Are Educators Free to Plot Mental Insurrections in Students with Impunity?

Does being an educator–Teacher, Principal, Super, Professor–come with a magic “Get Out of Jail Free” card along with the degree? Especially those doctorates. Can educators push emotional and psychological practices in the classroom or Systems Thinking or Values Clarification or Soft Skills or Character Education or Inquiry Learning or the Student Centered Classroom or a myriad other terms that the Creators acknowledge are means to alter a Student’s Consciousness? To try to get to the Blind Spot that impels behaviors in an effort to obtain Communitarian Social Change?

A mentality that ceases to think of itself as a legitimate individual and finds its Sense of Self in doing for others. Where that altruism is not a free choice but was carefully cultivated in the classroom when the mind and personality remained malleable. If I can locate the originators of the theory or policy or practice saying what its real purpose is, and that purpose seeks to use the school to obtain social and political and economic transformation, does an education degree or title make it a permissable practice anyway? Are we Americans or Canadians or Brits or Australians or anyone else under political attack via education really without recourse?

John Dewey first developed the term “Social Reconstruction” to define the use of the school and classroom to change the student from the inside-out. It needs a mind that is not dominated by the abstract or the logical and is not full of facts that allow its own analysis. For Dewey the rational needed to be heavily infused with emotion so the mind would not be constrained from imagining the world as it might be. He recognized that a fact-filled brain will want to see possibilities from preexisting alternatives. John Dewey wanted a world as it had never been. His modern-day acolytes want that now. For all of them freedom gets redefined not as a matter of individual liberty and personal choices. No to be free in Dewey world:

“we need to imagine the possible beyond the actual, and to be moral we must distinguish those possibilities that ought to be (i.e., that are truly desirable) from those that are not.”

Most of the classroom practices track back to Dewey or someone who models their aspirations around Dewey. He is not the point of the post so let’s shorthand the essence of his vision by saying that the real website Marxists.org has numerous postings about Dewey. His biographers and his friend Sidney Hook and the Bolsheviks themselves all believed he took Karl Marx’s unfinished vision for using education as a cultural tool and made it into an effective weapon. We should take them then at their word and discuss whether it has any place in a country with aspirations of continued freedom for the individual. Otherwise the Colleges of Education and accreditation bodies and UNESCO etc have a license for insurrection. To simply use Dewey’s theories and practices but give them appealing names like Excellence or Quality Learning. Insurrection with Impunity at are Expense. Pension and Generous Health Benefits too.

In his Pedagogic Creed John Dewey said:

“Education is a regulation of the process of coming to share in the social consciousness; and that the adjustment of individual activity on the basis of this social consciousness is the only sure method of social reconstruction.”

That attack on individual consciousness these days comes in through an IB Learner Profile or a Positive School Climate/PBIS  requirement or the 3 R’s. It comes in through the letter home to parents describing an Honors Lit class that mentions interpreting books through personal experiences and cultural backgrounds and written reflections. That class may say lit and they may still “read” books but the focus of the class has shifted to the students. Who They Are, Where They Come From, What They Value, and What Needs to Be Changed to Have Growth. You the parent will simply assume the Growth is academic and relates to knowledge. That’s a social interaction classroom and you will likely only know it if your child already has an Axemaker Mind and feels bored and manipulated.

Remember the post when I told you the US Government had announced its intention to use education and the social sciences to shape mindsets for Sustainability and anti-fossil fuels regardless of the actual temperatures or whether there is fraud involved in the so-called science? http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/if-reality-is-ignored-or-disregarded-when-do-we-become-a-state-against-its-people/ This week the head of Australia’s Green Party, Christine Milne, who is a vital part of that country’s governing coalition, displayed her anger over anyone still disputing Manmade Global Warming even though, as I hope you are aware, there is a lot to dispute and the 4th IPCC Report has been shown to be full of unfounded assertions or propaganda.  Here’s her response with my bolding:

“Denialism has much more to do about values and world view than it has to do with actually understanding the science. So we should have been using the social sciences a lot sooner than we have been to work out ways to talking to people’s values systems rather than to their intellectual capacity.”

