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.

Prerequisite for Social Justice and Equity: the Evidence Base for Transforming Hearts and Minds

I found a good example of why social and emotional learning, under its various euphemistic names, just keeps being inserted as a critical, mandatory component of what Preschool through College education must now be, whatever the parental outcry through the decades. The Aspen NCSEAD covered in the last post is merely the most recent, but its assembly of a so-called Council of Distinguished Scientists to create a Consensus Statement of the Evidence Base for Learning and Student Success is an attempt to leap over previous outcries and local obstacles to quietly impose the controversial model as a requirement under federal law. Let’s go back then and be sure of the precise political and economic theory being brought in through the classrooms, using childrens’ minds and personalities as the invisible conduit.

One of the cited sources for the statement that all reason must be grounded in emotion and that the two cannot be separated in instruction anymore was a 1992 book Reason and Emotion written by a John Macmurray. He regarded “intellectual awareness” as “egocentric” since it “uses the senses as its instrument.” Instead, Macmurray called for the “wider use of the senses for the joy of living in them.” Methinks, Macmurray would have adored the Maker Movement and Project-based Learning and a STEAM focus since that is clearly what he desired. Thankfully he gave a wonderful metaphor for the kind of outcome from school curriculum he wanted so let’s borrow it for the insights.

“…the direct sensual awareness has its centre in the world outside, in the thing that is sensed and loved for its own sake. There is a drawing of George Morrow’s which illustrates the difference humorously, It shows a couple standing on a hilltop watching a sunset. The sky is aglow with bars of bright clouds. ‘What a lovely sunset,’ the woman says to her husband. ‘That reminds me,’ he answers. ‘Do remember to tell our landlady that I like my bacon streaky.'”

So EVERY student must now have “training in this capacity to live in the senses.” Why? we can ask, but only if we are aware of this shift in focus. We cannot ask if we are lost in  deliberately deceitful narratives insisting that social and emotional learning is somehow about a federal database of personally identifiable information. Education now is supposed to become “training in sensitiveness.” Then our future behaviors and “modes of action” and awareness should not be determined by the individualistic, logical, dreaded Axemaker Mind–“if we limit awareness so that it merely feeds the intellect with the material for thought, our actions will be intellectually determined.”

Horrors! then to anyone with transformation on the mind, which would include Macmurray. It turns out his book was not written in 1992, merely republished by his estate. Nor was it originally written in 1962. That was the Second Edition somehow magically timed to coincide with what we now know was the first launch of the Marxist Humanist (MH) vision of education by the NEA and humanist psychologists like Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow. http://invisibleserfscollar.com/psychological-approach-to-a-humane-politics-restructuring-the-west-quietly-and-effectively-via-ed/ is that old post. No, the First Edition of that book came out in 1935, a decade when plenty of people were interested in political and economic transformation. Insisting that education must be about the cultivation of emotion and social development matters more than ever now if the basis for the assertion is:

“Emotion is not the Cinderella of our inner life, to be kept in her place among the cinders in the kitchen. Our emotional life is us in a way our intellectual life cannot be; in that it alone contains the motives from which our conduct springs.”

I will let you in on a little secret. I recognized the MH vision throughout Macmurray’s book, but that was very confusing as Professor Daniel Bell writing in the late 50s while a fellow at the always troublesome Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences stated that Marx’s work laying out his Human Development Society vision and its need to control morals and consciousness was unavailable in English until 1956. My first thought was that maybe Macmurray read German and thus had earlier access to the long-unknown early Marx work. Good reasoning, but Macmurray himself in the 60s wrote that his interest and access came from being invited to a “conference held in October 1932 which brought together a number of leading religious and lay thinkers to ponder the question of the rejuvenation of Christianity in the modern world…”

That would explain the false narratives we keep running into surrounding the Common Core by people who go out of their way to wear their religious beliefs and their role in their daily lives on their sleeves, wouldn’t it? So if influential people have from the get-go seen religious faith and education as the two main conduits for the MH vision and its desire to transform the world through individual hearts and minds, let’s look at Macmurray’s vision since he did not mince his words. If the vision of education as activity to thread together the cognitive, social, and emotional is to guide modern education, let’s see what Macmurray told us was the purpose of that vision. Macmurray did not see religion as a matter of personal faith; rather, it was a

“demand for a new step in the creation of human society…universal in its extent, based upon the communion of persons…We have to address ourselves to the task of creating the life of truly personal relationship between men, and of destroying those elements in modern society which frustrate and deny it.”

Suddenly, we have a merger of what religion is supposed to be about with what education is now supposed to create. Eliminating a curriculum grounded in the intellect is the essential first step. Macmurray’s statements from the 30s sound a great deal like the rationale for why 21st century education must be relevant to the real world and authentic to everyday life:

“unless you deal with these external conditions you cannot develop a true moral attitude to anything. Indeed, the effort to construct a true and just order of society is the main part of the effort to create a true moral outlook. The two things are intimately bound up. Those people who try strenuously to develop moral and religious ideals in the community without altering the conditions of life are trying to make bricks without straw.”

So emotion has to be actively cultivated in every classroom as a new definition of what enables student success because, in reality, it is a necessary component of the “task of creating conscious community among all men everywhere–nothing less, and it necessarily included all the conditions, economic, political, and personal, which are involved in this…a new and universally human social order.”

Now if the NCSEAD was using that rationale as its sales pitch for what it asserts as ‘evidence-based’ under ESSA, we could protest such a wholesale transformation, especially since it is unquestionably grounded in a notorious political philosophy with much blood in its history. So we aren’t supposed to know and simply defer to the eminence of the Appeal to Authority of the Council of Distinguished Scientists statement released September 13, 2017. All hail! No one notice that we are dealing with lots of the very same people tied to lots of the controversies in education including the Dalai Lama’s desire to cultivate a global Holos Consciousness (a very long way from an Axemaker Mind). I am going to pick a member that may be less familiar to you, Gloria Ladson-Billings, an ed prof who wants a culturally relevant pedagogy “committed to social justice and equity.’

How nice to be able to mandate that controversial agenda under the Evidence Base Consensus Statement for Learning. If what you have desired since at least 1995 is to “help students to recognize, understand, and critique social inequities” of course you are going to adore education grounded in emotion instead of the intellect for the very reasons Macmurray laid out. His desired focus on material conditions–economic, political, and personal–is a perfect fit for Ladson-Billings’ desire that teachers no longer be “reluctant to identify political underpinnings of the students’ community and social world.” She wants to implement the vision of acknowledged radical Paulo Freire (who was also an advisor to the World Council of Churches which is probably not an accident) that teaching should be ‘mining’ or pulling knowledge out of the life experiences of the students.

