Harnessing the Meaning Making Capacities of the Human Mind and then Assessing for the Tightness of the Fit

We talked about NAEP in the last post so we could begin to appreciate its real purpose as both a driver and a monitor of using education to mentally deconstruct any concept of learning as the transmission of factual knowledge. In fact, whenever we see the phrase “meaningful learning” from now on, let’s just be upfront that it means changes in a student’s mind or personality intended to reliably guide future behavior as desired. The quote at the beginning of that title comes from a 2000 book Assessing Science Understanding: A Human Constructivist View that asserted that science is no longer about a body of facts and information about how the world works transmitted from a textbook or a teacher. No, “science is best understood as a formalized and highly adaptive way of harnessing the meaning making capacities of the human mind.”

To ‘Understand’ then in math, science, history, or while reading a book is to interpret in the manner someone else has stipulated so that students will practice perceiving and behaving as desired until these behaviors become unconscious habits. Locked in at a physical level in the brain’s neural pathways. That is what is being assessed and why we keep coming back to an insistence that the ‘performances’ or ‘achievements’ be action-based. It’s why we are getting such a push for Project-based Learning. When I went through the activities in that book, they were not about learning a body of knowledge. They were training students to view the world in a certain way. Did you know back in the mid-80s as these reforms were being dreamed up there was even a term invented for what would be sought-observational competence? Is the student noticing the themes or aspects desired in a given situation and ignoring the elements we would rather not be the focus of attention?

When I called attention to the idea of that ‘proficiency’ under NAEP and state standards after the adoption of NCLB in 2002 was about Proficiency Standards for Reasoning, I found this document   http://www.mathleadership.com/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderfiles/standardsofpracticematrix.pdf assuring me that the Common Core would meet these action-based concepts of the desired proficiency. The students may not know much, but they will have been trained and primed over years to act in certain ways based on stipulated prompts. And look, there are 3 levels of achievement just like what the Every Child Achieves Act requires each state to have as its “aligned academic achievement standards” that will constitute how the ‘content standards’ will be met. Prescribed behaviors. Harness the mind and then ‘assess’ to see if the harness fits properly and guides behavior as desired. If so, herald the student as performing ‘proficiently’ or ‘competently’ and thus being College and Career Ready.

http://www.heinemann.com/fountasandpinnell/supportingMaterials/lli/AlignmentWithNAEP.pdf is not Math or ‘science’ but it is the vision for learning to read and write and then what will be the ELA activities using the Fountas & Pinnell curriculum so beloved by the Common Core (described in Chapter 7 of my book on the Learning Progression). Isn’t it good to know these prescribed literacy activities involve “very specific behaviors and understandings are written for each level and built into every individual lesson?” How very harness-like. Get each student used to the jerk of the tether while they are still young and their minds are oh-so-malleable to manipulation. That link also makes it clear that NAEP after 2000 was being used to quietly implement the performance and proficiency standards from the New Standards Project that grew out of that National Education Goals Panel we met in the last post.

No wonder the National Center for Education and the Economy reuploaded the entire NSP body of work back in December 2010. Just in time to pretend it is actually something new called the Common Core and in time for an ESEA reauthorization like ECAA. NSP’s Performance Standards simply get euphemised as ECAA’s “aligned achievement standards” that quickly gets defined away as just “challenging state academic standards” for the rest of the Act. As if we are still talking about the transmission of knowledge brought to us by the Greatest Minds Who Have Ever Lived. No, instead we get ‘sense-making’ from our prescribed activities using the supplied ideas, themes, principles, and concepts intended to function as a politically transformative mental and emotional harness.

I think it is hard for readers of this blog to fully appreciate how confining this manipulative vision of reading, math, and science will be since we all have Axemaker Minds of some type or another. Some minds may be better stocked than others with accurate facts and abilities to infer, but all of us still had some kind of a knowledge orientation to our K-12 and college experiences. That Heinemann language and the fact we are talking about 6 year olds being manipulated should give some idea of just how constraining and invisible this behavioral harness can become. ECAA though wants to push preschool for all as a basic right so we are actually going back even younger than 5 or 6. We also do not have to speculate about what the “early childhood care and education” vision that fits with this competency/proficiency approach looks like.

New Zealand–tied to the Innovation Lab Network and Competency through the GELP-Global Education Leaders Program that we have discussed on this blog (see tag) adopted Te Whariki–the National Early Childhood Curriculum in the 90s to go along with what was then called Transformational Outcomes Based Education (detailed in Chapter 4 of my book explaining Competency and its history). We know that in 1998 the US-based ERIC asked that the Te Whariki papers be submitted to its database. Te Whariki pushes a developmental approach that rejects the old “focus on the learner as an individual, and learning as furniture in the mind.” Instead, learning is the change brought about in the student as a result of “responsive and reciprocal relationships with people places and things.”

Someone obviously hates commas, but they like hyphens as they see the student as an “individual-in-action” interacting in social, cultural  and purposeful contexts. I mentioned Urie Bronfenbrenner and the Great Experiment in the last post. Te Whariki is explicitly grounded in his Ecological Systems Theory that is concisely explained here.  https://www.uncg.edu/hdf/facultystaff/Tudge/Bronfenbrenner%202005.pdf So are competency and proficiency-based concepts of learning. They all intend to create ‘dispositions’ or “habits of mind, tendencies to respond to situations in certain ways.” And if those dispositions start being baked in and turned into a harness back in early childhood programs (the quote came from the Te Whariki paper) the adolescent and then young adult voter need not even know the harness and guiding bit are there at all.

Te Whariki gives a definition of assessment that fits with where formative assessments intend to go in the US and elsewhere: “the primary purpose of assessment should be to provide information which can be used to identify strengths and guide improvement.” All that is based on what people with political power decide they want to see in the citizens of tomorrow, not what parents or the children themselves want. This harness view of education also gets marketed as a thinking curriculum and it was laid out, before the 90s controversies, in a 1991 book by Edward Fiske called Smart Schools, Smart Kids: Why Do Some Schools Work? once again financed by the Carnegie Corporation that now sponsors Competency-based Education.

I keep hearing news reports wrongly describing what are now performance assessments or other means of checking for the presence and efficacy of the mental harness as ‘standardized tests’. Fiske’s book complained that “the most damaging aspect of standardized tests, though, is their impact  on the curriculum. Since states test reading and math, this is what schools emphasize. [Horrors!! Let’s revise the NAEP.] But in doing so they focus on basic skills and factual knowledge that such tests measure and direct schools’ attention from the new agenda of teaching students to think.”  The book then quoted Lauren Resnick (who will go on to co-direct the New Standards Project and be on the Common Core validation committee. She also chaired the 1987 committee that produced the report on Higher Order Thinking Skills a/k/a Teaching Students to Think in a Way that Serves as a Harness) and her husband Daniel.

“Current tests are tuned to a curriculum of the past, one that is not suited to today’s social and economic conditions…[The Resnicks advocate transitioning all students to tests grounded in] Goals such as interpreting unfamiliar texts, constructing convincing arguments, understanding complex systems, developing approaches to problems, or negotiating problem resolutions in a group” that sounds just like the learning tasks and means for assessment being touted as part of the Common Core classroom or a competency/proficiency-based classroom. Fiske’s book also pointed out that powerful tests like the NAEP are a “high-stakes game in itself” and that “whoever controls those powerful tests will control a large measure of what is taught and learned in American schools.”

