Pandemic’s Utility as a Massive Shared Meaning Making Tool to Force Widespread Systems Thinking

How many of us recognize the current widespread school and higher ed cancellations and switch to online and virtual learning as fitting with the education template various global institutions are pushing called the Libre process of digital pedagogies we covered in the last post? Never let a crisis go to waste, indeed. If you read as many global plans and conference materials for using education to force change as I do, it is hard not to notice that the word ‘pandemic,’ like man-made climate change, has long been considered a tool to force the desired sense of interdependence and communitarianism. Here’s a quote from a 2019 paper https://www.wise-qatar.org/2019-wise-research-learning-ecosystems-innovation-unit/  that makes the desired shift explicit:

The starting point must be around the holistic development of living in a better world–to be changemakers. I am convinced that ecosystemic approaches are necessary to move from mechanistic education systems to learner centric ones…It is clear that education needs to become an avenue through which global society will overcome the challenges, gaps and barriers we have created: the digital divide, the growing economic and social inequality, religious, ethnic, and cultural divides, and the extreme ecological pressures we are placing upon the Earth…An active search is underway for new ways of learning and new organizational forms for education that will be consistent with the emergent social and economic reality. In such a context, perhaps it is unsurprising that inspiration for change is sought from biological, as opposed to mechanical, analogues.

A biological lens is certainly easier to practice with during and after a global hype of deadly pandemics, isn’t it? Here’s another quote from that same paper that again fits where we are all suddenly being forced to go:

Across the globe there is a growing consensus that education demands a radical transformation if we want all citizens to become future-ready in the face of a more digitally enabled, uncertain and fast changing world…As learning frameworks outlining ambitious global agendas for inclusive education and lifelong learning begin to emerge, and as societies become more connected and intertwined, it is becoming clear that society has a collective role to play in equipping people to create meaningful futures, through lifelong learning.

Deriving from the field of evolutionary biology, an ‘ecosystem’ is a community of interdependent organisms acting in conjunction with the natural environment…This type of ecosystem comprises complex, evolving networks of organizations including think tanks, foundations, governmental and global agencies and others who are consciously connecting to facilitate the sharing of new knowledge about education and learning, innovation, funding opportunities and more. It is largely concerned with building the global shared knowledge base, scaling innovation and enabling the better use of resources and opportunities to tackle shared global learning challenges, not only within but between networks.

What is meant by a ‘global shared knowledge base’ we might ask and how does that tie to ‘shared meaning-making’ via common global learning standards? It reminded me of the requisite ‘systems thinking’ push over the decades that I first covered in my book Credentialed to Destroy and have since found in recent federal statutes and a new vision of Regulatory Governance pushed by a New Zealand professor, Jeroen van der Heijden, that has made its way here   https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3531381 for broader dissemination. It helpfully (with italics) pointed out  the need for a shift from:

thinking of systems as something ‘out there’ –an ontological approach –and systems thinking as a tool that helps us to think about reality–an epistemological approach.

The kind of conceptual learning frameworks I have covered repeatedly on this blog that require a common understanding to become widespread (that the Soviets also pushed as Ascending from the Abstract to the Concrete) fits right in with what that paper above covers as “Regulation and Soft Systems Methodology (SSM)”.

SSM requires a careful understanding and defining of the system at hand–known as ‘root definition’. Defining the system and the problem it seeks to address is best done by a variety of individuals and organizations from within the system. In short, the definition includes the basic transformation a system seeks to achieve (T), the worldview that provides meaning to this transformation (W), system ownership (O), system operators (A), the customer or target of the system (C), and the environmental constraints of the system (E)…After establishing the root definition–again, done in a deliberative process with a variety of individuals and organisations from within the system–conceptual models are developed to actualize the stated aims (C). These conceptual models then must be compared with the real-time, real-world situation to define possible and feasible changes.

In late February in the US a paper came out called “Changing Expectations for the K-12 Teacher Workforce” that laid out such Conceptual Models as the new kind of knowledge all teachers are to develop–Deeper Learning. Reading the paper it is impossible not to recognize that without a deep and broad knowledge base that comes from being well read with an Axemaker Mind, the typical student, and the adult they will become, is not in a position to know whether the required Conceptual Models fit with reality or not. What a useful means of covert regulatory governance by governments at all levels and the institutions that serve as their cronies and proxies. It all fits perfectly with this SSM, 21st century global vision, of “regulation as a (cybernetic) system of control” where people and the organisations they are a part of can be:

configured in relation to each of the three components of a cybernetic system: that is, at the level of standard-setting (whether behavioural standards are ‘simple’ /fixed or ‘complex’ /adaptive) [Common Core/Competencies!], information gathering and monitoring (reactive or pre-emptive) [formative assessment and continuous improvement], and behaviour modification (automated or recommender systems) [aka Learning!]…

A call for applying systems thinking to a regulatory problem is a call to focus on the emergent behaviour of a collection of parts and their interactions as they ostensible relate to that regulatory problem…systems thinking sets boundaries to delineate what is relevant and what is not–such boundaries are often operational rather than spatial. Systems thinking introduces a set of concepts that help to map, explore, interrogate and give meaning to a complex problem at hand.

Finally, let’s quote from yet another paper being linked to globally on what learning standards and a transformed vision of education is really intended to do. It is by Ervin Laszlo’s son Alexander from 2014 and came out of ISSS’s 57th meeting on the meta-theme of Curating the Conditions for a Thrivable Planet. Called “Connecting the DOTS: The Design of Thrivable Systems Through the Power of Collective Intelligence,” it sought (with italics in original) systemic leverage points for emerging a global eco-civilization. Number one leverage point? The

centrality of meaning-making to human activity systems–at both individual and collective levels…This meaning-making drive brings us together…[it creates] a community of interest–around systems perspectives and approaches; a community of practice–around the application of systemic ways of thinking/ doing/ being; and a community of place–that sees and appreciates the interdependence of a globally interconnected world.

As we self-isolate in the coming days and weeks, let’s remember that creating a common vision and vocabulary for meaning-making is a prerequisite for the desired transformational change–first, at the level of each individual, but then also in broader political, social, and economic spheres. Notice how often the rhetoric is looking to foster, at both a visual and emotional level,  those very communities of interest, practice, and place needed for transformational change for a different type of collective future. Notice how the release of a new virus from Wuhan China somehow gets used to reenforce the desired changes at an internalized, personal, level that global education conferences have been laying out graphically and with explicit transformational rationales for about a decade.

What a fortuitous kickstart as long as we remain in the vast majority of this planet that will probably not get seriously ill or even know someone who has.

Timely, isn’t it, with only a decade left to the declared finish line of 2030.

Driving Behavioral Change by Building a Different Kind of Brain Circuit in Students: Unity for Our Strife-Driven World?

Let’s finally get to the end of the Trilogy on Enactive Cognitive Science which is not really about how human minds work. It is about how the human mind can be made to work when immersed repeatedly in the ‘right-kind’ of experiences. As we will see, virtual reality and digital technologies are seen as a Godsend to aspirations that go back to 1932 Congress of the International League for a New Education in Nice, France stating:

The current crisis calls for a worldwide concentration of all the efforts made towards a renovated education. In 20 years, education could transform the social order and establish a spirit of cooperation susceptible of finding solutions to our present problems. Only an education that completely redefines the relationships with the children can start a new era, freed from the ruinous competitions, the biases, the concerns and miseries so characteristic of our civilization.

That aspirational quote from the past was in an insert from UNESCO’s MGIEP publication Blue Dot, Issue 8 (July 2018), article called “Learnification: Encouraging Learning Through Video Games” that also informed us that:

Education can no longer mainly be focused on reproducing content knowledge; it evolves too fast, and has never been so broadly shared and so easily accessible. Educational success is now more about what people are able to do with what they know, how they adapt and how they behave. It is more about being versatile, about constantly adapting and constantly learning and growing in a fast-changing, hyper-connected world.

A renovated education needs to balance content knowledge and understanding with skills that help students extrapolate what they know, and with curiosity, motivation, and socio-emotional intelligence that will teach them to consider the wider implications of their actions, and to act mindfully.

I found that issue because to a cited author in this India Today story from a few days ago https://www.indiatoday.in/education-today/featurephilia/story/how-a-global-citizenship-curriculum-could-create-the-empathetic-citizens-we-need-in-future-to-save-the-world-1642944-2020-02-03, Professor Duraiappah, also wrote the lead-in called “Technology: A Game Changer in Education”. Today’s title came from the article’s aspiration to use  a new curriculum to “to incorporate MGIEP’s socio-emotional learning framework titled EMCC or EMC2 and aims to build empathy, mindfulness, compassion and critical inquiry in students.” Sounds complementary to the Right Brain planned dominance covered in Part 1 of this Trilogy, doesn’t it?

With proper socio-emotional training, children understand how to deal with their emotions better. Apart from building emotional resilience, they effectively learn how to control their behaviour and relationships with others.

SEL training focuses on the core personality traits of students and develops them into wholesome human beings rather than specifically targeting subject-knowledge.

Moreover, SEL can serve as a proactive measure to prevent mental health illness, reduce stress, anxiety, depression and impulsive behaviour.

Why do we need a Global Citizenship Curriculum?

“Global citizens can be described as lifelong learners, who possess the critical consciousness to drive ‘active citizenship’, to recognize the inherent interconnectedness and dignity of all life, and instill the values of acceptance, equality, respect for diversity, empathy and compassion,” explains Prof. Anantha Duraiappah, Director, UNESCO MGIEP.

Now, it is not possible for students to suddenly transform their behaviours. Thus, the curriculum needs to be created in a way that can train the students and drive behavioural change by building a different kind of brain circuit.

Building a different kind of brain circuit. Hard to get more explicit about the real purpose of learning standards and global competency frameworks than that, is it? Here’s a bit more and think Axemaker Mind as a metaphor for what must be changed by the planned curriculum delivered in a virtual environment by digital technologies.

This means that the usual way their brains worked in certain situations would need to be changed via extensive training to build both intellectual and emotional intelligence. This is the kind of transformation that the Global Citizenship Curriculum aims to bring.

