Cultivating Understandings of Consequence to Guide Daily Life and Prompt Desired Behaviors

Dialectic is such an off-putting word that it is easy to ignore what it is trying to say about a desired vision for how the world ought to work in the future. Especially if you are a political radical hoping for a reason to push transformation. Before the Enlightenment and especially before Darwin published his views of a spontaneous, non-directed biological evolution, both philosophy and religion had developed ways to see the world as a whole. All aspects of it–human, natural, and divine–as related together in an orderly way. The common term used for that all-encompassing vision is a cosmology. When I read Engestrom’s desire to get back to seeing the world in terms of systemic causal relationships–Ascending from the Abstract to the Concrete– where none actually exist, I saw that desire to reorder the nature of the world back into a cosmology view. Without saying so. I saw the same intent in that Rand report mentioned in the last post encouraging students to come up with broad principles from isolated facts. We are really in the realm of belief here, not knowledge.

The difference between me and another commentator on that clearly designed to be globally influential Rand  report is that when I read the grey box blurb on “Correcting Misconceptions about Complex Causality” I immediately recognized I was reading BS. I had read too much disdain for seeing the world in terms of factual and linear, cause and effect relationships to not be suspicious that somehow it was perfectly permissible to think in terms of causality with the so-called ecosystem. Moreover, I recognized that drive for a holistic view of the world because a few weeks ago I read a 1982 book called The Return to Cosmology: Postmodern Science and the Theology of Nature. Written by Stephen Toulmin, it was the source of the Koestler example in the last post.

Toulmin wanted very much for our now 21st century humanity to rethink its place as independent of nature. In fact, by the early 80s he viewed a first “movement toward a revival of ‘natural religion,’ and a reunion of science with ‘natural theology,’ is already underway, though not necessarily under explicitly theological colors. The traditional issues of natural religion are forcing themselves on public attention, though under other names.” The commentators who have remarked over the years that the theory of Catastrophic Manmade Climate Change behaves more like a religion than science might well want to consider Toulmin’s insider observation of what was going on. It’s on page 261.

The problem though is it now comes in as Engestrom’s Theory of Expansion basically whitewashing these old Soviet and Eastern European systemic political theories. Or via the current NSF funded Understandings of Consequence Project being run by Project Zero at Harvard. Which is where searching the names in the footnoted Misconceptions of Complex Causality support took me. Tina A Grotzer and Belinda Bell Basca to be more precise than what the Rand report provided. I think they thought a footnote should suffice to take their word that the assertion was true. No, I actually located their “How does grasping the underlying causal structures of ecosystems impact students’ understanding?” that dated back to a conference from 2000. Hmm, that would be the last go around at US comprehensive radical ed reform. Back when the rest of the world moved ahead of us in gutting the transmission of knowledge as too individualistic. And not apt to a world in flux.

I got to read about RECAST–REvealing CAusal STructure. Structure of course being another name for seeing the world systemically and looking for relationships among things instead of individual characteristics. And I thought of how useful RECAST would be to an education reformer wishing to create widespread and influential misconceptions about how the world works. Just how useful it would be to get at and impact “how we frame experience or information.” To be able to provide “a flexible repertoire of models that [students] understand how to map to relevant occasions.” Tracy Benson of the Waters Foundation did say in print that Systems Thinking was about controlling personal behavior. That would do it and it would be quite invisible.

Then I followed up on the related idea of EcoMUVE–Advancing Ecosystems Science Education via Situated Collaborative Learning in Multi-User Virtual Environments” which of course is the gaming like River City we have already encountered in posts like this one . And I saw that NSF sponsorship of Understandings of Consequence and language asking me–“What inherent default assumptions do humans make that influence how we reason about complexity in the world?” Well, quite honestly, most people cannot very well because they are actually not too good with abstractions. So they will simply have to take the concepts as provided and use them as instructed.

