Deciphering the Deceit to Discern Accelerants Dispensed By False Education Narratives

The point of being right about what is really going on in the name of education reforms is not a matter of pride of authorship or who figured out something accurately first. The point is how easy it is to create an even more psychologically intrusive version of the concerns parents are raising when it turns out that the remedies advocated for do not work as parents have been told. Before I give a current example I have noticed involving yet another acronym–GDPR–or General Data Privacy Regulation, and what actually benefits Microsoft, no matter how many times some commentator complains about Gates Foundation funding, lets go back to 1969 when one of the original Education Policy Research Centers (Syracuse, NY) was actually upfront about the intended switcheroo. Warren Ziegler wrote the report and he wanted to change the goals of education going forward in order to “shape policy not in order to accommodate ourselves to a future continuous with the past, but to bring about–to ‘invent’–a future different from and, in significant ways, discontinuous with the past…might we not think about inventing the future itself through policy implementation?”

Think about that quote as we go from false think tank narrative involving education to deliberately sponsored misinterpretations and spread deceit. Your goals as parents may well not be the goals of think tanks that are all about using planning, public policy, the law, and transformative education (unperceived as a radical shift) to change the future. Maybe the Delphi technique keeps coming up in public forums not just to control what we all think on an issue, but “to set some approximate limits within which reasonable alternative futures might be developed” as Ziegler put it. That was 1969 but reinventing the future by having education globally focus on the “values, attitudes, and behaviours that must be accepted and practiced in earnest by decision-makers as well as ordinary people…This principle of constant ‘attuning’ is central to the New Humanism. Peace and shared welfare are two sides of the same coin. And humanism is that coin” to quote from a 2014 UNESCO paper called “Envisioning a New Humanism for the 21st Century: New Avenues for Reflection and Action.”

Linking us functionally to that enhanced view of ‘self-government’ from the last post, UNESCO wants to “explore new or renewed ideas, values, attitudes, behaviours, and models, and through these to address the challenges faced by the international community.” That means UNESCO loves concentrating on local officials with political authority over just those very things. In fact, the local is probably the easiest domain for a philosophy that “seeks to create their own future…It is a resource for all individuals and all communities to pursue their own progress and development. This presupposes social inclusion of everyone and at all levels of society.” When Irina Bokova became UNESCO Director-General in 2009, her installation speech should give us all pause, especially when education is now collecting the very kind of learner analytic data in student-centered learning pilots that reveals whether her desired aims are being met.

Bokova had plans “for bringing people together and sharpening their conscience with regard to the potential of a world based on peace, democracy, justice, and human rights.” If conceptual frameworks and Disciplinary Core Ideas for math, science, and history, just to give 3 current examples, are no longer actually about the transmission of knowledge as this article https://townhall.com/columnists/janerobbins/2018/06/05/whats-wrong-with-common-core-math-n2487580 still asserts misleadingly, but rather topics that can be used to solve everyday current problems and image the future as UNESCO keeps asserting, then all of these intentions are already in play unbeknownst to most of us.

If Bokova stated that it is “through the nature of their intentions and the strength of their will” that UNESCO intends to work and ‘their’ refers to human beings generally and her desire to see “peace constructed in the minds of people” we better be paying attention to those goals when all the elements  are in place or are being put in place by advocates complaining in the US about SEL abuses or the need for stronger data privacy. Remember what I said about Beware of the Offered Remedy? https://pulse.microsoft.com/uploads/prod/2018/03/WorkProductivity_GDPRforEducation_KickStartGuide.pdf shows that Microsoft regards GDPR as beneficial to its business much like how Brer Rabbit felt about that Briar Patch. After all, it even boldfaced that it has the most comprehensive set of compliance offerings of any cloud service provider.

Want to make sure a school or other online education provider is in compliance with GDPR? Just load all that data gathered to Microsoft proprietary servers and they will see that you “meet your GDPR requirements.” In all my prowling across the Internet in the EU I could not find any provider who did a good job describing the nature of the data being gathered in the name of “learner analytics.” Just that the student or parent acknowledged it was being collected and was integral to the desired changes education hoped to achieve in the student. Not much of a remedy so far, is it? But wait, just like those Ronco holiday commercials when we were younger, there’s more! https://news.microsoft.com/en-au/features/microsoft-launches-transforming-education/ came out on June 5. Along with a greatly revised vision of education for the 21st century, it provides us with a new term to get us there–the Analytics Trinity.

That Trinity turns out to be data about the student “from all student learning activities and assessments” and it works just fine even if there is nothing Personally Identifiable about it, cloud processing, and machine learning. In other words, Microsoft’s model for transforming education globally is actually supercharged by GDPR as well as the Student Achievement Standards Network and the learner data it needs that the Gates Foundation has funded. The My Ways Framework from the last post feeds into that kind of data nicely and so do competency-based curriculum frameworks like the Common Core. Here we have a perfectly lovely Microsoft confession that ties to UNESCO’s goals above, the true nature of evidence-based policymaking in education, and new conceptions of accountability (my italics for emphasis):

“once you have accessible, usable data, you can report accurately, demonstrate that you are spending tax dollars effectively, measure the impact of new initiatives and comply with new sustainable development monitoring requirements in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals agenda.”

GDPR is indeed an accelerant in the UN’s agenda of reimagining the future starting with the minds and personalities of people. Let’s look once again at what Microsoft sees that vision of education as being so we can focus on where we are really going and not where think tanks want us to believe we are going. https://www.hoover.org/research/californias-common-core-mistake is another recent example. This transformed vision gives us still more insights into why social and emotional learning is suddenly such a necessary component of 21st century education. Microsoft looks to Daniel Pink, who says the “role of school is to help students identify their purpose, learn how to pursue that purpose, and experience achieving self-defined goals.”

It’s both ironic and tragic that two of the people who for some reason are so actively pushing these false narratives of where GDPR takes us and what the data gathering is really about, Cheri Kiesecker and Michele Malkin, are both residents of a state, Colorado, that has a Student Centered Learning Pilot with clear ties to UNESCO. To illustrate its aims we have graphics of the desired changes in the brain synapses and dendritic connections. As I warned about in the beginning, this is a dangerous area to write about if you misinterpret what you are looking at or call for remedies like GDPR that only make the problem worse. I called attention to that Colorado pilot because of this next Microsoft quote:

“For learning transformation, student centricity should be the core of your ‘disruption’. This makes it possible to move successfully from a traditional model based on mastery of a curriculum, to a model of learning that is about giving students the practical experience to achieve their personal potential.”

The latter bolding is what the Gates Foundation regards as student achievement globally and what will be called in the US–Success for All Students–under the various state plans that become operative in the upcoming 2018-19 school year. In other words, this summer is actually a crucial time for parents to toss away the false narratives and start listening to what connected organizations are saying they intend to do in the name of education, data, student-centered learning, and the future.

I really am not picking on anyone in this post or other recent ones where we showed the difference between dispersed narratives and provable facts. To some extent I think this is a matter of money or employment being available if certain memes are pushed and the pusher may have no idea what is wrong with the vision they are pushing. Remember when I called attention to how David Horowitz and the Freedom Center were pushing the “Teaching Students How to Think, Not What to Think” vision and I accurately said that supplying the desired categories of thought and concepts WAS teaching students what to think? I will close this post trying to reset the discussion in actual reality, not pretend narratives, by pointing out that Microsoft gave an example of its desired Future Ready Skills that all students are to have. They want the “Focus on teaching students how to think, not what to think.”

