Not Subtle Enough–Enslaving Us All in the Name of Health, Equity, and Well-Being

That was a longer break than I had intended, but sometimes real life interferes with explaining plans for the future. Luckily it did not interfere at all with documenting those plans so here we go with Part 2 of this Trilogy with even more pertinent facts from just the last week. So what’s this reference to ‘subtlety’ and is the verb ‘enslaving’ accurate or hyperbole? I will let each of us decide that when this Trilogy is complete. The reference to subtlety though comes from a February 2016 paper setting out “a means to conceptualize, regulate, and shape development processes.” Now given what I have been hammering on all summer, virtually everyone reading this can rightfully predict this refers to what a student, or the adult they become, has internalized as their guiding values, beliefs, and mental models. It also refers though to physical spaces like cities, schools, workplaces, and virtually any institution in a community.

Whole Society means precisely that. Under various UN and national pushes (HUD for example, under Julian Castro began to roll out all the Habitat III goals in December 2014. Did you get the memo?) implementing the “Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals” we find a repeated and explicit insistence on new “Modes of Governance.” Now I am quite sure all the public policy think tanks suddenly calling for a constitutional convention in the US is just coincidental, but in case it is not, let’s listen in on the nature of the shift, especially as student competencies are pitched as being about ‘self-governance in the 21st Century.’

“Governing can be considered as the totality of interactions in which public, as well as private, actors participate with the aim of solving societal problems or creating societal opportunities; attending to the institutions as contexts for these governing interactions; and establishing a normative foundation for all these activities. Commonly phrased as a shift from government to governance, the notion of governance entails a process of interaction between different societal and political actors and the growing interdependencies between the two as modern societies become ever more complex, dynamic, and diverse…In hierarchical governance the focus is on the steering role of the state in respect to governance. The state has shifted its pattern of steering away from direct legislative intervention and control to more subtle forms of regulation and oversight.”

See what I mean about not subtle enough if I am reading the plans before they are even enacted and writing books and blogs about what learning standards, School Choice, and Social Determinants of Health really mean? Let’s pick up one more quote as “Self-governance refers to the capacity of people to govern themselves, where actors come together to frame their own collective solutions.” Now when you hear the terms ‘self-governance’ or ‘autonomy’ is Priming for Collectivism a definition any of us have in mind? See how the Subtle Steering comes in? When we hear someone calling for Health as a Human Right or Equity in Outcomes for all Students, do we immediately recognize this is another subtle agreement telling politicians at all levels to mandate “positive and constructive changes in social arrangements”?

That Success for All and Excellence are about education where schools, public or private, must concentrate on the “cultivation of those habits, dispositions, required for virtuous activity and enlightened change. Furthermore, these creative habits can flourish only with the proper social conditions. This is one reason Dewey placed so much emphasis on education–education that begins when a child is born and continues through and beyond formal schooling.” That was from Richard Bernstein and is cited as “Creative Democracy-The Task Still Before Us” and is available as a Blueprint for the Planning and Public Policy set who fully intend to steer away in what is being pitched as a People-Centered Society. Oh, Joy.

When I was looking into the Community Schools mandated in the US by ESSA, the new federal statute signed in December 2015, it led me to a new acronym–HiAP. Health in All Policies was a new phrase, but following it has taken me on a global Internet journey to the rationales for the very programs now being foisted on us by various federal agencies and local governments all over the world, especially in the US. First up was the 2010 Adelaide Statement on Health in All Policies: Moving Towards A Shared Governance for Health and Well-Being” that left me not feeling very well after I read it. Like the Culture as Sustainability paper quoted above that will be covered in Part 3, HiAP is grounded in an insistence that “increasingly, communities, employers and industries are expecting and demanding strong government action to tackle the determinants of health and well-being and avoid duplication and fragmentation of actions.”

That unpublicized aim insists the “causes of health and well-being lie outside the health sector and are socially and economically formed.” Meeting the supposed demands of local employers and industries, which is after all the new role of K-12 education, becomes about a need for “joined-up government” and “another approach to governance.” I am really learning to hate that little ‘-ance’ suffix that seems so innocuous. Suddenly and out of sight we have the implementation of a ‘new social contract’ that sounds just like a Karl Marx Blueprint for where history should lead. Subtly and via education especially, we have a call where “Governments can coordinate policymaking by developing strategic plans that set out common goals, integrated responses and increased accountability across government departments. This requires a partnership with civil society and the private sector.”

Readers of my book Credentialed to Destroy will recognize that alliance as the Turchenko vision for achieving little c communism in the West. Interestingly enough we now know that the Adelaide Statement in 2010 reignited a global agenda launched in 1978 in Alma Ata, USSR. All these coincidences, huh? That Alma Ata Declaration was also trumpeted in the October 2011 World Conference on the Social Determinants of Health in Rio where we also failed to get an invite. That Political Declaration insisted that “health equity is a shared responsibility and requires the engagement of all sectors of government, of all segments of society, and of all members of the international community” to “achieve social and health equity.”

How? Glad to be asked. We have all been committed to “improve the daily living conditions; to tackle the inequitable distribution of power, money and resources; and to measure and understand the problem and assess the impact of action.” On the latter, I had never heard of Professor Donald Campbell, his Experimental Society, or Democratic Experimentalism until this past month as I tracked all these initiatives. Apparently back in 1969, social scientists decided “The United States and other modern nations should be ready for an experimental approach to social reform, an approach in which we try out new programs designed to cure specific social problems.”

Back to Rio and then on to Finland in 2013 and Shanghai this November, as we are all being bound to an agenda that insists that “health inequities arise from societal conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age” and are known as Social Determinants of Health. This agenda cares a great deal about addressing power imbalances so all the Hype about Black Lives Matter and trying to gain equivalence among the “killings in Dallas” and the “shootings in Baton Rouge and St Paul” (as if murderous intent was no longer pertinent) makes so much more sense if the only acceptable remedy is for action on the Social Determinants of Health:

“both for vulnerable groups and the entire population, is essential to create inclusive, equitable, economically productive and healthy societies. Positioning human health and well-being as one of the key features of what constitutes a successful, inclusive and fair society in the 21st century is consistent with our commitment to human rights at national and international levels.”

To bring the discussion back to just education for a moment, we have the draft document for Shanghai’s upcoming 9th Global Conference on Health Promotion in its Social Mobilization Brief insisting that “Critical to success will be maximally mobilizing the unique enthusiasm, spirit, and social media know-how of youth, ensuring that they are fully engaged in social action and political processes.” Fully engaged and trained through school to help shift to what Marx called the Human Development Society with all the implementing measures subtly hidden away lest enough people rebel in time.

This past Tuesday, about two weeks after I originally planned to write this HiAP post, NAS released a paper on a February 2016 Workshop called “Framing the Dialogue on Race and Ethnicity to Advance Health Equity.” Beginning to see why Michael Brown’s actual activities in Ferguson, Missouri that fateful day or what Trayvon Martin was really up to and how he no longer looked anything like the pictures chosen by the media are so useful to the True Transformational Agenda we are not supposed to get until it is too late? It calls for all institutions, including schools and universities, to “develop an equity lens.” That lens is defined as “understanding the social, political, and environmental contexts of a program, policy, or practice in order to evaluate and assess the unfair benefits and burdens within a society or population.” The workshop also stressed how to ‘frame equity’ in terms of “privilege and oppression.”

The “Reframing Communication to Advance Racial Equity” insisted that “the primary factors that shape the health of Americans are not medical treatments but rather the living conditions they experience. These conditions have become known as the social determinants of health. Our health is shaped by how income and wealth is distributed, whether or not we are employed, and, if so, the working conditions we experience. Furthermore, our well-being is also determined by the health and social services we receive and our ability to obtain quality education, food, and housing, among other factors. Health and illness follow a social gradient: the lower the socioeconomic position, the worse the health.” The Workshop was citing work from the Frameworks Institute that I first wrote about here.

Fascinating coincidence since this paper that is technically about the UK has a title “New Narratives: Changing the Frame on Crime and Justice.” It goes a long way towards explaining why all these bad actions by actors deemed from underprivileged groups get overlooked and misrepresented in the prevailing ‘narrative’ of what happened. Its conclusion is that the “most effective strategy for preventing crime may well be to strengthen other social services, such as those that relate to education, housing and mental health. Building the political will to strengthen these systems is a crucial objective.”

That’s an understatement. The political will in other words gets built via education and the hyping of Privilege, Oppression, and Inequities at every opportunity. Meanwhile the solutions compel all our modern nations towards collectivism, while reframing Marx’s obligation to ‘meet needs’ as Health Inequities that must be remedied via governmental power.

Binding but invisible was the game plan. Luckily though these mandates are Not Subtle Enough for a Diligent Parent and Researcher just following the laws, regulations, and tracking down mysterious definitions.


Strange Bedfellows but All Seeking to Build Unmarked Bridges Between Matter and Spirit

Since the last post I have really dug in to figure out why Classical Education as described by the books I have quoted in the previous two posts functioned so similarly to the educational vision I shorthand as cybernetic. I have those answers now, but before we get to that discussion I want to quote something from another book in the same series called Freedom, Justice, and Hope: Toward a Strategy for the Poor and Oppressed:

“Pulling a utopian vision into practice does little harm if the people involved participate voluntarily in the experiment and always have the right to opt out.”

I bolded that because I am not picking on Classical Education, Christian education, or those with a worldview that “Biblical categories of thought” should provide the framework for understanding all of Life and transforming culture. My problem is when this change in emphasis in education is not accurately explained and parents or taxpayers remain unaware. That’s why we are talking about this. To borrow one more quote from that book: “Ignorance is not harmless; in the real world our illusions can have awful consequences.” Consider me to be the Illusion Disperser. I am not disparaging anyone wishing that “Christians should use their God-given intellects to structure society along Biblical lines.” I am insisting though that if that’s the aim, say so when you are pitching your new view of school, education, and the learning philosophy.

Do not hide an aim to circumscribe mental activity and create action guided by religious faith so that a person’s thoughts are bound by the “use of reason within revelation” by pitching such actual goals as some kind of Classical education, the Trivium, or a return to the Medieval Mind. I cover both John Dewey’s real goals via education as well as what were called the Social Reconstructionists in depth in my book Credentialed to Destroy. Recognizing the essential template made perfect sense then when I get to the last chapter of Herbert Schlossberg’s Idols for Destruction: The Conflict of Christian Faith and American Culture and it laid out a “strategy for action” whereby “we must consider further how to move toward bringing political, economic, and social life into conformity with the gospel.”

