Embracing a Troika of Collectivist Social Engineers as Defining Student Learning

21st Century Learning really should not be about ‘neural tuning,’ “leverage points” for “brain reorganization”, or about how “habits of mind directly shape the anatomy and connectivity of the brain.” All of those terms came from the new How People Learn II: Learners, Contexts, and Cultures that EdWeek‘s “Inside School Research” touted with this celebratory lead-in on October 8, 2018:

“Learning is a conversation with the world, from a newborn’s brain lighting up as his mother sings to him, to a teenager choking on a test for fear of fulfilling a stereotype to elderly people heading off cognitive decline by learning a new language. In an update to its landmark reports on education research, the National Academies new HPL II digs into what science can tell schools about how to build on students’ culture and experience to improve learning.”

Most people, even educators with doctorates who loved to be addressed with the Dr. salutation, do not read the actual reports. They will never know then that the learning standards, science of learning, and brain-based research are grounded in how the brain can be redesigned and rewired given the “right kind” of learning experiences. They will not read the paragraph under “Learning as a Social Activity” and recognize the implications of who is being cited. Let me quote:

“Another body of work in psychology that explores the role of culture in shaping psychological processes has focused on learning as a dynamic system of social activity. Many of these researchers draw from a set of ideas about development advanced by Lev Vygotsky, Alexander Luria, and Aleksei Leontiev: the ‘troika’ of pioneers in what is variously known as the sociocultural, social historical, or cultural-historical theory of development: the idea that social, cultural, and historical contexts define and shape a particular child and his experience…Researchers who adopt the sociocultural-historical perspective in examining learning do so within the cultural context of everyday life.”

I covered Lev Vygotsky in Credentialed to Destroy and Leontiev’s quote that American research on human development was erroneously focused on social and economic systems that presently exist or had occurred in the past in a previous post. This set of ideas about development HPL II is mandating then fit with the purpose of these Soviet theories: how a child “can become what he not yet is.” http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/imitating-the-ussr-in-striving-to-discover-how-the-child-can-become-what-he-not-yet-is/ HPL II also specifically cites to Urie Bronfenbrenner and his Bioecological Systems Theory, which was also covered in that post and which has its own ISC tag, like Leontiev. Finally, I have read Luria’s Autobiography, which Professor Michael Cole (also has a tag) translated into English to help promulgate this ‘set of ideas about development.”

When the creators of a set of ideas tell us the purpose of the theories is to create a new kind of person with a new kind of consciousness that they proudly called homus sovieticus, we should be a bit reluctant to make those practices the required source of 21st Century K-12 Learning in societies that regard themselves as free. Especially when governments are creating learning standards and required assessments that seek to regulate “the processes [that] are the activities and interactions in which individuals engage that help them make sense of their world and their place in it.”

All the mandates about the Whole Child and required social and emotional learning make sense when we recognize the targeting of “emotions, goals, social relationships, prior experiences, and cognitive and biological predispositions [that] all influence how individuals interpret situations and hence what they learn” for transformational change. Remember the Learner Exit Profile vision UNESCO is pushing to target future decision-making from the last post? That goes to the need to manipulate the activities and learning experiences through “the changing demands, features, and supports of the learning situation [to] further influence people’s interpretations and emotions, what they will decide to do, and consequently what they learn.” All controlled by the desired outcomes of changing who the student is and what they desire from the inside-out.

Last week also saw the release of https://education-reimagined.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Schools-Out-Brochure_FINAL.pdf advocating a “meaningful new system of learning” because education now “must produce thoughtful, contributing members of society who can survive and thrive in rapidly changing environments.” That sounds so much better than what Leontiev described as a goal of creating people for a world that does not yet exist, but it is actually the same goal. That’s probably why ‘community leaders’ interviews after that report came out framed it as pursuing John Dewey’s vision of education as “the pursuit of self-actualization and a contribution to the broader collective.” Another leader said “education is what remains after we forget everything we’ve been taught” which certainly sounded like internalized neural Habits of Mind to me. He then went on to say education is “really about creating a harmony between the ideas that we have in our minds and the values we hold in our hearts.”

Making sure those Ideas and Values are what is desired then becomes the whole point of 21st Century Learning. After all, as HPL II put it: “learning at the individual level involves lasting adaptations of multiple systems to the changing external and internal environment, including changes in the biology of the brain.” If you wanted to know why targeting emotions now is so crucial, HPL II tells us that “emotions help learners set goals during learning. They tell the individual experiencing them when to keep working and when to stop, when she is on the right path to solve a problem and when she needs to change course, what she should remember and what is not important.”

That’s what is being targeted for transformation to allow the world to supposedly shift beyond political and economic systems that exist now or have in the past to a new vision of how the world might be. When HPL II states that “the committee has taken a sociocultural view of learning,” this is an aspirational statement of what can be made to be, at a biological, neural level, if only the the ‘right’ theories of learning are imposed to create the new desired psychological processes. That’s also the reason for the definition of Learn HPL II adopts:

‘Learn’ is an active verb: it is something people do, not something that happens to them. People are not passive recipients of learning, even if they are not always aware that the learning process is happening. Instead, through acting in the world, people encounter situations, problems, and ideas, they have social, emotional, cognitive, and physical experiences, and they adapt. These experiences and adaptations shape a person’s abilities, skills, and inclinations going forward, thereby influencing and organizing that individual’s thoughts and actions going forward.”

By creating desired adaptations at a biological level and making learning formative to “shape a person’s abilities, skills, and inclinations” at the level of thought and likely future action, the Portrait of a Graduate or Learner Exit Profile, like Tranzi OBE in the 90s (covered in CtD), means that people have a steerable rudder ready to be exploited without their knowledge or consent. A politically organized society using education as its primary tool and data to see if desired goals are coming to fruition. Two more reports released last week made it clear to me that Equity as a civil rights legal mandate will be the banner used to make sure these learning theories created by the Soviet ‘troika’ make it into every classroom. https://www.crpe.org/sites/default/files/crpe-mind-gap-will-all-students-benefit-21st-century-learning.pdf is one and the other is here https://www.inacol.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Quality-Principles-Book.pdf .

Somehow the High-Quality Competency-Based Education with Equity at the Center to correct the Ten Flaws of the Traditional System requires practices that fit with HPL II and all were released in the same week. Let’s close with yet another quote from a ‘community leader’ advocating for the School’s Out vision. Ravi believes that the question “How do we educate for an unpredictable future?” is “putting the cart before the horse because we create the future based on how we educate. I think this opens up the opportunity to consider education not as a way to prepare kids for society but as a means of empowering them to lead us into the future and make changes along the way.” Based on desired goals apparently because this is the same leader who thought education was what remained after we forget everything we’ve been taught.

One of the educators for that same report said that “with our younger learners the science of human development needs to be front and center for everything we design.” The problem is this so-called science of human development is simply a tool of collectivists intent on transformational social, political, and economic social engineering if we read their books and papers as I have and do. See what I mean about how evidence-based learning and education standards essentially trying to program the mind and emotions?

Since the only way I know to make this metaphorical serf’s collar visible is to write about it, I guess I will keep trying to buck this script aimed at thoughts and future actions.

Social engineering nightmare seems like more of an apt description.

Lucrative Deceit: Managing Consciousness By Conjoining Social Media & Charter Schools

This post was outlined before the outcry over Facebook’s gathering of data, but the outside in power of all that data on so much of the population should be kept in mind as we look at the Chan Zuckerburg interest in transformative charter schools. It also fits with the interest we have seen since my March 8 post on Parkland and the meaning of that motto of the PROMISE Program in Broward County. I have repeatedly read since then numerous articles from supposedly conservative sources misportraying the clear developmental focus of the required practices. It gets pitched as simply a matter of federal overreach and coercion via funding. Yesterday, the charter-supporting Heritage Foundation https://www.heritage.org/firearms/report/focusing-school-safety-after-parkland joined what looks like a well-coordinated campaign to make Paul Sperry’s derivative and whitewashed description of the Program the official narrative. Mustn’t accurately explain what one intends to use so let’s just mine ISC for information and skip over Robin’s inconvenient interpretations that shine an accurate light on these practices.

