Collective Cognition: Stipulating Right Thinking and Prescribing Prevailing Ideas to Defeat Polarization

Never heard the phrase ‘collective cognition’ before? Wouldn’t creating required learning standards and then assessing for their presence in guiding a student’s thoughts and actions amount to learning How to Think as a Community? After I wrote last week’s post, but knowing we were about to pivot next to something called the Hidden Tribes Project, I was fascinated to read the bio of the co-author of this recent article https://behavioralscientist.org/the-cognitive-science-of-political-thought-practical-takeaways-for-political-discourse/ where Professor Sloman admits that the cognitive, linguistic, and psychological sciences can be used to create Collective Cognition. If only some ultra-rich person would bequeath mega-millions to his employer, Brown University, to set up a Center to create models for K-12 education reforms.

Think of the Hidden Tribes Project as what to do about the adults whose minds and values got away when earlier versions of K-12 education reforms, like outcomes-based education, failed to shift as desired away from subject-content to changing:

the ideas that give your life direction. And the answers fit together into a larger picture–what we call a ‘worldview,’ a way of understanding and making sense of our world. Your worldview determines (consciously or unconsciously) how you interpret and respond to everything in life. This is why it is so important to begin thinking about your worldview and the ideas you believe to be true…develop a worldview that influences everything you do.

That is a really useful definition of worldview and why, I believe, we have found it as the aim of what my book laid out as Tranzi OBE from the 90s, and what we are seeing as Portrait of a Graduate or Learner Profiles now. It’s why learning standards globally carefully lay out the desired elements and seek to prescribe the ‘learning experiences’ that will create the characteristics at an internalized, physiological level. The Hidden Tribes Project, clearly related to the same aim but geared to adults and located at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, stated that its “focus is to better understand the forces that drive political polarization and tribalism in the United States today, and to galvanize efforts to address them.” I found the Project after it was hyped here in July https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/what_are_the_solutions_to_political_polarization and I recognized the links to both Seedbed of Virtues and the 1997 “A Call to Civil Society”.

George Will, in his Soulcraft book, kept using the same term “Better Angels of Our Nature” so let’s look and see how ‘our nature’ can be reengineered with education reforms and other social science projects. After all, one of the co-authors of the June 2019 More in Common report “The Perception Gap: How False Impressions are Pulling Americans Apart” is tied to the Templeton-funded Positive Neuroscience initiative at U-Penn that is also tied to the World Happiness Reports the UN has taken to publishing. If he states that “in coming years I plan on continuing to use the tools of social science to improve human interaction and society. Through teaching, speaking, researching, and writing, I hope to do my part to help humanity realize the best possible version of itself,” we would be wise to listen.

Humanity is so grateful, I reply with my usual sarcasm. Hopefully such aspirations and scholarship in “studying how social context in various populations can impact people’s moral judgment and behavior…” will get Mr Yudkin tenure somewhere. According to the 2018 “Hidden Tribes: A Study of America’s Polarized Landscape” the “work of rebuilding our fractured society needs to start now” and it needs to occur at the level of each person’s values, attitudes, and beliefs. This will allow “re-connecting people across the lines of division in local communities all the way to building a renewed sense of national identity: A bigger story of us.” More in Common believes that “a healthy democracy…requires a sense of shared values and commitments, and a willingness to find common ground”. That desired answer to polarization and tribalism, a desired standardization at the level of “mind, heart, and soul” for all citizens, young and old, requires deliberately targeting:

At the root of America’s polarization are divergent sets of values and worldviews, or ‘core beliefs’. These core beliefs shape the ways that individuals interpret the world around them at the most fundamental level. Our study shows how political opinions stem from these deeply held core beliefs. This study examines five dimensions of individuals’ core beliefs:

  •  Tribalism and group identification
  •   Fear and perception of threat
  •   Parenting style and authoritarian disposition
  •   Moral foundations
  •   Personal agency and responsibility

This study finds that the hidden architecture of beliefs, worldview and group attachments can predict an individual’s views on social and political issues with greater accuracy than demographic factors like race, gender, or income.

So education at every level and the media, whether broadcast, print, or websites of various supposed spectrums, need to get at and change that hidden architecture. To uncover and understand core beliefs, and “explore how this understanding can be used, not to deepen polarization but to bring people together.” Does the coordinated effort to pretend that the Common Core was about workforce preparation or a database of personally identifiable information about students instead of an effort to change those prevailing values, attitudes, and beliefs suddenly make more sense? What if I told you that the initial indented quote on worldview came from something called the Lightbearers Curriculum from Summit Ministries that I found after a Daily Caller article this summer made a reference to something called a Blue Sky Worldview and a camp to create it? What if the same article simultaneously misrepresented socialism and asserted that Marxism is only what was found in the past in Communist countries or is what Bernie Sanders pushes?

Let’s just say our False Narrative purveyors were well-represented among the advocates for this curriculum that also seeks to control “what ideas will rule the world” and provide “guidelines for shaping society for everyone’s benefit”. It is a curriculum intended for “endowing [the student] with the responsibility for shaping the future of the world.” Theoretical Marxism, the non-historical kind that is a theory of Man as a Maker of History seeking to drive a transformational process in the real world, would recognize that aspiration as bringing about what Uncle Karl called the Human Development Society. It is still the same theory even when the M word is not used and the sales pitch is the need to “redeem culture as part of God’s creation.” Worthy aspirations and a theological emphasis do not change the nature of this theory or who created the idea of how to get such a theory into practice (Praxis?).

Calling it “faith in action” instead of praxis, or opining that “without action, students may relegate what they are hearing to dry academic philosophies and not realize that these ideas should become part of their lives on a daily basis,” doesn’t distinguish aims that function the same with comparable purposes. So religious based or classical schools want ideas embodied into action as an integral part of the curriculum to create Desired Habits and Behaviors and so do public schools now as part of learning standards and what is called High Quality Project-Based Learning. See what I mean about going to the same place and targeting the same normative realm in each student?

Tranzi OBE, in function even if now euphemized into a myriad of new names, still is in play if the curriculum actively seeks to tell students they should be change agents and

stop being conformed by the ‘water’ around them, the culture they were in. Rather, they should be transformed by renewing their minds. The idea behind the word ‘transformed’ is that of metamorphosis–changing into something different. While conformity to the world is something that happens passively, being transformed is something that happens actively. Conformity just happens, but transformation requires effort. Transformation only happens through mind renewal, changing the way you think.

I bolded that last part from the Lightbearers Curriculum to call attention to a discussion in the comments from the last post when I said that the predecessor to the Common Core was something in the 90s called the New Standards Project. Before Professor Lauren Resnick helped create that initiative, she called her curriculum a Thinking Curriculum to be grounded in HOTS–Higher Order Thinking Skills. Stipulated Ideas would dominate so that the real world perceptions would be controlled by Desired Ideas and Theories of What Could Be. The Soviets in 1962 called this a new kind of Dialectic Materialism that would allow a transformation of the existing world via a theory they called Ascending from the Abstract to the Concrete.

Its ideals still work the same today whether pushed on adults to supposedly bridge a Perception Gap and create a Convergence to defeat Polarization, or on children via mischaracterized learning standards and Thinking Curricula.

All of these advocates recognize that changing how we think leads to “transforming our behavior” in predictable ways. If anyone wants to prescribe “the basis of our decisions and actions,” as these various NGOs like UNESCO or the OECD, faith-based institutions, think tanks, or any other institution have explicitly said they wish to do if we know where to look, we should all be aware that has become the new purpose of education and the goal of much of what is broadcast or published by the media.

I suppose I should be grateful my book and then this blog set off such an orchestration of False Narratives. The deceit left the crumbs that enable us to see the common vision. Everyone seems to want to get at what we believe and feel in order to control how we will behave.

And it has nothing to do with training pigeons except that once installed in our neural circuits via cognitive psychology, we will be programmed indeed.

 

 

Unified Human Sciences of the Mind: Learning Standards Prescribe Desired Neural Patterns

Nothing like being at a journey’s end, when all of a sudden fireworks explode that remind us why it’s a good thing we have made it here. We will talk about the fireworks shortly, but what I saw in that “Developing Resilient Agency in Learning” paper from the last post made me sit back down with my copy of Neurophilosophy: Toward a Unified Science of the Mind/Brain from 1986. I wanted to rethink the manipulative potential of prescribing student goals or ‘performance expectations’ (PE) that go to ‘standardizing’ the fact that we humans are the “lucky organisms fitted out with cells coordinating representations of the world with movement in the world” as Patricia Churchland put it in italics. Churchland went on to quote Dominick Purpura from 1975 in a Chapter Epigraph to her book’s Conclusion stating that: “What we require now are approaches that can unite basic neurobiology and behavioral sciences into a single operational framework.”

Learning standards tied to CEDS in the US, or UNESCO’s ISCED framework globally, are creating that long-sought operational framework. Key to those aspirations is prescribing those internalized representations of the world. Sense-making was one of the perimeter nodes of that Learner Profile spider web we met in the last post per the Mindful Agency paper. It used the term ‘sense-making’ to combine two factors: “(i) making meaning and (ii) making connections” and stated:

Sense-making is a core part of learning, and…learning takes place through making connections in several ways: neurological, social, cognitive and experiential. People understand the world through schemata–‘a cognitive structure that consists of facts, ideas and associations organised into a meaningful system of relationships.’ It is through constantly comparing existing schema with new information and understanding that we develop through our encounter with the world, that we  adapt or stretch our existing understanding to accumulate richer and deeper knowledge…our understanding of the world and relationships is not just through storing information as an ‘objective’ entity. We do not passively receive information from our environment–rather we translate information into internal representations whose value is significant.’ They [human beings] actively participate in the generation of meaning in what matters to them: they enact a world’. Sense-making is, for them, a relational and affect-laden process grounded in biological organisation.

