Once Again the Official Target is Scrambling Rational Thinking, Do Pro-Social Purposes Make It OK?

What should horrify us more–the intention? Or the fact that numerous editors at Ed Week must have read the language and merely nodded. Because after all the idea that now “Teachers design spaces and experiences that rearrange the neurons in young people’s brains for pro-social purposes” is not news to readers of this blog. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/edtechresearcher/2013/06 /change_the_frame_two_ways_to_rethink_education_for_reform.html?cmp=ENL-EU-VIEWS2 is the link from last week. It is the lead-in to paragraph 4. And the author is the educator who first led me to focus on gaming after a conference he hosted at MIT.

Ramping up for the 90s version of these same “reshape the personality and values” reforms, which became infamous as Outcomes Based Education, there was a flurry of books on creating new kinds of minds. Willis Harman’s Global Mind Change from the previous post was one. Paul Ehrlich wrote New World New Mind and we also had The Axemaker’s Gift that gave us the useful Axemaker’s Mind metaphor to explain what is being targeted. Well, the sought goal has never gone away. Apparently the era of Positive Humanism (aka little c you-know-what) can only commence if the rational “ego-mind” that promotes individuality has been anesthetized. Put into deep sleep via K-12 education. To be reenforced periodically through lifelong learning and today’s new term–media education.

This time around we again have more illuminating books to guide us toward the future others want for us. First we have Ecomind: Changing the Way We Think, to Create the World We Want published in 2011. Ecologist Frances Moore Lappe, who also serves on a new global entity http://www.worldfuturecouncil.org/ (with Riane Eisler if you have ever read the Caring Economics post)  wants to reframe the “largely unconscious mental map made up of big ideas orienting our lives.” She points out a very useful phrase to keep in mind as we keep reading about Enduring Understandings and systems theory “lenses” and Understandings of Consequence that are to be provided in the Common Core classroom to help organize every student’s beliefs about the world and the past. “Can we remake our mental map?” Lappe asks. Because she points out that “while we often hear that ‘seeing is believing,’ actually believing is seeing.

Which will of course come in quite handy in an education now to be focused on the visual and modeling future scenarios on the computer.  Because the tech companies and their broadcasting allies globally have been quietly sponsoring (as in literally funding the conferences) the idea that “society has evolved from a literacy culture to a media culture. To be able to function in this new culture, people need to develop sufficient proficiency in media literacy in much the same way as people in a literacy culture need to be able to read and write.”

And if this is news to you the Common Core literacy standards do mention media literacy but no one seems to be focusing on the implications yet. Probably because they have not been reading the programs of the Media & Learning Conferences that started in Brussels in 2010 and noted the significance of the statement that “different media provide access to different parts of the brain.” And, yes, games are an important component of this new view of K-12 education as digital and media-based.

As the 2011 “Harnessing the power of Media to support Learning” Conference put it so succinctly, games are “tools to support training in soft skills and understanding of complex situations.” Of course this is all in the context of an assumption that globally we are moving toward a “more participatory,” equitable society. And to get there as a speaker noted, the role of education needs to be seen as the “physiological and psychological growth of the child.”

Why that sounds just like Student Growth in the US! What the feds are now requiring as the measure of an effective teacher. Just coincidental I am sure. Actually you have probably already noticed the shift to integrating media creation into the classroom. You just did not know it was part of an organized, ideological shift. Or that a conference would be organized to push “the underlying principle was that video production includes a whole process of skills which, once acquired, can be transferred to solve other complex tasks.” Oh good. What IB and UNESCO call homo faber–man the maker.

By the 2012 Conference called “Media as an Agent for Change in Education and Training,” a keynote speaker, Andrew Keen, was warning the audience that digital learning was a “form of ideology that is shifting us to a flatter global societal structure” with a “disappearing middle class.” We could heed his points that “such widespread democratisation in education is already leading to the radicalisation of education” if only anyone in the US or anywhere outside of Europe were being honest with the general public on what is really going on with these ed reforms.