After all, we know charters have a likely chance to be deemed effective and gain a right to more federal funding if they have a Whole Child focus that Infuses Developmental Neuroscience into the curriculum and required practices as this link lays out. http://www.jahonline.org/article/S1054-139X(12)00192-9/pdf Likewise, notice how often a private or charter school has language in its mission statement about its purpose “to educate students to be knowledgeable, responsible, socially skilled, healthy, caring, and contributing citizens” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12971193 or hyping their “strengths-based approaches to child and adolescent development…and emphasis on students’ resilience in the school and community” (quoting the National Association of School Psychologists), or Promoting Youth Development (PYD). http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/rulesforengagement/Taylor%20et%20al%20-%20FINAL%20document%206%2017%202017.pdf

All of the linked SEL research matters because they are tied to the PROMISE Program when accurately interpreted using its cited foundational research and not whitewashed for political purposes. The whtewashing is no surprise though as the charter schools use the same developmental template as Broward’s PROMISE program when the latter is properly understood. Let’s switch to something else charters use to ensure their efficacy and are not upfront about. I am quoting from a 2011 book by Duke prof Cathy N Davidson called Now You See It: How Technology and Brain Science Will Transform Schools and Business for the 21st Century where Davidson profiled the innovative new forms of learning being implemented by a number of cited charter schools. When we talk about the use of categories, concepts, or guiding principles, recall how useful it will be to have the News Literacy Project we encountered in the last post working hand in hand with the categories of thought pushed as Reading and Thinking Like A Historian or Higher Order Thinking Skills.

This post begins a trilogy and that will be the in-depth topic of the next post. In the mean time let’s appreciate what charter operators all know. “How we use our brain (what we pay attention to) changes our brain. Those things that capture our attention–our learning and our work, our passions and our activities–change our actual brain biology.” That’s a direct confession, isn’t it? Plenty of reason for deceit there. The emphasis on Disciplinary Core Ideas to use just one of the euphemisms or Enduring Understandings makes sense when we all become aware that “once everything is located in a proper category, the category itself (for better or worse) answers a host of unaskable questions. A category is a shorthand.” And whoever controls those required categories of thought can insist all day long that “they are teaching students how to think, not telling them what to think” but that repeated assertion doesn’t make it true. Whoever controls the prescribed categories of thought, controls thought. Period. Especially once it becomes a Habit of Mind.

Quoting Davidson again: “distinctions are normative, sensory, behavioral, social, cognitive, and affective all at once. Learning happens in categories, with values clumped together in our words, concepts, and actions. And this is where attention and its concomitant attention blindness come from.” All the emphasis now on Engagement, activity, and relevance really make sense when we appreciate that a classroom emphasis on these has become required because they “transform not merely our behavior but the underlying neural networks that make attention possible. Every manifestation of attention in the real world begins in the brain” and every successful charter school operator knows that as well as so should we. Davidson went on to call out Canadian Donald O. Hebb by name as the “father of neuropsychology” because:

“he was the first person to observe that learning occurs when neurons streamline into pathways and then streamline into other pathways, into efficient clusters that act in concert with one another. This is now called the Hebbian principle: Neurons that fire together, wire together. This means the more we repeat certain patterns of behavior (that’s the firing together), the more those behaviors become rapid, then reflexive, then automatic (that’s the wiring). They become patterns, habits, groupings, categories, or concepts, all efficiencies that ‘wire together’ sets of individual reflexes or responses.”

Now if your child’s school of any type or online curriculum is grounded in creating such a Hebbian neural web that will ultimately guide their future behavior at an unconscious, but predictable, level, don’t you want to know that? Isn’t all the organized deceit making more sense now? I feel though like those old Ronco holiday commercials when many of us were kids advertising for some useful gadget that we supposedly cannot live without in every house. “But wait! There’s more!” As part of the case after the Parkland shooting for why more social and emotional learning and an antibullying emphasis were needed came this story https://www.educationdive.com/news/creating-schools-that-fit-our-kids/518917/ hyping a report from the Aspen Institute and its panel of educators.

Now I first wrote about that panel back in September here http://invisibleserfscollar.com/capturing-every-thought-captive-and-sculpting-students-as-systems-driver-of-perfidy/ and in several of the following posts. That report and Consensus Statement were always going to come out, but the Parkland mass murder gives gave a chance to pitch the change in emphasis as urgent so that “social, emotional, and academic development” can be integrated. That also fits with the links above that are the basis for how charters really work and what the PROMISE Program was actually designed to change. Now I have written about one panel member before, Linda Lantieri, and how she trains classroom teachers in techniques that are billed as New Age on some days depending on her audience and on others as Positive Psychology. I recognized other names too, but the Council of Distinguished Educators member that really caught my eye was from a chain of charter schools called Valor Collegiate Academies.

That’s where our conjoining reference comes from as we have funding coming from the Left Pincer in the form of the Chan Zuckerburg Initiative and from the Right Pincer that seemingly does not want the PROMISE program accurately understood in the form of the Charter Schools Growth Fund. Now Valor openly trumpets in its materials that it uses required regular group Valor Circle practices that are “grounded in the field of Interpersonal Neurobiology which posits that relationships ‘inspire us to rewire our brains toward integration.'” Well, that’s certainly one way to create change in the student effectively and thus ensure additional funding and opportunities for expansion. Valor has graphics about targeting the students’ “drives for agency and communion, or self-determination and connection… and helping scholars (and adults) create their own ‘inner compass'”.

Now, I am not disagreeing that people need an inner compass, but if a school is deliberately rewiring childrens’ brain in a Hebbian manner, parents should be told that forthrightly before they act like programmed automatons. How many parents appreciate that neural rewiring emphasis when they read language (bolding in original) about “All Members of the Valor Community aspire to balance their Sharp Mind and Big Heart and to live their Noble Purpose through Aligned Actions, all the while accessing their True North” to make meaningful choices in their everyday life. ” That True North: Habits of Center is grounded in Mindfulness research, which is certainly an interesting remedy for preventing another Parkland type shooting.

It’s not just that I recognize what is cited as Mindfulness, but here’s a quote from a draft I downloaded of what was to be implemented in the 2017-2018 school year per “True North ‘standards’ or intended learnings.

“True North practices range in duration and focus. Many of the True North practices at Valor are informed by curricula such as Mindful Schools and Applied Mindfulness: Inner Life Skills for Youth and are attention training activities [remember the Cathy Davidson quotes above on the effect on the brain] to help scholars increase concentration and well-being while reducing stress levels. Practices range in focus from one’s basic goodness to posting attention and from compassion meditations to mindful movement.”

Is that what anyone was expecting to be touted “at a time when the nation is looking for solutions to violent tragedies like the Feb. 14 shooting” at Parkland? Is this why we cannot get accurate reporting except at ISC or in my book Credentialed to Destroy of what competency-based education and frameworks actually aim to change or what the Broward PROMISE Program and Restorative Justice programs really hope to alter? Are charter schools, online providers, and private and parochial schools all afraid they will not get access to public funds if parents recognize that they too are aimed at neural rewiring “to produce knowledgeable and competent adults able to participate as informed citizens in the democratic process”?

We will discuss the source of that last quote and its ties to the School Choice funding campaign in the next post–Part 2 of this Trilogy of Lucrative Deceit.

Orthopraxy as Evidence-Based: Data Just Shows the Efficacy of the Sought Theory of Change

The reaction to the last post was certainly fascinating for those of you who do not read the comments or are not on Anita Hoge’s mailing list. I have to confess I already knew precisely what the citeable definition of “evidence-based” was when I wrote that post. I wanted to find out if there was any interest in the truth or whether the organized narrative and misdirection was the real point. Since we now have our answer and I said it was citeable, evidence-based under the School Improvement Grants during the Obama Administration referred to “activities, practices, or interventions” that had either been shown to be effective in creating the desired outcomes in the student  or had a “research-based rationale describing why it is likely to improve student outcomes or other relevant outcomes. The recommended format for demonstrating and communicating this rationale is through a logic model.” [frequently italicized for emphasis as logic model and so integral to organizing a society a la Upravleniye that it can be found translated into other languages and alphabets all over the globe].

Back to quoting from a recent Rand report having to do with funding streams under ESSA for “evidence-based” curricula and interventions. “The Education Department General Administration Regulations (EDGAR) defines a logic model as:

a well-specified conceptual framework that identifies key components of the proposed process, product, strategy, or practice (i.e., the active ‘ingredients’ that are hypothesized to be critical to achieving the relevant outcomes) and describes the relationships among the key components and outcomes, theoretically and operationally. (Code of Federal Regulations, Title 34, Sec. 77.1, 2015)

An effective logic model should draw on past research to detail the components of the intervention and provide empirical justification for the hypothesized ways these components affect the targeted outcomes. That is, logic models are effective tools for visually communicating to stakeholders what an intervention entails and why it should work.”

That sounds technical so let me quote from another part of the report since I have been screaming from the rooftops for years on this blog and detailed in Credentialed to Destroy that social and emotional learning should not be viewed as about a database of PII. Here’s the quote: “Among educators and researchers, there is a growing acknowledgment that student success depends not only on achievement in core academic subjects but also on learning a broader range of intrapersonal and interpersonal competencies. Efforts to develop these competencies are often described using the phrase social and emotional learning (SEL).”

