Progressively Producing New Kinds of Students Pre-equipped Via Schools to Work Harmoniously

Education professor James Paul Gee has once again told us graphically what is really intended. Even if I did have to go back to 1996 and a book printed in Australia to locate the toxic vision for using schooling to obtain “indirect control” over students and their future behavior. It’s all about the “arrangement of environments” like schools and the required classroom focus and later a mandated change in workplaces. The idea is that these environments can be restructured so that the physical environments and the required nature of the social interactions can “themselves, in a sense, encode control.” Gee concedes that “[s]uch an approach can easily take on the tones of manipulation.” You think? Anything for the Good Society or ‘cooperative commonwealth’ I suppose if you are on the receiving end of taxpayer or other money to Make It So.

The book the new work order: behind the language of the new capitalism explains how cognitive science and the school classroom can be used to ease the transition to a reimagined economic system for the 21st century. And fairly invisibly too. “Such new classrooms may very well progressively produce students pre-equipped to work harmoniously in distributed systems by internalizing core values, values that issue from the social practices and organizational structures of the system itself and not from any visible controlling center.” Now those required new social practices and the change in focus can come from a charter agreement that parents and taxpayers do not understand. From what I am seeing that recognition of “Oh My. What have we really agreed to?” is about to hit full force around many parts of the US.

But the example Gee used from 1996 is about to be a key component of all schools because a requirement of creating a Community of Learners is part of what will measure who will be deemed an effective principal in the future. And the accreditor AdvancED requires a transition to these Learning Communities with their requisite collective visions in its Quality Standards that went into effect in 2012. That’s how this comes in without parents or taxpayers knowing the schools have done a U-turn and gone to the kind of psychological change the student focus that Uncle Karl and John Dewey have pursued in their philosophies towards education for more than a century.

Gee kindly gives us the money quote on how these Communities of Learners are really to work and what the so-called ‘learning theories’ or ‘cognitive science research’ we are really dealing with here. These ‘learning communities’ are

“based on the idea that knowledge does not reside privately in individual heads but rather it is situated in activities and distributed, or as Lave puts it, ‘stretched over–not divided among–mind, body, activity and culturally organized settings (which include other actors)’. This is, of course, precisely our theme of distributed systems.”

Now none of this is factually true but implementing these theories at school and workplaces goes a long way towards shifting towards the type of transformed society I described in the last post. The Good Society Gal Alperowitz is pushing or the cooperative commonwealth of a Harry Boyte or the All-in Nation or The Spirit Society or that welfare state based on subjective well-being the OECD is pushing. Trust me as someone who has read all these reports and books. Remarkable  consistency of vision going on with ed based on technology and the imposition of these psychological theories in the classrooms as the vehicle. And if you are unlucky enough to live in a League of Innovative Schools district, your Central Office has volunteered your children and dollars to fund the research into what works and what produces change and what really motivates your children at an unconscious level they may even be unaware of.

Are we going to get what is being sought? Mercy no. Let’s remember something the French commentator Jean-Francois Revel wrote more than 20 years ago in Last Exit to Utopia reacting to similar nonsense in France. Where of course UNESCO and the OECD are based.

“there can be no society without inequalities. These may derive from differences between individual performance or from disparities in advantages controlled by the state–or more simply from the wall separating those who have one or more state privileges and those who have none. Here I am using the word ‘privilege’ in the exact sense defined by Littre as ‘an advantage granted to an individual or group and enjoyed to the exclusion of others, to the detriment of the common law.’…

The inequalities within productive liberal societies are constantly subject to a mixing process and always in flux. In statist, redistributionist societies, the inequalities are frozen in place.”

That’s where all this is actually headed. The Meeting of the Minds is all about seeking special favors from an alliance with political power. So is the Global Cities Initiative or that Citistates conference at the Rockefeller Foundation estate in Bellagio, Italy in 2002, 2007, and 2012 that we discussed in the comments. Another invitation lost. We are using misunderstood reforms in education globally to change to societies where “the state creates the special privileges that generate inequalities, beginning with those that [politicians and the public sector and their unions] bestow on themselves.” And then quickly their cronies. And we will not be prospering in this static society and we would probably not consent if asked. So we are not being asked. Through federal grants and regional equity initiatives and planning around urban economies, it is all simply happening.

And a subjective well-being global and national focus is a tremendously useful way to make all this invisibly so. All you have to do is use the schools to make new social relationships the focus and limit transmission of facts. Anyone noticed a movement in that direction? Then you simply have to target social and emotional learning just like that July 28, 2012 Positive School Climate Executive Order plus the accreditation standards require. And then you go after an area that uses another $100 word–the conative. What motivates the student? Precisely what Digital Promise is researching and adaptive computer software, gaming, and learner analytics throw off. Massively.

