Intrinsic and Collective: Race and Restorative Justice as Visions to Upgrade the Brain’s Hardware and Software

If I have ever in my life said the trite phrase “may we live in interesting times,” I take it back. Hopefully, we are not all suffering too much from “What Next?” exhaustion because we have some interesting patterns of honesty peeking through all these released statements and visions that I am going to piece together. Especially since the visions predate George Floyd’s tragic death and the graphic visuals surrounding it and seem to have been waiting for the right incident necessitating transformative societal change as the remedy. There’s a new book coming out this summer called Narrative Change: How Changing the Story can Transform Society, Business, and Ourselves and its author pitches it this way:

Hansen reveals how narratives shape our everyday lives and how we can construct new narratives to enact positive change…Narrative Change provides an unparalleled window into an innovative model of change while telling powerful stories of a fight against injustice. It reminds us that what matters most for any organization, community, or person is the story we tell about ourselves–and the most effective way to shake things up is by changing the story.

On May 27 this article came out and systemic or structural racism can be considered the ‘right problem’ to generate the “kind of reimagining aimed at opening the door for real systemic change.” Except it was clearly written before Mr Floyd died. Its push for education to create ‘intrinsic’ change within each individual and thus generate a ‘we’ culture and society fits with so many of the statements issued after that video went viral and the protests, and then riots, began. It hypes ‘flourishing’ for all students as the goal of education, with an emphasis now on “What do we want for children we care about?,” instead of transmissive content acquisition. This new visionputs the emphasis on ‘possibility’ and new kinds of ‘created’ citizens:

The conventional K-12 system has learners spend about 14,000 hours in school. If our future selves are created out of who we practice being today, as both Aristotle and modern neuroscience tell us, then the habits and ways of being they practice in school will last a lifetime. These include habits of how students relate to themselves, their learning, and the world; and, habits of how they relate to others, co-create, and participate in communities.

That vision of thinking of education as a ‘design problem’ for the needed new hardware and software instilled in students as habits of mind fits right in with the following statements I culled to show the consistent, almost magical, drumbeat. From my alma mater, after a tie-in to the controversial SEL curriculum Facing History and Ourselves that has a tag already here at ISC, came the helpful nugget that “Education has the power to help us understand the most effective ways to discern what is needed and to do what is right.” Let’s classify that as a software adjustment, if not rewrite. makes the point that:

Calls to ‘say their names’–George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, David McAtee, Michael Lorenzo Dean–have been one of many pleas from the communities across this country for all of us to acknowledge the justified anger and frustration millions who have to live in a society where their rights to safety, justice, and equitable opportunities for success are not guaranteed due to the color of their skin.

Long sentence, but common skin color is the constant focus, never individual behavior or, more importantly, misbehavior. Those wouldn’t call for the desired transformations in other ‘hardware’ systems beyond the individual mind and personality. It wouldn’t merit “creating a learner-centered system that has social justice as its centerpiece.” Here’s one example prior to Mr Floyd’s death, before it could be added to the list of justifications for wholesale change.  told us:

there is nothing natural about disasters because their impact is the result of the way society is structured. Viewed from this lens, the goal of policymakers during the pandemic should not be to reactively restore the status quo. Instead, the goal should be to proactively restructure society, so we are all more resilient the next time disaster strikes.

Resilience sounds intrinsic and restructuring society certainly seems like the collective ‘we’.  To appreciate why the mind and personality may the foundations for the desired change, but they are merely the tools for changes to other ‘systems’ we have ChangeLab Solutions on June 3 informing us that:

Everyone has the right to be healthy. However, communities cannot be healthy if they are the target of racist policies. Unjust laws, policies, and practices have shaped the physical, economic, and social environment over many generations and perpetuated unhealthy communities. We must change the systems that perpetuate inequity and create new laws, policies, and practices that remedy the past and institutionalize fairness and justice so that all communities can achieve optimal health.

ASCD put out a statement on June 5 that they would be working with their “more than 80,000 education leaders from school districts around the country to ensure that education lays the foundation for the change that is necessary.” They are assembling resources

to help educators reflect on and address these challenges with their students; identify their own and their communities’ biases; and to assist them to find the words and learnings that enable them to help their students to makes sense of unconscionable murders and other, less visible forms of racism and bias…We will also expand the ways to support educators to provide them with more content focused on advancing equity…

Education Reimagined put out the statement that as an organization they stand with “Black Lives Matter” (the entity) and that they are

firmly committed to creating a socially just world by doing our part to transform the education system to one that honors each child and unleashes their power and potential to lead fulfilling lives. And we know a true societal shift will require the collective contributions of those committed to dismantling systemic racism.

Finally we had this statement from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education telling us that “white people need to go far beyond the usual lip service to racial justice.” No wonder everyone seems to want to get away from a transmissive vision for education with all these calls for wholesale change. Apparently “those of us who are white need to commit to…the humble work of allowing our views and sense of reality to be altered by what we hear.” At least as long as it is an authorized narrative that one is hearing and not that Mr Floyd had fentanyl in his body at the time of his death and tested positive for covid or that Michael Brown never had his hands up saying “Don’t shoot” and attacked a police officer instead according to uncontradicted testimony from numerous witnesses. Those kind of factual statements are currently the source of ire against a faculty member at Cornell Law School.

After telling us what we must come to recognize as white adults so that we will “recognize systemic forms of oppression,” whatever the actual underlying facts, the Making Caring Common Project statement pivots to the

crucial importance of talking about race and racism with our children. We need to raise our children to understand the history of race and racism in this country [using Big Ideas as lenses presumably instead of facts] and to recognize and fight racism in all its modern forms. That means talking to children in developmentally appropriate ways about why people are protesting and engaging children’s questions. It means explaining to them that at the core of a just society is the understanding that each one of us is responsible for all of us.

So tragic events and misreported narratives get used to pitch Uncle Karl’s undisputed vision for what he described as little ‘c’ communism on American school children as necessary to end structural oppression and systemic racism.  The hardware metaphor came from this May 20 post while Mr Floyd was still with us. Its vision to “design learning experiences that pique interest and cultivate discovery,” while abandoning “our singular obsession with curricular content” merited inclusion in the Black Lives Matter vision issued later and quoted above. I guess protests and ‘murders’ do pique interest. That article points out that curricular content is transactional, not transformative, and thus misplaces the fulcrum of what education can be leveraged to change. After all, there “isn’t enough information sharing in the world that will provide the force needed to launch young people into dynamic and fulfilling lives.”

Finally, one of the bibliographies from the last post referenced the 2019 The Little Book of Race and Restorative Justice: Black Lives, Healing, and US Social Transformation that caught my eye as I have attended Restorative Justice programs put on jointly by urban school and police departments. I knew the use of the program was an issue in Broward County when the tragic Parkland shooting occurred. I didn’t know that its author Fania Davis was Angela Davis’ sister nor how often she speaks to educators and at ed schools. She is apparently committed to the SEL practices I have described and the vision I termed Tranzi OBE in my book Credentialed to Destroy because she believes that “Western knowledge systems, based on an ethos of separateness, competition, and subordination, have contributed to pervasive crises that today imperil our future.”

Davis prefers “alternative worldviews that bring healing to our world.” Like what Making Caring Common has in mind? Probably as she wants a focus “on repairing and rebuilding in order to strengthen relationships and bring social harmony.” What I recognize as Uncle Karl’s vision for what he called the Human Development Society, the admitted CPUSA member attributes to the indigenous values of justice from Africa and its communitarian culture. As I have said before, same destination, but varying rationales and sales pitches. Fania’s book details all the dialogical, positive psychology, and holistic, intrapersonal practices she wants pushed by school districts. Fits right in with what was written above before there was any Pandemic or this year’s ‘murders’ meriting wholesale changes. She wants  practices aimed at “creating school cultures of care, connectivity, and healing.”

The last chapter was titled “Toward a Racial Reckoning: Imagining a Truth Process for Police Violence” with the following epigraph:

Behold the bright sun of transformation and a new beginning.

That strikes me as where schools and institutions want to take us now as a society, and as individuals. Already planned for and just waiting for the right visuals to light the wick of outrage so that only wholesale change at every level can be an acceptable remedy. We will come back to this in the next post as I am running long, but this is what Fania wrote in the 2019 book:

While the nation abolished slavery, the racial terror at its essence continues to haunt us. We are caught in history’s pain, living it again and again. Until we engage in a collective process to face and transform this pain, we will perpetually reenact it.

It’s been a while since we discussed ‘deliberative democracy’ but it still has a tag. Last week the OECD moved to institute it all over the world to take Democracy beyond the ballot box and create Innovative Citizenship.

I don’t think any of this is coincidental, do you?


73 thoughts on “Intrinsic and Collective: Race and Restorative Justice as Visions to Upgrade the Brain’s Hardware and Software

  1. Per the pretty impeccable scholar, Mathew Rafael Johnson, Ms. Davis is a ‘cut-out’. Johnson correctly observes that her doctoral degree was accomplished at a German university that likely had very few faculty on staff who were sufficiently fluent in English to guide her research, or to vet her dissertation.

