Reorienting World Order Values Via the Intervention of Activist Education and Progressive Politics

Why yes that is a quote from a Future Worlds Project financed by the Rockefeller Foundation and the Carnegie Endowment for Peace in the early 70s. At least we now know why education just keeps coming up as the vehicle of choice to initiate social change without that fundamental fact being particularly noticeable. Even if caught, we just get told to defer to the professionals so that the political coup can continue at a slower pace. Drastic Gradualism is actually the term used to get the West to a radically different social, economic, and political system. Hopefully by the year 2000 was the Plan. The 70s were to have been the years to use education to change the prevailing Consciousness before initiating the mobilization for change in the 80s. The precise language used was to:

“supplant the outmoded values/ belief system associated with the state system [they mean nation-state, not those pesky political units the US has 50 of] in a pre-ecological age. [in other words, before Paul Ehrlich started writing about impending disaster]. The emergence and diffusion of a new value/belief consensus [helpfully provided as a Conceptual Understanding so ALL students will know it] is a vital precondition for the kind of active politics that would accomplish the transformation of the structures of power and authority in subsequent period of time.”

Now how many of you have heard that Common Core cannot be incremental? It MUST be comprehensive. Reforms in teacher evals, curricula, assessment, instructional practices, etc. ALL at once. The kind of social engineering that even a weak student of history would know better than attempt. Even if everything about the Common Core was actually about academic content. Which it most decidedly is not.

Well our new World Order planners as they honestly appear to be proud of being [again from then Princeton prof Richard Falk’s book] said it was because (their italics) mechanical penetration of existing curricula was not enough. No,

organic reorientation  of the educational program, which is what would enable students to develop an understanding of what is needed, what is desirable, and what can be done. By organic reorientation we mean more than new materials for old courses, or even curriculum revision; we mean, in essence, changing  the implicit symbol and belief systems that underlie the whole way citizenship, national goals, and even personal fulfillment are approached in the educational system.”

That’s what Outcomes Based Education was trying to achieve in the 90s and why it really set off what were misleadingly called the Math and Reading Wars. That’s what the laundry list of actual changes coming in under the heading of the Common Core are actually up to now. So your question is why? Which honestly calls for a vocabulary alert. Ding. Ding. Courtesy of a different Ivy League professor who originally published his book in Germany in 1970.

The phrase is Humanist Marxism and as you might gather the M word gets dropped from most discussions of its elements. At least in public and especially in the United States even though the book by Wolfgang Leonhard did get translated and published for English consumption in 1974. The same year as Falk’s book. Think of it as game plans and rationales. Not really for my consumption but footnote tracking is a superb researching tool. Especially if you are willing to make musty old used books your Mothers Day present.

It turns out, according to Professor Leonhard, that the Russians and the Chinese broke Uncle Karl’s and Engels’ well-laid out rules for revolution when they launched their plans on agricultural societies. To get a classless society that will stick you supposedly need a certain high level stage of economic development: “without it only want is made general, and with want the struggle for necessities and all the old filthy business would necessarily be reproduced.” So obviously Humanist Marxism is a strategy for a redo. This time targeting the wealth of Europe, the US, Canada, Australia and basically any place where a respect for the individual and the rule of law and industrialization had allowed wealth to accumulate. Those were and are the places that met the real ground rules for Revolution and if the proper Framework were followed, the idea is that the transformation can be peaceful.

Of course that is premised on using education to change those prevailing values and beliefs and that has just never gone as planned. Which is really annoying to lots of NGOs and public sector employees and multinational companies wanting to just deal with the appropriate Ministry in every country where they do business. Otherwise consumers can be fickle to deal with and satisfy consistently. Bureaucrats can be satisfied with good pensions and gourmet meals and regular conferences at luxury locations. Much easier way to do business as long as you already have a seat at the table and lobbyists at the ready.

