Cultivating Capacities for Submission and Acquiescence to Power Needed to Drive Fundamental Change

As I go back and forth comparing what is being pursued and implemented now with the stated intentions for the policies in the past, a 1974 book from an economics professor at the New School for Social Research kept coming up as the source. So of course I went used book surfing again to get a copy of Robert L. Heilbroner’s An Inquiry into the Human Prospect. Heilbroner gave the rationale for governments to hype potential future crises like man-made catastrophic global warming. It gives a reason to revisit, out in the open or covertly, “present mechanisms of social control.” If the dangers being hyped are social problems then they “originate in human behavior and [are] capable of amelioration by the alteration of that behavior.” Since Daniel Bell who we have encountered numerous times now, Paul Ehrlich, and the current White House Science Czar John Holdren are all people Heilbroner thanks up front for their help in writing the book we need to pay close attention to what he sought.

Now of course altering and controlling other people’s behavior is what political and social radicals interested in fundamental transformation basically lust after every waking hour and in many of their post-midnight dreams so we cannot be surprised 21st Century skills wants to make such a focus of real-world relevant problem-solving. Now, Heilbroner, like the current director of UNESCO or the OECD, makes no pretense of his desire for what he calls “socialism with a humanist face” and he was upfront about the kind of “boldest and most far-reaching exercise of political power [that] will be unavoidable in the future.” That future of course is the 21st century and what we are living through now all over the world at local, state, national, and global levels except no one is really willing to be upfront about all the machinations lest we all rebel before they are fully in place.

Just my research over the last week led me to write this little ditty laid out to the tune of “Jesus Loves the Little Children of the World” you may have learned from Vacation Bible School. “Red and Yellow, Black and White, You are All Just Serfs under Our Oversight” fits with this determination to use education to manipulate emotions and perceptions and limit knowledge and then use political governance arrangements to tell people what they cannot do or must do in the 21st century. These arrangements such as that Metro Atlanta Equity Atlas or all the real Common Core implementation pushes and the Regional Equity pursuits need to be implemented quietly until they can accomplish the needed changes in personality and values and attitudes and dispositions. Why the constant focus over the decades on these affective characteristics?

As Heilbroner pointed out, for “this exercise of power to be successful,” it must “be accepted by those over whom that power will have to be exercised.” That would be me and you and our children and most of our neighbors, especially if we happen to live in the reviled “affluent island suburbs.” Well, I happen to live in the Sandy Springs section of Atlanta, which turns out to be Ground Zero for targeting since in 1966 its voters decisively rejected being annexed by the City of Atlanta and thus supposedly set in motion Atlanta becoming the model of dysfunctional sprawl and turning its back on the needs of the Inner City. Didn’t know we had such a bullseye on us or that people like Heilbroner were writing about the need to foster “political obedience” if radicals wished to increase their political power. In fact, he calls on “the intellectual elements of Western nations” to:

“not only prepare their fellow citizens for the sacrifices that will be required of them but to take the lead in seeking to redefine the legitimate boundaries of power and the permissable sanctuaries of freedom, for a future in which the exercise of power must inevitably increase and many present areas of freedom, especially in economic life, be curtailed.”

Now, obviously if we were aware of such pursuits by our elected politicians and certain public sector employees and numerous Chambers of Commerce, we would likely tell them where they could go with such imperious plans and to “take their little dog Toto too” so such plans from the 60s on in the US always seem to come in through misunderstood education reforms and regional economic planning initiatives. Sometimes as now both at once. Education is always really after what Heilbroner called: “What values and ways of thought would be congenial to such a radical restructuring of things?” He proposed a shift “toward the exploration of inner states of experience rather than the outer world of material accomplishment” which certainly sounds like the focus on contemplative education and mindfulness training we keep encountering. Heilbroner also concluded that “the struggle for individual achievement, especially for material ends, is likely to give way to the acceptance of communally organized and ordained roles.”

Now the little ditty I composed above got its impetus in part from what Heilbroner wanted but it also comes from the Atlanta Regional Competitiveness Strategy http://www.atlantaregional.com/File%20Library/Local%20Gov%20Services/Econ%20Dev%20Strategy/EconoDev_ExecSum_2013.pdf  that came my way last week as it spoke of the entire 10 county Atlanta region pursuing a common education policy and pushing transit oriented development and a “unifying theme of cooperative leadership across economic sectors.” I ran into mentioned people tied to the Equity Atlas and the accreditor AdvancED and higher ed transformation and a partner of the law firm that drafted the duplicitous conversion charter that also represents quite a few large metro school districts and reps from planned anchor institutions in the sought Good Society and sponsors of forums for elected officials telling them to defer to school supers. Just a few of the names or entities I recognized.

