Promulgating a Personality Manipulating System However One Regards Cries of Structural White Supremacy

The word ‘promulgate’ has several meanings per the always useful OED, but today I am using it in the sense of “to make widespread, as, promulgate learning and culture.” Lots of stories in recent days and weeks of the curricula planned beyond the links I have provided, including a Fox News story on Oregon’s Department of Education revising its learning standards, https://thefederalist.com/2021/02/08/how-socio-emotional-learning-became-another-vehicle-for-anti-white-racism-in-schools/ and https://www.dailysignal.com/2021/02/12/activists-outline-their-plan-to-push-black-lives-matter-in-classroom/ as recent examples. These are all rightfully outraged, but erroneously create the impression that there is a special place where these types of emotionally evocative curricula (to go back to the point of the previous post) can be avoided. No, not until the actual source of the contagion, and its true target, is understood.

That’s where ISC comes in as usual using my quite literally huge library of materials, which I mine to put things into perspective. The category White Supremacy is an example of an idea being used in the same twofold process first described in a Dutch book by Fred Polak from the 1950s called The Image of the Future. It won lots of European awards and fellowships for its author, including one at the inaugural program of the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS) in 1954-55. Polak became close friends with the same Kenneth Boulding (see tag) who would create the systems science vision of education and helped found the social science-oriented General Systems Research Group that same year with fellows at CASBS. Kenneth’s wife Elise taught herself Dutch in order to be able to translate and abridge Polak’s book into English.  That’s what I am quoting from:

Man’s attempts to push back the frontier of the unknown…can be seen as a twofold process: the development of ideas concerning the ideal future as it ought to be, and the unfolding of the real future in history, partly as a result of man’s purposeful intervention…The relationship between conceptions of the time-dimension, the future, and the idealistic ethical objectives of mankind for that future, has been a neglected one and offers a fruitful field for research.

Well, it’s no longer neglected and has been a major source for behavioral science research of the kind laid out in my book Credentialed to Destroy and now on ISC where we cover the twists and turns of a new vision of education and student learning. Neither actually seeks a return to the past or a ‘classical time.’ Rather, this new vision seeks concepts and images that:

picture a radically different world in an Other time, and they are imaginatively shaped in a way that they can be applied on behalf of mankind…The more general theory of images may be thought of as ‘eidetics’. This concept, derived from the Greek eidelon, ‘image,’ has a long history…[Not] enough emphasis [has been put] on the significance of the time-dimension in the dynamics of image formation and image propagation…attention must be given to the dynamics of image formation, both in the public and private mind, and the function of images in the economy of the individual personality and the social, national, or cultural group.

What do images mean, how are the meanings transmitted, and how do they affect individual and social behavior? Under what conditions do images change, and why? What can accelerate or retard these changes? How amenable are they to purposeful manipulation, in both the short and the long run?

The answer to the last question is quite amenable to purposeful manipulation, which is precisely how we should start seeing the New York Times’ 1619 Project or Howard Zinn’s work as well. It’s not about history as a body of knowledge, where someone is erroneously changing the facts of the past. This is actually about how education, as a social science, is a tool to where “social science is increasingly making use of these images to increase its analytic power.” That analysis is only the beginning though as this later quote recognizes. The point is to “control social processes” and redirect them to what john a. powell [see tag] described in his 2012 book Racing to Justice: Transforming Our Conceptions of Self and Other to Build an Inclusive Society as the use of allegations of White Supremacy to change our categories of thinking to force “a renewed commitment by all of us to fulfill the promise of a truly democratic society.”

Before getting back to powell and his intention to use White Supremacy as a means to target and alter the unconscious mind to create his desired new kind of self and new kind of citizen, let’s quote again from Polak because powell’s techniques seem to be exploiting Polak’s insights.

The image of the future as such may be an important tool for interdisciplinary social science. The possibility that science may be able to predict and control social processes through analysis of existing images of the future, both private and public, and direct a change of these images, is a thought-provoking one… it is still not too soon to begin pondering the problems of controlled image-change. How could such a possibility be fitted into a democratic system of government?..If we pause to think what can be done with the minds of men…

And women. Boys, and girls. It has happened and is happening even more now. These aims of reconstruction are how we should view not just these White Supremacy curricula currently receiving so much attention, but also the Pandemic, the Holocaust, Reconstruction, the Charlottesville Hoax with the tiki torches, and, finally, the Insurrection at the Capitol. It’s about the Images of the Future  and their potential to incite and justify transformational change in the minds and hearts of students at all levels of society. To quote powell again from his Afterword:

Although our brains develop partly though categorizing and organizing in ways that can be challenging in a diverse society, our hearts orchestrate a system that is hardwired to care and to respond empathically to one another’s suffering and joy. We can’t allow structures–economic or political–to block or blunt these connections…To embrace our commonality in an increasingly diverse public space will require new selves, who are citizens in the truest sense of the term: individual, interconnected, and inclusive in ways that reflect the highest aspirations of our nation and our species. This is a heavy lift for all of us, and it is particularly heavy for those who continue to organize around the myth of the radically isolated individual. The alternative–a just society–requires major realignments with respect to corporations and a remaking of our institutions and ourselves. But it is a dream worth dreaming and a fight worth fighting for.

I think that Dream fits with the essence of what ‘public policy’ is always about, whatever the expressed goals of any think tank, is, which is why we keep getting cries for School Choice that actually enable the planned mechanism of change when examined closely. I think it’s why there has been so much deceit surrounding the Common Core, competency frameworks, and especially CtD’s coverage of what I nicknamed Tranzi OBE. There is a desire for this kind of change to a just society grounded in the minds and hearts of a new kind of citizen. Powell mentioned the unconscious target, but his footnote went to a 2002 book Strangers to Ourselves: Discovering the Adaptive Unconscious . It is that adaptive unconscious, a term I had never encountered before, that I immediately recognized as the true realm of Tranzi OBE, the actual language in charters for schools and districts, mission statements for private schools now, the Catholic Curriculum Frameworks, state Portrait of a Graduate mandates, and other redirections with the same aim.

Let’s finish this Part 1 on Images of the Future, the ‘adaptive unconscious’ with its “distinctive characteristic ways of interpreting the social environment and stable motives that guide peoples behavior”, and how it can be manipulated by quoting the ‘personality mediating system’ it creates. Yes, I substituted the word ‘manipulating’ for the original term ‘mediating,, but it fits with what media actually means and does. Media, whether print, broadcast, or social platforms for dissemination, has now set itself up as the Lighthouse that gets human perception to notice and then the Interpreter that explains the to be accepted significance of what got noticed. It is no accident that the Oregon pamphlet on Equity in its new curricula intends to target the ‘lived experiences’ of the students as the area of change to supposedly end White Supremacy. It gets at what Walter Mischel in 1968 found in a review of personality research (my numbering to ease the categories):

people possess a unique set of cognitive and affective variables that determine how they react to the social world. They describe five components of this ‘personality mediating system’ that guide people’s behavior: [1] encodings (people’s construals of themselves, others, and situations); [2] expectancies about themselves and the social world; [3] affect and emotions; [4] goals and values; and [5] competencies and self-regulatory plans. In short, they argue, people have distinctive ‘if-then’ rules that determine how they respond in a particular situation; for example, ‘If I feel I’m being ignored, then I get angry and aggressive.’ [Remember] a fundamental property of the adaptive unconscious is that people have no access to the ways in which it selects, interprets, and evaluates information.

The student may not know that, but personalized learning, formative assessments, and holistic, evidence-based strategies can all ferret that out, call it personalized learning, and use curricula to instill the desired images, ethics, categories of thought, and interpretive tools to be changed. Feelings and emotions can be changed through role play. Digital learning is a particularly rich source for mining and manipulating this ‘personality mediating system.’ The system each and every student has so targeting it for change is equitable and coincidentally, conducive to the sought change to “ourselves and institutions”. The other part of the rallying cry and civil rights mandates of Equity and Excellence turns out to mean getting at students at the level of what they want, think, and feel. http://invisibleserfscollar.com/excellence-means-education-putting-what-we-feel-wish-for-and-think-in-harmony/

Sounds just like a bullseye of the Adaptive Unconscious to me.

Gaslighting We the People In the Name of Well-Being to Avoid a Dictatorship of the Dead

Welcome to 2021 and if any of you have ever read a book or seen a film where Gaslighting by some villain was a tool of control, you will remember that the sanity of the person being manipulated always becomes an issue. Think of this post as a means of illuminating what may appear to be Gaslighting, but actually serves a long-term, even more insidious purpose, than making someone seem disturbed and crazed. As always I have lots of quotes. No need to speculate here.

First, I want to build on our ESS insight from the previous post by quoting from https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3761438 a recent legal paper on “Rescuing Our Democracy” by changing the legal standard involving defamation. It asserted that “a basic requirement of a healthy democracy [is] the development of a set of broadly agreed-upon facts.” No, not really, but later the paper asserts again that “a functioning democracy must have a basic consensus on what is real and what is fake and the way to reach such determinations.” Clearly, the Powers-that-Be want to Control the Narrative, while insisting erroneously that accepting such narrative is the essence of a democracy. Beginning to get a headache from the gas yet? Hold on.