Now, how useful is that for a Project Zero Group also representing IB in creating Global Consciousness and the CCSSO (supposed state creators of the Common Core) in their related Global Competence push? Secondly I remember that the NSF has changed its policy and is now explicitly using K-12 education to squelch climate skepticism. And I have all those documents and have written about it.

Plus I remember our cosmology aspiring professor writing in a 1974 essay included in his book how so many scientists with aspirations of how society should be organized sought to apply the laws of physical systems to living systems. But that when you do that, you are applying physical laws to philosophical matters. Trying to get human affairs to organize themselves systemically even though as Toulmin said regretfully in a footnote:

“After many years of loose talk about ‘ecosystems,’ many leading ecologists are now shying away from the term…The phenomena so referred to (food chains etc.) also lack the stable, self-restoring character of physiological systems, i.e., are not fully ‘systemic.’ If only they were!”

Toulmin even described how French biologist, Francois Jacob, and his attempt at Biological Structuralism, was dealing with “cultural and social integrons” that are unfortunately not sufficiently systemic in the way he desires. So, Toulmin noted wistfully, talking of systems in “politics, culture, and society” does not change the non-causal, non-systemic nature. It’s just a case of bad analogizing to develop a theory to get desired results in human behavior. Something Paul Ehrlich has said he is still doing with IHDP. In fact he says we are more than five years into the global transformation affiliated with the UN.

How to get there? Well, let’s face it, what is the likelihood of a non-footnote detective reading Toulmin? Slim so the analogy to physical systems should stand for most teachers and students and the general population. Just mention “the Second Law of Thermodynamics says” and they will listen. Totally unaware it is NOT a Law of the Universe but a universal law that ONLY applies to a ‘thermally isolated’ system, which is one that “is shielded against all interchanges of heat with bodies outside itself.” Used elsewhere Toulmin said you are trying to use science to argue philosophy. Without admitting that is what is happening.

The year after Toulmin’s book the theories to repair the damage to the wonderful usefulness of inapt analogies and false beliefs to generate Social Transformation began anew with the publication of “Structure-Mapping: A Theoretical Framework for Analogy” by Psych Prof Dedre Gentner. Those of you who have always wondered precisely what higher-order thinking in these assessments such as STAAR in Texas or the OECD’s PISA should realize that “structural analysis=higher order relations.” The idea in all this developing analogizing work is for a student to take what that have been taught about complex causal relations and apply it to a previously untaught area without a clear solution.

Then hopefully as Professors John E Hummel and Keith Holyoak have discovered in their LISA, Learning Inferences through Schemas and Analogies, research:

“People are able to induce schemas by comparing just two analogs to one another. Indeed, people will form schemas simply as a side effect of applying one solved problem to one unsolved target problem.”

Whether it fits or not. Driven not by similarities but by being told there is a causal relationship among the two domains. Even if there is no visible correspondence of characteristics. In fact NSF has also funded research into “Causal Models as Inference Engines” within the last few years. All of which reminded me of the passage in the Rand report where “teachers ask students to engage in high-road transfer by making conceptual connections between scientific laws [like mass and motion] and situations they may encounter in their lives.”

Where again it would be inapt but would any student be in a position to know that? Reading through all the Understandings of Consequences classroom projects and what is sought by NSF and what is in that Rand report and Engestrom’s Learning by Expansion, it is very difficult NOT to see all these so-called education reforms as designed to get students to believe and then feel compelled to act on things that very well may not be true.

Back to cosmology without saying so. Back to people needing direction without pointing out that is the intent of the reforms.

What happens in a world when so much of what is believed is not so?

And so much of what is important is no longer widely known?


18 thoughts on “Cultivating Understandings of Consequence to Guide Daily Life and Prompt Desired Behaviors

  1. Robin,

    all roads point to Mecca.

    same s***T different day.

    the bs keeps flowing and flowing, 75 years of psychobabble, it is hard to read any document no matter how obscure anymore without knowing after the first few sentences that the destination is the same, no matter how many stinky wet wool blankets or diaphanous silk veils are floating or piled on top of the hidden intentions. Harvard, Stanford, ivy league bs no less. the self importance has transferred in education that as a parent we are sneered at with acute distain regarding our own children, a la msnbc’s Harris-Perry’s proclamations about leaning forward via collective ownership of our children.
    unreal dillusion.

