Minds, Souls, & Attitudes: Whistleblowing the Tarbiyah Project for Islamic Education Imposed for ALL Students

The multiple tragedies in Paris on Friday in Paris did not change the topic of the Conclusion of this Trilogy. The ramifications of a document that came out of my UNESCO Lifelong Learning research, written by two Malaysian profs and presented at a 2011 Computing and Informatics Conference in Indonesia,  http://www.icoci.cms.net.my/proceedings/2011/papers/86.pdf is what has flushed out the other Ideology that fits 100% with the actual implementation I tracked first in my book Credentialed to Destroy, and now as additional details come into place, through this blog. By Ideology I mean in the cultural model sense used in the last post, but essentially it is the values, beliefs, and concepts a person sees the world through–the personal and social belief system or Worldview that guides individual and collective behavior.

The Arabic word for this is tarbiyah and it means education for Total Human Development, which is why its mandated practices and tenets dovetail so closely with that other M word that grew out of the political and human philosophy of Uncle Karl. I had never heard the word before yesterday. I had planned to write about the still troubling hijacking of acceptable religious belief systems using the secular K-12 classroom as laid out in an atrocious UNESCO/ UNICEF report sponsored by the Arigatou Foundation called “Learning to Live Together: An Intercultural and Interfaith Programme for Ethics Education.” Looking at that long document and its recommended activities and project-based learning and role-playing experiences, it was obvious this global targeting of each student’s values and beliefs, whatever their religion or lack of it, was already in place in various mandates I have covered.

I had pulled that ICOCI “Visionary Model of an Islamic Learning Community” in part because it had a nesting graphic that worked like a Russian Matrushka doll with the student at the center just like the Aspen Institute wanted in that “Students at the Center of a Networked World” report created by a Task Force Jeb Bush disturbingly chaired. It extends outwards to classroom, school, community, and workplace, and then global, so it also fits with something a psychologist named Urie Bronfenbrenner developed. The C3 Social Studies Common Core Framework already hypes BEST (see tags), which also fits with the Learning Cities/ Regions emphasis from the last post. So not only did the push not seem limited to Islamic communities and countries, the link mentioned that Learning Communities, which we already know are to be required in US schools under the definition of what constitutes being an Effective Principal (see FCL tag), are based on a concept created by the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood in 1943.

Saturday morning then, I decided to reread that link carefully, and it said that the late Hassan Albanna used usrah as an education medium laying down its three components of knowing each other, understanding each other, and helping and caring for each other. I am leaving out the particular Arabic terms although these, and usually the symbol from Arabic script and a verse from the Quran, are consistently provided throughout every component of anything involved with this Tarbiyah Project.

Before anyone thinks I have to go to the other side of the world to track this, Tarbiyah was created by a native of Philadelphia, Dawud Tauhidi, who “embraced Islam in 1972. He studied at Lehigh University and later studied Arabic” at U-Penn. In 1980, he graduated from the famous al-Azhar University in Cairo where President Obama chose to go to address the Muslim World. His degree was in Usul ad-Din and Tauhidi’s masters and PhD in Islamic Studies are from U-Michigan. The Tarbiyah Project materials frequently cite to Michigan ed standards said to reflect the Project.

Now we could stick with that 2011 link which tells us “ICT will play a role in helping the democratization of the usrah system” so we can keep its tenets in mind as we look at various digital learning initiatives. I can look at the various prescribed features of the Tarbiyah Project and recognize the complete alignment with what is being mandated for US classrooms in NCLB waivers, Positive School Climate XO’s, civil rights laws, etc. Most of my regular readers and anyone who has read my book will be able to as well. Phrases like ‘continuous improvement’ that are what every administrator and anyone involved in student and school accountability track verbatim.

I have also tried to explain the focus on concepts and the desire to internalize what students will then use to guide perceptions and interpret daily experiences. Not only is that a component of Islamic education for holistic development of the Whole Child so they will learn to “be Muslim,” there was even a reference to the term ‘Enduring Understandings’. It has a tag as does its creator Lynn Erickson. Tarbiyah and Tawhid state that the heart and its transformation are to be the ‘core of education.” Anyone remember the subtitle of Erickson’s book on Concept-driven education? Stirring the Head, Heart and Soul. Did the Georgia Social Studies teachers down at the State DoE in 2009 receiving Conceptual Development training under a Bill Crenshaw know they were being trained to provide Islamic Education consistent with Tawhid (Spiritual Literacy) and Tarbiyah? Probably not and I doubt if the overpaid administrator knew either. That’s the beauty of K-12 globally now. People are pushing concepts they do not know the background of because there’s a lucrative job there, promotions, pensions, and frequently being a Change Agent through curriculum was the whole basis of the education doctorate.

