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.

Educating for Radical Change and New Values in an Age of Abundance: Defining the New Kind of Person to be Produced

Have you noticed that everywhere we look, across time and in other countries, the consistent message is to create a new system of values? New values that form a personal core so they are available to fuel future action or fulfill future psychological needs in these times of change. It’s why certain religions are being urged to shift their belief-systems. It’s why Milton Rokeach originally created the very term Competency back in the 60s that is now with us more than ever. It lies at the heart of what Career Ready turned out to mean and embodies the personal and societal transformations the UN’s IPCC reports want to require preemptively, whatever the actual weather or temperature trends over time.

To ground the consistency of this message I have once again gone back in time. I cover important aspects of this story as it relates to education as a weapon in the Cold War in my book. As a history devotee though, there turns out to be additional details now available to augment our discussion of How to Get to Fundamental Transformation and Why the Pursuit has been Consistent and Unrelenting Over Decades. The Berlin Wall coming down in fact seems to have acted as an accelerant. So let’s go back in time to something anthropologist Margaret Mead wrote in an essay for a 1966 book Automation, Education and Human Values.

I first tried to approach the fact that Uncle Karl was more relevant to what was sought in the West back in this post and in a subsequent post explaining that Marx had a Human Development Model of society that would kick in at a certain point as technology developed through capitalist innovation. This was quite frankly to be the utopian time of “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.” Mead, like so many others we have now encountered from the 60s or later in the US or Europe, was assuming that stage had been met. It is also what Sweden was relying on in its changes we looked at and why its former Prime Ministers just keep showing up to guide the UN’s vision over the rest of us.

We will never understand what is being sought via education and why it targets new values so consistently as a prime directive until we appreciate that. We also need to know that in 1974 the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Establishment of a New International Economic Order. The countries of the South and the developing world then have been not so patiently waiting for what they regard as their just due (as a response to colonialism) and the NIEO ever since. The magic technology that the NIEO is intimately intertwined with was information and communications back in the 70s. Now it has been updated to computers and broadband for all courtesy of the affluent West.

Let’s look first at Mead and then at the 1985 UNESCO paper “The New International Economic Order: Links Between Economics and Communications.” Then we can pivot to the ed vision and contemplate the irony of so many foundations created by tech fortunes financing the shift to a planned society built around the use of ICT. Conflict of interest? Mead brought the same kind of lack of bias to discussing economics that she brought to examining the sexuality of Polynesians, which is my sarcastic way of saying her desired ends influenced what she asserted. Nonetheless, she was an influential representative of a then and now common mindset that we best be aware of if we are going to accurately perceive the real aims. She noted that “the problems of a society as abundant as ours, with such extensive natural resources and such a large internal market” are now “problems of distribution rather than production.” Taking on the belief common to those who have never spent a moment in the true private sector, Mead wanted planners and decision-makers to be able to decide “how to distribute buying power.”

She would really like today’s EBT/SNAP cards instead of food stamps, wouldn’t she? She saw the early 60s as the “second phase of the moral revolution” that began when the Great Deal “in practice if not in principle” established the “idea that society was responsible for the subsistence of all its members.” Phase two of the ‘moral revolution’ as she called it, which of course always requires new values, is about each member of society having a “right to share in its productivity” via the “right to live well.” That 1985 paper citing a 1976 paper called Moving Toward Change wanted everyone to recognize once again that the establishment of the NIEO was not just a call for new economic and political structures and institutions, but to transform “socio-cultural factors” to help all peoples struggle against “all forms of domination.” I don’t believe gravity was included as a form of domination to be altered, but it is easy to see why education becomes the magic means for change with aims like these:

“[NIEO] is directed not only to making the best use of things and sharing them out more fairly, but to developing all men and women, and every aspect of the individual, in a comprehensive cultural process, deeply permeated with values, and embracing the national environment, social relationships, education and welfare.”

The paper also put a great deal of emphasis on how mass media and who controls it can help bring about this new vision and noted how the electronics companies like GE and Westinghouse were buying broadcast networks and publishing houses, especially textbook companies. Connections between education and communications media that are even more profound today even if none of us got the memo about the related Human Development Society with its needs economy or the demand of so many countries to force “Equity” on the US, Canada, Europe, and Australia among others. To think we have been wondering why so many global ed conferences now are held in a Middle East waiting for that 1974 resolution to finally be fulfilled.

