Behind the Backs of Individuals: Creating the Well-Trained Consciousness

Fasten those seatbelts because here we go again. In turns out that back in the 1950s, in Rockefeller Foundation financed research carried out at the Russian Institute at Columbia University, Professor Herbert Marcuse laid out the vision of what kind of changed individual consciousness would be necessary for a “society where the realm of necessity is brought under rational control.” I shorthand that vision using Uncle Karl’s term–the Human Development Society–and this blog has been systematically covering all the various announcements of it recently from the Next System Project from the last post or the Larry Summers-led Commission on Inclusive Prosperity from January 2015. Since this power grab is clearly a current quest, even if it is not being widely covered away from this blog, let’s go back to see what Marcuse laid out, especially as it fits well with the announced goals of the new federal education legislation in hearings this week.

This post should have everyone looking at the announced title of the ECAA–Every Child Achieves Act–and wanting to call Congress to protest calling psychological manipulation–student achievement. First let’s go back in time to look at where that title came from. Marcuse was pointing out that in the USSR “individual behavior and values” are “automatically directed by the political agencies” so that there is no such thing as the distinct individual making his own way apart from what is determined to be in the needs of the remainder of society. Marcuse really hated the Western tradition that views the individual as a ‘private person’ instead of merely a ‘member of society’. He called for “the passing of the bourgeois individual…as the autonomous ‘subject’ which, as ego cogitans and agent, was to be the beginning and the end of Western culture.”

All of the emphasis on the Whole Child and social and emotional learning and as I will show today–the “integration of education and mental health” into a single vision of what effective schooling is now to be–makes far more sense if we are aware of Marcuse laying out the preconditions for achieving the kind of social and economic visions we keep encountering. Think of the 21st Century required skill of collaboration as we read the call for “the shrinking of the ego.” Won’t all the data being gathered come in handy in the next Marcuse call for “the administrative regulation of his material and intellectual needs”? What could be done openly in the USSR in the 50s and 60s (my copy of the 1958 Soviet Marxism book is the 4th printing from 1969) was described by Marcuse as “the coordination between public and private existence, which, at the postliberal stage of Western society, takes place largely unconsciously and behind the backs of the individuals.”

Can we just all join together in unison and yell “No More”? Just because all these visions of transformations need the ‘passing of the individual’ as a ‘private person’ to make it so, and even though, the education reforms are quietly trying to arrange the necessary “internalization” that will otherwise “impair the social cohesion and depth of morality,” does not mean any of us have to accede to this vision, for either ourselves or our children. The political theory involved, being implemented quietly, then and even more so now as federally mandated and financed education policy, insists on redefining freedom. Marcuse even italicized redefine to emphasize this crucial point: “it no longer means being the self-responsible architect of one’s life, of one’s own potentialities and their realization…the standards of freedom are shifted from the autonomous individual to the laws governing the society which governs the individual.” (my bolding)

Well, that quote certainly explains why my tracking Radical Ed Reform via its accompanying legal mandates has always proven so prophetic of actual long term intent. Since the needed shifts must occur, per Marcuse, at the level of ‘inner being’ and we know that is precisely the area that the new kinds of Common Core assessments emphasize, let’s come back to the present. First though a wave to Marcuse for being so usefully graphic. It certainly puts the Common Core’s emphasis on creating and measuring desired Habits of Mind into perspective http://www.tascorp.org/sites/default/files/TASC_SELResourceGuide_FINAL.pdf or “normed measures of social and emotional well-being.” A parent concerned about the increasingly widespread use of the PAX Good Behavior Game can add Marcuse’s confessed purposes to PAX’s admission that it:

“is teaching students to self-regulate, reduce impulsive or emotional reactions, delay gratification, and work together for a higher purpose. This is not achieved by lessons on the brain or behavior or some formal curriculum on social-emotional learning. [All of those would be, of course, somewhat visible rather than behind our backs]. Rather, this is achieved in the context of ordinary life at school that mimics the conditions of human evolution.”

