Antithesis of the Briar Patch: School Choice as the Snare Instead of an Escape

This is the beginning of the factual stories behind K-12 educational reform over recent decades that I was saving until after the Presidential election, waiting to see who won. It was my feeling based on the false narratives being spread and the facts in my possession that both candidates would end up pushing the same K-12 education agenda for the most part. Hillary Clinton because she and Bill Clinton have been involved going back to Arkansas being one of the states that volunteered in the 80s for the little discussed, federally-sponsored (while Bill Bennett was Education Secretary and with Lamar Alexander when he was the Tennessee Governor and head of the National Governors Association) “Project Education Reform: Time for Results”. Donald Trump would be pushing the same agenda because his advisors on education hyping School Choice as the panacea do not seem to be telling him its history.

So I will don my metaphorical helmet and flak jacket and begin doing it. For those not raised on Uncle Remus Tales in the South the briar patch in the title is from the “Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby” story where the captured, but cunning rabbit, convinced his mortal enemy Brer Fox that no punishment could be as dreadful as being thrown into the briar patch.

“Roast me! Hang me! Do whatever you please,” said Brer Rabbit. “Only please, Brer Fox, please don’t throw me into the briar patch.” Not having string to hang him nor being close to a stream to drown him, Brer Fox flings Brer Rabbit “head over heels into the briar patch. Brer Rabbit let out such a scream as he fell that all of Brer Fox’s fur stood straight up. Then there was silence…Then Brer Fox heard someone calling his name. He turned around and looked up the hill. Brer Rabbit was sitting on a log combing the tar out of his fur with a wood chip and looking smug. ‘I was bred and born in the briar patch, Brer Fox,’ he called. ‘Bred and born in the briar patch.'”

Being thrown in the briar patch was actually Brer Rabbit’s escape route. School Choice as it has been developed over the decades by think tanks and professors is actually a trap pretending to be a remedy so it can be put into place as a matter of law. Let’s move away from American folklore now that we have a metaphor for whether something will trap us or free us and move to a book published in 1990 called Politics, Markets, and America’s Schools by John E Chubb and Terry M. Moe. Both will later serve on an ed reform project sponsored by the Hoover Institution, the Koret Task Force, with one of President-Elect Trump’s ed advisors, Bill Evers, so he should be more than familiar with this history of School Choice, but the 1990 book was actually published by the Brookings Institution. Several fed ED grants funded the book along with the Olin and Bradley Foundations that have gone on to finance both School Choice initiatives and the experimental economics/Neuroeconomics work we covered in the last post.

If this convergence of what is clearly a project of the admitted Left and purported Right seems confusing, let me quote from one of the book’s footnotes since I just love to tiptoe through the cited support.

“The classic argument for vouchers is developed in Milton and Rose Friedman Free to Choose (1981)…The Friedmans’ argument is of course associated by educators with political conservatism. But vouchers have also been proposed by social democrats on the left, who seek to enlist markets in the cause of justice and equal opportunity for the poor. Perhaps the most influential of these proposals has come from Christopher Jencks, who, along with like-minded colleagues, urged administrators within the Office of Economic Opportunity (within the late Johnson and early Nixon presidencies) to take vouchers seriously and encourage experimentation by states and districts.”

I bolded ‘states and districts’ there because as we will see when I get back to Time for Results, this trumpeted shift away from the feds to making the local, with the states in charge, the focus has ALWAYS been the vision for how to achieve a fundamentally different vision of American education. To quote another admitted leftist, President Obama’s education advisor who was deemed too radical to be confirmed as an Ed Secretary, Linda Darling-Hammond, from 1990 as well, when she was still a prof at Columbia, on the need for a ‘bottom-up’ approach to reform instead of top-down:

“rather than viewing the disciplines as embodying information to be transmitted by teachers and acquired by students, the frameworks seek to present subject areas as providing ways of thinking that will foster knowledge and understandings to be constructed by students themselves. More than any other state curriculum effort to date, California’s experiment aims explicitly at the goals urged by many recent reform reports: instruction that helps students think critically, express themselves proficiently, construct and solve problems, synthesize information, invent, and create.”

Sound familiar? Even for those who have not yet read my book Credentialed to Destroy, there is nothing new about what is now being called the Common Core or the active coordination of fed ED, the think tanks of every purported allegiance, and the NGA. To anyone who has not guessed it yet, ed reforms for results will become better known and then notorious as Outcomes-Based Education. Education reforms for results embodying actual changes in the students at an internalized level in how they think, feel, and ultimately act needed a new conception of schools and how they operate. That’s what School Choice has always been about. This is from the Foreword to the 1990 book, written by the Brookings’ President (my bolding):

“the nation’s education problem, then, is an institutional problem. To overcome it, the authors recommend a new system of public education based on fundamentally new institutions. They propose a shift away from a system of schools controlled directly by the government–through politics and bureaucracy–to a system of indirect control that relies on markets and parental choice.”

That again was Brookings and it fits with the Rockefeller Foundation’s recognition in the 80s that only “systemic school reform” would allow the kind of change in American schools toward holistic human development for ALL students that it sought. So School Choice became seen as the means for ensuring that ALL schools will offer “a high-quality learning experience” and a “rigorous curriculum in which students actively participate.” Envisioned as a theory in 1990 then, but that same pursuit of active and experiential is what accreditors now require and what the December 2015 Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) wrote into federal law for the states and districts to all implement. There is another useful confession in this book that no one seems willing to concede anymore now that School Choice is not just a theory.

“Any private schools that do participate will thereby become public schools, as such schools are defined under the new system.”

That same logic also is how homeschoolers are now poised to become ensnared via School Choice’s newest Vehicle for its Theory–Education Savings Accounts. Anyone using an ESA may be forced to submit to “high quality assessments” measuring and monitoring precisely what they have internalized and what guides their “sense of self”( as Reschool Colorado recently termed it in its Framework for the Future of Learning).

Again, let’s go back to the beginning of the confessions about what Choice might do and who was involved.

“Choice is being embraced by liberals and conservatives alike as a powerful means of transforming the structure and performance of public education…At the federal level, Presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush have been enthusiastic supporters of educational choice, although there is not a great deal the federal government can do on it own. More consequentially, given the primary role of the states in public education, the National Governors’ Association has come out strongly for choice in its recent report [1986] on education, Time for Results–and reformist governors, Democrats and Republicans alike, have typically been in the forefront in pressing for real change.”

Karl Marx and John Dewey turn out to not be the only ones committed to social transformation via putting theories into practice. Public policy think tanks and their political allies love to as well. Authors Chubb and Moe again: “more important [a full-blown choice system] allows us to suggest in specific terms what our institutional theory of the schools actually entails for educational reform–and to emphasize, once again, how essential it is that reforms be founded in theory.” Now, if you are beginning to feel like a theory guinea pig, or at least a funder of such experiments, hold on for this stunning admission:

“Our guiding principle in the design of a choice system is this: public authority must be put to use in creating a system that is almost entirely beyond the reach of public authority.” If that sounds like nowhere to effectively appeal for any parent or student who grasps that School Choice and the law are to be used to impose the consciousness needed for the Human Development Society, the related footnote confirmed it:

“A good way of mitigating it [state legislatures or governors trying to control schools or their new mission in the future], however, would be to design institutions around fully decentralized authority and then install them through constitutional amendment. The legal foundation of the new system would then be very difficult to change or violate once put in place.”

Now I am just getting started on what has poured out in the last month as I sought to discern why no one was being honest about the history of either School Choice or the Common Core’s ancestry and who has been involved.

I guess we can just call this the Briar Patch Trilogy enlightening us all on why there has been such an insistence on false narratives.

I have been warning that the law and education are viewed as the ways to alter culture and the prevailing individual consciousness to something deemed appropriate for the ‘cooperative commonwealth’–another term frequently used.

If President-elect Trump is going to get us out of the Paris-climate accords (thank goodness!), can we please also cancel the attendant cultivation of a Comrade Consciousness via education reforms?




Not Subtle Enough–Enslaving Us All in the Name of Health, Equity, and Well-Being

That was a longer break than I had intended, but sometimes real life interferes with explaining plans for the future. Luckily it did not interfere at all with documenting those plans so here we go with Part 2 of this Trilogy with even more pertinent facts from just the last week. So what’s this reference to ‘subtlety’ and is the verb ‘enslaving’ accurate or hyperbole? I will let each of us decide that when this Trilogy is complete. The reference to subtlety though comes from a February 2016 paper setting out “a means to conceptualize, regulate, and shape development processes.” Now given what I have been hammering on all summer, virtually everyone reading this can rightfully predict this refers to what a student, or the adult they become, has internalized as their guiding values, beliefs, and mental models. It also refers though to physical spaces like cities, schools, workplaces, and virtually any institution in a community.

Whole Society means precisely that. Under various UN and national pushes (HUD for example, under Julian Castro began to roll out all the Habitat III goals in December 2014. Did you get the memo?) implementing the “Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals” we find a repeated and explicit insistence on new “Modes of Governance.” Now I am quite sure all the public policy think tanks suddenly calling for a constitutional convention in the US is just coincidental, but in case it is not, let’s listen in on the nature of the shift, especially as student competencies are pitched as being about ‘self-governance in the 21st Century.’

“Governing can be considered as the totality of interactions in which public, as well as private, actors participate with the aim of solving societal problems or creating societal opportunities; attending to the institutions as contexts for these governing interactions; and establishing a normative foundation for all these activities. Commonly phrased as a shift from government to governance, the notion of governance entails a process of interaction between different societal and political actors and the growing interdependencies between the two as modern societies become ever more complex, dynamic, and diverse…In hierarchical governance the focus is on the steering role of the state in respect to governance. The state has shifted its pattern of steering away from direct legislative intervention and control to more subtle forms of regulation and oversight.”

See what I mean about not subtle enough if I am reading the plans before they are even enacted and writing books and blogs about what learning standards, School Choice, and Social Determinants of Health really mean? Let’s pick up one more quote as “Self-governance refers to the capacity of people to govern themselves, where actors come together to frame their own collective solutions.” Now when you hear the terms ‘self-governance’ or ‘autonomy’ is Priming for Collectivism a definition any of us have in mind? See how the Subtle Steering comes in? When we hear someone calling for Health as a Human Right or Equity in Outcomes for all Students, do we immediately recognize this is another subtle agreement telling politicians at all levels to mandate “positive and constructive changes in social arrangements”?

