Linking School Choice and Third Party Government: Escaping Requires We Recognize the Incarceration

This marks the end of the Trilogy about declarations (insufficiently recognized) to use the powers of governments at every level to close the gap “between the current state of the world and what would be ideal…perfectionism ought instead to inspire a constant striving to make things better. Democracy, in other words, should be viewed as a work in progress.” That vision of making human wellbeing the new purpose of governments needs a particular type of citizen who is a useful mixture of malleable, aspirational, and reliable in their likely future behaviors. That of course is what all these education reforms have really been about and why there has been so much deceit. That quote is from the upcoming inaugural issue of U-Penn’s Journal of Law and Public Affairs on using law and regulation to force societies to provide for the general welfare.

Rule of Law, in other words, needs to join the terms ‘public policy’ and ‘standards-based education’ as transformative tools that few seem to sufficiently appreciate. Let me quote from a second paper that is also cited in books and papers citing the 1990 Politics, Markets, and America’s Schools where we began this Trilogy. It is by two poli sci profs, Jack Knight and James Johnson, but it said not to cite without permission. We will simply discuss it then as it pointed out in 2005 that the ‘problem solving approach to ideas and institutions’ holds that “our ideas, principles, practices and institutions and so forth simply are tools for navigating a social and political world that is shot through with indeterminacy…a pragmatist stance encourages us to place pressure on our cherished beliefs, institutions and so forth. It encourages a broadly experimental approach both to inquiry and, more importantly for present purposes, to politics.”

Now, most of us with experience in adult life and a solid grasp of history, who are not on the Gravy Train to get revenue from being a provider of stipulated services, can recognize that such aspirations will not end well. Maybe that’s why we are not supposed to know what K-12 education reforms have always really been about. After all if someone has an actual aspiration that “political debate must impose restrictions on the structure of individual preferences,” that mischievous, authoritarian goal is best achieved in secret and masked with duplicity if anyone does notice something is up. Tiptoeing through the footnotes of all these papers, pulled up repeated references to a John Hopkins prof, Lester Salaman, and a textbook called The Tools of Government: A Guide to the New Governance .

I guess the students who went through this kind of unappreciated inquiry-oriented assault on their values and conceptions of knowledge when they were younger want to study the theories used on them once they get to university. No wonder they have been so childlike in their responses to the recent US Presidential election. Many have been taught that the “role of government in the twenty-first century” is “more important than ever. The growing complexity and integration of social, economic, and political life virtually guarantees this, as does the need for a keeper of the rules of engagement among various institutions and sectors.” That was me boldfacing that integration since it has been way too unpublicized as well.

Before I explain what Third Party Government is, since the textbook says it is quite advanced in the United States, and that the “last fifty years have witnessed a remarkable revolution in the basic technology of public action in the tools or instruments used to address public problems,” let’s remember that K-12 ‘education reform’ and School Choice are merely tools to effect the desired transformations without any need to get our consent. No need to risk our saying “No Thanks” either. If we wonder why so many supposedly ‘conservative’ and pro-market think tanks have been created at great expense, the language about “bring a wide assortment of social actors into the business of responding to public needs” is a most helpful clue.

Education reforms are definitely needed if the view of government and “the role of public management is not to deliver services but to promote community, to help citizens articulate shared interests, to bring the proper players to the table and broker agreements among them, and to function as ‘proxy citizens.'” Just this past week Greg Forster of EdChoice put out a vision of Accountability that stated what he called the “real goal of education.” It sounded remarkably similar to what is supposedly needed under the requirements of the New Governance and Third Party Government:

“nurturing individuals who achieve and appreciate things that are true, good, and beautiful as faithful citizens of a free and diverse community committed to living in harmony.” The typical family couldn’t even pull that off over an extended Thanksgiving meal and that’s to be the real goal of education that students must “genuinely internalize?” Faithful to whom we could ask? Let’s go back then to the textbook that is being so forthcoming.

“the breadth of the problems government has been called on to address coupled with prevailing antibureaucracy sentiments make this [governments as the dominant supplier of public services] practically, as well as politically, impossible. Government needs its third-party partners both to legitimize and to execute the responsibilities it has taken on. [Note that this is NOT Free Enterprise whatever the Heritage Foundations writes].

On the other hand, however…government simply lacks the authority and independence to enforce its will on other actors the way this concept [monopoly on the legitimate use of force] implies.”

Now I will stop the quote to point out again that this is precisely what learning standards like the Common Core and those previously tied to Time for Results or outcomes-based education sought to do. It is what competency-based education, properly explained, now does–enforce its will for this lucrative conception of Third Party Government on its citizens. Secretly and nonconsensually and hiding behind phrases like School Choice or Internationally Competitive. Under the New Governance tenets and its need for what EdChoice called ‘faithful citizens’:

“What, then, is the role that government should play in the new governance? And how important is it? The answer is that government must serve as the ‘balance wheel’ of the new systems of collaborative problem solving that will increasingly exist. Its function, as we have suggested, is to activate the needed partnerships and to make sure that public values [common good], broadly conceived, are effectively represented in the collaborative systems that result.” Let’s shift away from quoting the aspirations to how it invisibly comes into effect. Following up on all the False Narratives involving the Common Core and who was pushing them I came across numerous references to a 2011 paper I had not previously heard of called Closing the Door on Innovation that was supposedly a response to a March 2011 Manifesto from the Shanker Institute. 

Education reformer Jay Greene wrote the story on Education Next and then the same Greg Forster noted above wrote a piece as well for the Public Discourse from the Witherspoon Institute that is tied to the American Principles Project that has written so many papers and offered up testimony on the nature of the Common Core. is a capture of what the document looked like as it is now hard to find. To make a long process of discovery short, the Shanker Manifesto struck me as how both sides intended for education reform to work at the local, school level. That Innovation report seemed staged to me to create a narrative about what the Common Core was intended to do that would probably have worked better if I had not been writing Credentialed to Destroy back in 2011 and tracking the actual implementation.

What really caught my eye though was the PEPG-Harvard’s Program on Educational Policy and Governance that was behind the Closing the Door on Innovation. PEPG has sponsors from what were supposed to be two differing sides of the Common Core debate. It clearly built on the work of that 1990 Brookings book on School Choice and had all sorts of players like Greene back when he was a poli sci prof at U-Texas (Austin) and AEI’s Rick Hess back when he was a Poli Sci prof at UVa. Seriously, if education is really the best way to achieve political and social transformation, PEPG’s work and the School Choice meme generally all make so much more sense. We have former Governor Jeb Bush as the Chair of the PEPG Advisory Committee and the Gates, Bradley, Koch, and Friedman Foundations all working together.

To use one of my favorite metaphors, Harvard is clearly where the Right and Left Pincers surrounding the Common Core/education reform narrative come to play and plan transformations around poli sci and sociology theories. Its first conference was in September 1996 about the same time as Fordham took over the Educational Excellence Network functions, as we saw in the last post. Ed reform can feel like a track relay race with all the exchanges of batons, but PEPG is formally a program sponsored by Fordham, Harvard, and the Hoover Institution at Stanford. If anyone thinks I am stretching, pull up the original Fall 1997 Annual Report and look at the presentation by John Brandl and his desire to “change the way we govern our schools” to “inspire other-regarding behavior in our students.” The omnipresence of communitarianism we keep running into behind the real implementation makes much more sense once we read that ‘communities is a promising policy instrument.’

Here’s the full quote and a good place to end as we mull over what is really being done to us all in the name of education reforms.

“Consequently, using communities is a promising policy instrument to attain social objectives when neither bureaus nor markets can be counted on to do so. Besides producing services, communities nurture and protect us all, cut costs, create social capital, obviate the need for government services and engender civic virtue. We need a constitutional moment, a time when those holding public office reconstruct government to align the motivations of individuals with public purposes. If they do not do so, the grand responsibilities of government, starting with education, will not be met.”

I did warn everyone that the phrase Local Control was essentially like being thrown into the Briar Patch if one has revolutionary social and political intentions.