That was a long quote so we could go back to what was simply as aspiration and a theory decades ago and then forward to real time classroom instructions now. Then we get the fireworks in the form of last week’s release of http://fabbs.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/BRAIN-Initiative-FABBS-presentation-FINAL.pdf called the “Opportunities for the BRAIN Initiative 2.0.” Phase II or 2.0 turns out to be “Transforming dynamic neural patterns into understanding cognition, emotion, perception and action.” How does that happen? Here’s one current example from http://learndbir.org/resources/A-Phenomenon-based-Assessment-System-for-Three-dimensional-Science-Standards.pdf  It explains that the desired student “Performance Expectations are endpoints. To successfully prepare students to meet these goals, instructional materials must provide learning materials at the nexus of these three dimensions” of Science and Engineering Practices [the outside action], Core Disciplinary Ideas, and Cross-Cutting Concepts.

Those latter two strands go to creating the desired internalized ‘schemata’ for students’ sensemaking. ALL students. Suddenly science becomes a sociocultural “enterprise organized around asking questions in the natural world and seeking to build theories and models to develop answers to those questions.” Engineering becomes a matter of design “beginning with problems, needs, or desires of human beings that need to be addressed.” We would recognize three-dimensional learning as cultural activity theory, even if it did not admit it openly in all these papers. Its focus is on “Learning what is not yet there” because its purpose is on transformative learning that will create a different future via reimagined human activities. Recognizing that Professor Churchland taught in the 80s hotbed of cultural-historical activity theory–San Diego–complete with translations from Soviet psychology works I checked to see what ISCAR was currently pushing and pulled up Roberta Patalano publishing “From the Cradle to Society: ‘As-If’ Thinking as a Matrix of Creativity.”

Remember all the ‘uncertainty’ pushing from the last post, and now the Performance Expectations, that somehow get at coordinating Professor Churchland’s inside and out dimensions? It’s all what Soviet research stipulated would be necessary to create new kinds of minds that would act in new ways in the world. Let’s look at one more current exercise http://stemteachingtools.org/brief/46 from March 2017 called “How to define meaningful daily learning objectives for science investigations.” Uncertainty creates affect-laden ‘understanding’ just as I bolded above in that block quote. It warns teachers that “displaying the target concept to be learned–the disciplinary core idea that is to be the focus of instruction–‘gives away’ what students should actually be figuring out as they make sense of phenomena by engaging in the science and engineering practices.”

In case anyone thinks I am exaggerating on wanting to affect future action, let me quote that “Investigations should help students construct understanding. The framework vision [remember that Purpura quote] is about students seeing that science and engineering practices are ways that can help them make sense of and change the world. Students should be deciding together what they need to investigate each day, based on what they’ve already figured out and what they need to learn to explain or design. They shouldn’t know the outcome of an investigation ahead of time.” Explicit instruction as in a lecture or textbook would “short-circuit deep learning.” PEs require that “Students should be able to say what they are trying to figure out in their own words–and come to use formal science terminology once they have gotten a feeling for it after multiple investigations.”

That would explain why those of us with solid factual knowledge in an area see misapplied concepts, or Inapt Metaphors, as students use terminology they “have a feeling for,” instead of a solid foundation grounded in facts. Such a body of knowledge might interfere with an aspiration to change the world. What these prescribed concepts and learning experiences are doing though is creating internalized schema in the student’s mind. Precisely where all these learning and cognitive scientists and education researchers are trying “to invent and perfect new concepts suitable to nervous system function, and they all have their sights set on explaining macro phenomena in terms of micro phenomena.” We get a new kind of education breaking out in earnest in the 1980s when Patricia Churchland wrote, and Lauren Resnick began pushing the now required Higher Order Thinking Skills, where the traditional logical, sequential representations that had traditionally been the purpose of instruction get replaced by a neural network combining ‘patterns of activity’ with provided categories of thought.

The three-dimensional learning required now and laid out as Mindful Agency are grounded in what psychologists theorized would be necessary to create New Kinds of Minds as Paul Ehrlich put it in a 1989 book I have warned about. Now to the fireworks as that BRAIN Initiative link had a header that said “NSF SBE Grand Challenge Ideas.” What’s that I ask? I remember the NSF funded all the controversial, ‘discovery’ math and science curricula? SBE turned out to be Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences and the SBE 2020 vision was launched in August 2010 https://www.apa.org/science/about/psa/2010/08/challenges when a Paul Ehrlich colleague, John Holdren, (whom he mentioned in thanks in his book, New World, New Mind) headed the White House office that oversaw the NSF. That’s one way to fulfill that book’s goal of Conscious Evolution, isn’t it?

I started reading those SBE 2020 papers over the weekend and found the link to the Krasnow Institute and its Neuroeconomics we stumbled across pursuing Thinking and Reading like a Historian in a paper called “Understanding the Mechanisms of the Mind through an Integrated Science of the Mind Initiative.” Whereas, Professor Churchland simply hoped a neural network that functioned like Parallel Distributed Processing (PDP) in computers could become the end result of a new kind of transformation education, another co-author of that paper, James McClelland turns out to be a PDP expert. https://fabbs.org/our_scientists/james-l-mcclelland-phd/ . Another co-author at MIT, Aude Oliva, is working “to understand how humans encode, process, retain, predict, and imagine.” No wonder we get ‘bottom-up’ New Foundations for Readiness as we saw in the last post.

Another paper “Twenty-First Century Challenges and Opportunities for the Human Sciences” wanted to “develop a scientific understanding of the social processes that now shape [the natural world].” This would require the United States to finance a “significant and targeted investment in an integrated science of social and behavioral dynamics, or ‘human sciences’.” And the next year, 2011, the federal Department of Education held its first competency-based education summit to do just that and implement the developed “theory for human social action” using student-centered learning to create the needed personalized neural networks in each student. Coordinating the inside categories of thought and motivation to act with the external activity in any given environment.

It’s a good plan if transformative change in the ‘macro phenomena’ of society, economies, and political structures in largely invisible ways is the goal of education in the 21st century globally. I stumbled across this more than ten years ago now trying to figure out why the NSF had paid the State of Georgia and its University System tens of millions of dollars in grants to implement constructivist Integrated Math. None of the offered explanations held up to scrutiny. Now I know it was about creating New Kinds of Minds. Let’s close our Trilogy of Bottom-Up, Inside-Out, Neural Change in each student by quoting an SBE 2020 abstract that had no linked document, just this aspiration:

One of the most critical challenges facing next-generation social, behavioral and economic research is to understand the dynamics and consequences of interactions between human systems [that’s US!] and the natural world. To accelerate scientific progress, significant and systematic efforts must be made to identify and collect data across time and space that enable evidence on perceptions, attitudes, social institutions, situation-behavior relationships, and decision-making to be linked comprehensively to measurements of the natural environment. These data will lay the foundation for a science of sustainability.

Rereading that quote would explain why the same think tank employees or their affiliates misrepresenting how learning standards like the Common Core really work also envisioned misrepresenting the purpose of all the data gathering from the beginning.

It appears that education researchers aren’t the only ones aspiring to control our internalized ‘schemata’ that guide how we interpret the world around us.

 

Embracing a Troika of Collectivist Social Engineers as Defining Student Learning

21st Century Learning really should not be about ‘neural tuning,’ “leverage points” for “brain reorganization”, or about how “habits of mind directly shape the anatomy and connectivity of the brain.” All of those terms came from the new How People Learn II: Learners, Contexts, and Cultures that EdWeek‘s “Inside School Research” touted with this celebratory lead-in on October 8, 2018:

“Learning is a conversation with the world, from a newborn’s brain lighting up as his mother sings to him, to a teenager choking on a test for fear of fulfilling a stereotype to elderly people heading off cognitive decline by learning a new language. In an update to its landmark reports on education research, the National Academies new HPL II digs into what science can tell schools about how to build on students’ culture and experience to improve learning.”

Most people, even educators with doctorates who loved to be addressed with the Dr. salutation, do not read the actual reports. They will never know then that the learning standards, science of learning, and brain-based research are grounded in how the brain can be redesigned and rewired given the “right kind” of learning experiences. They will not read the paragraph under “Learning as a Social Activity” and recognize the implications of who is being cited. Let me quote:

“Another body of work in psychology that explores the role of culture in shaping psychological processes has focused on learning as a dynamic system of social activity. Many of these researchers draw from a set of ideas about development advanced by Lev Vygotsky, Alexander Luria, and Aleksei Leontiev: the ‘troika’ of pioneers in what is variously known as the sociocultural, social historical, or cultural-historical theory of development: the idea that social, cultural, and historical contexts define and shape a particular child and his experience…Researchers who adopt the sociocultural-historical perspective in examining learning do so within the cultural context of everyday life.”

I covered Lev Vygotsky in Credentialed to Destroy and Leontiev’s quote that American research on human development was erroneously focused on social and economic systems that presently exist or had occurred in the past in a previous post. This set of ideas about development HPL II is mandating then fit with the purpose of these Soviet theories: how a child “can become what he not yet is.” http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/imitating-the-ussr-in-striving-to-discover-how-the-child-can-become-what-he-not-yet-is/ HPL II also specifically cites to Urie Bronfenbrenner and his Bioecological Systems Theory, which was also covered in that post and which has its own ISC tag, like Leontiev. Finally, I have read Luria’s Autobiography, which Professor Michael Cole (also has a tag) translated into English to help promulgate this ‘set of ideas about development.”

When the creators of a set of ideas tell us the purpose of the theories is to create a new kind of person with a new kind of consciousness that they proudly called homus sovieticus, we should be a bit reluctant to make those practices the required source of 21st Century K-12 Learning in societies that regard themselves as free. Especially when governments are creating learning standards and required assessments that seek to regulate “the processes [that] are the activities and interactions in which individuals engage that help them make sense of their world and their place in it.”