So suddenly Student Success and a supposed prerequisite to academic success turns out to be about forcing classroom practices “through which people are incited to acquire a particular ‘moral character’. As both a political and practical activity, it attempts to influence the occurrence and qualities of experiences.” Those experiences again that allow for the direct training of the student’s senses until the desired behaviors become Habits of Mind.

I am pretty sure we are never supposed to actually look up the cited sources in all these footnotes. I think we are merely supposed to blindly accept what is asserted as the Consensus Statement of the Council of Distinguished Scientists. We are most assuredly not supposed to track the mandated practices back to its actual goal:

“This dictates its goal, which can be nothing short of the complete integration of all human beings in community and of humanity with the world in which it lives.”

Someone really should have omitted the reference to the philosopher who was among the first to write about Marx’s Human Development Society in English.

No wonder there is such a determination to quash any outbreak of Axemaker Minds in this current generation of students. They are to be emotionally charged to be the desired Marxian Makers of History asked to finally bring about the “material sharing of our material substance. Until our material possessions are at the disposal of all those with whom we are in communion for their need, it is idle to talk of sharing our lives, or of having the reality of our lives in common.”

If that’s the prerequisite for this emotional, collaborative vision of education, by all means let’s talk about it instead of simply being asked to embrace it via a Consensus Statement of Distinguished Scientists.

Everybody In! Instilling the Proper Mode of Human Conduct to Capture Hearts

In the last post, the cited Behavioral Scientist article justifying the need for #Charlottesville Conversations in all schools nationally, in turn cited a 1987 book The Battle for Human Nature by Barry Schwartz. Try not to be too shocked that I have now read that book and took today’s post title from its goals. See if anyone else thinks these aspirations were a good reason to try to create mayhem that tragically escalated, instead of simply serving as a rationale for a certain emphasis for the new school year. Since I have a hard copy I can tell everyone that the Acknowledgments page thanks a “Marty Seigman” who we all know as the Penn Prof behind Positive Education, Prospective Psychology, and Positive Neuroscience that feature so prominently in the actual new ESSA state plans and required Social Emotional Learning Standards now.

Just in case anyone thinks the following quotes cannot actually be anything more than a nerdy discussion, this is was what outcomes-based education was really about. It is what standards-based reforms such as the Common Core or even supposed alternatives like the Catholic Curriculum Frameworks are really about. It’s why we keep running into the phrase ‘human flourishing’ around every corner in education. I also suspect it is what the outcry over the DACA rollback is really about.

“How should society be organized? How should the resources of society be distributed among its members? How much should individual freedom be restricted, and in what ways? What is the extent of our responsibility to other human beings, and to the society to which we belong? What is the proper mode of human conduct, and how should it be instilled in people?”

That instilling in people is what the Tranzi OBE laid out in my book Credentialed to Destroy was all about and it is what its new rename as Graduate Profiles and Portraits of a Graduate gets at. My alma mater just put out its “Reflections on the Reformed Tradition  at Davidson College” where it describes the Marxist Humanist vision without using the M word but attributes the necessity for economic and social justice to the Presbyterian view of the world. Funny how it gets to the same place as what we saw with the Special Rome Edition of the 2016 World Happiness Report Vatican laid out for Catholicism or Islam’s Tarbiyah Project for schools. In case your alma mater has not yet added a new “Justice, Equality and Community” distribution requirement to mandate all “students’ intellectual engagement with social issues,” let’s quote the rationale everyone seems to be using to get at the internalized basis of future behavior:

“Educating the whole person involves more than training the intellect; it also involves training the knower’s interests and commitments. This inevitably influences his or her values, character, and behavior. Again, because Reformed believing envisions an expansive human calling (love of God and neighbor, or attention to the broadest ‘public good’), preparation for responsible living [College, Career, and Citizenship Ready?] does not reduce to intellectual training but involves the person’s other capacities as well. Indeed, when people pursue more particular callings or vocations, say as physicians, lawyers, parents, or teachers, the Reformed Tradition construes these lines of responsibility through which they serve others with their minds, hearts, and wills.”

I write books and this blog to do that, but somehow I doubt Davidson would see it that way. Notice you could substitute virtually every religious faith for what they are using the “Reformed tradition” to rationalize. For secular progressives, the word Democracy will substitute nicely as well. Virtually everyone seems intent now on insisting that education “cultivates humane instincts, and creative and disciplined minds for lives of leadership and service.” Again, this is not a new thing as we can see in a book from 1955 that Schwartz cited called Utopia 1976. It spoke openly about a desired “coming revolution of the spirit of man,” which is certainly a good reason for ubiquitous SEL, isn’t it?

The current Davidson statement complained about “those in our society, both conservative and progressive, who would separate faith and reason.” Utopia 1976 wanted that same combination to fuel its “desired revolution of the spirit”. It even provided the reason for all this Mind Arson and Dumbing Down I and others have documented through the years. Notice the use of the word “apperceive” to describe what Davidson called “disciplined minds” and “Marty Seligman” thanked above now calls Prospective Psychology. With Templeton Foundation funding just like the Jubilee Centre that has created the Knightly Virtues curriculum and the Moral Development Framework. If only we had some continuity in these initiatives across the decades, institutions, and countries. Oh, wait.

“We will avoid some of man’s great prior losses that occurred because discoveries came before man had knowledge enough to recognize the novel. We will apperceive what is in front of our eyes, and not only what is behind them. Every human, to lesser or greater degree, has the capacity of hypothesis, imagination, comparison, and reason. And this capacity, affected by environment, can be taught. [Can anyone say ‘inquiry learning’?] Even the art of intuition is not exclusively a matter of genes.

In fact, for some purposes the less informed are often the best equipped to grasp new principles. They are less thwarted by traditional acceptance of formerly held ideas.”

Oh, wow. Let that sink in. Utopia 1976 put this same aspiration even more succinctly by stating that “Dreams are a form of ideas and hence are powerful makers of history.” As a history major, that approach, cultivated deliberately and deceitfully by education, strikes me as quite dangerous. Davidson’s statement called it a desire to “cultivate creativity to affect change” in students. Schwartz in 1987, laying the cited foundation for the Charlottesville Conversations now, said it was all about a vision of human nature that sees it as mutable instead of fixed. If the type of education implemented and social conditions “in which people are at risk” can be changed, then, perhaps, people can be changed so that they operate under “a life of commitment to producing social change.”