In early January, a link to a June 2020 paper called “Rethinking Humanity: Five Foundational Sector Disruptions, the Lifecycle of Civilizations, and the Coming Age of Freedom” came my way. It called forthrightly for:

a new Organizing System, one governed by new rules with new belief systems, conceptual frameworks, and models of thought to better explain the world, leading to new political, economic, and social systems to influence, control, and manage society.

Not the first to call for that, but the ESS aspiration, the Fake News definition that is not about veracity but an approved source, the labeling of demonstrably true statements as Disinformation, and the above insistence that democracy is about a set of broadly agreed-upon facts should all be seen as a means to impose that New Organizing System without admitting that is the true shift. Learning Standards and competency frameworks further enable this stealth shift to a New Organizing System. The Dictatorship of the Dead quote is from Harvard Prof Roberto Unger and covered in this post http://invisibleserfscollar.com/multiple-recent-proclamations-laying-out-commitment-to-revolutionary-transformation-of-our-entire-society/

Unger has been referenced recently in numerous footnotes and this July 2020 interview https://www.thenation.com/article/culture/roberto-mangabeira-ungers-alternative-progressive-vision/ makes it clear that his imagination first wholesale restructuring would be greatly aided by outrage at present conditions and his call that education has “as its primary goal the enhancement of analytic and syntheticcapabilities, rather than the mastery of information.” How to Think is a great way to substitute a New Organizing System. What better way to get new conceptual frameworks than to insist that “what matters with respect to content is less encyclopedic coverage than it is selective depth.”

We use, someone else selects. If we happen to still have Axemaker Minds with encyclopedic elements and we notice the selected concept is inapt, we are not using the New Organizing System. We must be sent outside the mainstream of thought. Accusations of Sedition, being a Conspiracy Theorist, or deplatforming to shut up should do. The Gaslighting aspect has to do with the insistence of the New Way of Thinking. It’s actually not about facts. Now we are going back to the early 90s, when the hope for a Science of Emotion was just getting underway. A book The Nature of Emotion: Fundamental Questions came out and Richard J. Davidson was one of its two editors. Close friend of the Dalai Lama with whom he works regularly, on the Board of UNESCO’s MGIEP based out of India, author of Buddha’s Brain: Neuroplasticity and Meditation, and quietly while most of us were unwrapping Christmas presents, he coauthored “The plasticity of well-being: A training-based framework for the cultivation of human flourishing”.

That framework published by his Center for Healthy Minds in December https://www.pnas.org/content/pnas/117/51/32197.full.pdf wants to get at

four dimensions of well-being: awareness, connection, insight, and purpose. These dimensions are central to the subjective experience of well-being and can be strengthened through training. In this respect, they can be likened to skills, and the cultivation of well-being for a repertoire of skills. The cultivation of well-being thus involves the use of self-regulatory processes to learn, practice, and apply these skills in daily life.

A feeling of interdependence with others, a “heightened and flexible attentiveness to perceptual impressions in one’s environments,” and purpose, all being manipulated by others via provided daily educational experiences, also sounds like a good way to get to a New Organizing System. Since these dimensions all have “neurobiological underpinnings,” the New System of Thought grounded in emotion is a keeper. Last Friday, the SoLD Alliance mentioned in the last post continued its “Who Gets to Thrive?” Series with a particular emphasis on SoLD as a “Tool for Anti-Racism”. When the speaker’s specialty is Affective Neuroscience and she talks about using functional MRI on students to see what is being changed and shows pictures of brain scans, we are once again looking at neurobiological underpinnings.

Professor Mary Helen Immordino-Yang spoke of addressing the notion of white supremacy and “a pivotal moment to grow our young people into the citizens they can be” by targeting each student’s “emotional feeling state that becomes the story a student uses to make meaning.”  She asserted that “meaning making is where it all begins and ends because it’s how we create our reality.” It allows the student to focus on things that don’t currently exist now and she rued the fact that “Deep Reflection and Personal Meaning Making about the Problems of the World and How they can be transcended and what causes them” is not the focus of more school curricula. Suddenly, curricula “becomes about the nature of human rights, what is good and not good and we can see in the brain how it rewires when education asks these kinds of questions.”

That does sound again like a New Organizing System, hardwired in, and my hand was flying taking notes. When I looked up, I noticed the professor seemed to have been crying in excitement at the type of future world this kind of equitable curriculum would enable. She did note that these kind of practices and imagination grounded in feeling experiences did not change with varying socio-economic levels, immigration status, gender, or other characteristics of students. See where a civil rights mandate of Equity and Excellence really takes us? The webinar moderator, Karen Pittman, then lamented that the zoom webinar had no ability for everyone in the audience to stand and applaud as they would be in-person.

Pittman did later ask MHI-L about how to best get at Meaning Making and the response was that a student’s Identity and Cultural History affect the Brain more than Genes. It becomes epigenetically turned on by the experiences provided, especially once students are made aware of “How can I grow myself to be adaptive to what is needed?” It turns out that Karen Pittman is the co-author of a new book that was the subject of this article https://www.gettingsmart.com/2021/01/a-new-vision-for-a-new-administration-whole-child-development-learning-and-thriving/ that came out on the same day as the above webinar. It also explains why she brought up psychologist Urie Bronfenbrenner and his Ecological Systems Thinking and other spheres of influence beyond just the mind, school, and family.

Urie was an exchange student working in the Soviet Union in the 60s so the Theories of Mind involved with pushing Dynamic Systems Thinking go beyond my ability to recover them in this post. http://invisibleserfscollar.com/imitating-the-ussr-in-striving-to-discover-how-the-child-can-become-what-he-not-yet-is/ is that old post. Two more quick points that I can see the Chan Zuckerburg Initiative is financing the research that created that book that came out of the SoLD Alliance. It is especially interested in ACTUAL student’s trajectories of change and what experiences caused them in something called MMDC–Measures and Methods Across the Developmental Continuum. Information based on group averages might not reflect an real human being and what can change them.

Secondly I found this related paper https://forumfyi.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Thriving.Equity.Learning.Report.pdf that also tied to the upcoming book and its desired neurobiological change grounded in a student’s inner characteristics and how they can be altered to cause them to act as desired on existing external conditions.Now we can come back to the 1994 book The Nature of Emotion because it fits with the curricula I saw created in advance before Charlottesville, the Racial Equity curricula capitalizing on the furor surrounding George Floyd’s death, and now the curricula and common narratives created for the so-called ‘Insurrection at the Capitol’. Those links can all be found in the comments on the previous post, this summer’s posts, and back in August 2017. Let’s look at these stated aspirations as looking for a New Organizing System.

Davidson and his co-editor noted that there is a physiological difference in the brain between information processing and “evaluation of events that provoke an emotion.” They further noted that “emotion involves a subjective experience, a feeling state” and that “emotion is not a peripheral phenomenon but involves the organism totally. Emotional experience shapes and reflects individual personality development.” Some of its undisputed functions back in 1994 were that “1.Emotions have motivational properties…; 2. Emotions organize behavioral and physiological patterns to deal with emotion-evoking events, interrupting less important ongoing events…”

I think all these curricula have been designed to get at what is known about the brain, how to alter its neurobiological underpinnings, the role of Image in dynamic systems theories, and what emotion-evoking events can do to help create a New Organizing System. As part of a CASEL Cares webinar on “Discussions about Teaching and Learning that will Last Beyond the Pandemic,” also held on January 22, the teachers were asked about the lessons they used “to help students process the events of January 6.” The teachers discussed how scary those events had been for both themselves and their students and how the students had to “have accurate facts about the events”. The students could then process their feelings by journaling or class discussion.

Since there is a dispute among reasonable people as to what happened, when, and why, the fact that students are not allowed that knowledge was interesting. Must be because the feelings created by an emotion-evoking event are the primary area to be cultivated. A featured teacher mentioned they got their lessons and the facts from Newsela. Of course I looked it up and the partners include most major print media plus Al Jazeera as well as entities like the Zinn Education Project  and the SEL program Facing History and Ourselves. The latter two repeatedly state that their purpose is to reimagine the events of the past in order to affect how students feel about the present and the future.

We need to remember now that both education and journalism are branches of social science and as Jean-Francois Revel noted in The Flight From Truth :

In the social sciences it is what people want to see proved that becomes the main criterion of the ‘truth’…In the approximative sciences verification and refutation can be indefinitely delayed and contested. Not so in the exact sciences.

Now where exactly do emotionally laden Guiding Fictions created by prescribed subjective experiences that rewire the brain at a biological level to affect a student’s meaning making and view of reality going forward fit into this apt dichotomy between the social and hard sciences?

It’s going to be an interesting 2021 with these admitted aspirations and their ancestry, isn’t it?

Eradicating the Axemaker Mind via Schools to Supposedly Promote Global Flourishing

Welcome to the 2020s! This is the Decade where Governments all over the world intend “to act as an instrument of the common good” and use the schools to rewire students’ brains so that they are more amenable to the plans political leaders have for us in the 21st century. I wish this was fiction or just a theory of mine, but it is not. I certainly was not going to write about this during the holidays, but there were quite a lot of white papers put out in December on this point, and being the careful researcher I am, I then followed up on the books and papers cited in the footnote and here we are. This is not a one shot post, but the beginning of what has become a well-documented armada of coordinated initiatives to use schools to cultivate “positive attitudes and activities” so that students can “develop the inner means to handle distress themselves when it arises. In other words, we should aim at a society in which people have the inner resources to flourish.”

