Seduction rather than Overt Compulsion: Hubs, Spokes, DeVos Dictates, and Polycentricity

Anyone hoping for at least a PG-13 post with that title will be disappointed I don’t mean the sexual definition of seduction. Instead, this type of seduction is when someone changes what they support or advocate for because they have a carefully arranged misunderstanding of the issues and what is actually in play. That applies perfectly to competency-based education (CBE) with its neural emphasis that lies behind most of the K-12 reforms and, increasingly, also higher ed. In case someone thinks I cannot tie the desired  bullseye to the constant drumbeat of False Narratives around the Common Core, CBE, or its essential component of social and emotional learning (SEL), the acknowledgments page of the book I am about to quote from thanks the influential Bradley Foundation for its financial support.

That book Our Posthuman Future by Francis Fukuyama is the source of the first part of the title. In discussing the famous book Brave New World, Fukuyama quoted the character who said “The Controllers realized that force was no good” and then went on to state that “people would have to be seduced rather than compelled to live in an orderly society.” That’s a great metaphor for how ‘student-centered learning’ or ‘personalized learning’ really work so lets borrow the metaphor. Later Fukuyama talked of “those who believe in the social construction of human behavior” and then listed first the French Revolution and then the 20th century attempts for “radically rearranging the most basic institutions of society…with the socialist revolutions that took place in Russia, China, Cuba, Cambodia, and elsewhere.”

Before anyone exhales with a sigh of relief that those efforts are thankfully behind us, Fukuyama then complained that “the tools of the past century’s social engineers and utopian planners, they seem unbelievably crude and unscientific. Agitprop, labor camps, reeducation, Freudianism, early childhood conditioning, behavioralism–all of these were techniques for pounding the square peg of human nature into the round hole of social planning. None of them were based on knowledge of the neurological structure or biochemical basis of the brain.”

Think of CBE, learning standards like the Common Core, or SEL mandates as a means to use prescribed experiences and other curriculum activities to biologically alter the brain so that suddenly that square peg of human nature is now a round peg. Then it can fit easily into the round hole of social planning. Think of all the data being gathered, that has no need to be personally identifiable to work for purposes of neural change, as a means to “enhance our knowledge of, and hence our ability to manipulate, the source of all human behavior, the brain.” In we found the behavioral scientists creating the curriculum and dialogues admitting their purpose was a Battle for Human Nature.

Now, between that last quote and this one “we may be about to enter a posthuman future, in which technology will give us the capacity gradually to alter that [human] essence over time,” we had Fukuyama admitting the known aims. Somehow too many of us get seduced by terms like Growth, Success, or Continuous Improvement into not recognizing what it is that ‘learning’ is changing. This past week iNACOL released “Quality and Equity by Design” to chart the Course of the Next Phase of CBE. The reenvisioning of education it laid out is premised on the “steady march towards equality and justice within our country” that regards the neural level as the ultimate in evidence-based policymaking.

After all, CBE needs to “overcome the history of bias, bigotry, discrimination and oppression that has shaped many students, communities and institutions, including our K-12 education system, and realize educational equity?” How? Why, through ‘brain-based learning’ of course where “QUALITY refers to efficacy–the capacity to produce the desired result or effect…to support academic and lifelong learning outcomes for students.” Lifelong learning is another seductive term that actually has to do with what is hardwired into the brain as well. The next paragraph explained how educators use their “understanding of their students as individuals, adapting as needed to personalize the learning pathway towards common high expectations.” The learning goals do not vary. Only the means of proving the desired neural installation varies and what it took to create the change. Educators look to “academic skills, social-emotional-learning, habits of success and the strength of students’ growth mindset are all taken into consideration” in determining what needs to be changed at a neural level and how to go about it.

Since physical activity, especially when tied to an idea, certain goals or Purposeful activity, is known to have a physiological effect on certain regions of the brain, we get the CBE mandate put into state or federal laws or regulations quietly issued by a federal Ed secretary where “Students in turn are active co-constructors of knowledge, rather than passive consumers of content.” To make sure future behavior in the real world is predictable, we get a CBE mandate that “Learning is visibly and authentically connected to meaningful and important outcomes.”

