Propitious Timing: A Book, Credentialed to Destroy: How and Why Education Became A Weapon, is Born

I have now discovered that when Amazon says it will take 5-7 business days for a book to be listed for sale not to take them literally. More like two hours actually but then the journey to bringing a book to print is an odyssey of twists and turns. In my case the book was written and then put aside as I started this blog in response to alarming developments as the actual Common Core implementation took on an increasingly psychological and communitarian focus. I took on the role of Paul Revere and have been writing away, instead of riding, to spread my concerns over what I was seeing in current documents as I monitored all the announcements and reports that continue to come out weekly. When concerned people would ask me why I was giving away the book, I would always say that I wasn’t. The blog was and is a separate creation.

In many ways it turned into a second book told in a serial fashion as I reacted in horror to whatever I saw coming at us. But early this summer I picked the manuscript back up knowing the story needed to be out this fall. Although I did use the knowledge developed from the blog’s research to reframe slightly how I presented the story weaving through the book, by and large, the book had simply become even more relevant while it sat quietly on my hard drive. Here is the link to Amazon where anyone can now find it  http://www.amazon.com/Credentialed-Destroy-Education-Became-Weapon/dp/1492122831/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1381695681&sr=1-1&keywords=robin+eubanks . Those hoping for a Kindle option, that will be available in a couple of weeks. Lots of citations require specialized professional conversion.

I named this announcing post “Propitious Timing” because I have had numerous reasons in just the last week to recognize how many nefarious things that relate to what I explain in the book would still be going invisibly forward otherwise. Now at least we have some chance of putting it all into proper context. Giving us an opportunity to fight off the kind of visions I have laid out in recent posts. Education Week was on a roll on October 9th alone. It posted “Racial Equity 50 Years After King’s Speech” and then “Transforming Our Schools Requires Building Our Democracy” which stated rather preposterously that “only public institutions have the capacity to be rigorously accountable to the interests of communities.” That may make a nice pitch to increase power in the public sector but it is nonsense to anyone who has visited the DMV or a tag office.

But the real shocker to me, consistent with what was clearly building up as the drumbeat for social change, was this article “Our Nation’s Schools Remain Contaminated with Inequity.” http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/op_education/2013/10/our_nations_schools_remain_con.html It was a reminder on why it has mattered so much that someone telling this story is also a lawyer. We tend to recognize when someone arguing that the “law requires” is actually just hoping everyone will take that assertion as a given. And not recognize that current laws do no such thing and the writers are arguing aspirationally. What they wish the law said. I have seen that more and more as the law is seen not as a set of agreed-upon rules common to everyone but a tool for advocating social change. That is especially the vision of the book Contesting the Myth of a ‘Post Racial Era: The Continued Significance of Race in US Education written in 2013 by that article’s co-authors.

Race and ethnicity and inequity then get used as the excuse to push the idea that “the purpose of P-20 education is active social change.” And not in just any direction mind you but towards Relational Pluralism which:

“runs counter to the American Dream meritocracy by locating the individual as a member of a community, an individual who will succeed or fail as the community succeeds or fails. I believe that a commitment to relational pluralism is important for teachers who want to disrupt notions of meritocracy based on individualism and self-reliance, and thereby engage in the struggle against racism.”

That essay’s author, Judson Laughter, says this is “the social vision espoused by President Obama” and that it is time for it to spread. The mere fact that Education Week is now promoting the book and its point of view and Harvard developed it as part of its Black Studies & critical thinking series tells me we are about to have a real problem on our hands in terms of policies designed to ensure:

“Ending racism through education is not about every person having an equal chance. Ending racism through education is about letting go of the desire to be individually successful, and taking up the call to be the keepers of my sisters and brothers.”