Not to pick on Mr Horowitz since I also found that exact same quote as an education aim in in The Conservatarian Manifesto.

See why I am so worried about the remedies being put out now?

Lucrative Deceit: Managing Consciousness By Conjoining Social Media & Charter Schools

This post was outlined before the outcry over Facebook’s gathering of data, but the outside in power of all that data on so much of the population should be kept in mind as we look at the Chan Zuckerburg interest in transformative charter schools. It also fits with the interest we have seen since my March 8 post on Parkland and the meaning of that motto of the PROMISE Program in Broward County. I have repeatedly read since then numerous articles from supposedly conservative sources misportraying the clear developmental focus of the required practices. It gets pitched as simply a matter of federal overreach and coercion via funding. Yesterday, the charter-supporting Heritage Foundation https://www.heritage.org/firearms/report/focusing-school-safety-after-parkland joined what looks like a well-coordinated campaign to make Paul Sperry’s derivative and whitewashed description of the Program the official narrative. Mustn’t accurately explain what one intends to use so let’s just mine ISC for information and skip over Robin’s inconvenient interpretations that shine an accurate light on these practices.

After all, we know charters have a likely chance to be deemed effective and gain a right to more federal funding if they have a Whole Child focus that Infuses Developmental Neuroscience into the curriculum and required practices as this link lays out. http://www.jahonline.org/article/S1054-139X(12)00192-9/pdf Likewise, notice how often a private or charter school has language in its mission statement about its purpose “to educate students to be knowledgeable, responsible, socially skilled, healthy, caring, and contributing citizens” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12971193 or hyping their “strengths-based approaches to child and adolescent development…and emphasis on students’ resilience in the school and community” (quoting the National Association of School Psychologists), or Promoting Youth Development (PYD). http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/rulesforengagement/Taylor%20et%20al%20-%20FINAL%20document%206%2017%202017.pdf

All of the linked SEL research matters because they are tied to the PROMISE Program when accurately interpreted using its cited foundational research and not whitewashed for political purposes. The whtewashing is no surprise though as the charter schools use the same developmental template as Broward’s PROMISE program when the latter is properly understood. Let’s switch to something else charters use to ensure their efficacy and are not upfront about. I am quoting from a 2011 book by Duke prof Cathy N Davidson called Now You See It: How Technology and Brain Science Will Transform Schools and Business for the 21st Century where Davidson profiled the innovative new forms of learning being implemented by a number of cited charter schools. When we talk about the use of categories, concepts, or guiding principles, recall how useful it will be to have the News Literacy Project we encountered in the last post working hand in hand with the categories of thought pushed as Reading and Thinking Like A Historian or Higher Order Thinking Skills.

This post begins a trilogy and that will be the in-depth topic of the next post. In the mean time let’s appreciate what charter operators all know. “How we use our brain (what we pay attention to) changes our brain. Those things that capture our attention–our learning and our work, our passions and our activities–change our actual brain biology.” That’s a direct confession, isn’t it? Plenty of reason for deceit there. The emphasis on Disciplinary Core Ideas to use just one of the euphemisms or Enduring Understandings makes sense when we all become aware that “once everything is located in a proper category, the category itself (for better or worse) answers a host of unaskable questions. A category is a shorthand.” And whoever controls those required categories of thought can insist all day long that “they are teaching students how to think, not telling them what to think” but that repeated assertion doesn’t make it true. Whoever controls the prescribed categories of thought, controls thought. Period. Especially once it becomes a Habit of Mind.

Quoting Davidson again: “distinctions are normative, sensory, behavioral, social, cognitive, and affective all at once. Learning happens in categories, with values clumped together in our words, concepts, and actions. And this is where attention and its concomitant attention blindness come from.” All the emphasis now on Engagement, activity, and relevance really make sense when we appreciate that a classroom emphasis on these has become required because they “transform not merely our behavior but the underlying neural networks that make attention possible. Every manifestation of attention in the real world begins in the brain” and every successful charter school operator knows that as well as so should we. Davidson went on to call out Canadian Donald O. Hebb by name as the “father of neuropsychology” because:

“he was the first person to observe that learning occurs when neurons streamline into pathways and then streamline into other pathways, into efficient clusters that act in concert with one another. This is now called the Hebbian principle: Neurons that fire together, wire together. This means the more we repeat certain patterns of behavior (that’s the firing together), the more those behaviors become rapid, then reflexive, then automatic (that’s the wiring). They become patterns, habits, groupings, categories, or concepts, all efficiencies that ‘wire together’ sets of individual reflexes or responses.”

Now if your child’s school of any type or online curriculum is grounded in creating such a Hebbian neural web that will ultimately guide their future behavior at an unconscious, but predictable, level, don’t you want to know that? Isn’t all the organized deceit making more sense now? I feel though like those old Ronco holiday commercials when many of us were kids advertising for some useful gadget that we supposedly cannot live without in every house. “But wait! There’s more!” As part of the case after the Parkland shooting for why more social and emotional learning and an antibullying emphasis were needed came this story https://www.educationdive.com/news/creating-schools-that-fit-our-kids/518917/ hyping a report from the Aspen Institute and its panel of educators.

Now I first wrote about that panel back in September here http://invisibleserfscollar.com/capturing-every-thought-captive-and-sculpting-students-as-systems-driver-of-perfidy/ and in several of the following posts. That report and Consensus Statement were always going to come out, but the Parkland mass murder gives gave a chance to pitch the change in emphasis as urgent so that “social, emotional, and academic development” can be integrated. That also fits with the links above that are the basis for how charters really work and what the PROMISE Program was actually designed to change. Now I have written about one panel member before, Linda Lantieri, and how she trains classroom teachers in techniques that are billed as New Age on some days depending on her audience and on others as Positive Psychology. I recognized other names too, but the Council of Distinguished Educators member that really caught my eye was from a chain of charter schools called Valor Collegiate Academies.

That’s where our conjoining reference comes from as we have funding coming from the Left Pincer in the form of the Chan Zuckerburg Initiative and from the Right Pincer that seemingly does not want the PROMISE program accurately understood in the form of the Charter Schools Growth Fund. Now Valor openly trumpets in its materials that it uses required regular group Valor Circle practices that are “grounded in the field of Interpersonal Neurobiology which posits that relationships ‘inspire us to rewire our brains toward integration.'” Well, that’s certainly one way to create change in the student effectively and thus ensure additional funding and opportunities for expansion. Valor has graphics about targeting the students’ “drives for agency and communion, or self-determination and connection… and helping scholars (and adults) create their own ‘inner compass'”.

Now, I am not disagreeing that people need an inner compass, but if a school is deliberately rewiring childrens’ brain in a Hebbian manner, parents should be told that forthrightly before they act like programmed automatons. How many parents appreciate that neural rewiring emphasis when they read language (bolding in original) about “All Members of the Valor Community aspire to balance their Sharp Mind and Big Heart and to live their Noble Purpose through Aligned Actions, all the while accessing their True North” to make meaningful choices in their everyday life. ” That True North: Habits of Center is grounded in Mindfulness research, which is certainly an interesting remedy for preventing another Parkland type shooting.

It’s not just that I recognize what is cited as Mindfulness, but here’s a quote from a draft I downloaded of what was to be implemented in the 2017-2018 school year per “True North ‘standards’ or intended learnings.

