Structuring Minds and Hearts to Quietly Gain Power to Act Directly on the Individual Citizen

You may have noticed that first I figure out what is really planned for K-12 classrooms and then I figure out why. It helps when I discover that certain foundations, like Rockefeller or Carnegie, have been financing specific education visions for decades. Hard not to intuit “So you believe this fits in with your other work and gets to the same ends as initiatives that now go by different names?” It’s almost like a Treasure Hunt except what drives me is a recognition that if this continues there will cease to be much treasure outside of political connections or a tax-free endowment. Being a dedicated researcher though I was recently reading Michael Cole’s  1989 The Construction Zone: Working for Cognitive Change in School laying out how to use classroom activity, especially via computer interactions, to create the desired ‘intrapsychological’ changes that would guide perception and likely behavior going forward. That precise word kept being used.

Now before you exclaim that I am not going to be in the running for How to Have Fun on a Weekend, let me say in my defense I knew I was going to be stuck somewhere for several hours and wanted a few options on what to focus on. So I was also reading Martin Erdman’s Building the Kingdom of God on Earth as suggested by a blog reader. Maybe that simultaneous pondering first of how, made the proclaimed why jump out at me. Back when the Protestant churches were far more influential than they are today, there was a pre-World War II global vision that they could be the institutions that to create the “state of mind which must precede any genuine progress toward world order.” That quote was by future Secretary of State John Foster Dulles in 1944 to the graduating class of the Princeton Theological Seminary.

It is precisely the same view of changing hearts and minds we now see in the schools, especially K-12 education. Education became the social vehicle for transformations in prevailing beliefs in a collectivist direction. Beyond this constant theme over the last 100 years that the way to change the nature of the real world, politically and socially going forward, “consists no longer in physical obstacles but only in the minds of men. The difficulty of so changing the minds of men, even in commonwealths so advanced, is hard to exaggerate…The work of effecting that change is essentially work for the churches; but they cannot begin it till political thinkers have clearly said what the change should be.”

Now substitute the word ‘schools’ there for ‘churches’ as the far more effective long term influence now. Also recognize from the last post that Uncle Karl is absolutely one of those political thinkers and that the principals and administrators dictating required classroom practices, and psychologists creating the measuring assessments, are all now actually looking to force and then monitor precisely just those sought changes in students’ minds and hearts. Now one more quote is crucial to what I really think is now intended under euphemistically phrased practices and policies like Competency-Based Education, digital learning, formative assessment or assessment for learning (notice next time you see that phrase that for is italicized just like that for emphasis).

In England before World War I, a politically influential group called the Round Table laid out its 20th Century international vision. It had ties to both the famous Rhodes Trust and to what is now the well-known Council on Foreign Relations. Deep pockets, influential, in a position to maneuver any agreed upon plans into place over time is a succinct way to describe any of these types of groups. What I care about, because I believe it was the goal that led these people to want to use both the churches then and the schools now, was a desired “power to act directly on the individual citizen.” That’s not the view of the role of governments in common law countries like the UK, the US, Canada, or Australia. Being upfront about these intentions and goals is a great way to prevent their ever happening.

Remember that 2004 Cooperation Agreement between UNESCO and Microsoft that global ed reform advocate and financier Bill Gates signed personally (November 6 post)? It explicitly mentioned Etienne Wenger and his concept of Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning and Identity. Needless to say, I got a copy of that 1998 book so we know that to Gates, Microsoft, and the UN entities:

“knowing is not just a matter of information. In practice, understanding is always straddling the known and the unknown in a subtle dance of the self. It is a delicate balance. Whoever we are, understanding in practice is the art of choosing what to know and what to ignore in order to proceed with our lives.”

Except all this insider talk of intrapsychological structuring, mental maps, and cognitive change is actually about someone else designating in advance what is likely to be noticed and ignored. All those references to ‘lenses’ with no optometrist in sight. How’s THAT for the ultimate power to act directly? On the importance of guiding available vocabulary, limiting the genuine ability to read fluently, and moving away from a personal store of factual knowledge, here’s Wenger again:

“An adequate vocabulary is important because the concepts we use to make sense of the world direct both our perception and our actions. We pay attention to what we expect to see, we hear what we can place in our understanding, and we act according to our worldviews.”

That’s why we have a quiet but coordinated global effort per Wenger to mandate a shift in K-12 education so that the “focus [is] not on knowledge as an accumulated commodity–as the ability to repeat the past–but on learning as a social system productive of new meanings.”

Now we can infer that John Foster and friends and the Round Table would be pleased if they were still around, but we can in fact know what UNESCO, the Gates Foundation, and Microsoft have in store for us via this 2012 Video (23 minutes and well worth it) on the New Classroom Experience. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EG6PVCMb3tE Now this Learning Without Frontiers vision is linked by UNESCO http://www.unesco.org/education/lwf/ to the same troubling transdisciplinary vision of changing the student we examined in detail here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/opting-out-as-the-remedy-may-mean-accidentally-accelerating-nonconsensual-transformations/

Maybe Queenstown was picked to be the global Transdisciplinary pilot because it’s just so much fun to travel to the Barrier Reef in Australia at someone else’s expense. Let’s not let that non-updated website fool us since Learning Without Frontiers global conferences ran annually from 2005 to that one in 2012. Now those same aims are lurking in Charles Fadel’s Curriculum Redesign Project, GELP, ATC21S (17:42 mark in that video), and especially in KnowledgeWorks’ High Tech High and the work now of the League of Innovative Schools.

Since we have already examined all those entities previously on this blog, let’s briefly look at what confessions Anthony Salcito made in that video. Consistent with Wenger’s vision, Salcito is annoyed that “what we’re learning hasn’t changed.” He, and his employer we may presume, want to “fundamentally change what we are teaching and assessing” and “get ready for the workplace.” There’s that controversial School to Work vision again coming in by stealth this time. He is excited that it will be a different kind of workplace. I suppose that’s because Microsoft says so.  In what may be my favorite confession of the social engineering intent behind all these sought ‘immersive experiences’ that combine ‘visual representations and emotional connections,’ Salcito explains the “technology advances the emotional response.”

Not your desired emotional response, silly. The emotional response at an intrapsychological level that Planners have decided students need to have to prime that perception and those future actions. Beyond that confession, listen at 18:02 to hear that History is no longer about content, but rather a means to “learn leadership.” Algebra is now a means to learn holistic abstract thinking. Apparently the Planners would like to specify all those internal structures of mental interconnections, instead of having whiz kids develop their own. Neither controlled or equitable I guess. We might be troubled by what Institute for the Future’s Jane MacGonnigal declared as the intentions for Game Based Learning, but Salcito embraces it (19:26).  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/when-gaming-intends-to-shape-and-distort-our-perceptions-of-everything-around-us-viva-la-revolution/

Notice Salcito admits a desire to use Game-based Theory to “reenforce positive behavior.” Their definition of it, not ours. Likewise, he recommends Service Based Learning as a way to get students “fully away from content” in order to apply this theory of learning. This experimental theory of transformative political change created at the intrapsychological level in the minds and hearts of unsuspecting students.

There’s a much shorter Learning Without Frontiers video, also from 2012,  http://vimeo.com/50438579 that says that “if we get it wrong, we will jeopardize an entire generation” of students.

I am asserting that if this vision of learning goes as intended and planned, we will lose more than a generation of students. Education for transformation at an intrapsychological level is a superb way to generate economic famine for virtually everyone.

Real economic wealth lies in the human mind. And too many are currently determined to extinguish that believing falsely that this mind arson creates willing subjects and more for others.

You can see why I have so little patience for Opt Out as the final parental remedy and solution for what is being changed in the K-12 classroom.

With all these trackable declarations, it may turn out to be a “Look Squirrel!” misdirection while the intrapsychological structural changes are rolling along.

 

Locking in Marx’s Dream: Psychophysiological Means Precisely What We Fear as the Real Goal of Education

I always feel odd writing down that infamous name, but as I learned when I was researching my book, Uncle Karl is never very far away from the theories behind the actual classroom implementation. Sometimes the link is too direct and too huge in its implications for me to use a cute euphemism either. Especially when Marx is cited directly as the support that leads to all the current hyping of Neuroscience and Brain-based instruction. How direct? Well, Etienne Wenger from our last post wrote a book Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning, and Identity that I found deeply troubling. Diving into the relevant footnotes pulled up a book I had never heard of that turned out to be $800 used on Amazon when I looked.

Not wanting to eat PB& J sandwiches for the next 6 months to secure a copy of The Concept of Activity in Soviet Psychology, I decided to go internet surfing to see what cited Soviet psychologist AN Leontiev actually wrote about “The problem of activity in psychology.” In case you haven’t noticed, the requirement of active learning and a shift away from print, lectures, and textbooks is what I would call omnipresent in the real Common Core implementation. Knowing how crucial learning tasks are I thought I would gain some more useful insights. What I was not anticipating was for Leontiev to lay out aims and practices I recognized from all my research and then cite repeatedly to pages from Marx and Engels or from some of Marx’s other works.