Antithesis of the Briar Patch: School Choice as the Snare Instead of an Escape

This is the beginning of the factual stories behind K-12 educational reform over recent decades that I was saving until after the Presidential election, waiting to see who won. It was my feeling based on the false narratives being spread and the facts in my possession that both candidates would end up pushing the same K-12 education agenda for the most part. Hillary Clinton because she and Bill Clinton have been involved going back to Arkansas being one of the states that volunteered in the 80s for the little discussed, federally-sponsored (while Bill Bennett was Education Secretary and with Lamar Alexander when he was the Tennessee Governor and head of the National Governors Association) “Project Education Reform: Time for Results”. Donald Trump would be pushing the same agenda because his advisors on education hyping School Choice as the panacea do not seem to be telling him its history.

So I will don my metaphorical helmet and flak jacket and begin doing it. For those not raised on Uncle Remus Tales in the South the briar patch in the title is from the “Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby” story where the captured, but cunning rabbit, convinced his mortal enemy Brer Fox that no punishment could be as dreadful as being thrown into the briar patch.

“Roast me! Hang me! Do whatever you please,” said Brer Rabbit. “Only please, Brer Fox, please don’t throw me into the briar patch.” Not having string to hang him nor being close to a stream to drown him, Brer Fox flings Brer Rabbit “head over heels into the briar patch. Brer Rabbit let out such a scream as he fell that all of Brer Fox’s fur stood straight up. Then there was silence…Then Brer Fox heard someone calling his name. He turned around and looked up the hill. Brer Rabbit was sitting on a log combing the tar out of his fur with a wood chip and looking smug. ‘I was bred and born in the briar patch, Brer Fox,’ he called. ‘Bred and born in the briar patch.'”

Being thrown in the briar patch was actually Brer Rabbit’s escape route. School Choice as it has been developed over the decades by think tanks and professors is actually a trap pretending to be a remedy so it can be put into place as a matter of law. Let’s move away from American folklore now that we have a metaphor for whether something will trap us or free us and move to a book published in 1990 called Politics, Markets, and America’s Schools by John E Chubb and Terry M. Moe. Both will later serve on an ed reform project sponsored by the Hoover Institution, the Koret Task Force, with one of President-Elect Trump’s ed advisors, Bill Evers, so he should be more than familiar with this history of School Choice, but the 1990 book was actually published by the Brookings Institution. Several fed ED grants funded the book along with the Olin and Bradley Foundations that have gone on to finance both School Choice initiatives and the experimental economics/Neuroeconomics work we covered in the last post.

If this convergence of what is clearly a project of the admitted Left and purported Right seems confusing, let me quote from one of the book’s footnotes since I just love to tiptoe through the cited support.

“The classic argument for vouchers is developed in Milton and Rose Friedman Free to Choose (1981)…The Friedmans’ argument is of course associated by educators with political conservatism. But vouchers have also been proposed by social democrats on the left, who seek to enlist markets in the cause of justice and equal opportunity for the poor. Perhaps the most influential of these proposals has come from Christopher Jencks, who, along with like-minded colleagues, urged administrators within the Office of Economic Opportunity (within the late Johnson and early Nixon presidencies) to take vouchers seriously and encourage experimentation by states and districts.”

I bolded ‘states and districts’ there because as we will see when I get back to Time for Results, this trumpeted shift away from the feds to making the local, with the states in charge, the focus has ALWAYS been the vision for how to achieve a fundamentally different vision of American education. To quote another admitted leftist, President Obama’s education advisor who was deemed too radical to be confirmed as an Ed Secretary, Linda Darling-Hammond, from 1990 as well, when she was still a prof at Columbia, on the need for a ‘bottom-up’ approach to reform instead of top-down:

“rather than viewing the disciplines as embodying information to be transmitted by teachers and acquired by students, the frameworks seek to present subject areas as providing ways of thinking that will foster knowledge and understandings to be constructed by students themselves. More than any other state curriculum effort to date, California’s experiment aims explicitly at the goals urged by many recent reform reports: instruction that helps students think critically, express themselves proficiently, construct and solve problems, synthesize information, invent, and create.”

Sound familiar? Even for those who have not yet read my book Credentialed to Destroy, there is nothing new about what is now being called the Common Core or the active coordination of fed ED, the think tanks of every purported allegiance, and the NGA. To anyone who has not guessed it yet, ed reforms for results will become better known and then notorious as Outcomes-Based Education. Education reforms for results embodying actual changes in the students at an internalized level in how they think, feel, and ultimately act needed a new conception of schools and how they operate. That’s what School Choice has always been about. This is from the Foreword to the 1990 book, written by the Brookings’ President (my bolding):

“the nation’s education problem, then, is an institutional problem. To overcome it, the authors recommend a new system of public education based on fundamentally new institutions. They propose a shift away from a system of schools controlled directly by the government–through politics and bureaucracy–to a system of indirect control that relies on markets and parental choice.”

That again was Brookings and it fits with the Rockefeller Foundation’s recognition in the 80s that only “systemic school reform” would allow the kind of change in American schools toward holistic human development for ALL students that it sought. So School Choice became seen as the means for ensuring that ALL schools will offer “a high-quality learning experience” and a “rigorous curriculum in which students actively participate.” Envisioned as a theory in 1990 then, but that same pursuit of active and experiential is what accreditors now require and what the December 2015 Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) wrote into federal law for the states and districts to all implement. There is another useful confession in this book that no one seems willing to concede anymore now that School Choice is not just a theory.

“Any private schools that do participate will thereby become public schools, as such schools are defined under the new system.”

That same logic also is how homeschoolers are now poised to become ensnared via School Choice’s newest Vehicle for its Theory–Education Savings Accounts. Anyone using an ESA may be forced to submit to “high quality assessments” measuring and monitoring precisely what they have internalized and what guides their “sense of self”( as Reschool Colorado recently termed it in its Framework for the Future of Learning).

Again, let’s go back to the beginning of the confessions about what Choice might do and who was involved.

“Choice is being embraced by liberals and conservatives alike as a powerful means of transforming the structure and performance of public education…At the federal level, Presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush have been enthusiastic supporters of educational choice, although there is not a great deal the federal government can do on it own. More consequentially, given the primary role of the states in public education, the National Governors’ Association has come out strongly for choice in its recent report [1986] on education, Time for Results–and reformist governors, Democrats and Republicans alike, have typically been in the forefront in pressing for real change.”

Karl Marx and John Dewey turn out to not be the only ones committed to social transformation via putting theories into practice. Public policy think tanks and their political allies love to as well. Authors Chubb and Moe again: “more important [a full-blown choice system] allows us to suggest in specific terms what our institutional theory of the schools actually entails for educational reform–and to emphasize, once again, how essential it is that reforms be founded in theory.” Now, if you are beginning to feel like a theory guinea pig, or at least a funder of such experiments, hold on for this stunning admission:

“Our guiding principle in the design of a choice system is this: public authority must be put to use in creating a system that is almost entirely beyond the reach of public authority.” If that sounds like nowhere to effectively appeal for any parent or student who grasps that School Choice and the law are to be used to impose the consciousness needed for the Human Development Society, the related footnote confirmed it:

“A good way of mitigating it [state legislatures or governors trying to control schools or their new mission in the future], however, would be to design institutions around fully decentralized authority and then install them through constitutional amendment. The legal foundation of the new system would then be very difficult to change or violate once put in place.”

Now I am just getting started on what has poured out in the last month as I sought to discern why no one was being honest about the history of either School Choice or the Common Core’s ancestry and who has been involved.

I guess we can just call this the Briar Patch Trilogy enlightening us all on why there has been such an insistence on false narratives.

I have been warning that the law and education are viewed as the ways to alter culture and the prevailing individual consciousness to something deemed appropriate for the ‘cooperative commonwealth’–another term frequently used.

If President-elect Trump is going to get us out of the Paris-climate accords (thank goodness!), can we please also cancel the attendant cultivation of a Comrade Consciousness via education reforms?




Leapfrogging Via Deceit that Crucial Last Obstacle to the Long Sought Convergence to Collectivism

Collectivism is one of those loaded words that sounds like I am trying to create a furor. Unfortunately, in this case, whatever the personal intentions of Texas Governor Abbott when he called Friday, January 8, for a Constitutional Convention, the actual release /Restoring_The_Rule_Of_Law_01082016.pdf may be one of the more deceitful documents I have ever read. It is deeply irritating to continue to be referred to as one of ‘the governed.’ Although since I live in Georgia, perhaps it is only Texans that are to be quietly subjugated at this point. Perhaps the author of the paper, a Texas Public Policy Foundation (another Atlas Network member) employee, Thomas Lindsay, who was previously with the National Endowment for the Humanities, is unaware that the phrase ‘We the People’ is now being used by radicals all over the world to promote the concept of a binding, collectivist, normative view of ‘democracy’.

