Outside In: Conjoining Education & Media to Consciously Create Consensus

Do you regard the phrases “public transformation” and “societal transformation” as synonymous? The first, as we saw in the last post, seems interested in transforming who we are at the level of our beliefs and values–our very consciousness. The other wants to transform existing institutions and organizations–the external reality. The coverage of the Parkland mass school shooting and the student activists it has launched makes considerable more sense if we know that Global Education Futures (GEFF) released a report last fall called “Educational Ecosystems for Societal Transformation” that is referenced in other internal reports with a different title about “Education Ecosystems for Public Transformation.” Either title reflects a desire that the “level of challenges faced by humanity today calls us to find answers through a consciously created consensus.”

One side of the media, especially the legacy media, wants us to see the tragedy as a reason for gun control. The other seems to see Parkland as a convenient tool to hype School Choice, on-line learning, and supposed ‘local’ solutions to federal government tyranny. No one seems to want to eliminate the media’s ability to frame how we see Parkland and what we believe the solutions to be. Since the transformation vision relies heavily on misunderstanding the nature of learning standards like the Common Core or Competencies (Inside-Out) and also not reporting the long planned convergence of the media and education to create the narrative driving a perceived need for change, let’s tear away the shroud obscuring this cooperation.

Russian Pavel Luksha, who is a leader in GEFF as we covered here in 2015, also turns out to be involved with Chris Whittle’s new venture called the Whittle School, a global education venture. Back in 2005, Whittle wrote a book called Crash Course hyping the ability to use School Choice globally and private providers of education to drive innovation and a new vision of learning. He created a hypothetical “worldwide leader in K-12 curricula” that had previously been “the first of the world’s major communications and publishing companies to grasp fully that the world of schooling was an extension of the core competencies found in many communications entities.” We need to recognize that now too as that outside-in tool was a huge part of why previous UNESCO head Irina Bokova simply shorthanded the conjunction and its global transformative potential as “media education.”

Likewise, when that GEFF report headlines its “New Horizon” chapter with this Margaret Wheatley quote, think not just of the roles of the media and a new type of learning, but also all the high school students we are now seeing who simply assume a right to redesign the world and existing systems.

“We have only just begun the process of discovering and inventing the new organizational forms that will inhabit the 21st century. We need the courage to let go of the old world, to relinquish most of what we have cherished, to abandon our interpretations about what does and doesn’t work.”

That shift is much easier if, unbeknownst to most parents, the schools have long since shifted from a subject-centered curriculum to an ‘experience-centered curriculum’. Suddenly, topics, themes, concepts, and principles come first to provide students with a means to “intellectualize his experience.” To mine my personal library using a post WW2 book called Reorganizing the High-School Curriculum from 1947 to move away from the school as “merely an instrument for perpetuating the status quo” to one where “our democratic society is to be refined and re-created,” would require a new type of education grounded in a new theory of learning.

“Learning in its best sense involves the ‘continuous reconstruction of experience.’ Learning products are identified as changes in attitudes upon the basis of new or deeper understandings, and the acquisition of general and special abilities, habits, and skills. The learning experiences which the school provides [now online learning can also do this] for students are directed towards changes in behavior in line with democratic ideals and values. [Remember the PROMISE motto from the last post and the role of Restorative Justice programs] The school provides work experience for the student, not primarily to get the work done, but because such experience enhances growth in line with democratic values.”

That’s what student-centered learning is really about and everyone involved with education reforms, except students and parents, is either openly or covertly pushing this same vision. If we miss the planned role of all media in this, we are fighting a battle with blinders on. That was sixty years ago, but only the names and tools change, not the transformative aims. https://ssir.org/articles/entry/using_story_to_change_systems has a similar aim and came out about a week ago. Also recently the Data & Society Research Institute issued a report called “Dead Reckoning: Navigating Content Moderation After ‘Fake News'” that caught my eye. One thing about tearing a tendon in your leg, I have been rather stuck watching bad TV like it or not. A publication like that wanting to define what is Fake News not by veracity of the information but rather or not the source is preapproved by the powers that be simply emboldens the lies I have been forced to watch recently on the evening network news.

