Placing a Global Bet that Psychology Infused Via Education Can Change Human Beings and their Institutions

Supposedly for the better which is why the initiative is called Positive Psychology to sound inspirational. But citing back to Abraham Maslow and Carl Rodgers’ work as foundational makes this push about more than instilling good work habits and hope. This Organizational Development (OD) push, that Appreciative Inquiry from the last post and systems thinking a la the higher profile Peter Senge and Otto Scharmer are an intrinsic part of, plans to act on the theory that human beings can be changed for the better. Globally but especially the US.

And it fully intends to try using the Global Quest for Educational Excellence and all those poorly understood international tests like PISA and TIMSS as the drivers of change. While you are thinking it’s about finally getting more knowledgeable students who are better at reading or math, these taxpayer funded visionaries have figured out how to also use Positive Behavior Interventions and Positive School Climate Executive Orders and data collection around Student Growth to drive continuous improvement toward “inspiring and shared moral purposes.” How very communitarian.

Apparently all the hyping about closing the Achievement Gap is just a ruse. Instead, the US CCSSI is part of a global attempt at “establishing the new and eclipsing the old in human systems.” So exciting that it really was italicized just like that in the 2010 Framework document I am describing today.  Coupled to a 2012 book by two Boston College professors called The Global Fourth Way laying out what really makes for a high performing school system. Hint: it’s not what you know but what you feel and are willing to do about it. Supposedly equitable outcomes for ALL students and Deweyan Quality Learning that changes the Whole Personality are just the thing that will “produce the economic and social outcomes that are essential for economic dynamism, social cohesion, and democratic ways of life.”

And before you get excited about the economic dynamism aspect during this Great Recession you should know it is premised on the idea that “going green might well become the biggest business opportunity of the twenty-first century.” Or not as all those bankruptcies from ventures like Fisker and Solyndra that got tax dollars in the 2009 Stimulus Act should show.

So once again the education component that is the real Common Core implementation is tied into a political and social upheaval that is not being advertised and an economic vision that shows no likelihood of working. No matter how many AI Summits like “Green City on a Blue Lake” cities like Cleveland hold envisioning a new green future and an extension of relatedness that will somehow save the Inner Cities and economic blight. The vision, that has Positive Psychology architect, Marty Seligman of UPenn (save Philly somehow please!) and David Cooperrider (a Taos Institute founder and Case Western, in Cleveland, prof), reportedly giving speeches to lots of famous companies, the US Army and Navy and the US Environmental Agency (no wonder it now plans with systems thinking), and the UN Global Compact among others around 2010, is called Innovation-inspired Positive Organization Development. Or IPOD as they call it to create an “economy and ecology of strengths.”

I wonder if they put their IPOD speeches on an IPad? Sorry. That IPOD Framework even mentioned that there was a “recent business leaders meeting at the UN to collaboratively design the future.” I guess it’s not collusion when it is for a good cause like Sustainability and preserving current markets. Which we should all keep in mind every time you hear “Business needs the Common Core or 21st Century Skills or Career Pathways.” This is SO not about what is best for our individual futures. In fact that’s why you keep hearing all these references to organizations. According to IPOD’s vision, organizations like schools and businesses are to become:

“institutions that serve to bring our highest human strengths into the world in a magnified way…They exist to serve a life-enriching purpose, and accomplish things no individual set of strengths can accomplish alone.”

Oh, I don’t know about that. An individual mind can be quite intrepid which is truthfully the whole problem with the old transmission of knowledge curriculum. It’s the real reason it must be jettisoned in the 21st century. None of these people want herd-defying individuals figuring things out without authorization or creating world-altering technology breakthroughs without permission. So they take Uncle Karl’s human development theory and give it a new disguise that sounds inspiring. .

The IPOD approach to change then is to be “collaborative [like group projects and Communities of Learners], educational based on experiential learning [hands on projects! service learning for credit!], dialogical [Courtney Cazden’s discourse classroom community], and contextually conditioned upon inquiry [just like a good IB Learner!] into the relevant content and process of a human system.”

No wonder we keep hearing a requirement for relevance and a link to real world problems. You get the IPOD, Fourth Way, vision implemented without having to mention it or get approval. Thus the IPOD framework says the “DNA pulsating through” it can be described by three essential features:

1. That special spirit of inquiry [they do love italics for emphasis] that seeks “to learn, experiment, seek feedback and build shared understanding through dialogue and open exploration of things that may never have been collectively explored.” How expensive and unproductive if simply based on the feelings of deliberately created Know-Nothings. Next.

