Change Perception, Change Behavior, Change Rules, Change Systems–the Real Common Core/Teacher Coercion Story

Today’s post reenforces my consistent point that what is going on in education ‘reforms’ at all levels is not about the how and what of getting as many students as possible as knowledgeable and able as possible. What most of us view as the historic role of schools. Even something as fundamental as the new teacher evaluations and measures of what constitutes student ‘achievement’ or ‘growth’ are actually bound up in the broader social, economic, and political transformation agenda. And once again the aim is not limited to the US or Canada or the UK or Australia. It truly is global in aim as this short video called ‘Purpose’ show us.

Now the first part of the title comes from that circle chart at the 1:21 mark that the way to achieve this comprehensive vision of global transformation is to Change Perception which causes Individual Behaviors to Change, hopefully along the preselected pathways. That in turn allows Changes in the governing Rules (either explicitly or as we saw with Harold Berman through the concept of evolving law that shifts with needs and new contexts). Finally, all of these shifts over a majority of voters results in a Change in the economic, social, and political Systems.

We could also call that chart a Graphic Organizer illustrating how to accomplish Dialectical Materialism in the real world. Now I still find that to be an off-putting phrase and just using the initials might not alert my readers to what I mean. I am also darn sure we are going to keep needing to refer to this Theory with an Infamous Past so I hereby rechristen it DiaMat for short. Why am I so sure this theory will need a nickname to allow for easy use?

Because I believe that the new teacher evaluations and professional development standards, and even the new definition of professional learning that is coming out of Kentucky, are all about getting DiaMat into everyday practice in our schools and classrooms. DiaMat in the teachers’ daily instructional practices of course allows that Obuchenie mindset to be developed in the students. Then the new alternative assessments being administered by Pearson, even in states like Texas that are not adopters of the Common Core, get to measure whether the desired changes in perception are occurring.

If we look at the inner core of that circle chart, we see Perception changes through new Story Telling, which of course is most vividly accomplished by ditching textbooks and making virtual reality Gaming and Cyberlearning the new focus of the classroom (under the motto that it keeps students engaged and thus keeps them from dropping out). Next, at the inner core under Change Behavior we find ‘Motivator,’ which is precisely what the League of Innovative Schools and the federally promoted Digital Promise hope to use technology in the classroom to determine. Under Change Rules, we find ‘Mobilizer,’ which I believe is a euphemism for the better known–‘community organizer.’ Finally, under Change Systems, we find ‘Platform Builder.’ Like Peter Senge promoting systems thinking or Mark Greenberg pushing positive psychology on schools or Angela Duckworth on Grit and Tenacity as examples in education? Or to take it up a notch, we have Harry Boyte and his concept of the cooperative commonwealth or Gar Alperowitz and his Democracy Collaborative or King’s Beloved Community as only being satisfied via economic democracy.

The point of just those few examples is that the world itself and all the individuals in it may not be interdependent, but the idea behind radical ed reform and the transformation visions that accompany it certainly are. My book and this blog are dedicated to trying to sound the alarm of these connections in time. You may not have read Imagine Living in a Socialist USA that came out about two weeks ago from HarperCollins Publishing, but I have. It is a historically and economically illiterate vision with a devastating conclusion of what a Thanksgiving 2077 could be like in the transformed US. In the middle is an essay from Bill Ayers of Weathermen and “Just another guy in the neighborhood” fame laying out the associated ed vision. Ayers calls it “Teach Freedom!” but the Common Core calls it student-centered deep learning of the desired concepts with application to real world problems. DiaMat again.

Remember how we discovered that the omnipresent around the classroom implementation dual phrase “teaching and learning” was an inexact stealth attempt to bring in the Russian psychology and political theory of obuchenie to alter the student’s perception? Well, we did not dwell on it then but it is the teacher’s perception that is also  under active attack. The students are not the only ones to be asked to Ascend from the Abstract to the Concrete based on preassigned concepts to be understood as desired and acted upon. Teachers must shift too. Think of it as forcing everyone to become a change agent or to find a new job or career.

That’s what the new classroom observations and teacher evaluations are all about according to the developers of the Common Core standards themselves, Student Achievement Partners. Well, they did not mention obuchenie or Ilyenkov’s Ascending theory but they are intimately tied to the new definition of student achievement and how to end educational inequality. You see? This is why radical schemers are so hostile to us having our own personal store of accurate facts about the past. We go beyond the assigned story and interject our own conceptual understandings based on a pertinent solid foundation. Naughty me! Seriously in November 2013 TNTP (yes it is the entity Michelle Rhee started) released an Issue Analysis Report co-developed with Student Achievement Partners called “Fixing Classroom Observations: How Common Core Will Change the Way We Look at Teaching.”

