Redemptive Constitutionalism, Sector Strategies, ESEA Rewrite, and a Curriculum Designed Around Caring

Sometimes timing is everything. The last post was based on insights developed just days before I wrote it. Then I caught a plane to St Louis, Missouri to the Educational Policy Conference. Listening on Saturday morning I heard repeated references to phrases like “Power in the People,” ‘local control’ as the ubiquitous answer, and “community solutions to community problems.” I was in a position to recognize that these phrases played right into the themes I knew the Rockefeller Foundation also sees as a way to advance its views of the US Constitution via Metropolitanism, the National Center on Dialogue and Deliberation, and the work involving the Democracy Handbook we examined here.

I do not know if the overlap of memes between what is being pushed as progressive federalism, Rockefeller-funded Deliberative Democracy, and at the Heritage Foundation-sponsored EPC is deliberate or innocent although at some level I am darn sure I am NOT the only one aware there is an overlap. Not wanting good people hearing these themes and still feeling protected by the Constitution to be blind-sided and then sucker punched, I have taken a few days to mull over my concerns and do a bit more research. The post title should give the first clue on where I came out.

First, the book on the aims of progressive federalism The Constitution in 2020 arrived laying out a “framework for developing a political community committed to justice.” The UN and the Club of Rome are not the only institutions now formally advancing a vision for using ‘the rule of law’ as a means “to imagine our collective future.” Emphasis there on the collective. In fact, when I saw the reference to “our successes will come from new mobilizations that emphasize a new constitutional vision that better articulates enduring constitutional values,” the reimagining of K-12 education’s purposes, practices, and policies via the Common Core immediately came to mind.

Plus there are all the references we keep coming across for preparing all students for a reimagined view of Citizenship. Knowing how tied all the social and emotional learning and Positive School Climate mandates are to Nel Noddings work (see tags), I pulled her classic book The Challenge to Care in Schools: An Alternative Approach to Education and read that the subject content focus must go because:

“Neither prudential nor ethical arguments move most affluent citizens [to make the alleviation of poverty and economic justice the purpose of politics and social institutions like schools]. This state of affairs suggests strongly that there is something radically wrong with the education that produced these citizens. Both wealthy and poor experience a morally deficient schooling. Is there an alternative?”

Noddings’ curriculum themes to develop caring and pedagogy of the oppressed and of the oppressors bears a striking resemblance to what we are now seeing pushed in AP and IB English and history classes and throughout the disciplines down into elementary school. In fact, the very phrase of the “New 3 Rs” of Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships bowls down at its core to making sure students now perceive the world and its social problems in terms of responsibility to care and act and otherwise fulfill Noddings desire to make education “primarily concerned with what kind of relations we should establish.” That’s not making me feel better about what is intended by think tanks and scholars from what is commonly nicknamed, the Left and the Right, by 2020.

What about “redemptive constitutionalism”? Any hope there? alarmingly informs us that:

“Progressives and popular constitutionalists have two central commitments–one to political equality, one to forward-looking change…Progressives might focus on the achievement of political and social equality, popular constitutionalists on formal equality in political decision making. Both, however, are squarely focused away from the Framers’ intent, and towards the future, in their conceptions of constitutional interpretation. The progressive ambition is to interpret the Constitution in such a way that it helps us to ameliorate deprivation and suffering–i.e., to respond to the felt needs of our community today and in the future.”

Alarming overlap of themes between the Left and Right rhetoric about the Constitution and between K-12 education and the use of the law. Good things to be aware of though to avoid being sucker punched in the future. Especially as redemptive constitutionalism wants to take interpretive power away from the courts and give it to “the People” and ordinary citizens for majorities to decide. All the more reasons then to use education to change what is widely believed and valued. That law review paper called for its aims to be achieved in the future via a constitutional convention called by the states that “ought to focus on majoritarian, popular forms of amendment” which sounds remarkably like what many state ‘conservative’ think-tanks are asking for as the ConCon.

The article called for the adoption of the “progressives’ ambition as a durable alternative vision of constitutionalism, oriented at least in part towards special concern for the most vulnerable populations.” That hope is what was enacted by a bipartisan Congress in July 2014 as WIOA [see tag]. That’s precisely what the ESEA Rewrite hurdling at light speed through Congress plans to do. It’s also what the Sector Strategies, integration of CTE into academics for all students, and Career Pathways for all students that we covered here are explicitly designed to do.

As this paper I pulled from Colorado makes clear what is being put in place in K-12 education now under the misleading banner of the Common Core and Equity is to “align its efforts in support of a workforce development system that is employer driven and locally led with those in economic development and education. This model requires the workforce development system to partner with industry to provide a trained workforce that possesses the desired skill sets business requires.”

Honestly, is there any confusion on why progressive federalism is hiding under a variety of labels but involves an alliance between Big Business, the Chambers of Commerce, and the admitted hard Left that wants economic justice as a Constitutional obligation? The third leg of the Sector Strategies/Career Pathways/Employer Partnership vision for the economy that is typically omitted until we start reading the powerpoints from their conferences is a “New Social Compact with Young People.” That’s why several of the witnesses from yesterday’s ESEA Rewrite came from federally-funded Promise Neighborhoods. That’s why this “Community-Based Learning through Community Partnerships” blueprint was recently released. It’s why KnowledgeWorks Strive Together model of Cradle to Career is being cited as the exemplar of such a social compact with young people. released yesterday is yet another example of this envisioned taxpayer-funded vision of an economy built around government direction, blurring of public and private, and providing ‘jobs’ for the least privileged members of American society. It does not appear to be sustainable at all to me once the taxpayer funded spigot runs dry. The difference though between just pointing out the connections among all these things and how they benefit the public sector at all levels, connected Big Business, and community organizers intent on managing the redistribution of existing wealth to their patrons (obvious and mostly invisible) is I have quite a library I use for appreciating the likely consequences of all these plans and mandates.

So I turned to a 1939 book written by a German, Gunter Reiman. Called The Vampire Economy: Doing Business Under Fascism it reminds us that:

“An Italian economist and editor who is familiar with present conditions in Italy was asked by the author: “What are the relations between businessmen and the State bureaucrats in Italy?’

‘I can answer in one word–corruption,’ he declared. ‘The businessmen in Italy has as much influence as he has money to bribe the bureaucrats. Without cash, you are a helpless subject of the State.’

The word ‘corruption’ is not to be taken in the sense in which we normally use it in democratic countries. Under fascism, it is not primarily the power of money that corrupts, but rather does corruption spring from the power of the State.”

From progressive federalism, Sector Strategies, seeing Equity as a Civil Right, the mind arson I have documented as planned for K-12 education, we are looking at a vision of an all-powerful State where the individual is to be nothing but a member of the collective, the subject under political power, and a workforce participant. All these plans for the US Constitution and changing the purpose of the “rule of law” are designed to ensure that this hoped for power “is not illegal but grows naturally out of the system and is organized and made legitimate by the State.” That’s what Reiman saw in Italy and Germany and wrote about without knowing the rest of the story.

We do now so there’s less ability to be blind-sided with a sucker punch than there was a week ago. Does anyone though wonder anymore why WIOA insisted that one of the required skills that all students must have to be “workforce ready” was “systems thinking”?

Just because a great deal of political and economic power is now focused on using the law and education to design and create such systems, starting at the level of the student’s mind and personality, doesn’t mean any of us are obligated to sit still and wait for that sucker punch.

Not Serfs Yet.

Guardians of Democracy or Hatcheries for Revolutionary Change Agents of Carefully Cultivated Consciences?

Suffice it to say if someone was hoping that releasing a hugely troubling new transformative paradigm for P-20 during a holiday week would allow it to go unnoticed, the phrase “Not. Going. To. Happen.” would be my response. Changing the formal sponsors to other connected entities did not allow the “P-20 Schoolhouse for 21st Century Democracy” to avoid being tied, as it was intended to function, as actual components of what the Common Core looks like in the typical classroom. Even worse for those wanting to avoid scrutiny, the links to the global agenda being pushed particularly by UNESCO are what we could slangily refer to as Easy-Peasy to prove.

Welcome back in other words from our respective Turkey and Dressing Binges to the “STATE Civic Education Policy Framework” . Now before any of us do precisely what it is hoped we will do and dismiss this as simply another attempt to make sure the next generation is familiar with the 3 branches of government at the federal level in the US, let’s look at the curious new definition of Civic Education. I’ll put it this way. Lenin could have worked with this definition and as we will see the communist Chinese are currently on board as well. My bolding.

“The term civic learning is used to emphasize the civic significance of preparing students with knowledge and for action. Today’s education for democracy needs to be informed by deep engagement with the values of liberty, equality, individual worth, open-mindedness and the willingness to collaborate with people of differing views and backgrounds toward common solutions for the public good. These qualities are not automatically transmitted to the next generation–they must be passed down through schools. Ultimately, schools are the guardians of democracy.”

