Collecting Student Data to Practice PsychoPolitics on a Massive but Invisible Scale without Consent

Consent from legislatures, state boards of education, local school boards, misunderstood charters, or NCLB waivers should not count in countries founded on the principle that governments must respect a zone of privacy around individuals. If that zone exists at all anymore, it should certainly protect against governments collecting student data to ensure compliance with the appropriate psychological development to share visions of political and social transformation. Through all of our discussions of the constant social and emotional learning components to the actual implementation either on this blog, or as my book details, being required by the accreditation agencies overseeing virtually all schools and districts, someone will invariably write to me and say “but that sounds like brainwashing.”

That is the reality but it’s such an off-putting term, conjuring images of adult prisoners in totalitarian countries  being put through physical and mental torture, that it is not a term I have ever wanted to use. An Australian reader though asked me if I had read Eric D. Butler’s work written during the Cold War. I had not, but looking at it was a reminder that the Russians and Chinese had another word for brainwashing activities that actually does fit with the real function of the phrase “continuous improvement of student learning” and all the intended data gathering that goes with the required emphasis on the Whole Child-physical, emotional, social, and spiritual. That phrase is “psychopolitics”–changing political demands and beliefs and the prevailing culture through psychological monitoring, techniques, and practices.

We are not speculating about this either. Remember, for example,  Urie Bronfenbrenner’s work with Leontiev as a graduate exchange student in the early 60s and now the critical importance of the Bronfenbrenner Ecological Systems Theory to the real Common Core classroom implementation? Or to provide yet another timely and global example http://efareport.wordpress.com/2014/02/07/a-celebration-of-the-efa-global-monitoring-reports-impact-and-role/#more-4149 on January 29, 2014 UNESCO released its vision of what education globally will look like post-2015.

Before you think that will not bind your country remember the accreditation agencies view UNESCO as who they take their marching orders from. So in a country like the US where policy makers want central political power to decide what goes on in every school, public or private, and what every student will come to believe and value (usefully hidden in vague terms like outcomes and standards and competency) without that centralizing being apparent, the accreditation agencies are being increasingly empowered by the states and the federal government to play that central role. Completely unappreciated by the typical parent or taxpayer.

When I rattle off the phrase about “changing values, attitudes, beliefs, feelings, and behaviors” are you ever tempted to start muttering the phrase in a sing songy way because it just keeps recurring? Let’s put it into a particular current context and expressed intention then. Speaking of other constantly recurring phrases, this is from page 177 of that UNESCO report fascinatingly called Teaching and Learning: Achieving Quality For All under the heading “Education needs to be part of the solution to global environmental problems.” Please remember that the UN does not use the term environmental problems to mean Do Not Litter. It sees the solution as jettisoning individual choices in favor of state planning using computers and data around the principle of equity within countries and between countries. My bolding for emphasis and personal observations in brackets.

“Education’s vital role in preventing environmental degradation and limiting the causes and effects of climate change has not been sufficiently acknowledged or exploited. By improving knowledge [this is where systems thinking, interdependence, and the constant push on human agency and Albert Bandura’s psychological work all come in. It’s not about facts],  instilling values, fostering beliefs and shifting attitudes, education has considerable power to change lifestyles and behaviours that are harmful for the environment.”

Issued less than two weeks ago, these very real aims for transformation using data and education are so not a theory about some kind of conspiracy over the use of education globally. It’s an open proclamation of intent. And remember the ultimate threat to the environment if you are a central planner is the independent individual making their own choices and some of them doing it with well-stocked creative minds and the able use of logic and reason. Butler, in writing about how much the Fabian Socialists had aided in creating popular perceptions that favored what Communism hoped to achieve, pointed out that:

“All central planners fear individual freedom because no one can predict how the individual will use his freedom. Central planning requires that planners have effective control of all aspects of human activity. The exercising of freedom by the individual is essentially a creative and spiritual activity.”

You get that control invisibly through misunderstood but quite intentional actual definitions of student ‘growth’ and ‘success’ and ‘learning’ and data being collected around students who “demonstrate mastery of competencies aligned to standards.” Uniform standards, where how to get there can vary but the necessity of getting there cannot. That’s what “tight-loose” fidelity of implementation means by the way. What is loose is how a teacher or computer gets the student to change, not the type of change that must occur.

Psychopolitics was defined in the past as the “art and science of asserting and maintaining dominion over the thoughts and loyalties of individuals, officers, bureaus, and masses.” That is precisely what UNESCO has said it intends to use education to do. That is precisely what all the stories of outrage over troubling Common Core curricula seek to do. There’s no real dispute over what is being sought via education or what types of transformation it relates to.

That’s why we have to face it sooner rather than later and appreciate that this is not, in fact, unimaginable. It’s a norm associated with a desire to centralize political power and deprive individuals of their own decision-making power, lest they do or create something unexpected and genuinely innovative. Like critical thinking, the words ‘creativity’ and ‘innovation’ get used disingenuously. They are used to describe what is being sought by these K-12 education reforms precisely to obscure the reality that the real goal is to shut down that very threatening capacity of some individuals.