Huh? http://www.promoteprevent.org/sites/www.promoteprevent.org/files/resources/2013%20Purrfect%20PAX%20Rubric2_Text_only.pdf That fascinating remark makes no sense in any biological sense, but it does begin to make sense for anyone who has read my coverage of using education to drive cultural evolution as laid out in my book Credentialed To Destroy. Marcuse also clearly had something similar in mind with his descriptions of targeting ‘internalization’ and an individual’s ‘inner being’. All of these things also become much clearer once we are aware of a desire to Integrate Education and Mental Health in Schools. http://peabody.vanderbilt.edu/docs/pdf/camhs_special_issue/3_Toward_the_integration_of_ED_and_MH.pdf is from the 2009 conference and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2874625/ shows the actual 2010 publication and Health and Human Services’ interest.

In fact, it is not just a federal agency’s interest in “examining models to better integrate learning and behavioral health” or support at the federal level for a “closer alignment between education and mental health.” It’s not just the citing of the P-20 education agenda “embraced by the National Governors Association and the Gates Foundation” or “other reform efforts (e.g. Next Generation Learners)” sponsored by certain states and the CCSSO or ‘personalized learning’ as good vehicles for this desired integration. All that is bad enough and ties directly to what we have been covering on this blog. No, what ties all this directly to ECAA and this week’s Senate hearings is the call-out for making such integrated education about identifying and cultivating “functional competencies.”

Competency-based education. Where have we heard that phrase before in addition to chapter 4 of my book?   If the new ECAA is about anything it about fostering the shift to competency-based education. As the 2009 paper noted a goal of schools focusing on improved student functioning and “this focus on competency could also create a better alignment between educational and mental health policy.” In fact, the paper concluded with “education and mental health will be advanced when the goal of mental health is effective schooling and the goal of effective schools is the healthy functioning of students.” I believe that would be the healthy functioning of students as ‘members of society’, not so much as private persons anymore. Sure does explain the anti-academic emphasis (there goes that pesky ego) and all the hyping of workforce needs.

I want to close with a quote William James, America’s original psychologist and John Dewey’s instructor, laid out a very long time ago, when so many radicals hoped to change the 20th Century towards collectivism. I wish I could say I pulled this from a long dormant book on him or Dewey. Instead, it is the epigraph at the beginning of a concluding chapter called “A Solid Bridge to the Future” from a 1992 book Breakpoint and Beyond: Mastering the Future-Today.”

“Of all the creatures of earth, only human beings can change their patterns. Man alone is the architect of his destiny….Human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.”

Perhaps, given what is laid out in this post, we should rephrase that as having those ‘inner attitudes’ changed for them.

Behind their backs. In the name of Competency or Positive School Climate or Effective Schooling.

At least none of this is behind our backs.

 

Advances in Neuroscience Redefine Notions of Performance and Cognition, Allowing Social Justice in Learning

If the last two posts have made anyone feel like they are on a roller coaster with a sickening feeling in the pit of their stomach, I am genuinely petrified about all the references to using K-12 education to try to physiologically redesign the brain. The OECD really did state in a report issued just this week on Metacognition that ‘we’ need to “control cognition”. We cannot ask anyone if their meddling knows no bounds if we are not aware of what is being targeted or why. I was detailed on this in my book. What has shifted since I wrote it is how often images of the physical brain are showing up in Learning Presentations to administrators. http://www.lbusd.k12.ca.us/Main_Offices/High_Schools/Linked_Learning/videos.cfm gives a High School PLC Institute example on the new 3 Rs–Rigor/Relevance Framework.

Someone who runs a hugely followed Internet site on the Common Core said to me in person at a hearing and then via email that the psychological emphasis of my work scared her so she would make no effort to let her readers know what was in the offing. A lapel pin with an Apple Core with a Red Line through it shows valid concern, but it will do nothing to protect the children from this actual psychological focus. http://www.oecd.org/edu/ceri/IS%20Project_Conference%20Brochure_FINAL.pdf states that the OECD (remember DeSeCo from the book and the transformations outlined in the conclusion?) has a new project to “further develop and refine a framework and prototype formative assessment tool for 21st century skills.” Do you live in a district where the children will be used as guinea pigs to develop those “Behavioral and social skills (character)” and “Skills in thinking and creativity” that are conducive to the OECD’s idea of innovation?