On October 12, 2017 Betsy DeVos released proposed regulations for review that enact many of the controversial reforms decried as Positive School Climate, an SEL focus, Fostering Communities of Learners, a communitarian focus, constructivist math and science to be taught in a hands-on inquiry environment, and many other programs that were unquestionably developed in the USSR during the Cold War as this blog or my book Credentialed to Destroy documented. DeVos may not understand that and could be relying on perfidious employees or her time on various think-tank boards. These proposed regulations (that no one can comment against if they remain unaware they have been issued) also fit with that iNACOL paper and its desire to enact a vision of education that supposedly fits “the moral imperative of supporting and empowering the next generation of adults” through CBE and its effects on the students’ brains.

Permanent neural rudders are such a better way to steer people if anyone is concerned about a willingness to accede to these visions of earthly transformation. Instead of top-down visible commands, use the decentralized theory of polycentricity. Then the seduction can be pitched using alluring euphemisms like federalism, standards, states as ‘laboratories of democracy’, and local control. was released back in September and is tied to that same alarming Earth System Partnership/Belmont Challenge the UN is quietly pushing that caused me to start this blog originally. If I had a tricorn cap, I could go by Robin Revere. The first paper in the Bibliography led me to Polycentricity and its ties as a political theory that could introduce social justice into public policy decision-making frameworks. These could then be pushed by think tanks and politicians pretending they are ‘market-based reforms’ instead of overt social planning.

Sound familiar? Decentralized decisionmaking that “depend on the values and culture of the individuals creating them.” Gee, if we could only make values and culture the focus of education just like those DeVos regulations, CBE, the Science of Virtues, and the Jubilee Centre Moral Framework all do. If a political theory of social planning like polycentricity being cited in current policy briefs relies on “whether or not a significant number of individuals share or aspire to those values is critical to the operation of the system,” then that theory needs learning standards and CBE to work. It also needs for no one to appreciate precisely how these reforms really work or what they really aim to do. Hence, so many of the False Narratives oblivious to the facts and seeking both public funding and implementation as a matter of law.

The NSF is currently using taxpayer money to set up a Big Data Innovation Ecosystem in the US that certainly sounds polycentric. It has 4 Big Data Innovation Hubs to play the convening and coordinating role with area academia, industry, governments, and nonprofits. Anyone who has read my book, think Turchenko with new tools of social planning. The Hubs are now creating a Spokes system extending into all 50 states that is explicitly looking to partner with State Boards of Education and local school districts. This Hub-Spoke System is expressly tied to the NSF-funded BRAIN Initiative we have covered to map the brain and its areas of function. All these plans for us and our children were supposed to be invisible. My blood pressure would probably be lower if somehow I had not been given a means to discern what is being attempted and why, but here we are.

These are authoritarian plans for thought control tied into the brain’s structure. To recognize what is going on is to feel compelled to share this agonizing story. In order for these pernicious plans to work though, they need to remain undetected or misunderstood. The plans need to change the nature of education without the true nature of the change being grasped. Most of all, these plans need the tool of the law and its ability to compel even when the effects of such compulsion are neither felt or really understood. To work, all polycentric visions require “an encompassing system of rules” brought in by accreditors, the terms of promotions for principals, learning standards, or the terms for receiving grant funding to give just a few decentralized, but binding, illustrations.

It turns out that bottom-up social planning to achieve transformations needs two things: the human brain, malleable and adaptable to experience, as well as “the rule of law.” Those are the two essential factors that supposedly can, over time, alter human nature from a square peg to a round nail that fits the desired Blueprint.

Luckily for us, I keep finding those Blueprints and interpreting them accurately using my non-21st century store of factual knowledge.