I am going to end this post with two more examples from history that remind us of how vital standardizing and limiting the mind is in any society seeking to vest final decision-making authority in government officials instead of the people themselves. Eric Butler also points out that Lenin made it very clear that he was most interested in the attack upon the mind. He cites a book, The White Nights, that detailed intimate conversations  between Lenin and Pavlov (of dog experiment fame) in trying to standardize (Butler’s term in something he wrote decades ago) human thought and behavior. Butler also points to a Canadian Royal Commission Report on Communism which discussed The Development of Ideological Motivation and conceded that “There is no doubt that the Communists have studied exhaustively every possible method of attacking the mind.”

Butler also cites the concerns of a Dr Sargent in 1953 addressing the BBC that the Communists were largely concerned with “changing men’s thoughts and beliefs on a mass scale.” Sargent went on to express his belief that “ultimately the fate of the world will depend on the conversion of the masses to one idea of life or another.” Well, we know from the above quote what idea of life UNESCO and other UN entities will be pushing. It ought to concern us too that the part of UNESCO devoted to digital learning remains headquartered in Moscow and that most of that UNESCO work remains untranslated from the Russian language. Free to tap into all that psychology research on changing thoughts and beliefs.

In my book I lay out all the controversial aspects of K-12 education reforms that indisputably track back originally to the Soviet Union. It even includes the very definition of what pedagogy actually is and what the colleges of education have been pushing for at least the last 20 years and in some places far longer than that. It matters that we have been using all that psychological research on how to interfere with how an individual mind perceives reality.

It especially matters that every aspect of education now is aimed at that very level with no means of complaining if anyone does accurately recognize what is really being sought and why. Which is why it is so vital that as many people as possible, as soon as possible, begin to recognize the true aims and deliberately obscuring definitions of all these relevant terms being used.

This need not be the No Way Out situation being deliberately imposed on all of us.

It will, however, take genuine knowledge about the evils people in power will do if there are no effective constraints anymore. And this world of Competency and that’s to be it is all about limiting such genuine knowledge or ability.

Not if I can help it. Just call me the Queen of Unauthorized Knowledge.

 

 

Center of the Storm: Requiring Data Collection on Continuous Improvement to a Student’s Full Personality

I started Chapter 3 of my book with a quote that has been haunting me ever since we first confronted the DiaMat theory dead on two posts ago. Professor Jeremy Kilpatrick was speaking at a 1987 Psychology of Mathematics Education international conference. In the book, I was illustrating that there were other intentions involved with what became known as the math, science, and reading wars. What Jeremy said then was:

“We need to determine the moral, social, and political order we believe to be desirable, then set out our educational purposes, and in light of those purposes choose curriculum content and objectives.”

It haunts me because I now realize that quote is a fairly concise definition of DiaMat and how its advocates see education as a means of deliberately changing the culture and altering prevailing perspectives. All this manipulation is to create Mindsets that perceive the world in politically useful ways. Well, useful if you belong to the class that plans to be among the manipulators. For individuals, such mind arson cannot work out well. In the last post, the book I mentioned Imagine Living in a Socialist USA ends with a scifi type essay called “Thanksgiving 2077: A Short Story.” In it, the character Les comments that he doubts that “many folks would have gone for socialism if they had known it meant downsizing.” Ahh, the pertinent parts of the story being left out of the sales pitch.

If conscious evolution along a designed pathway seems a bit scifi to us, it is nevertheless behind the designed to be influential ecosystem STEM metaphor of where all these education reforms are actually going. http://www.noycefdn.org/documents/STEM_ECOSYSTEMS_REPORT_140128.pdf is another report from a few days ago. That’s education to create a new reality, not education to appreciate the world as it currently exists or what great minds have pieced together about how it works. That STEM Ecosystem vision is driven by the DiaMat vision, but it gets to hide under language about Equity and Success for All.

Both the UN and the OECD have detailed their Future Earth and Great Transition and post-2015 plans and I have covered them in various posts. I have also detailed Gar Alperowitz’s vision of the Good Society and Harry Boyte’s for the cooperative commonwealth as other examples of future visions of transformation. So the moral, social, and political order desired by the public sector and their cronies globally or its links to what is called the Common Core now in the US are clear and no longer in doubt. Now Jeremy’s quote is the truth, but not a good PR strategy for a politician or School Super to sell to a community. Well, at least not one who has not had education, K-12 or higher ed, already nurturing for years at a time both a sense of grievance and an attitude of ignorance despite adequate coursework and degrees.

What’s the way in then? How do we get to what the book describes as the goal of accessing a student’s full personality so it can be monitored and manipulated to fit the believed needs of the people with political power? You do it obviously with euphemisms like making “continuous improvement in student learning for all students” the new federal goal. Then you take the work of a Professor like John Bransford and write books and hold conferences where the term “learning” encompasses what became the notorious aim of outcomes based education in the 90s: changing values, attitudes, beliefs, feelings, and behaviors.

That’s what ‘learning’ actually means in 2014 to an education ‘professional’ who is on the lucrative insider track and that’s the information to be gathered by the schools through assessments. Most people hear ‘assessments’ and think examinations of knowledge and hear ‘learning’ and think of the acquisition of knowledge and useful skills. Most people would be wrong, but sticking to duplicitous terms means most people will never know what is going so wrong in education. I have been around school board members who have been led to believe that the phrase ‘continuous improvement’ is also about ever increasing knowledge. Instead, it comes out of the PBIS, Positive Behavior psychology work, and also seeks to cause and then monitor changes in the now-proverbial values, attitudes, beliefs, feelings, and behaviors.