That report itself says that “the implementation of improved teacher evaluation systems in a growing number of states and school districts, and the introduction of Common Core State Standards across the country” are “inextricably linked by their shared goal: better instruction for students.” Once again so much for the talking point about Common Core NOT being about how to teach the content. It is ALL about how to teach the content and in fact greatly limits what the content may be. Common Core and TNTP together ( they are distinct only to minimize the previous public outcries that supposedly derailed outcomes based education) are all about obuchenie instruction. On the circle graph we talked about above it is a certain type of instruction that changes perception so that behavior itself changes. Then the DiaMat process that should result in transformed systems can begin in earnest.

DiaMat is why the TNTP report stresses the need to teach the “right content.” Interpolating again, I believe that means content that will shift perception in politically powerful ways so that “students are learning what they should be learning.” Learning remember has been redefined as a change in values, attitudes, beliefs, feelings, or behaviors. That redefinition then fits well within the Purpose Chart for Change. If you really believe that outcomes-based education went away instead of morphing into new names and a different PR strategy, look at page 6 of that TNTP report under “student outcomes” (the italics are in original) about “Rubrics should draw a clear distinction between the  outcomes teachers are responsible for producing in a successful lesson and the strategies that can help them achieve those outcomes.”

Because I really am trying my best to alert teachers and students and parents in time about what is really going on and where it is all designed to lead, here is one more heads up addressed especially to teachers. It also goes to my certainty that what we are dealing with is in fact obuchenie and DiaMat and that they are integrally interrelated to the actual Common Core implementation and the Competency ultimate fallback. “State Lessons for Transforming Professional Learning” Launched in 2011 from the official CCSSI sponsors and coming from Kentucky, the remainder of the 6 pilot states are Georgia, Illinois, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Utah, and Washington. It will be going national though and it is tied to what TNTP is developing as well. It also ties into the history of what it means to be an effective teacher that I laid out in my book Credentialed to Destroy: How and Why Education Became a Weapon.

It is DiaMat that ultimately weaponizes students and teachers and administrators caught up in this tragic vision. They are being credentialed and coerced to be change agents to transform the world. Meanwhile their educations at the K-12, collegiate, and graduate levels are being systematically stripped of anything accurate that might be an obstacle to a willingness to seek transformation–first at the level of perception, then behavior, then reality itself.

While people like me who have studied history and economics and classical lit and science are jumping up and down and screaming like that silly robot in Lost in Space with his “Danger! Danger!”

This has been a week in Atlanta where the dangers perceptible to anyone paying attention were unrecognized, or disregarded, by too many education decision-makers. Expanding the authority of this sector nationally and globally so that it can ignite transformational systems change will create comparable results to what happened Tuesday.

Nowhere to Go. No Way to Get There. Except this time there will be no innate southern kindnesses to keep us and our loved ones and our resources safe.

Conclusion: Now Enacting the Long Sought Planned Economy and Society Via the Open Data Initiative

I did not take you through excruciating details on what has been sought since at least the 60s to fill you with a sense of woe but to ground present known intentions in their proper foundations. This is not just some pursuit hatched by the current occupant of the White House and his friends nor is it limited to the US. It has been a long term scheme for political, economic, and social power. It seeks to shift decision-making away from individuals and vests it in the public sector or with vetted cronies and in international entities like UN agencies and the OECD. But it is such a high priority of this administration that President Obama signed an Executive Order on his very first day in office stipulating that all government information that did not have to be kept secret for security or privacy reasons should be made public. This new policy is called the Open Data Initiative. Its importance to governments globally can be seen by the G-8 Summit in June 2013 adopting an Open Data Charter.

Now people from time to time will ask me if I could please limit my posts or my new book Credentialed to Destroy: How and Why Education Became a Weapon to discussions of education because that’s all that really interests them. My answer has always been no as the documents are quite clear that all these education reforms being pushed in the US as the Common Core or globally under names such as 21st Century Skills, Personalized Learning, and Positive Behavior Systems are simply means to certain ends. I think not discussing the sought ends leaves the reasons on why the actual implementation looks so much like social engineering impossible for us to grasp. We do not have to wonder anymore why anyone would do what we can now prove they [Who is ‘they’ many people ask? foundations, ed professors, district supers, and too many school principals will do for starters] are doing and mandating with every bit of legal authority they can seize.

