Chocolate Cities Strangled by White Nooses: Hacking Out the Rights of the Citizen

Isn’t that the most graphic metaphor you have ever read? I would say it has nothing to do with last night’s riots in Charlotte, but since I am quoting from a 2007 biography of Martin Luther King on his sentiments about urban areas and the suburbs, I am not sure that is true. What I do know is that the post title was already written up before last night’s events because I was struck by the anger in the statement. The sentiment there reveals a huge disconnect between what most Whites have been told about what King stood for and what Blacks and other minorities believe they are entitled to and have waited for too long. The book is From Civil Rights to Human Rights and it was cited in a footnote recently as I continue to piece together precisely what the synthesis is that public policy think tanks across the spectrum are coordinating around.

If the synthesis is actually what King called a Third Way where governments at all levels “would sponsor poor people’s activism for social and economic rights guaranteed by government,” everything that is going on now begins to fall into its true role. Interesting isn’t it that it was MLK who wanted “metropolitan wide-planning in housing and economic development [that] would break down city-suburb divisions of power and privilege.” In other words what is going on now under the Obama Administration is less his overreach in many people’s minds than finally fulfilling “King’s decision to build a nationwide coalition capable of empowering all poor people and moving the nation toward democratic socialism” as the book’s author, history professor Thomas F. Jackson put it.

Fascinating biography, but the point of this post is how much of a difference powerful images created by words can make in guiding perception about a person or an issue. That’s probably why that quote is not better known. It would have upset the narrative. Here’s another quote from someone at that Oxford Conference we covered in the last post, Eldar Shafir, writing to support a new book by Cass Sunstein called The Ethics of Influence: Government in the Age of Behavioral Science.

“We typically consider ourselves rational actors, whose dignity derives from our autonomy. In fact, our behavior is easily shaped by other actors and by external factors, often outside our awareness and control. When government intervenes to influence our behaviors, often to improve our lives, we recoil. But if government remains uninvolved while other interests are free to shape our world, how autonomous are we then? Sunstein confronts our naivete with a penetrating discussion about how to balance government influence against personal dignity, manipulation against autonomy, and behavioral facts against political ideals. The book is an engrossing read.”

I’ll bet it is, but like our lost invite to Oxford in May, how many of us know this book exists or that Ivy league professors are busy creating degree holders in public policy and other areas ready to impose these visions into what now constitutes education in the 21st century or the ‘rights’ written into laws and agency edicts? Beyond being a prof at Princeton and Harvard, Shafir has been tapped to serve as the first director of the Daniel Kahneman and Anne Treisman Center for Behavioral Science and Public Policy at Princeton. It was created with an anonymous $10 million gift in 2015 by someone who particularly admired Anne Treisman’s work in psychology. I found a bio on her at The History of Neuroscience site so let’s look at a shift she noted that is very important to governments wanting to control each student’s internalized capacities.

“Ulric Neisser’s book Cognitive Psychology was about to be published in 1967, definitively marking the end of behaviorism and its taboo on concepts such as imagery, mental representations, and cognitive models. Contrary to the behaviorist idea that stimuli activate responses to produce behavior, the cognitive revolution saw stimuli as conveying information-reducing the uncertainty about possible states of the world by modifying mental representations–a major conceptual change. Attention [think of the ubiquity now of the word engagement] was central to cognitive psychology from the beginning, in part because it involved a purely mental event that changed what people perceived.” Daniel Kahneman is Ms Treisman’s husband and the winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize for Economics.

http://www.gametheory.net/news/Items/088.html   is a good link explaining why the Economics Committee decided psychology had become an important element of the discipline. Kahneman was and is a psychologist known for creating a means for calculating the way in which “irrational actions can be predicted and quantified.” Very useful, in other words, for governments wanting to control and predict just that. Predicting and quantifying that, it turns out, makes it important to know what Values people have and what Concepts and Principles frame their perception. If that sounds vaguely familiar now it’s probably because it is another way of restating what the new federal education legislation–the Every Student Succeeds Act–requires every school in every state to assess regularly using the euphemism Higher Order Thinking Skills and Understandings.

That would also probably be why Getting Smart’s Tom VanderArk on May 27, 2015 reviewed Kahneman’s book Thinking Fast and Slow: How We Process and Respond to the World. When we find a report “Words that Change Minds” on what phrases, concepts, and framing should be used to push public policy issues http://www.frameworksinstitute.org/assets/files/PDF/chroniclephilanthropy_wordsthatchangeminds_2016.pdf   that is using Kahneman’s insights. When the Common Core Social Studies C3 Framework wants students to practice with the provided ‘lenses’ in role playing classroom exercises, that’s again Kahneman’s work. When we are curious about precisely what lawyers are being trained to do in seminars that blend Law and Economics, it is important to know that the Nobel Committee thought it important to recognize psychology work that gives insights into decision-making in ambiguous situations where there is no single correct answer.

If that also sounds familiar it is what P-12 education now calls rigorous coursework and assessments. Interestingly Dr Kahneman thanked DARPA for helping fund his work and the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences, where he and Professor Treisman were fellows in 1976-77, for its role in these theories. Yes, that’s the same CASBS where all these other still guiding us templates were developed, including charters, General Systems Theory, Amitai Etzioni’s Active Society, and School Choice just to name a very few. I sometimes wonder if anyone has started selling “Behavioral Science Can Rule the World!” t-shirts yet. After all, this new Princeton Center expects “that the research conducted at the center will directly influence local, national and global public policy, identifying new approaches to address social problems and improve lives.”

Now, knowing what is really going on in K-12 education with personalized learning, virtual reality, HOTS mandates, social emotional learning standards, and authentic assessments embedded in real-world problems, let’s read about the behavioral “approach pioneered at Princeton, [where] policies are developed with a focus on what really drives people in decision making–the idiosyncratic and sometimes surprising ways in which they view their choices, perceive the social, economic and political world around them, and decide whether or not, and how, to act.” In other words, the behavioral approach the Center intends to build its public policy insights on and then recommend using the law as the means to force implementation in real world settings is precisely the same psychological arena, perception, that ESSA in the US and student-centered learning generally and globally has decided is the focus of 21st Century education.

What are the odds? Notice just how much more clearly we could recognize the aims of Martin Luther King once biographers quit filtering his quotes to prevent us from recognizing precisely where he wanted to take the US to achieve his vision of economic justice.

Time to truly appreciate the power of frames and conceptual lenses to guide future behavior and make it very predictable.

Just like no one is inviting us to these conferences where these plans are hatched, no one is asking our input into the frames to be fostered in our children as internalized mental models and cultivated via emotions. I have seen many of the lists though and the real MLK and his vision of democratic socialism would approve.

Did I mention that his biographer noted that the vision looked precisely like Marxist humanism? See that phrase is a real aspiration and not just some fetish I keep wanting to bring up. I see it because it fits even though now it has new names like Opportunity Society or Innovations in Poverty Alleviation.

Maybe the t-shirts should read “Framing: What Works to Create Sturdy Houses and Manipulable Minds.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fascinating coincidence since this paper http://frameworksinstitute.org/assets/files/PDF/UKCJ_MM_July_2016_Final.pdf that is technically about the UK has a title “New Narratives: Changing the Frame on Crime and Justice.” It goes a long way towards explaining why all these bad actions by actors deemed from underprivileged groups get overlooked and misrepresented in the prevailing ‘narrative’ of what happened. Its conclusion is that the “most effective strategy for preventing crime may well be to strengthen other social services, such as those that relate to education, housing and mental health. Building the political will to strengthen these systems is a crucial objective.”