The shifts we have all noticed in the curriculum make far more sense once we read Schwartz complain about “Knowing what forces are responsible for keeping the planets moving about the sun does not give people any particular power to control or change them.” No need then for a transmission of knowledge curriculum. Better to focus on creating a new guided moral compass to motivate a change in behavior and a desire to transform the world as it is.That would be “current social conditions” to Schwartz. I guess that would be the world behind us so we can concentrate on the world that might be. Prospective Psychology again or just competency-based education when accurately understood.

So “Knowledge” now is really only worth knowing when “it identifies aspects of the world over which people can exercise some control.” No wonder we keep hearing requirements for relevant, authentic learning. I am going to end this post with another Schwartz quote from his Epilogue as I believe it lays out perfectly why we keep hearing about Outcomes, Objectives, Standards-based Reforms, and Competency Frameworks. Remember how we just keep encountering a desire to use education to force an evolution of prevailing culture? Think about this when we falsely assume that the schools or colleges of today have the same purpose of the ones we attended.

“As culture develops, the paths are changed. Some stop being used and are allowed to fall into disrepair, slowly reclaimed by the wilderness. Others become popular and are lengthened and expanded to make room for all travelers. Culture’s paths are not accidental. They are meant to constrain people to move in some directions and not others; to make some destinations easy to reach and others impossible. These paths are meant to help travelers find their way.”

The paths of desired transformations via education are probably the least accidental of all. It’s why we keep coming across the same vision of the future, but with a variety of justifying rationales depending on the expected audience and what is plausible.

The true desired transformation may not be pleasant to see, but neither is there any doubt what education’s new role is and why it must be ‘student-centered’.

The whole student–head, heart, hands, and will.

 

Battle for the Mind and Who We Ought to Be: Portrait of a Graduate in 2030 Thanks to Charlottesville

I have looked at the ready-to-go lessons on racism and hate and the attempt to make the SPLC (Southern Poverty Law Center) Teaching Tolerance curriculum mandatory in all classrooms. In the comments to the previous post are plenty of links to the cited materials and one observant comment on how often the letters are signed with a reference to solidarity. If I go back and relink we will not be able to move forward into a unique discussion of how I believe this all fits together and how fall 2017 is more than the beginning of another school year. I have written about the UN’s Dignity for All by 2030 campaign that essentially calls on governments and institutions at every level to create and direct an economy and society based on meeting human needs. I usually shorthand it as the MH vision because it was Uncle Karl himself a long time ago who laid out the conditions for what he called little ‘c’ communism way back in the 19th century.

Guess What? Any student starting Kindergarten or PreFirst this fall with then 12 years of schooling will graduate in what year? I’ll admit I did a graph to doublecheck my calculation and the answer is 2030. How coincidental. What’s more we have the new federal education law kicking in with its prescriptions and most of the state plans are pitched in terms of what the personal characteristics of the student should be when they graduate from high school. Sometimes with the name of Learner Profile, Graduate Profile, or Portrait of a Graduate.

One of the articles being pitched for what Charlottesville should mean  http://behavioralscientist.org/charlottesvilles-battle-human-nature/ was written by the editor-in-chief who just happened to now live in Charlottesville. He was previously at the same U-Penn hatching Positive Psychology and the PERMA Positive Education template we have covered. He even worked with psychologist Angela Duckworth in her lab. You know as in Grit and Perseverence, the Character Lab,  the Growth Mindset Scholars Network, and the Science of Virtues?

That was just from the top of my head. Nesterak concluded that troubling article with this line: “In the battle for human nature, behavioral scientists have a pivotal role to play. They can and must help people understand the people we can be.” That’s certainly a reason for K-12 education to be about implementing the findings of the behavioral sciences, isn’t it? With nary a head’s up, much less actual consent. Let’s go back and discover that a 1998 book called Curriculum, Religion, and Public Education: Conversations for an Enlarging Public Square laid out the need for education and a new type of ‘democratic dialogue’ to create what it called the ethic of solidarity and italicized just like that. Remember this as you see constant references to #Charlottesville Conversations.

Also remember that just after that call for the ethic of solidarity we had this confession: “Education, like religion, is about the transformation of consciousness. Students entertain doubt, while teachers foster faith in human discourse and intelligence. In the process, individual and social transformation occurs.” Earlier in that essay, the author had defined something he called the ‘common faith’ and it is America’s ‘common faith’ that the curricula mandated after Charlottesville seeks to dramatically shift, to something more amenable to the desired MH society by 2030. The ‘common faith’ is “those beliefs, assumptions, and myths that provide the ‘glue’ for a society.” In other words, we mustn’t let the actual physical remnants describing in real time why the Civil War was fought and what its carnage meant to the survivors. The desired narrative should provide the ‘lenses’ or filters through which the past is seen. Notice that is precisely what all those letters and lesson plans intend to do. (My bolding)

“But what is to stop this ‘community of difference’ from devolving into warring factions? It is at this juncture that this ethic of solidarity enters the discussion. Solidarity has two essential features. First, it grants diverse social groups enough respect to listen to them and use all ideas when considering existing social and civic values. Second, it realizes that the lives of individuals in differing groups are ecologically interconnected to the point that everyone is accountable to everyone else. No assumption of uniformity exists here-just the commitment to work together to bring about mutually beneficial social and civic change.

When I read an old passage like that and recognize it is currently being forced into reality, it’s hard not to imagine people who honestly do believe they have waited long enough for change they have been taught is their due. They must simply regard it as a burden others must now bear. In the last post we discussed how the City of Boston had laid out its intent to transition to the MH vision in the name of Resilience and Racial Equity. Another Resilient City, Dallas, helpfully mentioned its intention to adhere to the Kellogg Foundation “Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation” Framework. Since I happen to know that the new ESSA evidence-based regulations rely on a Kellogg Foundation Logic Model on Achieving Outcomes first created about the time of that 1998 book, I decided to locate the TRHT Implementation Guide issued in December 2016. It was the result of at least a 5-month process so President Trump is not the leader it hoped to have in the White House.

Before I start to quote what this vision is, I want to point out that SPLC is a listed partner of the TRHT so the Teaching Tolerance curriculum is a component and planned tool as well. On the Thursday, August 10, before the permitted “Unite the Right” march on Saturday, August 12, led by a former Obama Organizing for America enthusiast who had a conversion epiphany in January just after the publication of that Guide, the SPLC issued a Campus Guide to the Alt-Right. Really helpful and suspicious timing, huh? What is it that TRHT wants to do? Just what most college campuses, the Dignity for All by 2030, Resilient Cities, and others all say they seek as well. TRHT

“will help communities across the US embrace racial healing and uproot the conscious and unconscious belief in a hierarchy of human value that limits equal access to quality education, fulfilling employment, sage neighborhoods and equal housing opportunities, while honoring tribal access to equitable resources and quality health care. Unless the central belief system that fuels racial, ethnic, and place of origin inequities is challenged and changed, societal progress cannot be sustained over time.”

