Coups, Culture & Consciousness: Contrived to Shape Our Future Character and Behavior

It’s the holiday season so let me provide the gift of clarity on the true direction of education at any level, in both the US and globally. This time we are going back to 1994 to another book from the last post’s James Moffett called The Universal Schoolhouse: Spiritual Awakening Through Education. I went back and reread it a few weeks ago after so many of the new papers and stories in just the last month reminded me so much of his earlier vision. Remember my motto about how the intentions of the architect for his plans follow automatically if anyone chooses to implement those plans, whether that actual purpose is known or not? Moffett told us though so let’s listen. Moffett, after all, believed that Culture and Consciousness should provide the dual focus for a new sort of education. He asked:

“How may public education best affect culture and the individual consciousness it interacts with?…I argue that personal development must be central, because all solutions to public problems, no matter how collective the action, depend on mature, enlightened individuals to call for and indeed insist on these solutions. Democracy simply cannot work otherwise, and we will lose it if political leaders continue to have to pander to the selfish, childish, bigoted, and short-sighted elements of the electorate. [No wonder citizen science is needed!] So it is not only for the sake of self-fulfillment that individuals should set and assess their own educational programs but for the sake of the commonweal, which needs members who, in learning to think and do for themselves, can think about and take care of each other.

All learners would participate in community service, and social agencies would be built into the educational system as major arenas of learning. Expanding awareness must occur socially, as part of transforming the culture. Only individual maturation will make either capitalism or democracy work, because freedom in both the market and individual behavior, presupposes a consciousness and identity that go beyond mere egoism.”

I will stop there as alert readers will recognize those aims are not just those of the admitted Left in transformational plans. We have also been told repeatedly, as I have documented here at ISC, that such a balance of instilled virtue is the very essence of modern Conservatism. So if I watch this video https://lp.hillsdale.edu/barney-charter-school-initiative-townhall/ sent out less than a week ago, I am told this new vision of education is all about instilling desired Character and tools of meaning-making and sense-making in viewing the world. Moffett would approve. Likewise, when a Hillsdale alumna who writes often about education wrote in The Federalist on November 10, 2018 that “all K-12 public schools should be duty-bound to instill in the next generation of voting citizens an understanding of their own country and the habits of mind and character befitting our historically unparalleled constitutional republic,” we get a substitute of the ‘republic’ term for Moffett’s Democracy, but the desired Citizen Science and internalized transformation in Consciousness is there all the same.

When I wrote Credentialed to Destroy, I covered much of the misleading narrative that sought to obscure the real aims of the Common Core and competency frameworks and how they fit with what was laid out above as well as the “students need common skills and understandings” called for here  https://www.crpe.org/sites/default/files/crpe-thinking-forward-new-ideas-new-era-public-education.pdf and the “system of learning designed to ensure that all learners are prepared with the knowledge, skills and dispositions to be successful lifelong learners” from here https://www.inacol.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Moving-Toward-Mastery.pdf . Since I am providing those links, I want to focus on what all these links and references have in common, no pun intended.

The common core is not something external, but rather something internalized as a new form of consciousness just as Moffett intended. Those CRPE and iNACOL papers fit with what Moffett said would be “Subjects and methods are reorganized around individual learners forging their personal curricula in interaction with others doing the same across a whole spectrum of learning sites, situations, and technologies. This is what I am calling the universal schoolhouse.” Today, we simply call it Project-Based Learning around a student’s built and natural environment. I get so frustrated when the False Narrative around these reforms makes Fed Ed the boogeyman because Moffett then, and the ESSA in the US, and UNESCO and the 0ECD globally, all know that “Part of this radical proposal is that the functions and funds of government be redeployed so that each level of government from municipal to federal does only what it can do better than the others.”

Since Moffett was so forthcoming that “without personal development you cannot hope for the enlightened electorate that democracy requires,” let’s go back to his vision that “Governments themselves will have to undertake this redirection, because they have charge of resources, and through them people must take action. [Higher standards enforced via the Rule of Law]. The state has to sponsor personal development for the sake of the social body, because there is no public problem one can name–unwanted children, unemployment, corruption in government–that would not be dramatically improved if the people involved were more mature, capable, and moral. Selfishness, ignorance, and immaturity can spoil any political and economic system, as indeed they have with both capitalism and communism.”

