Eupsychia and Humanist Education-Shouldn’t the Links to 21st Century Skills and Common Core Be Emphasized?

Those of us who play a mean game of Trivial Pursuit tend to remember that the word “Utopia” literally translates as “Nowhere.” And Nowhere is an unacceptable expression for philosophers and dreamers and self-interested planners who do want to reorganize society going forward towards new values and new beliefs and a hoped-for vision of the future. One of those people was the creator of Humanist Psychology and the Eupsychia vision of the Good Society, Abraham Maslow, who laid out theories for education and a new type of school in a book published after his death in 1971. It builds on the New Focus of Education/NEA financed vision from 1962 that I wrote about here. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/psychological-approach-to-a-humane-politics-restructuring-the-west-quietly-and-effectively-via-ed/

Ever since I wrote that post as I have sat in Mindfulness seminars that curiously enough now count as continuing legal education and all our encounters with Robert Kegan and the competences vision being pushed by the UN and the OECD, I keep coming back to that 1962 vision as the foundation for so much that has been called “transformational” ever since. I think it is the grounds for the increasing acknowledgment that long-term behavioral change is a major purpose of the Common Core classroom. http://www.edweek.org/tm/articles/2013/10/14/cm_socialemotional.html?tkn=NXTFXS1JDKswLa9ZdPz%2Fis6ez0YbkU87li9t&cmp=ENL-EU-NEWS2 . So when I saw a recent reference to the later book, I thought we might gain some important insights into what is coming at us.

Because I now live in a world where a Professor Emeritus at the New School for Social Research, Hans Jonas, laid out in the early 80s his understanding of the then planned shift from each of us being “responsible subjects” to “programmed behavior systems.” And that was before the rise of adaptive software, blended learning, Big Data, and Gaming to constantly crosscheck how the new psychological emphasis in the classroom was doing. When we talk about education reform and assessments that are not measuring knowledge that parents are not allowed to see, keep this long-term aspiration in mind:

“Here I merely point to this most ambitious dream of homo faber, summed up in the phrase that man will take his own evolution in hand, with the aim of not just preserving the integrity of the species but of modifying it by improvements of his own design.”

Well, neither you or I have been invited to participate in such designing but Maslow was and Jonas was aware of it. Jonas presciently asked the question that should be on posters at Dalian, China and Davos, Switzerland and plenty of ed labs globally:

“Who will be the image-makers, by what standards, and on the basis of what knowledge? Also, the question of the moral right to experiment on future human beings must be asked.”

That’s still a critical question to ask now as consultants and district administrators and principals are all being paid to push just such experimentation of untried psychological theories. Or if not untried, ignoring the indisputable linkage to prior tragedies from such probing of the “deeper self. (Maslow’s italics)” Maslow notes that primary creativeness (one of the 4 Cs of 21st Century Skills) “comes out of the unconscious, which is the source of new discovery-of real novelty-of ideas that depart from what exists at the moment.”  You see, the psychological emphasis in education that has been trying to come in the front door of being the new focus of education globally since the 60s in earnest is based on Maslow’s belief that “We need a new kind of human being who can divorce himself from his past, who …[can] handle the problem well in an improvising way, without previous preparation, if need be.”

Now the latter is called the 4C of critical thinking & problem solving and gets measured via new planned Common Core assessments of Higher Order Thinking Skills where there is no fixed, linear answer and ambiguity is preferred. By the way, in 1970 Maslow wanted a “new kind of human being that we would need even if there were no cold war, and even if we were all united in a brotherly species, is needed simply to confront the new kind of world in which we live.” Now that’s a sentiment that fits right into what a conference of ed professors or administrators is still hearing in 2013. They simply may not know it comes from Maslow saying:

“What I am really interested in is the new kind of education which we must develop which moves towards fostering the new kind of human being that we need, the process person, the creative person, the improvising person, the self-trusting, courageous person, the autonomous person.”

That latter reference to autonomy frequently came with a cite to Erich Fromm of the Frankfurt School so please do not get excited that there was a glimmer of legitimate individualism being allowed through. No, in fact real education should impel the student on an “Ought-Is-Quest” that does NOT distinguish anymore between facts and values. Maslow called those Species-Brotherhood new values Being Values like Justice and Equality that are to “guide human action” in the future. They should be instilled and monitored via education. In fact, humanistic education had a “new conception of learning, of teaching, of education. Stated simply, such a concept holds that the function of education, the goal of education–the human goal, the humanistic goal, the goal as far as human beings are concerned–is ultimately the ‘self-actualization’ of a person, the becoming fully human, the development of the fullest height that the human species can stand up to or that the particular individual can come to.”

And of course, Maslow noted that such a shift in vision would require a substantial shift in the psychology of teaching. Which as my new book details is precisely what has happened. I am going to leave you to mull over another part of this new vision of education and school which you may well also discover to be embodied in charter language that was designed to both bind and not be well understood by outsiders. Or as Maslow noted tactlessly: “even morons can learn emotionally and spiritually” so beware of mandates that instructional methods used MUST close the achievement gaps. Just think of the enhancement of power in a desired public-centric economy of the future based on officially designated needs rather individual consumer choices this goal of future education will be:

“this is a way of discovering what the self is like. There are signals from inside, there are voices that yell out. ‘By gosh this is good, don’t ever doubt it!’ This is a path, one of the ways we try to teach self-actualization and the discovery of self. The discovery of identity comes via the impulse voices, via the ability to listen to your own guts, and to their reactions and to what is going on inside of you.

This is also an experimental kind of education that, if we had the time to talk about it, would lead us into another parallel education establishment, another kind of school.”

Like a student-centered school that must be engaging and provide success for all students?

That sees all students as “assets” and refuses to accept any “deficit” visions for 21st century education?

Those last two are quotes from the education vision I heard being pushed at the September (co)lab summit in Atlanta.

Propitious Timing: A Book, Credentialed to Destroy: How and Why Education Became A Weapon, is Born

I have now discovered that when Amazon says it will take 5-7 business days for a book to be listed for sale not to take them literally. More like two hours actually but then the journey to bringing a book to print is an odyssey of twists and turns. In my case the book was written and then put aside as I started this blog in response to alarming developments as the actual Common Core implementation took on an increasingly psychological and communitarian focus. I took on the role of Paul Revere and have been writing away, instead of riding, to spread my concerns over what I was seeing in current documents as I monitored all the announcements and reports that continue to come out weekly. When concerned people would ask me why I was giving away the book, I would always say that I wasn’t. The blog was and is a separate creation.

In many ways it turned into a second book told in a serial fashion as I reacted in horror to whatever I saw coming at us. But early this summer I picked the manuscript back up knowing the story needed to be out this fall. Although I did use the knowledge developed from the blog’s research to reframe slightly how I presented the story weaving through the book, by and large, the book had simply become even more relevant while it sat quietly on my hard drive. Here is the link to Amazon where anyone can now find it  http://www.amazon.com/Credentialed-Destroy-Education-Became-Weapon/dp/1492122831/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1381695681&sr=1-1&keywords=robin+eubanks . Those hoping for a Kindle option, that will be available in a couple of weeks. Lots of citations require specialized professional conversion.

I named this announcing post “Propitious Timing” because I have had numerous reasons in just the last week to recognize how many nefarious things that relate to what I explain in the book would still be going invisibly forward otherwise. Now at least we have some chance of putting it all into proper context. Giving us an opportunity to fight off the kind of visions I have laid out in recent posts. Education Week was on a roll on October 9th alone. It posted “Racial Equity 50 Years After King’s Speech” and then “Transforming Our Schools Requires Building Our Democracy” which stated rather preposterously that “only public institutions have the capacity to be rigorously accountable to the interests of communities.” That may make a nice pitch to increase power in the public sector but it is nonsense to anyone who has visited the DMV or a tag office.