Once again, that’s why the mandate of ‘aligned achievement standards’ in ECAA that forces a behavioral or performance-based, consistent with Universal Design for Learning, approach in every school in every state matters so very much. It’s a way the federal government mandates the construction of a harness while pretending to return control to states and localities.  Specifying the hows of testing is controlling those tests and the curriculum itself. I want to close with what Linda Darling-Hammond said in Fiske’s book since she is the author of the New Paradigm being pushed for what will constitute meaningful learning. https://edpolicy.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/publications/accountability-college-and-career-readiness-developing-new-paradigm.pdf Standardized testing back when it was still fact-based and right-answer oriented was supposedly based on the “dubious assumption that there is a single right answer to any question worth asking.”

LDH viewed the old-fashioned standardized test as the “triumph of passive learning. It is testing for the TV generation. We don’t ask if students can synthesize information, solve problems, or think independently. We measure what they recognize.” So back in 1991, when she was still a professor at the Teachers College at Columbia, Hammond, like Lauren Resnick, was very involved in advocating for a thinking kind of curriculum that fits with a Harness Function.

No wonder both professors remain so involved now in guiding the actual classroom implementations both in the US and globally through the OECD.

Progressive Polyphonic Federalism Invisibly Binds People and Places to the Just Society Vision

That’s quite a title, isn’t it, but both alliterative adjectives matter. If you like doublechecking me, try one or the other with ‘federalism’ in your search. I joined them together because they actually work together and I hate synonyms designed to throw us off the real story, its depth, or its trail over decades. This will also remind us why the “state-led” description of the Common Core, as in not a federal initiative, is a Red Herring literally designed to throw off the scent so we look in the wrong places. Both WIOA and the ESEA Rewrite are grounded in both kinds of federalism and its No Child Left Behind predecessor is cited as the ultimate example of polyphonic federalism in this paper “Toward a Theory of Interactive Federalism” http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=734644 by the now Dean of Emory Law School. Notice that the 2006 date is the year after the famous (infamous?) Yale conference put on by the American Constitution Society proposing a new Constitution by 2020 that was followed up with a book in 2009.

Another one of those things that has not been on our radars, but needs to be, because it describes what is actually happening to all of us. Let’s go back in time to the mid-80s when (as my book lays out) so much is already shifting towards intentional social transformation via education. Recognizing that the goals of the ESEA Rewrite could only be met via James Comer’s (also at Yale) views of a social interaction, psychological focus of student achievement, I discovered he had written the Foreword for a 1985 book Choosing Equality: The Case for Democratic Schooling that sought to “qualitatively change the environmental context–the school culture–that conditions the learning process.” That certainly explains why every federal regulatory power since President Obama took office has been directed to achieving a Positive School Climate with a variety of rationales.

The vision of democratic schooling, then and now in the Common Core implementation and the ESEA Rewrite language, insists that “If education were structured around the social needs of children, families, communities, and a democratic society [in the Marxian, John Dewey, participatory sense laid out in the book], the priority would be to endow all children with the basic and higher-order skills [Remember the tethering from the last post] needed to fulfill personal and citizenship roles. The mission of schools would be individual and social empowerment, which itself would promote more equitable chances of survival in the labor market.” Schools, in other words, will increase student achievement for all students by focusing now on enhancing “all children’s capacities to think critically and to acquire social knowledge.”

That was from the “Building a New Agenda” ending, but before that was the “Governance and Funding: Toward Progressive Federalism” chapter. If the basic and social ‘needs’ of all people are to be met, either in the US or anywhere in the world, “new structural mechanisms that allow popular control over resources and priorities” are needed. The book proposed the remedy as the “concept of progressive federalism, expanding the social and fiscal responsibilities of government at all levels–federal, state, and local–and defining the role of each more appropriately to its function.” We can be sure that the UN’s Global CIFAL Network I wrote about on January 6 was created from an awareness of progressive federalism. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/30/us/politics/30federal.html says that President Obama’s Open Data Initiative (see tag), which we know was such a priority that it was his first action on his first day in office, was actually grounded in progressive federalism.

Progressive federalism sees “government action as the central instrument for achieving egalitarian goals and more effective practice in public education.” The book, which described the practices and policies my book and this blog have tracked to what the actual planned implementation looks like everywhere, sought to “develop the role of local and state governance, as well, to promote more comprehensive responses to educational needs and to engage all levels of government in the struggle for progressive reform.” The book complained that progressives were not appreciating the powers over people and places held at the state and local levels. It reiterated that the “concept of progressive federalism includes the necessity of multiple levels of authority, particularly state and federal regulatory functions that safeguard standards and rights.”

Choosing Equality pointed out the reasons for what is now so clearly being foisted on us: “The federal government is the only feasible agency for the redistribution of wealth on a nationwide basis, both in its tax policies and in its priorities for public spending. The federal government is also the primary agent for promoting geographic as well as individual equity.” Equity as in whatever must be done to achieve equality of results for various previously disadvantaged groups. That’s still the impetus behind the global push surrounding Excellence and Equity for All as this recent paper shows.

http://www.yrdsb.edu.on.ca/pdfs/w/innovation/quest/journals/QuestJournal_BenLevin-AvisGlaze.pdf made it quite clear that the required Equity is obtained in the manner described in the 1985 book although its lead author Ben Levin has now become too notorious to call as a Congressional or legislative witness. The co-author, Avis Glaze, wrote yesterday in an EdWeek post entitled “Achieving Excellence with Equity: A Mandate for All Schools” timed around the second day of ESEA Rewrite hearings. Student Learning tied to the tethering view of experiential education from the last post as well as the Rewrite’s Equity focus is a crucial point so many educators are lying to the public about all over the world.

This is from a 2008 UNESCO paper called “Inclusive Education–the Way of the Future.” It laid out the shifts in what is to constitute ‘learning’ to allow the push of equality in outcomes and success for all. It’s also embodied in what is “high-quality education” and Equity and what it takes to be a “high-achieving country” on the PISA assessments created by the OECD.

“So long as learning is understood as the acquisition of bodies of knowledge presented by the teacher, schools are likely to be locked into rigidly-organized curricula and teaching practices. Commonly, therefore, inclusive curricula are based on a view of learning as something that takes place when learners are actively involved in making sense of their experience. [hence the tethering metaphor in the last post] Learners, in other words, cannot simply be told. Rather, they have to discover and understand things for themselves.”

In whatever ways suit political power as governments at all levels coordinate around forcing people and places to accept. or even not notice, the progressive visions of a just society being pursued. As the book Remaking America recently concluded:

“States have the power, and often the will, to meet the needs of citizens in progressive ways…Progressive federalism seeks to harness this potential state contribution to our national democracy without retreating from civil rights and a national affirmative state…to update and give content to the metaphor as ‘laboratories for democracy’.”

Are those kinds of efforts then really ‘state-led’  It helps if we look at why Dean Schapiro chose the “Polyphonic Alternative” to describe the new conception of federalism being constructed. Both Eric Holder, the US Attorney General, and Cass Sunstein, the President’s first-term “Regulatory Czar” are involved with the American Constitution Society’s push here as is Janet Reno, Clinton’s Attorney General. Well-connected to federal regulatory power would be an understatement of epic proportions apart from the Soros funding, polyphony has the element of coinciding authority, working in harmony, a “stew” instead of the “adjoining” layered authority symbolized by a “marble cake.” Federalism that “can combine into new melodies, without losing its individual character.”

States and localities in such a mellifluous stew of Statist coordination may still retain their ‘character’. Thus preventing easy recognition of the nature of this crucial shift. They are entirely losing their function though as a barrier to governmental power over the individual as laid out in the still existing US Constitution. The progressive label was at least a tip-off that a shift in the fundamental governing philosophy had occurred, apparently to avoid the cacophony of free enterprise and individual abilities and choices. Looking through that Interactive Federalism paper, I cannot find any protection from overbearing governments at all levels committed to trying to achieve Equality of Outcomes.

