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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To practice striving for a shared view in conversation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sculpting the Inner Eyes that Guide What Real Eyes Perceive from Daily Experiences

All the references to Global Competency or World Citizenship may have us looking for a new flag we will be expected to salute or a quiz on world capital cities, but that is not what these terms actually mean. I took on Global Competency and the CCSSO’s explicit push of it in US K-12 classrooms in Chapter 7 of my book so please look there for the initial foundation for what is coming. We are off to Finland today, not to get frequent flyer miles or to look for stunning vistas in majestic fjords, but simply because professors there have been far more graphic in what the required Human Dignity Paradigm/Justice for All inclusive classroom looks like. They have also laid out with stunning candor what it intends to do and why. It explains why US suburban high schools would be nonconsensually shifting students to ‘problem-based learning’ with an affirmative Student Code of Conduct that most parents are unlikely to even catch in time.

Before we take off though I want to lay out the known links of the same model to the US beyond the descriptions to the Folk School vision laid out in the previous post. I noticed last May that all the school principals and district administrators in the high achieving part of Metro Atlanta’s Fulton County had switched to referring to classwork under the Common Core as either being ‘STEM’ or ‘Humanities.’ Recognizing this meant a jettisoning of academic content as something to be transmitted from what STEM meant (also in book), I have been keeping an eye out for a means of explaining explicitly what the shift to a Humanities focus would specifically mean in the classroom. Professor Martha Nussbaum, so usefully loquacious as to what is really intended that we have given her a tag already, thankfully laid it out in a 1997 book called Cultivating Humanity.

Using classwork to “cultivate in ourselves a capacity for sympathetic imagination.” Such empathy in all students is necessary “in order to foster an informed and compassionate vision of the different.” This “narrative imagination is an essential preparation for moral interaction. Habits of empathy and conjecture conduce to a certain type of citizenship and a certain form of community.” A Blue Ribbon for Astuteness to each of us that picked up that this compassion towards others is the consistent core we are finding in K-12 ‘reforms’ all over the world. It is desired because it “cultivates a sympathetic responsiveness to another’s needs” that is in turn necessary for a world determined to make meeting needs the new focus of the global economy. What Karl Marx called the Human Development Model of Society and Harry Boyte now calls the cooperative commonwealth.

One more well-connected American prof willing to reveal what is being laid out in meetings we are not invited to is Wharton’s Jeremy Rifkin. Since his discussion of the “new pedagogical revolution emphasizing empathic development” is in the context of a broader 2009 social vision called The Empathic Civilization, Rifkin is also usefully forthcoming. In fact he discloses that “Collaborative education, at its core, is concerned with shifting the center of educational concern from the individual mind, to forms of relationship.” We have encountered this before  in the early days of this blog so I know even beyond the clear links to the Positive School Climate mandate that these mentions of a ‘relational self’ as the new focus are truly an insistent, very real, aim of K-12 education reform globally.

Let’s quote Jeremy one more time as he explains that the “new classroom emphasizes cooperation over competition and the sharing of minds. [Exhale, please! Some of you dear readers are now turning Blue in the Face with Outrage.] Education becomes a collaborative venture rather than an individual pursuit. The aim of all knowledge is existential: that is, to come ever closer to understanding the meaning of existence as well as our place in evolution through our shared experiences and the meanings we glean from them. Technical or vocational knowledge [like digital learning] becomes merely instrumental to the pursuit of this larger goal.”

Now we can go to Finland where we will recognize the curriculum as merely the more graphic announcements of the same classroom intent that we are supposed to be transitioning to in the US, Canada, Australia, the UK, Hong Kong, and everywhere else that ever cherished the individual. The Finns stated that the solutions to the world’s problems are to be found “in a shift in our view of how we see ourselves and our relationship to society, and its future…Whatever lies in the future, the ability to collaborate with others in the identification and resolution of problems is crucial. If humankind does not have this capacity, our fate is sealed. If it does, the skills for collective action must be nurtured and strengthened.”