    • You should read through the various projects on that site. I also realized that the Understanding by Design that Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe were doing all over Texas in the run up to STAAR is to teach the teachers to ask “essential questions” that have the students looking for causation and relationships where none actually exist. But believing that everything you do impacts others has a very definite impact on personal behavior and how Texan students see the world.

      It’s always different excuses for getting to same behavioral goal.

      • yet all the texans I know are clueless and still think they are ready to suceed (sp?) and refused common core! UbD is pushed to private school here in philly by the Intermediate Unit, here it is MCIU, I will send you a great document they put out for their agents in schools how to not ” kill” UbD by going to fast with it in their school

  2. I found it interesting that you brought up evolution – but first:

    The supposed ‘ascent from abstract to concrete’ seems to be peculiarly backwards. What happened to the constructivism, like in the new math? They appear to be doubling backward philosophically. Now I see what you mean by ‘there are a lot of moving parts.’

    What sounds particularly odd to me is Davydov’s parenthetical comment, “with the help of the teacher,” that appeared several times in the short excerpts quoted in the Engestrom paper several times.

    So is this how it works:
    A. Student sees a video of a glacier melting (a specific instance)
    B. Student generalizes (with the help of the teacher) “the earth must be warming.”
    C. Student generalizes further (with the help of the teacher) “man caused this problem because of greed and capitalism” – or whatever . . .

    I think this would be an excellent example of transdisciplinary inquiry (Judith Ramaley’s paper) courtesy of Monty Python:

    A real world problem . . .
    • How can we determine if so and so is a witch or not?
    • How will we do this?
    • Well, what can we do with witches? (teacher prompting the students)
    • Burn them!
    • Well, if you can burn something, it must be made out of wood, because wood burns.
    • Witches burn, and wood burns, therefore witches are made out of wood.
    • So if she’s made out of wood she must be a witch.
    • How do we find out if she’s made out of wood?
    • What will wood do? Ah! It will float!
    • So, if she floats, then she’s made out of wood, and she must be a witch.
    • How are we going to find out if she floats? We don’t have enough water?
    • What else floats? A duck!
    • So, logically, if she weighs the same as a duck, she must be made out of wood, therefore she’s a witch and it’s OK for us to burn her!

    Would the theory of evolution be the greatest modern transdiciplinary success story? Again, it moves from specific genetic variations among species and proceeds to grand generalizations.

    They learned one lesson in the process – don’t call it the Theory of Global Warming, just call it Global Warming.

    If you’d like a good laugh here’s a link to the scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It’s right up the alley of Partnership for 21st Century Skills.

    Talk about hasty generalizations.

    • I brought up evolution for a couple of very good reasons. Political radicals want the world to be Lamarckian. They want the changes made to be inheritable and they are not. So they have turned to cultural evolution to get the same end results. Education then becomes the primary tool. This cultural evolution goal away from a focus on the individual and towards a belief in systems and the need for central planning was behind Julian Huxley’s goals for UNESCO from the beginning. Something the remember as you read this old post that laid it out in the context of Educating globally for Sustainable Development.

      As I mentioned with Koestler former radicals never lose their hatred for spontaneous, non-directed processes like free markets. The idea that prosperity can come from institutions that were never designed but arise out of spontaneous processes among individuals pursuing their own ends which is what free markets are is anathema to a Statist. They want someone in charge and if it cannot be them it should be a relative or their college roommate to maintain connections.