That’s what makes Monday’s release by the well connected iNACOL and CompetencyWorks of “A K-12 Federal Policy Framework for Competency Education: Building Capacity for Systems Change” so fascinating. If you are troubled by revelations about the level of personal monitoring being conducted by the NAS according the Edward Snowden’s leaks, how should we feel about schools and school districts becoming primarily personal data collection devices that go to our innermost thoughts and feelings and motivations? About schools using that information and providing it to states and the federal government to chart whether the desired changes in values, attitudes, beliefs, and feelings are occurring? That the idea of protecting privacy becomes a matter of not detailing who is being changed, but requiring and monitoring and guiding wholesale, full personality change nevertheless. And determining what practices and curriculum best foster such change and what type of students they work particularly well on? That’s customized leaning. That’s what personalized education actually means.

The phrase the document keeps using is student-centered accountability, not compliance accountability. Here’s the big idea that all K-12 is now to evolve around. Highly useful remember with DiaMat as the goal, teacher classroom behavior being seriously circumscribed (last post), and that obuchenie mindset being the goal of ‘teaching and learning.’

BIG IDEA: Student-centered data systems should collect, report, and provide transparent information on where every student is along a learning trajectory based on demonstrating high levels of competency [http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/targeting-student-values-attitudes-and-beliefs-to-control-future-behavior/  explains what competency really means and how Milton Rokeach created it as an obscuring term for its actual purpose], to help educators customize learning experiences to ensure that every student can master standards and aligned competencies. Data should provide useful information for improving teaching and learning, as well as for accountability and quality purposes.”

Quality as we know does not mean academics. It means desired personal qualities and an outlook on the world and ties back to John Dewey’s vision. Notice though that competencies and standards are NOT being used here as synonyms. In the paper standards refers to standards for college and career readiness. Since we have tracked the standards for college readiness first to a David Conley 2007 paper for the Gates Foundation and discovered generic adult non-cognitive skills and then on back to Maslow and Rogers humanist psychology work that benchmark doesn’t exactly merit peals of joy. We can see though why ALL students can get there with time though and how much time this standard leaves for all that personality manipulation.

Career ready we actually have tracked back to attitudes and values embracing communitarianism. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/birth-to-career-finally-and-quietly-creating-the-soviet-mindset-but-here-in-the-usa/ Again highly useful if transforming the moral, social, and political order has become the actual point of K-12 and higher ed. Especially if information on precisely where all students are at any given point in the process of desired consciousness transformation is being monitored constantly through data collection.

Ready to reach for something to relieve heart burn and nausea at this point in the post? Here’s the problem with avoidance of these troubling intentions. Then nothing can stop them except perhaps an investigation after all this personality manipulation leads to a tragedy. I think that has already happened and this expansion will only make it even more likely in the future.

We have to focus on what is really being monitored and changed. Next time we will talk about how all the previous safety valves in the education system are being turned off so that there is no one really to complain to about what is intended. I also want to talk about that report’s determination to put some type of deceitful zone of privacy over Georgia’s actions in this area of pushing competency as the new focus of education. The report has it classified as having “No Policies in Competency education.” That’s not true as I know from repeated personal experiences in plenty of meetings with public officials or their advisors. I made Chapter 4 of the book about Competencies as the ultimate end game and the ugly history. I used a troubling Georgia statute nobody seemed to want to acknowledge passing.

Why the deceit and cover up? It’s not because there are no connections between Knowledge Works and what has been going on in Georgia. How many other states have similar deceit going on with so many people in the know having unexplored conflicts of interest that guide their behavior? Talking to people elsewhere it does not seem unique, but the obfuscation here does appear deliberate. Knowing why I believe it is deliberate should be helpful to all of us looking at inexplicable actions in our states and communities.

Maybe I should call the next post Tracking Techniques 102 or “How to tell when someone is lying to you about public policy.”

 

 

Change Perception, Change Behavior, Change Rules, Change Systems–the Real Common Core/Teacher Coercion Story

Today’s post reenforces my consistent point that what is going on in education ‘reforms’ at all levels is not about the how and what of getting as many students as possible as knowledgeable and able as possible. What most of us view as the historic role of schools. Even something as fundamental as the new teacher evaluations and measures of what constitutes student ‘achievement’ or ‘growth’ are actually bound up in the broader social, economic, and political transformation agenda. And once again the aim is not limited to the US or Canada or the UK or Australia. It truly is global in aim as this short video called ‘Purpose’ show us. http://www.purpose.com/

Now the first part of the title comes from that circle chart at the 1:21 mark that the way to achieve this comprehensive vision of global transformation is to Change Perception which causes Individual Behaviors to Change, hopefully along the preselected pathways. That in turn allows Changes in the governing Rules (either explicitly or as we saw with Harold Berman through the concept of evolving law that shifts with needs and new contexts). Finally, all of these shifts over a majority of voters results in a Change in the economic, social, and political Systems.

