Unleashing the Power of Disruptive Imagination in Every Citizen to Avoid Linear Thinking

Educators, think tanks, and other social scientists are not the only ones who can ‘backwards map’ from desired individual and social outcomes to the policies that need to be prescribed by law to put them in place. We writers can also use papers on desired New Forms of Governments by 2030 to lay out the new citizen characteristics needed to supposedly get these transformations. As a recent paper from the EU laid out https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/news/future-government-2030-citizen-centric-perspective-new-government-models the FuturGov game creates a process (bolding in original):

through which participants immerse themselves into the future, take on roles that are not theirs, and strategize the achieve their goals…[This will] Trigger imagination and creativity [and] Immerse people into possible futures…shaking up people’s preconceived ideas about the future. The aim is to avoid linear thinking in order to be more receptive to emergent changes…New literacies will be needed for the future. Futures literacies are needed to enable citizens to participate in anticipatory decision making recognising the context of uncertainty and complexity and building up individual and societal resilience to work collaboratively to address these…Critical thinking should be nurtured, through the education system and beyond in the workplace and civil society, including understanding digital media [media literacy] but also other aspects of people’s lives. Policy literacy is also very important, both for the present and for the future.

[Prescribing and standardizing values, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors is simply part of the] “New practices and innovative strategies needed for governments to be able to tackle the emerging challenges. It is essential that governments nurture the culture of innovation, as well as the openness and responsibility for society.” Student-centered learning then, and a 21st century focus on prescribed outcomes on what is to be internalized at the level of the mind and personality. should be seen as simply a necessary component that are “enablers of new forms of government from 2030+ onwards…[part of] Putting citizens at the centre, not only is an opportunity to rethink government formats, and individual relationships with the state and institutional ways of working.”

Apparently an Axemaker, linear thinking, logical mind with a store of factual information is an impediment to an envisioned “‘hard-wiring’ of equality into the economy.” In this other recent, complementary, vision https://media.nesta.org.uk/documents/Imagination_unleashed-_Democratising_the_knowledge_economy_v6.pdf just quoted:

It is not only ‘economic’ institutions that require transformation. The power of disruptive imagination needs to be unleashed in every citizen. Education systems and participative democracy needs to encourage a spirit of experimentation. Critically, these must be accompanied by the protection of vital stakes, safeguards, and endowments, making it possible for people to remain unafraid in the midst of quickened change.

Somehow I can just hear Sean Connery’s voice from The Hunt for Red October, but instead of the accented “One Ping Only”, we get policy planners and politicians all over the globe with these transformational plans for us insisting students now just need “Essential Content Only” and then attributing that to the presence of AI or search engine and Internet availability. Factual knowledge and a logical mind gets in the way of being ‘unafraid’ as the above quote called for. It gets in the way of the supplied conceptual understandings and prescribed categories of thought designed “to realise this cultural change, [which needs] education that fosters an attitude of lifelong questioning.” Going to the title of the previous post, genuine factual knowledge impedes the willing use of:

alternative pictures of how the future world, in which citizens live and governments operate, might look. Narratives do not claim to be unique truths, they are considered as frames that facilitate making sense of the world, frames that usually combine past and future, fact and fiction. Made of hopes, desires and fears, narratives frame people’s understanding of the past, perception of the present and imagination of the future. We took into account assumptions about the situation in 2030+ that related to the following categories: society, technology, economy, policy/legislation of the state, relationships between citizens and the state, new actors in citizen-government relationships, and role of corporations.

It is a vision that claims to be “citizen centric” and responsive to societal needs and it requires an education system where the obligation “requiring citizens to engage in regular and ongoing local policymaking” has been joined with ‘numeracy’ and ‘literacy’ as “the key pillars of the school system from Year 1 of schooling.” Anyone with actual, unrestricted knowledge of history and political theory would read aspirations of a future where “To avoid a divided state and a broken social contract, democracy work needs more resources and extensive engagement from all citizens. Democracy needs to permeate the entire society” and recognize it for the authoritarian, anti-individual, conception it actually is. Therefore we get Essential Content Only because it allows the necessary “shaping and constraining how governments, citizens, businesses and others interact with one another.”

Factual knowledge gets in the way of the transformative need to “generate conversations about what the future may look like by allowing us to displace our understanding of the present.” Provided concepts that can be used to address perceived problems “produce new ways to explore uncertainty and to have dialogues with stakeholders about complex and dynamics issues.” Making so much K-12 and higher education about the use of computers and virtual reality allows the needed “expressing different ideas and stories of the future through tangible objects allows the public to challenge their imagination; to see the possible future more as a multiplicity of ideas rather than separate space and time as well as to address the present critically.” No wonder we have such an emphasis now that all curricula be Relevant to the lives of students and perceived problems.

Let’s go back to that Nesta vision with its desire to create “an inclusive knowledge economy” that “gives expression to our distinctive human ability to reimagine the world around us” to advance ‘human freedom and realisation’  for everyone. That requires “promoting experimental government,” reforming education, and altering the “stories societies–and politicians–tell.” No wonder I keep encountering False Narratives from think tanks on education, data privacy, and how evidence-based policymaking really works if the crucial lever towards these transformations is to create stories to engage “the power and potential of the individual and collective imagination.” Factual knowledge and a logical mind get in the way of Nesta’s story of a reimagined vision for education where (bolding in original):

We must equip citizens not only to participate in the economy and society but to transform it, through a lifelong education system that promotes cooperation and prioritises the power of imagination…[Required Learner Profiles and Portrait of a Graduate come in handy where] the knowledge economy, therefore calls for education, both in youth and throughout life, that develops character, mindset, and non-cognitive as well as cognitive skills. This style of education crosses the divide between general and technical education. Rather than emphasising job-specific and machine specific skills, it requires a new model focusing on generic, flexible, high-order capabilities…they also form part of a larger challenge: how to equip every student with the tools they need not only to flourish within their societies as they currently exist but to transform them for the better. Teachers and students must have the political, legal, and financial means to deal experimentally with the central tension in education under democracy: preparing people to flourish within present arrangements and assumptions while equipping them to defy those assumptions and arrangements.

That flourishing and defiance requires “Essential Content Only” with prescribed beliefs, values, and categories of thought. It requires active learning so the needed Habits of Mind that will motivate the requisite transformational change in the present are embedded at a neural level in each student’s mind and personality. It creates a Marxist Man as a Maker of History which is not a surprise to anyone familiar with the work of its author, Harvard law prof Roberto Unger, which is why he has a tag here at ISC already.

If we have been led to see Marxism though as about the USSR and the Iron Curtain, and to believe socialism is about state ownership of the means of production, we will never recognize in time the little ‘c,’ Human Development Society vision, embedded in both these linked documents. If we only know what the think tanks tell us about education reforms and how standards, competencies, and social emotional learning work, we will not grasp that the requisite education laid out above to fit this sought transformation to ‘democracy’ is precisely the education being imposed by public and private schools right now.

Factual knowledge and a logical mind are viewed now by  institutions, politicians, think tanks, and civil society operators as impediments to this desired “push forward into the realm of the adjacent possible.” It is the only thing that can liberate us from this clearly planned intention to enslave the mind and person in the name of inclusion for all. flourishing, and meeting our needs.

History as a body of knowledge, and not as this planned march to alter and control the future politically, would reveal this will not go as planned. The question becomes though how many of us will recognize in time where these education visions are actually going.

My thanks though to all the promoters of the deceitful narratives. It made the desired Super Collaborative Government, Scenario #3, easy to see because it was full of all the many things I had noticed, that were factually not true, in various published White Papers.

The Future of Government is apparently all-intrusive according to anyone, of every persuasion, involved officially with formulating public policy. Education reforms are their favorite, largely invisible when misexplained, tool.

Good to know now, huh?

