Comparing the Real Common Core to Notorious Authoritarian Social Engineering Disasters

Soviet collectivization of agriculture. The Tanzanian Ujamaa Villagization Plan. Brasilia. Le Corbusier. Lenin’s Plans for Revolutionary Submission. Clearing away Old Growth Forests for a Single Type Of Timber Planted in Rows.

Last week the newly formed Career Readiness Partner Council issued its Building Blocks for Change: What It Means to Be Career Ready Try not to be overwhelmed by the vision for all that is geared to plugging into that state directed redesigned Mercantile planned economy of the future. Another fiat statement with platitudes like “goal setting and planning” and “effective communication skills” that ends with “ethical decision-making and social responsibility” that could only be developed by bureaucrats who have no idea how free markets work or what produces wealth and prosperity. It really is reminiscent of the mentality of the Soviet Union where higher ed credentials were the means of differentiating salaries so they had the highest percentage of college degrees in the world at one time. Did NOT help the economy. Created a great deal of dashed expectations.

But I have already given you a heads up on what Career Ready Practices as used in “The Goal of Common Core is . . .” really means. And I have explained from a myriad of directions why generic knowledge, collectivist values, habituated feelings, and a cultivated non-Axemaker Mind is not in fact the “Pathway to Prosperity” no matter how many times politicians use that phrase to bolster support. Magic credentials without marketable knowledge and skills do not build wealth or create products and services people freely wish to buy. You know all that now. Being deemed to be Competent or Proficient under criteria designed to be accessible to all is celebrating a 2-inch bunny hop and pretending you are suddenly a world-class high jumper.

No, that’s all important but that’s not today’s angle to illuminate the planned destruction. It’s history time. And I read the textbooks so I can tell you a good, relevant story. Today’s is based on a book Yale Political Science Prof James C Scott wrote in 1998. Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed lays out the “pernicious combination of four elements” that together have been the consistent culprit “in the most tragic episodes of state-initiated social engineering.”

One of the reasons we need to talk about these unpleasant realities up front, Right Now, is because the actual Common Core implementation (the one I have painfully detailed for months now, not the only marginally related PR campaign) is a classic social engineering scheme. In fact as you know it loves to call itself a comprehensive System. Must be adopted fully in every aspect. Not Piecemeal.And yes it does tell the teachers how they must teach. That denial is just a publicity stunt.

We know that Effective Teacher Evals and PLCs (Professional Learning Communities) and Data collection on the Student are all compliance devices to get desired behaviors. Here’s the problem though with all these wholesale “Let’s get the Theory  into Practice” schemes or Plans or especially Five Year Strategic Plans: A Vision for the District in 2017 that I read last week (Hint: Do not read except with an empty stomach or an adult beverage. Or several). They jettison “essential features of any real, functioning social order.” Frequently unappreciated aspects or even critical details no one even knew were present. In the planned timber forest example Scott cites that ceased to have debris and clutter on the forest floor, it took declining yields to appreciate how much of the soil’s richness came from the insects attracted by the debris.

But students are not trees. If the school is largely psychological and emotional manipulation in an attempt to alter values and dispositions for political purposes, that is a real, current, tangible loss. As I have detailed already, potentially physically tragic. . More likely, a potentially great mind simply learns to check their mind at the door of the school and daydreams time that could have been used to nurture contact with the Greatness of the Ages. All that time spent in middle and high school and then the now revised higher ed with so little to show for it. Except Adult Jobs. Once we gut the transmission of knowledge as this ed model most assuredly does–“old learning, which focused on fixed content knowledge is now redundant as it fosters a rigid way of thinking which will be counterproductive for the workers, citizens and persons of the new future”–that useful, not appreciated but still needed knowledge is gone.

And like the debris in the forest it was needed. And it will not be the life span of timber to learn our mistake. We likely will discover quickly and catastrophically how thin the veneer of civilization actually was once a majority cease to have its fundamental earmarks. You know the ones that were jettisoned because they were not part of the Plan and were not equitably distributed.

All those plans I started this post with have one thing in common with each other and with that quoted reason for rejecting content knowledge. The Future. The reimagined Vision for Society. The New Human Nature. Since that has never worked before and will not now, let’s get back to detailing and examining how applicable those four elements are. While we still have some time left even if it is not much.Because as Scott noted when all four are present, we are on track for a “full-fledged disaster.”

