Making Man Moral through Integrative, Holistic Education Focused on Purpose

Sometimes these days I feel like I am a part of that old musical comedy “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” not because all these machinations via education and deceit are funny, but because suddenly between posts something happens that proves just how correct I am on how this fits together. Last week, the blog Cafe Hayek run by George Mason economic profs mentioned a January 24 piece by “my colleague Peter Boettke on the late economist Kenneth Boulding.” Now that may seem innocuous and even dry, but there cannot be a more seminal person other than John Dewey to the sought transformation of education. Boulding laid out its purpose and how it could be used to control other social systems. Is this further evidence of a Convergence of the Right and Left Pincers we can see so much evidence of? Confessions, after all, are so much nicer.

http://www.coordinationproblem.org/2017/01/kenneth-boulding-on-the-task-of-interpretation.html is the post and it tied in my mind to why everyone suddenly wants education to be about moral values, guiding principles, Disciplinary Core Ideas, Classical Concepts, and other ideas first that can then guide a child’s perception. How they interpret their daily experiences and what they never even notice. This is the end of the Trilogy so let’s pull all this together so we can appreciate How to Invisibly Control Future Personal Decision-making with No Need to Admit It. Bolding (without the ‘u’) is mine.

“Themes without facts may be barren, but facts without theories are meaningless. It is only ‘theory’–i.e., a body of principles–which enables us to approach the bewildering complexity and chaos of fact, select the facts significant for our purposes and interpret the significance.

Indeed, it is hardly too much to claim that without a theory to interpret it there is no such thing as a ‘fact’ at all…what, then, is the ‘fact’ about the wart? [Boulding’s example that should be read in full while thinking about the meaning of Disciplinary Core Ideas or Enduring Understandings] It may be any or all of the above, depending on the particular scheme of interpretation into which it is placed.”

When I was a student, part of what made for A+ work was the ability to develop an appropriate scheme of interpretation by myself, in the privacy of my mind, using what I saw as the pertinent facts. Something that made the prof go “That’s it! Wish I had expressed it that way.” This is something else. These are essentially presupplied ‘constructs’ designed to guide perception and future action in a way that makes a person likely to desire and instigate transformational change in the circumstances we all live under. If they cannot do it, they can organize together so politicians will implement the changes. That’s why I created the term Politicalism. What Boulding was known for was “incorporating the ideas, concepts and tools from the natural sciences into social scientific analysis.” Why?

His good friend Bela Banathy, who also has a tag and was involved in the creation of the concept of charter schools and what now goes by School Choice, told this story that his close friend Boulding shared with him in 1983. In 1954, at Stanford’s Center for Advanced Studies in Behavioral Sciences (CASBS) where so much else was hatched:

“four Center fellows–Bertalanffy (biology), Boulding (economics), Gerard (psychology), and Rappoport (mathematics)–had a discussion  in a meeting room. Another Center Fellow walked in and asked: ‘What’s going on here?’ Ken answered: ‘We were angered about the state of the human condition’ and ask: ‘What can we–what can science–do about improving the human condition‘ Oh!’ their visitor said: ‘This is not my field.’ At that meeting the four scientists felt that in the statement of their visitor they heard the statement of the fragmented disciplines that have little concern for doing anything practical about the fate of humanity. So they asked themselves, ‘What would happen if science would be redefined by crossing disciplinary boundaries and forge a general theory that would bring us together in the service of humanity?'”

That overdone analogy to the ‘outmoded factory model of education’ is actually a cloaking metaphor to mask this complete change in the purpose of education that drove the education reforms in the 60s, 80s, and now covered in my book Credentialed to Destroy. It’s also why Tranzi OBE and Competency needed to be deliberately misdefined as we saw in the last post. Why do we keep coming across an emphasis on Character or Moral Dispositions and Attributes? Because social and political scientists like Boulding came to recognize “that the universe of ethical values is a driving force in human life” and can be altered to drive a transformation in what is acceptable in the future.

If you want to drive cultural change, alter human consciousness by instilling new ‘active principles’ that people must now use to organize their lives and institutions. Then have them practice it in the classroom or workplace or even their church until relying on these principles becomes a Habit of Mind. In his 1969 AEA Presidential Address, Boulding informed those economics professionals that “any system contains the seeds of its own transformation or future genesis, and that this works through a learning process.” See why education had to change away from an emphasis on facts? Economics was just one of the human social systems that interested Boulding and he knew change had to start with the very mental models each person internalized:

“All these social systems are linked together dynamically through the process of human learning which is the main dynamic factor in all social systems.”