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

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

 

Incarcerated By Their Minds: False Narratives, Compulsion Via the Law, and Believing in Unicorns

When I looked into Tim O’Reilly, whose company was touting the Haunted by Data video from the last post, he turned out to be a great admirer of a professor Alfred Korzybski. Now that was a new name on my horizon, but his point that the brain’s neural networks, coupled to available language, constrain how each of us interprets our experiences, was not new at all. It fits with Classic systems thinking as well as the reason for Whole Language reading instruction under its various names. There is a story told about Korzybski that fits right into why transformationalists want to Frame Orientation via a “Well-Organized Mind.” Here goes:

“One day, Korzybski was giving a lecture to a group of students, and he interrupted the lesson suddenly in order to retrieve a packet of biscuits, wrapped in white paper, from his briefcase. He muttered that he just had to eat something, and he asked the students on the seats in the front row if they would also like a biscuit. A few students took a biscuit. ‘Nice biscuit, don’t you think,’ said Korzybski, while he took a second one. The students were chewing vigorously. Then he tore the white paper from the biscuits, in order to reveal the original packaging. On it was a big picture of a dog’s head and the words ‘Dog Cookies.’ The students looked at the package, and were shocked. Two of them wanted to vomit, put their hands in front of their mouths, and ran out of the lecture hall to the toilet. ‘You see,’ Korzybski remarked, ‘I have just demonstrated that people don’t just eat food, but also words, and that the taste of the former is often outdone by the taste of the latter.'”

False narratives can make Dog Biscuits seem palatable and turn actual healthy practices into something we avoid at all costs. Just the tool if transformational economic, social, and economic change are sought, but being open and overt would likely result in effective opposition. In 1968 the US Office of Education awarded SRI International at Stanford an Educational Policy Research Center grant to “investigate alternative future possibilities for the society and their implications for education policy.” The resulting scenarios were later written up with this 1973 quote from a Fred Polak being a lead epigraph to frame the plans:

“Awareness of ideal values is the first step in the conscious creation of images of the future and therefore the creation of culture, for a value is by definition that which guides toward a valued future…”

If that seems a bit scifi and premeditated, the actual study stated that its specific purpose was “to chart, insofar as possible, what changes in the conceptual premises underlying Western society would lead to a desirable future.” Well, that purpose certainly puts a new spin on what the acronym NAEP–National Assessment of Educational Progress–was really planning to monitor when it was created in the same time frame. Perhaps we should just start assuming that when it comes to K-12 education, in the US and globally, false narratives are the norm and have been for decades. Last Friday I was at a False Narrative Extravaganza being billed as the Fulton/Atlanta School Justice Partnership Summit “Pipelines to Pathways: The Problem, the Solutions, the Actions.”

Transformation Ready to Proceed, in other words, and it was full of influential people from lots of Atlanta police officers, Georgia Supreme Court justices, juvenile justice judges and administrators and school district officials. The ‘incarcerated by their minds’ comment was actually from the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice about needing to shift the focus from punishment to “reform, reshape, and rehabilitate those individuals [juvenile offenders] to become productive citizens.” It was a prelude to a presentation by a Georgia DoED Deputy Super and a former school psychologist, Dr. Garry McGiboney, called “Changing the Conversation About Student Discipline” to promote PBIS  and Positive School Climate [see tags for previous posts on point] as “what it takes to heal these broken kids.”

‘Broken’ because they are growing up in “unsafe environments and unstable homes.” After all “people and their environment are NOT separate things,” according to Dr McGiboney. “Behavior is a function of the person and their environment,” and to reiterate the point, McGiboney cited notorious Frankfurt School social psychologist Kurt Lewin [tag] as having created a formula for change. To make things even more interesting, False Attribution Theory then came in (by name) as Dr McGiboney complained that too many administrators looked to “understand the behavior of others by attributing causation to feelings, beliefs, intentions, and personality” instead of the “situational contexts” kids have grown up under. “Attribution of cause” affects the “doled out consequences”.

So if someone who grew up in bad circumstances misbehaves at school, their poor behavior gets excused as due to “environment.” Children who grew up in better circumstances and behave well in the classroom nevertheless need PBIS in every classroom and a Positive School Climate in every school so their values, feelings, beliefs, intentions, personality, attitudes, etc. can all be targeted and rearranged by the school. I guess if a student is not Incarcerated by their Mind when they come to school, they certainly will be by the end of a preschool and K-12 grounded in these psychological and mental health practices. Dr McGiboney actually sold this as “school climate matters to student outcomes.” Well, of course it does since SEL is now a crucial component of how ‘learning,’ Growth, and ‘student outcomes’ are measured.

The audience would not know that though and simply listening to the presentation they would believe that PBIS and Positive School Climate were nifty Georgia ideas and not federal mandates and requirements under Georgia’s NCLB federal waiver. Not to pick on Dr McGiboney, but I was down at the State DoED the day after they got that federal waiver. State officials that day did not seem too happy I knew that the School Climate Center guidelines required schools to have a social justice emphasis. What can I say? I read a lot. That is also how I know that all the hype about how PBIS and Positive School Climates will help reading achievement contradicts Georgia’s NCLB waiver. As I noted in my book, it explicitly made sure that an inability to read would no longer be a basis for holding a student back from promotion.

That’s one way to increase graduation rates, huh? Dr McGiboney closed with a truly poignant story about a potential suicide incident at a high school that was physically in terrible shape–dirty, broken windows–, in other words, a terrible physical environment. He related that the girl asked him if “he believed in unicorns” and he said yes, because he believed she needed to hear that. Years later, she reached out to him and talked about how she had pulled it together and lived a successful adult life. Her turnaround and the importance of environment then once again became the pitch for PBIS and Positive School Climate.

PBIS, Restorative Justice, Positive School Climate, and social and emotional learning generally are all targeting the personality and values. Tragic story and lots of false narratives used to sell something as a good idea that is actually another way of pushing the UNESCO vision we met in the last post without admitting that. Few in the audience understood that these measures are not in addition to an academic focus. They are actually a substitution for it as the new purpose of school and education. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3744335/pdf/nihms-493001.pdf , supported by multiple federal agencies and grants, confesses the intention to blur the distinction between student learning and mental health outcomes. All are deemed part of student success.

In 1987, then Princeton Professor and now President of the Ivy League University of Pennsylvania, Amy Gutmann, published a book–Democratic Education. It laid out a new vision for K-12 and higher education and worried about the still prevalent and “well-intentioned misperception that [teachers’] obligation is to impart knowledge, not to develop the moral character of their students.” It is my belief that all these various rationales we keep encountering on why all schools must use PBIS as a core component in each classroom and Positive School Climate practices in every school attempt to stealthily use the law as an enforcer. The required agenda is actually the UNESCO vision as well as what Gutmann laid out as the necessary right of the State “to shape the political values, attitudes, and modes of behavior of future citizens.”

Hide it under the alluring title of “Character development” as well. http://character.org/  Everyone knows too many kids now have deficits in this area. Selling this political agenda honestly would create objections. So we get all these false narratives and problems where the offered solutions are always headed in the same direction. Change the student at the level of their mind and personality. Call it conscious social reproduction and insist that it is about altering the future, just like SRI also had in mind. If the phrase Incarcerated by their Minds still seems a bit strong, how should we describe this intent: “To cultivate in children the character that feels the force of right reason is an essential purpose of education in any society.”

This is Guttmann’s vision of conscious social reproduction and its ties to education. Every child must be educated “to be capable of participating in collectively shaping their society.” She does believe in the ability of the majority to bind everyone as long as each person gets to participate in policy deliberations. Public policy directs society and the economy. People have a human right to have their needs met. In Dr. McGiboney’s vision where environment is all, there should then be no more ‘disruptive behaviors.’ Back to Gutmann, we have all schools, public and private, with an obligation to create “a set of secular beliefs, habits, and ways of thinking that support democratic deliberation …compatible with a wide variety of religious commitments.” Parents have no right to object either.

I am closing this post with the disclaimer I do not know who at that Summit was aware of the broader agenda I have covered in this post. Because the vision though fits precisely with where the UN has said we are all going by 2030, my guess is a few are aware this is all a sales pitch backward mapping from desired transformations to get to a new vision of the future. It is also Atlanta, home of the new Civil and Human Rights museum, so it is probably not a coincidence Gutmann’s vision ties so tightly to what Martin Luther King called the “Beloved Community” [tag] vision for the future.

Pipelines to Prison and School Discipline Problems in 2015 have been worsened by these previous educational reforms that had no interest in teaching reading or math properly. Now tragic bad individual behaviors are selling a vision where school and education are not really about knowledge in the traditional sense at all.

I simply want all of us to be able to recognize a Dog Biscuit, whatever it is being called, before we take that first bite.