Element number 1 is the “administrative ordering of nature and society.” Now I would argue that with the UN driven Education for Sustainable Development and ICLEI Agenda 21 and Bioregionalism and the related Regional Equity Movement and all the Systems Thinking designed to get to a Green Economy based on Ecology and Paul Ehrlich’s Newmindedness that we have detailed, and that’s just of the top of my head, no one since Lenin or Stalin or that infamous dictator in Germany (whose name is considered to diminish an argument so I won’t) has so ambitiously sought to administratively order nature and society. In an unprecedented fashion with global aspirations. Make that an emphatic check.

Second is what Scott called “high modernist ideology.” It fundamentally means a false belief that the social order as it currently exists was consciously created and thus can be redesigned. Which again is met in spades. Whether it is the omnipresent through the decades vision of John Dewey or Ecology or Caring Economics or Communitarianism or Systems Thinking or Transformational Outcomes Based Education itself. They are all social ordering ideologies around a different future. Like 21st Century Learning for another example.

Scott notes that these two elements become lethal when joined to a third–“an authoritarian state that is willing and able to use the full weight of its coercive power to bring these high-modernist designs into being.” Now I am not arguing that educators have such physically coercive powers although I will note that resulting violence has not deterred continued attempts to implement this vision. But all the oversight capacity over educators have been systematically turned off. The accreditation agencies coerce school boards and threaten property value catastrophe if they fail to get the board’s cooperation. Education degrees have been largely grounded in Marxist political theory and Soviet psychological practices since the late 1980s (with more palatable names of course). Now we have the Teacher Evals and PLCs and Educational Leadership degrees that are based on willingness to push this political vision.

The final element is a “prostrate civil society that lacks the capacity to resist these plans.” We are not prostrate you say. Well, with the Orwellian language being used to mask actual intentions yes we are. With duplicitous charters and accreditation standards designed to lock in compliance out of sight with no effective means of protest, yes we are. Everything about this implementation has been designed to try to predict and preemptively thwart all resistance. To what is unabashedly a political coup.

I am going to close with architect Le Corbusier’s vision for the planned city that failed to appreciate people and their needs and what makes an economy and a society work.

“We must build places where mankind will be reborn. When the collective functions of the urban community have been organized, then there will be individual liberty for all. Each man will live in an ordered relation to the whole.”

Le Corbusier’s utopian cities never functioned very well because he didn’t think the individual or personal freedom were important. He was wrong. The actual Common Core implementation I have been detailing is based on a comparable Future vision. Except it is NOT a blueprint being shopped to dictators around the world with deep pockets. We do not have time for an unofficial Brasilia to spring up to cover the Plan omissions.

Hugely Consequential. Imminent. A Hands-On Mass Experiment to Revert to Non-Axemaker Minds. Too important to Just Stick with the Slogans Anymore.


10 thoughts on “Comparing the Real Common Core to Notorious Authoritarian Social Engineering Disasters

  1. Robin, this is an artfully crafted, intelligent and painfully stunning truth. Why is is so hard to grasp by so many?

    I followed the link from Daniel Greenfield’s blog. Glad I did.

    • Thanks meema.

      When I read Daniel’s post I wanted people to recognize where so much of the challenge to the institutions was coming from.

      This is the post Meema is referring to written by Daniel Greenfield

      It really goes hand in hand with my concerns that in gaining the altered mindsets to support the sought political and economic transformation for the Positive Humanist vision as we are now calling it (or small c in Robert Tucker’s description), we are endangering everything that makes a society work. We really are proposing to use education to jettison the rational, logical mind.

      I am glad you did too. I hate linking to myself but sometimes it really is on point and complementary.

      • It has been clear for me for some time, but I think Common Core really pushed me over the edge. I have grown grandchildren in college and my youngest daughter and I have opted to homeschool her boys next year. I don’t see any other option. When my kids were in school and my older grandchildren I could always sit them down and reason with them about how to discern the information coming at them. My rule was, listen, research, ask questions, use common sense and ultimately give the teacher what the teacher wants, get the grade and move on. They did well, as have my grandchildren. But I don’t see that strategy working under the iron rule of Common Core.
        I understand about being reticent about posting links to your blog, because I do so very rarely, but, again, I am so glad you did and I bookmarked and will be following.