In case the real intention of learning standards is not yet evident, even though the eulogies for Moffett from NCTE members when he suddenly died, laid out that his work was “always on a quest for a better society” and the “culture we should create,” let’s go back to his admission that “education must prepare for the future…Evolution seems to press forward with a will of its own that gives history a direction no government ever planned. We must become conscious of this direction and try to interpret its import for future society…The more we take evolution into our own hands, the less destructive it needs to be.”

I don’t think you or I are included in that ‘our,’ but the political potentates at any level of government certainly are. They enact learning standards mandates and then give an erroneous sales pitch on why it is necessary as we saw above. Meanwhile, we get the law, my specialty, being used for “creating social coherence while fostering personal self-realization–the trick of our era–requires an education tuned to human evolution.” That OECD ABCD Framework from the last post makes total sense when we appreciate that the impetus for learning standards from the beginning was part of a vision where “nationhood is evolving into something better, based on relegating different sorts of governance to different levels of affiliation within and beyond itself, according to where different concerns can best be handled.”

The Powers-that-Be have decided some of those concerns are best handled at the level of instilling desired Habits of Mind and a Revolution of the Heart and they haven’t exactly been forthcoming in that purpose. It’s dangerous to keep hyping Workforce Development as the intended new role of education globally, when the architects of the tools being used tell us that “Since it is within familiar human realms that we have to transform education, however, let’s designate consciousness and culture as the new framework replacing nationalism and economics but understand that transformation itself aims to make consciousness and culture cosmic.” No wonder we keep stumbling across references to Ken Wilber and his Integral Theory behind all these plans for educational, political, or social transformation.

Remember that the ABCD Framework put the focus on developing the Learner’s Attention, Belief Formation, Choice, and then Determination? Compare that to what Moffett called “Sociality for Individualization”:

“Public education will have to do what the culture has so far failed to do–develop the individual’s inner resources to match the freedom we have been granted. Freedom is not enough; one has to learn how to use it. This means practicing it all while growing up by making decisions about how to spend one’s time…developing good judgment and learning how to make decisions is precisely what a good education ought to feature for the sake of both self-fulfillment and effective employment. Public education needs to be more personal [personalized learning?] in order to connect with individual will and intelligence. Exercise of will and mind go together. The school system cannot reserve will to itself and leave mind to the learner.”

I think I will close on that quote.

Happy December everyone.

 

20 thoughts on “Coups, Culture & Consciousness: Contrived to Shape Our Future Character and Behavior

    • Yes, that’s why I let it stand alone. Do you remember the conflict in West Virginia in the 70s? That was Moffett’s innovative Language Artc curriculum funded by Carnegie, which also funded that linked CPRE report along with the Walton Family Foundation.

      Remember how much I have warned over the SEL hype that it was about PII data with me saying, no, that’s not it. In his section on ed to transform consciousness, Moffett said “in the end even the most nitty-gritty problems–poverty, divorce, pollution, addiction, poor health, crime, international conflict, are solved by higher consciousness, because solutions for them all depend on people developing more inner strength and relating to each other more maturely.” That’s what SEL is really about. The inner strength is the personal learning and the interpersonal relating is also called social learning. The level of incorrect narratives here is dangerous given these explicit intentions is dangerous, whether it is caused by ignorance or deceit.

      Moffett goes on to then state that “Perceiving personal growth and interpersonal relating as the common denominator of problem solving is itself an advance in consciousness.” All these transformative purposes get hidden with euphemisms like why students should have a Growth Mindset instead of a Fixed.

      • Here is a clip that features Truth-Goodness-Beauty Queen Mary Ann Glendon talking about the UDHR on a website apparently devoted to the textbook, Facing History. She is author of a fawning book about Eleanor Roosevelt. She has written about why the Common Core and Catholic education are “incompatible”: No Truth-Goodness-Beauty in the former, don’t you know? She was US Ambassador to the the Vatican, an “overseer” of the Vatican Bank investigation and a great fan of the ultimately unmasked fraud, criminal, and founder of the Legion of Christ, Marcial Maciel. Harvard law professor. Rarely does one enjoy the opportunity to sample such an unsavory stew of ingredients in one fetid pot.

        https://www.facinghistory.org/resource-library/video/mary-ann-glendon-and-universal-declaration-human-rights

        • I am guessing Mary Ann does not realize some of us have a copy of Howard Gardner’s 2011 book redefining what Truth, Beauty, and Goodness mean for the Common Core Age and it fits in perfectly with the Catholic Curriculum Frameworks, which is also focused on conceptual knowledge, skills, and the dispositions’ of the students. Much like John Goodlad’s definition of a needed common core.

