Leveraging the Information-Sphere of Society as the Fulcrum for Involuntary Change

Anyone else watching the tragic events of this summer in Dallas and Orlando and wondering why there is such a determined effort to mislead us all about the nature of what happened and why? To stir up group grievances and even hatred, even if the relevant facts have to be either ignored or lied about? Some days I think the only nice thing about understanding this program of wholesale change in people’s internalized mental models is having access to previous blueprints from my personal library of declared intentions. Today we will look back to a 1988 book The Cassandra Conference: Resources and the Human Predicament edited by Paul R. Ehrlich and John P Holdren. Recognize those two names? I thought so.

That would be the year before his book New World New Mind covered in this post http://invisibleserfscollar.com/how-disabilities-law-is-already-being-used-to-gain-ehrlichs-new-mind-and-the-future-earth-economy/ . Most people recognize Professor Ehrlich from all his hyping of pending environmental catastrophe that never actually happen, but did you know he also has a close working relationship with the very Stanford psychology prof, Albert Bandura (see tag), pushing education as a means for Resistance-Proof Biosocial Revolution in the June 14, 2016 ISC post? Pertinent to our story, in other words, so let’s remind ourselves of how John Holdren fits into our current onslaughts.

He has been at the White House https://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ostp/about/leadershipstaff/director since 2009 in the Office of Science and Technology Policy. It means that the League of Innovative Schools with its neurological focus reports to him as does Digital Promise. The BRAIN Initiative does too, as well as the NSF and thus its Science of Learning Centers. Last but not least, he oversees the nudge-oriented Behavioral Science Team and its push for a national Growth Mindset study.

Now that we have established both men’s pertinence to what is actually being pursued, let’s go eavesdrop on a chapter written by another name we should all recognize–Donella Meadows (see tag) of the Club of Rome’s Limits to Growth fame. The chapter was called “How Can We Improve Our Chances?” and it was seeking a means at more effectively shaping “the thinking and the policies of our society.” Tool Number 1 listed was developing new concepts to be used to frame public perception and discussion.

Wouldn’t it be useful to know now what Holdren, Ehrlich, and Meadows said was the “primary social leverage point” in their pursuit of fundamental social, economic, and political change? That would be “the source of ideas.” All three people and, I suppose, the Conference attendees in general, declared as follows so let’s listen in: “we are a part of, though by no means all of, that elect set of people in any society who are its idea generators–the people who interpret society to itself, set up its arguments, frame its issues, define its categories, coin its phrases.”

Just the declared intentions we want from someone in a position to specify, with federal funding, what will be the Next Generation Science DCIs–Disciplinary Core Ideas and CCCs–Cross-Cutting Concepts and Themes, to be imposed and then assessed for in all K-12 education. In fact, this quote from influential, but misguided, economist John Maynard Keynes was cited approvingly in full:

“The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back. I am sure that the power of vested interests is vastly exaggerated compared with the gradual encroachment of ideas.”

Listening to President Obama (from yesterday’s speech that doesn’t really count as a eulogy any bereaved person wanted to hear) and the media’s portrayal of what led to Orlando, and how Minneapolis, Baton Rouge, and Dallas are somehow all equivalent ‘killings,’ it is apparent that all these events must be interpreted to make Group Equity the point. Neither politicians nor the media seem to want to give up the desired narrative, whatever the actual facts or the deadly consequences of the politically useful ideas. Useful that is if fundamental transformation is what is actually sought. This post actually starts a Trilogy to show that is precisely what is going on and how the language used fits with broader goals that track to the UN and its 2030 Dignity For All global focus.

Today though, we need to appreciate why the so-called Information Sphere is so crucial that we have politicians and the media determined not to let mass, intentional, planned-in-advance murder get in the way of their determination to Use Ideas to stir up useful group grievances and cultivate useful personal guilt. Both education and the media are the two critical components of communication in any society and we all need to understand what Ehrlich, Holdren, Meadows, and all the entities and institutions they have worked for since 1988 all knew and were relying on when they made their plans for us: “To prevail, we are going to have to use the power of ideas more skillfully than they do. That means, I think, understanding fully and profoundly, first how ideas create societies and, second, how they create our own selves and our effectiveness.”

So when http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/printgroupProfile.asp?grpid=7876 Black Lives Matters calls for ‘quality education for all’ as part of its manifesto, it’s not about facts and teaching reading properly. It has a particular meaning that makes a student amenable to the desired fundamental transformations. Quality Learning was first proposed by not defunct in the least despite decades of being deceased, political philosopher John Dewey, and his plans for education I covered in my book Credentialed to Destroy. He too wanted to control the prevailing Information Sphere at the level of each student’s mind and personality. Back to 1988: “our terribly complex socioeconomic systems are shaped by two basic forces. The first is the physical operation of the universe…”

Guess what? Cause and effect in that physical universe is not affected as “what we say or believe about them has absolutely no influence on how they behave.” In this age of deliberate Mind Arson I would add that whether we even accurately know anything has no effect. Physical laws are “the least changeable parts of a system’s structure. They are the constraints within which a system has to operate; they are not the ultimate or guiding force.” These are not my italics, by the way, and the true guiding force is precisely the reason for all the hype about brain-based learning and student-centered education. Let me quote the next paragraph to the quote we just finished as it is so explicit:

“The source of system structure, the real leverage point for change, is its information–the shared, slowly changing, often unspoken set of social beliefs, and the locally available, always changing streams of specific information [Can we say ‘Individual-in-Context’?], which together influence all human decisions, actions, technologies, and organizations. The human information system works on the physical universe, constrained by its laws, but within those laws there is scope for all the varied inventions, organizations, and cultures that human beings have produced over the ages.”

Guess what? Everyone targeting the Information-Sphere via education and media memes and narratives has plans for a new culture that is politically controlled and coordinated at every level of government. That will be the focus of the remainder of this Trilogy. Meanwhile, we have the admission that in the Information-Sphere “things are very much influenced by what is wished, believed, and said.” That’s the reason for all the lies around race, Islam, Climate Change, how to teach reading, and so much else. That’s why it is apparently OK to stir people up so they falsely believe and feel they are under attack because of race and then turn around and falsely assure people that they are not at risk from some evil-doers because they are not adherents of a certain religion. Let’s quote our influential transformationalists yet again down to what they chose to italicize for emphasis:

“Over the very short term social systems are indeed dominated by their physical setups…But over the long term social systems are shaped almost entirely by the information-sphere, within the constraints of physical laws.” In the age of constructivist math and science those would be the unknown or misapplied (via Transfer to new situations!!) physical laws, but at least there will be no constraints from facts imperiling fundamental transformations. Does this sound giddy to anyone else? “Do you begin to see how easy changing a system can be, if the right information is just put into the right place?”

Why yes I do and now so does everyone reading this post. Does yesterday’s Presidential funeral oration and national and local news coverage suddenly make sense when we eavesdrop and learn “That is our work, to shape the information-sphere of society so that it supports systems of sufficiency, sustainability, and justice, instead of scarcity and waste, degradation, and oppression.” None of us apparently are the insiders who have been designated to be the transformational Idea-Generators although I think I am establishing my reputation as an Idea-Explainer, even if it is unauthorized by the Elect Set of People described above.

Might as well then reiterate the preferred method before we move on to the admitted goals. Remember also that for the Elect Schemers, a person is just another form of system:

“Systems arise, in the long term, from information and ideas. They can be changed most easily through information and ideas. Like the atmosphere, the information-sphere flows through us, through our minds, so thoroughly and constantly that we are hardly aware of it. We take information and put it out. Every word we speak, every action and gesture either reinforces and endorses the socially shared information-sphere or challenges and changes it.”

So much of what must now occur in classrooms globally tracks back to the people who we have just quoted. Let’s all start the rebellion against the schemers using education and the media to fulfill these plans where “with every word we are literally shaping reality for ourselves and others.”

At least we no longer need to speculate on the organized desire to control our very vocabulary and the concepts and categories we are to use to perceive the world and interpret our experiences.