Regard the Past, Perceive the Present, Imagine the Future, and Then Act for Transformation

Ironically, the first part of that title came to me while I was taking a break from research because one of my favorite historical series had published a new novel. Set in Tudor times, the author’s desire to have past events interpreted in a way that altered how the reader would regard similar efforts now was unmistakable. The story had taken on a normative purpose that reminded me of current pushes around the ‘cooperative commonwealth’ or Morality-as-Cooperation. In other words, the author was trying to manipulate adults in much the same way as learning standards and required conceptual progressions intend to manipulate our children, while their brains and personalities are largely still malleable. Both purposes go to creating (or rearranging) what is called the ‘sociological imagination’.

Both fit with what C. Wright Mills called ‘The Social Scientist’s Task’, exemplified by this quote I found when discovering that in 1995 the news media was asked by philanthropic foundations to rethink its role and begin to consciously impact public opinion and policy to advance social change objectives.

Men and women in a mass society are gripped by personal troubles which they are not able to turn into social issues. They do not understand the interplay of these personal troubles with the problems of social structure.The knowledgeable person [College, Career, and Citizenship Ready!] in a genuine public, on the other hand, is able to do just that. He understands that what he thinks and feels to be personal troubles are often also problems shared by others, and more importantly, not capable of solution by any one individual but only by modifications of the structure of the entire society. Men in masses have troubles, but they are not aware of their true meaning and source; men in public confront issues, and they usually come to be aware of their public terms.

Very useful then for anyone desiring transformational social change so we had the media going to Brandeis https://www.frameworksinstitute.org/assets/files/PDF/open_letter_foundation_community.pdf where they “joined public interest advocates and service providers in examining the power that media holds to set the public agenda. By choosing which public problems demand our collective agenda, the media shape the public agenda which, in turn, shapes the policy agenda.” Just as we saw with think tanks  in the last post, and as we can see in higher ed (MIT specifically) recently in this series https://shass.mit.edu/news/news-2019-ethics-computing-and-ai-perspectives-mit , all these institutions regard their 21st century mission to be the “reengagement of American citizens in common ground problem solving.”

That mission requires common goals and shared meanings, which is precisely what competency-based education creates. Adults get the news or as this document from last week http://frameworksinstitute.org/assets/files/unleashingthepowerofhow-anexplanationdeclaration.pdf states:

It is imperative that, as a field, we examine the way we define and use narrative to ensure that it delivers the social change we seek…For a communication to act as a story, some one or some thing must act, or be acted upon, and thereby propelled towards an ultimate result…human interest stories are insufficient to drive change. While the human brain is attracted to tales of episodes in other people’s lives, the civic body is distracted by them. In contemplating close-up portraits of affected individuals, the broader landscape of systems and structures is readily ignored…when considering the plight of an individual, the human mind exaggerates the protagonist’s agency, focuses on individual choices, and blames outcomes on individual frailties rather than broader factors. In this way, human interest stories reinforce dominant paradigms of individualism and dampen attention to policy issues or other collective actions.

Reenforcing my belief that there is a common blueprint across all these institutions that acts as the rudder for the desired change starting at the neural level of each individual, we have MIT literature prof, Mary Fuller, at the link above telling us that Stories now can serve as “Conceptual meeting spaces for thinking together.” She must be able to identify with the need for media, educators, and think tanks to supply explanations, narratives, and stories to build up ‘shared understanding’ and ‘explanatory chains to make implicit assumptions explicit’ to avoid the apparently horrific alternative that the “public might otherwise fill in with their own thinking” as the Frameworks Institute put it above (p.10).

No wonder federal law now insists students must be assessed at least annually to ensure they are using prescribed concepts and categories of thought when presented with unfamiliar situations or problems that have no single, algorithmic answer. As Fuller put it:

Stories allow us to model interpretive, affective, ethical choices; they also become common ground, conceptual meeting places that can serve to gather very different kinds of interlocutors around a common object, We need these. Computer science alone can’t shoulder the task of modeling the future, understanding social and global impacts, and making ethical decisions.

Computer science comes in because those MIT profs are asserting what Uncle Karl would have recognized as his Human Development Society vision in the name of Artificial Intelligence and the new morality and collective action it supposedly compels. As “The Tools of Moral Philosophy” essay makes clear, AI will create problems that, like Climate Change, cannot and should not be “solved by individual action.” No, instead we need:

systemic change [where]…it will be vital to put in place social and institutional structures that support, encourage, and guide ethical behavior. One responsibility that falls on us as individuals is to work toward political conditions in which it is possible for us to live and work more ethically.

Bonus points to everyone that recognizes that those new political conditions require a rejection by both students and enough voting age adults of the status quo. For that it is helpful to have think tanks, the media, and education institutions, from preschool to the Ivies, asserting that education be about values and character, with content that is largely conceptual and designed to create what Wright called a ‘genuine public.’ As that 1995 Strategic Communication for media paper put it when they quoted then Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich, all these institutions have now been told that:

the core responsibility of those who deal in policy…is to provide the public with alternative visions of what is desirable and possible, to stimulate deliberation about them, provoke a reexamination of premises and values, and thus broaden the range of potential responses and deepen society’s understanding of itself.

For students, that examination may be occurring in a school or higher ed institution being forthright about its desire to foster a mindset for deep social change and the motivation to act to bring it about. Other parents thinking the have exercised choice in rejecting ‘progressive change’ and John Dewey may seek out religious schools, charters, or Classical Education without an awareness that most also seek transformative change. That really struck home to me when I read the “Safeguarding Our Humanity” essay from a Chemical Engineering prof at MIT who wanted to redirect education so it “would guide our lives in a direction that truly makes us better” by “Redirecting our thinking from an education focused on a particular discipline to an education that liberates our minds and allows us to investigate our true situation with the whole.”

In his view in the age of AI with its (purported) potential to be ‘the greatest existential threat,’ we should completely change our approach to education and “start to think carefully about what is important about human life. This means redirecting our thinking from what is merely advantageous to what is genuinely good, from a blind belief in efficiency to a considered understanding of what is the best in human life.”

Education, the media, think tanks, and philanthropy have united with politicians of both parties to use all the arrows in their quivers to control what determines “what comes to mind” and then what the human mind believes will be the problems and solutions to what it perceives. As one journalist put it with a great deal of arrogance: “we have some obligation to ensure that the citizenry has a clue of what’s going on.” In education we get prescribed what is called Whole Person Learning (WPL) with a similar goal where education is to be transformed so it is “not only a process to know more or better, but as an exercise to be better.” By whatever name, this transformative, outcome-oriented vision wants to be student-centered and personalized to create “an effective stimulation of imagination (to escape from the prison of their current definitions of problems), while inducing a genuine internalization of responsibility (avoiding passing the buck to one or several other stakeholders) and enhancing the obligation of action.”

I will close with a link from a paper cited by Frameworks in its Explanation of How paper to this https://haasinstitute.berkeley.edu/changing-our-narrative-about-narrative which seeks to create what it calls Narrative Power by immersing “people in a sustained series of narrative experiences required to enduringly change hearts, minds, behaviors, and relationships.” That’s what prescribed learning experiences to fit with the CEDS–Common Education Data Standards–also seek to do for students. It fits with the moral compass and social pillars we keep encountering from schools being hyped by school choice advocates.

Think of something like CEDS or its international peer–the ISCED–as creating what Rashad Robinson called narrative infrastructure. It has to be in place at a level like the human mind so the shift is both inevitable and invisible. We keep encountering the same underlying template of internalized affective, cognitive, and conative (what is sought or willed) change because all these institutions, whatever their sales pitch to parents, seek to “change the rules of society–our society’s operating system–and shape society in the image of our values.”

It seems that these shifts are everywhere because we are dealing with goals for transformation that are “just as much about changing the rules of cultural production..as they are about capturing normativity.” That can only happen if the desired changes in values, attitudes, and beliefs are prescribed by law (if you know where to look) and imposed “through social and personal spaces that aren’t explicitly political or focused on issues, but are nonetheless the experiences and venues through which people shape their most heart-held values.”

The March through the Institutions meant ALL institutions and, as Credentialed to Destroy laid out in great detail, the reading and math wars were never actually about how to teach reading or math.

It’s about controlling what comes to mind, heart, and ‘moving feet’ for social change.