All the mandates about the Whole Child and required social and emotional learning make sense when we recognize the targeting of “emotions, goals, social relationships, prior experiences, and cognitive and biological predispositions [that] all influence how individuals interpret situations and hence what they learn” for transformational change. Remember the Learner Exit Profile vision UNESCO is pushing to target future decision-making from the last post? That goes to the need to manipulate the activities and learning experiences through “the changing demands, features, and supports of the learning situation [to] further influence people’s interpretations and emotions, what they will decide to do, and consequently what they learn.” All controlled by the desired outcomes of changing who the student is and what they desire from the inside-out.

Last week also saw the release of https://education-reimagined.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Schools-Out-Brochure_FINAL.pdf advocating a “meaningful new system of learning” because education now “must produce thoughtful, contributing members of society who can survive and thrive in rapidly changing environments.” That sounds so much better than what Leontiev described as a goal of creating people for a world that does not yet exist, but it is actually the same goal. That’s probably why ‘community leaders’ interviews after that report came out framed it as pursuing John Dewey’s vision of education as “the pursuit of self-actualization and a contribution to the broader collective.” Another leader said “education is what remains after we forget everything we’ve been taught” which certainly sounded like internalized neural Habits of Mind to me. He then went on to say education is “really about creating a harmony between the ideas that we have in our minds and the values we hold in our hearts.”

Making sure those Ideas and Values are what is desired then becomes the whole point of 21st Century Learning. After all, as HPL II put it: “learning at the individual level involves lasting adaptations of multiple systems to the changing external and internal environment, including changes in the biology of the brain.” If you wanted to know why targeting emotions now is so crucial, HPL II tells us that “emotions help learners set goals during learning. They tell the individual experiencing them when to keep working and when to stop, when she is on the right path to solve a problem and when she needs to change course, what she should remember and what is not important.”

That’s what is being targeted for transformation to allow the world to supposedly shift beyond political and economic systems that exist now or have in the past to a new vision of how the world might be. When HPL II states that “the committee has taken a sociocultural view of learning,” this is an aspirational statement of what can be made to be, at a biological, neural level, if only the the ‘right’ theories of learning are imposed to create the new desired psychological processes. That’s also the reason for the definition of Learn HPL II adopts:

‘Learn’ is an active verb: it is something people do, not something that happens to them. People are not passive recipients of learning, even if they are not always aware that the learning process is happening. Instead, through acting in the world, people encounter situations, problems, and ideas, they have social, emotional, cognitive, and physical experiences, and they adapt. These experiences and adaptations shape a person’s abilities, skills, and inclinations going forward, thereby influencing and organizing that individual’s thoughts and actions going forward.”

By creating desired adaptations at a biological level and making learning formative to “shape a person’s abilities, skills, and inclinations” at the level of thought and likely future action, the Portrait of a Graduate or Learner Exit Profile, like Tranzi OBE in the 90s (covered in CtD), means that people have a steerable rudder ready to be exploited without their knowledge or consent. A politically organized society using education as its primary tool and data to see if desired goals are coming to fruition. Two more reports released last week made it clear to me that Equity as a civil rights legal mandate will be the banner used to make sure these learning theories created by the Soviet ‘troika’ make it into every classroom. https://www.crpe.org/sites/default/files/crpe-mind-gap-will-all-students-benefit-21st-century-learning.pdf is one and the other is here https://www.inacol.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Quality-Principles-Book.pdf .

Somehow the High-Quality Competency-Based Education with Equity at the Center to correct the Ten Flaws of the Traditional System requires practices that fit with HPL II and all were released in the same week. Let’s close with yet another quote from a ‘community leader’ advocating for the School’s Out vision. Ravi believes that the question “How do we educate for an unpredictable future?” is “putting the cart before the horse because we create the future based on how we educate. I think this opens up the opportunity to consider education not as a way to prepare kids for society but as a means of empowering them to lead us into the future and make changes along the way.” Based on desired goals apparently because this is the same leader who thought education was what remained after we forget everything we’ve been taught.

One of the educators for that same report said that “with our younger learners the science of human development needs to be front and center for everything we design.” The problem is this so-called science of human development is simply a tool of collectivists intent on transformational social, political, and economic social engineering if we read their books and papers as I have and do. See what I mean about how evidence-based learning and education standards essentially trying to program the mind and emotions?

Since the only way I know to make this metaphorical serf’s collar visible is to write about it, I guess I will keep trying to buck this script aimed at thoughts and future actions.

Social engineering nightmare seems like more of an apt description.

Cannibals of the Mind: the Emancipatory Epiphanies that Must Not Be

Epiphany has long been one of my favorite words because it captures that moment of mental illumination when everything suddenly clicks into place in terms of connections. The sudden manifestation of the meaning of something though is a private affair and the connections I see, while real, may be inconvenient to those hoping for “shared meaning” as so many classroom mandates now require. It is also inherently “old brain thinking” instead of the desired “new brain thinking” that will be widely shared and politically approved. Even though most people are unaware of how learning standards like the Common Core or a Competency Framework really work, we are going back in time to a world where religious bodies and political authorities literally had an ability to rule “the activities and beliefs of its citizens.” That real effect gets hidden by what K-12 schools pretend they are really pushing. Meanwhile, school administrators, especially district supers, lie to parents and the public about it.

Since “New Brain Thinking ” is the true aim, let’s look into what is being eliminated. “Old brain thinking is characterized by the limited capacity to contemplate only those innovations that might logically evolve out of the current system. The old brain seems incapable of considering a radical change in the system itself–that is, the possibility of operating under a different set of rules.” No one is going to talk that explicitly in public of course. I only found that quote following the thread of Fostering Communities of Learners in schools to its US beginning, a book called The Different Drum: Community Making and Peace. Parents, of course, would become rightfully alarmed if they traced the required obligations of collaboration and shared meaning back to a forthright statement of a required “psychological death” of their child.

See why there is such a fondness for euphemisms? Sometimes when I write I do mull over what would be a catchy metaphor to illustrate my point, but that is not where the phrase Cannibals of the Mind came from. Remember the famous phrase about being able to see the soul of certain people through the anger, joy, or flashes of brilliance firing through their eyes? Last week three different area School District Supers appeared on local TV. The first two, from the City of Atlanta, famous for its cheating scandal, and Fulton County, proud to be a national exemplar of competency-based learning, were in a local court fighting to be able to begin collecting property taxes, however confused or in error, the underlying tax digest was. They were very angry, not about the children, but about the ability to pay their loyal apparatchiks pushing these lied about visions.

If that seems cruel, so is area supers insisting they will use Kurt Lewin (by name)’s famous Freeze, Unfreeze, Refreeze social psych techniques on any teacher wanting to continue to make the transmission of a body of knowledge the point of school. Suddenly seeing the highly emotional anger in those eyes and hearing about their loyalist employees “right to be paid” and knowing what is actually being pushed and what it really intends to do, that phrase “Cannibals of the Mind” just came to me. Boy, does it fit. The other Super on area TV had issued a district ruling that none of the sports coaches in the districts could participate in any player-initiated prayers. I don’t think that is a valid interpretation of what Con Law requires, but what I noticed in this super’s eyes was not anger. Instead, he talked and his eyes simply looked vacant as if there was no synaptic firing.

Given what these Supers and their admins want to be paid and how they typically move from district to district pushing neural rewiring for ever increasing amounts of money (hence my phrase Gypsy Supers) as well as my personal experiences with what drives them, I think we have Greed, Chips on the Shoulder, and Downright Ignorance driving these Cannibals of the Mind. Since they will not truthfully tell us what they are doing, let’s dig into what is really being put in place and why. Otherwise, we are about to get a society inhabited by highly emotional people whose “New Brain Thinking” is not thinking in the traditional sense at all.

Scott Peck admitted in his book calling for “New Brain Thinking” and required practices that now “our individualism must be counterbalanced by commitment”. He was writing in the 80s when nuclear war with the USSR was still a real threat, but his required practices that would be “the only way that human evolution will be able to proceed” survived the USSR and the Fall of the Berlin Wall. Now they are inserted in learning standards or characteristics of each Learner or future Graduate. Peck knew, and now educators globally are using, the fact that “the most salient feature of human nature lies in its capacity to be molded by culture and experience.” This is what the Cannibals of the Mind and their Loyalists rely on to drive another revolution 100 Years after Lenin and the Bolsheviks commenced the last one on November 7, 1917. They are using psychological techniques and learning theories that were initially hatched in the USSR and this time they hope the revolution will take.

This time the revolution is at the neural level of the mind and personality with educators relying on what Peck called the “capacity for transformation. It is the capacity for transformation that is the most essential characteristic of human nature. And again paradoxically, this capacity is both the basic cause of war and the basic cure for war.” As I have noted, this real target and the reason for targeting it and methods used are all the source of a great deal of organized deceit. Teachers aren’t assigned Peck’s book and any references to the Soviet psych origins of classroom mandates are usually in a footnote. Fortunately, I have typically read the books being footnoted and can recognize the same or equivalent theories even when there are no footnotes at all.

In another book, The Personal Intelligences, promoting that teachers use social and emotional learning in their classrooms, we get an open admission in italics that Experiences wire the brain. And those Gypsy Supers and their loyalist employees can be wiring “New Brain Thinking” while parents still erroneously believe their child is learning science, history, or reading Shakespeare. As the book’s author put it in a chapter ironically called “Nurturing Independence” (the illusion of it would be more apt):

“I teach reading. I teach math. But I don’t think of myself as a reading/math teacher. I like the title ‘specialist in developing children.’ I help brains grow. I nurture new dendrite connections in all students.”

These teachers do help brains grow and these learning standards lay out and then use assessments to check for how those brains are growing and which dendrites are developing in what areas of the brain. There is no desire for a logical, fact-filled, independent mind capable of the kind of epiphany described above. Think of it now as prescribed epiphanies delivered via virtual reality and ed tech experiences that can be manipulated as desired to create “New Brain Thinking” and imagining new human systems like cities with new sets of rules. Remember how we keep coming across the phrase “self- regulation” or its cousins self-government or self-discipline instilled in all students? Is it about knowledge of the world as it exists and what got us here and what didn’t work? No, here is an example from that same book. This is what Student Success, Growth, or Achievement now mean:

“She’s thinking about herself rather than simply going through the motions. Self-regulating learners make plans, they watch their progress, ask for help when appropriate, and relate new learning to what they already know. This makes active inner speech.”

