Religion Must Change Too? Learning to Dance in an Earthquake is No Feat if Marionette Strings are Attached

We shouldn’t be surprised I suppose. After all churches and religions, like schools and universities, are cultural institutions. They therefore also make very useful tools for accessing a person’s inner values, attitudes, and beliefs and changing them. At a 2007 UNESCO Workshop in Spain we were once again not invited to, the world’s religions were called on to “assist in the great transition to a viable future for all species.” Religions were called on “to renew and transform themselves” in italics just like that and to begin to “present alternative visions to counter the allure of endless consumption and endless economic growth, opening us up to something bigger than ourselves.” The workshop declared that the UN’s Decade of Education for Sustainable Development that commenced in 2005 was “not just about the environment, it’s about social change and transforming economic and political structures.”

Education for sustainability “should aim towards ‘a change in mind and heart, changing who we are.” That intrusive goal of course gets much easier if schools globally are being pushed quietly to make new values, ethics, and moral development the invisible center of all instruction and assessment while religions are told they must now “come together” to push towards comparable personal and social transformations. The title quote comes from a Rabbi Arthur Waskow:

“the whole world is today in an earthquake: politics, economics, sexuality…all is off the ground. People look for something that isn’t quaking, desperately trying to find something stable, and so they don’t pay attention to the state of the Earth…Our calling today is like ‘learning to dance in an earthquake.’ This quaking will transform everything including religions: ‘We know what religious traditions were like three hundred years ago, but we don’t know how they will be after learning to dance in an earthquake.”

Now if an earthquake does come, I personally think survival will call on all my wits and knowledge about what has worked in the past and what consistently leads to tragedies. But then I am not a current or former politician or NGO bureaucrat. I am not even a professor. Just a lawyer seriously tracking all the things being pushed now in the name of Common Core in the US and why the required classroom implementation never looks like all the hype used to try to gain popular support for our own political and economic execution. If you are wondering how on earth today’s post veered into discussing religion when we were just overseas visiting with the Swedes from the 1960s, here’s my reply. It’s the same vision and really the same means as well.

In the kind of collaborative effort now going on between me and blog readers who have also read my book Credentialed to Destroy and thus really mastered the overall framework of the sought transformation, they find troubling documents and ask me to look at them. In this case it was UNESCO’s push of the acronym KSAVE as what the new assessments should be measuring globally as they looked for the students to change to reflect the desired Knowledge, Skills, Attitudes, Values, and Ethics. At the center of what the student was to become via education according to UNESCO were the Core Values. Next was an outer circle of what were called Social and Emotional Competencies that coincide perfectly with what David Conley listed in 2007 in a paper for the Gates Foundation as “College Ready Skills.” Renamed duplicitously in the US to try to hold off a full taxpayer rebellion from the reality of Social and Emotional Competencies and a commitment to Communitarianism as the new goals of K-12 under the Common Core.

It was Singapore’s new vision that was featured in the 2011 Keynote Address in China for the vision of Next Generation Schools, which is interesting since I happen to know Singapore is a listed partner in the global Curriculum Redesign Project. The key question of course is what values and ethics are to be that guiding core. That’s where both UNESCO’s entire Values Curriculum and Peace Education push and the determination to shift all religions in an Eastern spirituality direction came tumbling out. Quickly. With very little effort. Clearly a core component of the transformation via education vision.

So that’s why once again we have to talk about religion. It’s where the values, attitudes, ethics, and vision of the transformations and the future are coming from. In his 1989 book The Inner Limits of Mankind Ervin Laszlo, who we first met acting with the Dalai Llama to urge education to create a Holos Consciousness, described the Baha’i Faith as the emerging global religion. Apparently it is what all the others are supposedly transitioning to. The Encyclopedia of Peace Education from 2008 created by Teachers College at Columbia has an article by Marie Gervais laying out the close working relationship from the beginning between the UN and representatives of the Baha’i Faith. Me? I had never really heard of the “world’s newest major religion” until references to it began pouring out on where the values and transformative vision of education were coming from.

Interesting for us in trying to figure out the implications of all this is the acknowledgment quoted by Gervais from the Chancellor of the University of Maryland in 2004 that “What the Baha’i Chair is all about, is the elevation of the common good. It seeks this higher ground by focusing not on what divides people, but rather on what unites them…we must ensure that throughout their higher education journey, our students travel with an open mind while exposed to the widest variety of ethical, spiritual and philosophical thought.” Which of course the students are to view in the desired way much like marionettes on the end of a puppeteer’s strings. i don’t think the Chancellor was just referring to religion majors.

In the 2007 Workshop I wrote about above, one of the participants was Arthur Dahl. He is listed as representing the International Economic Forum based in Switzerland. In the 2012 UNESCO and Earth Charter paper called “Exploring Synergies between Faith Values and Education for Sustainable Development” Dahl wrote the Baha’i Faith vision (pages 44-48). He stated that the “transition to a sustainable world is the fundamental aim and purpose of the Baha’i Faith” and that this transformation “will entail no less than an organic change in the structure of society itself.” I know you will be stunned to hear that the vision then goes on to basically replicate what we have taken to calling Uncle Karl’s vision of a small c, Marxist Humanism, human development society (that the Swedes pioneered) that meets everyone’s needs in the world as a matter of right just from being born. Just think of all the administrative jobs trying to fulfill that vision the UN and governments at all levels get to create.

And guess what institution is first and foremost the way in? Yes, ten points, but it is not education in the traditional sense anymore. Here’s Dahl again in as concise an explanation of what transformative education is all about as I have ever read.

“If education is to effect the profound changes in the minds of people and in the structures of society needed to shift towards sustainability, the nature of the educational processes will need to be rethought. As a starting point, the programme of education must be based on a clear vision of the kind of society we wish to live in, and the kind of individuals that will bring this about. It needs to help learners reflect on the purpose of life and help them step out of their cultural realities to develop alternative visions and approaches to the problems at hand, and to understand the manifold consequences of their behaviours and to adjust them accordingly.”

I could go on and point out how the various elements of the required transformations, including the ubiquitous service learning, replicate listed elements and practices attributed by one of these cited sources to the Baha’i Faith. I could point out how the required Communities of Learners and Positive School Climates sound just like Dahl describing people working “constructively to shaping communities that reflect principles of justice, equity and unity.”

I think this is enough for now though. We really are dealing with an official vision that seeks to regulate through the schools AND religious institutions what MUST be believed and valued and thought.

Conspiracy is certainly the wrong term for such a coordinated effort to make each of us servile to the exercise of political and economic power.

Now that these goals and the means have been once again pulled out of the shadows into the sunlight, what shall we do?

Some things really do need to be repudiated by individuals learning to act collectively against taxpayer funded planned predation.

Deep Diving to Internal Mental Models to Increase Leverage for Accomplishing the Great Transition

No, deep diving is not a Grab Your Attention Play on the ubiquity of the ambiguous term ‘deeper learning’ as a fundamental goal of 21st century education globally. The last fundamental transformation confession that was lurking in that IPCC definition of Adaptation we have been discussing in this Spheres of Desired Transformation Quartet was from a 2011 Conference in London where once again our invitation went missing. Sponsored primarily by the World Wildlife Fund-UK and called the Smart CSOs Conference, the report was called Effective Change Strategies for the Great Transition: Five Leverage Points for Civil Society Organizations. Troublingly and in disregard of my recollection of civics in the US, the document seeks to achieve invisible global change because “similar to governments, CSOs have a mandate to serve society’s interests, but they do not face the same constraints as governments.”