Suddenly euphemisms won’t do, not with stated aims like using education and carefully crafted classroom or digital virtual activities to literally “lead to a reconstruction of the ensemble of brain psychophysiological functions.” If the aim becomes analyzing which kinds of student activities produce what types of physical changes in their brains, it sure would explain all the interest now in functional MRI, adaptive software, and longitudinal data. When I read those words and others being attributed by Leontiev to what Marx and Engels really desired that are as provocative as stating:

“This convenient formula [of separating psychology and physiology] leads into a greater sin, the sin of isolating the psyche from the work of the brain”

Waiting until the next book could be published simply will not do. Just last week, independent of this research, someone asked me if I was familiar with the White House’s new Fattah Neuoroscience Initiative. The answer was no, but it did not take much insight to guess that it would be linked to John Holdren, which turned out to be quite correct. http://docs.house.gov/meetings/AP/AP19/20140227/101775/HHRG-113-AP19-Wstate-HoldrenJ-20140227.PDF is some recent testimony from him on all that federal activity involving the physical structure of the human brain. Notice though that Holdren leaves out that Digital Promise and the League of Innovative Schools also report to him and they happen to be carrying out precisely the kind of education activity that Leontiev wrote about.

Holdren also leaves out his long time ties to Paul Ehrlich and his stated desire for Newmindedness no longer grounded in a logical, rational mind. Just think of the implications of all this Neuroscience and Grit, Perseverence research for Ehrlich’s current global research project–MAHB–the Millennium Assessment of Human Behavior. Now that I have reminded everyone of the real current links to where K-12 in the US and globally is going, let me add one more thing. I found this graphic Leontiev book on servers at the Laboratory for Comparative Human Cognition at UC-San Diego. The place where Michael Cole and Yrjo Engestrom [see tags] have created the global base for Cultural Historical Activity Theory in the years since the Berlin Wall fell.

Happy 25th anniversary for that Happy Event by the way. Let’s commemorate that Death of Tyranny by continuing to expose that so much of the ideology we thought we were leaving behind in 1989 came on into the West invisibly through a new kind of psychology and a new vision for K-12 education. To bury such destructive required collectivism once and for all we have to know it is there. If you have not yet read my book Credentialed to Destroy: How and Why Education Became a Weapon, get it.

The findings on this blog are not a substitute for it. They are the icing, cherries, and birthday candles. It simply keeps getting more pertinent with time. Given Leontiev’s disclosures though, we simply cannot escape the fact that everything now envisioned for the K-12 classroom globally in the 21st century is based on  a decision “at the beginning of the 1920s” in the Soviet Union to “consciously structure psychology on the basis of Marxism.”

Specific cites and everything. That psychology is sensory in its base, not mental as we have historically assumed, which really does explain all the links in the previous post. It is a view of psychology and education that “in the modern world psychology fulfills an ideological function.” Yes, which is why Leontiev keeps mentioning its use to create a consciousness in people suitable for a “socialistic, communistic society.” All three words, just like that. Apparently all our encounters with communitarianism and the references to meeting needs are part of this vision linked now directly to Uncle Karl. There’s that softening euphemism again. I guess I just cannot quite adjust to open proclamations of intent of the sort Leontiev uses:

“It must not be said that psychology has exhausted the treasure chest of Marxist-Leninist ideas. For this reason we turn again and again to the works of Karl Marx, which resolve even the most profound and complex theoretical problems of psychological science.”

What do we do when the actual and only support for what a charter or Principal or District Office or foundation grant are mandating for a K-12 classroom turns out to be Karl Marx’s social theories for how to gain the kind of brain and personality that would fit his vision for the future? Here again is what Leontiev wrote, the old view of psychology and education:

“isolated cognition from sensory activity, from the living practical ties of man with the world that surrounded him…Introducing the concept of activity into the theory of cognition, Marx gave it a strictly materialistic sense: For Marx, activity in its primary and basic form was sensory, practical activity in which people enter into a practical contact with objects of the surrounding world, test their resistance, and act on them, acknowledging their objective properties.”

What happens when doing all that as a physical, sensory activity involving group participation becomes the very assessment of student ‘achievement’ or Growth?

What happens when the purpose of digital learning is to access a student’s internal “picture of the world” so that learning tasks, virtual reality gaming, and adaptive software can provide virtual and physical experiences to alter that picture in desired ways? Ways that are chosen by others for their intended effects on the student at a physical level.

What happens when, having cited to Marx and Engels on the effect of vocabulary and words generally on consciousness and perception, educators then do everything they can to limit vocabulary, manipulate the words and concepts that are supplied, and minimize the historic role of print on the mind?

What if K-12 education seeks to circumscribe human thought in the 21st century so that it is “nothing else but a derivative of practical activity”? With the stated goal being a “true solution to this problem of the origin and essence of human thought.” And why is human thought problematic?

Because independent rational human thought with access to a store of facts does not submit to Overlordship easily. All these required practices hiding now as pedagogy and Effective Teaching are all actually about subjugation of the mind.

And personality too. Leontiev’s Chapter 5 has with a lead-in header of “Personality as a Subject of Psychological Investigation.” How’s that for aspirational? Do free societies do that nonconsensually using deceit? That analysis, by the way, has to get to the relationship of “motives and needs” just like innovative education seeks to do.

Let’s end with an aspiration that does explain all the intended use of social and emotional learning and an emphasis on the Whole Child. It fits with all the current UN hype of the post-2015 Sustainable World that will meet the needs of all. It fits with the goals we have encountered that we become a “Spirit Society”. This is how Leontiev ended his vision of a new kind of education arising from a scientific, materialistic psychology grounded, he declared, in Marxism:

“Lost from view here is the fact that it is necessary also to go through a transformation of material consumption, that the possibility for everyone to satisfy these needs does away with the intrinsic value of things that satisfy them and eliminates that unnatural function that they fulfill in private ownership society…”

Lost no more and just in time. Historian Richard Pipes in the book mentioned in the two previous posts pointed out that even animals show repeatedly that acquisitivesness is innate. Trying to dislodge what is innate via K-12 Whole Child education premised on practical activity and social participation is simply not going to end well.

Now would be a great time to start recognizing the ancestry of all these required changes in the nature of education.

No more euphemisms. Not with the stakes this high or the aims so personally intrusive.

Authoritarian FantasyLand: A Place With Required Habits of Mind but Disdain for Facts

Back from my jaunt this week to Orange County, California to talk about all the things coming into K-12 classrooms under the cloaking banner of the Common Core. Since I was taking notes on Monday night and the pro-CC side zealously conceded a great deal in their prepared presentations, I thought we would talk about what was admitted upfront and what the implications are for all of us. It is safe to say that California is further along than many states so this will fit with what is or will soon be going on everywhere. If authoritarian seems awfully strong, it is partly a reaction to the number of speakers who insisted that the Common Core was now “the law” and there was thus no reason for further discussion. Now no one actually uttered the phrase “resistance is futile” or “submission is mandatory,” but that was the drift of the arguments.

Gone is any concept that the United States is a country conceived on a premise that the individual is ultimately so sacrosanct that even a king needs to ask permission to cross his threshold. No, if a school board, legislature, or city or regional council adopts a law or enacts a regulation, apparently obedience is now mandatory without further discussion. That crucial shift is one reason the authoritarian description seems apt. The other is the number of times I heard speakers, especially one who was a former California 4th District PTA President and a current Huntington Beach school board member utter phrases in support of the Common Core like “its purpose is to create habits of mind” and dictate “concepts to be absorbed” by the student. Another speaker spoke of “internalizing” knowledge.

All of those references, whether the speakers know this or not, are to what Soviet psychologist Piotr Galperin called theoretical instruction to guide future behavior. We covered it here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/transcending-the-individual-mind-as-the-analytical-unit-of-learning-while-still-guiding-how-we-will-act/ . My dictionary defines authoritarian as “unquestioning obedience to authority rather than individual freedom of judgment and action.” Now let’s face it, if concepts have been implanted in student’s psyche at an unconscious level, which all these speakers are admitting and I have been warning about, there’s not even any opportunity to question. Is there anybody out there that denies our definition is being more than met with these openly declared intentions?

One of the Board members read two passages from my book. One is that we are looking at the “Marxist theory of education.” I suppose he was trying to paint me as some kind of 21st Century McCarthy threatening to name names. As the book lays out in detail, Uncle Karl wanted education to be all about controlling consciousness. Let’s face it, the pro-CC speakers themselves admitted that aim several times. If educational theorists and professors use the M word among themselves for what they advocate, we get to use the term as well. That’s me–factual, not raving. The 2nd quote had to do with the assertion in the book that Common Core actually wants to limit knowledge. I explained quickly about how a concept-based education worked, but I have a better example to actually quote now that I am home with access to all my materials.

The term “rigor” and “cognitively demanding” both got used a lot as reasons for the shift to the Common Core. No one mentioned though that the purpose of this kind of classroom work was to foster a “tolerance for ambiguity” in the student. More psyche in the classroom crosshairs then. I mentioned in my testimony that to work the problem MUST be ambiguous, be previously untaught, or have no single correct answer.  http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/oct08/vol66/num02/Rigor-Redefined.aspx is a 2008 article by Harvard prof Tony Wagner elaborating just that–“a complex, multi-step problem that is different from any they’ve seen in the past.”