          Mary Ann was on one of those civil society commissions I have written about in terms of their communitarian focus. Yes, it was the Council on Civil Society and this article from 2000 describes Glendon as a Civil Society revivalist. https://scholarship.kentlaw.iit.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3194&context=cklawreview

          That communitarian focus would fit Howard Gardner’s definition of the Good in terms of human relations. She also wrote the Foreword to this Robert George book https://www.amazon.com/Conscience-Its-Enemies-Confronting-Institutions/dp/1610171411

          Few think tanks have done more than George’s APP and its Orwellian-named Truth in American Education to drive the False Narrative. It has ended up much like The Dog that Did Not Bark as the effect is “Don’t look there! Look here!”

          I just got back from a nice walk before the rain moves in here and was thinking about my angst 3 years ago at this time and how much I ended up learning from the duplicity in the end.

        • Also to bring it all full circle Jean Bethke Elshtain at U-Chicago was in charge of the Science of Virtues project there I wrote about in connection with Templeton Foundation/Jubilee Centre link. https://prawfsblawg.blogs.com/prawfsblawg/2013/08/jean-bethke-elshtain-rip-and-the-limits-of-politics.html Elshtain also chaired that Council on Civil Society and wrote about Eleanor Roosevelt too. This is a quote from an article Glendon wrote:

          It also struck me as curious that most contributors to the voluminous Roosevelt literature had overlooked the connection between Eleanor Roosevelt’s achievements and the high-minded Protestant Christianity that was so much a part of her public and private persona. One notable exception was Jean Bethke Elshtain’s 1986 essay on “Eleanor Roosevelt as Activist and Thinker,” in which Elshtain pondered why that dimension of Roosevelt’s life had been so frequently ignored”and why feminist thinkers had shown little interest in the ideas of a woman who undeniably had wielded great political influence.

          This is the link. https://www.firstthings.com/article/2010/05/god-and-mrs-roosevelt

          It really is all about the Human Development Society and creating the needed consciousness for it via a reimagined kind of education that also functions as a religious holistic vision. Gardner even writes of virtues that different countries must not be allowed to have different conceptions of acceptable citizenship. Reminded me of when Hong Kong redid the entire K-12 curriculum after annexation and reimagined citizenship in terms of Lawrence Kohlberg’s Moral Development. Since Kohlberg was Robert Kegan’s mentor, we thus have a direct connection between the Universal Love Citizenship vision as the Chinese called it and Robert Kegan’s vision of cognitive, intrapersonal, and interpersonal competencies.

          In Gardner’s terms cognitive would be reframed as Truth, intrapersonal as Beauty as in moving, memorable experiences that one would like to revisit, and the interpersonal would be the Good as in human relations for the common good. It’s all coming together nicely.

          I am adding this as I just saw the story that the Rockefeller F, whose affiliate MOMA is where Gardner hatched his book from a series of lectures in 2008, has created a documentary on Universal Health Coverage Day, which was yesterday. https://www.rockefellerfoundation.org/blog/health-evolving-story/ If you click the link “Roots’ after the Prologue it hypes the role of Eleanor Roosevelt and the UDHR. Probably not a coincidence since many at the time recognized that the UDHR exemplified the little ‘c’, Marxist Humanist vision of the Human Development Society.

  1. I vote “deceit” at the engineering/leadership level (they know they are “transvaluing” individualistic freedom based values to usher in collectivism), and “ignorance” (useful idiots-their leaders’ words, not mine) at the classroom level.

    • I think that is largely right, but it is not unusual to watch a classroom teacher explain that the purpose of the Common Core is that “neurons that fire together, wire together”. They simply do not grasp the broader intentions, which is not surprising. It has taken me years of full-time research to get to the point where I can take a contemporary report and recognize its ancestry. Likewise, I knew when I wrote CtD that brain changes were a side effect of Constructivism. I did not know it was the purpose. Now I am drowning in these admissions.

      I don’t know where I would put the think tank employees and the blog sites they seem to either support finacially or be simpatico with in terms of narrative. I don’t think most know why certain narratives are off limits if they want compensation. Regardless of what they know, what I can prove is very concrete now because the pieces fit and the creators were expressive with their desired intentions.

      Neither we nor our children need to be told ‘how to think’ by people either lying to us or misinterpreting these programs.