I bolded the latter because the basis for the vision varies from the Social Reconstructionists laid out in my book or any of the Marxist Humanists or humanist psychologists we have covered on this blog, but the institutional aims are the same. So is the belief that the place to start with societal transformation in reality is by targeting what the individual has internalized as his or her values and belief system. Again, the visions vary but every time I track these new philosophies of education that are currently hyped as Common Core or competency-based education, invariably I find someone wanting to provide a normative vision that will guide and motivate future behavior.

That vision again is to serve as the source from which each targeted student will “draw the understanding of the nature of humanity, the meaning of history, the legitimate values of society, and the place of biological creatures in the creation.” That was not the only Schlossberg book I read. I also read Turning Point: A Christian Worldview Declaration that he wrote with Marvin Olasky so there is a consistency as to what is being asserted that has nothing to do with me inferring anything or taking quotes out of context. What is so fascinating to me is the consistent misstatements of what has actually been going on in educational psychology. In both books education is stuck on Behaviorism and Marxism on materialism, even though factually that was absolutely no longer true when any of these books was written.

It is simply not true that Marxism still failed to emphasize that “what people desire and purpose will have any bearing on the future.” Neither was it true that “We are part of an intellectual world that has judged there to be an unbridgeable gulf between matter and spirit.” Fusing those without consent so that “faith and action” become combined and targeting mental models has absolutely been a major occupation of researchers in educational psychology from the 70s forward as Schlossberg could have easily found out instead of erecting these False Narratives. My concerns over what the goals of Classical Education actually were when it hypes Ideas first, instead of facts, makes far more sense as an alluring sales pitch for School Choice dollars instead of confessing:

“anyone wanting to systematize knowledge on the basis of revelation will have to do it within a framework completely different from the common ones that have come to dominate Western philosophy…We must not accept any formulation that erects an impermeable barrier between the sensible and rational, object and subject, matter and mind.”

Dewey could have said that, except pithy expression was never his forte. Sounds precisely like all our so-called systems thinkers as well. Norbert Weiner, who created the term cybernetics back in the 40s, thought so highly of its potential to neurologically unite mind and matter that he equated it to breathing life into a clay Golem in a 1964 book. He also wanted to expand cybernetic controls using data and control via communication in remaking those very same economic and social institutions Schlossberg intended to target for transformation. First though Weiner wanted to start applying the theories in engineering and biology. Biologically–that’s us folks.

Same aim but with a different description might sound like this if you were writing a book you only expected fellow acolytes to read. “For the disciple of Christ is to bring every thought and every action in obedience to Christ.” Substitute Marx for Christ and you will see why we have a problem. If that sounds blasphemous, it is simply the reverse of a point made regularly in these books. Systems thinking exists though because even mentioning Uncle Karl is risky to any PR or sales campaign. Much better to describe such aims to control thought and action in terms about ‘interdependence and systems and mutuality” as both Schlossberg and the Marxist Humanists who call themselves systems thinkers do. “Brain-based learning” sounds better as well.

Here is how another proponent of Classical Education describes its ‘philosophy of education’ to “enable us to make progress in the life-long endeavor of self-rule.” The euphemism the OECD uses now for cybernetic control over what a student has internalized to guide thought and motivate action is “self-regulation.” Awfully close to self-rule, isn’t it? How about curricula that “is conducive to liberating the mind and heart” so that the student can make the ‘vital connection’ between “acknowledging the truth with one’s mind and choosing the good through the exercise of one’s will. Knowing the truth, willing the good, and apprehending the beautiful lead to true human happiness.”

I am not saying parents or adult students may not choose such neurological, normative, and emotional emphases in education as helpful to living one’s life. My problem is when anyone buys into this programming vision without understanding they or their children are being programmed. Too often now ‘classical education’ is simply a euphemism for cybernetic programming. People need to appreciate what is in that breath and that their child is being treated as a Golem. Best to fully understand what ‘spirit’ is being biologically fused. If the goal of these Christian Worldview Reconstructionists is to create a worldview that will guide all of life and change culture then that’s the same goal again of Dewey and the Social Reconstructionists.

What does differ is how it will work, not what is targeted or how via education. Here is the Turning Point again: “There is nothing really secular, out of reach of God’s dominion. Therefore, everything is of legitimate interest to God’s people. Biblically, we are charged with making disciples of all nations and with working toward bringing all things into conformity with God’s revealed will.” I bolded that again because I have been reading Alexander Christakis’ plans for Structured Design Dialogue and the new concept of ‘planning’ hatched in Bellagio in 1968 and the belief that a normative vision of What Ought to Be can be laid out and then willed into being. How? By changing prevailing values, attitudes, and beliefs at an internalized level. Let’s substitute the ‘Vision of Society and the Economy as It Ought to Be’ for what I bolded. See the reason for the interchangeability of aims and reasons?

In all these cases it’s not a matter of individual control anymore. Idols for Destruction tells us why. “Calls for the reformation of society that do not insist upon both orthodoxy and orthopraxy, therefore, are futile.” Must target both what is thought, believed, and valued as well as action in other words. Something all reconstructionists apparently recognize. It also fits with the definition of the kind of standards states must adopt under the Every Student Succeeds Act, what they must assess for, and why everyone must adhere to Universal Design for Learning.

We have noted the rampant Communitarianism required as part of the actual Common Core/Positive School Climate edicts. Schlossberg too was officially hostile to the ‘outdated’ Enlightenment ideal of individual autonomy. It is a vision he believed provides an “amazing answer in the sphere of human relations to the ancient conundrum of the One and the Many. It shows why we are not required to be either the isolated atoms of individualism, nor links in the great collectivist chain that is enslaving the world.” I will interrupt this quote to ask that it also be read as consistent with being a part of a system and a member of an interdependent society. Here we go again where I stopped:

“If each of us is related to the whole of the community as, say, the eyes to the body, then the reason we cannot exist alone is clear; our needs, purposes, and functions must be related to those of the other members of the body. At the same time, the eye performs a vital function for the body and cannot be written off as unimportant or peripheral.”

This autonomous individual with non-circumscribed reason says yuck to that vision whether it is put out in the name of Christianity, Buddhism, or by an acknowledged systems thinker. I have no patience for any of these desires to insist we individuals can only find our meaning “within the context of a larger society.”

Anyone else getting the idea that a whole lot of people want to be the Oligarchs in charge of us? If all these people want to apply for that job they can be forthright about it and quit hiding behind euphemistic terms of education and definitions too few understand.


Bringing Every Thought Captive So that Panglossian Visions Appear Real or Achievable

In the early days of this blog we covered psychologist Urie Bronfenbrenners’ Ecological Systems Theory (BEST) and the fact that he acknowledged that all those nesting ‘systems’ starting with the individual was simply a metaphor. Unfortunately when BEST is taught now to teachers or K-12 students it is treated as a description of the world as it is and more importantly, should be. Maybe it was that admission that started my worrying about the implications of students unable to recognize the Inapt Metaphor or False Guiding Principles or Core Concepts. When I read though that Christian Classical Education intended to be Ideas-First instead of fact-based, I was alarmed and decided to investigate further. Not because I am against that kind of education, but because I believe all parents and students have a right to know when their mental models at a neurological level are being manipulated via the classroom or digital learning.

Dr Pangloss, for anyone who skipped over reading Candide in college, had a naively optimistic view of the world and what might be. My fact-based knowledge of history and the enduring consistency of human nature under an amazing variety of situations through the ages tells me that deliberately cultivating Panglossian visions “through which to understand the world and imagine how one could be” is a dangerous thing. That latter quote was from a then Yale Law Prof who has now moved on to Harvard and is connected to their Berkman Center for Society and the Internet. A wonderful position in other words to use digital learning to target students’ mental models of how the world works. That’s precisely what Yochai Benkler’s The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom does and it is the source Coding for All and Connected Coding were relying on when they wrote: “In this book, we have viewed teaching and learning computer coding as being wrapped in theories of mind, community, and culture.”

The fact that these to-be-required ‘computer science’ or digital learning initiatives we have covered in the last two posts are grounded in theories and not fact (and Marxist political theories at that) is generally not disclosed. The fact that these theories are very useful for anyone desiring Social Reconstruction of the Real World is also not generally mentioned. The fact that the World Bank in its Annual Meeting in October 2015 in Lima, Peru stated its determination to target Mental Models as its new global emphasis on development and cited the Mind, Society, and Behavior program at Harvard’s Ed School and Cass Sunstein’s Nudging and Behavioral Insights work at that same law school that Benkler is now at should be remembered as well. Cambridge along the Charles, in other words, is a very good place to be to plan theories and a means to gain implementation for:

“This new practical individual freedom, made feasible by the digital environment, is at the root of the improvements I describe here for political participation, for justice and human development, for the creation of a more critical culture, and for the emergence of the networked individual as a more fluid member of the community.”

Gives a whole new meaning, doesn’t it, to where ‘computational participation,’ as Coding for All turned out to entail, is actually going? Beckler wanted to “enable us to look at the world as potential participants in discourse, rather than potential viewers only.” Since I have the book and recognized an Amartya Sen Development as Freedom/ Capability Theory influence in Beckler insisting that “what matters is the extent to which a particular configuration of material, social, and institutional conditions allows the individual to be the author of his own life,” Beckler does in fact cite Sen as the source of his inspiration later in the book. Where, oh where, is the K-12, college, law, or public policy student supposed to understand all these pushed practices are simply grounded in theories hoping to change the perception of the world as it is? Will they even have heard of Pangloss if Making Caring Common becomes the basis for their very admission ticket?

Also going on in Cambridge (covered in a previous post) with the involvement of both MIT and Harvard, the State of Massachusetts, UNESCO, the OECD, the World Bank, and others is the Center for Curriculum Redesign under Charles Fadel. CCR recently published the “overarching purpose for education in society” and it is straight out of Sen’s global work again. Does this sound Panglossian to anyone else?

“In the ideal case, all the individuals within each society (and the global society) have their physiological, safety, belonging, esteem, self-actualization, and self-transcendence needs met, and the society itself is thriving and meeting all of its needs, with each level enhancing the others.”

