Instilling Desired Feelings and Political Values via SEL in Children–Taps for the Republic?

If the purpose of preschool education and K-12 and college are all now to be centered around changing guiding human values that might be obstacles to redesigning all of our social systems, like schools, businesses, the economy, and cities, is there anything left of the historic concept of individuality? Personal liberty? If an education degree or a credential in social systems or systems design or organizational learning gives a carte blanche at taxpayer expense to reenvision human systems to be other than what they are, shouldn’t we just face the facts and march to the National Archives and just light that US Constitution afire now? Say never mind, it was a good run. Nice experiment in prosperity. Time to move on?

Do educators and professors and accreditors get to unilaterally decide among themselves that we live in “changing times” and they have decided to “revisit” our “many traditions, rituals and customs” to determine their continued “appropriateness?” Do they get to decide what will be “sustainable behavioral choices” for us and then select what “values systems” will be appropriate for the future they have picked out? For us? Assuming of course that they will be part of the leadership? Here’s an example of the kind of nonsense guiding the systems thinkers who are training educators to change the nature of education with this vision (think of holographic as the opposite of hierarchy. They believe such terms make this sound Scientific instead of a political theory looking for guinea pigs):

“The holographic diffusion of culture means that it pervades activity in a way that is not amenable to direct control by any single group of individuals. [Because that direct approach was apparently the schemers first choice] What we can do, however, is design social systems with the conditions for desirable cultures to emerge. This process of design results in the human creation of intentional community.”

No, that is not how it has ever worked successfully. This has, however, been tried numerous times in the past with the levels of the disaster varying from financial ruin to destroyed futures to mass murder on an epic scale. Treating people and their social systems as if they can be manipulated like a circulatory system or planetary gravity is called scientism. Friedrich Hayek, Nobel Prize-winning economist, wrote quite a bit about this fallacy of treating the social sciences as if they were natural sciences. It would be good for the sake of our civilization if mastering this important distinction were a prerequisite to having any authority over a student and their education. But, no, we get the educators excitedly speculating over “how to recreate our systems, how to redesign them.”

Mentioning that the word community is derived from the Latin communis which means to “make common” and that the point of school is now to create a “we” of the students “as meaningful relationships evolve” is NOT the purpose of school in any country wishing to survive as a Republic. It is a quick path to tyranny anywhere it has ever been pursued. It is not the place  of school officials or accreditors or the various parasitical vendors pushing whatever brings in education grant money in a given decade to decide to make the school a holistic community where:

“the more genuine the participation and the more deeply manifested the relationships become, the more ‘whole’ and authentic it seems to be.”

Now this post was originally just going to be about CASEL publishing a 2013 Guide for Preschool and Elementary School Children on Effective Social and Emotional Learning Programs laying out the Five SEL Core Competencies. It reminded me of Milton Rokeach’s work that we have already found so alarming. New names, old Pursuit, same Collectivist political Ends. But a reader sent me a 2005 paper on Banathy and systems thinking in education after the previous post that is where these quotes so far are coming from. The paper envisions that new values instilled through the school can be used to make redesigning social systems possible. And we now know enough about PBIS and what Continuous Improvement is really monitoring and what Growth and Student Achievement as benchmarks will actually be measuring to see that we need to catch this design fallacy and resulting Values targeting early and fast. And in some poor districts like Tucson and Portland, Oregon, it may be too late.

Now I know for a fact that Austin, Texas; Nashville, TN; Oakland, CA; Sacramento, CA; Chicago, IL; Anchorage, Alaska; Cleveland, Ohio, and Washoe County (Reno), Nevada have all formally committed to be Collaborating Districts for this SEL Initiative. is the Logic Model Diagram for one of these districts. As you can see, “permeate” would be an accurate verb to describe the planned SEL presence in the daily classroom of young children.

And remember what I have said before, all children cannot do well academically but everyone has feelings. So SEL is a focus that means everyone can learn the desired behaviors {specify what students are able to do] and there are political benefits if you are of a controlling disposition. Because of the nature of accreditation in education and the various unappreciated obligations and definitions in those NCLB waivers, this is coming everywhere. And soon.