Well, that’s not how the False Narrative alarming parents of a surveillance state of PII instead of factually telling them school intends to rewire their children’s brains via prescribed experiences explains SEL. Why is that and why does it matter so much? Am I simply playing the annoying Classroom Rocket-arm who always shouted out “I know. I know” as they raised their hand? Here’s an example of why it matters so much  https://www.edsurge.com/news/2017-11-22-how-to-measure-success-without-academic-achievement Notice how the author declares the desired outcomes of getting to heaven or being “a good person” as interchangeable goals in terms of the desired internalized changes and personal characteristics sought and how to bring those about via classroom experiences.

How intrusive is that? That’s evidence-based policymaking in education. An IB Learner graphic or Portrait of a Graduate set out in state ESSA plans are logic models. Some of the most notorious curricula we have covered on this blog like Responsive Classroom, Tools of the Mind, the Good Behavior Game, mindfulness activities, and PATHS–Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies were all deemed by Rand to not just be evidence-based and qualified for federal funding, but already having proven efficacy at creating the desired intrapersonal and interpersonal characteristics in the student. See why I think it is such a mistake to make the tool of data the focus instead of the desired sought changes to the student? See how much it matters what the logic model or blueprint shows are the desired changes that classrooms then backward map curricula to create in the student?

Another evidence-based model of education, this time pushed by the Millennium School, tells us that the “highest function of education is to bring about an integrated individual who is capable of dealing with life as a whole.” An adult whose neural hardware and the operating software installed via classroom experiences over years of “continuous improvement” along a desired learning progression doesn’t need to be constantly monitored by a “surveillance state”. His motivations, perceptions, emotions, interpretive tools, and the very means of grasping reality itself have all been programmed already. Those sought changes need to be the focus. The future behavior is quite predictable because K-12 education under names like “science-based” or “evidence-based” shifted from its historical focus on a body of knowledge to orthopraxy–school as practice for a desired future way of life.

A reader brought Brian D McLaren’s book The Great Spiritual Migration to my attention and his desired orthopraxy vision for a new kind of Christianity reminded me a great deal of how learning standards like the Common Core or a competency framework really work when properly understood in a way the False Narrative somehow seeks to prevent. In a world where heaven and being a good citizen require comparable classroom interventions and activities, I guess that makes sense. Instead of knowledge, it appears to me that we are to have a new model of education globally that fits with what McLaren called faith.

“faith is conviction, the deep and motivating sense that a course of action is right and worth doing. This conviction is lived out in the context of uncertainty. It involves a risk, an unknown. It proceeds not by certainty, but through confidence, the deep and motivating sense that a risk is worthwhile. This conviction (faith) and confidence (hope) are then expressed through love. Seen in this light, you can have a lot of beliefs with very little faith, and you can have a lot of faith with very little in the way of beliefs.”

Now if the actual purpose of this new vision of education is creating a good person or Godly citizen ready to act as a Maker of History to push a new vision of “living systems” and how they will interact in the 21st century, all the deceit really does start to make sense doesn’t it? It explains why I keep finding professors and graduate students in social and public policy being taught that social systems can be redesigned to fit new intentions. It just takes new goals, government edicts, and plenty of data that need not be personally identifiable at all to work just fine.

Since I am still in a wrist brace and this is already longer than I intended to type, let me close with another link that the Rand report cited called “Making Evidence Locally: Rethinking Education Research under the Every Student Succeeds Act” by Thomas J. Kane. Kane has also written about how states can create ‘efficacy networks’ to test strategies for school improvement back in April 2017 in an interview on a site devoted to government innovation. The first was published in the Spring here http://educationnext.org/files/ednext_xvii_2_kane.pdf in a Harvard publication supported financially by the Bradley Foundation. Now that philanthropy is free to support financially whomever it wishes, just as we are free to notice that article places it supporting two sides of the ‘evidence-based” narrative.

If you are an education insider you get the accurate story of what the model means and how so much of the sought implementation and testing for efficacy is planned for the local level. If you are a parent though wondering what is happening to your child and are looking for answers, you are liable to be led to books published by Bradley’s publishing subsidiary, Encounter Books, that push the useful False Narrative. You may hear the hype about School Choice or databases or Student Unit Records and end up listening to someone employed by a think tank funded by Bradley’s deep coffers. I just find the involvement on both sides to be fascinating and I am very grateful to that Rand report footnote.

I am also grateful we have an ability to move beyond where the Right and Left Pincers want to take this discussion of what is really going on in K-12 education. They keep hyping research-based education. I guess I am glad we are still able to have research-based writing on the topic, even if the False Narrative does try to prevent widespread circulation or appreciation for its accuracy.

 

Everybody In! Instilling the Proper Mode of Human Conduct to Capture Hearts

In the last post, the cited Behavioral Scientist article justifying the need for #Charlottesville Conversations in all schools nationally, in turn cited a 1987 book The Battle for Human Nature by Barry Schwartz. Try not to be too shocked that I have now read that book and took today’s post title from its goals. See if anyone else thinks these aspirations were a good reason to try to create mayhem that tragically escalated, instead of simply serving as a rationale for a certain emphasis for the new school year. Since I have a hard copy I can tell everyone that the Acknowledgments page thanks a “Marty Seigman” who we all know as the Penn Prof behind Positive Education, Prospective Psychology, and Positive Neuroscience that feature so prominently in the actual new ESSA state plans and required Social Emotional Learning Standards now.

Just in case anyone thinks the following quotes cannot actually be anything more than a nerdy discussion, this is was what outcomes-based education was really about. It is what standards-based reforms such as the Common Core or even supposed alternatives like the Catholic Curriculum Frameworks are really about. It’s why we keep running into the phrase ‘human flourishing’ around every corner in education. I also suspect it is what the outcry over the DACA rollback is really about.

“How should society be organized? How should the resources of society be distributed among its members? How much should individual freedom be restricted, and in what ways? What is the extent of our responsibility to other human beings, and to the society to which we belong? What is the proper mode of human conduct, and how should it be instilled in people?”

That instilling in people is what the Tranzi OBE laid out in my book Credentialed to Destroy was all about and it is what its new rename as Graduate Profiles and Portraits of a Graduate gets at. My alma mater just put out its “Reflections on the Reformed Tradition  at Davidson College” where it describes the Marxist Humanist vision without using the M word but attributes the necessity for economic and social justice to the Presbyterian view of the world. Funny how it gets to the same place as what we saw with the Special Rome Edition of the 2016 World Happiness Report Vatican laid out for Catholicism or Islam’s Tarbiyah Project for schools. In case your alma mater has not yet added a new “Justice, Equality and Community” distribution requirement to mandate all “students’ intellectual engagement with social issues,” let’s quote the rationale everyone seems to be using to get at the internalized basis of future behavior:

“Educating the whole person involves more than training the intellect; it also involves training the knower’s interests and commitments. This inevitably influences his or her values, character, and behavior. Again, because Reformed believing envisions an expansive human calling (love of God and neighbor, or attention to the broadest ‘public good’), preparation for responsible living [College, Career, and Citizenship Ready?] does not reduce to intellectual training but involves the person’s other capacities as well. Indeed, when people pursue more particular callings or vocations, say as physicians, lawyers, parents, or teachers, the Reformed Tradition construes these lines of responsibility through which they serve others with their minds, hearts, and wills.”

I write books and this blog to do that, but somehow I doubt Davidson would see it that way. Notice you could substitute virtually every religious faith for what they are using the “Reformed tradition” to rationalize. For secular progressives, the word Democracy will substitute nicely as well. Virtually everyone seems intent now on insisting that education “cultivates humane instincts, and creative and disciplined minds for lives of leadership and service.” Again, this is not a new thing as we can see in a book from 1955 that Schwartz cited called Utopia 1976. It spoke openly about a desired “coming revolution of the spirit of man,” which is certainly a good reason for ubiquitous SEL, isn’t it?

The current Davidson statement complained about “those in our society, both conservative and progressive, who would separate faith and reason.” Utopia 1976 wanted that same combination to fuel its “desired revolution of the spirit”. It even provided the reason for all this Mind Arson and Dumbing Down I and others have documented through the years. Notice the use of the word “apperceive” to describe what Davidson called “disciplined minds” and “Marty Seligman” thanked above now calls Prospective Psychology. With Templeton Foundation funding just like the Jubilee Centre that has created the Knightly Virtues curriculum and the Moral Development Framework. If only we had some continuity in these initiatives across the decades, institutions, and countries. Oh, wait.

“We will avoid some of man’s great prior losses that occurred because discoveries came before man had knowledge enough to recognize the novel. We will apperceive what is in front of our eyes, and not only what is behind them. Every human, to lesser or greater degree, has the capacity of hypothesis, imagination, comparison, and reason. And this capacity, affected by environment, can be taught. [Can anyone say ‘inquiry learning’?] Even the art of intuition is not exclusively a matter of genes.

