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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shocks, Stresses, and Yokeability: Resilience as the Balm Masking Total Control

Is Yokeability really a word? Well, we need it to show why both admitted Progressive Change Agents, supposedly right think tanks, both political parties, and so many other influential people signed that Williamsburg Charter. Interestingly, the author stated at the end of the Godly Republic book that although he had heard of the Charter copies of it were “hard to find.” I am not surprised given the infamous vision it was actually committing us to funding, and our institutions, to creating. DiIulio stated it was not until 2005 “while visiting Calvin College” that someone gave him a copy. If Calvin College rings a bell, it is probably because that is where the current Ed Secretary, Betsy DeVos, attended college. As I have plowed through all these books about a faith-based vision that I did not really want to write about, but could not avoid, I realized that everyone seemed to want to instill the concepts, Ideas, beliefs, values, and habits that would create a ready-and-motivated-to-act Maker of History.

Moreover, even though those books I cited broke out the so-called faith-based vision to be partners in meeting human needs and to get taxpayer funds for doing so, I recognized last week as the Rockefeller Foundation rolled out its 100 Resilient Cities strategy at a late July meeting in NYC, that the so-called FBOs (faith-based organizations) were no longer being talked about separately as they were in the 90s and the Bush 43 years. Now they have a new acronym–CBOs–community based organizations. If we had not walked through the books linking all these FBOs to a new vision of humanity, transformational change, and a new form of citizenship, the true nature of the change and all the different partners would be hard to see. You may want to check out this site https://www.ujimaboston.com/ to see what the vision of the future currently looks like.

Likewise, the book I cited on Building a Community of Citizens had a companion book published in the same year called Educational Innovation: An Agenda to Frame the Future that used the state of Pennsylvania as the example and Transformational Outcomes Based Education as the technique to be used. Frankly, I got the best feel for what the Right and FBOs wanted to do in a very odd place–a 2013 book by Hillsdale College President and Heritage Foundation Board member Larry Arnn. Heritage is a signor of that “hard to find” Charter and I looked into the book The Founders’ Key because of all the deceit surrounding Hillsdale’s Barney Charter School Initiative and the Common Core as well as the tendency to attribute erroneous narratives to the so-called ‘Founders’ vision.’

We have come across the phrases self-governance, self-discipline, or self-regulation as the so-called new purpose of education. Arnn laid out a similar function under the title the ‘well-ordered soul”, which he viewed as an obligation of governments to create so that it “must settle into the characters of the people.” He quoted James Madison approvingly for saying that the “passions [of the public] ought to be controlled and regulated by the government.” Yikes! Arnn defined the “well-ordered soul is one in which the reason moderates and guides the passions toward good action.” We could ask who gets to decide what that ‘good action’ is, but that would require parents who grasp that math, science, and classical literature are actually not about the transmission of knowledge anymore and they might dispute that shift.

To get some sense of why I say the Right Pincer also wants Marxian Makers of History to transform the world that currently exists let me quote from Arnn in his Conclusion as it may be the single best example of what a dialectical view of history actually reads like. Moreover, this vision never had to be translated from German unlike Uncle Karl’s.

“History, then, is a story of circumstances playing on human beings. Human beings are shaped by these circumstances, and also they shape the circumstances back. We discover this through modern philosophy, a branch of science. Philosophy [putting theory into practice? action research?] becomes a form of making. It supplies the hope that we can shape our world to fit our will.”

I am not sure you or I belong to the ‘we’ or ‘our’ making such decisions and then enshrining them in ‘transformative’ or ‘innovative’ education. Let’s look somewhere else I found that same Maker of History vision as in “Stop telling our story! We decide what happens next. Because it’s our story now and we are making history ourselves.” I have warned before that during the Cold War, intellectuals on both sides of the Iron Curtain were pushing Marx’s Human Development Society vision on the West. That stage when all needs could supposedly be met because capitalism’s ingenuity had produced a magic technology (identified as the computer and intercommunications technology like the Internet). That post-capitalist stage was called little ‘c’ communism by Uncle Karl.

When the book communism for kids was published by MIT Press in 2017 many of the same groups that push a false narrative surrounding the Common Core and education ridiculed the book as trying to bring back the already tried failed Communism of the USSR or Mao’s China. Since I knew that was not the real danger now and had learned to doublecheck the offered narrative I bought the book. It actually defined communism as the “society that gets rid of all the evils people suffer today in our society under capitalism.” It’s “never been tried before” says the book and what the book described actually fits with what I am reading coming out of 100 Resilient Cities, especially the recent Resilient Boston paper.

See why I am worried? And the same techniques we have encountered from the behavioral sciences that can supposedly create a Revolution of the Heart or a well-ordered soul via Tranzi OBE as I nicknamed it in my book Credentialed to Destroy are to be used to “generate desire…a form of desire capable of jamming images of a better world into every fracture of daily life, from subway rides to service jobs to global poverty. In every moment of social suffering, this desire demands a better way of life.” Use education then, visual imagery, and perhaps even virtual reality gaming, to create communist desire. The book did call for that and all the hostility to the individual in post after post is even more troubling once we recognize that this vision for communism needs “the cracking of the individual self, the end of our isolation…Would we, the collective subject of humanity, through communism, finally realize our own being by appropriating a world that actually belongs to us already, because we created it?”

The book laid out a desired goal “to collectively transform all social spheres” and to fulfill a “demand for social-that is to say, political and economic–democratization.” That is precisely what the hard to download but worth it Resilient Boston laid out. Education and working with local school districts is merely one component of this total transformational vision but it is an integral and explicit component. After all, to be resilient requires achieving racial equity per the plan and that “requires a comprehensive approach. Beyond working to change individual policies and practices, we must also transform our entire systems of thinking and acting…” See why MIT Press translated and published that bini adamczak book?

Nobody is mentioning Uncle Karl and resilience sounds so much better than the ‘c’ word, but the function and, quite frankly, the goals are the same. The goals of course require a political reorganization of society so that “Racial equity means ‘closing the gaps’ so that race does not predict one’s success, while also improving outcomes for all. Equity is distinct from equality in that it aspires to achieve fair outcomes and considers history and implicit bias, rather than simply providing ‘equal opportunity’ for everyone. Racial equity is not just the absence of overt racial discrimination; it is also the presence of deliberate policies and practices that provide everyone with the support they need to improve the quality of their lives.”

That really is what Uncle Karl called his communist Human Development Society vision and we have to be able to recognize what we were never supposed to even hear about in time. The Rockefeller Foundation in its 100 anniversary publication wrote about its social engineering aspirations since its founding and desires to steer humanity in new directions and we really ought to take them at their word. Anyone interested in the organized deceit around Climate Change should appreciate that it provides a rationale for the desired political control and reorganization of all those “social spheres of society”. An obligation for racial equity does the same.

Here’s the definition of a Resilient City and notice how the definition of stresses pulls in the desired Marxian desire to meet needs that the FBOs we encountered have also declared to be part of their religious vision and the Williamsburg Charter. Bolding in original.

“the adoption and incorporation of a new view of resilience that includes not just shocks–such as floods, nor-easters, and other acute events–but also stresses that weaken the fabric of a city on a day-to-day or cyclical basis, such as economic hardship or social inequality.

By addressing both shocks and stresses in a holistic manner, a city becomes more able to respond to adverse events and is better able to deliver basic functions in both good and bad times…We must acknowledge our history, heal our collective trauma, and advance racial equity, social justice, and social cohesion if we are to move forward as a truly resilient city. Building resilience starts with identifying our most important problems first and figuring out the best ways to tackle them together.”