If you think this is just a European problem, then you are unaware that the New Media Consortium and this new view of education actually originated in the US. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, it just had its 15th anniversary conference. http://www.nmc.org/ And I listened to Karen Cator’s Keynote speech on “Participatory Learning-Powered by Technology”. And then I found the federal reports she mentioned. Which told me precisely how important ICT is to the new assessments. It allows a move away from “covering subject matter” to a “concern with cognitive skills, including those that have been identified as 21st-century skills.” The “subject matter content emphasis” of traditional schooling led schools to “neglect the higher order or complex cognitive components such as inquiry, problem solving, and explanation.”

The new assessments via ICT are “designed to handle the interdependencies among a learner’s actions in dealing with complex, multistep problems or inquiries.” Now remember from our previous posts that these complex problems are deliberately “ill-structured” or “Indeterminate Situations” for which there is no fixed answer. And the computer is obtaining a tremendous amount of data generated by students at an unconscious level as they try to come up with an answer. And we also know that part of the intended aim of this confusing structure is to force the students to rely on creative, deep intuition to apply existing concepts or big ideas to new situations. Then the computer can adapt to give students immediate feedback to get the students back on whatever the pathway the game or software designers programmed into the instructions.

Don’t worry. It’s not like game designers have said they intended to use these programs to target student’s belief systems. It’s not like the designers are using positive psychology principles to make the visual as compelling as possible. Book Number 2 this time around came out in 2010. Marina Gorbis from the last post mentioned The Watchman’s Rattle: Thinking Our Way Out of Extinction by Rebecca Costa. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oyYrSw26jNQ is her as the keynoter at last October’s Bioneers Conference. Costa is a well-connected sociobiologist who considers Capitalism to be an example of “Extreme Economics.” She views widespread public skepticism over Global Warming and whether climate changes are manmade to be an example of the kind of irrational beliefs that have led to catastrophic civilizational collapse in the past.

She says the answer lies in turning to Insight and the unconscious mind as the solution to the increasing complexity of the modern world. The insight she describes sounds much like Harman’s deep intuition or Alice Bailey’s creativity if you want to go even further back to the same pursuit in the 30s and the 50s. It’s once again the nonrational mind that is to be given free rein except for one big difference this time. Rebecca admits she wants to abandon the norm of analytical problem-solving or right-brain synthesis of facts. Rebecca also points out the part of the brain that thinks inspirationally is now known. It can be found in a fold in the brain called the anterior Superior Temporal Gyrus (aSTG).

Functional brain imaging can now show that when someone is using insight or intuition or creativity to solve a problem, this “little-known fold ‘lights up like a Christmas tree.” So radicals have targeted this nonrational, unconscious capacity as part of their Transformation to Utopia plans for decades. All of a sudden numerous commentators are talking about reorganizing the brain’s neurons. Literally. And in early March President Obama announced a brain-imaging initiative.

Costa wants people to make “novel connections rather than continue to rely on reductionist thinking.” The actual implementations in the K-12 classroom globally appear designed to give the aSTG a workout. That’s what all those references to Higher Order Thinking Skills are about. The part of the brain that thinks logically and sequentially is under concentrated, coordinated attack.

And all this desired New Minds for a New Future can be physically measured now.

And we could address the implications of all this for personal freedom and the legitimacy of the individual in the future. If only these reports and conferences and expressed intentions were better known.

 

52 thoughts on “Once Again the Official Target is Scrambling Rational Thinking, Do Pro-Social Purposes Make It OK?

  1. It has been THE question, “Whom do you place your trust in? Who has the ultimate authority?” Do we trust in the Creator of mankind, God? Or do we place our trust in mankind itself, Government? Replacing one letter in each word becomes the foundation upon which all other decisions evolve. GOV vs GOD.
    Common Core seems to be just another worm to crawl out of the Pandora’s-Box-of-Liberal-Musings. It places the ultimate authority firmly into Governments’ “capable” hands and removes all of the God-given wisdom that is inherent in the rational mind.
    What is deemed appropriate for the Global Mind has no place for the mind who dares to question, who dares to demand independence of thought, who dreams of freedom to achieve.

  2. Hi Tamara,

    It sounds a bit worse than that even. If communication with God is thru aSTG (or is that communications with a more mischievous spirit, or what the hell is it anyway?) then I guess they’re trying to watch you do it and see what the result is.

