Mind Thieves: Everyday Examples that Add Up to a Cultural and Political Tsunami

I have talked before about how the anti-content/just generic skills and social and emotional learning dominance of the Common Core implementation amounts to mind arson. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/how-can-ed-reform-lead-to-innovation-if-it-is-really-mind-arson/ And how this psychological manipulation, and starvation of the mind from facts to prevent any creation of its own mental concepts or access to sequential logic and solid analytical thinking in grammar or math or even systematic phonetic reading instruction, is a huge boon to existing Big Business. It makes the chances of someone creating a superior competing product consumers prefer or other genuine innovation much more remote. Because, honestly, nobody hates free markets and having to compete on price to satisfy customers more than already established businesses. Especially ones that have been around long enough to have political connections locally, in the statehouse, or lobbyists on retainer in DC plus politicians that rely on their contributions.

Once an economy becomes driven largely by the government and politicians and regulators, these political connections become dominant. The classic collusion of widely distributed costs (that’s me and you, ordinary taxpayers, picking up the bill) and concentrated benefits (politically connected businesses). In the midst of our conversations recently about the Axemakers Mind vs Nonlinear New Mindedness fit for Sustainability and a New Planned “Caring Economy” yet another National Research Council report popped onto my horizon. Called “Continuing Innovation in Information Technology” it pushes the idea that the federal government should be the dominant funder of future IT research to keep the US dominant in this field. It plans to use grants to research universities to finance the research.  Now that won’t create any conflicts of interest during these times of sought political transformations, will it?

Now I have explained before what a poor job governments do vs everyday people out and about and thus in a position to recognize real needs and desires in anticipating future markets and technology. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/why-the-world-makes-far-more-sense-if-you-add-dirigisiste-to-the-things-you-understand/ Plus the government has to tax or borrow to get the money to give to political favorites who are doing and advocating as officials want and not what markets will pay for. Think Solyndra and watch your tax dollars disappear completely or shift to connected coffers. That’s the reality of a politically directed economy and why free markets are more desirable even if they do not produce equity. Honestly, the world’s major search engine company and the world’s great creator of computer operating systems and Big Blue “System of Systems” pushing Sustainability and Smarter Cities as revenue generators do not need taxpayer money funding their research. Their treasure trove of liquidity beats the US taxpayer hands down. Four of the 6 places at the table.

And I am not picking on them. I am sure they are great companies to buy products from and work for. But it does seriously taint their advice pushing Career Pathways or P-Tech high schools for all kids or 21st Century Skills. Plus any partnering on ATC21S, the worldwide push to change academic measures of assessment so that the non-Axemaker mind grounded in emotion and generic skills is not noticeable in time to stop the sought noetic transformation. In fact, I noticed the only research university on the relevant committee, UCLA, is where CRESST is located. The entity involved early on in developing the curriculum and assessments that are now to become what Common Core looks like in your child’s classroom. The personalized, engaging learning designed to keep you from worrying so much when there are no more textbooks.

Again, Big Business will always become political entrepreneurs and push desired policies that will lock in revenue, protect them from future competition, and get them a seat at the table to sic regulators on others. That inevitability that has become rampant in the US now is why there is no long-term prosperity in a politically-directed economy for the average person. And no fluidity either as the nomenklatura of the political class seek to pass their abilities to engineer political and economic subjugation on to their own kids. And that actually hurts each of us, unlike the seeming unfairness of the lucky sperm living off a trust fund they had nothing to do with.

So when we see this omnipresent digital literacy, laptop, smartphone, interactive e-textbook push coming to a classroom near you soon, please do not forget just how rampant the cronyism is throughout Common Core and the global ICT push and the Sustainability push. None of this transformation for the 21st century economy involves widespread prosperity for the typical person. It is to be a state planned economy with equalized incomes around a designated Line of Plenty. Yes I found that in some of the documents getting ready for Rio+20. Given the coffers of the foundation funding that global transition work and what else they are involved in, that Line of Plenty certainly qualifies as a bad idea. But it is a real one. It’s where those Common Core Career Pathways are really leading.

This “ALWAYS LEARNING” video crossed my desk recently by way of Australia where it is really being pushed. The Next Generation Learning emphasis is the push from one of the vendors with a seat at the table for that NRC report we discussed above to get us to fund future computer innovation.

A Serious Talk: KIds Demand Next Genera tion Learning

What kind of future do you really think those kids will have? And to keep our Cronyism/Political Transformation theme Pearson’s Chief Education Advisor, Michael Barber, was responsible for bringing Cambridge Education to the US to spread the UN’s contentless vision. I wrote about that here:  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/if-the-system-seeks-to-destroy-the-ability-to-think-can-james-madison-save-us/ As Tony Blair’s former ed advisor, he is widely credited with being the reason the UK is considered to be an exemplar of UNESCO’s vision for education. And that is just the tip of the iceberg of how often his name just keeps popping up. The business cards should perhaps say Global Change Agent Extraordinaire.

