Subservient and Malleable Students: DeVos Federalizes Our Moral Obligations

With former President Obama his means were sometimes shadowy, but his goals and views were quite forthcoming. Remember the openly announced “fundamental transformation” before his first election or the “you didn’t build that”? Neither was a mistake in his mind. In his early days in politics he openly expressed his annoyance that courts interpreted the US Constitution as imposing ‘negative liberties’ of what government could not do. Instead, he hoped for a more ‘positive liberties’ vision laying out what governments must do to meet the needs of all citizens.

The Transgender Ruling that the Trump Administration overruled last week involved a federal agency deciding to read statutory language prohibiting discrimination based as ‘sex’ as also prohibiting discrimination based on a student’s perception of their gender. I keep warning that internalized perception is the new favorite bullseye in education, K-12 and after, because it can invisibly alter likely behavior going forward. No need to give the manipulated student a head’s up as to what is actually going on. Let them simply wonder later why no one is ready to hire them simply because they have a college degree.

The Obama Administration simply said that the student’s perception of who they are is more important than the physical reality of penises in girl’s bathrooms and group showers. It’s who people are on the inside that matters legally. What got put in place solely by broad, creative interpretation though can disappear the same way, which is what happened last week. Maybe like me, you heard on the TV or radio that “all President Trump and Betsy DeVos did was leave this delicate matter in the hands of the states or localities.” That may be what President Trump and his Attorney-General meant to do, but Mrs DeVos issued a separate statement laying out the “moral obligation no individual can abdicate.”

That’s quite broad, isn’t it? What does the Education Secretary acting apparently in her imagined benevolent despot role impose as our new federalized moral obligations to each other? To return to that gossipy phrase from our childhood, “Do Tell.” Here goes:

“We have a responsibility to protect every student in America and ensure that they have the freedom to learn and thrive in a safe and trusted environment. This is not merely a federal mandate, but a moral obligation no individual, school, district or state can abdicate…We owe students a commitment to ensure they have access to a learning environment that is free of discrimination, bullying and harassment.”

Now that broad assertion of such a mandate is about so much more that “New Title IX Guidance.” It was controversial when President Obama began to sneak in such a mandate to model desired behaviors and control interactions among students to create a so-called Positive School Climate.  If the verb ‘sneak’ sounds too strong, this is a controversial area and it was pushed via regulation with little public discussion. Mrs. DeVos and fed ED are quietly continuing this very alarming declared right. The affirmative, ‘evidence-based’ remedy is to control each student’s internalized values, personal attributes, and emotional dispositions all in the name of a declared moral right “to learn and thrive in a safe environment.”

In the name of that goal, we get a new global emphasis called Positive Education that is supposedly “based on the science of well-being and happiness.” Each student has personality traits that are malleable to changes in instruction and classroom experiences. Do parents get a heads up as to the change in emphasis? Not really when it gets embedded in subject areas and class discussions that are really about moral dilemmas.

Your child is Succeeding. Your child shows Growth. Your child has met the school’s Learning Objectives. All of our students are showing Improvements in Achievement.

What parent will recognize the shift in what is actually being measured or what these terms now mean? How many parents will ever see the actual statement instead of some commentator’s false statement of what it did? Will students as adults recognize that education was used to manipulate, under force of law, the essence of who they are and how they view the world?

Next we will explore the nature of this new mandate. If there is to be an unknown “major paradigm shift in education,” the only way to avoid being its victim is to know it exists.

Does Mrs DeVos even know what she has declared and the history and purpose of these controversial ideas? I do and I am really hoping she simply put her name to a Statement someone else drafted because she thought it sounded nice and noble. The ramifications and likely remedies of her declared federal legal mandate to control the very bases of behavior simply never occurring to her.

Careful. Careful. Every progressive and tyrant in history sought to control this same internalized focus now declared a “federal mandate” in a release with an erroneous title that few are likely to read.

This is no way to get the feds out of the local classroom.



Covert Coercion via Controlling Categories of Consciousness

There is far more than alliteration involved in today’s catchy title and its purpose, like all my writing, is to inform, not to scare. I am not Alfred Hitchcock and this blog is not The Twilight Zone. None of the aspirations laid out here at ISC or in my timelier than ever book, Credentialed to Destroy, are fictional. All of our lives would be easier if they were. Education reform is all about invisibly changing human behavior to bring about a new, collectivist, radical vision of what the future of the 21st century might be. I believe knowing the intended mechanisms for tyranny is the first step in escaping their grasp and then removing them altogether.

When Jean-Francois Revel wrote his 1983 French classic that translated as How Democracies Perish, he wanted to give a heads-up to prevent the demise. That’s why I write about education as well. In a chapter called “Attack. Always Attack” he gave information on Communist tactics that is also applicable to education reforms and the ensuing outcries over decades.

“A standard Communist tactic is to mount a propaganda operation to accompany a practical operation. If the latter hits a snag, the former will leave traces in people’s minds that will help condition them to give future actions a kinder reception.”

Think of my work as first defusing the practical operation of covertly controlling students’ minds and thus their likely future behavior. Meanwhile I call attention to the organized deceit so we can begin to remove those traces from both our adult minds as well as our poor, manipulated children. Since my last post EdSurge on February 10 admitted that the purpose of that Early STEM Learning paper I cited was to provide categories to guide thinking in an article that also redefined the acronym STEM–“Setting, Tension, Explanation, Metaphor: A Storytelling Approach for Early STEM Learning.” Too bad no one gives bonus points for prescience in education writing. The oligarchs met in Dubai last week and launched Positive Psychology as the global classroom education template, expressly showcasing Mihaly Csiksentmihalyi (whose work gets pulled in via civil rights interpretations on Excellence and Equity) and Martin Seligman of PBIS and the World Happiness Report.

Yesterday the US NIH admitted that “Current and future BRAIN Initiative research studies aim to elucidate, and potentially influence, the mechanisms that give rise to consciousness, our innermost thoughts, and our behaviors, thereby prompting novel social and ethical questions.” There’s a reason Congress prefunded years of that intrusive research back In December while Obama remained in office. After all, politicians at all levels want to rule under a new definition of Governance that’s not being discussed enough openly. The just out World Development Report 2017–Governance and the Law-explains that Governance is about delivering on normative goals of Security, Prosperity, and Equity for All achieved through the political process. It has nothing to do with elections and everything to do with the ability to shape internalized personal preferences, values, and beliefs.

Sounds like Chapter 7 from Credentialed to Destroy doesn’t it? Here’s the pithy why for that aim: “the ability to shape other people’s beliefs is a means of eliciting an action from another person–an action the person would not otherwise take. The ability to make others act in one actor’s interest or to bring about a specific outcome–the definition of power in this Report–is thus closely related to the notion of ideas as beliefs.

The dichotomy between ideas (ideology and culture) and power as a primary determinant of social dynamics is thus a false one. The idea of power cannot be understood without taking seriously the power of ideas.”

Using education reforms labelled as competencies or the Common Core to provide conceptual frameworks, lenses, Enduring Understandings, Cross-Cutting Concepts and Themes, and Disciplinary Core Ideas is a crucial aspect of Controlling Consciousness. There’s a reason for so much coordinated deceit surrounding it and why I seem to be the only person writing about it. Control the prevailing ideas used to direct attention and perception and the interpretation of daily experiences and you have covert control over likely future behavior. UNESCO knows that. So do the World Bank, OECD, the behavioral scientist community, and the public policy think tanks across the purported spectrum. It’s us, the parents and taxpayers, who are unaware of just how crucial standardizing the prevailing ideas is to plans for a fundamental transformation.

As Bela Banathy put it from our last post on seeing the student and education (see bolding from me) as a system: “Our main tool in working with human systems is subjectivity: reflection on the sources of knowledge, social practice, community and interest in and commitment to ideas, especially the moral idea, affectivity, and faith.” So how do I know this aim is across the political spectrum? I learn a great deal from reading old books and Professor Amitai Etzioni, Mr Communitarianism with his own tag, is an admitted Man of the Left. Professor Robert George, founder of American Principles Project, Bradley Foundation Board member (thus tied to PEPG), recent AEI award winner, and too many other connections to name, is a designated representative of what purports to be Conservatism. I call it the Right Pincer for a reason.

Given all the deceit I can track and shenanigans involving pilfering material from my book without attribution or compensation, I wanted to read a 2001 book called The Monochrome Society because it contained a Chapter called “Virtue and the State: A Dialogue between a Communitarian and a Social Conservative.” That would be Etzioni and George, respectively. When the book came several months ago, it turned out to be part of a series edited by Professor George with “a special focus on the juncture of culture, law, and politics. New Forum Books is guided by the conviction that law and politics not only reflect culture but help to shape it.”