Now let’s go back to the related ed vision from the 1966 book since it is still relevant and has the kind of graphic descriptions of intent that are only found before a plan runs into obstacles and controversy. For one thing it takes it for granted that the combination of computers and the behavioral sciences will inevitably create a means of “control which must include the manipulation of human beings.”  Since we now know how important the behavior control theory of cybernetics is to the actual planned implementation of the Common Core and digital learning and the new assessments, the quoted New York Times review of Norbert Weiner’s book Cybernetics should still sound alarms so many decades later: John Pfeiffer wrote:

“The story is not entirely a happy one, however, because he [Weiner] did not trust robots. More precisely he did not trust man of affairs to use robots, or their fellow human beings for that matter, with either constraint or compassion.”

Me neither. Just imagine if Weiner had all the open declarations we have put together from fellow profs at MIT and elsewhere. What we now hear as the ubiquitous claim of the primacy of the ‘common good’ in the 21st Century and the need for social justice was clarified in 1966 as the “problem of the one and the many.” The 21st century keeps wanting to redo values to confront this same problem, which is why we keep running into cites to Professor Amitai Etzioni and communitarianism lurking behind poorly known new mandates in the schools. By 1966 the wake for the “notion of individualism in the old sense” was already being planned with glee. Education needed to replace a reverence for the past with an emphasis on the present and future so that “purposeful direction” could begin.

Education was to become ‘general’ with the “wellbeing of all as the key to human relationships powered by justice and compassion.” Education “for technical competence” was to be reconciled with “education for emotional or psychic competence.” No wonder a Whole Child emphasis or social and emotional competencies just keep recurring all over the world. We are just not appreciating that it is all tied to such an enduring vision of  extensive transformations in virtually every sphere. Nor do we quite understand why the template for the Great Society that is so widely viewed as an expensive disaster that created and magnified societal dysfunctions remains a blueprint still being followed.

Let’s end with the confession from the 60s that the “humanities, as historically transmitted, as conventionally conceived and defended, as conventionally organized and taught, just will not do” in an “age of advanced technological and social change.” That is still the attitude today. Education for transformational social, political, and economic change needs fresh voices “of man’s changing efforts, experiences, and aspirations.” So if content is not relevant to either “the world of action or to man’s inner needs,” it needs to no longer be part of the curriculum.

Every once in a while it is important to pause and look back in time for our answers on the whys of what we are dealing with now in education. Now we can better appreciate why education globally is putting new values front and center as both the purpose and focus of the classroom and life experiences generally.

And why so many are so impatient.

Change Perception, Change Behavior, Change Rules, Change Systems–the Real Common Core/Teacher Coercion Story

Today’s post reenforces my consistent point that what is going on in education ‘reforms’ at all levels is not about the how and what of getting as many students as possible as knowledgeable and able as possible. What most of us view as the historic role of schools. Even something as fundamental as the new teacher evaluations and measures of what constitutes student ‘achievement’ or ‘growth’ are actually bound up in the broader social, economic, and political transformation agenda. And once again the aim is not limited to the US or Canada or the UK or Australia. It truly is global in aim as this short video called ‘Purpose’ show us.

Now the first part of the title comes from that circle chart at the 1:21 mark that the way to achieve this comprehensive vision of global transformation is to Change Perception which causes Individual Behaviors to Change, hopefully along the preselected pathways. That in turn allows Changes in the governing Rules (either explicitly or as we saw with Harold Berman through the concept of evolving law that shifts with needs and new contexts). Finally, all of these shifts over a majority of voters results in a Change in the economic, social, and political Systems.

We could also call that chart a Graphic Organizer illustrating how to accomplish Dialectical Materialism in the real world. Now I still find that to be an off-putting phrase and just using the initials might not alert my readers to what I mean. I am also darn sure we are going to keep needing to refer to this Theory with an Infamous Past so I hereby rechristen it DiaMat for short. Why am I so sure this theory will need a nickname to allow for easy use?