2. The collaborative design of the future. Now this impossibility is based on the very accurate observation that “people build their commitment to change in direct proportion to the degree that they are actively engaged in designing the change.” Which is why you are unlikely to get the PTA President or members of your local School Council to listen to you when you point out, for example, that Spence Rogers’ own books cite Mao as a good example of leadership and that makes him a poor choice for teacher professional development.

The collaboration also primes all participants for the “assumed centrality of interdependence in organizational life” to force recognition that it is “the quality of the relationships, the processes–how the relationships give or deplete life” that make a human system work. No wonder relationships are one of the new 3 R’s along with Relevance and the imaginative Rigor [think of that Spirit of Inquiry above as what Rigor is really about].

3. A positive view of the human being. Now this is the age old question that has kept philosophers speculating for centuries. You will be glad to know that IPOD comes down on the side not supported by history. IPOD has not only “proclaimed a belief in people” from its “infancy.” It goes on to [this is a little long but it is a vision worth quoting in full. Maslow to Marx with the behavioral sciences thrown in to boot]

“Insofar as we might discover the conditions that help bring out the best in life–for example, Abraham Maslow’s studies into peak experiences–then we might well be able to apply this knowledge in our institutions. Drawing from the entire mosaic of the social sciences–from anthropology, sociology, psychology, political science, and biology and more–OD would be unique in not only propagating a collaborative, inquiry-driven approach to change but would be centered on advancing the developmental potentials of the human being. [And you thought I was being sarcastic about Uncle Karl or his 20th century leading advocate Erik Erikson and why they matter to CCSSI] Instead of being woven at random, like an afterthought design into our economic and organizational fabric, human development would be at the center. Lines would radiate out from the human dimension to all the others–the economic, technological, strategic, structural, political, etc.”

That would be truly all-encompassing and people focusing on who owns the means of production are not keying in on what parts of Marx’s vision are back for a 21st Century run.  The framework also mentions the good prof Csik as a key component of this positive psychology vision . Why look, excellence just like the Fourth Way. What a coincidence. Not.  But it also notes that for a new OD as described here to “truly emerge, it would need a new human science knowledge base.”

Well, guess what? All that data being thrown off –measuring Student Growth or soft skills or attitudes, values, and beliefs and continuous improvement in PBIS or PATHS and other “mental health first aid” or social and emotional learning curricula as we see from CASEL– is just what OD needs to be its “human science knowledge base.” No wonder ICT vendors are so excited. No wonder the accreditors now require its collection. And the US federal government by requiring teacher evals based on “multiple measures of Student Growth.”

Should it trouble us that the World Economic Forum just put out a report on creating the 21st century economy around ICT and Big Data? Coincidences surely abound these days.

34 thoughts on “Placing a Global Bet that Psychology Infused Via Education Can Change Human Beings and their Institutions

  1. Maslow’s peak experiences? My best peak experience was the moment when I realized I could figure things out.

    It came after about two years of engineering school, an environment where political correctness gets you nowhere. You think independently when doing that work, or you fail.

    What I discovered was that if I dared to think independently, I could succeed. They had to beat me to death for two years, in a good way, to get me to learn that “deeply”.

    And then there was the moment, I still remember where exactly I was and what I was doing, when I realized I could apply this style of thinking to all the other stuff I had been receiving social conditioning about all my life. And I’ve been a different man ever since. Or maybe that’s when I became a man in the first place.

    Which is probably why they want to reduce the content of “hard science”. And now it seems that all the hard science in school involves endless group work. Just as I was writing this, I took a phone call from one of my kids’ science teachers about how he was having trouble working with his group, and that he was going to be punished for it because he overreacted. They are now having the kids learn “the scientific method” via group work. And of course in such a group, all the kids are equally worthwhile contributors, according to the teacher.

    I’m trying to get him to just shut up when other kids make stupid comments and go along with a smile with the group consensus, and not to worry about his grade no matter how bland or stupid the group idea is. Maybe he’s right or maybe he’s wrong, but if he thinks the group is doing something stupid, give his view once at most and then shut up and stop contributing any new ideas. Don’t try to associate group experiences with intellectual rigor and inquiry, but to treat it all as human relations training. (He can understand these ideas in general, but he is inconsistent in being able to follow through.) This seems to me the best way to protect his mental health.