Young people with still malleable minds who have been entrusted to educators in the belief that school is about the transmission of knowledge and marketable skills. Not a means for fostering an insurrection with captive minds as a permanently available vehicle widely distributed among future voters.

Speaking of worldview, what worldview is it to assert that a belief that people have intrinsic abilities and talents is Social Darwinism that must be combated and rejected as a basis for education? What worldview argues that math and science are merely social constructs and gloats that the Common Core implementation will finally allow educators to target those teachers still trying to teach it as a body of knowledge and procedures? What sort of country will we be if genuine math and science can no longer be taught to any student because it is not accessible to all students? Instead all students get applications and open-ended problem-solving and human activities like projects that are a means of interaction.  What kind of worldview equates oil drilling and coal mining as unacceptable forms of oppression and domination of Gaia’s resources and then equates the mindset that would do that to owning slaves?

Different educators seem to have different grievances that make them susceptible to these schemes of Social Reconstruction via education. Some may be Inadvertent Insurrectionists genuinely unaware of the background of what they are pushing. Others, quite frankly are simply not very bright, and love any theory of learning that makes them feel better about how the students with Axemakers Minds made them feel. No more Axemakers Minds though is economic suicide but how would the Less Talented with a Career on the Public Payroll at Taxpayer Expense know that crucial fact?

To close this very legitimate inquiry on “What are we going to do?”, I can tell some of what is going on in professional development for teachers in preparation to implement the Common Core  by searches that end up on my blog doorstep. One of the searches that I have been getting daily for more than a week now is “education misrepresent reality: Discuss.” Clearly trying to convince teachers to move away from the transmission of knowledge. So I did a little Reverse Engineering searching myself and found a 1979 book deliberately seeking Dewey’s vision of using education to alter consciousness to eventually obtain social and political change. Stealthily.

I also though found Paulo Freire and his theory that the transmission of knowledge, what he calls Banking Education, is an “instrument of social control” because it “controls by manipulating the content of the imagination.” Instead he wants a “problem-posing education.” The lecture-based curriculum, says Freire, “is compatible with the aim of promoting the oppressive cultural forces of the dominant authority in society and with the disempowerment of students.”

When educators believe all this nonsense and it guides their policies and practices, why can’t the Hispanics and Blacks and Rich and Poor and Male and Female and Gay and whatever other groups that are being played as Victims or Targets but who know better simply say no? Could there be anything in the US or any country right now that is more unifying than a rejection of the Dewey vision of education as Social Reconstruction? The vision that disparages facts and fluent reading and sequential math because they all foster individuality and are barriers to political manipulation.

Don’t we have a winning, very diverse, coalition here that Just Says No to Social Reconstruction and using education to try to alter perceptions of reality? Some things are simply too important not to be willing to be confrontational over. Respectfully of course. At least at first.

 

Does Purple America Come with a Toy Dinosaur or is it Just More SEL?

For those of you still upset by the June 11 post http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/how-social-and-emotional-learning-as-the-primary-focus-is-coming-in-all-the-windows/ , today will be more of the same except this time it is backed up by the NEA. The National Education Association is a hugely influential US lobby and teachers association and financial contributor to elections at all levels. It is sort of a superunion since it does more than represent teachers.  But that’s where its dollars and tremendous reach into every school district and electoral nook and cranny in the US come from.

So NEA’s decision to create a values character education curriculum to enhance student social and emotional learning is no minor, likely to stay on the shelves, no one will pay them for it, curriculum. They have the clout and it is coming. The related names are all trademarked. The fee schedule for workshop training has been printed. The sadly likely-to- be-effective strategy of using students as recruiters and trainers of still more students is already named and laid out. Who could resist the opportunity for STARS–Students Training And Reaching Students? For students willing to take their involvement with Project Love to the next level after attending the Power of Kindness Workshop. Each STAR will be helpfully trained by NEA reps to:

“lead small group discussions for middle and high school students at Project Love Workshops

Use active listening skills, learn how to encourage discussion, how to handle differences of opinion and know when to get help

Serve as role models of kindness, caring and respect whereever they go

Become the ‘change agents’ for their schools and lead their peers in a positive direction.”

