Standing Still As the Yoke Is Fastened: Student Codes of Conduct to Now Build Collectivism

Now I considered making that title a bit longer with the addition of the phrase ‘as a State of Mind.’ People grasping the essence of what I have been describing in my book or this blog will frequently insist that certain reforms would be mind control. I usually respond by pointing out that plenty of advocates readily acknowledge that as their intention if we know where to look. We are not having a conversation actually about possible effects of these theories that want to come into your local schools and classrooms, including the privates, parochial, and charters. There is meant to be no escape.

I frequently now read radicals who want to use the law as simply another form of policy advocacy for social transformation. It’s not though. That’s not what the public thinks it is paying for from lawyers who represent school districts. The law is not just another tool either. It has an ability to make itself binding on those who would reject its coercion if they were aware of it. The law then, be it regulation, the language in a Charter or Student Code of Conduct, or a statute with mischievous obligations no one defined, is the perfect tool for anyone wanting to force change away from the West’s historic emphasis on the primacy of the individual.

Now I have been hearing reports from around the country over the last year about parents objecting to a school’s sudden psychological emphasis or mindfulness training and being told they gave their consent at the beginning of the year when they said they had read and would abide by the Student Code of Conduct. It’s not about agreeing not to misbehave anymore. It’s about language that actually imposes obligations on how you must treat and feel about others and what they say and do into the Student Code of Conduct. Think of it as imposing an obligation to behave and think like a Communitarian instead of an individual into what is now to be required behavior at school. We already know that Sir Michael Barber of Pearson and the Gates Foundation’s Vicki Phillips wrote a book on getting Irreversible Change that emphasized if people are forced to do, believing comes along.

In May I noticed that just such an Affirmative Obligation Code of Conduct was on the agenda for the next Board meeting of Fulton County, the large, diverse Metro Atlanta district that has a conversion charter that guts academics through its wording. Binding unappreciated language that made me wonder what had shifted so radically within the legal profession since I went to law school. The answer is that the law quietly became a tool for forcing normative change on an unwitting public. We all need to appreciate that shift has occurred and not treat ‘the law’ as still a set of established, agreed upon rules. When I saw the language in that Code of Conduct I had the same reaction. It was an attempt to coerce compliance with a classroom vision shifting to psychological manipulation. Most parents would never notice.

The lawyer who had drafted the Student Code of Conduct was listed so I noticed she worked for President Clinton’s Education Secretary, Richard Riley’s, law firm. Ties then to Outcomes-Based Education in the 90s, the Carnegie Corporation and its views that (per Moises Naim) we are now to be the Governed, and the Knowledge Works Foundation with its views of Competency and ownership of the High Tech High concept. As a factual matter we are dealing with a view both of law and education as tools for transformative social change; however nice the actual lawyers involved may be as individuals. It simply is what it is and we ought to recognize this as a different view of legal advocacy and education policy than what they were historically.

Not recognizing these shifts so we can talk about it in the sunlight is what is so dangerous. That Student Code of Conduct came back on my radar last week when the school district picked the quiet holiday week to ask for parent comments on it. If a parent had an objection, the survey software insisted the parent explain their objections. It was tempting to want to write “but I fully support students being allowed to be dishonest” as the sarcastic explanation.

What I really had a problem with was recognizing where a required obligation to show empathy and never be disrespectful to any classmate could go on top of Positive School Climate obligations. I have read enough participatory materials to know there is a real desire not to be allowed to point out that stupid comments or poorly-informed opinions are just that. Only a very mediocre mind or a disingenuous radical transformationalist really believes that all opinions are equally valid and entitled to comparable deference.

You don’t have to be mean and ask someone if they are an intellectual eunuch to their face or just laugh hysterically, but a requirement in a Student Code of Conduct to treat all opinions as valid was a reminder of just how often I have now seen this to-be-required classroom consensus. Yet it was showing up in that Code of Conduct. It would be a reason for the Common Core English Language Arts Standards specifically carving out ‘speaking’ and ‘listening’ like they do. We have already noted that Study Circles Resource Center’s alliance with the Southern Poverty Law Center and its Teaching Tolerance Project and its odd sudden name change to Everyday Democracy (the name of community organizer Harry Boyte’s 2004 book). That Student Code of Conduct would go a long way toward making classrooms function like either the Swedish or Baha’i Study Circles. It would also enshrine that Rockefeller Process of Communication For Social Change in the classroom to force everyone into accepting a common understanding.