    They aim to force you to rely on inspired thinking and then tap the line. It’s a privacy I don’t want invaded.

    I guess the only way is to get out of this system, when and if it comes to that. Or tell our kids to go dead and just use random guessing in those situations, preferably relying on an objective random number generator (keep a couple dice in your pocket?) so that there’s as little subconscious input as possible. But a young kid wouldn’t be able to stonewall the teacher like that anyway, and it would not be possible to do this all the time anyway.

    If this goes into effect, the damage will be of a sort that I doubt parents could undo at home. The school would have tools and experts that the parents could not come close to matching.

    The First Amendment says Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. But since this whole thing is being enacted via regulations and in States, Congress doesn’t get a bite at this apple. But if this aSTG is deemed to control religious activity, can we say that schools in this brave new paradigm become establishments of religion? If so, does that mean Congress will be Constitutionally prevented from interfering with Common Core once it’s underway? Crazy thoughts, things are really running off the rails.

    • Nimbus-that video is shocking and I live in a Harvard Strategic Data district. One that has also gotten a Spencer Foundation grant. I have watched a lot of Coleman tapes and he was definitely his most authentic self in that one. He is almost high off the power this data provides. The video I watched yesterday from within the last 6 weeks had him reminding everyone that not only was the full force of the College Board behind this. So was their partner the Educational Testing Service. Which pulls in the Gaming and Gordon Commission posts.

      Thank you so much for posting that. Since I have so many reports and books on this I get they are talking about huge sources of every aspect that motivates you and being able to tie that to neighborhoods. That Coleman kept mentioning analytics is consistent with what these reports, SOLAR, and the assessments are saying. I try to pick the best quotes but since I read the whole thing this presentation is truly frightening.

    • I watched the first half hour and heard him mischaracterize the Coleman Report. And he was wrong. It was 66, not 69. I have studied that report as well as the later human and social capital work quite a bit.

      I really appreciate you bringing that video to our attention.

    • Not just assess it. Later in the video David says they have also hired the 2012 field mobilization team to work with “organizing these students for action.”

      Did you catch the remark about all the “services” the campaign provided low income voters to make sure they secured that vote?

      • “Services.” I read that in 59 Philadelphia voting districts MittR received “zero” votes. What is the likelihood that in 59 districts not even one person accidentally voted for MR? It struck me as being a little too perfect.

        • The Metropolitanism part of this story which I track but do not always bring up fully intends to support all inner city residents. And it is inner-agency. Energy, Ed, HUD, Transportation are all coordinating to rebuild urban areas around green energy.

          When you understand the policies the map of results from November just screams that the urban areas were targeted and they got everyone to the polls. Because everyone benefits from this vision until the OPM runs dry. Other People’s Money.

          When you read the plans the idea of redistribution and the expanding public sector causing the pie to shrink does not enter in. Plus David refers to “our resources.” And then goes on to list govt, foundations, and private as if they are all interchangeable to him. Which they probably are but they are not in the real world.

        • I’ll follow you off topic here …

          This happened in inner-city Cleveland too. 100% of certain heavily black voting locations went for Obama. And there was a video from just that area, where a pair of black people said they were from there and were going to vote for Romney because he would bring more business to the area.

          So I think the evidence is clear that there was vote counting fraud. In addition to policies designed to get out the Democratic vote in those areas. In fact urban black people should not all support Obama, certainly his immigration policies threaten them. Many expected far more help in 2008 than had materialized by 2012. There are many people there who value independence over support and don’t buy into various weird agendas any more than white people do. I say this to demonstrate why I am sure he didn’t get 100% of the actual vote anywhere. It was just clumsy, rushed cheating (the votes were being counted in Spain iirc) because they were afraid they were going to lose the election if the cheating had been more subtle.

          Robin has been clear that she supports our Democratic system and writes in hope of saving it, I have been clear that I think it’s no longer there to be saved at least on the national level. But that’s not the main subject of this blog anyway.

          • http://cooperativedevelopmentinstitute.blogspot.com/2013/06/reroute-building-youth-and-student.html gives you something to do in July.

            That’s just what you pay big tuition dollars for. To get psyched to build a new economy. Like the coursework that reviews the Meadows Limits to Growth models without telling students they have been discredited.