It also makes fully controlled inner speech, especially as teachers are advised to help students learn the vocabulary of the desired emotions they are to develop through school. The author wants “self reflection to guide their lives, supporting their growth toward positive goals.” Essentially education decides what goals and characteristics it wants students to internalize and then activities and experiences are developed until these traits become internalized Habits of Mind, neurally instilled. And lied about constantly. Does Cannibals of the Mind still seem harsh?

In thinking about the actual effects on students minds and similar attempts through the centuries to control what the individual mind may know, I pulled a book called The Passion of the Western Mind. It described the four “technical inventions” that played such a vital role in the birth of a respect for Individualism at the time of the Renaissance and the launch of Science as a means for understanding the natural world. It seems to me that learning standards in general and social and emotional learning in particular, under its variety of names, is an attempt to undo the emancipatory effects of these inventions by using a new vision of education as transfomation. Best we know what these inventions were:

“the magnetic compass, which permitted the navigational feats that opened the globe to European exploration; gunpowder, which contributed to the demise of the old feudal order and the ascent of nationalism; the mechanical clock, which brought about a decisive change in the human relationship to time, nature, and work, separating and freeing the structure of human activities from the dominance of nature’s rhythms; and the printing press, which produced a tremendous increase in learning, made available both ancient classics and modern works to an ever-broadening public, and eroded the monopoly on learning long held by the clergy.”

These kind of aspirations should not be implemented in the proverbial dark of night by Cannibals of the Mind overpaid to direct activities to rewire our children’s brains. These go to some of the most fundamental questions any civilization ever addresses.

See how dangerous it is to put school board members through psychological team training of the type Peck advocated so they will come to believe that what the Supers tell them is true? They also seem to be trained to believe that no one without an education degree is allowed to know comment on what educators can do in the classroom.

How convenient for the Cannibals of the Mind and the politicians, institutions, and theories they are installing and reenforcing. No scrutiny, no effective protest. No recognition that this was how dire times began in the past.

Seduction rather than Overt Compulsion: Hubs, Spokes, DeVos Dictates, and Polycentricity

Anyone hoping for at least a PG-13 post with that title will be disappointed I don’t mean the sexual definition of seduction. Instead, this type of seduction is when someone changes what they support or advocate for because they have a carefully arranged misunderstanding of the issues and what is actually in play. That applies perfectly to competency-based education (CBE) with its neural emphasis that lies behind most of the K-12 reforms and, increasingly, also higher ed. In case someone thinks I cannot tie the desired  bullseye to the constant drumbeat of False Narratives around the Common Core, CBE, or its essential component of social and emotional learning (SEL), the acknowledgments page of the book I am about to quote from thanks the influential Bradley Foundation for its financial support.

That book Our Posthuman Future by Francis Fukuyama is the source of the first part of the title. In discussing the famous book Brave New World, Fukuyama quoted the character who said “The Controllers realized that force was no good” and then went on to state that “people would have to be seduced rather than compelled to live in an orderly society.” That’s a great metaphor for how ‘student-centered learning’ or ‘personalized learning’ really work so lets borrow the metaphor. Later Fukuyama talked of “those who believe in the social construction of human behavior” and then listed first the French Revolution and then the 20th century attempts for “radically rearranging the most basic institutions of society…with the socialist revolutions that took place in Russia, China, Cuba, Cambodia, and elsewhere.”

Before anyone exhales with a sigh of relief that those efforts are thankfully behind us, Fukuyama then complained that “the tools of the past century’s social engineers and utopian planners, they seem unbelievably crude and unscientific. Agitprop, labor camps, reeducation, Freudianism, early childhood conditioning, behavioralism–all of these were techniques for pounding the square peg of human nature into the round hole of social planning. None of them were based on knowledge of the neurological structure or biochemical basis of the brain.”

Think of CBE, learning standards like the Common Core, or SEL mandates as a means to use prescribed experiences and other curriculum activities to biologically alter the brain so that suddenly that square peg of human nature is now a round peg. Then it can fit easily into the round hole of social planning. Think of all the data being gathered, that has no need to be personally identifiable to work for purposes of neural change, as a means to “enhance our knowledge of, and hence our ability to manipulate, the source of all human behavior, the brain.” In http://invisibleserfscollar.com/battle-for-the-mind-and-who-we-ought-to-be-portrait-of-a-graduate-in-2030-thanks-to-charlottesville/ we found the behavioral scientists creating the curriculum and dialogues admitting their purpose was a Battle for Human Nature.

Now, between that last quote and this one “we may be about to enter a posthuman future, in which technology will give us the capacity gradually to alter that [human] essence over time,” we had Fukuyama admitting the known aims. Somehow too many of us get seduced by terms like Growth, Success, or Continuous Improvement into not recognizing what it is that ‘learning’ is changing. This past week iNACOL released “Quality and Equity by Design” to chart the Course of the Next Phase of CBE. The reenvisioning of education it laid out is premised on the “steady march towards equality and justice within our country” that regards the neural level as the ultimate in evidence-based policymaking.

After all, CBE needs to “overcome the history of bias, bigotry, discrimination and oppression that has shaped many students, communities and institutions, including our K-12 education system, and realize educational equity?” How? Why, through ‘brain-based learning’ of course where “QUALITY refers to efficacy–the capacity to produce the desired result or effect…to support academic and lifelong learning outcomes for students.” Lifelong learning is another seductive term that actually has to do with what is hardwired into the brain as well. The next paragraph explained how educators use their “understanding of their students as individuals, adapting as needed to personalize the learning pathway towards common high expectations.” The learning goals do not vary. Only the means of proving the desired neural installation varies and what it took to create the change. Educators look to “academic skills, social-emotional-learning, habits of success and the strength of students’ growth mindset are all taken into consideration” in determining what needs to be changed at a neural level and how to go about it.

Since physical activity, especially when tied to an idea, certain goals or Purposeful activity, is known to have a physiological effect on certain regions of the brain, we get the CBE mandate put into state or federal laws or regulations quietly issued by a federal Ed secretary where “Students in turn are active co-constructors of knowledge, rather than passive consumers of content.” To make sure future behavior in the real world is predictable, we get a CBE mandate that “Learning is visibly and authentically connected to meaningful and important outcomes.”

On October 12, 2017 Betsy DeVos https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2017-10-12/pdf/2017-22127.pdf released proposed regulations for review that enact many of the controversial reforms decried as Positive School Climate, an SEL focus, Fostering Communities of Learners, a communitarian focus, constructivist math and science to be taught in a hands-on inquiry environment, and many other programs that were unquestionably developed in the USSR during the Cold War as this blog or my book Credentialed to Destroy documented. DeVos may not understand that and could be relying on perfidious employees or her time on various think-tank boards. These proposed regulations (that no one can comment against if they remain unaware they have been issued) also fit with that iNACOL paper and its desire to enact a vision of education that supposedly fits “the moral imperative of supporting and empowering the next generation of adults” through CBE and its effects on the students’ brains.

Permanent neural rudders are such a better way to steer people if anyone is concerned about a willingness to accede to these visions of earthly transformation. Instead of top-down visible commands, use the decentralized theory of polycentricity. Then the seduction can be pitched using alluring euphemisms like federalism, standards, states as ‘laboratories of democracy’, and local control.  https://www.icsu.org/cms/2017/04/Policy-Brief-No.6-FG_FIN3ed.pdf was released back in September and is tied to that same alarming Earth System Partnership/Belmont Challenge the UN is quietly pushing that caused me to start this blog originally. If I had a tricorn cap, I could go by Robin Revere. The first paper in the Bibliography led me to Polycentricity and its ties as a political theory that could introduce social justice into public policy decision-making frameworks. These could then be pushed by think tanks and politicians pretending they are ‘market-based reforms’ instead of overt social planning.

Sound familiar? Decentralized decisionmaking that “depend on the values and culture of the individuals creating them.” Gee, if we could only make values and culture the focus of education just like those DeVos regulations, CBE, the Science of Virtues, and the Jubilee Centre Moral Framework all do. If a political theory of social planning like polycentricity being cited in current policy briefs relies on “whether or not a significant number of individuals share or aspire to those values is critical to the operation of the system,” then that theory needs learning standards and CBE to work. It also needs for no one to appreciate precisely how these reforms really work or what they really aim to do. Hence, so many of the False Narratives oblivious to the facts and seeking both public funding and implementation as a matter of law.

The NSF is currently using taxpayer money to set up a Big Data Innovation Ecosystem in the US that certainly sounds polycentric. It has 4 Big Data Innovation Hubs to play the convening and coordinating role with area academia, industry, governments, and nonprofits. Anyone who has read my book, think Turchenko with new tools of social planning. The Hubs are now creating a Spokes system extending into all 50 states that is explicitly looking to partner with State Boards of Education and local school districts. This Hub-Spoke System is expressly tied to the NSF-funded BRAIN Initiative we have covered to map the brain and its areas of function. All these plans for us and our children were supposed to be invisible. My blood pressure would probably be lower if somehow I had not been given a means to discern what is being attempted and why, but here we are.

These are authoritarian plans for thought control tied into the brain’s structure. To recognize what is going on is to feel compelled to share this agonizing story. In order for these pernicious plans to work though, they need to remain undetected or misunderstood. The plans need to change the nature of education without the true nature of the change being grasped. Most of all, these plans need the tool of the law and its ability to compel even when the effects of such compulsion are neither felt or really understood. To work, all polycentric visions require “an encompassing system of rules” brought in by accreditors, the terms of promotions for principals, learning standards, or the terms for receiving grant funding to give just a few decentralized, but binding, illustrations.

It turns out that bottom-up social planning to achieve transformations needs two things: the human brain, malleable and adaptable to experience, as well as “the rule of law.” Those are the two essential factors that supposedly can, over time, alter human nature from a square peg to a round nail that fits the desired Blueprint.