In October 2013 McKinsey Global Institute issued a report laying out the intentions of our governmental overlords in 7 ‘domains’: education, transportation, consumer products, electricity, oil and gas, healthcare, and consumer finance. Basically learner analytics will be applied in the future to the Open Data and business and individual proprietary data to supposedly “enable better decision-making.” But not by us anymore. Think of this as the idea that the Service State we encountered in the last post or the planned society we encountered in the post before that are now achievable in the 21st century via supercomputers, models, and Big Data. The report is called “Open data: Unlocking innovation and performance with liquid information.” McKinsey uses the terms ‘open data’ and ‘liquid information’ synonymously.

Before we get to the open acknowledgment that the new tech-enabled personalized learning being pushed as an essential aspect of global education reforms is actually intended to “increase motivation [remember our conation discussion and that nerdy phrase triune consciousness?], change mindsets, and adjust learning strategies,” let me go through some of the troubling assumptions from other domains. How about the assumption that “conceivably, credit card companies could raise interest rates on households that waste electricity”? Does that sound like the credit card companies now are independent or an arm of governmental policy for desired future behavior? How about businesses now subject to “open data released by third parties could expose poor environmental or labor practices or show their products or services compare poorly for price and quality”? Isn’t that ‘a run your companies in the manner we desire or you will get bad publicity’ threat?

The report contemplates that “sharing data gathered via ‘smart grid’ technologies can be particularly helpful in spurring energy sufficiency.” How? By publicly revealing relative personal consumption levels. Now I want you to think about the disastrous Obamacare website rollout and all the deceit used by politicians and agency bureaucrats to cover up the true nature of the planned shift in the US healthcare and insurance model:

“As the maker of laws and enforcer of regulations, government can shape the legal and economic environment that maximizes the potential value from the use of open data, while addressing the legitimate privacy and intellectual property concerns of individuals and organizations.”

Right. And how intrusive are the planned releases of data that “intellectual property concerns” even become an issue? Now we know when it is essential to keep data secret and secure as with national security matters [think Edward Snowden] or the personal financial data component on the Obamacare website, governments are terrible at it. Now onto that reality let’s add everything intended as part of this Open Data Initiative. All so that 21st Century society can become not a place of individual decision-makers but a place for “large-scale collaboration among individuals, companies, governments, and other organizations” supposedly seeking each of our subjective well-being as the goal of governments. And also seeking to “help educate the public about the potential benefits to the economy and society.”

The proprietary data will be gone. Governments as usual will be lousy administrators with no real incentives to do a good job. And from looking just at the education component, the benefits appear to me to be illusory but the levers of manipulation over human behavior look boundless. All in all the kind of stupid ideas that would be resisted at every turn if only they were better understood. And without so many advocates with their hand in the cookie jar of intended future governmental spending. All this ed data being gathered is said to improve individual “performance, which can lead to higher graduation rates, greater educational attainment, and increased lifetime earnings.” Not if students do not know much of anything and everyone suddenly has the same credentials.

Now how many of you have heard anyone write about personalized learning as the wave of the future? It is a simply marvelous gatherer of personal info with thousands of data points being collected when adaptive software is used. Which it will be so all those data points can become part of the Open Data Initiative basis for a new type of collective decision-making in the future. Here is the definition of personalized learning from the McKinsey cited and Gates Foundation funded Learning to adapt report from 2013 [my bolding]:

“pedagogical method or process that draws on observation to inform tailored student education interventions designed to increase the likelihood of learner success.”

The personal data being gathered then is extensive and real and just full of non-cognitive information. And the tasks and activities the student is asked to do get adjusted as necessary to gain success. Not exactly the ingredients that would actually foster future economic success.

Getting to public sector-centric decision-making is the whole point. Equity for all and social justice at last are after all the by-words for all these pushes. Economist Ludwig Von Mises in the book Socialism he wrote just after World War I described all these pursuits as Ethical Socialism. It was all the rage in Germany and his native Austria before and after the war just like it is now all the rage in US academia and political institutions and federal agencies in 2013. The fundamental fallacy remains the same as what he noted:

“Most people who demand the greatest possible equality of incomes do not realize that what they desire would only be achieved by sacrificing other aims. They imagine that the sum of incomes will remain unchanged…this idea rests on a grave error. It has been shown that, in whatever way one envisages the equalization of incomes this must always and necessarily lead to a very considerable reduction of the total national income and, thus, of the average income…we have then to decide whether we are in favor of an equal distribution of income at a lower average income, or inequality of incomes at a higher average income.”

