Power Belongs to Those Who Act With Reflection to Create Ontological Innovations

To avoid a quick trip to the closest dictionary as I was forced to do the first time I encountered that mouthful word, think of it as shorthand for seeking actual changes in the real world. It reflects a desire, as we saw with the actual definition of “evidence-based policymaking,” where “the value of a theory lies in its ability to produce changes in the world.” Since this is a blog primarily about education, those real world changes can be at the level of a student’s physiology, changing them neurally. To quote a 2016 UNESCO paper called “A Conceptual Framework for Competencies Assessment,” those biological changes at an internalized, noetic level would be what anyone interested in transformational political, economic, and social change deems to be “essential to give each learner the cognitive, gestural and emotional capability, enabling him or her to act concretely in complex situations as a responsible citizen.”

No, each student does NOT get to come up with their own definition of what makes a responsible citizen. That’s the purpose of these learning standards and competency frameworks, properly understood, which is why there is so much deceit about the Common Core, competencies, and social and emotional learning generally. Student-centered, or personalized learning, should thus be viewed as grounded in “understanding the value of a theory through its consequences on naturalistic systems [that would be your child–a student, your school, or maybe your city] also borrows from Messick’s notion of evidence of consequential validity for testing. His argument is that the validity of a claim is based on the changes it produces in a given system. These changes or consequences can then be considered evidence in support of validity.”

Messick may not be a familiar name to you, but he was with Educators Testing Service at about the same time as the creation of Outcomes Based Education (OBE). Sure puts a more appropriate spin on what the actual outcomes were to be, doesn’t it? Remember how I keep warning that Portrait of a Graduate or Learner Profiles in state ESSA plans are merely a 21st century way to rebrand what was called Transformational OBE? That UNESCO paper is full of references to Learner “Exit Profiles” in case anyone has any doubt on how UN entities intend to accomplish their transformational SDG goals. Now lets stop the influence of the False Narratives and quote directly from a vision of Exit Profiles in a world where “the school is no longer regarded as the prime vector for the spreading of knowledge.” Yes, you might want to reread that and take a deep breath before we continue quoting:

“It then presupposes the acquisition of a system of values based on human rights in addition to the international rules of communication and behaviour in the educational world. These rules are essentially represented by life skills (notably encouraged by UNESCO, UNICEF and others), reflections of certain values inherent in the Western democratic countries and in their own way of thinking as societies: access to citizenship and practices linked to sustainable development in the domains of food, environmental friendliness, health, and so on.

The school is therefore induced to go beyond the disciplinary structure of education, which used to respond essentially to problem areas of content and knowledge. Today power no longer belongs to those who know, as it previously did, or even to those who seek, but to those who act–those who embark, who organize, who manage, and so on. Pure action no longer suffices today; a reflexive and critical analysis of actions and situations is also essential for meeting current challenges. The point is that the division into disciplines is no longer adapted to this logic of action.”

That would be why it is such a Red Herring for anyone to be writing or speaking about whether a state’s math standards prepare them to take Algebra as an 8th grader or ultimately Calculus. That was never the actual purpose of learning standards. It’s also why ESSA requires states to have performance standards, which require action, as the measure of student achievement or success. The quote involving Dr Messick above came from a paper from an Indiana University ed prof published in 2004 in The Journal of the Learning Sciences. Its co-author, Sasha Barab, was a keynoter at the https://www.imbes.org/2018-imbes-conference held in Los Angeles a few weeks ago.

I have written about the International Mind Brain Education Society before and there are references in the presentations made there to making sure the desired practices and theories become incorporated into UNESCO mandates and global standards. Barab has left the cold winters of Indiana now and joined the faculty of Arizona State, putting him at a place where transformationalist James Paul Gee (see tag) is also located as well as a Center of Sustainability with global tentacles. Barab’s IMBES presentation, in turn, emphasized his September 2009 article in Educational Leadership called “Why Educators Should Care About Games”. It gives us a first-rate insight into the new purpose of curriculum that fits closely with what is described in that UNESCO document, but it is not a shift parents are likely to recognize. Let’s take a look at the purpose of the sought transformational play that can be designed into virtual reality curricula.

“We focus on building game-based learning environments in which students play an important role using academic knowledge to make decisions that influence, for better or worse, the designed storyline. Thus, these virtual spaces transform learners in three ways: (1) they transform a person from a passive recipient to an empowered actor, (2) they transform content from information that the learner has to remember to a tool that the learner can use to accomplish desired ends, and (3) they transform context from an assurance that ‘this knowledge will be relevant in the future’ to a present reality that responds to the learner’s actions.”

If you print out this post or Barab’s article, you can do what I did and write the word “dialectical” in the margin by that 3rd way of “transforming the learner” at a noetic, physiological level. Later, the article reiterates that the new purpose of academic content, i.e., “knowledge connected to disciplines–such as investigative research and writing–serves as one of the most fundamental tools for making sense of the world and acting effectively in it.” If, like me, you know someone well who programs or creates computer software, it will be hard to get over the feeling that the new purpose of academic content and prescribed learning experiences, such as virtual reality games, is programming human minds and personalities, without that individual or their parents’ knowing consent.

It is the action that forces the desired neurological change in ways that can then become embedded Habits of Mind. After all, these educational games were created because:

“we want students to see the value of the content they learn for other situations. If a learner never realizes how this virtual experience relates to real-life experiences, then the game playing will have been engaging but not productive. Becoming a hero within a virtual world should enable students to see themselves as people capable of using what they learn to successfully transform their world and to continue growing as scientists, historians, or writers.”

In other words, science, history, and writing are no longer about disciplinary knowledge. They are the source of activities that can be used to change the student from the inside to alter their future behavior in the outside, real world. I am going to close with the ending of the paper, but readers may want to go back to Chapter 1 of my book Credentialed to Destroy to appreciate the transformational purposes of John Dewey’s Ideal of Learning. I was not going to bring in Uncle Karl, but this is unquestionably closely tied to his vision of the Human Development Society to be created once Man became a Maker of History. This quote follows the paragraph just above.

“By helping students connect virtual accomplishments to real-life scenarios, we lead learners closer to John Dewey’s ideal of learning. Dewey (1938/1963) argued that education should be about giving learners the motivation and expertise to act in problem-filled contexts where applying that expertise makes a difference. Dewey’s vision of schooling is quite different from the education experience most students have today, which involves amassing knowledge with the promise of someday bringing it to bear on the world. In contrast, when students solve problems in virtual scenarios, they get a taste of the real-world power of academic content.”

Just like UNESCO envisions.

With no sense of just how thoroughly they are now being manipulated by school, prescribed educational experiences, and the true nature of student assessments.

 

Outside In: Conjoining Education & Media to Consciously Create Consensus

Do you regard the phrases “public transformation” and “societal transformation” as synonymous? The first, as we saw in the last post, seems interested in transforming who we are at the level of our beliefs and values–our very consciousness. The other wants to transform existing institutions and organizations–the external reality. The coverage of the Parkland mass school shooting and the student activists it has launched makes considerable more sense if we know that Global Education Futures (GEFF) released a report last fall called “Educational Ecosystems for Societal Transformation” that is referenced in other internal reports with a different title about “Education Ecosystems for Public Transformation.” Either title reflects a desire that the “level of challenges faced by humanity today calls us to find answers through a consciously created consensus.”

One side of the media, especially the legacy media, wants us to see the tragedy as a reason for gun control. The other seems to see Parkland as a convenient tool to hype School Choice, on-line learning, and supposed ‘local’ solutions to federal government tyranny. No one seems to want to eliminate the media’s ability to frame how we see Parkland and what we believe the solutions to be. Since the transformation vision relies heavily on misunderstanding the nature of learning standards like the Common Core or Competencies (Inside-Out) and also not reporting the long planned convergence of the media and education to create the narrative driving a perceived need for change, let’s tear away the shroud obscuring this cooperation.

Russian Pavel Luksha, who is a leader in GEFF as we covered here in 2015, also turns out to be involved with Chris Whittle’s new venture called the Whittle School, a global education venture. Back in 2005, Whittle wrote a book called Crash Course hyping the ability to use School Choice globally and private providers of education to drive innovation and a new vision of learning. He created a hypothetical “worldwide leader in K-12 curricula” that had previously been “the first of the world’s major communications and publishing companies to grasp fully that the world of schooling was an extension of the core competencies found in many communications entities.” We need to recognize that now too as that outside-in tool was a huge part of why previous UNESCO head Irina Bokova simply shorthanded the conjunction and its global transformative potential as “media education.”

Likewise, when that GEFF report headlines its “New Horizon” chapter with this Margaret Wheatley quote, think not just of the roles of the media and a new type of learning, but also all the high school students we are now seeing who simply assume a right to redesign the world and existing systems.

“We have only just begun the process of discovering and inventing the new organizational forms that will inhabit the 21st century. We need the courage to let go of the old world, to relinquish most of what we have cherished, to abandon our interpretations about what does and doesn’t work.”