Oh, goody. Especially since the report notes in discussing the leverage points for the wholesale transformations intended by the Great Transition that “increased leverage can be found by diving to the deeper levels of the iceberg depicted [in the report but taken from Peter Senge’s 1990 book The Fifth Discipline Handbook] and draw our attention to and shift system structures and mental models.” When people tell me they wish my book or this blog would simply stick to education, I keep repeating that I cannot. The constantly recurring end goal is always that education is a means for obtaining a new kind of consciousness and revised societal values for desired fundamental transformations “across every realm” at both a “broad and deep systemic” level. The report states that this “includes technologies, legislation, economic and governance institutions, social relations, culture and values.”

Education is deemed to be the key means of leveraging the transition because it is the “internal models of the world” that will allow the needed changes in behaviors going forward. All the explanations of mandated Constructivism and Curriculum Redesign and Gaming and systems thinking and digital learning all become clear when we read the complaints of how existing political, social, and economic structures are resisting the desired transformational changes. The key the report says is to “go even deeper and explore how real structures are shaped by our thinking. We create internal models of the world–mental models, which we use for making sense of the world and taking action.” The fact that these internal mental representations are the target gets hidden behind euphemisms like deep learning, brain-based learning, teaching students ‘how to think,’ and rigor and higher order thinking skills that will allow Transfer.

Unless, like me, you read the underlying cited psychological research the true definitions and aims remain obscured. In my world though, the intentions could not be more clear. As the CSO report recommended, systems thinking and conceptual ‘lenses’ generally “allows us to open these black boxes.” Numerous papers I have seen in just the last week make it clear this is exactly what the new assessments delivered via adaptive software and the computer are designed to produce data both looking at and changing what’s inside the ‘black box’ within a student’s mind. It is the aim of this recent Nellie Mae report as well as “Measuring Learning Success: Rethinking Assessment to Improve Student Outcomes” from the Center for Digital Education (that is actually a sub of media company erepublic that works with state and local governments on innovations based on Big Data). Can you say “No one will see this coming until it is too late?”

All of these intentions are laid out, including specifically “simulations and role playing games” that let students explore in cyberspace with visual images the “dynamic consequences of our assumptions” in our existing mental models. No one will be tipping off teachers or students that those consequences are simply what has been programmed into the simulation to guide beliefs and values in desired directions. If you are wondering if I am perhaps too cynical on the intentions here, the CSO report wants a new narrative so badly they italicized it that will “speak to the hearts and minds of a very large number of people and tell a creative and emotional story of who we are and who we need to be and tap into the creative worlds of mythmaking.” The narrative will appeal to people’s intrinsic values, which will of course have been cultivated by ed using contemplative education or positive psychology methods and the Positive School Climate/ Fostering Communities of Learners requirements.

Whatever method gets used to embed new communitarian oriented values via school and higher education, CSOs are exhorted to use the laid-out “understanding of values, frames and narratives in their policy and their communication.” Remember the desire of cybernetic theory to create an internal keel that could be used to steer people’s future behavior with? CSOs, the media, governments at all levels with help from companies like erepublic, are all planning to steer as a means of finally achieving this Great Transition. Did you know the report defines narratives as “frameworks for people to understand their lives. They are a way to make sense of life”? Those narratives are being consciously created to get at emotions. They are designed to utilize research from cognitive science obtained from real people via formative assessments, adaptive software, or data from MOOCs (hence all the interest from the Artificial Intelligence community. It is also a research method).

That cognitive science research so far says that to change values in people and ultimately institutions, education needs to target the “mental structures that allow human beings to understand reality.” Accessing these “deep frames–the cognitive structures found in long-term memory–are closely linked with cultural values. Deep frames are relatively stable, but are not unchangeable.” Let’s stop again to remember and discuss why these deep mental structures are being deliberately targeted for change. Politicians, public sector bureaucrats, foundation employees, CSOs, and apparently the entire UN apparatus that guarantees lifetime salaries for all vision-compliant former politicians once voters tire of their shenanigans, have all decided to fundamentally redesign all our civic institutions and economic and political structures in ways that benefit them and screw us. Since we would be crazy to go along if we were asked, we are not being asked.

Education again is the way in. It is why it has become a Weapon to Destroy the world we currently take for granted. It goes to accessing the deepest structures of our minds and the fundamental drivers within our personalities. To dictate that it is now to be “the will of humanity to invent an economic system that is guided by different parameters and that would work for human wellbeing and the planet.” That’s doubtful, but it’s such a nice slogan for the reality of personal greed coerced via the public sector. Schools and higher ed are now to ensure graduates have a “bigger sense of interconnectedness with nature and with others and an empathy with humanity as a whole (global empathy).” And no matter how much a student knows, without hitting that Universal Love stage of Global Citizenship, there will be no badge or diploma. The student will be regarded as Not Ready to Move On.

I want to end on one of the same notes that I drew attention to in my book, especially now that the same vision featured prominently in the recent book Imagine Living in a Socialist USA. The intended redesign of the global economy, especially in developed countries like the US, Canada, Australia, and Europe, is to “start with the question: What level and what type of consumption do people really need to live a good and fulfilling life?”

This is not a minor point. In fact the Ford Foundation funds Global Transformation research around this so-called Line of Plenty. The Thanksgiving 2077 conclusion to that Imagine book talks about how people probably would never have supported the Great Transition if they had realized it would mean meat consumption would be rare and that medical care would cease after a certain age. But those recognized realities are not in the Talking Points for the Great Transition being offered for public consumption. It’s not designed into the scenarios offered by virtual simulation either.

We have a great deal of intended aims and consequences laid out in the documents discussed in this IPCC Adaptation Quartet. Fundamental transformations in all areas without any intention of asking for consent from the so-called Governed. Only calling attention to these intentions and the fact that education is the way in can stop it.

I can and have tracked all this and more. Can you help me spread the word about these dangerous declared intentions?

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. 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   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?



Obscuring the Reinvention of All Education Around Envisaging New Ways of Being in the World

I am afraid All really does mean all. No matter how hard that graduate school is to get into or how high the tuition is, there really are deliberate plans laid out to shift graduate business, law, and other professional degrees to align with the planned shifts in K-12 and college, plus the economy and political structures, as we have been discussing. In fact, as I laid out in my book that came out last October, education at all levels is seen as the primary driver to change the future. Without tenure, a bias-inducing grant, or a political career on the line, everything I am reading and hearing the outlines for is likely to be malevolent in actual practice and reality, whatever anyone’s actual intentions.

I had framed another trilogy to gradually lay out what is being attempted, how the new assessments fit in, why I won’t be able to ban the nauseating word ‘Soviet’ in 2014 either, and how all this manipulation gets masked. Now if you think that sometimes my posts can seem a bit hyperbolic, I always try to tone them down from the aspirations and declarations I am dealing with. But somehow I just could not come up with an easy way to tell everyone that the Russian word obuchenie was going to be the January 2014 first entry in the ISC Vocabulary Hall of Fame. It will be quite the revelatory post though.

