Fracturing the Personal and Social Failsafes and Omitting the Most Pertinent Parts of the Plans

Now don’t visualize Failsafe in the sense of Peter Sellers in Dr Strangelove unless those graphics help with a proper sense of urgency at what we are facing in the name of ‘education’ for ‘our children.’ I actually am using failsafe in the dictionary meaning of “compensating automatically and safely for a failure, as of a mechanism or power source.” I would add people as well as we can adjust ourselves to thwart the reality of what is happening unless the offered narrative is false. Our ability to adjust our outrage is also offline if education has been changed to deliberately manipulate our emotions so certain responses and likely interpretations are neurally locked in in advance.

In the recent ACES post, I finished by saying we would turn to emotions and here we are. Carefully documenting the media manipulation and the parts of the story being ably omitted lest we become informed and outraged. If anyone thinks it is conspiratorial to imagine active coordination around deceit, last week the National PTA in a letter to fed ED on regulations on required parental engagement under ESSA, requested the use of “Leading by Convening: A Blueprint for Authentic Engagement.” That way parents could be Delphied into useful beliefs about what ESSA does that have actually nothing to do with its mandates or shifts.

Remember sociologist Anthony Giddens telling us that behavioral scientists know that what guides and motivates behavior is not what is actually true, but what is personally and emotionally believed to be true? Let’s take a look at the organized media juggernaut on hyping emotion as the key to learning. On April 27, 2016 Education Week wrote a story called “Emotions Help Steer Students’ Learning, Studies Find: Scholar sees passion as mind’s rudder” which hyped the work of Mary Helen Immordino-Yang and her new book Emotions, Learning, and the Brain. Here’s the lead quote that should probably be read with a reminder that one of the definitions of using cybernetics in education is to create a steerable keel with a student’s mind and personality. One that is locked in neurally that the student is largely unaware of.

“People think of emotion getting in the way of cognition, but it doesn’t. Emotion steers our thinking; it’s the rudder that directs our mind and organizes what we need to do.”

Gives new meaning certainly to a declared goal of ‘standards-based reforms’ and competency-based education that seek to create Habits of Mind and desired Dispositions and Attributes to be deemed College, Career and Citizenship Ready, doesn’t it? That hyping article was followed by a May 4 New York Times piece called “To Help Students Learn, Engage the Emotions.” It also hyped the same professor’s work exclusively with more quotes that resonate with initiatives like Hewlett’s Deeper Learning (omitted from article) where “It is literally neurobiologically impossible to think deeply about things that you don’t care about.” Really? How about the insistence that it is the:

“emotional connection that can result when teachers make learning personally relevant to students is what differentiates superficial, rote, topical assimilation of material from a superlative education marked by deep mastery and durable learning.”

In other words, it is experiences carefully crafted for the classroom so that what will guide and motivate future student behavior gets practiced and then locked in at an unconscious level. Talk about bypassing any personal failsafe. And this is the kind of ‘meaningful learning’ that CCSSO, Linda Darling-Hammond and groups connected to her are calling for as the new form of accountability under ESSA. Oh the things that get left out when the article also hyped “the best, most durable learning happens when content sparks interest, when it is relevant to a child’s life, and when the students form an emotional bond with either the subject at hand or the teacher in front of them. Meaningful learning happens when teachers are able to create an emotional connection to what might otherwise remain abstract concepts.”

How did I ever pass the bar exam without this kind of instruction? Now before we get back to what else is being left out, let me assure you I have the 1979 book created from the February 1977 symposium titled “Toward the Human Use of Human Beings: A Cybernetic Approach to the Assessment of Children” held in Denver. I may be able to recognize a cybernetic focus by how it functions, but that is no where close to the end of my proof. I also have open declarations on this “interdisciplinary attempt to apply the principles of cybernetics, the science of control and communication, to certain issues of child development” via American education and needed reforms.

Also in my library of research for the sequel to Credentialed to Destroy was a 1994 book by a USC neurobiologist, Antonio Damasio, called Descartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain. Query: do Immordano-Yang and Damasio work together? Just imagine if the writers of these hyping articles had mentioned that Prof I-Y wrote the journal for the International Mind, Body, and Education Society (IMBES) I have alarmingly covered. What if the Brain Creativity Institute is involved in all this sudden BRAIN Initiative NSF and NIH gushes of federal money? Just a little digging an up came this joint published article “We Feel, Therefore We Learn: The Relevance of Affective and Social Neuroscience to Education” from 2007.

