Rewiring Student’s Brains at a Neural Level to Constrain, Guide, and Motivate Desired Future Behaviors

Part of the reason for the time gap between the last post and this one is my youngest child has now officially graduated. Hallelujah! Knowing what is really going on in American and global education in the name of euphemisms like standards, competencies, Whole Child, Positive School Climate, and Higher Order Thinking Skills I am afraid I think of schools now as psychological Auschwitzes. That is not a phrase I use lightly, but unfortunately, there will be no respite from this deliberate neurological assault on minds and personalities until we parents and funding taxpayers recognize what is really targeted for change and why. Also we need to grasp just how experimental all these sought shifts actually are.

During the last two weeks documentable, official confessions of just how much our children’s very synapses and whether the regions used in thinking are rational or tied to emotions have come out on an almost daily basis. Originally I thought all the reports I have read and downloaded since May 1 were tied to desired teacher training over the summer for a rollout next fall. That was before I came across the Human Brain Project’s announcement that it had shifted to the active, operational stage in April 2016 after being in the planning stage since 2013. Then I discovered that USC, the employer of Professors Immordino-Yang and Damasio from the last post, was one of the US partners of HBP. So are the entire U-California university system, Yale, and the University of Tennessee as well.

The US BRAIN Initiative (which began in 2013 too) coordinates actively with HBP and goes to its programmes in Europe. Turns out part of that initiative included a Bioethics Commission where we can locate the BRAIN 2025: A Scientific Vision report as well as the two Gray Matters reports that leave our government’s desire to interfere with internalized mental processes for political purposes in no doubt. It is also chaired by Penn Pres Amy Gutmann who was probably chosen by President Obama precisely because her 1987 book Democratic Education called on schools to shift away from the ‘well-intentioned misperception’ that schools have an “obligation to impart information.” Instead, Gutmann wanted teachers to develop the moral character of students so that they “feel the force of right reason” to reshape society.

There’s that ‘feeling’ hype again. I know it is not coincidental because I have a few additional writings we can survey. I have Damasio’s 2010 book Self Comes to Mind: Constructing the Conscious Brain where he stated that “emotions are the dutiful executors and servants of the value principle.” A useful target for emphasis for planners hoping to alter the drivers of future behavior. Since Professor Damasio elsewhere mentioned “the need to manage the behaviors of humans,” forcing student thinking to be grounded in emotion would appear to be an excellent place to start. UNESCO agrees too since I located an August 2015 paper stating that the new purpose of ‘curriculum’ in the 21st century is to make sure there is no “contradiction or dissociation between the cognitive and the ethical dimension in learning.”

In order to advance the ‘concept of social justice’ and the new UN “guidelines on the meaning of education based on the ideal of building more just societies,” educational experiences must be created so that each student’s commitment to the ideals of social justice is not “an adherence that is purely rhetorical or cut off from how people actually behave.” Rounding out our support is this paper that I-Y coauthored which ended with a diagram that makes it clear it is Emotional Thought, and not High Reason/ Rational Thought, that 21st century education wants to cultivate. Why? Because of its useful role in desired ” moral decision-making.”

Now all these reports have a great deal of aspirational goals for a changed society pretending to be how the mind works or how education must now be changed. Educationists cite Damasio as “neuroscience research says…” Ed Week cites I-Y for how emotions must now guide educational practices and no one seems to bring up Professor Gutmann’s earlier book. The truth is though this is not how the brain or education must now work, but rather how it needs to be altered if people are to be changed at a neurological level. Guided and motivated then by new values and images of how the world might be. Now you may be saying rightfully that I am not a neuroscientist, although I have read a great deal of their writings, and one of them, Zenon W. Pylyshin, helpfully told us back in 1980 precisely why the rational/High Reason brain is so targeted now by K-12 education.

In a published paper “Computation and Cognition” created while he was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences, Pylyshin laid out precisely how the human mind was thought then to work with nary a mention of these now omnipresent emotions or feelings. Here is a quote from the end that tells me precisely what had to be suffocated for the social transformation use of the mind to prevail. The mentioned George Miller is another famous behavioral scientist.

“we ought to be far more impressed with the extreme flexibility that thought can exhibit. For example, we ought to take seriously the fact that there seems to be no specifiable limit to what the human mind can imagine or think. As George Miller recently remarked to me, the salient property of mental life is surely that we can will it to do practically anything we wish: given the appropriate goals and beliefs, we can alter our behavior and thoughts to a remarkable extent by a mere act of will.”