That shift is much easier if, unbeknownst to most parents, the schools have long since shifted from a subject-centered curriculum to an ‘experience-centered curriculum’. Suddenly, topics, themes, concepts, and principles come first to provide students with a means to “intellectualize his experience.” To mine my personal library using a post WW2 book called Reorganizing the High-School Curriculum from 1947 to move away from the school as “merely an instrument for perpetuating the status quo” to one where “our democratic society is to be refined and re-created,” would require a new type of education grounded in a new theory of learning.

“Learning in its best sense involves the ‘continuous reconstruction of experience.’ Learning products are identified as changes in attitudes upon the basis of new or deeper understandings, and the acquisition of general and special abilities, habits, and skills. The learning experiences which the school provides [now online learning can also do this] for students are directed towards changes in behavior in line with democratic ideals and values. [Remember the PROMISE motto from the last post and the role of Restorative Justice programs] The school provides work experience for the student, not primarily to get the work done, but because such experience enhances growth in line with democratic values.”

That’s what student-centered learning is really about and everyone involved with education reforms, except students and parents, is either openly or covertly pushing this same vision. If we miss the planned role of all media in this, we are fighting a battle with blinders on. That was sixty years ago, but only the names and tools change, not the transformative aims. https://ssir.org/articles/entry/using_story_to_change_systems has a similar aim and came out about a week ago. Also recently the Data & Society Research Institute issued a report called “Dead Reckoning: Navigating Content Moderation After ‘Fake News'” that caught my eye. One thing about tearing a tendon in your leg, I have been rather stuck watching bad TV like it or not. A publication like that wanting to define what is Fake News not by veracity of the information but rather or not the source is preapproved by the powers that be simply emboldens the lies I have been forced to watch recently on the evening network news.

The difference though was I was in a position to find out more of what looked like immunity to lie to advocate for the repeatedly announced “public” or “societal transformation” as I was signed up to attend a February 23, 2018 Georgia Bar Media & Judiciary Conference sponsored by CNN among others. The speakers, who included a Morehouse journalism prof, a New York Times reporter, a former CBS reporter, and the managing director of CNN International, kept hyping the role of the “Legacy Media’ to be ‘gatekeepers’, which to me rather smacked of censorship before the fact by approved sources. The CBS reporter,  hyped “the crucial role of the press in shaping American history” and asserted that Facebook and Google’s recent policy changes to prefer the Legacy Media in search results were a good start but were “not enough”.

I thought about how Walter Cronkite had so hyped the Tet Offensive that a generation of Americans thought we lost military ground then. They did not recognize a deliberate use of the news and what gets covered, to steer popular and prevailing consciousness on an issue. When the audience was asked for questions, I raised my hand and asked if their position was that the term “Fake News” was about the source of the information or the quality of the information? That’s when things got really interesting since no one knew education was my area of expertise. The response by several of the panel members was to agree it was about the source and the standards of truth used by the ‘legacy media’ and then begin to talk about the need for new curriculum in the schools to create deference to the Legacy Media.

Another member then mentioned that the real solution to Fake News allegations was “further down the food chain in the schools” and called attention to a News Literacy Project that had been created to do just that. It would aid students to differentiate between Fake News and to know “what to believe.” That continued targeting of the internalized belief system that has always been a hall mark of Tranzi OBE under its various names (see last post and comments) got my attention.

So I came home and looked up the Project and discovered it had been started in Spring 2008 by veteran reporters from the LA Times. The family that had owned the Wall Street Journal before Rupert Murdoch was also involved and Steve Schmidt who had worked in the White House under Bush 43 and who managed John McCain’s Presidential run. Mollie Hemingway, now a Federalist editor and contributor to Fox News is on the Board. Since she is married to a writer at the Weekly Standard I think we can conclude that the Legacy Media as well as the so-called non-establishment media that is supposedly conservative all want to create school curriculum on how the media is regarded.

The really fascinating member of the Board in my mind who thoroughly conjoins media and education, learning standards and media literacy projects, and inside-out vs outside-in filtering to Consciously Create Consensus was Sam Wineburg. Wineburg is an education prof at Stanford who has been active in creating standards for “Civic Online Reasoning”. The Stanford History Education Group or SHEG is where everything comes together as they have created the Reading Like a Historian curriculum that can be used to create and measure the existence of the ‘desired understandings’ that students are to internalize as their required Higher Order Thinking Skills under federal ESSA law.

Doesn’t that sound like an excellent way to Consciously Create Consensus, especially if the curriculum gets used to create formative assessments that few parents will understand if they have not read Credentialed to Destroy? The News Literacy Project presented at both the 2016 and 2017 National Council for the Social Studies annual conference so we know these curricula will be used to create the C3 Framework ‘lenses’ to evaluate how students view the world around them. Turns out the nonsensical slogan that “we are teaching students how to think, not what to think” is actually not true at all.

Suddenly media literacy, new forms of learning, competencies, and the need to control the internalized belief system and values via prescribed standards and Habits of Mind takes us to a view of History that Karl Marx would have recognized. We need to as well to cut through the False Narratives ALL the media now seemed to find so useful:

“History is the ‘precondition of political intelligence’…It allows us to undertake sensible inquiry into the political, social, or moral issues that trouble us…[and] achieve the informed, discriminating citizenship essential to democratic government.”

The Parkland and other high school students then are simply fulfilling the roles SHEG and other experiential curriculum have trained them for. The way out of students who see themselves as Makers of History is to recognize that school has neurally and deliberately rewired them to do, think, want, and act in preapproved ways.

We are, after all, the Public whose consciousness the media, educators, and virtually every think tank I have looked at wants to control. We need to recognize the how and why and that it is not just students being targeted.

Prerequisite for Social Justice and Equity: the Evidence Base for Transforming Hearts and Minds

I found a good example of why social and emotional learning, under its various euphemistic names, just keeps being inserted as a critical, mandatory component of what Preschool through College education must now be, whatever the parental outcry through the decades. The Aspen NCSEAD covered in the last post is merely the most recent, but its assembly of a so-called Council of Distinguished Scientists to create a Consensus Statement of the Evidence Base for Learning and Student Success is an attempt to leap over previous outcries and local obstacles to quietly impose the controversial model as a requirement under federal law. Let’s go back then and be sure of the precise political and economic theory being brought in through the classrooms, using childrens’ minds and personalities as the invisible conduit.

One of the cited sources for the statement that all reason must be grounded in emotion and that the two cannot be separated in instruction anymore was a 1992 book Reason and Emotion written by a John Macmurray. He regarded “intellectual awareness” as “egocentric” since it “uses the senses as its instrument.” Instead, Macmurray called for the “wider use of the senses for the joy of living in them.” Methinks, Macmurray would have adored the Maker Movement and Project-based Learning and a STEAM focus since that is clearly what he desired. Thankfully he gave a wonderful metaphor for the kind of outcome from school curriculum he wanted so let’s borrow it for the insights.

“…the direct sensual awareness has its centre in the world outside, in the thing that is sensed and loved for its own sake. There is a drawing of George Morrow’s which illustrates the difference humorously, It shows a couple standing on a hilltop watching a sunset. The sky is aglow with bars of bright clouds. ‘What a lovely sunset,’ the woman says to her husband. ‘That reminds me,’ he answers. ‘Do remember to tell our landlady that I like my bacon streaky.'”

So EVERY student must now have “training in this capacity to live in the senses.” Why? we can ask, but only if we are aware of this shift in focus. We cannot ask if we are lost in  deliberately deceitful narratives insisting that social and emotional learning is somehow about a federal database of personally identifiable information. Education now is supposed to become “training in sensitiveness.” Then our future behaviors and “modes of action” and awareness should not be determined by the individualistic, logical, dreaded Axemaker Mind–“if we limit awareness so that it merely feeds the intellect with the material for thought, our actions will be intellectually determined.”

Horrors! then to anyone with transformation on the mind, which would include Macmurray. It turns out his book was not written in 1992, merely republished by his estate. Nor was it originally written in 1962. That was the Second Edition somehow magically timed to coincide with what we now know was the first launch of the Marxist Humanist (MH) vision of education by the NEA and humanist psychologists like Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow. http://invisibleserfscollar.com/psychological-approach-to-a-humane-politics-restructuring-the-west-quietly-and-effectively-via-ed/ is that old post. No, the First Edition of that book came out in 1935, a decade when plenty of people were interested in political and economic transformation. Insisting that education must be about the cultivation of emotion and social development matters more than ever now if the basis for the assertion is:

“Emotion is not the Cinderella of our inner life, to be kept in her place among the cinders in the kitchen. Our emotional life is us in a way our intellectual life cannot be; in that it alone contains the motives from which our conduct springs.”