In fact, for some purposes the less informed are often the best equipped to grasp new principles. They are less thwarted by traditional acceptance of formerly held ideas.”

Oh, wow. Let that sink in. Utopia 1976 put this same aspiration even more succinctly by stating that “Dreams are a form of ideas and hence are powerful makers of history.” As a history major, that approach, cultivated deliberately and deceitfully by education, strikes me as quite dangerous. Davidson’s statement called it a desire to “cultivate creativity to affect change” in students. Schwartz in 1987, laying the cited foundation for the Charlottesville Conversations now, said it was all about a vision of human nature that sees it as mutable instead of fixed. If the type of education implemented and social conditions “in which people are at risk” can be changed, then, perhaps, people can be changed so that they operate under “a life of commitment to producing social change.”

The shifts we have all noticed in the curriculum make far more sense once we read Schwartz complain about “Knowing what forces are responsible for keeping the planets moving about the sun does not give people any particular power to control or change them.” No need then for a transmission of knowledge curriculum. Better to focus on creating a new guided moral compass to motivate a change in behavior and a desire to transform the world as it is.That would be “current social conditions” to Schwartz. I guess that would be the world behind us so we can concentrate on the world that might be. Prospective Psychology again or just competency-based education when accurately understood.

So “Knowledge” now is really only worth knowing when “it identifies aspects of the world over which people can exercise some control.” No wonder we keep hearing requirements for relevant, authentic learning. I am going to end this post with another Schwartz quote from his Epilogue as I believe it lays out perfectly why we keep hearing about Outcomes, Objectives, Standards-based Reforms, and Competency Frameworks. Remember how we just keep encountering a desire to use education to force an evolution of prevailing culture? Think about this when we falsely assume that the schools or colleges of today have the same purpose of the ones we attended.

“As culture develops, the paths are changed. Some stop being used and are allowed to fall into disrepair, slowly reclaimed by the wilderness. Others become popular and are lengthened and expanded to make room for all travelers. Culture’s paths are not accidental. They are meant to constrain people to move in some directions and not others; to make some destinations easy to reach and others impossible. These paths are meant to help travelers find their way.”

The paths of desired transformations via education are probably the least accidental of all. It’s why we keep coming across the same vision of the future, but with a variety of justifying rationales depending on the expected audience and what is plausible.

The true desired transformation may not be pleasant to see, but neither is there any doubt what education’s new role is and why it must be ‘student-centered’.

The whole student–head, heart, hands, and will.

 

Subterranean Fundamental Glue Holding Humanity Together Instilled Via Education

Internalizing a ‘reliable compass’ was one metaphor and the desired ‘New Golden Rule’ was another. Today’s metaphor comes from a Mindshift article called “Why Empathy Holds the Key to Transforming 21st Century Learning” that came out last November and has been cited since then in numerous articles on a “new vision for education that emphasizes mastery of critical knowledge and skills” rather than traditional factual, subject knowledge. It is education aimed at assessing and altering the “complex mix of other meaningful emotions and attitudes that fuel human personality,” which is why the Faux Narrative about social and emotional learning standards being about creating a student database of PII is so laughably wrong. No one gets to keep their emotions, beliefs, and values just because they like them and they work anymore than they got to keep their Doctor under Obamacare.

That’s just sales rhetoric to keep the attention in the wrong place. Why? Well, if the same people pushing the False Narrative are also very vocal about the central role of a certain Faiths in their lives and the leaders of those various faiths (including Progressivism as a secular but guiding force of values and beliefs) are also quite vocal about the desire to use education to create a Revolution of the Heart; a New Golden Rule; the Good, True, and Beautifu; or World Happiness and Human Flourishing (just a few examples), we seem to have our answer. An ability to use the psychological tools provided by a new vision of education without the altered goals, techniques, and practices really being appreciated by parents and taxpayers would make perfect sense. Get the desired alteration that guides future behaviors as Habits of Mind with no outcry.

Outcries require recognition, which means reading this blog and having read my book Credentialed to Destroy. No wonder the Faux Narrative crowd prefers to simply mine selective proven facts to appear authoritative while hiding  or misleading about the true aim of this new vision. Let’s poke at it some more today using some of the sources cited in the footnotes of papers mentioned in the last two posts. Both the Jubilee Centre papers and conferences and the Special Rome Edition to the 2016 UN-issued World Happiness Report called “Human Flourishing, the Common Good, and Catholic Social Teaching” kept mentioning an Alasdair MacIntyre. He turned out to be a retired Prof at Notre Dame and I tracked down the constantly cited book After Virtue.

Remember too that this is not just a template for Catholic schools. The Jubilee Centre materials, the Science of Virtues curriculum, and a Templeton-funded Toolkit on Character and Self-Control (link in the previous post comments) are all examples of an emphasis for all schools–public, private, parochial, and every religion. It explains why the Islamic Tarbiyah Project reminded me so much of the Tranzi OBE template I had laid out in CtD. They are all new visions of education that seek to shift to goals and purposes of student work so that education can create a desired shift “between man-as-he-happens-to-be and man-as-he-could-be-if-he-realized-his-essential-nature.” One thing too all these visions agree on. The school will provide the “precepts” to be internalized through practices and learning activities.

They will mandate the required Virtues, Ethics, or Character Traits. Back to After Virtue then where he described what Classical Education initiatives now call the ‘well-ordered soul’ that is to be the goal of this new vision of education.

“The desires and emotions which we possess are to be put in order and educated by use of such precepts and by the cultivation of those habits of action which the study of ethics prescribes; reason instructs us both as to what our true end is and as to how to reach it.”

I am pretty sure there are plenty of people out there who truly wish they could convince me that my true end is to stop writing, but I was always a much worse student on conduct grades than book knowledge. I did pull out my dictionary though to determine what the difference is between a concept and a precept. Concepts are a category for grouping ideas or experiences, but precepts are even more relevant to aspirations of internalizing a reliable compass. A Precept is “a rule or principle prescribing a particular course of action or conduct.” In other words, Precepts are just the thing if someone is interested in fundamental cultural transformation or simply invisible steering of people and their likely daily activities with each other.

Professor MacIntyre and all these documents quoting him really do want to combine “thought and action,” which certainly sounds like Competency-based education to me. “Abstract changes in moral concepts are always embodied in real, particular events.” Sounds like a reason for performance standards and Project-Based Learning in real world, authentic contexts, doesn’t it? If anyone is still unclear as to precisely how the neural alteration occurs, we thankfully had the Instapundit blog on June 10, 2017 plugging the book Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence. Since I grasp the connections between that blog and the School Choice narrative, I found that particular plug revealing to my Faux Narrative balloon popping.

Not news to me, but hopefully helpful to everyone trying to grasp the real aims of this new vision of education. Happiness is about having the right “neural traits” (think about those Graduate Profiles now!) and “what you pay attention to–what you rest your mind on–is the primary shaper of your brain…This means you can deliberately prolong and even create the experiences that will shape your brain for the better.” With the new school year dawning too early in too many places, notice if that phone call from the District Super or letter from the principal or headmaster this year does not mention hopes for your child’s learning experiences during the upcoming school year. They are not referring to lectures and those experiences will be dictated by the desired outcomes to be instilled at a neural level in the student.

Hardwiring Happiness then indisputably defined the word ‘learning’ as the “conversion of fleeting mental events into lasting neural structures.” That means that learning standards like the Common Core are really about what type of neural structures each student is to have per governmental edict. Does it really matter what level of government imposes it when it is without effective notice or consent and it is surrounded by coordinated deceit? It turns out the reason SEL standards are required for this new vision of education has to do with getting the desired neural transformation. Think about this quote as the shift to role playing and Global Challenges where Justice and Equity are not yet universal becomes the focus of so much educational activities.

“Often we see a good fact but don’t have any feelings about it. This seemingly small step–from idea to embodied experience–is critically important, for without it, there’s not much to install in your brain. In terms of building neural structures, what matters is not the event or circumstance or condition itself but your experience of it. Knowing without feeling is like a menu without a meal.”

On that provocative note, I need to end this post without getting to all I wanted to cover. My real life is calling and I need to take off my writing/analyst hat and switch to my Nursemaid role.

Reliable Compass: Wiring a Neural Noetic Keel without Popular Outrage or Scrutiny

How often do we see education changes pushed in the name of being ‘internationally competitive’? Let’s take a look at something Andreas Schleicher of the OECD said just a few months ago: “In the past, education was about teaching people something. Now, it’s about making sure that students develop a reliable compass and the navigation skills to find their own way through an increasingly uncertain, volatile, and ambiguous world.” Disagree with that new vision of education? Well, realistically most of us do not get a chance to because that wholesale shift in direction is hidden behind a phrase we simply assume we understand.