First I think we need a Prequel to remind us all once again just how transformative at every level imaginable the hoped for vision of the future really is. Plus all the influential people and institutions involved with this comprehensive effort that remains off most people’s radar screen. Thankfully the Eager For Fundamental Change folks at the Garrison Institute sent me this pdf as part of their aspirations for what needs to be taking place in 2014. . Like the Schemers for Change at the UK’s RSA that we went into in December, Garrison simply intends to take physical climatic, assumed likely to be catastrophic, change as a given that will no longer be debated.

Time to move straight to laying out the intended social and cultural changes for all of us. If you do read the report and you give yourself a dime every time you read the phrase “behavior change,” you should be able to treat yourself to a nice lunch somewhere. Seems like just compensation for the mental anguish of once again wading through plans of social engineering and discovering how many people these days earn lucrative livings laying out and enforcing awful things to do to us and our children at our own expense. I think we can all admit that the real classroom implementations we have been discussing will be highly useful for “working on climate change from the social and behavioral facet means we are working towards wellbeing for all in a brighter, healthier and more fulfilling future.”

Even more useful to getting at those personal behavioral and social ‘facets’ may be this “Proposed Revisions to the Common Rule for the Protection of Human Subjects  in the Behavioral Sciences” just announced. It looks to me like the feds want to amend the law to allow the education research that is already going on in places so it can be expanded as desired. No effective recourse once people start to notice. I guess there are truly to be no legal barriers to the planned transformation.

If it seems like we are dealing with an entirely different view of the law than what used to go on in law school or civics class, it’s not your imagination. The law really is now seen as a useful tool to require normative change in individuals from the inside-out. “Make them do it so they will come to believe it” sounds just like the approach to education change Vicki Phillips and Michael Barber advocated for in the UK in their “Irreversible Change” paper. It is now coming to the US through education, legislation none of us asked for, and regulations we are not getting any chance to read.

It is all part of a fundamental shift of viewing the law “as a means of changing the wind” according to Gerald Torres of Texas-Austin School of Law (page 18). What we are seeing elected officials at all levels enact makes much more sense given these admitted transformative aspirations once you read that:

“for those interested in social change, it is useful to view lawmaking from the perspective of popular mobilizations and other sustained forms of collective action that make formal institutions, including those that regulate legal culture, more democratic. One of the important functions of law resides in its power to tell persuasive stories about individual fairness and social justice.”

Now that really does strike me as encouraging a mentality that legalizes a majority going after whatever it covets or just generally wishes for. From the bully pulpit of an elite law school and the forum of an exclusive symposium. Torres really leaves no ambiguity at all when he goes on:

“social movements and organized constituencies of non-expert participants play an important role in the creation of authoritative interpretative communities. [Not sure precisely where the authority comes from then except tyranny of a voting majority and Might Makes Right]. Many believe that social movements are most effective when they translate their claims into law.”

Italian Communist Antonio Gramsci wrote back in the 20s that the way to effectively go after the West was to March Through the Institutions and those quotes above are what that march looks like. It’s what the Common Core is a part of as we will see better in the upcoming trilogy. When the blurb heading on page 7 announces “Culture is the Change Agent” and advocates “Shifting Culture through Community,” Gramsci may not be mentioned by name, but his blueprint could hardly be more intact.

One of the most revelatory series of posts in 2013 to me were the ones we did talking about Daniel Bell and his 60s and 70s vision of what he called the Post-Industrial Society. It appears to me that the 2013 Garrison Climate, Mind and Behavior Symposium is simply renaming Bell’s vision as the post-consumption society. So if we had not done all that tracking of all these now familiar aspirations with a variety of names and advocates throughout 2013, these might seem like fresh ideas. Just created as an answer to the troubles of the Great Recession.

Instead it is new packaging and better PR sound bytes on an age old pursuit. Political power as usual wants to control economic power and the average person should simply do as they are told.

With neither complaint or effective remedy.

Now we are ready to start the Trilogy describing Tactics of Transformation designed to avoid detection.

Going to wear out the T and D keys at this alliterative rate.


Cultivating Capacities for Submission and Acquiescence to Power Needed to Drive Fundamental Change

As I go back and forth comparing what is being pursued and implemented now with the stated intentions for the policies in the past, a 1974 book from an economics professor at the New School for Social Research kept coming up as the source. So of course I went used book surfing again to get a copy of Robert L. Heilbroner’s An Inquiry into the Human Prospect. Heilbroner gave the rationale for governments to hype potential future crises like man-made catastrophic global warming. It gives a reason to revisit, out in the open or covertly, “present mechanisms of social control.” If the dangers being hyped are social problems then they “originate in human behavior and [are] capable of amelioration by the alteration of that behavior.” Since Daniel Bell who we have encountered numerous times now, Paul Ehrlich, and the current White House Science Czar John Holdren are all people Heilbroner thanks up front for their help in writing the book we need to pay close attention to what he sought.

Now of course altering and controlling other people’s behavior is what political and social radicals interested in fundamental transformation basically lust after every waking hour and in many of their post-midnight dreams so we cannot be surprised 21st Century skills wants to make such a focus of real-world relevant problem-solving. Now, Heilbroner, like the current director of UNESCO or the OECD, makes no pretense of his desire for what he calls “socialism with a humanist face” and he was upfront about the kind of “boldest and most far-reaching exercise of political power [that] will be unavoidable in the future.” That future of course is the 21st century and what we are living through now all over the world at local, state, national, and global levels except no one is really willing to be upfront about all the machinations lest we all rebel before they are fully in place.

Just my research over the last week led me to write this little ditty laid out to the tune of “Jesus Loves the Little Children of the World” you may have learned from Vacation Bible School. “Red and Yellow, Black and White, You are All Just Serfs under Our Oversight” fits with this determination to use education to manipulate emotions and perceptions and limit knowledge and then use political governance arrangements to tell people what they cannot do or must do in the 21st century. These arrangements such as that Metro Atlanta Equity Atlas or all the real Common Core implementation pushes and the Regional Equity pursuits need to be implemented quietly until they can accomplish the needed changes in personality and values and attitudes and dispositions. Why the constant focus over the decades on these affective characteristics?

As Heilbroner pointed out, for “this exercise of power to be successful,” it must “be accepted by those over whom that power will have to be exercised.” That would be me and you and our children and most of our neighbors, especially if we happen to live in the reviled “affluent island suburbs.” Well, I happen to live in the Sandy Springs section of Atlanta, which turns out to be Ground Zero for targeting since in 1966 its voters decisively rejected being annexed by the City of Atlanta and thus supposedly set in motion Atlanta becoming the model of dysfunctional sprawl and turning its back on the needs of the Inner City. Didn’t know we had such a bullseye on us or that people like Heilbroner were writing about the need to foster “political obedience” if radicals wished to increase their political power. In fact, he calls on “the intellectual elements of Western nations” to:

“not only prepare their fellow citizens for the sacrifices that will be required of them but to take the lead in seeking to redefine the legitimate boundaries of power and the permissable sanctuaries of freedom, for a future in which the exercise of power must inevitably increase and many present areas of freedom, especially in economic life, be curtailed.”

Now, obviously if we were aware of such pursuits by our elected politicians and certain public sector employees and numerous Chambers of Commerce, we would likely tell them where they could go with such imperious plans and to “take their little dog Toto too” so such plans from the 60s on in the US always seem to come in through misunderstood education reforms and regional economic planning initiatives. Sometimes as now both at once. Education is always really after what Heilbroner called: “What values and ways of thought would be congenial to such a radical restructuring of things?” He proposed a shift “toward the exploration of inner states of experience rather than the outer world of material accomplishment” which certainly sounds like the focus on contemplative education and mindfulness training we keep encountering. Heilbroner also concluded that “the struggle for individual achievement, especially for material ends, is likely to give way to the acceptance of communally organized and ordained roles.”