 

 

 

 

Persuading Americans in Sufficient Numbers to See Economic and Social Rights as an Entitlement of Being Alive

I was going to call our conclusion of the Human Rights Trilogy by a different title. “Quietly Enshrining a Global Ethic of Binding Values, Irrevocable Standards, and Requisite Personal Attitudes” would have aptly communicated the intended lack of tolerated diversity of opinions in the future. If those aims, authorized and enforced by government officials and publicly-funded institutions like schools or charitable foundations, seem like fundamental infringements to us, perhaps, it is because so many of the explicit plans intended to bind all of us–irrevocably is the giddy term I regularly encounter–are not on our radar. We look at education in light of what it meant to us or it needs to be or at religion in light of our personal faith.

We have no idea that back in 1993 the Parliament of the World’s Religions, meeting in Chicago, issued  a Declaration Toward a Global Ethic that many people in authority have considered to be a binding action plan for transforming the future ever since. http://www.parliamentofreligions.org/_includes/FCKcontent/File/TowardsAGlobalEthic.pdf Transformation of Consciousness, both of individuals and society generally, was so front and center to these plans that it got an ! exclamation mark for emphasis. It also called for a “Commitment to a Culture of Solidarity and a Just Economic Order” and a “distinction must be made between necessary and limitless consumption.” Since the previous page stated:

“Young people must learn at home and at school that property, limited though it may be, carries with it an obligation, and that its uses should at the same time serve the common good. Only thus can a just economic order be built up.

If the plight of the poorest billions on the planet, particularly women and children, is to be improved, the world economy must be structured more justly. Individual good deeds, and assistance projects, indispensable though they be, are insufficient. The participation of all states and the authority of international organizations are needed to build just economic institutions.”

And we wonder why such similar education reforms, pushed via the OECD, UN entities, and various benefiting multinational corporations, are now going on all over the world. So many people are quite well aware of what we now all need to be acutely aware of. Education, like religions, once guided by leaders with the requisite transformative vision: “can provide what obviously cannot be attained by economic plans, political programs, or legal regulations alone–a change in the inner orientation, the whole mentality, the ‘hearts’ of people, and a conversion from a false path to a new orientation for life. Humankind urgently needs social and ecological reforms, but it needs spiritual renewal just as urgently.”

The emphasis we keep encountering in Radical Education Reform and the actual Common Core implementation on the Whole Child, social and emotional learning, Positive School Climate, mindfulness training, Engaging Activities for All students, are all ultimately teeing up precisely what advocates of a new Universal Consensus Global Ethic to obtain a Just Economic Order want and need targeted. And I am not being Scrooge or a Selfish Sally pointing all this out. I just think we may end up with a world that works about as well in the future as the typical US VA hospital does now if we are not careful. After all Facing History and Ourselves ended its Choosing to Participate curriculum we have looked at in this Trilogy by creating the mistaken belief that the War on Poverty in the 1960s had its available resources, and thus its chance for success, cut by the competition for funds from the Vietnam War.

The personal heartache and lost billions spent creating terrible incentives get left out of this version of history, lest accurate facts interfere with a willingness to try again. While our young people are being treated to programs long on emotions and short on a narrative grounded in what actually occurred and what the consequences were and are, the adult activists living off tax money, tuition, and grants have now decreed in earnest that “economic justice work in the United States” should now be framed in terms of human rights.  http://nulj.org/sites/default/files/files/NULJ-ESC-Dorothy-Q-Thomas.pdf “The 99% Solution: Human Rights and Economic Justice in the United States,” a recent law review article, wants to move away from “thinking about social justice in exclusively constitutional or civil rights terms” to a “worldview” that we are “all human and born equal in dignity and rights.”

One way to look at that NEA CARE Guide and the FHAO curricula we have been looking at is to prime young people for the very Global Ethic and Human Rights vision all these advocates desire. If you remember President Obama desperately sought to nominate a federal appellate judge who saw national education standards as the avenue to push just such an economic justice as a legal right vision. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/morphing-the-common-core-into-a-new-rewritten-us-constitution-by-mandating-false-beliefs/ When I first encountered FHAO I wrote that misteaching the causes of the Holocaust struck me as a most dangerous thing. These curricula designed to inspire, tug at the heart strings, or nurture grievances–whatever will prompt future actions for transformative change–are also playing in a most dangerous cultural zone.

Dr Tucker excitedly proclaims that “using human rights not only changes how we conceive of and relate to one another, it also fundamentally alters our relationship to the government. The power of rights belongs to us rather than the state.” Baloney and demerits to the Articles Editor who let that whopper through to publication. Rights that only exist via the constant intervening of government are certainly NOT independent of it. Dr Tucker also points to the Mississippi Workers’ Center as an exemplar of the human rights work she wants to envision going on everywhere. See what you think will be the end result of fostering beliefs like this in workers and minorities–“It has to be [seen as] an international human rights struggle. It is not by default that you are poor. It is not because you messed up. It is by design. You are treated this way because of the historical system of slavery and human bondage.”

Not a helpful worldview to be sponsoring. To think I once wondered why a school district math director in a meeting with suburban parents concerned about integrated math started off with such a look of abject malevolence towards the parents before a word was spoken. So much cultivated antipathy, grounded in inaccuracies, to fuel political transformation. Not just in education graduate programs but throughout the social sciences especially. Credentialed to Destroy indeed.

Following up on Dr Tucker led me to the US Human Rights Fund http://www.thesunriseinitiative.org/Resources/2.%20Larry%20Cox%20&%20Dorothy%20Q%20Thomas%20Remarks.pdf and Larry Cox explaining that the Ford Foundation “has long played a critical and invaluable role in building a global human rights movement.” If you believe such work will require a Revolution of the Mind, as Ford named a Tucker paper it underwrote, it certainly explains so much of Ford’s education and Line of Plenty economic justice grantmaking.

Speaking of Larry Cox, on November 15, 2013, the latest initiative to finally achieve that Global Ethic from 1993 as well as Martin Luther King’s Beloved Community launched. The Kairos Center for Religions, Rights and Social Justice http://kairoscenter.org/ is headed by Cox and is seen as a movement to finally fulfill the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Kairos is an ancient Greek word for a time when conditions are right for the accomplishment of a crucial action; the opportune and decisive moment; also a moment when the eternal breaks into history.

That would NOT be history as in past events, but history that deliberately misportrays past events to justify action in the present to try to alter the future. Lots of people now are using both education and religion and any other institution they can control to take those crucial actions in what they see as a decisive moment.

Economic and Social Justice as a Human Right. What if all that is left after the Mind Arson, the Personality Manipulation, the Consciousness Transformation, and the Redistribution is a right to the dust of what once made us great?

 

Echoes from the Past: Preparing the Ground for Social Engineers Requires Malleable Human Material

The rather graphic quote in the title of the last post is so useful because it was so upfront about the intention to condition students via education to act in disregard of their natural instincts. Today’s title is from the lead-in to a book chapter called “Education in the Service of Conditioning” from a 1971 book called The New Totalitarians by UK writer Roland Huntford. It is a book specifically on Sweden and how Huntford saw Sweden as embodying the vision laid out by Aldous Huxley in his classic book Brave New World. A place where politicians and bureaucrats used their power over media and education to “induce the requisite change in mentality, so that physical compulsion is superfluous.”

It has always bothered me how often education in Sweden comes up in the story of Radical Ed Reform in other countries. For example, it was where Benjamin Bloom and UNESCO chose to put the summer institutes that started in 1971 to shift countries all over the world towards outcomes-based education. When I researched the creation of the PISA assessment by the OECD in the 90s and what Competency really means as I wrote my book, I learned the OECD already regarded Sweden as being where it wanted PISA to drive other countries towards. When I tracked Paul Ehrlich’s work in education it pushed me towards the Scandinavian model and the UN’s World Happiness Report created in 2012 has the same effect. Recently there was a mention of new charter schools in NYC grounded specifically in the Swedish model. Can you say omnipresent, given what is in fact a small country?

Huntford laid out the reasons he said “of all people it is the Swedes who have come closest to the state of affairs” described by Huxley in the Foreword of his book of the “really efficient totalitarian state would be the one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude.” We are not there yet in the West, but what I have read and listened to make it quite clear we are dealing with a conscious effort to create an electoral majority of people who do feel that way so they can then bind everyone else to the declared consensus.