That would be entirely new institutions, a transformed ‘grassroots’ society centered on subjective wellbeing, and a sharing economy centered on cities and laid out here. http://newclimateeconomy.report/ That’s the actual vision attached now to being “internationally competitive” when we follow the facts. Today I want to take us (maybe want is not the right word). Let me rephrase. Today we are going to look at what the KnowledgeWorks Foundation calls “Recombinant Education” and its partner, the Institute for the Future, that brags about having developed the manipulative Delphi Technique, calls Future Work Skills 2020. The latter report by the way   http://www.iftf.org/uploads/media/SR-1382A_UPRI_future_work_skills_sm.pdf was created with the University of Phoenix in case anyone wants to believe these shocking statements will not influence degrees and online programs.

Why did I put Neuroscience in the title beyond the fact that I am using a literal quote? Because we are dealing with a futurist mentality that insists on changing K-12 and higher ed around the assumption that “Massive increases in sensors and processing make the world a programmable system” all the way down to a micro-level. The micro-level is a euphemism for ‘people’–you and me folks, and especially our still malleable children. We are in big trouble if the children believe what these reports state–that we can “use data to design for desired outcomes.” Someone else’s desires, not ours, especially given the number of references to “collective intelligence.”

Somebody really needs to go read Harvard history prof Richard Pipes’ book called Property and Freedom and remember that all these education schemes ignore the Western tradition, particularly in the US:

“we ‘own ourselves,’ that is, are our own ‘property’…that is tantamount to saying that we are free to dispose of ourselves, which is the meaning of freedom.”

Pipes, an expert on Russia, communism, and the Soviet Union, recognizes a utopian scheme that accepts no boundaries on the control of the State when he sees it. He was reminded of the philosophy of the English social historian RH Tawney who wrote the following in 1920:

“The individual has no absolute rights…all rights…are conditional and derivative…they are derived from the end or purpose of the society in which they exist…this means in practice that if a society is to be healthy, men must regard themselves not as the owners of rights, but as trustees for the discharge of functions and the instruments of a social purpose.”

When someone of Richard Pipes’ eminence follows up that quote with an observation that “Hitler held the same view of rights, including property rights”, please do not retort anything about Godwin’s Law. It’s a warning pertinent to where this is all going as we encounter those 15 Constructs from the last past and formative assessments to make sure individuals are ‘guided’ by the desired concepts in how they interpret their daily experiences. That  WorkSkills report even mentioned the Key Skill of Transdisciplinarity as needed for the Future Workforce. Precisely what those 15 Constructs from the last post said they were creating from the inside-out.

The Future Workforce report assumed that “immersive and visually stimulating presentations of information [will] become the norm.” That will replace print for most people, which will mean the loss of the one thing known to create the rational, logical, independent mind. It is certainly ironic that John Holdren’s Digital Promise federal initiative is being used to bring about the precise Arational Newmindedness Paul Ehrlich longed for back in the late 80s. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/blending-sustainability-and-education-to-gain-arational-nonlinear-minds-and-new-behaviors/ Give the long time colleague a Gold Star for effort!

IFTF insists that we can “plan our environments so that they are conducive to the outcomes that we are most interested in.” That is known as a sociological wish, not a fact, that has a notorious past. Nevertheless, we get to hear about neurogenesis research (the creation of new neurons), where it is hoped that “change the environment, change the brain, change the behavior.” All without any need to give notice or get consent from the individuals being targeted for a new “Design Mindset.” IFTF wants government policymakers to make “education a national priority” and “consider the full range of skills citizens will require.” No need to consult the individual citizens or respect their or their parents’ desire not to have a New Kind of Mind grounded in emotion and Arational.

We actually do not need to speculate about the broader transformations KnowledgeWorks and IFTF are assuming. Beyond all the Strive Together links to a needs based communitarian economy based in urban areas and the Recombinant Education document I mentioned, there was an earlier joint 2020 Forecast that laid out their Map of the Future Affecting Education that called for Altered Bodies: experimenting at the intersection of environment and performance.” Again, not what we expect when we put our kid on a school bus. Are we sending them to schools to “develop new capacities” consistent with a collectivist vision someone else created and did not mean for us to find out about? Should schools “become focal points for interventions focused not only on educating resilient students, but also on promoting resilience in their communities.”