“MGIEP’s Global Citizenship (GC) curriculum is designed to inculcate such behavioural change. It advocates that it is not enough just informing students about why one must be a global citizen but to also inculcate the competencies of understanding the ‘other’ and doing concrete action to foster global citizenship,” Prof Duraiappah adds.

Going back to that earlier article from the Blue Dot, it ended with the aspiration that:

Education needs to change in order to prepare the future generations not only to thrive as individuals, but also to take up the incredibly complex challenges humanity as a whole will face in the near future. We need a renovated education system to save the world. And, as counter-intuitive as it sounds, we might need video games to save education.

Before we cover all these plans for manipulative virtual reality environments some more because of the planned experiences to create new neural Habits of Mind they can provide, let’s look at two more books that also cover the crucial effect of experience: The Biology of Belief and The Embodied Mind. As the first book cited put it:

I call it the belief effect to stress that our perceptions, whether they are accurate or inaccurate, equally impact our behavior and our bodies…[a] whole new field of research called behavioral epigenetics [whose] mission… is nothing less than to figure out how nurture shapes nature…Here, nature refers to gene-controlled characteristics, and nurture refers to the influence of a wide range of life experiences, from social interactions to nutrition to positive mental attitudes.

So when another Blue Dot article on Virtual Reality in Education tells us that “Pedagogically, these types of interactive VR display systems can offer major advantages over other visualisation media, because of the engaging, immersive and interactive (active rather than passive) nature of the learning experience they create,” we need to recognize this as the manipulation of experience that it is. In fact, MGIEP notes that it “collaborated with Google to develop several 360-degree expeditions,” which again matters because Google is also the Vatican’s partner in using education to achieve Humanity 2.0 and was the developer behind Search Inside Yourself from Post 1. All of these see VR and embedding SEL within its experiences as a means for “transforming education for building peaceful and sustainable societies. It [MGIEP] sees immersive experiences such as VR as an integral part of SEL for our younger generations as they face 21st century challenges to build a peaceful and sustainable planet.”

The Biology of Belief provided this succinct explanation of the role of experience without regard to how the concept can be turbocharged for manipulation via VR and immersive digital environments that include what parents have been told are simply ‘digital textbooks’. Look for the Immersive Experience could be the warning label!

The same epigenetic influences also continue after the child is born because parents [and then educators] continue to influence their child’s environment. In particular, fascinating new research is emphasizing the importance of good parenting in the development of the brain. ‘For the growing brain of a young child, the social world supplies the most important experiences influencing the expression of genes, which determines how neurons connect to one another in creating the neuronal pathways which give rise to mental activities.’

The bookwent on to urge parents to act as ‘genetic engineers’ to provide the right kind of environment to “activate the genes to develop healthy brains,” but as the Blue Dot cover story “A New ‘Digital Ecosystem’ for Whole Brain Learning” made clear, parents are no longer to be the primary ‘genetic engineers’. From the article with the same co-author as cited by India Today above:

To summarise, new digital learning environments engage students in ‘real world-like’ interactions forcing them to use multi-sensory ways to learn. Resources from technology can provide access to multiple simulated environments and virtual reality experiences in novel situations, enabling students to experience the real-world relevance of their learning. For instance, learning platforms facilitate building skills of collaboration and communication. Similarly, digital games have emerged as a novel methodology to teach and assess both prosocial behavior and socio-emotional skills. The digital gaming scenario lends itself rather appropriately for SEL since it allows stealth assessments in real-world scenarios and opportunities to intervene and remediate them when necessary.

Who do you think evaluates such a necessity and whose vision lies behind the Learning Trajectories for remediation? As usual I am running long, but imagine the uses of this recognition that “genes are shaped, guided, and tailored by environmental learning experiences” when tied to digital VR student environments and remediation tied to global learning standards and frameworks. The Biology of Belief illustrates the role of environment and experience by pondering the effect on Liza Minnelli of being raised not in Hollywood by her “superstar mother Judy Garland and her father filmmaker Vincent Minnelli,” with its highs and lows of stardom and abuse, but:

If Liza had the same genes but was raised by a nurturing Pennsylvania Dutch farming family, that environment would have epigenetically triggered a different selection of genes. The genes that enabled her to pursue a successful entertainment career would likely have been masked or inhibited by the cultural demands of her agrarian community.

Masked or inhibited. Now imagine the effect of all this planned role playing in virtual reality with the provided student experiences grounded in how “the actual connections among ensembles of neurons change as the result of experience. In brief, these ensembles present us with a self-organizing capacity that is nowhere to be found in the paradigm for symbol manipulation.” That latter is a quote from The Embodied Mind, which recognized that:

it makes no sense to speak of brains as though they manufacture thoughts the way factories manufacture cars. The difference is that brains use processes that change themselves–and this means we cannot separate such processes from the products they produce. In particular, brains make memories, which change the way we’ll subsequently think. The principal activities of brains are making changes in themselves.

I am going to close today’s post on how neuroscience can create the very needed experiences using digital technologies to alter how most students brains will be wired. Many such changes have already taken place and such neural transformations go to the very essence of what learning standards tied to data standards seek to alter.

Such neural transformations that go to the dialectical nature of brain activity in conjunction with its environment, whether natural or artificial, are the essence of what stakeholders all over the world mean when they proclaim the upcoming Sustainable Future. It is why “it will be necessary to use performance-based assessments as manifested in behavior” that cross-check what students do in ‘novel situations’ instead of what they know from the past or how the world works in external reality now.

As usual, I am glad we know what is planned for us and our children, even if it is not particularly pleasant. If experience alters neural wiring in meaningful ways, knowledge of these plans helps us retain the ability to still act as ‘genetic engineers’.

 

Eradicating the Axemaker Mind via Schools to Supposedly Promote Global Flourishing

Welcome to the 2020s! This is the Decade where Governments all over the world intend “to act as an instrument of the common good” and use the schools to rewire students’ brains so that they are more amenable to the plans political leaders have for us in the 21st century. I wish this was fiction or just a theory of mine, but it is not. I certainly was not going to write about this during the holidays, but there were quite a lot of white papers put out in December on this point, and being the careful researcher I am, I then followed up on the books and papers cited in the footnote and here we are. This is not a one shot post, but the beginning of what has become a well-documented armada of coordinated initiatives to use schools to cultivate “positive attitudes and activities” so that students can “develop the inner means to handle distress themselves when it arises. In other words, we should aim at a society in which people have the inner resources to flourish.”

About the same time those words were published in the inaugural 2018 World Happiness Policy Report presented at the World Government Summit in Dubai, a retired MIT professor, John Ehrenfeld, submitted his vision of “Flourishing: Designing a Brave New World” to she ji, a journal of design and innovation, asserting that “Flourishing is possible only when the right brain hemisphere is the master, but balanced with the left. The ultimate goal of every designer should be to foster flourishing…For humans, flourishing requires (1) restoring the supremacy of the right brain through direct practices, for example, mindfulness training, and (2) re-designing institutions and artifacts to enhance presencing: the perception of being connected to the contextually rich surrounding world.”

Well, that got my attention since the actual classroom practices now tied to learning standards all over the world fit with what Ehrenfeld wrote would be needed to make the right-brain dominant. I have school mandates under Positive School Climate prescribed materials that turn out to be renamed cognitive behavioral therapy practices. I poke familiar names and find books like Super Better: A Revolutionary Approach to Getting Stronger, Happier, Braver, and More Resilient that plan to use digital learning virtual reality and videogames to Hardwire the Brain via “repeated activation of specific neurological circuits that train the brain to be motivated by challenge, rewarded by feedback, and more resilient in the face of temporary failure.” Use the fact that “neurons that fire together, wire together” to create digital learning experiences to hardwire “cognitive habits that lead to lifelong success and psychological well-being.”

If “Schools are the primary place where the values of a culture get instilled in young people” and the materials quoted above and conferences like Learning and the Brain repeatedly declare that the ‘instilling’ is to be neural, we need to think about the implications of poems like the following created as part of the Search Inside Yourself e-book “Practice Kindness” created for students in honor of World Kindness Day.

Kind hearts are the gardens,

Kind thoughts are the roots,

Kind words are the blossoms,

Kind deeds are the fruits.

The new way for governments, political leaders, and their cronies to control behavior in the 21st century is not overt coercion, but by controlling the inner psychology and the practices and experiences known to instill desired neural and cognitive structures. Let’s get back to how Ehrenfeld laid out the how and why, but never believe his is a voice in the wilderness. Instead, it is entirely an accident that I came across his article while following up on something else and, using my experience from writing what is detailed in my book Credentialed to Destroy, recognized how his prescriptions for right-brain dominance were already enshrined in what has been misleadingly labelled as the Reading and Math Wars. Right Brain Dominance “can create a pull towards a different kind of future.” A future where the focus is no longer on the individual as those of us located in the West have always believed, but on the collective and its supposed needs. That shift needs to get at “the way we hold reality” itself and shift it to focus more on empathy or caring.

Think about all the changes in the nature of education and the new purposes of schools and higher education as you read this Ehrenfeld quote:

With new understanding of how the brain functions, the root causes can be traced to an imbalance between the two cerebral hemispheres. Modern culture is the product of the left-brain dominance, but flourishing can arise only from the opposite: the mastery of the right over the left. The challenge ahead is to reverse this through design and practice…Only the right connects to the [world as it is, with its rich context] , and can produce empathy and enable authentic caring…A key to increasing authenticity is the ability to delay or stop the left brain from taking over–that is, to remain in the present moment…Mindfulness offers a possible way to maintain the attentional stance of the right.