“True North practices range in duration and focus. Many of the True North practices at Valor are informed by curricula such as Mindful Schools and Applied Mindfulness: Inner Life Skills for Youth and are attention training activities [remember the Cathy Davidson quotes above on the effect on the brain] to help scholars increase concentration and well-being while reducing stress levels. Practices range in focus from one’s basic goodness to posting attention and from compassion meditations to mindful movement.”

Is that what anyone was expecting to be touted “at a time when the nation is looking for solutions to violent tragedies like the Feb. 14 shooting” at Parkland? Is this why we cannot get accurate reporting except at ISC or in my book Credentialed to Destroy of what competency-based education and frameworks actually aim to change or what the Broward PROMISE Program and Restorative Justice programs really hope to alter? Are charter schools, online providers, and private and parochial schools all afraid they will not get access to public funds if parents recognize that they too are aimed at neural rewiring “to produce knowledgeable and competent adults able to participate as informed citizens in the democratic process”?

We will discuss the source of that last quote and its ties to the School Choice funding campaign in the next post–Part 2 of this Trilogy of Lucrative Deceit.

Outside In: Conjoining Education & Media to Consciously Create Consensus

Do you regard the phrases “public transformation” and “societal transformation” as synonymous? The first, as we saw in the last post, seems interested in transforming who we are at the level of our beliefs and values–our very consciousness. The other wants to transform existing institutions and organizations–the external reality. The coverage of the Parkland mass school shooting and the student activists it has launched makes considerable more sense if we know that Global Education Futures (GEFF) released a report last fall called “Educational Ecosystems for Societal Transformation” that is referenced in other internal reports with a different title about “Education Ecosystems for Public Transformation.” Either title reflects a desire that the “level of challenges faced by humanity today calls us to find answers through a consciously created consensus.”

One side of the media, especially the legacy media, wants us to see the tragedy as a reason for gun control. The other seems to see Parkland as a convenient tool to hype School Choice, on-line learning, and supposed ‘local’ solutions to federal government tyranny. No one seems to want to eliminate the media’s ability to frame how we see Parkland and what we believe the solutions to be. Since the transformation vision relies heavily on misunderstanding the nature of learning standards like the Common Core or Competencies (Inside-Out) and also not reporting the long planned convergence of the media and education to create the narrative driving a perceived need for change, let’s tear away the shroud obscuring this cooperation.

Russian Pavel Luksha, who is a leader in GEFF as we covered here in 2015, also turns out to be involved with Chris Whittle’s new venture called the Whittle School, a global education venture. Back in 2005, Whittle wrote a book called Crash Course hyping the ability to use School Choice globally and private providers of education to drive innovation and a new vision of learning. He created a hypothetical “worldwide leader in K-12 curricula” that had previously been “the first of the world’s major communications and publishing companies to grasp fully that the world of schooling was an extension of the core competencies found in many communications entities.” We need to recognize that now too as that outside-in tool was a huge part of why previous UNESCO head Irina Bokova simply shorthanded the conjunction and its global transformative potential as “media education.”

Likewise, when that GEFF report headlines its “New Horizon” chapter with this Margaret Wheatley quote, think not just of the roles of the media and a new type of learning, but also all the high school students we are now seeing who simply assume a right to redesign the world and existing systems.

“We have only just begun the process of discovering and inventing the new organizational forms that will inhabit the 21st century. We need the courage to let go of the old world, to relinquish most of what we have cherished, to abandon our interpretations about what does and doesn’t work.”

That shift is much easier if, unbeknownst to most parents, the schools have long since shifted from a subject-centered curriculum to an ‘experience-centered curriculum’. Suddenly, topics, themes, concepts, and principles come first to provide students with a means to “intellectualize his experience.” To mine my personal library using a post WW2 book called Reorganizing the High-School Curriculum from 1947 to move away from the school as “merely an instrument for perpetuating the status quo” to one where “our democratic society is to be refined and re-created,” would require a new type of education grounded in a new theory of learning.

“Learning in its best sense involves the ‘continuous reconstruction of experience.’ Learning products are identified as changes in attitudes upon the basis of new or deeper understandings, and the acquisition of general and special abilities, habits, and skills. The learning experiences which the school provides [now online learning can also do this] for students are directed towards changes in behavior in line with democratic ideals and values. [Remember the PROMISE motto from the last post and the role of Restorative Justice programs] The school provides work experience for the student, not primarily to get the work done, but because such experience enhances growth in line with democratic values.”

That’s what student-centered learning is really about and everyone involved with education reforms, except students and parents, is either openly or covertly pushing this same vision. If we miss the planned role of all media in this, we are fighting a battle with blinders on. That was sixty years ago, but only the names and tools change, not the transformative aims. https://ssir.org/articles/entry/using_story_to_change_systems has a similar aim and came out about a week ago. Also recently the Data & Society Research Institute issued a report called “Dead Reckoning: Navigating Content Moderation After ‘Fake News'” that caught my eye. One thing about tearing a tendon in your leg, I have been rather stuck watching bad TV like it or not. A publication like that wanting to define what is Fake News not by veracity of the information but rather or not the source is preapproved by the powers that be simply emboldens the lies I have been forced to watch recently on the evening network news.

The difference though was I was in a position to find out more of what looked like immunity to lie to advocate for the repeatedly announced “public” or “societal transformation” as I was signed up to attend a February 23, 2018 Georgia Bar Media & Judiciary Conference sponsored by CNN among others. The speakers, who included a Morehouse journalism prof, a New York Times reporter, a former CBS reporter, and the managing director of CNN International, kept hyping the role of the “Legacy Media’ to be ‘gatekeepers’, which to me rather smacked of censorship before the fact by approved sources. The CBS reporter,  hyped “the crucial role of the press in shaping American history” and asserted that Facebook and Google’s recent policy changes to prefer the Legacy Media in search results were a good start but were “not enough”.

I thought about how Walter Cronkite had so hyped the Tet Offensive that a generation of Americans thought we lost military ground then. They did not recognize a deliberate use of the news and what gets covered, to steer popular and prevailing consciousness on an issue. When the audience was asked for questions, I raised my hand and asked if their position was that the term “Fake News” was about the source of the information or the quality of the information? That’s when things got really interesting since no one knew education was my area of expertise. The response by several of the panel members was to agree it was about the source and the standards of truth used by the ‘legacy media’ and then begin to talk about the need for new curriculum in the schools to create deference to the Legacy Media.

Another member then mentioned that the real solution to Fake News allegations was “further down the food chain in the schools” and called attention to a News Literacy Project that had been created to do just that. It would aid students to differentiate between Fake News and to know “what to believe.” That continued targeting of the internalized belief system that has always been a hall mark of Tranzi OBE under its various names (see last post and comments) got my attention.

So I came home and looked up the Project and discovered it had been started in Spring 2008 by veteran reporters from the LA Times. The family that had owned the Wall Street Journal before Rupert Murdoch was also involved and Steve Schmidt who had worked in the White House under Bush 43 and who managed John McCain’s Presidential run. Mollie Hemingway, now a Federalist editor and contributor to Fox News is on the Board. Since she is married to a writer at the Weekly Standard I think we can conclude that the Legacy Media as well as the so-called non-establishment media that is supposedly conservative all want to create school curriculum on how the media is regarded.

The really fascinating member of the Board in my mind who thoroughly conjoins media and education, learning standards and media literacy projects, and inside-out vs outside-in filtering to Consciously Create Consensus was Sam Wineburg. Wineburg is an education prof at Stanford who has been active in creating standards for “Civic Online Reasoning”. The Stanford History Education Group or SHEG is where everything comes together as they have created the Reading Like a Historian curriculum that can be used to create and measure the existence of the ‘desired understandings’ that students are to internalize as their required Higher Order Thinking Skills under federal ESSA law.