Now, this is, of course, a much different definition of democracy than what we have traditionally reverenced in the US or anywhere else in the Anglosphere. We traditionally viewed the individual and the right to make our own choices about the future and live with the consequences. That Civic Framework is all about nurturing a collectivist instinct and an obligation to put the community and group interests first. As usual, I scampered over to my bookshelf for some insights into previous comparable attempts to use institutions to force such a collectivist mindset and obligatory new values on an unsuspecting free society. Economist Ludwig Von Mises in his Human Action book first published in 1949 when these visions were previously all the rage noted that when people are allowed to pursue their own ideas without permission:

“No dullness and clumsiness on the part of the masses can stop the pioneers of improvement. There is no need for them to win the approval of inert people [that is SO my new phrase since my college kid says mental midget is no longer an acceptable description] beforehand. They are free to embark upon their projects even if everyone else laughs at them. Later, when the new, better and cheaper products appear on the market, these scoffers will scramble for them. However dull a man may be, he knows how to tell the difference between a cheaper shoe and a more expensive one, and to appreciate the usefulness of new products.”

I am going to interrupt this excellent point by showing all the crony capitalist/We Just Adore Public-Private Partnerships companies who have ponied up to be formal sponsors of the Education Commission of the States. Notice how they say they want the business community to be actively involved in creating the new paradigm for education. Business executives at these companies hate Von Mises vision for new products and competition for that consumer dollar like what I just quoted. They love public sector contracts.

Now, if you are not familiar with ECS, they have meetings where the top legislator from the education committee of both chambers in each state plus someone from the Governor’s office all come to hear their pitches. It’s thus the perfect way to get coordination in each state that fits a national or global template. Meanwhile, the politicians can insist “it’s state led” or “this is what business says they want.” It’s what politically connected businesses who prefer cultivating lobbyists to satisfying consumers desire. The schools make a great vehicle for pushing changes in values because, as Von Mises noted in the next paragraph:

“it is different in the field of social organization and economic policies. Here the best theories are useless if not supported by public opinion. They cannot work if not accepted by a majority of the people.”

As we saw a few posts ago, the churches were originally seen as the avenue to get a shift in the prevailing public opinion to support a communitarian, non-individualistic vision of the future. Now it is the schools, universities, and the media which are to be the Handmaidens to this New Vision of Democracy grounded supposedly in economic justice. Let’s borrow one more insight from Von Mises that goes precisely to the reason for all this deliberate mind arson of our most talented minds in K-12. “Everything that is thought, done and accomplished is a performance of individuals. New ideas and innovations are always an achievement of uncommon men [and women too!!]. But these great men cannot succeed in adjusting social conditions to their plans if they do not convince public opinion.”

Now just imagine the dangers when we have active manipulation by the media, professors in certain departments, and K-12 administrators to push an entirely new paradigm for education precisely to shift that prevailing public opinion. is the link I promised to the global vision that ECS vision fits into. ECS is not going to be so careless as to pitch the Framework as “Citizenship Education for Better World Societies: A Holistic Approach” or hype the development of Conscience, Commitment, and Compassion for a “total ‘reeducation of humankind” but the language of that ECS Framework still fits with the UNESCO framework. It fits with the to be required “Sensitivities, Attitudes, Values, and Action Competencies” that are “Key Attributes of Individuals as Possessors of Intrinsic Worth and as Key Agents in the Creation of Better Worlds.”

Here is one more link that understanding how everything fits from my book as well as this blog lets me locate. UNESCO calls what is being touted in the US as College, Career and Civic Ready skills as Life Skills. They tie them to a global remake of high school that was outlined in a meeting in Peking we were not invited to back in 2001. If anyone thinks I like throwing out accusations of collectivism as if I am hurling insults instead of describing intentions, I am not the one claiming a desire for education in the 21st Century to emphasize “the need for collective rather than individual intelligence that supports the position that all are capable rather than a few; multiple perspectives rather than ability to solve problems with only one right answer, imagination and emotional engagement are as important as technical expertise, intelligence should include the ability to envisage alternative futures, to resolve open-ended problems as well as to exercise sound interpersonal skills.”

All these links I provided are about reengineering a personality that will act to bring about and then tolerate living in precisely that kind of “socialistic, communist society” that Soviet psychologist AN Leontiev wrote was the purpose for this type of education. Notice in any of these links that there is a stated obligation of everyone to meet anyone’s basic needs–a right of being human. That seems to be what Leontiev had in mind as ‘socialistic,’ when he always linked these two terms that we tend to view as synonyms or milder versions of the same basic political theory. The reference to communist is not just a tie to Uncle Karl’s ultimate vision although it is that. All of these frameworks seek to cultivate an obligation to, and responsibility for, the community. They say so repeatedly and we need to notice it.

Finally, there are multiple references to being a “member of society,” a “member of the community,” or “cultivating students’ care and concern for their communities.” We are not educating the individual to make their own decisions anymore. If they are able to do that, it is from a set of emotions, values, and beliefs that have primed a person to act in a certain way.  Policymakers and their corporate cronies are prescribing a mandate of “inquiry-based instruction that results in informed action and demonstration of learning.” The action is not ‘informed’ by the individual except via the presupplied beliefs and concepts. The ‘learning’ being ‘demonstrated’ is someone else’s conception of what must now be valued, believed, or new behaviors to be shown.

When oligarchs outline the “shared beliefs that should undergird the educational system, its institutions, practices and outcomes,” it should not be slipped through during a holiday week to be imposed, like it or not, with no genuine notice of what is changing. Insisting that all students must now exhibit a skill to “plan strategically for civic change” with less notice to parents than what used to be required for a Field Trip permission slip simply reenforces the appearance that all these education reforms are really a Political Coup.

The fundamental fact behind true liberties is that they are not bestowed by government and they are not governments to take away. Yet that is precisely what all these education reforms amount to. No university should be able to grant a degree in any area, even a doctorate in Educational Leadership or Curriculum, that amounts to a license to be a taxpayer funded nonconsensual Change Agent. The idea that numerous sources openly decree that the students will be consciously turned into cultivated change agents is horrific.

As usual, there is actually not a dispute about the accuracy of what I am laying out. Calling attention to it is the only remedy I know of for what is being attempted.

Consider this post our Red Alert Notice. Flashing lights and sirens please.


Malleable Minds Fit for an Affirmative State Designed to Meet Needs and Constrain the Ruled

We actually do not have to infer what kinds of minds and personalities and beliefs are suitable for these new visions of tomorrow. One advocate tellingly used this quote from Napoleon that “There are but two powers in the world, the sword, and the mind. In the long run the sword is always beaten by the mind.” That reality is very galling for many powerful people so they now have nationalized and globalized K-12 ‘reforms’ to extinguish that very capacity. Since we would rebel if we actually understood what was intended, we keep getting a sales pitch about ‘human flourishing’ in so many of these blueprints. As James Madison presciently observed “a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”

I want to detour for a minute back to the Deepening Democracy paper from the Real Utopias Project because they kindly laid out new ” transformative democratic strategies” for the “Affirmative State” at all levels to use to quietly, but persistently, “advance our traditional values–egalitarian social justice, individual liberty [in the sense of having governments meet everyone’s basic needs] combined with popular control over collective decisions, community and solidarity, and the flourishing of individuals in ways that enable them to realize their potentials.”

Remember Michael Fullan specifically tied the experimental New Pedagogies and Deep Learning in the Global Partnership to the “broader idea of human flourishing?” What we have going on is the marrying of the methods of the Human Potential psychological focus to the political and social ends that track back to Uncle Karl without anyone wanting to ‘fess up’ as we Southerners would say.

All the K-12 education reforms I have tracked, as well as higher ed and increasingly grad schools, are all tied to stealthily pursuing and “accomplishing the central ideas of democratic politics: facilitating active political involvement of the citizenry, forging political consensus through dialogue, devising and implementing public policies that ground a productive economy and healthy society, and in more radical egalitarian versions of the democratic ideal, assuring that all citizens benefit from the nation’s wealth.”

Hard not to remember all those ‘You didn’t build that’ comments from the 2012 Presidential race, isn’t it? Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government by the way calls this new model Empowered Participatory Governance. I am not going to write about it in particular except to point out it ties all the Metropolitanism, Regional Equity, make the mayors and the local the focus of government. The Local is supposed to be the layer that meets the needs, whoever provides the financing or specs on what those needs will be.

So when Lawrence K Grossman and others keep hyping self-governance they are describing a world where everyone’s needs have been met via the political process, not a person’s ability to make their own way independent of governmental interference with their decisions. ‘Self-governance’ is again an Orwellian term tied to the kind of economic and social justice and participatory governance view of democracy that even its advocates above admit is quite radical. I think that’s why its structures and needed values and beliefs frameworks are being quietly put in place through education and the law without any desire for the typical person to catch on in time. Remember Grossman was a prof at the Kennedy School while he worked on The Electronic Republic: Reshaping Democracy in the Information Age.