That’s such a useful quote for anyone who wonders why I cannot stick to just writing about education. Because it’s a tool to a transformation for a different purpose and a new, unlikely to succeed well for most of us, vision of the future. When should we talk about it? After the carnage is more advanced and even more resources depleted in the name of education? I am going to shift away from Boulding for a moment, but his vision was covered in the Trilogy begun here with his book The Meaning of the 20th Century and its effect on the Commission on the Year 2000 covered in the post that followed. Rereading those yesterday almost took my breath away because it fits so closely with what was in the Roadmap for the Next Administration and the Architecture of Innovation on what data can be made to now do.

http://invisibleserfscollar.com/reimaging-the-nature-of-the-world-in-the-minds-of-students-alters-future-behavior-and-social-events/

This post’s title comes from a book Robert George–Princeton professor, Bradley Foundation board member, well-known spokesperson for Catholicism, and founder of the same American Principles Project that did not want to define certain terms accurately in the last post, wrote in 1993. If ‘common guiding principles’ and shared meanings are in fact what makes people and organizations act as ‘systems’ as Boulding and systems science generally believed, it makes perfect sense not to concede that is what ALL Competency-based education reforms, and what I nicknamed Tranzi OBE, are about. The aims are no different then from the Catholic Curriculum Framework although some of the offered concepts, principles, and the justifications for the changes may differ.

Like Boulding in the quote Boettke chose or in my quotes from his 1969 AEA address, George in his making men moral: Civil Liberties and Public Morality wanted education to provide “first principles of practical reason…to guide choice and action.” Fascinating, huh? Everybody seems to want to carve that rudder that will guide future decision-making without being forthright on the connection. All we get are School Choice!, Federal Misedukation, and Autonomy to the Locals and parents. Some autonomy as both education and “laws have a legitimate subsidiary role to play in helping people to make themselves moral.” Then sell it to parents that way and admit Classical Education IS designed to create a steerable rudder both parents and students are not being told about.

Character is a wonderful thing, but not when it operates at an unconscious level as a Habit of Mind and parents are not told that their children are being steered in the name of Goodness. Truth. and Beauty or Equity and Justice or Sustainability or other Guiding Principles to guide practical reason and likely future action. The same Spiritual and Moral Framework that can be used by New Agers like the Ross School from the last post or Social Justice Warriors grounded in Paulo Freire Pedagogy for the Oppressed aligns with the aim of instilled Knowledge, Skills, and Dispositions from the Catholic Curriculum Frameworks. They ALL want to provide the ideas, emotional motivations, and values students internalize as their guide to future decision-making. School now wants to provide their purpose for living and the vision of what the future might be.

To truly get the dangers of this personalized, student-centered, transformative vision of education perhaps it will help if we follow those Moral and Spiritual Frameworks (as well as the cited Ron Miller’s “What are Schools For?”) right straight to a School of Education and Psychology in Isfahan, Iran. If “Holistic Education: An Approach for 21st Century” from 2011 is okay with the mullahs and their tyrannical vision of people, we really need to quit using the word ‘autonomy’ to describe the student when this vision of education is through with them. Yes, they have a purpose, but is it really theirs? I will quote from the Abstract because it fits with the vision I have described in this Trilogy. Think of the implications of that.

“Holistic education encompasses a wide range of philosophical orientations and pedagogical practices. Its focus is on wholeness, and it attempts to avoid excluding any significant aspects of the human experience. It is an eclectic and inclusive movement whose main characteristic is that educational experiences foster a less materialistic and more spiritual worldview along with more dynamic and holistic views of reality.

It also proposes that educational experience promote a more balanced development of–and cultivate the relationship among–the different aspects of the individual (intellectual, physical, spiritual, emotional, social and Aesthetic), as well as the relationships between the individual and other people, the individual and natural environment, the inner-self of students and external world, emotion and reason, different disciplines of knowledge and forms of knowing, holistic education is concerned with life experience, not with narrowly defined ‘basic skills.'”

Doesn’t that life experience/basic skills distinction sound just like the erroneous definition of Competency from the last post? Isn’t the US goal of College and Career Ready just another euphemism for this holistic life experience vision that seeks to control what gets internalized to guide the adults our children will become?

