Deliberate Cultural Evolution Via Developmental Psychology to Force Social Change, Or, Gypsy Supers Lobby DC

Gypsy Supers and Gypsy Principals are terms I came up with to describe how certain people regularly shift schools and districts for promotions and pay raises. Each shift pushes the new location further towards the ultimate goal of Transformational Outcomes Based Education (OBE). I am still using the 90s terminology from its creation and I explain how it still fits in now in the book (Chapter 4). Since OBE became infamous, we have new terms for these old pursuits. In particular, Competency as used in that RSA report (check Milton Rokeach tag) and “21st Century Outcomes” and “College-and-Career-Readiness Outcomes” as used in this  recent lobbying effort by suburban districts on how federal law should be rewritten.

I wonder if the taxpayers in the metro Atlanta or Greenville or Charlotte or Virginia Beach or DC areas understand what their employees are lobbying for? You see, I know what all those words mean and I know precisely what the implications of invoking the Effective Schools Research is (in the book I describe it in relation to the 1966 Coleman Report, which is how the Consortium uses it too). The “Members of Congress who have invited the Consortium to propose a new framework for our nation’s education policy” should seek retirement before angry voters exile them by ballot box.

Why turn to people with such a record of demonstrable deceit about what they are really doing to our schools, our children, and many fine teachers? Because of current high test scores in suburbs? With tests disappearing and the intentional gutting of academics there already proceeding in earnest? Did any of these people looking “forward to working collaboratively with Congress to bring about positive change in federal law” bother to explain what enshrining Developmental Psychology as a Human Enterprise as entitled to deference under federal law would mean?

Those RSA and FuturICT visions in the last post reveal hubristic social engineering nightmares. It is easy to take comfort from wrongfully assuming it cannot actually happen. Then read that Consortium Framework. Perhaps with the ISC and Credentialed to Destroy explanations of the terms used somewhere handy, but that Framework is the way in. With our money and no recourse and no real likelihood anyone being deferred to truly has any idea of the true genesis of what they are pushing. But then they do not have to. Their paychecks, courtesy of us, show up because of what they are willing to do, not what they know. In my hope springs eternal world, let’s assume that knowing would make a difference. Let’s talk some about the history and intentions of making developmental psychology the focus of schools.

Into the largely unknown history of the events in education globally that I documented in the 80s and the entire concept of cultural evolution via education that is in the book, let’s add two more conferences that affect us still. The first was a supposedly “secret meeting in Budapest of scientists from both sides of the Iron Curtain.” The sales pitch for the General Evolution Research Group is that “spurred by the mounting threat to our species of rapid nuclear proliferation and overkill, the purpose was to see if it might be possible to use the chaos theory then coming into vogue to develop a new general theory of evolution that might serve as a road map for our species out of the mounting chaos of our times to the reassuring order of a better world.”

Using education to change mindsets and personalities to try and get to a different future. Tied to GERG though are a number of the people who have been actively involved in what I call Radical Ed Reform with a developmental focus from the late 80s until now. They all have tags and multiple posts so I will just give you some idea where to look if you wish to reread those posts now. Riane Eisler (new 3 Rs and Partnership education, a UN NGO), Bela Banathy (systems view of education), Nel Noddings (now at Stanford. Now we know why she wrote preface to Eisler’s book), and Mihaly Csiksentmihalyi, whose definition of Excellence and positive psychology practices are so crucial to the professional development and to be required classroom practices of many of those Consortium districts. Yes, there are reasons beyond word meanings I am so sure.

Do you remember the post about “transforming perspectives” as the new purpose of business education globally? The UN-affiliated Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative (GRLI) recently published its Towards 2024 vision pushing a Global Forum on Business as an Agent of World Benefit. Well, that would certainly explain the Chamber of Commerce’s support for all these bad ed ideas, wouldn’t it? Again it fit the vision in FuturICT and cited a book by a Chris Laszlo with a foreword by Peter Senge and an afterword by David Cooperrider. One of the major proponents of systems over the decades as a means of global social change was Hungarian Ervin Laszlo and sure enough, Professor Chris is his son. So GERG came out of looking at Ervin’s work since he was the founder and following his son pulls in the associated GRLI Business/Flourishing Cities/Everything Planned agenda and we also have the Appreciative Inquiry Model again (Cooperrider and Kenneth Gergen, see tags).