About the same time those words were published in the inaugural 2018 World Happiness Policy Report presented at the World Government Summit in Dubai, a retired MIT professor, John Ehrenfeld, submitted his vision of “Flourishing: Designing a Brave New World” to she ji, a journal of design and innovation, asserting that “Flourishing is possible only when the right brain hemisphere is the master, but balanced with the left. The ultimate goal of every designer should be to foster flourishing…For humans, flourishing requires (1) restoring the supremacy of the right brain through direct practices, for example, mindfulness training, and (2) re-designing institutions and artifacts to enhance presencing: the perception of being connected to the contextually rich surrounding world.”

Well, that got my attention since the actual classroom practices now tied to learning standards all over the world fit with what Ehrenfeld wrote would be needed to make the right-brain dominant. I have school mandates under Positive School Climate prescribed materials that turn out to be renamed cognitive behavioral therapy practices. I poke familiar names and find books like Super Better: A Revolutionary Approach to Getting Stronger, Happier, Braver, and More Resilient that plan to use digital learning virtual reality and videogames to Hardwire the Brain via “repeated activation of specific neurological circuits that train the brain to be motivated by challenge, rewarded by feedback, and more resilient in the face of temporary failure.” Use the fact that “neurons that fire together, wire together” to create digital learning experiences to hardwire “cognitive habits that lead to lifelong success and psychological well-being.”

If “Schools are the primary place where the values of a culture get instilled in young people” and the materials quoted above and conferences like Learning and the Brain repeatedly declare that the ‘instilling’ is to be neural, we need to think about the implications of poems like the following created as part of the Search Inside Yourself e-book “Practice Kindness” created for students in honor of World Kindness Day.

Kind hearts are the gardens,

Kind thoughts are the roots,

Kind words are the blossoms,

Kind deeds are the fruits.

The new way for governments, political leaders, and their cronies to control behavior in the 21st century is not overt coercion, but by controlling the inner psychology and the practices and experiences known to instill desired neural and cognitive structures. Let’s get back to how Ehrenfeld laid out the how and why, but never believe his is a voice in the wilderness. Instead, it is entirely an accident that I came across his article while following up on something else and, using my experience from writing what is detailed in my book Credentialed to Destroy, recognized how his prescriptions for right-brain dominance were already enshrined in what has been misleadingly labelled as the Reading and Math Wars. Right Brain Dominance “can create a pull towards a different kind of future.” A future where the focus is no longer on the individual as those of us located in the West have always believed, but on the collective and its supposed needs. That shift needs to get at “the way we hold reality” itself and shift it to focus more on empathy or caring.

Think about all the changes in the nature of education and the new purposes of schools and higher education as you read this Ehrenfeld quote:

With new understanding of how the brain functions, the root causes can be traced to an imbalance between the two cerebral hemispheres. Modern culture is the product of the left-brain dominance, but flourishing can arise only from the opposite: the mastery of the right over the left. The challenge ahead is to reverse this through design and practice…Only the right connects to the [world as it is, with its rich context] , and can produce empathy and enable authentic caring…A key to increasing authenticity is the ability to delay or stop the left brain from taking over–that is, to remain in the present moment…Mindfulness offers a possible way to maintain the attentional stance of the right.

Now all the hype about bullying, where mindfulness practices are held out as the remedy and we happen to also notice that the trainer for the teachers does New Age Buddhist retreats on other days of the week, make far more sense. In fact, in Super Better, McGonnigal notes that “mindfulness meditation, for example, has been measured to have quite similar physiological benefits as casual game play…game play is a way to learn to control our attention–which is one of the primary aims of Buddhist practice!” Neuroscientists have shown that attention is a necessary component for neural rewiring and certain kinds of practices make the emotional side of the brain dominant. Here’s the sought practice beyond mindfulness training under “Reflective Practice”:

Reflective practice is a general label for the interruptive process by which experience can be embedded to the brain as part of learning. Reflective practice in design is driven by direct experience (right-brain) [virtual reality counts as direct!], rather than the mere application of abstract, general rules (left-brain). In terms of the divided brain model, reflection is the process that new experiences, under the control of the right brain, are passed over to the left hemisphere.

How often now are we hearing hype about students needing Whole Child instruction in controlling emotions to “develop five skills: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills. All correspond to right brain activities.” Those of us who have ever had a child in an IB Program who were paying attention know we got almost as tired from hearing hype about “Inquiry Learning” as we did from the “Are you an IB Learner?” question. Now we discover that Inquiry is a right brain activity and Lecture is a Left:

Science is the paradigm of the left brain at work. Conversely, pragmatism is based on paying persistent, broad attention to the whole system and creating new understanding; it depends on holding the left at bay. Meaningfulness, or pragmatic truth, is not to be found in the abstract, left-brain, self-consistent, world of science. It is to be found in the real, right brain, phenomenal world…Pragmatic inquiry is a method that keeps the right brain engaged over extended periods in order to capture the dynamic, context-dependent character of complex systems…Presencing is a form of attention, which exploits the right brain’s attributes of breadth, persistence, and exploration/creativity. Presencing restores context to the external world that has been lost while the left-brain was dominant. Such context is necessary for flourishing.

Presencing looks at the world as a domain for acting and transforming. The focus becomes on what could be, instead of what is. Now that we have covered this desired rewiring, in the next post we will cover how this new right-brain vision of what it is to Understand in the 21st century is “not about cognizing a pre-given world, it is about becoming aware of and consciously choosing the aspects of the world we decide to cope with.” That quote was from a paper featured last week in a newsletter I receive and was written by a member of the American Society of Cybernetics. It fits with what the Father of Positive Psychology and Positive Neuroscience who presented at that World Government Summit says should be the new focus of Models of the Human Mind.

Are we going to be Driven by the Past and the dominance of the left brain or shall we make the focus of education “Navigating into the Future”? No, we are actually not the ones who get to design that future. It gets selected for us and then hardwired into our brains neurologically so we can “draw on experience to update” our choices and then act accordingly based on our “needs and goals” that have also been the aim of Right-Brain focused education.

It truly is a Brave New World once we read certain influential journals and look at the programs being put on at the certain well-attended conferences. No need to theorize about this coordinated effort at all. Just review the documentation. At least that is still possible for those of us for whom the left brain remains dominant.

Here’s to the Axemaker Minds who are not yet left to accepting an offered narrative of where education is really going and why it must be changed.

 

 

Destination Identity: Scaffolding the Collective Images of the Desired Futures to Habituate Needed Action

Let’s go back in time to the 1960s for social plans before comparing them to plans from last month in the UK clearly following the same long desired blueprint. The back cover of The Art of Conjecture book from the last post mentioned a related book called Social Technology that helpfully explains to us that:

the gap between the social and the physical sciences will not persist…[as long as people come to recognize that] the comparison with the social with the physical sciences is a spurious one, based on an epistemological misconception regarding the nature and purpose of scientific activity…this is the crucial point–there is every reason to believe that, by effecting specific changes in attitudes and procedures, we can substantially narrow the gap between physical technology and sociopolitical progress…The time has come to emulate, not physical science, but physical technology.

Translating that into more graspable English, it is the role of the physical sciences to describe what is or, at least, what seems to exist. The role of physical technology is to be put into operation in the existing world to see what gets changed as a result. For this vision of Social Technology to work, it needs means for “devising appropriate educational innovations” that can “construct a common frame of reference in order to promote a unified collaborative effort.” We might call such an aspiration as the creation of an internalized common core of prevailing attitudes, beliefs, conceptual Ideas, values, and motivations to act. It was all laid out many years before what we today would call THE Common Core or Competency-Based Education. Think though of the potential of learning standards globally tied to UNESCO criteria if the sought sociopolitical transformations need a specified contextual map grounded at the physical, neural level, establishing:

a common vocabulary, an agreed-upon ideology, a set of reasonable goals, a common context for symbols, and ways of translating ideas into actions… [These would lead] above all, to acquiring an integrated overview of the problem area…forcing the analyst to make specific which elements of a situation he is taking into consideration and in imposing on him the discipline of clarifying the concepts he is using. The model thus serves the important purpose of establishing unambiguous intersubjective communication about the subject at hand. Whatever intrinsic uncertainties may becloud the area of investigation, they are thus less likely to be further compounded by uncertainties owing to disparate subjective interpretations.

Put the Reading Wars in a whole new light. doesn’t it? It also explains why phonetic reading and how to teach it had to be constrained until after learning standards could be mandated that would specify the desired conceptual frameworks that would provide the required new categories of thought. Let’s go back to The Art of Conjecture one more time since it accurately recognized that “Our perception of the facts depends on our ideas: it is through our ideas that we know reality.” Therefore through education that uses learning standards and required annual assessments of Higher-Order Thinking Skills to monitor and control which Ideas a Mind uses to guide perception and the interpretation of experiences, political authority and its think tank allies across the political spectrum have stealthily managed to control what every censor and authoritarian government in history craved control over: “our awareness of reality and our expression of this reality.”

