Science Fiction Made Real: Were We Ever To Know In Time?

This is not the kind of science fiction we read in Frankenstein where the experimentation is physical change. Well, it might be physical, but it will be at the mostly invisible neural level. MRIs would do it though. What lights up and where is a very good indication on whether classroom practices are having the intended effect of putting certain capacities like reason and logic to sleep, while building up the habit of channeling all thought through emotions. Hard not to think of that functional MRI study I went over in the book isn’t it? Political purposes for educational manipulation via the schools. Now see this October 2013 paper on using values analysis and psychology to shift and manipulate a “new electorate.” http://www.cultdyn.co.uk/ART067736u/new-electorate-voter-values_Oct2013_11359.pdf

The new central role of the behavioral and social sciences in trying to create and manage an entirely new and theoretical vision of the world turns out to be openly announced, repeatedly, if we know where to look. I was not particularly looking. In fact, my intention was to make this post about Connected digital Learning and how that initiative is openly grounding itself in Cultural-Historical Activity Theory, our beloved CHAT, and proclaiming the plan to remake the American economy and society in the name of equity for all. I have been writing for a while about the kind of personal, unconscious level, data adaptive software and gaming and virtual reality exercises will be accumulating. I have also been researching the new federally established Learning Registry (linked via its ADL partner to comparable global initiatives in other countries) and recognize it is about accumulating practices shown to create desired change at the level of a student’s mindset–what they believe and value.

So when the federal DoED this week put on a well-attended Dog and Pony Show around ensuring student data privacy blogs.edweek.org/edweek/DigitalEducation/Student Privacy and Online Educational Services (February 2014).pdf , my reaction could be succinctly described as “What a sham!” and “So not the point.” I actually have been doing my homework around the aspirations for Big Data. My musings though pulled up intentions I never would have guessed about where all these pushes around systems thinking and ICT were going. And what’s more it even announces its links to IBM (Smarter Planet from Conclusion of book), Microsoft (Models of the World, who knew?), Alex Pentland and his MIT Media group (that new Social Physics book I wrote about recently), and George Soros, among others. Oh, and working with Oxford University. Remember that 2013 book Big Data: A Revolution that Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think I wrote about?

Imagine forgetting to mention the FuturICT Project and its plans to remake the world and “manage the future,” that would be our future, you and me, around Big Data and social science theories? To shift to an interaction-oriented view and to seek to change human behavior and values and how we govern ourselves. How COULD you forget to mention those essential facts in a book on Big Data? In all these pushes about the need to shift to digital learning? I cannot quote the entire over grasping and very real agenda so here’s the link http://www.futurict.eu/sites/default/files/docs/files/FuturICT_32p_Project%20Outline%20WITH%20LHS.pdf . I do want to quote a particular passage though that captures the massive, experimental plan of social engineering we are dealing with here (Page 6, my bolding and my voice in the brackets):

“In order to understand systemic risks resulting from the new interdependencies and develop the ability of integrated risks management [telling each of us what we can or may not do or know or value], we need to overcome the classical silo thinking and even more than that: We need a new way of thinking, a paradigm shift from focusing on the components of a system [that would be us] to focusing on their non-linear interactions [what we are to be allowed to do or required to do], as studied by complexity science [a theory not necessarily factual]. This paradigm shift will be of similar importance as the one from a geocentric to a heliocentric worldview (without which modern physics and launching satellites would have been hardly imaginable). It will promote a new understanding of our techno-socio-economic-environmental system and facilitate new solutions to long-standing problems.”

Not so fast on the likelihood of solutions. Have I ever mentioned how much I dislike lousy metaphors? They are generally the mark of either a weak mind or a deceitful one. When the prevailing perception of how our solar system was structured shifted to the heliocentric view, it was simply shifting to reflect demonstrable reality. The solar system as it existed. That is a far cry from analogizing to a paradigm shift grounded in theory of how reality and human behavior and human institutions might be restructured around ICT and Big Data. Especially hoping for new forms of governance with an emphasis on collective behavior and deferring to the democratically adopted consensus. These are theories designed to alter reality, not reflect it, and that is all the difference in the world in whether a paradigm shift is desirable. Especially one that is essentially taking place under cover of darkness.

All the intended modelling via the behavioral and social sciences, by the way, is openly acknowledged by FuturICT to not be an actual forecast. Its admitted purpose is to alter and constrain human behavior. The project intends to “develop a visionary information framework, considering insights from social sciences, complexity theory, and ethics.” It just keeps getting better and better. “The framework would analyze data on a massive scale and leverage them with scientific knowledge [behavioral, not physics!], thereby giving politicians and decision-makers a better understanding to base their decisions on.” And you wonder why the typical legislator or City Council member or Governor is gung-ho on the Common Core. What a king-maker vision.

It gets worse when you tie FuturICT with another recent report that seeks to base “long-term public service reform strategies on themes of reciprocity, responsibility, trust and partnership, and the need for a much closer understanding of how people behave, and what they want, need, and aspire to.” http://www.thersa.org/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/1540126/RSA_Managing-Demand-FINAL.pdf Information that Big Data, especially Big Data coming in through education and connected learning initiatives, has in abundance. Plus in preschool and elementary school it likely reflects what was absorbed from home too.

That RSA report envisions a cultural shift towards what can only be described as the kind of communitarian agenda Amitai Etzioni has always hoped for. No wonder RSA had Harvard’s Robert Kegan (also the OECD’s Key Competences) and his stages vision over to speak. No wonder the Positive Behavior Mandates in the US and the actual definition of Career Ready track back to Etzioni by both function and a cited reference source. No wonder the architect of RSA’s UK ed vision, Guy Claxton, can also be found as the co-author of that 2002 book Learning for Life in the 21st Century that coughed up the importance of Piotr Galperin’s Soviet psychological research to creating desired predictable future behavior.

The hardest thing about writing this blog is synthesizing so many books, reports, and videos that I read all the way through. Condensing is never easy, especially with complicated material, but these aims are quite clear. The use of education as the means is THE essential component of the sought transformations. These reports keep saying this is untried theory, but that does not seem to be stopping a massive social experiment on us, our children, our society, and our economy. Everything I have (too much to cite on a blog) aligns with this vision and the urgency with which it is being pushed from every direction. This idea that the public sector and universities and NGOs and foundations and Big Business are entitled to remake citizens in order to entrench their own power. It’s not an unprecedented aim, but, with Big Data and ICT, the tools of manipulation have gotten so much better.

The theories remain revolting. The way out is to understand this for precisely what it is and to recognize this grasping in real time. It’s why I write. This is not fun, but I believe it is necessary for there to be a way out in time. Perhaps the hardest part of that RSA report on Demand Management is its recommendations to politicians on how to sell this vision without really admitting what is being sought and transformed.

Guess what? We figured it out anyway. No chance of the trust of the public sector and governments that these theories all mention as essential happening now. Let’s see what we can do about the rest of this juggernaut going on at our expense.

We also need to strike the term ‘public servant’ from the way anyone is allowed to describe themselves from now on.

