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. 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. 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 “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 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.

Finally, we have this

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.

Abolishing the First Amendment’s Protections While Hyping Intellectual Freedom and Student Learning

If we wanted to turn the current protections of the First Amendment on its head, we might argue that its new function is to “ensure the democratic legitimation of the state” and “create a new state of Mind for citizenship.” If books like The Constitution in 2020 (that the typical person will never even hear about, much less read) assert such claims, while also arguing for national standards for K-12 education to create the desired values and belief system, we would have a United States running on parallel tracks. There is the world as the typical person still believes it to be. Then the parallel, actual, purposes of the changed practices and institutions designed quietly to create:

“A democratic agenda truly concerned with human freedom, equality, and flourishing must conceive of itself in terms broader than the Constitution as law. It must be concerned with the constitution of US society, rather than with the US Constitution.”

If anyone does not believe that K-12 education policy and the new emphasis on “personalized learning” are actually about achieving the vision of the above quote that dovetails with the previous essay on “A Progressive Perspective on Freedom of Speech,” read this inviting “progressives normatively [they set the new rules but do not bother to tell us] to clarify the forms of participation that they believe are essential to a healthy public sphere.” Last week President Obama’s FCC announced its intention to regulate the Internet in the name of net neutrality. Want to guess how the progs illustrated that desire to clarify the new terms of participation and debate?

The book pointed out that “the Internet, for example, is rapidly becoming an extremely important medium for the formation of public opinion.” If that sounds like we are about to have an uh-oh confession here it goes:

“In the coming decades, issues such as net neutrality or the installation of centralized (versus decentralized) filters will hugely impact the precise ways in which the Internet will contribute to the formation of public opinion. Progressives will need a convincing normative vision [remember the experiential Right Brain that is the new focus of K-12 education adores narratives] of a healthy public sphere in order to assess the constitutional implications [little c, as in constitution of society and maybe that other little c] of potential government interventions. They will need this vision as much to shape a progressive regulatory policy as to litigate for the maintenance of progressive constitutional rights.” [No more negative liberties in other words. Look up FDR’s Scond Bill of Rights].

We get a glimmer of what is really going on in what the new Conceptual Frameworks in AP US History are actually designed to do. I covered that in depth in a trilogy starting here I also address the function of critical theory and why it is also called Cultural Marxism in Chapter 5 of my book.  This recent controversy  illustrates that high school coursework across the country is now training students to apply conceptual lenses like poverty, race, gender, sexuality, etc. in how they interpret the world.

Instead of treating Marxism as an insult that only an unhinged kook would hurl, it’s important to appreciate the crucial importance that the human perception of the here and now has on a widespread willingness to act to transform society. It’s why the prog quotes above talk about “a new State of Mind” for the necessary citizenship. It’s why we keep hearing about desired Dispositions (including explicitly from the Common Core’s formal sponsor, the CCSSO) and all students having a flexible Growth Mindset.  We are all assuming a world and the rule and protections of the law still functioning largely the same while influential, well-funded profs and federal regulators declare “the First Amendment does not protect speech as such, but only such speech as is necessary for democracy.”

That would again be democracy in the economic justice, positive rights, vision for all that desperately needs both K-12 and higher education policies and practices to enable its vision of the future. The progs recognize that the traditional view of the First Amendment will “undermine important and desirable forms of state regulation.” I have long recognized that where the schools intend to go is actually off limits once properly understood. Apparently the progs concede that as well. They followed that concern over the current First Amendment language with this statement:

“a progressive constitutional vision for 2020 must advance a robust theory of democracy that can identify the forms of speech and association that deserve constitutional protection because they are essential to the formation of democratic public opinion.”

That’s a First Amendment that has done a 180 and intends to protect only the forms of speech and association that fit with the desired transformative vision. Anything else and the motto is gather data, resculpt, and infringe away. The parents still think this is all about the best way to transmit knowledge and many businessmen still believe they cannot find able employees despite the K-12 system trying really hard and doing its best. Neither is true and it hasn’t been for a while.

One of the many taxpayer-funded trade groups doing its part to advance the prog view of future American society and reshaping the mind of the citizen is the American Library Association. In fact, its Association of School Librarians has even created Standards for the 21st-Century Learner and a helpful crosswalk to the Common Core. Category 3 is that “Learners Will Use Skills, Resources, & Tools to  Share Knowledge and Participate Ethically and Productively as Members of Our Democratic Society.” I do believe that is called picking a dog in the fight.

Especially given AASL’s constant focus on pushing Inquiry-Learning, which of course, MUST be experiential. It also prescribes desired student “Dispositions in Action” repeatedly as part of its Learning Standards. Students are also told to “show social responsibility by participating actively with others in learning situations” and not just turning to a book they love or refusing to volunteer the excellent vocabulary their parents diligently built up over the preschool years.

Again, creating Learning Standards that insist that students have that social responsibility or that students must “use information and knowledge in the service of democratic values” is taking sides in this mostly invisible battle for the future of what the US will ever be. We are going to pivot because the ALA was brought in as the so-called neutral authority to proclaim that somehow complaining of bias in what is taught, and the explicit prescription, and required practicing, with conceptual lenses that students are to now use (to interpret their experiences and the reality they perceive around them), is somehow a violation of the student’s Intellectual Freedom. Who is the real infringer here? This is the Have Your Cake and Eat It Too Booklet the ALA has created.

It showed up as a defense in Highland Park. Now won’t the facts laid out in this post be useful if it shows up in your community next trying to prevent accurate criticisms? After all, these stipulated ‘lenses’ are designed to guide new kinds of student minds and beliefs about their responsibilities to others all while sculpting that needed “democratic public opinion”. The booklet is fantastically wrong in so many of its assertions, but it does still have an excellent command of the historic purpose of the Bill of Rights. “Before the Bill of Rights was written, governments usually told people what their rights and freedoms were. Our Founding Fathers did not like this, and so they flipped the idea around. Instead, the Bill of Rights said the citizens would be free to tell the government what it could or could not do.”

Not exactly consistent with those 21st Century Learning Standards is it? See what I mean about parallel tracks? At the same time that the ALA tries to portray challenges to the slant in curricula as akin to the right of citizens to “take the government to court” and “use  the words from the First Amendment to prove that the government has violated their rights,” the ALA itself is actively involved in helping to resculpt the student’s internal mental structures and values, attitudes, and beliefs. In violation of that same First Amendment they claim to be a defender of. Maybe so, but the first allegiance is clearly to advancing ‘democracy’. That booklet called it the “form of government where all people are heard,” which sounds remarkably like the prog vision of the public sphere above.

In fact, the 2020 book asserted that redistribution of wealth and interference with private contracts are now acceptable as long as the minority can complain in a public forum about what governments are doing. Legitimate practices as long as there is an opportunity to participate and try to sway public opinion sounds remarkably like the ALA’s assertion that democracy cannot “work if all people cannot express themselves and talk to one another to make informed choices.” Sounds like John Dewey’s participatory democracy to me that we are seeing advocated for now at the local level as a forum for binding decision-making as long as all Stakeholders are represented.

I think the ALA’s desire to advance this vision of the future probably has something to do with why it repeatedly and flagrantly misstates the tenets of the First Amendment. But the typical parent or student will likely not know that “The First Amendment guarantees you the right to think your own thoughts, speak your own opinions, and read and write what you want” is factually wrong. The Government at any level cannot infringe that. The ALA though wants that Discourse Classroom where all students bring their perspectives and share their experiences before negotiating to a common understanding. That practiced obligation is needed for this new vision of a “democratic public sphere.”

This is a self-confessed March through the Institutions that is proceeding on a Parallel Track. Let’s not take any groups’ word for what our rights and obligations are. Always look for the conflict of interest.

We really are engaged in a cultural war over the constitution of our society. The law and K-12 education are primary battlefields. None of us have to accept a claim that we are violating Intellectual Freedom by accurately pointing all this out.

