expand the ways to support educators to provide them with more content focused on advancing equity…

Education Reimagined put out the statement that as an organization they stand with “Black Lives Matter” (the entity) and that they are

firmly committed to creating a socially just world by doing our part to transform the education system to one that honors each child and unleashes their power and potential to lead fulfilling lives. And we know a true societal shift will require the collective contributions of those committed to dismantling systemic racism.

Finally we had this statement from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education telling us that “white people need to go far beyond the usual lip service to racial justice.” No wonder everyone seems to want to get away from a transmissive vision for education with all these calls for wholesale change. Apparently “those of us who are white need to commit to…the humble work of allowing our views and sense of reality to be altered by what we hear.” At least as long as it is an authorized narrative that one is hearing and not that Mr Floyd had fentanyl in his body at the time of his death and tested positive for covid or that Michael Brown never had his hands up saying “Don’t shoot” and attacked a police officer instead according to uncontradicted testimony from numerous witnesses. Those kind of factual statements are currently the source of ire against a faculty member at Cornell Law School.

After telling us what we must come to recognize as white adults so that we will “recognize systemic forms of oppression,” whatever the actual underlying facts, the Making Caring Common Project statement pivots to the

crucial importance of talking about race and racism with our children. We need to raise our children to understand the history of race and racism in this country [using Big Ideas as lenses presumably instead of facts] and to recognize and fight racism in all its modern forms. That means talking to children in developmentally appropriate ways about why people are protesting and engaging children’s questions. It means explaining to them that at the core of a just society is the understanding that each one of us is responsible for all of us.

So tragic events and misreported narratives get used to pitch Uncle Karl’s undisputed vision for what he described as little ‘c’ communism on American school children as necessary to end structural oppression and systemic racism.  The hardware metaphor came from this May 20 post https://education-reimagined.org/the-long-lasting-hardware-every-visionary-district-needs-to-invest-in/ while Mr Floyd was still with us. Its vision to “design learning experiences that pique interest and cultivate discovery,” while abandoning “our singular obsession with curricular content” merited inclusion in the Black Lives Matter vision issued later and quoted above. I guess protests and ‘murders’ do pique interest. That article points out that curricular content is transactional, not transformative, and thus misplaces the fulcrum of what education can be leveraged to change. After all, there “isn’t enough information sharing in the world that will provide the force needed to launch young people into dynamic and fulfilling lives.”

Finally, one of the bibliographies from the last post referenced the 2019 The Little Book of Race and Restorative Justice: Black Lives, Healing, and US Social Transformation that caught my eye as I have attended Restorative Justice programs put on jointly by urban school and police departments. I knew the use of the program was an issue in Broward County when the tragic Parkland shooting occurred. I didn’t know that its author Fania Davis was Angela Davis’ sister nor how often she speaks to educators and at ed schools. She is apparently committed to the SEL practices I have described and the vision I termed Tranzi OBE in my book Credentialed to Destroy because she believes that “Western knowledge systems, based on an ethos of separateness, competition, and subordination, have contributed to pervasive crises that today imperil our future.”

Davis prefers “alternative worldviews that bring healing to our world.” Like what Making Caring Common has in mind? Probably as she wants a focus “on repairing and rebuilding in order to strengthen relationships and bring social harmony.” What I recognize as Uncle Karl’s vision for what he called the Human Development Society, the admitted CPUSA member attributes to the indigenous values of justice from Africa and its communitarian culture. As I have said before, same destination, but varying rationales and sales pitches. Fania’s book details all the dialogical, positive psychology, and holistic, intrapersonal practices she wants pushed by school districts. Fits right in with what was written above before there was any Pandemic or this year’s ‘murders’ meriting wholesale changes. She wants  practices aimed at “creating school cultures of care, connectivity, and healing.”

The last chapter was titled “Toward a Racial Reckoning: Imagining a Truth Process for Police Violence” with the following epigraph:

Behold the bright sun of transformation and a new beginning.