I will let you in on a little secret. I recognized the MH vision throughout Macmurray’s book, but that was very confusing as Professor Daniel Bell writing in the late 50s while a fellow at the always troublesome Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences stated that Marx’s work laying out his Human Development Society vision and its need to control morals and consciousness was unavailable in English until 1956. My first thought was that maybe Macmurray read German and thus had earlier access to the long-unknown early Marx work. Good reasoning, but Macmurray himself in the 60s wrote that his interest and access came from being invited to a “conference held in October 1932 which brought together a number of leading religious and lay thinkers to ponder the question of the rejuvenation of Christianity in the modern world…”

That would explain the false narratives we keep running into surrounding the Common Core by people who go out of their way to wear their religious beliefs and their role in their daily lives on their sleeves, wouldn’t it? So if influential people have from the get-go seen religious faith and education as the two main conduits for the MH vision and its desire to transform the world through individual hearts and minds, let’s look at Macmurray’s vision since he did not mince his words. If the vision of education as activity to thread together the cognitive, social, and emotional is to guide modern education, let’s see what Macmurray told us was the purpose of that vision. Macmurray did not see religion as a matter of personal faith; rather, it was a

“demand for a new step in the creation of human society…universal in its extent, based upon the communion of persons…We have to address ourselves to the task of creating the life of truly personal relationship between men, and of destroying those elements in modern society which frustrate and deny it.”

Suddenly, we have a merger of what religion is supposed to be about with what education is now supposed to create. Eliminating a curriculum grounded in the intellect is the essential first step. Macmurray’s statements from the 30s sound a great deal like the rationale for why 21st century education must be relevant to the real world and authentic to everyday life:

“unless you deal with these external conditions you cannot develop a true moral attitude to anything. Indeed, the effort to construct a true and just order of society is the main part of the effort to create a true moral outlook. The two things are intimately bound up. Those people who try strenuously to develop moral and religious ideals in the community without altering the conditions of life are trying to make bricks without straw.”

So emotion has to be actively cultivated in every classroom as a new definition of what enables student success because, in reality, it is a necessary component of the “task of creating conscious community among all men everywhere–nothing less, and it necessarily included all the conditions, economic, political, and personal, which are involved in this…a new and universally human social order.”

Now if the NCSEAD was using that rationale as its sales pitch for what it asserts as ‘evidence-based’ under ESSA, we could protest such a wholesale transformation, especially since it is unquestionably grounded in a notorious political philosophy with much blood in its history. So we aren’t supposed to know and simply defer to the eminence of the Appeal to Authority of the Council of Distinguished Scientists statement released September 13, 2017. All hail! No one notice that we are dealing with lots of the very same people tied to lots of the controversies in education including the Dalai Lama’s desire to cultivate a global Holos Consciousness (a very long way from an Axemaker Mind). I am going to pick a member that may be less familiar to you, Gloria Ladson-Billings, an ed prof who wants a culturally relevant pedagogy “committed to social justice and equity.’

How nice to be able to mandate that controversial agenda under the Evidence Base Consensus Statement for Learning. If what you have desired since at least 1995 is to “help students to recognize, understand, and critique social inequities” of course you are going to adore education grounded in emotion instead of the intellect for the very reasons Macmurray laid out. His desired focus on material conditions–economic, political, and personal–is a perfect fit for Ladson-Billings’ desire that teachers no longer be “reluctant to identify political underpinnings of the students’ community and social world.” She wants to implement the vision of acknowledged radical Paulo Freire (who was also an advisor to the World Council of Churches which is probably not an accident) that teaching should be ‘mining’ or pulling knowledge out of the life experiences of the students.

So suddenly Student Success and a supposed prerequisite to academic success turns out to be about forcing classroom practices “through which people are incited to acquire a particular ‘moral character’. As both a political and practical activity, it attempts to influence the occurrence and qualities of experiences.” Those experiences again that allow for the direct training of the student’s senses until the desired behaviors become Habits of Mind.

I am pretty sure we are never supposed to actually look up the cited sources in all these footnotes. I think we are merely supposed to blindly accept what is asserted as the Consensus Statement of the Council of Distinguished Scientists. We are most assuredly not supposed to track the mandated practices back to its actual goal:

“This dictates its goal, which can be nothing short of the complete integration of all human beings in community and of humanity with the world in which it lives.”

Someone really should have omitted the reference to the philosopher who was among the first to write about Marx’s Human Development Society in English.

No wonder there is such a determination to quash any outbreak of Axemaker Minds in this current generation of students. They are to be emotionally charged to be the desired Marxian Makers of History asked to finally bring about the “material sharing of our material substance. Until our material possessions are at the disposal of all those with whom we are in communion for their need, it is idle to talk of sharing our lives, or of having the reality of our lives in common.”

If that’s the prerequisite for this emotional, collaborative vision of education, by all means let’s talk about it instead of simply being asked to embrace it via a Consensus Statement of Distinguished Scientists.

Classrooms and Congregations: the Bullseye Once Culture Becomes Seen as History’s Driver

When I came up with the title “Everybody In!” I had hoped to cover more of the groups who had come up with a similar vision, but time grew short and the last post grew long. With Irma gone, power back on, and the Internet back working, let’s get back to the story that helps explain why faith-based institutions appear to be an integral part of where education wants to go. Last week the Convergence Center’s Pioneering publication mentioned a  book called Healing the Heart of Democracy: The Courage to Create a Politics Worthy of the Human Spirit by Parker J Palmer. That same issue had stressed that Alamo Heights ISD in Texas was engaged in an education vision called “Transformation of the Heart” that complained that:

“As a nation, we are addicted to high-stakes testing, grade point averages, and class rank. This makes it easy to forget our real purpose: to help young people grow and develop into honest, kind, and compassionate citizens…Resting on the laurels of our district’s academic accomplishments was no longer enough…the Strategic Plan called for us to aggressively confront the social and emotional issues of our community.”

When I ordered the Palmer book I thought I would find another political transformation vision tied to an education vision. It was that, but the book also laid out why “Classrooms and Congregations Converge” if a Transformation grounded in new morals and values is desired. They converge because in “both settings, there is power to form us inwardly in ways that can undermine or enhance our capacity to play a creative role in a democratic society.” Palmer used the term “democratic society” as a euphemism for what I shorthand as the MH Society. The Marxist Humanist Society, where all human needs are to be met out of the collective wealth of society empowered by technology, simply takes too long to write. So the MH Society, in order to finally arrive as a historical reality, needs to alter and guide each person’s so-called “inner search.”

It needs a view where “Educational institutions have at least as much impact [as religion], and arguably more on our basic assumptions about what is real, possible, and meaningful.” Any group with aspirations of going from “Inner Liberation to Outer Transformation,” as Palmer called it, needs some kind of “community of congruence” that will provide the “dispositions, knowledge, and skills that will allow them to enter the political fray and make their voices heard. So communities of congruence [schools, workplaces, or churches as examples] help people develop the habits of the heart that agents of social change and all engaged citizens must possess. They help people master the information, theories, and strategies that will allow them to advance their cause. And they offer people small-scale opportunities to become the kind of leaders that a large-scale movement demands.”

In my last post, I mentioned that Davidson College had issued an MH-oriented vision that they attributed to the ‘Reformed Tradition’. I related my experience that a comparable vision had been justified under many other names and faiths. Months ago I also noticed the Pioneer Institute’s recommending that the new Catholic Curriculum Frameworks would also work in Jewish schools. Since I found that compatibility to be rather curious, this footnote in Palmer’s introduction was rather telling:

“‘Congregations and the Human Heart’ [explores] what congregations can do to help create ‘a politics of the human spirit’. For an example of how an interfaith group of congregations  has put those ideas into action, see our ‘Season of Civility’ project…this 2013 project [in Wisconsin] trained more than four hundred people of faith across the state to facilitate civil discourse in their communities. Leaders of six traditions–Baha’i, Buddhist, Christian, Islamic, Jewish, and Unitarian Universalist–translated the five habits of the heart …into their own theological language, supported by texts from their traditions, creating study guides for their members.”

Fascinating admission, isn’t it? It shows how an overarching political and social transformation vision can be translated into an article of faith and what it means to adhere to a particular tradition. Both universal and personalized. It gets at that level of inner transformation that could become an invisible serf’s collar. Now let’s shift to an even more revealing book from 2000 called The Ambiguous Embrace that is dedicated to “those in faith-based schools, social agencies, and other organizations who provide loving care with high expectations, in the name of a loving and righteous God.” The book was financed by the same Bradley Foundation that financed so much of the faith-based agenda in the 90s, the New Citizenship Project, the Council on Civil Society,  Hardwired to Connect and so much else we have covered in 2017. Bradley is also the chief funder of the School Choice agenda and, in my personal experience, invariably tied to people misleading the public about the Common Core, social and emotional learning, and competency-based education.

The Ambiguous Embrace provided insights into why all those potential tools in education for inner transformation work more effectively if no one much accurately understands their true function. The Foreword laid out that “throughout the Western world it has become clear that the modern welfare state…must be modified if it is to continue being affordable. A very plausible formula for such a modification has suggested that functions of the welfare state (including education) should be devolved onto institutions of civil society.” When I read this morning in a weekly newsletter from a state public policy think tank that more than 80% of the relief aid that had already reached hurricane victims was delivered via faith-based organizations that is cheerleading for this vision. After this past week I am all for that aid. Here’s the part that gets left out and may be the reason for all the deceit.