Now the little ditty I composed above got its impetus in part from what Heilbroner wanted but it also comes from the Atlanta Regional Competitiveness Strategy  that came my way last week as it spoke of the entire 10 county Atlanta region pursuing a common education policy and pushing transit oriented development and a “unifying theme of cooperative leadership across economic sectors.” I ran into mentioned people tied to the Equity Atlas and the accreditor AdvancED and higher ed transformation and a partner of the law firm that drafted the duplicitous conversion charter that also represents quite a few large metro school districts and reps from planned anchor institutions in the sought Good Society and sponsors of forums for elected officials telling them to defer to school supers. Just a few of the names or entities I recognized.

Hard not to think then of Heilbroner’s comment about submission to political power or Moises Naim’s declaration in his March 2013 book that we are all to adjust to being governed. Especially when the regional ed campaign obligates to “integrate best practices and innovative programs into PreK-12 classrooms throughout the region.” As we have seen innovation these days always actually means sociological innovation and ‘best practices’ is a term of art that means political or social theories thought to allow for fundamental transformation of a radical nature. Kind of like what Heilbroner intended. I have to admit I wasn’t excited either about the goal  to “adequately prepare the region’s students and workers for 21st century skills and careers.” How Corporatist and mindless that sounds.

I was tickled though by the idea of the best and brightest college and graduate students from the region’s institutions being encouraged to “network through public service.” Apparently all these planners see the public sector as providing the best job prospects in the 21st century. Now my mention above of the antipathy towards Sandy Springs and its 1966 vote and the hatred for affluent suburbs all came from a 2006 book by Matthew Lassiter that was part of the same series on 20th century American life as White Flight: Atlanta and the Making of Modern Conservatism.

The Silent Majority: Suburban Politics in the Sunbelt South lays out precisely what was actually sought via desegregation and it was not limited to the South. Atlanta though is treated as being the “model of metropolitan divergence and regional fragmentation, emulating the national pattern of increasingly poor and heavily minority urban populations surrounded by overwhelmingly white and politically autonomous suburbs.” I think that regional plan above is what radicals want to use to get regional collaboration without the consent of the taxpayers while still keeping lots of school districts and cities and special tax districts in place to serve as lucrative jobs programs for people willing to push the desired programs. Of the kind Heilbroner and others had in mind.

Lassiter makes it clear it is socioeconomic integration that was and is really wanted. He ends the book talking about the Brookings Institute’s Metropolitanism program which is interesting as Bruce Katz addressed the ARC group that put out that report at its annual meeting in October 2012 and then came to Atlanta again last March as part of the Global Cities Network conference on economic development and Low Carbon Growth. Lassiter recommends “policymakers can use regional structures as leverage to overcome fragmented political governance and ameliorate persistent patterns of employment discrimination, housing segregation, and educational inequality.” Precisely what ARC and probably other similar entities in other cities plan to do as well. Largely out of sight. As a means of quietly ending “individual meritocracy and suburban consumer privileges and spatial separation.”

I read that in Lassiter’s book and remembered how many times at the rollout of the Equity Atlas I heard the term “spatial equity.”

If educational equity seems fair let’s add the ire that “children of privilege” in the suburbs are receiving the “advantage of the consumer affluence accumulated by their parents instead of competing on an egalitarian playing field.”

I am not done yet as I have another event to attend this week related to this but my point is what is being sought and how most of these relevant and binding activities affecting all of us are going on out of sight.

Unless you are like me and deliberately monitoring and watching and appreciating the significance of the language you encounter in official reports.

Eupsychia and Humanist Education-Shouldn’t the Links to 21st Century Skills and Common Core Be Emphasized?

Those of us who play a mean game of Trivial Pursuit tend to remember that the word “Utopia” literally translates as “Nowhere.” And Nowhere is an unacceptable expression for philosophers and dreamers and self-interested planners who do want to reorganize society going forward towards new values and new beliefs and a hoped-for vision of the future. One of those people was the creator of Humanist Psychology and the Eupsychia vision of the Good Society, Abraham Maslow, who laid out theories for education and a new type of school in a book published after his death in 1971. It builds on the New Focus of Education/NEA financed vision from 1962 that I wrote about here.

Ever since I wrote that post as I have sat in Mindfulness seminars that curiously enough now count as continuing legal education and all our encounters with Robert Kegan and the competences vision being pushed by the UN and the OECD, I keep coming back to that 1962 vision as the foundation for so much that has been called “transformational” ever since. I think it is the grounds for the increasing acknowledgment that long-term behavioral change is a major purpose of the Common Core classroom. . So when I saw a recent reference to the later book, I thought we might gain some important insights into what is coming at us.

Because I now live in a world where a Professor Emeritus at the New School for Social Research, Hans Jonas, laid out in the early 80s his understanding of the then planned shift from each of us being “responsible subjects” to “programmed behavior systems.” And that was before the rise of adaptive software, blended learning, Big Data, and Gaming to constantly crosscheck how the new psychological emphasis in the classroom was doing. When we talk about education reform and assessments that are not measuring knowledge that parents are not allowed to see, keep this long-term aspiration in mind:

“Here I merely point to this most ambitious dream of homo faber, summed up in the phrase that man will take his own evolution in hand, with the aim of not just preserving the integrity of the species but of modifying it by improvements of his own design.”

Well, neither you or I have been invited to participate in such designing but Maslow was and Jonas was aware of it. Jonas presciently asked the question that should be on posters at Dalian, China and Davos, Switzerland and plenty of ed labs globally:

“Who will be the image-makers, by what standards, and on the basis of what knowledge? Also, the question of the moral right to experiment on future human beings must be asked.”

That’s still a critical question to ask now as consultants and district administrators and principals are all being paid to push just such experimentation of untried psychological theories. Or if not untried, ignoring the indisputable linkage to prior tragedies from such probing of the “deeper self. (Maslow’s italics)” Maslow notes that primary creativeness (one of the 4 Cs of 21st Century Skills) “comes out of the unconscious, which is the source of new discovery-of real novelty-of ideas that depart from what exists at the moment.”  You see, the psychological emphasis in education that has been trying to come in the front door of being the new focus of education globally since the 60s in earnest is based on Maslow’s belief that “We need a new kind of human being who can divorce himself from his past, who …[can] handle the problem well in an improvising way, without previous preparation, if need be.”

Now the latter is called the 4C of critical thinking & problem solving and gets measured via new planned Common Core assessments of Higher Order Thinking Skills where there is no fixed, linear answer and ambiguity is preferred. By the way, in 1970 Maslow wanted a “new kind of human being that we would need even if there were no cold war, and even if we were all united in a brotherly species, is needed simply to confront the new kind of world in which we live.” Now that’s a sentiment that fits right into what a conference of ed professors or administrators is still hearing in 2013. They simply may not know it comes from Maslow saying:

“What I am really interested in is the new kind of education which we must develop which moves towards fostering the new kind of human being that we need, the process person, the creative person, the improvising person, the self-trusting, courageous person, the autonomous person.”

