Remaking, Remodeling, Redesigning, Reprogramming the Mind and Heart for Transformational Change By Fiat

One of the striking things in the last violent week here in the US and in the city I call home is how the sought remedies for the supposed Pandemic are also being touted as the remedies for the tragic death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. To get back to my specialty, the real agenda in education, those remedies require “Teaching to Transcend the Here-and-Now” where “whole-learner approaches…with explicit commitments to cultural responsiveness, trauma-informed practices, and restorative justice” can supposedly “support youth in reworking the kinds, of abstract narratives they create to affirm their lives, experiences, identities, values, decisions, and possible futures.” Those kind of ambitions give a great deal of impetus for the media and politicians to mischaracterize legitimate protests over a heinous act with organized rioting and looting, as well as concerns in certain states over continued lockdowns.

First, we have this statement from the Kellogg Foundation whose seminal work of what constitutes Evidence-Based Policymaking controls much of what gets required as the so-called Logic Model for desired changes in the student, how they think and feel, and what is likely to motivate them to take particular actions in the future. https://wkkf.org/news-and-media/article/2020/05/standing-together-for-racial-equity-and-community assigned the “resulting fury” to seeing the Floyd video to “the structural racism behind inequities” in every system. Then we get a link to the 100,000 deaths of COVID-19 where “the effects of structural racism are exposed on every screen” causing a need for “leaders in every circle, large or small, to raise their voices on behalf of our common humanity.” The remedy? “Commit to building the equitable systems that will safeguard children, their families and communities everywhere.”

So the phrase “structural racism” is definitely one of the Big Ideas that Teaching to Transcend the Here-and-Now would have students use:

As adolescents deliberate on big ideas, they come to recognize the salience of concrete problems and tasks that help flesh out these ideas [Think of all those images of burning covered by the media while the looting is more ignored]. As this happens, students’ concrete tasks take on a new urgency. Because students are invested in understanding the big idea or problem, they return to the concrete tasks with a new determination…[This lets students] begin shifting their dispositions of mind to see the allure and personal relevance of academic knowledge.

Let’s see what the well-connected Frameworks Institute, whose leadership also wrote this story recently https://ssir.org/articles/entry/advocating_for_age_in_an_age_of_uncertainty wanted to push as “Topic #11: Framing the post-pandemic economy.” Think of the economy as one of those systems Kellogg and other large foundations want changed fundamentally to create “equitable systems.” Frameworks stated:

The pandemic has created an opening to change the public’s perspective on what it means to have a good economy–and what role government must play in getting there…we need to lead a conversation about how to create an economy that serves everyone’s needs. We need ways to engage people in thinking about arranging our society and its resources in a just, inclusive way. The pandemic is a moment when change is inevitable–for better or for worse. We can and should use our communications power to shape this change.

I boldfaced the phrase ‘communications power’ because social scientists and politicians globally, with transformational change as their goal, view Communication as having two Equal Legs to dictate desired messages–Education is one and the Media is the other. Either has the power to create the prevailing concepts, images, and categories of thought that prevail among a majority of people. So when one wants to have students concentrate on Big Ideas, or the other to Highlight the impact of Policy choices, the words chosen matter. After all, as Frameworks noted, if we are to get to “a redesigned future”:

Talk about past, present, and future in equal measure–and connect them tightly. Show how past economic policy decisions are creating problems now, leaving more people more susceptible to harm than if our set-up had been different. Link economic decisions firmly to people’s lives and experiences. Explain, in clear, step-by-step fashion, how policies being considered now would help create an economic system that better meets people’s needs going forward…

Avoid language that suggests that the economy is a force that operates on its own. Natural metaphors like cliffs, waves, and aftershocks are likely to reinforce the idea that what’s happening in the economy is wholly beyond our control.

Take care, too, when translating economic date visualizations into language. Most people can’t picture–or don’t understand–graphs that advocates take for granted. For the public, talk of spikes and plunges bring a roller-coaster to mind. This undermines the idea that we can actively manage the economy.

Instead of highlighting the unpredictability of the system, emphasize the power of our response. Talk about what we can do, through policy, to manage disruptions to economic activity and to meet people’s needs. Explain how government decisions about the economy affect people.

I quoted that at some link not only to highlight the BIG IDEA that the Economy is a System that can be redesigned to equitably meet everyone’s needs, but also to show generally the power of big ideas and what words should and should not be used to instill the desired narrative in people’s minds. Here the Big Idea of a Pandemic, much like Structural Racism (another abstract big idea), “has pushed many people over the edge into hardship and harm. It doesn’t have to be this way. We face tough choices as we move through the COVID-19 crisis. But as we rebuild, we do get to choose. We can reprogram our economy to create secure employment, reduce poverty, and expand prosperity.”

See what I mean about same destination with different rationales and slightly different rhetoric? It fits too with what Reinventing Schools for Meaning-Making said was the “new research on connections between adolescents’ narrative building and brain development” that noted that “Adolescent learners thrive when provided an environment conducive to building strong, personal narratives that leverage the emotional power of big ideas and abstract meaning-making in the service of motivated work on concrete tasks and skills.”

When I was researching all those calls for Parrhesia practices to create the desired type of citizen for the future that requires a certain kind of thinking heavily linked to emotion I discovered that its author had also come up with another big idea phrase–Governmentality. That phrase combines the transformationalists’ need for strong governments at every level to force the desired changes with its need to also get at the prevailing mentality of each and every citizen. Sound familiar? It turns out visions like Portraits of a Graduate or Learner Profiles, as well as learning standards for desired big ideas and desired practices of behaviors and requisite new values, have been part of the plans for as long as there has been a widespread pursuit of equitable systems that will meet everyone’s needs.

Each individual’s (or at least most) mentality needs to be controlled to create “a specific understanding of the problems to be solved.” See how useful, although personally tragic for some, big ideas like White Privilege, Structural Racism, or a Pandemic can be for supposedly necessitating long desired changes? The specific understanding inculcated at the level of the mind and tied via emotion to the heart then works “in tandem with this, emphasis was placed on the understandings and constructions of the world that give rise to efforts to change it.” Now we have a view of government that shifts away from command and control, except apparently in Michigan and New York State at present, to get at the “optimal harnessing of these [human] self-governing capacities.”

For people, that means targeting their Knowledge, Skills, and Dispositions of Mind and Heart–an individual’s “capacities and potentials likewise had to be taken into account and optimised.” See what the civil rights call for Equity can do? The call for it in education simply mirrors the sought changes in “other systems” as Governmentality “also had to consider the relations between regulation of organic collective entities and the ‘microphysics’ of selves: the government of ‘each and all’ was to be one of its trademarks.” Isn’t framing or required conceptual lenses required via learning standards for all students just another way to get at a new vision of government that seeks to control mentality unobserved?

Central to the Foucaultian idea of mentality is indeed analysis of the ways of thinking about government — how problems and people are thought about, what solutions to problems are dreamed up, what ends are imagined as desired outcomes…The analytic of governmentality in this sense is concerned with surfaces–the words used to describe problems, the discourses in terms of which subjects are characterised, the categories that are used to explain policies…

Governmental mentalities are governmental precisely in the sense that they seek to shape the conduct of those things, events and subjects they wish to govern. They are in this sense intensely practical — they imagine the world as governable: problems are construed in ways that make them subject to practicable solutions.

Like Shelter in Place? A Redesigned Economy? Students Habituated to act in pursuit of desired instilled goals grounded in cultivated emotions to act as their motivation?

At least we no longer need to be mystified as to precisely why Knowledge came to be redefined as Concepts or a Narrative instead of a body of facts. Which gets us to a redesigned future with governments steering us all at every level?

Did I mention the quotes on Governmentality from the last part of this post were taken from a Research Paper published by an Australian Law School?

Gives new meaning to the phrase “Rule of Law,’ doesn’t it?

 

Parrhesia, Bill Ayers, Reinventing Schools for Meaning-Making, and Rewiring Teens’ Brains

Does that title seem a bit like a Jeopardy Question that starts with an unusual word and then leads to a notorious name for click bait? I wish, but Parrhesia is a Greek word that was in the last post’s paper on how John Dewey’s Ethics of Moral Principles and Deliberation were to be incorporated per IEEE Standards (no one was to tell us about) into the ‘adaptive instructional systems’ being touted as the answer for the Pandemic’s need to social distance. Until a Vaccine!! The systems of ethical deliberation becomes a component via required practices adaptive instructional systems incorporate into supplied student experiences. These are to “allow participants to safely engage in parrhesia.” No mention of “Guilty as *, Free as a Bird” Ayers yet, as the definition is a democratic mode of being, that is “an ancient Greek concept…[of] telling truth as one sees it with honesty and integrity…parrhesia qualities include engaging in dialogue, questioning, having a passion for public affairs and human equality. Parrhesia requires intellectual courage and risk-taking in truth telling and pursuits of inquiry.”

Ok, then the footnote goes to a paper by Kerry Burch on “Parrhesia as a Principle of Democratic Pedagogy” helpfully placed on US education websites with the heading “Social Justice: A Language Re/Considered”, which seems to be something we should know about before assuming digital learning is the answer to all our problems. It starts with quotes from Cornel West (whose self-professed ties to the Marxist Humanist vision we have covered here at ISC) and Paulo Freire, whose name is associated with rejecting the so-called Banking Theory of Education. Bill shows up later in the paper, but not by his nickname or standing on a flag in a New York Times article published just before 9/11/2001. No, here’s the passage:

Few educational thinkers describe the kind of democratic personality traits [Dispositions or Attributes of cybernetic citizenship or Character Education?] that need to be cultivated today as elegantly as William Ayers. These traits cannot easily be brought about by relying on the mechanistic knowledge ordained in conventional approaches to ‘learning’ about ”democracy’. Ayers’ charts a different course: ‘We want to teach them to take initiative, to be creative, to be imaginative, to take risks, to question authority, to wonder about the world. This means fundamentally, in a school system based on democratic values, we really believe that the full development of all is a condition for the full development of each.’