Von Mises was simply discussing the overall impact due to the disincentives to be productive in the future. Given the contemplated mind arson I have been documenting, just imagine the actual effects of disincentives to be productive when coupled to the widespread inability to be productive.

And then add on the cost of the public sector to poorly administer this planned society. And all that insecure Open Data. And the wasteful cronyism attached to the planned collaboration.

And the lack of personal freedom. The Open Data Initiative surely will lead to a society incapable of mass prosperity.

Makes you wonder who they think will fund the redemption of all those Social Security IOUs in the near future under these plans. I guess it’s a good thing all the administrators and politicians pushing these plans intend to rely on taxpayer-financed pensions to fund their retirements after careers spent destroying the source of wealth everyone is taking for granted.

Will this really work out well for anyone in the long term?



Triune Consciousness-A $100 Phrase We Need to Grasp Why Every Wrong Leads to the Same Remedy

For those of you excited to hear your State may be reconsidering the Common Core, my research has always shown that CCSSI is a Bait and Switch tactic. So I am going to continue my focus on the real change coming to a classroom near you soon. US or elsewhere. Public or private. The consistency across decades and geography is amazing. So we are going to keep our focus on the wealth of confessional riches that looking into that odd word–conative–turned up. Because the vision everywhere seems to be a 21st Century “form of education that provides universal principles from which inner-awakening, self-transformation and self awareness can be enhanced.”

Why is that necessary? Because “without inner transformation, it is not possible to bring about true change as true change in the thinking, must occur at the spiritual level.” (“Towards Self-Sustainability in Education”, 2007, New Zealand) Spiritual as in “the convergence of religions into a universal form of ethics.” That’s supposedly how we get to a cooperative commonwealth or all the other visions of a reorganized collectivist, sustainable economy and society we have looked at that is always attached to these ed reform visions. If the vision of the society or economy of the future makes no sense for most of us, we need to reconsider where the League of Innovative Schools and 21st Century Skills and a Competency focus and social and emotional learning are really taking us. But today we are focusing on how changes this dramatic can manage to make it all the way into a local classroom despite the wishes of parents, taxpayers, a Governor, or a local school board.

Apart from money to bribe compliance at the local level and accreditation (which is so poorly understood), this time the Executive branch through both White House edicts and very busy agencies is really working the interpretations of both the federal civil rights laws and the federal disabilities laws into pretzels only a contortionist or a stealth Social Change Agent could love. We already noted a similar previous attempt here.

Well, the feds were at it again this week using the Civil Rights Division of DoEd’s Special Ed Division to issue a Dear Colleague letter on the Bullying of Students with Disabilities. But the remedy as we have seen before involves a Positive School Climate (PSC) and required policies and psychological practices and curricula for ALL students. Everybody bound and coming from somewhere few are likely to see. Likewise, the Alliance for Excellent Education just released a paper called Climate Change: Creating an Integrated Framework for Improving School Climate. It’s in the name of the poor and minorities and the tragedy of too many schools being drop-out factories. Since much of that is deliberately created, basically we have a case of problems being created so a desired solution can be offered. And framed in terms of Civil Rights since most people never aced Con Law in order to be able to be skeptical about the words “the law requires.”

Beyond the ever present PSC pursuit that gives a reason to require that ALL students in ALL schools “receive the same academic, social, and emotional experience.” PSC gets defined as “an environment that reflects a commitment to meeting and developing the academic, social, and emotional needs of every student.” And collecting Civil Rights Data (CRDC) to make sure that is happening for ALL students. Which will certainly go a long way toward the OECD’s interest in overseeing everyone’s Subjective Well-being.

It also goes a long way towards achieving Education for Sustainability towards this end of the UN’s decade since the data gets at “the driver of intentional change in one’s behaviour, emotions, perceptions and attitudes.” Those changes achieved via federal collection of personal data as a matter of supposed law then is supposed to lead to a greater ability to fuse the needed “shared vision at collective levels.” And all mostly out of sight.