    The teacher actually had complained that when it came to group work, he “shut down”. I told her gently that I had advised him to shut down when he thought the group was doing something stupid. They can’t punish him for shutting down. Now maybe they’ll blame me rather than him, and I don’t think my advice triggers anything that could bring a visit from The Authorities.

    As you can tell, I’m fairly upset about this. Sorry for the venting quotient in my post.

    • Vent away David. I do not blame you but at least now you can put the emphasis on group work into context. These clowns want to change the workplaces of tomorrow too. The funniest part of what I am doing is when someone is perturbed that I know what I know “because I was not in the meeting.” The idea of knowing things no one told you is utterly foreign to them. I remember when that would earn an A+ from the college or law prof who actually had not seen it that way either and was pleased to read a new idea.

      I have thought about the Science a lot. As you may know the new Science Standards were issued yesterday. I had seen the draft and know what is sought. The “act like a scientist” is really asking the students to role play. There is a real interest in the theories attached to these ed reforms in school being about remaking a student’s identity. At least as long as it is not their group identity like gender, race, sexuality, or ethnicity. I read the stuff and wonder who has an identity that would come on and off and be reshuffled like that. It is also hard for someone with a substantive science background to get their arms around the fact that theories in education are not created to be true or reflect reality. They exist to change it. They are just a tool and as you can see a political one at that. I have not written about it yet but I have researched Personal Construct theory. I love how all these now mandated changes and theories were acknowledged to be radical and the source of controversy when they were first rolled out.

      One good thing from reading this stuff even when it is angst causing. You will know what is being targeted and why and you have a great deal of ability to remediate at home. Our kids may be frustrated by these experiences but they will come out with their Axemaker Minds preserved. But they likely will come to hate school and wonder why it is worth going to.

      It is the parents of bright kids who refuse to entertain the idea that something is wrong that will really be affecting their children’s futures. Like the kids who can read phonetically or do long division because their parents taught them, we may look back in 5 years and recognize that the still solid in their age group kids are the ones who realized quickly what Common Core was targeting and quietly intervened and kept that abstract mind intact. That long term memory stocked. That ability to think sequentially preserved. And talked with their kids about the SEL assaults before they happen. I did not write it but there was a passage in the IPOD document citing psychologist William James from more than 100 years ago on how much engaging the emotions helped create the conditions for change.

      Here’s the passage quoted:

      “Emotional occasions, especially violent ones, are extremely potent in precipitating mental rearrangements. The sudden and explosive ways in which jealousy, guilt, fear, remorse, or anger can seize upon one are known to everybody. Hope, happiness, security, resolve–emotions characteristic of conversion, however, can be equally explosive. And emotions that come in this explosive way seldom leave things as they found them.”

      I am assuming those are the authors, Cooperrider and Godwin’s italics, not James’. They then go on to write that “Much needed, envisioned James, is more systematic attention to the kind of non-deficit positive change that happens when things are “hot and alive within us, and where everything has to re-crystallize about it.”

      Recrystallize and mental rearrangements are not what anyone in a free society should be planning to use K-12 to do. And if they can, it will soon be only a free society on paper.

      But this is what is being sought shortsightedly to try to get political, social, and economic change that would not be consented to in the sunlight or at the ballot box. Not yet anyway.

        • That is exactly what the bibliography shows Cathy. 1902. I was off reading. I had forgotten Abbie Hoffman was Maslow’s student.

          There is a mention in the paper that there is a worldwide IPOD initiative with a Bishop Swing, Rev. Gibbs, and the Dalai Lama “to create a United Religions–a global organization for creating peace among religions to create peace among nations.” I also noticed that our Change Agent District Super set up an Interfaith Council to meet with him and work with the schools almost as soon as he got established. Had the 2nd annual summit in January. He would not be doing that unless it was on someone else’s template of what transformative change in a school district is supposed to look like.

          • The Dalai Lama! Now there’s a dimension of worldwide politics and conflict as well.

            While being touted here as an exemplar of spirituality, in China the Dalai Lama is seen as one who wants to subvert the government. A government that, for all its flaws, has overwhelming popular support in China. In China, the Dalai Lama is a hated, suspicious man. An enemy on their west, not a man of peace.

