A burglar chooses his method of theft not just to avoid getting caught. He would also like to prevent your even knowing anything was taken for as long as possible. Keeps those lovely pieces of jewelry in the easy to access bedroom and not locked away in a safe. A goal of influencing, changing, and controlling human behavior through education is not much different. Euphemisms obscuring the affective emphasis are a good idea. Pretending that this time you are going to teach reading phonetically instead of memorizing whole words is a good PR move. Coming up with a cover story about how integrated math is just combining algebra and geometry like they do it in other countries sounds like a legitimate reform to foster international competition. Being honest and saying you are stripping out the abstract elements to emphasize concrete real world applications that everyone can grasp would not be so popular. With anyone. Even the math challenged.
So most of what we are being told about Common Core and global education reforms is not true. The question is why? Where is this all going? If we know that we can start the necessary pushback we are entitled to. We are not serfs yet. And American Independence Day is a very good time to discuss where this is going to keep our own personal independence and help preserve it for this next generation currently under assault through their schools and too many colleges and universities. If we talk today about the desired goals, we will be in a position to start the rollback. To go on offense ourselves before something that cannot work trashes more lives while spending so much of our tax money.
People do not usually make decisions to act, or not, as a result of a conscious weighing of rational choices. That’s not how most people work and that’s OK as long as incentives exist for bad decisions. Most people’s behavior is based on their beliefs, their values, and their habits. Anyone noticing yet that those are precisely the areas under attack via social and emotional learning, bullying programs, soft skills, PBIS, and other positive psychology/proper citizenship programs? How convenient if you would like to use the powers of the state for your own benefit without having angry citizens fighting back.
The research behind the Positive School Climate portion of Common Core mentioned a book called Happiness: Lessons From A New Science by Richard Layard. That sounded alarming. I don’t particularly trust administrators and profs unwilling to let children become independent fluent readers with actually seeking my personal fulfillment. It seemed more likely to be a cover for more emotional intrusions into molding children’s psyches. Sure enough. It was a push for “positive psychology”–a “means by which all of us, depressed or otherwise, can find meaning and increase our enjoyment of life.” Do tell. That’s some bullying campaign. In fact the attempts to obtain a Positive School Climate will offer:
“techniques . . . for liberating the positive force in each of us, which religious people call divine. These techniques could well become the psychological basis of twenty-first-century culture.”
Not the wisdom of the Ages but spiritual techniques of interacting with each other and training our feelings. There’s even a cite to our CASEL speaker from the June 28 post who aspired to physically altering adolescent students’ PreFrontal Cortex.
It gets better though. The author was one of the co-publishers of the UN’s first ever World Happiness Report 2012. It seeks to move developed countries away from economic growth as the measure of their success and wellbeing. Just in time for a UN led Green Economy with massive transfers to still developing countries. I will let you guess who is administering those transfers. The Global Transition 2012 documents even envision a Line of Plenty for non-politically connected citizens in developed countries like the UK, the US, and Australia. The idea is that income above that amount does not add much additional happiness to the people who earn it. But disparities in income greatly diminish the happiness of “those least well off.”
That’s the envisioned future the Common Core and Education for All and 21st Century Skills are leading us to. Which is why the actual implementation never made any sense to someone like me trained to track through to the likely financial results of any planned action and to imagine the unintended consequences. The economic, social, and political goals of these global education reforms known as Common Core in the US are wildly different from what we have been told. I don’t think it’s the 21st Century any of us want to live in.
And since I was able to locate an explicit Wellbeing framework document for all this in Australia, in the next post I will tell you the how of limiting our independence as free individuals.
Happy 4th Everyone. Let’s celebrate starting our way back from these grasping plans.