So I went back to that 1971 book on what these same ed reforms sought to do in Sweden that I wrote a troubling post about. The New Totalitarians said this about the use of Study Circles and the psychological conditioning they promote (italics in original):

“the A B F study circles promote the supremacy of the collective. Participants are taught that, once a decision has been made, then all further discussion is necessarily at an end and that, whatever their feelings might be, it is their duty to submit to the will of the group. But, as the study circle is designed to give received opinions the appearance of conclusions personally achieved, so is the individual persuaded to accept the will of the group as his own. Even if a person begins by opposing a majority opinion, he will purge himself of previous objections and adopt that opinion as his own as soon as it has been formally established.  By a kind of conditioned reflex, this form of submissiveness is evoked beyond the study circle by this phrase: ‘The decision has been made in a democratic manner, and accepted by the majority.’ Quoted always in the identical wording, it has the force of the liturgical chants of the Buddhists’ O Mane Padme Hum; it need not necessarily be understood to produce a certain state of mind.”

We could call that result Irreversible Change mandated via legal coercion. We could also call it fastening a yoke to a student’s mind and personality or maybe attaching an invisible serfs collar through required classroom experiences. We don’t really have to speculate about the kind of education experiences that created a belief that Student Codes of Conduct of this ilk are an effective policy tool in 21st century American schools because it turned out the drafting lawyer had been a previous member of the Education Policy Fellowship Program in DC. Legal training with non-lawyers to effect policy change. This normative use of the law just gets more interesting explains EPFP from its creation in 1964 with Ford Foundation backing. It is how policy changes get invisibly shifted via education with few the wiser. That booklet lays out the entities in the various states and the mixture of public sector and private involvement. The website shows that the Lumina Foundation (determined to radically alter higher ed) and ETS (same to K-12 with its Gordon Commission) were the national sponsors of the most recent EPFP class.

It’s worth checking out. You may discover as I did that a moderator of the Common Core Listening Tour in your state is involved with EPFP and that the designated advocates of the Common Core serve on the Board of the state sponsor or its Advisory Council. Oh what a tangled web we weave… I would never finish this post if I laid out all the interconnections in my state of Georgia. I suspect each reader will find comparable interesting webs in your own state now that we know this entity exists and who the state players are.

I want to end this post with Reflections on “The Power of the Collective” from a member of the most recent local class. I have never met the writer, but I do recognize the ties between her employer and the world’s largest education accreditor, AdvancED; the State Professional Standards Board for teachers; and the recent Metro Atlanta regional economic development plan that also bound all school districts to ‘innovative learning’ without asking their individual school boards. A tangled web indeed. is the link to the May 21, 2014 speech. The author mentions that “at the end of our monthly colloquiums, Dana [Rickman, previously with the Annie E Casey Foundation] always asks us to reflect upon what we’ve learned [bolding in original] by completing a statement: I used to think … and now I think.

That’s a confession that the technique known as Delphi or study circles or now the Rockefeller Process of Communication for Social Change is a big part of creating the desired mindsets of education policy makers. Adults who have been through this process without recognizing it for what it is are unlikely to have a problem with now imposing it on students.

Just imagine using this technique created for use with adults on malleable minds captive in K-12 classrooms.


25 thoughts on “Standing Still As the Yoke Is Fastened: Student Codes of Conduct to Now Build Collectivism

  1. This is making me physically ill. I can’t help but think the answer is to simplify all this. Everything is so convoluted and confusing if investigative work and time understanding isn’t done. Most won’t. Some how people need a clear, to the point understanding of what is going on and why they need to say NO. I just don’t know how it can be done.

    • Carol-that is as clear as I can make it. I gave Georgia as an example because I would be willing to bet if you look at the sponsoring entity in any state and their Board and Advisory Groups and start checking against who is sponsoring fellows and who is on State or Regional Economic Development Planning you will find comparable overlaps. By the way the website says that Missouri and Alabama have sponsoring programs for EPFP in the works.