That strikes me as where schools and institutions want to take us now as a society, and as individuals. Already planned for and just waiting for the right visuals to light the wick of outrage so that only wholesale change at every level can be an acceptable remedy. We will come back to this in the next post as I am running long, but this is what Fania wrote in the 2019 book:

While the nation abolished slavery, the racial terror at its essence continues to haunt us. We are caught in history’s pain, living it again and again. Until we engage in a collective process to face and transform this pain, we will perpetually reenact it.

It’s been a while since we discussed ‘deliberative democracy’ but it still has a tag. Last week the OECD moved to institute it all over the world to take Democracy beyond the ballot box and create Innovative Citizenship.

I don’t think any of this is coincidental, do you?

 

Remaking, Remodeling, Redesigning, Reprogramming the Mind and Heart for Transformational Change By Fiat

One of the striking things in the last violent week here in the US and in the city I call home is how the sought remedies for the supposed Pandemic are also being touted as the remedies for the tragic death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. To get back to my specialty, the real agenda in education, those remedies require “Teaching to Transcend the Here-and-Now” where “whole-learner approaches…with explicit commitments to cultural responsiveness, trauma-informed practices, and restorative justice” can supposedly “support youth in reworking the kinds, of abstract narratives they create to affirm their lives, experiences, identities, values, decisions, and possible futures.” Those kind of ambitions give a great deal of impetus for the media and politicians to mischaracterize legitimate protests over a heinous act with organized rioting and looting, as well as concerns in certain states over continued lockdowns.

First, we have this statement from the Kellogg Foundation whose seminal work of what constitutes Evidence-Based Policymaking controls much of what gets required as the so-called Logic Model for desired changes in the student, how they think and feel, and what is likely to motivate them to take particular actions in the future. https://wkkf.org/news-and-media/article/2020/05/standing-together-for-racial-equity-and-community assigned the “resulting fury” to seeing the Floyd video to “the structural racism behind inequities” in every system. Then we get a link to the 100,000 deaths of COVID-19 where “the effects of structural racism are exposed on every screen” causing a need for “leaders in every circle, large or small, to raise their voices on behalf of our common humanity.” The remedy? “Commit to building the equitable systems that will safeguard children, their families and communities everywhere.”

So the phrase “structural racism” is definitely one of the Big Ideas that Teaching to Transcend the Here-and-Now would have students use:

As adolescents deliberate on big ideas, they come to recognize the salience of concrete problems and tasks that help flesh out these ideas [Think of all those images of burning covered by the media while the looting is more ignored]. As this happens, students’ concrete tasks take on a new urgency. Because students are invested in understanding the big idea or problem, they return to the concrete tasks with a new determination…[This lets students] begin shifting their dispositions of mind to see the allure and personal relevance of academic knowledge.

Let’s see what the well-connected Frameworks Institute, whose leadership also wrote this story recently https://ssir.org/articles/entry/advocating_for_age_in_an_age_of_uncertainty wanted to push as “Topic #11: Framing the post-pandemic economy.” Think of the economy as one of those systems Kellogg and other large foundations want changed fundamentally to create “equitable systems.” Frameworks stated:

The pandemic has created an opening to change the public’s perspective on what it means to have a good economy–and what role government must play in getting there…we need to lead a conversation about how to create an economy that serves everyone’s needs. We need ways to engage people in thinking about arranging our society and its resources in a just, inclusive way. The pandemic is a moment when change is inevitable–for better or for worse. We can and should use our communications power to shape this change.