Let’s try another one, should the primary purpose of education in the 21st Century be “the intentional attempt in schools to foster the development of students’ psychological characteristics that motivate and enable them to act in ethical, democratic, and socially effective ways”? Again, that’s a shift that parents or taxpayers may never see as it hides behind phrases like Whole Child, Classical or Character Education, or College and Career Ready. In other words, if the typical child is being supplied with the Ideas and Concepts to guide their thinking in predictable ways, we adults are likewise being supplied with poorly grasped new definitions and false narratives about the Common Core or competency-based education that are also intended to guide our thinking and areas of concern.

While my tendons were healing I noticed a sudden push from a variety of education sites for a Parent Toolkit for Student Privacy that I decided to take a look at. I read it and recognized that it wasn’t going to solve the real problems and its release would simply obscure parents ever truly grasping the nature of these education ‘reforms’ and the purpose of standards and data gathering. To use Schleicher’s term, the internalized compass at the level of our children’s minds and personalities would still be wired up at school and parents would remain unaware. Meanwhile they would believe they had ‘protected their child.’ Since parents would remain unaware of the presence of the compass they could not discern the vision it was invisibly steering their child to adopt and support in daily behaviors.

When I started looking more into that Toolkit I saw admitted Progs and purported conservative think tanks and education blogs all writing about this supposed new panacea. After years of doing Due Diligence on desired acquisitions, my gut instinct is always to first look for the funding. In this case, it was not one of the usual suspects like Hewlett, Gates, or Carnegie. Instead, a Rose Foundation was credited. It turned out to be a social justice advocacy based in Oakland, California that functions as a philanthropy pass through so maybe a better-known or infamous charitable name did fund that toolkit after all. https://rosefdn.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/theorychange.pdf lays out the Rose vision for how to achieve Community Change

Sponsoring a Privacy Toolkit that essentially misdirects the attention of concerned and attentive parents  makes perfect sense for an advocacy seeking community change if the building block for the desired change is creating that desired ‘reliable compass’ within each student during their years of schooling. People cannot rally against initiatives they are unaware of because of a coordinated effort to deceive them. It just cannot be coincidental that so many pushed the same largely irrelevant to the actual problem panacea at the same time. We are apparently supposed to believe that there is a database of PII-Personally Identifiable Information–that will be used to track our child and control their future opportunities for work. We are also being misled that nothing imposed at the state or local level can be dangerous. Sure it can, especially when we are being lied to so we are all unawares.

Last week, the “Engaging the Private Sector and Developing Partnerships to Advance Health and the Sustainable Development Goals” report was released after 2016 workshops took place in NYC and London. Another lost invite. It was all about the need for transforming partnerships at the local level that include business and bind to a different vision of the economy and the purpose of business.” Still think the local is a way out and it is the feds in DC who are the primary promoters of evil? This SDG vision and expansive view of health needs a vision of education that “can facilitate changes in values, worldviews, and behaviour at the level of the individual, community and society as a whole. This works particularly well when agreement exists on common values and the best and most desirable behaviours.”

Agreement exists all right, but it is not on hardly any parents’ radars because of all this organized deceit. A philanthropy interested in social justice and community change would have every reason under this vision of how to achieve the SDGs to push a Privacy Toolkit that makes the desired changes at the level of the individual easier because it is the classic “Look Squirrel!” misdirection. How do we get the desired “empowered, critical, mindful, and competent citizens”? Remember the Positive Education report I covered in the March 6 “Radio Silence” post or the “Inside Out” aims from the last post? Does anyone doubt that the Reliable Compass will also serve as the desired internalized component of Amitai Etzioni’s New Golden Rule I covered on April 4 in “Embody or Perish”?

The June 2017 IPEN Newsletter hyped a new Framework for Character Education in Schools from the same Jubilee Centre we met in this post from last spring on the supposed Science of Virtues. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/locating-the-internalized-information-guiding-human-behavior-so-it-can-be-controlled-and-transformed/ Notice that same aim as well as the word redefinition technique we are still dealing with now. In that case it was what the word ‘Liberty’ is now to mean behind our back. See if this does not sound like the same aims we encountered above repeatedly.

“Schools should consider questions about the kinds of persons their students will become, how the development of good character contributes to a flourishing life, and how to balance various virtues and values…Schools should and do aid students in learning to know the good, love the good, and do the good…Human flourishing is the widely accepted goal of life. To flourish is not only to be happy, but to fulfill one’s potential. Flourishing is the ultimate aim of character education. Human flourishing requires the acquisition and development of intellectual, moral, and civic virtues, excellence specific to diverse domains of practice or human endeavour, and generic virtues of self-management (known as enabling or performance virtues).”

Let’s take a break from that quote to catch our breath and mull over just how manipulative and hidden those aims are. After all, those very same ‘enabling or performance virtues’ are outlined in standards for social and emotional learning. The Faux Narrative though has parents convinced we are back to a concerning database of PII and their poor tracked child. Do you remember my warning about the Marxian Human Development Society and the new kind of citizen with different internalized personal traits, values, and beliefs it would need? Doesn’t this all just fit perfectly? No wonder our attention keeps being directed in unison elsewhere.

“Character education teaches the acquisition and strengthening of virtues: the traits that sustain a well-rounded life and a thriving society…Students also need to grow in their understanding of what is good or valuable and their ability to protect and advance what is good. They need to develop a commitment to serving others, which is an essential manifestation of good character in action.”

If that sounds rather collectivist, it’s because that is precisely the intent we were never supposed to grasp. If fundamental to transforming “social and institutional conditions within all human beings can flourish” is instilling an internalized “ethos of cooperation and mutual goodwill,” what better tool could there be than using education to make that the nature of the “reliable compass”?

Embody or Perish: Unmasking the Communitarian Motto Behind Student-Centered Learning

If this blog provided sound effects, I could blow the whistle now and holler that we have reached our destination. This is the 6th post in a series that began on February 27. I used the unexpected DeVos declaration of our ‘moral obligations’ and the IPEN paper on global education as recent examples of what the UN had enacted in the late 90s as the Universal Ethics Framework. I found that because well-known communitarian advocate Amitai Etzioni cited it as he laid out his vision for The New Golden Rule: Community and Morality in a Democratic Society that seemed to accurately reflect the actual classroom and school implementation of Radical Ed Reform going back to the mid-80s. It also seemed to track all the organized deceit I had found about SEL Standards, the Common Core, and other matters which are too consistent in what is being suppressed to be coincidental.

Let’s dive right in because as I have warned, a communitarian mandate pops up on a regular basis and it is always mired in deceit. Now I know why. To prevent resistance to what is being sold as an italicized regeneration of American Society that seeks to penetrate ALL schools and ALL colleges and universities. Here’s the quote that also fits with what was laid out in A Call to Civil Society and Hardwired to Connect from the last post. It explains the neural emphasis we just keep coming across now:

“The communitarian analysis, at least as practiced here, involves a keen awareness that values need to be embodied; that is, for values to guide behavior, a society needs to evolve social and personal formations that undergird the society’s values…Embody or perish is the communitarian motto behind much of what follows.

Embodiment refers to the need for shared values to be internalized by the members and for these values to be integrated into the societal formations [like schools and churches] that help shape behavior.”

Won’t federally required ‘performance standards’ be so useful in making this needed internalization and embodiment an invisible component of how every student will succeed? If such sarcasm seems unbecoming, we need more quoting, especially on how a communitarian society differs from an authoritarian one. My succinct explanation is the coercion is imposed neurobiologically via education to become a Habit of Mind so the coercion is mostly invisible. At least it was until I wrote Credentialed to Destroy and then this presciently named blog. Communitarian societies are steered in “a new shared normative direction. Communitarian societies differ from authoritarian societies in that they require a smaller core of shared values (although significantly more than the societies individualists envision).”

That antipathy toward “individualists” sounds straight out of the new Classical Learning Test hype, doesn’t it? That’s not coincidental, as I will show later. Etzioni stated that:

“the new golden rule requires that the tension between one’s preferences and one’s social commitments be reduced by increasing the realm of duties one affirms as moral responsibilities–not the realm of duties that are forcibly imposed but the realm of responsibilities one believes one should discharge and that one believes one is fairly called on to assume.”

Education, of course, is first on the list of the ‘normative means’ used to create the desired moral commitments which enough people have internalized as the basis for their likely future behavior to change the direction of the society. In case anyone thinks this is just the admitted Left pushing this, remember that Hardwired to Connect from the last post with its ties to the supposedly conservative think tanks pushing School Choice vocally also stated explicitly:

“… an ‘us’ strategy is quite different. It is much broader and more radical. Its focus is cultural, not merely political or programmatic. It aims less at a specific intervention than a fundamental social shift–a change that involves the society as a whole. A ‘them’ strategy is about getting specific things done, but it is more fundamentally about guiding an entire society in a certain direction.”

