Progressive Polyphonic Federalism Invisibly Binds People and Places to the Just Society Vision

That’s quite a title, isn’t it, but both alliterative adjectives matter. If you like doublechecking me, try one or the other with ‘federalism’ in your search. I joined them together because they actually work together and I hate synonyms designed to throw us off the real story, its depth, or its trail over decades. This will also remind us why the “state-led” description of the Common Core, as in not a federal initiative, is a Red Herring literally designed to throw off the scent so we look in the wrong places. Both WIOA and the ESEA Rewrite are grounded in both kinds of federalism and its No Child Left Behind predecessor is cited as the ultimate example of polyphonic federalism in this paper “Toward a Theory of Interactive Federalism” http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=734644 by the now Dean of Emory Law School. Notice that the 2006 date is the year after the famous (infamous?) Yale conference put on by the American Constitution Society proposing a new Constitution by 2020 that was followed up with a book in 2009.

Another one of those things that has not been on our radars, but needs to be, because it describes what is actually happening to all of us. Let’s go back in time to the mid-80s when (as my book lays out) so much is already shifting towards intentional social transformation via education. Recognizing that the goals of the ESEA Rewrite could only be met via James Comer’s (also at Yale) views of a social interaction, psychological focus of student achievement, I discovered he had written the Foreword for a 1985 book Choosing Equality: The Case for Democratic Schooling that sought to “qualitatively change the environmental context–the school culture–that conditions the learning process.” That certainly explains why every federal regulatory power since President Obama took office has been directed to achieving a Positive School Climate with a variety of rationales.

The vision of democratic schooling, then and now in the Common Core implementation and the ESEA Rewrite language, insists that “If education were structured around the social needs of children, families, communities, and a democratic society [in the Marxian, John Dewey, participatory sense laid out in the book], the priority would be to endow all children with the basic and higher-order skills [Remember the tethering from the last post] needed to fulfill personal and citizenship roles. The mission of schools would be individual and social empowerment, which itself would promote more equitable chances of survival in the labor market.” Schools, in other words, will increase student achievement for all students by focusing now on enhancing “all children’s capacities to think critically and to acquire social knowledge.”

That was from the “Building a New Agenda” ending, but before that was the “Governance and Funding: Toward Progressive Federalism” chapter. If the basic and social ‘needs’ of all people are to be met, either in the US or anywhere in the world, “new structural mechanisms that allow popular control over resources and priorities” are needed. The book proposed the remedy as the “concept of progressive federalism, expanding the social and fiscal responsibilities of government at all levels–federal, state, and local–and defining the role of each more appropriately to its function.” We can be sure that the UN’s Global CIFAL Network I wrote about on January 6 was created from an awareness of progressive federalism. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/30/us/politics/30federal.html says that President Obama’s Open Data Initiative (see tag), which we know was such a priority that it was his first action on his first day in office, was actually grounded in progressive federalism.

Progressive federalism sees “government action as the central instrument for achieving egalitarian goals and more effective practice in public education.” The book, which described the practices and policies my book and this blog have tracked to what the actual planned implementation looks like everywhere, sought to “develop the role of local and state governance, as well, to promote more comprehensive responses to educational needs and to engage all levels of government in the struggle for progressive reform.” The book complained that progressives were not appreciating the powers over people and places held at the state and local levels. It reiterated that the “concept of progressive federalism includes the necessity of multiple levels of authority, particularly state and federal regulatory functions that safeguard standards and rights.”

Choosing Equality pointed out the reasons for what is now so clearly being foisted on us: “The federal government is the only feasible agency for the redistribution of wealth on a nationwide basis, both in its tax policies and in its priorities for public spending. The federal government is also the primary agent for promoting geographic as well as individual equity.” Equity as in whatever must be done to achieve equality of results for various previously disadvantaged groups. That’s still the impetus behind the global push surrounding Excellence and Equity for All as this recent paper shows.

http://www.yrdsb.edu.on.ca/pdfs/w/innovation/quest/journals/QuestJournal_BenLevin-AvisGlaze.pdf made it quite clear that the required Equity is obtained in the manner described in the 1985 book although its lead author Ben Levin has now become too notorious to call as a Congressional or legislative witness. The co-author, Avis Glaze, wrote yesterday in an EdWeek post entitled “Achieving Excellence with Equity: A Mandate for All Schools” timed around the second day of ESEA Rewrite hearings. Student Learning tied to the tethering view of experiential education from the last post as well as the Rewrite’s Equity focus is a crucial point so many educators are lying to the public about all over the world.