Because I believe that the new teacher evaluations and professional development standards, and even the new definition of professional learning that is coming out of Kentucky, are all about getting DiaMat into everyday practice in our schools and classrooms. DiaMat in the teachers’ daily instructional practices of course allows that Obuchenie mindset to be developed in the students. Then the new alternative assessments being administered by Pearson, even in states like Texas that are not adopters of the Common Core, get to measure whether the desired changes in perception are occurring.

If we look at the inner core of that circle chart, we see Perception changes through new Story Telling, which of course is most vividly accomplished by ditching textbooks and making virtual reality Gaming and Cyberlearning the new focus of the classroom (under the motto that it keeps students engaged and thus keeps them from dropping out). Next, at the inner core under Change Behavior we find ‘Motivator,’ which is precisely what the League of Innovative Schools and the federally promoted Digital Promise hope to use technology in the classroom to determine. Under Change Rules, we find ‘Mobilizer,’ which I believe is a euphemism for the better known–‘community organizer.’ Finally, under Change Systems, we find ‘Platform Builder.’ Like Peter Senge promoting systems thinking or Mark Greenberg pushing positive psychology on schools or Angela Duckworth on Grit and Tenacity as examples in education? Or to take it up a notch, we have Harry Boyte and his concept of the cooperative commonwealth or Gar Alperowitz and his Democracy Collaborative or King’s Beloved Community as only being satisfied via economic democracy.

The point of just those few examples is that the world itself and all the individuals in it may not be interdependent, but the idea behind radical ed reform and the transformation visions that accompany it certainly are. My book and this blog are dedicated to trying to sound the alarm of these connections in time. You may not have read Imagine Living in a Socialist USA that came out about two weeks ago from HarperCollins Publishing, but I have. It is a historically and economically illiterate vision with a devastating conclusion of what a Thanksgiving 2077 could be like in the transformed US. In the middle is an essay from Bill Ayers of Weathermen and “Just another guy in the neighborhood” fame laying out the associated ed vision. Ayers calls it “Teach Freedom!” but the Common Core calls it student-centered deep learning of the desired concepts with application to real world problems. DiaMat again.

Remember how we discovered that the omnipresent around the classroom implementation dual phrase “teaching and learning” was an inexact stealth attempt to bring in the Russian psychology and political theory of obuchenie to alter the student’s perception? Well, we did not dwell on it then but it is the teacher’s perception that is also  under active attack. The students are not the only ones to be asked to Ascend from the Abstract to the Concrete based on preassigned concepts to be understood as desired and acted upon. Teachers must shift too. Think of it as forcing everyone to become a change agent or to find a new job or career.

That’s what the new classroom observations and teacher evaluations are all about according to the developers of the Common Core standards themselves, Student Achievement Partners. Well, they did not mention obuchenie or Ilyenkov’s Ascending theory but they are intimately tied to the new definition of student achievement and how to end educational inequality. You see? This is why radical schemers are so hostile to us having our own personal store of accurate facts about the past. We go beyond the assigned story and interject our own conceptual understandings based on a pertinent solid foundation. Naughty me! Seriously in November 2013 TNTP (yes it is the entity Michelle Rhee started) released an Issue Analysis Report co-developed with Student Achievement Partners called “Fixing Classroom Observations: How Common Core Will Change the Way We Look at Teaching.”

That report itself says that “the implementation of improved teacher evaluation systems in a growing number of states and school districts, and the introduction of Common Core State Standards across the country” are “inextricably linked by their shared goal: better instruction for students.” Once again so much for the talking point about Common Core NOT being about how to teach the content. It is ALL about how to teach the content and in fact greatly limits what the content may be. Common Core and TNTP together ( they are distinct only to minimize the previous public outcries that supposedly derailed outcomes based education) are all about obuchenie instruction. On the circle graph we talked about above it is a certain type of instruction that changes perception so that behavior itself changes. Then the DiaMat process that should result in transformed systems can begin in earnest.