My book’s pivotal observation that the actual Common Core implementation targeted student’s ‘values, attitudes, and beliefs’ makes so much more sense once we become aware of the widespread desire for Social Reconstruction that is no longer just a project of the admitted Left. Did you know that Chester Finn of Fordham, who we have tracked back to the mid-80s duplicitous Project Education Reform and forward to his work with Diane Ravitch and now Fordham’s co-sponsorship of the PEPG forum at the Kennedy School of Government, is listed as a signatory to Etzioni’s Responsive Communitarian Manifesto? So are several other people tied to those IAV papers in the last post. This truly is where the Right and Left Pincers want to take education. They want the coercion to be invisible and binding.

As I told my kids when they were growing up, wanting something doesn’t mean you are entitled to get it. To avoid the invisible coercion we have to know this vision “requires that most members of the society most of the time, share a commitment to a set of core values, and that most members, most of the time, will abide by the behavioral implications of these values because they believe in them rather than being forced to comply with them.”

The role of all these think tanks makes much more sense to this vision if we know that “a core of shared values also enhances the ability of a society to formulate specific public policies.” Try not to be too shocked that elsewhere those policies must include society and its individual members meeting all needs to provide for ‘individual well-being’. The Communitarian agenda says that is the 21st Century purpose of government. Nothing like 21st Century euphemisms redeeming Uncle Karl’s real vision of human development.

Lamar Alexander doing a presentation at AEI last week pretending ESSA supposedly gets the feds out of education makes perfect sense if ESSA laid out a mandate for the needed framework to force internalization within each student. Remember the requisite Internalization must occur without effective opposition from parents and taxpayers. Also, the local hype fits with the statement that “reconnecting the political decision-making bodies to community dialogues is one of the most important items of the communitarian public policy agenda.” Fits right into what AEI’s President Arthur Brooks called the true tenets of Conservatism. It requires a  Revolution of the Heart too.

The calls of SEL Standards for self-discipline or self-regulation, or what the Faux Narrative refers to as ‘self-government,’  ( https://www.jamesgmartin.center/2017/03/common-core-damages-students-college-readiness/ )  which is also straight out of the Manifesto mentioned above,  call for a longer quote from Etzioni that explains all:

“From a communitarian viewpoint, to draw on public schools as developers of character (for a stronger, higher self) it is most important that they focus on development of personality capabilities that enable people to act civilly and morally. [Soft Skills for All!] First among these capabilities is the ability to control one’s impulses [Is that what the above link calls the ‘right and responsibility of self-rule’?]…Second, a well-formed person must have what Adam Smith called ‘sympathy’: roughly, the ability to put oneself in the other person’s shoes, what we would refer to as empathy. Without this quality, there is little likelihood that children will develop charity, fairness, respect for other people, or the other virtues. When a person possesses these twin capacities, the psychological foundations for abiding by internalized values are in place.

Once schools are restructured in ways that enhance personality development, the question of which specific values are to be taught recedes in importance but still needs answering.”

The requisite ‘non-cognitive factors’ that must be a component of the State Plans under ESSA all go to that personality development prerequisite in one way or another. It’s not a database, but a starting point to get the needed internalized change to support this communitarian vision of a new moral order. It’s not coincidental that the definition of the law taught in elite law schools has now been altered quietly as the “enterprise of subjecting human conduct to the governance of rules.”

I personally reject the distinction that something is not coercive as long as people and governments can successfully misrepresent what they are up to via education and the law. It is also greatly troubling I keep coming across references to collecting data on where students are in each of the 24 listed characteristics of the VAI-Values in Action–Character Survey.

I need one more quote from Etzioni that goes a long way towards explaining what makes education through provided conceptual lenses and themes about what is important, cross-cutting, or Good, True, and Beautiful so necessary to a transformationalist. We will need it in the next post as I continue to prove this IS the vision ALL of education is being organized around. Long time readers will recognize this is the theory with the nerdy name of Ascending from the Abstract to the Concrete created in the USSR in 1962.

“Such statements about moral causes that present themselves to us as compelling are similar to what religious authorities speak of as revelation. This does not mean we cannot reason about these matters. The fact that some cause initially appears to one as powerful does not obviate the need to examine it closely. However, here reason follows and buttresses revelation, and not the other way around…It should be noted that reason plays a rather different role here.”

I’ll say. I wanted to shout “Transfer” as Lauren Resnick has been pushing for in education reforms for decades. She must be so pleased that her integral Higher Order Thinking Skills that embodies this very concept of Revelation first, and then Apply the provided concepts to real world, concrete situations, is a required ESSA component. Measuring every student for compliance at least annually.

That will be so useful for imposing this requisite Internalization.

Next time we will find this same goal being stated in terms of the US Founding Fathers and the purported requirements of “constitutional government.” We will see more clearly then why facts get in the way of simply accepting the provided concepts as Revelations that are to be accepted, internalized, and never disputed.

I feel like such a naughty Individualist sometimes for recognizing when we are being lied to and when something else has the same function.

Neural Enslavement to Instill Desired Virtues for Social Change: Deceitpalooza

Silly me. I got the bright idea of distracting myself and decided to just read some history. I picked Ian Mortimer’s millennium, which turned out to have been published on November 8, 2016. It hoped that a woman would be the most significant agent of change in the 21st Century. Not yet, but after making my way through the centuries, I get to the conclusion only to discover I was not getting a break from the familiar refrain after all. Mortimer wanted to “focus our attention on the forces that are likely to act upon our nature in the future.” The fantastic wealth and levels of technology the world now enjoys were accomplished via the “breaking of boundaries…Many of these boundary crossings can be characterized in terms of the “go West, young man’ paradigm…This paradigm underpinned scientific discoveries, world exploration and economic growth. But with the recognition of the approaching exhaustion of our fossil resources on Earth, this boundary-breaking mentality is out of date.”

Long time readers will recognize this hostility to what I nicknamed the Axemaker Mind and the hope of ecologist Paul Ehrlich for Newmindedness. Part of what we will do in this post is tie this hostility and desire for a new kind of mind to what is being pushed as Classical Education as in this piece touted last week. http://www.theimaginativeconservative.org/2016/11/individualism-root-error-modernity-george-stanciu.html  It is also tied to much of the organized deceit surrounding the Common Core as so many think tank employees and their mysteriously connected colleagues “against the Common Core” turn out to be tied to instilling a common core of moral virtue using education to create a neurally-grounded, ‘well-ordered soul.’

That well-ordered soul instilled within the student in turn is designed to know and choose based on instilled habits that are consistent with the UNESCO Ethics Framework from the last post, the Positive Education template, DeVos’ moral mandate, Amitai Etzioni’s Communitarian New Golden Rule, and finally Karl Marx’s vision for his Human Development Society. Since Mortimer put it, like Uncle Karl, in terms of the existing base of wealth and technology that had been reached, let’s go back to the quote above to see why “Hey, Hey, Ho. Ho. The Existing Mentality just has to Go.” Bad pun I know.

“The challenge now is not one of expansion but self-containment: a series of problems with which the all-conquering male is ill-equipped to deal. We, Homo sapiens, have never before had to face the problem of our own instincts threatening our continued existence; they have always been for our benefit, the survival of our genes. The frontiers we face now lie not on the horizon–or even in space–but inside our own minds.”

Now let’s jump to how the 1995 book Seedbed of Virtues defined the “Classical Conception of Virtue.” Please pay attention because this definition and book are closely related to both the new Catholic Curriculum Framework, School Choice, and why the American Principles Project/Pioneer report from last fall that laid the narrative for those frameworks (by misrepresenting the nature of Competency-based Education and Transformational Outcomes Based Education) may have done that. This is a little long, but absent the references to Aristotle and substituting Character or Whole Child for Virtue, think of it as what all 21st century education must be doing.  I will boldface the why so we can tie it to Mortimer and Uncle Karl and snark in brackets for current relevance.

“The classical conception of the relation between virtue and politics was spelled out by Aristotle. Individual virtue (or excellence–the Greek arete will bear both meanings) is knowable through everyday experience [Project-based or service learning?], definable through philosophic inquiry [Higher Order Thinking Skills?], and is always and everywhere the same [Truth. Beauty. Good?]. For Aristotle, the virtues are not just Greek, but rather human, virtues. Political life must be seen as in large measure a means to the attainment of virtue, understood as an end in itself. Once the threshold conditions of physical and material security are met, the political community should structure its institutions and policies to promote virtue in its citizens [remember the NIH and Templeton-funded Science of Virtues at U-Chicago?), and its worth as a community depends on the extent to which it achieves that goal.”