To appreciate why we are dealing with what is coming in the US and elsewhere via assessments and curriculum and altered instructional practices and massive amounts of intrusive data on unconscious beliefs, feelings, attitudes, and values, let’s go back to Sweden to find out what made it such a fertile ground for education and societal change research. As Huntford pointed out Sweden was the ideal place to study what it takes to make a person servile since “the Swede has never emerged from behind the veil of the group; he is conscious of himself only through some general category, as a member of a people, a clan or a party.” As we saw in the last post, when race and ethnicity and social justice become must provide ‘lenses’ to bring into a Common Core math classroom, we are being compelled to take on the perspective of the aggrieved group, and not the individual, as well.

This is how Huntford began the chapter on education. It remains dangerously pertinent to what we are dealing with today. Since we have trouble getting officials to be honest with us on their true intentions, we will need to rely on the confessions Huntford obtained so long ago. In a 2014 world where a belief in the Common Good and an obligation for the well-being of others is to be nursed via the classroom, let’s go back to a place where the collective mentality is so strong that there were no words in the Swedish language for the concept of the individual without derogatory overtones. There also were not any words for the collective that do not have positive overtones, as in glorifying it. Sweden by 1971 was a place where Swedes were raised to have a “feeling that solidarity is a cardinal virtue.” It was a place where “Swedes are afraid of owning up to an opinion against the consensus” with a widely-held nurtured belief that it is proper to “repress the individual in order to preserve the consensus.”

As the then Swedish Prime Minister (who had once been Minister of Ed), Olof Palme stated in an address to schoolchildren: “You don’t go to school to achieve anything personally, but to learn to function as members of a group.” What Huntford described here as the need of Swedish planners now seems to be the guiding desire behind the US Common Core and what is called Competency and 21st Century Skills everywhere else. Think of it as the new mantra for the wanna-be nomenklatura all over the world:

“For their intended society, the Swedish planners require a type of person that, thinking collectively, and suppressing his individuality in favour of the group, is technologically orientated, and socially well adjusted. To this end, the educational system was profoundly altered during the 1950s and 1960s. From imparting knowledge, its aim was changed to that of guiding social behaviour.” Remarkably reminiscent then of what we are seeing as the actual implementation and the focus on social and emotional learning and assessing non-cognitive factors in each student. So let’s go back to the social engineering purposes repeatedly stated by the Swedes for comparable ed reforms.

Teaching practices and textbooks (and for us now obtained via the inherent control possible with digital learning) were all tightly controlled by State officials as a “means of controlling what was put into the minds of the population–and what was kept out.” A passage that Huntford wrote about adult education “study circles” in Sweden also reflects what I am seeing as the vision behind the Fostering Communities of Learners Mandate and the so-called Discourse Classroom:

“Participants are taught that, once a decision has been made, then all further discussion is necessarily at an end and that, whatever their feelings might be, it is their duty to submit to the will of the group.”

Huntford called attention to this intention to deliberately create submissiveness as a “kind of conditioned reflex” that is then evoked whenever needed “by this phrase: The decision has been made in a democratic manner, and accepted by the majority.” One of the speakers I heard last fall describing her version of the future and the fulfillment of King’s Beloved Community at last uttered almost verbatim that same phrase. Coming here and soon, indeed. Just like the now ubiquitous phrase of “Equity and Excellence” as the new vision of K-12 education coming from all levels of governments in the US, the Swedish reforms of the 50s and 60s were sold to the public as a “device to promote egalitarian principles.”

Today’s teachers upset over the extent to which their classroom activities are so scripted can relate to the Swedish desire to deliver instruction “in the form of discussions so guided that the pupils felt that they had themselves arrived at the conclusions.” This method ensures that “conviction was deep” within each student and is frighteningly reminiscent of the Common Core’s steady drumbeat of the now required “deeper learning.”

A university prof wrote an editorial admiring the Swedish ed system in a Stockholm paper where he pointed out precisely what we are seeing with the insistence on “authentic tasks” and relevance of curricula to real world problems. He wrote that in Sweden “we’ve got to concentrate on society today” and relate everything taught to “reality.” He noted the need for schools to produce “people predisposed to change. If they were not, they would be unhappy.” Building up on that same theme of avoiding unhappiness, the prof declared it was “useless to build up individuality, because unless people learned to adapt themselves to society, they would be unhappy.”

Reading such plans via education on malleable minds compelled to attend for years of the most impressionable time in their lives makes me unhappy. So does the intention I am also reading regularly of our now aping the Swedes by constantly pointing “out the necessity of togetherness as the only tenable way of life.”  I could go on providing quotes of comparable intentions and the use of agitprop in both ed and the media so that “slogans fall on fertile ground” and people become primed to vote reliably as desired by the current political class.

Instead I will end with a warning that is pertinent to the current reworking of the nature of educational and social science research generally in the US, using students as guinea pigs in real time. Theory in practice in schools near you, including private and parochial ones.  Education in Sweden then like education virtually everywhere now is being reformed with the goal as “not the advancement of knowledge, but the manipulation of society is the highest of aims.”

Therefore we need to remember what Huntford wrote so long ago and why he named his book as he did.

Because when “government and [political] party say that education is to be used to change society, it is no idle chatter.”

Now if we can only widen the circle of those listening in time.

Facing the Implications of Education that Rejects Reality and Truth as Political Impediments

As we continue to ponder the reality that education has embarked globally on an enormous social experiment designed to change what students believe, value, and care about, without regard to likely consequences or the world as it actually exists, two more publications came my way this week. Each really hammered hard that it is change in personal development and a hoped for transformation in political, social, and economic institutions that is the point of education reform.

Misportraying reality is just an acceptable means to political goals. This can be quite hard for us to read or even contemplate. I always feel like the English fighting what they saw as overreach by the Stuart kings or how the American colonists saw King George and Parliament’s actions. I am not asserting a desire to finally be free. Will future students and the adults they will become though ever have that same sense that “service before self” is not a good slogan to live life by? Will they grasp that schools and universities forcing acceptance of such a belief are dramatically changing what it will now mean to be educated?

The first paper came from the National Education Policy Center and it touted the ability of the Common Core framework to promote a “race-conscious and progressive agenda” focused on equity. http://nepc.colorado.edu/publication/seeing-past-the-colorblind-myth Yep, we can only wish I was exaggerating a smidgen, but no–“We see the Common Core as a powerful opportunity to build diversity into instruction and encourage powerful dialogue.” Not the least bit of interest in looking at the created dysfunction in urban schools from earlier piloting of Vygotsky’s sociocultural psychology in those classrooms or the deliberate destruction of Inner Cities by political machines. Those would not be politically useful facts on our way to forcing enactment of King’s Beloved Community vision to properly commemorate the man.

The 2nd paper dated November 2013 from the Asia Society and the Rand Corporation once again confirmed that the word Competencies is the global euphemism obscuring the actual developmental focus of these required shifts in education. Common Core is merely the means to get the US on board and to eliminate tests that focus on content and facts. In the 21st century content can be used to practice essential skills. The rest of its use though is to change what the student believes, how she behaves, when she feels compelled to act and how, and what she cares for and how she will show it. The paper “Measuring 21st Century Competencies: Guidance for Educators” gave examples of the kind of Assessments that would be used in the 21st Century. One, a Mission Skills Assessment, developed by ETS for use in private independent schools, gets incorporated into classwork to affirmatively shift student’s values and beliefs.

Another, the PISA Collaborative Problem Solving assessment intends to use a computer generated avatar to interact with the student in virtual reality simulations. In the give-and-take with the computer, it will be the actual student who will be changing as a result of the programmed interaction. The SimScientists are cited as another curriculum with embedded assessments that rely on a designed virtual reality to replace the old textbook focus on facts and proven theories. Most people though will believe what they have experienced even if the experiences were carefully created to instill influential false beliefs. In fact, by breaking the competencies into the categories of cognitive, interpersonal, and intrapersonal, that report replicated the very same explicitly proclaimed developmental focus that the Obama Administration http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/college-ready-as-a-goal-of-k-12-is-not-helpful-if-first-you-gut-the-historic-purpose-of-college/   wants to require from colleges and universities now. The one grounded in Robert Kegan’s work that the OECD is also stressing.