Changing that central belief in every US classroom is precisely what #Charlottesville Conversations aims to do and what learning standards like the Common Core make so much easier. Poor Heather Heyer. I wonder if she had any idea what the broader implications were of what was going on in Charlottesville that day or the powder keg that needed to be ignited. Nesterak after all stated that the “battle for human nature was about who we are and who we can be…it will continue online and in the streets, when Charlottesville is replaced by the next city.” The social trasformationalists need that next city to supposedly propel the Resilient or TRHT vision of “a new day, one based on a common humanity for all communities?” That vision needs a new form of education to get at “centuries of this [racial hierarchy] belief system [that] have consciously shaped our individual thought patterns.”

Here is an italicized MLK quote from the Implementation Guide which helps explains all the interest in turning students at all levels into Social Change Agents.

Time itself is neutral; it can be used either destructively or constructively. Human progress never rolls on the wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts…We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always right to do right.”

Charlottesville accelerated that timetable and is attempting to make the desired changes in individual thought patterns mandatory now for all students in all schools in every community. Just what the MH vision by 2030 needs to stay on its announced schedule. Poor Heather. TRHT Frameworks for Action and Guiding principles and Plans for Resilience probably thought they would get awful graphics from the tikitorch march and fighting to ignite the needed mandate. Now they have martyrs and students determined to Remember Charlottesville even though they are never to actually grasp its real significance or their needed role as change agents.

Or the function of time to implement all these plans finally.

 

 

 

 

Neural Enslavement to Instill Desired Virtues for Social Change: Deceitpalooza

Silly me. I got the bright idea of distracting myself and decided to just read some history. I picked Ian Mortimer’s millennium, which turned out to have been published on November 8, 2016. It hoped that a woman would be the most significant agent of change in the 21st Century. Not yet, but after making my way through the centuries, I get to the conclusion only to discover I was not getting a break from the familiar refrain after all. Mortimer wanted to “focus our attention on the forces that are likely to act upon our nature in the future.” The fantastic wealth and levels of technology the world now enjoys were accomplished via the “breaking of boundaries…Many of these boundary crossings can be characterized in terms of the “go West, young man’ paradigm…This paradigm underpinned scientific discoveries, world exploration and economic growth. But with the recognition of the approaching exhaustion of our fossil resources on Earth, this boundary-breaking mentality is out of date.”

Long time readers will recognize this hostility to what I nicknamed the Axemaker Mind and the hope of ecologist Paul Ehrlich for Newmindedness. Part of what we will do in this post is tie this hostility and desire for a new kind of mind to what is being pushed as Classical Education as in this piece touted last week. http://www.theimaginativeconservative.org/2016/11/individualism-root-error-modernity-george-stanciu.html  It is also tied to much of the organized deceit surrounding the Common Core as so many think tank employees and their mysteriously connected colleagues “against the Common Core” turn out to be tied to instilling a common core of moral virtue using education to create a neurally-grounded, ‘well-ordered soul.’

That well-ordered soul instilled within the student in turn is designed to know and choose based on instilled habits that are consistent with the UNESCO Ethics Framework from the last post, the Positive Education template, DeVos’ moral mandate, Amitai Etzioni’s Communitarian New Golden Rule, and finally Karl Marx’s vision for his Human Development Society. Since Mortimer put it, like Uncle Karl, in terms of the existing base of wealth and technology that had been reached, let’s go back to the quote above to see why “Hey, Hey, Ho. Ho. The Existing Mentality just has to Go.” Bad pun I know.

“The challenge now is not one of expansion but self-containment: a series of problems with which the all-conquering male is ill-equipped to deal. We, Homo sapiens, have never before had to face the problem of our own instincts threatening our continued existence; they have always been for our benefit, the survival of our genes. The frontiers we face now lie not on the horizon–or even in space–but inside our own minds.”

Now let’s jump to how the 1995 book Seedbed of Virtues defined the “Classical Conception of Virtue.” Please pay attention because this definition and book are closely related to both the new Catholic Curriculum Framework, School Choice, and why the American Principles Project/Pioneer report from last fall that laid the narrative for those frameworks (by misrepresenting the nature of Competency-based Education and Transformational Outcomes Based Education) may have done that. This is a little long, but absent the references to Aristotle and substituting Character or Whole Child for Virtue, think of it as what all 21st century education must be doing.  I will boldface the why so we can tie it to Mortimer and Uncle Karl and snark in brackets for current relevance.

“The classical conception of the relation between virtue and politics was spelled out by Aristotle. Individual virtue (or excellence–the Greek arete will bear both meanings) is knowable through everyday experience [Project-based or service learning?], definable through philosophic inquiry [Higher Order Thinking Skills?], and is always and everywhere the same [Truth. Beauty. Good?]. For Aristotle, the virtues are not just Greek, but rather human, virtues. Political life must be seen as in large measure a means to the attainment of virtue, understood as an end in itself. Once the threshold conditions of physical and material security are met, the political community should structure its institutions and policies to promote virtue in its citizens [remember the NIH and Templeton-funded Science of Virtues at U-Chicago?), and its worth as a community depends on the extent to which it achieves that goal.”

To make a long story short, that book was cited in connection with UNESCO’s Ethical Framework and I recognized the name Mary Ann Glendon (Harvard law prof) from both the Catholic Frameworks that wanted to specify Knowledge, Skills, and Dispositions that students are to have internalized, as well as being a communitarian associate of Amitai Etzioni. If the book sought to elevate the “collectivity over the individual” and duties over individual rights, it would explain so much of what I have found over the years being imposed though education via an affirmative view of the law. As I am prone to do when I find a vision that is both alarming and clearly connected to what we are seeing imposed on classrooms, I looked up the book’s publisher,  the Institute for American Values (IAV).

Remember how the Ethical Framework recognized the need to control and create new values and categories and principles to guide thought if the sought social and economic changes to meet all human needs via Universal Ethics were to be imposed? IAV turned out to have a Sean Fieler as its Chairman. I recognized that name as he is also the Chair of the American  Principles Project. What are the odds? Then I discovered the ubiquitous Bradley Foundation, THE major funder of School Choice and so much else, delightedly recognizing its support of IAV. I have written about what School Choice actually does and it fits with how Tranzi OBE and Competency-based education actually work. Here’s the stated aim from Seedbed of Virtues that would certainly explain both the support of School Choice and all this documentable deceit.

