ECAA is the acronym for the new federal K-12 legislation–the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015. Since Senator Lamar Alexander, assuming unknown to me powers never discussed in Civics in that “How a Bill Becomes a Law” brochure, has pulled what unanimously passed his Senate subcommittee and substituted this more than 200 page longer bill http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-114s1177pcs/pdf/BILLS-114s1177pcs.pdf , we are going to interrupt our trilogy to take a look. Especially since the lack of any genuine public notice of the “Yoohoo, Heads Up” variety makes it appear none of us were supposed to have a chance to notice and object to the switch. I was not fond of the old bill’s language and wrote several posts explaining why back in April.
The new language though requires, as a matter of binding federal law, two revolutionary shifts in American schools. It imposes the UNESCO/OECD Seven Domains (and accompanying subdomains explicitly in numerous instances too often to be coincidental) of Universal Education. I intuited that after I finished the 792 page bill and then located the 3 reports created by the Brookings Institute Learning Metrics Task Force (LMTF) and published in February 2013, July 2013, and June 2014. All the reports start with “Toward Universal Learning”. Report 1 is then titled “What Every Child Should Learn” and lays out those 7 domains of Physical wellbeing, social and emotional, culture and the arts, literacy and communication, Learning approaches and cognition, Numeracy and mathematics, and science and technology. Report 2 is “A Global Framework for Measuring Learning” and Report 3 lays out “Implementing Assessment to Improve Learning.”
Report 2 gives the perfect rationale for why ECAA has had such a stealth approach and why the Opt Out movement seems to really be about shifting to formative assessments and a Whole Child approach. Let’s listen in on this useful confession:
“While measurement may have different purposes at different levels, the systems for measuring and improving learning at the classroom, national, and global levels should not be working in isolation. Globally tracked indicators should be aligned with what is measured nationally and in schools or classrooms, while measurement at the national level should be aligned with the competencies measured in classrooms or schools.”
That is why ECAA is so intent on ensuring that all states and local school districts are using “high-quality assessments” and measuring “higher order thinking and understanding.” Now I have written about the meanings of these terms before, most particularly here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/muzzling-minds-all-over-the-globe-while-trumpeting-higher-order-skills/ , but it is time to reveal that second revolutionary shift mandated as a MATTER OF LAW by ECAA. It forces a vision of theoretical learning and “mastering of the technique of theoretical concept formation” developed in the Soviet Union to create ideological thinkers who could be manipulated by state authorities (or anyone else who knew about the methods). This relates to what is described in Chapter 3 of my book and is also why it is so alarming that ECAA has the National Science Foundation providing recommendations on Best Practices in STEM coursework.
After I had finished reading both the new ECAA and those three Universal Education reports, I pulled a 1984 book Psychology in Utopia: Toward a Social History of Soviet Psychology for insights into what was being mandated via ECAA as “personalized, rigorous learning experiences that are supported through technology” and a repeated obligation to “personalize learning”. This is all under the Innovative Technology Expands Children’s Horizon’s (I-Tech) part that begins on page 551. In other words, after normal people have become too frustrated with ECAA to continue. I have known for a while that the phrase “personalized learning” is a quagmire of misunderstandings and psychologically intrusive practices to lock-in, at a neurological level, how the world will be interpreted going forward.
The book’s author did not think much of this theoretical learning and called the project an “outright utopia,” which should not be extended “illegitimately, to the whole of society.” Can’t imagine then why we should enshrine it in 2015 as an obligation under federal law. The book described all the programs that Vasily Davydov and his group created in the 70s that, from my knowledge of the actual Common Core implementation as detailed in my book, is the basis for all those planned learning tasks and literacy instruction now. Oh. Good. Kozulin noted though that by 1981 Davydov’s research showed that “object-oriented activity” alone had no effect on mental development. To have that effect, a “personalized form” of “educational activity” must be found. I am guessing that is what ECAA means with its constant references to “well-rounded educational experiences.”
To be ‘personalized’ according to the research of the Soviet psychologists, the focus “of the psychological program” must get at “problems of motivation and personal reflection and the construction of individualized programs of educational activity.” That would be what ECAA calls data to ‘personalize learning’ and ‘inform instruction’ and specifically calls for the “use of data, data analytics, and information to personalize learning and provide targeted supplementary instruction.” See what I meant by Windows on the Mind from the last post?
