Titanic Alert! The Iceberg Problem and the Blueprints for Proximal Volitional Regulators

“When we do indeed decide to pushback against our evolved nature” would have been the rest of the title, but that would have been too long. Moreover, when a book linked to here https://www.edsurge.com/news/2019-10-07-what-we-need-to-unlearn-and-relearn-to-thrive-in-the-future contrasts its intentions for social reengineering at a biological level with what Stalin and Mao tried to do, I think we should pay attention on whether the distinctions are valid. First, though, let me quote from a 2019 book being talked about all over the world Second Nature: How Parents can use Neuroscience to Help Kids Develop Empathy, Creativity, and Self-Control, even though for some reason my copy of the book said it had already been discarded by the Phoenix Public Library. Perhaps before any parent could make the connection between language in Arizona’s ubiquitous charter schools and what Erin Clabough lays out to get the desired neural rewiring in place?

This is from the concluding chapter called “Parents Shape Future Free Will,” which sounds lovely, except if learning standards, school charters, mission statements, or Portrait of a Graduate require those same practices, then the effect is the same. Suddenly, math, science, or history are not about the transmission of knowledge. It is instead:

…this is why the way experience crafts our neurons is so important…If a person’s actions are governed by neural pathways that aren’t accessible by consciousness, then that person’s choices and actions may not be governed by true free will. And the most compelling part of this for parents is that as neuroscience research pushes toward mapping the way neurons are connected, we’re learning that if we can trace brain circuits, we can also predict behavior with nearly 100% accuracy…

kids are born with a vast network of synaptic connections–a wealth of possible connections that are then eliminated one by one as they lie unused. And in exchange, the pathways that have been activated–one to learn the letter g, another to recognize the smell of an oatmeal cookie, and yet another to understand it’s not okay to hit a playmate–are strengthened and remain, since neuronal pathways get stronger when used…Freedom of decision is possible, though it’s governed by neuroanatomy that can’t change instantaneously. We are defined by our neural circuits, and those circuits are defined by use…

if what we call free will is a natural biological process, then not only can neuroscientists track it, but parents are placed in a unique position to craft it. As parents, we have this miraculous opportunity to lay down those critical brain pathways for our children simply by deciding what they practice. When repeated practice makes something a habit, neurophysiology changes, and future behavior choices narrow.

That was a longer than usual quote because the self-regulation that comes from the brain’s planned neuroanatomy in this vision of what learning experiences can do showed up in several recent papers for our schools. Professor Clabough footnoted to a January 1993 paper called “Mechanisms of Self-Regulation: A Systems View” by Paul Karoly that made it crystal clear that references to ‘standards-based education’ in the 1990s, or now, are simply goal-based education where the desired results are neural structures that become Habits of Mind to guide perception, the interpretation of daily experiences, and the motivation to act. So reports like this https://www.inacol.org/resource/aligning-education-policy-with-the-science-of-learning-and-development/ or this https://all4ed.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/05-SAL-What-Educators-Need-to-Know-About-Adolescent-Development_FINAL.pdf , both pushed last week, need to be read in light of the planned neuroanatomical changes.

Also last week, we had this paper that I found to be rather curious https://www.aei.org/research-products/report/overcoming-the-challenges-facing-innovative-learning-models-in-k-12-education-lessons-from-teach-to-one/ , especially since the author had never written for AEI before. He also had the same last name as the Harvard prof who created the Mind, Brain, Education template. Joel Rose turned out to be tied to something called the New Classroom Innovation Partners, which had Tom VanderArk as an Advisory Board member and his Getting Smart was pushing those two reports above. Also on the Board was the former district superintendent of the school system where I live that my children attended. Many of the insights that would ultimately become Credentialed to Destroy came from listening to his deliberate misrepresentations to parents and school board members as to what terms meant and what the curriculum changes actually intended to accomplish.

Neuroanatomical changes to students’ brains are not an effect, in other words, but the entire purpose of these education reforms. When the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Joel Roses’s group is tied to the global evidence-based policymaking template and last week’s winners of the Nobel Economics Prize, we have our ties to the ‘evidence-base’ in education being changes to the neuroanatomy of the brain in planned, hoped-for ways. The group had recently put out this report https://www.icebergproblem.org/ that was supposedly about math deficits in certain students. Anyone who has read Karoly’s paper though (and it has been translated into other languages), would recognize that what is really missing are “deficits in memory, attention, or knowledge [that] compromise the effectiveness of the proximal volitional regulators.” Translating that quote into slightly less stilted language would mean that a student is missing a neural pathway needed for him or her to perceive and act as desired.

When New Classroom Innovation Partners writes that “Our hope is for a new perspective on accountability that preserves rigor, transparency, and equity, while also creating the space for new approaches to learning that have the potential to achieve better results for all students,” that lofty language actually pushes practices that have as their purpose neuroanatomical changes to the brain. The opening quote came from Nicholas Christakis’ 2019 book Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society (which had also been discarded by the Jefferson County, Colorado system that has also been home to so many education reforms). Among the funders was the Gates Foundation that underwrote so much of the curriculum created for the Common Core learning standards and the related progressions (detailed in CtD) and the Templeton Foundation whose Conscious Cultural Evolution, Positive Neoroscience, and Jubilee Center work we have covered recently on this blog. It had blurbs from Angela Duckworth of Grit, the Character Lab, and National Growth Mindset Network fame, as well as from Jonathan Haidt who will be the keynoter at Jeb Bush’s annual ed conference this year (in San Diego).

Nicholas Christakis’ father, Alexander, was involved in the 1968 Rockefeller Foundation conference at Bellagio that would give rise to the Club of Rome and later became tied to the 1980s GERG-Global Evolution Research Group that created the Achieving Excellence template that became so controversial in Colorado schools. When Nicholas writes of ‘learning’ as a tool in planned cultural change as a medical doctor and sociologist, he knows precisely what the plans involving this term have been through the decades. To pull together the last several posts, it strikes me that George Will in his Soulcraft book, Candace Vogler with Self-Transcendence and her work with the Vatican’s Humanity 2.0 Initiative, and the Lightbearers curriculum are all trying to get at the same kind of neural change via education as Nicholas Christakis.

Each of these writers is pushing a vision of education tied to What kind of society is good for us?, except none of us are part of the group planning ‘thoughtfully’ the desired neuroanatomical changes. This is the contrast with Mao according to Christakis:

A notable aspect of Mao’s philosophy was an analogous confidence in the malleability of human behavior, on both individual and collective levels. Mao felt that the state must directly intervene to shape the belief and actions of human beings because the transformation of society ‘depends entirely on the consciousness, the wills, and the activities of men.’ Mao did not think highly of notions of an innate, shared human nature.

Mao’s views sound remarkably like Soulcraft, agency-based education, and Tranzi OBE, don’t they? Those are just a few of the euphemisms used over time to mask this transformational template. Are we really comfortable with a distinction as to whether it is okay to rewire brains for political purposes if one argues that the ‘learning’ being created is simply uncovering our preexisting ‘good’ human nature? All of these pushes want to get at the realm of moral judgments precisely because the writers want to place the emphasis away from “the state the world is in” to “the state we would want it to be in”. What Clabough pushed above to be neurally practiced until the pathways created a habit as Creativity and Empathy gets to the same place as what Christakis stated as “moral judgments implicitly contain commands. Ought invites us to do something in a way that is does not.” Templeton and Professor Vogler push the same vision as a Science of Virtues.

Is it really a valid distinction to push visions of education that get at the neurobiological realm in order to control future behavior in a difficult to perceive way because the future vision will “be good for us”?

How can anything be good for us when it has been shrouded in so much deceit? Is this why no amount of school shootings has ever been able to alter this template for neurobiological change?

Is global governance in the 21st century not about any kind of world parliament or binding judiciary, but rather the neural structures global learning standards and prescribed learning experiences, especially via technology and virtual reality, can deliver?

Just because we are not invited to these meetings does not mean that the purpose of the meetings and the sought changes cannot be tracked. Next time though a book is too direct in its laid out blueprints for change, it should probably be truly discarded in a trash bin and not resold to someone who recognizes either the name of the author or the book’s connections to plans for schools and students.

 

Standardizing Self-Transcendence & Psychological Attributes to Deliberately Converge Prevailing Consciousness

Since none of us were probably invited to NYC for the United Nations General Assembly last month, they just announced the roll out of a Futures of Education initiative with a ‘Learning to Become’ theme. It “invokes the need to develop the capacity to imagine a good and fulfilling life.” Sounds like Statecraft as Soulcraft, doesn’t it, taken to a current, global level? If anyone is still wondering too why there is so much hype about how all weather disasters must be due to Human-Caused Climate Change, we have this next quote as part of the Learning to Become agenda:

As we come to terms with human-caused changes to the planet and face the possibilities of fundamental transformations in social organization, human consciousness, and human identity, humanity needs to devote attention to the question: What do we want to become? Knowledge and learning are at the core of transformations in human minds and societies. Learning to Become invites us to become something we have not yet become.

As usual, I think that ‘we’ is rhetorical and ‘we’ are not supposed to really have a choice. I have warned repeatedly going back to Credentialed to Destroy how learning standards really work, but this NSF-funded paper “Understanding Standards” from Michigan State’s Center for the Study of Standards and Society really does an explicit job of laying it out. The paper is from 2011 and is part of this Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences 2020 Agenda.  https://www.nsf.gov/sbe/sbe_2020/Abstracts.pdf Yes, that would be next year.