Oh, dear. That sounds like CCR is building its Theory of the Competencies Learners Need to Succeed around Urie’s BEST theory being true. Behavioral Science 101 I suppose: false beliefs that are created to drive future behavior in desired ways are theoretically true, even though they are factually false. Speaking of Panglossian and theoretically true but factually false, we had the announcement of the New Citizenship Project this past week to shift the dominant idea of the role of the individual in society. It too fits in fully with everything this reenvisioning of education is pushing to implement in reality, with deceitful and false explanations for why. Does a push for ‘computational participation’ as the new focus for the classroom make more sense if one wishes to shift “the idea of the citizen can be understood almost entirely as the societal manifestation of digital technology”?

Does the invisible targeting of Mental Models, both unconscious and deliberative, make far more sense if there is also to be an organized attempt to sell “a deep shift in our conception of human nature”? Won’t an Ideas-First curriculum and Activities focus come in handy? If a student fails to recognize just how thoroughly what he or she has internalized as values, beliefs, attitudes, motivating ideas, guiding principles and themes has been thoroughly manipulated by political power and educators, then they are primed to believe:

“at its core, the promise of the internet is something much greater: a many-to-many, not just a one-to-many society, in which we can all play a part not just in choosing between the options offered to us, but in shaping them.”

Perfect priming for anyone with the Marxist goals of transforming the world as it currently exists. Without a body of facts, how is a student to reject being told:

“As Citizens, we are not entirely separate from one another as completely independent individuals, but as fundamentally rooted in and interdependent with one another. But this is not a moral statement of what ought to be; it is simply a new understanding of what is, now available to us to act on.”

I bolded that last because that’s how these theories get implemented even though factually untrue or just a statement of desired morality for future conduct. Now we are going to come back to the admissions in the title that were made in the book Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning: An Approach to Distinctively Christian Education. Anyone who ever saw the old detective show Dragnet can think of the music and the episode ending with this admission as “these aspirations are all true. Only the ‘lenses’ change. Those remain consistent with how particular groups of Transformationalists wish the actual world to be perceived.” Here is author Douglas Wilson: “teaching students to think in terms of a fixed reference point is not the same thing as indoctrination…We cannot bring every thought captive by allowing some thoughts to aspire to autonomy.”

Again, Classical Christian Education as conceived and explained by Douglas Wilson simply gave me a wonderfully succinct quote on the goals of Ideas-Driven, neurologically embedded, education, which seeks to specify what a student internalizes as their guiding and motivating models of the world, how it works, and how it might change. The fixed reference point could be Amy Gutman’s Democracy, John Dewey’s Democratic Humanism, Ervin Laszlo’s Systems Thinking, or Uncle Karl’s Human Development Society. Here it is explicitly religious in doctrine. I think we can always make a case though that prescribing the internalized neural web is ALWAYS intended to be religious in how it guides and motivates likely future behavior.

Substitute then other reference points or lenses into what I am quoting:

“God is the Light in which we see and understand everything else…Christian education must therefore present all subjects as an integrated whole with the Scriptures at the center.”

Fascinatingly quoting the Marxist “French existentialist philosopher Sartre understood this when he said that without an infinite reference point, all finite points are absurd.” That’s ironic as I have read plenty of political theories that would put their desired Ideology, internalized via education, as functioning precisely in the way Wilson wants Christ or Scriptures to function. Since I have never encountered a more explicit and quotable explanation of what I shorthand as Cybernetics, here we go.

“We are not to limit the light of Christ to our understanding of Christ. We must understand the world in the light of Christ…every fact, every truth, must be understood in that light…The Bible…does provide a framework for understanding these so-called ‘secular’ subjects…If religion is excluded from our study, every process of thought will be arrested before it reaches its proper goal. The structure of thought must remain a truncated cone, with its proper apex lacking. The Christian educator’s job is not to require the students to spend all their time gazing at the sun. Rather, we want them to examine everything else in the light the sun provides.”

I bolded proper apex because again the nature of the desired guiding and motivating concepts and principles varies between Christian Reconstructionists, which is where Wilson places himself, and the political Reconstructionists with a Marxist Humanist secular orientation, which is who I cited elsewhere in this post. The desire to structure thought does not vary though, unfortunately. Neither does the desire to be the provider of the lenses through which experiences get interpreted. I have written about educator Michael Fullan and how his Transdisciplinary vision is now CCR’s and UNESCO’s push globally. Yet it fits fully with how Wilson wanted subjects to be seen and used as well. Only the lenses change.

“Without God, particulars have no relationship to other particulars. Each subject has no relationship to any other subject. Christian educators must reject this understanding of the universe as a multiverse; the world is more than an infinite array of absurd ‘facts’. The fragmentation of knowledge must therefore be avoided.”

Now does anyone fail to appreciate how this vision would adore K-12 education that is suddenly mandated by federal law to be about cultivating and assessing annually for all students’ Higher Order Thinking Skills and Understanding?

Suddenly it’s not just Lauren Resnick and other education profs wanting to check to see if the interpretive lenses ‘Transfer’ to new untaught subjects or wicked scenarios where there is no single correct answer.

Next-Generation Shop Class: the Undisclosed Merger of Mind and Hand Touted as Coding for All

For anyone with a marketing or PR background who is quite aware it is all about the sales pitch, it still may come as a surprise that the much vaunted, recent, $4 billion computer science for all initiative, could be tied to the phrase–’Next-Generation Shop Class’. The nice thing about accurately recognizing in the last post that this initiative, also hyped as Coding for All, was actually about Visual Programming Languages is that we can now track admissions like it’s to be a “shift from learning code as an individualistic endeavor to learning it as a social enterprise.” Another useful quote for gaining an insight into why this educational shift is such a high priority now is that “learning to code” is actually to be a means of “computational participation” and thus a “model for students who wish to create a more collaborative and open society.”

Connected Code: Why Children Need to Learn Programming was published in 2014 with Mitchel Resnick from the last post writing the Foreword. It is such a blueprint document for the whys of this expensive initiative that it is also part of the MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning. Officially sanctioned by the Powers-that-Be in other words although I do not think there will be any lucrative Genius Award for recognizing the meaning of Coding for All even though I am showing Grit and Perseverence in my research. That’s a sarcastic allusion to Angela Duckworth’s Vygotskyian inspired research that won their Genius Grant last year and is now being built into a National Growth Mindset study the White House and her Character Lab are involved with. Coding for All is also directly tied into the Maker Movement (mold the digital with the tangible),  the White House Behavioral Sciences Team, and these new models for high school reform like High Tech High or what Laurene Powell Jobs is pushing as Project XQ.

Not trotting down any of those other pathways today, but once again we have multiple gears pulling in a common direction and it is always a mistake not to point out those adjacent interlocking and necessary gears. I have also talked in recent posts about why an Ideas first curriculum can be problemmatic, especially at a foundational level. Try to control your shock that ultimately Coding for All also has aspirations to institute a ‘communal practice’ in the classroom where students Learn by Doing (literally in the John Dewey sense we met before, especially in Chapter 2 of my book) “about the cultural and social nature of human behavior through the concepts, practices, and perspectives of computer science.” That’s my bolding. Alert readers with science or AI backgrounds will easily grasp that those ‘concepts, practices, and perspectives’ may not actually be pertinent to accurately understanding human behavior.

That’s the beauty though of training students to ‘act like a expert’ by providing the desired Guiding Ideas, Concepts, Principles, Techniques, and then asking students to apply them in a provided task. They won’t know it’s an Inapt Metaphor for a given situation. They will not get the danger of analogizing via regular practice physical bodily systems like hearts and lungs or designed systems like computer code and software with people and human systems generally like an economy or a city. That’s a real danger in training students to be comfortable again with “the concrete as a mode of thinking and a form of digital production.” They will have zero ability to realize that it is now they who are being neurologically programmed to meet the demands of Big Business and Want-to-Be Social and Political Planners. In one of those quotes that can only happen if you read the entire book and the authors have gotten comfortable in the non-repulsiveness of what they are pushing we find the Maker Movement and Coding for All:

“supporting a culture where members ask for permission before they move forward with new ideas.”

No wonder Big Business is enthused. I really did write ‘No, Thanks’ in the margin, but parents who still assume Coding for All is about algorithmic-based individualist mental acts will get no such chance. Nor will they be told that Coding for All “acts as a community of practice, bringing in new members who grow to understand the prevailing rules of the group.” Comrade Practice to go Along with the Herd Effect seems so much more accurate now than Computing for All. How about “facilitates a better baseline understanding of the nature of systems”? See above critique, but again No. No. No. Connected Code wants to get beyond “code being understood as a proprietary commodity” so that “remix” of existing code and images can become “the essential lens by which individuals participate socially and economically within an increasingly global society.”

Well if it’s not proprietary and we now are to ask permission before we move forward with new ideas, all those existing computer patents owned by the same megacompanies pushing much of this in education just got lots more valuable and secure. Not as cynical as me? It should bother us a great deal that on the same page where John Dewey is quoted at length celebrating the widespread return of his desired Learning by Doing and his desire to make school a “more practical experience for children.” Why is that so important beyond the tendency to never notice the Total Immersion in Inapt Analogy Training? Here’s Dewey:

“the social and educational theories and conceptions must be developed with definite reference to the needs and issues which mark and divide our domestic, economic, and political life in the generation of which we are a part.”

Ackwardly worded, but we can see how much easier that will be if school has taught students that all those areas of human coordination are actually ‘systems’ that were ‘designed’ and can now be reengineered. Usefully that same quote is on a page talking about Seymour Papert and his dream of the reconstruction tool the computer might come to be–”For Papert, the computer provided the materials, situations, and experiences that allow learners to connect to the real world.” Maybe we should rephrase that as “the real world it would be useful to have students imagine” so that they will be keen to act to change it. Just like they practiced successfully in virtual reality. What could go wrong?

The hyped idea in this Next Generation Shop Class that really is a phrase touted in the book is to shift computers from ‘Objects-to-Think-With’ to ‘Objects-to-Share-With that Connect to Others’. This is of course a different way of organizing planning and problem-solving than the previous text-driven individualist acts of logic. Only quoting will pull together the flavor of what will in fact be hidden behind initiatives like Coding for All or integrating CTE into academics for all students. There is a footnote in the middle of what is being quoted. I looked for the cited book and discovered it was $250 used now so then I located the cited supporting article here.

Remember how nerdy that theory we kept encountering of Ascending from the Abstract to the Concrete sounded and how we traced it back to the USSR and a philosophy called the New Dialectics (Evald Ilyenkov tag)? Think of this quote as concretizing that theory at last.