So there’s good reason we keep encountering the phrase about using education to transform the economic, social, and political system. Except the M word gets left off now and the actual idea is that after gaining the support of a majority of voters, the “laws and institutions obstructing the advancement of [the redistribution vision] will be abolished.”  Use the rope ladder to gain control and then change the rules. No wonder the US IRS targeted the Tea Party with these very real contemporary plans for change using democratic methods and education and the federal printing press to lure compliance with the HM vision.

Now I am not going to dwell on the Personal Identity and Development of the Full Personality aspects of this vision because we have addressed it repeatedly. But it is why there is so much emphasis in the actual mandated implementation of the Common Core on social and emotional learning. And why Karl Marx’s Human Development Model fits our facts so well as I explained in an earlier post.

My readers interested in Agenda 21 and the restrictions on land development and equitable regional development will be fascinated to know this is straight out of Marx and a big part of what Humanist Marxism planned to pursue in the West. Yes it was news to me too. Can’t imagine why the typical poli sci prof forgets to mention that Marx and Engels wanted:

“measures designed to overcome the differences between town and country and aimed at ‘combining the advantages of urban and rural life without the citizens having to suffer from the one-sidedness and the disadvantages of either.”

And the HM economic vision is about co-operative enterprise that meets needs, not wants. Planned to meet the needs of the community and each individual. Which would explain why we keep encountering that very economic vision in so many places now and so many previous posts. M&E as interpreted via HM also plans to liberate the “human personality from the division of labor” which does rather explain the rise of the Competency movement since it is assumed that “nobody has one exclusive sphere of activity.” Someone wrongly believes it is better to have a fully developed surgeon than an able one.

Combined with everyone’s “comprehensively developed abilities and aptitudes” we get education that demands “first of all that intellectual and physical work should be fused, and that schooling should be combined with practical work through polytechnical education.” For ALL. Which is precisely where high school reforms are quietly going in state after state as a stealth component of the Common Core.

Now I think you are getting a feel for Humanist Marxism whatever it is calling itself for PR purposes. Even when it is wisely broken into parts in an effort to avoid detection. And I promised in the last post we would talk a bit about Gorbachev and the so-called New Thinking he embraced in the mid-80s. A book published in 2000 seems to have had everyone’s cooperation to be the definitive story of  what happened. Called Russia and the Idea of the West: Gorbachev, Intellectuals & the End of the Cold War it tells us the New Thinking was

“To be sure, many reformist intellectuals retained a broadly Marxist outlook. But theirs was less the Marx of class struggle and revolution and more the Marx of broader humanistic interest and concern for mankind’s alienation. It was a Marxism that led back to a European tradition of social-democratic reformism. And, given the Stalinist legacy, it led to a search for ‘socialism with a human face,’ …For most liberal, these goals were embodied in the model of the Prague Spring.”

All three of these books used that phrase “socialism with a human face” as the aspiration. It’s the aspiration for the related education reforms as well. It also means whether known or understood by the average person or not, these remain the intentions for the Common Core. Now the purpose of English’s book is to give a palatable story of why the USSR ended peacefully. Changed ideas. Except English has the New Thinking as coming from Evald Ilyenkov and his philosophies of a revised dialectics based on social problems generally, not just issues of class. And Gorbachev would have known of the Humanist Marxism movements going on in the West, especially in higher ed. And the related movements in the UN and OECD . And all those trips of educators to the USSR and providing Soviet psuchology and philosophy for English translations. What led to the Cultural-Historical Activity Theory school now being pushed all over the World.

That’s where the New Thinking fits. Lots of people have known that. It is we parents and taxpayers who have not been in the knowledge loop. Who were not told these plans for education. Who did not attend the conferences laying out how to mobilize action to get the desired transformation.

We are the ones who were and are supposed to remain ignorant for long enough for this to be a done deal. Now the question will be can enough people find out in time to avert these visions of where we are to be taken in the 21st Century. Without permission.

Sorry this went long but it was too important to break up.

