Parrhesia, Bill Ayers, Reinventing Schools for Meaning-Making, and Rewiring Teens’ Brains

Does that title seem a bit like a Jeopardy Question that starts with an unusual word and then leads to a notorious name for click bait? I wish, but Parrhesia is a Greek word that was in the last post’s paper on how John Dewey’s Ethics of Moral Principles and Deliberation were to be incorporated per IEEE Standards (no one was to tell us about) into the ‘adaptive instructional systems’ being touted as the answer for the Pandemic’s need to social distance. Until a Vaccine!! The systems of ethical deliberation becomes a component via required practices adaptive instructional systems incorporate into supplied student experiences. These are to “allow participants to safely engage in parrhesia.” No mention of “Guilty as *, Free as a Bird” Ayers yet, as the definition is a democratic mode of being, that is “an ancient Greek concept…[of] telling truth as one sees it with honesty and integrity…parrhesia qualities include engaging in dialogue, questioning, having a passion for public affairs and human equality. Parrhesia requires intellectual courage and risk-taking in truth telling and pursuits of inquiry.”

Ok, then the footnote goes to a paper by Kerry Burch on “Parrhesia as a Principle of Democratic Pedagogy” helpfully placed on US education websites with the heading “Social Justice: A Language Re/Considered”, which seems to be something we should know about before assuming digital learning is the answer to all our problems. It starts with quotes from Cornel West (whose self-professed ties to the Marxist Humanist vision we have covered here at ISC) and Paulo Freire, whose name is associated with rejecting the so-called Banking Theory of Education. Bill shows up later in the paper, but not by his nickname or standing on a flag in a New York Times article published just before 9/11/2001. No, here’s the passage:

Few educational thinkers describe the kind of democratic personality traits [Dispositions or Attributes of cybernetic citizenship or Character Education?] that need to be cultivated today as elegantly as William Ayers. These traits cannot easily be brought about by relying on the mechanistic knowledge ordained in conventional approaches to ‘learning’ about ”democracy’. Ayers’ charts a different course: ‘We want to teach them to take initiative, to be creative, to be imaginative, to take risks, to question authority, to wonder about the world. This means fundamentally, in a school system based on democratic values, we really believe that the full development of all is a condition for the full development of each.’

Ayers said that and the footnote goes to a Winter 2009 published interview, but Ayers is in turn quoting from Uncle Karl and his Human Development Society vision of the premise for his little ‘c’ communism ideal. No wonder the Chinese and the UN love this vision of cybernetic citizenship, but what a mandate for ‘adaptive instructional systems’ to be cultivating in students to prepare them for parrheistic modes of being. Sounds a bit like the call for an Arational mind that we have discovered lies at the foundation of what is really student proficiency in a competency-based system. When we think of ‘adaptive instructional systems” for K-12, who thinks it is something that would please Bill Ayers and fulfill Uncle Karl’s plans? Who will be looking for “how the buoyant sociality of parrhesia would promote the creation of critically awake democratic personalities”?

Another paper I located called “The Ethics of Critical Inquiry: Educational Research Informed by Parrhesia” attributed this push to notorious French philosopher Michel Foucault, who in turn talked about Aristotle. Which one gets cited later for a similar vision with differing sales pitches and rhetoric does not seem to be about any disagreement on what is being sought through education. Instead, I believe, the different approaches stem from which name the audience, including people being solicited for donations, are likely to revere. Parrhesia here is an attempt to “contribute to social good and bring about positive change” by fostering educational practices that will create “an ethos of disrupting human subjectivities from within”. That sounds a bit disruptive to the student’s personality, doesn’t it? The

early meaning was to open one’s heart and mind completely to other people through his or her discourse…Parrhesia … became associated with transforming the soul of an individual. Most importantly the concept developed political dimensions indispensable to democracy. Parrhesia meant to engage socially and politically as a consequence of integrity of the heart. It required one to courageously say truthful things that are useful for all to hear…It’s not a ‘body of knowledge’ but a ‘body pf practices’ without reference to an external order…It allows for mediation between the ethos of an individual and the well-being of society. In short, it is through parrhesia that an individual constitutes him/herself as a moral subject in relation to others.

Just the thing if a moral revolution is sought at the level of the human mind, heart, and soul as Uncle Karl envisioned. If you don’t want resistance create a need for digital learning because of something like a Pandemic and then mandate ‘parrheistic practices’ into the programming the learning experiences provided by ‘adaptive instructional systems’ offer up. Now before we turn to the latter part of this post’s title I want to link to this article https://behavioralscientist.org/behavioral-public-policy-faces-a-crisis/ on the failure to properly respond to COVID-19 which calls for cultivating minds that can “understand complex systems in crisis”. Since we keep coming across the behavioral sciences and their desire to create a new kind of educational template going back to the 1950s at least, I thought that article’s confession that:

Behavioral public policy is rooted in the idea that biases, heuristics, and mental models determine behavior. If you reframe or alter individuals’ decision making context, you change their behavior.

We now know that is precisely what learning standards like the Common Core in the US or any tied to UNESCO’s ISCED globally and competency-based education frameworks are designed to do. The Pandemic simply makes this desire for “shared frames of reference” for meaning-making supposedly necessary. It’s to be perceived as a crisis, like climate change, that necessitates common ways of looking at the world and what must be changed to meet the demands of the crisis. Individual deviations are not allowed. Yes, tell that to Shelly Luther in Texas or that barber in Michigan.

Timely too is that the May 2020 issue of Educational Leadership published by ASCD, which is now independent of the NEA, unlike in 1985 when it first introduced an internalized common core as I covered in Credentialed to Destroy. The issue is devoted to “Learning and the BRAIN” and one of its articles called “Building Meaning Builds Teens’ Brains” lays out how “Connecting adolescents’ concrete work to big ideas may help shape their neural networks over time.” Research for the article was provided by the National Science Foundation, which certainly explains why they also funded the math and science constructivism covered in Chapter 3 of CtD, and the Templeton Foundation. It would explain the latter’s funding of the Jubilee Centre in the UK and its Virtues curriculum, which we have since tied to the Pope’s new Humanity 2.0 initiative and its new vision for education. Templeton also funded Martin Seligman’s Positive Psychology and Positive Neuroscience work, among other things we have covered.

Remember so long ago here at ISC when I mentioned a new vision of Dialectical Materialism, a mouthful term, created in the USSR by Evald Ilyenkov called Ascending from the Abstract to the Concrete? We have now over time here at ISC tied to cybernetic designs, conceptual frameworks, and the now federally required assessment annually of Higher Order Thinking in virtually all US students. Now we have this new article informing us of the need for “Reinventing Schools for Meaning-Making”. What it bills as ‘narrative building’ by students certainly sounds like what the others described above suggested as parrheistic modes of being.

These curricular practices turn out to be expressly designed to rewire what the neural networks in teenage brains look like and what the students can do. In fact, by going to motivation, these practices act as an accelerant of future likely behavior. All of these intended interventions are probably helped by the co-authors connections that I have encountered in my research over time. Mary Helen Immordino-Yang shows up at both UNESCO conferences and Aspen’s NCSEAD on the need for social and emotional learning, as well as the NSF’s Brain Initiative. Perfect places to push a vision of education globally grounded in DiaMat that asks “How can we know when young people are building [brain networks]…predictive of success in school, self-actualization, relationship satisfaction, and other positive indicators in early adulthood?”

Think of the parrhesia invisible focus of ‘adaptive instructional systems’ and then ask the article’s question of “What kind of learning experiences strengthen connectivity across these networks?” Remember Bill Ayers’ mention of democratic traits above, which is why I bolded it? The ASCD article focuses on a similar target it italicized as dispositions of mind, which it goes on to say is not a new goal of education, citing to John Dewey among others. These are the stories or narratives the students tell themselves:

their inclinations to engage reflectively with issues and ideas, their tendencies to be curious and compassionate, and their proclivities to use what they learn to inform their emerging values…the patterns of thinking and feeling associated with these dispositions appeared to be influencing the growth of the networks of their brains.

Sounds like Parrhesia’s vision too, doesn’t it? That’s what education for meaning-making and tied to Big Ideas is targeting and it is what grounding adaptive instructional systems in John Dewey’s work also seeks to reengineer. No question about it anymore. This is not a peripheral aim and it’s not really about education per se. It’s education as a tool to reengineer at a neural level the citizens available for the global future. At the service of governments and their cronies.

As I will cover in the next post, it turns out that the stories we tell ourselves, and the concepts and categories of abstractions we use to interpret our daily experiences, are key to how we see the world and plan to act in it. Let me close with another quote from the EL article and just imagine the effect of the Pandemic on “The Stories Teens Tell” or at least what they will tell in the future.

…tying these dispositions to neural development, life success, and mental health gives this effort new urgency, and points us due north in an attempt to reimagine adolescents’ schooling. Evidence suggests that educators can learn to recognize, model, and support the development of these dispositions if they know what kinds of narratives to listen for and what kind of learning experiences lead to these patterns of thinking?

Now imagine the utility of standardizing ‘adaptive instructional systems’ in John Dewey’s work and Parrhesia will do for controlling the needed learning experiences to produce the desired ‘patterns of thinking’ and feeling for the new type of future citizen.

Gives new meaning to calls of May Day, May Day, doesn’t it?

 

 

Prospection: Training the Mind to Reject the Pre-Given World In Favor of What Might Be

Most of us, at least of a certain age, see the word ‘Understand’ and then it has something to do with how the world actually works or events that transpired in the past and what likely caused them and their ultimate consequences. This is from the Science Direct article called “Understanding is a Design Problem” written by Michael Lissack of the American Society for Cybernetics. It supplies the use of Understanding being pushed by Positive Psychology and its PERMA Model for education globally as well as other initiatives.

**  When the act of understanding becomes a design problem, we can more readily recognize the role played by individual agency/construction in shaping these understandings, and also our next moves.