The pro-side did not care for my pointing out that when they stated that CC were “learning standards” they were saying it was about “social and emotional changes in the student” and “goals” for changing a student’s values, attitudes, beliefs, or behaviors.  That came out on rebuttal even though our former PTA President and Board member had cited “engaging experiences” as one of her reasons to support the CC transformation of the classroom. What precisely does she believe the “experiences” are getting at? Plus, I now have access to the standard definition of ‘rigor’ which is “the goal of helping all students develop the capacity to understand content that is complex, ambiguous, provocative, and personally or emotionally challenging.” I took that from an SREB powerpoint, but plenty of school districts use that quoted definition verbatim too.

Another reason cited in support of CC was it “promotes Equity.” As we say in the South “Yeehaw.” Dissimilar treatment of students in order to get them to the same outcomes is not likely to be a popular selling point, at least until we get a generation trained with those Anti-bias Standards from the last post. So we get Equity imposed invisibly by Supers and Civil Rights edicts and local city councils. Alarmingly, Brookings’ Metropolitanism guru, Bruce Katz (see tags)  announced this week http://www.brookings.edu/research/papers/2014/10/22-metro-growth-uk-us-katz  that  “it’s time we rewrote our own federalist contract [that would be the US Constitution] and realign power and responsibility for the modern era in which cities and metropolitan areas, rather than nations and states, drive economies and progress.”

Right into a ditch in all likelihood, but this is the political vision all these education reforms embodied in the full CC implementation are relying on as the future they are preparing our students for. In that link, you will find a link to a UK report that makes it clear that geography is being used to disguise the shift to the needs-based, economic justice vision that Uncle Karl lusted about achieving at some point in the future. As the report said “the scale of metros means they are best placed to drive the strategic integration of public services and economic development.”

That’s the vision for Manchester in the UK and the greater LA area, my neck of the woods in Georgia, and everywhere else as well. Everything I have read suggests a Folly of monumental proportions is planned, but it will be quite lucrative for a while to those connected vendors who form public-private partnerships to receive taxpayer money for meeting ‘needs’ like housing, education, or healthcare.

I want to close this discussion with a Keynote Address noted Change Agent Shirley McCune gave back in 1981 called “The Future of Educational Equity.” She saw “struggles for equity” as the “whole rationale for the formation of the United States” which tells us what can happen when we let graduate degrees in social work dictate how we educate our kids. What I found fascinating since I had always seen the Reagan Block Grants to state and local governments as a ‘conservative’ shift was how A-OK she was with this plan. So someone who wanted to see comparable economic and social outcomes among groups and “groups of people represented throughout society in proportion to their representation in the population” viewed state and local governments as the place to achieve that.

Something to think about as commentators assume that the Common Core is an acceptable dictate if a local school board requires it. That the only problem with the Common Core is the federal fingerprints all over it from Arne Duncan’s actions. Really? Authoritarianism that goes so far as to dictate personality traits at an unconscious level to drive future behavior is not a problem now as long as it is not federal authorities mandating it? McCune believed that the “only way that persons would be willing to ‘buy equity concerns’ is if it is demonstrated that it is an innate part of quality education.” That of course is precisely what embedding Racial Equity Outcomes in coursework or those Anti-Bias Framework do.

It’s McCune and others view of how to use a misleading term like quality education for “building a new consensus on equity.” She also viewed quality education for equity as about equipping students with the “highest level basic verbal and mathematical skills consistent with their individual ability.” The only way to read that language is that slower students will get a variety of ways to show their skills, but able students still cannot go beyond basic. They can just go faster through the basics.

Just as we are seeing with all the current emphasis on Career Pathways, where California is one of the lead pilots http://www.clasp.org/resources-and-publications/files/aqcp-framework-version-1-0/AQCP-Framework.pdf McCune’s plan for equity relied on ALL students now receiving a combined academic and vocational education where everyone would obtain “the skills and attitudes necessary for working cooperatively with both the same sex and opposite sex in the paid workforce and in the home.”

Finally McCune’s version of quality education “would equip students with the flexibility and self-confidence that would enable them to cope with the rapidly changing society through continuing adult learning and growth.” Doesn’t that sound just like what the Common Core is touting as having a Growth Mindset? Everything old is new again apparently until total transformation is finally achieved.

Apparently the products of a “quality education” grounded in ‘rigor’ will not object to the fundamental rewrite of our “federalist contract” and in the mean time, governments at all levels seem to be pursuing this Equity vision without any genuine disclosure or consent. Leaving it to the lady who reads too much and has for a very long time to lay it all out.

Hopefully Just In Time as the slogan goes.

Propagandizing the K-12 Classroom to Create Desired Worldviews for Change: the New Anti-Bias Standards

If we think of the Common Core as a bucket or a banner instead of pretending it is about the transmission of knowledge, its function becomes much clearer. All the changes that would cause an outcry if pursued separately, and in many cases already have created widespread popular rejection, get to Come on Down Anyway as the game show announcer would say. A science fiction geek might explain the Common Core as a cloaking device allowing controversial shifts to be put into place without exposure. Especially if the new materials are all “web-based” and just waiting to be downloaded.

We have already encountered the Southern Poverty Law Center and its social justice/Teaching Tolerance curriculum numerous times, most notably here. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/social-cohesion-can-commence-once-reality-is-born-largely-from-beliefs-and-boundaries-co-created-with-others/ SPLC has been even busier than we recognized though and has also created the US’s very first ABF–Anti-bias Framework-and Literacy-Based K-12 Anti-bias Curriculum called Perspectives for a Diverse America. http://www.tolerance.org/sites/default/files/general/Perspectives%20for%20a%20Diverse%20America%20User%20Experience.pdf

Now before I start raising anyone’s blood pressure by describing the ABF’s intentions, let’s go Down Under to a K-12 pilot Global Change Agent Michael Fullan was involved in about a decade ago. It was called the Dynamic Paradigm of Learning and Change and it “identifies key aspects of the need, nature, and means of changes in identity, dispositions and orientations to the world and others, to be required of educators [that’s the real reason why tenure is being taken away or greatly restricted now in the US], in order for them to be able to assist young people [that would be the children we entrust to adults and pay vast sums to actually know something] to achieve similar transformational outcomes.” Got that? Psychological changes. Shifts in values, attitudes, and how the world and other people are now to be perceived.

Education Queensland came right out and phrased the kind of Learning and Personal Change being sought in the individual student through K-12 education as a “new way of being” to be “required” of teachers and students. Remember Backward Mapping from our previous post? Well, Perspectives and the ABF offer “the opportunity to infuse CCSS implementation with social justice values.” How? Well, remember Literacy is now to be taught Across the Curriculum and the ABF has 4 domains: Identity, Diversity, Justice and Action. Does that sound alarmingly similar to “identity, dispositions and orientations to the world and others” to anyone else?

Each teacher now gets to, or must if his or her principal insists, use the Anti-bias anchor standards and “grade level outcomes of the ABF for backward planning” and “engage a spectrum of social justice topics and cultural and [italics in original] social emotional competencies–critical in today’s diverse classrooms.” Yes, that would be the real reason to eliminate tracking of the more academically talented and to require a Whole Child Classroom focus. If you think this is an outlier, remember that the NEA worked with the SPLC on its CARE Guide http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/shaping-a-mind-is-more-important-than-stuffing-it-grasping-the-psychosocial-key-to-fundamental-transformations/ .

The “rich text” available for download highlights and fosters the “exploration of identity, authentic accounts of real-life experiences, intergroup understanding, historical empathy, the awareness of prejudice and injustice, individual and collective struggles against injustice and–finally-action against injustice.” They do mean that latter part about forcing action by the way as in “Students will plan and carry out collective action against bias and injustice in the world and will evaluate what strategies are effective.” Hey, you didn’t think ‘engaging’ classwork was just going to be about video gaming, did you?

And we can all be relieved that the Perspectives topics “will go beyond the more common issues of race and ethnicity to include wealth and poverty, disabilities, religious discrimination and immigration.” Plus, as an added bonus to make sure that the desired changes in consciousness do occur, Perspectives “encompasses…less covered, equally important themes like gender, sexual orientation and class.”  It is supposedly the first “curriculum of its kind to offer an explicit blueprint designed to move students into the position of advocate.” Not to worry though. I can find no indication that the curriculum includes a Che Guevara beret kit or Mao’s Little Red Book as a Graphic Novel to hammer home that these are required orientations and dispositions.

Good to know then that the curriculum’s “marriage to the Common Core will allow it to be widely implemented.” The ‘backwards design’ approach of ABF and Perspectives does sound better than the List of Twenty Things Your Child Must Now Believe and Be Willing To Do, but it merely masks the nature of the sought change through the K-12 classroom. We can just imagine all the hateful things students will hear about the “dominant culture” and how they will just blossom as they are told repeatedly to “develop positive social identities based on their membership in multiple groups in society.” Students may not be able to identify precisely why the US pushed to separate from Britain and form a new country, but they will now learn to “recognize that power and privilege influence relationships on interpersonal, intergroup and institutional levels and consider how they have been affected by those dynamics.”

Feel the Outrage! is such a useful tool if transformative action is the End Game being sought. The outrage might be misplaced. It may be destructive, but those are mere details. I can just imagine how students who have been piloting this framework and thus getting to use the classroom over years to “identify figures, groups, events and a variety of strategies and philosophies relevant to the history of social justice around the world” would feel if a School Board then felt empowered to step in and tell them to remember the parts of American History that encourage patriotism. Walkout maybe? To commemorate what Gandhi would have done? Any other parent think they might slam the door in the face of a child “inspired to go home and talk to their parents about purchasing clothes from companies that practice ethical manufacturing”?

