Reliable Compass: Wiring a Neural Noetic Keel without Popular Outrage or Scrutiny

How often do we see education changes pushed in the name of being ‘internationally competitive’? Let’s take a look at something Andreas Schleicher of the OECD said just a few months ago: “In the past, education was about teaching people something. Now, it’s about making sure that students develop a reliable compass and the navigation skills to find their own way through an increasingly uncertain, volatile, and ambiguous world.” Disagree with that new vision of education? Well, realistically most of us do not get a chance to because that wholesale shift in direction is hidden behind a phrase we simply assume we understand.

Let’s try another one, should the primary purpose of education in the 21st Century be “the intentional attempt in schools to foster the development of students’ psychological characteristics that motivate and enable them to act in ethical, democratic, and socially effective ways”? Again, that’s a shift that parents or taxpayers may never see as it hides behind phrases like Whole Child, Classical or Character Education, or College and Career Ready. In other words, if the typical child is being supplied with the Ideas and Concepts to guide their thinking in predictable ways, we adults are likewise being supplied with poorly grasped new definitions and false narratives about the Common Core or competency-based education that are also intended to guide our thinking and areas of concern.

While my tendons were healing I noticed a sudden push from a variety of education sites for a Parent Toolkit for Student Privacy that I decided to take a look at. I read it and recognized that it wasn’t going to solve the real problems and its release would simply obscure parents ever truly grasping the nature of these education ‘reforms’ and the purpose of standards and data gathering. To use Schleicher’s term, the internalized compass at the level of our children’s minds and personalities would still be wired up at school and parents would remain unaware. Meanwhile they would believe they had ‘protected their child.’ Since parents would remain unaware of the presence of the compass they could not discern the vision it was invisibly steering their child to adopt and support in daily behaviors.

When I started looking more into that Toolkit I saw admitted Progs and purported conservative think tanks and education blogs all writing about this supposed new panacea. After years of doing Due Diligence on desired acquisitions, my gut instinct is always to first look for the funding. In this case, it was not one of the usual suspects like Hewlett, Gates, or Carnegie. Instead, a Rose Foundation was credited. It turned out to be a social justice advocacy based in Oakland, California that functions as a philanthropy pass through so maybe a better-known or infamous charitable name did fund that toolkit after all. https://rosefdn.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/theorychange.pdf lays out the Rose vision for how to achieve Community Change

Sponsoring a Privacy Toolkit that essentially misdirects the attention of concerned and attentive parents  makes perfect sense for an advocacy seeking community change if the building block for the desired change is creating that desired ‘reliable compass’ within each student during their years of schooling. People cannot rally against initiatives they are unaware of because of a coordinated effort to deceive them. It just cannot be coincidental that so many pushed the same largely irrelevant to the actual problem panacea at the same time. We are apparently supposed to believe that there is a database of PII-Personally Identifiable Information–that will be used to track our child and control their future opportunities for work. We are also being misled that nothing imposed at the state or local level can be dangerous. Sure it can, especially when we are being lied to so we are all unawares.

Last week, the “Engaging the Private Sector and Developing Partnerships to Advance Health and the Sustainable Development Goals” report was released after 2016 workshops took place in NYC and London. Another lost invite. It was all about the need for transforming partnerships at the local level that include business and bind to a different vision of the economy and the purpose of business.” Still think the local is a way out and it is the feds in DC who are the primary promoters of evil? This SDG vision and expansive view of health needs a vision of education that “can facilitate changes in values, worldviews, and behaviour at the level of the individual, community and society as a whole. This works particularly well when agreement exists on common values and the best and most desirable behaviours.”

Agreement exists all right, but it is not on hardly any parents’ radars because of all this organized deceit. A philanthropy interested in social justice and community change would have every reason under this vision of how to achieve the SDGs to push a Privacy Toolkit that makes the desired changes at the level of the individual easier because it is the classic “Look Squirrel!” misdirection. How do we get the desired “empowered, critical, mindful, and competent citizens”? Remember the Positive Education report I covered in the March 6 “Radio Silence” post or the “Inside Out” aims from the last post? Does anyone doubt that the Reliable Compass will also serve as the desired internalized component of Amitai Etzioni’s New Golden Rule I covered on April 4 in “Embody or Perish”?

The June 2017 IPEN Newsletter hyped a new Framework for Character Education in Schools from the same Jubilee Centre we met in this post from last spring on the supposed Science of Virtues. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/locating-the-internalized-information-guiding-human-behavior-so-it-can-be-controlled-and-transformed/ Notice that same aim as well as the word redefinition technique we are still dealing with now. In that case it was what the word ‘Liberty’ is now to mean behind our back. See if this does not sound like the same aims we encountered above repeatedly.

“Schools should consider questions about the kinds of persons their students will become, how the development of good character contributes to a flourishing life, and how to balance various virtues and values…Schools should and do aid students in learning to know the good, love the good, and do the good…Human flourishing is the widely accepted goal of life. To flourish is not only to be happy, but to fulfill one’s potential. Flourishing is the ultimate aim of character education. Human flourishing requires the acquisition and development of intellectual, moral, and civic virtues, excellence specific to diverse domains of practice or human endeavour, and generic virtues of self-management (known as enabling or performance virtues).”

Let’s take a break from that quote to catch our breath and mull over just how manipulative and hidden those aims are. After all, those very same ‘enabling or performance virtues’ are outlined in standards for social and emotional learning. The Faux Narrative though has parents convinced we are back to a concerning database of PII and their poor tracked child. Do you remember my warning about the Marxian Human Development Society and the new kind of citizen with different internalized personal traits, values, and beliefs it would need? Doesn’t this all just fit perfectly? No wonder our attention keeps being directed in unison elsewhere.

“Character education teaches the acquisition and strengthening of virtues: the traits that sustain a well-rounded life and a thriving society…Students also need to grow in their understanding of what is good or valuable and their ability to protect and advance what is good. They need to develop a commitment to serving others, which is an essential manifestation of good character in action.”

If that sounds rather collectivist, it’s because that is precisely the intent we were never supposed to grasp. If fundamental to transforming “social and institutional conditions within all human beings can flourish” is instilling an internalized “ethos of cooperation and mutual goodwill,” what better tool could there be than using education to make that the nature of the “reliable compass”?

Embody or Perish: Unmasking the Communitarian Motto Behind Student-Centered Learning

If this blog provided sound effects, I could blow the whistle now and holler that we have reached our destination. This is the 6th post in a series that began on February 27. I used the unexpected DeVos declaration of our ‘moral obligations’ and the IPEN paper on global education as recent examples of what the UN had enacted in the late 90s as the Universal Ethics Framework. I found that because well-known communitarian advocate Amitai Etzioni cited it as he laid out his vision for The New Golden Rule: Community and Morality in a Democratic Society that seemed to accurately reflect the actual classroom and school implementation of Radical Ed Reform going back to the mid-80s. It also seemed to track all the organized deceit I had found about SEL Standards, the Common Core, and other matters which are too consistent in what is being suppressed to be coincidental.

Let’s dive right in because as I have warned, a communitarian mandate pops up on a regular basis and it is always mired in deceit. Now I know why. To prevent resistance to what is being sold as an italicized regeneration of American Society that seeks to penetrate ALL schools and ALL colleges and universities. Here’s the quote that also fits with what was laid out in A Call to Civil Society and Hardwired to Connect from the last post. It explains the neural emphasis we just keep coming across now:

“The communitarian analysis, at least as practiced here, involves a keen awareness that values need to be embodied; that is, for values to guide behavior, a society needs to evolve social and personal formations that undergird the society’s values…Embody or perish is the communitarian motto behind much of what follows.

Embodiment refers to the need for shared values to be internalized by the members and for these values to be integrated into the societal formations [like schools and churches] that help shape behavior.”

Won’t federally required ‘performance standards’ be so useful in making this needed internalization and embodiment an invisible component of how every student will succeed? If such sarcasm seems unbecoming, we need more quoting, especially on how a communitarian society differs from an authoritarian one. My succinct explanation is the coercion is imposed neurobiologically via education to become a Habit of Mind so the coercion is mostly invisible. At least it was until I wrote Credentialed to Destroy and then this presciently named blog. Communitarian societies are steered in “a new shared normative direction. Communitarian societies differ from authoritarian societies in that they require a smaller core of shared values (although significantly more than the societies individualists envision).”

That antipathy toward “individualists” sounds straight out of the new Classical Learning Test hype, doesn’t it? That’s not coincidental, as I will show later. Etzioni stated that:

“the new golden rule requires that the tension between one’s preferences and one’s social commitments be reduced by increasing the realm of duties one affirms as moral responsibilities–not the realm of duties that are forcibly imposed but the realm of responsibilities one believes one should discharge and that one believes one is fairly called on to assume.”

Education, of course, is first on the list of the ‘normative means’ used to create the desired moral commitments which enough people have internalized as the basis for their likely future behavior to change the direction of the society. In case anyone thinks this is just the admitted Left pushing this, remember that Hardwired to Connect from the last post with its ties to the supposedly conservative think tanks pushing School Choice vocally also stated explicitly:

“… an ‘us’ strategy is quite different. It is much broader and more radical. Its focus is cultural, not merely political or programmatic. It aims less at a specific intervention than a fundamental social shift–a change that involves the society as a whole. A ‘them’ strategy is about getting specific things done, but it is more fundamentally about guiding an entire society in a certain direction.”

