Foiling False Narratives Amidst Unsupported Cries of Balderdash!

The last post was not designed to ruffle feathers so much as continue to warn that words like Classical or Christian when applied to education, much like what we have already seen with Critical Thinking and Rigor, may not have the actual meaning assumed. I am genuinely worried about the extent to which Classical Education is modeling a psychological template that came out of the Soviet Union to bind the mind and personality. A reader in the comments put up this slideshow http://slideplayer.com/slide/695610/ that reveals a troubling and intentional use of cybernetic techniques via education to mentally and emotionally bind a person for religious purposes. Please scrutinize what on-line vendors or actual charters or privates have in mind when they use these terms.

Today we will continue to explore the broader template of what is being pushed under the Classical label and its very troubling bedfellows that were turbocharged in December with the language in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). A reader contacted a well-known education writer known for being anti-Common Core and pro-Classical Education asking for a rebuttal of what I wrote in the last post. We are going to go through the various responses because they illustrate so well what a muddle these Great Ideas centric educations can actually create. Response 1 was that the post was “Balderdash.” Since that descriptive word would mean writing that is contrary to facts and nonsensical, the natural question became “what is not true?” That provoked a link http://www.nationalreview.com/article/431182/donald-trump-bernie-sanders-gnostic-campaigns  that the frustrated reader forwarded to me.

I pointed out I never theorize in writing about conspiracies, but that I do get to quote people who declare they are involved in a coordinated effort to use education to achieve some declared transformation of society. Secondly, that article basically insults certain political supporters as acting like people who use a Gnostic simplistic analysis to view the world around them. Well, that was a new criticism and not particularly consistent with the facts. Maybe I was supposed to be horrified, but I did wonder whether someone needed my Inapt Metaphor lesson on lousy analogizing. A few days later I got the final response from the reader who really wanted there not to be some kind of misuse of the phrase ‘Classical Christian education’ for purposes unappreciated by parents. Here is the final criticism of that post and apparently the reason for trying to protect people from either my book Credentialed to Destroy or this blog. I have a few responses in brackets.

“My point is addressing it does nothing because verifying people’s intentions is impossible. [What’s to verify if I am quoting what they write as to intentions?] And there is no high volume of readers. [Of course that has nothing to do with any coordination to hijack what can be said or written about the Common Core by certain well-funded think tanks] Because global warming crazies say the earth is round I need to wonder if the earth is flat. Absurd. And Robin’s assertion that we need to prioritize facts but not their connections is a non-starter to thinking people. [Someone skipped the class day devoted to the Strawman Fallacy] She does that herself. There are not demons under every doily that she has not herself made.”

That last part about “demons under every doily” was too alliterative to have been original. You too may want to put it in quotes and see the results of the search. The real question though is what makes me write about something on this blog at any given time? Usually I  am responding to something that appears to be hidden by a wall of deceit. That type of factual investigation may be annoying and inconvenient, but it’s not nonsensical.  Let’s get back to why I am so concerned and right to be so. Another book, Classical Education: Towards the Revival of American Schooling by Gene Edward Veith, Jr. and Andrew Kern, came and only heightened my concern. They do a chapter on Douglas Wilson’s model, then Mortimer Adler’s Paideia Proposal as an example of Democratic Classicism, and then David Hicks’ Moral Classism and its emphasis on the “importance of character development and the full flowering of the human personality.”

No, I don’t want the human personality to be allowed to wilt and I also want to develop character. There is an alignment here though of what everyone from Charles Fadel and his well-connected Center for Curriculum Redesign is now pushing as Four-Dimensional Education, what the Dewey acolytes want, and what is being pushed as Classical Education. Every single one is targeting the same areas of what the student is to have internalized and how they are to work together to guide the vision of the future and motivate likely behavior. Common Core talks about its purpose as being College and Career Ready and the Classicist aim is said to be “to form the adult-to-be”? Does that sound like a similar destination to anyone else?

I have written before about Carol Dweck, what is called the Growth Mindset, and even that the White House Behavioral and Social Sciences Team has now commenced a national Growth Mindset study. Tell me if that aim fits with the following passage from the Moral Classicism template (my bolding). Notice this is not about the transmission of factual knowledge.