That Success for All and Excellence are about education where schools, public or private, must concentrate on the “cultivation of those habits, dispositions, required for virtuous activity and enlightened change. Furthermore, these creative habits can flourish only with the proper social conditions. This is one reason Dewey placed so much emphasis on education–education that begins when a child is born and continues through and beyond formal schooling.” That was from Richard Bernstein and is cited as “Creative Democracy-The Task Still Before Us” and is available as a Blueprint for the Planning and Public Policy set who fully intend to steer away in what is being pitched as a People-Centered Society. Oh, Joy.

When I was looking into the Community Schools mandated in the US by ESSA, the new federal statute signed in December 2015, it led me to a new acronym–HiAP. Health in All Policies was a new phrase, but following it has taken me on a global Internet journey to the rationales for the very programs now being foisted on us by various federal agencies and local governments all over the world, especially in the US. First up was the 2010 Adelaide Statement on Health in All Policies: Moving Towards A Shared Governance for Health and Well-Being” that left me not feeling very well after I read it. Like the Culture as Sustainability paper quoted above that will be covered in Part 3, HiAP is grounded in an insistence that “increasingly, communities, employers and industries are expecting and demanding strong government action to tackle the determinants of health and well-being and avoid duplication and fragmentation of actions.”

That unpublicized aim insists the “causes of health and well-being lie outside the health sector and are socially and economically formed.” Meeting the supposed demands of local employers and industries, which is after all the new role of K-12 education, becomes about a need for “joined-up government” and “another approach to governance.” I am really learning to hate that little ‘-ance’ suffix that seems so innocuous. Suddenly and out of sight we have the implementation of a ‘new social contract’ that sounds just like a Karl Marx Blueprint for where history should lead. Subtly and via education especially, we have a call where “Governments can coordinate policymaking by developing strategic plans that set out common goals, integrated responses and increased accountability across government departments. This requires a partnership with civil society and the private sector.”

Readers of my book Credentialed to Destroy will recognize that alliance as the Turchenko vision for achieving little c communism in the West. Interestingly enough we now know that the Adelaide Statement in 2010 reignited a global agenda launched in 1978 in Alma Ata, USSR. All these coincidences, huh? That Alma Ata Declaration was also trumpeted in the October 2011 World Conference on the Social Determinants of Health in Rio where we also failed to get an invite. That Political Declaration insisted that “health equity is a shared responsibility and requires the engagement of all sectors of government, of all segments of society, and of all members of the international community” to “achieve social and health equity.”

How? Glad to be asked. We have all been committed to “improve the daily living conditions; to tackle the inequitable distribution of power, money and resources; and to measure and understand the problem and assess the impact of action.” On the latter, I had never heard of Professor Donald Campbell, his Experimental Society, or Democratic Experimentalism until this past month as I tracked all these initiatives. Apparently back in 1969, social scientists decided “The United States and other modern nations should be ready for an experimental approach to social reform, an approach in which we try out new programs designed to cure specific social problems.”

Back to Rio and then on to Finland in 2013 and Shanghai this November, as we are all being bound to an agenda that insists that “health inequities arise from societal conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age” and are known as Social Determinants of Health. This agenda cares a great deal about addressing power imbalances so all the Hype about Black Lives Matter and trying to gain equivalence among the “killings in Dallas” and the “shootings in Baton Rouge and St Paul” (as if murderous intent was no longer pertinent) makes so much more sense if the only acceptable remedy is for action on the Social Determinants of Health:

“both for vulnerable groups and the entire population, is essential to create inclusive, equitable, economically productive and healthy societies. Positioning human health and well-being as one of the key features of what constitutes a successful, inclusive and fair society in the 21st century is consistent with our commitment to human rights at national and international levels.”

To bring the discussion back to just education for a moment, we have the draft document for Shanghai’s upcoming 9th Global Conference on Health Promotion in its Social Mobilization Brief insisting that “Critical to success will be maximally mobilizing the unique enthusiasm, spirit, and social media know-how of youth, ensuring that they are fully engaged in social action and political processes.” Fully engaged and trained through school to help shift to what Marx called the Human Development Society with all the implementing measures subtly hidden away lest enough people rebel in time.

This past Tuesday, about two weeks after I originally planned to write this HiAP post, NAS released a paper on a February 2016 Workshop called “Framing the Dialogue on Race and Ethnicity to Advance Health Equity.” Beginning to see why Michael Brown’s actual activities in Ferguson, Missouri that fateful day or what Trayvon Martin was really up to and how he no longer looked anything like the pictures chosen by the media are so useful to the True Transformational Agenda we are not supposed to get until it is too late? It calls for all institutions, including schools and universities, to “develop an equity lens.” That lens is defined as “understanding the social, political, and environmental contexts of a program, policy, or practice in order to evaluate and assess the unfair benefits and burdens within a society or population.” The workshop also stressed how to ‘frame equity’ in terms of “privilege and oppression.”

The “Reframing Communication to Advance Racial Equity” insisted that “the primary factors that shape the health of Americans are not medical treatments but rather the living conditions they experience. These conditions have become known as the social determinants of health. Our health is shaped by how income and wealth is distributed, whether or not we are employed, and, if so, the working conditions we experience. Furthermore, our well-being is also determined by the health and social services we receive and our ability to obtain quality education, food, and housing, among other factors. Health and illness follow a social gradient: the lower the socioeconomic position, the worse the health.” The Workshop was citing work from the Frameworks Institute that I first wrote about here.

Fascinating coincidence since this paper that is technically about the UK has a title “New Narratives: Changing the Frame on Crime and Justice.” It goes a long way towards explaining why all these bad actions by actors deemed from underprivileged groups get overlooked and misrepresented in the prevailing ‘narrative’ of what happened. Its conclusion is that the “most effective strategy for preventing crime may well be to strengthen other social services, such as those that relate to education, housing and mental health. Building the political will to strengthen these systems is a crucial objective.”

That’s an understatement. The political will in other words gets built via education and the hyping of Privilege, Oppression, and Inequities at every opportunity. Meanwhile the solutions compel all our modern nations towards collectivism, while reframing Marx’s obligation to ‘meet needs’ as Health Inequities that must be remedied via governmental power.

Binding but invisible was the game plan. Luckily though these mandates are Not Subtle Enough for a Diligent Parent and Researcher just following the laws, regulations, and tracking down mysterious definitions.


Foiling False Narratives Amidst Unsupported Cries of Balderdash!

The last post was not designed to ruffle feathers so much as continue to warn that words like Classical or Christian when applied to education, much like what we have already seen with Critical Thinking and Rigor, may not have the actual meaning assumed. I am genuinely worried about the extent to which Classical Education is modeling a psychological template that came out of the Soviet Union to bind the mind and personality. A reader in the comments put up this slideshow that reveals a troubling and intentional use of cybernetic techniques via education to mentally and emotionally bind a person for religious purposes. Please scrutinize what on-line vendors or actual charters or privates have in mind when they use these terms.

Today we will continue to explore the broader template of what is being pushed under the Classical label and its very troubling bedfellows that were turbocharged in December with the language in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). A reader contacted a well-known education writer known for being anti-Common Core and pro-Classical Education asking for a rebuttal of what I wrote in the last post. We are going to go through the various responses because they illustrate so well what a muddle these Great Ideas centric educations can actually create. Response 1 was that the post was “Balderdash.” Since that descriptive word would mean writing that is contrary to facts and nonsensical, the natural question became “what is not true?” That provoked a link  that the frustrated reader forwarded to me.

I pointed out I never theorize in writing about conspiracies, but that I do get to quote people who declare they are involved in a coordinated effort to use education to achieve some declared transformation of society. Secondly, that article basically insults certain political supporters as acting like people who use a Gnostic simplistic analysis to view the world around them. Well, that was a new criticism and not particularly consistent with the facts. Maybe I was supposed to be horrified, but I did wonder whether someone needed my Inapt Metaphor lesson on lousy analogizing. A few days later I got the final response from the reader who really wanted there not to be some kind of misuse of the phrase ‘Classical Christian education’ for purposes unappreciated by parents. Here is the final criticism of that post and apparently the reason for trying to protect people from either my book Credentialed to Destroy or this blog. I have a few responses in brackets.

“My point is addressing it does nothing because verifying people’s intentions is impossible. [What’s to verify if I am quoting what they write as to intentions?] And there is no high volume of readers. [Of course that has nothing to do with any coordination to hijack what can be said or written about the Common Core by certain well-funded think tanks] Because global warming crazies say the earth is round I need to wonder if the earth is flat. Absurd. And Robin’s assertion that we need to prioritize facts but not their connections is a non-starter to thinking people. [Someone skipped the class day devoted to the Strawman Fallacy] She does that herself. There are not demons under every doily that she has not herself made.”

That last part about “demons under every doily” was too alliterative to have been original. You too may want to put it in quotes and see the results of the search. The real question though is what makes me write about something on this blog at any given time? Usually I  am responding to something that appears to be hidden by a wall of deceit. That type of factual investigation may be annoying and inconvenient, but it’s not nonsensical.  Let’s get back to why I am so concerned and right to be so. Another book, Classical Education: Towards the Revival of American Schooling by Gene Edward Veith, Jr. and Andrew Kern, came and only heightened my concern. They do a chapter on Douglas Wilson’s model, then Mortimer Adler’s Paideia Proposal as an example of Democratic Classicism, and then David Hicks’ Moral Classism and its emphasis on the “importance of character development and the full flowering of the human personality.”

No, I don’t want the human personality to be allowed to wilt and I also want to develop character. There is an alignment here though of what everyone from Charles Fadel and his well-connected Center for Curriculum Redesign is now pushing as Four-Dimensional Education, what the Dewey acolytes want, and what is being pushed as Classical Education. Every single one is targeting the same areas of what the student is to have internalized and how they are to work together to guide the vision of the future and motivate likely behavior. Common Core talks about its purpose as being College and Career Ready and the Classicist aim is said to be “to form the adult-to-be”? Does that sound like a similar destination to anyone else?

I have written before about Carol Dweck, what is called the Growth Mindset, and even that the White House Behavioral and Social Sciences Team has now commenced a national Growth Mindset study. Tell me if that aim fits with the following passage from the Moral Classicism template (my bolding). Notice this is not about the transmission of factual knowledge.

“…classical learning is neither doctrinaire religious instruction nor analytical scientific positivism. Even though the classical student begins by accepting dogma (i.e, ‘that which seems good’,) he personalizes it by questioning it –that is, by employing dialectic. As the student refines his understanding, his insight grows, ‘ascending a dialectical staircase to an upper room of fragile truths and intangible beliefs.’ Challenges and contradictions arise to dogma and within it by the process of dialectic, and this leads to dogma’s reformulation. Using his conscience and the process of dialectic, and guided by the universal vision of the ideal type, the student grows toward the Ideal. Commitment to dialectic is thus the first principle in Hicks’ version of classical education: the conscious development of the internal dialogue guides us to the fulfillment of our natures.”

