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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That will be so useful for imposing this requisite Internalization.

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

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

Neural Enslavement to Instill Desired Virtues for Social Change: Deceitpalooza

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Hic Sunt Dracones: Decreeing Public Policy as the Boss of All of Us Without Genuine Notice or Consent

Hic Sunt Dracones is Latin for the warning phrase “There be Dragons” which seemed a perfect way to end this Trilogy. I have been warning of the coordinated convergence of what can only be described as a Left and Right pincer action to shepherd people blindly in a common direction. The rationales vary, the soothing euphemisms differ, and the admitted alliances among various public policy think tanks shift nominally. Behind all the deceit though, the distant social, economic, political, and personally enslaving destination never varies anymore. Since the Left at least admits what it intends, let’s start there and then I will show how the Right Pincer works as it seeks to guide to the same place in our respective futures.

When I started this Trilogy, I had come across a phrase “the process theory of the law” that seemed to fit with what I had been seeing on how to reliably lock the real Education and other local initiatives that we now know fit with the Social Determinants of Health or what Urie Bronfenbrenner called the various levels of his Bioecological Systems Theory into place. When we read references to the ‘rule of law’ now, most times it actually (and invisibly) references an affirmative, normative use of the law to bind individuals to a vision selected for them, whether they recognize this reality or not.

The Process Theory of the Law was developed at Harvard in the late 40s and spread to other elite law schools. It was apparently an elective 2nd Year Course there that has greatly influenced what many in our federal judiciary here in the US and also the professorate see as the new late 20th Century and 21st Century use of the law. Since SCOTUS member Stephen Breyer is considered an exemplar and he does like to write books, let’s take a look at what he laid out in Active Liberty: Interpreting Our Democratic Constitution. In my mind what Breyer is saying is that the law and cries of public policy, human flourishing, and democratic purpose can all be use to enslave the individual. (my bolding)

“…a certain view of the original Constitution’s primary objective…sees the Constitution as furthering active liberty, as creating a form of government in which all citizens share the government’s authority, participating in the creation of public policy. [See why I have been warning we will not like where the phrases governance or self-government actually shift us?] It understands the Constitution’s structural complexity as responding to certain practical needs, for delegation, for nondestructive (and hopefully sound) public policies, and for protection of basic individual freedoms. And it views the Constitution’s democratic imperative as accommodating, even insisting upon, these practical needs.”

Now, not to be sidetracked by political theory here, but when someone starts to insist that meeting human needs is an obligation the State at all levels and each of us has, we have shifted to Uncle Karl’s Human Development Society, whether anyone cites the bearded old destructive theorist or not. This relates as well to what I covered here back in January http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/niti-nyaya-government-by-think-tanks-and-every-student-succeeds/ If anything the drumroll of deceitful false narratives and the offered rationales have simply become more profuse in 2016. Let’s go back to someone who at least admits to where this is all going and who remains alive in a place to see it implemented.

Let’s look up Stephen Breyer’s definition of the law and how a legal text should be interpreted: “law that helps a community of individuals democratically find practical solutions to important contemporary social problems.” See how it is not about the individual anymore except as needed to bind him or her to the stipulated common vision? Anyone still wondering why the actual definition of Career Ready Practices for the Classroom or mandated Positive School Climate for the school all end up pushing practices backed by communitarianism theories? Breyer hypes a theory he calls ‘cooperative federalism’ because of the federal government’s limited “ability to control the activities of individuals and businesses.” Get a different level of government to do it then and then hype it as “preserving a more local decision-making process.”

Does that sound to anyone else like the official talking points on ESSA–the new federal education legislation? How about what a recent paper from the RSA in the UK told us about New Public Governance and “Changing the Narrative: A New Conversation Between the Citizen and the State”:

“it is actually the local state rather than the national state that is best positioned to re-negotiate its relationships with citizens, communities, and businesses. Potentially at least, local government operates at a scale of accountability, with a degree of accessibility, and with a sensitivity to identity and diversity that it would be hard for central states to match.”

Potentially at least, but not when the mayor, state legislator, city council members, or other local political figures go to presentations by local think tanks or go to national conferences to be trained in viewing their cities, schools, area businesses, etc. as systems that can be planned and directed by political power and the affirmative use of the law. As part of the right pincer, supposedly opposite side of the Guided by Public Policy Sluice, we get lots of talk these days of ‘subsidiarity.’ Yet if we have School Choice that actually leads to internalized changes in beliefs at the level of the human mind and prescribed practices that make responding from emotion an unconscious habit, are we not playing right into what Stephen Breyer called a “lawmaking process…[that] involves changes that bubble up from below…this ‘bubbling up’ is the…democratic process in action?”

Under Standards- or Competency-based education and where School Choice actually leads under current legal dynamics in charter language or when money follows the child, what is in place to ‘bubble up’ is still to be very much of a planned, directed blueprint down to the ‘internalized capabilities,’ beliefs, and values of the students. Suddenly the Right and Left pincers, education policies, and the actual use of the law mean that every level of any human activity system, including people individually, are being guided in a coordinated, planned manner so that “laws will work better for the people they are presently meant to affect”  as Stephen Breyer put it.

At least he is honest with his declared “better to translate public will, determined through collective deliberation, into sound public policy.” My problem is when I hear a think tank fellow tell a group that they must adopt his recommended education policies or a state will never be able to afford the health care costs of its aging population when I know the policies do not actually work as prescribed. Likewise when I heard about the speech of Donald Trump Jr at the Republican Convention, it was apparent to me that someone had incorrectly explained to him how School Choice operated in reality. Since he cited FH Buckley of George Mason Law and his book The Way Back, and Professor Buckley agreed he was the advisor, I decided to take a look.

That April 2016 book may be one of the more obnoxious books I have ever read. We have to wonder why the Bradley Foundation that owns Encounter Books wanted this particular narrative to be disseminated. “Socialist Ends by Capitalist Means” is the declared premise and it envisions a future where “everyone is provided with the opportunity to flourish.” Stephen Breyer calls that active liberty and Amartya Sen considers that to be what individual freedom is now to mean. See what I mean about right and left pincer action once we recognize the underlying theory and what the admitted Left states they intend to do with it?

Interestingly, we may want to tell Professor Buckley about the BRAIN Initiative I have covered and the Science of Virtues Project the Templeton Foundation and the NIH are pushing at the University of Chicago since he sarcastically declares that: “I haven’t heard of plans to rewire our brains to eliminate it” [referring to the acquisitive instinct of individuals throughout history]. I do not know why Professor Buckley chose to cite so many radicals and admitted Marxists from the Left to frame his desire that “the promised land of equality might follow.” I recognize them because I have to read so much from the Left to accurately locate these blueprints. I do not want the US to become Denmark as the book cites and I know Buckley knows his Marxist theory because he states:

“As the most advanced capitalist country, America should have been the first place where socialism triumphed, according to Marxist theories of history…Today America is both unequal and immobile. As that becomes more apparent, we might begin to see the kind of class consciousness that Marx thought was missing in 1850s America, and with this a greater support for wealth redistribution schemes.”

Does that sound ‘Conservative’ or pro-market? When I say this is Uncle Karl’s vision and both sides are pushing it using euphemisms, I am not using my imagination to chase ghosts. At least Justice Breyer states honestly where he intends to go with the law, even if he is prone to taking a political theory like ‘deliberate democracy’ and stating it as a factual tool to now be used. He also cited a revisionist historian Bernard Bailyn who is associated with what James Block in A Nation of Agents called a major effort to “frame fundamental historical divisions as the precursor of a new organization of society.” See what quotes I can locate when I recognize a cited fact as actually not true?

Block went on to say that this so-called “republican reading of history” should be seen as “at least in part as a quest for participatory community composed of virtuous civic actors living for the common good.” Sounds like what Stephen Breyer wants as an active liberty, ‘bubbling up’ process and what Uncle Karl pronounced as the Human Development Society. So where’s the tie to Buckley’s book? Well, Block stated that other proponents of this republican misreading of history, as I will call it, “were Gordon Wood and JGA Pocock.” Gordon Wood is the historian Buckley kept citing to in The Way Back. Methinks The Way Back is actually the way forward to Uncle Karl, which is why the book really exists and if I were not a lawyer, history major, AND a maniac researcher I would never have recognized what was wrong with the framing of the book and where it really goes.