“…classical learning is neither doctrinaire religious instruction nor analytical scientific positivism. Even though the classical student begins by accepting dogma (i.e, ‘that which seems good’,) he personalizes it by questioning it –that is, by employing dialectic. As the student refines his understanding, his insight grows, ‘ascending a dialectical staircase to an upper room of fragile truths and intangible beliefs.’ Challenges and contradictions arise to dogma and within it by the process of dialectic, and this leads to dogma’s reformulation. Using his conscience and the process of dialectic, and guided by the universal vision of the ideal type, the student grows toward the Ideal. Commitment to dialectic is thus the first principle in Hicks’ version of classical education: the conscious development of the internal dialogue guides us to the fulfillment of our natures.”

Well, someone is specifying those Ideals and creating an education intended to internalize them. I am not sure the student gets much say. Neither will the parents unless they scrutinize what comes in now under the banner of ‘classical’ education. Now I honestly do not know how much those pushing this template as ‘classical education’ appreciate why Evald Ilyenkov created the New Dialectics in the USSR to advance the Human Development Society vision of Marxism that commenced in earnest globally around 1962. I do, however, know an institution that has had a very good handle on this integration of East and West using education. If Harvard’s Project Zero classifies Hicks’ Interdisciplinary  Humanities Program as a Pre-Collegiate Program conducive to bringing about “an all-encompassing framework of meaning,” we need to take them at their word on the links to the IB Theory of Knowledge coursework and the notorious constructivist Math and Science programs.

http://www.interdisciplinarystudiespz.org/pdf/Nikitina_Strategies_2002.pdf If all of these are cited as means to teach contextualizing or context-building, conceptualization, and problem-solving so that inquiry-oriented coursework becomes a means of teaching social responsibility, the need for social change, and the “primary goal of finding causes and cures for human calamities,” we can assume that the Change Agent Licensors understand where Classical Education is actually going, even if its proponents do not. At this point, I was thoroughly concerned that we once again have Inadvertent Change Agents pushing a remedy to the Common Core they have repeatedly deplored that amounts to jumping from the frying pan into the fire, I went back to who Douglas Wilson cited as his source for his Trivium.

He put Dorothy Sayers’ 1947 essay The Lost Tools of Learning as an Appendix to the book covered in the last post. I found her emphasis on the “medieval scheme of education” to be a little odd as that was a preliterate society. To quote historian William Manchester in his fine A World Lit Only By Fire, the Middle Ages was a time when “literacy was scorned” and Holy Roman Emperors themselves would respond to a correction of their Latin as being ‘above grammar.’ It was a time when the “devout scorned reason…Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153), the most influential Christian of his time, bore a deep distrust of the intellect and declared that the pursuit of knowledge, unless sanctified by a holy mission, was a pagan act and therefore vile.”

Anyone else beginning to question whether the whole Trivium and Quadrivium hype is just a narrative manufactured by someone wanting to hide the clear connections to cybernetic psychological theory and systems thinking? Then the narrative gets repeated until it seems true. Back to Manchester, who pointed out that “there was no room in the medieval mind for doubt, the possibility of skepticism simply did not exist.” He also pointed out “medieval man’s total lack of ego. Even those with creative powers had no sense of self” and “an almost total indifference to privacy. In summertime peasants went about naked.” Aren’t we glad this post is written and not a multimedia presentation? See why I am so suspicious we have yet another false narrative.

The “rediscovery of Aristotelian learning–in dialectic, logic, natural science, and metaphysics” did happen during the 1198-1216 pontificate of Innocent III. It was “synthesized with traditional Church doctrine,” beginning a shattering process known in Italy as the Rinascimento. I bet we are all more familiar with the French term. There is no question that Dorothy Sayers hyped the medieval mind and going back to her essay I think she was making ahistorical assertions looking for a remedy via education against the just lived through horrors of World War II. Under the heading “Unarmed and Unequipped,” she wrote this:

“For we let our young men and women go out unarmed in a day when armor was never so necessary. By teaching them to read, we have left them at the mercy of the printed word. By the invention of the film and the radio, we have made certain that no aversion to reading shall secure them from the incessant battery of words, words, words. They do not know what the words mean; they do not know how to ward them off or blunt their edge or fling them back; they are a prey to words in their emotions instead of being the masters of them in their intellects. We who were scandalized in 1940 when men were sent to fight armored tanks with rifles, are not scandalized when young men and women are sent into the world to fight mass propaganda with a smattering of ‘subjects’; and when whole classes and whole nations become hypnotized by the arts of the spellbinder, we have the impudence to be astonished.

We dole out lip-service to the importance of education–lip-service and, just occasionally, a little grant of money; we postpone the school leaving-age, and plan to build bigger and better schools; the teachers slave conscientiously in and out of school hours, till responsibility becomes a burden and a nightmare; and yet, as I believe, all this devoted effort is largely frustrated, because we have lost the tools of learning, and in their absence can only make a botched and piecemeal effort of it.”

