Openly Admitting Global Coordination to Impose Behavioral Programming Using Education and the Law

I thought about using the word Conspiracy in the title but I was afraid readers might be confused and think we are merely theorizing. Oh no, turns out that in 2012 there was another of those Movers and Shakers meetings we were not invited to. GELP–Global Education Leaders Program–chose to have that particular meeting in Helsinki, Finland with sponsorship from the Gates Foundation, Promethean Boards (in case you have always wondered why they get bought and then remain in boxes), and Cisco. Apparently they all wanted to look up close at the Finnish education system we met in the last post. The US-based CCSSO, the formal sponsors of the Common Core State Standards in the US, was also there, except the focus was on its Innovation Learning Network–ILN–and what CCSS is really bridging the US towards.

Yes, I did go through and systematically download all those presentations. Hope you had a more congenial Saturday than me, but it was all in a good cause. The GELP Co-Director, Tony MacKay from Australia (also heads ATC21S for those who have read the book. The rest of you are missing the foundation of this story) kindly announced in a related paper on Future-Oriented Education he placed on a New Zealand Server  http://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/109317/994_Future-oriented-07062012.pdf that GELP has been “designed to accelerate and sustain transformation within GELP members ‘local’ systems and nations–and to advocate and continually refine the vision of 21st century teaching and learning.”

When we first encountered the Consortium vision http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/District_Dossier/Consortium%20-%20%20Recommendations%20for%20a%20New%20Federal%20Accountability%20Framework%20February%202014.pdf I warned in that March 3, 2014 post that the Gypsy Supers were lobbying DC for supposed ‘local’ power to impose what was actually a global vision. But I did not at that time know about GELP or that Helsinki Conference or Tony MacKay’s useful admission of a global effort that can be deceitfully sold as ‘homemade’. The law firm (whose education practice we have tied to the creation of that Consortium, the Fulton County Conversion Charter that contractually guts academics whatever the School Board believes, and the affirmative Student Code of Conduct) is cited by CCSSO, through its Education Counsel affiliate, to be working with ILN and the CCSSO to shift states and districts towards the Competency-oriented Next Generation Learning. (Chapter 4 of my book as I did accurately perceive where CCSSI was really going).

Now that we better appreciate how people can become bound via laws and documents with legal effect to Transformative Social Change whatever the personal intentions of the drafting lawyers or the authorizing institutions are, I want to call your attention to a group in the past who advocated for a similar strategy of how to quietly get such change in place. The Fabian Socialists (who still exist and were involved in Anthony Giddens’ The Global Third Way conference I wrote about) were willing to be gradual and employ stealth. But as the motto of this stained glass window shows http://www.lse.ac.uk/newsandmedia/news/archives/2006/fabianwindow.aspx with its image of a molten world being hammered on an anvil into the desired shape–“Remould It Nearer to the Hearts Desire,” the end vision is fundamental transformation, like it or not. Whether we are even aware or not.

The law and education globally are both being used to drive wholesale, nonconsensual change at the level of the human mind and personality for purposes of behavioral programming to go along with the same type of vision the Fabian Socialists have always sought. I speak Educationese fluently now and the consistency is stunning. One more point, another of the profs advocating this vision, Princeton’s Philip Pettit, keeps mentioning this same phrasing in his 2014 book Just Freedom: A Moral Compass for a Complex World:

“How should a government organize the shared legal and economic lives of its citizens?”

The answer is that it should not, but Pettit like Nussbaum with her Human Rights work, intends to use the law as a tool to organize nonconsensual submission anyway. We may not have ever thought of the law or education as affirmative weapons for wholesale social change, but they are very good at that purpose. Plus the advocates get to live off the bounty of the taxes we must all pay.

Now we can shift back to Nussbaum and Jeremy Rifkin and Finland once again to fully appreciate the why of what is to be changed. As the GELP conference admitted, the Fabian-adored ‘welfare state’ is crucial to the success of this vision of education transformation globally in so many ways. In talking about the need for classwork and literature assigned to build a compassionate imagination, Martha Nussbaum wrote:

“they are led to notice the sufferings of other living creatures with a new keenness. At this point stories can then begin to confront children more plainly with the uneven fortunes of life, convincing them emotionally of their urgency and importance. ‘Let him see, let him feel the human calamities,’ Rousseau writes of his imaginary pupil. ‘Unsettle and frighten his imagination with the perils by which every human being is constantly surrounded. Let him see around him all these abysses, and, hearing you describe them, hold onto you for fear of falling into them.'”

Now how much more powerful is that intended behavioral manipulation when married to Video Gaming in the classroom? No wonder Amplify hypes its Zombie Apocalypse for Middle Schoolers. Now Jeremy Rifkin, in order to nurture and ‘grow’ (as in Student Growth as the new definition of achievement) this ’empathic impulse’ happens to cite a Professor Kenneth Gergen and his idea that we move from a “self-centered system of beliefs [as in mine and thine] to a consciousness of an inseparable relatedness with others.” Now in case you are tempted to consider this all tenured mumbo-jumbo cultivated in the shade of all that ivy, remember Gergen was on the Gordon Commission in charge of the future of US student assessment and his Appreciative Inquiry Model [see tags] is commonly now used by urban school systems and community organizers.

So when education critics carelessly assume that the word ‘assessment’ is interchangeable with ‘test’ they lose much of the intended psychological transformation via the classroom experience. They miss that Gergen, the Gordon Commission, Rifkin, Nussbaum, and influential others ALL want to stress a shift to activity and experience precisely because they want to replace the historic concept of the individual with the ‘relational self.’ Having the classroom nurture the belief that a student’s Identity is changeable and simply “a unique constellation of relational experiences with one another.” And why would these people want such a thing? For the Fabian Socialist change of course, but they cannot phrase it that way as we parents and taxpayers would almost certainly rebel.

Instead, as Rifkin states, students get told over years “the idea that those same embedded relationships and experiences make one a unique being, different from all others. It is only by keeping the distinction in mind that empathic consciousness can continue to grow and become the psychic and social glue for a global consciousness.”

That’s why requiring students to have and demonstrate empathy towards one another in the classroom in a new type of legally coercive Student Code of Conduct is such a big deal. As Rifkin admits, the desired transformational glue vanishes once students once again see themselves as individuals instead of “a unique ensemble of relationships.”  Remember in the last post when the Finnish Curriculum for Global Education wanted to require students to “promote the common good” and aspire for a “common understanding” via the classroom? This is verbatim how the Finns break that requirement down into subgoals with the student age range in brackets. Since other countries like the US intend the same approach (as the Rockefeller Foundation funded Communication for Social Change confirmed as well), but without this blueprint for our eyes, here it is anyway:

[5-6]:  To practice bringing up important topics of discussion that are interesting to oneself and others.

To practice a polite and dignified manner of speaking. (To be continued in all age groups.)

[7-8]: To learn to weigh one’s views in the light of facts.

To learn to listen to and ponder carefully the viewpoints presented by others. (To be continued in age group 9-10).

To practice a polite and dignified manner of speaking. ( To be continued in all age groups).

[9-10]: To learn to listen to and ponder carefully the viewpoints presented by others. (Continued from age group 7-8).

To practice striving for a shared view in conversation.

To practice a polite and dignified manner of speaking. (To be continued in all age groups.)

[11-12]: To learn to make joint decisions on the basis of views arrived at mutually (To be continued in age group 13-14.)

To learn to keep one’s emotions under control and one’s thoughts as objective as possible during consultation. (To be continued in age group 13-14.)

To practice a polite and dignified manner of speaking. (To be continued in all age groups.)

[13-14]: To learn to make joint decisions on the basis of views arrived at mutually. (Continued from age group 11-12).

That’s the end of the Finnish vision for Global Education. It’s how education to fulfill the vision of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights gets met. It’s the embodiment in how to educate to create a Mindset to see oneself as a “citizen of humanity” ready to fulfill now imposed obligations to serve the “well-being of all” occurs.

The phrase “behavioral programming’ in the title now seems like an understatement, doesn’t it?

Standing Still As the Yoke Is Fastened: Student Codes of Conduct to Now Build Collectivism

Now I considered making that title a bit longer with the addition of the phrase ‘as a State of Mind.’ People grasping the essence of what I have been describing in my book or this blog will frequently insist that certain reforms would be mind control. I usually respond by pointing out that plenty of advocates readily acknowledge that as their intention if we know where to look. We are not having a conversation actually about possible effects of these theories that want to come into your local schools and classrooms, including the privates, parochial, and charters. There is meant to be no escape.

I frequently now read radicals who want to use the law as simply another form of policy advocacy for social transformation. It’s not though. That’s not what the public thinks it is paying for from lawyers who represent school districts. The law is not just another tool either. It has an ability to make itself binding on those who would reject its coercion if they were aware of it. The law then, be it regulation, the language in a Charter or Student Code of Conduct, or a statute with mischievous obligations no one defined, is the perfect tool for anyone wanting to force change away from the West’s historic emphasis on the primacy of the individual.