Now all the hype about bullying, where mindfulness practices are held out as the remedy and we happen to also notice that the trainer for the teachers does New Age Buddhist retreats on other days of the week, make far more sense. In fact, in Super Better, McGonnigal notes that “mindfulness meditation, for example, has been measured to have quite similar physiological benefits as casual game play…game play is a way to learn to control our attention–which is one of the primary aims of Buddhist practice!” Neuroscientists have shown that attention is a necessary component for neural rewiring and certain kinds of practices make the emotional side of the brain dominant. Here’s the sought practice beyond mindfulness training under “Reflective Practice”:

Reflective practice is a general label for the interruptive process by which experience can be embedded to the brain as part of learning. Reflective practice in design is driven by direct experience (right-brain) [virtual reality counts as direct!], rather than the mere application of abstract, general rules (left-brain). In terms of the divided brain model, reflection is the process that new experiences, under the control of the right brain, are passed over to the left hemisphere.

How often now are we hearing hype about students needing Whole Child instruction in controlling emotions to “develop five skills: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills. All correspond to right brain activities.” Those of us who have ever had a child in an IB Program who were paying attention know we got almost as tired from hearing hype about “Inquiry Learning” as we did from the “Are you an IB Learner?” question. Now we discover that Inquiry is a right brain activity and Lecture is a Left:

Science is the paradigm of the left brain at work. Conversely, pragmatism is based on paying persistent, broad attention to the whole system and creating new understanding; it depends on holding the left at bay. Meaningfulness, or pragmatic truth, is not to be found in the abstract, left-brain, self-consistent, world of science. It is to be found in the real, right brain, phenomenal world…Pragmatic inquiry is a method that keeps the right brain engaged over extended periods in order to capture the dynamic, context-dependent character of complex systems…Presencing is a form of attention, which exploits the right brain’s attributes of breadth, persistence, and exploration/creativity. Presencing restores context to the external world that has been lost while the left-brain was dominant. Such context is necessary for flourishing.

Presencing looks at the world as a domain for acting and transforming. The focus becomes on what could be, instead of what is. Now that we have covered this desired rewiring, in the next post we will cover how this new right-brain vision of what it is to Understand in the 21st century is “not about cognizing a pre-given world, it is about becoming aware of and consciously choosing the aspects of the world we decide to cope with.” That quote was from a paper featured last week in a newsletter I receive and was written by a member of the American Society of Cybernetics. It fits with what the Father of Positive Psychology and Positive Neuroscience who presented at that World Government Summit says should be the new focus of Models of the Human Mind.

Are we going to be Driven by the Past and the dominance of the left brain or shall we make the focus of education “Navigating into the Future”? No, we are actually not the ones who get to design that future. It gets selected for us and then hardwired into our brains neurologically so we can “draw on experience to update” our choices and then act accordingly based on our “needs and goals” that have also been the aim of Right-Brain focused education.

It truly is a Brave New World once we read certain influential journals and look at the programs being put on at the certain well-attended conferences. No need to theorize about this coordinated effort at all. Just review the documentation. At least that is still possible for those of us for whom the left brain remains dominant.

Here’s to the Axemaker Minds who are not yet left to accepting an offered narrative of where education is really going and why it must be changed.

 

 

Collective Cognition: Stipulating Right Thinking and Prescribing Prevailing Ideas to Defeat Polarization

Never heard the phrase ‘collective cognition’ before? Wouldn’t creating required learning standards and then assessing for their presence in guiding a student’s thoughts and actions amount to learning How to Think as a Community? After I wrote last week’s post, but knowing we were about to pivot next to something called the Hidden Tribes Project, I was fascinated to read the bio of the co-author of this recent article https://behavioralscientist.org/the-cognitive-science-of-political-thought-practical-takeaways-for-political-discourse/ where Professor Sloman admits that the cognitive, linguistic, and psychological sciences can be used to create Collective Cognition. If only some ultra-rich person would bequeath mega-millions to his employer, Brown University, to set up a Center to create models for K-12 education reforms.

Think of the Hidden Tribes Project as what to do about the adults whose minds and values got away when earlier versions of K-12 education reforms, like outcomes-based education, failed to shift as desired away from subject-content to changing:

the ideas that give your life direction. And the answers fit together into a larger picture–what we call a ‘worldview,’ a way of understanding and making sense of our world. Your worldview determines (consciously or unconsciously) how you interpret and respond to everything in life. This is why it is so important to begin thinking about your worldview and the ideas you believe to be true…develop a worldview that influences everything you do.

That is a really useful definition of worldview and why, I believe, we have found it as the aim of what my book laid out as Tranzi OBE from the 90s, and what we are seeing as Portrait of a Graduate or Learner Profiles now. It’s why learning standards globally carefully lay out the desired elements and seek to prescribe the ‘learning experiences’ that will create the characteristics at an internalized, physiological level. The Hidden Tribes Project, clearly related to the same aim but geared to adults and located at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, stated that its “focus is to better understand the forces that drive political polarization and tribalism in the United States today, and to galvanize efforts to address them.” I found the Project after it was hyped here in July https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/what_are_the_solutions_to_political_polarization and I recognized the links to both Seedbed of Virtues and the 1997 “A Call to Civil Society”.

George Will, in his Soulcraft book, kept using the same term “Better Angels of Our Nature” so let’s look and see how ‘our nature’ can be reengineered with education reforms and other social science projects. After all, one of the co-authors of the June 2019 More in Common report “The Perception Gap: How False Impressions are Pulling Americans Apart” is tied to the Templeton-funded Positive Neuroscience initiative at U-Penn that is also tied to the World Happiness Reports the UN has taken to publishing. If he states that “in coming years I plan on continuing to use the tools of social science to improve human interaction and society. Through teaching, speaking, researching, and writing, I hope to do my part to help humanity realize the best possible version of itself,” we would be wise to listen.

Humanity is so grateful, I reply with my usual sarcasm. Hopefully such aspirations and scholarship in “studying how social context in various populations can impact people’s moral judgment and behavior…” will get Mr Yudkin tenure somewhere. According to the 2018 “Hidden Tribes: A Study of America’s Polarized Landscape” the “work of rebuilding our fractured society needs to start now” and it needs to occur at the level of each person’s values, attitudes, and beliefs. This will allow “re-connecting people across the lines of division in local communities all the way to building a renewed sense of national identity: A bigger story of us.” More in Common believes that “a healthy democracy…requires a sense of shared values and commitments, and a willingness to find common ground”. That desired answer to polarization and tribalism, a desired standardization at the level of “mind, heart, and soul” for all citizens, young and old, requires deliberately targeting:

At the root of America’s polarization are divergent sets of values and worldviews, or ‘core beliefs’. These core beliefs shape the ways that individuals interpret the world around them at the most fundamental level. Our study shows how political opinions stem from these deeply held core beliefs. This study examines five dimensions of individuals’ core beliefs:

  •  Tribalism and group identification
  •   Fear and perception of threat
  •   Parenting style and authoritarian disposition
  •   Moral foundations
  •   Personal agency and responsibility

This study finds that the hidden architecture of beliefs, worldview and group attachments can predict an individual’s views on social and political issues with greater accuracy than demographic factors like race, gender, or income.

So education at every level and the media, whether broadcast, print, or websites of various supposed spectrums, need to get at and change that hidden architecture. To uncover and understand core beliefs, and “explore how this understanding can be used, not to deepen polarization but to bring people together.” Does the coordinated effort to pretend that the Common Core was about workforce preparation or a database of personally identifiable information about students instead of an effort to change those prevailing values, attitudes, and beliefs suddenly make more sense? What if I told you that the initial indented quote on worldview came from something called the Lightbearers Curriculum from Summit Ministries that I found after a Daily Caller article this summer made a reference to something called a Blue Sky Worldview and a camp to create it? What if the same article simultaneously misrepresented socialism and asserted that Marxism is only what was found in the past in Communist countries or is what Bernie Sanders pushes?

Let’s just say our False Narrative purveyors were well-represented among the advocates for this curriculum that also seeks to control “what ideas will rule the world” and provide “guidelines for shaping society for everyone’s benefit”. It is a curriculum intended for “endowing [the student] with the responsibility for shaping the future of the world.” Theoretical Marxism, the non-historical kind that is a theory of Man as a Maker of History seeking to drive a transformational process in the real world, would recognize that aspiration as bringing about what Uncle Karl called the Human Development Society. It is still the same theory even when the M word is not used and the sales pitch is the need to “redeem culture as part of God’s creation.” Worthy aspirations and a theological emphasis do not change the nature of this theory or who created the idea of how to get such a theory into practice (Praxis?).

Calling it “faith in action” instead of praxis, or opining that “without action, students may relegate what they are hearing to dry academic philosophies and not realize that these ideas should become part of their lives on a daily basis,” doesn’t distinguish aims that function the same with comparable purposes. So religious based or classical schools want ideas embodied into action as an integral part of the curriculum to create Desired Habits and Behaviors and so do public schools now as part of learning standards and what is called High Quality Project-Based Learning. See what I mean about going to the same place and targeting the same normative realm in each student?

Tranzi OBE, in function even if now euphemized into a myriad of new names, still is in play if the curriculum actively seeks to tell students they should be change agents and

stop being conformed by the ‘water’ around them, the culture they were in. Rather, they should be transformed by renewing their minds. The idea behind the word ‘transformed’ is that of metamorphosis–changing into something different. While conformity to the world is something that happens passively, being transformed is something that happens actively. Conformity just happens, but transformation requires effort. Transformation only happens through mind renewal, changing the way you think.

I bolded that last part from the Lightbearers Curriculum to call attention to a discussion in the comments from the last post when I said that the predecessor to the Common Core was something in the 90s called the New Standards Project. Before Professor Lauren Resnick helped create that initiative, she called her curriculum a Thinking Curriculum to be grounded in HOTS–Higher Order Thinking Skills. Stipulated Ideas would dominate so that the real world perceptions would be controlled by Desired Ideas and Theories of What Could Be. The Soviets in 1962 called this a new kind of Dialectic Materialism that would allow a transformation of the existing world via a theory they called Ascending from the Abstract to the Concrete.

Its ideals still work the same today whether pushed on adults to supposedly bridge a Perception Gap and create a Convergence to defeat Polarization, or on children via mischaracterized learning standards and Thinking Curricula.