Resilience is one of the listed IFTF categories and it is designed to prevent individual or community responses that focus on “resisting disruption or maintaining the status quo.” In other words, whatever happens in the future K-12 education is trying to take the likely response out of the hands of individual citizens. They get instead “A New Civic Discourse–Rearticulating Identity and Community in a Global Society” that does not care one bit what the US Constitution established so long ago. Another category–“Pattern of Recognition–An Extremely Visible World demands New Sensemaking” discusses the impact of data a great deal and calls for fostering “collective sensemaking.” No wonder the need for classrooms to develop a shared understanding of everyone after Discourse keeps coming up when we look close. Remember the Rockefeller Funded Communication for Social Change?

Here’s the link to the subsequent Recombinant Education vision http://www.knowledgeworks.org/sites/default/files/Forecast3_0_0.pdf. You may want to read that on an empty stomach or with a Hot Toddy. It is enough to chill the bones. Here’s a sample from the High-Fidelity Living category:

“Deeper insights into brain processes and into cognition and motivation under varying conditions [likely discovered from real children without parental consent] will inform both the design of cognitive assistants and our [whose precisely?] understanding of how to structure learning and work environments to maximize focus, intrinsic motivation, and creativity.”

If that seems troubling, there’s a break-out later that admits that data will monitor a student’s “social and emotional conditions, to predict performance and suggest personalized strategies for success.” Still excited about Personalized Learning and what the League of Innovative Schools is pushing with its federal mandate? How about the admitted ability for “Reading Your Mind”? There’s no indication the student will actually be informed of the results of the ‘reading.’ How is a futurist or policymaker in education different from the typical Palm Reader or Clairvoyent could be the new question given these admitted aims with students.

I am running out of time so I want to alert everyone to one more thing that such a Learning Ecosystem will be designed to do to supposedly Create the Future. How often are we hearing about the need for Equity in education? The last bullet point in the vision states: *”Track and address any new inequities that emerge within the learning ecosystem.”

How will the inequities be addressed? Building up the learners who have not yet shown “what learners will need to know”?

Or using Complex, Unknown, and Nonroutine Problem-solving to try to scramble the rational brains of the more able students? To try to force them to respond from emotion instead of logic and facts.

And if you wonder why I keep remembering Uncle Karl’s vision for all this, let’s get a dime for every time we encounter a reference to meeting ‘needs’ in this vision of the future.

Notice the reference under Shareable Cities to “open governance” and remember my warning over the e-Republic and e-Democracy.

Time to pull more open nefarious declarations into the sunlight of public scrutiny. There is still time, but not if we continue to make this simply a Debate about the Common Core.

It is So. Much. More.

 

Opting Out as the Remedy May Mean Accidentally Accelerating Nonconsensual Transformations

Did you notice that transformations is plural? That added ‘s’ is  not a case of early morning hyper typing. As I have mentioned numerous times with substantial evidence in my book Credentialed to Destroy and this blog, we cannot separate out the end goals in our real world from the intention of using education to change what “type of person” students will become as adults. That inextricable reality of global K-12 education reform that the Common Core is tied to was brought painfully home this week when I came across this new report from KnowledgeWorks.  http://www.knowledgeworks.org/sites/default/files/Improving-Student-Outcomes-Through-Collective-Impact.pdf

In case you are not familiar with KnowledgeWorks, it is a well-connected nonprofit that has Clinton’s Education Secretary and Carnegie Vice Chair Richard Riley on its Board. It gets financing from the Gates, Carnegie, and Hewlett Foundations and pushes the Education reforms that were controversial in the 90s. This time though “There will be no Notice so There can be no Choice” could be the motto. So when KW creates a Policy Guide for Federal Policymakers (aka DC bureaucrats) that says that only those communities pushing a shared vision grounded in Uncle Karl’s vision of “from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs” will be getting “federal place-based education grants,” we are about to have a problem. Especially if the local mayor or city council or school board wants to tout the disguised communitarian mandate as a ‘local’ idea.

