This post ends what began as a Trilogy but became a Quartet of posts when Senator Lamar Alexander substituted a substantially new version of his K-12 federal legislation rewrite with virtually no attempt to let the voting public know of the switch. As the last post covered in part, as a whole 1177, as the bill is called, reads as if it is the fulfillment of everything the behavioral and social scientists in Palo Alto have ever wanted from education to remake the existing world. It will take the sequel to my book Credentialed to Destroy to lay out all the connections I have documented, but I have them and I get to read 1177 with the informed mind and well-stocked glossary from books and papers going back to its founding in the early 50s. 1177 is also deeply embued with the communitarian ethos and seeks to turn it into collective obligations under federal law. Quite a combo.
I began this Quartet with the Fraud of the Century post because I thought it was important to begin to frame these shifts accurately as a usurpation by governments at all levels of an ability to make decisions that traditionally and legitimately belonged to private individuals. Now please forgive me for what is about to be a graphic metaphor, but it is the best comparison I can come up with and it unfortunately fits. Back in China under Mao or the USSR, the ordinary people knew perfectly well that they were coerced and manipulated by the power of the State. I won’t say imagine because this may be an apt image, but it’s not a pleasant one, that you wake up to someone with a knife to your throat and they insist that if you submit to sex they will not hurt you further. You may not have black eyes, but you were still raped and you would know that.
What the behavioral and social scientists in the East and West have been looking for over decades in a horrifyingly coordinated manner (also documented repeatedly beyond what is in first book) is an ability to gain that physical submission to whatever schemes the public sector decides on without the public appreciating the extent of the sought submission. That of course requires psychological manipulation and a limiting of knowledge, which is precisely what K-12 education in the US has sought to do from the original legislation in 1965 forward. On page 32, the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015 (ECAA) prescribes that each state “shall include the same knowledge, skills, and levels of achievement expected of all public school students in the state.” The ‘same’ and ‘all’ are deliberate language that limits what can now go on in K-12 public education for every child, regardless of ability.
Accessible to all as a legal requirement means that the focus has to be on emotions, beliefs, and behaviors because those are the only things all children have in common. Usefully those are the areas that the behavioral scientists have always wanted to access and now it’s the only legally acceptable focus. How useful. Now we are going to go back to one of the Big Fish among those behavioral scientists, Benjamin Bloom, to something he wrote back in 1976, where he believed his Mastery Learning techniques (notice how many times ‘mastery’ appears in ECAA) could create equality of learning.
He also wanted to shift the focus of school away from subject-content to affective characteristics, cognitive behaviors, and psychomotor skills. He pointed out that making equality of learning outcomes (italicized just like that) be a goal of education rather than equality of opportunity would mean “teachers and instructional material and procedures should emphasize acceptable levels of learning for all children.” High standards gets its height from the percentage meeting the goal, not from the height of the goals themselves.
We see that same planned focus in the remake of all high schools project that started in 1998 as the National Urban High School project that the National Governors Association and the federal DoED saw no reason to tell us about. We have already discussed how all secondary schoolwork will meet distressingly low ‘common core goals’ such as the listed low, non-intellectual skills the federal Department of Labor created for its SCANS-Secretary’s Commission on Acquiring Necessary Skills in 1992. Oh, that would be when Alexander was the federal Education Secretary. What are the odds? From the 2008 NUHS “Seeing the Future” report, let me quote two more examples of “Common Core Goals” that would “cut across disciplines, drive the curriculum, and serve as the standards for assessing student work.”
The Six Hoover Learner Outcomes: What All Students Should Know and Be Able to Do on Graduation
1. Demonstrate habits of inquiry
2. Experience high technology
3. Collect, analyze, and organize resources and information
4. Communicate ideas and information
5. Work effectively with others
6. Organize personal resources, plan goals for the future, and show a commitment to lifelong learning
Now try to control your enthusiasm at these generic skills and personal qualities as I list The Five Habits of Mind from Central Park East Secondary, NYC.
Connection: How is it connected to other things?
Perspective: What is the viewpoint?
Evidence: How do we know what we know?
Speculation: How else may it be considered?