But the real shocker to me, consistent with what was clearly building up as the drumbeat for social change, was this article “Our Nation’s Schools Remain Contaminated with Inequity.” http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/op_education/2013/10/our_nations_schools_remain_con.html It was a reminder on why it has mattered so much that someone telling this story is also a lawyer. We tend to recognize when someone arguing that the “law requires” is actually just hoping everyone will take that assertion as a given. And not recognize that current laws do no such thing and the writers are arguing aspirationally. What they wish the law said. I have seen that more and more as the law is seen not as a set of agreed-upon rules common to everyone but a tool for advocating social change. That is especially the vision of the book Contesting the Myth of a ‘Post Racial Era: The Continued Significance of Race in US Education written in 2013 by that article’s co-authors.

Race and ethnicity and inequity then get used as the excuse to push the idea that “the purpose of P-20 education is active social change.” And not in just any direction mind you but towards Relational Pluralism which:

“runs counter to the American Dream meritocracy by locating the individual as a member of a community, an individual who will succeed or fail as the community succeeds or fails. I believe that a commitment to relational pluralism is important for teachers who want to disrupt notions of meritocracy based on individualism and self-reliance, and thereby engage in the struggle against racism.”

That essay’s author, Judson Laughter, says this is “the social vision espoused by President Obama” and that it is time for it to spread. The mere fact that Education Week is now promoting the book and its point of view and Harvard developed it as part of its Black Studies & critical thinking series tells me we are about to have a real problem on our hands in terms of policies designed to ensure:

“Ending racism through education is not about every person having an equal chance. Ending racism through education is about letting go of the desire to be individually successful, and taking up the call to be the keepers of my sisters and brothers.”

Our political transformationists with their visions of a communal future have real plans for all of us and they see education as their premier weapon. But we are right up there with them and ready to follow in real time what is being sought. As I said: propitious timing. And yesterday Ron Radosh and David Horowitz issued a story and and old letter about one of England’s dedicated radicals, Ralph Miliband. http://pjmedia.com/ronradosh/2013/10/12/how-david-horowitz-revealed-the-truth-about-ralph-milibands-legacy-what-it-should-teach-the-british-left/#comments I had never heard of him but apparently his son Ed Miliband is the current head of the British Labour Party and a possible future Prime Minister there. Apparently on October 1, a British writer said that Ed wanted to bring about his father’s vision of 21st century socialism. Up arose a dispute as to how radical the father was with Ed disputing what had been written and Horowitz responding with the old letter he had written. Asking why Ralph Miliband continued to push socialism in the early 90s after so many tragedies.

Again propitious timing. Ed Miliband’s response reminded me of a quote I use in the book that if what is being pushed is accurately perceived too soon “we will have to pull back.” Plus Horowitz’s long Open Letter reminded me again of the dangers of so many of the aspirations we are now seeing everywhere. Laid out in the book over decades of influential scheming and it is clearly still coming at us in the Relational Pluralism vision above. It’s also apparent in the ideas now pushed by UNESCO and the OECD via subjective well-being and capability as a human right and a return to Scientific Humanism as Irina Bokova is now advocating.

I wish this was not all going on but I am very glad that between the book and the blog we are going to be in a position to see what is coming at us. We will need to perceive all of this accurately in order to fight for the continued legitimacy of the individual in this vision of a transformed future.

All this sent me back to a troubling book from 1993. Harlan Cleveland wrote this as part of his vision on Birth of a New World:

“Perhaps most important of all, there is a role for educators in making sure that children in all cultures grow up with, and their parents develop, a feel for the new global/behavioral issues and relate them constructively in their own cultural identities and traditions. Education about the global commons from preschool through adult learning should be aimed at patterns of behavior and value systems consistent with a sharing environment. Not only the schools but the media, political leaders, and nongovernments of many kinds will have to be teachers about human conduct compatible with life in a shared commons.”

Harlan’s vision remains current in the US and UK and many other countries. Led via poorly understood education reforms. Designed to take us all towards a vision of collectivism none of us have consented to.

I wish these stories from the blog and the book were not true. But they are and it is all well documented. I am glad that because of propitious timing we can hopefully make enough people in enough places aware in time to turn away.

 

Agents of Ideological Hegemony: How the Real Common Core Shifts Us to State Capitalism

A state capitalist society may sound off-putting but it is the proper term for what we are living through now. Education is an essential component because of the need for a ‘consensus’ ideology among the broad population that comes to see the desired ends and policies of the politically-connected and public sector class as consistent with their own beliefs. Or necessary to avoid economic or environmental disaster. Even if those To-Now-Be-Desired beliefs have had to be heavily propagandized by the schools and the media.

When the “politicizing of economic relationships” emerges as the dominant decision-making power in an economy, state capitalism is actually the proper term. Since your mayor or Governor or Congressman is unlikely to speak in those terms, we all have to learn to recognize that such politicizing is precisely what is going on with the calls to no longer distinguish between the public and private sector or for “partnerships between government, companies and universities” to quit thinking in terms of silos and working together to “drive innovation and entrepreneurship in [insert the major city closest to you].”

That was the spirit of that Dalian, China conference discussed in the last post. It was the underlying mindset of a program I attended last week sponsored by the world’s most famous search engine on “Georgia’s Digital Economy” that probably will have a variant coming to your state. Where access to the sovereign powers is what counts for future prosperity. The last quote above is from the program materials for my next field trip. And the needed radical changes to education, K-12 and higher ed, are essential components of all these pushes.

We have had a mixed economy for a while in the US, with the resulting stagnation and distortions and favoritism (on who gets bailed out of bad decisions or a waiver from a mandate like Obamacare) that interventionism always brings. But each of these new programs are symptomatic of a wholesale sought ideological shift to finally obtain the needed prevailing mindset. As John T. Flynn noted when he compared New Deal economic policies to fascist policies in Europe, we are now looking at a consistent and coordinated drumbeat across governments at all levels that they get to be the ultimate decision-maker in allocation decisions. Flynn’s precise and apt description for what is coming at us, quickly and methodically, is government–local, regional, state, and federal–who intend now to “insert itself in the structure of business, not merely as a policeman, but as partner, collaborator and banker.”

There is a name for this as it has been tried before–Zwangswirtschaft was Ludwig Von Mises’ term from his experiences in Europe. Others have astutely called it “authority capitalism.” But whatever it is called, there is no mass prosperity involved. I am going to quote here something that Murray Rothbard recognized back in 1977 and we all need to know to see the tragedy inherent in this sought pathway:

“In fact, it is the state that is robbing all classes…it is the state that is the common enemy of mankind. And who is the state? It is any group who manages to seize control of the state’s coercive machinery of theft and privilege. Of course these ruling groups have differed in composition through history, from kings and nobles to privileged merchants to Communist parties to the Trilateral Commission. [Today we might add the Davos and Dalian invitees]. But whoever they are, they can only be a small minority of the population, ruling and robbing the rest of us for their power and wealth. And since they are a small minority, the state rulers can only be kept in power by deluding us about the wisdom or necessity of their rule.” http://mises.org/daily/6537/Who-Are-the-Champions-of-the-Common-Man

And centralizing control over the messages being delivered via education and making it psychological and visual in focus using gaming and virtual reality is, oh so useful, in perpetuating the needed delusion. The level of interventionism being sought in our society and economy requires comprehensive planning. And that “presupposes complete unity with regard to a scale of priorities” which again implicates schools and the media. I am quoting here from a June 1975 paper called “From Laissez-Faire to Zwangswirtschaft: The Dynamics of Interventionism” by John Hagel, III and Walter Grinder. They say the only way out of this destructive trajectory is for people to come to recognize just how destructive this pathway is. I am doing my best with this blog and particular post to do just that.