This is from a 2008 UNESCO paper called “Inclusive Education–the Way of the Future.” It laid out the shifts in what is to constitute ‘learning’ to allow the push of equality in outcomes and success for all. It’s also embodied in what is “high-quality education” and Equity and what it takes to be a “high-achieving country” on the PISA assessments created by the OECD.

“So long as learning is understood as the acquisition of bodies of knowledge presented by the teacher, schools are likely to be locked into rigidly-organized curricula and teaching practices. Commonly, therefore, inclusive curricula are based on a view of learning as something that takes place when learners are actively involved in making sense of their experience. [hence the tethering metaphor in the last post] Learners, in other words, cannot simply be told. Rather, they have to discover and understand things for themselves.”

In whatever ways suit political power as governments at all levels coordinate around forcing people and places to accept. or even not notice, the progressive visions of a just society being pursued. As the book Remaking America recently concluded:

“States have the power, and often the will, to meet the needs of citizens in progressive ways…Progressive federalism seeks to harness this potential state contribution to our national democracy without retreating from civil rights and a national affirmative state…to update and give content to the metaphor as ‘laboratories for democracy’.”

Are those kinds of efforts then really ‘state-led’  It helps if we look at why Dean Schapiro chose the “Polyphonic Alternative” to describe the new conception of federalism being constructed. Both Eric Holder, the US Attorney General, and Cass Sunstein, the President’s first-term “Regulatory Czar” are involved with the American Constitution Society’s push here as is Janet Reno, Clinton’s Attorney General. Well-connected to federal regulatory power would be an understatement of epic proportions apart from the Soros funding, polyphony has the element of coinciding authority, working in harmony, a “stew” instead of the “adjoining” layered authority symbolized by a “marble cake.” Federalism that “can combine into new melodies, without losing its individual character.”

States and localities in such a mellifluous stew of Statist coordination may still retain their ‘character’. Thus preventing easy recognition of the nature of this crucial shift. They are entirely losing their function though as a barrier to governmental power over the individual as laid out in the still existing US Constitution. The progressive label was at least a tip-off that a shift in the fundamental governing philosophy had occurred, apparently to avoid the cacophony of free enterprise and individual abilities and choices. Looking through that Interactive Federalism paper, I cannot find any protection from overbearing governments at all levels committed to trying to achieve Equality of Outcomes.

As the last several posts combined have pointed out, the “brain is a sculpture carved by experience” as the OECD Neuroscience research has pointed out, and governments at all levels are now committing to sculpting the human brains of students at a neurobiological level. They are pushing the practices and policies thought to advance a society and economy grounded literally in transferring “from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.” Neither the UN or the OECD hides anymore their pursuit of what Marx called his Human Development Model of society. Neither do progressives, where ever they are. Historically, there has been a barrier–the language of the US Constitution, but not under these legal theories or conceptions of federalism.

Education, especially K-12, is the global vehicle, because as the OECD recognized with this quote from Wu Ting-Fang: “Education is like a double-edged sword. It may be turned to dangerous uses if it is not properly handled.”

Just like the law and the supposed checks and balances of federalism.

 

55 thoughts on “Progressive Polyphonic Federalism Invisibly Binds People and Places to the Just Society Vision

  1. Well, Robin, I love it when you talk dirty! (Just kidding) This was a very clear and concise eposè of where we are and where we’re going in a hurry–complete with references to the approaching rewrite of our Constitution. The reauthorization of ESEA is critical to redirecting our whole social direction in this country. Words and their meanings are critically important to our understanding of what is being done to is and our progeny. We should probably start with why it is so important to change all references in the RESEA to “vocational” to “career.” Get out your Webster’s: they are two entirely different things, but “career” reflects the intent of all you have presented here.