 

Developing Dispositions/Character Traits as the New Global Focus: Resilience, Resourcefulness, Reflectiveness, Reciprocity

The idea of deliberately fostering muddled minds via K-12 education that we encountered in the last post and the overall disdain for Axemaker Minds in the 21st Century that is practically a theme for this blog makes perfect sense when we remember all the entities and people we have encountered, in either my new book or this blog, who have openly proclaimed a desire to use education to drive radical political and socioeconomic change. From John Dewey and Karl Marx as I describe in the book to the OECD’s current admission of The Great Transition or the UN’s related The World We Want 2015 campaign, we are just being overwhelmed by people generally living at taxpayer expense who want wholesale transformation. The US Common Core Initiative and 21st Century Learning globally are simply methods to stealthily get US schools, teachers, and students “in transition” without being honest with parents or taxpayers as to what is going on.

To truly appreciate how so much change could be attempted in plain sight without being properly understood, it is important for us to take a look at the new RSA report that came out this week. http://www.thersa.org/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/1536844/J1530_RSA_climate_change_report_16.12_V51.pdf The so-called “New Agenda on Climate Change” described in that graphic report is to cease debating the reality of manmade climate change and to turn it into a “social fact.” Widely believed and therefore influencing behavior whatever the actual facts. Needless to say, K-12 education that is no longer fact based but instead focuses on key concepts usefully presupplied will come in awfully handy to such a “social fact” aspiration. Not to mention a muddled mind and a trained willingness to act in the face of ambiguity and “persist in the face of difficulty” as we encountered in the last post’s mention of those desired learning dispositions.

Called the 4 Rs by Claxton and UK documents, these Learning-Power Dispositions of Resilience (Feeling or the emotional aspects of learning), Resourcefulness (Thinking or the cognitive aspects of learning), Reflectiveness (Managing or the strategic aspects of learning), and Reciprocity (Relating or the social aspects of learning)   http://www.buildinglearningpower.co.uk/images/blpia_extract.pdf make perfect sense as a focus of the classroom if change to and in the student is what is sought. As an invisible means to broader transformation. Claxton even said that the 4 Rs are part of a needed  Epistemic Climate Change in the schools. So let’s go back to what Jonathan Rowson wrote is now desired to appreciate why it is the student, and ultimately voting adults, whose values and guiding beliefs and personality need to all change.

Rowson and the Social Brain Project and its work are not interested in dealing with an environmental problem. He wants to “refocus the debate away from the existence of the problem towards competing ideas about solutions.” Which again is very useful if the problem does not actually exist and was always just an excuse for social, political, and economic transformation in a desired collectivist direction which is precisely what we have discovered on this blog going back to the early 60s. RSA is simply going to assume away the dispute. It knows about the governmental monopoly over education that allows a radicalizing focus on bringing students on board with the desired changes while erroneously believing they are essential. Rowson acknowledges the extent of RSA’s goals on behalf of the UK and actually the rest of the world by announcing:

“we have to connect with the root causes of the climate problem, which is partly about using way too much energy to fullfil socially and culturally needs and desires, but is more profoundly about the price of fossil fuels [what was that quote from candidate Obama about necessarily skyrocketing?] that produce that energy, and political and economic structures that keep us addicted to them.”

So it is the political and economic structures that need changing. Rowson concedes why getting at individual values, attitudes, and beliefs is so essential in all these radical change efforts as the agenda seeks to get at “how the behaviours of consumers and citizens serves to perpetuate the economic and political basis of the energy production and consumption that drive climate change.”

Or don’t drive climate change at all but are useful to social, political, and economic change. Those 4 Rs as the student and classroom focus instead of knowledge would certainly help if the solution to be pushed is some kind of Universal Love or obligation to care for others. Rowson mentions Robert Kegan in the paper and we know Kegan spoke at RSA this past year so Kegan’s Stages that are in turn based on Lawrence Kohlberg’s globally influential Stages of Moral Development are very much on the mind of the RSA, the OECD (remember this is what their Key Competences are built around?), US implementers of the Common Core, and new Hong Kong definitions of Citizenship traits to be fostered in school. Such global commonality around what is basically the same set of desired personal dispositions and moral beliefs at the same time can hardly be coincidental.

Especially when the Rowson paper explicitly mentions that what President Obama (no insertion of ‘US’ there as if Rowson considers him everyone’s President Obama) did with the climate change discussion that was so crucial was to frame it in “distinctly moral terms.” We keep coming back to the same goal to be encouraged in students and ultimately everyone: “the ethical responsibility to safeguard the welfare of people we care about as well as those we are never likely to meet.” Necessitating our need to take someone else’s word for what those unknown people want and need from us.

Now if this is the change you want in the future, how useful is an official Learning Quality Framework   http://learningqualityframework.co.uk/index.php/using-the-framework/ that has a New Vision for Learning? That the school should now be “investigating social, economic, moral and personal reasons for revising the school’s vision of and for learning.” To make the new focus of school how “teachers now plan lessons around the learning capacities they are trying to help students to build.” And the “development of learning capacities is planned to ensure progression.”  That’s not knowledge folks and this view of the focus is not confined to the UK either. It fits perfectly with descriptions of how the College and Career Ready Index and Student Growth are being touted in US school districts too. Elsewhere the Framework makes it clear teachers are to be “drawing students attention to learning behaviours they are using” so that the students will be “progressing in developing learning habits.”

The purpose of content under this vision is merely to “drive learning opportunities and stretch and progress learning capacities” although it of course remains terribly useful to taking an unknown and getting students to know regard something as a social fact. I don’t think it is a coincidence that Guy Claxton talks about meeting with David Perkins of Harvard who we have encountered in connection with the NSF-funded Understandings of Consequence approach to science and social studies learning under the Common Core. Nor his mention of working with one of the best known Whole Language advocates Shirley Brice Heath or fuzzy math advocates-Jo Boaler. All of these education so-called wars makes much more sense if affecting what the student believes is the actual goal of all these controversial philosophies.

So many of us still hear the word assessment and simply erroneously assume we are still talking about measurements of knowledge. The Learning Quality Framework makes it clear that assessing for learning is about “tracking and authenticating the growth of learning dispositions (with regard to when, where, and how they are used)” and insists that such tracking, likely to be revealed to parents using opaque terms like data and feedback, “builds learners’ motivation and informs learning design.” Which of course gets sold under the euphemistic term “personalized learning for all students” but sounds rather like BF Skinner’s operant conditioning.

Again having such intimate data and detail about the essence of each student is very useful if the goal is “challenge the values, structures and processes that led to this case of overconsumption and resource depletion, and which otherwise leads to more.” And that is precisely what Rowson says the new goal is. He also proclaims the need to shift mindsets and must be excited about the prominence in the UK of Guy Claxton’s Learning Power work.

Does anyone doubt that a ‘learner-centred classroom” in the UK and the US and elsewhere will really come in handy if you believe we as a society need a “broader cultural shift that reframes ‘prosperity’ as something with social, relational and experiential dimensions”?

How about if it is your intention to challenge “the structure of the macroeconomy and the logic of capitalism”?

Stay tuned as I drop yet another related disclosure bomb next time.

 

 

Assessing Deep Knowledge to Monitor Whether Theory is Guiding What Will be Noticed and Observed

Now you can just imagine the popular outcry if the Common Core and its integral 21st Century Skills were being sold as a shift to Abraham Maslow’s Eupsychian education. That would certainly make the current wholesale transformation of the purpose of education and the function of schools and universities much harder to sell. In fact, that overt psychological pitch might even get the attention of a social-climbing PTA President or a politician intent on ever higher elective office. No one but me at the moment is going to describe what is going on now in such explosively impactful terms. But that widespread omission doesn’t mean it’s not still the actual intention.