Maybe the call of UT-Texas prof Sanford Levinson in his 2006 book Our Democratic Constitution: Where the Constitution Goes Wrong (And How We the People Can Correct It) for just such a Con Con that is tied to the Soros-financed American Constitution Society’s desire to have a new Constitutional vision by 2020 (began in 2005 as explained here) was somehow news to TPPF and Dr Lindsay. It certainly looks like a Convergence, however, especially given all the insistence in the paper that the Rule of Law is the core value America was founded on. Excuse me?

Maybe it’s just a coincidence that ‘We the People’ just happens to be the name of an initiative Community-Organizer Extraordinaire Harry Boyte, who inspired President Obama and has worked on White House education initiatives, has created to be the so-called Third Way, neither Left or Right, to use education to get his ‘cooperative commonwealth’ vision in place. Maybe it’s a coincidence that Boyte created that paper originally for a Dewey lecture in 2007 and it just happens to fit John Dewey’s vision for how to create the right kind of consciousness via education to fit a normative democracy where the law would bind everyone to the common good vision. The one laid out in the 2008 Democracy in a Global World book that I tracked from looking at Amartya Sen’s work covered in the last post.

Let’s start pushing on all these ‘coincidences’ headed in a common direction. The quote that “Our nation was built on one principle above all others–the Rule of Law” is not simply false, it is false in a way that is useful in jettisoning the principles our Nation and its existing Constitution were founded on–the primacy of the individual. Lindsay is correct that at the federal level, politics is broken. That dysfunction, however, is no reason to reverence the Law so state and local governments can turn each individual into merely the Governed. It is facetious to argue, as that Con Con advocacy paper does, that “The whole point of the rule of law is that we comply with it even when we do not want to; otherwise, it is the will of man and not the rule of law that reigns supreme.” Huh? That’s the kind of sophistry a wannabe tyrant would assert.

As Daniel Hannan quoted Baron de Montesquieu as saying in his 2013 book Inventing Freedom: “I am in a country which scarcely resembles the rest of Europe. England is passionately fond of liberty, and every individual is independent.” When the phrase ‘We the People’ is used in various American 18th century documents it is referring to independent, sovereign individuals who believe in a “unique legal system that made the state subject to the people rather than the reverse.” That TPPF framing of the Rule of Law is the Continental View of the Law that Hannan contrasted with the very different “philosophy…from the common-law conception of a free society as an aggregation of free individuals.” It is a view of law grounded in collectivism, as Hannan noted, and “in particular, from Rousseau’s belief in the ‘general will’ of the people in place of the private rights of citizens.”

A conception of the Law grounded in the visionary who gave rise to both Fascism and Communism as the basis for a call to jettison the current Constitution is apparently what the admitted Left as well as quite a few Atlas members want as well. A reverence for individuality is an obstacle to the Convergence apparently. The US Constitution is in the way.  I am going to use a particular essay “The Global Public and Its Problems” to illustrate what was meant by John Dewey by the term ‘Creating a Public’ through educational practices. In 1927 Dewey wrote a book The Public and Its Problems which called for a communitarian form of citizen loyalty as being necessary to create the public will and values to make democracy sustainable. This is not democracy as some kind of representative government with periodic elections, but democracy in the sense that Boyte calls the cooperative commonwealth, Marx called the Human Development Society, and the UN now calls Dignity for All by 2030.

In other words, there are reasons that the concepts from a 1927 book remain relevant in the 21st Century as the first chapter of my book Credentialed to Destroy made clear. Dewey defined the Public as a community where “its members recognize a common interest in confronting problems they all face and see resolving these problems by means of collective action as a common good.” Regular readers will recognize the current concept of Fostering Communities of Learners as the measure of what constitutes being an Effective Principal as using the school to now prepare students for a future where they get to be a mere member of Dewey’s concept of a Public. Needless to say, Dewey’s Public needs a strong, anti-individual view of the law to bind individuals to this broader vision.

Here is where the story laid out in the essay gets really interesting and directly relevant to our Convergence today. “Problem-solving is used as a self-building process” where “education figures prominently.” In fact Dewey called on it, like Boyte,  for “bringing a certain integrity, cohesion, feeling of sympathy and unity among the elements of our population.” This, of course, can only happen in socioeconomically integrated schools with no tracking. The kind of deliberative democracy envisioned then and now can really only go on at the local level. In the late 1960s, that essay announced that (my bolding):

“the Eurocommunists (misleadingly so described because they included Communist party theorists and leaders from Japan and parts of South America as well as from Italy, France, Spain, and Great Britain) rejected this standpoint [the bourgeois/proletarian distinction] in favor of one that posited general democratic and political norms, potentially shared by them and by champions of capitalism within their respective nations.”

Couldn’t we describe that as the model for today’s Convergence we are seeing by the so-called Left and Right think tanks? Doesn’t that fit with the video in the comments of the previous post of Pastor Rick Warren this year moderating a forum with Professor Cornel West and Professor Robert George, the founder of Atlas member–American Principles Project? Have we once again returned to Dewey’s view of education, political life, and social policy that the Eurocommunists also used that “resisted both sides of this orientation by seeking common democracy building social projects.” I was at a forum last week where Policy Link founder Angela Glover Blackwell was the Keynote Speaker and the admitted radicals seem just as hesitant to admit they are now working with Big Business and Chambers of Commerce to advance their vision of a Just Future.

Yet we know that is already going on in the required local and state WIOA boards. It sounds just like the Eurocommunists who were “prepared to respect those with procapitalist attitudes, including capitalists themselves, insofar as they were sincerely prepared to engage in joint democracy-enhancing projects.” Isn’t that arresting to read as we continue to stumble across these clear collaborations and common visions among public policy think tanks and politicians that supposedly have nothing in common. Governments at all levels are in charge of us with the law as the enforcer of the vision in a world where suddenly “a Deweyan public comprising adherents of both egalitarian and neoliberal philosophies is possible, provided that neither camp is hypocritical in its professed commitment to solving common macro problems.”

No wonder Atlas member employees suddenly seem so fond of citing Justice Brandeis that “it is one of the happy incidents of the federal system that a single courageous state may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country.” If the citizens consent. That must be why the University of Texas-Austin is working with Stanford on the national Growth Mindset study and doing such a loud and explicit declaration of experimenting on students to change their conscious and unconscious mental models. All consensual. Not.

Reverence for the Rule of Law and Education for Democracy are just the thing in a nation where a Republican Governor calls for a Constitutional Convention with a paper that tells us again that “It is wise, therefore, in every government, and especially in a republic, to provide means for altering, and improving the fabric of government, as time and experience, or the new phases of human affairs, may render proper, to promote the happiness and safety of the people.” That’s the view of Law from the Continent where as Aldous Huxley noted, rights are taken, but never given.

That’s the world of the Governed, the serf, and the subject, which is indisputedly where both WIOA and ESSA and a world where the White House has a Behavioral and Social Sciences Team working to change the nature of citizens at the levels of their minds and personalities. I just was not expecting the State of Texas to play such a prominent role in launching this new view of education and what it will now mean to be an American in the future.

Remember with Dewey’s methods comes the totality of his underlying vision. Suddenly the title’s reference to Collectivism is perfectly on point.

Can Bicameralism and Proper Presentment now bind individuals to everything 21st Century state and local governments choose to impose?

No wonder there is such a consistent push to teach through ideas, concepts, and themes now instead of a body of facts. Facts are a useful tool of the individual, but inappropriate without permission for the ‘Governed.’


