Fodder for Political Exploitation: When ECAA Removes All Barriers and Adds Required Intrusions

Miss me? ECAA (Every Child Achieves Act of 2015) is the acronym for the latest update to federal K-12 legislation and it is scheduled to come to the Senate floor for debate any day now. Yesterday, as I was getting ready to start trumpeting the truth of the tsunami coming at us again, I read a quote from Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson, the Republican sponsor of last summer’s WIOA legislation that I am so horrified by, . Politico quoted him as hoping for votes from ‘conservatives’ on ECAA because of the provisions allowing parents to Opt Out of testing requirements and also not requiring states to use the Common Core. Having read all 792 pages of that leviathan piece of legislation, a suggestion implying that those voting on it need only look at one or two provisions seemed to me like an excuse to ignore the reality of what the legislation shifts.

Now I have mentioned in previous posts that the practices mandated and theories used track back to Soviet psych research and their 1930s views of the type of citizens they wanted education to create. That’s troubling, but lets leave the S word and its close cousin the M word (as in Uncle Karl) out of today’s concerns. Isakson’s points reminded me that there was language in ECAA that appears to override that Opt Out language since the required ECAA annual assessments are to be “administered to all public elementary school and secondary school students in the state.” I am pretty sure that will be the provision waved in parents faces after the legislation is adopted. Plus the school district can fight parents with litigation expenses funded by the taxpayers. No warm and fuzzy comfort from that page 617 prohibition against federal mandates, direction, and control.

Again what good is that or referencing the Common Core when only certain types of ‘performance standards’ as in desired actions or conduct to be demonstrated by students can meet the criteria already mandated by ECAA under that already noted squirrelly definition of “Challenging State Academic Standards” language. Now to elaborate on the true essence of what is being targeted by ECAA that ought to be Out of Bounds in a free society I am going to quote from a 2014 UN/ILO report book called Transforming Economies–Making Industrial Policy Work for Growth, Jobs and Development . That report talks about the US so we get to pay attention to what is sought since as the song goes “This is My Country, Land that I Love…”

The UN excitedly said that “Industrial Policies shape opportunities for economy-wide learning” not to mention lots of exploitation opportunities for Senators, legislators, mayors, and local council members. And what do future citizens need to learn for this future of the kind of Industrial Policy that WIOA just happens to have foisted on all 50 states? Probably making the UN Oh So Happy and definitely constituting a shift for the US to more of a CME–Coordinated Market Economy like the cited Japan and Germany? Well, we need generic skills, but more importantly what must be controlled are the Concepts that “allow individuals to categorize and structure information and data, to analyze and interpret empirically observed phenomena, to gain understanding and meaning and make choices.”

That target never varies and looking to make sure those desired Concepts are taking hold and are likely to prompt and guide future actions is PRECISELY what the ECAA required annual HOTS (Higher Order Thinking Skills) assessments that cannot be opted out of are looking for. Now we have come across other names for this focus on Concepts before and I have tagged some of them to this post. Showing just how crucial getting into and manipulating how each student’s mind works and how they are likely to behave in the future is to the global vision of K-12 education ‘reform’ that ECAA is a component of, the Next Generation Science Standards last month, in a draft of its “Primary Evaluation of Essential Criteria for Alignment” in the classroom assessments, created three new acronyms for us.

SEPs–Science and Engineering Practices to make sure the concepts are tied to ongoing actual student activities and behaviors and are not just the subject of a dreaded test of knowledge, or, Horrors!, Rote Learning. We also have DCIs, which can be used in any area and stand for Disciplinary Core Ideas. Then we also have our last new acronym–CCCs or Cross-Cutting Concepts to provoke some genuine interdisciplinary insights and perceptions that apply across all subject areas. Cool, huh? Just think of what Joe Stalin or Fidel Castro could have done with an education system that pushes everyone to have the same perceptual filters embedded unconsciously within the mind and integrated into practiced behaviors until they are reflexes.