That is because as a practical matter “our mind ‘sees’ by means of ideas” and education and the media have formally joined hands to control those ideas. The role of prescribed lenses, frames, narratives, or scenarios to imagine what might be different has the effect of prescribing the ideas we use in reading the facts. Now, the author of the Social Technology book, Olaf Helmer, was a co-founder of the Institute for the Future in 1968 to bring about the vision from both his book as well as The Art of Conjecture to create an institution to create a “constructive approach which will ensure to us some measure of control over the future of our society.”

IftF works closely today with Knowledge Works to create Forecasts involving to future of K-12 education and push Competency-Based Education. Its employees are also closely involved with pushing the potential of digital technology to reimagine what the world could become and why it is needed. http://invisibleserfscollar.com/when-gaming-intends-to-shape-and-distort-our-perceptions-of-everything-around-us-viva-la-revolution/ is from 2013. IftF also repeatedly shows up working with the GEFF 2030 visions surrounding the SDGs and all of the OECD’s work called Education 2030. Now let’s come back to last month’s https://media.nesta.org.uk/documents/Our_futures_by_the_people_for_the_people_HrqsGPo.pdf on how mass involvement in shaping the future can solve complex problems. It is where the term ‘Destination Identity’ and the aspiration for “scaffolding public imagination” come from.

Crucially,  before the social planners writing that paper get to specifying the desired changes at the levels of the community and institutions, they first target a desire to control each individual’s ‘Mapping horizons,’ ‘Creating purpose’ for individuals, ‘Charting pathways’ for each individual, specifying the criteria to habituate ‘Acting together’, and, tied to the discussion from the beginning of this post, framing ‘Testing ideas’. The Framework for Evaluating Participatory Futures, in other words, just happens to coincide with what 21st century skills hypes, as well as Project-Based Frameworks to implement Competency-based Education. It gets at what learning standards specify and it says the real reason all this must be standardized through a reenvisioning of education globally is to

build collective intelligence about the future by helping people to diagnose change over the long-term, draw out knowledge and ideas about how the future could be, and develop collective mental images of the futures people want.

Well, at least the futures people will want when digital simulations, required learning experiences, formative assessments for HOTS, and High Quality Project-Based Learning get done with their ‘imaginations’. After all, that report disdains “only engaging people to think about the future in an analytical and rational way.” Mustn’t greet the future, in other words, with an Axemaker Mind full of actual factual information and your own developed categories of thought. Might lead to disparate subjective interpretations of what is important or even a wise idea to be transforming at all. Instead, we get the admission:

Art, embodied and experiential processes have a much greater influence on citizens, their sense of meaning, motivation and subsequent actions.

Can you repeat after me: “Inside Out and Just as Specified for Habitualizing Future Actions”? Nothing sounds more effective for creating a desired Social Technology than helping participants, whether they be K-12 or higher ed students or adults on a Learning Together retreat, “feel the future” so they will come to believe “how malleable these futures are.” Activities and learning experiences can be used to “scaffold public imagination; drawing out knowledge and ideas about how the future could be, and developing collective mental images of the futures people want.” Then those deliberately instilled common collective images of the future can be used to create “new collective actions and behavior in the present”.

Remember how Catalyzing Change from the last post hyped student agency and critiquing the present as the excuse for reimagining high school math? It turns out to be essential for a requisite “need to help people and communities deal with uncertainty, build resilience to change and act collectively.” Now, math, science, or history learning experiences become a means for “helping people to feel a sense of agency over their own futures is critical for maintaining social cohesion and preventing a fracturing along ethnic, racial, cultural, historical or other identity lines. Participatory futures can also facilitate collective action that is necessary to tackle systemic challenges like climate change.”

The Social Technology book set out a vision for dynamic social planning that works a great deal like what NESTA is now laying out and it also relies greatly on the control of ideas. So much more effective at evading any perception of censorship or control and less rigid than any Five Year Plan. Think of required Literacy Activities through the following aspiration from the NESTA report:

Collective images of the future help orient and organize in times of disruption. Throughout history, humans, organisations and societies have used mental images in the forms of myths, legends and religion to organise themselves. Images of the future play a particularly significant role in our lives, since our ability to make plans, decisions or set goals rests on them. Brain research shows that collective images offer orientation in times of uncertainty or when the necessity of reshaping our living environments becomes apparent. Participatory futures approaches use and create shared public images of the future that can provide a ‘destination identity’–acting as a motivating force to turn the ‘imagined’ into the real…positive images help pull us toward the future helping to catalyze social change and overcome cultural obstacles to it.

I think that is enough to take in right now as we contemplate the use of the ubiquitous Greta Thunberg or why common weather events now have to be the lead story on the national news. If you desired that social science, including its education and pedagogy components, have a role to play in shifting from what is to what could be, social planners know they need to create a “shared diagnosis of the key facts, trends, and problems,” even if that shared diagnosis is factually untrue in the world that currently exists.

The whole point is the effect of the shared mental images on actions that can remake what currently exists. I wonder if anyone else will grasp all these aspirations as Uncle Karl’s Man as a Maker of History, usefully brought into place at a neural level by achievement standards that hype student ‘performance’ and actions.

It turns out to be a plan for social reengineering with a long pedigree if we know where to look.

 

 

Ubiquitous Coincidence or Deliberate Targeting? The New Science of Mind, Brain, and Education

Let’s start with a quote from November 2018 and an international adult leadership seminar tied to one of the creators of the K-12 MBE model referred to in the title and then tie it to the use of learning standards from the last post as ‘self-regulation’ and exactly what is being targeted as the missing elements in the Iceberg Problem. Sorry for the delay in writing, but I needed to be sure of how everything fit and one of my sources was a more than 700 page book. This is from a man called Werner Erhard who came up quite often when I was researching Esalen and Ken Wilber’s Integral Theory and its ties to the K-12 actual template.

We can choose to be audacious enough to take responsibility for the entire human family. We can choose to make our love for the world to be what are lives are really about.

Each of us now has the opportunity, the privilege, to make a difference in creating a world that works for all of us. It will require courage, audacity, and heart. It is much more radical than a revolution–it is the beginning of a transformation in the quality of life on our planet. What we create together is a relationship in which our work can show up as making a difference in people’s lives. I welcome the unprecedented opportunity for us to work globally on that which concerns us as human beings.

Those aspirations fit well with that Blueprint from the last post, don’t they? The quote came from the materials found here https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1263835&download=yes and it is a co-author, Michael Jensen, whose personal bio ties him to the creation of the MBE program at Harvard in the 1990s. By Autumn 2011, we can find an article by Michael Ferrari and Hazel McBride called “Mind, Brain, and Education: The Birth of a New Science” on “the benefits as well as the difficulties involved in integrating neuroscience into education policy and practice.” We parents and taxpayers have every right to be properly informed as to what is meant by the following terms and also the real links between this vision and Mr Erhard’s quote above. After all, as the article’s conclusion stated:

Educators and school boards are increasingly coming under media scrutiny and increased pressure to improve educational outcomes at a time when educators, policy makers, and the public have become fascinated with ‘brain research’. At the same time, governments and policymakers are promoting and supporting Evidence-Based Decision Making and Knowledge Transformation. These are ideal conditions for the Growth of Mind, Brain, and Education.

Do Tell. Notice the reference in that quote to Knowledge Transformation because it goes to the mouthful distinction between what those course materials call “An Ontological/Phenomenological Model.” Before I quote what that transformation means, let me remind everyone that Mihaly Csiksentmihaly [see tag] describes himself as a phenomenologist and it is his model of Excellence being mandated now in the US under civil rights calls for Equity and Excellence. It matters greatly that his model was pushed globally at the 2017 World Government Summit in Dubai as I covered here http://invisibleserfscollar.com/radio-silence-and-the-dog-that-did-not-bark-positioning-positive-education-globally/ . According to those course materials, an “ontological exercise…is about a transformation in who you ‘wound up being'”.

Since the course materials were created for adults, a comparable ontological/phenomenological exercise in children and teenagers through deliberately created learning experiences also goes to who they are at a neural level. Let me go to that 700 page book, Humans as Self-Constructing Living Systems, and what it referred to as ‘person-based self-regulation.’ That New Science article hypes the role of the OECD in pushing the MBE model and, like Professor Clabough from the last post, the OECD has said ‘self-regulation’ is the purpose of K-12 education in the 21st century. Let’s quote what that really means:

Humans have developed two interrelated social-regulatory methods: (a) to impose and enforce regulatory rules on social components through power and physical arrangements external to the organization’s components, whether social groups or individuals (e.g., through laws and punishment, police action, imprisonment); (b) to make the regulatory rules and processes properties of the components themselves so they become self-regulating in relationship to the social organizations of which they are a part.

I bolded that particular phrase because it is actually what George Will called Soulcraft and the rightful domain of governments, what Erin Clabough pushed as neural and second nature, and what we keep encountering as personalized, student-centered, competency-based learning. In the Karoly paper on the “Mechanisms of Self-Regulation: A Systems View” from the last post under “The Activation and Use of Standards” think of it as why the Iceberg Problem created an Appendix III on the role of learning standards to change the nature of K-12 education.

Having a goal (or a specific performance level to which one aspires) and being able systematically to surveil goal-relevant activities do not alone provide the impetus to self-regulated modulation of thought, affect, or behavior. Before the all-important comparison of the feedforward and the feedback signals can occur in human control systems, the goal or standard must be triggered, activated, or called up from long-term memory.

