Progressive Polyphonic Federalism Invisibly Binds People and Places to the Just Society Vision

That’s quite a title, isn’t it, but both alliterative adjectives matter. If you like doublechecking me, try one or the other with ‘federalism’ in your search. I joined them together because they actually work together and I hate synonyms designed to throw us off the real story, its depth, or its trail over decades. This will also remind us why the “state-led” description of the Common Core, as in not a federal initiative, is a Red Herring literally designed to throw off the scent so we look in the wrong places. Both WIOA and the ESEA Rewrite are grounded in both kinds of federalism and its No Child Left Behind predecessor is cited as the ultimate example of polyphonic federalism in this paper “Toward a Theory of Interactive Federalism” by the now Dean of Emory Law School. Notice that the 2006 date is the year after the famous (infamous?) Yale conference put on by the American Constitution Society proposing a new Constitution by 2020 that was followed up with a book in 2009.

Another one of those things that has not been on our radars, but needs to be, because it describes what is actually happening to all of us. Let’s go back in time to the mid-80s when (as my book lays out) so much is already shifting towards intentional social transformation via education. Recognizing that the goals of the ESEA Rewrite could only be met via James Comer’s (also at Yale) views of a social interaction, psychological focus of student achievement, I discovered he had written the Foreword for a 1985 book Choosing Equality: The Case for Democratic Schooling that sought to “qualitatively change the environmental context–the school culture–that conditions the learning process.” That certainly explains why every federal regulatory power since President Obama took office has been directed to achieving a Positive School Climate with a variety of rationales.

The vision of democratic schooling, then and now in the Common Core implementation and the ESEA Rewrite language, insists that “If education were structured around the social needs of children, families, communities, and a democratic society [in the Marxian, John Dewey, participatory sense laid out in the book], the priority would be to endow all children with the basic and higher-order skills [Remember the tethering from the last post] needed to fulfill personal and citizenship roles. The mission of schools would be individual and social empowerment, which itself would promote more equitable chances of survival in the labor market.” Schools, in other words, will increase student achievement for all students by focusing now on enhancing “all children’s capacities to think critically and to acquire social knowledge.”

That was from the “Building a New Agenda” ending, but before that was the “Governance and Funding: Toward Progressive Federalism” chapter. If the basic and social ‘needs’ of all people are to be met, either in the US or anywhere in the world, “new structural mechanisms that allow popular control over resources and priorities” are needed. The book proposed the remedy as the “concept of progressive federalism, expanding the social and fiscal responsibilities of government at all levels–federal, state, and local–and defining the role of each more appropriately to its function.” We can be sure that the UN’s Global CIFAL Network I wrote about on January 6 was created from an awareness of progressive federalism. says that President Obama’s Open Data Initiative (see tag), which we know was such a priority that it was his first action on his first day in office, was actually grounded in progressive federalism.

Progressive federalism sees “government action as the central instrument for achieving egalitarian goals and more effective practice in public education.” The book, which described the practices and policies my book and this blog have tracked to what the actual planned implementation looks like everywhere, sought to “develop the role of local and state governance, as well, to promote more comprehensive responses to educational needs and to engage all levels of government in the struggle for progressive reform.” The book complained that progressives were not appreciating the powers over people and places held at the state and local levels. It reiterated that the “concept of progressive federalism includes the necessity of multiple levels of authority, particularly state and federal regulatory functions that safeguard standards and rights.”

Choosing Equality pointed out the reasons for what is now so clearly being foisted on us: “The federal government is the only feasible agency for the redistribution of wealth on a nationwide basis, both in its tax policies and in its priorities for public spending. The federal government is also the primary agent for promoting geographic as well as individual equity.” Equity as in whatever must be done to achieve equality of results for various previously disadvantaged groups. That’s still the impetus behind the global push surrounding Excellence and Equity for All as this recent paper shows. made it quite clear that the required Equity is obtained in the manner described in the 1985 book although its lead author Ben Levin has now become too notorious to call as a Congressional or legislative witness. The co-author, Avis Glaze, wrote yesterday in an EdWeek post entitled “Achieving Excellence with Equity: A Mandate for All Schools” timed around the second day of ESEA Rewrite hearings. Student Learning tied to the tethering view of experiential education from the last post as well as the Rewrite’s Equity focus is a crucial point so many educators are lying to the public about all over the world.

This is from a 2008 UNESCO paper called “Inclusive Education–the Way of the Future.” It laid out the shifts in what is to constitute ‘learning’ to allow the push of equality in outcomes and success for all. It’s also embodied in what is “high-quality education” and Equity and what it takes to be a “high-achieving country” on the PISA assessments created by the OECD.