Well, someone is specifying those Ideals and creating an education intended to internalize them. I am not sure the student gets much say. Neither will the parents unless they scrutinize what comes in now under the banner of ‘classical’ education. Now I honestly do not know how much those pushing this template as ‘classical education’ appreciate why Evald Ilyenkov created the New Dialectics in the USSR to advance the Human Development Society vision of Marxism that commenced in earnest globally around 1962. I do, however, know an institution that has had a very good handle on this integration of East and West using education. If Harvard’s Project Zero classifies Hicks’ Interdisciplinary  Humanities Program as a Pre-Collegiate Program conducive to bringing about “an all-encompassing framework of meaning,” we need to take them at their word on the links to the IB Theory of Knowledge coursework and the notorious constructivist Math and Science programs. If all of these are cited as means to teach contextualizing or context-building, conceptualization, and problem-solving so that inquiry-oriented coursework becomes a means of teaching social responsibility, the need for social change, and the “primary goal of finding causes and cures for human calamities,” we can assume that the Change Agent Licensors understand where Classical Education is actually going, even if its proponents do not. At this point, I was thoroughly concerned that we once again have Inadvertent Change Agents pushing a remedy to the Common Core they have repeatedly deplored that amounts to jumping from the frying pan into the fire, I went back to who Douglas Wilson cited as his source for his Trivium.

He put Dorothy Sayers’ 1947 essay The Lost Tools of Learning as an Appendix to the book covered in the last post. I found her emphasis on the “medieval scheme of education” to be a little odd as that was a preliterate society. To quote historian William Manchester in his fine A World Lit Only By Fire, the Middle Ages was a time when “literacy was scorned” and Holy Roman Emperors themselves would respond to a correction of their Latin as being ‘above grammar.’ It was a time when the “devout scorned reason…Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153), the most influential Christian of his time, bore a deep distrust of the intellect and declared that the pursuit of knowledge, unless sanctified by a holy mission, was a pagan act and therefore vile.”

Anyone else beginning to question whether the whole Trivium and Quadrivium hype is just a narrative manufactured by someone wanting to hide the clear connections to cybernetic psychological theory and systems thinking? Then the narrative gets repeated until it seems true. Back to Manchester, who pointed out that “there was no room in the medieval mind for doubt, the possibility of skepticism simply did not exist.” He also pointed out “medieval man’s total lack of ego. Even those with creative powers had no sense of self” and “an almost total indifference to privacy. In summertime peasants went about naked.” Aren’t we glad this post is written and not a multimedia presentation? See why I am so suspicious we have yet another false narrative.

The “rediscovery of Aristotelian learning–in dialectic, logic, natural science, and metaphysics” did happen during the 1198-1216 pontificate of Innocent III. It was “synthesized with traditional Church doctrine,” beginning a shattering process known in Italy as the Rinascimento. I bet we are all more familiar with the French term. There is no question that Dorothy Sayers hyped the medieval mind and going back to her essay I think she was making ahistorical assertions looking for a remedy via education against the just lived through horrors of World War II. Under the heading “Unarmed and Unequipped,” she wrote this:

“For we let our young men and women go out unarmed in a day when armor was never so necessary. By teaching them to read, we have left them at the mercy of the printed word. By the invention of the film and the radio, we have made certain that no aversion to reading shall secure them from the incessant battery of words, words, words. They do not know what the words mean; they do not know how to ward them off or blunt their edge or fling them back; they are a prey to words in their emotions instead of being the masters of them in their intellects. We who were scandalized in 1940 when men were sent to fight armored tanks with rifles, are not scandalized when young men and women are sent into the world to fight mass propaganda with a smattering of ‘subjects’; and when whole classes and whole nations become hypnotized by the arts of the spellbinder, we have the impudence to be astonished.

We dole out lip-service to the importance of education–lip-service and, just occasionally, a little grant of money; we postpone the school leaving-age, and plan to build bigger and better schools; the teachers slave conscientiously in and out of school hours, till responsibility becomes a burden and a nightmare; and yet, as I believe, all this devoted effort is largely frustrated, because we have lost the tools of learning, and in their absence can only make a botched and piecemeal effort of it.”

Can’t you still hear the anguish decades later? Sayers thought she had a very good reason for using education to mandate a worldview.

Maybe she did. Our problem is that so many now have the same intentions, but obscure the real new purpose and focus of education behind terms we believe still have their dictionary meanings.

Dragging this documented reality into the sunlight should not result in cries of Balderdash.

Scientizing Public Policy: Implementing Orwellian Tyranny by Statute Via the Mind and Personality

I have spent the last several days since President Obama signed the “bicameral and bipartisan” Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) on December 9 reading the false and misleading statements from various think tanks and reporters, supposedly representing a wide spectrum of political visions. Probably the most intrusive and impactful federal legislation ever and hardly anyone writing about it seems to feel compelled to actually read the legislation before explaining what it will do. In school a false Cliff Notes explanation of a book is likely to get a failing grade and an inquiry into cheating. In public policy and journalism now, creating false beliefs about transformative legislation seems to be all the rage. I guess it is to be expected that legislation seeking to physically reengineer the human psyche using behavioral science research would also use a bit of that research to create these false, or simply incomplete, talking points being used to describe the legislation.

If that other “bicameral and bipartisan,” fundamentally transformative legislation from summer 2014-WIOA-was the federal legislation that no one who enacted it wanted to even speak of, its partner-ESSA-is the transformative statute that no one intends to describe accurately. Unfortunately though, the actual statutory language and its real purpose control what must now occur in P-12 classrooms. It lays out what has really been authorized for meaningful change at the level of our children’s minds and personalities. Remember that. Talking points and articles may influence how ESSA is regarded by parents and the voting public, but it has nothing to do with the actual required implementation. Because the points raised and language ignored have so much commonality article to article, I shifted the actual quote I pilfered for the title from ‘scientizing politics’, which is what I believe ESSA was designed to do, to ‘scientizing public policy.’

The reference to Orwell is not me being a clever wordsmith and trying to hype attention. There really was a conference in August 1984 (like his book title) in Cambridge, UK on George Orwell and the “potential for tyranny if the enterprise of politics is interpreted as being analogous to that of science.” I believe that is precisely what ESSA is designed to do. A huge number of reports I have read from the US as well as from all over the globe back that up. Recognizing that makes me want to at call attention to what is at risk and why it matters. This, I believe, is the true reason politicians of both parties and public policy types across the spectrum refuse to accurately describe ESSA. No one seems to want anyone to have much of a chance to recognize the purpose of all those euphemisms used in its language or the Red Herrings designed to be a cited focus.

What does it mean if politics is being falsely analogized to science? Instead of politics being about competing interests within a set of rules that values the individual, scientizing politics uses education and the law as its primary tools. These allow coercive implementation without consent from those actually bound and treat politics as a truth-discovery process. What’s the truth to be compelled for belief? I have warned before that there really is such a thing in political science as the Human Development Society. Karl Marx wrote about it and all its tenets are being put into place now legislatively via all those unread, except by me, provisions of WIOA and ESSA. That is not an ideological smear, but a factual recognition of the background of these ideas.

Whether widely known or not   lays out the federal/states framework of using federal money to intervene in meeting ‘needs’ from birth on. The two think tanks, AEI and Brookings, have recently published definitive plans called “Opportunity, Responsibility, and Security: A Consensus Plan for Reducing Poverty and Restoring the American Dream” that would also please Uncle Karl immensely. Notice that as much as certain groups have capitalized on criticizing that video of Congressman Tim Ryan saying social and emotional learning is to be the primary focus now of education, that cited paper calls for the same focus. Since I have already read that paper, I know that it makes it clear that the primary reason to have funding follow the student and vary in amounts based on categories of ‘needs’ at federal and state levels is a desire to force socioeconomic integration on all public schools.

I mentioned that goal last week at a program on Student-Based Budgeting and having it be portable like a backpack that was being put on by two Atlas Network members–the Reason Foundation and the Georgia Public Policy Foundation. Both acknowledged that was the goal, but it was a long way away. I pointed out that parents and taxpayers were not being told that was even the long-term goal in all the public programs around changing the nature of student funding. Following up on that discussion, I discovered that both Reason and the Cato Institute had published papers urging a shift in welfare policy to Universal Basic Income. In other words, the so-called Left and Right public policy makers seem to have agreed on implementing Uncle Karl’s vision with the only question marks being how much should be publicly provided vs merely publicly funded and provided under stipulated standards.

Since that apparent reality would probably not be politically popular in a world where a majority of Americans do want to close the borders and not work as a beast of burden for everyone who can physically make it here and then start having children, we get the very lies and misstatements about WIOA and ESSA and what they are really intended to accomplish that I have been noticing. As always when confronted with any attempt to politically install a false picture of reality in the minds of boys and girls and the adults around them, I turned  to a 1988 French book by Jean-Francois Revel that was translated into English in 1991 as The Flight from Truth.

Revel noted just how unusual it is to find people “who possess a taste for facts and an interest in truth.” He called it the “anomaly of intellectual curiosity” and since I have definitely been driven by that curiosity all my life, his descriptions seemed like a good way to describe what ESSA, its required Higher Order Thinking Skills and Understandings (HOTS), the embedded Competency-based education, the required behaviorally-oriented performance standards and assessments, etc. are all hoping to foster in the minds and personalities of the students who will be tomorrow’s voters.

“The power of ideology is rooted in a human lack of curiosity about facts. When a new piece of information reaches us, we react first by wondering if it is going to reinforce or weaken our habitual mode of thought…The ideas that interest us the most are not new ideas, they are ideas we are accustomed to. [or which preschool through higher ed intends to make us used to as Relevant, Engaging, and Culturally Responsive]. The prodigious progress of science since the seventeenth century prompts us to invest human nature with a congenital appetite for knowledge and an insatiable appetite for facts.

But what history teaches us is that if Man does indeed display an intense intellectual activity, it is above all to construct vast explanatory systems as verbose as they are ingenious-systems that induce mental calm by providing an illusion of global comprehension, rather than by encouraging us humbly to explore reality and to expose ourselves to unknown information. To grow and develop, science has always had to struggle against this primordial human tendency which surrounds it and combats it from within: indifference to knowledge.”

