Utopian Education: Creating Mindsets that Push Future Fighters for Something Beyond the Current Real World

I am beginning to think I should get new business cards that say “Reads troubling plans for revolutionary change in the world we take for granted so you don’t have to.” It has been one of those weekends after I read a report from our Competency-pushing OECD in Paris that American taxpayers fund so generously. It was talking about New Economics to be imposed on the West via our institutions and using digital learning and technology and education and social reforms generally (my bolding):

“To turn connectivity into connectedness dedicated policies have to be designed with a twofold goal: first, to guarantee that all the emerging opportunities brought about by technology and its outcomes can be seized in favour of economic and societal development and second, that the resulting benefits of these opportunities are equally accessible to all. Education has to play a major role in the achievement of these two goals.”

Now unlucky me has spent enough time immersed in all these political theories to recognize when I am looking at a description of Uncle Karl’s little c vision of the future. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/naming-educators-as-the-levers-shifting-the-human-personality-to-marxs-moral-revolution/ is where I first addressed why changing values and beliefs is so crucial to achieving this little c vision. And it’s not about Lenin or Mao but it remains toxic to the individual and freedom in the sense of what created the West. Today I want to focus on all the current official publications that verify just how right I am as to what is really being targeted and why.

It’s also why parents are getting no relief when they want to opt out of Statewide Longitudinal Databases. It’s because tracking the changes in attitudes, values, dispositions, and beliefs via efforts at schools, and what curricula force changes more quickly and thoroughly, is an important part of the social engineering research being carried on via the schools. Especially with adaptive software and digital learning that allows immersion in virtual worlds.  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/students-must-see-themselves-as-active-participants-in-social-change-and-designers-of-social-futures/

All through the 70s Arne Naess’s books were bestsellers in Norway for their ecological visions of a new type of society. To prime the West towards a comparable vision of the future in time for the 90s efforts at wholesale transformation, his book Ecology, community and lifestyle was helpfully translated into English in the late 80s. He pointed out that ecology is where the socialist crowd was migrating because it created a belief in the necessity of political change. Central to these efforts is always a “change in consciousness.” As Naess graphically put it, the change “consists of a transition to a more egalitarian attitude to life and the unfolding of life on Earth.” Remember it is the Axemaker Mind that builds on existing cultural knowledge to invent technology and tools that can manipulate nature for man’s benefit. The “unfolding” vision wants people to merely be another creature. Very useful vision for political leaders, bureaucrats, and business leaders wanting to play future overlords and preserve current power. Not so good for the rest of us peons to be administered.

Before I detail more of the current efforts to create such a these New Mindsets, let’s read another Naess explanation on the intentions:

“The necessity of efforts to change mentality is closely associated with the necessity of organised efforts for profound changes in society. These two kinds of effort must be coordinated, not polarised against one another.”

And coordinated they are. It’s why education leaders are such a crucial component of the visions set out at a (co)lab in Atlanta or the cityLab  in NYC recently. It’s also why education is so crucial to the UN and the OECD’s plans. Following up on the OECD’s expressed intentions for change at its most recent forums led me straight to this transformational vision http://www.gtinitiative.org/documents/issueperspectives/gti-perspectives-premises_for_a_new_economy.pdf . It’s the kind of wholesale redistribution vision that would have made Uncle Karl weep with joy over his continued influence. Typical people should note though that this vision plans to take the world’s existing wealth and redistribute for the benefit of the poor in countries in the North and to raise living standards all through the Southern Hemisphere. It also involves shifting globally from a profit economy to a ‘needs’ economy in the 21st century.

Essential to that vision which we have already encountered in Shoshana Zuboff’s support economy book and the Aspen Institute pushing a Fourth Sector “for benefit” economy (see tags) it will “also be necessary to develop non-consumerist ways of understanding and being in the world.” Now won’t all the current reforms in K-12 and higher ed and the expansion into preschool be useful to such goals? How about an article published last month in the Journal of Human Rights and the Environment by Burns H. Weston and David Bollier which seeks to use Martha Nussbaum’s work we have talked about “as the theoretical means to restore ‘the obligation of result’. This would thereby move the discussion from the abstract to the concrete…” Why, yes, it would. It means we are trying to use education at all levels to create mindsets that will come to use the law and capability theory to impose Uncle Karl’s little c vision on societies without saying so.

Using the term “share-and-share-alike Golden Rule” sounds so much better than “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need” that was the hallmark of Uncle Karl’s vision of what would be possible in a society that had used capitalism to get to a certain advanced stage of technology. As the OECD said above, now it can be seized for the benefit of all others who have “needs.” Again this vision “must include a large-scale and sustained commitment to human rights education–as imaginatively pursued, for example, by the People’s Movement for Human Rights Education (PDHRE), a New York-based NGO ‘dedicated to human rights learning for social and economic transformation.’ It is, after all, life on Planet Earth that hangs in the balance.”

Probably not but it makes a good sales pitch for power to the public sector in the 21st century. Clearly this vision of ‘a just society’ laid out by Weston “that honors a public order of human dignity–the essence of human rights–marked by the widest possible shaping and sharing of all basic values among all human beings.”

Since the idea of the Great Transition is central to all these visions of the 21st century and what quality learning really means globally, the planners see a need for a GCM-a Global Citizens Movement demanding this vision of the future as a matter of rights. Legal rights. Useful then is the largely unheralded fact that CCSSO, the sponsors of the Common Core State Standards, has used its subsidiary Ed Steps, to partner with World Savvy  to get students to examine the “historical forces that have shaped the current world system” and push the “knowledge, skills, behaviors, and attitudes [that] are all aspects of Global Competency.” CCSSO’s real aim. Here’s the vision brochure created in August by World Savvy.  http://www.flipsnack.com/WorldSavvy/f7hf2i59 WS “celebrates innovation, art, and the limitless power of youth to make positive change” and is at the “cutting edge of education for the 21st century.”

To guarantee that the classroom work is “relevant and current” WS picks 3 year themes and the 2013-2016 theme is Population and Progress. It “helps students explore how a growing population defines progress, analyze the evolving nature of our collective challenges, and develop innovations that address these issues.” In fact students can pretend to be Uncle Karl’s Makers of History as WS has them create and submit “a Knowledge to Action Plan.” You will be so glad to know current WS students are quoted as saying they have “abandoned the notion of Us and Them in favor of We.”

Finally, CCSSO has quietly conceded that it is the Dispositions of the students themselves being targeted by these education “reforms.” http://www.ccsso.org/Documents/ILN%20Knowledge%20Skills%20and%20Dispositions%20CCR%20Framework%20February%202013.pdf

It adds a new C though. Our children are to be “college, career, and citizenship ready.” And if you are wondering what kind of citizenship CCSSO has in mind they go on to cite their sources and usefully mention every controversial report I have ever written about on this blog down to rejecting the individual mind and mandating communitarianism through the Career Tech guidelines. Thank you CCSSO for your hubris in that document.

People trying to criticize the idea of national education standards have begun to use the phrase “Commie Core” to attack the Common Core State Standards. The irony is if you track CCSSO’s actual planned implementation and the agendas of its named partners in developing classroom curricula and assessments and you compare it to Uncle Karl’s actual vision of little c communism, you get a match to the values, behaviors, dispositions, and mindsets to be fostered.