Of course that confrontation may be the first alert to the nature of the fundamental psychological changes going to the core of a child’s ‘being’ occurring in the classroom. By then it may well be hard to reverse, which is, I suspect, a big part of why the Common Core label makes such a fine cloaking device. “Web-based” means even the School Board may not know. I want to close with some related confessions that fit with the desired changes being sought that is probably not on your radar either. In 2004, a book by Seattle educator Barbara Ray Gilles called Nurturing Civilization Builders: Birthing the Best Schools in the World.

Gilles was kind enough to admit why we are hearing so much about collaboration as a necessity and the need for schools to create Communities of Learners with a single shared understanding after perspectives have been shared. She pointed out that “school classrooms encompass the largest community that young people experience.” If changes in “identity, orientations and dispositions” are sought, and globally that is in fact what the new purpose of K-12 education has quietly become, then the behavioral psychologists have come to recognize that the herd effect is needed. It both forces the change initially and then reenforces it over time.

Gilles again: “when you combine the individual wills of each person in a group focused on a unified goal, a ‘group will’ occurs that is greater than any individual. This collaboration is necessary to bring about a massive transformation in consciousness.” Gilles called the End Game she was backward mapping from Living Democracy. It fits with the vision of a New Kind of World we keep encountering as an End Game. Her motto of “Nurturing the compassionate genius within while co-creating a world that works for all” also fits with what SPLC claims is possible and the new goals of education change.

Gilles noted that “our values determine what we pay attention to, which in turn determine our behavior and create our habits.” That is true and there can be no question (going back to Milton Rokeach and his definition of Competency) that changing values is the fundamental purpose of all these planned classroom shifts.

The question becomes whether the World actually will change if this becomes the purpose of K-12 education globally or whether we are simply disarming our young people mentally and psychologically.

Will they be capable of dealing with the Evil and Bullies of the World?

With all our talk of honoring diversity and challenging oppression and injustice, aren’t we pushing an educational template that simply makes it easier to oppress and dominate most people?

If the individual mind is disarmed, what will be our real recourse?

House of Tomorrow: Targeting Behavior Change Requires Move Away from Declarative Knowledge

If you hang out in the dungeons and attics of the Transformation Blueprints like I do, one of the omnipresent confessions that is crucial, but not making it into the public domain YET, is that classroom activities and experiences are now “aims-based” or “goal-directed,” not “subject-matter based.” History, math, literature, or science course names still get used, but it hides the new broader purposes of social change. They have ceased to be, unfortunately, ends in themselves. The very phrase “standards-based” over the last two decades is also intended to hide what is indisputedly a shift to a personal behavior emphasis that is still too obscured.

This post is designed to remedy that and build on the facts and declarations laid out in the recently finished APUSH trilogy as well as particularly Chapter 7 of my book–“What if Common Core Actually Limits What Everyone Can Know or Do While Targeting Feelings,  Beliefs, and Values Instead?” The Question that Grows in Pertinence on a Daily Basis. Often times the best way to illustrate what is being required in education is to consult a professor in another area, who is unlikely to mask his statements about what is intended. Do you remember the London School of Economics where that troubling Fabian Stained Glass window has now found a new home? As a symbol of reverence, not infamy, unfortunately.

Back in 1994, LSE’s then Director, sociologist Anthony Giddens, kindly explained the role of History to political radicals in a book called Beyond Left and Right. It matters because not enough of us appreciate that the Fall of the Berlin Wall, death of Mao, or dissolution of the USSR, never altered the widespread desire for History to be progressing somewhere. If facts get in the way, education becomes the preferred tool to get the process headed in the desired direction again. Tell me this quote is not behind the spirit of the activities I spelled out in the previous posts: “For socialists, the past is not comforting; it is valued at most because it has provided the means whereby we can actively move on to grasp and appropriate the future.”

If you make K-12 education about altering and creating desired feelings, values, beliefs, perceptions, and behaviors (performances or learning are the preferred K-12 euphemisms obscuring this reality), education can supposedly create the conditions for the House of Tomorrow. http://www.ascd.org/ASCD/pdf/journals/ed_lead/el_198312_mcnay.pdf  When I write posts explaining the NEA CARE Guide created with the Southern Poverty Law Center to use in the Common Core classroom or the Aspen Institute’s  RETOC-Racial Equity Theory of Change, tie those intentions to highlight race, class, and ethnicity to create feelings of grievance or guilt to Giddens telling us that Marxism’s allure for so many is and was the “metaphysical idea that history, in its more consequential and revolutionary moments, is made by the oppressed.”

If that quote seems a bit too ‘metaphysical’ for anyone’s taste, let’s simply make real-world problem solving the focus of K-12 education, and see if the classroom over time doesn’t create a consciousness precisely as Uncle Karl would have wanted. In 2013 the Journal of Teacher Education for Sustainability published a helpful confession from Erin Redman complaining that traditional education and declarative knowledge like facts, lectures, and textbooks were too “value-free, didactic” and “one-way methods of communication” (instead of the now glorified classroom ‘Dialogue” among ‘Equals’).  Education in the 21st Century is supposed to be about long-term behavior change from an unconscious basis at the level of each individual. Those Aims or Goals require “require real-world, experiential and problem-based learning.”

Thanks for the honesty even if it is tucked away. Keep in mind the calm assertion that “Behavioural scholars have, however, clearly established that the linear, information-deficit approach [aka Transmission of Knowledge of the Best that has Been Thought or Done by the Sages of the Past] to education is insufficient in promoting behaviour change.” Since we have been concentrating on what these Aims and Goals do to history coursework, let’s end with the recommendation that this Normative view of the purpose of curriculum results in a suggestion for “shifting away from scientific facts as the primary discourse in sustainability.” That ‘s why it’s so important to emphasize feelings and the Whole Child.

It is why Procedural Knowledge gets so hyped now in the form of the Skills Deficit. That is the needed action-related process knowledge and how-to skills useful for real-world transformations. Effectiveness Knowledge now gets hyped because Beliefs about the Need for transformations in the present to alter the future are very much influenced by “perceived consequences associated with different behaviours as well as beliefs about who is responsible for given outcomes.” That’s the Aim that really finds factual knowledge to be an obstacle since it might prevent viewing the assigned Villains as culpable or notice that local politicians will blow even more money if given ever more planning power.

But then I am no teenager and we have already concluded I would be on the first shipment to Perception Re-education Camps to extinguish Factual Knowledge as an Impediment to Fundamental Change. The typical adolescent will be easy prey though for classrooms built around: “One of the central ways for enhancing effectiveness knowledge is by focusing on problems that are locally relevant and at a scale with which students feel empowered to act, while also examining the positive impact of individual and collective change.” Lack of much factual knowledge, unless the parents have stepped in or the child is the rare fluent, voracious reader, means that a capacity or willingness to conceive of any negative impact is unlikely happen in most classrooms anymore.

Finally, “social knowledge (i.e. norms) encompasses subjective and local knowledge including the motives, intentions and actions of other people. In order to enhance social knowledge, it is critical that sustainable behaviours are positioned as the normal and the desired way to act.” Objective, norm-referenced tests of knowledge have to go away quietly in this sought scenario for the future since they center on Declarative Knowledge. Radicals always needed alternative assessments to examine whether the desired behavior and attitude changes were occurring and what strategies and concepts are used when there is no correct answer and not enough information is given. Today’s Rigorous Assessments merely build on what was known as the New Standards Reference Examination in the 90s http://www.cse.ucla.edu/products/reports/TECH470.pdf Created again by the Mother of both Higher Order Thinking Skills as well as the related term Rigor, Professor Lauren Resnick.

We should simply view them correctly as Cultural Activity Research on our kids with our tax dollars. Remember the ISCAR 2011 Conference in Rome, Italy? It’s all about Aims-Based Education too. Transformational Aims with Political and Social Purposes. Just like the Common Core or 21st Century Learning or Competency-Based Instruction now. It’s all about Behavior Change if we climb down to the dungeons or up to the attics or just trace back to the footnotes in the typical Aspen Institute Report.

Those interested in fundamental transformations in the political and social spheres that is the Progressive View of the Role of History now need the tool of K-12 education, if not preschool as well, to reach those same Aims and Goals. It’s why so many education graduate degrees today openly trumpet their grounding in Change Agent Theories. To make students the mass carriers of new cultural memes and behaviors without most parents or the typical taxpayer even being aware of the shift. That’s the purpose of all the Orwellian language that has me climbing down, then up, and flipping back to those footnotes again and again.

I may have to understand all this at a very nerdy level just bursting with facts and wordy declarations of intent to once again try out notorious theories in the real world, but that is not the level where most people live. When I explain what is intended in order to get real traction in the real world, I always have to find ways to bring these intentions into the everyday lives of my readers. Unfortunately, though, I am not the only one who understands that crucial point.

In fact, the shift away from Declarative Knowledge to granting parity to subjective ways of knowing and interpreting, along with that targeting of Procedural, Effectiveness, and Social Knowledge we have just talked about, is all about meeting people and students at the level of knowledge that “guides conduct in everyday life.” Just the arena, in other words, if long-term behavior change is the admitted (if only quietly shared among insiders), new Goal or Aim of K-12 education.