Bogus Excuses to Always Hype What Extinguishes or Controls the Analytical, Rational Mind

In the ancient world, if all roads did in fact lead to Rome, it would not be much of a stretch to decide that Rome was the place where those who took the time and expense to travel likely needed to go to. Likewise, if every K-12 education reform that I know is part of the mandatory classroom vision has the same actual or intended effect on the human mind and a student’s personality, we can conclude that the global transformationalists we met in the first two posts of this trilogy need a certain mindset for their success. In fact, I considered naming this post “Becoming a Plant” after the video game Reach for the Sun where students will be “challenged to ‘become a plant’ and balance resources like starch and water. “Extend your roots, sprout leaves, and make your flowers bloom before winter hits.'”

Now if I had described that “learning activity” before Christmas and linked it to the Arational Mind push we have been noticing going back to this post , I would have had the makings of a good freestanding post. Knowing the goals of the global CIFAL Network, the desire to use ICT to extinguish the Left Hemisphere’s historic dominance per that Global Village book, plus the explicit goals transformational goals laid out by ValuesQuest and the Institute for the Future, and the new vision of the role of the law globally, just make it so much easier to grasp why fact-filled, analytical minds would be regarded as barriers to all that planning and collective transitioning.

We have been having a discussion in the comments about the federally required MPOs–Metropolitan Planning Organizations–that push metro-wide transportation projects and how they are now being urged to explicitly get into economic and workforce development. I have noted that one of the things WIOA requires is that all students be trained in ‘systems thinking.’ At a DC conference this week the federal Transportation Secretary Foxx proclaimed transportation plans as the ultimate “system of systems” that merited a 30-year lay-out of plans. Into all this planning about us, our future, and using our money, I believe it’s no accident that videogames and digital learning are being pushed into classrooms.

Paul Ehrlich’s co-author of that 1989 New World New Mind book discussed in the linked post above, Robert Ornstein, wrote a 1974 book The Psychology of Consciousness pushing a desire to move away from the rational, analytical mind fostered by phonetic reading and traditional math, science, or grammar to a holistic right brain orientation that would perceive the world in interdependent, relational ways. Very helpfully he tied the ability and need for such a shift to the world now being in a position to meet everyone’s ‘biological needs.’ Time then for a more collaborative, communitarian focus to global problem-solving. Needless to say, K-12 education would need to shift and Ornstein saw great possibilities once “computer-assisted instruction” was able to “take the ‘state’ of the learner into account.”

What would such instruction, maybe called ‘personalized learning,’ look like? How about the Mindshift confession that “When it comes to assessment, many games have robust back ends that provide assessment data about the students who play them. That data can be extremely useful, providing information about your students that is applicable well beyond the game itself.” Information the students themselves may very well not be aware of. Data that adaptive learning ICT platforms need if they are to have the desired effects of changing the child’s perceptions, values, beliefs, and attitudes as the new focus of student-centered K-12 education.

Fits the Ornstein desire for educational activity with the student “embedded in the environment” perfectly, except most people would not be familiar with the Ornstein or Marshall McLuhan work we have looked at. They would simply accept the sales pitch that games-based learning would “replace a points-based extrinsic motivation system with a contextualized hands-on learning experience.” Not being in the habit of reading federal statutes like WIOA or federal agency plans, they probably would not appreciate the significance of the confession:

“Keep in mind: The common attribute of all effective learning games is that they simulate systems [or real-world social structures the trasfomationalists want students to believe are systems comparable to how the heart and lungs reliably interact]. They teach students how to understand academic concepts in relationship to the world around them. Certainly this increases engagement [what Ornstein called Being in the Moment that he tracked to ancient Asian religious practices] and retention, but what really matters is about using knowledge in interdisciplinary ways. [Don’t feel under control just because your personal use of knowledge is being prescribed in advance].

Digital or analog, game-based or not, good teaching and learning [Remember obuchenie?] is also about building social awareness, considering the individual’s impact on the wider world.”

Now won’t that latter effect work well with the Sustainability aspirations for the future laid out by the UN CIFAL Network, ValuesQuest, and that Institute for the Future Toolkit to prepare students for new forms of governance? We covered all the proposed role-playing in history classes as part of my AP US History Trilogy, but MindQuest proposes teaching American Government by having a student “role play a member of Congress.” A new form of Governance in utter disregard of the US Constitution is highly likely once curriculum is an “immersive experience” where “students sponsor bills, trade in influence, awareness, and approval. The game simulates meeting with lobbyists, donors, and volunteers. The object is to get reelected to office.”  Now that certainly suffices as allowing “teachers to present academic concepts in a contextualized, experiential way.”

Interestingly enough, precisely what Ornstein said a Right-Brain oriented curriculum should be doing if it intends to shift the focus from intellectual content to personal knowledge. Oh, our joy at effective school reforms that will raise student achievement in meaningful, authentic ways knows no bounds. Why did I start this post’s title with Bogus Excuses? Well, should we buy that games-based learning is OK for the classroom because “a generation of gamers has grown up without a civilization collapsing”? Someone was not listening when their English teacher covered the dangers of hyperbole. How about this rationale? “Positive mood states” or empathy “toward people from another country.” I am also afraid that being told “the way corporations, foundations, and research organizations are thinking about games and learning” is no justification when they are all on record seeking transformational social change using K-12 education.

That’s it, isn’t it? K-12 education globally must be shifted to producing a mind and personality suitable for a collectivist orientation. The simulation will prime the students to act in predictable ways without being in a position to recognize that real world consequences do not follow the prearranged instructions of the software developer. It’s no accident that Jane McGonnigal of Institute for the Future is quoted on this point of how students will come to see the real world, without noting her IFTF affiliation. Only that she wrote a book called Reality is Broken that I covered here.

If you want a transformed economy, then push education based on “connected, networked ways of knowing that will dominate the digital future. Sharing and collaboration go hand-in-hand with integrating non-competitive and non-commodified ways of playing games.” Will that lead to a shareable economy? Maybe but it will be necessary since so few graduates in such a vision will have the mind or skills that have always been necessary for wealth to arise outside of war and just taking.

Is it true that “The way students play and learn today is the way they will work tomorrow”? Maybe, but they will be quite poor in such a world unless they can get elected or appointed to office or get a tax-free job in the UN System. Mostly the gaming is prepping for the student to be a participating member of a planned and controlled system, blindly accepting from a deep emotional level that increasing levels of material deprivation are inevitable and not a result of predation by the public sector.

Instead of declaring war on another country for wealth this is a system of predation on citizens. For those of us with a base of history knowledge not grounded in role play, it’s what the nobility did when they imposed serfdom. People exist for the use and benefit of those with power and are not free to make their own choices. No thanks. Another bogus excuse is that “the distinction between STEM and ELA is an arbitrary and superficial one” since they are each “simply forms of expression.” That really is someone determined to extinguish the analytical, rational mind for reasons laid out in Chapters 2 and 3 of my book. “All good games offer challenges in intuitive ways.” Want to guess which side of the brain acts intuitively and which does not?

Another bogus excuse? Gaming needs to be a part of early childhood education because it “teaches those students to associate screens with refined cognitive skills.” In other words, those children are to never know what rational, non-designed, grounded in facts, spinning out of various scenarios and likely consequences actually feels like. And won’t that be helpful to all our self-confessed transformationalists and futurists?

I am going to close this with an update to what has been one of the most controversial Values Clarification exercises for decades. It is called the Lifeboat but gaming lets a similar scenario, and obligation to reach a consensus, be visual so that the body’s physiology gets pulled into the plight. It will respond as if it is actually in a Life or Death situation as Willis Harman recognized in the 80s in his Global Mind Change book. Carried out as part of a Zombie Apocalypse in Norway classrooms, MindQuest ends on that example of a “sociocultural view of learning” where students and teachers “believe in sharing and constructing knowledge together.”

So they and others can build a new kind of economy and society together. Never appreciating in time that none of these things actually are ‘systems’ ready to fall into place like a game.

