Epiphany Moment: Education as Cultural Transformation Using Heart and Mind Manipulation

Eureka! When I wrote the last post I recognized the common vision, but had not yet fully tracked down the why. That shifted quickly though when I followed up on one of the attendees at the Humanity 2.0 conferences at the Vatican, U-Chicago prof Candace Vogler, since I remembered she was also tied to the NIH-funded Science of Virtues Project covered here http://invisibleserfscollar.com/locating-the-internalized-information-guiding-human-behavior-so-it-can-be-controlled-and-transformed/ . Rereading that post was a reminder of just how very tied the players covered there are to the organized False Narrative of what the Common Core, competency-based education, SEL, and data gathering are all about. That much coordination and coincidence cannot be accidental. Discovering then just how much of Vogler’s work has been financed by the Templeton Foundation, and finally that Templeton had announced its intention to finance and investigate cultural evolution via the individual human mind was my epiphany moment.

Suddenly we were no longer talking about the Social Reconstructionists, UNESCO, and its founder, Julian Huxley’s vision, as covered in Credentialed to Destroy, but think tanks across the purported political spectrum. All the pushes about values and Character initiatives and an emphasis on Truth, Beauty, and Goodness make sense if you believe that “Moral systems are the psychological and sociological ‘glue’ that holds human groups together as adaptive units, at the scale defined by the moral system, establishing a fundamental connection between morality and group-level intelligence” as this Templeton announcement put it https://evolution-institute.org/prosocial-world-receives-grant-from-templeton-world-charity-foundation/ . As a recent book by the Director of the Templeton-supported Jubilee Centre for Character & Virtues in the UK (where I first found the reference to Humanity 2.0) put it in his book Flourishing as the Aim of Education:

In general, human associations across the globe seem to be moving in a morally progressive direction despite recent ‘post-truth’ blips: a direction that makes educational discourse ripe for accounts of human flourishing as its ultimate aim…[The sought self-change in the students occurs because of] these ‘Damascus experiences’ that comes about through the recognition of transpersonal ideals that inspire awe…The awe and wonder we experience in the face of such self-transcendent ideals enables us to envisage new horizons for ourselves; we suddenly see ourselves and the world in a radically different way.

It turns out there is a word for this, ‘cultural cognitive models’ and transforming these has become the stealth means of evolution in the 21st century. As best I can tell, a 1973 paper (tied to the same Palo Alto behavioral change research center now tied to the National Growth Mindset Network) called “Theories of Culture” hatched the plan in earnest. Its author, Roger M. Keesing, laid out a desire for:

Conceiving culture as an ideational subsystem within a vastly complex system, biological, social and symbolic, and grounding our abstract models in the concrete particularities of human social life. [Today’s Evidence-Based Policymaking!]…attempts to map cultures as ideational systems in the light of an emerging understanding of mind and brain should enable clearer insights into the organization of experience and the nature and depth of variation in the thought worlds of men.

With prescribed, globalized learning standards, there won’t be much variation for long! If anyone does not believe me that the ‘thought worlds’ are a bullseye for standardization we have this 2017 paper financed by Templeton called “Cultural evolutionary theory: How culture evolves and why it matters” https://www.pnas.org/content/114/30/7782 stating:

Deeper analysis of how human culture, human ecology, and the human environment coevolve is necessary for understanding historical and present dynamics, and for predicting future trends. These analyses will provide much-needed tools for the planning and direction of such dynamics. Humans’ worldwide well-being and that of the ecosystem we live in depend on our ability to make such predictions and act accordingly.

Here is another confirmation of this intended aim tied to another Templeton grantee https://singularityhub.com/2018/02/22/cultural-evolution-can-provide-the-tools-to-build-global-scale-resilience/ and on July 17, 2018 the American Anthropological Society announced its intention to make ‘cultural models theory’ (CMT) the path for future research grounded in CMT’s ‘fundamental assumption that the locus of culture is the minds of individuals.” I have alluded to this before since conceptual frameworks and Disciplinary Core Ideas are being laid out in learning standards mandates, but this paper “From Cultural Models to Cultural Categories”  helps make the bullseye and the rationale for targeting it even more clear. http://acrwebsite.org/volumes/8631/volumes/v29/NA-29 Making sense of the world and your experiences or ‘cultural meanings’ :

are created and maintained by the interaction between an extrapersonal world of objects and symbols and the intrapersonal world of individual’s mind. Thus, to understand and analyze culture in totality we need to to take into account both the intrapersonal world of cultural values and cognitive structures of mind and the extrapersonal world of cultural symbols and artifacts. The main objective of this paper is to propose a conceptual framework, which derives cultural categories by analyzing culture at perceptual, behavioral, and symbolic levels.

Precisely what outcomes-based education in the 90s and competency-based education tied to learning standards targets now. All designed, then and now, to force a cultural evolution grounded in transforming Values and Thought Patterns as illustrated here https://www.spps.org/cms/lib/MN01910242/Centricity/Domain/125/iceberg_model_3.pdf It really does make the ubiquity of Tranzi OBE quite clear, doesn’t it? No wonder it has been renamed now as Portrait of a Graduate or Learner Profiles. That does sound more appealing than transforming the mind to fit the global collectivist vision for the desired 21st century comrade. Here is one last link that did a succinct job of laying out why altering cultural cognitive models is the new stealth means of revolutionary change that may initially be hard to discern.  http://trnerr.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Cultural-Models.pdf which usefully italicized the fact that : “Cultural models are important for communicators to consider because they shape and constrain how people think about an issue and the solutions that they see as effective and appropriate.”

The widely-shared nature of cultural models makes them incredibly valuable for strategic framers who wish to change the conversation about a complex social issue…models derive from exposure to common experiences over time. If communicators can change the context in which people experience an issue–through the media, through advocacy and through policies that change the context–[now just imagine adding the immersive possibilities of digital learning and virtual reality!] they can, over time enact deep, meaningful, and sustainable changes at the level of cultural models. The durability of cultural models means that communicators need to be aware of these ways of thinking and that they need to work hard to create new ways for people to think about social issues.

This has truly been a fascinating journey, especially because of the amount of clarity surrounding what I can document and thus prove. All the sudden references to Aristotle in a recommended template for change in the student that certainly looks to me like the Marxist Humanist template make far more sense if, like me, you located the PhD thesis of the author of Flourishing as the Aim of Education where he laid out the ties between Marx’s thought and its foundations in Aristotle’s. Suddenly the multisyllabic title of “A Neo-Aristotelian Model of Moral Development” created by the Jubilee Centre in 2017 can be accurately seen for the euphemism for an infamous ideology it actually is.

We cannot fight against what we cannot see and as usual, this post is an attempt to create the needed illumination. Otherwise, our childrens’ minds and personalities will remain tools for transformation in what is actually a global Social Reconstruction Project.

 

 

 

Mindful Agency & Futuribles Enabled via Dispositional Learning Analytics and New Forms of Testing

I just had to change that title slightly when I realized I had deduced the relevance of the 1967 book The Art of Conjecture before in an April 14, 2016 post, but today it goes to the relevance of targeting a student’s Purpose laid out in the previous post. I believe it also goes to the push now for new forms of assessment that hype role playing and gaming simulations as shown here https://www.kqed.org/mindshift/53071/how-schools-spark-excitement-for-learning-with-role-playing-games . That came out after the mention of Georgia’s shift in the last post. An emphasis on Indeterminate Situations, Productive Struggle, or Wicked Problem Solving as ‘rigorous instruction’ makes sense when we are aware of the Ford Foundation-financed global interest (my bolding):

beyond the domain of the true and false, and this ‘beyond’ constitutes another domain, where I can place images that do not correspond to any historical reality. An image of this kind is not a mere fantasy if I have the will and feel I have the capacity to bring about at some later time a state of affairs that corresponds to the image. The image represents a possibility because of my power to validate it in this way, and represents a project because of my will to do so.

Testing about facts, or with right and wrong, algorithmic answers, does not get to this desired “domain in which one can act” in an imagined different world. Purpose matters so much because it goes to that will or motivation to act in a given context.  One more quote from the Futuribles because it fits my assertion that the idea now of assessments as a learning journey from Purpose to Performance or Product is consistent with what that above quote called an italicized project. Futuribles was all about a declared goal to “instigate or stimulate efforts of social and especially political forecasting” and these new forms of testing and use of Dispositional Learning Analytics get at the “inside-out basis” for the desired changes. Education is a ‘social science’ as is psychology and Futuribles insisted that the “social sciences should orient themselves toward the future.” Nothing like role-playing games then to practice a vision:

For man in his role as an active agent the future is a field of liberty and power, but for man as a cognizant being the future is a field of uncertainty. It is a field of liberty because I am free to conceive that something which does not now exist will exist in the future; it is a field of power because I have some power to validate my conception…

Now let’s leave those quotes from the past on the desired transformation in the basis of education and the social sciences and pivot to this recent post https://www.gettingsmart.com/2019/02/preparing-all-learners-for-an-uncertain-future-of-work/ that gives a different rationale but the same aim. We have encountered the formalized False Narrative about an SEL focus as about a database of PII on each student, but let’s quote the Institute for the Future’s employee who authored that piece. She is the source of the “inside-out basis” quote used above.

Putting social-emotional skill development at the center of learning promises to help individuals develop the foundation necessary to navigate uncertainty throughout their lives. The new foundation for readiness shown below illustrates how redefining readiness from the inside out–focusing on human development rather than attempting to prepare learners for any particular future of work–can provide a platform for future success. This new foundation for readiness is grounded in the human qualities that are most central to our relationships with one another and which are most difficult to code.

When I debunked the Database of PII narrative about SEL, many of its advocates moved along to hype ‘Workforce Readiness’ as the purpose of the Common Core and Competency learning standards. That alternative purpose though, as the Getting Smart graphic makes clear, is also a False Narrative. The aim is ‘inside-out’ alteration of the student at the level of their personality and Identity, using Purpose and Project-Based Learning as a main means. The shown common core of each student is Individual Awareness (Emotional Regulation), Social Awareness (Empathy and Perspective-Taking), and Self-Discovery (Deep Self-Knowledge).