Or as President Obama phrased it yesterday–‘our obligation to reach a consensus.’

No wonder no one wants Axemaker Minds in the room anymore.

Invisible Designed Neural Coercion: Controlling Guided Missiles and Misguided Men

Since it is summertime and the living is supposed to be easy, I wish I was off on vacation or taking a break from the blog. Instead, I have been dealing with a tsunami of corroborating research materials from all over the world on this neural emphasis in education. When I was writing my book Credentialed to Destroy and documenting what the required classroom practices would be under a Competency-focus, the Common Core, or any performance ‘standard’, I came to accept that what was being mandated would have a clear neural effect. It would alter how students’ brains functioned going forward. More research assembled in various places subsequently on this blog has made it clear that those neural effects are both known and desired. It is easier to rule people with little recognition they are being coerced.

The age demographics of who voted for BREXIT seem to show that as well as a desire to be coddled. As Bandura put it in our last post, the young people in the UK believe in proxy agency and institutions instead of individual achievement. What I have now had to come to grips with though is that the neural manipulation is the purpose of education reforms and standards-based education. It is the goal precisely because it makes a person amenable to manipulation without either recognition, resistance, or protest. Surely I am exaggerating, right? On Friday, the OECD linked to this paper  http://oecdeducationtoday.blogspot.com/2016/06/understanding-how-brain-processes-maths.html on “The Neuroscience of Mathematical Cognition and Learning.” It has pictures and graphs of the targeted areas as it is now clear that education intends to use “the scientific study of the biological substrates underlying cognition, specifically the neural basis of mental processes.”

Oh, c’mon, lighten up with seeing bad motives when all anyone really wants to do is help everyone learn to read fluently and be good at algebra, I can hear a few of my readers whispering. Except that is not the purpose and it is more than what is detailed at length in Credentialed to Destroy. The desire is to get everyone to ‘on-level performance’ and only to there. The hope is simply to get everyone to literacy and numeracy so they can understand and work with print, visual images, and numbers in ‘everyday life’. Prescribe a theory of classroom practices that creates “changes in neural pathways and synapses due to changes in environment and behavior.” Now are we beginning to understand the real implications of the federal ESSA law stipulating that all states must have ‘challenging academic content standards’ where behavior is the means to show ‘achievement’?

Please remember what I explained about Constructivism in Chapters 2 and 3 when you read this passage from that OECD paper’s conclusion (my italics and bolding):

“Research in cognitive neuroscience has allowed the possibility of exploring the neural basis of complex and sophisticated cognitive processes such as numerical cognition. Using an expanding range of tools from single-cell recording to brain stimulation, progress is being made in not only localising brain regions involved in overall functions, but also mapping the complexity of networks engaged in mathematical learning.

Overall, advances in cognitive neuroscience research is beginning to shed light on the ontogeny [physiology or neural formations are synonyms for that $100 word] of mathematical cognition, how cognition and behavioral performance can be modulated based on the knowledge of neuroplasticity, and how such findings can be used to understand the workings of the brain as a whole. Collaborations between scientists and educators and professionals relevant to the field of mathematics learning promises further advances in the understanding of not only mathematical cognition, but also learning in general, with long-term implications to enrich the mental wealth of mankind.”

That blog link also cites a 2007 OECD paper that came to my attention earlier in the week–“Understanding the Brain: The Birth of a Learning Science.” It outlined with numerous graphics precisely what the term Transdisciplinary is to alter and should be viewed through what UNESCO had in mind when it piloted this curriculum shift in Queensland, Australia covered here. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/opting-out-as-the-remedy-may-mean-accidentally-accelerating-nonconsensual-transformations/ Since what is going on in education in the name of brain-based learning was not news to me, I went quickly to the chapter called “The Ethics and Organisation of Educational Neuroscience” with its cover quotes that “Science without conscience is but the ruin of the soul” and HG Wells’ belief that “Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.”

The chapter opens with a Martin Luther King Jr quote that–“Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.” Anyone detecting a theme among these quotes on the need to force internalized shared beliefs and values via education? How about if I further quote the authors acknowledgment that “traditionally, the ethical rules concerning biomedical research on human beings follow the Nuremburg Code of 1949 and the Declaration of Helsinki of 1964.”  See what I mean about purpose and aim? The bi-directional exchange between Trans-disciplinary Research on Learning and Mandated Classroom Practices and Required Assessments of what a Student has Internalized at a Neural Level are not the only reason I linked to that Queensland post.

When I first located that 2007 paper, I followed up on the Bibliography telling me that the US NSF had established Science of Learning Centers in 2003. I pulled up those materials and presentations and recognized numerous relevant professors and institutions. We have the creator of the 1987 HOTS report and the co-director of the New Standards project in the 90s–Lauren Resnick and Roy Pea of Stanford who is also now tied to NSF’s Cyber learning initiative and Charles Fadel’s Center for Curriculum Redesign at Harvard. http://invisibleserfscollar.com/drawing-back-the-standards-curtain-to-discover-the-global-coordination-to-redesign-the-very-nature-of-curriculum/ I knew back then these machinations were global, but not yet that we were looking at education research involving the physiology of real students in actual classrooms to “integrate insights about ‘micro-level’ mechanisms with evidence about aggregate, ‘macro-level’ outcomes that emerge from processes of implementing these mechanisms.”

In less stilted English (which I am capable of when I don’t have to quote for accuracy about indisputable aims), that would translate into monitoring the student’s neural network and which brain regions fire on prescribed tasks and how all that fits their shown behavior and how it changes. Data, data, data. Personal Identifiability is so NOT the needed area of focus in the Era of Sought Educational Neuroscience. I also wanted to go back to Queensland because there is a new Journal called the Science of Learning there and the Director of the SLC program at NSF wrote a letter to the Editor about two weeks ago. http://www.nature.com/articles/npjscilearn20169 See how real time we are here at ISC in tracking what is planned for us?

I started to write that Soo-Siang Lim was with the US NSF or the US SLC Centers with their declared emphasis on the “internal world of mind and brain” since so much of the prescribed emphasis has made it to all US classrooms in the name of the Common Core standards, but yesterday when I put her name into a search engine, I found out NSF has an office in Beijing and does Science of Learning work with jetsetting PIs at the University of Hong Kong. I found out Dr Lim sued for gender discrimination after she did not get tenure for an Anatomy Professorship at Indiana before joining the NSF and beginning her tour of the world. Found videos of interviews in Rio and dubbing into other languages. Perhaps most crucially though I found a January 23-24, 2012 OECD/NSF SLC conference in Paris called “Innovation in Education: Connecting How we Learn to Educational Policy and Practice.” http://www.oecd.org/edu/ceri/49382960.pdf

Notice the presence of Dirk Van Damme. We met him when I wrote about Global Education Futures Forum and Redesigning the Future and the presence of Alexander and Kathia Laszlo as Co-chairs of the Silicon Valley event.  http://edu2035.org/pdf/what_is_GEF.pdf  I could be sarcastic and say that coincidences abound but none of this is coincidental. The neural transformations being sought are the common glue that allows control without effective opposition and every wanna-be planner in the world seems to know it. It’s time we all knew it too. Also remember the quote from the head of the OECD in the Conclusion to my book that all of the OECD’s education policies are to pursue their desired plans of social, political, and economic transformations.

I must admit these last several weeks have produced many “Oh. Wow” moments in my research so I decided to go back to earlier works from decades ago, as well as now, where these aims were both clearly hoped for and sought. Turned out that in 1989 Paul Ehrlich and Robert Ornstein in New World New Mind called for governments to “make new ways of thinking and new ways of handling our problems immediately available to society’s decision-makers. And while changing the form and content of education would be a major step toward conscious evolution..” They go on to state that “there is a new understanding of the human mind, developed from modern brain research and studies of thought processes.” I have never thought it was just coincidental that under President Obama the NSF and all these education initiatives like the League of Innovative Schools report at the White House to a close Ehrlich associate–John Holdren.