Whether we understood it in the 90s [remember the Freeman Butts vision from the book?] or now, K-12 education was and is being restructured to fit with “citizens at large gaining the power of self-governance.” Everyone gets their basic needs met, “with the public at large playing a critical role in the government’s decision-making process” and few focusing on the pesky little detail about the crucial shift to a vision where “rulers are subject to control by the ruled.” Similar to all those references to being Governed, instead of the individual independent decision-making power Madison knew he had structured, we are all supposed to settle for having a say, being ruled, but having our ‘needs’ met. Even then, we as individuals do not get to decide what our needs are. This shift we are not being told about unless we Follow the Documents in the Oligarchy’s admitted paper trail, stems from:

“the United States is moving toward a new modern-day form of direct democracy, made possible by its commitment to universal political equality and propelled by new telecommunications technology.”

It is within these unappreciated declarations of intentions to fundamentally transform the social institutions and functions of government that K-12 is being radically altered to a Student-Centered focus so that “the public’s ability to receive, absorb, and understand information no longer can be left to happenstance.” Prime the Mind and Personality to perceive experience as desired and then have the Michael Fullans and Michael Barbers of the world globe trot and insist that all education now must be based on Learning by Doing. All those deliberately created learning experiences to foster emotional engagement around real-world problems are just the ticket to the Mandarins just ever so worried that “today, the American public is going into political battle armed with increasingly sophisticated tools of electronic decision making but without the information, political, organization, education, or preparation to use these tools wisely.”

So we get Common Core, Competency, Digital Learning, new definitions of Student Achievement, and Growth measures that are ALL actually the “conscious and deliberate effort to inform public judgment, to put the new telecommunications technologies to work on behalf of democracy.” That would be the radical Social and Economic Wellbeing form of democracy with its new reenvisioned view of the roles and responsibilities of citizenship. After all, as Grossman told us: “With citizens an active branch of the government in the electronic republic, they need to know enough to participate in a responsible and intelligent manner.” That’s a long way from Madison’s view of knowledge to be our own Governors, but then Grossman loves this concept of our being ruled. In fact, he either deliberately or obtusely shows a drastically altered view of American history and the Constitution where:

“the citizen’s role is not to govern himself, but at best elect those who would be most competent to govern on their behalf…The new Constitution had put in place a modern-day method of selecting Plato’s Guardians.”

Can we all join in a chorus of No. No. No? How telling though is that misstatement? I do snarkily make repeated references to yokes and serf’s collars and Mind Arson when it comes to describing the real Common Core implementation. Yet here is an insider of insiders admitting to a desire to dictate what we all may do and think akin to what an ancient Greek philosopher saw as Benevolent Despotism. For our own good as determined by the Guardians with their taxpayer funded salaries and pensions. This confession reminded me a great deal of Achibugi also seeing harnessing public opinion as the mechanism to getting to the Global Commonwealth of Citizens we met in the last post:

“the more we learn about how to respond to and understand the public, the more we also increase the potential to influence, change, and even manipulate public opinion. In the electronic republic, political manipulation is the other side of the coin of effective political persuasion. What looks like manipulative propaganda to one, invariably is seen as an honest educational effort to another.”

Well, honest if the purpose of education is the chimera of ‘human flourishing for all’ brought to us by Rulers who see people as a biddable branch of government in a new vision of what the future might be. Before I close this post with a quote Grossman used from the Dean of Columbia’s School of Journalism, that deserves a statue in the Hubris Hall of Fame, I want to remind everyone that in 2010 UNESCO began using the term ‘media education’ as two prongs of a single means to get to its hoped-for Marxist Humanist global future. They said it and wrote it and we do get to take insiders at their word on what they are up to when they declare nefarious intentions.

Now imagine these words not just from a Journalism Dean but from politicians, think tank heads, education administrators, and university professors, just to name a few:

“This is the age of media power. We set the agenda. We are the carriers of the culture and its values…We are the brokers of information and ideas. Our decisions, our news judgments tell the people who they are, what they are doing, what’s important and what they need to know.”

Arrogant, yes, but 100% consistent with the real K-12 education ‘experience’ we are encountering. The vision that would be necessary to achieve these declared goals as well as the radical global democracy vision. Plus all those references to being governed and ruled and sovereignty no longer being in the individual.

Those Aims or Goals all fit with the actual Common Core implementation described in detail in the book and the purposes, visions, and methods we encounter daily and weekly now on this blog.

We can fight this, but not while we remain unaware or unwilling to stare down what we are indisputedly dealing with in our schools and universities and virtually everywhere else when we look hard.



Equality, Fraternity, Democracy, Social Cohesion, Real Utopias and the Electronic Republic

If our 21st Century Lives were just a televised game of Jeopardy, the title would be the answer that would be linked to the championship. The correct question would be: What are the real goals envisioned when Education Reformers, politicians, and Political Radicals use the misleading term ‘standards’ in K-12 education? When that transformative Global Partnership we met in the last post says in bold face type on page 8 that “the pursuit of deep learning goals enabled by new pedagogies and accelerated by technology” is a Moral Imperative that will “guide all of our work,” what goals are really intended? The first part of the title comes from a paper published in the 1999 ASCD Yearbook called “The Role of Standards in Educational Reform for the 21st Century.” We actually do not have to assume that there is a link since one of the co-authors, Peter Hill, is also listed as a participant in the new Global Partnership on page 2 as one of its educational consultants. is the paper that once again makes it clear that the word standards is now being used as an Orwellian synonym. Translating the Common Core State Standards accurately then by its real purpose would be Common Behavioral and Dispositional Goals for All American Students, No Exceptions. Put together by DC-based trade groups hoping to cash in from the attached new vision of a politically-planned economy and society. Perhaps staffers who got to go on one of those trade junkets to China and thought that vision would work better for them. Hill made it clear on page one that the role of standards is to foster “values such as equality, fraternity, and democracy” indicating he may have always wanted to participate in the Storming of the Bastille. Best not to teach why such insistences can lead to a bloody Terror followed by a Napoleon.

Standards also allow for the “flexible, dynamic, and highly-skilled workforce” unlikely to ever create that Change the World innovation that destroys the existing business of a political crony. Ooops! That was my editorializing in a snarky manner on the real purpose, just like in my book. Page 2 mentions standards as a means for countries now to “ensure social cohesion” and page 3 sees standards as a transformative tool for a “society that values equity and a ‘fair go’ for all.”

The latest book tied to the World Order Models Project, the 2008 The Global Commonwealth of Citizens: Toward Cosmopolitan Democracy by Daniele Archibugi, wants to make “prevailing world public opinion” the determinant of what governments ought to be doing on behalf of their people, the governed, in the 21st Century. That aim, of course, puts quite a premium on manipulating that opinion from the Cradle to the Grave, as the current political slogan goes. Or Womb to Tomb in another variation. Archibugi does want a radical transformation where by “virtue of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the subsequent pacts, individuals have been endowed with positive rights that they can claim from their own states,” preferably at the local level via those ever compliant mayors, City Councils, and appointed regional commissions who just love federal grants.

Now you know why that Declaration just keeps coming up now in classroom activities. Archibugi wants this radical transformation in world politics to come about by persuasion, not force, which is of course all the more reason to utilize K-12 education. All the mentions of citizenship and civic competence we keep encountering, make much more sense when we recognize the plan to “demand a role for the citizens of the world” to insist that their “human rights” be provided by their governments. Perhaps as a “moral imperative”? All the mentions of dialogue and creating shared meaning make much more sense when we read again of an intention to bypass elected representatives in favor of:

“creating better and transparent contexts for decision-making. This is why new channels of representation must open up through which the various opinions may be expressed in a dialogical rather than antagonistic fashion. To be effective these channels demand a greater willingness on the part of individuals to participate in the management of global public matters. The making of a global commonwealth of citizens requires that individuals are prepared to act on the ground of key shared values. What principles of political action must the citizen of the world subscribe to?”

That would be the real reason for new pedagogies and forms of assessment to see if the desired principles of political action, needed workforce skills to be an obedient, compliant drone, and desired personality traits are in place. Adding to the quotes from the previous post, this is why New Pedagogies insists the new “goals for education and learning” include “skills that prepare all learners to be life-long creative, connected  and collaborative problem solvers and to be healthy, happy individuals who contribute to the common good.”

Now we could make a good case that I contribute to the common good by reading books on all these plans of transformation and then tying them to what is coming to a school and classroom or your business place soon, but I believe Michael Fullan, Pearson, the OECD, and the Rockefeller and Gates Foundations want it to be their idea of appropriate values and the common good. Given all the references to ‘consensus,’ ‘shared purpose,’ and ‘collective will,’ there really does seem to be an organized attempt to erase any concept of individual sovereignty capable of standing supreme against the state. I guess that is what happens when you import your instructional practices from the Soviet Union, nurture the economic vision in a place that worshipped Mao, and look to rich universities full of wanna-be political and social planners for the vision of what “We the People” is supposed to mean in the 21st Century.