Now the first line of the abstract “highlighting connections between emotion, social functioning, and decision-making” should remind all of us that ACES theorizes that people are now to be Anticipatory Cognitive Embodied Systems and thus easily manipulable via education. Our transformative systems thinkers like Kenneth Boulding also wanted us to be reconceptualized as ‘goal-seeking, purposeful systems.” Is that also the vein of all this sudden hyping of the role of emotions in learning. Even if I did not have Damasio’s books, there are hints just in that article that all these pushes are consistent with professors who also want to see Values as the Drivers of Human History and education to create a new Science of Virtues because the article opens with a mention on:

“how culture shapes learning, and ultimately the development of morality and human ethics. These are all topics of eminent importance to educators as they work to prepare skilled, informed and ethical students who can navigate the world’s social, moral, and cognitive challenges as citizens.”

I always want to insert ‘comrade’ as an adjective in front of that kind of vision of the purpose of education to be a ‘citizen,’ but then gallows humor is a part of how I deal with all the open declarations I uncover. The GSV San Diego conference did not just tout the increased annual spending for the BRAIN Initiative. It also called explicitly for the Acceleration of Ideas that Address the Integration of Mind, Body, and Soul.” Sounds like values and emotions are to be neurally integrated via K-12 education practices is required federal policy and investors want to pile into tech companies with a means to do just that. Still all omitted from the official narrative unless we monitor these meetings and recognize co-partners of who is being officially touted.

Federally funded brain research and required education practices to foster and invisibly manipulate a hope that “our brains still bear evidence of their original purpose: to manage our bodies and minds in the service of living, and living happily, in the world with other people.” Now I would start to get nervous if I was constantly encountering attempts to enshrine a communitarian ethos in Positive School Climate Presidential Executive Orders or the actual definition of what Career Ready really meant. Now I would really get nervous if that 2007 article had a graphic of what it hyped as the desired Emotional Thought with this subheading:

“The evolutionary shadow cast by emotion over cognition influences the modern mind. In the diagram, the solid ellipse represents emotion, the dashed ellipse represents cognition. The extensive overlap between the two represents the domain of emotional thought. Emotional thought can be conscious or nonconscious and is the means by which bodily sensations come into our conscious awareness. High reason is a small section of the diagram and requires consciousness.”

No declarations that the small area of high reason needs to be smothered further via education reforms and required practices, but there is a hope to “produce the sort of automatic moral decision making that underlies intuitive notions of good and evil” that appears more social and political than “lying is bad and murder is wrong.” Let’s turn to Descartes’ Error and see what it tells us on why hyping and controlling emotion via education is so crucial. Well, consisting with taking the failsafes away from the steering of the student we have Damasio telling us that “emotion and feeling, central aspects of biological regulation,…provide the bridge between rational and nonrational processes, between cortical and subcortical structures.”

Just the thing, in other words, to be the openly declared object of required education practices and declared federal research priorities that then get deceitfully explained or not covered at all when talking to students and their parents. Damasio’s book laid out use of emotion to create what he called somatic markers and even italicized. Nary a mention though in either those Times or Ed Week stories. Now what happens when these carefully cultivated, emotionally-laden, nonconscious somatic markers neurally embedded and part of what is being assessed as Higher Order Thinking Skills and Understanding or Meaningful Learning was created to quietly acheive the declared goals of affirming ” a new level of being in which one can invent new artifacts and forge more just ways of existing”?

Now who would have suspected such nice stories could involve so much more? That the ‘learning experiences’ being loaded into the cloud or instilled in an adaptive, digital learning virtual reality game were created by developers hoping to create nonconscious somatic markers. That the developers and research profs knew that “most somatic markers we use for rational decision making were created in our brains during the process of education and socialization, by connecting specific classes of stimuli with specific classes of somatic state. In other words, they are based on the process of secondary emotions.”

All of this psychological and neuroscience research is being forced into required educational practices and no one is accurately telling us unless we dig as I do. Then we get to discover that those ‘secondary emotions’ being carefully hyped and manipulated are “those emotions and feelings [that] have been connected, by learning, to predicted future outcomes of certain scenarios.” Those were professor Damasio’s italics for emphasis in his book. Can the student know the future? No but they are being trained with Guiding Fictions ‘as if’ certain possibilities could be made true. Then the tasks are repeated until the emotionally-embued perception becomes a nonconscious Habit of Mind.

Just imagine making the definition of ‘success’ under the new federal education law or competency as about successfully planning and making decisions without adding that the decision making will be guided by instilled somatic markers. Those nonconscious emotions then become the ‘criteria…which express, at any given time, the cumulative preferences we have both received and acquired.”

Gives a whole new conception as to choice about what is ‘received and acquired’, doesn’t it?

