When a false narrative is set out with respect to education, such as misrepresenting concepts and practices like standards, School Choice, social emotional learning, or labeling NAEP and PISA as ‘tests,’ parents and taxpayers who believe they are getting accurate information from an ‘expert’ get led astray. Worrying about the wrong things and not paying attention to the real functions, they are unable to best protect their children or their tax dollars. Most never seem to think in terms of conflicts of interest or the agenda of the paymasters of the various think tanks. I want to deal with the admitted agenda of the Declared Leftist Radicals first and then show why I disturbingly keep finding language on the supposed Conservative, market-oriented, or Libertarian side that is clearly headed to the same place.
Let’s start with this paper from 2010 http://www.tellus.org/pub/GTI%20Perspective%20-%20We%20the%20People%20of%20Earth%20-%20Toward%20Global%20Democracy.pdf
It started by declaring that “we confront daunting twenty-first century challenges hobbled by twentieth century institutions.” Now I read enough Leftist sites and books to know they repeatedly call for “new forms of social organization.” What if we cannot see that schools have become a radically new form of social organization because we assume we have a choice? Then all the limitations now placed on how schools and students must interact and offer instruction would be hidden behind obscuring misdefinitions. We would have an illusion of choice, but a reality of unappreciated prescription. That same link ends with “As with any democracy, the legitimacy of global governance rests with engaged citizens who demand rights and assume responsibilities. The globalization of the human project sets the historic condition for a corresponding enlargement of identity and community.”
What if that goal for creating “a worthy planetary civilization” relies on governments at all levels stipulating performance and achievement ‘standards’, which regulate what anyone must know or do? What if those same levels of government describe the desired values, dispositions, ethics, and beliefs that students are to internalize? What if those stipulations get hidden as social emotional learning, character, or civics education? What if parents never grasp that both NAEP and PISA are looking to assess for whether the desired internalized, prescribed attributes have taken hold at a neurobiological level? Parents might then never know that their child was being socially reengineered at school because they believe those measures are ‘tests.’ They would have been misled and might fail to recognize the existence of a PDM–a Political Disciplinary Mechanism–used to make sure that the subsidiary levels of government remain faithful to the desired national or global implementation.
Remembering my Pincer Action metaphor from the last post, let’s shift to what UK Sociologist Anthony Giddens wrote in his 1994 book Beyond Left and Right: The Future of Radical Politics where he talked about shifting from a welfare state to Positive Welfare. As I have documented previously, that fits with what various members of the Atlas Network state they are seeking when you read the fine print and the declared agendas of some of their touted speakers (my bolding).
“Happiness ‘does not depend on outside events, but rather on how we interpret them’; it is ‘a condition that must be prepared for, cultivated.’ It depends less on controlling the outer world than controlling the inner one. ‘People who learn to control inner experience will be able to determine the quality of their lives, which is as close as any of us can come to being happy.’”
Grammarians will notice Giddens was quoting someone, which I will get to in a moment. What if social emotional learning and quality learning are actually designed to change how the child perceives the world just as Giddens desired and parents are unaware because they have been trained deceitfully like Pavlov’s Dogs to simply worry about databases of Personally Identifiable Information? The proclaimed needed cultivation and internalized control would be put in place through the schools to be lasting and unconscious with parents none the wiser. Giddens was in turn quoting Mihaly Csiksentmihaly, who is the creator of what Excellence actually means in education. http://invisibleserfscollar.com/excellence-means-education-putting-what-we-feel-wish-for-and-think-in-harmony/ Long time readers will also recognize Csik’s involvement in GERG–General Evolution Research Group with some of the systems theorists I have tagged to this post.
Now remember that civil rights laws are now being interpreted to REQUIRE Excellence and Equity in education. It’s just not the Webster’s definition of Excellence in play. Now I am about to introduce yet another one of those nerdy words that occasionally are necessary. This time though the word autotelic is not mine. It is once again Giddens, quoting Csik so here we go.
” A person who pays attention to an interaction instead of worrying about the self obtains a paradoxical result. She no longer feels like a separate individual, yet her self becomes stronger. The autotelic individual grows beyond the limits of individuality by investing psychic energy in a system in which she is included. Because of this union of the person and the system, the self emerges at a higher level of complexity…[this, however,] requires determination and discipline. Optimal experience is not the result of a hedonistic, lotus-eating approach to life…one must develop skills that stretch capacities, that make one become more than one is.”
Now if that development of the autotelic self is actually what social emotional learning standards and the hype over Grit, Perseverence, and a Growth Mindset actually get at, this letter to Congress http://truthinamericaneducation.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Final-Ltr-NAEP-legal-and-privacy-concerns-06272016.pdf would be setting both Congress and parents in the wrong direction. Plus the supposedly proscribed and even boldfaced for emphasis, “fundamental theory of liberty upon which all governments in this Union repose excludes a general power of the State to standardize its children by forcing them to accept instruction…” would continue unabated. That’s the effect of either deliberately False Narratives in education or just confusion or ignorance about the true nature of these reforms. No need for Personally Identifiable Information to thoroughly standardize a child at an invisible level.