How is it not authoritarian for any government at any level to make education holistic or integrative using those aims?

How on Earth can this really be “education for humanity” when the type of human we become is subject to undisclosed political control?

Not Going to Let the US Constitution Stop Us From Using Schools to Enshrine Global Social Justice and Human Rights

Do you remember how the French thought the Maginot Line of bunkers and armaments would protect them from a future German invasion after World War I? So Hitler simply went around and came from another direction. The head of the same group whose ecstatic rejoicing over the passage of the WIOA in the US Senate tipped me off that something transformative was envisioned, announced in this video on “Rethinking Accountability” in education in June http://www.unfinishedbusiness.org/20140707-henderson-common-core-an-important-part-of-driving-equitable-change/ that ‘they’ were not going to let the US Constitution get in the way of achieving human rights for all as defined by the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. That would be a human right to Just Economic Citizenship folks and an obligation for the rest of us to provide it.

Henderson does a shout-out to the 2 major US teachers unions, AFT and the NEA, and notes they are partners working on his Board as well as to his Vice-Chair, the General Counsel of maldef-the Mexican-American Legal Defense Education Fund. Legal amnesty and future citizenship for anyone who can make it to US soil is not a side issue. It is front and center of the Leadership Council’s (composed of 200 separate component groups) efforts to force the US towards Economic Justice and an Equitable Society and ‘building a More Ideal Union.’ Henderson points out that the “thousands of students who may not yet be citizens” need to be educated as if they were. You cannot watch that speech and especially the AFT President’s intro and not grasp that an invasion by migrants is viewed as a crucial means of fundamental transformation. It will radicalize education, the ballot box, and enable democratic local decision-making via participatory mandates of the relevant stakeholders in every community entitled to be consulted.

I want to pivot now to the suburbs because such a vision of Equality and Justice is simply impossible if suburban schools can still teach a solid curriculum of knowledge and students are allowed to retain the Axemaker Minds many brought from home. Now I could generalize about what I think will happen, but there is no need to do that. That same conference pointed https://edpolicy.stanford.edu/events/1201  to the new Consortium of Large Suburban School Districts as being essential to achieving its vision. Told you already that document was designed for trouble.  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/deliberate-cultural-evolution-via-developmental-psychology-to-force-social-change-or-gypsy-supers-lobby-dc/

OK, you say, that’s a hugely troubling vision, but we still do not know precisely what the desired template is. But wait (no, this is not one of the Ronco commercials pushing Christmas presents no one really needs) one of the participating Consortium districts, Fulton County in Metro Atlanta (not coincidentally also involved in EdLeader 21, Digital Promise’s League of Innovative Schools, and with that new affirmative Student Code of Conduct) announced the vision in an article in a local paper. ‘Problem-based learning’ would be the new view of curriculum instead of icky textbooks. High School will become a place “for all learners…[where] students and teachers come together.” It is a place where ‘different types of learning styles are addressed’ that provides ‘collaborative learning opportunities.’ Lots of collaboration and chances to sing kumbaya in unison on a daily basis to build community spirit.

A bit of sarcasm there towards the end. I know perfectly well what is involved in Fostering a Community of Learners. That’s why FCL has its own tag on the blog connecting explanatory posts. Now, we could also pretend ‘problem-based learning’ is not in fact a euphemism for what radical Paulo Freire called the cultivation of a ‘critical consciousness’ in each student in how they will now perceive their cultural and historical reality. http://www.thinkingtogether.org/rcream/archive/110/CulturalAction.pdf That would be true and creating Guilt in the Fortunate Students is as crucial for transformative change as creating Anger in Latinos and Blacks and Gay Students and anyone else who can be made to believe the world as it currently exists must now be redesigned for their benefit. Vengeance will be a plus too.

Anyone paying attention might have been able to make that accurate connection though. What’s the fun in that? No, being a research maniac entitles us to more vital info than that on what’s coming. The links we have found to the Study Circles made me want to look at what are called Folk Schools in Scandinavia. Could those also be related to this new suburban vision for high school? UNESCO defines the current vision of such a school as a place “whose point of departure is today’s living conditions and the problems we face” and “which do their best to open up young people’s eyes by confronting them with more genuine experiences and broader philosophies of life.” Now I happen to know that high school is using the term ‘authentic’ instead of ‘genuine,’ but yes, we do have complete alignment.