**  Understanding is not about cognizing a pre-given world, it is about becoming aware of and consciously choosing the aspects of the world that we decide to cope with.

Those were from the bullet points of the abstract, but the following quote is from the paper itself under a heading of “The Role of As-Ifs,” which will fit nicely in a minute with what Positive Neuroscience and Psychology co-creator Martin Seligman calls Prospection and what the Templeton Foundation funded found here https://ppc.sas.upenn.edu/learn-more/readings-and-videos/selected-scholarly-articles called “Navigating the Future or Driven By the Past.” First, here is Lissack and think again of the Reading, Math, and Science Wars as we do:

Understanding requires agency. We do not nakedly receive meaning, nor do we just perceive the world as it is. Our cognitive equipment demands that we intervene to filter, prime, and frame some portion of the world, attend to that, develop an understanding and move on…The notion of as-ifs is critical to the argument that follows. Because of our limited cognitive resources, we cannot deal with the world as it is. We are stuck dealing with what our minds can process and treat that as if it were the world itself. The implications are vast. There may be fixed facts and absolute truths that apply in the real world, but we have no way of knowing such things…

We are stuck having to deal with as-ifs and not the real world. Where we do have choice is in the composition of those as-ifs. This is the context in which design [especially when mandated via learning standards like competency frameworks] can make a difference. ‘The object of the world of ideas as a whole is not the portrayal of reality–this would be an utterly impossible task–but rather to provide us with an instrument for finding our way about more easily in this world.’ [and] ‘Knowledge is not a matter of getting reality right…but rather a feature of acquiring habits of action for coping with reality.’

Gives new meaning, doesn’t it, to the emphasis now on Concepts first and whether the student applies the concepts in real world simulations and new situations that get required via Equity mandates like this one from yesterday? https://www.inacol.org/resource/how-systems-of-assessments-aligned-with-competency-based-education-can-support-equity/ Success for All suddenly means all students must have their mental models reengineered. Equity does sound better.  All students need the so-called higher performance (as in action, not grades) measures of achievement because as Lissack explained it:

Attention and ascription–giving a label to something, and thus providing a means of reference for it–entail a continuous circular reflexivity which drives our decision making and actions at any given instant…Only attended-to possibilities can afford an option for action. Unattended-to affordances, while theoretically available, simply do not afford. Action is dependent upon recognizing an affordance, which is dependent upon attention, which in turn is dependent on priming (preparedness to be attended to), which is itself dependent upon prior ascriptions, prior attention, and prior actions.

It is this context that I would put this mandate https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/13/new-zealand-schools-to-teach-students-about-climate-crisis-activism-and-eco-anxiety as the desired attended-to concepts are instilled in students’ minds to necessitate future action. Now to Seligman’s 2013 article which claimed that “Prospection, the representation of possible futures, is a ubiquitous feature of the human mind…Prospection involves no backward causation; rather, it is guidance not be the future itself but by present, evaluative representations of future possible states.” Sounds like Lissack’s desire to design the as-if conditionals that will become students habits of mind and motivators to act to me. Suddenly the need for Character Education and Virtue Training makes perfect sense if the emphasis is to be on decision making in light of ‘needs and goals’ as in this passage from the first paragraph laying out the new model of human psychology.

We suggest an alternative framework in which people and intelligent animals draw on experience to update a branching array of evaluative prospects that fan out before them. Action is then selected in light of their needs and goals. The past is not a force that drives them but a resource from which they selectively extract information about the prospects they face.

One point of contention between this blog and my book Credentialed to Destroy and other education writers has been a tendency for others to hype Behaviorism as the inspiration reforms, while I have seen cybernetics and the desire to control perception and the internalized mental models as the aspiration. Seligman shed meaningful light on this point where “the failure of behaviorism lay in its overreach, trying to use a theory that worked for rats and pigeons in the experimental setting to explain human psychology in unconstrained situations…we believe that the crucial failure was in eschewing teleological explanation, which followed directly from the exclusion of mental events in favor of drives and habits.” He then goes on to detail how the rat experiments actually “pointed clearly away from the idea that behavior was under the control of past motor ‘habits,’ suggesting instead that an acquired ‘cognitive map’ governed navigation flexibly, permitting goal-directed behaviors of unprecedented kinds.”

Seligman then made the fascinating point that the oft-cited Russian psychologist Pavlov’s research had been mistranslated into English “in such a way as to underscore the lack of teleology. His ‘conditional’ and ‘unconditional’ were rendered ‘conditioned’ and ‘unconditioned’ and this shift to the past participle brought with it the connotation of a fixed relation, whereas ‘conditional,’ Pavlov’s term, allows the ‘if-then’ representation of possibilities.” Remember our ‘pragmatic inquiry’ from Part 1 of what I am ultimately going to call this Enactive Cognitive Science Trilogy? Seligman goes into more detail about the actual rat experiments and then concludes that:

Rats, it seems, are more predictable when we postulate that they act through complex expectation-based representations of possible actions and outcomes, behaving more like inquirers actively seeking to anticipate the future than creatures of habit-channeled drives? Perhaps humans should be given as much credit…A conceptual error seems to have animated behaviorism, in which something genuinely suspect–a metaphysical teleology of causation backward in time, of the present by the future–was conflated with something not at all mysterious, namely, guidance by a system bearing causal and evaluative information about possible futures.

The quotes above from Lissack about ascriptions and attended-to affordances fit with what Seligman calls the Logic and Benefits of Expectation. Try not to compare 21st century students to Lashley’s rats in this quote:

Choice now makes sense. Lasley’s rats, even when confined to the narrow channels of the maze, appear to have been building up ab evaluative map of the possibilities their environment afforded, stretching well beyond actual experience and enabling them to improvise opportunistically on the spot. Such behavior draws attention to another core aspect of cognition that is oriented toward prospection: the active, selective seeking of information (‘exploration’), which, if we are right about prospection, should be as vital as the active, selective processing of information…Expectation is pivotal in schema (1) [adaptive feed-forward/feedback models of learning and control] because it transforms experience into experimentation–continuously generating a ‘test probe’ so that the next experience always involves an implicit question and supplies an answer, which can then function as an error-reducing ‘learning signal’.

Doesn’t that sound just like what the Formative Assessment hype brought in above in the name of Equity calls Continuous Improvement? It is what Seligman called “such active, ongoing prospection nicely illustrates teleological control–navigating into the future by considering future possibilities and electing action [student performance] in light of the benefits and risks they promise.” All the emphasis on Virtues in the Portrait of a Graduate or in Classical Education https://imprimis.hillsdale.edu/four-pillars-educating-america/ , for example, make far more sense if there is a perceived need to educate Desire: “because desire provides an intelligible teleology for human action, a narrative arc stretching from discovery of a transfixing but distant prospect, across the drama of longing, seeking, and overcoming obstacles, to arrive at a denouement in union with the object of desire.”

What a student likes and values then affects their action in light of perceived possibilities and the “motivation for such action is not determined by fixed drives or past conditioning but is elicited by the evaluative process itself through the normal working of desire…Our title emphasizes navigating the future because, like a navigator, the organism must not only act but also mentally explore options and keep track of progress.” Let’s close not with the theory, but with the OECD’s Future of Education and Skills 2030 aspiration. In the ironically called Conceptual learning framework for Student Agency for 2030, where the children are already in our schools:

The concept of student agency, as understood in the context of the OECD Learning Compass 2030, is rooted in the principle that students have the ability and the will to positively influence their own lives and the world around them. Student agency is thus defined as the capacity to set a goal, reflect and act responsibly to effect change. It is about acting rather than being acted upon; shaping rather than being shaped; and making responsible decisions and choices rather than accepting those determined by others…While a well-developed sense of agency can help individuals achieve long-term goals and overcome adversity, students need foundational cognitive, social, and emotional skills so they can apply agency to their own–and society’s–benefit.

The illusion of choice using a contrived cognitive map created by mostly mandated learning experiences that over time have turned into habits. Predictable actions in the future engineered by all those as-if scenarios practiced in digital learning environments and role-playing online and in group activities.

Part 3 whenever I get a chance. Bon Chance!

 

 

 

Collective Cognition: Stipulating Right Thinking and Prescribing Prevailing Ideas to Defeat Polarization

Never heard the phrase ‘collective cognition’ before? Wouldn’t creating required learning standards and then assessing for their presence in guiding a student’s thoughts and actions amount to learning How to Think as a Community? After I wrote last week’s post, but knowing we were about to pivot next to something called the Hidden Tribes Project, I was fascinated to read the bio of the co-author of this recent article https://behavioralscientist.org/the-cognitive-science-of-political-thought-practical-takeaways-for-political-discourse/ where Professor Sloman admits that the cognitive, linguistic, and psychological sciences can be used to create Collective Cognition. If only some ultra-rich person would bequeath mega-millions to his employer, Brown University, to set up a Center to create models for K-12 education reforms.

Think of the Hidden Tribes Project as what to do about the adults whose minds and values got away when earlier versions of K-12 education reforms, like outcomes-based education, failed to shift as desired away from subject-content to changing:

the ideas that give your life direction. And the answers fit together into a larger picture–what we call a ‘worldview,’ a way of understanding and making sense of our world. Your worldview determines (consciously or unconsciously) how you interpret and respond to everything in life. This is why it is so important to begin thinking about your worldview and the ideas you believe to be true…develop a worldview that influences everything you do.

That is a really useful definition of worldview and why, I believe, we have found it as the aim of what my book laid out as Tranzi OBE from the 90s, and what we are seeing as Portrait of a Graduate or Learner Profiles now. It’s why learning standards globally carefully lay out the desired elements and seek to prescribe the ‘learning experiences’ that will create the characteristics at an internalized, physiological level. The Hidden Tribes Project, clearly related to the same aim but geared to adults and located at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, stated that its “focus is to better understand the forces that drive political polarization and tribalism in the United States today, and to galvanize efforts to address them.” I found the Project after it was hyped here in July https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/what_are_the_solutions_to_political_polarization and I recognized the links to both Seedbed of Virtues and the 1997 “A Call to Civil Society”.