Does ‘student-centered learning’ that is relevant and engaging still seem like a good goal to be blindly implementing for ALL students?


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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 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. 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. 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. 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



The Need to Know as We Understand It Today May be a Lethal Cultural Sport

That needs to be radically restricted if not abolished root and branch. So said anthropologist Bernard James in his 1973 book The Death of Progress in a passage so reminiscent of Paul Ehrlich’s long-expressed desire to use education to create  Newmindedness and James Burke’s to create Non-Axemaker Minds that I just HAD to borrow it. And for similar reasons too. See what I mean?

“There is a sense of desperation in the air, a sense that . . . man has been pitchforked by science and technology into a new and precarious age. [In this age] the final period of decay of our Western world, the predicament is clear. We live on an overcrowded and pillaged planet, and we must stop the pillage or perish.”

And like the Bioregionalists and the Ecology educators like David Orr, it’s always the rational mind that is the central target for change. . There was one modern scientific discovery and technological innovation though that didn’t send Professor James into a social engineering frenzy–the computer and communications technology. What today usually gets abbreviated as ICT or as the National Science Foundation likes to call it–Cyberlearning. As in let’s throw tens of millions of taxpayer dollars or new debt into making ICT the focus of all education. K-12 and higher ed. No Cronyism there. is the January 3, 2013 story called “Federal Effort Aims to Transform Learning Technologies.” Since I have written several posts where education professors and administrators and UNESCO reports explicitly acknowledged that such Digital Literacy efforts actually are designed to gain Equity in Achievement by limiting the ability to think, I decided to look into this expensive program further.

The National Science Foundation’s Cyberlearning Initiative is very much in the Limit the Capacity to Think,Make Tool Use and Social Interaction the Purpose of School, Tradition. You know the one that has everything to do with taking down the basis for Individualism and free markets and disruptive technology innovation and nothing to do with the transmission of useful cultural knowledge from the past? Since that would bolster the rational mind and each person’s ability to conceptualize the future for themselves? Or be ingenious? Oh, but I am getting ahead of myself again.

This 2008 NSF report that must have the tech companies salivating is called “Fostering Learning in the Networked World: The Cyberlearning Opportunity and Challenge: A 21st Century Agenda for the National Science Foundation.” That mouthful, which I quoted in full for a reason, goes a long way towards explaining the NSF’s agenda in creating all the poor math and science curricula in the 90s that became notorious in the Math and Science Wars. Which is important now as NSF also goes after higher ed courses to gain equity in credentialling. Moreover, it explains the education vision in both that USGCRP 2012-2021 report as well as that troubling Research Goal 6 described in the previous post. And also NSF’s work on the Belmont Challenge and the Future Earth Alliance. Busy folks. In fact, “Altering Minds and Behaviors without Telling You” might be a good 21st Century motto for certain parts of the NSF. So convenient isn’t it that  NSF now reports to a close Ehrlich colleague, John Holdren.  He is not telling us either although if you read his past books and articles, he already has.

Consistent with that remake the world and control human behavior aspirations is cyberlearning as a means of “steering” humanity and signalling

“the intertwined tapestry of concepts relating the goal-directed actions, predictions, feedback, and responses in the systems (physical, social, engineering) for which cybernetics was to be an explanatory framework.”

Yes, long before Peter Senge took up the mantle of Systems Thinking to make a lucrative living foisting it on schoolchildren and naive business executives, we had Norbert Wiener who helped develop Cybernetics to try to make human systems more predictable and controllable. And, no, nobody EVER asks us “Pretty Please” or May I?”. So Cyberlearning is based on Cybernetics theories and involves Learning in a networked world. And the NSF report wants to make it quite clear that cyberlearning involves “learning with” the tablets, Smartphones, and laptops that are currently being pushed at great expense. Absolutely does not mean “learning about” the ICT infrastructure. Mercy no, that might bolster the abstract, logical mind and we need to prevent those as much as possible in the 21st century. No matter what the cost in dollars or forgone future prosperity or destroyed individual promise.

In fact on page 11 of that report you can find a chart called “Advances in Communication and Information Resources for Human Interaction” that puts working with symbol systems like reading and math and academic content very low on the totem pole of 21st century aspirations for students. And what makes it to the top you ask reluctantly? Why, that would be “Virtual Observations [aka videos], Collaborations, Social Networking, and Web 2.0.” I kid you not. That’s the Marxist/Deweyan ultimate wish list of Social Interaction, Participation, and Engagement as the purpose of education. It also dovetails to the 1989 UNESCO agenda described here. . The report still guiding education “reform” globally.