Now I have been hearing reports from around the country over the last year about parents objecting to a school’s sudden psychological emphasis or mindfulness training and being told they gave their consent at the beginning of the year when they said they had read and would abide by the Student Code of Conduct. It’s not about agreeing not to misbehave anymore. It’s about language that actually imposes obligations on how you must treat and feel about others and what they say and do into the Student Code of Conduct. Think of it as imposing an obligation to behave and think like a Communitarian instead of an individual into what is now to be required behavior at school. We already know that Sir Michael Barber of Pearson and the Gates Foundation’s Vicki Phillips wrote a book on getting Irreversible Change that emphasized if people are forced to do, believing comes along.

In May I noticed that just such an Affirmative Obligation Code of Conduct was on the agenda for the next Board meeting of Fulton County, the large, diverse Metro Atlanta district that has a conversion charter that guts academics through its wording. Binding unappreciated language that made me wonder what had shifted so radically within the legal profession since I went to law school. The answer is that the law quietly became a tool for forcing normative change on an unwitting public. We all need to appreciate that shift has occurred and not treat ‘the law’ as still a set of established, agreed upon rules. When I saw the language in that Code of Conduct I had the same reaction. It was an attempt to coerce compliance with a classroom vision shifting to psychological manipulation. Most parents would never notice.

The lawyer who had drafted the Student Code of Conduct was listed so I noticed she worked for President Clinton’s Education Secretary, Richard Riley’s, law firm.  http://www.waldenu.edu/colleges-schools/riley-college-of-education/about/richard-w-riley Ties then to Outcomes-Based Education in the 90s, the Carnegie Corporation and its views that (per Moises Naim) we are now to be the Governed, and the Knowledge Works Foundation with its views of Competency and ownership of the High Tech High concept. As a factual matter we are dealing with a view both of law and education as tools for transformative social change; however nice the actual lawyers involved may be as individuals. It simply is what it is and we ought to recognize this as a different view of legal advocacy and education policy than what they were historically.

Not recognizing these shifts so we can talk about it in the sunlight is what is so dangerous. That Student Code of Conduct came back on my radar last week when the school district picked the quiet holiday week to ask for parent comments on it. If a parent had an objection, the survey software insisted the parent explain their objections. It was tempting to want to write “but I fully support students being allowed to be dishonest” as the sarcastic explanation.

What I really had a problem with was recognizing where a required obligation to show empathy and never be disrespectful to any classmate could go on top of Positive School Climate obligations. I have read enough participatory materials to know there is a real desire not to be allowed to point out that stupid comments or poorly-informed opinions are just that. Only a very mediocre mind or a disingenuous radical transformationalist really believes that all opinions are equally valid and entitled to comparable deference.

You don’t have to be mean and ask someone if they are an intellectual eunuch to their face or just laugh hysterically, but a requirement in a Student Code of Conduct to treat all opinions as valid was a reminder of just how often I have now seen this to-be-required classroom consensus. Yet it was showing up in that Code of Conduct. It would be a reason for the Common Core English Language Arts Standards specifically carving out ‘speaking’ and ‘listening’ like they do. We have already noted that Study Circles Resource Center’s alliance with the Southern Poverty Law Center and its Teaching Tolerance Project and its odd sudden name change to Everyday Democracy (the name of community organizer Harry Boyte’s 2004 book). That Student Code of Conduct would go a long way toward making classrooms function like either the Swedish or Baha’i Study Circles. It would also enshrine that Rockefeller Process of Communication For Social Change in the classroom to force everyone into accepting a common understanding.

So I went back to that 1971 book on what these same ed reforms sought to do in Sweden that I wrote a troubling post about. The New Totalitarians said this about the use of Study Circles and the psychological conditioning they promote (italics in original):

“the A B F study circles promote the supremacy of the collective. Participants are taught that, once a decision has been made, then all further discussion is necessarily at an end and that, whatever their feelings might be, it is their duty to submit to the will of the group. But, as the study circle is designed to give received opinions the appearance of conclusions personally achieved, so is the individual persuaded to accept the will of the group as his own. Even if a person begins by opposing a majority opinion, he will purge himself of previous objections and adopt that opinion as his own as soon as it has been formally established.  By a kind of conditioned reflex, this form of submissiveness is evoked beyond the study circle by this phrase: ‘The decision has been made in a democratic manner, and accepted by the majority.’ Quoted always in the identical wording, it has the force of the liturgical chants of the Buddhists’ O Mane Padme Hum; it need not necessarily be understood to produce a certain state of mind.”

We could call that result Irreversible Change mandated via legal coercion. We could also call it fastening a yoke to a student’s mind and personality or maybe attaching an invisible serfs collar through required classroom experiences. We don’t really have to speculate about the kind of education experiences that created a belief that Student Codes of Conduct of this ilk are an effective policy tool in 21st century American schools because it turned out the drafting lawyer had been a previous member of the Education Policy Fellowship Program in DC. Legal training with non-lawyers to effect policy change. This normative use of the law just gets more interesting

http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/epfp.iel.org/resource/resmgr/50th_anniversary/iel_epfp@50_booklet.pdf explains EPFP from its creation in 1964 with Ford Foundation backing. It is how policy changes get invisibly shifted via education with few the wiser. That booklet lays out the entities in the various states and the mixture of public sector and private involvement. The website shows that the Lumina Foundation (determined to radically alter higher ed) and ETS (same to K-12 with its Gordon Commission) were the national sponsors of the most recent EPFP class.

It’s worth checking out. You may discover as I did that a moderator of the Common Core Listening Tour in your state is involved with EPFP and that the designated advocates of the Common Core serve on the Board of the state sponsor or its Advisory Council. Oh what a tangled web we weave… I would never finish this post if I laid out all the interconnections in my state of Georgia. I suspect each reader will find comparable interesting webs in your own state now that we know this entity exists and who the state players are.

I want to end this post with Reflections on “The Power of the Collective” from a member of the most recent local class. I have never met the writer, but I do recognize the ties between her employer and the world’s largest education accreditor, AdvancED; the State Professional Standards Board for teachers; and the recent Metro Atlanta regional economic development plan that also bound all school districts to ‘innovative learning’ without asking their individual school boards. A tangled web indeed.

http://www.gpee.org/fileadmin/files/PDFs/Brinkley_s_EPFP_speech_FINAL.pdf is the link to the May 21, 2014 speech. The author mentions that “at the end of our monthly colloquiums, Dana [Rickman, previously with the Annie E Casey Foundation] always asks us to reflect upon what we’ve learned [bolding in original] by completing a statement: I used to think … and now I think.

That’s a confession that the technique known as Delphi or study circles or now the Rockefeller Process of Communication for Social Change is a big part of creating the desired mindsets of education policy makers. Adults who have been through this process without recognizing it for what it is are unlikely to have a problem with now imposing it on students.

Just imagine using this technique created for use with adults on malleable minds captive in K-12 classrooms.

 

Identifying Education Globally as the Crucial Lever for Nonconsensual Behavior and Societal Change

It is one thing to know that education is now a weapon, and another to discover there has been an expensive, calculated frenzy in the last few years to use social science theory, specifically cited as sociology, anthropology, psych, and even political science, to “drive individual processes of change, as well as changes in social practices.” What? Just because someone is a tenured professor or a one-time politician? That enables them to recommend “transformative actions toward equitable sustainability at the local, community level” so that others can examine “how to speed and scale those up into processes of transformative global thinking?” Whoa!!

Welcome to the May 2012 prescription for “Transformative Cornerstones of Social Science Research for Global Change” as our Adaptation Means Each of Us From the Inside-Out Trilogy continues. Any concerns we might have that all this clearly constitutes “processes of social engineering” in order to mandate nonconsensual shifts toward “achieving alternative visions of the future” are supposed to be calmed by uniting these visions with “participatory approaches” at reaching a consensus. Right. At some point after the participants have been manipulated via education and the media. After all, these are transformationalists who KNOW that it is “interpretation and subjective sense making” that actually “confronts the personal and collective values, beliefs, assumptions, interests, worldviews, hopes, needs and desires that underlie people’s experiences of and responses–or lack of responses–to processes of global change.”

A mouthful of aims, but we get what is targeted now. The transformational schemers do not necessarily have a T-shirt or banner and include the greedy, ambitious, or naive servants in the school district or principal’s or even the Governor’s office. Anyone who intends to get at people’s mental models and values, attitudes, and beliefs to drive political change–both at the individual and societal levels. When I wrote my book, I spent years researching what happened during the Cold War and immediately afterwards as I kept  encountering controversial US practices in education that had ties to Soviet psychology. The book explains the whys and recognizes that individual consciousness is always the ultimate target of anyone with aspirations of nonconsensual political control. After several days of wading through all the social science research surrounding Adaptation and how to use education to drive Global Change I have come to a definitive conclusion.