Can’t you still hear the anguish decades later? Sayers thought she had a very good reason for using education to mandate a worldview.

Maybe she did. Our problem is that so many now have the same intentions, but obscure the real new purpose and focus of education behind terms we believe still have their dictionary meanings.

Dragging this documented reality into the sunlight should not result in cries of Balderdash.

40 thoughts on “Foiling False Narratives Amidst Unsupported Cries of Balderdash!

  1. Hi Robin, Been following along with the “classic(al)/Christian” education convo.
    How would I, as a homeschooler, know what to look for in my Christian based homeschool curriculum?

    • Hi Macey. I am going to go back to Veith and Kern again to answer that. First, who produced the homeschool curriculum? Is it turnkey or an amalgamation you put together?

      References to the “true, the good, and the beautiful” are now suspect. How does it treat subject matter? Is it about transmitting a body of knowledge or using subject content to change who the student is. This concept of “classical education…encompasses all subjects because it is open to all questions, including the most contemporary. The trivium and quadrivium are not discrete subjects. They are modes of learning.” So if it is facts first and here’s what we want you to know that’s traditional, not classical in the sense used by those quoted in last two posts.

      Here’s the explanation that reminded me so much of the Common Core in how subjects were approached. “Every subject hs its grammar, logic, and rhetoric. To be educated in any discipline, you must 1) know its basic facts (grammar); 2) be able to reason clearly about it (logic); 3) apply it personally in an effective way (rhetoric).

      Put another way, every type of learning requires knowledge (grammar), understanding (logic), and creativity (rhetoric). The classical trivium anticipates contemporary educational psychology, which postulates four ‘higher order thinking skills’: 1, data accumulation (grammar); 2. analysis (logic); 3. decisionmaking (logic and rhetoric) and 4. communication (rhetoric).”

      It’s not just the HOTS we recognize from ESSA. It’s CDIs–Core Disciplinary Ideas as the NGSS calls it and associated Ideas or CCCs–Cross-Cutting Concepts and Themes and always what we saw with constructionism from Papert and Mitchel Resnick–those ties of what’s internalized to the real world images.”

      Now go back and reread the post where I explained Piotr Galperin’s programmed systematic instruction that we know is Ascending from the Abstract to the Concrete http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/transcending-the-individual-mind-as-the-analytical-unit-of-learning-while-still-guiding-how-we-will-act/

      The difference should become much clearer. Plus I am not going anywhere. Put up something troubling and we can look at it. I cannot save the world. I can, however, pull these practices and terms into the sunlight where they can be scrutinized for what they are really pushing. Plus we can analogize well and not inaptly for insights.

      • Okay, I’m relieved. My curriculum is one that they build but it’s for each grade level and it’s COMPLETELY factual. It’s Christian as in sometimes it has them read a verse in the Bible for reading time and they do creation science. They also will mention how the founders and people from history were believers – if they were. Whew. The true, the good, and the beautiful sounds wonky to me. It doesn’t sound sincere or something….Lidia, if you are reading this, does that phrase sound disingenuous to you?

        • Apparently you are right to be concerned because I can see from looking into the co-author of the Classical Education book that the Home School Network really pushes this vision. https://www.hslda.org/docs/hshb/123/hshbwk14.asp is a transcript of the interview as well with Veith. Notice how he keeps emphasizing these books as exemplars of certain virtues.

          So you read The Divine Comedy not to understand the renaissance Mind as I was taught in a traditional liberal arts college, but to understand Dante’s love for Beatrice. Pride and Prejudice is not to take us back to Regency England so much as to teach us about human relationships.

          Can you see that concern for how the student will come to see the world here and now and how that is being consciously managed via the curriculum?

          • We have talked about a Constitutional Convention being something the Radical Left says they want and my concerns over Texas calling for it too. Until I saw this blurb this morning and the name Mike Farris, I did not realize he headed the call for a Convention of the States in addition to heading HSLDF. http://thefederalist.com/2016/02/23/radio-debate-on-article-v-the-call-for-a-convention-of-the-states/

            I have not listened as I am working on other things, but anyone homeschooling should be aware of other pies considered by Farris to be related.

            Tying into this post Patrick Henry College is where the co-author Veith was Provost before he retired. I tend to look up people when I am using an old book of theirs. If Veith was provost at Patrick Henry and also the Classical Education visionary during that time, it does strengthen my concern that any HSLDF-endorsed online program is likely using the same ideas first technique to create a framework of understanding that both guides and seals off in ways parents are not aware of. They also may not endorse the reasons I have seen laid out that proclaim a need to transform every social institution.