Could have the motto: “Finally in a position to make it so.” Let’s come back to the present and Rebecca Costas’ 2010 book The Watchman’s Rattle: Thinking Our Way Out of Extinction. Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson wrote the Foreword and is quoted as saying in 2009 that “the real problem of humanity is the following: We have paleolithic emotions; medieval institutions; and god-like technology.” Sounds just like the quotes prefacing the OECD’s Chapter on the Ethics surrounding Educational Neuroscience and its potential, doesn’t it? It should make us all very nervous that the well-connected Ms Costas thought that the way to avoid civilizational collapse was to reject thought involving “analytical processing [and] deliberate application of strategies and operations to gradually approach a solution.”

My last quote confirms just how often the phrase ‘evidence-based policy’ in education or ‘best practices’ is obscuring a sought neural transformation in the parts of the brain trained to respond and the very nature of the student’s brain itself. Frequently the sales pitch is also put out in the name of Equity as in a 2014 paper called “Neuroscience and Education: Prime Time to Build the Bridge.” It stated that “rising education inequality is among the gravest of the world’s problems.” Now, education inequality is a natural condition of humanity throughout history. Only by interfering with people’s brains and how they process is Equity possible and that very interference is totalitarian, especially when the nature of what is being targeted is the subject of so much organized deceit.

Anyone else chilled to the bones by all this global coordination with known and Proud-of-It Authoritarian or Communist States? As I mentioned to someone yesterday, individual liberty is precious and rare in the annals of history. In the era of unrecognized Educational Neuroscience it is about to become extinct within the current generation.

In the name of obscuring slogans like Choice, Higher Standards, Personalized Learning, and Brain-Based Instruction.

I’d like to Opt Out Please.

ACES: Individual Psychological Change as an Effective but Hidden Route to Ameliorate the Whole Society

Anyone wondering if we are about to play an exciting game of cards here at ISC? ACES is an acronym I just created because the phrase Anticipatory Cognitive Embodied Systems is simply too long to keep typing over and over again. Now every time we see the phrases ‘learner-centric education,’ ‘competency-based,’ ‘personalized learning to meet needs and achieve success and full potential,’ or ‘continuous improvement’ as the world’s largest education accreditor used recently http://www.advanc-ed.org/sites/default/files/ESSA%20Call%20to%20Action%20Whitepaper.pdf , we can accurately recognize that political power–local, state governors and legislatures, Congress and the White Houses led by both parties, and international groups–has decreed that students are simply systems to be measured, monitored and manipulated.

ACES is a defined-term globally and I hope you have as much fun seeing what it pulls up as I did when I first came across it and recognized the implications. I cannot summarize all those papers on this blog although reading many of them did cause me to put this blog into hiatus as I dealt with the implications. Then I pulled a book I have discussing what were known as the Macy Cybernetic Conferences or Feedback Mechanisms and Circular Causal Systems in Biology and the Social Sciences back in the 1940s into the early 50s. That is when what is now known as brain-based learning was first discussed. Here’s a quote for an aim that gets obscured now under all these euphemisms and more:

“Granted that personality and culture could be viewed as a cybernetic system with purposes, feedbacks, and communication links, which if analyzed [think of all that glorious data now being gathered under various mandates] might lend credence to the notion that individual psychological change could be an effective route toward ameliorating the whole society…By individuals changing their ways, the culture is changed.”

This is supposedly the ‘gentle’ approach to social change. Use education as a means to alter “styles of personal relations [Positive School Climate], child rearing [mandatory parent involvement at school], family and sexual patterns [transgender bathroom edicts], and promoting mental health [now usually called student wellbeing]. However gentle, it contained a strong element of the managerial, the manipulative, and the controlling.” Those aims still do and they are now everywhere in 21st century schooling. These aims now go back to a view that “human nature is not fixed but adaptable and changeable. Human nature, i.e., personality structure, is contingent on social patterns prevailing in a culture…and can be altered by changing these cultural patterns.”

When that AdvancED White Paper above writes about “a personalized journey of continuous improvement” where the student can be improved by schools “using evidence to pinpoint what must happen in the areas of need identified through the continuous improvement process,” we are back using education and the social sciences to achieve the aims laid out so long ago at those Macy conferences. When the paper talks about social and emotional factors and the “type of additional measures it will use” so that a “school or district must support the development of its students in ways not identified in test scores, but that directly impact student learning and development,” we are actually back to the goals for the future a Macy participant, Larry Frank, laid out in 1951.

In his book Nature and Human Nature, Frank wrote that that cybernetic notions could create a revolution where:

“Today we can assert with full conviction that culture is a human creation, man’s attempt to order and pattern his personal life and to provide for orderly group or social living…This indicates that culture is not a superhuman system, final and unchanging, beyond man’s reach and control; also it shows that we can and do change culture by modifying what we think and do and feel and what we teach and how we rear our children. Again, this new viewpoint, when once grasped, brings an immense relief and a feeling of freedom we have never had before under the older beliefs in a supernaturally imposed culture, sanctioned by immemorial tradition.”

Now, if we parents and taxpayers were presented with that graphic intention for today’s ‘education reforms’ we could accurately perceive what is intended for us and appropriately rebel in time. So we get all these euphemisms instead that still utterly reek of a cybernetic viewpoint for controlling individuals and planning a society once we recognize the terminology. Here’s AdvancED again on when ‘a system is considered effective’:

* Various processes and components of the system are connected and aligned so that they work together as part of a complex whole in support of a common purpose.

* System improvements are driven by a process of continuous measurement and feedback with a focus on collecting and sharing data that informs and transforms.”

I am going to interrupt my quoting of AdvancED talking about both students and schools in such cybernetic language using systems metaphors to point out what is wrong with so much of the Faux Narrative and outrage over Student Privacy that wants to make the conversation about Personally Identifiable Information. That is a static database emphasis regarding student data that has been openly declared to be interested in constantly changing students from the inside-out to the specifications sought by political power as if they were just a ‘system.’ And the point of concern is only PII and whether it is the feds imposing it as opposed to what is really going on here? Back to quoting again:

“* System actors understand and engage each other and the system successfully.

* System outputs are of the desired quality and produced within the desired time frame.”

The system is the student in many cases and what is being tracked and manipulated is the internalized Simplex I covered in the April 4 post. http://www.inacol.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/CW_ChugachSchoolDistrict_APersonalizedPerformanceBasedSystem.pdf is another recently released paper from another group driving what must go on in the classrooms under the synonym of competency-based education. It is also targeting students as if they were simply ACES–Anticipatory Cognitive Embodied Systems–rearrangeable in a “Continuous Improvement (TQM) Process” just as the Macy Conference social engineers always wanted. This is how we measure, monitor, and manipulate the ACES providing whatever learning experiences data shows to be needed until political power and its Business Cronies have the malleable adult they want “upon exiting the education system in 2025.”

I have more recent declarations by connected groups with the power to mandate what must occur in classrooms that fits with what was laid out by those Macy Conferences, but I want us to go back to a 1988 conference that supplements what is laid out in my book Credentialed to Destroy and that fits with both the Macy Conferences and what we are seeing now. Locating it tumbled out of my research on ACES as I played Tiptoe Through the Footnotes once again. In May 1987 Ohio State hosted a conference called “the Educated Citizen and the University of the Future.” It led to the 1989 publication of a book I found on ERIC (indicating current fedED interest) called “Rethinking Patterns of Knowledge,” edited by Richard Bjornson and Marilyn Waldman. Its Introduction complained first about the following:

“The dominant patterns of knowledge in the present educational and social climate are based on linear thinking, rationalistic analysis, and the quest for generalizable simplicity. Under such circumstances, individual success generally results from the competency with which these patterns of knowledge are mastered and then utilized to bring about expected or predictable outcomes.”