One of the creators of that chart is heavily involved with Cyberlearning and Informal Learning generally. Stanford Professor Roy Pea is not only in a position to “Do Lunch” with the Ehrlichs and Linda Darling-Hammond and so many other of our Transform Education Schemers but he was kind enough to do a Cyberlearning slideshow in 2011. That got uploaded on August 15, 2012 just in time for the new school year. . Have fun with the whole show but it is Slides 17-19 that really caught my eye. They make it quite clear Professor Pea considers ICT and Cyberlearning to be a Lev Vygotsky mediated tool.  Complete with pictures.

Vygotsky, for newcomers, was a Soviet psychologist determined to use pedagogy and education to create the perfect Soviet man (and woman I am sure). He understood that cognitive tools can either strengthen the abstract mind (like reading phonetically) or weaken it (like ICT substituting for personal knowledge). Slide 19 leaves no doubt in my mind Professor Pea very much understands what Vygotsky aspired to do in his research. Disrupt previous cultural-historical processes [also known as knowledge of the past] in favor of something new. A different future and culture. As in Designing New Minds, Values, and Overall Personalities I suppose. And Pea also leaves no doubt (Slide 49) that the expensive National Education Technology Plan is part of all this mind-weakening, Transformative, Design a New Future through the introduction of new Cognitive Tools, assault.

Designing the Future. Now how hubristic, as in Will Lightning Strike at the Nerve?, does that sound? But sure enough, on January 18, 2012, there was a Cyberlearning 2012 Summit in DC we were not invited to. So we will have to rely on this helpful graphic of what went on. . And there on the far left we see “People and Technology Working Together Designing the Future.” Apparently all it takes according to the graphic is the NSF using multimillion dollar grants to bribe educators and institutions who will in turn Transform Education. Making ICT and the Internet and the Visual instead of mental the Whole Point of Education.

Well, that will affect the future as we shut down much of the human capacity to think rationally that brought, quite literally, Civilization. Print and the mental manipulation of it played a big part. Especially after the invention of the printing press and the Reformation made literacy widespread in the 16th century. Leading to the explosion of knowledge and technology Bernard James wanted to stop in our title.

But can we really design the future? I don’t think so. But let’s talk about that latest bit of public sector hubris in the next post. We will look at what Ehrlich and UNESCO and the European Union and NSF all have in mind when they talk about Foresight Knowledge.

Because I am a firm believer that forewarned is forearmed. Especially about Foresight.

Sorry. Couldn’t resist that.




Coercing Teachers to be Social and Political Saboteurs–What Can Be Done?

One of the greatest falsehoods, OK I’ll say it, Outright Lie, about the Common Core has been the repeated insistence that no one would be telling the teachers How. To. Teach. It seems like virtually everyone is. That’s the Whole Purpose of these New Teacher Evals and weakening Tenure. That’s why the NEA goes along. Well, at least its leadership who know the real long-term game. The delegates and members? Not so much.

There’s a reason that the teacher evals to be used now track back to people like Charlotte Danielson, Ray Pecheone, and Robert Pianta who were involved in forcing the related Outcomes Based Education (OBE) on classrooms in previous decades. Same goals of changing the student at the values and attitudes level. Just different language and different enforcement mechanisms so this national and international effort at student and teacher subjugation can be touted as “state-led.” Or the New Super’s Idea of Excellence and Quality Learning which seem to be Benign terms, right? Long time readers know better.

CCSSO (the political interest group that represents the chief state ed officers in each state and is financially sponsored by all sorts of businesses with a vested interest in its policies in a first rate example of Cronyism to the core) came out with Model Teaching Standards in 2011 after most states were on board. is a copy if you have never seen it that mandates student-led and new assessment driven (funded in that 2009 Stimulus Act to the tune of hundreds of millions).

By the way, both the SBAC and PARCC assessments to change classroom practice and what gets measured as the results of all that expensive K-12 schooling use the OBE-influenced Norman Webb Depth of Knowledge template we have already talked about. explains why Texas classrooms look like the actual Common Core implementation in other states. All mandating student-led, Depth of Knowledge, and the also OBE-tied Understanding by Design as the means to measure the results of the classroom.

Two more housekeeping matters teachers and parents and then I can get to the juicy part of this story. What is being mandated for the Common Core classroom also is called Standards for Teaching and Learning. It was developed in Chicago and has ties to the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, Bill Ayers, and someone even more famous from back when he was less well-known. Finally, President Obama’s 2008 Education Adviser, Linda Darling-Hammond, just came out with a report (with Ford and Sandler Foundations funding) classifying Effective Teaching and what evals should be measuring in light of the behaviors required by those Model Teaching Standards linked above.