Hard not to think then of Heilbroner’s comment about submission to political power or Moises Naim’s declaration in his March 2013 book that we are all to adjust to being governed. Especially when the regional ed campaign obligates to “integrate best practices and innovative programs into PreK-12 classrooms throughout the region.” As we have seen innovation these days always actually means sociological innovation and ‘best practices’ is a term of art that means political or social theories thought to allow for fundamental transformation of a radical nature. Kind of like what Heilbroner intended. I have to admit I wasn’t excited either about the goal  to “adequately prepare the region’s students and workers for 21st century skills and careers.” How Corporatist and mindless that sounds.

I was tickled though by the idea of the best and brightest college and graduate students from the region’s institutions being encouraged to “network through public service.” Apparently all these planners see the public sector as providing the best job prospects in the 21st century. Now my mention above of the antipathy towards Sandy Springs and its 1966 vote and the hatred for affluent suburbs all came from a 2006 book by Matthew Lassiter that was part of the same series on 20th century American life as White Flight: Atlanta and the Making of Modern Conservatism.

The Silent Majority: Suburban Politics in the Sunbelt South lays out precisely what was actually sought via desegregation and it was not limited to the South. Atlanta though is treated as being the “model of metropolitan divergence and regional fragmentation, emulating the national pattern of increasingly poor and heavily minority urban populations surrounded by overwhelmingly white and politically autonomous suburbs.” I think that regional plan above is what radicals want to use to get regional collaboration without the consent of the taxpayers while still keeping lots of school districts and cities and special tax districts in place to serve as lucrative jobs programs for people willing to push the desired programs. Of the kind Heilbroner and others had in mind.

Lassiter makes it clear it is socioeconomic integration that was and is really wanted. He ends the book talking about the Brookings Institute’s Metropolitanism program which is interesting as Bruce Katz addressed the ARC group that put out that report at its annual meeting in October 2012 and then came to Atlanta again last March as part of the Global Cities Network conference on economic development and Low Carbon Growth. Lassiter recommends “policymakers can use regional structures as leverage to overcome fragmented political governance and ameliorate persistent patterns of employment discrimination, housing segregation, and educational inequality.” Precisely what ARC and probably other similar entities in other cities plan to do as well. Largely out of sight. As a means of quietly ending “individual meritocracy and suburban consumer privileges and spatial separation.”

I read that in Lassiter’s book and remembered how many times at the rollout of the Equity Atlas I heard the term “spatial equity.”

If educational equity seems fair let’s add the ire that “children of privilege” in the suburbs are receiving the “advantage of the consumer affluence accumulated by their parents instead of competing on an egalitarian playing field.”

I am not done yet as I have another event to attend this week related to this but my point is what is being sought and how most of these relevant and binding activities affecting all of us are going on out of sight.

Unless you are like me and deliberately monitoring and watching and appreciating the significance of the language you encounter in official reports.

Future Common Communicative Competence With Regional Economies Focused on Effective Social Relationships?

Readers beyond a certain age or with a fondness for TV reruns are likely responding to that title with a high-pitched “Say What?” This is one of those seminal posts that ties together the education, social, political, and economic visions for the future. I am using US documents since we do have that pesky US Constitution that vests (or is supposed to) ultimate authority in the individual instead of the state. But the vision works everywhere and actually was kindly laid out in a 2001 book The Global Third Way Debate edited by British sociologist Anthony Giddens but with global participation. Notable US writers included reps from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, the Brookings Institute (now pushing Metropolitanism and the Global Cities Initiative so hard), and the Ford Foundation (financing so much but especially new economics and Global Transition 2012  http://neweconomicsinstitute.org/  last year leading up to the Twentieth Anniversary of the original Rio Summit).