Luckily for us, I keep finding those Blueprints and interpreting them accurately using my non-21st century store of factual knowledge.

 

Capturing Every Thought Captive and Sculpting Students as Systems: Driver of Perfidy?

Sometimes trains that appear to be running on parallel tracks or away from each other actually may be planning to meet up somewhere if we only had a more elaborate and long term map of the real train routes. That appears to me to be the case in two recent initiatives that on their faces could not be more opposite. The first is the Aspen Institute National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development–NCSEAD–issuing a so-called “Evidence-Base for How We Learn” https://www.aspeninstitute.org/publications/evidence-base-learn/ and stressing that integrated social, emotional and academic development is not a database of personal attributes as the False Narrative keeps wanting to emphasize. It treats the student, their mind, and personality as a system that can be consciously manipulated via education to “appeal to our higher angels. The goal really is to lead all of us on the pathway to a better life, a good life.”

No one mentioned that “you will simply love it Comrade,” but that is a bit how the papers and discussions read. Like the Portrait of a Graduate visions, the personal traits of the student/system are front and center as a desire to “graduate young adults who are self-directed, intellectually engaged, and possess a commitment to personal and civic responsibility.” The vision is supposedly “consistent with how brains take in and process information.” Now I would add a caveat to that since I have been tracking CHAT-Cultural Historical Activity Theory–across the decades and from the Soviet Union during the Cold War, to New York City with Rockefeller Foundation financing, to San Diego when Carnegie seems to have taken over, to Rome, Italy and the 2013 ISCAR Summit. In the middle we have the original Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) mandates in the 80s (now in ESSA as an annual mandate for all students) and what was called the New Standards Project in the 90s that would morph into the Common Core we know now.

That was long-winded but the point is these ideas are trackable with a clear lineage and related tangents that have been covered at ISC through the years. I hereby declare myself a sufficient authority from all this tracking that statements about how this is how the brain DOES work are not true. The truth is that this is how the brain CAN be made to work if certain educational practices become required. The pithy expression is that “nerves that fire together, wire together”. If curricula highlights interpreting through supplied concepts, principles, and themes; forces an inquiry approach and ‘productive struggle’; or as with HOTS assessments, requires questions with no single answer but which deal with ‘ambiguity, empathy, and problem-solving,’ a certain part of the brain tied to emotion in the Prefrontal Cortex is what is being used.

My second train is the newly launched Child Abuse in the Classroom site which issued what is either an intentionally manipulative narrative on the the role of social and emotional learning and its ubiquity over the decades, or it is just ignorant of the entire push to make the student into a system. Perhaps it is a mixture depending on the person involved.Targeting certain parts of the brain has always been crucial to this manipulation, which you would never know from articles like this one.  http://www.capitolhilloutsider.com/congress-passes-psychological-manipulation-in-an-education-bill/ The logic is not emotional manipulation on top of academics. The purpose of academics in this ‘Make a System via Neural Wiring’ scenario is to create the activities that allow the desired neural rewiring. Reading the CAC press release caused me to get my hands on Phyllis Schlafly’s original Child Abuse in the Classroom book from 1984.

Whatever Mrs Schlafly’s intentions in publishing that testimony from hearings around the country, the book’s mere existence seems to provide an evidence-base for using social and emotional techniques in the classroom without any real statutory protection. Here’s why: the so-called Protection of Pupils does not let us use our dictionary meaning of “research or experimentation program or project”. Instead it defined it as “any applicable program designed to explore or develop new or unproven teaching methods or techniques.” We have a book with testimony on how many years these techniques had been in use in certain school systems and just how effective the curricula and practices were in changing who the student was at an internalized level–what they valued and believed.

See the problem? The book created a paper trail that disqualified the described techniques from its definition of “research or experimentation program or project.” No wonder an SEL emphasis keeps recurring. It’s impossible to read the book and not recognize that the described techniques are still in use today with no effective remedy because their true role has not been accurately appreciated. They all go to the same part of the brain’s Prefrontal Cortex as the new ESSA HOTS mandate. I don’t think that’s a coincidence. Plenty of testimony on the Facing History and Ourselves curriculum in those 1984 hearings. Lo and behold, FHAO is also what the Aspen Institute recommends in NCSEAD’s August 2017 report “Putting It All Together.”

When I was following up on a recent National Academy of Sciences publication touting a synonym for SEL called Character, it led me to a Notre Dame professor, Darcia Narvaez, who also turned out to be a fellow at that Jubilee Centre that has issued the Framework for Moral Development and the Knightly Virtues curriculum. She has a book that explained precisely how learning standards like the Common Core or Competencies really are to work so let me quote her. Remember standards and curricula now are all about experiences and activity-oriented practices like Project-Based Learning. Members of the Aspen Task Force are also tied to the Jubilee Centre.

“Experience shapes which neuronal systems become more habitually deployed. Because it is dynamic, the theory is helpful for understanding how early experience can shape personality, including moral personality…Neuronal circuitry is formed by what is activated most frequently based on experience…resulting in the favoring of some neural circuits (value systems) over others.”

Narvaez also laid out how “intention and affection generate ‘narratives of vitality,’ regulating internally generated motives and the awareness of self and other in relationship. Such narratives not only structure the psyche but may contribute to the development of language.” A very powerful tool in other words and if the admitted Progressive Left is not the only one wishing to restructure culture and control the psyche, that’s a great deal of incentive for False Narratives about the Common Core, competency-based learning, and the actual purpose of SEL. No wonder we keep encountering the Personally Identifiable Information database explanation. It gets parents outraged and looking for a remedy. Meanwhile the neural rewiring tool remains a part of the supposed educational options we keep having offered up as our supposed choice to escape “government schools.”

Who needs a database of personal characteristics when the desired bullseye is neural rewiring invisibly installed in the brain and nervous system? Meanwhile, every group with transformational intentions in the here and now world, whether open Marxists, naive do-gooders, or religiously driven adherents wanting to impose a Heaven on Earth somehow knows this fact about this new view of education:

“Enduring states become traits…In a dynamic system, once the system is stabilized around a particular interpretation, expectancies are formed for future pattern recognition and action…A behavior at any given point in time is a function of the interaction of person with context, with its history and trajectory. Prior experiences and habits constrain present configurations and options. Prior experience constrains real-time interpretation and activations of connectivity across systems.

Learning in developmental time constrains learning in real time.That is, affective-cognitive structures that developed from emotionally laden situations form units of personality that limit future cognitive appraisals.”

Those ’emotionally laden situations’ were precisely what drove so many parents to testify back in 1984 and seek a federal remedy against these type of educational practices. We never will get an effective remedy against these intentional neural intrusions against ANY LEVEL of government until we grasp the aims of the student as a manipulable system. It’s no secret that many who seem to be active in weaving a deceptive interpretation of these education initiatives also like to wear their religious convictions on their sleeves. Nothing wrong with that except when the reason for the deceit is to allow religious groups to invisibly impose their vision using these powerful tools of behavioral science. The work of one of the more high-profile writers, Gary DeMar who created the Biblical Worldview Library, was cited in a footnote so I located Volume 3 of God and Government: The Restoration of the Republic.

DeMar was very hostile to what he called ‘autonomous reason’ and wanted to “bring into captivity all our thinking.” My noncompliant Axemaker Mind recognizes how he and those who agree with his vision for developing “an education program for dominion purposes that would cover the world. This means applying what we learn from the Bible to every area of thought” would just love the behavioral science/neural rewiring/systems science template that everyone but the parents seems to now know about. The purposes for manipulation now differ, but the planned techniques really do not. Again that’s a huge incentive to mislead parents about the nature of education reforms or to declare curricula “Common Core-free” even though it clearly aims at such neural manipulation when accurately evaluated. I want to close with DeMar’s definition of ‘self-government’ since that euphemism comes up so much, as well as the rationale for Classical Education since it sounds like such an alluring remedy.

“Notice the ethical dimension to education. It was not enough to teach the technical skills. For godly dominion to be extended, self-government had to prevail. Self-government is nothing more than keeping the commandments of God with a willing heart.”

Does ever parent and taxpayer appreciate that or do they still think classical education is about the transmission of knowledge? Hyping the Good, True, and Beautiful sounds so much better than matter-of-factly having the school vision state: “All teaching is goal-oriented. The Christian’s goal is not merely to fill students’ minds with facts that have no meaning, purpose or relationship to all the other facts in the universe; Christian education develops its goals from Scripture. While tests and degrees might be a part of all education, learning with a definite purpose is certainly the main element.”

That ‘definite purpose,’ to be internalized at a neural level to guide perception and motivate behavior, is what makes even religious education now about turning the student into a system. Maybe it is for his or her own good, but it’s not out in the open. Parents cannot have the much vaunted ‘say’ in their children’s education until they appreciate this neural aim and its consequences.

Hopefully it can be out in the open now because that is truly the only way to stop Child Abuse in the Classroom or, in front of a computer delivering virtual reality.

Best way to control those all important learning experiences and assess their impact in real time.

Being Thankful We Know About the New Mandate of Student Success to Create and then Sway a Group Mind

Most years since I started this blog I have published a particular post originally called “Being Thankful for What We Know and Appreciating Why It Matters.” That message remains timely, especially given the gravity of everything I have laid out in recent posts. First though I want to provide a few updates since the last post. I had an opportunity last week to speak with Security Policy expert Frank Gaffney in a recorded conference call about the implications of what I had found in the Tarbiyah Project and how closely it aligns with the actual, to be mandated, meaning of success or achievement under the new proposed federal legislation. https://soundcloud.com/alice-linahan/women-on-the-wall-esea-and-the-the-tarbiyah-project

As I wrote in the last post, the alignment between the actual mandated implementation I covered so carefully in my book Credentialed to Destroy and what Tauhidi described was breathtaking and clearly no accident. I covered systems thinking extensively in that book, but although it was created at the troublingly ubiquitous Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS), some of its creators were always connected to Michigan’s Institute for Social Research and Research Center for Group Dynamics. http://www.rcgd.isr.umich.edu/history/ Michigan is where Tauhidi received both his Masters and Doctorate and its School of Education has always been a national leader in shifting K-12 education toward the behavioral sciences. To truly make education into a science of human development it certainly helps that the current Dean Deborah Ball also chairs the Spencer Foundation Board of Directors.