Professor Daniel Bell, then a professor of Sociology at Harvard, wrote a 1973 book The Coming of Post-Industrial Society: A Venture in Social Forecasting that laid out precisely why people guided by a theoretical understanding of reality was so crucial to any plan for social transformation. Which is precisely what he and others had in mind. The age of the individual and decision-making through free markets was supposedly over and the future was a planned society and decisions through the political process but not really by elected representatives. Bell believed in 1973 precisely what the federal Department of Education’s Equity and Excellence Commission pushed in 2013–that the future political structure would be grounded in “equality of result–by sharing and redistributive policies–rather than equality of opportunity.”

Such a political demand either has to be imposed by brute force, which is another loser PR campaign, or by “being rooted in some powerful ethical system.” That’s why we have Maslow and Rogers in 1962 and Outcomes Based Education in the 80s and 90s and Global Competency and the Whole Child Initiative now all targeting new values. Global values. Humanistic values grounded in popular metaphors like Martin Luther King’s Beloved Community or potential apocalypses like Catastrophic Manmade Climate Change. It’s a rationale for developing what Maslow called the “self-actualizing B-Values” and Bell saw as the “philosophical foundation–a conception of justice as fairness–for a communal society.”  Bell goes on to describe an intention we need to keep in mind to appreciate why a nationally and globally imposed common core of beliefs and values is so sought in 2013:

“In the nature of human consciousness, a scheme of moral equity is the necessary basis for any social order; for legitimacy to exist, power must be justified. In the end it is moral ideas–the conception of what is desirable–that shapes history through human aspirations.”

Bell said the historic “premise of individual freedoms and the satisfaction of private utilities” was crumbling. All of the sought changes over the decades via education and the hyping of first global cooling in the 70s and then later global warming, and now the refusal to take actual temps amid an undisputed increase in Carbon Dioxide into account, all make more sense when you read Bell’s next axiomatic assertion from the 70s: “the political system is now being geared to the realization not of individual ends but of group and communal needs.”

Sounds just like a shift from a profit economy to a needs-based, For Benefit Economy, doesn’t it? Old ideas at social engineering apparently never die. They just get new names, different advocates, and better sales pitches on why they are necessary and must be imposed, something to keep in mind after Friday’s White House Executive Order imposing Climate Change adaptations like it or not. http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/11/01/executive-order-preparing-united-states-impacts-climate-change .

Now the term Post-Industrial Society is used less now. Usually the UN or the OECD prefers the terms Knowledge Society or Information Society but the intentions do not really shift the nature of the transition to be facilitated through governmental planning of desired behaviors, distribution of resources, and public policies generally. All that needs new conceptual schema, a/k/a Big Ideas and Deep Knowledge. Bell says industrial society was the “coordination of machines and men for the production of goods.” Since he says, we have become a society committed to social control in order to shift to equality of results, that “introduces the need for planning and forecasting into society.”

Post-industrial society then, like its alternative names, is “organized around knowledge, for the purpose of social control and the directing of innovation and change: and this in turn gives rise to new social relationships and new structures which have to be managed politically.” Bell doesn’t point it out here but now we have the mayors and City Councils and Governors in the name of Economic Development all ready to do just that. The innovation and change then is not the historic Free Lunch For All/ New Kind of Technology like computer transistors shifting to integrated circuits but the kind of sociological innovation Bruno Latour also had in mind in a previous post. And Bell says it is the “altered awareness of the nature of innovation that makes theoretical knowledge so crucial.”

Although the Common Core is still not producing the level of popular uproar that would come if the actual implementation were better recognized, there has still been enough hype about the feds usurping the role of states and localities that the sponsoring trade group, the CCSSO, sent out a letter dated October 1, 2013.   http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/CCSSO%20Assessment%20Quality%20Principles%2010-1-13%20FINAL.pdf . The CCSSO tells the states the kind of assessments they need to have. Try to control your shock that when you cut through the rhetoric and the Appendix and the mentioned June 2013 CSCOPE report, you end up with a determination that these new kinds of assessments be looking for theoretical knowledge. “These new assessments will not be limited to surface level knowledge–they will better assess the deep knowledge students need to succeed post-graduation.”

That “deep knowledge” or what the C3 Social Studies Framework calls “lenses” or what the Hewlett Foundation calls “deep learning” or what Donald Schon (who worked with Bell in the 60s) called “Generative Metaphors” are all examples of what Bell called either “conceptual prisms” or “conceptual schemata.” Having education provide them for ALL Students aids this attempt to bring about a “change in the social framework of society.” I would add and doing so invisibly without bothering to amend annoying barriers like the language of the US Constitution. Friday afternoon Executive Orders on Climate Change Adaptation or Positive School Climate mandates gets the effect without the turmoil that could force policy retrenchment.

If you, like me, have often wondered why it always seems to be the Frameworks that guide the actual classroom curricula being developed or professional development instead of the standards that politicians supposedly adopted, the following passage will finally silence our curiousity about what is really going on. “Nomen est numen, to name is to know, is the ancient maxim” guiding so much of the actual classroom curricula to change values, beliefs, feelings, dispositions, and ultimately future behavior itself.

“Social frameworks are not ‘reflections’ of a social reality but conceptual schemata. History is a flux of events and society a web of many different kind of relations which are known not simply by observation. If we accept the distinction between matters of fact and matters of relation, then knowledge, as a combination of the two, depends on the correct sequence between factual order and logical order. For experience, the factual order is primary; for meaning, the logical order.

Mind knows nature by finding some language in which to express an underlying pattern. Knowledge, thus, is a function of the categories we use to establish relationships just as perception [bolded to remind you of Maslow and Rogers and the 1962 book for the NEA] is a function of the conventions we have accepted in order to see things ‘correctly.’ As Einstein once put it: ‘it is the theory that decides what we can observe.'”

So the social planners and transformational change seekers and psychologists and education profs have recognized all this for decades as an essential component of How to Achieve Equity in a Planned Society 102. Without having having to confess beforehand what is being altered and why.

Isn’t it about time we all knew it as well?

Eupsychia and Humanist Education-Shouldn’t the Links to 21st Century Skills and Common Core Be Emphasized?

Those of us who play a mean game of Trivial Pursuit tend to remember that the word “Utopia” literally translates as “Nowhere.” And Nowhere is an unacceptable expression for philosophers and dreamers and self-interested planners who do want to reorganize society going forward towards new values and new beliefs and a hoped-for vision of the future. One of those people was the creator of Humanist Psychology and the Eupsychia vision of the Good Society, Abraham Maslow, who laid out theories for education and a new type of school in a book published after his death in 1971. It builds on the New Focus of Education/NEA financed vision from 1962 that I wrote about here. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/psychological-approach-to-a-humane-politics-restructuring-the-west-quietly-and-effectively-via-ed/

Ever since I wrote that post as I have sat in Mindfulness seminars that curiously enough now count as continuing legal education and all our encounters with Robert Kegan and the competences vision being pushed by the UN and the OECD, I keep coming back to that 1962 vision as the foundation for so much that has been called “transformational” ever since. I think it is the grounds for the increasing acknowledgment that long-term behavioral change is a major purpose of the Common Core classroom. http://www.edweek.org/tm/articles/2013/10/14/cm_socialemotional.html?tkn=NXTFXS1JDKswLa9ZdPz%2Fis6ez0YbkU87li9t&cmp=ENL-EU-NEWS2 . So when I saw a recent reference to the later book, I thought we might gain some important insights into what is coming at us.