            I have heavy Mom duties in next two days so it may be this weekend before I write again, but I have been pursuing these Turning Point books to make sure I am being fair in seeing the connections that appear to be spilling out now.

          • With respect, I suggest that Manchester’s depiction of the Middle Ages, at least as it is summarized here, is not merely slanted, it is a caricature rather than serious scholarship. I would like to offer a few facts to help create a more balanced and honest picture of a long historical period.

            Manchester quotes St. Bernard as a major Catholic figure who condemns learning. I would like to point out that a year or two before the saint was born, the first European university was founded at Bologna, starting as a center for the study of canon and civil law, including Roman law. All the great European universities were founded by Catholics. Albert the Great, one of the greatest natural scientists of all times, was educated at the University of Padua.

            Consider this quotation: “I maintain that the civil authorities are under obligation to compel the people to send their children to school….If the government can compel such citizens as are fit for military service to bear the spear and rifle, to mount ramparts, and perform other material duties in time of war, how much more has it a right to compel the people to send their children to school, because in this case we are warring with the devil, whose object it is secretly to exhaust our cities and principalities of their strong men.” The words of a major Protestant figure, Martin Luther. Compulsory school systems were established in Gotha and Thuringa shortly after Wittenburg, and Luther himself drew up the plan for Saxony. The purpose of all these systems was to impose Lutheranism. Said Luther, “no secular prince can permit his subjects to be divided by the preaching of opposite doctrines….Heretics are not to be disputed with, but to be condemned unheard.” Calvin did the same in Geneva for the purpose of stamping out dissent. Holland followed suit in the following century. And so did Calvinist New England.

            As for the ignorant, primitive and almost animal-like medievals who walked around naked and with no sense of self, allow me to be skeptical and to require some convincing documentation. For an alternative interpretation of this period, try reading How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization, by Tom Woods, a senior fellow at the von Mises Institute.

            Robin, you say the purpose of studying Dante is to learn about the Renaissance mind. Dante was a medieval figure — unless you consider Thomas Aquinas a Renaissance philosopher. A mere forty years separated their births. What you describe is the study of the history of literature or cultural history, not the study of literature per se. It is a perfectly valid course of study, but it is not the only way to study literature, indeed not the principal way. The quality of Dante’s devotion to Beatrice and the art with which the specific, not generic, relationships in Pride and Prejudice are fleshed out, are what make the literature great. And make these works worth reading for their intrinsic value, not simply as historical markers — although cultural/historical/intellectual context can certainly enhance understanding.

    • Macey, I think you are in my state(?)…would love to hear what your experiences have been with homeschooling, as I am also homeschooling and with a curriculum I feel has been wonderful for my family. Any way you can send Macey my email, if she likes, Robin?

  2. About 24 months ago , give or take, during my webosphere searches for more understanding about the disaster that calls itself k-12 education I stumbled on several articles, blogs, & youtube videos pushing the Trivium and Quadrivium. While the subject matter is not new it was “new” chatter as far as the modern conceptualization of education is concerned.

    The articles and blogs were not pushing entities teaching this classical ideal at this point. I suspect today they were just priming the zeitgeist. Toe Dipping if you will. Sort of a pre-game prior to the roll out which hoped to familiarize the masses with the language that would be used to reassure them that all would be well in education even though the dually defined words would obscure true intent.

    No proof. Just personal observation and musing on my part clearly. Food for thought.

    • From the state of McREL, Second Order Learning, Spence Rogers’ PEAK–Performance Excellence for All Kids, and home to Transformational Outcomes Based Education per William Spady in the 90s–Next Generation Learning is saying something.

      • If you watch the Maine video it was all about changing the world and the children. I listen to these things and think, really? Am I the only one thinking I did not ask for my child to be ‘changed’ when sending them off.

        • As I have said before, there really is not a dispute as to what is being attempted and no need to infer anything.

          I have poked more into other books in that Turning Point Worldview series and there is no longer any doubt that the trivium hype and classical education is a means of selling the desired ‘framework of understanding’ using a sales pitch less graphic than what Douglas Wilson laid out that I quoted or what Herbert Schlossberg or Marvin Olasky describe in what I finished a few hours ago.