Accept the offered vision and defer to the prescribed path from a so-called pro-market public policy think tank. No need to actually accurately inform all of us people being affected. Buckley ended his book with the phrase “Ye are Many, They are Few” and called on a rejection of an “America…increasingly riven by class distinctions, best explained by the sociobiological imperatives of parents who wish well for their children.” Such poppycock, but intended to be influential and deferred to nonetheless.

If we are able to still rely on facts, habits of logical thought, and an accurate understanding of all these coordinated Public Policy sales pitches, we might not go along with the planned vision. We may still be capable of climbing off the Public Policy Sluice or departing the Planned Pathway and jumping free. That’s why we adults get spoon fed euphemisms if we are not on board with the declared Left Fundamental Transformation. Students are just to get neurologically reshaped via Preschool through high school until they are amenable to this entire planned process.

Who else is ready to step off the clearly set out pathway prescribed by the admitted Left and aped by the so-called Right? Ready to move away from the Pincer Action of a Planned Upravleniye Society?



Fracturing the Personal and Social Failsafes and Omitting the Most Pertinent Parts of the Plans

Now don’t visualize Failsafe in the sense of Peter Sellers in Dr Strangelove unless those graphics help with a proper sense of urgency at what we are facing in the name of ‘education’ for ‘our children.’ I actually am using failsafe in the dictionary meaning of “compensating automatically and safely for a failure, as of a mechanism or power source.” I would add people as well as we can adjust ourselves to thwart the reality of what is happening unless the offered narrative is false. Our ability to adjust our outrage is also offline if education has been changed to deliberately manipulate our emotions so certain responses and likely interpretations are neurally locked in in advance.

In the recent ACES post, I finished by saying we would turn to emotions and here we are. Carefully documenting the media manipulation and the parts of the story being ably omitted lest we become informed and outraged. If anyone thinks it is conspiratorial to imagine active coordination around deceit, last week the National PTA in a letter to fed ED on regulations on required parental engagement under ESSA, requested the use of “Leading by Convening: A Blueprint for Authentic Engagement.”  http://www.ideapartnership.org/documents/NovUploads/Blueprint%20USB/NASDSE%20Leading%20by%20Convening%20Book.pdf That way parents could be Delphied into useful beliefs about what ESSA does that have actually nothing to do with its mandates or shifts.

Remember sociologist Anthony Giddens telling us that behavioral scientists know that what guides and motivates behavior is not what is actually true, but what is personally and emotionally believed to be true? Let’s take a look at the organized media juggernaut on hyping emotion as the key to learning. On April 27, 2016 Education Week wrote a story called “Emotions Help Steer Students’ Learning, Studies Find: Scholar sees passion as mind’s rudder” which hyped the work of Mary Helen Immordino-Yang and her new book Emotions, Learning, and the Brain. Here’s the lead quote that should probably be read with a reminder that one of the definitions of using cybernetics in education is to create a steerable keel with a student’s mind and personality. One that is locked in neurally that the student is largely unaware of.

“People think of emotion getting in the way of cognition, but it doesn’t. Emotion steers our thinking; it’s the rudder that directs our mind and organizes what we need to do.”

Gives new meaning certainly to a declared goal of ‘standards-based reforms’ and competency-based education that seek to create Habits of Mind and desired Dispositions and Attributes to be deemed College, Career and Citizenship Ready, doesn’t it? That hyping article was followed by a May 4 New York Times piece called “To Help Students Learn, Engage the Emotions.” It also hyped the same professor’s work exclusively with more quotes that resonate with initiatives like Hewlett’s Deeper Learning (omitted from article) where “It is literally neurobiologically impossible to think deeply about things that you don’t care about.” Really? How about the insistence that it is the:

“emotional connection that can result when teachers make learning personally relevant to students is what differentiates superficial, rote, topical assimilation of material from a superlative education marked by deep mastery and durable learning.”

In other words, it is experiences carefully crafted for the classroom so that what will guide and motivate future student behavior gets practiced and then locked in at an unconscious level. Talk about bypassing any personal failsafe. And this is the kind of ‘meaningful learning’ that CCSSO, Linda Darling-Hammond and groups connected to her are calling for as the new form of accountability under ESSA. Oh the things that get left out when the article also hyped “the best, most durable learning happens when content sparks interest, when it is relevant to a child’s life, and when the students form an emotional bond with either the subject at hand or the teacher in front of them. Meaningful learning happens when teachers are able to create an emotional connection to what might otherwise remain abstract concepts.”

How did I ever pass the bar exam without this kind of instruction? Now before we get back to what else is being left out, let me assure you I have the 1979 book created from the February 1977 symposium titled “Toward the Human Use of Human Beings: A Cybernetic Approach to the Assessment of Children” held in Denver. I may be able to recognize a cybernetic focus by how it functions, but that is no where close to the end of my proof. I also have open declarations on this “interdisciplinary attempt to apply the principles of cybernetics, the science of control and communication, to certain issues of child development” via American education and needed reforms.

Also in my library of research for the sequel to Credentialed to Destroy was a 1994 book by a USC neurobiologist, Antonio Damasio, called Descartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain. Query: do Immordano-Yang and Damasio work together? Just imagine if the writers of these hyping articles had mentioned that Prof I-Y wrote the journal for the International Mind, Body, and Education Society (IMBES) I have alarmingly covered. What if the Brain Creativity Institute is involved in all this sudden BRAIN Initiative NSF and NIH gushes of federal money? Just a little digging an up came this joint published article “We Feel, Therefore We Learn: The Relevance of Affective and Social Neuroscience to Education” from 2007.

Now the first line of the abstract “highlighting connections between emotion, social functioning, and decision-making” should remind all of us that ACES theorizes that people are now to be Anticipatory Cognitive Embodied Systems and thus easily manipulable via education. Our transformative systems thinkers like Kenneth Boulding also wanted us to be reconceptualized as ‘goal-seeking, purposeful systems.” Is that also the vein of all this sudden hyping of the role of emotions in learning. Even if I did not have Damasio’s books, there are hints just in that article that all these pushes are consistent with professors who also want to see Values as the Drivers of Human History and education to create a new Science of Virtues because the article opens with a mention on:

“how culture shapes learning, and ultimately the development of morality and human ethics. These are all topics of eminent importance to educators as they work to prepare skilled, informed and ethical students who can navigate the world’s social, moral, and cognitive challenges as citizens.”

I always want to insert ‘comrade’ as an adjective in front of that kind of vision of the purpose of education to be a ‘citizen,’ but then gallows humor is a part of how I deal with all the open declarations I uncover. The GSV San Diego conference did not just tout the increased annual spending for the BRAIN Initiative. It also called explicitly for the Acceleration of Ideas that Address the Integration of Mind, Body, and Soul.” Sounds like values and emotions are to be neurally integrated via K-12 education practices is required federal policy and investors want to pile into tech companies with a means to do just that. Still all omitted from the official narrative unless we monitor these meetings and recognize co-partners of who is being officially touted.

Federally funded brain research and required education practices to foster and invisibly manipulate a hope that “our brains still bear evidence of their original purpose: to manage our bodies and minds in the service of living, and living happily, in the world with other people.” Now I would start to get nervous if I was constantly encountering attempts to enshrine a communitarian ethos in Positive School Climate Presidential Executive Orders or the actual definition of what Career Ready really meant. Now I would really get nervous if that 2007 article had a graphic of what it hyped as the desired Emotional Thought with this subheading:

“The evolutionary shadow cast by emotion over cognition influences the modern mind. In the diagram, the solid ellipse represents emotion, the dashed ellipse represents cognition. The extensive overlap between the two represents the domain of emotional thought. Emotional thought can be conscious or nonconscious and is the means by which bodily sensations come into our conscious awareness. High reason is a small section of the diagram and requires consciousness.”

No declarations that the small area of high reason needs to be smothered further via education reforms and required practices, but there is a hope to “produce the sort of automatic moral decision making that underlies intuitive notions of good and evil” that appears more social and political than “lying is bad and murder is wrong.” Let’s turn to Descartes’ Error and see what it tells us on why hyping and controlling emotion via education is so crucial. Well, consisting with taking the failsafes away from the steering of the student we have Damasio telling us that “emotion and feeling, central aspects of biological regulation,…provide the bridge between rational and nonrational processes, between cortical and subcortical structures.”