I am going to give CASEL’s descriptions verbatim but before I do that, please remember that this will be in elementary school classrooms where we refuse to teach reading phonetically because that would introduce students to an abstract symbol system and thus nurture abstract thought. I have seen the Common Core literacy progressions and they amount to doling out the words and concepts students are to be allowed to encounter and become familiar with. Years to learn words that most kids could be ready for by second grade if taught properly. And I am not guessing on the reasons either even if the classroom teacher has no idea. Finally, Common Core distinguishes between oral and print and formal and informal in a way that appears tragic. And I really was not happy to read this week that those distinctions tracked back to Mikhail Bakhtin and his war against individualism. So here, please appreciate the planned manipulation already in place:

Self-awareness: The ability to accurately recognize one’s emotions and thoughts and their influence on behavior. This includes accurately assessing one’s strengths and limitations and possessing a well-grounded sense of confidence and optimism.

Self-management: The ability to regulate one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors effectively in different situations. This includes managing stress, controlling impulses, motivating oneself, and setting and working toward achieving personal and academic goals.

Social awareness: The ability to take the perspective of and empathize with others from diverse backgrounds and cultures, to understand social and ethical norms for behavior, and to recognize family, school, and community resources and supports.

Relationship skills: The ability to establish and maintain healthy and rewarding relationships with diverse individuals and groups. This includes communicating clearly, listening actively, cooperating, resisting inappropriate social pressure, negotiating conflict constructively, and seeking and offering help when needed.

Responsible decision making: The ability to make constructive and respectful choices about personal behavior and social interactions based on consideration of ethical standards, safety concerns, social norms, the realistic evaluation of consequences of various actions, and the well-being of self and others.

Whatever you expect from your area schools or need in future employees, Race to the Top and Common Core are premised upon the classroom being accessible to ALL students. Repeated references are made to a levelling purpose for public education. I have seen what the accreditors envision and it fits with those Five SEL Competencies and virtually no transmission of knowledge beyond basic, politically useful concepts.

The systems theorists have plans for radical transformation as we saw in the last post and others. As a result their goal of education in the 21st century is an “individually and socially competent citizen.” Not much knowledge there, but remember these same schemers plan to redesign the economy. To fit the education qualifications they are willing to provide.

All on our dime as usual.

Targeting Student Values, Attitudes, and Beliefs to Control Future Behavior

I have long known that the function of Transformational Outcomes Based Education and its close sibling, Systems Thinking, is to be able to predict and control the behavior of future adults. Future voters. To change the prevailing culture in a society by attacking its noetic system. Prevailing feelings, beliefs, and values all get targeted by educational institutions for change to get a lasting change in behavior. Such goals (especially when enforced now via a Data Quality Campaign collecting and monitoring such info) may meet the very definition of Totalitarianism, but honestly, who will know in time? How many people will know that a cognitive goal means your belief system is the target? Or that it became fair game for manipulation by administrators and professors who either aggressively deplore capitalism and individuality, or do not understand the importance of either, and just want their paycheck and promotions.

As I mentioned in the previous post while investigating the current intentions of Systems Thinking, the name Milton Rokeach came up several times with work going back to the 1960s. That’s a crucial time period for me because it means a pedagogy or curriculum originally developed to be a weapon against the US during the Cold War has survived to the present. Something designed originally to destroy the rational capacity to think and free decision-making as an individual based on your own set of facts and concerns (assuming as many did that the Soviet Union would prevail over the US) remains in place under a new name. Still with the same purpose but different beneficiaries. Ready to compel behavior from instinct and emotion. Literally without a second thought.

It is very alarming that late in the book Presence the authors are discussing the Dark Side of Acting from the Heart. It is not something being pointed out to Principals and Supers and teachers being asked to promote the practices in the classroom. For someone like me who is deeply interested in history, it is too much a reminder of the unconscious impulse to act as a collective instilled in the German people via education in the 19th century. They thought it was the answer for the humiliation of being defeated by Napoleon. Talk about poisonous seeds.

It is Values most of all that Rokeach targeted because they are the fewest in number and have the actual ability to compel behavior. Can you see why Sustainability is to be the focus of so much of the Common Core implementation? Values also influence attitudes and emotions and the belief system. Values influence perceptions from daily experience. Think about how often you have watched or heard someone reject what should have been definitive proof with an “I just can’t believe it.” So they didn’t. That’s what values do and why manipulating them is so important if you wish to push a political ideology like collectivism or government intervention and direction of an economy.