That would certainly explain the alignment I found. Establishing the Group Mind and making it influential, then guiding, and finally motivating, as the definition of increasing Proficiency toward being an ‘Expert’ was laid out recently here.  http://www.epiconline.org/essential-skills-and-dispositions-development-frameworks/ Lots of influential entities there and 3 of the essentials are from 21st Century Learning: Creativity, Communication, and Collaboration. The 4th, Critical Thinking, has been renamed as Self-Directed Learning. That would be the same term Tauhidi used in his Tarbiyah Key Outcomes & Indicators. It’s probably not accidental that Tarbiyah’s Essential Learning of Noble Character and Moral Literacy is the Self-Directed Individual, especially since the other 3 Cs are also in various desired new personal character traits with their names in Arabic script.

Finally, Congress just released a Framework for its new ESEA legislation http://edworkforce.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=399784 that also aligns with Tarbiyah and the goal of turning the student, at an internal, neurological level, into a designed, predictable system. That’s the ‘success’ within the legislation. I now have everything I need to prove those assertions after the legislation is passed and signed. Here’s the long-standing goal, taken from work on Burmese culture and Buddhist values, attitudes, and motivating beliefs funded by the CASBS with a shout out to Ralph Tyler, the creator of NAEP, the 8 Year Study, and so much more we still encounter today.

“Which brings us to the importance of this symbol for the integration of Burmese society. For it is through their reverence for this common symbol of a shared ego ideal that the Burmese, I believe, come to identify with each other, as Freud puts it, they ‘have put one and the same object in the place of their ego ideal and have consequently identified themselves with one another in their ego.’ [no individualism left as the West knows it] And this is how Burmese society achieves its highest degree of integration. To the extent that members of a social group identify with each other, to that extent is the group characterized by social integration.”

That would be why Black Lives Matter in 2015 and All Lives do not. With that let’s go back in time. Remember all we have covered since forcing a required Group Mind and also the 2014 passage of WIOA, giving all governments unprecedented economic powers for planning society.

I had actually outlined another barnburner story but the day before Thanksgiving is no time to serve up indigestion. So I thought I would write a tale of appreciating why individual liberty has mattered in the past and why Freed Markets resulted in mass prosperity would be a nice tribute. And I do not mean that in a Pollyanish sense. One of the books I am tackling this holiday week is Robert P Moses’ radical equations: Civil Rights from Mississippi to the Algebra Project. I want every child to learn to the best of their ability. I want to really appreciate the desperation that is driving this Equality for All even if it guts the economy philosophy. It is why I read what attracted Van Jones to the Green Growth Economy as a manifestation of his self-confessed preference for Communism.

I think the history lessons of the Predator State declaring its Goals for People and then using its powers to coerce are too easy to forget. It’s not an ideological preference. It’s a factual story. A repeated pattern once government reaches a certain size of the economy. I think history consistently bears out the truth of what Nobel Prize-winning economist Friedrich Hayek said in his 1945 lecture Individualism: True and False. I give extra credit for people who have first hand experience in what led to most of the great tragedies of the 20th Century. It’s called Walking the Walk and there is great validity to the hard-earned wisdom it imparts.

“There is all the difference in the world between treating people equally and attempting to make them equal. While the first is a condition of a free society, the second means, as De Tocqueville described it, ‘a new form of servitude.”

There is just no getting around the fact that government officials and their Business Allies deciding they get to fine tune personalities and reset Values, Attitudes, and Beliefs to guide an Individual’s Future Behavior is a 21st Century form of servitude. Especially when the inappropriately named Positive School Climate is now a tool to retrain each student’s filtering Mindset. The worldview they will use from now on as they encounter daily reality. With their preferred non-Axemaker Mind and habits grounded in emotion. All quite consciously cultivated and monitored.

But we now know all this up front and that really is something to be Thankful for. As an active pursuer of these plans and blueprints this is decidedly unauthorized knowledge that was not supposed to become available. A 2012 Deerstalker Gold Star Award for Me. The most common question I get from frustrated parents especially is Why? What I am saying simply rings too true with their daily reality to discount it. But why the Deliberate Operant Conditioning towards a Future that’s not really about prosperity?

Like I have said, I take great comfort in putting all this in its Historical Context and its real Self-Dealing Context. Because honestly that is where it belongs. So I am going to quote you a passage from Hayek’s 1944 book The Road to Serfdom (page 176 in my 2007 copy). He really nails the drivers behind making education miseducation. Notice he also nails down the frequent unholy alliance between government and the media. Simply refusing to report or cover accurately anything that might caste a poor light on desired government policies. My bolding and snark is in the brackets.

“Facts and theories [Sustainability, Man-made Catastrophic Global Warming, Diversity, Social Justice] must thus become no less the object of an official doctrine than views about values. And the whole apparatus for spreading knowledge–the schools and the press, radio and motion picture–will be used exclusively to spread those views which, whether true or false, will strengthen the belief in the rightness of the decisions taken by the authority; and all information that might cast doubt or hesitation will be withheld. The probable effect on the people’s loyalty to the system [Peter Senge just swooned that we so understand the essence of Systems Thinking and Why It Must Be Pushed] becomes the only criterion for deciding whether a particular piece of information is to be published or suppressed. [Benghazi; Actual Employment Numbers]

The situation in a totalitarian state is permanently and in all fields the same that it is elsewhere in some fields in wartime. Everything which might cause doubt about the wisdom of the government or create discontent will be kept from the people. [Hard not to think of Candy Crowley and that 2nd Presidential Debate]. The basis of unfavorable comparisons with conditions elsewhere, the knowledge of possible alternatives to the course actually taken, information which might suggest failure on the part of the government to live up to its promises or to take advantage of opportunities to improve conditions–all will be suppressed. There is consequently no field where the systematic control of information will not be practiced and uniformity of views not enforced.”

There you have the incentive of Government officials for using education for merely Competent, Mentally Hobbled Citizens. Especially ones who are being bred to see a Duty to the State. And the Business Angle. They are politically connected and want special privileges and protections from their Cronies. That’s not Capitalism though. It’s Mercantilism where there is no mass prosperity. It is what Adam Smith rejected as he accounted for Britain’s phenomenal 18th century economic growth.

So enjoy your friends and loved ones on this cherished American holiday. Whatever happens in education in 2013, we WILL understand what is really going on and what the likely consequences are actually going to be.

And that really is something to be Thankful for.

Shaped and Sculpted Young People Ready to be Governable Participants in a New Future

Remember that catchy Peter Paul and Mary song “Leaving on a Jet Plane”? Well, I am practically humming it in my head this afternoon. After reading revelations in the last few months that have me feeling like I have been staring at a supernova without my comrade-approved conceptual goggles, I am taking a little break. Because things have been breaking so fast and furiously just in the last week though, I want to talk first about what is happening and also to bring back a group of posts that bears directly on interpreting the intentions of the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015.

Now I am known for liking a good Grab the Attention metaphor in my titles, but this one is an actual quote of the intentions involving students, education, data, and experimenting to create new kinds of people and societies via public policy. First, we get a declaration of giving the public bogus reasons on why children need to learn to code as a basic new educational skill. Meanwhile admitting that the required practices will reorient students into the new ways of thinking “required to participate in the digital governance of the state” [and thus them, whether our ‘new thinkers’ ever grasp that real goal]. Later, ‘digital making’ activities are acknowledged as “a way of seeking to shape citizen subjectivities and capacities”, which certainly fits with my insistence that K-12 education globally is now intent on molding future likely behaviors and the student’s personality at a biological level.

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00220620.2015.1038693 will take you to the journal to download this Mother of all Confessions. The title actually comes from this doozy on page 267 where we are told “learning to code is itself a form of digital policy instrumentation–a technical means of operationalizing a particular set of policy ideas and exercising specific effects in terms of the governance and control of the population. It is a channel through which young people are to be shaped and sculpted with both the civic capacities and expertise to become governable participants in emerging strategies, techniques, and methods of digital governance.”

Elsewhere that report announces that these well-connected public and social innovation labs show the “spread of experimentalism as an ideology for how we shape the future.” In case that’s not graphic enough and showing why I had to get one more post up before my Great Adventure, we have adaptive learning, data science in education, and these psi labs generally declared to be seen “unambiguously as part of an ideological project of designing the future.” Now pay attention also because the Next Generation Science Standards put out an advisory on assessment this week that fits with the following as a desirable Practice to be Measured: “based on the assumption that design can envision desirable realities and develop ways to make those futures realities.”

I will deal with NGSS when I return so wish me a safe trip. In the meantime we also have philanthropies and governments at all levels admitting their coordinated efforts with each other to redesign society around place-based initiatives.  https://socialinnovation.usc.edu/files/2014/12/Prioritizing-Place-Moving-to-Higher-Ground.pdf Of course that report further confesses all the particular federal programs we are funding with all this deficit spending and the ties to fed Ed and then the need to transform the broader social and economic systems. We are told excitedly that this is not an ‘Either/Or” situation, but calls for an Integrated Framework that they intend to keep practicing on us with.

Maybe I should find a cave somewhere and just hide in the wilderness. If I did that though, who else would look at a paper like https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B__OTXR_u3RbYkRQX3dKWjNtalE/view “Driving the skills agenda: Preparing students for the future” from Google [who is really psyched about this data emphasis by the way] and notice all the undisclosed connections. Instead of reading it as major employer speaks about what all employers need, I remembered our recent post http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/windows-on-the-mind-to-confiscate-and-control-our-very-essence/ where Google called for changes in public policy to redesign society. Maybe Google is once again speaking as someone with a Stake in this Game of Experimentalism with Data and less as an Employer.