That same core gets targeted by the Dispositional Learning Analytics (DLA) work being built into these gaming platforms being used for formative assessment and misportrayed as testing. That readiness foundation gets created at a neural level as described in a 2015 paper by the author of that Chapter 25 covered in the last post.  The paper is called “Developing Resilient Agency in Learning: The Internal Structure of Learning Power.” It states that it is concerned with “the establishment of dispositions, attitudes and values associated with being an effective learner,” but it is the same changed vision of Knowledge and Learning we encountered back in 2014 here http://invisibleserfscollar.com/identifying-education-globally-as-the-crucial-lever-for-nonconsensual-behavior-and-societal-change/ Being an ‘effective learner’ then simply translates to a willingness to alter “dispositions, attitudes, and values”, along with ultimately behavior.

See if this quote reminds you of the Futuribles one from decades ago as well as the New Readiness Foundations from last week:

the concern with learning power was to develop a range of competencies crucial for success in the complex, information-rich and radically uncertain world of the emerging twenty-first century. These competencies are now to the forefront- forming the outcomes focus for institutions and organizations the world over…assessment data included aspects of a person’s learning that were both ‘internal’ and ‘social’–influenced by a person’s sense of ‘self’ in a sociocultural and historical context. Feedback was in the form of an immediate visual image of an individual’s learning ‘profile’ as a spider diagram. This provided a framework for a coaching conversation which moved between the coachee’s [aka the student or child] identity as a learner and his or her learning experiences and purposes. The ELLI instrument [acronym for Effective Lifelong Learning Inventory] was designed to identify and strengthen an individual’s learning dispositions, attitudes and values and provide a starting point for self-directed learning and teacher-facilitated pedagogical change.

Any of those sought changes of a student’s internalized core at the level of his mind, personality, and motivations is Learning. We also hear the same aim euphemized as Student Growth, Mastery, Success, or Achievement. The student’s mind and personality, depicted via a Spider Diagram profile to show the changes created by curricula and learning experience,s gets treated as a “complex systems architecture…that sets out the key parts of a system, what they do and how they fit and work together.” A student’s Identity and Purpose get mapped and targeted for change [Learning] because:

effective learning requires the identification of personal desire or purpose, in response to first identifying a need or a problem that requires a solution of some sort. Learning that begins from this point in lived, concrete experience is ‘bottom up’ and usually both interdisciplinary and interdomain–in other words it transgresses traditional subject boundaries. Articulating a purpose in learning requires that I or we know something about ourselves, our story and what is of value to us, and it is thus associated with identity as well as a particular time and place.

The authors go on to point out that 21 C learning outcomes require “learners who can persist in learning, responding effectively to open-ended and complex problem spaces.” Any parent who has ever wondered why math became about ‘productive struggle’ in Indeterminate Situations instead of taught algorithms can take that quote to the bank for enlightenment. It’s not about teaching math any longer. It’s using activities in a class labelled as math to develop  Mindful Agency from the ‘inside-out’ in the student. What goals to set and how to go about achieving those goals or purpose is called meta-cognition. The needed metacognition to act on the future in the present using Mindful Agency are “products of nonanalytic, nonconscious inferential processes particularly when there are conditions that do not allow full analysis of the situation such as under conditions of uncertainty.”

It’s now pretty clear that it will take a Trilogy to finish this discussion so let me finish with these online platforms providing trace data that allow formative assessment, usually mislabeled as ‘testing’ for public relations purposes, to get at and profile a student’s internalized “tripartite structure for mindful agency, which is about the self as agent of his or her own learning, able to take responsibility for the process, as well as managing feelings in learning (such as feeling confused) and being able to judge how long something may take and how to go about it (meta-cognitive strategy). This serves to integrate three distinct strands in the research literature: metacognition, the role of affect in self-regulation (emotional intelligence) and self-efficacy of agency.”

We are back in the sought domain of Futuribles so let me close with a quote from it on the role of purpose, planning, imagining, and training to act in uncertainty on the basis of:

fabrications of the mind…that do not represent any reality past or present…these fictions are of major importance in our life. Although we discard the vast majority as fantasies, we value a small number of them, and these can serve as the cause of future realities. There is no volition without object, and the object of a volition is that a fiction of the mind become a ‘fact’. This fact is the goal of the action…When we retain a fiction as something to be enacted, it serves as the source of systematic action. This fiction–a non-fact–can be situated only in the future, which is necessary as a receptacle for a fiction accompanied by an injunction to become real.

Learning standards grounded in performances, projects, and activities are creating the needed internalized cores for future action. Whether called ‘bottom up’ describing Mindful Agency, or ‘inside-out’ in the new Foundations for Readiness, we are dealing with the same, poorly understood basis for transformation in the student.

All as needed to guide future action is reliable, predictable ways. Which that 2014 post established as the new 21st Century definition of Knowledge.

 

 

 

 

Jumping from the Skillet into the Fire by Misunderstanding the True Common Core

Last week there was a great deal of coverage by many of the same sites that have no interest in truthfully describing competency-based education, the purpose of student data collection, what Outcomes  Based Education is really about, or how learning standards really work hyping Governor DeSantis’ decision to take Florida from the Common Core. I read the articles in between my real life appointments these days and continue to see an alarming pattern of deceit. Let’s talk a bit about what the seemingly well-intentioned governor should know apart from his need to quickly read Credentialed to Destroy cover to cover. First, if the new goals for what the students in Florida are to Know and be Able to Do are still aligned to CEDS–the Common Education Data Standards, then Florida remains tied to the Common Core. It simply misunderstands its true nature.

Since Florida, like Texas, was one of the early states that transitioned to outcomes-based education several decades ago it is hard to see it going backwards into a true traditional content emphasis. My second word to the wise in any state or other countries is that if the teacher is using direct instruction to teach DCIs–Disciplinary Core Ideas– that then serve as ‘lenses’ for how to perceive the world, interpret experiences, and evaluate contexts, that explicit instruction is NOT, in fact, traditional subject-matter instruction. Don’t be fooled by some Type 1 vs Type 2 metaphor that also insists that Constructivism is about Discovery Learning. Let me quote an absolute authority on the subject, UNESCO, which stated that the Lev Vygotsky Learning and Development approach to create a new internalized basis for viewing the world is:

“the revolutionary approach to these issues pioneered by Vygotsky has linked these two processes together in a way that was never before considered. According to Vygotsky, some of the developmental outcomes and processes that were typically thought of as occurring ‘naturally’ or ‘spontaneously’ were, in fact, substantially influenced by children’s own learning or ‘constructed’. Learning, in turn, was shaped by the social-historical context in which it took place. This dual emphasis–on children’s active engagement in their own mental development and on the role of the social context–determined the name used to describe the Vygotskyian approach in the West–‘social constructivism.'”

So so-called Type 1 direct instruction can be used to instill what John Hattie called ‘visible learning’ that is designed to implement this Vygotskyian approach to get at the desired Constructs, Principles, and Concepts that guide a student’s thinking going forward. I bolded a few terms in that quote so we could specifically address them so we can each avoid this desired individual, ‘personalized’, fire that is to promote collective transformation at an internal, neurological level. Did you know that back in April 2018 the Council of Europe formally adopted “Competences for Democratic Culture: living together as equals in culturally diverse democratic societies.” It created a CDC framework on “how we nurture a set of common values around which to organise,’ which could usefully be nicknamed a ‘common core’. The framework creates 3 sets of values, 6 attitudes, 8 skills, and 3 bodies of knowledge and critical understanding that all students must now be able to demonstrate.

So if what Florida implements instead fits with what that CDC Framework lays out as its concept of ‘competence’, then Florida still has a common core and it’s a global, transformative template.

“Democratic and intercultural competence is defined as the ability to mobilise and deploy relevant values, attitudes, skills, knowledge and/or understanding in order to respond appropriately and effectively to the demands, challenges and opportunities that are presented by democratic and intercultural situations [aka social contexts]. Competence is treated as a dynamic process in which a competent individual mobilises and deploys clusters of psychological resources in an active and adaptive manner in order to respond to new circumstances as these arise.”

Pretty sure that active and adaptive manner for a given social context in that last sentence is what we in the West now call a Growth Mindset, which makes sense since Carol Dweck was a Vygotsky scholar before she came up with that particular euphonious euphemism for his Soviet theories. Anyway, we need Governor DeSantis and his advisors to appreciate something else I picked up from a 2017 presentation on the CDC Framework in Moscow, Russia where the slide laid out what it called Descriptors that ties in with what I know about how the referenced CEDS mentioned above or UNESCO’s standards actually work globally. There are Sets of Descriptors for each competence specified by the model. “A descriptor is a statement or description of what a person is able to do if they have mastered a particular competence, These descriptors have been formulated using the language of learning outcomes, and they were validated through a survey that involved over 1,200 teachers who were drawn from across Europe.”  The slide goes on to note that there are Descriptors for the various levels of education (e.g.- preschool, primary, secondary, higher) and to proficiency levels (e.g.- basic, intermediate, advanced).

So if Florida is going to use some type of Descriptors for the Desired Outcomes of the type we see in Learner Profiles and Portrait of a Graduate that we see public and private schools using all over this nation now, then we still have a common core being instilled. It still has the purpose mentioned in a different slide where the answer to “What Kind of Education do we need?” is answered by another question–“What kind of society do we want to live in?” That DeSantis is guided by the latter suggestion is indicated by his stated desire for civics instruction to be emphasized. Want to know who else wants to emphasize civics instruction? Thorbjorn Jagland, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe that published that CDC Framework. In a 2015 speech to the UN that is quoted in another one of those Moscow slides, he said: “While most states have some form of civic education, we don’t–as standard practice–teach our children what it means–explicitly–to be a democratic citizen.”

If you remember, I quoted a Howard Gardner book Truth, Beauty, and Goodness, Reframed in the last post. His vision of an instilled set of virtues that would guide each of us as we “navigate the shoals of work and citizenship in a highly complex and interconnected world” is all about the “need to evolve models of citizenship that can be embraced by the diverse populations of the world.” Just like that CDC Framework. Just like a Yuval Levin quote from the promotion for a February 12, 2019 Hoover/ Fordham Speaker Series where “he will make the case for reasserting the role of education in character formation…conservatives should reassert education’s vital role in molding the souls of rising citizens, not just future workers. While many institutions–family, religion and civic life–are under stress, schools remain an essential pillar of American life. Civic and character education deserve a place of honor alongside more utilitarian considerations.”