Now not only is such individual success not Equitable, but that individual will be using what I am going to call his or her Do-It-Yourself internalized Simplex to decide what to do and how to do it. To perceive what it notices and what guides and motivates its actions and that is thoroughly unacceptable. Saying that forthrightly in the way that Larry Frank did above so long ago might doom all these plans to finally succeed at using education for brain-based social engineering so we get the euphemisms AdvancED and iNacol used or this from 1989 that resonates today in the required ‘systems thinking’ in the Common Core C3 Social Studies Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, and the WIOA economic planning legislation I have covered.

“Alternative views of reality, whether they originate in our culture or outside of it, tend to be resisted or rejected out of hand. Each contributor to the volume challenges the unquestioning acceptance of these patterns and suggests that our creativity, our capacity to understand complex phenomena, and even the future wellbeing of our society depend on our willingness to embrace new patterns of knowledge and not allow ourselves to be defined solely in terms of what has been taught in the past.”

A few pages later and consistent with my insistence that it is that internalized Simplex and a desire for individual psychological change to quietly engineer a planned Upravleniye (March 22 post) society that is and has been for decades the real driver of all these reforms, the editors complain that we need to Rethink Patterns of Knowledge in preschool and K-12 because most college students “have already internalized their guiding beliefs and assumptions by the time they enter college.” Try not to faint in horror out there upon reading that statement.

So if the purpose of education is now to create minds amenable to political coercion without complaint or even noticing and to lock that in invisibly at a neural level, is there a level of government in a free society where such aims can be regarded as lawful and permissible?

Should the accreditors be able to require it working with school boards and their lawyers? Legislatures? Trade groups like the Chamber of Commerce? Is this violation really abhorrent if imposed by the feds but A-OK at a local or state level?

See why it is absolutely necessary to confront what is really being targeted for change and why?

 

 

Shift Facts into Values and Change Values into Facts So That a New Consciousness will Emerge

Since we all just adore an explicit declaration of intent, how’s this for a doozy? “For purposes of organizing [a modern participatory democracy grounded in the common good] it is not important whether there is an objective or subjective reality to this belief since the belief is the basis upon which people act.” That statement certainly gives a reason for all the current focus on skill development for a variety of offered reasons. I have warned that most of the planned assessments should not be described as tests so maybe this description of what is sought will help–“performance assessments are those in which the ‘answer’ is the behavior itself.” Training to act as desired also fits with another quote that gives us the rationale for all these Enduring Understandings, Core Concepts and Disciplinary Ideas we keep encountering as the Knowledge component to go along with all those Skills:

“It is crucial, however, to analyze for people what goes on in areas where they do not have direct experience. Once such analysis comes within their grasp, they will come to see that they can change social reality.”

That would be the same social reality that may not actually exist in the form believed, or be a result of the causes believed, but students, and the adults they will become, will be trained to act anyway. Let’s give one more quote that gives a reason for all the stress on activities and Project-Based Learning and Whole Child SEL Initiatives: “Obviously, one’s capacity to care must be integrated with rationality just because common good requires the reattachment of ‘head to heart’ in our public activities.” To the discussion in my book of everything that started in earnest in the mid-80s with the goal of transforming the political, economic, and social systems of the West, especially in the US, Australia, Canada, and the UK, we need to add another book from 1986–The Common Good: Its Politics, Policies and Philosophy by Marcus Raskin put out by the Institute for Policy Studies (Robert Chandler’s 2008 book Shadow World gives the background on IPS and Raskin as part of the global New Left).

The quote in the title comes from the IPS book as well although I did not know IPS was behind that book when I ordered it. I just recognized the vision desired from the 2001 Learning Society paper and the assumptions being used by that Frameworks Institute from the last post. http://www.ssireview.org/images/articles/2011_WI_Feature_Kania.pdf links to a “Collective Impact” essay hyping Strive in Cincinnati (and other listed cities as well like Houston, Texas and Portland, Oregon) “as an example of collective impact, the commitment of a group of important actors from different sectors to a common agenda for solving a specific social problem.” On the second page is a picture of people bringing together pieces from a jigsaw puzzle so that there can be a collective organized effort around meeting people’s needs without having to confess the total agenda.

This is a long quote but important to appreciating no one is going to run up the flagpole a banner stating: “Our new education agenda is actually tied to these radical transformation descriptions where people actually do mention ‘Marxist thought’ without even a hiccup or a cleared throat.” It’s up to us to find those confessions and put the pieces together:

“complex problems can be solved only by cross-sector coalitions that engage those outside the nonprofit sector…Adaptive problems, by contrast, are complex, the answer is not known, and even if it were, no single entity has the resources or authority to bring about the needed change. Reforming public education, restoring wetland environments, and improving community health are all adaptive problems. In these cases, reaching an effective solution requires learning by the stakeholders involved in the problem, who must then change their own behavior in order to create a solution.”

Good thing the students will have practiced doing that on all those performance assessments and a new definition of learning that now means changes in values, attitudes, beliefs, or behaviors. It does not mean having a solid base of accurate factual knowledge lest we refuse to defer to the Experts or the ‘important actors’ of those coalitions. Or even worse, develop an innovative product that displaces an established business with a superior idea. Think of how handy practice in a Discourse classroom at creating shared beliefs as the 21st century skill of Communication will be in a world where: “collective impact requires all participants to have a shared vision for change, one that includes a common understanding of the problem and a joint approach to solving it through agreed upon actions.”

Did any of us get an invite to go to Dallas in January 2015 to be part of the 75 Metro Area Convening put on by the Lumina Foundation to move forward with these transformations with no need to ask the parents or taxpayers? That’s where I found that Stanford Social Innovation paper cited. It covers our communities, our schools, and our children, but no one is telling us about it openly or giving us a piece of the puzzle to start fitting together. Me? At this point I just gate crash, download the issued reports and presentations, and then notice that it is essentially Raskin’s, Marx’s, and the Learning Society vision all being imposed on us quietly. Negotiated at ‘convenings’ we pay for, but don’t get invited to.

This recent report is from another related ‘convening’–this time in May 2014–http://www.competencyworks.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/CompetencyWorks-Maximizing-Competency-Education-and-Blended-Learning.pdf . That’s a long title so they left off the very end that is designed to gain both automatic implementation and little objective scrutiny–“Insights from Experts.” Should we kneel or curtsey then? And if the tenets in that paper and all the emphasis on Equity mean that only a Marxian or IPS/Raskin vision of education to gain the necessary consciousness for economic democracy to work, are we still obligated to defer? Does an education, urban planning, sociology, or public policy degree come now with a license to lie to the public while everything they value and that works gets jettisoned if a Stakeholder Engagement Process decides to put a theory into practice to see what happens?

http://results4america.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/2015-3-18-Moneyball-for-Education-Report.pdf is yet another attempt to put Theory into Practice sold as “informed by thinking from a select group of seasoned experts from the left and right who have much experience with federal education policy.” Given the tragic history of what those federal policies have done to schools and students, we would prefer that be a disqualifier. Has anyone else noticed that expertise in general is constantly dismissed in all these visions of education in the future? Meantime we are supposed to defer to every social science graduate degree as the only reverenced expertise. Again, that’s the way to get Theory into Practice and false beliefs and new values in place to guide future behavior.

Anyone else ever heard of Dane Linn? Now there’s an expert. He was at the NGA when it co-sponsored Common Core. Then he moved on to the College Board to help David Coleman with his current platform for well-funded mischief, before joining the Business Roundtable. http://www.careertechnj.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Georgetown.BR_.CB-CTE-report-11.2013.pdf is called “The Promise of High-Quality Career and Technical Education:Improving Outcomes for Students, Firms, and the Economy.” It forces the kind of “contextualized learning, in which even academic material is presented in the context of projects or workplaces” that Uncle Karl and his 20th Century social reconstruction supporters like Robert Beck (Chapter 4 of my book) have always dreamed of. This is to be for ALL students, including the most academically gifted, because, just as Beck worried about, CTE must no longer be stigmatized.