            Then there’s a 2nd Building One America conference in July in DC.

            If I end up writing the epitaph for this great nation at least we will no longer believe it just happened. This is homicide by the public sector and the charitable foundations. The taking part of the economy. It really is rather feudalistic in the sought predations and building up a clientele class.

          • Unfortunately I am unable to attend the NY conference. I don’t even have to check my schedule to know that. I just know it’s been a long time since I was 40, so I am not wanted.

            Wonder which tax exempt entities are putting money into such a thing and getting away with it.

          • Sounds like a convention of “God-gamers” (to borrow a term from Jane McGonigal).

  3. Robin, Is the Coleman Report to which you refer the one from Johns Hopkins? I agree that Coleman’s assertions are creepy. I am still shocked that college board will be using the data advisors to POTUS.

    • http://www.wcer.wisc.edu/news/coverStories/coleman_report_40_years.php isn’t the actual report but gives you a good feel for what it means. Especially since Gamoran was one of the appointed POTUS advisors on ed research. I would put the report in the context of where UNESCO was going internationally. Coleman was at Chicago with Bloom.

      On the data aspect, the Cator talk I mentioned had several references to reports issued during her tenure that are just full of references to learner analytics and data mining and what can be done. I have the books CB put out during the 90s version of this especially the one with John Goodlad that knowledge itself as a focus of school creates inequalitiy so I am less surprised. It is a return to why ETS was originally set up during Ralph Tyler era. CB is another spinoff.

      Remember in the previous post when I mentioned the feds think you can plan the economy around Big Data. I was not exaggerating. That’s the belief and it’s many of the same tech companies as who is promoting media education as systems thinking and deep learning.

      • Nowadays we consider the SAT to be a reasonable aptitude test. At least when compared to some of the modern weird stuff they’re doing to math curricula and assessment, it seems legit.

        But really it’s a speed and accuracy test with lots of simple little problems. Maybe at most a few of them are tricky in an underhanded sort of way. There is not a single legitimate challenging, hard math problem on that test. One would think that to differentiate the top students, there would be a few. That’s how one makes a good test. But there are never any on the SAT, and never any on the math achievement tests either.

        That’s why about 8% of the scores on the SAT Math II Achievement Tests are 800. Because 8% of the takers (who are better than average students in math) top out that test. It’s obviously ETS policy not to examine math ability above a certain fairly low threshold. They have not wavered on this for 40 or 50 years.

        To see that one can certainly set hard problems using high school mathematics, look at the MAA high school competitions. This is how one separates the real mathematical talents. SAT does not do that at all. At the time, the use of the SAT was probably a leveling down. (I would be interested if others know more about this.) Same for English ability, although it may be hard to test that at a high level with multiple choice. Vocabulary, grammar and pretty simple reading comprehension, but at high speed.

        And now we have another leveling down, a couple of generations later.

        • http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2013/06/can-students-learn-better-with-digital-games/

          Look who funded it. Notice the term broad competencies.

          I just finished reading the new NRC report “Best Practices in State and Regional Innovation Initiatives.” Economic development is now only possible with government outlays and university research. Gracious.

          Math is definitely an area where if you are a whiz it is just all clear. Not my gift.

          I remember the year they got rid of the analogy section of the SAT because that was what one of my kids just nailed. Perhaps because I love a good metaphor.

          Remember one of the key aspects of OBE is its refusal to accept that there is a bell curve of abilities. And if it exists it is due to a better environment and is thus not legitimate.

          • Well I’m probably lucky they dumbed down the SAT math, because I can do that level fast enough with reasonable accuracy, but some other students were definitely better at the higher level stuff on MAA than I was. So, some things clear, some things not.

            They took analogies out of SAT verbal? Yep, too much like an IQ test. I guess test-prep was having too much trouble preparing people for it, and it was testing English at too high a level, a level they decided not to reward at all.

            But already top colleges are looking for data beyond SAT. They want to see scores on things like math olympiad, maybe there’s a higher level test for English that I don’t know of. I separate out project stuff like writing a book or a blog because, for one thing, it could be ghost-written by someone else. Same as your application essays!