Feels a bit like eavesdropping from decades away, doesn’t it? We now know that picking our own goals, beliefs, and values is precisely what K-12 education intends to make sure no longer happens. In fact, now we can shift back to that BRAIN 2025 vision since it too envisioned mapping the brain because of its ‘special province’ as the “interior terrain of thinking, feeling, perceiving, learning, deciding, and acting to achieve our goals.” If anyone has any doubt that this initiative is about a transformative, social justice agenda this quote should obliterate all doubt: “our brains make us who we are, enabling us to perceive beauty, teach our children, remember loved ones, react against injustice, learn from history, and imagine a different future.”

Our Founding Fathers may have seen our beliefs as a form of property not to be subject to government interference but we get no such deference in the 21st century. To quote again  from an initiative we are now spending $500 Million per year to pursue: “In advanced organisms our concept of ‘behavior’ must be extended to include sophisticated internal cognitive processes in addition to externally observable actions.” The Bioethics Commission may hype neurological and psychiatric disorders so that the full extent of the neurological manipulation is obscured but BRAIN 2025 states explicitly that the “primary goal of the BRAIN Initiative is to understand healthy brain function.”

The purpose of the Bioethics Commission is not to examine if this emphasis and research is ethical, but to make sure everyone at all levels of education believes that such research is necessary and ethical. In fact, all we get is a question as to whether “inner desires, psychological states, or motivations…deserve more privacy protection than externally observable clues about the mind.” Consistent with my concern that all this agenda is about quietly forcing a shift to the Human Development Society Uncle Karl envisioned without saying that is the actual goal, we have the Gray Matters volume on the Integration of Neuroscience, Ethics, and Society insisting that “the potential of science to improve human welfare grounds a societal obligation to undertake and support” this type of research.

Leaving no doubt as to why we have to discuss these initiatives to grasp why I now call schools psychological Auschwitzes being used to force a transformational political agenda at a neural level, we have that same volume stating “one desirable goal for ethics education is ‘transformational learning,’ which goes beyond cultivating cognitive learning or critical thinking to inculcate ‘habits of mind, attitudes, and dispositions.'” That’s neural change and designed to motivate future behavior from a level unconscious to the neurologically reengineered student. It certainly explains the odd affect and unfocused eyes in this video of high school students hyping personalized learning. .

Volume 2 of Gray Matters opened with a tribute to a now deceased commission member who was described as a “seeker of justice for all.” That certainly fits with the actual intention of all this neuroscience research and the stress on emotions as an integral part. So does this quote that “ethics education has a better chance of informing action when it is continually reenforced and connected to practical experience.” Showing us once again how a certain vision for education going forward is key to this entire transformation of people and institutions, the Bioethics Commission lets us know that Equity is such a focus of this new vision. that “if safe and effective novel forms of cognitive enhancement become available, they will present an opportunity to insist on a distribution that is fair and just.”

Oh. Good. Grief. Once again Gray Matters made it clear that it is not just education being called on to reengineer society at the level of the biological neural mind. The rule of law gets redefined to be a social reengineering tool as well. As a lawyer and student of Anglo-American history and the function of the common law, it is hard to read a federally-financed call “ensuring the progress and responsible application to neuroscience to the legal system and policymaking.”

The report may insist that “today, and in the foreseeable future, neuroscience does not enable us to read minds. Technology remains extremely limited and cannot reveal the inner desires, psychological states, or motivations that are worthy of the term ‘mind-reading.'” The problem is that covering, Nothing to Worry About Here, statement is not true. Those things are precisely what adaptive learning digital virtual reality platforms, formative assessments, wicked, open-ended problem solving and other now required educational practices turn up. That is a big part of what all the data gathering is about. It’s also why the Personally Identifiable Information hype is such a Red Herring that obscures what is really at risk.

Watching the students on that video, do we really want Presidential Commission’s questioning “whether ‘inner mental or neural processes’ deserve more privacy protection than external or behavioral elements such as words and actions”?

What does ethics actually mean if all these neurological planned interferences can be pursued in the 21st century in the name of education?


44 thoughts on “Rewiring Student’s Brains at a Neural Level to Constrain, Guide, and Motivate Desired Future Behaviors

  1. Robin…to me this is the best article you have written bar none. It gets to the very heart of our fight to save our children and the sovereignty of our country. This information should be put into a presentation to wake up people all over the country. Although I believe this is so wide spread and deeply routed with a ton of money to be made I also believe the only solution at this point is to starve the beast. Get our children off the beast’s dinner table. But first parents must truly understand the agenda and Common Core is not the issue. As Saul Alinsky said ” the issue is never the issue.” For me the issue is saving as many children as I can. I no longer have interest in fighting a battle in the same way I have for the past 4 years because it is a battle we will never win. We are a bit too late to the dance. We need to stop feeding the beast what it needs to survive…our babies. Many will make the usual excuses as to why the canmot (won’t) home school but most of the reasons (not all) are just that, excuses. If you really want to do it you will, if not you will make excuses. I have helped many parents who never thought they could home school realize they can……but of course the first step is the “want.” I am now retired and will be home schooling my 2 great children. If every retiree would take on 1 child we could leave a real legacy.