To make a long story short, that book was cited in connection with UNESCO’s Ethical Framework and I recognized the name Mary Ann Glendon (Harvard law prof) from both the Catholic Frameworks that wanted to specify Knowledge, Skills, and Dispositions that students are to have internalized, as well as being a communitarian associate of Amitai Etzioni. If the book sought to elevate the “collectivity over the individual” and duties over individual rights, it would explain so much of what I have found over the years being imposed though education via an affirmative view of the law. As I am prone to do when I find a vision that is both alarming and clearly connected to what we are seeing imposed on classrooms, I looked up the book’s publisher,  the Institute for American Values (IAV).

Remember how the Ethical Framework recognized the need to control and create new values and categories and principles to guide thought if the sought social and economic changes to meet all human needs via Universal Ethics were to be imposed? IAV turned out to have a Sean Fieler as its Chairman. I recognized that name as he is also the Chair of the American  Principles Project. What are the odds? Then I discovered the ubiquitous Bradley Foundation, THE major funder of School Choice and so much else, delightedly recognizing its support of IAV. I have written about what School Choice actually does and it fits with how Tranzi OBE and Competency-based education actually work. Here’s the stated aim from Seedbed of Virtues that would certainly explain both the support of School Choice and all this documentable deceit.

“need to reshape institutions [like schools, universities, and churches] for the sake of revitalizing civil society…the path to better rather than worse judgments–must ultimately be sought, not in the seedbed, but in the seed: the human person…to control his knowing and his choosing.”

Isn’t that what Ian Mortimer called for in that recently published, much hyped book? Interestingly, last week, many of the think tanks pushing either School Choice or Classical Education or both, touted the release of the Classical Learning Test, to be a successor to the ACT or SAT. Its release celebrated that “instead of individualism, we stress community…rather than merely becoming a number, we want to see students use standardized tests as yet another opportunity to mature in wisdom, virtue, and academic competency.” Boy, that aim certainly sounds like the goal is to instill the internalized rudder of desired personality traits and supplied Knowledge to be acted on as a matter of habit.

An article accompanying the release of the CLT–“Happiness and the Moral Dimension of Education” leaves no doubt that the CLT seeks to evaluate the extent to which a student’s “body, emotions, desires, will, and a mind…are in harmony, working together for the true good of the whole person and his community.”

In 1998, IAV released “A Call to Civil Society: Why Democracy Needs Moral Truths” that saw the historic Western civilization “understanding of the human person as fundamentally flawed…Our capacity for reasonable choosing and loving is what allows us to participate in a shared moral life, an order common to us all..”

In the next post we will look at that document and its implications, including where School Choice and all education reforms are really taking us. We will also cover IAV’s 2003 publication Hardwired to Connect: The New Scientific Case for Authoritative Communities since it gives plenty of reasons for the deceit surrounding the Common Core and education reforms generally.

Hard to force what Uncle Karl called communism and others have called Marxist Humanism or Systems Thinking once enough people grasp the presence of its clear tenets. Much better to do what IAV did in that 1998 report, call for a ‘new society model’, where “society consists of individual members who are encultured by institutions and obligated to the common good.”

Gramsci was not the only Transformational Collectivist seeking to March through the Institutions. He was simply more upfront about it.

 

Anchored to the Human Psyche to Engineer the Invisible Coup: the Narratives Converge

The previous two posts illustrated real-time proclamations from just the last few weeks that fit with what we are going to cover today–the quietly imposed Common Framework for the Ethics of the 21st Century issued by UNESCO in September 1999. It grew out of Universal Ethics Project begun in 1997, imposed invisibly by education, P-12 and higher ed, under obscuring terms like learning, outcomes, standards, and competencies. The Framework was referenced in a footnote I came across while trying to chase down the common education agenda being pushed by the admitted Left Pincers (in this case communitarian prof Amitai Etzioni) and American Principles Project founder, Robert George, as a representative of the School Choice pushing, but headed in the same actual direction, Right Pincers.

Before I could write up the implications of that Framework, we suddenly had Ms DeVos’ statement about the moral obligations none of us may abdicate and the Positive Education practices mandate coming from the World Government Summit. Since they each seemed to assume the shift into the obligations of a Framework few of us are even aware of, I went with the “this is coming now” approach in the previous two posts. Now that the Imminence is crystal clear and not speculative, let’s take a look at what is being concealed from us. Because this is a blog, not a book, this post will be followed next by how I know for sure that this is where all the deceit surrounding the Common Core and School Choice really leads.

Those who have read Credentialed to Destroy are aware of just some of the evidence I cite on why I believe the ending of the Cold War was somewhat stage-managed to let education quietly assume the transformational reins. Let’s add to that body a Gorbachev book, The Search for a New Beginning, I did not have then telling us what Perestroika was really about. Gorbachev wanted to “join politics with morality” and create a Framework for new forms of required interaction and new forms of thinking. Instead of “artificially constructed utopian schemes” that “are not workable anywhere,” he called for:

“The recognition of the world as an integral whole [which] calls for a change in our value system, or to put it more precisely, for actualizing the initial values that are inherent in the nature of the human being as a social and spiritual entity. In one form or another, and in varying degrees, those values are reflected in the world religions and in the great humanistic doctrines.”

In a preview of what will be coming in the next post, substitute the word ‘Virtues’ for ‘values’ in that quote above and we quickly get to precisely where Classical Education is taking Privates and Charter Schools. First though let’s get back to Gorbachev’s bluntness because it explains so well the language we will cover on the need to shift away from traditional views of Individualism and rationality. (the italics are in the original text)

“The future of human society will not be defined in terms of capitalism versus socialism. It was that dichotomy that caused the division of the world community into two blocs and brought about so many catastrophic consequences. We need a paradigm that will integrate all the achievements of the human mind and human action, irrespective of which ideology or political movement can be credited with them. This paradigm can only be based on the common values that humankind has developed over the centuries.”

We will leave Gorby now and shift back to the supposed new values, ideas, and principles that people need to internalize from an early age (enter education tied to behavior and the Whole Child which is precisely what performance standards mandate) so that everyone can “flourish” in the 21st Century. Sure enough, that particular uncommon verb is ubiquitous now throughout the UNESCO Ethics Framework, the Positive Education Practices we encountered in the previous post, as well as the NIH-funded and Templeton Foundation sponsored Science of Virtues going on now at U-Chicago. What are the odds of such common, uncommon, terminology?

The cool thing about the Ethics Framework is that there is no overt, publicized command that makes people feel coerced. The Russians and Chinese noticed those edicts from on high simply did not work as well as using a reenvisioned type of education that affected “the will of individuals in every and all situations in which he or she acts.” Once that Learning becomes a Habit of Mind we have installed an invisible internalized neural rudder that allows society and an economy to be steered and guided without anyone needing to be the wiser. Students will have Moral Dialogues grounded in “philosophical value knowledge” (just like the School Choice-advocating Manhattan Institute laid out recently in an odd “Republic in the Atlantic” piece in City Journal).

The goal of education then, whether marketed as “knowledge, skills, and dispositions” in K-12 or Essential Learning Outcomes in higher ed, is actually aimed at using reading, classroom conversations, group projects, and virtual reality adaptive learning aimed at:

“developing the capacity of individuals to make right evaluations of others’ actions, of events, situations etc., and to find out, in the light of philosophical value knowledge the implications of such a will: what they should, or can, do, so that human dignity can be protected or be as little damaged as possible in the given unique situation, in which they have to act, as a whole.”

If that aim is not graphic enough that what the Universal Ethics Framework, instilled via education, seeks is a “paradigm shift in consciousness” so that we can all “apply our minds collectively and …work towards a new intellectual and spiritual renaissance,” let me use another. This quote from Paris, March 27, 1997, bemoaned that:

“whereas humanity is transiting to the global society, our minds are still mired in pre-global concepts. And it is this difference, it is this gap between the emergence of the global society and the non-emergence of a global consciousness, that is at the root of many of the problems that we see in the world today.”

If the means of closing that gap and creating the desired new thinking and ethics is new ideas and values, is it coincidental that suddenly the relief offered from the horrors of the Common Core is framed in terms of Character Education, Positive Psychology, Conceptual Understandings and Core Disciplinary Ideas as the ‘content knowledge’, and Virtues?

Does anyone else feel like the remedy offered is actually grounded in this little discussed Ethics Framework? Because apparently reenvisioning the human future is “affected and even determined by the behavior of humans acting on the basis of normative ideas and principles.” If education in the 21st Century is actually premised on the italicized “question: what values and principles may be mobilized in order to steer the forces of technological and economic change for the purposes of human survival and flourishing?”, aren’t we even entitled to know that is the foundational question behind all these imposed changes?

There’s that ubiquitous aspirational verb again. Anyone else wondering who will really flourish in this vision?