Doesn’t that sound like an excellent way to Consciously Create Consensus, especially if the curriculum gets used to create formative assessments that few parents will understand if they have not read Credentialed to Destroy? The News Literacy Project presented at both the 2016 and 2017 National Council for the Social Studies annual conference so we know these curricula will be used to create the C3 Framework ‘lenses’ to evaluate how students view the world around them. Turns out the nonsensical slogan that “we are teaching students how to think, not what to think” is actually not true at all.

Suddenly media literacy, new forms of learning, competencies, and the need to control the internalized belief system and values via prescribed standards and Habits of Mind takes us to a view of History that Karl Marx would have recognized. We need to as well to cut through the False Narratives ALL the media now seemed to find so useful:

“History is the ‘precondition of political intelligence’…It allows us to undertake sensible inquiry into the political, social, or moral issues that trouble us…[and] achieve the informed, discriminating citizenship essential to democratic government.”

The Parkland and other high school students then are simply fulfilling the roles SHEG and other experiential curriculum have trained them for. The way out of students who see themselves as Makers of History is to recognize that school has neurally and deliberately rewired them to do, think, want, and act in preapproved ways.

We are, after all, the Public whose consciousness the media, educators, and virtually every think tank I have looked at wants to control. We need to recognize the how and why and that it is not just students being targeted.

Change Your Belief, Change Your Behavior, Change Your Life–Tranzi OBE Again at the Forefront

Last week, we had yet another monumental school tragedy and, as always, one of my first reactions besides grief was to look at which of the poisonous behavioral science theories and models were being pushed in those schools. Transformational Outcomes-Based Education was a phrase used more in the 90s version of these same change-the-child reforms that I covered thoroughly in my book Credentialed to Destroy: How and Why Education Became a Weapon. Tranzi OBE is simply my shorthand nickname because it really is ubiquitous in its use even though the names used to describe it change. Having attended Restorative Justice programs here in Atlanta that would supposedly cure the School to Prison Pipeline, I did a search involving Broward County Schools.

This post’s title comes from the motto used by Broward’s exemplar (which got Superintendent Runcie invited to the White House in 2015) PROMISE Program. PROMISE is an acronym for Preventing Recidivism through Opportunities, Mentoring, Interventions, Support & Education. According to a February 18 Washington Post “Teacher’s say Florida suspect’s problems started in middle school, and the system tried to help him,” Nikolas Cruz “was entrenched in the [PROMISE] process for getting students help rather than referring them to law enforcement.” In the previous two posts, I have been warning that the focus hiding behind phrases like Evidence-Based Policymaking needs to be on the model or theory being implemented–What is the desired change being sought?

That’s how I can recognize that motto as grounded in Tranzi OBE because it assumes the key to controlling future behavior is to get at students’ underlying beliefs and values and to ground future decision making in emotion. Get at what drives attention and intention and then provide new experiences until the desired assumptions become Habits of Mind. It is what the PROMISE Model will call “more effective coping skills and pro-social behaviors”. The e-book Eliminating the School-to-Prison Pipeline published by BCPS can be found here https://www.browardprevention.org/behavior/promise/ and I especially want to call attention to an assumption of the PROMISE model that seems tragically mistaken after Parkland. Let’s bold for emphasis– This approach focuses on the situation being the problem rather than the individual being the problem.

Translated that is a theory of human nature that assumes that people are not evil, circumstances are and that if environments can be changed and people can practice new behaviors grounded in new beliefs and values (Broward also uses Singleton’s Courageous Conversations on Race), people can change. After 17 murders and an intention to commit many more, does it make any sense to be using an education model that asserts that the individual is not the problem? I am going to quote from the beginning of that book because I truly believe there is a reason that school mass shootings always seem to occur in districts pushing Tranzi OBE as the new template of education. It is a manipulative, flawed view of human nature that fits a society where too many people want to steer people and institutions through the political process. These italics and bolding are in the original.

“Broward County Public Schools is committed to keeping students engaged in school and
out of the Juvenile Justice System. We take great responsibility towards achieving our
mission – to educating all students to reach their highest potential. We believe the
potential of each of our students is worth developing, including our youth who are at
risk of engaging in delinquent or criminal behaviors, and those already involved in the
juvenile justice system. It is for this reason that we have invested heavily, in
partnership with a number of community organizations, to provide prevention and
intervention programs and wraparound services for identified youth.
Additionally, Broward County Public Schools is a learning organization that values and
considers emerging research and is driven by the analysis of a body of data to inform
our practices. The national research and data on school discipline is clear on a number
of issues:

Exclusionary practices such as out-of-school suspension, expulsion and school
related arrests are detrimental to student success in school and in life.

School districts have a legal, and more importantly, a moral responsibility to
eliminating disproportional representation of minorities, student with
disabilities, and LGBT students in discipline.

Adults, in and out of school buildings – school leaders, teachers and support
personnel, law enforcement, court and juvenile justice leaders, behavior
health professionals, advocacy groups, policymakers, parents and students,
all play an important role in addressing this issue.”
So despite all the incidents we now know about, Nikolas Cruz could buy an AR-15 gun because no one wanted to be detrimental to his life chances? Because his school district believed that the situation was the problem, not the individual, right up until its former students like Nikolas Cruz or Trayvon Martin suddenly become notorious for their behavior? Because “punitive measures such as suspensions, expulsions, and school-based arrests” are viewed as “harsh policies [that] disproportionately target students of color and those with a history of abuse, neglect, poverty or learning disabilities and related behavioral problems.”
This link from the BCPS area http://www.lauderdalelakes.org/DocumentCenter/Home/View/2130 is called “Building Sustainable Communities through Restorative Justice” . It lays out the decision to use Civil Citations and Diversion alternatives to those ‘punitive measures” so that “Individualized, culturally competent delivery of restorative justice services addresses harmful incidents while allowing juveniles to make amends to their victims, communities, and families–in ways that do not sabotage their futures.”
If the Restorative Justice or Tranzi OBE models for education are harmful and push social theories with deadly results, adhering to them is still evidence-based policymaking. That’s why appreciating the errors in the underlying theory or model is so important. There are 17 fine people who have had their futures more than sabotaged by Nikolas Cruz’s intentional behavior and the flawed template being used to supposedly obtain Equity in education results cannot be ignored amid cries of gun control. I believe that’s also why we have seen so much conflation in the last week as if gun violence at schools and intentional mass murder in schools to kill students and teachers are equivalent and synonymous.
That second link states that in February 2014, Broward County, Florida became the “first county government in the US to earn certification as a “4 Star Sustainable Community.” It achieved this recognition that other school districts and counties are now supposed to emulate for its “violence prevention programs and strategies and best practice human service delivery.” In particular Broward “deserved this certification” because of its “Using Restorative Justice and other best practices to: ~Disrupt the ‘Schoolhouse to Jailhouse Pipeline,’ ~Address minority disproportionality, and ~provide alternatives to juvenile arrest and court involvement.”
Shouldn’t these practices grounded in behavioral science and flawed assumptions that people can be treated as ‘systems’ be reexamined instead of blindly calling for gun control? The same Behavioral Scientist publication that wanted to force Charlottesville Conversations that were all some how created before the August tragedy on all K-12 schools and classrooms insisted yesterday that we remember that mass shootings are NOT a product of mental illness. http://behavioralscientist.org/myth-mental-illness-causes-mass-shootings/ That’s reality getting in the way of a useful theory for social change, isn’t it?
Parkland and the media manipulation of this tragedy to support an existing agenda means that the existing agenda should be the focus of our attention. Why must the Tranzi OBE template always be protected as the new focus of K-12 schools? Why is no amount of innocent blood ever enough to force a reexamination? The same learning models that created Tranzi OBE, PROMISE, and Restorative Justice practices have been quietly embedded in every state plan I have looked at under ESSA, the new federal education law. We must be able to address what is wrong with these theories of behavioral and social science in a society with genuine aspirations of freedom for each individual.
Contrary to what too many professors in higher ed are teaching too many students, the 21st century should not be an experiment in social transformation if only the correct public policies can be enacted. If education to implement “a new, transformational theory of change” keeps coinciding with mass school shootings, why on earth are we refusing to take a hard look at that underlying theory of change and the techniques it is using?