Cannot linger because something else came out this past week–the Remake Learning Playbook that is expanding beyond Pittsburgh and working with the White House and Congressional initiative–Digital Promise and getting funding from the MacArthur Foundation. There is so much of the vision of where we are actually going in that Playbook, but relevant to today’s post in particular, was a mention of adhering to the Economic and Sector strategies created by a Harvard Business School prof by the name of Michael Porter. That got my attention since WIOA is full of Sector Strategies and the National Governors Association has cited it as a reason for needing the Common Core to reform the nature of American high school. (August 4 & 10, 2014 posts).

So that name Michael Porter rang a bell from some connections at Harvard from witnesses Lamar Alexander called to testify at the original hearings on the reauthorization. Ignoring his connection to the Monitor Consulting Group bankruptcy since that should have no bearing on the validity of public policy recommendations, I discover that Clusters are to be the new form of approved American Industrial Policy. As a bonus it allows the federal government and its agencies to coordinate with states and localities, which sounds a great deal like progressive polyphonic federalism (Jan 28, 2015 post) to me. Also goes well again with WIOA and those soon to be filed required state plans. Truly, my bliss at the public sector exploitation potentials knows no bounds.

See why they need K-12 policy to line up with these planned manipulations? Now just imagine the potential for all the plans for metro areas to be the economic drivers and to force Equity in Outcomes from having Professor Porter be the founder of ICIC-the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City. ICIC, by the way, works with the same Brookings that is in charge of the Rockefeller-funded Metropolitanism initiative and the UNESCO/OECD Learning Metrics Task Force. If I had a white board and we were talking in person all these connections would seem to be a game of Whack-a-Mole, but apparently we are the ones about to get whacked.

Now, not to pat myself on the back or anything, but after a book and 3 years of this blog, I really know this area so reading a 1960 book yesterday by a Harvard philosophy prof, Israel Scheffler, brought there in 1952 by the Rockefeller Foundation, I recognized that he, too, was describing the kind of behavior guided by conceptual understanding that has given us the above three new acronyms. Well, a few searches later of people who ought to be involved if my suspicions were correct pulled up a “Teaching for Understanding” initiative from Harvard in the early 90s that was originally funded by the Spencer Foundation, but later by MacArthur. That would be the same MacArthur Foundation now funding the national expansion via the Remake Learning Playbook mentioned above.

That paper explains all about ‘understanding performances’ and how true understanding needs to be demonstrated by behavior and action. Just like what we now know is required under ECAA’s definition of HOTS and what will qualify as the requisite Challenging State Academic Standards. Fascinating, huh? Remember all the references in ECAA to ‘needs’ and ‘personalized learning’? Well, the Playbook talks about that as well and recommends Project-Based Learning and the Maker Movement. How active! Maybe get to practice with all three new acronyms some more and join the “global conversation about learning innovation” while staying “responsive to the real needs and priorities of local communities.” Global and local-what a nice slogan. Probably why the various UN entities keep hyping it.

I will get back to that Playbook in the next post since this one is devoted to all the initiatives ECAA pulls in that we were not supposed to know about. Some of us already know that the White House and various companies have really been hyping the Maker Movement and maker Faires. It’s not just that Playbook. Hint: it also dovetails nicely with Sector Strategy plans for us. When I was updating that Teaching for Understanding work by Harvard’s Project Zero, it pulled up a January 2015 White Paper from them called “Maker-Centered Learning and the Development of Self: Preliminary Findings of the Agency By Design Project” that builds on this desire to redesign our students from the inside-out and then let them practice until the shifts take hold at a neurological level.

I’m afraid that is where the title came from. No boundaries anymore to what the White House, Congress, ed researchers, tax-free ‘philanthropies’ and others apparently plan to do to our students unless we are supposed to be cheered that no one is trying to get authority for sexual exploitation. They want to interfere with, redesign, and then monitor annually each student with mounds of data at the very level of the Self-their Identity.

Mercy me. I think Mao Tse-Tung himself would have lusted after such authority over China’s citizens. Especially if hardly anyone would know of the level of interference and manipulation.

Why, Congress, why?