      Now just imagine the overlap with all these people and policy if that Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act passes with its required Local Workforce Development Boards and State Unified Development Plans. It will be many of the same people but with a sluice of federal money now also going to community organizing groups. It’s no accident that at the presentation of the Harvard Equality of Opportunity study, three groups were asked to stand and be recognized. Ga Partnership for Excellence and Equity, the local EPFP sponsor, someone from the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, and someone for the Partnership for Southern Equity that was recognized as having just published the Metro Atlanta Equity Atlas. I was at that rollout too. The moderator clearly saw all three groups as involved in a common transformational scheme.

      This is all an interlocking vision for social, economic, and political transformation that is being put into place right now. I am doing my best to be fair but to accurately describe what the people involved say they are doing. I am not speculating here on how it might work.

      As I wrote in the margin of a book that I will use in the next post that builds on this one, we are back to the fundamental question that underlay feudalism. Do each of us exist to be able to pursue our own purposes or do we exist for the benefit of others? Everything being put in place quietly and using education and the law as substantive social change tools to try to shift the world and people toward a vision of what ought to be.

      We have every right to withhold our consent under our political system as it was set up, but not if no one recognizes what is being done. Putting this all together can leave me with the feeling I have looked into the time vortex and my head hurts but I am not giving up. Whatever happens I am trying my best here.

  2. Wow! very interesting. I poked around a little. Of course OR names are included. One is a local community college person, the other from Portland State, and another was involved in the OR transformation of education CIM/CAM and the state contact for Goals 2000.

    It seems that the U of O faculty presidential chair is involved. Notice his schooling is from Illinois and his degree in educational psychology. This university is very well known for leftist views and a progressive push. We joke here about it, but I have had a family member send their daughter and she did not come back the same person. Quite scary actually. The ironic thing about Mr. Zhao being involved here is that for some time he was speaking out against CCSS.

    A few things of interest.

    • Yes, again I am not picking on Ga. I suspect comparable outflows from anyone pushing this and its linkages with just a nudge from the stick.

      Once you get the network players the alliances and what has to be a piece of the puzzle strat to flow.

      Soon, you too, can speak ed.

    • I didn’t know about Illinois being a leftist hotbed. Wisconsin is sort of well known for granola tendencies …

      Good to know with kids coming up on college age.

      • Better make sure the college or university has not made ‘creating change agents’ or ‘civic engagement’ or transdisciplinary learning their new goal. Always read the course catalog. It can be rather shocking.

        A reader sent this.

        Want to guess how many principals or district supers now have Edudoctorates where the sponsoring entity states they are “competent to be a change agent’ as the primary credentialing criteria now. Living at tax payer expense while practicing Mind Arson and psychological manipulation. I told the story of the Fulton Area Super who talked openly about using Kurt Lewin’s Freeze. Unfreeze. Refreeze techniques.

  3. Yes there are local and regional players in most states. And this has gone on in the shadows and locked doors of academia and all the non profit parties and seminars we are not invited to. But we are on to them and all the laws are not changed yet.
    Remember that lying is AOK for these ” end justifies the means” people. Chaos is their game and its a full time one. We are busy in our lives we have devoted to productive activities, where they are devoted to destruction.
    Message needs to get further out to parents and the idea that we PAY for school and its OUR kids means WE are in charge. They ( school admin, boards, supers, etc…) dodge and lie to us to keep us from knowing that while they secretly change laws and definitions of sords behind our backs.
    Its marx, alinsky, all of it and they are not above boldface lies.
    Like the squirrelly language of the handbook, their big tool is to hide the binding effort, the punitive trap ( this works on all fronts) in the pages and pages next to things they know we want. Its the pivot. They win because no one notices and it is incremental. Case in point hippa.
    Protection of child data privacy
    We protect child privacy
    Law is for protection of your child
    Children are protected
    Their data is protected
    Only authorized people designated as such by sciundrels in the school admin can have access to data
    Childrens data cannot be sold
    Except to those deemed allowed to have it
    Parents cannot access their childs data without childs permission


    All parents read is the first couple of lines.

    Next we tell our kids to not read any of testing questions, just randon fill in bubbles. Revolt!!! Then their data will be useless. Mess up THEIR system.

    • That’s the beauty of the data flowing in from game playing and adaptive software. There are no bubbles. No tests in the sense we knew them.

      It’s the real reason that Rigor is so critical to the new type of assessments, but the district administrators lie to parents about what it really means. Parents would certainly be asking more question if they recognized that rigor is a concept developed by community organizers to ensure their prey continued to see themselves and the world as desired so they would act in predictable ways. It’s called the Capacity for Ambiguity and that’s what ‘Rigorous’ assessments are really looking for.