George Will, in his Soulcraft book, kept using the same term “Better Angels of Our Nature” so let’s look and see how ‘our nature’ can be reengineered with education reforms and other social science projects. After all, one of the co-authors of the June 2019 More in Common report “The Perception Gap: How False Impressions are Pulling Americans Apart” is tied to the Templeton-funded Positive Neuroscience initiative at U-Penn that is also tied to the World Happiness Reports the UN has taken to publishing. If he states that “in coming years I plan on continuing to use the tools of social science to improve human interaction and society. Through teaching, speaking, researching, and writing, I hope to do my part to help humanity realize the best possible version of itself,” we would be wise to listen.

Humanity is so grateful, I reply with my usual sarcasm. Hopefully such aspirations and scholarship in “studying how social context in various populations can impact people’s moral judgment and behavior…” will get Mr Yudkin tenure somewhere. According to the 2018 “Hidden Tribes: A Study of America’s Polarized Landscape” the “work of rebuilding our fractured society needs to start now” and it needs to occur at the level of each person’s values, attitudes, and beliefs. This will allow “re-connecting people across the lines of division in local communities all the way to building a renewed sense of national identity: A bigger story of us.” More in Common believes that “a healthy democracy…requires a sense of shared values and commitments, and a willingness to find common ground”. That desired answer to polarization and tribalism, a desired standardization at the level of “mind, heart, and soul” for all citizens, young and old, requires deliberately targeting:

At the root of America’s polarization are divergent sets of values and worldviews, or ‘core beliefs’. These core beliefs shape the ways that individuals interpret the world around them at the most fundamental level. Our study shows how political opinions stem from these deeply held core beliefs. This study examines five dimensions of individuals’ core beliefs:

  •  Tribalism and group identification
  •   Fear and perception of threat
  •   Parenting style and authoritarian disposition
  •   Moral foundations
  •   Personal agency and responsibility

This study finds that the hidden architecture of beliefs, worldview and group attachments can predict an individual’s views on social and political issues with greater accuracy than demographic factors like race, gender, or income.

So education at every level and the media, whether broadcast, print, or websites of various supposed spectrums, need to get at and change that hidden architecture. To uncover and understand core beliefs, and “explore how this understanding can be used, not to deepen polarization but to bring people together.” Does the coordinated effort to pretend that the Common Core was about workforce preparation or a database of personally identifiable information about students instead of an effort to change those prevailing values, attitudes, and beliefs suddenly make more sense? What if I told you that the initial indented quote on worldview came from something called the Lightbearers Curriculum from Summit Ministries that I found after a Daily Caller article this summer made a reference to something called a Blue Sky Worldview and a camp to create it? What if the same article simultaneously misrepresented socialism and asserted that Marxism is only what was found in the past in Communist countries or is what Bernie Sanders pushes?

Let’s just say our False Narrative purveyors were well-represented among the advocates for this curriculum that also seeks to control “what ideas will rule the world” and provide “guidelines for shaping society for everyone’s benefit”. It is a curriculum intended for “endowing [the student] with the responsibility for shaping the future of the world.” Theoretical Marxism, the non-historical kind that is a theory of Man as a Maker of History seeking to drive a transformational process in the real world, would recognize that aspiration as bringing about what Uncle Karl called the Human Development Society. It is still the same theory even when the M word is not used and the sales pitch is the need to “redeem culture as part of God’s creation.” Worthy aspirations and a theological emphasis do not change the nature of this theory or who created the idea of how to get such a theory into practice (Praxis?).

Calling it “faith in action” instead of praxis, or opining that “without action, students may relegate what they are hearing to dry academic philosophies and not realize that these ideas should become part of their lives on a daily basis,” doesn’t distinguish aims that function the same with comparable purposes. So religious based or classical schools want ideas embodied into action as an integral part of the curriculum to create Desired Habits and Behaviors and so do public schools now as part of learning standards and what is called High Quality Project-Based Learning. See what I mean about going to the same place and targeting the same normative realm in each student?

Tranzi OBE, in function even if now euphemized into a myriad of new names, still is in play if the curriculum actively seeks to tell students they should be change agents and

stop being conformed by the ‘water’ around them, the culture they were in. Rather, they should be transformed by renewing their minds. The idea behind the word ‘transformed’ is that of metamorphosis–changing into something different. While conformity to the world is something that happens passively, being transformed is something that happens actively. Conformity just happens, but transformation requires effort. Transformation only happens through mind renewal, changing the way you think.

I bolded that last part from the Lightbearers Curriculum to call attention to a discussion in the comments from the last post when I said that the predecessor to the Common Core was something in the 90s called the New Standards Project. Before Professor Lauren Resnick helped create that initiative, she called her curriculum a Thinking Curriculum to be grounded in HOTS–Higher Order Thinking Skills. Stipulated Ideas would dominate so that the real world perceptions would be controlled by Desired Ideas and Theories of What Could Be. The Soviets in 1962 called this a new kind of Dialectic Materialism that would allow a transformation of the existing world via a theory they called Ascending from the Abstract to the Concrete.

Its ideals still work the same today whether pushed on adults to supposedly bridge a Perception Gap and create a Convergence to defeat Polarization, or on children via mischaracterized learning standards and Thinking Curricula.

All of these advocates recognize that changing how we think leads to “transforming our behavior” in predictable ways. If anyone wants to prescribe “the basis of our decisions and actions,” as these various NGOs like UNESCO or the OECD, faith-based institutions, think tanks, or any other institution have explicitly said they wish to do if we know where to look, we should all be aware that has become the new purpose of education and the goal of much of what is broadcast or published by the media.

I suppose I should be grateful my book and then this blog set off such an orchestration of False Narratives. The deceit left the crumbs that enable us to see the common vision. Everyone seems to want to get at what we believe and feel in order to control how we will behave.

And it has nothing to do with training pigeons except that once installed in our neural circuits via cognitive psychology, we will be programmed indeed.

 

 

Epiphany Moment: Education as Cultural Transformation Using Heart and Mind Manipulation

Eureka! When I wrote the last post I recognized the common vision, but had not yet fully tracked down the why. That shifted quickly though when I followed up on one of the attendees at the Humanity 2.0 conferences at the Vatican, U-Chicago prof Candace Vogler, since I remembered she was also tied to the NIH-funded Science of Virtues Project covered here http://invisibleserfscollar.com/locating-the-internalized-information-guiding-human-behavior-so-it-can-be-controlled-and-transformed/ . Rereading that post was a reminder of just how very tied the players covered there are to the organized False Narrative of what the Common Core, competency-based education, SEL, and data gathering are all about. That much coordination and coincidence cannot be accidental. Discovering then just how much of Vogler’s work has been financed by the Templeton Foundation, and finally that Templeton had announced its intention to finance and investigate cultural evolution via the individual human mind was my epiphany moment.

Suddenly we were no longer talking about the Social Reconstructionists, UNESCO, and its founder, Julian Huxley’s vision, as covered in Credentialed to Destroy, but think tanks across the purported political spectrum. All the pushes about values and Character initiatives and an emphasis on Truth, Beauty, and Goodness make sense if you believe that “Moral systems are the psychological and sociological ‘glue’ that holds human groups together as adaptive units, at the scale defined by the moral system, establishing a fundamental connection between morality and group-level intelligence” as this Templeton announcement put it https://evolution-institute.org/prosocial-world-receives-grant-from-templeton-world-charity-foundation/ . As a recent book by the Director of the Templeton-supported Jubilee Centre for Character & Virtues in the UK (where I first found the reference to Humanity 2.0) put it in his book Flourishing as the Aim of Education:

In general, human associations across the globe seem to be moving in a morally progressive direction despite recent ‘post-truth’ blips: a direction that makes educational discourse ripe for accounts of human flourishing as its ultimate aim…[The sought self-change in the students occurs because of] these ‘Damascus experiences’ that comes about through the recognition of transpersonal ideals that inspire awe…The awe and wonder we experience in the face of such self-transcendent ideals enables us to envisage new horizons for ourselves; we suddenly see ourselves and the world in a radically different way.

It turns out there is a word for this, ‘cultural cognitive models’ and transforming these has become the stealth means of evolution in the 21st century. As best I can tell, a 1973 paper (tied to the same Palo Alto behavioral change research center now tied to the National Growth Mindset Network) called “Theories of Culture” hatched the plan in earnest. Its author, Roger M. Keesing, laid out a desire for:

Conceiving culture as an ideational subsystem within a vastly complex system, biological, social and symbolic, and grounding our abstract models in the concrete particularities of human social life. [Today’s Evidence-Based Policymaking!]…attempts to map cultures as ideational systems in the light of an emerging understanding of mind and brain should enable clearer insights into the organization of experience and the nature and depth of variation in the thought worlds of men.

With prescribed, globalized learning standards, there won’t be much variation for long! If anyone does not believe me that the ‘thought worlds’ are a bullseye for standardization we have this 2017 paper financed by Templeton called “Cultural evolutionary theory: How culture evolves and why it matters” https://www.pnas.org/content/114/30/7782 stating:

Deeper analysis of how human culture, human ecology, and the human environment coevolve is necessary for understanding historical and present dynamics, and for predicting future trends. These analyses will provide much-needed tools for the planning and direction of such dynamics. Humans’ worldwide well-being and that of the ecosystem we live in depend on our ability to make such predictions and act accordingly.