Now think of that resilience vision being implemented by laws we are unaware of and education that we are being deliberately misled about. Think about the implications of a generation of schoolchildren and certain voters being told that the following quote is what Martin Luther King stood for. We all commemorate a holiday for him after all.

“Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.”

Anyone else interpreting that quote from Resilient Boston to be fostering the needed “communist desire” instilled via education and new practices of citizenship at the internalized level of habit in a well-ordered soul? A suitably yoked soul for a resilient and transformed 21st century society?

 

Priming the Springs of Action: Reconstituting We the People Via Internalized Habits and Values

Rather than continue on with what is going on now behind our backs in K-12 education globally, let’s go back in time first to pick up some of the ‘deep pillars’ from the late 80s and 90s that ground the supposed “social capital that is comprised of human character, competence and values.” In my book Credentialed to Destroy I laid out the template for what was called Transformational Outcomes Based Education. I also covered events taking place in the mid to late 80s in the West that suggested insider preparation for the “Fall” of the Berlin Wall and Communism. Today’s post should be seen as building on the Deep Pillars also laid out in the book. We need to grasp every aspect that political insiders, think tanks, institutions of faith, and other public policy forces who turned out to be involved, were quietly advocating and implementing to achieve a particular vision for the future.

This is from an essay “Citizenship: Transcending Left and Right” contained in a 2004 book Building a Community of Citizens: Civil Society in the 21st Century. I found it referenced in footnotes as I followed up again on the deceit surrounding the Common Core and other education ‘reforms’ currently. If this quote reminds anyone else of Amitai Etzioni’s New Golden Rule, he is listed as a consultant on the book. As we have encountered the Bradley Foundation a great deal as we have followed widely disseminated education narratives that happen to be false, I should note that their then President, Michael Joyce, also wrote one of the essays in that book.

“A closer look at these issues will reveal that today’s crisis of values has nothing whatever to do with ‘capitalist’ and ‘socialist’ institutions. It is a by-product of individualism…The real source of these problems is in us, as we search for a way to integrate the modern emphasis on individual self-expression with a vision of values, community, and purpose that transcends the individual self–a way to integrate freedom and order.”

How often do we now hear the phrases ‘self-government’ or ‘self-governance’? We simply assume it means something having to do with our individual autonomy. Turns out we get to have a “new kind of politics” grounded in psychology and the “self-governance of individuals and communities…[a] two-dimensional value system underlies the self-governing approach to the world, which borrows the best of both capitalism and socialism and combines them in an integrated vision.” That would be an integrated vision of course to be imposed invisibly by Bipartisan laws few read, a new vision of education, and “a change in the spirit of individuals and the community that comprises them.”

Let’s skip to another book from 1998 brought to us by the Center for Public Justice that “pursues civic education programs from the standpoint of a comprehensive Christian worldview. The Center advocates equal public treatment of all faiths and seeks political reforms to strengthen the diverse institutions of civil society.” It turned out that Antonio Gramsci was not the only visionary to see Marching through the Institutions as the way to later prevailing consciousness and culture. So have groups, politicians, and think tanks many of us have simply assumed to be representative of Conservatism. It turns out though that the best way to get Marx’s Moral Revolution in place is to get religious faiths on board as well, control education, and redefine concepts like Liberty and Freedom we all think we understand.

Naming Educators as the Levers Shifting the Human Personality To Marx’s Moral Revolution

is the post I have to simply assume everyone is familiar with so we can move forward to what was laid out in then Senator Dan Coats’ 1998 Kuyper Lecture and printed as Mending Fences: Renewing Justice Between Government and Civil Society . It is once again selling the vision that liberty requires a certain kind of citizenry and democracy is a “set of habits…[that] depends on an internalized willingness to respect the rights and dignity of others.” All of our encounters with Classical Education about the principles of the Good, Character, and Virtues appear to go back to this vision where “these virtues require more than intellectual assent; they must take root not only in minds but in hearts.”

Yet again, we have a vision where civil society institutions are supposed to “protect against individualism, turning our attention to the needs of others, the benefits of cooperation, the necessity of trust, and the value of the common good.” All citizens and especially students with their still pliable minds and hearts need “those ideas and sentiments” that will free “individuals from the solitude of their selfishness.” When I wrote Credentialed to Destroy I laid out the transformational vision of Social Reconstructionists. I cited to admitted progressives who had been explicit about their intentions. Turns out so have the so-called Right and institutions of faith and they have resurrected a Dutch politician from the 19th century, Abraham Kuyper to do that while pretending a reconstructionist aim is simply a matter of faith. (Italics in original in Mending Fences)

There is a common good greater than individual rights, and society must actively and tirelessly seek it. Kuyper exclaimed, “We shall not be satisfied with the structure of society until it offers all human beings an existence worthy of man.” In a beautiful passage Pope John XXIII defines the common good as “the sum total of those conditions of social living, whereby men are enabled more fully and more readily to achieve their own perfections.”

But I did promise deep pillars and we have remained in the 90s, haven’t we? In my tiptoeing through the footnotes, I not only found the books cited above, but also a 2007 book Godly Republic: A Centrist Blueprint for America’s Faith-Based Future. Written by John DiIulio, Bush 43’s first faith-based czar, it had an Appendix I had never seen referenced before from June 25, 1988. The document was called the Williamsburg Charter: A National Celebration and Reaffirmation of the First Amendment Religious Liberty Clauses and whatever the 100 highly influential people who signed the charter thought they were endorsing, the actual function of the document is to commit to an internalized Marxian moral revolution. Yes, I am sure as I have read a lot of the language when no one is pretending anything other than driving the deep pillars the Human Development Society would need in values, beliefs, emotions and other motivators of future action.

Yes the references are a bit oblique at first, tucked away into phrases like the “remarkable opportunity for the expansion of liberty” and a desire for the “ordering of society” around common “commitments and ideals” that all people are to live by. It is inherent in the language too that “rights are universal and responsibilities mutual.” Remember the definition of ‘precepts’ from the last post and their current sudden ubiquity, as we go back to the paragraph that follows “A time for reconstruction” heading:

“We believe, finally, that the time is ripe for a genuine expansion of democratic liberty, and that this goal may be attained through a new engagement of citizens in a debate that is reordered in accord with constitutional first principles and considerations of the common good. This amounts to no less than the reconstitution of a free republican people in our day. Careful consideration of three precepts would advance this possibility.”

First, the criteria must be mutual which gets translated to mean that the “intention of the Framers” is not enough. We reconstituted citizens must also internalize as  habits “consideration of immutable principles of justice.” Should we look to Kuyper or a 1930s Pope as quoted above? Secondly, the “Consensus must be Dynamic”. One wonders if an earlier draft said Dialectical instead, but that might be too obvious to get all 100 signatures. We are told that “Reconstitution requires a shared understanding of the relationship between the Constitution and the society it is to serve.” We the People must affirm those principles in practice. Supposedly this mandate is NOT authoritarian because it is civil society imposing at the level of hearts and minds in order to “contribute to the spiritual and moral foundations of democracy.”

That’s clearly John Dewey’s definition of democracy which explains why one of the Rockefeller heirs wrote a book about him and his work driving a Religious Humanism vision that I keep hearing being mirrored in Faux Narratives. The third precept is that the “Compact Must Be Mutual”. Suddenly, “the First Amendment…is the epitome of public justice and serves as the Golden Rule for civic life.” Personally, I think being told by so many public officials that a “general consent to the obligations of citizenship is therefore inherent in the American experiment, both as a founding principle (‘We the people”) and as a matter of daily practice” is certainly a violation of the spirit of the phrase “the government shall not…”

Let’s end there as these quotes place so much of what I documented in my book and then later on this blog into their true transformative functions. The empathy push from the last post makes so much more sense if we now supposedly have a “responsibility to comprehend” the perspectives of others. Pushing a common core of mandated values, attitudes, and beliefs fits with a desire for “a broad, active community of understanding to be sustained.”