Apparently in November 1996 an international conference was held at Boston University that “explored the possibility of a ‘remoralizing’ of society through institutions with the authority and integrity to overcome excessive individualism and inadequate socialization.” The interest was in creating institutions, especially schools, that would “nourish opportunities for children–and adults as well–to develop the sense of moral obligation and the settled disposition to act virtuously.” The vision is to have “publicly guaranteed benefits” so that all human needs are to be met, but to use non-governmental entities like faith-based organizations to “deliver education and social services because they are better than government at generating the sense of moral obligation that is essential to both.”

Hopefully the vision being instilled will be a good driver of future behavior because Habits of Mind and complained about personality manipulation can barely hold a candle to an expressed aim that “intends to inform and form the very being of their students, to mold their identity and agency–who they are and how they live.” That passage was talking about a Catholic high school, but the goals of education are not really different than what public schools are doing now in the name of personalized or competency learning according to this recent post http://www.gettingsmart.com/2017/08/creating-change-agents-the-intersection-of-critical-thinking-and-student-agency/ That book passage also wanted to make students into “responsible decision-makers” so maybe the point is that all types of education these days are devoted to the formation of students, not just faith-based schools wanting access to taxpayer money.

Maybe it’s the breadth of the vision of what now constitutes “religious understandings” per The Ambiguous Embrace–” a set of beliefs, values, and sentiments that order social life and create purpose for human activity.” Sounds like an internalized common core, doesn’t it, of the type I found and covered in Chapter 7 of my book Credentialed to Destroy. Sounds just like what the MH vision needs to target for transformation and the area where the Battle for Human Nature is being waged. It’s the area that will be targeted now with required Charlottesville Conversations. “Civil society institutions are able to have a more powerful effect in changing character and giving direction to lives than can institutions that must comply with bureaucratic rationality”

It turns out then that the phrase ‘limited government’ is government being the planner, financer, and steerer of people, society, and economies to see to the “human care of human beings…with government playing a watchdog role on behalf of the vulnerable.” There apparently will be no discussion that we must transition to the MH vision as a matter of indisputable public policy. Transformational education and a new vision of the role of faith is to get at the desired inner transformation without hardly anyone apparently being the wiser.

I will close with a quote from yet another book tied to a faith-based vision and transformation via education. It is called Building a Healthy Culture: Strategies for an American Renaissance and came out in 2001. Edited by Don Eberly, who joined Bush 43’s faith-based agenda, it opened with the Moral and Intellectual Framework that hopes for educational programming of “hopeful images of a society filled with meaning and opportunity, where everyone was committed to service to humanity.” No wonder Marx himself described the MH vision as little ‘c’ communism. Think maybe I am quoting out of context? Well, our title came partly from this book because its “thesis…that it is increasingly the culture that is the preeminent force of history, helping to shape the attitudes and the choices of the young, the overall ethical tone of society, and even America’s role in the world.”

The book went on to state that “the debate now is about what kind of society we intend to build as we move into the future, and we believe that this should be one which embraces important principles from the past, but which is nevertheless geared towards advancing individual and collective health in the context of today’s economically dynamic and technologically advanced world.”

The latter context just happens to be the preconditions for the MH vision. Its 21st century open advocates are all dedicated to what can drive historical change. But we cannot have that debate as we ought to be entitled to as long as everyone pretends that this new vision of education in the 21st Century is about math or how to best teach reading.

Let’s debate away now that we have collected a few more pertinent confessions of intent.

Battle for the Mind and Who We Ought to Be: Portrait of a Graduate in 2030 Thanks to Charlottesville

I have looked at the ready-to-go lessons on racism and hate and the attempt to make the SPLC (Southern Poverty Law Center) Teaching Tolerance curriculum mandatory in all classrooms. In the comments to the previous post are plenty of links to the cited materials and one observant comment on how often the letters are signed with a reference to solidarity. If I go back and relink we will not be able to move forward into a unique discussion of how I believe this all fits together and how fall 2017 is more than the beginning of another school year. I have written about the UN’s Dignity for All by 2030 campaign that essentially calls on governments and institutions at every level to create and direct an economy and society based on meeting human needs. I usually shorthand it as the MH vision because it was Uncle Karl himself a long time ago who laid out the conditions for what he called little ‘c’ communism way back in the 19th century.

Guess What? Any student starting Kindergarten or PreFirst this fall with then 12 years of schooling will graduate in what year? I’ll admit I did a graph to doublecheck my calculation and the answer is 2030. How coincidental. What’s more we have the new federal education law kicking in with its prescriptions and most of the state plans are pitched in terms of what the personal characteristics of the student should be when they graduate from high school. Sometimes with the name of Learner Profile, Graduate Profile, or Portrait of a Graduate.

One of the articles being pitched for what Charlottesville should mean  http://behavioralscientist.org/charlottesvilles-battle-human-nature/ was written by the editor-in-chief who just happened to now live in Charlottesville. He was previously at the same U-Penn hatching Positive Psychology and the PERMA Positive Education template we have covered. He even worked with psychologist Angela Duckworth in her lab. You know as in Grit and Perseverence, the Character Lab,  the Growth Mindset Scholars Network, and the Science of Virtues?

That was just from the top of my head. Nesterak concluded that troubling article with this line: “In the battle for human nature, behavioral scientists have a pivotal role to play. They can and must help people understand the people we can be.” That’s certainly a reason for K-12 education to be about implementing the findings of the behavioral sciences, isn’t it? With nary a head’s up, much less actual consent. Let’s go back and discover that a 1998 book called Curriculum, Religion, and Public Education: Conversations for an Enlarging Public Square laid out the need for education and a new type of ‘democratic dialogue’ to create what it called the ethic of solidarity and italicized just like that. Remember this as you see constant references to #Charlottesville Conversations.

Also remember that just after that call for the ethic of solidarity we had this confession: “Education, like religion, is about the transformation of consciousness. Students entertain doubt, while teachers foster faith in human discourse and intelligence. In the process, individual and social transformation occurs.” Earlier in that essay, the author had defined something he called the ‘common faith’ and it is America’s ‘common faith’ that the curricula mandated after Charlottesville seeks to dramatically shift, to something more amenable to the desired MH society by 2030. The ‘common faith’ is “those beliefs, assumptions, and myths that provide the ‘glue’ for a society.” In other words, we mustn’t let the actual physical remnants describing in real time why the Civil War was fought and what its carnage meant to the survivors. The desired narrative should provide the ‘lenses’ or filters through which the past is seen. Notice that is precisely what all those letters and lesson plans intend to do. (My bolding)

“But what is to stop this ‘community of difference’ from devolving into warring factions? It is at this juncture that this ethic of solidarity enters the discussion. Solidarity has two essential features. First, it grants diverse social groups enough respect to listen to them and use all ideas when considering existing social and civic values. Second, it realizes that the lives of individuals in differing groups are ecologically interconnected to the point that everyone is accountable to everyone else. No assumption of uniformity exists here-just the commitment to work together to bring about mutually beneficial social and civic change.

When I read an old passage like that and recognize it is currently being forced into reality, it’s hard not to imagine people who honestly do believe they have waited long enough for change they have been taught is their due. They must simply regard it as a burden others must now bear. In the last post we discussed how the City of Boston had laid out its intent to transition to the MH vision in the name of Resilience and Racial Equity. Another Resilient City, Dallas, helpfully mentioned its intention to adhere to the Kellogg Foundation “Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation” Framework. Since I happen to know that the new ESSA evidence-based regulations rely on a Kellogg Foundation Logic Model on Achieving Outcomes first created about the time of that 1998 book, I decided to locate the TRHT Implementation Guide issued in December 2016. It was the result of at least a 5-month process so President Trump is not the leader it hoped to have in the White House.

Before I start to quote what this vision is, I want to point out that SPLC is a listed partner of the TRHT so the Teaching Tolerance curriculum is a component and planned tool as well. On the Thursday, August 10, before the permitted “Unite the Right” march on Saturday, August 12, led by a former Obama Organizing for America enthusiast who had a conversion epiphany in January just after the publication of that Guide, the SPLC issued a Campus Guide to the Alt-Right. Really helpful and suspicious timing, huh? What is it that TRHT wants to do? Just what most college campuses, the Dignity for All by 2030, Resilient Cities, and others all say they seek as well. TRHT

“will help communities across the US embrace racial healing and uproot the conscious and unconscious belief in a hierarchy of human value that limits equal access to quality education, fulfilling employment, sage neighborhoods and equal housing opportunities, while honoring tribal access to equitable resources and quality health care. Unless the central belief system that fuels racial, ethnic, and place of origin inequities is challenged and changed, societal progress cannot be sustained over time.”

Changing that central belief in every US classroom is precisely what #Charlottesville Conversations aims to do and what learning standards like the Common Core make so much easier. Poor Heather Heyer. I wonder if she had any idea what the broader implications were of what was going on in Charlottesville that day or the powder keg that needed to be ignited. Nesterak after all stated that the “battle for human nature was about who we are and who we can be…it will continue online and in the streets, when Charlottesville is replaced by the next city.” The social trasformationalists need that next city to supposedly propel the Resilient or TRHT vision of “a new day, one based on a common humanity for all communities?” That vision needs a new form of education to get at “centuries of this [racial hierarchy] belief system [that] have consciously shaped our individual thought patterns.”