But there is one more point I want to make on this digital literacy push and Common Core. It comes from a recent Ed Week story “It’s Not About the Machine, It’s About Heart” about Mooresville NC using the Flippen Capturing Kid’s Heart emotional intelligence program in conjunction with their all-digital classroom. How would you feel as a taxpayer and parent to know content is largely gone. That researchers are aware that all that digital and visual stimulus makes the chances of ever developing a linear mind, an Axemakers Mind, slim without home intervention. And then the school announces that:

“They also use a behavior management program and develop a behavior management contract that students build with teachers that constitutes a culture of caring and an agreement on how they will treat each other. [Superintendent Mark] Edwards said, ‘It is so important to be intentional about building school culture.”

Indeed. Wake Up. Before mental and emotional tyranny comes to a classroom near you soon. At great expense. If your school or district is already there, please comment or drop me a line. I will help you get more info to try to prevent your child from being a victim of utopian newmindedness.

Why the World Makes Far More Sense if You Add Dirigiste to the Things You Understand

I must admit I made it to my 6th Decade in this world before encountering the term -“Dirigisme” or the more common use–a dirigiste economy.  It means essentially a state directed economy. It is when the government sees it as its job to try to look out for the business interests of established companies. Or to try and create new industries.  Historically that protection stifles innovation. In the name of the desirable goal of Economic Growth, stagnancy occurs. Plus there is the cost of supporting all those planners and regulators. Less prosperity, More expense=Bad Deal for the Unconnected Picking Up the Bill.

We are much more likely though to have encountered and recognize the opposite philosophy, even if our definition is probably a bit skewed from its historical use. “Laissez Faire, Laissez Passer” is the philosophic opposite of the Mercantilist, Dirigiste approach to how an economy works and prospers. It sees the economy not as something almost tangible like a pie-“Here’s your slice.” But as a series of spontaneous transactions among lots of different people pursuing what they Know and what they Need and Who can best provide it. The idea of “Let Us Do It. Let Us Make It” goes back to the contrasting philosophies between Britain and France in the 1600s and 1700s. It’s not a matter of not wanting any government. It recognizes that the central planner or regulator cannot know what we Know. And what we Know and Can See Matters Most to developing the kinds of new technology or unique business practices (like a corporation that can now survive any individual human life or letters of credit that allow investment abroad without guards for your gold) that generate local or regional or even mass prosperity. It’s what moves the masses beyond the poverty of subsistence hand to mouth, barely getting by living that was the historic norm for centuries. That remains the norm in too many 3rd world countries even today where Those in Charge want to manage and control everything. No prosperity there as you will learn when I tell you about the real history of the IB Middle Years Programme in a different post later.

Laissez Faire, properly understood, is all about how important diverse pieces of information and knowledge scattered among lots of different individuals are to what creates prosperity and wealth. It recognizes just how many earth reshaping inventions have been created by people who knew their trade well and saw a need. The Industrial Revolution did not ignite in the countries like France that funded scientific research and wanted that research to lead to economic growth. The Industrial Revolution took off in England where artisans with knowledge were looking for solutions to very particular problems that no one in London likely knew existed. Steam engines and cotton gins which shifted the way the world worked occurred because local engineers in the hands-on tinkering sense were trying to solve immediate problems. England had little wood for heating but lots of coal. The coal mines though flooded in the deeper veins and the shallow veins were tapped out. How’s that for a real life, authentic problem in need of a relevant solution?

Yesterday, in a review of Pasi Sahlberg’s Finnish Lessons:What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland?, the former executive director of the NEA wrote of the need for the US to emulate “the power of linking education and the economy in an intentional manner”. Since that  review popped into my inbox several hours after I blogged about the connection between the current education vision being pushed in the US and mercantilism, it was tempting to try to teach one of my cats to High Five. Sweet vindication. The Finns have a dirigiste economy. Copying their education policies means adopting their economic and social policies. And those have a poor track record we are just starting to explore.

For today though I want to call your attention to the area of education where I think this dirigiste approach is the strongest. We are very expensively expanding a sector (new buildings! programs! campuses!) under the assumption that government, federal, state, and local, can use its legislative and regulatory powers to insist that the public must subsidize an industry. We are also quietly putting in place the elements of what is known in other countries as Qualifications Frameworks. The idea that employment in the future will require the right credentials and that only the institutions of higher ed can provide the requisite degrees and credentials. And that job changes require yet another stop pushing more of your money at higher ed to get that next required training or skill set.

College for all defies common sense. There’s a reason the research pushing this vacuous idea always seems to rely in the footnotes on previous papers by the same professors and groups baldly asserting this self-interested point without any evidence. We are caught in a classic Mercantilist “you must buy our product” dirigiste scheme. The student loan debt that now exceeds credit card debt in the US is only the tip of the iceberg on what these dirigiste higher ed policies are really costing us.

Tomorrow I will talk about what dirigisme and a mercantilist approach by a country or state has historically done to innovation. The great driver of future prosperity.