As the last several posts combined have pointed out, the “brain is a sculpture carved by experience” as the OECD Neuroscience research has pointed out, and governments at all levels are now committing to sculpting the human brains of students at a neurobiological level. They are pushing the practices and policies thought to advance a society and economy grounded literally in transferring “from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.” Neither the UN or the OECD hides anymore their pursuit of what Marx called his Human Development Model of society. Neither do progressives, where ever they are. Historically, there has been a barrier–the language of the US Constitution, but not under these legal theories or conceptions of federalism.

Education, especially K-12, is the global vehicle, because as the OECD recognized with this quote from Wu Ting-Fang: “Education is like a double-edged sword. It may be turned to dangerous uses if it is not properly handled.”

Just like the law and the supposed checks and balances of federalism.

 

Rejecting Reading to Avoid the Magic Elixir Bolstering of the Independent Human Mind

We are making a pit stop in our discussion of the actual global vision of how to use K-12 education to create revolutionary transformations in our social, economic, and political systems without bothering to get consent. That’s some definition of democracy, huh? We are just going to talk today about reading and why political radicals do not want a widespread ability to read well anymore. If I was a sarcastic sort, I could have called this post “Literacy to Create Malleable Illiterates Via Stealth,” but since I do not have an ironic bone in my body I decided to refrain. Ooops, maybe not. I also want to dedicate the revelations I am about to volunteer to long-time UK Reading Instruction Advocate Mona McNee, who is now 91, ailing, and wondering why authorities there continue to reject her fine work that she has made freely available. This is for you, Mona.

I have explained repeatedly that it is individual perception of reality that K-12 education seeks to attack. Within the last week the World Bank in its 2015 Report was kind enough to admit to us that it is subjective mental models being targeted in case anyone wants to think that the aspirations I am about to lay out were limited to a particular time or place. http://www.worldbank.org/content/dam/Worldbank/Publications/WDR/WDR%202015/WDR-2015-Full-Report.pdf Now that we have recent confirmation that this all still matters, let’s go back to the Soviet Union of 1929, the year after John Dewey’s troubling trip there that I described in my book Credentialed to Destroy . Deeply disturbed that what translates into English as Abstract Objectivism and rational views of causality and “a reverence for ‘fact’ understood not in a dialectical sense but as something fixed and stable” are all impeding the revolutions in all spheres envisioned by Marx and Engels, a VN Volosinov decided it was time for Marxism to directly alter the prevailing view of language.

Why? We all want to reasonably ask. Because the traditional dictionary view of print removes words “from the pressures of the social struggle,” which is of course not OK to an ideology that turns out to be more about historical progression through various economic stages than who actually, technically, owns what. Reading instruction, like what could go on in the classroom generally, then became a means in a political struggle with the goal being to alter “the conscious, subjective human psyche” just as the World Bank still admits is its target. Both want to get at human behavior and, then and now, Mental Models are the way in. I want to stop this historical discussion for just a second to link this to our CTE emphasis in the previous post.

http://maxteaching.com/files/Cornell-U-MAX-Teaching-Study.pdf is called “Authentic Literacy Applications in CTE: Helping All Students Learn” and is used by SREB’s High Schools that Work and was created by one of the listed consultants, James Stone. It’s all about paying attention to context and situations as a guide to how words are to be interpreted, just as Volosinov wanted. We could even describe this vision of authentic CTE Literacy as dialectical. Again, this all may seem from far away, but these aims remain current. In fact, the book Marxism and the Philosophy of Language was translated into English in 1973 with Harvard controlling the English copyright. Alert readers will recognize that’s precisely when the World Order Models Project began as well as the Rand Change Agent Study looking into why the 60s radical education reforms described in Chapter 6 of my book did not go as envisioned.

One more fascinating detail setting up the assault of what would be called psycholinguistics or Whole Language in the West initially. In August 1977 Harvard Educational Review published an article by Lauren Resnick (creator of the terms Rigor and Higher Order Thinking Skills 10 years later and also on the Common Core validation committee. See Tag) and Daniel Resnick called “The Nature of Literacy: An Historical Exploration.” The paper states that it was financed by the US National Institute of Education and written during the Resnicks’ stay at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford, where so much of the other elements of Radical Ed Reform and Economic Justice theory also took place. The article argues that a goal of mass literacy is unprecedented in US history and that such a goal creates the need for a new way to teach reading.

The article does not fit with my knowledge of reading history, but the mere existence of the article becomes the cite for a new way to teach reading to be imposed on all schools, especially in urban areas. That new way of teaching reading would put the emphasis not on sounds and letters since that would be a static, fixed “concern with the cadavers of written languages,” but on understanding the meaning of words “in a particular, concrete context.” The idea was that this method of teaching reading would allow language to be adaptable and changeable and fit to be a means for altering an individual’s subjective psyche to fit with the beliefs needed for the hoped-for transformations.

It is a view of language grounded in the oral traditions of preliterate or aboriginal people where words are understood to have varying meanings depending on their use to describe real things. That’s what Whole Language hoped to accomplish back in the 70s and it’s what the Common Core’s use of the required Close Reading and the term Literacy seem to mean now. It is what Volosinov said was “understanding in the proper sense of the word, i.e., orientation in the particular given context and in the particular, given situation–orientation in the dynamic process of becoming and not ‘orientation’ in some inert state.”

Dictionaries, textbooks, lectures, traditional algebra not tied to the actual world but as an abstract tool, and systematic phonetic instruction of reading are all treating language as an inert state. None of these are suitable for a world that is supposed to be in the process of guided transformations and historical change along a hoped-for pathway. In other words, none of these instructional changes is about a better way to teach or an argument over content. At its rotten core this is about traditional practices that innoculate the human mind against manipulation from outside. That’s not acceptable anytime political authority insists it has the right to transform the mental models of the masses. That was the aspiration of Power in Russia in 1929. Unfortunately it lays behind the real aspirations in the US and elsewhere in 2014.

Volosinov said that “one of Marxism’s fundamental and most urgent tasks is to construct a genuinely objective psychology, which means a psychology based on sociological [emphasis in original text], not physiological or biological, principles.” Marxism did just that and the Soviets researched precisely how to access and impact the individual, objective psyche and in the 60s, 70s, and 80s, as again I explained in the book and am supplementing here, the US imported and translated that research. It took that Marxian objective psychology and made implementing it in the classroom to alter individual students’ perceptions from the inside-out the emphasis of education degree programs, especially doctorates. It took away the offensive, but accurate, M label and simply declared the practices and policies to be Pedagogy.

Classrooms were to be experiential and those experiences were created to alter subjective perception in prescribed ways. If there was a popular outcry, parents and taxpayers were deceitfully told this was a dispute over how to teach reading and math and that the administrators were the degreed professionals that must be deferred to. Political radicals have long understood that words and vocabulary “constitute the foundation, the skeleton of inner life” and the are absolutely determined this time to irreversibly alter it. Since skeleton has a yucky factor, the same philosophy gets better names like schema, mental models, or Frameworks. The intention is the same.

What was italicized by Volosinov as superficial phonetic empiricism is a view of language that was and is in the way of the (also italicized) unity of the social milieu and the unity of the immediate social event of communication. Must be relevant to a person in a way that engages them and tied to real world problems and active and experiential like projects would be the current update of what Volosinov sought. Language must always be viewed in context just as Literacy-in-CTE lays out now.

Abstract Objectivism as a traditional, rational, content-focused subject matter view of the purpose of education and a dictionary-based phonetic view of language quite simply “exclude any possibility for the speaker’s consciousness to be actively in touch with the process of historical evolution.” Got that? Here, quickly, are the problems with language and academics unless they are playing a role in the “dynamic process” of changing what an individual values and believes.

1) The factor of stable self-identity in linguistic forms takes precedence over their mutability.

2) The abstract takes precedence over the concrete.