That paper advocates “states and local districts can adopt/adapt/develop standards and curricula in collaboration with local businesses. Students must demonstrate competency in these skills.” What skills? Oh, the ones laid out in that Competency Works paper that just came out that provides “Insights from Experts” without really specifying which theories those experts’ opinions are really grounded in. Anybody else finding all the stress on needed skills development as awfully useful as we switch to a vision of education that is no longer really about accurate facts in someone’s personal, private possession? When the ‘answer’ is desired behavior, hyping Skills Development to be globally competitive as the rationale is quite the invisibility cloak.

One of the nice things about being where I am in my research on what is really going on is being able to recognize when we are dealing with pieces of a common puzzle created to be function together. We have every right to examine them as the consolidated whole they are intended to become, even if no one invites us to these ‘convenings’. Sometimes these reports and sources are not created to be pieced together though. Sometimes the linkage is the common destination that allows traveling on unconnected tracks. That’s why I mentioned that Robert Beck called himself a social reconstructionist as he pushed the federally funded polytech vision that also fits with this current CTE vision back in the late 1980s. Beck’s work also fits with Anthony Carnevale’s Workplace Basics vision that we found so troubling in this post  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/ballad-of-the-long-sought-shift-to-being-educable-not-educated-adaptation-via-dissolving-the-logical-mind/

Fascinating, huh, since the Georgetown Center on Poverty, Inequality, and Public Policy issued that CTE report in conjunction with the College Board and the Business Roundtable. Do you know who else calls himself and his vision a social reconstruction philosophy? Andrew Raskin in The Common Good.

This story gets much easier to track when we look for common destinations and then Backward Map to the pathways being used to get there. The blueprint is also discernable when the jigsaw pieces are so clearly designed to fit together.

Combine both and the vision and its constancy through the decades begins to feel like a supernova, blinding in its intensity.

The Frameworks Institute is not the only one who gets to create analogies and metaphors to guide analysis.

Fostering Faithful Followers for Anticipatory Democracy Created by Reinventing Governments

Anticipatory democracy may sound like a mouthful, but it’s really just a nerdy term policymakers created to justify governments at all levels becoming the decision-makers. We see it in the Inclusive Prosperity, America Next, and Dignity for All by 2030 vision from the previous two posts. Goals for our collective future are set out at forums we are not invited to and then officials decide how to get there from the present. Do you know what “Anticipatory Democracy and Aspirational Futures” http://www.jfs.tku.edu.tw/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/152-S06.pdf  always needs? It needs to develop a shared vision for the future across a broad spectrum of society that justifies governments as decision-makers. How can it do that? Well, it might want to seize control over the Internet now, but even before there was an ICT industry, every radical with transformational plans knew to look to education.

On February 17, 2015 the well-connected KnowledgeWorks put out its vision for the ESEA Rewrite wanting it to be grounded in Competency, including social and emotional ones, and for the federal, state, and local levels to operate together as a single system. http://knowledgeworks.org/sites/default/files/policy-political-landscape-k12-competency-education.PDF Sounds like polyphonic, progressive federalism to me as we covered in a previous post. Now I am assuming knowledge of Competency as laid out in Chapter 4 of my book Credentialed to Destroy and how it fits with the real Common Core implementation and learning progressions. What I want to do here is overlay the pertinent visions we are dealing with where people have confessed the need for New Mindsets, perceptions, and personality traits that will fit with their new visions of what governments at all levels are to be doing in the developed world.

Nobody was ever going to put us on notice or ask our permission. This was to be a fait accompli and somehow tenacious me has stumbled across it all with my constant listening and reading and musing over “why are they saying that? It’s not how the world has ever worked. What’s going on?” Now my reaction to the manipulative deceit of the language in that America Next report sent me scurrying back to a cited book from 1992 called Reinventing Government: How the Entrepreneurial Spirit is Transforming the Public Sector . It made me see what was going on in the name of Outcomes-based education and School to Work in the 90s in a whole new light. Remember how I have been bothered by the sudden ubiquity of all the references now to ‘Governance’ and our being governed? Read this (my bolding throughout this post):

“Governance is the process by which we collectively solve our problems and meet our society’s needs. [In other words it’s a euphemism for what Marx called the purpose of his Human Development Society]. Government is the instrument we use. The instrument is outdated, and the process of reinvention has begun. We do not need another New Deal, nor another Reagan Revolution. We need an American perestroika.”

Interesting choice of language in 1992. Since the Reinventing book also cites Harlan Cleveland multiple times, let’s overlay this post into what my book laid out on what seems to really been going on in the 80s and 90s and who was really to undergo the wholesale restructuring. In this new vision the “job of government is to steer, not to row the boat.” Well, that grabbed my attention given the number of times I have encountered the idea that Competency-based education is creating a desired keel at the useful level of the student’s mind and personality. This is the fundamental vision of what the 1992 book called “third-party government” where governments look to third parties to carry out the public objectives they have set. So please do not disingenuously describe it as free enterprise or limited government or conservative policymaking.

A confessed goal of steering society and “using public leverage to shape private decisions to achieve collective goals” is using sovereign power for personal manipulation and control over individuals. Pure and simple. This Entrepreneurial (R)evolution needs a Crisis, which is basically what a hyped ‘skills gap’ and high unemployment provides. It needs Trust in Government, which requires an absence of factual knowledge about the past. It needs Shared Vision and Goals, which is precisely where education again comes in. Where better to go about sculpting “the key element is a collective vision of a city or state’s future–a sense of where it’s headed.” That was John Parr, executive director of the National Civic League, speaking in the book. Parr went on to say: “If you haven’t put that [vision] together, it’s very difficult to make these innovative approaches work, because people become so confused about the role of government. They become very confused about why government is changing.”

If that quote is not hitting anyone else like a ton of bricks given all the hype on a new paradigm for education, how about the open declaration that the cultivated shared vision about the new role of governments “simply assures that enough of the community shares the leaders’ vision to overcome the opposition.” No wonder we keep hearing all those mentions of democracy. Has there ever been a more meaningful confession of majority rules? Now the Reinventing Government book left me breathless because it fit the facts I have noticed or laid out in my book so well going back to the 60s. It said the original version of this reprivitization/steering vision though had come from Peter Drucker and cited a 1968 book The Age of Discontinuity.

Now the 1992 book did own up to needing to change the “mental image of government” each of us has, but Drucker thankfully set out a graphic description of the kind of education for ALL students that would be necessary to fit his vision that “after 250 years, political theory and social theory” would once again join together. If that sounds like the historic concept of the individual is about to go poof, Drucker did call for a “new individualism” and a “new concept of freedom.” To clarify “the purpose of government is to make fundamental decisions and to make them effectively.” Next time you hear that “citizenship dispositions” is a stated purpose of Competency education and the Common Core, remember that Drucker wrote that “In a free society, the citizen takes responsibility, above all, for his society and its institutions.”

Drucker’s vision called for education and learning grounded in skills that would be the “cornerstone of tomorrow’s education for everybody.” This would not be an academic education grounded in subject content and he wanted the focus to be on nonverbal experience and performance. Like performance standards and assessments and learning experiences? What is now being described as Competency education suitable for the workforce or college open to all sounds like what Drucker called in 1968 his “education of technologists.” Education suitable for an equitable society where governments now do the steering and see that all people’s needs are met.

Drucker’s “education of technologists” had three essential components. Now when Drucker says “apply knowledge to work” or “using theory” he does not mean book knowledge. He means what we are now encountering as Enduring Understandings, core disciplinary ideas, cross-cutting issues, and other terms for the supplied Big Ideas and ‘lenses’ to be used to guide our interpretation of the world. Drucker wanted “an infinite number of people capable of using theory as the basis of skill for practical application in work.” What today we would call Project-based Learning and Competency-based education. If my interpretation of the likely end result of Fostering Faithful Followers seems a bit too cynical it’s because we have not yet covered the other two essential elements. “Equally important is the training and formation of perception and emotion in school.”