That aim doesn’t sound particularly conservative to me and is a long time aim of all progressives–cultural evolution. If that is also the aim of so-called conservative and libertarian think tanks it would explain all the deceit, concern over what my book laid out with extensive documentation, and my current observations of where School Choice actually leads. For some reason though, I was too busy initially to read anything other than that particular chapter. After I read that World Development Report though and its laid out aspirations to use the law and the mere global existence of less advantaged people and poverty to force what Marx called his Human Development Society, I went back to reread the rest of the book. Turns out Etzioni laid out the template that the World Bank and others intend to use to alter what a student internalizes so that it alters their preferences.

Clearly when he wrote the Chapter on “Social Norms: The Rubicon of Social Science” and Professor George edited it, no one thought someone would ever track it down after already mastering what Tranzi OBE, the Common Core, and Competency-Based Education really aim at. Turns out the Right and Left Pincers ARE acutely aware of a bullseye where education practices and the curriculum used and the ideas pushed “play a key role in ensuring that certain preferences will never be formed in the first place, while others will be strongly held…a major goal of education (as distinct from teaching) is to foster internalization of social norms by children and thus to affect their preferences.”

Since the local Classical School associated with Hillsdale’s Barney Charter Initiative touts instilling ‘virtuous living’ in its students, let’s tie that to what Etzioni wrote. Turns out that students acting at an advanced stage in Lawrence Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development (that public and private school teachers are now regularly taught is to be part of their new classroom practices) involves “individuals reason in terms of abstract notions” (or ideas or supplied concepts, categories, or ideas) on how, when, and why they should act. Etzioni then quoted Kohlberg that “it is possible to ‘reason in terms of such [high level] principles and not live up to them.'” Etzioni then laid out the essence of what everyone now wants from the classroom and education reforms and too few admit openly so let me quote directly:

“Unfortunately, to know the good cannot be equated with doing the good…To put it in the terminology followed here, [and at the always prescient ISC I must add immodestly], knowledge affects behavior by affecting considerations of costs and benefits but, as a rule, does not shape preferences. Internalization clearly does.”

So the SDG agenda pushed globally by institutions like the UN, OECD, and the World Bank can only change those preferences, as they have declared they aim to do, by education that is about getting at what a student internalizes as their values, attitudes, and guiding beliefs. Precisely what I warned about in my book that the False Narrative pretends is about some database of intrusive personal information. The need for Deceit is caused by others wishing to also use this tool of subjectivity and internalization, while being covert about it as well.

Once accurately perceived, this aim does not just seem tyrannical. It is unabashedly so. Etzioni sees it as a matter of the community having the right to establish the values that all citizens are to internalize. The World Bank does too since that is part of what Governance is to mean. I have pointed out already that this is the essence of what ED Choice laid out as the new definition of Accountability that is pertinent then to School Choice advocacy.

If our individual internalized preferences can now be changed by education reforms that no one is being honest with us about, are we free? Etzioni said no that “if the preferences themselves are changeable by social and historical factors and processes [or just federal laws like ESSA or state Student Privacy Statutes like Georgia’s] the actor is neither aware of nor controls, the actor’s behavior may be nonrational and is not free.”

Etzioni, with his long-time plans for fundamental social and economic transformations is OK with ‘the community’ controlling what must be internalized. Are we?

Is this really the kind of education reforms that anyone should blindly accept on the basis of catchy phrases or an appeal citing some famous person from history?


Metamorphizing the Function of the Human Mind Invisibly through Catchy Slogans and Phrases

The original version of this post used the term School Choice instead of Catchy Slogans and Phrases, but that seemed to imply I was picking on the Dearest Policy Desires of our new federal Secretary of Ed. So I broadened the title to make the same point. I may be able to read the School Choice layout and her AFC reports and see the plans of both Uncle Karl and what is called the systems view of education at play, but hopefully she does not. Like many people Mrs DeVos may falsely believe that her personal intentions and understandings of terms guide what they really mean and how they work in practice. That’s a dangerous belief that those surrounding her will likely encourage so let me explain why I recognize this as the Systems View of Education.

While I am at it, let me lay out a few more Catchy and Melodious slogans that are widely repeated AND headed in a different direction with a specific aim whatever the personal intentions of the advocates–Personalized Learning, Excellence, Reaching a Child’s Full Potential, and Quality Learning are a start. One more clarification as well on what I mean when I write about targeting a person’s decision-making capacity.  Another transformationalist put the importance of understanding subjective experience quite well in his book Global Mind Change. Willis Harman wrote that education and “science should now accommodate consciousness as a causal reality.” So crucial a point to target that Harman even italicized it just like that.

Boulding considered “the primacy of inner conscious awareness as a causal reality” to be so crucial if Man was to Become a Maker of History and a Driver of the Future that he gave this internalized realm of core values, concepts, and guiding perspectives the nerdiest phrase ever–noogenetics. The odd name though should not distract us from the role Boulding gave this realm in his 1978 book Ecodynamics: A New Theory of Societal Evolution. Boulding wanted to create common “mental structures and images” that would be transmitted as “learned behavior coded in nervous systems.” That’s what noogenetics and full potential means because the “biogenetic structure contributes only potential.” He told us why targeting what is internalized within a student’s mind and personality was so crucial so let’s listen:

“It may well be that biological evolution is approaching its end and that it will be succeeded by an evolutionary process wholly dominated by noogenetic processes directed by human values.”

See how Making Man Moral and Accountability fit right in with these transformational plans unless that aim for education is well disclosed and not shrouded in catchy phrases about Classical Learning, Character, or Virtuous Living? If anyone is tired of me bringing up Uncle Karl like this was a pinball game and I get 50 points for each mention, let’s listen again to what Boulding said was the purpose of what he and all the others I have now tagged to this post called General Systems Theory.

“The evolutionary vision, however, must be seen quite clearly as an alternative to Marxism as a general theory. The general idea of an overall theory of social and historical dynamic processes owes a great deal to Marx, but his particular theories are quite inadequate to describe the complexities of reality and must be relegated to the position of a rather unusual special case.”

I think that statement should have the Slogan “New and Improved” attached to Systems Science covers the relationships among all these education phrases we believe have just an innocuous, common-sense meaning. Following up on the implications of my last post’s citing of both the Right and Left public policy think tanks and academics embracing  Boulding pulled up a relevant paper written by Bela Banathy from the early 90s called “Systems Inquiry and its Application to Education.” The paper was “dedicated to the memory of my dear friend and colleague, Kenneth Boulding, one of the founders of the systems movement and the first president of the Society for General Systems Research.” As an aside, SGSR (created at Stanford) merged into ISSS–International Systems Science Society, so all this ties now too to the Laszlos, GELP, the MIT/Skolkovo 2030/2035 Project, and so much more.

In other words, this is not a history lesson and the goals Banathy laid out are still pertinent. Best then to examine the Systems View of Education since we and our children have been Ground Zero of the systems to be transformed. One more point gets clarified for those of us wondering why Mind Arson has become so common and why relatively few concepts and principles are now to serve as Knowledge, instead of a body of facts. Boulding believed systems science needed people to “develop ‘generalized ears'” that could make for common connections of understanding that would “overcome the ‘specialized deafness’ of the specific disciplines.”

I have encountered this before where what we call reason and logic or the Axemaker Mind is regarded as in the way of revolutionary social change. John Dryzek called for something very similar–communicative rationality–to accommodate the defeat of ‘capitalism’ in favor of a more economically just society he called democracy back in 1996. Last week, the Cooney Center (funded by Sesame Street revenue), the Frameworks Institute, and the New America Foundation released “STEM Starts early” that called for much the same if we read the small print, or in this case, Appendix B. It called for a “two-science approach” because “policies are the product of politics, and politics is the product of culture.” I could add that culture is an aggregate of what gets shifted when education becomes about targeting individual consciousness and what guides it, but let’s get back to quoting.

“Determining the narrative needed to engage the public…requires research. A coherent narrative can only be developed by mapping the cognitive terrain so that communicators know which ‘pictures in people’s heads’ they wish to evoke and which to bypass.”

That intrusive analysis, whether obtained by survey or student assessments looking for Higher Order Thinking Skills, is in either case carried out so that politicians, academics, think tanks (the paper keeps quoting the head of Heritage, Jim DeMint), and others “to predict what policy prescriptions are likely to ‘fit’ people’s operative cultural models.” So education operates to manipulate those internalized cultural models and also pushes Generalized Ears and communicative rationality so that “policy science can be coupled with communications science.” Well, that “two-science approach” or “systems science” is indeed a new, not appreciated enough in the least, form of self-governance. Each approach:

“emphasizes using social science to understand where ordinary Americans part way with experts, what this means for public support of [desired] policies, and what kinds of narratives help people engage, reconsider, and endorse meaningful policies.”