Malleable Minds Fit for an Affirmative State Designed to Meet Needs and Constrain the Ruled

We actually do not have to infer what kinds of minds and personalities and beliefs are suitable for these new visions of tomorrow. One advocate tellingly used this quote from Napoleon that “There are but two powers in the world, the sword, and the mind. In the long run the sword is always beaten by the mind.” That reality is very galling for many powerful people so they now have nationalized and globalized K-12 ‘reforms’ to extinguish that very capacity. Since we would rebel if we actually understood what was intended, we keep getting a sales pitch about ‘human flourishing’ in so many of these blueprints. As James Madison presciently observed “a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”

I want to detour for a minute back to the Deepening Democracy paper from the Real Utopias Project because they kindly laid out new ” transformative democratic strategies” for the “Affirmative State” at all levels to use to quietly, but persistently, “advance our traditional values–egalitarian social justice, individual liberty [in the sense of having governments meet everyone’s basic needs] combined with popular control over collective decisions, community and solidarity, and the flourishing of individuals in ways that enable them to realize their potentials.”

Remember Michael Fullan specifically tied the experimental New Pedagogies and Deep Learning in the Global Partnership to the “broader idea of human flourishing?” What we have going on is the marrying of the methods of the Human Potential psychological focus to the political and social ends that track back to Uncle Karl without anyone wanting to ‘fess up’ as we Southerners would say.

All the K-12 education reforms I have tracked, as well as higher ed and increasingly grad schools, are all tied to stealthily pursuing and “accomplishing the central ideas of democratic politics: facilitating active political involvement of the citizenry, forging political consensus through dialogue, devising and implementing public policies that ground a productive economy and healthy society, and in more radical egalitarian versions of the democratic ideal, assuring that all citizens benefit from the nation’s wealth.”

Hard not to remember all those ‘You didn’t build that’ comments from the 2012 Presidential race, isn’t it? Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government by the way calls this new model Empowered Participatory Governance. I am not going to write about it in particular except to point out it ties all the Metropolitanism, Regional Equity, make the mayors and the local the focus of government. The Local is supposed to be the layer that meets the needs, whoever provides the financing or specs on what those needs will be.

So when Lawrence K Grossman and others keep hyping self-governance they are describing a world where everyone’s needs have been met via the political process, not a person’s ability to make their own way independent of governmental interference with their decisions. ‘Self-governance’ is again an Orwellian term tied to the kind of economic and social justice and participatory governance view of democracy that even its advocates above admit is quite radical. I think that’s why its structures and needed values and beliefs frameworks are being quietly put in place through education and the law without any desire for the typical person to catch on in time. Remember Grossman was a prof at the Kennedy School while he worked on The Electronic Republic: Reshaping Democracy in the Information Age.

Whether we understood it in the 90s [remember the Freeman Butts vision from the book?] or now, K-12 education was and is being restructured to fit with “citizens at large gaining the power of self-governance.” Everyone gets their basic needs met, “with the public at large playing a critical role in the government’s decision-making process” and few focusing on the pesky little detail about the crucial shift to a vision where “rulers are subject to control by the ruled.” Similar to all those references to being Governed, instead of the individual independent decision-making power Madison knew he had structured, we are all supposed to settle for having a say, being ruled, but having our ‘needs’ met. Even then, we as individuals do not get to decide what our needs are. This shift we are not being told about unless we Follow the Documents in the Oligarchy’s admitted paper trail, stems from:

“the United States is moving toward a new modern-day form of direct democracy, made possible by its commitment to universal political equality and propelled by new telecommunications technology.”

It is within these unappreciated declarations of intentions to fundamentally transform the social institutions and functions of government that K-12 is being radically altered to a Student-Centered focus so that “the public’s ability to receive, absorb, and understand information no longer can be left to happenstance.” Prime the Mind and Personality to perceive experience as desired and then have the Michael Fullans and Michael Barbers of the world globe trot and insist that all education now must be based on Learning by Doing. All those deliberately created learning experiences to foster emotional engagement around real-world problems are just the ticket to the Mandarins just ever so worried that “today, the American public is going into political battle armed with increasingly sophisticated tools of electronic decision making but without the information, political, organization, education, or preparation to use these tools wisely.”

So we get Common Core, Competency, Digital Learning, new definitions of Student Achievement, and Growth measures that are ALL actually the “conscious and deliberate effort to inform public judgment, to put the new telecommunications technologies to work on behalf of democracy.” That would be the radical Social and Economic Wellbeing form of democracy with its new reenvisioned view of the roles and responsibilities of citizenship. After all, as Grossman told us: “With citizens an active branch of the government in the electronic republic, they need to know enough to participate in a responsible and intelligent manner.” That’s a long way from Madison’s view of knowledge to be our own Governors, but then Grossman loves this concept of our being ruled. In fact, he either deliberately or obtusely shows a drastically altered view of American history and the Constitution where:

“the citizen’s role is not to govern himself, but at best elect those who would be most competent to govern on their behalf…The new Constitution had put in place a modern-day method of selecting Plato’s Guardians.”

Can we all join in a chorus of No. No. No? How telling though is that misstatement? I do snarkily make repeated references to yokes and serf’s collars and Mind Arson when it comes to describing the real Common Core implementation. Yet here is an insider of insiders admitting to a desire to dictate what we all may do and think akin to what an ancient Greek philosopher saw as Benevolent Despotism. For our own good as determined by the Guardians with their taxpayer funded salaries and pensions. This confession reminded me a great deal of Achibugi also seeing harnessing public opinion as the mechanism to getting to the Global Commonwealth of Citizens we met in the last post:

“the more we learn about how to respond to and understand the public, the more we also increase the potential to influence, change, and even manipulate public opinion. In the electronic republic, political manipulation is the other side of the coin of effective political persuasion. What looks like manipulative propaganda to one, invariably is seen as an honest educational effort to another.”

Well, honest if the purpose of education is the chimera of ‘human flourishing for all’ brought to us by Rulers who see people as a biddable branch of government in a new vision of what the future might be. Before I close this post with a quote Grossman used from the Dean of Columbia’s School of Journalism, that deserves a statue in the Hubris Hall of Fame, I want to remind everyone that in 2010 UNESCO began using the term ‘media education’ as two prongs of a single means to get to its hoped-for Marxist Humanist global future. They said it and wrote it and we do get to take insiders at their word on what they are up to when they declare nefarious intentions.

Now imagine these words not just from a Journalism Dean but from politicians, think tank heads, education administrators, and university professors, just to name a few:

“This is the age of media power. We set the agenda. We are the carriers of the culture and its values…We are the brokers of information and ideas. Our decisions, our news judgments tell the people who they are, what they are doing, what’s important and what they need to know.”

Arrogant, yes, but 100% consistent with the real K-12 education ‘experience’ we are encountering. The vision that would be necessary to achieve these declared goals as well as the radical global democracy vision. Plus all those references to being governed and ruled and sovereignty no longer being in the individual.

Those Aims or Goals all fit with the actual Common Core implementation described in detail in the book and the purposes, visions, and methods we encounter daily and weekly now on this blog.

We can fight this, but not while we remain unaware or unwilling to stare down what we are indisputedly dealing with in our schools and universities and virtually everywhere else when we look hard.



Sculpting the Inner Eyes that Guide What Real Eyes Perceive from Daily Experiences

All the references to Global Competency or World Citizenship may have us looking for a new flag we will be expected to salute or a quiz on world capital cities, but that is not what these terms actually mean. I took on Global Competency and the CCSSO’s explicit push of it in US K-12 classrooms in Chapter 7 of my book so please look there for the initial foundation for what is coming. We are off to Finland today, not to get frequent flyer miles or to look for stunning vistas in majestic fjords, but simply because professors there have been far more graphic in what the required Human Dignity Paradigm/Justice for All inclusive classroom looks like. They have also laid out with stunning candor what it intends to do and why. It explains why US suburban high schools would be nonconsensually shifting students to ‘problem-based learning’ with an affirmative Student Code of Conduct that most parents are unlikely to even catch in time.

Before we take off though I want to lay out the known links of the same model to the US beyond the descriptions to the Folk School vision laid out in the previous post. I noticed last May that all the school principals and district administrators in the high achieving part of Metro Atlanta’s Fulton County had switched to referring to classwork under the Common Core as either being ‘STEM’ or ‘Humanities.’ Recognizing this meant a jettisoning of academic content as something to be transmitted from what STEM meant (also in book), I have been keeping an eye out for a means of explaining explicitly what the shift to a Humanities focus would specifically mean in the classroom. Professor Martha Nussbaum, so usefully loquacious as to what is really intended that we have given her a tag already, thankfully laid it out in a 1997 book called Cultivating Humanity.