    • http://keywiki.org/Constitution_2020 is actually different from the ConCon that state think tanks that like to assert how ‘conservative they are are also pushing. Between the two and what polyphonic federalism means it feels like everyone is lining up to be the right and left sides of a chute we are required to climb on to take us all to a designated place.

      I could not get into all I have on the OECD Neuro program but they cite a lot to the Mind Society and Education Program at Harvard that ESEA Rewrite witness Martin West’s co-authors are tied to.

      I have the Constitution 2020 book ordered and I also listened to a presentation by Dean Schapiro yesterday on the upcoming SCOTUS term. He is a good speaker and I like con law. He made a point that the US Govt wins 70% of the time now, but the US Chamber of Commerce wins 78%. I would argue that for many purposes as that Managing the Talent Pipeline report showed the Chamber is on the same side and deeply connected to this pf vision.

      This vision of the law also ties to Professor Nagan’s work and ValuesQuest from the January 11 post. This is both free-standing in its own right, but also building on everything I wrote this month.

      • That wiki shows Goodwin Liu’s involvement and his educational vision being the one for Con2020.

        http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/morphing-the-common-core-into-a-new-rewritten-us-constitution-by-mandating-false-beliefs/ is my reaction to already catching that. I did not know at the time how much further this went or about the concept of progressive federalism. Just that Liu recognized the need for national education standards to cause the necessary shifts in popular mindsets.

        • Do some digging into the constitution center or national constitution center in philadelphia. It is a private org with clinton support. Sidling up to the actual constitution and liberty bell. Making themselves look official authoritative and authentic clearly edging up to swallow actual historical reality and truth for the upcoming distortions and con con. The invasion of body snatchers routine .

  2. This post made me angry. Then quite sad. What a tragedy that so many have no idea what they stand to loose. The ‘new minds’ will not be able to rebuild a prosperous free thinking nation. How arrogant they are. We spend so much time worried about the face of terrorismn yet we overlook the dapper man in a suit with a vision to remake America.

    • We are dealing with total deferral to people who have lived their adult lives being promoted for this advocacy. At the expense of the people they claim to be championing and all at taxpayer expense. They have no idea what created the wealth that shows up in their paycheck or how much of the advocacy is built on already borrowed money.

      All I can do is track, verify, and tell this story. I am doing that, but we all have to come to grips soon with what is being sought, why, and the close to inevitable consequences without a broad awakening.

    • Makes you wonder. If “prosocial education develops the capacities and competencies of students, teachers, and school administrators that lead to a more autonomous, positive self-concept, greater sense of purpose, more socially responsible behaviors, and increased connections between families, schools, and communities. ” is true, how did the founding Fathers ever succeed?

      It also makes me wonder where, and under what conditions, this change in educational policy has been tried and what makes the authors believe that a general implementation will result in an outcome the population will concur is “successful”?

      It doesn’t, however, make me wonder to the tune of $96 for a used copy. You’d think if they were really interested in spreading the word and changing the world they could do it for free.

      • Exactly Mike. You would think that if the future of this was to be wildly successful that the price of the book would be more attainable for the average person. That makes me think that it is insider talk. I wondered if 21st century learning and skills are considered pro-social. I am sure Robin has been down this road before but Looks like I wasn’t to far off. http://21stcenturyskillsbook.com/resources/

        Read an article yesterday written by a teacher Describing her dislike for her ‘privileged’ students. How unfair it was to the less fortunate students, As if the affluent children were sucking up the last bit of intelligence left. Sure would hate to be in her classroom.

        • I downloaded the first chapter excerpt. Already the book has us causing climate change, overpopulation, melting icecaps, and other things.

          I take some exception to the concept that education is meant to “fulfill civic responsibilities” by having the children contribute time to local/global causes, although this is certainly popular in today’s schools.

          Interesting that Obama is the “world’s first internet president”. Not sure how that accolade was arrived at, but the concept of social change pops up again.

          I also wonder how the French and the older residents of Deerborn, Michigan, feel about cultural diversity.

          Well, the first section was long on talk and vision, without anything specific. Certainly fits in with what Robin’s been pointing out.