Hence all the ties we are seeing between deliberative democracy and participatory citizenship and the actual K-12 required classroom implementation. I highlighted evolution above not to talk about Darwin or Apes but in the Brameld/Huxley sense of cultural evolution laid out in my book. Or as the Finns have decreed: ” the function of education is not only academic skills, but the skills needed to play a protagonist role in the evolution of society. Rather than working for socialization to the status quo, schools can create pro-active agents of social change.” Now before I shift to quoting from the actual intentions so that parents will have it as a guidebook for the future whatever happens to Professor Margaret Tuomi’s research, I want to make two more points.

First, the Finns state this is based on the Baha’i Curriculum for Global Education. Like the UN as we saw, the Finns like that the Baha’i do not merely speak of rights, as in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These guidelines also speak of obligations. Such duties to others are believed to be important to drill into each student at an unconscious level that will guide action. Secondly, please do not let all this high-minded talk of Equality and Success For All conceal the actual reality of what is being attempted here. The creator of Cultural Marxism theory in the 20s, Antonio Gramsci, did not just come up with an intention to March Through the Institutions of Power in the Individualistic West. He also developed the concept of the Integral State that all that marching was intended to create.

Civil Society would not be just an area of activity in his vision, existing independently of the State. Gramsci conceived of Civil Society, which would especially include schools and higher ed, as the terrain where the political elite’s world vision would be imposed. Troublingly the word he used translates as a required consensus. We encountered the same concept of few posts ago as the Rockefeller Theory of Communication For Social Change. The classroom would become the place where the psychological reality perceived by each student when they entered the classroom would give way to a Shared Understanding of Physical and Social Reality.

The five goals of Global Education then are [verbatim]:

1. To adopt the values necessary for the evolution of a global human society. (Ethics)

2. To acquire knowledge of mankind’s development, current state and achievements. (Knowledge).

3. To include in the world view a discernment as to how mankind has always formed ever greater social systems, and how this process has been encouraged by man’s natural urge to work in cooperation. (Understanding)

4. To see the future of mankind as bright, and to picture in one’s mind how mankind can through cooperation reach unprecedented achievements. (Vision)

5. To learn skills concerning cooperation and the management of information, and become directed towards acquiring skills necessary for the development of mankind. (Skills)

To give some idea of the sort of things the new Common Core assessments will actually be looking for, especially the formative assessments or assessments for learning, let’s look at the listed subgoals under 5. My bolding.

5.1 To learn and explore sources of knowledge logically in order to form holistic pictures and to apply the understanding thus gained to different challenges and activities; to learn to express clearly and logically one’s considered views for the development of human society.

5.2 To learn the skill of consultation in which the purpose is to promote the common good, not to advance one’s own interest; in which the aspiration is to achieve a common understanding; in which one’s view is expressed clearly and freely, but politely; and in which all participants seek to build their opinion based primarily upon knowledge and understanding.

5.3 To learn to consider those skills and capabilities that are needed for the realization of mankind’s future in practice when orienting for studies and choosing professions.

Well I must admit reading through all this that I did NOT become a lawyer to help realize mankind’s future. Interestingly enough though, having a solid base of unapproved factual knowledge and an Axemaker Mind is quite a useful tool in accurately perceiving the likely consequences of all this Manipulation and Mind Arson. That must be why the political elite and cronies are trying to discontinue these useful Mindsets all over the world right now.

Talking about it in the sunlight truly is the only antidote. Next time I will continue some quoting that will make the need for an affirmative Student Code of Conduct quite obvious.

Maybe we should nickname it the Fulton Comrade Code of Conduct Necessary for the Cooperative Vision of Our Future. Brought to us by people lying to our faces about what is really intended.

Some cooperation. No denial of self-interest by the public sector here. No wonder these coercive common good schemes always lead to kleptocracies.