That latter reference to autonomy frequently came with a cite to Erich Fromm of the Frankfurt School so please do not get excited that there was a glimmer of legitimate individualism being allowed through. No, in fact real education should impel the student on an “Ought-Is-Quest” that does NOT distinguish anymore between facts and values. Maslow called those Species-Brotherhood new values Being Values like Justice and Equality that are to “guide human action” in the future. They should be instilled and monitored via education. In fact, humanistic education had a “new conception of learning, of teaching, of education. Stated simply, such a concept holds that the function of education, the goal of education–the human goal, the humanistic goal, the goal as far as human beings are concerned–is ultimately the ‘self-actualization’ of a person, the becoming fully human, the development of the fullest height that the human species can stand up to or that the particular individual can come to.”

And of course, Maslow noted that such a shift in vision would require a substantial shift in the psychology of teaching. Which as my new book details is precisely what has happened. I am going to leave you to mull over another part of this new vision of education and school which you may well also discover to be embodied in charter language that was designed to both bind and not be well understood by outsiders. Or as Maslow noted tactlessly: “even morons can learn emotionally and spiritually” so beware of mandates that instructional methods used MUST close the achievement gaps. Just think of the enhancement of power in a desired public-centric economy of the future based on officially designated needs rather individual consumer choices this goal of future education will be:

“this is a way of discovering what the self is like. There are signals from inside, there are voices that yell out. ‘By gosh this is good, don’t ever doubt it!’ This is a path, one of the ways we try to teach self-actualization and the discovery of self. The discovery of identity comes via the impulse voices, via the ability to listen to your own guts, and to their reactions and to what is going on inside of you.

This is also an experimental kind of education that, if we had the time to talk about it, would lead us into another parallel education establishment, another kind of school.”

Like a student-centered school that must be engaging and provide success for all students?

That sees all students as “assets” and refuses to accept any “deficit” visions for 21st century education?

Those last two are quotes from the education vision I heard being pushed at the September (co)lab summit in Atlanta.

Prescribing How We Frame Experiences is the Lynchpin of Wholesale Unconscious Behavioral Change

Historian Robert Conquest has a great term for the kind of ideas and concepts we are dealing with as education all over the globe thinks reframing our consciousness is the legitimate new focus. To get a different kind of society and economy and future of course. Because good intentions excuse all? When any kind of knowledge of the past and the consistency of human nature and governments that accept no boundaries would be sending up red flags of danger. It feels a bit like 1938 when Churchill’s knowledge of history told him that there would in fact be “no peace in our time” from conceding to a not yet full-strength tyrant.

Conquest calls these ways of framing our perceptions and experiences that have in fact escaped the reality that currently exists and any empirical controls–“brain blindfolds.” An apt term it seems to me to deal with K-12 and higher ed institutions globally where the principals and Supers and college Presidents are being pushed to see their new mission as transformation of the students they are presented with. Like this as the instructions on how to push the desired changes (my bolding for emphasis):

“one continually sees that a critique of one’s identification with the values and loyalties of one’s cultural or psychosocial surround precedes the construction of a fourth order system that can act upon those values, set them aside, or modify or reappropriate them to a new place within a more encompassing organization.”

That passage is from a 1994 book by the now-regularly present, Harvard prof Robert Kegan, called In Over Our Heads: The Mental Demands of Modern Life. Written before the Democrats lost the House for the first time in 40 years in 1994 or Outcomes Based Education and School to Work controversies began to undermine the educational ‘reforms’ the Clinton administration was pursuing at the federal level in the 90s version of what is being called the Common Core now. These old blueprints do not go away and books written before controversies tend to be graphic in their intentions. Now that we have learned that the OECD is pushing ed reforms in K-12 globally around Kegan’s vision of shifting consciousness and that the US plans to reshape higher ed announced in January 2012 by the White House are also grounded in Kegan’s work, we had better understand what we are dealing with. The $50 word ‘omnipresent’ is not an exaggeration of the role Kegan’s theories are playing.

Except they are not really his theories as in unique, original work. It’s more like he is a major spokesperson and proponent of theories with an even more troubling pedigree. According to the Comparative Education Research Center based at the University of Hong Kong as laid out in a 2001 book Values Education for Dynamic Societies: Individualism or Collectivism, this focus on personality-oriented education and a socio-psychological concept of “personality development” comes straight out of Russian and then Soviet traditions. And upon reading that I did some checking yesterday on the current integrative models being pushed by Mikhail Berulava (he gets cited in book). Alive and well and stronger than ever since the Cold War is one way to describe it. And apparently Sochi is ever so much nicer than Siberia.

In other words, we have a real problem. It is global but that 2001 book does let us know that “elites’ in the US want American citizens to have a much greater orientation toward the collective. So does Kegan. This is what he wants to see for an adolescent curriculum. He wants the school to “grow the mind” so that each student’s daily perceptions become guided in a way “faithful to the self-psychology of the West [think Maslow and Rogers] as to the ‘wisdom literature’ of the East.” Elsewhere, Kegan mentions a Zen-like orientation as desirable. He wants education to create “a process by which the whole (‘how I am’) becomes gradually a part (‘how I was’) of a new whole (‘how I am now.’)”

Kegan may talk a lot about ‘autonomy’ and ‘self-direction’ but both he and the global ed reforms movement that pushes his and the personality development purpose generally (which is basically everybody with power now to be honest) expressly reject defining these terms as “personal authority or psychological independence.” No, this vision of education as ‘a reconstitution of self’ via “a transformation of ‘the way we understand'” never loses sight of the person as a mere part of a greater whole that should be dedicated to a common good.

Kegan envisions adolescence developing so that each child takes “out membership in a community of interest greater than one, to subordinate their own welfare to the welfare of the team, even, eventually, to feel a loyalty to and identification with their team, so that its success is experienced as their own success.” Talk about No Man is an Island. No Man Stands Alone. I am going to interrupt this discussion to point out that these are the same reforms that were so controversial in Hong Kong when they were introduced there. Kegan even mentions Kohlberg on his Acknowledgments page as his “late teacher and friend.”

They would be controversial in other countries too if they were not hiding in what PISA is actually measuring or in poorly appreciated definitions of “lifelong learning,” “self-directed learning,” or “college and career ready.” Everything is geared towards us never seeing what is coming that we are funding until it is too late. The internal psychological changes will have already occurred. Because they are intrinsically tied to feelings and emotions from an early age they are supposed to be almost impossible to reverse.

Reader alert! If the mention of sex is not something you want to accidentally read about, skip this paragraph. But Kegan saw teenage sex, not counting intercourse in passages I cannot believe I had to read, as helpful to priming adolescents to be guided by their experiences at both a physical and emotional level. Doesn’t that put a new spin on the unending push for graphic presentations to students in schools over the last few decades? He literally sees such a push as being beneficial for adolescent students to learn what mutuality means and how to relate to others and their needs. That’s enough. I am blushing now and this is mild compared to his descriptions in the book. But mentioning this and the reasons for it should help all of us appreciate how important the desired wholesale changes in behavior and how things are perceived is. And how crucial education is to the venture.

As many teachers have already either intuited or actually heard from a Change Agent Principal, these personality changes and consciousness shifts are needed from teachers as well. No one in the building or on campus shall survive in the form and with the values they entered would be one way to describe it. I want to go back to Robert Conquest again and his fine book from 2005 The Dragons of Expectation: Reality and Delusion in the Course of History because he and I are worried about the same thing–“the general state of the Western Mind.” It’s just that this blog has a great deal of detail on how it is being targeted for wholesale change. But I would argue still for the same end as what Conquest recognized. We have bureaucrats and politicians and self-interested cronies in the public and private sectors who personally would benefit from “state control of much of human activity.”