I want to borrow an insight Ludwig Von Mises had on the page before the quote I used in the previous post. If politicians and connected insiders want to call the shots in the 21st century, genuine innovation is an obstacle since it can and has literally changed the world and the course of civilization before. All this PSC emphasis beyond the usefulness of knowing people’s Personal Motivational Profile obtained without their knowledge via digital learning and assessments we cannot see has another important goal. Here is the insight:

“Most people are common men. They do not have thoughts of their own; they are only receptive. They do not create new ideas; they repeat what they have heard and imitate what they have seen. If the world were peopled only by such as these, there would not be any change and any history. What produces change is new ideas and actions guided by them…It is always an individual who starts a new method of doing things, and then other people imitate his example.”

PSC and the resistance to lectures and textbooks and systems thinking now are all fundamentally rationales to prevent uncommon individuals who might create new ideas and fully appreciate and explain the value and necessity  of old ones. But politicians and tech companies wanting to preserve future revenue against competition or media companies aghast at what happened to the profitability of newspapers can’t be honest with us. Money, power, and control may be the real reason but it cannot be the public explanation so we get all these bogus talking points. But in the footnotes that go with the PSC research or holistic learning or Whole Child Initiative or what is wanted from a Conative emphasis is the real story. It will take me several posts as we continue through it but there is tremendous consistency now at the deep level I am. Through place and time and names you might say but never a variance in the function.

Today I want to lay the foundation of why we have encountered so many reasons to switch school to activity and social and emotional learning and the PSC mandate. The 1997 book Head and Heart: Affection, Cognition, Volition as Triune Consciousness by Andrew Tallon laid out the sought vision of a “spontaneous nonconceptual knowing and loving” that will be manifested in “performances.” Yes, indeed, won’t that fit well with ‘performance standards’ and ‘learning tasks’ and projects as the classroom emphasis. That way students can physically practice: “feeling is the way our being resonates with our doing” until it becomes a matter of habit. No wonder ‘engagement’ has become the order of the day. Good thing 21st Century Skills are not interested in fostering habits of mind or deep learning which would start to sound precisely like what Triune Consciousness is getting at.

Think of how useful the PSC mandate and that CRDC data will be if a student’s “capacity to learn means acquiring habits as (re)structuring malleable; it is essential becoming.” Sounds a lot like Peter Senge’s Presencing. And “[t]he goal of learning, at its most personal and interpersonal peak, is to develop triune consciousness. The Developed structures of adult personality and character form the unique constellation of dispositions to act spontaneously and with a directness and immediacy that needs neither thought nor will, primarily in face-to-face relations.” And that Dear Readers fits almost precisely with the vision of the intrapersonal and interpersonal laid out in the Crucible Moment report that launched the American Commonwealth Partnership at a White House ceremony in January 2012.

Triune consciousness is a fancy phrase for a deliberate official pursuit via education to create behaviors and a desire to act that does NOT flow from “discursive reasoning or deliberative will.” Take your pick of reflex or habit or spontaneous or unconscious response. They will all work  as education seeks to join affection, cognition, and volition so that the response comes from internal values, beliefs, and attitudes. School consciously seeks “to sublate [think of anesthesia or other sedation] either or both ‘normal’ discursive reasoning and the deliberations of the will.”

What do we call governments and officials who want to do that?

Who gather personal data to ensure ‘continuous progress’ towards such a goal?

Who frame such a pursuit in terms of disabilities rights or civil rights?

Who call such intentions “innovative school practices”?


When Gaming Intends to Shape and Distort Our Perceptions of Everything Around Us. Viva La Revolution!

A title that provocative really should be based on at least some speculation. Maybe with me looking bug-eyed and highly excitable. Nope. Everywhere I looked to try to make the K-12 gamification focus we encountered in the last post a fringe ambition–on the periphery–I just ran into more graphic, open declarations. From people with the money and power to make their visions a reality. A 2011 book laying out these aspirations approvingly pointed out that the “Microsoft game-testing lab ‘looks more like a psychological research institute than a game studio.”

That author, Jane McGonigal, of the Institute for the Future, is a keynote speaker of this month’s annual International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) in San Antonio, Texas. She explicitly mentions Robert Torres’ Quest To Learn charter school vision in NYC as a means of reinventing public education as we know it. That Gates and MacArthur and Pearson Foundations vision of Reimagining Education. shows it is now the feds vision too.