Behavior Change Architects intent on Political and Social Transformations to kick History Back into Gear on the Planned Pathway of Change would need to appreciate each person’s “subjective experience of reality.” To get at the perception of reality held by the “common-sense of the ordinary members of society.”

That’s what alternative ‘high-quality’ assessments like the NSRE above got at and what the Common Core and formative assessments get at now. It’s what adaptive software gets at as well.

Then we have performance standards under their variety of masking names like College and Career Ready or Next Generation Learning to capture and then remediate over time behaviors, values, and attitudes that are not desirable for transitioning to the Planned Pathway for History.

Not to mention what all the social and emotional programs being sold as Character Education or Bullying Prevention or Positive Behaviors for the Whole Child do.

Am I finally reaching the everyday recognition of what is coming at all of us?

Anesthetizing Any Ability to Blow Up Or Contaminate a Chosen Politically Useful Narrative

In both adults and children it now turns out. We all are to have our ability to accurately perceive what is going on around us, its true causes, and the likely consequences under deliberate, guided assault. We get to be inadvertent active participants in fundamental transformations we might object to if we were aware. All the coordinated lies or declarations in conferences we are not invited to and books and reports we were never to see. I have seen them though and it propels this compulsion to play Paul Revere to yell “The Bad Ideas that are a-coming” to a classroom, newsroom, or PR campaign soon. Some are already in place with unfortunate psychological effects unappreciated by parents and taxpayers lured into believing that higher graduation rates or greater levels of “student achievement” or Student Growth are necessarily a good thing. Instead, many are masking changes in personality and deliberate efforts to “shatter the rule of law and regularity in the mind.”

That last quote was from a Chapter called “Direction for Human Development” in that The Great Adventure book I mentioned in the last post. Before we discuss what is planned, I want us to remember the game of Red Rover most of us played as children. As adults if we happened upon kids arguing over a badly bruised arm or shoulder injuries from a determination to hold tight against breaking the grip and accusing the fast, aggressive runner who broke through of deliberately wanting to hurt them, we would recognize the problem. Everyone intended their respective actions, but no one gave any thought to consequences beyond their own goals. Think of all the plans for credentialing students, teachers, and administrators to be change agents. Fundamentally transforming economic, political, and social systems they have deliberately been given false understandings of.

Misapprehension of what actually works, why elements really do not, and what all the likely consequences of the sought actions will be. The creators of these theories want everyone involved playing as if they were still children in Red Rover, moving through the POWER Model and securing data as to what to do next. Totally unable to accurately perceive what is bound to occur, lest that inhibit future action. In that same chapter the authors confess:

“Our use of representation, leaving immediate experience behind, and living within the confines of our constructs [or as my own children call it when I am writing ‘mom’s been in her head all day thinking’] can be particularly limiting. If we use our capacities to build edifices of knowledge that are fundamentally static and closed, we can become trapped in limiting worldviews, strangled by our own assumptions.”

Unwilling then, of course, to be Change Agents to try to force changes in the real world that will redirect history going forward. That’s why “a reform in thinking is needed…a kind of thinking that does not reject uncertainty and ambiguity [and in fact nurturing this capacity is what the hype about Rigor and Higher Order Thinking Skills is all about], but rather feeds on [the uncertainty, ambiguity, lack of a correct answer] it for a constant process of self-eco-re-organization.”

It’s no secret that I believe there is a connection between the mass school shootings and their links to communities aggressively pushing using school to dissolve the rational mind and manipulate perception from the inside-out. Today though we are talking about how all this invisibly goes global and why. The ties to violence in the past though are a component of why I am so worried. The social radicals seeking wholesale transformations have always known that “education and learning are what chiefly drive us at all the levels of activity explored by psychology, sociology, political science, economics, and all the other fields of social science, systems science, the humanities, and what we call spirituality, as well as in every other human activity that—as it most clearly does involve evolution—calls out for a newly inclusive definition and a vastly expanded and updated theory and story.”

Our Toronto planners and friends (look here from 2011 to Common Core and 90s version architect Lauren Resnick and her involvement with the International Society for Cultural and Activity Research Scientific Committee http://www.iscar2011.org/eng/ISCAR_PROGRAM_UPDATE_01092011.pdf ) really are targeting prevailing mental maps for extinction and extensive alteration. To gain the very real transformations in the actual world that so many involved in public policy are determined to have, the necessary target is “the bottom line is the perception of large masses of people–a perception oriented by the paradigm that dominates their society.”

So that paradigm, that is nurtured by fluent reading and algebra problems and geometry proofs, has to go. Without admitting that true explanation. My thanks here to the reader who pointed out the work of the FrameWorks Institute and their Strategic Frame Analysis. It describes the lies and how a perception marketing theme is uncovered and how to make sure it is not blown up or contaminated.

One of the biggest prevailing memes now–that everyone must go to college–is generally cited to Professor Anthony Carnevale of Georgetown. In an earlier version of his life he was the author of those New Workforce Training Manuals that so much of the real implementation guidelines appear to be lifted straight out of. I had looked into his background before since so many pernicious recommendations he or groups citing him are pushing for go back to a previous paper he wrote. In other words, a foundation of druthers, not factual research. That’s why I loved that he put his detailed CV in one of the manuals, apparently taking the equivalent of a victory lap. Not knowing 25 years later it would be damning.

Carnevale wanted us to know he was a Board member of the Carnegie-sponsored National Center on Education and the Economy that was created after those 1985 Carnegie agreements between the US State Department and the USSR. I think that is why Carnegie sponsored the Competency-Based Learning Summits in 2011 to get Next Generation Learning across the hype of the Common Core. It’s why Competency to me looks so much like the essential skills Carnevale laid out as Learning to Learn in the 1990 manual.   Carnevale also listed having been the governmental affairs director for AFSCME, the union for state, county, and municipal public employees, the only area of union membership that grew in the last half of the 20th century.

It is Carnevale’s degrees that remind us how to use education and learning changes to invisibly drive cultural changes in collectivist directions without admitting what is going on. Or gaining consent. He listed a BA in “intellectual and cultural history” from Colby College, a rather euphemistic phrase to disguise a Marxian view of history as a process of cultural change in prevailing mindsets. An MA in “social science and public administration” from Syracuse is again quite consistent with wanting social science to be able to design human [that would be people like us], social, economic, and physical environmental systems like cities going forward, just as our Toronto planners and Cultural-Historical Activity Theorists all have in mind. (Wave to Michael Cole and Engestrom too if you click on the ISCAR link). Finally, his PhD is from the Maxwell School of Public Affairs. Billing yourself as an ‘economist’ for deference to your beliefs that the public sector should control the economy seems to me to be False Advertising in order to get Theory into Action.

Everyone wants to use education and the media too to alter how we perceive the world in predictable ways.  To again get political theory into action without admitting it. Our Toronto planners in the “What Should It Look Like” chapter though gave us something else highly useful in their plans for cultural change without permission.

“In bringing the ‘active agent’ into the picture…we come to what used to be billed as the dialectical perspective. During the twentieth century the words ‘praxis’ and ‘dialectical’ became taboo within much of science and Western society because of their historical association with the ‘dialectical’ materialism’ of Marxist theory, communism, and the grim years of the Cold War…[but] “because of its enduring intellectual power…and reached its philosophical high point with Hegel, Marx, and Engels [that’s continued open admiration and reverence, folks!] has been resurrected under other names in cybernetics, chaos and complexity theory, as well as in new ways in the works of most of the authors of these chapters, as we’ll next see.”

I am going to pause here for a second. David Loye is saying that virtually all the theories guiding K-12 and higher ed ‘reforms’ are grounded in some of history’s most notorious collectivists. To mask that fact, various labels likely to be difficult to understand are being used. I guess to stop any opportunity for a blow up or contamination during the process of fundamental transformations. Now what Loye said next takes us to the very heart of the new envisioned K-12 classroom as well as what the 4 Cs of 21st Century Learning are really getting at. Here goes, with the italics as usual in the original.

“The basic dynamic for dialectics is the idea of two or more ‘forces’ and their interaction, either in conflict or working together, which shape our lives into what becomes known as history or human evolution. (Thanks to Marxism, the dialectical model is misrepresented as being solely restricted to conflict…to remedy this problem, the idea of dialogue, or the dialogical model is used to describe the alternative of two forces that complement or otherwise peacefully work together.)”

Puts a whole new spin on group projects, doesn’t it? And the omnipresent word Du Jour–collaboration.

I am going to stop here as following up on this brought me all sorts of startling real-life consequences, including the use of these Dialogic Design principles during the lead-up to the 2008 Presidential campaign and what MOOCs really intend to accomplish.

This would be easier to bear if these theories were in a sci fi novel instead of a book and blog devoted to real-time revelations.

 

Dynamic Digital Dialectical Classrooms=Deliberate Transformational Change in Students and Society

Do you remember the decal from the Ghostbusters movies with the Ghost within the circle with a line struck through it? In the 90s excited high school students participating in an Educational Testing Service (the famous and lucrative ETS based in Princeton) Systems Thinking and Curriculum Innovation–STACI–Project (with ties to Harvard, MIT, and Stanford just like today’s Curriculum Redesign) using computers and simulation software came up with a graphically similar “No More Funnels” decal. These Tucson students in the same Sunnyside School District where the League of Innovative Schools had their annual conference last week celebrated the rejection of the “system of education that uses teachers as the dispensers of knowledge, dumping information into students’ heads for the purpose of regurgitating those facts onto tests, after which they promptly forget what they have learned.”