The report revealed that the Asia Society has joined with SCALE at Stanford to create a Graduation Performance System (GPS) Framework to look for whether a student has developed the desired values and beliefs, including empathy for others, to be deemed globally competent. Perhaps if I had not been simultaneously focusing on Vygotsky and what a developmental focus for the classroom would really mean I might not have read the report and recognized that all these assessments were designed to change the student’s values, attitudes, and beliefs and then monitor that they remained altered until adulthood. But I was and when I got to the Jaan Valsiner’s discussion of the Double Stimulation experimental method created by Vygotsky where [replace subject with student and think adaptive software on a computer while you read]:

“The experimenter sets up the situation of the task, together with other possible means that can result in a solution if the subject uses them… The structure of the task constitutes the subject’s experimental setting. The subject, put into such a situation, is expected to act constructively in devising a way to reach a solution to the problem… The original aspect of double stimulation is introduced when the emphasis of the observations becomes the child’s construction of new means that can help solve the problem and then restructure the whole task situation once invented.”

Remember how many times we have confronted the command that tasks or assessments be “untaught material” or “ambiguous situations with no fixed solution”? Valsineer went on to say expressly that this emphasis on the active role of the student who changes himself through his use of cultural tools and collaboration with others was grounded in the “dialectical philosophy (that was widely propagated in the Soviet Union in the 1920s.)” Well, at least they had a formal bloody revolution and a new flag and the Bolshevik creed to tip the average person that there was a political transformation going on at the level of the psychological characteristics of the individual. How about us?

I read that description of the experimental method and immediately recognized it fit with many of the computer scenarios I was reading about and gaming and the learning tasks funded by the Gates Foundation and especially what are being called formative assessments. A fairly simple search pulled up articles all over the world that had made that very same connection between Vygotsky’s experimental double stimulation method to change the person, and what is being planned for the classroom under the banner of the Common Core or Competencies or becoming a High Performing country on internationally benchmarked ‘tests.’

Valsineer tells us that “In cultural-historical thinking, historical implies the connection between past, present, and future.” By limiting access to what has been created by humans in the past, especially fluent use of symbol systems like reading and math that promote abstract thought, in today’s classrooms, CHAT seeks to change the nature of the future in predictable ways. It was created for a totalitarian regime. Transported to a free society like the US or Canada or Australia, this developmental focus is intended to change those cultures in collectivist directions. Remember the intentions of the creators travel with education and psychological theories even if they are left unstated in the present implementation. As we have discovered though the communitarian focus is actually stated in the real definition of career ready as well as in Character Education and Positive School Climate materials.

As I so often do when I am presented with an unpleasant but inescapable conclusion of what the actual education reforms are intended to do, I once again dug into some history. I went back to political scientist Kenneth Minogue’s 1963 book The Liberal Mind. He recognized the importance of subverting facts and the truth every time there is an aspiration to utopian thinking. Anytime we are looking at visions that “aim at nothing less than the transformation of human life,” we will find that “so ambitious a project necessarily takes a great interest in education, for like all movements, it is eager to recruit the young.” Amen to that. Minogue also foresaw that once change in the student is viewed as “a means to something else” that “outside manipulation is not far away.” Amen again and hiding as a Whole Child emphasis or in mindfulness practices tucked into definitions of physical fitness or Positive School Climate practices to supposedly combat bullying.

Truth is always such a target when transformation is the aim because “the moral character of truth-seeking is one which did not always play a prominent part in the world’s affairs, and could return to obscurity. Whenever men have, in recent history, attempted to snatch at political salvation, it is truth that has always been the first casualty, since, of all the causes of human turmoil, facts are the most obvious, and therefore the first to be suppressed. The more we dream of utopia, the less we can bear to face our imperfections.”

History also tells us that these utopian ends are never achieved and that horrible damage comes from this official instrumental focus on people as simply a means to desired  political ends. Especially when, as now, the desired ends are being duplicitously withheld as the true justification for the education reforms.

Or fraudulently sold as 21st century personalized learning that requires that tablets replace textbooks and group projects need to substitute for lectures.

Is the typical Principal or District Super these days to be an intentional social revolutionary or just an inadvertent one?

 

 

Megachange & Macroshift: Daily School Experience to Fuel a Revolution in Consciousness

Megachange is a term used to celebrate how classroom computers can “‘break down the barriers that traditionally separate the preletterate from the letterate [yes, that is the spelling. Literate is reserved now to mean the hoped for change in ways of thinking], the concrete from the abstract, the bodily from the disembodied. ” It puts the focus on the visual and how things are used. It dislodges the “privileged position of text” and allows “dynamic media” to guide perception of the world. It no longer sees ‘learning as facts and skills to be acquired.” Instead, via the data captured by adaptive software, digital learning will allow room for what was supposedly rejected by traditional, instructional oriented education, which “had no explicit concern for feelings or for personality or for development of the individual on a level that was not reducible to such specific atoms of learning.”

That discussion of megachange was from an MIT Professor, Seymour Papert, in his 1993 book Children’s Machine: Rethinking School in the Age of the Computer. Papert’s work is seen by the well-funded Edutopia site as relevant to how digital learning should be implemented under the Common Core. That means that Papert’s theories of Constructionism [seeming to update Piotr Galperin’s theories via the computer] come in as do his desire to create a new view of knowledge grounded in experience. He wants to see a shift in organizations, communities, and in our view of knowledge–from hierarchy to hetarchy. Nothing is to be treated as inherently superior and hetarchy creates a “system in which each element is equally ruled by all others.”

Of course, element is used here not as a modular component of a computer program, but as a substitute for actual people. Hetarchy is a communitarian concept where the will of the majority binds all. Democratic, but tyranny for the minority. It fits right in with a cooperative commonwealth or King’s Beloved Community concept of the future, but is definitely not grounded in our current political structures and institutions. That of course is where the Holos Consciousness comes in. Papert thanks Nicholas Negroponte by name and mentions his founding of the MIT Media Lab in the book. Why did I start with megachange in education instead of going straight into the nature of the Macroshift? Because this is how the Ervin Laszlo defined the Breakthrough Scenario to get to a Holos Consciousness in a critical mass of people:

“A new vision of self, others, and nature surfaces on the Internet, on television, and in the communication networks of enterprises, communities, and ethnic groups…Global news and entertainment media explore fresh perspectives and emerging social and cultural innovations. The public’s goals and ambitions become reoriented–toward ‘the good life’ conceived not as amassing the greatest possible amount of money and material goods but as finding meaningful personal relationships and caring for others and for nature…”

Yes, I do get how much of that is going on now, including last Friday’s announcement the US is turning over control of the Internet to the same UN-affiliated entity, ITU, that is pushing the Information Society vision so hard now (including the recent Sakhalin Declaration on IML-Information and Media Literacy). Does this part sound familiar as well? “Funds and capital are channeled from military and defense applications and the demands of an affluent minority to the needs of the people who make up the bulk of the society. Measures are implemented to safeguard the environment, create an effective system of food and resource distribution, and develop and put to work sustainable energy, transport, and agricultural technologies…More and more people enter the Internet and other communication systems  as active dialogue partners. Their communication reinforces solidarity and uncovers further areas of mutual interest.”

That’s the vision of a World shifting towards a Holos Consciousness. It follows that quote with a blurb from Gandhi that “our world has enough to provide for people’s need, but not enough to provide for their greed.” Of course we have all noticed that the people pushing this so-called planetary ethic of altruism from school district offices to the universities to charitable foundations are exceptionally well-paid from taxpayer funds or tuition or untaxed endowments or trusts. Like Al Gore’s jetting about, the point is not how the creators intend to live, but how the rest of us should. My observation in my book and this blog on where education reform always ends up sure does make more sense when we understand that “a macroshift is a transformation of civilization in which the technology [ICT in case that is not obvious] is the driver and the values and consciousness of a critical mass of people the decider.”