I boldfaced the phrase ‘communications power’ because social scientists and politicians globally, with transformational change as their goal, view Communication as having two Equal Legs to dictate desired messages–Education is one and the Media is the other. Either has the power to create the prevailing concepts, images, and categories of thought that prevail among a majority of people. So when one wants to have students concentrate on Big Ideas, or the other to Highlight the impact of Policy choices, the words chosen matter. After all, as Frameworks noted, if we are to get to “a redesigned future”:

Talk about past, present, and future in equal measure–and connect them tightly. Show how past economic policy decisions are creating problems now, leaving more people more susceptible to harm than if our set-up had been different. Link economic decisions firmly to people’s lives and experiences. Explain, in clear, step-by-step fashion, how policies being considered now would help create an economic system that better meets people’s needs going forward…

Avoid language that suggests that the economy is a force that operates on its own. Natural metaphors like cliffs, waves, and aftershocks are likely to reinforce the idea that what’s happening in the economy is wholly beyond our control.

Take care, too, when translating economic date visualizations into language. Most people can’t picture–or don’t understand–graphs that advocates take for granted. For the public, talk of spikes and plunges bring a roller-coaster to mind. This undermines the idea that we can actively manage the economy.

Instead of highlighting the unpredictability of the system, emphasize the power of our response. Talk about what we can do, through policy, to manage disruptions to economic activity and to meet people’s needs. Explain how government decisions about the economy affect people.

I quoted that at some link not only to highlight the BIG IDEA that the Economy is a System that can be redesigned to equitably meet everyone’s needs, but also to show generally the power of big ideas and what words should and should not be used to instill the desired narrative in people’s minds. Here the Big Idea of a Pandemic, much like Structural Racism (another abstract big idea), “has pushed many people over the edge into hardship and harm. It doesn’t have to be this way. We face tough choices as we move through the COVID-19 crisis. But as we rebuild, we do get to choose. We can reprogram our economy to create secure employment, reduce poverty, and expand prosperity.”

See what I mean about same destination with different rationales and slightly different rhetoric? It fits too with what Reinventing Schools for Meaning-Making said was the “new research on connections between adolescents’ narrative building and brain development” that noted that “Adolescent learners thrive when provided an environment conducive to building strong, personal narratives that leverage the emotional power of big ideas and abstract meaning-making in the service of motivated work on concrete tasks and skills.”

When I was researching all those calls for Parrhesia practices to create the desired type of citizen for the future that requires a certain kind of thinking heavily linked to emotion I discovered that its author had also come up with another big idea phrase–Governmentality. That phrase combines the transformationalists’ need for strong governments at every level to force the desired changes with its need to also get at the prevailing mentality of each and every citizen. Sound familiar? It turns out visions like Portraits of a Graduate or Learner Profiles, as well as learning standards for desired big ideas and desired practices of behaviors and requisite new values, have been part of the plans for as long as there has been a widespread pursuit of equitable systems that will meet everyone’s needs.

Each individual’s (or at least most) mentality needs to be controlled to create “a specific understanding of the problems to be solved.” See how useful, although personally tragic for some, big ideas like White Privilege, Structural Racism, or a Pandemic can be for supposedly necessitating long desired changes? The specific understanding inculcated at the level of the mind and tied via emotion to the heart then works “in tandem with this, emphasis was placed on the understandings and constructions of the world that give rise to efforts to change it.” Now we have a view of government that shifts away from command and control, except apparently in Michigan and New York State at present, to get at the “optimal harnessing of these [human] self-governing capacities.”

For people, that means targeting their Knowledge, Skills, and Dispositions of Mind and Heart–an individual’s “capacities and potentials likewise had to be taken into account and optimised.” See what the civil rights call for Equity can do? The call for it in education simply mirrors the sought changes in “other systems” as Governmentality “also had to consider the relations between regulation of organic collective entities and the ‘microphysics’ of selves: the government of ‘each and all’ was to be one of its trademarks.” Isn’t framing or required conceptual lenses required via learning standards for all students just another way to get at a new vision of government that seeks to control mentality unobserved?