Now I have heard virtually the same verbatim sales pitch before from principals and administrators selling a school or district’s shift to constructivism many times before. Every time I hear it I know the speaker was a poor student who wants everyone to reject the importance of what they were lousy at. Honestly though there is tremendous irony in celebrating “no more funnels” in a school district that has been longitudinally tracking all students, including motivation, in order to reliably create a designed mental keel. Instead of a funnel effect that leaves each student free to build up their own understandings of how the world works and a teacher or professor to monitor whether those concepts are brilliant, confused, or just parroting others, the students get their internal mental images, associations, and concepts examined. Precisely in the manner envisioned and hoped for by Piotr Galperin in his Soviet research over decades and sought under that cybernetic theory of control we keep running into.

This is from a 1994 book on the STACI Project and its use of Jay Forester’s modelling World Dynamics software modified for the K-12 classroom as STELLA–Structural Thinking Experiential Learning Laboratory with Animation. Just the thing in other words to successfully join in reliable, replicable ways the inner representations of physical image, associated relationships, and conceptual understandings. The book’s title was Classroom Dynamics: Implementing a Technology-Based Learning Environment and it was very much a learning environment of the sort envisioned under obuchenie psychological theories. As far as I know no one is calling this STACI Project How to Get Inside Each Student’s Mental Black Box for Lasting Results, but that’s the intention.

No wonder so many radical ed reforms around 21st century skills and systems thinking are tied to the Tucson area–25 years of longitudinal data being thrown off by computers and crunched and analyzed by ETS in its quest for equity in education.   Here’s what the book says is targeted in the “No funnels” classroom:

“In the learner-centered environment the focus of instruction is on procedural knowledge and general problem solving skills, rather than on declarative knowledge and rote learning. Furthermore, environments such as those created by the systems thinking approach shift the focus of instruction to real-world applications and problems. In doing so, learning is concretized, rather than dealing with abstractions that have little apparent relevance to anything. Finally, a computer-based curriculum innovation project can diminish ‘teacher talk’ and provide students with opportunities for individual and group intellectual exploration.”

Concrete then means those mental representations remain tied to real world events and applications, increasing the likelihood that the inner beliefs will produce the desired future behavior to take transformational action. That internal keel from the last post is also influenced by the constant desire to take the way physical systems operate and apply the concepts to human or social systems or real world phenomena like war, conflict, or the economy. Perception of reality gets predictably influenced by the conceptual ‘lenses’ being supplied by teachers or virtual reality or gaming software, even if a well-informed expert in the area of transfer would immediately recognize the comparison is inapt. Without funneling, few students will. Remember to a social schemer with intentions for radical transformation there is “nothing as valuable as a good theory.” Or simulation of supposed systems to amend the slogan to 21st century intentions.

So now we know why the White House sponsored League of Innovative Schools chose Tucson. It was NOT the Titan Missile Museum or the chance to see saguaro cactus. What is so fascinating to me though is that ETS began actively looking for a curriculum innovation to push “higher order thinking skills” back in the mid-80s, soon after Galperin’s research became available in English. The 1994 book was quite graphic that students were being taught to visualize systems so it will change how they view the world. Since I knew that ETS also funded the Gordon Commission on the Future of Assessment in Education from 2011 to 2013, I wondered if the Commission’s work dovetailed with what I am calling this shift to an obuchenie mindset being cultivated in the student.

First of all, it turns out that one of Edmund Gordon’s mentors, the psychologist Bob Glaser, is the same person whose phrase for the new purpose of education–“developmental theory of performance change”–led me to James Raven and the socio-cybernetics aspirations we encountered in the last post. The Gordon Commission in its February 2012 newsletter stated it was looking for “a bifocal and bi-directional” teaching and learning process (aka dialectical). The vision is “less focused on what we want learners to know and do, and are more sharply focused on what it is that we want learners to become, to be disposed toward, and to be (i.e., thinking and compassionate human beings).”

No funnels, just that invisible mental and psychological keel again. Rejecting the traditional emphasis on “scholastic abilities,” students are to have “intellective competence.” If that sounds vague, it is supposedly the necessary focus for education “with equity and justice at its core.” Once again, we are requiring a shift in emphasis to cultivating non-Axemaker Minds while arguing it’s a fulfillment of social justice obligations and civil rights law requirements to provide opportunity for all. Gordon defined this intellective competence back in 2001 as a “way of adapting, appreciating, knowing, and understanding the phenomena of human experience through the domains of cognitive, affective, and situative competence.” Sounds like consciously cultivated stupidity to me, but I suppose that works better given the kind of social transformation plans we keep encountering. If you are in Vienna in late April, you may want to go to this conference and join in the planning.http://emcsr.net/general-information/

Just how very low this “intellective competence” goal actually is gets hidden by asserting the now acquired ability to “engage and solve quotidian, as well as novel, problems adaptively.” Quotidian sounds most impressive until we look it up in the dictionary and see it translates into everyday problems. Somewhat akin to putting the basketball goal at 5 feet and celebrating everyone’s ability to suddenly dunk. We could call it Basketball for Excellence or Success for All. Gordon did admit though that what is driving him, and one can assume ETS as well since it bankrolled the Commission, is his desire for “developmental democratization” and measures of student achievement not tied to “hegemonic indicators of developed ability.” Those are the intentions behind Gordon and ETS’s beliefs about what should be measured in students.

So when you hear the words Growth or Achievement it may reflect computer gaming or group project participation with a change in values and beliefs as the focus. It may mean that the student’s internal representations brought from home and the interactions within a family have now been successfully altered in a student urged to show Grit and Perseverence in novel and ambiguous real world scenarios where there is no right answer and Cognitive Dissonance may be the intention of the scenario. The student may be showing they view all the world including other people as systems that can be gutted and redesigned to see if a better world is possible. As if all things smashed can be reglued after impact.

Or that cited higher achievement or Growth may reflect Edmund Gordon’s hope for an intellective competence focus. Then the assessment might be measuring “the effective orchestration of affective, cognition, and situative processes in the interest of intentional human agency. I place affect first for reasons other than respect for alphabetical order. Human activity appears to begin with affect, and I have come to believe that while cognition ultimately informs affect, it is affect that gives rise to cognitive functions.”

That’s the developmental obuchenie focus that the banner of the Common Core is obscuring. It’s coming in at various rates depending on the venality of consultants and administrators or their naivete. Peter Senge’s version may be more famous, but Spence Rogers’ Teaching for Excellence is another example of the Change the Student focus. That’s why teacher development is so crucial. It’s also the real reason teacher tenure rules are being targeted. Compliance with the developmental vision is required.

Only the time schedule and extent of the frenzy to implement varies now.

No more funnels. Just internal keels to steer with. With no need for consent.

Should we call this all totalitarian education?

Facing the Implications of Education that Rejects Reality and Truth as Political Impediments

As we continue to ponder the reality that education has embarked globally on an enormous social experiment designed to change what students believe, value, and care about, without regard to likely consequences or the world as it actually exists, two more publications came my way this week. Each really hammered hard that it is change in personal development and a hoped for transformation in political, social, and economic institutions that is the point of education reform.

Misportraying reality is just an acceptable means to political goals. This can be quite hard for us to read or even contemplate. I always feel like the English fighting what they saw as overreach by the Stuart kings or how the American colonists saw King George and Parliament’s actions. I am not asserting a desire to finally be free. Will future students and the adults they will become though ever have that same sense that “service before self” is not a good slogan to live life by? Will they grasp that schools and universities forcing acceptance of such a belief are dramatically changing what it will now mean to be educated?

The first paper came from the National Education Policy Center and it touted the ability of the Common Core framework to promote a “race-conscious and progressive agenda” focused on equity. http://nepc.colorado.edu/publication/seeing-past-the-colorblind-myth Yep, we can only wish I was exaggerating a smidgen, but no–“We see the Common Core as a powerful opportunity to build diversity into instruction and encourage powerful dialogue.” Not the least bit of interest in looking at the created dysfunction in urban schools from earlier piloting of Vygotsky’s sociocultural psychology in those classrooms or the deliberate destruction of Inner Cities by political machines. Those would not be politically useful facts on our way to forcing enactment of King’s Beloved Community vision to properly commemorate the man.

The 2nd paper dated November 2013 from the Asia Society and the Rand Corporation once again confirmed that the word Competencies is the global euphemism obscuring the actual developmental focus of these required shifts in education. Common Core is merely the means to get the US on board and to eliminate tests that focus on content and facts. In the 21st century content can be used to practice essential skills. The rest of its use though is to change what the student believes, how she behaves, when she feels compelled to act and how, and what she cares for and how she will show it. The paper “Measuring 21st Century Competencies: Guidance for Educators” gave examples of the kind of Assessments that would be used in the 21st Century. One, a Mission Skills Assessment, developed by ETS for use in private independent schools, gets incorporated into classwork to affirmatively shift student’s values and beliefs.