Our political transformationists with their visions of a communal future have real plans for all of us and they see education as their premier weapon. But we are right up there with them and ready to follow in real time what is being sought. As I said: propitious timing. And yesterday Ron Radosh and David Horowitz issued a story and and old letter about one of England’s dedicated radicals, Ralph Miliband. http://pjmedia.com/ronradosh/2013/10/12/how-david-horowitz-revealed-the-truth-about-ralph-milibands-legacy-what-it-should-teach-the-british-left/#comments I had never heard of him but apparently his son Ed Miliband is the current head of the British Labour Party and a possible future Prime Minister there. Apparently on October 1, a British writer said that Ed wanted to bring about his father’s vision of 21st century socialism. Up arose a dispute as to how radical the father was with Ed disputing what had been written and Horowitz responding with the old letter he had written. Asking why Ralph Miliband continued to push socialism in the early 90s after so many tragedies.

Again propitious timing. Ed Miliband’s response reminded me of a quote I use in the book that if what is being pushed is accurately perceived too soon “we will have to pull back.” Plus Horowitz’s long Open Letter reminded me again of the dangers of so many of the aspirations we are now seeing everywhere. Laid out in the book over decades of influential scheming and it is clearly still coming at us in the Relational Pluralism vision above. It’s also apparent in the ideas now pushed by UNESCO and the OECD via subjective well-being and capability as a human right and a return to Scientific Humanism as Irina Bokova is now advocating.

I wish this was not all going on but I am very glad that between the book and the blog we are going to be in a position to see what is coming at us. We will need to perceive all of this accurately in order to fight for the continued legitimacy of the individual in this vision of a transformed future.

All this sent me back to a troubling book from 1993. Harlan Cleveland wrote this as part of his vision on Birth of a New World:

“Perhaps most important of all, there is a role for educators in making sure that children in all cultures grow up with, and their parents develop, a feel for the new global/behavioral issues and relate them constructively in their own cultural identities and traditions. Education about the global commons from preschool through adult learning should be aimed at patterns of behavior and value systems consistent with a sharing environment. Not only the schools but the media, political leaders, and nongovernments of many kinds will have to be teachers about human conduct compatible with life in a shared commons.”

Harlan’s vision remains current in the US and UK and many other countries. Led via poorly understood education reforms. Designed to take us all towards a vision of collectivism none of us have consented to.

I wish these stories from the blog and the book were not true. But they are and it is all well documented. I am glad that because of propitious timing we can hopefully make enough people in enough places aware in time to turn away.

 

When Deep Learning and Systems Thinking Radicalizes the Student, Factual Reality Ceases to Matter

To the student, that is. The problem for society is that factual realities like incentives and consequences and what makes an economy grow and what will make it contract or even implode are still out there. Like gravity, reality and economics and the likely result of giving government officials unrestrained power to make decisions for others will have their way regardless of intentions. Or whether anyone understands them or even believes in them. I wish more educators and politicians and charitable foundation employees involved in all these machinations would remember the wise words with which the eminent economist Ludwig Von Mises closed his epic book Human Action in the wake of the carnage of the Second World War.

Von Mises was writing about the regularity of “phenomena with regard to the interconnectedness of means and ends” in human activities. That’s what he regarded as economic knowledge. You and I would call it the wisdom that helps one successfully navigate daily life.

“The body of economic knowledge is an essential element in the structure of human civilization; it is the foundation upon which modern industrialism and all the moral, intellectual, technological, and therapeutical achievements of the last centuries have been built. It rests with men whether they will make the proper use of the rich treasure with which this knowledge provides them or whether they will leave it unused. But if they fail to take the best advantage of it and disregard its teachings and warnings, they will not annul economics; they will stamp out society and the human race.

I am not quoting Von Mises to scare anyone. Well, I guess that is not really true. Think of it as an Impetus Bout of Deliberate Fright. It is time for those of us who are knowledgable about history and economics to speak up and tell those who are not, notably many Principals, Supers, accreditors, professors of sociology or education, and way too many politicians and public and private bureaucrats, that there are unacceptable costs for everyone associated with their planned education policies. Pushing Transformational Outcomes Based Education and its close cousin Systems Thinking and SEL through the schools and classrooms will not be a victimless, lucrative for insiders, Success For All scheme. It will make victims of all of us and the Educrats seem to be the least knowledgable on the likely consequences of their actions and inactions. That means-end correspondence Von Mises was referring to.