          • I looked thru the first download too. It says that now kids will have to “quickly learn the traditional knowledge in a content area …”

            We will only have geniuses in school now? Or they can all fake being geniuses by “thinking like an expert” without actually knowing anything.

            With the risk (some would consider it an advantage) that even the able ones won’t actually progress toward eventually mastering traditional knowledge in the content areas..

          • http://www.brookings.edu/research/papers/2015/01/29-tracking-common-core-loveless will be interesting to you. I would disagree with Loveless about the Common Core not being linked to detracking.

            It’s everywhere in the Equity requirements. What CC also proposes and it is what I have seen is putting the students taking the accelerated sequence are in the same math classes with those who are not. So you end up with the sharp 9th graders in math classes with the weaker 10th and far weaker 11th. Timing can vary but not the ‘content’. It ends up being group projects of interacting with the concepts.

        • This series of attacks on better performing students provides a convenient shelter for teachers who never were very good students themselves to visit their hatred on their academic betters who sit vulnerable before them in their classrooms, supported by administrators with education admin degrees.

          It’s happened to my kids.

          However these teachers are coming from such a strange ideological place, I doubt the education is all that great for the kids they purport to care more about, either.

          • I would change that wording slightly Mike. They have forced us away from ‘tests’ of objective knowledge to other forms of measuring changes in values, attitudes, beliefs, preferred strategies when there is no correct answer to a ‘wicked problem’, concepts likely to be chosen to interpret, and other information about a student’s noetic preferences when coping with open-ended information. To cover up the nature of this shift, these measurements get referred to professionally as assessments and casually as tests.

            https://edpolicy.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/publications/performance-assessments-how-state-policy-can-advance-assessments-21st-century-learning.pdf is a good example. It came out about 2 weeks ago with Linda Darling Hammond as the main author. Alliance For Excellent Education, which is also involved with Sector Strategies and the Linked Learning remake of traditional high school held a webinar to trumpet this paper.

            Because it fits well with the Competency focus that fits everything just as Chapter 4 of my book showed are consistently linked to Qualifications Frameworks and polytechism.

        • Do you have a link to that?
          Teacher blogs are fascinating to listen to them hating and loathing their students.
          Go to an ed conference and you will be dumbfiunded by tge hatred of children and parents.

    • No but I have a lot of both their works. This article is very troubling quoting Texas Governor Abbott http://www.statesman.com/news/news/state-regional-govt-politics/gov-abbott-decries-common-core-on-fox-debate-with-/nj2wC/

      Last two core pillars “And there’s a reason for it and that’s because Common Core violates the core principles and four core pillars of education, which is parental involvement, excellent teachers, student engagement and adaptability for the needs of each student.”

      Meeting each students ‘needs’ unless of course those needs involve creating or feeding the Axemaker Mind. Student engagement is all about interacting with the Right, experiential, non-intellectual hemisphere. Abbott may not realize that but he is spouting Ed Prof Lillian Katz’s work on engagement, which is very alarming.

      Those last two pillars also get met via what that book describes as Prosocial Education. Who are Abbott’s Ed Advisors? The Dana Institute?

        • Wow.

          Shocking? Remember in my book when I talked about the inadvertent change agent? Pushing what they are told but not knowing the real intent of the program or practices? I heard several key phrases repeated multiple times that I know do not mean what the audience likely thought. I do not think it’s an accident and I am rather mulling over nice earnest people being set up ultimately for a sucker punch.

          It’s too coherent with what the Left is saying to be an accident. There is clearly an intended synthesis. That does not mean anyone personally involved at the levels I would encounter knows that.

          I am kind of having a stressful day as I ponder. The cool thing is Daniel Hannan of the european Parliament who wrote Inventing Freedom sat down next to me. I gave him a note that whenever people ask about why the concept of the individual is under assault, I cite his book and the uniqueness of the the Anglosphere. He read it and absolutely beamed. There are still lots of us who know what matters.