A transformative, uniformity imposing, vehicle of standardizing values, attitudes, desired beliefs, and feelings via education during the years when the human personality is most malleable is necessary for this mass shift. Grinder and Hagel (citing Hayek and his 1944 The Road to Serfdom) note that “since comprehensive planning requires ‘general acceptance of a common Weltanschauung [Worldview or Mindset is the common 2013 term], of a definite set of values,’ the transition to a system of Zwangswirtschaft is accompanied by increasing efforts to assert ideological hegemony over the social system and thereby mobilize support for the planning priorities selected within the state apparatus. As a consequence, ideological purity becomes a prominent concern and the educational system in particular is progressively integrated into the overarching system subjected to …management. Just as the market place of goods has been progressively subjected to controls [the essence of the needs, cooperative commonwealth economy we have encountered and discussed under a variety of names], so must the market place of ideas submit to the dictates of the state as ‘wrong’ ideas are perceived as a potentially disruptive element within the system.”

And that real aim is why fathers in Maryland are being arrested now for trying to speak out against the Common Core at a school board meeting. It’s why high-achieving Fulton County in Georgia needed a conversion charter that actually commits it to gut academics with no effective recourse by parents, taxpayers, or students and why the charter is being touted as a model for other suburban districts. It’s why elected school boards are being increasingly stripped of authority by the accreditation agencies who rarely advertise that they see their positions as using their lucrative government-provided monopoly positions to invisibly advance cultural change towards this very Zwangswirtschaft vision.

All of this matters so much because state-directed economies are enormously wasteful in addition to the lack of genuine individual freedom. In a different paper linked to by Rockwell above, they point out that the “political means alone is unproductive and parasitic” and it needs a private sector of labor and exchange to survive but planning and intervention, once started, create dislocations that led to more interventions, which leads to more economic stagnancy and unemployment. Which leads to more political demands to do something. Precisely where the US finds itself in 2013 after that 2008 crony financial bailout and a Stimulus Act in 2009 that could best be described as “friends, family, and large supporters” on who was helped. Not to mention what is going on in healthcare.

And now the Common Core and the attendant transformation of higher ed can target students to create the desired consensus and ideology and Worldviews. Remember UNESCO has said this is precisely what they are doing now globally via education and the sought complicity of the media. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/decreeing-the-interdependence-of-environment-economy-society-and-cultural-diversity-in-the-21st/ was that revelatory post.

I have to get ready to take good notes at another confab of what is being billed as “the elite” assembling to learn why and how to push this vision. With no mention so far of the attached poison that comes with it. The term in the title “agents of ideological hegemony” is the precise term used repeatedly of what it takes to get this vision in place and I will be listening to see whether I am hearing from a knowing, duplicitous agent or a naive, inadvertent one.

I strongly suggest using the same tactic whenever you hear a pitch for the Common Core or PISA or 21st Century Learning and other education reforms. It really does describe what Marina Gorbis is actually up to in education or Peter Senge. And so many others who are being marketed by school districts and politicians as authorities to trust and defer to.

Remember always where this vehicle intends to go. And that economic stagnancy or collapse is the inevitable result, whatever the PR hype.

Shifting the Way People Relate and Feel Towards One Another is the Crucial Leverage Point

When we encounter the exact same point being made over the decades despite dramatic differences in circumstances and intervening events, we have located an important handmaiden to ideology. So before we talk about what is intended, let’s go back to 1983 for some wisdom from a veteran European observer of what were the methods of choice during the Cold War. That great ideological struggle that my research says morphed in its strategies and tools but never vanished as we were led to believe. In his book Why Democracies Perish, Jean-Francois Revel has a chapter on “Ideological Warfare and Disinformation.” Since I believe education and especially this forced, largely invisible, psychological emphasis of changing personal values, attitudes, feelings, and dispositions was, and is, a means of ideological warfare, I looked for some advice from the past.

“its job is to fight propaganda not with counterpropaganda but with truth. Unfortunately, this is not something democracies are good at.

They are disadvantaged from the start by the long odds against halting the spread of utopian notions with plain facts. [http://futurewewant.org/ is a link to an example of how ed reform globally is now intertwined with these utopian visions of the future]. And they are unskilled in defending themselves against communism’s falsification of these very facts. [Today it is the idea that the crisis of 2008 and the global downturn proves free markets do not work and the public sector must intervene even more]. As weapons in the ideological war, propaganda and disinformation have a double objective: to concoct false images of Communist reality and of its leaders’ intentions and to circulate through the non-Communist world the plausible lies and deformed versions of events best calculated to disorganize the world.”

Disorganize the world. Still useful if you want economic and political power. When I first read a description of Transformational Outcomes Based education and watched it being pushed in the 90s all over the world everywhere with a tradition of liberty and cherishing individualism it struck me as a coordinated attempt to gain unilateral intellectual disarmament. When I read Psychosynthesis complaining about how those “who identify themselves with their mind and are proud of their intelligence” have “lopsided development” that is difficult to change but those with a “loose self-identity” are more adaptable and amenable to change it gave me pause.

Let’s use education to force a laying down of that mighty weapon–the human mind–lest it develop changes in unapproved directions. We may not be dealing with Capital C Communism anymore but we certainly are dealing with a ruling elite wanting to use the financial and coercive powers of the public sector globally to dictate what any of us can be, or become, or perhaps even do, in the future.

And the media, educators, and NGOs like the UN and the OECD or the World Wildlife Fund are all definitely spreading plausible lies and deformed versions of events that are easy to challenge with truth if enough people are aware and still have Axemaker Minds. Did you know though that there was ” a great and important law of the psychological life?” Roberto Assagioli laid it out in just that language  in Psychosynthesis as a tool to be used to “achieve the right inner attitude toward other people and to successfully perform intended actions involving others.” What Assagioli called the “loving will.”

Doesn’t that aim sound almost the same as what  Maslow and Rogers and the NEA started pushing in 1962 as the new focus of education where “the important thing is not the specific method used but rather the way people relate and feel toward one another in the classroom?” And this change was important because “pessimistic views regarding the nature of man and methods of discouragement have to be discarded. One has to enter wholeheartedly into a cooperative adventure with those involved.” As Revel and others have noted, we are changing only one side in the Cold War or in the dangerous world of 2013 as we glance at Syria and evil on both sides with chemical weapons use staining multiple hands. Only one side is being asked to disarm and just “feel” that all can be fixed if we just “refashion our interpretation of the lived environment so that we can intelligibly act within in it.”

Can we? That last quote has jumped across a time gap of almost 50 years but has the same pursuit. From the UK this time and a report called “Transforming Behaviour Change: Beyond Nudge and Neuromania.” http://www.thersa.org/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/553542/RSA-Transforming-Behaviour-Change.pdf Before we get to that November 2011 report, let’s go back for that great psychological law: “images and mental pictures tend to produce the physical conditions and the external acts corresponding to them.” Another way of saying this is to point out the “immense power of images.” Assagioli says:

“It seems high time that this law should be utilized for higher and more constructive purposes [than advertising is what he means], and the fullest use of it should be made for the purpose of psychosynthesis.”

As I first explored in this post http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/when-gaming-intends-to-shape-and-distort-our-perceptions-of-everything-around-us-viva-la-revolution/ , educators and the ruling elite and those who would like to join have a modern day tool in the computer and adaptive software and especially the coming classroom emphasis around gaming that would have made Assagioli and Maslow drool. No wonder UNESCO sees media education as the means to achieve Marxist Humanism. No wonder CCSSI wants media and digital literacy to be as important as print literacy. The power of images. Especially when schools define ‘engaged learning’ as the goal and immersion in a virtual reality as the means. Then the student can regularly try out utopias or envision potential future catastrophes that MUST be avoided. And precisely what will tell a student that something is in fact unworkable in reality or unlikely to really happen? An actual catastrophe with real lives?