Virtually all of the actual curriculum for Common Core I have seen makes Sustainability the focus of classroom activities. And not in the sense of conservation of natural resources and please do not litter. As a connected Swede, Carl Lindberg, put it, the whole point of the UN inspired international Education for Sustainable Development is to “create a feeling of global responsibility” in each individual. Needless to say, teaching young children and adolescents that they are merely parts of a broader community that ultimately encompasses the whole planet via systems thinking is a useful tool to create just such a useful feeling. To cultivate that Senge-Scharmer Blind Spot we discussed here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/second-order-change-why-reform-is-a-misnomer-for-the-real-common-core/ so that each student’s perceptions and future behaviors can be manipulated.

To that manipulation toolbox the educators intend to use to gain Transformative political and social change without our consent, we need to add what the Hewlett Foundation calls Deep Learning Strategies.  Deeper Learning is part of the Foundation’s 2010 plan to “equalize education for all students.” This will of course involve a levelling process for the intellectually gifted and involves a high level of ignorance for all but at least it is equitable. And the politicians and bureaucrats will not have to worry about Axemaker Minds pointing out the likely consequences thereby impeding the implementation of theories and planning. And those established businesses need not be as concerned about an Axemaker Mind creating market-disrupting new technology. Of course we will be in the situation of tragic concern Von Mises worried about when too many will remain too ignorant to even have the opportunity to disregard needed knowledge from the past.

This is what Hewlett defines as deeper learning (they really love to bold it too. I suppose to show their enthusiastic embrace).  Remember this is all anyone is to get to know and this dovetails perfectly with the well-connected 21st Century Skills push. Almost verbatim. And before you get too excited about the mention of Core Academic Content, let me give you the examples they use:

“Learn about water, oxygen and nitrogen cycles, food webs, and similar topics.”

So the academic content relates to thinking of the world around you as full of systems. The academic content then either relates to Sustainability issues or other “real world challenges” the students will be asked to try to solve. Using their nonexistent base of conceptual knowledge and search engine skills. Hence the push for Relevance as part of the new 3 R’s of the Common Core implementation.

I have already given you the example of core academic content as one of the five key elements and Hewlett’s example. They mention “mastering core academic content” too. Since this comes up all the time with Common Core, I need to point out that “mastering” does not mean knowing. It means applying. No need to stock that conceptual mental hotel with facts. Mastering thus frequently contemplates classwork with the relevant facts presupplied. No need to worry though about bias or propaganda being part of the given facts. It’s not like there is a political purpose associated with the Common Core.

I will tell you the remaining four keys along with Hewlett’s specific examples. I also want to point out that the Hewlett Foundation believes that the purpose of academic content under Common Core is to “understand ecosystems.” Except the deep, emotional understanding being sought for each student is more Paul Ehrlich Newmindedness than Von Mises based in reality. Apparently though that emotional, connected to a New Vision for Future Society element makes for “better retention of content knowledge.” What’s better–Deeply remembered nonsense or slightly forgotten accuracies? I am afraid we are about to find out if we do not act soon.

Here goes:

Think critically and solve complex problems. Examples: Re-create a natural ecosystem in a terrarium. Collect data to understand the interdependence of physical and biological elements.

Work collaboratively. Example: Work in a team to design, build, and monitor the terrarium.

Communicate effectively. Example: Present data and conclusions in writing and to an audience.

Lastly, Learn how to learn independently. Example: Use teacher feedback, test results, and reflection to guide future learning and improve study habits.

Sounds perfectly dismal to me but I can see how this would add up to preventing more Axemaker Minds from developing. And Hewlett matters. They were one of the petitioners behind the socio-cultural learning theory push the Obama Administration officially adopted that we talked about here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/so-now-common-core-rejects-individual-thinking-to-embrace-soviet-psychology-ecology/

And Hewlett’s vision for how to educate low income and minority students so they are essentially primed for the hoped-for Insurrection is embodied in how they and other educators define “Excellence and Equity.” That will be the next post.

You are not going to like it but it is what is showing up in the suburbs as the New 3 R’s. It also explains the community organizing push we chronicled here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/keep-urban-schools-weak-to-force-economic-and-social-justice-then-make-the-suburbs-close-the-gap/

It all fits so well it makes you wonder if there is not an active coordination around a common purpose.