I have a lot to cover so here’s why Universal Design for Learning had to be in ECAA and why it is vital to personalizing learning http://www.eschoolnews.com/2015/05/19/udl-personalized-939/print/ . Here is the Gates Foundation-funded and tied to OECD work and the Achievement Standards Network we have also covered on the Next Generation Learning Environment and its ties to personalizing learning. https://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/eli3035.pdf
So why really must Learning be personalized and why is what now constitutes ‘content’ under ECAA really behavior or the kind of theoretical concept knowledge or principles we have now tracked to the USSR and its visions for utopia in the future? This is from the 2nd Universal Education LMTF report. I put up a link yesterday from 2013 of Arne Duncan hyping this very global agenda of the UN Secretary-General. It is worth quoting in full, but I am bolding the real stunners. Remember the UN Dignity for All by 2030 Agenda I have covered previously.
“The world faces global challenges, which require global solutions. These interconnected global challenges call for far-reaching changes in how we think and act for the dignity of fellow human beings. It is not enough for education to produce individuals who can read, write, and count. Education must be transformative and bring shared values to life. It must cultivate an active care for the world and for those with whom we share it. Education must be relevant in answering the big questions of the day. Technological solutions, political regulation or financial instruments alone cannot achieve sustainable development. It requires transforming the way people think and act. Education must fully assume its central role in helping people to forge more just, peaceful, tolerant and inclusive societies. It must give people the understanding, skills and values they need to cooperate in resolving the interconnected challenges of the 21st century.”
That is precisely what ECAA does when you go through its actual language as I have done. By the way, that quote was from a section of the report titled “An Adaptable, Flexible Skill Set to Meet the Demands of the 21st Century.” In the US and other countries all over the world this gets sold as students having a Growth Mindset. It’s no accident that before hyping that euphemistic term Carol Dweck was a well-known Vygotsky scholar. The 1970s Soviet work is an updating of Vygotsky’s work and what this blog has tagged CHAT-cultural historical activity theory. We have met it all before http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/treating-western-society-and-its-economy-as-a-train-in-need-of-rebuilding-and-central-direction/ and now we know why. These global plans and using education as the vehicle are far more extensive even than what is already alarmingly detailed in my book.
ECAA though is the mother lode because it makes regulating our behavior and personality at a neurological level not just something schools may do, but something they MUST do. As a matter of federal law to further an admitted global agenda. LMTF Report 3 talks about how the countries are to get the global Learning agenda and the Seven Domain emphasis into schools and classrooms as a binding obligation. By the time we trace through the schoolwide PBIS, Positive School Climate, “supporting activities that promote physical and mental health and wellbeing for students and staff,” creating and maintaining “a school environment that is free of weapons and fosters individual responsibility and respect for the rights of others” and other ECAA mandates that the local schools and districts must now provide we can see how Ban Ki-Moon’s transformation through education vision quoted above makes it all the way into each classroom and each child.
I have mentioned the repeated use of “well-rounded educational experiences”. It appears to be an obligation to implement not just a Whole Child emphasis, but also to make up for whatever deficits poverty in the community, a dysfunctional family life, or any other problems like being a migrant that does not speak English may have created. All means all. Physical education language in ECAA turns quietly into a mandate to promote the “social or emotional development of every student” and “opportunities to develop positive social and cooperative skills through physical activity participation.” Again mirroring subdomains laid out in those 3 LMTF reports.
I am going to close with yet more proof that ECAA is all about fostering desired behaviors, emotions, and values as it contains repeated references to meeting students “academic needs”. Now I wouldn’t be much of a lawyer if I did not recognize defined terms left mischieviously undefined. Sure enough here’s a link to a February 2009 statement from the National Association of School Psychologists. http://www.nasponline.org/about_nasp/positionpapers/AppropriateBehavioralSupports.pdf No wonder there are so many references to school counseling programs and mental health providers in ECAA.
I have notes on everything I have described here. If I could draw a jigsaw puzzle to show how tight the actual fit is with everything I have described, I would. It’s impossible to get this level of fit accidentally or this level of correspondences coincidentally.
I joke about speaking ed. I understand intuitively and from years of practice how the law can be used to bind people and places against what they would wish. I have put both those skills together to bring everyone a heads up.
I only wish I was speculating on any of this. Hopefully this post will reach enough people in time.