Mandating Global Citizenship Mindsets by Assessing Whether Students Adopt Social Altruism

The out in the open version of education reform in the US never got over that 99-0 Senate vote on the National History Standards in the 90s. Much of the reason today’s Common Core implementation looks so different from what is being publicized tracks back to the memory of that political rejection. And an insistence that this time no one gets to object. I have described more than once that what is going on in the US is linked to comparable education reforms all over the world. Driven primarily by UN agencies insisting we must evolve into a “just and sustainable world in which all may fulfill their potential.” Under the eager administration of UN or OECD or other bureaucratic employees of course. With their generous tax free salaries courtesy of you. But I digress.

Well let’s face it if that were the sales pitch for the Common Core standards or any education reform voters and parents would revolt. So we get vague euphemisms like College and Career Ready for the end goal or words like Excellence or Quality Learning that actually have a unique meaning in Ed World we are not likely to appreciate. But in the UK and Australia the Citizenship Education agenda including its Global Dimension was explicitly laid out. Even if few people in any of these countries appreciated what they were relinquishing at the time.

We have talked numerous times about Sir  “Irreversible Change” Michael Barber who now heads up Pearson Education, the world’s leading education company. You know Pearson. They have the contracts for the SBAC and PARCC and Texas STAAR assessments measuring the results of what goes on in Texas and soon to be most US classrooms. They are global. So the fact that Barber wants to “shape new ways of thinking and forge new, sustainable behavior” as the January 2011 UNESCO meeting in London he helped chair put it probably has something to do with the kind of open ended, no fixed solution real world problems likely to make it on any of these assessments globally.  Especially since the assessments are supposed to be at Levels 3 and 4 of Webb’s Depth of Knowledge. You know the one that mirrors the Dewey Indeterminate Situation I have written about. To foster a recognition of the need for social change? Won’t the nickname “Mad Professor” come in handy imagining potential scenarios for change to use?

As will this attitude of Barber’s from 1997 when he set off a firestorm in the UK by suggesting that UK students should learn the ethics of ‘global citizenship’ to replace crumbling religious values. Barber was speaking at a Secondary Schools Heads conference and mentioned that Christianity, although “still hugely influential historically and culturally”, was “no longer able to claim unquestioning obedience.” I bolded that last part because it suggests that unconscious impulse we have seen cultivated before.  He is looking for beliefs or values or feelings that will compel action so student performance assessments grounded in emotional imagining or frustration hold great potential for Learning. In the sense of changing the student from the inside-out.

Barber goes on to say that:

“For a while in the mid-20th century it seemed as if communism might establish new ethics, but by the 1970s all that remained in Western countries was rampant consumerism and ‘the quicksand of cultural relativism’–an abandonment of the morality of right and wrong.”

And “In the absence of God and Marx what are we to do?” Well Barber got his Global Citizenship Standards. I am looking at the Secondary school curriculum that went into effect in 2002.  It explicitly proclaims that its concept of Global Citizenship is grounded in Agenda 21. Which is actually not the urban legend some people seem to believe. If Agenda 21 is a conspiracy, it’s an on-the-record open one. Here it is described as “a universal initiative that recognizes the right of everyone to be consulted about the sort of community in which they want to live. Agenda 21 is about improving the quality of life both locally and globally.”

Well Kumbayah. As one of my law profs used to say if someone has a right, someone else has an obligation. Precisely who bears that Agenda 21 obligation and at what cost? Or is Global Citizenship trying to create a willing acceptance of that obligation throughout the West? No further questions asked.

We have discussed before how the real common core seems to be new values and attitudes and beliefs and feelings. All to create new behaviors. How’s this for graphic? The Global Dimension of Citizenship will target the student’s “sense of identity” and “secure their commitment to sustainable development at a personal, local, national, and global levels.” Well that will make the UN bureaucrats very happy. If we could get something like this in place in the US it sure would go a long way towards getting Paul Ehrlich his long time Heart’s Desire. Let’s see what else Global Citizenship seeks:

Global dimension emphasizes the moral imperative to understand and empathise with fellow human beings. [Boy doesn’t that sound like Kohlberg’s Moral Development Theory that is in US classrooms? And Hong Kong too!] It provides young people with a solid foundation on which to base and build their value system. [Convenient for getting back to unquestioned obedience. No wonder Milton Rokeach’s name kept coming up as I was researching the real common core implementation]. It helps them make decisions and take action–based on knowledge [opinions and false beliefs is more likely] of the world–which respect the nature of the world we live in and the rights and dignity of others in an interdependent world.”