All of these advocates recognize that changing how we think leads to “transforming our behavior” in predictable ways. If anyone wants to prescribe “the basis of our decisions and actions,” as these various NGOs like UNESCO or the OECD, faith-based institutions, think tanks, or any other institution have explicitly said they wish to do if we know where to look, we should all be aware that has become the new purpose of education and the goal of much of what is broadcast or published by the media.

I suppose I should be grateful my book and then this blog set off such an orchestration of False Narratives. The deceit left the crumbs that enable us to see the common vision. Everyone seems to want to get at what we believe and feel in order to control how we will behave.

And it has nothing to do with training pigeons except that once installed in our neural circuits via cognitive psychology, we will be programmed indeed.

 

 

Regard the Past, Perceive the Present, Imagine the Future, and Then Act for Transformation

Ironically, the first part of that title came to me while I was taking a break from research because one of my favorite historical series had published a new novel. Set in Tudor times, the author’s desire to have past events interpreted in a way that altered how the reader would regard similar efforts now was unmistakable. The story had taken on a normative purpose that reminded me of current pushes around the ‘cooperative commonwealth’ or Morality-as-Cooperation. In other words, the author was trying to manipulate adults in much the same way as learning standards and required conceptual progressions intend to manipulate our children, while their brains and personalities are largely still malleable. Both purposes go to creating (or rearranging) what is called the ‘sociological imagination’.

Both fit with what C. Wright Mills called ‘The Social Scientist’s Task’, exemplified by this quote I found when discovering that in 1995 the news media was asked by philanthropic foundations to rethink its role and begin to consciously impact public opinion and policy to advance social change objectives.

Men and women in a mass society are gripped by personal troubles which they are not able to turn into social issues. They do not understand the interplay of these personal troubles with the problems of social structure.The knowledgeable person [College, Career, and Citizenship Ready!] in a genuine public, on the other hand, is able to do just that. He understands that what he thinks and feels to be personal troubles are often also problems shared by others, and more importantly, not capable of solution by any one individual but only by modifications of the structure of the entire society. Men in masses have troubles, but they are not aware of their true meaning and source; men in public confront issues, and they usually come to be aware of their public terms.

Very useful then for anyone desiring transformational social change so we had the media going to Brandeis https://www.frameworksinstitute.org/assets/files/PDF/open_letter_foundation_community.pdf where they “joined public interest advocates and service providers in examining the power that media holds to set the public agenda. By choosing which public problems demand our collective agenda, the media shape the public agenda which, in turn, shapes the policy agenda.” Just as we saw with think tanks  in the last post, and as we can see in higher ed (MIT specifically) recently in this series https://shass.mit.edu/news/news-2019-ethics-computing-and-ai-perspectives-mit , all these institutions regard their 21st century mission to be the “reengagement of American citizens in common ground problem solving.”

That mission requires common goals and shared meanings, which is precisely what competency-based education creates. Adults get the news or as this document from last week http://frameworksinstitute.org/assets/files/unleashingthepowerofhow-anexplanationdeclaration.pdf states:

It is imperative that, as a field, we examine the way we define and use narrative to ensure that it delivers the social change we seek…For a communication to act as a story, some one or some thing must act, or be acted upon, and thereby propelled towards an ultimate result…human interest stories are insufficient to drive change. While the human brain is attracted to tales of episodes in other people’s lives, the civic body is distracted by them. In contemplating close-up portraits of affected individuals, the broader landscape of systems and structures is readily ignored…when considering the plight of an individual, the human mind exaggerates the protagonist’s agency, focuses on individual choices, and blames outcomes on individual frailties rather than broader factors. In this way, human interest stories reinforce dominant paradigms of individualism and dampen attention to policy issues or other collective actions.

Reenforcing my belief that there is a common blueprint across all these institutions that acts as the rudder for the desired change starting at the neural level of each individual, we have MIT literature prof, Mary Fuller, at the link above telling us that Stories now can serve as “Conceptual meeting spaces for thinking together.” She must be able to identify with the need for media, educators, and think tanks to supply explanations, narratives, and stories to build up ‘shared understanding’ and ‘explanatory chains to make implicit assumptions explicit’ to avoid the apparently horrific alternative that the “public might otherwise fill in with their own thinking” as the Frameworks Institute put it above (p.10).

No wonder federal law now insists students must be assessed at least annually to ensure they are using prescribed concepts and categories of thought when presented with unfamiliar situations or problems that have no single, algorithmic answer. As Fuller put it:

Stories allow us to model interpretive, affective, ethical choices; they also become common ground, conceptual meeting places that can serve to gather very different kinds of interlocutors around a common object, We need these. Computer science alone can’t shoulder the task of modeling the future, understanding social and global impacts, and making ethical decisions.

Computer science comes in because those MIT profs are asserting what Uncle Karl would have recognized as his Human Development Society vision in the name of Artificial Intelligence and the new morality and collective action it supposedly compels. As “The Tools of Moral Philosophy” essay makes clear, AI will create problems that, like Climate Change, cannot and should not be “solved by individual action.” No, instead we need:

systemic change [where]…it will be vital to put in place social and institutional structures that support, encourage, and guide ethical behavior. One responsibility that falls on us as individuals is to work toward political conditions in which it is possible for us to live and work more ethically.

Bonus points to everyone that recognizes that those new political conditions require a rejection by both students and enough voting age adults of the status quo. For that it is helpful to have think tanks, the media, and education institutions, from preschool to the Ivies, asserting that education be about values and character, with content that is largely conceptual and designed to create what Wright called a ‘genuine public.’ As that 1995 Strategic Communication for media paper put it when they quoted then Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich, all these institutions have now been told that:

the core responsibility of those who deal in policy…is to provide the public with alternative visions of what is desirable and possible, to stimulate deliberation about them, provoke a reexamination of premises and values, and thus broaden the range of potential responses and deepen society’s understanding of itself.

For students, that examination may be occurring in a school or higher ed institution being forthright about its desire to foster a mindset for deep social change and the motivation to act to bring it about. Other parents thinking the have exercised choice in rejecting ‘progressive change’ and John Dewey may seek out religious schools, charters, or Classical Education without an awareness that most also seek transformative change. That really struck home to me when I read the “Safeguarding Our Humanity” essay from a Chemical Engineering prof at MIT who wanted to redirect education so it “would guide our lives in a direction that truly makes us better” by “Redirecting our thinking from an education focused on a particular discipline to an education that liberates our minds and allows us to investigate our true situation with the whole.”

In his view in the age of AI with its (purported) potential to be ‘the greatest existential threat,’ we should completely change our approach to education and “start to think carefully about what is important about human life. This means redirecting our thinking from what is merely advantageous to what is genuinely good, from a blind belief in efficiency to a considered understanding of what is the best in human life.”

Education, the media, think tanks, and philanthropy have united with politicians of both parties to use all the arrows in their quivers to control what determines “what comes to mind” and then what the human mind believes will be the problems and solutions to what it perceives. As one journalist put it with a great deal of arrogance: “we have some obligation to ensure that the citizenry has a clue of what’s going on.” In education we get prescribed what is called Whole Person Learning (WPL) with a similar goal where education is to be transformed so it is “not only a process to know more or better, but as an exercise to be better.” By whatever name, this transformative, outcome-oriented vision wants to be student-centered and personalized to create “an effective stimulation of imagination (to escape from the prison of their current definitions of problems), while inducing a genuine internalization of responsibility (avoiding passing the buck to one or several other stakeholders) and enhancing the obligation of action.”

I will close with a link from a paper cited by Frameworks in its Explanation of How paper to this https://haasinstitute.berkeley.edu/changing-our-narrative-about-narrative which seeks to create what it calls Narrative Power by immersing “people in a sustained series of narrative experiences required to enduringly change hearts, minds, behaviors, and relationships.” That’s what prescribed learning experiences to fit with the CEDS–Common Education Data Standards–also seek to do for students. It fits with the moral compass and social pillars we keep encountering from schools being hyped by school choice advocates.

Think of something like CEDS or its international peer–the ISCED–as creating what Rashad Robinson called narrative infrastructure. It has to be in place at a level like the human mind so the shift is both inevitable and invisible. We keep encountering the same underlying template of internalized affective, cognitive, and conative (what is sought or willed) change because all these institutions, whatever their sales pitch to parents, seek to “change the rules of society–our society’s operating system–and shape society in the image of our values.”

It seems that these shifts are everywhere because we are dealing with goals for transformation that are “just as much about changing the rules of cultural production..as they are about capturing normativity.” That can only happen if the desired changes in values, attitudes, and beliefs are prescribed by law (if you know where to look) and imposed “through social and personal spaces that aren’t explicitly political or focused on issues, but are nonetheless the experiences and venues through which people shape their most heart-held values.”

The March through the Institutions meant ALL institutions and, as Credentialed to Destroy laid out in great detail, the reading and math wars were never actually about how to teach reading or math.

It’s about controlling what comes to mind, heart, and ‘moving feet’ for social change.

 

Snuffing Out the Old World That is Dying to Hatch a New One Via Public Policy

Building on the last post’s explanation of the importance of targeting people’s internalized mental maps to effect external change, let me cite this recent article https://www.alliancemagazine.org/feature/systems-change-and-philanthropy/ on how crucial it is for foundations to support “reframing the narratives people hold” because of the necessity that people be “mirroring internally what is sought externally.” Did you also know that the National Science Foundation is pushing something it calls CHANS–Coupled Human and Natural Systems–research as part of its Social and Behavioral Science work currently? That research wants to model and control human decision-making, just like UNESCO as we saw in a 2018 post on creating desired Anticipatory Assumptions that the Rockefeller Foundation was funding. It turns out that “fuzzy concept maps (FCM) are potentially very useful in modeling human decisions and behavior in CHANS.”

So the NSF and UNESCO want to target what is internalized to control decision-making and say so. No one who looks at their work and funding would disagree that it aims at a transformative vision to a human well-being centric future. Let’s skip over to Classical Ed or religiously oriented schools, since they are often asserted as the alternative to the Godless and Progressive public schools. https://members.classicalconversations.com/article/book-review-norms-nobility makes it clear that education is all about the “person education should produce (norms) and the way this person should act (nobility)… education [is] preparation for virtuous thought and action,” but the instilled virtues that guide who the person is, what he values, how he perceives, and what motivates him to act are not up to the individual. The community supposedly decides what will be instilled and practiced until it is an unconscious habit.