Central to the Foucaultian idea of mentality is indeed analysis of the ways of thinking about government — how problems and people are thought about, what solutions to problems are dreamed up, what ends are imagined as desired outcomes…The analytic of governmentality in this sense is concerned with surfaces–the words used to describe problems, the discourses in terms of which subjects are characterised, the categories that are used to explain policies…

Governmental mentalities are governmental precisely in the sense that they seek to shape the conduct of those things, events and subjects they wish to govern. They are in this sense intensely practical — they imagine the world as governable: problems are construed in ways that make them subject to practicable solutions.

Like Shelter in Place? A Redesigned Economy? Students Habituated to act in pursuit of desired instilled goals grounded in cultivated emotions to act as their motivation?

At least we no longer need to be mystified as to precisely why Knowledge came to be redefined as Concepts or a Narrative instead of a body of facts. Which gets us to a redesigned future with governments steering us all at every level?

Did I mention the quotes on Governmentality from the last part of this post were taken from a Research Paper published by an Australian Law School?

Gives new meaning to the phrase “Rule of Law,’ doesn’t it?

 

Parrhesia, Bill Ayers, Reinventing Schools for Meaning-Making, and Rewiring Teens’ Brains

Does that title seem a bit like a Jeopardy Question that starts with an unusual word and then leads to a notorious name for click bait? I wish, but Parrhesia is a Greek word that was in the last post’s paper on how John Dewey’s Ethics of Moral Principles and Deliberation were to be incorporated per IEEE Standards (no one was to tell us about) into the ‘adaptive instructional systems’ being touted as the answer for the Pandemic’s need to social distance. Until a Vaccine!! The systems of ethical deliberation becomes a component via required practices adaptive instructional systems incorporate into supplied student experiences. These are to “allow participants to safely engage in parrhesia.” No mention of “Guilty as *, Free as a Bird” Ayers yet, as the definition is a democratic mode of being, that is “an ancient Greek concept…[of] telling truth as one sees it with honesty and integrity…parrhesia qualities include engaging in dialogue, questioning, having a passion for public affairs and human equality. Parrhesia requires intellectual courage and risk-taking in truth telling and pursuits of inquiry.”

Ok, then the footnote goes to a paper by Kerry Burch on “Parrhesia as a Principle of Democratic Pedagogy” helpfully placed on US education websites with the heading “Social Justice: A Language Re/Considered”, which seems to be something we should know about before assuming digital learning is the answer to all our problems. It starts with quotes from Cornel West (whose self-professed ties to the Marxist Humanist vision we have covered here at ISC) and Paulo Freire, whose name is associated with rejecting the so-called Banking Theory of Education. Bill shows up later in the paper, but not by his nickname or standing on a flag in a New York Times article published just before 9/11/2001. No, here’s the passage:

Few educational thinkers describe the kind of democratic personality traits [Dispositions or Attributes of cybernetic citizenship or Character Education?] that need to be cultivated today as elegantly as William Ayers. These traits cannot easily be brought about by relying on the mechanistic knowledge ordained in conventional approaches to ‘learning’ about ”democracy’. Ayers’ charts a different course: ‘We want to teach them to take initiative, to be creative, to be imaginative, to take risks, to question authority, to wonder about the world. This means fundamentally, in a school system based on democratic values, we really believe that the full development of all is a condition for the full development of each.’

Ayers said that and the footnote goes to a Winter 2009 published interview, but Ayers is in turn quoting from Uncle Karl and his Human Development Society vision of the premise for his little ‘c’ communism ideal. No wonder the Chinese and the UN love this vision of cybernetic citizenship, but what a mandate for ‘adaptive instructional systems’ to be cultivating in students to prepare them for parrheistic modes of being. Sounds a bit like the call for an Arational mind that we have discovered lies at the foundation of what is really student proficiency in a competency-based system. When we think of ‘adaptive instructional systems” for K-12, who thinks it is something that would please Bill Ayers and fulfill Uncle Karl’s plans? Who will be looking for “how the buoyant sociality of parrhesia would promote the creation of critically awake democratic personalities”?