          • Two things that go to the heart of what is actually going on remain off limits for discussion. The real School to Work juggernaut that proceeds apace as this link that came out today makes clear. http://www.clasp.org/resources-and-publications/publication-1/side-by-side-2.pdf

            The other is the real purpose of the curriculum everywhere now to change how the child perceives the world and what their beliefs and values are. There appears to be a determined effort to pretend that the dispute is over methods of teaching math or the presence or absence of evolution in content guidelines. I even asked Peter Woods why there had not been more focus on the real goals of AP Conceptual Frameworks and what ‘conceptual lenses’ and ‘disciplinary core ideas” are intended to do. He said he had wanted to get to that, but ran out of time. So that’s a private conversation in the corridor with me, the person least in need of that particular epiphany.

  3. If that were to be widely known many would demand action. I have been thinking that even those working to legislate some change know what is really going on and will admit that in conversations such as yours but publicly will evade.

    Still reading the pro-social handbook. Last night it said for learning to truly be transformational the technology ratio must be one to one.

    • Take a break a read this confession from Gordon Commission member and former Whole Language advocate James Paul Gee (tagged to right on blog) http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2014/07/games-can-advance-education-a-conversation-with-james-paul-gee/

      Someone I met sent it to me as “consistent with what I had been explaining”. Absolutely and quite graphic as always. Now humans are “plug and play devices”, which fits with the prof’s earlier expressed disdain for the “unitary Self.” http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/we-are-at-the-historical-stage-for-the-emergence-of-one-particular-new-kind-of-person/

      Gaming, Whole Language, formative assessments, social and emotional learning, Noddings’ Culture of Care as the focus of school and the themes covered in classrooms.

      Let’s also remember Noddings is tied to GERG and the Darwin Project like Riane Eisler, Mihaly Csiksentmihalyi (definition of Excellence), Bela Banathy, and Ervin Laszlo (Holos Consciousness and Club of Budapest). All these people have tags and they have all voluntarily declared a desire to use education to force societal evolution through cultural change achieved at the level of each student’s internal noetic system. It is both that simple and that horrifically intrusive.

      The links are no mystery though and the change is to be locked in at a neural, pschophysiological level. No wonder they need new forms of assessment that are nether fill in the blank or multiple choice.

      • There is so much in that article that is disturbing to say the least. I cannot fully grasp how they think that by subjecting our kids to virtual situations will give them experience on how the world works. Human beings with different values and thinking patterns will not always react as a virtual world will. We are headed for disaster. Not to mention that description of making word definitions based off of our experiences. So can we change the definition of the British “Sod Off” to mean Good Morning ? I realize it is more complicated than that but it just seems so far fetched. Let’s create this utopia because the world is not as fair as we would like it to be. Sigh….

  4. Re the inadvertent change agent and school to work being the real agenda behind everything but which no one can discuss:

    One of the candidates being considered for head of upper school at my kids school came to speak to parents last week. He is a seasoned public school educator. Charismatic, well spoken, charming, awarded. He is clearly a player in the system having spent 20 years of teaching in the public school arena.

    So why a private school now? He says he has no interest in becoming a superintendent but that having been a high school principal for 12 years is now ready for a change.

    He also mentioned that he considers Willard Daggett to be almost like a mentor. And he is embracing Pathways 360. So clearly the man is all about STW. Which is so not what my kids school is about. A million light years apart. And he is going to try to tell me “real world” experience in an internship in 11th and 12th grade is just what my kids need to be successful?

    Nope. I don’t think so. The trouble is while I don’t think so I cannot get another person to listen to me. They think they are immune in private school land and none of this can ever touch them.

    So. Is he a dupe? Or is he on a mission, encouraged to apply for this job so as to help usher in The Standards and STW and data collection in the likely event that the new ESEA passes and CHOICE lets anyone go to school anywhere and bring CCS and data tracking with them?

    • Don’t forget Mari he has likely taken is retirement and will live at taxpayer expense tied to his last few year’s salary and now wants a salary as well, basically doubling his income from what it was before his retirement.

      There was an interesting dichotomy at that conference between the clear desire to advocate for money following the child and the factual experience of many there that that will mean all schools are tainted with no real choice from this vision.