We live in a world in which we are surrounded by standards for people, processes, practices, and products. These standards structure the sociotechnical world as well as the behavior of people in a variety of ways…Standards may best be understood as a means of governance that fall (largely) between laws and social norms…Standards are exemplars against which people and things are judged…[They can also be used to mandate] ethical codes of various sorts…Since standards are all about what and whose values shall be incorporated in products, processes, and practices, they are as much ethical as technical phenomena.

That is especially true when the ‘standards’ are prescribed to organize how the human mind and personality are to work, with that mandate carried out through poorly understood educational processes, locking in the desired changes at a physiological, neural level. When I was reading about both the Vatican’s Humanity 2.0 Initiative and the Jubilee Centre’s new curriculum on Virtue, as well as the Templeton Foundation’s mega-million funding of planned social evolution, a name kept cropping up, Professor Candace Vogler, a philosophy professor at the University of Chicago. I located this interview with her on a Templeton supported research project https://news.uchicago.edu/story/qa-philosopher-candace-vogler-virtue-happiness-and-meaning-life where the repeated use of the term ‘self-transcendence’ struck me as the newest euphemism for what George Will called ‘soulcraft’, Amitai Etzioni calls ‘communitarianism,’ and the Marxist Humanist vision called little ‘c’ communism to be enabled by a high level of technological prowess and inventions.

Professor Voglin also came up as involved with numerous Lumen Christi Institute presentations including those pushing something called ‘Right Reason,’ which I am probably not exhibiting in writing this blog post. Templeton has now launched this initiative https://www.lumenchristi.org/news/2019/03/lumen-christi-receives-john-templeton-foundation-grant-for-science-religion-project to fund research at the so-called “intersection between science and religion”. Just imagine how useful learning standards are to THAT agenda, and why it would provide multiple incentives for think tanks with common funding to Professor Voglin and George Will to misrepresent how those Catholic Curriculum Standards REALLY work. Professor Voglin said the Virtue, Happiness, and Meaning of Life Project had its ‘genesis’ in her “thinking about what the difference was between the people whose daily lives could be a source of happiness and purpose, and the people whose daily lives were a giant to-do list that was mostly a slog.”

I will let everyone guess which expletive I wrote in the margin after that quote rationalizing this push towards collectivism, but the next quote did strike me as far more truthful:

We are mostly investigating the possibility that a fundamental attachment and orientation to a good can make your daily life into a source of happiness that can sustain you through struggle and trial and give you resilience and a sense of purpose.

That rang true because Hillsdale Barney Charter Initiative has used similar language, as do the Catholic Curriculum Frameworks, and the concept of a moral compass and guiding North Star also shows up in charters being funded by the Chan Zuckerburg Initiative. Tell me this next passage does not sound like Mihaly Csiksentmihalyi’s definition of Excellence as aligning what is thought, wished for, and felt as the goals of Education. Remember too that various civil rights mandates now require Excellence and Equity as an education requirement as a matter of law.

What does virtue mean to you in the context of this project? Virtue is a kind of strength of character that helps you organize the things you take in from the world and the way you respond to them in the service of the actual good. And virtue helps to do that by harmonizing your thoughts, feelings, actions, and aspirations in good ways.

There is a new Personal Growth Framework out that calls precisely that-‘self-authorship’- and we now know UNESCO calls it Learning to Become. A 2011 book I just finished called From Brain to Mind: Using Neuroscience to Guide Change in Education says  educational practices designed to create such harmony intend to get at, and rewire, something called the Anterior Cingulate part of the human brain. That’s one way to turn Mind, Brain, and Education into a true science, isn’t it? Let’s see what the two-day capstone project held in October 2017 had to say about this so-called virtue of ‘self-transcendence’ so we can appreciate what it means to enshrine it in learning standards, a school charter, a Portrait of a Graduate, or Curriculum Frameworks:

Our conviction that virtue is essentially related to self-transcendence has grown out of engagement with research throughout the humanities and the social sciences that has continued to suggest that individuals who understand themselves to be practically oriented to something greater than the self–a family with a long history and the prospect of future generations, a spiritual practice oriented towards due reverence for the sacred and the need to live right by and be consciously united with others, work on behalf of social justice and the improvement of one’s community–often feel happier, have a deeper sense of purpose and meaning in their lives, and have overall better life outcomes than those who do not. Some psychologists have labeled this necessity for locating one’s self within a broader context ‘self-transcendence’.

That phrase has more universal appeal, doesn’t it, than when George Will defined those same aims as ‘Conservatism’? We have a global convergence going on now to use education, governments, regulations, think tanks, and faith-based organizations, among others, to push a vision that seeks to instill, via each person’s central nervous system, “a deep attachment to an overall good (happiness or living well) that individuals cannot attain through dispositions of thought, action, and feelings that are ordered to securing individual benefit…One commonality explored in this volume [from capstone conference] is the way that virtue is intimately connected to a social or communal vision of happiness, and how virtue can play an instrumental role in securing this goal for us.”

All this manipulation via education and, quite frankly, also the media is because we apparently don’t know what is best for ourselves or our children so we need a reimagining of education to lock in the desired visions of transformation. Plus lots of deceit about what is really going on so not enough of us can balk at the requisite neural nets of ‘new citizenship’ in time.

As usual, I have too much going on to continue today, but I want to get back next to what is planned for us to force the so-called Better Angels of Our Nature to bloom. George Will used that Better Angels phrase a great deal and it showed up tied to yet another Kennedy School of Government Initiative from this summer.

I said I had to take a break from writing. I did not take any break from my reading.

Rebooting the Mind and Heart to Get at Humanity 2.0 and a Global Convergence

We are going to do a travelogue today using quotes from a UNESCO institute in India with a vision written by American education profs, hen a May conference at the Vatican we were not invited to, on to Washington, DC and a think tank tied to Betsy DeVos, and an upcoming August 8 conference at UN HQ right there along the East River. Then we get to visit the Silicon Valley to finish up. All of these initiatives are pushing the exact same visions and many are tied to the same institutions and people who worked so hard to misportray the Common Core and competency-based education in the US. None of these conferences though are mentioning each other unless you recognize common attendees and funding.

I don’t think the ties to the False Narrative are an accident and if I, and my book Credentialed to Destroy, are going to be an irritant to that vision, I might as well be highly effective and revelatory in precisely what we are really jousting against here at ISC. In fact, it was following up on things that were put into print that were provably untrue that led me to the Humanity 2.0 conference so let’s start there. https://cruxnow.com/vatican/2019/05/11/humanity-2-0-answers-popes-call-for-entrepreneurs-with-a-conscience/

The full name of the Vatican’s new initiative, now with co-sponsorship from Google, is “Humanity 2.0: A Shared Horizon for Humanity” that quotes its CEO, a Canadian tech entrepreneur, as stating that:

All that is required to change our destiny is prudence and the will to act. If history has taught us anything, it’s that humans rarely rise to the occasion unless they’re inspired by what ‘should be’, and this is why Humanity 2.0 is committed to articulating a common vision.

And then using education and the news media and social media platforms to impose that ‘common vision’ and create a “shared horizon to unite humankind.” Humanity 2.0 also intends to facilitate “collaborative ventures between the public, private, and faith-based sectors.” That convergence of every institution with the ability to forge policy probably explains why the website headlines with a quote from Thomas Aquinas that sounded eerily reminiscent of the Mihaly Csiksentmihalyi definition of Excellence in education we tracked to the General Evolution Research Group from the 1980s–education should tie together in the student what is wanted, known, and felt. These ties make sense since both GERG and Humanity 2.0  see education as the primary tool to create “the kind of human civilization we should be striving to build” in the internalized attitudes, values, and beliefs of the students.

Three things are necessary for the salvation of man: to know what he ought to believe; to know what he ought to desire; and to know what he ought to do.

Now, let’s switch to India to MGIEP–the Mahatma Gandhi Institute for Education for Peace and Sustainable Development which has its first ever World Youth Conference on Kindness coming up on August 20-23 in New Delhi and its second TECH–Transforming Education Conference for Humanity in December. MGIEP:

employs the whole-brain approach to education, with programmes that are designed to mainstream social and emotional learning in education systems, innovate digital pedagogies, and put youth as global citizens at the centre of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development…In addition to giving youth the agency to lead the process of societal transformation, we need to rethink how they are educated…We should not [be] continuing with the same modality of preaching and instructing. This prevailing practice of making an intellectual case for peace is not sufficient. The seat of human behavior, including hatred and violence, is the emotional brain. Understanding this seat and the emotional stress of violence at individual-societal levels, and aligning education accordingly is, therefore, the first step in the pursuit of peace.

Let’s switch to that invite https://peaceandthebrain.eventbrite.com/ so that I can point out it aligns with MGIEP’s push that as so important that it bolded the following statement just like this: “There is a need for education not as the usual intellectual exercise of regurgitation but a journey through self–of building peace first with the self, before the society. Education that is aligned with neurobiological development [my italics] and aimed at nourishing the whole person.” See what I mean about rebooting the internalized neural wetware we humans use to process our experiences, set goals, and make decisions? That August 8 meeting in NYC for “Brain-based Holistic Education for Peace” intends to:

discuss how violence happens in the brain, and ways to work towards creating peace in our brains and project that peace onto society.

That UN agenda fits right in with what Humanity 2.0 describes as its “Faith and Integral Human Development” vision where the Catholic Church, which the CEO described in the Crux linked above, as “the largest and most influential institution in human history,” [Ideas and Institutions are how we change public policy in the 21st Century, remember?],

intends to propose a humanism that is up to the standards of God’s plan of love in history, an integral and solidary humanism capable of creating a new social, economic, and political order, founded on the dignity and freedom of every human person, to be brought about in peace, justice, and solidarity.