Another paper I located called “The Ethics of Critical Inquiry: Educational Research Informed by Parrhesia” attributed this push to notorious French philosopher Michel Foucault, who in turn talked about Aristotle. Which one gets cited later for a similar vision with differing sales pitches and rhetoric does not seem to be about any disagreement on what is being sought through education. Instead, I believe, the different approaches stem from which name the audience, including people being solicited for donations, are likely to revere. Parrhesia here is an attempt to “contribute to social good and bring about positive change” by fostering educational practices that will create “an ethos of disrupting human subjectivities from within”. That sounds a bit disruptive to the student’s personality, doesn’t it? The

early meaning was to open one’s heart and mind completely to other people through his or her discourse…Parrhesia … became associated with transforming the soul of an individual. Most importantly the concept developed political dimensions indispensable to democracy. Parrhesia meant to engage socially and politically as a consequence of integrity of the heart. It required one to courageously say truthful things that are useful for all to hear…It’s not a ‘body of knowledge’ but a ‘body pf practices’ without reference to an external order…It allows for mediation between the ethos of an individual and the well-being of society. In short, it is through parrhesia that an individual constitutes him/herself as a moral subject in relation to others.

Just the thing if a moral revolution is sought at the level of the human mind, heart, and soul as Uncle Karl envisioned. If you don’t want resistance create a need for digital learning because of something like a Pandemic and then mandate ‘parrheistic practices’ into the programming the learning experiences provided by ‘adaptive instructional systems’ offer up. Now before we turn to the latter part of this post’s title I want to link to this article https://behavioralscientist.org/behavioral-public-policy-faces-a-crisis/ on the failure to properly respond to COVID-19 which calls for cultivating minds that can “understand complex systems in crisis”. Since we keep coming across the behavioral sciences and their desire to create a new kind of educational template going back to the 1950s at least, I thought that article’s confession that:

Behavioral public policy is rooted in the idea that biases, heuristics, and mental models determine behavior. If you reframe or alter individuals’ decision making context, you change their behavior.

We now know that is precisely what learning standards like the Common Core in the US or any tied to UNESCO’s ISCED globally and competency-based education frameworks are designed to do. The Pandemic simply makes this desire for “shared frames of reference” for meaning-making supposedly necessary. It’s to be perceived as a crisis, like climate change, that necessitates common ways of looking at the world and what must be changed to meet the demands of the crisis. Individual deviations are not allowed. Yes, tell that to Shelly Luther in Texas or that barber in Michigan.

Timely too is that the May 2020 issue of Educational Leadership published by ASCD, which is now independent of the NEA, unlike in 1985 when it first introduced an internalized common core as I covered in Credentialed to Destroy. The issue is devoted to “Learning and the BRAIN” and one of its articles called “Building Meaning Builds Teens’ Brains” lays out how “Connecting adolescents’ concrete work to big ideas may help shape their neural networks over time.” Research for the article was provided by the National Science Foundation, which certainly explains why they also funded the math and science constructivism covered in Chapter 3 of CtD, and the Templeton Foundation. It would explain the latter’s funding of the Jubilee Centre in the UK and its Virtues curriculum, which we have since tied to the Pope’s new Humanity 2.0 initiative and its new vision for education. Templeton also funded Martin Seligman’s Positive Psychology and Positive Neuroscience work, among other things we have covered.

Remember so long ago here at ISC when I mentioned a new vision of Dialectical Materialism, a mouthful term, created in the USSR by Evald Ilyenkov called Ascending from the Abstract to the Concrete? We have now over time here at ISC tied to cybernetic designs, conceptual frameworks, and the now federally required assessment annually of Higher Order Thinking in virtually all US students. Now we have this new article informing us of the need for “Reinventing Schools for Meaning-Making”. What it bills as ‘narrative building’ by students certainly sounds like what the others described above suggested as parrheistic modes of being.