    This scenario reminds me of what I reported of doctoral students attached to a Japanese university and international business study programs, i.e. manufactured, reverse-engineered research projects.

    Johnson further states that Davis’s books are really just polemical speeches memorialized in text, and do not evidence academic skills commensurate with her title. Her teaching roles were accomplished in the typical soft-social science SJW fields…and, these roles were only minimally interrupted by her stint on the FBI’s most-wanted list, a fugitive from justice…and, her very OBVIOUS involvement in the commissioning of the capital crimes that occurred in the Marin County Courthouse.

    One would think that if TPTB were actually serious about advancing the rights of Black people, they would elevate as movement leaders individuals who had actually achieved something meaningful beyond playing a role and becoming a millionaire in doing so. This is what I mean about the lack of imagination and good intent in the scripting of these things. Of all the marvelously talented, high-achieving Black leaders out there, WHY this one? I am guessing that CA was the beta test and the laboratory
    and, remains so; that the original architects of this thing are as addled-brained as is Joe Biden.

    I also learned from scholar Johnson, that Trotsky was an actual billionaire (today’s dollars’) at the time of his untimely death, as were other members of his cohort. Think in a later day of Castro, and his designer watches, and multiple luxurious residences. Communists do pretty well in this world.

    • Fania was “en route to Canada to board a ship bound for Cuba for two months, with hundreds of other members of the third Venceremos Brigade, to plant fruit trees in solidarity with the Cuban Revolution” was Angela was arrested. She claims she didn’t do it. That is who teachers are being instructed by to get to Racial Equity.

      She hypes Ubuntu, which I remember being the focus of an International Ed Conference within the last 5 years. If Restorative Justice in the schools is the remedy and it is “seeking to transform social structures, institutions, and individuals” well, of course, there’s a reason we can see the function of Tranzi OBE when its is called for in a classroom and Positive School Climate in the schools. Explains Obama’s July 2012 Executive Order imposing PSC on all public schools in the US. Fania states that

      The skilled gardener tends to both plants and the larger ecosystem. The success of restorative justice depends on seeing ourselves not only as agents of individual transformation, but also as drivers of systems transformation.

      I also found Fania’s push of Study Circles to promote “healthy social relationships and social structures” to be interesting as we saw those pushed in Sweden by their socialists, in the Episcopal Church materials we covered after Bishop Michael Curry’s Firebrand speech at the Harry/Markle wedding, and I also saw them pushed at the Highlander School where Rosa Parks trained. She also pushes “developing individual mind-body awareness practices.” I saw on its website that BLM was pushing a conversation with Deepak Chopra on healing practices. There also appear to be ties with the Kellogg Foundation, which goes to their Logic Model of what constitutes ‘evidence-based’ practices in education. It would pick up Fania Davis’ work then.

      We have encountered john powell before working with Linda Darling-Hammond and also other initiatives. Will try to locate those posts.

    • I found the john a powell post here

      This quote from that post is eerily prescient:

      Apparently there was a 2002 Chapel Hill conference. In the book that resulted laying out the blueprint for the future, john a powell, who was a featured speaker at President Obama’s Building One America conference in 2011 that I wrote about here lays out his vision for true integration. It basically marries communitarianism with Regionalism. It envisions more than breaking the unitary self. Trashing of the entirety of Western culture up to now is more the ambition of this very influential man with access to political levers and coffers at the highest levels.

      “[T]rue integration requires community-wide efforts to dismantle that culture and to create a more inclusive educational system and a more inclusive society in which all individuals and groups have real, equal opportunities to build and participate in the democratic process.

      True integration in our schools, then, is transformative rather than assimilative. That is, while desegregation assimilates minorities into the mainstream, true integration transforms the mainstream. . . it recognizes that cultures are not static but are constantly evolving and that all students benefit from a truly equal and just system of education.

      To achieve this result, true integration addresses the issues of achievement, opportunity, community, and relevancy at a systemic level. In this process, institutions, communities, and individuals are fundamentally changed . . .Mandatory, interdistrict desegregation or consolidation is just an initial and temporary step in this structural transformation. We must then link housing, school, economic, political, and cultural opportunities and spread accountability throughout entire metropolitan areas via regional planning.”

      The regionalism call fits with the subsidiarity of Davis’ Truth and Reconciliation vision. She sees 5 to 7 in the US and pushes bottom-up processes akin to deliberative democracy practices. powell’s contrast of assimilative fits with the quotes from Education Reimagined pushing transformative instead of transmissive.

        • If memory serves, Christopher Hitchens planted trees in Cooba…must be a right of passage. I am sure that I have deep moral flaws, but I have never seen that kind of activity as being productive of much of anything…

          What I did like, however, was E. Michael Jones’s quest to get a pump working in an African community that had lived off USAID for so long, it has forgotten the importance of working pumps.

          • This is another statement from Frameworks, put out yesterday while I was probably out for a walk.

            Momentum is growing for deep and widescale change to our society and its systems. We can feel it. Getting our frames and narrative right is essential to realizing the changes that the American public increasingly demands.

            But how do we position our messages to grow this energy? Helping answer this question is what drives us at the FrameWorks Institute.

            A crisis alone is rarely enough for meaningful change. In addition to emphasizing the urgency of the problems we face, many communicators are advancing concrete ways that we can begin to address systemic racism and promote equity across all areas of life. We need to make it clear that there are problems that require our complete and undivided attention while showing that we have concrete solutions and ways of addressing them. We must talk about what we want to see and where we need to go, not just about all of the things that stand in our way. Getting this right is key to making sure that when we look back on our current moment, we will see it as one in which real change happened.

            Today was grocery store day, plus getting supplies for Fathers Day anticipating demand exceeding supply by closer to this weekend. I have always been a planner but these last several months have polished that tendency to a marked degree.

  2. I understand they are gardening in CHAZ. This entails placing an inch of topsoil on flattened cardboard boxes, planting seeds, and waiting for dinner. Oh yes, the ‘produce’ is for Black people, only, in a new and more inclusive world.

    • It has been my humble experience that people who are possessed of facts and the truth do not trade in “frames” and “narratives”. One of the more interesting one’s they are invoking in re: CHAZ is, “The Summer of Love”. As a person who used to call S.F. home, I can tell you that sections of that ‘City’ still provide weekend hippies with a change to replicate “The Summer of Love”…and, these districts look like CHAZ does, now, and perennially so. I would say, ditto, for the Esalen Institute, though that venue represents up-scale hippiedom.

      Perhaps, frames and narratives can be useful in terms of propagating and understanding of what this sort of social entity actually is, is modeled after, and who were and are its modelers.

      For instance, if one looks at the accoutrements of a Mormon temple, a Mormon temple ceremony, it is pretty clear what is being replicated, paid homage to. Groups and societies can configure in all sorts of ways, so why would/must CHAZ look ‘like’, be ‘like’ something else? Why can’t CHAZ be ‘like’ the Temple of Athena, or the Mondragon collective in the Basque country? If people really are awake and alive to each other and current realities, why do they replicate a failed past? Oh, that’s right, we will get it right, next time.

      I would suggest that we are dealing with in the person’s of the planners and their dupes, a group of people who are INCAPABLE of being all the things they aspire to in their lofty messages to us all. I would also suggest that this group of planners who seem so focused on future possibilities — GLORIOUS — are really attempting to recover a past state, that has been idealized. This ‘state’, that never actually was, is sold like candy to the gullible, and the gullible are its primary victims.

      If seedlings sprout in 1” of topsoil laid upon cardboard boxes laid upon cement pavement, and grow and ‘flourish’, then winter wheat really will grow in the spring, and children will flourish in digital classrooms.

      It seems to me that one-room school houses had a better track record of success, so why not move forward/backward to these? We could be time travelers like Foucault and miine the past for really civilized constructs instead of playing an endless loop of the Grafeful Dead….RIGHT!?!

      • OMG. There we have it all coming together.

        Dr. Shariff Abdullah is a consultant, author, and advocate for mindfulness, inclusivity, and societal transformation. Shariff’s meta-vision and mission are simple: we can create a world that works for all beings. Shariff promotes heart-centered inclusivity, compassionate dialogue, and a society based on vision. His work is informed by his spiritual practices; growing up with racism and generational poverty; his years as a successful attorney; and his inclusivity experiences in over 120 cultures, spanning 45 countries. Shariff has written several paradigm-shifting books, including: The Power of One: Authentic Leadership in Turbulent Times; the award-winning Creating a World That Works for All; Seven Seeds for a New Society; Practicing Inclusivity; and The Chronicles of the Upheavals. Shariff serves on IHE’s Curriculum Advisory Board and his book, Creating a World That Works for All, has been a required text in IHE’s graduate programs for more than a decade.