Because I now live in a world where a Professor Emeritus at the New School for Social Research, Hans Jonas, laid out in the early 80s his understanding of the then planned shift from each of us being “responsible subjects” to “programmed behavior systems.” And that was before the rise of adaptive software, blended learning, Big Data, and Gaming to constantly crosscheck how the new psychological emphasis in the classroom was doing. When we talk about education reform and assessments that are not measuring knowledge that parents are not allowed to see, keep this long-term aspiration in mind:

“Here I merely point to this most ambitious dream of homo faber, summed up in the phrase that man will take his own evolution in hand, with the aim of not just preserving the integrity of the species but of modifying it by improvements of his own design.”

Well, neither you or I have been invited to participate in such designing but Maslow was and Jonas was aware of it. Jonas presciently asked the question that should be on posters at Dalian, China and Davos, Switzerland and plenty of ed labs globally:

“Who will be the image-makers, by what standards, and on the basis of what knowledge? Also, the question of the moral right to experiment on future human beings must be asked.”

That’s still a critical question to ask now as consultants and district administrators and principals are all being paid to push just such experimentation of untried psychological theories. Or if not untried, ignoring the indisputable linkage to prior tragedies from such probing of the “deeper self. (Maslow’s italics)” Maslow notes that primary creativeness (one of the 4 Cs of 21st Century Skills) “comes out of the unconscious, which is the source of new discovery-of real novelty-of ideas that depart from what exists at the moment.”  You see, the psychological emphasis in education that has been trying to come in the front door of being the new focus of education globally since the 60s in earnest is based on Maslow’s belief that “We need a new kind of human being who can divorce himself from his past, who …[can] handle the problem well in an improvising way, without previous preparation, if need be.”

Now the latter is called the 4C of critical thinking & problem solving and gets measured via new planned Common Core assessments of Higher Order Thinking Skills where there is no fixed, linear answer and ambiguity is preferred. By the way, in 1970 Maslow wanted a “new kind of human being that we would need even if there were no cold war, and even if we were all united in a brotherly species, is needed simply to confront the new kind of world in which we live.” Now that’s a sentiment that fits right into what a conference of ed professors or administrators is still hearing in 2013. They simply may not know it comes from Maslow saying:

“What I am really interested in is the new kind of education which we must develop which moves towards fostering the new kind of human being that we need, the process person, the creative person, the improvising person, the self-trusting, courageous person, the autonomous person.”

That latter reference to autonomy frequently came with a cite to Erich Fromm of the Frankfurt School so please do not get excited that there was a glimmer of legitimate individualism being allowed through. No, in fact real education should impel the student on an “Ought-Is-Quest” that does NOT distinguish anymore between facts and values. Maslow called those Species-Brotherhood new values Being Values like Justice and Equality that are to “guide human action” in the future. They should be instilled and monitored via education. In fact, humanistic education had a “new conception of learning, of teaching, of education. Stated simply, such a concept holds that the function of education, the goal of education–the human goal, the humanistic goal, the goal as far as human beings are concerned–is ultimately the ‘self-actualization’ of a person, the becoming fully human, the development of the fullest height that the human species can stand up to or that the particular individual can come to.”

And of course, Maslow noted that such a shift in vision would require a substantial shift in the psychology of teaching. Which as my new book details is precisely what has happened. I am going to leave you to mull over another part of this new vision of education and school which you may well also discover to be embodied in charter language that was designed to both bind and not be well understood by outsiders. Or as Maslow noted tactlessly: “even morons can learn emotionally and spiritually” so beware of mandates that instructional methods used MUST close the achievement gaps. Just think of the enhancement of power in a desired public-centric economy of the future based on officially designated needs rather individual consumer choices this goal of future education will be:

“this is a way of discovering what the self is like. There are signals from inside, there are voices that yell out. ‘By gosh this is good, don’t ever doubt it!’ This is a path, one of the ways we try to teach self-actualization and the discovery of self. The discovery of identity comes via the impulse voices, via the ability to listen to your own guts, and to their reactions and to what is going on inside of you.

This is also an experimental kind of education that, if we had the time to talk about it, would lead us into another parallel education establishment, another kind of school.”

Like a student-centered school that must be engaging and provide success for all students?

That sees all students as “assets” and refuses to accept any “deficit” visions for 21st century education?

Those last two are quotes from the education vision I heard being pushed at the September (co)lab summit in Atlanta.

What Happens When Sovereign Political Powers Get to Dictate the Way People Should Behave in the Future?

Years ago the Frankfurt School researchers stumbled upon a useful fact. Once people have heard the same pitch or story from someone they view as authoritative about five times or so, most people simply come to accept the pitch as true whether it is or not. Now as you can imagine, given the stated Frankfurter aim of altering the nature of Western culture towards a more collectivist orientation, this key point (from the Radio Project work if you want to look it up) became a Masterful Manipulation 101 strategy to be used for transformative political and social change. I think whoever was creating the broad outline of points to be pushed at last week’s (co)lab in Atlanta knew all about the Radio Project research.

As Harvard’s new Innovation Fellow Tony Wagner put it, perhaps not realizing someone was taking notes so determinedly, “we need to prime the adults for the change needed” and we need to “create the consensus necessary to preserve this change once it is introduced.” So what was the vision being pushed at (co)lab in addition to King’s ‘beloved community’ we talked about in the last post? Since the head of the US Council of Competitiveness, Deborah Wince-Smith, said the inaugural (co)lab is “going to be transformative for our country,” we really ought to know what is in store for us. It’s this new social and economic vision that requires a new ‘revolutionary’ vision of education as Ken Robinson called it. A vision of the future that requires us to be able to “think differently in the future” in order to meet that revolution and “do things in a different way.” Minds that are “responsive and flexible” so they can “adapt to a world of change” is how Sir Ken described it. Of course he also really liked the vision of change laid out in that Fulton district conversion charter and said so, which may well mean it will be coming to a community near you soon. Yikes!

So if Ms Wince-Smith is right and (co)lab was about Atlanta getting ready to “pioneer new policies and models for our nation,” what might we all expect? Well, the retired head of  Ernst Young said it was part of what is the “most profound geoeconomic shift in history.” Of course, he also said that this push started at the World Economic Forum in Davos about 3 or 4 years ago and was being pushed by CEOs globally. The dramatic changes sought were not just in “education but also infrastructure, transportation, and logistics.” In other words, a boondoggle for globally-operating, politically-connected, established businesses which is probably why it looks so much like Corporatism and authority capitalism.