“Learning by connecting knowledge [Core Ideas, UbD, Cross-Cutting Concepts and Themes, etc.] and relationships [new 3 Rs tag] also highlights other distinctions that society has drawn between critical thinking (traditionally understood as conceptually and linguistic based) and physical making (goal-based material work). In providing opportunities to concretize knowledge by creating material objects that embody ideas, we highlight ways that two modes of engagement with the world (that are usually held separate) can be reconnected. By encouraging the externalization of knowledge [journals, show your work, count wrong if solved correctly without explanation], we promote seeing the knowledge object as a distinct ‘other’ with which we can enter a relationship that consists of questions that makers ask themselves about how the external object connects to other bodies of knowledge.

Understanding the boundaries and values that have been associated with such forms of engagement is critical to understanding who and how learners can connect with them.”

No incentive there to manipulate virtual reality or which ideas are deemed to be Core or Essential in having that as the priority for the 21st Century Classroom. I am going to switch myself to something far more tangible and financial to help us grasp precisely how these educational shifts matter. People monitoring the federal Department of Education or even local school boards would simply never think to monitor the Office of the Director of National Intelligence for research into the neuroscience implications of these initiatives. Yet that is precisely where this White House has tucked “several applied research programs that use multidisciplinary approaches to advance our understanding of cognition and computation in the brain.”

I am not sure we are supposed to be participants in that ‘our,’ but I have gotten rather good at accurately tracking into places where known outsiders are unlikely to be welcome. Since we are already interlopers into this initiative, we might as well appreciate precisely how it relates to Coding for All, Big Ideas, and the Maker Movement generally.

“programs to be executed in FY15 include: the Knowledge Representation in Neural Systems (KRNS) program, which seeks insights into the brain’s representation of conceptual knowledge; the Strengthening Human Adaptive Reasoning and Problem-solving (SHARP) program, which will develop non-invasive neural interventions for optimizing reasoning and problem-solving; and the Machine Intelligence from Cortical Networks (MICrONS) program, which will reverse-engineer the algorithms of the brain to revolutionize machine learning.”

No wonder we keep having Continuing Resolution Budget Deals no one gets a chance to read. So what seems like Robin’s nerdiness and petulance in worrying about any Ideas First education no matter how glorious the descriptive title, actually turns out to be the current subject of federally-funded research to see what effect such social reengineering can have on the student’s physical brain.

Just be glad this blog has no visual images and still relies on text-based explanations and Apt Metaphors. I am never going to be able to extinguish the images of the scalp-attached electrodes being used in that research.

What happens when innocuous seeming phrases like the Common Core, Coding for All, and Competency obscure a real agenda where governments seek “to map the circuits of the brain, measure the fluctuating patterns of electrical and chemical activity flowing within these circuits, and understand how their interplay creates our unique cognitive and behavioral capabilities”?

Could we get even a pinky promise from politicians that none of that research will be used to diminish those very capabilities?

After all, as my book Credentialed to Destroy explained in detail, that was the real reason for the federal initiatives to change reading, math, and science instruction.

Did I mention that Connected Code concludes by saying that “K-12 educational computing can take the road that K-12 language arts, mathematics, and science education took long ago.”

It’s not about how to teach reading, math, science, or coding. It’s about the threat of the logical, fact-filled individual mind.

What a superb reason to be seen as threatening. Let’s keep it up for us and our children.


Bypass the Analytic System and Pass Directly to Proficient Performance: the Coding for All Initiative

Would you support an expensive, all agencies and levels of government, education initiative if it were pitched on the following basis?

“Just as the human body is no longer the major tool for physical labor, and just as a carpenter need not use only hand tools, so will mental functioning no longer be the sole province of the human mind.”

That quote has actually been translated from Russian and came from a 1972 Moscow University paper on “The Psychological Consequences of Computerization.” Most of you have probably heard that over the weekend President Obama announced a more than $4 Billion with a B Coding for All, computer science instruction for all, initiative. To supposedly make all children ready for 21st Century jobs. is an example of the glowing coverage, but my favorite story is this one because it shows just how excited state and local government officials are with this push. That link was actually pushed by the Center for Digital Education that is a subsidiary of the e-Republic organization of state and local officials and politicians.

It hypes all the “federal agencies and technology industry leaders behind this initiative.” In other words, cronies and fans of public-private partnerships and public sector unions think education to create Manipulable Muppet Minds is a swell idea. I know what you are thinking. How do I know the nature of the initiative since it says computer science? Because it says it is to be Coding for All and facility with abstractions like Binary Code wouldn’t be accessible to all.

Plus I am quite familiar with what kind of Coding and ‘Computer Science’ is accessible to all. Raise your hand if you know what a VPL is? It’s an acronym standing for Visual Programming Language. No need for abstractions at all. In fact, VPLs are accessible even for those who cannot read or do not know English. Now that’s the kind of manipulable, concrete learning experiences John Dewey would certainly love, wouldn’t he?

The second I heard about the initiative I knew it had to be about using Logo and Scratch and letting children believe they could design imaginary worlds and come to believe that the natural world works similarly to pretend, manipulated virtual environments. After all I first wrote about Seymour Papert and his MIT Media Lab back here What I discovered though when I correctly surmised that this Coding initiative involved Constructivism (covered in depth in chapters 2 and 3 of my book on the real purpose of the reading and math wars) and Mitchel Resnick’s Lifelong Kindergarten work, was that there was now an 8 minute video available celebrating this vision for learning.

Produced with videos of Papert and his vision that children interacting with computers is the ultimate integrated–tactile, mental, aesthetic, physical–learning experience that produces “involvement and engagement” that “grabs the individual so that they fall in love with the material.” It provides the potential for a new kind of learning that can change how the students see themselves and the world. In other words, it’s the perfect means to manipulate the ‘interiority’ of the individual without that person having any idea just how much they are being manipulated. It’s Dewey’s concrete experiences, except the actual consequences of any student actions are determined not by scientific laws of physics, chemistry, or biology. The results are whatever the software coders design and those rules are not apparent in the least to the student.

We do know though that the keynote speaker at a global ed tech conference bragged about this ability to rig virtual worlds and the beliefs about how the real world works that would be created. We know that the same Nicholas Negroponte featured at the 1:21 mark in that video is a member of the Club of Budapest working with Ervin Laszlo to pitch systems thinking and alter culture globally to create a Holos Consciousness. K-12 education is such a useful way to alter a culture and create a desired consciousness, isn’t it, especially if it can be sold as Coding for All? is a 1994 article Mitchel Resnick wrote about wanting to shift students away from the mechanistic “models and metaphors of Newtonian physics.” Isn’t control over virtual reality useful if you want to alter how students “make sense of the world around them” as Resnick and that video both proclaim openly? Logo and Scratch may allow students to control the behavior of creatures they design and “create, experiment, and play with decentralized systems” so that they come to believe that human systems in the real world will react much the same. Contrary to all the plans involving redesigning people and economies using data, we are now running the biggest experiment in the history of the world in a bid that, finally, this time, collectivism will work.

Everything I linked so far I knew about, but because I have a large number of books that openly admit a desire to use computers to redesign how the human mind works, I decided to go back and reread them yesterday before writing this post on Coding. The title of the post is a direct quote from a 1986 book Mind over Machine: The Power of Human Intuition and Expertise in the Era of the Computer. Its authors, Hubert and Stuart Dreyfus, are quite excited about education that bypasses the analytic mind. Is that what any of us would associate with an initiative being sold as computer science for all? That the computer can be used to create “skilled behavior based on holistic pairing of new situations with associated responses produced by successful experiences in similar situations?”

Is that how Success for All, Coding for All, and closing the achievement gaps between groups with widely varying abilities occurs? To train students to act Arationally as the Dreyfuses called it. To rely on “in principle, we may be able to close much of the gap between the information-processing capabilities of child and adult and ultimately of computers by integrating our information-processing systems.” That was my bolding or didn’t you know there has been a long-standing desire by the Soviets and those seeking Social Reconstruction starting at the level of the human mind all over the world for decades to achieve a “co-evolution of Human-Computer Intelligence”?

Humans get weaker and what they can do and how they perceive and what makes them motivated to act all dictated by political power intent on a shift to a planned society. In other words, Overreaching political power needs to control the individual without that control being apparent. Manipulated Muppet Minds and mind arson are the perfect solution. Computers also means there’s no pesky textbook to give away the nature of the shift. Education writers may misleadingly drone on about Common Core being a transition to a Type 2 Philosophy of Education, but the reality of the actual intended change in K-12 education is much graver.

I did appreciate, though, the concession from an Atlas member, the Heritage Foundation, that conservatism seeks to “build a society where all Americans are afforded the same opportunities.” That would explain why the education policies pushed dovetail so closely with what John Dewey wanted. I didn’t know until that letter that the supposed difference between progressivism and ‘conservatism’ is that progs put the focus at the federal level and ‘conservative solutions’ target the local. Well, they both seem to be targeting the individual and the sanctity of the human mind via computerized education.

Where else did I look yesterday to get that lead-in quote and to confirm that Coding for All is actually designed to alter the neurological properties of American schoolchildrens’ minds in ways that level and manipulate? I have a tag for Stanford Professor Roy Pea because we have met him before in connection with the NSF Cyberlearning initiative. I have a 1987 book of his called Mirrors of Minds: Patterns of Experience in Educational Computing. It described precisely what was hoped for from Logo and Seymour Papert’s work and the possibilities for altering the human mind as a result of “marrying the problem-solving capabilities of child and computer.” Again, that’s the whole point of the Coding for All push in the President’s 2017 budget.

Finally, after all these years, those seeking to build a new society plan to get there using “the co-evolution of human and computer intelligence.” Admitted progressives, Marxists, and apparently declared ‘conservatives’ all seeking to use computerized education to get at the human mind. Since “formal operational thinking” is decidedly ‘nonuniversal’ and terribly unequal in who is good at it, K-12 education grounded in equality of opportunity has to be about “integrating the powerful information-processing systems of the computer and the frail information-processing system of the human mind.” These “integrations would serve as mental catalysts for engineering the development of high-level cognitive skills.”

Those would be the same as what ESSA now requires states and districts to annually assess with fed Ed proscribing Opt Out in a way it never threatened to do before the statute passed. Using the computer as a tool, “the child would not need to await the development of general logical structures in order to become a powerful thinker.” Without personally created logical structures, let’s make that an Arational Powerful Thinker using ideas and concepts supplied to him or her by those wanting to reconstruct society in the 21st Century. What is being called adaptive learning now and promoted all over the globe appears to me to be what the older literature called a cognitive trace system. Let’s end this post looking at the usefulness of the kinds of information provided (whether it is personally identifiable or not).