Take a look at that Williamsburg Charter in one of the variety of places it can be found. It will do wonders toward our finally achieving an accurate “community of understanding” about what is truly going on in education and why.

 

Subterranean Fundamental Glue Holding Humanity Together Instilled Via Education

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Subservient and Malleable Students: DeVos Federalizes Our Moral Obligations

With former President Obama his means were sometimes shadowy, but his goals and views were quite forthcoming. Remember the openly announced “fundamental transformation” before his first election or the “you didn’t build that”? Neither was a mistake in his mind. In his early days in politics he openly expressed his annoyance that courts interpreted the US Constitution as imposing ‘negative liberties’ of what government could not do. Instead, he hoped for a more ‘positive liberties’ vision laying out what governments must do to meet the needs of all citizens.

The Transgender Ruling that the Trump Administration overruled last week involved a federal agency deciding to read statutory language prohibiting discrimination based as ‘sex’ as also prohibiting discrimination based on a student’s perception of their gender. I keep warning that internalized perception is the new favorite bullseye in education, K-12 and after, because it can invisibly alter likely behavior going forward. No need to give the manipulated student a head’s up as to what is actually going on. Let them simply wonder later why no one is ready to hire them simply because they have a college degree.

The Obama Administration simply said that the student’s perception of who they are is more important than the physical reality of penises in girl’s bathrooms and group showers. It’s who people are on the inside that matters legally. What got put in place solely by broad, creative interpretation though can disappear the same way, which is what happened last week. Maybe like me, you heard on the TV or radio that “all President Trump and Betsy DeVos did was leave this delicate matter in the hands of the states or localities.” That may be what President Trump and his Attorney-General meant to do, but Mrs DeVos issued a separate statement laying out the “moral obligation no individual can abdicate.”

That’s quite broad, isn’t it? What does the Education Secretary acting apparently in her imagined benevolent despot role impose as our new federalized moral obligations to each other? To return to that gossipy phrase from our childhood, “Do Tell.” Here goes:

“We have a responsibility to protect every student in America and ensure that they have the freedom to learn and thrive in a safe and trusted environment. This is not merely a federal mandate, but a moral obligation no individual, school, district or state can abdicate…We owe students a commitment to ensure they have access to a learning environment that is free of discrimination, bullying and harassment.”

Now that broad assertion of such a mandate is about so much more that “New Title IX Guidance.” It was controversial when President Obama began to sneak in such a mandate to model desired behaviors and control interactions among students to create a so-called Positive School Climate.  http://invisibleserfscollar.com/how-social-and-emotional-learning-as-the-primary-focus-is-coming-in-all-the-windows/  If the verb ‘sneak’ sounds too strong, this is a controversial area and it was pushed via regulation with little public discussion. Mrs. DeVos and fed ED are quietly continuing this very alarming declared right. The affirmative, ‘evidence-based’ remedy is to control each student’s internalized values, personal attributes, and emotional dispositions all in the name of a declared moral right “to learn and thrive in a safe environment.”

In the name of that goal, we get a new global emphasis called Positive Education that is supposedly “based on the science of well-being and happiness.” Each student has personality traits that are malleable to changes in instruction and classroom experiences. Do parents get a heads up as to the change in emphasis? Not really when it gets embedded in subject areas and class discussions that are really about moral dilemmas.

Your child is Succeeding. Your child shows Growth. Your child has met the school’s Learning Objectives. All of our students are showing Improvements in Achievement.

What parent will recognize the shift in what is actually being measured or what these terms now mean? How many parents will ever see https://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/us-secretary-education-betsy-devos-issues-statement-new-title-ix-guidance the actual statement instead of some commentator’s false statement of what it did? Will students as adults recognize that education was used to manipulate, under force of law, the essence of who they are and how they view the world?

Next we will explore the nature of this new mandate. If there is to be an unknown “major paradigm shift in education,” the only way to avoid being its victim is to know it exists.

Does Mrs DeVos even know what she has declared and the history and purpose of these controversial ideas? I do and I am really hoping she simply put her name to a Statement someone else drafted because she thought it sounded nice and noble. The ramifications and likely remedies of her declared federal legal mandate to control the very bases of behavior simply never occurring to her.

Careful. Careful. Every progressive and tyrant in history sought to control this same internalized focus now declared a “federal mandate” in a release with an erroneous title that few are likely to read.

This is no way to get the feds out of the local classroom.

 

 

Preemptive Authoritarianism: Governed by Our Monitored and Redesigned Brains

I almost added “21st Century” to Brains in the title, but it made it too long. Please do me a favor though. Every time a politician or anyone else mentions the need to transform K-12 education because the current vision is based on an outdated factory model, or any other justifying statement, to mask what is in fact a desire to control how our minds work for political purposes, remember this post. If anyone was worried I was missing in action or had finally decided to simply shut up about the real intentions behind education reforms, no such luck. Some posts though have no business being written during the traditional period of joyful merrymaking and family gathering. With the confirmation hearings for the proposed new Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, being in two days and her repeated statements and connections tying her vision to what I am about to lay out, it is time to get going again.

Back in the late 1980s the ASCD (tied to NEA) created a framework for what would become better known as Outcomes Based Education, “standards-based reforms,” or “brain-based learning.” Turns out these terms have always been interchangeable if we cut through the deceit and go back to the creators of these theories for educational change. The intent was to link education to what was known about human neurobiology. The framework would have ‘bottom-line integrity”, which today we euphemistically call evidence-based policymaking in education, effective schools, or just research on best practices. To qualify the education practices mandated “must integrate human behavior and perception, emotions and physiology.”

Remember astronomer Carl Sagan? The ASCD quoted him to provide the reasons they wanted to “significantly reprogram and redirect old brain propensities…the potential of the neocortex is that it can find new ways to survive because it is capable of profound learning. And that, we will see, requires us to use our brains in ways that they have never been used before on a large scale.” See what I mean about waiting to write this post out of fear some of us would be tempted to try to drink the entire punch bowl of spiked eggnog? Sagan’s 1977 book The Dragons of Eden is then quoted at length. No solar systems or stars are involved here:

“As a consequence of the enormous social and technological changes of the last few centuries, the world is not working well. We do not live in traditional and static societies. But our governments, in resisting change, act as if we did. Unless we destroy ourselves utterly, the future belongs to those societies that, while not ignoring the reptialian and mammalian parts of our being, enable the characteristically human components of our nature to flourish: to those societies that encourage diversity rather than conformity; to those societies willing to invest resources in a variety of social, political, economic and cultural experiments, and prepared to sacrifice short-term advantage for long-term benefit [whose?]; to those societies that treat new ideas as delicate, fragile and immensely valuable pathways to the future.”

It’s about redesigning existing institutions and systems via changes in how the student’s mind works and what motivates him or her to act. No wonder there has been so much deceit around education reform and a desire to pilfer from my book Credentialed to Destroy, while also repressing its central insights. Let’s go over the Atlantic to see what the UK meant by “high standards” and “raising standards” in the early 90s. Instead of using the graphic term “brain-based” changes to the neocortex, we get regular references to altering how the “central cognitive processor”  or the “central processing mechanism of the mind” works. No mention that this physical target belongs to someone’s children.

“We would rather aim for an even higher road, the unconscious development of a central cognitive processor that would produce far-transfer effects by a mechanism invisible to the learner (perhaps we should say ‘developer’) and thus far more powerful and generalisable than anything restricted to conscious processing.” Monitoring and manipulating the operation of the human mind via K-12 education at a level invisible to the learner sounds rather authoritarian to me, but we cannot rebel against what we are unaware of, can we? In November 2016, the publication Neuron published the article “Neuroethics in the Age of Brain Projects” that was, unfortunately, quite upfront that the BRAIN Initiative (now funded for ten more years by legislation passed by Congress in December supposedly about opioid addiction) and learning standards generally “have the potential to affect the essence of who we are as humans.”