The 1995 book The Electronic Republic: Reshaping Democracy in the Information Age, written by a former NPR President and head of the NBC News Division, laid out the planned transition to a participatory democracy using ICT technology. Upfront it asked “What will it take to turn the United States into a nation of qualified citizens who are engaged not as isolated individuals pursuing their own ends but as public-spirited members who are dedicated to the common good?” Why, K-12 education reform centered on the Whole Child and guiding perceptions and a curriculum focused on learning by doing and real world problems of course. Lawrence K. Grossman left NBC News to be a professor at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and work on the democracy project that became that book. It’s where Jal Mehta of the New Pedagogies Project graduated from before moving on to Harvard’s Ed School to use its graduates as tools for the desired public policy changes.–withnotes/13854681

It’s also where the co-authors of the books in the Real Utopias Project, Archon Fung and Erik Olin Wright, are professors. The Kennedy School is also heavily involved now, by the way, with creating ties between the US and China. CELAP from our last post, in fact, is referred to as China’s answer to the Kennedy School. Real Utopia came out of an actual conference at the University of Wisconsin in January 2000, a good time to commence 21st Century Re-Do Plans I suppose. Now think for a second how a deep knowledge of history and human nature full of facts might get in the way of this purpose:

“The Real Utopias Project embraces this tension between dreams and practice. It is founded on the belief that what is pragmatically possible is not fixed independently of our imaginations, but is itself shaped by our visions. Self-fulfilling prophecies are powerful forces in history, and while it may be Pollyanna-ish to say ‘where there is a will there is a way,’ it is certainly true that without ‘will’ many ‘ways’ become impossible. Nurturing clear-sighted understandings of what it would take to create social institutions free of oppression is part of creating a political will for radical social changes to reduce oppression. A vital belief in a utopian destination may be necessary to motivate people to leave on the journey from the status quo in the first place, even though the actual destination may fall far short of the utopian ideal.”

It may also create students like what we are seeing in Denver, Colorado and what we saw during the heyday of the Occupy demonstrations who have no acquaintance with any factual knowledge from the past. Where will they be when OPM-Other People’s Money-inevitably runs out? Can they become self-sufficient as an adult or will change by force, rather than persuasion, feel like the justified response?

Is there any place in history where deposing sovereignty from the individual and placing it in a collective under political control, actually ever diminished oppression? Guaranteed to ignite would be the reality. No wonder perception and student daily experiences are being so manipulated.

Next time we will come back to the new view of politics in a Real Utopia and the Electronic Republic where we each get to be governed.



Treasure of Social Comity Requires Sacrifices of Individual Sovereignty

Many of us have seen news reports in recent days on student walkouts in the Denver suburbs. The School Board wants to ensure that certain traditional areas are still emphasized in American history, while the students see the intervention as propaganda. The adults involved seem a bit shocked that what they see as facts is seen by high school students as an attempt to manipulate their belief systems. Why can’t the students properly understand who the People in the White Hats are in this controversy they seem to want to ask?

I think it would help if everyone understood high school is too late to introduce facts and knowledge into a curriculum that has long been about shaping values, attitudes, and beliefs in desired directions. The federal ed lab in Aurora, Colorado, McREL, after all, originated the transformational concept in K-12 education of Second Order Change many years ago to force irreversible change in students’ worldviews.

We can only repair the damage done if we appreciate what has happened in our schools and why. It relates to the e-Governance we started looking at in the last post as well as the creating the shared visions and collective purposes needed to effectively bind the individual to the decisions made by others. In his 1999 book The Double Helix: Technology and Democracy in the American Future, Edward Wenk laid out the new vision of politics our students are actually being prepared for. Government is to be “considered as a steering system and not simply a power broker.” This fits, attentive readers will remember, with the admitted use of conceptual understandings and the manipulated social construction of reality to create an invisible steerable keel in the students who are tomorrow’s citizens. Student-centered learning then instead of the subject-centered emphasis of old is necessary to build that keel. The ultimate consequences also fit with what Hayek warned us of in the previous post.

When the School Board tries to interject facts into the classroom, without appreciating that the keel is already there, it becomes easy for the adults closer to the classroom, who know what they have constructed over years, to steer the outrage. Facts=Propaganda if the Keel is already in place without parents, students, and most taxpayers knowing it’s there. Why is it there again? Ultimately, this generation of adolescents is being and has been primed to regard politics as a term used to “describe how elements of a diverse society use their power to bargain collectively, then strategies and tactics for their achievement, all within an agreed upon set of values and rules of engagement. This is American society in action.” That’s the vision of American society and politics the students are acting on, while the school board is still locked into a vision of traditional representative government.

“Consensus must be generated” so that governments can steer with a “high degree of harmony” towards a vision of Equity and social and economic justice for all. Many K-12 and college students have been thoroughly embedded in this vision for years. The Common Core is merely a means to make sure it is in place everywhere. Public or private. Suburbs, cities, or rural areas. To align the US with what is going on in other countries towards the same ends.

We adults are the ones who simply assumed that the education template had continued on much as it had previously been. Once social comity becomes the established goal of the future at all levels of governments, then “social functioning needs a consensus on goals and a mechanism for its generation and fulfillment.” We get that mechanism by K-12 and higher ed signing on, as well as the media, plus “whoever controls technology.” No wonder their related foundations are so involved.

ICT generates the visual images that serve as a “kaleidoscope” of what the future might be and are not bound by whatever has successfully existed before. Wenk wanted everyone to recognize that “Government is not mainly or the only machinery of governance. In American democracy, everyone should consider themselves part of government rather than holding it at arm’s length and figuratively holding the nose. Only by engagement through enlightened civic literacy, civic discourse and commitment can the diverse needs and desires of all be negotiated.” Hence the C3 Social Studies Framework and CCSSO prescribing desired Citizen Dispositions. As someone deeply steeped in history, this is a prescription for disaster, which is why accurate knowledge of the past is no longer being encouraged or much tolerated.

All the push surrounding Digital Learning and Laptops For All it should give us pause since Wenk recognized, and aimed for, what substituting those manufactured visuals and virtual reality would do to “critically alter the consciousness of the receptor.” That would be the student, your beloved child that you dropped off this morning and entrusted to a system intent on transformation. Well aware of the question that Wenk saw and intended to use: “What does information technology do TO us as well as FOR us.” In Wenk’s world government, industry, and people will all interact and then be bound by what the decision-makers decide. People are supposed to become satisfied with the ability to offer their opinions to “those who govern them.” If this seems like a scifi book or limited to one idealogue, it’s essentially the vision laid out by Marina Gorbis of the Institute for the Future in her 2013 book and speeches globally.

It’s essentially the vision of the future and our new obligation to function as a collective that Richard Falk (of the Carnegie and Rockefeller-funded World Order Models Project) laid out recently here . The new APUSH Framework and the La Pietra Conference we looked at in that trilogy of posts make much more sense when we are aware of a well-funded and determined effort across decades “about moving from the here of egoistic state-centrism to the there of humane geo-centrism.” Since Falk’s angry quotes at the time of the Boston Marathon bombing show he in no way wants a reality of hate to get in the way of his vision of the future, we can be sure that today’s tragic videos of sliced off heads will not change the vision either. It is up to us to recognize it.

Whether most of us are aware or not, Falk, the OECD, the UN entities, and public officials at all levels are pushing education and land use regulations designed to create the “citizen pilgrim” who “combines the identity of a participant in a community and the acknowledgment that the desired community does not presently exist, that its essential nature is to bond with a community that is in the midst of a birth process.” No wonder those Denver high school students believe accurate facts from America’s past constitute propaganda in the present. They are participating in a birthing process and many may hope to become midwives of it. No wonder we just keep encountering a required communitarian mindset lurking behind actual definitions of being Career Ready or having a Positive School Climate.

If everyone with political power globally is pushing a comparable vision of the collective future and that vision requires what Falk called “drastic shifts in political consciousness,” then preschool, K-12, and higher education will become dedicated to creating those very shifts. Those students are merely showing they are heeding the “call for an engaged citizenry responsive to the need and desire for a reconstituted future as well as a repaired present.” Why, it’s that Neanderthal School Board majority showing it has not yet yielded to the Transition clarion call that requires “infusing both political leadership and the electorate with the values and perceptions of the new realism.”

That again is the new realism that is actually not very realistic to those of us deeply grounded in knowledge of the past and conversant with what has ever created mass economic prosperity. No, we are apparently to be stuck with education designed to create over years “the engaged pilgrim devoted to the here and now of political action (as well as the pursuit of a visionary future), whether by way of exhibiting empathy and solidarity with the sufferings of those most vulnerable or by working toward innovative steps serving human and global interests.”

The good news in all this is that these students have been consciously subjected to behavioral engineering so that they will have Growth Mindsets that are malleable to change. They are only irreversible if parents, taxpayers, future employers, and the students themselves remain unaware of the deliberately constructed Worldview.

That they were subjected to fuzzy math and Whole Language precisely so that their perceptions could be manipulated.