      So cultural evolution and hatred on unplanned, spontaneous processes are part of this story. Both in terms of what is intended now and what I find when I look back over philosophical discussions about the place of the individual, the role of the state, the economy over the past several hundred years. Our ability to engage in the conversation this time is being usurped via educators who are imposing this philosophical views via the classroom. The same profs involved with the Understandings of Consequence project from this post were involved about 15 years ago with CORE. CORE stands for Cognitive Reorganization. Now doesn’t that fit right in with Learning by Expansion and learning to apply theories like the Systematicity principle to everyday affairs? It fits with that STEM report too doesn’t it? It also fits with the 21st century skills rhetoric.

      Uncle Karl as I call him to acknowledge that he keeps coming up but I am not Joe McCarthy looking for him everywhere was a great admirer of Darwin and the theory of evolution. He thought it fit in well with his views of historical progression. Charles seems to have had the sense to keep his distance from Marx & Engels but they immediately wanted to expand the theories of evolution to culture and specifically to psychology.

      Which is what is going on now except no one was talking about it. If you can get at and monitor what people believe and value and their driving dispositions (a la that Grit, Perseverance and Tenacity report the federal Dept of Ed put out in February) you have everything any tyrant in history wanted to mold for their benefit. That’s a historical fact not an attempt to hype emotions. It is what it is and this is a hugely important target because it drives all future behavior. And if it is grounded primarily in emotion and false beliefs, it is that much more enduring. Remember it is hard to use reason and facts to undo what was not created from facts and reason in the first place.

    • Robin,

      Your previous post, If Facts Won’t Cooperate There’s Always Pedagogy, was very helpful. It clarified several things I was stuck on. The quotes from the UN documents were stunning. I was unaware that we were in the midst of the UN’s ‘Decade of Education for Sustainable Development,’ or that they had ‘Millennium Development Goal’ of which we all are supposedly a part, or the ‘Higher Education Sustainability Initiative.’ All of the above are very scary, but the fact that new teachers are going to be coming into the interview room talking up ‘Sustainability’, and believing it – makes me sick.

      I agree with your historical assessment of the UN in the opening paragraph:
      “They give legitimacy to national leaders who cause great harm to their people in their own countries.” And it is happening now in America.

      This will come as no surprise to you but I was reading the new “Transfer Goals and Cornerstone Task Ideas” for Health, PE, and the Arts that Jay McTighe came up with and here’s a sample:

      “Respond to artistic expression through global understanding, interpretation, critical stance, and personal connection.”

      It’s hard for me to comprehend how one “responds to artistic expression through global understanding?”

      Create artistic expressions for various audiences and purposes including to “Challenge (e.g., the status quo)”

      Teachers might have different ideas about who or what the status quo is today.

      Thanks for the information. It’s frightening, but illuminating.

      • Global understanding acts as the abstract concept to be the prism. As would race or systems or class or social justice or diversity. When I wrote the story about the IB Annual Meeting in Madrid last September there was a keynote presentation on the use of these types of vague but emotionally powerful concepts to frame understanding. I mulled it over at the time but it was before I had read Engestrom and Davydov. I found a useful doc from the Netherlands on all this that referred to Ascending from the Abstract to the Concrete instead of a transmissionary traditional education as creating Glasnost for the lucky students. That was the word used-Glasnost.

        I systematically went through the bibliography and started ordering more books whenever I could get them at a decent price. So we will soon know basically what insiders are in a position to know using their own words. Which as you may have noticed is how I like to work.

        I am coming back to this and UNESCO and RECAST in the next post. I have found a way to frame it using historical sources recognizing what happens when there is nothing in the way of a predator state. I actually went back to just after the French Revolution and Napoleon for helpful insights.

        If you have not seen this story from January it should help frame some more how Sustainability and education are being used essentially to legally prey on taxpayers and then make it that much less likely that anyone in the future will accurately recognize that this is a return to the historic use of the State for organized theft for the benefit of connected cronies.