        IHE: In your vision for the future, you imagine humanity entering a “Transcendent Age” in which “humans recognize and fully practice our connection and inclusive relationship with all other humans, all Beings, the Earth and Life everywhere in our Universe.” With humans seemingly more polarized than ever; easily manipulated by falsehoods and manufactured desires; and currently living through both a pandemic and, in the U.S., an upheaval to end racism, both of which elicit varying levels of anger, anxiety, and sorrow, how can we move toward this transcendent age?

        Shariff: Over the years, I’ve found it amazing how many people in this country seem resistant to the idea of societal transformation. Even so-called “activists” seem to confine their activism to a limited range of causes. Nearly everyone understands the need for societal transformation, and each one of us can recite a litany of ills present in today’s society. Whether ecological, economic, social, psychological, or any other area, the majority of us have a profound realization: something is wrong…

        Since I was very young, I have been driven by a vision: that from the world that exists – a world filled with poverty, racism, and exploitation – we can create a world that works for all beings. When I was 11 years old, I helped to form an organization in Camden, NJ called, “The Black People’s Unity Movement” (BPUM). (At the time, I mistakenly thought that black people were the only ones with problems.)

        I am puzzled why others do not generally have transcendent visions – or at least adopt someone else’s. Given the ferocity with which people talk about their problems and challenges, why do we shy away from visions that are profound and comprehensive?

        Like the rest of us, I am watching as America and much of the world sink into deeper levels of chaos. All of our divides are heightened; all of our problems seem ever more intractable. A positive future seems further away than ever. It has never been more clear: we must “get it,” or we will fail as a society.

        Although it may seem contradictory, I think the reason that many people don’t “get it” is precisely because they do. Intuitively, people understand how a powerful vision calls upon them to change. A true vision calls forth the highest in each of us, and we may not want to go there. Al Gore titled his book “An Inconvenient Truth.” Perhaps my next book could be called “An Inconvenient Solution.”

        We tell ourselves that we are willing to give up our creature comforts for the sake of our children and the well-being of the Earth, but actually most of us are not. We want to fix the problem in “those people over there” (whoever we perceive as taking something away from us), but we are not willing to look at the fact that each one of us carries within us the seeds of this dysfunction.

        I was on a phone call yesterday and have been going through the supplied materials and thinking about the implications given what I know is going on. Note the implications of this definition of Social Justice: “Equal access to and distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society.”

        That will take all-invasive governmental power at all levels beginning with the individual human mind and personality. Precisely what we are seeing with less upfront rationales.

          • Plenty of ‘est’ lingo in Dr. Shariff’s offering. “Creating a world that works for everyone (TM)” was Erhard’s mantra. Authentic leadership, paradigm shifts, heart-centered, transformational. This is pure ‘est’.

            The geographic connections with ANTIFA are interesting. I have tended to view est/Landmark centers as little Bolshevik nodes operating under cover of self- and professional development training group. They do run candidates for political office in their respective geographies. I believe Harry Rosenberg ran for a congressional seat, if I am not mistaken, and I would expect to find them on city councils, and school boards.

          • Good to know about est. Here we have yet more reasons for all the lenses and framing hype. Released yesterday.

            In May 2020, the Aspen Institute Education & Society Program shared ten recommended state actions for Fostering Connectedness in the Pandemic Era that were developed with a diverse group of education leaders. The pandemic and resulting closure of school buildings have revealed the deep inequities that already existed in many schools, and connectedness is one of those gaps. Data from school climate surveys demonstrates that students of color, English-learners, and students from low-income families do not feel safe at school, in part because they do not have the kind of caring, trusted relationships that create belonging – and in part because they do not feel challenged with meaningful, rigorous work.

            With this in mind, and as a complement to the initial recommendations to advance social, emotional, and academic development, we turned to another diverse set of leaders for actionable insights focused on culturally and linguistically responsive education.

            These actions for states include:

            Enable community partnerships to bring valuable cultural capital into schools.
            Ensure all students have access to rigor.
            Equip the education workforce to engage students with rigor through culturally and linguistically responsive education (CLRE).
            Amend state laws and regulations to define “safety” and “school safety” in ways that encompass students’ experience of psychological/intellectual safety and belonging.
            Improve and prioritize school climate measurement and support to better attend to cultural and linguistic diversity.

            All five recommendations embrace one fundamental idea: Culturally and linguistically responsive education helps students become independent learners. Education leaders at all levels and people on both sides of the political divide agree that confidence, competence, and interpersonal skills are not just the keys to success in school – they pave the way for success in work and community life.

            This is a moment for leadership and action. State and districts have the opportunity to reimagine school when buildings reopen. Connectedness and independent learning should be at the forefront of those efforts.


            Same day this group on Culturally Responsive Education did a webinar on marrying CRE to Mastery Learning in order to support Students’ Identities and Culture.

            Useful Pandemic and rioting. Notice the reference in the latter link to providing students with the knowledge, skills, and vision to transform the world toward liberation.

            Never in the history of the world that I am aware of has any good come from implementing theories in lieu of what works and fixing what is not. Neither will this, but at least we have a front row seat for what is being planned.

          • Professor Paul Reveille of the Education Redesign Lab said this to a conference of mayors:

            “Are there things we don’t want to restore? … Can we use this as an opportunity to pivot in a new direction?”

            Adding these articles that lay out where this is all headed in classrooms.

   It is an interesting story that I must admit I was unaware of.

            After President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1963, freeing enslaved people in the Confederacy, the news didn’t reach parts of the American South until after the Civil War ended (April 9, 1865). In fact, more than 250,000 enslaved people in Texas didn’t receive the news until June 19, 1865. Yes, you read that right—a quarter of a million people continued to suffer in slavery for 2.5 years after it was outlawed.

            Now, it’s easy for our 21st-century minds to immediately think, “That makes sense because they didn’t have the internet. News probably traveled slowly back then.”


            Here’s an example for context: When President Lincoln was shot at Ford’s Theatre, the New York Times reported his possibly fatal shooting (which we know led to his death) the same night. And news of the President’s passing the next day spread quickly thereafter. In other words, important news could reach the entire country, if the people in charge of local newspapers chose to report it.

            Okay, back to the story.

            Finally, on June 19, 1865, Major General Gorden Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, to inform the Lone Star State that slavery was outlawed in formerly Confederate states. Unfortunately, the path to liberation didn’t end there.

            As American scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. explains in his article for The Root, the ex-Confederate mayor of Galveston openly disregarded Granger’s orders and forced freed people back to work. On plantations, it was essentially up to enslavers to decide when and how to announce the news to enslaved men and women. Many enslavers waited until the harvesting process was complete.

            So what happened to the formerly enslaved men and women who weren’t forced to continue working? According to Elizabeth Hayes Turner’s essay in “Lone Star Pasts: Memory and History in Texas” and Leon F. Litwack’s research in “Been in the Story So Long: The Aftermath of Slavery,” legally free Black men and women continued to be terrorized, shot, and hanged for minor “offenses” like swimming in the river or expecting fair treatment from their employers.

            And the fight for true freedom continues today.

            Project XQ is funded by Steve Jobs’ widow. It seeks to remake the nature of high school. Arne Duncan is on their Board.

          • Your old friend MAPs–Measures of Academic Progress– aligning itself to Kahn Academy’s portfolio of ‘learning experiences’ to correct for ‘missing skills.’

            They forgot the part about the skills being necessary to be the desired ‘system’ likely to be motivated to act when desired, perceive what is desired, and interpret supplied experiences as desired. Merely the facade of free choice in the 21st century. Much easier to control people when the yoke cannot be seen.

          • This was in one of today’s emails.

            So was this , which I suppose is another synonym instead of structural or systemic. They all require wholesale transformation at the level of mind and emotions as the remedy.

            You can buy Abdullah’s book Creating a World that Works For All or the 2015 Workbook of activities to get there.

            We are familiar with the vision “How do we create a society whose members are conscious of their needs as well as the needs of every living being?” but it is useful to have him and the Institute tie it to mindfulness and helpfully capitalize it for emphasis. It is also interesting that he talks about the need to target ‘consciousness’ just like the webinar I was on earlier in the week which insisted students have the desired sociopolitical and sociohistoric consciousness. To free education “from the conceptual and historical shackles we each place upon it” is precisely why students get taught Enduring Understandings and Disciplinary Core Ideas instead of facts.

            John Goodlad told us first that changing education lay at the heart of all transformation plans for society because it is the only institution virtually everyone spends their formative years immersed in. Now Abdullah emphasizes that “we believe we need to transform the system of education because education underlies all other systems.” Since he changed his name as an adult, I can only imagine it is not news to him that the Tarbiyah Project functions like Tranzi OBE as I noted back in 2016 when I stumbled across it.

            I guess we will see what happens when site comes back up.

            Probably good for my psyche I have a livestream Gentle Yoga class this am. Benn a busy week.