Is Yuval Levin’s vision one of those Governor DeSantis is listening to in promoting his civic instruction for Florida schools? If so, we still have a common core being instilled of the same kind Vygotsky had in mind years ago and what the CDC framework promotes now. The Governor also made a statement about moving away from ‘standardized assessments,’ which suggested to me someone is shifting him towards the Learner-centered, Transformative-based, Context-oriented vision laid out last week here https://education-reimagined.org/how-to-shift-from-education-as-content-to-education-as-context/ that fits with all the quotes I have used in this post so far. That author from Iowa BIG uses the term Universal Constructs to mean what is laid out in the CDC Framework. If someone is providing and reenforcing something akin to these Universal Constructs tied to something like CEDS and its Descriptors, then we still have a common core, instilled character and citizenship, vision.

Reading, math, and science are no longer valued as a body of knowledge useful for its own sake and an individual’s own purposes. Let me close with a quote to illustrate the difference and hope that February will not throw up as many personal roadblocks to my writing as January did.

“inside contextually-rich environments and experiences, we are able to help students ‘see’ the knowledge and skills required for diverse contexts and to learn and practice them in unique contexts. Being competent at the Universal Constructs enables a person to effectively navigate and succeed across a myriad of ever-changing contexts. My staff and I cannot know what any of our learners will ‘need to know’ in terms of content or standards in the future. What we can do is ensure our learners are effective at reading context and having the skill set to know how to access and use the content and concepts necessary for their success in that environment.”

I boldfaced all the euphemisms used to obscure the intentional creation of a common core that will purposely guide future decision-making and motivations to act. If there is still any doubt how deliberate, transformative, and global this all is let me close with a link a 2018 Update to IB’s Primary Years Programme called Action. https://drive.google.com/file/d/166FvIsUHIBKEYASa6MWd9Hn1MdLmEFC2/view Notice all the references in it to Learner Profile Attributes. That would be another name for Descriptors. Connecting action and the learner profile tells us that “Through developing attributes of the learner profile, students grow in their ability to make informed, reasoned, ethical judgments and to exercise the flexibility, perseverance and confidence they need to bring about positive change in the community and beyond.”

Those students have an instilled common core at the level of their mind and personality designed so that they act and are motivated to act in a certain way that is designed to ultimately transform how both American society and the world function in the future. It could not be more centrally planned, but because the planned implementation is local and neurological, it can be hard to see. All the deceit surrounding the Common Core simply made that harder.

But as my writing continues to demonstrate, difficult does not mean impossible once we discern the true actual template and need for a common core. It’s essential to all these plans for transformative change without effective opposition.

And there is nothing Conservative about deceit to effect intentional social, political, and economic transformations using education. It reminds me of something one of the Integral Theorists wrote where he said the admitted Progressives could focus on transforming the external, material world, while declared ‘Conservatives’ could maneuver to transform the internal rudders guiding personal behavior.

That really does describe what is going on and why I see such a Convergence behind the scenes. Let’s talk about that next.

Systematizing Human Nature Via Internalized Marxian Standards of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty

Welcome to 2019 as we continue to watch where all the education reforms converge under a variety of names and rationales. We get to watch where various narratives that appear coordinated misinform and whether we can draw a useful picture of omission that we are supposed to be unaware of, while we lobby in outrage for remedies that simply make the neural enslavement worse. Time for some specifics then that I kept track of amidst the wrapping, cooking, and decorating that dominated last month’s activities. A 2003 book by Georgetown law professor Robin West called Re-imagining Justice: Progressive Interpretations of Formal Equality, Rights, and the Rule of Law is being brought back into print later this month so let’s look at what it sought to make operational and how it pertains to education. West explained in her conclusion that:

the idea that subjecting human behavior to governance by rule is, all things, considered, a morally good thing to do–is gaining adherents, worldwide, as the force of positive, international law extends its reach around the globe, and domestic law, both here and elsewhere, deepens and broadens its penetration into social life…law is gaining momentum as the preferred vehicle for control of social relations between nations, entities, or individuals.

Professor West then cited the ubiquitous Positive School Climate mandates as an example of how “the schoolyard playground, once a sphere of insulated political sovereignty dominated, Lord of the Flies style, by bullies, has been tamed by the intrusion of positive law.” Now, I am not as optimistic as Professor West on the ability of new rules, learning standards, and Graduate Profiles to remake human nature, but there is no question whatsoever that the schools intend to try and do just that. Nor is there any question that this admitted Progressive desire to remake human nature, with frank admissions like “the goodness of law lies in its paternalistic capacity” or “subjection of human behavior to the governance of rules, at times, better promotes human wellbeing than does the sovereignty of choice” also hides behind banners about School Choice, Classical Education, Conservatism, Founding Principles, holistic education, and learner agency.

It can even be found, most alarmingly, as Chapter 1–“Character Development and a Culture of Connectedness” of the Final Report of the Federal Commission on School Safety released December 18, 2018. It’s no secret I believe that there is a correlation in both timing and locations between the push to use schools to neurally install a new code of ethics and morality to drive a cultural evolution, and school shootings, where the shooter clearly sought mass murder on the school grounds. It is horrific therefore to follow the cited materials in the Chapter 1 bibliography to people who make no pretense of wanting to turn the human mind and emotions into a system that can be manipulated for purposes of political transformation. I guess that’s what we get for a federal Ed Department staffed with Jeb Bush lackeys.

If the federal Commission cited this paper called “Towards a Science of Character Education” https://irp-cdn.multiscreensite.com/e9b8fc57/files/uploaded/berkowitz_bier_mccauley_jce_2017.pdf , which they did, then all the aims of what is in its bibliography come in as well. I have read many of those books and articles over the years. I know where all this is going. I know precisely what Professor West means by using the law as a positive force to remake social relations and that is exactly what that Federal Commission intends to have done, at a local level, to be binding on people and places and easier to monitor. Insisting that the answer to school shootings is to use the PRIMED character education program so that schools can “help youth internalize ethical and performance values. Effective programs focus on integrating activities that promote self-growth, such as personal goal setting” is to make schools the vehicles for the Marxian moral revolution at a subjective level that both Uncle Karl, and his acolyte John Dewey, said would be necessary for the desired transformation.

See what I mean about how the remedies touted actually bring in more of the poisons that created these problems in the first place? Professor West and other admitted progressives would like nothing more than to make school about character development as “key to a successful society.” They are all on board with the transformative potential at an individual and collective level of “intentional efforts to foster both the academic advancement and the moral, ethical, and social-emotional development of students.” Communitarians of every creed and political party love the idea of school being centered around “the promotion of core ethical values such as fairness, respect, and personal responsibility can create a caring community that fosters students’ self-motivation and positive interactions.”

The idea that the Commission pitched “practices to help students develop a growth mindset” as a solution to school shootings when its creator, Carol Dweck, was originally a Vygotsky scholar seeking to implement his theories on using new classroom practices to create the transformed mindset needed for a new kind of Soviet Man, would be funny in an ironic way if it was not so ridiculously ignorant of these practices. Tragedies like Parkland and the rule of law get used to force poisonous collectivist ideas down this nation’s throats and into our children’s minds and hearts. https://www.learningandthebrain.com/blog/we-can-no-longer-ignore-evidence-about-human-development/ from November 29, 2018 from Professor Immordino-Yang involved in both the US and UNESCO’s neural redevelopment efforts via education is at least honest about the intentions to use new practices to”support the development of our full humanity.”

Do you believe the purpose of education is for students “to question and rethink their ideals, to build their deep desire for inventing themselves“? If not, wouldn’t you want to know if the remedy of a new kind of education to supposedly avoid mere workforce training actually used the techniques of transformative learning? Wouldn’t you want to know the documentable transformative aims of the practices being recommended as the remedy?

I covered Harvard education professor Howard Gardner’s books and goals for a reimagined vision of education and its ties to Lev Vygotsky in my book Credentialed to Destroy so I was quite taken aback to learn that he had a new book come out in 2011 called Truth, Beauty, and Goodness Reframed since it essentially tied the motto of the remedy–Classical Education–as a solution to the hyped concerns over the Common Core to Ken Wilber’s Integral Theory. It turns out to be Integral Theory’s motto too. How’s that for a convergence? In the book Gardner talked about his work on Ethics with Mihaly Csiksentmihalyi without noting that it was Csik and the General Evolution Research Group’s Achieving Excellence transformative template being piloted in certain Colorado districts (introduced in the 80s) that had been used in the Columbine district for years before that 1998 tragedy.

Let’s see what Gardner wanted, since it reminds me so much of what Professor West and that Federal Commission report also seek:

we reserve the term moral for these interactions that exist between or among human beings by virtue of their common humanity, their mutual recognition of this fact…socialization by the community–whether carried out in a harsh or benign fashion–entails broadening and leavening the sense of the good so that it becomes less self-centered, less egocentric, more cognizant of the welfare of other members of the group, and more alert to the ‘common good’. I contrast morality, a neighborly concept, with ethics, a concept appropriate to complex societies…[where] one thinks of oneself in terms of roles. The ethics of roles entails a crucial additional component…that feature is the concept of responsibility.

That quote is long enough for us to catch the drift that the moral transformative revolution Marx said was necessary for his Human Development Society once a certain level of wealth and technological development was achieved, and what John Dewey sought in the name of Democracy, is what Gardner seeks in the name of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. It’s the Character Development the Federal Commission on School Safety seeks even if it’s unaware of what its admitted bibliography really ties to. What Gardner wants, just like where I have documented the phrase School Choice consistently leads us to, is for Young Americans to have “an ethical compass that governs their own behavior.” It is for curricula and classroom practices that create “a new, truly universal belief system, which could be religious or spiritual in tone, to emerge and to help individuals carry out various roles in a more ethical manner.”