Deliberate Cultural Evolution Via Developmental Psychology to Force Social Change, Or, Gypsy Supers Lobby DC

Gypsy Supers and Gypsy Principals are terms I came up with to describe how certain people regularly shift schools and districts for promotions and pay raises. Each shift pushes the new location further towards the ultimate goal of Transformational Outcomes Based Education (OBE). I am still using the 90s terminology from its creation and I explain how it still fits in now in the book (Chapter 4). Since OBE became infamous, we have new terms for these old pursuits. In particular, Competency as used in that RSA report (check Milton Rokeach tag) and “21st Century Outcomes” and “College-and-Career-Readiness Outcomes” as used in this  recent lobbying effort by suburban districts on how federal law should be rewritten.

I wonder if the taxpayers in the metro Atlanta or Greenville or Charlotte or Virginia Beach or DC areas understand what their employees are lobbying for? You see, I know what all those words mean and I know precisely what the implications of invoking the Effective Schools Research is (in the book I describe it in relation to the 1966 Coleman Report, which is how the Consortium uses it too). The “Members of Congress who have invited the Consortium to propose a new framework for our nation’s education policy” should seek retirement before angry voters exile them by ballot box.

Why turn to people with such a record of demonstrable deceit about what they are really doing to our schools, our children, and many fine teachers? Because of current high test scores in suburbs? With tests disappearing and the intentional gutting of academics there already proceeding in earnest? Did any of these people looking “forward to working collaboratively with Congress to bring about positive change in federal law” bother to explain what enshrining Developmental Psychology as a Human Enterprise as entitled to deference under federal law would mean?

Those RSA and FuturICT visions in the last post reveal hubristic social engineering nightmares. It is easy to take comfort from wrongfully assuming it cannot actually happen. Then read that Consortium Framework. Perhaps with the ISC and Credentialed to Destroy explanations of the terms used somewhere handy, but that Framework is the way in. With our money and no recourse and no real likelihood anyone being deferred to truly has any idea of the true genesis of what they are pushing. But then they do not have to. Their paychecks, courtesy of us, show up because of what they are willing to do, not what they know. In my hope springs eternal world, let’s assume that knowing would make a difference. Let’s talk some about the history and intentions of making developmental psychology the focus of schools.

Into the largely unknown history of the events in education globally that I documented in the 80s and the entire concept of cultural evolution via education that is in the book, let’s add two more conferences that affect us still. The first was a supposedly “secret meeting in Budapest of scientists from both sides of the Iron Curtain.” The sales pitch for the General Evolution Research Group is that “spurred by the mounting threat to our species of rapid nuclear proliferation and overkill, the purpose was to see if it might be possible to use the chaos theory then coming into vogue to develop a new general theory of evolution that might serve as a road map for our species out of the mounting chaos of our times to the reassuring order of a better world.”

Using education to change mindsets and personalities to try and get to a different future. Tied to GERG though are a number of the people who have been actively involved in what I call Radical Ed Reform with a developmental focus from the late 80s until now. They all have tags and multiple posts so I will just give you some idea where to look if you wish to reread those posts now. Riane Eisler (new 3 Rs and Partnership education, a UN NGO), Bela Banathy (systems view of education), Nel Noddings (now at Stanford. Now we know why she wrote preface to Eisler’s book), and Mihaly Csiksentmihalyi, whose definition of Excellence and positive psychology practices are so crucial to the professional development and to be required classroom practices of many of those Consortium districts. Yes, there are reasons beyond word meanings I am so sure.