The desire for Planned Geoengineering survived the fall of the Berlin Wall and so did a  desire to control people, places, and things in even more ways than I had previously documented. New methods, new excuses, and more parts to hide the coordination among political levels and regions. Another example also tied into the Belmont Challenge and Future Earth Alliance I first wrote about in June 2012 is called the Global Environmental Change (GEC) Design Project. No, it’s not about what kind of drapes you want in the sunroom. It is, however, all about deliberate transformation using the perception of human-caused climate change as an excuse and asking the “social sciences to take the lead in developing a new integrated, transformative science of global change.” And applying itself through preschool, K-12, and higher ed, which all make good prolonged tools when the aim is:

“Transformation is understood as a process of altering the fundamental attributes of a system, including in this case structures and institutions, infrastructures, regulatory systems, financial regimes, as well as attitudes and practices, lifestyles, policies and power relations.”

Whew! Now you don’t really think that alarming confessional is all I have do you? I thought not. Looking at a few of the Stanford profs involved with the IPCC Report led me to a January 2011 document Called “Knowledge, Learning, and Societal Change: Finding Paths to a Sustainable Future.” This was the Science Plan [notice bolding above] “for a cross-cutting core project of the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change” or IHDP. Don’t get too excited but the social science schemers involved with IHDP see knowledge, learning, and societal change as being in a dialectical relationship where change to one affects and drives changes in the others. KLSC has since ensconced itself in Switzerland with its own website and probably lovely chocolates and fabulous vistas for all its employees, but in discussing it I will stick to the January 2011 declarations for education as well as a 2013 paper kindly laying out the history of IHDP.

We have speculated before on why what Edmund Gordon called “intellective competence” and that’s it, or what is being trumpeted as “equity and excellence” by those seeking economic justice for all, would be useful if you wanted political control, but the KLSC document removes all need to speculate on eliminating Axemaker Minds. Quite simply, we might not behave as desired and we might fail to act when wanted. To put it bluntly, the so-called “science of global change” and the education reforms pushed to accomplish it are all about “how to motivate and empower action by sufficient numbers of people with very different political and economic perspectives, ecological and physical conditions, and cultures.”

The answer is that the inner mental models and new values, attitudes, and beliefs will be carefully sculpted via “personalized learning” until students have different types of “knowledge and different core competencies.” That would be a “broad notion of knowledge that goes beyond a narrow notion of cognitive, science-based forms of knowing.” In fact, “knowledge can be conceptualized as any form of mental representation of the world,” whether true or not, as long as it either changes the student from the “inside-out” or causes him or her to take action.

KLSC is quite aware that “how issues are framed and the way they are communicated appears to influence people’s receptivity to the issues and possible responses” so of course we are in the midst of Curriculum Redesign with ties to IHDP to make students receptive as desired and responsive as wished. All those references to Enduring Understandings or Understandings by Design can be evaluated through this KLSC doctrine: “Knowledge is what empowers its possessors with the capacity for intellectual or physical action.” The KLSC view of the purpose of “education and pedagogies”? The aim is “the formal or informal intervention in an individual’s development to steer learning processes towards socially acceptable behavior.” Not just an intentionally created internal noetic keel then, but consciously aimed at behavior desired to drive transformation.

How do we get that kind of transformation? KLSC points to the “subconscious change of perceptions and [mental] terms of reference over time.” That would mean that the changes are designed to be not just nonconsensual, but at a level past the point of awareness. All the references we keep hearing to Positive School Climate or fostering Communities of Learners? Why “they help link individuals with a shared sense of purpose, so that individual changes are undertaken in the context of a wider social movement.” The KLSC project wishes to “promote research into understanding how to identify a tipping point in attitude and behaviors.” And all of this provides KSLC “with core approaches to understand the positioning of individuals in collectives.”

Oh, a firm knowledge of history gives me such a core understanding, but then I just write books and a blog instead of conducting “action research” on children and young adults for personal profit and professional advancement. KLSC admits that “by societal change, we mean large-scale behavioral change” by “individuals, groups and formal institutions.” And all the while plenty of people continue to believe this is just a good-faith discussion about the natural sciences and climate or how to best teach children for the 21st century.

Well, it is the latter, but only because the nature of life in the 21st century is being radically revised with little notice. I think that all this documentation makes it very clear that “humans” became embedded in “complex systems” according to the social scientists so that human behavior could be controlled and become subject to the “sphere of conscious political calculation.” It allows a shift in the very nature and purpose of governments all over the West without, once again, getting anyone’s consent. These “contemporary efforts to devise strategies for Earth System governance” truly do aim to place the individual chains invisibly within the mind.

The 2013 paper acknowledges that such “geoengineering remains a controversial stewardship ideal also in Earth System science circles.” Well, a touch of sanity at least. Since I am pretty sure I know which side of the debate will get the promotions, lucrative grants, and exotic invites, does anyone think this will remain controversial?

Well, at least before we went to the trouble of documenting Adaptation meant education and personal transformation. Let’s see if we can make this as controversial as it deserves to be.

Dynamic Digital Dialectical Classrooms=Deliberate Transformational Change in Students and Society

Do you remember the decal from the Ghostbusters movies with the Ghost within the circle with a line struck through it? In the 90s excited high school students participating in an Educational Testing Service (the famous and lucrative ETS based in Princeton) Systems Thinking and Curriculum Innovation–STACI–Project (with ties to Harvard, MIT, and Stanford just like today’s Curriculum Redesign) using computers and simulation software came up with a graphically similar “No More Funnels” decal. These Tucson students in the same Sunnyside School District where the League of Innovative Schools had their annual conference last week celebrated the rejection of the “system of education that uses teachers as the dispensers of knowledge, dumping information into students’ heads for the purpose of regurgitating those facts onto tests, after which they promptly forget what they have learned.”

Now I have heard virtually the same verbatim sales pitch before from principals and administrators selling a school or district’s shift to constructivism many times before. Every time I hear it I know the speaker was a poor student who wants everyone to reject the importance of what they were lousy at. Honestly though there is tremendous irony in celebrating “no more funnels” in a school district that has been longitudinally tracking all students, including motivation, in order to reliably create a designed mental keel. Instead of a funnel effect that leaves each student free to build up their own understandings of how the world works and a teacher or professor to monitor whether those concepts are brilliant, confused, or just parroting others, the students get their internal mental images, associations, and concepts examined. Precisely in the manner envisioned and hoped for by Piotr Galperin in his Soviet research over decades and sought under that cybernetic theory of control we keep running into.

This is from a 1994 book on the STACI Project and its use of Jay Forester’s modelling World Dynamics software modified for the K-12 classroom as STELLA–Structural Thinking Experiential Learning Laboratory with Animation. Just the thing in other words to successfully join in reliable, replicable ways the inner representations of physical image, associated relationships, and conceptual understandings. The book’s title was Classroom Dynamics: Implementing a Technology-Based Learning Environment and it was very much a learning environment of the sort envisioned under obuchenie psychological theories. As far as I know no one is calling this STACI Project How to Get Inside Each Student’s Mental Black Box for Lasting Results, but that’s the intention.

No wonder so many radical ed reforms around 21st century skills and systems thinking are tied to the Tucson area–25 years of longitudinal data being thrown off by computers and crunched and analyzed by ETS in its quest for equity in education.   Here’s what the book says is targeted in the “No funnels” classroom:

“In the learner-centered environment the focus of instruction is on procedural knowledge and general problem solving skills, rather than on declarative knowledge and rote learning. Furthermore, environments such as those created by the systems thinking approach shift the focus of instruction to real-world applications and problems. In doing so, learning is concretized, rather than dealing with abstractions that have little apparent relevance to anything. Finally, a computer-based curriculum innovation project can diminish ‘teacher talk’ and provide students with opportunities for individual and group intellectual exploration.”

Concrete then means those mental representations remain tied to real world events and applications, increasing the likelihood that the inner beliefs will produce the desired future behavior to take transformational action. That internal keel from the last post is also influenced by the constant desire to take the way physical systems operate and apply the concepts to human or social systems or real world phenomena like war, conflict, or the economy. Perception of reality gets predictably influenced by the conceptual ‘lenses’ being supplied by teachers or virtual reality or gaming software, even if a well-informed expert in the area of transfer would immediately recognize the comparison is inapt. Without funneling, few students will. Remember to a social schemer with intentions for radical transformation there is “nothing as valuable as a good theory.” Or simulation of supposed systems to amend the slogan to 21st century intentions.

So now we know why the White House sponsored League of Innovative Schools chose Tucson. It was NOT the Titan Missile Museum or the chance to see saguaro cactus. What is so fascinating to me though is that ETS began actively looking for a curriculum innovation to push “higher order thinking skills” back in the mid-80s, soon after Galperin’s research became available in English. The 1994 book was quite graphic that students were being taught to visualize systems so it will change how they view the world. Since I knew that ETS also funded the Gordon Commission on the Future of Assessment in Education from 2011 to 2013, I wondered if the Commission’s work dovetailed with what I am calling this shift to an obuchenie mindset being cultivated in the student.

First of all, it turns out that one of Edmund Gordon’s mentors, the psychologist Bob Glaser, is the same person whose phrase for the new purpose of education–“developmental theory of performance change”–led me to James Raven and the socio-cybernetics aspirations we encountered in the last post. The Gordon Commission in its February 2012 newsletter stated it was looking for “a bifocal and bi-directional” teaching and learning process (aka dialectical). The vision is “less focused on what we want learners to know and do, and are more sharply focused on what it is that we want learners to become, to be disposed toward, and to be (i.e., thinking and compassionate human beings).”