No wonder Systems Thinking and Peter Senge and Bronfenbrenner Ecological Systems Theory keep coming up as part of the classroom or district implementation of the Common Core. It along with the some of the other theories I snarkily added because I couldn’t help myself at this point in the deception get us where the UK schools are without nearly the controversy. I keep hearing that Senge’s Systems Thinking is OK for US elementary students because “the teachers love it so.” So maybe we should be more honest and just rename it Systems Thinking to Create Permanent Habits of Mind for Global Citizenship?

To link up with the last post on what will be a 3 parter before I am done, the September 2012 IB presentations in Madrid talked repeatedly about Global Citizenship. But IB was citing this 2005 Oxfam document based on the 2001 UK Citizenship Standards I have been describing. It sure does fit with all the US Common Core curriculum I have been seeing and the Texas CSCOPE curriculum currently attracting so much controversy. It also calls for “active and participatory learning methods.” Sound familiar? As in Michael Barber recommending Cambridge Education in 2007 to NYC to launch their lucrative US operation of telling schools and teachers they may not teach the content directly anymore. Yes that same Michael Barber. I wrote about it last May.

Oxfam recognizes that “Education is a powerful tool for changing the world” which I would be the last to dispute. I just do not think all this Social Change Education is going to create a bright future for hardly anyone. One more point as we talk about how this GC template seems to be coming into the US surreptitiously through online curriculum and the assessments. When I tracked the other definition of Global Citizenship cited by the IB, I found the AERA’s winning paper for 2003 and a Canadian and a US prof openly changing Dewey’s Social Reconstructionism vision to a new name.  Justice-Oriented Citizens.

I have a lot more evidence that the US is getting this same vision of Global Citizenship and not just in IB schools. All schools is the plan. All students. Yikes!

I am going to close with a link to a July 4, 2012 letter by Pearson to PARCC detailing all the assessment and testing work they do. But insisting there will be no conflicts or breach of confidentiality. It’s rather startling to have that much power and they leave off the ATC21S work in Australia with Microsoft, Intel, and Cisco. Oh and the US National Academy of Sciences. And others. That’s a great deal of global reach for one company. Especially one led by a visionary for Irreversible Change that compels personal action.

That Pearson letter says Pearson’s services are to “improve student achievement and college-and-career readiness in the United States.” Given the real definitions of those terms there’s a great deal of room to insert this Global Citizenship/Justice-oriented Citizens/ New Ways of Thinking into assessments and curriculum and still be within that mandate.

Second is to “improve access to quality education for all students.” Quality learning and education is a term that tracks back to John Dewey with unappreciated,  emotional and intuition meanings. Again quite convenient if you want students to “use their imagination to consider other people’s experiences.”

It is quite unnerving how much commonality I am finding globally with what is coming to the US and is already in place elsewhere. Looks like a widespread desire to gain  “unquestioning obedience” among the 21st century masses.

12 thoughts on “Mandating Global Citizenship Mindsets by Assessing Whether Students Adopt Social Altruism

  1. “Sir Michael Barber was New Labour’s mad professor and master of the flow chart, the man responsible for the literacy and numeracy strategies of the first term”

    Well, in that case, his legacy was disastrous; whilst Labour trumpeted huge advances in education, the OECD league tables tell a very different story. Indeed, what has happened is a coming together of the debasing of the education system, degradation of the exam system (they have got simpler and simpler, by as much as up to three years difference from the mid-sixties in what is learnt at what stage of schooling, and by grotesque exam result inflation.

