Before I turn the term-Politicalism-into the most apt metaphor since Axemakers Mind for describing the true intent behind K-12 education reforms, let me offer up some timely quotes on controlling consciousness. The first is from a December 20, 2016 report called “Behavioural Insights at the United Nations–Achieving Agenda 2030.” I will be bolding or italicizing the passages or phrases I most want everyone to remember.
“Agenda 2030 can only be achieved if we critically examine the behavioural factors that lead people to utilize programs effectively and efficiently. Research in behavioural science–regarding how people make decisions and act on them, how they think about, influence, and relate to one another, and how they develop beliefs and attitudes–can inform optimum programme design. Behavioral science research reveals that even small, subtle, and sometimes counter-intuitive changes to the way a message or choice is framed or how a process is structured, can have an outsized impact on the decisions we make and the actions we take.”
So the areas aimed at by what is now called competency-based education and that used to be called Transformational Outcomes-Based Education (both covered in depth in my book Credentialed to Destroy) are the areas the UN believes are crucial to achieving its agenda of Equity for All globally by 2030. Let’s use a shorter quote from another paper released by UNESCO yesterday from the WEF in Davos, Switzerland. The report on the vision for education needed to achieve that 2030 Agenda was called “Partnering for Prosperity: Education for Green and Inclusive Growth” and its section on the Social Determinants of Health and Inequity led with this quote from Professor Bell Hooks:
“There must exist a paradigm, a practical model for social change that includes an understanding of ways to transform consciousness that are linked to efforts to transform structures.”
If that seems vague please search out the papers on Equity and Empowerment Lenses from Multnomah County, Oregon that public health policymakers are now quietly nationalizing. Many of the links are in the most recent comments to the previous post. Finally, we have a quote from a 2013 edition of the book Violence and Social Orders: A Conceptual Framework for Interpreting Recorded Human History. Before I get to that, I want to reiterate how I research at this point in my work.
I am literally working off of footnotes where people with money and political power are confessing what they intend to do with the models and theories they are creating. One of these books cited a Professor Douglass North and that he had been a Marxist and then laid out a quote from that book that struck me as still thoroughly Marxian in its view of the mind and molding consciousness. That’s not an insult, but a shorthand phrase for a particular view of history and how it can be used to mold consciousness deliberately. When a used copy of the book arrived, the authors thanked the Hoover Institution profusely as well as the Bradley Foundation for its financing of the project of a “new framework for the social sciences.”
So the Hoover Institution behind the Koret Task Force and what I regard as an attempt to create a deceptive narrative around the Common Core in the 2011 paper Closing the Door on Innovation, which is also one of the named partners in the PEPG–Program on Education Policy and Governance at the Kennedy School of Government we have covered, wanted this new framework. And the Bradley Foundation behind that concept-based approach to History from the 80s that also finances PEPG’s publication Education Next and many of the think tanks and other entities pushing School Choice and that owns the book publisher, Encounter Books, financed the framework. Let’s take a look at what it aims at.
In the chapter entitled “A New Research Agenda for the Social Sciences,” we find an explanation for what I keep finding when I dig behind the facade of the ‘School Choice’ slogan.
“A full account of human behavior would begin by asking how the mind deals with the process of change. A necessary preliminary is to understand how the brain interprets signals received by the senses and how the mind structures the results into coherent beliefs. ..How do we think about social processes when individuals, at best, have a limited understanding of what is happening to them as they continue to confront new experiences and novel situations that require an awareness of the dynamic nature of the process of change in which they are participants? How do we deal with the novel problems that emerge as humans reshape the human environment in ways that have no historical precedent?”
So we know that both Hoover and the Bradley Foundation are quite interested in consciousness, how it works, and its use for examining and driving cultural change. Before I get to one more quote, let me go ahead and define Politicalism. Politicalism is how politicians at all levels of government, public policy think tanks across the spectrum, academics, and others believe they can use the law and education to force the transformation by 2030 to what Marx called his Human Development Society where human needs are supposedly met. Politicalism feels empowered to ignore the prohibitions of the First Amendment where governments are rarely allowed to restrict speech and go straight ahead to restricting thought by using education reforms to control consciousness. That’s why the phrase ‘decisionmaking’ just keeps coming up.