And in it comes with virtually no one having the knowledge or incentives to look further. Did you know the Tarbiyah Project also likes to use that tired metaphor about education needing to move beyond the ‘factory-model’? With the name of the creator and project it will be easy to pull up lots of reports now, but this is too important to have to take Robin’s word for the alignment. Would you believe that in 2014 the US-China Education Review, perhaps excited about the implications of the 2013 Beijing Declaration and Learning Cities from the last post, published an article called “Revisiting the Concept of an Integrated Curriculum and its Implications for Contemporary Islamic Schools.” Again we have Malaysian profs who probably assumed they were talking among like-minded insiders.

It cited to the ‘Tarbiyah Project’ of Tauhidi and how it is an “entire curriculum approach” that can become embedded through standards and “involves integrating Islamic knowledge into every subject of the curriculum and, hence, the inevitable need to rewrite the curriculum.” This integration, which deplores self-contained subjects like algebra or chemistry, also goes by the name ‘Islamization of knowledge’. It “mainly involves integrating all subject disciplines into the Islamic Weltanschauung.” The German phrase for Worldview as the new focus of education.

So when you look at the Tabiyah Framework and its Universal Concepts, remember that the Next Generation Science Standards, with its CDIs-Core Disciplinary Ideas and CCCs-Cross-Cutting Concepts and themes, fits fully with what Tauhidi laid out. Maybe just in time for Bush 43 to allow the US to rejoin UNESCO. Anyway, evaluating Tarbiyah against the Common Core and competency-based education is so much easier with the boast that the Tarbiyah Project:

“promotes the inspiration and transformation of students through the process of teaching and learning in order to transform the world in the future. It has integrated the national curriculum with Islamic principles and output of a ‘brain-based research’. Hence, it avoids pure rote learning and makes learning more meaningful using students’ ability to think and comprehend.”

So the so-called Thinking Curriculum is consistent with Tarbiyah as are all the SEL and Whole Child Initiatives. Anyone reading the Overview should also remember the New 3 Rs of Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships because all are mentioned repeatedly as well. They even make it into Essential Learnings and Key Outcomes and Indicators that formative and summative assessments will be looking for and creating through Project-based Learning and cooperative projects.

Unless the pending reconciliation of the House-passed Student Success Act and the Senate-passed Every Child Achieves Act no longer reflects the language of either bill, the forthcoming ESEA Rewrite will be enshrining the fundamental concepts, values, beliefs, and attitudes of what it means to act as a Muslim per the Tarbiyah Project into federal law. Making the implementation point the states and local schools means nothing as Tarbiyah also fits so well with the Learning Cities/Regions focus that first brought it on my radar screen. Remember Chapter 7 of my book where I made the title about the Common Core always being about changing Values, Attitudes, and Beliefs? Here’s an enlightening quote:

“The ultimate aim of this Islamic education is closely related to character building, i.e. producing an integrated Islamic personality that requires Islamic values as its foundation. Hence, these two elements, i.e., beliefs and values, should be considered as key elements in the implementation of the Islamic integrated curriculum.”

What are those values? Well, the ubiquitous communitarianism we have located everywhere from what makes a Positive School Climate to what are Career Ready Practices is a key component. Tarbiyah is noted in footnotes as being consistent with Bloom’s Taxonomy and Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences. Tarbiyah was not mentioned in any of the Rapprochement of Cultures materials I read or in the Learning to Live Together required practices and activities for the classrooms, but they all fit like puzzle pieces assembling a photo vista once we know about the other initiatives. Remember how the purpose of the creator of a theory or practice comes in even if the implementer is unaware?