Just the thing, in other words, to be the openly declared object of required education practices and declared federal research priorities that then get deceitfully explained or not covered at all when talking to students and their parents. Damasio’s book laid out use of emotion to create what he called somatic markers and even italicized. Nary a mention though in either those Times or Ed Week stories. Now what happens when these carefully cultivated, emotionally-laden, nonconscious somatic markers neurally embedded and part of what is being assessed as Higher Order Thinking Skills and Understanding or Meaningful Learning was created to quietly acheive the declared goals of affirming ” a new level of being in which one can invent new artifacts and forge more just ways of existing”?

Now who would have suspected such nice stories could involve so much more? That the ‘learning experiences’ being loaded into the cloud or instilled in an adaptive, digital learning virtual reality game were created by developers hoping to create nonconscious somatic markers. That the developers and research profs knew that “most somatic markers we use for rational decision making were created in our brains during the process of education and socialization, by connecting specific classes of stimuli with specific classes of somatic state. In other words, they are based on the process of secondary emotions.”

All of this psychological and neuroscience research is being forced into required educational practices and no one is accurately telling us unless we dig as I do. Then we get to discover that those ‘secondary emotions’ being carefully hyped and manipulated are “those emotions and feelings [that] have been connected, by learning, to predicted future outcomes of certain scenarios.” Those were professor Damasio’s italics for emphasis in his book. Can the student know the future? No but they are being trained with Guiding Fictions ‘as if’ certain possibilities could be made true. Then the tasks are repeated until the emotionally-embued perception becomes a nonconscious Habit of Mind.

Just imagine making the definition of ‘success’ under the new federal education law or competency as about successfully planning and making decisions without adding that the decision making will be guided by instilled somatic markers. Those nonconscious emotions then become the ‘criteria…which express, at any given time, the cumulative preferences we have both received and acquired.”

Gives a whole new conception as to choice about what is ‘received and acquired’, doesn’t it?

Does ‘student-centered learning’ that is relevant and engaging still seem like a good goal to be blindly implementing for ALL students?


Straddling the Worlds of Action and Knowledge: Values as the Driving Force of History

Let’s go back to that aspiration for “Rethinking Patterns of Knowledge” from the last post since what has been admitted as being ‘controversial departures from the Western traditions’ is laid out in documents we were never supposed to see. We were to simply accept vague terms like ‘standards-based reforms’ being mandated for the classroom as within the unquestionable domain of anyone with an education degree. Even if the implementers and school and district leaders are totally unaware that there is an underlying controversy or that the real purpose of a required practice is that: “we are perhaps ready now to apply Marx’s dictum–that the point was not to understand history, but to change it–in a way quite different from what he intended.”

Now, shouldn’t that aim be accurately understood and not simply rolled into standards, pedagogy, and practices like Project-Based Learning or formative assessment via virtual reality gaming? Now the author of that quote, who also saw people as merely the steerable “individual elements of a complex system” went on to state a view of education and its new transformative aims at a neural level that we must pay attention to if we are to have any hope of avoiding the “leveling the playing field” plans for us. Seriously that is a quote from the Global Silicon Valley ed tech investment bankers and their 2020 Vision: A History of the Future publication that coincided with their well-attended summit in San Diego a few weeks ago. They even paid a stipend to make sure leaders from all the Congressionally sanctioned and White House favorite League  of Innovative Schools districts were all in attendance.

The conclusion laid out the vision of “initiatives to create equal access for all Americans to participate in the future.” I have covered the federal BRAIN Initiative before that began in 2013, but this document announced that the funding had been increased “from $100 million to $500 million per year, aiming to create a dynamic understanding of brain function in a decade–doing for neuroscience what the Human Genome Project did for genomics. Importantly, we narrowed the program’s focus to two key objectives; mapping the circuitry of the brain, and then applying this knowledge to improving the design of education models/product and curing cognitive disorders.”

We have to wonder if being insufficiently communitarian will become classified as a ‘cognitive disorder’ in the future given how that ethos has made it into everything from Career Ready Standards to what constitutes a Positive School Climate and unappareciated obligations now in Student Handbooks. Mapping the human genome though did not alter what had been mapped. The whole purpose of the BRAIN Initiative though is to develop education models, products, curriculum, and ed tech software to rewire that brain circuitry to create the citizens amenable to political planning of economies and societies in the name of Equity. I quoted equal access above as the intent. The document reiterated the point of the “Mapping of the Mind” yet again by pointing out that the point of “optimizing the way we learn” was “to level the playing field and create a more productive workforce.”

Productive to whose benefit is a fair question, but let’s go back to the “A New Logic of Human Studies” essay from 1988 that our title and the Marxian quote above came from where Frederick Turner said “our hardwiring–whose proper development we neglect in our education at great peril–is designed to make us infinitely inventive.” Inventive as in not bound by what has worked well in the past and with the “Rethinking of Patterns of Knowledge” emphasis, no likely knowledge of what has factually led to the great nightmares of history when political power had no check on what it could force people to do.

If that seems melodramatic, my tiptoeing through the cited footnotes regularly forces me to encounter passages like how transformative social and political theories always also need new concepts, ideas, and categories to mentally guide perception in desired ways. Then I see the shout out to someone notorious like a Marx or a Hegel and then I get to see the same concepts whitewashed and introduced as Understandings of Consequence that must have applications to the real world. The philosophers will write about the need to ‘control meaning’ so that ” a rational consensus on the part of citizens concerning the practical control of their destiny” can be ‘attained.’ The educators simply take the same aims and goals and enact it blindly and under coercion of job loss in the name of authentic learning and a New Civics.

We know that the National Institutes of Health is pushing a Science of Virtues with help from the Templeton Foundation because I covered that here  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/locating-the-internalized-information-guiding-human-behavior-so-it-can-be-controlled-and-transformed/
in March. We know Character is being added as a requisite component next fall for assessment in California. Now take that reality and tie it to this aspiration from Turner:

“The real forces at work on the stage of history are values. And values are uniquely qualified for a role both as tools to understand history and as forces at work in it. One qualification is just that: they straddle the worlds of action and knowledge, they admit candidly our involvement, our partisanship, our partiality and our power. Objectivity in a historian is an impossible goal in any case. Another qualification of values is that they give a kind of direction to history, the possibility of progress, which as we have seen is the logical precondition of any inquiry. [bolded because this is the entire focus of Project-Based Learning] Values are essentially dynamic, readjusting, contested, vigorous, as the word’s derivation from the Latin for ‘health,’ and its cognate ‘valor’ imply.”

So if we change values in students and the public at large we can change what motivates people to act to transform the world as it is. Transform the categories and prevailing concepts and ideas of thought and we can change people’s perceptions of the need to act. A powerful combination together in other words when both of those things become the focus of education, especially when locking in the changes at a neural biological level is the true goal. Now lets come back to the future and this terribly well connected report https://learningpolicyinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Pathways_New-Accountability_Through_Every_Student_Succeeds_Act_04202016.pdf tied to Stanford and Linda Darling-Hammond and the call for “achieving an equitable school system that leads to meaningful, relevant, and engaging learning opportunities for all students.”

If that vision sounds like it has the makings for the very type of straddling called for in Rethinking Patterns of Knowledge, there’s more even beyond a conclusion calling for “evidence-based interventions that support deeper learning in contexts that further equity goals.” The report list three pillars for this new system states and local districts are to create and one of them is the undefined term–‘meaningful learning.’ Except it was not undefined to me because I knew it was a term tied to cognitive scientist Joseph Novak who helped develop all the theories of concept mapping and internalized mental models in the first place. Remember the useful partner to transformed values laid out above?

Meaningful Learning is actually a global phrase for Novak’s transformative theory of education he has been writing about since the 60s. This article from Brazil http://www.if.ufrgs.br/asr/artigos/Artigo_ID7/v1_n2_a2011.pdf explains that “Meaningful Learning underlies the Constructive Integration of Thinking, Feeling, and Acting Leading to Empowerment for Commitment and Responsibility.” How’s that for the desired straddle? And conveniently locked into the legal obligation under federal and state laws as a new concept of accountability where no one is likely to notice the true nature of the required shift. Who would ever track this all back to being a Marxian Maker of History other than Robin who reads too much (and who notices even more) now that we are so fully on the right track.