33 thoughts on “Seduction rather than Overt Compulsion: Hubs, Spokes, DeVos Dictates, and Polycentricity

  1. Seven years ago JaKell Sullivan and I investigated Chata Fattah founder of the BRAIN
    initiative and funder of Common Core. He was the leader of the “Civil Rights Commission”, and was Obama’s cohort and right hand man. His wheeling and dealing finally caught up with him and the last I heard of him, he was in prison.

    • No ‘engagement’, no carving of the desired noetic neural pathways. Then no steerable rudder. This is from a March 2017 newsletter on Protecting the Health and Wellbeing of Communities and fits with polycentricity and how it can be designed to create social justice. The hub and spoke data system is the perfect tool for the theory of action. “vision is of a strong, healthful, and productive society that cultivates human capital [by tracking brainwaves?] and equal opportunity. This vision rests on the recognition that outcomes such as improved life expectancy, quality of life, and health for all are shaped by interdependent social, economic, environmental, genetic, behavioral, and health care factors and will require robust national and community-based policies and dependable resources.”

      See why there is so much hype on locally-based while ignoring the broader template and where it originates and why? The student’s brain is merely the micro-level of all this designing and planning and the surplus to be spent seeking Heaven on Earth is actually gone.

      I am adding this from New Zealand as it has visuals and details that thoughts and feelings now count as the desired Action. Also think of the long-term effect of using the ‘lens of social justice’ starting with 5 year olds.

    • So the Aspen Institute has not just created that NCSEAD and its Council of Distinguished ‘Scientists’ or its RETOC-Racial Equity Theory of Change template, it was also the co-sponsor of this weeks CityLab summit tied to that ed program I already linked to.

      Gets at the meso-levels of Bronfenbrenner’s theory of how to socially engineer while NCSEAD gets at microlevel. That link came from Results 4 America that is tied to Pay for Success and Evidence-Based Policymaking. Neural changes are the evidence of desired learning. Yesterday when I was pulling those National Brain Observatory links, Rockefeller University kept popping up. Apparently they were co-sponsors of the 2016 Global Brain Workshop.

      • I know this is a little long-winded, but bear with me.

        Have you noticed how the insiders come out when there is a growing realization by the public that something is happening that is not in their interests and the discussion spreads uncontrollably. One example is of an Australian woman in Australia who worked for 30 years in silicon valley helping firms make their technology ‘fit’ to humans. She now comes out and controls the growing public discussion of the dangers of this growth. I looked into her background and see that she also is for ‘social justice’ (surprise, surprise). I’m sure she is the ‘controlled’ opposition or the ‘fake’ champion of our cause.

        Despite this fact, though, the truth of their claims is not invalidated. What I wish to say is that in some circles, groups and I guess for megalomaniacs in general, they tell you what they are doing in a direct or obscure way, depending on their bravado, as a way of rubbing your nose in it or as a way of saying, ‘I told you so’ and you willingly went along with it and so acquiesced to all that is happening to you.

        Whether they know it or not, they have revealed something deep in human beings that we better note down and concern ourselves with if we are to protect ourselves and our own. That is, that strong emotions can be associated with physical, social or abstract concepts and if you then present the person with how to react or feel about then act in response, then the human being is almost powerless without conscious effort and alternative strategies to surmount them. Why? Because feelings, emotions are all powerful in the human. They are there for survival and take command of reason. That is why some people act out their traumas throughout their lives and visit them on their children.

        Let me set out an incident that happened to me when I was young that revisits me when certain circumstances arise. I am now fifty and when it does, and with full knowledge of its impact, I instinctively go through a similar sequence of events. On those occasions when I planned a defense, I did so knowing the ‘concerns’ were all in my head, but the emotional response was just as intense. The conscious mind sat down and played the scenario on paper and with other people and it came up with ‘A’, but the mechanism that first associated itself with this situation was fixed and so it cam up with ‘B’.

        It seemed to be the only place in the bookcase where we search for knowledge and action as to how to respond to the situation. Now, I may be wrong, but there is no way that people imprinted in such a way will be able to break free of the bonds that bind by acting alone without someone to lead them deliberately out of their illusion and physically show them that it is not the case.