The adult leadership course materials spend a great deal of time undoing what is in long-term memory that is judged to be an impediment to the desired way of being. The materials lament that the neural wiring of the adult brain is too tied to the “realization of that past-derived predicted future“. The slideshare bolded that phrase as neural wiring is viewed as in the way of the Creating a Desired Future and “What Happens in the Brain with Such a ‘Created Future'”. K-12 grounded in phenomenology can go directly to shaping who a student will “wound up being” by pushing transformational learning that goes directly to controlling “who you are as a product of the beliefs you assimilated concerning yourself and the world, and the socialization and roles you learned.”

The MBE/ontological/phenomenological emphasis with adults has to “explore our worldview and frames of reference themselves–their genealogy, internal logic, uses–as well as assess the costs and benefits, and advantages and disadvantages…[in order to provide] the opportunity to discover and eliminate the constraints and shaping imposed by your worldview.” K-12, with the same emphasis, gets to head directly to ‘Go’ in most students and simply impose the desired worldview and frames of reference and then have the federal government (in the US) mandate all students have those assessed at least annually as Higher Order Thinking Skills. HOTS then has always been more about what will guide students ways’ of being, goal setting, and decision-making in the world than about what used to be known as epistemological or information learning.

No wonder lectures are passe and textbooks must be electronic and experiential. I want to end with an abstract from a May 2019 essay from World Futures that ties to the Global Education Futures Forum 2030 that uses language that also ties to that 1968 Bellagio conference at the Rockefeller Foundation villa. The Erhard/Jensen materials used similar language seeking to make the present about the future to be created, not the past. Alexander Laszlo stated his intention “to bring into being a world and future where all of us can thrive has been shared by numerous people. Yet despite these intentions, we have not yet been able to effectuate the deeper transformational change required for bringing this forth at the pace and scale now required.”

If that gain sounds remarkably like the Blueprint, both authors have fathers who have been at this Social Sciences Altering Consciousness to Change Social Systems vision for decades. Let’s finish with what Alexander (the son) described in January 2008 about how this transformation could occur in “The Making of a New Culture Learning Conversations and Design Conversations in Social Evolution.” You would need to target the “confluence of values, beliefs, ideas, and forms of expression characteristic of interpersonally aligned individual cognitive maps.” Alexander Laszlo said those arose “from a community,” but we have met them recently as Collective Cognition and it is what learning standards tied to competency-based frameworks and the Common Core create. They target the needed “psycho-personal and socio-cultural to bio-physical and process-structural” all at once.

If all the authors cited in this and recent posts are writing and speaking about the “importance of learning for the purposeful design of the future,” don’t we have the right to know about this hijacking of purpose? That suddenly classes labelled as reading, math, history, or science are more about a physiological change at the level of the mind and brain than they are about information transmission? When schools or even higher ed regard themselves as “learning communities to foment doing the right things” at a neural level in their students in order to effectuate a transformation to act to create “changes that will approximate their visions of the future,” we need to understand this deliberate targeting.

Especially since it turns out that actual factual knowledge and an Axemaker Mind in the student are the ultimate bulwarks against this neural and psychological manipulation.

Guaranteeing Surreptitious Mind Shifting Requires Binding Unknown Research and Coordination

Building on what we found in the actual language of HPL II from the last post, I want to talk about precisely how what is being referred to authoritatively as the Science of Learning & Development https://www.turnaroundusa.org/landmark-papers-science-learning-development-published-applied-developmental-science/ makes it all the way to the local classroom, fidelity to the purpose of the theory intact. First though, let’s detour to the always forthcoming Harlan Cleveland (HC) and what he wrote in 1998 about how to guarantee the desired “guarantee mind shifting” necessary to create a means of “organizing human beings to work together toward common goals.” It was laid out in an article called “Religion and Governance” available here http://www.wnrf.org/cms/govern.shtml , which makes it crystal clear that the Integral Mindset we keep encountering and its sought Arational, non-Axemaker Mind, was called the “Transmodern Way of Thinking” by HC [who has an ISC tag].

Cleveland wanted to make “human beings the dominant actors in their own future evolution,” which may sound pie-in-the-sky until we recognize just how seminal ‘learner agency’ is to what is being called The Brain Basis for Integrated Social, Emotional, and Academic Development: How emotions and social relationships drive learning in a little publicized paper released last month by the Aspen Institute. HC once headed the Aspen Institute, which makes this concern about how “citizens have been slow to change” all the more alarming. HC also wrote (remember his pursuits in the 80s are covered in CtD) that:

“many countries citizens have been slow to change their minds because their leaders fear the consequences of ‘many flowers blooming’–as Mao Tse-Tung did, even though he popularized the phrase–in gardens they wish to control. But it’s dangerous not to take full advantage of new learning technologies; the breakdown of Communist regimes in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union bears witness.”

Sounds like regret, doesn’t it? Sadness over lost transformation opportunities of leaders not using the powers of innovation to create “more satisfying belief systems” that are “open to adaptation” and instill a desired “inner sense of what is appropriate.” On that note, one of the backers of those papers above, EducationCounsel, the policy arm of Richard Riley’s law firm that also represents school districts, has worked with the same CCSSO that created the Common Core to create Principles of Effective School Implementation Systems https://ccsso.org/resource-library/school-improvement-principles-1-10-questions-ask-yourself and Deep Dive Principle 1 insists that “schools will provide effective and engaging instruction within a supportive school culture.”

All terms with a definite meaning under HPL II, its troika, and those Turnaround papers. What is effective though is not just about listed Outcomes where “students will be academically prepared.” Students will also be “socially responsible,” which sounds remarkably like a Garden to be Controlled in the 21st century by ‘public policy’ and legal mandates. Principle #2 fleshes out that garden by referencing the “full range of knowledge, skills, and mindsets necessary for students to succeed in college, career, and civic life.” Mindsets is a synonym in these documents which is sometimes replaced by Dispositions, Attitudes, or Attributes. By any of these names, it gets at the needed:

“epigenetic adaptation [grounded in experience]–the biological process through which these reciprocal individual-context relations create qualitative changes to our genetic makeup over time, both within and across generations…Genes are chemical ‘followers’, not the prime movers, in developmental processes; their expression at the biological level is determined by contextual influences.”

‘Contextual influences’ is more commonly known now as prescribed ‘learning experiences’ aimed at getting at the internalized realm of a student’s KBVAF–knowledge, beliefs, values, attitudes, and faith–to gain the desired new values and patterns of thinking. https://www.turnaroundusa.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Key-Findings-and-Implications-of-the-Science-of-Learning-Development.pdf was the source of that quote and one of its primary authors is one of the keynoters at this week’s iNACOL conference in Nashville. Here’s another quote since the “human relationship is a primary process through which biological and contextual factors mutually reinforce each other” and the “human relationship is an integrated network of enduring emotional ties, mental representations, and behaviors that connect people across time and space.”

Is it any wonder that Positive School Climates and social and emotional learning then are being legally mandated for intervention as Student Success and School Improvement using every legal vehicle available? We now are to consider both children and adults as ‘developmental systems’ where governments and other institutions seek to intervene to control the:

“continuous interaction between the individual and the context of each individual’s relationships and experiences. [Human] development is shaped by a convergence of individual, biological, contextual, cultural, and historical factors…An understanding of neural malleability and plasticity, the dynamics of resilience, and the interconnectedness of individuals with their social and physical contexts offers a transformational opportunity to influence the trajectories of children’s lives.”

While making them ‘socially responsible” to boot, huh? Remember how HC loved that garden metaphor for the potential of controlling the mind? Well, the unpublicized Aspen paper above opens with telling us that “the developmental sculpting of the brain’s networks through learning is akin to the process of growing a botanical garden.” Maybe, but none of us get to pick out either the landscape architect or gardener doing the planning, mowing, or pruning. Politicians, public policy think tanks, academics, and other TOGAS–translocal organizations of government actors, like CCSSO–are the one’s planning to utilize “the brain’s plasticity, the very adaptability that allows us to adjust to the demands of our environments…as a critical opportunity and responsibility for education.”

No wonder these aims were called Tranformational Outcomes-Based Education in the 90s with a true aim to target the “situations, problems, ideas, and social relationships… that a person engages with [so that] these experiences [will] influence patterns of brain structure and function that undergird a person’s changing skills and inclinations over time.” Then comes the garden metaphor language followed by:

“Just as a garden grows differently in different climates and with different climates and with different plants, styles of gardening, and use, a person’s brain develops differently depending on age, predispositions, priorities, experiences, and environment. When given adequate opportunity, support, and encouragement, children naturally think, feel emotions, and engage with their social and physical worlds. And these patterns [KBVAF] of thoughts, feelings, and engagement organize brain function over time and in age-specific ways, influencing growth, intelligence, and health into the future.”

If that only sounds a bit creepy as a mandate for intervention as School Improvement or Student Achievement https://www.air.org/sites/default/files/EdCounsel-AIR-ESSA-State-Plans-School-Improvement-Event-May-2018.pdf , how about an image of firing within the brain while discussing the depicted area as (2) the right and left insulae, which sense the viscera and can be thought of as feeling emotion-related ‘gut’ responses and integrating those feelings with cognitive processes; and (3) regions of the Default Mode Network that are involved with processing the psychological self, building coherent narratives, calling up personal memories, and thinking about beliefs and moral values.”