            So I am sticking to my hypothesis that the established k-12 credentialing system is becoming less relevant for future leaders as it becomes designed to produce only followers.

  4. planning the economy or anything else around big data is the delphi of the ages. Who sees the data? who creates the hockeystick graph and owns the airwaves controls the people, of course and also who controls the guns. as long as they have been trained to only believe what is shown in a graph or venn diagram, to close read and refute only that which does not eminate from the state and see the images on tv, that’s a rap.
    Half of my sons year has ( go math of CC) been learning how to graph and understand graphs. 5th grade. the sky is falling, look at the graph!!
    Coleman’s mother is Angela Lansbury.

      • I read something I am trying to find where I saved it about a math prof from Bennington having to do with big data. in referring to her I cannot escape the vision of her ted talk… she seems diabolique! she swoons for soviets and speaks of how liberal arts has just gotten too specific…. we need to be a whole lot more general…. like the kids at Swatty

    • This movement is forcing people to take sides. I’d say that Swarthmore is deciding here to take itself out of the “top colleges” category. I feel sorry for good students who have committed their college years there under older expectations but I just wish them luck getting through to graduation without too many (fully intentionally) career-damaging attacks.

      I saw something from Stanford, I think it was from a faculty member but maybe someone related to undergrad admissions, that gave the impression they would look favorably on accomplishments in EdX / Coursera type courses. It’s a selection datapoint now available that is at a higher level than high school, also showing ambition to do academic work beyond school.

      The world is not ending. Just the world for a lot of people who maybe aren’t paying attention. At least that’s how I plan to play it.

    • I guess this is what they mean by education addressing real world concerns. I’m afraid some of them might decide to join the ranks of suicide bombers in order to make their naïve little points. Then maybe Swarthmore will reward them with a posthumous honorary degree.

  5. FOUND IT.
    The Bennington Connection.

    LIZ COLEMAN, president of Bennington College. Her son David Coleman, Common Core Prince, Jason Zimba fromer Bennington College Math Prof, writer of math CCSS, and now works for…. Acheive the Core, nonprofit CCSS pusher org. Lets all do the math.

    “Jason Zimba, on the other hand, a former Bennington College math professor and a member of the team that wrote the math standards, said he sees the CCSS as a “once-in-a-lifetime chance” to raise the level of math achievement. He is so enthusiastic that he now works for Achieve the Core, a nonprofit devoted to promoting CCSS.”

    Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/common-core-education-standards-generate-catholic-concerns/#ixzz2WfFcbkY6

    • Chester Finn recently responded to Stanford prof Jim Milgram’s concerns over the math standards by saying Zimba was a math prof too and he liked them.

      It is Student Achievement Partners Zimba works for as did David Coleman before the CB. Achieve the Core seems to be a domain name SAP uses when they put out CC implementation materials on either ELA or math. I have been downloading and archiving all this for several years now.

      Don’t miss the Ford Foundation or U-Chicago links of Liz. For all we know she could have known Bloom and James Coleman or taken a class from them. Wouldn’t that continue the tradition of everyone somehow having a personal link to someone who knew someone who worked with John Dewey. At Chicago it is anyone who ever worked with or was friends with Ralph Tyler from when he was there. Before fleeing to CA during the McCarthy era to start the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences. With Ford seed money. I swear virtually everyone on the Gordon Commission has done at least one stint at CASBS. Plus Csik.

      Did you notice in the link I put up yesterday Liz wants to reorganize higher ed around real world problem solving. Sound familiar?

      So engaging and relevant and full of opportunities to take meaningful action.

      • Who is Jason Zimba?

        Here’s his resume
        http://faculty.bennington.edu/~jzimba/
        (which says he’s current faculty, not former) with links to his vita. The vita should contain references to some of his research papers. Instead, the vita link doesn’t work. Also I was unable to find his dissertation that he supposedly wrote at UC Berkeley.

        Even the summary resume is very brief, not listing a dissertation title or previous positions held, at Bennington or elsewhere. Who is this guy?

        His stated research interests are all theoretical, probably requiring no lab space. This makes sense for a prof. at a place like Bennington which isn’t big on labs. OK fine, it’s arguably a nice job for a presumed math and physics geek who wants to settle down and teach a bit and didn’t get a tenured job at a research school, but also at Bennington there won’t be the sort of math and physics colleagues who could check up on this guy and know if he’s full of … hot air.