All that is to say we have lots of different names of similar concepts from people who actually do, and have for a long time, work and coordinate together around the idea of deliberate social evolution via education and government planning. That’s what developmental psychology is intended to do by the way. Its purpose according to a 2005 book celebrating the career and vision of Sheldon White at Harvard is to be a “Science of Personal and Societal Design.” Now wouldn’t that be an ironic overreach to enshrine into federal law via the Consortium? In comes what CHAT creator Michael Cole called a “second psychology” grounded in Vygotsky’s and Luria’s Soviet research where it would be possible to pursue the “unity of individualism and collectivism in any society or person.” Yes, especially with all the data being collected.

To really understand this second or developmental psychology and the implications of it, event number two took place in November 1987 in Paris. Again we had researchers from both sides of the Iron Curtain meeting on the issue of Artificial Intelligence and basically pushing ideas that would make the potentially unpredictable human mind weaker.  I am looking at a paper from a Swedish prof, Ragnar Rommerveld, that Cole cited. It has a title that’s a mouthful. I will let you guess which approach is to be jettisoned–as bolstering the rational individual mind–and which is actually another term for the philosophy behind developmental psychology. “On human beings, computers, and representational-computational versus hermeneutic-dialogical approaches to human cognition and communication.”

Let’s lobby Congress citing the actual ancestry of the hoped-for federal framework. Let me add in one more definition–the one for cognitive science. As a “critical-emancipatory social science,” it seeks to use education to get at what it calls in quotations– a person’s “cognitively penetrable functions.”  If it’s not a changeable personal process then, it’s not the domain of cognitive science. No wonder the radicals keep referring to themselves as taking a “cognitive approach.” Examples listed as penetrable are “goals, beliefs, tacit knowledge [experiential] and so on.” In other words the area OBE targeted and what college and career-ready and ‘learning’ do now. And here comes what gets redefined as metacognitive to become part of the definition of College-ready from the Swedish prof’s paper: “though they [skills] need not be consciously performed, they can be described and identified by the agent…and in many cases actually brought to consciousness while they are being performed.”

That consciousness if needed is what allows the penetration. The change. All in all the perfect ed theory if deliberate cultural evolution is what is sought, which of course both RSA and FuturICT already acknowledged. Both need a view of education that shifts from knowledge to a theory that each student “harbors an indeterminate capacity or propensity for change.” That the new purpose of assessment is to “provide an ongoing evaluation of the qualitative and quantitative discrepancy between the child’s manifest functioning and his or her modifiability and to suggest appropriate intervention.” That gap is why data is so important to FuturICT and the Consortium Supers.

It all goes back to their declared, but publicly unacknowledged, embrace of developmental psychology to try to change society and the future in deliberate ways. Let’s end with GRLI’s open embrace of what it calls Whole Person Learning, “based in humanistic psychology” [Maslow/Rogers]. WPL is not just about business schools. The perspectives transformation goes along with the wider plans we have been discussing. When the Consortium is pushing its vision of education on Congress, this is what they are actually pushing:

“Integral to the notion of Whole Person Learning is understanding of self, of how this self relates to others and how this sits within the wider global context–how I am influenced by and can influence myself, my immediate relationships and the whole. This is reflected in GRLI’s very logo– three interlocking ellipses representing I, We and All of Us.”

Imposed invisibly as a matter of federal law. Reconciling the unity of individualism and collectivism.

27 thoughts on “Deliberate Cultural Evolution Via Developmental Psychology to Force Social Change, Or, Gypsy Supers Lobby DC

    • Liz-the RSA is pushing the British Columbia Curriculum and Assessment Transformation as a Global Model. The Cross-Curricular Competencies are in effect what used to be called Transformational OBE and I can see the IB Learner Profile there too. This is the link . Notice how it is explicitly described as a reflection of the Whole Child Philosophy. Social and Personal Competency is essentially Kohlberg’s Universal Love or what I have seen in the Career Ready definition here in US. This is where CCR is intended to take US with it still sounding like college prep and preparation for a managerial thinking job.

