The reaction to the last post was certainly fascinating for those of you who do not read the comments or are not on Anita Hoge’s mailing list. I have to confess I already knew precisely what the citeable definition of “evidence-based” was when I wrote that post. I wanted to find out if there was any interest in the truth or whether the organized narrative and misdirection was the real point. Since we now have our answer and I said it was citeable, evidence-based under the School Improvement Grants during the Obama Administration referred to “activities, practices, or interventions” that had either been shown to be effective in creating the desired outcomes in the student or had a “research-based rationale describing why it is likely to improve student outcomes or other relevant outcomes. The recommended format for demonstrating and communicating this rationale is through a logic model.” [frequently italicized for emphasis as logic model and so integral to organizing a society a la Upravleniye that it can be found translated into other languages and alphabets all over the globe].
Back to quoting from a recent Rand report having to do with funding streams under ESSA for “evidence-based” curricula and interventions. “The Education Department General Administration Regulations (EDGAR) defines a logic model as:
a well-specified conceptual framework that identifies key components of the proposed process, product, strategy, or practice (i.e., the active ‘ingredients’ that are hypothesized to be critical to achieving the relevant outcomes) and describes the relationships among the key components and outcomes, theoretically and operationally. (Code of Federal Regulations, Title 34, Sec. 77.1, 2015)
An effective logic model should draw on past research to detail the components of the intervention and provide empirical justification for the hypothesized ways these components affect the targeted outcomes. That is, logic models are effective tools for visually communicating to stakeholders what an intervention entails and why it should work.”
That sounds technical so let me quote from another part of the report since I have been screaming from the rooftops for years on this blog and detailed in Credentialed to Destroy that social and emotional learning should not be viewed as about a database of PII. Here’s the quote: “Among educators and researchers, there is a growing acknowledgment that student success depends not only on achievement in core academic subjects but also on learning a broader range of intrapersonal and interpersonal competencies. Efforts to develop these competencies are often described using the phrase social and emotional learning (SEL).”
Well, that’s not how the False Narrative alarming parents of a surveillance state of PII instead of factually telling them school intends to rewire their children’s brains via prescribed experiences explains SEL. Why is that and why does it matter so much? Am I simply playing the annoying Classroom Rocket-arm who always shouted out “I know. I know” as they raised their hand? Here’s an example of why it matters so much https://www.edsurge.com/news/2017-11-22-how-to-measure-success-without-academic-achievement Notice how the author declares the desired outcomes of getting to heaven or being “a good person” as interchangeable goals in terms of the desired internalized changes and personal characteristics sought and how to bring those about via classroom experiences.
How intrusive is that? That’s evidence-based policymaking in education. An IB Learner graphic or Portrait of a Graduate set out in state ESSA plans are logic models. Some of the most notorious curricula we have covered on this blog like Responsive Classroom, Tools of the Mind, the Good Behavior Game, mindfulness activities, and PATHS–Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies were all deemed by Rand to not just be evidence-based and qualified for federal funding, but already having proven efficacy at creating the desired intrapersonal and interpersonal characteristics in the student. See why I think it is such a mistake to make the tool of data the focus instead of the desired sought changes to the student? See how much it matters what the logic model or blueprint shows are the desired changes that classrooms then backward map curricula to create in the student?
Another evidence-based model of education, this time pushed by the Millennium School, tells us that the “highest function of education is to bring about an integrated individual who is capable of dealing with life as a whole.” An adult whose neural hardware and the operating software installed via classroom experiences over years of “continuous improvement” along a desired learning progression doesn’t need to be constantly monitored by a “surveillance state”. His motivations, perceptions, emotions, interpretive tools, and the very means of grasping reality itself have all been programmed already. Those sought changes need to be the focus. The future behavior is quite predictable because K-12 education under names like “science-based” or “evidence-based” shifted from its historical focus on a body of knowledge to orthopraxy–school as practice for a desired future way of life.
A reader brought Brian D McLaren’s book The Great Spiritual Migration to my attention and his desired orthopraxy vision for a new kind of Christianity reminded me a great deal of how learning standards like the Common Core or a competency framework really work when properly understood in a way the False Narrative somehow seeks to prevent. In a world where heaven and being a good citizen require comparable classroom interventions and activities, I guess that makes sense. Instead of knowledge, it appears to me that we are to have a new model of education globally that fits with what McLaren called faith.
“faith is conviction, the deep and motivating sense that a course of action is right and worth doing. This conviction is lived out in the context of uncertainty. It involves a risk, an unknown. It proceeds not by certainty, but through confidence, the deep and motivating sense that a risk is worthwhile. This conviction (faith) and confidence (hope) are then expressed through love. Seen in this light, you can have a lot of beliefs with very little faith, and you can have a lot of faith with very little in the way of beliefs.”
Now if the actual purpose of this new vision of education is creating a good person or Godly citizen ready to act as a Maker of History to push a new vision of “living systems” and how they will interact in the 21st century, all the deceit really does start to make sense doesn’t it? It explains why I keep finding professors and graduate students in social and public policy being taught that social systems can be redesigned to fit new intentions. It just takes new goals, government edicts, and plenty of data that need not be personally identifiable at all to work just fine.
Since I am still in a wrist brace and this is already longer than I intended to type, let me close with another link that the Rand report cited called “Making Evidence Locally: Rethinking Education Research under the Every Student Succeeds Act” by Thomas J. Kane. Kane has also written about how states can create ‘efficacy networks’ to test strategies for school improvement back in April 2017 in an interview on a site devoted to government innovation. The first was published in the Spring here http://educationnext.org/files/ednext_xvii_2_kane.pdf in a Harvard publication supported financially by the Bradley Foundation. Now that philanthropy is free to support financially whomever it wishes, just as we are free to notice that article places it supporting two sides of the ‘evidence-based” narrative.
If you are an education insider you get the accurate story of what the model means and how so much of the sought implementation and testing for efficacy is planned for the local level. If you are a parent though wondering what is happening to your child and are looking for answers, you are liable to be led to books published by Bradley’s publishing subsidiary, Encounter Books, that push the useful False Narrative. You may hear the hype about School Choice or databases or Student Unit Records and end up listening to someone employed by a think tank funded by Bradley’s deep coffers. I just find the involvement on both sides to be fascinating and I am very grateful to that Rand report footnote.
I am also grateful we have an ability to move beyond where the Right and Left Pincers want to take this discussion of what is really going on in K-12 education. They keep hyping research-based education. I guess I am glad we are still able to have research-based writing on the topic, even if the False Narrative does try to prevent widespread circulation or appreciation for its accuracy.