DiaMat is why the TNTP report stresses the need to teach the “right content.” Interpolating again, I believe that means content that will shift perception in politically powerful ways so that “students are learning what they should be learning.” Learning remember has been redefined as a change in values, attitudes, beliefs, feelings, or behaviors. That redefinition then fits well within the Purpose Chart for Change. If you really believe that outcomes-based education went away instead of morphing into new names and a different PR strategy, look at page 6 of that TNTP report under “student outcomes” (the italics are in original) about “Rubrics should draw a clear distinction between the  outcomes teachers are responsible for producing in a successful lesson and the strategies that can help them achieve those outcomes.”

Because I really am trying my best to alert teachers and students and parents in time about what is really going on and where it is all designed to lead, here is one more heads up addressed especially to teachers. It also goes to my certainty that what we are dealing with is in fact obuchenie and DiaMat and that they are integrally interrelated to the actual Common Core implementation and the Competency ultimate fallback. “State Lessons for Transforming Professional Learning” Launched in 2011 from the official CCSSI sponsors and coming from Kentucky, the remainder of the 6 pilot states are Georgia, Illinois, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Utah, and Washington. It will be going national though and it is tied to what TNTP is developing as well. It also ties into the history of what it means to be an effective teacher that I laid out in my book Credentialed to Destroy: How and Why Education Became a Weapon.

It is DiaMat that ultimately weaponizes students and teachers and administrators caught up in this tragic vision. They are being credentialed and coerced to be change agents to transform the world. Meanwhile their educations at the K-12, collegiate, and graduate levels are being systematically stripped of anything accurate that might be an obstacle to a willingness to seek transformation–first at the level of perception, then behavior, then reality itself.

While people like me who have studied history and economics and classical lit and science are jumping up and down and screaming like that silly robot in Lost in Space with his “Danger! Danger!”

This has been a week in Atlanta where the dangers perceptible to anyone paying attention were unrecognized, or disregarded, by too many education decision-makers. Expanding the authority of this sector nationally and globally so that it can ignite transformational systems change will create comparable results to what happened Tuesday.

Nowhere to Go. No Way to Get There. Except this time there will be no innate southern kindnesses to keep us and our loved ones and our resources safe.

Naming Educators as the Levers Shifting the Human Personality To Marx’s Moral Revolution

The full quote was Change Producing Levers and it bemoaned their current disassembled status. But that was decades ago before education doctorates became about implementing Marx’s Human Development Theory in the schools and classrooms. And before all that psychology research from the late Soviet Union got rolled into pedagogy as we have discussed several times. And before Cultural-Historical Activity Theory, grounded in Hegel and Uncle Karl’s hope that man could change himself and his values and external conditions through practical activity in the world, got renamed to pitch to parents as student centered or project based learning.

Honestly I was a history major and I have spent the first five decades of my life not giving the disgruntled German revolutionary dreamer much thought. Especially since I wrongfully assumed it was a tired old defunct ideology anyway. But it just kept coming up as I charted what the real Common Core implementation, the one compelled by degree programs and actual definitions and the accreditors and laws and regs no one else seems to be reading, looked like.   So I dusted off my Phi Beta Kappa key for inspiration and rubbed it like a charm for good luck, shook the cobwebs out of my non-student brain, and dove into what turns out to be a still vibrant world of Marxist scholars looking for our answers. Especially why I kept seeing references to some unpublished 1844 manuscript that was still supposedly a vibrant vision for the future. The 21st century future.

I started with Gar Alperovitz’s new book that had struck me as fitting a vision of a small “c” communist future. That insight then pulled up economists Richard Wolff and Stephen Resnick lecturing and writing away in an inspired way that showed no signs of being a defunct ideology. In fact they have said there are more Marxists today teaching in American colleges and universities than ever. I believe them but it also suggests that our collective guard is down about something that is still a real but unappreciated threat. If educators in higher ed and K-12, especially administrators, are committed to reorganizing our society and economy around Uncle Karl’s belief that:

“In a properly human society, we would find our freedom through our relations with other human beings. A proper human life is one which is lived, at least in part, for the sake of others.”

And no, Karl was not referring to spouse, kids, and friends. But that does read remarkably consistently with what is called Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral Development and the Universal Love Principle which we encountered in Hong Kong and all through teacher training in the US.