        Here’s the one paper I found, from 1990:
        http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/40679550?uid=3739832&uid=2&uid=4&uid=3739256&sid=21102344943741

        which shows him affiliated with “Department of Astronomy, Williams College” also with a position at Ritter Observatory, which implies he was either a grad student or faculty or staff member, not an undergrad who would not have a department affiliation, so since he doesn’t list graduate work at Williams, he must have been a faculty member, hence age at least 28 or so, and this is 1990 so now he’s at least 51, now does that pic on the Bennington website look like a 50+ year old? It’s also not exactly a groundbreaking piece of work, surely a full professor would have many greater research accomplishments than this!

        If anyone notices a list of publications by him, or even the name of a single publication or his dissertation title, please post it, maybe I am just not looking in the right place. But I can usually find stuff like this, if it’s out there.

  6. Lui’s ILLUSIONS again?

    remember what alinsky said:

    RULE 1: “Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have.”

  7. In Colemans youtube vid ( long version) he says he just got married. wonder to whom?

    here is a Jason Zimba video for common core. same as the Sue Pimental one on close reading….
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMMe8_4s9KE

    did not see his name on the bennington website as current faculty, only on the page you linked to.

    He is listed as staff at the nonprofit
    http://www.achievethecore.org/about-student-achievement-partners/team/

    How does this neophyte get to write the national standards for the USSA?

  8. SO WACKY WE FORGOT TO LAUGH.

    http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/rick_hess_straight_up/2013/02/rhsu_straight_up_conversation_sap_honcho_jason_zimba.html

    “You didn’t think the ferment around Common Core could keep building? Hah! Prepare for several more years of increasing wackiness. In the middle of it all is Jazon Zimba, founding principal of Student Achievement Partners (SAP) and the man who is leading SAP after David Coleman went off to head up the College Board. SAP is a major player in Common Core implementation, especially with the aid of $18 million in support from the GE Foundation. Zimba was the lead writer on the Common Core mathematics standards. He earned his doctorate in mathematical physics from Berkeley, co-founded the Grow Network with Coleman, and previously taught physics and math at Bennington College.”

    Jason Zimba: I was named to the writing team for the Common Core State Standards after I’d participated in an earlier group which the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Governors Association (NGA) had convened to produce the “College and Career Readiness Standards” in 2009. At the time, I was a faculty member in physics and mathematics at Bennington College. But I’d had a lot of experience working with math standards prior to academia because I had co-founded an education technology company, and I’d never really stopped thinking about those issues. In 2008 I co-authored a paper with David Coleman about standards for the Carnegie Commission. But I didn’t just want to write a position paper-I wanted to help address some of the problems we had identified.”

    “One of the most important things we needed to deliver was a focused, coherent picture of math — with fewer topics in each grade accomplished in greater depth instead of the mile-wide, inch-deep approach we often see today.”

    yet this guy is listed as only STAFF at Acheive the Core…..
    http://www.achievethecore.org/about-student-achievement-partners/team/

  9. Jason Zimba

    Jason Zimba was a contributing author of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics and is a Founding Principal of Student Achievement Partners. Jason holds a bachelor’s degree from Williams College with a double major in mathematics and astrophysics. He earned his master’s degree in mathematics from the University of Oxford and his doctorate in mathematical physics from the University of California at Berkeley. Jason’s published research spans a range of fields, including astronomy, astrophysics, theoretical physics, philosophy of science, and pure mathematics. His academic awards include a Rhodes scholarship and a Majorana Prize for theoretical physics. Jason has held faculty positions in physics and mathematics at Grinnell College and Bennington College. As an educator, he has taught physics, mathematics, and other subjects to college students, university physics and engineering majors, adult prison inmates, disadvantaged high school students, and children of non-English speaking immigrants. Jason was also a co-founder of The Grow Network, an education technology company formed to help state and district school systems use assessment to inform instruction. As the company’s Head of Education and Product Development prior to its acquisition by McGraw-Hill in 2004, Jason was responsible for standards alignment, curriculum design, product development, educational strategy, and psychometrics, working closely with nonprofit organizations, businesses, and education leaders. He is the author of Force and Motion: An Illustrated Guide to Newton’s Laws.