Committing to transforming workplaces, the built environment, economies, and all the things governments will now do for all citizens is rather a large transformation. Everywhere in the world that is pushing this, which unfortunately amounts to everywhere ordinary people have ever been free to make their own choices, sees education as the means for forcing this change, like it or not. Here is as succinct a description of the end game person to be carved out by all these reforms as I can find. It is as if people now are to be treated as a block of ice to be produced into a form ready for a tony reception centerpiece on demand. Apt snark in brackets.

“Individuals who: (1) are constantly authenticating or reconstructing their beliefs through experience and reflection [Dweck’s Growth Mindset]; (2) are capable of critically analysing and transcending given texts, contexts, systems and structures [ready to jettison the world as it is for a world that might be and may work even worse]; (3) are able to prosper in changeable social, cultural and economic environments [all those other transformations to be pursued above as collective impact partnerships to get federal funds like the WIOA I despise]; (4) have recognised and developed passions, talents, and capacities which they willingly contribute to productive and cooperative purposes [that would explain why putting others first ended up as a requirement of the Career Ready Standards and all the references to collaboration]; (5) have a strong sense of identity, autonomy and self-efficacy [precisely what Facing History and the Anti-bias Standards are determined to create]; and (6) have a genuine respect for themselves and others [remember the Affirmative Code of Student Conduct now mischievously required in all classrooms?]”

The Australians call that the Key Abilities Model created by Global Change Agent Michael Fullan’s New Theory of Education and we simply cannot get there via a fact-based, lecture curriculum that is about content knowledge in the traditional sense. I mentioned Opt-Out because that is the remedy I kept hearing about while I was out in California. If the model of Next Generation Learning and Competency-based is to get rid of traditional tests altogether, opting out may be the proverbial jump from the frying skillet into the fire itself. Let’s quote an April 2013 Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC) document called “The Pathway to Possibility” on the new type of “measures of learning” desired. Please remember that KnowledgeWorks is closely tied to NGLC.

“Different approaches to learning and revised definitions of success require new metrics that accurately reflect both the process [of personal change] and the product [the changes in the student] of learning and attainment. Such a shift would mean enormous changes in measurement design by itself, but that level of change is compounded by new thinking about the role of assessment in learning, both in the United States and internationally. Rather than being used primarily (often solely) for summative purposes–e.g., an on-demand final exam–assessment is increasingly understood to be an essential, ongoing, highly integrated component of the learning process.”

Embedded then in classwork like gaming or the online software increasingly ubiquitous in classrooms, this change the student capability goes by the names “assessing for learning” and “formative assessment.” If parents are unaware that changing how the student perceives the world from the inside out is the new purpose of curricula and what happens in the classroom, they may miss that the Opt Out hype aids this always intended transition. I personally believe that the pain of constant testing has been deliberately heightened precisely so that frustrated parents will proclaim no more objective measuring of what is happening in the classroom. It’s too frustrating for the kids. Then the real extent of the psychological shifts and the lack of real factual knowledge will be easy to miss. At least until the transformation is irreversible.

That’s the hope anyway. Let’s go back to Australia then to once again appreciate that the student’s basic assumptions about the nature of reality are what these reforms are really targeting. http://www.aare.edu.au/data/publications/2004/sea04954.pdf lays out the New Global Educational Paradigm. It’s just a matter of social science theory and our children and society itself are the intended guinea pigs for real-world testing. Wish we could opt out of this. Maybe we can if enough people are aware in time. These are the 15 Constructs of the desired changes in identity, dispositions and orientations to the world K-12 education is to be creating in students. These are the “transformational outcomes” desired.

Construct 1 is “Reality is not discovered, but constructed“. The world is what a person perceives and believes and there is no objective reality. That would certainly explain the disdain for lectures, textbooks, and phonetic reading to allow a dialogue with the past.

Construct 2 is “Human life transcends the appearance of duality.” That stunner insists we are not in fact separate from the world we inhabit and this historic duality gets bridged by making action and experience the classroom focus.

Construct 3 is “Human life is purposeful.” How a person interprets “objects, concepts, ideas, speech, events, actions and contexts depends on the individual’s purposes or perceptions of a problem.” So facts gets minimised and values and beliefs get all the attention so that purposes and perceptions can be usefully manipulated.