          • A Russian tsar liberated his serfs with a pen stroke, and which did not result in, require the death of 800,000 human beings. Slaving is slaving and oppression is oppression; APPLE is one of the biggest slavers in the PRC.

          • You might find this interesting.

            Fits with what was in that Brookings link yesterday on Reopening America except it wants in-person instruction for the least affluent students, while the more affluent, whose parents pay most of the property taxes supporting the school district, would largely be online. That gets to Equity in their minds.

            Of course, online learning is a massive data gathering operation that allows companies to know as much about the learner as google maps knows about physical locations.

        • “Like the rest of us, I am watching as America and much of the world sink into deeper levels of chaos. All of our divides are heightened; all of our problems seem ever more intractable. A positive future seems further away than ever. It has never been more clear: we must “get it,” or we will fail as a society.”

          Getting “it”
          At the end of the two weekends, the victim participant was supposed to “get it”. Get what? Well, you just shelled out a quite significant sum in pre-late-70s-inflation 1970s dollars to fatten Werner Erhard’s bank account. Get it?

          Participants who “got it” came out of EST with a new vocabulary of incomprehensible and ultimately meaningless psychobabble that was supposed to “transform” their lives, or something.

          • I think you had better read this from June 11. A taste–

            More recent protests against racial inequality, which began in the U.S. and quickly prompted global outcries against the oppression of Black communities, further confirm that the old normal isn’t enough.

            As a result, entire sectors need to reimagine a more equitable post-COVID world order. This includes business schools, which train the very talent required to steward a more inclusive economy…

            As the world braces for the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, business schools must go beyond offering peripheral courses on ethics and sustainability and instead integrate discussions into the curriculum that cut across class lines and examine the limits of shareholder capitalism…

            By unwittingly creating parameters around thought and discussions, business schools predictably churn out graduates who lack the critical thinking and creativity required to reimagine fractured economic systems—and who are unable to reconcile with Einstein’s famous words: “No problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it.”

            Change that consciousness. The new purpose of all ed at every level apparently.

            Adding this manifesto which was published after I last wrote about GRLI–the Global Business school initiative tied to the UN Global Compact.


            This is an inclusive and collective call for deep systemic change across three domains: how we live, how we learn, and how we lead. Being consciously connected to one’s own self, to others in meaningful relationships and to the whole is a prerequisite for making change a reality. This emergent paradigm represents a shift towards consciousness of ‘I’, ‘We’ and ‘All of Us’.

            Fits in perfectly with that Education Reimagined article from this post.

  3. Want to tell you, Robin, that a Landmark Education ‘survivor’ I interviewed…well, let me first explain that because they are secretive about their ‘program’ contents, I was always first trying to find out WHAT was going in the training, what kind of language and terminology was being used, and especially in the higher-level more esoteric programs. So when I asked this person what she could remember, what the language sounded ‘like’, this person responded, “Have you read the works of Lenin?”

  4. “Eros & Civilization” was required reading in the context of my Humanities program at a Methodist liberal arts college, formerly famous for its stellar Classics program, and conservatory.

    Here is a Davis interview in which she explains her relationship with Marcuse at Brandeis. She describes her work in Germany has having involved Marcuse’s fellow Frankfurt School members.

    • This is very good and goes to the point I often make. My bolding.

      The activists who campaign to remove the statues want radically to change the look of the British capital. The clash seems to consist of, on one side, violent censors who bully everyone, and on the other side, cowardly, appeasing politicians, who are afraid and bow to the vandals. Monuments are a vital and visible part of a global city; they embody their place in the history of a city, otherwise only bus stops and Burger Kings would remain there. These protestors appear to wish for a revised, sanitized history. If we do not quickly understand that, if we erase our past, as the former Soviet Union tried to do, it will be easier for people to create their vision of our future with no rudder to anchor us or our values. We will be left with nothing in our hands but shattered pieces of our history and culture.

      This movement of hating the West — which has, as all of us do, an imperfect history — seems to have begun in British universities. In Cambridge, professors of literature asked to replace white authors with representatives from minorities to “decolonize” the curriculum. The student union of London’s prestigious School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) asked to remove Plato, Kant, Descartes, Hegel and others from the curriculum, because they were “all white” — as if the color of our skin should be the sole determinant of our thoughts. In Manchester, students painted over a mural based on Kipling’s poem “If”.

      Adding this because the phrase 1793 Project does seem to be an unfortunately apt metaphor.

          • You may find it interesting just how much the supposed alternatives are also interested in targeting the hardware and software of the student’s brain.

            The Pathway to Changing Habits

            Our brains are filled with all kinds of neural pathways. These pathways bundle together through repeated actions to form habits. The brain, however, is constantly changing. Neuroscientists have been researching brain plasticity as far back as the late 1800s, with the most substantive results coming in the last few decades. Our understanding of neurons is that the physical matter of our brains is overhauled fairly rapidly on a cellular level. The brain you have today is not the brain you had yesterday. What this means is that our habits are not set in stone, they also can be changed by creating new neural pathways. Changes can occur for people of any age and any context. However, our brains – and therefore our habits – are most malleable when we are young. This is encouraging news for us as educators. That student who can’t sit still is not that way because it is his character, he simply has not developed the proper neural pathway that automates sitting in a ready-to-work position during class. With some work, he can learn a new habit.

            The good news is that we can change, but we need to understand that change only occurs with intentional practice and concerted effort. Think about it this way, the new program has to be written over an old program. Our bundles of neurons have formed together meaning that the old paths are well trodden. It is far easier for Johnny to move this way and that than it is for him to sit in one position on his chair. If he is to change his habit, he needs practice and lots of it. Because of his weakness in sitting properly, he also needs someone to come alongside him to help him give his best effort the whole way. That’s where you as his teacher come along. In my next post, we’ll explore a method of habit training outlined by Charlotte Mason that will assist us as educators to support students.


          • Did you see this?

            Mindfulness practices have been shown to be key to self-regulation of attention, emotion, and impulses in students and educators alike, boosting academic and cognitive performance across a range of domains, while cultivating happier, more resilient students and staff. This institute will share proven practices that can be used by educators and clinicians looking for creative ways to incorporate mindfulness in their classroom and even clinical settings. You should be prepared for a week of learning and practicing mindfulness through awareness, movement, games, play, and activities. Learning differences, cultural differences, developmental differences, not to mention different settings all impact how children learn and this institute will show you ways to adapt mindfulness to meet those differences and settings, rather than taking a one-size-fits-all approach. You will create an outline for your own curriculum, adapted for your school or setting.

            or this?

            As educators, our goal is to support and empower students so they may flourish academically, socially, and emotionally. But how do we create more calm, self-regulated, and responsible learners and thinkers online or in the classroom? In this highly interactive and inspiring institute, you will learn skills needed to merge the neuroscience of learning with the realities of classroom instruction, as well as practical strategies you can implement immediately to help students regulate their social-emotional lives, maximize their thinking, cope with ADHD, ASD, and trauma, and be responsible for their own learning. You will learn about the four neurocognitive abilities related to the frontal lobes (executive function), brain stem (attention), temporal lobes (sequencing), and occipital lobes (spatial). These brain functions are critical to students’ academic and social-emotional success and understanding them will allow you, the student, and parents to make more informed decisions about what students need to thrive as learners.

            No wonder there was such an organized effort to mislead parents and taxpayers that competency-based education was some kind of vocational, workforce training than the neural reengineering needed for a new type of 21st century ‘citizen’ with specifiable Knowledge, Skills, and Attributes and other desired characteristics. Read last week that US Department of Defense simply calls those learning outcomes by the acronym KSAO.

      • I was happy to hear about the need to replace ‘white’ authors/ intellectuals because that means The Frankfurt School has to go. Yippee!!!

        • Also, does anyone know WHO created the concept of ‘whiteness’? I am wondering because I imagine that in this game, not only is the identity of the proletarian/THE OPPRESSED, ever-shifting — I mean six weeks ago, we were trying to protect “old people”…but, also, narratives and constructs related to the OPPRESSOR. “White People” has had real staying power, though, so maybe this one is a keeper.

          I am trying to remember when I adopted the identity, “white person”. I think that as a child, at least in my neighborhood, we still retained vestiges of European identity groups…and there were the Protestants and the Catholics. We had Black neighbors, and I guess relative to their melanin level, we were ‘white’, but I don’t remember thinking about it, myself, that way, as a “white person”. Somebody has done a lot of ‘work’ around this.

          • This from 1999 may help.

            Also this quote takes it back to DuBois which is consistent with what I heard at the (co)lab program here is Atlanta back in 2013 on what education could be the tool for the nation to become.