The “fundamental idea of a cognitive trace system is that the intermediate products of mind are externalized through the process of interacting with knowledge-based computer systems.” More known then to the computer than to the actual student. Ripe for manipulation by anyone wanting to control that ‘interiority’. Pea admitted that “cognitive trace systems can provide a major lever for cognitive development.” And whose hand is on that lever? It’s not the student as much as they may be excited about being allowed to follow their own interests. That simply allows content to be found that the student can be made to “fall in love with” as Papert put it in the video.

Students are being made to fall in love so that the manipulation is both lasting–Lifelong Learning–and not unpleasant. No need for gulags in the 21st Century. Virtual reality and Coding for All can create the needed shifts. “Cognitive trace systems could act as prime movers toward the child’s grasp of consciousness in different domains by contributing to the development of this metacognitive knowledge, so important for expertise.” Once again, that would be the supplied concepts, understandings, themes, and principles that Dewey wanted to use and so apparently do many pitching themselves as ‘Classical Educators.’

Be very wary of all education using the computer whether sold as Classical, about Great Ideas, or Coding for All. Ironically, as I was getting ready to write this post a weekly newsletter from admitted educational transformationalists was hyping Seymour Papert today and the vision he had for the “personal computing device.”

Papert called it an “instrument whose music is ideas.” Beware the human brain manipulated by that instrument to act on Ideas Arationally.

Bypassing the analytic mind. It’s just what every collectivist and Social Reconstructionist needs.


Stimulating the Inner Springs Fundamental to Real Personality Change and Harmonious Social Progress

Did anyone guess that we had embarked on another Trilogy, except this time it was in Reverse Order as my personal experiences starting with a phone call to my home on December 17 sent me looking for answers? For a while now, the false narrative being constructed by various employees or allies of the Atlas Network members has both interested and angered me. Angered because it is frequently built on parroting some of my insights and research conclusions. Read Robin’s book, pretend to be an expert, get people to trust you, and take them somewhere I would never go.

For example I would never describe Bill Ayers and Linda Darling-Hammond as “Marxist Humanists” because they are admitted Marxists and rather proud of it. Hint: this is why Ayers was willing to promote violence. Marxist Humanism (see tag) is a belief that because capitalism has reached a certain stage of technological feats, namely computers and the Internet and communications technology generally (abbreviated ICT), there is now enough prosperity in the world that there need be no poverty anymore within countries or anywhere around the world. It’s why the UN’s Post-2015 plans for us are called “Dignity for All” by 2030. As one of my UN news blurbs put it after New Years, we are now Post-2015 and this agenda has begun. Understanding it accurately is very important.

That gets me back to that phone call. After hanging up in anger at what was said and pouring myself a glass of wine while I made dinner, I began to think about what had changed that day. Well, I had made a comment on the blog that I had ordered William Easterly’s book The Tyranny of Experts that had been an Atlas Network supported Hayek Lecture in London. So I decided dinner could be late, went down and wrote up notes on what was said in the phone call, started looking for financial connections among the known players, and examining commonalities as they popped up. In other words, I started behaving like the Due Diligence experienced lawyer I actually am analyzing a set of facts. I also got up early the next morning and proceeded to see what was in the Easterly book that people might not want me to grasp.

That’s what I meant about a Reverse Trilogy as we started with explaining what a Nyaya concept of justice was and how I knew that Easterly’s book did not accurately portray Hayek’s thoughts on the subject of economic and social rights. I have more than a provided talking points knowledge of Hayek as that post laid out. I also know what Marxism Humanism looks like and Easterly’s book and the Atlas Network’s support for it does give good reason to start to whitewash what the term actually means. For parents, Linda Darling-Hammond’s (LDH) pushes in education and Bill Ayer’s past make them known nightmares to be avoided. We have talked about Amartya Sen and his Justice concept and Development as Freedom in the first two posts. He is laying out a Marxist Humanist vision as nyaya and really so is Easterly in his book. If no one has ever actually explained MH correctly though and you now connect it with Ayers and LDH, that actual reality will be missed.

Sen coordinates a great deal with Professor Martha Nussbaum (also tag) on what they call Human Capability Theory, which also describes where P-12 education globally is going. If anyone is thinking I cannot actually tie all this to Uncle Karl, they do not have a copy of Democracy in a Global World covered in the last post. I went into that described alliance for good reason. Nussbaum also wrote a chapter and she tied the vision repeatedly to Uncle Karl by name. It’s also another reason why I found the open-ended Con Con advocacy from the Texas Governor so pernicious. The Chapter was called “Constitutions and Capabilities” and here’s a sample of the kind of direct ties I mean.

“When liberal democracies make constitutions, they typically base their work on a small core of intuitive ideas to which specific constitutional entitlements are referred…The basic idea of my version of the capabilities approach…is that we begin with a conception of the dignity of the human being, and of a life that is worthy of that dignity–a life that has available in it ‘truly human functioning’ in the sense described by Marx in his 1844 Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts.”

That’s what Easterly called for too without tying it to Marx. It’s what the Atlas Network’s members are actually promoting when they push his work or Sen’s. Back to my story of why I spent so much time researching over the holidays. I know John Dewey backwards and forwards from researching my book, but until I saw this post I did not know that Steven Rockefeller of the famous family had also written a bio on him published in 1991 called John Dewey: Religious Faith and Democratic Humanism. I ordered it in part because so many of the people who appear determined to control the narrative about what is really going on with the Common Core also aggressively wear their religious faith front and center. In fact, it seems to be a selling point on why their analysis can be trusted.

An example that had flowed out of my research was the Stand in the Gap Tour in fall of 2014 that David Barton had participated in. I had listened to a video of his speaking at a church in Dothan, Alabama and his description of what was desired reminded me of the cybernetic prearranged structuring of the Mind the behavioral scientists and admitted Leftists also want. That made Rockefeller’s book even more pertinent. As I read the chapter on “Democracy, Education, and Religious Experience” in particular I could see that this same Deweyan vision would create a desired worldview and amenable personality that would also work for a Muslim theocrat wanting to reconstruct the world starting at the level of the human mind (Tarbiyah) or a Christian fundamentalist also wanting to push social justice in the here and now.

I pulled the post title from the book and Stimulating the Inner Springs also fits with what the Hewlett Foundation and the CCSSO today push as the requisite Deep Learning. Isn’t this the real reason for wanting to control the narrative on education? Common means and common ends among interest groups and think tanks that are supposed to abhor each other? When I also mentioned the other day that Charter Schools that use cybernetic methods and adaptive personalized online learning are in a position to reap huge sums under the new Every Student Succeeds Act since those methods of manipulating the Inner Springs are effective and thus “evidence-based,” suddenly a drumbeat began online. That ended in that Project Veritas video that the Common Core was about textbooks companies wanting to make money. Well, they do but that is disinformation in an education environment where textbooks are going away.

In other words, like the phone call at home, do not write about the CMOs or online curriculums that also stand to benefit financially from insisting they are “100% Common Core Free” or who the financial backers are. No one may notice that the methods used are cybernetic and target those inner springs while telling parents this is a form of Classical Education. John Dewey understood that education “is a means of creating individuals” and David Coleman, Bill Ayers, LDH, and UNESCO are not the only parties at the education table interested in creating a certain kind of personality to fit with a desired vision of society and the future.

Last year I went to the Educational Policy Conference in St Louis and yesterday I noticed in a flyer trying to get me to attend that someone was parroting my Chapter 7 title language again, but also promoting the idea that the feds want to create a database of those values, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors on students. Not really, educators want to know this so all those things can be changed. That actual cybernetic purpose keeps being ignored. The fact that Charters target these same areas and have to to expand and get their contracts renewed gets left out. Making Classical Education about ideas and not facts is another way to say it is also cybernetic. Looking into the Barney Charter Initiative Hillsdale has put together and its mention of the Circe Institute and its description of what is Classical Education, I thought “That’s cybernetic too and a good reason to control the narrative about the Common Core and shut down anyone who knows what ESSA actually says and who would actually benefit.”

I have long wondered in all the discussions of the College Board’s shift in its AP courses to Conceptual Frameworks and the use of core ideas as ‘lenses’ why people with Social Anthropology PhDs never accurately explain what a cultural lens is. APUSH’s restructuring was never about what facts to teach and yet people who by specialty are thoroughly trained in using cultural lenses never explain what they are. Now I know. If something reeks of the cybernetic means so many of the Atlas members are also pushing, it must not be part of the approved narrative. The truth is it is not only the admitted Left wanting to use education to force a “thoroughgoing democratic reconstruction of society” that “must be child-centered in the sense that it begins with the impulses, interests, and initiative.”

In other words, what ESSA calls “personalized learning with adaptive data” that entitles its pushers to funding as 21st Century Schools. It’s not just the admitted Left wanting to target, like Dewey, “the whole feeling, thinking, and willing person.” That’s why the parroting of values, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors functions to inoculate the listener from recognizing that the person they are listening to may also have a comparable agenda. It’s not just the admitted Left and Dewey who want to frame what ideas are salient to the listener and what is likely to get ignored. Politics by Think Tank is all about controlling the Narrative.

It’s not just John Dewey or David Coleman who understand that “emotions are the reflex of actions” and that “if we can only secure right habits of action and thought, with reference to the good, the true and the beautiful [see what I mean about a Classical Education as the cited Circe Institute described it]“, then education will have created “a means of social control that does not violate the freedom of the individual child.”

Well, yes it does because all the false and controlled narratives keep the nature or existence of that control invisible. They make it seem like only a David Coleman, Linda Darling-Hammond, Bill Ayers, or other admitted Leftists have this goal for education in the 21st century.

I have run long again, but let me close with another quote from that chapter and a reminder that there are a whole lot of people pushing a vision of restructured American education using digital learning that they intend to financially benefit from. They also want a fundamental social and economic transformation where:

“To work and think in a community governed by this kind of democratic moral life is for Dewey the only sound approach to moral education in a democracy, which must rely to a large extent on a voluntary spirit of cooperation growing out of a multitude of common interests to maintain social order.”

Again, it’s not just the admitted Left that wants to enshrine collectivism invisibly and without outcry via education creating a “free play of instinctive sympathy and understanding.”