Constructive 4 is “Human Consciousness is evolutionary.” Not in a way that has anything to do with apes. Here the brain must be constantly willing to adapt how it interprets that real world. This theory calls for deliberately introducing conflict [aka rigor] so that the frustrating inconsistency will force a revision of our “internal schemes or internal reference standards (the experiential goals which drive our behavior)”. That would be the authoritarian goals I mentioned in the previous post that are supposed to be superior to mere rote learning of facts.

Construct 5 is “Human individuals are autonomous agents.” This translates into a person will fight external demands or limits imposed by arbitrary authority. So of course the answer is to make the control invisible and internal via education. Construct 6 is that “Human beings need to be familiar with the world around them.” That one bluntly boils down to how people organize their experience impacts their willingness to act to transform the world. Construct 7 is that “Human beings are vulnerable to conditioning.” Exploiting that has become the entire basis for graduate education degrees.

Construct 8 is “Particular forms of experience alienate human beings from our selves and the world.” Book knowledge gets in the way of transforming current reality is the concern. Construct 9 is “Authentic human beings can help others to become authentic.” Authentic means transcending current definitions and given systems and changing everything that currently exists. No, there’s nothing about collective impact but it fits. Construct 10 is “Intelligence is adaptive action.” Beginning to see a pattern? A person should be willing to change how they see the world to fit with their aims. Yes, this is a construct only a tenured prof would come up with, not someone spending their own money.

Construct 11 is “Life is change.” So is drowning, but that’s no reason to actively pursue it. Construct 12 is “Particular forms of experience create a disposition to intelligent action.” Of course those types of experiences must become the virtual reality of gaming or apprenticeships in the new design of high schools. Construct 13 is “A human being’s identity can transcend definitions.” That is particularly easy if the education paradigm proclaims the Death of the Gutenberg Era in order to deemphasize the magical effects on the mind of print.

Construct 14 is “Every human being is a conscious and autonomous process of becoming.” That is almost precisely what the NEA, Abraham Maslow, and Carl Rogers wanted to make the new focus of K-12 education back in 1962. Everything old is new again for the 21st Century as Next Generation Learning. Sounds better than Humanist Psychology, doesn’t it?

Finally, Construct 15 is “Human beings change ourselves and our world.” Education here seeks to create an “awareness that texts, contexts, systems, and structures are not unalterable givens, but things that challenge us.”

That sounds precisely like the goal of that Collective Impact report we started with.

What’s the correct word to describe the intentions of these 15 constructs?

What happens when all these sought changes are involuntary and undisclosed to the people being changed and the taxpayers funding it all?

Blending Sustainability and Education to Gain Arational, Nonlinear Minds and New Behaviors

For me, the US discussion over the Common Core national standards and content feels like a “Look Squirrel!” cry to redirect our attention from what is really going on. That’s partly because I track these education shifts globally and over time so I can see the actual template. More importantly, I think, is all the different subjects I track every day to catch how education fits into a much broader planned transformation. When you are also reading the planned economic and social changes that treat the economy and the environment as a co-dependent Ecosystem in need of governmental redesign around the declaration that “Spaceship Earth faces an ‘all hands on deck’ emergency”, you see the preferred redesign tool of education differently. Plus there are always multiple pages just on how to use education to create the desired values, attitudes, minds, and behaviors.

Likewise it is hard to pretend Common Core is about content when I read yet another report on creating this new Ecosystem. This time it refers to people, that’s you and me and all those captive students, and our behaviors, which ought to be free and based on personal decisions, as “sociotechnical systems.” That’s from this summer’s fun report on using the computer and IT industries to promote “greening through IT.”  It turns out that a different kind of future mind is key to the “massive cultural, social, political, and economic changes” self-interested politicians and bureaucrats and their Big Business allies are relying on for this lucrative for them planned redirection. I guess that gives new meaning to education for future citizenship. Really not about the Bill of Rights or why the Founding Fathers set up a republic and a federal system.

