Let’s go back to that Herbert Marcuse book from the last post. In making a point about a desired new Soviet rationality Marcuse stressed that if certain ‘attitudes and behaviors’ can be successfully internalized, they will provide unconscious “pragmatic directives for action.” That effect has nothing to do with physical geography. Instilling desired habits of mind and practiced behaviors would have the same effect in the West as was recognized in this old post where Soviet psychologist Leontiev called it the Great Experiment. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/imitating-the-ussr-in-striving-to-discover-how-the-child-can-become-what-he-not-yet-is/ Funny how no one told us about the Great Experiment being conducted on us starting in the 60s with our tax money and education facilities, but filter everything I described in Chapter 6 of my book through that open admission.
I think the “Nation’s Report Card,”–the National Assessment of Educational Progress or NAEP–was always intended to monitor the progress of the Great Experiment. I think that is why the Carnegie Corporation began to finance the development of NAEP back around 1964. Before we talk about the poorly understood, designed always to manipulate, NAEP, let’s get back to the why. Here’s what Marcuse and others believe: obviously false statements about the present do not matter because if people can be made to believe them anyway, they can still become those desired attitudes and habits of mind. People can then be counted on to reliably act in a way so that the “historical process in which the commanded political practice [in the West this gets hidden mostly invisibly in education objectives and little-disclosed mandates like the now omnipresent Positive School Climate] will bring about the desired facts.” (italics in original)
Now if someone actually wants to believe that current reality and the facts about what works is in the way of a desired transformation, it is no wonder we now have education where facts and right answers are to be minimized and concepts and ideas emphasized instead. Sure sounds to me like what Marcuse said was practicing with “the original content of Marxian theory as a truth that must be believed and enacted against all evidence to the contrary [exactly like President Obama and the UN now on Climate Change]: the people must do and feel and think as if their state were the reality of that reason, freedom, and justice which the ideology proclaims, and the ritual is to assure such behavior.” Until it becomes an internalized habit of mind practiced from preschool to high school in an active, engagement-oriented new kind of educational emphasis?
Let’s shift back to the Breakpoint and Beyond book from the last post because it made a similar point. A new kind of society was possible if people could learn the “art of changing one’s mind…After we have put together a new frame of mind, we then rebuild our society by reinventing our organizations.” Without a solid base of historical knowledge, how many people will be aware that we are trying to redesign social institutions around theories? That’s how we get lots of people willing and primed to act with an inability to comprehend the foreseeable consequences. It’s where we are now because none of these pursuits is new as we will see. We have been creating educational objectives around a desire to “devise the means to change our minds about what is real: from a belief in the limits of a rational, past-driven world to belief in the limitless potential of a creative world.”
No one asked us, did they, before embarking on this Bipartisan vision of Creativity, Connecting, and Future Pull? Do the politicians and their all too important staffers actually know why we are now pushing education where the “processes shift from logical and straightforward to innovative and discontinuous. The basic human strategy moves from ‘solving problems,’ by attacking them piecemeal and getting back to normal, to formulating broad and original opportunities. [Maybe by using that appointed regional planning commission so that its edicts are binding and there is no one essentially to complain to]. Attitudes shift from finding and applying the ‘right,’ tried-and-true, traditional answers to energizing the production of unique advances: major breaks with the past. The system moves to creating the impossible [or at least trying while the architects of all this are well-paid with taxpayer funds or foundation grants]; not just doing things differently, but doing different things.”
When NAEP was first being created from 1964 to 1968, Ralph Tyler chaired its development committee. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/is-common-core-a-catalyst-to-dramatically-alter-system/ reminds us of why that matters so much. The 1970 “What is National Assessment?” report made it clear that NAEP’s ultimate goal “is the measurement of change (progress) in knowledges, skills, understandings, and attitudes as they relate to meaningful education objectives.” The emphasis is on “objectives rather than content.” In a 1972 paper “National Assessment: Measuring American Education” Ralph Tyler was interviewed and he made it crystal clear that NAEP was about “helping schools get rid of the right-answer syndrome and replace it with learning how to learn.”