When I mention the Soviets as the source of a theory or practice, I am not trying to frighten you. As a history major, I get what it was created to do and why it does not belong in schools or college classrooms or any society that hopes to remain truly free. Where individuals still matter in the original meaning of autonomy. If history is not your idea of a good beach read, you may never have pondered the significance of Robert Louis Stevenson’s (remember Treasure Island?) observation that “Man is a creature who lives not upon bread alone, but principally by catchwords.” And one group with aspirations for social transformation will know exactly what those cultivated catchwords are.

When we are worrying about the origination of these theories and practices being pushed on us without our consent, let’s keep in mind this Conquest observation (my points in brackets):

“The ideal totalitarian state should control the mental as well as the physical lives of its population. Real life is not quite up to this. But if we consider the Stalin and other similar regimes, we see that they had progressed a long way towards it. [Precisely what has been imported to the US and other countries]. The most obvious and critical point is the degree to which all channels of information were blocked [by poor reading methods? cultivated erroneous perceptions? reliance on feeling and propaganda visuals?], and the extent to which a radically false picture was forced on Russian minds. For the Stalinist regime did not merely deny reality; it substituted for it a fully ideologized world fantasy.”

False pictures and world fantasies and substitutions of videogames for reality are precisely what is coming at us in 2013. Stay tuned.


Manipulating the Inner, Psychological Aspects of What Makes Each Student Tick Are Key

To any Broader Cultural Transformation. At this point I tend to take an understanding of the work of Antonio Gramsci and the Frankfurt School for granted as a tool for analyzing sought changes through education or the media. But there was a time in my life just a few years ago when I would have wondered if the Frankfurt School had something to do with hot dogs or polishing a German accent or maybe be a fun place to hang out during Octoberfest. To help each of us grasp how an express intention for broad cultural transformation is not some vague conspiracy but a documented intention stretching back almost 100 years to target the West, let’s have a bit of a history lesson.

After all, this widely-circulated 2011 Oxford Leadership Journal  article on “Sustainability: The Inner and Outer Work” (tied to Peter Senge) targeting emotion to gain an inner and permanent transformation as a means for “shifting the trajectory of civilization” is easily recognizable to anyone who has studied the political theories of the Frankfurt School. And the constant references to Frankfurt School member Erich Fromm by the humanist psychologists like Maslow and Carl Rogers showed they saw their aim at radically restructuring the nature of education precisely like a good Frankfurter would. As author Alberto Piedra wrote:

“Gramsci in most of his writings insists that the first and almost exclusive role of the Marxist intellectual lies in education. The revolution, he believed, must be prepared with time, patience, and a calculating mind. This involves dismantling or destroying the values of the past by slowly infiltrating the ‘old’ institutions and changing the mentality of the masses.”

Well, they have arrived in our local schools and district central offices and consulting firms. And they are frequently more credentialed than genuinely intellectual in the knowledge sense. And there is usually no express use of the M word or a hammer and sickle t-shirt to alert parents or taxpayers with the history of the theories and practices being pushed. So once again it is up to us parents and taxpayers to inform ourselves to protect our children, our wallets, and a civilization that does not need to be jettisoned and redesigned by a greedy or naive public sector.

Although there is plenty of info available on the Internet once you know about the Frankfurt School and Gramsci, I am using in particular Chapter 2 of a 2008 book by Robert Chandler called Shadow World as my reference and the source for that Piedra quote. Quiet, stealth destruction of social institutions and existing social relationships from the inside out were the whole idea of the Frankfurt School. It really did start off in the 1920s as the Institute of Social Research, a part of the University of Frankfurt. Its purpose was to emulate the Marx-Lenin Institute in Moscow and develop the theories that could be used to gain broad social and political transformation of the West. And assaulting culture was the approach these theorists came up with. Since many of the theorists were Jewish, they moved to the US in the 30s to set up an exile base at Columbia University in New York and some of them never left.

The doctrine ceased to be some type of “cataclysmic clash between workers and capitalists as the final act.” Instead, like the drip, drip, drip that over time can erode stone, Gramsci and the Frankfurters envisioned “a nonviolent, persistent, and ‘quiet’ transformation of American traditions, families, education, media, and support institutions.” Antonio Gramsci, a communist, was writing from prison in the 20s and 30s, after Benito locked him up. Gramsci grasped that the way to change the West was to go after “what is … [inner] and immediate to individuals and groups…in their daily lives.” Like school, family, and a Christian faith that guided daily behavior.

So when we keep encountering social and emotional learning and the Whole Child Initiative of the Common Core and Positive School Climate or 21st Century Learning which is clearly going after the whole personality for tracking and change remember it is Gramsci who saw that inner self as the key to wholesale revolutionary change in the broader culture. In a footnote, Chandler quoted a 1995 speech by a John Vennari warning the Catholic bishops in Mexico City. I am going to quote it in full because the nerdy word “immanent” is precisely the realm being targeted in the 1962 book Perceiving Behaving Becoming: A New Focus for Education that we first encountered 2 posts ago. I have read it in full now and could testify in a court of law that it lays out the current actual planned implementation in education globally. It’s just masquerading in the US as the Common Core as an allusion to its real aim of transforming each student’s inner core. Here’s the reason why it just keeps coming.

“The key element of Gramsci’s blueprint for the global victory rested on Hegel’s distinction between what was ‘inner’ or ‘immanent’ to man and what man held to be outside and above him and his world–a superior force transcending the limitations of individuals and of groups both large and small. For Gramsci, the IMMANENT and the TRANSCENDENT were unavoidably paired and yoked. Marxism’s ‘transcendent’ was the utopian ideal. But the Marxist ideal was too foreign to the Christian mind and Christian culture. So, Gramsci argued that since the immanent and the transcendent are paired, then unless you can systematically touch what is immanent and immediate to individuals and groups and societies in their daily lives, you cannot convince them to struggle for the transcendent.”

In other words, if you want students and the adults they will become to act to change society to get the sought justice and equality and a cooperative commonwealth and other utopian ideals we just keep running into attached to these ed reforms, you need something that accesses and monitors personal values, attitudes, beliefs, and feelings. And then collects all that as data. Gaming and adaptive software will do coming in as digital literacy and blended learning. So will contemplative education seeking to get at “hearts and minds” where the coaches alternate between SEL and New Age training depending on the day of the week and who is paying.

As Alberto Piedra astutely noted about the Frankfurters, “a cultural revolution can only be successful if the educational system is firmly committed to the transmission of the new forms of behavior that the revolutionaries endorse.”

Now isn’t it convenient that from 1962 to today we have quietly had K-12 education seeking to use humanist psychology to get these desired behavioral changes? And no one felt the need to ask our permission. No wonder the schools just kept becoming ever more expensive and dysfunctional. We had Maslow and Rogers and the NEA itself deciding that we needed “new ways of seeing and dealing with the world.” It makes sense now that we keep reading about conceptual lenses and generative metaphors if personal perception has been officially targeted for change. Without notice, in 1962 the purpose of K-12 education did a U-turn so that it deals “with subject matter, not as an end in itself, but as a means of helping children to achieve the intelligent imagination and creativity necessary to find adequate answers to the world’s increasingly complex problems.”