How useful is this to seeing people as goal-seeking systems who can be redesigned at a neural level as needed for the hoped-for transformation? That paper was presented at Porto Allegre, which is known as the city that first developed the concept of ‘participatory budgeting.’ That’s the idea that the poor and various ethnic groups have a stake and the right to a say in determining how much, and for what, government budgets are to be spent. Just this morning one of my newsletters wrote about how participatory budgeting is catching on at the local levels of cities in the US as a means to promote Equity.

Use government spending to promote Equity and education to transform values and the internalized categories and conceptions of thought to “level the playing field” as the GSV report put it. Accountability needs ‘meaningful learning’ because insiders who create these policies and who wrote the Every Student Succeeds Act know quite well that “knowledge stored during meaningful learning is fundamentally organized differently than knowledge learned by rote, and affective associations are also different” as Novak put it in 2011. He also wrote that as “we learn new concepts and propositions, we are really learning the meanings of the concepts and the relationships between them. Through the process of meaningful learning, concepts and propositions are organized into the cognitive structure of our brains.”

That cognitive structure and what education can do to alter it is precisely what the US federal government admits it is now spending $500 million per year to map for the purposes of Equity and leveling the playing field via education.

In the next post I will cover the ‘affective’ component of meaningful learning using numerous examples from just the last few weeks. With a few trips back in time of course so we can have an accurate narrative of what is being attempted here instead of the Faux Narrative the Powers-that-Be had planned for us to simply accept.

Neurological Social Engineering Designed for Collectivist Political Purposes: the Real Purpose of K-12 Standards

I really wish there was still some doubt on what Learning Standards or Competency actually mean or what they intend to alter. No one is openly admitting to us that in the future all that is desired are ‘existential competencies’, a ‘natural science worldview’, or a mind that can be easily read via Knewton adaptive software. We may find the aims sickening, but apparently the planning locations have been glorious. Can you believe our invite to the April 1-3, 2015 Global Education Futures-Forum California: Toward Learner-Centered Lifelong Learning never arrived? We could have stayed at the Five-Star Rosewood Sands Hill Luxury Hotel  in Menlo Park and planned the future of learning globally while hanging out with tech titans there for the Global Technology Symposium. With rooms starting at $600 a night, we too could have lived the Jet Set Life while planning how to meet people’s ‘needs’.

Since we were not invited and did not get to nestle our heads in high-thread count linens, who was there and how did this catch my eye? In early August ISSS-the International Systems Science Society-had its annual meeting in Berlin. Speaking on education were Alexander Laszlo, Ervin’s son and like him a former ISSS President, and a Pavel Luksha. Luksha is Russian but is involved with a project with MIT called Re-Engineering Futures. The California Forum was part of that work getting ready for a Kazan World Skills conference in May, the global World Skills conference in Brazil in early August, and then on to Singapore this fall. The final vision gets presented in Davos in January once again amidst the private jets, luxury linens, and foie gras This is all apparently how global plans can get marketed as local or even as something called the North Carolina Plan laid out in the comments with links on the previous post.

http://www.edu2035.org/ is not a hot link because something is screwy with my computer this morning, but it is the site for the Global Education Futures Forum. What I am describing can be found there. Please pay special attention to the GEFF Advisory Board since it is linked to the Center for Curriculum Redesign because Charles Fadel is a listed member as is an Under Secretary of the OECD. Knewton has a representative which is why this week’s Wired article on the ability to read student’s minds is timely. Another listed member of the GEFF Advisory Board is Alexander Laszlo, who undoubtedly learned about collectivism’s need for a subjective mode of consciousness from his dad instead of the Grimm fairy tales most of us heard as children.

Finally, we have former Gates Foundation exec Tom VanderArk listed, which means that the Brookhaven Innovation Charter just approved in Georgia (links in comments on previous post) that says it is based on VanderArk’s White Paper and the Hewlett Foundation push around Deeper Learning is tied to the GEFF vision. So are school districts like Fulton and other League of Innovative Schools districts that we have covered as bringing him in to consult and train. The entire state of Utah and the concept of Competency (just the means to stealthily impose that subjective mode) get implicated because next Tuesday and Wednesday, September 2 and 3, 2015 there is a Statewide Joint Conference there on Competency-Based education with VanderArk as the speaker on both days. Also speaking is Marc Tucker of the National Center on Education and the Economy so we also have the Common Core being shoved away as we get back to NCEE’s New Standards Project from the 90s, renamed now as Competency-Based Education.

All of this fits perfectly with what my book Credentialed to Destroy foresaw. Chapter 4 on Competency is even more timely now than when it was written. One of the themes of the California Forum apart from the death of the Gutenberg Era and divvying up the billion dollar EdTech market was “How will educational ecosystems for emerging social practices be created?” Now I can scream all day long that the new forms of assessment are not in fact tests and are looking to create and monitor desired behaviors, but there is nothing like the concept of virtual reality prisons to make the point. This is from a GEFF 2014 report called Future Agendas for Global Education .

In following up on all the intended uses of gamification and virtual reality in education of the future, the report mentions that “Besides that, gamification can be efficiently used to redesign the penitentiary system.” Now when we read the following quote, we need to appreciate that if these adaptive software and virtual reality worlds are powerful enough to remediate dysfunctional behavior, what is the effect of constant embedding over K-12 on normal minds?

“application of maturing virtual simulations can allow (within the coming decade) to create realistic virtual worlds, ‘virtual jails’ that help delinquents correct their dysfunctional behavior and acquire socially acceptable ways of conduct–for instance, re-living the criminal action from different positions (of a violator, of a victim, of a police officer who searches for an offender, etc.) and their mastering the proper way of acting [Mastery Learning?]. Such educational solutions could become a more humane way to rehabilitate criminals–and similar solutions can be applied to help re-qualify ‘accidentally alienated’ citizens, e.g. those dismissed from jobs due to skill mismatch. We believe that, since early 2020s, virtual reality worlds will be used as temporary holding places for unemployed and as a cheap alternative for vocational education & training. Also, virtual worlds that help replace dysfunctional behavior patterns with functional ones can be used to deal with traumatic experiences and improve lives of ‘clinically normal’ people that suffer from dependencies, bad habits or fears. ‘Psychodrama worlds’ where people play together and live lief stories of each other could gain wide popularity as an alternative to group therapy by mid-2020s, not only (and not so much) as a clinical psychotherapy, but as part of standard educational trajectory for a majority of population.”

Now in a world where following the misleading phrase Career Ready Practices as the new purpose of K-12 leads us straight to a communitarian obligation to others and so does the now obligatory Positive School Climate, do we really think ‘dysfunctional behaviors’ will be cigarette smoking and eating disorders? No because the next paragraph states that “any gamified practice has an educational dimension, because the game clearly defines desirable and undesirable behaviors.” That is what makes it educational in this Brave New World that is no longer a work of fiction at all. Educational Dimension=altering human behaviors. No wonder the ESEA Rewrite the US Senate passed binds all states to use performance assessments to examine academic results. All behavioral too.

Honestly I think the life of Five Star luxury being pursued to foist this education and Future Transformation vision must addle the brain at some level. How else to explain an insistence that “we now know too much” and that we need only “adequate science and technologies to be maintained and developed going forward.” No wonder we have repeated proclamations that the Gutenberg Era is over. It created the concept of the individual and liberated the human mind. Our wannabe political Overlords want to take all that away and the tech companies want to sell public officials the means to do just that.

What parent when they opt for a Charter School for their child that hypes 21st Century Learning or who wishes for vouchers to escape bad neighborhood schools understands that they are really tapping into a GEFF plan to “reorganize the institutions of cognition and knowledge management.”? Now given the sorts of facts I turn up and papers and confessional books through the decades I can appreciate why this collectivist vision needs Mind Arson and knowledge management.

Repeat after me: We will NOT acquiesce.

Please take the blinders OFF about what formative assessments and a Whole Child focus around digital learning really mean. Otherwise, these planners want to create a Neuroweb of manipulated collective consciousness that is reminiscent of what Star Trek called the Borg. When people in positions of power with access to taxpayer money at the global, national, state, and local levels write of a desire to transform K-12 education and the very concept of learning and wish to “create semantic Internet and supporting artificial intelligence solutions that will structure human knowledge, and scientific knowledge in particular,” we need to listen.