39 thoughts on “Fodder for Political Exploitation: When ECAA Removes All Barriers and Adds Required Intrusions

  1. We really need to move beyond calling them “intrusions.”

    It’s really just mentoring, and we must accept that now. Old ways of thinking just don’t serve us well anymore. We can’t afford to stay in the past and admire the world our parents built that oppresses and excludes.

    We are beginning everything new, and it will be much better this time because global citizenship is how we all come together as one and connect to each other in meaningful ways that foster tolerance and collaborative futures. We now share more with the underprivileged because democracy will make sure we can’t horde. We are too close to equality to slow down.

    • larper-you may have the best name ever for such sarcasm, except it’s so close to the truth of what is aspired to. I ran out of room and its my bolding, but this really is from that Playbook.

      “Maker Learning: Students learn how to work together and to reshape the world through hands-on tinkering, hacking, and building with real tools and materials, making combines physical and digital skills from sciences and enginerring [SEPs again] technology and media, crafting and the arts to learn how to work together to reshape the world.

      And with no factual knowledge to recognize what is being lost and why this is likely a bad idea. That might act as a brake on desired action.

      How is this for an aspirational page header from the Playbook? “When people build things together they tend to own them emotionally and want to roll them out after they are created.”

      What if the “new ways to thrive” mean that hardly anyone gets to thrive? Does anyone pushing this get how very much we all rely on a very few genuinely talented and insightful people? That’s what history shows about all civilizations. It also says want is the norm. All those insights I put into my book on what we are trashing and the Great Fact really do matter to what we are losing under these statutory visions.

        • Mike-here’s the various grievance special interest groups letter issued today on what they want added to ECAA so that it fulfills its function as a civil rights law.

          They bolded it themselves. A civil right to equitable outcomes ignores very real differences. The provision that states must intervene to eliminate disparities in school district resources essentially will have affluent citizens paying multiple times to multiple school districts.

          I need another vacation at this rate.

          • California is experimenting with a new local control funding formula–sat through a 2 hour board meeting yesterday listening to how various civil rights groups are applying a good deal of pressure on state officials to make sure the new flexibility in education funding is used to bring about social justice for minority communities. Interesting to watch the board members come to understand their own impotence, which is precisely what the plan–pushed by Linda Darling Hammond–intended.

            In case this hasn’t been posted…

          • Page 200 of ECAA, discussing the Innovative Assessment and Accountability, to validate mastery and be built on individual learning needs, calls for civil rights organizations to be among the consulted stakeholders. Your hearing reminds me of how Promise Neighborhoods, Choice Neighborhoods, and the new HUD reg importing Equity into the suburbs are all supposed to work.

            Essentially poverty becomes a suspect class that must be alleviated even if it sends the economy into a death spiral. The existence of poverty and varying outcomes becomes the reason to continue to organizw and plan.

            There is also language on page 415 of ECAA about how ‘need’ is not just triggered by the school’s conditions and population. It can also be triggered by the “community to be served”. I said last night on a conference call that when accurately translated and understood, ECAA may well be the most intrusive, revolutionary piece of legislation Congress has ever adopted. It treats students as if they are molding clay existing to fit the desires of State officials and gives State Officials almost unlimited powers to condition future citizens as they see fit.

            ECAA is designed to subjugate and use schools and other institutions to tether the mind and personality. It is shameful that these US Senators think this is acceptable or even that they needn’t bother to understand what they want to enact as was the case with WIOA.

  2. Welcome back we did miss you!

    Dont be too sure about the sexploitation
    in k-12, sex ed seems to have a recruitment angle.

    • My younger son is going into 9th next year and he’ll be probably taking the one remaining required health class, which can be taken any time in high school.

      Anything to watch out for? Recruitment attempts already happened, but it was thru the Social Studies class with the lesbian mind manipulating teacher in 7th grade, glad as hell that is over.

    • This link pulled that up for me.

      Yours is missing the ending. Off to read it now.

      Here’s the npr link to the same push.

      It uses the magic competencies word, just like so many ed doctorate programs. That way teachers are ready and practiced at implementing theories and practices that they do not understand. It helps eliminate the reluctance that comes from recognizing the ancestry of these ideas.