Enshrining Mindfulness and Engaged Social Consciousness to Require Personal Transformation Via Education

Does that title seem to be an unexpected way to end this Trilogy of Adaptation=Personal Transformation to get to Planetary Transformation? Probably not if you think about it. Sounds like an excellent means in fact, especially if the tools and techniques get to hide behind language like classroom discourse and being reflective, and then sharing those thoughts with others or through open-ended collaborative real world problem solving. When you are like me and read constantly and have for years in an area, it becomes easy to see how one influential group’s “this is what we intend to require you to do” aligns with “this is what has to occur internally within a person for us to get the desired predictable result in future behavior.” Pity me for my used books and printing cartridge bills in recent years.

It pays off though as I recognized the significance of this 2007 article from a UN official cited in the biblio on how to achieve the required personal transformation we met in Trilogy Part 1 . I don’t know about you but I am tired of public officials telling me that there is a “new science of consciousness” that must be allowed to nonconsensually set about in classrooms and the media “revolutionizing our attitudes and worldviews.” Dr Sharma has another definition of Transformation that we should keep in mind as we examine what is really intended in our classrooms and on our campuses. “Transformation is the powerful unleashing of human potential to commit, care and effect change for a better life.”  All of this intended transformation is very much hand in hand with Eastern spirituality and mindfulness and contemplation practices that plan on “revealing our potential for deeper and higher states of consciousness that reveal our essential Oneness in an interdependent world.”

If only this blog came with sound effects I could respond with some creepy duh da duh da theme to provide a bit of comic relief. Again this is a paper cited via what the IPCC described as its intentions to preemptively force Adaptation on people via required personal transformations. Even more graphic though and this time with a K-12 Worldview Literacy curriculum ready to roll into a school near you, or maybe camp, was the also cited 2010 “Worldview Transformation and the Development of Social Consciousness.” Now long time readers should recognize that these desired transformations are already incorporated into the unappreciated true definition of Excellence in education today as well as all the pathways and terms that lead to Robert Kegan’s work. Congratulations on accurately perceiving this same intended end state of altered consciousness is coming in from virtually every direction now.

It’s the constancy of the aim over decades that may not be on our horizon. Yet. If you look up that paper you will find it on the site of the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS). What I happened to already have when I came across that cited paper was Willis Harman’s 1988 book from the same Institute called Global Mind Change: The New Age Revolution in the Way We Think. As I did in writing my book, I get the most helpful insights from going back to before something became notorious. On the first page is the key to all these instructional shifts and obuchenie mindsets and systems thinking just for three starting fundamental examples: “By deliberately changing the internal image of reality, people can change the world.” Perhaps, but not necessarily for the better.

It is interesting and scary that the Worldview Transformation paper acknowledges graphically that what is targeted is a “reorganization of the relations both between features of a conceptual structure and between different conceptual structures.” If such intentional mindscrambling for a political purpose strikes us as incompatible with a free society, the writers took their comfort and justification in differentiating from “Nazi Germany, terrorist training camps, brainwashing strategies and cults” by pointing out that they:

“hypothesize that these kinds of restrictive shifts in worldview arise from a different process than processes that are life affirming and prosocial.”

Well, at least if we adopt the desired new worldviews and begin to act as desired. I want to point to that League of Innovative Schools meeting recently in Tucson we have already talked about. Not only does the summary cartoon acknowledge the desire to achieve second-order change in students , but page 4 includes the graphic “Resistance to Change: Dealing with People who aren’t Believers.” That’s the mindset of the administrators seeking “innovation” in our schools today. The lack of a swastika or goose step marching in unison is only a superficial difference as the theory of dialectical change would put it. Both developed a fascination with subjective experience and denigrate reason and denigrate the individual vs the collective will. At the core there are hugely troubling consistencies.

Before anyone tries to invoke Godwin’s Law, I was not the one who interjected personal transformation, worldview alteration at a psychological level, or Nazi Germany into the conversation. We do after all get to respond to poor comparisons. Especially if we have a copy of Global Mind Change handy and can quote Harman as saying that a second Copernican revolution on the order of losing the geocentric view of the universe is the current understanding that consciousness can change reality, especially if it is unconscious beliefs that are targeted. Effective and invisible, just the vehicle for finally getting qualitative revolutionary change say so many of the cited sources in these papers. This is a little long but it could not be a more concise statement of what is being really targeted so here we go:

“This concept of unconscious beliefs and the extent to which they are capable of shaping and distorting our perceptions of everything around us–and within us–is so central to understanding the global mind change that we shall have to make a temporary digression to look into it more deeply.

Each of us holds some set of beliefs with which we conceptualize our experience–beliefs about history, beliefs about things, beliefs about the future, about what is to be valued, or about what one ought to do. What may be less obvious is that we have unconscious beliefs as well as conscious ones. (There are many ways in which people have attempted to talk about the processes and contents of the conscious and unconscious minds. In the following discussion we will use a way that is adequately powerful, yet as free as possible of psychological jargon. It employs the concept of the conscious and unconscious belief system as introduced by psychologist Milton Rokeach in The Open and Closed Mind [1960].)”

Hold that admission. I have that book and others by Rokeach and I have written about him. He came up with a term to obscure what he was seeking to change, while at the same time getting it in place in classrooms. It was called Competency. Just like what that Digital Promise link calls for and other entities we have discussed and state statutes. (Explained in detail in Chapter 4 of my book). What was targeted by Harman as Global Mind Change and Rokeach as Competency and what is to be required by UN entities as necessary Adaptation at a personal, noetic, level is quite simply a basic recognition that “in the innermost core of the belief system are basic unconscious assumptions about the nature of the self and its relationship to others, and about the nature of the universe.”

We can call this innermost area a personal common core for purposes of discussing it. A nice catchy phrase, and it is precisely what IONS began focusing on in earnest in 1997:

“The goal has been to understand the process by which people experience fundamental shifts in perception that alter how they view and interact with themselves and the world around them.”

It was pursuant to that goal and creating “expanded social consciousness” in students while their minds and personalities remained most malleable that caused IONS to create a “curriculum on worldview literacy for students K-12, designed to foster social consciousness in a standards-relevant experiential pedagogy. ”

That experience is of course perceived though the mostly unconscious belief system being targeted quietly under the banner of the Common Core to create a useful common core. That core would be characterized by “heart-brain synchronization” greatly enabled through “multi-media lesson plans, grounded in engaged conversation, experiential activities, explorations of positive role models, and collaborative learning projects. The programme is designed to offer adolescents, teens, and lifelong learners the ability to understand how their worldview affects their perception and behaviour, and by extension, how others’ worldviews affect their perception and behaviour.”

We keep running into that same area of interest because the 2010 IONS paper says “it is the capacity for self-reflexivity–the ability to step back and reflect upon our thought process–that stimulates worldview transformation.” It is seen by the paper, citing Kegan’s mentor Kohlberg [of Moral Development Theory fame, see tag], as a means of “educating people to become social activists” and “to see opportunities to apply conscious action with the intention of making a difference in some outwardly directed way.”

Once again we see education to become a change agent to alter the material world because students are being taught they have an obligation to improve the wellbeing of others and the world.” A “civic responsibility for the common good” is something we keep running into, most recently here.

None of this is coincidental, which is why it keeps showing up over the decades and now from every direction.

I promised a trilogy. How do you feel about a Quartet instead? No strings or music, but no references to quarterly tax payments either.

Just too much relevant current scheming going on.

Surreptitious Vision: Ed Reforms as Designing an Internal Keel to Control People and Manage Society

No I am not a sailor although I did once have a very fun weekend on a sailboat in the Chesapeake as a hapless, but supportive, passenger. I am afraid this metaphor of a keel that allows steering regardless of the direction of the wind has been invoked as the official analogy of those who wish to use education in the 21st century globally to change human behavior and ” design a new, organic, socio-cybernetic system for the management of society.” Please do take a deep breath before we continue. At least now we know why the virtual reality science simulations planned under Common Core Next Generation Standards have been focusing on illustrating force and motion in addition to all the ‘supposed’ threats to the environment. These days any content allowed through virtually always has a purpose in creating a transformational mindset.