I am going to bring this vision forward to award-winning Finland and what is now called the Human Dignity Paradigm suitable for a “Diversity-Positive Milieu.” That vision is said to enshrine what is called for by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. First though let’s go back to the year, 1948, when the UN adopted the Declaration to see why UNESCO wanted to push “The Danish Folk High School as an Instrument of Attitude Change.” It’s rather hard to escape the basic fundamental entry point needed for wholesale social change with a lead-off heading called “How to Create the Right Attitude of Mind in the Young.” Now in the No **** Sherlock Hall of Fame for all time great understatements in a bureaucratic report would be:

“the quickest and easiest way to create unity is to invoke terror.”

Now those readers who are Climate Skeptics may have a good idea where such a terror gambit may be lurking in the 21st century, but in general the report  wants to create an ‘ethical standard’ that will force everyone to voluntarily cooperate by committing to “a higher consideration than themselves.” Of course some of us immediately see that for what it is-the Public Sector and Friends Full Employment Act until Time for a Taxpayer Funded Pension, but let’s pretend anyway so we can accurately recognize what is really intended. The word ‘folk’ concerns a whole people and the values they are all to share. Remember new humanistic values are the absolute inner core of all these global reform efforts by people who really do seem to believe Marx might have worked if the implementers had simply had enough supercomputers, data, and the psychological  insights of the behavioral sciences.

A folk high school is designed to give each student a “comprehensive view of the world.” It stresses that “true life can only be possessed in common with one’s fellow man, and that some of the richest values a people possesses can be accepted and shared by all, rich and poor, high and low.” It is a place to build an “enlightened view of human and civil conditions” and a “blithe feeling of natural fellowship.” The latter is what we today might call a Positive School Climate. The folk school would be training its students in co-operation. Its value as a vision in today’s suburbs anywhere in the world is the fact that the typical Upper Middle Class student with educated parents who have made themselves available during those early years pretty much arrive at First Grade at close to the level of essential academic skills that are viewed as a long-term ceiling. To get to Justice and Equality for All obviously.

The folk school model then, and a widespread failure to comprehend the radical shift that has taken place, is an essential part of what is going on globally in education under the mischievous labels of ‘reform’ and ‘remaining internationally competitive.’ Hiding under those banners is an actual determination by public officials to force “a broad outlook and understanding” among all students of a given generation “so that co-operation” in all areas can succeed. This of course requires a “will to solidarity” in each student, which is why that affirmative Student Code of Conduct, Positive School Climate mandates, and requiring Principals to create Communities of Learners to be judged as Effective and thus entitled to promotion, are so crucial.

None of this is coincidental. It all fits like a Bespoke Glove because it has been custom designed to fit together to force the desired effects at the level of the school, classroom, and each student’s mind and personality this time. When that 1948 report sneers at ‘examination schools’ and their failure to create the “mentality required to rebuild the world through all-embracing co-operation,” just substitute high-achieving suburban schools with a traditional content transmission focus. Then update to the 21st century and its tendency to stress social and emotional learning because facts can simply be looked up.

The 1948 version with the same intention of cultivating a mindset suitable for fundamental change was to ask “what is needed by modern society?” The answer then by UNESCO was it’s “not what a man knows, but what he both can and will do in co-operation with others.” Furthermore, that “is a capacity that needs training. Teaching and school work must be so directed that the pupil both sees the value and feels the pleasure of performing a task in common.”

That same requirement now goes by the name Collaboration and is specifically listed as one of the 4Cs required for 21st Century Learning. We’ve gone long again. Next time we are off to Finland to get lots more details on what is envisioned.

Everywhere that has ever had a successful economy.

Especially anywhere that ever valued the individual.

Global.

Priority Economic Citizenship for Some, Officially Sanctioned Status as Prey for Most of Us

A large part of what made America exceptional and historically prosperous officially died yesterday. It’s probably why there has been so little mention of a huge new source of funds to states and localities approved in a landslide yesterday by the US House.  So we are taking a side trip but still related detour from the last post to discuss what has been done to us by our political class. Booth parties. Do not call them public servants. Many obviously cannot be bothered to read what they force on us in every state and every locality now in the US. Straight out of the radical Left Handbook that we saw at this conference.  http://www.whitehouse.gov/files/documents/ostp/opengov/sond2%20final%20report.pdf

“The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which would update jobs training programs in the U.S., passed the House by a vote of 415-6 Wednesday afternoon and now heads to President Barack Obama’s desk. Obama applauded Congress for passing the bill last night and said he looks forward to signing it into law. ‘This bipartisan compromise will help workers, including workers with disabilities, access employment, education, job-driven training, and support services,’ Obama said. Labor Secretary Tom Perez called the bill “good for workers, employers and the economy as a whole.” Lobbyists and business groups were also thrilled.