    In the 60s, to get three ‘A’ rated ‘A’ levels(taken at 16/17/18, the highest exam before University) was a sign of extreme intelligence. Now, 3 ‘A’s in the current version of this exam is the minimum for entrance to any vaguely useful University. Hence – they have no idea what they are getting.

    This is an interesting read, the transcript of a recent speech by our Education Minister, Michael Gove. He’s a rare politician as far as I am concerned – I respect him

    The section on Gramsci is very interesting – for very unexpected reasons!

    • So of course since it was a disaster it should be globalized.

      This was an interesting story and it came out in part because of an effort to whitewash Global Citizenship’s effect by misrepresenting what had gone on. That’s a no no because it tells me something is very important to protect. In the footnotes was the first mention of that March 1998 incident. John Carvel of The Guardian wrote the story–“School adviser urges moral code to replace God.”

      By the way if you have never seen it this is the Universal Love/ Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development post describing that being mandated as the Hong Kong National Moral Development story is here.

      I spent some more time yesterday with the HK national curriculum to see if it was consistent with the US and this alternative assessment push and student centered and Global Citizenship on this issue and n general. Yes. Then I read up on the Pearson Global Conference 2012 that took place in Australia. All confirmed just how global this disaster is. And sadly just how much private schools, especially Catholic ones, are being targeted.

      Must change our future citizens.

      Thanks as always Jeremy. The next one will be illuminating for what you have gone through and where we are all going as well.

      Follow those footnotes may be my new motto.

    • I love the comment that no one cares about Alice Bailey. Yes that’s why another edition came out of her books in 2012. and the next post are where I talk about how her vision from 1953 fits with what is being contemplated for the Common Core classroom. I stay away from the more lurid stuff not because it is not documentable but because it can be a distraction to the story. For me that’s the emotion and intuition and sense-making is all we get. Which is precisely the type of Tacit Knowledge the UN wrote about in 2006 as wanting to limit people to as it seeks to change the nature of the citizen/State relation ship in the 21st century. That’s what Ulrich Beck called the Metamorphosis of the State. I have been rereading posts this morning to make sure Part 3 pulls it together.

      I am using something from Scotland next but did not realize they were calling it the Curriculum for Excellence. That would be Mihalyi Csiksentmihalyi’s definition of Excellence I wrote about indeed. And Bela Banathy’s too for that matter.

      The second post where I talked of Bailey I also wrote about the 2002 speech “Democracy and Global Citizenship: Creating Value by Educating for Social Reform” posted by the Ikeda Center at Harvard. All of which is fully consistent with Barber’s vision and the UK Standards.

      Following up that Global Citizenship vision also led me to Fernando Reimers, the Ford Foundation Prof of International Education at Harvard. This Educating for Global Competency vision of his certainly fits with Barber’s and Justice-Oriented Citizens and was published in 2009. Just in time for Common Core. It’s also on the Ikeda Center stationary and I found the pdf on the NEA Foundation’s website. Project Love and Purple America indeed.

      And look it was uploaded there this past November. Why what else significant happened that month?

      I had never heard of Barbara Marx Hubbard until I was following up on the Plurality Project at Harvard and a cite led me to some of the Interfaith work she is doing on the West Coast. I ignored her but she came up again when I was doing the research for this story. The Pearson Foundation had put this story up

      When I listened to Mark Gerzon, his statements struck me as ideological and shockingly ignorant of US and World History. When I searched him out I found this . Gerzon and Barbara and Deepak too among others.

      Riane Eisler is also involved with comparable thought as is Robert Kegan and his work with Ken Wilber. I don’t mention it much except when I have to but this altering consciousness is all over this education reform.

      There’s even a UK Sustainability prof whose PhD dissertation laying all this out was cited repeatedly in the days running up to the Planet under Pressure conference in London last March.

  2. Again I will post a link, this one is a Texas battle With a program called CSCOPE, not currently affiliated with Common Core but being looked at by the CC proponents as a way to get around the resistance to adopting CC in Texas. But those parents are not going to be easily duped into giving their history to revisionism. Again we read it and weep.