Here is an italicized MLK quote from the Implementation Guide which helps explains all the interest in turning students at all levels into Social Change Agents.

Time itself is neutral; it can be used either destructively or constructively. Human progress never rolls on the wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts…We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always right to do right.”

Charlottesville accelerated that timetable and is attempting to make the desired changes in individual thought patterns mandatory now for all students in all schools in every community. Just what the MH vision by 2030 needs to stay on its announced schedule. Poor Heather. TRHT Frameworks for Action and Guiding principles and Plans for Resilience probably thought they would get awful graphics from the tikitorch march and fighting to ignite the needed mandate. Now they have martyrs and students determined to Remember Charlottesville even though they are never to actually grasp its real significance or their needed role as change agents.

Or the function of time to implement all these plans finally.

 

 

 

 

Shocks, Stresses, and Yokeability: Resilience as the Balm Masking Total Control

Is Yokeability really a word? Well, we need it to show why both admitted Progressive Change Agents, supposedly right think tanks, both political parties, and so many other influential people signed that Williamsburg Charter. Interestingly, the author stated at the end of the Godly Republic book that although he had heard of the Charter copies of it were “hard to find.” I am not surprised given the infamous vision it was actually committing us to funding, and our institutions, to creating. DiIulio stated it was not until 2005 “while visiting Calvin College” that someone gave him a copy. If Calvin College rings a bell, it is probably because that is where the current Ed Secretary, Betsy DeVos, attended college. As I have plowed through all these books about a faith-based vision that I did not really want to write about, but could not avoid, I realized that everyone seemed to want to instill the concepts, Ideas, beliefs, values, and habits that would create a ready-and-motivated-to-act Maker of History.

Moreover, even though those books I cited broke out the so-called faith-based vision to be partners in meeting human needs and to get taxpayer funds for doing so, I recognized last week as the Rockefeller Foundation rolled out its 100 Resilient Cities strategy at a late July meeting in NYC, that the so-called FBOs (faith-based organizations) were no longer being talked about separately as they were in the 90s and the Bush 43 years. Now they have a new acronym–CBOs–community based organizations. If we had not walked through the books linking all these FBOs to a new vision of humanity, transformational change, and a new form of citizenship, the true nature of the change and all the different partners would be hard to see. You may want to check out this site https://www.ujimaboston.com/ to see what the vision of the future currently looks like.

Likewise, the book I cited on Building a Community of Citizens had a companion book published in the same year called Educational Innovation: An Agenda to Frame the Future that used the state of Pennsylvania as the example and Transformational Outcomes Based Education as the technique to be used. Frankly, I got the best feel for what the Right and FBOs wanted to do in a very odd place–a 2013 book by Hillsdale College President and Heritage Foundation Board member Larry Arnn. Heritage is a signor of that “hard to find” Charter and I looked into the book The Founders’ Key because of all the deceit surrounding Hillsdale’s Barney Charter School Initiative and the Common Core as well as the tendency to attribute erroneous narratives to the so-called ‘Founders’ vision.’

We have come across the phrases self-governance, self-discipline, or self-regulation as the so-called new purpose of education. Arnn laid out a similar function under the title the ‘well-ordered soul”, which he viewed as an obligation of governments to create so that it “must settle into the characters of the people.” He quoted James Madison approvingly for saying that the “passions [of the public] ought to be controlled and regulated by the government.” Yikes! Arnn defined the “well-ordered soul is one in which the reason moderates and guides the passions toward good action.” We could ask who gets to decide what that ‘good action’ is, but that would require parents who grasp that math, science, and classical literature are actually not about the transmission of knowledge anymore and they might dispute that shift.

To get some sense of why I say the Right Pincer also wants Marxian Makers of History to transform the world that currently exists let me quote from Arnn in his Conclusion as it may be the single best example of what a dialectical view of history actually reads like. Moreover, this vision never had to be translated from German unlike Uncle Karl’s.

“History, then, is a story of circumstances playing on human beings. Human beings are shaped by these circumstances, and also they shape the circumstances back. We discover this through modern philosophy, a branch of science. Philosophy [putting theory into practice? action research?] becomes a form of making. It supplies the hope that we can shape our world to fit our will.”

I am not sure you or I belong to the ‘we’ or ‘our’ making such decisions and then enshrining them in ‘transformative’ or ‘innovative’ education. Let’s look somewhere else I found that same Maker of History vision as in “Stop telling our story! We decide what happens next. Because it’s our story now and we are making history ourselves.” I have warned before that during the Cold War, intellectuals on both sides of the Iron Curtain were pushing Marx’s Human Development Society vision on the West. That stage when all needs could supposedly be met because capitalism’s ingenuity had produced a magic technology (identified as the computer and intercommunications technology like the Internet). That post-capitalist stage was called little ‘c’ communism by Uncle Karl.

When the book communism for kids was published by MIT Press in 2017 many of the same groups that push a false narrative surrounding the Common Core and education ridiculed the book as trying to bring back the already tried failed Communism of the USSR or Mao’s China. Since I knew that was not the real danger now and had learned to doublecheck the offered narrative I bought the book. It actually defined communism as the “society that gets rid of all the evils people suffer today in our society under capitalism.” It’s “never been tried before” says the book and what the book described actually fits with what I am reading coming out of 100 Resilient Cities, especially the recent Resilient Boston paper.

See why I am worried? And the same techniques we have encountered from the behavioral sciences that can supposedly create a Revolution of the Heart or a well-ordered soul via Tranzi OBE as I nicknamed it in my book Credentialed to Destroy are to be used to “generate desire…a form of desire capable of jamming images of a better world into every fracture of daily life, from subway rides to service jobs to global poverty. In every moment of social suffering, this desire demands a better way of life.” Use education then, visual imagery, and perhaps even virtual reality gaming, to create communist desire. The book did call for that and all the hostility to the individual in post after post is even more troubling once we recognize that this vision for communism needs “the cracking of the individual self, the end of our isolation…Would we, the collective subject of humanity, through communism, finally realize our own being by appropriating a world that actually belongs to us already, because we created it?”

The book laid out a desired goal “to collectively transform all social spheres” and to fulfill a “demand for social-that is to say, political and economic–democratization.” That is precisely what the hard to download but worth it Resilient Boston laid out. Education and working with local school districts is merely one component of this total transformational vision but it is an integral and explicit component. After all, to be resilient requires achieving racial equity per the plan and that “requires a comprehensive approach. Beyond working to change individual policies and practices, we must also transform our entire systems of thinking and acting…” See why MIT Press translated and published that bini adamczak book?

Nobody is mentioning Uncle Karl and resilience sounds so much better than the ‘c’ word, but the function and, quite frankly, the goals are the same. The goals of course require a political reorganization of society so that “Racial equity means ‘closing the gaps’ so that race does not predict one’s success, while also improving outcomes for all. Equity is distinct from equality in that it aspires to achieve fair outcomes and considers history and implicit bias, rather than simply providing ‘equal opportunity’ for everyone. Racial equity is not just the absence of overt racial discrimination; it is also the presence of deliberate policies and practices that provide everyone with the support they need to improve the quality of their lives.”

That really is what Uncle Karl called his communist Human Development Society vision and we have to be able to recognize what we were never supposed to even hear about in time. The Rockefeller Foundation in its 100 anniversary publication wrote about its social engineering aspirations since its founding and desires to steer humanity in new directions and we really ought to take them at their word. Anyone interested in the organized deceit around Climate Change should appreciate that it provides a rationale for the desired political control and reorganization of all those “social spheres of society”. An obligation for racial equity does the same.

Here’s the definition of a Resilient City and notice how the definition of stresses pulls in the desired Marxian desire to meet needs that the FBOs we encountered have also declared to be part of their religious vision and the Williamsburg Charter. Bolding in original.

“the adoption and incorporation of a new view of resilience that includes not just shocks–such as floods, nor-easters, and other acute events–but also stresses that weaken the fabric of a city on a day-to-day or cyclical basis, such as economic hardship or social inequality.

By addressing both shocks and stresses in a holistic manner, a city becomes more able to respond to adverse events and is better able to deliver basic functions in both good and bad times…We must acknowledge our history, heal our collective trauma, and advance racial equity, social justice, and social cohesion if we are to move forward as a truly resilient city. Building resilience starts with identifying our most important problems first and figuring out the best ways to tackle them together.”

Now think of that resilience vision being implemented by laws we are unaware of and education that we are being deliberately misled about. Think about the implications of a generation of schoolchildren and certain voters being told that the following quote is what Martin Luther King stood for. We all commemorate a holiday for him after all.

“Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.”

Anyone else interpreting that quote from Resilient Boston to be fostering the needed “communist desire” instilled via education and new practices of citizenship at the internalized level of habit in a well-ordered soul? A suitably yoked soul for a resilient and transformed 21st century society?