Politicians and public policy think tanks have a political, social, and economic vision for the future that requires the monitoring and control over the internalized basis of individual action in order to work effectively. If that aim does not justify a special Proper Noun descriptive term like Politicalism then what will? Not wanting to get called out in advance and have this behavioral science technique prohibited, we get all sorts of euphemisms like competency-based ed, Tranzi OBE, Higher Order Thinking Skills, or School Choice to name a few. The Hoover Framework, with Bradley financing, actively seeks to alter social science research by targeting institutions, which it italicized and defined as follows:
“…the rules of the game, the patterns of interaction that govern and constrain the relationships of individuals. Institutions include formal rules, written laws, formal social conventions, and informal norms of behavior.”
In other words, institutions are not necessarily physical things, but also the values, attitudes, beliefs, ethics, ideas and concepts, and desired behavioral norms we have come now to associate with social emotional learning or Positive School Climate, for example. Anyone sensing why a Bradley Foundation funded think tank would want to misrepresent targeting these areas that govern future action and decisionmaking and pretend it’s about Personally Identifiable Information or a Student Unit Record controversy? Before we leave that book, there was a statement that “we do not have a general theory of belief formation and human cognition,” which strikes me as absolutely not true. If it is technically true, go have lunch with your colleagues at CASBS in Palo Alto or the MBE professors at the ed school at Harvard or the constructionists in the AI work or Media Lab at MIT. They certainly do.
The rest of the statement though suggests our authors do know what their colleagues would pass on. “…we have tried to come to grips with two aspects of beliefs. First, beliefs about causal relationships ultimately affect people’s decisions. Second, the cultural environment–the political, economic, social context–fundamentally influences beliefs.”
That would explain why so much of the actual research at Stanford, MIT, Harvard, and other places goes to using education to influence both those aspects of beliefs. The new federal education legislation, ESSA, even calls for assessing for this at least annually. Note that changing these beliefs or any of the other internalized bases for decisionmaking is what is now called Learning. The reason Learning must be standardized, monitored, and regulated by governments is to get to a broader vision of how society and its people and their relationships are to be structured (both the regulation of Learning and the restructuring and planning are covered by the term-Politicalism).
There was one last recent report we need to cover, released yesterday, called “Communities in Action: Pathways to Health Equity.” It is intended to bind the federal agencies and governments at all levels to the UN’s 2030 Agenda and what is also called Marxist Humanism, whatever President-Elect Trump’s wishes. Apparently, his confirmed political appointees were never to even know. In this vision, ‘quality education’ is simply one of the Social Determinants of Health and public policy and regulation needs to be used to restructure “the conditions in the environments in which people live, learn, work, play, worship, and age that affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks. For the purposes of this report, the social determinants of health are: education; employment; health systems and services; housing; income and wealth; the physical environment; public safety; the social environment; and transportation.”
So first we had to wade through all the false narratives surrounding education reform and then accept that ‘quality education’ is a defined term tied to an all-encompassing plan of transformation. A plan that we are neither supposed to recognize in time nor object to. See why everyone involved wants to target consciousness? Now the reason I think it is not only us normal taxpayers and parents being snookered is that late in that report, we get the revelation that about one week after the Presidential election shocker, President Obama signed an Executive Order establishing a Community Solutions Council on the importance of equity and the determinants of health and well-being to foster “collaboration across [federal] agencies…to coordinate actions, identify working solutions to share broadly, and develop and implement policy recommendations that put the community-driven, locally led vision at the center of policymaking.”
As far as I can tell then all these changes started by President Obama that Hillary Clinton would have continued are still to roll along under President Trump unless he and all his appointees know of their existence and how they work. They simply cannot rely on anyone in Congress to tell them because they benefit from all this intended geographic redistribution and mayors, governors, or school boards will not tell either. The think tanks all seem to think pushing this while misrepresenting it to their readers and petty amount donors is why they exist.
It is up to each of us to appreciate that Politicalism targets all these different levels and sectors of society, down to the neural networks and emotions internalized in our students. Anything that an individual uses, consciously or unconsciously for decisionmaking, is regarded under Politicalism as fair game for manipulation and monitoring. Because the vision of Equity and Empowerment for ALL apparently justifies even the most Preemptive Authoritarianism.
Let me end with a tip to Ms DeVos after yesterday’s testimony. Please read up on Teaching for Competence and Teaching for Growth. When you said you were not familiar with either, you were saying you are unaware of the very tools being used to control and monitor what students internalize as the basis for decisionmaking. If everyone involved in education policymaking wants to target consciousness, best to know now the how and why.
Also, please be careful about throwing out Local Control as the panacea. That would be the Briar Patch in our Glocal, Community Solutions Council world, under Politicalism.