        This is really not unprecedented in the least. It’s how feudalism worked if you were lucky enough to be nobility and precisely what the nomenklatura did in the USSR. And it IS being globalized. At least that is the desire. One source I read though recognized that this kind of Mardi Gras tends to lead to a long Lent of suffering later. Not a bad analogy to my overused seed corn point.

        • Robin,

          I’ve caught my breath . . .

          I was amazed that at the end of the presentation it was asked, “If you want to help develop Big History Research . . . or if you would like to discuss what BH could mean for your research, THOUGHT LEADERSHIP, or CSR initiative, please . . . “ (slide 69).

          Now we have “thought leadership!” Wow! That’s bold!

          That compulsion to attempt to “show how all the pieces fit together” is an anathema. Who’s to determine that? It’s so presumptuous. Bach put the pieces together one way, Mozart another, Beethoven another, Debussy another still, and so forth? It amazes me when people think they have all of the answers.

          To answer his question about the opportunity cost associated with teaching and deciding on what to teach – I’m not even going to go there . . .

          I was wondering where this quote came from in your “If Facts Don’t Cooperate . . .”

          “ESD seeks to impart trans-disciplinary understanding of social behaviour, cultural attitudes, sustainability principles and ethical values. . . [ESD] looks holistically at the interdependence of the environment, the economy, society and cultural diversity at the local to global levels. The aim is to nurture a common understanding of sustainable development and how daily activities in the economy have significant, long-term material consequences for humans and the environment.”

          I searched the pdf of the UNESO document Educating for a Sustainable Future: A Transdiciplinary Vision for Concerted Action and couldn’t find it. I’d love to know where it came from if you let me know? I was always wondering what the heck they meant by the word ‘transdisciplinary’ and that quote gives me a good idea of the term in which they are thinking.

          As I was searching the UNESCO document I came across an interesting passage:
          “It has to be recognized that neither individuals nor societies are ready or even able to change their habits and behaviours from one day to the next. Proposals for change, if they are to be effective, have to be feasible. Both the messages and the messengers have to APPEAR credible and responsible.”
          It’s diabolical.
          Back to your description of the UN a governing body that “give legitimacy to national leaders who cause great harm to their people in their own countries.”
          That’s the prism through which their ideas for education should be examined.

          • And rent seeking and being tax consumers and not tax producers. I am fighting one of those everything is blooming and my sinuses want to burst headaches but I have a joke that all the good quotes in a UNESCO doc are at about page 160 of a 200 page document. That’s my recollection but I will have to doublecheck my notes.

            Big History is interesting because I first came across Christian following up on the AP World History redo and tracked it to the World History Association and William McNeill of Chicago and his son James at Georgetown. They have no use for the myth there is anything special about the West’s prosperity. I was trying to find out why the Frameworks were so biased. I mean the idea of describing Communism in 2012 as an international system of allocating economic resources seemed laughable. And potentially dangerous.

            Anyway Christian came on my radar then and following up led me to a quote from many years ago where he basically wrote that what had kept Communism from working in the USSR was grafting it onto an agricultural base. Instead of an industrialized base as the West had. Nothing apparently wrong with Marxist theory per se just wrong place to try. Which had me follow up to see if that was a widespread belief. That Marxism might remain viable if it could be imposed on the already industrialized West. That was sort of an “Ah-Oh” moment for me. How widespread was that belief? Because among influential people it would be a time bomb.

            I had forgotten about it until I read him say Gates was an admirer. And then I read about the TED talks. For a while Christian was at UC San Diego. Right in the midset of our CHAT believers and hoped for implementers via education. If these were just personal beliefs it would not be our business. If education is the vehicle to impose them on the rest of us, then it is our business.

            The AP Frameworks vanished. What they stirred up. Not at all.

            Transdisciplinary is what the Rand report called using the disciplines to practice applying these broader concepts to new areas. That creates the sought Transformation in individual beliefs. I have been reading and thinking a lot today in between naps.

        • What a bunch of garbage is “big history”.