It is tempting to add ‘meaningful’ to whom and to wonder how we can get a job as one of those ‘experts’. Let’s get back though to Banathy’s confessions. After all, if my analysis that School Choice, as pushed by all the think tanks we have tied to PEPG and the Atlas Network, is actually a shroud covering what Banathy called GSTE–Guidance System for the Transformation of Education–we need to know its aims and elements. Banathy told us that “working with human systems, we are confronted with problem situations that comprise a system of problems rather than a collection of problems. Problems are embedded in uncertainty and require subjective interpretation…Our main tool in working with human systems is subjectivity: reflection on the sources of knowledge, social practice, community, and interest in and commitment to ideas, especially the moral idea, affectivity, and faith.”

Readers of my book Credentialed to Destroy should recognize that I have boldfaced words that fit with what the phrase Rigor actually means now and also much of what is assessed for in its name. Can we repeat Not. A. Coincidence. before moving on. Banathy did not just want to redesign and transform education, he wanted to redesign all social systems to fit the “new realities of the current era.” People, and especially children, were merely a start and the way to effect the desired change without popular outcry. Anyone implementing the systems view of education template unwittingly because they fail to understand what these catchy phrases really mean is still engaged in:

“systems design in the context of human activity systems is a future-creating disciplined inquiry. People engage in design in order to devise and implement a new system based on their vision of what that system should be.”

With only Generalized Ears and carefully instilled guiding Core Values, Ideas, and Perspectives we can all grasp that few students will be in a position to appreciate what actually cannot be as we are all encouraged to help design better tomorrows. When I was so concerned about that Roadmap for the Next Administration I uncovered before the election, this is precisely the assumption built into that Roadmap. Bela must be so pleased his and Boulding’s work endures so, even if it is dangerously wrong to be pushing via education.

“Social systems are created for attaining purposes that are shared by those in the system [see values, ideas, and perspectives above]. Activities in which people in the system are engaged are guided by those purposes. There are times when there is a discrepancy between what our system actually attains and what we designated as the desired outcome of the system. [Data, especially with respect to what counts as Learning]. Once we sense such discrepancy, we realize that something has gone wrong, and we need to make some changes in the activities or in the way we carry out activities. The focus is changes within the system.  Changes within the system are accomplished by adjustment, modification, or improvement.”

Now Banathy was talking about more than a student and education in that quote on redesigning systems, but both are included in the systems to be purposefully redesigned at the level of what creates purpose, motivates action, and guides perception. That’s what the systems view of education does under whatever catchy slogan it uses in any generation to stay under the radar of public scrutiny. It has been known as Tranzi OBE (covered in my book) and is now more commonly called Competency-Based Education. It is enshrined into the federal Every Student Succeeds Act and how states and localities must redesign education to get its funding. Both Mrs DeVos and President Trump need to accept that reality and decide what kind of a country and polity we will have with this vision of education and the “two-science” approach to managing the public that was funded by American taxpayers via the National Science Foundation.

That’s the beauty of systems science under whatever its current name acting as a cloaking device. Personal intentions can only become the point again when the elements that make education a ‘system’ designed to control what each student has internalized at a neurobiological level are grasped. Remember noogenetics? We have to understand that control over the decision-making capacity of a student so that their future behavior is now predictable and plannable is what gets touted as Evidence-Based Education grounded in science. That aim is what makes a student assessment “high-quality”. Controlling Learning at this level is what gets a charter renewed and access to federal money to expand into new states.

Where’s the Actual choice in any of these visions with this common aim?

Systems Science is really ceasing to be a catchy slogan. Best to grasp its essence before it gets yet another new name.

Making Man Moral through Integrative, Holistic Education Focused on Purpose

Sometimes these days I feel like I am a part of that old musical comedy “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” not because all these machinations via education and deceit are funny, but because suddenly between posts something happens that proves just how correct I am on how this fits together. Last week, the blog Cafe Hayek run by George Mason economic profs mentioned a January 24 piece by “my colleague Peter Boettke on the late economist Kenneth Boulding.” Now that may seem innocuous and even dry, but there cannot be a more seminal person other than John Dewey to the sought transformation of education. Boulding laid out its purpose and how it could be used to control other social systems. Is this further evidence of a Convergence of the Right and Left Pincers we can see so much evidence of? Confessions, after all, are so much nicer. is the post and it tied in my mind to why everyone suddenly wants education to be about moral values, guiding principles, Disciplinary Core Ideas, Classical Concepts, and other ideas first that can then guide a child’s perception. How they interpret their daily experiences and what they never even notice. This is the end of the Trilogy so let’s pull all this together so we can appreciate How to Invisibly Control Future Personal Decision-making with No Need to Admit It. Bolding (without the ‘u’) is mine.

“Themes without facts may be barren, but facts without theories are meaningless. It is only ‘theory’–i.e., a body of principles–which enables us to approach the bewildering complexity and chaos of fact, select the facts significant for our purposes and interpret the significance.

Indeed, it is hardly too much to claim that without a theory to interpret it there is no such thing as a ‘fact’ at all…what, then, is the ‘fact’ about the wart? [Boulding’s example that should be read in full while thinking about the meaning of Disciplinary Core Ideas or Enduring Understandings] It may be any or all of the above, depending on the particular scheme of interpretation into which it is placed.”

When I was a student, part of what made for A+ work was the ability to develop an appropriate scheme of interpretation by myself, in the privacy of my mind, using what I saw as the pertinent facts. Something that made the prof go “That’s it! Wish I had expressed it that way.” This is something else. These are essentially presupplied ‘constructs’ designed to guide perception and future action in a way that makes a person likely to desire and instigate transformational change in the circumstances we all live under. If they cannot do it, they can organize together so politicians will implement the changes. That’s why I created the term Politicalism. What Boulding was known for was “incorporating the ideas, concepts and tools from the natural sciences into social scientific analysis.” Why?

His good friend Bela Banathy, who also has a tag and was involved in the creation of the concept of charter schools and what now goes by School Choice, told this story that his close friend Boulding shared with him in 1983. In 1954, at Stanford’s Center for Advanced Studies in Behavioral Sciences (CASBS) where so much else was hatched:

“four Center fellows–Bertalanffy (biology), Boulding (economics), Gerard (psychology), and Rappoport (mathematics)–had a discussion  in a meeting room. Another Center Fellow walked in and asked: ‘What’s going on here?’ Ken answered: ‘We were angered about the state of the human condition’ and ask: ‘What can we–what can science–do about improving the human condition‘ Oh!’ their visitor said: ‘This is not my field.’ At that meeting the four scientists felt that in the statement of their visitor they heard the statement of the fragmented disciplines that have little concern for doing anything practical about the fate of humanity. So they asked themselves, ‘What would happen if science would be redefined by crossing disciplinary boundaries and forge a general theory that would bring us together in the service of humanity?'”

That overdone analogy to the ‘outmoded factory model of education’ is actually a cloaking metaphor to mask this complete change in the purpose of education that drove the education reforms in the 60s, 80s, and now covered in my book Credentialed to Destroy. It’s also why Tranzi OBE and Competency needed to be deliberately misdefined as we saw in the last post. Why do we keep coming across an emphasis on Character or Moral Dispositions and Attributes? Because social and political scientists like Boulding came to recognize “that the universe of ethical values is a driving force in human life” and can be altered to drive a transformation in what is acceptable in the future.

If you want to drive cultural change, alter human consciousness by instilling new ‘active principles’ that people must now use to organize their lives and institutions. Then have them practice it in the classroom or workplace or even their church until relying on these principles becomes a Habit of Mind. In his 1969 AEA Presidential Address, Boulding informed those economics professionals that “any system contains the seeds of its own transformation or future genesis, and that this works through a learning process.” See why education had to change away from an emphasis on facts? Economics was just one of the human social systems that interested Boulding and he knew change had to start with the very mental models each person internalized:

“All these social systems are linked together dynamically through the process of human learning which is the main dynamic factor in all social systems.”

That’s such a useful quote for anyone who wonders why I cannot stick to just writing about education. Because it’s a tool to a transformation for a different purpose and a new, unlikely to succeed well for most of us, vision of the future. When should we talk about it? After the carnage is more advanced and even more resources depleted in the name of education? I am going to shift away from Boulding for a moment, but his vision was covered in the Trilogy begun here with his book The Meaning of the 20th Century and its effect on the Commission on the Year 2000 covered in the post that followed. Rereading those yesterday almost took my breath away because it fits so closely with what was in the Roadmap for the Next Administration and the Architecture of Innovation on what data can be made to now do.

This post’s title comes from a book Robert George–Princeton professor, Bradley Foundation board member, well-known spokesperson for Catholicism, and founder of the same American Principles Project that did not want to define certain terms accurately in the last post, wrote in 1993. If ‘common guiding principles’ and shared meanings are in fact what makes people and organizations act as ‘systems’ as Boulding and systems science generally believed, it makes perfect sense not to concede that is what ALL Competency-based education reforms, and what I nicknamed Tranzi OBE, are about. The aims are no different then from the Catholic Curriculum Framework although some of the offered concepts, principles, and the justifications for the changes may differ.

