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.

 

Everybody In! Instilling the Proper Mode of Human Conduct to Capture Hearts

In the last post, the cited Behavioral Scientist article justifying the need for #Charlottesville Conversations in all schools nationally, in turn cited a 1987 book The Battle for Human Nature by Barry Schwartz. Try not to be too shocked that I have now read that book and took today’s post title from its goals. See if anyone else thinks these aspirations were a good reason to try to create mayhem that tragically escalated, instead of simply serving as a rationale for a certain emphasis for the new school year. Since I have a hard copy I can tell everyone that the Acknowledgments page thanks a “Marty Seigman” who we all know as the Penn Prof behind Positive Education, Prospective Psychology, and Positive Neuroscience that feature so prominently in the actual new ESSA state plans and required Social Emotional Learning Standards now.

Just in case anyone thinks the following quotes cannot actually be anything more than a nerdy discussion, this is was what outcomes-based education was really about. It is what standards-based reforms such as the Common Core or even supposed alternatives like the Catholic Curriculum Frameworks are really about. It’s why we keep running into the phrase ‘human flourishing’ around every corner in education. I also suspect it is what the outcry over the DACA rollback is really about.

“How should society be organized? How should the resources of society be distributed among its members? How much should individual freedom be restricted, and in what ways? What is the extent of our responsibility to other human beings, and to the society to which we belong? What is the proper mode of human conduct, and how should it be instilled in people?”

That instilling in people is what the Tranzi OBE laid out in my book Credentialed to Destroy was all about and it is what its new rename as Graduate Profiles and Portraits of a Graduate gets at. My alma mater just put out its “Reflections on the Reformed Tradition  at Davidson College” where it describes the Marxist Humanist vision without using the M word but attributes the necessity for economic and social justice to the Presbyterian view of the world. Funny how it gets to the same place as what we saw with the Special Rome Edition of the 2016 World Happiness Report Vatican laid out for Catholicism or Islam’s Tarbiyah Project for schools. In case your alma mater has not yet added a new “Justice, Equality and Community” distribution requirement to mandate all “students’ intellectual engagement with social issues,” let’s quote the rationale everyone seems to be using to get at the internalized basis of future behavior:

“Educating the whole person involves more than training the intellect; it also involves training the knower’s interests and commitments. This inevitably influences his or her values, character, and behavior. Again, because Reformed believing envisions an expansive human calling (love of God and neighbor, or attention to the broadest ‘public good’), preparation for responsible living [College, Career, and Citizenship Ready?] does not reduce to intellectual training but involves the person’s other capacities as well. Indeed, when people pursue more particular callings or vocations, say as physicians, lawyers, parents, or teachers, the Reformed Tradition construes these lines of responsibility through which they serve others with their minds, hearts, and wills.”

I write books and this blog to do that, but somehow I doubt Davidson would see it that way. Notice you could substitute virtually every religious faith for what they are using the “Reformed tradition” to rationalize. For secular progressives, the word Democracy will substitute nicely as well. Virtually everyone seems intent now on insisting that education “cultivates humane instincts, and creative and disciplined minds for lives of leadership and service.” Again, this is not a new thing as we can see in a book from 1955 that Schwartz cited called Utopia 1976. It spoke openly about a desired “coming revolution of the spirit of man,” which is certainly a good reason for ubiquitous SEL, isn’t it?

The current Davidson statement complained about “those in our society, both conservative and progressive, who would separate faith and reason.” Utopia 1976 wanted that same combination to fuel its “desired revolution of the spirit”. It even provided the reason for all this Mind Arson and Dumbing Down I and others have documented through the years. Notice the use of the word “apperceive” to describe what Davidson called “disciplined minds” and “Marty Seligman” thanked above now calls Prospective Psychology. With Templeton Foundation funding just like the Jubilee Centre that has created the Knightly Virtues curriculum and the Moral Development Framework. If only we had some continuity in these initiatives across the decades, institutions, and countries. Oh, wait.

“We will avoid some of man’s great prior losses that occurred because discoveries came before man had knowledge enough to recognize the novel. We will apperceive what is in front of our eyes, and not only what is behind them. Every human, to lesser or greater degree, has the capacity of hypothesis, imagination, comparison, and reason. And this capacity, affected by environment, can be taught. [Can anyone say ‘inquiry learning’?] Even the art of intuition is not exclusively a matter of genes.