Apparently though we no longer have a say in that fundamental arena of what it means to be human. That article mentioned that one of the funded research grants had gone to a Professor Nikolas Rose. A little research uncovered a 2013 book of his published by Princeton called Neuro: The New Brain Sciences and the Management of the Mind. My copy showed up just in time to be read while I ate my good luck black-eyed peas, which I knew would be especially needed this year with the book’s ubiquitous references to “governing through the brain.” The planned and taxpayer-financed “conversations between the social sciences [like education] and the neurosciences may, in short, enable us to begin to construct a very different idea of the human person, human societies, and human freedom” ought to be something discussed openly with taxpayers and parents.

I am not sure who ‘us’ is, but giving Congress, a state legislature, or even a school principal such transformative power to transform the human mind and how it works on a biological basis is not a hallmark of a genuinely free society. Especially when the vision is brought to us by professors who are looking for “the basis of a radical, and perhaps even progressive, way of moving beyond illusory notions of human beings as individualized, discrete, autonomous, coherent subjects who are, or should be, ‘free to choose.'”

“Acting on our brains,” “this new topography of the human being,” and the touted “passage of neuroscience from the seclusion of the laboratory to the unruly everyday world, and the new styles of thought concerning the intelligible, visible, mutable, and tractable brain that characterize the new brain sciences are beginning to reshape the ways in which human beings, at least in advanced liberal societies, are governed by others” should all be front and center for discussion in a free society. Instead, we get the deceit surrounding the real purpose of School Choice and misrepresentations on what competency-based education is really intended to modify and change.

Back in December, Jeb Bush had the Director of the Mind, Brain, and Education (MBE) Program at Harvard as one of the keynote speakers at his annual summit, sponsored by his foundation (that Mrs DeVos was on the Board of prior to her nomination). I happen to have a copy of an MBE philosophical paper downloaded from Harvard’s website on the morality of the MBE methods and theories. It calls for public debates on the “ethical limits that should be placed on use of biological and psychological technologies in education” and the “kinds of communities and individuals that ought to be fostered.” That Bush foundation states that competency-based education, School Choice, and educational technology are its priorities. Which of these does MBE relate to then or is it all of them is a fair question to ask a Board member at the time the invitation to speak went out.

That cannot happen though because of all the organized misrepresentations that have surrounded learning standards like the Common Core, what its true purposes and history are, or what practices get hidden behind titles like School Choice, high-quality assessments, charters, or classical education. We went back in time and overseas precisely because I wanted to show that this shrouded neurobiological bullseye that the law and ‘public policy’ seeks to invisibly impose is both global and longstanding.

Everything is now in place, except a genuine public recognition of just how much we have all been lied to about what is really intended for our children in the name of education. In the Foreword to the GEM 2016 Report released in early September, the head of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, stated:

“Lastly, we must fundamentally change the way we think about education and its role in human wellbeing and global development. Now, more than ever, education has a responsibility to foster the right type of skills, attitudes and behavior that will lead to sustainable and inclusive growth.” That openly declared repurposing of education cannot be discussed when a false narrative pretends that School Choice and competency-based education does not have the precise same aim. Did you know that the term Neuroethics does not necessarily mean the ethics of using a transformational vision of education to redesign how the mind work and then lock it in biologically? It actually also means how to use Neuroscience and brain-based to impose an internalized ethical vision that puts the so-called common good and responsibility for others above individual choices.

Isn’t that something that should at least be discussed if we are still in fact a free society? Is the vision of the future that Marx called the Human Development Society really something that deceitfully imposed educational changes and legislation and regulation can impose as long as the enacters are “duly elected” or appointed?

Is my term “Preemptive Authoritarianism” just a pithy way of getting attention or the biggest understatement so far in 2017?

Whispering in the Ears of Princes and Parents: False Flag Education Narratives

For anyone counting, that would be two different metaphors in a single title, but since they each illustrate our unfortunate facts so well I have pulled them together to make a point. In the last post, before Mother Nature threw me for a loop, we had stumbled across proof that what is now called economic theory was merging with psychology and learning theories.  If you were like me, that came as a rather rude, but revealing, surprise. Anyway, while the body was weak, this mind just kept on delving into the implications of the last post as well as articles and reports coming out where I immediately recognize a false narrative at play. We talked about Professor Daniel Kahnemann’s work in the last post, but he did not win that ‘Economics’ Nobel alone.

The other recipient, Professor Vernon Smith, usually has his theories touted as ‘market-based solutions’ when some think tank is hyping them as a less than disinterested remedy. A little research though uncovered the fact that Dr Smith refers to his theories as ‘experimental economics’ and has confirmed, in a 2012 conference in Arizona, that the School Choice theories in general and the current darling being hyped as the be-all remedy, Education Savings Accounts, are products of experimental economic theories. Have any of the think tanks testifying these past several weeks to either house of the Texas legislature been forthcoming about that?

Back in 1985, at an Econometric World Congress we probably would have been bored at even if we had got an invite, experimental economics (EE) was discussed. These EE theories can be classified by what motivates the need to create them and to whom they are intended to be persuasive. Now that struck me as terribly useful as I sorted through all the false narratives flying around in education about the Common Core’s actual purpose, how School Choice really works, the actual purpose of SEL Standards, or the most recent false narrative around Evidence-Based Policymaking. That list is not exhaustive and it is always important to contemplate Cui Bono? Who benefits from the deceit and do they have financial ties to the pushers of the False Narrative?

The three categories of uses for these theories are “Are they Speaking to Fellow Theorists?” like academics where handing out an Education Doctorate or Sociology degree on the basis of someone’s willingness to act on a theory is grounds alone for creating it. Remember our Guiding Fiction discussion? If it changes how we behave and act in everyday life or what we force on others, that’s an effective theory even if it’s not true. A learning theory, for example, can be factually not true, but have the promise of neurologically restructuring students’ brains if implemented in the classroom. A theory that works, if implemented, is an example of the category two use of experimental behavioral science theories: “Does the theory allow us to Search for Facts?” Social or biological change is darn factual when it occurs.

Category Number 3 of the use of these theories is “Whispering in the Ears of Princes.” Having chased the false information in Donald Trump Jr’s heartfelt convention speech on school choice to FH Buckley’s book The Way Back, this category seemed an apt description why a false narrative can be needed. The personal intentions of any Prince with Power do not control the effect of a theory in EE once implemented. That’s a well-known fact of Implementation Science no one is likely to pass on to either the princes or the parents. Let’s face it, all the current hype about a database of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) on Students is another false narrative. It’s useful because it enrages parents and they look for solutions, like charters, privates, or ESAs. Omitted is the relevant fact that these institutions must themselves still assess the student’s internal states and values, attitudes, and beliefs for change. Otherwise, no more funding!!

That’s one of the dirty little secrets I suppose no one is supposed to recognize in time. What gets a charter renewed for a subsequent term or entitles a Charter Management Company to get federal money under ESSA to expand into other states is effectiveness at learning. If you can change values, attitudes, beliefs, or behaviors, you are an effective school. Learning occurred in the student changed. Parents though are unlikely to be too excited this is the actual purpose now of a charter or private school. So they need to be lied to about what all these terms mean. That seems to have been the reason for the sudden pivot in the May 2012 Pioneer Institute/ American Principles Project paper “Controlling Education from the Top” where a quote of what characteristics of a student the Common Core would be “assessing for” became PII in the next paragraph without warning or support.