Perhaps a more apt phrase then would be the Commie Core designed to aid the Great Transition whether we consent or not? Designed to be implemented while we are still unaware of such wholesale changes or wrongfully believe this is about the transmission of academic content in the 21st century.

As Naess wrote, these values need to be internalized so direct regulation of the individual in the future will be unnecessary. “I envisage a change of revolutionary depth and size by means of many smaller steps in a radically new direction.”

That was the plan in the late 80s. In 2013 it feels as a parent like all those smaller steps are being pushed in a frenzy at the same time.

Some people have become very impatient for transformative change that benefits them but not us. And hardly anyone recognizes what is happening.

New Assessments Drive New Minds Primed for the Progressive Composition of the Good Common World

To the extent education reforms going on globally in K-12 and higher ed are even on people’s radar, most observers still believe the dispute is over how to best transmit knowledge. And who gets to decide the type of knowledge that is needed. It is hugely convenient for the advocates of wholesale social, economic, and political transformation in the 21st century that we all continue to misapprehend the nature of the actual debate and the tools being used to drive the desired individual and cultural changes. To help us all bridge the gap between what we expect from schools and higher ed and what these reforms intend to actually do to our children and us, I am going to use quotes from 3 people whose work is at the center of the current transformation globally.

Quoting what they say the political purpose of their work is because it still attaches even if neither we nor the Principal or the legislators or the Governor are aware of those actual purposes. Or what PISA is really measuring. Farthest back in time is from a book by the chief architect of the communitarianism component, Amitai Etzioni. Back in 1983 he wrote:

“schools must first and foremost graduate individuals who can function on their own while relating constructively to one another (mutuality) and to their community (civility). Such individuals, properly ‘put together’ from a psychosocial viewpoint, will have the most important characteristics workplaces require. Moreover, I recognize that schools need to educate for other values than work, such as culture and citizenship.”

That would be the purpose that now gets hidden under the euphemism “College and Career Ready.” And the ‘culture’ and ‘citizenship’ students are being groomed for is grounded in the transformative vision of the future to prime the students to take action to help bring the new world into being. The great advantage of deemphasizing textbooks and lectures and mandating virtual reality gaming as assessment or using group collaboration around the ambiguous real-world grounded “wicked decision problems” from the last post is we are creating young people who will have the right to vote with virtually no capacity to anticipate even the likely consequences of the transformative actions being taken. The insider phrase for this new emphasis of “skilled in the fundamental pragmatics of life” gets omitted from the public sales pitch as too accurate to be acceptable.

Let there be no impediment to future action and let the actions be grounded in the cultivated feelings and values and attitudes that live in the unconscious regions of the self could easily be the new motto of global ed reforms. Let’s move on to Chicago Professor Martha Nussbaum who we first met here. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/isnt-it-political-sabotage-to-use-education-to-eliminate-the-assumption-that-students-are-individuals/ Her work on capability as a human right has increasingly caught the OECD’s and the UN’s attention as the appropriate theoretical vehicle to push for a public sector dominant society and a new kind of welfare state for the 21st century. Apparently we are not supposed to notice the marked resemblance of capability theory to Uncle Karl’s human development theory of the future.

Proponents of stealth transformation via education better hope then that no one reads this passage in Nussbaum’s 2011 book:

“ponder what is implicit in human dignity and a life in accordance with it…Marx’s vivid descriptions of forms of labor that allow continued life, but not a fully human life, resonate the world over. The notion of life in accordance with human dignity is one of the most fertile ideas used in worldwide constitutional jurisprudence.” Ahh, tenured academia–where the term Marx is actually not a pejorative insult but a still revered architect of future ways of organizing life and a society. Later, Nussbaum kindly tells us why it is so important now to have a Whole Child, social focus that grounds all thought in emotion and then uses new assessments to both drive and measure how schools are doing in driving such “growth.” It is “how we might cultivate the helpful sentiments in a socially propitious way.” Those would be the sentiments that will hopefully ground the actions for transformative change with again little ability to recognize likely disasters that would be apparent to anyone with a solid knowledge of history.

Nussbaum goes on in a passage that also primes the vision of Bruno Latour, who we meet next. In the future, political power is deemed to drive all. This is a little long but too revealing not to use:

“politicians can build a public culture that puts altruism and the relief of misery at it core. …An account of the emotions of citizens in a decent society is urgently needed.

This task involves thinking about the family, about social norms, about schools, and about the ways in which political institutions create incentives. It also requires conceptual thought about the emotions, how they arise and unfold, what their structure is, and how they interact with one another.”

In other words, the survey Nussbaum says is needed is precisely what the White House-pushed League of Innovative Schools and the EdLeader21 suburban US school districts have now agreed to research and gather data on. Not to mention all the data being thrown off by the Executive Order mandating Positive School Climates or requiring Positive Behavioral programs for all students under an indefensible reading of federal disabilities law or via adaptive software programs used in the digital learning juggernaut. You’d almost think Professor Nussbaum knew people in DC who could help drive her theories along.

Now Bruno Latour is a name familiar to me because of his role in the ‘science wars’ of the 90s. Plus he is a hugely popular choice as a campus speaker now. A French sociologist. So when I saw a 2004 book of his cited–Politics of Nature: How to Bring the Sciences into Democracy–that Harvard published, I thought we could gain more insights. Confirmation that what is being billed now as ‘innovation’ is really a push for sociological experimentation. A truly shocking book for Harvard to have embraced and for the French government to have originally funded. Reading that the “social sciences would finally become scientific if they agreed ‘to treat humans as things” made me feel like I had slipped into a Hollywood script for a science fiction mini-series. No such luck though. These are real and current aspirations we are dealing with.

The constant references I have located now to new kinds of minds and Growth Mindsets to be psychologically healthy and verbatim references to encouraging ‘dialectical thinking” (shouldn’t computer programs come with a search function that pipes up “do you REALLY want to use that word?”) should be seen through Latour’s blueprint of how we are to now be moving towards the “progressive composition of the good common world.” Not to freak you out, although I did spend the better part of yesterday with my mind racing and hands trembling, but Latour really does talk in terms of “once the collective has been assembled.” He writes of no more distinction between “interests’ and ‘politics’ or ‘nature’ and ‘politics.’ Instead, there is just political power that engages in a ‘groping process’ to ‘deal with matters of human concern.’ These new associations will unabashedly experiment with new ways of living and organizing society using 3 powers: “the power to take into account,” the “power to put in order,” and the “power to follow up.”

Roughly translated that seems to be public officials deciding what to do, then how to do it, and then examining how they did and considering what to do next. All as if public dollars will always be there for the asking to pay for such social transformations even though everything that has ever produced economic wealth is being squelched to get the mindsets that will go along. Justifying statism in the name of equality and justice is another way of looking at this genuine aspiration. That gets linked to the Common Core and other global ed reforms because they are all seeking precisely the same kinds of minds and values that Latour believes are needed and the OECD now counts as Competencies and government officials are calling “higher order thinking skills’ created by “rigor” in the classroom.

Latour actually believes like John Dewey that such a concentration of political power and binding all citizens to the results of majority will (that is in turn cultivated by what is to go on in schools and universities) need not lead to totalitarinism. He really says that Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union simply had the wrong kind of politics and vision injected into their collective decision-making. I am thinking that tenure and being able to live at public expense or courtesy of untaxed endowments held by universities and charitable foundations has seriously left way too many influential people who already have utterly no conception of likely consequences.