Well I suppose that might be OK if we were just talking about troubled schools or schools where students are struggling to have any positive role models or healthy personal visions in their lives. Alas, that is clearly not what the NEA has in mind as the market for Purple America. Are you as parents or taxpayers likely to know this is occurring in your local schools? No. As you are probably beginning to appreciate by now the banner of Common Core is being used to smuggle in a lot of dramatic changes that are the opposite of national criteria for content to be learned. In that soon to be antique notion of learning as actually knowing anything in your own mind. No Purple America is designed to be an integrated curriculum that can be embedded in any subject area for some good old fashioned authentic learning. It’s designed to get the whole school passionate about civic involvement. Much more exciting than studying the history of the country you want to try to change.

Now Purple America says it is not a political organization. It believes that we need to Re-Imagine America (that’s a registered trademark too) that is fully committed to its values. These values it says are not red or blue. The values Purple America wants to push are Equality, Faith, Family, Freedom, Love and Respect, Self-Expression, Doing the Right Thing, Community, Giving Back, the Good Life, Opportunity and Success. Again not to worry I know the NEA reps will have the exact same definitions of each of those terms as what you would have explained to your child. I know there’s no need to point out that those may be nice qualities to discuss in an informal setting. But mandating it in the classroom and then keeping track of Which student believes What, and where they are on the continuum of accepting Officially Desired Views, is deeply violating.

And if it seems I am just being paranoid, yesterday the Common Core Career Ready Practices were released. They insist that each career-ready student must “understand the obligations and responsibilities of being a member of a community.” That’s certainly consistent with always reminding people that they are not an individual entitled to liberty and privacy and autonomy. The long sought goal of telling people they only really become a person in their relations to others. That they are nothing in their own right is a pretty lousy thing to convince American students of. The person-in-community concept is not the individual Western culture or the free markets that brought so much economic prosperity developed around.

Likewise those same career ready students are now defined as people who “apply insights into human behavior to change others actions, attitudes and/or beliefs.” Now where on earth would students get the training for such manipulation of others?  Why I have an idea. It’s not intrusive training. Purple America just desires:

“Our mission is to help you connect with your personal values system and the values that unite us as Americans. We seek to inspire civil conversation about what is important to America, so together, we can imagine a future for our nation that represents our American values.”

Sounds transformational. As if societies are created in the first place and can simply be redesigned with sufficient political will and collective imagination. New readers may want to revisit this post to appreciate this is not a new goal for education.http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/is-common-core-a-catalyst-to-dramatically-alter-system/ I mean it would be so much trouble to rewrite the US Constitution. Let’s just use education to change what a majority of the future voters will believe it means. How much easier is that? Stealthier too.

I don’t think it is coincidental at all that I found Herman E Daly’s controversial book for the common good: redirecting the economy toward community, the environment, and a sustainable future on the list of resources to be used on the School Climate Center’s website. The comment above about abandoning the concept of the individual and replacing it with person-in-community came from the introduction of that book. Sounds much like UNESCO’s vision of solidarity as well. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/is-accreditation-the-enforcer-for-unescos-vision-of-solidarity/

We have talked before how the bullying emphasis and School Climate brings in PBIS for all and the social and emotional emphasis in the classroom. Project Love and Purple America proudly proclaim their intentions to train for “values-in-action.” I have many new readers from many parts of the US and the world. That’s why I went back and gave links to especially important previous foundational posts.

Is there anybody still reading who can avoid appreciating now that this is education as a social, political, and economic weapon? That what’s to be transformed is the US and the West away from the traditions and practices and knowledge that brought unprecedented prosperity? There’s a lot at stake in the education masquerade. But we’re up for the challenge, aren’t we? I bet we know our history better too.

Is Accreditation the Enforcer for UNESCO’s Vision of Solidarity?