Like Boulding in the quote Boettke chose or in my quotes from his 1969 AEA address, George in his making men moral: Civil Liberties and Public Morality wanted education to provide “first principles of practical reason…to guide choice and action.” Fascinating, huh? Everybody seems to want to carve that rudder that will guide future decision-making without being forthright on the connection. All we get are School Choice!, Federal Misedukation, and Autonomy to the Locals and parents. Some autonomy as both education and “laws have a legitimate subsidiary role to play in helping people to make themselves moral.” Then sell it to parents that way and admit Classical Education IS designed to create a steerable rudder both parents and students are not being told about.

Character is a wonderful thing, but not when it operates at an unconscious level as a Habit of Mind and parents are not told that their children are being steered in the name of Goodness. Truth. and Beauty or Equity and Justice or Sustainability or other Guiding Principles to guide practical reason and likely future action. The same Spiritual and Moral Framework that can be used by New Agers like the Ross School from the last post or Social Justice Warriors grounded in Paulo Freire Pedagogy for the Oppressed aligns with the aim of instilled Knowledge, Skills, and Dispositions from the Catholic Curriculum Frameworks. They ALL want to provide the ideas, emotional motivations, and values students internalize as their guide to future decision-making. School now wants to provide their purpose for living and the vision of what the future might be.

To truly get the dangers of this personalized, student-centered, transformative vision of education perhaps it will help if we follow those Moral and Spiritual Frameworks (as well as the cited Ron Miller’s “What are Schools For?”) right straight to a School of Education and Psychology in Isfahan, Iran. If “Holistic Education: An Approach for 21st Century” from 2011 is okay with the mullahs and their tyrannical vision of people, we really need to quit using the word ‘autonomy’ to describe the student when this vision of education is through with them. Yes, they have a purpose, but is it really theirs? I will quote from the Abstract because it fits with the vision I have described in this Trilogy. Think of the implications of that.

“Holistic education encompasses a wide range of philosophical orientations and pedagogical practices. Its focus is on wholeness, and it attempts to avoid excluding any significant aspects of the human experience. It is an eclectic and inclusive movement whose main characteristic is that educational experiences foster a less materialistic and more spiritual worldview along with more dynamic and holistic views of reality.

It also proposes that educational experience promote a more balanced development of–and cultivate the relationship among–the different aspects of the individual (intellectual, physical, spiritual, emotional, social and Aesthetic), as well as the relationships between the individual and other people, the individual and natural environment, the inner-self of students and external world, emotion and reason, different disciplines of knowledge and forms of knowing, holistic education is concerned with life experience, not with narrowly defined ‘basic skills.'”

Doesn’t that life experience/basic skills distinction sound just like the erroneous definition of Competency from the last post? Isn’t the US goal of College and Career Ready just another euphemism for this holistic life experience vision that seeks to control what gets internalized to guide the adults our children will become?

How is it not authoritarian for any government at any level to make education holistic or integrative using those aims?

How on Earth can this really be “education for humanity” when the type of human we become is subject to undisclosed political control?

Butterflies of the Soul: Using Education Reforms as the Chrysalis for Social Reengineering

I have to admit that the first part of that title is not my metaphor. It does, however, perfectly capture the true story behind of where education reforms, learning standards like the Common Core, SEL competencies, or School Choice, actually lead. The true story is found via a converging mixture of open declarations by insiders, coupled to deceitful narratives by people also tied to ‘public policy’. The False Narratives always seem to be trying to obscure the same actual goals as what someone else openly declares. Either that obstruction, as in “Don’t Look Here!”, or we get a deliberate misrepresentation of what something means or how it works (based on Robin’s handy Education Glossary of terms).

In other words, both shrouding something I know is there or misrepresenting a definition are telling facts of what the deception is about. Using my own metaphor now, if the Open Admitters of education as a transformational tool are Hansel, and the Deceiving Craftsmen (and women) are Gretel, the crumbs Hansel is leaving, and the areas of the pathway that Gretel’s crumbs never touch, are headed in the same direction. Let’s look there!

One of the documentable facts I have uncovered in the last few months of footnote tiptoeing and then reading is that in 2003 the International Mind, Brain, and Education Society was launched at a conference at the Vatican. At an opening session workshop, the Senior Scientist of One Laptop Per Child, Antonio Battro, presented a video called Mysterious Butterflies of the Soul, which was a metaphor for the neurons in the student’s physiological brain. The idea was how to transform education to target the ‘living brain’ so its structures reliably guide future actions and behaviors. This future activity is to be grounded in the supposed “spiritual roots of humanity.” That true neurobiological focus then gets obscured by frequently substituting the terms cognition or mind.

Linking up with the last post’s observation that all these aims, when uncovered or deciphered, turn out to be about the student’s decision-making capacities, Antonio Damasio, from the same conference (USC prof involved with BRAIN Initiative and author of Descartes’ Error) told us why SEL Standards are really so important. Hint: it has nothing to do with any government database of PII.

“We use emotions and the devices that underpin them every day of our lives, frequently as a helping hand in the conscious decision-making process and just as often to orient our behaviors and enrich our humanity. Creativity [one of the 4 Cs of 21st Century Learning] is not conceivable without emotion. Neither is moral behavior. As for education, it is difficult to imagine how to proceed without two of the leading consequences of emotion: engagement and attention. The brain uses emotional processes to identify salient features of the environment that are especially relevant to the management of life.”

When the think tanks, American Principles Project and the Pioneer Institute, decided to pilfer from the footnotes of my book Credentialed to Destroy, with neither proper attribution nor permission, to misrepresent the true focus of both Competency-based Education and Transformational Outcomes Based Education, the misleading pathway constructed led away from that very same Life Roles focus as what Damasio and IMBES were getting at. “After the Fall: Catholic Education Beyond the Common Core” made public education supposedly all about preparation for the workforce. It also alleged the Common Core was “devoid of any attention to ‘the true, the good, the beautiful,” and catered to “man with the soul amputated.” Well, that butterfly metaphor makes a mockery of that statement.

Plus, on the next page Professor Damasio told us that “the importance of emotion in education  is not confined to its role in engagement and attention. The role that emotions play in the construction of moral behavior and, by extension, building a citizen is just as important.” I bolded those phrases because when the Atlanta Classical Academy, which is part of both the Atlanta Public Schools and where the head of Hillsdale’s Barney Charter School Initiative, Terrence Moore, is the principal,  ran an ad in the local paper recently it touted its curriculum as building the basis for Virtuous Living and Good Citizenship. Sounds like synonyms for Damasio’s vision for MBE education to me.

Moreover, in following our trails of crumbs and no crumbs, an October 13, 2016 story in The Federalist entitled “Meet the Americans Revitalizing Freedom, One Child at a Home” on Classical Education and the charter schools opened under the Barney Initiative cited how Moore had spoken at “a summer institute dedicated to introducing new volunteers to the ideas behind the Barney initiative.” We can all decide if this seems to be a fact-based curriculum to us.

“Moore playacted the part of the Federalists and Anti-Federalists of the American Revolution, illustrating ways to engage children in Western civilization’s great ideas. The seminar’s whiteboards proclaimed: ‘I will learn the true. I will do the good. I will love the beautiful.‘”

I bolded that because we are going back to what Antonio Battro of the Mysterious Butterflies of the Soul metaphor wrote just before he described the IMBES launch from the Vatican. In his section called “Truth, Goodness, and Beauty,” he latinized these tenets everyone seems to be using to make education about transforming the emotional bases, values, and beliefs that guide future behavior. Just like what the Barney Charter initiative says it wishes to do and which is also supposedly the purpose of the new Catholic Curriculum Framework. What are the odds of such consistent similarities if not outright congruence?–Quoting Battro: “In the words of the old scholastic dictum, Verum, bonum et pulchrum convertuntur (Truth, goodness, and beauty are interchangeable.)”

At this rate so are the visions of the schools being created by School Choice advocates and public education generally. The pro-Common Core and Anti-Common Core organized forces are also headed in a common direction when we delve far enough. Interchangeable is truly the perfect word if we pay attention to function and not slight differences in phrasing or supposed purposes. I am also sure it is totally coincidental that the same day the Catholic Curriculum Frameworks rolled out with its admitted aims that somehow tie to the same behavioral science template as what Tranzi OBE and Competency-Based Ed really mean, the Center for Assessment in Dover, New Hampshire rolled out its Framework for what would constitute innovative, student-centered quality assessments under federal law.

Headed to the same place with measurable results of what is being internalized, in other words. Apparently no one is ever supposed to recognize all this commonality as long as different talking points are used in the official descriptions we are just to accept demurely.