 

 

Embody or Perish: Unmasking the Communitarian Motto Behind Student-Centered Learning

If this blog provided sound effects, I could blow the whistle now and holler that we have reached our destination. This is the 6th post in a series that began on February 27. I used the unexpected DeVos declaration of our ‘moral obligations’ and the IPEN paper on global education as recent examples of what the UN had enacted in the late 90s as the Universal Ethics Framework. I found that because well-known communitarian advocate Amitai Etzioni cited it as he laid out his vision for The New Golden Rule: Community and Morality in a Democratic Society that seemed to accurately reflect the actual classroom and school implementation of Radical Ed Reform going back to the mid-80s. It also seemed to track all the organized deceit I had found about SEL Standards, the Common Core, and other matters which are too consistent in what is being suppressed to be coincidental.

Let’s dive right in because as I have warned, a communitarian mandate pops up on a regular basis and it is always mired in deceit. Now I know why. To prevent resistance to what is being sold as an italicized regeneration of American Society that seeks to penetrate ALL schools and ALL colleges and universities. Here’s the quote that also fits with what was laid out in A Call to Civil Society and Hardwired to Connect from the last post. It explains the neural emphasis we just keep coming across now:

“The communitarian analysis, at least as practiced here, involves a keen awareness that values need to be embodied; that is, for values to guide behavior, a society needs to evolve social and personal formations that undergird the society’s values…Embody or perish is the communitarian motto behind much of what follows.

Embodiment refers to the need for shared values to be internalized by the members and for these values to be integrated into the societal formations [like schools and churches] that help shape behavior.”

Won’t federally required ‘performance standards’ be so useful in making this needed internalization and embodiment an invisible component of how every student will succeed? If such sarcasm seems unbecoming, we need more quoting, especially on how a communitarian society differs from an authoritarian one. My succinct explanation is the coercion is imposed neurobiologically via education to become a Habit of Mind so the coercion is mostly invisible. At least it was until I wrote Credentialed to Destroy and then this presciently named blog. Communitarian societies are steered in “a new shared normative direction. Communitarian societies differ from authoritarian societies in that they require a smaller core of shared values (although significantly more than the societies individualists envision).”

That antipathy toward “individualists” sounds straight out of the new Classical Learning Test hype, doesn’t it? That’s not coincidental, as I will show later. Etzioni stated that:

“the new golden rule requires that the tension between one’s preferences and one’s social commitments be reduced by increasing the realm of duties one affirms as moral responsibilities–not the realm of duties that are forcibly imposed but the realm of responsibilities one believes one should discharge and that one believes one is fairly called on to assume.”

Education, of course, is first on the list of the ‘normative means’ used to create the desired moral commitments which enough people have internalized as the basis for their likely future behavior to change the direction of the society. In case anyone thinks this is just the admitted Left pushing this, remember that Hardwired to Connect from the last post with its ties to the supposedly conservative think tanks pushing School Choice vocally also stated explicitly:

“… an ‘us’ strategy is quite different. It is much broader and more radical. Its focus is cultural, not merely political or programmatic. It aims less at a specific intervention than a fundamental social shift–a change that involves the society as a whole. A ‘them’ strategy is about getting specific things done, but it is more fundamentally about guiding an entire society in a certain direction.”

My book’s pivotal observation that the actual Common Core implementation targeted student’s ‘values, attitudes, and beliefs’ makes so much more sense once we become aware of the widespread desire for Social Reconstruction that is no longer just a project of the admitted Left. Did you know that Chester Finn of Fordham, who we have tracked back to the mid-80s duplicitous Project Education Reform and forward to his work with Diane Ravitch and now Fordham’s co-sponsorship of the PEPG forum at the Kennedy School of Government, is listed as a signatory to Etzioni’s Responsive Communitarian Manifesto? So are several other people tied to those IAV papers in the last post. This truly is where the Right and Left Pincers want to take education. They want the coercion to be invisible and binding.

As I told my kids when they were growing up, wanting something doesn’t mean you are entitled to get it. To avoid the invisible coercion we have to know this vision “requires that most members of the society most of the time, share a commitment to a set of core values, and that most members, most of the time, will abide by the behavioral implications of these values because they believe in them rather than being forced to comply with them.”

The role of all these think tanks makes much more sense to this vision if we know that “a core of shared values also enhances the ability of a society to formulate specific public policies.” Try not to be too shocked that elsewhere those policies must include society and its individual members meeting all needs to provide for ‘individual well-being’. The Communitarian agenda says that is the 21st Century purpose of government. Nothing like 21st Century euphemisms redeeming Uncle Karl’s real vision of human development.

Lamar Alexander doing a presentation at AEI last week pretending ESSA supposedly gets the feds out of education makes perfect sense if ESSA laid out a mandate for the needed framework to force internalization within each student. Remember the requisite Internalization must occur without effective opposition from parents and taxpayers. Also, the local hype fits with the statement that “reconnecting the political decision-making bodies to community dialogues is one of the most important items of the communitarian public policy agenda.” Fits right into what AEI’s President Arthur Brooks called the true tenets of Conservatism. It requires a  Revolution of the Heart too.

The calls of SEL Standards for self-discipline or self-regulation, or what the Faux Narrative refers to as ‘self-government,’  ( https://www.jamesgmartin.center/2017/03/common-core-damages-students-college-readiness/ )  which is also straight out of the Manifesto mentioned above,  call for a longer quote from Etzioni that explains all:

“From a communitarian viewpoint, to draw on public schools as developers of character (for a stronger, higher self) it is most important that they focus on development of personality capabilities that enable people to act civilly and morally. [Soft Skills for All!] First among these capabilities is the ability to control one’s impulses [Is that what the above link calls the ‘right and responsibility of self-rule’?]…Second, a well-formed person must have what Adam Smith called ‘sympathy’: roughly, the ability to put oneself in the other person’s shoes, what we would refer to as empathy. Without this quality, there is little likelihood that children will develop charity, fairness, respect for other people, or the other virtues. When a person possesses these twin capacities, the psychological foundations for abiding by internalized values are in place.

Once schools are restructured in ways that enhance personality development, the question of which specific values are to be taught recedes in importance but still needs answering.”

The requisite ‘non-cognitive factors’ that must be a component of the State Plans under ESSA all go to that personality development prerequisite in one way or another. It’s not a database, but a starting point to get the needed internalized change to support this communitarian vision of a new moral order. It’s not coincidental that the definition of the law taught in elite law schools has now been altered quietly as the “enterprise of subjecting human conduct to the governance of rules.”