Using classwork to “cultivate in ourselves a capacity for sympathetic imagination.” Such empathy in all students is necessary “in order to foster an informed and compassionate vision of the different.” This “narrative imagination is an essential preparation for moral interaction. Habits of empathy and conjecture conduce to a certain type of citizenship and a certain form of community.” A Blue Ribbon for Astuteness to each of us that picked up that this compassion towards others is the consistent core we are finding in K-12 ‘reforms’ all over the world. It is desired because it “cultivates a sympathetic responsiveness to another’s needs” that is in turn necessary for a world determined to make meeting needs the new focus of the global economy. What Karl Marx called the Human Development Model of Society and Harry Boyte now calls the cooperative commonwealth.

One more well-connected American prof willing to reveal what is being laid out in meetings we are not invited to is Wharton’s Jeremy Rifkin. Since his discussion of the “new pedagogical revolution emphasizing empathic development” is in the context of a broader 2009 social vision called The Empathic Civilization, Rifkin is also usefully forthcoming. In fact he discloses that “Collaborative education, at its core, is concerned with shifting the center of educational concern from the individual mind, to forms of relationship.” We have encountered this before  in the early days of this blog so I know even beyond the clear links to the Positive School Climate mandate that these mentions of a ‘relational self’ as the new focus are truly an insistent, very real, aim of K-12 education reform globally.

Let’s quote Jeremy one more time as he explains that the “new classroom emphasizes cooperation over competition and the sharing of minds. [Exhale, please! Some of you dear readers are now turning Blue in the Face with Outrage.] Education becomes a collaborative venture rather than an individual pursuit. The aim of all knowledge is existential: that is, to come ever closer to understanding the meaning of existence as well as our place in evolution through our shared experiences and the meanings we glean from them. Technical or vocational knowledge [like digital learning] becomes merely instrumental to the pursuit of this larger goal.”

Now we can go to Finland where we will recognize the curriculum as merely the more graphic announcements of the same classroom intent that we are supposed to be transitioning to in the US, Canada, Australia, the UK, Hong Kong, and everywhere else that ever cherished the individual. The Finns stated that the solutions to the world’s problems are to be found “in a shift in our view of how we see ourselves and our relationship to society, and its future…Whatever lies in the future, the ability to collaborate with others in the identification and resolution of problems is crucial. If humankind does not have this capacity, our fate is sealed. If it does, the skills for collective action must be nurtured and strengthened.”

Hence all the ties we are seeing between deliberative democracy and participatory citizenship and the actual K-12 required classroom implementation. I highlighted evolution above not to talk about Darwin or Apes but in the Brameld/Huxley sense of cultural evolution laid out in my book. Or as the Finns have decreed: ” the function of education is not only academic skills, but the skills needed to play a protagonist role in the evolution of society. Rather than working for socialization to the status quo, schools can create pro-active agents of social change.” Now before I shift to quoting from the actual intentions so that parents will have it as a guidebook for the future whatever happens to Professor Margaret Tuomi’s research, I want to make two more points.

First, the Finns state this is based on the Baha’i Curriculum for Global Education. Like the UN as we saw, the Finns like that the Baha’i do not merely speak of rights, as in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These guidelines also speak of obligations. Such duties to others are believed to be important to drill into each student at an unconscious level that will guide action. Secondly, please do not let all this high-minded talk of Equality and Success For All conceal the actual reality of what is being attempted here. The creator of Cultural Marxism theory in the 20s, Antonio Gramsci, did not just come up with an intention to March Through the Institutions of Power in the Individualistic West. He also developed the concept of the Integral State that all that marching was intended to create.

Civil Society would not be just an area of activity in his vision, existing independently of the State. Gramsci conceived of Civil Society, which would especially include schools and higher ed, as the terrain where the political elite’s world vision would be imposed. Troublingly the word he used translates as a required consensus. We encountered the same concept of few posts ago as the Rockefeller Theory of Communication For Social Change. The classroom would become the place where the psychological reality perceived by each student when they entered the classroom would give way to a Shared Understanding of Physical and Social Reality.

The five goals of Global Education then are [verbatim]:

1. To adopt the values necessary for the evolution of a global human society. (Ethics)

2. To acquire knowledge of mankind’s development, current state and achievements. (Knowledge).

3. To include in the world view a discernment as to how mankind has always formed ever greater social systems, and how this process has been encouraged by man’s natural urge to work in cooperation. (Understanding)

4. To see the future of mankind as bright, and to picture in one’s mind how mankind can through cooperation reach unprecedented achievements. (Vision)

5. To learn skills concerning cooperation and the management of information, and become directed towards acquiring skills necessary for the development of mankind. (Skills)

To give some idea of the sort of things the new Common Core assessments will actually be looking for, especially the formative assessments or assessments for learning, let’s look at the listed subgoals under 5. My bolding.

5.1 To learn and explore sources of knowledge logically in order to form holistic pictures and to apply the understanding thus gained to different challenges and activities; to learn to express clearly and logically one’s considered views for the development of human society.

5.2 To learn the skill of consultation in which the purpose is to promote the common good, not to advance one’s own interest; in which the aspiration is to achieve a common understanding; in which one’s view is expressed clearly and freely, but politely; and in which all participants seek to build their opinion based primarily upon knowledge and understanding.

5.3 To learn to consider those skills and capabilities that are needed for the realization of mankind’s future in practice when orienting for studies and choosing professions.

Well I must admit reading through all this that I did NOT become a lawyer to help realize mankind’s future. Interestingly enough though, having a solid base of unapproved factual knowledge and an Axemaker Mind is quite a useful tool in accurately perceiving the likely consequences of all this Manipulation and Mind Arson. That must be why the political elite and cronies are trying to discontinue these useful Mindsets all over the world right now.

Talking about it in the sunlight truly is the only antidote. Next time I will continue some quoting that will make the need for an affirmative Student Code of Conduct quite obvious.

Maybe we should nickname it the Fulton Comrade Code of Conduct Necessary for the Cooperative Vision of Our Future. Brought to us by people lying to our faces about what is really intended.

Some cooperation. No denial of self-interest by the public sector here. No wonder these coercive common good schemes always lead to kleptocracies.

Building the Sentiment, Forging the Real Feeling that Goes Deep: Rigor does Not Mean What You Think

Do you believe in coincidences? Of course they happen, but not about some things, especially when little known professors are suddenly brought back to be the quote of the day in a daily education newsletter. The day after the last post where I mentioned the 1948 push for a World Constitution at meetings held at the University of Chicago, the EdTech SmartBrief cited ‘Italian Writer Giuseppe Antonio Borgese’ for an inspiring vision about Change not only being possible, but necessary. How apropos when fundamental change is the daily meme. Borgese of course is more than an Italian writer. He was one of the prime participants in those meetings, a prof there, and the draftsman. He also wrote the 1953 book Foundations of the World Republic laying out the vision.

You don’t really think I grasp how all this fits just from Abstracts or the Cliff Notes versions, do you? No, I had read that book and get the connection to ed. So does someone apparently at Smart Brief and they are fully aware of the pertinence of today’s K-12 juggernaut of changes too. Few terms though come up more often these days or are used so consistently to mislead parents and taxpayers  on the true nature of the intended changes as ‘rigor.’ There’s a reason education consultant, Willard Daggett, with a ridiculously lucrative national professional development business (for someone who used to be in Vo-Tech. I have a few of those mediocre textbooks) says that “relevance makes rigor possible.” Rigor is always grounded in emotion and personal experiences.

When a District Super tells concerned parents that Rigor is about higher standards and provides the metaphor that you cannot turn up the temperature suddenly on an oven from 350 to 550 without burning the turkey and leaving it frozen on the inside, I think that explanation deserves a Pinocchio award. That example of rigor may make parents feel better about upcoming higher than average failure rates on the new state Common Core math assessments, but it does not accurately reflect the nature of the problem. Rigor is about what a student feels, perceives, and does when there is no single correct answer or there are insufficient facts stated to reach a definitive conclusion or the asked about material has never been taught. It provides superb behavioral science data on likely future actions and it primes students to be willing to act in the face of uncertainty. Just what people with visions of transforming and then redesigning societies and societies around Big Data need from a compliant, malleable citizenry.