One more example of all that can be learned about the real agenda from affiliated think tanks and the desire that we all accept analogical thinking using the presupplied metaphors that take us in a non-factual direction. This one seemed to be about once again wanting us to misunderstand the Common Core and ‘standards’ generally. We are also supposed to move on. First, the Bradley Foundation-financed, Harvard PEPG publication, Education Next, went with the story “Lessons on the Common Core” by Robert Pondiscio on January 5, 2017. The next week the PEPG partner and Education Excellence Network absorber, Fordham Institute, republished the same article. Later, that week, my local School Choice pusher think tank led its Friday Facts newsletter with this quote:

“to be upset by academic standards is to invest them with a power they neither have nor deserve. In my five years of teaching fifth graders, I never–not even once–reached for English language arts standards when deciding what to teach. I would wager that when I.M. Pei was commissioned to design the Louvre Pyramid, his first move was not to reach for a copy of the Paris building codes for inspiration.” A clever, but totally inapt metaphor, for the purpose of ‘standards’. They are not ‘academic standards’ in the historical sense of that term as transmitting a fact-based curriculum. A better metaphor would have Pei mulling over the laws of physics governing the desired design. True ‘learning standards.’ like the Common Core or Competency-Based Education, are always so interested in neurons and biology after all.

And why are everyone’s learning standards so focused on transmitting knowledge in terms of concepts, instead of building up from known facts and cause-effect relationships? Our IMBES template again had Vartan Gregorian, the President of the hugely influential Carnegie Corporation, telling us that “concepts are far more important than facts and the ability to analyze and synthesize has much greater value than the ability to memorize. In short, school may be multiple choice but real life is all essay.” All this interest in pushing concepts, categories, themes, topics, and ideas as the essence of Knowledge makes more sense if, like Gregorian said, there is now to be “no boundaries between learning and life.” Just like in Tranzi OBE, Competency-Based Ed, and apparently Classical Education too, once properly understood without deceit.

An admitted Marxist poli sci prof, back in 1996, laid out his vision of the future and what needed to be altered in italicized, reconstructive terms, in a way that someone writing about just education reform for an audience of parents, politicians, and taxpayers is typically unwilling to do. That does not change the fact that the desired poli sci or economic transformations can only occur with a certain type of change in the nature of education. Education reforms, to be deemed effective or what is now called ‘evidence-based’ should be gathering student data studying “mass dispositions and capabilities and associated discourses of democracy. Reconstructive science is concerned with the social competences of individuals and the corresponding grammars of human interaction. Its categories are sought in how its subjects apprehend the world.”

Everyone cited in this post, whether being honest or providing a metaphor or narrative to mislead, appears to be interested in providing the basis for how we ‘subjects’ in this 21st Century Age of undisclosed collectivist Politicalism–‘apprehend the world’.

In the next post we will cover how someone with ties to virtually everyone cited in this post wants education to be about practicing the desired “internal acts of reason and will.” A vision incorporating “the moral norms available to guide choice and action.”

I guess we will call the next post the End of the Trilogy laying out the Deceit surrounding Manipulating Each Student’s Personal Decision-Making Capacity, with neither notice nor consent.

Can anyone tell I do not like any vision of education that regards us as anyone’s ‘subjects’?

Controlling Consciousness and Planning Society Via Politicalism-a New Helpful Description is Born

Before I turn the term-Politicalism-into the most apt metaphor since Axemakers Mind for describing the true intent behind K-12 education reforms, let me offer up some timely quotes on controlling consciousness. The first is from a December 20, 2016 report called “Behavioural Insights at the United Nations–Achieving Agenda 2030.” I will be bolding or italicizing the passages or phrases I most want everyone to remember.

“Agenda 2030 can only be achieved if we critically examine the behavioural factors that lead people to utilize programs effectively and efficiently. Research in behavioural science–regarding how people make decisions and act on them, how they think about, influence, and relate to one another, and how they develop beliefs and attitudes–can inform optimum programme design. Behavioral science research reveals that even small, subtle, and sometimes counter-intuitive changes to the way a message or choice is framed or how a process is structured, can have an outsized impact on the decisions we make and the actions we take.”

So the areas aimed at by what is now called competency-based education and that used to be called Transformational Outcomes-Based Education (both covered in depth in my book Credentialed to Destroy) are the areas the UN believes are crucial to achieving its agenda of Equity for All globally by 2030. Let’s use a shorter quote from another paper released by UNESCO yesterday from the WEF in Davos, Switzerland. The report on the vision for education needed to achieve that 2030 Agenda was called “Partnering for Prosperity: Education for Green and Inclusive Growth” and its section on the Social Determinants of Health and Inequity led with this quote from Professor Bell Hooks:

“There must exist a paradigm, a practical model for social change that includes an understanding of ways to transform consciousness that are linked to efforts to transform structures.”

If that seems vague please search out the papers on Equity and Empowerment Lenses from Multnomah County, Oregon that public health policymakers are now quietly nationalizing. Many of the links are in the most recent comments to the previous post. Finally, we have a quote from a 2013 edition of the book Violence and Social Orders: A Conceptual Framework for Interpreting Recorded Human History. Before I get to that, I want to reiterate how I research at this point in my work.

I am literally working off of footnotes where people with money and political power are confessing what they intend to do with the models and theories they are creating. One of these books cited a Professor Douglass North and that he had been a Marxist and then laid out a quote from that book that struck me as still thoroughly Marxian in its view of the mind and molding consciousness. That’s not an insult, but a shorthand phrase for a particular view of history and how it can be used to mold consciousness deliberately. When a used copy of the book arrived, the authors thanked the Hoover Institution profusely as well as the Bradley Foundation for its financing of the project of a “new framework for the social sciences.”

So the Hoover Institution behind the Koret Task Force and what I regard as an attempt to create a deceptive narrative around the Common Core in the 2011 paper Closing the Door on Innovation, which is also one of the named partners in the PEPG–Program on Education Policy and Governance at the Kennedy School of Government we have covered, wanted this new framework. And the Bradley Foundation behind that concept-based approach to History from the 80s that also finances PEPG’s publication Education Next and many of the think tanks and other entities pushing School Choice and that owns the book publisher, Encounter Books, financed the framework. Let’s take a look at what it aims at.

In the chapter entitled “A New Research Agenda for the Social Sciences,” we find an explanation for what I keep finding when I dig behind the facade of the ‘School Choice’ slogan.

“A full account of human behavior would begin by asking how the mind deals with the process of change. A necessary preliminary is to understand how the brain interprets signals received by the senses and how the mind structures the results into coherent beliefs. ..How do we think about social processes when individuals, at best, have a limited understanding of what is happening to them as they continue to confront new experiences and novel situations that require an awareness of the dynamic nature of the process of change in which they are participants? How do we deal with the novel problems that emerge as humans reshape the human environment in ways that have no historical precedent?”

So we know that both Hoover and the Bradley Foundation are quite interested in consciousness, how it works, and its use for examining and driving cultural change. Before I get to one more quote, let me go ahead and define Politicalism. Politicalism is how politicians at all levels of government, public policy think tanks across the spectrum, academics, and others believe they can use the law and education to force the transformation by 2030 to what Marx called his Human Development Society where human needs are supposedly met. Politicalism feels empowered to ignore the prohibitions of the First Amendment where governments are rarely allowed to restrict speech and go straight ahead to restricting thought by using education reforms to control consciousness. That’s why the phrase ‘decisionmaking’ just keeps coming up.

Politicians and public policy think tanks have a political, social, and economic vision for the future that requires the monitoring and control over the internalized basis of individual action in order to work effectively. If that aim does not justify a special Proper Noun descriptive term like Politicalism then what will? Not wanting to get called out in advance and have this behavioral science technique prohibited, we get all sorts of euphemisms like competency-based ed, Tranzi OBE, Higher Order Thinking Skills, or School Choice to name a few. The Hoover Framework, with Bradley financing, actively seeks to alter social science research by targeting institutions, which it italicized and defined as follows:

“…the rules of the game, the patterns of interaction that govern and constrain the relationships of individuals. Institutions include formal rules, written laws, formal social conventions, and informal norms of behavior.”

In other words, institutions are not necessarily physical things, but also the values, attitudes, beliefs, ethics, ideas and concepts, and desired behavioral norms we have come now to associate with social emotional learning or Positive School Climate, for example. Anyone sensing why a Bradley Foundation funded think tank would want to misrepresent targeting these areas that govern future action and decisionmaking and pretend it’s about Personally Identifiable Information or a Student Unit Record controversy? Before we leave that book, there was a statement that “we do not have a general theory of belief formation and human cognition,” which strikes me as absolutely not true. If it is technically true, go have lunch with your colleagues at CASBS in Palo Alto or the MBE professors at the ed school at Harvard or the constructionists in the AI work or Media Lab at MIT. They certainly do.

The rest of the statement though suggests our authors do know what their colleagues would pass on. “…we have tried to come to grips with two aspects of beliefs. First, beliefs about causal relationships ultimately affect people’s decisions. Second, the cultural environment–the political, economic, social context–fundamentally influences beliefs.”