        • You are welcome. No time to waste. My practice when I consider a link unstable is to give the document name and date to make searching easy.

          In the case of the Playbook, it has to be downloaded by the separate sections. I may have put this together, but it would be very hard for someone not in the loop and being told what is going on to do that. Although I am very familiar with David Perkins’ work and his background in AI, there are links that only came out yesterday when I started looking into the connection between Scheffler and Jerome Bruner–also of Harvard. Remember Bruner was the translator on the Vygotsky book. He also wrote the Foreword in 1951 to The New Man in Soviet Psychology I wrote about before my vacation jaunt to California. The Russian Research Center established in 1948 with Carnegie Corporation funding was behind that 1951 book and was also located at Harvard.

          Funny, it’s hard not to think of that Fabian stained glass window the Webbs commissioned that is now at the London School of Economics. It appears there are comparable sentiments among some people at both campuses along the Charles. MIT is where Senge and Otto Scharmer are and Alex Pentland and it receives UN contracts per the Future Earth documents.

          It is what it is unfortunately and we do get to dewcribe these aspirations. They involve us, our children, our tax dollars, and our future. We seem to have a better handle on the likely consequences than most of the planners.

        • Here’s a link to that window.

          “remould it nearer to the heart’s desire” reads like a motto that fits the aspirations of ECAA when it is properly understood. That is a statute just full of terms that have what Scheffler called ‘stipulated definitions’ designed to have programmatic interpretations. Of course they masquerade as descriptive definitions for the non-cognoscenti.

      • Specially for math and science teachers, who are poor communicators and in need of extra indoctrination to show them that the logic and simple way of talking they learned in the subjects isn’t appropriate when it comes to teaching. It’s not just about those subjects, education is so much more!

        Can’t let the physics classroom avoid its civil rights purpose.

  3. I have come full circle 5 years from the beginning of my search down the rabbit hole. Agency by Design Project. Redesigning Thinking. Project Zero ‘s Thinkiing Scripts.

    Of course. It’s so clear now.

    I always knew there was much more to Design Thinking than the simplistic explanation offered up to inquiring minds from Stanfords Design school. The So called Design Thinking background ( for product development) always struck me as deep cover. It is a ruse to put people off the scent of what Design Thinking really targets : A pedagogy favoring project based, collaborative real world tasks devoid of real world facts but chock full of magical and innacurate perceptions. To guide future actions. Or at least make Ill educated people complacent in their collective misery and dead end jobs.

    Design Thinking. Sounds so much better than :
    Entraining children’s brains via group projects for specially desired and designed cultural perceptions for oligarchical and crony profit.

    Finally. Persistence pays.

    Thank you Robin !

    • When I find this stuff I always feel like Jonathan Higgins in the old Magnum PI series. Oh. My. Word. in my best British accent.

      If I had not been following the same fundamental ideas through the decades with varying excuses on why they are necessary I might buy this idea that “Networks drive today;s world. The hierarchical, centralized approaches that have worked in the past are poorly suited to a world where dispersion of ideas, opportunities, and risks–is the reality. Highly coordinated communities of people and organizations allow for synergies, swapping ideas, rubbing shoulders–working together toward a shared vision.”

      The Playbook has the world confused with a Quilting Bee. I guess I am supposed to recognize my obligation for Equity with the woman who “just loves me some Goodwill” on the train from the airport. I did make sure she and her kids and her friend and her kids all got off at the right stop for their mall window shopping.

      Perhaps every ISC reader should reread Harrison Bergeron this summer.

        • Notice how this article from, two days ago never mentions all the language in ECAA incorporating an emphasis on these “non-academic skills”.

          It also never mentions Carol Dweck even though this is her vision, building on Vygotsky, Luria, and Leontiev. Ooops. Getting close to using the S word.

          I am reading a history published in 1950 from that same Russian Studies Center Carnegie funded and it talks about the crucial role of changing personal belief systems in order for the desired changes in the social system to take hold.

          And we wonder why outcomes get targeted or why Competency is just the newest obscuring name.

