Gaining Access To and Then Guiding Each Student’s Subjective Perception of Reality to Change the Here and Now

Let’s pretend for a moment that we are all in the same room mulling over why K-12 education is shutting down what works and expanding everything that has ever been controversial or even tragic. We could get out a White Board and pretend to be detective Kate Beckett on the TV show Castle and create columns of what concerns and mystifies us. Concrete, Down to Earth, Tangible Concerns. Then later as I am researching and footnote hopping, I read the title of a 1966 book called The Social Construction of Reality. I remember that White Board and how no one wants to allow Declarative Knowledge anymore (defined in previous post) that would accurately allow me to factually understand the Here and Now.

In fact, we have been noticing that everything to be required in the classroom now seems to be about guiding personal perception of what is actually going on in the here and now. Filtering how we conceive the who or what caused all the problems we are to now notice. We keep wondering why all the focus on emotions and showing your work instead of getting a right answer and making activities and experiences the point of classroom work. To quote again from The Parallel Curriculum book from two posts ago, when did we switch to reading a historical fiction book so that we can imagine how it must have felt to be alive during a time period like the Civil War? Is that history? How about if we use the book to “document the feelings, perspectives, and changes that occur for your characters over time.” That’s not factual knowledge. It’s simply priming the student to accept that a change in conditions could be a reason for personal change.

Psychological role-playing, in other words, seems to be all over classes that are supposed to be about science, literature, history, or civics. Even math. “How would you feel if… ” is psychological role-playing even if the description of your feelings, frustrations, and strategies for what to do next is going in your math journal so that “your teacher can read it and get to know you better.”

I keep bringing up the fact that the term ‘knowledge’ now is not about facts, but is rather concepts that are supposed to guide how we perceive all those activities and experiences. Why does that distinction matter so much? Well, the social psychologists have plenty of research they share among themselves that goes as follows:

“The notion of a concept is essential for understanding thought and behavior. If we want to understand, say, how a child learns through experience that stoves can burn, we assume that the child uses the concepts stove and burn; without this assumption, it is not clear why a child’s experience with one particular stove and one particular burn will be related to his or her experience with another stove and another possible burn. [In other words, if we want to get students or adults to analogize from one situation to another, we convince them that they involve comparable concepts. If we want to convince them about false connections, we train students repeatedly from a young age to believe that situations are connected or equivalent even if they are not.]

“It is only when we treat the objects and events of a situation as instances of concepts that we see what there is to learn. And just as it is hard to think about learning without concepts, it is hard to think about communication and reason without concepts. In short, concepts reflect the way we divide the world into classes, and much of what we learn, communicate, and reason involves relations among these classes.”

Providing the concepts to everyone then instead of each person building them up from facts is a tremendously fruitful means for psychological manipulation. Effective and largely invisible once created. What’s not to love if fundamentally transforming the here and now is the Goal, and undermining the historical Western sacrosanct treatment of the individual and the mind is the Means. Just target how that individual, while they are still young, learns to categorize their everyday experiences. Then make sure that any classroom work that previously bolstered the “ability of language to be an objective repository of vast accumulations of meaning and experiences, which it can then preserve in time and transmit to following generations” is either destroyed or seriously limited in duration and purpose.

We are back to our pretend Murder Board of what’s Being Discontinued and Expanded in Education and my reading nerdy books and then translating them so no one else has to. That is how I felt reading The Social Construction of Reality. It was like getting a Treasure Map to what would need to be stopped or emphasized if manipulation of how an individual saw reality was the Goal. Why? So that their future actions could be reliably planned from afar. How we order social experiences turns out to be a crucial fact to know if someone wants to predict and control other people’s behavior. It’s also something that adaptive software in a Digital Learning program or journals or showing your work in an open-ended question where there is no right answer all reveal. Rigorous assessments of the type required by the Common Core, a Higher Order Thinking Skills emphasis , or the ‘high-quality’ tests of 21st Century Learning all ferret it out too.

Coincidental? I think not as a TV detective would get to say. Keeping school work relevant to real life and everyday life situations makes the routine social stock of knowledge of the average student paramount. If school is no longer about facts, reading is Guided and not fluent, and visual presentations are considered on par with writing papers, then the typical person now exists in a place where “the reality of everyday life always appears as a zone of lucidity behind which there is a background of darkness.” Reading that passage from the 1966 book made me gasp because circumscribing personal knowledge in effect makes that zone of lucidity easy to manipulate. Later in the book, the importance of concepts and subjective categorization of experiences is mentioned as what makes us notice certain aspects of what happens and ignore others.