Now we know why digital learning is so crucial to all these future models of education. It’s not a better way to teach math or reading or about making backpacks lighter. It’s about rewiring the brain for collectivist political purposes and it is a Bipartisan pursuit going on all over the globe.

Thankfully we know about the agenda and the links into our local classrooms. Will accurate knowledge reach enough parents and taxpayers in time or will the manufactured hype surrounding the Common Core continue to obscure the actual story?

Bubonic Plague, Locust Swarms, Collective Values Transformation, or Futures Redesign?

If we were playing Compare and Contrast with that title we would notice that the commonality is clearly horrendously destructive acts or events. Yet the last two are clearly planned and likely to be invisible to most of the people affected by the designed shifts being imposed on them. The first two just happen periodically, but their presence and catastrophic effects are immediately visible. Which is preferable?  Most of the trauma from the last two could be prevented if enough people globally were aware of the declared intentions, the foreseeable likely consequences, and the networks forcing the changes.

That’s why I wrote the book Credentialed to Destroy and why I keep up this blog monitoring the current related shifts in real time. Welcome to Part Two of what I am calling the Treacherously Trying to Trap Us Trilogy. In the last post I laid out the existence of the Global CIFAL Network set up by the UN System starting in 2003 to get local officials on board with its agenda in education, the economy, and society generally. Today we are going to poke around a bit more into things designed to impact all of us, but beyond our line of sight. Since all my research has the effect of providing close to x-ray vision as I read and listen now, let’s pull some more plans into the sunlight while there is still time.

Let’s start with yet another troubling plan created by the well-connected, Palo Alto-based Institute for the Future whose vision for Recombinant Education and Future Work Skills 2020 here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/advances-in-neuroscience-redefine-notions-of-performance-and-cognition-allowing-social-justice-in-learning/ left some readers irate and others feeling like they had endured a stress test. IFTF in 2013 also created http://www.iftf.org/our-work/global-landscape/governance/governance-for-the-future-an-inventors-toolkit/ to “rethink the relationship between citizens and governance. Now is the time to explore the widest range of future possibilities and to reimagine society for an age of planetary challenges and human responsibility.”

Now before anyone says that stated purpose alone is no link to the UN System, let me remind us that the Center for Curriculum Redesign’s Charles Fadel touts IFTF’s work. But I can do better than that. On the last page, IFTF thanks “Dr. James Dator for providing the inspiration and methodological foundation for this toolkit.” Dator, a futurist professor in Hawaii, was Secretary General and then President for a decade of the World Futures Studies Federation, which IS part of the UN System and closely tied to UNESCO and its work in education and multimedia. So when the Kit urges people to “Re-Think: Examine your foundational assumptions about how the world works, how people behave, and what values you would like to see instilled in your society,” this is precisely the kind of Change Agent/social engineering work we also saw the CIFAL Network owning up to.

So out-of-sight but closely tied to what is planned for US K-12 education we have this Toolkit proclaiming that “Government has seen little structural change in 200 years. For example, the US Constitution was created in the 18th century, and while novel and in many cases admirable, it couldn’t have anticipated 21st century social, technological, and political realities. Societies must re-examine the principles upon which governments are based, and think carefully about the values, beliefs, and metrics  upon which to build governance for the future.” Can you say impose without notice or consent? How about jettisoning what is still valuable?

Can you imagine students with precious little knowledge of history being told as part of a high school long-term project that “Values provide a moral compass for the governing systems you will create. Do you want a society that manifests freedom, happiness, justice, harmony, equality, security, well being?” Plus donuts for all that will never compromise your waistline and free internet that will always be serviced promptly, where ever you live. Sarcasm off. Let’s get back to the Toolkit: “Some absolute values may conflict with others. For example, freedom often affects safety or equality. But to thrive, a society must understand and express a vision of its common goals. Your Task: Clearly state the values that will guide the way governing processes and institutions are created. Don’t try to solve the tensions between values at this point.”

Now that last passage vividly illustrates the problem running through all these intentions and declarations. Many are factually untrue. Many societies have thrived without such a vision of common goals. Having such a vision will NOT make a society ‘thrive.’ In fact, believing such nonsense and having little factual knowledge primes people to act based on illusions. That’s good for statists wanting transformational change, but not so good for those of us footing the bill and being told what we must or cannot do in the future. IFTF though is not the only connected entity now pushing transformations of values in order to give “rise to new conceptions of global responsibility and human rights.” It’s not just the Rockefeller-affiliated Club of Rome involved. http://www.clubofrome.org/cms/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/VALUESQUEST-The-search-for-values-that-will-make-a-world-of-difference.pdf

It’s not just the UN asking the Club of Rome and the ValuesQuest Initiative to “contribute to the creation of the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals Programme.” Those are all bad enough for us. The real danger to all of us would be a failure to appreciate the intention to reconceptualize the nature of the purpose of “the law” globally to make these transformations binding. Because details matter when the stated transformational plans are so dangerous, when the Club of Rome or IFTF or anyone else cites a troubling document, I try to find it.   http://eruditio.worldacademy.org/files/Issue_1/reprints/Reprint-The-Global-Values-Discourse-W.Nagan-G.Jacobs.pdf When I notice that Nagan is a law professor at the University of Florida and believes the law can be a tool for “charting a better collective future for humanity based on universal values for sustaining a world order in the common interest,” I sit up and start taking meticulous notes.

When the law is viewed as a means to force “social evolution,” I remember what Julian Huxley and Theodore Brameld wanted UNESCO to do (described in detail in my book) and know precisely what is envisioned for the 21st Century. The law can be used as means if someone wishes to “require fundamental changes in the normative foundations of global society in the 21st century,” but ‘can’ does not mean the results will not be comparable to the plague or a swarm of locusts in what is being destroyed. When that article describes an approach that “targets the institutions that control and regulate the production and distribution of these values,” K-12 education, the higher ed colleges of education, and the powers given to accreditation all fit the bill as such ‘institutions’. That’s why concentrating all those areas in a single person as described in the last post fits the desired template that “No One Can Stop Us This Time” so well.

The fact that his business partner is tied to CIFAL and planned economic development at the state and local levels also fits perfectly in the vision “for providing the normative guidance for the future of political economy of the world community.” Now, I cannot tell you how unexcited I am to see K-12 education, state economic plans created under WIOA by governors, the law as a tool of forcing collective group decision-making and a redefinition of individuality for the 21st century, and all these other declared plans for “economic democracy” and new institutions that replace “faith in impersonal mechanism” with “institutions dedicated to the rights, dignity, welfare and well-being of all humanity.” France has been entranced by this vision for more than two centuries and look what happened there last week.

The law as a “driving force for social activism” and a “powerful instrument for social development” as “New Paradigm for Global Rule of Law” phrased it, coupled to the Mind Arson and Psychological Manipulation I have been chronicling in K-12 education truly is intended to Treacherously Trap Us All, from the inside-out and all around, to the UN vision first laid out by Uncle Karl so long ago. Can we imagine the law and education of malleable minds dedicated to locking in the “Confucian idea of rooting morals and ethics in human interaction and reciprocal relationships” and the “African principle of Ubuntu. In effect, people realize their moral value in relation to other people”? No wonder we keep running into a communitarianism mandate everywhere from what Career-Ready Practices really means to the Positive School Climate mandates.

I continuously warn how invisible these planned shifts are until we know what to look for, but how is this for a confession from the ValuesQuest document? “Values need to be so deeply embedded within a culture that no one recognizes that they are values.” Perhaps, we should add and “chosen by someone else for the purpose of subjugation to someone else’s choices about the future.” See why “values, attitudes, and beliefs,” and whether and at what rate they are changing, is precisely what is being “assessed” by the new measurements? That’s the real reason the radicals do not want to give up a requirement in any rewrite of No Child Left Behind of some kind of annual “testing.”

Given that Milton Rokeach created the word Competency to obscure the presence of values manipulation in the new focus of K-12 education, having that word be the new global goal while the UN system and the Club of Rome write “values are actually what we use to guide our way through the possibilities and problems of life” is a dangerous way to hide in plain sight. It’s no accident values are also the focus of that IFTF Toolkit or the OECD’s Key Competences that PISA measures students in.