The key to deconstructing the keel is to know it is there.

The key to defeating these open declarations of a planned transition to collectivism is knowing they exist.

Consider this post as joining my book Credentialed to Destroy: How and Why Education Became a Weapon  to be clarion calls towards defeating these collectivist aspirations. While there is still time.

Sounding the alarm truly is the beginning of the way back from the precipice.

Mischievous Masquerade: APUSH as the Sought Coherent Framework Justifying Intervention in History

Before I explain why I have decided to join the current discussion surrounding the remake of the AP US History course (“APUSH”) course, let’s remember that most people who have ever sought fundamental transformations of the real world as it currently exists think of history as a consciousness altering tool. We will never get back to the “grand narrative supported by well-known documents, events, and historical personae” many of us long for unless we recognize this political pursuit of history. That history as a body of knowledge, even one dominated by Leftist figures and radical ideas, is Ahistorical to anyone who looks now at all coursework, in all subjects, in K-12 or higher ed, as determined by “the kind of society and world we would like to bring about as the United States enters its third century.”

That quote is from a 1988 paper by the same Freeman Butts I wrote about in my book describing all the transformative shifts obscured within the term Competency. We cannot then be surprised that Butts also saw the Teaching of History as a means for creating a new kind of citizen. One who will believe fervently in, and be ready to act, to bring about Democracy in the sense of Economic Justice. The original advocate for this view of history though as a Framework for creating change in the here and now was actually not Uncle Karl. Luckily there is no buzzer in this post so no one loses points for a wrong guess.

Let’s meet an 18th century man from the Naples area of Italy-Giambattista Vico. He matters so much to anyone writing about education as a means of social change because Vico believed that the means of transforming the real world of social relations, institutions, and everyday life lay in “modifying” how our human minds see that world. Change the mental concepts and a process begins, Radicals hope, whereby one “historical structure succeeds another.” That’s real history to someone intent on transformational change. So with the push for conscious evolution, or requiring a common understanding as the Rockefeller-funded Communication for Social Change or the Structured Dialogue Design do, we are back to Vico’s view:

“Mind is, however, the thread connecting the present with the past, a means of access to a knowledge of these changing modes of social reality. Human nature ( the modifications of mind) and human institutions are identical with human history.”

Change how the mind perceives the past and the theory then is we can change human nature itself. I think that’s a bad bet, which is why I interjected myself into the APUSH discussion. Continuing to discuss any AP course or any other coursework for any age being touted as the Common Core, Next Generation Learning, 21st Century Skills or Competency as if we are still talking about conveying a body of knowledge is a mistake with potentially tragic consequences since we are literally talking about social engineering. This past Monday there was once again a hearing in Georgia on the Federal Role In Education. It was conducted with a level of conscious deceit that would have been right at home at the Trotsky Trial. In the midst of all the lies though, there was consistent and accurate testimony across witnesses about one thing: concepts.

Knowledge to the extent its still exists under the Common Core is about concepts. We have encountered this before as the Enduring Understandings or Ilyenkov’s Ascending from the Abstract to the Concrete. Concepts that can be used within and across subjects to guide how a student and later the adult he will become will perceive everyday experiences. Guess who it goes back to? Now you do long for a buzzer to press, don’t you? Yes, “Vico’s project, which we would now call social science, was to arrive at a ‘mental dictionary,’ or set of common concepts, with which one is able to comprehend the process of ‘ideal eternal history.'”

Well, it’s ideal if Transformative Social Change is the name of your game. In the real world, deliberately trying to mentally engineer how the masses view the existing world has a terrible, bloody track record. Since controlling history is now seen as just another tool to create a desired Worldview, those objectionable, bloody parts will be omitted just as surely as anything that might foster pride in the world as it currently exists. Years ago, I first encountered this idea of teaching history through broad concepts instead of facts when I encountered the new AP World History framework that was full of hatred for capitalism and the environmental destruction it supposedly caused. It literally treated the term Communism as an “international means of structuring economic relations.” Talk about a whitewash. That Framework was supposed to go into effect first, then APUSH.

In looking into the history of that Framework I discovered that what all the participants in its planning had in common was a reverence for the work of historian William H. McNeill. Now President Obama appreciates his work as well as we can see from this smile as he hands the professor the 2009 National Humanities medal. McNeill sees history as the “search for a normative matrix connecting the world in its totality” and built around “the idea of gradual progress.” The progress, by the way, once again supposedly heads towards Economic Justice.

When I read Stanley Kurtz’s article this past week “How the College Board Politicized US History” and he wrote about the 1998 La Pietra Conference, two things jumped out at me. One, that Thomas Bender was clearly seeing history through the same conceptual lens as William McNeill and that I should look into that. Secondly, that La Pietra should be seen as a continuation of everything I knew about the still extant World Order Models Project.

The Giambattista Vico discussion is from a 1984 book tied to WOMP called Culture, Ideology, and World Order. It basically is the global blueprint for all the changes that have come in as education reform and in the name of Sustainability, except there it is acknowledged to be a New World Order intent on making sure the poor of the world anywhere get their fair share. Nary a concern at all about temperatures or carbon dioxide levels. That’s a book that recognized that fundamental transformations need a “common conceptual paradigm or vision” as well as “a coherent framework of intervention in the historical process” and set about to provide it.

That’s how APUSH as well as the La Pietra conference should be seen. Needless to say, it was no surprise to me to discover that the Rockefeller Foundation had also helped to fund La Pietra. Just another way to influence the prevailing common understanding of the masses, just like WOMP, CFSC-Communication for Social Change, Metropolitanism, or its deliberative democracy funding. Useful ties all for grounding APUSH into other components of a common transformative vision, as is that Freeman Butts piece I linked to above on how to use history “to reclaim the public realm, where groups interact to make a national politics and culture, as the central territory of history.” Using history then to change prevailing conceptions to create support for new ways of living together and organizing the society and economy politically.

That turned out to be how McNeill, Butts, and Thomas Bender all saw history back in the mid-80s. History should be about creating a “commitment to deeply held humane values.” As McNeill put it, “Better than any discipline, history can defend shared, public identities.” Those identities of ordinary citizens are public because they have been deeply grounded in achieving “the positive ends of a society dedicated to ‘liberty and justice for all.'” As Bender noted in 1985, “public life” is crucial because it is “that essentially civic arena where groups interact, even compete, to establish the configuration of political power in a society and its cultural forms and their meanings.”

That philosophy of history as a handmaiden to contemporary change just cannot cohabit with a view of education or history as the transmission of a body of knowledge. It might nurture a nostalgia for the past that could become a barrier to a transition to a new kind of citizenship in a different kind of democracy. As Butts noted, quoting the 1987 New York State Social Studies Framework: “The principles of a democratic system should serve as organizing ideas for the social studies program and for student learning. The development of civic values consistent with life in a democratic system is an overriding goal of the entire program.”

That’s not a goal that can be met if students become acquainted with what the American Revolution really sought to achieve. Given that the CCSSO last year emphasized the necessary Dispositions for Citizenship and Citizenship is the 3rd C of the Social Studies C3 Framework, Butts’ idea that the “morality of citizenship should be the central theme” of all K-12 coursework clearly remains alive and well. Any analysis now needs to remember what was said and sought back in the 80s too since these admissions were made before School to Work and outcomes-based education ran into controversy in the 90s.

Let’s close this intro to a transformational view of history with what Bender wrote in 1986:

“The present task is to begin establishing the relationship over time of the interclass, multiethnic, and multicultural center, which I call public culture, and the smaller, more homogenous gemeinschaftlich groups of the periphery…A focus on public culture and its changing connections with cultures smaller than the whole offers an image of society capacious enough to sustain a synthetic narrative.”

Synthetic narrative is fancy Profspeak for a common transformative vision of what the future ought to be and why. It’s not a Franklin or George Washington view of history, but Vico and Uncle Karl would be pleased.


Substituting Human Values for Spiritual Growth Lets Education Become the Driver Towards the New World Order

Did you ever come across something that both intrigued and terrified you at the same time? That is how I feel about the official Baha’i materials that I have now gotten a chance to read. Especially alarming was my insight that there was nothing to keep these religious or spiritual principles from simply being renamed and then required as a component of an anti-bullying campaign, or a characteristic of an IB Learner, or as conducive to a Positive School Climate, or even required emotional competencies or Life or Soft Skills. In other words, invisibly part of Student Achievement or Growth with no tip-off to parents or a community for the kind of wholesale change in consciousness schools are now being used for.

So being the intrepid investigator I am, I found the Baha’i tenets being pushed as the Psychology of Child Development, moral education, peace education, character education, and Integrative Ethical Education. Missing of course the Baha’i label for the most part unless you actually go to the website of the Center for Global Integrated Education or check into what Achieving Coherence in education means and discover that the Pedagogy of the Empowered does after-school programs. This link from 1991 and a UN talk is par for the course as Baha’i universal principles get dropped into what is to be quietly pushed during the 1988-97 World Decade for Cultural Development.