We could also call that chart a Graphic Organizer illustrating how to accomplish Dialectical Materialism in the real world. Now I still find that to be an off-putting phrase and just using the initials might not alert my readers to what I mean. I am also darn sure we are going to keep needing to refer to this Theory with an Infamous Past so I hereby rechristen it DiaMat for short. Why am I so sure this theory will need a nickname to allow for easy use?

Because I believe that the new teacher evaluations and professional development standards, and even the new definition of professional learning that is coming out of Kentucky, are all about getting DiaMat into everyday practice in our schools and classrooms. DiaMat in the teachers’ daily instructional practices of course allows that Obuchenie mindset to be developed in the students. Then the new alternative assessments being administered by Pearson, even in states like Texas that are not adopters of the Common Core, get to measure whether the desired changes in perception are occurring.

If we look at the inner core of that circle chart, we see Perception changes through new Story Telling, which of course is most vividly accomplished by ditching textbooks and making virtual reality Gaming and Cyberlearning the new focus of the classroom (under the motto that it keeps students engaged and thus keeps them from dropping out). Next, at the inner core under Change Behavior we find ‘Motivator,’ which is precisely what the League of Innovative Schools and the federally promoted Digital Promise hope to use technology in the classroom to determine. Under Change Rules, we find ‘Mobilizer,’ which I believe is a euphemism for the better known–‘community organizer.’ Finally, under Change Systems, we find ‘Platform Builder.’ Like Peter Senge promoting systems thinking or Mark Greenberg pushing positive psychology on schools or Angela Duckworth on Grit and Tenacity as examples in education? Or to take it up a notch, we have Harry Boyte and his concept of the cooperative commonwealth or Gar Alperowitz and his Democracy Collaborative or King’s Beloved Community as only being satisfied via economic democracy.

The point of just those few examples is that the world itself and all the individuals in it may not be interdependent, but the idea behind radical ed reform and the transformation visions that accompany it certainly are. My book and this blog are dedicated to trying to sound the alarm of these connections in time. You may not have read Imagine Living in a Socialist USA that came out about two weeks ago from HarperCollins Publishing, but I have. It is a historically and economically illiterate vision with a devastating conclusion of what a Thanksgiving 2077 could be like in the transformed US. In the middle is an essay from Bill Ayers of Weathermen and “Just another guy in the neighborhood” fame laying out the associated ed vision. Ayers calls it “Teach Freedom!” but the Common Core calls it student-centered deep learning of the desired concepts with application to real world problems. DiaMat again.

Remember how we discovered that the omnipresent around the classroom implementation dual phrase “teaching and learning” was an inexact stealth attempt to bring in the Russian psychology and political theory of obuchenie to alter the student’s perception? Well, we did not dwell on it then but it is the teacher’s perception that is also  under active attack. The students are not the only ones to be asked to Ascend from the Abstract to the Concrete based on preassigned concepts to be understood as desired and acted upon. Teachers must shift too. Think of it as forcing everyone to become a change agent or to find a new job or career.

That’s what the new classroom observations and teacher evaluations are all about according to the developers of the Common Core standards themselves, Student Achievement Partners. Well, they did not mention obuchenie or Ilyenkov’s Ascending theory but they are intimately tied to the new definition of student achievement and how to end educational inequality. You see? This is why radical schemers are so hostile to us having our own personal store of accurate facts about the past. We go beyond the assigned story and interject our own conceptual understandings based on a pertinent solid foundation. Naughty me! Seriously in November 2013 TNTP (yes it is the entity Michelle Rhee started) released an Issue Analysis Report co-developed with Student Achievement Partners called “Fixing Classroom Observations: How Common Core Will Change the Way We Look at Teaching.”

That report itself says that “the implementation of improved teacher evaluation systems in a growing number of states and school districts, and the introduction of Common Core State Standards across the country” are “inextricably linked by their shared goal: better instruction for students.” Once again so much for the talking point about Common Core NOT being about how to teach the content. It is ALL about how to teach the content and in fact greatly limits what the content may be. Common Core and TNTP together ( they are distinct only to minimize the previous public outcries that supposedly derailed outcomes based education) are all about obuchenie instruction. On the circle graph we talked about above it is a certain type of instruction that changes perception so that behavior itself changes. Then the DiaMat process that should result in transformed systems can begin in earnest.

DiaMat is why the TNTP report stresses the need to teach the “right content.” Interpolating again, I believe that means content that will shift perception in politically powerful ways so that “students are learning what they should be learning.” Learning remember has been redefined as a change in values, attitudes, beliefs, feelings, or behaviors. That redefinition then fits well within the Purpose Chart for Change. If you really believe that outcomes-based education went away instead of morphing into new names and a different PR strategy, look at page 6 of that TNTP report under “student outcomes” (the italics are in original) about “Rubrics should draw a clear distinction between the  outcomes teachers are responsible for producing in a successful lesson and the strategies that can help them achieve those outcomes.”

Because I really am trying my best to alert teachers and students and parents in time about what is really going on and where it is all designed to lead, here is one more heads up addressed especially to teachers. It also goes to my certainty that what we are dealing with is in fact obuchenie and DiaMat and that they are integrally interrelated to the actual Common Core implementation and the Competency ultimate fallback. “State Lessons for Transforming Professional Learning” http://learningforward.org/docs/default-source/commoncore/seizing-the-moment.pdf Launched in 2011 from the official CCSSI sponsors and coming from Kentucky, the remainder of the 6 pilot states are Georgia, Illinois, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Utah, and Washington. It will be going national though and it is tied to what TNTP is developing as well. It also ties into the history of what it means to be an effective teacher that I laid out in my book Credentialed to Destroy: How and Why Education Became a Weapon.