“So long as learning is understood as the acquisition of bodies of knowledge presented by the teacher, schools are likely to be locked into rigidly-organized curricula and teaching practices. Commonly, therefore, inclusive curricula are based on a view of learning as something that takes place when learners are actively involved in making sense of their experience. [hence the tethering metaphor in the last post] Learners, in other words, cannot simply be told. Rather, they have to discover and understand things for themselves.”

In whatever ways suit political power as governments at all levels coordinate around forcing people and places to accept. or even not notice, the progressive visions of a just society being pursued. As the book Remaking America recently concluded:

“States have the power, and often the will, to meet the needs of citizens in progressive ways…Progressive federalism seeks to harness this potential state contribution to our national democracy without retreating from civil rights and a national affirmative state…to update and give content to the metaphor as ‘laboratories for democracy’.”

Are those kinds of efforts then really ‘state-led’  It helps if we look at why Dean Schapiro chose the “Polyphonic Alternative” to describe the new conception of federalism being constructed. Both Eric Holder, the US Attorney General, and Cass Sunstein, the President’s first-term “Regulatory Czar” are involved with the American Constitution Society’s push here as is Janet Reno, Clinton’s Attorney General. Well-connected to federal regulatory power would be an understatement of epic proportions apart from the Soros funding, polyphony has the element of coinciding authority, working in harmony, a “stew” instead of the “adjoining” layered authority symbolized by a “marble cake.” Federalism that “can combine into new melodies, without losing its individual character.”

States and localities in such a mellifluous stew of Statist coordination may still retain their ‘character’. Thus preventing easy recognition of the nature of this crucial shift. They are entirely losing their function though as a barrier to governmental power over the individual as laid out in the still existing US Constitution. The progressive label was at least a tip-off that a shift in the fundamental governing philosophy had occurred, apparently to avoid the cacophony of free enterprise and individual abilities and choices. Looking through that Interactive Federalism paper, I cannot find any protection from overbearing governments at all levels committed to trying to achieve Equality of Outcomes.

As the last several posts combined have pointed out, the “brain is a sculpture carved by experience” as the OECD Neuroscience research has pointed out, and governments at all levels are now committing to sculpting the human brains of students at a neurobiological level. They are pushing the practices and policies thought to advance a society and economy grounded literally in transferring “from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.” Neither the UN or the OECD hides anymore their pursuit of what Marx called his Human Development Model of society. Neither do progressives, where ever they are. Historically, there has been a barrier–the language of the US Constitution, but not under these legal theories or conceptions of federalism.

Education, especially K-12, is the global vehicle, because as the OECD recognized with this quote from Wu Ting-Fang: “Education is like a double-edged sword. It may be turned to dangerous uses if it is not properly handled.”

Just like the law and the supposed checks and balances of federalism.


Conclusion: Now Enacting the Long Sought Planned Economy and Society Via the Open Data Initiative

I did not take you through excruciating details on what has been sought since at least the 60s to fill you with a sense of woe but to ground present known intentions in their proper foundations. This is not just some pursuit hatched by the current occupant of the White House and his friends nor is it limited to the US. It has been a long term scheme for political, economic, and social power. It seeks to shift decision-making away from individuals and vests it in the public sector or with vetted cronies and in international entities like UN agencies and the OECD. But it is such a high priority of this administration that President Obama signed an Executive Order on his very first day in office stipulating that all government information that did not have to be kept secret for security or privacy reasons should be made public. This new policy is called the Open Data Initiative. Its importance to governments globally can be seen by the G-8 Summit in June 2013 adopting an Open Data Charter.

Now people from time to time will ask me if I could please limit my posts or my new book Credentialed to Destroy: How and Why Education Became a Weapon to discussions of education because that’s all that really interests them. My answer has always been no as the documents are quite clear that all these education reforms being pushed in the US as the Common Core or globally under names such as 21st Century Skills, Personalized Learning, and Positive Behavior Systems are simply means to certain ends. I think not discussing the sought ends leaves the reasons on why the actual implementation looks so much like social engineering impossible for us to grasp. We do not have to wonder anymore why anyone would do what we can now prove they [Who is ‘they’ many people ask? foundations, ed professors, district supers, and too many school principals will do for starters] are doing and mandating with every bit of legal authority they can seize.

In October 2013 McKinsey Global Institute issued a report laying out the intentions of our governmental overlords in 7 ‘domains’: education, transportation, consumer products, electricity, oil and gas, healthcare, and consumer finance. Basically learner analytics will be applied in the future to the Open Data and business and individual proprietary data to supposedly “enable better decision-making.” But not by us anymore. Think of this as the idea that the Service State we encountered in the last post or the planned society we encountered in the post before that are now achievable in the 21st century via supercomputers, models, and Big Data. The report is called “Open data: Unlocking innovation and performance with liquid information.” McKinsey uses the terms ‘open data’ and ‘liquid information’ synonymously.