Achieving that vision will be a lot easier if we access the Working Paper “How Mindful Compassion Practices [more WTPs!] can Cultivate Social and Emotional Learning” from this site https://mgiep.unesco.org/academic-publications that is also grounded in achieving neurobiological change.

The good news is that the brain is highly plastic and as such, the brain develops from experience. In other words, what one pays attention to and focuses upon changes certain portions of the brain and thus, the related primary functions also change…of specific interest is the notion of cultivating humane or compassionate behavior.

Another word for that desired behavior used elsewhere in the “manuscript” reminds us that “the way SEL is defined allowed us to introduce a specific set of SEL skills and then illustrate how they align with Mindful Compassion outcomes.” Those outcomes fit with many a school’s Graduate Profile now or what the US think tank (where Betsy DeVos was on the Board) pitches as a desire for “connecting moral and religious instruction to SEL.” http://www.aei.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/The-Moral-and-Religious-Roots-of-Social-and-Emotional-Learning.pdf Talk about removing silos between public, private, and faith-based! Also, its ‘character’ and “cardinal virtues of Greek and Christian thought” are just the euphemisms for what MGIEP calls “Mindful Compassion Practices”. The last week we had a followup paper http://www.aei.org/publication/the-f-word-of-social-and-emotional-learning-faith/ , which really caught my eye since I was familiar with UNESCO wanting to use whole child education to target each student’s internalized KBVAF–Knowledge, Beliefs, Values, Attitudes, and Faith.

The latter paper even urged that “education leaders should explore ways to partner with communities of faith.” I guess AEI was afraid someone would notice if that silo analogy was used yet again, but the aim is clearly the same. While it sells the idea of interjecting faith and character practices into public schools, MGIEP is qualifying its observation that:

Mindful compassion practices (MCPs) are not new to many world cultures. However, they are new to many schools that are exploring how to best integrate them into existing curriculum in a secular manner.

Whatever argument gets the desired results in the student at a neurobiological level, right? Now, if you do pull up that paper, make sure you look at Figure 3 on page 11 called “Map of Executive Function and Related Terms to Intra-and Inter-Personal Skills” because it is the final proof that we are looking at the same global template. The last stop in our Travelogue is a Jesuit institution in California called Santa Clara University. Its Markkula Center for Applied Ethics is involved with Humanity 2.0 and its Trust Project involving the Future of the Internet. It also has Lesson Plans to incorporate SEL into academic curricula practices just like MGIEP advocated. https://www.scu.edu/character/lesson-plans/ I also watched the video found there “What is Character Education?” and took verbatim notes. That is why I am so certain I am looking at precisely the same vision as to what must be changed, where, and why all over the world.

What gets sold at MGIEP as Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship Education, which needs MCPs, and Humanity 2.0, which does too, gets pitched by Markkula (fitting well with that MGIEP Figure 3) as:

Character development impacts three key domains: moral behavior, personal performance, and civic engagement. Virtues ethics, one of the prominent ethical frameworks, sees moral behavior as the way to live the good life. Through the enactment of virtues such as honesty, kindness, forgiveness, and respect we can flourish while behaving responsibly within family and society. Performance virtues, such as perseverance, resourcefulness, open-mindedness and determination, enable us to maintain healthy life habits, work toward personal goals, and adapt to life changes and demands.

Civic engagement virtues such as justice, leadership, sense of duty, and environmental consciousness are important for becoming contributing and lawful citizens in a democratic and thriving society and a sustainable environment. Character development requires that all three components of virtue–affective, cognitive, and behavior–will grow through social interaction and personal reflection.

I am going to stop there for now, except to say that I have no doubt the commonality I am seeing and have documented (this post is just the tip of the connections) is due to the need for what Uncle Karl called a Moral Revolution once a certain stage of technological development was available to the world. Rather than pitch infamous political theories accurately so that their attendant baggage from history can be examined in time, we get illusory sales pitches that nevertheless get to the same realm that must be changed. Closing once again with MGIEP:

Social-emotional skills and abilities are important because they affect how and what we learn, and the way in which we apply that knowledge to our relationships, our work, and our navigation through our world.

 

 

Healing the Psychological Split Within Ourselves is the Learning Transformation Goal Few Openly Express

Let’s see if I can bring together a wide variety of sources from people of varying political labels which appear to me to be headed to the same place. The first part of that explicit and startling goal came from a 2013 book Dawn of the Akashic Age: New Consciousness, Quantum Resonance, and the Future of the World from our old friend with his own ISC tag, Ervin Laszlo. We have also met his son Alexander, in connection with introducing us to Pavel Luksha and GEFF-Global Education Futures Forum, and his son Christopher, who is involved with transforming business schools globally through a UN-affliated entity called PRME and executive leadership retraining programs. If all three are interested in transforming human systems, Ervin wants to make it all humanity and his sons specialize in schools and businesses, respectively. Influential, in other words, in hugely crucial domains, whether we are aware of their work or not.

In education, Laszlo was involved with pushing intentional cultural evolution in the mid-80s with other ISC favorites with their own tags like Riane Eisler, Csik with his Excellence template, and Bela Banathy who created the vision for charter schools as a place to practice theories of reform. All these troubling quotes, in other words, have a way into the school or online learning platform near you whether that is appreciated or not. Let’s see what Ervin intends now:

“The need to integrate and heal the psychological split within ourselves and embrace a unified and harmonious political partnership is essential if we are ever to shift the balance and co-create with the systemwide sociopolitical systems in existence today. It will require psychologically integrated and spiritually balanced humanitarians to guide twenty-first century humanity in a new direction. It is such people who can offer the greatest potential for the evolutionary transformation of humanity and a peaceful and sustainable global community.”

Ervin stated that “global authority systems” can be used to “integrate an intelligent and sophisticated vision of collaboration”, which is exactly what learning standards like the Common Core or competency frameworks do when properly understood. Hence the reason for so much deceit. These plans are not supposed to be recognized nor the alignment in visions among different groups. Let’s use one more Akashic quote before we pivot to what is being put forth in the name of Conservatism: “The level of change required for the planet to shift toward a sustainable, harmonious, and more equitable future calls for us–awakening humanity–to draw on all our physical, creative, and visionary capacities. This is no sudden call; We have been forewarned. Our human systems and our worldviews have been undergoing preparation for some time for the transition to a global paradigm. A new era of social organization, communication, and understanding has been unfolding in the twenty-first century as the old systems reached their peak and began to decline.”

It’s no secret I have been tracking why self-billed Conservatives now push a vision I identify as communitarianism and Amitai Etzioni’s New Golden Rule, while also misdirecting readers on the true nature of education reforms, so when I read about a 2017 book called Patriotism is Not Enough on the Ideas that supposedly “Redefined American Conservatism,” I found the book.  I learned that Conservatism now aspires for social sciences such as education to be normative, not just descriptive. “This requires a political science of an entirely different disposition, one that is concerned first and foremost with the condition of the human soul rather than the structure of government institutions or the foundations of the law.” That quote is not an aberration as a few pages earlier, we have the quote: “Politics, if practiced as anything but an art of the soul, is bound to fail.” I also learned that Conservatism now views the “formation of character” as the “principal duty of government.”

Suddenly Classical Education’s pitches about Moral Virtues and Good, True, and Beautiful as new educational goals makes more sense if Conservatism itself wants to impose an “objective moral basis of human life. Ultimately, this cannot be done without a view to the good of the human soul, with an idea of human excellence and happiness that is not just an idiosyncratic individual exercise of the will.” Not a matter of personal choice then, but imposed and something held by a group. Boy, that sounds just like the goals from the Classical Education promoting Circe Institute in a September 5, 2018 blog post called “False Happiness and Human Flourishing: Part Two.” See if this doesn’t sound like Ervin Laszlo’s collective goals for transformation with presupplied purposes, but with a different rationale for the new kind of education.

“The great secret, as C.S. Lewis asserted many years ago, is that God is a hedonist at heart. God tells us to say no to many things, but only that we may say yes to higher and better thing! God instructs us to say no to avarice and prodigality in order that we may say yes to generosity. He commands that we say no to selfishness and self-centeredness so that we may say yes to love and community. If we make higher things–God’s things–our goal, our lives will flourish and they will be filled with moments of unexpected ecstasy and joy…”

Now let’s pivot to one of the withdrawn books I alluded to in the last post, which is interesting as the book The Next Enlightenment: Integrating East and West in a New Vision of Human Evolution was published in 2003. It is definitely New Agey in its approach and is by the author of the Esalen book–The Upstart Spring.It used a member of the GEFF Board, Howard Rheingold, as a back cover blurb advocating for the book. Relevant in other words to where global education, especially in the US, is really going. That became even more clear since the already tagged Robert Kegan and his desires for new forms of consciousness were laid out in the book. For anyone who has not read Credentialed to Destroy (shame on you!), it is Robert Kegan’s work that PISA assesses for as Key Competences and higher ed is also being reimagined around his Cognitive, Intrapersonal, and Interpersonal Competencies work.

Omnipresent in other words as a goal of both K-12 and higher ed reforms, which makes this quote all the more relevant as The Next Enlightenment urged us to “master new cognitive skills. The most important of these skills is what he [Kegan] calls the ability to ‘objectify’–to recognize as socially constructed and contingent rather than as God-given and eternal fundamental concepts such as selfhood, nationality, or religion. That doesn’t mean rejecting them, only seeing them as matters about which some sort of decision can be made. Without developing such an ability we remain trapped in our social structures.”