That’s irrational imagination and creativity by the way. Grounded in feeling which is an aid and not a barrier to getting at behavior. 1962 was when the definition of learning officially changed. Now to be a means of making the “transition from autocratic to democratic relationships, there is no turning back.” And to get that transition learning becomes “a problem of the total personality” because “unless behavior has changed, one has not really learned.” Got that? To get to the desired political and social transition, behavior must change and government officials and their selected appointees and vendors get to figure out how. And they have called on the psychologists and sociologists and psychiatrists to come up with the techniques and theories to impose in the classroom.

And we are going to spend several posts detailing precisely what has been and will be sought without anyone’s consent. In a country that held itself out as free. I will end this post with yet more insights from Maslow and Rogers that are influencing what is coming.

“It is becoming more and more clear that the key to effective behavioral change is an individual’s personal discovery of meaning. It is values, beliefs and personal meanings which affect behavior most markedly.”

And behavior and those drivers gets targeted stealthily under the euphemisms ‘outcomes’ or ‘performance standards’ or ‘objectives’ or ‘competencies’ or 21st Century Learning. Where most parents and taxpayers totally miss the behavioral focus or why it is being targeted.

And it has been for decades.

But the monitoring equipment has vastly improved in the 21st Century. Yikes!!


Triune Consciousness-A $100 Phrase We Need to Grasp Why Every Wrong Leads to the Same Remedy

For those of you excited to hear your State may be reconsidering the Common Core, my research has always shown that CCSSI is a Bait and Switch tactic. So I am going to continue my focus on the real change coming to a classroom near you soon. US or elsewhere. Public or private. The consistency across decades and geography is amazing. So we are going to keep our focus on the wealth of confessional riches that looking into that odd word–conative–turned up. Because the vision everywhere seems to be a 21st Century “form of education that provides universal principles from which inner-awakening, self-transformation and self awareness can be enhanced.”

Why is that necessary? Because “without inner transformation, it is not possible to bring about true change as true change in the thinking, must occur at the spiritual level.” (“Towards Self-Sustainability in Education”, 2007, New Zealand) Spiritual as in “the convergence of religions into a universal form of ethics.” That’s supposedly how we get to a cooperative commonwealth or all the other visions of a reorganized collectivist, sustainable economy and society we have looked at that is always attached to these ed reform visions. If the vision of the society or economy of the future makes no sense for most of us, we need to reconsider where the League of Innovative Schools and 21st Century Skills and a Competency focus and social and emotional learning are really taking us. But today we are focusing on how changes this dramatic can manage to make it all the way into a local classroom despite the wishes of parents, taxpayers, a Governor, or a local school board.

Apart from money to bribe compliance at the local level and accreditation (which is so poorly understood), this time the Executive branch through both White House edicts and very busy agencies is really working the interpretations of both the federal civil rights laws and the federal disabilities laws into pretzels only a contortionist or a stealth Social Change Agent could love. We already noted a similar previous attempt here.

Well, the feds were at it again this week using the Civil Rights Division of DoEd’s Special Ed Division to issue a Dear Colleague letter on the Bullying of Students with Disabilities. But the remedy as we have seen before involves a Positive School Climate (PSC) and required policies and psychological practices and curricula for ALL students. Everybody bound and coming from somewhere few are likely to see. Likewise, the Alliance for Excellent Education just released a paper called Climate Change: Creating an Integrated Framework for Improving School Climate. It’s in the name of the poor and minorities and the tragedy of too many schools being drop-out factories. Since much of that is deliberately created, basically we have a case of problems being created so a desired solution can be offered. And framed in terms of Civil Rights since most people never aced Con Law in order to be able to be skeptical about the words “the law requires.”

Beyond the ever present PSC pursuit that gives a reason to require that ALL students in ALL schools “receive the same academic, social, and emotional experience.” PSC gets defined as “an environment that reflects a commitment to meeting and developing the academic, social, and emotional needs of every student.” And collecting Civil Rights Data (CRDC) to make sure that is happening for ALL students. Which will certainly go a long way toward the OECD’s interest in overseeing everyone’s Subjective Well-being.

It also goes a long way towards achieving Education for Sustainability towards this end of the UN’s decade since the data gets at “the driver of intentional change in one’s behaviour, emotions, perceptions and attitudes.” Those changes achieved via federal collection of personal data as a matter of supposed law then is supposed to lead to a greater ability to fuse the needed “shared vision at collective levels.” And all mostly out of sight.

I want to borrow an insight Ludwig Von Mises had on the page before the quote I used in the previous post. If politicians and connected insiders want to call the shots in the 21st century, genuine innovation is an obstacle since it can and has literally changed the world and the course of civilization before. All this PSC emphasis beyond the usefulness of knowing people’s Personal Motivational Profile obtained without their knowledge via digital learning and assessments we cannot see has another important goal. Here is the insight:

“Most people are common men. They do not have thoughts of their own; they are only receptive. They do not create new ideas; they repeat what they have heard and imitate what they have seen. If the world were peopled only by such as these, there would not be any change and any history. What produces change is new ideas and actions guided by them…It is always an individual who starts a new method of doing things, and then other people imitate his example.”

PSC and the resistance to lectures and textbooks and systems thinking now are all fundamentally rationales to prevent uncommon individuals who might create new ideas and fully appreciate and explain the value and necessity  of old ones. But politicians and tech companies wanting to preserve future revenue against competition or media companies aghast at what happened to the profitability of newspapers can’t be honest with us. Money, power, and control may be the real reason but it cannot be the public explanation so we get all these bogus talking points. But in the footnotes that go with the PSC research or holistic learning or Whole Child Initiative or what is wanted from a Conative emphasis is the real story. It will take me several posts as we continue through it but there is tremendous consistency now at the deep level I am. Through place and time and names you might say but never a variance in the function.

Today I want to lay the foundation of why we have encountered so many reasons to switch school to activity and social and emotional learning and the PSC mandate. The 1997 book Head and Heart: Affection, Cognition, Volition as Triune Consciousness by Andrew Tallon laid out the sought vision of a “spontaneous nonconceptual knowing and loving” that will be manifested in “performances.” Yes, indeed, won’t that fit well with ‘performance standards’ and ‘learning tasks’ and projects as the classroom emphasis. That way students can physically practice: “feeling is the way our being resonates with our doing” until it becomes a matter of habit. No wonder ‘engagement’ has become the order of the day. Good thing 21st Century Skills are not interested in fostering habits of mind or deep learning which would start to sound precisely like what Triune Consciousness is getting at.

Think of how useful the PSC mandate and that CRDC data will be if a student’s “capacity to learn means acquiring habits as (re)structuring malleable; it is essential becoming.” Sounds a lot like Peter Senge’s Presencing. And “[t]he goal of learning, at its most personal and interpersonal peak, is to develop triune consciousness. The Developed structures of adult personality and character form the unique constellation of dispositions to act spontaneously and with a directness and immediacy that needs neither thought nor will, primarily in face-to-face relations.” And that Dear Readers fits almost precisely with the vision of the intrapersonal and interpersonal laid out in the Crucible Moment report that launched the American Commonwealth Partnership at a White House ceremony in January 2012.