          It was all tied to a Fieldstone Institute created by an S&L billionaire with the name Ahmanson. I tracked down Fieldstone after it was cited on all the inside covers. It also appears they sponsor BIOLA, which reminded me of that Robert George, Cornel West, and Rick Warren video you found.

          Remember back in the early days of the blog when we were surprised that Paul Ehrlich so openly advocated for Arational new ways of thinking? Now I get to read about how reason must be subject to ‘revelation’. We must admit that Classical Christian Education is a much superior sales pitch.

          • It is so hard when the true aims of education seem so fantastic to the reasonable parent while clearly the players have known for a very long time what they were willing to target to get the desired control without effective opposition.

            God and Golem Inc by Norbert Weiner arrived yesterday and I had never seen it mentioned before we were forced to look in this direction. I have already thought several times about the Robert P George book Making Men Moraland the question becomes what will various people be willing to have education do if they believe the resulting social transformation is “for their own good.” As I mentioned Douglas Wilson mentioned Gary North and his Political Polytheism book in a footnote and North in turn mentioned Rushdoony and a 1963 book The Messianic Character of American Education. It lays out all those Social Reconstructionists I cover in my Chapter 6, except no mention of Robert Beck, and then there’s a switch to “if these people can push this vision for bad secular purposes, we can push for our own religious vision.

            Since I read that, I have understood that they would also use the cybernetic techniques as they evolved. It also made me wonder if part of the reason for the organized boycott of my book is not so much that I really get the reasons for constructivism in reading and math and the real Common Core implementation. It’s that I talk about the use of the schools for Social Reconstruction. How would I have known this vision existed in religious circles too?

            Under my three knock rule, I never explore something until I am practically tripping over a recurrence of an element.

            Thanks for that link.

          • Once again Multnomah, Oregon being used as an exemplary. http://www.southerneducation.org/getattachment/471fe4d0-420b-46ce-bae2-b8453159bf76/Community-Schools-Transforming-Struggling-Schools.aspx

            I have been to SEF programs. They were the sponsors of the Metro Atlanta Equity Atlas and were asked to stand at the Housing Forum’s promotion of the Harvard Equality of Opportunity study.

            This Road Map Project out of Seattle fits as well. http://www.roadmapproject.org/the-project/our-goal/

          • LL,
            From your below link this sentence

            “stability through change). The result is a groundwork for allostatic neuro-education (GANE).”

            Just omg

          • People are the lowest-level ‘systems’ that fit with this statement from an October 27-November 2, 1968 retreat at Villa Serbolloni (never knew the name before but that would also be where the recent Brookings-UNESCO Learning Metrics Task Force got to go) owned by the Rockefeller Foundation. I was definitely the only parent doing substantive reading and writing “find this book) in the margins.

            “Planning must be understood in relation to the consequences and in particular the consequences to the individual of decisions and actions within social systems. It should therefore be performed at the lowest effective level to make possible a maximum of participation in the planning itself and its implementation.”

    • And we now have the EPA telling small towns and cities how they can pursue economic development. http://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-01/documents/small_town_econ_dev_tool_010516.pdf

      Apply for taxpayer grants? Development by decree? The same people who want to level as a civil rights matter seem to believe that governments can simply insist on development.

      Now here’s a quote for the ages: Successful economic development efforts rely on partnerships across public agencies, especially when different types of funding are involved.

      Public agency coordination is the source of economic development. No wonder no one truly sees the consequences of this Equity focus in education.

      • I don’t see any fundamental help there, just a prescription that all must participate.

        Which is not how markets work. One earns participation and inclusion rather than having it mandated.

        • Have you ever noticed how the planners like that phrase ‘market principles’?

          It’s like when I read that report last year that Bobby Jindal chaired on education where governments prescribe the terms and remuneration and if a private provider agrees to come in it is labeled ‘free enterprise.’ Not exactly if it’s a mandated service to be purchased from someone and terms must be adhered to.

          Yet our students are being taught that this is how the world should work. I was looking at the reports from that Bellagio summit in 1968 that redefined what planning meant and eventually hatched the social systems design research at Wharton in the 70s. It basically became a concept of backward mapping from normative druthers of what ought to be. Ozbekhan insisted that desired futures can be willed once enough people in a society come to share the desired values.

          They can try but they can break what has been working. It rather fits the world we have in 2016 if all this has been attempted through all these institutions for so many decades now.