Before I talk about the book Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World and its prescriptions for using immersion role-playing games and alternate reality games to encourage students to want to reinvent reality, let’s talk about how we get to this point in K-12. Last week President Obama issued a directive to the FCC “to take the steps necessary to build high-speed digital connections to all of America’s schools and libraries.” . The directive on Jumpstarting Learning Technology says our schools “do not prepare our student’s for a collaborative and networked economy” . Which really does sound like the kind of reenvisioned needs economy I have been telling you is integrally linked to these ed reforms. Anyway, here’s a full extended quote:

“We must make our schools an integral part of the broadband and technology transformation–particularly when that same technology can be harnessed to drive empowered, more personalized learning. From digital textbooks that help students visualize and interact with complex concepts to apps and platforms that adapt to the level of individual student knowledge and help teachers know precisely which lessons or activities are working. This technology is real, it is available, and its capacity to improve education is profound.”

That’s the real fundamental shift. All that wonderful personal data plus there’s no longer any need to use print to mentally envision what an author is describing or how things work. The video in the digital textbook or videogame will show the student.  Not influenced in the least by the fact that the creator of the game or textbook publisher openly acknowledged that as “we’re making these games, we dream of the other revolutionary things swarm intelligence might make possible. Low-carbon futures, mass creativity, living happily with less.”

Swarm intelligence by the way is part of what massive online player games can create.  The idea is that “experiencing communitas in an everyday game can spark a taste for the kinds of community action that makes the world a better place. Learning to improvise with strangers toward a shared goal” teaches that “swarm intelligence”–which game designers hope “makes people better able and more likely to band together toward positive ends.” I am really tempted here to bring in a comment about cultivating the little c era of association and community using the the benefits of a profoundly different new technology but I will refrain. Maybe. But even the White House says it is a new age–the Digital Age–and certain notorious political philosophies do believe that new ages grounded in new technology call for a new kind of consciousness. Do you agree?

At the 2008 meeting of the professional group for education professors, the AERA (yes that is the group that elected Bill Ayers to an executive position), Eva Baker of the National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing–CRESST–presented a paper called “What Do We Know About Assessment in Games?” She pointed out that Games work well when the point is measuring, as in the now federally-required measures of Student Growth. Rather than evaluating, as in traditional testing of the now-defunct knowledge unsuitable for the Digital Age. Her work seems to be the foundation for what GlassLab  is now doing. You “embed the assessment in the transactions of the game and build it into a game’s underlying engine.” The game then becomes the “types of learning to be experienced.”

But that would require coordination with game developers. Good thing then Eva (who you may remember also evaluated SBAC and PARCC for the Hewlett Foundation to ensure these would be measurements of Deep Learning) was a speaker at the 2012 Serious Games Summit. And CRESST is listed as a sponsor of the 2013 Summit. Also conveniently Jane McGonigal started writing her book soon after Eva’s AERA speech. Laying  out a vision on the Rise of the Happiness Engineers. The game designers who use the elements of Positive Psychology so that gaming can set off “the orgasm of positive emotions” such as awe. McGonigal quoted Dacher Kalter as saying that:

“The experience of awe is about finding your place in the larger scheme of things. It is about quieting the press of self-interest. It is about folding into social collectives. It is about feeling reverential toward participating in some expansive process that unites us all and ennobles our life’s endeavors.”

I am not trying to spook you. But if these are the intentions of the designers of the games that are now to constitute what is learning in the 21st century, it matters. The Institute of the Future does a great deal of consulting to famous companies and foundations. Apart from Jane’s high venue speeches.  Jane believes that games “have an important role to play in how we achieve our democratic, scientific, and humanitarian goals over the next decade and beyond.” Now her goals (or Eva’s or these foundations) may not be yours but they are the goals being designed into the objectives of these games.

And whether the student exhibits the desired beliefs, values, and attitudes (suitable for Transformation) is what is being assessed and measured as Student Growth. Jane by the way described her vision of a Sustainable Engagement Economy in the book. It reminded me of Shoshana Zuboff’s Needs Support Economy with its distributed capitalism. She also envisioned reinventing the workplace except she sees the new attitudes coming out of the gaming experiences as driving the desire for change. Making reality more like games is how she put it.