Today’s discussion is largely from a 2011 paper by Scotland’s John Raven called “Competence, Education, Professional Development, Psychology, and Socio-Cybernetics.” It has global aspirations and fits perfectly with UNESCO’s use of the term “Cybernetics of Global Change” as part of its MOST-Management of Social Transformations-official program. Apparently, we, the hoped-for victims and funders of these transformation plans, are the only ones NOT familiar with just how often the planners have begun to think in terms of how to invisibly gain control of human behavior to manage society.

That control lever can occur, according to Raven, through a socio-cybernetic, competence, focus in education plus new political rules. Since stating this out loud would create a popular outcry that might interfere with plans for subjugation, the same developmental push gets sold globally now under the blissful, but misleading, term–focus on Excellence. The other necessary component involves changing the political governance arrangements, which is of course exactly what the UN’s Agenda 21 seeks to do. Majority rule, judicial overreach or neglect, regulations, and power to appointed boards instead of elected ones all work quite nicely too.

Today’s focus though is on education since both UNESCO and Raven declare this is the Yellow Brick Road to Social Control. Just as adding a keel to a sailing boat is cited by Raven as “key to getting the boat to sail into the wind” so an education that rejects the primacy of individual “technico-rational competence” and content knowledge in favor of “helping people to develop and get recognition for, the diverse, often idiosyncratic, talents they possess” is key to the radical vision of social transformation. If that seems a bit odd, how about the admission that the key to “changing the way we run society,” (don’t you just want to ask “who is we, Kemosabe?” as if this were a Tonto-Lone Ranger skit), is rejecting the traditional focus of school since it “reinforces a social order which offers major benefits to ‘able’ people.”

Poor dear, all of civilization that these writers and planners take for granted is thankfully due to the herd-defying curiosity and mischief of just a few ‘able’ people. We will rue the day when their minds came to be molded into whatever was necessary to tolerate transformations.  Instead, we are to get education designed to change “people’s beliefs about society, how it works, and their place in it” even if none of those beliefs are grounded in reality. In fact in acknowledging and laying out the intent that project-based learning will no longer be a way to discover content, Raven begins to disclose the radically different goals of what is also euphemistically called ‘student-centered learning.’ As he states explicitly (and he is the one who loves italics), the purpose of the letters or pictures or slogans or poems “was not to depict what was seen accurately, but to represent it in such a way as to evoke emotions that would lead to action.”

Remember in the last post when I kept reminding that curriculum grounded in virtual reality likely would be whatever simulation created politically useful beliefs and values and that Holos Consciousness? That statement was based on having hung out with more than one software developer in my life and career. Turns out though the 1995 book Cybersociety: Computer-Mediated Communication and Community warned several times about the very same thing. The whole purpose of stressing computer simulations in the classroom is the computer’s “capacity to represent action in which humans could participate.” Perfect way to prime the pump for revolution we might say. In fact science fiction writer Jerry Pournelle, then a Byte columnist, was quoted as fearing that “technology masks the constructedness of any simulation.” Here are his exact words and they remain hugely relevant to the mental keel being created within the student by digital learning and assessments of 21st century competencies:

“The simulation is pretty convincing–and that’s the problem because…it’s a simulation of the designer’s theories, not of reality…The fact is, though, the computer doesn’t say anything at all. It merely tells you what the programmers want it to tell you.”

And the programmers, such as ISTE keynoter Jane McGonnigal, have been quite graphic that these games are being designed to create a mindset that believes in the need for social transformation. Sim City creator, Will Wright, was quoted as saying his games are adapted from Jay Forester’s World Dynamics work, which once again takes us back to the Club of Rome, the 1970s, and the desire to push systems thinking in education, economic planning, and the now-proverbial means of managing society. Cybersociety recognized that “representing flux and change is exactly what a simulation can do”, making it a far more effective tool for altering the nature of human experience and illustrating the possible causes of social change.

A very powerful, highly visual, weapon we are mandating for classrooms and ‘assessments’ without giving a second thought to its use as a driver of how the student’s mind will perceive the need for social change. Computer games have become so ubiquitous that remembering that they were once recognized as “where we go to play with the future” gets overlooked. So does the fact that the future is not the least bit bound to follow the variables set up in a software virtual simulation. Just ask Putin. Fostering a belief in things that are not true, and collectivist values that leave you unprotected against either foreign invaders or domestic predator politicians, is no way to become an adult.

Making computer gaming the focus of the classroom because it is engaging and increases graduation rates still omits a crucial fact all the programming world still remembers. The gamer unconsciously and intuitively “internalizes the logic of the program.” Just the thing in other words for those who want social transformation and people who can be steered like the keel of a boat. Precisely the metaphor Raven chose to both use and illustrate with drawings of a boat. Marry those manipulative visuals to an express declaration for a “dramatic reorganisation of most peoples’ thoughtways” via schools and universities and we indeed have a problem. All being implemented into a classroom near you without a By Your Leave under banners like the Common Core or Positive School Climate or a 1:1 Laptop Initiative.

Left out will be the acknowledgment that now ‘intelligence’ is to be understood as an emergent property of a group rather than an individual characteristic. Furthermore, this intelligence depends on releasing and harnessing a huge variety of individual talents that are scarcely related to intelligence as conventionally understood. Thus conventional ways of thinking are unethical–destructive of both individuals and society.”

The attempts to manage society and achieve new forms of governance will not be successful. Only the extent of wealth lost and prosperity trashed is in dispute. The intended damage to be delivered via education to the psyche, false beliefs, and pernicious or naive values is unstoppable unless enough people realize there is no dispute at what is being sought or why.

Intentionally created financial conflicts of interest seem to be the norm to coerce adults into either complying with, or actively advocating for, this vision of education. In the US I see it being pushed under federal civil rights laws as necessary to have Equity and Excellence. The very title of the global ed summit that commenced today in New Zealand-“Excellence, Equity, and Inclusiveness: High Quality Teaching For All” tells me this developmental, obuchenie, new view of ‘intelligence’ grounded in group interactions is a deliberate global phenomena.

If only someone could create a computer simulation for politicians and school administrators showing the true social effects of such widespread mind arson.




Explaining the Sudden Ubiquity of Psycho-Development Theory: Changing Students Now to Alter the Future

Macroshift and Megachange. Holos Consciousness. Ambitious changes to society, political structures, or targeting human behavior itself need theories and models. Not to reflect reality as it currently exists, but to alter reality in the future. It is that vision of the future that then refers back to what kinds of activities and experiences students are now to have. It’s not that lectures and textbooks are not a good way for students to obtain useful and correct information. That method of transmission though leaves the nature of the current culture as a given and the nature of the future not just unpredictable, but grounded on the foundations currently in place. As Professor Jaan Valsiner stated in his 1989 metatheoretical textbook, Human Development and Culture: The Social Nature of Personality and Its Study:

“the collective culture undergoes change and development as a result of the economic and educational changes in society, political events, and the collectively coordinated effects of individuals’ personal cultures.”

Radical Ed Reform (defined in my book as well as the history of previous attempts) is always about collective coordination to obtain a radically altered future. Actual proclaimed collusion. It is also always accomplished by altering students’ personal cultures–their perspectives, beliefs, feelings, visual mental images, associations, attitudes. That has always been the goal whenever education reforms are tied to political purposes. Even if that vision is left unstated, or is tucked away in poorly unknown documents that clearly show the collusion and collective coordination going on. Computers, adaptive software, a gaming emphasis, formative assessments (also explained in book), and all the data being thrown off simply make it easier to know what an individual’s inner mental representations are like. These also reveal what it will take to change them and thus the student.

The February 2014 Pearson report Impacts of the Digital Ocean on Education (ht/ Mercedes Schneider’s Edublog yesterday) makes that quite clear and just in time for the rollout of Pearson’s All Digital Common Core Curriculum. That report admits that “Teaching and learning is a specific social process designed to change behaviour within the learning setting.” Something to remember as you wave good-bye to that school bus in the morning. Later, in describing the kind of data being generated by the game Nephrotex, as students role play engineering firm interns assigned the design task of creating a dialysis machine filter (science? biology?), Pearson reveals:

“Researchers have developed methods of analyzing chat logs not only to measure knowledge, skills, values and identity, but also to illuminate the connections between these factors. These very interactions, which are not captured in the digital desert, allow us to make more detailed inferences about learners. [Computer can actually know us better than we know ourselves and is in a position to change that Identity and those values]. In addition, playing the game appears to increase not just learning [Remember that behavior change is the above definition], but also motivation in groups underrepresented among engineering majors.”