Lots of good reasons to control the Common Core narrative and guide and frame popular perceptions. Call me the mom who refused to play along and notices too much.


Niti, Nyaya, Government by Think Tanks, and Every Student Succeeds

Hope everyone had a great holiday season. I took an unplanned break from writing, but not researching, since the last post. With the statutory language of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) now in place, the plans for the future I recognized when I read my state’s (Georgia) WIOA Plan, and other shenanigans offline surrounding false narratives, I decided to get to the bottom of all the interrelated parts. Let’s just say if my understanding was 20/20 on the real agenda behind all these education ‘reforms’ by the time I finished my first book Credentialed to Destroy, the acuity now can best be described as X-ray vision with the capacity to cut through metal when called for.

Since the fundamental transformation of each of us, our society, and the economy has been decreed federally via Bicameral and Bipartisan fiats like ESSA and WIOA to be imposed locally by elected officials, let’s keep following the trail in 2016. After all, some of you may get the chance to quiz the candidates about why they supported these measures or simply offered ineffective opposition. “Why did you vote to bring Fascism to America?” is such a conversation grabber. To be ready for such an exploration let’s add a few more words and phrases to our arsenal of explanations.

In December I saw this announcement and decided to get Easterly’s book. After all, I had spent much of 2015 arriving at the conclusion that many of the members of the Atlas Network like Heritage, Cato, and AEI seemed fully on board with a planned economy and education that focused on changing the student at a social and emotional level. I found the promotion of both Easterly’s work and that of Human Capability theorist Amartya Sen to be both troubling in its implications of a true agenda and fascinating at the same time. After all, if the so-called Left and Right have arrived at a synthesis and are not planning to tell us lest it interfere with fundraising, then our answers are located in who gets promoted.

First of all, when the Acknowledgments page thanks Larry Summers and Joseph Stiglitz we have just tied Easterly’s vision to the Inclusive Prosperity Commission and the UN’s Post-2015 Road to Dignity for All Plans. Easterly argued that the “cause of poverty is the absence of political and economic rights, the absence of a free political and economic system that would find the technical solutions to the poor’s problems.” If anyone else is having a Say What? moment, let’s skip to the conclusion of The Tyranny of Experts, where our tenured NYU prof decreed that “It is time at last for the silence on unequal rights for rich and poor to end. It is time at last for all men and women to be equally free.”

Now before any of us also request unicorn rides with that declaration and perhaps the waistline we had at eighteen, I want to transition to a paper released back in November that shows how such economic and social rights get created via education. We are not really having a philosophical discussion here. I am citing the relevant philosophers to explain what is to be happening in those train cars we call schools. This train has left the station and it appears to be an Express Bullet fit for Japan. When we declare substantive rights for all, someone else has the duty to provide and that paper and its well-funded vision for education teaches that “the best way to make positive changes in society is…by being active in or through engagement with government.”

If you do not want to confront this wholesale shift, let’s go back a page to where “this paper argues that young people must learn how to use the political system, and existing governmental institutions, to effect the change they wish to see in their communities.” This is the world of ESSA, WIOA, and the Left/Right synthesis of the future unfortunately where:

“it is not just economic inequality that affects the American experience. We have also seen increasing political inequality, as measured by the clout and power of different groups, often along lines of wealth, income, gender, and/or race. Educational inequality, measured by variance in the quality and access to educational opportunities, has also increased in recent years, leaving behind the country’s most vulnerable populations, and weakening America’s overall democracy. In turn, it has become our collective responsibility to work towards a system in which these inequalities do not exist.”

If these so-called rights and responsibilities are taught as factual entitlements in our schools with a vision of governments as the enforcer as a matter of law, these expectations fundamentally change our society. It’s 2016 and an election year, if this is the vision our schools and think tanks across the spectrum are pushing, we need to be aware. Back to our philosophers again, in this case Nobel-Prize winning economist Amartya Sen. He uses the Indian words niti and nyaya to describe the nature of the desired shift and even italicizes them for emphasis. Niti is identified as a theory of justice that is about having the right institutions and rules. That is not good enough anymore. A nyaya vision of what is to be required focuses on “actual realizations and accomplishments.”

If this discussion seems esoteric and a bit like an odd vocabulary lesson, all the language in ESSA about ‘evidence-based’ is simply another way to describe a nyaya vision of entitled intrusion and tracking of what the student has internalized to guide and motivate their behavior. ESSA didn’t make that a permissible activity for the schools. It created a mandate. When the Georgia WIOA Plan called for “immigrants and other individuals who are English language learners” to acquire “an understanding of the American system of government, individual freedom, and the responsibilities of citizenship,” it is that concept paper above’s vision, not what James Madison had in mind. The individual freedom is again straight out of Sen’s famous book Development as Freedom.

In fact, it is as if the Hewlett and Ford Foundations and Generation Citizen all knew Sen’s work where “different sections of society (and not just the socially privileged) should be able to be active in the decisions of what to preserve and what to let go.” If governments and think tanks have declared that we are transitioning to “an accomplishment-based understanding of justice” because in the 21st Century “justice cannot be indifferent to the lives that people can actually lead” and this nyaya view of an entitled justice is to be sculpted in the “minds of men” [and boys and girls] via formative assessments and the real meaning of assessing annually for Higher Order Thinking and Understanding, we need to recognize this reality and the nature of the shift. When Bloomberg expands the metro areas participating in What Works Cities, this is the nyaya theory of justice in play as well.

It is ironic that the Atlas Network seems to regard all these affirmative initiatives as what Hayek would have supported as part of his spontaneous order vision. As my book pointed out, Hayek took a dim view of trying to achieve conscious direction invisibly via internalizing the desired values, attitudes, and beliefs to guide wanted behaviors. I was pretty sure I had something directly on point to refute this odious vision of the future as Hayekian. Since I have a depth of knowledge that is anything other than just sound bytes and a very large library of resources, I found what I was looking for in Volume 2 of Law Legislation and Liberty. That volume has the subtitle The Mirage of Social Justice.

Hayek didn’t just write a chapter on ‘Social’ or Distributive Justice where he presciently recognized that such social goals and governmental initiatives “means a progressive displacement of private by public law” whereby the law “subordinates the citizens to authority.” A pithier description of either WIOA or ESSA may never be found. Nothing like an escapee from Fascism to recognize its characteristics and dangers. Hayek then wrote an Appendix to that Chapter called “Justice and Individual Rights” of what he believed would happen in a society that tried to enact the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in practice as UNESCO has declared it is now doing. It was also about what would happen in a society which engenders “a feeling that they have a claim on ‘society’ for the provision of particular things which it is the duty of society to provide.”

Anyone else get the feeling that which books or even chapters of Hayek’s get assigned or quoted is now greatly circumscribed? Censorship by omission we can call it. Hayek knew what we all need to know as well now that the plans for conscious direction are to be developed in students,’ and apparently immigrants,’ personalities.

“It is meaningless to speak of a right to a condition that nobody has the duty, or perhaps even the power, to bring about. It is equally meaningless to speak of right in the sense of a claim on a spontaneous order, such as society, unless this is meant to imply that somebody has the duty of transforming that cosmos into an organization and thereby to assume the power to control its results.”

Organization is a more anachronistic term for what today just gets called a system. It starts with student-centered learning and systems thinking is a requirement for every student to be Workforce Ready under WIOA. Not a coincidence. Hayek knew what we all must know recognize so I am calling on this unassigned Appendix:

“If such claims are to be met, the spontaneous order which we call society must be replaced by a deliberately directed organization…[members] could not be allowed to use their knowledge for their own purposes but would have to carry out the plan which their rulers have designed to meet the needs to be satisfied.”

Have I explained yet that in countries like Scotland that are further along this road of social transformation via education ‘reforms,’ the very Experiences and Outcomes for each student are specified? The “Es” and “Os” they are called in what is the best example of the intended deliberate reorganization.

Welcome to 2016 as the Year of Epiphanies.

Abolishing the First Amendment’s Protections While Hyping Intellectual Freedom and Student Learning

If we wanted to turn the current protections of the First Amendment on its head, we might argue that its new function is to “ensure the democratic legitimation of the state” and “create a new state of Mind for citizenship.” If books like The Constitution in 2020 (that the typical person will never even hear about, much less read) assert such claims, while also arguing for national standards for K-12 education to create the desired values and belief system, we would have a United States running on parallel tracks. There is the world as the typical person still believes it to be. Then the parallel, actual, purposes of the changed practices and institutions designed quietly to create:

“A democratic agenda truly concerned with human freedom, equality, and flourishing must conceive of itself in terms broader than the Constitution as law. It must be concerned with the constitution of US society, rather than with the US Constitution.”

If anyone does not believe that K-12 education policy and the new emphasis on “personalized learning” are actually about achieving the vision of the above quote that dovetails with the previous essay on “A Progressive Perspective on Freedom of Speech,” read this inviting “progressives normatively [they set the new rules but do not bother to tell us] to clarify the forms of participation that they believe are essential to a healthy public sphere.” Last week President Obama’s FCC announced its intention to regulate the Internet in the name of net neutrality. Want to guess how the progs illustrated that desire to clarify the new terms of participation and debate?

The book pointed out that “the Internet, for example, is rapidly becoming an extremely important medium for the formation of public opinion.” If that sounds like we are about to have an uh-oh confession here it goes:

“In the coming decades, issues such as net neutrality or the installation of centralized (versus decentralized) filters will hugely impact the precise ways in which the Internet will contribute to the formation of public opinion. Progressives will need a convincing normative vision [remember the experiential Right Brain that is the new focus of K-12 education adores narratives] of a healthy public sphere in order to assess the constitutional implications [little c, as in constitution of society and maybe that other little c] of potential government interventions. They will need this vision as much to shape a progressive regulatory policy as to litigate for the maintenance of progressive constitutional rights.” [No more negative liberties in other words. Look up FDR's Scond Bill of Rights].

We get a glimmer of what is really going on in what the new Conceptual Frameworks in AP US History are actually designed to do. I covered that in depth in a trilogy starting here I also address the function of critical theory and why it is also called Cultural Marxism in Chapter 5 of my book.  This recent controversy  illustrates that high school coursework across the country is now training students to apply conceptual lenses like poverty, race, gender, sexuality, etc. in how they interpret the world.