In case you are getting worried that State capitalism is not a place where mass prosperity has ever reigned no matter how many times Statist professors utter the word ‘innovation’, one of the urban planning speakers informed us that “it was not the government deciding this is the future,” but rather “government plus nonprofits and business all together.” Feel better? Me neither but apparently a solid knowledge of history that recognized what comparable visions were called back in the 30s was in short supply. Or people who would have gasped in horror at the comment that “every half century we reinvent the paradigm for how communities should exist.” No, when planners and politicians make that call historically it never works out well. Someone is unfamiliar with the tragedies of Urban Renewal in the 60s in an earlier version of this state planning vision or the Chinese Ghost Cities of the present.

Other descriptions were the Post Post-World War 2 Model and the collaborative consumption new economy where human needs could be met by ‘currently underutilized assets’. That vision sponsored by April Rinne with her ties to WEF and its Dalian/Davos confabs we keep not getting invited to seems to be priming for the needs/support economy Shoshana Zuboff laid out in her 2002 book we have talked about. The sharing economy dovetails quite nicely April said (with her Harvard law degree she may have taken classes from Shoshana) with what would be its “largest beneficiary-the city.” April made it clear that her vision of the sharing economy was a “reintroduction of the social contract” and about  “building communities, not the marketplace.” In fact she said it was a new “way of seeing the world” where “I need” gets matched to “you have.”

Of course in this vision pretty soon any concept of private property goes away in function if not name since private property has always ultimately been about having a “Do Not Enter” personal zone that even a king could not infringe upon without consent. In this new vision, as we will see with ed in a minute, there is no more sphere that the political sovereign cannot try to direct or remake. Personal ‘sensibilities’ and ‘dispositions’ become the stated subject of needed change and more than one speaker also said that. You can only have private property in a society that has established the primacy of the rule of law and respect for the rights of individuals. As we have seen repeatedly, both of those are areas under coordinated attack by this new ‘revolutionary’ vision of education. Probably because they are impediments to the beloved community society with its new economy.

And Ground Zero for this shift are our urban areas. Washington, DC was said repeatedly to be gridlocked and broken so Atlanta’s mayor, fresh back from speaking at the TED conference in NYC on Reenvisioning The City: 2.0, said that “many of the powers now in DC should be shifted to the 50 largest metros.” Which will of course be an enormous boondoggle for the urban political machines. Taxpayers send money to DC. DC takes its cut to keep that area booming and then the money gets transferred to urban areas all over the country. How could prosperity not ensue? Well beyond political waste there is this pesky little detail that Tony Wagner actually defined the “innovation economy” as both “radically different” and “about solving the pressing problems we face on this planet as a species.”

With federal dollars targeted directly to so many urban areas apparently all things are now possible. I don’t think so but this is in fact the vision attached to all these ed reforms this blog has painstakingly laid out. Getting new kinds of minds and new ‘sensibilities’ and ‘dispositions’ is precisely why we keep encountering such a psychological emphasis as the real theory of how to close the achievement gap in a way that allows all children to ‘learn’ in a definition tied to behavioral change. Now I happen to think both the social and economic vision as well as the education reforms laid out will be toxic. But I do recognize the vision for ed being laid out by the speakers. Beyond Uncle Karl and John Dewey, it is the vision we have described from 1962 that Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers laid out as the new focus. It’s both where Psychosynthesis and the OECD’s Competency/Robert Kegan focus go when you peel away the misleading references to the PISA ‘test’. Now let me explain why all roads and pathways always lead back to a Curriculum of Affect.

In 1970 the Ford Foundation (which also was and is a huge funder of Urban Renewal and Regional Equity visions) published a book called Toward Humanistic Education: A Curriculum of Affect. It complained bitterly that when the focus of education and teaching was on subject matter–what you and I would call content knowledge–it did not “necessarily affect behavior“. And therefore people’s attitudes and actions “with regard to social injustice” needed to be changed in ways that would provoke desired actions. So school should become about discovering “the feelings, fears, and wishes that move pupils emotionally, that can more effectively engage pupils from any background.” By the way, that page kindly cites to Maslow and Rogers for doing research in this area. What are the odds?

That’s how All students can learn and why the methods used must be accessible to the least capable students or those who do not speak English. Which sounds much better as a  rationale than being honest and saying:

“the broad objectives of American education must include the preparation of students to engage in constructive personal and social behavior. We believe existing practice is not affecting behavior adequately. We also believe that in today’s complex, precarious world a society has little choice but to pursue the path toward humanitarian behavior…The ultimate purpose of this report, therefore, is to search for paths to greater consonance between education and the way in which people might or should behave.”

What a coincidence. More than 40 years later that seems to be the real purpose of  (co)lab, that TED-x City 2.0 conference, AND the actual education reforms being hidden as connected to the Common Core implementation.

 

 

 

Creating King’s Blessed Community Thru Federal Spending, a Curriculum of Affect, and No Rational Mind

No matter how lofty the rhetoric about the beautiful, idealistic future to be built via education, if the foundation is mind arson and a refusal to teach reading well because it might foster an independent mind, the future will be one of exploiting people. If governments are directing the economy, who gets what will become parasitic. If I want someone to regularly buy my legal services or tap my knowledge, I have to be good. I better be right. And I ought to be polite and congenial to work with. That’s the private marketplace.

When the public sector controls and pays itself with taxpayer money or incurs debt, power is all that matters. And people get paid not for what they know or can do but for what they are willing to do. Or push. Or advocate for. Even if it’s a terrible idea. Beyond the inherent political favoritism of which companies get chosen when politicians and bureaucrats make economic decisions instead of consumers, there’s no real personal penalty for being wrong or wasteful or pushing abusive ideas like a psychological approach to education grounded in research from the Soviet Union. If the charitable foundations with their compounding annually, untaxed assets push socially and economically destructive ideas, there will still be money for salaries and benefits and more destructive grants next year.

That may all be obvious but it creates huge problems with the idea of research universities, government agencies, politicians, nonprofits, and connected Big Business collaborating and coordinating together to direct a new kind of 21st century economy and society. Only the parasites are getting seats at the decision-making table or they can greatly outvote the productive sector that ultimately has to fund it all. Making my own way in the private economy, I have to get the big picture and appreciate likely consequences. Even the hard to foresee ones. But there’s really no incentive for someone who gets paid for what they push on others from the public trough to figure out what the consequences will be. The only consequence that counts is the inability to get a lucrative consulting contract or research grant or promotion. That’s what controls. It’s why dirigiste economies ultimately produce stagnancy if not worse.

So Sunday and Monday I was at the first ever (co)lab, A Collaborative Leadership Summit in Atlanta with all sorts of Big Business sponsorship. It was to be the template for what is to go on in other cities to push this new economic/social vision for the future. Tom Friedman flew in to give the closing address and Sir Ken Robinson and Tony Wagner from Harvard were just two of the famous education reformers who laid out the ed component for getting to the new desired future. The Fulton County School District’s Conversion Charter that I have been so horrified by ever since I read it was featured as a key component of getting to this reimagined society. A woman by the name of April Rinne spoke on the collaboration, support economy of the future. And since she is also with the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders, there’s our link of what Atlanta inaugurated and what went on a week earlier in Dalian, China (Sept 18, 2013 post).