 

Mindful Agency & Futuribles Enabled via Dispositional Learning Analytics and New Forms of Testing

I just had to change that title slightly when I realized I had deduced the relevance of the 1967 book The Art of Conjecture before in an April 14, 2016 post, but today it goes to the relevance of targeting a student’s Purpose laid out in the previous post. I believe it also goes to the push now for new forms of assessment that hype role playing and gaming simulations as shown here https://www.kqed.org/mindshift/53071/how-schools-spark-excitement-for-learning-with-role-playing-games . That came out after the mention of Georgia’s shift in the last post. An emphasis on Indeterminate Situations, Productive Struggle, or Wicked Problem Solving as ‘rigorous instruction’ makes sense when we are aware of the Ford Foundation-financed global interest (my bolding):

beyond the domain of the true and false, and this ‘beyond’ constitutes another domain, where I can place images that do not correspond to any historical reality. An image of this kind is not a mere fantasy if I have the will and feel I have the capacity to bring about at some later time a state of affairs that corresponds to the image. The image represents a possibility because of my power to validate it in this way, and represents a project because of my will to do so.

Testing about facts, or with right and wrong, algorithmic answers, does not get to this desired “domain in which one can act” in an imagined different world. Purpose matters so much because it goes to that will or motivation to act in a given context.  One more quote from the Futuribles because it fits my assertion that the idea now of assessments as a learning journey from Purpose to Performance or Product is consistent with what that above quote called an italicized project. Futuribles was all about a declared goal to “instigate or stimulate efforts of social and especially political forecasting” and these new forms of testing and use of Dispositional Learning Analytics get at the “inside-out basis” for the desired changes. Education is a ‘social science’ as is psychology and Futuribles insisted that the “social sciences should orient themselves toward the future.” Nothing like role-playing games then to practice a vision:

For man in his role as an active agent the future is a field of liberty and power, but for man as a cognizant being the future is a field of uncertainty. It is a field of liberty because I am free to conceive that something which does not now exist will exist in the future; it is a field of power because I have some power to validate my conception…

Now let’s leave those quotes from the past on the desired transformation in the basis of education and the social sciences and pivot to this recent post https://www.gettingsmart.com/2019/02/preparing-all-learners-for-an-uncertain-future-of-work/ that gives a different rationale but the same aim. We have encountered the formalized False Narrative about an SEL focus as about a database of PII on each student, but let’s quote the Institute for the Future’s employee who authored that piece. She is the source of the “inside-out basis” quote used above.

Putting social-emotional skill development at the center of learning promises to help individuals develop the foundation necessary to navigate uncertainty throughout their lives. The new foundation for readiness shown below illustrates how redefining readiness from the inside out–focusing on human development rather than attempting to prepare learners for any particular future of work–can provide a platform for future success. This new foundation for readiness is grounded in the human qualities that are most central to our relationships with one another and which are most difficult to code.

When I debunked the Database of PII narrative about SEL, many of its advocates moved along to hype ‘Workforce Readiness’ as the purpose of the Common Core and Competency learning standards. That alternative purpose though, as the Getting Smart graphic makes clear, is also a False Narrative. The aim is ‘inside-out’ alteration of the student at the level of their personality and Identity, using Purpose and Project-Based Learning as a main means. The shown common core of each student is Individual Awareness (Emotional Regulation), Social Awareness (Empathy and Perspective-Taking), and Self-Discovery (Deep Self-Knowledge).

That same core gets targeted by the Dispositional Learning Analytics (DLA) work being built into these gaming platforms being used for formative assessment and misportrayed as testing. That readiness foundation gets created at a neural level as described in a 2015 paper by the author of that Chapter 25 covered in the last post.  The paper is called “Developing Resilient Agency in Learning: The Internal Structure of Learning Power.” It states that it is concerned with “the establishment of dispositions, attitudes and values associated with being an effective learner,” but it is the same changed vision of Knowledge and Learning we encountered back in 2014 here http://invisibleserfscollar.com/identifying-education-globally-as-the-crucial-lever-for-nonconsensual-behavior-and-societal-change/ Being an ‘effective learner’ then simply translates to a willingness to alter “dispositions, attitudes, and values”, along with ultimately behavior.

See if this quote reminds you of the Futuribles one from decades ago as well as the New Readiness Foundations from last week:

the concern with learning power was to develop a range of competencies crucial for success in the complex, information-rich and radically uncertain world of the emerging twenty-first century. These competencies are now to the forefront- forming the outcomes focus for institutions and organizations the world over…assessment data included aspects of a person’s learning that were both ‘internal’ and ‘social’–influenced by a person’s sense of ‘self’ in a sociocultural and historical context. Feedback was in the form of an immediate visual image of an individual’s learning ‘profile’ as a spider diagram. This provided a framework for a coaching conversation which moved between the coachee’s [aka the student or child] identity as a learner and his or her learning experiences and purposes. The ELLI instrument [acronym for Effective Lifelong Learning Inventory] was designed to identify and strengthen an individual’s learning dispositions, attitudes and values and provide a starting point for self-directed learning and teacher-facilitated pedagogical change.

Any of those sought changes of a student’s internalized core at the level of his mind, personality, and motivations is Learning. We also hear the same aim euphemized as Student Growth, Mastery, Success, or Achievement. The student’s mind and personality, depicted via a Spider Diagram profile to show the changes created by curricula and learning experience,s gets treated as a “complex systems architecture…that sets out the key parts of a system, what they do and how they fit and work together.” A student’s Identity and Purpose get mapped and targeted for change [Learning] because:

effective learning requires the identification of personal desire or purpose, in response to first identifying a need or a problem that requires a solution of some sort. Learning that begins from this point in lived, concrete experience is ‘bottom up’ and usually both interdisciplinary and interdomain–in other words it transgresses traditional subject boundaries. Articulating a purpose in learning requires that I or we know something about ourselves, our story and what is of value to us, and it is thus associated with identity as well as a particular time and place.

The authors go on to point out that 21 C learning outcomes require “learners who can persist in learning, responding effectively to open-ended and complex problem spaces.” Any parent who has ever wondered why math became about ‘productive struggle’ in Indeterminate Situations instead of taught algorithms can take that quote to the bank for enlightenment. It’s not about teaching math any longer. It’s using activities in a class labelled as math to develop  Mindful Agency from the ‘inside-out’ in the student. What goals to set and how to go about achieving those goals or purpose is called meta-cognition. The needed metacognition to act on the future in the present using Mindful Agency are “products of nonanalytic, nonconscious inferential processes particularly when there are conditions that do not allow full analysis of the situation such as under conditions of uncertainty.”

It’s now pretty clear that it will take a Trilogy to finish this discussion so let me finish with these online platforms providing trace data that allow formative assessment, usually mislabeled as ‘testing’ for public relations purposes, to get at and profile a student’s internalized “tripartite structure for mindful agency, which is about the self as agent of his or her own learning, able to take responsibility for the process, as well as managing feelings in learning (such as feeling confused) and being able to judge how long something may take and how to go about it (meta-cognitive strategy). This serves to integrate three distinct strands in the research literature: metacognition, the role of affect in self-regulation (emotional intelligence) and self-efficacy of agency.”

We are back in the sought domain of Futuribles so let me close with a quote from it on the role of purpose, planning, imagining, and training to act in uncertainty on the basis of:

fabrications of the mind…that do not represent any reality past or present…these fictions are of major importance in our life. Although we discard the vast majority as fantasies, we value a small number of them, and these can serve as the cause of future realities. There is no volition without object, and the object of a volition is that a fiction of the mind become a ‘fact’. This fact is the goal of the action…When we retain a fiction as something to be enacted, it serves as the source of systematic action. This fiction–a non-fact–can be situated only in the future, which is necessary as a receptacle for a fiction accompanied by an injunction to become real.

Learning standards grounded in performances, projects, and activities are creating the needed internalized cores for future action. Whether called ‘bottom up’ describing Mindful Agency, or ‘inside-out’ in the new Foundations for Readiness, we are dealing with the same, poorly understood basis for transformation in the student.

All as needed to guide future action is reliable, predictable ways. Which that 2014 post established as the new 21st Century definition of Knowledge.