– Who voted “nay”? Justin Amash (R-Mich.), Paul Broun (R-Ga.), Jimmy Duncan (R-Tenn.), Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.), Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) and Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas).” [Source of Quote is Politico]

Hardly any coverage of the statute. I probably would not have noticed it or read its 812 pages either if members of the radical groups that took out the New York Times ad commemorating the 60th anniversary of Brown v Board of Education and lamenting the lack of fairness and human rights for every person in the US  http://civilrightsdocs.info/pdf/NYT-CCSS.pdf had not been practically doing a lap dance at the prospect of WIOA passing. Remember how often equity comes up these days supposedly as a new legal requirement of what education must accomplish? I have warned repeatedly that the actual definitions of College and Career Readiness are horrifically low and to be binding on all students. http://www.isakson.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/a4766452-3945-44d4-bb34-f8a6670bf166/WIOA%20Final-bill%20KIN14299.pdf is the final bill.

On page 514 we find the official Congressionally approved definition of what it will now mean to be prepared for the workplace, which is also now the official, Congressionally approved, function of all K-12 institutions as well as community colleges. Remember that suburbs or small towns that wish to exceed this standard for all may be accused by the Civil Rights Divisions of Justice and Education of being discriminatory. In many ways this also nullifies the various discussions around the country over the Common Core or other academic standards. Students now are to have a combination of:

basic academic skills, critical thinking skills, digital literacy skills, and self management skills, including competencies in utilizing resources, using information, working with others, understanding systems, and obtaining skills necessary for successful transition into and completion of post secondary education and training.”

Yeahaw! That’s not just the floor. It’s the ceiling as well with political appointees from Big Business, Governments, Unions, and community organizing entities determined to bring about wholesale social change organized into required Local Workforce Development Boards (Sec 107) to make it so. Nobody in any of the permitted groups granted access to these or the required State Workforce Development Boards (p 34) has any interest in Axemaker Minds likely to blow the whistle on cronyism or create a genuine disruptive commercial innovation.

Instead we now get Congressionally approved and to be required Career Pathways (p 10) developed  by the Boards and Industry or Sector Partnerships (p 22) so that what students can do “aligns with the skills of industries in the economy of the State or regional economy involved.” The Middle Ages called the decision that others get to decide what each of us may become feudalism. The 30s and 40s called it Fascism and the 21st century calls it State Capitalism. It is now here in the USA.

No wonder neither side is trumpeting this monstrosity. Thinking about images from what appears to be a planned invasion of the US southern border that simply could not happen without a great deal of official sanctioning, I want to go through some of the considerable ways WIOA gives English Language Learners lots of funding and a priority place at the table of those boards and future employment opportunities. We may not be offering political amnesty yet, but my reading is we certainly have offered economic citizenship without regard to legal status. Now of all things.    https://www.raceforward.org/practice/tools/compact-racial-justice-agenda-fairness-and-unity is an example of the kind of community organizing and democracy revolutionizing that is now intended in the name of race and ethnicity.

To give all of us a better idea of what democracy and equity and fairness and progressive change now mean, I am going to use a 2011 lecture Princeton prof (and Obama colleague and citizenship education advocate) Danielle Allen gave. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrW6HNi9-QU The New York Times featured her vision of a radically transformed Declaration of Independence in a story last week on July 3. In my mind that makes her vision an officially sanctioned one by those with fundamental transformation on their mind.

She views it as the job of governmental institutions to secure and enable factual equality. By this she means five facets that governments must now see to. First, everyone is to have Equal Agency and Political Equality under a Principle of Non-Domination.  Next is a Principle of Equal Opportunity that individuals must have the capacity to pursue their own happiness and that governments and politics will now be used to bring about the material resources needed. Start listening at about the 17:00 mark if you do not believe me.