The refusal to describe WIOA and the deliberate inaccuracies surrounding ESSA build on that recognized general indifference to knowledge most people possess. As Revel recognized and so does every behavioral scientist and educator seeking to ‘scientize politics’ in the 21st Century: “Man’s major foe is deep within him. But the enemy is no longer the same. Formerly it was ignorance; today it is falsehood.” Those mental systems that can induce calm or motivate action from a deep, emotional level must be created by education under ESSA in each and every student.

Looking for that presence, and manipulating what is found as needed to create the desired dispositions and generalized knowledge and skills to be the future citizen a Human Development Society needs, is precisely what ESSA prescribes. It is what assessing for HOTS, personalized learning based on data, and ‘well-rounded learning experiences’ are all about. The entire concept of 21st Century Schools required to receive all that funding under ESSA goes back to another reason why education and the law are being used now to Scientize Politics without permission and with organized, active deceit from the public sector and its public policy advocates. We are being forcibly shifted from our historic emphasis in the West of a community organized around moral order to a moral community organized around shared common purposes.

ESSA, WIOA, and those reports I provided as examples above, all assume a shift to an “overriding community interest” where everyone’s designated needs must be met. Individual rights to pursue our own interests and, apparently, our own knowledge of actual facts, get trumped by the desire to plan people, places, the economy, and supposedly ensure economic justice for all, regardless of background or personal productivity. Again, since being honest about this shift and a widespread recognition of what the consequences are likely to be is simply not good for a political career or even fundraising prospects for the typical think tank, we get lies and descriptions of legislation based on talking points with no actual curiosity for the facts.

Education necessarily has to be altered at all levels to support this clear, but unheralded shift, because a society that locates its sources of social cohesion in moral community is “necessarily more vulnerable to shifts in attitudes and behavior patterns that might reflect individual departures from the shared purposes of the community.” At least we know now why a communitarian ethos and shared understandings just keep popping up in the required implementation of a Positive and Safe School Climate.

Everything from the Career Pathways requirements to the new descriptions of K-12 as Workforce Development to the mandate that all educational practices promote Equity and meet needs actually trace back to this shift to a moral community where:

“Persons are tied, one to another, by their common identification to the collective, with their shared sense of nationhood, race, class, or ideology.”

As an anomalous seeker of facts with an insatiable curiosity about the likely effects in the reality where we all dwell, let me be the first to point out that this has historically been a tragic path for any society to actively cultivate.

Just because our elected public officials have arrogantly voted to impose this vision on us using education and the law, with an assist on the falsehoods part from the media, doesn’t mean we have to acquiesce.

The way out, as usual, is the recognition of what is really going on.

Even is it is not a politically approved pathway anymore under federal law.


Minds, Souls, & Attitudes: Whistleblowing the Tarbiyah Project for Islamic Education Imposed for ALL Students

The multiple tragedies in Paris on Friday in Paris did not change the topic of the Conclusion of this Trilogy. The ramifications of a document that came out of my UNESCO Lifelong Learning research, written by two Malaysian profs and presented at a 2011 Computing and Informatics Conference in Indonesia, is what has flushed out the other Ideology that fits 100% with the actual implementation I tracked first in my book Credentialed to Destroy, and now as additional details come into place, through this blog. By Ideology I mean in the cultural model sense used in the last post, but essentially it is the values, beliefs, and concepts a person sees the world through–the personal and social belief system or Worldview that guides individual and collective behavior.

The Arabic word for this is tarbiyah and it means education for Total Human Development, which is why its mandated practices and tenets dovetail so closely with that other M word that grew out of the political and human philosophy of Uncle Karl. I had never heard the word before yesterday. I had planned to write about the still troubling hijacking of acceptable religious belief systems using the secular K-12 classroom as laid out in an atrocious UNESCO/ UNICEF report sponsored by the Arigatou Foundation called “Learning to Live Together: An Intercultural and Interfaith Programme for Ethics Education.” Looking at that long document and its recommended activities and project-based learning and role-playing experiences, it was obvious this global targeting of each student’s values and beliefs, whatever their religion or lack of it, was already in place in various mandates I have covered.

I had pulled that ICOCI “Visionary Model of an Islamic Learning Community” in part because it had a nesting graphic that worked like a Russian Matrushka doll with the student at the center just like the Aspen Institute wanted in that “Students at the Center of a Networked World” report created by a Task Force Jeb Bush disturbingly chaired. It extends outwards to classroom, school, community, and workplace, and then global, so it also fits with something a psychologist named Urie Bronfenbrenner developed. The C3 Social Studies Common Core Framework already hypes BEST (see tags), which also fits with the Learning Cities/ Regions emphasis from the last post. So not only did the push not seem limited to Islamic communities and countries, the link mentioned that Learning Communities, which we already know are to be required in US schools under the definition of what constitutes being an Effective Principal (see FCL tag), are based on a concept created by the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood in 1943.

Saturday morning then, I decided to reread that link carefully, and it said that the late Hassan Albanna used usrah as an education medium laying down its three components of knowing each other, understanding each other, and helping and caring for each other. I am leaving out the particular Arabic terms although these, and usually the symbol from Arabic script and a verse from the Quran, are consistently provided throughout every component of anything involved with this Tarbiyah Project.

Before anyone thinks I have to go to the other side of the world to track this, Tarbiyah was created by a native of Philadelphia, Dawud Tauhidi, who “embraced Islam in 1972. He studied at Lehigh University and later studied Arabic” at U-Penn. In 1980, he graduated from the famous al-Azhar University in Cairo where President Obama chose to go to address the Muslim World. His degree was in Usul ad-Din and Tauhidi’s masters and PhD in Islamic Studies are from U-Michigan. The Tarbiyah Project materials frequently cite to Michigan ed standards said to reflect the Project.

Now we could stick with that 2011 link which tells us “ICT will play a role in helping the democratization of the usrah system” so we can keep its tenets in mind as we look at various digital learning initiatives. I can look at the various prescribed features of the Tarbiyah Project and recognize the complete alignment with what is being mandated for US classrooms in NCLB waivers, Positive School Climate XO’s, civil rights laws, etc. Most of my regular readers and anyone who has read my book will be able to as well. Phrases like ‘continuous improvement’ that are what every administrator and anyone involved in student and school accountability track verbatim.

I have also tried to explain the focus on concepts and the desire to internalize what students will then use to guide perceptions and interpret daily experiences. Not only is that a component of Islamic education for holistic development of the Whole Child so they will learn to “be Muslim,” there was even a reference to the term ‘Enduring Understandings’. It has a tag as does its creator Lynn Erickson. Tarbiyah and Tawhid state that the heart and its transformation are to be the ‘core of education.” Anyone remember the subtitle of Erickson’s book on Concept-driven education? Stirring the Head, Heart and Soul. Did the Georgia Social Studies teachers down at the State DoE in 2009 receiving Conceptual Development training under a Bill Crenshaw know they were being trained to provide Islamic Education consistent with Tawhid (Spiritual Literacy) and Tarbiyah? Probably not and I doubt if the overpaid administrator knew either. That’s the beauty of K-12 globally now. People are pushing concepts they do not know the background of because there’s a lucrative job there, promotions, pensions, and frequently being a Change Agent through curriculum was the whole basis of the education doctorate.

And in it comes with virtually no one having the knowledge or incentives to look further. Did you know the Tarbiyah Project also likes to use that tired metaphor about education needing to move beyond the ‘factory-model’? With the name of the creator and project it will be easy to pull up lots of reports now, but this is too important to have to take Robin’s word for the alignment. Would you believe that in 2014 the US-China Education Review, perhaps excited about the implications of the 2013 Beijing Declaration and Learning Cities from the last post, published an article called “Revisiting the Concept of an Integrated Curriculum and its Implications for Contemporary Islamic Schools.” Again we have Malaysian profs who probably assumed they were talking among like-minded insiders.

It cited to the ‘Tarbiyah Project’ of Tauhidi and how it is an “entire curriculum approach” that can become embedded through standards and “involves integrating Islamic knowledge into every subject of the curriculum and, hence, the inevitable need to rewrite the curriculum.” This integration, which deplores self-contained subjects like algebra or chemistry, also goes by the name ‘Islamization of knowledge’. It “mainly involves integrating all subject disciplines into the Islamic Weltanschauung.” The German phrase for Worldview as the new focus of education.

So when you look at the Tabiyah Framework and its Universal Concepts, remember that the Next Generation Science Standards, with its CDIs-Core Disciplinary Ideas and CCCs-Cross-Cutting Concepts and themes, fits fully with what Tauhidi laid out. Maybe just in time for Bush 43 to allow the US to rejoin UNESCO. Anyway, evaluating Tarbiyah against the Common Core and competency-based education is so much easier with the boast that the Tarbiyah Project:

“promotes the inspiration and transformation of students through the process of teaching and learning in order to transform the world in the future. It has integrated the national curriculum with Islamic principles and output of a ‘brain-based research’. Hence, it avoids pure rote learning and makes learning more meaningful using students’ ability to think and comprehend.”

So the so-called Thinking Curriculum is consistent with Tarbiyah as are all the SEL and Whole Child Initiatives. Anyone reading the Overview should also remember the New 3 Rs of Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships because all are mentioned repeatedly as well. They even make it into Essential Learnings and Key Outcomes and Indicators that formative and summative assessments will be looking for and creating through Project-based Learning and cooperative projects.

Unless the pending reconciliation of the House-passed Student Success Act and the Senate-passed Every Child Achieves Act no longer reflects the language of either bill, the forthcoming ESEA Rewrite will be enshrining the fundamental concepts, values, beliefs, and attitudes of what it means to act as a Muslim per the Tarbiyah Project into federal law. Making the implementation point the states and local schools means nothing as Tarbiyah also fits so well with the Learning Cities/Regions focus that first brought it on my radar screen. Remember Chapter 7 of my book where I made the title about the Common Core always being about changing Values, Attitudes, and Beliefs? Here’s an enlightening quote:

“The ultimate aim of this Islamic education is closely related to character building, i.e. producing an integrated Islamic personality that requires Islamic values as its foundation. Hence, these two elements, i.e., beliefs and values, should be considered as key elements in the implementation of the Islamic integrated curriculum.”

What are those values? Well, the ubiquitous communitarianism we have located everywhere from what makes a Positive School Climate to what are Career Ready Practices is a key component. Tarbiyah is noted in footnotes as being consistent with Bloom’s Taxonomy and Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences. Tarbiyah was not mentioned in any of the Rapprochement of Cultures materials I read or in the Learning to Live Together required practices and activities for the classrooms, but they all fit like puzzle pieces assembling a photo vista once we know about the other initiatives. Remember how the purpose of the creator of a theory or practice comes in even if the implementer is unaware?