 

 

 

 

Another Gear Change: Perceiving the Patterns Underlying the Human Learning Process

Over the weekend, I was reviewing my notes and trying to figure out how to explain the common transformative aims of what has arrived in my inbox  since the beginning of 2019. A quote Kenneth Boulding made in the mid-70s in his book Ecodynamics: A New Theory of Societal Evolution jumped out at me. He wanted to target the “evaluative processes of human judgment, which are the foundations of decision-making,” just like UNESCO announced in May 2018 was to be their goal for K-12 education. http://invisibleserfscollar.com/facing-the-fold-to-overcome-the-prisons-of-our-minds-and-thus-transform-the-future/ laid out how to change images of the future and anticipatory assumptions and fits with what Boulding hoped for decades before.

“reasoning about the self and about society is likely to accelerate the patterns of evolutionary development, but we can be sure that reason as we know it today is not final…In the future we may be able to perceive patterns and handle models of complexity far beyond our present capability. Should this enable us to perceive the patterns underlying the human learning process itself, this might indeed constitute another gear change in the long process of evolution with a further acceleration of the evolutionary pattern through time…all decisions are about the future and all our experience and records are of the past. It is only as we see patterns in this past record that we have any hope of making projections of the future and of making decisions that will change the future in ways we desire. To change the future, after all, is the object of any decision.”

Now what if a planner with desires for fundamental transformations could control what “patterns are seen in this past record” by making learning conceptual, instead of factual? Couldn’t that planner and any learning standards created to internalize the desired pattern perception actually control people’s desired images of the future? That’s the plan anyway as an October 1991 article called “Ten Ways to Integrate Curriculum” made clear. It talked about using Concepts, Topics, and Categories so that eventually “The disciplines become part of the learner’s lens of expertise; the learner filters all content through this lens and becomes immersed in his or her experiences.” Some autonomy, huh? See why it mattered in the last post if the explicit instruction is to impart conceptual lenses, instead of imparting facts? Who will then recognize if the concepts are inapt and the provided example is false?

Before we talk about the social and emotional learning emphasis of this contrived web of perception and interpretation as laid out in http://nationathope.org/report-from-the-nation/ that came out in January from the Aspen NCSEAD we have covered repeatedly, I want to pull up a January 1998 speech Martin Seligman (of IPEN and Positive Neuroscience among others) gave upon assuming the Presidency of the APA. Several of the people mentioned in the speech titled “Building human strength: psychology’s forgotten mission” are also involved with that Nation of Hope report and its supporting documents. https://nonopp.com/ar/Psicologia/00/pres.htm wants to “create a science of human strength…focused on systematically promoting the competence of individuals.” That science’s goal and the new role of education will be to “foster these virtues in young people” as likely buffers against mental illness: courage, optimism, interpersonal skill, work ethic, hope, honesty and perseverance.

One of the supporting papers from that Nation at Hope vision can be found here https://www.rwjf.org/content/dam/farm/reports/issue_briefs/2018/rwjf450542 from December 2018 and it is also tied to both that 1998 APA speech as well as the Nation at Hope NCSEAD vision. Its cover gives a nice concise definition of social and emotional learning (SEL) that fits with Boulding’s, Seligman’s, and now the NCSEAD plans for evolutionary education to a new kind of mind and decision-making processes.

SEL is defined as the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.

To change the future, after all, is the object of any decision is what Boulding wrote decades ago and suddenly that hoped for gear is the focus of so much interest and plans. A Nation at Hope states that “children require a broad array of skills, attitudes, and values.They require skills such as paying attention, setting goals, collaboration, and planning for the future. They require attitudes such as internal motivation, perseverance, and a sense of purpose. They require values such as responsibility, honesty, and integrity. They require the abilities to think critically, consider different views, and problem solve.” It goes on to talk about “helping children learn these traits and skills” using the usual contrived arguments so lets go back to Boulding’s far more forthcoming explanation:

“It may well be that biological evolution is approaching its end and that it will be succeeded by an evolutionary process wholly dominated by noogenetic processes directed by human values.”

Noogenetic may sound like a mouthful, but the prescribed concepts, categories, and topics, learning standards, competency-emphasis, SEL hype, are all examples of how experiences alter in foreseeable ways the genetic, biological material we were all born with. Think of all these books, plans, reports, and speeches as simply declarations of “Boy, do we have plans for you using the Holy Grail of education” to mask the hoped-for transformation. Remember how I called attention to the focus on values, attitudes, and beliefs in my book Credentialed to Destroy and then the False Narrative hijacked that insight to mean a database of PII on each student? A Nation at Hope explains that targeting like this: “No one involved in education can view the values and beliefs held by students as trivial or secondary. They are the very things that can grip the imagination and determine the direction of a life.”

Values, attitudes, and beliefs, in other words, act as the rudder of personal decision-making and being able to prescribe them and manipulate them is a crucial aspect of steering a society as a collective without effective opposition. Internalized at the level of ideas, images, and emotions is quite hard to see unless, like me, you keep stumbling across those very plans for internalized subordination and unknowing submission. The False Narratives themselves make far more sense when we read of the NCSEAD plans of Convergence using the SEL focus because “it brings together a traditionally conservative emphasis on local control and on the character of all students, and a historically progressive emphasis on the creative and challenging art of teaching and the social and emotional needs of all students, especially those who have experienced the greatest challenges.”

Right on cue, we had an essay by a Maryland State Education Board member and ed consultant Andy Smarick, with ties to a number of supposedly conservative or libertarian think tanks https://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2019/01/48003/ pushing for a vision he called Capacitating Conservatism which would see “policy as a tool for re-empowering individuals and their mediating institutions so that they can re-instill beliefs and practices that have atrophied.” If what is to be instilled has to live behind deceit about the true ed reform agenda and how learning standards really work, it’s not actually Conservative. That’s simply a label to gain implementation and support without opposition.

Human Flourishing as a goal does not come from deceitful, False Narratives of the kind we keep encountering. Yet if the Civil Society emphasis of that article’s author fits with A Nation at Hope‘s rhetoric about “effective education involves values, healthy attitudes, social skills, and a commitment to the betterment of the community,” we have a Convergence by think tanks around a common vision for education that is not being shared as they fundraise. If a Classical School’s Pillars of Excellence or a charter school network’s Due North Moral Compass also illustrate what A Nation at Hope envisions as  “working to transform schools into places that foster empathy, respect, self-mastery, character, creativity, collaboration, civic engagement and–on the strength of these values-academic excellence. They are encouraging communities to embrace the ambition, compassion, and rigor of social, emotional, and academic education,” assertions begin to make more sense.

Every one involved with these visions and the supposed alternatives appears to actually be going to the same place. They are on the same page to use a different metaphor. We are not supposed to grasp that though. Think about what Boulding said would be possible once Human Learning knowledge reached a certain point and then read this quote with the Header: “Think About the Skills that Help You Learn and Grow as an Adult Every Day.”

The ones that help you think, relate, and act responsibly. What if we could help our children develop that same set of skills in school? We know more than ever about what it takes for optimal learning; now is the time to put that knowledge into practice for all children everywhere.

Is the focus on Equity then, really about Fairness and Justice for All? Or is it a slogan that lets How We Think become a basis for prescription, monitoring, and adjustment for purposes of political change? The latter can be called ‘public policy’ as a euphemism and pitched instead as the “lessons, beliefs, and norms that make a free society succeed.” After all, how many students and adults grounded in supplied concepts, categories, and topics, coupled to contrived learning experiences to instill the desired Attributes, will recognize factually what free societies really had in common historically?

If we do, in fact, have an unacknowledged Convergence now globally around education the following quote makes more sense as it talks about the shared vision.

In Every Collective Human Endeavor There Comes a Moment–a moment when we know so much more about what we ought to do. A moment when multiple voices and perspectives coalesce around a shared vision. A moment when, together, we can make the possible real. In education, that moment is now.

I think the moment is now too, which is why it is so important to decipher the actual shared vision that is intended to transform us and our children. Professors Boulding and Seligman were honest about their intentions of transformation using education. The purposes of an Integrated Curriculum and an SEL focus are also crystal clear.