In fact, for some purposes the less informed are often the best equipped to grasp new principles. They are less thwarted by traditional acceptance of formerly held ideas.”

Oh, wow. Let that sink in. Utopia 1976 put this same aspiration even more succinctly by stating that “Dreams are a form of ideas and hence are powerful makers of history.” As a history major, that approach, cultivated deliberately and deceitfully by education, strikes me as quite dangerous. Davidson’s statement called it a desire to “cultivate creativity to affect change” in students. Schwartz in 1987, laying the cited foundation for the Charlottesville Conversations now, said it was all about a vision of human nature that sees it as mutable instead of fixed. If the type of education implemented and social conditions “in which people are at risk” can be changed, then, perhaps, people can be changed so that they operate under “a life of commitment to producing social change.”

The shifts we have all noticed in the curriculum make far more sense once we read Schwartz complain about “Knowing what forces are responsible for keeping the planets moving about the sun does not give people any particular power to control or change them.” No need then for a transmission of knowledge curriculum. Better to focus on creating a new guided moral compass to motivate a change in behavior and a desire to transform the world as it is.That would be “current social conditions” to Schwartz. I guess that would be the world behind us so we can concentrate on the world that might be. Prospective Psychology again or just competency-based education when accurately understood.

So “Knowledge” now is really only worth knowing when “it identifies aspects of the world over which people can exercise some control.” No wonder we keep hearing requirements for relevant, authentic learning. I am going to end this post with another Schwartz quote from his Epilogue as I believe it lays out perfectly why we keep hearing about Outcomes, Objectives, Standards-based Reforms, and Competency Frameworks. Remember how we just keep encountering a desire to use education to force an evolution of prevailing culture? Think about this when we falsely assume that the schools or colleges of today have the same purpose of the ones we attended.

“As culture develops, the paths are changed. Some stop being used and are allowed to fall into disrepair, slowly reclaimed by the wilderness. Others become popular and are lengthened and expanded to make room for all travelers. Culture’s paths are not accidental. They are meant to constrain people to move in some directions and not others; to make some destinations easy to reach and others impossible. These paths are meant to help travelers find their way.”

The paths of desired transformations via education are probably the least accidental of all. It’s why we keep coming across the same vision of the future, but with a variety of justifying rationales depending on the expected audience and what is plausible.

The true desired transformation may not be pleasant to see, but neither is there any doubt what education’s new role is and why it must be ‘student-centered’.

The whole student–head, heart, hands, and will.

 

Battle for the Mind and Who We Ought to Be: Portrait of a Graduate in 2030 Thanks to Charlottesville

I have looked at the ready-to-go lessons on racism and hate and the attempt to make the SPLC (Southern Poverty Law Center) Teaching Tolerance curriculum mandatory in all classrooms. In the comments to the previous post are plenty of links to the cited materials and one observant comment on how often the letters are signed with a reference to solidarity. If I go back and relink we will not be able to move forward into a unique discussion of how I believe this all fits together and how fall 2017 is more than the beginning of another school year. I have written about the UN’s Dignity for All by 2030 campaign that essentially calls on governments and institutions at every level to create and direct an economy and society based on meeting human needs. I usually shorthand it as the MH vision because it was Uncle Karl himself a long time ago who laid out the conditions for what he called little ‘c’ communism way back in the 19th century.

Guess What? Any student starting Kindergarten or PreFirst this fall with then 12 years of schooling will graduate in what year? I’ll admit I did a graph to doublecheck my calculation and the answer is 2030. How coincidental. What’s more we have the new federal education law kicking in with its prescriptions and most of the state plans are pitched in terms of what the personal characteristics of the student should be when they graduate from high school. Sometimes with the name of Learner Profile, Graduate Profile, or Portrait of a Graduate.

One of the articles being pitched for what Charlottesville should mean  http://behavioralscientist.org/charlottesvilles-battle-human-nature/ was written by the editor-in-chief who just happened to now live in Charlottesville. He was previously at the same U-Penn hatching Positive Psychology and the PERMA Positive Education template we have covered. He even worked with psychologist Angela Duckworth in her lab. You know as in Grit and Perseverence, the Character Lab,  the Growth Mindset Scholars Network, and the Science of Virtues?