Those pesky existing social structures then need new forms of consciousness and new values, which is exactly what everyone I have quoted seems to be in agreement on. The sought change may be marketed as a “global ‘skill revolution’ that often takes the form of political action [as with last week’s G20 Declaration from Argentina Betsy DeVos committed the US to] but is fundamentally psychological.” Learning standards and competency frameworks in K-12 are examples of tools for “cognitive development in individuals [which] leads inevitably to the larger subject of cognitive evolution in societies and the human species.” It’s just that some writers like Laszlo or Anderson (quoted just now) admit that is what education reforms are all about and others do not. As Anderson said, if “enlightenment is cognitive development, and the various approaches to that development, whether we call them spirituality or psychology [or political science, Conservatism, or Classical Ed], are just different ways of groping the same elephant.”

That elephant is the human mind and personality and the big bullseye all these plans have placed on it to be purposefully transformed are just not well enough understood. Let’s use a different Robert Kegan quote from The Next Enlightenment that may be why the public library put it in the Discard bin. After all, it was Kegan the Hewlett Foundation hired to make sure the Common Core assessments would be assessing what it pushes as Deep Learning.  Anderson rightfully called Kegan “another of the big time moral development researchers” without pointing out that his mentor was Lawrence Kohlberg whose Moral Development Theory became the basis for the reimagined Hong Kong compulsory citizenship push Communist China imposed. Everyone then interested in individual or collective transformation wants to get at the level of values and beliefs. Quoting:

“the key process in epistemological change is what he [Kegan] calls ‘objectification.’ That means as you grow, you periodically turn around and look at parts of your worldview–values, beliefs, ideas, ways of doing things–that you experienced uncritically as subject, part of yourself and the way things simply are, and begin to experience them in a new way, as objects–things whose origin you might wonder about and whose ultimate truth you might question…In any case, you are quite a quite different kind of person from the individual in a premodern, traditional society who did not have to make such decisions at all because he or she never began to see the society’s beliefs as objects that could be thought about and questioned.”

That thinking about and questioning is precisely what every one of these educational paradigms seeks to do. Everybody wants a new kind of consciousness and political, social, and economic transformation, but some of the shifts are gift wrapped for sales pitch purposes as about God, Conservatism, or Classical Ed. They all want to get at Orthodoxy and Orthopraxy–Right Thinking and Right Actions. What Ervin Laszlo called “the wise way to think and be” and is willing to use social media to create collective pressure to force adherence so that we are “Democratizing the way we do things, how we relate to others, but also in the very way our minds work–in consciousness itself…a model based in shared interest as opposed to self-interest” fits with that Circe quote above to create Human Flourishing.

Another Circe quote from September 6 in “Language as Belief and Practice” begins with this statement: “Right belief and right action are necessary aspects of growing in virtue. Intellect and knowledge alone cannot save. If knowledge does not reach to the level of heart and action, we are left with smart people who are intelligent in their sinning and their avoidance of consequences.” Sounds like Whole Child and ‘objectifying’ the subjective, internalized realm to me. Let’s close then with another quote from Ervin Laszlo who makes no bones about the integration that will heal this psychological split between heart, mind, and will and the reasons why:

“the tipping point can be encouraged by a change in people’s perceptions…No real change can be achieved without a corresponding change in consciousness.”

Let’s pull these common aims for transformative education of consciousness into the realm of each of our conscious attention.

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eureka Moments Pierce Through the Hoax to Hype Student Privacy to Control Student’s Minds and Actions

A Eureka Moment is when a piercing epiphany takes an area of concern over the effects I am seeing from some education reform and I discover that those very effects were part of the original design. It’s not as dangerous as a heroic rescue from a Thai cave, but it may be about as painstaking in its approach to detail. Regular readers know that I have been concerned for a while, especially in discussions in the comments of these posts over the last two years or so that the widely circulated narratives surrounding student privacy and the social and emotional learning standards simply do not track to the documentable facts about how learning standards like the Common Core or a competency framework really work.

The second Eureka moment I will lay out was the one I wrote the previous post while expecting to explain it here and tie together a trilogy of disclosures around GDPR. That was before I saw a reference on the Acknowledgments page to the 2013 book Big Data to a Rueschlikon Conference on Information Policy that seemed to be linked through some of the same people to that Eureka Moment. Searching that out pulled up the ultimate epiphany as I learned a new earth shaking term-‘data-driven governance’ and the recommended technique–education–to gain control over people’s thoughts, emotions, and motivations to act while pretending that the regulation is a dispute over how and what to teach or, necessary to protect student privacy. The 2017 article in the European Journal of Social Theory was called “Digital, politics, and algorithms: Governing digital data through the lens of data protection.”

‘Data-driven governance’ turns out to “lie at the very heart of governing people and things” so that we begin to “understand governance not as a set of institutions, nor in terms of certain ideologies, but as an eminently practical activity that can be studied, historicised and specified at the level of the rationalities, programmes, techniques and subjectivities that give it form and effect” to quote from the above article. If you want to believe that is not what learning standards, learning technology standards, Project Unicorn, and interoperability standards actually do, when they are accurately described instead of misexplained for purposes of creating the hype that gets more data regulation like GDPR, let me quote from a different book called Reinventing Data Protection? which described the shift from a disciplinary society with a multiplicity of ‘detention’ facilities to a “control society that can increasingly do without physical constraint and direct surveillance [because] it is individuals themselves who have to impose themselves not only to respect but also to adhere to the norms, who have to integrate those norms in their biography, through their own actions and reiterations.”

If that creates a gulp moment how about the desire to accomplish these feats via the italicized “will to govern through data and the will to govern data“? All the False Narratives I have encountered and fought to dispel through my book Credentialed to Destroy, and subsequently through this blog as they arise, make perfect sense suddenly if the accurate truth might defeat the desire of the “socio-political actors” funding those narratives and enacting the tools of ‘data-driven governance’, to “straightforwardly implement technologies of governance without meeting any kind of resistance.” In other words, FERPA redrafting or Student Data privacy Toolkits will not do anything to impede the data-driven governance agenda and GDPR actually helps cements it.

Let me give another example, on June 26, 2018 Cheri Kiesecker wrote a post for the Missouri Education Watchdog blog that mentioned a World Bank paper as supposedly bolstering the workforce readiness agenda. I had previously been mystified by Cheri’s work on Project Unicorn as it appears contrary to documentable facts so I read the linked “From Compliance to Learning” paper that covered “harnessing the power of data in the state of Maryland.” The report confirmed my continuing concern that the False Narrative treats student data as a static database instead of the changes in the student at an internalized, neural, level, which are what constitute “learning.” Secondly, in the “institutionalizing a data System” the paper accurately lays out how Project Unicorn really works without calling it that. It explains in ways pertinent to ‘data-driven governance:

“Across the public, private, and social sectors in the United States, an array of organizations, associations, and communities helps to expand and institutionalize data utilization by strengthening data standards and easing interoperability issues…The first category, Consistent Data Definitions, focuses on providing a common language and structure for data, a necessary step that makes it possible to share data across different systems and applications. Structuring data so that the data can be used across different systems makes institutionalization possible. From an International perspective, UNESCO’s International Standards Classification of Education (ISCED) is a similar framework that enables comparison of educational statistics and indicators across countries on the basis of uniform and internationally agreed definitions. ISCED 2011 is the most recently revised version of the framework.”

And precisely what I warned about in the previous post that the Common Core was benchmarked to. It’s a means of governing through data at the level of the mind and personality and it has nothing to do with PII. I promised two Eureka moments and the second intends to use “bottom-up standards”  https://globalcxi.org/ where “systems thinking can help us avoid repeating past failures stemming from attempts to control and govern the complex-adaptive systems we are a part of. Responsible living with or in the systems we are a part of requires an awareness of the constrictive paradigms we operate in today. Our future practices will be shaped by our individual and collective imaginations and by the stories we tell about who we are and what we desire, for ourselves and the societies in which we live.”

Of course education standards get at those levels quite well and the co-sponsor, along with MIT Media Lab, is an entity called IEEE that also happens to have created the Learning Technology Standards that are a part of Project Unicorn when it is properly described. Good reason I suppose not to accurately describe it lest there be that warned  about resistance. I revisited IEEE’s involvement recently after I cited the Hoover paper on math that did not reflect what the Center for Curriculum Redesign said was the new global purpose of math activities. One of the co-authors, Ze-ev Wurman, was shown as now working for IEEE, which seemed awfully coincidental. He has been speaking at Anti-Common Core forums for years. A bit more research into the acclaim for GDPR as supposedly protecting student privacy instead of enabling noetic manipulation led me to discover that Wurman is also listed as a fellow at the American Principles Project that has done so much to create so many of the False Narratives surrounding K-12 education reforms.

It also bolstered my instinct that articles like this recent https://spectator.org/goodbye-privacy-how-new-edtech-is-turning-students-into-lab-rats/ hype function to create a demand for “data protection” that magically turns into an enacted tool of ‘data-driven governance” per international design. CXI Global wants to “develop and use broader metrics…that governs setting goals and measuring success…These metrics for success must be utilized in the setting of standards, ethical principles and policy that holistically reflect the explicit values and expectations of the communities where metrics are deployed.” We always get back to that communitarian and normative function, don’t we? We actually don’t need to speculate either on the specific type of education desired for the “evolution of our species” that will “serve inclusive and sustainable development that increases political autonomy and global democracy.”