If a Clarion Call is sounding, we darn well better understand accurately what we are being called to do, be, and become.

 

 

 

Coercing the Will and Priming the Pump of Purpose to Control the Neurophysiology of Learning

One of the most fascinating sources of my insights into what is actually driving education reforms is when I read something that is demonstrably untrue. One fairly recent example is this 2013 article from the American Psychological Association insisting that Positive Psychology (PP) is not grounded in Humanistic Psychology (HP) from the 60s. https://scottbarrykaufman.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Humanistic-Positive-Psychology-Divide-AP.pdf Now I happened to know that was not true from many other sources, and although that misleading article does not mention education, we know from my research just how crucial PP is now to the mandated classroom and schoolroom culture. It’s a theory that can force “Developmentally rich contexts [that] can function as a ‘constructive web’ through which complex dynamic skills are developed and positive adaptation is fostered. Such experiences lead to the integration of neural structures that establish representational templates through which future experiences are interpreted, reappraised, and processed.”

Talk about neurophysiology! That quote was from the Turnaround for Children touted paper “Drivers of Human Development: How relationships and context drive learning and development” mentioned in the last post. It sought to “integrate the underlying processes of neural malleability and plasticity with the dynamic relational interconnectedness of children and the adults with whom they interact in their social, cultural, and physical contexts” so that schools and other contexts can “operationalize ‘relationship’ in a manner that accounts for the power of relationships in constructive ways.” Constructive for whom, we might ask? Sounds much like the Humanist Psychology research from the 60s, that the NEA underwrote, where the student’s prescribed experiences of Being could alter the nature of what they would be Becoming. “Drivers of Human Development” simply called for:

“Schools with instructional and curricular designs that support learner-centered instruction and learning environments that successfully integrate affective, cognitive, social, and emotional processes with curricular content to accelerate the developmental range of students.”

The nice thing about having been at this for so long now and in such depth is simply the ability to know where I can go to disprove a point or find a common aspiration decades ago. Language in a 2017 Australian paper called “Education for a Changing World” reminded me of how prescribed learning standards and competencies could be used to force the neurophysiological changes described above. I remembered reading the 1972 UNESCO Faure report called Learning to Be and how creepy the political use of reimagined education was in that report. At the height of the Cold War, we have authors from France, Chile, Syria, the Congo, the Soviet Union, and the USA (specifically tied to the Ford Foundation) laying out a desire to target the brains of students globally because

“what is known as formal democracy–which it would be wrong to deride, for it marked great progress–has become obsolete…the aim and content of education must be recreated, both to allow for the new features of society and the new features of democracy.”

That convergent vision of what education could do to literally change people always seems to lay at the center of all the deceit surrounding education reforms, the sought Human Development Society grounded in Uncle Karl’s work, and the true nature of his little ‘c’ communism vision. Tomorrow is Election Day in the US, but all over the world people running for office are advocating for the new vision of ‘democracy’ laid out in that Faure Report. Education reimagined was a primary tool for achieving a new vision of ‘democracy’–“conceived of as implying each man’s right to realize his own potential and to share in the building of his own future. The keystone of democracy, so conceived, is education–not only education that is accessible to all, but education whose aims and methods have been thought out afresh.”

That’s exactly what Outcomes-Based Education, Positive Psychology school climate mandates, Competency Frameworks, and Learner Exit Profiles all do when accurately understood, which is why there has been so much organized deceit around them to create a different narrative. We are not supposed to recognize the Marxian Human Development Society when it gets repackaged as Democracy. We are not supposed to recognize that all those listed, misrepresented education ‘reforms’ as well as social emotional learning mandates now go to fulfill the next Faure assumption after reconceiving Democracy:

“The third assumption is that the aim of development is the complete fulfillment of man, in all the richness of his personality, the complexity of his forms of expression and his various commitments–as individual, member of a family and of a community, citizen, and producer, inventor of techniques and creative dreamer.”

How to operationalize that aspiration in the 21st Century? How about Turnaround for Children’s work or Strive Together’s framework on necessary conditions for children to thrive? Use education reforms to take advantage of “The ability of contextual influences to encourage adaptive epigenetic signatures and to buffer factors that contribute to maladaptive epigenetic signatures provides a powerful lever to unleash children’s genetic potential.” Turns out the author of that APA misleading article cited above is an expert in something called Eudaimonic Identity Theory. In other words, he desires to use education to operationalize what the Faure Report, HP supporters, and PP advocates all say they want from education.

Basically, in order to operationalize the Human Development Society, it needed to be renamed and misdescribed to the average parent, taxpayer, and voter. But I have more than average knowledge, and I do get to recognize the significance of what I am looking at, what it ties to from the past, and what those theories originally aimed to do. Following other false narratives about a week ago pulled up a connection between Positive Psychology; what is called Self-Determination Theory that I first stumbled across tracking down the history behind school charter language; and using Neuorophysiology to create both a sense of Subjective Well-Being and a culture of horizontality. Then I noticed that the culture of horizontality fit with what public schools call Positive School Climate and what Common Core alternatives, like Ridgeview Classical charter School, laid out as its Five Pillars to have its curriculum instill in students. Too much convergence in other words to be coincidental.

If this seems like a lot of acronyms and theories, what if the mandated practices and prescribed learning experiences seek to rewire the brain for political purposes towards collectivism? What if ‘evidence-based policymaking’ seeks to utilize the so-called “universal importance of felt autonomy'” to rewire the brain so that there is only the perception of autonomy, not any actual autonomy? Is this what Soviet psychologist AN Leontiev told Urie Bronfenbrenner would be the Great Experiment on the West? The timing of that statement fits with the Faure Report and the use of Bronfenbrenner’s Theories so that “properly designed action-contexts meet or enhance peoples’ basic psychological needs and allow people to fully internalize the motivation to engage in that context: as a result, they learn, thrive, and grow to the maximal extent in that context.”

That came from a 2011 book Human Autonomy in Cross-Cultural Contexts where I took notes until I encountered Chapter 4: “Dialectical Relationships Among Human Autonomy, the Brain, and Culture” that so thoroughly fit with legal education mandates that I printed the whole chapter so I could write in the margin as it discussed targeting the neurophysiology of the areas of the brain “associated with deciding when to act, which actions to perform, and the feeling of ownership of these actions.” See what I mean about the feeling of autonomy not reflecting actual autonomy? If education is reimagined to ‘train’ the “fundamental capacity of human beings to construct a socio-symbolic reality that constitutes the essence of their living environments” and prescribe the “meanings and practices that govern their lives,” we have perceived autonomy, but not actual autonomy.

Yet it is apparently the perception of autonomy that provides the access to changing the brain physically. It is the “Open, Sesame” equivalent to gain neural access. If theories on the “role socio-cultural conditions play in the emergence and operation of human autonomy” are being imposed in the classroom or in an online digital experience to ‘train’ students “in the appropriate use of” their ‘symbolic reflective capacity’ to manipulate their goals, purposes, and emotions and then rewire the brain accordingly through prescribed experiences and ‘training’ activities, we only have the illusion of autonomy. The Faure Report’s reimagining of education in the name of Democracy has truly found its way in.

If the source of an “individual’s own regulative activity: wants, desires, and thoughts” must be targeted by education to meet civil rights law mandates of Equity, then the autonomy is once again illusory. If the Learner Exit Profiles get at the “values, life-goals, and world-views that people internalize from their socio-cultural environments during their socialization and develop in later years as an autonomous system of their own moral laws and values,” then the extent to which these moral laws and values are their own is once again illusory. All of education then seeks to interfere with and manipulate the student’s “goal-setting process.” It is being engineered for “providing the means and conditions under which they can exercise this emergent capacity [of the brain] to the fullest extent” so that the students will fit into a desired culture of horizontal collectivism.