It is DiaMat that ultimately weaponizes students and teachers and administrators caught up in this tragic vision. They are being credentialed and coerced to be change agents to transform the world. Meanwhile their educations at the K-12, collegiate, and graduate levels are being systematically stripped of anything accurate that might be an obstacle to a willingness to seek transformation–first at the level of perception, then behavior, then reality itself.

While people like me who have studied history and economics and classical lit and science are jumping up and down and screaming like that silly robot in Lost in Space with his “Danger! Danger!”

This has been a week in Atlanta where the dangers perceptible to anyone paying attention were unrecognized, or disregarded, by too many education decision-makers. Expanding the authority of this sector nationally and globally so that it can ignite transformational systems change will create comparable results to what happened Tuesday.

Nowhere to Go. No Way to Get There. Except this time there will be no innate southern kindnesses to keep us and our loved ones and our resources safe.

Finale of the Dangerous Mindset Trilogy: Spreading the Contagion to Fundamentally Alter How We Think and Live

How many of you read the comment this past week by Christiana Figueres, head of the UN’s Framework on Climate Change, on how much easier it is for a dictatorship like China to do what the UN insists is necessary to deal with climate change? Many people wondered where the mental governor was that would have prevented such a politically inept statement, but immersion in the taxpayer-funded institutions seeking wholesale transformation globally seems to make the people involved tone-deaf about the ramifications and validity of what they are advocating for. The same directness about intentions and acceptable methods can be found in the related 50+20 Agenda of Management Education for the World. Let’s take a look at the future being envisioned by the current K-12 and college “reforms” so that we can become the “content, unified” people who are “ultimately cooperative” in a “well-organized civilization working towards the singular goal of sustainability.” http://www.unprme.org/resource-docs/5020ManagementEducationfortheWorld.pdf

We can see where the jet-setting bureaucrats could begin to believe they are entitled to strong arm people into new sets of values and morals and beliefs. After all they have decided they are working toward a “world worth living in.” One that of course benefits them instead of us, but then we are not supposed to read the small print. With 12 years or so of obuchenie ‘teaching and learning’ and ‘guided reflection’, even if future graduates do read the small print, few will appreciate what is wrong with such intentions.

“Everything within the State” as a motto of a very dark period in World History simply won’t be part of the syllabus of coursework or approved, pre-supplied Enduring Understandings. This time there will be the collaboratory of leaders working together with all stakeholders to ‘solve’ the world’s complex problems as they arise and plan the future. If things do not turn out as envisioned, adjustments can be made. It’s not like such a history-blind approach would be squandering national resources or committing permanent Mind Arson or anything.

In case you don’t recognize the significance of same of the names quoted in that report, they include Peter Senge’s Society for Organizational Learning-SOL-and his long-time collaborator Otto Scharmer (who has his own tag plus his Capitalism 3.0 tag). We also have Howard Gardner of Multiple Intelligences and Harvard’s Project Zero and Joseph Stiglitz who took part in Anthony Gidden’s Global Third Way Debate book and panel that we have looked at as well as heading the Subjective Well-Being (also tagged) panel that commenced in 2009 at French President Nicholas Sarkozy’s request. So please don’t tell me that this vision is unrelated to the so-called Great Transition or that the transformative learning described is not related to the US Common Core or the Australian Core Skills or the Canadian Learning for a Sustainable Future. It’s all the same interconnected ‘transdisciplinary’ vision and we will remain imperiled until we begin to realize this better.

There’s a Goethe expression that keeps being quoted as part of this transformative vision. It goes “Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do.” We also need to take it to heart before deliberately kept ignorant credentialed Change Agents, and business professors who don’t understand how economies work, and self-interested politicians and their cronies and consultants blow up what currently works.  We saw numerous well-compensated false statements in out last post, and PRME quoting, with pictures, George Bernard Shaw’s statement that “We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future” suggests we need to keep our Ignoramus alert gauges firmly in our hands at all times in 2014.

If K-12 education reforms like the Common Core or blended learning or the college tour at that expensive Ivy League school confessed that the “time has come to initiate a fundamental change in the way we think and live,” the alarm bells that need to be going off now would start to peal in more people’s minds. And they would properly keep their wallets shut. Which is precisely why no one in school or higher ed administration or the public sector is being that honest. We have to rely on sleuthing like those Great Transition documents or unwise declarations like Giddens conceding that actual temperature changes do not really matter, it’s just all an excuse for desired social, political, and economic changes in the West. The “Management Education for the World: An Agenda” report is much the same way. Because it is linked but tangential to the area of most people’s focus, its authors are brutally honest about the entire picture.

Making the purpose of K-12 being ‘Career-Ready’ takes on new meaning if management education globally has been simultaneously tasked with the “transformation of business and the economy” so that it serves what the politicians and planners in academia and think-tanks determine to be “serving the common good.” No more relying on consumers and individual choices. It rather puts a new light on selling K-12 education reforms as “What Business Wants” when those businesses have been told they get to be established players “in a new kind of society” with “a revised economic framework where business is celebrated for its contribution to society and the world.”