      I ended up making the point that this funding is a trigger that need not have been pulled yet to be aimed at destroying the independence of the schools. You cannot argue that because some private schools or colleges taking the voucher or other grant money are not yet losing control over curriculum that it will not happen once the money follows all children.

      As I have mentioned the Davos/ World Economic Forum report from 2014 done with the Un Director of its Post-2015 Plans states explicitly that vouchers are the means to guide education in all countries globally to the UN’s agenda. We really should take them at their word and appreciate what the Quality Assurance agenda with the accreditation agencies and UNESCO is about.

      The first session in a charter school conference last week the Georgia Governor’s wife was apparently tied to was on the Role of Accreditation in Charter Schools. I am looking at Nel Noddings work again today because it appears to me that the charters I have seen have language that locks in her vision for education and its role in changing the child. Quality assurance has much the same function once money following the child becomes the norm.

      One more point the expensive privates here in Atlanta are joining EdLeader 21 along with the wealthy suburban school districts. The STW focus is coming through their also hyping Career Pathways and the Maker Movement STEM activities a la High Tech High.

  5. Ok. Now I understand the pension. I was wondering aloud to my husband about that; whether or not this guy would be able to keep his pension or not. And of course his salary at a private school will be significantly less, like 40K less, than what he earns now as a principal.

    So right. He qualifies for full pension at this point in his career should he retire so that will augment any pay cut he accepts at a private. Dayum.

    And yes CHOICE is critical across the board for implementation of CCS or more accurately data collection, via tweaked and guided curriculum and assessments which is the real goal. Everyone needs to be captured for the data to be effective, controllable, predictable, measurable and applicable.

    Do you know I am so spooked that I just purchased several old but valuable for the history books on amazon by Samuel Blumenfeld as well as Fleish’s “Why Johnny can’t read” because I just know that one day soon I won’t be able to find those books anymore. And Someone has to have an illegal library to teach from. I refuse to let my future grandchildren become illiterate.

  6. Back to the ESEA rewrite. The online activity to push contacting Lamar Alexander to change the wording is constant. Am I correct in thinking that nothing will change? It seems the agenda is set.

    • The sector strategies documents and workshops surrounding the Pathways to Prosperity state that 3 pieces of legislation need to be shifted to get the full desired change in the goals, practices, and purposes of K-12 education. Rewriting the Perkins Act on CTE so it is integrated into academic coursework for all students just as I laid out as Beck’s polytech vision in the book (done as those August posts laid out). Revising WIA–the Workforce Innovation Act from 1998 that is what WIOA accomplished. Third is the ESEA Rewrite.

      They are all part of a common vision that is actually well explained in Chapter 4 of the book. As I explained to a former teacher from Michigan at the airport Saturday–“that which binds, is traceable.” Not wanting to leave anything in the implementation to chance and living in one of the cutting-edge workforce readiness and sector strategies states (even though I was missing that part earlier) required statutory shifts like all that I detailed from that HB 186 that no one in the legislature or the Chamber of Commerce wanted to talk about. Now I know why, but I was about to use that language as you know to see the desired paradigm.

      It’s also why the ESEA Rewrite contains language specifically about competency, performance assessments, and formative assessments as all being means to satisfy any measuring requirement of students. All are means for changing how the students see the world from the inside-out. Just like Gee or Jane McGonnigal’s views of what can be done with virtual reality to manipulate beliefs about how the world works in politically useful ways.

      Neither they or Nel Noddings or John Dewey for that matter hid the reasons for these changes. Good thing again the book laid those down in detail. None of this makes sense unless we backward map from these utopian social and economic visions that are inerringly collectivist in scope. McGonnigal’s boss Marina Gorbis especially as I described here. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/weak-humanscomputersexpert-modelling-of-captured-data-is-this-your-approved-vision-of-the-21st/

      I was horrified by that vision long before we knew about Recombinant Education 2.0, Workskills 2020, the rest of the Institute for the Future pushes, and their formal alliance with KnowledgeWorks and thus the New Tech Network. And Richard Riley with his ties to the Carnegie Corporation, which financed the 2011 Competency Education summit the federal DoED participated in and his policy arm’s Education Counsel’s hiring by the CCSSO to push their competency vision that overrides their Common Core Bait and Switch.