The difference though was I was in a position to find out more of what looked like immunity to lie to advocate for the repeatedly announced “public” or “societal transformation” as I was signed up to attend a February 23, 2018 Georgia Bar Media & Judiciary Conference sponsored by CNN among others. The speakers, who included a Morehouse journalism prof, a New York Times reporter, a former CBS reporter, and the managing director of CNN International, kept hyping the role of the “Legacy Media’ to be ‘gatekeepers’, which to me rather smacked of censorship before the fact by approved sources. The CBS reporter,  hyped “the crucial role of the press in shaping American history” and asserted that Facebook and Google’s recent policy changes to prefer the Legacy Media in search results were a good start but were “not enough”.

I thought about how Walter Cronkite had so hyped the Tet Offensive that a generation of Americans thought we lost military ground then. They did not recognize a deliberate use of the news and what gets covered, to steer popular and prevailing consciousness on an issue. When the audience was asked for questions, I raised my hand and asked if their position was that the term “Fake News” was about the source of the information or the quality of the information? That’s when things got really interesting since no one knew education was my area of expertise. The response by several of the panel members was to agree it was about the source and the standards of truth used by the ‘legacy media’ and then begin to talk about the need for new curriculum in the schools to create deference to the Legacy Media.

Another member then mentioned that the real solution to Fake News allegations was “further down the food chain in the schools” and called attention to a News Literacy Project that had been created to do just that. It would aid students to differentiate between Fake News and to know “what to believe.” That continued targeting of the internalized belief system that has always been a hall mark of Tranzi OBE under its various names (see last post and comments) got my attention.

So I came home and looked up the Project and discovered it had been started in Spring 2008 by veteran reporters from the LA Times. The family that had owned the Wall Street Journal before Rupert Murdoch was also involved and Steve Schmidt who had worked in the White House under Bush 43 and who managed John McCain’s Presidential run. Mollie Hemingway, now a Federalist editor and contributor to Fox News is on the Board. Since she is married to a writer at the Weekly Standard I think we can conclude that the Legacy Media as well as the so-called non-establishment media that is supposedly conservative all want to create school curriculum on how the media is regarded.

The really fascinating member of the Board in my mind who thoroughly conjoins media and education, learning standards and media literacy projects, and inside-out vs outside-in filtering to Consciously Create Consensus was Sam Wineburg. Wineburg is an education prof at Stanford who has been active in creating standards for “Civic Online Reasoning”. The Stanford History Education Group or SHEG is where everything comes together as they have created the Reading Like a Historian curriculum that can be used to create and measure the existence of the ‘desired understandings’ that students are to internalize as their required Higher Order Thinking Skills under federal ESSA law.

Doesn’t that sound like an excellent way to Consciously Create Consensus, especially if the curriculum gets used to create formative assessments that few parents will understand if they have not read Credentialed to Destroy? The News Literacy Project presented at both the 2016 and 2017 National Council for the Social Studies annual conference so we know these curricula will be used to create the C3 Framework ‘lenses’ to evaluate how students view the world around them. Turns out the nonsensical slogan that “we are teaching students how to think, not what to think” is actually not true at all.

Suddenly media literacy, new forms of learning, competencies, and the need to control the internalized belief system and values via prescribed standards and Habits of Mind takes us to a view of History that Karl Marx would have recognized. We need to as well to cut through the False Narratives ALL the media now seemed to find so useful:

“History is the ‘precondition of political intelligence’…It allows us to undertake sensible inquiry into the political, social, or moral issues that trouble us…[and] achieve the informed, discriminating citizenship essential to democratic government.”

The Parkland and other high school students then are simply fulfilling the roles SHEG and other experiential curriculum have trained them for. The way out of students who see themselves as Makers of History is to recognize that school has neurally and deliberately rewired them to do, think, want, and act in preapproved ways.