            At a time when some initiatives for the study of whiteness begin as a conversation solely and deliberately among whites only, CWS has been interracial from its inception and has centrally involved faculty and students from the university’s ethnic studies programs. The infl uence of both history and ethnic studies has put CWS in an especially strong position regarding understanding that the critical study of whiteness is not, as it is too often portrayed in the press, a recent and university-based project undertaken mainly by white scholars. CWS discussions have instead consistently refl ected the long roots of inquiries into when, how and why some people have, over the last centuries of human history, suddenly come to value what W.E.B. Du Bois long ago called “personal whiteness.” Not surprisingly, this knowledge developed most quickly and systematically among racialized, enslaved, conquered and colonized peoples for whom white power and white pretense were urgent problems. Both this long sweep of the study of whiteness and the key role of people of color in undertaking such study are represented in the bibliography published here. Participants within CWS also have made attempts to bridge lines between disciplines and between the university and community. When an experimental fi lm is screened at a CWS event, quantifi cation-oriented psychologists are as likely as fi lm scholars to be the fi rst to respond to it. U.S. history, British studies, communications research, art, Asian American studies, literature, law, education, art history, African American studies, cinema studies, anthropology, geography, sociology, urban planning, theology and landscape architecture have all fi gured prominently in the group’s programming. Within the community, CWS has drawn participation from those working in libraries, churches and schools as well as in movements challenging the massive imprisonment of young people of color in the United States. This diversity has encouraged plain-speaking, with even theoretical and statistical discussions necessarily conducted with a minimum of jargon. Much of the reach of this bibliography stems from the ways in which CWS has encouraged its participants and its guests to conceive of whiteness broadly, with its existence being a historical, aesthetic, political, educational, moral and practical problem at once.

            From here

          • is another bibliography from a center Working to Improve Schools and Education

            Also don’t forget the posts I did on the Aspen Institute’s RETOC–Racial Equity Theory of Change after a CA ed group tied to La Raza linked to it as its vision.

          • Read this gobbledygook from an Assistant Principal

            The deficit-thinking model translates into schools when students and teachers of color are labored with the work of keeping whites “woke.” In my experience, whites do not believe they can be experts on race, and that it can actually be racist to believe we can.

            Make no mistake, I am 20 years in of intentionally sustaining my gaze on my own race. I will never be on autopilot to racialize myself; that is how the system of whiteness works. Its whole goal is to keep race off my daily calendar. In fact, our oppressor language pits whites against other whites who can identify their own race.

            I have had white people tell me I’ve threatened them, shut them down, made them uncomfortable, and say I am just all together wrong for saying whiteness is a thing. I cannot promise racial literacy won’t be threatening — the narrative I hear the most when engaging whites about race. What is threatening to you and what is threatening to me is subjective.

            This is where the work often gets held up for white folks. What shuts another person down may inspire reflection for me. What makes another uncomfortable might make me excited to finally understand a specific belief I’ve held and can now examine. Due to a desire to make race comfortable for whites, it has been on a volunteer basis to address whiteness for white teachers.


            That’s now learning? What a tragedy for this country because again it means that school cannot be a way out if one’s family circumstances are not conducive to using appropriate languages of thought and factual discussions. The race and class really can become limiting circumstances except by fiat hiring or promoting or admitting.

            Here’s more

            My education focused on the social construction of whiteness in society through the classroom lens. This was my beginning teacher training, one could say. On the first day of class as a senior English teacher, I had no idea what “Macbeth” was about and had never read “Beowulf.” If I had, I had forgotten.

            However, I did have a strong understanding of how my white-female-heterosexual-able-bodied-self translated in the classroom. I understood my body as a text is read as privileged. I was not lord of knowledge and here to pour my greatness into students. I had no agenda to make students love English. I loved students. I taught students, not English.

            An important conversation was one with a cook at the restaurant I worked at on weekends. He asked, “What do you mean you don’t know Shakespeare? Isn’t that what you’re teaching?” I said, “Shhhh, don’t tell anyone, but they give us the teacher’s edition.” He laughed, I laughed.

            What a tragedy to have such an individual as an English teacher. She may not have a deficit view, but whatever deficits exist will remain. So sad again for anyone who did not grow up with good books in the home that were read regularly, talked about, and cherished.

        • This fits right in with where Fania Davis is going and all the references to ‘systemic racism’ and ‘structural racism’ that must not be contradicted by an actual facts pertient to what is being asserted.

          Our unjust racial divide in wealth is an inheritance that began with chattel slavery, when blacks were literally the capital assets for a white landowning plantation class. The injustice did not end with Emancipation; racist systems of exploitation and extraction continued on to sharecropping, “whitecapping,” Jim Crow, and the exclusion of blacks from the New Deal and postwar polices that built an asset-based white middle class. These injustices live on in dramatic wealth disparities that are awaiting repair.

          It noteworthy that, in the 2020 Democratic Party Presidential primary, there was near consensus support for HR40 –a first step towards reparations, ordinally initiated by the late Rep. John Conyers and now championed by Rep. Sheila Jackson on the house side, and Sen. Cory Booker on the senate side. As we pointed out in our previous report, that I co-authored, “Ten Solutions to Bridge the Racial Wealth Divide,” the racial wealth divide is rooted in structural policy, not individual action.1Government action, and inaction, has brought us to this point today. The solutions we point to seek to leverage public policy to address this structural inequality and shift government interventions towards bridging, rather than expanding racial economic inequality. This report is timely. The job losses associated with the COVID-19 pandemic rival that of the Great Depression.

          If we fail to act or if we act with timidity, there will be unnecessary suffering and Blacks,and other economically marginalized groups, will bear the brunt. Overcoming these challenges require bold, transformative action. The responses to the last Great Recession were too tepid and wealth disparity, including the racial wealth divide, substantially worsened. We can do better. Inequality and despair do not have to be our destiny. We can promote our shared prosperity and create a better world. This reports presents eight solutions that provide the underpinnings of a new social contract that does just that.

          It’s the Preface to this

          • Well, the confused thinking and misdiagnosis mounts. We have the COVID-19 virus — and, BTW, it sounds like a group of researchers in CA just determined that ultra-violet rays, i.e. sunlight kill the ‘virus’ — diagnosed as the ’cause ‘of a global recession, not the mismanagement of the response. And, we have “white supremacism” now conflated as being the cause of the immiseration resulting from that mismanagement.

            A citizen journalist reported in from CHAZ. The “autonomous zone” appears to be a seven-acre urban park, previously known as a location at which to get high, or score drugs. Most the the current residents of CHAZ are either seeking drugs, or are under the influence. Twelve or so organizers (w/clipboards) seem to have been tasked with eliciting protest behaviors from the residents, which can include but are not limited to breaking the windows of adjacent properties. Drug-seeking seems to have taken a precendent over protesting.

            There are some very cynical people involved in ‘all’ of this.

  5. Oy vey, when you play fast and loose with history for a couple of generations, any dot-connecting is possible. So, now the statues of Catholic saints and being torn down in CA. You see the mission system was responsible for the culture of mass incarceration in CA,…it began with the Franciscan friars; also, apparently, the whole system of policing in CA, began with the friars. This sort of lets the Clinton’s off the hook for creating a prison industrial system, doesn’t it? I guess this is another Jacobinist dimension…wishing to return to the noble savage ethos, that never was.

    One statue of Junipero Serra was torn down in S.F.’s Mission Dolores Park. This is not the first afront to the church to take place at that location. I can VIVIDLY remember the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence enacting their own perverse version of the Passion in that park. I will spare you the details…

    • New report out today on education globally. From the Intro

      2020 • GLOBAL EDUCATION MONITORING REPORTiiiForewordIt has never been more crucial to make education a universal right, and a reality for all. Our rapidly-changing world faces constant major challenges – from technological disruption to climate change, conflict, the forced movement of people, intolerance and hate – which further widen inequalities and exert an impact for decades to come. The COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed and deepened these inequalities and the fragility of our societies. More than ever, we have a collective responsibility to support the most vulnerable and disadvantaged, helping to reduce long-lasting societal breaches that threaten our shared humanity.In the face of these challenges, the messages of the 2020 GEM Report on inclusion in education are even more poignant. It warns that education opportunities continue to be unequally distributed. Barriers to quality education are still too high for too many learners. Even before Covid-19, one in five children, adolescents and youth were entirely excluded from education. Stigma, stereotypes and discrimination mean millions more are further alienated inside classrooms. The current crisis will further perpetuate these different forms of exclusion. With more than 90 per cent of the global student population affected by Covid-19 related school closures, the world is in the throes of the most unprecedented disruption in the history of education. Social and digital divides have put the most disadvantaged at risk of learning losses and dropping out. Lessons from the past – such as with Ebola – have shown that health crises can leave many behind, in particular the poorest girls, many of whom may never return to school. This Report’s core recommendation for all education actors to widen their understanding of inclusive education to include all learners, no matter their identity, background or ability comes at an opportune time as the world seeks to rebuild back more inclusive education systems. This Report identifies different forms of exclusion, how they are caused and what we can do about them. As such, it is a call to action we should heed as we seek to pave the way for more resilient and equal societies in the future. A call to collect better data, without which we cannot understand or measure the true scope of the problem. A call to make public policies far more inclusive, based on examples of effective policies currently in force, and by working together to address intersecting disadvantages, just as we saw Ministries and government departments are capable of when addressing Covid-19. Only by learning from this Report can we understand the path we must take in the future. UNESCO stands ready to help States and the education community so that, together, we can develop the education the world so desperately needs and to ensure that learning never stops. To rise to the challenges of our time, a move towards more inclusive education is non-negotiable – failure to act is not an option.