How intrusive. No wonder we get euphemisms about School Improvement, Higher Order Thinking Skills, and Student Success instead of the open statement that brain structure and functional change for transformative political purposes requires students:

“be willing and able to tackle challenging tasks…to also learn to perceive themselves as capable of succeeding, which illustrates the connection between cognitive and emotional capacities. Learning environments that are structured to be consistent with how the brain develops generally include these features: They place the learner’s emotional and social experience at the forefront. Productive learning environments attend to learners’ subjective perceptions and help students build scholarly and social identities that incorporate their new skills and knowledge. They help people to feel safe and purposeful, and to believe that their work is important, relevant, and valuable.”

Now does all the role playing and references to learning to Think like a Scientist, Historian, or Mathematician make more sense? It’s all about a means to gain the desired neural change that fuses circuitry uniting emotion with thought. The remaining needed features for neural change, also bold-faced are age-appropriate exploration and discovery that allows “learning important concepts and skills” and exploring “essential questions.” No, we do not get to decide what is ‘important’ or ‘essential’, anymore than we get to pick out the border shrubs for this metaphorical neural garden. “They support flexible and efficient thinking. [where] productive learning environments attend to the trade-off between plasticity and efficiency in brain development, strategically offering activities that encourage flexible thinking along with those that encourage mastery of necessary building-block skills and knowledge.”

Next we get “help students acquire habits of mind and character. Productive learning environments help students acquire habits of mind that facilitate acquisition of age-appropriate knowledge and skills, reasoning, and ethical reflectiveness. These habits of mind become tools for navigating the world as a learner, bringing curiosity, interest, persistence, and a deep thirst for understanding.” They left out that habits of mind are largely unconscious so these learners are being guided by the same instilled internal rudder I call the Invisible Serfs Collar. How right I was with my own metaphors.

Now we know why we keep encountering required practices for the classroom that “attend to the development of the whole child in context, and the need for aligned partnerships throughout the community that can support children’s and their families’ health and well-being.” No wonder this vision of education and the omnipresent communitarian emphasis “is a necessity for all children” and every type of school.

For these political and social plans to gain effect without effective opposition in time, education needs to be about forcing planned interdependence in the neural circuitry of each citizen’s “cognitive, emotional, and social processing.”

I can see why euphemisms, undisclosed alliances, and legal mandates are so necessary to such a vision to gain Implementation with Fidelity.

Facing the Fold to Overcome the Prisons of Our Minds and Thus Transform the Future

Let’s continue to pierce through the veils of deceit surrounding education globally, especially K-12, and not be distracted by the ‘Look, Squirrel!’ claims that would have us voluntarily drinking poison while we are being told it will invigorate us. UNESCO does have a means of controlling what goes on in education systems all over the world. They have created standards and ‘learning objectives’ and detailed summaries of how everything is to work to change students at the levels of their minds. Their motto is that’s where wars begin and thus it is the target for creating a different kind of future. Those standards were created in the 1970s, revised again in 1997, and redone finally in 2011. Those 2011 revisions went into effect in 2014 and the OECD, with its PISA assessment and others, is an explicit partner. So when someone tells us that the Common Core is not in fact ‘internationally benchmarked’ they are either mistaken or lying.

When UNESCO states that it will use education to make sure students learn to think collectively, not individually; instill a New Humanism as the goal of all political processes; implant new Media Literacy Standards globally to tell us what sources to trust and which to disregard or even censor; and finally, to “Transform the Future” by targeting “people’s fictions about the later-than-now and the frames they use to invent these imaginary futures,” we need to listen. The tools are in place to use education and prescribed learning experiences and mandated activities “that confronts the prisons of our minds, helping us to overturn the old frames and invent new ones.” If that seems graphic and rather totalitarian in the original meaning of the term, a few lines later UNESCO writes about the need for our “beginning to think in a new way” after education is used to alter old ways of thinking that will be “pulled out by the roots.”

In the last post I pointed out that the purpose of academic content had shifted even though lots of education writers are trying desperately to obfuscate that reality. This quote on the ‘Objective of Learning’ in a paper by Ilkka Tuomi that was cited in the recent UNESCO e-book Transforming the Future: Anticipation in the 21st Century. It tells us explicitly what is meant by that now ubiquitous phrase about “Teaching Students How to Think, Not What to Think”:

“the fundamental question was not about acquiring knowledge; instead, the question was how we learn to think. In the Vygotskyian tradition [detailed in my book Credentialed to Destroy], for example, conceptual systems were understood to be important–not because they would accurately reflect the facts of the world–but  because theoretically advanced conceptual systems make advanced forms of thinking possible. In this tradition, the ultimate goal of learning mathematics, therefore, would not be viewed as learning to know mathematics. Instead, the capability of using mathematical concepts enables us to think abstract and complex thoughts. The goal of theoretical learning, therefore, is not to make the learner able to provide the answer to a given theoretical problem; instead, it is to develop the learner’s capacity to think.”

People should probably reread that paragraph several times. That definition of learning also means that plans for the future need not be bound by what exists in the present or what worked well or poorly in the past. Existing knowledge is inherently conservative and tradition bound. Theoretical conceptual knowledge, especially if prescribed in the first place to accelerate a revolutionary transformation or just innovation to the here and now, is not. In the last post we quoted Warren Ziegler who frequently worked with a peace educator named Elise Boulding. Her husband of many years, Kenneth Boulding, who we have encountered before as a father of ‘systems thinking’ in education, covered this same aim in 1985. Let’s listen in:

“valuational patterns that move us toward what is perceived as good [today he would probably add True and Beautiful and Capitalize All Three]…have a profound effect on their images of the world, especially, of course, the relation between their behavior and their images of the future and hence affect their decisions.”

Since UNESCO stated pointblank back in May it intended to target “human decision-making” by tracking and altering images of the future and the AA–anticipatory assumptions–people are using to create those images, let’s see what else Professor Boulding laid out: “the greatest human task is to realize the potential of the human species for bringing the unconscious processes of human life and history into consciousness and so be able to direct these processes with increasing skill toward human betterment.” There is indeed direction going on and all the references now to True Norths and moral compasses should be a clue, but learning standards like the Common Core take that direction away from the individuals involved.

“We have to ask ourselves, therefore, what kind of learning process will increase the probability of futures that are favorable to human betterment and diminish the probability of futures evaluated as involving human worsening, particularly those that are catastrophic?…the human mind has an extraordinary capacity for fantasy–that is, for the development of images that nobody has experienced. This starts with myth and fairy stories, science fiction, and so on. But it is the power of fantasy coupled with an ability to test our images of the world that has created the extraordinary capacity of the human race for learning. Science, indeed, has been defined as testable fantasy, Even untestable fantasies have a profound impact on human life and behavior.”

That’s the realm education is being used to enter now. As UNESCO Director-General put it in her Foreword dated November 24, 2017 :

“This is why being ‘future literate’ is so important. This is about understanding the nature of the future and the role it plays in what we see and do. Evidence shows people can change how and why they think about the future. Developing this capacity can be a powerful tool for catalysing change today. Becoming more skilled at designing the systems and processes used to imagine tomorrow is an essential part of empowering women and men with the ‘capacity to be free’, [sounds like soulcraft] as developed by Martha Nussbaum and Amartya Sen, to craft new approaches to more inclusive and sustainable development.”

When we assess what students will do in a ‘wicked problem situation’ where there is no correct answer or the problem provided is untaught material, we are looking for the conceptual systems and categories of thought the students decide to use to examine the context. That’s another way of saying ‘what are their anticipatory assumptions?’, which is exactly what UNESCO wants to control. It’s also what the federal education law in the US–ESSA–now requires all states to examine at least annually in at least 95% of their students. No exceptions whatever the states wish. This Higher Order Thinking Skills mandate makes more sense when we are aware it is not factual knowledge being tested.

As UNESCO noted in italics “The future does not exist in the present but anticipation does. The form the future takes in the present is anticipation.” By limiting parents’ ability to opt out of HOTS assessments, the federal government is simply enforcing UNESCO’s desire that each student’s minds be manipulated and their anticipatory assumptions be poked, prodded, and then redesigned.” Because governments in a free society in the 21st century intend to control each citizen’s “ways of thinking” or at least 95% of them anyway. But apparently it’s for our own good since the “new paradigm for understanding why and how to ‘use-the-future’–[has] significant implications for reconceptualising the nature and exercise of human agency.”

Somehow this reconceptualization makes this agent feel more like a puppet on a string, but perhaps that’s why we are not supposed to accurately grasp these plans for us or even know they exist. We are unlikely to get an invite to the luxury hotels in international settings where meetings can take place to “develop new sources for the invention of hope, an essential ingredient for peace.” The history major in me shudders at bureaucrats with tax-free salaries and taxpayer funded pensions who plan to use education to force “an even more speculative scenario or imaginary future in which humanity adopts a different frame for understanding its role in the emergence of the collective conditions that provide part of the context for the resilience of our species.”