The “Transforming Behaviour Change” report talks about preparing the “brain for social bonding and empathy” but what if we are bonding with bullies who have no desire for Peace in the real world? What if we are being primed to use the “motor-power of imagination” to redesign an economy and society in ways that ultimately cannot maintain the prosperity we will need to consistently keep most people well-fed? Feeling and intuition may create adaptability to transformative change but it is only knowledge that can deal with the inevitable consequences. And personal knowledge is precisely what is being extinguished in order to gain a widespread personality that seeks, or is amenable to, such wholesale change.

“The baby will have disappeared with the bath water” before most of us will even know any water has been drawn. But meanwhile the ruling elite will be “reworking the foundations of economic models” as that 2011 document put it. In a disinterested way of course. No wonder the report keeps mentioning George Soros. We simply use student-centered education to “change your sense of who you are and what you value” and voila! Reimagined human societies and economies can be ours. Education merely needs to create “the development of an inner authority which can ‘write upon’ existing social and psychological productions rather than be ‘written by’ them.”

Maybe we could call that inner authority the common core or triune consciousness (see previous post under that tag) obtained via the techniques of psychosynthesis brought in to achieve a Positive School Climate. All as we chase after this OECD-endorsed utopian vision of “21st Century enlightenment” to get “successful lives in well-functioning societies.”

“Behaviour change becoming an explicit goal of government policy” sounds like something from a science fiction novel, doesn’t it? Not a well-funded initiative of  the present called the Social Brain Project. Never forget please that the US and UK are already working together as lead partners in seeking behavioral, economic, and social change as part of the Belmont Challenge and Future Earth Alliance [see tags] work. Hiding conveniently from prying eyes over in Sweden. So once again this is NOT a matter of pulling together sensational quotes. However, I do intend to end with one more from the Social Brain Project so we can ponder what freedom will mean in such a future vision.

“The ‘Think’ approach is more democratic, and contends that if we deliberate collectively as rational agents responsive to argument, we will find a suitable course of action and collectively follow it through.” Now the Social Brain Project clearly likes all that collective decision-making on behalf of all of us but it thinks the “Think’ approach is too reliant on reason and not enough on the unconscious mind and habits. It wants a ‘steering’ approach to behaviour change that “literally changes the subject.”

The subject is not Algebra or English. It is us and our children.

Being launched via transformative education into a world where our perception of reality and new values and attitudes are to be shaped just as surely by deliberate propaganda as anything a Khrushchev or Brezhnev ever sought to do during the Cold War.

 

Staring Down the Sudden PISA & 21st Century Learning Hype Leads Straight to Planned Welfare State

I am going to interrupt our troubling tour into the psychological theories and practices being pushed on our students at our expense. Using euphemistic names like soft skills or student growth or metacognition or ‘innovative practices’ for suburban schools. Including lovely confessions that if it works in achieving desired behavioral changes in students it can be rolled out nationally. Some innovation. Certain school districts really need to stop calling parents anytime there is a school shooting tragedy or potential tragedy claiming that “student safety is our first priority.” Horse manure and lots of it. If that is true then we have a widespread epidemic of administrators and consultants pushing ideas on schoolchildren and parents at great expense and calling themselves “Doctor” without having the foggiest notion of what they are doing.

Which is entirely possible so that leaves it up to we the parents and taxpayers to get to the bottom of the tsunami of fundamental social, political, and economic transformation coming at us in time. We will need to point out to the current Living Large on the Public Payroll recipients that a vast expansion will simply lead to greater dysfunction and a complete loss of overall prosperity.

Now when I hear and read a coordinated push all of a sudden around a topic, I get to fall back on a specialist horde of knowledge that in fact remains quite useful whatever the OECD bureaucrats like Andreas Schleicher have to say. We have discussed what the OECD’s push to monitor subjective well-being globally will mean for education. What I know and may have forgotten to pass along is that everything the OECD pushes in education, and it is a primary driver globally, comes out of its desire for a public-sector dominant social welfare state and planned economy globally.  Especially in the US.

And Schleicher basically says so in this hugely troubling article from 2010. http://www.oecd.org/general/thecasefor21st-centurylearning.htm “Shifts in ways of doing business, of managing the workplace or linking producers and consumers” are just the kind of wholesale reimagining of our economy that we just keep encountering as attached to education reform. Like the changed Mindsets and New Worldviews created by humanist psychology theories and practices in the classroom, this is all a means to an end.

If you get a chance to read that 2 page paper you will see that Schleicher is describing 21st Century Learning in language that others have come outright and called dialectical thinking. It is to prepare students for a belief quite useful to proponents of wholesale fundamental transformation into Governors and Governed.

“Promote students dialectical thinking–the understanding that what is ‘true’ now may not be true in the future and may not have been true in the past.” [Professor Robert Steinberg, 2009, ASCD, ‘How to Teach the Other 3 Rs’]

Andreas is quite busy and it was the sudden promotion of his July 2012 TED talk hyping PISA but not mentioning the planned roll-out in many American school districts this fall that is part of what caught my interest. It was called “Use Data to Build Better Schools” and the kind of schools to be remade will of course depend on what data is being collected. Schleicher was kind enough to mention in the 20 minute talk that it was international assessments like PISA that have globalized education. I knew that and it’s time everyone else did too. PISA is measuring student values, attitudes, and beliefs and how they apply knowledge (as in Big Ideas or Concepts like Social Justice) to novel situations. Non-linear, no clear cut solution problems that the students have never encountered before.  Can you say Messing with the Mind or Dialectical again or the more common Higher Order Thinking Skills?

There is another very troubling slideshow on “Learning in the 21st Century-Lessons from Around the World” http://prezi.com/fuvde8bjh6qg/learning-in-the-21st-century-policy-lessons-from-around-the-world/ that was Schleicher speaking last fall at WISE in Qatar, the World Innovation Summit in Education. So good to know that the Muslim world has such an interest in limiting the intellectual and economic capacity of the West. It’s especially interesting given that Schleicher mentions that 21st Century Learning is a way to “avert the risks” of new technology. Is that why Big Blue sponsored his TED talk? No more unapproved competition? If that kind of collusion strikes you as unlikely you might want to read the OECD’s “Better Skills, Better Jobs, Better Lives” detailing the extent of the sought collaboration among government and existing employers around a global skills agenda. With the foundation of the largest education company in the world   http://www.pearsonfoundation.org/pr/20120523-Pearson-Foundation-and-OECD-Launch-skills-oecd-org.html signing on as a partner.

I could be here all day explaining the elements but it is clear that 21st Century Learning is tied to the OECD vision of the future global society and PISA functions as the means of measuring how schools and teachers are doing in creating the new desired mindsets amenable to such wholesale political change. Hopefully even clamoring for it as expectations for middle class employment are dashed as the combo of government interventionism in the economy and divorcing actual knowledge from credentials creates its foreseeable dire effects.

That’s why the other component of the full-court propaganda press suddenly surrounding PISA caught my attention. It turns out on August 13, 2013 Simon & Schuster (owned by CBS. Think media education and UNESCO) published a book The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way about who does well on PISA and how combining excellence with equity is necessary for being globally competitive. Now we know what PISA measures and that’s not my definition of smart. Is it yours? If you watch Schleicher’s presentation on prezi, you will hear the Ontario Premier touting Ontario’s success. It also has Ben Levin speaking but his authority on education reform has been compromised since his July 2013 arrest on child porn charges.

The Ontario Premier says that 4 in 10 Canadian students are now immigrants and it is important to change education to deal with that diversity. He points out Ontario is now considered high achieving because immigrant children and Canadian born children do equally well on PISA. If that is so, then they are practicing dialectical type, open-ended thinking in the classroom instead of academics and knowledge transmission and that is what PISA is picking up on. It’s Ontario’s business but we in the US and elsewhere need to not blindly jump aboard the PISA bandwagon like we are being led to do. Just look at the endorsements and reviews on Ripley’s book. Talk about the Appeal to Authority fallacy.