Too much theory and not enough reality apparently is possible now on many a campus, think-tank, foundation, or government agency and it shows thoroughly in what is being pushed on all of us.

Who pay the bills and who are to have nowhere to turn if these visions continue to advance via education and cultural transformation.

Reality and Consequences do not care. If the likely consequences appear to be a nightmare, remember the unforeseeable ones we will also encounter.

Instead of cultivating new conceptual lenses and minds for students, we need to impose reality checks on a whole lot of adult professors and bureaucrats and politicians.

In time.



Motivationally Misleading Situations and Wicked Decision Problems: Imposing Psychological Experiments on Students

What would you think if you read the Dear Colleague Letter put out yesterday by the  CCSSO trade group that is funded by tech companies and the accreditors and other beneficiaries of taxpayer education dollars and that supposedly represents state Departments of Ed and you ended up finding this sentence. “There is no experimental evidence to back up this dialectical/constructivist view of self being created by the required assessments being pushed under the Common Core. Or by the OECD to be considered internationally competitive in the future. In fact, we have to look instead to existential philosophy, meditation, spiritual, and history-of religion literatures to locate proof that the kind of personality we want to use education to create is actually possible.” Would you say “that sounds like a wonderful mandate for all schools and all students. Here’s my tax dollars to fund the transformation?”

Well, of course, we wouldn’t. That’s the beauty of the misrepresentations surrounding the Common Core and charters with duplicitous language actually mandating Maslow’s psychological model of growth or the lack of genuine appreciation for what the OECD’s PISA ‘test’ is measuring. It makes the end goal of a revolutionary new purpose for education on automatic pilot towards fruition even though no one would agree to it voluntarily with their own money. Despite the fact that warning after warning is out there in the small print that this is all a massive psychological experiment designed to gain a nonconsensual political and social transformation. Starting at the level of the student’s personality.

Now the letter http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/CCSSO%20Assessment%20Quality%20Principles%2010-1-13%20FINAL.pdf   did not actually say that but when you track back what it did say about what constitutes “high quality assessments” and “deep knowledge” and the ancestry of the term “higher order thinking skills” instead of surface knowledge back about 25 years that descriptive quote I wrote up is precisely what you find. Especially if you go further and click-on the “Criteria for High-Quality Assessment” issued in June 2013 https://edpolicy.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/publications/criteria-higher-quality-assessment_2.pdf .

It lays out precisely the international push to gain personalities amenable to the rise of China and public-sector directed state capitalism as the global model. Citing the Singapore Ed Minister we all need “engaged learning, discovery through experiences, differentiated teaching, the learning of life-long skills, and the building of character, so that students…can develop the attributes, mindsets, character and values for future success.”

Everyone remembering that Dalian New Champions Conference held out Singapore as the model for the desired 21st century state capitalism? Good because that vision is hugely important to such statements as “new assessments must advance competencies that are matched to the era in which we live.” Now if I run through all the rest of the reasons this letter and that report tipped me off as to what was going on we will never get where I need to go. Regular readers should see it and I can answer questions from new readers in the comments but both sent me looking at “An essay on wisdom: toward organismic processes that make it possible” by Professor Juan Pascual-Leone. Why? It’s a combo of what was sought along with what was said at the (co)lab conference as being part of the desired education transformation for this sought future. Especially Sir Ken Robinson’s statement that the revolution he sought was to view education now as “an organic process.”

The easiest way to explain what is being sought is a desire to have all thought grounded in emotions. It is the constant refrain that the problems to be used for assessment have no fixed answer and it is why lecturing and textbooks are becoming abhorrent. They build up the logical, independent, mind and are not necessarily grounded in feelings. Which means they may not produce the behavior desired to fit with all these plans for transformation. To get that requires a personality that has been shaped by “qualitative metamorphoses in affective-cognitive experiencing and thinking.” Which is precisely what the new curricula and gaming and online learning and these new assessments are designed to create. It’s also why you keep hearing so many mentions now globally to ‘quality learning.’

That’s what these ill-defined “motivationally misleading situations” and “wicked decision problems” assessments force. Discomfort in the student so they change values and strategies and how they view the world. Such “reexaminations are actual executive-learning situations, where the subject, little by little, can acquire suitable metaexecutives” that will guide the desired “mental revolution” of when and how student’s choose to act going forward in dealing “with the hard, misleading reality of everyday experience.”

That’s why the problems have to be authentic and grounded in the real world and relevant. It brings in emotions and changes how the world will be viewed going forward. It’s also why this type of education is something all students can do without regard to family income levels or cultural backgrounds. And if this seems like BF Skinner’s operant conditioning or a science fiction novel, Pascual-Leone actually says this will synthesis (he likes italics a lot) is the answer to Skinner’s belief that “the human mind is so strongly conditioned by its learning history that it cannot be free, and thus the will is an illusion.”

These cognitive psychologists and education profs are saying no, human will exists but we can use pedagogy and theories of education to both shut it down and guide it in desired ways. Since we would all rebel if that was the way these reforms were presented, they are not being phrased that way. To us. In the materials we are supposed to use to frame our beliefs and attitudes toward education reforms. But I track down to the insider-only material that gets withdrawn from library shelves for a reason and it is quite clear. In fact, the commonly used term  “college and career ready” is clearly a play on gaining over time a progression of how students “create our conscious structuring of the intersubjective world of everyday experience” so that each student structures their vision of reality in the way desired.

Over time these motivationally misleading situations and wicked-decision problems are supposed to create empathy in the student towards others and the world. To be “developmentally sophisticated and advanced” in this vision of education, what is desired in future students is to be “humanistically oriented or psychologically ‘spiritual.” Now you know why we just kept encountering such a psychological emphasis as we explored the real Common Core implementation and why there is so much deceit and  misleading definitions to so many terms. Being upfront and declaring you are seeking a personality suitable for the illicit political revolution may be true but it would make for a bad PR campaign.

Now I have explained this psychological model before.Yesterday’s letter simply clarified how important a particular kind of assessment is to the vision. It’s how the psych model gets mandated in the US and globally without admitting it. This psych model by the way has long been pushed in urban school districts. It’s just that now it is being foisted on the suburbs in a way that is not supposed to be visible. I am very concerned though by the widespread belief among many minorities that the only way for them to succeed is to push this psych model on all schools.

It’s the economy as a fixed pie belief and they want government to intervene to give them a larger share. And the economy is not a fixed pie and the way governments are intervening to push this Competency model as the goal for all students will ultimately be the death knell of mass prosperity. It’s just not appreciated yet. There has been an awful lot of racial hatred that has been nourished over the years to get this psych model and the overall political transformation in place. Breaks my heart to watch and hear.

Commenting on a similar push in Brazil a WSJ letter to the editor pointed out how hard it is to contain “the populist forces of fairness and change once unleashed for political gain…[E]conomic success overseen by leftist populists intensifies the hard-left passion for absolute social justice and equality.” Yes, and that is precisely the blood lust these ed reforms and the Inner Cities vision and all the movies being pushed now on inequality are building up. Not bothering to point out that the public sector dominant remedy being pushed ultimately brings less prosperity for most of us.

I am going to close with a quote from Sir Henry Sumner Maine from 1885 that we need to all keep in mind to confront what most assuredly is coming all of our way (h/t Don Boudreaux, Cafe Hayek blog):

“Yet nothing is more certain, than that the mental picture which enchains the enthusiasts for benevolent democratic government is altogether false, and that, if the mass of mankind were to make an attempt at redividing the common stock of good things, they would resemble, not a number of claimants insisting on the fair division of a fund, but a mutinous crew, feasting on a ship’s provisions, gorging themselves on the meat and intoxicating themselves with the liquors, but refusing to navigate the vessel to port.”