Since no one is telling the truth except in papers we are not supposed to possess, let me close this post with the definition of horizontal collectivism italicized just like that for emphasis. It is a:

“set of norms and practices that are built around the values of cooperation, interdependence, and solidarity and that are practiced on the background of the norms of equality and respect for each member of a community regardless of his or her social status. People who endorse horizontal collectivism on a psychological level take into account and acknowledge other people’s needs and goals and attribute to them the same level of respect as one gives to oneself. They mindfully listen to other people’s opinions and perspectives and take them into account when making their decisions. This type of interpersonal relation has been labelled ‘dialogical’, ‘democratic’,  and ‘autonomy supportive’.”

This transformative vision is not limited though to education or the targeting of the psychological self at a neural, biological level. No, this required ‘horizontality’ is to be “exercised in the most important areas of a society’s functionings–parenting, education, work, and politics.”

Keep that last aim in mind as we go vote for candidates who love to use words about transformation, Democracy, and a world where All can Thrive. Bet they envision using education to create the conditions laid out in that Faure Report, whatever the level of governmental office they are running for and whatever the party.

This is a global, Bipartisan, long-standing vision to use education, political mandates, and the Rule of Law to force internal psychological change for political purposes towards collectivism.

It’s no wonder I keep stumbling across the aims of communitarianism on both the Right and Left from public policy think tanks. Can we say “Ubiquitous Undisclosed Vision”?

No longer Undisclosed.

 

Embracing a Troika of Collectivist Social Engineers as Defining Student Learning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Social engineering nightmare seems like more of an apt description.

Serendipitous Admissions: Using Psychology to Impose Philosophy Makes Education the Requisite Tool

Let’s go back and forth between the aims that nerdy writers and scholars say they want to do in the name of a new kind of authentic, holistic education and why, and the everyday how. The means and tools can be seen through learning standards and yesterday’s push under the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) to shift to “phenomenon-based learning”. Let start with a means quote from Carter Phipps (who does executive coaching and leadership training in addition to his cultural evolution) in his book Evolutionaries: Unlocking the Spiritual and Cultural Potential of Science’s Greatest Idea:

“In his latest book, Evolution’s Purpose, Steve McIntosh describes developmental psychology as ‘the branch of social science that deals most directly with the evolution of consciousness. Indeed, this rich tradition…is critical for understanding the kinds of research, thinking, and perspectives that have given birth to our new appreciation of how the internal universe evolves’.”

Developmental psychologists create legally mandated learning standards whether imposed locally, by a state, nationally, or globally, so they get to specify how they want that so-called internal universe to evolve both for individual students and collectively for an entire generation of the population. Cool tool, huh? Likewise, they create curriculum such as what The Lawrence Hall of Science has created for Amplify Science that “motivates students by providing them with a sense of purpose and agency, and by engaging their curiosity.” In other words, it is a curriculum that is about targeting and changing the student’s internal universe and not conveying knowledge in the historic sense of education. Those same developmental psychologists get to decide what is to be “culturally relevant phenomenon,” which is awfully useful as we once again quote Phipps that “cultural evolution happens right here, in the collective interior life of humanity.”

How nice then to use learning standards like the Common Core or competency frameworks that no one but me seems to be explaining accurately to target that very “collective interior life.” As I was reading Evolutionaries I kept thinking that they were not planning for its audience to include someone who understood K-12 education reforms and its underlying legal mandates to enforce compliance so well. I think the Amplify Science paper also never expected someone to look at its supporting references and then track down the Symeonidis & Schwarz 2016 paper “Phenomenon-Based Teaching and Learning through the Pedagogical Lenses of Phenomenology: The Recent Curriculum Reform in Finland,” much less recognize the significance of grounding these reforms in the work of an M. Heidegger from 2006 with a cite in German.

Being a serious nerd who covered the nexus to Deconstructionism in my book Credentialed to Destroy, I recognized Martin the German (and Nazi) existentialist and his 1927 Time and Being with a little help from a translator search engine. Much like Phipps, phenomenology wants to “use complexity as a starting point” and for comparable reasons I suspect. A 2012 paper by a James Magrini on the promise of phenomenology and the  philosophy of existentialism to create ‘authentic education’ though it:

“might be related with great success to social reconstruction and critical pedagogy for social justice in education. For the values we are ‘creating’ and endorsing are never restricted to the classroom, they have an impact on the greater society and, most importantly, the potential that exists for for its change…in addition ‘to assisting our students in their preparation to fit into existing social, political, and economic structures’, as so much of our educational system is currently geared toward doing, we, perhaps especially those of us who teach philosophy, need to encourage our students to think about how these structures might be significantly changed for the better.”

Brought to us by students trained to act from emotion using provided concepts and categories of thought deliberately introduced to drive a belief in the need for cultural change and new social, economic, and political structures. Trained using so-called ‘Power Standards’ that most parents will not even know exist. Let’s face it, phenomenon-based learning in 21st century science has little to do with science as a historically developed and useful body of undisputed knowledge and everything to do with changing each student’s interior universe. In fact, that 2016 paper stated that this phenomenological perspective will allow students to “become mindful of their own learning and acquire strategies of how to learn, a joyful, creative and reflective activity to ensure a good life. Competence, the buzzword of the 21st century, lies at the heart of this conceptualization of learning, which is essentially constructivist and psychological.”

Sounds like that internal, supposedly personal, universe to me, but serendipitously, I had seen a 1972 book cited in the Esalen book from the previous post by W. Warren Wagar, our old friend from the gravely concerning and therefore tagged on this blog–World Order Models Project–that commenced the next year. So I tracked down that book Good Tidings: The Belief in Progress from Darwin to Marcuse to see if I could walk through his cited philosophy to discern just how far back this desire to use education to drive cultural evolution at the level of consciousness actually went. I read that over the weekend and, serendipitously again, Wagar too was influenced by Heidegger and existentialism.

Come to think of it, a founder of Esalen, had his Stanford life turned around by a colleague and friend of Heidegger’s, a refugee, Frederic Spiegelberg, who introduced him to the vision of the perennial philosophy contained in Eastern religion. You know, the one UNESCO does forums on with the Dalai Llama in conjunction with Harvard and the same one Pavel Luksha sees as creating a universal psycho-spiritual wisdom tradition globally using education that we covered in the last post? Now, if that seems like a lot of commonality, it’s the tip of the iceberg to the books and papers I have accumulated, but we need to move on. Plus, I hope, everyone gets the point now.  Good Tidings says ‘Discard’ instead of ‘Withdrawn,’ but its aims remain explicitly current. That’s probably why it was pulled from circulation, huh? Let’s see why.

Wagar was quite graphic about what he called the “telic process of the mind, in which man took control of his own evolution and moved forward deliberately.” Telic is just a fancy word from the Greek telos that goes to people’s purpose, motivations, and aims, which is exactly what UNESCO, with previous Rockefeller Foundation funding, has recently announced they are targeting in the name of Futures Literacy and the Discipline of Anticipation. Somebodies (plural) are quite determinedly pushing cultural evolution by using education to control consciousness and have been, per Wagar, for a long time. Contrary to the above rhetoric, or Phipps pretending that Evolution is just an idea whose time has suddenly come in our 21st century, we get Wagar describing a Korzybski as calling for “the perfection of a ‘science’ and art of human engineering,” which is, of course, how learning standards are now to work.

Has anyone asked any of us if we are OK with “the welfare of the race would be managed efficiently”? To listen to much of the False Narrative surrounding the Common Core and data privacy, such psychological human engineering is A-OK as long as it’s imposed somehow at the school or state level, even if the blueprints are global and decades in preparation. If the financiers of the False Narrative also believe, or want to make use of a widespread, instilled belief, that “the key to future progress, therefore, was ‘integrative thinking and behavior,’ ‘democratic planning for freedom,’ the engineering from an improved social psychology of democratic human cooperation [Remember ‘Soulcraft’?]…also came to feel that social and behavioral scientists would have to work hand in hand with churchmen to help provide the ethico-spiritual integration indispensable to social harmony.”