      We are in luck too that Galperin has a student whose work has been translated into English except the footnotes. They remain in Russian. It is very graphic on the extent to which the control over behavior via the control over all knowledge acquisition has become the goal of education. It keeps complaining about the need to control the nature of the “cognitive activities.” Which of course is precisely what learning tasks and computer games and Amplify’s new digital middle school curriculum it unveiled this week do.

      So trust me when I say I am working on that definitive proof that can be turned into a definitive nutshell.

      All of this is so much easier to follow though if you have read Chapters 4, 6, and 7 especially. I can also now see Galperin’s work in what Everyday Math is designed to do and Connections and Core Plus. People thought though these were still designed to teach math as an academic subject, not a type of activity designed to create a certain understanding grounded in real world activities.

  1. Thanks for the tip-off re BC’s celebrity status in RSA.

    Will check into this. I see some teachers who have been asked to review the proposals are using such words as “misgivings”, “social engineering”, and “hidden agenda”.

    • Here’s another name for what we are dealing with

      The RSA blog post you are looking for references human robots. It also says RSA has a major report coming out next week with the cultural, moral, social, and ethical vision of what ed should be fostering. Fits in with the Whole Child Learning from this post and Transformational OBE’s goals perfectly.

      Design people and societies. Somebody needs to read Von Mises that so many of our successful social institutions and innovations are the result of intended action, but they were never an intended consequence. They evolved and were preserved and built on because they worked well. We should never jettison that for a reimagined future like we can just start anew. We will end up appreciating the foundations of what we had after it is lost.

        • This video?

          Part of it, not all. So a sharing society is supposedly inevitable because of stagnating wages and employment. The public sector strangles the private sector and then uses the consequences to push further. The man to right from Mtn View, CA seems more caught up with how he would like world to work than aware of how it actually does. We take things for granted when we are actually destroying them. A world of cross-curricular competencies as those BC links laid out or as I have tracked down college and career ready as meaning will have a hugely diminished pot for sharing.

          • That is the one. They live in a very different world, not very reality focused. I can’t imagine all people giving up ownership, or willing to do so much sharing. They say they are having an impact on normal economy and govt services. The author of book quite aggressive, I thought.

        • These people are so smug. In their affluence they imagine a “Sharing” economy where we all hold hands and get along and sing at the campfire divvying up bags of organic marshmallows sans any moments of envy.

          Its quite romantic if one is not obligated I suppose. Have they ever asked someone outside of MountainView or Mill Valley, perhaps someone in Oakland, CA, if they think car sharing is the kumbaya-like world of their dreams?

          I grew up dependent upon sharing rides. AKA public transportation. I own my own car now. I love it.

  2. Comprachicos

    I’ve just downloaded this 28 page article by Ayn Rand in 1970.

    This is what QuickWiki says:

    “Comprachico” has been adopted as a pejorative term used for individuals and entities who manipulate the minds and attitudes of children in a way that will permanently distort their beliefs or worldview. Twentieth-century philosopher Ayn Rand referred to educators of the time as “the Comprachicos of the mind” in her article “The Comprachicos.” Her criticism was targeted especially toward educational progressivists, but also grade-school and high-school educators.

    • Tunya-Love that short story. It influenced my metaphor of an invisible serf’s collar because of the damage to mind being unseen but as lasting as physical malformation.

      This vision of technology and the classroom from a school super has been promoted recently

      I love how they acknowledge the definition of rigor has nothing to do with the dictionary meaning or academic content. That it is based on Tony Wagner’s version. I always use Lauren Resnick’s, but Wagner’s as stated in this post fits in quite well with both developmental psychology and the new definition of cross-curricular competencies being imposed up your way.

      And it all fits with what Transformational OBE tried to shift to in the 90s chronicled in the book.

  3. Excellent! When I saw the suggestion I was so glad someone might take care of this. And someone did. Bravo. We will get the word out there, we will.