    • I agree with you 100%. “Starve the beast and save the child” is my unofficial motto. At the several Defeat Common Core-type presentations I attended (including one where Robin spoke), I talked to many parents about homeschooling, and in turn, I got all the reasons why it would be impossible in their circumstance. Most people were willing to sign an “opt-out” (of the testing) form, but that was about it.

      I agree with you, too, that Common Core was never the real issue. School Choice is not a real alternative, either. Fortunately, I figured that out early and didn’t waste too much energy or time on either issue. Instead, that time and energy went into changing my own educational paradigm.

      Taking responsibility for our own children–including their education–is crucial. There is no “fixing” the school-beast. It was never even intended to benefit us. And homeschooling need not look anything like schooling-at-home; I’d argue that even CURRICULUM isn’t necessary. In any case, there’s as many ways to homeschool as there are families.

  2. Family Rights And Policies?

    Educational Neuroscience is still at a very immature, tentative, groping stage. Whether it even becomes a real, provable science is questionable at this time. See Wikipedia or other sites for the topic — neuromyths.

    Unfortunately, and maybe even criminally, young children in classrooms are the experimental subjects of massive experimentation and testing of pet cognitive and neurological theories.

    There are no protocols in place (anywhere that I can find) that govern these well-funded and philosophically questionable behaviors of the consultants and theoreticians in this field. Certainly, I’ve seen very little talk about ethics or morality of these behaviors of adults over children. BTW, parents are generally in the dark and have not given any consent to these invasions of privacy, which even intrude into the psyche.

    Time to review family rights and privacy policies.

    • I do not understand why you believe educational neuroscience is still groping and tentative. Looks like a full-on assault to me hiding under a variety of names. I have called attention to IMBES before and noted that I-Y edits its journal even though the articles in Ed Week ignore that pertinent fact. Using insights from neuroscience to improve education is quite the telling slogan. Now it turns out that at the 2016 conference Karen Cator who heads up the Congressionally-sanctioned Digital promise is a listed speaker at the preconference meeting.

      That implicates ALL the League of Innovative Schools districts in this Educational Neoroscience research. That is on top of the recent GSV-San Diego summit where all LIS districts were provided a stipend to attend. remember that the white paper produced is the one that concluded with noting that the BRAIN Initiative had upped its funding from $100 million per year to $500 million and also called for education to merge Mind. Body. and Soul.

      The assault is not tentative at all. It’s the actual consequences on students and our society that is the issue, not to mention that history shows there WILL be an increase in school shootings as bright minds begin to grasp that school has actually become a psychological torture chamber they are simply supposed to submit to.

  3. Robin,

    JoNova has a climate post that touches on these ideas:

    “climate communication needs to engage people at a philosophical, sensory and feeling level. People need to be able to feel and touch the new climate reality; to explore unfamiliar emotional terrain and be helped to conceive their existence differently.”

    Not sure what’s unfamiliar about the climate today, but my lawn’s terrain was intact when I was mowing yesterday.

    • Hi Mike. Here’s a fact sheet with all sorts of specific info on the BRAIN Initiative

      Pediatric Brain Mapping? I literally read every page of those Gray Matters volumes and that BRAIN 2025 report and I challenge anyone to make this innocuous. All this universities too are pursuing grants and fittng right in to the Turchenko model I described in my book. It also fits with what is going on in Australia. We also know that Australia is where the 21st Century Weiner conference is being held this summer. I did get an invite to that, but alas, no stipend for expenses.

    • Excellent and easily understood analogy. Thank you.

      I vote with Robin – it IS happening to our children at this very moment. Teachers in NC are required to rate children on seven or eight different aspects of their “learning style” and emotional as well as physical behaviors.Notice here who and what is being assessed:

      “Comprehensive Assessment System means a coordinated and comprehensive system of multiple assessments – each of which is valid and reliable for its specified purpose and for the population with which it will be used – that organizes information about the process and context of young children’s learning and development in order to help Early Childhood Educators make informed instructional and programmatic decisions. A Comprehensive Assessment System includes, at a minimum–

      Screening Measures;
      Formative Assessments;
      Measures of Environmental Quality; and
      Measures of the Quality of Adult-Child Interactions.”

