This week was the perfect example of why it is important these days to read everything the federal government publishes touching education. It also serves as a reminder that the Summary up front never reveals the juicy relevant details we need to know. This is especially true when the federal government announces that Common Core is not a Product as in knowledge American students should know but a Process of learning in “culturally relevant contexts.” It rejected the traditional view of cognition as “too narrowly focused on individual thinking and learning” and thereby proved why you really do not want unaccountable federal officials with all that money and power and lobbyists wanting a portion of it establishing local education policy.
The report, called Education for Life and Work and published by the National Research Council, rejected the cognitive perspective that has all the confirming research supporting how and why it worked. Instead it embraced the socio-cultural perspective of learning because it was a theory that met its goal of applying equally to all students. Wow! Here’s precisely what they said:
“In the socio-cultural perspective, learning takes place as individuals participate in the practices of a community, using the tools, language, and other cultural artifacts of the community.”
Just in case you were wondering precisely how online computer gaming had become classified as “learning,” there you go. And the push for IPads or SMART phones in class? Interacting with the everyday technology and each other is now the kind of tool use and community practices that are to constitute Common Core learning for the 21st century. If you, like me, are struck by the fact that it would be difficult to come up with a better strategy for creating mindless drones, don’t worry. There is still the NEA’s Purple America values curriculum and all that Positive School Climate moral and character curriculum to create a sense of well-being that we have been talking about.
You really do want to laugh, don’t you? It seems rather preposterous. But remember that pronouncement on learning “through social interactions in a community” involves many of the same agencies and funding entities involved in that Belmont Challenge restructuring of the US economy and society around sustainability and citizen wellbeing. We talked about that in the June 14 post on the Belmont Challenge and the next post on the Future Earth Alliance http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/the-belmont-challenge-and-the-death-of-the-individual-via-education/ .
If you have not yet read those posts the Future Earth Alliance is not a group of comic book characters in tights with masks. It will not be coming to a movie screen near you soon. It is, however, a UN affiliated group of bureaucrats and federal employees from various countries and professors seeking research grants operating mostly over in Sweden and trying to restructure Western economies away from fossil fuels into a redesigned and managed economy that will be friendly to Mother Earth and her natural resources. It ignores the fact that human ingenuity is the ultimate natural resource. Probably because ingenious humans have always been such a nightmare for any politician or bureaucrat’s planning schemes. Mustn’t happen in the future.
I am joking a bit about a very unfunny subject because all this reimagining of the world and the economy and education seems so absurd to anyone with a knowledge of history. Plus I still can poke fun at destructive theories and plans that cannot work. The government power to tax and coerce and reward cronies with special benefits has always been a danger to the average person. And really that’s all the socio-cultural perspective and the Belmont Challenge and Future Earth really are when you boil them down to their essence. They are power grabs. Schemes to put the average person in an assigned place, dictate their permitted behavior, and gain financial benefits from that ability to assign and dictate.
That was what the Soviet nomenklatura wanted from socio-cultural psychological research into creating the perfect new citizen. It appears to be what the bureaucrats now have in mind for Common Core when they target the human personality in the classroom and proclaim it to be “malleable” and capable of change. Yes they did say that and yes I made copies.
In fact the updated version of the Soviet socio-cultural perspective is called the Bronfenbrenner Ecological Systems Theory. It was created in 1979 to target social programs and practices in Western countries. I became familiar with it because it is the learning theory used to justify the Transformational Outcomes Based Education practices in Australia and New Zealand. I will describe in the next post what BEST looks like in the classroom. BEST is all about the process of interactions among people as the measure of learning. Here’s a brief link to an explanation and graphic showing why it is such a perfect theory and education model for government bureaucrats wanting to restructure an economy around sustainability. http://virtual.yosemite.cc.ca.us/childdevelopment/Cheryl/Sp10/EcologicalHandout.pdf
As you can see it’s all encompassing: mind, people, climate, community, Planet Earth. And it is an honest theory. It does not pretend to be factually true. It acknowledges it was created to justify desired political policies. Except many of us do not desire them. Certainly not in our schools. Using our children as social guinea pigs.
I am going to close with an explanation for all this maneuvering that is tucked into that Good Work book we talked about in the previous post. It develops the idea of memes— “units of information that, once mastered, condition–indeed constitute!–the way we think and that can be passed along from person to person.” The book then goes on to say in that chapter on reshaping minds that “memes can then be mobilized to favor, annihilate, or refashion genes.”
That’s the aspiration. Written by prominent professors whose work has been pushed and adopted all over the West through education “reforms.” The definition of Global Competence comes from this group. This is what transformational education change is all about. It turns out the Common Core to be accessed is deeply embedded.