        My daughter and I attended a Home School conference in May and I posted my impression of the experience. I can see far enough ahead to know, as more people abandon CC and .gov school, home-schooling will likely be outlawed as it is in Germany. What we go from there, I have no clue.

  2. Hopefully America will wake up in time. Germany has the disadvantage of residual lingerings of an infamous past leader as does China. There seems less likelihood of Our enourmous country tolerating government outlawing parental rights unless they could manufacture maybe a false flag under the right climate. The advantage of the schemers is their control of the msm and the low info voters, so you could be right.

    Great post, thanks for the referral How did i miss this one?

    • Madmommy-

      Remember the story about Shanghai and the Learning City as the total model? Cultural, political, economic? The lead story in today’s NYT is on China removing millions from rural areas and shifting them to newly built urban areas.

      Tell me that’s not related to the Global Cities Initiative and Citistates and Regional Equity and the Global Cities Education Network.

      Truly a global model as if there were no countries in the future. Try to locate the Pearson April 2012 report with the Institute for Public Policy Research in the UK called “Oceans of Innovation.” That’s the one the federal DoEd cooperated with but it claims the 21st will be the Chinese century. Why? Because these poorly understood ed reforms to get to Equity in all areas were the last straw?

    • This link will show you how global this same vision is.

      I swear every city with more than a population of 100 K is putting in streetcars to get federal money.

      Also I see that this new book tour is coming to a city near you. You can be the blog’s ambassador. Stealthily listening to the vision that really is a part of these education changes.

      • I do indeed remember the shanghai report, and life long learning etc… The complaints about the huge empty ghost towns built in china will soon be filled. The chinese equivalent of the wildlands project, easier to move chinese peasants around than American countryfolk. Detroit’s potential bankruptsy looks like american style mass social engineering. Remember all the stack n packs built? Seemingly empty… Not for long. Immigration deformers will help fill them up.

        Everything done under an illusion.
        You found it edwin liu said it. Same same. Works on every plank.
        The regionalist
        buried short of
        stanley kurtz and
        rosa koire. Snowdon and Chinese talks with O. All connected but carefully obscured. Common core vs the chinese learning cities. They push the little c in different ways in different countries according to customs etc, data collected for exactly this effort. Who said cultures need to be destroyed to be rebuilt uh…. Was it Mr Stalin? Mr marx? Or Mr Hegel? All of the above?
        Its just a matter of time before the folks in detriot are farmed out to say, westchester county ny for example ( read about hud and astorino battle) and detroit becomes the first US Learning City. Regional equity.
        Illusions necessary to accomplish all.
        ” streetscaping ” hurray!! Distract those paying attention with shiny objects whilst gutting their zoning etc.. To funnel money out and To usher in the
        next step.
        Its all related. Central planning.

  3. Its a long story but our town like thousands of others developed a partner association which claimed to be the voice of our community. Vision planning yadda yadda. I realize now that this effort was to collect demographic and personal data on the residents in order to fulfill regional equity movement plans. The westchester county ny story really drives it home. But my point is that the illusionary tactics, surveys, delphi meetings, etc.. All embedded the reality of their mission while maintaining a necessary fog or illusion to keep people ignorant. They have tactics for those who are not, too. Collecting data was and is as we see from the news and from our research on common core tantamount to the success of the movement. Without data to skew they cannot justify their illusions to provide cover for little c action.

    • Madmommy-did you catch the point that the founder of the Institute of the Future in 1968 that Marina Gorbis now heads was the Rand employee who created the Delphi technique?

      Someone asked me last week why Benjamin Bloom’s Mastery Learning keeps surfacing. And why I view it as important ML is the theory digital learning is built around. I explained it is designed to create skills without nourishing the abstract rational mind. The part of the brain that can literally stand up to a herd. Or tell a Delphi trained facilitator that they can systematically follow the fallacies they interject to guide consensus in desired directions.

    • You should take a look at this

      We are going to be seeing more of this–the existing US Constitution does not fit the desired 21st century. Living Cities just put out a report calling for the govt to be viewed as a partner at all levels in the economy.

      I remember the sorts of things Felix Rohatyn was urging in the 90s. Same end game, slightly different strategy. Also must adopt a Nordic style safety net is an essential component.

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