      If it’s true the reporting is that a statue of St Augustine was taken down in Florida last night and a local politician in the Georgia legislature last night wanting a statute to disallow statues commemorating any aspect of the Confederacy from public property actually mentioned the need for Truth and Reconciliation verbatim from the conclusion of Fania Davis’ book.

      • From the same source:

        It has been my impression that the attendance of certain American institutions of higher learning causes permanent brain damage. I recall attempting to work with a ‘consultant’ who had matriculated from the University of Chicago decades before and who sat in business meeting correcting my use of the word “but” in sentences. Apparently, “but” is a negative word. This useless piece of carbon never accomplished anything business-wise, but somehow managed to live a pretty lux life in an expensive city, so one hast to wonder, as usual, ‘who’ was financing this.

        Of late, the term “un-manly” keeps running through my mind; as in how “un-manly” are the people who built, cultivated these ‘cultures’. I respected ‘1’ of my professors (undergrad) and for simply showing up and doing his J.O.B.

      • OK, as for MIT…their campus paper did publish the musings of the rankly pedophilic, Richard Stallman for a ‘coon’s age’…so, let’s talk high crimes and misdemeanors in this ‘moral’ universe…a Catholic priest RESPECTFULLY provides a nuanced version of the George Floyd tragedy…vs., decades of Stallman messages that one can argue normalized the frigging Epstein debacle on that campus.

        Shall we GET A GRIP:

        • I have another acronym for us.

          SHAPE fits with STEM to provide the concepts and skills o transform the world. Social Sciences Humanities and the Arts for People and the Economy. Lots of ‘systems’ there starting with the individual mind.

          • Well, the only people with the power to implement a solution are precisely the same people misrepresenting what they are doing. Jeb Bush does seem to be ubiquitous these days. I listened to him on a webinar earlier this week and thought about how few in the audience understood the precise definitions of what he was advocating for. Now he turns up in an interview with Tom VanderArk of Getting Smart, who was at the GEFF 2030 forum in silicon valley and then on to russia. We also have this honesty that fits with other webinars I have been on in recent weeks.

            Designing a new system of teaching and learning is incredibly hard work, especially in circumstances of pandemic and national unrest. So where do we start when thinking about the new system design for teaching and learning in America? We start with people. Specifically, our young people (students). Systems are people working in motion together. But many systems are not designed in honor of the people, they operate in honor of arbitrary outcomes. Now is the time to flip that system design approach and design with humans at the center.
            The “Humans” in Human-Centered

            Now, more than ever we must be explicit about who we center in human-centered design. We can’t perpetuate a normed collective of people—as we know system norms are standard in whiteness and oppress/alienate all the other humans that do not subscribe to that white context. We must talk about each human, be explicit of the dynamic human experience in consideration to race, culture, gender, class, location, belief systems, physical ability, mental health wellbeing, etc. To center humans in design, we must consider:

            How does this design component best meet the interests and needs of a Latinx, non-binary young person living in New Mexico?
            If we create a process for restorative cultures at school, how are we learning from local Indigenous leaders and families to inform our work?
            How does reimagining this system component improve the learning experience of a deaf, Black, male teenager living in the urban core of Los Angeles?
            How are we ensuring that we are not perpetuating ableism in our facility and resource design priorities and ensuring all students, no matter physical or mental ability, can access and benefit?

            By shifting from generalized considerations and centering each human participant in the system design, we will better understand the correlation between processes and structures and be better in our consideration of impact and consequences for short and long term decision making. When measurements of success center on each student, and must tell the story of their individualized learning experience in a meaningful way, what matters is each students’ learning experience, and we learn more specifically what is working (or not) in the overall system design.


            We don’t want arbitrary outcomes. We need deliberate ones that advance the MH vision.

  6. “How does this design component best meet the interests and needs of a Latinx, non-binary young person living in New Mexico?”

    One of life’s big imponderables.

    I can absolutely assure you that global competitor’s of the U.S. are NOT engaged in intersectional navel gazing, and that would include the PRC.

    One thing that really intrigued me…a pearl dredged from a Mathew Rafael Johnson podcast entailed how Trotsky, et al. defined members of the ‘proletariate’.

    I was intrigued because I had the usual idea about “workers in chains”,…people engaged in various forms of manual and industrial labor….OH NO, NOT THE CASE.

    Apparently, if one can read Russian, and you are assiduous in the analysis of word usage,…’proletariate’ membership did not equate with economic status, e.g., Jacob Schiff (international banker) was in Trotsky’ese, a member of an OPPRESSED class, whereas, a Russian Orthodox priest who had taken a vow of poverty, was a Kulak/an OPPRESSOR.

    This NEVER was about CLASS STRUGGLE, or economic/social ‘dis’-advantage….and, the hairsplitting about social identity groups, and OPPRESSION, can go on ad infinitum, and is just a distraction from a LOOTING OPERATION, IMHO.

    It never would have occurred to me to trust anyone named Bush to remedy anything related to what we have been discussing.

    I was thinking about what each one of us can do as INDIVIDUALS.

    • Another interesting point made by scholar Johnson related to Thomas Kuhn’s “Structure of Scienfific Revolutions”; that being that of all the forces Kuhn identifies as contributing to the formation and de-formation of scientific dogma, $$$ is never mentioned.

      • Kuhn was a fellow in resident at the Palo Alto Center for Advanced Studies in Behavioral Sciences when he wrote that book on paradigm shift. Convenient, huh? So was Rawls when he developed his Theory of Justice and so many others whose theories knitted together to guide this collective decision-making template learning standards are now a part of.

        An interesting question is whether this is all part of China’s 2025 agenda for technology dominance over the West. I may have figured out how this web works and who dreamed it up, but lots of these planners have been working closely for decades. A Wharton prof, Kevin Werbach, has published a paper called “Panopticon Reborn: Social Credit as Regulation for the Age of AI” that I read late last week. When its aims are tied to learning standards tied to ISCED globally, the Gooru database’s ability to tell precisely where a student is on the Knowledge, Skills, and Dispositions framework in a similar function to Google Maps’ use of location and destination, the cybernetic citizenship aspiration of governance I covered, and that paper’s acknowledgment that we are looking at a successor economic and social vision to either capitalism or communism, we have too good of a fit to present facts and hoped for theories to guide perceptions to ignore.

        It was in the midst of all that that I saw that the Chinese had also invested in the MInerva Active Learning Forum as a ‘higher ed platform. From what I can see, like Gooru, it will work with any competency-based framework. Not a coincidence either that Minerva is another ‘child’ of CASBS. Also where the National Student Growth network is now based.

        • Well, I think we have previously discussed how the Kuhn concept was used to rationalize ‘certain’ paradigm shifts.

          On other points, I always thought my freshly-built Junior High facility was modeled after Bentham’s Panopticon.

          Again, it would good to talk solutions as opposed to your masterful forensic activities, which I applaud, but find demoralizing.

        • Going back to an earlier point, that being the cost of keeping ‘whites’, ‘woke’….

          This calculus of victimhood extends beyond that dynamic.

          If I have shared this story before, forgive me.

          A Japanese female of very privileged birth, education, and life experience enters a six month-long (mostly distance learning) coaching program in CA, and emerges from this believing that:

          1) the father who had financed her lavish childhood was a monster — which resulted in this ailing man being denied access to his grandchildren.
          2) a childhood lived in posh expat apartments (U.S., EU) and expensive international schools had be fraught with RACISM.
          3) a husband was an OPPRESSIVE BASTARD — I later learned he had been leaving work early to cook dinner for the family, and had been minding the kids on weekends so that she could study, and discover what an OPPRESSIVE BASTARD he was.
          4) PORNOGRAPHY is the answer to all human ills — yep, this is what I learned, too, when it started appearing in my office.
          5) it is good to “make your adolescent son ‘GAY” — not sure what this entailed, but I shudder to think.
          6) once you are WOKE, you are WOKE, no professional mentoring, learning curve needed, or desired.
          6) you can build your coaching practice by sleeping with lots of coaches.

          Now if this can be accomplished in six months of distance learning, imagine what a full-on-site undergraduate experience can net in terms of victim scores that need to be settled, injustices that require acts of restoration.

          It’s a racket.

          • I reviewed the behaviors described above with a counseling psychologist. He said this person was dissociating.