          • When terms like “human development” begin showing up unabashedly in papers like the second linked to above, we can be quite sure that what individuals want or need is not what our leaders have determined to be what collectively will want or need.

          • As we discussed here it is also a term with a notorious past. The whole reason that the USSR was supposedly not ready for communism, but only socialism was because it lacked the technology base to shift to “from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs”.

            All this programs assert that requirement has been met and it is time for the redistribution. That is what the Post-2015 agenda is all about. The K-12 reforms are to create the necessary mindset to be amenable to the shift.

            Happy Fathers Day all. Have taken hubby to breakfast with the only child home today and making a nice dinner later.

    • When you find out that these exact sentiments and goals come from scary people in history like Beria, with research from luria lewin Dembo, it is clear. Period. Sends shivers.

    • Here are more references to Design

      I have been thinking about WIOA and ECAA and how they are clearly designed to go together like a bespoke glove and matching shoes from Jermyn Street.

      WIOA uses all the listed beneficiaries as the excuse to force all states and localities into organizing society and the economy. The governors even have to file a plan with the federal Ed and Labor agencies. It forces both a Coordinated Market Economy and a meeting needs society of the sort Marx envisioned as what little c communism would provide for all.

      ECAA creates a new type of citizen to be a compliant member of the new organized society and planned economy that is collectivist in its orientation. Hence the constant repetitions of adhering to the shared vision and adopting the shared meaning and the communitarian ethos we keep encountering. It also fits with this month’s mailings from the Great Transition Initiative. I noticed one of them was from he same Herman Daly whose book for the common good comes up in the cited resources the regional ed labs use for what a Positive School Climate will produce. I do not think that is accidental.

      This SWEAP initiative certainly needs both WIOA and ECAA to be realized and fits Michael Portor’s regional sector vision of Industrial Policy to a T.

      Some days I feel like a polymath except I hated calculus. Maybe it was because it was spring semester at 8am my freshman year. One year when my middle child was in 8th grade I realized her algebra teacher had done a really poor job teaching quadratic equations and she had a final coming up. Mothers Day weekend I used Saturday to reteach myself Quadratic Equations and the Sunday I taught her. She passed. She is also the one who now tries to come up with a fun idea for Mothers Day. Anything other than algebra.

      • They should teach more kids calculus in high school. You really don’t need 3 years of algebra before it; 2 will do. That way the introduction can be at HS pace which is half of college pace. (AP Calculus AB is a one year high school course that gives one semester or college credit.)

        If you get the foundation at a slower rate, it’s more easily absorbed.

        Why don’t they do this? My theory is the following. The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics has almost no members who are able to teach second semester calculus. Therefore they have to make sure no kids get that far in high school.

        So most kids don’t get calculus at all, and not being the accelerated math students means they get their intro to calculus twice as fast when they get to college! They drop out of STEM although some would have chosen it if they didn’t get blitzed by college Calculus 1, and we import their replacements via the H1B program.

  4. Quite the post! Welcome back.

    While you were driving the gorgeous coastline I attended a school board meeting and a city council meeting in the same week. The level of coordination is stunning. I did mull the merging concepts over with an adult beverage. I seem to be raising eyebrows with odd questions. Uncomfortable since the present council president is a long term friend, or was…. I’m not a fan of playing political games, but his game face was present. Have you seen urban renewal funds used to purchase public buildings and fund city offerings like pools?

    Perhaps someone reading your blog can advise a politician on proper removal of head from posterior so he or she can wake up. I’m feeling none of them will pay attention. Reauthorization will pass. It will not hit anyone until next testing season when opt out is a problem. What will happen in states where they have recently passed opt out laws?

  5. Have you found the week has been a busy one with e-mails on disclosure of future plans? I know you monitor Garrison. Did you look at the speakers for the leadership summit? No surprise we see mindfulness in the classroom now is it? Of particular interest is Mr. Hunter. Drucker school of management, student of Csik. Too many players to list at that conference. Oh the plans for us they will be contemplating. It all seems so lovely and peaceful until you understand the mission.

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