The CXI vision cites to the template on “Happiness and Well-Being Policy as embodied in the first Global Happiness Policy Report,” which I happened to have read when it came out in February when it was released at the World Government Summit in Dubai. It pushes a vision of Positive Education that I noted after last year’s summit aligns with Betsy Devos’ rhetoric and recommended policies. http://invisibleserfscollar.com/subservient-and-malleable-students-devos-federalizes-our-moral-obligations/ What this year’s released report adds in that Policy Report is an address at the end that ties the entire agenda to a seminary across the street from Riverside Church near the Columbia University campus. In other words, what happened in Dubai was never meant to stay in Dubai at all.

Getting at the true function of data in education is not a side issue at all. I think it is why the Program on Education Policy and Governance is housed at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government as well as that Rueschlikon Conference I mentioned above. It may take place in lovely Switzerland but the Information Infrastructure Project apparently includes you and me and our children and grandchildren even if we never make it to Switzerland at all. Let me close with a recent blog post tied to this agenda https://www.oii.ox.ac.uk/blog/understanding-the-potential-of-ai-for-lifelong-learning-the-need-for-a-critical-perspective/ because the goals, outcomes, prescribed learning, and metrics created for us and embodied in learning standards few will accurately describe are intended to create and “support a democratic and socially inclusive future.”

Without accurate information we are left tilting at windmills while all these plans avoid the needed scrutiny that would cause virtually all of us to resist. I hope these Eureka Moments can be the beginning of the resistance that is not bound up in narratives on data that serve as useful Guiding Fictions that actually enable ‘data-driven governance’ in the 21st century.

 

Metamorphizing the Function of the Human Mind Invisibly through Catchy Slogans and Phrases

The original version of this post used the term School Choice instead of Catchy Slogans and Phrases, but that seemed to imply I was picking on the Dearest Policy Desires of our new federal Secretary of Ed. So I broadened the title to make the same point. I may be able to read the School Choice layout and her AFC reports and see the plans of both Uncle Karl and what is called the systems view of education at play, but hopefully she does not. Like many people Mrs DeVos may falsely believe that her personal intentions and understandings of terms guide what they really mean and how they work in practice. That’s a dangerous belief that those surrounding her will likely encourage so let me explain why I recognize this as the Systems View of Education.

While I am at it, let me lay out a few more Catchy and Melodious slogans that are widely repeated AND headed in a different direction with a specific aim whatever the personal intentions of the advocates–Personalized Learning, Excellence, Reaching a Child’s Full Potential, and Quality Learning are a start. One more clarification as well on what I mean when I write about targeting a person’s decision-making capacity.  Another transformationalist put the importance of understanding subjective experience quite well in his book Global Mind Change. Willis Harman wrote that education and “science should now accommodate consciousness as a causal reality.” So crucial a point to target that Harman even italicized it just like that.

Boulding considered “the primacy of inner conscious awareness as a causal reality” to be so crucial if Man was to Become a Maker of History and a Driver of the Future that he gave this internalized realm of core values, concepts, and guiding perspectives the nerdiest phrase ever–noogenetics. The odd name though should not distract us from the role Boulding gave this realm in his 1978 book Ecodynamics: A New Theory of Societal Evolution. Boulding wanted to create common “mental structures and images” that would be transmitted as “learned behavior coded in nervous systems.” That’s what noogenetics and full potential means because the “biogenetic structure contributes only potential.” He told us why targeting what is internalized within a student’s mind and personality was so crucial so let’s listen:

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

See how Making Man Moral and Accountability fit right in with these transformational plans unless that aim for education is well disclosed and not shrouded in catchy phrases about Classical Learning, Character, or Virtuous Living? If anyone is tired of me bringing up Uncle Karl like this was a pinball game and I get 50 points for each mention, let’s listen again to what Boulding said was the purpose of what he and all the others I have now tagged to this post called General Systems Theory.

“The evolutionary vision, however, must be seen quite clearly as an alternative to Marxism as a general theory. The general idea of an overall theory of social and historical dynamic processes owes a great deal to Marx, but his particular theories are quite inadequate to describe the complexities of reality and must be relegated to the position of a rather unusual special case.”

I think that statement should have the Slogan “New and Improved” attached to Systems Science covers the relationships among all these education phrases we believe have just an innocuous, common-sense meaning. Following up on the implications of my last post’s citing of both the Right and Left public policy think tanks and academics embracing  Boulding pulled up a relevant paper written by Bela Banathy from the early 90s called “Systems Inquiry and its Application to Education.” The paper was “dedicated to the memory of my dear friend and colleague, Kenneth Boulding, one of the founders of the systems movement and the first president of the Society for General Systems Research.” As an aside, SGSR (created at Stanford) merged into ISSS–International Systems Science Society, so all this ties now too to the Laszlos, GELP, the MIT/Skolkovo 2030/2035 Project, and so much more.

In other words, this is not a history lesson and the goals Banathy laid out are still pertinent. Best then to examine the Systems View of Education since we and our children have been Ground Zero of the systems to be transformed. One more point gets clarified for those of us wondering why Mind Arson has become so common and why relatively few concepts and principles are now to serve as Knowledge, instead of a body of facts. Boulding believed systems science needed people to “develop ‘generalized ears'” that could make for common connections of understanding that would “overcome the ‘specialized deafness’ of the specific disciplines.”

I have encountered this before where what we call reason and logic or the Axemaker Mind is regarded as in the way of revolutionary social change. John Dryzek called for something very similar–communicative rationality–to accommodate the defeat of ‘capitalism’ in favor of a more economically just society he called democracy back in 1996. Last week, the Cooney Center (funded by Sesame Street revenue), the Frameworks Institute, and the New America Foundation released “STEM Starts early” that called for much the same if we read the small print, or in this case, Appendix B. It called for a “two-science approach” because “policies are the product of politics, and politics is the product of culture.” I could add that culture is an aggregate of what gets shifted when education becomes about targeting individual consciousness and what guides it, but let’s get back to quoting.

“Determining the narrative needed to engage the public…requires research. A coherent narrative can only be developed by mapping the cognitive terrain so that communicators know which ‘pictures in people’s heads’ they wish to evoke and which to bypass.”

That intrusive analysis, whether obtained by survey or student assessments looking for Higher Order Thinking Skills, is in either case carried out so that politicians, academics, think tanks (the paper keeps quoting the head of Heritage, Jim DeMint), and others “to predict what policy prescriptions are likely to ‘fit’ people’s operative cultural models.” So education operates to manipulate those internalized cultural models and also pushes Generalized Ears and communicative rationality so that “policy science can be coupled with communications science.” Well, that “two-science approach” or “systems science” is indeed a new, not appreciated enough in the least, form of self-governance. Each approach:

“emphasizes using social science to understand where ordinary Americans part way with experts, what this means for public support of [desired] policies, and what kinds of narratives help people engage, reconsider, and endorse meaningful policies.”

It is tempting to add ‘meaningful’ to whom and to wonder how we can get a job as one of those ‘experts’. Let’s get back though to Banathy’s confessions. After all, if my analysis that School Choice, as pushed by all the think tanks we have tied to PEPG and the Atlas Network, is actually a shroud covering what Banathy called GSTE–Guidance System for the Transformation of Education–we need to know its aims and elements. Banathy told us that “working with human systems, we are confronted with problem situations that comprise a system of problems rather than a collection of problems. Problems are embedded in uncertainty and require subjective interpretation…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.”

Readers of my book Credentialed to Destroy should recognize that I have boldfaced words that fit with what the phrase Rigor actually means now and also much of what is assessed for in its name. Can we repeat Not. A. Coincidence. before moving on. Banathy did not just want to redesign and transform education, he wanted to redesign all social systems to fit the “new realities of the current era.” People, and especially children, were merely a start and the way to effect the desired change without popular outcry. Anyone implementing the systems view of education template unwittingly because they fail to understand what these catchy phrases really mean is still engaged in:

“systems design in the context of human activity systems is a future-creating disciplined inquiry. People engage in design in order to devise and implement a new system based on their vision of what that system should be.”

With only Generalized Ears and carefully instilled guiding Core Values, Ideas, and Perspectives we can all grasp that few students will be in a position to appreciate what actually cannot be as we are all encouraged to help design better tomorrows. When I was so concerned about that Roadmap for the Next Administration I uncovered before the election, this is precisely the assumption built into that Roadmap. Bela must be so pleased his and Boulding’s work endures so, even if it is dangerously wrong to be pushing via education.

“Social systems are created for attaining purposes that are shared by those in the system [see values, ideas, and perspectives above]. Activities in which people in the system are engaged are guided by those purposes. There are times when there is a discrepancy between what our system actually attains and what we designated as the desired outcome of the system. [Data, especially with respect to what counts as Learning]. Once we sense such discrepancy, we realize that something has gone wrong, and we need to make some changes in the activities or in the way we carry out activities. The focus is changes within the system.  Changes within the system are accomplished by adjustment, modification, or improvement.”

Now Banathy was talking about more than a student and education in that quote on redesigning systems, but both are included in the systems to be purposefully redesigned at the level of what creates purpose, motivates action, and guides perception. That’s what the systems view of education does under whatever catchy slogan it uses in any generation to stay under the radar of public scrutiny. It has been known as Tranzi OBE (covered in my book) and is now more commonly called Competency-Based Education. It is enshrined into the federal Every Student Succeeds Act and how states and localities must redesign education to get its funding. Both Mrs DeVos and President Trump need to accept that reality and decide what kind of a country and polity we will have with this vision of education and the “two-science” approach to managing the public that was funded by American taxpayers via the National Science Foundation.