    • My question “who is Jason Zimba” remains.

      I had not heard of the Majorana Prize so I looked it up and the wikipedia page is here:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Majorana_Prize

      Zimba received it in its first year, 2006. His name links back to the same page I gave before, the one where the “vita” link doesn’t work. There seems to be no other page about him on the web.

      To see how things should be, click on any of the other winners. For example the first. It takes you to a page with lots of other links, with a couple of links you can find what he teaches, what research problems he has worked on and techniques he uses, probably the text of some of his papers, etc. This is typical of an active academic physicist or other scientist. It’s professionally expected.

      One really cannot be an academic full professor and have no trace on the web. It. is. impossible. Except for Jason Zimba.

      • Need to find someone who took his classes… As with all this stuff the internet is helpful in creating ghost credentials, mysterious awards and fake people too.

        These people have taken their EST training very seriously.
        Remember Magical
        thinking?
        At this point we have seen very few names of all the groups eithin each state who hammeted out these standards other then the usual suspects, pimental, coleman, darlong hammond, ayers… Who in your state takes this credit??? We have only been shown the back end of unicorns.

        • That might tell us something, like whether he looks like his picture on that page or 30 years older. Not sure very many Bennington undergrads would be able to detect if this guy is a real live physicist / mathematician, though, but it’s worth a try.

          Your comment about unicorns is CLASSIC. I love it!

          I think Zimba is linked to this website where I sampled the math high school curriculum
          http://www.achievethecore.org/math-common-core/sample-problems/

          and they link to here
          http://www.illustrativemathematics.org/standards/hs

          and … I like it!

          If they are seriously going to be able to teach this curriculum to “all students”, or even a reasonable fraction of them, it would be quite good.

          Hell I don’t know, maybe it’s all a smokescreen and this stuff will be replaced with politically correct gaming all about the life of Martin Luther King. I don'[t know what to think. Zimba seems a very scary mysterious character, when they could have chosen so many people with all their credentials in order — yet he seems to produce a good curriculum!

          Unlike some of the sample stuff I’ve seen on videos etc., the problems are doable (hence not encouraging “magical thinking” or forcing reliance on “deep learning” or any of that nonsense) but harder than is typical for those courses. It really seems very sincere.

        • Madmommy-

          This has been developed to marry Catholic schools and the Common Core. http://catholicschoolstandards.org/files/CCCII%20Project%20Overview%20Ozar%20June%202012.pdf

          The ethical and moral dimensions bring in the Whole Child and Positive Behavior aspects and the topics mentioned are where the real world problems emphasis comes in. The units then provide the desired conceptual understandings that are frequently quite political in what is to be understood. Understood from a social justice perspective you might say.

          • The “Teacher Analysis” is bothersome. The analysis is of a question in Spanish that, word-for-word in English, says “From where is your father?” There are three irrelevant answers and one place name which must be correct.

            To know how to answer this question one does not need to have done a lot of talking about “others”, as the teacher randomly speculates. One needs to know what the words in the sentence mean. Presumably the students were required to have studied those words. Duh.

            But I guess the message is that the teacher must always find fault with the instructional method if the student just bombs the test, er I mean summative assessment. Also the slideshow contradicts itself by having the teacher give an action step for remedying a problem on the summative assessment, but it goes on to propose formative assessments (of unspecified type) to detect and fix this student’s problem before he/she ever gets to the dreaded summative assessment.

          • The Innosight/Clayton Christensen Institute that pushes Digital Learning so first came to my attention as something being off about what they were saying because they were signing up school districts to advocate for no more summative assessments. Just formative. You push even further away from knowledge apart from the supplied concepts and Big Ideas and you can mold along the desired trajectory. While using adaptive software to capture lots of fascinating and probably unconscious personal info on motivations and capacity and tenaciousness and malleability to pressure or tolerance of ambiguity.

            Formative assessments are in many ways the 21st century term for using the computer to perform the molding always envisioned by OBE.