      You and I may not be engineered systems as these people wish, but this Ed Reform vision certainly is one. The pieces really do fit like a jigsaw puzzle and there are traceable connections among most of the principals involved.

  7. Blissfully Unaware Of The Tightening Noose

    It’s downright spooky how all this is all happening. How truly ignorant and gullible are the leaders of our sitting-duck schools.

    Last night I was briefing myself on the last great education transformation — from traditional to progressive — by reading the history of how the progressive movement was steered by university professors at Teachers College, Columbia. The book — The Transformation of the School, Lawrence Cremin, 1964 — was also using as backup philosophy the earlier pamphlet by George Counts — Dare the School Build a New Social Order?

    Well, it’s all being played out again.

    Again, the new transformation is taking a huge lead from professors associated with Teachers College. I am reading Linda Darling-Hammond on assessment and Emma Garcia on non-cognitive skills and am alarmed how confident and coercive is their language — how intimately familiar they are with cognitive “science”. We are being swayed by polished methods to force-feed another radical transformation !

    This is the essay I produced for a Canadian ed reform blog that had just linked a presentation on early brain functioning — Patricia Kuhl, The linguistic genius of babies.

    COGNITIVE BRAIN RESEARCH — FOR GOOD OR EVIL?

    “The law is that all things fuse that can fuse, and nothing separates except what must… The baby, assailed by eyes, ears, nose, skin, and entrails at once, feels it all as one great blooming, buzzing confusion… “ (The Principles of Psychology, William James, 1890, p. 462.)

    Since those early days in the 20th Century people have taken note how the baby transforms this “blooming, buzzing confusion” into making sense of the world. It’s only toward the emerging 21st Century that cognitive brain research, often with sensitive brain-mapping technology, proves that “critical periods” are of momentous importance.

    Biology, taking its natural course, and nurturing child raising and teaching, produces a human being more of less fit for a self-reliant future. That is also the natural course in the animal kingdom — prepare the young to live on their own and fulfill Nature’s imperative — reproduce it’s own kind.

    What is the wrench in this natural wheel of progress?

    A major shift came about when social engineering arose after the instructive experiments of Pavlov who showed that conditioning can alter natural instincts into conditioned reflexes: A dog would salivate for food on the ringing of a bell.

    Fast forward to today.

    #1 The Big Phonics Debate. The child’s natural tendency is to make sense of transferring sounds to written material and decoding written material to sounds. Decoding is a left brain activity. For some reason the education industry generally defies this critical period of left brain development by taking the easier path to whole-word right brain engagement. This is why home education is so successful. The parents — biologically engaged — start teaching reading in the natural phonetic manner, thereby providing a solid foundation for further learning. The market has ingeniously come in to play with Fridge Phonics as a boost to this natural process.

    #2 Propaganda And Indoctrination. The whole dumbing-down of school curriculum which is such a concern these days because of the rapid adoption of 21st Century Learning “transformations” fits into the conspiracy theory that the masses are being prepared for easier governance by some world government. Here brain studies and psychology confirm that a person at around the Grade 6 level is both a functioning citizen and one easily led into compliance with “democratic” governance. Is Grade 6 becoming a norm, especially with the forceful “equality” movement which doesn’t seem to raise up but instead dumbs down?

    #3 International 21st Century Learning Movement. Where this “movement” is being coordinated from or who is behind it is not yet clear. But, what is clear is that a brain shift is deliberately being led by governments who have fallen prey to a new narrative being peddled by “transformation change agents”. Just watch how the language is being used to shift education from gaining foundation skills as reading, writing and numeracy to “competencies” or “soft skills” or “deeper thinking” as the jargon goes. The 4 Cs are pushed — collaboration, creativity, communication, critical thinking — add “citizenship” which increasingly is telling students that they must change the world! Left-brain development is essential in the primary years and is a foundation for when later critical periods evolve.

    My three examples are meant to show that knowledge about brain function is not necessarily going to be used for good purposes. Especially in education — where there is a captive audience of young people and unaware parents, not informed and not giving “informed consent” to current education experiments — there is considerable room for harmful and societally detrimental results. We must beware.