“need to reshape institutions [like schools, universities, and churches] for the sake of revitalizing civil society…the path to better rather than worse judgments–must ultimately be sought, not in the seedbed, but in the seed: the human person…to control his knowing and his choosing.”

Isn’t that what Ian Mortimer called for in that recently published, much hyped book? Interestingly, last week, many of the think tanks pushing either School Choice or Classical Education or both, touted the release of the Classical Learning Test, to be a successor to the ACT or SAT. Its release celebrated that “instead of individualism, we stress community…rather than merely becoming a number, we want to see students use standardized tests as yet another opportunity to mature in wisdom, virtue, and academic competency.” Boy, that aim certainly sounds like the goal is to instill the internalized rudder of desired personality traits and supplied Knowledge to be acted on as a matter of habit.

An article accompanying the release of the CLT–“Happiness and the Moral Dimension of Education” leaves no doubt that the CLT seeks to evaluate the extent to which a student’s “body, emotions, desires, will, and a mind…are in harmony, working together for the true good of the whole person and his community.”

In 1998, IAV released “A Call to Civil Society: Why Democracy Needs Moral Truths” that saw the historic Western civilization “understanding of the human person as fundamentally flawed…Our capacity for reasonable choosing and loving is what allows us to participate in a shared moral life, an order common to us all..”

In the next post we will look at that document and its implications, including where School Choice and all education reforms are really taking us. We will also cover IAV’s 2003 publication Hardwired to Connect: The New Scientific Case for Authoritative Communities since it gives plenty of reasons for the deceit surrounding the Common Core and education reforms generally.

Hard to force what Uncle Karl called communism and others have called Marxist Humanism or Systems Thinking once enough people grasp the presence of its clear tenets. Much better to do what IAV did in that 1998 report, call for a ‘new society model’, where “society consists of individual members who are encultured by institutions and obligated to the common good.”

Gramsci was not the only Transformational Collectivist seeking to March through the Institutions. He was simply more upfront about it.

 

Anchored to the Human Psyche to Engineer the Invisible Coup: the Narratives Converge

The previous two posts illustrated real-time proclamations from just the last few weeks that fit with what we are going to cover today–the quietly imposed Common Framework for the Ethics of the 21st Century issued by UNESCO in September 1999. It grew out of Universal Ethics Project begun in 1997, imposed invisibly by education, P-12 and higher ed, under obscuring terms like learning, outcomes, standards, and competencies. The Framework was referenced in a footnote I came across while trying to chase down the common education agenda being pushed by the admitted Left Pincers (in this case communitarian prof Amitai Etzioni) and American Principles Project founder, Robert George, as a representative of the School Choice pushing, but headed in the same actual direction, Right Pincers.

Before I could write up the implications of that Framework, we suddenly had Ms DeVos’ statement about the moral obligations none of us may abdicate and the Positive Education practices mandate coming from the World Government Summit. Since they each seemed to assume the shift into the obligations of a Framework few of us are even aware of, I went with the “this is coming now” approach in the previous two posts. Now that the Imminence is crystal clear and not speculative, let’s take a look at what is being concealed from us. Because this is a blog, not a book, this post will be followed next by how I know for sure that this is where all the deceit surrounding the Common Core and School Choice really leads.

Those who have read Credentialed to Destroy are aware of just some of the evidence I cite on why I believe the ending of the Cold War was somewhat stage-managed to let education quietly assume the transformational reins. Let’s add to that body a Gorbachev book, The Search for a New Beginning, I did not have then telling us what Perestroika was really about. Gorbachev wanted to “join politics with morality” and create a Framework for new forms of required interaction and new forms of thinking. Instead of “artificially constructed utopian schemes” that “are not workable anywhere,” he called for:

“The recognition of the world as an integral whole [which] calls for a change in our value system, or to put it more precisely, for actualizing the initial values that are inherent in the nature of the human being as a social and spiritual entity. In one form or another, and in varying degrees, those values are reflected in the world religions and in the great humanistic doctrines.”

In a preview of what will be coming in the next post, substitute the word ‘Virtues’ for ‘values’ in that quote above and we quickly get to precisely where Classical Education is taking Privates and Charter Schools. First though let’s get back to Gorbachev’s bluntness because it explains so well the language we will cover on the need to shift away from traditional views of Individualism and rationality. (the italics are in the original text)

“The future of human society will not be defined in terms of capitalism versus socialism. It was that dichotomy that caused the division of the world community into two blocs and brought about so many catastrophic consequences. We need a paradigm that will integrate all the achievements of the human mind and human action, irrespective of which ideology or political movement can be credited with them. This paradigm can only be based on the common values that humankind has developed over the centuries.”

We will leave Gorby now and shift back to the supposed new values, ideas, and principles that people need to internalize from an early age (enter education tied to behavior and the Whole Child which is precisely what performance standards mandate) so that everyone can “flourish” in the 21st Century. Sure enough, that particular uncommon verb is ubiquitous now throughout the UNESCO Ethics Framework, the Positive Education Practices we encountered in the previous post, as well as the NIH-funded and Templeton Foundation sponsored Science of Virtues going on now at U-Chicago. What are the odds of such common, uncommon, terminology?

The cool thing about the Ethics Framework is that there is no overt, publicized command that makes people feel coerced. The Russians and Chinese noticed those edicts from on high simply did not work as well as using a reenvisioned type of education that affected “the will of individuals in every and all situations in which he or she acts.” Once that Learning becomes a Habit of Mind we have installed an invisible internalized neural rudder that allows society and an economy to be steered and guided without anyone needing to be the wiser. Students will have Moral Dialogues grounded in “philosophical value knowledge” (just like the School Choice-advocating Manhattan Institute laid out recently in an odd “Republic in the Atlantic” piece in City Journal).

The goal of education then, whether marketed as “knowledge, skills, and dispositions” in K-12 or Essential Learning Outcomes in higher ed, is actually aimed at using reading, classroom conversations, group projects, and virtual reality adaptive learning aimed at:

“developing the capacity of individuals to make right evaluations of others’ actions, of events, situations etc., and to find out, in the light of philosophical value knowledge the implications of such a will: what they should, or can, do, so that human dignity can be protected or be as little damaged as possible in the given unique situation, in which they have to act, as a whole.”