Following Paul Ehrlich’s co-author from the previous post on new mindedness,  I located a 1995 book, The Axemaker’s Gift, laying out the desire to move back to the “primitive” intuitive mind lost when certain humans began creating tools like axes or the phonetic alphabet. Or mathematical symbols and explanations for real-world phenomena. These inventions and innovations can create artificial private mental worlds or a means of artificially changing the environment. They also foster specialist knowledge that is not accessible to everyone. According to the book it is that rational, logical axemaker’s mind that created the modern world. And they do not like it one bit. The sequential, analytical mind that can create innovations like the ax or the printing press or the combustion engine is precisely what has been and is under attack. It certainly puts the so-called Reading Wars and Math Wars in a new light, doesn’t it?

Here’s the kind of thinking that the authors, James Burke and Robert Ornstein, defined as “arational” from our title and want to get us back to. They believe “axemaker gifts” unnaturally alter the environment and would like the developed West to shift back to a more natural relationship with the environment and self-sufficient economies that reject fossil fuels. Since we might not be willing to go along, the decision gets made for us by pushing initiatives like digital literacy and Competency and 21st Century Skills and Learner Outcomes in education, K-12 and higher ed, that have planned aspects the typical person is unlikely to appreciate. At least in time. In this vision “Knowledge would then be the experience of having traveled on the web.”  In case that dramatic statement is not enough, the computer will allow everyone access to information and data and “users’ would not need to ‘know’ anything.” It turns out that interacting with a computer if you have not yet developed an axemaker mind is conducive to never developing one.

I am not going to belabor the point now except to mention that some of the digital literacy advocates are simultaneously doing blurbs touting a successor to capitalism or that this new kind of thinking is for a more pastoral, desired mid-21st century future. Delivery of Common Core is being premised on all this IT technology being a primary platform for the student and their daily interactions at school. Advocates do not get to revel in the revenue potential of education and an economy centered on sustainability principles and then pretend this is just about individualizing education around the student’s interests. A suspect goal from the beginning if you ask me. So we are now aware of the real focus of these education reforms and we know what the consequences of previous attempts to plan economies and alter human minds has been. It’s not good.

The report “Computing Research for Sustainability” seems to assume that the problem with centrally planned and directed economies in the past has been an inability to grapple with all the relevant data for decision making. That computers can fix that problem and then model desired plans and acceptable behaviors. If it sounds Orwellian and delusional, it is. Or at least it is if you are in the Payor/manipulated class and not the Beneficiary or Manipulator class. I am going to quote from these plans for our future. I want you to recognize you are reading this post with an axemaker mind. You are imagining this scenario I am describing and plugging in your own life experiences to understand how disastrous it will be. You have more factual knowledge than virtually any teenager is getting from their education anymore. So imagine this planned approach for an intuitive mind trained to respond from emotion to visuals (that’s my snark in parentheses):

“suppose there was a network supporting online deliberation among scientists concerned with sustainability (So our future planners will be the grantmaking class that brought us ClimateGate) for developing key points, areas of strong consensus, areas of disagreement, and supporting evidence (does anyone recall a degree program that would equip anyone to do a good job at this? These arrogant grantees would not know what they do not know). Those deliberations would produce a sustainability action agenda that could be introduced to the public by means of interesting interactive environments designed to appeal to those of all ages. . . One highlight of this system would be a series of consensus news stories, perhaps on a weekly basis. These stories could be based on agenda items created by scientists and rated by public interest.”

We will only know what we are supposed to know to create a consensus for the already planned social and economic policies. And first and foremost to get to this imagined new future is to create new motivating values and a different mindset to filter experiences. So we get a new curriculum and new ways of measuring learning and different classroom activities in order to try to shift students away from logical, analytical, fact-filled minds that create their own conceptual understandings. That creates independence and really helps define each person’s individuality. If you wonder why these initiatives are going on all over the world now, apart from the UN and OECD and the green economy push, I think yet another report this week has more answers.

It declared that both advanced as well as emerging nations “are developing and pursuing policies and programs that are in many cases less constrained by ideological limitations on the role of government and and the concept of free market economics.

That’s the real reason new minds are needed. It’s the same reason slaves were not to be taught how to read. Our political class and their cronies think we need minds of servitude. There are to be no more axemakers gifts without official permission.