            Are they teaching our children this, when they promote worldwide citizenship and awareness? Surely they don’t want our kids to make their political decisions without understanding their major angles, now would they …

  2. Robin, I’m curious of what you know of a previous history of Rogerian psychology, and it’s relationship to Catholic religious orders in the 1960’s. Rogers’ Education Innovation Project got entire religious orders into sensitivity training — and the communities imploded and huge numbers of nuns left.

    My husband remembers the nuns in his grammar school suddenly turning into psycho-nazis. His mom was the school librarian and saw it up close and got him and his sister out of the school. The next year one of his former classmates, now as an 8th grader, pulled a knife on a teacher. (15 years later this young man murdered his mother.) Two of the teachers had nervous breakdowns and were hospitalized.

    • cathy-I know a little because both Maslow and Rodgers I believe regretted their psychology experiments late in life. When I went back to add that James quote above I saw that Carl Jung was also being quoted admiringly. This Positive Psychology is clearly more than the pitch provided to go along with the World Happiness Report 2012 from the UN or the bullying push. I tracked the bullying push into private schools in Australia and this wellbeing psychology response was being pushed there too.

      I can also tell you that altering consciousness and reaching the subconscious and unconscious are absolutely among the goals of these naive, powerful people writing that “we live in worlds our inquiries create.” Those inquiries may very well actually create the kind of hellhole and deep scarring you are remembering.

      I think I know a source that may give you the answer you are seeking. Will go check.

      • Hi Robin,
        The mention of “altered consciousness” brings to mind the Peter Senge and Dan Goleman collaboration. Why are so many social scientists being given recognition in K-12 education? Even Waters Foundation uses Goleman’s Social and Emotional Learning in their lesson plans. I think you have mentioned this in previous posts. I don’t mean to get off topic from your post above. Keep up the fight.

        • Old School-that is what pedagogy is. It’s not how to teach knowledge or skills but how to change the child. And Dan Goleman was cited in the paper from today.

          Pedagogy is a blend of psychology, political theory, anthropology. One of the things I talk about in the book is when this happened and what was said, It was the mid-80s although the BSTEP program (easy to google) was definitely a good start.

          None of this is off topic to me. It’s just part of the story that was broken up and renamed to avoid detection. And that would sound paranoid if I did not have plenty of books and reports that essentially say just that. If what you want is not politically desirable by a majority, you lie.

      • Robin and Cathy,

        This is an interesting clip from an interview with disciple William Coulson:

        Rogers came to call it, “this damned thing.” I’m going to quote him in a
        tape that he and I made in ’76: “I left there feeling, Well, I started
        this damned thing, and look where it’s taking us; I don’t even know where
        it’s taking me. I don’t have any idea what’s going to happen next. And I
        woke up the next morning feeling so depressed, that I could hardly stand
        it. And then I realized what was wrong. Yes, I started this thing, and now
        look where it’s carrying us. Where is it going to carry us? And did I
        start something that is in some fundamental way mistaken, and will lead us
        off into paths that we will regret?”

        The interview is worth reading in its entirety:


        • Wow. Hard to believe that article on positive psychology and AI would be citing Maslow and Rogers so reverentially. And Carl Jun for that matter although I did not write about him. When Bev Eakman wrote Cloning of the American Mind: Educating Morality through Education she wrote a good bit about psychographics and I remembered she had written about Maslow and Rogers. It was published in 1998. It looks like Positive Psychology and AI are just a euphemism for psychological practices with a tragic history. Which is consistent with other things we have seen.

          Having read Csik’s Flow work and description of peak performances and antithesis to what he calls supernatural elements of religion, it is hard not to see AI and Positive Psychology as trying to restate Maslow,Rogers, William James and a touch of Skinner’s operant conditioning without mentioning their names. Which became infamous. But AI wants to explicitly keep mentioning them. At least in a Discuss Among Ourselves format.

          I have a recent book on Positive Psychology that mentions that it is seen as a back door means to get to a social justice mindset. And it was written by PP advocates. Published in 2011. Editor, Robert Biswas-Diener, was from Portland, Oregon but he is also a programme director for the Centre of Applied Psychology in the UK. That’s quite a commute. The back cover of the book Positive Psychology as Social Change says there was a major push coming out of the First World Congess of the International Positive Psychology Association to use PP as a social change mechanism.

          Do tell. And simply chalk it up to engaging instruction under the real Common Core implementation is what it looks like. Deep learning and relevant problem solving. Yikes!

