Sometimes timing is everything. The last post was based on insights developed just days before I wrote it. Then I caught a plane to St Louis, Missouri to the Educational Policy Conference. Listening on Saturday morning I heard repeated references to phrases like “Power in the People,” ‘local control’ as the ubiquitous answer, and “community solutions to community problems.” I was in a position to recognize that these phrases played right into the themes I knew the Rockefeller Foundation also sees as a way to advance its views of the US Constitution via Metropolitanism, the National Center on Dialogue and Deliberation, and the work involving the Democracy Handbook we examined here. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/silently-and-seismically-shifting-sovereignty-away-from-the-individual/
I do not know if the overlap of memes between what is being pushed as progressive federalism, Rockefeller-funded Deliberative Democracy, and at the Heritage Foundation-sponsored EPC is deliberate or innocent although at some level I am darn sure I am NOT the only one aware there is an overlap. Not wanting good people hearing these themes and still feeling protected by the Constitution to be blind-sided and then sucker punched, I have taken a few days to mull over my concerns and do a bit more research. The post title should give the first clue on where I came out.
First, the book on the aims of progressive federalism The Constitution in 2020 arrived laying out a “framework for developing a political community committed to justice.” The UN and the Club of Rome are not the only institutions now formally advancing a vision for using ‘the rule of law’ as a means “to imagine our collective future.” Emphasis there on the collective. In fact, when I saw the reference to “our successes will come from new mobilizations that emphasize a new constitutional vision that better articulates enduring constitutional values,” the reimagining of K-12 education’s purposes, practices, and policies via the Common Core immediately came to mind.
Plus there are all the references we keep coming across for preparing all students for a reimagined view of Citizenship. Knowing how tied all the social and emotional learning and Positive School Climate mandates are to Nel Noddings work (see tags), I pulled her classic book The Challenge to Care in Schools: An Alternative Approach to Education and read that the subject content focus must go because:
“Neither prudential nor ethical arguments move most affluent citizens [to make the alleviation of poverty and economic justice the purpose of politics and social institutions like schools]. This state of affairs suggests strongly that there is something radically wrong with the education that produced these citizens. Both wealthy and poor experience a morally deficient schooling. Is there an alternative?”
Noddings’ curriculum themes to develop caring and pedagogy of the oppressed and of the oppressors bears a striking resemblance to what we are now seeing pushed in AP and IB English and history classes and throughout the disciplines down into elementary school. In fact, the very phrase of the “New 3 Rs” of Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships bowls down at its core to making sure students now perceive the world and its social problems in terms of responsibility to care and act and otherwise fulfill Noddings desire to make education “primarily concerned with what kind of relations we should establish.” That’s not making me feel better about what is intended by think tanks and scholars from what is commonly nicknamed, the Left and the Right, by 2020.
What about “redemptive constitutionalism”? Any hope there? http://moritzlaw.osu.edu/students/groups/oslj/files/2012/01/Schwartzberg.pdf alarmingly informs us that:
“Progressives and popular constitutionalists have two central commitments–one to political equality, one to forward-looking change…Progressives might focus on the achievement of political and social equality, popular constitutionalists on formal equality in political decision making. Both, however, are squarely focused away from the Framers’ intent, and towards the future, in their conceptions of constitutional interpretation. The progressive ambition is to interpret the Constitution in such a way that it helps us to ameliorate deprivation and suffering–i.e., to respond to the felt needs of our community today and in the future.”
Alarming overlap of themes between the Left and Right rhetoric about the Constitution and between K-12 education and the use of the law. Good things to be aware of though to avoid being sucker punched in the future. Especially as redemptive constitutionalism wants to take interpretive power away from the courts and give it to “the People” and ordinary citizens for majorities to decide. All the more reasons then to use education to change what is widely believed and valued. That law review paper called for its aims to be achieved in the future via a constitutional convention called by the states that “ought to focus on majoritarian, popular forms of amendment” which sounds remarkably like what many state ‘conservative’ think-tanks are asking for as the ConCon.