We are, after all, the Public whose consciousness the media, educators, and virtually every think tank I have looked at wants to control. We need to recognize the how and why and that it is not just students being targeted.

30 thoughts on “Outside In: Conjoining Education & Media to Consciously Create Consensus

  1. ““Learning in its best sense involves the ‘continuous reconstruction of experience.’ Learning products are identified as changes in attitudes upon the basis of new or deeper understandings, and the acquisition of general and special abilities, habits, and skills”

    I don’t see new facts or data listed as a basis for learning. New opposing ideas or arguments are also missing.

    I thought of ISC when reading some recent news. Snowflake students sheltered from opposing or conflicting arguments and facts are the product of this system. A law prof at Penn State wrote that older conventional values and morals served young people better than modern values. Several law profs signed a petition to have her removed. LAW students were to be prevented from hearing opposing arguments in a LAW school. Let that sink in. What happens if they get jobs as LAWYERS?

    Then some LAW students were acting out and shouting down a speaker Chritina Hoff Sommers in a LAW school. Try that in a courtroom and see what happens.

    • One of the recent I like tracking down old sources referenced in footnotes is that they still concede openly ideas that have since become controversial. This is from one of the closing chapters of the book I referenced from 1947. “The foregoing discussion has presented a tentative program by means of which a school may reconstruct its basic purposes and curriculum. The proposal breaks sharply with traditional practices in high school, which tend to ignore the problem of unity of purpose and to assume that the teacher’s principal job is to impart knowledge and develop the skills which are determined largely by the adopted textbook.

      Should schools undertake the difficult task of changing traditional practices and transforming themselves into laboratories for the study of the problems that beset youth in our confused society, and for designing an educational program which adequately meets their needs? This volume is a plea that this should be done. If the high school is to become one of the dynamic agencies by means of which our democratic society reconstructs itself, it must be done.”

      Well, it has and is being done and no one is telling the parents, especially people who claim to be guided by a desire to be critical of the Common Core. School Choice cannot lead to subject-matter centered schools instead of experiential ones seeking to provide the categories that describe the experiences and activities unless parents are aware of this shift and why. So many of the media companies are owned by organizations that would benefit from this broader template, especially the idea that government provision of broadband is a human right. Many of the conservative think tanks or publications are all on board with social reconstruction as long as there are private or faith-based providers of the services mandated and standardized by governments.

      • I did notice reading through the programs from the just concluded Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness https://www.sree.org/pages/conferences.php that Jack T Greenberg is involved. I believe you and I have had offline discussions about his work. Besides the unprofessionalism of someone like Paul Sperry mining the previous post’s cites to create his own spin without attribution, we lose the fact that Restorative Justice, like PROMISE itself, is a behavioral mod program grounded in targeting the belief system. It should be joined with PATHS, the Good Behavior Game, PBIS, and other SEL programs we have covered. Like misinterpreting Pavel Luksha’s work, it sends readers in the wrong direction and keeps the false framing protected.

        https://firstdraftnews.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/The-Disinformation-Ecosystem-20180207-v2.pdf?utm_content=buffer2cbef&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer is what I am working on this morning. It is very offensive to equate criticizing the coverage of the Legacy Media when so much of what they say is demonstrably untrue with 15th Century Anti-Semitic Blood Libel. That is an inapt metaphor designed to prevent scrutiny.

      • Notice the presence of two PSU profs on page 3 of this https://results4america.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/FY19-coalition-letter-3.8.18-2.pdf

        It also confirms my December Orthopraxy post that the term ‘evidence-based’ is about the theory or model, not the data. That is merely a tool. We should all be shaking though at the CMO of high quality charters of $150 million. Will Barney’s Classical Education qualify? That’s a lot of taxpayer dollars that would fund all the deceit about Good, True, and Beauty, which somehow still leads to what the New Agers call Integral Consciousness.

        $675 million for Institute for Education Sciences. Yikes again!

    • The new training may serve them well professionally. The new judges will rule in favor of the “modern” points of view.