      It’s not about quickly turning the oven from 350 to 550 in terms of what is being asked.

      Can you imagine parents’ reaction if they knew that “Rigor is the goal of helping students develop the capacity to understand content that is complex, ambiguous, provocative, AND personally or emotionally challenging.”

      It’s rigorous because there is no correct answer. It’s rigorous because the student must strategize and apply those conceptual ‘lenses’ to the described situation or his own experiences.

      It’s rigorous because it is psychologically stressful and involved cognitive dissonance or some other type of intrusion into how the student sees himself.

      Rigor is actually quite appalling to be front and center in the new vision of the classroom. It’s all about psychologically breaking down the identity the student brought from home and remaking his image of himself and the world at school for ideological purposes.

      The new 3 R’s of Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships are taking the political education (as the materials call it) of successful community organizing and bringing it to the K-12 classroom. The intention is to develop mindsets and personalities suitable to be part of a cadre for social change. To think as a group and to legitimize that as the way people should think and act. Lumina’s sponsorship then carries over into college. was where I wrote about the Lumina DQP.

          • I am glad I am accurately tracking this since it is clearly what is coming everywhere. No wonder they need Peter Senge’s systems thinking. describing what is meant by the goal of ‘Mind in the Making’ fits right in with the language I saw in Fulton’s conversion charter.

            And Oregon is considered to be the furtherist advanced of all the Regional Equity structures as Metropolitanism used to be called. I have that 1998 book by Bruce Katz that then VP Al Gore wrote the forward for. That’s especially interesting as the 1985 Social Circles book created with Kettering Foundation support ends with a quote from then Tennessee US Senator Al Gore. Maybe Earth in the Balance, his Agenda 21 advocacy, and insistence the earth is now about to overheat are all really excuses for this agenda about enslaving the mind by making Swedish style education for social democracy and group participation the norm everywhere. Awfully coincidental otherwise.

            Perspective taking. Fits right in with Robert Kegan’s work that is now the basis for the OECD’s Key Competences for K-12 and the Lumina DQP for higher ed.

  4. Mortifying. I have lived through the practical dumbing down of academic achievement since the mid seventies in Australia. Organisation after organisation falling prey to infiltration by ideologically driven individuals. Education Departments, Universities (teacher trainers), Professional Development organisations such as the International & National ‘Reading Association’, Primary & Secondary teacher associations, Teacher Unions (in this case not all are blinded). Biased & destructive influence of trainee teachers from the beginning with ongoing coercion via PD.

    It doesn’t stop there. Advisors to our politicians are frequently ‘educators’ or ‘union based’. Minister after Minister of Education has the wool firmly pulled over their eyes.
    I gave up writing submissions as it became clear that Governments tended to throw money at the abysmal state of illiteracy in the community. This money was given to the ‘Educational Experts’, the very folk who created the problem! Ergo, we spent our time & knowledge funding the problem – not the solution.

    A very slick covert operation from beginning to end.

    Blessings on all the teachers who saw through the empty but seductive rhetoric & questioned the flawed premise. Teachers who sought their knowledge elsewhere and who now expose the lies & biases either by the printed word or proof in the classroom; teachers who still have a mind of their own and who trust experience over false ‘beliefs’ (unsubstantiated claims that are refuted by scientific data).

    How do these miserable individuals hope to gain ill-gotten control, or benefit themselves & their egos, by creating and spreading illiteracy? Do they deliberately seek to disempower our children and ruin our society? Or do they seek to corrupt because they themselves have been corrupted? If the latter is the case then they are simultaneously weak & dangerous. Frightening.

    • Hi Jean. Notice that EPFP has gone global now so it may well be coming your way or already be in place.

      The first 2 trips were to China and now the UK.

      Your questions are quite valid and I have asked myself the same thing. One of the things I have been researching for my own peace of mind since there is no actual dispute over what is being sought is to look at how central banking works and how politically connected banks benefit from ignorance and weakening the capacities of the typical person. Government deficit spending is a wonderful business paradigm for politically connected banking. Weakening the population’s capacity to do it themselves and creating the expectation that everything worthwhile flows from governments locks that lucrative franchise into permanent position.