In the next post I want to talk about how the push to make Equity an essential obligation of the federal government makes this steering vision and collectivism necessary. We need to challenge that fundamental false premise before all that is left is a discussion over means. Meanwhile, I want to end with a quote that fits the current, actual K-12 implementation as well as where something in higher ed called the ETS Proficiency Profile is taking us. Remember what I always say about the purpose of policies and practices attaching to them even if the school and classroom users remain unaware. Drucker and the Reinventing Government authors were very graphic. Here goes:

“Perception and emotion are trained, developed, and disciplined only in the experience of performance, that is, only under the challenge of objective standards that exist no matter what the individual’s ability, inclinations, or proficiency.”

Those are standards in the sense of goals for everyone. That is a vision that allows for Student Success for ALL. It fulfills the current attempt to create a federal civil rights obligation grounded in quality education that provides Equity and Excellence.

And at its fundamental foundation it uses governments in the Developed World to steer economies and society to finally fulfill what Uncle Karl called his Human Development Society.

One last revelation from Reinventing Government in 1992–A Global Revolution–that fits with the worldwide push towards Competency.

“If the rise of entrepreneurial government is an inevitable shift rather than a temporary fad, as we argue, one would expect it in other nations as well. And to a startling degree, it has. A similar process of transformation is under way throughout the developed world.”

Using similar mechanisms for comparable reasons.

 

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 http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/blending-sustainability-and-education-to-gain-arational-nonlinear-minds-and-new-behaviors/ , 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. http://www.kqed.org/assets/pdf/news/MindShift-GuidetoDigitalGamesandLearning.pdf

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. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/when-gaming-intends-to-shape-and-distort-our-perceptions-of-everything-around-us-viva-la-revolution/

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.

Locking in Marx’s Dream: Psychophysiological Means Precisely What We Fear as the Real Goal of Education

I always feel odd writing down that infamous name, but as I learned when I was researching my book, Uncle Karl is never very far away from the theories behind the actual classroom implementation. Sometimes the link is too direct and too huge in its implications for me to use a cute euphemism either. Especially when Marx is cited directly as the support that leads to all the current hyping of Neuroscience and Brain-based instruction. How direct? Well, Etienne Wenger from our last post wrote a book Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning, and Identity that I found deeply troubling. Diving into the relevant footnotes pulled up a book I had never heard of that turned out to be $800 used on Amazon when I looked.

Not wanting to eat PB& J sandwiches for the next 6 months to secure a copy of The Concept of Activity in Soviet Psychology, I decided to go internet surfing to see what cited Soviet psychologist AN Leontiev actually wrote about “The problem of activity in psychology.” In case you haven’t noticed, the requirement of active learning and a shift away from print, lectures, and textbooks is what I would call omnipresent in the real Common Core implementation. Knowing how crucial learning tasks are I thought I would gain some more useful insights. What I was not anticipating was for Leontiev to lay out aims and practices I recognized from all my research and then cite repeatedly to pages from Marx and Engels or from some of Marx’s other works.

Suddenly euphemisms won’t do, not with stated aims like using education and carefully crafted classroom or digital virtual activities to literally “lead to a reconstruction of the ensemble of brain psychophysiological functions.” If the aim becomes analyzing which kinds of student activities produce what types of physical changes in their brains, it sure would explain all the interest now in functional MRI, adaptive software, and longitudinal data. When I read those words and others being attributed by Leontiev to what Marx and Engels really desired that are as provocative as stating:

“This convenient formula [of separating psychology and physiology] leads into a greater sin, the sin of isolating the psyche from the work of the brain”

Waiting until the next book could be published simply will not do. Just last week, independent of this research, someone asked me if I was familiar with the White House’s new Fattah Neuoroscience Initiative. The answer was no, but it did not take much insight to guess that it would be linked to John Holdren, which turned out to be quite correct. http://docs.house.gov/meetings/AP/AP19/20140227/101775/HHRG-113-AP19-Wstate-HoldrenJ-20140227.PDF is some recent testimony from him on all that federal activity involving the physical structure of the human brain. Notice though that Holdren leaves out that Digital Promise and the League of Innovative Schools also report to him and they happen to be carrying out precisely the kind of education activity that Leontiev wrote about.

Holdren also leaves out his long time ties to Paul Ehrlich and his stated desire for Newmindedness no longer grounded in a logical, rational mind. Just think of the implications of all this Neuroscience and Grit, Perseverence research for Ehrlich’s current global research project–MAHB–the Millennium Assessment of Human Behavior. Now that I have reminded everyone of the real current links to where K-12 in the US and globally is going, let me add one more thing. I found this graphic Leontiev book on servers at the Laboratory for Comparative Human Cognition at UC-San Diego. The place where Michael Cole and Yrjo Engestrom [see tags] have created the global base for Cultural Historical Activity Theory in the years since the Berlin Wall fell.

Happy 25th anniversary for that Happy Event by the way. Let’s commemorate that Death of Tyranny by continuing to expose that so much of the ideology we thought we were leaving behind in 1989 came on into the West invisibly through a new kind of psychology and a new vision for K-12 education. To bury such destructive required collectivism once and for all we have to know it is there. If you have not yet read my book Credentialed to Destroy: How and Why Education Became a Weapon, get it.

The findings on this blog are not a substitute for it. They are the icing, cherries, and birthday candles. It simply keeps getting more pertinent with time. Given Leontiev’s disclosures though, we simply cannot escape the fact that everything now envisioned for the K-12 classroom globally in the 21st century is based on  a decision “at the beginning of the 1920s” in the Soviet Union to “consciously structure psychology on the basis of Marxism.”

Specific cites and everything. That psychology is sensory in its base, not mental as we have historically assumed, which really does explain all the links in the previous post. It is a view of psychology and education that “in the modern world psychology fulfills an ideological function.” Yes, which is why Leontiev keeps mentioning its use to create a consciousness in people suitable for a “socialistic, communistic society.” All three words, just like that. Apparently all our encounters with communitarianism and the references to meeting needs are part of this vision linked now directly to Uncle Karl. There’s that softening euphemism again. I guess I just cannot quite adjust to open proclamations of intent of the sort Leontiev uses:

“It must not be said that psychology has exhausted the treasure chest of Marxist-Leninist ideas. For this reason we turn again and again to the works of Karl Marx, which resolve even the most profound and complex theoretical problems of psychological science.”

What do we do when the actual and only support for what a charter or Principal or District Office or foundation grant are mandating for a K-12 classroom turns out to be Karl Marx’s social theories for how to gain the kind of brain and personality that would fit his vision for the future? Here again is what Leontiev wrote, the old view of psychology and education:

“isolated cognition from sensory activity, from the living practical ties of man with the world that surrounded him…Introducing the concept of activity into the theory of cognition, Marx gave it a strictly materialistic sense: For Marx, activity in its primary and basic form was sensory, practical activity in which people enter into a practical contact with objects of the surrounding world, test their resistance, and act on them, acknowledging their objective properties.”

What happens when doing all that as a physical, sensory activity involving group participation becomes the very assessment of student ‘achievement’ or Growth?

What happens when the purpose of digital learning is to access a student’s internal “picture of the world” so that learning tasks, virtual reality gaming, and adaptive software can provide virtual and physical experiences to alter that picture in desired ways? Ways that are chosen by others for their intended effects on the student at a physical level.

What happens when, having cited to Marx and Engels on the effect of vocabulary and words generally on consciousness and perception, educators then do everything they can to limit vocabulary, manipulate the words and concepts that are supplied, and minimize the historic role of print on the mind?

What if K-12 education seeks to circumscribe human thought in the 21st century so that it is “nothing else but a derivative of practical activity”? With the stated goal being a “true solution to this problem of the origin and essence of human thought.” And why is human thought problematic?

Because independent rational human thought with access to a store of facts does not submit to Overlordship easily. All these required practices hiding now as pedagogy and Effective Teaching are all actually about subjugation of the mind.

