The first question then is “Useful to Whom”? Not the students themselves or the adults they will become, but useful to anyone seeking to benefit from this collectivist, steerable, scientifically-managed society and economy we just keep encountering. Useful to the decision-making oligarchs in this hoped for Upravleniye vision. The entire basis of the steerability must get at what each person has internalized at the level of the human mind and personality. Taking comfort that I am probably just exaggerating to drive sales of my book Credentialed to Destroy? Here is the link to the 2013 Harvard Ed School paper called “The Science of the Individual” https://www.gse.harvard.edu/~ddl/articlesCopy/FischerGroundwork.MBE2009.3.1.pdf
There is a lot in that paper about the “new capacity based on technological innovation to collect and analyze massive amounts of data on individuals…for building realistic models of individual behavior, learning, and development.” What I want to talk about in this post is the confession about the “invention of a framework that can sustain a science of the individual.” In other words, the offered up theory–Dynamic Systems Theory–need not be factually true if enacting its practices through federal and state law mandates and required classroom implementations that get promotions for Principals and lucrative administrative jobs in central offices like being a District Super. Not true but useful to the Politically Connected.
Am I being mean here? No, DST grew out of NIH-funded research at Indiana University and its creators in 1994 classified this learning theory as “consistent with theories of the social construction of knowledge and in fact offers a biologically plausible mechanism for such a process.” Translated into English, the researchers want it to be true because advocating for the theory earns grants. Implementing the theory in school classrooms can have useful effects on guiding and motivating students to behave in desired ways that will ultimately be grounded, if the ‘research’ goes as hoped, into the students’ neural synapses. To quote again, “a dynamic systems approach to cognition and action provides a biological ground for cultural and contextual accounts of human cognition.”
Why am I hyping on these confessions? Because these are the theories adopted for the classroom in the famous 2012 federal “Education for Life and Work” report covered here. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/so-now-common-core-rejects-individual-thinking-to-embrace-soviet-psychology-ecology/ It is the theory guiding both the new federal education Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and its companion 2014 federal Upravleniye legislation WIOA. That 2013 Harvard paper above is part of the IMBES–International Mind, Behavior, Education Society work and this 2014 meeting in Ft Worth, Texas shows just how thoroughly what ought to be off-limits in a free society and what used to be known as cybernetics research is rolling right into Texas classrooms, especially, with nary a barrier to entry.
http://www.imbes.org/Resources/Documents/2014%20IMBES%20Program%20FINAL%20for%20web%20%281%29.pdf They even have state legislators there describing how to get these theories and practices into effect. David Rose, the creator of that very same Universal Design for Learning covered in my book as incorporated into the Common Core required implementation, and now mandated in ESSA, was a speaker. Did you know he is a co-author of the US Educational Technology Plan? Another speaker, Fumiko Hoeft, is described as “interested in ‘understanding interaction between academic achievement, cognitive abilities, external environment, and [the student’s] ‘internal environment’ such as resiliency, self-esteem, grit and motivation.”
In other words, all the hype about instilling grit, resilience, and perseverence is not about creating those qualities. It’s simply as excuse to assess and collect data on what yet another speaker there, Paul van Geert (a name I recognized from systems theorizing) referred to as the simplex system. In a 2014 paper called “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly? The Dynamic Interplay Between Educational Practice, Policy and Research” defined what he meant by a simplex system. He was referring to people and what they have internalized. He used italics for emphasis so so shall I.
“We define such a simplex system as a connected whole of beliefs, representations, values, emotions, habits, practices and material tools that serves as a simplifying representation of the overarching complex system in which a person participates and that organizes the participants’ actions.”
When the Faux anti-Common Core Narrative makes protecting Personally Identifiable Information the focus of their False Flag coordination it leaves no obstacle to manipulating each student’s simplex system as needed so they are amenable to the Upravleniye vision of the 21st Century. When the same groups keep hyping ‘standardized testing’ they create popular support for a switch to the formative assessments (covered in detail in my book) that are far more effective at altering this individual simplex system than anything that can be put on a multiple-choice test of knowledge.
When I was following up on the implications of Kenneth Boulding’s definition of people as purposeful, goal-seeking systems and what that really meant ‘student achievement’ and ‘success’ were now about (my child can meet the behavioral goals prescribed by government officials who want to steer!!Hallelujah, indeed), I kept encountering references to a 1976 book Ego Development where I encountered this alarming passage: “The drives, including the sex drive, are subordinated to a person’s goal or purpose in life, his guiding fiction. The philosophical concept of the fiction was developed by Vaihinger (1911). Fictions are not fantasies but predictive schemes necessary to orient oneself in the world; they are subjective, created by the person, and unconscious in some sense.”