ValuesQuest says that “it is our choice whether to have an unequal or equal society.” Factually that is not true, but we may all be sharing poverty as the consequences of these designs are imposed on all of us via education, the law, and the public sector generally.

None of the Change Agents imposing all of this intend to become equal with those they are coercing. They simply recognize there is money to be made and power to be gained from hyping that it is “our value choice which determines whether we live in a world of opportunities for all.”

This is simply a currently connected oligarchy wanting to empower themselves with no way out for most of us.

Knowledge though remains the way out. That’s why there is such a deliberate, coordinated, global  attempt to circumscribe it in the 21st Century.


Quietly Coercing a Vassals and Fiefdoms Future for All of Us While Hyping Economic Development

I actually am not nostalgic for the castles, moats, or medieval armor. For one thing I like to cook, but not without centralized plumbing or over an open hearth. No, I keep thinking of terms from the Middle Ages because public policies being quietly enacted in the United States as well as other countries via K-12 education remind me a great deal of the previously accepted relationships between ordinary people and political power that was the hallmark of those times. Political authorities dictated what we could be, know, and what we must do while promising to take care of us and to meet our basic needs. It’s always fascinating to me to listen to an elected politician, their advisors, or college professors laying out a ‘new’ view of 21st century ‘rights’ and responsibilities and never quite grasping this is all a reversion back to a much earlier view of citizenship and the entitled prerogatives of those who hold political and economic power.

Stated simply, throughout history, people with power will collude to keep it and expand it using the coercive power of the public sector over people, their behavior, and their property. They do it for their own personal benefit as well as the benefit of those who empowered them. Either by electing them, appointing them, or simply bankrolling them. I am actually not philosophizing here without a purpose. This was one of those rare weeks when I got a chance to ask the kind of legislators who get invited to Education Commission of the States meetings (see last post) if the Common Core was really about Workforce Readiness and didn’t various non-hyped state and federal initiatives tie K-12 as now about career preparation for all students in a politically-driven view of economic development in the future?

I got a yes answer from some rather shocked people who probably wish I had stayed home with my documents. I suspect each of you would get a similar answer if you get to quiz legislators, mayors, or representatives from the Governor’s office in your state. The difference is I had the chance, used it respectfully, but against the background of the kind of documentation of the openly-laid out vision I am going to lay out here today. Just in case any of us get a chance to buttonhole someone during the holiday parties or as legislatures or city councils reconvene after the New Year. Because I understand how all this fits into a dirigiste 21st Century economy (the French term for such political direction), I am paying attentions to sites and sources that are probably not on your radar. We are about to remedy that.

I explained that Congress had nationalized the K-12 education vision back in July 2014 and tied it tight to a Workforce vision for all students and states in this post http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/priority-economic-citizenship-for-some-officially-sanctioned-status-as-prey-for-most-of-us/ . On November 20, 2014 a webinar on “Realizing Innovation and Opportunity in WIOA: A Playbook for Creating Effective State National Skills Coalition Plans” went over this detailed report. http://www.nationalskillscoalition.org/resources/publications/file/2014-11-NSC-WIOA-state-report.pdf WIOA remains news to most people because an announcement that Congress has laid out a detailed plan to “improve the nation’s workforce development system” would have poor PR value, especially with the open embrace and advocacy for cronyistic “sector partnerships” of industry and the related Career Pathways in a given state.

I have a lot more to lay out and we need to keep moving. This past week, CCSSO, one of the formal sponsors of the Common Core so it can tout itself as the more politically palatable “state-led initiative” released its Opportunities and Options: Making Career Preparation Work for Students. The Task Force made 3 recommendations in this detailed report. First, “Enlist the employer community as a lead partner in defining the pathways and skills most essential in today’s economy.” In my book, I explained the 1976 Turchenko vision of how to take control of Western economies while still appearing capitalistic and this CCSSO document fits right in. Secondly, “Set a higher bar for the quality of career preparation programs, enabling all students to earn a meaningful postsecondary degree or credential.”

I am the last person who thinks college is appropriate for all people, but politicians skip over the part of this vision that now sees a 6th grade level of math and literacy skills as all anyone will need in the 21st Century. The third recommendation is to “Make career readiness matter to schools and students by prioritizing it in accountability systems.” Accountability is much like accreditation. It is a largely invisible means to make something mandatory in the classroom without adequately disclosing the changed reality to students, parents, or taxpayers. Now in reading that report, there is no inkling that any of these ideas are anything other than state employees trying to meet industry needs and satisfy that much-hyped skills gap.

We know better though. We are not just aware of WIOA, but also all the federal programs at Labor and Education mandating this shift to a reenvisioned Career Technical Education for all students. I laid out all the federal mandates here.   http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/banishing-any-distinction-between-academic-technical-and-lifeemployability-skills-active-deceit-everywhere/ Even more fascinating in all the calculated deceit going on to prevent a widespread accurate perception of the true nature of the shifts involved is a mention that the Southern Regional Education Board had a Commission on Career and Technical Education also pursuing this agenda. Now that got my attention since I have been following Gene Bottoms’ work since he first developed his K-12 vision of Techademics while working for the Georgia Department of Education in the 70s.

I knew from my research of the background for Everyday Math that the Soviet Union had adopted the same general idea for its typical student at the same time in the 70s. (The story and cite are in Chapter 3 of my book in the interview with Isaak Wirszup). Now we have a CCSSO document wanting to “align education and the economy” in precisely the treatment of people as “human capital” that governments have the power to dictate to and manipulate as what the USSR envisioned. Needless to say, the phrase “gotta find that” aptly described my thought process. Sure enough, I found “Career Pathways Connecting High School, Work-Based Learning and Postsecondary Education.” Here’s a link, complete with a futile command “Do Not Disseminate.” I can see why given who is listed as involved. http://publications.sreb.org/2014/FINAL_CTEReportExecSumSREBBd061914.pdf

Why, there’s Texas, confirming it did not need the Common Core. June Atkinson from North Carolina is also on board, which would rather explain why she chose to protect the College Board this week over APUSH. That makes more sense if you have a document connecting the revised AP courses to this CTE vision. http://www.careertech.org/sites/default/files/CTE-AP_FINAL.pdf From my state of Georgia, there is the head of the State Board of Education, which is fascinating since a legislative committee after months of hearings decided recently that K-12 curriculum supervision should be the jurisdiction of that Board, not the elected legislature. No effective recourse for rebellion is one way to put it. Also, two-time Broad Foundation winning school district Super, Alvin Wilbanks, who was the first to tell us that the Common Core was really about remaking the nature of the traditional high school. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/listening-in-on-the-confessional-drumbeat-of-the-common-cores-true-purpose-jettisoning-traditional-high-school/

If you live in a southern state from Texas to Virginia, including Oklahoma, you will want to check that list for the officials listed. I want to make sure though that the presence as consultants of people like Marc Tucker, who headed the controversial national standards/ School to Work attempt in the 90s and Anthony Carnevale, who were both with the Carnegie-created National Center on Education and the Economy to align the US to the Soviet vision of education, are not missed. Before his current perch at Georgetown, Carnevale has been pursuing this vision for decades as I laid out here. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/anesthetizing-any-ability-to-blow-up-or-contaminate-a-chosen-politically-useful-narrative/ The listed David Stern is a subsequent director of the same center polytech visionary Robert Beck (Chapter 4 in the book) previously led.

We have also met Aneesh Chopra before in his previous capacity as this country’s first Chief Technology Officer. Remember I explained his alarming new book Innovative State: How New Technologies Can Transform Government? http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/journey-to-the-center-of-the-core-yields-the-yoke-of-citizen-centric-governance-to-force-a-shared-vision/ All of this hyping of STEM learning and using computers as an essential component of classwork makes more sense once we appreciate that STEM is simply a more politically palatable description to obscure the shift away from subject content to CTE embedded in group academic tasks for all. http://www.careertech.org/sites/default/files/CTEYourSTEMStrategy-FINAL.pdf is the federally sanctioned revelation from a year ago.