I would add that now the enthusiasts are blindly or greedily insisting no one may have navigational skills in the future either. Then where will we all be?



Agents of Ideological Hegemony: How the Real Common Core Shifts Us to State Capitalism

A state capitalist society may sound off-putting but it is the proper term for what we are living through now. Education is an essential component because of the need for a ‘consensus’ ideology among the broad population that comes to see the desired ends and policies of the politically-connected and public sector class as consistent with their own beliefs. Or necessary to avoid economic or environmental disaster. Even if those To-Now-Be-Desired beliefs have had to be heavily propagandized by the schools and the media.

When the “politicizing of economic relationships” emerges as the dominant decision-making power in an economy, state capitalism is actually the proper term. Since your mayor or Governor or Congressman is unlikely to speak in those terms, we all have to learn to recognize that such politicizing is precisely what is going on with the calls to no longer distinguish between the public and private sector or for “partnerships between government, companies and universities” to quit thinking in terms of silos and working together to “drive innovation and entrepreneurship in [insert the major city closest to you].”

That was the spirit of that Dalian, China conference discussed in the last post. It was the underlying mindset of a program I attended last week sponsored by the world’s most famous search engine on “Georgia’s Digital Economy” that probably will have a variant coming to your state. Where access to the sovereign powers is what counts for future prosperity. The last quote above is from the program materials for my next field trip. And the needed radical changes to education, K-12 and higher ed, are essential components of all these pushes.

We have had a mixed economy for a while in the US, with the resulting stagnation and distortions and favoritism (on who gets bailed out of bad decisions or a waiver from a mandate like Obamacare) that interventionism always brings. But each of these new programs are symptomatic of a wholesale sought ideological shift to finally obtain the needed prevailing mindset. As John T. Flynn noted when he compared New Deal economic policies to fascist policies in Europe, we are now looking at a consistent and coordinated drumbeat across governments at all levels that they get to be the ultimate decision-maker in allocation decisions. Flynn’s precise and apt description for what is coming at us, quickly and methodically, is government–local, regional, state, and federal–who intend now to “insert itself in the structure of business, not merely as a policeman, but as partner, collaborator and banker.”

There is a name for this as it has been tried before–Zwangswirtschaft was Ludwig Von Mises’ term from his experiences in Europe. Others have astutely called it “authority capitalism.” But whatever it is called, there is no mass prosperity involved. I am going to quote here something that Murray Rothbard recognized back in 1977 and we all need to know to see the tragedy inherent in this sought pathway:

“In fact, it is the state that is robbing all classes…it is the state that is the common enemy of mankind. And who is the state? It is any group who manages to seize control of the state’s coercive machinery of theft and privilege. Of course these ruling groups have differed in composition through history, from kings and nobles to privileged merchants to Communist parties to the Trilateral Commission. [Today we might add the Davos and Dalian invitees]. But whoever they are, they can only be a small minority of the population, ruling and robbing the rest of us for their power and wealth. And since they are a small minority, the state rulers can only be kept in power by deluding us about the wisdom or necessity of their rule.” http://mises.org/daily/6537/Who-Are-the-Champions-of-the-Common-Man

And centralizing control over the messages being delivered via education and making it psychological and visual in focus using gaming and virtual reality is, oh so useful, in perpetuating the needed delusion. The level of interventionism being sought in our society and economy requires comprehensive planning. And that “presupposes complete unity with regard to a scale of priorities” which again implicates schools and the media. I am quoting here from a June 1975 paper called “From Laissez-Faire to Zwangswirtschaft: The Dynamics of Interventionism” by John Hagel, III and Walter Grinder. They say the only way out of this destructive trajectory is for people to come to recognize just how destructive this pathway is. I am doing my best with this blog and particular post to do just that.

A transformative, uniformity imposing, vehicle of standardizing values, attitudes, desired beliefs, and feelings via education during the years when the human personality is most malleable is necessary for this mass shift. Grinder and Hagel (citing Hayek and his 1944 The Road to Serfdom) note that “since comprehensive planning requires ‘general acceptance of a common Weltanschauung [Worldview or Mindset is the common 2013 term], of a definite set of values,’ the transition to a system of Zwangswirtschaft is accompanied by increasing efforts to assert ideological hegemony over the social system and thereby mobilize support for the planning priorities selected within the state apparatus. As a consequence, ideological purity becomes a prominent concern and the educational system in particular is progressively integrated into the overarching system subjected to …management. Just as the market place of goods has been progressively subjected to controls [the essence of the needs, cooperative commonwealth economy we have encountered and discussed under a variety of names], so must the market place of ideas submit to the dictates of the state as ‘wrong’ ideas are perceived as a potentially disruptive element within the system.”

And that real aim is why fathers in Maryland are being arrested now for trying to speak out against the Common Core at a school board meeting. It’s why high-achieving Fulton County in Georgia needed a conversion charter that actually commits it to gut academics with no effective recourse by parents, taxpayers, or students and why the charter is being touted as a model for other suburban districts. It’s why elected school boards are being increasingly stripped of authority by the accreditation agencies who rarely advertise that they see their positions as using their lucrative government-provided monopoly positions to invisibly advance cultural change towards this very Zwangswirtschaft vision.

All of this matters so much because state-directed economies are enormously wasteful in addition to the lack of genuine individual freedom. In a different paper linked to by Rockwell above, they point out that the “political means alone is unproductive and parasitic” and it needs a private sector of labor and exchange to survive but planning and intervention, once started, create dislocations that led to more interventions, which leads to more economic stagnancy and unemployment. Which leads to more political demands to do something. Precisely where the US finds itself in 2013 after that 2008 crony financial bailout and a Stimulus Act in 2009 that could best be described as “friends, family, and large supporters” on who was helped. Not to mention what is going on in healthcare.

And now the Common Core and the attendant transformation of higher ed can target students to create the desired consensus and ideology and Worldviews. Remember UNESCO has said this is precisely what they are doing now globally via education and the sought complicity of the media. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/decreeing-the-interdependence-of-environment-economy-society-and-cultural-diversity-in-the-21st/ was that revelatory post.

I have to get ready to take good notes at another confab of what is being billed as “the elite” assembling to learn why and how to push this vision. With no mention so far of the attached poison that comes with it. The term in the title “agents of ideological hegemony” is the precise term used repeatedly of what it takes to get this vision in place and I will be listening to see whether I am hearing from a knowing, duplicitous agent or a naive, inadvertent one.

I strongly suggest using the same tactic whenever you hear a pitch for the Common Core or PISA or 21st Century Learning and other education reforms. It really does describe what Marina Gorbis is actually up to in education or Peter Senge. And so many others who are being marketed by school districts and politicians as authorities to trust and defer to.

Remember always where this vehicle intends to go. And that economic stagnancy or collapse is the inevitable result, whatever the PR hype.