And personality too. Leontiev’s Chapter 5 has with a lead-in header of “Personality as a Subject of Psychological Investigation.” How’s that for aspirational? Do free societies do that nonconsensually using deceit? That analysis, by the way, has to get to the relationship of “motives and needs” just like innovative education seeks to do.

Let’s end with an aspiration that does explain all the intended use of social and emotional learning and an emphasis on the Whole Child. It fits with all the current UN hype of the post-2015 Sustainable World that will meet the needs of all. It fits with the goals we have encountered that we become a “Spirit Society”. This is how Leontiev ended his vision of a new kind of education arising from a scientific, materialistic psychology grounded, he declared, in Marxism:

“Lost from view here is the fact that it is necessary also to go through a transformation of material consumption, that the possibility for everyone to satisfy these needs does away with the intrinsic value of things that satisfy them and eliminates that unnatural function that they fulfill in private ownership society…”

Lost no more and just in time. Historian Richard Pipes in the book mentioned in the two previous posts pointed out that even animals show repeatedly that acquisitivesness is innate. Trying to dislodge what is innate via K-12 Whole Child education premised on practical activity and social participation is simply not going to end well.

Now would be a great time to start recognizing the ancestry of all these required changes in the nature of education.

No more euphemisms. Not with the stakes this high or the aims so personally intrusive.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It is So. Much. More.

 

Ballad of the Long Sought Shift to Being Educable, Not Educated: Adaptation Via Dissolving the Logical Mind

Do you ever wonder where these titles come from? The second part comes from descriptions in the 2004 book The Great Adventure: Toward a Fully Human Theory of Evolution that I will end this post with. First it described eliminating the “bricks and mortar” of the tradition-oriented logical mind. Later, the same book, having laid out its plans on using K-12 education to get a more “flexible,” intuitive, mind, then proceeded to describe how to lock those changes firmly and invisibly in place. Long term readers can probably guess that those changes will be hidden in the real definitions of Student ‘Growth’ and ‘achievement’ and whether the student is showing progress to being Workplace or College and Career Ready. The techniques used to dissolve that logical mind and practice new behaviors come in using strategies created in the classroom via activities billed to parents as ‘rigorous’ and involving ‘Higher Order Thinking Skills.”

It all links together. Let’s go back to the 1960s first to a professor, Philip H. Coombs, who also served in the Kennedy administration before bolting for Paris to help UNESCO (the UN entity created in 1948 for the express purpose of using education globally to gradual shift culture away from the West’s historic focus on the individual as my book explains) set up its International Institute for Educational Planning. In 1967 President Johnson, a former elementary teacher with a life-long reverence for John Dewey (the reason that matters is also in the book), initiated an International Conference on the World Crisis in Education in Williamsburg, Virginia. The resulting book The World Educational Crisis pointed out that K-12 needed to “expand and democratize itself and that keeping “the old logistics, curriculum, and hallowed monolithic standards” would be:

“as if a specialized gift shop for the well-to-do was summoned to convert itself into a massive department store for consumers of every description, including a thrift basement for those in straitened circumstances.”

Now, of course, all students are being asked to accept to offerings of the thrift basement. Elaborate name changes and unknown initiatives as we saw in the last post simply obscure the dramatic shift. Interestingly, it all still fits with what LBJ, Coombs, and UNESCO all wanted back in 1968 (italics in original text; bolding from me):

“Educational systems must undergo a shift of emphasis. The new stress must be not so much on producing an educated person as on producing an educable person who can learn and adapt himself efficiently all through his life to an environment that is ceaselessly changing.”

That’s the new goal of K-12 education in the West, which is why the academic results have been deteriorating ever since. Those insiders who know the real reason cannot remain empowered to bring about the change desired via the schools if they admit to what is going on. People like me now, who know and can prove the reality, always run up against parents who cannot bear to know. The problem is these sought changes are psychological and the Common Core in the US and 21st century skills everywhere mask that reality.

Continued ignorance means that techniques that really are grounded in acknowledged brainwashing techniques are being imposed on teachers and students in our classrooms. Let’s continue our journey to examine how crucial this ability to have an adaptable mind and personality is to those who really want wholesale political, social, and economic change. Always seeking ambitious administrators willing to impose this on classrooms.

Around 1986, just after the 1985 agreement on education among the US, USSR, and the Carnegie Corporation (the same one Richard Riley is now a Vice Chair of that is now pushing Competency-Based Next Generation Learning to guide the real global shift) was signed (www.americandeception.com is a good source for the actual document), a study began under the banner of the US Department of Labor. It produced in 1990 a series of Workplace Basics, Training for a Changing Workforce, manuals that provide the actual Blueprint still being followed in today’s K-12 education reforms.  The longest and most graphic of the books on The Essential Skills Employers Want lays out the need for students and employees to “transcend logical and sequential thinking and make the leap to innovation.”

Where have we heard that hostility to the Axemaker Mind before? Paul Ehrlich’s 1989 pitch for Newmindedness. What a timely coincidence. Now tell me if this quote from the 1990 manual does not sound like today’s sales pitch for a Growth Mindset, instead of a Fixed Mindset? “Each adult brings a different personal data base of experience and learning to the workplace. This base cannot remain static because our lives are a caldron of experiments responding to the need to adapt to changing circumstances.” Students in school are to be targeted for change for the same reason. Analytical, rule-based thinking like traditional algebra, geometry proofs, or grammar all impede this desired adaptability. It is fascinating to me that the professor, Lauren Resnick, who created the terms ‘rigor’ and Higher Order Thinking Skills back in the 80s is quoted by name in the book making this point:

“School should focus its efforts on preparing people to be good adaptive learners, so they can perform effectively [aka be competent or proficient] when situations are unpredictable and task demands change.”

The now-ubiquitous goal that Students should Learn How to Learn is also in the 1990 manual of new Workplace Basics. It goes back to citing notorious Humanist psychologist Carl Rogers and his 1969 book Freedom to Learn to illustrate the concept of Learning to Learn: “The only man who is educated is the man who has learned how to learn…how to adapt and change.”

I had a reader recently who also teaches ask me how the omnipresent concept of ‘problem-solving’ under the Common Core differed from the classic (if painful) classic math word problems. Let’s use the still relevant definition from the 1990 manual: “Problem solving is the process of bridging a perceived gap between what is and what ought to be.” A very useful skill indeed along with adaptability if fundamental transformations are the real goal and education and people have become mere conduits or tools to effect the sought changes. Here’s another useful tool: the POWER Model of Problem Solving.

Project a vision of how the situation should be different

Observe the discrepancy between what exists and what should be

Work out, after considering choices, an action plan and implement it

Evaluate/monitor progress and achievement

Revise plans as indicated by evaluation findings

As someone who has read many of the blueprints involved over the decades with these sought transformations, that POWER model is precisely what Big Data and supercomputers and governments at all levels think is the new way to plan societies and economies. Education at all levels simply needs to produce the people with mindsets and worldviews to either tolerate the wholesale shifts or to embrace them. Both involve dissolving the logical mind of the Enlightenment and believe me, the advocates just keep saying that.

Interestingly too, here is the new definition of leadership. Notice how useful this will be to bringing about wholesale change, especially when it becomes the entire basis for graduate degrees, as in education or public policy doctorates.

“The most successful leader of all is one who sees another picture not yet actualized. He sees the things which belong in his present picture but which are not yet there.”

Now imagine if a willingness to ‘problem solve’ using the POWER Model or be a leader as described above gets you lucrative jobs or grants from massively rich charitable foundations or public sector jobs where promotions are tied to how aggressively you push this transformational vision to make students ‘adaptable’ and ‘trainable.’ You would get precisely what is going on now as this Next Generation Learning graphic across all sectors and institutions from Ford makes clear.   https://fordngl.com/sites/fordpas.org/files/ford_ngl_three_strands_graphic_0.pdf

On July 17 and 19, 2000 there was a meeting of so many of the long time advocates for transformation social and political change using education in Toronto, Canada. They laid out their plans to use a “teacher-student-driven, globally active alliance between evolutionary systems science and humanistic, transpersonal, and positive psychology to kick-start what is needed.”