I personally reject the distinction that something is not coercive as long as people and governments can successfully misrepresent what they are up to via education and the law. It is also greatly troubling I keep coming across references to collecting data on where students are in each of the 24 listed characteristics of the VAI-Values in Action–Character Survey.

I need one more quote from Etzioni that goes a long way towards explaining what makes education through provided conceptual lenses and themes about what is important, cross-cutting, or Good, True, and Beautiful so necessary to a transformationalist. We will need it in the next post as I continue to prove this IS the vision ALL of education is being organized around. Long time readers will recognize this is the theory with the nerdy name of Ascending from the Abstract to the Concrete created in the USSR in 1962.

“Such statements about moral causes that present themselves to us as compelling are similar to what religious authorities speak of as revelation. This does not mean we cannot reason about these matters. The fact that some cause initially appears to one as powerful does not obviate the need to examine it closely. However, here reason follows and buttresses revelation, and not the other way around…It should be noted that reason plays a rather different role here.”

I’ll say. I wanted to shout “Transfer” as Lauren Resnick has been pushing for in education reforms for decades. She must be so pleased that her integral Higher Order Thinking Skills that embodies this very concept of Revelation first, and then Apply the provided concepts to real world, concrete situations, is a required ESSA component. Measuring every student for compliance at least annually.

That will be so useful for imposing this requisite Internalization.

Next time we will find this same goal being stated in terms of the US Founding Fathers and the purported requirements of “constitutional government.” We will see more clearly then why facts get in the way of simply accepting the provided concepts as Revelations that are to be accepted, internalized, and never disputed.

I feel like such a naughty Individualist sometimes for recognizing when we are being lied to and when something else has the same function.

Revolution of the Heart–Right Actions, Good Thoughts, and Correct Intentions

I wish I could tell you I made up that title because it sounded alarming and I wanted attention. No such luck, unfortunately. I followed the trail of deceit surrounding the Common Core, competency-based education, and School Choice to a 1990 book by Neil Flinders called Teach the Children: An Agency Approach and started quoting. I remain a curious and pondering Individual even if that concept is now to be openly ridiculed and rejected. Notice that it will not be that much discredited Individual (which the Orwellian term ‘School Choice’ wishes to reengineer noetically) that gets to decide what is Right, Good, or Correct. No, we are in the era now of Brain-based learning and as the Institute for American Values’ Hardwired to Connect: The New Scientific Case for Authoritative Communities put it, we need a new kind of education and a new model of human development to fit with the italicized fact that “Social context can alter genetic expression and impact neurocircuitry itself.”

Nothing like neural rewiring to implement a desired new “bio-psycho-social-cultural model of child development” grounded on the fundamental premise that morality is about “love of neighbor.” The sought “authoritative community” trumps the historical set of values that built up the West’s prosperity and advanced levels of technology known as “individualism.” Community will now define “what’s virtuous” which is probably why I can track that IAV document to the NIH funded Science of Virtues guiding K-12 education and a new communitarian definition of Liberty that I covered last March in this post. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/locating-the-internalized-information-guiding-human-behavior-so-it-can-be-controlled-and-transformed/

Little did I know that just barely a year later, we would link that to a declaration that “an authoritative community stands for certain principles [ideas, concepts, Enduring Understandings!] and, in its treatment of children, seeks to shape and launch a certain kind of person. Put a bit more formally, an authoritative community clearly embodies a substantive conception of the good and includes effective communal support for ethical behavior.” We will get back to that confessional report and its IAV 1997 predecessor A Call to Civil Society in a minute after we cover the how. Through euphemisms like Growth, Student Achievement, Social and Emotional Learning, or federally required Higher Order Thinking Skills  that mask an Education that puts the heart in charge of how the brain thinks.

Agency education then (which based on what I know from writing Credentialed to Destroy acts like what that book laid out as Tranzi OBE and competency-based education) states that “what people think, how they feel, and the way they act in relationship to themselves and others is more central to education than what methods, techniques, or organizational strategies are supplied.” Under any of these names, I can recognize its tenets and it is tied to this call for radical “Authoritative Communities”. It is, according to that book’s dedication, the kind of education needed for “those individuals who will occupy the twenty-first century.

Flinders stated that his book was for those seeking to use education “for establishing moral and intellectual rather than economic order.” Much like these other two reports though, Flinders did tie his education vision to the “unequal distribution of wealth” and that “current economic orders are driven by greed, power, and pride” with “some people…sensitive to the divine alternative to these faulty economic orders.” It’s not that I see Uncle Karl behind every tree or new vision of education. I simply recognize both his handiwork and the updated Marxist Humanism vision launched on the rich and technologically advanced West in the early 60s when I run across it. It is everywhere present in the language of these reports and books, even though there is no alarming use of the M word.

Just its themes so let’s get back to quoting so we can also see that this Third Way to be grounded in community, new values, neurocircuitry, and false narratives like the 2011 Closing the Door on Innovation is tied to what I usually simply shorthand as the MH vision, instead of always writing out Marxist Humanism. It does explain that new definition of Liberty noted above as well as why the Hoover Institution seemed to like A Call to Civil Society when it came out. http://www.hoover.org/research/civic-renewal-vs-moral-renewal In case anyone is hoping I am being overly alarmed when told that “we Americans understand freedom, our primary civic end, as an ethical condition–not simply as immunity from restraint,” I personally want a buzzer I can sound every time we track new visions of education or “civic obligations” to such redefinitions of historical terms.

If I am told that “our core imperative is democratic renewal through civic engagement” and that “effective civic engagement…depends on a larger set of shared ideas about human virtue and the common good,” do we as parents and taxpayers have a right to a head’s up to such a fundamental shift before this new vision is simply instilled as Habits of Mind in student-centered, personalized education? Where’s the actual Choice in School Choice if all the available educational choices are quietly committed, under a myriad of differing terms, to neurally instilling these selected virtues and ideas that will guide Right Actions, Good Thoughts, and Correct Intentions grounded in a New Golden Rule as Hardwired to Connect put it.

Flinders is not the only one tying this vision of education to concern over economic inequality. Also remember that the same Bradley Foundation that supports Harvard’s PEPG and its Education Next visions proudly funds the IAV behind both reports I am quoting from. In 2016, my research showed that the same Hewlett Foundation behind Deeper Learning and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund were too. Those philanthropries make strange bedfellows unless I am right that the Right and Left Pincers behind School Choice are headed in the same direction and that direction is the stealth enactment of the MH vision. Education and the law, two of my personal specialties, are primary tools. Here is A Call to Civil Society again:

“The economy exists to support human flourishing. It is not an end in itself…the weakening of civil society, including its moral foundations, is closely connected to the persistence and spread of economic inequality.” Does anyone doubt that IAV would be quoting Thomas Picketty if this report were reissued now? At least Picketty is honest about his agenda. What happens to us all when students are simply taught to feel and act on “our belief that we are one people, with obligations to one another”? If you are lucky enough to have escaped reading reading Uncle Karl and the MH template expressed without any mention of him, here is the IAV 1998 expression of it:

“…the basic subject of society is the human person, and the basic purpose of government–and all other institutions–is to help foster the conditions for human flourishing. In turn, the essential conditions for human flourishing are the elements of what we are calling democratic civil society, anchored in moral truth.” That moral truth is apparently that we have obligations to all others to meet their needs and that it is only in community “can we approach authentic self-realization.”