  3. “Our new book describes a better “Fourth Way” that draws on our first-hand international research to get us beyond those limitations. This includes pursuing an inspiring and inclusive vision for US education rather than simply racing to the top, being committing to education as a common good where schools work together for the benefit of all children, and promoting the innovation and creativity that leads to modern economic success. To become more successful innovators, we need to establish platforms for teachers to initiate their own changes and make their own judgments on the frontline, to invest more in the change capacities of local districts and communities, and to pursue prudent rather than profligate approaches to testing. The Fourth Way is about reforming rather than destroying teacher associations, and it integrates technology with high quality teaching instead of replacing teachers with iPads and online learning at every opportunity.”

    This is the same lofty, nebulous psychobabble that can be found in virtually every position paper, monograph, or manifesto I’ve yet read that comes from within the modern educracy, the foundations, and from the colleges of education. What a Kabuki dance. To get to the real ideological core of what these people are trying to say (and do), you have to go deeper into the writings of the core theorists and ideologues themselves (and to the primary sources dealing with Agenda 21 etc. within the IOs and NGOs dealing with “change” and “transformation.”
    and pay attention to what these people are saying to each other in academic and think tank texts/speeches/symposiums etc. that they don’t think, or assume, will ever get that much exposure.

    And, well, they’re right. Will the MSM ever really tangle with this stuff in a substantive manner, or at all?

    • So now the debate about edu-policy will be framed as a choice between RTTT, that Fourth Way, or something in between?

      • The Fourth Way is what I described in post. As the book said “the Fourth Way of change leads to different end points of education.” Those end points would be that shared moral vision that supports Capitalism 3.0 or distributed capitalism or the Regenerative Society or the cooperative commonwealth. All of these that we have talked about come down to the same collective, enforced common good vision. The Fourth way just calls it the new form of capitalism but I had read the description numerous times.

        It’s not what we hoped for but it is what it is. I promise you there is an overwhelming amount of evidence that this is what is up. It takes me a long time of repeated declarations to go public with anything that sounds a bit goofy.

        I am adding a link to the post that created The Axemaker Mind metaphor because I can see that people are searching for that term. James Burke wrote The Axemakers Gift. His co-author, Ornstein, was also the co-author of Paul Ehrlich’s deeply troubling book New World New Mind: Moving Toward Conscious Evolution. The latter was published in 1989 and is the reason there is a tag for Ehrlich’s Newmindedness to get at that same repeatedly expressed desire to use education to take away abstract rational minds capable of creating transformative technology and tools. Few people have those kinds of minds but they are regarded as dangerous. Hence the disdain for tracking and gifted apart from the theory of distributed intelligence as belonging to the group in a sociocultural classroom.

    • No Loran because to get radical change you need to control communication. Media is one arm and education the other. We may never have thought of it that way but our planners have. That’s why I learned they saw the two as the two arms of a single purpose. And one is far more cooperative.

      • They assist one another for example, global warming. Now full tilt in all the textbooks, as if it is gospel, regardless of reality. Well it must be true cuz i saw it on tv. The indoctrination of repetative sloganeering. Works. Regardless of the truth. Like radon. Co2 is dangerous. Like christians and republicans. Now all being put in the textbooks. Pearson gates agenda 21.

        • With physical textbooks going away, students will get lots of opportunities to model false scenarios using computer software and virtual world gaming created to hype CAGW and even alter values as we saw in this story

          Plus we have this story on priming students to accept an authoritarian model of government as necessary to address catastrophic climate change’s potential.

          I find that the best way to clarify the link among Gates, Pearson, Common Core, and Agenda 21 is that ATC21S initiative offshored in Melbourne, Australia. The US is expressly a partner. MS, Intel, and Cisco fund. UNESCO, OECD, Pearson, and the World Bank are all partners. And it fits with all the verbiage we have located that the Common Core curriculum and assessments fit with P21, not content. If ATC21S located in Australia to avoid US detection with 21st century skills having gotten a bad rep in the US, that’s an oops.

          • Hi Robin, what do you mean by P21? I guess all these programs and projects and pedagogy are starting to run together in my mind …

          • is a short and sweet version. It was supposed to have shut down its Tucson operation and moved in with CCSSO in DC. It does not appear shut down. I also have a tag for ATC21S explaining that. Look at all the business sponsors of P21. So altruistic of them. The controversy involving P21 was always their insistence if you listened at their meetings that skills were in lieu of content knowledge. That could now be obtained via a search engine and need not be in head.