That was just from the top of my head. Nesterak concluded that troubling article with this line: “In the battle for human nature, behavioral scientists have a pivotal role to play. They can and must help people understand the people we can be.” That’s certainly a reason for K-12 education to be about implementing the findings of the behavioral sciences, isn’t it? With nary a head’s up, much less actual consent. Let’s go back and discover that a 1998 book called Curriculum, Religion, and Public Education: Conversations for an Enlarging Public Square laid out the need for education and a new type of ‘democratic dialogue’ to create what it called the ethic of solidarity and italicized just like that. Remember this as you see constant references to #Charlottesville Conversations.

Also remember that just after that call for the ethic of solidarity we had this confession: “Education, like religion, is about the transformation of consciousness. Students entertain doubt, while teachers foster faith in human discourse and intelligence. In the process, individual and social transformation occurs.” Earlier in that essay, the author had defined something he called the ‘common faith’ and it is America’s ‘common faith’ that the curricula mandated after Charlottesville seeks to dramatically shift, to something more amenable to the desired MH society by 2030. The ‘common faith’ is “those beliefs, assumptions, and myths that provide the ‘glue’ for a society.” In other words, we mustn’t let the actual physical remnants describing in real time why the Civil War was fought and what its carnage meant to the survivors. The desired narrative should provide the ‘lenses’ or filters through which the past is seen. Notice that is precisely what all those letters and lesson plans intend to do. (My bolding)

“But what is to stop this ‘community of difference’ from devolving into warring factions? It is at this juncture that this ethic of solidarity enters the discussion. Solidarity has two essential features. First, it grants diverse social groups enough respect to listen to them and use all ideas when considering existing social and civic values. Second, it realizes that the lives of individuals in differing groups are ecologically interconnected to the point that everyone is accountable to everyone else. No assumption of uniformity exists here-just the commitment to work together to bring about mutually beneficial social and civic change.

When I read an old passage like that and recognize it is currently being forced into reality, it’s hard not to imagine people who honestly do believe they have waited long enough for change they have been taught is their due. They must simply regard it as a burden others must now bear. In the last post we discussed how the City of Boston had laid out its intent to transition to the MH vision in the name of Resilience and Racial Equity. Another Resilient City, Dallas, helpfully mentioned its intention to adhere to the Kellogg Foundation “Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation” Framework. Since I happen to know that the new ESSA evidence-based regulations rely on a Kellogg Foundation Logic Model on Achieving Outcomes first created about the time of that 1998 book, I decided to locate the TRHT Implementation Guide issued in December 2016. It was the result of at least a 5-month process so President Trump is not the leader it hoped to have in the White House.

Before I start to quote what this vision is, I want to point out that SPLC is a listed partner of the TRHT so the Teaching Tolerance curriculum is a component and planned tool as well. On the Thursday, August 10, before the permitted “Unite the Right” march on Saturday, August 12, led by a former Obama Organizing for America enthusiast who had a conversion epiphany in January just after the publication of that Guide, the SPLC issued a Campus Guide to the Alt-Right. Really helpful and suspicious timing, huh? What is it that TRHT wants to do? Just what most college campuses, the Dignity for All by 2030, Resilient Cities, and others all say they seek as well. TRHT

“will help communities across the US embrace racial healing and uproot the conscious and unconscious belief in a hierarchy of human value that limits equal access to quality education, fulfilling employment, sage neighborhoods and equal housing opportunities, while honoring tribal access to equitable resources and quality health care. Unless the central belief system that fuels racial, ethnic, and place of origin inequities is challenged and changed, societal progress cannot be sustained over time.”

Changing that central belief in every US classroom is precisely what #Charlottesville Conversations aims to do and what learning standards like the Common Core make so much easier. Poor Heather Heyer. I wonder if she had any idea what the broader implications were of what was going on in Charlottesville that day or the powder keg that needed to be ignited. Nesterak after all stated that the “battle for human nature was about who we are and who we can be…it will continue online and in the streets, when Charlottesville is replaced by the next city.” The social trasformationalists need that next city to supposedly propel the Resilient or TRHT vision of “a new day, one based on a common humanity for all communities?” That vision needs a new form of education to get at “centuries of this [racial hierarchy] belief system [that] have consciously shaped our individual thought patterns.”