More interdisciplinary forums most of us will not get invited to. We all need to understand though that Wagar laid out, as so many others have, a desire to “make the supreme task of the behavioral and social sciences to make mankind conscious of itself, and therefore put the future of the race under the control of reason.” Education IS a behavioral and social science and it is the one most of us will encounter most often. It is mind and personality that is aimed at and a belief that our collective culture, human intentions, and aims are all malleable because “the possibility of progress is open to man because he was educable, and because he had learned to control his environment through the sciences…Human beings today were born with the same emotions and powers as savages…Since the variable factor, the factor that may be altered indefinitely, is the social conditions which call out and direct the impulses and sentiments, the positive means of progress lie in the application of intelligence to the construction of proper social devices.”

That’s what learning standards are, as well as phenomenon-based learning curricula, or formative assessments. They are just three real-life examples of “proper social devices” for human engineering of the psychological internal universe of the student in order to implement normative philosophies of the future such as social reconstruction and social justice.

I could go on, but the rest of these quotes simply reenforce the recognition that the rest of us need to grasp as well. If political authority, at any level, and cultural institutions like schools, universities, and churches are all being led to believe that “In man, evolution has entered a new phase, no longer biological, but moral and spiritual” and that “‘psychosocial’ progress” can be made by compelling what those moral and spiritual practices are to be until they become instilled Habits of Mind, we need to recognize those aims.

Because those aims have NOT been discarded or withdrawn, unlike so many of the books that laid them out.

 

 

Main Threat & Main Challenge Lies in the Organization of Our Individual & Collective Minds

That quote came from a fall 2017 slideshare down in South America by Pavel Luksha, the Director of the Global Education Futures Initiative where he went on to post in his next sound byte that “The frontier of evolution of the [sic] humanity is thus the self-guided evolution of consciousness.” Now someone can accuse me of simply mining for inflammatory comments as to what is planned for K-12 education and its true aims and Pavel Luksha is not showing up at school district planning strategies, but education consultants who have been working with him at forums like the one on Silicon Valley in 2015 I wrote about or GEFF forums in Russia are. The GEFF plans “that aim to change global model of education at scale” thus may have a way into your local schools, public or private.

Aspirations of “Improving collective understanding and collaboration capacity of human groups through new modes of (collective) consciousness” are not in fact grandiose declarations if those common understandings and capacities make it into prescribed learning standards and new definitions of student achievement and frameworks for success. Luksha ended the slideshow with a picture of Buckminster Fuller and this quote: “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” Too many parents are still listening to hype about Student Success, or a Portrait of a Graduate in a state ESSA plan, or a vision statement from a charter, parochial, or independent school through the existing reality of education that they experienced.

All over the world they fail to realize that a new model is being set up using enough old rhetoric to obscure the enormity of the sought shift or its revolutionary declared intentions (if, like me, you know where to look). It aims to shift “living systems” like people, but also cities and workplaces by targeting “human intentionality and social structures” while we assume the familiar is what is intended. Meanwhile, UNESCO, foundations, ed supers at a district level, and school heads are, as Luksha’s slides also showed, targeting “Psycho-technologies (including spirituality & religion)” for deliberately designed change along with “Institutes /Norms/ Rules/ Soft Tech.” Since Luksha stated it was in an effort to shift us all to a “Thrivability” or “Wisdom-Based Society” and GEFF’s tentacles extend all the way to the local level on an organized basis, we should listen to this planned:

“shifting to ‘horizontal’ net-centric world ‘working for 100% of humanity…without ecological damage or disadvantage of anyone’ (B. Fuller). Implies involving everyone and all in a ‘revolution of consciousness’. Technological advancement is necessary but secondary to the development of individual and collective human potential.”

Since one of my life mottoes is to recognize when we are on the menu so we can recognize how we are to be captured for eating, and this aspiration for some type of planned cultural evolution via education to alter consciousness, has kept coming up since I covered UNESCO founder, Julian Huxley in Credentialed to Destroy, let’s use a quote of his brother’s, cited early on in a book on Esalen, The Upstart Spring, that I stumbled across during an offline discussion on the commonalities between what is going on in K-12 globally and required management training and coaching practices that kept linking to Esalen and Integral Philosophy. If all these collective institutions like schools and workplaces, especially involving multinational corporations, are suddenly requiring participation in practices designed to alter consciousness and prevailing understandings in common ways, we have every right to recognize those intentions and track through to the beginning of such plans for a “psychological revolution.” Here is Aldous in 1960:

“Let us begin [said Huxley in his kindly Oxonian accents] by asking a question: What would have happened to a child of 170 I.Q. born into a Paleolithic family at the time of, say, the cave paintings of Lascaux? Well, quite obviously, he could have been nothing but a hunter and a gatherer. There was no other opportunity for him to be anything else.

The biologists have shown us that, physiologically and anatomically, we are pretty much the same as we were twenty thousand years ago and that we are using fundamentally the same equipment  as the Aurignacean man to produce incredibly different results. We have in the course of these twenty thousand years actualized a tremendous number of things which at that time and for many, many centuries thereafter were wholly potential and latent in man.

This, I think, gives us reason for tempered optimism that there is still a great many potentialities–for rationality, for affection and kindliness, for creativity–still lying latent in man; and, since everything has speeded up enormously in recent years, that we shall find methods for going almost as far beyond the point we have reached now within a few hundred years as we have succeeded in going beyond our Aurignacean ancestors in twenty thousand years. I think this is not entirely a fantastic belief. The neurologists have shown us that no human being has ever made use of as much as ten percent of all the neurons in his brain. And perhaps, if we set about it in the right way, we might be able to produce extraordinary things out of this strange piece of work that a man is.”

I bolded that line because I think a great way to accurately decipher the purpose of all these education reforms grounded in ‘cognitive science’ with holistic aspirations that started in the 1960s in earnest after Huxley’s speech, and in earnest in the 80s just after The Upstart Spring was first published, tracks to what both Huxleys had in mind. It’s also what UNESCO clearly has in mind now in the name of Media Education, Futures Literacy, and the Discipline of Anticipation. It’s what Pavel Luksha and GEFF have laid out. What if all these aspirations and their commonalities keep coming up because no one accurately told us where Uncle Karl’s hoped for battleground for transformation really lay?

In the 1930s professor Sidney Hook published a book he called Towards the Understanding of Karl Marx: A Revolutionary Interpretation that he refused to allow to come back into print during the remainder of his life. The publisher of the reprint, the humanist Paul Kurtz in 2002, shows up at several points in that Esalen book and then at 21st century UNESCO conferences. If altering consciousness via education is everyone’s actual aim, let’s see why:

“all social action and change is mediated by ideas in the minds of men. Ideas, therefore, cannot be passive images; they must be active instruments…The scientific approach to society involves the continuous application of ideals to the functioning of institutions and the continuous testing of those ideals by the social consequences of their application…Processes of social transformation are thus at the same time processes of psychological transformation. The dialectic principle explains how human beings, although conditioned by society, are enabled through activity, to change both society and themselves. Intelligent social action becomes creative action. ‘By acting on the external world and changing it,’ says Marx, ‘man changes his own nature.’…

Human nature does not change over night. It develops slowly out of the perception of new needs which, together with the limiting condition of the environment, determine new tasks and suggest new goals. But the new needs themselves do not emerge suddenly into human experience. They arise out of an attempt to gratify the old needs in a shifting environment and find conscious articulation only in the active practical process by which man both changes and adjusts to his environment…This theory of perception was necessitated by his [Marx] philosophy of history. If human beings are active in history, then, since all human activity is guided by ideas and ideals, human thinking must be an active historical force.”

And so it is. If we do not understand its role well enough to grasp why Sidney Hook himself italicized the word thinking back in the 1930s, having those thought processes of concepts, ideas, and ideals manipulated for political purposes in the 21st century is exactly what will continue to go on in earnest. Tying these aspirations over decades and continents to recently, Education Week ran a story on August 13 that “Meditation Isn’t Just About Self Help. Here’s What Educators Need to Know”. It wanted to make sure yoga, meditation, and mindfulness standards (sometimes as part of anti-bullying or Positive School Climate mandates and others as part of Physical Well-being State Standards) were not merely being used as a “distraction to get people to adjust to oppressive conditions.”