Some way to gain equity. Continuing on, let’s shift to another psychologist who also pushed the developmental approach in education, while he too is being honest about its purpose as a means to “shape a new reality.” In his 1986 book Actual Minds, Possible Worlds published by Harvard, Professor Jerome Bruner ended with this acknowledgment of purpose:

“When and if we pass through the unbroken despair in which we are now living, when we feel we are again able to control the race to destruction, a new breed of development theory is likely to arise. It will be motivated by the question of how to create a new generation that can prevent the world from dissolving into chaos and destroying itself. I think its central technical concern will be how to create in the young an appreciation of the fact that many worlds are possible, that meaning and reality are created and not discovered, that negotiation is the art of constructing new meanings by which individuals can regulate their relations with each other.”

I am going to pause in the middle of this quote to point out this kind of misunderstanding of reality and power and relations may be precisely why current UN ambassador, and former Harvard prof Samantha Powers, ended up being literally laughed at by the Russians this week at the UN. It is even caught by photograph. Was she taught such nonsense when she was young? I get wanting the world to be different, but we are intentionally creating dangerous misconceptions and beliefs. Let’s continue, Bruner is still spinning:

“It will not, I think, be an image of human development that locates all of the sources of change inside the individual, the solo child. For if we have learned anything from the dark passage of history through which we are now moving it is that man, surely, is not ‘an island, entire of itself,’ but a part of the culture that he inherits and then recreates. The power to recreate reality, to reinvent culture, we will come to recognize, is where a theory of development must begin its discussion of mind.”

That supposed recreation of reality and reinvention of culture is hidden today behind the ubiquitous explanations for 21st century education reform about the need for ‘creativity’ and ‘problem solving skills.’ I learned this week that in 2009 the Georgia School Boards Association and the Georgia School Superintendents Association began colluding (and not disclosing it, at least in the training session I attended in 2012) to transform public education in Georgia around development theory. The 2010 document, A Vision for Public Education in Georgia: Equity and Excellence, went so far as to hire the ed lab known for advocating Second Order Change via Education, McREL in Aurora, Colorado. See These two trade groups who both live off taxpayers even openly proclaimed that this troubling 2008 Texas Coup by Certain Supers was their inspiration.

There’s a great deal to be horrified by in that 2010 document, as the supposed watchdogs join hands with the supposedly overseen, but for the moment I want to use its acknowledgment that this planned transformation was based on the idea that these two trade groups could “develop a theory [to predict the future and] to make sense of the real world and test it against that real world over time.” Practicing on children’s minds and personalities at taxpayer expense. The hubris and arrogance continues:

“We believe that the leadership of public education [those anointed trade groups again] has an obligation to develop a theory–a vision–for the future of public education in a rapidly changing and unpredictable world. We can then work diligently to ensure that the future we envision is realized.”

Only the genuinely uneducated, no matter how many degrees they have, or someone addicted to munching from the public trough of taxpayer funds could write or embrace such  a ridiculous statement. Yet this “single, shared vision” of experiential education using technology and emphasizing collaboration and projects is now supposed to be binding across the state. I wonder how many more states have comparable documents? I know every state I look at now is using comparable developmental language, usually starting with what is meant by ‘student-centered learning.’ All experimental. All social engineering with a tsunami of expected personal behavioral and motivational data.

I am going to come back to these theoretical models of using education to try to alter human development and thereby the future in the next post. I wanted to end by reminding everyone that knowledge is not going away completely in this vision, even if it is being reimagined and given a new ‘constructed meaning.’ No, the Georgia document reminds us that the new curriculum should be relevant to real-life, real world problems that need to be solved. The activities should also be centered around ‘overarching concepts’ and ‘themes.’ The report suggests ‘conflict’ or ‘transition’ or ‘revolution’ as useful concepts and the ‘environment’ as a theme.

Somebody, certainly the McREL ed lab, seems to appreciate that there is a Great Transition planned around trying to prevent supposed global environmental crises; that the changes sought will be radical; and that conflicts involving race and ethnicity and gender and wealth and income inequality will be nurtured to fuel the desired political change.

Now do you see how the Macroshift and Megachange and the creation of a Holos Consciousness and research involving a cybernetic theory of human behavior control can be found hiding behind the Common Core banner? With no one the wiser unless tracking the real implementation is a full-time research effort?

Adding Comrade Education and Psychological Predation to Our Descriptions of Envisioned Cybernetic Learning

Since honestly laying out intentions in public is so rare in education reforms these days, I thought I would use a recent book by the founder of the Reos Institute, Zaid Hassan. Reos aspires to dramatically change K-12 education globally. Hassan works closely with Peter Senge, Otto Scharmer, and the MIT Media Lab. The book is called The Social Labs Revolution: A New Approach to Solving Our Most Complex Problems . These two quotes give a sample to the recommended approach for solving today’s challenges. The first is from a professor, Thomas Homer Dixon:

“The public not only needs to understand the importance of experimentation within the public services; it needs to engage in experimentation itself. To the extent that the public explores the solution landscape through its own innovations and safe-fail experiments, it will see constant experimentation as a legitimate and even essential part of living in our new world.”

Now I find this book to be asinine and factually wrong in numerous instances, but ridiculous can still be influential. This book is to be the source of numerous conferences all over the world over the next year. Quote number 2 is from a US President, Franklin Roosevelt, and it leads a chapter called “The New Ecologies of Capital.”

“The country needs and, unless I mistake its temper, the country demands, bold, persistent experimentation. It is common sense to take a method and try it: If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.”

Now historians (see Amity Schlaes’ fine The Forgotten Man) credit that very experimentation with what extended and deepened the Great Depression in the 1930s, but it did grow the public sector at all levels as a source of employment. Maybe that’s why Hassan pushes all this experimentation as does the UN and the OECD and even US agencies. After all the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) described these as the capabilities needed for education and workforce development back in January 2013:

“Building human capacity to respond to the emerging challenges…requires the expansion of skills within the existing public and private sectors and developing a new workforce that excels at critical and interdisciplinary thinking. Useful capacities include facilitation and communication skills, integration of new technologies and data sources into existing programs and practices, management of collaborative processes to allow for imaginative solutions, development and use of sustainable technologies to reduce climate risks, and building frameworks for decision-making in an internationally interdependent world.”

Now alert readers will recognize that this quote on what the US government now seeks from its citizens is an example of “various types of human activities” that Soviet prof Nina Talyzina wanted to make the focus of education under a cybernetics theory of control. Adults with such an education will think nothing of all this desired experimentation by the public sector and its cronies. They will be unlikely to know much about FDR except that somehow the Great Depression ended and will be unlikely to notice that author Hassan thinks Jack Welch was the legendary CEO of General Motors. (Obviously not a GE shareholder during the 90s.) Accurate knowledge is an obstacle to all these transformation plans in other words. It must be disallowed in the future without the shift being readily apparent.

One of the terms we are hearing tossed about now in states that adopted the Common Core and others, like Texas, that did not, is open source. Superficially it appears to be about not having to worry about copyrights on desired curricular materials. As usual though, even a tiny scratch across the surface of this assumed definition pulls up the actual intentions–to shift away from the “current dominant paradigm of teacher-and subject-centred learning in formal education…to a learner-centred, competency-based paradigm.” Did you catch that the phrases “learner-centered” and “competency” are regarded as the antithesis, as in 180 degree-polar opposites, of a transmission of knowledge approach? So the terms being bandied about on the new approach to learning reject the transmission of knowledge.