Islamic values and beliefs, Tauhidi and these cited others say, thoroughly permeate what is being required and implemented in the US and globally under a myriad of names. I have used tags and Proper Nouns for phrases to bring some of these out. In a world where people can be shot for drawing cartoons or anything maligning, I am reluctant to quote all of the references in the Tarbiyah Project documents and appendices to the Prophet, Quran, quotes from verses, or further Arabic names for what is desired to act as a Muslim instead of knowing about Islam. The Tarbiyah Project aligns with what is already being imposed, including the kind of dramatic change in pedagogy and instructional practices laid out by the Ultimate in American insiders here last week.  http://www.gtlcenter.org/sites/default/files/Using_New_Assessments_Educator_Evaluation.pdf We can all wish that a focus on Student Growth and the required Effective Teaching did not align so well with Tawhid and Tarbiyah.

How can free people survive in a world where the required practices all trace back to either Marxist theory for an ‘all needs met’ society or Islamic theory? In the Learning to Live Together report that was to be the basis for this post, the UNICEF/UNESCO writers make it clear just how regulated people are now to be to fulfill the UN’s agenda. No deviations or amendments allowed and they even said that.

It’s a one-way street though where the beliefs and perspectives of some groups and religions must be respected, while K-12 education deceitfully wipes out any religion, beliefs, or values that venerates the individual.

At least now we do not have to wonder why strange stories about required Mosque field trips and forced studies of Islamic pillars just keep cropping up.

Now let’s see what sunlight can do to this planned transformation without consent. It should trouble us all greatly that Tauhidi cited Abraham Lincoln’s famous quote about whoever controls school curriculum being in charge of the forms of government in the next generation.

Hopefully not, for all of our sakes.

 

As Powerful as a Religious Conversion: Bestowing Deep Understandings for their Revolutionary Effects

In one of those obvious statements that really deserves a sarcastic “Really Sherlock?” response, did you know that people differ in their ability to come up with explanations and structures to organize their thoughts? Which is of course unfair. So in the interests of fairness and equity and without any mention of the political usefulness, schools and effective teaching should now be about providing those so-called Cognitive Structures. That enable thinking and motivate acting in the future. Thinking Tools. How nice. Then there need not be any “cognitive consequences of cultural opportunity.” Single parents, second language, learning disabilities. School will provide the Enduring or Deep Understandings that “serves to organize perception in new ways.” That conceptual lens that may not be true and is not spontaneously generated by All children will now fortuitously be Provided to All children.

Then All Children Can Learn and coincidentally will believe the same things that can have very nice side effects for anyone looking for Fundamental Transformation. Here’s a quote from a 1988 book reprinted regularly through the 90s about the research done with Native Hawaiians as part of the Kamehameha Elementary Education Program (KEEP). It had Ford and Carnegie Foundation funding as well as the National Science Foundation. KEEP was part of a restructuring template to make schools places providing assistance so Each Student can Learn. In the unadvertised sense of behavioral or belief system changes. Much more lasting than mere factual knowledge you see. Only someone working at someone else’s expense would dare say:

“We do not yet know under what circumstances cognitive structuring is to be preferred over questioning, or vice versa. The potential power of cognitive structuring is not in doubt. As in instances of religious conversion, the acceptance of a cognitive structure can have the most revolutionary effects on human behavior and experience. How and why this occurs remain largely mysteries, although our understanding of these remarkable processes is increasing.”

Now it would be possible to provide Concepts and Generalizations and Understandings that are politically neutral but once we get beyond fractions that does not appear to be what anyone has in mind. Old Timers in the Ed Wars will be quaking in their boots when they read that Lynn Erickson was citing Hilda Taba as a model to be emulated in this area of Conceptual Understanding. I will let you look Hilda up. But the idea that human development in school takes the “individual child in whatever form and guides and nurtures the mind, body, and self-concept” should give us all pause. Let’s put that in the context of World Bank economist Kaushik Basu writing in concluding Beyond the Invisible Hand:

“We can come to have norms where behaving otherwise is met with so much social disdain or self-loathing that no one does so. And in the long run, the norms can become so much a part of us that we end up following them not for any reason but rather because that is our instinctive behavioral response.”