    • Hi Tina. I think you will find this post interesting.

      What Inside Higher Education is confirming is that in the 21st century all instruction is being grounded in Piotr Galperin’s insights. Love how they have come up with the euphemism “grounded cognition for his “systemic-theoretical instruction.”

      I can also see his template in the learning tasks the Shell Centre created in math and the Literacy Design Collaborative created for Language Arts and history and science classes that the Gates Foundation funded for the Common Core. What I laid out in Chapter 7 is proving crucial to recognizing Galperin’s plan as laid out by his students. It’s what I am working on today and figuring out how to phrase it in conversational English will be my focus the rest of the afternoon.

      Mercy me. At least the Soviet authors are not trying to obscure their intentions.

    • Who needs vocabulary not aligned to (a) emotional states, (b) desired political goals or reasons for transformation, (C) names of objects in the physical world that the conceptual understandings and linked associations of supposedly essential attributes can be built around?

      I am working on the next post and have it researched and outlined. I suspect it will be both quite upsetting and comforting at the same time. Upsettling that such aims would be attempted in supposedly free societies and comforting because it is so clearly what is being attempted and it ties together everything in book in a way I did not have the info to do one or two years ago. It’s more of the why for what is, but I could only see it because of having read and synthesized all those reports and books and then done my best to describe them.

      David Coleman is simply using the SAT to shut down the building of independent, non-approved conceptual understandings while signalling to the colleges which 17 year olds are promising idealogues. I have listened to one too many videos of him. He is very pompous–the intellectual equivalent of the financial success who treats everyone else as if he or she invented the dollar bill.

    • I also learned last night at a school meeting regarding the college application process that Khan Academy is thrilled to be partnering with The College Board to provide free comprehensive SAT prep ( broader than what they do now? ) when the new SAT format roles out in 2016.

  4. Perfect article showing the move away from lectures , as Robin has mentioned many times.

    • LL- in the cybernetics post I just put up I mention a Nina Talyzina book. It says point blank that the real reason lectures are no longer acceptable is that it is inconsistent with the tenets of Marxism-Leninism. Here’s the money quote:
      “The founders of M-L have emphasized that a person’s reflection of the world develops in the course of his active influencing the world. This means that all ideal forms of wealth accumulated by mankind and given the form of systems of scientific concepts, principles, and established thinking procedures, cannot be transmitted to the next generation in prepared form through some ‘transplantation’, as it were from one head into another. It can be assimilated by each new generation only with the help of its own activities directed at the world of those things concerning which knowledge is to be transmitted.”

      So the knowledge to be transmitted is governed by the political and social transformation goals and the techniques in education and policies and practices are guided not by factual needs but political goals. It’s all about “enhancing the developmental effect of education” on a student’s personality to supposedly change the future. To me, getting to the bottom of all these education reforms is like discovering the gold treasure is just painted lead coins. It is being planned around as a given, but nothing will be there when it is actually needed.

    • LL-did you see this?

      Knowledge Works is tied to the High Tech Network and the League of Innovative Schools and Ed Leader 21 and the Consortium. That Big Data/ Shareable Cities/Reenvisioned Society is not just connected but being trumpeted now in single page snapshots of the hoped for future.

      • I did! It should not have shocked me since I followed it from lvg cities post, but it still did.
        That post described the connections between allkidsalliance (tx truly in it even though they still deny), strive, ctc initiative (holy cow all that data!), promise partnerships and kw. Very sneaky that all the connected ctc initiatives on strive link to local sites all going under different project names. Did you see the future learning infographic? My word, they have it all planned out for us. My head swimming a little, and now I need a round of target practice. 😉

    • So is this LL from Down Under

      Notice how the activities create ‘understandings’ and then the teacher steps in to confirm or deny and reshape ‘concepts.’

      The teachers are so excited by this and it strikes me now and my 12 year old self, who always took books to school, that I’d rather get dental work without an anesthetic. It takes a vacuous mind to find all this group activity as a good use of school time. It is really about Pentland’s social learning. The subject is just an excuse for the interaction, not the point.

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