Ayers said that and the footnote goes to a Winter 2009 published interview, but Ayers is in turn quoting from Uncle Karl and his Human Development Society vision of the premise for his little ‘c’ communism ideal. No wonder the Chinese and the UN love this vision of cybernetic citizenship, but what a mandate for ‘adaptive instructional systems’ to be cultivating in students to prepare them for parrheistic modes of being. Sounds a bit like the call for an Arational mind that we have discovered lies at the foundation of what is really student proficiency in a competency-based system. When we think of ‘adaptive instructional systems” for K-12, who thinks it is something that would please Bill Ayers and fulfill Uncle Karl’s plans? Who will be looking for “how the buoyant sociality of parrhesia would promote the creation of critically awake democratic personalities”?

Another paper I located called “The Ethics of Critical Inquiry: Educational Research Informed by Parrhesia” attributed this push to notorious French philosopher Michel Foucault, who in turn talked about Aristotle. Which one gets cited later for a similar vision with differing sales pitches and rhetoric does not seem to be about any disagreement on what is being sought through education. Instead, I believe, the different approaches stem from which name the audience, including people being solicited for donations, are likely to revere. Parrhesia here is an attempt to “contribute to social good and bring about positive change” by fostering educational practices that will create “an ethos of disrupting human subjectivities from within”. That sounds a bit disruptive to the student’s personality, doesn’t it? The

early meaning was to open one’s heart and mind completely to other people through his or her discourse…Parrhesia … became associated with transforming the soul of an individual. Most importantly the concept developed political dimensions indispensable to democracy. Parrhesia meant to engage socially and politically as a consequence of integrity of the heart. It required one to courageously say truthful things that are useful for all to hear…It’s not a ‘body of knowledge’ but a ‘body pf practices’ without reference to an external order…It allows for mediation between the ethos of an individual and the well-being of society. In short, it is through parrhesia that an individual constitutes him/herself as a moral subject in relation to others.

Just the thing if a moral revolution is sought at the level of the human mind, heart, and soul as Uncle Karl envisioned. If you don’t want resistance create a need for digital learning because of something like a Pandemic and then mandate ‘parrheistic practices’ into the programming the learning experiences provided by ‘adaptive instructional systems’ offer up. Now before we turn to the latter part of this post’s title I want to link to this article https://behavioralscientist.org/behavioral-public-policy-faces-a-crisis/ on the failure to properly respond to COVID-19 which calls for cultivating minds that can “understand complex systems in crisis”. Since we keep coming across the behavioral sciences and their desire to create a new kind of educational template going back to the 1950s at least, I thought that article’s confession that:

Behavioral public policy is rooted in the idea that biases, heuristics, and mental models determine behavior. If you reframe or alter individuals’ decision making context, you change their behavior.

We now know that is precisely what learning standards like the Common Core in the US or any tied to UNESCO’s ISCED globally and competency-based education frameworks are designed to do. The Pandemic simply makes this desire for “shared frames of reference” for meaning-making supposedly necessary. It’s to be perceived as a crisis, like climate change, that necessitates common ways of looking at the world and what must be changed to meet the demands of the crisis. Individual deviations are not allowed. Yes, tell that to Shelly Luther in Texas or that barber in Michigan.

Timely too is that the May 2020 issue of Educational Leadership published by ASCD, which is now independent of the NEA, unlike in 1985 when it first introduced an internalized common core as I covered in Credentialed to Destroy. The issue is devoted to “Learning and the BRAIN” and one of its articles called “Building Meaning Builds Teens’ Brains” lays out how “Connecting adolescents’ concrete work to big ideas may help shape their neural networks over time.” Research for the article was provided by the National Science Foundation, which certainly explains why they also funded the math and science constructivism covered in Chapter 3 of CtD, and the Templeton Foundation. It would explain the latter’s funding of the Jubilee Centre in the UK and its Virtues curriculum, which we have since tied to the Pope’s new Humanity 2.0 initiative and its new vision for education. Templeton also funded Martin Seligman’s Positive Psychology and Positive Neuroscience work, among other things we have covered.

Remember so long ago here at ISC when I mentioned a new vision of Dialectical Materialism, a mouthful term, created in the USSR by Evald Ilyenkov called Ascending from the Abstract to the Concrete? We have now over time here at ISC tied to cybernetic designs, conceptual frameworks, and the now federally required assessment annually of Higher Order Thinking in virtually all US students. Now we have this new article informing us of the need for “Reinventing Schools for Meaning-Making”. What it bills as ‘narrative building’ by students certainly sounds like what the others described above suggested as parrheistic modes of being.

These curricular practices turn out to be expressly designed to rewire what the neural networks in teenage brains look like and what the students can do. In fact, by going to motivation, these practices act as an accelerant of future likely behavior. All of these intended interventions are probably helped by the co-authors connections that I have encountered in my research over time. Mary Helen Immordino-Yang shows up at both UNESCO conferences and Aspen’s NCSEAD on the need for social and emotional learning, as well as the NSF’s Brain Initiative. Perfect places to push a vision of education globally grounded in DiaMat that asks “How can we know when young people are building [brain networks]…predictive of success in school, self-actualization, relationship satisfaction, and other positive indicators in early adulthood?”

Think of the parrhesia invisible focus of ‘adaptive instructional systems’ and then ask the article’s question of “What kind of learning experiences strengthen connectivity across these networks?” Remember Bill Ayers’ mention of democratic traits above, which is why I bolded it? The ASCD article focuses on a similar target it italicized as dispositions of mind, which it goes on to say is not a new goal of education, citing to John Dewey among others. These are the stories or narratives the students tell themselves:

their inclinations to engage reflectively with issues and ideas, their tendencies to be curious and compassionate, and their proclivities to use what they learn to inform their emerging values…the patterns of thinking and feeling associated with these dispositions appeared to be influencing the growth of the networks of their brains.

Sounds like Parrhesia’s vision too, doesn’t it? That’s what education for meaning-making and tied to Big Ideas is targeting and it is what grounding adaptive instructional systems in John Dewey’s work also seeks to reengineer. No question about it anymore. This is not a peripheral aim and it’s not really about education per se. It’s education as a tool to reengineer at a neural level the citizens available for the global future. At the service of governments and their cronies.

As I will cover in the next post, it turns out that the stories we tell ourselves, and the concepts and categories of abstractions we use to interpret our daily experiences, are key to how we see the world and plan to act in it. Let me close with another quote from the EL article and just imagine the effect of the Pandemic on “The Stories Teens Tell” or at least what they will tell in the future.

…tying these dispositions to neural development, life success, and mental health gives this effort new urgency, and points us due north in an attempt to reimagine adolescents’ schooling. Evidence suggests that educators can learn to recognize, model, and support the development of these dispositions if they know what kinds of narratives to listen for and what kind of learning experiences lead to these patterns of thinking?

Now imagine the utility of standardizing ‘adaptive instructional systems’ in John Dewey’s work and Parrhesia will do for controlling the needed learning experiences to produce the desired ‘patterns of thinking’ and feeling for the new type of future citizen.

Gives new meaning to calls of May Day, May Day, doesn’t it?

 

 

Pandemic’s Utility as a Massive Shared Meaning Making Tool to Force Widespread Systems Thinking

How many of us recognize the current widespread school and higher ed cancellations and switch to online and virtual learning as fitting with the education template various global institutions are pushing called the Libre process of digital pedagogies we covered in the last post? Never let a crisis go to waste, indeed. If you read as many global plans and conference materials for using education to force change as I do, it is hard not to notice that the word ‘pandemic,’ like man-made climate change, has long been considered a tool to force the desired sense of interdependence and communitarianism. Here’s a quote from a 2019 paper https://www.wise-qatar.org/2019-wise-research-learning-ecosystems-innovation-unit/  that makes the desired shift explicit:

The starting point must be around the holistic development of living in a better world–to be changemakers. I am convinced that ecosystemic approaches are necessary to move from mechanistic education systems to learner centric ones…It is clear that education needs to become an avenue through which global society will overcome the challenges, gaps and barriers we have created: the digital divide, the growing economic and social inequality, religious, ethnic, and cultural divides, and the extreme ecological pressures we are placing upon the Earth…An active search is underway for new ways of learning and new organizational forms for education that will be consistent with the emergent social and economic reality. In such a context, perhaps it is unsurprising that inspiration for change is sought from biological, as opposed to mechanical, analogues.

A biological lens is certainly easier to practice with during and after a global hype of deadly pandemics, isn’t it? Here’s another quote from that same paper that again fits where we are all suddenly being forced to go:

Across the globe there is a growing consensus that education demands a radical transformation if we want all citizens to become future-ready in the face of a more digitally enabled, uncertain and fast changing world…As learning frameworks outlining ambitious global agendas for inclusive education and lifelong learning begin to emerge, and as societies become more connected and intertwined, it is becoming clear that society has a collective role to play in equipping people to create meaningful futures, through lifelong learning.

Deriving from the field of evolutionary biology, an ‘ecosystem’ is a community of interdependent organisms acting in conjunction with the natural environment…This type of ecosystem comprises complex, evolving networks of organizations including think tanks, foundations, governmental and global agencies and others who are consciously connecting to facilitate the sharing of new knowledge about education and learning, innovation, funding opportunities and more. It is largely concerned with building the global shared knowledge base, scaling innovation and enabling the better use of resources and opportunities to tackle shared global learning challenges, not only within but between networks.

What is meant by a ‘global shared knowledge base’ we might ask and how does that tie to ‘shared meaning-making’ via common global learning standards? It reminded me of the requisite ‘systems thinking’ push over the decades that I first covered in my book Credentialed to Destroy and have since found in recent federal statutes and a new vision of Regulatory Governance pushed by a New Zealand professor, Jeroen van der Heijden, that has made its way here   https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3531381 for broader dissemination. It helpfully (with italics) pointed out  the need for a shift from:

thinking of systems as something ‘out there’ –an ontological approach –and systems thinking as a tool that helps us to think about reality–an epistemological approach.