And there’s nothing quite like providing “accepted explanatory belief systems” that are practiced with daily over years to transform those norms to instinctive responses. So nice from someone who also wrote that the “demise of the USSR is thus an indictment of a perverse brand of capitalism, not of socialism.” Gulp. Lots of political value in providing the concepts that guide everyday life. And don’t think the radical educators and political schemers (who are sometimes the same person) do not know it. They have been gloating over this for decades beyond our sight but not unrecorded for posterity.

We have covered Soviet psychologist Lev Vygotsky and his Cognitive Tools repeatedly as well as the related Cultural-Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) beehive at UC-San Diego.  It would probably surprise you then to know that in June 2007 the American Education Research Association (yes it was about the time AERA elected Bill Ayers as one of their guiding light execs) published  “Vygotsky’s Neglected Legacy: Cultural-Historical Activity Theory.”

Now neither CHAT nor Vygotsky strikes me as neglected in the least. I am practically feeling crushed by the frequency at which they pop up without looking. I think that essay though was intended to mainstream these theories in preparation for offense and implementation in more classrooms. The fact that the paper received funding from the Canadian government and had a co-author from Singapore further suggests we are dealing with a coordinated psychological assault against the individual mind anywhere that ever upheld Anglo-Saxon common law. This is a little long but important. Concepts matter and Concepts aimed at Reorganizing Thought matter most of all.

“Because CHAT addresses the troubling divides [not to me. I prefer the division thank you very much] between individual and collective, material and mental, biography and history, and praxis and theory, we believe that it is deserving of wider currency in the educational community. . . In part, the vigorous dialectical materialist grounding of psychology in Marxism that A.N. Leont’ev pursued may have slowed the reception of CHAT in the West. Yet we emphasize that these powerful analytic tools, existing even in Vygotsky’s works, have little to do with totalitarian regimes that have falsely masqueraded under the banner of Marxism, socialism, or communism.”

I believe that translates as nasty dictators misappropriated those lovely intentions of Uncle Karl and needlessly besmirched this lovely tool for future human development. This time we will get it right and will only manipulate people’s driving belief systems and values in beneficial ways. For their own good. For the Common Good. For the Planet. And you and I may find Dialectics to be an off-putting word we could do without but that is because we fail to appreciate “the dialectical nature of consciousness, which includes cognition, memory, and personality, among others.”

Well, I guess the dialectical part comes from wanting to fundamentally transform it and CHAT is apparently a PRIMO tool. Did you know that “dialectics is ‘possibly the most appropriate frame of reference for the study of human development, and indeed was actually developed as an explanation for human development?” Well, actually I did point that out   http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/who-knew-karl-marx-had-a-human-development-model-or-that-it-fit-our-facts-so-well/ but now we know once again why it fits our Common Core and global reform realities so well.

I am not going to belabor the number of times those coauthors used that D word in that essay. I will, however, mention that the result of all those contradictions and synthesis of Concepts results in a Deep Understanding. Which is exactly the phraseology the Hewlett Foundation keeps using to describe where it sees the Common Core going. And it dovetails with the Education for Life and Work report from last summer. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/so-now-common-core-rejects-individual-thinking-to-embrace-soviet-psychology-ecology/ .

Boy it sure does look like Leont’ev is getting his transformative experiment in the West that he told Urie Bronfenbrenner he aspired to back in the 60s. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/imitating-the-ussr-in-striving-to-discover-how-the-child-can-become-what-he-not-yet-is/ is the post where I explained that ginormous discovery. That is even more important now as we think about all those false conceptual lenses in Urie’s Ecological Systems Thinking Theory. Which is all through the new C3 Social Studies Framework.

One way to think of the to-be-supplied Concepts and Cognitive Structures and Mental Maps is to see them as “schooled concepts.” The Russians so got the importance of the difference between what can be understood only as a result of formal instruction and everyday practices that the 1988 book mentioned above includes the Russian term nauchnoe ponyatie along with the cite to Vygotsky. These Abstract Concepts are learned at school and then applied “downward” from “generalization to palpable example.” All our mentions of Real World problems and Relevance seem to be based on the recognition from Vygotsky and his followers that “Everyday concepts stand between schooled concepts and the experienced world. Schooled concepts, in Jovian detachment, can connect with the world below only through the everyday concepts that have risen through practical activity. …The constant relating of schooled with everyday concepts enriches and saves schooling from aridity, but this relating also profoundly changes the nature of the everyday concepts that are touched, making them ever more systemic, autonomous, and tool-like.”