This is a good paper on precisely how invasive this holistic focus is and all the aspects of the student’s identity and personality that are to be considered fair game. To get the desired change to tolerate or hopefully help take action for the desired change. To the Good Society that will actually function as an insiders-only kleptocracy of the sort Revel recognized. And the Soviet Union operated for the benefit of its nomenklatura with their special stores and ability to travel abroad. http://www.edpsycinteractive.org/papers/holistic-view-of-schooling-rev.pdf Notice this vision takes the prof in 2011 to Athens, Greece to present this “new vision for educating children and youth” with his whole child and every domain–Spiritual Transcendence, Moral Character, Social, Volition, Thinking, Affect/Emotion, and Physical/Kinesthetic. That Becoming a Brilliant Star Framework certainly qualifies as a Your-Child-Will-Be -Ours, All Ours orientation.

And finally getting to do research through digital literacy initiatives on students to study motivations and the “use of personal agency or volition to make choices regarding thought, emotions, and behaviors” is crucial to getting the desired common good society. And it’s so cool because virtually no one is paying attention to these levels of planned psychological intrusions or the real reasons for them. And again, you cannot make ‘subjective well-being’ the focus of social transformation UNLESS you also make the psychological and emotions and what drives behavior and collecting all that data the focus of school.

By the way, late in the paper Huitt does ask the question of “whose rights should be central to the concept of citizenship” in the 21st century. The individual or the community? Want to guess where he comes out in this well-cited paper? Yes it did have to do with collective benefit and the UN’s Universal declaration of Human Rights and redistribution to ensure REAL “individual autonomy.” Like anyone is autonomous with all this deliberate psychological conditioning coupled to intentionally trying to alter “one’s view of reality and one’s relationship to it.”

As I was researching this post and where subjective well-being and these psychological intrusions inevitably take us, I came across a 2012 paper on Human Behavior Modeling put out by the Cognitive Sciences Lab at the University of Karlsruhe. It laid out how a focus on emotion and motivation and grit and conative drivers and measuring all this via intentional assessments can be used to make human behavior predictable. People can then be made through schooling  to act consistently with desired models of their future behavior.

We have a very high level of intentional social reengineering going on here all being put in place by principals and consultants and central office staff just pushing whatever garners them the next lucrative promotion or grant or contract. Only aware, I hope, of the line to be sold and the changes to be made but no genuine idea of the real reasons why.

Did you know the word ‘quisling’ refers to a real person? Major Vidkun Quisling (1887-1945) was the Norwegian army officer who collaborated with German occupying forces during World War 2 and ruled Norway a head of the puppet government. After being shot for treason after the German defeat his name became synonymous with traitor.

I can accept not knowing the full story I am telling as all these people move towards implementation of this toxic agenda while living at our expense. But if the provable facts do not cause a Cease and Desist, I suggest getting T-shirts printed up for presentation that say:

Quisling.

 

Does Community of Learners Sound Warm, Fuzzy and Harmless? It’s Not

Community of Learners (CoL) is a phrase that first came on my radar when a new high school principal who prided himself on being a Change Agent kept mentioning it. Sandwiched in between troubling references to the teachers “may no longer teach or lecture” and “students should construct their own learning.” So the term was on my radar screen as probable trouble in a way that most parents or community leaders or politicians are unlikely to pick up on. My guess is the first time any of you or the political decision makers hear of  a CoL or its earlier name, Collaborative Classroom, will be something along the lines of the way Lee S Shulman, the President of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and another Stanford prof, described it. He called it a “pedagogic reform”–“Fostering a Community of Learners.” My comments are in brackets.

“The essence of FCL is the creation of learning experiences in which students who are working on big ideas [now frequently called essential questions as in McTighe/Wiggins Understanding by Design] become interdependent in their investigations and their collaborations around new tasks. [remember CCSSI is student-centered and all the mentions are to activities, tasks, and projects. Virtually all group]… FCL rests heavily on the deep understanding [emotional; affective; grounded in feelings and beliefs based on experiences]. [FCL] is primarily concerned with achieving changes in the social relations among students [paging John Dewey to the 21st Century classroom!!]. Moreover, we argue that this form of task division and distribution is not merely a pedagogical tactic; it mirrors the ways in which complex problems are addressed in both academic and entrepreneurial contexts in the modern world.”

Now, minus my snarkiness or inserted explanations prompting a recall of earlier points in previous posts, this explanation of a reform might sound pretty convincing. Especially if sold as a means to decrease the drop-out rate by increasing student engagement. You can bet this would come with all the university presidents and business people who think it is a wonderful idea. Left out of course would be the fact that the higher ed accreditation agencies required the change in the classroom and probably pushed the “independent” endorsement of FCL to boot. Or that virtually all the businesses being cited for support have some undisclosed conflict or are looking forward to being a designated vendor of a NEED in a hoped-for new kind of Capitalism as we have talked about.