Dangerously for someone trying to look out for such desired conversions many Baha’i remain members of their Christian, Jewish or Muslim faiths as well and there is no “clergy or ecclesiastical order within the Baha’i faith.” It is thus not clear how many, like Watson are “an educator, working on my education doctorate at Harvard University, with an emphasis on sustainable development” using the schools or universities to collect a paycheck and spread their ‘worldview’.

Not to sound paranoid, but reading  that the son of the founder of a faith, that so closely tracks the tenets of Marxism in pushing the unity of mankind and reconstruction of society through converting the heart and values and ‘mental processes’ via an emphasis on education, also saw North America as the “cradle of the administrative order which Baha’u’llah had conceived” was quite an epiphany. So was discovering that the Baha’i faith in the West was based in Chicago where in 1912 that same son and anointed spiritual leader  had laid the cornerstone of the building that became the “Mother Temple of the West” while on a tour of 40 American cities and towns. That would be the same place that gave rise to the Behavioral Sciences in 1948 and where CASEL, the hatchery of so much social and emotional learning curriculum, is now located.

We can add the overdrive expansion of the influence of Baha’i faith to those troubling ideas that simply erupted in the 80s that I describe in my book that indicated that plenty of people in decision-making positions all over the world had gotten the word that State Communism was about to have a funeral. But not so strangely anymore with No Autopsy of the Ideology. Successor ideologies that would serve similar ends were apparently to get their chance.

In 1984 the entity in charge of Baha’i, the Universal House of Justice, published The Promise of World Peace. In 1985, the book Ervin Laszlo recommended in his 1989 The Inner Limits of Mankind was published so we also have The Baha’i Faith: The Emerging Global Religion to consult on what those tenets might be. A universal system of values and beliefs to be adopted in full and adhered to in full that simply substitutes the phrase ‘human values’ for what are in fact acknowledged ‘spiritual principles’ of Baha’i is a school that is proseletyzing even though a Christian prayer at a graduation or sports game would bring the ACLU swooping in threatening litigation.

Is the difference that Baha’i teaches submission to the authority of government? The Oneness of all Mankind? That of course, according to the basic teachings of Baha’i, “implies not only a new individual consciousness, but the establishment of the unity of nations, of world government, and ultimately of a planetary civilization.” All this from a book advocating for Baha’i and insisting that “We must express unity by building a truly universal and unified social system based on spiritual principles. The achievement of such a system represents the God-directed goal of human social evolution.” Oh good, because that’s within the purview of someone with a teaching certificate or a foundation job or a doctorate in education.

What if you do not believe that all the world’s religions push the same basic message? Is that no longer a sanctioned belief to have and act on in the 21st century? What if a Baha’i commitment to the “spiritual conquest of the planet” makes us nervous and a statement that religion is not “personal salvation we are seeking, but a universal one” seems like a political coup towards collectivism using education as the stealth means of destruction? Is there no recourse when the principles being pushed, quoting Shoghi Effendi, this time acknowledge:

“Our aim is to produce a world civilization which will in turn react on the character of the individual. It is in a way, the inverse of Christianity, which started with the individual unit and through it reached out to the conglomerate life of man.”

You know if something is the inverse of something else, don’t then later assert that all religions are basically equal as part of a bootstrapping sales pitch for the “newest” one. If K-12 education is requiring that all students perceive the fundamental ‘connectedness’ and interdependence of all peoples and treating such system thinking as required under the C3 Social Studies Common Core Framework, what recourse do we have when we discover it is a core Baha’i principle? What do we do when the actual Common Core classroom implementation replicates what Gregory Watson laid out as “Educational Imperatives from the Science of Systems“?  What happens when the sought change in perception or new schemes of thoughts to be coerced through the K-12 classroom tracks back to Baha’i as well as an explicit rejection of the “concepts of an outdated worldview–the mechanistic worldview of Cartesian/Newtonian science” when those concepts remain factually true but unwanted? Not a transformational tool to change hearts and minds and inspire action for change and global justice?

What happens when the reform required tracks back to a Baha’i desire that “once we begin to see things differently, we can begin to feel differently, after which we can begin to behave differently. Abstract knowledge does not have the potential to empower changes in our behavior to the degree that experiential knowledge does, especially when this experience comes to us as children.” Doesn’t that give new meaning to the push for universal preschool and an accreditation mandate too or the so-called Maker Culture and project orientation that is equitably accessible to all learners? Do self-declared religions get a free pass to sponsor revolutionary change through education that will lead to new social structures just as long as the UN recognizes them and loves their potential for empowering change?

Historian Arnold Toynbee is quoted in The Promise of World Peace that the “present threat to mankind’s survival can be removed only by a revolutionary change of heart in individual human beings. This change of heart must be inspired by religion in order to generate the will power needed for putting arduous ideals into practice.” Is there no recourse to such a declared intention as long as the Baha’i link is left off the worksheet? How about required service learning actually grounded in the Baha’i principle that “religious values are expressed in the service to others” and that “work performed in the spirit of service is worship”?

What if the transformative education going euphemistically by ‘quality learning’ also tracks back to the Baha’i desire for a “rebirth of the human personality.” That goal of “individual development is always seen in the context of the collective progress of the entire human race… and this places an emphasis on the qualities which the individual needs to acquire in order to help that collective progress.”

What do we do when the acknowledged intention of a curriculum or instructional practices or Whole Child mandate turns out to be “not to produce a human being whose greatest virtue is to harm no one, but to give rise to social activists and change agents?”

What happens when the definition of ‘culture’ quietly shifts to “include behavior patterns, the individual view of him/herself, of society, and of the outside world”?

Especially when such a stealth shift also wants “those who hold power in the world” or “decision-making authority” to simply mandate and lead the change?

Schools are thus not the only place being pushed to impose a nonconsensual coup over all grounded in new values and beliefs.


Transcending the Individual Mind as the Analytical Unit of Learning While Still Guiding How We Will Act

In 2003, Peter Senge, also tied to MIT’s Sloan School of Management just like Alex Pentland from the last post, wrote an article “Creating Desired Futures in a Global Economy” based on remarks he delivered at his Society of Organizational Learning’s first Global Forum. It was held in Helsinki, Finland. Like John Dewey’s purposes for education, Peter Senge’s purposes or Alex Pentland’s or those who push practices unaware of their background, the purposes still attach to the desired education practices. No matter what or where. No matter how pure the heart may be or how noble the personal intentions. The purposes need to be a part of every discussion of education reform, and no degree from any institution should enable anyone to impose these practices with their undisputed collectivist intention in a country that intends to remain free.

Otherwise we have precisely what seems to be occurring. Education being used to mount a nonconsensual political coup at the level of the human mind. In that article Senge quoted a physicist David Bohm, who in 1980 expressed the sentiment that “the most important thing going forward is to break the boundaries between people so we can operate as a single intelligence. [J.S., another physicist] Bell’s theorem implies that this is the natural state of the human world, separation without separateness. The task is to find ways to break these boundaries, so we can be in our natural state.” Senge apparently agrees with Bohm and gave a similar quote from Einstein.

He also waxes on about the Global Consciousness Project at Princeton (interestingly, that’s the same noosphere project I drew attention to in the book). If this were simply a matter of personal beliefs that would be one thing, but when these beliefs drive education policy no one should lose the right to avoid declared manipulations of minds and feelings, values or complete personality, just because the person pushing these ideas got a certain kind of degree or works at a school or district or university or government agency or has a lucrative consulting contract.

If the nature of the education policy or practice is to foster that Marxist change in the student and the world to make history that we encountered in the last post, then the people pushing these policies are Marxists. Whether they admit it or not and whether they are aware or not of the ancestry of what they are pushing. I don’t know about what you feel when reading the word Marxist, but when I have to type it feels like I am insulting someone. Like telling them they have bad breath or must turn sideways to make it through a door. For many of the people developing and pushing these education ideas though, it’s a term of pride. And when it comes to pushing Vygotsky’s theories or those of Piotr Galperin, who we are going to talk about today, it is not merely that they personally had Marxist sentiments or lived in a country under its sway.

Using education to create “forward-looking transformative practices that are needed to enact history in the present” is the entire purpose of their theories and instructional practices. If the actual implementation of the Common Core in the US and comparable education reforms elsewhere are grounded in Vygotsky (usually admittedly if you know where to look) and Galperin (by the function of the required practices and how closely they align with his theories), then the purpose of the education reforms is every bit as much of a Marxist transformation as anything that happened in Russia in 1917 or Cuba in 1959. Nobody is goose stepping or shooting or fleeing abroad this time, but that does not change the aim. Nor does it change admissions that these theories and practices are “ideology-driven” to foster a different kind of future world.