Here is another confirmation of this intended aim tied to another Templeton grantee https://singularityhub.com/2018/02/22/cultural-evolution-can-provide-the-tools-to-build-global-scale-resilience/ and on July 17, 2018 the American Anthropological Society announced its intention to make ‘cultural models theory’ (CMT) the path for future research grounded in CMT’s ‘fundamental assumption that the locus of culture is the minds of individuals.” I have alluded to this before since conceptual frameworks and Disciplinary Core Ideas are being laid out in learning standards mandates, but this paper “From Cultural Models to Cultural Categories”  helps make the bullseye and the rationale for targeting it even more clear. http://acrwebsite.org/volumes/8631/volumes/v29/NA-29 Making sense of the world and your experiences or ‘cultural meanings’ :

are created and maintained by the interaction between an extrapersonal world of objects and symbols and the intrapersonal world of individual’s mind. Thus, to understand and analyze culture in totality we need to to take into account both the intrapersonal world of cultural values and cognitive structures of mind and the extrapersonal world of cultural symbols and artifacts. The main objective of this paper is to propose a conceptual framework, which derives cultural categories by analyzing culture at perceptual, behavioral, and symbolic levels.

Precisely what outcomes-based education in the 90s and competency-based education tied to learning standards targets now. All designed, then and now, to force a cultural evolution grounded in transforming Values and Thought Patterns as illustrated here https://www.spps.org/cms/lib/MN01910242/Centricity/Domain/125/iceberg_model_3.pdf It really does make the ubiquity of Tranzi OBE quite clear, doesn’t it? No wonder it has been renamed now as Portrait of a Graduate or Learner Profiles. That does sound more appealing than transforming the mind to fit the global collectivist vision for the desired 21st century comrade. Here is one last link that did a succinct job of laying out why altering cultural cognitive models is the new stealth means of revolutionary change that may initially be hard to discern.  http://trnerr.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Cultural-Models.pdf which usefully italicized the fact that : “Cultural models are important for communicators to consider because they shape and constrain how people think about an issue and the solutions that they see as effective and appropriate.”

The widely-shared nature of cultural models makes them incredibly valuable for strategic framers who wish to change the conversation about a complex social issue…models derive from exposure to common experiences over time. If communicators can change the context in which people experience an issue–through the media, through advocacy and through policies that change the context–[now just imagine adding the immersive possibilities of digital learning and virtual reality!] they can, over time enact deep, meaningful, and sustainable changes at the level of cultural models. The durability of cultural models means that communicators need to be aware of these ways of thinking and that they need to work hard to create new ways for people to think about social issues.

This has truly been a fascinating journey, especially because of the amount of clarity surrounding what I can document and thus prove. All the sudden references to Aristotle in a recommended template for change in the student that certainly looks to me like the Marxist Humanist template make far more sense if, like me, you located the PhD thesis of the author of Flourishing as the Aim of Education where he laid out the ties between Marx’s thought and its foundations in Aristotle’s. Suddenly the multisyllabic title of “A Neo-Aristotelian Model of Moral Development” created by the Jubilee Centre in 2017 can be accurately seen for the euphemism for an infamous ideology it actually is.

We cannot fight against what we cannot see and as usual, this post is an attempt to create the needed illumination. Otherwise, our childrens’ minds and personalities will remain tools for transformation in what is actually a global Social Reconstruction Project.

 

 

 

Another Gear Change: Perceiving the Patterns Underlying the Human Learning Process

Over the weekend, I was reviewing my notes and trying to figure out how to explain the common transformative aims of what has arrived in my inbox  since the beginning of 2019. A quote Kenneth Boulding made in the mid-70s in his book Ecodynamics: A New Theory of Societal Evolution jumped out at me. He wanted to target the “evaluative processes of human judgment, which are the foundations of decision-making,” just like UNESCO announced in May 2018 was to be their goal for K-12 education. http://invisibleserfscollar.com/facing-the-fold-to-overcome-the-prisons-of-our-minds-and-thus-transform-the-future/ laid out how to change images of the future and anticipatory assumptions and fits with what Boulding hoped for decades before.

“reasoning about the self and about society is likely to accelerate the patterns of evolutionary development, but we can be sure that reason as we know it today is not final…In the future we may be able to perceive patterns and handle models of complexity far beyond our present capability. Should this enable us to perceive the patterns underlying the human learning process itself, this might indeed constitute another gear change in the long process of evolution with a further acceleration of the evolutionary pattern through time…all decisions are about the future and all our experience and records are of the past. It is only as we see patterns in this past record that we have any hope of making projections of the future and of making decisions that will change the future in ways we desire. To change the future, after all, is the object of any decision.”

Now what if a planner with desires for fundamental transformations could control what “patterns are seen in this past record” by making learning conceptual, instead of factual? Couldn’t that planner and any learning standards created to internalize the desired pattern perception actually control people’s desired images of the future? That’s the plan anyway as an October 1991 article called “Ten Ways to Integrate Curriculum” made clear. It talked about using Concepts, Topics, and Categories so that eventually “The disciplines become part of the learner’s lens of expertise; the learner filters all content through this lens and becomes immersed in his or her experiences.” Some autonomy, huh? See why it mattered in the last post if the explicit instruction is to impart conceptual lenses, instead of imparting facts? Who will then recognize if the concepts are inapt and the provided example is false?

Before we talk about the social and emotional learning emphasis of this contrived web of perception and interpretation as laid out in http://nationathope.org/report-from-the-nation/ that came out in January from the Aspen NCSEAD we have covered repeatedly, I want to pull up a January 1998 speech Martin Seligman (of IPEN and Positive Neuroscience among others) gave upon assuming the Presidency of the APA. Several of the people mentioned in the speech titled “Building human strength: psychology’s forgotten mission” are also involved with that Nation of Hope report and its supporting documents. https://nonopp.com/ar/Psicologia/00/pres.htm wants to “create a science of human strength…focused on systematically promoting the competence of individuals.” That science’s goal and the new role of education will be to “foster these virtues in young people” as likely buffers against mental illness: courage, optimism, interpersonal skill, work ethic, hope, honesty and perseverance.

One of the supporting papers from that Nation at Hope vision can be found here https://www.rwjf.org/content/dam/farm/reports/issue_briefs/2018/rwjf450542 from December 2018 and it is also tied to both that 1998 APA speech as well as the Nation at Hope NCSEAD vision. Its cover gives a nice concise definition of social and emotional learning (SEL) that fits with Boulding’s, Seligman’s, and now the NCSEAD plans for evolutionary education to a new kind of mind and decision-making processes.

SEL is defined as the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.

To change the future, after all, is the object of any decision is what Boulding wrote decades ago and suddenly that hoped for gear is the focus of so much interest and plans. A Nation at Hope states that “children require a broad array of skills, attitudes, and values.They require skills such as paying attention, setting goals, collaboration, and planning for the future. They require attitudes such as internal motivation, perseverance, and a sense of purpose. They require values such as responsibility, honesty, and integrity. They require the abilities to think critically, consider different views, and problem solve.” It goes on to talk about “helping children learn these traits and skills” using the usual contrived arguments so lets go back to Boulding’s far more forthcoming explanation:

“It may well be that biological evolution is approaching its end and that it will be succeeded by an evolutionary process wholly dominated by noogenetic processes directed by human values.”

Noogenetic may sound like a mouthful, but the prescribed concepts, categories, and topics, learning standards, competency-emphasis, SEL hype, are all examples of how experiences alter in foreseeable ways the genetic, biological material we were all born with. Think of all these books, plans, reports, and speeches as simply declarations of “Boy, do we have plans for you using the Holy Grail of education” to mask the hoped-for transformation. Remember how I called attention to the focus on values, attitudes, and beliefs in my book Credentialed to Destroy and then the False Narrative hijacked that insight to mean a database of PII on each student? A Nation at Hope explains that targeting like this: “No one involved in education can view the values and beliefs held by students as trivial or secondary. They are the very things that can grip the imagination and determine the direction of a life.”

Values, attitudes, and beliefs, in other words, act as the rudder of personal decision-making and being able to prescribe them and manipulate them is a crucial aspect of steering a society as a collective without effective opposition. Internalized at the level of ideas, images, and emotions is quite hard to see unless, like me, you keep stumbling across those very plans for internalized subordination and unknowing submission. The False Narratives themselves make far more sense when we read of the NCSEAD plans of Convergence using the SEL focus because “it brings together a traditionally conservative emphasis on local control and on the character of all students, and a historically progressive emphasis on the creative and challenging art of teaching and the social and emotional needs of all students, especially those who have experienced the greatest challenges.”

Right on cue, we had an essay by a Maryland State Education Board member and ed consultant Andy Smarick, with ties to a number of supposedly conservative or libertarian think tanks https://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2019/01/48003/ pushing for a vision he called Capacitating Conservatism which would see “policy as a tool for re-empowering individuals and their mediating institutions so that they can re-instill beliefs and practices that have atrophied.” If what is to be instilled has to live behind deceit about the true ed reform agenda and how learning standards really work, it’s not actually Conservative. That’s simply a label to gain implementation and support without opposition.

Human Flourishing as a goal does not come from deceitful, False Narratives of the kind we keep encountering. Yet if the Civil Society emphasis of that article’s author fits with A Nation at Hope‘s rhetoric about “effective education involves values, healthy attitudes, social skills, and a commitment to the betterment of the community,” we have a Convergence by think tanks around a common vision for education that is not being shared as they fundraise. If a Classical School’s Pillars of Excellence or a charter school network’s Due North Moral Compass also illustrate what A Nation at Hope envisions as  “working to transform schools into places that foster empathy, respect, self-mastery, character, creativity, collaboration, civic engagement and–on the strength of these values-academic excellence. They are encouraging communities to embrace the ambition, compassion, and rigor of social, emotional, and academic education,” assertions begin to make more sense.

Every one involved with these visions and the supposed alternatives appears to actually be going to the same place. They are on the same page to use a different metaphor. We are not supposed to grasp that though. Think about what Boulding said would be possible once Human Learning knowledge reached a certain point and then read this quote with the Header: “Think About the Skills that Help You Learn and Grow as an Adult Every Day.”