What was needed, of course, is that very same adaptability and malleable mind and personality we just keep encountering as the new goal of education. To be educable, not educated. Learning how to Learn and Growth sound so much better than the real goals of a “radical expansion of brain, mind, and consciousness” that will allow step-by-step achievement of “personal, cultural, social, political, economic, educational, and technological evolution.” The term revolution probably better describes what is sought, but since these fundamental changes are all supposed to be bloodless, evolution sounds better. Plus it fits the invisible shifts involved over time until the dramatic changes over time can be locked into place.

How? Through a moral and spiritual transformation in what enough people to be the majority electorate value and believe about how the world works, what they are owed by others, and what the world should be.

David Loye in that The Great Adventure book laid out “how to actually build it.” Next time we will trace that blueprint against the real implementation. It started last week where I live.

Unless you want the next generation to remain psychological adaptation guinea pigs, this is something all parents and taxpayers need to know. This is no time for rose-colored glasses.

Echoes from the Past: Preparing the Ground for Social Engineers Requires Malleable Human Material

The rather graphic quote in the title of the last post is so useful because it was so upfront about the intention to condition students via education to act in disregard of their natural instincts. Today’s title is from the lead-in to a book chapter called “Education in the Service of Conditioning” from a 1971 book called The New Totalitarians by UK writer Roland Huntford. It is a book specifically on Sweden and how Huntford saw Sweden as embodying the vision laid out by Aldous Huxley in his classic book Brave New World. A place where politicians and bureaucrats used their power over media and education to “induce the requisite change in mentality, so that physical compulsion is superfluous.”

It has always bothered me how often education in Sweden comes up in the story of Radical Ed Reform in other countries. For example, it was where Benjamin Bloom and UNESCO chose to put the summer institutes that started in 1971 to shift countries all over the world towards outcomes-based education. When I researched the creation of the PISA assessment by the OECD in the 90s and what Competency really means as I wrote my book, I learned the OECD already regarded Sweden as being where it wanted PISA to drive other countries towards. When I tracked Paul Ehrlich’s work in education it pushed me towards the Scandinavian model and the UN’s World Happiness Report created in 2012 has the same effect. Recently there was a mention of new charter schools in NYC grounded specifically in the Swedish model. Can you say omnipresent, given what is in fact a small country?

Huntford laid out the reasons he said “of all people it is the Swedes who have come closest to the state of affairs” described by Huxley in the Foreword of his book of the “really efficient totalitarian state would be the one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude.” We are not there yet in the West, but what I have read and listened to make it quite clear we are dealing with a conscious effort to create an electoral majority of people who do feel that way so they can then bind everyone else to the declared consensus.

To appreciate why we are dealing with what is coming in the US and elsewhere via assessments and curriculum and altered instructional practices and massive amounts of intrusive data on unconscious beliefs, feelings, attitudes, and values, let’s go back to Sweden to find out what made it such a fertile ground for education and societal change research. As Huntford pointed out Sweden was the ideal place to study what it takes to make a person servile since “the Swede has never emerged from behind the veil of the group; he is conscious of himself only through some general category, as a member of a people, a clan or a party.” As we saw in the last post, when race and ethnicity and social justice become must provide ‘lenses’ to bring into a Common Core math classroom, we are being compelled to take on the perspective of the aggrieved group, and not the individual, as well.

This is how Huntford began the chapter on education. It remains dangerously pertinent to what we are dealing with today. Since we have trouble getting officials to be honest with us on their true intentions, we will need to rely on the confessions Huntford obtained so long ago. In a 2014 world where a belief in the Common Good and an obligation for the well-being of others is to be nursed via the classroom, let’s go back to a place where the collective mentality is so strong that there were no words in the Swedish language for the concept of the individual without derogatory overtones. There also were not any words for the collective that do not have positive overtones, as in glorifying it. Sweden by 1971 was a place where Swedes were raised to have a “feeling that solidarity is a cardinal virtue.” It was a place where “Swedes are afraid of owning up to an opinion against the consensus” with a widely-held nurtured belief that it is proper to “repress the individual in order to preserve the consensus.”

As the then Swedish Prime Minister (who had once been Minister of Ed), Olof Palme stated in an address to schoolchildren: “You don’t go to school to achieve anything personally, but to learn to function as members of a group.” What Huntford described here as the need of Swedish planners now seems to be the guiding desire behind the US Common Core and what is called Competency and 21st Century Skills everywhere else. Think of it as the new mantra for the wanna-be nomenklatura all over the world:

“For their intended society, the Swedish planners require a type of person that, thinking collectively, and suppressing his individuality in favour of the group, is technologically orientated, and socially well adjusted. To this end, the educational system was profoundly altered during the 1950s and 1960s. From imparting knowledge, its aim was changed to that of guiding social behaviour.” Remarkably reminiscent then of what we are seeing as the actual implementation and the focus on social and emotional learning and assessing non-cognitive factors in each student. So let’s go back to the social engineering purposes repeatedly stated by the Swedes for comparable ed reforms.

Teaching practices and textbooks (and for us now obtained via the inherent control possible with digital learning) were all tightly controlled by State officials as a “means of controlling what was put into the minds of the population–and what was kept out.” A passage that Huntford wrote about adult education “study circles” in Sweden also reflects what I am seeing as the vision behind the Fostering Communities of Learners Mandate and the so-called Discourse Classroom:

“Participants are taught that, once a decision has been made, then all further discussion is necessarily at an end and that, whatever their feelings might be, it is their duty to submit to the will of the group.”

Huntford called attention to this intention to deliberately create submissiveness as a “kind of conditioned reflex” that is then evoked whenever needed “by this phrase: The decision has been made in a democratic manner, and accepted by the majority.” One of the speakers I heard last fall describing her version of the future and the fulfillment of King’s Beloved Community at last uttered almost verbatim that same phrase. Coming here and soon, indeed. Just like the now ubiquitous phrase of “Equity and Excellence” as the new vision of K-12 education coming from all levels of governments in the US, the Swedish reforms of the 50s and 60s were sold to the public as a “device to promote egalitarian principles.”

Today’s teachers upset over the extent to which their classroom activities are so scripted can relate to the Swedish desire to deliver instruction “in the form of discussions so guided that the pupils felt that they had themselves arrived at the conclusions.” This method ensures that “conviction was deep” within each student and is frighteningly reminiscent of the Common Core’s steady drumbeat of the now required “deeper learning.”

A university prof wrote an editorial admiring the Swedish ed system in a Stockholm paper where he pointed out precisely what we are seeing with the insistence on “authentic tasks” and relevance of curricula to real world problems. He wrote that in Sweden “we’ve got to concentrate on society today” and relate everything taught to “reality.” He noted the need for schools to produce “people predisposed to change. If they were not, they would be unhappy.” Building up on that same theme of avoiding unhappiness, the prof declared it was “useless to build up individuality, because unless people learned to adapt themselves to society, they would be unhappy.”

Reading such plans via education on malleable minds compelled to attend for years of the most impressionable time in their lives makes me unhappy. So does the intention I am also reading regularly of our now aping the Swedes by constantly pointing “out the necessity of togetherness as the only tenable way of life.”  I could go on providing quotes of comparable intentions and the use of agitprop in both ed and the media so that “slogans fall on fertile ground” and people become primed to vote reliably as desired by the current political class.

Instead I will end with a warning that is pertinent to the current reworking of the nature of educational and social science research generally in the US, using students as guinea pigs in real time. Theory in practice in schools near you, including private and parochial ones.  Education in Sweden then like education virtually everywhere now is being reformed with the goal as “not the advancement of knowledge, but the manipulation of society is the highest of aims.”

Therefore we need to remember what Huntford wrote so long ago and why he named his book as he did.

Because when “government and [political] party say that education is to be used to change society, it is no idle chatter.”

Now if we can only widen the circle of those listening in time.