          It says that these major steps it identified occurred relatively suddenly, at “threshold moments”. We do not know this. What we do observe is that we only know of a few steps, or can only imagine a few equilibria in the case of times before fossils. In the fossil record, we have many “missing links” that are very embarrassing for evolutionists, which are explained here just as evidence for sudden change when for some unexplained (and probably unexplainable) reason things were “just right”.

          And then to push their central agenda is the slide:
          “What makes human so different? COLLECTIVE LEARNING”

          Has he never heard of ant colonies? They show collective intelligence.

          Not to mention that he’s forgetting all the old ideas of opposable thumbs, standing erect, higher reasoning ability and language ability, etc.

          If they think they can dumb the kids down enough to accept this “Big History” garbage, I have renewed hope. Because I think they will fail miserably.

          • David,

            The Smithsonian is involved with Big History AND the Understandings of Consequence project. That’s a lot of influential false beliefs being instilled instead of knowledge and accurate facts. And genuine causation. And it is involved with the definition of what is Global Competence. is that story from June. Which is important when you remember the point of Common Core is to be college and career ready. Actual definitions matter.

   from that same conference ties in IB, 21st century skills, that awful Facing History character development curriculum, etc as all being linked to what the Smithsonian is pushing. And Project Zero as we now know.

            Uncle Karl’s economic and political theories are what most people are familiar with if they have thought of Marxism at all. It was not until I realized it mattered to understanding this story and dug in and taught it to myself starting with Robert Heilbroner that I knew there was a theory of historical progression involved. The theory of human development really only fell out in a quotable fashion when I saw Berman’s book cited in footnotes and got it. Not realizing he was an admirer and therefore very forthcoming in how he linked everything together.

            Big History strikes me as getting back to the idea of a necessary historical progression without using the M word. Not surprising. The Chinese are now wrapping the human devt theory as being Confuscist and leaving off its derivation. Consistent with David Christian’s background as well as Big History’s original ties, since erased, to Moscow State.

    • I thought you were going to conclude your story like this:
      How do we determine if she’s a witch? If she’s made of wood then she’s a witch.
      How do we determine if she’s made of wood? See if she floats.
      If she floats, she’s a witch so kill her.
      If she sinks, oh well, problem solved anyway. 🙂

      Just as an aside, today my younger son came home and said that during their too-short 20 minute lunch period, they were instructed to stop eating (!) and pay attention while some outside group gave a presentation about sustainable energy and pushed them to sign a petition against the proposed Keystone pipeline, the oil pipe that would run from the Canada oil-sand fields down to the Gulf of Mexico.

      There was no competing group debating the pro-Keystone point of view, nor were students invited to analyze the issues. It was nothing but political organizing, enforced and supported by school authorities, and to be sure we parents never heard from the administration that this was going to happen or that it did happen.

      I don’t recall that sort of thing ever happening in my whole time as a student. I guess the UN really is allowed to push their agenda in our schools. Did we sign a treaty allowing that or something? It seems illegal to me, what do you think Robin?

      • We are having Green Spirit Week at my youngest’s high school in honor of Lenin’s birthday. I meant Earth Day of course.

        Extra Points for the Advisory that shows the most spirit including joining the Recycling Club!!

        Gag. Would not have known if I had not been doublechecking the times for a school event.

        Our children’s generation is supposed to believe in CAGW as a matter of faith without recognizing it is just belief and not demonstrably factual. Or that there’s a difference. CAGW is the excuse for transforming our world and the future in every conceivable way. I have told the story as it relates to the Common Core but when I went back to a 1992 book that laid out what the Clintons pursued the same economic and political and social vision was there too. It turns out to always come with this so-called radical ed reform. You will remember that 92 was the year of the original Rio conference and the creation of Agenda 21. The actual treaties and documents that make up that very real, if disturbing, vision.