            In another age, I wonder what would be said about a woman who developed a pathological enmity toward male authority figures, began speaking in different accents, self-mutilated, started using gutter language, and became sexually promiscuous.

          • Gracious. I thought you would appreciate this out yesterday.

            Lee’s overall point is similar to that of Ramos and Shaw: Despite the fact that history isn’t made from any one source, textbooks can only teach students how to digest a narrow synthesis of history written from a single perspective, which may be as untenable as it is undesirable. What students really need, these teachers say, is to encourage students to work with primary sources themselves. That way they’re doing the work of historians—following an approach known as historiography—contrasting various points of view and coming to their own conclusions. “You’re not trying to teach students what they should think,” clarifies Shaw. “But you need to teach them how to think.”

            Historiography is hard, but undoubtedly easier in the internet age, which has made primary sources more accessible than ever. Shaw has students consider expansive questions with no clear-cut answer—e.g., “Is democracy the best form of government?”—and then sift through documents on websites like Teaching American History, the Library of Congress and the Toolbox Library of the National Humanities Center to make their cases. She also leans on the collections and work of Facing History and Ourselves, a social-justice and anti-prejudice nonprofit that offers curriculum and professional development opportunities.

            Despite the abundance of online resources, textbooks of both the print and digital varieties remain stubbornly influential. Nearly a decade ago, just a third of all history teachers had received a degree in the subject or were certified to teach it—the lowest level across all the humanities. “Most history teachers don’t do history, and don’t know how to do history,” Jim Loewen, the historian and author of “Lies My Teacher Told Me,” once told the Atlantic. In other words, if you’ve only learned history from a textbook, it’s far easier to teach from one.

            To truly do history, though, students cannot stop at primary sources, says Shaw. Nor can they stop at analysis or even critical thinking. After all, history, much like history education, is political, she reiterates. It cannot, and should not, be separated from active, engaged citizenship—whether that means students protesting, becoming activists for issues they care about or trying to change history themselves.

            Shaw often thinks about what she calls the four essential questions teachers should constantly ask themselves: What kind of citizens are we trying to develop? What kind of society do we want? What does an ideal school look like in our minds? And what is the purpose of schooling? “If we are looking at those questions and reflecting on them, then it should come up in how we teach our classes, the resources that we use and the standards that we build.”

            It would be easier if they were up front about the antipathy to a transmissive curriculum and that textbooks do just that.

  7. Keep an eye on purveyors of online learning. Check out this new BrainPOP video release on Black Lives Matter. There’s also one on Pride Month, and BrainPOP has decided to list Che Guevara under their notable June birthdays. One stop shopping for teachers who want to push the narrative. Do the teachers think they’re untouchable and they’ll never be targeted by the revolution? They should study history. Out with The Four Olds!

    Lots of cadre training online. What an efficient delivery system. Isn’t it wonderful that BrainPOP is “partnering with parents to mitigate summer learning loss?”

    My daughter’s public school utilized BrainPop on a limited basis. Her current parochial school also used it for a few topics. I think the last one she used was on photosynthesis. I hadn’t looked into BrainPOP in a long time but wow, what an eye-opener to see the politicized content. Goal: get kids to be activists, conform, and join the movement. Never mind that trained Marxists are leading BLM’s organization!

    Of course BrainPOP is well integrated with Google Classroom tools. Paid, naturally or else you’re limited to the free stuff, like BLM videos. How easy for Google to monitor student development and attitude adjustment using their review tests!

    I’m really not comfortable with Google Classroom, but that’s what the school chose for distance learning this past spring. Hoping students go back in person in the fall!
    Teachers in our public school district don’t want to go back in the fall. More online learning must be part of the plan.

    I keep thinking that the homeschooling movement is having a moment right now, with plenty of parents rethinking how their kids will be educated. Silver lining?

    • Not if the homeschooling parents are themselves simply utilizing online programs that are still targeting KSAVE for transformation at a neural level. It’s why understanding the template itself is so crucial and why I write.

      I had not seen this framework before but it makes what we are seeing so much clearer. The Casey Foundation financed the Fania Davis book I wrote about and that Framework was mentioned in this article.

      I have not written about it yet as I have a number of things I am working on that seem to be linked while pretending to be separate, but I have watched the presentation on Google’s new Gooru platform and recognize the implications of creating a Google Maps ability to locate each student’s KSAVE in terms of where they are vs a Learner Profile or Portrait of a Graduate as the destination. If you take that and how learning standards work and then lay it over what Shoshana Zuboff (who has a tag from her two previous books) calls ‘surveillance capitalism’ a shocking amount of the human experience can know be trageted for manipulation without most people recognizing what precisely has shifted.

      It is actually both terrifying and fascinating. I am very thankful I have been able to piece it all together and recognize the intended destination before we are nearly there. It is too close for any of our individual or likely collective good though when looked at factually and not with the proffered ‘lenses’.

      • Robin, I have begged you before to create a glossary of terms, by which we might compare, say, “governmentality”, and “instrumentarian power”.

    • Also this

      The cut-off word is protests.

      Prior to the events of this summer, the San Lorenzo district already held monthly conversations about race and education with central office leaders. There have also been periodic “Beyond Diversity” workshops with Pacific Educational Group Founder Glenn Singleton open to all staff, including office workers and custodians.

      “Adults create the culture, and everybody has a role,” said Camp, who is also the president of the California Association of African-American Superintendents and Administrators. “It’s broader than the classroom.”

      In New York’s Pleasantville Union Free School District, leaders have been taking a similar approach.

      Administrators in the predominantly white district read the books “How to Be an Anti-Racist” and “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism” throughout the school year. But in light of the recent wave of protests — including a Pleasantville student-led rally in the middle of town on June 13 — the district is now making them required reading for teachers and staff, as well.

      “Those two books were really important professional reads,” said Pleasantville Superintendent Mary Fox-Alter. “You know, we as educators constantly say we’re lifelong learners, and this was an area that we challenged ourselves to grow and to understand.”

      I am adding this link especially for parents with school age kids so they can get these briefs on anticipated plans as they are published.


      As the pandemic continues, the task of supporting students becomes ever more difficult. Education leaders face an unprecedented challenge as students return to school this fall. Based on a developing list of questions from policymakers and practitioners, the EdResearch for Recovery Project taps top researchers from across the country to develop evidence briefs to inform recovery strategies.

      The Annenberg Institute at Brown University and Results for America will release new evidence briefs as soon as they are completed.

      • Thank you for all of this; I will digest. Thought for you, Robin. I became aware of, started seeing things going on in my work environment (transformational learning ‘consultancy’) around 2004-5, things I could not understand. These would include what looked like human experiments being performed on staff — and — clients; sexual abuse/sexual acting out. I tried to interpret/evaluate what I was seeing through a Labor Law ‘lens’/a professional code of conduct lens — but, there were other dimensions. I was stymied as to ‘whom’ to report this. Activities escalated in the next firm, a Human Resource Management consultancy. I kept a daily journal of what I was seeing and experiencing (labor law lens/professional code of conduct lens), and shared this with the Dean of a local international law program. He, in turn, shared it with faculty — mostly senior partners of international law firms. This cohort was stymied as to what to call this conduct. A holy host of labor laws had been breached, but the psychological abuse/manipulation of staff AND clients, well, for this there was no legal rubric. They acknowledged that these activities were outside of the realm of normal legal definition, were occupying a space closer to “crimes against humanity”; a term they used. I have been running around since 2005 like the character in Munch’s “The Scream” trying to warn people about something I could not name, something that had no name.

        • was released two days ago with this verbiage

          Systems thinking can be a powerful element of systems change, no matter whether we decided to pursue transition or it was thrust upon us. Systems thinking can help us grapple with the complex and interconnected world around us and make visible our own perceptions of how it works. Ultimately, it can help us deepen our understanding of what stands between us and our aspirational visions and articulate what it might take to bring those visions to reality.

          This guidebook introduces education stakeholders and changemakers to the theories, language, mindsets and tools of systems thinking for the purpose of informing approaches to systems change.

          The content is organized into four lessons that introduce core concepts of systems thinking and include practice questions and exercises.

          Lesson 1: Framing the Focus of a Systems Problem
          Setting the scope of a systems exploration and identifying systems behavior that stakeholders wish to change
          Lesson 2: Visualizing the Structure of a Systems Problem
          Drawing the components and interactions related to a problem that stakeholders agree is important
          Lesson 3: Looking for Leverage to Create Change
          Identifying possible actions and their potential depth of impact on the systems problem being explored
          Lesson 4: Anticipating Futures of a Systems Problem
          Evaluating the effects of various interventions or events on a systems problem and the larger system in which it sits
          Systems thinking tools and processes help groups identify novel, non-obvious solutions and reframe problems. They serve as gateways to new ways of thinking and collaborating and can help groups begin the journey toward transformation. Begin your transformation with our guidebook.