This future vision is premised on an economy “enabled and shaped by government” at the federal level through “macroeconomic (top-down) policy” coupled to “tailored, place-based (bottom-up) economic policy” of the type we saw being developed in Cleveland and NE Ohio as part of the Appreciative Inquiry Green City on a Blue Lake Summit we have already covered and the Project 21 vision originating there. NE Ohio, the Minneapolis-St Paul Area, and Seattle were explicitly the three pilot sites for this “new model for federal and state investment in regions, and so for intergovernmental relations in America’s federalist system” as the 2011 Brookings document described it. No, it is not a federal or economic vision Madison or Jefferson would have supported but it does explain the need to tie the Common Core in education to a broader economic development vision. http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/research/files/papers/2011/4/12-metro-business-muro/1208_metro_summit_business_framing_paper

Every one of the Social Studies 2009 Enduring Understandings I mentioned in the last post would foster a belief that this kind of wholesale political transformation is permitted by a majority consensus in a society. I believe the Concepts laid out in the Next Generation Science Framework are likewise geared to cultivating beliefs that such social and economic change is necessary. As are the Understandings of Consequence videogames we have covered. To be a large part of the equity in credentialing and increased high school graduation rates that are part of the Common Core and associated Metropolitan Business Development visions.

It is no accident that both seek “consortiums of local governments, business and civic organizations, and the private and non-profit sectors to engage in coherent strategic action.” So no more accusing me of being a conspiracy theorist. To the extent we have organized coordination and collusion Brookings has officially pronounced it to be “coherent strategic action.” And it looks just like what the Aspen Institute is now pushing as the Global Fourth Way or Fourth Sector-For Benefit Economy.

The original vision in that Giddens book called all this “a new political economy of the left” which would “become an effective and lasting new political programme which will guide the next generation.” The actual hope was that this would become the global economic and social vision for the entire 21st Century. Something to keep in mind when you hear a sales pitch for skills needed for the 21st Century economy. It really is not supposed to be the vision you have in mind. But virtually all of the major investment banks and huge philanthropies are on board. If you do not believe me take a look at the Board of the Living Cities Initiative or read the theory behind their Integration Initiative. http://www.livingcities.org/integration/theory/

Education policy is in a position to influence the values, attitudes, and beliefs of the next generation and create the “social capital” and “human capital” of the future. Those beliefs and values can be manipulated to believe in “maximizing communicative equality” through dialogues and the sets of “horizontal relationships” cultivated in school. Bonus points for readers who immediately thought of Fostering Learning Communities as the current example of precisely what is being described. In the aggregate it also fits with the Learning Cities we saw UNESCO pushing globally. I gave you the Integration Theory link because it is my belief that Living Cities is the US version of what is being called Learning Cities elsewhere. They seem to function the same. No wonder effective principals are to be Leading Learning Communities. Perfect priming from a young age for a political transformation is a better description of the effective principal of the future. This is the reason and the vision.

So the third way acknowledged it would need “three structural elements, soundly constructed and mutually articulated.” You can contemplate how useful the ability to impose Enduring Understandings and abstract theories to organize beliefs and filter day to day perceptions of life’s experiences will be to people seeking the following:

“moral principles and priorities (the axioms of the programme: ‘what we believe in and where we are going’);

a fully elaborated ideology which convincingly argues and demonstrates in more detail how these principles and priorities can be practically related to the workings of ‘the real world‘, real people and their relationships to each other and the economy; [Gee wouldn’t something like systems thinking, service learning, or the new 3R’s of rigor, relevance, and relationships come in handy?] and

a specification of the practical policies and measures which are required in order to change the society and the economy towards the desirable model of social and economic relationships that has been elaborated. [see above links, any or all for examples].

Think of those three elements as a common core to get total transformation over time. So “North American social scientists” and educators figured out that “if third way thinking successfully integrates the concept of social capital into its understanding of the market economy, this will provide it with its own new, rigorous and practical [emphasis in original] analysis of the economy.” Then all you have to do to get the third way implemented is make this sociological view of the economy and its view of social capital part of education and urban planning degree programs, especially those masters and doctorates for future administrators. Easy Peezy Transformation once attached to federal dollars mandating compliance with this vision. Or do without those federal and NGO dollars that will then flow elsewhere to competing cities or regions.

I am going to provide a longer quote that explains why the cities are so important in any country with elections. It’s where a sizable number of votes are concentrated. Especially if the vision promises equity and benefits dependent voters cannot or will not get for themselves. So in:

“a polity actively nurturing its social capital, the state has to perform a vital partnership and facilitation role in at least two obvious ways. Firstly, it needs to deploy resources to empower disadvantaged individuals: the sick, injured, young, old, poor and poorly-educated, and other groups subject to social exclusion for reasons that are beyond their power to alter, such as their gender or ethnic affiliation. This is to endow them with their citizenship and their liberties [it sounds like what Goodwin Liu called Social Citizenship!], and so enable them to participate with their fellow citizens on an equal status basis, in all the networks and associations through which social capital functions. [This is also why metrowide school districts and busing are so important to this political vision].