That’s the beauty of systems science under whatever its current name acting as a cloaking device. Personal intentions can only become the point again when the elements that make education a ‘system’ designed to control what each student has internalized at a neurobiological level are grasped. Remember noogenetics? We have to understand that control over the decision-making capacity of a student so that their future behavior is now predictable and plannable is what gets touted as Evidence-Based Education grounded in science. That aim is what makes a student assessment “high-quality”. Controlling Learning at this level is what gets a charter renewed and access to federal money to expand into new states.

Where’s the Actual choice in any of these visions with this common aim?

Systems Science is really ceasing to be a catchy slogan. Best to grasp its essence before it gets yet another new name.

Outlasting Presidential Administrations and Transcending Politics: Data-Driven Social Control

The original title ended with ‘of People and Places’ after I learned that the term ‘governance’ was actually a euphemism for ‘social control.’ That made for too long of a title though. The sudden and steady drumbeat in the last week proclaiming the need to “transform the relationship between State and Citizen,” whomever the next US President may be, quite frankly has scared me. Following up on those sudden articles unleashed a torrent of papers uploaded within the last year on ‘socio-cybernetic steering.’ Gulp. No time to get a book out to spread the alarm before the election and transition. Then yesterday my warnings from the last post about what the Rule of Law has come to quietly mean were reenforced in a very well-connected Regional Housing Forum in Atlanta.

That program involved Affordable Housing, but the assumption was ‘public policy’ controls people and places and elected officials are the designated policymakers. All that is needed to get the “kind of City we wish to have” is an “end goal of legislation and public resources.” As an expert on what is really going on in the so-called silo of education and someone with a fair amount of economics training, these assumptions that prosperity can somehow be decreed and that legislative mandates will not have consequences are wrong. All these clear plans to redistribute the prosperity that more infrastructure will supposedly bring are both maddening and saddening, if the latter is even a word. I felt like  Scrooge at a pep rally for people excited at the prospect that they will be able to fly and suspend gravity by legislative fiat.

When I was organizing my notes recently as I prepare to write the sequel to Credentialed to Destroy, I kept having the recurrent thought that the phrases ‘evidence-based policymaking’ and ‘public policy’ had become the euphemisms for what used to be proclaimed a cybernetic steering of systems and institutions. It’s the same concept I have mentioned that the Soviets called Upravleniye— the scientific steering of society. It needs legislation to put it in place, specified goals to be met, and then data to show whether and to what extent those goals are being met. I heard the assumptions of Upravleniye  yesterday even if none of the politicians, government officials, and presenters there have heard the term. Maybe I was particularly sensitive since in the last week I had seen Governing magazine do a September story called “25 Years Later, What Happened to “Reinventing Government’?” that I knew misrepresented the effect of that seminal book.

After all, the day before I had put my copy of the David Osborne/ Ted Gaebler book in a particular pile so I could explain the constant references to “all levels of government.” Sudden, common False Narratives just before a watershed Presidential election made me notice that the global consulting firm McKinsey had just put out a so-called ‘road map’ for a “societal transformative effort…fueling a movement toward evidence-based policymaking.” Issued in August and hyped last week it is called “Policy in the data age: data enablement for the common good.” That’s two. Then the Fall 2016 issue of Stanford Social Innovation Review arrived with the CEO and Co-Founder of Results For America calling for “Accelerating ‘What Works'” and writing that there “is an urgent need to expand the infrastructure for results-based policymaking at all levels of the US government.”

I know you will be as excited by this incessant drumbeat as I have been, with all these people suddenly “charting a course for improving the way that government invests in social change. Now it’s time to accelerate those efforts.” In case anyone thinks this is just a Left Pincer move to use one of my favorite metaphors for where all this policy making is taking us, http://results4america.org/press-room/works-combat-poverty-lessons-nycs-center-economic-opportunity/    shows Michelle Jolin’s entity is working with Bloomberg Philanthropies and What Works Cities putting on a program with Atlas Network member-AEI. Magically, another Atlas member, the Fordham Institute, yesterday wrote “Can evidence improve America’s schools?”

Funny they should ask that now, especially as Michelle Jolin cited ESSA and the schools as the “underpinning of a commitment to creating a What Works Accelerator is already in place…The next administration will have an opportunity to channel this bipartisan energy into the launch of a new vehicle for results-based policy. A What Works Accelerator will not restore Americans’ confidence in government overnight, but by helping officials to address problems more effectively, it will move public sentiment in the right direction. It also will transform how policymakers at all levels envision their role in driving social change. ” Now I bolded that to make sure we all recognize that clearly, at all levels as the pet phrase keeps reciting, the purpose of governments is being radically and quietly changed from what we learned in civics class, in publications most of us will never read and a forums we are unlikely to attend.

Hold on though please as this gets worse, much worse. Last Friday, GovLab released a paper called “Ready to Govern: Developing a Management Roadmap for the Next Administration” issued by the enormously well-connected (look up those partners) Partnership for Public Service and the IBM Center for the Business of Government. Now I covered IBM and its fondness for a “System of Systems” and seeing education globally as the means in my book, so you can bet I put this paper at the Top of My List of Things to Do. Even so, I was not really braced for what I found as the hurry to shift the US, whoever the next President may be, to a steered, People are systems and so are schools and cities, cybernetic, Upravleniye economy and society. It is everywhere, starting as soon as the election is over with the Transition Team of whoever wins.

I asked myself would a President-elect Trump even have any idea of the true nature or even the existence of this laid-out agenda? Especially if his Transition Team is sprinkled with people with ties to the Atlas Network, since we already have documented the misleading narrative surrounding School Choice. He appears to use the term generically when he speaks, naturally unaware it has a provable, legal definition that ties it to the cybernetic systems vision of Bela Banathy (see tag) and several education profs at Indiana University. I know that, Atlas’ members and their fellows know that, but Mr Trump gives every indication of not knowing the ancestry of the phrase. It matters because as Ms Jolin noted education is front and center to the evidence-based policy making vision. It’s also how the desired Mindset gets invisibly put in place.

As UNESCO’s Irina Bokova put it this week in the GEM 2016 report: “Now, more than ever, education has a responsibility to foster the right type of skills, attitudes and behavior that will lead to sustainable and inclusive growth.” Bela Banathy had precisely the same idea and created what he called a Guidance System to get there that School Choice, properly traced and understood, puts into place as a matter of law. It will be Banathy’s use of the term, and not Mr Trump’s or Ben Carson’s beliefs about what it means, that will take command as the next administration is pushed to embrace evidence-based policy making at all levels of government. It’s unlikely an accident either that one of the listed attendees at the January 2016 Roundtable that led to the Roadmap for the Next Administration is Jim Harper of the Atlas-affiliated Cato Institute. Another listed attendee is Steve Goldsmith, former Mayor of Indianapolis, a Romney/Bush 43 Domestic Advisor and author of numerous books.

See what I mean about those pincers? The paper keeps using the phrase “Enterprise Government,” which works much like what the timely-again book Reinventing Government called ‘catalytic government.’ Enterprise governments supposedly “change how governments work and improve people’s lives…enabling data-driven governance.” The final Management Roadmap is supposed to crank up during the Transition while we are all busy with the holidays and “will help the new administration successfully transition to power and improve the government’s performance throughout the new President’s term.”

It’s not just that I do not believe that governments at any level pursuing such an invasive agenda are likely to improve anyone’s lives unless that someone works for government or gets a taxpayer-funded contract. I am also worried that the nature of this agenda to scientifically manage people, places, and society generally will not even be recognized in time, given all the False Narratives being put forth by politicians and Think Tanks and their employees. Since I cannot cover the entire report let me go to some of most disturbing aspects. Does anyone else think Fascism or Cronyism when they read:

“The impact of open data can be amplified when government works directly with private business on targeted activities. This represents a new form of collaboration, beyond the public-private partnership model, in which participants from different sectors, including private companies, research institutions and government agencies, can exchange data to help solve public problems.”

Now in a steering society, where everything that supposedly affects ‘individual well-being’ gets turned into a ‘public problem,’ this coordination would certainly explain what the various funders of all these think tanks, as well as the Chamber of Commerce, would adore about this model of steering society. Troublingly it also reminds me of what was laid out deceptively as Free Enterprise in the America Next report the Atlas members were pushing that I wrote about here. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/knowledge-to-avoid-becoming-roadkill-on-the-bipartisan-global-road-to-dignity-by-2030/  That would also explain why School Choice as pushed by Atlas members in earnest fits with UNESCO’s vision for creating the desired ‘right attitudes’.

My experience yesterday at the Housing Forum can also be explained by what I consider to be the most duplicitous part of the Roadmap. It wants to create a “user-friendly neighborhood data infrastructure…to design better citizen services on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis.” Just imagine that dataset in the hands of federal agencies intent on ensuring Equity and Inclusion and legislatively enacting mandatory Inclusionary Zoning and Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing or Health Equity. Data gets used to try to enact the UN’s SDGs or the Habitat III agenda at the state and local levels.

Most people would be none the wiser as they, their children, and their communities get redesigned and socially engineered to fulfill a vision Uncle Karl theorized might be possible with the right kind of technology. That this is the true goal just jumps out of the bogus explanation for creating that neighborhood-by-neighborhood data base.