Do you remember the post about “transforming perspectives” as the new purpose of business education globally? The UN-affiliated Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative (GRLI) recently published its Towards 2024 vision pushing a Global Forum on Business as an Agent of World Benefit. Well, that would certainly explain the Chamber of Commerce’s support for all these bad ed ideas, wouldn’t it? Again it fit the vision in FuturICT and cited a book by a Chris Laszlo with a foreword by Peter Senge and an afterword by David Cooperrider. One of the major proponents of systems over the decades as a means of global social change was Hungarian Ervin Laszlo and sure enough, Professor Chris is his son. So GERG came out of looking at Ervin’s work since he was the founder and following his son pulls in the associated GRLI Business/Flourishing Cities/Everything Planned agenda and we also have the Appreciative Inquiry Model again (Cooperrider and Kenneth Gergen, see tags).

All that is to say we have lots of different names of similar concepts from people who actually do, and have for a long time, work and coordinate together around the idea of deliberate social evolution via education and government planning. That’s what developmental psychology is intended to do by the way. Its purpose according to a 2005 book celebrating the career and vision of Sheldon White at Harvard is to be a “Science of Personal and Societal Design.” Now wouldn’t that be an ironic overreach to enshrine into federal law via the Consortium? In comes what CHAT creator Michael Cole called a “second psychology” grounded in Vygotsky’s and Luria’s Soviet research where it would be possible to pursue the “unity of individualism and collectivism in any society or person.” Yes, especially with all the data being collected.

To really understand this second or developmental psychology and the implications of it, event number two took place in November 1987 in Paris. Again we had researchers from both sides of the Iron Curtain meeting on the issue of Artificial Intelligence and basically pushing ideas that would make the potentially unpredictable human mind weaker.  I am looking at a paper from a Swedish prof, Ragnar Rommerveld, that Cole cited. It has a title that’s a mouthful. I will let you guess which approach is to be jettisoned–as bolstering the rational individual mind–and which is actually another term for the philosophy behind developmental psychology. “On human beings, computers, and representational-computational versus hermeneutic-dialogical approaches to human cognition and communication.”

Let’s lobby Congress citing the actual ancestry of the hoped-for federal framework. Let me add in one more definition–the one for cognitive science. As a “critical-emancipatory social science,” it seeks to use education to get at what it calls in quotations– a person’s “cognitively penetrable functions.”  If it’s not a changeable personal process then, it’s not the domain of cognitive science. No wonder the radicals keep referring to themselves as taking a “cognitive approach.” Examples listed as penetrable are “goals, beliefs, tacit knowledge [experiential] and so on.” In other words the area OBE targeted and what college and career-ready and ‘learning’ do now. And here comes what gets redefined as metacognitive to become part of the definition of College-ready from the Swedish prof’s paper: “though they [skills] need not be consciously performed, they can be described and identified by the agent…and in many cases actually brought to consciousness while they are being performed.”

That consciousness if needed is what allows the penetration. The change. All in all the perfect ed theory if deliberate cultural evolution is what is sought, which of course both RSA and FuturICT already acknowledged. Both need a view of education that shifts from knowledge to a theory that each student “harbors an indeterminate capacity or propensity for change.” That the new purpose of assessment is to “provide an ongoing evaluation of the qualitative and quantitative discrepancy between the child’s manifest functioning and his or her modifiability and to suggest appropriate intervention.” That gap is why data is so important to FuturICT and the Consortium Supers.

It all goes back to their declared, but publicly unacknowledged, embrace of developmental psychology to try to change society and the future in deliberate ways. Let’s end with GRLI’s open embrace of what it calls Whole Person Learning, “based in humanistic psychology” [Maslow/Rogers]. WPL is not just about business schools. The perspectives transformation goes along with the wider plans we have been discussing. When the Consortium is pushing its vision of education on Congress, this is what they are actually pushing:

“Integral to the notion of Whole Person Learning is understanding of self, of how this self relates to others and how this sits within the wider global context–how I am influenced by and can influence myself, my immediate relationships and the whole. This is reflected in GRLI’s very logo– three interlocking ellipses representing I, We and All of Us.”

Imposed invisibly as a matter of federal law. Reconciling the unity of individualism and collectivism.

Dispensing with the Presumption that Education is About Improving Individual Minds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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