I am the one pointing out that this statement fits with what Marcuse laid out as well as the creative mindset amenable to change that the Breakpoint book had in mind. Tyler stated that the NAEP is not a test. “They are exercises that children, youth and young people are given” that show the “public both what children are learning and how many are learning each thing.” The exercises sought to remove any middle class bias and “attempt to measure the youngsters’ thought processes or their ability to perform [behave] in some way.” Making my point that standards are ‘goals’ and are not about content as traditionally understood, Tyler revealed forthrightly back in 1972 that “the objectives or goals represent a kind of standard which is considered desirable to achieve. The exercises, if they are good measures, tell to what extent the goals are being achieved. This approach tells very specifically what a person knows or can do.”
For anyone unfamiliar with Tyler, he was every bit as much an advocate of transformational collectivism as John Dewey or anyone else we have looked at. From looking at the NAEP reports from that 1970 one coming forward, I do believe that the Washington Sunday Star warning that “What the Kinsey Report was to American sex, the National Assessment may be to American education” is an understatement. I could say something more here, but best not in case my mother or children ever read this post. NAEP was intended to radicalize American education and then monitor which groups were changing, by how much, and where. It was chilling then when this NAEP research pulled up a National Education Goals (NEG) Panel report from the March 3, 1993 meeting where then Education Secretary Lamar Alexander was presiding. Apparently Richard Riley had not yet been confirmed.
To bring us up to the present context, that would be the same Lamar Alexander who has now created the Bipartisan Every Child Achieves Act that we looked at in the last post and especially in the comments. It would also be the same Richard Riley who is now Vice Chair of the Carnegie Corporation that is also working with CCSSO in pushing Next Generation Learning and Competency-based education in addition to the Common Core. Back to 1993 though, the notes show now-Senator Alexander as wanting to get the accreditation agencies “engaged in the dialogue about standards.” He wanted a meeting set up between them and the NEG panel. He also reportedly waxed nostalgic about heading the National Governors Association and getting all the nation’s governors to work with him for the entire one year period from 1985-1986 on just the one subject of education.
He was proud of creating a way for Democratic and Republican governors to work together and was pleased that the NEG Panel was continuing the same tradition. The Senate’s Education Committee apparently continued the Bipartisan selling out of America by approving ECAA last week without dissent. Probably best then for those Senators to now remove the American flag from their lapels. They may not be aware of the Hammer and Sickle ancestry of what they are mandating, but that does not change the lineage of these ideas, practices, and objectives in the least. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/transcending-the-individual-mind-as-the-analytical-unit-of-learning-while-still-guiding-how-we-will-act/ is another good primer for a Congress that is forcing collectivist traditions whether they know it yet or not. We certainly do.
Back to that 1993 meeting because it still affects what is being sought now. It sought to “Establish a National Education Standards and Assessment Council (NESAC) to provide leadership and oversight to the development of national content and performance standards and an assessment system.” The Panel also wanted to “support the continued expansion of NAEP.” Think of NAEP as the enforcer for moving beyond “right-answer syndrome” to assessments that could get at how students think and what behaviors they are ready to perform. Now think of the language in ECAA about “aligned achievement standards” each state must develop to go with their mandated ‘content’ standards as being about what in 1993 was still being called ‘performance standards.’ Behavioral in orientation now and then. Two different terms for the same concept.
I forgot to tell you what sent me down this particular pathway, didn’t I? It was my conclusion that there was some type of connection among the New Standards Project that fits all that the 1993 panel wanted and commenced in 1996, performance standards, and what the NAEP is actually assessing for. Guess what? I was right. Guess what else? All of this ties to what was considered ‘meaningful learning’ in the 90s and in the New Paradigm for College and Career Readiness now.
Oh, and Every Child Achieves Act also ties to what used to be called Proficiency Standards for Reasoning. Because specifying that and then practicing until it’s a habit of mind would get us back to Marcuse’s vision wouldn’t it?
Next Time then we will continue.