My book’s pivotal observation that the actual Common Core implementation targeted student’s ‘values, attitudes, and beliefs’ makes so much more sense once we become aware of the widespread desire for Social Reconstruction that is no longer just a project of the admitted Left. Did you know that Chester Finn of Fordham, who we have tracked back to the mid-80s duplicitous Project Education Reform and forward to his work with Diane Ravitch and now Fordham’s co-sponsorship of the PEPG forum at the Kennedy School of Government, is listed as a signatory to Etzioni’s Responsive Communitarian Manifesto? So are several other people tied to those IAV papers in the last post. This truly is where the Right and Left Pincers want to take education. They want the coercion to be invisible and binding.

As I told my kids when they were growing up, wanting something doesn’t mean you are entitled to get it. To avoid the invisible coercion we have to know this vision “requires that most members of the society most of the time, share a commitment to a set of core values, and that most members, most of the time, will abide by the behavioral implications of these values because they believe in them rather than being forced to comply with them.”

The role of all these think tanks makes much more sense to this vision if we know that “a core of shared values also enhances the ability of a society to formulate specific public policies.” Try not to be too shocked that elsewhere those policies must include society and its individual members meeting all needs to provide for ‘individual well-being’. The Communitarian agenda says that is the 21st Century purpose of government. Nothing like 21st Century euphemisms redeeming Uncle Karl’s real vision of human development.

Lamar Alexander doing a presentation at AEI last week pretending ESSA supposedly gets the feds out of education makes perfect sense if ESSA laid out a mandate for the needed framework to force internalization within each student. Remember the requisite Internalization must occur without effective opposition from parents and taxpayers. Also, the local hype fits with the statement that “reconnecting the political decision-making bodies to community dialogues is one of the most important items of the communitarian public policy agenda.” Fits right into what AEI’s President Arthur Brooks called the true tenets of Conservatism. It requires a  Revolution of the Heart too.

The calls of SEL Standards for self-discipline or self-regulation, or what the Faux Narrative refers to as ‘self-government,’  ( https://www.jamesgmartin.center/2017/03/common-core-damages-students-college-readiness/ )  which is also straight out of the Manifesto mentioned above,  call for a longer quote from Etzioni that explains all:

“From a communitarian viewpoint, to draw on public schools as developers of character (for a stronger, higher self) it is most important that they focus on development of personality capabilities that enable people to act civilly and morally. [Soft Skills for All!] First among these capabilities is the ability to control one’s impulses [Is that what the above link calls the ‘right and responsibility of self-rule’?]…Second, a well-formed person must have what Adam Smith called ‘sympathy’: roughly, the ability to put oneself in the other person’s shoes, what we would refer to as empathy. Without this quality, there is little likelihood that children will develop charity, fairness, respect for other people, or the other virtues. When a person possesses these twin capacities, the psychological foundations for abiding by internalized values are in place.

Once schools are restructured in ways that enhance personality development, the question of which specific values are to be taught recedes in importance but still needs answering.”

The requisite ‘non-cognitive factors’ that must be a component of the State Plans under ESSA all go to that personality development prerequisite in one way or another. It’s not a database, but a starting point to get the needed internalized change to support this communitarian vision of a new moral order. It’s not coincidental that the definition of the law taught in elite law schools has now been altered quietly as the “enterprise of subjecting human conduct to the governance of rules.”

I personally reject the distinction that something is not coercive as long as people and governments can successfully misrepresent what they are up to via education and the law. It is also greatly troubling I keep coming across references to collecting data on where students are in each of the 24 listed characteristics of the VAI-Values in Action–Character Survey.

I need one more quote from Etzioni that goes a long way towards explaining what makes education through provided conceptual lenses and themes about what is important, cross-cutting, or Good, True, and Beautiful so necessary to a transformationalist. We will need it in the next post as I continue to prove this IS the vision ALL of education is being organized around. Long time readers will recognize this is the theory with the nerdy name of Ascending from the Abstract to the Concrete created in the USSR in 1962.

“Such statements about moral causes that present themselves to us as compelling are similar to what religious authorities speak of as revelation. This does not mean we cannot reason about these matters. The fact that some cause initially appears to one as powerful does not obviate the need to examine it closely. However, here reason follows and buttresses revelation, and not the other way around…It should be noted that reason plays a rather different role here.”

I’ll say. I wanted to shout “Transfer” as Lauren Resnick has been pushing for in education reforms for decades. She must be so pleased that her integral Higher Order Thinking Skills that embodies this very concept of Revelation first, and then Apply the provided concepts to real world, concrete situations, is a required ESSA component. Measuring every student for compliance at least annually.

That will be so useful for imposing this requisite Internalization.

Next time we will find this same goal being stated in terms of the US Founding Fathers and the purported requirements of “constitutional government.” We will see more clearly then why facts get in the way of simply accepting the provided concepts as Revelations that are to be accepted, internalized, and never disputed.

I feel like such a naughty Individualist sometimes for recognizing when we are being lied to and when something else has the same function.

Revolution of the Heart–Right Actions, Good Thoughts, and Correct Intentions

I wish I could tell you I made up that title because it sounded alarming and I wanted attention. No such luck, unfortunately. I followed the trail of deceit surrounding the Common Core, competency-based education, and School Choice to a 1990 book by Neil Flinders called Teach the Children: An Agency Approach and started quoting. I remain a curious and pondering Individual even if that concept is now to be openly ridiculed and rejected. Notice that it will not be that much discredited Individual (which the Orwellian term ‘School Choice’ wishes to reengineer noetically) that gets to decide what is Right, Good, or Correct. No, we are in the era now of Brain-based learning and as the Institute for American Values’ Hardwired to Connect: The New Scientific Case for Authoritative Communities put it, we need a new kind of education and a new model of human development to fit with the italicized fact that “Social context can alter genetic expression and impact neurocircuitry itself.”

Nothing like neural rewiring to implement a desired new “bio-psycho-social-cultural model of child development” grounded on the fundamental premise that morality is about “love of neighbor.” The sought “authoritative community” trumps the historical set of values that built up the West’s prosperity and advanced levels of technology known as “individualism.” Community will now define “what’s virtuous” which is probably why I can track that IAV document to the NIH funded Science of Virtues guiding K-12 education and a new communitarian definition of Liberty that I covered last March in this post. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/locating-the-internalized-information-guiding-human-behavior-so-it-can-be-controlled-and-transformed/

Little did I know that just barely a year later, we would link that to a declaration that “an authoritative community stands for certain principles [ideas, concepts, Enduring Understandings!] and, in its treatment of children, seeks to shape and launch a certain kind of person. Put a bit more formally, an authoritative community clearly embodies a substantive conception of the good and includes effective communal support for ethical behavior.” We will get back to that confessional report and its IAV 1997 predecessor A Call to Civil Society in a minute after we cover the how. Through euphemisms like Growth, Student Achievement, Social and Emotional Learning, or federally required Higher Order Thinking Skills  that mask an Education that puts the heart in charge of how the brain thinks.

Agency education then (which based on what I know from writing Credentialed to Destroy acts like what that book laid out as Tranzi OBE and competency-based education) states that “what people think, how they feel, and the way they act in relationship to themselves and others is more central to education than what methods, techniques, or organizational strategies are supplied.” Under any of these names, I can recognize its tenets and it is tied to this call for radical “Authoritative Communities”. It is, according to that book’s dedication, the kind of education needed for “those individuals who will occupy the twenty-first century.

Flinders stated that his book was for those seeking to use education “for establishing moral and intellectual rather than economic order.” Much like these other two reports though, Flinders did tie his education vision to the “unequal distribution of wealth” and that “current economic orders are driven by greed, power, and pride” with “some people…sensitive to the divine alternative to these faulty economic orders.” It’s not that I see Uncle Karl behind every tree or new vision of education. I simply recognize both his handiwork and the updated Marxist Humanism vision launched on the rich and technologically advanced West in the early 60s when I run across it. It is everywhere present in the language of these reports and books, even though there is no alarming use of the M word.

Just its themes so let’s get back to quoting so we can also see that this Third Way to be grounded in community, new values, neurocircuitry, and false narratives like the 2011 Closing the Door on Innovation is tied to what I usually simply shorthand as the MH vision, instead of always writing out Marxist Humanism. It does explain that new definition of Liberty noted above as well as why the Hoover Institution seemed to like A Call to Civil Society when it came out. http://www.hoover.org/research/civic-renewal-vs-moral-renewal In case anyone is hoping I am being overly alarmed when told that “we Americans understand freedom, our primary civic end, as an ethical condition–not simply as immunity from restraint,” I personally want a buzzer I can sound every time we track new visions of education or “civic obligations” to such redefinitions of historical terms.

If I am told that “our core imperative is democratic renewal through civic engagement” and that “effective civic engagement…depends on a larger set of shared ideas about human virtue and the common good,” do we as parents and taxpayers have a right to a head’s up to such a fundamental shift before this new vision is simply instilled as Habits of Mind in student-centered, personalized education? Where’s the actual Choice in School Choice if all the available educational choices are quietly committed, under a myriad of differing terms, to neurally instilling these selected virtues and ideas that will guide Right Actions, Good Thoughts, and Correct Intentions grounded in a New Golden Rule as Hardwired to Connect put it.