 

Revolution of the Heart–Right Actions, Good Thoughts, and Correct Intentions

I wish I could tell you I made up that title because it sounded alarming and I wanted attention. No such luck, unfortunately. I followed the trail of deceit surrounding the Common Core, competency-based education, and School Choice to a 1990 book by Neil Flinders called Teach the Children: An Agency Approach and started quoting. I remain a curious and pondering Individual even if that concept is now to be openly ridiculed and rejected. Notice that it will not be that much discredited Individual (which the Orwellian term ‘School Choice’ wishes to reengineer noetically) that gets to decide what is Right, Good, or Correct. No, we are in the era now of Brain-based learning and as the Institute for American Values’ Hardwired to Connect: The New Scientific Case for Authoritative Communities put it, we need a new kind of education and a new model of human development to fit with the italicized fact that “Social context can alter genetic expression and impact neurocircuitry itself.”

Nothing like neural rewiring to implement a desired new “bio-psycho-social-cultural model of child development” grounded on the fundamental premise that morality is about “love of neighbor.” The sought “authoritative community” trumps the historical set of values that built up the West’s prosperity and advanced levels of technology known as “individualism.” Community will now define “what’s virtuous” which is probably why I can track that IAV document to the NIH funded Science of Virtues guiding K-12 education and a new communitarian definition of Liberty that I covered last March in this post. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/locating-the-internalized-information-guiding-human-behavior-so-it-can-be-controlled-and-transformed/

Little did I know that just barely a year later, we would link that to a declaration that “an authoritative community stands for certain principles [ideas, concepts, Enduring Understandings!] and, in its treatment of children, seeks to shape and launch a certain kind of person. Put a bit more formally, an authoritative community clearly embodies a substantive conception of the good and includes effective communal support for ethical behavior.” We will get back to that confessional report and its IAV 1997 predecessor A Call to Civil Society in a minute after we cover the how. Through euphemisms like Growth, Student Achievement, Social and Emotional Learning, or federally required Higher Order Thinking Skills  that mask an Education that puts the heart in charge of how the brain thinks.

Agency education then (which based on what I know from writing Credentialed to Destroy acts like what that book laid out as Tranzi OBE and competency-based education) states that “what people think, how they feel, and the way they act in relationship to themselves and others is more central to education than what methods, techniques, or organizational strategies are supplied.” Under any of these names, I can recognize its tenets and it is tied to this call for radical “Authoritative Communities”. It is, according to that book’s dedication, the kind of education needed for “those individuals who will occupy the twenty-first century.

Flinders stated that his book was for those seeking to use education “for establishing moral and intellectual rather than economic order.” Much like these other two reports though, Flinders did tie his education vision to the “unequal distribution of wealth” and that “current economic orders are driven by greed, power, and pride” with “some people…sensitive to the divine alternative to these faulty economic orders.” It’s not that I see Uncle Karl behind every tree or new vision of education. I simply recognize both his handiwork and the updated Marxist Humanism vision launched on the rich and technologically advanced West in the early 60s when I run across it. It is everywhere present in the language of these reports and books, even though there is no alarming use of the M word.

Just its themes so let’s get back to quoting so we can also see that this Third Way to be grounded in community, new values, neurocircuitry, and false narratives like the 2011 Closing the Door on Innovation is tied to what I usually simply shorthand as the MH vision, instead of always writing out Marxist Humanism. It does explain that new definition of Liberty noted above as well as why the Hoover Institution seemed to like A Call to Civil Society when it came out. http://www.hoover.org/research/civic-renewal-vs-moral-renewal In case anyone is hoping I am being overly alarmed when told that “we Americans understand freedom, our primary civic end, as an ethical condition–not simply as immunity from restraint,” I personally want a buzzer I can sound every time we track new visions of education or “civic obligations” to such redefinitions of historical terms.

If I am told that “our core imperative is democratic renewal through civic engagement” and that “effective civic engagement…depends on a larger set of shared ideas about human virtue and the common good,” do we as parents and taxpayers have a right to a head’s up to such a fundamental shift before this new vision is simply instilled as Habits of Mind in student-centered, personalized education? Where’s the actual Choice in School Choice if all the available educational choices are quietly committed, under a myriad of differing terms, to neurally instilling these selected virtues and ideas that will guide Right Actions, Good Thoughts, and Correct Intentions grounded in a New Golden Rule as Hardwired to Connect put it.

Flinders is not the only one tying this vision of education to concern over economic inequality. Also remember that the same Bradley Foundation that supports Harvard’s PEPG and its Education Next visions proudly funds the IAV behind both reports I am quoting from. In 2016, my research showed that the same Hewlett Foundation behind Deeper Learning and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund were too. Those philanthropries make strange bedfellows unless I am right that the Right and Left Pincers behind School Choice are headed in the same direction and that direction is the stealth enactment of the MH vision. Education and the law, two of my personal specialties, are primary tools. Here is A Call to Civil Society again:

“The economy exists to support human flourishing. It is not an end in itself…the weakening of civil society, including its moral foundations, is closely connected to the persistence and spread of economic inequality.” Does anyone doubt that IAV would be quoting Thomas Picketty if this report were reissued now? At least Picketty is honest about his agenda. What happens to us all when students are simply taught to feel and act on “our belief that we are one people, with obligations to one another”? If you are lucky enough to have escaped reading reading Uncle Karl and the MH template expressed without any mention of him, here is the IAV 1998 expression of it:

“…the basic subject of society is the human person, and the basic purpose of government–and all other institutions–is to help foster the conditions for human flourishing. In turn, the essential conditions for human flourishing are the elements of what we are calling democratic civil society, anchored in moral truth.” That moral truth is apparently that we have obligations to all others to meet their needs and that it is only in community “can we approach authentic self-realization.”

No wonder I kept stumbling over mandated communitarian concepts and practices as I tracked the actual requisite Common Core implementation in schools and classrooms. If think tanks and universities are going to push a vision of education that deliberately overrides the beliefs common to “most Americans today–[that] we humans, at least in the US, are autonomous units of desires, rights, and legitimate values of our own choosings. We are self-originating sources of valid claims, essentially unencumbered, self-owning, and auto-telological” they need to be open about it. Otherwise we have deceit to parents about what the Common Core is really about and how the various remedies they are being sold actually tie directly to this agenda I am describing in this post.

We are due more than a dismissal like “we view this understanding of the human person as fundamentally flawed” in a document most of us have never heard of. If this masked vision of education  reforms and its true purpose is tied to adopting “a new ‘civil society model’ for evaluating public policies and solving social problems,” aren’t we entitled to be told of the linkage? If we are told that the “new model is essentially ecological. It strives to view social environments the way ecologists view natural environments,” shouldn’t we know that so we can recognize the implications of adopting what Urie Bronfenbrenner called his Ecological Systems Theory? That his colleague, Soviet psychologist Leontiev said would be the Great Experiment on the West?

I guess we cannot react to what we are unaware of and thus spoil this great Third Way experiment http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/imitating-the-ussr-in-striving-to-discover-how-the-child-can-become-what-he-not-yet-is/ . I wish these ideas and practices had no ancestry, much less one I stumbled across years ago. The old model of civil society in the US was supposedly “a stool with two legs: government and economics. The new model adds the missing third leg: social institutions and values.” Schools being the most useful and common of those needed new social institutions, which will come in handy since the “new model seeks directly to protect and nourish social capital.” Our kids, their ‘social capital’ in other words, since in the “new model society consists of individual members who are encultured by institutions and obligated to the common good.”

Now that quote seems like a good stopping point before we discuss the implications of binding us all to a New Golden Rule we are largely unaware of.

If our children are taught, at an emotional level, to be a good 21st Century Comrade and act accordingly, do we parents and taxpayers have a right to know? Are we simply left to follow the tales grounded in deceit until we notice all the open and connected coordination as this post just begins to lay out?

I really wish this post came with a big sheet of paper and magic markers so we could simply draw all those connections. Some things really are more easily explained visually than in print. Nevertheless, all these quotes are quite clear on the essence of the desired shifts.

More next time.

Neural Enslavement to Instill Desired Virtues for Social Change: Deceitpalooza

Silly me. I got the bright idea of distracting myself and decided to just read some history. I picked Ian Mortimer’s millennium, which turned out to have been published on November 8, 2016. It hoped that a woman would be the most significant agent of change in the 21st Century. Not yet, but after making my way through the centuries, I get to the conclusion only to discover I was not getting a break from the familiar refrain after all. Mortimer wanted to “focus our attention on the forces that are likely to act upon our nature in the future.” The fantastic wealth and levels of technology the world now enjoys were accomplished via the “breaking of boundaries…Many of these boundary crossings can be characterized in terms of the “go West, young man’ paradigm…This paradigm underpinned scientific discoveries, world exploration and economic growth. But with the recognition of the approaching exhaustion of our fossil resources on Earth, this boundary-breaking mentality is out of date.”

Long time readers will recognize this hostility to what I nicknamed the Axemaker Mind and the hope of ecologist Paul Ehrlich for Newmindedness. Part of what we will do in this post is tie this hostility and desire for a new kind of mind to what is being pushed as Classical Education as in this piece touted last week. http://www.theimaginativeconservative.org/2016/11/individualism-root-error-modernity-george-stanciu.html  It is also tied to much of the organized deceit surrounding the Common Core as so many think tank employees and their mysteriously connected colleagues “against the Common Core” turn out to be tied to instilling a common core of moral virtue using education to create a neurally-grounded, ‘well-ordered soul.’