These curricular practices turn out to be expressly designed to rewire what the neural networks in teenage brains look like and what the students can do. In fact, by going to motivation, these practices act as an accelerant of future likely behavior. All of these intended interventions are probably helped by the co-authors connections that I have encountered in my research over time. Mary Helen Immordino-Yang shows up at both UNESCO conferences and Aspen’s NCSEAD on the need for social and emotional learning, as well as the NSF’s Brain Initiative. Perfect places to push a vision of education globally grounded in DiaMat that asks “How can we know when young people are building [brain networks]…predictive of success in school, self-actualization, relationship satisfaction, and other positive indicators in early adulthood?”

Think of the parrhesia invisible focus of ‘adaptive instructional systems’ and then ask the article’s question of “What kind of learning experiences strengthen connectivity across these networks?” Remember Bill Ayers’ mention of democratic traits above, which is why I bolded it? The ASCD article focuses on a similar target it italicized as dispositions of mind, which it goes on to say is not a new goal of education, citing to John Dewey among others. These are the stories or narratives the students tell themselves:

their inclinations to engage reflectively with issues and ideas, their tendencies to be curious and compassionate, and their proclivities to use what they learn to inform their emerging values…the patterns of thinking and feeling associated with these dispositions appeared to be influencing the growth of the networks of their brains.

Sounds like Parrhesia’s vision too, doesn’t it? That’s what education for meaning-making and tied to Big Ideas is targeting and it is what grounding adaptive instructional systems in John Dewey’s work also seeks to reengineer. No question about it anymore. This is not a peripheral aim and it’s not really about education per se. It’s education as a tool to reengineer at a neural level the citizens available for the global future. At the service of governments and their cronies.

As I will cover in the next post, it turns out that the stories we tell ourselves, and the concepts and categories of abstractions we use to interpret our daily experiences, are key to how we see the world and plan to act in it. Let me close with another quote from the EL article and just imagine the effect of the Pandemic on “The Stories Teens Tell” or at least what they will tell in the future.

…tying these dispositions to neural development, life success, and mental health gives this effort new urgency, and points us due north in an attempt to reimagine adolescents’ schooling. Evidence suggests that educators can learn to recognize, model, and support the development of these dispositions if they know what kinds of narratives to listen for and what kind of learning experiences lead to these patterns of thinking?

Now imagine the utility of standardizing ‘adaptive instructional systems’ in John Dewey’s work and Parrhesia will do for controlling the needed learning experiences to produce the desired ‘patterns of thinking’ and feeling for the new type of future citizen.

Gives new meaning to calls of May Day, May Day, doesn’t it?

 

 

Stealthily Weaving Cybernetic Citizenship at the Requisite Neural Level in the Name of Universal Well Being

Getting back to our theme of how useful this Pandemic Hype and the mandated shutdowns of schools, colleges and universities, and many businesses has been to the already announced global agenda for transformation, in March IEEE issued an edict that ‘adaptive instructional systems’–you know like the digital learning so many closed school systems have resorted to–needed to modified to add John Dewey’s Ethics of Moral Principles and Deliberation. Anyone who has read my book Credentialed to Destroy understands precisely the transformation Dewey hoped for with his reimagining of K-12 education, but the IEEE paper began with this epigraph from his book Ethics

Especially in times like the present, when industrial, political, and scientific transformations are rapidly in process, a revision of old appraisals is especially needed.

Italicized just like that so that these ‘online’ or ‘digital’ systems will be designed to incorporate “Moral principles or standards that provide a consistent point of view to be taken in ethical deliberation.” Now each student can practice the Knowledge, Skills, and Dispositions that they will need “for analyzing novel situations.” Like a Global Pandemic with a previously unknown deadly virus? Well, this high school English teacher certainly thinks so https://www.educationdive.com/news/coronavirus-the-definition-of-global-and-climate-curriculum/576322/ as he hopes for “a curriculum that leads to action and solidarity…as students see how true ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere’ really is.”