These research observations could be used to help teach students to better understand reality as it exists but that would not be transformative. Or perhaps as Engaging. Instead the weaving of schooled concepts with the everyday is to be used to create activities and projects and learning tasks with the purpose of “a fundamental restructuring in which all are transformed: actions, relationships, and thinking.” The cite is to another Soviet psychologist. This time El’konin.

I am not looking for Boogie Men (or women) here but we clearly have a constant refrain of Transformation. And I am getting an increasingly uncomfortable feeling that many influential people at the helm or employed by influential institutions or foundations believe that the Human Development aspects of Uncle Karl’s writings make a good Overlord theory for the 21st Century. And they do intend to give it a try in real time on a massive scale all over the West. But especially against the World’s only Superpower and its  economy.

And the US for the most part is completely unaware that this most subjugating of theories against the primacy of the individual is coming in under an “How All Children Can Learn” banner.

 

 

Desiring a Radical Dialectic Change in Social Reality Necessitates Enduring Misunderstandings

Why is there nothing as practical as a good theory? Why do I mention annoyingly named theories like “Ascending from the Abstract to the Concrete” or Engestrom’s Learning by Expansion? Am I playing, look what I know? No, two reasons require such specificity. The first is the gravity of what I have been explaining on this blog. As an avid reader, I get that these truths sound a bit like the plot to a B-Grade thriller. But sometimes the truth really does trump the acceptable storylines of even an imaginative fiction writer. Trust me, you are not the only one with an “Are you kidding me?” response to all these revelations. Especially how all these links to Soviet pedagogy and psychology and philosophy just keep appearing. Since that is not what I am looking for, the constant appearances must have something to do with creating a consciousness in the West useful to those who want to keep and expand political power.

More importantly though is the second reason. A theory can get included in the coursework of a college or university where it affects the beliefs of people who in turn mold the minds of the next generation. You may have guessed I had one of those old-fashioned, first-rate, liberal arts educations. And I loved it. Well, maybe not Aristotle so much or Spinoza but all in all it was broad and deep and gave me a solid base in adult life for recognizing when I am reading a false explanation. A faulty argument. A pre-arranged set of facts to bolster a case that actually was not supported in the least. But the typical college student now or teacher or principal in graduate programs or professional development are much less likely to recognize they are dealing with a theory that just isn’t so.

Theories allow widespread collaboration in pursuing radical social, political, and economic change without most of the participants recognizing the actual intent behind the theory. You thus can get a widespread organized implementation without much of an actual conspiracy. Darn useful especially when all this is essentially going on an taxpayer expense. So no teacher or principal or even the mendacious supers being inflicted on too many school districts is likely to have studied Soviet Philosopher, Evald Ilyenkov, or why the Soviets created Developmental Instruction after Stalin’s death.

Ilyenkov’s reimagining of Dialectical Materialism through his Ascending Theory and his idea of “theoretically guided education” that would “teach children to think” comes in through activity theory and making Understandings the focus of the classroom and assessment. No further need to know where the theory came from. Or even that it is a theory designed not to reflect reality but to change it.

But the purpose for the creation of the theory still matters even if it remains widely unknown. Well until this and earlier posts. But it matters that the Professor most identified with Cultural-Historical Activity Theory in the US, Michael Cole, who worked with Engestrom at UC-San Diego, wrote the Preface for Ilyenkov’s classic activity theory book when it was republished in English in February 2009. Interesting timing. Getting ready for what implementation in the US?

Not to be too nerdy but Vygotsky and his followers want to emphasize human experience. Being interested in radical social change, they recognized that there are two planes involved. What actually happened and the perception of it. So if what goes on in the classroom can alter or, even better, create an “internal cognitive schematization” in the student’s belief system, you can permanently (that’s the hope) affect how the student filters their daily life. And thus their future behavior.

So the Abstract becomes that guiding theory. As a 1998 book Psychological Tools published by the Harvard Press helpfully put both the point and the rationale:

“Traditional education was essentially retrospective. The universal model and the cultural tradition were givens, and the task of a student was to absorb this tradition and the intellectual tools associated with it. Thus a student was taught to deal with problems that reproduced past cultural patterns. Under the dynamic conditions of modernity [another theory by the way] the necessity for prospective, rather than retrospective, education became obvious [but conveniently omitted from any PR campaign for reforms].