Flinders is not the only one tying this vision of education to concern over economic inequality. Also remember that the same Bradley Foundation that supports Harvard’s PEPG and its Education Next visions proudly funds the IAV behind both reports I am quoting from. In 2016, my research showed that the same Hewlett Foundation behind Deeper Learning and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund were too. Those philanthropries make strange bedfellows unless I am right that the Right and Left Pincers behind School Choice are headed in the same direction and that direction is the stealth enactment of the MH vision. Education and the law, two of my personal specialties, are primary tools. Here is A Call to Civil Society again:

“The economy exists to support human flourishing. It is not an end in itself…the weakening of civil society, including its moral foundations, is closely connected to the persistence and spread of economic inequality.” Does anyone doubt that IAV would be quoting Thomas Picketty if this report were reissued now? At least Picketty is honest about his agenda. What happens to us all when students are simply taught to feel and act on “our belief that we are one people, with obligations to one another”? If you are lucky enough to have escaped reading reading Uncle Karl and the MH template expressed without any mention of him, here is the IAV 1998 expression of it:

“…the basic subject of society is the human person, and the basic purpose of government–and all other institutions–is to help foster the conditions for human flourishing. In turn, the essential conditions for human flourishing are the elements of what we are calling democratic civil society, anchored in moral truth.” That moral truth is apparently that we have obligations to all others to meet their needs and that it is only in community “can we approach authentic self-realization.”

No wonder I kept stumbling over mandated communitarian concepts and practices as I tracked the actual requisite Common Core implementation in schools and classrooms. If think tanks and universities are going to push a vision of education that deliberately overrides the beliefs common to “most Americans today–[that] we humans, at least in the US, are autonomous units of desires, rights, and legitimate values of our own choosings. We are self-originating sources of valid claims, essentially unencumbered, self-owning, and auto-telological” they need to be open about it. Otherwise we have deceit to parents about what the Common Core is really about and how the various remedies they are being sold actually tie directly to this agenda I am describing in this post.

We are due more than a dismissal like “we view this understanding of the human person as fundamentally flawed” in a document most of us have never heard of. If this masked vision of education  reforms and its true purpose is tied to adopting “a new ‘civil society model’ for evaluating public policies and solving social problems,” aren’t we entitled to be told of the linkage? If we are told that the “new model is essentially ecological. It strives to view social environments the way ecologists view natural environments,” shouldn’t we know that so we can recognize the implications of adopting what Urie Bronfenbrenner called his Ecological Systems Theory? That his colleague, Soviet psychologist Leontiev said would be the Great Experiment on the West?

I guess we cannot react to what we are unaware of and thus spoil this great Third Way experiment http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/imitating-the-ussr-in-striving-to-discover-how-the-child-can-become-what-he-not-yet-is/ . I wish these ideas and practices had no ancestry, much less one I stumbled across years ago. The old model of civil society in the US was supposedly “a stool with two legs: government and economics. The new model adds the missing third leg: social institutions and values.” Schools being the most useful and common of those needed new social institutions, which will come in handy since the “new model seeks directly to protect and nourish social capital.” Our kids, their ‘social capital’ in other words, since in the “new model society consists of individual members who are encultured by institutions and obligated to the common good.”

Now that quote seems like a good stopping point before we discuss the implications of binding us all to a New Golden Rule we are largely unaware of.

If our children are taught, at an emotional level, to be a good 21st Century Comrade and act accordingly, do we parents and taxpayers have a right to know? Are we simply left to follow the tales grounded in deceit until we notice all the open and connected coordination as this post just begins to lay out?

I really wish this post came with a big sheet of paper and magic markers so we could simply draw all those connections. Some things really are more easily explained visually than in print. Nevertheless, all these quotes are quite clear on the essence of the desired shifts.

More next time.

Neural Enslavement to Instill Desired Virtues for Social Change: Deceitpalooza

Silly me. I got the bright idea of distracting myself and decided to just read some history. I picked Ian Mortimer’s millennium, which turned out to have been published on November 8, 2016. It hoped that a woman would be the most significant agent of change in the 21st Century. Not yet, but after making my way through the centuries, I get to the conclusion only to discover I was not getting a break from the familiar refrain after all. Mortimer wanted to “focus our attention on the forces that are likely to act upon our nature in the future.” The fantastic wealth and levels of technology the world now enjoys were accomplished via the “breaking of boundaries…Many of these boundary crossings can be characterized in terms of the “go West, young man’ paradigm…This paradigm underpinned scientific discoveries, world exploration and economic growth. But with the recognition of the approaching exhaustion of our fossil resources on Earth, this boundary-breaking mentality is out of date.”

Long time readers will recognize this hostility to what I nicknamed the Axemaker Mind and the hope of ecologist Paul Ehrlich for Newmindedness. Part of what we will do in this post is tie this hostility and desire for a new kind of mind to what is being pushed as Classical Education as in this piece touted last week. http://www.theimaginativeconservative.org/2016/11/individualism-root-error-modernity-george-stanciu.html  It is also tied to much of the organized deceit surrounding the Common Core as so many think tank employees and their mysteriously connected colleagues “against the Common Core” turn out to be tied to instilling a common core of moral virtue using education to create a neurally-grounded, ‘well-ordered soul.’

That well-ordered soul instilled within the student in turn is designed to know and choose based on instilled habits that are consistent with the UNESCO Ethics Framework from the last post, the Positive Education template, DeVos’ moral mandate, Amitai Etzioni’s Communitarian New Golden Rule, and finally Karl Marx’s vision for his Human Development Society. Since Mortimer put it, like Uncle Karl, in terms of the existing base of wealth and technology that had been reached, let’s go back to the quote above to see why “Hey, Hey, Ho. Ho. The Existing Mentality just has to Go.” Bad pun I know.

“The challenge now is not one of expansion but self-containment: a series of problems with which the all-conquering male is ill-equipped to deal. We, Homo sapiens, have never before had to face the problem of our own instincts threatening our continued existence; they have always been for our benefit, the survival of our genes. The frontiers we face now lie not on the horizon–or even in space–but inside our own minds.”

Now let’s jump to how the 1995 book Seedbed of Virtues defined the “Classical Conception of Virtue.” Please pay attention because this definition and book are closely related to both the new Catholic Curriculum Framework, School Choice, and why the American Principles Project/Pioneer report from last fall that laid the narrative for those frameworks (by misrepresenting the nature of Competency-based Education and Transformational Outcomes Based Education) may have done that. This is a little long, but absent the references to Aristotle and substituting Character or Whole Child for Virtue, think of it as what all 21st century education must be doing.  I will boldface the why so we can tie it to Mortimer and Uncle Karl and snark in brackets for current relevance.

“The classical conception of the relation between virtue and politics was spelled out by Aristotle. Individual virtue (or excellence–the Greek arete will bear both meanings) is knowable through everyday experience [Project-based or service learning?], definable through philosophic inquiry [Higher Order Thinking Skills?], and is always and everywhere the same [Truth. Beauty. Good?]. For Aristotle, the virtues are not just Greek, but rather human, virtues. Political life must be seen as in large measure a means to the attainment of virtue, understood as an end in itself. Once the threshold conditions of physical and material security are met, the political community should structure its institutions and policies to promote virtue in its citizens [remember the NIH and Templeton-funded Science of Virtues at U-Chicago?), and its worth as a community depends on the extent to which it achieves that goal.”

To make a long story short, that book was cited in connection with UNESCO’s Ethical Framework and I recognized the name Mary Ann Glendon (Harvard law prof) from both the Catholic Frameworks that wanted to specify Knowledge, Skills, and Dispositions that students are to have internalized, as well as being a communitarian associate of Amitai Etzioni. If the book sought to elevate the “collectivity over the individual” and duties over individual rights, it would explain so much of what I have found over the years being imposed though education via an affirmative view of the law. As I am prone to do when I find a vision that is both alarming and clearly connected to what we are seeing imposed on classrooms, I looked up the book’s publisher,  the Institute for American Values (IAV).

Remember how the Ethical Framework recognized the need to control and create new values and categories and principles to guide thought if the sought social and economic changes to meet all human needs via Universal Ethics were to be imposed? IAV turned out to have a Sean Fieler as its Chairman. I recognized that name as he is also the Chair of the American  Principles Project. What are the odds? Then I discovered the ubiquitous Bradley Foundation, THE major funder of School Choice and so much else, delightedly recognizing its support of IAV. I have written about what School Choice actually does and it fits with how Tranzi OBE and Competency-based education actually work. Here’s the stated aim from Seedbed of Virtues that would certainly explain both the support of School Choice and all this documentable deceit.

“need to reshape institutions [like schools, universities, and churches] for the sake of revitalizing civil society…the path to better rather than worse judgments–must ultimately be sought, not in the seedbed, but in the seed: the human person…to control his knowing and his choosing.”