The kind of conceptual learning frameworks I have covered repeatedly on this blog that require a common understanding to become widespread (that the Soviets also pushed as Ascending from the Abstract to the Concrete) fits right in with what that paper above covers as “Regulation and Soft Systems Methodology (SSM)”.

SSM requires a careful understanding and defining of the system at hand–known as ‘root definition’. Defining the system and the problem it seeks to address is best done by a variety of individuals and organizations from within the system. In short, the definition includes the basic transformation a system seeks to achieve (T), the worldview that provides meaning to this transformation (W), system ownership (O), system operators (A), the customer or target of the system (C), and the environmental constraints of the system (E)…After establishing the root definition–again, done in a deliberative process with a variety of individuals and organisations from within the system–conceptual models are developed to actualize the stated aims (C). These conceptual models then must be compared with the real-time, real-world situation to define possible and feasible changes.

In late February in the US a paper came out called “Changing Expectations for the K-12 Teacher Workforce” that laid out such Conceptual Models as the new kind of knowledge all teachers are to develop–Deeper Learning. Reading the paper it is impossible not to recognize that without a deep and broad knowledge base that comes from being well read with an Axemaker Mind, the typical student, and the adult they will become, is not in a position to know whether the required Conceptual Models fit with reality or not. What a useful means of covert regulatory governance by governments at all levels and the institutions that serve as their cronies and proxies. It all fits perfectly with this SSM, 21st century global vision, of “regulation as a (cybernetic) system of control” where people and the organisations they are a part of can be:

configured in relation to each of the three components of a cybernetic system: that is, at the level of standard-setting (whether behavioural standards are ‘simple’ /fixed or ‘complex’ /adaptive) [Common Core/Competencies!], information gathering and monitoring (reactive or pre-emptive) [formative assessment and continuous improvement], and behaviour modification (automated or recommender systems) [aka Learning!]…

A call for applying systems thinking to a regulatory problem is a call to focus on the emergent behaviour of a collection of parts and their interactions as they ostensible relate to that regulatory problem…systems thinking sets boundaries to delineate what is relevant and what is not–such boundaries are often operational rather than spatial. Systems thinking introduces a set of concepts that help to map, explore, interrogate and give meaning to a complex problem at hand.

Finally, let’s quote from yet another paper being linked to globally on what learning standards and a transformed vision of education is really intended to do. It is by Ervin Laszlo’s son Alexander from 2014 and came out of ISSS’s 57th meeting on the meta-theme of Curating the Conditions for a Thrivable Planet. Called “Connecting the DOTS: The Design of Thrivable Systems Through the Power of Collective Intelligence,” it sought (with italics in original) systemic leverage points for emerging a global eco-civilization. Number one leverage point? The

centrality of meaning-making to human activity systems–at both individual and collective levels…This meaning-making drive brings us together…[it creates] a community of interest–around systems perspectives and approaches; a community of practice–around the application of systemic ways of thinking/ doing/ being; and a community of place–that sees and appreciates the interdependence of a globally interconnected world.

As we self-isolate in the coming days and weeks, let’s remember that creating a common vision and vocabulary for meaning-making is a prerequisite for the desired transformational change–first, at the level of each individual, but then also in broader political, social, and economic spheres. Notice how often the rhetoric is looking to foster, at both a visual and emotional level,  those very communities of interest, practice, and place needed for transformational change for a different type of collective future. Notice how the release of a new virus from Wuhan China somehow gets used to reenforce the desired changes at an internalized, personal, level that global education conferences have been laying out graphically and with explicit transformational rationales for about a decade.

What a fortuitous kickstart as long as we remain in the vast majority of this planet that will probably not get seriously ill or even know someone who has.

Timely, isn’t it, with only a decade left to the declared finish line of 2030.

Stifling the Individuality of Thinking to Standardize WTPs–Ways of Thinking and Practices

Yes I do know it is summer, but the UN was busy last week putting out the global ed vision at a High Level Policy Forum we were not invited to (as usual). Plus my life seems to have calmed down from the multiple pots overflowing stage to just a slow simmer so let’s use this post as an opportunity to get out of the sun and heat and talk about these laid out plans for us so we will develop the desired skills and dispositions https://education-reimagined.org/hey-teacher-what-shall-we-call-you/  , WTPs, “21st-century student outcomes” (iNACOL, July 10,2019),  or “the achievement of relevant and effective learning outcomes” from  https://en.unesco.org/gem-report/hlpf2019 in the Beyond Commitments link. To really appreciate what all these references actually have in mind, let’s go back in time to 1967 when E.D. Hirsch was not yet writing about what every American needed to know. Instead, he was writing the following in his book on the topic of ‘Understanding’ called Validity in Interpretation. The passage really clarified for me just how learning standards or competency frameworks can quietly force ‘shared meaning making’ and prescribed ways of thinking.

The inadequacy of identifying textual meaning with ‘tradition’ or some other changing norm is seen first of all in the total impracticality of such a norm on the level of scholarly interpretation. Certainly, in scriptural questions, changes in interpretations can be institutionalized at any moment by an authoritative pronouncement about the ‘consensus ecclesiae’. Similarly, in legal questions, changed interpretations can be institutionalized by a pronouncement from the highest court. But in the domain of learning such pronouncements cannot carry authority. No one, for example, would hold that a law means “what the judges say the law means” if there were not a supreme tribunal to decide what, after all, the judges say. There could never be such arbitrary tribunals in the domain of knowledge and scholarship.

Now, when I read that passage, I immediately wrote “not true” in the margin since I have documented that Common Education Data Standards and UNESCO’s education standards classifications do, in fact, operate quietly as just such arbitrary tribunals. More fascinatingly, a few weeks after I read that passage and objected (with at least one cat as my witness), an Elements in Public Policy White Paper by Daniel Beland confirmed I was right in my analysis by laying out “How Ideas and Institutions Shape the Politics of Public Policy.” Once again I wrote in the margin of the paper that it’s no wonder think tanks of various purported visions keep misrepresenting how learning standards work or what Competency education really is. They are part of the process of quietly institutionalizing these ideas, just like legally mandated learning standards themselves.

Let’s go back to something else Hirsch wrote earlier in that same book where he pointed out that the “necessary requirement” for the “shareability of verbal meaning” is the “existence of shared conventions.” That’s precisely what learning standards specify, as well as prescribed DCIs-Disciplinary Core Ideas, Enduring Understandings, and other ways of stipulating the desired categories of thought students are to use. Here’s Hirsch:

An implication belongs to a meaning as a trait belongs to a type. For an implication to belong to verbal meaning, it is necessary that the type be shared, since otherwise the interpreter [aka each student in a standardized classroom] could not know how to generate implications; he would not know which traits belonged to the type and which did not. And there is only one way the interpreter can know the characteristics of the type; he must learn them. (For those characteristics are not usually ‘syncategorematic’ or absolutely necessary like color or extension. Even the Pythagorean Theorem is a learned characteristic of a right angle, no matter how ‘necessary’ it may seem once it is learned.) Implications are derived from a shared type that has been learned, and therefore the generation of implications depends on the learner’s previous experience of the shared type. The principle for generating implications is, ultimately and in the broadest sense, a learned convention.

I quoted that passage in its entirety because as soon as I read it I realized that everybody involved in education reform wants to control not just the meaning of words we decipher, but also the implications we draw from interacting with any text. It answered my question as to why suddenly so many states are pushing phonetic reading via regulation or statute after years of citing Marie Clay, Guided Reading, or a Balanced Approach. Because now we have conceptual frameworks in place to act as the circumscribing barrier of shared meaning that all students are to interpret with. That passage helped reaffirm my intuition that had been brewing this legislative season.

Even more confirming was this passage from a more recent book by Noel Entwistle called Teaching for Understanding at University which laid out the true purpose of the use of academic disciplines and what the ‘intended outcomes’ for the students would be. The acronym WTPs comes from that book complete with italics as the ways of thinking and practicing in the subject.

The great disciplines like physics or mathematics, or history, or dramatic forms in literature, were…less repositories of knowledge than of methods for the use of the mind. They provided the structure that gave meaning to the particulars…The object of education was to get as swiftly as possible to that structure–to penetrate the structure, not to cover it…[And] mastery of the fundamentals of a field involves not only the grasping of general principles, but also the development of an attitude toward learning and inquiry, toward guessing and hunches, toward the possibility of solving problems on one’s own…

Now let’s go to yet another source to confirm yet again what kind of desired mental structures and new ways of thinking, and the extent to which both will be politically imposed, from the related world of Classical Education and a book by Vigen Guroian called Tending the Heart of Virtue. It recognized the same point we have found behind the terms Guiding Fiction and Anticipatory Assumptions (related to UNESCO declaring last year ‘decision-making’ to be the new global purpose of education). As Guroain noted:

while not all seeing is believing, believing is still a form of ‘seeing’. Or putting the matter somewhat differently, one truly ‘sees’ when one believes. When one believes, then the scales fall from one’s eyes and one ‘sees’ into the deeper reality of things.

Or at least fervently believes that you do since this “way of knowing and experiencing the world is not the objective knowing normally associated with physical science; nor is it the subjectivity of solipsism. It is an intersubjective and relational way of experiencing and knowing. It is a way of interpreting the world that requires memory and a moral imagination; otherwise a moral self cannot come into being.”  Whether it is the so-called Right wanting to promote a moral transformation at an internalized level in the name of virtue necessary for a “Constitutional Republic,’ or an admitted progressive pushing the same transformation in the name of Democracy and Uncle Karl, the bullseye euphemised as Student Success or Achievement is the same in the individual human being. So is how it will be instilled.

Fairy tales and modern fantasy stories project fantastic other worlds; but they also pay attention to real moral ‘laws’ of character and virtue. These laws ought not to be high-handedly shoved down the throats of children (or anyone else). More accurately, they are norms of behavior that obtain in patterns of relation between agent, act, other, and world. Rational cognition is capable of grasping these norms. They become habit, however, only when they are lived, or, as in the case of fairy tales, experienced vicariously and imaginatively through the artful delineation of character and plot in a story.

