Why someone might ask does it really matter that the architects of the News Literacy Project are also the creators of the curriculum for History and Social Studies? Does it really matter that Google is spending $300 million to create a Disinfo Lab to combat Fake News and that $3 million of that will go to creating school curriculum that just happens to also be with the group creating all the above learning standards? All of these actions have an effect of controlling the prevailing Ideas that most students will likely have access to. If you aspire to social or political change, controlling prevailing Ideas is the most effective way in. As economist Deirdre McCloskey put it in her 2016 book “Nothing happens voluntarily in an economy, or a society, unless someone changes her mind. Behavior can be changed by compulsion, but minds cannot.”
That’s not, strictly speaking, true, but the point remains on why changing minds has to be covert. A misunderstanding of education reforms, especially if deliberately created, such as the nature of competency frameworks, social and emotional learning, Classical Education charters, or the Catholic Curriculum Frameworks, just to use a few examples, means that the mind, right down to its very neurons, can be compelled to a desired consciousness. Misled parents and young manipulated students have no True North (to use the last post’s metaphor) to be a tip off to the presence or level of coercion. We cannot resist what we are unaware of, can we? McCloskey also quoted how the “great Marxian historian Gordon Childe declared in 1943 “that “In practice ideas form as effective an element in the environment of any human society as do mountains, trees, animals, the weather and the rest of external nature. Societies, that is, behave as if they were reacting to a spiritual environment as well as a material environment.”
If learning standards and curriculum are being created to control that “spiritual environment” so that the Ideas change the student who then acts differently in, and on, their daily physical environment and that changed environment in turn changes the student further at the very level of the consciousness and physiological brain, we have an excellent reason for all the deceit. Likewise, we can appreciate why the UN and other international organizations have stated repeatedly that changes in education alone can force the implementation of the Equity for All Agenda globally by 2030. No need for any gulags, in other words, to be a visual tip-off of coercion when Ideas and school curriculum become the tools of choice.
https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/news/final-report-high-level-expert-group-fake-news-and-online-disinformation came out in March and lays out the New Media Ecosystem and its ability to control prevailing information that both Facebook and Google and other social media companies will be involved in. That “multi-dimensional approach to disinformation” also lays out the Media and Information Literacy efforts to be introduced in the schools and international assessments like PISA to ensure a “reassessment and adjustment of educational policies.” The compulsion suddenly that can both drive and control prevailing ideas that students use to think about their experiences and the world around them is largely hidden from sight at the very time it is asserted as the very remedy for the supposed ubiquity of Fake News and Disinformation.
That does sound so much better than Invisible Censorship before the Fact, doesn’t it? In case, no one reading this has a handy copy of the 1991 MindScience: An East-West Dialogue with the Dalai Lama to use the Inner Sciences perfected by Buddhism over the centuries to create a new vision for education and thus society, let me quote from mine. Thanks to the reader who suggested this after discovering the Mindfulness push in charter schools from the last post. The Ideas that get pushed into classrooms as “the foundation of the Common Core” in the Stanford SHEG-created Reading like a Historian tied to the News Literacy Project or the even more forthcoming Thinking Like a Historian fit with what Harvard Ed Prof Howard Gardner called the “representational level.” Since he was nice enough to “try to simplify,” let’s quote his explanation down to his italics:
“Between the neuronal level–the wetwear that you can touch or at least look at under microscopes–and the cultural level–the notion that there are different cultures with histories and practices and so on–there is a third level of analysis. We call this intermediate level the representational level. This level cannot be touched or seen but it is believed to exist in the head. It entails the notion that we have and use schemata, scripts, ideas, symbol systems and other cognate kinds of mental entities.”
Coerce that representational level then and you control the drivers of perception and future behavior with hardly anyone being much the wiser. How do we know, for sure, that is the area being manipulated if you don’t have a handy copy of the two books I just referred to? Take a look then at http://www.doe.mass.edu/bese/docs/FY2018/2018-01/item2-public-comment-draft.pdf and its vision on page 10 that the purpose of the History and Social Studies Curriculum is “All students in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts must be educated to evaluate competing ideas, to understand the past, and to promote the ideals of equality, justice, liberty, and the common good for all peoples in the world.” Methinks, the Dalai Lama would approve.
That link, from January 2018, also links to Recommended History and Social Science Websites that includes News and Media Literacy, the SHEG Reading like a Historian, the UCLA Center for History in the Schools, UNESCO, the World Bank, the OECD, and that National Constitution Center with its communitarian definitions of Freedom and Liberty (the advantages of their being Ideas and not facts is no one is likely to notice the crucial shift). Other listed websites though tie directly to the deceit around learning standards and also the push for charter schools and school choice via other experimental economic theories like vouchers or Education Savings Accounts. It turns out that a partner of SHEG in transforming “best practices in history teaching and learning” is George Mason University with its History Matters, World History Matters, and Center for History and New Media.
Controlling Ideas is so useful, isn’t it? We can appreciate that factual knowledge really gets in the way of a deliberately controlled narrative when I noticed that the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) created the original endowment for the New Media History Center. Before Bill Bennett was Education Secretary he headed NEH so that was his background when he and NGA head Lamar Alexander launched the state/federal learning standards movement via “Project Education Reform: Time for Results” in the mid-1980s. No wonder that push wanted to emphasize Higher Order Thinking Skills (supplied Ideas that act at a representational level) as a key reform. The Rockefeller Foundation had likewise begun funding such disciplinary curriculum reforms in the humanities back in 1980.
Fascinating, since GMU’s History Matters shows it was originally created through funding by NEH and the Rockefeller and Kellogg Foundations. Remember too that the official manual of what constitutes “evidence-based policymaking” in education or any other social sciences was created with Kellogg funding. Suddenly, history thinking and reading becomes a means “for making sense of the present…It allows us to undertake sensible inquiry into the political, social, or moral issues that trouble us…[and] achieve the informed, discriminating citizenship essential to democratic government.” https://www.macmillanlearning.com/Catalog/uploadedFiles/Content/BSM/Discipline/History/Preview_LearntoThinkReadLikeHistorian.pdf is the source of that quote.
Lest there be any question that students are being trained to be historical change makers in just the very way that Marxist Humanism envisioned when it rolled out officially and globally back in 1962, let’s use a further quote from above. “As the past creates the present, it also shapes everything that is still to come. By teaching us that societies and institutions can change, that people have not always been as they are now, and that long-standing conflicts can sometimes be resolved, history can provide guidance for the future. Historical inquiry and understanding cannot tell us precisely what we should do to make constructive change in the world…” Only that students must act to make such change. The curriculum provides the Ideas that it calls historical categories of inquiry. These supplied categories are supposed to “create the mental framework to hang the details that follow” in the form of classroom activities, projects, and online work via those websites cited above.
These categories of thought are supposed to be about history or “the past”, but in reality they become Habits of Mind used daily to confront whatever experiences come a student’s way. If you want to invisibly instill those prevailing Ideas, just embed them in these learning experiences.” I am going to close then with a quote where the … is where I took out the phrase “about the past”. These Ideas or categories of thought then actually manipulate the mind at a level that can only be detected if someone like me writes about it and somebody like you reads this post or my book. Lots of reason then to control the Internet, what will be regarded as valid sources of information, and the learning standards that control what the growing, malleable mind internalizes at a neural level.
“Continuous use of these categories… builds a common language that students can use to direct their curiosity and exploration of any topic…As students learn to think…according to these disciplinary patterns they are freed from notions of history as a collection of facts. History becomes a way of thinking…, rather than details to be recalled as history teachers and tests demand.”