It’s also a good reason for the same paper to consistently follow all references to “assessment” with the same parenthetical “(standardized tests)”. I finished my book Credentialed to Destroy (the same book the pushers of the false narratives feel the need to suppress) and it chronicles what the term ‘assessment’ was known to mean by spring 2012 and how it was to work under both Common Core and its successor, competency-based education. Both of these appear to be false narratives so that parents will never know that the supposed remedies in education they are being led to advocate for are actually also target their child’s internal states for change. Honestly, given the extent of my documentation now from this blog and researching two different books as well, I could turn this blog going forward into Nail Down that Deceit.

Instead, I am just giving Princes and parents both a warning and illustrating with just some of what I have documented. Speaking of Whispering to Princes, I noted in a previous post that FH Buckley’s explanation of the need for School Choice was both quite obnoxious to my mind and grounded in what seemed to be Marxian rhetoric. So Buckley is at George Mason (GMU) as was Professor EE, Nobel-Prize winner Vernon Smith. Supposedly the Mercatus Center there is Ground Zero for all the Atlas Network think tanks. Sounded like a convergence worth investigating to me. Imagine my Absolute Shock at discovering that in May 2007 the Krasnow Institute at GMU launched the Decade of the Mind global initiative. Did you gulp just now?

Just wait, before that in 2004, the Center for the Study of Neuroeconomics started, as a joint venture of GMU’s School of Law (naming it for the late Antonin Scalia makes a good shrouding cover), the Department of Economics, the Krasnow Institute, and the Mercatus Center. Ding. Ding. The Center is a place that studies “how our brains interact through our institutions to produce social, political, and economic order.” The Center also works closely with IFREE–the International Foundation for Research in EE founded by Vernon Smith in 1997 and based in Tucson. Tucson is where the now yearly conferences known as “Towards a Science of Consciousness” began in 1994 and it is now tied to a Center at the University of Arizona there. For those who are unaware, Arizona is also the state that has most fully embraced School Choice and ESAs.

So many facts, so little time is how I feel about what could come next in this post just to illustrate this problem. Let me pivot first though to the second metaphor. A false flag operation comes from the days of wooden ships. One ship would hang the flag of an enemy ship before attacking an ally in its own navy. Because the attack gets attributed to the country behind the flag instead of the country engaged in the attack, this actual practice became known as a False Flag Operation. I am borrowing the metaphor because it explains much of the deceit surrounding education reform over the decades and especially now. The same donors and think tanks who wish to financially benefit from an ability to use education practices to create a reliable, steerable keel within student’s brains and personalities do not want that reality recognized.

Who can blame them? But what is really being targeted and why and all the ties among the targeting entities is not really in dispute. Like so much of what I laid out in Credentialed to Destroy, it is simply not well known. So we seem to have a race between all these entities and me. They are tied to people wanting to profit from the deceit. I, personally, cannot bear knowing what I can prove without at least trying to alert as many parents and taxpayers as possible. Again, this is not personal, but factual. It looks like I only have time for one more example so it needs to hit as many points as possible. In November 2016 GMU and others are hosting a Congress in honor of the 20th Anniversary of an EE classic- Growing Artificial Societies.

I located a copy and it told me that it is knowing and manipulating the “agent’s internal state” that is the focus of experimental economics. That’s a good reason then for how Charters, ESAs, SEL Standards, and Competency-Based Education really work. Lots of reason for deceit then and there has been for a very long time. But I found the actual cited paper and discovered it was from the Santa Fe Institute (co-sponsor of November Congress) and was funded by the MacArthur Foundation (before they moved on to the Real Utopias project and Connected Learning). It explained the need to alter the nature of education so that the coursework all focused on altering the student’s internalized ‘classifier system’ that guides perception and how daily experiences get interpreted.

If that’s not startling enough (not to me but this is very useful language for illustrating the rationale for the PII deceit especially), we learn what fits with all of the proposed education reforms out there. Also remember the local level has always been the focus for education change. In the old “rationalistic view, the world is composed of definite objects, properties and relations, and ‘learning’ is the process whereby an agent forms a mental model of the world that correctly describes these features.”

My guess is that the typical parent being sold on Classical Education or what private schools offer still believes that quote describes the nature of education still available there. The reality though is we have shifted to the EE form of education where the student is being trained in “learning how to act in the world, rather than how to describe it.”

My goodness, just the realities we have discussed today give a myriad of reasons for all these false narratives that surround education. Best from now on to judge all education narratives not by the flag being flown or the rhetoric being used, but by the nature of the vessel and the financial interests that stand to benefit from the deceit.

Rulers, Regimes, Managed, Governed: Public Policy Demands Democratic Equality and Mind Arson

Those descriptions are just a few I pulled from the 2015 book of the Roadmap co-creator  called Smart Citizens, Smarter State. Its view of the role of governments, at all levels, is that they are in charge of planning and managing social systems, like cities, people, and the economy. Citizens have a right to participate and be consulted, but as individuals they are bound nonetheless. Honestly, this vision made me wonder precisely what classes the author took at Harvard undergrad and then Yale Law, but somewhere she learned to have a very lofty view of institutions and their function for the 21st Century. (my bolding).

“differences in economic growth can be traced to one thing…It is not culture or the plague, but institutions: institutions that are inclusive and promote the use of citizens’ talent, ingenuity, ambition and ability. When rulers become extractive, seeking to oppress their people to the end of achieving economic gain, they guarantee decline. But when regimes advance human capacity, they progress.”

I am a little old to have to be exclaiming “you’re not the boss of me” as if we are on a playground arguing over toys, but no, these stakes are so much higher as we saw in the Roadmap from the last post. Where does mind arson come in though? A couple of places actually. Noveck introduces us to a new word–epistocracy. That’s the idea that people who know more will be in charge. She points out that “If some have significantly better epistemic capabilities–relevant knowledge and skills–than others, this creates a tension with democratic equality.” They might also read that Roadmap, authored books, cited documents, and then piece together what is actually being contemplated in an unapproved way. That will not do in a vision where public policy wants to steer society and “Governments aspire to be the brain of their societies” as the report from an annual Oxford conference on policymaking sponsored by the same McKinsey Consulting that helped fund that Roadmap.

Another lost invite in other words, but the authors of the Roadmap touted that conference last week after the previous post and we can take a look too. http://www.bsg.ox.ac.uk/sites/www.bsg.ox.ac.uk/files/documents/BSG-OxfordGovernmentReview.pdf 

Before we discuss that conference that should have a subtitle “there’s nothing governments cannot do once they marry public policy and the behavioral sciences,” I pulled a quote from George Orwell that one of my cybernetics books. It was used to explain that no governmental authority with aspirations of complete power over people and social systems can afford not to manipulate the news and permissible everyday knowledge. Here’s Orwell: “freedom of the intellect means the freedom to report what one has seen, heard, and felt and not be obliged to fabricate imaginary facts and feelings.” So what a wanna-be steering government in the 21st century needs is to control those perceived facts and feelings via the type of education available, without that actual intent being recognized.

My analysis is that this is what School Choice does when its documentable history is followed through and its declared goals are actually tracked. My insistence that there is in fact a Left/Right Pincer action going on has been based on what is actually being said in articles and books too few read. We can thankfully get beyond that now as Ms Noveck tweeted on the blog tied to her book to a September 9 article called “A Revolutionary Toolbox” that a Costa Rican think tank had launched that thanked her for her help as well as a number of listed officials identified as being with the Atlas Network. If, like me, you search out those individual names you will find several are also tied to executive positions at the World Bank. Ding. Ding. Another cited influence is an MIT poli sci prof, Nazli Choucri, who is the Director of the Global System for Sustainable Development.