  2. Imagine this headline: “Focus on soft skills will lead us astray: Chief Scientist”, Nov 25, 2018, The Australian.

    The scientist is Dr Alan Finkel, an engineer who created the tech company Axon Instruments. I will provide short snippets as this story is now behind a paywall:

    – criticized the logic behind the push for young people to develop so-called 21st-century skills, arguing the nation risks going “badly astray” unless content remains central to the school curriculum.
    – [there is the] case for preserving rigour
    – [He questioned] developing teamwork, emotional intelligence and creative thinking skills
    – [His comments] run contrary to the apparent thinking within the national curriculum authority, which has recently hired US-based 21st-century skills proponent Charles Fadel to help redesign the maths curriculum with a focus on generic skills.

    I know this blog has followed Fadel and his influence for a long time. I’m surprised that Australia has now imported Fadel on top of Pasi Sahlberg from Finland. Why this quickening pace?

    I also looked up if Fadel has been to my Canadian province of BC — on top of all those other gurus that keep popping up. Lo and behold! He WAS prominent here a few years back, mainly speaking to the private and independent schools groups!

    • Australia is a named partner in Fadel’s Center for Curriculum Redesign. Fadel actually is on his second career. His first career was with Ray Stata at Analog Devices, one of the original Massachusetts tech companies. Stata endowed the Center for Computer, Information and Intelligence Sciences at MIT so using learning standards to try to turn the human mind into a closed, defined system fits perfectly. He personally funded CCR’s redo of the math curriculum. It is creating a 21st century “online module scheduled to be available on Open EdX in March 2019.” https://curriculumredesign.org/ccr-receives-grant-for-21st-century-mathematics-online-module-4dedu-21stcenturyskills-currredesign/

      The Federalist quote I used in this post was written on the January 2018 CCR report by Fadel and Maya Bialik linked here https://curriculumredesign.org/wp-content/uploads/CCR_Knowledge_FINAL_January_2018.pdf. I actually had it with the other two reports I linked to in this post because they are all clearly using curriculum to change the mind and Identity of the student. When I read that Pullmann quote I wrote it on the Fadel paper to use it it in a post along with my notation that “like Fadel, she wants to use education to instill a worldview and have the student behave as a system. Only the ideas forming the sales pitch rationale differ.”

      Relevant to the linked BCSI video from Hillsdale was the Fadel vision for concept knowledge as the base. CCR wrote “In order to use content to build larger understandings that will be useful and transferable, content should be connected with concepts in a way that helps students to create meaning.” I wrote in the margin that CCR wanted a “common conceptual core to guide meaning-making in shared ways”. That analysis, which goes to my understanding of how cybernetic theories of the mind and systems theory appled to living entities like people and their minds has to work was several weeks before Arnn sent out that video which used language I recognized from my earlier analysis. I am not stretching here at all.

      In fact, CCR goes on to state that “The opposite of fragmented information is meaning. In his book, Realms of Meaning, Philip Phenix makes the argument that making meaning is the essential human activity, and that education should help students learn in different ways that humanity has successfully developed to make different kinds of meaning.” Again, I wrote in the margin that these ‘different ways” would function to get to Moffat’s new types of consciousness.

      Then again several weeks later Arnn sends out the video pitching meaning making as the purpose of BCSI’ new vision of American education. It’s not a new vision at all and fits with why the rhetoric in his book The Founders Key reminded me so much of Amitai Etzioni’s New Golden Rule. Again, this all makes sense when we recognize, as Moffet told us and John Dewey did years ago, that the desired social and political transformation needs a new kind of consciousness. That shared consciousness that guides perception, the interpretation of experiences, and that motivates action is the real common core. Obscuring that reality is the source of all these False Narratives consciously dispersed globally by cooperating think tanks and their employees and media affiliates. It’s also why we find the same foundations frequently funding all of the above activities.

    • Speaking of ‘soft skills’ take a look at these two articles and this vision NSF is funding.

      “Part of the Albemarle County School District, Community Middle feels and functions differently than most other schools in America. The middle school has been in operation for 10 years, with innovation and the arts woven into its original charter. But it reopened this year with a new staff and a fresh design to realign with its mission to create learning experiences constructed around problems, projects and personal interests. In this new model, learning looks a lot like playing.

      “We don’t have separated subject areas in our school. Everything is interdisciplinary,” explained Stephanie Passman, the lead teacher, during EdSurge’s recent visit to the school. And it’s “markedly different” from what most students are used to, she adds. Student schedules feature long blocks of project time and electives, with literacy and math work peppered in throughout the week.”

      https://www.edsurge.com/news/2018-12-10-is-assessment-ready-to-move-beyond-standardized-tests-these-mit-researchers-think-so is Part I.

      https://www.edsurge.com/news/2018-12-11-how-playful-assessment-unseated-standardized-tests-at-one-school is Part 2 and where the quote came from.