That would explain why so much of the actual research at Stanford, MIT, Harvard, and other places goes to using education to influence both those aspects of beliefs. The new federal education legislation, ESSA, even calls for assessing for this at least annually. Note that changing these beliefs or any of the other internalized bases for decisionmaking is what is now called Learning. The reason Learning must be standardized, monitored, and regulated by governments is to get to a broader vision of how society and its people and their relationships are to be structured (both the regulation of Learning and the restructuring and planning are covered by the term-Politicalism).

There was one last recent report we need to cover, released yesterday, called “Communities in Action: Pathways to Health Equity.” It is intended to bind the federal agencies and governments at all levels to the UN’s 2030 Agenda and what is also called Marxist Humanism, whatever President-Elect Trump’s wishes. Apparently, his confirmed political appointees were never to even know. In this vision, ‘quality education’ is simply one of the Social Determinants of Health and public policy and regulation needs to be used to restructure “the conditions in the environments in which people live, learn, work, play, worship, and age that affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks. For the purposes of this report, the social determinants of health are: education; employment; health systems and services; housing; income and wealth; the physical environment; public safety; the social environment; and transportation.”

So first we had to wade through all the false narratives surrounding education reform and then accept that ‘quality education’ is a defined term tied to an all-encompassing plan of transformation. A plan that we are neither supposed to recognize in time nor object to. See why everyone involved wants to target consciousness? Now the reason I think it is not only us normal taxpayers and parents being snookered is that late in that report, we get the revelation that about one week after the Presidential election shocker, President Obama signed an Executive Order establishing a Community Solutions Council on the importance of equity and the determinants of health and well-being to foster “collaboration across [federal] agencies…to coordinate actions, identify working solutions to share broadly, and develop and implement policy recommendations that put the community-driven, locally led vision at the center of policymaking.”

As far as I can tell then all these changes started by President Obama that Hillary Clinton would have continued are still to roll along under President Trump unless he and all his appointees know of their existence and how they work. They simply cannot rely on anyone in Congress to tell them because they benefit from all this intended geographic redistribution and mayors, governors, or school boards will not tell either. The think tanks all seem to think pushing this while misrepresenting it to their readers and petty amount donors is why they exist.

It is up to each of us to appreciate that Politicalism targets all these different levels and sectors of society, down to the neural networks and emotions internalized in our students. Anything that an individual uses, consciously or unconsciously for decisionmaking, is regarded under Politicalism as fair game for manipulation and monitoring. Because the vision of Equity and Empowerment for ALL apparently justifies even the most Preemptive Authoritarianism.

Let me end with a tip to Ms DeVos after yesterday’s testimony. Please read up on Teaching for Competence and Teaching for Growth. When you said you were not familiar with either, you were saying you are unaware of the very tools being used to control and monitor what students internalize as the basis for decisionmaking. If everyone involved in education policymaking wants to target consciousness, best to know now the how and why.

Also, please be careful about throwing out Local Control as the panacea. That would be the Briar Patch in our Glocal, Community Solutions Council world, under Politicalism.


Preemptive Authoritarianism: Governed by Our Monitored and Redesigned Brains

I almost added “21st Century” to Brains in the title, but it made it too long. Please do me a favor though. Every time a politician or anyone else mentions the need to transform K-12 education because the current vision is based on an outdated factory model, or any other justifying statement, to mask what is in fact a desire to control how our minds work for political purposes, remember this post. If anyone was worried I was missing in action or had finally decided to simply shut up about the real intentions behind education reforms, no such luck. Some posts though have no business being written during the traditional period of joyful merrymaking and family gathering. With the confirmation hearings for the proposed new Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, being in two days and her repeated statements and connections tying her vision to what I am about to lay out, it is time to get going again.

Back in the late 1980s the ASCD (tied to NEA) created a framework for what would become better known as Outcomes Based Education, “standards-based reforms,” or “brain-based learning.” Turns out these terms have always been interchangeable if we cut through the deceit and go back to the creators of these theories for educational change. The intent was to link education to what was known about human neurobiology. The framework would have ‘bottom-line integrity”, which today we euphemistically call evidence-based policymaking in education, effective schools, or just research on best practices. To qualify the education practices mandated “must integrate human behavior and perception, emotions and physiology.”

Remember astronomer Carl Sagan? The ASCD quoted him to provide the reasons they wanted to “significantly reprogram and redirect old brain propensities…the potential of the neocortex is that it can find new ways to survive because it is capable of profound learning. And that, we will see, requires us to use our brains in ways that they have never been used before on a large scale.” See what I mean about waiting to write this post out of fear some of us would be tempted to try to drink the entire punch bowl of spiked eggnog? Sagan’s 1977 book The Dragons of Eden is then quoted at length. No solar systems or stars are involved here:

“As a consequence of the enormous social and technological changes of the last few centuries, the world is not working well. We do not live in traditional and static societies. But our governments, in resisting change, act as if we did. Unless we destroy ourselves utterly, the future belongs to those societies that, while not ignoring the reptialian and mammalian parts of our being, enable the characteristically human components of our nature to flourish: to those societies that encourage diversity rather than conformity; to those societies willing to invest resources in a variety of social, political, economic and cultural experiments, and prepared to sacrifice short-term advantage for long-term benefit [whose?]; to those societies that treat new ideas as delicate, fragile and immensely valuable pathways to the future.”

It’s about redesigning existing institutions and systems via changes in how the student’s mind works and what motivates him or her to act. No wonder there has been so much deceit around education reform and a desire to pilfer from my book Credentialed to Destroy, while also repressing its central insights. Let’s go over the Atlantic to see what the UK meant by “high standards” and “raising standards” in the early 90s. Instead of using the graphic term “brain-based” changes to the neocortex, we get regular references to altering how the “central cognitive processor”  or the “central processing mechanism of the mind” works. No mention that this physical target belongs to someone’s children.

“We would rather aim for an even higher road, the unconscious development of a central cognitive processor that would produce far-transfer effects by a mechanism invisible to the learner (perhaps we should say ‘developer’) and thus far more powerful and generalisable than anything restricted to conscious processing.” Monitoring and manipulating the operation of the human mind via K-12 education at a level invisible to the learner sounds rather authoritarian to me, but we cannot rebel against what we are unaware of, can we? In November 2016, the publication Neuron published the article “Neuroethics in the Age of Brain Projects” that was, unfortunately, quite upfront that the BRAIN Initiative (now funded for ten more years by legislation passed by Congress in December supposedly about opioid addiction) and learning standards generally “have the potential to affect the essence of who we are as humans.”

Apparently though we no longer have a say in that fundamental arena of what it means to be human. That article mentioned that one of the funded research grants had gone to a Professor Nikolas Rose. A little research uncovered a 2013 book of his published by Princeton called Neuro: The New Brain Sciences and the Management of the Mind. My copy showed up just in time to be read while I ate my good luck black-eyed peas, which I knew would be especially needed this year with the book’s ubiquitous references to “governing through the brain.” The planned and taxpayer-financed “conversations between the social sciences [like education] and the neurosciences may, in short, enable us to begin to construct a very different idea of the human person, human societies, and human freedom” ought to be something discussed openly with taxpayers and parents.

I am not sure who ‘us’ is, but giving Congress, a state legislature, or even a school principal such transformative power to transform the human mind and how it works on a biological basis is not a hallmark of a genuinely free society. Especially when the vision is brought to us by professors who are looking for “the basis of a radical, and perhaps even progressive, way of moving beyond illusory notions of human beings as individualized, discrete, autonomous, coherent subjects who are, or should be, ‘free to choose.'”

“Acting on our brains,” “this new topography of the human being,” and the touted “passage of neuroscience from the seclusion of the laboratory to the unruly everyday world, and the new styles of thought concerning the intelligible, visible, mutable, and tractable brain that characterize the new brain sciences are beginning to reshape the ways in which human beings, at least in advanced liberal societies, are governed by others” should all be front and center for discussion in a free society. Instead, we get the deceit surrounding the real purpose of School Choice and misrepresentations on what competency-based education is really intended to modify and change.

Back in December, Jeb Bush had the Director of the Mind, Brain, and Education (MBE) Program at Harvard as one of the keynote speakers at his annual summit, sponsored by his foundation (that Mrs DeVos was on the Board of prior to her nomination). I happen to have a copy of an MBE philosophical paper downloaded from Harvard’s website on the morality of the MBE methods and theories. It calls for public debates on the “ethical limits that should be placed on use of biological and psychological technologies in education” and the “kinds of communities and individuals that ought to be fostered.” That Bush foundation states that competency-based education, School Choice, and educational technology are its priorities. Which of these does MBE relate to then or is it all of them is a fair question to ask a Board member at the time the invitation to speak went out.

That cannot happen though because of all the organized misrepresentations that have surrounded learning standards like the Common Core, what its true purposes and history are, or what practices get hidden behind titles like School Choice, high-quality assessments, charters, or classical education. We went back in time and overseas precisely because I wanted to show that this shrouded neurobiological bullseye that the law and ‘public policy’ seeks to invisibly impose is both global and longstanding.