Selling Remedies that Actually Destroy Precisely What the Sales Pitch Touts

Now if the Common Core and digital learning were being sold as destroying future American prosperity and allowing China and India to become the world’s dominant economies, politicians and taxpayers at all levels and in every other country would hopefully hit the brakes. So that’s not the sales pitch. In fact, as we have seen the book Endangering Prosperity: A Global View of the American School is getting touted in Brookings Institute programs and a September 12, 2013 Wall Street Journal article on “The Vital Link of Education and Prosperity” by authors Paul E Peterson and Eric Hanushek. Now I am also getting webinar invitations to discuss the book. A full court press would be the basketball term. And the fact that what we are actually getting is the OECD’s promotion of the humanist psychology practices into the classroom via PISA gets omitted from all the discussion. It is the sought remedy, transforming education to perform well on the poorly understood PISA, that actually will gut mass prosperity and promote a crony capitalism instead.

Politically directed public money that benefits a chosen few at the expense of the many, while gutting the transmission of knowledge and substituting a psychologized Curriculum of Affect and Guided Perceptions that are Politically Compelling in its stead, is a lousy deal for most of us. Something to be opposed vocally and frequently. Which is why the real implementation of the Common Core is hidden in side reports and accreditation standards and ridiculously erroneous readings of federal disabilities and civil rights laws.

Likewise, if the attached economic vision were accurately pitched as part of China’s policy of ‘picking corporate winners’ who will become multinationals and eventually become the dominant companies in the global markets, governors and mayors and Congress critters might surmise that this is not a good long term growth strategy for the US. If all of us properly understood that these education reforms are tied to a “collaborative relationship between state and business” we would immediately discount the Chamber of Commerce or political or media support that this is all “a good thing.” Only if you have access to that gravy train of public money taken from taxpayers or charged to them as debt and that prosperity cannot last with education determined to manipulate minds and changing higher ed to give diplomas out equitably to demographic groups.

Last week there was a World Economic Forum in Dalian, China that was invite-only. 1500 invites to movers and shakers from all over the globe for the New Champions annual conference that is now called the “Summer Davos.” It was the seventh such confab and I was quoting from the original intentions of this event from back in 2007 from a prof at Stellenbosch University. Should we be blindly adopting the education proposals that are tied to this vision of the future?

“Who then are the new champions? It is very apparent that China and India are fast becoming the winning economies. Their companies and government bureaucrats are equally impressive with their financial acumen and drive toward their objective–capturing markets and creating a winning national economy.” Note: They are not talking about the US economy being the winner but a loser. No wonder the Chinese are willing to finance so much of our public debt that then gets used to pay off states and localities and school districts to push a government-planned economy that seeks to extinguish individualism and high mental capacity. All at the same time. Does anyone think the Chinese will continue to finance all this deficit spending once the mental aptitudes of the US masses have been effectively extinguished?

Did the typical American attending the “Meeting the Innovation Imperative Summit” last week bother to check out the actual definition of innovation being used? I have it from the program materials. Innovation is “the effort to create purposeful, focused change in an organization’s or institution’s economic or social potential.” That’s not innovation of the ‘free lunch,’ Lever of Riches, capacity that created the current levels of economic prosperity that too many people take for granted. That’s innovation in the Governors-Governed distinction. Which is not terribly surprising since the promotional materials acknowledge that “For decades  the economies of China and India floundered due to the inability of their governments to create enabling environments of business. The state prioritized political ideology over the interests of business.”

So what is the current desired vision? Let’s go back to that 2007 document again:

“What then is the option for economies that are grappling to come to grips with the new competitive reality of the global economy that is being shaped in Asia? The most successful economy to understand as well as manage these competitive forces is Singapore. It has embraced global business through providing an enabling environment for business that is fully in line with the market. Rather than intervene in the economy, the Singaporean government creates the environment which allows business to effectively compete.”

Now I would argue that a conference planned by the Chairperson and founder of the joint US-China Collaboration on Clean Energy still has great intentions about intervening in the name of Green Energy, but then I do not tend to take self-interested statements at face value. But this IS the vision of the future that is tied to all the US Governors wanting to take control over education in their states so they can plan “Workforce Development” consistent with “Economic Development” and social equity. The last one gets marketed with its own concentric circle labelled “Justice Too.” People from both sides of the aisle are chasing after this dirigiste-vision that ultimately promotes a China as the ascendant power trajectory. And China, with its one-child policy and reams of corporate and public sector corruption, needs the US to unilaterally hobble its future capacity via poorly understood education reforms. Except I understand them and now so do you.

We also understand the significance of having Dennis Meadows, one of the original co-authors of the controversial 1970s Club of Rome book, Limits to Growth, leading a Dalian program this year on “Decision-making” and systems thinking. Leading no fewer than 3 different programs was the Institute for the Future’s Marina Gorbis who we met in this rather chilling post. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/weak-humanscomputersexpert-modelling-of-captured-data-is-this-your-approved-vision-of-the-21st/ . And when I wrote that I did not know Marina had spent years doing psychological research at SRI. Something she openly acknowledged here. http://odessatothefuture.com/?page_id=2 Have you ever noticed it is a lot easier to accurately predict the future if you push a government-centric vision and education premised as a platform to push Humanist Psychology on unwitting parents and students? It’s also easier if you openly push radically new forms of political governance.

Since we were not invited, here’s the Rethinking Education visual put on there by MIT. http://www.weforum.org/sessions/summary/ideaslab-rethinking-education-massachusetts-institute-technology . That would be where Peter Senge teaches and is a reminder of the tight links between digital learning and systems thinking. And the unappreciated economic and political vision attached. And here http://www.weforum.org/sessions/summary/strategic-shifts-societal-ecosystems is the graphic that goes along with the envisioned New Roles for Business and Civil Society in the 21st Century. Might as well know what is intended for us. And here http://www.weforum.org/sessions/summary/reversing-income-inequality is the intended plan to use the powers of government and education to reverse income inequality.

That should give you a good idea of where this is all going and question whether this in fact is a vision US schools should be pushing without realizing it. I am going to close with a story that illustrated to me the extent to which US politicians are being told whatever story it takes to get them to sign on to supporting these transformative vehicles. Usually touted as “public/private partnerships.” Without having any clue what they are really advocating for. I listened to a presentation from an elected official recently whose bio indicated he was personally and politically quite conservative. He closed by citing to Peter Senge and his book The Fifth Discipline and how we could restructure businesses and governments to eliminate the current Limits to Growth and Prosperity.

Now clearly he had never actually read Senge’s books but someone had led him to believe Senge’s vision aligned with his own. Which it does not if you read the various posts under the Peter Senge tag. My point is pushing Senge’s vision and methods is about 180 degrees from his vision for the US and its future. All someone had to do was misrepresent Senge to gain his advocacy.

I think there is a tremendous amount of that going on now as we get a full court press in the US to get all these policies and practices in place without a protest. You align these misrepresentations to entities or people who want to continue to rely on taxpayer money funding their salaries and companies. But what is being advocated for is ultimately the equivalent of letting in a horde of locusts.

But the few who benefit either don’t know what is going on or they are not telling because the benefits of this cronyism are so huge right now. But the OPM-Other People’s Money will run out. And the WEF definition of innovation will destroy genuine innovation in the US.

And then where will we be? Asking the Gates and Rockefeller Foundations to help average Americans out instead of sponsoring the Dalian Annual Meeting to put this pernicious vision in place?