Isn’t that what Ian Mortimer called for in that recently published, much hyped book? Interestingly, last week, many of the think tanks pushing either School Choice or Classical Education or both, touted the release of the Classical Learning Test, to be a successor to the ACT or SAT. Its release celebrated that “instead of individualism, we stress community…rather than merely becoming a number, we want to see students use standardized tests as yet another opportunity to mature in wisdom, virtue, and academic competency.” Boy, that aim certainly sounds like the goal is to instill the internalized rudder of desired personality traits and supplied Knowledge to be acted on as a matter of habit.

An article accompanying the release of the CLT–“Happiness and the Moral Dimension of Education” leaves no doubt that the CLT seeks to evaluate the extent to which a student’s “body, emotions, desires, will, and a mind…are in harmony, working together for the true good of the whole person and his community.”

In 1998, IAV released “A Call to Civil Society: Why Democracy Needs Moral Truths” that saw the historic Western civilization “understanding of the human person as fundamentally flawed…Our capacity for reasonable choosing and loving is what allows us to participate in a shared moral life, an order common to us all..”

In the next post we will look at that document and its implications, including where School Choice and all education reforms are really taking us. We will also cover IAV’s 2003 publication Hardwired to Connect: The New Scientific Case for Authoritative Communities since it gives plenty of reasons for the deceit surrounding the Common Core and education reforms generally.

Hard to force what Uncle Karl called communism and others have called Marxist Humanism or Systems Thinking once enough people grasp the presence of its clear tenets. Much better to do what IAV did in that 1998 report, call for a ‘new society model’, where “society consists of individual members who are encultured by institutions and obligated to the common good.”

Gramsci was not the only Transformational Collectivist seeking to March through the Institutions. He was simply more upfront about it.

 

Anchored to the Human Psyche to Engineer the Invisible Coup: the Narratives Converge

The previous two posts illustrated real-time proclamations from just the last few weeks that fit with what we are going to cover today–the quietly imposed Common Framework for the Ethics of the 21st Century issued by UNESCO in September 1999. It grew out of Universal Ethics Project begun in 1997, imposed invisibly by education, P-12 and higher ed, under obscuring terms like learning, outcomes, standards, and competencies. The Framework was referenced in a footnote I came across while trying to chase down the common education agenda being pushed by the admitted Left Pincers (in this case communitarian prof Amitai Etzioni) and American Principles Project founder, Robert George, as a representative of the School Choice pushing, but headed in the same actual direction, Right Pincers.

Before I could write up the implications of that Framework, we suddenly had Ms DeVos’ statement about the moral obligations none of us may abdicate and the Positive Education practices mandate coming from the World Government Summit. Since they each seemed to assume the shift into the obligations of a Framework few of us are even aware of, I went with the “this is coming now” approach in the previous two posts. Now that the Imminence is crystal clear and not speculative, let’s take a look at what is being concealed from us. Because this is a blog, not a book, this post will be followed next by how I know for sure that this is where all the deceit surrounding the Common Core and School Choice really leads.

Those who have read Credentialed to Destroy are aware of just some of the evidence I cite on why I believe the ending of the Cold War was somewhat stage-managed to let education quietly assume the transformational reins. Let’s add to that body a Gorbachev book, The Search for a New Beginning, I did not have then telling us what Perestroika was really about. Gorbachev wanted to “join politics with morality” and create a Framework for new forms of required interaction and new forms of thinking. Instead of “artificially constructed utopian schemes” that “are not workable anywhere,” he called for:

“The recognition of the world as an integral whole [which] calls for a change in our value system, or to put it more precisely, for actualizing the initial values that are inherent in the nature of the human being as a social and spiritual entity. In one form or another, and in varying degrees, those values are reflected in the world religions and in the great humanistic doctrines.”

In a preview of what will be coming in the next post, substitute the word ‘Virtues’ for ‘values’ in that quote above and we quickly get to precisely where Classical Education is taking Privates and Charter Schools. First though let’s get back to Gorbachev’s bluntness because it explains so well the language we will cover on the need to shift away from traditional views of Individualism and rationality. (the italics are in the original text)

“The future of human society will not be defined in terms of capitalism versus socialism. It was that dichotomy that caused the division of the world community into two blocs and brought about so many catastrophic consequences. We need a paradigm that will integrate all the achievements of the human mind and human action, irrespective of which ideology or political movement can be credited with them. This paradigm can only be based on the common values that humankind has developed over the centuries.”

We will leave Gorby now and shift back to the supposed new values, ideas, and principles that people need to internalize from an early age (enter education tied to behavior and the Whole Child which is precisely what performance standards mandate) so that everyone can “flourish” in the 21st Century. Sure enough, that particular uncommon verb is ubiquitous now throughout the UNESCO Ethics Framework, the Positive Education Practices we encountered in the previous post, as well as the NIH-funded and Templeton Foundation sponsored Science of Virtues going on now at U-Chicago. What are the odds of such common, uncommon, terminology?

The cool thing about the Ethics Framework is that there is no overt, publicized command that makes people feel coerced. The Russians and Chinese noticed those edicts from on high simply did not work as well as using a reenvisioned type of education that affected “the will of individuals in every and all situations in which he or she acts.” Once that Learning becomes a Habit of Mind we have installed an invisible internalized neural rudder that allows society and an economy to be steered and guided without anyone needing to be the wiser. Students will have Moral Dialogues grounded in “philosophical value knowledge” (just like the School Choice-advocating Manhattan Institute laid out recently in an odd “Republic in the Atlantic” piece in City Journal).

The goal of education then, whether marketed as “knowledge, skills, and dispositions” in K-12 or Essential Learning Outcomes in higher ed, is actually aimed at using reading, classroom conversations, group projects, and virtual reality adaptive learning aimed at:

“developing the capacity of individuals to make right evaluations of others’ actions, of events, situations etc., and to find out, in the light of philosophical value knowledge the implications of such a will: what they should, or can, do, so that human dignity can be protected or be as little damaged as possible in the given unique situation, in which they have to act, as a whole.”

If that aim is not graphic enough that what the Universal Ethics Framework, instilled via education, seeks is a “paradigm shift in consciousness” so that we can all “apply our minds collectively and …work towards a new intellectual and spiritual renaissance,” let me use another. This quote from Paris, March 27, 1997, bemoaned that:

“whereas humanity is transiting to the global society, our minds are still mired in pre-global concepts. And it is this difference, it is this gap between the emergence of the global society and the non-emergence of a global consciousness, that is at the root of many of the problems that we see in the world today.”

If the means of closing that gap and creating the desired new thinking and ethics is new ideas and values, is it coincidental that suddenly the relief offered from the horrors of the Common Core is framed in terms of Character Education, Positive Psychology, Conceptual Understandings and Core Disciplinary Ideas as the ‘content knowledge’, and Virtues?

Does anyone else feel like the remedy offered is actually grounded in this little discussed Ethics Framework? Because apparently reenvisioning the human future is “affected and even determined by the behavior of humans acting on the basis of normative ideas and principles.” If education in the 21st Century is actually premised on the italicized “question: what values and principles may be mobilized in order to steer the forces of technological and economic change for the purposes of human survival and flourishing?”, aren’t we even entitled to know that is the foundational question behind all these imposed changes?

There’s that ubiquitous aspirational verb again. Anyone else wondering who will really flourish in this vision?

Radio Silence and the Dog that did not Bark: Positioning Positive Education Globally

Sometimes the most telling fact for figuring out connections is the non-existence of something we would normally expect to see. For the intrepid detective Sherlock Holmes, it was the failure of anyone to mention hearing a barking dog on the night of a murder. The watchdog, then, must have known the attacker and let him by without alarm. It has been three weeks since the World Government Summit 2017 was held in Dubai. There were two substantial papers released at that summit. One, on desired Innovations in Government, has been written about. The other called “The State of Positive Education” has not. Radio Silence about a desired global paradigm shift so that “schools all around the world should place well-being at the heart of education” means that those of us who are paying attention do not get a chance to bark in alarm.

Why would we be so alarmed you may wonder? The Summit had two Americans as the keynoters on this topic. A U-Penn prof, Martin Seligman, with his own tag who we have previously tied to the UN’s World Happiness Reports and Mihaly Csiksentmihalyi, who is tied quite simply to virtually everything. For starters, it is Csik’s definition of Excellence as bringing together what we want, feel, and think into a single act that is in play every time we hear a desire for Excellence in Education. Think also of the federal civil rights laws and the repeated command for Equity and Excellence.

How does this tie to Mrs DeVos’ statement from the last post and the repeated push to federalize an obligation that every school have a Positive School Climate? Surely I don’t want schools to have a negative culture, belittling the less capable, or strange, student until they can barely look up from their pain. Of course not, but making how students treat each other,  whether they cooperate in joint projects, and whether they show ‘prosocial attitudes’ and reach ‘shared meanings’ of what abstract ideas must mean the new purpose of schools is too transformational to be something imposed under the radar in silence.

Last fall the State of Rhode Island created a Statewide Personalized LearningTemplate for its schools. A little discussed essential component of this student-centered transformation was a requirement for “school culture shifts” of the precise kind laid out by Positive Education. It is also a fundamental component of a Colorado district piloting ‘performance-based education’. Australia, relying on Professor Seligman’s work has crafted a Positive Educational Practices (PEPs) Framework published in 2008 by the British Psychological Society’s Journal. It stated that the “major focus of the positive psychology movement is how to facilitate flourishing lives that promote individual and organisational wellbeing.” Happiness, flourishing, mental health, and ‘what makes life most worth living’ sound like such tremendous goals. Wouldn’t it take someone with the heart of the Grinch, before his Christmas epiphany, to oppose such a focus?