No wonder I kept stumbling over mandated communitarian concepts and practices as I tracked the actual requisite Common Core implementation in schools and classrooms. If think tanks and universities are going to push a vision of education that deliberately overrides the beliefs common to “most Americans today–[that] we humans, at least in the US, are autonomous units of desires, rights, and legitimate values of our own choosings. We are self-originating sources of valid claims, essentially unencumbered, self-owning, and auto-telological” they need to be open about it. Otherwise we have deceit to parents about what the Common Core is really about and how the various remedies they are being sold actually tie directly to this agenda I am describing in this post.

We are due more than a dismissal like “we view this understanding of the human person as fundamentally flawed” in a document most of us have never heard of. If this masked vision of education  reforms and its true purpose is tied to adopting “a new ‘civil society model’ for evaluating public policies and solving social problems,” aren’t we entitled to be told of the linkage? If we are told that the “new model is essentially ecological. It strives to view social environments the way ecologists view natural environments,” shouldn’t we know that so we can recognize the implications of adopting what Urie Bronfenbrenner called his Ecological Systems Theory? That his colleague, Soviet psychologist Leontiev said would be the Great Experiment on the West?

I guess we cannot react to what we are unaware of and thus spoil this great Third Way experiment http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/imitating-the-ussr-in-striving-to-discover-how-the-child-can-become-what-he-not-yet-is/ . I wish these ideas and practices had no ancestry, much less one I stumbled across years ago. The old model of civil society in the US was supposedly “a stool with two legs: government and economics. The new model adds the missing third leg: social institutions and values.” Schools being the most useful and common of those needed new social institutions, which will come in handy since the “new model seeks directly to protect and nourish social capital.” Our kids, their ‘social capital’ in other words, since in the “new model society consists of individual members who are encultured by institutions and obligated to the common good.”

Now that quote seems like a good stopping point before we discuss the implications of binding us all to a New Golden Rule we are largely unaware of.

If our children are taught, at an emotional level, to be a good 21st Century Comrade and act accordingly, do we parents and taxpayers have a right to know? Are we simply left to follow the tales grounded in deceit until we notice all the open and connected coordination as this post just begins to lay out?

I really wish this post came with a big sheet of paper and magic markers so we could simply draw all those connections. Some things really are more easily explained visually than in print. Nevertheless, all these quotes are quite clear on the essence of the desired shifts.

More next time.

Neural Enslavement to Instill Desired Virtues for Social Change: Deceitpalooza

Silly me. I got the bright idea of distracting myself and decided to just read some history. I picked Ian Mortimer’s millennium, which turned out to have been published on November 8, 2016. It hoped that a woman would be the most significant agent of change in the 21st Century. Not yet, but after making my way through the centuries, I get to the conclusion only to discover I was not getting a break from the familiar refrain after all. Mortimer wanted to “focus our attention on the forces that are likely to act upon our nature in the future.” The fantastic wealth and levels of technology the world now enjoys were accomplished via the “breaking of boundaries…Many of these boundary crossings can be characterized in terms of the “go West, young man’ paradigm…This paradigm underpinned scientific discoveries, world exploration and economic growth. But with the recognition of the approaching exhaustion of our fossil resources on Earth, this boundary-breaking mentality is out of date.”

Long time readers will recognize this hostility to what I nicknamed the Axemaker Mind and the hope of ecologist Paul Ehrlich for Newmindedness. Part of what we will do in this post is tie this hostility and desire for a new kind of mind to what is being pushed as Classical Education as in this piece touted last week. http://www.theimaginativeconservative.org/2016/11/individualism-root-error-modernity-george-stanciu.html  It is also tied to much of the organized deceit surrounding the Common Core as so many think tank employees and their mysteriously connected colleagues “against the Common Core” turn out to be tied to instilling a common core of moral virtue using education to create a neurally-grounded, ‘well-ordered soul.’

That well-ordered soul instilled within the student in turn is designed to know and choose based on instilled habits that are consistent with the UNESCO Ethics Framework from the last post, the Positive Education template, DeVos’ moral mandate, Amitai Etzioni’s Communitarian New Golden Rule, and finally Karl Marx’s vision for his Human Development Society. Since Mortimer put it, like Uncle Karl, in terms of the existing base of wealth and technology that had been reached, let’s go back to the quote above to see why “Hey, Hey, Ho. Ho. The Existing Mentality just has to Go.” Bad pun I know.

“The challenge now is not one of expansion but self-containment: a series of problems with which the all-conquering male is ill-equipped to deal. We, Homo sapiens, have never before had to face the problem of our own instincts threatening our continued existence; they have always been for our benefit, the survival of our genes. The frontiers we face now lie not on the horizon–or even in space–but inside our own minds.”

Now let’s jump to how the 1995 book Seedbed of Virtues defined the “Classical Conception of Virtue.” Please pay attention because this definition and book are closely related to both the new Catholic Curriculum Framework, School Choice, and why the American Principles Project/Pioneer report from last fall that laid the narrative for those frameworks (by misrepresenting the nature of Competency-based Education and Transformational Outcomes Based Education) may have done that. This is a little long, but absent the references to Aristotle and substituting Character or Whole Child for Virtue, think of it as what all 21st century education must be doing.  I will boldface the why so we can tie it to Mortimer and Uncle Karl and snark in brackets for current relevance.

“The classical conception of the relation between virtue and politics was spelled out by Aristotle. Individual virtue (or excellence–the Greek arete will bear both meanings) is knowable through everyday experience [Project-based or service learning?], definable through philosophic inquiry [Higher Order Thinking Skills?], and is always and everywhere the same [Truth. Beauty. Good?]. For Aristotle, the virtues are not just Greek, but rather human, virtues. Political life must be seen as in large measure a means to the attainment of virtue, understood as an end in itself. Once the threshold conditions of physical and material security are met, the political community should structure its institutions and policies to promote virtue in its citizens [remember the NIH and Templeton-funded Science of Virtues at U-Chicago?), and its worth as a community depends on the extent to which it achieves that goal.”

To make a long story short, that book was cited in connection with UNESCO’s Ethical Framework and I recognized the name Mary Ann Glendon (Harvard law prof) from both the Catholic Frameworks that wanted to specify Knowledge, Skills, and Dispositions that students are to have internalized, as well as being a communitarian associate of Amitai Etzioni. If the book sought to elevate the “collectivity over the individual” and duties over individual rights, it would explain so much of what I have found over the years being imposed though education via an affirmative view of the law. As I am prone to do when I find a vision that is both alarming and clearly connected to what we are seeing imposed on classrooms, I looked up the book’s publisher,  the Institute for American Values (IAV).

Remember how the Ethical Framework recognized the need to control and create new values and categories and principles to guide thought if the sought social and economic changes to meet all human needs via Universal Ethics were to be imposed? IAV turned out to have a Sean Fieler as its Chairman. I recognized that name as he is also the Chair of the American  Principles Project. What are the odds? Then I discovered the ubiquitous Bradley Foundation, THE major funder of School Choice and so much else, delightedly recognizing its support of IAV. I have written about what School Choice actually does and it fits with how Tranzi OBE and Competency-based education actually work. Here’s the stated aim from Seedbed of Virtues that would certainly explain both the support of School Choice and all this documentable deceit.

“need to reshape institutions [like schools, universities, and churches] for the sake of revitalizing civil society…the path to better rather than worse judgments–must ultimately be sought, not in the seedbed, but in the seed: the human person…to control his knowing and his choosing.”