      They are allowed to video tape the children for records extending to age 26.

      The parents can opt out of the video taping aspect only…if any form goes home that is. Here’s a good overview by the John Locke Foundation:

      • LN-recognizing that Damasio was channelling Bandura caused me to do a search that has turned up connections all over the world that have to be translated as well as the nonconscious work of john bargh. Following up on that and his shift now to yale, a partner in HBP, led me to this.

        Notice that we once again have a shout-out to being a fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences.

        I happen to know that the language in ESSA as well as the World Bank (a partner in both the Center for Curriculum Redesign as well as ATC21S)’s model of Development targeting the Mind and embracing the IMBES model are targeting shifting as much as possible to the nonconscious. The psychologists are even asking among themselves ‘whosemind?’ even though we parents and taxpayers are not even being told there is a debate.

        Notice no one is disputing me on this as the conclusive proof does exist and it is now clear I am tracking it in real time. Someone yesterday did do a search by my name followed by ‘agenda’ as if I would have no reason to care about this once all my kids have moved on.

  4. Robin, so glad you’re back in harness. And congratulations on getting your last child through the maze!

    This subject is the look into the eye of the critical mass that can obliterate our society. When I think about all the implications of what has been proposed and perpetrated, I look at the groundswell in the political arena among those who have already been exposed to what has been experimented with so far and it causes me to want to shut my eyes and go into a deep sleep until this phase of our civilization has run its course. Wake me when it’s over!

    • This is truly just cranking up and is most acute for students who encounter this ‘research’ from preschool on. I think that is what is so telling about the 2025 date.

      There is a comment from Amy Gutmann in the 2nd volume of Gray Matters that suggests the Commission commenced in 2010, even though the formal BRAIN Initiative launched in 2013.

      There is also a reference to a Knewton-sponsored report with OECD and UNESCO participation from 2014 that makes it clear that the data from different students being asked to do the same thing is what adaptive learning has always needed.

      Yesterday I put up links to what Fulton presented at the San Francisco Personalized Learning summit in May. If the Athens super had not been fully on board with this neurological agenda he never would have been offered the Fulton job. When he lost it because of shenanigans at the athens high school surfacing, Fulton reached out to the state of oregon for a super for good reason. It was the only state to go to Tranzi OBE back in the 90s and any district there is far along the use content to change the child template.

      As you might have guessed this post will be followed up with one proudly embracing this means of biosocial revolution at a neurological level. That psychologist’s work was quietly incorporated by reference into Fulton’s charter. That is one way to use the law AND education for policymaking.

      I think if I had encountered what Fulton turns out to be proudly touting while my youngest was still a student it truly would have made me want to wring an administrators’ neck. As it is I have cussed a lot in recent weeks as this keeps coming up. The cat that thinks I am her mom and she is really my youngest child probably thinks I need to have my mouth washed out with the proverbial bar of soap. The sad thing is I am never looking for Fulton. By the way Gutmann’s co-chair on the Bioethics Commission is Wagner, the Pres of Emory. And the iNACOL paper includes Myk Garn of the Board of Regents of USG being on the Review Board so we here in Georgia are Guinea Pig central. He is also shown as Assistant Vice Chancellor for New Learning Models and a Board Member of the Competency-Based Education Network.

    • CP-take a look at this article on developing the student’s personality using problem situations.

      Notice the reference too to fulfilling Maslow and Carl Rogers’ humanistic psychology work as this takes us back to what the NEA sponsored in 1962 that I have written about. This also fits with what another Fulton administrator, Patrick Burke, said would be the new emphasis of a different high schools’ transformation to ‘problem-based learning’.

      Sounds like the Becoming agenda again but via euphemisms as always to obscure the neural experimentation. That article too was from the May 1 newsletter with Tsyrlina-Spady still the editor and still tied to Seattle-Pacific U. Oh, I just remembered that the Pacific Northwest Neuroscience Neighborhood is one of the listed partners of the BRAIN Initiative. We had an offline conversation after discovering it extended into Oregon. Now I wonder if the school district Fulton’s new super as of June 1, Jeff Rose, came from in involved with that Neuroscience Neighborhood of research. U of Pittsburgh is so we have Lauren Resnick of the New Standards Project and the creator of the 1987 HOTS report pulled in. The U of Texas and Utah systems are also listed.