“While retail entrepreneurs are experts in their respective trades, they often lack access to high-quality information about economic conditions in the neighborhoods in which they operate or are considering operating…”

That is a nonsensical statement. Entrepreneurs know that. It’s the governments, at all levels, who want that data so they can supposedly use the Rule of Law and public policy to change it via a so-called scientific management of society.

To close with the inspiration for the title, while alerting American voters and hopefully someone in the Trump Campaign to this attempt to sabotage Making America Great Again, we all need to know that this desired steering is currently scheduled for us. To commence in earnest as soon as the election is over. Either Transition Team is supposed to be devoted to “continue developing an evidence-based approach to governance.”

Looking to “create institutions that can outlast administrations and transcend politics? Do we have the right arrangements?”

Right for whom would be the timely question.

False Selling of Education Terms as Remedies Obscures Real Function as an Accelerant

When a false narrative is set out with respect to education, such as misrepresenting concepts and practices like standards, School Choice, social emotional learning, or labeling NAEP and PISA as ‘tests,’ parents and taxpayers who believe they are getting accurate information from an ‘expert’ get led astray. Worrying about the wrong things and not paying attention to the real functions, they are unable to best protect their children or their tax dollars. Most never seem to think in terms of conflicts of interest or the agenda of the paymasters of the various think tanks. I want to deal with the admitted agenda of the Declared Leftist Radicals first and then show why I disturbingly keep finding language on the supposed Conservative, market-oriented, or Libertarian side that is clearly headed to the same place.

Let’s start with this paper from 2010 http://www.tellus.org/pub/GTI%20Perspective%20-%20We%20the%20People%20of%20Earth%20-%20Toward%20Global%20Democracy.pdf

It started by declaring that “we confront daunting twenty-first century challenges hobbled by twentieth century institutions.” Now I read enough Leftist sites and books to know they repeatedly call for “new forms of social organization.” What if we cannot see that schools have become a radically new form of social organization because we assume we have a choice? Then all the limitations now placed on how schools and students must interact and offer instruction would be hidden behind obscuring misdefinitions. We would have an illusion of choice, but a reality of unappreciated prescription. That same link ends with “As with any democracy, the legitimacy of global governance rests with engaged citizens who demand rights and assume responsibilities. The globalization of the human project sets the historic condition for a corresponding enlargement of identity and community.”

What if that goal for creating “a worthy planetary civilization” relies on governments at all levels stipulating performance and achievement ‘standards’, which regulate what anyone  must know or do? What if those same levels of government describe the desired values, dispositions, ethics, and beliefs that students are to internalize? What if those stipulations get hidden as social emotional learning, character, or civics education? What if parents never grasp that both NAEP and PISA are looking to assess for whether the desired internalized, prescribed attributes have taken hold at a neurobiological level? Parents might then never know that their child was being socially reengineered at school because they believe those measures are ‘tests.’ They would have been misled and might fail to recognize the existence of a PDM–a Political Disciplinary Mechanism–used to make sure that the subsidiary levels of government remain faithful to the desired national or global implementation.

Remembering my Pincer Action metaphor from the last post, let’s shift to what UK Sociologist Anthony Giddens wrote in his 1994 book Beyond Left and Right: The Future of Radical Politics where he talked about shifting from a welfare state to Positive Welfare. As I have documented previously, that fits with what various members of the Atlas Network state they are seeking when you read the fine print and the declared agendas of some of their touted speakers (my bolding).

“Happiness ‘does not depend on outside events, but rather on how we interpret them’; it is ‘a condition that must be prepared for, cultivated.’ It depends less on controlling the outer world than controlling the inner one. ‘People who learn to control inner experience will be able to determine the quality of their lives, which is as close as any of us can come to being happy.'”

Grammarians will notice Giddens was quoting someone, which I will get to in a moment. What if social emotional learning and quality learning are actually designed to change how the child perceives the world just as Giddens desired and parents are unaware because they have been trained deceitfully like Pavlov’s Dogs to simply worry about databases of Personally Identifiable Information? The proclaimed needed cultivation and internalized control would be put in place through the schools to be lasting and unconscious with parents none the wiser. Giddens was in turn quoting Mihaly Csiksentmihaly, who is the creator of what Excellence actually means in education. http://invisibleserfscollar.com/excellence-means-education-putting-what-we-feel-wish-for-and-think-in-harmony/ Long time readers will also recognize Csik’s involvement in GERG–General Evolution Research Group with some of the systems theorists I have tagged to this post.

Now remember that civil rights laws are now being interpreted to REQUIRE Excellence and Equity in education. It’s just not the Webster’s definition of Excellence in play. Now I am about to introduce yet another one of those nerdy words that occasionally are necessary. This time though the word autotelic is not mine. It is once again Giddens, quoting Csik so here we go.

” A person who pays attention to an interaction instead of worrying about the self obtains a paradoxical result. She no longer feels like a separate individual, yet her self becomes stronger. The autotelic individual grows beyond the limits of individuality by investing psychic energy in a system in which she is included. Because of this union of the person and the system, the self emerges at a higher level of complexity…[this, however,] requires determination and discipline. Optimal experience is not the result of a hedonistic, lotus-eating approach to life…one must develop skills that stretch capacities, that make one become more than one is.”

Now if that development of the autotelic self is actually what social emotional learning standards and the hype over Grit, Perseverence, and a Growth Mindset actually get at, this letter to Congress http://truthinamericaneducation.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Final-Ltr-NAEP-legal-and-privacy-concerns-06272016.pdf would be setting both Congress and parents in the wrong direction. Plus the supposedly proscribed and even boldfaced for emphasis, “fundamental theory of liberty upon which all governments in this Union repose excludes a general power of the State to standardize its children by forcing them to accept instruction…” would continue unabated. That’s the effect of either deliberately False Narratives in education or just confusion or ignorance about the true nature of these reforms. No need for Personally Identifiable Information to thoroughly standardize a child at an invisible level.

I want to quote Giddens one more time and then show why I am so sure that as currently set up under federal and certain state laws, money following the child is designed to get precisely that kind of proscribed standardization at an internalized, neurobiological level. I also think if parents got in the habit of reading school or district charter language and private school mission statements they would quickly discover it is not just Giddens and Csik wanting to foster an autotelic self. I think we may also have found the reason why my research into the Positive School Climate mandate back in 2012 led me straight to Professor Amitai Etzioni and his communitarian ethics (italics in original).

“A generative model of equality, or equalization, could provide the basis of a new pact between the affluent and the poor. Such a pact would be an ‘effort  bargain’ founded on lifestyle change. Its motivating forces would be acceptance of mutual responsibility for tackling the ‘bads’ which development has brought in its train; the desirability of lifestyle change on the part of both the privileged and less privileged; and a wide notion of welfare, taking the concept away from economic provision for the deprived towards fostering the autotelic self.”

As a supernerd who keeps a 1962 two thousand page Webster’s in her vicinity at all times when she writes, I can affirm that the word autotelic has no entry in the version that goes back to the 1940s. Telic, however, made it in and means “directed toward an end; purposeful.” Autotelic then would mean being unconsciously directed towards ends someone else has picked out for us and may not have told us about. We might also have been given a false narrative about what standards, School Choice, and social emotional learning are really all about and falsely believe ourselves to be well-informed. Going back to Excellence, if someone has used school and instruction to manipulate what we each feel, think, and want, do we really have our own purposes anymore?

Back in early July, the publication Education Reimagined cited the Reschool Colorado: Creating a New Education System template as an exemplar. That caught my eye not just because of Columbine, but also because Colorado is where the GERG template for Achieving Excellence was first piloted in the 80s. What I found was something called the Learner Advocate Network, that is still in the design phase, but is where money following the child is intended to end up. I also was familiar with the phrase Capacity (Skill, Content, Disposition) from the Human Capabilities and Development work of another admitted Leftist Martha Nussbaum and Atlas Network preferred speaker Amartya Sen. Interesting coincidence, huh?

That recognition made the need to locate Reschool Colorado’s Framework for the Future of Learning https://www.dropbox.com/s/zz7ohda2mfetsfv/Framework%20for%20the%20Future%20of%20Learning.pdf?dl=0 all the more crucial. If that’s not another way to express an engineered autotelic self without admitting that reality and convergence of the Right and Left, I don’t have a mountain of research leading to this exact same place through the decades, across continents, and with differing declared rationales. Isn’t everyone else excited about being assessed as Academically Prepared under those definitions, being a Self-Manager, Socially Intelligent, and a Solution Seeker all under the standards put in place quietly by a state or local school district? Pertinent to the fed’s new statute mandating Success for Every Student, we have Colorado avoiding any PDM by insisting that its “definition of success should include the multi-faceted ways individuals may seek meaning in life and contribute to the world.”

Oh, joy. Maybe they too can cease to think of themselves as an individual and instead look to their membership and responsibilities to the broader systems they live or work in. Now Reschool Colorado is an initiative of the Donnell-Kay Foundation that hosted this Book Event for political scientist and educational researcher Rick Hess http://www.chalkbeat.org/posts/co/2015/03/30/rick-hess-teacher-leadership-can-and-should-be-more-than-an-empty-phrase/ of Atlas Network member, American Enterprise Institute. If that seems coincidental, the foundation is also a major advocate of public charter schools. See what I mean about where School Choice is actually headed? In a world where Stanford’s Hoover Institute partners with Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government to publish Education Next it shouldn’t be such a surprise that the so-called Right and Left Pincers are herding us to the same place.