When I went to look into the whole concept of collaborative leadership a bit more, I discovered it is being pushed hard globally by the same group that planned that Dalian conference.   http://www.managementexchange.com/hack/stone-soup-global-leadership-new-model-collaborative-leadership-address-today%E2%80%99s-global-challeng Ah, sustainability as the excuse for government control of the economy. That was another key component of the (co)lab vision of the future. I could spend the next few weeks laying out all the troubling aspects of what was presented as The Vision for Our Collective Future. Like it or not, here it comes. No more of an emphasis on the individual and making their own choices. This is an imposed vision and education with a curriculum of affect designed to make students either like it or simply accept it as inevitable. Hopefully though they will act to help make it so, completely unaware of what I laid out in the first few paragraphs of this post.

I want to focus today on a comment in just one of the speeches. It was so inspiring to the audience the speaker got a standing ovation. I sat there in horror though wondering precisely what was coming at Atlanta and the rest of the country in the name of honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. Now I have encountered and written about so many examples of the communitarian mindsets the real Common Core implementation seeks to instill. So when the speaker, after pitching the need for all of us to develop empathy for all others so they no longer seem to be the ‘other’ and the need to ‘hold multiple truths’ at the same time (I wondered if maybe she had been listening to Robert Kegan describing his 4th Stage Consciousness or reading Psychosynthesis), then brought up the “blessed community,” I was very uneasy. She said (co)lab and what was being discussed there were supposed to help make Atlanta the “living embodiment of MLK’s ‘blessed community.”

Now I was already going to look that up when I got home even before the next line. Creating that ‘beloved community’ was going to require “qualitative change in our souls as well as quantitative change in our lives.” Sounds like wholesale noetic change and then redistribution. Well, I have heard that pitch so many times in recent years and it never bodes well. Change what we feel, believe, value, wish for, and how we live. How comprehensive that is. How transformative. How personally intrusive.  That’s also the goal Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers had that we have covered and for similar reasons. It’s the goal of the humanistic education and the Curriculum of Affect. I have those Ford Foundation financed visions from the 60’s that we will go over in the next post.

What I did not know though is that there were so many people waiting to finalize King’s ‘blessed community’ revolution of civil society and the economy. Conducted through the schools and in the name of the disadvantaged and saving the inner Cities where ever they are located. The most explicit layout of what is really being contemplated dovetails with what King-aide Bayard Rustin laid out in 1965 that we discussed here   http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/commencing-the-long-sought-bloodless-coup-via-education-to-make-equality-for-all-a-fact/ But the MLK ‘blessed community’ vision that virtually duplicates what we have learned to associate with little ‘c’ Marxist Humanism is described here http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/a-conspiracy-of-hope/the-beloved-community-of-martin-luther-king as being where Dr King had gone in the last two years of his life. And it is this vision that (co)lab and Fulton’s charter and the described reforms consistent with changing the purpose of education are now unquestionably linked to.

When the vision attached to education reforms or political reforms to restructure the nature of cities is attached to language about ” a new more human society” with ‘new values” we all need to pay attention. That aspiration has never worked out well. In the name of avoiding exploitation and oppression and achieving justice and equality, the exact opposites occur because political power and its ability to coerce with minimal consequences to the pushers become dominant. But there is such reverence now for King. Will anyone recognize in time the dangers of blindly advocating for fulfilling his vision “to develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole”?

What about putting the public sector and charitable foundations in charge of shifting us all from a “thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society?” Wouldn’t a curriculum of affect grounded in psychology as the new focus of education be a useful tool for that goal?

We are all being hurdled towards uprooting what we have now to design and create anew. And most people are not in the meetings where this is being laid out at. And there are lots of lies being told in meetings we are at to cover this up so we do not rebel before it is all done. And most of the people advocating for all this are doing it because such advocacy is their livelihood.

No one getting paid to push this has to bear the likely atrocious long-term consequences and they have no incentive to even be aware of them. The people who do have to bear the consequences are largely unaware of what is even intended.

Which is why my typing fingers are getting calloused and my voice hoarse from trying to sound the alarm in time.

As soon as I hear it or see it or read it. Sometimes all three like this time.

 

Prescribing How We Frame Experiences is the Lynchpin of Wholesale Unconscious Behavioral Change

Historian Robert Conquest has a great term for the kind of ideas and concepts we are dealing with as education all over the globe thinks reframing our consciousness is the legitimate new focus. To get a different kind of society and economy and future of course. Because good intentions excuse all? When any kind of knowledge of the past and the consistency of human nature and governments that accept no boundaries would be sending up red flags of danger. It feels a bit like 1938 when Churchill’s knowledge of history told him that there would in fact be “no peace in our time” from conceding to a not yet full-strength tyrant.

Conquest calls these ways of framing our perceptions and experiences that have in fact escaped the reality that currently exists and any empirical controls–“brain blindfolds.” An apt term it seems to me to deal with K-12 and higher ed institutions globally where the principals and Supers and college Presidents are being pushed to see their new mission as transformation of the students they are presented with. Like this as the instructions on how to push the desired changes (my bolding for emphasis):

“one continually sees that a critique of one’s identification with the values and loyalties of one’s cultural or psychosocial surround precedes the construction of a fourth order system that can act upon those values, set them aside, or modify or reappropriate them to a new place within a more encompassing organization.”

That passage is from a 1994 book by the now-regularly present, Harvard prof Robert Kegan, called In Over Our Heads: The Mental Demands of Modern Life. Written before the Democrats lost the House for the first time in 40 years in 1994 or Outcomes Based Education and School to Work controversies began to undermine the educational ‘reforms’ the Clinton administration was pursuing at the federal level in the 90s version of what is being called the Common Core now. These old blueprints do not go away and books written before controversies tend to be graphic in their intentions. Now that we have learned that the OECD is pushing ed reforms in K-12 globally around Kegan’s vision of shifting consciousness and that the US plans to reshape higher ed announced in January 2012 by the White House are also grounded in Kegan’s work, we had better understand what we are dealing with. The $50 word ‘omnipresent’ is not an exaggeration of the role Kegan’s theories are playing.

Except they are not really his theories as in unique, original work. It’s more like he is a major spokesperson and proponent of theories with an even more troubling pedigree. According to the Comparative Education Research Center based at the University of Hong Kong as laid out in a 2001 book Values Education for Dynamic Societies: Individualism or Collectivism, this focus on personality-oriented education and a socio-psychological concept of “personality development” comes straight out of Russian and then Soviet traditions. And upon reading that I did some checking yesterday on the current integrative models being pushed by Mikhail Berulava (he gets cited in book). Alive and well and stronger than ever since the Cold War is one way to describe it. And apparently Sochi is ever so much nicer than Siberia.

In other words, we have a real problem. It is global but that 2001 book does let us know that “elites’ in the US want American citizens to have a much greater orientation toward the collective. So does Kegan. This is what he wants to see for an adolescent curriculum. He wants the school to “grow the mind” so that each student’s daily perceptions become guided in a way “faithful to the self-psychology of the West [think Maslow and Rogers] as to the ‘wisdom literature’ of the East.” Elsewhere, Kegan mentions a Zen-like orientation as desirable. He wants education to create “a process by which the whole (‘how I am’) becomes gradually a part (‘how I was’) of a new whole (‘how I am now.’)”

Kegan may talk a lot about ‘autonomy’ and ‘self-direction’ but both he and the global ed reforms movement that pushes his and the personality development purpose generally (which is basically everybody with power now to be honest) expressly reject defining these terms as “personal authority or psychological independence.” No, this vision of education as ‘a reconstitution of self’ via “a transformation of ‘the way we understand'” never loses sight of the person as a mere part of a greater whole that should be dedicated to a common good.