        • Mad Mommy-

          You will find the amicus brief the College Board and the National School Boards Association filed in the Fisher Supreme Court case decided yesterday interesting.

          It makes it clear that the 21st Century workplace and 21st Century Citizenship are envisioned as quite different from what has existed in the past. http://www.utexas.edu/vp/irla/Documents/ACR%20College%20Board%20et%20al.pdf

          Which we know but it is interesting to read that group identity in terms of ethnicity and skin color are so essential to this vision. And the references to deeper learning and equity and excellence that we know have unappreciated definitions that are of course known to CB and NSBA.

          It even talks of the mission of institutions over and over again.

    • Listening to the full Coleman talk, and it is creepy indeed. Sort of a one-person Delphi technique used in this talk. Posit a ridiculous claim, “prove” it with a flimsy one-sentence argument, then quickly move on from that foundation. With such logic one can prove anything.

      Starts off dismissing the whole intellectual tradition of inquiry, saying that a meeting cannot possibly come to a consensus because everyone will insist all “their stuff” get included resulting in a hopeless hodgepodge. With this he moves on having “proven” that “evidence based” standards are the only ones that could work, and the experience of professionals in the field be damned.

      Then he says that a survey of top performing countries in math education had only three topics in common in their curricula: “addition, subtraction and the quantities they measure.”. (I cannot believe they do not cover multiplication, division and so on under one name or another.) Then he says that therefore we should focus on only those three topics.

      That’s all within the first 8 minutes. The mind boggles — this guy is an evil lunatic.

      • His attempts at humor were awful. The audience had better learn how to laugh because he’s on a huge power trip.

      • Oh so those were jokes?

        If so that guy’s sense of humor is even drier than mine. And that is pretty scary in itself. The rest of the speech is actually better than the first 8 minutes.

        • Didn’t you just love the “work worth doing”? Do you think he should be the arbiter of what is work worth doing with such a strong political sense of obtaining equity as the end result?

          I actually watched a different presentation last Sunday from early May and then did some more tracking. Lovely stuff like how to integrate SEL outcomes into the close reading strategies and learning which words to skip. Probably do not make it into the presentations to evangelicals that he talks about.

          • Close reading = skipping some words? Up is down, etc.

            He reminds me of a couple different bosses I’ve had. Totally goal oriented, totally ruthless.

          • I recognize what is going on with close reading. Serendipitously it is what I explained in book and who came up with it and the political intentions she laid out. Which is why her name rarely comes up even though she is quite famous. So this actually is dovetailing amazingly nicely with where book goes. Since it has been quietly hibernating for more than a year now that is quite cool. Same with math.

            I really did accurately figure out the drivers a couple of years ago. And the answer to everyone’s question is after Labor Day. I now have the team I needed and that is the timeline we are working back from. And it will be a soft cover hard copy so people can waive it at politicians or principals if they wish in addition to an e-book.

            I am discovering though that my preferred cover does not mesh with the top vote getter. Oh well. Sometimes it is a good idea to listen to the herd.

    • Mentions our friend Zimba. He was involved with Obama, Ayers and that crew. Odd stuff for a guy supposedly developing his career in math and theoretical physics, especially since after the fact there’s little to no evidence of that career beyond a full professor spot at Bennington.

      Bennington does seem like a pretty Common Core kind of place. Here’s the academic planning process expected of each undergraduate student:
      http://bennington.edu/Libraries/docs_Academic/PlanProcess.sflb.ashx

      I found this while browsing the site looking for something else about Prof. Zimba, or at least a faculty list, and finding neither.

  10. On a positive note, the article at the link at the top of the post about “rearranging neurons” has no comments. In it the author (Justin Reich) references a speech he gave recently where he actually defines the amount of learning as the number of neurons rearranged for social purposes — even though he never goes on to use that definition in any meaningful way like actually counting or measuring neurons. Anyway the youtube of that talk also has no comments. Comments are allowed on both the article and the talk, but there are none at all.

    This tells me that nobody actually reads or listens to that nonsense. Well, nobody who bothers to post comments on the internet anyway. Not even the poor people (they have internet access too) it is supposed to help at the explicit expense of the wealthier. They’re having a hard time fomenting any popular momentum for their social revolution.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.