Ooops. I had forgotten her name. Amanda Ripley. She does human behavior and public policy stories for Time Magazine and The Atlantic. Since I assumed she knew the book title was deceitful to put it kindly, I looked into her background and discovered she was a fellow at the New America Foundation. When I took a look at what they were pushing with that troubling name, it turned out that shortly after the President’s reelection and through his inauguration, numerous public policy papers were created on the New America vision. That miraculously dovetails with precisely the sorts of things the OECD wants pushed globally. What. Are. The. Odds. The capstone, culmination paper was released in June and is called the Next Social Contract. http://nsc.newamerica.net/sites/newamerica.net/files/policydocs/Lind_Michael_NextSocialContract_2013.pdf

The New Social Contract completely remakes the America we have known and turns it into a public-sector dominated economic sewer. Complete with VAT, the federal takeover of Medicaid, turning health insurance into social insurance, eliminating “tax-privileged” retirement accounts, and best of all, federal revenue sharing to ensure regional equity of fiscal resources based on population. How exciting for California, NY, Illinois, and poor mismanaged Detroit. It’s a future that sees education and healthcare and state and local governments as the biggest employers and all at taxpayer expense.

“Privileged Americans should not be allowed to use sub-national jurisdictions as excuses for shirking their responsibility to contribute to minimum levels of public services throughout the United States as a whole.”

Welcome to the planned 21st Century America. I can see why that quote did not come out before Florida’s electoral votes were successfully grabbed for reelection.

That’s what we are dealing with behind all the rhetoric. No wonder OECD has taken up password protecting the pdfs surrounding its global Well-being conferences.

I am going to close with something federal Ed Secretary Arne Duncan said in connection with the 50th Anniversary of King’s March on Washington. He “called on educators and students to advance a civil rights agenda that presses for equal opportunities-and not just equal rights.”

He seems to be referring to the vision of that New Social Contract. But a knowledge of history and economics would reveal that the attempt is likely to destroy what does work. We are questing after a unicorn ride and pretending it is possible and jettisoning our current vehicle as we go a-dreaming. Some dreams are impossible.

How far down this road of creating new Mindsets and a new vision of the future will we go before we recognize we have expensively destroyed knowledge and expertise and social institutions we cannot easily remake?

Where will we be when the epiphany finally hits of all we have deliberately trashed? Ridiculously enough, in the name of education for all.

Some common core.

Digital Trilogy’s End and Perhaps Ours? Revolutionary Transformation as Explicit Goal of the National Ed Tech Plan

In 2010 the US federal Department of Education issued the National Education Technology Plan (NETP) report named Transforming American Education: Learning Powered by Technology. http://www.ed.gov/sites/default/files/netp2010.pdf It calls explicitly for “revolutionary transformation rather than evolutionary tinkering.” Thereby confirming the worst fears of anyone concerned the Common Core was some sort of an attempt to nationalize ed policy. Now I maintain the feds are actually plugging American ed into the internationalization of ed as a vehicle for systematic change with UNESCO and also the Paris-based OECD as the lead drivers but that is not today’s story. But do keep that in mind as part of the why. The Grit Perseverance Report and Digital Promise and media education and the computer gaming as classroom activity and assessment are ALL part of NETP.

So is the Common Core State Standards Initiative that I just abbreviate as CCSSI. Its purpose is described in NETP as creating the standards (used consistently and interchangeably in report as a synonym for outcomes in students) and new alternative assessments to “measure 21st century competencies.” Now I will come back to all this while you mull over the fact that CCSSI was always merely a temporary means to force states and local school districts to make the desired shifts laid out in the NETP and its collateral documents. That were never really intended to be widely read or known about.

CCSSI takes the political heat. NETP lays out the real sought transformation. Except it’s the same transformation at the level of the individual student and future voter as what was sought in the 90s as well. And we know that because in numerous places NETP mirrors both UNESCO’s DeLors, The Treasure Within, report from 1996 and Chapter 9, “A Curriculum About Humanity,” of the Paul Ehrlich book New World New Mind that I wrote about in the last post. Think of it as a long sought global vision for ed.

So why do we need to change what goes on in the classroom? Because we need to literally change the way people think says Ehrlich: “most important, we have to shift our understanding of ourselves as separate individuals, each seeking our own welfare, to an understanding of how we fit into social, biological, and physical environments.[a Blue Ribbon for every reader recognizing that description of Urie Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory graphic] It is not that increasing scientific knowledge makes learning morals obsolete, but that the new world we’ve created makes the nature of moral choices unprecedented.”

Now hiding a deliberate shift in values, attitudes, and beliefs through adaptive software and in vague terms like competencies and 21st century skills and learner outcomes and social and emotional learning to supposedly prevent bullying and create mental health for all is obviously a great back door in for such a Change the Way We Think goal. Especially if you want to teach all these needs to alter moral choices “to children right at the beginning of their education.”

Remember Ehrlich was writing back before the Internet and today’s generation of videogames and stunning, visually compelling multimedia graphics. So his suggested way “to introduce young children to a new view of humanity might be through a cleverly crafted series of Saturday morning cartoons. The first might present humanity, metaphorically, as one single animal. We could show that if humanity were one animal, that ‘creature’ would now weigh more than 100,000 times its original weight. Think about an animal growing until it is now 10 million times more powerful than it was at birth. Wouldn’t that creature have to behave differently at the time of its great power than in its great power than in its weak infancy?”

Now before I continue on with the quote, I want you to keep that intentional manipulation via visuals and emotions on impressionable children in mind from now on every time you read or hear of an intention to use technology in the classroom to engage all students. Or here’s another quote from the NETP “leverage the learning sciences and modern technology to create engaging, relevant, and personalized learning experiences for all learners that mirror students’ daily lives and the reality of their futures.” Elsewhere, NETP lays out technology’s ability to assess non-cognitive features like motivational influences and to do it through virtual reality simulations that can assess personal responses “within the context of relevant societal issues and problems that people care about in everyday life.”

Ehrlich, much like all these education professors whose theories we have looked at, wants to figure out how to change people’s perceptions of their daily reality. Here’s the rest of the quote from above. Ask yourself if Ehrlich would be a fan of David Christian’s Big History curriculum we have discussed.

“If we imagined humanity this way, we and our children could begin to think differently. Instead of pondering the local problems of our own life, we need to think about the collective life of our species. If, instead of thinking in terms of decades, centuries, or even the millenia of recorded history, we contemplated our history for many millions [italics in original] of years, then the problems we now face would take on a vastly different purpose.”

Well if that doesn’t give additional clarity to all the hyping about catastrophic man-made global warming whatever actual temp trends or trumpeting weather events like Hurricane Sandy as proof of too much “carbon” in the air, how about the acknowledgment that “If we could teach this understanding of our history and capabilities, both students and adults might begin to channel the development of humanity in new directions.” Directions that, like NETP’s vision for revolutionizing education, have a likely effect of making people far more malleable to being governed. And more susceptible to the social engineering aspirations of the behavioral sciences.

If you think of curricula in the 21st century not as a body of knowledge but as the prescribed set of learning experiences, it is a lot easier to see that learning sciences and cognitive theory as mentioned repeatedly in these reports as what the new classroom is to be about gets you to Ehrlich’s New Mind goals. Here’s another quote consistent with his intent that “the key to getting new-minded adults seems to be training them early.”

“When we say change the curriculum, therefore, it is really a code for saying change the whole society (since curricula are determined largely at the local level [Not anymore! How convenient.]) and changing the entire education system. It is a big order, our survival depends on it, and it is a task for grown-ups.”