3) Abstract systematization takes precedence over historical actuality.

4) The forms of elements take precedence over the form of the whole.

5) Reification of the isolated linguistic element to the neglect of the dynamics of speech.

6) Singularization of word meaning and accent to the neglect of its living multiplicity of meaning and accent.

7) The notion of language as a ready-made artifact handed down from one generation to another.

8) Inability to conceptualize the inner generative process of a language.

That last one really is a confession of the extent to which the ideological focus requires drilling down into all the mental tools any individual is to have access to. This is fascinating, isn’t it, and explains so much that was previously inexplicable.

Good thing for us that the earlier “idea of language as a system of conventional, arbitrary signs of a fundamentally rational nature [as] propounded by representatives of the Age of Enlightenment in the 18th century” has not yet been completely decimated by this M view of language and academic knowledge.

 

 

Gaining Access To and Then Guiding Each Student’s Subjective Perception of Reality to Change the Here and Now

Let’s pretend for a moment that we are all in the same room mulling over why K-12 education is shutting down what works and expanding everything that has ever been controversial or even tragic. We could get out a White Board and pretend to be detective Kate Beckett on the TV show Castle and create columns of what concerns and mystifies us. Concrete, Down to Earth, Tangible Concerns. Then later as I am researching and footnote hopping, I read the title of a 1966 book called The Social Construction of Reality. I remember that White Board and how no one wants to allow Declarative Knowledge anymore (defined in previous post) that would accurately allow me to factually understand the Here and Now.

In fact, we have been noticing that everything to be required in the classroom now seems to be about guiding personal perception of what is actually going on in the here and now. Filtering how we conceive the who or what caused all the problems we are to now notice. We keep wondering why all the focus on emotions and showing your work instead of getting a right answer and making activities and experiences the point of classroom work. To quote again from The Parallel Curriculum book from two posts ago, when did we switch to reading a historical fiction book so that we can imagine how it must have felt to be alive during a time period like the Civil War? Is that history? How about if we use the book to “document the feelings, perspectives, and changes that occur for your characters over time.” That’s not factual knowledge. It’s simply priming the student to accept that a change in conditions could be a reason for personal change.

Psychological role-playing, in other words, seems to be all over classes that are supposed to be about science, literature, history, or civics. Even math. “How would you feel if… ” is psychological role-playing even if the description of your feelings, frustrations, and strategies for what to do next is going in your math journal so that “your teacher can read it and get to know you better.”

I keep bringing up the fact that the term ‘knowledge’ now is not about facts, but is rather concepts that are supposed to guide how we perceive all those activities and experiences. Why does that distinction matter so much? Well, the social psychologists have plenty of research they share among themselves that goes as follows:

“The notion of a concept is essential for understanding thought and behavior. If we want to understand, say, how a child learns through experience that stoves can burn, we assume that the child uses the concepts stove and burn; without this assumption, it is not clear why a child’s experience with one particular stove and one particular burn will be related to his or her experience with another stove and another possible burn. [In other words, if we want to get students or adults to analogize from one situation to another, we convince them that they involve comparable concepts. If we want to convince them about false connections, we train students repeatedly from a young age to believe that situations are connected or equivalent even if they are not.]

“It is only when we treat the objects and events of a situation as instances of concepts that we see what there is to learn. And just as it is hard to think about learning without concepts, it is hard to think about communication and reason without concepts. In short, concepts reflect the way we divide the world into classes, and much of what we learn, communicate, and reason involves relations among these classes.”

Providing the concepts to everyone then instead of each person building them up from facts is a tremendously fruitful means for psychological manipulation. Effective and largely invisible once created. What’s not to love if fundamentally transforming the here and now is the Goal, and undermining the historical Western sacrosanct treatment of the individual and the mind is the Means. Just target how that individual, while they are still young, learns to categorize their everyday experiences. Then make sure that any classroom work that previously bolstered the “ability of language to be an objective repository of vast accumulations of meaning and experiences, which it can then preserve in time and transmit to following generations” is either destroyed or seriously limited in duration and purpose.

We are back to our pretend Murder Board of what’s Being Discontinued and Expanded in Education and my reading nerdy books and then translating them so no one else has to. That is how I felt reading The Social Construction of Reality. It was like getting a Treasure Map to what would need to be stopped or emphasized if manipulation of how an individual saw reality was the Goal. Why? So that their future actions could be reliably planned from afar. How we order social experiences turns out to be a crucial fact to know if someone wants to predict and control other people’s behavior. It’s also something that adaptive software in a Digital Learning program or journals or showing your work in an open-ended question where there is no right answer all reveal. Rigorous assessments of the type required by the Common Core, a Higher Order Thinking Skills emphasis , or the ‘high-quality’ tests of 21st Century Learning all ferret it out too.

Coincidental? I think not as a TV detective would get to say. Keeping school work relevant to real life and everyday life situations makes the routine social stock of knowledge of the average student paramount. If school is no longer about facts, reading is Guided and not fluent, and visual presentations are considered on par with writing papers, then the typical person now exists in a place where “the reality of everyday life always appears as a zone of lucidity behind which there is a background of darkness.” Reading that passage from the 1966 book made me gasp because circumscribing personal knowledge in effect makes that zone of lucidity easy to manipulate. Later in the book, the importance of concepts and subjective categorization of experiences is mentioned as what makes us notice certain aspects of what happens and ignore others.

Now imagine that the Concepts and Principles provided are deliberately chosen to have just that very effect. The Goal? To make the student and the future ‘citizen’ they will become not just amenable to fundamental transformations in society, the economy, and political structures we now take for granted like the US Constitution. The student is to come to believe that radical changes are necessary and desirable. Hopefully the student will be ready to act on conditions and problems in the here and now to make fundamental transformations a reality sooner rather than later.

It turns out that a reverence for logic as in traditional math, chemistry, or physics and abstract proofs or grammar and old-fashioned vocabulary that can contain a sentence full of meaning in a single word are examples of how “language now constructs immense edifices of symbolic representations that appear to tower over the reality of everyday life like gigantic processes from another world.” Well, someone does still appreciate flowery language when they are driving home a point. Unfortunately, the point is how much preferable face-to-face interaction is, which would explain why the Common Core stresses listening and speaking and group dialogues and learning to reach that all important consensus within the classroom.

Once again the groundwork revealing the why in the classroom mysteries of the here and now was laid out back in the 60s attempt at fundamental transformations. We just had to peel back enough layers of the onion to locate this quote:

“In the face-to-face situation language possesses an inherent quality of reciprocity that distinguishes it from any other sign system. [In other words, we can see facial expressions and body movements and infer emotions from them.] The ongoing production of vocal signs in conversation can be sensitively synchronized with the ongoing subjective intentions of the conversants.”

A less convoluted way of making the same point is that conversation becomes the way to get everyone on the same page in how they describe their experiences and using the same concepts. Well, no wonder, we keep hearing hype for Blended Learning or the Flipped Classroom. Just let the computer or Kahn Academy provide what the last post called procedural knowledge and the 1966 book calls recipe knowledge–“that is, knowledge limited to pragmatic competence in routine performances.”

Does that sound like a Competency focus to anyone else?

So what’s your interpretation of why the actual planned classroom implementation under its variety of Orwellian names lines up so perfectly with how the known Social Construction of Reality by most people?

Could it be an organized attempt to manipulate their future behavior as long as accurate factual knowledge is kept to a minimum?

Is it politically useful to keep voters ignorant, aggrieved, and reliable in their likely reactions?