Everything is now in place, except a genuine public recognition of just how much we have all been lied to about what is really intended for our children in the name of education. In the Foreword to the GEM 2016 Report released in early September, the head of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, stated:

“Lastly, we must fundamentally change the way we think about education and its role in human wellbeing and global development. Now, more than ever, education has a responsibility to foster the right type of skills, attitudes and behavior that will lead to sustainable and inclusive growth.” That openly declared repurposing of education cannot be discussed when a false narrative pretends that School Choice and competency-based education does not have the precise same aim. Did you know that the term Neuroethics does not necessarily mean the ethics of using a transformational vision of education to redesign how the mind work and then lock it in biologically? It actually also means how to use Neuroscience and brain-based to impose an internalized ethical vision that puts the so-called common good and responsibility for others above individual choices.

Isn’t that something that should at least be discussed if we are still in fact a free society? Is the vision of the future that Marx called the Human Development Society really something that deceitfully imposed educational changes and legislation and regulation can impose as long as the enacters are “duly elected” or appointed?

Is my term “Preemptive Authoritarianism” just a pithy way of getting attention or the biggest understatement so far in 2017?

Linking School Choice and Third Party Government: Escaping Requires We Recognize the Incarceration

This marks the end of the Trilogy about declarations (insufficiently recognized) to use the powers of governments at every level to close the gap “between the current state of the world and what would be ideal…perfectionism ought instead to inspire a constant striving to make things better. Democracy, in other words, should be viewed as a work in progress.” That vision of making human wellbeing the new purpose of governments needs a particular type of citizen who is a useful mixture of malleable, aspirational, and reliable in their likely future behaviors. That of course is what all these education reforms have really been about and why there has been so much deceit. That quote is from the upcoming inaugural issue of U-Penn’s Journal of Law and Public Affairs on using law and regulation to force societies to provide for the general welfare.

Rule of Law, in other words, needs to join the terms ‘public policy’ and ‘standards-based education’ as transformative tools that few seem to sufficiently appreciate. Let me quote from a second paper that is also cited in books and papers citing the 1990 Politics, Markets, and America’s Schools where we began this Trilogy. It is by two poli sci profs, Jack Knight and James Johnson, but it said not to cite without permission. We will simply discuss it then as it pointed out in 2005 that the ‘problem solving approach to ideas and institutions’ holds that “our ideas, principles, practices and institutions and so forth simply are tools for navigating a social and political world that is shot through with indeterminacy…a pragmatist stance encourages us to place pressure on our cherished beliefs, institutions and so forth. It encourages a broadly experimental approach both to inquiry and, more importantly for present purposes, to politics.”

Now, most of us with experience in adult life and a solid grasp of history, who are not on the Gravy Train to get revenue from being a provider of stipulated services, can recognize that such aspirations will not end well. Maybe that’s why we are not supposed to know what K-12 education reforms have always really been about. After all if someone has an actual aspiration that “political debate must impose restrictions on the structure of individual preferences,” that mischievous, authoritarian goal is best achieved in secret and masked with duplicity if anyone does notice something is up. Tiptoeing through the footnotes of all these papers, pulled up repeated references to a John Hopkins prof, Lester Salaman, and a textbook called The Tools of Government: A Guide to the New Governance .

I guess the students who went through this kind of unappreciated inquiry-oriented assault on their values and conceptions of knowledge when they were younger want to study the theories used on them once they get to university. No wonder they have been so childlike in their responses to the recent US Presidential election. Many have been taught that the “role of government in the twenty-first century” is “more important than ever. The growing complexity and integration of social, economic, and political life virtually guarantees this, as does the need for a keeper of the rules of engagement among various institutions and sectors.” That was me boldfacing that integration since it has been way too unpublicized as well.

Before I explain what Third Party Government is, since the textbook says it is quite advanced in the United States, and that the “last fifty years have witnessed a remarkable revolution in the basic technology of public action in the tools or instruments used to address public problems,” let’s remember that K-12 ‘education reform’ and School Choice are merely tools to effect the desired transformations without any need to get our consent. No need to risk our saying “No Thanks” either. If we wonder why so many supposedly ‘conservative’ and pro-market think tanks have been created at great expense, the language about “bring a wide assortment of social actors into the business of responding to public needs” is a most helpful clue.

Education reforms are definitely needed if the view of government and “the role of public management is not to deliver services but to promote community, to help citizens articulate shared interests, to bring the proper players to the table and broker agreements among them, and to function as ‘proxy citizens.'” Just this past week Greg Forster of EdChoice put out a vision of Accountability that stated what he called the “real goal of education.” It sounded remarkably similar to what is supposedly needed under the requirements of the New Governance and Third Party Government:

“nurturing individuals who achieve and appreciate things that are true, good, and beautiful as faithful citizens of a free and diverse community committed to living in harmony.” The typical family couldn’t even pull that off over an extended Thanksgiving meal and that’s to be the real goal of education that students must “genuinely internalize?” Faithful to whom we could ask? Let’s go back then to the textbook that is being so forthcoming.

“the breadth of the problems government has been called on to address coupled with prevailing antibureaucracy sentiments make this [governments as the dominant supplier of public services] practically, as well as politically, impossible. Government needs its third-party partners both to legitimize and to execute the responsibilities it has taken on. [Note that this is NOT Free Enterprise whatever the Heritage Foundations writes].

On the other hand, however…government simply lacks the authority and independence to enforce its will on other actors the way this concept [monopoly on the legitimate use of force] implies.”

Now I will stop the quote to point out again that this is precisely what learning standards like the Common Core and those previously tied to Time for Results or outcomes-based education sought to do. It is what competency-based education, properly explained, now does–enforce its will for this lucrative conception of Third Party Government on its citizens. Secretly and nonconsensually and hiding behind phrases like School Choice or Internationally Competitive. Under the New Governance tenets and its need for what EdChoice called ‘faithful citizens’:

“What, then, is the role that government should play in the new governance? And how important is it? The answer is that government must serve as the ‘balance wheel’ of the new systems of collaborative problem solving that will increasingly exist. Its function, as we have suggested, is to activate the needed partnerships and to make sure that public values [common good], broadly conceived, are effectively represented in the collaborative systems that result.” Let’s shift away from quoting the aspirations to how it invisibly comes into effect. Following up on all the False Narratives involving the Common Core and who was pushing them I came across numerous references to a 2011 paper I had not previously heard of called Closing the Door on Innovation that was supposedly a response to a March 2011 Manifesto from the Shanker Institute. 

Education reformer Jay Greene wrote the story on Education Next and then the same Greg Forster noted above wrote a piece as well for the Public Discourse from the Witherspoon Institute that is tied to the American Principles Project that has written so many papers and offered up testimony on the nature of the Common Core. is a capture of what the document looked like as it is now hard to find. To make a long process of discovery short, the Shanker Manifesto struck me as how both sides intended for education reform to work at the local, school level. That Innovation report seemed staged to me to create a narrative about what the Common Core was intended to do that would probably have worked better if I had not been writing Credentialed to Destroy back in 2011 and tracking the actual implementation.

What really caught my eye though was the PEPG-Harvard’s Program on Educational Policy and Governance that was behind the Closing the Door on Innovation. PEPG has sponsors from what were supposed to be two differing sides of the Common Core debate. It clearly built on the work of that 1990 Brookings book on School Choice and had all sorts of players like Greene back when he was a poli sci prof at U-Texas (Austin) and AEI’s Rick Hess back when he was a Poli Sci prof at UVa. Seriously, if education is really the best way to achieve political and social transformation, PEPG’s work and the School Choice meme generally all make so much more sense. We have former Governor Jeb Bush as the Chair of the PEPG Advisory Committee and the Gates, Bradley, Koch, and Friedman Foundations all working together.

To use one of my favorite metaphors, Harvard is clearly where the Right and Left Pincers surrounding the Common Core/education reform narrative come to play and plan transformations around poli sci and sociology theories. Its first conference was in September 1996 about the same time as Fordham took over the Educational Excellence Network functions, as we saw in the last post. Ed reform can feel like a track relay race with all the exchanges of batons, but PEPG is formally a program sponsored by Fordham, Harvard, and the Hoover Institution at Stanford. If anyone thinks I am stretching, pull up the original Fall 1997 Annual Report and look at the presentation by John Brandl and his desire to “change the way we govern our schools” to “inspire other-regarding behavior in our students.” The omnipresence of communitarianism we keep running into behind the real implementation makes much more sense once we read that ‘communities is a promising policy instrument.’

Here’s the full quote and a good place to end as we mull over what is really being done to us all in the name of education reforms.