Now by the time I encountered that passage I had read The Scientific Management of Society and recognized the deliberate targeting via assessment and data collection of what we are now calling that internalized simplex. I knew that was what personalized learning was really getting at. I recognized, in other words, the Upravleniye implications if all the mind arson we are encountering and Inapt Metaphors being pushed was actually about Our Steering Keelsmen, in political office or public policy, wanting to create Guiding Fictions because they would be useful in creating that invisible noetic keel. Turned out Vaihinger’s book had recently been brought back into print.
A German, writing before the Great War and very concerned about the warlike, aggressive nature of the German people since the 1871 Franco-Prussian War, Vaihinger wanted to dictate and control “those ideas, associations of ideas, and conceptual constructs” which guide an individual’s perception. As if that’s not enough, given the current HOTS mandate in ESSA for annual assessment and the stipulation of CDIs–Core Disciplinary Ideas and CCCs–Cross-Cutting Concepts and Themes in Common Core and its state successors–Vaihinger also wished to limit thought to what was needed for practical action. Sounds just like Competency to me!
Here is his theory of Guiding Fiction (and his italics). Think about the Planning Potential of inaccurate concepts and categorization prescribed by political power, to be instilled by education, under a government mandate. A potentially useful policy to the Steerers, if not to the Steered Student. Just “because such constructs are devoid of reality they are not to be regarded as devoid of utility…Any true insight into the psychological setting and origin of knowledge proves that many things may be theoretically wrong and yet from a practical standpoint be fruitful in results, taking the term ‘practical,’ of course, in a wide sense.”
Let’s go back to that fictional framework Dynamic Systems Theory that can be the foundation of useful classroom practices for guiding, limiting, and predicting thought itself. For motivating desired behaviors in an Upravleniye society where we have become the Governed. The DST authors insisted that there are “compelling theoretical reasons for not putting the cause of developmental change in the frontal lobe.” What if the reasons are that such factually-informed, personally-sculpted Axemaker Minds are simply not amenable to being Governed and will certainly notice all the hoped-for steering and desired false guiding narratives?
DST wants to make the individual-in-context the focus because that theory is useful for Social Engineering purposes, not because it is true. It stresses Perceive. Act. Think. as the desired order because it too wants to limit the nature of thought to what is “emergent from the activities of everyday life.” Just like John Goodlad and UNESCO in the 70s for those of you who have read my book. I will end this post with a story told by another prof who wants to use Guiding Fictions and history as about creating scenarios of the future to guide perceptions of what ought to be done now.
“A Hungarian detachment was lost in the Alps for three days before finally returning to their camp. ‘We considered ourselves lost and waited for the end,’ said the soldiers, ‘but then one of us found a map in his pocket. That calmed us down. We pitched camp, lasted out the snow storm, and then with the map we found our bearings. And here we are.’ Their lieutenant looked at the map and discovered to his surprise that it was a map of the Pyrenees, not the Alps.”
The belief that the map was accurate caused the soldiers to act and action was the way out. Both in the 90s version of standards-based reforms and now, the very word ‘standards’ is yet another misunderstood, ambivalent term that actually is a euphemism for goals. The 90s New Standards Project and the Common Core now are actually efforts by political power to use a fiction that students and people are merely purposeful organisms. To insist that governments now get to monitor and prescribe what our acceptable Goals can and must be. Just a goal-seeking system whose internalized simplex is subject to tracking and manipulation via education. Why? Because that is what political power and its financial cronies believe will benefit them.
They want to prescribe “those ideas, associations of ideas, and conceptual constructs” that they find useful “as a guide to thought and action in the present. The map in the above example was clearly not accurate, and yet ‘by taking some action, the soldiers started to obtain new feedback about their environment, and they entered a new learning loop’ which gradually built up their own understanding and mental map.’ That is, the map facilitated the process by which the soldiers could manage and navigate uncertainty.”
When Congress enacted ESSA it required states to annually assess Higher Order Thinking Skills and Understandings for each student in most years. I typically summarize HOTS as the categories and ideas students use to decide what they should do when there is no single correct answer. How they will choose to act in a given situation when faced with uncertainty as to how to best proceed. Anyone think this is coincidental?
How about if I add that the author of the 1987 HOTS report, Lauren Resnick, was also co-director of the 90s New Standards Project and on the panel for the Common Core set of student behavioral goals.
The real aim is so much clearer when ‘standards’ are described more accurately by their explicit purpose.