Prescribing How We Frame Experiences is the Lynchpin of Wholesale Unconscious Behavioral Change

Historian Robert Conquest has a great term for the kind of ideas and concepts we are dealing with as education all over the globe thinks reframing our consciousness is the legitimate new focus. To get a different kind of society and economy and future of course. Because good intentions excuse all? When any kind of knowledge of the past and the consistency of human nature and governments that accept no boundaries would be sending up red flags of danger. It feels a bit like 1938 when Churchill’s knowledge of history told him that there would in fact be “no peace in our time” from conceding to a not yet full-strength tyrant.

Conquest calls these ways of framing our perceptions and experiences that have in fact escaped the reality that currently exists and any empirical controls–“brain blindfolds.” An apt term it seems to me to deal with K-12 and higher ed institutions globally where the principals and Supers and college Presidents are being pushed to see their new mission as transformation of the students they are presented with. Like this as the instructions on how to push the desired changes (my bolding for emphasis):

“one continually sees that a critique of one’s identification with the values and loyalties of one’s cultural or psychosocial surround precedes the construction of a fourth order system that can act upon those values, set them aside, or modify or reappropriate them to a new place within a more encompassing organization.”

That passage is from a 1994 book by the now-regularly present, Harvard prof Robert Kegan, called In Over Our Heads: The Mental Demands of Modern Life. Written before the Democrats lost the House for the first time in 40 years in 1994 or Outcomes Based Education and School to Work controversies began to undermine the educational ‘reforms’ the Clinton administration was pursuing at the federal level in the 90s version of what is being called the Common Core now. These old blueprints do not go away and books written before controversies tend to be graphic in their intentions. Now that we have learned that the OECD is pushing ed reforms in K-12 globally around Kegan’s vision of shifting consciousness and that the US plans to reshape higher ed announced in January 2012 by the White House are also grounded in Kegan’s work, we had better understand what we are dealing with. The $50 word ‘omnipresent’ is not an exaggeration of the role Kegan’s theories are playing.

Except they are not really his theories as in unique, original work. It’s more like he is a major spokesperson and proponent of theories with an even more troubling pedigree. According to the Comparative Education Research Center based at the University of Hong Kong as laid out in a 2001 book Values Education for Dynamic Societies: Individualism or Collectivism, this focus on personality-oriented education and a socio-psychological concept of “personality development” comes straight out of Russian and then Soviet traditions. And upon reading that I did some checking yesterday on the current integrative models being pushed by Mikhail Berulava (he gets cited in book). Alive and well and stronger than ever since the Cold War is one way to describe it. And apparently Sochi is ever so much nicer than Siberia.

In other words, we have a real problem. It is global but that 2001 book does let us know that “elites’ in the US want American citizens to have a much greater orientation toward the collective. So does Kegan. This is what he wants to see for an adolescent curriculum. He wants the school to “grow the mind” so that each student’s daily perceptions become guided in a way “faithful to the self-psychology of the West [think Maslow and Rogers] as to the ‘wisdom literature’ of the East.” Elsewhere, Kegan mentions a Zen-like orientation as desirable. He wants education to create “a process by which the whole (‘how I am’) becomes gradually a part (‘how I was’) of a new whole (‘how I am now.’)”

Kegan may talk a lot about ‘autonomy’ and ‘self-direction’ but both he and the global ed reforms movement that pushes his and the personality development purpose generally (which is basically everybody with power now to be honest) expressly reject defining these terms as “personal authority or psychological independence.” No, this vision of education as ‘a reconstitution of self’ via “a transformation of ‘the way we understand'” never loses sight of the person as a mere part of a greater whole that should be dedicated to a common good.

Kegan envisions adolescence developing so that each child takes “out membership in a community of interest greater than one, to subordinate their own welfare to the welfare of the team, even, eventually, to feel a loyalty to and identification with their team, so that its success is experienced as their own success.” Talk about No Man is an Island. No Man Stands Alone. I am going to interrupt this discussion to point out that these are the same reforms that were so controversial in Hong Kong  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/using-education-to-shut-down-free-choices-and-then-redefining-as-personal-autonomy-orwell-lives/ when they were introduced there. Kegan even mentions Kohlberg on his Acknowledgments page as his “late teacher and friend.”

They would be controversial in other countries too if they were not hiding in what PISA is actually measuring or in poorly appreciated definitions of “lifelong learning,” “self-directed learning,” or “college and career ready.” Everything is geared towards us never seeing what is coming that we are funding until it is too late. The internal psychological changes will have already occurred. Because they are intrinsically tied to feelings and emotions from an early age they are supposed to be almost impossible to reverse.

Reader alert! If the mention of sex is not something you want to accidentally read about, skip this paragraph. But Kegan saw teenage sex, not counting intercourse in passages I cannot believe I had to read, as helpful to priming adolescents to be guided by their experiences at both a physical and emotional level. Doesn’t that put a new spin on the unending push for graphic presentations to students in schools over the last few decades? He literally sees such a push as being beneficial for adolescent students to learn what mutuality means and how to relate to others and their needs. That’s enough. I am blushing now and this is mild compared to his descriptions in the book. But mentioning this and the reasons for it should help all of us appreciate how important the desired wholesale changes in behavior and how things are perceived is. And how crucial education is to the venture.

As many teachers have already either intuited or actually heard from a Change Agent Principal, these personality changes and consciousness shifts are needed from teachers as well. No one in the building or on campus shall survive in the form and with the values they entered would be one way to describe it. I want to go back to Robert Conquest again and his fine book from 2005 The Dragons of Expectation: Reality and Delusion in the Course of History because he and I are worried about the same thing–“the general state of the Western Mind.” It’s just that this blog has a great deal of detail on how it is being targeted for wholesale change. But I would argue still for the same end as what Conquest recognized. We have bureaucrats and politicians and self-interested cronies in the public and private sectors who personally would benefit from “state control of much of human activity.”

When I mention the Soviets as the source of a theory or practice, I am not trying to frighten you. As a history major, I get what it was created to do and why it does not belong in schools or college classrooms or any society that hopes to remain truly free. Where individuals still matter in the original meaning of autonomy. If history is not your idea of a good beach read, you may never have pondered the significance of Robert Louis Stevenson’s (remember Treasure Island?) observation that “Man is a creature who lives not upon bread alone, but principally by catchwords.” And one group with aspirations for social transformation will know exactly what those cultivated catchwords are.

When we are worrying about the origination of these theories and practices being pushed on us without our consent, let’s keep in mind this Conquest observation (my points in brackets):

“The ideal totalitarian state should control the mental as well as the physical lives of its population. Real life is not quite up to this. But if we consider the Stalin and other similar regimes, we see that they had progressed a long way towards it. [Precisely what has been imported to the US and other countries]. The most obvious and critical point is the degree to which all channels of information were blocked [by poor reading methods? cultivated erroneous perceptions? reliance on feeling and propaganda visuals?], and the extent to which a radically false picture was forced on Russian minds. For the Stalinist regime did not merely deny reality; it substituted for it a fully ideologized world fantasy.”

False pictures and world fantasies and substitutions of videogames for reality are precisely what is coming at us in 2013. Stay tuned.


Dialectical Integration of the Person as a Totality: How Can That Make Anyone Competitive Internationally?

What do you mean no one describes the goal in that language in their powerpoint and it’s rude of me to interject such a graphic description into the public debate? Should it count if the clear trail from what is being pushed in the name of making countries or states internationally competitive in the 21st century global economy tracks back to that kind of explicit language? I think it should too even if the 1990 book I took that language from was intentionally withdrawn from the library shelves at Colorado College precisely to prevent anyone from doing just what I did. Recognizing what the editor had been up to in the last 10 years in his work for the OECD and ordering the previously unknown book when a cite to it cropped up in the footnotes on the psychological, Social Brain Project, focus. Truly as much as I love to read, some descriptions that make it to print need to be buried deep or burned if you want to keep the aim and mystery of “college and career ready for all” and everyone should try to excel on international assessments like PISA.