      Look at how much trouble Trump has to go to, to knock away what would have been considered obviously nuisance objections to executive policy, by liberal US District Judges who issue nationwide injunctions. The left still wins in the courts, and those lawyers who are adapted to it may go on to “distinguished legal careers”.

      I have little confidence in the legal system. That doesn’t mean I have a better alternative to propose, although the old system of lawyers being ineligible to become judges (vs. today one must be a lawyer to become a judge) may have worked better.

    • I had not, and am fascinated WSJ chose not to put that article behind a paywall. Very unusual and it shows they want this analysis out there.

      I have to wonder if that article will fuel more and more states using those tests as their end-of-high school means of measurement. I also remember it was the College Board who hired the supposed creator of the Common Core–David Coleman. I have never forgotten his homage to China in connection with the Confucious Institutes or his speech at the New Schools Venture Fund back in 2013 that Common Core was simply a tool to push us towards competency-based ed. Properly understood what is now called CBE originated at ETS (which used to own the College Board) back in the late 80s. I have all those documents and they are part of why I can interpret all these aspirations so well. I locate the original blueprints.

      Since the authors have taken CB money by their own admission, it is hard not to see the article in part as a means for parents not to recognize just how much those ‘tests’ have changed in what they are looking for from students. It’s also inconsistent with the rhetoric from the Making Caring Common initiative most of the elite higher ed institutions have gotten involved with. It also decries these types of tests.

      The Sam Wineburg mentioned in this post in his building the case for the SHEG approach to history keeps referring to NAEP as a test. NAEP, like PISA, are assessments. They are not really about knowledge, especially a linear, correct answer. Once again we have a determination to obscure the shift from a subject-matter orientation to examining what drives the student’s decision-making when there is no ‘correct’ answer in the traditional sense.

      Thanks for posting that.

      This from SXSW yesterday goes to why I get annoyed with the phrase ‘standardized testing’ when what is being used is nothing like that phrase as traditionally understood. https://www.educationdive.com/news/assessments-will-be-disrupted-is-performance-approach-the-future/518672/

      • The article does seem to be behind the paywall. I read it, then tried to reopen it later to read comments, and since that was my one article for the month or something, I cannot get to the rest. But the gist was that these tests are rather broadly predictive for a long time, not just freshman performance.

        My younger just went thru PSAT / SAT cycle this year. They are very long tests (PSAT too) that reward speed and accuracy, and the most difficult questions seem to have tricky wording or be asking for unexpected things — rather than, like the verbal analogies that were banished long ago, testing something conceptually difficult. An exercise in maximal banality. If the kid can stand utter banality and work hard at it for 4 hours, she’ll probably do well. I think they’re looking for solid white-collar employees who can simply produce a lot of accurate work.

    • Look at this https://qz.com/1227955/muse-an-ai-powered-parenting-bot-wants-to-help-parents-help-their-children-succeed/

      “My purpose is building better human beings’ said the neuroscientist.

      “It asks parents one question every day: Have you and Lucas visited a library in the past month? Does Maria attend school outside of the home? Parents’ responses are fed to the AI along with unstructured data; parents might record snippets of audio or video conversation with their child, or upload photos of a toddler’s finger-painting.

      Those responses help the app create a constantly evolving profile of each child that attempts to measure not just their static ability at one moment in time, but their developmental growth. The machine learning constantly searches for the best question to ask parents about their child, and the best activity to suggest that might help the child improve on areas of weakness. The daily questions also incorporate traditional survey-type assessments, such as questions relating to empathy or metacognition. By using both old-school survey type questions and naturalistic data, the AI learns how the two relate.”

      Hopefully will be back online this week after some unexpected personal issues popped up last week. My new goal in life is to NEVER be in a position to go inside a cardiac icu ever again. I feel a bit like when my youngest, wanting to go with the rest of the family to the bahamas before she was three, said “I’ll be good. I’ll be very good.”

      • It’s good to have you back Robin, didn’t know you were treated for a cardiac issue. Hoping being good doesn’t mean being boring.