See why we get so many euphemisms for what must be changed? Can any of us imagine the outcry if people understood that education globally is now about prescribing norms of behavior without that being readily apparent? Can we all see why standards of achievement and student success had to cease  to be about what is rationally known so that students had provide behavioral performances or tasks instead? Proves it is a habit and neurally hardwired to lock in that desired future decisionmaking and motivations to act.

Now that we have put what is aimed at into context and stripped away the deliberate vagueness of ‘outcomes,’ let me end with another, much shorter, vision UNESCO put out last week in the form of a comic book called ‘Let’s Work Together’ https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000369006/PDF/369006eng.pdf.multi on the role education is to play in the UN meeting its Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. As GEM put it in a blog post on July 10, “every goal in the 2030 Agenda requires education to empower people with the knowledge, skills and values to live in dignity, build their lives and contribute to their societies.” If we wonder why implications of words must be shared and constrained, why knowing must become a matter of habit and grounded in emotion, and why our very categories of thought must now be prescribed in advance, it would be hard to put the reason more succinctly than this quote from the second page of that link since in order to “work together” apparently–

Education must teach people to think collectively and not individually.

Explains so much doesn’t it? I feel like I should end this post with a declaration of still being a defiantly individual thinker. Who would have thought that would become such an issue in the 21st century?

Aspirations of Controlling Consciousness, A New Kind of ‘Thinking Beast,’ & Another School Shooting

In the last post, we talked about the planned evolution of human cognition using curricula for K-12 and higher ed, as well as through learning standards that are consistently misexplained to obscure their actual intended effects. Then we had the tragedy last week at Highland Ranch STEM, which turned out to be about ten miles as the crow flies from the McREL ed lab, which has long hyped cybernetic ‘Second Order’ Change at the level of students’ minds. When I pulled up Highland Ranch in a map location search looking for McREL, in my left hand corner (representing to the west) was the now rebuilt Columbine High School. I am familiar with the interest of what was called the General Evolution Research Group in the 80s in education reforms and their piloting in these school districts of a template called ‘Achieving Excellence’. Excellence had to do with reimagining Consciousness so that what is thought, felt, and desired are united as motivation to act.

Now before I shift to what I found at Highland Ranch where “Our goal is not only to prepare students to thrive in the constant world of re-invention, but to lead it,” while hyperlinking to the UN Sustainable Summit page https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/summit/ as well as the also relevant https://woodrow.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/WW-Reimagining-American-History-Education.pdf released last week, I want to go back to a 1968 international conference on the Effects of Conscious Purpose on Human Adaptation. What the STEM ‘About Us’ page says it desires, and what the Remagining History Education declares as its intended effects on how students “make sense of a chaotic present and inchoate future”, fit with:

we ought to look toward our willingness to enter our individual consciousness into the system comprised by this new kind of organism. We have to ask ourselves whether in some way we can understand the world and act on it better, with passion and commitment, through becoming an organ in such an organism…[sensing] the need for a new kind of ‘thinking beast’ in order to cope with the crisis the world is in.

Just after that quote, cyberneticist Gordon Pask, whom we met in the last post as relevant now to all sorts of 21st century plans for us and our children, spoke up about the need to “redefine an individual” as “one named class of programs,” which fits perfectly with what I have been warning about the way learning standards are actually intended to work. He went on in an explanation that makes Whole Language in reading and constructivism in math and science make far more sense, than the repeated bogus explanations that they are simply “another way of teaching.” It’s about controlling and evolving consciousness in predetermined, politically useful ways.

…Because of this interpretation of the individual, one can perceive a separate sort of evolution that I refer to as ‘symbolic evolution,’ which is perhaps exemplified by this conference. To avoid overpopulating the world with general-purpose machines, what we have to do is control the symbolic evolution process. To do so, I believe that the first thing we must do is redefine what we mean by an individual, get away from this idea of individuals as heads.

Before I get back to that conference, let me excerpt from the About Us page found here https://www.stemk12.org/ under the “Never Stop Innovating” link in case accurate perception of the intended changes in consciousness results in a subsequent takedown.

“Welcome to STEM School Highlands Ranch. We are an innovative, free, public, charter learning community that exists to innovate K-12 education in order to prepare every student to lead change, solve problems and succeed in an exponentially changing world.

We are more than a school. We are a think tank, a learning lab and a catalyst for creativity. We are a haven for continual innovation, creative exploration, and rigorous discovery. We defy definition and break with convention. Because that’s what innovators do.

We see school differently.  Although our curriculum has a college preparatory focus with emphasis on developing core liberal arts skills in reading, writing, mathematics and science, we use creativity, problem-solving and innovation to inspire and challenge our students.

We are more than just STEM. We infuse STEM into all classrooms. We challenge students with STEM-based, real-world problem solving fueled by constant exploration, inquiry and discovery.

We foster innovation. We equip every student, every day in every classroom with the knowledge, skills, confidence and character to thrive in a constantly changing world. By using continuous inquiry, constant discovery and trial and error as critical pathways to new discoveries, we create a culture of safe failure and fearless innovation.

We empower students. We put students in the driver’s seat of their learning, engaging and empowering them to push their own unique boundaries of innovative learning, thinking and doing.

We see teachers as catalysts. Here, teachers are role models and innovation coaches who provide the framework for learning. Our teachers are experts in teaching appropriate use of technology, collaboration, and teamwork that sparks interest in STEM and learning at an early age.

We innovate and learn together. Here, we leverage the power of collaboration, teamwork and group think to build, design and create solutions to real world problems.

We’re fostering tomorrow’s innovators, creators and change agents. We work tirelessly to nurture and develop integrity, respect, responsibility and honesty within our students and take pride in encouraging well-rounded student development. Link here for some of our notable student accomplishments over the last school year.”

That’s a school grounded in manipulating and practicing with the created neural change in its students. It wants to control their purpose in the same way that the cyberneticists envisioned. So now let’s go back to that conference again and see what they wanted to do to the mind “to act, again to use the Marxist terminology, as midwives to a humanistic change…where we might have to change man radically, give him a new morality or something, otherwise we might fail.” That reference to Uncle Karl was not gratuitous or inflammatory as a personality theory psychologist with a 1949 PhD from Harvard explained to the conference that “the notion of transforming thought, taking actuality and changing it through work, was the crucial concept in Marx.” Euphemizing that same aim as a 2011 chartered STEM School and then hyping yourself as a global template makes it much harder to see for anyone who doesn’t already possess all these detailed plans for change where the mind and its instilled ideas can be a “cause of history” defined as “movement that gets someplace.”

That’s precisely how that link above wants to Reimagine American History, while pretending it is a matter of Equity and Reaching ALL Students. Yes, because of the needed changes to all those conceptual systems to reestablish “the common bonds that all Americans [should] share in a time of deep national political, economic, and social divisions in which Americans’ differences overshadow our commonalities.” Pask would call that a new set of programs because our cyberneticists believe:

that it’s impossible to get at this supposedly real world independent of some sort of conceptual system, so that if the real world in real time is filtered through successive conceptual systems, then the history of these conceptual systems is the ‘history of consciousness,’ I think, [and] highly relevant to anything you’s like to say about the ‘real world.’

The Highland Ranch vision, the new history education vision, and that conference are all about change in the material world of reality created by controlling the conceptual systems of students. For “establishing the engaged and informed citizenry needed to preserve a democratic society” is how the Woodrow Wilson history vision pitches it. The 1968 conference said the purpose was to create people “whose point is not homeostasis, but change.” Today, that gets euphemized as Change Agents, Lifelong Learning, and Growth Mindsets as a STEM vision. All are grounded in treating people, and the mind especially, as not independent in the actual historic sense where the King could not cross the private threshold of a citizen’s home without permission. Now we stealthily get governments, at all levels, using prescribed learning standards to form:

a system which is self-corrective, maintaining constants about relations between the parts and relations to the environment: a steam engine with a governor. Mind is immanent where energy is stored so that the system can be responsive to abstract cues. [Enduring Understandings or Understandings of Consequences?] Mind is related to purpose, especially the kind of goals which Gordon [Pask] called evolutionary goals, and any material system with an evolutionary goal deserves to be called historical in a sense going beyond the simple fact of change.

Do you think it is accidental students are being bombarded with terms like “chaotic present and inchoate future” or have the word ‘innovate’ thrown at them constantly as Highland Ranch does? Even that link to the UN and its Sustainable Development Goals using students and education fits with the idea that creating a “system of ideas and ideals” can allow the systematic control of prevailing consciousness using “internalized, conceptualized goals.” Remember too that the word ‘standards’ is just another word for goals. Let me close this disturbing, but illuminating, post with another quote from “A Human Family on a Ledge” from the last day of our 1968 conference.

We need to become, uniquely in the history of life on our planet, a species that does not compete with every skill and weapon to monopolize resources and guarantee the survival of as many of our immediate offspring as possible. Instead, we must begin not only to include ourselves within our understanding of nature, but include our understanding of nature within our understanding of ourselves, consciously fostering natural balances because we have a vision of the whole, rather than simply moving within it. We need to see ourselves as parts of the system, and we need to develop an internalization of that system, like an actor turned director who must discipline his wish to steal the show.

STEM is no longer actually about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math as bodies of knowledge and History must be reimagined to create a new kind of conceptualization of what the world ought to become. Consciousness itself has become the point for creating change, while parents and taxpayers get misled to believe that these shifts are about better Engagement and Achievement.

And once again I find school shootings occurring in schools adamantly announcing their innovative changes to the human psyche. At least we no longer need to wonder why no amount of shed blood will cause a deviation from this transformational template with such a troubling history in its documented implementation.