Instead we are to get learners’ own explorative, constructive and communicative activities, hopefully via ICT, that work on personal competences and “cognitive and social skills such a conceptual thinking, creativity, planning and conduct of teamwork, etc.”Just like that USGCRP vision imagines. Material from Europe (the OLCOS road mapping work) make the intended goal explicit. Education in the 21st century should provide the “competences required to participate successfully in the emerging knowledge-based society.” Well, “knowledge-based” sounds hopeful, doesn’t it? Except that’s another defined phrase pushed by UN entities and the OECD going back to a 2005 UN Economic & Social Affairs document.” Once again it is all about this transformation to a human solidarity vision where knowledge is actually to be limited to “information combined with experience, context, interpretation, and judgment. It is acquired through one’s own experience or reflections on the experiences of others.” This Tacit Knowledge, as the UN calls it, expressly includes “subjective insights, intuitions and hunches.”

The better to tolerate persistent experimentation and treatment as a collective. I had a reader outraged by this January 2014 vision which seemed authoritarian. I agree, but creating a tolerance for this type of Psychological Predation and surrender of personal autonomy to the will of the group is simply practice for the global vision of the knowledge-based society. After all it must be a place that “cannot accommodate social exclusion and marginalization. This would result in weakening its very foundations.” So we all get to participate. If we do not get to actually attend these social labs in the future, we should at least help pick those decision-makers who do. (Much like that post from Marina Gorbis, head of Institute for the Future, contemplated).

Remember in the last post I pointed out how crucial the models of virtual reality and gaming would come to be for how students and the adults they become see the world? An example of  tools to foster the desired competences and skills is listed as “games-based virtual worlds that foster the understanding of social and economic dynamics through interactively changing rules and constraints.” Now who thinks that those virtual worlds will accurately portray what creates prosperity or causes dysfunction? And that’s the useful aspect of this little accurate knowledge, change the student approach. Such students are highly unlikely to play Spot that Error or Find that Fallacy like I do when I read these intentions for the future.

By insisting education must be experiences [Talyzina’s activity as well as CHAT’s or Common Core’s learning tasks] that are “rich, real and relevant,” the priming conditions for the cybernetic theory of control are firmly in place. The nature of the activity or experiences or projects or tasks gets prescribed by a teacher or a computer. Plus the supposed tie to the existing real world affects the student’s mindset on how the world works and what needs to be transformed. Notice how all the emphasis on virtual worlds gives the perfect place to begin the habit of social, political, and economic experimentation. In fact, the examples given of “real, rich and relevant” are “addressing real world problems, working collaboratively, using new tools and information services, and critically discussing content and study results.”

In fact, this recent update being pushed by the Edutopia site shows that the Education 3.0/Redefinition of the Purpose of Ed fits in perfectly with the Open Source agenda of radically altering the nature of teaching-and-learning (in the hyphenated way that means the Russian word obuchenie). It also fits perfectly with letting students use “learning approaches that allow them to play to their strengths by using creative and social software tools for coursework and carrying out study projects.”

Now I am not being a smart aleck by using the term Comrade Education. Well maybe just a little, but there is unquestionably a collective transformation vision attached to the learner-centered, competency vision. There was and is one attached to the cybernetics vision and its theory of how to gain predictable control over human behavior. The rationale for the Whole Child, social and emotional learning emphasis and all the push around non-cognitive personality traits all have political purposes seeking individual and collective social change. Knowledge may be an ever declining individual commodity, but, fortunately for us, if uncomfortably for my peace of mind, it is still something I have in abundance. And every bit of it says we are basing all these sought educational changes around impossible goals.

I would argue they are also unfortunate, dangerous goals. They are certainly goals that merit public discussion, not deceitful definitions that obscure the true nature of what is being transformed.

And How. And Why.

Imposing Cybernetics Control Theory on Students While Pretending the Impetus is Equity for All

The term cybernetics to me was always just a vague concept that had something to do with computers. I was following up on the Soviet psychologist Piotr Galperin and his behavior-orienting systemic-theoretical instruction by reading a 1975 book (translated into English in 1980, except curiously the footnotes) by one of his students, Nina Talyzina. Called The Psychology of Learning it kept referring to cybernetics, but there were no computers. Instead, cybernetics is described as a theory of control over processes. One of the processes that the Soviets and certain American educators wanted to control was human behavior.

Before anyone thinks this is just a haunting history lesson with me pouncing on disturbing intentions from the past, let me remind everyone that the US Common Core are designed as performance standards. They are about what students are to be doing. Competency is the same globally as is 21st Century Skills. Performance assessments are about action.  The shift from a mental focus to an activity focus (because that is what Marxist-Leninist theory required as Talyzina laid out) has already taken place. The significance of that deliberate shift is simply not well enough appreciated. Cybernetics, as applied to education, seeks to optimize “control of the learning process.”

That learning process is no longer to be “through the development of capacities that already exist at birth,” like mental ability, but is rather “a process of assimilation of various types of human activities by students and hence of the set of actions that bring this about.” What is going on with the learning tasks created for Common Core (described in Chapter 7 of the book), as well as the digital curricula being unveiled by Pearson (with Microsoft as partner) and Amplify (rolled out for middle school this week) among others, and the Connected Learning agenda being pushed by the MacArthur Foundation , are all examples of designing the teaching-learning [obuchenie] process in accordance with the requirements of a general theory of control.

When I recognized the full implications of what the Consortium of school districts from the last post sought (hence the hunger for Student data and continuous mentions of feedback in personalized instruction) and the gaming in classrooms (with its ability to control the visual images associated with any chosen concept and force the virtual world to conform to desired models of either reality or the future) to the cybernetic theory of how to control human behavior without that being apparent, I did some searches to see what was happening now.  One of those pulled up an essay that had been in the 2002 UNESCO Encyclopedia by the radical constructivist Ernst von Glasersfeld who I had talked about in Chapter 3 of the book. I gulped since I had not been looking for UNESCO or Glasersfeld. The essay is called “Cybernetics and the Theory of Knowledge” and it lays out how crucial the theory of constructivism in education is to the goal of behavioral control via cybernetic principles.

More gulps. The word cybernetics is derived from the Greek word “Kybernetes” which referred to a steersman of  ship. It is the etymological root of the English word “governor” as in the lead elected state officials who seem so determined these days to combine economic development with education as workforce development. The word also retains its same control function in its use as a governor on an engine, regulating possible uses. Maybe we didn’t really appreciate the significance of the term cybernetics or its applicability to education, but radicals interested in political and social transformation at the level of individual consciousness certainly do. Everything to be required, or condemned, in a Common Core classroom is now driven by turning to Vygotsky and especially Galperin (image, associations, concepts) as the necessary psychological theories (instead of Skinner’s behaviorism). Galperin’s theory especially, backed up by decades of research, laid out a means and rationale for specifying the desired activity in the real world that would then produce the hoped for mental concepts.

Those mental conceptions, because they are created by actual activity in either the real world or a virtual immersion world (of the sort pushed by MIT’s Media Lab or Amplify’s Zombie Apocalypse game), are thus controllable in a way conceptions built up by facts delivered from lectures and textbooks are not. Then we have the new assessments and now to be a new SAT to monitor the extent to which the desired concepts (in the hermeneutic-dialogical sense we met in the previous post) are connected to associated  relational qualities (also supplied) and then tied to real world problems or phenomena. Understanding here is like a web and assessments are looking to see what strategies the student’s web of understanding reaches to apply when there is no fixed or correct answer. That tells a great deal about how the student will behave as an adult when they are on their own.

Now the Cold War implications of this psychology of learning and Galperin and cybernetics as a feature of education in a supposedly free country, especially since Talyzina mentioned a UNESCO symposium in 1976 on the psychological bases of programmed instruction, are obvious. Despite what is going on now in the Ukraine and the Crimea and the current Russian role in the UN’s digital learning and Information Society initiatives I have written about, our problem in 2014 are not the big C threat of decades ago. Subjugation of the individual and control over consciousness though clearly remain a primary government goal though. That Connected Learning report above makes it painfully clear that the digital and media agenda now in education is tied to a social and economic transformation to a shareable, collaborative consumption economy.   The new motto is to be “sharing reinvented through technology.”