 

House of Tomorrow: Targeting Behavior Change Requires Move Away from Declarative Knowledge

If you hang out in the dungeons and attics of the Transformation Blueprints like I do, one of the omnipresent confessions that is crucial, but not making it into the public domain YET, is that classroom activities and experiences are now “aims-based” or “goal-directed,” not “subject-matter based.” History, math, literature, or science course names still get used, but it hides the new broader purposes of social change. They have ceased to be, unfortunately, ends in themselves. The very phrase “standards-based” over the last two decades is also intended to hide what is indisputedly a shift to a personal behavior emphasis that is still too obscured.

This post is designed to remedy that and build on the facts and declarations laid out in the recently finished APUSH trilogy as well as particularly Chapter 7 of my book–“What if Common Core Actually Limits What Everyone Can Know or Do While Targeting Feelings,  Beliefs, and Values Instead?” The Question that Grows in Pertinence on a Daily Basis. Often times the best way to illustrate what is being required in education is to consult a professor in another area, who is unlikely to mask his statements about what is intended. Do you remember the London School of Economics where that troubling Fabian Stained Glass window has now found a new home? As a symbol of reverence, not infamy, unfortunately.

Back in 1994, LSE’s then Director, sociologist Anthony Giddens, kindly explained the role of History to political radicals in a book called Beyond Left and Right. It matters because not enough of us appreciate that the Fall of the Berlin Wall, death of Mao, or dissolution of the USSR, never altered the widespread desire for History to be progressing somewhere. If facts get in the way, education becomes the preferred tool to get the process headed in the desired direction again. Tell me this quote is not behind the spirit of the activities I spelled out in the previous posts: “For socialists, the past is not comforting; it is valued at most because it has provided the means whereby we can actively move on to grasp and appropriate the future.”

If you make K-12 education about altering and creating desired feelings, values, beliefs, perceptions, and behaviors (performances or learning are the preferred K-12 euphemisms obscuring this reality), education can supposedly create the conditions for the House of Tomorrow. http://www.ascd.org/ASCD/pdf/journals/ed_lead/el_198312_mcnay.pdf  When I write posts explaining the NEA CARE Guide created with the Southern Poverty Law Center to use in the Common Core classroom or the Aspen Institute’s  RETOC-Racial Equity Theory of Change, tie those intentions to highlight race, class, and ethnicity to create feelings of grievance or guilt to Giddens telling us that Marxism’s allure for so many is and was the “metaphysical idea that history, in its more consequential and revolutionary moments, is made by the oppressed.”

If that quote seems a bit too ‘metaphysical’ for anyone’s taste, let’s simply make real-world problem solving the focus of K-12 education, and see if the classroom over time doesn’t create a consciousness precisely as Uncle Karl would have wanted. In 2013 the Journal of Teacher Education for Sustainability published a helpful confession from Erin Redman complaining that traditional education and declarative knowledge like facts, lectures, and textbooks were too “value-free, didactic” and “one-way methods of communication” (instead of the now glorified classroom ‘Dialogue” among ‘Equals’).  Education in the 21st Century is supposed to be about long-term behavior change from an unconscious basis at the level of each individual. Those Aims or Goals require “require real-world, experiential and problem-based learning.”

Thanks for the honesty even if it is tucked away. Keep in mind the calm assertion that “Behavioural scholars have, however, clearly established that the linear, information-deficit approach [aka Transmission of Knowledge of the Best that has Been Thought or Done by the Sages of the Past] to education is insufficient in promoting behaviour change.” Since we have been concentrating on what these Aims and Goals do to history coursework, let’s end with the recommendation that this Normative view of the purpose of curriculum results in a suggestion for “shifting away from scientific facts as the primary discourse in sustainability.” That ‘s why it’s so important to emphasize feelings and the Whole Child.

It is why Procedural Knowledge gets so hyped now in the form of the Skills Deficit. That is the needed action-related process knowledge and how-to skills useful for real-world transformations. Effectiveness Knowledge now gets hyped because Beliefs about the Need for transformations in the present to alter the future are very much influenced by “perceived consequences associated with different behaviours as well as beliefs about who is responsible for given outcomes.” That’s the Aim that really finds factual knowledge to be an obstacle since it might prevent viewing the assigned Villains as culpable or notice that local politicians will blow even more money if given ever more planning power.

But then I am no teenager and we have already concluded I would be on the first shipment to Perception Re-education Camps to extinguish Factual Knowledge as an Impediment to Fundamental Change. The typical adolescent will be easy prey though for classrooms built around: “One of the central ways for enhancing effectiveness knowledge is by focusing on problems that are locally relevant and at a scale with which students feel empowered to act, while also examining the positive impact of individual and collective change.” Lack of much factual knowledge, unless the parents have stepped in or the child is the rare fluent, voracious reader, means that a capacity or willingness to conceive of any negative impact is unlikely happen in most classrooms anymore.

Finally, “social knowledge (i.e. norms) encompasses subjective and local knowledge including the motives, intentions and actions of other people. In order to enhance social knowledge, it is critical that sustainable behaviours are positioned as the normal and the desired way to act.” Objective, norm-referenced tests of knowledge have to go away quietly in this sought scenario for the future since they center on Declarative Knowledge. Radicals always needed alternative assessments to examine whether the desired behavior and attitude changes were occurring and what strategies and concepts are used when there is no correct answer and not enough information is given. Today’s Rigorous Assessments merely build on what was known as the New Standards Reference Examination in the 90s http://www.cse.ucla.edu/products/reports/TECH470.pdf Created again by the Mother of both Higher Order Thinking Skills as well as the related term Rigor, Professor Lauren Resnick.

We should simply view them correctly as Cultural Activity Research on our kids with our tax dollars. Remember the ISCAR 2011 Conference in Rome, Italy? It’s all about Aims-Based Education too. Transformational Aims with Political and Social Purposes. Just like the Common Core or 21st Century Learning or Competency-Based Instruction now. It’s all about Behavior Change if we climb down to the dungeons or up to the attics or just trace back to the footnotes in the typical Aspen Institute Report.

Those interested in fundamental transformations in the political and social spheres that is the Progressive View of the Role of History now need the tool of K-12 education, if not preschool as well, to reach those same Aims and Goals. It’s why so many education graduate degrees today openly trumpet their grounding in Change Agent Theories. To make students the mass carriers of new cultural memes and behaviors without most parents or the typical taxpayer even being aware of the shift. That’s the purpose of all the Orwellian language that has me climbing down, then up, and flipping back to those footnotes again and again.

I may have to understand all this at a very nerdy level just bursting with facts and wordy declarations of intent to once again try out notorious theories in the real world, but that is not the level where most people live. When I explain what is intended in order to get real traction in the real world, I always have to find ways to bring these intentions into the everyday lives of my readers. Unfortunately, though, I am not the only one who understands that crucial point.

In fact, the shift away from Declarative Knowledge to granting parity to subjective ways of knowing and interpreting, along with that targeting of Procedural, Effectiveness, and Social Knowledge we have just talked about, is all about meeting people and students at the level of knowledge that “guides conduct in everyday life.” Just the arena, in other words, if long-term behavior change is the admitted (if only quietly shared among insiders), new Goal or Aim of K-12 education.

Behavior Change Architects intent on Political and Social Transformations to kick History Back into Gear on the Planned Pathway of Change would need to appreciate each person’s “subjective experience of reality.” To get at the perception of reality held by the “common-sense of the ordinary members of society.”

That’s what alternative ‘high-quality’ assessments like the NSRE above got at and what the Common Core and formative assessments get at now. It’s what adaptive software gets at as well.

Then we have performance standards under their variety of masking names like College and Career Ready or Next Generation Learning to capture and then remediate over time behaviors, values, and attitudes that are not desirable for transitioning to the Planned Pathway for History.

Not to mention what all the social and emotional programs being sold as Character Education or Bullying Prevention or Positive Behaviors for the Whole Child do.

Am I finally reaching the everyday recognition of what is coming at all of us?