 

Muzzling Minds All Over the Globe While Trumpeting Higher Order Skills

One of the hardest aspects for those of us who have grown up in free countries, especially the United States, is to grasp what it is like to live in a society committed to having its citizens think ideologically. Through the prisms of political theory. With the lens of  models supplied and practiced with until the filtering becomes quite unconscious. Reflexive. Habits of mind common to almost everyone that are at the core of perceptions and daily behavior.

I should have had this insight last Christmas when a friend who had grown up behind the Iron Curtain began to tear up at hearing some of my stories on what was being targeted and why. She knew ideological thinking from her childhood. Maybe it was reading that 1988 KEEP book I wrote about a week ago on creating the “dialectical growth of concepts” to be interpretive and integrative filters in each child’s mind. I was ready to really grapple with this painful aspect of the real implementation template of these global education reforms.

But I think the epiphany started with reading The Devil in History by Rumanian emigrant, now Maryland poli sci professor Vladimir Tismaneanu, and phrases like “their [the Communist regimes in the USSR and Eastern Europe] main weakness was a failure to muzzle the human mind.” Oh. Just imagine importing their theories and this time trying on an unsuspecting West via unappreciated education reforms. Describing from his experience, you can imagine my shock at reading descriptions of “conceptual frameworks” that “acted to make sense of general experience for all: all real phenomena could be judged against it and were ascribed value, form and essence in its light.” Do you know how often I have encountered conceptual frameworks in tracking the real Common Core? CRESST itself even told the Hewlett Foundation reassuringly that the actual assessments would be built around those, not the content standards.

Tismaneanu in describing the “continual assault on the mind” he associated with building new values and beliefs and a new Identity (and yes those terms do get used interchangeably in Ideological societies along with Worldview) reminds us pointedly that:

“However socially conditioned the individual’s thinking may be, however necessarily it may relate to social questions, to political action, it remains the thought of the individual which is not just the effect of collective processes but can also take them as its object.”

I have never lived in a society where it is considered “seditious” to maintain your individuality but plenty of people have and they have written about it. When I first wrote this alarming post on Yrjo Engestrom and where I saw the Global Cities Education Network taking us http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/treating-western-society-and-its-economy-as-a-train-in-need-of-rebuilding-and-central-direction/ , I grasped that he did not sound like he was describing a dead philosophy or theories. But I did not yet know that in 1991 he wrote an essay called “Activity theory and individual and social transformation.” Gulp. That sounds just like the aspirations we have been encountering. And it took some searching but this weekend I located a copy. On the servers at Harvard Graduate School of Education as an assigned reading. Maybe to go with the 10 Cs I first described here?

http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/making-race-and-class-oppression-the-locomotives-driving-the-positive-school-climate-mandate/ And if you are not sure yet we are dealing with ideology notice how often trains get used as the desired metaphor. I am just repeating all the uses. Which begins to make more sense once we know that (from the essay):

“Activity theory has its threefold historical origins in classical German philosophy (from Kant to Hegel), in the writings of Marx and Engels, and in the Soviet Russian cultural-historical psychology of Vygotsky, Leont’ev, and Luria.”

OK then. That also brings in Urie Bronfenbrenner and his Ecological Systems Theory that is at the center of the Common Core Social Studies Conceptual Framework. And Activity Theory is now centered at UC-San Diego and Michael Cole’s CHAT research which I have mentioned several times. But the very First International Congress on Activity Theory took place in Berlin in 1986 with Cole and Engestrom participating. That’s about the same time that Cole was thanking the Carnegie Corporation for financing the importation of psychology theories from “our Soviet colleagues.” Following up on the links between the term “Authentic Pedagogy” and Vygotsky and Cole’s work pulled up a 1987 seminal document I had never seen before. Published by the National Academies of Science and written by Lauren Resnick (who would co-chair the New Standards alternative assessment project in the 90s version of these ed reforms before serving on the Common Core creation panel) the document is called “Education and Learning to Think.”