Another, the PISA Collaborative Problem Solving assessment intends to use a computer generated avatar to interact with the student in virtual reality simulations. In the give-and-take with the computer, it will be the actual student who will be changing as a result of the programmed interaction. The SimScientists are cited as another curriculum with embedded assessments that rely on a designed virtual reality to replace the old textbook focus on facts and proven theories. Most people though will believe what they have experienced even if the experiences were carefully created to instill influential false beliefs. In fact, by breaking the competencies into the categories of cognitive, interpersonal, and intrapersonal, that report replicated the very same explicitly proclaimed developmental focus that the Obama Administration http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/college-ready-as-a-goal-of-k-12-is-not-helpful-if-first-you-gut-the-historic-purpose-of-college/   wants to require from colleges and universities now. The one grounded in Robert Kegan’s work that the OECD is also stressing.

The report revealed that the Asia Society has joined with SCALE at Stanford to create a Graduation Performance System (GPS) Framework to look for whether a student has developed the desired values and beliefs, including empathy for others, to be deemed globally competent. Perhaps if I had not been simultaneously focusing on Vygotsky and what a developmental focus for the classroom would really mean I might not have read the report and recognized that all these assessments were designed to change the student’s values, attitudes, and beliefs and then monitor that they remained altered until adulthood. But I was and when I got to the Jaan Valsiner’s discussion of the Double Stimulation experimental method created by Vygotsky where [replace subject with student and think adaptive software on a computer while you read]:

“The experimenter sets up the situation of the task, together with other possible means that can result in a solution if the subject uses them… The structure of the task constitutes the subject’s experimental setting. The subject, put into such a situation, is expected to act constructively in devising a way to reach a solution to the problem… The original aspect of double stimulation is introduced when the emphasis of the observations becomes the child’s construction of new means that can help solve the problem and then restructure the whole task situation once invented.”

Remember how many times we have confronted the command that tasks or assessments be “untaught material” or “ambiguous situations with no fixed solution”? Valsineer went on to say expressly that this emphasis on the active role of the student who changes himself through his use of cultural tools and collaboration with others was grounded in the “dialectical philosophy (that was widely propagated in the Soviet Union in the 1920s.)” Well, at least they had a formal bloody revolution and a new flag and the Bolshevik creed to tip the average person that there was a political transformation going on at the level of the psychological characteristics of the individual. How about us?

I read that description of the experimental method and immediately recognized it fit with many of the computer scenarios I was reading about and gaming and the learning tasks funded by the Gates Foundation and especially what are being called formative assessments. A fairly simple search pulled up articles all over the world that had made that very same connection between Vygotsky’s experimental double stimulation method to change the person, and what is being planned for the classroom under the banner of the Common Core or Competencies or becoming a High Performing country on internationally benchmarked ‘tests.’

Valsineer tells us that “In cultural-historical thinking, historical implies the connection between past, present, and future.” By limiting access to what has been created by humans in the past, especially fluent use of symbol systems like reading and math that promote abstract thought, in today’s classrooms, CHAT seeks to change the nature of the future in predictable ways. It was created for a totalitarian regime. Transported to a free society like the US or Canada or Australia, this developmental focus is intended to change those cultures in collectivist directions. Remember the intentions of the creators travel with education and psychological theories even if they are left unstated in the present implementation. As we have discovered though the communitarian focus is actually stated in the real definition of career ready as well as in Character Education and Positive School Climate materials.

As I so often do when I am presented with an unpleasant but inescapable conclusion of what the actual education reforms are intended to do, I once again dug into some history. I went back to political scientist Kenneth Minogue’s 1963 book The Liberal Mind. He recognized the importance of subverting facts and the truth every time there is an aspiration to utopian thinking. Anytime we are looking at visions that “aim at nothing less than the transformation of human life,” we will find that “so ambitious a project necessarily takes a great interest in education, for like all movements, it is eager to recruit the young.” Amen to that. Minogue also foresaw that once change in the student is viewed as “a means to something else” that “outside manipulation is not far away.” Amen again and hiding as a Whole Child emphasis or in mindfulness practices tucked into definitions of physical fitness or Positive School Climate practices to supposedly combat bullying.

Truth is always such a target when transformation is the aim because “the moral character of truth-seeking is one which did not always play a prominent part in the world’s affairs, and could return to obscurity. Whenever men have, in recent history, attempted to snatch at political salvation, it is truth that has always been the first casualty, since, of all the causes of human turmoil, facts are the most obvious, and therefore the first to be suppressed. The more we dream of utopia, the less we can bear to face our imperfections.”

History also tells us that these utopian ends are never achieved and that horrible damage comes from this official instrumental focus on people as simply a means to desired  political ends. Especially when, as now, the desired ends are being duplicitously withheld as the true justification for the education reforms.

Or fraudulently sold as 21st century personalized learning that requires that tablets replace textbooks and group projects need to substitute for lectures.

Is the typical Principal or District Super these days to be an intentional social revolutionary or just an inadvertent one?

 

 

Explaining the Sudden Ubiquity of Psycho-Development Theory: Changing Students Now to Alter the Future

Macroshift and Megachange. Holos Consciousness. Ambitious changes to society, political structures, or targeting human behavior itself need theories and models. Not to reflect reality as it currently exists, but to alter reality in the future. It is that vision of the future that then refers back to what kinds of activities and experiences students are now to have. It’s not that lectures and textbooks are not a good way for students to obtain useful and correct information. That method of transmission though leaves the nature of the current culture as a given and the nature of the future not just unpredictable, but grounded on the foundations currently in place. As Professor Jaan Valsiner stated in his 1989 metatheoretical textbook, Human Development and Culture: The Social Nature of Personality and Its Study:

“the collective culture undergoes change and development as a result of the economic and educational changes in society, political events, and the collectively coordinated effects of individuals’ personal cultures.”

Radical Ed Reform (defined in my book as well as the history of previous attempts) is always about collective coordination to obtain a radically altered future. Actual proclaimed collusion. It is also always accomplished by altering students’ personal cultures–their perspectives, beliefs, feelings, visual mental images, associations, attitudes. That has always been the goal whenever education reforms are tied to political purposes. Even if that vision is left unstated, or is tucked away in poorly unknown documents that clearly show the collusion and collective coordination going on. Computers, adaptive software, a gaming emphasis, formative assessments (also explained in book), and all the data being thrown off simply make it easier to know what an individual’s inner mental representations are like. These also reveal what it will take to change them and thus the student.

The February 2014 Pearson report Impacts of the Digital Ocean on Education (ht/ Mercedes Schneider’s Edublog yesterday) makes that quite clear and just in time for the rollout of Pearson’s All Digital Common Core Curriculum. That report admits that “Teaching and learning is a specific social process designed to change behaviour within the learning setting.” Something to remember as you wave good-bye to that school bus in the morning. Later, in describing the kind of data being generated by the game Nephrotex, as students role play engineering firm interns assigned the design task of creating a dialysis machine filter (science? biology?), Pearson reveals:

“Researchers have developed methods of analyzing chat logs not only to measure knowledge, skills, values and identity, but also to illuminate the connections between these factors. These very interactions, which are not captured in the digital desert, allow us to make more detailed inferences about learners. [Computer can actually know us better than we know ourselves and is in a position to change that Identity and those values]. In addition, playing the game appears to increase not just learning [Remember that behavior change is the above definition], but also motivation in groups underrepresented among engineering majors.”

Some way to gain equity. Continuing on, let’s shift to another psychologist who also pushed the developmental approach in education, while he too is being honest about its purpose as a means to “shape a new reality.” In his 1986 book Actual Minds, Possible Worlds published by Harvard, Professor Jerome Bruner ended with this acknowledgment of purpose:

“When and if we pass through the unbroken despair in which we are now living, when we feel we are again able to control the race to destruction, a new breed of development theory is likely to arise. It will be motivated by the question of how to create a new generation that can prevent the world from dissolving into chaos and destroying itself. I think its central technical concern will be how to create in the young an appreciation of the fact that many worlds are possible, that meaning and reality are created and not discovered, that negotiation is the art of constructing new meanings by which individuals can regulate their relations with each other.”

I am going to pause in the middle of this quote to point out this kind of misunderstanding of reality and power and relations may be precisely why current UN ambassador, and former Harvard prof Samantha Powers, ended up being literally laughed at by the Russians this week at the UN. It is even caught by photograph. Was she taught such nonsense when she was young? I get wanting the world to be different, but we are intentionally creating dangerous misconceptions and beliefs. Let’s continue, Bruner is still spinning:

“It will not, I think, be an image of human development that locates all of the sources of change inside the individual, the solo child. For if we have learned anything from the dark passage of history through which we are now moving it is that man, surely, is not ‘an island, entire of itself,’ but a part of the culture that he inherits and then recreates. The power to recreate reality, to reinvent culture, we will come to recognize, is where a theory of development must begin its discussion of mind.”

That supposed recreation of reality and reinvention of culture is hidden today behind the ubiquitous explanations for 21st century education reform about the need for ‘creativity’ and ‘problem solving skills.’ I learned this week that in 2009 the Georgia School Boards Association and the Georgia School Superintendents Association began colluding (and not disclosing it, at least in the training session I attended in 2012) to transform public education in Georgia around development theory. The 2010 document, A Vision for Public Education in Georgia: Equity and Excellence, went so far as to hire the ed lab known for advocating Second Order Change via Education, McREL in Aurora, Colorado. See  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/second-order-change-why-reform-is-a-misnomer-for-the-real-common-core/ These two trade groups who both live off taxpayers even openly proclaimed that this troubling 2008 Texas Coup by Certain Supers was their inspiration. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/the-intentional-insurrection-in-texas-supers-override-governor-legislature-and-taxpayers/

There’s a great deal to be horrified by in that 2010 document, as the supposed watchdogs join hands with the supposedly overseen, but for the moment I want to use its acknowledgment that this planned transformation was based on the idea that these two trade groups could “develop a theory [to predict the future and] to make sense of the real world and test it against that real world over time.” Practicing on children’s minds and personalities at taxpayer expense. The hubris and arrogance continues:

“We believe that the leadership of public education [those anointed trade groups again] has an obligation to develop a theory–a vision–for the future of public education in a rapidly changing and unpredictable world. We can then work diligently to ensure that the future we envision is realized.”