So I see things differently because I understand more pertinent facts than what is typically supplied by the sales campaign for these education or economic reforms. And those of you who are hearing horror stories (finally!!) about the new Common Core Science Standards and its emphasis on consensus science, remember Carnegie financed those standards. So the real point of FCL is pertinent to the real point of those Science Standards. Which is to replace objective, experimental Science as a body of disprovable  knowledge. Instead we are to get experience knowledge grounded in personal perspectives. As you can appreciate Experience Science is much more susceptible to influence from political power. Very convenient in a hoped for government-led economy of the future.

Now what Shulman and others advocating CoLs as a key component now of Effective Teaching and Classrooms and Positive School Climates and Cultures are likely to leave out is that this is yet another export from the Soviet Union from the time of the Cold War. Professor Bronfenbrenner was not the only American prof dropping in on Soviet psychologist Leon’tiev for some advice on how to teach American students in the future. Then Harvard Ed Prof Courtney Cazden just happens to mention in her book Classroom Discourse: The Language of Art and Teaching that FCL came from observations of a mid-70s trip to the USSR she and Professor Ann Brown and Professor Michael Cole took.

The late Ann Brown is considered to be the creator of the US version of FCL along with her husband Joe Campione. She grounded it explicitly in the theories of Soviet psychologist Lev Vygotsky who we have talked about before. He was trying to come up with a way to create the perfect Soviet personality for the future. The FCL Project is described as a “system of interactive activities designed to create a self-consciously active and reflective learning environment.”  Which sounds ever so much like the actual intentions for the Common Core classroom all over the globe now when you read the documents the insiders send to each other on what they wish to achieve.

If you are wondering why now after the USSR went poof, let’s remember all the cited political theorists and business professors and systems thinkers I have described as seeking economic democracy globally in the 21st century. Scharmer, Zuboff, Harry Boyte, Benjamin Barber, and John Dewey himself. Cazden herself said that these types of social interactions in the classroom are “essential for students’ development toward active citizenship in a pluralistic democratic society.”  Professor Michael Cole cited John Dewey for this reason:

“the social environment … is truly educative in the degree to which an individual shares or participates in some conjoint activity. [a nerdy way to say group learning]. By doing his share in the associated activity, the individual appropriates the purpose that actuates it [don’t be surprised if it’s about global warming or overpopulation], becomes familiar with its methods and subject matters, acquires needed skill, and is saturated with emotional spirit.”

That last part really got my attention as another one of the books being cited to push for a different kind of economic system to go with these ed reforms is called The Spirit Society imported from the UK. Plus Zuboff described her distributed capitalism in terms of using education to infuse the desired spirit. We seem to have a consistent theme and desire going here.

Cazden described the importance of FCL and its emphasis on social relationships like this: “Now each student becomes a significant part of the official learning environment for all the others, and teachers depend on students’ contributions to other students’ learning, both in discussions and for the diffusion of individual expertise through the class.”

Yes that is the real reason Gifted programs and tracking are being discontinued. Those fine minds and excellent vocabularies and outside school experiences become common property of the classroom. To be accessible to everyone instead of the talented students moving on in the subject-based, abstract world they are capable of and may prefer. That would be selfish in our hoped for economic democracy where everyone’s needs come first and individualism is no longer a concept to be cherished or even accepted. See Cazden’s colleague James Paul Gee’s rejection of even the concept in an earlier post.

Professor Cole likewise said the Community of Learners concept is grounded in Vygotskyian “cultural-historical activity theory” or CHAT for short. His acronym, not mine.  Like Dewey, Professor Cole sees these learning theories where “humans are [supposedly I add] created in joint mediated activity” as about changing the prevailing society and its customs, feelings, values, attitudes, and beliefs. In fact, Cole said the “acid test of CHAT” would be its “success in guiding the construction of new, more humane forms of activity.”

Like Boyte’s Cooperative Commonwealth or Zuboff’s distributed capitalism or Otto Scharmer’s Capitalism 3.0? Every time we peel away the cover of the rhetoric intended to be the sales campaign about the US Common Core and its related education reforms globally, we find these radical Transformative intentions. Cole says “Culture is exteriorized mind; mind is interiorized culture.” So if you make the classroom about social interaction and the use of a visually-oriented external thinking devices like Smartphone or tablets like an IPad, the hoped-for change is the student’s mind from the inside out. Hopefully largely empty of accurate facts. Do that to enough students, especially making the activities about emotionally provocative or insoluble complex world problems, and you can change the prevailing culture.

Implementing these ed theories may also though destroy everything that works without gaining viable substitutes in its place. Except the strong arm of government coercion. I have not made too heavy of an emphasis on how the Communitarian aspects of all these reforms harkens back to what was going on in 19th century German education reforms. I will simply add that the Germanic term Gemeinschaft keeps being cited in these related reports for internal consumption. One such report from December 2000 went on with the definition of a desired school community “where the value of individuals working together for the common good is upheld and respected.” It also referred reverentially to Amitai Etzioni by name as well as his anti-individualism “social movement.”

Can you see why I see the reality of the Common Core so much differently? It is all there once you treat education reform like an onion and peel away the rhetoric. And track back to the actual creators of these implementation practices.