Readers in the United States still unsure about how widespread this focus is and just how much has been put in place under conditions of silence should know that the National Institutes of Health and fed ED have already been funding Positive Education to create “classroom interventions.” It satisfies the criteria for ‘evidence-based’ under federal law and ‘scientifically-based practices’ in legislation passed by states. Last July, the author of that summit paper, the International Positive Education Network, IPEN, held its first ever Festival. 850 delegates from 30 countries came to Dallas, Texas for the event. Apparently those Essential Knowledge and Skills Frameworks Texas has in place marry well with Positive Education.

One more example, this one cited in that Summit Report IPEN created: fed Ed recently announced its “new ‘Skills for Success’ grant competition, aimed at improving students’ mindsets and learning skills. The awarded projects will involve more than 10,000 students in various school districts in the US.” Those districts may brag about the money as demonstrating they are on the Right Track locally. Bet the grants will not be touted as being a Positive Psychology experiment. There are five listed foundations in this approach to education: Social and emotional competency, positive emotions, positive relationships with peers and teachers, engagement through cognitive and character strengths so these can be developed at school, and students having opportunities at school and in the community to develop a sense of meaning and purpose. No need for Personally Identifiable Information at all.

Would anyone like to guess how often anti-bullying is cited as a reason to shift to Positive Education? I bolded the word ‘strengths’ in the last paragraph because the provided definition reminded me so much of how Excellence is also defined. “A ‘strength’ can be defined as a natural capacity for behaving, thinking and feeling in a way that promotes successful goal achievement.” With all the mentions of prosocial actions and instilled values, it is not too clear exactly who will be setting the goals that each student is to achieve. Do remember Mrs DeVos said we all have moral obligations we may not abdicate. I suspect she will just love Professor Seligman’s definition of a ‘meaningful life,’ at least she will if anyone at DoED describes it to her.

“a meaningful life is one that joins with something larger than we are–and the larger that something is, the more meaning our lives have. [Seligman] states that life is given meaning when we use our signature strengths every day in the main realms of living ‘to forward knowledge, power or goodness.'” This really is NOT education in the traditional sense and reads like training for collectivism so that students will not question an obligation to act from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs. We will cover more proof in the next post that whatever the personal intentions of Mrs DeVos or Professor Seligman or others pushing this template, it truly is creating the desired consciousness and personality traits and habits needed for a shift away from the individual’s right to decide their own pathway in life.

Actually I will close with a statement Seligman made in June 2009 for the Oxford Review of Education when he answered the question of “Why Positive Education now?” with “What is all our wealth for, anyway?” I am tempted to pretend to be Tonto when the Indians are attacking him and the Lone Ranger and ask “who is we?” but then no one thinks wealth is easier to come by apparently than politicians and tenured profs. Here is Seligman and the reason for the Radio Silence:

“General well-being–how much positive emotion, how much engagement at work, how much meaning in life our citizens have–is now quantifiable and it complements, and makes sense of, GDP. Public policy can be aimed at increasing general well-being and the successes or failures of policy can be measured quantitatively against the standard.

Prosperity-as-usual has been equated with wealth. The time has come for a new prosperity, a prosperity that combines well-being with wealth. Learning to value and attain this new prosperity must start early–in the formative years of schooling–and it is this new prosperity, kindled by Positive Education, that the world can now choose.”

I bolded that word ‘kindle’ so we can have a chance to make this choice ourselves rather than have it imposed at summits we were not invited to or educators hoping for federal grant money. Because what Positive Education seeks to kindle at the level of each child’s mind, habits, and personality is intended to turn into an invisible bonfire motivating his or her future behaviors.

It really gives new meaning to imposing a cultural revolution from the bottom-up and the inside-out.

 

Making Man Moral through Integrative, Holistic Education Focused on Purpose

Sometimes these days I feel like I am a part of that old musical comedy “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” not because all these machinations via education and deceit are funny, but because suddenly between posts something happens that proves just how correct I am on how this fits together. Last week, the blog Cafe Hayek run by George Mason economic profs mentioned a January 24 piece by “my colleague Peter Boettke on the late economist Kenneth Boulding.” Now that may seem innocuous and even dry, but there cannot be a more seminal person other than John Dewey to the sought transformation of education. Boulding laid out its purpose and how it could be used to control other social systems. Is this further evidence of a Convergence of the Right and Left Pincers we can see so much evidence of? Confessions, after all, are so much nicer.

http://www.coordinationproblem.org/2017/01/kenneth-boulding-on-the-task-of-interpretation.html is the post and it tied in my mind to why everyone suddenly wants education to be about moral values, guiding principles, Disciplinary Core Ideas, Classical Concepts, and other ideas first that can then guide a child’s perception. How they interpret their daily experiences and what they never even notice. This is the end of the Trilogy so let’s pull all this together so we can appreciate How to Invisibly Control Future Personal Decision-making with No Need to Admit It. Bolding (without the ‘u’) is mine.

“Themes without facts may be barren, but facts without theories are meaningless. It is only ‘theory’–i.e., a body of principles–which enables us to approach the bewildering complexity and chaos of fact, select the facts significant for our purposes and interpret the significance.

Indeed, it is hardly too much to claim that without a theory to interpret it there is no such thing as a ‘fact’ at all…what, then, is the ‘fact’ about the wart? [Boulding’s example that should be read in full while thinking about the meaning of Disciplinary Core Ideas or Enduring Understandings] It may be any or all of the above, depending on the particular scheme of interpretation into which it is placed.”

When I was a student, part of what made for A+ work was the ability to develop an appropriate scheme of interpretation by myself, in the privacy of my mind, using what I saw as the pertinent facts. Something that made the prof go “That’s it! Wish I had expressed it that way.” This is something else. These are essentially presupplied ‘constructs’ designed to guide perception and future action in a way that makes a person likely to desire and instigate transformational change in the circumstances we all live under. If they cannot do it, they can organize together so politicians will implement the changes. That’s why I created the term Politicalism. What Boulding was known for was “incorporating the ideas, concepts and tools from the natural sciences into social scientific analysis.” Why?

His good friend Bela Banathy, who also has a tag and was involved in the creation of the concept of charter schools and what now goes by School Choice, told this story that his close friend Boulding shared with him in 1983. In 1954, at Stanford’s Center for Advanced Studies in Behavioral Sciences (CASBS) where so much else was hatched:

“four Center fellows–Bertalanffy (biology), Boulding (economics), Gerard (psychology), and Rappoport (mathematics)–had a discussion  in a meeting room. Another Center Fellow walked in and asked: ‘What’s going on here?’ Ken answered: ‘We were angered about the state of the human condition’ and ask: ‘What can we–what can science–do about improving the human condition‘ Oh!’ their visitor said: ‘This is not my field.’ At that meeting the four scientists felt that in the statement of their visitor they heard the statement of the fragmented disciplines that have little concern for doing anything practical about the fate of humanity. So they asked themselves, ‘What would happen if science would be redefined by crossing disciplinary boundaries and forge a general theory that would bring us together in the service of humanity?'”

That overdone analogy to the ‘outmoded factory model of education’ is actually a cloaking metaphor to mask this complete change in the purpose of education that drove the education reforms in the 60s, 80s, and now covered in my book Credentialed to Destroy. It’s also why Tranzi OBE and Competency needed to be deliberately misdefined as we saw in the last post. Why do we keep coming across an emphasis on Character or Moral Dispositions and Attributes? Because social and political scientists like Boulding came to recognize “that the universe of ethical values is a driving force in human life” and can be altered to drive a transformation in what is acceptable in the future.

If you want to drive cultural change, alter human consciousness by instilling new ‘active principles’ that people must now use to organize their lives and institutions. Then have them practice it in the classroom or workplace or even their church until relying on these principles becomes a Habit of Mind. In his 1969 AEA Presidential Address, Boulding informed those economics professionals that “any system contains the seeds of its own transformation or future genesis, and that this works through a learning process.” See why education had to change away from an emphasis on facts? Economics was just one of the human social systems that interested Boulding and he knew change had to start with the very mental models each person internalized:

“All these social systems are linked together dynamically through the process of human learning which is the main dynamic factor in all social systems.”

That’s such a useful quote for anyone who wonders why I cannot stick to just writing about education. Because it’s a tool to a transformation for a different purpose and a new, unlikely to succeed well for most of us, vision of the future. When should we talk about it? After the carnage is more advanced and even more resources depleted in the name of education? I am going to shift away from Boulding for a moment, but his vision was covered in the Trilogy begun here with his book The Meaning of the 20th Century and its effect on the Commission on the Year 2000 covered in the post that followed. Rereading those yesterday almost took my breath away because it fits so closely with what was in the Roadmap for the Next Administration and the Architecture of Innovation on what data can be made to now do.

http://invisibleserfscollar.com/reimaging-the-nature-of-the-world-in-the-minds-of-students-alters-future-behavior-and-social-events/

This post’s title comes from a book Robert George–Princeton professor, Bradley Foundation board member, well-known spokesperson for Catholicism, and founder of the same American Principles Project that did not want to define certain terms accurately in the last post, wrote in 1993. If ‘common guiding principles’ and shared meanings are in fact what makes people and organizations act as ‘systems’ as Boulding and systems science generally believed, it makes perfect sense not to concede that is what ALL Competency-based education reforms, and what I nicknamed Tranzi OBE, are about. The aims are no different then from the Catholic Curriculum Framework although some of the offered concepts, principles, and the justifications for the changes may differ.

