I have looked at the ready-to-go lessons on racism and hate and the attempt to make the SPLC (Southern Poverty Law Center) Teaching Tolerance curriculum mandatory in all classrooms. In the comments to the previous post are plenty of links to the cited materials and one observant comment on how often the letters are signed with a reference to solidarity. If I go back and relink we will not be able to move forward into a unique discussion of how I believe this all fits together and how fall 2017 is more than the beginning of another school year. I have written about the UN’s Dignity for All by 2030 campaign that essentially calls on governments and institutions at every level to create and direct an economy and society based on meeting human needs. I usually shorthand it as the MH vision because it was Uncle Karl himself a long time ago who laid out the conditions for what he called little ‘c’ communism way back in the 19th century.
Guess What? Any student starting Kindergarten or PreFirst this fall with then 12 years of schooling will graduate in what year? I’ll admit I did a graph to doublecheck my calculation and the answer is 2030. How coincidental. What’s more we have the new federal education law kicking in with its prescriptions and most of the state plans are pitched in terms of what the personal characteristics of the student should be when they graduate from high school. Sometimes with the name of Learner Profile, Graduate Profile, or Portrait of a Graduate.
One of the articles being pitched for what Charlottesville should mean http://behavioralscientist.org/charlottesvilles-battle-human-nature/ was written by the editor-in-chief who just happened to now live in Charlottesville. He was previously at the same U-Penn hatching Positive Psychology and the PERMA Positive Education template we have covered. He even worked with psychologist Angela Duckworth in her lab. You know as in Grit and Perseverence, the Character Lab, the Growth Mindset Scholars Network, and the Science of Virtues?
That was just from the top of my head. Nesterak concluded that troubling article with this line: “In the battle for human nature, behavioral scientists have a pivotal role to play. They can and must help people understand the people we can be.” That’s certainly a reason for K-12 education to be about implementing the findings of the behavioral sciences, isn’t it? With nary a head’s up, much less actual consent. Let’s go back and discover that a 1998 book called Curriculum, Religion, and Public Education: Conversations for an Enlarging Public Square laid out the need for education and a new type of ‘democratic dialogue’ to create what it called the ethic of solidarity and italicized just like that. Remember this as you see constant references to #Charlottesville Conversations.
Also remember that just after that call for the ethic of solidarity we had this confession: “Education, like religion, is about the transformation of consciousness. Students entertain doubt, while teachers foster faith in human discourse and intelligence. In the process, individual and social transformation occurs.” Earlier in that essay, the author had defined something he called the ‘common faith’ and it is America’s ‘common faith’ that the curricula mandated after Charlottesville seeks to dramatically shift, to something more amenable to the desired MH society by 2030. The ‘common faith’ is “those beliefs, assumptions, and myths that provide the ‘glue’ for a society.” In other words, we mustn’t let the actual physical remnants describing in real time why the Civil War was fought and what its carnage meant to the survivors. The desired narrative should provide the ‘lenses’ or filters through which the past is seen. Notice that is precisely what all those letters and lesson plans intend to do. (My bolding)
“But what is to stop this ‘community of difference’ from devolving into warring factions? It is at this juncture that this ethic of solidarity enters the discussion. Solidarity has two essential features. First, it grants diverse social groups enough respect to listen to them and use all ideas when considering existing social and civic values. Second, it realizes that the lives of individuals in differing groups are ecologically interconnected to the point that everyone is accountable to everyone else. No assumption of uniformity exists here-just the commitment to work together to bring about mutually beneficial social and civic change.”
When I read an old passage like that and recognize it is currently being forced into reality, it’s hard not to imagine people who honestly do believe they have waited long enough for change they have been taught is their due. They must simply regard it as a burden others must now bear. In the last post we discussed how the City of Boston had laid out its intent to transition to the MH vision in the name of Resilience and Racial Equity. Another Resilient City, Dallas, helpfully mentioned its intention to adhere to the Kellogg Foundation “Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation” Framework. Since I happen to know that the new ESSA evidence-based regulations rely on a Kellogg Foundation Logic Model on Achieving Outcomes first created about the time of that 1998 book, I decided to locate the TRHT Implementation Guide issued in December 2016. It was the result of at least a 5-month process so President Trump is not the leader it hoped to have in the White House.
Before I start to quote what this vision is, I want to point out that SPLC is a listed partner of the TRHT so the Teaching Tolerance curriculum is a component and planned tool as well. On the Thursday, August 10, before the permitted “Unite the Right” march on Saturday, August 12, led by a former Obama Organizing for America enthusiast who had a conversion epiphany in January just after the publication of that Guide, the SPLC issued a Campus Guide to the Alt-Right. Really helpful and suspicious timing, huh? What is it that TRHT wants to do? Just what most college campuses, the Dignity for All by 2030, Resilient Cities, and others all say they seek as well. TRHT
“will help communities across the US embrace racial healing and uproot the conscious and unconscious belief in a hierarchy of human value that limits equal access to quality education, fulfilling employment, sage neighborhoods and equal housing opportunities, while honoring tribal access to equitable resources and quality health care. Unless the central belief system that fuels racial, ethnic, and place of origin inequities is challenged and changed, societal progress cannot be sustained over time.”
Changing that central belief in every US classroom is precisely what #Charlottesville Conversations aims to do and what learning standards like the Common Core make so much easier. Poor Heather Heyer. I wonder if she had any idea what the broader implications were of what was going on in Charlottesville that day or the powder keg that needed to be ignited. Nesterak after all stated that the “battle for human nature was about who we are and who we can be…it will continue online and in the streets, when Charlottesville is replaced by the next city.” The social trasformationalists need that next city to supposedly propel the Resilient or TRHT vision of “a new day, one based on a common humanity for all communities?” That vision needs a new form of education to get at “centuries of this [racial hierarchy] belief system [that] have consciously shaped our individual thought patterns.”
Here is an italicized MLK quote from the Implementation Guide which helps explains all the interest in turning students at all levels into Social Change Agents.
“Time itself is neutral; it can be used either destructively or constructively. Human progress never rolls on the wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts…We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always right to do right.”
Charlottesville accelerated that timetable and is attempting to make the desired changes in individual thought patterns mandatory now for all students in all schools in every community. Just what the MH vision by 2030 needs to stay on its announced schedule. Poor Heather. TRHT Frameworks for Action and Guiding principles and Plans for Resilience probably thought they would get awful graphics from the tikitorch march and fighting to ignite the needed mandate. Now they have martyrs and students determined to Remember Charlottesville even though they are never to actually grasp its real significance or their needed role as change agents.
Or the function of time to implement all these plans finally.