My point is that there is a convergence in the vision for education in the 21st century between Left and Right that is rarely being shared accurately with the public. If something called Agile Governance globally is all about controlling each individual’s knowledge and beliefs in order to aid declared public policy goals and we have “State Capability, Policymaking and the Fourth Industrial Revolution: Do Knowledge Systems Matter?” laying out the need to “change the nature and meaning of knowledge production and use in policy decisions” using think tanks across the globe, all of a sudden we have the best explanation yet of why there has been so much deceit and False Narrative coordination coming out of think tanks when it comes to what is really going on in education.

If we envision think tanks in the 21st century as both the executioners of the old vision via their White Papers or testimony that create a certain perception of what is currently wrong, and the midwives guiding the birth of a new vision, things start to make far more sense. Then aspirationally quoting Antonio Gramsci, without pointing out he wrote from prison in the 1920s for being an admitted Communist, and noting he “has described a situation like this as a ‘solstice’ and an ‘interregnum,’ where the ‘old world is dying, [but] the new one has not yet been born'” fits the Midwife role. It also turns out there is something else at U-Penn beyond AISP, Positive Neuroscience, prospective psychology, and the other transformative social systems research we keep encountering. It is called the Think Tank and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP) and it publishes a Global Go To Think Tank Index Report on the “role policy institutes play in governments and civil societies around the world.”

Sure enough, we find so many of the think tanks that pretend to be ‘conservative’ while misrepresenting competency-based education, social and emotional learning, data initiatives, or deceiving readers about what Marxism is being celebrated by the Index for their effectiveness as think tanks or having one of the Best Advocacy Campaigns of 2018. If the new purpose of education globally is to create a planned citizen with the characteristics of altruism and motivations governments and connected corporations desire, it makes sense to be targeting what they clearly are:

all aspects of what it means to be human: feelings, intuition, connection to others and the cosmos, as well as the more familiar ground of the mind and intellect. Whole Person Learning is intimately linked with how the individual sees themselves and, supremely, how they view others.

That is what has now become a matter of ‘public policy’ to change. That’s what it means to declare that in the 21st Century Knowledge and Education are “global public goods” and that think tanks are to act as the “intermediaries” between legislators and bureaucrats and ‘advocates’. Anyone motivated to act must be guided in what they believe and value. In this new paradigm for education grounded in public policy:

Instead of focusing on the improvement of students, Education must start focusing on the improvement of the world, enabling each individual to be an active part of that process…Indeed, learning is not the ultimate goal of Education, seeing that individuals learn in order to attain/create useful, desired goals. Specially in a time of relentless possibilities created by technology, which creates the scenario for people to learn, work, and exist in a close yet heterogeneous network, individuals may now be empowered to learn and attain great goals with local/national/world impact.

That would certainly explain the convergence of visions around controlling what a student’s Identity is and what they value, believe, and what principles motivate them to act. How many people appreciate that these skills of active participation in a project of transformation in the human and natural worlds is what it means to be a Critical Thinker in the 21st Century?

Sure enough, if students are being educated to become critical thinkers, it is aimed at serving a higher purpose still: that these individuals become equipped to devolve into active, participatory agents in the world–of work, surely, but also of their surrounding (and our global) community. This is possible since critical thinkers are prone to approaching common public challenges with a hands on conduct ignited by an ethical and committed attitude.

That vision of education creates the needed ‘citizens’ to fit with a global vision for the 21st Century that “with effective multi-stakeholder cooperation…the Fourth Industrial Revolution has the potential to address–and possibly solve–the major challenges that the world currently faces.” What is necessary to this vision of the future? –“a population that can think critically and in interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary ways.” Precisely what the Disciplinary Core Ideas, Cross-Cutting Concepts and Topics of those instilled Fuzzy Cognitive Maps are creating. No wonder US federal law requires Higher Order Thinking Skills to be assessed annually on at least 95% of each state’s students. It’s a necessary component of this global transformative vision of what it means to be a citizen in the 21st century where Knowledge Systems must evolve so that “Governments have the opportunity to design policies to prepare the knowledge systems of the future to make better decisions for the wellbeing of all.

I bolded that last part because it is what Uncle Karl called his Human Development Society vision where little ‘c’ communism would be enabled by a certain level of technology. It is also called Marxist Humanism, which I have documented is another area where certain colleges, publications, and think tanks have made a concerted effort to mislead. Few can recognize what no one has accurately explained to us, Plus, creating False Narratives to guide human decision-making apparently gets a think tank recognized as Effective. That State Capability paper tells us that “Both citizen and professional knowledge are important to successful implementation [of the 4IR/Human Development/Wellbeing of All vision]; ignoring them weakens the potential for success.”

Well, neither is being ignored, but the targeting of both is not being accurately explained either except here at ISC. Going back to all the misinformation out there now from think tanks makes it clear that the disinformation is being manufactured in what appears to be a coordinated manner in order to “influence or change the system’s purpose, which is the level of intervention capable of instituting the most profound change in the system.” Student-centered, personalized learning that is brain-based and evidence-centered sounds so much better than that long quote and works the same way, doesn’t it? No need to get parents all upset by referring to students as ‘systems’ that need a new form of Governance at an internalized level in order to get the desired transformation in the external, material world.

Do you remember my research on the Global Education Futures Forum and GEFF’s ties to the World Economic Forum? GEFF’s true focus makes more sense when we are familiar with the January 2018 White Paper “Agile Governance: Reimagining Policymaking in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.” The need to transform education globally goes hand in hand with a need for “positioning values that promote societal benefit and well-being as priorities for governance.” And what precisely does governance now mean if that’s the new vision of education in the 4IR?

In its simplest form, governance refers to making decisions and exercising authority to guide the behavior of individuals and organizations…The concept of agile governance aims to shift the manner in which policies are generated, deliberated, enacted and enforced in the [4IR]…to enable policy-making that is more inclusive and ‘human-centred’ by involving more stakeholders in the process and allowing for rapid iteration to meet the needs of the governed.

References to the Governed are straight out of a 1971 Soviet book called The Scientific Management of Society that I covered back in 2016 when I introduced my readers to the term they used for such comprehensive management at the level of the mind and personality–Upravleniye. Hello again old friend with a new name and sales pitch.

No wonder that WEF White Paper pitches what looks like what governments in the West are now calling evidence-based policymaking (while certain think tanks mislead about its true nature) where:

The combination of systems and design thinking provides an iterative and cumulative learning process by exploring a complex and fast-moving ecosystem, sensemaking [using FCMs?] of observed variables, and shaping of possible outcomes, while analysing the influence of those outcomes on the status quo…Adopting system and design-thinking approaches fosters a shift from planning and controlling to piloting and implementing policies to get rapid feedback and iteration…Feedback loops allow policies to be evaluated against the backdrop to determine if they are still meeting citizens’ values and needs.

Those would be the deliberately instilled values and needs created by a new singular vision of education in play under the Common Core in public schools in the US and in charter language or school mission statements for those parents opting for School Choice. The deceit makes more sense now, as well as the very term–School Choice–in a vision of education designed to get at the internalized basis for human decision-making as an invisible lever for social control.

All this to enable, without scrutiny or effective challenge, a vision of the 21st Century where think tanks and governments get to specify “the outcomes we should be striving for as a collective endeavour.”

No wonder all these visions push the community as the determining source of what the individual must now be.

Unified Human Sciences of the Mind: Learning Standards Prescribe Desired Neural Patterns

Nothing like being at a journey’s end, when all of a sudden fireworks explode that remind us why it’s a good thing we have made it here. We will talk about the fireworks shortly, but what I saw in that “Developing Resilient Agency in Learning” paper from the last post made me sit back down with my copy of Neurophilosophy: Toward a Unified Science of the Mind/Brain from 1986. I wanted to rethink the manipulative potential of prescribing student goals or ‘performance expectations’ (PE) that go to ‘standardizing’ the fact that we humans are the “lucky organisms fitted out with cells coordinating representations of the world with movement in the world” as Patricia Churchland put it in italics. Churchland went on to quote Dominick Purpura from 1975 in a Chapter Epigraph to her book’s Conclusion stating that: “What we require now are approaches that can unite basic neurobiology and behavioral sciences into a single operational framework.”

Learning standards tied to CEDS in the US, or UNESCO’s ISCED framework globally, are creating that long-sought operational framework. Key to those aspirations is prescribing those internalized representations of the world. Sense-making was one of the perimeter nodes of that Learner Profile spider web we met in the last post per the Mindful Agency paper. It used the term ‘sense-making’ to combine two factors: “(i) making meaning and (ii) making connections” and stated:

Sense-making is a core part of learning, and…learning takes place through making connections in several ways: neurological, social, cognitive and experiential. People understand the world through schemata–‘a cognitive structure that consists of facts, ideas and associations organised into a meaningful system of relationships.’ It is through constantly comparing existing schema with new information and understanding that we develop through our encounter with the world, that we  adapt or stretch our existing understanding to accumulate richer and deeper knowledge…our understanding of the world and relationships is not just through storing information as an ‘objective’ entity. We do not passively receive information from our environment–rather we translate information into internal representations whose value is significant.’ They [human beings] actively participate in the generation of meaning in what matters to them: they enact a world’. Sense-making is, for them, a relational and affect-laden process grounded in biological organisation.

That was a long quote so we could go back to what was simply as aspiration and a theory decades ago and then forward to real time classroom instructions now. Then we get the fireworks in the form of last week’s release of http://fabbs.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/BRAIN-Initiative-FABBS-presentation-FINAL.pdf called the “Opportunities for the BRAIN Initiative 2.0.” Phase II or 2.0 turns out to be “Transforming dynamic neural patterns into understanding cognition, emotion, perception and action.” How does that happen? Here’s one current example from http://learndbir.org/resources/A-Phenomenon-based-Assessment-System-for-Three-dimensional-Science-Standards.pdf  It explains that the desired student “Performance Expectations are endpoints. To successfully prepare students to meet these goals, instructional materials must provide learning materials at the nexus of these three dimensions” of Science and Engineering Practices [the outside action], Core Disciplinary Ideas, and Cross-Cutting Concepts.