I boldfaced resilience there as it has become such a ubiquitous buzzword. Lest anyone think this is just flowery language with no ability to get to the classroom we have direct links to that MyWays Success Framework from two posts ago, CASEL of social and emotional learning fame, and the History Matters Frameworks. Buried in the collateral documents before the e-book is the fact that the Rockefeller Foundation sponsored this initiative starting in 2012 to push Futures Literacy and in 2014 held a Convening at their fabulous Bellagio retreat on Lake Como. About a year apart from when the UNESCO-Brookings Learning Metrics Task Force met at the same place to lay out desired competencies. It’s also where what would become the Club of Rome with its plans for media and education (covered in CtD) began in 1968.

Tony MacKay was there and he heads GELP–Global Education Leaders Programme that the Next Generation Learning Challenges here in the US is a part of. He also works for the International Benchmarking program of the National Center for Education and the Economy (NCEE) that created the New Standards Project that began the era of learning standards in the US. In other words, this UNESCO program has its way in when learner data and learning analytics are properly understood. Probably why there’s been another veil of deceit around that. Let’s close this missive with another paper cited in that e-book–“Facing the Fold or From the Eclipse of Utopia to the Restoration of Hope” by Jay Olgilvy.

It wants students and people generally to return to utopian thinking at the levels of their minds, if not brick and mortar yet. I guess that can wait for Evidence Based Policymaking. Facing the Fold becomes about practicing “the way to face our unpredictable future responsibly. This is the way to grapple with uncertainty and act nonetheless.”

I guess a logical, well-stocked mind that retains individual ways of thinking is less likely to adopt the desired new ways of thinking and begin behaving as this political process desires. No wonder we have so much deceit about what was and is going on in the name of learning standards and competencies.

Where ever you are this next week when we in the US celebrate our historic freedom from tyranny, enjoy yourself as we continue our piercing through these veils of deceit before the required implementation this fall.

Accurate information is always a necessary component of genuine human freedom.

Prerequisite for Social Justice and Equity: the Evidence Base for Transforming Hearts and Minds

I found a good example of why social and emotional learning, under its various euphemistic names, just keeps being inserted as a critical, mandatory component of what Preschool through College education must now be, whatever the parental outcry through the decades. The Aspen NCSEAD covered in the last post is merely the most recent, but its assembly of a so-called Council of Distinguished Scientists to create a Consensus Statement of the Evidence Base for Learning and Student Success is an attempt to leap over previous outcries and local obstacles to quietly impose the controversial model as a requirement under federal law. Let’s go back then and be sure of the precise political and economic theory being brought in through the classrooms, using childrens’ minds and personalities as the invisible conduit.

One of the cited sources for the statement that all reason must be grounded in emotion and that the two cannot be separated in instruction anymore was a 1992 book Reason and Emotion written by a John Macmurray. He regarded “intellectual awareness” as “egocentric” since it “uses the senses as its instrument.” Instead, Macmurray called for the “wider use of the senses for the joy of living in them.” Methinks, Macmurray would have adored the Maker Movement and Project-based Learning and a STEAM focus since that is clearly what he desired. Thankfully he gave a wonderful metaphor for the kind of outcome from school curriculum he wanted so let’s borrow it for the insights.

“…the direct sensual awareness has its centre in the world outside, in the thing that is sensed and loved for its own sake. There is a drawing of George Morrow’s which illustrates the difference humorously, It shows a couple standing on a hilltop watching a sunset. The sky is aglow with bars of bright clouds. ‘What a lovely sunset,’ the woman says to her husband. ‘That reminds me,’ he answers. ‘Do remember to tell our landlady that I like my bacon streaky.'”

So EVERY student must now have “training in this capacity to live in the senses.” Why? we can ask, but only if we are aware of this shift in focus. We cannot ask if we are lost in  deliberately deceitful narratives insisting that social and emotional learning is somehow about a federal database of personally identifiable information. Education now is supposed to become “training in sensitiveness.” Then our future behaviors and “modes of action” and awareness should not be determined by the individualistic, logical, dreaded Axemaker Mind–“if we limit awareness so that it merely feeds the intellect with the material for thought, our actions will be intellectually determined.”

Horrors! then to anyone with transformation on the mind, which would include Macmurray. It turns out his book was not written in 1992, merely republished by his estate. Nor was it originally written in 1962. That was the Second Edition somehow magically timed to coincide with what we now know was the first launch of the Marxist Humanist (MH) vision of education by the NEA and humanist psychologists like Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow. http://invisibleserfscollar.com/psychological-approach-to-a-humane-politics-restructuring-the-west-quietly-and-effectively-via-ed/ is that old post. No, the First Edition of that book came out in 1935, a decade when plenty of people were interested in political and economic transformation. Insisting that education must be about the cultivation of emotion and social development matters more than ever now if the basis for the assertion is:

“Emotion is not the Cinderella of our inner life, to be kept in her place among the cinders in the kitchen. Our emotional life is us in a way our intellectual life cannot be; in that it alone contains the motives from which our conduct springs.”

I will let you in on a little secret. I recognized the MH vision throughout Macmurray’s book, but that was very confusing as Professor Daniel Bell writing in the late 50s while a fellow at the always troublesome Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences stated that Marx’s work laying out his Human Development Society vision and its need to control morals and consciousness was unavailable in English until 1956. My first thought was that maybe Macmurray read German and thus had earlier access to the long-unknown early Marx work. Good reasoning, but Macmurray himself in the 60s wrote that his interest and access came from being invited to a “conference held in October 1932 which brought together a number of leading religious and lay thinkers to ponder the question of the rejuvenation of Christianity in the modern world…”

That would explain the false narratives we keep running into surrounding the Common Core by people who go out of their way to wear their religious beliefs and their role in their daily lives on their sleeves, wouldn’t it? So if influential people have from the get-go seen religious faith and education as the two main conduits for the MH vision and its desire to transform the world through individual hearts and minds, let’s look at Macmurray’s vision since he did not mince his words. If the vision of education as activity to thread together the cognitive, social, and emotional is to guide modern education, let’s see what Macmurray told us was the purpose of that vision. Macmurray did not see religion as a matter of personal faith; rather, it was a

“demand for a new step in the creation of human society…universal in its extent, based upon the communion of persons…We have to address ourselves to the task of creating the life of truly personal relationship between men, and of destroying those elements in modern society which frustrate and deny it.”

Suddenly, we have a merger of what religion is supposed to be about with what education is now supposed to create. Eliminating a curriculum grounded in the intellect is the essential first step. Macmurray’s statements from the 30s sound a great deal like the rationale for why 21st century education must be relevant to the real world and authentic to everyday life:

“unless you deal with these external conditions you cannot develop a true moral attitude to anything. Indeed, the effort to construct a true and just order of society is the main part of the effort to create a true moral outlook. The two things are intimately bound up. Those people who try strenuously to develop moral and religious ideals in the community without altering the conditions of life are trying to make bricks without straw.”

So emotion has to be actively cultivated in every classroom as a new definition of what enables student success because, in reality, it is a necessary component of the “task of creating conscious community among all men everywhere–nothing less, and it necessarily included all the conditions, economic, political, and personal, which are involved in this…a new and universally human social order.”

Now if the NCSEAD was using that rationale as its sales pitch for what it asserts as ‘evidence-based’ under ESSA, we could protest such a wholesale transformation, especially since it is unquestionably grounded in a notorious political philosophy with much blood in its history. So we aren’t supposed to know and simply defer to the eminence of the Appeal to Authority of the Council of Distinguished Scientists statement released September 13, 2017. All hail! No one notice that we are dealing with lots of the very same people tied to lots of the controversies in education including the Dalai Lama’s desire to cultivate a global Holos Consciousness (a very long way from an Axemaker Mind). I am going to pick a member that may be less familiar to you, Gloria Ladson-Billings, an ed prof who wants a culturally relevant pedagogy “committed to social justice and equity.’

How nice to be able to mandate that controversial agenda under the Evidence Base Consensus Statement for Learning. If what you have desired since at least 1995 is to “help students to recognize, understand, and critique social inequities” of course you are going to adore education grounded in emotion instead of the intellect for the very reasons Macmurray laid out. His desired focus on material conditions–economic, political, and personal–is a perfect fit for Ladson-Billings’ desire that teachers no longer be “reluctant to identify political underpinnings of the students’ community and social world.” She wants to implement the vision of acknowledged radical Paulo Freire (who was also an advisor to the World Council of Churches which is probably not an accident) that teaching should be ‘mining’ or pulling knowledge out of the life experiences of the students.

So suddenly Student Success and a supposed prerequisite to academic success turns out to be about forcing classroom practices “through which people are incited to acquire a particular ‘moral character’. As both a political and practical activity, it attempts to influence the occurrence and qualities of experiences.” Those experiences again that allow for the direct training of the student’s senses until the desired behaviors become Habits of Mind.

I am pretty sure we are never supposed to actually look up the cited sources in all these footnotes. I think we are merely supposed to blindly accept what is asserted as the Consensus Statement of the Council of Distinguished Scientists. We are most assuredly not supposed to track the mandated practices back to its actual goal:

“This dictates its goal, which can be nothing short of the complete integration of all human beings in community and of humanity with the world in which it lives.”

Someone really should have omitted the reference to the philosopher who was among the first to write about Marx’s Human Development Society in English.