If you have time, do look up GSSD as well as it provides yet more evidence that steering and Sustainable Development need Mind Arson. The site reads like a blueprint for the specified categories of knowledge that everyone must know and no more. Good way to keep anyone from grasping they are now being fed politically useful facts and guiding fictions with no means of knowing what is imaginary or not. So not only do “governments aspire to be the brains of their societies,” which gets so much easier if you circumscribe available information into a “knowledge system,” but another speaker at that conference, Eldar Shafir, a Princeton prof who also has ties to Harvard, seemed to have an aim that would go a long way toward creating any needed ‘imaginary feelings’ without that aim being accurately perceived.

“Leaders in the 21st century need to understand human psychology rather than make false assumptions about it. [won’t state prescribed social emotional learning standards come in ever so handy then?] Humans are driven by a richer set of motivations than economists used to assume…Better data and analytics can combine with greater empathy and better psychology to shape more powerful and effective public policy.” A different conference attendee, Elizabeth Linos,  gave even more incentive for governments at every level to actually want Mind Arson to fit with their expressed desire to plan, manage, and steer while calling such intentions–governing.

“The past few years have seen an explosion of interest in behavioural science by policymakers at local, national and international levels. The first wave of interest asked: how can we use behavioural science to nudge our citizens to follow the rules?…The second wave considered the relationship between a people and their government.” All of these visions of public policy envision a regulation of the ‘market’ economy at all levels in the name of “many of the most central moral concerns we face as a society: concerns about distribution, welfare, opportunity, and the good life. It is therefore also a central concern for us as citizens in a democratic polity.” That was Noveck and we saw precisely the same concerns in those Habitat III documents and the conferences HUD has quietly hosted. In the comments to the previous post are links to what a Right to the City will factually mean.

When the Roadmap from the last post stated that the purpose of government is now to “improve people’s lives” it means precisely the kind of public policy steering we are covering in this post. A steered citizen cannot be a genuinely well-informed, rational person because it negates the ability to construct the necessary internalized keel to control how ‘facts’ are perceived, which emotions are utilized, and what values motivate actions. After the last post I listened to this interview with Angela Glover Blackwell since I had heard her speak last January so I knew she was touting the same people as I read in the recent book The Way Back tied to the Atlas Network. http://ssir.org/videos/entry/three_questions_with_angela_glover_blackwell

The question was “what role can public policy play in advancing social inclusion?” Her answer was that it “is essential for a fully inclusive society. The society won’t just be inclusive on its own. And public policy has always been the thing that translates the values of the nation into what actually happens in that nation.” So education controls prevailing values and you cannot have a “fully inclusive society” if some people know more or have better skills than others. Remember Ms Noveck called that an epistocracy? So this public policy-centric vision assumes actually that governments at all levels are in fact the bosses of us. To quote Ms Blackwell again “So public policy allows us to be able to spend our resources and make decisions that are fair and work for the broader society as well as work for the individual.”

Honestly when I first created this blog’s metaphor of an invisible serfs collar, I only knew a part of the story. I am not sure I had ever even heard the term cybernetics before. Yikes! In order for all these plans for a fully inclusive, governments at all levels are in charge, steerable economy and society vision to work, governments have to control prevailing consciousness. To avoid opposition, that control cannot be widely perceived in time. Makes the timing of turning over the Internet to an international authority as of October 1 rather timely and propitious, doesn’t it? Unappreciated radically different conception of K-12 education and the loss of control over the Internet certainly seems like an excellent means to have “complete command over the interpretation of political concepts, which is necessary for complete steering of men from the outside” said the cyberneticians I found as I contemplated that Roadmap.

If anyone is still not convinced on the ties among what has been openly proclaimed once we know where to look and an attendant need for Mind Arson, let me close with the opening epigraph from “The Revolutionary Toolbox” link. Citing Ithiel de Sola Pool:

“People who think about social change in traditional political terms cannot begin to imagine the changes that lie ahead. Conventional reformers cast their programs in terms of national policies, or in terms of laws and central planning. But in the end, what will shape the future is a creative potential that inheres in the new technologies of electronic communication and machine intelligence.”

That vision is what governments at all levels want and they blithely use the term public policy to obscure the manipulative intentions they talk about elsewhere at conferences we are not invited to and in books and reports we are not really supposed to read. That Roadmap for the Next Administration is not for us and it’s really not for a President Clinton or Trump either. It is for the people either would appoint to a federal agency or the judiciary and the professors of the elite universities that credential them.

This aim to steer is well and frequently expressed. It is Bicameral and Bipartisan, at all levels of government, and think tanks of every purported ideology. The way out is to remember that cybernetics is all about the need to “organize the flow of information and control in a system.”

Radically reconceptualizing the nature of education with a desire for Mind Arson, putting Public Policy as the supposed driver of society, and giving up control of the Internet each goes to that necessity. Ms Noveck never used the term cybernetics or socio-cybernetics, but she did describe the essence. She also wrote about the various means “for organizing distributed information flows in biological as well as sociological systems.”

That sounds so much better that its essence of organizing what people in a society are to know, believe, perceive, and value so that they can be collectively steered. Sociological systems is just a fancy word for workplaces, schools, cities, economies, and all the other groups of humans who are to no longer be free to not submit to a “fully inclusive”, steered society.

 

 

 

Pitching Personality Predation But Redefining It as Student Success, Achievement, and Learning

Nothing like a little mental break to help clear out the cobwebs and blow away the fog impeding clarity of thought. As is typical for me when I recognize the connectedness of initiatives that have been announced since my last post, I went back to my bookshelf for a little perspective. In this case it was to a short story Ayn Rand published in 1970 called “The Comprachicos,” where she wrote about the effects of the progressive education in the 60s grounded in John Dewey’s philosophies. This was education designed to cripple the mind and undermine its ability to accurately deal with reality. Sound familiar? Rand created a superb metaphor for what this type of Competency/Ideas first, instead of facts, education could do to the mind of a high school graduate by comparing it to the faculty of sight.

“Try to project what you would feel if your eyesight were damaged in such a way that you were left with nothing but peripheral vision. You would sense vague, unidentifiable shapes floating around you, which would vanish when you tried to focus on them, then would reappear on the periphery and swim and switch and multiply.”

Now that is a good example except this type of manipulation of Ideas, beliefs, values, and emotions starts in preschool now so there would be no memory of any other way to see. Peripheral vision would become each student’s idea of what it meant to “see”. Likewise, a mind taught to use ideas first to filter experiences is being trained “to use concepts, but he uses concepts by a child’s perceptual method. He uses them as concretes, as the immediately given.” [Italics in original]

It is a bit unnerving, isn’t it, to know that Rand was worried about where the behavioral sciences wanted to go with the mind even back in 1970? She even had a term for it–the student’s “psycho-epistemology.” So our student would be trained to use words and concepts like a parrot and believe they had ‘understanding’. To be willing to transfer those ideas and concepts to new situations where an expert would know their use was inappropriate–the Inapt Analogy we can call it. Without facts though, the student will not.

In the Trilogy I just finished I argued that it appears to me to be a consensus about what education should be in the future and that politicians and think tanks from the so-called Right and Left, admittedly Progressive or declaratively conservative or “for limited government and markets,” seem to be describing a common vision. That vision again takes us back to John Dewey as Steven Rockefeller described his vision of Democratic Humanism. It would act as a religious faith best implemented through the schools and other social institutions. So when someone pitches education grounded in Conceptual Understandings, Guiding Ideas, Cross-Cutting Themes and Concepts, or other ways to describe the same general instructional practice, remember why John Dewey wanted this technique to become the core of education. This is true even if the pitch person insists this technique is actually a form of classical education or intended to mold character in desirable ways.