Before we get to the open acknowledgment that the new tech-enabled personalized learning being pushed as an essential aspect of global education reforms is actually intended to “increase motivation [remember our conation discussion and that nerdy phrase triune consciousness?], change mindsets, and adjust learning strategies,” let me go through some of the troubling assumptions from other domains. How about the assumption that “conceivably, credit card companies could raise interest rates on households that waste electricity”? Does that sound like the credit card companies now are independent or an arm of governmental policy for desired future behavior? How about businesses now subject to “open data released by third parties could expose poor environmental or labor practices or show their products or services compare poorly for price and quality”? Isn’t that ‘a run your companies in the manner we desire or you will get bad publicity’ threat?

The report contemplates that “sharing data gathered via ‘smart grid’ technologies can be particularly helpful in spurring energy sufficiency.” How? By publicly revealing relative personal consumption levels. Now I want you to think about the disastrous Obamacare website rollout and all the deceit used by politicians and agency bureaucrats to cover up the true nature of the planned shift in the US healthcare and insurance model:

“As the maker of laws and enforcer of regulations, government can shape the legal and economic environment that maximizes the potential value from the use of open data, while addressing the legitimate privacy and intellectual property concerns of individuals and organizations.”

Right. And how intrusive are the planned releases of data that “intellectual property concerns” even become an issue? Now we know when it is essential to keep data secret and secure as with national security matters [think Edward Snowden] or the personal financial data component on the Obamacare website, governments are terrible at it. Now onto that reality let’s add everything intended as part of this Open Data Initiative. All so that 21st Century society can become not a place of individual decision-makers but a place for “large-scale collaboration among individuals, companies, governments, and other organizations” supposedly seeking each of our subjective well-being as the goal of governments. And also seeking to “help educate the public about the potential benefits to the economy and society.”

The proprietary data will be gone. Governments as usual will be lousy administrators with no real incentives to do a good job. And from looking just at the education component, the benefits appear to me to be illusory but the levers of manipulation over human behavior look boundless. All in all the kind of stupid ideas that would be resisted at every turn if only they were better understood. And without so many advocates with their hand in the cookie jar of intended future governmental spending. All this ed data being gathered is said to improve individual “performance, which can lead to higher graduation rates, greater educational attainment, and increased lifetime earnings.” Not if students do not know much of anything and everyone suddenly has the same credentials.

Now how many of you have heard anyone write about personalized learning as the wave of the future? It is a simply marvelous gatherer of personal info with thousands of data points being collected when adaptive software is used. Which it will be so all those data points can become part of the Open Data Initiative basis for a new type of collective decision-making in the future. Here is the definition of personalized learning from the McKinsey cited and Gates Foundation funded Learning to adapt report from 2013 [my bolding]:

“pedagogical method or process that draws on observation to inform tailored student education interventions designed to increase the likelihood of learner success.”

The personal data being gathered then is extensive and real and just full of non-cognitive information. And the tasks and activities the student is asked to do get adjusted as necessary to gain success. Not exactly the ingredients that would actually foster future economic success.

Getting to public sector-centric decision-making is the whole point. Equity for all and social justice at last are after all the by-words for all these pushes. Economist Ludwig Von Mises in the book Socialism he wrote just after World War I described all these pursuits as Ethical Socialism. It was all the rage in Germany and his native Austria before and after the war just like it is now all the rage in US academia and political institutions and federal agencies in 2013. The fundamental fallacy remains the same as what he noted:

“Most people who demand the greatest possible equality of incomes do not realize that what they desire would only be achieved by sacrificing other aims. They imagine that the sum of incomes will remain unchanged…this idea rests on a grave error. It has been shown that, in whatever way one envisages the equalization of incomes this must always and necessarily lead to a very considerable reduction of the total national income and, thus, of the average income…we have then to decide whether we are in favor of an equal distribution of income at a lower average income, or inequality of incomes at a higher average income.”

Von Mises was simply discussing the overall impact due to the disincentives to be productive in the future. Given the contemplated mind arson I have been documenting, just imagine the actual effects of disincentives to be productive when coupled to the widespread inability to be productive.

And then add on the cost of the public sector to poorly administer this planned society. And all that insecure Open Data. And the wasteful cronyism attached to the planned collaboration.

And the lack of personal freedom. The Open Data Initiative surely will lead to a society incapable of mass prosperity.

Makes you wonder who they think will fund the redemption of all those Social Security IOUs in the near future under these plans. I guess it’s a good thing all the administrators and politicians pushing these plans intend to rely on taxpayer-financed pensions to fund their retirements after careers spent destroying the source of wealth everyone is taking for granted.

Will this really work out well for anyone in the long term?