No wonder there is such a determination to quash any outbreak of Axemaker Minds in this current generation of students. They are to be emotionally charged to be the desired Marxian Makers of History asked to finally bring about the “material sharing of our material substance. Until our material possessions are at the disposal of all those with whom we are in communion for their need, it is idle to talk of sharing our lives, or of having the reality of our lives in common.”

If that’s the prerequisite for this emotional, collaborative vision of education, by all means let’s talk about it instead of simply being asked to embrace it via a Consensus Statement of Distinguished Scientists.

Capturing Every Thought Captive and Sculpting Students as Systems: Driver of Perfidy?

Sometimes trains that appear to be running on parallel tracks or away from each other actually may be planning to meet up somewhere if we only had a more elaborate and long term map of the real train routes. That appears to me to be the case in two recent initiatives that on their faces could not be more opposite. The first is the Aspen Institute National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development–NCSEAD–issuing a so-called “Evidence-Base for How We Learn” https://www.aspeninstitute.org/publications/evidence-base-learn/ and stressing that integrated social, emotional and academic development is not a database of personal attributes as the False Narrative keeps wanting to emphasize. It treats the student, their mind, and personality as a system that can be consciously manipulated via education to “appeal to our higher angels. The goal really is to lead all of us on the pathway to a better life, a good life.”

No one mentioned that “you will simply love it Comrade,” but that is a bit how the papers and discussions read. Like the Portrait of a Graduate visions, the personal traits of the student/system are front and center as a desire to “graduate young adults who are self-directed, intellectually engaged, and possess a commitment to personal and civic responsibility.” The vision is supposedly “consistent with how brains take in and process information.” Now I would add a caveat to that since I have been tracking CHAT-Cultural Historical Activity Theory–across the decades and from the Soviet Union during the Cold War, to New York City with Rockefeller Foundation financing, to San Diego when Carnegie seems to have taken over, to Rome, Italy and the 2013 ISCAR Summit. In the middle we have the original Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) mandates in the 80s (now in ESSA as an annual mandate for all students) and what was called the New Standards Project in the 90s that would morph into the Common Core we know now.

That was long-winded but the point is these ideas are trackable with a clear lineage and related tangents that have been covered at ISC through the years. I hereby declare myself a sufficient authority from all this tracking that statements about how this is how the brain DOES work are not true. The truth is that this is how the brain CAN be made to work if certain educational practices become required. The pithy expression is that “nerves that fire together, wire together”. If curricula highlights interpreting through supplied concepts, principles, and themes; forces an inquiry approach and ‘productive struggle’; or as with HOTS assessments, requires questions with no single answer but which deal with ‘ambiguity, empathy, and problem-solving,’ a certain part of the brain tied to emotion in the Prefrontal Cortex is what is being used.

My second train is the newly launched Child Abuse in the Classroom site which issued what is either an intentionally manipulative narrative on the the role of social and emotional learning and its ubiquity over the decades, or it is just ignorant of the entire push to make the student into a system. Perhaps it is a mixture depending on the person involved.Targeting certain parts of the brain has always been crucial to this manipulation, which you would never know from articles like this one.  http://www.capitolhilloutsider.com/congress-passes-psychological-manipulation-in-an-education-bill/ The logic is not emotional manipulation on top of academics. The purpose of academics in this ‘Make a System via Neural Wiring’ scenario is to create the activities that allow the desired neural rewiring. Reading the CAC press release caused me to get my hands on Phyllis Schlafly’s original Child Abuse in the Classroom book from 1984.

Whatever Mrs Schlafly’s intentions in publishing that testimony from hearings around the country, the book’s mere existence seems to provide an evidence-base for using social and emotional techniques in the classroom without any real statutory protection. Here’s why: the so-called Protection of Pupils does not let us use our dictionary meaning of “research or experimentation program or project”. Instead it defined it as “any applicable program designed to explore or develop new or unproven teaching methods or techniques.” We have a book with testimony on how many years these techniques had been in use in certain school systems and just how effective the curricula and practices were in changing who the student was at an internalized level–what they valued and believed.

See the problem? The book created a paper trail that disqualified the described techniques from its definition of “research or experimentation program or project.” No wonder an SEL emphasis keeps recurring. It’s impossible to read the book and not recognize that the described techniques are still in use today with no effective remedy because their true role has not been accurately appreciated. They all go to the same part of the brain’s Prefrontal Cortex as the new ESSA HOTS mandate. I don’t think that’s a coincidence. Plenty of testimony on the Facing History and Ourselves curriculum in those 1984 hearings. Lo and behold, FHAO is also what the Aspen Institute recommends in NCSEAD’s August 2017 report “Putting It All Together.”

When I was following up on a recent National Academy of Sciences publication touting a synonym for SEL called Character, it led me to a Notre Dame professor, Darcia Narvaez, who also turned out to be a fellow at that Jubilee Centre that has issued the Framework for Moral Development and the Knightly Virtues curriculum. She has a book that explained precisely how learning standards like the Common Core or Competencies really are to work so let me quote her. Remember standards and curricula now are all about experiences and activity-oriented practices like Project-Based Learning. Members of the Aspen Task Force are also tied to the Jubilee Centre.

“Experience shapes which neuronal systems become more habitually deployed. Because it is dynamic, the theory is helpful for understanding how early experience can shape personality, including moral personality…Neuronal circuitry is formed by what is activated most frequently based on experience…resulting in the favoring of some neural circuits (value systems) over others.”

Narvaez also laid out how “intention and affection generate ‘narratives of vitality,’ regulating internally generated motives and the awareness of self and other in relationship. Such narratives not only structure the psyche but may contribute to the development of language.” A very powerful tool in other words and if the admitted Progressive Left is not the only one wishing to restructure culture and control the psyche, that’s a great deal of incentive for False Narratives about the Common Core, competency-based learning, and the actual purpose of SEL. No wonder we keep encountering the Personally Identifiable Information database explanation. It gets parents outraged and looking for a remedy. Meanwhile the neural rewiring tool remains a part of the supposed educational options we keep having offered up as our supposed choice to escape “government schools.”

Who needs a database of personal characteristics when the desired bullseye is neural rewiring invisibly installed in the brain and nervous system? Meanwhile, every group with transformational intentions in the here and now world, whether open Marxists, naive do-gooders, or religiously driven adherents wanting to impose a Heaven on Earth somehow knows this fact about this new view of education:

“Enduring states become traits…In a dynamic system, once the system is stabilized around a particular interpretation, expectancies are formed for future pattern recognition and action…A behavior at any given point in time is a function of the interaction of person with context, with its history and trajectory. Prior experiences and habits constrain present configurations and options. Prior experience constrains real-time interpretation and activations of connectivity across systems.

Learning in developmental time constrains learning in real time.That is, affective-cognitive structures that developed from emotionally laden situations form units of personality that limit future cognitive appraisals.”

Those ’emotionally laden situations’ were precisely what drove so many parents to testify back in 1984 and seek a federal remedy against these type of educational practices. We never will get an effective remedy against these intentional neural intrusions against ANY LEVEL of government until we grasp the aims of the student as a manipulable system. It’s no secret that many who seem to be active in weaving a deceptive interpretation of these education initiatives also like to wear their religious convictions on their sleeves. Nothing wrong with that except when the reason for the deceit is to allow religious groups to invisibly impose their vision using these powerful tools of behavioral science. The work of one of the more high-profile writers, Gary DeMar who created the Biblical Worldview Library, was cited in a footnote so I located Volume 3 of God and Government: The Restoration of the Republic.

DeMar was very hostile to what he called ‘autonomous reason’ and wanted to “bring into captivity all our thinking.” My noncompliant Axemaker Mind recognizes how he and those who agree with his vision for developing “an education program for dominion purposes that would cover the world. This means applying what we learn from the Bible to every area of thought” would just love the behavioral science/neural rewiring/systems science template that everyone but the parents seems to now know about. The purposes for manipulation now differ, but the planned techniques really do not. Again that’s a huge incentive to mislead parents about the nature of education reforms or to declare curricula “Common Core-free” even though it clearly aims at such neural manipulation when accurately evaluated. I want to close with DeMar’s definition of ‘self-government’ since that euphemism comes up so much, as well as the rationale for Classical Education since it sounds like such an alluring remedy.

“Notice the ethical dimension to education. It was not enough to teach the technical skills. For godly dominion to be extended, self-government had to prevail. Self-government is nothing more than keeping the commandments of God with a willing heart.”

Does ever parent and taxpayer appreciate that or do they still think classical education is about the transmission of knowledge? Hyping the Good, True, and Beautiful sounds so much better than matter-of-factly having the school vision state: “All teaching is goal-oriented. The Christian’s goal is not merely to fill students’ minds with facts that have no meaning, purpose or relationship to all the other facts in the universe; Christian education develops its goals from Scripture. While tests and degrees might be a part of all education, learning with a definite purpose is certainly the main element.”

That ‘definite purpose,’ to be internalized at a neural level to guide perception and motivate behavior, is what makes even religious education now about turning the student into a system. Maybe it is for his or her own good, but it’s not out in the open. Parents cannot have the much vaunted ‘say’ in their children’s education until they appreciate this neural aim and its consequences.

Hopefully it can be out in the open now because that is truly the only way to stop Child Abuse in the Classroom or, in front of a computer delivering virtual reality.

Best way to control those all important learning experiences and assess their impact in real time.

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.