Instead of treating Marxism as an insult that only an unhinged kook would hurl, it’s important to appreciate the crucial importance that the human perception of the here and now has on a widespread willingness to act to transform society. It’s why the prog quotes above talk about “a new State of Mind” for the necessary citizenship. It’s why we keep hearing about desired Dispositions (including explicitly from the Common Core’s formal sponsor, the CCSSO) and all students having a flexible Growth Mindset.  We are all assuming a world and the rule and protections of the law still functioning largely the same while influential, well-funded profs and federal regulators declare “the First Amendment does not protect speech as such, but only such speech as is necessary for democracy.”

That would again be democracy in the economic justice, positive rights, vision for all that desperately needs both K-12 and higher education policies and practices to enable its vision of the future. The progs recognize that the traditional view of the First Amendment will “undermine important and desirable forms of state regulation.” I have long recognized that where the schools intend to go is actually off limits once properly understood. Apparently the progs concede that as well. They followed that concern over the current First Amendment language with this statement:

“a progressive constitutional vision for 2020 must advance a robust theory of democracy that can identify the forms of speech and association that deserve constitutional protection because they are essential to the formation of democratic public opinion.”

That’s a First Amendment that has done a 180 and intends to protect only the forms of speech and association that fit with the desired transformative vision. Anything else and the motto is gather data, resculpt, and infringe away. The parents still think this is all about the best way to transmit knowledge and many businessmen still believe they cannot find able employees despite the K-12 system trying really hard and doing its best. Neither is true and it hasn’t been for a while.

One of the many taxpayer-funded trade groups doing its part to advance the prog view of future American society and reshaping the mind of the citizen is the American Library Association. In fact, its Association of School Librarians has even created Standards for the 21st-Century Learner and a helpful crosswalk to the Common Core. Category 3 is that “Learners Will Use Skills, Resources, & Tools to  Share Knowledge and Participate Ethically and Productively as Members of Our Democratic Society.” I do believe that is called picking a dog in the fight.

Especially given AASL’s constant focus on pushing Inquiry-Learning, which of course, MUST be experiential. It also prescribes desired student “Dispositions in Action” repeatedly as part of its Learning Standards. Students are also told to “show social responsibility by participating actively with others in learning situations” and not just turning to a book they love or refusing to volunteer the excellent vocabulary their parents diligently built up over the preschool years.

Again, creating Learning Standards that insist that students have that social responsibility or that students must “use information and knowledge in the service of democratic values” is taking sides in this mostly invisible battle for the future of what the US will ever be. We are going to pivot because the ALA was brought in as the so-called neutral authority to proclaim that somehow complaining of bias in what is taught, and the explicit prescription, and required practicing, with conceptual lenses that students are to now use (to interpret their experiences and the reality they perceive around them), is somehow a violation of the student’s Intellectual Freedom. Who is the real infringer here? This is the Have Your Cake and Eat It Too Booklet the ALA has created.

It showed up as a defense in Highland Park. Now won’t the facts laid out in this post be useful if it shows up in your community next trying to prevent accurate criticisms? After all, these stipulated ‘lenses’ are designed to guide new kinds of student minds and beliefs about their responsibilities to others all while sculpting that needed “democratic public opinion”. The booklet is fantastically wrong in so many of its assertions, but it does still have an excellent command of the historic purpose of the Bill of Rights. “Before the Bill of Rights was written, governments usually told people what their rights and freedoms were. Our Founding Fathers did not like this, and so they flipped the idea around. Instead, the Bill of Rights said the citizens would be free to tell the government what it could or could not do.”

Not exactly consistent with those 21st Century Learning Standards is it? See what I mean about parallel tracks? At the same time that the ALA tries to portray challenges to the slant in curricula as akin to the right of citizens to “take the government to court” and “use  the words from the First Amendment to prove that the government has violated their rights,” the ALA itself is actively involved in helping to resculpt the student’s internal mental structures and values, attitudes, and beliefs. In violation of that same First Amendment they claim to be a defender of. Maybe so, but the first allegiance is clearly to advancing ‘democracy’. That booklet called it the “form of government where all people are heard,” which sounds remarkably like the prog vision of the public sphere above.

In fact, the 2020 book asserted that redistribution of wealth and interference with private contracts are now acceptable as long as the minority can complain in a public forum about what governments are doing. Legitimate practices as long as there is an opportunity to participate and try to sway public opinion sounds remarkably like the ALA’s assertion that democracy cannot “work if all people cannot express themselves and talk to one another to make informed choices.” Sounds like John Dewey’s participatory democracy to me that we are seeing advocated for now at the local level as a forum for binding decision-making as long as all Stakeholders are represented.

I think the ALA’s desire to advance this vision of the future probably has something to do with why it repeatedly and flagrantly misstates the tenets of the First Amendment. But the typical parent or student will likely not know that “The First Amendment guarantees you the right to think your own thoughts, speak your own opinions, and read and write what you want” is factually wrong. The Government at any level cannot infringe that. The ALA though wants that Discourse Classroom where all students bring their perspectives and share their experiences before negotiating to a common understanding. That practiced obligation is needed for this new vision of a “democratic public sphere.”

This is a self-confessed March through the Institutions that is proceeding on a Parallel Track. Let’s not take any groups’ word for what our rights and obligations are. Always look for the conflict of interest.

We really are engaged in a cultural war over the constitution of our society. The law and K-12 education are primary battlefields. None of us have to accept a claim that we are violating Intellectual Freedom by accurately pointing all this out.

Guardians of Democracy or Hatcheries for Revolutionary Change Agents of Carefully Cultivated Consciences?

Suffice it to say if someone was hoping that releasing a hugely troubling new transformative paradigm for P-20 during a holiday week would allow it to go unnoticed, the phrase “Not. Going. To. Happen.” would be my response. Changing the formal sponsors to other connected entities did not allow the “P-20 Schoolhouse for 21st Century Democracy” to avoid being tied, as it was intended to function, as actual components of what the Common Core looks like in the typical classroom. Even worse for those wanting to avoid scrutiny, the links to the global agenda being pushed particularly by UNESCO are what we could slangily refer to as Easy-Peasy to prove.

Welcome back in other words from our respective Turkey and Dressing Binges to the “STATE Civic Education Policy Framework” . Now before any of us do precisely what it is hoped we will do and dismiss this as simply another attempt to make sure the next generation is familiar with the 3 branches of government at the federal level in the US, let’s look at the curious new definition of Civic Education. I’ll put it this way. Lenin could have worked with this definition and as we will see the communist Chinese are currently on board as well. My bolding.

“The term civic learning is used to emphasize the civic significance of preparing students with knowledge and for action. Today’s education for democracy needs to be informed by deep engagement with the values of liberty, equality, individual worth, open-mindedness and the willingness to collaborate with people of differing views and backgrounds toward common solutions for the public good. These qualities are not automatically transmitted to the next generation–they must be passed down through schools. Ultimately, schools are the guardians of democracy.”

Now, this is, of course, a much different definition of democracy than what we have traditionally reverenced in the US or anywhere else in the Anglosphere. We traditionally viewed the individual and the right to make our own choices about the future and live with the consequences. That Civic Framework is all about nurturing a collectivist instinct and an obligation to put the community and group interests first. As usual, I scampered over to my bookshelf for some insights into previous comparable attempts to use institutions to force such a collectivist mindset and obligatory new values on an unsuspecting free society. Economist Ludwig Von Mises in his Human Action book first published in 1949 when these visions were previously all the rage noted that when people are allowed to pursue their own ideas without permission:

“No dullness and clumsiness on the part of the masses can stop the pioneers of improvement. There is no need for them to win the approval of inert people [that is SO my new phrase since my college kid says mental midget is no longer an acceptable description] beforehand. They are free to embark upon their projects even if everyone else laughs at them. Later, when the new, better and cheaper products appear on the market, these scoffers will scramble for them. However dull a man may be, he knows how to tell the difference between a cheaper shoe and a more expensive one, and to appreciate the usefulness of new products.”

I am going to interrupt this excellent point by showing all the crony capitalist/We Just Adore Public-Private Partnerships companies who have ponied up to be formal sponsors of the Education Commission of the States. Notice how they say they want the business community to be actively involved in creating the new paradigm for education. Business executives at these companies hate Von Mises vision for new products and competition for that consumer dollar like what I just quoted. They love public sector contracts.

Now, if you are not familiar with ECS, they have meetings where the top legislator from the education committee of both chambers in each state plus someone from the Governor’s office all come to hear their pitches. It’s thus the perfect way to get coordination in each state that fits a national or global template. Meanwhile, the politicians can insist “it’s state led” or “this is what business says they want.” It’s what politically connected businesses who prefer cultivating lobbyists to satisfying consumers desire. The schools make a great vehicle for pushing changes in values because, as Von Mises noted in the next paragraph:

“it is different in the field of social organization and economic policies. Here the best theories are useless if not supported by public opinion. They cannot work if not accepted by a majority of the people.”

As we saw a few posts ago, the churches were originally seen as the avenue to get a shift in the prevailing public opinion to support a communitarian, non-individualistic vision of the future. Now it is the schools, universities, and the media which are to be the Handmaidens to this New Vision of Democracy grounded supposedly in economic justice. Let’s borrow one more insight from Von Mises that goes precisely to the reason for all this deliberate mind arson of our most talented minds in K-12. “Everything that is thought, done and accomplished is a performance of individuals. New ideas and innovations are always an achievement of uncommon men [and women too!!]. But these great men cannot succeed in adjusting social conditions to their plans if they do not convince public opinion.”

Now just imagine the dangers when we have active manipulation by the media, professors in certain departments, and K-12 administrators to push an entirely new paradigm for education precisely to shift that prevailing public opinion. is the link I promised to the global vision that ECS vision fits into. ECS is not going to be so careless as to pitch the Framework as “Citizenship Education for Better World Societies: A Holistic Approach” or hype the development of Conscience, Commitment, and Compassion for a “total ‘reeducation of humankind” but the language of that ECS Framework still fits with the UNESCO framework. It fits with the to be required “Sensitivities, Attitudes, Values, and Action Competencies” that are “Key Attributes of Individuals as Possessors of Intrinsic Worth and as Key Agents in the Creation of Better Worlds.”

Here is one more link that understanding how everything fits from my book as well as this blog lets me locate. UNESCO calls what is being touted in the US as College, Career and Civic Ready skills as Life Skills. They tie them to a global remake of high school that was outlined in a meeting in Peking we were not invited to back in 2001. If anyone thinks I like throwing out accusations of collectivism as if I am hurling insults instead of describing intentions, I am not the one claiming a desire for education in the 21st Century to emphasize “the need for collective rather than individual intelligence that supports the position that all are capable rather than a few; multiple perspectives rather than ability to solve problems with only one right answer, imagination and emotional engagement are as important as technical expertise, intelligence should include the ability to envisage alternative futures, to resolve open-ended problems as well as to exercise sound interpersonal skills.”