Focusing on the Conceptual System of the Mind for a 21st Century Imposed DiaMat

What if I told you that global conferences none of us were invited to have Slideshares available laying out “By transforming individual conceptual systems, we can change society?” All of a sudden all that emphasis on New Kinds of Thinking and stipulating the desired categories of thought and, even in the US, making annual assessment of those ‘Higher Order Thinking Skills’ a federal mandate for virtually all students, begins to make sense. Transformation plans need malleable citizens either unaware of the plans for them or eagerly on board. There was a meeting in October 2017 in Chengdu, China of the International Academy for Systems and Cybernetic Sciences where the IASCYS President usefully pointed out the desire to examine the “effect that a theory has on the system observed.” If you control the conceptual framework of a student or adult citizen’s mind, you control the theories they will use to perceive and interpret the world.

Very handy for anyone seeking to reject the status quo in terms of political, economic, and social structures. Suddenly, science needs to shift to include purposeful systems and education needs to shift to control the purpose of human systems. In a Newtonian, transmission of knowledge world via textbooks or lecture, “scientific theories do not alter” the physical structure of the world and how it operates or can be made to operate. “Theories do not change the way that nature works…But theories of social systems are constructed in the hope that theories will guide actions that will change the way social systems operate. There is a dialogue between theories and societies.” If theories are to be introduced via public policy think tanks and a new vision of the law to transform social and political institutions and practices and economic structures and activities, controlling the human conceptual system turns out to be the foundation for making the change without overt coercion.

IASCYS is a cybernetics honor society that features many names we have stumbled over in education plans such as Ervin Laszlo, Mary Catherine Bateson who was at the 1987 World Order Models Project meeting in Moscow (her dad Gregory Bateson coined the term ‘framing’ back in 1972 in his Ecology of the Mind), Ernest von Glasersfeld of constructivist math fame (covered in Chapter 3 of CtD), and George Soros, international mischief maker. If the President of that society on one of his last slides stated that “If Cybernetics is seen as a theory of experimentation and reform in social systems, it will connect the earlier work in cybernetics with political reform and the evolution of society,” then we have powerful people wanting to use the mind’s conceptions to change how the world works. They can do that if education targets people’s goals and purpose by altering how they make sense of the world.

Almost simultaneously with stumbling across that slideshare, the globalist Center for Curriculum Reform published Artificial Intelligence in Education: Promises and Implications for Teaching & Learning which also stressed targeting a Core Concept emphasis where the curriculum would develop the highly malleable ‘expert amateurism’ that “aims for ‘a robust and flexible understanding of the fundamentals.’ By internalizing the most important concepts of each discipline, and across disciplines, which we call core concepts, students are better equipped to deal with multifaceted problems and have a more diverse set of tools with which to interpret the world.” Then in Appendix 1 under desired Cross-Cutting Themes we are told that students need to have Design Thinking because “the twenty-first century challenges we now face are demanding a major rethinking and redesigning of many of our societal institutions from education, to agriculture and energy use, to product design and manufacturing, to economics and government.”

Well, that’s confessional, but it followed a push for the theme of Systems Thinking which “requires a shift from the mechanistic and reductionist model of twentieth century Western culture [where the theories did not impact nature. See Slideshare above], toward a more balanced approach.” You know who else wanted to get Theory into Practice? Uncle Karl and John Dewey. The Appendix then goes on to hype:

According to educational theorist and cognitive scientist Derek Cabrera, students should be encouraged to consider distinctions, systems, relationships, and perspectives (DSRP).

**Distinctions: develop increasingly sophisticated characterizations of ideas and objects

**Systems: Deconstruct ideas and re-constructing new integrated concepts with a variety of part/whole interactions

**Relationships: See connections between things

**Perspectives: See things from different points of view

By considering the common properties of complex systems, learners can apply this approach to view more traditional disciplines from a modern, systems perspective.

Now two things jumped out at me when I read that, DSRP functioned just like Dialectical Materialism did as a guiding philosophy of academics in the USSR and Eastern Europe. Plus I remembered reading that after the fall of the Iron Curtain, Soros’ Open Society funded the conversion of the DiaMat departments in Eastern European higher ed to a sociology (science of society) emphasis. Secondly, I had never heard of Derek Cabrera which is a tad unusual at this point. I was able to locate his “Simple Rules of Complex Conceptual Systems” paper and was told that “Context is a set of processing rules for content,” which seems highly useful for someone seeking transformative change in the status quo. Even more forthcoming was his statement in pushing DSRP that:

all human and group identity is derivative of the aggregation of conceptual systems for the individual or group. In other words, humankind is what it thinks either alone or in groups or sub-groups…In general, human beings are not irreparably divided by biology or geography, but instead by their conceptual systems…What causes humans to be incompatible are their conceptual systems in the form of beliefs, ideologies, ideas, and assumptions.

Another speaker at Chengdu also wrote a paper “Addressing the Critical Need for “New Ways of Thinking’ in Managing Complex Issues in a Socially Responsible Way” which ominously has a section called “Starting with the Young”. It made it clear that the foundation that must be changed to achieve sustainability is to alter Prevailing “Mental Models/mind Maps/ People’s Understanding”. That is the prerequisite transformation which is precisely why it gets pitched euphemistically as ‘student-centered personalized learning’ or ‘citizen-centric governance’. Having targeted the individual mind and imposed the desired theories, categories of thought, values, and attitudes practiced until they are Habits of Mind, “Systemic Structures–What does the System Look Like?” can be adjusted. That’s exactly what Cabrera’s DSRP trains students to do (and motivates them to want to do it.)

It’s not just CCR advocating this type of thinking, the website features school systems touting his Systems Thinking Made Easy “will transform your school district” and that “Developing every child into a systems thinker is an ethical imperative.” If that is not alarming enough, we have a closing quote around “developing shared consciousness across the district.” How very comradely. Cabrera did rather betray the transformational intention by admitting that “DSRP also provides a mechanism for the memetic behavior that must exist in order for evolutionary epistemology to be a viable proposal.” In other words, a transmission of knowledge curriculum does not force the needed change in worldview and daily behaviors desired for the Inclusive, Equitable, Transformative vision all these education reforms and new ways of thinking are tied to.

To add to the global push for these changes  I found this https://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1108/K-03-2017-0120 showing the Russian Science Foundation’s current interest in this kind of conceptual, 3rd order cybernetics. Finally, school districts may be imposing Cabrera’s DSRP, but Cornell Policy Review clearly shows it is a university level textbook intended for public policy coursework. Two purposes in social science achieved with one book. Changing the conceptual mind’s function via K-12, and also using it to credential in higher ed so that students can go to work for think tanks, philanthropy, governments at every level, or even run for office implementing these theories in the real world.

Today the OECD, working with the US NSF Science of Learning Centers Project released “Developing Minds in the Digital Age: Towards a Science of Learning for 21st Century Education” that laid out precisely how curriculum and technology will quietly implement this agenda. In a preschool, no less. I guess that fits with Cabrera’s quote that “When a mind is young, few conceptual bonds have been made and there is still much conceptual space in which to work.”

Practically a blank canvas is another way to put that aspiration. Just the vehicle for DJEM–Designed Joint Engagements with Media.

Rising Like a Phoenix from the Ashes Despite Repeated Autopsies and Pretend Burials

The last line about Pretend Burials is my addition to a quote I took from a translated book from 1970 called Three Faces of Marxism .The active disinformation campaign we started looking at in the last post contradicts the informed contents of that Leonhard book, which quoted one Eastern European after another from the 1950s and 60s on the “true renaissance of Marxism … that is the beginning of an event, the beginning of something historic that concerns the future of us all.” I think that same something is going on now and it’s behind the documentable deceit surrounding (1) what learning standards like the Common Core are and why they are needed; (2) the determined effort starting in the late 80s to pretend the MH aspiration never existed and pretend that Soviet Communism=Marxism; and (3) the misrepresentation of what Martin Luther King aspired to engineer through civil rights laws and in the name of the Beloved Community that essentially coincides with the MH aspiration and the purpose of learning standards.

That interconnection woke me up over the weekend and covering this up made me think of the need for pretend burials to protect these theories from the infamy of their history. If you think I am being disrespectful to Dr King, last week I noticed that part of the brigade pushing the organized disinfo campaign about the Common Core was involved with “The Life and Legacy of The Reverend Dr Martin Luther King” https://www.baylor.edu/washington/index.php?id=951374 .The event was somehow sold out before it was even publicly announced. That suggested to me that KIng’s legacy and the civil rights laws and their use to push Equity and Excellence in education had turned into a vehicle for something else that King may or may not have imagined. Since one of the speakers, Cornel West, wrote a book on the ethical dimensions of Marx’s thought I had an idea what that theory might be.

Since Excellence in education means to combine what is felt, thought, and desired into a single active performance, learning standards are an awfully practical vehicle for gaining access to a means of invisibly implementing those ethical dimensions. That insight turned out to be true as I tracked down another book West had written in that momentous year of 1989 where the MH vision seems to have been renamed as ‘prophetic pragmatism’ with John Dewey and his Democratic Education as its exemplar. Ding. Ding. No need to follow just bread crumbs anymore as everyone who has read Credentialed to Destroy will appreciate, but West went on to quote the architect of the MH view of culture and the role of action (praxis), Antonio Gramsci, and his desire for “a new cultural process, different in character from its predecessors,  a process in which practical movement [performance standards like the Common Core?] and theoretical thought [like Enduring Understandings or Thinking Like a Historian?] are united [Higher Order Thinking Skills?] (or are trying to unite through a struggle that is both theoretical and practical).”

See the role of learning standards in these goals of real world transformation and a reimagined future? See why we keep coming across a push to pretend Marxism has no interest in ideas even though categories of thought are actually front and center to the whole scheme? West himself wanted to shift the conception of knowledge to something that would promote “power-laden people’s opinion” as a means of engineering his desired “culture of creative democracy by means of critical intelligence and social action.” Sounds like the MH vision again and after all I have these old books telling me that back in the 1960s there had been “a renaissance of Marxist thinking” that had begun to “crack the ice of Stalinism and to become a stream once more.” A similar observation proclaimed that “After several decades of grave crisis, we may today speak with assurance of a renaissance of Marxism. It rises like a phoenix from the ashes even though it has repeatedly been subjected to an autopsy.”