The article called for the adoption of the “progressives’ ambition as a durable alternative vision of constitutionalism, oriented at least in part towards special concern for the most vulnerable populations.” That hope is what was enacted by a bipartisan Congress in July 2014 as WIOA [see tag]. That’s precisely what the ESEA Rewrite hurdling at light speed through Congress plans to do. It’s also what the Sector Strategies, integration of CTE into academics for all students, and Career Pathways for all students that we covered here are explicitly designed to do. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/banishing-any-distinction-between-academic-technical-and-lifeemployability-skills-active-deceit-everywhere/
As this paper I pulled from Colorado makes clear https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/sites/default/files/PGL%2008-05-WIA%20Attach8%20PY08%20NGA.pdf what is being put in place in K-12 education now under the misleading banner of the Common Core and Equity is to “align its efforts in support of a workforce development system that is employer driven and locally led with those in economic development and education. This model requires the workforce development system to partner with industry to provide a trained workforce that possesses the desired skill sets business requires.”
Honestly, is there any confusion on why progressive federalism is hiding under a variety of labels but involves an alliance between Big Business, the Chambers of Commerce, and the admitted hard Left that wants economic justice as a Constitutional obligation? The third leg of the Sector Strategies/Career Pathways/Employer Partnership vision for the economy that is typically omitted until we start reading the powerpoints from their conferences is a “New Social Compact with Young People.” That’s why several of the witnesses from yesterday’s ESEA Rewrite came from federally-funded Promise Neighborhoods. That’s why this “Community-Based Learning through Community Partnerships” blueprint was recently released. http://www.communityschools.org/assets/1/AssetManager/MBLT%20Boston.pdf It’s why KnowledgeWorks Strive Together model of Cradle to Career is being cited as the exemplar of such a social compact with young people.
http://www.brookings.edu/research/reports2/2015/02/03-advanced-industries#/M10420 released yesterday is yet another example of this envisioned taxpayer-funded vision of an economy built around government direction, blurring of public and private, and providing ‘jobs’ for the least privileged members of American society. It does not appear to be sustainable at all to me once the taxpayer funded spigot runs dry. The difference though between just pointing out the connections among all these things and how they benefit the public sector at all levels, connected Big Business, and community organizers intent on managing the redistribution of existing wealth to their patrons (obvious and mostly invisible) is I have quite a library I use for appreciating the likely consequences of all these plans and mandates.
So I turned to a 1939 book written by a German, Gunter Reiman. Called The Vampire Economy: Doing Business Under Fascism it reminds us that:
“An Italian economist and editor who is familiar with present conditions in Italy was asked by the author: “What are the relations between businessmen and the State bureaucrats in Italy?’
‘I can answer in one word–corruption,’ he declared. ‘The businessmen in Italy has as much influence as he has money to bribe the bureaucrats. Without cash, you are a helpless subject of the State.’
The word ‘corruption’ is not to be taken in the sense in which we normally use it in democratic countries. Under fascism, it is not primarily the power of money that corrupts, but rather does corruption spring from the power of the State.”
From progressive federalism, Sector Strategies, seeing Equity as a Civil Right, the mind arson I have documented as planned for K-12 education, we are looking at a vision of an all-powerful State where the individual is to be nothing but a member of the collective, the subject under political power, and a workforce participant. All these plans for the US Constitution and changing the purpose of the “rule of law” are designed to ensure that this hoped for power “is not illegal but grows naturally out of the system and is organized and made legitimate by the State.” That’s what Reiman saw in Italy and Germany and wrote about without knowing the rest of the story.
We do now so there’s less ability to be blind-sided with a sucker punch than there was a week ago. Does anyone though wonder anymore why WIOA insisted that one of the required skills that all students must have to be “workforce ready” was “systems thinking”?
Just because a great deal of political and economic power is now focused on using the law and education to design and create such systems, starting at the level of the student’s mind and personality, doesn’t mean any of us are obligated to sit still and wait for that sucker punch.
Not Serfs Yet.