            David-if you analyze like I do by function you quickly discover same functions once reassembled over the decades and regardless of names. P21 in the 90s version was known as SCANS which still gets referred to as a current aim. Secretary’s Commission on Acquiring Necessary Skills. That would be the US Secretary of Labor which coincidentally enough is now involved in working with the states on what skills they will be looking for as a result of Career Pathways for all students. Once again merely coincidental.

            One more point, you know how I have written about Peter Senge and systems thinking and their Camp Snowball? The diorama from last summer’s Camp Snowball, also in Tucson, shows a mention of Ken Kay and P21 as if they are a vital component of the systems thinking vision.

          • Before they get to the point of the kids using their electronic text “books” to play at Sims-like games, they actually have to take some advantage of the medium. Right now the Texas rubrics require that a physics text on iPad have “lessons” that are no more than 2.5 minutes apiece. Yes, imagine learning physics in 90-150 second nibbles.

            In “social studies” maybe the end is remaking minds, but in the sciences I think it’s just simply a matter of filling up a high school student’s school day with crap that prevents them from learning any of the material.

          • cathy-there is a program called Accountable Talk that is part of the dialogic classroom that involves learning the desired buzz terms and the consensus meaning for them. Not the dictionary meaning. That would be my guess for that amount of time. I have heard both science and math presentations state that a big part of “knowing” the subject is vocabulary and I know that is how vocab comes in. It is NOT looking it up in the dictionary with its fixed meanings.

            I am going to write about how we come up with a conceptual understanding in this vision. Probably tomorrow but in the meantime remember all those references to practicing with “lenses” in the C3 Social Studies framework posts. I would argue the Accountable Talk vocab also is to act as a filtering lens. Always remember false beliefs still drive behavior and deliberate falsehoods can drive it in predictable ways.

          • Math is NOT a verbal skill. After someone has mastered it, if they want to become a teacher or otherwise deal with the public, they might need to learn how to verbalize what goes on. Or for writing technical reports. But mathematics is a language itself, and the primary skill is to learn that language.

            The skills of using mathematics to solve a problem are to (1) translate real-world problems into a mathematical abstraction (this is “setting up the problem” and is the part we cannot program computers to do — it’s hard work, the really creative part), (2) solving and understanding the mathematical abstraction (this is the mechanical skill we spend most time teaching in courses like algebra, it can become fairly automatic with practice, but also we have good computer programs for doing this or at least assisting), and (3) if necessary, translating back into common terms (quite easy).

            The curriculum seems to emphasize (3), by far the easiest of the steps. That’s where you take a math formula and talk about what it means. But it’s one that ALL STUDENTS can maybe learn to do, and then they can pretend they understand something. And if “making sense” involves the emotions, then it’s even worse.

            (But do those who aspire to run things seriously think a technical professional will be stupid enough to do the hard work of (1) and (2), then let them take over and do (3) and claim the credit? We’ve learned to manage managers and not cooperate with this sort of thing. 🙂

            Note that solving the problem occurs in step (2). You can’t generally skip this step or do it in English instead of mathematics, it’s the one that assures that your logic is consistent. Talking does not take its place, and one always ends up going in circles and making mistakes.

            So this curriculum trend will do nothing but produce an even higher percentage of more desperate, more demanding, emotionally involved meddlers declaring the meanings of things right and left and mobilizing for social change. Oh joy!

          • David-

            You know all the references to STEM you keep hearing? It’s not about these areas as individual academic subjects. is a presentation by the prof that coined the word STEM and why. Download it do not just read it. It will not stay up on that server after someone realizes I am linking to it if that server is being monitored for traffic.

            That doc will tell you all the false assumtions running all through this which all come back to abstract logical minds are hard for behavioral psych to influence and change. Plus they are the ones that can invent world altering technology or tools. Like the ax that turned nature into a tool. Not a peer. Yes you read that right.

          • On page 24 and 25 of the article you linked to it spoke of Transdisciplinary work where there is no “single arbiter of reality” and of the “results” being “carried forth as knowledge into a next set of projects and activities.” Quality assurance goes out the window and the “adaptive change” that we must make could quite possibly become adjusting to the proliferation of stupidity.

            That Transdisciplinary stuff strikes me as really spooky. My present conception of it is that it is a way of looking at research, learning, an knowledge through the New Age philosophical lens. This is a rather abstruse article that I came across a year ago that raises a lot of questions.