What Galperin set out to do, and what his decades of research on students in the USSR showed, according to Igor Arievitch and Jacques Haenen, was how to use the “active construction of actions in the external form [what the Common Core calls learning tasks]” to guide “transformation of those actions into mental processes.” That’s what ‘teaching students how to think’ and a ‘thinking curriculum’ actually mean. To put it in the language used in a different essay by Arievitch and Anna Stetsenko, Galperin’s systemic-theoretical instruction laid out “how to arrange teaching-and-learning processes [what he and we now call by its Russian name obuchenie] in such a way that they indeed lead to a profound developmental change in children’s minds.”

How you ask? You provide a conceptual understanding from the beginning that encompasses the point of instruction (maybe true, but what a student is to believe regardless) and what types of physical phenomena it applies to (supposedly) and the (mostly invisible) relationships among those phenomena that physically exist in the real world. So real physical things encountered in daily life by a student or adult evoke “a chain of images, associations, and concepts”  in the mind that is designed to pop up like a reflex response. Let’s tap that knee says the doctor.

Now if whoever created the textbook or software or video wants actual knowledge, you could actually use Galperin’s “technology of instruction” to accurately build up a fairly accurate understanding of reality. Such programmed instruction is not inherently bad, but there’s no real safety valve to protect against manipulative creators of virtual reality gaming or software or any other means of instruction from pushing concepts that are not true or do not apply. Nor is there any means of ensuring that the taught relationships among things accurately reflects real, verifiable, connections. Like Senge’s systems thinking, the instruction may be about hoped for connections transformation advocates want students to believe exist.

Because the manipulative potential of Galperin’s ‘technology of instruction,’ as his research demonstrated, stems from the fact that it orients future behavior in predictable ways. In other words, systemic-theoretical instruction has tremendous potential to anyone wanting to change reality and guide perception and govern individual behavior. All without saying so. Well, at least not at the typical PTA meeting. Now how is this different from that theory you learned in science class or as an interpretation in history? Glad you asked. In traditional education, those theories come from known facts. Remember though we are in the age when facts are being rejected as boring, or too print intensive, or unnecessary in a world of search engines.

Theory in the Galperin instructional practice and to Alex Pentland in the last post, and as used throughout the actual ed reform mandates, comes first. It comes from the philosophy that there is nothing as practical as a good theory for fostering social transformation. It shapes and alters how people perceive reality. It interferes with the absorption of facts when they do manage to come along. Remember all the classroom visions we are seeing pushed are experiential. Usually in a group. Physical activity. Visual encounters. Projects. All the references we have been encountering about providing students with ‘lenses’ or ‘Understandings of Consequence’ or ‘Enduring Understandings’ or ‘Generative Metaphors,’ to cite a few examples we have encountered, all seem to be used precisely as Galperin outlined. That means this is the attached vision (Arevitch & Haenen 2005):

“In fact, Galperin’s teaching strategies can be used to reduce if not virtually eliminate the gap between declarative and procedural knowledge. Namely, in his stepwise teaching model, each action that students master can be comprehended conceptually because it is introduced, from the beginning, in its functional relation to a broader, meaningful task to be learned.

At the same time, each concept students are learning is represented as a sequence of procedures (actions) that serve as a basis for solving problems. Therefore, declarative [facts traditionally] and procedural [how to do it] knowledge are essentially merged into an integrated whole. This can be achieved when teaching and learning are organized into meaningful activities, thus putting the acquisition of new knowledge to the service of orienting and guiding new actions.”

Highly useful theory of education, instruction, and knowledge to anyone with a transformation agenda, isn’t it? We started with Peter Senge, let’s close with a statement from the same paper since it applies to so much of the stated rationales for needing these so-called 21st century education reforms.

“The fundamental difference between creating and problem solving is simple. In problem solving we seek to make something we do not like go away. In creating, we seek to make what we truly care about exist. Few distinctions are more basic.”

Few education theories then would be more useful than one that orients future behavior in predictable ways.

Translating the Off-Putting Term Dialectical Materialism and Discovering the Intended Process in ALL Classrooms

And if ALL classrooms, preschool through graduate school, is not sufficiently alarming, how about in ALL students and teachers and professors and administrators? Plus with a little luck, and using active coordination of themes and cultivated beliefs between education and the media, those interested in transformative change in the 21st century hope to spread the mental and emotional contagion to parents and enough voters generally to ignite the change via the ballot box and ALL institutions.

So how does the mouthful phrase ‘dialectical materialism’ fit into this vision? That is something I have struggled with for a couple of years now. I basically got it, but not well enough to translate into a pithy analogy for mass consumption. I suspect much of that is deliberate to prevent alarms from going off recognizing its use to prompt revolutionary cultural change. I knew it was about consciousness and had been coined not by Marx or Engels, but by Joseph Dietzgen. Like them, his revolutionary intentions forced him into exile in the Anglosphere, countries much more accommodating of dissent than Germany or other parts of 19th-century Europe. Instead of London or Manchester, England though, Dietzgen relocated to the Chicago area. But what precisely merited exile by authorities wishing to retain existing political power?

The recent recovery of some lost Nelson Mandela transcripts that quoted him as saying: “to a nationalist fighting oppression, dialectical materialism is like a rifle, bomb or missile. Once I understood the logic of dialectical materialism, I embraced it without hesitation.” I read that and immediately wished someone would concisely explain that logic as I was quite sure it was still lurking in our midst, ready to mount an invisible attack against existing institutions, values, beliefs, and other cultural norms. Last week, my personal project, supposedly unrelated to the blog or book or speaking engagements, was to investigate when the law shifted to being seen as a cultural weapon. Just a matter of personal curiosity so I ordered a book I had seen mentioned, Law and Revolution: The Formation of the Western Legal Tradition. It was published in 1983 by a then Harvard Law Prof, Harold J. Berman.

I was expecting a more straightforward history than what I encountered. I certainly was not expecting to read on the first page of the Preface that “A world ends when its metaphor has died.” Well, that got my attention as nothing is more prevalent now in education ‘reforms’ than the determination to excise factual knowledge of the past or science or human nature and substitute some type of metaphorical belief, usually called a ‘lens,’ as in the new C3 Social Studies Framework or a Generative Metaphor from Donald Schon and Chris Argyris’ Action Science work.

Continuing on in the Introduction, I found a determination to jettison the reverence for the Anglo tradition of the common law, and language about the law being not “a body of rules,” but a “process.” That statement sounded eerily similar to what radical education reformers like Linda Darling-Hammond, or sponsors like CCSSO, are using to describe what the REAL Common Core implementation is about. Not transmitting a body of knowledge anymore, but cultivating desired ‘habits of mind’ and hoped for ‘dispositions’ amenable and primed to act for wholesale social change.

Perhaps because it is a book designed to change the nature of a particular institution-the nature of law, law schools, and the role of the judiciary, Berman’s book is quite graphic about using the word ‘dialectics’ to describe the process of changing values and beliefs in people so it will have an impact on how and whether they act. Those actions in turn can affect the material world and the physical environment, which in turn acts upon those who inhabit it. A dialectical process back and forth involving the material world, but it all starts in consciousness. Mental and emotional beliefs. Dialectical materialism. Change the consciousness of enough people and the world itself and the future can supposedly be changed in predictable ways.

That’s the theory of how to “transform the social and political and economic realities” and it was revolutionary enough in the 19th century to merit exile and, perhaps, prison in certain times and places in the 20th. Now a willingness to push it can get you a lucrative ed doctorate credential intended to secure a six-figure taxpayer paid salary and then pension for life. That is if you cooperate with the right people and force the right theories on unsuspecting schools and students. What a transition that is for an infamous theory!

Dialectical materialism then is the actual theory that underlay outcomes based education and what was really being sought from it. Because it is an off-putting term with a clear history and proponents calling it the equivalent of a cultural “rifle, bomb or missile,” the real name for the theory gets left out. Instead, we get language about Growth Mindsets and not Fixed and Grit, Perseverance and Tenacity to euphemize the actual dialectical mental and emotional change to arrive at the desired synthesis in a person who will act.

This vision of education as dialectical materialism to change the student’s values, beliefs, and dispositions so they will likely act as desired upon the world can be seen as recently as last Friday as Michael Barber and Pearson released a Michael Fullan authored document called A Rich Seam: How New Pedagogies Find Deep Learning. That report also helpfully ties together the actual intended Common Core implementation in the US to what is going on in Canada, Australia, South America, and Europe. A global vision of the kind of perspectives and Worldviews that education is to inculcate for the future.

Everything is designed around experiential learning and getting students ready to act in desired ways. To see the past through so-called present and future needs. It’s not just the students being primed to act in desired ways. I keep hearing reports of teachers being told to stand and chant as a necessary component of new required professional development, while I notice how the leaders of the training just happened to be active in outcomes based education in the 90s. Or a recent story of videos being shown of enthusiastic cheering at various emotional public events like sports. Then the teachers are told that they must stand and cheer exuberantly at every mention of the phrase “Common Core” during the presentation. Does it remind anyone else of Michael Barber’s work with rebellious UK teachers years ago where the mantra was “First, act, then belief comes?”