Significance: What difference does it make?
With those thresholds, what will now constitute mandated ‘learning for all’ judged as meeting federal law requirements, these very low and largely non-academic ‘common core goals’ asked of high schoolers will make a great deal of difference to where the US and other countries with comparable goals are really headed. Just imagine College and Career Readiness based on those as the high school completion goals and we will see why we found what we covered in this post. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/now-more-than-five-years-into-an-attempt-to-help-organize-a-near-total-revision-of-human-behavior/ , which usefully gets us back to a global focus as we all ask why, why? For that answer we need to go to Uzbekistan to some research Alexander Luria did there in the early 30s to test the effect literacy had on the mind based on a theory he and Lev Vygotsky had developed.
What Luria found was that: “For illiterate peasants speech and reasoning simply echoed practical and situational activity. For somewhat educated people the relationship was reversed: Abstract categories dominated and restructured situational experience.” In other words, illiteracy is problemmatic for pushing theoretical thinking as a reliable guide to altering perception, and thus future behavior, because it simply does not work. It works poorly with an Axemaker Mind that recognizes inapt metaphors and can develop its own concepts from its personal store of facts. So if that Davydov vision of a restructured curriculum and purpose of school we met in the last post and in Chapters 2 and 3 of my book is to work students need to be kept at a Basic Skills and low levels of factual knowledge threshold. Are things making more sense now?
And we have also documented repeatedly that in mandating assessments tied to higher order thinking skills and understanding ECAA mandates that Davydov vision. Now the title came out of reading the following passage in a book from 1981 called Educating because the described vision throughout the book dovetailed so well with the real Common Core implementation I documented in my book and all the references to ‘learning’ now in ECAA. Gowin stated that “voluntary individual learning probably cannot begin until the person can regard the self as an object…One must be able to treat oneself as an object in order to probe one’s self, to see it as an instrument in learning.” What ECAA does is mandate that the student must view themselves that way and accept the school’s right to manipulate his beliefs, attitudes, values, behaviors, and even the hardwiring of his brain as he wishes.
That’s what that language in the statute translates into when it is run through the behavioral sciences glossary and existing papers and books. Gowin called it a ‘controlled yielding’ and viewed the reorganization of the mind and personality at a neural level as necessary. All of this is bad enough and quickly leads to all sorts of literature on precisely what Transformational Learning really means that makes me long for that first post where we were angry that “high standards” meant combining college prep and vocational into project-based learning for all students. A reader though has passed on the most aggressive charter language I have ever read from the school district, Clarke County, whose leader was recently named National School Superintendent of the Year. https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B8U0imqlmoA-alFFRU1aNGxBQjQ/view?pli=1
It was this local school district declaring the right to reorganize its students minds and personalities via required “personalized dynamic learning experiences” that really brought home the level of predatory invasions governments at every level are insisting on. Dynamic means transformative change in the student so I want to close with a quote from the late Professor Jack Mezirow on Transformative Learning Theory that fits with where that charter, the ECAA, and this entire learning focus takes us. Long, but vital.
“Transformative learning is defined as the process by which we transform problemmatic frames of reference (mindsets, habits of mind, meaning perspectives)–sets of assumption and expectation–to make them more inclusive, discriminating, open, reflective and emotionally able to change. Such frames are better because they are more likely to generate beliefs and opinions that will prove more true or justified to guide action.
Frames of reference are the structures of culture and language through which we construe meaning by attributing coherence and significance to our experience. They selectively shape and delimit our perception, cognition and feelings by predisposing our intentions, beliefs, expectations, and purposes. These preconceptions set our ‘line of action’. Once set or programmed, we automatically move from one specific mental or behavioural activity to another, and we have a strong tendency to reject ideas that fail to fit our preconceptions.”
No wonder the behavioural scientists wanted a shift to theoretical instruction (called there frames of reference) as I have repeatedly documented. No wonder the government officials and employees who want all this power are lying to us.
The public sector gets to determine what is problemmatic and decide the desired fix and it’s all out of sight. Except for in the language it is using in laws, regulations, and charters to try to make all these personal intrusions mandatory.
Luckily for us the latter is my playground.