Like Boulding in the quote Boettke chose or in my quotes from his 1969 AEA address, George in his making men moral: Civil Liberties and Public Morality wanted education to provide “first principles of practical reason…to guide choice and action.” Fascinating, huh? Everybody seems to want to carve that rudder that will guide future decision-making without being forthright on the connection. All we get are School Choice!, Federal Misedukation, and Autonomy to the Locals and parents. Some autonomy as both education and “laws have a legitimate subsidiary role to play in helping people to make themselves moral.” Then sell it to parents that way and admit Classical Education IS designed to create a steerable rudder both parents and students are not being told about.

Character is a wonderful thing, but not when it operates at an unconscious level as a Habit of Mind and parents are not told that their children are being steered in the name of Goodness. Truth. and Beauty or Equity and Justice or Sustainability or other Guiding Principles to guide practical reason and likely future action. The same Spiritual and Moral Framework that can be used by New Agers like the Ross School from the last post or Social Justice Warriors grounded in Paulo Freire Pedagogy for the Oppressed aligns with the aim of instilled Knowledge, Skills, and Dispositions from the Catholic Curriculum Frameworks. They ALL want to provide the ideas, emotional motivations, and values students internalize as their guide to future decision-making. School now wants to provide their purpose for living and the vision of what the future might be.

To truly get the dangers of this personalized, student-centered, transformative vision of education perhaps it will help if we follow those Moral and Spiritual Frameworks (as well as the cited Ron Miller’s “What are Schools For?”) right straight to a School of Education and Psychology in Isfahan, Iran. If “Holistic Education: An Approach for 21st Century” from 2011 is okay with the mullahs and their tyrannical vision of people, we really need to quit using the word ‘autonomy’ to describe the student when this vision of education is through with them. Yes, they have a purpose, but is it really theirs? I will quote from the Abstract because it fits with the vision I have described in this Trilogy. Think of the implications of that.

“Holistic education encompasses a wide range of philosophical orientations and pedagogical practices. Its focus is on wholeness, and it attempts to avoid excluding any significant aspects of the human experience. It is an eclectic and inclusive movement whose main characteristic is that educational experiences foster a less materialistic and more spiritual worldview along with more dynamic and holistic views of reality.

It also proposes that educational experience promote a more balanced development of–and cultivate the relationship among–the different aspects of the individual (intellectual, physical, spiritual, emotional, social and Aesthetic), as well as the relationships between the individual and other people, the individual and natural environment, the inner-self of students and external world, emotion and reason, different disciplines of knowledge and forms of knowing, holistic education is concerned with life experience, not with narrowly defined ‘basic skills.'”

Doesn’t that life experience/basic skills distinction sound just like the erroneous definition of Competency from the last post? Isn’t the US goal of College and Career Ready just another euphemism for this holistic life experience vision that seeks to control what gets internalized to guide the adults our children will become?

How is it not authoritarian for any government at any level to make education holistic or integrative using those aims?

How on Earth can this really be “education for humanity” when the type of human we become is subject to undisclosed political control?

Controlling Consciousness and Planning Society Via Politicalism-a New Helpful Description is Born

Before I turn the term-Politicalism-into the most apt metaphor since Axemakers Mind for describing the true intent behind K-12 education reforms, let me offer up some timely quotes on controlling consciousness. The first is from a December 20, 2016 report called “Behavioural Insights at the United Nations–Achieving Agenda 2030.” I will be bolding or italicizing the passages or phrases I most want everyone to remember.

“Agenda 2030 can only be achieved if we critically examine the behavioural factors that lead people to utilize programs effectively and efficiently. Research in behavioural science–regarding how people make decisions and act on them, how they think about, influence, and relate to one another, and how they develop beliefs and attitudes–can inform optimum programme design. Behavioral science research reveals that even small, subtle, and sometimes counter-intuitive changes to the way a message or choice is framed or how a process is structured, can have an outsized impact on the decisions we make and the actions we take.”

So the areas aimed at by what is now called competency-based education and that used to be called Transformational Outcomes-Based Education (both covered in depth in my book Credentialed to Destroy) are the areas the UN believes are crucial to achieving its agenda of Equity for All globally by 2030. Let’s use a shorter quote from another paper released by UNESCO yesterday from the WEF in Davos, Switzerland. The report on the vision for education needed to achieve that 2030 Agenda was called “Partnering for Prosperity: Education for Green and Inclusive Growth” and its section on the Social Determinants of Health and Inequity led with this quote from Professor Bell Hooks:

“There must exist a paradigm, a practical model for social change that includes an understanding of ways to transform consciousness that are linked to efforts to transform structures.”

If that seems vague please search out the papers on Equity and Empowerment Lenses from Multnomah County, Oregon that public health policymakers are now quietly nationalizing. Many of the links are in the most recent comments to the previous post. Finally, we have a quote from a 2013 edition of the book Violence and Social Orders: A Conceptual Framework for Interpreting Recorded Human History. Before I get to that, I want to reiterate how I research at this point in my work.

I am literally working off of footnotes where people with money and political power are confessing what they intend to do with the models and theories they are creating. One of these books cited a Professor Douglass North and that he had been a Marxist and then laid out a quote from that book that struck me as still thoroughly Marxian in its view of the mind and molding consciousness. That’s not an insult, but a shorthand phrase for a particular view of history and how it can be used to mold consciousness deliberately. When a used copy of the book arrived, the authors thanked the Hoover Institution profusely as well as the Bradley Foundation for its financing of the project of a “new framework for the social sciences.”

So the Hoover Institution behind the Koret Task Force and what I regard as an attempt to create a deceptive narrative around the Common Core in the 2011 paper Closing the Door on Innovation, which is also one of the named partners in the PEPG–Program on Education Policy and Governance at the Kennedy School of Government we have covered, wanted this new framework. And the Bradley Foundation behind that concept-based approach to History from the 80s that also finances PEPG’s publication Education Next and many of the think tanks and other entities pushing School Choice and that owns the book publisher, Encounter Books, financed the framework. Let’s take a look at what it aims at.

In the chapter entitled “A New Research Agenda for the Social Sciences,” we find an explanation for what I keep finding when I dig behind the facade of the ‘School Choice’ slogan.

“A full account of human behavior would begin by asking how the mind deals with the process of change. A necessary preliminary is to understand how the brain interprets signals received by the senses and how the mind structures the results into coherent beliefs. ..How do we think about social processes when individuals, at best, have a limited understanding of what is happening to them as they continue to confront new experiences and novel situations that require an awareness of the dynamic nature of the process of change in which they are participants? How do we deal with the novel problems that emerge as humans reshape the human environment in ways that have no historical precedent?”

So we know that both Hoover and the Bradley Foundation are quite interested in consciousness, how it works, and its use for examining and driving cultural change. Before I get to one more quote, let me go ahead and define Politicalism. Politicalism is how politicians at all levels of government, public policy think tanks across the spectrum, academics, and others believe they can use the law and education to force the transformation by 2030 to what Marx called his Human Development Society where human needs are supposedly met. Politicalism feels empowered to ignore the prohibitions of the First Amendment where governments are rarely allowed to restrict speech and go straight ahead to restricting thought by using education reforms to control consciousness. That’s why the phrase ‘decisionmaking’ just keeps coming up.

Politicians and public policy think tanks have a political, social, and economic vision for the future that requires the monitoring and control over the internalized basis of individual action in order to work effectively. If that aim does not justify a special Proper Noun descriptive term like Politicalism then what will? Not wanting to get called out in advance and have this behavioral science technique prohibited, we get all sorts of euphemisms like competency-based ed, Tranzi OBE, Higher Order Thinking Skills, or School Choice to name a few. The Hoover Framework, with Bradley financing, actively seeks to alter social science research by targeting institutions, which it italicized and defined as follows:

“…the rules of the game, the patterns of interaction that govern and constrain the relationships of individuals. Institutions include formal rules, written laws, formal social conventions, and informal norms of behavior.”

In other words, institutions are not necessarily physical things, but also the values, attitudes, beliefs, ethics, ideas and concepts, and desired behavioral norms we have come now to associate with social emotional learning or Positive School Climate, for example. Anyone sensing why a Bradley Foundation funded think tank would want to misrepresent targeting these areas that govern future action and decisionmaking and pretend it’s about Personally Identifiable Information or a Student Unit Record controversy? Before we leave that book, there was a statement that “we do not have a general theory of belief formation and human cognition,” which strikes me as absolutely not true. If it is technically true, go have lunch with your colleagues at CASBS in Palo Alto or the MBE professors at the ed school at Harvard or the constructionists in the AI work or Media Lab at MIT. They certainly do.

The rest of the statement though suggests our authors do know what their colleagues would pass on. “…we have tried to come to grips with two aspects of beliefs. First, beliefs about causal relationships ultimately affect people’s decisions. Second, the cultural environment–the political, economic, social context–fundamentally influences beliefs.”