Prospective education implies that students should be capable of approaching problems that do not yet exist …To achieve this capability, the student should be oriented toward productive, rather than reproductive knowledge. Knowledge should thus appear not in the form of results and solutions but rather as a process of authoring.”

Quite a different view of knowledge and likely to be very controversial if widely known. So that fundamental shift in the nature of education and the Soviet inspired developmental focus gets hidden under euphemisms like “higher order skills” and “21st Century Skills.” Or just “Critical Thinking” with the typical parent or taxpayer thinking analytical within the realm of existing and still highly useful relevant facts.

But that would be reproductive of the existing social and economic order and thus not allowed. But being honest that “critical thinking” in the Enlightenment sense “stops right at the point where it touches all those problems of a capitalist society” that need to be reexamined in a new light and with new theories, could very well derail the hopes of developing “alternative prospects for humankind.” Through education.

That quote from the Journal of Critical Education Policy Studies tells us that “the notion of critical thinking takes on different dimensions when associated with the “ideals and practices geared towards a radical change in social reality. From such a perspective, critical thinking emerges as a critical consciousness of the changing world conditions, trends, and mechanisms.”

That kind of definition of critical thinking fits with the curriculum for the common core I am seeing all over the world. A classic example is one the Smithsonian’s Global Competence Initiative references. An interdisciplinary textbook called Exploring Global Issues: Economic, Social and Environmental Interconnections put out by Facing the Future. Education becomes about creating what JCEPS called an “active attitude vis-a-vis social reality, to the conscious pursuit of changing it.” Some of you may have wondered why commenters keep mentioning Hegel and I keep bringing up Uncle Karl. Both men pushed what they called dialectics because they refused to accept the “historic cultural constructs as given.” So the idea is to “perceive possibilities and prospects for alternative social development.”

And to do that is to be “creative” and “innovative” and “imaginative” and engaging in “higher-order thinking.” It helps then not to be too bogged down in facts and knowledge of what existed in the past and why it did or did not endure. Left out of all this talk of CORE, Cognitive Reorganization, and other “thinking” programs we have examined in the last several posts is what JCEPS acknowledges explicitly in the 2003 published essay:

“fostering critical ability with the aim of radical social change is equivalent to fostering dialectical thinking.” I am not going to weave you in and out of this Periklis Pavlidis essay further except to say it tells its tale through Ascending from the Abstract to the Concrete. By name. Making it much easier to spot whatever it is calling itself. Which brings us back to all the presentations Lynn Erickson has been doing all over the world explaining her “Enduring Understandings” to IB audiences. She is now being quoted in Texas for CScope training and in many other state DOEs as they prepare to implement the Common Core.

The quote from her I took from a 2009 Georgia Social Studies Presentation is pretty representative: “Trying to teach in the 21st century without conceptual schema for knowledge is like trying to build a house without a blueprint.” Except what made me a good student was my ability to come up with my own conceptual understandings from the facts. Here the Enduring Understandings get assigned and put up on a Concept Wall in the classroom. The purpose of facts is now merely to illustrate that Enduring Understanding.  And the purpose of that Concept Wall is to help students to see the relationships among concepts. And to get there the teachers are to ask Essential Questions. And the students are to copy down those Essential Questions and Enduring Understandings. “A smaller version for their notebooks” is what the powerpoint said.

All of this does look much like Understanding By Design as well which also relies heavily on those Essential Questions. And UbD, Understandings of Consequence, and Enduring Understandings all function as the guiding theories in the sense Ilyenkov intended as a means of changing consciousness when he first developed Ascending from the Abstract to the Concrete. And as nerdy as all these names sound they all have a common purpose, wherever they are being pushed and whether the speaker is aware of the actual intent or not.

“successful guidance of transformative social action.”

That’s why the theories created are transferable “through time and across cultures” as Erickson describes it. They are theories for social change or imagining a radically different social reality. They are productive education as Psychological Tools described above.

And quite hidden until you know the authors and the terms and then they are everywhere. Very much a part of the planned implementations. If not already in use.

But I for one beg to differ on whether this will be productive. Unless you are being paid to push it.