Now won’t Performance Assessments and a total alteration of the nature of education come in really handy for such a goal? That title is from an August 7, 2012 presentation in Portland, Oregon by Paul Ehrlich on conducting research with his Millennium Assessment of Human Behavior (MAHB) that we have already talked about. It was his later remark about “creating a vision of a future in 2050” that caught my attention most. It reminded me of a remark by Norwegian Jorgen Sanders on why he could be so confident that his 2052 predictions were not just a matter of probability. He said it was because processes were already in place to make the desired future come true. The UN Secretary General has said within the last year that there is no further need for treaties. That UN education initiatives will be sufficient to realize its desired future. That’s a lot more confidence than I feel and I certainly have more control over my future than a bureaucrat talking of societies and economies with millions of people and activities. What’s really up?
This post was originally going to just be about Professor and Change Agent Extraordinaire David T. Conley and how the Common Core implementation is taking terms like Noncognitive and christening them anew as Metacognitive Learning Skills. And the Ed Week essay of January 23, 2013 “Rethinking the Notion of ‘Noncognitive'” was likely to be the last time anyone acknowledged there is no content knowledge there. Just a hat trick to get rid of the deliberate departure from a rational thought focus.
I recognized Conley’s name as being involved with Outcomes Based education in the 90s and Oregon’s push for a change in K-12 focus to proficiency passing and a Certificate of Mastery. And that Proficiency Passing sounded a lot like the current drumbeat to Move On As Soon as a Student reaches Competency.
No new ideas. Just new names. But when I did my search for Conley up popped all the work he has done in recent years for the Gates Foundation and various states getting ready to implement Common Core on what College Ready really means. And it was stunningly inconsistent with what we are all expecting College Ready to mean. Even apart from the stories I have written on altering the nature of college to fit with where Common Core is taking K-12. Now I really had the makings of a story on the continued duplicity involved with the actual Common Core classroom effect. But it was a remark in a 2010 Kappan interview that shifted my focus back to Portland and Ehrlich and whether I could link Common Core and MAHB to that Future Earth Alliance I have written about and other UN transformation activities.
Conley makes no bones about the fact that Common Core is actually “an overhaul of the system from top to bottom”. Absurd but it is what is going on. On top of that though he says this new education system will be “based on the real educational needs of students, with an eye constantly toward the future world and society in which students will live.” Now that futurist talk reminded me of William Spady’s Transformational OBE Future Life Roles http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/future-empowerment-paradigm-or-educentric-tradition-guess-which-began-its-reign-20-years-ago/ . And his links to Portland. And Bela Banathy’s. And the fact that Spady says in his 1997 book that Oregon stuck with OBE even after it became notorious. And that Peter Senge and the Waters Foundation now consider the Portland School District a Systems Thinking exemplar.
Two more connections you likely do not know, Portland is considered to be the ICLEI Agenda 21 role model for Regionalism. And Vicki Phillips who now heads the Gates Foundation’s Education Initiatives was the Portland School Super. Leaving Pennsylvania to take the job. So Portland is Ground Zero for the idea that education can be an instrument to transform the future. Just like Ehrlich says he wants to do globally.
Conley’s essay wanted to establish “semantic parity between cognitive knowledge and noncognitive skills” like beliefs, attitudes, and feelings. Conley wants us to see knowledge and unfounded beliefs and feelings as “equals” which I suppose is one way to alter the future. Just needs some Name Laundering. And then he goes on to say that with this declaration of equality, “the relationship between the two would be less hierarchical, more symbiotic.” Instead of the rational, well-stocked mind being in charge of behavior, emotions and false beliefs (or there would be no reason to dethrone knowledge) would govern. Exactly what Ehrlich says he wants to achieve. And quickly. Also sounds like his Newmindedness push of the late 80s.
Now I am not going to tease you further, I was able to locate a January 2013 issue of Human Dimensions where Anne and Paul Ehrlich announced that MAHB was working with IHDP, the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change. And IHDP is involved with UNESCO and the Future Earth Alliance and using the social sciences to reorient society. And in 2011 IHDP put out out a document describing precisely how it plans to use education to do just that. And I have a copy as of late yesterday. Busy weekend for Education’s Miss Marple. So I am not speculating about the Ehrlichs being involved with the global education transformation anymore just because of the similarities to what is being sought.
Which makes David Conley’s attempted official laundering of Noncognitive (the elements that made OBE so controversial) and College Ready so important. The Gates, Joyce, and Hewlett Foundations all help underwrite Ed Week and they are each deeply involved with elements of the implementation that vary tremendously from the popular sales job to parents and taxpayers of what Common Core is about. You don’t get the position of headline essay unless this is an official position to be distributed widely. Which it of course was.
Conley’s March 2007 report for the Gates Foundation called Toward A More Comprehensive Conception of College Readiness wants to put the focus of K-12 on creating “habits of mind,” which he describes as a range of cognitive and metacognitive capabilities. And these are to be intentionally practiced at school until they become habitual. Something you need not even think about. Without that Ed Week essay we would not know he is referring there to our old controversial friends–values, attitudes, beliefs, and dispositions. Every parent sends their child to school to obtain “high degrees of self-awareness and intentionality.”
College Ready does have some knowledge in mind from the phrase “be able to know and do.” Unfortunately it just means the Big Ideas and Concepts. No need for detail. And College Ready rejects a focus on “de-contextualized content and facts.” No what content is allowed through into the classroom must be experiential. Something that can be interacted with as a task or activity or project. So students can apply their little bit of knowledge to real life problems that need solving. Students get to “understand themselves as instruments of communication.” It does sound ludicrous but Conley’s explicit goal is to set a gateway so low that virtually everyone can get through to college. “Academic behaviors,” which sounds solid, turns out to “consist largely of self-monitoring skills and study skills.” Study skills turns into time management, using information resources, and “communicating with teachers and advisors.”
Show up regularly with a pulse and a high school diploma entitling you to attend college no questions asked is yours. Another component of College Readiness, Contextual Skills and Awareness, turns out to be “interpersonal and social skills” and an awareness of the “privileged information necessary to understand how college operates as a system and culture.”
Remember these are the Learning Goals for ALL students. The highly capable as well. This type of Social Engineering via K-12 education hiding behind duplicitous definitions is precisely how UNESCO bureaucrats and the Ehrlichs and numerous professors addicted to all the NSF grants to use the social sciences and education plan to get “a near-total revision of human behavior.” All these schemers can alter the future. What they CANNOT achieve is their desired Vision. And they seem to not know or they have forgotten that lesson from the past. I mentioned Vicki Phillips, the former Portland School Super. In 2010 she moved to Gates with the responsibility College Ready. Not Common Core. Not creating consistent programs of solid content from state to state as the PR campaigns suggest.
College Ready. Conley’s College Ready. Search it out. He has repeated this vision of what College Ready really is numerous times since 2007. EPIC appears to be bringing in the dough that was once your money. Or maybe Bill and Melinda’s or Warren’s. Maybe Andrew Carnegie’s too.
When the Democratic Platform for 2012 mentioned education they did not talk about the Common Core. The content standards really only exist to gain the initial political approval from the states. They mentioned having All Students College and Career Ready. We have already discussed that Career Ready actually has a largely Communitarian mandate. To be demonstrated daily.
Now we know what College Ready means. So nobody gets to know much but they will be well practiced at believing and feeling and collaborating. And self-monitoring. Sounds like a Blood Pressure check.
Being stealthily prepared for that Ehrlich vision. At taxpayer expense. With everything aimed at removing the rational mind and the legitimacy of acting as an individual.
In the name of what sounds like a laudable goal to be embraced.