The ones that help you think, relate, and act responsibly. What if we could help our children develop that same set of skills in school? We know more than ever about what it takes for optimal learning; now is the time to put that knowledge into practice for all children everywhere.

Is the focus on Equity then, really about Fairness and Justice for All? Or is it a slogan that lets How We Think become a basis for prescription, monitoring, and adjustment for purposes of political change? The latter can be called ‘public policy’ as a euphemism and pitched instead as the “lessons, beliefs, and norms that make a free society succeed.” After all, how many students and adults grounded in supplied concepts, categories, and topics, coupled to contrived learning experiences to instill the desired Attributes, will recognize factually what free societies really had in common historically?

If we do, in fact, have an unacknowledged Convergence now globally around education the following quote makes more sense as it talks about the shared vision.

In Every Collective Human Endeavor There Comes a Moment–a moment when we know so much more about what we ought to do. A moment when multiple voices and perspectives coalesce around a shared vision. A moment when, together, we can make the possible real. In education, that moment is now.

I think the moment is now too, which is why it is so important to decipher the actual shared vision that is intended to transform us and our children. Professors Boulding and Seligman were honest about their intentions of transformation using education. The purposes of an Integrated Curriculum and an SEL focus are also crystal clear.

If a Clarion Call is sounding, we darn well better understand accurately what we are being called to do, be, and become.

 

 

 

Implanted Thoughts Never Had Before Via Citizen Science and the ABCD Framework

That was a longer writing break than I had intended but I got called up for jury duty, needed CLE credits, threw a 90th birthday party, and kept everyone happy last week with turkey, etc. Mostly though I was taken aback shortly after I wrote the last post when the National Academy of Sciences released an on-point and thoroughly alarming paper called “Learning Through Citizen Science: Enhancing Opportunities By Design” that made it crystal clear that the ‘science’ is about redesigning citizens–you, me, and our children–at the level of our ‘motivation, interest, and identity’.  Since I have seen this vision before, let me go back and quote from a 1992 book called Harmonic Learning by James Moffett, who was involved with both the true aims of learning standards and Carnegie-funded innovative curricula before that. Since what was innovative before is now required learning experiences that are ‘relevant,’ ‘authentic,’ and foster desired competencies, let’s see what Moffett aimed for.

Moffett aimed at what he called the “inner system” and he rejected the transmission of existing knowledge because it would preserve identification with what exists now, instead of what could be. He wanted activities and experiences that would create a (bolding is mine):

“generation of students who will have thoughts we have not had before. It is clear that the nation’s and the planet’s problems cannot be solved by just thinking along the lines we do now according to our heritage. Societies relying on conventional wisdom are doomed. They need instead some breathtakingly new ideas that will never come from a cookie-cutter curriculum designed to relay some gist of what is known and thought now…If we don’t enable the young to transform the culture, we won’t have one to transmit…If we educate youngsters to transcend their heritage, they will be able to transform it and lead other cultures to do the same.”

That quote from more than 25 years ago fits with a story published on November 13 called “Why Zero-Based Thinking is Mission Critical in Reimagining Education” in case anyone thinks it is not still what drives learning standards. Zero-Based Thinking strikes at the limitations placed on thinking “by existing practices” and the “system we’ve inherited” to stress the “thinking our society demands we come up with…therein lies the block that prevents so many from getting to Zero-Based Thinking. We know too much…change demands we break those ties that bind…change demands that we see opportunities, instead of simply seeing a structure…On the other hand, if we see opportunities, we can focus on the possibilities.”

That’s why the Citizen Science paper wants to move “beyond a simple view of learning as an individual acquiring a fixed body of declarative facts and procedural knowledge to the recognition that learning is embedded in social interactions and involves complex reasoning and reflection.” That crucial shift puts the “inner system” of each citizen on the menu for reeducation so that the “critical aspects of program design that can engage cognitive, affective, and social outcomes” can be politically mandated. Those conceptual, intrapersonal and interpersonal outcomes are the specified ‘learning objectives’ and getting them into place at a neural level is the new purpose of curricula and prescribed learning activities and experiences. That we are the entities that must be transformed through schools and also the media is why citizen science insists that “motivation, interest, and identity…are learning outcomes themselves.”

We know from the previous post that the desired neural change needs that perception of autonomy, even though it is illusory in a world of globally prescribed learning standards, implemented locally. After all, last week the OECD (the creator of the influential PISA) released a draft document called BASIC–A Toolkit and Ethical guidelines for Applying Behavioural Insights in Public Policy that freely admitted targeting “the way individuals and groups process information and make decisions” for transformational change purposes. BASIC is an acronym for Behaviour, Analysis, Strategy, Intervention, and Change. One of the BASIC tools is what it calls the ABCD Framework. That’s right. It wants education to target individual’s at the “inner system” level of Attention, Belief Formation, Choice, and, finally, Determination.

The ABCD framework has the graphic of a circle and makes it clear that we citizens are being molded at the level of our mental models to ultimately be motivated to act in desired ways without ever recognizing just how manipulated we are. No wonder the OECD and its UNESCO partner are pushing competency-based education worldwide. We don’t have to intuit anything after looking at such a graphic, but like those ubiquitous Ronco holiday commercials when I was a child, “Wait! There’s more!” Tomorrow, in Incheon, Korea, the OECD commences its 6th OECD World Forum. https://thriveglobal.com/stories/the-future-of-well-being/ The draft programme lays out that “Navigating the most pressing well-being challenges facing governments and citizens in the future will require new ways of measuring, thinking and acting. More than ever, many of these challenges will need coordinated approaches and collective action, both within and between countries.”

With one of the sessions having the name “A psychological approach to the future of well-being” featuring Positive Education’s Richard Layard, we once again do not need to speculate on the how of the desired transformation. Let me quote though from what the phrase “Governance in a complex world” actually means, especially since another panel is “Rethinking the State for the 21st Century.” If, as I have been warning, the meaning of the term ‘governance’ now is about rewiring desired citizen characteristics in at a neural level using poorly understood learning standards and competency frameworks, the following verbiage from the forum makes perfect sense and fits with BASIC and that ABCD Framework.

“These sessions will address the new modes of governance that are needed to ensure inclusive growth and sustainable well-being in the coming years. They will address issues such as the need for an ’empowering state’ that invests in fostering equality and improving people’s lives, how governments can and should work together with non-state actors from the private sector and civil society, how to ensure international cooperation into the future, how to make the connection between local action and global realities, and how to rebuild trust amongst citizens.”

Among the panelists at the Future of Well-being World Forum are the producers of the Global Happiness Policy Report 2018 (GHPR), which we should recall pushed Positive Education as the answer, just like our current US Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos. http://invisibleserfscollar.com/subservient-and-malleable-students-devos-federalizes-our-moral-obligations/ Looks like we could substitute the word ‘globalizes’ for ‘federalizes’, given what is going on this week in Incheon. I found my notes from reading that report and it is pertinent to everything in this post and other papers that came out this month I will cover in the next post.

“The global movement to put happiness at the center of governance reflects a mix of inspiring idealism and down-to earth realism…Good governance is nothing less nor more than political leaders acting for the average citizen and pursuing the common good.”

I guess that’s how the powers-that-be justify trying to redesign and transform the world starting at the level of the human mind using citizen science, learning standards, and the ABCD Framework, just for starters. GHPR openly pushes “cognitive behavioural therapy” in schools and classrooms aimed “not just at removing negative thoughts but at cultivating positive attitudes and activities.” That’s one way, I suppose, to “rebuild trust amongst citizens”, merited or not. Remember, in the name of Promoting Mental Health for All, GHPR wants to no longer focus “on treating those who are in serious distress,” but to target everyone, all of us citizens is one way to put it, especially through the schools, so we “can enable people to avoid distress in the first place, or to develop the inner means to handle distress themselves when it arises. In other words, we should aim at a society in which people have the inner resources to flourish.”

Can we target those ‘inner means’ or ‘inner resources’, especially by deceitful narratives about education reforms, to advance political and social transformation without shifting towards what used to be recognized as totalitarianism in fact? I don’t think so, which is why I persevere in writing about these painful aims for education. We, and our children, are Ground Zero for all these plans that fit together like a geared mechanism ready to roll.

I want to close with what GHPR wants all children to become as the new primary purpose of education because it fits with where I want to pick up in the next post.

“Above all, this means children acquiring:

*compassionate and cooperative values and behaviour, and

*understanding their own emotions and those of others, and developing the skills to manage those emotions.

No wonder all children can succeed, achieve, and learn in the 21st century. They can be neurally rewired with the right prescribed activities and experiences to a desired transformative, psychological template.

Main Threat & Main Challenge Lies in the Organization of Our Individual & Collective Minds

That quote came from a fall 2017 slideshare down in South America by Pavel Luksha, the Director of the Global Education Futures Initiative where he went on to post in his next sound byte that “The frontier of evolution of the [sic] humanity is thus the self-guided evolution of consciousness.” Now someone can accuse me of simply mining for inflammatory comments as to what is planned for K-12 education and its true aims and Pavel Luksha is not showing up at school district planning strategies, but education consultants who have been working with him at forums like the one on Silicon Valley in 2015 I wrote about or GEFF forums in Russia are. The GEFF plans “that aim to change global model of education at scale” thus may have a way into your local schools, public or private.

Aspirations of “Improving collective understanding and collaboration capacity of human groups through new modes of (collective) consciousness” are not in fact grandiose declarations if those common understandings and capacities make it into prescribed learning standards and new definitions of student achievement and frameworks for success. Luksha ended the slideshow with a picture of Buckminster Fuller and this quote: “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” Too many parents are still listening to hype about Student Success, or a Portrait of a Graduate in a state ESSA plan, or a vision statement from a charter, parochial, or independent school through the existing reality of education that they experienced.