      The problem is that it cannot go on forever and that’s the dance that the US Federal Reserve has been doing. The European Central Bank has apparently in the last few days agreed to spend $1 trillion to try to keep reality at bay. Australia may well be doing something similar.

      That’s as simple as I can make it, but my decision to start focusing there came from a David Rockefeller comment about power. He broke it into “political, monetary, intellectual, and ecclesiastical.” I knew what was going on in 3 of those areas and I knew what the Rockefeller Foundation was pushing so I decided to start to better understand how monetary policy works and how those who hold power in that area would benefit from mind arson.

      Weakening individual capacity really does flow through and cement these lucrative carry trades among bankers in various countries and force long-term deficit spending by governments that the banks look forward to financing.

    • That’s a short troubling video and recent. We want business to mirror the type of changes going on in education.

      That’s essentially what Peter Senge wrote in his The Fifth Discipline Handbook when it first came out in 1990. All cultural institutions does mean ALL. A non-hierarchical workplace. Nothing useful getting done, but the average person can supposedly feel more empowered.

        • This is the new community organizers working with the Mayor and the public sector and educators Economic Development Plan for Jacksonville, Fla.

          My thesis gets bolstered by the fact that most of the business representatives turn out to be from area banks. Planned economies supposedly control risk and create lots of financing activities with the public sector. LL will want to read the part about Oregon backing up government deposits in credit unions to allow lending base in areas to be increased.

          In general politicians love planned economies as do established Big Business. It promotes cartel power for those already at the table. It’s the average person who always loses because hard work and brains get levelled away in terms of greater benefits and they are unlikely to have political power unless they join with others. So this model drives group organizing striving to influence governments that are inherently parasitic and conflict ridden in terms of planning. Zwangshwirtshaft was the German name for this destructive model. I wrote about it here when I first kept encountering it.

          • Did you notice Gar Alperovitz cited on the end notes for this OR deposit collaboration? I find it interesting that one of the larger teachers credit unions is a participant. Over 50 local banking institutions participate.

            Oregon was hit hard with the recession. Largest unemployment for a long time. Once over the 12% range was discussed. Husband and I were just talking about this last night. A large change was made in this state to judicial foreclosures. When that happened all foreclosures were removed from the market. They have been slowly released. At the moment there is a shortage of homes and prices are inflated. In a middle class rural town a less than 2k square foot home on a small lot will cost you near 300k. Last year that same home could have been purchased for 30-40k less. The empty homes are still there. This “growth” is not real.

    • The intention now, according to the materials I now have, is to use race and the created perception of injustice and the anger that creates to drive what is now called ‘democracy organizing’ instead of community organizing. Supposedly Alinsky was too content with forcing a seat at the table and the sharing of power. Instead these taxpayer paid adults intend to blow up the economic and social system that currently exists and try anew. How? It relates to what I am about to write about. What that Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act that sailed through the House yesterday.

    • Marlene-

      I am working on the White Papers relating to the Communities in Schools bill introduced in Congress today. Won’t the vision of this Restorative Practices Toolkit fit like a Jermyn Street shirt with that affirmative Student Code of Conduct?

      Also with the required Empathy Education that links the Code and the real definition of Global Citizenship as I laid out in Monday’s post.

    • Marlene-you need to read this report from CASEL.

      Not only does Fulton’s affirmative Student Code of Conduct effectively require these SEL competencies in each classroom, its charter specifically references it via the soft and life skills language. Plus Supt Robert Avossa at a May meeting in North Fulton where he misled parents and Board members on the nature of the term ‘rigor’ with his analogy of turning up the heat on a frozen turkey suddenly from 350 to 550 mentioned that Montgomery County Maryland was one of the comparable school districts Fulton planned to emulate on increasing student achievement. Montgomery County’s use of this SEL Framework as incorporated into all classrooms for all students is profiled in this report.

      So is Austin, Texas with its “Peace Paths’ to forcing students to reach a consensus. This is important since the Atlanta Public Schools, which is the donut hole in the middle of a divided in half Fulton County Schools, just hired the Supt from the Austin schools profiled. APS has long used this same integration of academic and SEL approach. There still may be physical boundaries between APS and Fulton, but there are no longer philosophical ones. The template that led to the need to cheat is coming to the suburbs to destroy academics there. Equality and Social Justice.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.