“Consequently, using communities is a promising policy instrument to attain social objectives when neither bureaus nor markets can be counted on to do so. Besides producing services, communities nurture and protect us all, cut costs, create social capital, obviate the need for government services and engender civic virtue. We need a constitutional moment, a time when those holding public office reconstruct government to align the motivations of individuals with public purposes. If they do not do so, the grand responsibilities of government, starting with education, will not be met.”

I did warn everyone that the phrase Local Control was essentially like being thrown into the Briar Patch if one has revolutionary social and political intentions.

Uncloaking Mandarins, Oxymorons, and the Leap Frog Straight to Wave 4 Education Reforms

Let’s go back in time again to pertinent facts that prominent people do not bother to mention in describing whether they are “pro-Common Core” or “anti-Common Core”. In the 80s, it turns out, most everyone that matters now had a common vision for the “reinvention” of public education and where and how it should be carried out that still controls the actual implementation today. Now it is firmly mandated by federal law that is far better understood with some of these old quotes taken from the the Educational Excellence Network created by the well-known Diana Ravitch and Chester Finn back in 1981.

I thought I had used juicy quotes in my book Credentialed to Destroy explaining the links between the Common Core and competency-based ed now and what were called the Reading and Math Wars in the 90s. Maybe that legacy is why people pretend to be for (or against) something that functions precisely as what they once funded or advocated for. Never pointing out those relevant links. I do think everything gets put into the accurate frame though when someone in charge acknowledges that ‘Curriculum Frameworks’ (someone should have told the Catholic Schools that that term actually was in use long before ‘standards’) are always about “fundamentally new notions of school curriculum” and that the implementation therefore:

“will be complex. They require paradigm shifts in understanding math and science, shifts that basically require a brand-new view of mathematics and science. The good news is that teachers and local educators are responsive to these new views. But full, deep, and complete implementation of them is likely to take at least several years of concerted effort.”

Public controversy over what was usually just thought to be Outcomes-Based Education threw off the full implementation in most places and the real purpose of the Common Core was to get everyone in K-12 education anywhere in the United States (actually the world, but this is a post not another book) on the same page as what was laid out first in the 80s. It appears to me that much of the anti-Common Core organized effort has been coordinated and financed by groups with ties to both the pro-Common Core effort as well as that Educational Excellence Network (EEN) and its vision.  The Internet and the computer servers it accesses can be purged, but not all the old books that were written crowing about that new vision. Once the details are laid out, it has not been hard to get copies of enough verifying sources to prove the consistency of the vision to what federal law now requires and what is being pushed as School Choice on President-Elect Trump.

Old books then are almost as good as HG Wells’ Time Machine so let’s consult them in earnest. California was the first state to roll out Curriculum Frameworks and it started with math and science with language arts (what we know as the infamous Whole Language) and history in the following year. Diana Ravitch was co-author of that California History-Social Science Framework while she also served as Director of EEN. Chester Finn left to be an Under Secretary of Ed under Bill Bennett between 1985-1988 (during Project Education Reform: Time for Results) . Here’s a short overview of the shift away from facts and towards what we now call in statutes “higher order thinking skills” and “challenging academic standards” in ESSA that must be assessed annually for ALL students.

“Subsequently, concern about the technical core shifted toward a curriculum that emphasized concepts rather than isolated facts, thinking and the creation of meaning rather than passive knowing, and problem-solving and expression so that knowledge could be used to address meaningful problems. There has been a corresponding shift in instructional strategies away from just direct instruction on a narrow view of issues to a complex set of instructional strategies that promotes inquiry, active learning, group cooperation and social cohesion in a heterogenous classroom.”

That’s the real reason academic tracking had to go away. The Wave Theory has nothing to do with the beach unfortunately and was a means to lay out the phases of state education reforms since 1983. The 1987 California PACE Study found that the needed change in teacher practices and support for the kind of “demanding curriculum” laid out above (Wave 3) needed a new conception of schools and how they would work (Wave 4).  Wave 4 then is what now goes by the euphemism School Choice and it presupposes and is designed to accomplish that kind of wholesale transformation of school content and what is to now constitute knowledge.

Here’s the money quote–“Wave IV involves a restructuring of school organization  and resources to support fundamental changes in curriculum and instruction. The restructuring typically involves shared decision-making, site-based management, major curriculum reform and a renewed sense of teacher professionalism. But rather than seeing these reforms in isolation, Wave IV involves linking these reforms to changes in the schooling experience for students.” Being an Education Advocate, Insider, or a nominee for the Department of Education who claims to be “Anti-Common Core” and “Pro-School Choice” is to either be deliberately disingenuous or to fail to understand the factual history of these education reforms.

That is not a tear at Ms DeVos and other discussed nominees are even more tainted by these ties to EEN. The same Bradley Foundation that helped finance the book in the last post also financed EEN as well as the 1987 Bradley Commission on History in Schools. Let’s quote from a 1989 book published by EEN as it sounds remarkably similar to the California vision and Wave  3. “To develop judgment and perspective, historical study must often focus upon broad, significant themes and questions, rather than the short-lived memorization of facts without context. In doing so, historical study should provide context for facts and training in critical judgment based upon evidence, including original sources, and should cultivate the perspective arising from a chronological view of the past down to the present day.”

A less convoluted way to say that would be to cultivate a Worldview to guide each student’s future perception and their interpretation of daily experiences. That is what curriculum reforms and learning standards now like the Common Core have in common with what California and the EEN pushed in the 80s with common financing of both EEN and School Choice, then and now. In his 1991 book We Must Take Charge, Chester Finn thanks both the Olin and Bradley Foundations for their support of EEN as well as special shout-outs to both Lamar Alexander and Bill Bennett. Since both of these men would also serve on the Education Policy Committee of EEN in the early 90s with so many others who are well-known School Choice advocates, before EEN closed up shop formally and rolled into the Fordham Institute in 1996, let’s look at that book. I will note first though EEN’s path. Columbia U, then Vanderbilt where Finn was an ed prof, then the Hudson Institute, and now Fordham.

“Conservative’ is another adjective that is an oxymoron when applied to public policy think tanks engaged in advocacy for this transformational view of education. Let’s think of how useful it has been in obscuring this actual agenda to pretend it is conservative or locally-based. In a 1986 paper, “American Schools and the Future of Local Control,” that points out that School Choice will allow per student spending to no longer be tied to property taxes which vary community to community, Finn and his co-author Denis Doyle from yet another think tank, AEI, that likes to cloak its advocacy behind that ‘conservative’ oxymoron, admitted that School Choice was actually ‘radical’ and that local control was an “antiquated doctrine.” Not in today’s rhetoric when the School Choice lobby wants taxpayer money.

In the “New Constitution for American Education” chapter, Finn said in italics that “in the United States in the 1990s the outcome we must concentrate on and gauge our success by is cognitive learning.” In other words, governments at all levels, cloaked by declaring their intentions to be a matter of public policy pursued by think tanks, decided that the internalized functioning of each student’s mind was theirs to dictate, control, and assess. Since that reality would never be sanctioned by informed parents and taxpayers, this actual vision and intention gets obscured by rhetoric about standards, Excellence, School Choice, and a ‘thinking curriculum’. It’s not just the mind being targeted either. Finn reiterated that: “let me say it again, if we are serious about guiding the moral, spiritual, and emotional development of all our children, we cannot limit ourselves to government.”

All institutions and people connected to education must subscribe to the same vision that seeks to build a desired Worldview into Habits of Mind. In reality that is what School Choice has always been about. It’s why homeschoolers will need to take ‘high-quality assessments’ to check for the presence of the desired Worldview and motivating values as a condition of accessing Education Savings Accounts. It is how this contagion that wants to design, monitor, and control human thought itself gets put invisibly in place. Supposedly as an aid to better decision-making. Finn stated that America needed a “universal mastery of a common core is what will hold us together as Americans, equalize our opportunities for happiness and prosperity, and revitalize the nation’s civic, economic, and cultural life.”

In reality, it puts governments at every level in charge of all these areas, using education as a transformation process, for what each student must internalize as the basis and motivation for future action. It turns out that my old books made it crystal clear that ‘public policy’ is just a euphemism for governments assuming control instead of individuals themselves. Market-based public policy then is just another oxymoron cloaking who is now to be in charge and what they intend to do. I wrote Credentialed to Destroy and then started this blog with its prescient title because I wanted to try to make the hidden, but provable, transformation visions visible in time. Transformation is just another euphemism for a revolution. This one is quite nonconsensual and intended to be invisible and permanent at a neurobiological level.

I will close with another Finn/EEN quote that also explains why controlling Worldview is so important. Think of the anti-Common Core/School Choice coordinated manipulation as being about cloaking the reality below the treeline.

“In any real revolution, only the treetops are visible. The roots, trunks, and branches that support them are concealed in the minds and hearts of the populace. This is why revolutions only succeed when a revolutionary spirit invades people’s attitudes and actions…”

That would also explain the Deceit and False Narratives surrounding Social and Emotional Learning Standards, wouldn’t it?


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?