All over the world they fail to realize that a new model is being set up using enough old rhetoric to obscure the enormity of the sought shift or its revolutionary declared intentions (if, like me, you know where to look). It aims to shift “living systems” like people, but also cities and workplaces by targeting “human intentionality and social structures” while we assume the familiar is what is intended. Meanwhile, UNESCO, foundations, ed supers at a district level, and school heads are, as Luksha’s slides also showed, targeting “Psycho-technologies (including spirituality & religion)” for deliberately designed change along with “Institutes /Norms/ Rules/ Soft Tech.” Since Luksha stated it was in an effort to shift us all to a “Thrivability” or “Wisdom-Based Society” and GEFF’s tentacles extend all the way to the local level on an organized basis, we should listen to this planned:

“shifting to ‘horizontal’ net-centric world ‘working for 100% of humanity…without ecological damage or disadvantage of anyone’ (B. Fuller). Implies involving everyone and all in a ‘revolution of consciousness’. Technological advancement is necessary but secondary to the development of individual and collective human potential.”

Since one of my life mottoes is to recognize when we are on the menu so we can recognize how we are to be captured for eating, and this aspiration for some type of planned cultural evolution via education to alter consciousness, has kept coming up since I covered UNESCO founder, Julian Huxley in Credentialed to Destroy, let’s use a quote of his brother’s, cited early on in a book on Esalen, The Upstart Spring, that I stumbled across during an offline discussion on the commonalities between what is going on in K-12 globally and required management training and coaching practices that kept linking to Esalen and Integral Philosophy. If all these collective institutions like schools and workplaces, especially involving multinational corporations, are suddenly requiring participation in practices designed to alter consciousness and prevailing understandings in common ways, we have every right to recognize those intentions and track through to the beginning of such plans for a “psychological revolution.” Here is Aldous in 1960:

“Let us begin [said Huxley in his kindly Oxonian accents] by asking a question: What would have happened to a child of 170 I.Q. born into a Paleolithic family at the time of, say, the cave paintings of Lascaux? Well, quite obviously, he could have been nothing but a hunter and a gatherer. There was no other opportunity for him to be anything else.

The biologists have shown us that, physiologically and anatomically, we are pretty much the same as we were twenty thousand years ago and that we are using fundamentally the same equipment  as the Aurignacean man to produce incredibly different results. We have in the course of these twenty thousand years actualized a tremendous number of things which at that time and for many, many centuries thereafter were wholly potential and latent in man.

This, I think, gives us reason for tempered optimism that there is still a great many potentialities–for rationality, for affection and kindliness, for creativity–still lying latent in man; and, since everything has speeded up enormously in recent years, that we shall find methods for going almost as far beyond the point we have reached now within a few hundred years as we have succeeded in going beyond our Aurignacean ancestors in twenty thousand years. I think this is not entirely a fantastic belief. The neurologists have shown us that no human being has ever made use of as much as ten percent of all the neurons in his brain. And perhaps, if we set about it in the right way, we might be able to produce extraordinary things out of this strange piece of work that a man is.”

I bolded that line because I think a great way to accurately decipher the purpose of all these education reforms grounded in ‘cognitive science’ with holistic aspirations that started in the 1960s in earnest after Huxley’s speech, and in earnest in the 80s just after The Upstart Spring was first published, tracks to what both Huxleys had in mind. It’s also what UNESCO clearly has in mind now in the name of Media Education, Futures Literacy, and the Discipline of Anticipation. It’s what Pavel Luksha and GEFF have laid out. What if all these aspirations and their commonalities keep coming up because no one accurately told us where Uncle Karl’s hoped for battleground for transformation really lay?

In the 1930s professor Sidney Hook published a book he called Towards the Understanding of Karl Marx: A Revolutionary Interpretation that he refused to allow to come back into print during the remainder of his life. The publisher of the reprint, the humanist Paul Kurtz in 2002, shows up at several points in that Esalen book and then at 21st century UNESCO conferences. If altering consciousness via education is everyone’s actual aim, let’s see why:

“all social action and change is mediated by ideas in the minds of men. Ideas, therefore, cannot be passive images; they must be active instruments…The scientific approach to society involves the continuous application of ideals to the functioning of institutions and the continuous testing of those ideals by the social consequences of their application…Processes of social transformation are thus at the same time processes of psychological transformation. The dialectic principle explains how human beings, although conditioned by society, are enabled through activity, to change both society and themselves. Intelligent social action becomes creative action. ‘By acting on the external world and changing it,’ says Marx, ‘man changes his own nature.’…

Human nature does not change over night. It develops slowly out of the perception of new needs which, together with the limiting condition of the environment, determine new tasks and suggest new goals. But the new needs themselves do not emerge suddenly into human experience. They arise out of an attempt to gratify the old needs in a shifting environment and find conscious articulation only in the active practical process by which man both changes and adjusts to his environment…This theory of perception was necessitated by his [Marx] philosophy of history. If human beings are active in history, then, since all human activity is guided by ideas and ideals, human thinking must be an active historical force.”

And so it is. If we do not understand its role well enough to grasp why Sidney Hook himself italicized the word thinking back in the 1930s, having those thought processes of concepts, ideas, and ideals manipulated for political purposes in the 21st century is exactly what will continue to go on in earnest. Tying these aspirations over decades and continents to recently, Education Week ran a story on August 13 that “Meditation Isn’t Just About Self Help. Here’s What Educators Need to Know”. It wanted to make sure yoga, meditation, and mindfulness standards (sometimes as part of anti-bullying or Positive School Climate mandates and others as part of Physical Well-being State Standards) were not merely being used as a “distraction to get people to adjust to oppressive conditions.”

Oh, no, these requirements are needed to change consciousness just like Aldous Huxley, Esalen, and Pavel Luksha’s presentation all had in mind. The post ended with a call that these practices are a necessary component to education now to cultivate the necessary “critical consciousness. We also need the knowledge and skill to challenge norms and structures perpetuating inequities. Integrating both mindful reflection with social-justice action has the greatest potential to shape coalitions, build collective empowerment, and mediate a new standard for education.”

That new standard is all about altering prevailing consciousness, or, as an earlier post noted, regulating subjectivity at the individual level of the mind and the cultivated ideals instilled in the personality at the level of ideals, norms, and habits.

Is that what anyone is recognizing when they think of Student Success and Achievement or Competencies in the 21st Century? Time to wake up to get ourselves off the revolutionary transformation menu.

Lucrative Deceit: Managing Consciousness By Conjoining Social Media & Charter Schools

This post was outlined before the outcry over Facebook’s gathering of data, but the outside in power of all that data on so much of the population should be kept in mind as we look at the Chan Zuckerburg interest in transformative charter schools. It also fits with the interest we have seen since my March 8 post on Parkland and the meaning of that motto of the PROMISE Program in Broward County. I have repeatedly read since then numerous articles from supposedly conservative sources misportraying the clear developmental focus of the required practices. It gets pitched as simply a matter of federal overreach and coercion via funding. Yesterday, the charter-supporting Heritage Foundation https://www.heritage.org/firearms/report/focusing-school-safety-after-parkland joined what looks like a well-coordinated campaign to make Paul Sperry’s derivative and whitewashed description of the Program the official narrative. Mustn’t accurately explain what one intends to use so let’s just mine ISC for information and skip over Robin’s inconvenient interpretations that shine an accurate light on these practices.

After all, we know charters have a likely chance to be deemed effective and gain a right to more federal funding if they have a Whole Child focus that Infuses Developmental Neuroscience into the curriculum and required practices as this link lays out. http://www.jahonline.org/article/S1054-139X(12)00192-9/pdf Likewise, notice how often a private or charter school has language in its mission statement about its purpose “to educate students to be knowledgeable, responsible, socially skilled, healthy, caring, and contributing citizens” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12971193 or hyping their “strengths-based approaches to child and adolescent development…and emphasis on students’ resilience in the school and community” (quoting the National Association of School Psychologists), or Promoting Youth Development (PYD). http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/rulesforengagement/Taylor%20et%20al%20-%20FINAL%20document%206%2017%202017.pdf

All of the linked SEL research matters because they are tied to the PROMISE Program when accurately interpreted using its cited foundational research and not whitewashed for political purposes. The whtewashing is no surprise though as the charter schools use the same developmental template as Broward’s PROMISE program when the latter is properly understood. Let’s switch to something else charters use to ensure their efficacy and are not upfront about. I am quoting from a 2011 book by Duke prof Cathy N Davidson called Now You See It: How Technology and Brain Science Will Transform Schools and Business for the 21st Century where Davidson profiled the innovative new forms of learning being implemented by a number of cited charter schools. When we talk about the use of categories, concepts, or guiding principles, recall how useful it will be to have the News Literacy Project we encountered in the last post working hand in hand with the categories of thought pushed as Reading and Thinking Like A Historian or Higher Order Thinking Skills.

This post begins a trilogy and that will be the in-depth topic of the next post. In the mean time let’s appreciate what charter operators all know. “How we use our brain (what we pay attention to) changes our brain. Those things that capture our attention–our learning and our work, our passions and our activities–change our actual brain biology.” That’s a direct confession, isn’t it? Plenty of reason for deceit there. The emphasis on Disciplinary Core Ideas to use just one of the euphemisms or Enduring Understandings makes sense when we all become aware that “once everything is located in a proper category, the category itself (for better or worse) answers a host of unaskable questions. A category is a shorthand.” And whoever controls those required categories of thought can insist all day long that “they are teaching students how to think, not telling them what to think” but that repeated assertion doesn’t make it true. Whoever controls the prescribed categories of thought, controls thought. Period. Especially once it becomes a Habit of Mind.