Here is an italicized MLK quote from the Implementation Guide which helps explains all the interest in turning students at all levels into Social Change Agents.

Time itself is neutral; it can be used either destructively or constructively. Human progress never rolls on the wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts…We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always right to do right.”

Charlottesville accelerated that timetable and is attempting to make the desired changes in individual thought patterns mandatory now for all students in all schools in every community. Just what the MH vision by 2030 needs to stay on its announced schedule. Poor Heather. TRHT Frameworks for Action and Guiding principles and Plans for Resilience probably thought they would get awful graphics from the tikitorch march and fighting to ignite the needed mandate. Now they have martyrs and students determined to Remember Charlottesville even though they are never to actually grasp its real significance or their needed role as change agents.

Or the function of time to implement all these plans finally.

 

 

 

 

Priming the Springs of Action: Reconstituting We the People Via Internalized Habits and Values

Rather than continue on with what is going on now behind our backs in K-12 education globally, let’s go back in time first to pick up some of the ‘deep pillars’ from the late 80s and 90s that ground the supposed “social capital that is comprised of human character, competence and values.” In my book Credentialed to Destroy I laid out the template for what was called Transformational Outcomes Based Education. I also covered events taking place in the mid to late 80s in the West that suggested insider preparation for the “Fall” of the Berlin Wall and Communism. Today’s post should be seen as building on the Deep Pillars also laid out in the book. We need to grasp every aspect that political insiders, think tanks, institutions of faith, and other public policy forces who turned out to be involved, were quietly advocating and implementing to achieve a particular vision for the future.

This is from an essay “Citizenship: Transcending Left and Right” contained in a 2004 book Building a Community of Citizens: Civil Society in the 21st Century. I found it referenced in footnotes as I followed up again on the deceit surrounding the Common Core and other education ‘reforms’ currently. If this quote reminds anyone else of Amitai Etzioni’s New Golden Rule, he is listed as a consultant on the book. As we have encountered the Bradley Foundation a great deal as we have followed widely disseminated education narratives that happen to be false, I should note that their then President, Michael Joyce, also wrote one of the essays in that book.

“A closer look at these issues will reveal that today’s crisis of values has nothing whatever to do with ‘capitalist’ and ‘socialist’ institutions. It is a by-product of individualism…The real source of these problems is in us, as we search for a way to integrate the modern emphasis on individual self-expression with a vision of values, community, and purpose that transcends the individual self–a way to integrate freedom and order.”

How often do we now hear the phrases ‘self-government’ or ‘self-governance’? We simply assume it means something having to do with our individual autonomy. Turns out we get to have a “new kind of politics” grounded in psychology and the “self-governance of individuals and communities…[a] two-dimensional value system underlies the self-governing approach to the world, which borrows the best of both capitalism and socialism and combines them in an integrated vision.” That would be an integrated vision of course to be imposed invisibly by Bipartisan laws few read, a new vision of education, and “a change in the spirit of individuals and the community that comprises them.”

Let’s skip to another book from 1998 brought to us by the Center for Public Justice that “pursues civic education programs from the standpoint of a comprehensive Christian worldview. The Center advocates equal public treatment of all faiths and seeks political reforms to strengthen the diverse institutions of civil society.” It turned out that Antonio Gramsci was not the only visionary to see Marching through the Institutions as the way to later prevailing consciousness and culture. So have groups, politicians, and think tanks many of us have simply assumed to be representative of Conservatism. It turns out though that the best way to get Marx’s Moral Revolution in place is to get religious faiths on board as well, control education, and redefine concepts like Liberty and Freedom we all think we understand.

Naming Educators as the Levers Shifting the Human Personality To Marx’s Moral Revolution

is the post I have to simply assume everyone is familiar with so we can move forward to what was laid out in then Senator Dan Coats’ 1998 Kuyper Lecture and printed as Mending Fences: Renewing Justice Between Government and Civil Society . It is once again selling the vision that liberty requires a certain kind of citizenry and democracy is a “set of habits…[that] depends on an internalized willingness to respect the rights and dignity of others.” All of our encounters with Classical Education about the principles of the Good, Character, and Virtues appear to go back to this vision where “these virtues require more than intellectual assent; they must take root not only in minds but in hearts.”