No funnels, just that invisible mental and psychological keel again. Rejecting the traditional emphasis on “scholastic abilities,” students are to have “intellective competence.” If that sounds vague, it is supposedly the necessary focus for education “with equity and justice at its core.” Once again, we are requiring a shift in emphasis to cultivating non-Axemaker Minds while arguing it’s a fulfillment of social justice obligations and civil rights law requirements to provide opportunity for all. Gordon defined this intellective competence back in 2001 as a “way of adapting, appreciating, knowing, and understanding the phenomena of human experience through the domains of cognitive, affective, and situative competence.” Sounds like consciously cultivated stupidity to me, but I suppose that works better given the kind of social transformation plans we keep encountering. If you are in Vienna in late April, you may want to go to this conference and join in the planning.http://emcsr.net/general-information/

Just how very low this “intellective competence” goal actually is gets hidden by asserting the now acquired ability to “engage and solve quotidian, as well as novel, problems adaptively.” Quotidian sounds most impressive until we look it up in the dictionary and see it translates into everyday problems. Somewhat akin to putting the basketball goal at 5 feet and celebrating everyone’s ability to suddenly dunk. We could call it Basketball for Excellence or Success for All. Gordon did admit though that what is driving him, and one can assume ETS as well since it bankrolled the Commission, is his desire for “developmental democratization” and measures of student achievement not tied to “hegemonic indicators of developed ability.” Those are the intentions behind Gordon and ETS’s beliefs about what should be measured in students.

So when you hear the words Growth or Achievement it may reflect computer gaming or group project participation with a change in values and beliefs as the focus. It may mean that the student’s internal representations brought from home and the interactions within a family have now been successfully altered in a student urged to show Grit and Perseverence in novel and ambiguous real world scenarios where there is no right answer and Cognitive Dissonance may be the intention of the scenario. The student may be showing they view all the world including other people as systems that can be gutted and redesigned to see if a better world is possible. As if all things smashed can be reglued after impact.

Or that cited higher achievement or Growth may reflect Edmund Gordon’s hope for an intellective competence focus. Then the assessment might be measuring “the effective orchestration of affective, cognition, and situative processes in the interest of intentional human agency. I place affect first for reasons other than respect for alphabetical order. Human activity appears to begin with affect, and I have come to believe that while cognition ultimately informs affect, it is affect that gives rise to cognitive functions.”

That’s the developmental obuchenie focus that the banner of the Common Core is obscuring. It’s coming in at various rates depending on the venality of consultants and administrators or their naivete. Peter Senge’s version may be more famous, but Spence Rogers’ Teaching for Excellence is another example of the Change the Student focus. That’s why teacher development is so crucial. It’s also the real reason teacher tenure rules are being targeted. Compliance with the developmental vision is required.

Only the time schedule and extent of the frenzy to implement varies now.

No more funnels. Just internal keels to steer with. With no need for consent.

Should we call this all totalitarian education?

New Mindsets and Changed Values Tied to ICT as the Long Sought Marxian New Mode of Production

Computers and ICT generally just keeps getting cited as the magic technology that Marx and Engels speculated could allow a world where everyone’s needs get met. Advances in technology was a hugely important concept in all their political theorizing of how in the future society would be organized in radically different ways. That the age of the individual and capitalism would be over. It’s the era I have explained as small c communism in previous posts because that is what they called it. Well, they also called it the age of association and community. Princeton prof Robert Tucker said it was to be a time of positive humanism. Since that term is less off-putting than either communism or Marxist Humanism, that strikes me as a better term for us to use so we don’t bring in visions of Kremlin Walls or Mao’s Black Book uninvited. But the future social and economic vision is the same as what we have encountered under varying names in numerous posts now.

And the prosperous West remains the target. With education as the preferred vehicle to gain the desired changes in consciousness and values and attitudes and especially feelings. We in the West assumed the PH vision was about who had what. But it turns out Uncle Karl’s theory had what might be called a magic trigger. Let me explain with a quote:

“every historical mode of production has been conditioned by the nature of the available means of production or state of technology. As [Marx] puts it in a vivid passage, ‘The windmill gives you society with the feudal lord; the steam-mill, society with the industrial capitalist.’ According to this view, the rise of a new technology, a new set of material productive powers…”

necessarily triggers a social revolution. Computers, the Internet, cellphone communication etc–what I and others abbreviate as ICT–are being held up as that triggering technology. And to put it bluntly we have political idealogues, ready to administer public sector and NGO bureaucrats, and tech and media companies ready to stop future competition, who are quite happy to use education to commence the needed changes in mindsets and values. All while being well-paid of course. All over the globe but especially in the US. That’s really a big part of what Common Core is about when you peel back the layers and delve into the ever present, consistent, feature–must use ICT as an integral part of classroom. The focus.

Being honest that this tracks back to Uncle Karl would of course be a bad PR selling point so instead we get university students being told that “unjust ecological and social conditions” require “transformation of existing power relations and even worldviews.” Radical change needs minds that have been primed to accept “a society based upon distribution according to need” and primed for activism. Students who believe in the “possibility of realizing it, of moving from the world as it is to the world as it ought to be.”

Gaming and role-playing and little factual knowledge are really useful to such aspirations of transformative change. Luckily for the Change-the-World Crowd the visual, concrete, nature of making school about the use of the computer and making films and power points ditches the abstract mind bolstering aspects of reading print that is designed around symbols for sounds. Remember that when you find out that Pearson and the MacArthur Foundation underwrote a 2011 PBS special called “Digital Media: New Learners of the 21st Century” hyping the new types of literacy. How digital media is “changing the ecology of reading and writing” so it is no longer “doing the type of reading where you sit in your bedroom by yourself reading a novel.”

What about under an umbrella on the beach while working on a tan I ask in alarm?

No, “kids need to get a deep passion” for what they are doing and school needs to be about what will make them feel passionate. We shouldn’t be rewarding the “kid who stays up late reading a book” while “a kid who spends that same time working with his guild in ‘World of Warcraft’ is thought to have a problem.” Yes, these quotes are coming straight from the program’s transcript.   http://www.pbs.org/parents/digital-media/pdf/digital-media-transcript.pdf Have a read if you can stand it. The vision of “where learning and assessment are the same thing.” Which is precisely what Robert Torres said is a big part of the Gates Foundation’s current focus. So that computer, role-playing, games become the means of measuring whether learning is occurring.

No I am not kidding. Torres spoke at the G Summit in April 2013 on “Transforming Education with Gamification” and saw it as a means of determining if the Common Core Standards and the new science standards are being met. And I noticed that very time the interviewer, Gabe Zicherman, brought up knowledge, Torres switched back to his preferred term–learning. Behavioral changes then will do while the head remains quite empty.

In case you are stunned by this whole idea, here’s the June 28, 2012 News Release creating GlassLab–The Games, Learning and Assessment Lab–under the premise that “video games can revolutionize American education and students’ testing and learning. We can harness students’ passion and energy for video games and utilize that to reach and educate a 21st century workforce with skills critical for college and career readiness.” One can just imagine this idea of work or college but at least all the students will get plenty of daily practice with the designated new mode of production. http://www.instituteofplay.org/2012/06/2498glass-lab-press-release/ Torres is quoted as saying “we need projects that will work with students and speak to them in their native language: digital media. Through game-based learning, students will be challenged, and teachers and parents can get real-time feedback on student progress.”

Will the parents really understand that the Growth and Achievement are from being online and immersed in role-playing video games? Will they understand that the games will count as Literacy under the Common Core? This presentation is about 7 minutes http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahYeJ5LmnXI . You can decide if this is your idea of desirable Learning or Literacy. And with Pearson and NewsCorp’s Amplify and many of our Gordon Commission members involved with GlassLab, this really does look like the intended future. Have a look if you’d like  http://glasslabgames.org/

One of the people interviewed as part of that PBS program was Dr Nichole Pinkard, founder of Chicago’s Digital Youth Network. Which Gates is supporting but not quite as generously as the $50 million the MacArthur Foundation has plowed in. Here’s the vision of a different design for classroom learning  http://spotlight.macfound.org/blog/entry/pinkard-videogames-inspire-classroom-design/ Dr Pinkard made a very interesting statement in her interview with PBS. She said that “literacy has always been defined by technology.” Under this theory of history grounded in you know who’s writings, the technology changes the type of consciousness. So the printing press and moveable type are what made print the new designated form of literacy. And this line of thinking goes, since we now have tablets and films and videos on demand and computers learning to respond to sound, we should change the nature of what constitutes literacy.

Now John Dewey and the Soviet psychologists, among others, all understood that learning to decode and use symbols for sound or math that did not look visually like the concept they actually stood for is what turbocharged the potentials of the individual mind. (As compared with drawing a fish to symbolize a fish). And in the name of Equity and Mastery Learning and Gamification and Engagement and the new Era of ICT, we are trashing that herd-defying, capable of logic, abstract mind. Trying to put the Genie Back in the Bottle and deliberately regress in the average person’s working knowledge.