It’s much harder to autopsy something that is supposedly buried and past history. If renaming it allows a theory to be operative without scrutiny or infamy that’s an excellent reason for deceit. Sure enough when I looked into whether that renaissance in a certain perspective influenced Dr King I found https://acton.org/publications/transatlantic/2018/01/15/3-reasons-martin-luther-king-jr-rejected-communism a recent attempt to misrepresent what MLK believed from a think tank active in pushing School Choice and once again falsely treating Communism and Marxism as synonymous. That whitewashing makes perfect sense if School Choice is actually a Trojan Horse to spread that unity of “practical movement and theoretical thought” in every type of school or education initiative. Let’s compare to this http://ownershipeconomy.net/2015/08/30/martin-luther-king-called-for-a-higher-synthesis/ as well as http://rajpatel.org/2010/01/18/martin-luther-king-we-are-not-interested-in-being-integrated-into-this-value-structure/ and we get a more accurate feel for where Dr King fits with our MH template.

It turns out that everywhere we look into this vision of how to bring about a more just society sooner or later we find a forthright declaration of the need for “comprehensive information” and a new value structure that will be the “powerful force for altering the internal psychological structure of a human being”. We learn that a NEW kind of education is needed that will “develop the skills and deep habits of partnership and working across differences…the work of rebuilding our world requires a revitalization of abilities to see beyond what is to what can be. [This] combines a sacred and public spirit with the work of culture change to rebuild the moral and civic fabric of our society.” Now if that spirit gets wrapped up in the Good, True, and Beautiful or as a return to “the principles of America’s founding” will anyone notice the shift in the definitions or principles from what is historically accurate?

The three areas of deceit not only come together when MH is properly understood, but framing as a civil rights issue brings in the rule of law as the enforcer. If we compare the quotes from my last post or in the comments there to Leonhard laying out the disdain of the USSR as representing a ‘historically transient form of socialism”; and “the humanist Marxists of different countries all agreed that neither the economic model of the Soviet Union (state ownership of the means of production; economic management by central, hierarchically structured planning), nor the political structure of the Soviet Union (dictatorial rule of the Party apparatus over all spheres of social life” and compare that with what so many so-called ‘conservative’ or libertarian think tanks are telling us Marxism is about, it is clear there is even more of an organized disinfo campaign trying to hide the MH vision than there is over what the Common Core is and what competency-based ed is really about.

Student-centered learning as the convergent aspiration pushed by the Aspen Institute, Jeb Bush, and iNACOL makes sense once we know that “the humanist Marxists consider it necessary to move the human problem once more into the foreground of Marxist theory.” Sounds just like King’s ‘higher synthesis’ and what the state of Massachusetts recently said was the inspiration for all standards-based ed reforms. Personalized learning and Betsy DeVos’ repeated hype that students be educated to their’ full potential’ fits right in with the MH “emphasis on man as the starting and finishing point, as the ultimate objective of the entire practical and theoretical work of Marxism.”

If ‘human socialism’ or ‘the socialism of self management’ need ‘ ideas and concepts’ to become operational and “create the social and political prerequisites for any further development,” suddenly all the deceit about outcomes-based ed in the 90s, and the Common Core and the reasons for data collection now, makes sense. It is no longer a shock that when we looked at the National Constitution Center’s curricula we found communitarian redefinitions of Liberty and Freedom. The deceit makes sense if we understand MH theory from Kolakowski’s actual books instead of lectures about him. Perhaps we should remind Mr Kimball from the last post that Kolakowski quoted MH theorist Erich Fromm who “regards the Manuscripts of 1844 as the fundamental exposition of Marx’s doctrine…Totalitarian doctrines and Communist regimes have in his view nothing in common with Marx’s humanistic vision, the chief values of which are voluntary solidarity, the expansion of man’s creative powers, freedom from constraint and from irrational authority.”

Just the way learning standards and competency frameworks really work and consistent with West acknowledging that he needed Gramsci’s thinking to get to his desired social transformations. We also have Kolakowski marvelling at how Gramsci and Marx got to the same place even though Marx’s manuscripts were still not known when Gramsci went to prison in the 20s. Both men were interested in “the question of the relation of human thoughts, feelings, and will to ‘objective’ social processes.” I just boldfaced those words to remind everyone that those words combined are what the definition of Excellence in K-12 actually means and what the civil rights laws are imposing in the name of Equity. I am going to close with a quote that in my mind connects all these aims to why these psychologically transformative techniques for a political purpose may be partly behind the rise of mass school shootings in places using them.

Kolakowski was greatly worried decades ago about Herbert Marcuse and his advocacy for an “ultimate all-embracing synthesis in which thoughts, feelings, and desires are merged in a higher ‘unity’. Such an aspiration is only possible when a totalitarian myth claims supremacy over thought–a myth based on ‘deeper’ intuition, so that it does not have to justify itself, but assumes command over the whole of spiritual and intellectual life.” Kolakowski was right to be worried, but wrong that this desired unity would have to be accomplished by “replacing the tyranny of logic with a police tyranny.” Learning standards represent another way to get around what he said has been “corroborated by all historical experience: there is only one way of making a whole society accept a particular world-view.”

If no one can recognize the psychological manipulation and there is organized deceit around learning standards, Marxism, and Dr King’s vision, who can even see the coercion creating the desired worldview? Once we can see what is being imposed through the mind and learning standards, we can share Kolakowski’s concern of what will happen when power decides that “normative essences must prevail in every domain.” Like him, we may come to see that the words Freedom and Liberty are being used in ways that have “taken on the contrary of its normal sense.”

But that requires accurate factual information and that’s the last thing this vision of education for the future has in store for us or our children.

Hijacking Concepts to Control a Student’s Framing, Sense-Making, and Thus Their Minds

This post arose from my watching two different videos in the last month that left me deeply disturbed at the implications. The first was Learn Liberty’s “Marxism Explained in 2 Minutes” by Deirdre McCloskey where she said “Ideas themselves create consciousness. It’s not an outgrowth of the world’s material condition and the class struggle as Marx believed.” All of my extensive collection of books on what I shorthand as the MH philosophy–Marxist Humanism–regard Marx as believing that Ideas matter very much because they guide and motivate action in the present to change the nature of the future by transforming the nature of society. After I finished researching this post, we had the 200th anniversary this past weekend of Uncle Karl’s birth. This generated yet more pushes like this https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2018/05/karl_marx_at_200_his_lethal_legacy_lingers.html pushing the idea that Marxism=Stalinism in Russia and that Marx did not believe Ideas mattered.

If Ideas do matter in the MH vision and especially if the needed ideas can be sales pitched as ‘conservative,’ ‘grounded in the principles of America’s founding,’ or ‘necessary for self-governance’, then the MH vision comes roaring into everyday perception and actions via a new kind of education that gets at the neural structure of the mind and sells it as ‘learning to think critically’. That last quote was from a recent Freedom Center video touting the need for a Code of Ethics in K-12 and rightly complaining of Indoctrination. My problem though is that if the admitted Left wants a child to perceive and act through White Privilege or Racism as the motivating Category of Thought and the so-called Right hyping for School Choice wants the Child to think using “Do the Good. Seek the Truth. Create Beauty,” they are both providing Categories of Thought. All these concepts are designed to change behavior in the present in order to transform existing society by altering prevailing consciousness.

See the problem? We have “conceptually synonymous lexical” phrases with the same function. If the MH vision is all about transforming ourselves and the world, we are headed down a troubling pathway with nary a head’s up as to what is really going on. I said there were two troubling videos. The other was a speech David Horowitz of the Freedom Center gave to a Young America’s Foundation luncheon on March 16 at the Reagan Ranch that was touted as “Unveiling the Left’s Agenda of Destruction”. Horowitz used language about America’s inspirational vision that “all people are equal in the eyes of God and therefore must be equal in the eyes of government and that they are endowed by their Creator with the right to Liberty” that reminded me a great deal of the humanistic slogans used in the MH vision.

That created my working hypothesis that if the Left and Right can create shared understandings and motivating ideals in a substantial group of people under a variety of names and rationales, then the MH vision, especially in its cybernetic form, can come waltzing into the America that we love, or other free societies, without people being aware. Saying Marx didn’t care about Ideas makes that easier to do. Taking noted MH philosophers who fled to the West and taught, like Leszak Kolakowski, and then misrepresenting their criticism of what they called they called wrongheaded fallacy of Institutional Marxism of Stalinism as being what Totalitarianism is all about as this paper did https://www.newcriterion.com/issues/2005/6/leszek-kolakowski-the-anatomy-of-totalitarianism or giving essentially the same speech at a Hillsdale College forum in October 2017 on Soviet Communism and never mentioning all of Kolakowski’s MH work means that not only do Ideas matter, but few people even trying to listen in the 21st Century are likely to hear an honest representation of the continuing collective goals that must be accomplished via the mind.

Unlike Kimball, I did not study under LK at Yale in the early 70s, but I do happen to have his translated into English book from 1968 called Toward a Marxist Humanism so we do have some ability to still eavesdrop on what must have been said. Contrary to what McCloskey stated above the MH philosophy is very much desirous of “replacing economic laws” with the “influence of ideology”. We should be very afraid in 2018 with all the talk all over the world of evidence-based policymaking that LK wrote that “theoretical knowledge of society continues to be a condition for the successful struggle of the communist movement.” Remember how I keep warning about a little c vision that we keep encountering as a communitarian ethos hiding behind supposedly conservative terms like Liberty and Freedom?

LK wrote a great deal about the need to gain control over “man’s conceptual apparatus” so that what was True would not be about whether a theory accurately described existing circumstances. It would be measured by whether a Theory was useful in motivating action to Change Circumstances. “Is the model useful?” would become a new criteria of truth. That might explain all the false narratives we have encountered surrounding education reforms that seem to be financed by the same think tanks or philanthropies now driving a misperception of Marxism as a historic philosophy of how to change the future via Ideas that are believed and that drive changes in behavior. LK knew the necessity of getting at people’s “intellectual organization of material” that were “an integral part of the most elementary activities of the human mind.”