Oh, no, these requirements are needed to change consciousness just like Aldous Huxley, Esalen, and Pavel Luksha’s presentation all had in mind. The post ended with a call that these practices are a necessary component to education now to cultivate the necessary “critical consciousness. We also need the knowledge and skill to challenge norms and structures perpetuating inequities. Integrating both mindful reflection with social-justice action has the greatest potential to shape coalitions, build collective empowerment, and mediate a new standard for education.”

That new standard is all about altering prevailing consciousness, or, as an earlier post noted, regulating subjectivity at the individual level of the mind and the cultivated ideals instilled in the personality at the level of ideals, norms, and habits.

Is that what anyone is recognizing when they think of Student Success and Achievement or Competencies in the 21st Century? Time to wake up to get ourselves off the revolutionary transformation menu.

Regulating Subjectivity to Control the Conduct of Our Conduct: 21st Century Government

Have you noticed that ‘limited government’ is another one of those catch phrases like Liberty, Freedom, High Standards for All, and Competency-Based Education that is suddenly ubiquitous, but not quite working in the way we might conceive? See if this sounds limited to you?

“Government refers to all endeavours to shape, guide, direct the conduct of others…it also embraces the ways one might be urged and educated to bridle one’s own passions, to control one’s own instincts, to govern oneself.”

Suddenly all the deceit about learning standards like the Common Core and student privacy makes more sense, doesn’t it? They are tools of control just like GDPR when accurately understood. Law itself and education from preschool to management training on weekends all become tools to bindingly, and largely invisibly, impose:

“more or less rationalized schemes, programmes, techniques, and devices which seek to shape conduct so as to achieve certain ends. [Outcomes!!]

Such rationalized practices should be distinguished from the controls on conduct that have, no doubt, existed in all human collectivities at all times and places. This distinction hangs on the elements of thought, intention, and calculation…To dominate is to ignore or attempt to crush the capacity for action of the dominated. But to govern is to recognize this capacity for action and to adjust oneself to it. To govern is to act upon action. This entails trying to understand what mobilizes the domains or entities to be governed: to govern one must act upon these forces, instrumentalize them in order to shape actions, processes and outcomes in desired directions. Hence, when it comes to governing human beings, to govern is to presuppose the freedom of the governed. To govern human beings is not to crush their capacity to act, but to acknowledge it and to utilize it for one’s own objectives.”

If this blog had a musical feature instead of two-dimensional print, the sound you would be hearing is the song “I Can See Clearly Now that the Rain Has Gone”. Reading plans like that from a new ethics of politics and public policy in the 21st century globally taken from footnotes as I was researching ‘data-driven governance’ is like San Francisco Bay on the first non-foggy day of a visit or Denali when it is not encased in the typical clouds. Magnificent clarity, isn’t it? The activities of Global CXI from the last post, UNESCO, and the OECD all make perfect sense once we are aware that the successor to ‘the collapse of state socialism and ‘free-market liberal democratic individualism’ is “political power [that] takes as its object the conduct of its subjects in relation to particular moral or secular standards, and takes the well-being of those subjects as its guiding principle.”

Now imagine hiding those aims in phrases like “student-centered learning” or Teaching Students How to Think, Not What to Think. Here’s another revealing quote: “the activity of government [becomes] inextricably bound up with the activity of thought. It is thus made possible by and constrained by what can be thought and what cannot be thought at any particular moment in our history.”

Suddenly, those redefinitions of Marxism as synonymous with Totalitarianism and big-C Communism, the ignoring of all the documentable scholarship around a very real Marxist Humanism, and the reimagining of what the developed West could be in a sought Human Development Society, makes perfect sense. No wonder I kept stumbling across it as I was trying to get to the bottom of what was being mandated into education of any type. No wonder we keep encountering redefinitions of what used to be differently understood common historic terms and an insistence now that Knowledge is not a body of facts, but rather specified concepts to be used and applied.

“concepts are more important for what they do than for what they mean. Their value lies in the way in which they are able to provide a purchase for critical thought upon particular problems in the present.”

I really did write “Bingo!” in the margin after that last quote. It certainly puts Disciplinary Core Ideas and the conceptual emphasis and new conception of history as about “present problems” we encountered in Reading and Thinking Like a Historian, History Matters, and the Discipline of Anticipation. That would make sense as each of those had their genesis from funding from the Rockefeller Foundation. Let’s see what the professor I have been quoting throughout this post, Nikolas Rose, wrote: “as us ex-Marxists like to say, the Rockefeller Foundation played a conscious and very wide-ranging role in trying to invent non-communist forms of government in the first half of the twentieth century.”

My documentation shows they kept it up in the second half too as all those Bellagio convenings around education in the last several years clearly show. But that’s the admitted Left. I have pointed out before that the Bradley Foundation seems to be funding a redefinition of American Founding Principles in a more communitarian direction as well. Is their funding of School Choice just another example of a technique of invisible governing in the 21st century? It certainly looks that way to me and this reimagined conception of Freedom from a source they support financially in commemoration of July 4 https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/270626/independence-day-and-recovery-true-freedom-bruce-thornton supports that view. Another source from an entity they support, ISI, wanted to recently contrast License with True Freedom https://home.isi.org/word-freedom-lost-meaning in a way that also struck me as redefining concepts and using them to remake the future.

Since I was struck by what seemed to be an Independence Day pattern this year let’s also link to another reimagining https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/op-eds/independence-forever-the-eternal-principles-behind-the-declaration this time with links to Hillsdale College and its Barney Charter School/Classical Ed template. See Mom, I have found a good use for my history major in my adult life. Ferreting out ahistorical accounts set out to change how we are to be governed in the future through misleading references to the past. Perhaps we should see all the Tranzi OBE initiatives described in my book Credentialed to Destroy and these Classical Ed or Portrait of a Graduate pushes now through yet another Rose quote reimagining what Freedom and governing in the name of it can become:

“this practical work of government is especially focused on schooling, where a variety of programmes try to modify older techniques of citizen formation to shape the cultural capacities and interests of these new multicultural citizens. But these attempts to programme ethics in the service of political objectives…”

would be a great reason to misrespresent everything going on in education through an organized pattern of deceit via financed books, blogs, testimony, and conferences, wouldn’t it? No one can fight this new vision of government imposed at the level of thought itself, motivations to act in the future, and emotion if there is no widespread recognition of what is going on. That’s especially true if the volume of the False Narrative and the Truly Strange Bedfellows involved from all spectrums of politics drown out the Truth. Since I am in a linking mood here is https://www.edsurge.com/news/2018-06-19-how-a-classics-education-prepares-students-for-a-modern-world another piece of proof about normative citizen formation as the true aim.

Has the phrase ‘limited government’ become ubiquitous because no one is telling us about a shift from seeing Freedom “as neither a state of being nor a constitutional form but as a politics of life”? Do we have “personalized learning” as a modern means to “abandon the conventional ways of ascribing ethical value to the opposition between subject and object, in which subjectivity is privileged as the authentic and natural locus of moral autonomy: we are governed as much through subjectivization as through objectivization.” Those articles linked above are all rationalizing going after subjectivity in the name of qualities needed for citizenship for a Republic. We also keep hearing about the need to instill certain Virtues and an appreciation for the Good, True, and Beautiful, but nary a mention of any ties to what Rose called the “radical civic republican tradition.” Let’s end with another of his quotes:

“The name of Aristotle, here, denotes the possibility that individual human actions should be guided towards the good through the exercise of a set of interrrelated qualities–virtues–agreed upon and exercised within a moral community or polis which can provide the standards against which the goodness of each of its citizen members can be judged.”

You’ll never believe another name for that set of interrelated qualities or virtues. That’s right. It’s a devolved vision of the local community operating “around a shared common core and this can be embraced and empowered within a common constitutional framework.”

Maybe the Rockefeller Foundation can fund the initiative in the name of Resilience and Futures Literacy, while Bradley and Koch can fund it in the name of Liberty, free markets, Moral Sentiments, and Founding Principles of Self-Government.

Maybe no one will notice we are converging to the same vision of education using different rhetoric or that this instilled interrelated set of qualities is to form the “core” to serve as the basis of an “ethico-politics” in the 21st century.

But someone did notice and document it all despite the organized deceit. No wonder I feel tired.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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