          Fits with what the Pandemic and systemic racism become sales pitches to force. I listened to the head of the New America Foundation (the one funded with search engine giant money) lay out her vision this morning in a webinar with RSA in the UK. She refers to the MH vision as the obligation for nations globally to shift to an Infrastructure of Care and made the point repeatedly about what democracy and justice obligate each of us to do for others and that government should be the container to force the vision of change. The vision may be global, but the point of implementation needs to be local.

          I kept thinking of the post I wrote back in 2015 on polyphonic progressive federalism. She also hyped the need for the democratic change to be brought about through participatory processes. Thought immediately of that new OECD paper referenced in this post, especially since Shoshana Zuboff is going in a similar direction in her book. It will be a poignant 4th knowing such plans are in the works and so much of the implementation strategies behind all those plans using a new vision of education.

          Hope everyone is having a bit of a break this week. The planners are not stopping what is intended for all of us ‘systems’ and the ‘systems’ we function or live in. Also had the vision expressed that politicians, when elected, should not think of taking power so much as using political office to ‘create power’.

          • Well, I was quite moved THIS WEEK to see a sobbing Black father of a dead son, shot in CHAZ, and prevented from receiving timely medical aid by CHAZ — ask ‘why’ no policeman, city official had even bothered to inform him of his son’s death. He evidently had heard about it from neighborhood kids.

            This is the new normal, and I hope they take it to the MAX.

          • Tim Gordon pointed out in his interview with Michael Knowles, that these ‘actors’ aren’t even good Jacobins…or good at being Jacobins.

            Might be time to stop ACCEPTING all of this…

            Am thinking of Solzenytzyn’s comment to the effect that things might have gone quite differently in the Soviet state had even a few shovels been kept by a few doors.

            I would like to see a less fatalistic tone in this discussion and SOLUTIONS.

            Otherwise, I won’t be coming here, anymore.

          • If I was ACCEPTING of any of this, I wouldn’t have spent the last ten years compiling this research to piece together what is going on. Have you come across BJ Fogg’s work at Stanford before?

            It is footnoted in Zuboff’s chapter called “Make Them Dance” but what she sees as an opportunity to take down capitalism and render it subject to democratic controls, I can see as the logic now being evaded using education, learning standards, cognitive science, and euphemisms like HOTS and competency-based ed. She lays out Sam Ervin’s statements that would become the Common Rule on human subject research. No wonder they carved out an exception for education that someone brought to my attention when I was out in California testifying in 2015. I actually went to college with one of Ervin’s grandchildren and his words resonate as what learning standards quietly undermine. I had not realized that Ervin held Senate hearings kicked off by both MKUltra revelations as well as Skinner’s 1971 book Beyond Freedom & Dignity that I covered in CtD.

            Solutions come from piecing together enough of the jigsaw puzzle that was created just to ensure this kind of epiphany should be impossible by a non-insider. It’s not impossible, but it is time consuming. Luckily, for us, the kind of revelations Zuboff had access to as a Harvard prof we can utilize from my knowledge of how learning standards and related higher ed aspects like what Minerva calls “HCs”–the Habits of Mind created by students applying stipulated concepts, principles, and categories of thought to real-world problems and harvested by a digital platform because everything is online overlaps nicely.

            In her outrage, Zuboff cited a 2015 paper called “In Search of a Human Self-Regulation System” that she views as being usurped by what she calls “surveillance capitalism”. Yes, but these same entities are financing and pushing learning standards that hijack that very same ‘Human Self-Regulation System’ to get at the student’s will to will as Zuboff called it as a cry for government regulation as a means of getting to what she calls the Third Modernity. It’s what Uncle Karl called the MH Human Development Society and Anne-Marie Slaughter yesterday referenced using the euphonious term Infrastructure of Care.

            Progress is not always easy to read or understand, but it is crucial for a way out, which I remain determined to piece together. Zuboff’s research into FB and the search engine giant practices have provided yest more helpful illumination I can write up after the holiday weekend when my children disperse. Middle child was just cutting up some outstanding watermelon I got from a veggie stand yesterday along with some of the last pole beans that will probably be available until August. My life is not always about this research or what one of my kids’ calls “Mama’s Illuminati Project”.

  8. Question: Robin, in your edu research have you encountered references to a “big tent”, or “big tent theory”? Is what it sounds like, an ideological capacous space for everything, and nothing.

    • No, but let me mull over whether I have encountered a euphemism that functions as a ‘big tent’? Finished Surveillance Capitalism this weekend. Still mulling what is admiited vs what happens through learning standards that goes to the angst that Zuboff thinks merits a different kind of capitalism. At least she thinks, like me, that Skinner’s aims are in play if not his theories. Intresting she also found Sandy Pentland’s Social Physics book to be alarming. Of course she made no reference to his UN Digital Pulse work.

      Once again I get to mull over what gets left in, left out, where it all leads, and what is a curious omission and where that would have sent us. I feel like Miss Marple except I’m neither a spinster nor do I reside in a charming English village.

      • This goes to what Zuboff wants and gears up starting tomorrow July 7.

        Notice that one of the participants is the Future Earth Alliance–which, of course, partners with MIT on this. It was the FEA and the alarming document setting it up –the Belmont Challenge– that precipitated my creating this blog. I wrote about both on June 14 and 17th, 2012.

        So it needs digital governance, which will effectively function like cybernetic citizenship.

        Adding this after reading some of those quotes issued in February 2020.

        Humanity is at a critical stage in the transition to a more sustainable planet and society. Our actions in the next decade will determine our collective path forward. Our Future on Earth 2020 aims to tell the story of where we are on our collective journey by connecting the dots between what society is currently experiencing – from fires to food shortages to a rise in populism – with recent developments in the research community.

        • I heard Michael Voris of Church Militant use this term in reference to Francis’s unique form of ecumenicism…as in, “he is creating a Big Tent”. This same term has been floating around in coaching circles since about 2014, maybe, earlier. It connotes acceptance of many paths, techniques as being equally valid. In my experience, it is a bit like the ‘diversity’ scam, meaning that only lip service is paid to the concept, and a kind of monoculture is driven from the TOP.

          • It reminds me a bit of the rhetoric surrounding the UN’s interest in the Bahai faith as well as some of what is contained in the Integral philosophy books and Ken Wilber.

            It would also fit with the Vatican’s Humanity 2.0 plans.

          • I think there is an element of Campbell’s “The Hero with a Thousand Faces” in this. In terms of the Catholic faith, the message has been that other paths are equally valid. In terms of human development strategies, they have gone there, too. When you are not tethered to a need to evidence efficacy, and when goals are nebulous, “to enhance the well-being of each employee”, one approach may well be as worthy as another.

            Recall our past discussions about the conceptual hodgepodge that is ‘est’….owing to this, it is impossible to do real research and comparative studies. I think you have noted similar issues with K-12, but, of course, accountability is not a standard in play. Probably, there are some useful ‘technologies’ operating in all of this, e.g. Appreciative Inquiry, but the lack of focus on rigorous inquiry, and real results makes all of this stuff mute. But, again, that is the POINT.

            I want you to know that I DEEPLY appreciate your intrepid efforts to understand and map all of this. I just feel it is incumbent on us to stop it in its tracks.

          • Take a look at this from March and the crucial role of changing the cognitive.

            Then notice the repeated references to Donella Meadows and her deep systemic reference points and we see precisely what was in the Knowledge Works “Beneath the Surface” systems thinking paper released last week to inculcate in students. Stopping it means understanding it well enough to get, for example, when Zuboff is giving precious info on what is really happening vs a false narrative to create demand for a remedy that doesn’t work as hyped.

            I was so SHOCKED when her book and the term popped up in Future Earth Alliance work.

            It was as if I had a bingo card that now qualified for the main prize.

  9. Well, Robin, the “Big Tent” enabled in my field the introduction of every sort of pseudo-voodoo-woo everything. It also facilitated the cloaking of all of this with ‘jargon’. I understand the challenge in even understanding how terms of art are being used. I think this process, the deracination of language, and history has been incremental. I WOKE UP to realize that I had been having a professional dialogue with various stakeholders FOR YEARS, in which the same terms could have almost opposite meanings for the parties involved.

    I even went so far as to have an ex-33’rd degree mason, and now Orthodox priest look at the nomenclature because it deviates from standard psych language, but in a particular way.

    I just re-read Steve Pressman’s book on Erhard/est, and ‘chuckled’ at a reference to members of a law firm contracted by ext ’employees’ with regard to a Labor Law issue, telling these women that they would have to learn to speak English again if they were going to communicate with their legal advisors. The plaintiffs thought they were making ‘sense’, in what they were describing, but the language was so distorted, they almost required an interpreter.

    I see a lot of est-speak in the documents, and excerpts you have posted. I guess anti-cult models would describe this content as: mystical, sacred, or loaded-language. A trick of the trade, it would seem.

    I guess one concern I have had, lies in the dignifying this stuff with any kind of academic analysis, and, especially when it emanates from HARVARD.

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