Facing History and Ourselves, which we met again in the last post, keeps being cited as the perfect example of a curriculum offering ‘rigorous engagement’ and ‘deeper learning.’ Deeper Learning is being trumpeted, formally assessed, and funded generously as the cornerstone of the Common Core and the OECD’s global vision for education by the Hewlett Foundation. Building on the previous post’s revelations and the return of Life Adjustment before that, why is FHAO so crucial for an international bureaucracy pushing for fundamental transformations in the economy, society, and political structures and institutions? Let’s look. advocates that teaching materials force students (their bolding) through the process of Text to Self (this reminds me of a time when… so that personal experiences become involved), Text to Text (building those links to previous school activities or discussions and the concepts involved so that a predictable mental web is being woven by schoolwork), and Text to World (students connect the ideas to things happening in the world today). Did you realize that’s what ‘personalizing learning’ meant? Constantly reenforcing schoolwork to a student’s life experiences and then creating life experiences in school and elsewhere to reenforce the desired concepts and attitudes? As the link says, FHAO allows students to have Mindsets that allow “better questioning of the world and what goes on it. But most importantly, students become more engaged in their own communities and apply the knowledge they learn to their own lives.” (my bolding this time).

Knowledge grounded again more in emotions and instincts than facts, but all the more likely to compel future action for that very reason. Remember Harlan Cleveland from my book? Well, about 10 years before his 80s vision I explain there he did a report in 1976 for UN Leaders meeting in Philadelphia. It laid out his vision on what the significance of the US Bicentennial was for the future. He saw it as igniting the Next Great World Movement: the Global Fairness Revolution. Like the odd sudden citing this week of Borgese, these visions do not go away. They simply keep looking for new sales jobs to have education finally bring them to fruition. That’s precisely what FHAO and PBS intended to do when they created Choosing to Participate to be used as part of what it would mean to be Literate under the Common Core.

When the “challenge for educators” now is announced to be creating “settings that can help young people develop as thoughtful, caring, compassionate, and responsible citizens,” the vision of citizenry is to be Change Agents for Transformation. That is also blatantly a view of education that is primarily focused on Psychosocial Development, not knowledge as academic content. Students are to be deliberately primed, at a deep level, to be unwilling to accept the world as it now exists. They are also to be intentionally manipulated to misperceive the current nature of that world. Ignorance and grievance may be one of the most volatile combinations in the universe. Unlike nitroglycerin though, these Students with carefully cultivated and shaped Mindsets and emotional Push Buttons will not have warning labels. Not yet anyway. I am working on that one.

FHAO does not mince words when it states its intention to have Choosing to Participate:

“be a catalyst for conversation about how we treat each other, how we should live together, and what our choices mean. The key challenge is to think deeply [emotions again!] about what democracy really means, and what it asks of each of us. Democracy is a fragile enterprise and can only remain vital through the active, thoughtful, and responsible participation of its people. Education for citizenship means encouraging each of us to recognize that our participation matters.”

Jumping to the punch line, FHAO intentionally uses the horrors of the Holocaust and Legal Segregation by race in the US to justify a belief that economic, redistributive, justice, if desired by a majority of current voters, is a perfectly legitimate demand binding everyone. Resistance then becomes akin to the racism that surrounded the Little Rock 9 trying to integrate Arkansas schools in the 50s. FHAO is the perfect accompaniment to the communitarian focus we have already located in the required Positive School Climate for all K-12 schools and lurking oddly in the definition of what it means to be Career Ready under the Common Core. FHAO early on specifically instructs students:

“communities are not built of friends, or groups of friends, or of people with similar styles and tastes, or even of people who like and understand each other. They are built of people who feel they are part of something that is bigger than themselves: a shared goal or enterprise [hence all the hype on collaboration now]…To build a community requires only the ability to see value in others; to look at them and see a potential partner in one’s enterprise…community can also be defined in terms of a ‘universe of obligation’–a group of individuals or groups ‘toward whom obligations are owed, to whom rules apply, and whose injuries call for amends.”

Amends are owed. I am going to end with that quote because clearly this intention is where we should put all these sudden mentions of allegations of White Privilege and conferences centered around preparing teachers to make that and race generally a focus of the K-12 curriculum. Everybody seems to like trilogies so this post is the Human Rights Trilogy’s second part.

I want to come back with considering the implications of targeting values, attitudes, and beliefs about how societies and economies should be structured as just another antiquated area that can, and should be, legitimately targeted by K-12 for change. Comparable in the minds of many educators and certainly the FHAO curriculum to the shifts rightfully needed previously to move beyond legal segregation.

We are going to continue to confront history all right. Especially the implications of requiring that students “prove their humanity” in ways to be mandated by political authority.

Should students be taught that “Built into each individual’s experience must be an occasion for giving, a task of humanity, an act of sharing and sacrifice”?

Is that really Student Achievement? Growth? Should taxpayer-funded education administrators and profs really be making these decisions in a free society?

Or is the disputed nature of freedom itself in the 21st Century the real question?

Megachange & Macroshift: Daily School Experience to Fuel a Revolution in Consciousness

Megachange is a term used to celebrate how classroom computers can “‘break down the barriers that traditionally separate the preletterate from the letterate [yes, that is the spelling. Literate is reserved now to mean the hoped for change in ways of thinking], the concrete from the abstract, the bodily from the disembodied. ” It puts the focus on the visual and how things are used. It dislodges the “privileged position of text” and allows “dynamic media” to guide perception of the world. It no longer sees ‘learning as facts and skills to be acquired.” Instead, via the data captured by adaptive software, digital learning will allow room for what was supposedly rejected by traditional, instructional oriented education, which “had no explicit concern for feelings or for personality or for development of the individual on a level that was not reducible to such specific atoms of learning.”

That discussion of megachange was from an MIT Professor, Seymour Papert, in his 1993 book Children’s Machine: Rethinking School in the Age of the Computer. Papert’s work is seen by the well-funded Edutopia site as relevant to how digital learning should be implemented under the Common Core. That means that Papert’s theories of Constructionism [seeming to update Piotr Galperin’s theories via the computer] come in as do his desire to create a new view of knowledge grounded in experience. He wants to see a shift in organizations, communities, and in our view of knowledge–from hierarchy to hetarchy. Nothing is to be treated as inherently superior and hetarchy creates a “system in which each element is equally ruled by all others.”

Of course, element is used here not as a modular component of a computer program, but as a substitute for actual people. Hetarchy is a communitarian concept where the will of the majority binds all. Democratic, but tyranny for the minority. It fits right in with a cooperative commonwealth or King’s Beloved Community concept of the future, but is definitely not grounded in our current political structures and institutions. That of course is where the Holos Consciousness comes in. Papert thanks Nicholas Negroponte by name and mentions his founding of the MIT Media Lab in the book. Why did I start with megachange in education instead of going straight into the nature of the Macroshift? Because this is how the Ervin Laszlo defined the Breakthrough Scenario to get to a Holos Consciousness in a critical mass of people:

“A new vision of self, others, and nature surfaces on the Internet, on television, and in the communication networks of enterprises, communities, and ethnic groups…Global news and entertainment media explore fresh perspectives and emerging social and cultural innovations. The public’s goals and ambitions become reoriented–toward ‘the good life’ conceived not as amassing the greatest possible amount of money and material goods but as finding meaningful personal relationships and caring for others and for nature…”

Yes, I do get how much of that is going on now, including last Friday’s announcement the US is turning over control of the Internet to the same UN-affiliated entity, ITU, that is pushing the Information Society vision so hard now (including the recent Sakhalin Declaration on IML-Information and Media Literacy). Does this part sound familiar as well? “Funds and capital are channeled from military and defense applications and the demands of an affluent minority to the needs of the people who make up the bulk of the society. Measures are implemented to safeguard the environment, create an effective system of food and resource distribution, and develop and put to work sustainable energy, transport, and agricultural technologies…More and more people enter the Internet and other communication systems  as active dialogue partners. Their communication reinforces solidarity and uncovers further areas of mutual interest.”