Now that’s a lot of legwork to change classroom practices without it being apparent. Why? Would you believe it goes back to the height of the Cold War and the early 70s and the Soviet Union and China and a very tense world? Yep. And the UN and trying to get everyone in the world during that tense time to change their education practices. Knowing perfectly well that changing education practices would only matter in free societies. In dictatorships, not so much. Which is why this report and its recommendations are so troubling. Not only does it tie to everything going on and being recommended for K-12 and higher ed all over the world right now. But it is clearly education to make one fit to be a subject. Tolerant of being told what to do.

This so-called “right type of education” for the global future was to be a revolution in man’s “inner space also; a new union of science and spirituality.” Yes I was laying a path in those last several posts where we started with Alice Bailey’s From Intellect to Intuition and there is even a listed Ford Foundation adviser who was officially a member of the panel issuing this early 70s UNESCO report. Again, what are the odds?

But to get this “interior revolution” that will lead to a “subsequent social revolution” requires a rejection of traditional instruction and pedagogy to one focused “above all” on developing “personality and attitudes.” Doesn’t that sound just like OBE?

See if this quote sounds like what is being mandated in the classroom and imposed on teachers and students by the accreditation agencies and eval criteria and Cambridge Education’s Quality Reviews and models like Spence Rogers’ Teaching for Excellence?

“Democratizing education will only be possible if we succeed in shaking off the dogmas of conventional pedagogy, if free and permanent dialogue is set up within the educational process, if this enhances individual awareness of life, if learners are guided towards self-education [sounds like the learner-centred classroom to me] and, in short, change from objects to subjects. Education is all the more democratic when it takes the form of a free search, a conquest, a creative act; instead of being, as it so often is, something given or inculcated.”

That’s the type of education the Communists wanted the West to adopt at the height of the Cold War. There was even a Soviet delegate on the panel and he admitted the new desired pedagogy was based on what the Soviets called psychopedaegogy. Which would explain its bloody history upon transferral to free societies like the US.

Sorry but Toxic Social Goals call for Graphic Language if we are to have any chance of halting a Massive Social Engineering Project to remake the national psyche through education. In other places this “non-directive pedagogy” is also referred to as providing “psychotherapeutic data ‘centred on the client.” Given how much of Common Core is about using gathering, and responding to, data on actual student learning. Which is (elsewhere) defined as Changing Student Values, Attitudes, Beliefs, Values, and Behaviors, the acknowledgment that this is psychological data and based on Carl Rogers’ and Kurt Lewin’s work should give everyone involved in education pause.

Teachers being told they can no longer be the “Sage on the Stage” can relate to this passage decreeing that (italics in original):

“the teacher’s duty is less and less to inculcate knowledge and more and more to encourage thinking; his formal functions apart, he will have to become more of an adviser, a partner to talk to; someone who helps seek out conflicting arguments rather than handing out ready-made truths. He will have to devote more time and energy to productive and creative activities: interaction, discussion, stimulation, understanding, encouragement.

Unless relations between teachers and learners evolve accordingly, there can be no authentic democracy in education.”

And authentic democracy in education in the West would help the early 70s Advocates of Evil prevail in the Cold War. Such a psychologizing of education amounts to unilateral intellectual disarmament. Why? To prevent people who can accurately piece together a plan even though no one ever told them what was going on and how it related. There was and is supposed to be no whistle blowing in time.

So the Cold War is officially over despite Putin’s recent sabre rattling and war gaming, why is this still being pushed in 2012? Well, I believe UN Climate Chief Christiana Figueres gave the answer at the end of this recent interview with Yale’s Environment 360. My italics this time.

“It is the most inspiring job in the world because what we are doing here is we are inspiring government, private sector, and civil society to [make] the <i>biggest transformation</i> that they have ever undertaken. The Industrial Revolution was also a transformation, but it wasn’t a <i>guided transformation from a centralized policy perspective</i>. This is a <i>centralized transformation that is taking place</i> because governments have decided that they need to listen to science. So it’s a very, very different transformation and one that is going to make the life of everyone on the planet very different.”

The Cold War may be over. Aspirations of politicians and bureaucrats from the international to the local level to plan society and dictate what individuals are to do (or not) and how economies will work while living at taxpayer expense. Not Over in the Least.

Now that greedy reality appears to be perpetual. It survived the Cold War and is alive and well in 2012. And trying to force teachers to be Agents of Change in a social revolution that will not turn out well or as planned.

This is a good time to talk about this. On the front-end.