I simply cannot imagine a scenario where this will turn out well. It’s just a matter of how far down this Expensive Road to Ignorance we travel before recognizing what is going on.

I believe Marxism in essence is a Public Sector Subjugation Theory over the Individual and his or her Precious Mind. I get why people who currently have power, or who want more like the UN, would want to keep bringing it back. It levels the most capable and turns everyone else into reliable clients in search of “Bread and Circuses” delivered by the public sector and their privileged cronies.

And we may not be able to stop this but it is certainly time we understood what infamous theories we are really dealing with here. And thus why digital literacy and the use of the computer in some form is front and center now in education.

Dispensing with the Presumption that Education is About Improving Individual Minds

Say what? Did that title make you want to clean your glasses or bop yourself gently to make sure you are reading correctly? Yup, welcome to the world of communications among powerful decision makers that you don’t see but that are designed to both affect  what is coming to classrooms. And to redesign the future. All of ours. Without consent. All based on the disputable idea that is not being shared with you–the idea that “human beings and their institutions could be changed for the better.” Can they?

History tells us that a wholesale restructuring of a social system that evolved over time is a terrible idea and that incremental change is the way to go because effects of changes can then be seen and evaluated. But then those systems never had the opportunity to hire as a consultant someone who is a thought leader in Appreciative Inquiry or a research associate for the Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit. Much less the Co-chair of the 2009 World Appreciative Inquiry Conference held in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Did they do any climbing do you think or just embrace the joys of human potential while traveling at someone else’s expense? Do Not Know but I pulled that description off a presentation the Taos Institute did for the Houston Schools in 2009 called “Healthy Kids, Healthy Schools: Leveraging the Power of Our Community.” It was to be a national model and brought together a broad range of city stakeholders to chart a new course. I am thinking this AI Whole System approach that puts “future scenarios” into HISTORICAL and GLOBAL perspective (their bolding and caps) so students and adults have “shared understanding and great commitment to act” is going to come in so handy with the Green Urban Economy and Regionalism commitment of a redesigned future from our last two posts.

So good to know GCI will be coming to Houston in May where leaders, employees, and students have had AI training to engage in a “collaborative search to identify and understand the organization’s strengths, the greatest opportunities, and people’s aspirations and hopes for the future.” All reimagining paid for with contributions and Stimulus dollars and lots of public debt and now new visions for federal revenue sharing. Free to use the AI 4D Model of Dream, Design, Deployment, and Discover which is not a model anyone would use on their own dime or intentionally with their own kids.

As I have said before, with 40% of all federal spending currently being borrowed, what happens to all these Pie in the Sky Schemes to reimagine a Future by targeting kids consciousness when they become adults who firmly believe just as cultivated and monitored? But no one actually knows much or can do much but collaborate and want someone to provide for them what they have been led to expect is their due?

Can you really Create “Promising Futures through Social Construction” as associates of the Taos Institute are leading educators (and UN officials apparently) to believe? Let’s back up to how I got here because I do not go perusing school districts’ websites unless I have a reason. No, in yet another one of those troubling reports produced recently by the influential Gordon Commission on the Future of Assessment in American Education called “Social Epistemology and the Pragmatics of Assessment” I read many things I knew were factually untrue.

Note to future schemers: Using Legal Theory to Create a Barrier to Criticism just comes across to me as proof of playing games. I also have a real problem with the idea that a professor whose psychological views of knowledge and social constructivist perspectives might be over the heads of those bright Swarthmore students (according to a debate in a newsletter online from about 10 years ago) are now being taught as fact to K-12 teachers for implementation on students as part of the Common Core reforms.

As Kenneth Gergen said himself in his 2009 book Relational Being: Beyond Self and Community (that the title of this post came from), his views come from “an enormously important line of scholarship stemming from sociological and political theory” and that it is “especially important in its critique of liberal individualism.” Now elsewhere in his book Gergen mentioned advancing Marxian thought and the Frankfurt School (by name. Look up Lukacs, Adorno, Herbert Marcuse if you are not familiar. Need to move on). Which again raises the question. Why on earth would any free society with any aspirations for remaining free in the future be grounding their future educational practices and philosophies in what I would honestly describe as Individual Subjugation Theories?

Gergen wrote that communitarian works like Habits of the Heart that we have already discussed reveal “in touching detail the insidious implications of individualist ideology for human relationships.” A viewpoint that is his privilege to hold. But if it guides his pedagogy and that pedagogy is coming to a classroom or assessment near you under the Common Core mandate, then it has ceased to be JUST his personal viewpoint. He was on the Gordon Commission for a reason. And it seems to be these views and his desire, citing James Paul Gee from the last post, of making:

“Learning and knowledge not so much understood as inside the head of the learner as embodied in the relational actions and practices taking place in the learning environment.. . [These alternative ways of thinking and practicing evaluation then] create pushes for “more egualitarian (new word I suppose), reflective, dialogic, collaborative, and context sensitive practices of enhancing human performance.”

Again those views are his and Professor Ezekial J Dixon-Roman’s right to hold. But we get to understand those practices and beliefs for what they are. Designed to gain political, social, and economic transformation through the classroom by changing what students believe, value, and feel and drastically restricting what they actually know. Without our permission as a country or community or as parents. Without a vote. Under an invisibility cloak as I have called it.

In his book Gergen said these educational practices that his Taos Institute calls Appreciative Inquiry are to “reflect, sustain, and advance productive forms of relational being.” We have talked about how the actual Common Core implementation teaching standards require a “student-centered classroom.” That shift from a “curriculum-centered education (drawing from the teacher’s knowledge base)” is necessary for a relational classroom. Where the focus is to be on “student capabilities,” not the transmission of knowledge to an individual.

What Gergen described as the relational classroom is precisely what we are seeing as required by standards for “teaching and learning” or “relevance” or “engagement”.  The “focus” is “directed to relations between teachers and students, and among students.” Then:

“Relations between the classroom and its environment should also be extended from the local to the global context. The classroom would ideally be a meeting ground for the concerns of the world. [making good use of the AI 4D Cycle I am sure to pretend all problems can be solved with good faith and collective will. Tell that to North Korea] And finally, there are the relationships of the future. With what skills are students prepared to enter the relationships on which global life will depend?”

And who decides what the future will be like? We have already encountered another systems thinker and Organizational Learning specialist, Peter Senge, lay out his Regenerative Society and the related Capitalism 3.0. Professor Shoshana Zuboff has laid out her Distributed Capitalism within a Support Economy. We have profiled Harry Boyte’s vision of the cooperative commonwealth in a different post.

All of these visions seem to fit with Professor Gergen’s views and preferences for our collective social future. But no one is asking us. They simply want us to provide our tax money and our children. Those without children will be getting employees in the future who expect the workplace to be reformed to fit their interests and capabilities. They have been told they will be consulted and collaboration is the key. At a living wage too.

What if all this is  wrong? Where will we be then with the expectations being baked in (or embedded as the ed profs love to say knowing it will be hard to detect what is going on) to education reform? To business school degrees? To public policy and urban study and psychology degrees? Under the new Lumina Diploma Qualifications Profile to all college degrees?

I may not be able to stop the journey at this point. But I will describe the pathway and the real destinations. Since thankfully I somehow have managed to get my hands on the maps and blueprints while we have just begun.

 

Misportraying the Conspiracy Covers Up the Broader Plans of Political and Economic Transformation

Most of the reporting I saw of last summer’s celebration of 20 years of Sustainability and Agenda 21 (so not an urban legend) at Rio de Janeiro  viewed it as a failure because “no definitive agreement was reached.” Well while the world paying attention was breathing a sigh of relief at another bullet dodged, the ICLEI component of this UN-led Reorganize the World program at your expense launched a new initiative to clarify what Sustainable Development would mean in the future–the Green Urban Economy. Generally in Initial Caps just like that for emphasis.

Now this is not the story I planned on doing today. That can stay in the holding pen until the weekend. This story was prompted by the very strange reaction locally to the criminal indictment using RICO of former Atlanta School Super, Beverly Hall. Something along the lines of “she’s not a mobster. It can’t merit RICO.” When lots of non-Mafia types have been pulled in through RICO over the years. http://blogs.ajc.com/get-schooled-blog/2013/04/02/criminal-indictment-of-beverly-hall-is-it-illegal-to-be-a-demanding-leader/ is an example of the kind of nonsense being peddled that it can’t be a RICO conspiracy. Now the idea that what Bev was up to was about being a demanding leader or having too high an expectation for minority students given the educational and psychological policies and practices APS was piloting for national (and international as you are about to see) implementation is preposterous.