Isn’t that what Ian Mortimer called for in that recently published, much hyped book? Interestingly, last week, many of the think tanks pushing either School Choice or Classical Education or both, touted the release of the Classical Learning Test, to be a successor to the ACT or SAT. Its release celebrated that “instead of individualism, we stress community…rather than merely becoming a number, we want to see students use standardized tests as yet another opportunity to mature in wisdom, virtue, and academic competency.” Boy, that aim certainly sounds like the goal is to instill the internalized rudder of desired personality traits and supplied Knowledge to be acted on as a matter of habit.

An article accompanying the release of the CLT–“Happiness and the Moral Dimension of Education” leaves no doubt that the CLT seeks to evaluate the extent to which a student’s “body, emotions, desires, will, and a mind…are in harmony, working together for the true good of the whole person and his community.”

In 1998, IAV released “A Call to Civil Society: Why Democracy Needs Moral Truths” that saw the historic Western civilization “understanding of the human person as fundamentally flawed…Our capacity for reasonable choosing and loving is what allows us to participate in a shared moral life, an order common to us all..”

In the next post we will look at that document and its implications, including where School Choice and all education reforms are really taking us. We will also cover IAV’s 2003 publication Hardwired to Connect: The New Scientific Case for Authoritative Communities since it gives plenty of reasons for the deceit surrounding the Common Core and education reforms generally.

Hard to force what Uncle Karl called communism and others have called Marxist Humanism or Systems Thinking once enough people grasp the presence of its clear tenets. Much better to do what IAV did in that 1998 report, call for a ‘new society model’, where “society consists of individual members who are encultured by institutions and obligated to the common good.”

Gramsci was not the only Transformational Collectivist seeking to March through the Institutions. He was simply more upfront about it.

 

Anchored to the Human Psyche to Engineer the Invisible Coup: the Narratives Converge

The previous two posts illustrated real-time proclamations from just the last few weeks that fit with what we are going to cover today–the quietly imposed Common Framework for the Ethics of the 21st Century issued by UNESCO in September 1999. It grew out of Universal Ethics Project begun in 1997, imposed invisibly by education, P-12 and higher ed, under obscuring terms like learning, outcomes, standards, and competencies. The Framework was referenced in a footnote I came across while trying to chase down the common education agenda being pushed by the admitted Left Pincers (in this case communitarian prof Amitai Etzioni) and American Principles Project founder, Robert George, as a representative of the School Choice pushing, but headed in the same actual direction, Right Pincers.

Before I could write up the implications of that Framework, we suddenly had Ms DeVos’ statement about the moral obligations none of us may abdicate and the Positive Education practices mandate coming from the World Government Summit. Since they each seemed to assume the shift into the obligations of a Framework few of us are even aware of, I went with the “this is coming now” approach in the previous two posts. Now that the Imminence is crystal clear and not speculative, let’s take a look at what is being concealed from us. Because this is a blog, not a book, this post will be followed next by how I know for sure that this is where all the deceit surrounding the Common Core and School Choice really leads.

Those who have read Credentialed to Destroy are aware of just some of the evidence I cite on why I believe the ending of the Cold War was somewhat stage-managed to let education quietly assume the transformational reins. Let’s add to that body a Gorbachev book, The Search for a New Beginning, I did not have then telling us what Perestroika was really about. Gorbachev wanted to “join politics with morality” and create a Framework for new forms of required interaction and new forms of thinking. Instead of “artificially constructed utopian schemes” that “are not workable anywhere,” he called for:

“The recognition of the world as an integral whole [which] calls for a change in our value system, or to put it more precisely, for actualizing the initial values that are inherent in the nature of the human being as a social and spiritual entity. In one form or another, and in varying degrees, those values are reflected in the world religions and in the great humanistic doctrines.”

In a preview of what will be coming in the next post, substitute the word ‘Virtues’ for ‘values’ in that quote above and we quickly get to precisely where Classical Education is taking Privates and Charter Schools. First though let’s get back to Gorbachev’s bluntness because it explains so well the language we will cover on the need to shift away from traditional views of Individualism and rationality. (the italics are in the original text)

“The future of human society will not be defined in terms of capitalism versus socialism. It was that dichotomy that caused the division of the world community into two blocs and brought about so many catastrophic consequences. We need a paradigm that will integrate all the achievements of the human mind and human action, irrespective of which ideology or political movement can be credited with them. This paradigm can only be based on the common values that humankind has developed over the centuries.”

We will leave Gorby now and shift back to the supposed new values, ideas, and principles that people need to internalize from an early age (enter education tied to behavior and the Whole Child which is precisely what performance standards mandate) so that everyone can “flourish” in the 21st Century. Sure enough, that particular uncommon verb is ubiquitous now throughout the UNESCO Ethics Framework, the Positive Education Practices we encountered in the previous post, as well as the NIH-funded and Templeton Foundation sponsored Science of Virtues going on now at U-Chicago. What are the odds of such common, uncommon, terminology?

The cool thing about the Ethics Framework is that there is no overt, publicized command that makes people feel coerced. The Russians and Chinese noticed those edicts from on high simply did not work as well as using a reenvisioned type of education that affected “the will of individuals in every and all situations in which he or she acts.” Once that Learning becomes a Habit of Mind we have installed an invisible internalized neural rudder that allows society and an economy to be steered and guided without anyone needing to be the wiser. Students will have Moral Dialogues grounded in “philosophical value knowledge” (just like the School Choice-advocating Manhattan Institute laid out recently in an odd “Republic in the Atlantic” piece in City Journal).

The goal of education then, whether marketed as “knowledge, skills, and dispositions” in K-12 or Essential Learning Outcomes in higher ed, is actually aimed at using reading, classroom conversations, group projects, and virtual reality adaptive learning aimed at:

“developing the capacity of individuals to make right evaluations of others’ actions, of events, situations etc., and to find out, in the light of philosophical value knowledge the implications of such a will: what they should, or can, do, so that human dignity can be protected or be as little damaged as possible in the given unique situation, in which they have to act, as a whole.”

If that aim is not graphic enough that what the Universal Ethics Framework, instilled via education, seeks is a “paradigm shift in consciousness” so that we can all “apply our minds collectively and …work towards a new intellectual and spiritual renaissance,” let me use another. This quote from Paris, March 27, 1997, bemoaned that:

“whereas humanity is transiting to the global society, our minds are still mired in pre-global concepts. And it is this difference, it is this gap between the emergence of the global society and the non-emergence of a global consciousness, that is at the root of many of the problems that we see in the world today.”

If the means of closing that gap and creating the desired new thinking and ethics is new ideas and values, is it coincidental that suddenly the relief offered from the horrors of the Common Core is framed in terms of Character Education, Positive Psychology, Conceptual Understandings and Core Disciplinary Ideas as the ‘content knowledge’, and Virtues?

Does anyone else feel like the remedy offered is actually grounded in this little discussed Ethics Framework? Because apparently reenvisioning the human future is “affected and even determined by the behavior of humans acting on the basis of normative ideas and principles.” If education in the 21st Century is actually premised on the italicized “question: what values and principles may be mobilized in order to steer the forces of technological and economic change for the purposes of human survival and flourishing?”, aren’t we even entitled to know that is the foundational question behind all these imposed changes?

There’s that ubiquitous aspirational verb again. Anyone else wondering who will really flourish in this vision?

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.

http://www.coordinationproblem.org/2017/01/kenneth-boulding-on-the-task-of-interpretation.html 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.

http://invisibleserfscollar.com/reimaging-the-nature-of-the-world-in-the-minds-of-students-alters-future-behavior-and-social-events/

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?

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?