Otherwise a pesky writer might chase the vision back to lots of references about how to get social systems to evolve to new kinds of mindsets that would no longer see the Soviet Union as the ‘other’ and risk nuclear annihilation. What is it about psychologists and educators who keep insisting we must have empathy towards cultures where the facts actually show plenty of leaders would like to eliminate us to put it mildly if they could. USSR in 1990 and the Alliance of Civilizations in 2013. Dialectical Integration of the Person in 1990 and a Growth Mindset and systems thinking and metacognition and Kegan’s self-authoring, 4th stage, in 2013. Now I think we have had to wind our way through too much psychobabble in recent posts precisely so we could appreciate the sought emphasis coming to schools, classrooms, and maybe your next corporate retreat soon.

I want to talk about how all this rhetoric about being “high performing” and “internationally competitive” and ensuring “economic prosperity” is forcing us to adopt that very psychosynthesized, dialectically integrated, inner core driven by love for all vision accidentally. Because no one seems to bother to look into the actual definitions of terms or the nature of these international assessments. Busy, famous people who hopefully mean well with all their advocacy are pushing ideas that are not actually aimed where these professors and politicians and business executives claim they want us to go.

Now a Swede by the name of Torsten Husen laid out the function of these “tests’ in driving a global socialist, welfare state vision decades ago in his 1974 book The Learning Society and then later in 1986 in The Learning Society Revisited. Not really a dispute over that one.

Likewise the true nature of PISA and the OECD term Competencies and the intentions were well-laid out in February 2002 at the Second DeSeCo Symposium in Geneva, Switzerland. Which again we were not invited to. We could have brought our ski boots and a cute jacket and drank brandies by a fireplace with a view but no. DeSeCo by the way is an abbreviation for Definition and Selection of Key Competencies but how do we, I mean the OECD officials, get to decide what will be key? Well, we could have Robert Kegan come be the keynoter of the symposium. That’s the same person we encountered in the last post and previously when the Hewlett Foundation hired him and Peter Senge to make sure the Common Core vision in the US would align with Hewlett’s deep learning emphasis. And deep learning says the OECD as of 2010 means the same as its term “adaptive competence.” It all fits together like a designed blueprint, huh, once we focus on the actual implementation instead of the PR powerpoints?

So Kegan focused on “Competencies as Working Epistemologies: Ways We Want Adults to Know.” Now he left out the part about “so they will be suitably malleable in our evolving new social systems and take action to achieve what we wish” but that is the gist of it. If you remember genuine disciplinary knowledge and a well-practiced logical mind leads to overintellectualization. And that proves to be an obstacle to the desired consciousness that never forgets it is part of an interdependent collective. Seeking harmony with all others and nature…

So that’s the vision the OECD is chasing with PISA and it’s also the vision the RSA is pushing in its Social Brain Project so that students will be ready for what the OECD regards as a well-functioning 21st century society. Which is still about a public-sector administered subjective well-being society of equity and justice…

Oh quit laughing. Who says it will end poorly this time? We can dream, can’t we? As you can see there’s a reason everyone uses vague illusory phrases and misleading definitions to obscure the real vision. A book came out last week called Endangering Prosperity: A Global View of the American School published by the Brookings Institute with Larry Summers writing the Foreword. Mr Soon-to-Be-Head at the Federal Reserve Maybe. It laid out the need to do well on PISA and other international assessments as a means of “guaranteeing a vibrant economic future.” Poppycock! That’s not what is being measured and chasing after that type of excellence virtually ensures no continuation of economic prosperity.

I mentioned the Brookings angle because chasing after getting good at dialectical thinking and the integration of feeling into thought and new values as PISA actually pushes and monitors fits in perfectly to Brookings’ Metropolitanism, Regional Equity, Let the Public sector and Private sector work in partnership crony economic vision that we have already encountered. Like most things having to do with ed reforms these days the truth is behind the curtain and under the sofa but it IS there. And it is all linked. And surprisingly consistent across the decades once you see the vision of transformative change.

But a means for economic prosperity? No. I went back to another 1990 book so I could explain what really causes the kind of economic success and technological progress that is being used as the misleading sales pitch for all this psychological, change-the-student and society crap. Written by an economic historian, Joel Mokyr, The Lever of Riches: Technological Creativity and Economic Progress lays out the necessary ingredients. And unfortunately for all of us, they are precisely what is being shut down by these ed reforms.

Mokyr points out that what always stops technological progress in its tracks is “social forces that for one reason or another tried to preserve the status quo.” Now the benefits of ed reform and especially the digital literacy focus involve concentrated benefits to a relatively few companies and consultants and widely dispersed costs. Many of those are not even financial but the invisible shift to more malleable mindsets and personalities. Benefits to a few and dispersed, almost unseen costs, are a classic case of when the winners will try to lobby politicians and regulators to “help them out a bit.” And that’s apart from the paranoia that putting Worldcom and DEC on the list of former leading companies will do to surviving tech companies. Can’t imagine being dropped from the Dow Industrial Average will slow down HP’s push into ed in the least. Probably will become part of the turnaround plans. That’s how the cronyism instinct works once the public sector controls so much of who gets what.

Progress requires just the kind of willingness to manipulate the physical environment and nature that the ecologists are trying to shut down. The emphasis on holism just does not fit with the reality from history that “Teasing these secrets out of [nature] and then manipulating them for material benefit is the essence of any technological breakthrough.” Moreover, “technological change involves an attack by an individual on a constraint that everyone else takes as a given.” Now how will that happen in a society trying to wipe out the very legitimacy of individualism? Let’s run through the conditions required to be technologically creative and thus economically prosperous and let’s decide what is left standing after these ed reforms:

“First, there has to be a cadre of ingenious and resourceful innovators who are both willing and able to challenge their physical environment for their own improvement. ..Second, economic and social institutions have to encourage potential innovators by presenting them with the right incentive structure. In part such incentives are economic; technological creativity is more likely if an innovator can expect to become rich…Third, innovation requires diversity and tolerance [of ideas!! not skin color or gender]. In every society, there are stabilizing forces that protect the status quo… Technological creativity needs to overcome these forces.”

So the parts of the economy and educational institutions that do promote genuine technological creativity are becoming captive to the public sector and businesses wanting to make sure they don’t become the next defunct or greatly diminished company.

And all those slogans about innovation and entrepreneurship turn out to be about new social systems or different ways of organizing an economy or new kinds of human nature.

In other words, if we are to have ANY chance of preserving mass prosperity and technological progress going forward, we have got to keep our eye on the real implementation.

Verify everything from now on when it comes to education.


Staring Down the Sudden PISA & 21st Century Learning Hype Leads Straight to Planned Welfare State

I am going to interrupt our troubling tour into the psychological theories and practices being pushed on our students at our expense. Using euphemistic names like soft skills or student growth or metacognition or ‘innovative practices’ for suburban schools. Including lovely confessions that if it works in achieving desired behavioral changes in students it can be rolled out nationally. Some innovation. Certain school districts really need to stop calling parents anytime there is a school shooting tragedy or potential tragedy claiming that “student safety is our first priority.” Horse manure and lots of it. If that is true then we have a widespread epidemic of administrators and consultants pushing ideas on schoolchildren and parents at great expense and calling themselves “Doctor” without having the foggiest notion of what they are doing.