    • You should be aware of this meeting in Toronto this week. http://brandondonnelly.com/post/109891596173/why-canada-needs-a-true-urban-agenda

      22 municipalities would be virtually every major population area, correct?

      What a great way to integrate economic development, workforce development, and education while they are at it. Just as we are seeing in US and globally. The local can regulate place and control the shaping of minds and then throw in a municipal broadband dictate. Voila!

      • Here’s a link to a webinar with Chris Gabreilie of Transforming Education. http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=sFF6wI7tlCo The speakers explain how the CORE districts out here in CA (home of Linda Darling Hammond) are working with Collaborative Impact–a division of AIR, who is creating SBAC & SAGE) to develop non-cognitive assessments. They admit this type of learning will make up 40% of the curriculum. Much of what’s discussed in the webinar comes straight from Fullan’s New Pedagogies for Deep Learning. Funny, Robin, because when you testified out here, Al Mijares and the other board members played dumb about the shift to SEL. Truth is this was already underway in Mijares’ own CORE district. Now featured on the OC Board of Ed website is a link to a report by Asia Society titled “Measuring 21st Century Competencies: Guidence for Educators.” It’s all out in the open and still when confronted with the shift to SEL, the superintendents and principals deny it.

        • You were there so you know just how much they minded that I had successfully joined together so much that was coming in under the obscuring banner of the Common Core.

          This paper fits with what I now know Grit, Tenacity, Perseverence, and Project Based Learning are all trying to create as well. http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED491522.pdf

          If you remember I cited to Elliott Eisner and his concept of Aesthetic education in the book. All of this is about making the Right Hemisphere, experiential the dominant driver in how the brain interprets what occurs around it.

          My new succinct definition of Competency, by the way, is prepared and trained to act on principles and ideas that a person has no intellectual understanding of. It’s like they are ready to respond when triggers are pulled, much like a marionette.

  8. That learning first twitter chat was interesting. Certainly reinforces the argument of school to work. Business sponsoring education to gain an employee. Business can devote less time to basic skills and more time to job specific needs. Who cares if they cannot read or multiply we just want them to work and not ask questions. So if graduates can gain a job right after high school that is closing the gap? Business has a place at the table when designing courses of study, really? Not the teachers? Good grief! Gag.

  9. A planned and controlled economy does not ‘educate’ for jobs that do not exist. The planners will tell you who you are, what your identity is really, relative to your surroundings though naturally. Human beings as plug and play Capital. No need to think. Just Perform. With Feeling though…. Everyone!!!, All Together Now! Chop Chop, Smiles Everyone!!! Grins for Gaia!!!

    Sorry. I keep seeing some twisted movie version of tv show Fantasy Island combined with the fiction of Lord Of The Flies playing across my minds eye.

  10. Last night I was reading a couple of things in Ch. 4 of your book and following up with some searches. This document fits with what you have in the book about competencies. It also fits with what you said about not measuring knowledge and the measuring of attitudes and values, or motives as they say here. We really are moving away from the transmission of knowledge. Comptencies and the equity agenda together to be ‘internationally competitive’ will not work. We are going nowhere fast. Add all of this to the new ESEA rewrite and we are in real trouble. It does feel if there is no way out. Have we officially achieved all the required items in place from the 90’s that were broken apart?

    http://www.academia.edu/706747/From_the_transmission_of_knowledge_to_a_competence-based_approach

    One more. The Asia society joined in.
    http://asiasociety.org/education/learning-world/so-long-knowledge-transmission

    • When the UK and other countries like Australia and South Africa develop these Qualifications Frameworks, they are trying to force employers not to question the credentials of prospective employees. The workforce should reflect then the diverse group of students now gaining those credentials.

      Not popular which increases the frenzy to get more credentials. I thought it was so telling that only the BBC and the British military and the civil sector would initially sign on. No one funding employment out of their non-government-funded revenue stream wanted to sign on.

      So of course as today’s post makes clear the private sector is being given every reason to see that its future business prospects depend on allying with the State, not satisfying customers.

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