Imagine the transformative power of first prescribing, and then being aware of, what a student was internalizing as a Habit of Mind that would then guide his seeing “the world in such terms and from such points of view as are necessary for him to adapt to it and transform it usefully.” And predictably too in known ways if you happen to be the prescriber aware of what the Categories of Thought are that are being inculcated into a student’s “conceptual apparatus.” What makes something totalitarian is actually not the existence of a gulag, but rather prescribing the categories that “constitute the total apparatus of concepts permitted in use and [that] are imposed as the sole and obligatory system of organizing one’s thinking.” Anyone not recognizing that concern of LK’s having been made operational in the new federal law that applies to the next school year’s requirement that all students must be assessed at least Higher Order Thinking Skills and whether they guide behavior?

When Horowitz said in that same video mentioned above that the new Code of Ethics was needed because “You can’t indoctrinate young people. You have to let them make up their own minds,” I couldn’t understand how that rhetoric could be squared with how Learning Standards actually work or his call to Teach the students to Think Critically. Critical Thought requires the use of prescribed abstract categories. How is that actually making up your own mind? It seems more like the semblance of autonomy where the actual coercion gets internalized and becomes the driver of our decision-making but out of OUR sight (but not the prescribers in education, philanthropy, or the think tanks).

Here’s another quote from 1964 discussing the role of cybernetics in the USSR after Stalin’s death unlocked the Role of Ideas again. These same ideas were coming to the US, which is why Notre Dame’s Press published the book The Social Impact of Cybernetics and we should all be aware that “the abstract ideology or the utopia expressed in concrete terms plays a critical role in defining social purpose and hence in conditioning social decisions.” Acting on goals is one of the hallmarks of competency-based education all over the world so its ties to cybernetics and the real MH aims become clear when we read that “action upon the environment is regulated by a continuing process of perception in which the perceived external reality is compared with the end state to be achieved.”

Is Project-Based Learning then about academics to be learned or simply a means to change the child at the level of their mind and personality? If you think changing the child neurally will always come with rhetoric about social justice, any category of thought that seeks to impose a “viable system of value and perceptual relevance (ideologies)” will actually do. Notice the same language from Classical Education and the Barney Charter School Initiative being used back in 1965 from “The Development of Cybernetics” in The American Behavioral Scientist: “Hence in dealing with social systems in which men form the ultimate self-regulating components, we must deal with the problem of the adequacy of perception and of value to effective action within a natural and human environment. The analysis of men and societies as self-regulating systems brings us back to the perennial philosophic problems of the Good and the True.

We need to consider now whether all the deceit about the Common Core and now Marxism may well be hidden in language about ‘conservative thought’ or ‘principles of self-governance’ as used in this press release. http://www.bradleyfdn.org/Portals/1/PDF%20Files/GEORGE%20WILL_Press%20Release-23Apr2018.pdf .After all, one of the other historic terms for the MH vision that I did not have a chance to cover yet is the “socialism of self-management”.

What if self-governance, self-regulation, self-discipline, and self-management are all conceptual synonyms describing a person with the desired internalized systems of thought and value that can act as a steerable rudder for anyone with power who knows they exist? That would be the MH vision of Freedom and Liberty and that really should give us pause.

We are all in agreement though that Ideas do Matter. It’s why they need to be known and discussed accurately and not just in terms of their Usefulness for Social Planning Purposes.

Stripping Away the Veneer of the Imperious Autonomous Self to Create Cathected Identities Instead

Years ago, back when I was a college student, I spent a summer studying at Oxford University in England. I got to pull books and work in the reading room of the Radcliffe Camera and cut through worn stone paths in medieval colleges. For me, historical people and ideas are not something anyone supplied as a useful perspective on how to see the world. These are frequently people I almost feel like I could carry on a conversation with. I certainly have been known to carry on conversations about them. I suppose that is what makes it far easier for me to see when Ideas or people are being misportrayed. If someone has transformational plans for society, our economy, and our political systems and does not want opposition, what better tool than K-12 education? And if you want history to be at the core of a drastically revised curriculum so that “we can leave it to our students to apply their knowledge, values, and experiences to the world they must create,” what better reason can there be to manipulate those values and experiences and the Ideas that are now to substitute for knowledge?

The latter quote was taken from the 1987 “Education for Democracy: A Statement of Principles: Guidelines for Strengthening the Teaching of American Values” that those new Massachusetts standards we met in the last post said was the impetus for all the standards-based education pushes since, including the Common Core. The Ideas come from domain-specific literacy, which Reading Like a Historian said in italics just like that had been created by the National Governors Association’s Center for Best Practices. As I discovered yesterday when I was at an Emory Law program that sought to interpret the Parkland mass murders through the ‘lenses’ of Domestic Violence and the Legacy of the Lost Cause, the offered Ideas and concepts to guide perception and the interpretation of people and events may have little connection to actual facts on the ground.

Likewise, at a legal program last fall that turned out to be very Idea-centric in what I was supposed to accept with ‘facts’ used merely to illustrate the point, it was very clear to me that the presenter hoped that his audience knew nothing about Henry VIII other than his much-hyped six wives. Likewise, when I read Larry Arnn’s book The Founders’ Key because of Hillsdale’s heavy involvement now in K-12 reform I discovered erroneous examples to illustrate his Ideas from first, Thomas More, and then poor Queen Anne, the last of the Stuart monarchs. My point is that in all these instances it was extensive, preexisting knowledge of the type that is now disallowed unless someone is a voracious, independent reader that led me to recognize that the offered Ideas or illustrating points were inapt.

The Ideas are generally offered up to appeal to emotions and to create motivation to push for transformative change. If, like me, cathected is a new word for you, I found it in the vision of this author  https://nationalaffairs.com/publications/detail/democracy-and-its-discontents which had common financing via the Bradley Foundation with the same new history standards called for in 1987 and the communitarian-oriented Council on Civil Society funded in the late 90s and then the 2003 Hardwired to Connect. Weigel’s call for ‘cathected individuals’ who would reject the ‘imperious autonomous Self’ reminded me a great deal of the Tranzi OBE remake of the students pushed in the 90s until it became notorious after Columbine and the Portraits of a Graduate or Learner profiles we are seeing now. It was all originally called for back in 1987 with clear ties to the Rockefeller Foundation, the NEH, and even Martin Luther King’s actual vision via his close friend, Bayard Rustin, who signed.

My dictionary defined cathexis as the “concentration of emotional energy on an object or idea,” which certainly sounds like this new Idea/Conceptual Framework: “we aim at nothing less than helping the student to comprehend what is important, not merely to memorize fact and formula.” “Notions and sentiments” was how the 1987 Education for Democracy also put it. At its core is always the Marxist Humanist vision where “we recommend that a central theme in the study of history be the dramatic struggles of people around the globe and across the centuries to win, preserve, and extend their freedom.” Cathected also fits with this MLK vision released just before his murder, which was cited this week because of its 50th anniversary. https://poorpeoplescampaign.org/index.php/poor-peoples-campaign-1968/  laid out the Bayard Rustin-inspired shift from civil rights to ‘human rights’ with its essential ingredient of economic justice for all. Dr King:

“knew that for the load of poverty to be lifted, the thinking and behavior of a critical mass of the American people would have to be changed.To accomplish this change of consciousness…the poor would have to organize to take action together around our immediate and basic needs. In doing, we could become a powerful social and political force capable of changing the terms of how poverty is understood and dispelling the myths and stereotypes that uphold the mass complacency and leave the root causes of poverty intact.”

That was MLK and ultimately number 1 of those Fundamental Principles is that “We are rooted in a moral analysis based on our deepest religious and constitutional values that demand justice for all. Moral revival is necessary to save the heart and soul of our democracy.” Those new Ideas and values need to be embedded neurally as practiced Habits of Mind. It may only be Catholic educators referring to the ‘cathected’ student, but the concept of cathexis, even if stated through euphemisms, is at the core of all these curriculum reforms throughout every type of education alternative I have reviewed. Having poked around on the Left and recognizing names like Diana Ravitch, Chester Finn, and Bill Bennett on the 1987 document lets look likewise to the supposed Right and what the Charles Koch Institute and other members of the State Policy Network are pushing that gets to the same place.

Back in March I saw an article from the Independence Institute with a title “How to Restore the Founder’s Vision of Liberty for America?”, which sounded rather Idea-centric and contrary to where my personal store of facts would take me. I did notice though that the broad Ideas would fit with the Marxist Humanist vision I keep encountering in my education research (without looking). At its core, it is where both that 1968 MLK position and the 1987 Education for Democracy, and thus the 2018 Massachusetts standards, all intend to go. The article was by a William Watkins so I looked up his background and saw he had been a fellow at the Center for Humane Studies at George Mason. That got my attention with their push of History Matters (covered in last post) and ties to Neuroeconomics. Looking into IHS further pulled up more ties to the insights and individuals we have covered at ISC and in my book Credentialed to Destroy.

Too extensive to lay out here, but every reason to look at their Learn Liberty initiative launched in 2011 to “Explore the ideas of a free society.” Me, I just want to go back to Oxford and get away from that now ubiquitous ‘I’ word, but my knee is still not ready for that much walking. So I settled in with a cup of Lapsang Souchong tea to watch the videos where “we tackle big questions about what makes society free or prosperous and how we can improve the world we live in.” http://www.learnliberty.org/blog/learn-liberty-turns-7/ gets you to what I watched. In case the word ‘Heuristics’ is missing from your vocabulary as it once was in mine, you can substitute other words–Ideas, Concepts, Lenses, or Guiding Principles. If there is a desire to get a ‘change in consciousness’ and a broad segment of the public is to have ‘shared meanings’, few things work better than common learning standards that get at How to Think and Ideas we should use in our decision-making.