        • Here is the new Brookings paper that came out last week on “Remaking Economic Development” http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/Research/Files/Papers/2016/02/29-remaking/BMPP_RemakingEconomicDevelopment_Feb25LoRes.pdf?la=en

          Economics is not a matter of waving the fairy wand. Plus building regional economies because you declare a right to a Guaranteed Minimum Income by fiat or EITC has consequences. We really cannot run trillion dollar deficits into perpetuity and the idea of “levelling expertise” and all the mind arson I have tracked means we have people who have expectations without the mental resources to achieve them.

          Just imagine what pols at every level and both parties and all of the public policy think tanks will do with rhetoric about “leaders need to get both the markets right and the civics right to put their metro areas on the path to deep prosperity.”

  3. I have hesitated to weigh in but decided what the heck. I trust all of you to consider my thoughts with respect. I am a homeschooler that after review of all the options decided on a classical Christian curriculum. I winced when I read “references to the true, the good and the beautiful are now suspect” because I respect Robin’s opinion very much. Coming from a non-classicist background (I am science/math oriented – I think I read Pride and Prejudice once?) I just wanted to pick a challenging curriculum that covered the basics well and taught science in the right context (for me) – fact vs. theory, humans don’t know everything, and the wonder of the created order is respected. I also liked something that classicists share – Christian or otherwise – seeing value in Western civilization – from its history, laws, arts, literature, thought etc. and that these are worthy of being passed to the next generation.
    The Platonic triad of “the good, the true and the beautiful” has been written and thought about in western literature for millennia and is a common theme in Scripture (e.g. Psalm 27 or Philippians 4). I personally have not seen a monolithic movement within classical education – actually the opposite. I have seen individuals who are drawn to western culture for all kinds of different reasons learning, writing, and sharing classical material. There is no one way – there are thousands. It has gotten on the radar as of late I think because it is riding the wave of homeschooling. As more join in, a percentage of those will choose this focus – as the tide rises so goes the boat.
    One last thing – sorry for being longwinded – Here is how I would describe the Classical Christian curriculum I have chosen – it teaches phonetic literacy, mastery of math facts, Latin as a foundation for English grammar and vocabulary(and other languages later), logic, geography, history (American, Middle Ages, Greek/Roman/Ancient, etc.), cursive, western literature (e.g. Homer, Shakespeare, etc.), science (astronomy, taxonomy, physical, chemistry, biology, physics), Biblical studies, composition, higher level math through Calculus – and more but I’ve run out of space. My recent experience with public school is that my children will be light years ahead in content knowledge, and abilities to read, write, and think for themselves. My hope is that they will choose to honor the One who created this wondrous place. Thanks for reading.

    • Well stated. I suspect we are using very similar curriculums! My 8th grader was the only one on her cross country team of 70+ last fall who understood the coach’s reference to “staging a coup”…I would love to claim full credit for her knowledge, but it is also due to the fact that she reads prodigiously and taught herself to do so before the age of 4. She wasn’t corrupted by the partial whole language approach used on kids in the PS she attended through 5th grade. In all the hubbub about education this and that, I have come to believe that parents (or another fully invested adult ) are the single greatest factor in how kids do in life and whether or not they are prepared and can think for themselves when they head out into society. As Robin has so clearly shown, the plans to take parents out of the mix or to blunt their effects are pretty much full blown right now….Parents have placed too much trust in the school system, and the troubles are increasingly spreading into private as well.

    • Thanks for commenting Martha Sue. This will not be a lengthy response as I have to be in and out. This discussion in the last two posts has been an alert that some of these curricula are headed to the same place in terms of what they wish to do to a student’s mind at a neurological level as what any political radical wishes to do. I have finished the Turning Points series so I do know what is said among themselves. It appears to me that this also aligns with Alexander Christakis’ SDD Structured Design Dialogue. He also hypes the connections to Aristotle and Plato and the mindset being created.

      When I finish that book, I will pull it all together so that parents will know again what to be on the lookout for. They will also not assume Classical=Traditional transmission of knowledge because everyone agrees once we delve that it is not. It sounds to me like you have chosen a traditional knowledge based curricula. Good for you. If the focus begins to shift, you will notice that too.

      Thanks for commenting and continued best of luck to you and your children. This has been a hugely valuable direction for me to gain insights into this very odd alliance. It does not seem odd to me anymore; hence the value of the provided insights.

  4. This appears to be an example of embedding 21st century education into a classical framework. It makes me a little queasy.

    http://www.welltrainedmind.com/classical-education/

    A few 21 Century nuggets tucked in:

    “habits of thought”

    “It is language-focused.”

    “mind must be first supplied with facts and images,”

    ” all knowledge is interrelated”.