I will take a break in this quote as we think about how dangerous it is to have management students trying to earn degrees and get jobs in business or governments being told they are to “become custodians of society.” [italics here and elsewhere are in original report] It will be quite flattering to a twenty-something ego, but oh-so-dangerous to the rest of us for them to be trained and believe that is their acceptable 21st century role.

Especially when we realize how few will have enough knowledge of history to know what Fascism looks like, what its dangers are, and why people wrote about ‘vampire economies’ in the 30s. This is the rest of the quote that I broke from (top of page 6). Please pay attention because we have to be the ones who recognize all this for the self-interested, rent-seeking, parasitic justifying nonsense that it is. This is not a minor report.

“The starting point for reframing business is to reassign economics to its appropriate status as a subset of a larger system, not its center. We must develop a global society that is supported by the economy, based on a new environmental, societal and economic framework that serves the global common good. Businesses need to become intimately involved in this transformation by accepting challenges and responsibilities that lie beyond short-term economic performance. The purpose of business should be measured through its positive contribution to the transformation of society towards a better world.”

So the envisioned purpose of business in the future is to no longer satisfy customers making voluntary decisions on how to spend their own money. It will be about satisfying the politicians and bureaucrats like Ms Figueres who get to decide what they believe would be a better world based on a misguided fallacy that economies are a finite collection of goods and resources that can simply be rearranged. It is hardly a shock to those of us who have been tracking all the machinations in education over the decades, and the layers of deceit to hide the actual objectives, that the key to all these sought changes is transformative learning. This requires an awareness of the viewpoints of others and how to change our own beliefs, values, and ethics and proceed with action even in the face of uncertainty. “Achieving such awareness” says the report “requires a fundamentally different approach to teaching and learning.”

There’s that obuchenie reference again where we began our trilogy. Essential to what is sought is always “the process of perspective transformation, enabling individuals to revise their beliefs and modify their behavior. We understand transformative learning not only as a rational or intellectual exercise but fundamentally consider personal experience as a critical enabler to trigger a transformation in the participant. Such learning is embedded in the philosophy of whole person learning: respecting a person in their mental, emotional, physical and spiritual dimensions, and recognizing the need to develop all these aspects of the individual in order to progress towards an increasingly integrated and therefore ‘whole’ person.”

Now let’s end this with some of the names in K-12 education for just that very aim that we have covered on this blog. Assagioli called it psychosynthesis. Carol Dweck is doing CCSSI professional development webinars calling it Growth Mindsets. ASCD has a Whole Child Initiative that it wishes to be an essential component of the Common Core implementation. Personal experience is also the project-based learning being pushed now or hands-on science. References to head, heart, hands, and soul are rampant in the rhetoric being used by Superintendents. We called it Triune Consciousness in our League of Innovative Schools research.

Transformative learning and perspective transformation are the real purpose of the K-12 reforms as well as college. It attaches to the same planned alteration of business and the economy as what the 50+20 report describes.

No wonder we have legislators travelling around states bragging about the collusion going on between politicians and education administrators to promote this vision. They would have probably been more careful if they knew we had the rest of the story.

 

Supposedly Creating a Generation of Solutionaries by Using Education to Create Futures Oriented Change Agents

There is something fundamentally suicidal about intentionally  limiting students’ knowledge of actual facts of what has worked well in the past, or been catastrophic, while emphasizing that they should imagine alternate futures for themselves and the world. Does it strike anyone else as encouraging children to play with nitro while the advocates sit firmly protected in school district or university offices living off collected taxes and tuition? It gets even worse with professors determined to jettison the current political, social, and economic systems using education–K-12, college, and graduate–to create the desired perspectives for change and then planning to build on the “growing movement of discontented young people” to force the change. The motto might as well be “We broke it and intend to use the breakage to get an even bigger hammer to keep breaking while blaming others for the destruction.”

Once again our invitations were lost for yet another planning meeting. The so-called Next System Project did hold a workshop December 12 at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard with many recognizable players that this blog has already looked into. Led by Democracy Collaborative advocate Gar Alperowitz and environmental activist James Speth (author of America the Possible: Manifesto for a New Economy wanting to use a new view of education to build the requisite consciousness), the workshop talked about a project, thenextsystem.org, that would be launched in 2014. Here’s my problem: many of the participants like Tufts Professor Neva Goodwin and the Tellus Institute (The Great Transition post) have been laying out their radical transformative intentions for a number of years so what is really new? I think what is new is the national K-12 initiative known as the Common Core State Standards (CCSSI). It becomes the catch-all excuse to shift all classroom instructional practices and the curriculum towards creating the student beliefs and values and perspectives in the need for such a new system.

Moreover, I think CCSSI gives the perfect excuse to push the Agenda 21 vision percolating out of the UN and the Subjective Well-Being, Green Growth, and Great Transition global initiatives announced by the OECD in Paris. If we go north to Canada and look at a 2012 document from the accounting and consulting firm Deloitte & Touche (apparently having governments as clients and then writing advocacy papers for the dirigiste vision is the consulting and legal nirvana of the future) called “Ready or not? Preparing youth for 21st century responsible citizenship,” we can see what the UN’s Education for Sustainable Development looks like in practice. Once again the focus of education is on changing what the student values and believes and what theories or concepts they use to filter their daily experiences. In fact, the Final Report has the banner “Viewing education through a responsible citizenship lens.”