Now imagine that the Concepts and Principles provided are deliberately chosen to have just that very effect. The Goal? To make the student and the future ‘citizen’ they will become not just amenable to fundamental transformations in society, the economy, and political structures we now take for granted like the US Constitution. The student is to come to believe that radical changes are necessary and desirable. Hopefully the student will be ready to act on conditions and problems in the here and now to make fundamental transformations a reality sooner rather than later.

It turns out that a reverence for logic as in traditional math, chemistry, or physics and abstract proofs or grammar and old-fashioned vocabulary that can contain a sentence full of meaning in a single word are examples of how “language now constructs immense edifices of symbolic representations that appear to tower over the reality of everyday life like gigantic processes from another world.” Well, someone does still appreciate flowery language when they are driving home a point. Unfortunately, the point is how much preferable face-to-face interaction is, which would explain why the Common Core stresses listening and speaking and group dialogues and learning to reach that all important consensus within the classroom.

Once again the groundwork revealing the why in the classroom mysteries of the here and now was laid out back in the 60s attempt at fundamental transformations. We just had to peel back enough layers of the onion to locate this quote:

“In the face-to-face situation language possesses an inherent quality of reciprocity that distinguishes it from any other sign system. [In other words, we can see facial expressions and body movements and infer emotions from them.] The ongoing production of vocal signs in conversation can be sensitively synchronized with the ongoing subjective intentions of the conversants.”

A less convoluted way of making the same point is that conversation becomes the way to get everyone on the same page in how they describe their experiences and using the same concepts. Well, no wonder, we keep hearing hype for Blended Learning or the Flipped Classroom. Just let the computer or Kahn Academy provide what the last post called procedural knowledge and the 1966 book calls recipe knowledge–“that is, knowledge limited to pragmatic competence in routine performances.”

Does that sound like a Competency focus to anyone else?

So what’s your interpretation of why the actual planned classroom implementation under its variety of Orwellian names lines up so perfectly with how the known Social Construction of Reality by most people?

Could it be an organized attempt to manipulate their future behavior as long as accurate factual knowledge is kept to a minimum?

Is it politically useful to keep voters ignorant, aggrieved, and reliable in their likely reactions?


Develop Learners who Think and Behave and View Themselves as Systems Citizens

Well, that is certainly one way to use education to destroy the concept of the Unitary Self as john a powell and others wish. But is this an acceptable role for educators to take? Have we indeed crossed some sort of a threshold where the planned activities and policies and practices in our schools and classrooms and now our colleges and universities make them some sort of Fifth Columnists? Do their education degrees or sociology degrees or psychology degrees give them immunity from their clear intentions to destroy this economy and seize and manipulate children’s and young adult minds? How about the fact that they have never heard of a Fifth Column? Does that mean they are free to act as one and not be considered traitors? Moral traitors if not legal ones.

My understanding of the concept of a Fifth Column is that it comes from the Spanish Civil War in the 30s. It is the idea that people you regard as your supporters and on the same side actually have unknown allegiances to the other side in a conflict. When it comes time to use them to help ward off an assault, they are in your midst and close enough to stab you in the back. That’s a Fifth Column. Your assumed ally is actually a mortal foe and because you trust them, you have let them close enough that they have easy access. Then their treachery becomes apparent. That’s not going on in every school and district and college yet but that is the goal. And the danger is to the integrity of the mind, not death from a visible wound.

One of the reasons we paused for a few posts to discuss what is planned for colleges and universities is the recognition of the “inherent 12-16 year time delay it takes to educate a child through traditional schooling, the time is now to begin to build a citizenry of systems thinkers.” Because getting an Ed.D in Educational Leadership apparently qualifies one to abrogate the language of the US Constitution and plot on how to use schools (compel is the actual word used) to create young people:

“who think and behave as systems citizens (quote italics). Systems citizens view themselves as members of a global community. They understand the complexities of today’s worldly systems and have the capability to face into problems with knowledge and skill.”

Of course the knowledge is generally an erroneous understanding reached by group consensus using visual models (Flow Charts, Connection Circles, Ladders of Inference! etc) to try to convey the shared beliefs as to what may be occurring. Systems Thinkers love visual models (Causal Loops because if you draw it it must be true). Visual examples of Systems Thinking Tools are usefully supplied for use in the classroom where the teacher may well have had her job threatened if she were to lecture accurate facts or just pull out a good handy reference textbook. Both reflect someone else’s activity and are therefore unacceptable.