And how do we guide consciousness to what is desired? By altering “values, worldviews, and ethics.” People need to change “their preferences, priorities, values and beliefs,” which is of course much easier if they are convinced that the planet is in environmental crisis from human behavior and the current nature of the economy. Let’s put last week’s Climate Depot story of junior high students unable to sleep because of concern over global warming catastrophes in light of this aim. The emphasis in the 90s on what was then called outcomes based education and what is pushed as social and emotional learning, Whole Child, and soft skills now makes so much more sense with the admission it is:

“the values, beliefs, and ethics that can bring our macroshift to a humane and sustainable conclusion. These ‘soft’ factors in the life of society are the new imperatives of our time–they are even more essential to success than the traditional ‘hard’ factors of economic, political, and business engineering and reengineering.” If the duration of this same intent and targeting of consciousness over decades surprises you and seems a bit conspiratorial, the Preface to the Macroshift book actually contains a shout-out to the creators of the 1970s World Order Models Project, by name, although WOMP itself is not mentioned. Many people have told me the WOMP post is the most alarming wake-up call they have ever read on this blog.

http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/reorienting-world-order-values-via-the-intervention-of-activist-education-and-progressive-politics/ The described organic reorientation of K-12 education fits perfectly with Papert’s goals for computer learning and the recently announced global curriculum redesign project with many of the same players involved with the Macroshift to a Holos Consciousness. It also ties the transition to the goals of “socialism with a human face’ described in that post. Yes, quoting Gandhi about needs is so much better from a PR standpoint than attributing the desired planetary ethic to Marx. However, the desired slogan of “Live in a way that enables others to live as well” is unquestionably a simple restatement of Uncle Karl’s small c vision–his human development theory. It was also tied to society getting to a certain stage of technological development that would supposedly allow everyone’s needs to be met without beggaring everyone.

In ancient times all roads led to Rome. In the 21st century all education and other radical reforms of institutions and political structures seem to always wind back to that chronically unemployed 19th century moocher with a toxic vision. Which is why we keep the vision without attributing it back to the notorious name where it really started. Marx WAS right that consciousness was the essential component of getting a desired revolution in the real world. He was wrong though to believe it would be a natural by-product of social class. Holos Consciousness or insisting that learning be about concrete experiences that are relevant to real world problems are both just the latest attempts to alter consciousness in ways advantageous to anyone with hopes for radical transformation. Computers again are just a tool that lets those experiences be programmed as desired.

It is in light of these transformational goals that the push for mindful, contemplative experiences should be seen. It is how students get the announced goal of a new kind of rationality. One that, as Papert noted above, does not privilege print. It is no accident that  Macroshift uses the Greek term for the written word-Logos-to describe the kind of rationality it wants schools and the media and entertainment to squelch. It claims “Logos-inspired evolution was materialistic and conquest-and-consumption-oriented. The alternative to it is evolution centered on human development and development of human communities.”

By admission this Holos Consciousness is rooted in deep spiritual practices. It is a “collective evolution” with nothing but disdain for the individual. It is all about “adjusting our values, aspirations, and behaviors.” The latter of course is accomplished via the collection of data on students using poorly understood definitions of Competency, Student Growth, and Student Achievement.

At no time are parents ever likely to hear the phrases–Marxist Humanism, Holos Consciousness, or the planetary ethic. Yet compliance with all these visions, which are in fact euphemisms for each other, will be actively guided, measured, and cultivated.

From the reading selections to learning tasks to classroom topics and vocabulary to the nature of the open-ended problems on assessments and projects and digital curricula and online games.

Redesigning Education Globally to Humanize Personalities and Make Each of Us More Susceptible To Peer Pressure

I have kept a constant drumbeat going now that what we are dealing with in education, Preschool–higher ed, and the hoped for changes elsewhere in all social institutions and practices are related to hoped-for transformations toward government-led collectivism. That seems so shocking and painful that it is easy to dismiss. It is perfectly understandable to feel that way, but the incessant drumbeat now has cymbals joining in and we are building toward a crescendo. Time spent ignoring these planned transformations simply increases the damage they are doing and the extent of the future clean-up. We really are dealing with educators, politicians, professors, and social planners who are determined to enact “forward-looking transformative practices that are needed to enact history in the present.”

That’s what Quality Education and Redesigning Curricula are all about. It is thus hugely alarming that a video surfaced this week of the director of the MIT Media Lab Entrepreneurship Program giddily bragging about the extent of the planned transformation.  http://www.edge.org/conversation/reinventing-society-in-the-wake-of-big-data I don’t share his optimism that the acknowledged potential for evil to be the engineered result is unlikely because there is no central place for a dictator to get at individuals. Of course there is. That’s the new purpose of all these transformational practices in education that MIT is deeply immersed in. It is also the purpose of all the interest coming out of the UN in media cooperating on how it portrays, or ignores, daily events. UNESCO now uses the term Media Education as a means of advancing to what it euphemistically calls Scientific Humanism for a reason.

Alex Pentland, the talkative star of that troubling video where he says George Orwell was simply not imaginative enough of the possibilities, is also involved with the United Nations Global Pulse Initiative. GP began in 2009 and “serves as a laboratory through which the UN System and its partners are discovering how to harness the power of Big Data to meet the challenges of global development in a Post-2015 world.” http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/pdf/GP%20Backgrounder-General2013_Sept2013.pdf So again I am not theorizing about what is going on here. I just have more sources and an intensive understanding of what is involved and how it is interconnected. I have already written about that post-2015 troubling agenda and how much it looks like what Uncle Karl envisioned as the human development society.

If the phrase little c communism still strikes us as off-putting, imagine my horror at reading Pentland’s new visionary book Social Physics which openly proclaims the intention to “reinvent our current economic, government and work systems” and having “Reflections on Primitive Communism” being a cited article supporting his vision. Say What? indeed. Likewise, the Sakhalin Declaration we looked at in the last post is just an update conference to the vision of the global common future laid out at the World Summit in Geneva in 2003 for “Building the Information Society: a global challenge in the new Millenium.”

It is to be “people-centred, inclusive and development-oriented” and the place to start for realizing this “common vision” is to “focus especially on young people” and the “opportunities provided by ICTs.” Yes, that is acknowledged as mind arson in the last post, but then Pentland is pushing social learning precisely because it makes people more susceptible to peer pressure that will change future behaviors. Brave New World should perhaps be retitled as Education to Promote Bullying by Governments, Cronies & Communities: the 21st Century Great Transition, Like It or Not.

Those are some of the background facts and declared intentions undergirding all this talk of changed instructional practices and curricula and measuring assessments to look for a poorly-understood Student Growth or Achievement. Orwell may not have been imaginative enough, but he was spot on about the use of unappreciated definitions of words to obscure intentions from the general public. This quote is taken from a 2006 article in Theory & Psychology called “Embracing History Through Transforming It.” It provides the rationale for Quality Education and Deep Learning and Social Learning and all these other transformative practices we have uncovered. It is the essence of the DiaMat process being pushed in education and the article says so.

“what is placed at the center is not the child alone and not even the classroom practice existing here and now, but rather the dialectical co-authoring of development and history by each and every individual child (and teacher) with the rest of humanity (including its past and present generations), through collaborative activities that continue and simultaneously transform history. [Now we can appreciate all the group projects or the emphasis on real world, authentic problems]

In this case, the students and teachers, instead of being de-individualized by seeing them as part of humanity, are in fact empowered to a larger degree than in any other, more individualistically based visions of education because taking the dialectical view of history means the ineluctable agency and responsibility of people, including each and very individual, as actors who together create society and history itself and are created by them.”

Boy, that’s a long sentence, but the sentiment could not be more clear. It also fits perfectly with the visions described above, in recent posts, and where I am going. That’s why there is a global need for a new vision of education and why its nature is obscured with Orwellian terms like Quality Education or Excellence. Remember I said I would talk about why subject-matter and content remain important to radicals who have no use for the transmission of knowledge? Because real knowledge empowers the individual mind (explained in detail in my book) and reenforces the existing social institutions and practices? Instead, according to Professor Seth Chaiklin, “subject-matter instruction should contribute to humanization, through personality development” and teachers and curricula designers should “consider how it could be used to work for those ends.”