Nothing like these past two months of food insecurity and financial concerns to have a lasting impact on the children as they face a vision of education that wants to focus on:

the methods through which we seek to continuously determine what is good, what is of value, what should define our moral principles…As a pragmatist, Dewey’s interest was rooted in the importance of employing reflective, reflective, discriminate intelligence to revise our judgments as a result of acting upon them–what Dewey termed deliberation. Deliberation, Dewey asserts, includes the ‘reflections when directed to practical matters to determination of what to do.’ Through deliberation, our judgments are formed to redirect actions when habits fall short — particularly in the context of solving novel problems. Essentially, Dewey’s meta-ethics of value judgments derived from moral principles, and his notion of deliberation functioned as an iterative expression between thoughts and behaviors…

Dewey’s Deliberation then functions just like what Classical Education touts as the Good, True, and Beautiful or what is also termed Higher Order Thinking skills. Domain learning objectives, instead of actually being about history, science, math, or literature, become merely the avenue for “a continuous process of reconstructing experience that involves lasting adaptation of the learner.” Classes and online curriculum become, in this vision of education few are even aware of:

organs of initiation into social values. As mere school studies, their acquisition has only a technical worth. Acquired under conditions where there social significance is realized, they feed moral interest and develop moral insight.

Again, what could be of greater ‘social significance’ or involve more ‘practical matters’ that will “impact our perception of the world and how we interact with it,” than this pandemic, how it has been portrayed, and the shutdowns and their continuing, likely long term, consequences? Let’s pivot though from the changed function of adaptive instructional systems to be grounded in Dewey to another document with global aspirations (tied, in part, to Russian Pavel Luksha who we have covered numerous times here at ISC) to be found here https://weavinglab.org/ . We can all read that site and contemplate how the Pandemic impacts education to cultivate a need for Universal Well Being or what the constant refrains of “We are All in This Together” will do for the typical student being constantly exhorted to view themselves as Interdependent with the Collective.

Whereas, IEEE wants to make the focus practicing analyzing a novel situation where old habits fail, the Weaving Lab wants education to focus on how to “align people to shared notions of quality in daily practice (seeing that values are manifest in daily practice) [aka Action] and Helping your community agree principles that everyone will adhere to.” Hard not to think of the people descending on state capitols in still totally lockdowned states in the US or trying to get to a beach on a sunny day, while being told they will be punished for their defiance of official mandates with another month of lockdowns, and not think of this open admission of where education globally now wants to go. Honor political authority and its edicts. Respect the collective.

The Weaving Lab wants to make the focus what will this individual student and the adult they will become do in VUCA situations — Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous. Again like the Pandemic, where algorithmic answers will supposedly not suffice and Old Habits Fail. The Weaving Lab wants to create the mental conditions that support ‘collective action’ for ‘co-creating the future’. Nothing like the Pandemic and its shutdowns to fuel the kind of uncertainty to make students feel there is a need to co-create a different kind of future and imagine the “new ecosystems you want to bring about.” The Weaving Lab again was created before the Pandemic, but the Pandemic hype creates the incentives for transformation Luksha had already laid out in numerous papers I have written about. It reenforces at a turbocharged, visual, emotional level, the need for the New System being sought.

Just imagine how the Pandemic hype functions if students are to be “developing yourself through intentional inner-work” and the remedy curriculum for the stress of the Pandemic is Mindfulness Practices? The effect of a One World broadcast with lots of celebrities when there is a desire to have students “seeing the interconnectedness of the system and seeing yourself as part of the system.” Creating students who are “willing to change your mind, behaviours and approach” and shift their emphasis in schoolwork to “developing and paying attention to your inner compass to navigate your way in the world.” That ‘inner compass’ reference, like the North Star emphasis we saw with Valor Collegiate Academy that the Chan Zuckerburg Initiative funded, covered here  http://invisibleserfscollar.com/lucrative-deceit-managing-consciousness-by-conjoining-social-media-charter-schools/ is a cybernetic concept.