Anesthetizing Any Ability to Blow Up Or Contaminate a Chosen Politically Useful Narrative

In both adults and children it now turns out. We all are to have our ability to accurately perceive what is going on around us, its true causes, and the likely consequences under deliberate, guided assault. We get to be inadvertent active participants in fundamental transformations we might object to if we were aware. All the coordinated lies or declarations in conferences we are not invited to and books and reports we were never to see. I have seen them though and it propels this compulsion to play Paul Revere to yell “The Bad Ideas that are a-coming” to a classroom, newsroom, or PR campaign soon. Some are already in place with unfortunate psychological effects unappreciated by parents and taxpayers lured into believing that higher graduation rates or greater levels of “student achievement” or Student Growth are necessarily a good thing. Instead, many are masking changes in personality and deliberate efforts to “shatter the rule of law and regularity in the mind.”

That last quote was from a Chapter called “Direction for Human Development” in that The Great Adventure book I mentioned in the last post. Before we discuss what is planned, I want us to remember the game of Red Rover most of us played as children. As adults if we happened upon kids arguing over a badly bruised arm or shoulder injuries from a determination to hold tight against breaking the grip and accusing the fast, aggressive runner who broke through of deliberately wanting to hurt them, we would recognize the problem. Everyone intended their respective actions, but no one gave any thought to consequences beyond their own goals. Think of all the plans for credentialing students, teachers, and administrators to be change agents. Fundamentally transforming economic, political, and social systems they have deliberately been given false understandings of.

Misapprehension of what actually works, why elements really do not, and what all the likely consequences of the sought actions will be. The creators of these theories want everyone involved playing as if they were still children in Red Rover, moving through the POWER Model and securing data as to what to do next. Totally unable to accurately perceive what is bound to occur, lest that inhibit future action. In that same chapter the authors confess:

“Our use of representation, leaving immediate experience behind, and living within the confines of our constructs [or as my own children call it when I am writing ‘mom’s been in her head all day thinking’] can be particularly limiting. If we use our capacities to build edifices of knowledge that are fundamentally static and closed, we can become trapped in limiting worldviews, strangled by our own assumptions.”

Unwilling then, of course, to be Change Agents to try to force changes in the real world that will redirect history going forward. That’s why “a reform in thinking is needed…a kind of thinking that does not reject uncertainty and ambiguity [and in fact nurturing this capacity is what the hype about Rigor and Higher Order Thinking Skills is all about], but rather feeds on [the uncertainty, ambiguity, lack of a correct answer] it for a constant process of self-eco-re-organization.”

It’s no secret that I believe there is a connection between the mass school shootings and their links to communities aggressively pushing using school to dissolve the rational mind and manipulate perception from the inside-out. Today though we are talking about how all this invisibly goes global and why. The ties to violence in the past though are a component of why I am so worried. The social radicals seeking wholesale transformations have always known that “education and learning are what chiefly drive us at all the levels of activity explored by psychology, sociology, political science, economics, and all the other fields of social science, systems science, the humanities, and what we call spirituality, as well as in every other human activity that—as it most clearly does involve evolution—calls out for a newly inclusive definition and a vastly expanded and updated theory and story.”

Our Toronto planners and friends (look here from 2011 to Common Core and 90s version architect Lauren Resnick and her involvement with the International Society for Cultural and Activity Research Scientific Committee http://www.iscar2011.org/eng/ISCAR_PROGRAM_UPDATE_01092011.pdf ) really are targeting prevailing mental maps for extinction and extensive alteration. To gain the very real transformations in the actual world that so many involved in public policy are determined to have, the necessary target is “the bottom line is the perception of large masses of people–a perception oriented by the paradigm that dominates their society.”

So that paradigm, that is nurtured by fluent reading and algebra problems and geometry proofs, has to go. Without admitting that true explanation. My thanks here to the reader who pointed out the work of the FrameWorks Institute and their Strategic Frame Analysis. It describes the lies and how a perception marketing theme is uncovered and how to make sure it is not blown up or contaminated.

One of the biggest prevailing memes now–that everyone must go to college–is generally cited to Professor Anthony Carnevale of Georgetown. In an earlier version of his life he was the author of those New Workforce Training Manuals that so much of the real implementation guidelines appear to be lifted straight out of. I had looked into his background before since so many pernicious recommendations he or groups citing him are pushing for go back to a previous paper he wrote. In other words, a foundation of druthers, not factual research. That’s why I loved that he put his detailed CV in one of the manuals, apparently taking the equivalent of a victory lap. Not knowing 25 years later it would be damning.

Carnevale wanted us to know he was a Board member of the Carnegie-sponsored National Center on Education and the Economy that was created after those 1985 Carnegie agreements between the US State Department and the USSR. I think that is why Carnegie sponsored the Competency-Based Learning Summits in 2011 to get Next Generation Learning across the hype of the Common Core. It’s why Competency to me looks so much like the essential skills Carnevale laid out as Learning to Learn in the 1990 manual.   Carnevale also listed having been the governmental affairs director for AFSCME, the union for state, county, and municipal public employees, the only area of union membership that grew in the last half of the 20th century.

It is Carnevale’s degrees that remind us how to use education and learning changes to invisibly drive cultural changes in collectivist directions without admitting what is going on. Or gaining consent. He listed a BA in “intellectual and cultural history” from Colby College, a rather euphemistic phrase to disguise a Marxian view of history as a process of cultural change in prevailing mindsets. An MA in “social science and public administration” from Syracuse is again quite consistent with wanting social science to be able to design human [that would be people like us], social, economic, and physical environmental systems like cities going forward, just as our Toronto planners and Cultural-Historical Activity Theorists all have in mind. (Wave to Michael Cole and Engestrom too if you click on the ISCAR link). Finally, his PhD is from the Maxwell School of Public Affairs. Billing yourself as an ‘economist’ for deference to your beliefs that the public sector should control the economy seems to me to be False Advertising in order to get Theory into Action.

Everyone wants to use education and the media too to alter how we perceive the world in predictable ways.  To again get political theory into action without admitting it. Our Toronto planners in the “What Should It Look Like” chapter though gave us something else highly useful in their plans for cultural change without permission.

“In bringing the ‘active agent’ into the picture…we come to what used to be billed as the dialectical perspective. During the twentieth century the words ‘praxis’ and ‘dialectical’ became taboo within much of science and Western society because of their historical association with the ‘dialectical’ materialism’ of Marxist theory, communism, and the grim years of the Cold War…[but] “because of its enduring intellectual power…and reached its philosophical high point with Hegel, Marx, and Engels [that’s continued open admiration and reverence, folks!] has been resurrected under other names in cybernetics, chaos and complexity theory, as well as in new ways in the works of most of the authors of these chapters, as we’ll next see.”

I am going to pause here for a second. David Loye is saying that virtually all the theories guiding K-12 and higher ed ‘reforms’ are grounded in some of history’s most notorious collectivists. To mask that fact, various labels likely to be difficult to understand are being used. I guess to stop any opportunity for a blow up or contamination during the process of fundamental transformations. Now what Loye said next takes us to the very heart of the new envisioned K-12 classroom as well as what the 4 Cs of 21st Century Learning are really getting at. Here goes, with the italics as usual in the original.

“The basic dynamic for dialectics is the idea of two or more ‘forces’ and their interaction, either in conflict or working together, which shape our lives into what becomes known as history or human evolution. (Thanks to Marxism, the dialectical model is misrepresented as being solely restricted to conflict…to remedy this problem, the idea of dialogue, or the dialogical model is used to describe the alternative of two forces that complement or otherwise peacefully work together.)”

Puts a whole new spin on group projects, doesn’t it? And the omnipresent word Du Jour–collaboration.