Which is entirely possible so that leaves it up to we the parents and taxpayers to get to the bottom of the tsunami of fundamental social, political, and economic transformation coming at us in time. We will need to point out to the current Living Large on the Public Payroll recipients that a vast expansion will simply lead to greater dysfunction and a complete loss of overall prosperity.

Now when I hear and read a coordinated push all of a sudden around a topic, I get to fall back on a specialist horde of knowledge that in fact remains quite useful whatever the OECD bureaucrats like Andreas Schleicher have to say. We have discussed what the OECD’s push to monitor subjective well-being globally will mean for education. What I know and may have forgotten to pass along is that everything the OECD pushes in education, and it is a primary driver globally, comes out of its desire for a public-sector dominant social welfare state and planned economy globally.  Especially in the US.

And Schleicher basically says so in this hugely troubling article from 2010. http://www.oecd.org/general/thecasefor21st-centurylearning.htm “Shifts in ways of doing business, of managing the workplace or linking producers and consumers” are just the kind of wholesale reimagining of our economy that we just keep encountering as attached to education reform. Like the changed Mindsets and New Worldviews created by humanist psychology theories and practices in the classroom, this is all a means to an end.

If you get a chance to read that 2 page paper you will see that Schleicher is describing 21st Century Learning in language that others have come outright and called dialectical thinking. It is to prepare students for a belief quite useful to proponents of wholesale fundamental transformation into Governors and Governed.

“Promote students dialectical thinking–the understanding that what is ‘true’ now may not be true in the future and may not have been true in the past.” [Professor Robert Steinberg, 2009, ASCD, ‘How to Teach the Other 3 Rs’]

Andreas is quite busy and it was the sudden promotion of his July 2012 TED talk hyping PISA but not mentioning the planned roll-out in many American school districts this fall that is part of what caught my interest. It was called “Use Data to Build Better Schools” and the kind of schools to be remade will of course depend on what data is being collected. Schleicher was kind enough to mention in the 20 minute talk that it was international assessments like PISA that have globalized education. I knew that and it’s time everyone else did too. PISA is measuring student values, attitudes, and beliefs and how they apply knowledge (as in Big Ideas or Concepts like Social Justice) to novel situations. Non-linear, no clear cut solution problems that the students have never encountered before.  Can you say Messing with the Mind or Dialectical again or the more common Higher Order Thinking Skills?

There is another very troubling slideshow on “Learning in the 21st Century-Lessons from Around the World” http://prezi.com/fuvde8bjh6qg/learning-in-the-21st-century-policy-lessons-from-around-the-world/ that was Schleicher speaking last fall at WISE in Qatar, the World Innovation Summit in Education. So good to know that the Muslim world has such an interest in limiting the intellectual and economic capacity of the West. It’s especially interesting given that Schleicher mentions that 21st Century Learning is a way to “avert the risks” of new technology. Is that why Big Blue sponsored his TED talk? No more unapproved competition? If that kind of collusion strikes you as unlikely you might want to read the OECD’s “Better Skills, Better Jobs, Better Lives” detailing the extent of the sought collaboration among government and existing employers around a global skills agenda. With the foundation of the largest education company in the world   http://www.pearsonfoundation.org/pr/20120523-Pearson-Foundation-and-OECD-Launch-skills-oecd-org.html signing on as a partner.

I could be here all day explaining the elements but it is clear that 21st Century Learning is tied to the OECD vision of the future global society and PISA functions as the means of measuring how schools and teachers are doing in creating the new desired mindsets amenable to such wholesale political change. Hopefully even clamoring for it as expectations for middle class employment are dashed as the combo of government interventionism in the economy and divorcing actual knowledge from credentials creates its foreseeable dire effects.

That’s why the other component of the full-court propaganda press suddenly surrounding PISA caught my attention. It turns out on August 13, 2013 Simon & Schuster (owned by CBS. Think media education and UNESCO) published a book The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way about who does well on PISA and how combining excellence with equity is necessary for being globally competitive. Now we know what PISA measures and that’s not my definition of smart. Is it yours? If you watch Schleicher’s presentation on prezi, you will hear the Ontario Premier touting Ontario’s success. It also has Ben Levin speaking but his authority on education reform has been compromised since his July 2013 arrest on child porn charges.

The Ontario Premier says that 4 in 10 Canadian students are now immigrants and it is important to change education to deal with that diversity. He points out Ontario is now considered high achieving because immigrant children and Canadian born children do equally well on PISA. If that is so, then they are practicing dialectical type, open-ended thinking in the classroom instead of academics and knowledge transmission and that is what PISA is picking up on. It’s Ontario’s business but we in the US and elsewhere need to not blindly jump aboard the PISA bandwagon like we are being led to do. Just look at the endorsements and reviews on Ripley’s book. Talk about the Appeal to Authority fallacy.

Ooops. I had forgotten her name. Amanda Ripley. She does human behavior and public policy stories for Time Magazine and The Atlantic. Since I assumed she knew the book title was deceitful to put it kindly, I looked into her background and discovered she was a fellow at the New America Foundation. When I took a look at what they were pushing with that troubling name, it turned out that shortly after the President’s reelection and through his inauguration, numerous public policy papers were created on the New America vision. That miraculously dovetails with precisely the sorts of things the OECD wants pushed globally. What. Are. The. Odds. The capstone, culmination paper was released in June and is called the Next Social Contract. http://nsc.newamerica.net/sites/newamerica.net/files/policydocs/Lind_Michael_NextSocialContract_2013.pdf

The New Social Contract completely remakes the America we have known and turns it into a public-sector dominated economic sewer. Complete with VAT, the federal takeover of Medicaid, turning health insurance into social insurance, eliminating “tax-privileged” retirement accounts, and best of all, federal revenue sharing to ensure regional equity of fiscal resources based on population. How exciting for California, NY, Illinois, and poor mismanaged Detroit. It’s a future that sees education and healthcare and state and local governments as the biggest employers and all at taxpayer expense.

“Privileged Americans should not be allowed to use sub-national jurisdictions as excuses for shirking their responsibility to contribute to minimum levels of public services throughout the United States as a whole.”

Welcome to the planned 21st Century America. I can see why that quote did not come out before Florida’s electoral votes were successfully grabbed for reelection.

That’s what we are dealing with behind all the rhetoric. No wonder OECD has taken up password protecting the pdfs surrounding its global Well-being conferences.

I am going to close with something federal Ed Secretary Arne Duncan said in connection with the 50th Anniversary of King’s March on Washington. He “called on educators and students to advance a civil rights agenda that presses for equal opportunities-and not just equal rights.”

He seems to be referring to the vision of that New Social Contract. But a knowledge of history and economics would reveal that the attempt is likely to destroy what does work. We are questing after a unicorn ride and pretending it is possible and jettisoning our current vehicle as we go a-dreaming. Some dreams are impossible.

How far down this road of creating new Mindsets and a new vision of the future will we go before we recognize we have expensively destroyed knowledge and expertise and social institutions we cannot easily remake?

Where will we be when the epiphany finally hits of all we have deliberately trashed? Ridiculously enough, in the name of education for all.

Some common core.