  3. “The school system cannot reserve will to itself and leave mind to the learner.”

    Wow. Just wow. They really missed the true meaning of freedom. They must mean freedom to think and act as we program you to.

    Hope you are well. Will you be making pasta and Bolognese this holiday?

    • Yes, on Christmas Eve and my middle daughter is cooking my Penne a la Vodka recipe tonight at friends’ house at their request. She had brought some as leftovers to the office and they thought it looked wonderful.

      Handling lots personally so may not get to write again in 2018 but am pulling everything together well in my mind. That seems a good way to go into 2019, n’est pas?

      There really is a belief that the mind can be reprogrammed to be the desired operating system for a new kind of worker and citizen.

      Hope you get your entire family together for the holidays. Would you believe my college kid’s flight had to return to the gate because a passenger had smuggled a pit bull onto the plane?

  4. Seriously, smuggled a pit bull? How did that get by the geniuses of Homeland Security? Nevermind. Thought you might like this article I happened upon today. Reading it I’m fairly sure my eyeballs rolled so far back into my head that they saw my cervical spine.

    The Case for Architecture Classes in Schools

    https://www.citylab.com/design/2018/12/teaching-children-architecture-planning-vicky-chan-hong-kong/577720/?utm_campaign=the-atlantic&utm_term=2018-12-14T01%3A06%3A33&utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_content=edit-promo&fbclid=IwAR2Qp700d46SRqftEEgdztSOyZUsNy5fp6Kcso0Tull62fuASFJcRu0lS9A&fbclid=IwAR2CwxiSpX2Hc0c9SWLpwc_vXqrZ2Hxe5_he1WVWMtza_sv_oLWgZx-B68g

    • I had the same thought on the pit bull and wondered if it was sedated somehow in a carry-on. In 2019 we have standards for computational thinking https://www.iste.org/explore/articleDetail?articleid=152 coming as the internalized mental maps really do come to be the bullseye of assessments as those links above make clear. Local news media though covering up the true nature of Georgia’s sought waiver on ESSA used words like ‘tests’ vs ‘quizzes’.

      Here’s a couple of clarifying statements from Gardner’s Truth, Beauty, and Goodness Reframed because it’s the 21st century and we all apparently must staple on our assigned new narratives like good comrades. “Every age has its predominant modes of explantion, ones that govern or even constitute the thinking of the era.” Oh, goody, I always want to do as I am told. A natural adherent, that’s me!. Now put all these quotes in the context of the footnoting to Gardner’s other vision from CtD, including why he didn’t want fluent phonetic readers.

      “…I argue that what is distinctly human is our caacity to change, or to transcend, whatever traits and inclinations we may have as initial endowment, courtesy of evolution. Our prehistory, our recorded history, and our numerous diverse cultures testify to the flexibility of our species and the unfathomability of its future course.”

      That change or transcending of the initial endowment is what Learning is in the 21st century and creating common goals for what will be internalized at the level of Dispositions, skills, and conceptual knowledge and guiding principles is what Learning Standards are really about. Later, in the chapter on Goodness (at the MOMA program Gardner had Antonio Damasio who wrote Descartes Error and is now involved in the BRAIN 2025 Initiative among other things as the advocate for that Virtue) Gardner wrote:

      I would be thrilled if a new, truly universal belief system, which could be religious or spiritual in tone, were to emerge and to help individuals carry out various roles in a more ethical manner…if they are to endure, societies need a consensually shared code of morals and values–in a sense, the society needs to act as if it were one large clan.

      Nothing like common learning standards tied to universal data gathering about values and belief systems and what changes are occurring in what is internalized, creates motivation, and guides interpretation of experiences to get at what Gardner seeks. The latter desire to act as a clan ties to the omnipresent communitarianism we find in Positive School Climate, but also in all these programs this blog has documented that Templeton and the Bradley Foundations are pushing that also track to desired instilled virtues.

      We seem to have different nomenclature and sales pitches, but a common, hoped for collective destination of future transformation. Everybody wants to use the same tool of a reimagined conception of education to alter the personal characteristics and minds of the next generation so that they have the needed steerable rudder and internalized compass without recognizing how very ‘designed’ they now are.

      Tea time for me from our favorite tea shop. Earl Grey as apparently bergamot is good for us. With these toxic ideas, I need all the help I can get.

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