I am going to stop here as following up on this brought me all sorts of startling real-life consequences, including the use of these Dialogic Design principles during the lead-up to the 2008 Presidential campaign and what MOOCs really intend to accomplish.

This would be easier to bear if these theories were in a sci fi novel instead of a book and blog devoted to real-time revelations.

 

Ballad of the Long Sought Shift to Being Educable, Not Educated: Adaptation Via Dissolving the Logical Mind

Do you ever wonder where these titles come from? The second part comes from descriptions in the 2004 book The Great Adventure: Toward a Fully Human Theory of Evolution that I will end this post with. First it described eliminating the “bricks and mortar” of the tradition-oriented logical mind. Later, the same book, having laid out its plans on using K-12 education to get a more “flexible,” intuitive, mind, then proceeded to describe how to lock those changes firmly and invisibly in place. Long term readers can probably guess that those changes will be hidden in the real definitions of Student ‘Growth’ and ‘achievement’ and whether the student is showing progress to being Workplace or College and Career Ready. The techniques used to dissolve that logical mind and practice new behaviors come in using strategies created in the classroom via activities billed to parents as ‘rigorous’ and involving ‘Higher Order Thinking Skills.”

It all links together. Let’s go back to the 1960s first to a professor, Philip H. Coombs, who also served in the Kennedy administration before bolting for Paris to help UNESCO (the UN entity created in 1948 for the express purpose of using education globally to gradual shift culture away from the West’s historic focus on the individual as my book explains) set up its International Institute for Educational Planning. In 1967 President Johnson, a former elementary teacher with a life-long reverence for John Dewey (the reason that matters is also in the book), initiated an International Conference on the World Crisis in Education in Williamsburg, Virginia. The resulting book The World Educational Crisis pointed out that K-12 needed to “expand and democratize itself and that keeping “the old logistics, curriculum, and hallowed monolithic standards” would be:

“as if a specialized gift shop for the well-to-do was summoned to convert itself into a massive department store for consumers of every description, including a thrift basement for those in straitened circumstances.”

Now, of course, all students are being asked to accept to offerings of the thrift basement. Elaborate name changes and unknown initiatives as we saw in the last post simply obscure the dramatic shift. Interestingly, it all still fits with what LBJ, Coombs, and UNESCO all wanted back in 1968 (italics in original text; bolding from me):

“Educational systems must undergo a shift of emphasis. The new stress must be not so much on producing an educated person as on producing an educable person who can learn and adapt himself efficiently all through his life to an environment that is ceaselessly changing.”

That’s the new goal of K-12 education in the West, which is why the academic results have been deteriorating ever since. Those insiders who know the real reason cannot remain empowered to bring about the change desired via the schools if they admit to what is going on. People like me now, who know and can prove the reality, always run up against parents who cannot bear to know. The problem is these sought changes are psychological and the Common Core in the US and 21st century skills everywhere mask that reality.

Continued ignorance means that techniques that really are grounded in acknowledged brainwashing techniques are being imposed on teachers and students in our classrooms. Let’s continue our journey to examine how crucial this ability to have an adaptable mind and personality is to those who really want wholesale political, social, and economic change. Always seeking ambitious administrators willing to impose this on classrooms.

Around 1986, just after the 1985 agreement on education among the US, USSR, and the Carnegie Corporation (the same one Richard Riley is now a Vice Chair of that is now pushing Competency-Based Next Generation Learning to guide the real global shift) was signed (www.americandeception.com is a good source for the actual document), a study began under the banner of the US Department of Labor. It produced in 1990 a series of Workplace Basics, Training for a Changing Workforce, manuals that provide the actual Blueprint still being followed in today’s K-12 education reforms.  The longest and most graphic of the books on The Essential Skills Employers Want lays out the need for students and employees to “transcend logical and sequential thinking and make the leap to innovation.”

Where have we heard that hostility to the Axemaker Mind before? Paul Ehrlich’s 1989 pitch for Newmindedness. What a timely coincidence. Now tell me if this quote from the 1990 manual does not sound like today’s sales pitch for a Growth Mindset, instead of a Fixed Mindset? “Each adult brings a different personal data base of experience and learning to the workplace. This base cannot remain static because our lives are a caldron of experiments responding to the need to adapt to changing circumstances.” Students in school are to be targeted for change for the same reason. Analytical, rule-based thinking like traditional algebra, geometry proofs, or grammar all impede this desired adaptability. It is fascinating to me that the professor, Lauren Resnick, who created the terms ‘rigor’ and Higher Order Thinking Skills back in the 80s is quoted by name in the book making this point:

“School should focus its efforts on preparing people to be good adaptive learners, so they can perform effectively [aka be competent or proficient] when situations are unpredictable and task demands change.”

The now-ubiquitous goal that Students should Learn How to Learn is also in the 1990 manual of new Workplace Basics. It goes back to citing notorious Humanist psychologist Carl Rogers and his 1969 book Freedom to Learn to illustrate the concept of Learning to Learn: “The only man who is educated is the man who has learned how to learn…how to adapt and change.”

I had a reader recently who also teaches ask me how the omnipresent concept of ‘problem-solving’ under the Common Core differed from the classic (if painful) classic math word problems. Let’s use the still relevant definition from the 1990 manual: “Problem solving is the process of bridging a perceived gap between what is and what ought to be.” A very useful skill indeed along with adaptability if fundamental transformations are the real goal and education and people have become mere conduits or tools to effect the sought changes. Here’s another useful tool: the POWER Model of Problem Solving.

Project a vision of how the situation should be different

Observe the discrepancy between what exists and what should be

Work out, after considering choices, an action plan and implement it

Evaluate/monitor progress and achievement

Revise plans as indicated by evaluation findings

As someone who has read many of the blueprints involved over the decades with these sought transformations, that POWER model is precisely what Big Data and supercomputers and governments at all levels think is the new way to plan societies and economies. Education at all levels simply needs to produce the people with mindsets and worldviews to either tolerate the wholesale shifts or to embrace them. Both involve dissolving the logical mind of the Enlightenment and believe me, the advocates just keep saying that.

Interestingly too, here is the new definition of leadership. Notice how useful this will be to bringing about wholesale change, especially when it becomes the entire basis for graduate degrees, as in education or public policy doctorates.

“The most successful leader of all is one who sees another picture not yet actualized. He sees the things which belong in his present picture but which are not yet there.”

Now imagine if a willingness to ‘problem solve’ using the POWER Model or be a leader as described above gets you lucrative jobs or grants from massively rich charitable foundations or public sector jobs where promotions are tied to how aggressively you push this transformational vision to make students ‘adaptable’ and ‘trainable.’ You would get precisely what is going on now as this Next Generation Learning graphic across all sectors and institutions from Ford makes clear.   https://fordngl.com/sites/fordpas.org/files/ford_ngl_three_strands_graphic_0.pdf

On July 17 and 19, 2000 there was a meeting of so many of the long time advocates for transformation social and political change using education in Toronto, Canada. They laid out their plans to use a “teacher-student-driven, globally active alliance between evolutionary systems science and humanistic, transpersonal, and positive psychology to kick-start what is needed.”

What was needed, of course, is that very same adaptability and malleable mind and personality we just keep encountering as the new goal of education. To be educable, not educated. Learning how to Learn and Growth sound so much better than the real goals of a “radical expansion of brain, mind, and consciousness” that will allow step-by-step achievement of “personal, cultural, social, political, economic, educational, and technological evolution.” The term revolution probably better describes what is sought, but since these fundamental changes are all supposed to be bloodless, evolution sounds better. Plus it fits the invisible shifts involved over time until the dramatic changes over time can be locked into place.

How? Through a moral and spiritual transformation in what enough people to be the majority electorate value and believe about how the world works, what they are owed by others, and what the world should be.