What is harder to know is that the Kennedy School of Government’s Elaine Kamarck, then Executive Director of their new Visions of Governance for the Twenty-First Century, was part of Giddens’ 2001 Conference and book called The Global Third Way Debate. That would tie the Hoover Institute and its work in education to that vision as well, which may be why School Choice now leads to that Framework for the Future of Learning that wants to prescribe internalized capabilities every bit as much as Professor Nussbaum, Amartya Sen, or Csik. Remember my concern about the Process Theory of Law in the last post where something gets declared to be a “matter of public policy” and then the law becomes an unappreciated hand-servant to force the vision on us as if we were all just subjects and the governed? My research journey on that point led me to a 1998  Columbia Law Review paper called “A Constitution of Democratic Experimentalism.”

Want to guess what that theory and affirmative view of a radicalised Constitution needs? It needs practices in education that get to and shape personal “identities and capacities.”

Precisely what the Left has admitted it seeks to do repeatedly.

Precisely where that Reschool Colorado Framework for the Future of Learning went as well.

That’s quite a convergence and plenty of reasons for all the obfuscations we encounter from people who claim to be education experts.

As always, Follow the Money.

 

Manipulating the Human Mind and Personality Via P-12 Education to Engineer Transformational Social Change

Notice how I did NOT write K-12. In most states and countries now, if we do a little digging, we will find early learning standards that put a heavy focus on social and emotional learning. That ‘P’ stands for Preschool, which is apparently where the transformation to new values and a new kind of mind and habits of thinking, must begin. A GERG (General Evolution Research Group) associate of Csik’s, Bela Banathy, and Ervin Laszlo and husband of Riane Eisler discussed in this post  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/rigor-relevance-and-relationships-the-new-3rs-to-get-to-a-caring-economics/ , David Loye, was kind enough to explain in a 1991 book that the systems thinkers had a new ‘schema’ for the mind. The mind could be programmed via education to become the “evolving guidance system for each person and for humanity as a whole.” From a book Ervin Laszlo edited called The New Evolutionary Paradigm that was a part of the World Futures General Evolution Studies, Loye wrote:

“Mind in this schema is further defined by viewing our time, the late 20th century, as a pivotal evolutionary dividing point between the dominance of the Truncated Mind and the crucial emergence and spread of Actualizing Mind, in which guidance sensitivities are more fully operative.”

Truncated Mind is a new term for what I have previously nicknamed the Axemaker Mind, but to build on what is laid out in my book Credentialed to Destroy , phonetic fluent reading and traditional Algebra build that Truncated Mind. Critical Thinking as defined now by P21 or Richard Paul, Excellence in education, and Competency help build that Actualizing Mind, even if none of the educators implementing its tenets in the classroom have never heard of GERG,  any of the Laszlos, or David Loye and Riane. Since the last post I also managed to get my hands on a 1966 lecture the creator of General Systems Theory (GST), Ludwig Von Bertalanffy, gave at Clark University. Titled “Toward a New Image of Man,” Bertalanffy stated that the purpose of GST was to create a model for a new psychological theory suitable for psychosocial change–people, economies, cities, societies.

In other words, it fits perfectly with the Social Systems Redesign work we have encountered in the last several posts and also with John Dewey’s vision laid out in my book. Loye was darn forthcoming as well about the need to “focus on human cognition, which shapes human action” in order to create a normative social theory that could close the gap between reality as it now exists and the “ideal developmental forms that must be the prime concern of all policy makers.” From what I can tell the politicians and policy makers at every level and both parties are glad to oblige now in 2015, but no one is being honest about what is up.

I think the vision of Heart-Core Learning we met in the last post is Loye’s Actualizing Mind. When Lucien Vattel writes about “a society that grossly overvalues the mind above the heart” and seeks an “education system that values both how we feel and behave, as much as what we ‘know'”, he is laying out the current form of the same argument as Loye and all the rest of the social transformationalists. Move away from the Truncated Mind and the P-12 education that produces it. Go for Deeper, experiential, Whole Child learning achieved through collaborative Projects and authentic role playing experiences–what Vattel called “interacting, playing, and making”–to build that needed Actualizing Mind.

Everything I have read from GEFF and any of the systems scientists and out of the Fuschl and Asilomar Conversations is all supporting this same vision. It is the inner workings of the mind that is Ground Zero for the needed transformation and a P-12 education centered in Competency is the way in. Loye started his discussion with citing several Club of Rome reports from the early 70s and ends with the 1977 one that Ervin Laszlo was in charge of that called for “the need for accelerating a fundamental shift in values.”

When I read that, it was hard not to think of the now ubiquitous Positive School Climate mandates and the suggested remedies to supposedly combat bullying. Getting at the inner workings of the student’s mind and personality even more directly though is the ASCD-sponsored 16 Habits of Mind push that aligns with the developing Thinking Skills push from the 80s and early 90s. ftp://download.intel.com/education/Common/au/Resources/EO/Course_Resources/Thinking/Habits_of_Mind.pdf

Empathy, cooperation, “having a disposition toward behaving intelligently when confronted with problems, the answers to which are not immediately known” sounds like just the very traits needed to implement a transformative theory of normative social change. Just the habits needed to persevere with actions to push for change whatever the difficulties encountered in the real world. If any of us were designing Habits of Mind suitable to create an exuberant change agent, one could hardly do better than what Costa and Kallick developed or what Critical Thinking and Thinking Skills (Marzano’s 1985 Framework for McREL) actually turn out to be fostering. http://www.ascd.org/ASCD/pdf/journals/ed_lead/el_198604_jones.pdf from 1986 also laid out creating such “higher-order thinking and metacognitive strategies at all levels of schooling” and for all students and sold it under the appealing title of “Quality and Equality Through Cognitive Instruction.”

Everybody, it turns out, wants to create those very traits of minds the systems thinkers intent on transformational social change globally say they need. How should we feel when we discover that the Convergence Center’s Advisory Board on Re-Imagining Education included a medical doctor known for creating the area of Neurobiology whose vision for ed fits perfectly with Loye’s Actualizing Mind? http://kripalu.org/article/322/ Now when you look at “Awakening the Mind–Neurobiology and You” and its constant references to Mental Well-Being necessary practices, remember all the mandates in the ESEA Rewrite to providing for students’ mental health needs and whatever promotes mental well-being. Does that translate into a legal mandate from Congress to extinguish the Truncated Mind and build the Actualizing Mind in its place?

Siegel is at UCLA, which is also where the federally-funded School Mental Health Project is located. Anyone believe Siegels’ references to mental well-being are not designed to turn his desired practices into a legal mandate for all schools? Let me add one more tidbit: there are numerous stories on the Internet that Senator Lamar Alexander’s favorite book is called A God Within by Rene Dubos. Now I recognized Dubos as being frequently in the bibliography of references for most systems thinkers. In its Chapter called “On Being Human” Dubos explained that ‘The God within mankind is the spirit of purposeful and creative adventure.” That certainly sounds like a transformational mindset, especially with all the hype over purposeful behavior and envisioning the future.

Maybe Lamar as an ex-Governor really liked the vision from the previous page that “Over most of the world, the homeostatic feedbacks of supply-and-demand economy are giving way to new systems manipulated by government intervention.” Yes, that is unfortunately true and the date of the book’s publication in 1972 also coincides with an overall decline in mass prosperity with plenty of people wondering what has happened since. Note: crony interventions by governments and ‘systems redesign’ starting at the level of the human mind do not work very well, apart from enriching politicians, former ones, and their friends.

Loye did detail some tidbits I want to pass on because I can see their continued relevance now. In discussing programs for the needed fundamental shift in values, Loye mentioned that: “”for well over a decade, psychologist Milton Rokeach and associates throughout various parts of the world have been carrying out experiments using Rokeach’s Value Scale to explore value structural stable states. This work includes the induction, via cognitive dissonance, of the psychological equivalent of chaos states, and testing the effectiveness of interventions designed to produce fundamental and enduring values change.”

And we wonder why we have had an uptick in school shootings. What Loye did not say, but I know, because I have several of Rokeach’s books and have written about him and his links to Tranzi OBE is that Rokeach created the educational use of the term Competency to obscure the values and non-mental skills focus of this shift. We can see why the euphemisms ‘Objectives’ and “Outcomes’ also get used to hide the nature of this shift.

Anyone else read about Linda Darling-Hammond retiring as a Stanford ed prof to start a Learning Policy Institute recently? Here is a useful fact to keep in mind that Loye just happened to mention right after the Rokeach paragraph.

“The most comprehensive and well-financed study of ‘chaotic’ or transformational values change has been carried out over the past six years [about 1985 then] by California-based SRI International [Stanford Research Institute goes by just an acronym now], one of the world’s largest research institutions. Basing its VALS (values and life styles) program on the work of psychologist Abraham Maslow, SRI social scientists regularly update a data bank on more than 100,000 Americans to predict changes in attitudes, values, and preferences that will affect the American and world economic, social and political systems.”

Wow, how’s that for a confession? One of those SRI social scientists, Marina Gorbis, now heads the same Institute for the Future that works with KnowledgeWorks to develop visions for education in the future.

That would also be the same Maslow that the NEA hired back in 1962 to create its desired new vision of education grounded in psychology. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/psychological-approach-to-a-humane-politics-restructuring-the-west-quietly-and-effectively-via-ed/

The truth is that the same vision has now been pursued for decades by people who turn out to be connected to each other and the same institutions. Only the names for the vision seem to change.

Changing the functions and structure at the level of the human mind and then locking it in physiologically.

No wonder there has been such deceit.