Islamic values and beliefs, Tauhidi and these cited others say, thoroughly permeate what is being required and implemented in the US and globally under a myriad of names. I have used tags and Proper Nouns for phrases to bring some of these out. In a world where people can be shot for drawing cartoons or anything maligning, I am reluctant to quote all of the references in the Tarbiyah Project documents and appendices to the Prophet, Quran, quotes from verses, or further Arabic names for what is desired to act as a Muslim instead of knowing about Islam. The Tarbiyah Project aligns with what is already being imposed, including the kind of dramatic change in pedagogy and instructional practices laid out by the Ultimate in American insiders here last week. We can all wish that a focus on Student Growth and the required Effective Teaching did not align so well with Tawhid and Tarbiyah.

How can free people survive in a world where the required practices all trace back to either Marxist theory for an ‘all needs met’ society or Islamic theory? In the Learning to Live Together report that was to be the basis for this post, the UNICEF/UNESCO writers make it clear just how regulated people are now to be to fulfill the UN’s agenda. No deviations or amendments allowed and they even said that.

It’s a one-way street though where the beliefs and perspectives of some groups and religions must be respected, while K-12 education deceitfully wipes out any religion, beliefs, or values that venerates the individual.

At least now we do not have to wonder why strange stories about required Mosque field trips and forced studies of Islamic pillars just keep cropping up.

Now let’s see what sunlight can do to this planned transformation without consent. It should trouble us all greatly that Tauhidi cited Abraham Lincoln’s famous quote about whoever controls school curriculum being in charge of the forms of government in the next generation.

Hopefully not, for all of our sakes.


Harnessing the Willingness of the Populace to Fill its Role in These Plans Via Deceit at all Levels

Part Two begins with the UNESCO General Conference meeting in Paris that last week enacted what it already abbreviates as FFA–Education 2030 Framework for Action: Towards inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning for all. UNESCO is celebrating its 70th anniversary at this meeting and fully intends to use “Quality Education” to achieve its long time agenda of “Building Peace in the Minds of Men and Women”. That’s what Rapprochement of Cultures and Human Rights Education were about from the last two posts. I happen to have the up-to-date official definition of Quality Learning at the ready for us:

“there is an acute need to foster skills, values and attitudes that will enable people to overcome religious, linguistic and cultural differences, to coexist peacefully, and to discover shared human, moral and ethical principles…we attach great importance to enhancing quality in learning by..raising awareness of shared moral, ethical and cultural values, and promoting tolerance of differences [at least certain kinds of differences as the Oregon bakers discovered].”

It is that internalized belief and value system we all have that is being consistently targeted, isn’t it? They do intend to build peace at the level of the mind, or at least prevailing perceptions that it is possible. To discover why let me introduce you to a new definition of ‘culture’ and something I had never heard of–Cognitive Anthropology. See where footnote surfing gets us? To quote a cited book, Cultural Models in Language & Thought, “this school of anthropology came to stand for a new view of culture as shared knowledge [hence the boldfacing above]–not a people’s customs and artifacts and oral traditions, but what they must know in order to act as they do, make the things they make, and interpret their experiences in the distinctive way they do.”

Sound familiar? That’s what Competency gets at, what Higher Order Thinking Skills assessments evaluate for, what the Maker Movement and Project-based Learning have students emphasize, and what the local school administrators mean when they hype ‘quality learning experiences’ for all students. When the White House Summit this week on reimagining American high school showed a film Most Likely to Succeed   touting High Tech High in San Diego they were pushing a vision of education developed by cognitive anthropology research. The title of this post tells us why. Education–preschool, K-12, higher ed, and adult–is looking for “insight into those conditions under which cultural models [what Quality Learning internalizes. See above] are endowed with directive force and hence with ideological potential.”

Gulp. The essence of the phrase “sustainable development” is finding cultural models that can be internalized as values, beliefs, and attitudes that will reliably guide and prompt desired future behaviors. If that sounds authoritarian, it is. It fully intends to rely on ‘statutory enactment’ and ‘political regulations’ to be binding, but those things and ‘financial incentives’ cannot carry the load fully. Education for All throughout a lifetime, from cradle to grave, is needed to always be malleable and subservient to political power. No rebellions and no resentment, at least not overtly. In what may be my all time favorite phrase taken from a 2006 book Learning Cities, Learning Regions, Learning Communities: Lifelong learning and local government,  written by a professor and UNESCO consultant Nicholas Longworth:

“Top-down authoritarian structures are no longer in vogue and leaders in cities and regions will need to know how to harness the creative energies of thousands of people for the good. Shakespeare’s ‘tide in the affairs of men’ becomes also a tide in the affairs of local and regional authorities.”

Remember this as your Congress Critter or Senator Lamar Alexander hypes the ESEA Rewrite returning power to states and local districts and schools. Remember it as your State Governor files his WIOA plan, with its state and local boards, with DC. This is all consistent with the UN vision for achieving its 2030 Dignity for All agenda via Learning Cities and Learning Regions. The FFA mentioned above says so. We may not know any cognitive anthropologists or behavioral scientists, but the UN does, and it knows:

“Social life depends on the fit between what is socially required [see above and previous posts] and what is individually desired [Quality Learning games this]. So, too, the designs of those who would rule society and those who would benefit from this control over others, depend upon the willingness of the populace to fill its role in these plans. Therefore, states and other agencies promulgate ideology [Equity for All; Catastrophic Global Warming] persuading people to do what they otherwise might question or resist…To be successful, ideologies must appeal to and activate preexisting cultural understandings [Quality Learning again]…to be convincing, an ideology must pose as either legitimate or inevitable.”

Now we know why Outcomes-Based Education just keeps coming back as my book laid out and as a speaker from the well-connected Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education confirmed just last night. The stipulated outcomes are what can ‘grip us’ and act as an internal compass as Human Rights Education called it. That FFA stated that “Education is at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and essential for the success of all SDGs.” Front and center and running through everything, crucial to education, beginning ‘at birth’ and continuing ‘throughout life’ is the ‘concept of lifelong learning.” This time it is FFA bolding that phrase and luckily for us the footnote is on that page and not at the end. It was all-encompassing though and sent me scurrying for the cited technical paper. That’s when the Learning Cities and Regions came rolling out so here’s the quote:

“In essence, lifelong learning is rooted in the integration of learning and living, covering learning activities for people of all ages (children, young people, adults and elderly, girls and boys, women and men) in all life-wide contexts (family, school, community, workplace and so on) and through a variety of modalities (formal, non-formal and informal) which together meet a wide range of learning needs [what new state funding formulas all seem to emphasize] and demands. Education systems which promote lifelong learning adopt a holistic and sector-wide approach involving all sub-sectors and levels to ensure the provision of learning opportunities for all individuals.”

I was a history major and I recognize a variant of Mussolini’s infamous definition of Fascism, even if the State force is divvied up at multiple levels from the global to the local all the way to an insistence on student-centered learning: “All within the State, Nothing outside the State, Nothing against the State.” Remember authoritarianism is not rejected, just any perception of a top-down, centralized imposition. When I found that Lifelong Learning Technical Paper, it revealed a supposedly binding set of documents from 2013 called the “Beijing Declaration on Building Learning Cities” and ” Key Features of Learning Cities.” Locating these and reading through them it became apparent that I had been living through and attending meetings clearly implementing this Learning Region agenda. No wonder I accidentally learned so much as my book pulled together in alarming detail.

I now know that for sure and not just by inference because a few days ago the San Francisco region issued what it called the Roadmap that fits with every tenet aspiration of a UN Learning Region down to wanting to create a public-private partnership of elected officials and civic and business leaders to guide an Economic Development partnership that would be qualified to access federal funds as one of the 380 duly-qualified Economic Development Districts. Lots to build Learning Cities and regions on, huh? The report thanked those that have gone before and listed Atlanta, Chicago, Seattle, DC, and Los Angeles.

Between the last post and this one I went out of town and part of that trip involved driving Interstate 75 through Dalton, a reminder of the Aspen/fed Communities that Work Partnership that just commenced. WSI is Workforce Strategies Initiatives because in Learning Cities and Learning Regions, we all know that K-12=Workforce Development=Economic Development=Living itself under that definition of Lifelong Learning. Get enough physically juxtaposed regions and cities in one federal program or another, including Community Broadband that the close-by Chattanooga just issued bonds to finance, and our Learning Regions start knitting into a Learning Society committed via the law and education to Lifelong Learning–everyone, everywhere, all the time.

Quickly as I am running out of time, at the end of September 2015 a Second Learning Cities Summit was held in Mexico City and it set out the above as Guiding Documents for cities and regions to formally join the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities. Maybe our mayors or city council members do not plan to tell us though and simply go to conferences like PolicyLink’s October Equity Summit in Los Angeles where the principles are all asserted with federal officials mixing with local and with community organizers, implementing a global agenda without telling us officially.

Maybe the recognition comes from something like an ASCD Whole School Whole Community Whole Child Poster once we know about the Lifelong Learning/Learning Region formal agenda and seeing how it fits like a jigsaw piece to a puzzle. When we read about “more collaboration and partnerships with families, industry and business, voluntary associations, people active in cultural life are needed,” we need to recognize this is not just some random public spiritedness and desire for collaboration. It derives from official global policy for a new kind of cultural model internalized within the mind and personality.

We will close with the aspiration laid out by the Chinese Vice Premier at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo that this UNESCO agenda of Lifelong Learning is to “facilitate the comprehensive and personalized development of each and every individual.” Now take the top-down authoritarianism rejection and marry it with the bottoms up intent of Human Rights Education. This is Part 2 of a Trilogy, remember?

The Key Features Framework has a Greek Temple graphic with Sustainable Development across six pillars that basically summarize elements of the vision as the Major Building Blocks of a Learning City and three steps laying out the needed fundamental conditions. The left side of the pediment at the top is “Individual Empowerment and Social Cohesion.” Get it? The collective is what empowers the individual, even if it is only an entitlement to basic skills. The right side joining it is “Economic Development and Cultural Prosperity.”

Now would be a good time to remember it does not say Economic prosperity. It would also be a good time to remember that new definition of Culture the Cognitive Anthropologists created set out above.