I noticed Google hired the Economist Intelligence Unit to prepare the report, but no one ever mentioned that Pearson, with its global Ed Unit headed by Sir Michael Barber of ISC tag fame himself, owns The Economist. Many of the experts involved with the report are also involved with ATC21S, the global 21st century skills initiative backed by Microsoft, Cisco, and Intel, but that is omitted from the paper as well. Since I covered ATC21S in my book Credentialed to Destroy, I got to call on that knowledge in reading the report. It also allowed me to notice that the very skills “employers need” are the same skills being touted as necessary to be a 21st Century ATC21S Learner. Now since Pearson is officially part of ATC21S and so are UNESCO, the OECD, and the World Bank we are getting what will satisfy the desires of the transformative Learning Metrics Task Force now being pitched as necessary to satisfy what employers need.

I can practically see every county, state, or country bidding to be the next recipient of a jobs-creating data center for Google being presented with that very document. Then the eager-to-please and plan ‘business development’ mayor, council members, governors, legislators, and Congress critters will cry in unison that “this is what our schools must do or there will be no jobs.” That’s how what is openly acknowledged to be Experimentalism and social theories looking for implementation to produce data to see if they work makes it all the way to your local school to start that Shaped and Sculpted Process.

Beyond those links that should probably be read with an adult beverage or your blood pressure medicine nearby, I am providing the links to a series of posts I wrote originally in January 2014. I called it the Obuchenie Trilogy, but there were four of them as it turned out. Obuchenie is a Russian word that does not translate smoothly into English, but understanding it as a goal is crucial for translating the Every Child Achieves Act’s aspirations for our children into the actual goals. In order here are the posts so we can get ready to deal with ECAA when I get back.

http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/obscuring-the-reinvention-of-all-education-around-envisaging-new-ways-of-being-in-the-world/

http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/unveiling-the-true-focus-of-the-common-core-obuchenie-within-students-to-gain-desired-future-behaviors/

http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/supposedly-creating-a-generation-of-solutionaries-by-using-education-to-create-futures-oriented-change-agents/

Finally, we have this  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/finale-of-the-dangerous-mindset-trilogy-spreading-the-contagion-to-fundamentally-alter-how-we-think-and-live/

Reading the language of the new form of ECAA, 1177, made me think of what Benjamin Bloom really intended Mastery Learning to become because that seemed to be a driver behind the 1177 language’s clear intent to fundamentally change our children. When I went back to the early 70s, I found Bloom writing alarmingly about changing the nature of the task in order to change the student in order to get at Cognitive Behaviors and Affective Characteristics. Well, that’s clearly not just another way to teach math or reading so it becomes accessible to all. There was something else noticeable though in the 1974 book schools, society, and mastery learning that wrote up presentations from an AERA annual conference.

Remember what the typeface created by the old typewriters looked like and how much trouble it would be to hyphenate ‘teaching-learning process’ just like that for more than 100 pages of typing. Sometimes it appears several times on a single page. Someone wanted that hyphenation because it helped stipulate the meaning of the phrase. In my mind, that much trouble consistently gone to in the early 70s means we are right about the phrase being a translated Russian word for a psychological and pedagogical practice created over there. Being brought over here and in 2015 it’s about to make it into a federal law when accurately understood.

Don’t expect a thank you from me for THAT importation into our classrooms.

Russian psych research, federal law, and Experimentalism via data as an ideological project of designing the future.

Leaving everyone with lots of relevant reading so no one needs to Miss Me While I’m Gone.

Now humming “Sure Gonna Miss Me While I’m Gone” as I pack. See ya.

Personalized Learning as a Molding Mechanism and Prime Instrument for Social and Political Control

We have discussed some of the implications of the personalized learning language in the Every Child Achieves Act rewrite of the K-12 federal education legislation, but most of what will guide the classroom practices and data being accumulated (“a data warehouse for every student”) lies in documents other than ECAA. Scouring those, as I am prone to do in my research, in turn sent me scurrying back to a Carnegie-funded book from 1952 called The New Man in Soviet Psychology. Similar language, comparable visions, and the same recommended changes to education generally means the same real goals whether that is being acknowledged up front or not. I want to go back to something Stalin told Party members in 1933, since we are highly unlikely to get a comparable confession from members of Congress in 2015, on the need to solve the ‘human problems’ if the desired transformations were to truly take hold in the USSR. “Even though the industrial and social base of the old society had been largely destroyed, the ‘remnants of capitalism’ still lingered in the minds of men.” Quoting Uncle Joe himself:

“You as Marxists should know that in its development the mentality of man lags behind his actual condition. In status the members of collective farms are no longer individual farmers, but collectivists, but their mentality is still the old one–that of the owner of private property.”

Stalin and the Soviets made no bones about their intention to “bring all possible facilities of society to bear on the problem of training and controlling its individual citizens.” They were especially fond of using the law in such a binding manner. Methinks they would have liked the language of ECAA and its close sibling, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act (WIOA) from last summer, a great deal. What these measures share in common is a desire to create an organized society. Now obviously that was not news to any Soviet in the 1930s, but it is news to many Americans in the 21st Century, which is why so much of what is intended to bind and quietly alter the minds of men is hidden and not being discussed openly.

What is an organized society anyway? It’s the idea that a society can be consciously organized and directed. In the case of the US in the 21st century, the organization is around the concept of Equity and an obligation to meet people’s needs, whoever they are and however they came to the US. In pushing this vision of social justice, or as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon calls it–Dignity for All by 2030–the organized society shifts from a place where people make their own choices to a “society in which–insofar as possible–all the parts are coordinated to the service of the whole by the deliberate decisions of persons who are in a position to implement that decision.” Hard to get politicians or public sector employees at any level to back off that kind of decision-making power once they get a whiff of the possibilities.

And the number one “theoretical tool for the coordination of society” in the Soviet Union of the 30s or America in 2015 is education. What the Soviets decided in the 30s and what people pushing all these reforms now know is that if they can train and guide people’s purposeful action, they can control future behaviors reliably without that being apparent. I am pretty sure Carnegie did not fund that book above just because it just loves to spend old Andrew’s steel fortune. It found its vision compatible with where it hoped the US would go as well. That likelihood becomes even more apparent when we look at the Foreword of the book and find Harvard prof and cognitive scientist, Jerome Bruner, wrote it. Bruner, citing John Dewey as having a comparable vision, wrote about:

“the need for a psychology that may support democracy. For man’s image of the nature of man is not only a matter of objective inquiry, it is and has always been a prime instrument of social and political control. He who molds that image does so with enormous consequences for the society in which he lives.”

Words to remember as we delve into personalized learning and so many of the practices and theories we have imported from the Soviet Union. What Bruner knew and what Carnegie knows since it funded the research, we are dealing with a comparable vision of using psychology to mold a consciousness and personality that becomes an activist in remaking the world that exists. Would you like to hazard a guess at the number 1 aspect or trait the Soviets knew they needed to control and mold? Motivation. Would anyone like to hazard a guess as to what the number one feature of ‘personalizing learning’ is in 2015 in the US? That’s right. It’s determining and then accessing student’s at the level of their intrinsic motivation.

I have tracked the meaning of personalizing instruction and learning through a lot of reports, but the most graphic is probably in the January 2015 National Initiative from the School Mental Health Project at UCLA. Given all the references in ECAA to the needs of the students and the communities and ‘learning supports’ it appears to me that the entire 204 page document is intended to be implemented via ECAA without anyone in Congress giving a Heads Up. The report is called “Transforming Student and Learning Supports: Developing a Unified, Comprehensive, and Equitable System” and it tells us upfront it has been created as part of that theme I am asserting is being used to turn us quietly into an organized society. “Equity of opportunity is fundamental to securing civil rights; transforming student and learning supports is fundamental to enabling equity of opportunity.”

Law school was decades ago but there is a trigger threshold in con law once something is deemed a ‘fundamental right’ and that seems to be precisely what this plan wants to trigger. Awfully crucial not to be in the open, isn’t it? Well, it is now so let’s quote what it says about personalization in education:

“personalizing instruction means ensuring conditions for learning are perceived by the learner as good ways to attain goals s/he wants to reach. Thus, a basic intervention concern is eliciting learners’ perceptions of how well what is offered matches both their interests and abilities. This has fundamental implications for all efforts to assess students and manage behavior.”

Manage behavior? Goal-seeking, purposeful actor? Doesn’t this sound precisely like the 30s Soviet shift on how to get at the minds of men to mold a new mentality? Should we be concerned that this 2015 National Initiative says that “From our perspective, the aim of personalizing learning is to enhance stable, positive, intrinsic attitudes that mobilize and maintain engagement in learning.” So all the language about “(a) ensure motivational readiness, (b) enhance motivation during learning, and (c) increase intrinsic motivation as an outcome” seems a bit heavy-handed, but it’s only one document, right? Well, there’s also the ISTE 2014 “Personalized Learning: A Guide for Engaging Students with Technology” that will likely guide what the language of ECAA really means for our students and ultimately all of us.

It helpfully lets us know that “personalized learning is not the digitization of traditional learning” since after all, it is the student’s mind and personality that are the real focus of this digital menu. Showing that unfortunately subject content areas are merely the means to get the desired changes in the students we are told to set goals and then try to achieve those established goals. How purposive! A goal-seeking actor just like Stalin wanted the emphasis to be on. “Progress through subject area content is measured by the demonstration of proficiency in identified skills and understanding.” Those would be the skills and understanding needed not for the world we now have, but that desired future which needs a new kind of citizen and worker.

Now I can say repeatedly that this is not the model of coursework we are all used to and insist how much manipulation is going on, but a vision of “courses built around concepts and learning outcomes” just speaks volumes about how socially engineered this “self-directed learning” will actually be. Let’s look somewhere else since this 2014 Summit on Personalized Learning of the White House-sponsored Digital Promise and League of Innovative Schools was uploaded to the internet about the time this new version of ECAA–1177–became available. http://www.fi.ncsu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/TEPLS_report-FINAL-051415.pdf Let’s go to page 18 since it is describing a federal grant to “revolutionize instruction”.

