Tracking what is really going on in education through what is being legally mandated means I frequently know what is crucial long before I fully grasp why the shift in practices is so important. It lets me know through the decades and all over the world, that whatever the current name and given rationale, certain aspects of people’s Identity formation, the basis for their decision making as they live their lives, and what motivates them to act and guides their perceptions are being systematically targeted. When I wrote Credentialed to Destroy I had grasped that Transformational Outcomes-Based Education (Tranzi OBE) and constructivism targeting how the world and reality is viewed were being pushed all over the English-speaking world in what appeared to be a coordinated effort to drive now drive human evolution, along with its institutions, via planned changes to culture rather than genes.
Genes just take too long for transformation plans apparently and if I have learned anything in just this year’s posts alone, we have many people in a hurry to redesign how the world works. Just last week was “Forty Years of Wicked Problem Solving” that will really make use of the new HOTS mandate in the US federal ed law that was designed to be virtually impossible to Opt Out of. Why must everyone be subjugated to such a prescription of what concepts they use to analyze wicked problems that have no fixed answer or have never been taught to the student? I think Brian Head supplied that answer in the above paper when he admitted that “the nature and significance of the policy problem is shaped through debates on ‘framing’. [No need for debate if the frames are mandated learnt predispositions set out in learning standards]. This is crucial for how the debates about problems, contexts and responses are represented…framing [is] a way of selecting, organizing, interpreting and making sense of a complex reality to provide guideposts for knowing, analysing, persuading and acting.”
So nice of governments now to dictate that, isn’t it? All in the name of High Standards and Success for All we get our very subjectivity itself mandated and then put under regular surveillance via poorly understood assessments for compliance. Apparently if someone doesn’t get caught as a K-12 student there’s always higher ed and management leadership retreats targeting that very same locus of control. Everybody suddenly wants to get at and manipulate our “perceptions, values and interests” that control “how issues are scoped” and how we will likely interpret our daily experiences. Over and over again we come across a belief that in the 21st century we must all ultimately have “shared understanding and shared meaning about the problem and possible solutions.”
What better way to do that than to use learning standards and competency framework to:
“develop this psychological capacity…to not only model and manage its external environment, but also to model and manage its internal adaptive processes. It can develop mental models of the pre-existing physical, emotional, and mental adaptive processes that determine how it behaves and acts. The models will enable it to understand consciously how its pre-existing adaptive processes operate, what useful effects they have, how they might be modified, and what the consequences might be. Through self-knowledge they will develop the capacity to gain control over their internal adaptive processes. Increasingly, this will enable them to manage their physical actions, emotional and motivational states, and their beliefs and other mental processes in whatever ways are necessary”
to fit with whatever learning experiences a school mandates and whatever objectives and outcomes it now imposes. That passage really struck me because the Principals and School Supers most aggressive in pushing this vision tend to be the ones being promoted now to ever more lucrative job opportunities. Is this what any parent imagines as higher student achievement? Yet every legal instrument from statutes, to charters, to what HOTS assesses, actually gets at manipulating, and then tracking via data whether the desired adaptions are occurring to these internal adaptive processes. If the same new prescribed “norms, moral beliefs, and other rules of behaviour” can become instilled across a large group as “learnt predispositions” governments will have successfully created a common internal manager guiding future behaviour with nary a heads up, much less consent.
If that seems to be overly ambitious, let me quote that “a distributed internal manager is formed of a set of hard-wired predispositions that are reproduced in each of the members of a group of organisms…[Student-centered learning sounds so much better,doesn’t it?] A distributed internal manager clearly has the potential to organize a group cooperatively…so that they treat others in the group as self… or by hardwiring specific cooperative behaviours in individuals.” In other words, all these plans we keep encountering from UN Sustainable Development Goals to supposedly Balanced Communitarian visions in the name of Founding Principles, Learning Liberty, or a New Golden Rule can all be put into effect through the right type of prescribed learning experiences.
In this vision “each individual is controlled by its particular set of predispositions”, which he or she may not even know were instilled intentionally from preschool through higher ed. The group as a whole can only be controlled and coordinated if a “common set of predispositions is reproduced across the group.” How does the Common Core ever actually go away if it is about hardwiring learnt predispositions? If we wonder why, we have a confession that “if we had different emotional goals and motivations, our technology would be different, as would our systems of government and other social arrangements.”
Sounds like learning standards and competency frameworks then prescribed for the vast majority of students would be a highly effective way to invisibly alter ‘civil society’, just as so many of my links have laid out is the current aim. Just have education or that weekend seminar or management retreat target the “internal adaptive goals” of students, an executive team, or all too often, the elected members of your local school board or private school trustees go through learning experiences that are actually designed to alter their ‘psychological software’, even if the supplied promotional materials and consent forms deny that. It’s the practices that matter and when those practices and participatory experiences whether in a school, woods, or luxury hotel are designed to force someone to “drop their emotional attachments to any ideas, attitudes, beliefs, norms, values, religious systems and moral principles,” we have a targeting of this psychological capacity to change internal adaptive processes.
This ‘distributed internal management’ is an excellent way to prescribe planned and coerced transformations starting at the level of the individual mind and personality without their being the telltale levers of control of a gulag or overt censorship. We should all be alarmed to know such plans exist and that they fit how learning standards work so well. “The hold of the manager over the individual would be greatly strengthened if the individual’s mental modelling of the world led him to believe that the codes and norms were in his best interests” is not a phrase any parent wants to read as the school year starts, but it is essential to grasp how these plans actually work. This is not just a matter of the UN and admitted progressives wanting to use education to fulfill John Dewey’s desire to instill the habits and dispositions essential for his vision of democracy.
I have been looking at Classical Education for a while and the deceitful narratives designed to support it. It too, at its core, seems to want to alter the fact that “particularly in the last two hundred years, a significant proportion of individuals in more complex human societies has developed a strong capacity to use internal linear modelling to critically evaluate their own beliefs.” Apparently that will not do, because our “behaviour is now guided largely by internal reward systems that are mostly self-centred, except for the legacy of the kin selection and reciprocal altruism mechanisms.” Those don’t reconcile us to the desired communitarian ethos prescribed for the 21st century so we get the Good, True, and Beautiful instilled for us and new definitions of Freedom and Liberty. It’s for our own good you see. Needed to solve those wicked problems as a matter of public policy.
Learning standards, properly understood, have “the potential to change how each of us sees ourself, what we do with our life, and the meaning and purpose we see in our individual existence.” Too important to be a matter of personal choice, these have become a matter of prescribed public policy imposed surreptitiously using the law to force compliance with a vision that isn’t our own in most cases.
Shouldn’t we all be aware? If “our thoughts, beliefs, motivations and emotional states, as well as the methods we use to influence them, must become objects of consciousness” so that we can be forced to develop new “psychological software”, don’t we get to at least see what is to be altered and why?
Isn’t actual knowledge, instead of prescribed conceptual ‘frames’, the only way to avoid what has been quietly put in place in a most coordinated manner? Especially with the commencement of the new school year?
Parents may well be rejoicing in achievement that can quite frankly be more accurately seen as brainwashing when properly understood.
What happens to the student or adult who is forced into adopting “new psychological software” despite their reluctance to change?
Somehow it seems likely to be more impactful than a notation “doesn’t have a Growth Mindset”?