Dewey “proposes that ideas are guides to action in concrete problemmatic situations, that is, ‘plans of operations to be performed or already performed.'” The antipathy we have found towards lectures and textbooks makes far more sense as we switch to education where “ideas are not correctly conceived as reproductions of what already exists, but as plans of something to be done and anticipations of some result to follow. They are tools, instrumentalities.” Fits with the Maker Movement and Project-Based Learning now, doesn’t it? Especially when we add on this quote: “The validity or truth of an idea can only be determined empirically by putting the idea to use and observing the consequences of the actions to which the idea leads.”

Remember all the current emphasis on relevance and real world problems? Evidence-based policy making using data? In Dewey’s vision for an education that can lead to a reconstruction of society, emphasizing moral issues plays a crucial role. Students are expected to regularly identify “the causes of moral and social problems in concrete situations and on framing ideals with reference to the available means for overcoming such problems.” So ideals need to be connected to real world action. Otherwise, “ideals that are framed apart from the study of problems and possibilities in concrete situations are dreams, wish-fantasies, and useless as instrumentalities in directing practical affairs.” Anyone unclear as to why the new federal Every Student Succeeds Act requires not tests per se, but that states use performance assessments that involve activities and tasks to see if the stipulated learning is occurring can simply reread those two sentences.

If it’s not action-oriented it may not guide or motivate future behavior. Likewise, if school is merely intellectual, the desired future behaviors may not occur. Social and emotional learning, whatever the given rationale, a Whole Child emphasis, Head, Heart, and Hand, as well as soft skills, are all consistent with what Dewey also recognized–the Role of the Heart in Moral Life. That way “prizing and appraising unite in the direction of action.” Dewey and every other progressive since culminating now in where Deeper Learning (pushed by the Hewlett Foundation as part of 21st Century Learning) is going recognizes that “Reason divorced from emotional involvement has no moving power.” Can you say student engagement as a necessary 21st century classroom practice to be an effective teacher?

Dewey’s conception of education and learning fits perfectly with what ESSA now requires and Competency education generally. It fits with the kind of effectiveness that will get a school charter renewed and allow a CMO (Charter Management Company) to expand. It fits with what will make online learning an example of Best Practices for Student Growth. In none of these instances though is the Learning about the transmission of knowledge in a traditional sense. No, it’s about what kind of person the classroom activities are helping to create. “Growth means reinforcing those habits that contribute to human well-being and reconstructing those habits that do not.” Since none of us can even get an honest answer from most of the advocates for the Common Core as well as against it as to what they really envision for 21st century education, do not expect to be the arbiter of what constitutes your own or your child’s well-being.

For Dewey then and for any school or other education provider wanting access to taxpayer money now (federal, state, or local), “learning means an increased perception of the meaning of things that leads to a modification of character (i.e., of basic dispositions and attitudes). In short, growing and learning involve the reconstruction and transformation of the self leading to an improved capacity of the self to adjust to its environment and to control and direct subsequent experience.

The concept of habit is the fundamental idea in Dewey’s psychology of the development of the self or character. Dewey insists that the self is essentially identical with its active interests, purposes, and choices. There is no self apart from these activities. The core of the self is formed and defined by the concrete things about which it cares and by the choices it makes in pursuit of these things.”

Guess what? If, like me, you are an expert on the actual implementation it is easy to read that biography of Dewey and recognize the actual current significance. For those of you with more of a life than I have managed since I started researching and writing on all this, first of all I congratulate you. Secondly, let me call everyone’s attention to two examples in just the past week quietly putting Dewey’s vision into widespread effect without even using his name.

First, many of the elite institutions of higher education have joined together to redefine what they intend to look for in an admitted student. The initiative is called Making Caring Common and it looks for non-minority students for whom acting on behalf of others and for the common good and to transform existing institutions and local environments has been shown to be a way of life. http://www.gse.harvard.edu/news/16/01/turning-tide-inspiring-concern-others-and-common-good-through-college-admissions

How’s that for an effective means to change the behaviors and practices at every high school with aspirations of of Ivy League admissions? Anyone reading that report can recognize it will result in a change in emphasis to what Dewey wanted for the schools. The creation of a “free person who is able to form his or her purposes intelligently, evaluating desires and goals by the consequences which will result from acting on them, and one who is able to select and order the means necessary to realize chosen ends.”

A similar end result comes from this paper http://asiasociety.org/files/A_Rosetta_Stone_for_Noncognitive_Skills.pdf except it admits it wants to restructure the emphasis in primary and secondary schools. The omnipresent rationale, as usual, is that this personality and psychological emphasis is necessary for future success in college, career, and life. The real reason, as is true of anything emanating from a Rockefeller-funded philanthropy like the Asia Society, is to advance the vision of the future Dewey called Democratic Humanism and others call Marxist Humanism. As Dewey, Ayn Rand, and Uncle Karl all knew and we need to recognize to protect ourselves and our children, collectivists need to target the emotions and personality to realize their plans for us.

Why? Dewey insisted that “unrest, impatience, irritation, and hurry that are so marked in life are inevitable accompaniments of a situation in which individuals do not find support and contentment in the fact that they are sustaining and sustained members of a social whole.” That’s what education that targets the personality and forces regular practices of altruism and actions grounded in provided ideas can all be manipulated to do. That’s why we have such a coordinated push now.

We have a sustained push from the Left and the Right, from the religious and atheists, from the global bureaucrat or ex-politician to the local mayor or city council member. All pushing practices that, whatever their personal beliefs and expectations in advocating for them, were nevertheless developed to “generate the sense of shared values and organic interconnection needed to harmonize society and to integrate and set free the personalities of contemporary men and women.”

If terms like Marxist Humanism seem off-putting, let’s just translate it as Dewey and his biographer Steven Rockefeller did and ask “Can a material, industrial civilization be converted into a distinctive agency for liberating the minds and refining the emotions of all who take part in it?” If a politician claims to want Quality Education for All Students, you might want to inform him or her as to what that actually entails.

When I get upset about the 2014 Bipartisan and Bicameral piece of federal legislation known as WIOA that all the candidates running for President who are US Senators voted for, it is because it fits perfectly with Dewey’s insistence that a planned economy would be needed for democratic socialism to be achieved and it was best implemented at the local level. After all, what is WIOA but legislation with the effect of controlling the ends of education as well as allowing for “social control of industry and the use of government agencies for constructive social ends” just as Dewey sought.

Let me close by pointing out that those of us not employed by the public sector or businesses getting taxpayer dollars are unlikely to find any of these desired ends particularly constructive.

 

 

 

 

Incarcerated By Their Minds: False Narratives, Compulsion Via the Law, and Believing in Unicorns

When I looked into Tim O’Reilly, whose company was touting the Haunted by Data video from the last post, he turned out to be a great admirer of a professor Alfred Korzybski. Now that was a new name on my horizon, but his point that the brain’s neural networks, coupled to available language, constrain how each of us interprets our experiences, was not new at all. It fits with Classic systems thinking as well as the reason for Whole Language reading instruction under its various names. There is a story told about Korzybski that fits right into why transformationalists want to Frame Orientation via a “Well-Organized Mind.” Here goes:

“One day, Korzybski was giving a lecture to a group of students, and he interrupted the lesson suddenly in order to retrieve a packet of biscuits, wrapped in white paper, from his briefcase. He muttered that he just had to eat something, and he asked the students on the seats in the front row if they would also like a biscuit. A few students took a biscuit. ‘Nice biscuit, don’t you think,’ said Korzybski, while he took a second one. The students were chewing vigorously. Then he tore the white paper from the biscuits, in order to reveal the original packaging. On it was a big picture of a dog’s head and the words ‘Dog Cookies.’ The students looked at the package, and were shocked. Two of them wanted to vomit, put their hands in front of their mouths, and ran out of the lecture hall to the toilet. ‘You see,’ Korzybski remarked, ‘I have just demonstrated that people don’t just eat food, but also words, and that the taste of the former is often outdone by the taste of the latter.'”