Now how ‘personalized’ does learning in the ordinary dictionary meaning of the term seem if we specify what all students need to know and then want to assess “How will we know they’ve learned it? and “What will we do if they haven’t learned it?” How a student chooses to show their learning is flexible and the activities they engage in to practice the desired learning has lots of options, but what is to be learned does not. Whether the student gets it or not, there’s actually a great deal mandatory to this personalized vision. That’s just not supposed to be apparent to either the students or us, lest we object to the clear coercion at the levels of mind, values, attitudes, and feeling.

This was true in every recent personalized learning paper I found. Here’s another http://www.siia.net/Portals/0/pdf/Education/PerLearnPaper.pdf The quiet mandatory nature makes perfect sense if this is all intended to be a molding mechanism in pursuit of an organized society where Equity is the lode star for decision-making.

If we go back to that 1952 book it will tell us that “The Bolshevik controls man by training his motives and shaping his ideology.” As someone who has read all these reports and ECAA, I am now asserting that personalizing instruction and “personalized rigorous learning experiences” are intended to train student’s motives for future action as well.

And the requirements about annual assessing of “higher order thinking and understanding” are monitoring whether the minds are being suitably molded and trained in “ideological thinking.” Because at its core, that’s where there is no flexibility.

Is the student using the desired concepts? Is she demonstrating desired values and appropriate attitudes?

Will he be motivated to act when and in the way desired? At least Uncle Joe was transparent in his aims, unlike Congress and most legislatures, governors, and city councils.

Eager to benefit from such social and political control over us.

 

 

Commanding Students to Treat Themselves as Manipulable Objects Means Invisible, Ongoing Predation

This post ends what began as a Trilogy but became a Quartet of posts when Senator Lamar Alexander substituted a substantially new version of his K-12 federal legislation rewrite with virtually no attempt to let the voting public know of the switch. As the last post covered in part, as a whole 1177, as the bill is called, reads as if it is the fulfillment of everything the behavioral and social scientists in Palo Alto have ever wanted from education to remake the existing world. It will take the sequel to my book Credentialed to Destroy to lay out all the connections I have documented, but I have them and I get to read 1177 with the informed mind and well-stocked glossary from books and papers going back to its founding in the early 50s. 1177 is also deeply embued with the communitarian ethos and seeks to turn it into collective obligations under federal law. Quite a combo.

I began this Quartet with the Fraud of the Century post because I thought it was important to begin to frame these shifts accurately as a usurpation by governments at all levels of an ability to make decisions that traditionally and legitimately belonged to private individuals. Now please forgive me for what is about to be a graphic metaphor, but it is the best comparison I can come up with and it unfortunately fits. Back in China under Mao or the USSR, the ordinary people knew perfectly well that they were coerced and manipulated by the power of the State. I won’t say imagine because this may be an apt image, but it’s not a pleasant one, that you wake up to someone with a knife to your throat and they insist that if you submit to sex they will not hurt you further. You may not have black eyes, but you were still raped and you would know that.

What the behavioral and social scientists in the East and West have been looking for over decades in a horrifyingly coordinated manner (also documented repeatedly beyond what is in first book) is an ability to gain that physical submission to whatever schemes the public sector decides on without the public appreciating the extent of the sought submission. That of course requires psychological manipulation and a limiting of knowledge, which is precisely what K-12 education in the US has sought to do from the original legislation in 1965 forward. On page 32,  the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015 (ECAA) prescribes that  each state “shall include the same knowledge, skills, and levels of achievement expected of all public school students in the state.” The ‘same’ and ‘all’ are deliberate language that limits what can now go on in K-12 public education for every child, regardless of ability.

Accessible to all as a legal requirement means that the focus has to be on emotions, beliefs, and behaviors because those are the only things all children have in common. Usefully those are the areas that the behavioral scientists have always wanted to access and now it’s the only legally acceptable focus. How useful. Now we are going to go back to one of the Big Fish among those behavioral scientists, Benjamin Bloom, to something he wrote back in 1976, where he believed his Mastery Learning techniques (notice how many times ‘mastery’ appears in ECAA) could create equality of learning.

He also wanted to shift the focus of school away from subject-content to affective characteristics, cognitive behaviors, and psychomotor skills. He pointed out that making equality of learning outcomes (italicized just like that) be a goal of education rather than equality of opportunity would mean “teachers and instructional material and procedures should  emphasize acceptable levels of learning for all children.” High standards gets its height from the percentage meeting the goal, not from the height of the goals themselves.

We see that same planned focus in the remake of all high schools project that started in 1998 as the National Urban High School project that the National Governors Association and the federal DoED saw no reason to tell us about. We have already discussed how all secondary schoolwork will meet distressingly low ‘common core goals’ such as the listed low, non-intellectual skills the federal Department of Labor created for its SCANS-Secretary’s Commission on Acquiring Necessary Skills in 1992. Oh, that would be when Alexander was the federal Education Secretary. What are the odds? From the 2008 NUHS “Seeing the Future” report, let me quote two more examples of “Common Core Goals” that would “cut across disciplines, drive the curriculum, and serve as the standards for assessing student work.”

The Six Hoover Learner Outcomes: What All Students Should Know and Be Able to Do on Graduation

1. Demonstrate habits of inquiry

2. Experience high technology

3. Collect, analyze, and organize resources and information

4. Communicate ideas and information

5. Work effectively with others

6. Organize personal resources, plan goals for the future, and show a commitment to lifelong learning

Now try to control your enthusiasm at these generic skills and personal qualities as I list The Five Habits of Mind from Central Park East Secondary, NYC.

Connection: How is it connected to other things?

Perspective: What is the viewpoint?

Evidence: How do we know what we know?

Speculation: How else may it be considered?

Significance: What difference does it make?

With those thresholds, what will now constitute mandated ‘learning for all’ judged as meeting federal law requirements, these very low and largely non-academic ‘common core goals’ asked of high schoolers will make a great deal of difference to where the US and other countries with comparable goals are really headed. Just imagine College and Career Readiness based on those as the high school completion goals and we will see why we found what we covered in this post. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/now-more-than-five-years-into-an-attempt-to-help-organize-a-near-total-revision-of-human-behavior/ , which usefully gets us back to a global focus as we all ask why, why? For that answer we need to go to Uzbekistan to some research Alexander Luria did there in the early 30s to test the effect literacy had on the mind based on a theory he and Lev Vygotsky had developed.

What Luria found was that: “For illiterate peasants speech and reasoning simply echoed practical and situational activity. For somewhat educated people the relationship was reversed: Abstract categories dominated and restructured situational experience.” In other words, illiteracy is problemmatic for pushing theoretical thinking as a reliable guide to altering perception, and thus future behavior, because it simply does not work. It works poorly with an Axemaker Mind that recognizes inapt metaphors and can develop its own concepts from its personal store of facts. So if that Davydov vision of a restructured curriculum and purpose of school we met in the last post and in Chapters 2 and 3 of my book is to work students need to be kept at a Basic Skills and low levels of factual knowledge threshold. Are things making more sense now?

And we have also documented repeatedly that in mandating assessments tied to higher order thinking skills and understanding ECAA mandates that Davydov vision. Now the title came out of reading the following passage in a book from 1981 called Educating because the described vision throughout the book dovetailed so well with the real Common Core implementation I documented in my book and all the references to ‘learning’ now in ECAA. Gowin stated that “voluntary individual learning probably cannot begin until the person can regard the self as an object…One must be able to treat oneself as an object in order to probe one’s self, to see it as an instrument in learning.” What ECAA does is mandate that the student must view themselves that way and accept the school’s right to manipulate his beliefs, attitudes, values, behaviors, and even the hardwiring of his brain as he wishes.

That’s what that language in the statute translates into when it is run through the behavioral sciences glossary and existing papers and books. Gowin called it  a ‘controlled yielding’ and viewed the reorganization of the mind and personality at a neural level as necessary. All of this is bad enough and quickly leads to all sorts of literature on precisely what Transformational Learning really means that makes me long for that first post where we were angry that “high standards” meant combining college prep and vocational into project-based learning for all students. A reader though has passed on the most aggressive charter language I have ever read from the school district, Clarke County, whose leader was recently named National School Superintendent of the Year. https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B8U0imqlmoA-alFFRU1aNGxBQjQ/view?pli=1

It was this local school district declaring the right to reorganize its students minds and personalities via required “personalized dynamic learning experiences” that really brought home the level of predatory invasions governments at every level are insisting on. Dynamic means transformative change in the student so I want to close with a quote from the late Professor Jack Mezirow on Transformative Learning Theory that fits with where that charter, the ECAA, and this entire learning focus takes us. Long, but vital.

“Transformative learning is defined as the process by which we transform problemmatic frames of reference (mindsets, habits of mind, meaning perspectives)–sets of assumption and expectation–to make them more inclusive, discriminating, open, reflective and emotionally able to change. Such frames are better because they are more likely to generate beliefs and opinions that will prove more true or justified to guide action.

Frames of reference are the structures of culture and language through which we construe meaning by attributing coherence and significance to our experience. They selectively shape and delimit our perception, cognition and feelings by predisposing our intentions, beliefs, expectations, and purposes. These preconceptions set our ‘line of action’. Once set or programmed, we automatically move from one specific mental or behavioural activity to another, and we have a strong tendency to reject ideas that fail to fit our preconceptions.”

No wonder the behavioural scientists wanted a shift to theoretical instruction (called there frames of reference) as I have repeatedly documented. No wonder the government officials and employees who want all this power are lying to us.

The public sector gets to determine what is problemmatic and decide the desired fix and it’s all out of sight. Except for in the language it is using in laws, regulations, and charters to try to make all these personal intrusions mandatory.

Luckily for us the latter is my playground.