That well-ordered soul instilled within the student in turn is designed to know and choose based on instilled habits that are consistent with the UNESCO Ethics Framework from the last post, the Positive Education template, DeVos’ moral mandate, Amitai Etzioni’s Communitarian New Golden Rule, and finally Karl Marx’s vision for his Human Development Society. Since Mortimer put it, like Uncle Karl, in terms of the existing base of wealth and technology that had been reached, let’s go back to the quote above to see why “Hey, Hey, Ho. Ho. The Existing Mentality just has to Go.” Bad pun I know.

“The challenge now is not one of expansion but self-containment: a series of problems with which the all-conquering male is ill-equipped to deal. We, Homo sapiens, have never before had to face the problem of our own instincts threatening our continued existence; they have always been for our benefit, the survival of our genes. The frontiers we face now lie not on the horizon–or even in space–but inside our own minds.”

Now let’s jump to how the 1995 book Seedbed of Virtues defined the “Classical Conception of Virtue.” Please pay attention because this definition and book are closely related to both the new Catholic Curriculum Framework, School Choice, and why the American Principles Project/Pioneer report from last fall that laid the narrative for those frameworks (by misrepresenting the nature of Competency-based Education and Transformational Outcomes Based Education) may have done that. This is a little long, but absent the references to Aristotle and substituting Character or Whole Child for Virtue, think of it as what all 21st century education must be doing.  I will boldface the why so we can tie it to Mortimer and Uncle Karl and snark in brackets for current relevance.

“The classical conception of the relation between virtue and politics was spelled out by Aristotle. Individual virtue (or excellence–the Greek arete will bear both meanings) is knowable through everyday experience [Project-based or service learning?], definable through philosophic inquiry [Higher Order Thinking Skills?], and is always and everywhere the same [Truth. Beauty. Good?]. For Aristotle, the virtues are not just Greek, but rather human, virtues. Political life must be seen as in large measure a means to the attainment of virtue, understood as an end in itself. Once the threshold conditions of physical and material security are met, the political community should structure its institutions and policies to promote virtue in its citizens [remember the NIH and Templeton-funded Science of Virtues at U-Chicago?), and its worth as a community depends on the extent to which it achieves that goal.”

To make a long story short, that book was cited in connection with UNESCO’s Ethical Framework and I recognized the name Mary Ann Glendon (Harvard law prof) from both the Catholic Frameworks that wanted to specify Knowledge, Skills, and Dispositions that students are to have internalized, as well as being a communitarian associate of Amitai Etzioni. If the book sought to elevate the “collectivity over the individual” and duties over individual rights, it would explain so much of what I have found over the years being imposed though education via an affirmative view of the law. As I am prone to do when I find a vision that is both alarming and clearly connected to what we are seeing imposed on classrooms, I looked up the book’s publisher,  the Institute for American Values (IAV).

Remember how the Ethical Framework recognized the need to control and create new values and categories and principles to guide thought if the sought social and economic changes to meet all human needs via Universal Ethics were to be imposed? IAV turned out to have a Sean Fieler as its Chairman. I recognized that name as he is also the Chair of the American  Principles Project. What are the odds? Then I discovered the ubiquitous Bradley Foundation, THE major funder of School Choice and so much else, delightedly recognizing its support of IAV. I have written about what School Choice actually does and it fits with how Tranzi OBE and Competency-based education actually work. Here’s the stated aim from Seedbed of Virtues that would certainly explain both the support of School Choice and all this documentable deceit.

“need to reshape institutions [like schools, universities, and churches] for the sake of revitalizing civil society…the path to better rather than worse judgments–must ultimately be sought, not in the seedbed, but in the seed: the human person…to control his knowing and his choosing.”

Isn’t that what Ian Mortimer called for in that recently published, much hyped book? Interestingly, last week, many of the think tanks pushing either School Choice or Classical Education or both, touted the release of the Classical Learning Test, to be a successor to the ACT or SAT. Its release celebrated that “instead of individualism, we stress community…rather than merely becoming a number, we want to see students use standardized tests as yet another opportunity to mature in wisdom, virtue, and academic competency.” Boy, that aim certainly sounds like the goal is to instill the internalized rudder of desired personality traits and supplied Knowledge to be acted on as a matter of habit.

An article accompanying the release of the CLT–“Happiness and the Moral Dimension of Education” leaves no doubt that the CLT seeks to evaluate the extent to which a student’s “body, emotions, desires, will, and a mind…are in harmony, working together for the true good of the whole person and his community.”

In 1998, IAV released “A Call to Civil Society: Why Democracy Needs Moral Truths” that saw the historic Western civilization “understanding of the human person as fundamentally flawed…Our capacity for reasonable choosing and loving is what allows us to participate in a shared moral life, an order common to us all..”

In the next post we will look at that document and its implications, including where School Choice and all education reforms are really taking us. We will also cover IAV’s 2003 publication Hardwired to Connect: The New Scientific Case for Authoritative Communities since it gives plenty of reasons for the deceit surrounding the Common Core and education reforms generally.

Hard to force what Uncle Karl called communism and others have called Marxist Humanism or Systems Thinking once enough people grasp the presence of its clear tenets. Much better to do what IAV did in that 1998 report, call for a ‘new society model’, where “society consists of individual members who are encultured by institutions and obligated to the common good.”

Gramsci was not the only Transformational Collectivist seeking to March through the Institutions. He was simply more upfront about it.

 

Anchored to the Human Psyche to Engineer the Invisible Coup: the Narratives Converge

The previous two posts illustrated real-time proclamations from just the last few weeks that fit with what we are going to cover today–the quietly imposed Common Framework for the Ethics of the 21st Century issued by UNESCO in September 1999. It grew out of Universal Ethics Project begun in 1997, imposed invisibly by education, P-12 and higher ed, under obscuring terms like learning, outcomes, standards, and competencies. The Framework was referenced in a footnote I came across while trying to chase down the common education agenda being pushed by the admitted Left Pincers (in this case communitarian prof Amitai Etzioni) and American Principles Project founder, Robert George, as a representative of the School Choice pushing, but headed in the same actual direction, Right Pincers.

Before I could write up the implications of that Framework, we suddenly had Ms DeVos’ statement about the moral obligations none of us may abdicate and the Positive Education practices mandate coming from the World Government Summit. Since they each seemed to assume the shift into the obligations of a Framework few of us are even aware of, I went with the “this is coming now” approach in the previous two posts. Now that the Imminence is crystal clear and not speculative, let’s take a look at what is being concealed from us. Because this is a blog, not a book, this post will be followed next by how I know for sure that this is where all the deceit surrounding the Common Core and School Choice really leads.

Those who have read Credentialed to Destroy are aware of just some of the evidence I cite on why I believe the ending of the Cold War was somewhat stage-managed to let education quietly assume the transformational reins. Let’s add to that body a Gorbachev book, The Search for a New Beginning, I did not have then telling us what Perestroika was really about. Gorbachev wanted to “join politics with morality” and create a Framework for new forms of required interaction and new forms of thinking. Instead of “artificially constructed utopian schemes” that “are not workable anywhere,” he called for:

“The recognition of the world as an integral whole [which] calls for a change in our value system, or to put it more precisely, for actualizing the initial values that are inherent in the nature of the human being as a social and spiritual entity. In one form or another, and in varying degrees, those values are reflected in the world religions and in the great humanistic doctrines.”

In a preview of what will be coming in the next post, substitute the word ‘Virtues’ for ‘values’ in that quote above and we quickly get to precisely where Classical Education is taking Privates and Charter Schools. First though let’s get back to Gorbachev’s bluntness because it explains so well the language we will cover on the need to shift away from traditional views of Individualism and rationality. (the italics are in the original text)

“The future of human society will not be defined in terms of capitalism versus socialism. It was that dichotomy that caused the division of the world community into two blocs and brought about so many catastrophic consequences. We need a paradigm that will integrate all the achievements of the human mind and human action, irrespective of which ideology or political movement can be credited with them. This paradigm can only be based on the common values that humankind has developed over the centuries.”

We will leave Gorby now and shift back to the supposed new values, ideas, and principles that people need to internalize from an early age (enter education tied to behavior and the Whole Child which is precisely what performance standards mandate) so that everyone can “flourish” in the 21st Century. Sure enough, that particular uncommon verb is ubiquitous now throughout the UNESCO Ethics Framework, the Positive Education Practices we encountered in the previous post, as well as the NIH-funded and Templeton Foundation sponsored Science of Virtues going on now at U-Chicago. What are the odds of such common, uncommon, terminology?

The cool thing about the Ethics Framework is that there is no overt, publicized command that makes people feel coerced. The Russians and Chinese noticed those edicts from on high simply did not work as well as using a reenvisioned type of education that affected “the will of individuals in every and all situations in which he or she acts.” Once that Learning becomes a Habit of Mind we have installed an invisible internalized neural rudder that allows society and an economy to be steered and guided without anyone needing to be the wiser. Students will have Moral Dialogues grounded in “philosophical value knowledge” (just like the School Choice-advocating Manhattan Institute laid out recently in an odd “Republic in the Atlantic” piece in City Journal).