Incarcerated By Their Minds: False Narratives, Compulsion Via the Law, and Believing in Unicorns

When I looked into Tim O’Reilly, whose company was touting the Haunted by Data video from the last post, he turned out to be a great admirer of a professor Alfred Korzybski. Now that was a new name on my horizon, but his point that the brain’s neural networks, coupled to available language, constrain how each of us interprets our experiences, was not new at all. It fits with Classic systems thinking as well as the reason for Whole Language reading instruction under its various names. There is a story told about Korzybski that fits right into why transformationalists want to Frame Orientation via a “Well-Organized Mind.” Here goes:

“One day, Korzybski was giving a lecture to a group of students, and he interrupted the lesson suddenly in order to retrieve a packet of biscuits, wrapped in white paper, from his briefcase. He muttered that he just had to eat something, and he asked the students on the seats in the front row if they would also like a biscuit. A few students took a biscuit. ‘Nice biscuit, don’t you think,’ said Korzybski, while he took a second one. The students were chewing vigorously. Then he tore the white paper from the biscuits, in order to reveal the original packaging. On it was a big picture of a dog’s head and the words ‘Dog Cookies.’ The students looked at the package, and were shocked. Two of them wanted to vomit, put their hands in front of their mouths, and ran out of the lecture hall to the toilet. ‘You see,’ Korzybski remarked, ‘I have just demonstrated that people don’t just eat food, but also words, and that the taste of the former is often outdone by the taste of the latter.'”

False narratives can make Dog Biscuits seem palatable and turn actual healthy practices into something we avoid at all costs. Just the tool if transformational economic, social, and economic change are sought, but being open and overt would likely result in effective opposition. In 1968 the US Office of Education awarded SRI International at Stanford an Educational Policy Research Center grant to “investigate alternative future possibilities for the society and their implications for education policy.” The resulting scenarios were later written up with this 1973 quote from a Fred Polak being a lead epigraph to frame the plans:

“Awareness of ideal values is the first step in the conscious creation of images of the future and therefore the creation of culture, for a value is by definition that which guides toward a valued future…”

If that seems a bit scifi and premeditated, the actual study stated that its specific purpose was “to chart, insofar as possible, what changes in the conceptual premises underlying Western society would lead to a desirable future.” Well, that purpose certainly puts a new spin on what the acronym NAEP–National Assessment of Educational Progress–was really planning to monitor when it was created in the same time frame. Perhaps we should just start assuming that when it comes to K-12 education, in the US and globally, false narratives are the norm and have been for decades. Last Friday I was at a False Narrative Extravaganza being billed as the Fulton/Atlanta School Justice Partnership Summit “Pipelines to Pathways: The Problem, the Solutions, the Actions.”

Transformation Ready to Proceed, in other words, and it was full of influential people from lots of Atlanta police officers, Georgia Supreme Court justices, juvenile justice judges and administrators and school district officials. The ‘incarcerated by their minds’ comment was actually from the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice about needing to shift the focus from punishment to “reform, reshape, and rehabilitate those individuals [juvenile offenders] to become productive citizens.” It was a prelude to a presentation by a Georgia DoED Deputy Super and a former school psychologist, Dr. Garry McGiboney, called “Changing the Conversation About Student Discipline” to promote PBIS  and Positive School Climate [see tags for previous posts on point] as “what it takes to heal these broken kids.”

‘Broken’ because they are growing up in “unsafe environments and unstable homes.” After all “people and their environment are NOT separate things,” according to Dr McGiboney. “Behavior is a function of the person and their environment,” and to reiterate the point, McGiboney cited notorious Frankfurt School social psychologist Kurt Lewin [tag] as having created a formula for change. To make things even more interesting, False Attribution Theory then came in (by name) as Dr McGiboney complained that too many administrators looked to “understand the behavior of others by attributing causation to feelings, beliefs, intentions, and personality” instead of the “situational contexts” kids have grown up under. “Attribution of cause” affects the “doled out consequences”.

So if someone who grew up in bad circumstances misbehaves at school, their poor behavior gets excused as due to “environment.” Children who grew up in better circumstances and behave well in the classroom nevertheless need PBIS in every classroom and a Positive School Climate in every school so their values, feelings, beliefs, intentions, personality, attitudes, etc. can all be targeted and rearranged by the school. I guess if a student is not Incarcerated by their Mind when they come to school, they certainly will be by the end of a preschool and K-12 grounded in these psychological and mental health practices. Dr McGiboney actually sold this as “school climate matters to student outcomes.” Well, of course it does since SEL is now a crucial component of how ‘learning,’ Growth, and ‘student outcomes’ are measured.

The audience would not know that though and simply listening to the presentation they would believe that PBIS and Positive School Climate were nifty Georgia ideas and not federal mandates and requirements under Georgia’s NCLB federal waiver. Not to pick on Dr McGiboney, but I was down at the State DoED the day after they got that federal waiver. State officials that day did not seem too happy I knew that the School Climate Center guidelines required schools to have a social justice emphasis. What can I say? I read a lot. That is also how I know that all the hype about how PBIS and Positive School Climates will help reading achievement contradicts Georgia’s NCLB waiver. As I noted in my book, it explicitly made sure that an inability to read would no longer be a basis for holding a student back from promotion.

That’s one way to increase graduation rates, huh? Dr McGiboney closed with a truly poignant story about a potential suicide incident at a high school that was physically in terrible shape–dirty, broken windows–, in other words, a terrible physical environment. He related that the girl asked him if “he believed in unicorns” and he said yes, because he believed she needed to hear that. Years later, she reached out to him and talked about how she had pulled it together and lived a successful adult life. Her turnaround and the importance of environment then once again became the pitch for PBIS and Positive School Climate.

PBIS, Restorative Justice, Positive School Climate, and social and emotional learning generally are all targeting the personality and values. Tragic story and lots of false narratives used to sell something as a good idea that is actually another way of pushing the UNESCO vision we met in the last post without admitting that. Few in the audience understood that these measures are not in addition to an academic focus. They are actually a substitution for it as the new purpose of school and education. , supported by multiple federal agencies and grants, confesses the intention to blur the distinction between student learning and mental health outcomes. All are deemed part of student success.

In 1987, then Princeton Professor and now President of the Ivy League University of Pennsylvania, Amy Gutmann, published a book–Democratic Education. It laid out a new vision for K-12 and higher education and worried about the still prevalent and “well-intentioned misperception that [teachers’] obligation is to impart knowledge, not to develop the moral character of their students.” It is my belief that all these various rationales we keep encountering on why all schools must use PBIS as a core component in each classroom and Positive School Climate practices in every school attempt to stealthily use the law as an enforcer. The required agenda is actually the UNESCO vision as well as what Gutmann laid out as the necessary right of the State “to shape the political values, attitudes, and modes of behavior of future citizens.”

Hide it under the alluring title of “Character development” as well.  Everyone knows too many kids now have deficits in this area. Selling this political agenda honestly would create objections. So we get all these false narratives and problems where the offered solutions are always headed in the same direction. Change the student at the level of their mind and personality. Call it conscious social reproduction and insist that it is about altering the future, just like SRI also had in mind. If the phrase Incarcerated by their Minds still seems a bit strong, how should we describe this intent: “To cultivate in children the character that feels the force of right reason is an essential purpose of education in any society.”

This is Guttmann’s vision of conscious social reproduction and its ties to education. Every child must be educated “to be capable of participating in collectively shaping their society.” She does believe in the ability of the majority to bind everyone as long as each person gets to participate in policy deliberations. Public policy directs society and the economy. People have a human right to have their needs met. In Dr. McGiboney’s vision where environment is all, there should then be no more ‘disruptive behaviors.’ Back to Gutmann, we have all schools, public and private, with an obligation to create “a set of secular beliefs, habits, and ways of thinking that support democratic deliberation …compatible with a wide variety of religious commitments.” Parents have no right to object either.

I am closing this post with the disclaimer I do not know who at that Summit was aware of the broader agenda I have covered in this post. Because the vision though fits precisely with where the UN has said we are all going by 2030, my guess is a few are aware this is all a sales pitch backward mapping from desired transformations to get to a new vision of the future. It is also Atlanta, home of the new Civil and Human Rights museum, so it is probably not a coincidence Gutmann’s vision ties so tightly to what Martin Luther King called the “Beloved Community” [tag] vision for the future.

Pipelines to Prison and School Discipline Problems in 2015 have been worsened by these previous educational reforms that had no interest in teaching reading or math properly. Now tragic bad individual behaviors are selling a vision where school and education are not really about knowledge in the traditional sense at all.

I simply want all of us to be able to recognize a Dog Biscuit, whatever it is being called, before we take that first bite.





Federal Reserve, Texas, and the UN System Usurp Our Children’s Precious Prerogatives Via P-12 Education

So much going on as the cards have to now be laid down. The End Game we saw in the UN’s Ban Ki-Moon’s “Dignity For All by 2030” global program commences in earnest in our children’s classrooms and in their very ‘desired mental states’.  That latter graphic phrase was used at the March 8-13, 2015 59th Annual CIES Conference held at the Hilton in DC and called “Imagining a Humanist Education Globally Ubuntu!” Take a look at it and keep that phrase in mind as we move through today’s tsunami of disclosures.

Anyone wanting a link between today’s disclosures, GEFF, the UN System, the Common Core, and School Choice can look at all the links laid out in this bio of former Intel Chairman, Craig Barrett, on the Board link of an expanding chain of Arizona-based Charter Schools. Most links should ring a bell, but it is the co-chairing of the Skolkovo Foundation Council that is behind GEFF and the Re-Imagining Futures Agenda by 2030 with MIT, Russia, and Silicon Valley that brings so much into the same circle with what I have been covering in recent posts.

Plans for Us and our Children is one way to put it.  David Coleman, confessed Common Core Main Architect and now President of the College Board, just spoke at the NYT Schools of Tomorrow Conference about changes to the SAT. He said that there would be no more “SAT-type words” that few children recognized and only showed up in a high-stakes arena. Instead, everyday important words like “analyze” and “synthesis” would be looked at to see if prospective members of the Ideological Elite were interpreting concepts and themes correctly, and showing proper use of the Dialectic, after their years of carefully selected Learning Experiences. This would of course give a final glimpse into the Desired Mental States to see if the youngster merited a slot in one of the higher ed institutions creating the Planners of Tomorrow prepping us all for the 2030 Agenda.

OK, Coleman did not phrase it quite like that but those were the example new SAT words he gave. They do resonate with whether students have developed the desired Worldviews, don’t they? Will they apply the desired strategies and techniques in everyday practice just reeks of something Moscow State or U of Belgrade would have pushed in the 70s to join the Party Elite. The vocabulary word I did not know when I took the PSAT decades ago was ‘usurp’. I came home and looked it up promptly. It means “to take or hold in possession without force or without right.”

Usurp is still a useful word in the 21st Century, but only if accurately describing and conveying to others what is being planned for us and our children, remains a desired goal. It does not fit though with what the Planners want to allow. As we will see, Workforce Readiness is the Euphemism-du-Jour to cover up a prescribed state of deliberate ignorance, coupled to cultivated false beliefs, and overlaid with new communitarian values.