When Gardner mentioned responsibility in italics he wanted students to assess “what is ‘good’ (or ‘not good’)” by applying these abstract notions to “human relations: the relations that govern how we human beings act toward one another, locally and globally.” That would be the same as Professor West’s belief that human behavior can now be governed by positive law. I guess Professor Gardner would add “and student-centered learning via prescribed standards and goals of what is to be learned as the basis for future behaviors and motivations to act.” I want to end with this recent essay https://www.lawliberty.org/2018/12/11/civility-and-the-challenge-of-ordered-liberty/ because it illustrates well how the same Progressive concepts and ends can be pitched with different terms by someone with ties to supposedly Conservative publications and think tanks.

The author, Alexandra Hudson, came on my radar yesterday after Politico reported she was leaving her job as an advisor to Betsy DeVos to work on a book with the working title of Redeeming Civility: How the death of true civility threatens America’s future.” Civility struck me as another euphemism for what Gardner called Goodness and Professor West called positive law. I had to wonder if she was leaving because the Federal Commission report was now out, especially with its emphasis on Character Development as its first remedy, so I looked up the author and found that essay. I eventually also found out she has a Masters in “comparative social policy” from the London School of Economics. Perhaps she stood there below the Fabian window thinking that if only she could be an advisor to a US Education Secretary she would in fact be in a position to advocate global policy to in fact fit the motto at the window’s top to “Remould it nearer to the heart’s desire.”

Hudson is reviewing a 20-year old book by a Yale law prof called Civility because she thinks it “could just as aptly describe today. Civility adds a moral dimension to the way we interact with our fellow citizens–our ‘fellow travelers’ as Carter calls them. He makes two distinct but related moral arguments for civility. First, our shared humanity gives us all a duty to respect one another. Second, life of our republic requires us to show regard for one another through our actions, great and small.”

See what I mean about the banners varying, but how the remedies, destinations, and aims do not? If you read the whole essay, notice her citing of the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation as an exemplar and remember we covered the Rockefeller Foundation-funded NCDD when we covered their advocacy of Communication for Social Change.

Small world, isn’t it? Also, notice how Ms Hudson uses the terms democracy and republic interchangeably. Let’s finish with a piece of history I learned from Professor West’s book on Re-imagining Justice because it fits so well with what Professor Gardner wants–people working together to achieve desirable goals.

Whether or not a government is republican, [Thomas] Paine urged, is entirely independent of the form it takes: a democracy, monarchy, or aristocracy all might be, or attempt to be, a republican government. Rather, a republican government is defined by its purpose, which is to serve the well-being of its citizens.

Just like Professor West said was the purpose of Positive Law and where Professor Gardner wanted new notions of Truth, Beauty, and Goodness to lead. Do you know another word for something that is guided by purpose, whether italicized or not?

A human system. All it needs apart from instilled purpose is shared sense and meaning-making. Precisely what all these visions of standards-based, student-centered education hope to instill.

 

Healing the Psychological Split Within Ourselves is the Learning Transformation Goal Few Openly Express

Let’s see if I can bring together a wide variety of sources from people of varying political labels which appear to me to be headed to the same place. The first part of that explicit and startling goal came from a 2013 book Dawn of the Akashic Age: New Consciousness, Quantum Resonance, and the Future of the World from our old friend with his own ISC tag, Ervin Laszlo. We have also met his son Alexander, in connection with introducing us to Pavel Luksha and GEFF-Global Education Futures Forum, and his son Christopher, who is involved with transforming business schools globally through a UN-affliated entity called PRME and executive leadership retraining programs. If all three are interested in transforming human systems, Ervin wants to make it all humanity and his sons specialize in schools and businesses, respectively. Influential, in other words, in hugely crucial domains, whether we are aware of their work or not.

In education, Laszlo was involved with pushing intentional cultural evolution in the mid-80s with other ISC favorites with their own tags like Riane Eisler, Csik with his Excellence template, and Bela Banathy who created the vision for charter schools as a place to practice theories of reform. All these troubling quotes, in other words, have a way into the school or online learning platform near you whether that is appreciated or not. Let’s see what Ervin intends now:

“The need to integrate and heal the psychological split within ourselves and embrace a unified and harmonious political partnership is essential if we are ever to shift the balance and co-create with the systemwide sociopolitical systems in existence today. It will require psychologically integrated and spiritually balanced humanitarians to guide twenty-first century humanity in a new direction. It is such people who can offer the greatest potential for the evolutionary transformation of humanity and a peaceful and sustainable global community.”

Ervin stated that “global authority systems” can be used to “integrate an intelligent and sophisticated vision of collaboration”, which is exactly what learning standards like the Common Core or competency frameworks do when properly understood. Hence the reason for so much deceit. These plans are not supposed to be recognized nor the alignment in visions among different groups. Let’s use one more Akashic quote before we pivot to what is being put forth in the name of Conservatism: “The level of change required for the planet to shift toward a sustainable, harmonious, and more equitable future calls for us–awakening humanity–to draw on all our physical, creative, and visionary capacities. This is no sudden call; We have been forewarned. Our human systems and our worldviews have been undergoing preparation for some time for the transition to a global paradigm. A new era of social organization, communication, and understanding has been unfolding in the twenty-first century as the old systems reached their peak and began to decline.”

It’s no secret I have been tracking why self-billed Conservatives now push a vision I identify as communitarianism and Amitai Etzioni’s New Golden Rule, while also misdirecting readers on the true nature of education reforms, so when I read about a 2017 book called Patriotism is Not Enough on the Ideas that supposedly “Redefined American Conservatism,” I found the book.  I learned that Conservatism now aspires for social sciences such as education to be normative, not just descriptive. “This requires a political science of an entirely different disposition, one that is concerned first and foremost with the condition of the human soul rather than the structure of government institutions or the foundations of the law.” That quote is not an aberration as a few pages earlier, we have the quote: “Politics, if practiced as anything but an art of the soul, is bound to fail.” I also learned that Conservatism now views the “formation of character” as the “principal duty of government.”

Suddenly Classical Education’s pitches about Moral Virtues and Good, True, and Beautiful as new educational goals makes more sense if Conservatism itself wants to impose an “objective moral basis of human life. Ultimately, this cannot be done without a view to the good of the human soul, with an idea of human excellence and happiness that is not just an idiosyncratic individual exercise of the will.” Not a matter of personal choice then, but imposed and something held by a group. Boy, that sounds just like the goals from the Classical Education promoting Circe Institute in a September 5, 2018 blog post called “False Happiness and Human Flourishing: Part Two.” See if this doesn’t sound like Ervin Laszlo’s collective goals for transformation with presupplied purposes, but with a different rationale for the new kind of education.

“The great secret, as C.S. Lewis asserted many years ago, is that God is a hedonist at heart. God tells us to say no to many things, but only that we may say yes to higher and better thing! God instructs us to say no to avarice and prodigality in order that we may say yes to generosity. He commands that we say no to selfishness and self-centeredness so that we may say yes to love and community. If we make higher things–God’s things–our goal, our lives will flourish and they will be filled with moments of unexpected ecstasy and joy…”

Now let’s pivot to one of the withdrawn books I alluded to in the last post, which is interesting as the book The Next Enlightenment: Integrating East and West in a New Vision of Human Evolution was published in 2003. It is definitely New Agey in its approach and is by the author of the Esalen book–The Upstart Spring.It used a member of the GEFF Board, Howard Rheingold, as a back cover blurb advocating for the book. Relevant in other words to where global education, especially in the US, is really going. That became even more clear since the already tagged Robert Kegan and his desires for new forms of consciousness were laid out in the book. For anyone who has not read Credentialed to Destroy (shame on you!), it is Robert Kegan’s work that PISA assesses for as Key Competences and higher ed is also being reimagined around his Cognitive, Intrapersonal, and Interpersonal Competencies work.

Omnipresent in other words as a goal of both K-12 and higher ed reforms, which makes this quote all the more relevant as The Next Enlightenment urged us to “master new cognitive skills. The most important of these skills is what he [Kegan] calls the ability to ‘objectify’–to recognize as socially constructed and contingent rather than as God-given and eternal fundamental concepts such as selfhood, nationality, or religion. That doesn’t mean rejecting them, only seeing them as matters about which some sort of decision can be made. Without developing such an ability we remain trapped in our social structures.”

Those pesky existing social structures then need new forms of consciousness and new values, which is exactly what everyone I have quoted seems to be in agreement on. The sought change may be marketed as a “global ‘skill revolution’ that often takes the form of political action [as with last week’s G20 Declaration from Argentina Betsy DeVos committed the US to] but is fundamentally psychological.” Learning standards and competency frameworks in K-12 are examples of tools for “cognitive development in individuals [which] leads inevitably to the larger subject of cognitive evolution in societies and the human species.” It’s just that some writers like Laszlo or Anderson (quoted just now) admit that is what education reforms are all about and others do not. As Anderson said, if “enlightenment is cognitive development, and the various approaches to that development, whether we call them spirituality or psychology [or political science, Conservatism, or Classical Ed], are just different ways of groping the same elephant.”

That elephant is the human mind and personality and the big bullseye all these plans have placed on it to be purposefully transformed are just not well enough understood. Let’s use a different Robert Kegan quote from The Next Enlightenment that may be why the public library put it in the Discard bin. After all, it was Kegan the Hewlett Foundation hired to make sure the Common Core assessments would be assessing what it pushes as Deep Learning.  Anderson rightfully called Kegan “another of the big time moral development researchers” without pointing out that his mentor was Lawrence Kohlberg whose Moral Development Theory became the basis for the reimagined Hong Kong compulsory citizenship push Communist China imposed. Everyone then interested in individual or collective transformation wants to get at the level of values and beliefs. Quoting:

“the key process in epistemological change is what he [Kegan] calls ‘objectification.’ That means as you grow, you periodically turn around and look at parts of your worldview–values, beliefs, ideas, ways of doing things–that you experienced uncritically as subject, part of yourself and the way things simply are, and begin to experience them in a new way, as objects–things whose origin you might wonder about and whose ultimate truth you might question…In any case, you are quite a quite different kind of person from the individual in a premodern, traditional society who did not have to make such decisions at all because he or she never began to see the society’s beliefs as objects that could be thought about and questioned.”