That would explain why so much of the actual research at Stanford, MIT, Harvard, and other places goes to using education to influence both those aspects of beliefs. The new federal education legislation, ESSA, even calls for assessing for this at least annually. Note that changing these beliefs or any of the other internalized bases for decisionmaking is what is now called Learning. The reason Learning must be standardized, monitored, and regulated by governments is to get to a broader vision of how society and its people and their relationships are to be structured (both the regulation of Learning and the restructuring and planning are covered by the term-Politicalism).

There was one last recent report we need to cover, released yesterday, called “Communities in Action: Pathways to Health Equity.” It is intended to bind the federal agencies and governments at all levels to the UN’s 2030 Agenda and what is also called Marxist Humanism, whatever President-Elect Trump’s wishes. Apparently, his confirmed political appointees were never to even know. In this vision, ‘quality education’ is simply one of the Social Determinants of Health and public policy and regulation needs to be used to restructure “the conditions in the environments in which people live, learn, work, play, worship, and age that affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks. For the purposes of this report, the social determinants of health are: education; employment; health systems and services; housing; income and wealth; the physical environment; public safety; the social environment; and transportation.”

So first we had to wade through all the false narratives surrounding education reform and then accept that ‘quality education’ is a defined term tied to an all-encompassing plan of transformation. A plan that we are neither supposed to recognize in time nor object to. See why everyone involved wants to target consciousness? Now the reason I think it is not only us normal taxpayers and parents being snookered is that late in that report, we get the revelation that about one week after the Presidential election shocker, President Obama signed an Executive Order establishing a Community Solutions Council on the importance of equity and the determinants of health and well-being to foster “collaboration across [federal] agencies…to coordinate actions, identify working solutions to share broadly, and develop and implement policy recommendations that put the community-driven, locally led vision at the center of policymaking.”

As far as I can tell then all these changes started by President Obama that Hillary Clinton would have continued are still to roll along under President Trump unless he and all his appointees know of their existence and how they work. They simply cannot rely on anyone in Congress to tell them because they benefit from all this intended geographic redistribution and mayors, governors, or school boards will not tell either. The think tanks all seem to think pushing this while misrepresenting it to their readers and petty amount donors is why they exist.

It is up to each of us to appreciate that Politicalism targets all these different levels and sectors of society, down to the neural networks and emotions internalized in our students. Anything that an individual uses, consciously or unconsciously for decisionmaking, is regarded under Politicalism as fair game for manipulation and monitoring. Because the vision of Equity and Empowerment for ALL apparently justifies even the most Preemptive Authoritarianism.

Let me end with a tip to Ms DeVos after yesterday’s testimony. Please read up on Teaching for Competence and Teaching for Growth. When you said you were not familiar with either, you were saying you are unaware of the very tools being used to control and monitor what students internalize as the basis for decisionmaking. If everyone involved in education policymaking wants to target consciousness, best to know now the how and why.

Also, please be careful about throwing out Local Control as the panacea. That would be the Briar Patch in our Glocal, Community Solutions Council world, under Politicalism.

 

Preemptive Authoritarianism: Governed by Our Monitored and Redesigned Brains

I almost added “21st Century” to Brains in the title, but it made it too long. Please do me a favor though. Every time a politician or anyone else mentions the need to transform K-12 education because the current vision is based on an outdated factory model, or any other justifying statement, to mask what is in fact a desire to control how our minds work for political purposes, remember this post. If anyone was worried I was missing in action or had finally decided to simply shut up about the real intentions behind education reforms, no such luck. Some posts though have no business being written during the traditional period of joyful merrymaking and family gathering. With the confirmation hearings for the proposed new Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, being in two days and her repeated statements and connections tying her vision to what I am about to lay out, it is time to get going again.

Back in the late 1980s the ASCD (tied to NEA) created a framework for what would become better known as Outcomes Based Education, “standards-based reforms,” or “brain-based learning.” Turns out these terms have always been interchangeable if we cut through the deceit and go back to the creators of these theories for educational change. The intent was to link education to what was known about human neurobiology. The framework would have ‘bottom-line integrity”, which today we euphemistically call evidence-based policymaking in education, effective schools, or just research on best practices. To qualify the education practices mandated “must integrate human behavior and perception, emotions and physiology.”

Remember astronomer Carl Sagan? The ASCD quoted him to provide the reasons they wanted to “significantly reprogram and redirect old brain propensities…the potential of the neocortex is that it can find new ways to survive because it is capable of profound learning. And that, we will see, requires us to use our brains in ways that they have never been used before on a large scale.” See what I mean about waiting to write this post out of fear some of us would be tempted to try to drink the entire punch bowl of spiked eggnog? Sagan’s 1977 book The Dragons of Eden is then quoted at length. No solar systems or stars are involved here:

“As a consequence of the enormous social and technological changes of the last few centuries, the world is not working well. We do not live in traditional and static societies. But our governments, in resisting change, act as if we did. Unless we destroy ourselves utterly, the future belongs to those societies that, while not ignoring the reptialian and mammalian parts of our being, enable the characteristically human components of our nature to flourish: to those societies that encourage diversity rather than conformity; to those societies willing to invest resources in a variety of social, political, economic and cultural experiments, and prepared to sacrifice short-term advantage for long-term benefit [whose?]; to those societies that treat new ideas as delicate, fragile and immensely valuable pathways to the future.”

It’s about redesigning existing institutions and systems via changes in how the student’s mind works and what motivates him or her to act. No wonder there has been so much deceit around education reform and a desire to pilfer from my book Credentialed to Destroy, while also repressing its central insights. Let’s go over the Atlantic to see what the UK meant by “high standards” and “raising standards” in the early 90s. Instead of using the graphic term “brain-based” changes to the neocortex, we get regular references to altering how the “central cognitive processor”  or the “central processing mechanism of the mind” works. No mention that this physical target belongs to someone’s children.

“We would rather aim for an even higher road, the unconscious development of a central cognitive processor that would produce far-transfer effects by a mechanism invisible to the learner (perhaps we should say ‘developer’) and thus far more powerful and generalisable than anything restricted to conscious processing.” Monitoring and manipulating the operation of the human mind via K-12 education at a level invisible to the learner sounds rather authoritarian to me, but we cannot rebel against what we are unaware of, can we? In November 2016, the publication Neuron published the article “Neuroethics in the Age of Brain Projects” that was, unfortunately, quite upfront that the BRAIN Initiative (now funded for ten more years by legislation passed by Congress in December supposedly about opioid addiction) and learning standards generally “have the potential to affect the essence of who we are as humans.”

Apparently though we no longer have a say in that fundamental arena of what it means to be human. That article mentioned that one of the funded research grants had gone to a Professor Nikolas Rose. A little research uncovered a 2013 book of his published by Princeton called Neuro: The New Brain Sciences and the Management of the Mind. My copy showed up just in time to be read while I ate my good luck black-eyed peas, which I knew would be especially needed this year with the book’s ubiquitous references to “governing through the brain.” The planned and taxpayer-financed “conversations between the social sciences [like education] and the neurosciences may, in short, enable us to begin to construct a very different idea of the human person, human societies, and human freedom” ought to be something discussed openly with taxpayers and parents.

I am not sure who ‘us’ is, but giving Congress, a state legislature, or even a school principal such transformative power to transform the human mind and how it works on a biological basis is not a hallmark of a genuinely free society. Especially when the vision is brought to us by professors who are looking for “the basis of a radical, and perhaps even progressive, way of moving beyond illusory notions of human beings as individualized, discrete, autonomous, coherent subjects who are, or should be, ‘free to choose.'”

“Acting on our brains,” “this new topography of the human being,” and the touted “passage of neuroscience from the seclusion of the laboratory to the unruly everyday world, and the new styles of thought concerning the intelligible, visible, mutable, and tractable brain that characterize the new brain sciences are beginning to reshape the ways in which human beings, at least in advanced liberal societies, are governed by others” should all be front and center for discussion in a free society. Instead, we get the deceit surrounding the real purpose of School Choice and misrepresentations on what competency-based education is really intended to modify and change.

Back in December, Jeb Bush had the Director of the Mind, Brain, and Education (MBE) Program at Harvard as one of the keynote speakers at his annual summit, sponsored by his foundation (that Mrs DeVos was on the Board of prior to her nomination). I happen to have a copy of an MBE philosophical paper downloaded from Harvard’s website on the morality of the MBE methods and theories. It calls for public debates on the “ethical limits that should be placed on use of biological and psychological technologies in education” and the “kinds of communities and individuals that ought to be fostered.” That Bush foundation states that competency-based education, School Choice, and educational technology are its priorities. Which of these does MBE relate to then or is it all of them is a fair question to ask a Board member at the time the invitation to speak went out.

That cannot happen though because of all the organized misrepresentations that have surrounded learning standards like the Common Core, what its true purposes and history are, or what practices get hidden behind titles like School Choice, high-quality assessments, charters, or classical education. We went back in time and overseas precisely because I wanted to show that this shrouded neurobiological bullseye that the law and ‘public policy’ seeks to invisibly impose is both global and longstanding.