My experience is that that kind of preemptive “I am a lawyer and I read the indictment and this was no conspiracy meriting RICO” treatment gets pulled in when big bucks are at stake. And Atlanta’s business image. The good news Atlanta movers and shakers is I am about to make what is going on an Urban juggernaut and boondoggle connected to that reimagining of federal revenue sharing we talked about in the last post. Because while I was still fuming over that exculpatory blog post, I learned that the week before the indictment Bruce, the last post’s Race to the Shop, Katz had been back in Atlanta. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/protected-producers-vs-paying-consumerstaxpayerswho-will-prevail-on-education-and-the-economy/ is the post explaining the Low Carbon and punt consumer choice regional vision from last fall’s visit.

Except this time he brought former Chicago mayor Richard Daley to pitch the Global Cities Initiative. A Joint Project of Brookings and JP Morgan Chase. Chase said its role was about its “longstanding commitment to investing in cities.” As a former corporate securities lawyer who has written her share of bond prospectuses, I am sure the prospect of underwriting fees from municipal bonds to finance infrastructure expansions plays no role. Purely altruistic. Which is why GCI began in 2012 with events in San Diego, Columbus, Tampa Bay, and Los Angeles. If you are in Texas, maybe you can make it to the GCI forum on May 15. Other 2013 opportunities are in Dallas, Denver, and Mexico City.

Something else began in May 2012 that does seem related to this rebuild urban areas and insist everyone globally push the sociocultural model  just like the urban schools. It’s called the Global Cities Education Network and its participating cities are Chicago, Denver, Hong Kong, Melbourne, Seattle, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, and Toronto. None of which are cities with any interest in an export economy of the type GCI is hyping. Seriously, the JP Morgan, Gates, Hewlett and Pearson Foundations are among the sponsors. So the profit parts bring in revenue from underwriting or selling technology and digital literacy or writing and grading those all important assessments and remaking urban America to be Green. While the “charitable” arms push the policies that control the next generation’s values and belief systems and their ability to think at all.

So I am not trying to rain on revenue dreams from a Corporatist redesigned 21st century economy so much as trying to prevent the kind of insider boondoggle and user and taxpayer expensive nightmare now being used to describe the Chicago Parking Meter Lease Deal (look it up. I need to move on).  You see, I don’t know just a sliver of this story. And one of the things I understand is precisely how these urban school systems have been operating and why and how it has related for years to the hoped for political, economic, and social transformation. I literally have the blueprints as I was reminded again yesterday as I read this driving assumption. It is why outcomes based education always comes back. In function if not name and why the economic vision must have the schools:

“Without appropriate beliefs, many elementary acts of internal forethought, external colloquy [apparently discussion was not a sufficient term] and operational realignment would be unlikely. In so far as these acts depend on conscience, the beliefs of those involved is crucial.”

That was from 1990 and the UK but it actually laid out the global blueprint that mirrors what we are seeing now. Behind on its 21st century implementation schedule but definitely shifting into 3rd gear while we pay and pay and pay. That’s why all Transformation plans in any area rely on using education to alter the prevailing values, attitudes, beliefs, and feelings through education. It’s why the herd-defying, propaganda busting, abstract mind must not be nurtured anymore. So making equity in education and closing the achievement gap for urban youth the global focus prevents an academic/transmission of knowledge focus. That is inherently unequal so emotions and physical activity become the default classroom focus. Which is really convenient since that is the area of research from all those Soviet psychologists as we have talked about. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/imitating-the-ussr-in-striving-to-discover-how-the-child-can-become-what-he-not-yet-is/

And to invoke all this as being a matter of fairness to all and needed in light of the 50th anniversary of the Brown US Supreme Court decision on school desegregation (it is aboriginal rights being pushed in Oz by the way. Whatever pitch is needed) you get law review articles like “Toward Everyday Justice: On Demanding Equal Educational Opportunity in the New Civil Rights Era” by Mica Pollock. Now Mica is now an ed prof at UC San Diego and Harvard but she wrote that Ohio State Law Journal article that is ready to be cited in support of many a legally dubious practice to get it into place. Get it embedded into daily practice is how she describes it while our civil rights laws remain too focused on intent to discriminate. Instead of focusing on ANY harmful effects to a particular racial or ethnic group.

Mica is an anthropologist, not a lawyer, by training with a PhD from Stanford. She is thus in a position to credential away future professors, teachers, and District School Supers and administrators committed to her vision of using schools to “transcend current legal tools” and really get to wholesale structural transformation. You just focus on changing the aggregate of ordinary daily practices and policies that might give some children benefits not available to others.

All out of sight. All admittedly in violation of the actual statutory or case law. It’s not like anyone will ever know or those District Supers really have to answer to anyone in what they choose to push. And that’s how Equity and Equal Opportunity are bringing in sociocultural practices for all schools that the creators admit they based on USSR research. I don’t think it is coincidental Mica is now where Michael Cole and his Cultural-Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) set up shop after the Rockefeller Foundation stopped funding that type of psychological research.

The Spencer Foundation has also been funding research designed to equalize opportunity to learn. They italicized it just like that. And equalizing OTL requires, they say, using those sociocultural practices like CHAT and alternative assessments like what the Gordon Commission is pushing. That would again be the influential commission led by Edmund Gordon with his life long interest in urban youth and equal justice for minorities. One of the Commission members, our friend James Paul Gee , explained OTL in his work for Spencer:

“New Knowledge that cannot be tied to any prior knowledge is not learned well or at all.” That means that what we would call book knowledge is off limits with an OTL focus because people have varying degrees of ability to take it in based on their prior life experiences. a/k/a homelife and parental education and financial resources.

Gee then goes on to say:

“For true and equal OTL, learners must all have the capacity to form the required representations [concepts, mental models] at the required degree of ‘power.'” Now since people differ in their ability to think abstractly, genuine abstractions like real Algebra or geometric proofs or even grammatical logic are all now off limits as a violation of OTL. If concepts or mental representations are needed, the kindly proprietors of an equity focus will supply them. Helps create consistency in beliefs too. No need to be skeptical and think there might be a political agenda that would make influential false beliefs or metaphors a temptation. Oh wait. We already did that post on Professor Donald Schon.

In the end our urban focus and OTL equity priority leaves classrooms largely devoted to “people’s participation in shared talk and social practice.”

A perfect opportunity to both level and change those beliefs that form the conscience that drives action. That can create a broader fundamental Transformation. Of everything.

 

What Happens When the Hidden Goal of Education Is Interrupting Pre-existing Social Stratifications?

What if you were a hungry pioneer in a new town in the middle of nowhere in the 19th century and it was a long, cruel winter? Inexperienced you did not appreciate the danger of eating the seed corn that would be needed if there were to be plants for the following years. So you and your family and maybe other starving townspeople consumed it all to get through the winter. Unaware just how precious it might turn out to be in hindsight. But by then it is gone.

That failure to appreciate the precariousness of how we stay where we are culturally and economically, and the preciousness of what it actually took to get to this point in history, is exactly what I worry about when I read statements about “suspending the contributions of inborn capacities” or the “extent to which people expend great effort.” Jettisoning those important things is supposedly necessary to “adequately interrupt the reproduction of pre-existing social stratification.” And I am once again NOT playing Fish Around for Horrific Quotes to Get People Riled Up About the Common Core. Or C-Scope. Or even those preparing for a new type of capitalism 21st Century Skills.

Initially the quotes I am using are from another one of those Gordon Commission reports I have been writing about in recent posts. This one called “Democracy, Meritocracy and the Uses of Education” is by Aundra Saa Meroe. It helps frame the very dangerous mindsets being created in graduate higher ed programs to credential adults to impose what are actually political or sociology theories on students in K-12 institutions. And soon to be preschool.

I am going to detour for a second to reiterate a point Nobel Economist Friedrich Hayek made in his classic 1944 bestseller The Road to Serfdom. It is something to keep in mind as we explore today and generally in this blog the determination to use educational institutions to transform the prevailing worldviews. In the US and all over the world especially anywhere that ever cherished individual liberty and freedom to create and trade and set rules by private contract. Schools and colleges and universities really are being used to alter individual feelings, values, attitudes, and beliefs to embrace, or at least tolerate or not notice, a radically different political, economic, and social structure than what has ever brought mass prosperity. Hayek with his background in prewar Europe and then among the Fabian social planners in London knew what was, and still is being sought.

“The important point is that the political ideals of a people and its attitude toward authority are as much an effect as the cause of the political institutions under which it lives. This means, among other things, that even a strong tradition of political liberty is no safeguard if the danger is precisely that the new institutions and policies will gradually undermine and destroy that spirit.”   (HT to Don Boudreaux of Cafe Hayek for that timely Quote)

That destruction is absolutely the hidden intent of the Common Core’s actual planned implementation and its new assessments and the Lumina Diploma Qualifications Profile in higher ed and all the social and emotional emphasis coming to the classrooms. To understand why anyone would contemplate such a wholesale attack I want to quote from a part of this report that sets up the anger and actual hatred for what currently exists:

“The history of nascent democracy and nation-building in the United States among voluntary immigrant populations obscures how the broadening horizons for some were in part realized through the brutal eclipses of basic human freedoms, for many others through land seizure, warfare, the persecution and containment of indigenous populations, the enslavement of African people and the subordination of women. These forms of oppression and subjugated labor underlie the advances made in the nation’s formative forays into farming, commerce and industry.”