Next is a Principle that Allen calls Epistemic Potluck. Believe it or not this relates to the affirmative use of the Student Code of Conduct we met in the last post. It also relates to what is called ‘problem-based learning’ in the new vision of high school that goes with this equity and democracy vision. Told you this was a related detour. The idea is that ‘knowledge’ is no longer about experts or specialists or a textbook, but rather the product of democratic conversations among participants magically deemed to be equal no matter how ignorant or emotionally aggrieved anyone is. These conversations will produce a consensus or shared understanding that will be pertinent to solving problems. We have also encountered this same deliberative democracy idea as the Rockefeller Process of Communication For Social Change.

Fourth is the Principle of Reciprocity. Those who have more have an obligation to those who have less so they can supposedly be truly free. Freedom is no longer to be treated as something that comes before the primacy of equality. Finally there is a Principle of Co-ownership of Equality. Allen describes this as a “communitarian commitment to egalitarian sharing of difficulty and prosperity grounds the social bond that sustains a free polity.” Marx was more succinct when he described the same principle as “from each according to his ability and to each according to his needs.” Allen literally wants a communitarian commitment “to social decision-making” and governments empowered to make her vision and what a majority now decides to be necessary for happiness so.

We went back to look at Allen’s Vengeance Will Be Ours Finally Vision because the WIOA not only integrates Adult Education and Literacy for those with deficient skills but mostly for every English Language Learner on American soil. On page 546 WIOA calls for this to also be ‘integrated’ with civics education. That integrated model for those who are supposedly dispossessed comes straight from Marxist radical Paulo Freire even though the statute forgot to mention that. Since you may not be familiar with his work or view of education, here’s an objective source on where this all leads. http://tx.cpusa.org/school/classics/freire.htm Remember community organizers intent on race-based transformational activity are eligible to provide and be paid for WIOA adult literacy, workforce, and civics ed training.

I wish I could say something pithy about WIOA or how it will not be as bad as it looks. If you get one of the federally funded jobs as a trainer at living wages or become a Director or staff member of one of these new Local Workplace Development Boards, you win. The Chamber of Commerce wins. English Language Learners clearly win as they are constantly carved out as Individuals with barriers to employment. The rest of us not so much.

Bound without notice. Prey without consent.

Welcome to US official public policy in 2014.

 

Can an Education Degree Authorize Bait and Switch Political Insurrections With No Recourse?

No I am not talking about a car loan. And I am also not picking on teachers. Truthfully we could substitute a psychology, sociology, anthropology, or even a legal degree in the place of the education degree. The very important point to recognize is this: can education credentials empower people to disregard the language of the US Constitution or comparable legal protections in other countries? Because right now all over the world we have colleges and universities creating degree programs that are designed to use educational institutions to change mindsets and values and beliefs and attitudes and feelings of the students passing through. Higher ed and K-12. Soon to be preschool. A long time to be under organized assault with data being gathered on your current personal attributes. All while getting paid with taxpayer funds.

And the reports they are issuing if you know where to look state or cite to quotes like this: “we support the development of a revolutionary socialist movement in the United States.” As taxpayers are we bound to support that agenda as long as the person pursuing it has the right kind of education credentials? Is there really nothing we can do? You can say vote them out of office but many with this desire are tenured profs or appointed bureaucrats. That inflammatory quote came from Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis’ Schooling in Capitalist America: Educational Reform and the Contradictions of Economic Life that I have already mentioned in a previous post. So when one of the reports this week from the Gordon Commission on the Future of Assessment in Education cited that book, I knew exactly what economic vision went with their vision of fairness and a just society for all in the 21st century.

The Gordon Commission is largely out of sight since it was set up by Educators Testing Service in Princeton using grants made to them. But out of sight does not mean not influential. Not with the movers and shakers selected for that Commission and their connections to the actual Common Core implementation and education globally. And these reports have an explicit economic and political vision attached to them. And cites to people with notorious philosophies like Michel Foucault. Are we all just screwed because these people are education professors or evaluators or vendors and that means a free pass?

How about if the report on “Technological Implications for Assessment Ecosystems” starts off with a quote from Paulo Freire and his Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Here goes:

“The role of the problem-posing educator is to create, together with the students, the conditions under which knowledge at the level of the doxa is superseded by the true knowledge at the level of the logos. [Freire is interested in shifting away from academic knowledge to everyday practical knowledge like what David Orr called Slow Knowledge]. Whereas banking education [Freire’s term for the transmission of subject-matter knowledge] anesthetizes and inhibits creative power, problem-posing education involves a constant unveiling of reality. [or at least how radical political reformers wish reality to be seen. Think Don Schon’s Generative Metaphor altering daily perceptions] The former [banking education] attempts to maintain the submersion of consciousness; the latter [problem-posing] strives for the emergence of consciousness and critical intervention in reality.”