If you go to the writings of the professors cited to show the economy is changing, we find the sociologist Juliet Schor (see her tag) who wrote Plenitude: The New Economics of True Wealth. That pulls in her commonwealth vision of the future and the agenda of Gar Alperowitz and the Democracy Collaborative. Another cite turns out to be Harvard Labor Economist Richard Freeman. Finally, there is a cite to a 2008 paper by Bowles and Gintis. Uncited is their book from 1976 Schooling in Capitalist America that predicted a socialist transformation of the US that might need to become violent. I mentioned that book in this post . Its central point that education is so crucial to social change because “socialism is not an event. The consciousness developed in struggle is the same consciousness which, for better or worse, will guide the process of socialist development itself” is even more relevant when cybernetics is in use.

Making the cognitive activities, such as learning tasks or computer games, and the internal mental states created, the focus of instruction is certainly a fine way to develop and manipulate such a consciousness. It’s not like we are not drowning in evidence at this point of such broader transformative intentions from every direction. Foundations, local districts, states, federal DoEd (they openly work with MacArthur on Reimagining Education), and internationally via the UN and the OECD. Page 91 of that Connected Learning report even links to ITU’s 2011 Measuring the Information Society report. It is what led me to the UNESCO Sakhalin Declaration I wrote about already.

I can find the M-L roots of what is being pushed now. Talyzina was quite graphic about them. The public sales pitch now though for the same theories and practices is that the shift to digital and networked media (that makes cybernetics so much easier via adaptive software and the visual emphasis) is necessary to protect the life opportunities of “non-dominant youth.” To force “an environment in which opportunity and outcomes are widely shared across the citizenry” as if productive wealth is not in the minds of talented people, but in some pot ready to be rearranged. The constant drumbeat that these shifts are necessary “begins with questions of equity” and “centers on an equity agenda.” If you got a quarter for every time that report mentioned “privileged” youth or families or the “elite”, you could go out for a fine lunch.

That report once again quotes John Dewey making me very glad I laid out in the book why his vision remains so relevant to what is sought today. If we go down this road of cybernetic control over the development of a student’s adult personality (what college and career ready actually tracks back to) and adopt the vision “as progressives have argued for generations, the functions of schooling should be to prepare young people for contributing and participating in social life, which includes economic activity but also civil society, family, and community” where will we be as a nation or world in five or ten years?

Will it make the world a peaceful place? No, we will simply not see the aggression coming until it is too late. Will the public sector workers lying to us now on their intentions and lining their pockets with tax money decide to suddenly act altruistically in the name of the common good and genuine social justice? No again.

Equity and equal opportunity for all strike me as a means to federalize issues of education practice so that change can be required without consent or notice. Through civil rights law edicts. Secondly, it forces a surrender of individual primacy and sovereignty. It takes a citizen as subject to be molded at will approach.

No wonder we just keep running into all these Soviet techniques and theories. They were free to do the preliminary research on cybernetics in education. Guess where it will be continuing now?

Transcending the Individual Mind as the Analytical Unit of Learning While Still Guiding How We Will Act

In 2003, Peter Senge, also tied to MIT’s Sloan School of Management just like Alex Pentland from the last post, wrote an article “Creating Desired Futures in a Global Economy” based on remarks he delivered at his Society of Organizational Learning’s first Global Forum. It was held in Helsinki, Finland. Like John Dewey’s purposes for education, Peter Senge’s purposes or Alex Pentland’s or those who push practices unaware of their background, the purposes still attach to the desired education practices. No matter what or where. No matter how pure the heart may be or how noble the personal intentions. The purposes need to be a part of every discussion of education reform, and no degree from any institution should enable anyone to impose these practices with their undisputed collectivist intention in a country that intends to remain free.

Otherwise we have precisely what seems to be occurring. Education being used to mount a nonconsensual political coup at the level of the human mind. In that article Senge quoted a physicist David Bohm, who in 1980 expressed the sentiment that “the most important thing going forward is to break the boundaries between people so we can operate as a single intelligence. [J.S., another physicist] Bell’s theorem implies that this is the natural state of the human world, separation without separateness. The task is to find ways to break these boundaries, so we can be in our natural state.” Senge apparently agrees with Bohm and gave a similar quote from Einstein.

He also waxes on about the Global Consciousness Project at Princeton (interestingly, that’s the same noosphere project I drew attention to in the book). If this were simply a matter of personal beliefs that would be one thing, but when these beliefs drive education policy no one should lose the right to avoid declared manipulations of minds and feelings, values or complete personality, just because the person pushing these ideas got a certain kind of degree or works at a school or district or university or government agency or has a lucrative consulting contract.

If the nature of the education policy or practice is to foster that Marxist change in the student and the world to make history that we encountered in the last post, then the people pushing these policies are Marxists. Whether they admit it or not and whether they are aware or not of the ancestry of what they are pushing. I don’t know about what you feel when reading the word Marxist, but when I have to type it feels like I am insulting someone. Like telling them they have bad breath or must turn sideways to make it through a door. For many of the people developing and pushing these education ideas though, it’s a term of pride. And when it comes to pushing Vygotsky’s theories or those of Piotr Galperin, who we are going to talk about today, it is not merely that they personally had Marxist sentiments or lived in a country under its sway.

Using education to create “forward-looking transformative practices that are needed to enact history in the present” is the entire purpose of their theories and instructional practices. If the actual implementation of the Common Core in the US and comparable education reforms elsewhere are grounded in Vygotsky (usually admittedly if you know where to look) and Galperin (by the function of the required practices and how closely they align with his theories), then the purpose of the education reforms is every bit as much of a Marxist transformation as anything that happened in Russia in 1917 or Cuba in 1959. Nobody is goose stepping or shooting or fleeing abroad this time, but that does not change the aim. Nor does it change admissions that these theories and practices are “ideology-driven” to foster a different kind of future world.

What Galperin set out to do, and what his decades of research on students in the USSR showed, according to Igor Arievitch and Jacques Haenen, was how to use the “active construction of actions in the external form [what the Common Core calls learning tasks]” to guide “transformation of those actions into mental processes.” That’s what ‘teaching students how to think’ and a ‘thinking curriculum’ actually mean. To put it in the language used in a different essay by Arievitch and Anna Stetsenko, Galperin’s systemic-theoretical instruction laid out “how to arrange teaching-and-learning processes [what he and we now call by its Russian name obuchenie] in such a way that they indeed lead to a profound developmental change in children’s minds.”

How you ask? You provide a conceptual understanding from the beginning that encompasses the point of instruction (maybe true, but what a student is to believe regardless) and what types of physical phenomena it applies to (supposedly) and the (mostly invisible) relationships among those phenomena that physically exist in the real world. So real physical things encountered in daily life by a student or adult evoke “a chain of images, associations, and concepts”  in the mind that is designed to pop up like a reflex response. Let’s tap that knee says the doctor.

Now if whoever created the textbook or software or video wants actual knowledge, you could actually use Galperin’s “technology of instruction” to accurately build up a fairly accurate understanding of reality. Such programmed instruction is not inherently bad, but there’s no real safety valve to protect against manipulative creators of virtual reality gaming or software or any other means of instruction from pushing concepts that are not true or do not apply. Nor is there any means of ensuring that the taught relationships among things accurately reflects real, verifiable, connections. Like Senge’s systems thinking, the instruction may be about hoped for connections transformation advocates want students to believe exist.

Because the manipulative potential of Galperin’s ‘technology of instruction,’ as his research demonstrated, stems from the fact that it orients future behavior in predictable ways. In other words, systemic-theoretical instruction has tremendous potential to anyone wanting to change reality and guide perception and govern individual behavior. All without saying so. Well, at least not at the typical PTA meeting. Now how is this different from that theory you learned in science class or as an interpretation in history? Glad you asked. In traditional education, those theories come from known facts. Remember though we are in the age when facts are being rejected as boring, or too print intensive, or unnecessary in a world of search engines.