In this view everything that exists in our 21st Century America is seen as irrevocably tainted by the past and illegitimate. The remedy? “Absent the larger society’s commitment to an equal distribution of resources, academic institutions are held to be central sites for the distribution of resources.” Hence the Equity in Credentials even if they no longer designate meaningful knowledge or skills. Those unfulfillable expectations merely become more fuel for the desired radical transformation. That’s why all these education reforms are always coupled to a Social Citizenship vision in a Welfare State vision. We first saw it here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/morphing-the-common-core-into-a-new-rewritten-us-constitution-by-mandating-false-beliefs/.

Meroe then follows up her vision of tainted America with a description of Robert Dahl’s vision for democracy to become “an evolving, progressive social enterprise.” This time “all people must have equal opportunities to realize” their “mutual interests and valued goods.” Of course history has shown that that kind of equality can only exist with an overarching government constantly administering “fairness and justice.” And government involved to that extent will ALWAYS be captured by politically connected rent-seekers wanting favors at our expense. And thus be even less fair or just in the long run. But, hey, let’s not let reality intrude quite yet on all these pie-in-the-sky decrees.

One more pivot to the Education Innovation Laboratory at Harvard that philanthropist Eli Broad set up in 2008 with a $6 million contribution. Best known in education for his creation of the Broad Prize for Urban School Districts and training administrators in a Superintendents Academy, I am going to use the description of the purpose of the Ed Labs found on the website of the WEB Du Bois Institute at Harvard. It says the project is “devoted to understanding the causes and consequences of inequality in American society. .. The broader objective of the lab is to employ scientific methods–rather than anecdotal or ideological reasoning–to improve public decision making and policy around issues related to inequality in the US.”

Fair enough although with all the behaviorist economists, psychologists, and sociologists involved in the effort you do have to wonder if the “scientific methods” are not BF Skinner’s vision for a science of education using operant conditioning. It sure would fit our known facts and is something to keep an eye on.

Meroe’s report goes on to announce that the “ubiquity of substandard public education among students of lower-SES ethnic minority groups . . . also reveals the malevolence of meritocratic rationalization.” She is on her way to lay the ground work for “mass-scale capacity for cooperative productivity in the workplace” that we have seen before. She advocates for what she calls “these collectivist goals of ‘democratic equality’ and ‘social efficiency’ [that] can conflict with a view of education as a private good for the purposes of education.”

Meroe is not unique in her angst about the urban areas and seeing the solution as Social Citizenship. We saw it with the Building One America conference and the Regional Equity and Metropolitanism movement I have written about. I read Professor Michael Katz’s The Price of Citizenship: Redefining the American Welfare State this week and got treated to yet more of the Social Citizenship as necessary to give our inner cities a remedy for their devastation argument. Likewise, the involvement of a number of the listed Ed Lab contributors with the Russell Sage Foundation led me to the future vision laid out in 1995 in their Poverty, Inequality and the Future of Social Policy: Western States in the New World Order.

So I actually do see where all this is going and it is an unworkable remedy. But I want to go back to the rationales. In particular that the low achievement in the urban districts is a result of “malevolence.” Whose? After all it is the urban districts that readily embraced the Vygotskyian “sociocultural” approaches first. Why? Because as we saw in the goals of the last post and as Leontiev and Bronfenbrenner apparently discussed in the 60s in talking about the Western countries and economies, many decision-makers do not want education theories or practices that preserve or reenforce the prevailing capitalist/individualist systems. They want urban students primed for transformation. This was also why Saul Alinsky’s IAF saw urban schools as great places for community organizing. The Alliance Network in Texas and other states now show it still is viewed that way.

I have written about Professor Michael Cole before. In a chapter to a 1985 book called Culture, communication, and cognition: Vygotskyian perspectives, Cole writes “In circumstances where we do not want to take the cultural context as given. . . [sociocultural theory] offers a very fruitful framework because of its militant insistence on linking individual and social activity.” So what was a militant linkage in 1985 is now to be the required classroom practices under the definitions of Effective Teaching under the Common Core. Moreover, that physical and social activity approach had toxic effects in urban areas. Especially when normed or even criterion tests are used against suburban schools which still had an academic focus and parents who could remediate at the proverbial kitchen table or hire a tutor.

That’s not malevolence and the resulting gaps in performance are certainly no reason to wreck everything as we are doing. And it’s not like the sociocultural/Soviet emphasis in the Urban schools was a secret. Professor Cole goes on to thank the Carnegie Corporation for the funding to import the psychology theories from “our Soviet colleagues.”

This went longer than I wanted so I will stop. The dysfunction of the inner cities and the achievement gaps have causes that are not being discussed. They have become excuses for wholesale transformation of all our institutions and even us. From the inside-out.

And when we trace backwards we find either false beliefs or political theories with a tragic past. All being pushed by tax free foundations intent on social change and without any willingness to do the cleanup work from the effects of previous theories.

Equality-the chimera that threatens to ruin the futures of anyone without political connections.

 

Students Must See Themselves as Active Participants in Social Change and Designers of Social Futures

Before I tell you where that quote came from and what the connection is to the Gordon Commission, I want to go back in time first. I did what I frequently do when presented with troubling declarations of plans that I know will come to a poor end. I went back to someone who dealt with comparable aspirations and ideologies for insights into what is really going on and how this might end. History is much more reliable than a crystal ball. And, unlike the Marxist historians active in Europe before World War I and the 1920s, I do not use historical research as a “means of political agitation.” I will confess though it can be more useful than espresso as a jolting wakeup call.

No, I am not that ancient except to my kids but I did go back to someone who lived through what happened in Europe in the early 20th century and presciently recognized the gravity of what he was looking at. Economist Ludwig Von Mises saw that history and political theories were being used all around him “to provide weapons against the hated bourgeois order of society.” Remember that quote when we get to the end of this post. Von Mises was infatuated with socialism when he was younger, like most German and Austrian intellectuals of that time. But he wrote the book Socialism to explain why he believed it would not work. Long before Communism had crashed and burned in the USSR or the Germans tried out a more Corporatist and Nationalist version of socialism that launched 2 world wars. I wanted his insights into why planning societies does not work from what he saw in real time. The book was originally published in German in 1932 so Von Mises is speaking from quite a unique vantage point.

What I hit upon instead was so on point with using education to shut down the abstract mind and push action instead. Plus the desire we keep encountering to supply the interpretive concepts and metaphors, instead of accurate facts, to filter student’s daily reality. I decided we could use Von Mises’s observations from so long ago.

“Abstract thought is independent of the wishes which move the thinker and of the aims for which he strives. Only this independence qualifies it as thought. Wishes and purposes regulate action (his italics).”

Von Mises goes on in a footnote to clarify that “the wish is the father of faith.”  Faith is thus what all these education reforms are really trying to create. Do you remember this post http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/excellence-means-education-putting-what-we-feel-wish-for-and-think-in-harmony/  where influential Harvard psychology prof Mihaly Csiksentmihalyi  laid out his vision of the Flow experience? As Von Mises ably observed in dealing with earlier “Let’s Remake the World Schemers,” there is no abstract thought when wish for and feeling are joined to thought. It is the sort of cultivated personality ready to attend and celebrate at rallies without a second thought. Csik’s Flow and the idea of physical activity in a digital environment instead of mental is mentioned throughout this new view of curriculum and assessment we started to look at in the last post. A primary solution for engaging students at school and keeping them in school is Gaming. As in video games.

That really caught my interest for several reasons. I know the Gates Foundation has been funding it for the Common Core implementation. I know that Professor James Paul Gee, who we discovered in this post http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/we-are-at-the-historical-stage-for-the-emergence-of-one-particular-new-kind-of-person/ does not believe in the concept of discrete individuals, has pivoted in the last 10 years in his education research to focusing on gaming. And I know that Amplify has been hyping Zombie-Based Apocalypse simulations as learning on its website. To get to what Joel Klein has called “new kinds of minds” I suppose.

So Pearson and the Gordon Commission and everyone else is pushing Gaming. And Gee who wants education to help create people to be “better modules in a distributed non-authoritarian system” is both a member of the Commission and pushing Gaming instead of linguistic mischief making. His previous research mission. Although if you look up his report “Good Video Games and Good Learning” you will see he is quite excited that Gaming helps move education beyond its fetish with print and words. Important to the schemers as we now know.

What do they mean by Gaming? As we saw with the Zombie Apocalypse simulation story that cited sources acknowledging that this type of digital learning is known to weaken the mind http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/creating-new-minds-different-values-equity-in-credentials-can-this-really-lead-us-to-prosperity/ , the point of the simulations described is to practice planning and redesigning societies. You can see why I went back to Von Mises. So the same report that starts off maligning knowledge of facts as “banking education” wants students to practice reimagining other ways for societies to exist and to come to believe that societies can be planned. And the games cited are multi-user to get both social interaction and collaboration practice. Cited are the game River City where the students learn to solve a simulated 19th century city’s problems. At least in the virtual world with the provided, controlled variables. A difference from the real world that is not likely to be pointed out to the students or the teachers.