Preferably those grown-ups with an Edudoctorate and a title to mandate all these changes that seek to transform society invisibly at taxpayer expense. These Supers and profs and principals and overpaid consultants have all been totally immersed in all these learning theories that are either political theories that track back to Uncle Karl or based on Soviet psych research. The lack of genuine knowledge in the typical ed degree program at any level leaves these Determined to be Change Agents almost the last people to be able to appreciate the likely dire implications of what they are pushing. Or its known tragic history.

Let’s get back to the NETP since it really is how the federal DoEd and the foundations and the tech companies for starters intend to get Ehrlich’s New Minds in a sufficient number of voters to drive the rest of the sought changes through the ballot box. Two explicit goals that actually sound nice and worthy drive this entire transformation of the ed system. Which of course is intended to drive revolutionary transformations in everything else.

Goal Number 1: “We will raise the proportion of college graduates from where it now stands (around 41 percent) so that 60 percent of our population holds a two-year or four-year degree by 2020.”

That’s a requirement that forces the nature of both K-12 and higher ed to change so that we have equity in credentials without real knowledge. Which in turn sets up voters who are likely to have expectations for their adult lives that cannot be met under current economic and social structures. They will have no idea that it is government interventionism and overregulation and the “learning sciences and theories” themselves driving the economic stagnation. They will thus be ready to vote for every demagogue promising change.

Goal Number 2: “We will close the achievement gap so that all students graduate from high school ready to succeed in college and careers.”

That second goal again forces changes on what can go on in the classroom since no achievement gap is allowed despite different life experiences, parenting, or language issues. The emphasis on ready to succeed again fuels the drive to reform higher ed AND the nature of the workplace AND the nature of the economy.

It will then become a necessary role of governments to ensure that anticipated adult success. Which is really convenient as I will lay out in the next post what the planners have in mind when they say they want governments to be the designers of new social systems.

For all of us.

Say what?

 

 

Accomplishing One of the Biggest Transformations in Human History Largely Out of Sight

The problem with having an experienced Due Diligence lawyer figuring out what is really going on in an industry is we do tend to blow through ordinary barriers. It is just reflex to figure out who really owns what and where the funding is coming from and who else is connected. Which may make me a pain sometimes in casual conversation but it was darn useful to clients. Now since I have chosen to use writing to explain the connections and why they matter in education and how it relates to planned social, political, and economic transformations globally, let’s get going again. Because with this story, the real question becomes who isn’t affected, not who is.

A book that is probably not on your radar screen that should be came out in 2009 in the UK and 2010 in the US. Called The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger it lays out a vision to “inspire us to create a better society.” It argues that the developed rich countries have “material success and social failure” and that “the broken society and broken economy resulted from the growth of inequality.” Now I would argue that what has broken the rich countries is too much government intervention, like in the mortgage markets, that creates perverse incentives and loads of unintended consequences.

We have discussed before that many economists like Joseph Schumpeter realized that if you keep blaming the ill effects of interventionism on capitalism instead of the reality of cronyism coupled to government coercion, you will steadily get socialism quietly and invisibly. That is precisely what appears to be happening and The Spirit Level is intended to be a key component in creating the desired mindsets and political will for change. Blind, ignorant, but effective change.

Because of its thesis on what is broken and why, the book wants to “shift attention from material standards and economic growth to ways of improving the psychological and social wellbeing of whole societies.” Now that dovetails perfectly with both the UN and OECD’s current global emphasis even though the authors do not say so. As we will see though the dovetailing does have a lot to do with who gets published and why these days and who gets a fat nonfiction advance. And with the merger of Penguin and Random House as of July 1, 2013 that will become even more true. That one entity controls fully a quarter of the world book publishing business and the two previous competitors were frequently the sole bidders on major nonfiction.

Now Penguin is wholly-owned by the largest ed company in the world, Pearson PLC, which is a lot of influence in virtually every area of the information that gets out. If you remember, Pearson’s Chief Ed Advisor is Sir Michael  “Irreversible Change” Barber who thought Global Citizenship would make a nice substitute ideology to guide daily behavior since, he said basically, the Christian religion was no longer compelling and Marx had a bad rep in the 90s. He has his own tag detailing some of these pushes and his links via public meetings to Irina Bokova, head of UNESCO, who currently wants to use Media Education, including digital learning, to drive the planet to Marxist Humanism in the 21st century. Yes, she has said so. See those tags as well. Does she have any connections then to media? Yes, I would say so especially as German media conglomerate Bertelsmann controls 53% of the new publishing company to Penguin’s 47%.

If we quit thinking of socialism and the rest of Uncle Karl’s visions as being about the Kremlin or Mao and begin thinking of it as government led control by connected insiders of the economy and everyone else, what is really going on makes a whole lot more sense. Accurate perception also means we can strategize over both effective defense and offense in the coming years. At the end of the Spirit Level book, the authors remark that “creating the political will to make society more equal is more important than pinning our colours to a particular set of policies to reduce inequality. Political will is dependent on the development of a vision of a better society which is both achievable and inspiring.”

Now creating such political will and vision is Oh So Much easier if the largest ed company in the world owns Penguin which can simply publish such a book and many more.  Then that ed company can have its employees write reports and Forewords like this one just released  http://www.nesta.org.uk/library/documents/Alive_in_the_Swamp.pdf that push to have digital learning “irresistably engage” students. Software and gaming and assessments “personalized with the goal of unlocking the passion of the learner.” We have discussed before that digital learning can provide expert systems that teach but that is NOT the vision of digital learning actually being pushed. This is to be about behavioral change and the role of the teacher is to be a change agent “trained to focus on the personal experience of the individual student and to help uncover values and motivations.” Which again is darn useful since everyone involved about two levels up from the classroom, if not less, is intent on using education to obtain that political will and impose that social vision and create new values.

So the development of modern technology according to the book “will help us rein in consumerism and ease the introduction of policies to tackle global warming.” It believes “profit-making institutions” will “appear increasingly anti-social” which is highly likely given such media control over education and what gets published as nonfiction in the future. Who needs censorship when so few control so much of what will make it to most human minds as available information? We will likely get more of  http://www.equalitytrust.org.uk/resources/park-avenue-how-much-inequality-too-much types of documentaries. Notice that just came out too and is classified as an educational material. Also  notice Equality Trust is preparing curriculum materials for 16-19 year olds and has a June 17, 2013 blog post explaining that we all have a flawed understanding of liberty.

The graduate student writer seems to have the life comprehension skills of someone who has always been supported by someone else as as he wants to define “liberty as the absence of relations of domination and dependence between persons” so “equality and liberty are not in conflict, but are in fact compatible and self-reinforcing concepts.” Honestly, if the government and connected insiders are in charge of making equality for all a fact as they are under all these visions, there will be a whole lot of domination and dependence and it will be hard to escape from. All in the Gutter Together with no ladder up or out. We will be back in the kind of status society referred to previously as feudalism. And we are not being assigned to the Castle with Moat class either. Someone has spent too much time in poli sci and cultural studies classes or reading the Howard Zinn view of history.

The authors are now turning The Spirit Level into a documentary for a planned release in Summer 2014 which will give emotionally compelling visuals for students going into US midterm elections. http://thespiritleveldocumentary.com/blog . The Foreword of the US version of the book was written by former Clinton Secretary of Labor Robert Reich and the co-sponsor of that Nesta Digital Learning Innovations report is the hugely influential and connected California-based New Schools Venture Fund in case anyone thinks this is only a UK invisible coup. I explained the Marxist Humanist theory of changing attitudes and values here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/naming-educators-as-the-levers-shifting-the-human-personality-to-marxs-moral-revolution/ and that post fits with what is being explained in this post as well.