From its beginning UNESCO and other UN affiliates refused to see education, science or culture (the “E, S, and C” in the name) as most of us would. And do as we pay those property taxes and income taxes and tuition and student loans. Things to be cherished and nurtured and transmitted and built up. To the best of each of our abilities. Instead each of these treasures of the ages is viewed as a tool to create social change. In order to build up a new vision for what people could be like in the future.

Now a knowledge of history tells us that this has never worked well. It was behind many of the tragedies of the 20th century and before. UNESCO’s designers though believed they could create new norms of moral responsibility and human conduct and then find allies to enforce them. Leaving all of us unsuspecting of course since none of us like to feel we are being managed by others. Especially at our own expense. But since the late 1940s UNESCO has dreamed of using education to promote the intellectual and moral solidarity of mankind. All of us.

And not as individuals either. The dream has been to foster human values, beliefs, feelings, and attitudes that promote collective norms, collective behaviors, and collective patterns for action. Apparently UNESCO and the other UN agencies in its orbit weren’t listening when Karl Popper said in 1957 that:

“Even the emotionally satisfying appeal for a common purpose, however excellent, is an appeal to abandon all rival moral opinions and the cross-criticisms and arguments to which they give rise. It is an appeal to abandon rational thought.”

Well we know from the previous post on what Quality in education really means that individuals abandoning logic and reason and any real ability to think abstractly is precisely what certain utopian or just greedy schemers have been targeting for 100 years. Since John Dewey and then Ralph Tyler and Professor Bode and their 8 Year Study we discussed on May 15 and May 16 in previous posts.

So in all the UN activities involving education we have talked about in the last several posts–Educations for All, MDGs, and Education for Development, the vision for the basic education that everyone is to get does not really vary in its purpose. It:

“should equip all people, women and men, to be fully participating members of their own communities and also citizens of the world.”

That’s in the fundamentally reoriented and restructured world where UN agencies and their employees will take the lead in integrating “social, economic and environmental policy” at the local, national, and global levels.  And that aspiration is from the March 2012 State of the Planet Declaration getting ready for the Rio Conference in mid-June so the ink is barely dry.

Does that aspiration seem silly to you? Impossible? Something that should earn a ticket to a Mad Hatters Tea Party? Me too. Here’s the thing though with these aspirations that involve using our money and political power to Try to control us and our behavior. It doesn’t have to be possible for it to be tried. And great, expensive, difficult to fix harm can still flow from simply attempting bad ideas and impossible feats. That’s why we are talking about this now. Before Rio. Before Common Core’s full implementation. While the accreditors like AdvancED or New England are moving their devoted Gypsy Principals and Gypsy Supers and others into place to enforce this vision.

Whether anyone involved truly appreciates or is even aware of the full vision behind what they are promoting and requiring. As I have mentioned before, we have an autopsy to perform as to what happened and why with education. Right now we need to slow and stop any more damage from these misguided but official policies and practices. Coming to a school and district near you right now.

So the UN agencies like UNESCO and others use the so-called Quality Assurance process to systematically review education programs around the world for compliance with its vision. In fact in 2002 UNESCO created the Global Forum  on International Quality Assurance, Accreditation and the Recognition of Qualifications in Higher Education to act as the coordinator of that vision. We in the US and my readers in other countries thus have a real problem. The regional accreditors we think are local and checking to ensure academic excellence are using accreditation and their almost dictatorial power over the schools, including many private, and higher ed to pursue a much different vision for education.

Some of it we have already talked about. More will come out. None of it is good. Some of it may feel treasonous. All of it though is part of a group of people we are largely unaware of actively coordinating to implement a common global purpose. And no one told us or asked our permission and it absolutely cannot work as envisioned. And the attempts may wreck us all. It really is past time for school officials and the accreditors themselves to be forthcoming with the public that pays all the bills.

 

 

 

Why Quality Learning May be the Last Thing You Want for Your Child

Pulitzer Prize winning historians, Will & Ariel Durant, have written extensively about what makes civilizations prosper and what has destroyed them. They make the point that “morals are the rules by which a society exhorts its members and associations to behavior consistent with its order, security, and growth.” Oftentimes though those morals are not explicit. Most of us are not even aware of many of the Things that Work. They are embedded in the traditions and knowledge of the past transmitted through schools and social interactions. As our educators shift American schools and schools globally away from the transmission of knowledge model, I think their lack of much familiarity with the lessons of history and economics is showing.