        • Not me, a sibling close in age to me. It was quite a week. My issues are mostly PT and learning to walk backwards to retrain my leg muscles.

          At the same time though precisely the nature of what is going on got thoroughly pinned down since I wrote the last post. I have been able to see the convergence for a while, but now I can prove it. Serendipitous, but we will take unexpected disclosures where they pop up.

          Will get back to writing soon.

          • FWIW, let me recommend the physical therapy books by the late Robin McKenzie. His first book was “Treat Your Own Back”. Since my spinal surgery that book has been a great help.
            There are also versions for Neck, Shoulder, Knee.

          • Thank you so much. I feel like a need a t-shirt that reads “the mind is still powerful, but the body is weak.”

  2. Education, as described by Robin, with the help of a myriad of culture creators has created a society, no, a world of willing executioners. Groups who have been whipped into a frenzy of rage by selective knowledge and unquestioning logical forms and conceptual frameworks. They see a knife and see it as a weapon, they see a man and think he is a rapist, they see our society and they see Nero’s Rome or dare I say it – Nazi Germany.

    The Balkanisation of society is now fully on its way and we must see it in light of a greater desire to bring down this society by making the system we have inoperable. Then the knight in shining armor will bring order out of the chaos (they created). They wish it to appear organic and lead from the ‘bottom’ – a way of gaining the buy-in of society in the resulting world they are leading us into.

    Whether I am right or wrong can be disputed, but let’s hold it in our mind as a model with all the others, and dispassionately check our facts against it from time to time in the future.

    The psychological power of consensus, and the use of the media to create the grammar and logic of discourse will be demonstrated by the content of this podcast. I urge all to try and listen to it. It is main stream.


    It will demonstrate clearly how presenters can be locked into the logical conclusions of the prevailing consensus paradigms of society. I could hear in their voices a desire to argue against their guest, but by accepting the premises and terms of her argument, they were powerless to escape her logical conclusions. Their guest was a nihilistic feminist (one group of society destroyers) who was saying that the ends justify the means (of the #metoo movement) and how the patient change of institutions must give way to wholesale destruction of exiting ones (patriarchy). If it means innocent people are destroyed, well bad luck! Even the commentators mentioned purges and how the destruction resulting from revolutions being a needed part of the process!

    What is frightening is the replacement in all institutions (starting with the accreditation factories known as colleges and universities) of all managers, media front people with these revolutionaries. Business and government are not simple bystanders, but co-conspirators, and so no one who wishes to make a living will be able to escape its prescriptive and draconian grip. God knows what Kafkaesque hell awaits those who have as their operating systems – facts, truth, liberty, western culture! On top of that, our national public broadcaster is willing to accept revolutionary violence and destruction of its own people!.

      • Thanks Robin. It is so satisfying when hypotheses are supported by facts from their own lips. I’m going to keep that one for doubters I know.

        We have been trained to await the pronouncements of experts, celebrities and authority figures that we do not allow our own natural systems for modeling, evaluating and testing the world around us by the standards that have come down to us over millenia (or longer). People are simply not alowed to speculate about the possibility of such a thing. If I was to mention this to people I know, I would get a ‘why are you telling me this?’, or a sideward glance of the eyes and a, ‘you are one of those (cooks)’.

        I don’t intend to wind up the the blog, but it seems that the Persians have overrun Thermopyle and we must make our defences elsewhere if we are to defend against the enemy. Education has done its job, the teachers and society are now the product of these villains and so are in a position to perpetuate themselves. A permanent standing army, led by a very simple motivations. I say army because they use force, coersion and violence to achieve their ends when their simple arguments will not suffice to trick the plebs.

        I’m sure you will also have noticed the constant banging of the drum these days about ‘our system of capitalism is dead’, ‘our system of democracy is dead’, ‘it is time to consider a universal basic income’ etc. The talk of collectivism is leading us into the sustainable world that I believe is the final trick for enslavement. Though when I hear that people allow such things as Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home into their mst private lives (let alone mobile phones), I wonder if allis not lost.

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