The Spirit Level ends with this rephrasing of Uncle Karl’s vision, still being sought so many years later:

“To sustain the necessary political will, we must remember that it falls to our generation to make one of the biggest transformations in human history. We have seen the rich countries have got to the end of the really important contributions which economic growth can make to the quality of life [they have gone through the requisite technology stage to supposedly make redistribution possible believed Uncle Karl] and also that our future lies in improving the quality of the social environment in our societies.[me again, that’s why there is so much emphasis in ed reform on the common good and community] The role of this book is to point out that greater equality is the material foundation on which better social relations are built.”

That certainly is the role of that book and isn’t it helpful Pearson is in a position to publish that book and use digital learning and its role as provider of so much of the curriculum and so many of the assessments to be used with the Common Core and for Texas’ STAAR? In a unique global position to prepare tasks and projects and questions that push that vision and create that political will? That it has a foundation pushing Global Learning in the US with the Asia Society mostly out of sight?

And is there any question whose vision we are about to use education to experiment as to whether better social relations can be built if nobody knows much and education becomes about engaging the passions through activity and visual stimulation?

Should we start a pool on how these transformations are really likely to turn out?

Turning All of Us into Piggy Banks or Dependents Who Need Direction and Aid and Desired Dispositions

Following up directly from the presentation discussed in the previous post, do you believe that the “best way to prepare students for the future is to equip them to invent it?” Can we in fact design the future we want if we are just all determined enough? What makes one a good inventor? Passion or knowledge? How well do most group efforts where consensus and majority rules prevail work out in the real world?

How about education designed to “plant the seeds of peace in children’s minds”? Will that work or is the West, especially the US, simply disarming, mentally and emotionally, its young people while real threats still await? Both of those quotes come from Fernando Reimers, the Harvard Ed School professor who used to be an official with the World Bank, whose three dimensions of global competency were explicitly mentioned in that P21 video. If something is being incorporated by reference into classrooms to get at student values, attitudes, and beliefs, and create new dispositions and behaviors, we had best know what it is. Now. Before we have a toxic collective common core in a majority of voters.

If you are reading this outside the US, we now have our explicit link from a European journal of all this to the 2001 Citizenship initiatives in the UK and Australia I first described here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/mandating-global-citizenship-mindsets-by-assessing-whether-students-adopt-social-altruism/ . Canadians who have never read the 2012 Shifting Minds report from C21Canada should find it. Global indeed in every sense of the word. Not speculating here and it’s not just an American problem. Even though there are apparently additional gold stars and bounties available for change agents whose theories gain international acceptance. Just ask Pearson’s Michael Barber.

What are we dealing with here then? Well, to quote Reimers we “could call these dimensions the three A’s of globalization: the affective dimension, the action dimension and the academic dimension.” By “affective” Reimers means the “development of character, affect, and values” around a “global common framework of values” such as the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I took the title from my own observation that everyone in the world having a right to a certain standard of living means a global class of administrators redistributing from those with the duty to provide to those waiting to benefit from the goodies. History shows the national leaders will want their cut and no one has an incentive to get off the dole or taxpayer teat. Especially if it is just there. At least until the money dries up completely and then where are we? Gimme anyway? And all this gets administered by bureaucrats from the UN or OECD who want tax-free salaries and benefits that only have a reason to exist as long as dependence and tragic dysfunction remain. Anywhere. More lucrative jobs if misery then spreads.

A Global Problem-solving focus is Not a prescription to get better. In other words, global education around competency and sustainability is actually likely to be unsustainable and make existing problems worse. The power to coerce gets used where it exists even if the students mean well in all these Youth Movements being fostered in the name of:

1. “A positive disposition toward cultural difference and a framework of global values to engage in difference. [I always sensed IB was a stalking horse for something bigger for everyone. Yikes!] This requires a sense of identity and self-esteem but also empathy toward others with different identities [remember here how critical Irina Bokova views the relationship between UNESCO and the new UN initiative–the Alliance of Civilizations]. And interest and understanding of different civilizational streams [with a spin that Bokova and AOC and Reimers approve of] and the ability to see those differences as opportunities for constructive, respectful and peaceful transactions among people. This ethical dimension of global competency includes also a commitment to basic equality and rights of all persons and a disposition to act to uphold those rights.” [cites make it clear this is an economic justice/John Dewey definition of democracy, not a structure of government].

Second is the skill dimension that develops the “motivation to act and the competency to act.” By that Reimers means “addressing personal and collective needs and of achieving sustainable human-environmental interactions” through those internalized Global Values created via the Affective Dimension (I am combining about 3 different sources for Reimers. All are the same vision and written since 2006). Reimers wants students to learn to “live these [Universal Declaration of Human] rights (not just to know them).”

Third is that academic dimension and notice it IS knowledge but it is supplied knowledge and concepts to prompt the desire to act politically. To invent a different future around a collective responsibility for the wellbeing of humanity. “To understand the interconnectedness of the entire globe on a range of issues, environmental, political, demographic, and recognize their importance.” Again Reimers–“global competency encompasses the skills and interest to understand the basic interdependence of human beings and the environment on a planetary scale.” Now that’s a definition that will require a global class of tax paid administrators intent on coordinating and regulating and outright restricting.

Here then is a direct quote of the academic dimension taken from Reimers book by way of the NEA Foundation’s website (to show their support and intent I suppose), ALL students will need “Deep knowledge and understanding of world history, geography, the global dimensions of topics such as health, climate and economics and of the process of globalization itself …and a capacity to think critically and creatively about the complexity of current global challenges.” [aka systems thinking, paging Peter Senge and Bela Banathy].

So to be clear Global Competence also comes in under definitions of what constitutes 21st Century Learning. Even if you are not in a Senge affiliated district or state like Nevada, let’s say you live in the Atlanta area where the large districts of Cobb, Fulton, and Gwinnett have joined the 10 districts piloting Ed Leader 21’s Suburban Consortium http://www.edleader21.com/index.php?pg=33&id=2 that will delight their taxpayers no end as they discover no where to run from the policies and practices that led to the dysfunction of the Atlanta cheating scandal. The DC area is in the same situation as Fairfax County, Arlington City, and Prince Georges and Montgomery Counties in Maryland also close off the escape route. And Charlotte, Greenville, SC, and Miami-Dade to complete the long sought attempt to level academics in the suburbs and shift those home-instilled values and dispositions.

I mentioned proof above of global coordination of all these citizenship and global competency initiatives, here’s the 2007 link http://www.citized.info/ejournal/Vol%203%20No%202/Vol%203%20no%202.pdf . It puts a new reason on why we really needed a single set of national standards in the US. Too many of the states you see had created civics and citizenship standards that focused on developing the dreaded accurate knowledge among young people. And since having the federal government push this formally was just not available, as usual, one of the charitable foundations, Carnegie, picked up the tab and “the National Centre for Learning and Citizenship at the Education Commission of the States convened a series of meetings with civic policymakers and practitioners.” Instead of knowledge, these meetings “encourage policymakers to conceptualize citizenship education as ‘strands’ of civic competency that encompass civic-related knowledge [because direct instills patriotism?], cognitive and participative skills, and civic dispositions.  Equally important, there was agreement that these citizenship competencies are best developed through a coherent sequence of learning experiences that extend from kindergarten through twelfth grade.”

Get ’em emotional often and early for many years in other words should make for igniting a reliable  generation of social change agents. Having “primary grade children …discuss the nature of ‘fairness’ and create a better school environment” are the experiences that “provide the civic foundation for middle and high school.” Where they will be primed to attend Youth Forums in Costa Rica to hear Al Gore or the Global Youth Summit next year in China.

That’s how and why all of these earth-shaking mental and psychological changes get instilled in your child or a majority of voters. And the elections in the West gradually get used to mandate a taxpayer-financed fundamental shift.

That UN and education superintendents and university administrators and too many politicians at all levels and every party are determined to give a 21st Century try.