All these links I provided are about reengineering a personality that will act to bring about and then tolerate living in precisely that kind of “socialistic, communist society” that Soviet psychologist AN Leontiev wrote was the purpose for this type of education. Notice in any of these links that there is a stated obligation of everyone to meet anyone’s basic needs–a right of being human. That seems to be what Leontiev had in mind as ‘socialistic,’ when he always linked these two terms that we tend to view as synonyms or milder versions of the same basic political theory. The reference to communist is not just a tie to Uncle Karl’s ultimate vision although it is that. All of these frameworks seek to cultivate an obligation to, and responsibility for, the community. They say so repeatedly and we need to notice it.

Finally, there are multiple references to being a “member of society,” a “member of the community,” or “cultivating students’ care and concern for their communities.” We are not educating the individual to make their own decisions anymore. If they are able to do that, it is from a set of emotions, values, and beliefs that have primed a person to act in a certain way.  Policymakers and their corporate cronies are prescribing a mandate of “inquiry-based instruction that results in informed action and demonstration of learning.” The action is not ‘informed’ by the individual except via the presupplied beliefs and concepts. The ‘learning’ being ‘demonstrated’ is someone else’s conception of what must now be valued, believed, or new behaviors to be shown.

When oligarchs outline the “shared beliefs that should undergird the educational system, its institutions, practices and outcomes,” it should not be slipped through during a holiday week to be imposed, like it or not, with no genuine notice of what is changing. Insisting that all students must now exhibit a skill to “plan strategically for civic change” with less notice to parents than what used to be required for a Field Trip permission slip simply reenforces the appearance that all these education reforms are really a Political Coup.

The fundamental fact behind true liberties is that they are not bestowed by government and they are not governments to take away. Yet that is precisely what all these education reforms amount to. No university should be able to grant a degree in any area, even a doctorate in Educational Leadership or Curriculum, that amounts to a license to be a taxpayer funded nonconsensual Change Agent. The idea that numerous sources openly decree that the students will be consciously turned into cultivated change agents is horrific.

As usual, there is actually not a dispute about the accuracy of what I am laying out. Calling attention to it is the only remedy I know of for what is being attempted.

Consider this post our Red Alert Notice. Flashing lights and sirens please.


Banishing Any Distinction Between Academic, Technical, and Life/Employability Skills: Active Deceit Everywhere

Think of me today as holding a microphone breathlessly informing everyone that I am reporting live from investigating a pot of water that is already at a simmer and it’s big enough to hold each of us. The pot has been designed to slowly come to a full rolling boil gradually so we will not notice what is happening in time. More likely, we will notice what is happening and misattribute what is causing it. Calling for more of the poison that is actually already destroying us from within while advocates holler “it’s political fragmentation and income inequality. More planning. More government programs. Integrate them all now” just as this April 4, 2012 letter from HHS, Education, and the federal Department of Labor called for.

But  we are neither frogs nor lobsters and we get to use our still existing Axemaker Minds to cut through the stories we have been deceitfully, or erroneously, fed and get out of that pot. I thought I knew so much about where Common Core was really going because of accurately discerning the essence of how performance standards [they are behavioral criteria] really worked and that Career Pathways would require a politically directed economy. I was right, but Georgia was piloting something else that is central to this story of our intended future. Then in 2006, the National Governors Association formally climbed aboard as well. It’s why it needed a vehicle like the Common Core to remake academic standards and why high school had to be reformed.

“Workforce intermediaries” (grounded in a 2003 conference in NYC funded by the Casey, Rockefeller, and Ford Foundations) and “sector strategies” are the search terms you will need to pull up the plans for your own state or locality. I have downloaded many of them in the last several days. Enough to recognize what terrible jeopardy we were all in even before the WIOA, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, locked this all thoroughly into place about a month ago. There are lots of NGA documents on this, but is the most helpful since it shows high schools on the cover as an integral part of this redo.

Sector strategies involve politicians, public employees, community organizing groups in many cases allied formally with Saul Alinsky’s IAF, colleges and universities, working with established businesses and hopefully getting all involved in comparable areas (like restaurants or construction) to work together to create pathways to good jobs for low income, formerly in prison, non-English speakers, etc. Everyone is bound in other words, but some of us merely finance, while K-12 extinguishes our children’s actual knowledge. Others are the intended beneficiaries of a track to a ‘good job.’ As this recent ACT report on building a National Workforce Skills Credentialing system put it , most private businesses, even small ones, will become subject to even more regulation as this belief that the private sector exists primarily to provide good jobs and training and tax revenue becomes pervasive.

The recent Aspen Institute book Connecting People to Work highlights SkillWorks as the long time Boston workforce intermediary. What that book did not point out, but I am, is that the Massachusetts DoED in 2013 redefined College and Career Readiness to get Massachusetts school districts on board with this Sector Strategies economic development planning that is now geared around Workplace Readiness. The BESA wanted to make sure the Connecting Activities would be used in the state’s academic and comprehensive high schools although parents probably will not get an accurate description for the shift. Academic proficiency is officially no longer enough in Massachusetts. is the official powerpoint.

The ultimate goal in each domain is ‘competency attainment,’ that would be in the Flyv social science sense of intuitive, non-analytical behavior we have been tracking for several posts. As we can see, personal/social development is as important as academic and academic is no longer about book knowledge. Now I am going to pivot to the other huge watershed event we are being lied to about that affects how the Common Core should be seen.  I happen to know that Massachusetts, Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota, and Oregon were picked by the feds to pilot the integration of CTE-Career and Technical Education into State and Local Career Pathways systems. Needless to say, this will blend nicely with Sector Strategies for economic development. No one seems to be dwelling on what will happen when the federal spigot of grants runs out and everyone has become a dependent and hardly anyone knows anything accurate or marketable, but here we are. By the way, CCSSO, the other formal sponsor of the Common Core is also involved with this integration.

It turns out you see, that apart from the Common Core we keep hearing about, there is another ‘state-led initiative created with business and industry representatives’ effort on a similar time frame to create a Common Career Technical Core that will govern ALL programs of secondary study. ALL means all and this parallel effort involves far  more than we might suspect. You know how we keep hearing mentions of ‘rigorous’ academics, well it is what is left after CCTC governs all programs of study under its Ten Components. This is why states formally rejecting CCSS nevertheless retain performance standards to keep the money from Perkins in DoED and the Department of Labor. shows the framework from Wisconsin, a state with a long history with Industry Partnerships and Sector Strategies.

So the feds, whatever state legislative committees may decide by majority vote or consensus to the contrary, have decreed that states are to have Career Pathways and combine “both academic/basic education content and CTE/skills training.” The combo of CCSS and CCTC makes this marriage easier to accomplish and easier to hide. In May 2014 the federal DoED rolled out its Employability Skills Framework that puts personal qualities, once again, front and center of future education in communities [hence all the hyping of local] and the states. All of the related ingredients I have been describing will of course be omitted lest we climb out of the simmering pot in time.

We are nowhere close to covering all I have read on these topics in the last week. I am merely building an outline to allow each of us to know what is intended and how the so-called Common Core fits into the deceit. It explains why the Chambers of Commerce, radical groups intent on political and social transformation, and legislators and governors of both parties are so tied to these ideas of national standards whatever the uproar. When I wrote my book, I explained that Competency never goes away because it fits the polytech vision of John Dewey. Now we know it fits with the new Workforce Readiness for all purpose of all K-12 education.

Another aspect that never goes away in the actual implementation materials is 21st Century Skills. I explained that with illustrations that remain 100% right on the money of intentions because they fit with the CTE focus on experiential and real world applications. It’s why those phrases keep recurring now through the relevance command. There are two P21 papers I did not have when I wrote the book that really lock in this marriage of CTE for All Students and how it comes full force to the unsuspecting suburbs. The first is from 2006 and has the long revealing title: ” Are They Really Ready to Work?   Employers Perspectives on the Basic Knowledge and Applied Skills of the New Entrants to the 21st Century Workforce.”

That well-connected report tells us that “the education and business communities must agree that applied skills integrated with core academic subjects are the ‘design specs’ for creating an education system that will prepare our high school and college graduates to succeed in the modern workplace and community life.” P21 did leave out the part about that workplace being reimagined via Sector Strategies and the community life being grounded in required consensus and shared understandings, but that would be how all these actual pieces fit together. “Business leaders must take an active role in outlining the kinds of skills we need from our employees” and the “business community must speak with one voice.” Lots of authoritarianism as we can see sprinkled consistently through this vision of our future.

What is hugely important about that report beyond the tells of attitude for anyone not with the collectivist program is the cite of New Tech High School in California and its project-based learning as an example of the kind of skills incorporated into academics desired. New Tech is now a network of high schools operating in many states and its flagship, High Tech High, is the poster child of both the federally-sponsored League of Innovative Schools and the Hewlett Foundation-sponsored Deeper Learning frameworks. Project-based learning and problem-based learning is how the CTE model comes quietly into the suburbs.

The second report from P21 is the 2010 “Up to the Challenge: The Role of Career and Technical Education and 21st Century Skills in College and Career Readiness.” It does not just call for breaking “down silos among academic, CTE and 21st century initiatives, programs, and teachers” as we now know the feds are pursuing in earnest. The creator of P21, Ken Kay, has since moved on to form EdLeader 21 (has its own tag as I have followed for a while) . EdLeader 21 is a consortium of large suburban school districts in or around metro areas, especially in the South. All of the district supers I have ever looked into involved with this group are what I classify as Gypsy Supers. Each school district they get an administrative job in transitions to ever more radicalized versions of John Dewey’s vision for education.

That’s how CTE comes to Atlanta, Charlotte, Greenville, Raleigh, the DC area, and other districts who have joined. Since no one employed by state or federal agencies or advising school districts shows any inclination of explaining all these vital, demonstrable facts to any of us in time to escape from the pot,

I just have.

**As usual, where I have given dates and titles of reports here and other specific references but no links, I am trying to ensure that particularly dramatic revelations do not get taken down before most of you get a chance to read this post. There is sufficient info provided to make searching easy for anyone who just loves to doublecheck me.