If that aim is not graphic enough that what the Universal Ethics Framework, instilled via education, seeks is a “paradigm shift in consciousness” so that we can all “apply our minds collectively and …work towards a new intellectual and spiritual renaissance,” let me use another. This quote from Paris, March 27, 1997, bemoaned that:

“whereas humanity is transiting to the global society, our minds are still mired in pre-global concepts. And it is this difference, it is this gap between the emergence of the global society and the non-emergence of a global consciousness, that is at the root of many of the problems that we see in the world today.”

If the means of closing that gap and creating the desired new thinking and ethics is new ideas and values, is it coincidental that suddenly the relief offered from the horrors of the Common Core is framed in terms of Character Education, Positive Psychology, Conceptual Understandings and Core Disciplinary Ideas as the ‘content knowledge’, and Virtues?

Does anyone else feel like the remedy offered is actually grounded in this little discussed Ethics Framework? Because apparently reenvisioning the human future is “affected and even determined by the behavior of humans acting on the basis of normative ideas and principles.” If education in the 21st Century is actually premised on the italicized “question: what values and principles may be mobilized in order to steer the forces of technological and economic change for the purposes of human survival and flourishing?”, aren’t we even entitled to know that is the foundational question behind all these imposed changes?

There’s that ubiquitous aspirational verb again. Anyone else wondering who will really flourish in this vision?

Radio Silence and the Dog that did not Bark: Positioning Positive Education Globally

Sometimes the most telling fact for figuring out connections is the non-existence of something we would normally expect to see. For the intrepid detective Sherlock Holmes, it was the failure of anyone to mention hearing a barking dog on the night of a murder. The watchdog, then, must have known the attacker and let him by without alarm. It has been three weeks since the World Government Summit 2017 was held in Dubai. There were two substantial papers released at that summit. One, on desired Innovations in Government, has been written about. The other called “The State of Positive Education” has not. Radio Silence about a desired global paradigm shift so that “schools all around the world should place well-being at the heart of education” means that those of us who are paying attention do not get a chance to bark in alarm.

Why would we be so alarmed you may wonder? The Summit had two Americans as the keynoters on this topic. A U-Penn prof, Martin Seligman, with his own tag who we have previously tied to the UN’s World Happiness Reports and Mihaly Csiksentmihalyi, who is tied quite simply to virtually everything. For starters, it is Csik’s definition of Excellence as bringing together what we want, feel, and think into a single act that is in play every time we hear a desire for Excellence in Education. Think also of the federal civil rights laws and the repeated command for Equity and Excellence.

How does this tie to Mrs DeVos’ statement from the last post and the repeated push to federalize an obligation that every school have a Positive School Climate? Surely I don’t want schools to have a negative culture, belittling the less capable, or strange, student until they can barely look up from their pain. Of course not, but making how students treat each other,  whether they cooperate in joint projects, and whether they show ‘prosocial attitudes’ and reach ‘shared meanings’ of what abstract ideas must mean the new purpose of schools is too transformational to be something imposed under the radar in silence.

Last fall the State of Rhode Island created a Statewide Personalized LearningTemplate for its schools. A little discussed essential component of this student-centered transformation was a requirement for “school culture shifts” of the precise kind laid out by Positive Education. It is also a fundamental component of a Colorado district piloting ‘performance-based education’. Australia, relying on Professor Seligman’s work has crafted a Positive Educational Practices (PEPs) Framework published in 2008 by the British Psychological Society’s Journal. It stated that the “major focus of the positive psychology movement is how to facilitate flourishing lives that promote individual and organisational wellbeing.” Happiness, flourishing, mental health, and ‘what makes life most worth living’ sound like such tremendous goals. Wouldn’t it take someone with the heart of the Grinch, before his Christmas epiphany, to oppose such a focus?

Readers in the United States still unsure about how widespread this focus is and just how much has been put in place under conditions of silence should know that the National Institutes of Health and fed ED have already been funding Positive Education to create “classroom interventions.” It satisfies the criteria for ‘evidence-based’ under federal law and ‘scientifically-based practices’ in legislation passed by states. Last July, the author of that summit paper, the International Positive Education Network, IPEN, held its first ever Festival. 850 delegates from 30 countries came to Dallas, Texas for the event. Apparently those Essential Knowledge and Skills Frameworks Texas has in place marry well with Positive Education.

One more example, this one cited in that Summit Report IPEN created: fed Ed recently announced its “new ‘Skills for Success’ grant competition, aimed at improving students’ mindsets and learning skills. The awarded projects will involve more than 10,000 students in various school districts in the US.” Those districts may brag about the money as demonstrating they are on the Right Track locally. Bet the grants will not be touted as being a Positive Psychology experiment. There are five listed foundations in this approach to education: Social and emotional competency, positive emotions, positive relationships with peers and teachers, engagement through cognitive and character strengths so these can be developed at school, and students having opportunities at school and in the community to develop a sense of meaning and purpose. No need for Personally Identifiable Information at all.

Would anyone like to guess how often anti-bullying is cited as a reason to shift to Positive Education? I bolded the word ‘strengths’ in the last paragraph because the provided definition reminded me so much of how Excellence is also defined. “A ‘strength’ can be defined as a natural capacity for behaving, thinking and feeling in a way that promotes successful goal achievement.” With all the mentions of prosocial actions and instilled values, it is not too clear exactly who will be setting the goals that each student is to achieve. Do remember Mrs DeVos said we all have moral obligations we may not abdicate. I suspect she will just love Professor Seligman’s definition of a ‘meaningful life,’ at least she will if anyone at DoED describes it to her.

“a meaningful life is one that joins with something larger than we are–and the larger that something is, the more meaning our lives have. [Seligman] states that life is given meaning when we use our signature strengths every day in the main realms of living ‘to forward knowledge, power or goodness.'” This really is NOT education in the traditional sense and reads like training for collectivism so that students will not question an obligation to act from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs. We will cover more proof in the next post that whatever the personal intentions of Mrs DeVos or Professor Seligman or others pushing this template, it truly is creating the desired consciousness and personality traits and habits needed for a shift away from the individual’s right to decide their own pathway in life.

Actually I will close with a statement Seligman made in June 2009 for the Oxford Review of Education when he answered the question of “Why Positive Education now?” with “What is all our wealth for, anyway?” I am tempted to pretend to be Tonto when the Indians are attacking him and the Lone Ranger and ask “who is we?” but then no one thinks wealth is easier to come by apparently than politicians and tenured profs. Here is Seligman and the reason for the Radio Silence:

“General well-being–how much positive emotion, how much engagement at work, how much meaning in life our citizens have–is now quantifiable and it complements, and makes sense of, GDP. Public policy can be aimed at increasing general well-being and the successes or failures of policy can be measured quantitatively against the standard.