        The math and ELA are what has been covered. I think the C3 Social Studies Framework and the Next Generation Science Standards were to be the real action in changing values, attitudes, beliefs, and feelings in a school day that was far more interdisciplinary than is appreciated. It was no accident a few years ago that the summer reading for 10th grade honors English was an American history revisionist book almost as bad as Howard Zinn’s. By the politically aloof (right) author of Sundown Cities.

        It does feel like a “this time it will happen” point in a silly movie sometimes doesn’t it?

        • My son gets in trouble or has awkward experiences in Social Studies and Science. Those teachers seem to set traps for him.

          Not the case in Math and English. Those teachers seem to really like him. They need his score on the state math and ELA tests, for one thing. 🙂

          He had the 6th grade state math test this past week. They gave him a calculator (arithmetic is no longer expected) even though at home we’ve required him to work out the arithmetic by hand. Anyway the whole point of the 4 1/2 hours of testing, according to him, was translating simple story problems into numerical form (don’t know if they need to create and solve any equations yet) and then punch the expression into the calculator. Have to say I am fairly happy if the test is about translating word problems into math, because that’s a real skill!

          So he’s done with 6th grade math and ELA now, and from what he says, they were OK and nothing particularly spooky or political about them. And he has an awareness of that so I doubt they could sneak it by him.

          • I am glad David. That does sound like a useful baseline long term though. You will be able to track both reading fluency that way and the ability to independently conceptualize. What I am describing here and with the Lynn Erickson links responding to Desuetude on the next post are assigned conceptual understandings. What Lynn and all the DOEs that have Hired her for Common Core training are calling Enduring Understandings. Those lenses that will be used to see causality even if it’s not there or find relationships among nonconnected topics.

            Her’s an example of an Enduring Understanding for Social Studies: distribution of power The student will understand that distribution of power in government is a product of existing documents and laws coupled with contemporary values and beliefs. Under that false definition school kids are taught that the Constitution is a living document and need not be amended. Just reinterpreted. Interestingly enough that is precisely what Goodwin Liu proposed to do in this post . He also mentioned the need for a national reform of education but nominally led by states to avoid a 10th Amendment problem. Under this definition of distribution of power if you use K-12 education all over the US to change values and beliefs about the nature of civil society, you just use that to negate the actual language of the Constitution and laws. Some independent judiciary. At that point the independence means no way out.

            As the word problems get less straightforward and more along the lines of Dewey’s unscripted, nonlinear, Indeterminate situation, knowing which kids could do the simple word problems will be useful. Especially as Pearson wants those to be collaborative answers. Under distributed intelligence, you assign each of the strongest kids to different groups so they can read the actual print and interpret it for others. I am not guessing here. That fits with both the Pearson doc and what I have seen in state NCLB waivers where inability to read is to no longer be a barrier to promotion. That’s because in group work it is less of an issue. It’s still a long term issue for the poor student.

            Those state scores also give you a good indication of which schools are teaching reading phonetically which actually is a no-no. If kids at a school can consistently read words not on the Fountas & Pinnell reading exposure list, something unauthorized may be going on there. Can’t have students able to venture beyond the assigned pathway or trajectory. Only time gets adjusted.

            I am glad for your son. As frustrating as it is to know all this. It really is the only way to protect a child still in the system or at many colleges. If you know what is being targeted and why, it is easy to intervene sufficiently at home. And having and retaining his Axemaker Mind will make your son very useful in about 10 years. He will make both a valuable employee and good at being his own boss. A good place to be as all this disastrous scheming shakes through victimizing so many.

  3. “What happens in a world when so much of what is believed is not so?
    And so much of what is important is no longer widely known?”


    I like the questions that you posed at the end of your post. These are the very questions students, and adults, should be considering.

    I called to mind what I read in the IPOD paper.

    “In human systems, argued AI, the act of asking a question is even more profound in terms of its impact. Inquiry and change are not separate moments. An organization-wide survey to document the levels of low morale, for example, produces many possible ripple-effects just through the mere act of asking questions.”

    If teachers started asking these questions it might begin to save a few minds.

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