False narratives can make Dog Biscuits seem palatable and turn actual healthy practices into something we avoid at all costs. Just the tool if transformational economic, social, and economic change are sought, but being open and overt would likely result in effective opposition. In 1968 the US Office of Education awarded SRI International at Stanford an Educational Policy Research Center grant to “investigate alternative future possibilities for the society and their implications for education policy.” The resulting scenarios were later written up with this 1973 quote from a Fred Polak being a lead epigraph to frame the plans:

“Awareness of ideal values is the first step in the conscious creation of images of the future and therefore the creation of culture, for a value is by definition that which guides toward a valued future…”

If that seems a bit scifi and premeditated, the actual study stated that its specific purpose was “to chart, insofar as possible, what changes in the conceptual premises underlying Western society would lead to a desirable future.” Well, that purpose certainly puts a new spin on what the acronym NAEP–National Assessment of Educational Progress–was really planning to monitor when it was created in the same time frame. Perhaps we should just start assuming that when it comes to K-12 education, in the US and globally, false narratives are the norm and have been for decades. Last Friday I was at a False Narrative Extravaganza being billed as the Fulton/Atlanta School Justice Partnership Summit “Pipelines to Pathways: The Problem, the Solutions, the Actions.”

Transformation Ready to Proceed, in other words, and it was full of influential people from lots of Atlanta police officers, Georgia Supreme Court justices, juvenile justice judges and administrators and school district officials. The ‘incarcerated by their minds’ comment was actually from the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice about needing to shift the focus from punishment to “reform, reshape, and rehabilitate those individuals [juvenile offenders] to become productive citizens.” It was a prelude to a presentation by a Georgia DoED Deputy Super and a former school psychologist, Dr. Garry McGiboney, called “Changing the Conversation About Student Discipline” to promote PBIS  and Positive School Climate [see tags for previous posts on point] as “what it takes to heal these broken kids.”

‘Broken’ because they are growing up in “unsafe environments and unstable homes.” After all “people and their environment are NOT separate things,” according to Dr McGiboney. “Behavior is a function of the person and their environment,” and to reiterate the point, McGiboney cited notorious Frankfurt School social psychologist Kurt Lewin [tag] as having created a formula for change. To make things even more interesting, False Attribution Theory then came in (by name) as Dr McGiboney complained that too many administrators looked to “understand the behavior of others by attributing causation to feelings, beliefs, intentions, and personality” instead of the “situational contexts” kids have grown up under. “Attribution of cause” affects the “doled out consequences”.

So if someone who grew up in bad circumstances misbehaves at school, their poor behavior gets excused as due to “environment.” Children who grew up in better circumstances and behave well in the classroom nevertheless need PBIS in every classroom and a Positive School Climate in every school so their values, feelings, beliefs, intentions, personality, attitudes, etc. can all be targeted and rearranged by the school. I guess if a student is not Incarcerated by their Mind when they come to school, they certainly will be by the end of a preschool and K-12 grounded in these psychological and mental health practices. Dr McGiboney actually sold this as “school climate matters to student outcomes.” Well, of course it does since SEL is now a crucial component of how ‘learning,’ Growth, and ‘student outcomes’ are measured.

The audience would not know that though and simply listening to the presentation they would believe that PBIS and Positive School Climate were nifty Georgia ideas and not federal mandates and requirements under Georgia’s NCLB federal waiver. Not to pick on Dr McGiboney, but I was down at the State DoED the day after they got that federal waiver. State officials that day did not seem too happy I knew that the School Climate Center guidelines required schools to have a social justice emphasis. What can I say? I read a lot. That is also how I know that all the hype about how PBIS and Positive School Climates will help reading achievement contradicts Georgia’s NCLB waiver. As I noted in my book, it explicitly made sure that an inability to read would no longer be a basis for holding a student back from promotion.

That’s one way to increase graduation rates, huh? Dr McGiboney closed with a truly poignant story about a potential suicide incident at a high school that was physically in terrible shape–dirty, broken windows–, in other words, a terrible physical environment. He related that the girl asked him if “he believed in unicorns” and he said yes, because he believed she needed to hear that. Years later, she reached out to him and talked about how she had pulled it together and lived a successful adult life. Her turnaround and the importance of environment then once again became the pitch for PBIS and Positive School Climate.

PBIS, Restorative Justice, Positive School Climate, and social and emotional learning generally are all targeting the personality and values. Tragic story and lots of false narratives used to sell something as a good idea that is actually another way of pushing the UNESCO vision we met in the last post without admitting that. Few in the audience understood that these measures are not in addition to an academic focus. They are actually a substitution for it as the new purpose of school and education. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3744335/pdf/nihms-493001.pdf , supported by multiple federal agencies and grants, confesses the intention to blur the distinction between student learning and mental health outcomes. All are deemed part of student success.

In 1987, then Princeton Professor and now President of the Ivy League University of Pennsylvania, Amy Gutmann, published a book–Democratic Education. It laid out a new vision for K-12 and higher education and worried about the still prevalent and “well-intentioned misperception that [teachers’] obligation is to impart knowledge, not to develop the moral character of their students.” It is my belief that all these various rationales we keep encountering on why all schools must use PBIS as a core component in each classroom and Positive School Climate practices in every school attempt to stealthily use the law as an enforcer. The required agenda is actually the UNESCO vision as well as what Gutmann laid out as the necessary right of the State “to shape the political values, attitudes, and modes of behavior of future citizens.”

Hide it under the alluring title of “Character development” as well. http://character.org/  Everyone knows too many kids now have deficits in this area. Selling this political agenda honestly would create objections. So we get all these false narratives and problems where the offered solutions are always headed in the same direction. Change the student at the level of their mind and personality. Call it conscious social reproduction and insist that it is about altering the future, just like SRI also had in mind. If the phrase Incarcerated by their Minds still seems a bit strong, how should we describe this intent: “To cultivate in children the character that feels the force of right reason is an essential purpose of education in any society.”

This is Guttmann’s vision of conscious social reproduction and its ties to education. Every child must be educated “to be capable of participating in collectively shaping their society.” She does believe in the ability of the majority to bind everyone as long as each person gets to participate in policy deliberations. Public policy directs society and the economy. People have a human right to have their needs met. In Dr. McGiboney’s vision where environment is all, there should then be no more ‘disruptive behaviors.’ Back to Gutmann, we have all schools, public and private, with an obligation to create “a set of secular beliefs, habits, and ways of thinking that support democratic deliberation …compatible with a wide variety of religious commitments.” Parents have no right to object either.

I am closing this post with the disclaimer I do not know who at that Summit was aware of the broader agenda I have covered in this post. Because the vision though fits precisely with where the UN has said we are all going by 2030, my guess is a few are aware this is all a sales pitch backward mapping from desired transformations to get to a new vision of the future. It is also Atlanta, home of the new Civil and Human Rights museum, so it is probably not a coincidence Gutmann’s vision ties so tightly to what Martin Luther King called the “Beloved Community” [tag] vision for the future.

Pipelines to Prison and School Discipline Problems in 2015 have been worsened by these previous educational reforms that had no interest in teaching reading or math properly. Now tragic bad individual behaviors are selling a vision where school and education are not really about knowledge in the traditional sense at all.

I simply want all of us to be able to recognize a Dog Biscuit, whatever it is being called, before we take that first bite.