Reading Reality is Broken really is alarming since there really is no intermediary between the vision of the future designed into these games, the psychological and emotional methods incorporated into the games, and the student. And it’s not like I am inferring the vision here. There are many more troubling, to me, examples in the book. But the book reminded me of another troubling book I had read from 1988 called Global Mind Change: The New Age Revolution In the Way We Think. So I went back and reread the marked passages. It was a reminder that if you want social transformation, which that author Willis Harman certainly did as well, you need to target the unconscious belief system. Harman even mentioned our old friend Milton Rokeach (see tags if not familiar). Here’s the vision:

“This concept of unconscious beliefs and the extent to which they are capable of shaping and distorting our perceptions of everything around us–and within us–is so central to understanding the global mind change that we shall make a temporary digression to look into it more deeply.

Each of us holds some set of beliefs with which we conceptualize our experience–beliefs about history, beliefs about things, beliefs about the future, about what is to be valued, or about what one ought to do.”

That’s precisely the real Common Core implementation targets. That’s what Digital Learning is designed to assess and reshape if needed. The assessments have to be performances and activities because as Harman said in 1988: “persons may not realize they have these unconscious beliefs, but the beliefs can be inferred from behavior–from slips of the tongue, compulsive acts, ‘body language’, and so on.”

Now think about this next quote and whether the phrase common core may be a metaphor and not just a factual statement about skills and knowledge and consistency among students.

“In the innermost core of the belief system are basic unconscious assumptions about the nature of the self and its relationship to others, and about the nature of the universe.”

The Game Designers say that is what is being targeted. Ed professors and ed labs and implementation theories openly call these reforms “second-order thinking” and “Irreversible Change” because it is the unconscious being targeted.

We are priming the emotions and using virtual reality to practice how to change reality. While simultaneously leaving the mind empty of knowledge of likely consequences.

Which might foresee a Revolution more likely to deteriorate as the French one did than build something wondrous. As the American one did.




Placing a Global Bet that Psychology Infused Via Education Can Change Human Beings and their Institutions

Supposedly for the better which is why the initiative is called Positive Psychology to sound inspirational. But citing back to Abraham Maslow and Carl Rodgers’ work as foundational makes this push about more than instilling good work habits and hope. This Organizational Development (OD) push, that Appreciative Inquiry from the last post and systems thinking a la the higher profile Peter Senge and Otto Scharmer are an intrinsic part of, plans to act on the theory that human beings can be changed for the better. Globally but especially the US.

And it fully intends to try using the Global Quest for Educational Excellence and all those poorly understood international tests like PISA and TIMSS as the drivers of change. While you are thinking it’s about finally getting more knowledgeable students who are better at reading or math, these taxpayer funded visionaries have figured out how to also use Positive Behavior Interventions and Positive School Climate Executive Orders and data collection around Student Growth to drive continuous improvement toward “inspiring and shared moral purposes.” How very communitarian.

Apparently all the hyping about closing the Achievement Gap is just a ruse. Instead, the US CCSSI is part of a global attempt at “establishing the new and eclipsing the old in human systems.” So exciting that it really was italicized just like that in the 2010 Framework document I am describing today.  Coupled to a 2012 book by two Boston College professors called The Global Fourth Way laying out what really makes for a high performing school system. Hint: it’s not what you know but what you feel and are willing to do about it. Supposedly equitable outcomes for ALL students and Deweyan Quality Learning that changes the Whole Personality are just the thing that will “produce the economic and social outcomes that are essential for economic dynamism, social cohesion, and democratic ways of life.”

And before you get excited about the economic dynamism aspect during this Great Recession you should know it is premised on the idea that “going green might well become the biggest business opportunity of the twenty-first century.” Or not as all those bankruptcies from ventures like Fisker and Solyndra that got tax dollars in the 2009 Stimulus Act should show.

So once again the education component that is the real Common Core implementation is tied into a political and social upheaval that is not being advertised and an economic vision that shows no likelihood of working. No matter how many AI Summits like “Green City on a Blue Lake” cities like Cleveland hold envisioning a new green future and an extension of relatedness that will somehow save the Inner Cities and economic blight. The vision, that has Positive Psychology architect, Marty Seligman of UPenn (save Philly somehow please!) and David Cooperrider (a Taos Institute founder and Case Western, in Cleveland, prof), reportedly giving speeches to lots of famous companies, the US Army and Navy and the US Environmental Agency (no wonder it now plans with systems thinking), and the UN Global Compact among others around 2010, is called Innovation-inspired Positive Organization Development. Or IPOD as they call it to create an “economy and ecology of strengths.”