That’s the vision of a World shifting towards a Holos Consciousness. It follows that quote with a blurb from Gandhi that “our world has enough to provide for people’s need, but not enough to provide for their greed.” Of course we have all noticed that the people pushing this so-called planetary ethic of altruism from school district offices to the universities to charitable foundations are exceptionally well-paid from taxpayer funds or tuition or untaxed endowments or trusts. Like Al Gore’s jetting about, the point is not how the creators intend to live, but how the rest of us should. My observation in my book and this blog on where education reform always ends up sure does make more sense when we understand that “a macroshift is a transformation of civilization in which the technology [ICT in case that is not obvious] is the driver and the values and consciousness of a critical mass of people the decider.”

And how do we guide consciousness to what is desired? By altering “values, worldviews, and ethics.” People need to change “their preferences, priorities, values and beliefs,” which is of course much easier if they are convinced that the planet is in environmental crisis from human behavior and the current nature of the economy. Let’s put last week’s Climate Depot story of junior high students unable to sleep because of concern over global warming catastrophes in light of this aim. The emphasis in the 90s on what was then called outcomes based education and what is pushed as social and emotional learning, Whole Child, and soft skills now makes so much more sense with the admission it is:

“the values, beliefs, and ethics that can bring our macroshift to a humane and sustainable conclusion. These ‘soft’ factors in the life of society are the new imperatives of our time–they are even more essential to success than the traditional ‘hard’ factors of economic, political, and business engineering and reengineering.” If the duration of this same intent and targeting of consciousness over decades surprises you and seems a bit conspiratorial, the Preface to the Macroshift book actually contains a shout-out to the creators of the 1970s World Order Models Project, by name, although WOMP itself is not mentioned. Many people have told me the WOMP post is the most alarming wake-up call they have ever read on this blog. The described organic reorientation of K-12 education fits perfectly with Papert’s goals for computer learning and the recently announced global curriculum redesign project with many of the same players involved with the Macroshift to a Holos Consciousness. It also ties the transition to the goals of “socialism with a human face’ described in that post. Yes, quoting Gandhi about needs is so much better from a PR standpoint than attributing the desired planetary ethic to Marx. However, the desired slogan of “Live in a way that enables others to live as well” is unquestionably a simple restatement of Uncle Karl’s small c vision–his human development theory. It was also tied to society getting to a certain stage of technological development that would supposedly allow everyone’s needs to be met without beggaring everyone.

In ancient times all roads led to Rome. In the 21st century all education and other radical reforms of institutions and political structures seem to always wind back to that chronically unemployed 19th century moocher with a toxic vision. Which is why we keep the vision without attributing it back to the notorious name where it really started. Marx WAS right that consciousness was the essential component of getting a desired revolution in the real world. He was wrong though to believe it would be a natural by-product of social class. Holos Consciousness or insisting that learning be about concrete experiences that are relevant to real world problems are both just the latest attempts to alter consciousness in ways advantageous to anyone with hopes for radical transformation. Computers again are just a tool that lets those experiences be programmed as desired.

It is in light of these transformational goals that the push for mindful, contemplative experiences should be seen. It is how students get the announced goal of a new kind of rationality. One that, as Papert noted above, does not privilege print. It is no accident that  Macroshift uses the Greek term for the written word-Logos-to describe the kind of rationality it wants schools and the media and entertainment to squelch. It claims “Logos-inspired evolution was materialistic and conquest-and-consumption-oriented. The alternative to it is evolution centered on human development and development of human communities.”

By admission this Holos Consciousness is rooted in deep spiritual practices. It is a “collective evolution” with nothing but disdain for the individual. It is all about “adjusting our values, aspirations, and behaviors.” The latter of course is accomplished via the collection of data on students using poorly understood definitions of Competency, Student Growth, and Student Achievement.

At no time are parents ever likely to hear the phrases–Marxist Humanism, Holos Consciousness, or the planetary ethic. Yet compliance with all these visions, which are in fact euphemisms for each other, will be actively guided, measured, and cultivated.

From the reading selections to learning tasks to classroom topics and vocabulary to the nature of the open-ended problems on assessments and projects and digital curricula and online games.

Translating the Off-Putting Term Dialectical Materialism and Discovering the Intended Process in ALL Classrooms

And if ALL classrooms, preschool through graduate school, is not sufficiently alarming, how about in ALL students and teachers and professors and administrators? Plus with a little luck, and using active coordination of themes and cultivated beliefs between education and the media, those interested in transformative change in the 21st century hope to spread the mental and emotional contagion to parents and enough voters generally to ignite the change via the ballot box and ALL institutions.

So how does the mouthful phrase ‘dialectical materialism’ fit into this vision? That is something I have struggled with for a couple of years now. I basically got it, but not well enough to translate into a pithy analogy for mass consumption. I suspect much of that is deliberate to prevent alarms from going off recognizing its use to prompt revolutionary cultural change. I knew it was about consciousness and had been coined not by Marx or Engels, but by Joseph Dietzgen. Like them, his revolutionary intentions forced him into exile in the Anglosphere, countries much more accommodating of dissent than Germany or other parts of 19th-century Europe. Instead of London or Manchester, England though, Dietzgen relocated to the Chicago area. But what precisely merited exile by authorities wishing to retain existing political power?

The recent recovery of some lost Nelson Mandela transcripts that quoted him as saying: “to a nationalist fighting oppression, dialectical materialism is like a rifle, bomb or missile. Once I understood the logic of dialectical materialism, I embraced it without hesitation.” I read that and immediately wished someone would concisely explain that logic as I was quite sure it was still lurking in our midst, ready to mount an invisible attack against existing institutions, values, beliefs, and other cultural norms. Last week, my personal project, supposedly unrelated to the blog or book or speaking engagements, was to investigate when the law shifted to being seen as a cultural weapon. Just a matter of personal curiosity so I ordered a book I had seen mentioned, Law and Revolution: The Formation of the Western Legal Tradition. It was published in 1983 by a then Harvard Law Prof, Harold J. Berman.

I was expecting a more straightforward history than what I encountered. I certainly was not expecting to read on the first page of the Preface that “A world ends when its metaphor has died.” Well, that got my attention as nothing is more prevalent now in education ‘reforms’ than the determination to excise factual knowledge of the past or science or human nature and substitute some type of metaphorical belief, usually called a ‘lens,’ as in the new C3 Social Studies Framework or a Generative Metaphor from Donald Schon and Chris Argyris’ Action Science work.

Continuing on in the Introduction, I found a determination to jettison the reverence for the Anglo tradition of the common law, and language about the law being not “a body of rules,” but a “process.” That statement sounded eerily similar to what radical education reformers like Linda Darling-Hammond, or sponsors like CCSSO, are using to describe what the REAL Common Core implementation is about. Not transmitting a body of knowledge anymore, but cultivating desired ‘habits of mind’ and hoped for ‘dispositions’ amenable and primed to act for wholesale social change.

Perhaps because it is a book designed to change the nature of a particular institution-the nature of law, law schools, and the role of the judiciary, Berman’s book is quite graphic about using the word ‘dialectics’ to describe the process of changing values and beliefs in people so it will have an impact on how and whether they act. Those actions in turn can affect the material world and the physical environment, which in turn acts upon those who inhabit it. A dialectical process back and forth involving the material world, but it all starts in consciousness. Mental and emotional beliefs. Dialectical materialism. Change the consciousness of enough people and the world itself and the future can supposedly be changed in predictable ways.

That’s the theory of how to “transform the social and political and economic realities” and it was revolutionary enough in the 19th century to merit exile and, perhaps, prison in certain times and places in the 20th. Now a willingness to push it can get you a lucrative ed doctorate credential intended to secure a six-figure taxpayer paid salary and then pension for life. That is if you cooperate with the right people and force the right theories on unsuspecting schools and students. What a transition that is for an infamous theory!

Dialectical materialism then is the actual theory that underlay outcomes based education and what was really being sought from it. Because it is an off-putting term with a clear history and proponents calling it the equivalent of a cultural “rifle, bomb or missile,” the real name for the theory gets left out. Instead, we get language about Growth Mindsets and not Fixed and Grit, Perseverance and Tenacity to euphemize the actual dialectical mental and emotional change to arrive at the desired synthesis in a person who will act.