To explain why there is a global call for Competency, let’s look to a 1978 book originally written in Polish by Leszek Kolakowski and translated as Main Currents of Marxism: The Breakdown . Frustrated, his words tell us precisely why ignorance is now needed.

“Human thought developed and produced science by enlarging the area of knowledge that was not subject to arbitrary judgement, thanks to the Platonic distinction between knowledge and opinion, episteme and doxa. This distinction, of course, leaves no room for an ultimate, all-embracing synthesis [bolded by me as a reminder of Coleman’s desired new SAT concept of knowledge] in which thoughts, feelings, and desires are merged in a higher ‘unity’. [Alert readers recognize the whole purpose of a Whole Child emphasis and what goes by the euphemism ‘Excellence’ in education].

Such an aspiration is only possible when a totalitarian myth claims supremacy over thought–a myth based on ‘deeper’ intuition [Deeper Learning–a 21st Century Core Skill], so that it does not have to justify itself, but assumes command over the whole of spiritual and intellectual life. For this to be possible, of course, all logical and empirical rules have to be declared irrelevant…”

Relevance, one of the New 3 Rs. Perhaps instead of declaring facts ‘irrelevant’ they can just be asserted as Inequitable and Not Accessible to All Students, especially given our more diverse 21st Century population. Maybe those logical and empirical rules can be asserted to be inappropriate for a “culturally-responsive curricula and pedagogy” and inconsistent with a Real-Life problem-solving emphasis where a single, unambiguous answer is supposedly highly unlikely. Yes, I am listing many of the explanations for all these shifts we keep hearing, but Kolakowski grasped what is still going on because he lived in such a police state.

“The object [striven for] is a unified body of knowledge which despises such trivial aims as technological progress, and whose merit is to be one and all-embracing. But there can only be such knowledge if thought is allowed to shake off the external compulsion of logic; moreover, since each person’s ‘essential’ intuition may be different from that of others, the spiritual unity of society must be based on other foundations than logic and facts.

There must be some compulsion other than rules of thought, and that must take the form of social repression. In other words, [this 21st Century Learning as I update this 1978 language beyond Herbert Marcuse and the Frankfurt School] system depends on replacing the tyranny of logic by a police tyranny. This is corroborated by all historical experience: there is only way of making a whole society accept a particular world-view…”

P-12 education reforms globally have been created around a hope that there can be two ways to force the acceptance of a particular world-view. That is the reason for the deliberate insistence on ignorance that gets covered up with a variety of explanations. Yet the insistence students arrive at a ‘shared meaning’ and without complaint become merely members of Communities of Learners makes it clear teachers and administrators are expected to have an iron fist within the velvet glove of ‘meaningful learning experiences.’ Now to three exceedingly influential plans driving this underlying tyranny in the classroom.

In 2014 the Texas Association of Workforce Boards created the vision for all P-12 in that state, once again showing why they did not need to participate in the Common Core formally–“The Workforce in Texas: Aligning education to meet the needs of Texas employers.” Is that really why people have children in Texas or choose to move there–to be molded to the desired mental states that meet current employers’ needs? Not the desires of the family or personal hopes and dreams based on a lively, logical mind that recognizes when their autonomy is being usurped and can say so?

I appreciate the explicit nature of that Texas declaration and the reason I know about it is that the US Federal Reserve System, the world’s most influential public-private partnership, whose product we all carry in our wallets and hit the ATMs to use, just published Transforming US Workforce Development Policies for the 21st Century. is the link to the 670 page Warcry to officials and politicians at every level of government to restructure the nature of the political and economic structure in the US, with an emphasis on Public-Private Partnerships. They touted the Texas Statement and especially the vision of economic and community development created by Project Quest in San Antonio, Texas. When the people in charge of a nation’s money supply proclaim Saul Alinsky’s community organizing tactics to be a national model, maybe we have turned quietly into a Police state still hiding behind Euphemisms. Chapter 4 in particular covers the “Connecting Education to Careers in the 21st Century,” which has become the sales pitch, as we have seen, for an education grounded in ignorance and manipulation.

Anthony Carnevale, the lead chapter author, and cited throughout the book, was actually the author of this same vision of education grounded in ignorance, which he laid out in the New Workforce Training Manuals created for the Department of Labor, during the same Bush 41 years when Lamar Alexander was the Education Secretary. The emphasis of those manuals and Carnevale’s various degrees in ‘cultural history,’ ‘social science and public administration,’ and a Public Affairs PhD are detailed in this post.

Obviously I cannot cover that entire book in a post although I did read it over the weekend, just like I have read Carnevale’s Workplace Manuals. I wish there was speculation about what is going on or that the Kolakowski quotes were not so entirely apt. Over and over again the book acclaims Congress passing WIOA–the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act I have been warning about since it passed (July 10, 2014 post). It gets praised regularly as a “Bipartisan and Bicameral Agreement,” making me wonder what legislation that Congress passes is not Bicameral. Alliteration though bolsters the overall giddiness at the nature of the fundamental transformation mandate.  It also makes it appear that politicians at every level wanted WIOA because this is the vision the private Federal Reserve already had for the American people, society, the economy, and the future generally.

Finally we have a video created to be a part of “the World’s Largest Lesson” to be held globally in classrooms this Friday, September 25. In honor of the launch of the UN’s Post 2015 Sustainable Development Agenda to shift us all towards Dignity for All by 2030, is the video. is the link to lesson materials already available in ten languages. The video makes it clear that there is ‘plenty’ for all of us and that the world and its ‘systems’ and institutions can and should be redesigned so there is ‘enough’ for all of us going forward. We can ‘share.’

That’s where I want to end because that video and this UN vision can only be attempted in a world of profoundly ignorant or misguided people. As Kolakowski noted, even trying necessitates a police state of power usurping at all levels of government. This is largely hidden though because already prevailing ignorance, false media hype, and these confounding, ubiquitous euphemisms. All obscure the reality lining the Road to 2030 that we keep coming across from every direction.

Ubiquitous-another one of those useful descriptions of reality that the College Board no longer wants students to have access to or practice with.

Neurological Social Engineering Designed for Collectivist Political Purposes: the Real Purpose of K-12 Standards

I really wish there was still some doubt on what Learning Standards or Competency actually mean or what they intend to alter. No one is openly admitting to us that in the future all that is desired are ‘existential competencies’, a ‘natural science worldview’, or a mind that can be easily read via Knewton adaptive software. We may find the aims sickening, but apparently the planning locations have been glorious. Can you believe our invite to the April 1-3, 2015 Global Education Futures-Forum California: Toward Learner-Centered Lifelong Learning never arrived? We could have stayed at the Five-Star Rosewood Sands Hill Luxury Hotel  in Menlo Park and planned the future of learning globally while hanging out with tech titans there for the Global Technology Symposium. With rooms starting at $600 a night, we too could have lived the Jet Set Life while planning how to meet people’s ‘needs’.

Since we were not invited and did not get to nestle our heads in high-thread count linens, who was there and how did this catch my eye? In early August ISSS-the International Systems Science Society-had its annual meeting in Berlin. Speaking on education were Alexander Laszlo, Ervin’s son and like him a former ISSS President, and a Pavel Luksha. Luksha is Russian but is involved with a project with MIT called Re-Engineering Futures. The California Forum was part of that work getting ready for a Kazan World Skills conference in May, the global World Skills conference in Brazil in early August, and then on to Singapore this fall. The final vision gets presented in Davos in January once again amidst the private jets, luxury linens, and foie gras This is all apparently how global plans can get marketed as local or even as something called the North Carolina Plan laid out in the comments with links on the previous post. is not a hot link because something is screwy with my computer this morning, but it is the site for the Global Education Futures Forum. What I am describing can be found there. Please pay special attention to the GEFF Advisory Board since it is linked to the Center for Curriculum Redesign because Charles Fadel is a listed member as is an Under Secretary of the OECD. Knewton has a representative which is why this week’s Wired article on the ability to read student’s minds is timely. Another listed member of the GEFF Advisory Board is Alexander Laszlo, who undoubtedly learned about collectivism’s need for a subjective mode of consciousness from his dad instead of the Grimm fairy tales most of us heard as children.

Finally, we have former Gates Foundation exec Tom VanderArk listed, which means that the Brookhaven Innovation Charter just approved in Georgia (links in comments on previous post) that says it is based on VanderArk’s White Paper and the Hewlett Foundation push around Deeper Learning is tied to the GEFF vision. So are school districts like Fulton and other League of Innovative Schools districts that we have covered as bringing him in to consult and train. The entire state of Utah and the concept of Competency (just the means to stealthily impose that subjective mode) get implicated because next Tuesday and Wednesday, September 2 and 3, 2015 there is a Statewide Joint Conference there on Competency-Based education with VanderArk as the speaker on both days. Also speaking is Marc Tucker of the National Center on Education and the Economy so we also have the Common Core being shoved away as we get back to NCEE’s New Standards Project from the 90s, renamed now as Competency-Based Education.

All of this fits perfectly with what my book Credentialed to Destroy foresaw. Chapter 4 on Competency is even more timely now than when it was written. One of the themes of the California Forum apart from the death of the Gutenberg Era and divvying up the billion dollar EdTech market was “How will educational ecosystems for emerging social practices be created?” Now I can scream all day long that the new forms of assessment are not in fact tests and are looking to create and monitor desired behaviors, but there is nothing like the concept of virtual reality prisons to make the point. This is from a GEFF 2014 report called Future Agendas for Global Education .

In following up on all the intended uses of gamification and virtual reality in education of the future, the report mentions that “Besides that, gamification can be efficiently used to redesign the penitentiary system.” Now when we read the following quote, we need to appreciate that if these adaptive software and virtual reality worlds are powerful enough to remediate dysfunctional behavior, what is the effect of constant embedding over K-12 on normal minds?

“application of maturing virtual simulations can allow (within the coming decade) to create realistic virtual worlds, ‘virtual jails’ that help delinquents correct their dysfunctional behavior and acquire socially acceptable ways of conduct–for instance, re-living the criminal action from different positions (of a violator, of a victim, of a police officer who searches for an offender, etc.) and their mastering the proper way of acting [Mastery Learning?]. Such educational solutions could become a more humane way to rehabilitate criminals–and similar solutions can be applied to help re-qualify ‘accidentally alienated’ citizens, e.g. those dismissed from jobs due to skill mismatch. We believe that, since early 2020s, virtual reality worlds will be used as temporary holding places for unemployed and as a cheap alternative for vocational education & training. Also, virtual worlds that help replace dysfunctional behavior patterns with functional ones can be used to deal with traumatic experiences and improve lives of ‘clinically normal’ people that suffer from dependencies, bad habits or fears. ‘Psychodrama worlds’ where people play together and live lief stories of each other could gain wide popularity as an alternative to group therapy by mid-2020s, not only (and not so much) as a clinical psychotherapy, but as part of standard educational trajectory for a majority of population.”