        Most emotional responses are regulated by parents and friends that give perspective and allow the person not to avoid life, but sometimes when they are not helped, and the intensity of the response is extreme, a trauma akin to abuse occurs. The ‘abuse’ may be by fate, circumstances or inflicted by people or groups deliberately. These poor souls then simply play out their scripts when cued.

    • Look at what is actually tied to the NCSEAD Commission, Grit, Positive Education, Science of Virtues, the National Mindset Network, and so much else.

      Behavior Change for Good Project. Remember I warned that Kahnemann’s work was tied to what Higher Order Thinking Skills also measure? Now this lays it all out.

      Also remember the AISP–Actionable Intelligence for Social Policy is at U-Penn and U-Penn is part of the NSF-funded Northeastern Hub. Not a coincidence. says Chan Zuckerburg is funding so it’s also tied to social media via Facebook as well as competency-based ed given who they hired to head this initiative.

  2. “The Earth System Governance Project is the largest social science research network in the area of governance and global environmental change. Its international research programme takes up the challenge of exploring political solutions and novel, more effective governance systems to cope with the current transitions in the biogeochemical systems of our planet. Earth System Governance is seen not only as a question of governance effectiveness, but also as a challenge for political legitimacy and social justice.”

    • Thanks. The immediate crises have calmed down finally so hopefully I can get back to writing soon.

      By the way, did you see that Angela Duckworth is keynoting the ASU+GSV (Global Silicon Valley) annual summit which gathers together all those wishing to invest or get investors pushing this poorly understood amalgamation of ed tech/Tranzi OBE/controlling and circumscribing consciousness to create the mind as a system vision?

      Tying it then to her Behavior Change for Good Project, the Science of Virtues, and the National Growth Mindset Scholars Network. There is one actual vision that the False Narrative obscures from most parents trying to find out what is really going on.

    • Being pushed globally by IPEN for schools to stress gratitude. Tied to Berkeley Greater Good enter like so much else.

      Hopefully intertubes will not be squishy tomorrow. I thought it was my computer and turned it off.

    • Thanks Deborah. I have the next post outlined and the attempt to use governmental power to circumscribe what it will mean “to know” and what drives likely action is front and center.

      I am reading Tarnas’ Passion of the Western Mind (described here with comparisons with Alasdair Macintyre’s After Virtue that we have seen just cropping up regularly and everywhere) . Combined with what I learned when I was researching the aims of constructivism when I wrote Credentialed to Destroy, with how the now omnipresent Conceptual Frameworks really work, and what I know about the actual required classroom implementation, we really do have a coup going on to undo, without real notice and thus any chance for revolt, the Western Mind. If you can remember Flyvberg admitted that and ties it to what Arationality really means and how it ties to Competency and Proficiency. The Dreyfus brothers admitted the same.

      The cause and effect universe is in the way of a universe alterable for political fiat and social science techniques and theories. Jerry Brown must love that.

    • Thanks Susan. Someone else saw that in axios and we discussed all the things that have gone on at Harvard ever since Carnegie funded the Russian Studies Institute after World War 2. When Jerome Bruner translated Vygotsky’s Mind and Society into English, he eliminated all the references to Marx and the intended purposes of the pedagogical practices. Made the book much shorter apparently.

      If you have ever read the book on the Unabomber, experimental psych research, unfortunately, seems to have been viewed as a natural offshoot of darpa contracts. No telling what Zuck learned while there from his professors.

      The book was actually Thought and Language by Vygotsky and I explained it here back in May 2015

      It was Bruner who wrote a Foreword calling for a new kind of psychology that “will support democracy”, which is precisely what that Personal Intelligences book or the NCSEAD link from CASEL I put up Thursday all push. We are quietly implementing via the classroom the Bolshevik technique of controlling people by “training his motives and shaping his ideology.” That ideology gets hidden behind euphemous names like Higher Order Thinking Skills, Enduring Understandings, or Understandings of Consequence. All of these are to be grounded in emotion and laden with affect.

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