Prosperity-as-usual has been equated with wealth. The time has come for a new prosperity, a prosperity that combines well-being with wealth. Learning to value and attain this new prosperity must start early–in the formative years of schooling–and it is this new prosperity, kindled by Positive Education, that the world can now choose.”

I bolded that word ‘kindle’ so we can have a chance to make this choice ourselves rather than have it imposed at summits we were not invited to or educators hoping for federal grant money. Because what Positive Education seeks to kindle at the level of each child’s mind, habits, and personality is intended to turn into an invisible bonfire motivating his or her future behaviors.

It really gives new meaning to imposing a cultural revolution from the bottom-up and the inside-out.

 

Subservient and Malleable Students: DeVos Federalizes Our Moral Obligations

With former President Obama his means were sometimes shadowy, but his goals and views were quite forthcoming. Remember the openly announced “fundamental transformation” before his first election or the “you didn’t build that”? Neither was a mistake in his mind. In his early days in politics he openly expressed his annoyance that courts interpreted the US Constitution as imposing ‘negative liberties’ of what government could not do. Instead, he hoped for a more ‘positive liberties’ vision laying out what governments must do to meet the needs of all citizens.

The Transgender Ruling that the Trump Administration overruled last week involved a federal agency deciding to read statutory language prohibiting discrimination based as ‘sex’ as also prohibiting discrimination based on a student’s perception of their gender. I keep warning that internalized perception is the new favorite bullseye in education, K-12 and after, because it can invisibly alter likely behavior going forward. No need to give the manipulated student a head’s up as to what is actually going on. Let them simply wonder later why no one is ready to hire them simply because they have a college degree.

The Obama Administration simply said that the student’s perception of who they are is more important than the physical reality of penises in girl’s bathrooms and group showers. It’s who people are on the inside that matters legally. What got put in place solely by broad, creative interpretation though can disappear the same way, which is what happened last week. Maybe like me, you heard on the TV or radio that “all President Trump and Betsy DeVos did was leave this delicate matter in the hands of the states or localities.” That may be what President Trump and his Attorney-General meant to do, but Mrs DeVos issued a separate statement laying out the “moral obligation no individual can abdicate.”

That’s quite broad, isn’t it? What does the Education Secretary acting apparently in her imagined benevolent despot role impose as our new federalized moral obligations to each other? To return to that gossipy phrase from our childhood, “Do Tell.” Here goes:

“We have a responsibility to protect every student in America and ensure that they have the freedom to learn and thrive in a safe and trusted environment. This is not merely a federal mandate, but a moral obligation no individual, school, district or state can abdicate…We owe students a commitment to ensure they have access to a learning environment that is free of discrimination, bullying and harassment.”

Now that broad assertion of such a mandate is about so much more that “New Title IX Guidance.” It was controversial when President Obama began to sneak in such a mandate to model desired behaviors and control interactions among students to create a so-called Positive School Climate.  http://invisibleserfscollar.com/how-social-and-emotional-learning-as-the-primary-focus-is-coming-in-all-the-windows/  If the verb ‘sneak’ sounds too strong, this is a controversial area and it was pushed via regulation with little public discussion. Mrs. DeVos and fed ED are quietly continuing this very alarming declared right. The affirmative, ‘evidence-based’ remedy is to control each student’s internalized values, personal attributes, and emotional dispositions all in the name of a declared moral right “to learn and thrive in a safe environment.”

In the name of that goal, we get a new global emphasis called Positive Education that is supposedly “based on the science of well-being and happiness.” Each student has personality traits that are malleable to changes in instruction and classroom experiences. Do parents get a heads up as to the change in emphasis? Not really when it gets embedded in subject areas and class discussions that are really about moral dilemmas.

Your child is Succeeding. Your child shows Growth. Your child has met the school’s Learning Objectives. All of our students are showing Improvements in Achievement.

What parent will recognize the shift in what is actually being measured or what these terms now mean? How many parents will ever see https://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/us-secretary-education-betsy-devos-issues-statement-new-title-ix-guidance the actual statement instead of some commentator’s false statement of what it did? Will students as adults recognize that education was used to manipulate, under force of law, the essence of who they are and how they view the world?

Next we will explore the nature of this new mandate. If there is to be an unknown “major paradigm shift in education,” the only way to avoid being its victim is to know it exists.

Does Mrs DeVos even know what she has declared and the history and purpose of these controversial ideas? I do and I am really hoping she simply put her name to a Statement someone else drafted because she thought it sounded nice and noble. The ramifications and likely remedies of her declared federal legal mandate to control the very bases of behavior simply never occurring to her.

Careful. Careful. Every progressive and tyrant in history sought to control this same internalized focus now declared a “federal mandate” in a release with an erroneous title that few are likely to read.

This is no way to get the feds out of the local classroom.

 

 

Covert Coercion via Controlling Categories of Consciousness

There is far more than alliteration involved in today’s catchy title and its purpose, like all my writing, is to inform, not to scare. I am not Alfred Hitchcock and this blog is not The Twilight Zone. None of the aspirations laid out here at ISC or in my timelier than ever book, Credentialed to Destroy, are fictional. All of our lives would be easier if they were. Education reform is all about invisibly changing human behavior to bring about a new, collectivist, radical vision of what the future of the 21st century might be. I believe knowing the intended mechanisms for tyranny is the first step in escaping their grasp and then removing them altogether.

When Jean-Francois Revel wrote his 1983 French classic that translated as How Democracies Perish, he wanted to give a heads-up to prevent the demise. That’s why I write about education as well. In a chapter called “Attack. Always Attack” he gave information on Communist tactics that is also applicable to education reforms and the ensuing outcries over decades.

“A standard Communist tactic is to mount a propaganda operation to accompany a practical operation. If the latter hits a snag, the former will leave traces in people’s minds that will help condition them to give future actions a kinder reception.”

Think of my work as first defusing the practical operation of covertly controlling students’ minds and thus their likely future behavior. Meanwhile I call attention to the organized deceit so we can begin to remove those traces from both our adult minds as well as our poor, manipulated children. Since my last post EdSurge on February 10 admitted that the purpose of that Early STEM Learning paper I cited was to provide categories to guide thinking in an article that also redefined the acronym STEM–“Setting, Tension, Explanation, Metaphor: A Storytelling Approach for Early STEM Learning.” Too bad no one gives bonus points for prescience in education writing. The oligarchs met in Dubai last week and launched Positive Psychology as the global classroom education template, expressly showcasing Mihaly Csiksentmihalyi (whose work gets pulled in via civil rights interpretations on Excellence and Equity) and Martin Seligman of PBIS and the World Happiness Report.