Now in a world where following the misleading phrase Career Ready Practices as the new purpose of K-12 leads us straight to a communitarian obligation to others and so does the now obligatory Positive School Climate, do we really think ‘dysfunctional behaviors’ will be cigarette smoking and eating disorders? No because the next paragraph states that “any gamified practice has an educational dimension, because the game clearly defines desirable and undesirable behaviors.” That is what makes it educational in this Brave New World that is no longer a work of fiction at all. Educational Dimension=altering human behaviors. No wonder the ESEA Rewrite the US Senate passed binds all states to use performance assessments to examine academic results. All behavioral too.

Honestly I think the life of Five Star luxury being pursued to foist this education and Future Transformation vision must addle the brain at some level. How else to explain an insistence that “we now know too much” and that we need only “adequate science and technologies to be maintained and developed going forward.” No wonder we have repeated proclamations that the Gutenberg Era is over. It created the concept of the individual and liberated the human mind. Our wannabe political Overlords want to take all that away and the tech companies want to sell public officials the means to do just that.

What parent when they opt for a Charter School for their child that hypes 21st Century Learning or who wishes for vouchers to escape bad neighborhood schools understands that they are really tapping into a GEFF plan to “reorganize the institutions of cognition and knowledge management.”? Now given the sorts of facts I turn up and papers and confessional books through the decades I can appreciate why this collectivist vision needs Mind Arson and knowledge management.

Repeat after me: We will NOT acquiesce.

Please take the blinders OFF about what formative assessments and a Whole Child focus around digital learning really mean. Otherwise, these planners want to create a Neuroweb of manipulated collective consciousness that is reminiscent of what Star Trek called the Borg. When people in positions of power with access to taxpayer money at the global, national, state, and local levels write of a desire to transform K-12 education and the very concept of learning and wish to “create semantic Internet and supporting artificial intelligence solutions that will structure human knowledge, and scientific knowledge in particular,” we need to listen.

Now we know why digital learning is so crucial to all these future models of education. It’s not a better way to teach math or reading or about making backpacks lighter. It’s about rewiring the brain for collectivist political purposes and it is a Bipartisan pursuit going on all over the globe.

Thankfully we know about the agenda and the links into our local classrooms. Will accurate knowledge reach enough parents and taxpayers in time or will the manufactured hype surrounding the Common Core continue to obscure the actual story?

Personalized Learning as a Molding Mechanism and Prime Instrument for Social and Political Control

We have discussed some of the implications of the personalized learning language in the Every Child Achieves Act rewrite of the K-12 federal education legislation, but most of what will guide the classroom practices and data being accumulated (“a data warehouse for every student”) lies in documents other than ECAA. Scouring those, as I am prone to do in my research, in turn sent me scurrying back to a Carnegie-funded book from 1952 called The New Man in Soviet Psychology. Similar language, comparable visions, and the same recommended changes to education generally means the same real goals whether that is being acknowledged up front or not. I want to go back to something Stalin told Party members in 1933, since we are highly unlikely to get a comparable confession from members of Congress in 2015, on the need to solve the ‘human problems’ if the desired transformations were to truly take hold in the USSR. “Even though the industrial and social base of the old society had been largely destroyed, the ‘remnants of capitalism’ still lingered in the minds of men.” Quoting Uncle Joe himself:

“You as Marxists should know that in its development the mentality of man lags behind his actual condition. In status the members of collective farms are no longer individual farmers, but collectivists, but their mentality is still the old one–that of the owner of private property.”

Stalin and the Soviets made no bones about their intention to “bring all possible facilities of society to bear on the problem of training and controlling its individual citizens.” They were especially fond of using the law in such a binding manner. Methinks they would have liked the language of ECAA and its close sibling, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act (WIOA) from last summer, a great deal. What these measures share in common is a desire to create an organized society. Now obviously that was not news to any Soviet in the 1930s, but it is news to many Americans in the 21st Century, which is why so much of what is intended to bind and quietly alter the minds of men is hidden and not being discussed openly.

What is an organized society anyway? It’s the idea that a society can be consciously organized and directed. In the case of the US in the 21st century, the organization is around the concept of Equity and an obligation to meet people’s needs, whoever they are and however they came to the US. In pushing this vision of social justice, or as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon calls it–Dignity for All by 2030–the organized society shifts from a place where people make their own choices to a “society in which–insofar as possible–all the parts are coordinated to the service of the whole by the deliberate decisions of persons who are in a position to implement that decision.” Hard to get politicians or public sector employees at any level to back off that kind of decision-making power once they get a whiff of the possibilities.

And the number one “theoretical tool for the coordination of society” in the Soviet Union of the 30s or America in 2015 is education. What the Soviets decided in the 30s and what people pushing all these reforms now know is that if they can train and guide people’s purposeful action, they can control future behaviors reliably without that being apparent. I am pretty sure Carnegie did not fund that book above just because it just loves to spend old Andrew’s steel fortune. It found its vision compatible with where it hoped the US would go as well. That likelihood becomes even more apparent when we look at the Foreword of the book and find Harvard prof and cognitive scientist, Jerome Bruner, wrote it. Bruner, citing John Dewey as having a comparable vision, wrote about:

“the need for a psychology that may support democracy. For man’s image of the nature of man is not only a matter of objective inquiry, it is and has always been a prime instrument of social and political control. He who molds that image does so with enormous consequences for the society in which he lives.”

Words to remember as we delve into personalized learning and so many of the practices and theories we have imported from the Soviet Union. What Bruner knew and what Carnegie knows since it funded the research, we are dealing with a comparable vision of using psychology to mold a consciousness and personality that becomes an activist in remaking the world that exists. Would you like to hazard a guess at the number 1 aspect or trait the Soviets knew they needed to control and mold? Motivation. Would anyone like to hazard a guess as to what the number one feature of ‘personalizing learning’ is in 2015 in the US? That’s right. It’s determining and then accessing student’s at the level of their intrinsic motivation.

I have tracked the meaning of personalizing instruction and learning through a lot of reports, but the most graphic is probably in the January 2015 National Initiative from the School Mental Health Project at UCLA. Given all the references in ECAA to the needs of the students and the communities and ‘learning supports’ it appears to me that the entire 204 page document is intended to be implemented via ECAA without anyone in Congress giving a Heads Up. The report is called “Transforming Student and Learning Supports: Developing a Unified, Comprehensive, and Equitable System” and it tells us upfront it has been created as part of that theme I am asserting is being used to turn us quietly into an organized society. “Equity of opportunity is fundamental to securing civil rights; transforming student and learning supports is fundamental to enabling equity of opportunity.”

Law school was decades ago but there is a trigger threshold in con law once something is deemed a ‘fundamental right’ and that seems to be precisely what this plan wants to trigger. Awfully crucial not to be in the open, isn’t it? Well, it is now so let’s quote what it says about personalization in education:

“personalizing instruction means ensuring conditions for learning are perceived by the learner as good ways to attain goals s/he wants to reach. Thus, a basic intervention concern is eliciting learners’ perceptions of how well what is offered matches both their interests and abilities. This has fundamental implications for all efforts to assess students and manage behavior.”

Manage behavior? Goal-seeking, purposeful actor? Doesn’t this sound precisely like the 30s Soviet shift on how to get at the minds of men to mold a new mentality? Should we be concerned that this 2015 National Initiative says that “From our perspective, the aim of personalizing learning is to enhance stable, positive, intrinsic attitudes that mobilize and maintain engagement in learning.” So all the language about “(a) ensure motivational readiness, (b) enhance motivation during learning, and (c) increase intrinsic motivation as an outcome” seems a bit heavy-handed, but it’s only one document, right? Well, there’s also the ISTE 2014 “Personalized Learning: A Guide for Engaging Students with Technology” that will likely guide what the language of ECAA really means for our students and ultimately all of us.

It helpfully lets us know that “personalized learning is not the digitization of traditional learning” since after all, it is the student’s mind and personality that are the real focus of this digital menu. Showing that unfortunately subject content areas are merely the means to get the desired changes in the students we are told to set goals and then try to achieve those established goals. How purposive! A goal-seeking actor just like Stalin wanted the emphasis to be on. “Progress through subject area content is measured by the demonstration of proficiency in identified skills and understanding.” Those would be the skills and understanding needed not for the world we now have, but that desired future which needs a new kind of citizen and worker.

Now I can say repeatedly that this is not the model of coursework we are all used to and insist how much manipulation is going on, but a vision of “courses built around concepts and learning outcomes” just speaks volumes about how socially engineered this “self-directed learning” will actually be. Let’s look somewhere else since this 2014 Summit on Personalized Learning of the White House-sponsored Digital Promise and League of Innovative Schools was uploaded to the internet about the time this new version of ECAA–1177–became available. Let’s go to page 18 since it is describing a federal grant to “revolutionize instruction”.

Now how ‘personalized’ does learning in the ordinary dictionary meaning of the term seem if we specify what all students need to know and then want to assess “How will we know they’ve learned it? and “What will we do if they haven’t learned it?” How a student chooses to show their learning is flexible and the activities they engage in to practice the desired learning has lots of options, but what is to be learned does not. Whether the student gets it or not, there’s actually a great deal mandatory to this personalized vision. That’s just not supposed to be apparent to either the students or us, lest we object to the clear coercion at the levels of mind, values, attitudes, and feeling.

This was true in every recent personalized learning paper I found. Here’s another The quiet mandatory nature makes perfect sense if this is all intended to be a molding mechanism in pursuit of an organized society where Equity is the lode star for decision-making.

If we go back to that 1952 book it will tell us that “The Bolshevik controls man by training his motives and shaping his ideology.” As someone who has read all these reports and ECAA, I am now asserting that personalizing instruction and “personalized rigorous learning experiences” are intended to train student’s motives for future action as well.

And the requirements about annual assessing of “higher order thinking and understanding” are monitoring whether the minds are being suitably molded and trained in “ideological thinking.” Because at its core, that’s where there is no flexibility.

Is the student using the desired concepts? Is she demonstrating desired values and appropriate attitudes?

Will he be motivated to act when and in the way desired? At least Uncle Joe was transparent in his aims, unlike Congress and most legislatures, governors, and city councils.

Eager to benefit from such social and political control over us.