Kegan envisions adolescence developing so that each child takes “out membership in a community of interest greater than one, to subordinate their own welfare to the welfare of the team, even, eventually, to feel a loyalty to and identification with their team, so that its success is experienced as their own success.” Talk about No Man is an Island. No Man Stands Alone. I am going to interrupt this discussion to point out that these are the same reforms that were so controversial in Hong Kong  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/using-education-to-shut-down-free-choices-and-then-redefining-as-personal-autonomy-orwell-lives/ when they were introduced there. Kegan even mentions Kohlberg on his Acknowledgments page as his “late teacher and friend.”

They would be controversial in other countries too if they were not hiding in what PISA is actually measuring or in poorly appreciated definitions of “lifelong learning,” “self-directed learning,” or “college and career ready.” Everything is geared towards us never seeing what is coming that we are funding until it is too late. The internal psychological changes will have already occurred. Because they are intrinsically tied to feelings and emotions from an early age they are supposed to be almost impossible to reverse.

Reader alert! If the mention of sex is not something you want to accidentally read about, skip this paragraph. But Kegan saw teenage sex, not counting intercourse in passages I cannot believe I had to read, as helpful to priming adolescents to be guided by their experiences at both a physical and emotional level. Doesn’t that put a new spin on the unending push for graphic presentations to students in schools over the last few decades? He literally sees such a push as being beneficial for adolescent students to learn what mutuality means and how to relate to others and their needs. That’s enough. I am blushing now and this is mild compared to his descriptions in the book. But mentioning this and the reasons for it should help all of us appreciate how important the desired wholesale changes in behavior and how things are perceived is. And how crucial education is to the venture.

As many teachers have already either intuited or actually heard from a Change Agent Principal, these personality changes and consciousness shifts are needed from teachers as well. No one in the building or on campus shall survive in the form and with the values they entered would be one way to describe it. I want to go back to Robert Conquest again and his fine book from 2005 The Dragons of Expectation: Reality and Delusion in the Course of History because he and I are worried about the same thing–“the general state of the Western Mind.” It’s just that this blog has a great deal of detail on how it is being targeted for wholesale change. But I would argue still for the same end as what Conquest recognized. We have bureaucrats and politicians and self-interested cronies in the public and private sectors who personally would benefit from “state control of much of human activity.”

When I mention the Soviets as the source of a theory or practice, I am not trying to frighten you. As a history major, I get what it was created to do and why it does not belong in schools or college classrooms or any society that hopes to remain truly free. Where individuals still matter in the original meaning of autonomy. If history is not your idea of a good beach read, you may never have pondered the significance of Robert Louis Stevenson’s (remember Treasure Island?) observation that “Man is a creature who lives not upon bread alone, but principally by catchwords.” And one group with aspirations for social transformation will know exactly what those cultivated catchwords are.

When we are worrying about the origination of these theories and practices being pushed on us without our consent, let’s keep in mind this Conquest observation (my points in brackets):

“The ideal totalitarian state should control the mental as well as the physical lives of its population. Real life is not quite up to this. But if we consider the Stalin and other similar regimes, we see that they had progressed a long way towards it. [Precisely what has been imported to the US and other countries]. The most obvious and critical point is the degree to which all channels of information were blocked [by poor reading methods? cultivated erroneous perceptions? reliance on feeling and propaganda visuals?], and the extent to which a radically false picture was forced on Russian minds. For the Stalinist regime did not merely deny reality; it substituted for it a fully ideologized world fantasy.”

False pictures and world fantasies and substitutions of videogames for reality are precisely what is coming at us in 2013. Stay tuned.

 

Dialectical Integration of the Person as a Totality: How Can That Make Anyone Competitive Internationally?

What do you mean no one describes the goal in that language in their powerpoint and it’s rude of me to interject such a graphic description into the public debate? Should it count if the clear trail from what is being pushed in the name of making countries or states internationally competitive in the 21st century global economy tracks back to that kind of explicit language? I think it should too even if the 1990 book I took that language from was intentionally withdrawn from the library shelves at Colorado College precisely to prevent anyone from doing just what I did. Recognizing what the editor had been up to in the last 10 years in his work for the OECD and ordering the previously unknown book when a cite to it cropped up in the footnotes on the psychological, Social Brain Project, focus. Truly as much as I love to read, some descriptions that make it to print need to be buried deep or burned if you want to keep the aim and mystery of “college and career ready for all” and everyone should try to excel on international assessments like PISA.

Otherwise a pesky writer might chase the vision back to lots of references about how to get social systems to evolve to new kinds of mindsets that would no longer see the Soviet Union as the ‘other’ and risk nuclear annihilation. What is it about psychologists and educators who keep insisting we must have empathy towards cultures where the facts actually show plenty of leaders would like to eliminate us to put it mildly if they could. USSR in 1990 and the Alliance of Civilizations in 2013. Dialectical Integration of the Person in 1990 and a Growth Mindset and systems thinking and metacognition and Kegan’s self-authoring, 4th stage, in 2013. Now I think we have had to wind our way through too much psychobabble in recent posts precisely so we could appreciate the sought emphasis coming to schools, classrooms, and maybe your next corporate retreat soon.

I want to talk about how all this rhetoric about being “high performing” and “internationally competitive” and ensuring “economic prosperity” is forcing us to adopt that very psychosynthesized, dialectically integrated, inner core driven by love for all vision accidentally. Because no one seems to bother to look into the actual definitions of terms or the nature of these international assessments. Busy, famous people who hopefully mean well with all their advocacy are pushing ideas that are not actually aimed where these professors and politicians and business executives claim they want us to go.

Now a Swede by the name of Torsten Husen laid out the function of these “tests’ in driving a global socialist, welfare state vision decades ago in his 1974 book The Learning Society and then later in 1986 in The Learning Society Revisited. Not really a dispute over that one.

Likewise the true nature of PISA and the OECD term Competencies and the intentions were well-laid out in February 2002 at the Second DeSeCo Symposium in Geneva, Switzerland. Which again we were not invited to. We could have brought our ski boots and a cute jacket and drank brandies by a fireplace with a view but no. DeSeCo by the way is an abbreviation for Definition and Selection of Key Competencies but how do we, I mean the OECD officials, get to decide what will be key? Well, we could have Robert Kegan come be the keynoter of the symposium. That’s the same person we encountered in the last post and previously when the Hewlett Foundation hired him and Peter Senge to make sure the Common Core vision in the US would align with Hewlett’s deep learning emphasis. And deep learning says the OECD as of 2010 means the same as its term “adaptive competence.” It all fits together like a designed blueprint, huh, once we focus on the actual implementation instead of the PR powerpoints?