Obuchenie then is till sought and the Ascending from the Abstract to the Concrete framing Mindset and conceptual lenses are still the new purpose of education globally but rarely will we find those particular terms used. Instead, the philosophy shows up in phrasing like this:

“The goal of responsible citizenship calls upon education to adopt a different set of learning tools and a different teacher-learner relationship that involves learning based upon inquiry and action. Paulo Freire [a major advocate of social justice education globally who viewed the transmission of knowledge as reproducing current privileges] terms this the ‘problem-posing’ method of education, where teachers and students learn together through combining theory with action [a/k/a experiential or hands on ed] and emphasizing the importance of inquiry.”

That inquiry of course occurs with the supplied Big Ideas or Lenses or Enduring Understandings or Understandings of Consequence as we went through in the previous post. They become how the world is seen whether they are true or not. When a student consistently applies them in how they see the world they are deemed to now be ‘autonomous.’ No sense of Orwellian irony that a person is now labeled autonomous only when she appears to be preprogrammed to respond in predictable ways. Another way these concepts come into this new vision of ed is by pushing the idea that K-12 students should “engage in praxis.” Once again this is defined as “combining theory and action–a goal that should be accomplished by taking students outside the classroom to learn from first-hand, real-world experiences.”

This “theory and action” aim seeks to have students come to see the world as in constant flux so they will believe they must be able to adapt to the changes. Supposedly, “learning this can help youth to see democracy as a work in progress, with room for more voices and views in its development and transformation. When the conventional student/teacher dichotomy is altered, learners are able to see that knowledge is not only delivered by those deemed as experts, but can come from personal investigation and interaction. Learning to be open to more forms of knowledge building can allow children to value their own discoveries and understandings.”

Now I hope Deloitte was well-paid to write such nonsense as part of the Learning for a Sustainable Future Initiative. Children and young adults may in fact come to believe that their own discoveries and understandings are just as important as what an expert knows, but they would be WRONG. It is our job as adults and the purpose of education to correct such misconceptions, not to foster ignorance and logical fallacies because such advocacy pays well. Governments at all levels in countries all over the world may have decided it would be nice if they can treat citizens as mere chattel and hide such intentions behind rhetoric about sustainability and responsible citizenship. The mask and obfuscatory language doesn’t change the abusive intent of the public sector and its collaborators within the private and ‘charitable’ sectors one bit.

Self-dealing by public officials, politicians, private sector lackeys, foundations, and higher ed wanting the gravy train to never end are simply hiding behind ostensibly noble language about “creating a generation of ‘solutionaries’… this begins with our young people. As such, we need to address these issues within our learning environments by creating authentic opportunities for young people to experience the power and possibilities democracy provides in loving and supporting community. We can transform our educational system to one based on respect for human rights and one that values freedom and responsibility, participation and collaboration, and equity and justice. To create a more just, sustainable and democratic world, we need democratic education.”

That sounds much more glorious than saying we need education to cripple our young people and future voters mentally and emotionally. When it turns out that they cannot in fact create the future they want despite what we insisted they be told during their K-12 years, few of these young people will have accurate facts to appreciate why there are not enough good jobs anymore. They will thus be the very change agent advocates that the UN and the OECD and all those participants in the next system workshop have said they desire.

Deliberately creating the discontent and then mining it for ever increasing political power and diminishing mass prosperity. That’s the true global vision of education in the 21st century that began in the 1990s and is now truly cranking into high gear.

And the longer we wait to accurately apprehend that this is the true nature of what is sought in K-12 and university classrooms, the more irreplaceable national treasure, both physical and noetic, will be lost.

With these intentions the likeliest next system is chaos as no one’s expectations can be met. The mind arson and destructive public sector spending will simply have consumed too much.

Unveiling the True Focus of the Common Core: Obuchenie within Students to Gain Desired Future Behaviors

Have you ever noticed we do some of our best thinking when we are not trying at all? This year I vowed to not think about education for at least a week and to immerse myself in some good historical fiction while relaxing at the beach. Right as we were leaving though I did print out a 2012 white paper from Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins called “From Common Core to Curriculum: Five Big Ideas.” Because McTighe & Wiggins do so much training of teachers all over the country in how to implement education reforms (even in states like Texas that did not formally adopt the Common Core), their vision of the classroom implementation is quite relevant to what is really going to happen within schools. That paper really hammers home the extent to which the desired focus is now on specifying desired behaviors in students and then setting up the opportunities to practice those behaviors until they become a habit.

Standards for College and Career or Workplace Readiness is then a euphemism not for certain levels of knowledge that prepare a student to be an independent adult, but for having practiced performances in authentic contexts enough that what a student will do when confronted with “messy, never-seen-before problems” or “new challenges” becomes predictable. That’s what McTighe & Wiggins want to emphasize as the ultimate aim of a curriculum: independent transfer. Unfortunately for them, I have encountered these aspirations of trying to program students so that their likely perceptions have already been gamed long before they encounter new experiences. My reaction has always been “So you want the student to apply this analogy even though it is not apt or follow beliefs that are not true?” And honestly, if transformational social, economic, and political change is the ultimate end game as all my sources repeatedly assert, cultivating a capacity to act in predictable ways, regardless of the current facts and without awareness of the likely circumstances, is an effective, if dangerous, means for facilitating mass change.