Secondly, there is the importance of the locally devolved form of ‘state’: participatory, local self-government in active partnership and responsive negotiation with the communities and businesses whose environment it administers.

Now you know why Green Cities and Smart Cities and Global Cities just keep popping up. Why the very real Agenda 21 implementers met separately and plan with ICLEI-the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives at the Rio Summit last summer. And had food and wine and a lovely fashion show to boot.

I also think that is why the Asia Society funded an “Educating for Global Competency Workshop”  facilitated by worldsavvy in Minnesota on April 30th, a few days ago. And is holding a Statewide Summit on Global Learning next week on May 9, 2013 at St Cloud University in Minnesota. Inviting precisely the public and private groups to be involved in the Metropolitan Business Plan on the new economy. With Tony Jackson from the Asia Society as the keynote speaker.

So on top of being part of the Global Competence push as we have seen and a primary sponsor of the Global Cities Education Network we have covered and apparently tied into the Metropolitanism new economy vision in the US, we have the Pearson Foundation in 2011 highlighting with films the Asia Society’s role in promoting Global Citizenship. http://asiasociety.org/education/international-studies-schools-network/films-documents-how-students-becoming-global-citizen

That’s right. In the name of standardizing academic content from state to state, we are ending up with a toleration for a new model of intergovernmental relations. Plus Global Citizenship beliefs. Plus the third way’s vision for a new political economy after Communism crashed and Welfare States developed a bad name. Based on the general principle of “maximizing communicative equality.”

That would be why Gifted education is going away and why high-performing suburban schools have to be taken down.

Proper Mindsets and Dependent Mediocrity are needed for this vision of the future.

 

 

Keep Urban Schools Weak to Force Economic and Social Justice Then Make the Suburbs Close the Gap

To be Equitable of course in a tragic and perverse way that insists no one gets to have an Axemaker Mind. Because not everyone is equally good at abstract, logical, sequential ways of thinking. We somehow forget that the Whiz Kid may also be uncoordinated in sports or cannot put together Basic Legos even with detailed instructions. I will come back to Peter Senge and Systems Thinking in a later post. He represents both the how–Forcing Systems Thinking and the related New 3 R’s-Relationships, Rigor, and Relevance in their new meanings forms on what had been high-achieving schools in suburban districts and students in high-achieving courses of study anywhere.

Senge also gives useful insights into the real Where–the reimagined Sustainable Future that he calls the Regenerative Society. Hint: it’s to be built around Relationships with one another and not seeing human beings as a special species. There’s also a great deal of emotional connections so all this SEL emphasis and Dewey’s Quality Learning will be so handy. And after all widespread prosperity was so 20th Century. This Regenerative Society will be so cooperative they need the schools to mandate creating the requisite mindsets. Some cooperation, huh?

Today we are going to focus on the Why. At least some of it. I hope this post will be as much of a shock to each of you reading as it was for me to come across this several times in research. And then to bore in carefully to be sure. For a country where millions of voters in 2008 chose to show they were ready to move to a post-racial America it is painful to discover that the education establishment is not ready to move on at all. Too politically useful and financially rewarding for a directing, planning elite is probably the best way to describe this.

As you will see nothing except equal outcomes  and no more racial or economic segregation by neighborhoods will suffice to stop the manipulation of students and schools. And at that point the governments at all levels will be so intrusive.  And the future voters will know so little and will have been so manipulated in preparation for the redesigned Sustainable Regenerative Society. It is hard to envision anyone surviving with independence and an individual presence of mind. Why?

How many of you remember the confrontations over busing? The long-sought remedy was metro-wide busing to force integrated schools even where the inner cities were separate school systems. When the Supreme Court said no in 1973 in the Detroit case it did leave an opening if officials could prove intentional discrimination by suburban officials impacting the inner city. Many Southern school districts like Charlotte or Montgomery County or Nashville or those in Florida were usually county-wide school districts. But not Atlanta.