        • This is a better explanation of what I worried about as I read both Gray Matters volumes and understood the intention to get students comfortable with education being about manipulating neural processes. Nothing personal to Dr Damasio but I can read his book and recognize Kenneth Boulding’s systems thinking vision and his book called The Image or what Ervin Laszlo said was the necessary subjective mode of comprehension needed for his Essential Society vision. Damasio doesn’t cite them but I have read them and get that in the name of neuroscience he is decreeing practices to get the kind of mind that would be controversial if it was being accurately framed.

          That’s the reason I developed the psychological Auschwitz metaphor. KnowledgeWorks is pitching this vision today from Austin, Texas. I read it as I was taking a break between chapters as I finished the Damasio book. I had just written in the margin though that the criteria of ‘relevance’ or letting students follow their passions in choosing what to work on to show they can ‘meet the standard’ would have the effect of forcing the activity into the emotional thought, Arational mode. That article given what it touts as promising practices to be emulated confirms that without meaning to. It simply wants the practices to be adopted in other schools because of the ultimate neural effects on children.

          Again reading Damasio I was reminded that what he was describing as supposedly needed for consciousness to arise was precisely what Rose had written was necessary to create a Science of the Individual. The person has to be aware of the situation and context and see themselves as embedded in it. Damasio has it as a person coming to see themselves as the protaganist in a collection of experiences and he calls it the autobiographical self. At its core though all these profs across the decades are trying to create a personality, grounded in those neural synapses who fits with the government-led planned society they fully intend to force on us. We shouldn’t be shocked or view HBP and BRAIN Initiative as unrelated to what the UN says it is pursuing in the name of the SDGs and the supposed Dignity for All by 2030.

          It’s all related. We are simply not supposed to grasp that fact. It’s why simply homeschooling cannot be the answer. What good is simply retreating to the confines of the home while the broader society and its institutions are in wholesale transformation. That’s precisely what the elites and Uniparties want. It’s another way to acquiesce instead of Hell, No. Did you notice in the UNESCO curriculum paper that I mentioned here and linked to in the previous post’s comments that it talks about how the ruling elites are to be educated and the focus on certain values?

          Remember the Ivies Inaugurating Making Caring Common in January 2016 to pursue a new approach to admissions? Anyone believe this is not all related and a common vision?

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  6. Good grief! I feel like I did fall asleep and woke up in the late 80s and early 90s! Just an example of the premise that says these efforts don’t go away, they just keep coming back until they finally get accepted into the education lexicon. Unfortunately, Oregon has been a breeding ground for these programs, beginning with the original Goals out of the Northwest Regional Lab–birthplace of Competency-Based and Outcome-Based Education.

    Oregon is such a beautiful, diverse state physically speaking. It’s a shame it’s so liberal, generally, in its approach to education and politics.

  7. You have covered our current education climate accurately. The fight in twenty five state legislatures against Common Core’s English and Math is just the beginning of this fight to save our country. Thanks for your expertise. Your information was validated by the University of Georgia’s Education department when I went there in 2012 to revalidate an expired teachers certificate. I have been in the University system for the past four years.

  8. Poking around Brookings today brought up a related event.

    “To operationalize inclusive growth in cities worldwide, the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), in partnership with the Ford Foundation, has launched an Inclusive Growth in Cities Campaign to increase awareness of rising inequality, refocus the debate on concrete solutions, and empower local governments as leaders in the transition towards more inclusive growth. ”

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  10. Robin, good article. I find myself talking reality to my 11 year old , which includes constantly trashing Klimat Chang ( spelling intentional ) by using solid science. One mechanism I use is constantly challenging her with logical debate and coaching such a process so it becomes natural.

    I can see the Klimat Chang being used as you describe to make children into emotive drones who resist challenging their inculcated-by-the-powers-that-be-via-curriculum beliefs. You also see similar programming used by dodgy groups, such that when the core belief of the group is challenged by logical rational argument, the adherent reacts in their programmed ( and usually agressive ) emotive response.
    An emotive repsonse is the most resistent to debate as the mind has been trained to react emotively and closes over, which is what you talk about.

    No wonder people are buying guns in the US, as they can subconciously sense trouble. I see the spate of zombie movies as a form of “crowing” by the Elite, to rub in our faces how they really think we behave as we have been now programmed to.

    Logic defeats BS, if challenged frequently enough.

    What has happened is that the govt creates a Klimat Chang syllabus and the teachers , who kids usually respect, now have to decide if mum & dad are right or the Marxist-pedalling teachers.

    Heres the guts of it all – do we want them to steal our kids through indoctrination, or are a few brow-beaten teachers a small price to pay?

    Food for thought.

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