            The Charter of Transdisciplinarity (a perverse term) is interesting too.


          • Desuetude-I don’t normally talk about the New Age aspects because it is off-putting and not necessary to tell the story. But it does come up a great deal in the activities and visions of people I do write about. Beyond Alice Bailey, it is inherent in Riane Eisler’s work and Robert Kegan’s work with Ken Silber. Also Thomas Berry. The location of Taos is also associated with that.

            I will look at your link but this would be unsurprising to me at this point. It is jarring initially and then to regularly find it as an element. Once you grasp that altered consciousness is an explicit goal even if that is rarely stated in docs accessible to the public, it is less surprising. I am actually off at the moment reading through something I have encountered before, Gregory Bateson’s Learning III. It is clear to me that his double bind is being replicated in some of the CCSSI intended performance assessments.

            We really are playing with fire here at so many levels trying to force societal economic and political change. Without permission through noetic changes in individual students.

            When I finish plowing through what I am now reading I will look at that link and reply. Someone else may be able to respond as well in the meantime.

          • Deuetude-both of your links are consistent with the kind of visions of the 21st century I read regularly from a variety of angles and places in the world.

            In fact you will see they are consistent with what I am going to write next. But it may not be today. I just finished a 269 page book from 1987 that was reissued in 1999 after being translated into Japanese and German. It relates to both systems thinking and CHAT-cultural historical activity theory and really the Gordon Commission too. At the moment though my brain is too tired to tell the story with humor.

            For political theories that supposedly went into a coma in 1989 with official death in 1991, it sure does look like the corpse was not who and what we thought. Which would of course be quite consistent with fighting the Cold War invisibly and at taxpayer expense on a noetic basis through education. Which again would be consistent with Julian Huxley’s view of cultural evolution of the West that UNESCO was created to push.

            Would also explain why we just keep running into links to Moscow without looking for that. Also consistent with your link on transdisciplinarity when it urges injuecting Marxist thought to enrich all those listed disciplines. No need to use the M word either and have people on guard. You could just call it a sociological or cultural-historical perspective. Or holistic.

          • Thanks for your hard work and tips. I especially like how sensitive you are to avoiding using terms that, as you call it, are ‘off-putting.’ Hopefully that will catch on. A lot of opponents of CCSSI in the media come out guns blazing in an attempt to appeal to the public’s emotions rather than simply laying out the facts and appealing to their sense of reason. It can be a turn off, especially to someone who has no idea of what being discussed. They just pick up on the emotion.

          • I also reserve the right to appeal to the public’s sense of humor.

            The vast majority of current supporters would not be OK if they understood the actual implementation. My job is to tell them gradually in ways they can hear and accept.

            It’s nice to be appreciated. Someone asked me this weekend had anyone been able to dispute what I am saying. The answer is no because I am not writing it until I find the actual declarations of those involved.

            Those Exxon Mobil commercials during the Masters may be the first some people are hearing of CCSSI.

          • Definitely. You must not lose your sense of humor.

            I took a closer look at the IPOD article and was further horrified. There are some pretty nasty aspects to the ‘positive’ change articulated in that article. The thoughts of John Kotter were startling – he spoke of “manufacturing” dissatisfaction” and of “creative destruction.” It called to mind some of what I’ve seen on TV in the last couple of years.

            When discussing William James the author openly confessed: “He spoke, much like the modern day Kotter, about the critical role of emotions, especially the transformational power of negative emotions—how anger, fear of loss, even violence can set in motion, often quickly, the wheels of change.”

            These are some of the dirtiest tactics I’ve come across. And they were so openly discussed.

          • Yes at my layer in the onion everything is always so openly discussed. That’s why when people say “You cannot know this.” It’s like yes I can because sufficiently influential people are telling what they are doing and why.

            That’s why I use history so much and went back and started reading Hayek and Von Mises. Two years ago I knew there was an Austrian school of economics but not what made them special. They lived with all this in its earlier manifestations and were quite aware of what was being sought, why, and how. Much like Adam Smith’s insights from living with the rejection of Mercantilism in England and Scotland and how it was creating prosperity and inventions as compared to France. Hayek and Von Mises are writing from experience. Unlike a John Dewey who also wrote aspirationally. And naively to boot.

            I will tell you someone who I believe was thoroughly reading and adjusting for their insights. The behavioral scientists especially Ralph Tyler. I think you can track the work and see astute insight and then education theorists coming up with a means to use pedagogy to block. It’s fascinating and horrifying.