This vision of education as dialectical materialism to change the student’s values, beliefs, and dispositions so they will likely act as desired upon the world can be seen as recently as last Friday as Michael Barber and Pearson released a Michael Fullan authored document called A Rich Seam: How New Pedagogies Find Deep Learning. That report also helpfully ties together the actual intended Common Core implementation in the US to what is going on in Canada, Australia, South America, and Europe. A global vision of the kind of perspectives and Worldviews that education is to inculcate for the future.

Everything is designed around experiential learning and getting students ready to act in desired ways. To see the past through so-called present and future needs. It’s not just the students being primed to act in desired ways. I keep hearing reports of teachers being told to stand and chant as a necessary component of new required professional development, while I notice how the leaders of the training just happened to be active in outcomes based education in the 90s. Or a recent story of videos being shown of enthusiastic cheering at various emotional public events like sports. Then the teachers are told that they must stand and cheer exuberantly at every mention of the phrase “Common Core” during the presentation. Does it remind anyone else of Michael Barber’s work with rebellious UK teachers years ago where the mantra was “First, act, then belief comes?”

To me, it is reminiscent of another of William Henry Chamberlin’s observations from his 30s experiences of collectivism that we encountered in the previous post. He noted that “human personality, for instance, may sometimes be dwarfed and standardized under the influence of democracy. But in the totalitarian states it tends to disappear altogether; the individual is simply sunk in the collectivist mass that votes, marches, salutes, cheers with the regularity and precision of an automatic machine.” That term ‘totalitarian’ may seem a bit misplaced when talking of the US or UK or Canada or Australia, but every one of the political and economic and social philosophies Chamberlin was writing about from personal experience was grounded in dialectical materialism. It is the foundational theory behind changing values and beliefs. What varied, then and now, are the particular beliefs that can be deliberately cultivated as useful for transformative change.

It is easy then to see the belief in Catastrophic Manmade Climate Change as one of today’s useful cultivated beliefs as well as the hyping of Inequality and the push for Communitarianism (misleadingly hiding in the definition of Career Ready as well as what will constitute a Positive School Climate). The intense focus on continued racism and sexism in reading selections and classroom discussions provides the same function. Useful beliefs that will likely compel a belief to act to transform the world in predictable ways. Others are more subtle, like the regular complaints over the religion of Islam being portrayed as inherently innocuous in ways that disregard known, provable, potentially dangerous facts. Or the economic misconceptions being deliberately cultivated and then tied to revered figures like Martin Luther King as Democracy Collaborative/Good Society’s Gar Alperovitz did recently.

We are going to talk next time about how this dialectical vision has become incorporated into the teacher evals for licensure and promotion to ensure compliance. Another dialectical process to ensure actual change in the material world.

Unfortunately all these intentions just cannot shake off the effects of unintended consequences and perverse incentives in that same material world.

The one where we all live and pay taxes to finance these millenarian visions of unrealistic, and nonconsensual, transformations.



Gratitude over the Timely Official Admissions that Now Leave 2014 Intentions Beyond Dispute

As I write this, I can practically hear the refrain from that 1984 Band Aid concert “Do They Know It’s Christmas Time?” playing in my head. And I certainly do know that. The gifts are wrapped here and the ingredients for pasta bolognese are ready for Christmas Eve dinner. I hope every one of my readers gets the opportunity to engage in the festivities and rituals they and their loved ones also cherish at this unique time of year. I am going to just play mom, chauffeur, and cook  through the New Year after this post although I will likely keep the conversation going in the comments. But two important admissions that clarify what has been going on and what we will likely encounter in 2014 and beyond globally have come my way. This post is just a head’s up, and a reminder that there is a language involved with all these transformational intentions, we now speak it, and we can correctly translate and appraise Whatever comes our way in 2014 in both education and social policies generally.

Clarity is always something to be grateful for even if it does not come in a box with pretty paper and a bow. Some of it did come, however, on this slideshow that arrived in my email to Wish Me a Happy Winter Solstice. I suppose longer days of daylight from now on is something to celebrate, but you will find quite a bit of meddling about what is supposed to make us “happy” going forward. Very much grounded in communitarianism as so much else seems to be these days. We had already noted in previous posts that the UN started a World Happiness Report in 2012 and the OECD has been pushing Subjective Well-Being as a means of aiding its Great Transition emphasis.

GT also has its own posts, but briefly one of our 2013 discoveries is a shockingly widespread political  belief that it was always the West, not Russia or China, that actually met Karl Marx’s criteria of the high level of technology produced by capitalism (in our case computers and broadband and ICT generally) that would be necessary to achieve his envisioned little c communism stage of human development -“From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.” The ‘needs’ or support economy (also distributed capitalism and other tagged names) then is another way of philosophers or sociologists or economists or bureaucrats saying we are shifting to this little c vision without anyone actually needing to inform taxpayers or use either the alarming c word or the notorious M name.

A few weeks ago (Dec. 11, 2013) the US National Research Council and UK (Economic and Social Research Council) released a joint report called “Subjective Well-Being: Measuring Happiness, Suffering, and Other Dimensions of Experience.” When governments decide to shift the “focus of economic measurement from production [i.e. consumer choices] toward people’s well-being,” that is a significant enabler of stealthily shifting to a needs economy. Especially when there is to be a focus on “equality, sustainability and nonmarket dimensions of well-being that cannot be captured well by conventional ‘objective’ means.” We could add that all that data on youth from digital learning will prove useful here, but let’s stick to the actual report for now. It wants to have the feds measuring the  experienced (hedonic) well-being (ExWB).

Now that mouthful term means that the governments now want insights into the “emotional states and experiences of people belonging to different groups.” With those insights, factors like “long-term unemployment, depression, or lack of income” that are shown to be drivers of long-term suffering can supposedly be reduced. Because LBJ’s Great Society policies turned out so well. The idea is also that positive experiences can be enhanced or increased. Yes, ‘enhance’ was the word used and this could easily turn into a parody with the  catch-phrase “I’m from the government and I’m here to help,” but the intentions are quite serious. The feds also want to evaluate the purpose or purposelessness in people’s experiences so that they do not miss what the report regards as ‘crucial,’ ‘central drivers of behavior’.

Going into 2014, let’s keep in mind the intentions described in that report which are clearly laying the ground work for attempts at extraordinary levels of social engineering for the future. Think of it as teed up in the dark away from prying eyes that could ring an alarm. We were quietly lurking in the outfield though and have caught what was intended to be a most troubling concept. Now we get to frame sought 2014 policies through the “lens” of making Subjective Well-Being the domain of governments in the 21st century. As if we are all merely wards of the state in need of constant oversight.

Now for that second admission we can make great use of in 2014. We have long known that the accreditors answered to UNESCO and intend to use education to drive cultural change. We also knew that UNESCO globally is the driver of all the tremendous changes in higher ed. We have suspected UNESCO is the driver of K-12 reforms globally including the US Common Core, but I have been looking for the proverbial indisputable link beyond UNESCO being a named partner in the global 21st century skills movement. I now have that proof downloaded and hard copied along with UNESCO’s desired global curriculum and methods. Helpfully available on CD-ROM so with digital learning we parents will never see it.

Here’s the really fun part, UNESCO says it has, since 2002, been addressing education reforms with “renewed vigour” because it serves as the “Task Manager of Chapter 36 of Agenda 21.” So much for people who consider any mention of Agenda 21 to be proof you are a “conspiracy theorist.” It appears that the Paris-based UNESCO bureaucrats and their supporters have clearly been the ones theorizing how to best conspire and with the aid of our money and children. The stated aim is “the educational strategies and action plans at all levels and sectors of education in all countries.” All means all, folks. UNESCO also confirmed what many of us have long suspected. The International Baccalaureate Organization is working hand in hand with it in implementing Chapter 36 of Agenda 21 in unsuspecting schools and districts. Frames the true intentions behind that IB Learner Profile, doesn’t it?

In this time when we commemorate Peace on Earth and Good Will Toward Men, I think we actually enhance our chances of ultimately getting there in as many places as possible through awareness of what the UN is actually up to in our classrooms through the aid of ambitious local administrators and oblivious politicians. I now have the needed proof of all those connections and aspirations.

And with those brief disclosures I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

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.