I wonder if they put their IPOD speeches on an IPad? Sorry. That IPOD Framework even mentioned that there was a “recent business leaders meeting at the UN to collaboratively design the future.” I guess it’s not collusion when it is for a good cause like Sustainability and preserving current markets. Which we should all keep in mind every time you hear “Business needs the Common Core or 21st Century Skills or Career Pathways.” This is SO not about what is best for our individual futures. In fact that’s why you keep hearing all these references to organizations. According to IPOD’s vision, organizations like schools and businesses are to become:

“institutions that serve to bring our highest human strengths into the world in a magnified way…They exist to serve a life-enriching purpose, and accomplish things no individual set of strengths can accomplish alone.”

Oh, I don’t know about that. An individual mind can be quite intrepid which is truthfully the whole problem with the old transmission of knowledge curriculum. It’s the real reason it must be jettisoned in the 21st century. None of these people want herd-defying individuals figuring things out without authorization or creating world-altering technology breakthroughs without permission. So they take Uncle Karl’s human development theory and give it a new disguise that sounds inspiring. .

The IPOD approach to change then is to be “collaborative [like group projects and Communities of Learners], educational based on experiential learning [hands on projects! service learning for credit!], dialogical [Courtney Cazden’s discourse classroom community], and contextually conditioned upon inquiry [just like a good IB Learner!] into the relevant content and process of a human system.”

No wonder we keep hearing a requirement for relevance and a link to real world problems. You get the IPOD, Fourth Way, vision implemented without having to mention it or get approval. Thus the IPOD framework says the “DNA pulsating through” it can be described by three essential features:

1. That special spirit of inquiry [they do love italics for emphasis] that seeks “to learn, experiment, seek feedback and build shared understanding through dialogue and open exploration of things that may never have been collectively explored.” How expensive and unproductive if simply based on the feelings of deliberately created Know-Nothings. Next.

2. The collaborative design of the future. Now this impossibility is based on the very accurate observation that “people build their commitment to change in direct proportion to the degree that they are actively engaged in designing the change.” Which is why you are unlikely to get the PTA President or members of your local School Council to listen to you when you point out, for example, that Spence Rogers’ own books cite Mao as a good example of leadership and that makes him a poor choice for teacher professional development.

The collaboration also primes all participants for the “assumed centrality of interdependence in organizational life” to force recognition that it is “the quality of the relationships, the processes–how the relationships give or deplete life” that make a human system work. No wonder relationships are one of the new 3 R’s along with Relevance and the imaginative Rigor [think of that Spirit of Inquiry above as what Rigor is really about].

3. A positive view of the human being. Now this is the age old question that has kept philosophers speculating for centuries. You will be glad to know that IPOD comes down on the side not supported by history. IPOD has not only “proclaimed a belief in people” from its “infancy.” It goes on to [this is a little long but it is a vision worth quoting in full. Maslow to Marx with the behavioral sciences thrown in to boot]

“Insofar as we might discover the conditions that help bring out the best in life–for example, Abraham Maslow’s studies into peak experiences–then we might well be able to apply this knowledge in our institutions. Drawing from the entire mosaic of the social sciences–from anthropology, sociology, psychology, political science, and biology and more–OD would be unique in not only propagating a collaborative, inquiry-driven approach to change but would be centered on advancing the developmental potentials of the human being. [And you thought I was being sarcastic about Uncle Karl or his 20th century leading advocate Erik Erikson and why they matter to CCSSI] Instead of being woven at random, like an afterthought design into our economic and organizational fabric, human development would be at the center. Lines would radiate out from the human dimension to all the others–the economic, technological, strategic, structural, political, etc.”

That would be truly all-encompassing and people focusing on who owns the means of production are not keying in on what parts of Marx’s vision are back for a 21st Century run.  The framework also mentions the good prof Csik as a key component of this positive psychology vision . Why look, excellence just like the Fourth Way. What a coincidence. Not.  But it also notes that for a new OD as described here to “truly emerge, it would need a new human science knowledge base.”

Well, guess what? All that data being thrown off –measuring Student Growth or soft skills or attitudes, values, and beliefs and continuous improvement in PBIS or PATHS and other “mental health first aid” or social and emotional learning curricula as we see from CASEL– is just what OD needs to be its “human science knowledge base.” No wonder ICT vendors are so excited. No wonder the accreditors now require its collection. And the US federal government by requiring teacher evals based on “multiple measures of Student Growth.”

Should it trouble us that the World Economic Forum just put out a report on creating the 21st century economy around ICT and Big Data? Coincidences surely abound these days.