Those latter two strands go to creating the desired internalized ‘schemata’ for students’ sensemaking. ALL students. Suddenly science becomes a sociocultural “enterprise organized around asking questions in the natural world and seeking to build theories and models to develop answers to those questions.” Engineering becomes a matter of design “beginning with problems, needs, or desires of human beings that need to be addressed.” We would recognize three-dimensional learning as cultural activity theory, even if it did not admit it openly in all these papers. Its focus is on “Learning what is not yet there” because its purpose is on transformative learning that will create a different future via reimagined human activities. Recognizing that Professor Churchland taught in the 80s hotbed of cultural-historical activity theory–San Diego–complete with translations from Soviet psychology works I checked to see what ISCAR was currently pushing and pulled up Roberta Patalano publishing “From the Cradle to Society: ‘As-If’ Thinking as a Matrix of Creativity.”

Remember all the ‘uncertainty’ pushing from the last post, and now the Performance Expectations, that somehow get at coordinating Professor Churchland’s inside and out dimensions? It’s all what Soviet research stipulated would be necessary to create new kinds of minds that would act in new ways in the world. Let’s look at one more current exercise http://stemteachingtools.org/brief/46 from March 2017 called “How to define meaningful daily learning objectives for science investigations.” Uncertainty creates affect-laden ‘understanding’ just as I bolded above in that block quote. It warns teachers that “displaying the target concept to be learned–the disciplinary core idea that is to be the focus of instruction–‘gives away’ what students should actually be figuring out as they make sense of phenomena by engaging in the science and engineering practices.”

In case anyone thinks I am exaggerating on wanting to affect future action, let me quote that “Investigations should help students construct understanding. The framework vision [remember that Purpura quote] is about students seeing that science and engineering practices are ways that can help them make sense of and change the world. Students should be deciding together what they need to investigate each day, based on what they’ve already figured out and what they need to learn to explain or design. They shouldn’t know the outcome of an investigation ahead of time.” Explicit instruction as in a lecture or textbook would “short-circuit deep learning.” PEs require that “Students should be able to say what they are trying to figure out in their own words–and come to use formal science terminology once they have gotten a feeling for it after multiple investigations.”

That would explain why those of us with solid factual knowledge in an area see misapplied concepts, or Inapt Metaphors, as students use terminology they “have a feeling for,” instead of a solid foundation grounded in facts. Such a body of knowledge might interfere with an aspiration to change the world. What these prescribed concepts and learning experiences are doing though is creating internalized schema in the student’s mind. Precisely where all these learning and cognitive scientists and education researchers are trying “to invent and perfect new concepts suitable to nervous system function, and they all have their sights set on explaining macro phenomena in terms of micro phenomena.” We get a new kind of education breaking out in earnest in the 1980s when Patricia Churchland wrote, and Lauren Resnick began pushing the now required Higher Order Thinking Skills, where the traditional logical, sequential representations that had traditionally been the purpose of instruction get replaced by a neural network combining ‘patterns of activity’ with provided categories of thought.

The three-dimensional learning required now and laid out as Mindful Agency are grounded in what psychologists theorized would be necessary to create New Kinds of Minds as Paul Ehrlich put it in a 1989 book I have warned about. Now to the fireworks as that BRAIN Initiative link had a header that said “NSF SBE Grand Challenge Ideas.” What’s that I ask? I remember the NSF funded all the controversial, ‘discovery’ math and science curricula? SBE turned out to be Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences and the SBE 2020 vision was launched in August 2010 https://www.apa.org/science/about/psa/2010/08/challenges when a Paul Ehrlich colleague, John Holdren, (whom he mentioned in thanks in his book, New World, New Mind) headed the White House office that oversaw the NSF. That’s one way to fulfill that book’s goal of Conscious Evolution, isn’t it?

I started reading those SBE 2020 papers over the weekend and found the link to the Krasnow Institute and its Neuroeconomics we stumbled across pursuing Thinking and Reading like a Historian in a paper called “Understanding the Mechanisms of the Mind through an Integrated Science of the Mind Initiative.” Whereas, Professor Churchland simply hoped a neural network that functioned like Parallel Distributed Processing (PDP) in computers could become the end result of a new kind of transformation education, another co-author of that paper, James McClelland turns out to be a PDP expert. https://fabbs.org/our_scientists/james-l-mcclelland-phd/ . Another co-author at MIT, Aude Oliva, is working “to understand how humans encode, process, retain, predict, and imagine.” No wonder we get ‘bottom-up’ New Foundations for Readiness as we saw in the last post.

Another paper “Twenty-First Century Challenges and Opportunities for the Human Sciences” wanted to “develop a scientific understanding of the social processes that now shape [the natural world].” This would require the United States to finance a “significant and targeted investment in an integrated science of social and behavioral dynamics, or ‘human sciences’.” And the next year, 2011, the federal Department of Education held its first competency-based education summit to do just that and implement the developed “theory for human social action” using student-centered learning to create the needed personalized neural networks in each student. Coordinating the inside categories of thought and motivation to act with the external activity in any given environment.

It’s a good plan if transformative change in the ‘macro phenomena’ of society, economies, and political structures in largely invisible ways is the goal of education in the 21st century globally. I stumbled across this more than ten years ago now trying to figure out why the NSF had paid the State of Georgia and its University System tens of millions of dollars in grants to implement constructivist Integrated Math. None of the offered explanations held up to scrutiny. Now I know it was about creating New Kinds of Minds. Let’s close our Trilogy of Bottom-Up, Inside-Out, Neural Change in each student by quoting an SBE 2020 abstract that had no linked document, just this aspiration:

One of the most critical challenges facing next-generation social, behavioral and economic research is to understand the dynamics and consequences of interactions between human systems [that’s US!] and the natural world. To accelerate scientific progress, significant and systematic efforts must be made to identify and collect data across time and space that enable evidence on perceptions, attitudes, social institutions, situation-behavior relationships, and decision-making to be linked comprehensively to measurements of the natural environment. These data will lay the foundation for a science of sustainability.

Rereading that quote would explain why the same think tank employees or their affiliates misrepresenting how learning standards like the Common Core really work also envisioned misrepresenting the purpose of all the data gathering from the beginning.

It appears that education researchers aren’t the only ones aspiring to control our internalized ‘schemata’ that guide how we interpret the world around us.

 

Eureka Moments Pierce Through the Hoax to Hype Student Privacy to Control Student’s Minds and Actions

A Eureka Moment is when a piercing epiphany takes an area of concern over the effects I am seeing from some education reform and I discover that those very effects were part of the original design. It’s not as dangerous as a heroic rescue from a Thai cave, but it may be about as painstaking in its approach to detail. Regular readers know that I have been concerned for a while, especially in discussions in the comments of these posts over the last two years or so that the widely circulated narratives surrounding student privacy and the social and emotional learning standards simply do not track to the documentable facts about how learning standards like the Common Core or a competency framework really work.

The second Eureka moment I will lay out was the one I wrote the previous post while expecting to explain it here and tie together a trilogy of disclosures around GDPR. That was before I saw a reference on the Acknowledgments page to the 2013 book Big Data to a Rueschlikon Conference on Information Policy that seemed to be linked through some of the same people to that Eureka Moment. Searching that out pulled up the ultimate epiphany as I learned a new earth shaking term-‘data-driven governance’ and the recommended technique–education–to gain control over people’s thoughts, emotions, and motivations to act while pretending that the regulation is a dispute over how and what to teach or, necessary to protect student privacy. The 2017 article in the European Journal of Social Theory was called “Digital, politics, and algorithms: Governing digital data through the lens of data protection.”

‘Data-driven governance’ turns out to “lie at the very heart of governing people and things” so that we begin to “understand governance not as a set of institutions, nor in terms of certain ideologies, but as an eminently practical activity that can be studied, historicised and specified at the level of the rationalities, programmes, techniques and subjectivities that give it form and effect” to quote from the above article. If you want to believe that is not what learning standards, learning technology standards, Project Unicorn, and interoperability standards actually do, when they are accurately described instead of misexplained for purposes of creating the hype that gets more data regulation like GDPR, let me quote from a different book called Reinventing Data Protection? which described the shift from a disciplinary society with a multiplicity of ‘detention’ facilities to a “control society that can increasingly do without physical constraint and direct surveillance [because] it is individuals themselves who have to impose themselves not only to respect but also to adhere to the norms, who have to integrate those norms in their biography, through their own actions and reiterations.”

If that creates a gulp moment how about the desire to accomplish these feats via the italicized “will to govern through data and the will to govern data“? All the False Narratives I have encountered and fought to dispel through my book Credentialed to Destroy, and subsequently through this blog as they arise, make perfect sense suddenly if the accurate truth might defeat the desire of the “socio-political actors” funding those narratives and enacting the tools of ‘data-driven governance’, to “straightforwardly implement technologies of governance without meeting any kind of resistance.” In other words, FERPA redrafting or Student Data privacy Toolkits will not do anything to impede the data-driven governance agenda and GDPR actually helps cements it.

Let me give another example, on June 26, 2018 Cheri Kiesecker wrote a post for the Missouri Education Watchdog blog that mentioned a World Bank paper as supposedly bolstering the workforce readiness agenda. I had previously been mystified by Cheri’s work on Project Unicorn as it appears contrary to documentable facts so I read the linked “From Compliance to Learning” paper that covered “harnessing the power of data in the state of Maryland.” The report confirmed my continuing concern that the False Narrative treats student data as a static database instead of the changes in the student at an internalized, neural, level, which are what constitute “learning.” Secondly, in the “institutionalizing a data System” the paper accurately lays out how Project Unicorn really works without calling it that. It explains in ways pertinent to ‘data-driven governance:

“Across the public, private, and social sectors in the United States, an array of organizations, associations, and communities helps to expand and institutionalize data utilization by strengthening data standards and easing interoperability issues…The first category, Consistent Data Definitions, focuses on providing a common language and structure for data, a necessary step that makes it possible to share data across different systems and applications. Structuring data so that the data can be used across different systems makes institutionalization possible. From an International perspective, UNESCO’s International Standards Classification of Education (ISCED) is a similar framework that enables comparison of educational statistics and indicators across countries on the basis of uniform and internationally agreed definitions. ISCED 2011 is the most recently revised version of the framework.”