I want to quote Giddens one more time and then show why I am so sure that as currently set up under federal and certain state laws, money following the child is designed to get precisely that kind of proscribed standardization at an internalized, neurobiological level. I also think if parents got in the habit of reading school or district charter language and private school mission statements they would quickly discover it is not just Giddens and Csik wanting to foster an autotelic self. I think we may also have found the reason why my research into the Positive School Climate mandate back in 2012 led me straight to Professor Amitai Etzioni and his communitarian ethics (italics in original).
“A generative model of equality, or equalization, could provide the basis of a new pact between the affluent and the poor. Such a pact would be an ‘effort bargain’ founded on lifestyle change. Its motivating forces would be acceptance of mutual responsibility for tackling the ‘bads’ which development has brought in its train; the desirability of lifestyle change on the part of both the privileged and less privileged; and a wide notion of welfare, taking the concept away from economic provision for the deprived towards fostering the autotelic self.”
As a supernerd who keeps a 1962 two thousand page Webster’s in her vicinity at all times when she writes, I can affirm that the word autotelic has no entry in the version that goes back to the 1940s. Telic, however, made it in and means “directed toward an end; purposeful.” Autotelic then would mean being unconsciously directed towards ends someone else has picked out for us and may not have told us about. We might also have been given a false narrative about what standards, School Choice, and social emotional learning are really all about and falsely believe ourselves to be well-informed. Going back to Excellence, if someone has used school and instruction to manipulate what we each feel, think, and want, do we really have our own purposes anymore?
Back in early July, the publication Education Reimagined cited the Reschool Colorado: Creating a New Education System template as an exemplar. That caught my eye not just because of Columbine, but also because Colorado is where the GERG template for Achieving Excellence was first piloted in the 80s. What I found was something called the Learner Advocate Network, that is still in the design phase, but is where money following the child is intended to end up. I also was familiar with the phrase Capacity (Skill, Content, Disposition) from the Human Capabilities and Development work of another admitted Leftist Martha Nussbaum and Atlas Network preferred speaker Amartya Sen. Interesting coincidence, huh?
That recognition made the need to locate Reschool Colorado’s Framework for the Future of Learning https://www.dropbox.com/s/zz7ohda2mfetsfv/Framework%20for%20the%20Future%20of%20Learning.pdf?dl=0 all the more crucial. If that’s not another way to express an engineered autotelic self without admitting that reality and convergence of the Right and Left, I don’t have a mountain of research leading to this exact same place through the decades, across continents, and with differing declared rationales. Isn’t everyone else excited about being assessed as Academically Prepared under those definitions, being a Self-Manager, Socially Intelligent, and a Solution Seeker all under the standards put in place quietly by a state or local school district? Pertinent to the fed’s new statute mandating Success for Every Student, we have Colorado avoiding any PDM by insisting that its “definition of success should include the multi-faceted ways individuals may seek meaning in life and contribute to the world.”
Oh, joy. Maybe they too can cease to think of themselves as an individual and instead look to their membership and responsibilities to the broader systems they live or work in. Now Reschool Colorado is an initiative of the Donnell-Kay Foundation that hosted this Book Event for political scientist and educational researcher Rick Hess http://www.chalkbeat.org/posts/co/2015/03/30/rick-hess-teacher-leadership-can-and-should-be-more-than-an-empty-phrase/ of Atlas Network member, American Enterprise Institute. If that seems coincidental, the foundation is also a major advocate of public charter schools. See what I mean about where School Choice is actually headed? In a world where Stanford’s Hoover Institute partners with Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government to publish Education Next it shouldn’t be such a surprise that the so-called Right and Left Pincers are herding us to the same place.
What is harder to know is that the Kennedy School of Government’s Elaine Kamarck, then Executive Director of their new Visions of Governance for the Twenty-First Century, was part of Giddens’ 2001 Conference and book called The Global Third Way Debate. That would tie the Hoover Institute and its work in education to that vision as well, which may be why School Choice now leads to that Framework for the Future of Learning that wants to prescribe internalized capabilities every bit as much as Professor Nussbaum, Amartya Sen, or Csik. Remember my concern about the Process Theory of Law in the last post where something gets declared to be a “matter of public policy” and then the law becomes an unappreciated hand-servant to force the vision on us as if we were all just subjects and the governed? My research journey on that point led me to a 1998 Columbia Law Review paper called “A Constitution of Democratic Experimentalism.”
Want to guess what that theory and affirmative view of a radicalised Constitution needs? It needs practices in education that get to and shape personal “identities and capacities.”
Precisely what the Left has admitted it seeks to do repeatedly.
Precisely where that Reschool Colorado Framework for the Future of Learning went as well.
That’s quite a convergence and plenty of reasons for all the obfuscations we encounter from people who claim to be education experts.
As always, Follow the Money.