    “The classical education is, above all, systematic ”

    “Great Conversation” ( a/k/a Big Idea )

    If you were a regular caring busy parent you might see all the TOP WORDS and get Classical happy, but never recognize these BOTTOM WORDS which only are glaring to those who get it, haha “GET IT”, get it??
    That ladt bit was for
    MC, thoughts? Werner falk/werner erhart

    • Hi MM. It doesn’t seem alarming unless you have spent more than two years researching cybernetics and had it turbocharged with actual language of ESSA and then realized much of the same design thinking is in this.

      I am back, but exhausted. I am too old to do 700 miles of driving in 36 hours. I wouldn’t want my youngest doing that highway driving alone. As I guessed the Alexander Christakis book I read while I sat and waited is full of confessions that link it all together, including the 4 Cs. It helps that I thoroughly know and accurately laid out the real implementation in my book.

      Plus in a chance remark Norbert Weiner said that first the cybernetic theories needed to be imposed via engineering and biologically. The reality is student-centered learning grounded in Competency and HOTS does just that. Weiner then says the cybernetic template should be expanded to the society and the economy. I read that Wednesday before I left and Christakis’ Structured Design Dialogue links up what Weiner hoped to do.

      If Oren is around, he will recognize that his and his dad’s work also fits into the individual biologically and then onto society and the economy template. Hey, I have read every page of The Active Society and we can form an intellectual book club to discuss how it’s going in reality in 2016. I really have learned to read the blueprints.

      • The fact that it doesn’t seem alarming compounds the problem we face. Last year I pulled my kids from a classical school run by a principal who had a vision in terms of the students’ moral obligations to seek knowledge and to act accordingly. He had some fairly prescriptive notions regarding what students should “do.” This year kids are at another classical school which so far seems to push knowledge for knowledge’s sake. What the individual students do with what they learn should be left up to them. Period. It’s quite simple really, but due to the omnipresent false narrative, the concept is lost on many. So most won’t read and research the history needed to “get this” and most won’t understand cybernetics or big data works, so how do we fight this? I’ve been watching policy research give way to new bills in CA that target areas related to academic success, mandating schools monitor physical, social and mental health (whole child) because they all factor into one’s ability to succeed in school. They are updating and passing legislation as parents are lulled by vacuous Ed terms and research put out by Ivy League profs. Beyond frustrating.

        • JT-that’s why I have delved into this so hard to find out precisely why this vision so clearly aligns with what cybernetics and the declared HM Social Reconstructionists like Dewey, Brameld, or Julian Huxley (covered in book for those who haven’t read it yet) want to emphasize. There is no dispute it functions the same.

          Now I know why and where most of us believe what is sought goes off the rails. I will pull that together in the next post that I have named in terms that we can all see. I am reading lots of strawmen assertions as if psychology was still stuck on BF Skinner, Pavlov, and Behaviorism and Marxist Humanism had not discovered that Materialism would not get the change in perception they needed as well.

          I have to know precisely what is being said and where it is false to start creating the pathway to illuminate the Edict that is otherwise in place but hidden. I am there now and it has been almost cathartic because now I can see why I recognized the similarities and why there is such a consistency of focus.

          I believe I have pulled together the Apt Metaphors to pull these techniques and aims away from sophistry and the shadows into my favorite disinfectant of sunlight. This has been a very helpful journey though in taking something like cybernetics that is so offputting in its goals and coming up with the every day analogies to describe it in ways anyone can follow.

          At least with last week’s trip behind me, I think I get to stay put for a while. You can think of all that legislation the way I think of ESSA. I am sorry it passed because of all the children it is designed to reengineer neurologically behind their parents backs and without consent. I am glad it passed because we are no longer dealing with a moving target of aspirations.

          • It’s tough to watch the false narrative be pushed. Especially when you sit and listen to them and can decode the meaning of what they are saying and really pushing. I do not know how you do it Robin. I will be going to that Oregon event, barf bag hiding in my purse. At least Macey and I can share a cup of coffee after and work through what they are really saying. The sad part here is Tha no one is trying to question or stop them. Full steam ahead willingly.

            Found this in my inbox.
            http://www.b-21.org/about/#values

            It came from reading this webinar info you may be interested in. What will they say it is about vs. What we know others have said. Knowledge works will be involved.
            http://www.inacol.org/event/what-is-competency-based-education/

          • I got asked to an event a few months ago by both parents and pols wanting me to translate what was really being said.

            “I speak ed” was how I put it when someone asks why I go. Take down any phrases you have not heard before especially along with good notes. I found James Paul Gee’s work and Courtney Cazden after noticing the amoeba-brained but loyal change agent principal who did not last long kept spouting about ‘communities of practice.’