David Loye in that The Great Adventure book laid out “how to actually build it.” Next time we will trace that blueprint against the real implementation. It started last week where I live.

Unless you want the next generation to remain psychological adaptation guinea pigs, this is something all parents and taxpayers need to know. This is no time for rose-colored glasses.

Revealing the Ruse that Masks the Level of Global Coordination Around Education

December in Paris is not nearly as lovely as April in Paris, but the food remains delicious and the vistas from the Eiffel Tower are still worth the climb. But once again our invites were lost. Wouldn’t we all like to be consulted about “The World We Want” instead of merely picking up most of the bill and being told how we must change? But no, UNESCO and UNICEF held a Thematic Consultation meeting on December 5-6, 2013 of the North American States, Western Europe, and Turkey to lay out the Post-2015 Development Agenda and left us out of the room. Unfortunately, we and our children remained very much on the agenda.

In case you are thinking that “someone’s” participation as speakers or attendees is no reason to assume US or Canadian or UK ed policies are actually being determined abroad and most definitely no longer at the district or school levels, how would you feel about a link to the US DoED first ever “International Strategy”? Published in November 2012 just after someone got reelected and apparently we all shifted into a whole new level of planned implementation. http://www2.ed.gov/about/inits/ed/internationaled/international-strategy-2012-16.pdf And I scoured that document and I can see we agreed to work with the OECD as to what is meant by “internationally benchmarking” what is going on in our schools. We also signed on with international labor representing teachers’ unions globally, but there was nary a mention of the Common Core.

Just like it was merely a ruse to get US schools on board with the OECD’s Great Transition we have talked about (and mourned over the implications of). It also mentions though a great deal about Quality Learning and Equity and Global Competency and 21st Century Skills and working with Brazil to Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Discrimination and Promote Equality. It shows such openmindedness that an open socialist orientation in one country is no longer a barrier to a Joint Action Plan.  It’s also so nice to see the US commitment to participation in all those international assessments that were actually created to drive global convergence around the Great Transition/Time to redistribute based on Uncle Karl’s vision of the Future. All put into place through education changes driven by poorly understood international assessments. No, that’s not my opinion. I have a copy of Torsten Husen’s The Learning Society where he laid out what these assessments were actually evaluating, and what the intentions were. He helped create them all.

Based on that Brookings Institute link in the last post Husen would be so pleased that the non-Scandinavian countries are finally going along with his desire that “educational planning must be integrated with social and economic planning in general.” Honestly, from just the documents I have read in the last few weeks, I am not sure there is much now not being planned on our behalf in any of these areas. And I know for sure that in the age of the Whole Child Initiative and the social and emotional learning/Positive Behavior mandates that Husen’s desire to put “more stress on the emotional life of the children” is definitely part of the current gameplan. It’s been almost 40 years since Husen wrote that book (1974), but we had already noticed that the underlying vision never varies.

So what’s the current post-2015 UN/OECD Development Agenda the feds have committed us to? And all those pundits and politicians and foundation employees denying the extent of the federal overreach should look at this line from “Succeeding Globally Through International Education and Engagement” (my bolding):

“The Department will also examine how the learning can be applied in the United States and at what level (national, state, district or school).”

Somehow it’s beginning to feel like we have federal and international bureaucrats looking at our suburbs and schools, public and private, and our students and rubbing their hands together gleefully muttering “Mine, Mine, All Mine. For Years At a Time.” So what do these schemers have in mind in the post-2015 vision for us all? Well, that Paris meeting said “achieving sustainable development requires a change in the way people think and act, and this is where education has a crucial role to play.” Especially now that the US Secretary of Education has declared we are all in with the international agenda. We all are to get the “opportunity to acquire the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values necessary to cope with existing and emerging challenges and shape resilient and sustainable societies.”

Oh I do hope we are not first on the list for some reeducation to drop our attachment to the Unitary Self as john a powell disdainfully called it. Then there was also the thematic discussion on Global Citizenship Education (which apparently will not be celebrating its foundations every 4th of July).  GCE “aims to empower learners to engage and assume active roles both locally and globally to face and resolve global challenges and ultimately to become proactive contributors to a more just, peaceful, tolerant, inclusive and secure and sustainable world.” With unicorn rides every other Friday afternoon. Please note that “youth is a particularly important target group” for GCE. Target group? Could we get more of an admission of propagandist intent via the schools and universities?

Then we also have “Quality of Education and Learning Outcomes.” Remember outcomes always has to do with behavioral or personality changes in the student, and it should greatly trouble us that the UN is deeply interested in this regard in “the new digital platforms on which teaching and learning are taking place and through which knowledge, skills and values are developed, transmitted, validated, and applied by young people.” And we parents and taxpayers may not be able to see what will be assaulting our students and what virtual worlds they are to be embedded in for much of their school time, but apparently UN personnel may have better luck. Checking out the potential for the unfiltered indoctrination of politically desired new values, attitudes, and beliefs thought to be amenable to global transformation. We would be worried if any of these entities had expressed intentions about wanting radical change. Oh, wait. Ooops.

Actually I suppose we should be grateful that the ruse surrounding the Common Core in the US as an excuse to cover up the sought radical changes in student perceptions about the world and their future has increasingly come out into the open. The links clearly go far beyond the accreditation agencies’ loyalties now and where Linda Darling-Hammond is jetting off to speak at. I want to finish this post with a British Professor who reaches out to all sorts of names and entities to describe the extent of the active coordination throughout the Anglosphere. His name is Guy Claxton and this was the 2006 Keynote Address to the British Educational Association’s Annual Conference. Called “Expanding the Capacity to Learn: A New End for Education?” the speech gives us the answer of why the US in February 2013 added Dispositions to the list of what it would mean to be College, Career, and Citizenship Ready.

Claxton believes it “is education’s most basic job to expand all young people’s emotional and intellectual resources to cope with life.” And yes that was his order of emphasis and like the UN, he wants everyone able to “cope” with the 21st century. Being left out is the 21st Century going through The Great Transition being launched by bureaucrats, politicians, and professors without our knowledge and consent. No wonder there is such concern for how we will cope. Claxton wants us to be “able to stay calm, focused and engaged when we don’t know what to do” which he believes will be augmented through new “emotional and personal attitudes, beliefs and tolerances” that are to become new habits of mind and character traits. Somehow we will all be better prepared for what is intended for us if we have a “tolerance for hazy or non-articulate ways of knowing.”

So we will do better under these officially hoped for scenarios if we have a Muddled Mind? Well, yes, apparently “those who have no tolerance for fogginess–who have been trained to think that confusion is a sign of stupidity, for instance–have therefore reduced their capacity to learn.” Claxton wants to reverse “any acquired intolerance for confusion.” And he calls all this developing dispositions in italics for emphasis just like that. And dispositions are so important because they “refine our sense of when it is appropriate to use a particular ability.” Then Claxton has this in parentheses– “to become more ready.”

So I think all the references to College Ready, Citizenship Ready, Standards for Career Readiness, etc. as the preferred euphemisms for the Common Core are not about getting students ready for the world and those institutions as they currently exist. All the references to Standards of Readiness seem to be getting at whether the student has developed a willingness to act and to “persist in the face of difficulty.” Let’s call it Grit and Perseverance for short. At least the new Principals and District Supers are being told their credentials are issued to enable them to be Social Change Agents. We are apparently about to embark on the creation of a huge corps of social change agents who are not being told what is being sought. Who ARE being targeted on the basis of what remains malleable to change. Who are being trained to act despite confusion and to keep at it whatever the immediate consequences.

We are going to come back to this next time as I have the new international Quality frameworks and they leave no doubt about the extent that it is student behavior being targeted.

We know why now. And how. We need to examine the methods next.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For all of us.

Say what?