That thinking about and questioning is precisely what every one of these educational paradigms seeks to do. Everybody wants a new kind of consciousness and political, social, and economic transformation, but some of the shifts are gift wrapped for sales pitch purposes as about God, Conservatism, or Classical Ed. They all want to get at Orthodoxy and Orthopraxy–Right Thinking and Right Actions. What Ervin Laszlo called “the wise way to think and be” and is willing to use social media to create collective pressure to force adherence so that we are “Democratizing the way we do things, how we relate to others, but also in the very way our minds work–in consciousness itself…a model based in shared interest as opposed to self-interest” fits with that Circe quote above to create Human Flourishing.

Another Circe quote from September 6 in “Language as Belief and Practice” begins with this statement: “Right belief and right action are necessary aspects of growing in virtue. Intellect and knowledge alone cannot save. If knowledge does not reach to the level of heart and action, we are left with smart people who are intelligent in their sinning and their avoidance of consequences.” Sounds like Whole Child and ‘objectifying’ the subjective, internalized realm to me. Let’s close then with another quote from Ervin Laszlo who makes no bones about the integration that will heal this psychological split between heart, mind, and will and the reasons why:

“the tipping point can be encouraged by a change in people’s perceptions…No real change can be achieved without a corresponding change in consciousness.”

Let’s pull these common aims for transformative education of consciousness into the realm of each of our conscious attention.

 

 

 

 

Surreptitiously Subjugating Our Locus of Control: Whose Choice?

Tracking what is really going on in education through what is being legally mandated means I frequently know what is crucial long before I fully grasp why the shift in practices is so important. It lets me know through the decades and all over the world, that whatever the current name and given rationale, certain aspects of people’s Identity formation, the basis for their decision making as they live their lives, and what motivates them to act and guides their perceptions are being systematically targeted. When I wrote Credentialed to Destroy I had grasped that Transformational Outcomes-Based Education (Tranzi OBE) and constructivism targeting how the world and reality is viewed were being pushed all over the English-speaking world in what appeared to be a coordinated effort to drive now drive human evolution, along with its institutions, via planned changes to culture rather than genes.

Genes just take too long for transformation plans apparently and if I have learned anything in just this year’s posts alone, we have many people in a hurry to redesign how the world works. Just last week was “Forty Years of Wicked Problem Solving” that will really make use of the new HOTS mandate in the US federal ed law that was designed to be virtually impossible to Opt Out of. Why must everyone be subjugated to such a prescription of what concepts they use to analyze wicked problems that have no fixed answer or have never been taught to the student? I think Brian Head supplied that answer in the above paper when he admitted that “the nature and significance of the policy problem is shaped through debates on ‘framing’. [No need for debate if the frames are mandated learnt predispositions set out in learning standards]. This is crucial for how the debates about problems, contexts and responses are represented…framing [is] a way of selecting, organizing, interpreting and making sense of a complex reality to provide guideposts for knowing, analysing, persuading and acting.”

So nice of governments now to dictate that, isn’t it? All in the name of High Standards and Success for All we get our very subjectivity itself mandated and then put under regular surveillance via poorly understood assessments for compliance. Apparently if someone doesn’t get caught as a K-12 student there’s always higher ed and management leadership retreats targeting that very same locus of control. Everybody suddenly wants to get at and manipulate our “perceptions, values and interests” that control “how issues are scoped” and how we will likely interpret our daily experiences. Over and over again we come across a belief that in the 21st century we must all ultimately have “shared understanding and shared meaning about the problem and possible solutions.”

What better way to do that than to use learning standards and competency framework to:

“develop this psychological capacity…to not only model and manage its external environment, but also to model and manage its internal adaptive processes. It can develop mental models of the pre-existing physical, emotional, and mental adaptive processes that determine how it behaves and acts. The models will enable it to understand consciously how its pre-existing adaptive processes operate, what useful effects they have, how they might be modified, and what the consequences might be. Through self-knowledge they will develop the capacity to gain control over their internal adaptive processes. Increasingly, this will enable them to manage their physical actions, emotional and motivational states, and their beliefs and other mental processes in whatever ways are necessary”

to fit with whatever learning experiences a school mandates and whatever objectives and outcomes it now imposes. That passage really struck me because the Principals and School Supers most aggressive in pushing this vision tend to be the ones being promoted now to ever more lucrative job opportunities. Is this what any parent imagines as higher student achievement? Yet every legal instrument from statutes, to charters, to what HOTS assesses, actually gets at manipulating, and then tracking via data whether the desired adaptions are occurring to these internal adaptive processes. If the same new prescribed “norms, moral beliefs, and other rules of behaviour” can become instilled across a large group as “learnt predispositions” governments will have successfully created a common internal manager guiding future behaviour with nary a heads up, much less consent.

If that seems to be overly ambitious, let me quote that “a distributed internal manager is formed of a set of hard-wired predispositions that are reproduced in each of the members of a group of organisms…[Student-centered learning sounds so much better,doesn’t it?] A distributed internal manager clearly has the potential to organize a group cooperatively…so that they treat others in the group as self… or by hardwiring specific cooperative behaviours in individuals.” In other words, all these plans we keep encountering from UN Sustainable Development Goals to supposedly Balanced Communitarian visions in the name of Founding Principles, Learning Liberty, or a New Golden Rule can all be put into effect through the right type of prescribed learning experiences.

In this vision “each individual is controlled by its particular set of predispositions”, which he or she may not even know were instilled intentionally from preschool through higher ed. The group as a whole can only be controlled and coordinated if a “common set of predispositions is reproduced across the group.” How does the Common Core ever actually go away if it is about hardwiring learnt predispositions? If we wonder why, we have a confession that “if we had different emotional goals and motivations, our technology would be different, as would our systems of government and other social arrangements.”

Sounds like learning standards and competency frameworks then prescribed for the vast majority of students would be a highly effective way to invisibly alter ‘civil society’, just as so many of my links have laid out is the current aim. Just have education or that weekend seminar or management retreat target the “internal adaptive goals” of students, an executive team, or all too often, the elected members of your local school board or private school trustees go through learning experiences that are actually designed to alter their ‘psychological software’, even if the supplied promotional materials and consent forms deny that. It’s the practices that matter and when those practices and participatory experiences whether in a school, woods, or luxury hotel are designed to force someone to “drop their emotional attachments to any ideas, attitudes, beliefs, norms, values, religious systems and moral principles,” we have a targeting of this psychological capacity to change internal adaptive processes.

This ‘distributed internal management’ is an excellent way to prescribe planned and coerced transformations starting at the level of the individual mind and personality without their being the telltale levers of control of a gulag or overt censorship. We should all be alarmed to know such plans exist and that they fit how learning standards work so well. “The hold of the manager over the individual would be greatly strengthened if the individual’s mental modelling of the world led him to believe that the codes and norms were in his best interests” is not a phrase any parent wants to read as the school year starts, but it is essential to grasp how these plans actually work. This is not just a matter of the UN and admitted progressives wanting to use education to fulfill John Dewey’s desire to instill the habits and dispositions essential for his vision of democracy.

I have been looking at Classical Education for a while and the deceitful narratives designed to support it. It too, at its core, seems to want to alter the fact that “particularly in the last two hundred years, a significant proportion of individuals in more complex human societies has developed a strong capacity to use internal linear modelling to critically evaluate their own beliefs.” Apparently that will not do, because our “behaviour is now guided largely by internal reward systems that are mostly self-centred, except for the legacy of the kin selection and reciprocal altruism mechanisms.” Those don’t reconcile us to the desired communitarian ethos prescribed for the 21st century so we get the Good, True, and Beautiful instilled for us and new definitions of Freedom and Liberty. It’s for our own good you see. Needed to solve those wicked problems as a matter of public policy.

Learning standards, properly understood, have “the potential to change how each of us sees ourself, what we do with our life, and the meaning and purpose we see in our individual existence.” Too important to be a matter of personal choice, these have become a matter of prescribed public policy imposed surreptitiously using the law to force compliance with a vision that isn’t our own in most cases.

Shouldn’t we all be aware? If “our thoughts, beliefs, motivations and emotional states, as well as the methods we use to influence them, must become objects of consciousness” so that we can be forced to develop new “psychological software”, don’t we get to at least see what is to be altered and why?

Isn’t actual knowledge, instead of prescribed conceptual ‘frames’, the only way to avoid what has been quietly put in place in a most coordinated manner? Especially with the commencement of the new school year?

Parents may well be rejoicing in achievement that can quite frankly be more accurately seen as brainwashing when properly understood.

What happens to the student or adult who is forced into adopting “new psychological software” despite their reluctance to change?

Somehow it seems likely to be more impactful than a notation “doesn’t have a Growth Mindset”?

 

 

True Norths, Steerable Rudders, Heuristics Control, and Circumscribed Minds

Now that we have finished that Trilogy, let’s put the parts together since I happen to have https://democracylab.de/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Democracy-Lab_Anthology-on-Democratic-Innovation_final-1.pdf explaining that this vision of ‘education and action learning’ can generate ‘shared understandings’ that will become the “building blocks for a new DNA of thriving democracy” and the “conscious evolution of our social systems.” That’s why Learn Liberty from the last post and its “Heuristics” video call for “Intellectual Humility” euphemized the same type of sought change. Instead, we are instructed to  begin “recognizing the flawed nature of [our] thinking [as] a bold first step to challenging it” and “be humble about our views.” Yet those of us paying attention will recognize this aim as functioning just like Carol Dweck’s Growth Mindset as something all 21st century students globally should now have.

The part the admitted transformationalists via ed, and the purported “How to Think” School Choice ‘conservatives’, leave out is that they are both interested in creating what that Democratic Innovation blueprint called “Inner Work, self and meta-reflection as core competencies for a new OS.” If OS is not yet a recognized acronym in your busy life, it stands for Operating System just like your computer. That’s right. In the name of social and political change, your child’s very hardware and operating software, also known as their mind and personality, along with the biological brain and the central nervous system that embody both, are being targeted. Why? Because “we need to grow as human beings” and “develop a vision and an understanding of who we are and how we can internally host the rapid changes and become self-aware participants in the current transformation process.”