            Engestrom has at least twice been the keynote speaker at the International Conference of the Learning Sciences. Csik just keeps showing up all over the place. Even though he was head of the psych dept at Chicago he is now at the ed school at Harvard. The Learning Sciences really are a blend of the social sciences to spark a noetic, cultural revolution. And there really is a desire for the classroom to exist at the level of feelings and faith.

            The quotes of Gregory Bateson have him saying the kind of Inner Change being sought can trigger pathological responses. Does that deter? Why no because this is the chosen method to gain desired change.

            Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the IPOD. Now you know why I see CCSSI as merely an excuse. As does by the way the Asia Society in those reports yesterday’s post was taken from. In talking about what is being sought as 21st century learning to gain the envisioned changes globally, there is a chart that starts with Shanghai and Hong Kong in 200, then Japan, Seoul and Singapore. Then changing the essence of what it means to be a citizen in Finland and then culminating in CCSSI in the US as our comparable response to the 21st century skills push. The ISLS conference last year was in Sydney. Sponsored in part by our National Science Foundation. With the stars of NSF’s Cyberlearning push not just in attendance but speaking.

          • Oh so it is just Shanghai and Hong Kong, not every city in China?

            In that case, I am fairly sure the central government nominated those two cities as the most rebellious and capable of carrying off a rebellion. China needs them more than vice-versa. Especially Shanghai which largely considers itself superior to the rest of China. And many in Hong Kong still don’t want to be in China.

            This is pretty convincing to me. And the wind is taken out of major intellectual forces there, just as they were preparing to show the world their real upside. It is really sad.

          • Those are the two Chinese cities that are participating in the GCEN and they show up by name in charts. I had the same thought as you as those would be the most entrepreneurial, enterprising Chinese cities that were most influenced historically by contact with outsiders. I have contacted people I know who regularly travel to or do business with that part of the world to keep an eye out for signs of changes that would be consistent with what this appears to be. The consensus so far is that although the people adore the mindsets of the West, the leadership does not. Education as reshaping inclinations, values, and attitudes and limiting knowledge certainly has a history in that country in the 20th century. Reining in the troubling cultures there while exporting it to potential rivals would be precisely how most Sinophiles would anticipate the strategy.

            This really does put them in a position to dominate that region and although Australia was not mentioned, I know what is going on there dovetails with all this. have that research. I also had a search from Auckland, New Zealand this morning that fits with a recognition they are dealing with a Metropolitanism, ICLEI, and education assault all in a common plan. Which is still more piecemeal here although the pieces clearly fit.

            I am back looking at those reports again this morning. I had long noticed that Transformational Outcomes Based Education was pushed in the 90s everywhere the British culture had ever been influential. I think that particular strain of individualism and its presumption of an entitlement under common law to personal liberty and a zone of autonomy that even the king was not to breach without permission is what needs to be quashed if you are a Statist with dreams of a state-directed economy and society. And factually it is true you would need to quash just that. It is also true that that is clearly the aspiration coming out of the UN agencies, the OECD, and the EU in a most specific way. It is in report after report.

  4. “An individual mind can be quite intrepid which is truthfully the whole problem with the old transmission of knowledge curriculum. It’s the real reason it must be jettisoned in the 21st century. None of these people want herd-defying individuals figuring things out without authorization or creating world-altering technology breakthroughs without permission.”
    Robin, that’s amazing! Bravo! It reminds me of 2112, an album by the band Rush that came out in 1976. It looks like that’s where all of this is heading. I recently saw a great program on Netflix about the making of 2112 and was somewhat surprised to discover how much Ayn Rand influenced the lyricist.

    It looks as though we have a new clergy class emerging from these AI Summits and the like, they might as well be the “Priests of the Temples of Syrinx,”

    “Attention all planets of the solar confederation. We have assumed control.”

    • It is indeed depressing to think that people with education degrees will be allowed so much opportunity to steer the thinking of young students, overriding the judgments of the great thinkers of our culture and the student’s own thinking and inspiration.

      They are trying to kill our children’s souls. (Robin says it in terms of economics, but I think that’s just because she doesn’t want to be melodramatic.) That’s why there is no way to avoid fighting. It’s self preservation.

      I don’t think I could read the source documents Robin uses. I would get five pages into them, at best, and then sink into despondency for a while or get the urge to take the law into my own hands.

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