I took notes on all three provided videos there and then saw one by economist Deirdre McCloskey (whose book Bourgeois Equality we quoted in the last post) offering up “Marxism in Two Minutes”. She omitted the part about Marx’s Idea of the Human Development Society where a remake of prevailing Ideas and values would be so crucial and just covered that Marx was wrong about the class struggle creating the desired consciousness. McCloskey believes Ideas create consciousness and I think her book title, like the euphemistic Learn Liberty phrase, is really an excellent way to hide the Marxist Humanist template. But like one of those old-fashioned holiday commercials from Ronco I can say “Wait! There’s more!”

Learn Liberty posted a January 8, 2018 video from a professor Howard Baetjer called “What is Communism?” that appears designed to mislead away from the Marxist Humanist visions that are so in play in 2018. The vision MLK wanted, what Education for Democracy sought to create, and what learning standards and competency frameworks also impose, no matter what level of government is pushing them. For anyone without Wolfgang Leonhard’s Three Faces of Marxism: The Political Concepts of Soviet Ideology, Maoism, and Humanist Marxism or Leszek Kolakowski’s Main Currents of Marxism: The Breakdown not just on hand, but read and marked up, I am not calling names or making allegations here. There is a template for little ‘c’ communism and when everyone is using euphemisms and Idea-centric K-12 education to impose that vision without scrutiny, we have every right to notice if we still can.

I think all these videos, but especially that Baetjer one want us to see communism only as “common ownership of the means of production” and never “private ownership”. Meanwhile, the K-12 programs being offered online, in public schools, in parochial schools, in independent schools, and frequently now what gets pushed on homeschoolers via what is eligible for Educational Savings Account reimbursement are ALL Idea-centric and value-oriented.

Have you noticed that all these pushes about Ideas do not seem to want us to strip away from the Idea As Supplied that veneer that it still means what we all traditionally associate with any of these terms? I thought we better start talking about all this while the Internet still remains somewhat free.

I really don’t want my generation to be among the last to have had the liberty to have a genuinely free mind.

Lucrative Deceit: Managing Consciousness By Conjoining Social Media & Charter Schools

This post was outlined before the outcry over Facebook’s gathering of data, but the outside in power of all that data on so much of the population should be kept in mind as we look at the Chan Zuckerburg interest in transformative charter schools. It also fits with the interest we have seen since my March 8 post on Parkland and the meaning of that motto of the PROMISE Program in Broward County. I have repeatedly read since then numerous articles from supposedly conservative sources misportraying the clear developmental focus of the required practices. It gets pitched as simply a matter of federal overreach and coercion via funding. Yesterday, the charter-supporting Heritage Foundation https://www.heritage.org/firearms/report/focusing-school-safety-after-parkland joined what looks like a well-coordinated campaign to make Paul Sperry’s derivative and whitewashed description of the Program the official narrative. Mustn’t accurately explain what one intends to use so let’s just mine ISC for information and skip over Robin’s inconvenient interpretations that shine an accurate light on these practices.

After all, we know charters have a likely chance to be deemed effective and gain a right to more federal funding if they have a Whole Child focus that Infuses Developmental Neuroscience into the curriculum and required practices as this link lays out. http://www.jahonline.org/article/S1054-139X(12)00192-9/pdf Likewise, notice how often a private or charter school has language in its mission statement about its purpose “to educate students to be knowledgeable, responsible, socially skilled, healthy, caring, and contributing citizens” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12971193 or hyping their “strengths-based approaches to child and adolescent development…and emphasis on students’ resilience in the school and community” (quoting the National Association of School Psychologists), or Promoting Youth Development (PYD). http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/rulesforengagement/Taylor%20et%20al%20-%20FINAL%20document%206%2017%202017.pdf

All of the linked SEL research matters because they are tied to the PROMISE Program when accurately interpreted using its cited foundational research and not whitewashed for political purposes. The whtewashing is no surprise though as the charter schools use the same developmental template as Broward’s PROMISE program when the latter is properly understood. Let’s switch to something else charters use to ensure their efficacy and are not upfront about. I am quoting from a 2011 book by Duke prof Cathy N Davidson called Now You See It: How Technology and Brain Science Will Transform Schools and Business for the 21st Century where Davidson profiled the innovative new forms of learning being implemented by a number of cited charter schools. When we talk about the use of categories, concepts, or guiding principles, recall how useful it will be to have the News Literacy Project we encountered in the last post working hand in hand with the categories of thought pushed as Reading and Thinking Like A Historian or Higher Order Thinking Skills.

This post begins a trilogy and that will be the in-depth topic of the next post. In the mean time let’s appreciate what charter operators all know. “How we use our brain (what we pay attention to) changes our brain. Those things that capture our attention–our learning and our work, our passions and our activities–change our actual brain biology.” That’s a direct confession, isn’t it? Plenty of reason for deceit there. The emphasis on Disciplinary Core Ideas to use just one of the euphemisms or Enduring Understandings makes sense when we all become aware that “once everything is located in a proper category, the category itself (for better or worse) answers a host of unaskable questions. A category is a shorthand.” And whoever controls those required categories of thought can insist all day long that “they are teaching students how to think, not telling them what to think” but that repeated assertion doesn’t make it true. Whoever controls the prescribed categories of thought, controls thought. Period. Especially once it becomes a Habit of Mind.

Quoting Davidson again: “distinctions are normative, sensory, behavioral, social, cognitive, and affective all at once. Learning happens in categories, with values clumped together in our words, concepts, and actions. And this is where attention and its concomitant attention blindness come from.” All the emphasis now on Engagement, activity, and relevance really make sense when we appreciate that a classroom emphasis on these has become required because they “transform not merely our behavior but the underlying neural networks that make attention possible. Every manifestation of attention in the real world begins in the brain” and every successful charter school operator knows that as well as so should we. Davidson went on to call out Canadian Donald O. Hebb by name as the “father of neuropsychology” because:

“he was the first person to observe that learning occurs when neurons streamline into pathways and then streamline into other pathways, into efficient clusters that act in concert with one another. This is now called the Hebbian principle: Neurons that fire together, wire together. This means the more we repeat certain patterns of behavior (that’s the firing together), the more those behaviors become rapid, then reflexive, then automatic (that’s the wiring). They become patterns, habits, groupings, categories, or concepts, all efficiencies that ‘wire together’ sets of individual reflexes or responses.”

Now if your child’s school of any type or online curriculum is grounded in creating such a Hebbian neural web that will ultimately guide their future behavior at an unconscious, but predictable, level, don’t you want to know that? Isn’t all the organized deceit making more sense now? I feel though like those old Ronco holiday commercials when many of us were kids advertising for some useful gadget that we supposedly cannot live without in every house. “But wait! There’s more!” As part of the case after the Parkland shooting for why more social and emotional learning and an antibullying emphasis were needed came this story https://www.educationdive.com/news/creating-schools-that-fit-our-kids/518917/ hyping a report from the Aspen Institute and its panel of educators.

Now I first wrote about that panel back in September here http://invisibleserfscollar.com/capturing-every-thought-captive-and-sculpting-students-as-systems-driver-of-perfidy/ and in several of the following posts. That report and Consensus Statement were always going to come out, but the Parkland mass murder gives gave a chance to pitch the change in emphasis as urgent so that “social, emotional, and academic development” can be integrated. That also fits with the links above that are the basis for how charters really work and what the PROMISE Program was actually designed to change. Now I have written about one panel member before, Linda Lantieri, and how she trains classroom teachers in techniques that are billed as New Age on some days depending on her audience and on others as Positive Psychology. I recognized other names too, but the Council of Distinguished Educators member that really caught my eye was from a chain of charter schools called Valor Collegiate Academies.

That’s where our conjoining reference comes from as we have funding coming from the Left Pincer in the form of the Chan Zuckerburg Initiative and from the Right Pincer that seemingly does not want the PROMISE program accurately understood in the form of the Charter Schools Growth Fund. Now Valor openly trumpets in its materials that it uses required regular group Valor Circle practices that are “grounded in the field of Interpersonal Neurobiology which posits that relationships ‘inspire us to rewire our brains toward integration.'” Well, that’s certainly one way to create change in the student effectively and thus ensure additional funding and opportunities for expansion. Valor has graphics about targeting the students’ “drives for agency and communion, or self-determination and connection… and helping scholars (and adults) create their own ‘inner compass'”.

Now, I am not disagreeing that people need an inner compass, but if a school is deliberately rewiring childrens’ brain in a Hebbian manner, parents should be told that forthrightly before they act like programmed automatons. How many parents appreciate that neural rewiring emphasis when they read language (bolding in original) about “All Members of the Valor Community aspire to balance their Sharp Mind and Big Heart and to live their Noble Purpose through Aligned Actions, all the while accessing their True North” to make meaningful choices in their everyday life. ” That True North: Habits of Center is grounded in Mindfulness research, which is certainly an interesting remedy for preventing another Parkland type shooting.

It’s not just that I recognize what is cited as Mindfulness, but here’s a quote from a draft I downloaded of what was to be implemented in the 2017-2018 school year per “True North ‘standards’ or intended learnings.

“True North practices range in duration and focus. Many of the True North practices at Valor are informed by curricula such as Mindful Schools and Applied Mindfulness: Inner Life Skills for Youth and are attention training activities [remember the Cathy Davidson quotes above on the effect on the brain] to help scholars increase concentration and well-being while reducing stress levels. Practices range in focus from one’s basic goodness to posting attention and from compassion meditations to mindful movement.”

Is that what anyone was expecting to be touted “at a time when the nation is looking for solutions to violent tragedies like the Feb. 14 shooting” at Parkland? Is this why we cannot get accurate reporting except at ISC or in my book Credentialed to Destroy of what competency-based education and frameworks actually aim to change or what the Broward PROMISE Program and Restorative Justice programs really hope to alter? Are charter schools, online providers, and private and parochial schools all afraid they will not get access to public funds if parents recognize that they too are aimed at neural rewiring “to produce knowledgeable and competent adults able to participate as informed citizens in the democratic process”?

We will discuss the source of that last quote and its ties to the School Choice funding campaign in the next post–Part 2 of this Trilogy of Lucrative Deceit.