I must say I always thought the regular use of the term “Competency” now was just to mislead people from recognizing that we are back implementing Outcomes Based Education again. I had even noticed how a Digital Learning advocate had used Objectives (Ralph Tyler’s term from the 8 Year Study) synonymously with Outcomes (Ben Bloom and Spady/Rogers’ term) and Competency. Turns out though as Milton Rokeach makes clear in his 1968 book Beliefs Attitudes and Values Competency combines both skills and values into a single term. The public then assumes a Competency focus of course includes academic knowledge. It is school or college after all. And the educators get to change and influence student behaviors through unappreciated value changes. The emphasis will be on what the student can do and if the actions are largely driven by emotion so much the better. There’s a reason Rokeach’s book has an Appendix laying out the potentials for Advertising of such an education emphasis.

How many parents will recognize the emotional and psychological manipulation being planned and documented under PBIS or Positive School Climate or recognize that Continuous Improvement is affective in emphasis? I may have joked about Purple America and Project Love but this values curriculum by the hugely influential NEA is meant to both make money and change American student values.

And let me tell you how Rokeach planned to fundamentally shift both Individual and Societal Values to increase the emphasis on Equality in each student’s psyche at the expense of Freedom. It’s not the sort of thing a child comes home and tells you about. He used Student Surveys (don’t worry it’s not like Student Surveys are being included as explicit component of the Effective Teacher Measure that gives the school a reason for asking Anything Wished) and asked students to rank different values. Those students who ranked Freedom higher than Equality were then told how they rated their own interests as more important than the needs of others.  The exact quote used to needle the students was: “they generally care more for their own freedom than the freedom of others.” Practically like telling them they need an S tattoed on forehead and a Red T-shirt that says Selfish to wear around campus.

And all the self-awareness being pushed? Sometimes with the hugely pretentious name of Metacognitive? That just makes it easier to get the sought value changes, either by specifically targeting self-conception as we saw in this post  proposing to teach what a racist society we remain.
Or by targeting alleged hypocrisies, incongruities, inconsistencies, or contradictions between self-conceptions or self-ideals. Just as no one wants to think of themselves as being against freedom even though forced equality requires an all-intrusive government, Rokeach learned just how effective it was to point out variances in an individual’s values from the group norm. (Aren’t those Common Core student surveys going to come in so handy?) To use his nerdy phrase verbatim this disclosure usually “aroused a negative affective state of self-dissatisfaction.” People do not like to be self-dissatisfied for long so the survey information becomes the impetus for lasting “cognitive and behavioral change.”

And with those types of effects, no schemer since has been willing to leave Values alone whatever the outcry. Values and moral reeducation, I mean education, morphed into Outcomes Based Education and now Soft Skills and Social and Emotional Learning. It is still about targeting Values for change. As we discussed in this post in July, the Canadians adopting many of the same initiatives as the US on a similar timeframe have at least been honest enough to admit the real Common Core is desired values to be instilled in each citizen that have nothing to do with cherishing the Maple Leaf or Stars and Stripes. And when you get that kind of international consistency in education you always know UNESCO is lurking around nearby.

And UNESCO really does now seem to serve as the repository for schemes in the West against capitalism, individualism, and rational, logical, academic knowledge. But during the Cold War, much of that same aim came from the NEA, especially its ASCD subsidiary. In March 1978, Educational Leadership published a special issue called “Education of Judgment and Action: Personal and Civic.” It appears to be the launch of the formal push to make Values Education an integral part of US education going forward. The listed rationale was:

“the cultivation of decision making particularly as it relates to political virtues that are appropriate to constitutional self-government and that are required to achieve a society that stands for justice, equality, and freedom in the modern world.”

And that’s how the War commenced to permanently change the behavior of future voters via the schools by changing the underlying Values. To cultivate that herd instinct that can cause any nation so much grief. And if you actually read the 1978 essay “The Status of Education of Judgment” by one of Rokeach’s favorite values educators, John R Meyer, you would learn that the value of freedom to be fostered is not the traditional American belief that it is a natural right existing prior to any compact with government. No, the essay rejects that definition of Freedom in favor of the John Dewey definition then being pushed hard again (1977) by Columbia Teachers College.

“Freedom is a social benefit conferred by the collective intelligence of society.”

Aha, I believe we have found the long-lingering root of the problem of national Values education. And now it is international with UNESCO and OECD running what are to be instilled as Values. Yikes!!