“Teaching should aim to develop understandings of the central topics in a problem area” according to these CHAT and Marxist theory of development theories of education being imposed on us. Those understandings then act as conceptual lenses to interpret daily experiences in ways likely to fuel a personal belief in the need to take action to transform present reality. A/k/a act on history to change its course. It’s why facts are not important, but relationships among topics are. So the emphasis in a 1st Grade Math Lesson is on “More and Less” and “Some and Few.” Words that can come to correspond to a physical reality that should be changed in a world where economic justice is to be sought. The calculator can add or multiply, but it cannot become a Change Agent of History. Hence the need to change.

One of the most common terms now used to illustrate the need for classroom changes is the oft-proclaimed need for students to be ‘engaged.’ Now I always interpreted that term as social and emotional learning through experiential activities, but Pentland’s book helpfully tells us it is more alarming as a goal. Here is his quick definition of ‘engagement’ from the book’s Glossary. “Engagement is social learning, usually within a peer group, that typically leads to the development of behavioral norms and social pressure to enforce those norms.”

See where the title comes from now? Now “social learning consists of either: (1) learning new strategies (e.g. context, action, outcome) by observation of other people’s behavior, including learning from memorable stories [which of course need not be true, only emotionally impacting]; or (2) learning new beliefs through experience or observation.”

Well, no wonder lectures, sequential worked-out illustrations of math or science problems, and textbooks generally are now deplored. No wonder the great works of literature are treated merely as a means for making a transformative point. Making beliefs the focus and wanting them to be malleable to change, plus peer pressure to follow the always excitable herd, are so much more transformative in their potential as instruments for change.

Next time we will zero in on how Soviet psychology developed the use of instruction and curricula to create a Systematic Development of Orientation Towards Future Action. From the last psychologist (died in 1988) to have regularly worked with Lev Vygotsky.

No I am not going to sign off with Same Bat Time, Same Bat Channel. That phrase would really date me wouldn’t it?

Change Perception, Change Behavior, Change Rules, Change Systems–the Real Common Core/Teacher Coercion Story

Today’s post reenforces my consistent point that what is going on in education ‘reforms’ at all levels is not about the how and what of getting as many students as possible as knowledgeable and able as possible. What most of us view as the historic role of schools. Even something as fundamental as the new teacher evaluations and measures of what constitutes student ‘achievement’ or ‘growth’ are actually bound up in the broader social, economic, and political transformation agenda. And once again the aim is not limited to the US or Canada or the UK or Australia. It truly is global in aim as this short video called ‘Purpose’ show us. http://www.purpose.com/

Now the first part of the title comes from that circle chart at the 1:21 mark that the way to achieve this comprehensive vision of global transformation is to Change Perception which causes Individual Behaviors to Change, hopefully along the preselected pathways. That in turn allows Changes in the governing Rules (either explicitly or as we saw with Harold Berman through the concept of evolving law that shifts with needs and new contexts). Finally, all of these shifts over a majority of voters results in a Change in the economic, social, and political Systems.

We could also call that chart a Graphic Organizer illustrating how to accomplish Dialectical Materialism in the real world. Now I still find that to be an off-putting phrase and just using the initials might not alert my readers to what I mean. I am also darn sure we are going to keep needing to refer to this Theory with an Infamous Past so I hereby rechristen it DiaMat for short. Why am I so sure this theory will need a nickname to allow for easy use?

Because I believe that the new teacher evaluations and professional development standards, and even the new definition of professional learning that is coming out of Kentucky, are all about getting DiaMat into everyday practice in our schools and classrooms. DiaMat in the teachers’ daily instructional practices of course allows that Obuchenie mindset to be developed in the students. Then the new alternative assessments being administered by Pearson, even in states like Texas that are not adopters of the Common Core, get to measure whether the desired changes in perception are occurring.

If we look at the inner core of that circle chart, we see Perception changes through new Story Telling, which of course is most vividly accomplished by ditching textbooks and making virtual reality Gaming and Cyberlearning the new focus of the classroom (under the motto that it keeps students engaged and thus keeps them from dropping out). Next, at the inner core under Change Behavior we find ‘Motivator,’ which is precisely what the League of Innovative Schools and the federally promoted Digital Promise hope to use technology in the classroom to determine. Under Change Rules, we find ‘Mobilizer,’ which I believe is a euphemism for the better known–‘community organizer.’ Finally, under Change Systems, we find ‘Platform Builder.’ Like Peter Senge promoting systems thinking or Mark Greenberg pushing positive psychology on schools or Angela Duckworth on Grit and Tenacity as examples in education? Or to take it up a notch, we have Harry Boyte and his concept of the cooperative commonwealth or Gar Alperowitz and his Democracy Collaborative or King’s Beloved Community as only being satisfied via economic democracy.

The point of just those few examples is that the world itself and all the individuals in it may not be interdependent, but the idea behind radical ed reform and the transformation visions that accompany it certainly are. My book and this blog are dedicated to trying to sound the alarm of these connections in time. You may not have read Imagine Living in a Socialist USA that came out about two weeks ago from HarperCollins Publishing, but I have. It is a historically and economically illiterate vision with a devastating conclusion of what a Thanksgiving 2077 could be like in the transformed US. In the middle is an essay from Bill Ayers of Weathermen and “Just another guy in the neighborhood” fame laying out the associated ed vision. Ayers calls it “Teach Freedom!” but the Common Core calls it student-centered deep learning of the desired concepts with application to real world problems. DiaMat again.

Remember how we discovered that the omnipresent around the classroom implementation dual phrase “teaching and learning” was an inexact stealth attempt to bring in the Russian psychology and political theory of obuchenie to alter the student’s perception? Well, we did not dwell on it then but it is the teacher’s perception that is also  under active attack. The students are not the only ones to be asked to Ascend from the Abstract to the Concrete based on preassigned concepts to be understood as desired and acted upon. Teachers must shift too. Think of it as forcing everyone to become a change agent or to find a new job or career.

That’s what the new classroom observations and teacher evaluations are all about according to the developers of the Common Core standards themselves, Student Achievement Partners. Well, they did not mention obuchenie or Ilyenkov’s Ascending theory but they are intimately tied to the new definition of student achievement and how to end educational inequality. You see? This is why radical schemers are so hostile to us having our own personal store of accurate facts about the past. We go beyond the assigned story and interject our own conceptual understandings based on a pertinent solid foundation. Naughty me! Seriously in November 2013 TNTP (yes it is the entity Michelle Rhee started) released an Issue Analysis Report co-developed with Student Achievement Partners called “Fixing Classroom Observations: How Common Core Will Change the Way We Look at Teaching.”

That report itself says that “the implementation of improved teacher evaluation systems in a growing number of states and school districts, and the introduction of Common Core State Standards across the country” are “inextricably linked by their shared goal: better instruction for students.” Once again so much for the talking point about Common Core NOT being about how to teach the content. It is ALL about how to teach the content and in fact greatly limits what the content may be. Common Core and TNTP together ( they are distinct only to minimize the previous public outcries that supposedly derailed outcomes based education) are all about obuchenie instruction. On the circle graph we talked about above it is a certain type of instruction that changes perception so that behavior itself changes. Then the DiaMat process that should result in transformed systems can begin in earnest.

DiaMat is why the TNTP report stresses the need to teach the “right content.” Interpolating again, I believe that means content that will shift perception in politically powerful ways so that “students are learning what they should be learning.” Learning remember has been redefined as a change in values, attitudes, beliefs, feelings, or behaviors. That redefinition then fits well within the Purpose Chart for Change. If you really believe that outcomes-based education went away instead of morphing into new names and a different PR strategy, look at page 6 of that TNTP report under “student outcomes” (the italics are in original) about “Rubrics should draw a clear distinction between the  outcomes teachers are responsible for producing in a successful lesson and the strategies that can help them achieve those outcomes.”

Because I really am trying my best to alert teachers and students and parents in time about what is really going on and where it is all designed to lead, here is one more heads up addressed especially to teachers. It also goes to my certainty that what we are dealing with is in fact obuchenie and DiaMat and that they are integrally interrelated to the actual Common Core implementation and the Competency ultimate fallback. “State Lessons for Transforming Professional Learning” http://learningforward.org/docs/default-source/commoncore/seizing-the-moment.pdf Launched in 2011 from the official CCSSI sponsors and coming from Kentucky, the remainder of the 6 pilot states are Georgia, Illinois, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Utah, and Washington. It will be going national though and it is tied to what TNTP is developing as well. It also ties into the history of what it means to be an effective teacher that I laid out in my book Credentialed to Destroy: How and Why Education Became a Weapon.