Starting anew and pushing theories and practices that are untried. Making “research-based” about noting the effects on actual students of these new theories. Or even worse reintroducing political theories that have been tried with a tragic result.  Renaming them as learning theories to “give remaking human nature another try” means rejecting much hidden knowledge that most of us are unaware of. The practices and knowledge that generate prosperity and stable societies even if we do not quite understand why. That’s why change should be piece by piece to allow examination of consequences.

Not to wholesale change the entire System of education completely and the purpose to boot. Especially since no one is being honest with the parents and taxpayers about what is really going on. No rational being would reject the transmission of knowledge and replace it with a primitive “sense-making” if they were using their own money. Why on earth are we supporting people who want to do that while living on our tab? While we pay their bills? Who want to be called “Doctor” because they agreed to push this vision.

Most of us hear the word “quality” attached to education and immediately think of excellence or a superior product. Have you ever noticed it has become the descriptive adjective of choice in education? Magically all over the world? With similar timing? We have AdvancED’s Quality Standards for accreditation. Cambridge Education’s Quality Review (remember the “teachers are teaching and that’s not allowed” push?). Georgia has just enacted a statute connected to its NCLB waiver from the feds that makes Quality Learning the measure of student achievement (Do you remember that learning means changing attitudes, feelings, values, or behavior, not knowledge?). Finally, the monitoring internationally of the level of fulfillment of the UN’s Education for All initiative lives under the reassuring banner of Quality Assurance.

Perhaps “Quality” in ed world has an unappreciated meaning? Why yes, it’s pretty apparent something is up when we line up our paid political vision enforcers like that, isn’t it? Those of you who have lived through the integrated math fiasco in Georgia or any other state or PBIS introduction to foster a better school climate and nurturing culture will find this fundamental point to be a revelation. John Dewey, that utopian philosopher extraordinaire, hated the idea of schools doing anything to cultivate rational, logical thought. He believed it made the students who were good at it too full of themselves and got in the way of what he saw as the socializing purposes of school. What Dewey wanted and what his modern-day disciples are pushing all over the world is his vision of basic skills coupled with promoting emotional, instinctive, unconscious responses. And they do it in the name of “Quality.” Or as one of Dewey’s most influential current disciples put it: “Character is higher than intellect.” Perhaps but we should get to talk about such a radical meaning of understanding.

I think history shows us how dangerous education to promote malleable, emotional citizens can be. The quote at the top of the blog is from a French intellectual, Julian Benda, in 1927 predicting that a similar push in Europe in the 1920s would end in a catastrophic world war. Why? Using the schools to cultivate an emotional herd instinct that responds without reason or even conscious will always means that there is nothing to block bad ideas.

Have you heard yet how the Common Core seeks to cultivate a “deep understanding?” That’s straight out of Dewey’s push that Quality means feeling. It’s explicitly not a result of conceptual or intellectual processing and that was the deliberate goal then and it is now. To quote a 2007 Teachers College Record essay on Dewey called “Beyond Control and Rationality” that certainly seems to be anticipating Common Core’s classroom implementation:

“Qualitative meaning is that which is intuited rather than deduced, felt rather than described, and is immediate to the situation rather than removed from it.”

To reenforce this critical distinction between qualitative sense and conscious reflection, the essay goes on to tell us:

“What Dewey is saying is that we sense or feel the situation we are in without thinking of it per se, without it becoming an object of reflection.”

Ah! Sense Making! A return then to the international standards of the caveman and a rejection of all we have discovered and our best minds have developed in the interim.

Now I understand why a group of people wishing to force others to go along with their wishes would try to push such a modern version of Mind Arson. It’s politically powerful. Just ask the serfs who could not leave the land or the slaves who must not be taught how to read. The question for us now though is why are we going along with such a use of our schools to destroy everything that works, creates prosperity and individuality, and a realistic chance for a better tomorrow for most of us?