Everything is now in place, except a genuine public recognition of just how much we have all been lied to about what is really intended for our children in the name of education. In the Foreword to the GEM 2016 Report released in early September, the head of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, stated:

“Lastly, we must fundamentally change the way we think about education and its role in human wellbeing and global development. Now, more than ever, education has a responsibility to foster the right type of skills, attitudes and behavior that will lead to sustainable and inclusive growth.” That openly declared repurposing of education cannot be discussed when a false narrative pretends that School Choice and competency-based education does not have the precise same aim. Did you know that the term Neuroethics does not necessarily mean the ethics of using a transformational vision of education to redesign how the mind work and then lock it in biologically? It actually also means how to use Neuroscience and brain-based to impose an internalized ethical vision that puts the so-called common good and responsibility for others above individual choices.

Isn’t that something that should at least be discussed if we are still in fact a free society? Is the vision of the future that Marx called the Human Development Society really something that deceitfully imposed educational changes and legislation and regulation can impose as long as the enacters are “duly elected” or appointed?

Is my term “Preemptive Authoritarianism” just a pithy way of getting attention or the biggest understatement so far in 2017?

Linking School Choice and Third Party Government: Escaping Requires We Recognize the Incarceration

This marks the end of the Trilogy about declarations (insufficiently recognized) to use the powers of governments at every level to close the gap “between the current state of the world and what would be ideal…perfectionism ought instead to inspire a constant striving to make things better. Democracy, in other words, should be viewed as a work in progress.” That vision of making human wellbeing the new purpose of governments needs a particular type of citizen who is a useful mixture of malleable, aspirational, and reliable in their likely future behaviors. That of course is what all these education reforms have really been about and why there has been so much deceit. That quote is from the upcoming inaugural issue of U-Penn’s Journal of Law and Public Affairs on using law and regulation to force societies to provide for the general welfare.

Rule of Law, in other words, needs to join the terms ‘public policy’ and ‘standards-based education’ as transformative tools that few seem to sufficiently appreciate. Let me quote from a second paper that is also cited in books and papers citing the 1990 Politics, Markets, and America’s Schools where we began this Trilogy. It is by two poli sci profs, Jack Knight and James Johnson, but it said not to cite without permission. We will simply discuss it then as it pointed out in 2005 that the ‘problem solving approach to ideas and institutions’ holds that “our ideas, principles, practices and institutions and so forth simply are tools for navigating a social and political world that is shot through with indeterminacy…a pragmatist stance encourages us to place pressure on our cherished beliefs, institutions and so forth. It encourages a broadly experimental approach both to inquiry and, more importantly for present purposes, to politics.”

Now, most of us with experience in adult life and a solid grasp of history, who are not on the Gravy Train to get revenue from being a provider of stipulated services, can recognize that such aspirations will not end well. Maybe that’s why we are not supposed to know what K-12 education reforms have always really been about. After all if someone has an actual aspiration that “political debate must impose restrictions on the structure of individual preferences,” that mischievous, authoritarian goal is best achieved in secret and masked with duplicity if anyone does notice something is up. Tiptoeing through the footnotes of all these papers, pulled up repeated references to a John Hopkins prof, Lester Salaman, and a textbook called The Tools of Government: A Guide to the New Governance .

I guess the students who went through this kind of unappreciated inquiry-oriented assault on their values and conceptions of knowledge when they were younger want to study the theories used on them once they get to university. No wonder they have been so childlike in their responses to the recent US Presidential election. Many have been taught that the “role of government in the twenty-first century” is “more important than ever. The growing complexity and integration of social, economic, and political life virtually guarantees this, as does the need for a keeper of the rules of engagement among various institutions and sectors.” That was me boldfacing that integration since it has been way too unpublicized as well.

Before I explain what Third Party Government is, since the textbook says it is quite advanced in the United States, and that the “last fifty years have witnessed a remarkable revolution in the basic technology of public action in the tools or instruments used to address public problems,” let’s remember that K-12 ‘education reform’ and School Choice are merely tools to effect the desired transformations without any need to get our consent. No need to risk our saying “No Thanks” either. If we wonder why so many supposedly ‘conservative’ and pro-market think tanks have been created at great expense, the language about “bring a wide assortment of social actors into the business of responding to public needs” is a most helpful clue.

Education reforms are definitely needed if the view of government and “the role of public management is not to deliver services but to promote community, to help citizens articulate shared interests, to bring the proper players to the table and broker agreements among them, and to function as ‘proxy citizens.'” Just this past week Greg Forster of EdChoice put out a vision of Accountability that stated what he called the “real goal of education.” It sounded remarkably similar to what is supposedly needed under the requirements of the New Governance and Third Party Government:

“nurturing individuals who achieve and appreciate things that are true, good, and beautiful as faithful citizens of a free and diverse community committed to living in harmony.” The typical family couldn’t even pull that off over an extended Thanksgiving meal and that’s to be the real goal of education that students must “genuinely internalize?” Faithful to whom we could ask? Let’s go back then to the textbook that is being so forthcoming.

“the breadth of the problems government has been called on to address coupled with prevailing antibureaucracy sentiments make this [governments as the dominant supplier of public services] practically, as well as politically, impossible. Government needs its third-party partners both to legitimize and to execute the responsibilities it has taken on. [Note that this is NOT Free Enterprise whatever the Heritage Foundations writes].

On the other hand, however…government simply lacks the authority and independence to enforce its will on other actors the way this concept [monopoly on the legitimate use of force] implies.”

Now I will stop the quote to point out again that this is precisely what learning standards like the Common Core and those previously tied to Time for Results or outcomes-based education sought to do. It is what competency-based education, properly explained, now does–enforce its will for this lucrative conception of Third Party Government on its citizens. Secretly and nonconsensually and hiding behind phrases like School Choice or Internationally Competitive. Under the New Governance tenets and its need for what EdChoice called ‘faithful citizens’:

“What, then, is the role that government should play in the new governance? And how important is it? The answer is that government must serve as the ‘balance wheel’ of the new systems of collaborative problem solving that will increasingly exist. Its function, as we have suggested, is to activate the needed partnerships and to make sure that public values [common good], broadly conceived, are effectively represented in the collaborative systems that result.” Let’s shift away from quoting the aspirations to how it invisibly comes into effect. Following up on all the False Narratives involving the Common Core and who was pushing them I came across numerous references to a 2011 paper I had not previously heard of called Closing the Door on Innovation that was supposedly a response to a March 2011 Manifesto from the Shanker Institute. http://educationnext.org/closing-the-door-on-innovation/ 

Education reformer Jay Greene wrote the story on Education Next and then the same Greg Forster noted above wrote a piece as well for the Public Discourse from the Witherspoon Institute that is tied to the American Principles Project that has written so many papers and offered up testimony on the nature of the Common Core.  https://app.box.com/s/s1q0hmgauyo1t9fafrbh is a capture of what the document looked like as it is now hard to find. To make a long process of discovery short, the Shanker Manifesto struck me as how both sides intended for education reform to work at the local, school level. That Innovation report seemed staged to me to create a narrative about what the Common Core was intended to do that would probably have worked better if I had not been writing Credentialed to Destroy back in 2011 and tracking the actual implementation.

What really caught my eye though was the PEPG-Harvard’s Program on Educational Policy and Governance that was behind the Closing the Door on Innovation. PEPG has sponsors from what were supposed to be two differing sides of the Common Core debate. It clearly built on the work of that 1990 Brookings book on School Choice and had all sorts of players like Greene back when he was a poli sci prof at U-Texas (Austin) and AEI’s Rick Hess back when he was a Poli Sci prof at UVa. Seriously, if education is really the best way to achieve political and social transformation, PEPG’s work and the School Choice meme generally all make so much more sense. We have former Governor Jeb Bush as the Chair of the PEPG Advisory Committee and the Gates, Bradley, Koch, and Friedman Foundations all working together. http://www.ksg.harvard.edu/pepg/sponsors_affiliates.htm

To use one of my favorite metaphors, Harvard is clearly where the Right and Left Pincers surrounding the Common Core/education reform narrative come to play and plan transformations around poli sci and sociology theories. Its first conference was in September 1996 about the same time as Fordham took over the Educational Excellence Network functions, as we saw in the last post. Ed reform can feel like a track relay race with all the exchanges of batons, but PEPG is formally a program sponsored by Fordham, Harvard, and the Hoover Institution at Stanford. If anyone thinks I am stretching, pull up the original Fall 1997 Annual Report and look at the presentation by John Brandl and his desire to “change the way we govern our schools” to “inspire other-regarding behavior in our students.” The omnipresence of communitarianism we keep running into behind the real implementation makes much more sense once we read that ‘communities is a promising policy instrument.’

Here’s the full quote and a good place to end as we mull over what is really being done to us all in the name of education reforms.

“Consequently, using communities is a promising policy instrument to attain social objectives when neither bureaus nor markets can be counted on to do so. Besides producing services, communities nurture and protect us all, cut costs, create social capital, obviate the need for government services and engender civic virtue. We need a constitutional moment, a time when those holding public office reconstruct government to align the motivations of individuals with public purposes. If they do not do so, the grand responsibilities of government, starting with education, will not be met.”

I did warn everyone that the phrase Local Control was essentially like being thrown into the Briar Patch if one has revolutionary social and political intentions.