So is the Learning to Train Ethical Thinking that IEEE seeks to have incorporated invisibly into adaptive instructional systems. It’s why this paper I saw last week on “How to Make the Perfect Citizen? Lessons from China’s Model of Social Credit System” really caught my eye as it laid out a model of ‘cybernetic citizenship’. Precisely the purpose of how learning standards and competency frameworks really work under my analysis. In looking for the described paper, which was revised in April in light of the fact that the “Covid 19 crisis has triggered a new wave of digitalization of the lives of citizens,” I located this January presentation in Berlin http://global-citizenship.eui.eu/event/how-to-make-the-perfect-citizen-redefining-civic-virtue-in-chinas-social-credit-system/ that makes it clear that this vision is tied to a reimagining of governance globally and the areas for control over individual citizens using education and cybernetic principles. The Berlin presentation’s funding also usefully tied to the creation of PISA and the DeSeCo Framework that I covered in my book.

In other words, once again, we find education being used as a tool for the kind of internalized transformation of morals and ethics Uncle Karl said would be necessary for his Human Development Society (Universal Well Being seems like a good euphemism for the same vision) and John Dewey helped flesh out the blueprints for. We also have a great deal of attempts to mislead us about what is going on. I appreciated that paper’s authors being upfront that the Social Credit System China wishes to enact (with more precision than they were able to control bat virus research) is actually a cybernetic vision that “blurs the distinction between law, economics, and morality.” Just like education grounded in learning standards mandates these days, when those ‘standards’ are properly understood.

If a state-mandated Portrait of a Graduate or Learner Profile, like China’s Social Credit System, lays out a vision that “citizens ought to have certain qualities to sustain social order and harmony” or to drive desired future transformation to a New System as we saw above, these visions of what the student should be are also grounded in a cybernetic vision and an entirely new understanding of what citizenship is in the 21st century. China is being upfront about this aim (if about nothing else). Education systems elsewhere in the world, especially in the West, are using a new vision of education, cybernetic methods,  an emphasis on the collective, and a reenvisioning of the individual without being upfront about it. We are also subject to “new possibilities to reconceptualize citizenship” that the Pandemic is being used to shift into high gear.

What is student-centered learning grounded in social values but an attempt to assess and then change each student’s Purpose? Why does that matter to so many school or district mission statements these days? It gets at what is necessary to create Cybernetic Citizenship, which is less visible than a serf’s collar but every bit as constraining to future choices. Here’s the definition from the How to Make the Perfect Citizen paper.

In general, the field of cybernetics is concerned with understanding systems of control and communication–how humans and machines communicate with one another. It is premised on the idea that goal-directed entities such as animals, humans, and machines cannot only be understood in mechanical terms but should also be comprehended in teleological terms, that is, explaining behavior in terms of ‘purpose’. These entities are conceptualized as ‘systems’ in the sense that they are assemblages of parts (e.g., databases, surveillance cameras) in greater wholes. and have relatively stable boundaries. Cybernetic systems have an internal, corrective feedback mechanism, which makes use of sensory inputs to change a behavioral output; governing is perceived as a purposive action, a goal-directed behavior.

Do you know what another word for goals is? Standards. Learning standards properly understood prescribe how to turn students into the desired cybernetic systems that they are capable of becoming with the right kind of prescribed learning experiences. They become the desired citizen of the future with few parents or taxpayers recognizing the wholesale shift. They certainly don’t grasp it is the same principles the Chinese are using with their Social Credit System or the same methods admittedly totalitarian governments use on their citizens.

We need to understand how all these aims work together now that the Pandemic has acted as an accelerant. Only knowledge lets us see how to get control over these levers of change that are being used. Only accurate knowledge, not prescribed frames, conceptual lenses, or approved narratives, can intervene in this scheme to get children, and plenty of adults as well, to think the world must now be transformed into a new system to control the risks of a VUCA future.