            I do it because this story matters more than anything I could be involved in. Now that I know the gravity of what is being sought I have to keep translating. It’s why I was so determined to write the book and it’s more pertinent in 2016 than it was when I wrote it in 2012.

            For some reason, an unusual convergence of events put me into a position to grasp the true aims and pierce these false narratives. I got in about midnight Friday night. I kept driving in part so I could use the savings from not spending the night against the book bill for my research this month. I knew there were a bunch of “find this book” notations in what I worked on all-day Friday while I waited. My youngest says I am the only parent she knows whose work is that portable.

  5. Well, Robin, I was beginning to feel I was not supposed to respond to this blogpost because my first two attempts disappeared completely when I pressed the button! I am trying one last time to see if “third time’s the charm.”

    The issue of classical education and other packaged curriculum that comes from a “conservative”–even Christian–source should be handled and examined very carefully. We have referenced the Reconstructionist/Dominionist crowd as those who have a controlled society as their agenda. Their linking together with the Neoconservatives during this election cycle creates a frightening front in a battle for the hearts and minds of the American populous.

    Many of us have accepted conservative input since the Reagan administration without stopping to examine where their ideas have been originating. Unfortunately, organizations, media, even churches and their leaders have been using psychological and change agent techniques embraced by liberal, atheistic organizations. To those on what is perceived as the Right Wing, the final outcome–changing and transforming society–is the ultimate goal and any means of getting there can be used. They have conceded that the Left Wing has been successful disrupting traditional social practices and are accepting the same techniques to accomplish their own ends without counting the costs of using those techniques.

    Will post more if this goes through.

    • Cpw-you are through and I am back although my hand is saying no typing after gripping the steering wheel so long.

      I want your experiences and input as I was surprised to recognize the template I knew so well. Slightly different terminology but a definite run for the Acropolis as if most of us do not have a history library that would trigger verification of facts.

      I put two posts ago in a broader context because it fits. There may be different reasons for wanting to train people to act to change reality and precisely what those transformations should be but the careful analysis just keeps showing parallels. I hope the people involved do not know what is really envisioned at the level of the mind. Even the Bellagio retreat docs from 1968 referred to that as tyranny.

      I want to hear more and Schlossberg’s Idols of Destruction showed up while I was driving all over.

      Looking forward to your input. By the way that 1968 meeting was excited about the founding of the Institute for the Future, which we at ISC know all too well, to pursue its emphasis on a ‘new’ kind of planning. They always used scare quotes like that.

  6. Martha Sue’s description of what she considers a Classical Christian Education to comprise basically covers the Renaissance and Enlightenment up to WW1 in the USA, The UK and Western Europe.
    I question William Manchester’ s understanding of history. The Celtic Church promoted education but at the Synod of Whitby 664 AD, The King of Northumbria chose to follow Rome. By about 700AD most of England, Wales and Scotland looked towards Rome. In 870 AD Alfred the Great translated some of the Bible into English ( Gospels I think into English) and built school promoting learning. Roger Bacon in about 1260 started modern logical and scientific philosophy when he said it necessary to separate faith and reason, Duns Scotus and William of Occam followed.

    A Classical student does not accept dogma. A gentleman knows Latin and a scholar and gentleman knows Latin and Greek. Dogma comes the RC Church and not Roman or Greek Civilisation. In Western Europe Latin was taught but little Greek, prior to the Renaissance.

    People respected learning but from about th age of 5-7 , children had to work in order to feed themselves and this is why they did not go to school.

    When people discuss Pre 1500 Europe can they read Latin ( including late Middle age and not just Classical Latin ) and the local languages . To say understand England and Britain in 1000 1100AD AD people need to be able to read Medieval Latin, Anglo Saxon, Norse, Celtic and Norman French: few scholars have this skill.

    I would suggest that a Classical Education trains a person to differentiate between truth and falsehood. At a junior school I had to write QED after mathematical proofs.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Q.E.D.

    A Classical Educations trains people to argue using facts and placing them in a logical sequence. What is concerning is that students no longer have to understand and use mathematical proofs. Greeks were the first civilisation to attempt to explain the universe using verifiable facts based upon observation and measurement in order to arrive at an objective truth. Common Core removes the ability of the student to prove facts through observation and measurement and use logic to justify an intellectual position. By placing emotion over facts and logic it stops a free people developing technology. Whether water flows or not depends upon the slope, not emotion.

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