No wonder a well-stocked individual mind is becoming forbidden. I had hardly finished the previous post before an insight as I read that day’s materials sent me after the global human rights/human behavioral curriculum clearly intended to come into the US as the Common Core and elsewhere as 21st Century Learning. Every day now seems like a game of Bingo as the real implementation rolls forward in education to finally put into place what HG Wells actually called The Open Conspiracy back in 1928 in a work that was intended to be a blueprint, not the fiction that earned him fame. Then again he and Julian Huxley were old friends and actually wrote a book together–The Science of Life. I guess we shouldn’t be surprised then that so much of the focus is on using education for social experimentation to gain political transformations. So many of the people we run across over time had similar ideas because they all seem to have known each other.
We have been the ones without the knowledge of all these connections and revealing resources. So getting ready to go down the Human Rights road, I read this quote this morning while I steeled myself to write (my bolding):
“At Philadelphia’s Science Leadership Academy, history teacher Matt Baird called his high school’s 1-to-1 program ‘radically democratic.’ Information ‘doesn’t necessarily flow from the teacher to the student in the form of a test. Information is something that can be gathered, used and utilized by students in the way it is in the real world,’ he explained, adding, ‘It’s not an awful lot of people who take standardized tests for a living. We don’t really want school to be a proxy for real life. We want school to look like real life as much as possible.”
The education historian in me immediately recognized that real life focus and the way Baird so obnoxiously preaches its superiority to an academic knowledge focus as what was called Life Adjustment back in the 40s and 50s. Nothing indeed new under the sun of Radical Ed Reform once you have the template I laid out in my book. Life Adjustment had been on my mind this week as well as it fits so well with what are now being called “Authentic Learning Opportunities” in connection to the Common Core. When I went off to find my notes on Life Adjustment, guess what came out that aligns perfectly with the NEA’s 2011 CARE Guide we have looked at in the last 2 posts?
It was the NEA that pushed what was then called Life Adjustment as the new purpose for ed in its 1947 Organizing the Elementary School for Living and Learning. In anticipation of today’s New 3 Rs of Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships the NEA wanted schools to put “human relationships first.” Now that declaration is why the human rights post got bumped behind this one since Why explanations should always precede the How. Does this sound familiar in the current era of Whole Child Codes of Conduct and Positive School Mandates? In 1947, apparently in recognition that an America rich enough to provide one side’s armaments and rebuild Europe afterwards, was rich enough to transition to a Human Needs focused Development Society, suddenly there must be education with “a school environment where the satisfactory adjustment of all pupils is a primary consideration…This ‘R’ is of even greater importance than the 3 ‘Rs’ yet it has received little time or attention in the school’s organization.”
Do Colleges of Education or the accreditation agencies today get to decide the answer to the question the NEA asked back in 1947 as part of its post-war, Let’s Transform the US intentions and make the impending Cold War a moot point, philosophy? “Is it more important for Dick to excel everyone in his class and bring home a report card of all A’s or learn how to live with all the other boys and girls in his neighborhood?” Today’s Collaboration mandate is Educators and Business Interests declaring that they get to decide the answer to that question and none of us are to have any ability to veto that transformation of the historic purpose of education.
Me? I went back to the words that John Keats wrote so well back in 1958 in his Schools Without Scholars that was also a tirade against a Life Adjustment focus. He noted that the difference between making the child’s interests the focus [today’s Relevance and Engagement] and making a body of knowledge the focus is about more than just “the nature of learning” and “the nature of things learned” although I will note that today’s Common Core rhetoric tries to ignore that both of those are being turned upside down. If we knew we might refuse to defer to the professional educators’ insistence they now get to decide. No, most importantly, as Keats also recognized, Life Adjustment under whatever name it uses in a particular decade is about “the true role of the individual in society.”
Now it seems with all the requisite communitarian focus and the “Universe of Obligation” required inquiry I will explain in the next post, Keats could not have been more prescient to our current dilemma being imposed via education. Are we going to allow schools to shift to required practices so that a teacher must now “conduct her class from the point of view that the individual has only a functional significance in society?” That is after all the view of the Career Pathways for All that the federal Departments of Ed, Labor, and HHS are now soliciting proposals for as School to Work is back. http://www.jff.org/news-media/long-sought-compromise-unites-parties-improve-us-workforce-development-system
I would be what Keats called a traditionalist: “dedicated to the proposition that society is merely a function of individuals.” As I put it in my book, do not use the word society as a noun unless we are talking about Mrs Astor’s Ballroom size. The title quote also comes from the 1947 NEA push and the same question still applies. What if the taxpayers paying the bill KNOW what is still useful much better than politicians or cronies or educators who live as parasites off the bounty produced by others? What right does a District Administrator or Principal dedicated to Mind Arson, the political transformation of the US, and active deceit to parents have to decide what is useful for the future and what is to be cast aside? Should a union like the NEA have the right to decide that either? Accreditors? Every one of these people or entities survives off of taxpayer funds and most of the adults leading these entities have no clue what actually produced the financial bounty they take for granted. And they have the veto power over what is needed for the future?
Or what is ‘useful?. This 1947 quote mirrors the School districts touting now that they no longer have a ‘deficit’ focus. Teachers are to “cease thinking of marking children and will start thinking how much the child is growing day after day, week after week, how much progress he’s making toward the kind of boy or girl which our town, our America, and our world finds useful.”
Useful for what? Useful to whom? If that decision is no longer in the realm of the individual student or parents, but has been outsourced to others who benefit from Mind Arson, what kind of society are we becoming?
Instead of town, today’s language is community. What functions does the community want each individual to have? Ask yourself who benefits from making the focus of the school the use of a device like a computer coupled to Non-Cognitive factors. Now that I have refreshed my recollection and augmented yours on Life Adjustment, we can contemplate what that focus has always intended to do. We can now examine the implications of what Columbia prof, Jacques Barzun, wrote in 1961 was an inversion of the entire purpose of education as students are all assumed to have “the supremely gifted mind, which must not be tampered with, and the defective personality which the school must remodel.”
That’s today’s assumption as well. What shall we do about these current unabashed intentions? Most of the barriers that have delayed this desire for wholesale transformation for so long in the purpose of education have fallen or died.
It’s up to us now to become those barriers again. Protect the children. Protect ourselves most of all. There are few things as dangerous as a parasite that has no idea where it actually gets its sustenance.