Now isn’t that just the mentality you want in people developing the tasks and problems used to assess students? Oh, I forgot. The 2 authors, John T Behrens and Kristen E DiCerbo, now work for Pearson. You know the global publishing giant so involved in developing the Common Core curricula and the assessment administrator for Texas’ STAAR as well as both CCSSI consortia, SBAC and PARCC? http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/mandating-global-citizenship-mindsets-by-assessing-whether-students-adopt-social-altruism/ talks about how Pearson’s Chief Education Advisor, Michael Barber, once advised UK citizens that Global Citizenship could replace God and Marx as a guiding value. Is it a conflict yet to be involved with all these assessments and having employees writing alarming reports for the Gordon Commission?

What if the employees also write that assessments are “complex performances parallel to those learners would complete in the real world?” Sure sounds vocational to me. Especially with that report stating we are shifting from the Item Paradigm, which had questions with correct or wrong answers and sought particular information, to the Activity Paradigm. In the Activity Paradigm the assessment is not for particular information but rather an interest in “assessing specific attributes of an individual.” I feel so much better.

Especially after a search of the authors’ names brought me to the website of the Journal of Educational Data Mining. No more need to stress over hypotheticals involving education’s collection of Big Data on students. We appear to be there. How lucrative for Pearson. Is it publicly traded? Can we all cash in on this connected boondoggle? Precisely what data will come from assessments involving “activities” that “request action,” “have features.” “provide attributes, ” and “provide multi-dimensional information”? In other words, it’s not what a student knows but the essence of who they are being assessed while the student is a captive in a K-12 institution.

Seriously no need to worry about the fact that “digital devices of all kinds are typically enabled to collect data in ubliquitous and unobtrusive ways.” After all it was a different Gordon Commission report that pointed out that “Practices of assessment do not so much reflect the nature of the individual as they construct the individual in their terms.” Gulp. Did you understand that aspect of the Common Core? Is that what educational institutions in a free country are empowered to do while lying to the public about the nature of the changes? You may want to take another look at the nature of these performance assessments and Pearson’s confession that they are really assessing 21st century skills. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/throwing-an-invisibility-cloak-over-the-classroom-to-get-to-deweys-participatory-social-inquiry/ . Behrens and DiCerbo also mention they are assessing 21st century skills.

Which is also a problem. A 2004 book, The Education Gospel: The Economic Power of Schooling, is also popular among the insiders planning the 21st century on our behalf while profiting greatly. The book explains that all educational institutions now are engaged in what it calls the “Occupational Purpose of Schooling.” The College for All, increasing high school graduation rates through gaming or whatever it takes to keep everyone in place to get their diploma, and Equity of Credentials drives we have talked about are creating dangerous expectations in students. A belief that there is a promise that if they stay in school and get the degree, they will find “well-paid jobs with prospects for the future, careers or vocations rather than mere work.”

That implied promise so many are relying is the Education Gospel. It in turn requires what the authors call the Foundational State–the kind of reinvented workplace we have already seen Peter Senge’s Fieldbook and Zuboff’s Support Economy pitch as an intrinsic component of all these ed reforms. The prerogatives of employers and students and parents supposedly just have to be subordinated to the needs of the Foundational State. Which, 1, 2, 3 “requires a very different approach to politics and democracy than we have now. It provides a clear vision of the common good: a society in which human capacities are consistently and equitably developed.” Which is a good summary of Marx’s human development theory. Back for its 21st century run on the Industrialized West via stealth and education and apparently poorly understood assessments.

I will close with a quote from the end of the book where the authors note:

“Perhaps we as a nation cannot develop the politics necessary for the Foundational State. But then we should stop prattling on about “skills of the twenty-first century,” the “common sense” of college for all, and the imperatives of the knowledge society including lifelong learning, because we cannot achieve any positive version of vocationalism without the policies of the Foundational State.”

And I say, amen to that. The Swedes said basically the same thing when they piloted these ed reforms as part of their move to the Welfare State in the 1950s and 60s.  You cannot unlink the actual Common Core implementation from the radical political, social, and economic changes that are essential components. Everyone consistently says so if you know where to look.

I know where to look and have. Already downloaded and hard copied. Can we get enough parents and taxpayers and politicians to listen in time?