Yet again, we have a vision where civil society institutions are supposed to “protect against individualism, turning our attention to the needs of others, the benefits of cooperation, the necessity of trust, and the value of the common good.” All citizens and especially students with their still pliable minds and hearts need “those ideas and sentiments” that will free “individuals from the solitude of their selfishness.” When I wrote Credentialed to Destroy I laid out the transformational vision of Social Reconstructionists. I cited to admitted progressives who had been explicit about their intentions. Turns out so have the so-called Right and institutions of faith and they have resurrected a Dutch politician from the 19th century, Abraham Kuyper to do that while pretending a reconstructionist aim is simply a matter of faith. (Italics in original in Mending Fences)

There is a common good greater than individual rights, and society must actively and tirelessly seek it. Kuyper exclaimed, “We shall not be satisfied with the structure of society until it offers all human beings an existence worthy of man.” In a beautiful passage Pope John XXIII defines the common good as “the sum total of those conditions of social living, whereby men are enabled more fully and more readily to achieve their own perfections.”

But I did promise deep pillars and we have remained in the 90s, haven’t we? In my tiptoeing through the footnotes, I not only found the books cited above, but also a 2007 book Godly Republic: A Centrist Blueprint for America’s Faith-Based Future. Written by John DiIulio, Bush 43’s first faith-based czar, it had an Appendix I had never seen referenced before from June 25, 1988. The document was called the Williamsburg Charter: A National Celebration and Reaffirmation of the First Amendment Religious Liberty Clauses and whatever the 100 highly influential people who signed the charter thought they were endorsing, the actual function of the document is to commit to an internalized Marxian moral revolution. Yes, I am sure as I have read a lot of the language when no one is pretending anything other than driving the deep pillars the Human Development Society would need in values, beliefs, emotions and other motivators of future action.

Yes the references are a bit oblique at first, tucked away into phrases like the “remarkable opportunity for the expansion of liberty” and a desire for the “ordering of society” around common “commitments and ideals” that all people are to live by. It is inherent in the language too that “rights are universal and responsibilities mutual.” Remember the definition of ‘precepts’ from the last post and their current sudden ubiquity, as we go back to the paragraph that follows “A time for reconstruction” heading:

“We believe, finally, that the time is ripe for a genuine expansion of democratic liberty, and that this goal may be attained through a new engagement of citizens in a debate that is reordered in accord with constitutional first principles and considerations of the common good. This amounts to no less than the reconstitution of a free republican people in our day. Careful consideration of three precepts would advance this possibility.”

First, the criteria must be mutual which gets translated to mean that the “intention of the Framers” is not enough. We reconstituted citizens must also internalize as  habits “consideration of immutable principles of justice.” Should we look to Kuyper or a 1930s Pope as quoted above? Secondly, the “Consensus must be Dynamic”. One wonders if an earlier draft said Dialectical instead, but that might be too obvious to get all 100 signatures. We are told that “Reconstitution requires a shared understanding of the relationship between the Constitution and the society it is to serve.” We the People must affirm those principles in practice. Supposedly this mandate is NOT authoritarian because it is civil society imposing at the level of hearts and minds in order to “contribute to the spiritual and moral foundations of democracy.”

That’s clearly John Dewey’s definition of democracy which explains why one of the Rockefeller heirs wrote a book about him and his work driving a Religious Humanism vision that I keep hearing being mirrored in Faux Narratives. The third precept is that the “Compact Must Be Mutual”. Suddenly, “the First Amendment…is the epitome of public justice and serves as the Golden Rule for civic life.” Personally, I think being told by so many public officials that a “general consent to the obligations of citizenship is therefore inherent in the American experiment, both as a founding principle (‘We the people”) and as a matter of daily practice” is certainly a violation of the spirit of the phrase “the government shall not…”

Let’s end there as these quotes place so much of what I documented in my book and then later on this blog into their true transformative functions. The empathy push from the last post makes so much more sense if we now supposedly have a “responsibility to comprehend” the perspectives of others. Pushing a common core of mandated values, attitudes, and beliefs fits with a desire for “a broad, active community of understanding to be sustained.”

Take a look at that Williamsburg Charter in one of the variety of places it can be found. It will do wonders toward our finally achieving an accurate “community of understanding” about what is truly going on in education and why.