And because they are adults who have spent their careers living off either the public sector’s ability to extract taxes and incur debt. Or live off the tax-free and compounding wealth left by Andrew or John D or Model T Henry or even today’s Bill, Melinda, Eli, and Warren, they are tragically unaware of what will happen when we make the purpose of education–Global Competency or Sustainability or Transformational Outcomes Based Education–turning out the rational, independent lights of most individual minds.

To “instill seeds of peace” in a dangerous world. To create influential guiding beliefs that are false. To mandate “perspectives” because we wish that is how the world worked.

Breaking the individual and collective piggy banks and then where will we be?

Decreeing the Interdependence of Environment, Economy, Society and Cultural Diversity in the 21st

Can you imagine what your workday would be like if your boss or the owner of the company actually  had their own secret boss? Who was giving marching orders on what you should do or not do? You think you know what you are expected to do but there’s this whole other agenda going on in your workplace beyond your sight. It would be confusing and unsettling to say the least. Likely nothing you were being told as feedback would quite make sense.

That is essentially the role that UNESCO now plays in education globally. At both K-12 and higher ed and increasingly professional schools. Hugely influential about the nature of the degree programs that credential the teachers and administrators. Through the poorly understood accreditation process, UNESCO can influence what local school boards themselves can now get involved in or risk property value destroying revocation or just watch status. Then there is the dynamic that promotions from teaching into the much more lucrative administrative positions or from principal to the six-figure world of the Central Office all go to those implementing UNESCO positions with fidelity. Even if only a few recognize that UNESCO and its declared drive for a new Scientific Humanism globally for the 21st century is where so many contentious pushes originate. At the Central Office any chance for your own school district or lucrative post-retirement (or even while also still on the district payroll) consulting jobs go to those who implement with fidelity. Whatever the parent or student outcry.

So failing to understand the role of UNESCO or the accreditation process is literally a failure to grasp what drives what can go on in a school or classroom. Whatever the intentions of parents, school boards, legislators, Congress, or Governors. And that’s apart from currently having a federal DoED that expressly seeks to work in tandem now with UNESCO. If Romney had won the Presidency in the US in 2012 or if you elected a Republican governor, UNESCO remains a primary driver of policies and practices. It would just be less overt.

So when Bulgarian Irina Bokova campaigned to head UNESCO and return it formally to Julian Huxley’s pathway to an evolving Scientific Humanism that has nothing to do with the Renaissance and everything to do with Uncle Karl, it was going to affect local education virtually everywhere. Formal initiatives like the CCSSI in the US or Core Skills and Wellbeing in Australia just give the UNESCO agenda a vehicle to hide in. A vehicle that gets Bokova’s Agenda, or as she called it, her Mission Statement, into the classroom or online software program, where it can begin to alter Worldviews and Values and Beliefs. Just as she has openly declared. http://www.unesco.org/new/fileadmin/MULTIMEDIA/HQ/BPI/EPA/images/media_services/Director-General/mission-statement-bokova.pdf

You may not believe in global governance or that education should be about shifting away from the Western concept of the primacy of the individual to the Eastern concept of the responsibility of the individual to the group but Irina and UNESCO do. And they have huge, poorly understood powers to bring about change. And the fact that Russian speakers at a UNESCO meeting in Paris are saying that this New Humanism and communism (little c, see earlier posts) are the same should really give us pause.

Except we were not supposed to know. And honestly too many Principals and Central Office Admins are too busy blindly pushing whatever will get them the next promotion to care or even pay attention to the real implications of these policies and practices.   http://instituteforscienceandhumanvalues.com/articles/philosophical%20reflection.htm
from February 2012 is a Dutch prof who attended the symposium and was alarmed by what he heard.

So when UNESCO and its Moscow-based Institute for Information Technologies in Education (ISTE) published “Media Literacy and New Humanism” in 2010, it was intended to change education globally to get the Mindsets and values and beliefs UNESCO seeks for a radically altered global future. Behind our backs. Without our consent. But still coming to a classroom or university campus near you soon because of the way education really works. And the relationship between the real drivers like the accreditors or charitable foundations or even multinational corporations (who simply prefer to do business with a government Ministry that can also regulate potential competition) impacts the actual implementation. Not any “standards” or outcomes that contradict the new transformative purposes of education.

So it is not kooky to talk about UNESCO. Instead, it borders on negligence to do work in education and not be aware of its role. And when UNESCO seeks to turn education and the role of the media globally into a partnership designed to limit what we can know or do and what we are to believe, we need to take them at their nefarious word that they are quite serious. This was italicized in the foreword to the original report:

“Considering media literacy from intercultural perspective, the authors describe its role in the world where the notion of the uniqueness of each civilization as an isolated, self-sufficient entity is no longer valid: Humanity must force the media system as a whole to shoulder the obligation to stimulate this intense intercultural relation that the global world demands of us. We must force it to act as an interpreter and translator–cultural translation–among all of humanity’s diverse codes: between our codes and the codes of the Other. In other words, the goal is to align the entire media system with the obligation to make a systematic effort at mutual understanding among all the collectives, peoples. societies and communities in this global world.

And if a certain group’s designs or expressed intentions are incompatible with a sought just, equitable, and peaceful world, do you make the presentation or curriculum about the actual reality or the sought one? See our problem? This alliance may be news to us but probably not to anyone heading up a global media or advertising or even a tech company. It’s simply what passes for the Way Things Now Are at the conferences we do not get invited to. Its assumptions basically pass into the water of influence that filters down from there.

I will say that I did not see a single reference to Uncle Karl in that report. But a restatement of his theories and metaphors so thoroughly runs through it that the book/report would qualify for plagiarism under any campus honor code I have seen. Basically it could be satire of how to get to the same end result without using the M word. Marx talked about the mode of production, the report makes the mode of communication the trigger. In either case though ICT is that trigger and it is time for education and the media to concentrate “on the processes of constructing personal identities” ready for the socially networked world and an era of “universal relationships.” Not too far from the language used in President Obama’s recent high-speed broadband and digital learning edict.

Marx may have come up with the metaphor that “All that is Solid Melts into Air” to describe the time of tremendous change http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/all-that-is-solid-melts-into-air-but-does-it-really/ but that quote might have triggered the real link. So the report cites NYU Prof Bauman and a Spainard instead for the insight that “our (everyday) life has abandoned the solidity of the past and become liquid.” Likewise, Marx’s outrage over what he called the alienation of man gets turned into statements about “a kind of personality dominated by being alone together.”

In case you are wondering what UNESCO seeks to do about all this, oh, nothing much. They just want to use education and the media to “decisively influence our psyche and our character.” Later, they get even more explicit on the goals: “transforming both the manmade environment around human beings and their interior,  that is their intellectual capacities and mental skills.” Two points for every reader who recognizes an intent to gain an EcoMind and prevent Axemaker Minds.

We would be here all day if I quoted every horrifically troubling intention. The next post will have to be the how. Here are some of the highlights. This New Humanism really benefits holders of existing technology since it wants veto power over technological development in the future. So there will be a high degree of cronyism as “the new 21st century humanism must foster a critical sense that is alert to the hypertechnologized environment and capable of discerning between what should be retained and revamped.”

Also the “new humanism in the global communication society must prioritise a new sense of respect for multiplicity and cultural diversity and must support media development with the goal of consolidating the new culture of peace.” Well, kumbayah, at last. A brief look around the world  tells us not to hold our breath but that knowledge is just not going to affect the classroom or newsroom. No, because “now is the time for us to be capable of reviving the classical idea of the cosmopolitan, universal citizen, with very clear rights and responsibilities, that entail a planet-wide commitment.”

And in the Brave New World connection that you just could not make up, here comes Aldous’ brother Julian as the inspiration for this 21st century vision. A vision that explicitly targets “our value system” as UNESCO and ISTE inform us that “We are calling for a global, evolving humanism, in the words of Julian Huxley.”

Do tell. And I will. More in the next post.