Triune consciousness is a fancy phrase for a deliberate official pursuit via education to create behaviors and a desire to act that does NOT flow from “discursive reasoning or deliberative will.” Take your pick of reflex or habit or spontaneous or unconscious response. They will all work  as education seeks to join affection, cognition, and volition so that the response comes from internal values, beliefs, and attitudes. School consciously seeks “to sublate [think of anesthesia or other sedation] either or both ‘normal’ discursive reasoning and the deliberations of the will.”

What do we call governments and officials who want to do that?

Who gather personal data to ensure ‘continuous progress’ towards such a goal?

Who frame such a pursuit in terms of disabilities rights or civil rights?

Who call such intentions “innovative school practices”?


Schools that Break Down Obstacles to the Formation of Revolutionary Personalities

No, David Christian, the Professor pushing the new Big History course has said and written some doozies as we will see but today’s title was not one of them. I borrowed it from aspirations for Italian schools in 1972 since David so clearly wants today’s students to learn to think as idealogues instead of factually. And with Bill Gates’ backing and his Foundation’s funding and McGraw Hill debuting the textbook Big History: Between Nothing and Everything in August, this may be nonsense to those of us who prefer facts and knowledge but it is about to be influential nonsense. And in more places that the “enlightened” high schools already on board. There’s a reason for connections too between Big History–BH for now– and those NSF-funded Understandings of Consequence that are also frequently false. You see, BH combines natural sciences and humanities within a single framework to emphasize the interconnections. Here’s the international newsletter  for April so you can mull over why this is now called Convergence Education in Korea.

Now in case you have always thought of ideology as an insult, let’s use the working definitions of some experts who knew it well and spent a lifetime pointing them out and refuting them. Here’s the great Kenneth Minogue again, this time from his 1963 classic The Liberal Mind: [my snark in brackets]

“An ideology may therefore be defined as a set of ideas whose primary coherence results not from their truth and consistency, as in science and philosophy, but from some external cause; most immediately, this external cause will be some mood, vision, or emotion. [Wouldn’t an emphasis on values, attitudes, beliefs, and feelings be oh so useful?] The psychological mark of ideological entrapment is the feeling of despair which accompanies the prospect of defeat in argument. [usually resulting in an irrelevant but nasty personal attack] Ideologies seek to avoid such painful experiences by framing their key utterances in a vague or tautological form, in order to make these propositions impregnable. The intellectual mark of ideology is the presence of dogma, beliefs which have been dug into the ground and surrounded by semantic barbed wire. [Think Climate Change models that ignore actual temps and omit key influences]. Ideologies incorporate some kind of general instructions about behavior–ideals or value-judgments, as they would commonly be called.”

Now since we learned in the last post for sure that we have a modern class of international nomenklatura who wish to govern us whether we like it or not, what better tool than schools that dispense Mindsets of Ideology instead of facts. No more making your own concepts, remember? Those will now be assigned as the acceptable Big Ideas to guide 21st Century student thinking. No parent need ever know. Who are they compared to a Social Studies Education major anyway. Now the typical ed major or doctorate that gets to be in charge of such a change in curricula may be blissfully unaware of the dangerous, even murderous, past of ideologies, but we are not. Especially after this post. Let’s borrow a few more key components from Jean-Francois Revel’s 1988 (1991 translation into English) book, The Flight from Truth: The Reign of Deceit in the Age of Information. Our title came from one of his stories.

Ideology is

–“concerned with a view to action. It transforms reality, indeed far more powerfully than exact knowledge does.”

–“refuse to heed displeasing arguments and facts–something that is the very negation of the scientific spirit.”

–“One can only begin to talk of an ideology with respect to collective beliefs.”

–“always active…a mixture of strong emotions and simple ideas, linked to a certain mode of behavior.”

Now I am going through this at some link because truthfully a push to have K-12 and higher ed be active dispensers of ideologies is exactly what we are dealing with in so many areas. And it is especially what the ed degree programs are all about. The District Central Office and the college deans and maybe your principal have all been trained to think ideologically without really knowing it. So we have to know ideology better than they do so we can always recognize both the poison and its advocates. Yes, this is about far more than BH.

Revel has one more vital insight we need to keep in mind. Many people prefer to think ideologically if they must think at all. As he notes:

“Human beings experience all sorts of needs for intellectual activity other than the need to know. The libido sciendi is not, contrary to what Pascal said, the principal motor of the human mind. It is only an accessory inspirer, and only among a small number of us. [See why TAG and Honors classes must go?] The average human being seeks the truth only after having exhausted all other possibilities.”

Well, not on this info-filled blog but Revel raises an important point for us to remember. Now I am going to start with a link to 1991 since David started pushing this project before the broken glass had been cleaned up at Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin. And David’s specialty was not just history but Sovietology. So I want you to remember this desire for “large-scale maps” that “reestablish {history’s} centrality as a discussion about what it means to be human” in light of a certain ideology that had come into disrepute at the time he was writing whenever it was upfront with its name. Beyond usurping the roles of philosophy and religion, BH wants to delve into “human impact on the environment” so ecology comes in too. In fact, BH is to play “as significant a role in modern industrial society as traditional creation myths have played in nonindustrial societies.” By that I guess he means “who are we and why are we here?” Boy, will BH get along well with contemplative education.

Christian is far more graphic on his intentions in the 91 article than he is now. He pointed out there “that growth, far from being the normal condition of humanity, is an aberration.” Trust me with these education policies and practices, that aberration is about to cease if it hasn’t already. Somehow if BH referred to how “the ‘bacillus’ man is taking over the world”, I am wondering if it might slow down textbook sales and funding. Probably not but someone who writes about the “sudden breakdown in an ancient equilibrium between a large mammal species and the environment it inhabits” will certainly be on board with the No More Axemaker Minds campaign Paul Ehrlich and the UN are mounting.

Honestly if BH “blurs the borderline between history and the natural sciences” then none of these subjects are in a form we would recognize. is that troubling “History and Theory: The Next 50 Years.” Christian makes his intention that history “will have a powerful impact on public thinking about the past” quite clear. He thinks this “shared history” suitable for China or the US, Russia or South Africa will “help educators generate a sense of global citizenship.” Gag. That phrase again. Since Christian is fairly deceitful in marveling over where have all the Universal Histories gone, he is avoiding saying that was the role played by Uncle Karl’s theories. He clearly does NOT want to point that out. So I will and cite to Robert Heilbroner in his 1980 Marxism For and Against for pointing out that “No other study of history is so consciously oriented to mastering history, as is Marxism. For that reason alone it warrants our respect.” You didn’t think I would quote a Tea Party historian to refute Christian did you?

Here’s Heilbroner again: “Marxism is intended to provide more than an understanding of history. It is intended to serve as a guide for making history.” Why, how active. See above under Ideology.  So a “history that looks to the future” as Christian claims for BH is a history that functions just like what Uncle Karl envisioned. Something to think about as it becomes mainstreamed. makes it clear that David is quite aware that it is the power of symbolic language and the storehouse of cultural info across generations that has driven the human ability to adapt. To change our environment. He and others involved with global education reform know it is unique to our species and they are not too happy about its potential. You can take a look yourself to see if you think BH, like Whole Language, is an attempt to diminish that human ability to adapt and innovate. is one more link for you to see if you share my belief that this type of “underlying unity of modern knowledge” is because it fits Minogue and Revel’s definitions of ideology.

Because if it does, this is just another tool in that giving more power to Governments and the Public Sector vision. Which is precisely where ideology is the most entrenched.

Who knew it was going to be such a ferocious struggle to maintain the legitimacy of the individual in the 21st century?