In case someone really wants one more smoking gun firmly linking the Common Core to this CTE vision, here’s a 2 page solid confession for us. http://www.careertech.org/sites/default/files/IntegratingCTE-CCSS-Mar2012.pdf

This was a link heavy post because all of this is quite documentable. Most of the people involved in all these reforms have no incentive to connect these dots. We parents and taxpayers though have no choice if we want to escape a future of us and our children functioning as vassals living in a dirigiste fiefdom. All planned around an illusory utopian vision of changing people’s personalities and mental models to voluntarily accept a far more collectivist vision where we each exist to meet other people’s needs.

The extent to which all of this comes together with a Bespoke Fit makes much more sense once we are aware that the global name for this type of K-12 education for this kind of directed economy and society has a name. Productive Learning.

Next time we will exercise our still existing privilege to deny any obligation to accept this vision with fealty, bowing, or general homage.

No wonder there is such an intense desire to limit the capacity to read fluently.

Tyranny Over the Mind: Constraining the Egocentric ‘I the Knower’ Approach in Favor of Participation

Let’s go back and look at the priceless historical value of what is being quietly taken away. Then I will show more of the ways this stealth robbery is occurring through K-12 education. How it both hides under legal mandates most are unaware of and in known initiatives that have unappreciated aspects. You know how I explain in my book and on this blog that Radical Ed Reform is like a giant jigsaw puzzle where the pieces fit so the gears can then engage as designed? Turns out that aspect has a name no one bothered to tell us about. “Plug-and-Play” is the new phrase I stumbled across. We may be the players on the proverbial chessboard of this game we are funding, but no one intends to let us plan our own moves anymore.

The book Property and Freedom: The Story of How Through the Centuries Private Ownership has Promoted Liberty and the Rule of Law reminds us that when governments at all levels decide to “seek not just freedom but opportunity…not just equality as a right and a theory but equality as a fact and as a result,” those aims of social equality require actual coercion. Lack of consent is not an option. Professor Pipes, after quoting President Johnson, points out that “once the elimination of poverty becomes a state objective, the state is bound to treat property not as a fundamental right, which it is its supreme obligation to protect, but [my emphasis] as an obstacle to social justice.”

What I want to add is if that is true of physical things, property in the form of personal knowledge, values, attributes, and beliefs is even more at risk as an obstacle. Those personal characteristics of each of us, so targeted now through a Whole Child social and emotional learning emphasis, are precisely what can recognize the loss of what is being taken away. Those are the qualities that allow an individual to stand before a stampeding herd and try to turn it in time. Those are also forms of personal property in the sense recognized by Pipes when he wrote:

“The right to property in and of itself does not guarantee civil rights and liberties. But historically speaking, it has been the single most effective device for ensuring both, because it creates an autonomous sphere, in which by mutual consent, neither the state or society can encroach; by drawing a line between the public and the private, it makes the owner co-sovereign, as it were.”

Since I am neither “oblivious to the consequences” of what these reforms in K-12 education are actually intended to transform, nor as yet unable to “even speak my mind” on the effects of “subordinating individual rights to group rights,” here are some specifics that abrogate any inkling of that personal sovereignty. If you took your solace from the vision of the last post  from a belief that that particular view of the future would not happen, I am guessing KnowledgeWorks failed to send you a copy of the blueprint it created for remaking the traditional high school. Let me fix that omission. http://www.knowledgeworks.org/sites/default/files/High%20School%20Race%20to%20the%20Top.pdf

Does anyone have a personally autonomous sphere when governments decide to partner with the “local workforce system” to prescribe what students are now to know and be able to do? All students are to achieve the stipulated “competencies and learning objectives.” If that sounds innocent enough, with only some overtones of social engineering, how about a requirement that the “knowledge and skills” be suitable for being “applied to complex situations regardless of content area.” That’s sounding quite preprogrammed isn’t it? How about learning objectives that “provide the specific tasks a student must complete to demonstrate proficiency.” Should governments be dictating that the “days of direct instruction are numbered,” while stipulating a requirement for “engaged learning that ignites students’ intrinsic motivation”?

That will require a great deal of personal probing, won’t it? Hard to respect the integrity of the person though in a blueprint that actually has an Element 3 calling for “public-private partnerships” with community organizations and businesses. Whose needs will be met in creating “customized learning pathways for all students”? Pathways for those of us who avoid the woods at all costs and hate looking at maps basically decide where we may tread without being arrested or maybe stepping on a snake. Whose interests are determining these Pathways and how do students get to move beyond the stipulated “essential skills such as collaboration, initiative, global awareness, creativity, critical thinking, and perseverance”?

The federal government’s partner in many of these workforce readiness visions for K-12 education is an entity called Jobs for the Future. They have created an initiative that is also probably off your radar called Students at the Center. It guides the actual classroom implementation while staying hidden to the typical parent, school board member, or taxpayer. An excellent strategy for getting your way without messy controversy. Tracking through those footnotes though pulled up this vision of education in 2020 where education globally now expects less disabling curricula than the historic emphasis on print. http://aim.cast.org/w/resources/indira/text/2020LearningLandscape.pdf;jsessionid=2418E9C0A6ADC89C46B5764CE1F45E0D

Yes, you did read that right since apparently we belong to the last generation that need worry about reading instead of “multimedia experiences” we are immersed in. A print emphasis in school is to be seen as a matter of injustice. Since I covered why print is so liberating to the human mind in Chapter 2: “The Danger of the Fluent Reader”, I will simply refer blog readers there. Please also note that this vision where by 2020, “the basic platform for education is no longer print media” is being pushed by the same group that forced the pernicious Universal Design For Learning into the Common Core in the first place (see Chapter 7 on that). The repeated insistence now in education globally to proclaim the Death of the Gutenberg Era is nothing more than an attempt to constrain the independence of the human mind when it can access books and other information without restraint.

Has anyone noticed an accelerating push around IB programs? Did you know that when people like Linda Darling-Hammond describe their dream type of assessment for the future IB is the one they point to? Did you know IB has revised its required Theory of Knowledge course for its Diploma Programme? It has already been rolled out with the first schedules assessment in 2015.The IBO Guidelines added religion as a New Area of Knowledge since Religious Knowledge Systems have “a major impact on how they understand the world, permeating their thinking and influencing their understanding of other AOKs ..for many, religion provides a backdrop to all the other knowledge they have.”

I do believe that new found reverence for religious belief only extends to certain beliefs since the New TOK officially wants to cross out the following:

* Unsustainable absolutist conception of knowledge

*Black and white thinking: no perspectives (objectivism) or just perspectives (subjectivism)

*Egocentric, “I the knower” approach

* Naked, monolithic, quantitative Ways of Knowing

That last one certainly explains all the fascination for non-linear problem-solving based on instinct instead of logic or known algorithms. As I explained in Chapter 4 of my book “The Danger of the Analytical Thinker”, none of these ‘reforms’ is really about a better way to teach a subject. It’s always a means to change the student at a psychological level. It also tries to train the student in a reverence for the collective and shared knowledge instead of personal knowledge.

Speaking of cronyistic public-private partnerships and a shared knowledge push, others have pointed out that on November 17, 2004 Bill Gates personally signed a Cooperation Agreement between UNESCO and Microsoft. My chief concern was laid out in Appendix 3 on creating “communities of practice” and students becoming merely “a participant of a community,” instead of the autonomous individuals they have historically been in the Western tradition of the always related individualism, property, and freedom. Requiring “shared practice” in education and the classroom is not free. Neither is having UNESCO or Microsoft or Mr Gates developing a required “perspective on knowing and learning that informs efforts to create learning systems in various sectors and at various levels of scale, from local communities, to single organizations, partnerships, cities, regions, and the entire world.”

Well, that’s an ambitious vision of shared knowledge. Rather authoritarian too. Will you or your children adapt well to a sense of ’empowerment’ no longer coming from what you can do on your own or who you choose to work with? Instead, CoPs “facilitate ’empowerment’ through their members’ ability to participate in a community and allow the participants to drive the community.” There’s apparently no scheduled Opt Out if we simply want to escape being a required participant in the community or a ‘mere’ member of society.

Come on Robin, you say, quit sounding like you’d prefer the option of being a hermit. Well, OK, let’s look quickly at what the cited creator of these CoPs has in mind in education. No need to speculate    http://wenger-trayner.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/09-10-27-CoPs-and-systems-v2.01.pdf Wenger wants to see the student as a “social participant, as a meaning-making entity for whom the social world is a resource for constituting an identity.”