So lucky me tackled several books by NYU prof Bertell Ollman that were quite enlightening on how important it was to Uncle Karl to provide the Concepts of Understanding that would then filter daily perceptions. Check. We had rather noticed the omnipresence of conceptual frameworks and how the planned assessments are tied to those supplied Enduring Understandings and Understandings of Consequence. And Harvard Project Zero’s CORE–Cognitive Reorganization. So the lineage goes back to how to spark an inner change at the level of the mind and personality. That will then ramp up the motivation to take action to change the world.

Another enlightening prof I tackled this week from London was Jonathan Wolff. His insights may also help explain why Bill Ayers goes running around declaring himself to be a small “c” communist apart from a propensity to be obnoxious. Wolff quoted from The German Ideology where Karl wrote that “communism is not for us a state of affairs which is to be established or an ideal to which reality will have to adjust itself. We call communism the real movement which abolishes the present state of things.”

A quote to keep in mind as education and other degree programs trumpet their purpose of creating Social Change Agents. And with education reforms globally admitting their purpose is wholesale social, political, and economic change. Away from the concept of the individual and the primacy of the rational mind. And before we really dive into our Uncle Karl Scholarship 101 Cliff Notes version dialogue, remember how I have told you several times that the accreditors all over the world answer to UNESCO? That accreditation is actually being used as a driver of cultural and noetic change in higher ed, graduate programs, and K-12 and that the standards tie to what we have identified as the vision of Humanist Marxism we discussed two posts ago?

Well it now turns out UNESCO actually has a division called MOST–Management of Social Transformations–that ties to virtually everything controversial that I have ever written about. Including the Belmont Challenge and International Human Dimensions Programme–IHDP– that Paul Ehrlich has bragged will fundamentally alter human behavior. I mention both of those programs again because they are operational right now with far-reaching visions of global change. Especially to citizens of the world’s only superpower. See the tags on right to find those posts if you have never read them.

Now we come to Princeton political science prof and Sovietologist, Robert Tucker. He wrote a 1961 book called Philosophy and Myth in Karl Marx. Now Professor Tucker had little use for Karl’s economic vision but he believed that:

“the aspect of Marx’s thought that is most live and relevant to the concerns of men in the contemporary West is the purely utopian aspect, the part relating to the post-revolutionary future…his vision of the future world was, if not scientific, at least rather prophetic of real possibilities. Marx’s concept of communism is more nearly applicable to present-day America, for example, than his concept of capitalism.”

That quote calls for both a deep breath and a sit down and gulp reaction. 1961. Especially as Tucker goes on to make the point that is so critical to the education reforms that commenced all over the West in the 1960s. Prompting outrage from the get go but never accurately perceived. The sought revolution is not military confrontation and it needs no pitchforks. “The world revolution would be the universal act of human self-change.” If that’s not clear enough, Tucker goes on:

“The revolution involved is not a political one but rather a revolution of man’s attitude towards himself and the purposes of his existence, a revolution of values.”

And if that is not clear enough Tucker goes on to say the sought change is “psychological” and “a moral revolution within the self”. This Growth (as in each student in the federally mandated teacher evals) is the “outcome of a gradual process” (like over years of collected data now starting in preschool). If you wonder why the ASCD is pushing the Whole Child as an essential component of the Common Core and why every one with any power over the classroom is decreeing a social and emotional learning focus, we need go no further than Tucker’s insistence that the revolutionary change needed to target each person’s personality. As Tucker wrote graphically: “it is only there, and by the individual’s own moral effort, that the egoism can be undone and the revolutionary ‘change of self’ achieved.”

Now I am not trying to spook you but those passages accurately describe precisely what is being targeted. And now we know for sure why. And for most of us the terms Marxism and Communism are bounded by visions of the Kremlin and Mao and Stalin. We remain dangerously unaware of the real threat to the West from Uncle Karl’s philosophies. And how it can come in and create the desired, revolutionary changes in values, attitudes, and beliefs without notice. And at a psychological level within the student.

The year after Tucker’s book many of leaders in the Behavioral Sciences in the US visited the USSR on an officially sanctioned trip to look into the psychological research being done there. Ralph Tyler and BF Skinner were both on that trip and Skinner kept a diary. And Ralph Tyler came back and basically wrote the legislation that launched Title 1 and the massive federal involvement in US education. And Skinner pushed the operant conditioning potential of education, especially if tied to the computer. And in 1965 federally funded research began to change the nature of the colleges of education to make Behavioral Sciences the focus. Others have written about that BSTEP program and the revolution it controversially ignited.