Hard not to visualize some of those marching Parkland or other high school students reading that passage, isn’t it? That blueprint included a quote from a name, Roberto Unger, who I recognized as a Harvard law prof [see tag] and it turned out he had written his vision of education in a book called The Religion of the Future. I think he is interested in a new Operating System as well, see what you think:

“In a free society, the individual has the educational equipment, as well as the economic and political occasion, to cross the frontier between the activities that take the framework for granted and those that bring it into question. He has been educated in a way that enables the mind as imagination to become ascendent over the mind as machine. He has learned to philosophize by acting [Parkland again and ‘action learning’ generally], in the sense that he recognizes in every project the seed of some great or small reformation. The practices of society and of culture multiply opportunities for the affirmation of this preeminence of the mind as imagination over the mind as a formulaic device.”

The “mind as imagination” is likely humble in its views and that ‘formulaic device’ slur sounds much like the Fixed Mindset insult or the supposedly discredited Axemaker Mind, doesn’t it? There turns out to be quite the consistence between the admitted Left and the supposed Right in the new kind of thinking and internalized OS each is pushing in the name of K-12 education. The better to get to a dialectical Convergence apparently. It all aligns with the Idea-centric vision we saw with History Matters, Thinking Like a Historian, and the News Literacy Project. All these curricula create internalized “shared understandings” that can be used to “design impactful projects and policies” so that “the political system can be transformed in such a way that we can adequately deal with our current environmental, social and ethical challenges and create the kind of world we want to live in.”

That willingness to transform needs new values and Ideas. Unger called it–“our vision of who we are and what we can hope for.” It also requires a willingness to be malleable in our dealings with other people–Intellectual Humility. All of these can be accomplished stealthily by what gets euphemistically hyped as “personalized learning,” or High Quality Project-Based Learning, to use just two current examples of what gets billed as “educational innovation”. Underneath though is what Unger confessed was a needed “reorientation of personal experience…and reconstruction of institutional arrangements, as well as with the radical changes of conception, attitude, and practice that such a combination requires.”

Values, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors need to be targeted for change to create the sought new OS for each individual, not because they are the basis for an existing OS’s database of PII. Ideas are a useful vehicle to be the new definition of 21st century knowledge because, as Unger admitted, what is really being sought is a “revolution in human affairs”. That, in turn, requires “both change in consciousness and change in institutions…[where] no simple division exists between the religious and the political spheres of life.”

That quote certainly explains why every type of K-12 education now pushes a Tranzi OBE vision, doesn’t it? At stake are “attempts to influence our ideas about the possible and desirable forms of human association in each domain of social life.” Action learning instead of lectures makes sense for a change in classroom practice in this transformative vision when it is “the ideas we act out in our relations to one another [that] must, more than the ones we profess, be the object of concern.” Weigel was calling for much the same change when he emphasized that religion and education should create a properly cathected individual obedient to instilled values and Ideals. We have also seen this same aim pitched by creativity advocate John Raven as creating a ‘steerable rudder’ at the level of the mind and heart.

Without using the “M” word as I did in the last post, when Unger wrote of the need to “rely on institutional arrangements, established in law [good thing he is at Harvard Law, huh?], that restrain governmental or private oppression even as they secure a universal minimum of endowments to everyone,” it is still Uncle Karl’s ultimate vision he is describing. In the 21st century, preschool to higher ed are all being restructured to target the values and Ideas that guide an individual’s decisions and motivate his actions. This is all hidden for the most part and lied about by so many in the employ of think tanks and the media on all sides because we are no longer free NOT to “change our enacted beliefs about the possible and desirable forms of human association.” Education targets that internalized OS, as a government mandate from all levels enacted as a matter of law, precisely because this “effort to envisage and to establish a greater life for the common man” requires a new purpose for education.

That purpose necessitates new Ideas, practices, and arrangements that will, at a neural level, “bridge the gap between the personal and the political.” Hard to see though under euphemisms like Intellectual Humility, Excellence, or Quality Learning. All of these ultimately target what Unger said would be needed to get what he called Deep Freedom, a much more alluring phrase than that M word.

Having a Growth Mindset or Intellectual Humility as a prescribed goal makes sense if a vision of the future needs “many minds and many wills.” A focus on Ideas and Reading and Thinking like a Historian make sense if a desired transformation “evolves in historical, not in biographical, time.” Criticizing the “imperious, autonomous self” or insisting that students become “Hardwired to Connect” makes sense if one has a vision that “it is not within the purview of the individual, no matter how powerful, to direct.” Making the internalized changes to the student the goal of K-12 education makes sense, as so many of the Portrait of a Graduate or Positive School Climate visions now do, if the political and religious vision of the future relies on:

“a change in the conduct of life: a change of heart, a change of consciousness, a change in the orientation of existence.”

In other words, a new internalized OS. a/k/a student-centered learning.

 

Leveraging the Information-Sphere of Society as the Fulcrum for Involuntary Change

Anyone else watching the tragic events of this summer in Dallas and Orlando and wondering why there is such a determined effort to mislead us all about the nature of what happened and why? To stir up group grievances and even hatred, even if the relevant facts have to be either ignored or lied about? Some days I think the only nice thing about understanding this program of wholesale change in people’s internalized mental models is having access to previous blueprints from my personal library of declared intentions. Today we will look back to a 1988 book The Cassandra Conference: Resources and the Human Predicament edited by Paul R. Ehrlich and John P Holdren. Recognize those two names? I thought so.

That would be the year before his book New World New Mind covered in this post http://invisibleserfscollar.com/how-disabilities-law-is-already-being-used-to-gain-ehrlichs-new-mind-and-the-future-earth-economy/ . Most people recognize Professor Ehrlich from all his hyping of pending environmental catastrophe that never actually happen, but did you know he also has a close working relationship with the very Stanford psychology prof, Albert Bandura (see tag), pushing education as a means for Resistance-Proof Biosocial Revolution in the June 14, 2016 ISC post? Pertinent to our story, in other words, so let’s remind ourselves of how John Holdren fits into our current onslaughts.

He has been at the White House https://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ostp/about/leadershipstaff/director since 2009 in the Office of Science and Technology Policy. It means that the League of Innovative Schools with its neurological focus reports to him as does Digital Promise. The BRAIN Initiative does too, as well as the NSF and thus its Science of Learning Centers. Last but not least, he oversees the nudge-oriented Behavioral Science Team and its push for a national Growth Mindset study.

Now that we have established both men’s pertinence to what is actually being pursued, let’s go eavesdrop on a chapter written by another name we should all recognize–Donella Meadows (see tag) of the Club of Rome’s Limits to Growth fame. The chapter was called “How Can We Improve Our Chances?” and it was seeking a means at more effectively shaping “the thinking and the policies of our society.” Tool Number 1 listed was developing new concepts to be used to frame public perception and discussion.

Wouldn’t it be useful to know now what Holdren, Ehrlich, and Meadows said was the “primary social leverage point” in their pursuit of fundamental social, economic, and political change? That would be “the source of ideas.” All three people and, I suppose, the Conference attendees in general, declared as follows so let’s listen in: “we are a part of, though by no means all of, that elect set of people in any society who are its idea generators–the people who interpret society to itself, set up its arguments, frame its issues, define its categories, coin its phrases.”

Just the declared intentions we want from someone in a position to specify, with federal funding, what will be the Next Generation Science DCIs–Disciplinary Core Ideas and CCCs–Cross-Cutting Concepts and Themes, to be imposed and then assessed for in all K-12 education. In fact, this quote from influential, but misguided, economist John Maynard Keynes was cited approvingly in full:

“The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back. I am sure that the power of vested interests is vastly exaggerated compared with the gradual encroachment of ideas.”

Listening to President Obama (from yesterday’s speech that doesn’t really count as a eulogy any bereaved person wanted to hear) and the media’s portrayal of what led to Orlando, and how Minneapolis, Baton Rouge, and Dallas are somehow all equivalent ‘killings,’ it is apparent that all these events must be interpreted to make Group Equity the point. Neither politicians nor the media seem to want to give up the desired narrative, whatever the actual facts or the deadly consequences of the politically useful ideas. Useful that is if fundamental transformation is what is actually sought. This post actually starts a Trilogy to show that is precisely what is going on and how the language used fits with broader goals that track to the UN and its 2030 Dignity For All global focus.

Today though, we need to appreciate why the so-called Information Sphere is so crucial that we have politicians and the media determined not to let mass, intentional, planned-in-advance murder get in the way of their determination to Use Ideas to stir up useful group grievances and cultivate useful personal guilt. Both education and the media are the two critical components of communication in any society and we all need to understand what Ehrlich, Holdren, Meadows, and all the entities and institutions they have worked for since 1988 all knew and were relying on when they made their plans for us: “To prevail, we are going to have to use the power of ideas more skillfully than they do. That means, I think, understanding fully and profoundly, first how ideas create societies and, second, how they create our own selves and our effectiveness.”

So when http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/printgroupProfile.asp?grpid=7876 Black Lives Matters calls for ‘quality education for all’ as part of its manifesto, it’s not about facts and teaching reading properly. It has a particular meaning that makes a student amenable to the desired fundamental transformations. Quality Learning was first proposed by not defunct in the least despite decades of being deceased, political philosopher John Dewey, and his plans for education I covered in my book Credentialed to Destroy. He too wanted to control the prevailing Information Sphere at the level of each student’s mind and personality. Back to 1988: “our terribly complex socioeconomic systems are shaped by two basic forces. The first is the physical operation of the universe…”

Guess what? Cause and effect in that physical universe is not affected as “what we say or believe about them has absolutely no influence on how they behave.” In this age of deliberate Mind Arson I would add that whether we even accurately know anything has no effect. Physical laws are “the least changeable parts of a system’s structure. They are the constraints within which a system has to operate; they are not the ultimate or guiding force.” These are not my italics, by the way, and the true guiding force is precisely the reason for all the hype about brain-based learning and student-centered education. Let me quote the next paragraph to the quote we just finished as it is so explicit:

“The source of system structure, the real leverage point for change, is its information–the shared, slowly changing, often unspoken set of social beliefs, and the locally available, always changing streams of specific information [Can we say ‘Individual-in-Context’?], which together influence all human decisions, actions, technologies, and organizations. The human information system works on the physical universe, constrained by its laws, but within those laws there is scope for all the varied inventions, organizations, and cultures that human beings have produced over the ages.”