Theory in the Galperin instructional practice and to Alex Pentland in the last post, and as used throughout the actual ed reform mandates, comes first. It comes from the philosophy that there is nothing as practical as a good theory for fostering social transformation. It shapes and alters how people perceive reality. It interferes with the absorption of facts when they do manage to come along. Remember all the classroom visions we are seeing pushed are experiential. Usually in a group. Physical activity. Visual encounters. Projects. All the references we have been encountering about providing students with ‘lenses’ or ‘Understandings of Consequence’ or ‘Enduring Understandings’ or ‘Generative Metaphors,’ to cite a few examples we have encountered, all seem to be used precisely as Galperin outlined. That means this is the attached vision (Arevitch & Haenen 2005):

“In fact, Galperin’s teaching strategies can be used to reduce if not virtually eliminate the gap between declarative and procedural knowledge. Namely, in his stepwise teaching model, each action that students master can be comprehended conceptually because it is introduced, from the beginning, in its functional relation to a broader, meaningful task to be learned.

At the same time, each concept students are learning is represented as a sequence of procedures (actions) that serve as a basis for solving problems. Therefore, declarative [facts traditionally] and procedural [how to do it] knowledge are essentially merged into an integrated whole. This can be achieved when teaching and learning are organized into meaningful activities, thus putting the acquisition of new knowledge to the service of orienting and guiding new actions.”

Highly useful theory of education, instruction, and knowledge to anyone with a transformation agenda, isn’t it? We started with Peter Senge, let’s close with a statement from the same paper since it applies to so much of the stated rationales for needing these so-called 21st century education reforms.

“The fundamental difference between creating and problem solving is simple. In problem solving we seek to make something we do not like go away. In creating, we seek to make what we truly care about exist. Few distinctions are more basic.”

Few education theories then would be more useful than one that orients future behavior in predictable ways.

Quality Education Shapes What Will Be Valued and Provides Unifying Concepts to Guide Political Consciousness

Now that we know that there is a deliberate global coordination to redesign the very nature of school curricula, I thought it would be helpful to understand what these various entities and institutions believe constitutes ‘knowledge’ in the 21st century. After all creating a ‘Knowledge Society’ has been the UN’s euphemism for their intended economic, social, and political transformation since at least 2005. (Explained in the conclusion of the book so I am merely adding now to what is there.) In 2013 UNESCO created a report called Renewing the Knowledge Societies Vision for Peace and Sustainable Development by Professors Robin Mansell and Gaetan Tremblay. We will be using the definitions usefully laid out in that report.

We might be tempted to equate knowledge with facts, but that would be an erroneous translation of what is to be meant by the word now. “Information and knowledge are not the same because knowledge requires interpretation by human beings.” Now if there was a Cliff Notes Guide to all these plans of transformation, it would now say in bold print that phrases like “quality education,” “teaching and learning” that we have now retranslated into the original obuchenie from the psych theories, and “competency” among others are ALL about deliberately guiding that likely interpretation. Why? This editorial from a UK paper a few days ago provides the answer. . It wants not a set of disparate facts, but a “more energising set of associations” that create a “political consciousness” that will then act predictably in response to raised issues. How? Because each person will “connect with the deep roots of the problem.” Deep Learning in other words.

So with education and the media working in tandem planners and politicians hoping for radical change can create, and then manipulate, that deliberately cultivated mindset. That worldview. Those perceptual lenses. Why? Because the knowledge societies intend to push for “new forms of political deliberation, representation and decision making” and to make that seem like a matter of individual choice in a democracy when it actually could not be more planned. As the report mentions “what is valued in tomorrow’s knowledge societies will be shaped by the strategies and actions towards information, communication and education that are taken in the near term.”

Given that recognition by people pushing for radical transformation it really should bother us that in September 2013 there was a first ever international conference in Sakhalin, Russia organized by UNESCO on “Internet and Socio-Cultural Transformations in Information Society.” Most of the discussed documents remain in Russian, but an English translation of what the participants agreed upon said that ICT should be “embraced” by the knowledge societies “as an essential but not sufficient component of converging the nano, biological, information and cognitive sciences and technologies.” It even assigned an acronym for that merger–NBIC. The participants agreed that “the Internet creates a basic environment for the socialization of future generations, changing their values and ways of thinking.”

Now if that reminds anyone else of Paul Ehrlich’s decades old push for New Minds or what I have described as the official Statist desire to eliminate Axemaker Minds, let me continue to quote from what these advocates of ICT use in education readily acknowledge:

* Logocentric, narrative ways of thinking is losing its dominance, getting supplemented and partly replaced by ‘clip’ mentality characterized by a lower degree of logical connectivity, criticality and consistency.

*Consciousness immersed in cyberspace largely loses the ability for supra-situational activities and long-term planning. As a result traditional models of intellect-enabled basic processes of social control are defied.”

Instead, of Run as Fast as We Can away from such pernicious personal consequences, we get open embrace and advocacy. Apparently the loss of reason and an ability to think well is useful to the planners and funders (like the foundations financing so much of this) of these knowledge societies. Maybe it’s because such Manipulated Minds are thought to be useful for the hoped for sustainable development. After all one of the Earth Charter International Recommendations Outcome Documents from 2012 openly declared that the Just Transition hoped for would require “a shared vision of ethical and spiritual values that inspires and guides cooperative action for change. Shared values awaken a sense of common purpose and build community spirit.” Reading manipulative language like that from people who are lying to us about what they are really up to always makes me want to chuckle with the irony of it all.

Won’t work, never has. The only question is how much destruction of individual minds and personalities will continue to occur before enough people begin to grasp the true causes. With this kind of deliberate mind arson I suppose the hope is to keep an electoral majority mindless and manipulated with these politically useful values. Well, values is not all we get along with the taxpayer bill for all these machinations.  We are also to get Competencies says the 2013 report to “empower people to make changes in their lives.” How thrilling. And you wonder why I developed the metaphor of the Invisible Serf’s Collar to describe what education is being used to do.

The UN hoped-to-be Overlords and their agents like politicians and profs and accreditors and school district supers all believe we also need “information and media literacies.” These “need to encompass conceptual competencies such as critical thinking, innovative approaches to problem solving; practical competencies for navigating in media and information environments; and competencies such as social networking, digital citizenship and cross-cultural interaction skills.” No wonder one of the leading advocates for this global ed vision, Marc Tucker, used the metaphor “On the Shoulders of Giants” to obscure that there will be no such further building on or transmitting the great cultural knowledge developed over centuries.

Again the Sakhalin participants also mentioned that it was “against this background [the deficits ICT and the Internet are actually promoting quoted above] that the promotion of competencies (skills, knowledge, and attitudes), united by the term ‘media and information literacy’ (MIL) gains importance. MIL ensures responsible safe and critical use of networks for free access, production and exchange of information necessary for living and receiving quality education, as well as for scientific progress.” Now since the next sentence talks about “contemporary socio-cultural processes,” the scientific progress is in Marx’s view of societies inexorably evolving towards communism based on levels of technology. It’s not a Newton dropping his apple to discover gravity view of what is science.

I want to end with another extended quote from the 2013 report because it is so telling about how important to the planners of transformation it is to create predictably guided perceptions at the level of each individual. It is why the nature of the curricula, the classroom, the teaching practices, and what the student is to be doing ALL had to change. My bolding.

“Knowledge is a more complex concept than information. It cannot be reduced to the mere addition of unrelated information elements. Knowledge is a concept that implies meaning, organization and structure. It refers to articulated sets of meaningful observations, analyses, and interpretations that are developed over time (a/k/a a learning progression for those who have read my book) and available for each generation to be discussed and criticized. Access to knowledge implies not only access to technical devices and to stocks of information, but also involvement in learning processes. There is no knowledge without learning.”

So we are to get deliberately created Mindlessness because of the digital learning push as Quality Education globally. What mind is left gets deliberately organized and structured to perceive relationships wherever planners believe it will be politically useful. And why again?

For purposes of the need to drive action for transformative change or not to rise up in time and combat those who are acting.

Oh. My. Word. No wonder the nature of knowledge had to be redefined for such a vision.