Oh. Good. Grief. First Prescribed Pathways and now Preformed Molds for fostering a Desired Identity in order to “organize our participation.”

And people keep wondering why the actual focus is so psychological.

See where requiring Equity is taking us?


Opting Out as the Remedy May Mean Accidentally Accelerating Nonconsensual Transformations

Did you notice that transformations is plural? That added ‘s’ is  not a case of early morning hyper typing. As I have mentioned numerous times with substantial evidence in my book Credentialed to Destroy and this blog, we cannot separate out the end goals in our real world from the intention of using education to change what “type of person” students will become as adults. That inextricable reality of global K-12 education reform that the Common Core is tied to was brought painfully home this week when I came across this new report from KnowledgeWorks.  http://www.knowledgeworks.org/sites/default/files/Improving-Student-Outcomes-Through-Collective-Impact.pdf

In case you are not familiar with KnowledgeWorks, it is a well-connected nonprofit that has Clinton’s Education Secretary and Carnegie Vice Chair Richard Riley on its Board. It gets financing from the Gates, Carnegie, and Hewlett Foundations and pushes the Education reforms that were controversial in the 90s. This time though “There will be no Notice so There can be no Choice” could be the motto. So when KW creates a Policy Guide for Federal Policymakers (aka DC bureaucrats) that says that only those communities pushing a shared vision grounded in Uncle Karl’s vision of “from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs” will be getting “federal place-based education grants,” we are about to have a problem. Especially if the local mayor or city council or school board wants to tout the disguised communitarian mandate as a ‘local’ idea.

Committing to transforming workplaces, the built environment, economies, and all the things governments will now do for all citizens is rather a large transformation. Everywhere in the world that is pushing this, which unfortunately amounts to everywhere ordinary people have ever been free to make their own choices, sees education as the means for forcing this change, like it or not. Here is as succinct a description of the end game person to be carved out by all these reforms as I can find. It is as if people now are to be treated as a block of ice to be produced into a form ready for a tony reception centerpiece on demand. Apt snark in brackets.

“Individuals who: (1) are constantly authenticating or reconstructing their beliefs through experience and reflection [Dweck’s Growth Mindset]; (2) are capable of critically analysing and transcending given texts, contexts, systems and structures [ready to jettison the world as it is for a world that might be and may work even worse]; (3) are able to prosper in changeable social, cultural and economic environments [all those other transformations to be pursued above as collective impact partnerships to get federal funds like the WIOA I despise]; (4) have recognised and developed passions, talents, and capacities which they willingly contribute to productive and cooperative purposes [that would explain why putting others first ended up as a requirement of the Career Ready Standards and all the references to collaboration]; (5) have a strong sense of identity, autonomy and self-efficacy [precisely what Facing History and the Anti-bias Standards are determined to create]; and (6) have a genuine respect for themselves and others [remember the Affirmative Code of Student Conduct now mischievously required in all classrooms?]”

The Australians call that the Key Abilities Model created by Global Change Agent Michael Fullan’s New Theory of Education and we simply cannot get there via a fact-based, lecture curriculum that is about content knowledge in the traditional sense. I mentioned Opt-Out because that is the remedy I kept hearing about while I was out in California. If the model of Next Generation Learning and Competency-based is to get rid of traditional tests altogether, opting out may be the proverbial jump from the frying skillet into the fire itself. Let’s quote an April 2013 Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC) document called “The Pathway to Possibility” on the new type of “measures of learning” desired. Please remember that KnowledgeWorks is closely tied to NGLC.

“Different approaches to learning and revised definitions of success require new metrics that accurately reflect both the process [of personal change] and the product [the changes in the student] of learning and attainment. Such a shift would mean enormous changes in measurement design by itself, but that level of change is compounded by new thinking about the role of assessment in learning, both in the United States and internationally. Rather than being used primarily (often solely) for summative purposes–e.g., an on-demand final exam–assessment is increasingly understood to be an essential, ongoing, highly integrated component of the learning process.”

Embedded then in classwork like gaming or the online software increasingly ubiquitous in classrooms, this change the student capability goes by the names “assessing for learning” and “formative assessment.” If parents are unaware that changing how the student perceives the world from the inside out is the new purpose of curricula and what happens in the classroom, they may miss that the Opt Out hype aids this always intended transition. I personally believe that the pain of constant testing has been deliberately heightened precisely so that frustrated parents will proclaim no more objective measuring of what is happening in the classroom. It’s too frustrating for the kids. Then the real extent of the psychological shifts and the lack of real factual knowledge will be easy to miss. At least until the transformation is irreversible.

That’s the hope anyway. Let’s go back to Australia then to once again appreciate that the student’s basic assumptions about the nature of reality are what these reforms are really targeting. http://www.aare.edu.au/data/publications/2004/sea04954.pdf lays out the New Global Educational Paradigm. It’s just a matter of social science theory and our children and society itself are the intended guinea pigs for real-world testing. Wish we could opt out of this. Maybe we can if enough people are aware in time. These are the 15 Constructs of the desired changes in identity, dispositions and orientations to the world K-12 education is to be creating in students. These are the “transformational outcomes” desired.

Construct 1 is “Reality is not discovered, but constructed“. The world is what a person perceives and believes and there is no objective reality. That would certainly explain the disdain for lectures, textbooks, and phonetic reading to allow a dialogue with the past.

Construct 2 is “Human life transcends the appearance of duality.” That stunner insists we are not in fact separate from the world we inhabit and this historic duality gets bridged by making action and experience the classroom focus.

Construct 3 is “Human life is purposeful.” How a person interprets “objects, concepts, ideas, speech, events, actions and contexts depends on the individual’s purposes or perceptions of a problem.” So facts gets minimised and values and beliefs get all the attention so that purposes and perceptions can be usefully manipulated.

Constructive 4 is “Human Consciousness is evolutionary.” Not in a way that has anything to do with apes. Here the brain must be constantly willing to adapt how it interprets that real world. This theory calls for deliberately introducing conflict [aka rigor] so that the frustrating inconsistency will force a revision of our “internal schemes or internal reference standards (the experiential goals which drive our behavior)”. That would be the authoritarian goals I mentioned in the previous post that are supposed to be superior to mere rote learning of facts.

Construct 5 is “Human individuals are autonomous agents.” This translates into a person will fight external demands or limits imposed by arbitrary authority. So of course the answer is to make the control invisible and internal via education. Construct 6 is that “Human beings need to be familiar with the world around them.” That one bluntly boils down to how people organize their experience impacts their willingness to act to transform the world. Construct 7 is that “Human beings are vulnerable to conditioning.” Exploiting that has become the entire basis for graduate education degrees.

Construct 8 is “Particular forms of experience alienate human beings from our selves and the world.” Book knowledge gets in the way of transforming current reality is the concern. Construct 9 is “Authentic human beings can help others to become authentic.” Authentic means transcending current definitions and given systems and changing everything that currently exists. No, there’s nothing about collective impact but it fits. Construct 10 is “Intelligence is adaptive action.” Beginning to see a pattern? A person should be willing to change how they see the world to fit with their aims. Yes, this is a construct only a tenured prof would come up with, not someone spending their own money.

Construct 11 is “Life is change.” So is drowning, but that’s no reason to actively pursue it. Construct 12 is “Particular forms of experience create a disposition to intelligent action.” Of course those types of experiences must become the virtual reality of gaming or apprenticeships in the new design of high schools. Construct 13 is “A human being’s identity can transcend definitions.” That is particularly easy if the education paradigm proclaims the Death of the Gutenberg Era in order to deemphasize the magical effects on the mind of print.

Construct 14 is “Every human being is a conscious and autonomous process of becoming.” That is almost precisely what the NEA, Abraham Maslow, and Carl Rogers wanted to make the new focus of K-12 education back in 1962. Everything old is new again for the 21st Century as Next Generation Learning. Sounds better than Humanist Psychology, doesn’t it?

Finally, Construct 15 is “Human beings change ourselves and our world.” Education here seeks to create an “awareness that texts, contexts, systems, and structures are not unalterable givens, but things that challenge us.”

That sounds precisely like the goal of that Collective Impact report we started with.

What’s the correct word to describe the intentions of these 15 constructs?

What happens when all these sought changes are involuntary and undisclosed to the people being changed and the taxpayers funding it all?