Now McTighe & Wiggins acknowledge the longevity of this behavioral pursuit of “desired performances by the learner” by tying it back more than 60 years to Ralph Tyler. They quote Tyler that the purpose of standards or outcomes, or his own term ‘objectives,’ is to indicate the “kinds of changes” to be “brought about” “in the student.” They do leave out the fact that Ralph (who had worked with John Dewey) was also coining the very phrase “behavioral sciences” at about the same time he conceived of making behavior the focus of curriculum and then using the ambiguous term ‘objectives’ to obscure such a radical shift. A proud tradition of obfuscation over actual intentions that continues in education to this very day.

Which is what kept teasing at the edge of my mind while I tried to relax. The recognition of just how often the phrase “teaching and learning” or “learning and teaching” keeps recurring not just in connection with the actual Common Core implementation, but also as a headlining description in English of UNESCO’s Agenda 21 education work and the primary phrase used to euphemistically describe radical ed reform in the 90s. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/didnt-the-president-just-admit-ccssi-was-a-ruse-to-change-classroom-interactions/ All that musing also reminded me that when I first started researching the so-called math and science wars in curriculum, the university based curriculum centers that pushed all these bad ideas in return for massive grants of federal money were consistently called “Centers for Learning and Teaching” or CLTs. Now I knew that the English phrase “learning and teaching” in whatever order was an unappreciated term of art translating a Russian word for guided psychological growth called obuchenie.

By the time of my return trip from the beach, the number 1 research item on my list was to resolve my curiosity about whether the term obuchenie accurately summarized what McTighe and Wiggins were describing as the actual classroom focus of the Common Core and what the new assessments should be measuring. Now the nice thing about correctly surmising how something is linked and that the same concept is hiding under multiple seemingly innocent names is that simple searches throw out lots of open declarations. Even so, I was floored to find both a 2012 Russian Journal of Cultural-Historical Psychology from Moscow State telling me I was correct http://psyjournals.ru/en/kip/2012/n3/57239_full.shtml along with a 2009 article from Professor Michael Cole, the US overseer of CHAT-Cultural Historical Activity Theory http://lchc.ucsd.edu/mca/Journal/pdfs/16-4-cole.pdf  .If this were all a game, I would be able to yell out “BINGO!” now for the win and the pot of money.

Every single one of these sources is consumed with the stated problem of transfer. What can be done to guide future adult behavior in desired ways? Long-time readers know we have already encountered the nerdy expression Ascending from the Abstract to the Concrete from Soviet psychology and its ties to Professor Cole’s work (see tags for him and CHAT). That Russian psych term is helpfully a part of the Mindset to be created now apparently in American students and students all over the globe. Instead of a focus on teaching factual knowledge, the Soviets saw the behavioral implications of teaching theoretical concepts instead. The theories then become the lens through which everyday experiences are perceived. Knowledge itself becomes construed as the perceived relationships among objects (i.e., the repeated insistence on thinking in terms of systems), instead of factual qualities of the objects themselves.

What the Russian journal calls theoretical concepts, the US Common Core tends to call  Big Ideas or Enduring Understandings or Understandings of Consequence. It’s the same idea as what the Journal described as:

“The importance of the interplay between the scientific concepts derived in theoretical learning and the spontaneous concepts formed in empirical learning is central to this account of development. If the two forms do not ‘connect’ then true concept development does not take place. Thus theoretically driven content based teaching which is not designed to connect with learners’ everyday empirical learning will remain inert and developmentally ineffective.”

‘Developmentally ineffective’ is another euphemism for saying it will not guide future behavior in predictable ways. The Common Core would decree that ‘Deep Learning’ (as championed and financed especially by the Hewlett Foundation) has not occurred. Now we can also see the reasons for hands-on science and math and project-based learning as a new focus. It provides the empirical experiences that the desired theoretical concepts like fairness or social justice can be pegged to so that the student believes over time what ever the curriculum developers want him to believe. As you can imagine this will be really handy for anyone intending to push climate change regardless of actual facts, as the RSA and the Garrison Institute have both announced underlies their ed work. It is also handy if you intend to push a new economic system and blame all the current problems attributable to too much previous government interventionism on the “continued adherence to free market capitalism.” See http://www.50plus20.org/film for a preview of the last installment of this trilogy.

At the end of the Russian psych journal, it concedes that obuchenie or making education about psychological development in predetermined ways is the means by which All Students Can Learn. It is the method of  “democratic solutions to mass education.” A phrase that should give us all pause as we have constant demands to close the achievement gap and ignore real differences among students.

Free societies do not cultivate ideological thinking as a matter of habit in their young people. Free societies do not try to program future behaviors to be prompted at an unconscious level in their young people. Free societies do not measure effective teaching by whether obuchenie is occurring within the student so that they can be relied upon in the future to act without regard to facts. Free societies do not assess students to see if an obuchenie Mindset and Worldview is taking hold in a student.

Since none of this is speculation about what is being put in place in the name of the Common Core, where are we really headed in 2014?