    Or cheer, I guess. There is a big bad fight about to brew on this one. I only wish Florida had put up a fight. I might still be teaching. I totally relate to the math teacher in the article who bailed after 38 years, because he felt he was aiding and abetting a crime. Exactly how I felt when I got out a year ago last October. But I had no clue then exactly what the crime was. I just knew that what I was doing was wrong. The new three Rs were smoke and mirrors.

    Robin, keep on as our “voice crying out in the wilderness.” you are selected, “for such a time as this.” don’t let anything or anyone stop you.

    • Thanks Tina.

      I have tried linking my Texas work to a site out there supposedly leading the battle but the moderator is not letting it through.

      I tend to focus on what will happen to the children and the rest of us if this is not better appreciated in all its elements. Others are proprietary about wanting to be seen as the site or person specializing in an area. I am feeling rather encyclopedic at this point but it’s quite clear where Texas C SCOPE fits in.

      I reread both the Texas posts yesterday. Here they are for Texans who find their way here. They are based on a 2008 Visioning Statement that should be known all through the state. Especially in light of these C Scope controversies that fit so well with the Global Citizenship and Justice Oriented Citizen mandate.

      As I say in the 2nd post capture the hearts and minds is in the visioning statement. Which means you have to use a curriculum grounded in something like Csik’s view of Excellence.

      By the way, I keep forgetting to mention this but Grant Wiggins was one of the keynote speakers at the September IB Conference in Madrid. So alternative assessments of the performance kind that are seeking a deep emotional understanding are at the heart of what is going on everywhere.

      I read Grant’s blog and he acknowledges he is carrying on Ralph Tyler’s work. is a good brief overview of what Tyler was up to and why John Goodlad’s son, Stephen, saw fit to bring back Boyd Bode’s essay from the 30s. Interesting as that book The Last Best Hope has a Csik essay on gaining the future desired at the end.

      Busy people. Consistency over the decades of what is desired.

  3. This teacher of 35 years can agree — schools have been co-opted and are now being used for political purposes! It’s a scam and people had better pay attention.

    • Thanks Parent.

      We would love to hear any stories you can relate.

      I am hearing of first grade teachers not allowed to utter a word off script lest some students become exposed to different vocabulary words.

      People do seem to be paying increasing attention. Welcome.

    • is a good overview post from the early days of the blog that will help you appreciate why Outcomes Based education keeps coming back under a variety of names and in fitting pieces to avoid controversy. Ralph Tyler is a fairly seminal character. He wrote much of ESEA of 1965 and created NAEP. Knew Dewey and Ben Bloom and John Goodlad were his students and friends. He created the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford that I believe just keeps on ticking with ideas like systems thinking. brings in how Sustainability and Green Growth fit in. As I have said one is the means of fundamental Transformation socially, politically, and economically from the person inside-out. The other is the excuse why it is supposedly “necessary.”

      Then maybe this one to really get a good feel for what is being sought.

      The posts are longer in the last few months because I now have more moving parts.

      I keep notebooks of all the posts so just let me know what area you are most interested in and I will alert you to the seminal posts.

      Plus I think the evidence shows consistently the real sought common core are new values, attitudes, feelings, and dispositions that are not oriented towards individualism. By people who seem to have no accurate idea what its benefits have really been historically. If I seem to indicate people are working together around a coordinated purpose you can bet I have a copy of their declarations that they are doing just that.

      This involves government power to tax and create favorites and protect established businesses against upstart rivals. Classic rent seeking behavior.

      I majored in history and minored in economics so I blend the whys of consequences in the past of comparable attempts to show why all this matters.

      And Have fun. Remember that this was never supposed to be known in time so the schemers were arrogant and tipped their hand. And I noticed and started downloading proof before anyone knew I was looking. Hooray for one of the benefits of still having Axemaker Minds!

  4. Interesting article and blog.

    Robin, somebody with the “moral imperative to understand and empathise with fellow human beings” is likely to have great compassion with me if I am without employment.

    On the other, a fellow who is out to make a pile might require my services, and, in an utterly conscienceless way, might provide me with employment.

    In that case, what happens to Moral Imperative Guy? He won’t have to get a real job, will he? Where’s the love?

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