The goal of education then, whether marketed as “knowledge, skills, and dispositions” in K-12 or Essential Learning Outcomes in higher ed, is actually aimed at using reading, classroom conversations, group projects, and virtual reality adaptive learning aimed at:

“developing the capacity of individuals to make right evaluations of others’ actions, of events, situations etc., and to find out, in the light of philosophical value knowledge the implications of such a will: what they should, or can, do, so that human dignity can be protected or be as little damaged as possible in the given unique situation, in which they have to act, as a whole.”

If that aim is not graphic enough that what the Universal Ethics Framework, instilled via education, seeks is a “paradigm shift in consciousness” so that we can all “apply our minds collectively and …work towards a new intellectual and spiritual renaissance,” let me use another. This quote from Paris, March 27, 1997, bemoaned that:

“whereas humanity is transiting to the global society, our minds are still mired in pre-global concepts. And it is this difference, it is this gap between the emergence of the global society and the non-emergence of a global consciousness, that is at the root of many of the problems that we see in the world today.”

If the means of closing that gap and creating the desired new thinking and ethics is new ideas and values, is it coincidental that suddenly the relief offered from the horrors of the Common Core is framed in terms of Character Education, Positive Psychology, Conceptual Understandings and Core Disciplinary Ideas as the ‘content knowledge’, and Virtues?

Does anyone else feel like the remedy offered is actually grounded in this little discussed Ethics Framework? Because apparently reenvisioning the human future is “affected and even determined by the behavior of humans acting on the basis of normative ideas and principles.” If education in the 21st Century is actually premised on the italicized “question: what values and principles may be mobilized in order to steer the forces of technological and economic change for the purposes of human survival and flourishing?”, aren’t we even entitled to know that is the foundational question behind all these imposed changes?

There’s that ubiquitous aspirational verb again. Anyone else wondering who will really flourish in this vision?

Preemptive Authoritarianism: Governed by Our Monitored and Redesigned Brains

I almost added “21st Century” to Brains in the title, but it made it too long. Please do me a favor though. Every time a politician or anyone else mentions the need to transform K-12 education because the current vision is based on an outdated factory model, or any other justifying statement, to mask what is in fact a desire to control how our minds work for political purposes, remember this post. If anyone was worried I was missing in action or had finally decided to simply shut up about the real intentions behind education reforms, no such luck. Some posts though have no business being written during the traditional period of joyful merrymaking and family gathering. With the confirmation hearings for the proposed new Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, being in two days and her repeated statements and connections tying her vision to what I am about to lay out, it is time to get going again.

Back in the late 1980s the ASCD (tied to NEA) created a framework for what would become better known as Outcomes Based Education, “standards-based reforms,” or “brain-based learning.” Turns out these terms have always been interchangeable if we cut through the deceit and go back to the creators of these theories for educational change. The intent was to link education to what was known about human neurobiology. The framework would have ‘bottom-line integrity”, which today we euphemistically call evidence-based policymaking in education, effective schools, or just research on best practices. To qualify the education practices mandated “must integrate human behavior and perception, emotions and physiology.”

Remember astronomer Carl Sagan? The ASCD quoted him to provide the reasons they wanted to “significantly reprogram and redirect old brain propensities…the potential of the neocortex is that it can find new ways to survive because it is capable of profound learning. And that, we will see, requires us to use our brains in ways that they have never been used before on a large scale.” See what I mean about waiting to write this post out of fear some of us would be tempted to try to drink the entire punch bowl of spiked eggnog? Sagan’s 1977 book The Dragons of Eden is then quoted at length. No solar systems or stars are involved here:

“As a consequence of the enormous social and technological changes of the last few centuries, the world is not working well. We do not live in traditional and static societies. But our governments, in resisting change, act as if we did. Unless we destroy ourselves utterly, the future belongs to those societies that, while not ignoring the reptialian and mammalian parts of our being, enable the characteristically human components of our nature to flourish: to those societies that encourage diversity rather than conformity; to those societies willing to invest resources in a variety of social, political, economic and cultural experiments, and prepared to sacrifice short-term advantage for long-term benefit [whose?]; to those societies that treat new ideas as delicate, fragile and immensely valuable pathways to the future.”

It’s about redesigning existing institutions and systems via changes in how the student’s mind works and what motivates him or her to act. No wonder there has been so much deceit around education reform and a desire to pilfer from my book Credentialed to Destroy, while also repressing its central insights. Let’s go over the Atlantic to see what the UK meant by “high standards” and “raising standards” in the early 90s. Instead of using the graphic term “brain-based” changes to the neocortex, we get regular references to altering how the “central cognitive processor”  or the “central processing mechanism of the mind” works. No mention that this physical target belongs to someone’s children.

“We would rather aim for an even higher road, the unconscious development of a central cognitive processor that would produce far-transfer effects by a mechanism invisible to the learner (perhaps we should say ‘developer’) and thus far more powerful and generalisable than anything restricted to conscious processing.” Monitoring and manipulating the operation of the human mind via K-12 education at a level invisible to the learner sounds rather authoritarian to me, but we cannot rebel against what we are unaware of, can we? In November 2016, the publication Neuron published the article “Neuroethics in the Age of Brain Projects” that was, unfortunately, quite upfront that the BRAIN Initiative (now funded for ten more years by legislation passed by Congress in December supposedly about opioid addiction) and learning standards generally “have the potential to affect the essence of who we are as humans.”

Apparently though we no longer have a say in that fundamental arena of what it means to be human. That article mentioned that one of the funded research grants had gone to a Professor Nikolas Rose. A little research uncovered a 2013 book of his published by Princeton called Neuro: The New Brain Sciences and the Management of the Mind. My copy showed up just in time to be read while I ate my good luck black-eyed peas, which I knew would be especially needed this year with the book’s ubiquitous references to “governing through the brain.” The planned and taxpayer-financed “conversations between the social sciences [like education] and the neurosciences may, in short, enable us to begin to construct a very different idea of the human person, human societies, and human freedom” ought to be something discussed openly with taxpayers and parents.

I am not sure who ‘us’ is, but giving Congress, a state legislature, or even a school principal such transformative power to transform the human mind and how it works on a biological basis is not a hallmark of a genuinely free society. Especially when the vision is brought to us by professors who are looking for “the basis of a radical, and perhaps even progressive, way of moving beyond illusory notions of human beings as individualized, discrete, autonomous, coherent subjects who are, or should be, ‘free to choose.'”

“Acting on our brains,” “this new topography of the human being,” and the touted “passage of neuroscience from the seclusion of the laboratory to the unruly everyday world, and the new styles of thought concerning the intelligible, visible, mutable, and tractable brain that characterize the new brain sciences are beginning to reshape the ways in which human beings, at least in advanced liberal societies, are governed by others” should all be front and center for discussion in a free society. Instead, we get the deceit surrounding the real purpose of School Choice and misrepresentations on what competency-based education is really intended to modify and change.

Back in December, Jeb Bush had the Director of the Mind, Brain, and Education (MBE) Program at Harvard as one of the keynote speakers at his annual summit, sponsored by his foundation (that Mrs DeVos was on the Board of prior to her nomination). I happen to have a copy of an MBE philosophical paper downloaded from Harvard’s website on the morality of the MBE methods and theories. It calls for public debates on the “ethical limits that should be placed on use of biological and psychological technologies in education” and the “kinds of communities and individuals that ought to be fostered.” That Bush foundation states that competency-based education, School Choice, and educational technology are its priorities. Which of these does MBE relate to then or is it all of them is a fair question to ask a Board member at the time the invitation to speak went out.

That cannot happen though because of all the organized misrepresentations that have surrounded learning standards like the Common Core, what its true purposes and history are, or what practices get hidden behind titles like School Choice, high-quality assessments, charters, or classical education. We went back in time and overseas precisely because I wanted to show that this shrouded neurobiological bullseye that the law and ‘public policy’ seeks to invisibly impose is both global and longstanding.

Everything is now in place, except a genuine public recognition of just how much we have all been lied to about what is really intended for our children in the name of education. In the Foreword to the GEM 2016 Report released in early September, the head of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, stated:

“Lastly, we must fundamentally change the way we think about education and its role in human wellbeing and global development. Now, more than ever, education has a responsibility to foster the right type of skills, attitudes and behavior that will lead to sustainable and inclusive growth.” That openly declared repurposing of education cannot be discussed when a false narrative pretends that School Choice and competency-based education does not have the precise same aim. Did you know that the term Neuroethics does not necessarily mean the ethics of using a transformational vision of education to redesign how the mind work and then lock it in biologically? It actually also means how to use Neuroscience and brain-based to impose an internalized ethical vision that puts the so-called common good and responsibility for others above individual choices.

Isn’t that something that should at least be discussed if we are still in fact a free society? Is the vision of the future that Marx called the Human Development Society really something that deceitfully imposed educational changes and legislation and regulation can impose as long as the enacters are “duly elected” or appointed?

Is my term “Preemptive Authoritarianism” just a pithy way of getting attention or the biggest understatement so far in 2017?