Quoting Davidson again: “distinctions are normative, sensory, behavioral, social, cognitive, and affective all at once. Learning happens in categories, with values clumped together in our words, concepts, and actions. And this is where attention and its concomitant attention blindness come from.” All the emphasis now on Engagement, activity, and relevance really make sense when we appreciate that a classroom emphasis on these has become required because they “transform not merely our behavior but the underlying neural networks that make attention possible. Every manifestation of attention in the real world begins in the brain” and every successful charter school operator knows that as well as so should we. Davidson went on to call out Canadian Donald O. Hebb by name as the “father of neuropsychology” because:

“he was the first person to observe that learning occurs when neurons streamline into pathways and then streamline into other pathways, into efficient clusters that act in concert with one another. This is now called the Hebbian principle: Neurons that fire together, wire together. This means the more we repeat certain patterns of behavior (that’s the firing together), the more those behaviors become rapid, then reflexive, then automatic (that’s the wiring). They become patterns, habits, groupings, categories, or concepts, all efficiencies that ‘wire together’ sets of individual reflexes or responses.”

Now if your child’s school of any type or online curriculum is grounded in creating such a Hebbian neural web that will ultimately guide their future behavior at an unconscious, but predictable, level, don’t you want to know that? Isn’t all the organized deceit making more sense now? I feel though like those old Ronco holiday commercials when many of us were kids advertising for some useful gadget that we supposedly cannot live without in every house. “But wait! There’s more!” As part of the case after the Parkland shooting for why more social and emotional learning and an antibullying emphasis were needed came this story https://www.educationdive.com/news/creating-schools-that-fit-our-kids/518917/ hyping a report from the Aspen Institute and its panel of educators.

Now I first wrote about that panel back in September here http://invisibleserfscollar.com/capturing-every-thought-captive-and-sculpting-students-as-systems-driver-of-perfidy/ and in several of the following posts. That report and Consensus Statement were always going to come out, but the Parkland mass murder gives gave a chance to pitch the change in emphasis as urgent so that “social, emotional, and academic development” can be integrated. That also fits with the links above that are the basis for how charters really work and what the PROMISE Program was actually designed to change. Now I have written about one panel member before, Linda Lantieri, and how she trains classroom teachers in techniques that are billed as New Age on some days depending on her audience and on others as Positive Psychology. I recognized other names too, but the Council of Distinguished Educators member that really caught my eye was from a chain of charter schools called Valor Collegiate Academies.

That’s where our conjoining reference comes from as we have funding coming from the Left Pincer in the form of the Chan Zuckerburg Initiative and from the Right Pincer that seemingly does not want the PROMISE program accurately understood in the form of the Charter Schools Growth Fund. Now Valor openly trumpets in its materials that it uses required regular group Valor Circle practices that are “grounded in the field of Interpersonal Neurobiology which posits that relationships ‘inspire us to rewire our brains toward integration.'” Well, that’s certainly one way to create change in the student effectively and thus ensure additional funding and opportunities for expansion. Valor has graphics about targeting the students’ “drives for agency and communion, or self-determination and connection… and helping scholars (and adults) create their own ‘inner compass'”.

Now, I am not disagreeing that people need an inner compass, but if a school is deliberately rewiring childrens’ brain in a Hebbian manner, parents should be told that forthrightly before they act like programmed automatons. How many parents appreciate that neural rewiring emphasis when they read language (bolding in original) about “All Members of the Valor Community aspire to balance their Sharp Mind and Big Heart and to live their Noble Purpose through Aligned Actions, all the while accessing their True North” to make meaningful choices in their everyday life. ” That True North: Habits of Center is grounded in Mindfulness research, which is certainly an interesting remedy for preventing another Parkland type shooting.

It’s not just that I recognize what is cited as Mindfulness, but here’s a quote from a draft I downloaded of what was to be implemented in the 2017-2018 school year per “True North ‘standards’ or intended learnings.

“True North practices range in duration and focus. Many of the True North practices at Valor are informed by curricula such as Mindful Schools and Applied Mindfulness: Inner Life Skills for Youth and are attention training activities [remember the Cathy Davidson quotes above on the effect on the brain] to help scholars increase concentration and well-being while reducing stress levels. Practices range in focus from one’s basic goodness to posting attention and from compassion meditations to mindful movement.”

Is that what anyone was expecting to be touted “at a time when the nation is looking for solutions to violent tragedies like the Feb. 14 shooting” at Parkland? Is this why we cannot get accurate reporting except at ISC or in my book Credentialed to Destroy of what competency-based education and frameworks actually aim to change or what the Broward PROMISE Program and Restorative Justice programs really hope to alter? Are charter schools, online providers, and private and parochial schools all afraid they will not get access to public funds if parents recognize that they too are aimed at neural rewiring “to produce knowledgeable and competent adults able to participate as informed citizens in the democratic process”?

We will discuss the source of that last quote and its ties to the School Choice funding campaign in the next post–Part 2 of this Trilogy of Lucrative Deceit.

Seduction rather than Overt Compulsion: Hubs, Spokes, DeVos Dictates, and Polycentricity

Anyone hoping for at least a PG-13 post with that title will be disappointed I don’t mean the sexual definition of seduction. Instead, this type of seduction is when someone changes what they support or advocate for because they have a carefully arranged misunderstanding of the issues and what is actually in play. That applies perfectly to competency-based education (CBE) with its neural emphasis that lies behind most of the K-12 reforms and, increasingly, also higher ed. In case someone thinks I cannot tie the desired  bullseye to the constant drumbeat of False Narratives around the Common Core, CBE, or its essential component of social and emotional learning (SEL), the acknowledgments page of the book I am about to quote from thanks the influential Bradley Foundation for its financial support.

That book Our Posthuman Future by Francis Fukuyama is the source of the first part of the title. In discussing the famous book Brave New World, Fukuyama quoted the character who said “The Controllers realized that force was no good” and then went on to state that “people would have to be seduced rather than compelled to live in an orderly society.” That’s a great metaphor for how ‘student-centered learning’ or ‘personalized learning’ really work so lets borrow the metaphor. Later Fukuyama talked of “those who believe in the social construction of human behavior” and then listed first the French Revolution and then the 20th century attempts for “radically rearranging the most basic institutions of society…with the socialist revolutions that took place in Russia, China, Cuba, Cambodia, and elsewhere.”

Before anyone exhales with a sigh of relief that those efforts are thankfully behind us, Fukuyama then complained that “the tools of the past century’s social engineers and utopian planners, they seem unbelievably crude and unscientific. Agitprop, labor camps, reeducation, Freudianism, early childhood conditioning, behavioralism–all of these were techniques for pounding the square peg of human nature into the round hole of social planning. None of them were based on knowledge of the neurological structure or biochemical basis of the brain.”

Think of CBE, learning standards like the Common Core, or SEL mandates as a means to use prescribed experiences and other curriculum activities to biologically alter the brain so that suddenly that square peg of human nature is now a round peg. Then it can fit easily into the round hole of social planning. Think of all the data being gathered, that has no need to be personally identifiable to work for purposes of neural change, as a means to “enhance our knowledge of, and hence our ability to manipulate, the source of all human behavior, the brain.” In http://invisibleserfscollar.com/battle-for-the-mind-and-who-we-ought-to-be-portrait-of-a-graduate-in-2030-thanks-to-charlottesville/ we found the behavioral scientists creating the curriculum and dialogues admitting their purpose was a Battle for Human Nature.

Now, between that last quote and this one “we may be about to enter a posthuman future, in which technology will give us the capacity gradually to alter that [human] essence over time,” we had Fukuyama admitting the known aims. Somehow too many of us get seduced by terms like Growth, Success, or Continuous Improvement into not recognizing what it is that ‘learning’ is changing. This past week iNACOL released “Quality and Equity by Design” to chart the Course of the Next Phase of CBE. The reenvisioning of education it laid out is premised on the “steady march towards equality and justice within our country” that regards the neural level as the ultimate in evidence-based policymaking.

After all, CBE needs to “overcome the history of bias, bigotry, discrimination and oppression that has shaped many students, communities and institutions, including our K-12 education system, and realize educational equity?” How? Why, through ‘brain-based learning’ of course where “QUALITY refers to efficacy–the capacity to produce the desired result or effect…to support academic and lifelong learning outcomes for students.” Lifelong learning is another seductive term that actually has to do with what is hardwired into the brain as well. The next paragraph explained how educators use their “understanding of their students as individuals, adapting as needed to personalize the learning pathway towards common high expectations.” The learning goals do not vary. Only the means of proving the desired neural installation varies and what it took to create the change. Educators look to “academic skills, social-emotional-learning, habits of success and the strength of students’ growth mindset are all taken into consideration” in determining what needs to be changed at a neural level and how to go about it.

Since physical activity, especially when tied to an idea, certain goals or Purposeful activity, is known to have a physiological effect on certain regions of the brain, we get the CBE mandate put into state or federal laws or regulations quietly issued by a federal Ed secretary where “Students in turn are active co-constructors of knowledge, rather than passive consumers of content.” To make sure future behavior in the real world is predictable, we get a CBE mandate that “Learning is visibly and authentically connected to meaningful and important outcomes.”

On October 12, 2017 Betsy DeVos https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2017-10-12/pdf/2017-22127.pdf released proposed regulations for review that enact many of the controversial reforms decried as Positive School Climate, an SEL focus, Fostering Communities of Learners, a communitarian focus, constructivist math and science to be taught in a hands-on inquiry environment, and many other programs that were unquestionably developed in the USSR during the Cold War as this blog or my book Credentialed to Destroy documented. DeVos may not understand that and could be relying on perfidious employees or her time on various think-tank boards. These proposed regulations (that no one can comment against if they remain unaware they have been issued) also fit with that iNACOL paper and its desire to enact a vision of education that supposedly fits “the moral imperative of supporting and empowering the next generation of adults” through CBE and its effects on the students’ brains.