Then there is the “epistemic game called Urban Science that mimics the professional practicum experiences of urban planners.” Yes, because they are noted for doing a bang-up job with planning in the real world. Let’s ignore that and go with Professor Don Schon’s aspirations for cities and people to be systems that can be treated as problems to be solved. The virtual world awaits and the students immersed in such Gaming are likely to soon accept social and economic planning and fiats as a norm.

Perhaps the most graphic example of where all this is going in the Pearson/ Gordon Commission report is the game Quest Atlantis. There the aim is explicitly described like this:

“the focus of critical design work is to develop sociotechnical structures that facilitate individuals in critiquing and improving themselves and the societies in which they function.”

In fact the creators of the game noted that:

“although they could have focused the Quest Atlantis virtual environment solely on particular science standards about erosion, they became concerned with highlighting attitudes toward environmental awareness and social responsibility.”

And just in case you are wondering where are values, feelings, and beliefs that usually go along with these outcome-based maneuvers to change future behavior, the authors did not forget. They go on to describe how they:

“decided to make a structure connected to social commitments, creating a story [because all political schemers seem to know children learn better with a narrative!] about collecting pieces of crystal, with each representing a social commitment the designers wanted to enforce, like political awareness. They instilled in the community around the game a value of these commitments through the design of the ecosystem.”

The title of this post is quoted from the Introduction to Multiliteracies: Literacy Learning and the Design of Social Futures and it was too consistent with the aspirations of the Gaming emphasis not to use. Plus Gee and Courtney Cazden of the Discourse Classroom that we met in the Community of Learners post were both contributors. In fact Gee acknowledged that all these education reforms are to “change the game, that is, to change our society” to what he called a distributed economic system.

You may have noticed all the focus on cities and urban education above and in Edmund Gordon’s mission as a professor. Likewise there are increasingly stories about students being told to learn about White Privilege or their “economic class.” This week’s version involved Americorps workers in Wisconsin but the reports are increasing around the US. So I want to close this post and set up the next one with another quote from Gee’s “New People in New Worlds” essay from the book.

“We, then, really have two school problems. [to get to the sought new economic order]. The first concerns how to ensure that poor and minority children, really for the first time, get well educated enough to participate in building and transforming our societies. The second concerns how to ensure that advantaged children can get out of school able to think ‘critiquely’ about issues of power and social justice in the new global capitalist order.”

How succinct was that admission of the essence of what we are dealing with?

Can an Education Degree Authorize Bait and Switch Political Insurrections With No Recourse?

No I am not talking about a car loan. And I am also not picking on teachers. Truthfully we could substitute a psychology, sociology, anthropology, or even a legal degree in the place of the education degree. The very important point to recognize is this: can education credentials empower people to disregard the language of the US Constitution or comparable legal protections in other countries? Because right now all over the world we have colleges and universities creating degree programs that are designed to use educational institutions to change mindsets and values and beliefs and attitudes and feelings of the students passing through. Higher ed and K-12. Soon to be preschool. A long time to be under organized assault with data being gathered on your current personal attributes. All while getting paid with taxpayer funds.

And the reports they are issuing if you know where to look state or cite to quotes like this: “we support the development of a revolutionary socialist movement in the United States.” As taxpayers are we bound to support that agenda as long as the person pursuing it has the right kind of education credentials? Is there really nothing we can do? You can say vote them out of office but many with this desire are tenured profs or appointed bureaucrats. That inflammatory quote came from Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis’ Schooling in Capitalist America: Educational Reform and the Contradictions of Economic Life that I have already mentioned in a previous post. So when one of the reports this week from the Gordon Commission on the Future of Assessment in Education cited that book, I knew exactly what economic vision went with their vision of fairness and a just society for all in the 21st century.

The Gordon Commission is largely out of sight since it was set up by Educators Testing Service in Princeton using grants made to them. But out of sight does not mean not influential. Not with the movers and shakers selected for that Commission and their connections to the actual Common Core implementation and education globally. And these reports have an explicit economic and political vision attached to them. And cites to people with notorious philosophies like Michel Foucault. Are we all just screwed because these people are education professors or evaluators or vendors and that means a free pass?

How about if the report on “Technological Implications for Assessment Ecosystems” starts off with a quote from Paulo Freire and his Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Here goes:

“The role of the problem-posing educator is to create, together with the students, the conditions under which knowledge at the level of the doxa is superseded by the true knowledge at the level of the logos. [Freire is interested in shifting away from academic knowledge to everyday practical knowledge like what David Orr called Slow Knowledge]. Whereas banking education [Freire’s term for the transmission of subject-matter knowledge] anesthetizes and inhibits creative power, problem-posing education involves a constant unveiling of reality. [or at least how radical political reformers wish reality to be seen. Think Don Schon’s Generative Metaphor altering daily perceptions] The former [banking education] attempts to maintain the submersion of consciousness; the latter [problem-posing] strives for the emergence of consciousness and critical intervention in reality.”

Now isn’t that just the mentality you want in people developing the tasks and problems used to assess students? Oh, I forgot. The 2 authors, John T Behrens and Kristen E DiCerbo, now work for Pearson. You know the global publishing giant so involved in developing the Common Core curricula and the assessment administrator for Texas’ STAAR as well as both CCSSI consortia, SBAC and PARCC? http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/mandating-global-citizenship-mindsets-by-assessing-whether-students-adopt-social-altruism/ talks about how Pearson’s Chief Education Advisor, Michael Barber, once advised UK citizens that Global Citizenship could replace God and Marx as a guiding value. Is it a conflict yet to be involved with all these assessments and having employees writing alarming reports for the Gordon Commission?

What if the employees also write that assessments are “complex performances parallel to those learners would complete in the real world?” Sure sounds vocational to me. Especially with that report stating we are shifting from the Item Paradigm, which had questions with correct or wrong answers and sought particular information, to the Activity Paradigm. In the Activity Paradigm the assessment is not for particular information but rather an interest in “assessing specific attributes of an individual.” I feel so much better.

Especially after a search of the authors’ names brought me to the website of the Journal of Educational Data Mining. No more need to stress over hypotheticals involving education’s collection of Big Data on students. We appear to be there. How lucrative for Pearson. Is it publicly traded? Can we all cash in on this connected boondoggle? Precisely what data will come from assessments involving “activities” that “request action,” “have features.” “provide attributes, ” and “provide multi-dimensional information”? In other words, it’s not what a student knows but the essence of who they are being assessed while the student is a captive in a K-12 institution.

Seriously no need to worry about the fact that “digital devices of all kinds are typically enabled to collect data in ubliquitous and unobtrusive ways.” After all it was a different Gordon Commission report that pointed out that “Practices of assessment do not so much reflect the nature of the individual as they construct the individual in their terms.” Gulp. Did you understand that aspect of the Common Core? Is that what educational institutions in a free country are empowered to do while lying to the public about the nature of the changes? You may want to take another look at the nature of these performance assessments and Pearson’s confession that they are really assessing 21st century skills. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/throwing-an-invisibility-cloak-over-the-classroom-to-get-to-deweys-participatory-social-inquiry/ . Behrens and DiCerbo also mention they are assessing 21st century skills.

Which is also a problem. A 2004 book, The Education Gospel: The Economic Power of Schooling, is also popular among the insiders planning the 21st century on our behalf while profiting greatly. The book explains that all educational institutions now are engaged in what it calls the “Occupational Purpose of Schooling.” The College for All, increasing high school graduation rates through gaming or whatever it takes to keep everyone in place to get their diploma, and Equity of Credentials drives we have talked about are creating dangerous expectations in students. A belief that there is a promise that if they stay in school and get the degree, they will find “well-paid jobs with prospects for the future, careers or vocations rather than mere work.”

That implied promise so many are relying is the Education Gospel. It in turn requires what the authors call the Foundational State–the kind of reinvented workplace we have already seen Peter Senge’s Fieldbook and Zuboff’s Support Economy pitch as an intrinsic component of all these ed reforms. The prerogatives of employers and students and parents supposedly just have to be subordinated to the needs of the Foundational State. Which, 1, 2, 3 “requires a very different approach to politics and democracy than we have now. It provides a clear vision of the common good: a society in which human capacities are consistently and equitably developed.” Which is a good summary of Marx’s human development theory. Back for its 21st century run on the Industrialized West via stealth and education and apparently poorly understood assessments.

I will close with a quote from the end of the book where the authors note:

“Perhaps we as a nation cannot develop the politics necessary for the Foundational State. But then we should stop prattling on about “skills of the twenty-first century,” the “common sense” of college for all, and the imperatives of the knowledge society including lifelong learning, because we cannot achieve any positive version of vocationalism without the policies of the Foundational State.”

And I say, amen to that. The Swedes said basically the same thing when they piloted these ed reforms as part of their move to the Welfare State in the 1950s and 60s.  You cannot unlink the actual Common Core implementation from the radical political, social, and economic changes that are essential components. Everyone consistently says so if you know where to look.

I know where to look and have. Already downloaded and hard copied. Can we get enough parents and taxpayers and politicians to listen in time?