Making Man Moral through Integrative, Holistic Education Focused on Purpose

Sometimes these days I feel like I am a part of that old musical comedy “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” not because all these machinations via education and deceit are funny, but because suddenly between posts something happens that proves just how correct I am on how this fits together. Last week, the blog Cafe Hayek run by George Mason economic profs mentioned a January 24 piece by “my colleague Peter Boettke on the late economist Kenneth Boulding.” Now that may seem innocuous and even dry, but there cannot be a more seminal person other than John Dewey to the sought transformation of education. Boulding laid out its purpose and how it could be used to control other social systems. Is this further evidence of a Convergence of the Right and Left Pincers we can see so much evidence of? Confessions, after all, are so much nicer.

http://www.coordinationproblem.org/2017/01/kenneth-boulding-on-the-task-of-interpretation.html is the post and it tied in my mind to why everyone suddenly wants education to be about moral values, guiding principles, Disciplinary Core Ideas, Classical Concepts, and other ideas first that can then guide a child’s perception. How they interpret their daily experiences and what they never even notice. This is the end of the Trilogy so let’s pull all this together so we can appreciate How to Invisibly Control Future Personal Decision-making with No Need to Admit It. Bolding (without the ‘u’) is mine.

“Themes without facts may be barren, but facts without theories are meaningless. It is only ‘theory’–i.e., a body of principles–which enables us to approach the bewildering complexity and chaos of fact, select the facts significant for our purposes and interpret the significance.

Indeed, it is hardly too much to claim that without a theory to interpret it there is no such thing as a ‘fact’ at all…what, then, is the ‘fact’ about the wart? [Boulding’s example that should be read in full while thinking about the meaning of Disciplinary Core Ideas or Enduring Understandings] It may be any or all of the above, depending on the particular scheme of interpretation into which it is placed.”

When I was a student, part of what made for A+ work was the ability to develop an appropriate scheme of interpretation by myself, in the privacy of my mind, using what I saw as the pertinent facts. Something that made the prof go “That’s it! Wish I had expressed it that way.” This is something else. These are essentially presupplied ‘constructs’ designed to guide perception and future action in a way that makes a person likely to desire and instigate transformational change in the circumstances we all live under. If they cannot do it, they can organize together so politicians will implement the changes. That’s why I created the term Politicalism. What Boulding was known for was “incorporating the ideas, concepts and tools from the natural sciences into social scientific analysis.” Why?

His good friend Bela Banathy, who also has a tag and was involved in the creation of the concept of charter schools and what now goes by School Choice, told this story that his close friend Boulding shared with him in 1983. In 1954, at Stanford’s Center for Advanced Studies in Behavioral Sciences (CASBS) where so much else was hatched:

“four Center fellows–Bertalanffy (biology), Boulding (economics), Gerard (psychology), and Rappoport (mathematics)–had a discussion  in a meeting room. Another Center Fellow walked in and asked: ‘What’s going on here?’ Ken answered: ‘We were angered about the state of the human condition’ and ask: ‘What can we–what can science–do about improving the human condition‘ Oh!’ their visitor said: ‘This is not my field.’ At that meeting the four scientists felt that in the statement of their visitor they heard the statement of the fragmented disciplines that have little concern for doing anything practical about the fate of humanity. So they asked themselves, ‘What would happen if science would be redefined by crossing disciplinary boundaries and forge a general theory that would bring us together in the service of humanity?'”

That overdone analogy to the ‘outmoded factory model of education’ is actually a cloaking metaphor to mask this complete change in the purpose of education that drove the education reforms in the 60s, 80s, and now covered in my book Credentialed to Destroy. It’s also why Tranzi OBE and Competency needed to be deliberately misdefined as we saw in the last post. Why do we keep coming across an emphasis on Character or Moral Dispositions and Attributes? Because social and political scientists like Boulding came to recognize “that the universe of ethical values is a driving force in human life” and can be altered to drive a transformation in what is acceptable in the future.

If you want to drive cultural change, alter human consciousness by instilling new ‘active principles’ that people must now use to organize their lives and institutions. Then have them practice it in the classroom or workplace or even their church until relying on these principles becomes a Habit of Mind. In his 1969 AEA Presidential Address, Boulding informed those economics professionals that “any system contains the seeds of its own transformation or future genesis, and that this works through a learning process.” See why education had to change away from an emphasis on facts? Economics was just one of the human social systems that interested Boulding and he knew change had to start with the very mental models each person internalized:

“All these social systems are linked together dynamically through the process of human learning which is the main dynamic factor in all social systems.”

That’s such a useful quote for anyone who wonders why I cannot stick to just writing about education. Because it’s a tool to a transformation for a different purpose and a new, unlikely to succeed well for most of us, vision of the future. When should we talk about it? After the carnage is more advanced and even more resources depleted in the name of education? I am going to shift away from Boulding for a moment, but his vision was covered in the Trilogy begun here with his book The Meaning of the 20th Century and its effect on the Commission on the Year 2000 covered in the post that followed. Rereading those yesterday almost took my breath away because it fits so closely with what was in the Roadmap for the Next Administration and the Architecture of Innovation on what data can be made to now do.

http://invisibleserfscollar.com/reimaging-the-nature-of-the-world-in-the-minds-of-students-alters-future-behavior-and-social-events/

This post’s title comes from a book Robert George–Princeton professor, Bradley Foundation board member, well-known spokesperson for Catholicism, and founder of the same American Principles Project that did not want to define certain terms accurately in the last post, wrote in 1993. If ‘common guiding principles’ and shared meanings are in fact what makes people and organizations act as ‘systems’ as Boulding and systems science generally believed, it makes perfect sense not to concede that is what ALL Competency-based education reforms, and what I nicknamed Tranzi OBE, are about. The aims are no different then from the Catholic Curriculum Framework although some of the offered concepts, principles, and the justifications for the changes may differ.

Like Boulding in the quote Boettke chose or in my quotes from his 1969 AEA address, George in his making men moral: Civil Liberties and Public Morality wanted education to provide “first principles of practical reason…to guide choice and action.” Fascinating, huh? Everybody seems to want to carve that rudder that will guide future decision-making without being forthright on the connection. All we get are School Choice!, Federal Misedukation, and Autonomy to the Locals and parents. Some autonomy as both education and “laws have a legitimate subsidiary role to play in helping people to make themselves moral.” Then sell it to parents that way and admit Classical Education IS designed to create a steerable rudder both parents and students are not being told about.

Character is a wonderful thing, but not when it operates at an unconscious level as a Habit of Mind and parents are not told that their children are being steered in the name of Goodness. Truth. and Beauty or Equity and Justice or Sustainability or other Guiding Principles to guide practical reason and likely future action. The same Spiritual and Moral Framework that can be used by New Agers like the Ross School from the last post or Social Justice Warriors grounded in Paulo Freire Pedagogy for the Oppressed aligns with the aim of instilled Knowledge, Skills, and Dispositions from the Catholic Curriculum Frameworks. They ALL want to provide the ideas, emotional motivations, and values students internalize as their guide to future decision-making. School now wants to provide their purpose for living and the vision of what the future might be.

To truly get the dangers of this personalized, student-centered, transformative vision of education perhaps it will help if we follow those Moral and Spiritual Frameworks (as well as the cited Ron Miller’s “What are Schools For?”) right straight to a School of Education and Psychology in Isfahan, Iran. If “Holistic Education: An Approach for 21st Century” from 2011 is okay with the mullahs and their tyrannical vision of people, we really need to quit using the word ‘autonomy’ to describe the student when this vision of education is through with them. Yes, they have a purpose, but is it really theirs? I will quote from the Abstract because it fits with the vision I have described in this Trilogy. Think of the implications of that.

“Holistic education encompasses a wide range of philosophical orientations and pedagogical practices. Its focus is on wholeness, and it attempts to avoid excluding any significant aspects of the human experience. It is an eclectic and inclusive movement whose main characteristic is that educational experiences foster a less materialistic and more spiritual worldview along with more dynamic and holistic views of reality.

It also proposes that educational experience promote a more balanced development of–and cultivate the relationship among–the different aspects of the individual (intellectual, physical, spiritual, emotional, social and Aesthetic), as well as the relationships between the individual and other people, the individual and natural environment, the inner-self of students and external world, emotion and reason, different disciplines of knowledge and forms of knowing, holistic education is concerned with life experience, not with narrowly defined ‘basic skills.'”

Doesn’t that life experience/basic skills distinction sound just like the erroneous definition of Competency from the last post? Isn’t the US goal of College and Career Ready just another euphemism for this holistic life experience vision that seeks to control what gets internalized to guide the adults our children will become?

How is it not authoritarian for any government at any level to make education holistic or integrative using those aims?

How on Earth can this really be “education for humanity” when the type of human we become is subject to undisclosed political control?