Only the genuinely uneducated, no matter how many degrees they have, or someone addicted to munching from the public trough of taxpayer funds could write or embrace such  a ridiculous statement. Yet this “single, shared vision” of experiential education using technology and emphasizing collaboration and projects is now supposed to be binding across the state. I wonder how many more states have comparable documents? I know every state I look at now is using comparable developmental language, usually starting with what is meant by ‘student-centered learning.’ All experimental. All social engineering with a tsunami of expected personal behavioral and motivational data.

I am going to come back to these theoretical models of using education to try to alter human development and thereby the future in the next post. I wanted to end by reminding everyone that knowledge is not going away completely in this vision, even if it is being reimagined and given a new ‘constructed meaning.’ No, the Georgia document reminds us that the new curriculum should be relevant to real-life, real world problems that need to be solved. The activities should also be centered around ‘overarching concepts’ and ‘themes.’ The report suggests ‘conflict’ or ‘transition’ or ‘revolution’ as useful concepts and the ‘environment’ as a theme.

Somebody, certainly the McREL ed lab, seems to appreciate that there is a Great Transition planned around trying to prevent supposed global environmental crises; that the changes sought will be radical; and that conflicts involving race and ethnicity and gender and wealth and income inequality will be nurtured to fuel the desired political change.

Now do you see how the Macroshift and Megachange and the creation of a Holos Consciousness and research involving a cybernetic theory of human behavior control can be found hiding behind the Common Core banner? With no one the wiser unless tracking the real implementation is a full-time research effort?

Adding Comrade Education and Psychological Predation to Our Descriptions of Envisioned Cybernetic Learning

Since honestly laying out intentions in public is so rare in education reforms these days, I thought I would use a recent book by the founder of the Reos Institute, Zaid Hassan. Reos aspires to dramatically change K-12 education globally.  http://reospartners.com/project-view/449?v=print Hassan works closely with Peter Senge, Otto Scharmer, and the MIT Media Lab. The book is called The Social Labs Revolution: A New Approach to Solving Our Most Complex Problems . These two quotes give a sample to the recommended approach for solving today’s challenges. The first is from a professor, Thomas Homer Dixon:

“The public not only needs to understand the importance of experimentation within the public services; it needs to engage in experimentation itself. To the extent that the public explores the solution landscape through its own innovations and safe-fail experiments, it will see constant experimentation as a legitimate and even essential part of living in our new world.”

Now I find this book to be asinine and factually wrong in numerous instances, but ridiculous can still be influential. This book is to be the source of numerous conferences all over the world over the next year. Quote number 2 is from a US President, Franklin Roosevelt, and it leads a chapter called “The New Ecologies of Capital.”

“The country needs and, unless I mistake its temper, the country demands, bold, persistent experimentation. It is common sense to take a method and try it: If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.”

Now historians (see Amity Schlaes’ fine The Forgotten Man) credit that very experimentation with what extended and deepened the Great Depression in the 1930s, but it did grow the public sector at all levels as a source of employment. Maybe that’s why Hassan pushes all this experimentation as does the UN and the OECD and even US agencies. After all the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) described these as the capabilities needed for education and workforce development back in January 2013:

“Building human capacity to respond to the emerging challenges…requires the expansion of skills within the existing public and private sectors and developing a new workforce that excels at critical and interdisciplinary thinking. Useful capacities include facilitation and communication skills, integration of new technologies and data sources into existing programs and practices, management of collaborative processes to allow for imaginative solutions, development and use of sustainable technologies to reduce climate risks, and building frameworks for decision-making in an internationally interdependent world.”

Now alert readers will recognize that this quote on what the US government now seeks from its citizens is an example of “various types of human activities” that Soviet prof Nina Talyzina wanted to make the focus of education under a cybernetics theory of control. Adults with such an education will think nothing of all this desired experimentation by the public sector and its cronies. They will be unlikely to know much about FDR except that somehow the Great Depression ended and will be unlikely to notice that author Hassan thinks Jack Welch was the legendary CEO of General Motors. (Obviously not a GE shareholder during the 90s.) Accurate knowledge is an obstacle to all these transformation plans in other words. It must be disallowed in the future without the shift being readily apparent.

One of the terms we are hearing tossed about now in states that adopted the Common Core and others, like Texas, that did not, is open source. Superficially it appears to be about not having to worry about copyrights on desired curricular materials. As usual though, even a tiny scratch across the surface of this assumed definition pulls up the actual intentions–to shift away from the “current dominant paradigm of teacher-and subject-centred learning in formal education…to a learner-centred, competency-based paradigm.” Did you catch that the phrases “learner-centered” and “competency” are regarded as the antithesis, as in 180 degree-polar opposites, of a transmission of knowledge approach? So the terms being bandied about on the new approach to learning reject the transmission of knowledge.

Instead we are to get learners’ own explorative, constructive and communicative activities, hopefully via ICT, that work on personal competences and “cognitive and social skills such a conceptual thinking, creativity, planning and conduct of teamwork, etc.”Just like that USGCRP vision imagines. Material from Europe (the OLCOS road mapping work) make the intended goal explicit. Education in the 21st century should provide the “competences required to participate successfully in the emerging knowledge-based society.” Well, “knowledge-based” sounds hopeful, doesn’t it? Except that’s another defined phrase pushed by UN entities and the OECD going back to a 2005 UN Economic & Social Affairs document.” Once again it is all about this transformation to a human solidarity vision where knowledge is actually to be limited to “information combined with experience, context, interpretation, and judgment. It is acquired through one’s own experience or reflections on the experiences of others.” This Tacit Knowledge, as the UN calls it, expressly includes “subjective insights, intuitions and hunches.”

The better to tolerate persistent experimentation and treatment as a collective. I had a reader outraged by this January 2014 vision http://www.edutopia.org/blog/how-common-core-social-emotional-learning-connected-maurice%20elias which seemed authoritarian. I agree, but creating a tolerance for this type of Psychological Predation and surrender of personal autonomy to the will of the group is simply practice for the global vision of the knowledge-based society. After all it must be a place that “cannot accommodate social exclusion and marginalization. This would result in weakening its very foundations.” So we all get to participate. If we do not get to actually attend these social labs in the future, we should at least help pick those decision-makers who do. (Much like that post from Marina Gorbis, head of Institute for the Future, contemplated).

Remember in the last post I pointed out how crucial the models of virtual reality and gaming would come to be for how students and the adults they become see the world? An example of  tools to foster the desired competences and skills is listed as “games-based virtual worlds that foster the understanding of social and economic dynamics through interactively changing rules and constraints.” Now who thinks that those virtual worlds will accurately portray what creates prosperity or causes dysfunction? And that’s the useful aspect of this little accurate knowledge, change the student approach. Such students are highly unlikely to play Spot that Error or Find that Fallacy like I do when I read these intentions for the future.

By insisting education must be experiences [Talyzina’s activity as well as CHAT’s or Common Core’s learning tasks] that are “rich, real and relevant,” the priming conditions for the cybernetic theory of control are firmly in place. The nature of the activity or experiences or projects or tasks gets prescribed by a teacher or a computer. Plus the supposed tie to the existing real world affects the student’s mindset on how the world works and what needs to be transformed. Notice how all the emphasis on virtual worlds gives the perfect place to begin the habit of social, political, and economic experimentation. In fact, the examples given of “real, rich and relevant” are “addressing real world problems, working collaboratively, using new tools and information services, and critically discussing content and study results.”

In fact, this recent update being pushed by the Edutopia site http://learni.st/users/127212/boards/74592-applying-blooms-to-the-21st-century-workshop shows that the Education 3.0/Redefinition of the Purpose of Ed fits in perfectly with the Open Source agenda of radically altering the nature of teaching-and-learning (in the hyphenated way that means the Russian word obuchenie). It also fits perfectly with letting students use “learning approaches that allow them to play to their strengths by using creative and social software tools for coursework and carrying out study projects.”

Now I am not being a smart aleck by using the term Comrade Education. Well maybe just a little, but there is unquestionably a collective transformation vision attached to the learner-centered, competency vision. There was and is one attached to the cybernetics vision and its theory of how to gain predictable control over human behavior. The rationale for the Whole Child, social and emotional learning emphasis and all the push around non-cognitive personality traits all have political purposes seeking individual and collective social change. Knowledge may be an ever declining individual commodity, but, fortunately for us, if uncomfortably for my peace of mind, it is still something I have in abundance. And every bit of it says we are basing all these sought educational changes around impossible goals.

I would argue they are also unfortunate, dangerous goals. They are certainly goals that merit public discussion, not deceitful definitions that obscure the true nature of what is being transformed.

And How. And Why.