To me, it is reminiscent of another of William Henry Chamberlin’s observations from his 30s experiences of collectivism that we encountered in the previous post. He noted that “human personality, for instance, may sometimes be dwarfed and standardized under the influence of democracy. But in the totalitarian states it tends to disappear altogether; the individual is simply sunk in the collectivist mass that votes, marches, salutes, cheers with the regularity and precision of an automatic machine.” That term ‘totalitarian’ may seem a bit misplaced when talking of the US or UK or Canada or Australia, but every one of the political and economic and social philosophies Chamberlin was writing about from personal experience was grounded in dialectical materialism. It is the foundational theory behind changing values and beliefs. What varied, then and now, are the particular beliefs that can be deliberately cultivated as useful for transformative change.

It is easy then to see the belief in Catastrophic Manmade Climate Change as one of today’s useful cultivated beliefs as well as the hyping of Inequality and the push for Communitarianism (misleadingly hiding in the definition of Career Ready as well as what will constitute a Positive School Climate). The intense focus on continued racism and sexism in reading selections and classroom discussions provides the same function. Useful beliefs that will likely compel a belief to act to transform the world in predictable ways. Others are more subtle, like the regular complaints over the religion of Islam being portrayed as inherently innocuous in ways that disregard known, provable, potentially dangerous facts. Or the economic misconceptions being deliberately cultivated and then tied to revered figures like Martin Luther King as Democracy Collaborative/Good Society’s Gar Alperovitz did recently.

We are going to talk next time about how this dialectical vision has become incorporated into the teacher evals for licensure and promotion to ensure compliance. Another dialectical process to ensure actual change in the material world.

Unfortunately all these intentions just cannot shake off the effects of unintended consequences and perverse incentives in that same material world.

The one where we all live and pay taxes to finance these millenarian visions of unrealistic, and nonconsensual, transformations.



Willingness to Make Personal Sacrifice for the Good of the Whole to Become an Integral Component of Student Identity

After last year’s stealth release of the hugely troubling C3-College, Career and Civic Ready Framework over Thanksgiving week to avoid anyone noticing what was actually changing under the invisibility cloak of the Common Core, I was watching like a hawk this year. But I really was not expecting anything like what I saw. A new definition of US civic education and to be required and assessed values that literally would have transformed Mao’s cold dark totalitarian heart in the manner of the end of the cartoon The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. Why such joy from a bloody tyrant? Because the only way to describe the Youth Civic Development & Education: A Conference Consensus Report released by the Stanford Center on Adolescence on November 27, 2013 (but oddly with a 2014 copyright) is suitable for schools in a country that aspires to authoritarianism over the individual. Any knowledge of history would clue that the actual result in practice is likely to be even worse.

Everything any dictator could ever want from his or her schools sounds hyperbolic and you may be wondering how many cups of espresso I have had this morning. Two cups of Lapsang Souchong tea so that’s not the reason I am writing in such dramatic terms. And I have done some additional reading in recent days to verify both the seriousness of what we are looking at and the price of what we are scheduled to lose. Invisibly and soundlessly. No notice means no protest in time and using technology as is planned means no offensive textbook coming home to alert parents or taxpayers to the wholesale transformation.

The paper’s primary author, William Damon, has already been quoted on this blog as seeking to use education “to direct the course of the future.” . After reading this report one has to wonder if he or any of the other authors was tempted to jet to London and visit Highgate Cemetary to put a bound volume at Uncle Karl’s tomb to pay homage to his hoped for view of the future and human development. So much more meaningful than flowers at this point across the centuries of this bloody pursuit to finally gain full submission over even the idea of the legitimacy of the individual.

The first book I dove into to verify what I was reading a description for was a 1973 book by Ivan Illich called Tools for Conviviality. Illich made no pretense that he was calling for socialism globally and how to get there. The book came on my horizon because it is a part of a World Perspectives series that began in the 60s with Kenneth Boulding’s The Great Transition that we have already alarmingly discussed. Illich insisted that “society must be reconstructed to enlarge the contribution of autonomous individuals and primary groups to the total effectiveness of a new system of production designed to satisfy the human needs which it also determines.” Like Broadband for all?

We have encountered this human needs focus (instead of individual choices vision) before and it did start with Uncle Karl’s writings. Illich called it the convivial society and Gar Alperowitz calls it the Good Society or the pluralist commonwealth and Shoshona Zuboff called it a support economy and distributed capitalism. Apparently there’s a good reason why this same vision with a variety of names keeps lurking in the shadows of radical education reform. It is the Illich/Marxian vision of submission to “public controls over tools and institutions” and apparently people too.

Education is the invisible, no need to gain consent from the masses, means of finally shutting down what Daniel Hannan in his fine new book Inventing Freedom: How the English-Speaking People Made the Modern World calls the Anglosphere Miracle. The uniquely English idea “that the law existed not to control the individual but to free him.” The highly unusual in most parts of the world and throughout much of history “idea that the government ought to be subject to the law, not the other way around.” As Hannan notes “oppression and power are far more usual” which is why “politically, a medieval European monarchy would not have been so very different to a modern African kleptocracy. Once people are in a position to set the rules, they tend to rig those rules in their own favor.”

So changing the definition of required civic values in the US so that “all citizens must be prepared to make sacrifices for the common good” as what will be mandated and assessed in K-12 public schools is quite simply an insistence from government that citizens now submit to the suzerainty of majority political will. Administered by politicians and bureaucrats who intend to plan and confiscate. In case you think I am taking damning quotes out of context to rally outrage against the Common Core, how about insisting that “Democracy requires that citizens be willing to make personal sacrifices for the common good”? Doesn’t that phrase bring home why Ayn Rand’s personal experiences with the Bolsheviks in Russia in the 1920’s led her to fret so about “mandated social altruism” imposed by state edict?

It is hard not to visualize all those white crosses and stars in the Arlington National Cemetary or the monuments to the fallen in the D-Day invasions in Normandy France and be appalled that US education and law professors and writers are now seeking to revise. The very definition of what is to constitute politically acceptable 21st century US patriotism.

“Patriotism requires an ethic of sacrifice and duty, and the capacity to act on that ethic. It requires sacrifice in the form of civic activity that involves giving back for the benefit of the whole society.

We have already encountered the mandate of a recognition of the “interdependence of all people across the world” also in that report. It is straight out of the Global Citizenship mandate the UK and Australia and Scotland all imposed under Michael Barber’s insistence before he left the Tony Blair Administration to push global ed reforms through McKinsey Consulting and now Pearson Education. The US is about to join the rest of the Anglosphere in closing down this ancient view of the individual and his rights before the government and no one was really supposed to notice. No statutes here. Just ambitious Principals and Supers and Consultants and accreditation agencies seeking to lead cultural change towards public control over all institutions.

How many of you have heard about all the founding primary source documents that are to be an essential component of the Common Core classroom implementation? Better read this consensus report then. Those documents are to be read through the lens of what constitutes “authentic liberty.” The report states that

“a nation cannot have authentic liberty, for example, if conditions of severe inequality render freedom an illusion for some members of the democratic community. Nor can we understand the areas in which equality is essential unless we link those elements of meaningful access and opportunity to the freedoms we ultimately must exercise in order to flourish throughout our lifetimes.” [That is unabashedly Marx’s theory of human development or what Martha Nussbaum and Amartya Sen are pushing now via the UN and OECD as capability as a human right.] To continue with the quote after making that crucial observation:

“Similarly, some citizens feel a loss of liberty when the government increases regulations of their personal and economic activities in pursuit of particular visions of equality. [Yes we are familiar with those particular visions. See above brackets]. The values of liberty and equality, in turn, are connected to a core notion of human dignity.”

We are NOT being asked to surrender the great Anglosphere invention that enabled unprecedented mass prosperity because production became more lucrative than predation as the way to get financially ahead. We aren’t even being informed. Apparently that joyful message reverts to a snoop like me. Aren’t you enthused that students are to even focus on the proper levers for taking by majority fiat as they learn about “treating political power as a central theme of civic education involves helping young people see how they gain greater control and influence over the many issues that affect them and the people they care about.”

No need to worry about where the lessons of history predict this will all end up because students are to be taught a version of power “firmly grounded in ethical principle.” Yes because any knowledge of reality might foretell the likely tsunami of political oppression that inevitably occurs anytime any group gets this kind of power over individuals who have no effective recourse.

That’s enough. Read the whole thing if you can bear it. I am obviously having a hard time with the no-holds-barred language being used. I think we need to all know our students are to be assessed on whether they are willing to “sacrifice for the the common good or greater good.”

And that this is being defined as “must reflect a commitment to interdependence and improving things for the many and not just the self. Furthermore, students ought to reflect on this principle in terms of a shared humanity beyond the boundaries of the nation, and from the perspective of future generations, considering the worldwide and intergenerational implications of the choices they will make.”

In the name of Common Core and civic education we are about to get all destructive propaganda, all the time. And the specialness of the Anglosphere won’t be all that disappears.

Every radical’s dream coming in as civic education.