But not in the context of Tucker’s book about where the real communist, little c, revolution needed to begin.

I will leave you to mull all this over. But I will add that all the economic and social transformations we have encountered in post after post that all seem to be different names for the same vision are all consistent with this little c vision of the economic future and social citizenship.

Oh, one more thing. Robert Tucker turned out to be the father-in-law of Robert English. You know who wrote the 2000 book that gave the award-winning, officially sanctioned story of how Gorbachev’s New Thinking was actually the Marxist-Humanist thinking?

Small world, huh?


As Powerful as a Religious Conversion: Bestowing Deep Understandings for their Revolutionary Effects

In one of those obvious statements that really deserves a sarcastic “Really Sherlock?” response, did you know that people differ in their ability to come up with explanations and structures to organize their thoughts? Which is of course unfair. So in the interests of fairness and equity and without any mention of the political usefulness, schools and effective teaching should now be about providing those so-called Cognitive Structures. That enable thinking and motivate acting in the future. Thinking Tools. How nice. Then there need not be any “cognitive consequences of cultural opportunity.” Single parents, second language, learning disabilities. School will provide the Enduring or Deep Understandings that “serves to organize perception in new ways.” That conceptual lens that may not be true and is not spontaneously generated by All children will now fortuitously be Provided to All children.

Then All Children Can Learn and coincidentally will believe the same things that can have very nice side effects for anyone looking for Fundamental Transformation. Here’s a quote from a 1988 book reprinted regularly through the 90s about the research done with Native Hawaiians as part of the Kamehameha Elementary Education Program (KEEP). It had Ford and Carnegie Foundation funding as well as the National Science Foundation. KEEP was part of a restructuring template to make schools places providing assistance so Each Student can Learn. In the unadvertised sense of behavioral or belief system changes. Much more lasting than mere factual knowledge you see. Only someone working at someone else’s expense would dare say:

“We do not yet know under what circumstances cognitive structuring is to be preferred over questioning, or vice versa. The potential power of cognitive structuring is not in doubt. As in instances of religious conversion, the acceptance of a cognitive structure can have the most revolutionary effects on human behavior and experience. How and why this occurs remain largely mysteries, although our understanding of these remarkable processes is increasing.”

Now it would be possible to provide Concepts and Generalizations and Understandings that are politically neutral but once we get beyond fractions that does not appear to be what anyone has in mind. Old Timers in the Ed Wars will be quaking in their boots when they read that Lynn Erickson was citing Hilda Taba as a model to be emulated in this area of Conceptual Understanding. I will let you look Hilda up. But the idea that human development in school takes the “individual child in whatever form and guides and nurtures the mind, body, and self-concept” should give us all pause. Let’s put that in the context of World Bank economist Kaushik Basu writing in concluding Beyond the Invisible Hand:

“We can come to have norms where behaving otherwise is met with so much social disdain or self-loathing that no one does so. And in the long run, the norms can become so much a part of us that we end up following them not for any reason but rather because that is our instinctive behavioral response.”

And there’s nothing quite like providing “accepted explanatory belief systems” that are practiced with daily over years to transform those norms to instinctive responses. So nice from someone who also wrote that the “demise of the USSR is thus an indictment of a perverse brand of capitalism, not of socialism.” Gulp. Lots of political value in providing the concepts that guide everyday life. And don’t think the radical educators and political schemers (who are sometimes the same person) do not know it. They have been gloating over this for decades beyond our sight but not unrecorded for posterity.

We have covered Soviet psychologist Lev Vygotsky and his Cognitive Tools repeatedly as well as the related Cultural-Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) beehive at UC-San Diego.  It would probably surprise you then to know that in June 2007 the American Education Research Association (yes it was about the time AERA elected Bill Ayers as one of their guiding light execs) published  “Vygotsky’s Neglected Legacy: Cultural-Historical Activity Theory.”