It is DiaMat that ultimately weaponizes students and teachers and administrators caught up in this tragic vision. They are being credentialed and coerced to be change agents to transform the world. Meanwhile their educations at the K-12, collegiate, and graduate levels are being systematically stripped of anything accurate that might be an obstacle to a willingness to seek transformation–first at the level of perception, then behavior, then reality itself.

While people like me who have studied history and economics and classical lit and science are jumping up and down and screaming like that silly robot in Lost in Space with his “Danger! Danger!”

This has been a week in Atlanta where the dangers perceptible to anyone paying attention were unrecognized, or disregarded, by too many education decision-makers. Expanding the authority of this sector nationally and globally so that it can ignite transformational systems change will create comparable results to what happened Tuesday.

Nowhere to Go. No Way to Get There. Except this time there will be no innate southern kindnesses to keep us and our loved ones and our resources safe.

Translating the Off-Putting Term Dialectical Materialism and Discovering the Intended Process in ALL Classrooms

And if ALL classrooms, preschool through graduate school, is not sufficiently alarming, how about in ALL students and teachers and professors and administrators? Plus with a little luck, and using active coordination of themes and cultivated beliefs between education and the media, those interested in transformative change in the 21st century hope to spread the mental and emotional contagion to parents and enough voters generally to ignite the change via the ballot box and ALL institutions.

So how does the mouthful phrase ‘dialectical materialism’ fit into this vision? That is something I have struggled with for a couple of years now. I basically got it, but not well enough to translate into a pithy analogy for mass consumption. I suspect much of that is deliberate to prevent alarms from going off recognizing its use to prompt revolutionary cultural change. I knew it was about consciousness and had been coined not by Marx or Engels, but by Joseph Dietzgen. Like them, his revolutionary intentions forced him into exile in the Anglosphere, countries much more accommodating of dissent than Germany or other parts of 19th-century Europe. Instead of London or Manchester, England though, Dietzgen relocated to the Chicago area. But what precisely merited exile by authorities wishing to retain existing political power?

The recent recovery of some lost Nelson Mandela transcripts that quoted him as saying: “to a nationalist fighting oppression, dialectical materialism is like a rifle, bomb or missile. Once I understood the logic of dialectical materialism, I embraced it without hesitation.” I read that and immediately wished someone would concisely explain that logic as I was quite sure it was still lurking in our midst, ready to mount an invisible attack against existing institutions, values, beliefs, and other cultural norms. Last week, my personal project, supposedly unrelated to the blog or book or speaking engagements, was to investigate when the law shifted to being seen as a cultural weapon. Just a matter of personal curiosity so I ordered a book I had seen mentioned, Law and Revolution: The Formation of the Western Legal Tradition. It was published in 1983 by a then Harvard Law Prof, Harold J. Berman.

I was expecting a more straightforward history than what I encountered. I certainly was not expecting to read on the first page of the Preface that “A world ends when its metaphor has died.” Well, that got my attention as nothing is more prevalent now in education ‘reforms’ than the determination to excise factual knowledge of the past or science or human nature and substitute some type of metaphorical belief, usually called a ‘lens,’ as in the new C3 Social Studies Framework or a Generative Metaphor from Donald Schon and Chris Argyris’ Action Science work.

Continuing on in the Introduction, I found a determination to jettison the reverence for the Anglo tradition of the common law, and language about the law being not “a body of rules,” but a “process.” That statement sounded eerily similar to what radical education reformers like Linda Darling-Hammond, or sponsors like CCSSO, are using to describe what the REAL Common Core implementation is about. Not transmitting a body of knowledge anymore, but cultivating desired ‘habits of mind’ and hoped for ‘dispositions’ amenable and primed to act for wholesale social change.

Perhaps because it is a book designed to change the nature of a particular institution-the nature of law, law schools, and the role of the judiciary, Berman’s book is quite graphic about using the word ‘dialectics’ to describe the process of changing values and beliefs in people so it will have an impact on how and whether they act. Those actions in turn can affect the material world and the physical environment, which in turn acts upon those who inhabit it. A dialectical process back and forth involving the material world, but it all starts in consciousness. Mental and emotional beliefs. Dialectical materialism. Change the consciousness of enough people and the world itself and the future can supposedly be changed in predictable ways.

That’s the theory of how to “transform the social and political and economic realities” and it was revolutionary enough in the 19th century to merit exile and, perhaps, prison in certain times and places in the 20th. Now a willingness to push it can get you a lucrative ed doctorate credential intended to secure a six-figure taxpayer paid salary and then pension for life. That is if you cooperate with the right people and force the right theories on unsuspecting schools and students. What a transition that is for an infamous theory!

Dialectical materialism then is the actual theory that underlay outcomes based education and what was really being sought from it. Because it is an off-putting term with a clear history and proponents calling it the equivalent of a cultural “rifle, bomb or missile,” the real name for the theory gets left out. Instead, we get language about Growth Mindsets and not Fixed and Grit, Perseverance and Tenacity to euphemize the actual dialectical mental and emotional change to arrive at the desired synthesis in a person who will act.

This vision of education as dialectical materialism to change the student’s values, beliefs, and dispositions so they will likely act as desired upon the world can be seen as recently as last Friday as Michael Barber and Pearson released a Michael Fullan authored document called A Rich Seam: How New Pedagogies Find Deep Learning. That report also helpfully ties together the actual intended Common Core implementation in the US to what is going on in Canada, Australia, South America, and Europe. A global vision of the kind of perspectives and Worldviews that education is to inculcate for the future.

Everything is designed around experiential learning and getting students ready to act in desired ways. To see the past through so-called present and future needs. It’s not just the students being primed to act in desired ways. I keep hearing reports of teachers being told to stand and chant as a necessary component of new required professional development, while I notice how the leaders of the training just happened to be active in outcomes based education in the 90s. Or a recent story of videos being shown of enthusiastic cheering at various emotional public events like sports. Then the teachers are told that they must stand and cheer exuberantly at every mention of the phrase “Common Core” during the presentation. Does it remind anyone else of Michael Barber’s work with rebellious UK teachers years ago where the mantra was “First, act, then belief comes?”

To me, it is reminiscent of another of William Henry Chamberlin’s observations from his 30s experiences of collectivism that we encountered in the previous post. He noted that “human personality, for instance, may sometimes be dwarfed and standardized under the influence of democracy. But in the totalitarian states it tends to disappear altogether; the individual is simply sunk in the collectivist mass that votes, marches, salutes, cheers with the regularity and precision of an automatic machine.” That term ‘totalitarian’ may seem a bit misplaced when talking of the US or UK or Canada or Australia, but every one of the political and economic and social philosophies Chamberlin was writing about from personal experience was grounded in dialectical materialism. It is the foundational theory behind changing values and beliefs. What varied, then and now, are the particular beliefs that can be deliberately cultivated as useful for transformative change.

It is easy then to see the belief in Catastrophic Manmade Climate Change as one of today’s useful cultivated beliefs as well as the hyping of Inequality and the push for Communitarianism (misleadingly hiding in the definition of Career Ready as well as what will constitute a Positive School Climate). The intense focus on continued racism and sexism in reading selections and classroom discussions provides the same function. Useful beliefs that will likely compel a belief to act to transform the world in predictable ways. Others are more subtle, like the regular complaints over the religion of Islam being portrayed as inherently innocuous in ways that disregard known, provable, potentially dangerous facts. Or the economic misconceptions being deliberately cultivated and then tied to revered figures like Martin Luther King as Democracy Collaborative/Good Society’s Gar Alperovitz did recently. http://sojo.net/magazine/2014/01/beyond-dreamer

We are going to talk next time about how this dialectical vision has become incorporated into the teacher evals for licensure and promotion to ensure compliance. Another dialectical process to ensure actual change in the material world.

Unfortunately all these intentions just cannot shake off the effects of unintended consequences and perverse incentives in that same material world.

The one where we all live and pay taxes to finance these millenarian visions of unrealistic, and nonconsensual, transformations.