Yesterday the US NIH admitted that “Current and future BRAIN Initiative research studies aim to elucidate, and potentially influence, the mechanisms that give rise to consciousness, our innermost thoughts, and our behaviors, thereby prompting novel social and ethical questions.” There’s a reason Congress prefunded years of that intrusive research back In December while Obama remained in office. After all, politicians at all levels want to rule under a new definition of Governance that’s not being discussed enough openly. The just out World Development Report 2017–Governance and the Law-explains that Governance is about delivering on normative goals of Security, Prosperity, and Equity for All achieved through the political process. It has nothing to do with elections and everything to do with the ability to shape internalized personal preferences, values, and beliefs.

Sounds like Chapter 7 from Credentialed to Destroy doesn’t it? Here’s the pithy why for that aim: “the ability to shape other people’s beliefs is a means of eliciting an action from another person–an action the person would not otherwise take. The ability to make others act in one actor’s interest or to bring about a specific outcome–the definition of power in this Report–is thus closely related to the notion of ideas as beliefs.

The dichotomy between ideas (ideology and culture) and power as a primary determinant of social dynamics is thus a false one. The idea of power cannot be understood without taking seriously the power of ideas.”

Using education reforms labelled as competencies or the Common Core to provide conceptual frameworks, lenses, Enduring Understandings, Cross-Cutting Concepts and Themes, and Disciplinary Core Ideas is a crucial aspect of Controlling Consciousness. There’s a reason for so much coordinated deceit surrounding it and why I seem to be the only person writing about it. Control the prevailing ideas used to direct attention and perception and the interpretation of daily experiences and you have covert control over likely future behavior. UNESCO knows that. So do the World Bank, OECD, the behavioral scientist community, and the public policy think tanks across the purported spectrum. It’s us, the parents and taxpayers, who are unaware of just how crucial standardizing the prevailing ideas is to plans for a fundamental transformation.

As Bela Banathy put it from our last post on seeing the student and education (see bolding from me) as a system: “Our main tool in working with human systems is subjectivity: reflection on the sources of knowledge, social practice, community and interest in and commitment to ideas, especially the moral idea, affectivity, and faith.” So how do I know this aim is across the political spectrum? I learn a great deal from reading old books and Professor Amitai Etzioni, Mr Communitarianism with his own tag, is an admitted Man of the Left. Professor Robert George, founder of American Principles Project, Bradley Foundation Board member (thus tied to PEPG), recent AEI award winner, and too many other connections to name, is a designated representative of what purports to be Conservatism. I call it the Right Pincer for a reason.

Given all the deceit I can track and shenanigans involving pilfering material from my book without attribution or compensation, I wanted to read a 2001 book called The Monochrome Society because it contained a Chapter called “Virtue and the State: A Dialogue between a Communitarian and a Social Conservative.” That would be Etzioni and George, respectively. When the book came several months ago, it turned out to be part of a series edited by Professor George with “a special focus on the juncture of culture, law, and politics. New Forum Books is guided by the conviction that law and politics not only reflect culture but help to shape it.”

That aim doesn’t sound particularly conservative to me and is a long time aim of all progressives–cultural evolution. If that is also the aim of so-called conservative and libertarian think tanks it would explain all the deceit, concern over what my book laid out with extensive documentation, and my current observations of where School Choice actually leads. For some reason though, I was too busy initially to read anything other than that particular chapter. After I read that World Development Report though and its laid out aspirations to use the law and the mere global existence of less advantaged people and poverty to force what Marx called his Human Development Society, I went back to reread the rest of the book. Turns out Etzioni laid out the template that the World Bank and others intend to use to alter what a student internalizes so that it alters their preferences.

Clearly when he wrote the Chapter on “Social Norms: The Rubicon of Social Science” and Professor George edited it, no one thought someone would ever track it down after already mastering what Tranzi OBE, the Common Core, and Competency-Based Education really aim at. Turns out the Right and Left Pincers ARE acutely aware of a bullseye where education practices and the curriculum used and the ideas pushed “play a key role in ensuring that certain preferences will never be formed in the first place, while others will be strongly held…a major goal of education (as distinct from teaching) is to foster internalization of social norms by children and thus to affect their preferences.”

Since the local Classical School associated with Hillsdale’s Barney Charter Initiative touts instilling ‘virtuous living’ in its students, let’s tie that to what Etzioni wrote. Turns out that students acting at an advanced stage in Lawrence Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development (that public and private school teachers are now regularly taught is to be part of their new classroom practices) involves “individuals reason in terms of abstract notions” (or ideas or supplied concepts, categories, or ideas) on how, when, and why they should act. Etzioni then quoted Kohlberg that “it is possible to ‘reason in terms of such [high level] principles and not live up to them.'” Etzioni then laid out the essence of what everyone now wants from the classroom and education reforms and too few admit openly so let me quote directly:

“Unfortunately, to know the good cannot be equated with doing the good…To put it in the terminology followed here, [and at the always prescient ISC I must add immodestly], knowledge affects behavior by affecting considerations of costs and benefits but, as a rule, does not shape preferences. Internalization clearly does.”

So the SDG agenda pushed globally by institutions like the UN, OECD, and the World Bank can only change those preferences, as they have declared they aim to do, by education that is about getting at what a student internalizes as their values, attitudes, and guiding beliefs. Precisely what I warned about in my book that the False Narrative pretends is about some database of intrusive personal information. The need for Deceit is caused by others wishing to also use this tool of subjectivity and internalization, while being covert about it as well.

Once accurately perceived, this aim does not just seem tyrannical. It is unabashedly so. Etzioni sees it as a matter of the community having the right to establish the values that all citizens are to internalize. The World Bank does too since that is part of what Governance is to mean. I have pointed out already that this is the essence of what ED Choice laid out as the new definition of Accountability that is pertinent then to School Choice advocacy.

If our individual internalized preferences can now be changed by education reforms that no one is being honest with us about, are we free? Etzioni said no that “if the preferences themselves are changeable by social and historical factors and processes [or just federal laws like ESSA or state Student Privacy Statutes like Georgia’s] the actor is neither aware of nor controls, the actor’s behavior may be nonrational and is not free.”

Etzioni, with his long-time plans for fundamental social and economic transformations is OK with ‘the community’ controlling what must be internalized. Are we?

Is this really the kind of education reforms that anyone should blindly accept on the basis of catchy phrases or an appeal citing some famous person from history?