And precisely what I warned about in the previous post that the Common Core was benchmarked to. It’s a means of governing through data at the level of the mind and personality and it has nothing to do with PII. I promised two Eureka moments and the second intends to use “bottom-up standards”  https://globalcxi.org/ where “systems thinking can help us avoid repeating past failures stemming from attempts to control and govern the complex-adaptive systems we are a part of. Responsible living with or in the systems we are a part of requires an awareness of the constrictive paradigms we operate in today. Our future practices will be shaped by our individual and collective imaginations and by the stories we tell about who we are and what we desire, for ourselves and the societies in which we live.”

Of course education standards get at those levels quite well and the co-sponsor, along with MIT Media Lab, is an entity called IEEE that also happens to have created the Learning Technology Standards that are a part of Project Unicorn when it is properly described. Good reason I suppose not to accurately describe it lest there be that warned  about resistance. I revisited IEEE’s involvement recently after I cited the Hoover paper on math that did not reflect what the Center for Curriculum Redesign said was the new global purpose of math activities. One of the co-authors, Ze-ev Wurman, was shown as now working for IEEE, which seemed awfully coincidental. He has been speaking at Anti-Common Core forums for years. A bit more research into the acclaim for GDPR as supposedly protecting student privacy instead of enabling noetic manipulation led me to discover that Wurman is also listed as a fellow at the American Principles Project that has done so much to create so many of the False Narratives surrounding K-12 education reforms.

It also bolstered my instinct that articles like this recent https://spectator.org/goodbye-privacy-how-new-edtech-is-turning-students-into-lab-rats/ hype function to create a demand for “data protection” that magically turns into an enacted tool of ‘data-driven governance” per international design. CXI Global wants to “develop and use broader metrics…that governs setting goals and measuring success…These metrics for success must be utilized in the setting of standards, ethical principles and policy that holistically reflect the explicit values and expectations of the communities where metrics are deployed.” We always get back to that communitarian and normative function, don’t we? We actually don’t need to speculate either on the specific type of education desired for the “evolution of our species” that will “serve inclusive and sustainable development that increases political autonomy and global democracy.”

The CXI vision cites to the template on “Happiness and Well-Being Policy as embodied in the first Global Happiness Policy Report,” which I happened to have read when it came out in February when it was released at the World Government Summit in Dubai. It pushes a vision of Positive Education that I noted after last year’s summit aligns with Betsy Devos’ rhetoric and recommended policies. http://invisibleserfscollar.com/subservient-and-malleable-students-devos-federalizes-our-moral-obligations/ What this year’s released report adds in that Policy Report is an address at the end that ties the entire agenda to a seminary across the street from Riverside Church near the Columbia University campus. In other words, what happened in Dubai was never meant to stay in Dubai at all.

Getting at the true function of data in education is not a side issue at all. I think it is why the Program on Education Policy and Governance is housed at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government as well as that Rueschlikon Conference I mentioned above. It may take place in lovely Switzerland but the Information Infrastructure Project apparently includes you and me and our children and grandchildren even if we never make it to Switzerland at all. Let me close with a recent blog post tied to this agenda https://www.oii.ox.ac.uk/blog/understanding-the-potential-of-ai-for-lifelong-learning-the-need-for-a-critical-perspective/ because the goals, outcomes, prescribed learning, and metrics created for us and embodied in learning standards few will accurately describe are intended to create and “support a democratic and socially inclusive future.”

Without accurate information we are left tilting at windmills while all these plans avoid the needed scrutiny that would cause virtually all of us to resist. I hope these Eureka Moments can be the beginning of the resistance that is not bound up in narratives on data that serve as useful Guiding Fictions that actually enable ‘data-driven governance’ in the 21st century.

 

Cannibals of the Mind: the Emancipatory Epiphanies that Must Not Be

Epiphany has long been one of my favorite words because it captures that moment of mental illumination when everything suddenly clicks into place in terms of connections. The sudden manifestation of the meaning of something though is a private affair and the connections I see, while real, may be inconvenient to those hoping for “shared meaning” as so many classroom mandates now require. It is also inherently “old brain thinking” instead of the desired “new brain thinking” that will be widely shared and politically approved. Even though most people are unaware of how learning standards like the Common Core or a Competency Framework really work, we are going back in time to a world where religious bodies and political authorities literally had an ability to rule “the activities and beliefs of its citizens.” That real effect gets hidden by what K-12 schools pretend they are really pushing. Meanwhile, school administrators, especially district supers, lie to parents and the public about it.

Since “New Brain Thinking ” is the true aim, let’s look into what is being eliminated. “Old brain thinking is characterized by the limited capacity to contemplate only those innovations that might logically evolve out of the current system. The old brain seems incapable of considering a radical change in the system itself–that is, the possibility of operating under a different set of rules.” No one is going to talk that explicitly in public of course. I only found that quote following the thread of Fostering Communities of Learners in schools to its US beginning, a book called The Different Drum: Community Making and Peace. Parents, of course, would become rightfully alarmed if they traced the required obligations of collaboration and shared meaning back to a forthright statement of a required “psychological death” of their child.

See why there is such a fondness for euphemisms? Sometimes when I write I do mull over what would be a catchy metaphor to illustrate my point, but that is not where the phrase Cannibals of the Mind came from. Remember the famous phrase about being able to see the soul of certain people through the anger, joy, or flashes of brilliance firing through their eyes? Last week three different area School District Supers appeared on local TV. The first two, from the City of Atlanta, famous for its cheating scandal, and Fulton County, proud to be a national exemplar of competency-based learning, were in a local court fighting to be able to begin collecting property taxes, however confused or in error, the underlying tax digest was. They were very angry, not about the children, but about the ability to pay their loyal apparatchiks pushing these lied about visions.

If that seems cruel, so is area supers insisting they will use Kurt Lewin (by name)’s famous Freeze, Unfreeze, Refreeze social psych techniques on any teacher wanting to continue to make the transmission of a body of knowledge the point of school. Suddenly seeing the highly emotional anger in those eyes and hearing about their loyalist employees “right to be paid” and knowing what is actually being pushed and what it really intends to do, that phrase “Cannibals of the Mind” just came to me. Boy, does it fit. The other Super on area TV had issued a district ruling that none of the sports coaches in the districts could participate in any player-initiated prayers. I don’t think that is a valid interpretation of what Con Law requires, but what I noticed in this super’s eyes was not anger. Instead, he talked and his eyes simply looked vacant as if there was no synaptic firing.

Given what these Supers and their admins want to be paid and how they typically move from district to district pushing neural rewiring for ever increasing amounts of money (hence my phrase Gypsy Supers) as well as my personal experiences with what drives them, I think we have Greed, Chips on the Shoulder, and Downright Ignorance driving these Cannibals of the Mind. Since they will not truthfully tell us what they are doing, let’s dig into what is really being put in place and why. Otherwise, we are about to get a society inhabited by highly emotional people whose “New Brain Thinking” is not thinking in the traditional sense at all.

Scott Peck admitted in his book calling for “New Brain Thinking” and required practices that now “our individualism must be counterbalanced by commitment”. He was writing in the 80s when nuclear war with the USSR was still a real threat, but his required practices that would be “the only way that human evolution will be able to proceed” survived the USSR and the Fall of the Berlin Wall. Now they are inserted in learning standards or characteristics of each Learner or future Graduate. Peck knew, and now educators globally are using, the fact that “the most salient feature of human nature lies in its capacity to be molded by culture and experience.” This is what the Cannibals of the Mind and their Loyalists rely on to drive another revolution 100 Years after Lenin and the Bolsheviks commenced the last one on November 7, 1917. They are using psychological techniques and learning theories that were initially hatched in the USSR and this time they hope the revolution will take.

This time the revolution is at the neural level of the mind and personality with educators relying on what Peck called the “capacity for transformation. It is the capacity for transformation that is the most essential characteristic of human nature. And again paradoxically, this capacity is both the basic cause of war and the basic cure for war.” As I have noted, this real target and the reason for targeting it and methods used are all the source of a great deal of organized deceit. Teachers aren’t assigned Peck’s book and any references to the Soviet psych origins of classroom mandates are usually in a footnote. Fortunately, I have typically read the books being footnoted and can recognize the same or equivalent theories even when there are no footnotes at all.

In another book, The Personal Intelligences, promoting that teachers use social and emotional learning in their classrooms, we get an open admission in italics that Experiences wire the brain. And those Gypsy Supers and their loyalist employees can be wiring “New Brain Thinking” while parents still erroneously believe their child is learning science, history, or reading Shakespeare. As the book’s author put it in a chapter ironically called “Nurturing Independence” (the illusion of it would be more apt):

“I teach reading. I teach math. But I don’t think of myself as a reading/math teacher. I like the title ‘specialist in developing children.’ I help brains grow. I nurture new dendrite connections in all students.”

These teachers do help brains grow and these learning standards lay out and then use assessments to check for how those brains are growing and which dendrites are developing in what areas of the brain. There is no desire for a logical, fact-filled, independent mind capable of the kind of epiphany described above. Think of it now as prescribed epiphanies delivered via virtual reality and ed tech experiences that can be manipulated as desired to create “New Brain Thinking” and imagining new human systems like cities with new sets of rules. Remember how we keep coming across the phrase “self- regulation” or its cousins self-government or self-discipline instilled in all students? Is it about knowledge of the world as it exists and what got us here and what didn’t work? No, here is an example from that same book. This is what Student Success, Growth, or Achievement now mean:

“She’s thinking about herself rather than simply going through the motions. Self-regulating learners make plans, they watch their progress, ask for help when appropriate, and relate new learning to what they already know. This makes active inner speech.”