Guess what? Everyone targeting the Information-Sphere via education and media memes and narratives has plans for a new culture that is politically controlled and coordinated at every level of government. That will be the focus of the remainder of this Trilogy. Meanwhile, we have the admission that in the Information-Sphere “things are very much influenced by what is wished, believed, and said.” That’s the reason for all the lies around race, Islam, Climate Change, how to teach reading, and so much else. That’s why it is apparently OK to stir people up so they falsely believe and feel they are under attack because of race and then turn around and falsely assure people that they are not at risk from some evil-doers because they are not adherents of a certain religion. Let’s quote our influential transformationalists yet again down to what they chose to italicize for emphasis:

“Over the very short term social systems are indeed dominated by their physical setups…But over the long term social systems are shaped almost entirely by the information-sphere, within the constraints of physical laws.” In the age of constructivist math and science those would be the unknown or misapplied (via Transfer to new situations!!) physical laws, but at least there will be no constraints from facts imperiling fundamental transformations. Does this sound giddy to anyone else? “Do you begin to see how easy changing a system can be, if the right information is just put into the right place?”

Why yes I do and now so does everyone reading this post. Does yesterday’s Presidential funeral oration and national and local news coverage suddenly make sense when we eavesdrop and learn “That is our work, to shape the information-sphere of society so that it supports systems of sufficiency, sustainability, and justice, instead of scarcity and waste, degradation, and oppression.” None of us apparently are the insiders who have been designated to be the transformational Idea-Generators although I think I am establishing my reputation as an Idea-Explainer, even if it is unauthorized by the Elect Set of People described above.

Might as well then reiterate the preferred method before we move on to the admitted goals. Remember also that for the Elect Schemers, a person is just another form of system:

“Systems arise, in the long term, from information and ideas. They can be changed most easily through information and ideas. Like the atmosphere, the information-sphere flows through us, through our minds, so thoroughly and constantly that we are hardly aware of it. We take information and put it out. Every word we speak, every action and gesture either reinforces and endorses the socially shared information-sphere or challenges and changes it.”

So much of what must now occur in classrooms globally tracks back to the people who we have just quoted. Let’s all start the rebellion against the schemers using education and the media to fulfill these plans where “with every word we are literally shaping reality for ourselves and others.”

At least we no longer need to speculate on the organized desire to control our very vocabulary and the concepts and categories we are to use to perceive the world and interpret our experiences.

Or as President Obama phrased it yesterday–‘our obligation to reach a consensus.’

No wonder no one wants Axemaker Minds in the room anymore.

Locating the Internalized Information Guiding Human Behavior So It Can Be Controlled and Transformed

Dictating such a transformation via preschool through high school, students would then essentially have a common core of prescribed values, attitudes and beliefs. For our Want-to-Be social and economic planning set that means future actions of most people would be both predictable and manipulable. The Planning Set, as I will call them, that we now know contains many different groups intent on fundamentally transforming the world that exists whether anyone consents or not, will know precisely what Values and Beliefs have been internalized and what visual Images, Words, and Phrases instilled. All become unconscious triggers available to command action.

To better appreciate why, let me quote Alexander N Christakis from a 2006 book How People Harness their Collective Wisdom and Power to Construct the Future in Co-Laboratories of Democracy (my bolding to show what Planners take for granted):

“Different people in different situations cooperatively develop different interpretations of realities, especially social realities. In our efforts to understand social realities and design better futures, therefore, we must not assume commonly agreed upon linguistic domains. People come from different cultures and have different cultural sensitivities. They see things differently; have opposing ambitions; prize different values. The first priority, then, in a designing effort is to create a consensual linguistic domain among many diverse voices.”

Students, adults, cities, economies, and societies have each been designated by the Planning Set as subject to their designing efforts. We may start with differing values, beliefs, and experiences, but the new vision of education puts all these things on the table for change. Keeping us lulled as to what is being done to us and our children we get euphemisms like Classical Education as we have just covered, OBE, or Competency-based education to describe the new techniques. Stated goals of ‘Learning’ and ‘Student Growth’ make the changes seem salutary. As I mentioned in a comment to the previous post, that internalized set of Images, Ideas, Principles, Concepts, Values, and Beliefs gets assessed via initial Benchmarks, and then changed and monitored through assessments. Can you say Continuous Improvement?

Some Planners and educators call what is targeted–‘Worldview,’ as we just saw in the last 3 posts. Others use the phrases ‘Mental Models’ or ‘Cognitive Maps’. All are phrases with the same Target and the same aim of where the Bullseye is. To show just how long this has been a target of official Global Policy Planning, I was even able to chase these to the Oval Office of Bush 41 in May 1989.   https://bush41library.tamu.edu/files/memcons-telcons/1989-05-23–Finnbogadottir.pdf To prove that this still matters, here is the recent NSF letter announcing the Brain Observatory to develop a research infrastructure for neuroscience with the same target, techniques, and bullseye.  http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2016/nsf16047/nsf16047.jsp

In all my posts from 2016 I have been building up from a theme of what is wrong with an Ideas or Concepts first curricula that are not built up from facts. Instead, the purpose of the provided Concepts and Categories is to interpret experiences in a classroom emphasizing activity. Sometimes the activity is physical as in group projects or role-playing. Sometimes it is virtual reality where only the software designer controls the Cognitive Map being created or shifted, mostly out of sight of the student, the parents, and maybe even the teacher. https://libertymuseum.org/in-the-news/groundbreaking-evaluation-study-released/ is a new curricula and assessment designed for building character and civic purpose by “exploring the concept of liberty as a living moral construct in contemporary society.”

Everyone ready to sign their kids up for one of the bedrock principles underlying the American heritage? Not so fast if we read the report and discover that Liberty has been reconceptualized to be “grounded in the notion that liberty must be just and must serve the common good…liberty [must be] reciprocal and responsible…[Otherwise] when liberty is de-coupled from one’s responsibilities as a citizen, it threatens to become selfish and divisive.” I have linked to the report and know both American and English history and, unfortunately, the fundamental tenets of the Marxist Humanist political philosophy. I get to recognize when Liberty as a guiding concept has been completely redefined to mask committing the student to a notorious normative vision for how the world might operate.

Students and parents though do not get that opportunity. They are not likely to recognize that Liberty “as conceptualized by the Museum and this study…becomes the bedrock for societal flourishing and ethical growth of both individuals and society” just turned into a tool for achieving Marx’s famed Human Development Society. Like the Classical Education we just examined the web-based curricula and interactive exhibits with Young Heroes is designed to create “pro-social changes in student behaviors” grounded in the stipulated virtues.

Most parents though will just think of Liberty in its historic meaning and not know that on top of the above redefinitions students also get experiences designed to change their knowledge, attitudes and behaviors with regard to “the liberty of society as a collective (collective liberty), as well as the liberty of each individual within society (relational liberty).” Think of this then as a Comrade Reinterpretation of the Concept of Liberty, which gets even more troubling because part of the assessment is looking for signs that the Young Heroes Outreach Program “participants consistently evidenced greater retention of all five pillar virtues associated with liberty…lasting at least three months after their involvement with the program ended.”

Why is that post-program search for continued changes in behavior so crucial? Because it is looking for proof the learning experiences created a change at a neural level in each of those student’s Cognitive Map, Worldview, or Mental Model. When researchers found “increased action-oriented civic and social engagement, identifying a number of social issues, upon which to focus their community projects,” they found that the changes in what was believed and valued were driving a change in behavior in desired directions. Desired first, of course, by the Planning Set and now by the students themselves, if they are even aware of why they are now interested in things they may have previously never noticed, much less acted to change.

Anyone else noticing that Liberty has been quietly redefined in much the same way and for the same purpose as how Amartya Sen defined Freedom? Yes, the nuisance of people who actually read the small print and footnotes. That Torchbearers Report and the redefinition of Liberty was supported by the John Templeton Foundation and the Jubilee Center on Character and Virtues in the UK. When the Report used this quote from Sir John Templeton: “perhaps true freedom is not the freedom to do but rather the freedom to become all we can be,” I recognized the sentiment. Since I found a treasure trove back in January when I searched for the connections between Sen’s philosophy and the Atlas Network members, this time I searched for “Templeton Foundation Amartya Sen.”

http://scienceofvirtues.org/ came up as the Templeton-funded Project at U-Chicago to create a New Science of Virtues. If that sounds like an excellent way to get at the values part of the Cognitive Map, I thought so too. There were conferences in 2010 and 2011. Perusing the Virtues Project Abstracts I discovered that the Divinity School was involved since Virtues were seen as a means to achieving ‘new spiritual knowledge.’ Chicago’s Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience administers the Project. Now would probably be a good time to remember Chapter 6 of my book and how the Planning Set wants to use education to gain a cultural evolution since biological change takes too long.

In the last post we talked about the sudden ubiquity of phrases like self-rule, self-regulation, and self-government. We can now add the Virtue of Self-Control where one of the members of the team of investigators is psychologist Angela Duckworth of Grit and Perseverence fame. More importantly she is involved through her Character Lab with the national Growth Mindset study being pushed by the White House Behavioral and Social Sciences ‘Nudge’ Team. That means this Science of Virtues is involved too. That certainly puts new meaning to this expressed goal:

“The proposed research will produce a comprehensive framework for formulating and evaluating economic and social policy with deeper psychological and ethical foundations than are traditional in economic analyses. It will develop a more comprehensive understanding of the origins and consequences of human differences.”

Very exciting then for the Planning Set! Another investigator on that same team is a Philosophy prof with a focus on ancient Greek and Roman philosophy. That’s a useful link to what we saw as we examined Classical Ed which somehow also loves to name drop Aristotle, Plato, and Socrates while making the point about enacting their ‘virtue-ethics.’ More rationale for transforming the internalized cognitive maps controlling behavior. Another part of the Project seeks “The Transformation of Virtues: Imagination, Vision and Dreams and Sources of Human Excellence and Practical Knowledge.” Sounds good even though it intends to prescribe and create an internalized Worldview of guiding values and beliefs to help students “understand the virtue of being able to face up to a collapse of the virtues when a culture is collapsing or being destroyed-as well as the virtue of living well in the aftermath of such catastrophe.”