That report, which I found on a server listed as a Common Core Precursor Document, is the source for the now ubiquitous term–Higher Order Thinking. And that document also thanks Cole and his Laboratory for Comparative Human Cognition for related work that Carnegie also was financing. Thanks a lot Andrew. Might have been better to let your heirs dissipate the fortune with too many mansions and gaudy vehicles. Since Higher Order Thinking is such an important term to today’s actual classroom emphasis under the Common Core and Texas version but also the ancestry of these ideas, let me quote Lauren’s definition with her italics intact. And remember this is for all children. Concepts and expansionary thinking for all you might say.

–Higher order thinking is nonalgorithmic. That is, the path of action is not fully specified in advance.

–Higher order thinking tends to be complex. The total path is not “visible” (mentally speaking) from any vantage point.

–Higher order thinking often yields multiple solutions, each with costs and benefits, rather than unique solutions.

–Higher order thinking involves nuanced judgment and interpretation.

–Higher order thinking involves the application of multiple criteria, which sometimes conflict with one another. [We have discussed in other posts how this type of mental dissonance can force the need for new mindsets and models.]

–Higher order thinking often involves uncertainty. Not everything that bears on the task at hand is known.

–Higher order thinking involves self-regulation of the thinking process. We do not recognize higher order thinking in an individual when someone else “calls the plays” at every step. [Here Lauren seems to be alluding to sequential, linear mathematics or science where you learn theories that someone else developed and proved. AKA traditional math and science]

–Higher order thinking involves imposing meaning, finding structure in apparent disorder. [If that reminds you of RECAST, David Perkins of Project Zero is listed as involved with this report].

–Higher order thinking is effortful. There is considerable mental work involved in the kinds of elaborations and judgments involved.”

Well, it is my belief that all those are euphemisms for saying higher order thinking is ideological. It is training students to think in terms of assigned categories and imagine different futures for everyone one involved. Planning. Imagining a different economic structure. Other ways to organize societies. Solutions for alleged catastrophes. Creativity that is not impeded by knowledge of what worked or led to catastrophe in the past. Not your own conceptual understandings as gifted students have developed them through the ages but supplied concepts and models and definitions.

There were more congresses on Activity Theory and they were absolutely chock full of Russian psychologists. Which actually makes sense as I will show you in the next post that CHAT and what is now called ISCAR–International Society for Cultural and Activity Theory–are related to the so-called New Thinking that Mikhail Gorbachev transitioned to in the mid-80s as part of perestroika. And why it appears that the restructurings were not just physical but also altered mindsets, values and beliefs, and new interpretive theories. Global this time.

Remember Davydov and his Ascending from the Abstract to the Concrete as the new mode of ideologically oriented systems thinking was called? He died in 1998 and was revered at that year’s ISCAR Congress in Copenhagen where his planned address was read instead. The most recent Congress was in 2011 in Rome, Italy. Guess which names showed up as part of the International Scientific Committee for that ISCAR conference? Why that would be Michael Cole, Yrjo Engestrom, and Lauren Resnick. Just in time to make sure the US Common Core implementation and assessments align with ISCAR philosophy and those higher order skills criteria from so long ago.

In case you are too busy to check, the described foundations of ISCAR fit perfectly with what Engestrom described above in 1991 as the source of Activity Theory. Which is also the current basis for most education degrees in the US. Especially the Masters and Doctorates.

Now I am just getting started on all the links involved. And I have read too much history not to have a perspective on what we are looking at here.

But I want you to get used to an idea that I have known for a while but this time approached through a new direction.

The Cold War simply did not end quite in the manner we believed. And the potentials of Activity Theory and a stealth noetic assault on Western values and beliefs appear to be the reasons we were played.

It was a good strategy but unfortunately the answers of why lie in history and political theory books I have now read.

Digest the above revelations and then we will talk some more. And no I am not speculating here. This is way too serious for conjecture. But it is fascinating too because it also makes perfect sense. Actually more sense than the spun stories once you get used to the idea.