Permanent neural rudders are such a better way to steer people if anyone is concerned about a willingness to accede to these visions of earthly transformation. Instead of top-down visible commands, use the decentralized theory of polycentricity. Then the seduction can be pitched using alluring euphemisms like federalism, standards, states as ‘laboratories of democracy’, and local control.  https://www.icsu.org/cms/2017/04/Policy-Brief-No.6-FG_FIN3ed.pdf was released back in September and is tied to that same alarming Earth System Partnership/Belmont Challenge the UN is quietly pushing that caused me to start this blog originally. If I had a tricorn cap, I could go by Robin Revere. The first paper in the Bibliography led me to Polycentricity and its ties as a political theory that could introduce social justice into public policy decision-making frameworks. These could then be pushed by think tanks and politicians pretending they are ‘market-based reforms’ instead of overt social planning.

Sound familiar? Decentralized decisionmaking that “depend on the values and culture of the individuals creating them.” Gee, if we could only make values and culture the focus of education just like those DeVos regulations, CBE, the Science of Virtues, and the Jubilee Centre Moral Framework all do. If a political theory of social planning like polycentricity being cited in current policy briefs relies on “whether or not a significant number of individuals share or aspire to those values is critical to the operation of the system,” then that theory needs learning standards and CBE to work. It also needs for no one to appreciate precisely how these reforms really work or what they really aim to do. Hence, so many of the False Narratives oblivious to the facts and seeking both public funding and implementation as a matter of law.

The NSF is currently using taxpayer money to set up a Big Data Innovation Ecosystem in the US that certainly sounds polycentric. It has 4 Big Data Innovation Hubs to play the convening and coordinating role with area academia, industry, governments, and nonprofits. Anyone who has read my book, think Turchenko with new tools of social planning. The Hubs are now creating a Spokes system extending into all 50 states that is explicitly looking to partner with State Boards of Education and local school districts. This Hub-Spoke System is expressly tied to the NSF-funded BRAIN Initiative we have covered to map the brain and its areas of function. All these plans for us and our children were supposed to be invisible. My blood pressure would probably be lower if somehow I had not been given a means to discern what is being attempted and why, but here we are.

These are authoritarian plans for thought control tied into the brain’s structure. To recognize what is going on is to feel compelled to share this agonizing story. In order for these pernicious plans to work though, they need to remain undetected or misunderstood. The plans need to change the nature of education without the true nature of the change being grasped. Most of all, these plans need the tool of the law and its ability to compel even when the effects of such compulsion are neither felt or really understood. To work, all polycentric visions require “an encompassing system of rules” brought in by accreditors, the terms of promotions for principals, learning standards, or the terms for receiving grant funding to give just a few decentralized, but binding, illustrations.

It turns out that bottom-up social planning to achieve transformations needs two things: the human brain, malleable and adaptable to experience, as well as “the rule of law.” Those are the two essential factors that supposedly can, over time, alter human nature from a square peg to a round nail that fits the desired Blueprint.

Luckily for us, I keep finding those Blueprints and interpreting them accurately using my non-21st century store of factual knowledge.

 

Instilling Desired Dreams to Cultivate Personal Identities and Purpose to Achieve New Future Directions

Let’s go back in time again to a 1955 book cited in some footnotes on social and emotional learning. Called Utopia 1976, it alerts us why values, virtues, and imagining a different tomorrow are suddenly the focus of all forms of education. “…we must recognize the most dangerous–those who do not dream at all. Even if the pessimistic dream is defeated, the nondreamers may prevent any Utopia. Dreams are a form of ideas and hence are powerful makers of history. Nineteen seventy-six is of course not ineluctably determined in 1955, but here I write the story as I see it and as it will be–if enough men and women so want it.” From now on, when we hear or read a discussion about learning standards like the Common Core in the US or competency frameworks or learning objectives, I want us to recognize that the actual purpose is to get enough people signed on to a common vision so they are motivated to make it happen.

Math or science class, a book from literature, or a social science project then become vehicles to create a recognition of what the social problems are. They create a means to instill common desired dreams so that people begin to have common mental models of what is wrong and what they must do. Let’s come forward to 2008 to a philosopher and religion professor, John Haldane, I found following up on the False Narrative. The book Seeking Meaning and Making Sense reminds us that “human experience is structured by meanings and values” and whoever controls the prevailing “standards of value and virtue” controls an intermediate layer of our world that most of us rarely pose to think about. That’s the layer that guides our purpose in life and everyday actions and it’s also the bullseye of what many members of that NCSEAD Council of Distinguished Scientists focus on in their remaining academic research. Here’s Haldane again:

“…we are imaginative and creative animals that construct an intermediate surface between ourselves and the purely material world, an intermediate lining on which we draw and colour our compositions.”

Anyone controlling the construction of that intermediate layer, in other words, can drive cultural evolution. Getting at that intermediate layer can be called an SEL focus to prevent bullying and create a Positive School Climate. It can be called creating the attributes or dispositions for good citizenship. It can sold as instilling self-esteem and a sense of agency by creating a Learner Profile of personal characteristics that together amount to a student’s Identity. It’s all the same bullseye, with varying rationales that obscure that reality. One of the members of the NCSEAD Council, David Yeager, turned out to be involved with the New Paths to Purpose Project, funded by the same Templeton Foundation behind so many of the Character-building curricula, the Science of Virtues, the UK Jubilee Center, the US Constitution Center, and the Positive Education push of another member (see tag), Martin Seligman.

Let’s use their definition of purpose and their italicized “central question: How might individuals actively shape–rather than merely inhabit–their environments, and thus become more purposeful, powerful creators of their destiny?” That would actually be ‘our’ destiny given the nature of these plans and the constant use of the community and culture-shaping institutions, so let’s quote that purpose definition–“Purpose is a stable or generalized intention to accomplish something that is meaningful to the self, and often is of consequence to the world beyond the self. Purpose provides a guiding light as we forge a path through the frenzy and chaos of modern life.”

All those constant references in education reform to ‘grit’ and ‘perseverence’ are about practicing to achieve purpose and closing the gap between what is sought and what currently exists. That’s probably why Angela Duckworth was also a member of the NCSEAD Council. That also means we, our children, and our psyches are to be the sources of the experimental research and putting political theories into practice. One more note, Richard Thaler, the U-Chicago prof who won the Nobel Prize in Economics last week, led this NPP Project. Another example of the level of proof and the ubiquity of Templeton funding in this area is the Youth Purpose Project at Stanford with an explicit paper that “Exploring Empathy, Discovering Roles, Shifting Priorities, and Creating Pathways” is the way to shift this guiding light of Purpose.

NPP then turns out to generate the very useful to anyone desiring transformational change-“‘mindsight, dedication, and grit” . Purpose can quietly and invisibly “reflect and propel everyday patterns of human thought and behavior.” Very influential and not what anyone thinks is lurking behind rhetoric about “higher standards and local control” or the constant offering of Classical Education as the panacea to the created controversy over the Common Core and Child Abuse in the Classroom. In case anyone thinks I am picking on Classical Education, remember how its mantra is the True, Good, and Beautiful? This is from the Institute for Cultural Evolution and was a speech given this past July. https://www.culturalevolution.org/political-campaigns/growing-americas-divided-culture/ . It informs us that the “art of intentionally fostering cultural development is still in its infancy.”

The recommended means to foster that development though is by “framing culture in terms of worldviews.” For once that was not my bolding and the definition of worldview fits with what Templeton is funding in the name of Character or Positive Education and how learning standards like Competencies really work as “a worldview is a coherent set of values and ideals that persist across multiple generations. Worldviews are large-scale social agreements about what is good, true, and beautiful [see my concern?]. They give meaning to reality and help us understand the world.” So where Stanford and the Aspen Institute want to lead us in the name of purpose is also where the False Narrative surrounding the Common Core and SEL Standards takes us as well. Let’ s go back to a longer definition again from that same July 2017 paper on cultural evolution.

“In fact, worldviews are arguably the basic units of culture . And while we can certainly identify thousands of different worldviews in American culture, for purposes of understanding cultural development the worldviews that matter most are the historically significant ones that organize society, frame values, provide personal identity, and play a recognizable role in world history.”

In fact, that ubiquitous aim now at controlling internalized worldviews via education and the media is precisely why Larry Arnn’s vision of The Founders’ Key struck me as very similar in effect to where admitted communitarian and transformationalist, Amitai Etzioni, wanted to take us in the name of the New Golden Rule. With Hillsdale’s sponsorship of the Barney Charter School Initiative with its openly-declared Classical Education template we really do have all education leads to Worldview Cultivation in 2017, much as all roads used to lead to Ancient Rome. It’s where the desired action is to get the future influential people hope to achieve. After all, no recognition equals no effective opposition. Other papers in that series on cultural evolution admit that evolving human morality and controlling conceptual cognition are the keys to these plans.

I want to close with a passage from the admittedly progressive and tied to our Search Engine Overlord, New America, called “Building Civic Capacity in an Era of Democratic Crisis” that just came out. It wants to reject what it refers to as ‘exclusionary populism’ by consciously striving to “build constituencies and identities that are more inclusive and accommodating.” So everything laid out in this post, whatever the offered rationale, plays right into using education to do just that. Probably not a coincidence.

Remember how I warned that we cannot fight against what we are unaware of or have been misled about? The transformationalists all want cultural evolution via values and ideas at the level of the mind and personality and they no longer regard democracy as being about elections. No, now “at its core, democracy is fundamentally about a type of relationship between citizen and state–one where constituencies can mobilize and make binding claims on policymaking institutions.”

Those constituencies are built up from students who have Instilled the Desired Dreams and are ready to join together to “play a recognizable role” in history. All that comes quite effectively and invisibly from making education about Worldview cultivation instead of the transmission of knowledge.

All education unless we catch on to the Bait and Switch and how the internalization works.

I am trying my best to warn. Instead of “the British are coming” though, it seems like the 2017 version is that the Deceivers are already Here. They are consciously targeting the ears of any parent or politician worried about these education visions.

Let’s start to pierce these False Narratives so we can really protect our children and this great country.