Atlanta city schools (APS) (home of the infamous cheating scandal) itself is in the middle of the Fulton County School District. The one we talked about in the last post and the one with what I call the duplicitous charter, enshrining the tenets of Transformational Outcomes Based Education. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/what-happens-when-a-charter-pillages-minds-and-wallets/ Interestingly enough, that charter also adopts the essential policies and practices used by  APS. What are the odds? The metro Atlanta school desegregation case  (Armour v Nix) seeking metro-wide busing was rejected by the federal district court in 1979  despite evidence of official action behind patterns of segregated housing in the metro area.

Other school systems that previously bused students have sought court declarations that they are now “unitary” systems and entitled to leave court supervision and return to neighborhood schools. If these become segregated again, there is no judicial remedy. That has happened in places like Charlotte and Montgomery County, Maryland. The response from the education establishment though is not to make all schools better. Instead the response is the SEL, PBIS, Positive School Climate, Career Pathways for all vocational approach, learner-centered change the student focus we have been describing all summer.

There is tremendous anger over this issue that appears to be actively cultivated in Colleges of Education. Basically the cultivated demand is if economic and social justice is not the norm for all students in the US, no student in a publically-funded school should have access to an academically excellent education. The levelling function of government coercion and the power of the accreditors kicks in to try to deprive any American student of an Axemaker Mind. But we taxpayers and parents might not appreciate this Demand so no one bothered to tell us.

How do I know this is intentional? Well, I read a lot and people like Professor Jean Anyon told me after I accurately pegged her to the Regional Equity Movement. And reading her descriptions in her 2005 book radical possibilities of how to use “injustice to create an outrage that can ultimately be channeled into public demands,” you see there is zero incentive for these educators seeking a Transformative social, political and economic revolution to actually teach the kids to read well. Using the schools to radicalize parents and youth that their poverty is the “congealed result of economic and other social hardships impinging on urban families.” In case there is any ambiguity, Professor Anyon says the economic justice policy changes are necessary first to “provide meaningful life chances for poor families and neighborhoods.” Here’s the full quote from page 127 if you have a copy handy:

“Economic access and the improved social standing its fulfillment provides parents, students, and communities will be prerequisites. . . But economic justice, this important precursor of systemic urban school reform, will not be achieved without concerted, sustained political struggle.”

Enter the community organizers like ACORN or its successor Action Now out of Chicago with much of the same personnel. More importantly though because I think Texans feel protected by their non-participation in Common Core, forgetting Texas adopted OBE statewide in the late 1980s when it was called a radical change, is the role of Saul Alinsky’s Industrial Areas Foundation, using schools and churches to community organize in that state. Do very many Texans understand that? How about people in Cobb County, Georgia where your new Super who came from Dallas ISD would have undergone a great deal of interaction and training around IAF goals and prescriptions? Or the new Super, Mike Myers, who retains a side business seeking federal School Turnaround grants. Is it a valuable asset in seeking those grants to be experienced in dealing with demands of community organizers specializing in urban schools? Makes sense to me that it would. But those are our tax dollars or debt that fund School Turnarounds based on these same Bad Urban Ideas.

“Building Partnerships to Reinvent School Culture” is a 2009 report from the Annenberg Institute for School Reform http://annenberginstitute.org/pdf/Mott_Austin.pdf on IAF’s use of churches to create the Austin Interfaith Alliance and its model of community organizing in Texas schools via the Alliance Schools network. Page 4 has a quote from Jeannie Oakes, who is now with the Ford Foundation, Ground Zero for the Regional Equity Movement, on the “increased interest from both practitioners and researchers in understanding the potential role of community organizing in contributing to sustainable improvements in education.”  If you do get a chance to read that document, do not miss the fact that the Alliance Schools did not want to be subject to standardized testing. They wanted performance based assessments instead similar to what Common Core established via SBAC and PARCC. When these schools could not get an official exemption from testing “they had less time for relational practices. The emphasis on testing changed the schools practically overnight.”

My goodness that sounds a lot like a focus on Relationships instead of content. Just the sort of urban school Quality Learning that Common Core now mandates nationwide. Suburbs too. The community organizers were probably quite pleased those long sought performance assessments were funded from the beginning in the 2009 Stimulus Act. Well, we know all that funding did not stimulate the US economy. Made a lot of educators, professors, and community organizers happy though. No wonder Van Jones says he signed on to the Environmental Green Movement because of the government’s ability to direct money where it wants as so much of the Green Economy is politically directed.

As a funding taxpayer, that hardly seems Sustainable. Or Wise.