Now neither CHAT nor Vygotsky strikes me as neglected in the least. I am practically feeling crushed by the frequency at which they pop up without looking. I think that essay though was intended to mainstream these theories in preparation for offense and implementation in more classrooms. The fact that the paper received funding from the Canadian government and had a co-author from Singapore further suggests we are dealing with a coordinated psychological assault against the individual mind anywhere that ever upheld Anglo-Saxon common law. This is a little long but important. Concepts matter and Concepts aimed at Reorganizing Thought matter most of all.

“Because CHAT addresses the troubling divides [not to me. I prefer the division thank you very much] between individual and collective, material and mental, biography and history, and praxis and theory, we believe that it is deserving of wider currency in the educational community. . . In part, the vigorous dialectical materialist grounding of psychology in Marxism that A.N. Leont’ev pursued may have slowed the reception of CHAT in the West. Yet we emphasize that these powerful analytic tools, existing even in Vygotsky’s works, have little to do with totalitarian regimes that have falsely masqueraded under the banner of Marxism, socialism, or communism.”

I believe that translates as nasty dictators misappropriated those lovely intentions of Uncle Karl and needlessly besmirched this lovely tool for future human development. This time we will get it right and will only manipulate people’s driving belief systems and values in beneficial ways. For their own good. For the Common Good. For the Planet. And you and I may find Dialectics to be an off-putting word we could do without but that is because we fail to appreciate “the dialectical nature of consciousness, which includes cognition, memory, and personality, among others.”

Well, I guess the dialectical part comes from wanting to fundamentally transform it and CHAT is apparently a PRIMO tool. Did you know that “dialectics is ‘possibly the most appropriate frame of reference for the study of human development, and indeed was actually developed as an explanation for human development?” Well, actually I did point that out but now we know once again why it fits our Common Core and global reform realities so well.

I am not going to belabor the number of times those coauthors used that D word in that essay. I will, however, mention that the result of all those contradictions and synthesis of Concepts results in a Deep Understanding. Which is exactly the phraseology the Hewlett Foundation keeps using to describe where it sees the Common Core going. And it dovetails with the Education for Life and Work report from last summer. .

Boy it sure does look like Leont’ev is getting his transformative experiment in the West that he told Urie Bronfenbrenner he aspired to back in the 60s. is the post where I explained that ginormous discovery. That is even more important now as we think about all those false conceptual lenses in Urie’s Ecological Systems Thinking Theory. Which is all through the new C3 Social Studies Framework.

One way to think of the to-be-supplied Concepts and Cognitive Structures and Mental Maps is to see them as “schooled concepts.” The Russians so got the importance of the difference between what can be understood only as a result of formal instruction and everyday practices that the 1988 book mentioned above includes the Russian term nauchnoe ponyatie along with the cite to Vygotsky. These Abstract Concepts are learned at school and then applied “downward” from “generalization to palpable example.” All our mentions of Real World problems and Relevance seem to be based on the recognition from Vygotsky and his followers that “Everyday concepts stand between schooled concepts and the experienced world. Schooled concepts, in Jovian detachment, can connect with the world below only through the everyday concepts that have risen through practical activity. …The constant relating of schooled with everyday concepts enriches and saves schooling from aridity, but this relating also profoundly changes the nature of the everyday concepts that are touched, making them ever more systemic, autonomous, and tool-like.”

These research observations could be used to help teach students to better understand reality as it exists but that would not be transformative. Or perhaps as Engaging. Instead the weaving of schooled concepts with the everyday is to be used to create activities and projects and learning tasks with the purpose of “a fundamental restructuring in which all are transformed: actions, relationships, and thinking.” The cite is to another Soviet psychologist. This time El’konin.

I am not looking for Boogie Men (or women) here but we clearly have a constant refrain of Transformation. And I am getting an increasingly uncomfortable feeling that many influential people at the helm or employed by influential institutions or foundations believe that the Human Development aspects of Uncle Karl’s writings make a good Overlord theory for the 21st Century. And they do intend to give it a try in real time on a massive scale all over the West. But especially against the World’s only Superpower and its  economy.

And the US for the most part is completely unaware that this most subjugating of theories against the primacy of the individual is coming in under an “How All Children Can Learn” banner.