Oh, Joy. The Planning Set creates the catastrophe while prescribing the beliefs and values to supposedly adjust to what is now broken. The 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development again defines “virtues, then, are psychological and behavioral characteristics that guide a person towards integrative and positive, or even noble, purposes for self and the world. In short, virtues are understood to play a key role in a person’s positive life trajectory and in the quality of civil society.”

But those characteristics are being prescribed and instilled via education without notice or even consent. Like the experiences obtained though the reconceptualization of Liberty, the curriculum is designed to guide and motivate certain behavior from a subconscious or even unconscious level.

Cool for the Planning Set who get power, grants, and promotions for pushing this transformation of the purposes of education.

Not cool at all for parents and students unaware of what ‘brain-based learning’ now really means or the taxpayers being asked to fund all these transformations.

Before anyone thinks that the answer is just to monitor what philanthropies or the NSF are funding in the name of education, please appreciate the National Institutes of Health is also launching research with the same Target and Bullseye. http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-DA-16-009.html

Theories about Mental Models or Computational Neuroscience are not innocuous terms for research either.

 

 

 

Foiling False Narratives Amidst Unsupported Cries of Balderdash!

The last post was not designed to ruffle feathers so much as continue to warn that words like Classical or Christian when applied to education, much like what we have already seen with Critical Thinking and Rigor, may not have the actual meaning assumed. I am genuinely worried about the extent to which Classical Education is modeling a psychological template that came out of the Soviet Union to bind the mind and personality. A reader in the comments put up this slideshow http://slideplayer.com/slide/695610/ that reveals a troubling and intentional use of cybernetic techniques via education to mentally and emotionally bind a person for religious purposes. Please scrutinize what on-line vendors or actual charters or privates have in mind when they use these terms.

Today we will continue to explore the broader template of what is being pushed under the Classical label and its very troubling bedfellows that were turbocharged in December with the language in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). A reader contacted a well-known education writer known for being anti-Common Core and pro-Classical Education asking for a rebuttal of what I wrote in the last post. We are going to go through the various responses because they illustrate so well what a muddle these Great Ideas centric educations can actually create. Response 1 was that the post was “Balderdash.” Since that descriptive word would mean writing that is contrary to facts and nonsensical, the natural question became “what is not true?” That provoked a link http://www.nationalreview.com/article/431182/donald-trump-bernie-sanders-gnostic-campaigns  that the frustrated reader forwarded to me.

I pointed out I never theorize in writing about conspiracies, but that I do get to quote people who declare they are involved in a coordinated effort to use education to achieve some declared transformation of society. Secondly, that article basically insults certain political supporters as acting like people who use a Gnostic simplistic analysis to view the world around them. Well, that was a new criticism and not particularly consistent with the facts. Maybe I was supposed to be horrified, but I did wonder whether someone needed my Inapt Metaphor lesson on lousy analogizing. A few days later I got the final response from the reader who really wanted there not to be some kind of misuse of the phrase ‘Classical Christian education’ for purposes unappreciated by parents. Here is the final criticism of that post and apparently the reason for trying to protect people from either my book Credentialed to Destroy or this blog. I have a few responses in brackets.

“My point is addressing it does nothing because verifying people’s intentions is impossible. [What’s to verify if I am quoting what they write as to intentions?] And there is no high volume of readers. [Of course that has nothing to do with any coordination to hijack what can be said or written about the Common Core by certain well-funded think tanks] Because global warming crazies say the earth is round I need to wonder if the earth is flat. Absurd. And Robin’s assertion that we need to prioritize facts but not their connections is a non-starter to thinking people. [Someone skipped the class day devoted to the Strawman Fallacy] She does that herself. There are not demons under every doily that she has not herself made.”

That last part about “demons under every doily” was too alliterative to have been original. You too may want to put it in quotes and see the results of the search. The real question though is what makes me write about something on this blog at any given time? Usually I  am responding to something that appears to be hidden by a wall of deceit. That type of factual investigation may be annoying and inconvenient, but it’s not nonsensical.  Let’s get back to why I am so concerned and right to be so. Another book, Classical Education: Towards the Revival of American Schooling by Gene Edward Veith, Jr. and Andrew Kern, came and only heightened my concern. They do a chapter on Douglas Wilson’s model, then Mortimer Adler’s Paideia Proposal as an example of Democratic Classicism, and then David Hicks’ Moral Classism and its emphasis on the “importance of character development and the full flowering of the human personality.”

No, I don’t want the human personality to be allowed to wilt and I also want to develop character. There is an alignment here though of what everyone from Charles Fadel and his well-connected Center for Curriculum Redesign is now pushing as Four-Dimensional Education, what the Dewey acolytes want, and what is being pushed as Classical Education. Every single one is targeting the same areas of what the student is to have internalized and how they are to work together to guide the vision of the future and motivate likely behavior. Common Core talks about its purpose as being College and Career Ready and the Classicist aim is said to be “to form the adult-to-be”? Does that sound like a similar destination to anyone else?

I have written before about Carol Dweck, what is called the Growth Mindset, and even that the White House Behavioral and Social Sciences Team has now commenced a national Growth Mindset study. Tell me if that aim fits with the following passage from the Moral Classicism template (my bolding). Notice this is not about the transmission of factual knowledge.

“…classical learning is neither doctrinaire religious instruction nor analytical scientific positivism. Even though the classical student begins by accepting dogma (i.e, ‘that which seems good’,) he personalizes it by questioning it –that is, by employing dialectic. As the student refines his understanding, his insight grows, ‘ascending a dialectical staircase to an upper room of fragile truths and intangible beliefs.’ Challenges and contradictions arise to dogma and within it by the process of dialectic, and this leads to dogma’s reformulation. Using his conscience and the process of dialectic, and guided by the universal vision of the ideal type, the student grows toward the Ideal. Commitment to dialectic is thus the first principle in Hicks’ version of classical education: the conscious development of the internal dialogue guides us to the fulfillment of our natures.”

Well, someone is specifying those Ideals and creating an education intended to internalize them. I am not sure the student gets much say. Neither will the parents unless they scrutinize what comes in now under the banner of ‘classical’ education. Now I honestly do not know how much those pushing this template as ‘classical education’ appreciate why Evald Ilyenkov created the New Dialectics in the USSR to advance the Human Development Society vision of Marxism that commenced in earnest globally around 1962. I do, however, know an institution that has had a very good handle on this integration of East and West using education. If Harvard’s Project Zero classifies Hicks’ Interdisciplinary  Humanities Program as a Pre-Collegiate Program conducive to bringing about “an all-encompassing framework of meaning,” we need to take them at their word on the links to the IB Theory of Knowledge coursework and the notorious constructivist Math and Science programs.

http://www.interdisciplinarystudiespz.org/pdf/Nikitina_Strategies_2002.pdf If all of these are cited as means to teach contextualizing or context-building, conceptualization, and problem-solving so that inquiry-oriented coursework becomes a means of teaching social responsibility, the need for social change, and the “primary goal of finding causes and cures for human calamities,” we can assume that the Change Agent Licensors understand where Classical Education is actually going, even if its proponents do not. At this point, I was thoroughly concerned that we once again have Inadvertent Change Agents pushing a remedy to the Common Core they have repeatedly deplored that amounts to jumping from the frying pan into the fire, I went back to who Douglas Wilson cited as his source for his Trivium.

He put Dorothy Sayers’ 1947 essay The Lost Tools of Learning as an Appendix to the book covered in the last post. I found her emphasis on the “medieval scheme of education” to be a little odd as that was a preliterate society. To quote historian William Manchester in his fine A World Lit Only By Fire, the Middle Ages was a time when “literacy was scorned” and Holy Roman Emperors themselves would respond to a correction of their Latin as being ‘above grammar.’ It was a time when the “devout scorned reason…Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153), the most influential Christian of his time, bore a deep distrust of the intellect and declared that the pursuit of knowledge, unless sanctified by a holy mission, was a pagan act and therefore vile.”

Anyone else beginning to question whether the whole Trivium and Quadrivium hype is just a narrative manufactured by someone wanting to hide the clear connections to cybernetic psychological theory and systems thinking? Then the narrative gets repeated until it seems true. Back to Manchester, who pointed out that “there was no room in the medieval mind for doubt, the possibility of skepticism simply did not exist.” He also pointed out “medieval man’s total lack of ego. Even those with creative powers had no sense of self” and “an almost total indifference to privacy. In summertime peasants went about naked.” Aren’t we glad this post is written and not a multimedia presentation? See why I am so suspicious we have yet another false narrative.

The “rediscovery of Aristotelian learning–in dialectic, logic, natural science, and metaphysics” did happen during the 1198-1216 pontificate of Innocent III. It was “synthesized with traditional Church doctrine,” beginning a shattering process known in Italy as the Rinascimento. I bet we are all more familiar with the French term. There is no question that Dorothy Sayers hyped the medieval mind and going back to her essay I think she was making ahistorical assertions looking for a remedy via education against the just lived through horrors of World War II. Under the heading “Unarmed and Unequipped,” she wrote this:

“For we let our young men and women go out unarmed in a day when armor was never so necessary. By teaching them to read, we have left them at the mercy of the printed word. By the invention of the film and the radio, we have made certain that no aversion to reading shall secure them from the incessant battery of words, words, words. They do not know what the words mean; they do not know how to ward them off or blunt their edge or fling them back; they are a prey to words in their emotions instead of being the masters of them in their intellects. We who were scandalized in 1940 when men were sent to fight armored tanks with rifles, are not scandalized when young men and women are sent into the world to fight mass propaganda with a smattering of ‘subjects’; and when whole classes and whole nations become hypnotized by the arts of the spellbinder, we have the impudence to be astonished.

We dole out lip-service to the importance of education–lip-service and, just occasionally, a little grant of money; we postpone the school leaving-age, and plan to build bigger and better schools; the teachers slave conscientiously in and out of school hours, till responsibility becomes a burden and a nightmare; and yet, as I believe, all this devoted effort is largely frustrated, because we have lost the tools of learning, and in their absence can only make a botched and piecemeal effort of it.”

Can’t you still hear the anguish decades later? Sayers thought she had a very good reason for using education to mandate a worldview.

Maybe she did. Our problem is that so many now have the same intentions, but obscure the real new purpose and focus of education behind terms we believe still have their dictionary meanings.

Dragging this documented reality into the sunlight should not result in cries of Balderdash.