Do you remember how the French thought the Maginot Line of bunkers and armaments would protect them from a future German invasion after World War I? So Hitler simply went around and came from another direction. The head of the same group whose ecstatic rejoicing over the passage of the WIOA in the US Senate tipped me off that something transformative was envisioned, announced in this video on “Rethinking Accountability” in education in June http://www.unfinishedbusiness.org/20140707-henderson-common-core-an-important-part-of-driving-equitable-change/ that ‘they’ were not going to let the US Constitution get in the way of achieving human rights for all as defined by the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. That would be a human right to Just Economic Citizenship folks and an obligation for the rest of us to provide it.
Henderson does a shout-out to the 2 major US teachers unions, AFT and the NEA, and notes they are partners working on his Board as well as to his Vice-Chair, the General Counsel of maldef-the Mexican-American Legal Defense Education Fund. Legal amnesty and future citizenship for anyone who can make it to US soil is not a side issue. It is front and center of the Leadership Council’s (composed of 200 separate component groups) efforts to force the US towards Economic Justice and an Equitable Society and ‘building a More Ideal Union.’ Henderson points out that the “thousands of students who may not yet be citizens” need to be educated as if they were. You cannot watch that speech and especially the AFT President’s intro and not grasp that an invasion by migrants is viewed as a crucial means of fundamental transformation. It will radicalize education, the ballot box, and enable democratic local decision-making via participatory mandates of the relevant stakeholders in every community entitled to be consulted.
I want to pivot now to the suburbs because such a vision of Equality and Justice is simply impossible if suburban schools can still teach a solid curriculum of knowledge and students are allowed to retain the Axemaker Minds many brought from home. Now I could generalize about what I think will happen, but there is no need to do that. That same conference pointed https://edpolicy.stanford.edu/events/1201 to the new Consortium of Large Suburban School Districts as being essential to achieving its vision. Told you already that document was designed for trouble. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/deliberate-cultural-evolution-via-developmental-psychology-to-force-social-change-or-gypsy-supers-lobby-dc/
OK, you say, that’s a hugely troubling vision, but we still do not know precisely what the desired template is. But wait (no, this is not one of the Ronco commercials pushing Christmas presents no one really needs) one of the participating Consortium districts, Fulton County in Metro Atlanta (not coincidentally also involved in EdLeader 21, Digital Promise’s League of Innovative Schools, and with that new affirmative Student Code of Conduct) announced the vision in an article in a local paper. ‘Problem-based learning’ would be the new view of curriculum instead of icky textbooks. High School will become a place “for all learners…[where] students and teachers come together.” It is a place where ‘different types of learning styles are addressed’ that provides ‘collaborative learning opportunities.’ Lots of collaboration and chances to sing kumbaya in unison on a daily basis to build community spirit.
A bit of sarcasm there towards the end. I know perfectly well what is involved in Fostering a Community of Learners. That’s why FCL has its own tag on the blog connecting explanatory posts. Now, we could also pretend ‘problem-based learning’ is not in fact a euphemism for what radical Paulo Freire called the cultivation of a ‘critical consciousness’ in each student in how they will now perceive their cultural and historical reality. http://www.thinkingtogether.org/rcream/archive/110/CulturalAction.pdf That would be true and creating Guilt in the Fortunate Students is as crucial for transformative change as creating Anger in Latinos and Blacks and Gay Students and anyone else who can be made to believe the world as it currently exists must now be redesigned for their benefit. Vengeance will be a plus too.
Anyone paying attention might have been able to make that accurate connection though. What’s the fun in that? No, being a research maniac entitles us to more vital info than that on what’s coming. The links we have found to the Study Circles made me want to look at what are called Folk Schools in Scandinavia. Could those also be related to this new suburban vision for high school? UNESCO defines the current vision of such a school as a place “whose point of departure is today’s living conditions and the problems we face” and “which do their best to open up young people’s eyes by confronting them with more genuine experiences and broader philosophies of life.” Now I happen to know that high school is using the term ‘authentic’ instead of ‘genuine,’ but yes, we do have complete alignment.
I am going to bring this vision forward to award-winning Finland and what is now called the Human Dignity Paradigm suitable for a “Diversity-Positive Milieu.” That vision is said to enshrine what is called for by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. First though let’s go back to the year, 1948, when the UN adopted the Declaration to see why UNESCO wanted to push “The Danish Folk High School as an Instrument of Attitude Change.” It’s rather hard to escape the basic fundamental entry point needed for wholesale social change with a lead-off heading called “How to Create the Right Attitude of Mind in the Young.” Now in the No **** Sherlock Hall of Fame for all time great understatements in a bureaucratic report would be:
“the quickest and easiest way to create unity is to invoke terror.”
Now those readers who are Climate Skeptics may have a good idea where such a terror gambit may be lurking in the 21st century, but in general the report wants to create an ‘ethical standard’ that will force everyone to voluntarily cooperate by committing to “a higher consideration than themselves.” Of course some of us immediately see that for what it is-the Public Sector and Friends Full Employment Act until Time for a Taxpayer Funded Pension, but let’s pretend anyway so we can accurately recognize what is really intended. The word ‘folk’ concerns a whole people and the values they are all to share. Remember new humanistic values are the absolute inner core of all these global reform efforts by people who really do seem to believe Marx might have worked if the implementers had simply had enough supercomputers, data, and the psychological insights of the behavioral sciences.
A folk high school is designed to give each student a “comprehensive view of the world.” It stresses that “true life can only be possessed in common with one’s fellow man, and that some of the richest values a people possesses can be accepted and shared by all, rich and poor, high and low.” It is a place to build an “enlightened view of human and civil conditions” and a “blithe feeling of natural fellowship.” The latter is what we today might call a Positive School Climate. The folk school would be training its students in co-operation. Its value as a vision in today’s suburbs anywhere in the world is the fact that the typical Upper Middle Class student with educated parents who have made themselves available during those early years pretty much arrive at First Grade at close to the level of essential academic skills that are viewed as a long-term ceiling. To get to Justice and Equality for All obviously.
The folk school model then, and a widespread failure to comprehend the radical shift that has taken place, is an essential part of what is going on globally in education under the mischievous labels of ‘reform’ and ‘remaining internationally competitive.’ Hiding under those banners is an actual determination by public officials to force “a broad outlook and understanding” among all students of a given generation “so that co-operation” in all areas can succeed. This of course requires a “will to solidarity” in each student, which is why that affirmative Student Code of Conduct, Positive School Climate mandates, and requiring Principals to create Communities of Learners to be judged as Effective and thus entitled to promotion, are so crucial.
None of this is coincidental. It all fits like a Bespoke Glove because it has been custom designed to fit together to force the desired effects at the level of the school, classroom, and each student’s mind and personality this time. When that 1948 report sneers at ‘examination schools’ and their failure to create the “mentality required to rebuild the world through all-embracing co-operation,” just substitute high-achieving suburban schools with a traditional content transmission focus. Then update to the 21st century and its tendency to stress social and emotional learning because facts can simply be looked up.
The 1948 version with the same intention of cultivating a mindset suitable for fundamental change was to ask “what is needed by modern society?” The answer then by UNESCO was it’s “not what a man knows, but what he both can and will do in co-operation with others.” Furthermore, that “is a capacity that needs training. Teaching and school work must be so directed that the pupil both sees the value and feels the pleasure of performing a task in common.”
That same requirement now goes by the name Collaboration and is specifically listed as one of the 4Cs required for 21st Century Learning. We’ve gone long again. Next time we are off to Finland to get lots more details on what is envisioned.
Everywhere that has ever had a successful economy.
Especially anywhere that ever valued the individual.