We are going back to having an acceptable belief that the sun rotates around the Earth as long as that’s the Group Consensus after a Meaningful Dialogue. After all it fits the perceptions of our senses. Have you never watched a sunrise or sunset and seen the bright orb clearly moving? Plus it is consistent with Native American beliefs and their reverence for the Earth that the ecologists wish to nurture in all minds. Look at all the trouble Axemaker Minds created like nuclear weapons, airplanes, cars, air conditioning, washing machines. We do not know what human ingenuity will come up with next so the answer of course is to deliberately use the schools and colleges to make sure there are no more ingenious humans.

All students will now get is a focus on the “holistic ‘big picture’ view of how systems function, seeing beyond the details of individual trees to the forest as a whole.” Now let’s say there is a legitimate scientific dispute on whether temperatures are rising or in an unusual manner or whether it has anything to do with human activity. Actual knowledge ceases to matter in this planned Constructivist World. The model determines what students and then adults are to believe. Does this remind anyone else of what the Catholic clergy wanted to push in the Middle Ages when it came to selling indulgences and the like? The facts are not to be allowed to interfere with sought power and money.

You can only imagine the nonsense that will be spread about how economies really work. And when will we stop this Planned Nonsense via educational institutions we pay the bill for? When we are starving because we slipped beyond the tipping point where widespread ignorance means nothing functions properly anymore? When we have riots from unemployed graduates who have degrees but no marketable knowledge or skills?

The flier “Systems Thinking in Schools” put out by the Waters Foundation this spring says:

“Systems thinking is a worldview, a perspective of seeing and understanding systems as wholes rather than as collections of parts. A whole is a web of interconnections that creates emerging patterns.”

There are no autonomous individuals in that worldview. That worldview is a political aspiration for enforced collectivism. It fits perfectly with how Uncle Karl described his holistic totalizing worldview. What right does any school district have to foist Marxist worldviews on unsuspecting parents and 5 year olds? Just because it will take years to get a lasting mental model in place that will then make gulags unnecessary? Do educators get a pass and permission to impose tragic political ideologies by stealth and with deliberate lies just because this time they are omitting any reference to Uncles Karl and Vladimer in the flier or workshops?

Certain school districts are working with the Waters Foundation specifically and Peter Senge. But the systems thinking comes in just as surely through those districts who are importing systems thinking through Spence Rogers PEAK Training or Daggett’s Model Schools or Responsive Classroom. Every person previously associated with Transformational Outcomes Based Education seems to be getting their share of the federal Race to the Top largesse to foist systems thinking on recalcitrant teachers, students, and parents. Who must submit this time to the mental and financial invasions.

Because as Tracy Benson wrote honestly in the piece “Developing a Systems Thinking Capacity in Learners of All Ages”, the goal of this systems thinking initiative is to control our personal behavior. We don’t get to be free citizens anymore and it is principals and supers and accreditors and professors who seek to take away the freedom the US Constitution supposedly guaranteed us. is a piece I wrote several months ago explaining that thoughts remain a protected area under the Constitution because they are a form of personal property. No Principal or Super is legally entitled to be doing what they are forcing on school classrooms in the name of Common Core and Systems Thinking and holistic learning and School Climate and Culture. Not even if it is in the Charter or a School Improvement Plan.

Honors English Lit teachers should not be forcing 9th Graders to write about rejecting Fixed Mindsets in favor of Growth Mindsets. Calling her work the more palatable sounding Brainiology does not change its function. Professor Carol Dweck’s specialty is getting Lev Vygotsky’s Soviet psychology practices into unsuspecting Western classrooms to prey on still forming Western minds. And you wonder why no one corrects the writing. The act of imagining why you need to reject fixed values and attitudes and beliefs is the point of the exercise because you are forcing students to write from emotion and unfounded speculation, not knowledge. All in the Name of the Common Core. A ruse just like the President and the Hewlett Foundation have acknowledged.

In playing Tiptoe through the Systems Thinking footnotes, I came across repeated references to Milton Rokeach. It turns out he laid out the blueprint for targeting values, attitudes, and beliefs via education and reeducation to overcome the historic preference in the West on the individual. And change and control behavior without notice or permission.

So explaining the blueprint for what clearly became Outcomes Based Education and now Systems Thinking is next on our journey. Our journey to protect ourselves from mental servitude-that Invisible Serfs Collar.