It also makes fully controlled inner speech, especially as teachers are advised to help students learn the vocabulary of the desired emotions they are to develop through school. The author wants “self reflection to guide their lives, supporting their growth toward positive goals.” Essentially education decides what goals and characteristics it wants students to internalize and then activities and experiences are developed until these traits become internalized Habits of Mind, neurally instilled. And lied about constantly. Does Cannibals of the Mind still seem harsh?

In thinking about the actual effects on students minds and similar attempts through the centuries to control what the individual mind may know, I pulled a book called The Passion of the Western Mind. It described the four “technical inventions” that played such a vital role in the birth of a respect for Individualism at the time of the Renaissance and the launch of Science as a means for understanding the natural world. It seems to me that learning standards in general and social and emotional learning in particular, under its variety of names, is an attempt to undo the emancipatory effects of these inventions by using a new vision of education as transfomation. Best we know what these inventions were:

“the magnetic compass, which permitted the navigational feats that opened the globe to European exploration; gunpowder, which contributed to the demise of the old feudal order and the ascent of nationalism; the mechanical clock, which brought about a decisive change in the human relationship to time, nature, and work, separating and freeing the structure of human activities from the dominance of nature’s rhythms; and the printing press, which produced a tremendous increase in learning, made available both ancient classics and modern works to an ever-broadening public, and eroded the monopoly on learning long held by the clergy.”

These kind of aspirations should not be implemented in the proverbial dark of night by Cannibals of the Mind overpaid to direct activities to rewire our children’s brains. These go to some of the most fundamental questions any civilization ever addresses.

See how dangerous it is to put school board members through psychological team training of the type Peck advocated so they will come to believe that what the Supers tell them is true? They also seem to be trained to believe that no one without an education degree is allowed to know comment on what educators can do in the classroom.

How convenient for the Cannibals of the Mind and the politicians, institutions, and theories they are installing and reenforcing. No scrutiny, no effective protest. No recognition that this was how dire times began in the past.

Seduction rather than Overt Compulsion: Hubs, Spokes, DeVos Dictates, and Polycentricity

Anyone hoping for at least a PG-13 post with that title will be disappointed I don’t mean the sexual definition of seduction. Instead, this type of seduction is when someone changes what they support or advocate for because they have a carefully arranged misunderstanding of the issues and what is actually in play. That applies perfectly to competency-based education (CBE) with its neural emphasis that lies behind most of the K-12 reforms and, increasingly, also higher ed. In case someone thinks I cannot tie the desired  bullseye to the constant drumbeat of False Narratives around the Common Core, CBE, or its essential component of social and emotional learning (SEL), the acknowledgments page of the book I am about to quote from thanks the influential Bradley Foundation for its financial support.

That book Our Posthuman Future by Francis Fukuyama is the source of the first part of the title. In discussing the famous book Brave New World, Fukuyama quoted the character who said “The Controllers realized that force was no good” and then went on to state that “people would have to be seduced rather than compelled to live in an orderly society.” That’s a great metaphor for how ‘student-centered learning’ or ‘personalized learning’ really work so lets borrow the metaphor. Later Fukuyama talked of “those who believe in the social construction of human behavior” and then listed first the French Revolution and then the 20th century attempts for “radically rearranging the most basic institutions of society…with the socialist revolutions that took place in Russia, China, Cuba, Cambodia, and elsewhere.”

Before anyone exhales with a sigh of relief that those efforts are thankfully behind us, Fukuyama then complained that “the tools of the past century’s social engineers and utopian planners, they seem unbelievably crude and unscientific. Agitprop, labor camps, reeducation, Freudianism, early childhood conditioning, behavioralism–all of these were techniques for pounding the square peg of human nature into the round hole of social planning. None of them were based on knowledge of the neurological structure or biochemical basis of the brain.”

Think of CBE, learning standards like the Common Core, or SEL mandates as a means to use prescribed experiences and other curriculum activities to biologically alter the brain so that suddenly that square peg of human nature is now a round peg. Then it can fit easily into the round hole of social planning. Think of all the data being gathered, that has no need to be personally identifiable to work for purposes of neural change, as a means to “enhance our knowledge of, and hence our ability to manipulate, the source of all human behavior, the brain.” In http://invisibleserfscollar.com/battle-for-the-mind-and-who-we-ought-to-be-portrait-of-a-graduate-in-2030-thanks-to-charlottesville/ we found the behavioral scientists creating the curriculum and dialogues admitting their purpose was a Battle for Human Nature.

Now, between that last quote and this one “we may be about to enter a posthuman future, in which technology will give us the capacity gradually to alter that [human] essence over time,” we had Fukuyama admitting the known aims. Somehow too many of us get seduced by terms like Growth, Success, or Continuous Improvement into not recognizing what it is that ‘learning’ is changing. This past week iNACOL released “Quality and Equity by Design” to chart the Course of the Next Phase of CBE. The reenvisioning of education it laid out is premised on the “steady march towards equality and justice within our country” that regards the neural level as the ultimate in evidence-based policymaking.

After all, CBE needs to “overcome the history of bias, bigotry, discrimination and oppression that has shaped many students, communities and institutions, including our K-12 education system, and realize educational equity?” How? Why, through ‘brain-based learning’ of course where “QUALITY refers to efficacy–the capacity to produce the desired result or effect…to support academic and lifelong learning outcomes for students.” Lifelong learning is another seductive term that actually has to do with what is hardwired into the brain as well. The next paragraph explained how educators use their “understanding of their students as individuals, adapting as needed to personalize the learning pathway towards common high expectations.” The learning goals do not vary. Only the means of proving the desired neural installation varies and what it took to create the change. Educators look to “academic skills, social-emotional-learning, habits of success and the strength of students’ growth mindset are all taken into consideration” in determining what needs to be changed at a neural level and how to go about it.

Since physical activity, especially when tied to an idea, certain goals or Purposeful activity, is known to have a physiological effect on certain regions of the brain, we get the CBE mandate put into state or federal laws or regulations quietly issued by a federal Ed secretary where “Students in turn are active co-constructors of knowledge, rather than passive consumers of content.” To make sure future behavior in the real world is predictable, we get a CBE mandate that “Learning is visibly and authentically connected to meaningful and important outcomes.”

On October 12, 2017 Betsy DeVos https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2017-10-12/pdf/2017-22127.pdf released proposed regulations for review that enact many of the controversial reforms decried as Positive School Climate, an SEL focus, Fostering Communities of Learners, a communitarian focus, constructivist math and science to be taught in a hands-on inquiry environment, and many other programs that were unquestionably developed in the USSR during the Cold War as this blog or my book Credentialed to Destroy documented. DeVos may not understand that and could be relying on perfidious employees or her time on various think-tank boards. These proposed regulations (that no one can comment against if they remain unaware they have been issued) also fit with that iNACOL paper and its desire to enact a vision of education that supposedly fits “the moral imperative of supporting and empowering the next generation of adults” through CBE and its effects on the students’ brains.

Permanent neural rudders are such a better way to steer people if anyone is concerned about a willingness to accede to these visions of earthly transformation. Instead of top-down visible commands, use the decentralized theory of polycentricity. Then the seduction can be pitched using alluring euphemisms like federalism, standards, states as ‘laboratories of democracy’, and local control.  https://www.icsu.org/cms/2017/04/Policy-Brief-No.6-FG_FIN3ed.pdf was released back in September and is tied to that same alarming Earth System Partnership/Belmont Challenge the UN is quietly pushing that caused me to start this blog originally. If I had a tricorn cap, I could go by Robin Revere. The first paper in the Bibliography led me to Polycentricity and its ties as a political theory that could introduce social justice into public policy decision-making frameworks. These could then be pushed by think tanks and politicians pretending they are ‘market-based reforms’ instead of overt social planning.

Sound familiar? Decentralized decisionmaking that “depend on the values and culture of the individuals creating them.” Gee, if we could only make values and culture the focus of education just like those DeVos regulations, CBE, the Science of Virtues, and the Jubilee Centre Moral Framework all do. If a political theory of social planning like polycentricity being cited in current policy briefs relies on “whether or not a significant number of individuals share or aspire to those values is critical to the operation of the system,” then that theory needs learning standards and CBE to work. It also needs for no one to appreciate precisely how these reforms really work or what they really aim to do. Hence, so many of the False Narratives oblivious to the facts and seeking both public funding and implementation as a matter of law.

The NSF is currently using taxpayer money to set up a Big Data Innovation Ecosystem in the US that certainly sounds polycentric. It has 4 Big Data Innovation Hubs to play the convening and coordinating role with area academia, industry, governments, and nonprofits. Anyone who has read my book, think Turchenko with new tools of social planning. The Hubs are now creating a Spokes system extending into all 50 states that is explicitly looking to partner with State Boards of Education and local school districts. This Hub-Spoke System is expressly tied to the NSF-funded BRAIN Initiative we have covered to map the brain and its areas of function. All these plans for us and our children were supposed to be invisible. My blood pressure would probably be lower if somehow I had not been given a means to discern what is being attempted and why, but here we are.

These are authoritarian plans for thought control tied into the brain’s structure. To recognize what is going on is to feel compelled to share this agonizing story. In order for these pernicious plans to work though, they need to remain undetected or misunderstood. The plans need to change the nature of education without the true nature of the change being grasped. Most of all, these plans need the tool of the law and its ability to compel even when the effects of such compulsion are neither felt or really understood. To work, all polycentric visions require “an encompassing system of rules” brought in by accreditors, the terms of promotions for principals, learning standards, or the terms for receiving grant funding to give just a few decentralized, but binding, illustrations.

It turns out that bottom-up social planning to achieve transformations needs two things: the human brain, malleable and adaptable to experience, as well as “the rule of law.” Those are the two essential factors that supposedly can, over time, alter human nature from a square peg to a round nail that fits the desired Blueprint.

Luckily for us, I keep finding those Blueprints and interpreting them accurately using my non-21st century store of factual knowledge.