So Kegan focused on “Competencies as Working Epistemologies: Ways We Want Adults to Know.” Now he left out the part about “so they will be suitably malleable in our evolving new social systems and take action to achieve what we wish” but that is the gist of it. If you remember genuine disciplinary knowledge and a well-practiced logical mind leads to overintellectualization. And that proves to be an obstacle to the desired consciousness that never forgets it is part of an interdependent collective. Seeking harmony with all others and nature…

So that’s the vision the OECD is chasing with PISA and it’s also the vision the RSA is pushing in its Social Brain Project so that students will be ready for what the OECD regards as a well-functioning 21st century society. Which is still about a public-sector administered subjective well-being society of equity and justice…

Oh quit laughing. Who says it will end poorly this time? We can dream, can’t we? As you can see there’s a reason everyone uses vague illusory phrases and misleading definitions to obscure the real vision. A book came out last week called Endangering Prosperity: A Global View of the American School published by the Brookings Institute with Larry Summers writing the Foreword. Mr Soon-to-Be-Head at the Federal Reserve Maybe. It laid out the need to do well on PISA and other international assessments as a means of “guaranteeing a vibrant economic future.” Poppycock! That’s not what is being measured and chasing after that type of excellence virtually ensures no continuation of economic prosperity.

I mentioned the Brookings angle because chasing after getting good at dialectical thinking and the integration of feeling into thought and new values as PISA actually pushes and monitors fits in perfectly to Brookings’ Metropolitanism, Regional Equity, Let the Public sector and Private sector work in partnership crony economic vision that we have already encountered. Like most things having to do with ed reforms these days the truth is behind the curtain and under the sofa but it IS there. And it is all linked. And surprisingly consistent across the decades once you see the vision of transformative change.

But a means for economic prosperity? No. I went back to another 1990 book so I could explain what really causes the kind of economic success and technological progress that is being used as the misleading sales pitch for all this psychological, change-the-student and society crap. Written by an economic historian, Joel Mokyr, The Lever of Riches: Technological Creativity and Economic Progress lays out the necessary ingredients. And unfortunately for all of us, they are precisely what is being shut down by these ed reforms.

Mokyr points out that what always stops technological progress in its tracks is “social forces that for one reason or another tried to preserve the status quo.” Now the benefits of ed reform and especially the digital literacy focus involve concentrated benefits to a relatively few companies and consultants and widely dispersed costs. Many of those are not even financial but the invisible shift to more malleable mindsets and personalities. Benefits to a few and dispersed, almost unseen costs, are a classic case of when the winners will try to lobby politicians and regulators to “help them out a bit.” And that’s apart from the paranoia that putting Worldcom and DEC on the list of former leading companies will do to surviving tech companies. Can’t imagine being dropped from the Dow Industrial Average will slow down HP’s push into ed in the least. Probably will become part of the turnaround plans. That’s how the cronyism instinct works once the public sector controls so much of who gets what.

Progress requires just the kind of willingness to manipulate the physical environment and nature that the ecologists are trying to shut down. The emphasis on holism just does not fit with the reality from history that “Teasing these secrets out of [nature] and then manipulating them for material benefit is the essence of any technological breakthrough.” Moreover, “technological change involves an attack by an individual on a constraint that everyone else takes as a given.” Now how will that happen in a society trying to wipe out the very legitimacy of individualism? Let’s run through the conditions required to be technologically creative and thus economically prosperous and let’s decide what is left standing after these ed reforms:

“First, there has to be a cadre of ingenious and resourceful innovators who are both willing and able to challenge their physical environment for their own improvement. ..Second, economic and social institutions have to encourage potential innovators by presenting them with the right incentive structure. In part such incentives are economic; technological creativity is more likely if an innovator can expect to become rich…Third, innovation requires diversity and tolerance [of ideas!! not skin color or gender]. In every society, there are stabilizing forces that protect the status quo… Technological creativity needs to overcome these forces.”

So the parts of the economy and educational institutions that do promote genuine technological creativity are becoming captive to the public sector and businesses wanting to make sure they don’t become the next defunct or greatly diminished company.

And all those slogans about innovation and entrepreneurship turn out to be about new social systems or different ways of organizing an economy or new kinds of human nature.

In other words, if we are to have ANY chance of preserving mass prosperity and technological progress going forward, we have got to keep our eye on the real implementation.

Verify everything from now on when it comes to education.

 

Shifting the Way People Relate and Feel Towards One Another is the Crucial Leverage Point

When we encounter the exact same point being made over the decades despite dramatic differences in circumstances and intervening events, we have located an important handmaiden to ideology. So before we talk about what is intended, let’s go back to 1983 for some wisdom from a veteran European observer of what were the methods of choice during the Cold War. That great ideological struggle that my research says morphed in its strategies and tools but never vanished as we were led to believe. In his book Why Democracies Perish, Jean-Francois Revel has a chapter on “Ideological Warfare and Disinformation.” Since I believe education and especially this forced, largely invisible, psychological emphasis of changing personal values, attitudes, feelings, and dispositions was, and is, a means of ideological warfare, I looked for some advice from the past.

“its job is to fight propaganda not with counterpropaganda but with truth. Unfortunately, this is not something democracies are good at.

They are disadvantaged from the start by the long odds against halting the spread of utopian notions with plain facts. [http://futurewewant.org/ is a link to an example of how ed reform globally is now intertwined with these utopian visions of the future]. And they are unskilled in defending themselves against communism’s falsification of these very facts. [Today it is the idea that the crisis of 2008 and the global downturn proves free markets do not work and the public sector must intervene even more]. As weapons in the ideological war, propaganda and disinformation have a double objective: to concoct false images of Communist reality and of its leaders’ intentions and to circulate through the non-Communist world the plausible lies and deformed versions of events best calculated to disorganize the world.”

Disorganize the world. Still useful if you want economic and political power. When I first read a description of Transformational Outcomes Based education and watched it being pushed in the 90s all over the world everywhere with a tradition of liberty and cherishing individualism it struck me as a coordinated attempt to gain unilateral intellectual disarmament. When I read Psychosynthesis complaining about how those “who identify themselves with their mind and are proud of their intelligence” have “lopsided development” that is difficult to change but those with a “loose self-identity” are more adaptable and amenable to change it gave me pause.

Let’s use education to force a laying down of that mighty weapon–the human mind–lest it develop changes in unapproved directions. We may not be dealing with Capital C Communism anymore but we certainly are dealing with a ruling elite wanting to use the financial and coercive powers of the public sector globally to dictate what any of us can be, or become, or perhaps even do, in the future.

And the media, educators, and NGOs like the UN and the OECD or the World Wildlife Fund are all definitely spreading plausible lies and deformed versions of events that are easy to challenge with truth if enough people are aware and still have Axemaker Minds. Did you know though that there was ” a great and important law of the psychological life?” Roberto Assagioli laid it out in just that language  in Psychosynthesis as a tool to be used to “achieve the right inner attitude toward other people and to successfully perform intended actions involving others.” What Assagioli called the “loving will.”

Doesn’t that aim sound almost the same as what  Maslow and Rogers and the NEA started pushing in 1962 as the new focus of education where “the important thing is not the specific method used but rather the way people relate and feel toward one another in the classroom?” And this change was important because “pessimistic views regarding the nature of man and methods of discouragement have to be discarded. One has to enter wholeheartedly into a cooperative adventure with those involved.” As Revel and others have noted, we are changing only one side in the Cold War or in the dangerous world of 2013 as we glance at Syria and evil on both sides with chemical weapons use staining multiple hands. Only one side is being asked to disarm and just “feel” that all can be fixed if we just “refashion our interpretation of the lived environment so that we can intelligibly act within in it.”

Can we? That last quote has jumped across a time gap of almost 50 years but has the same pursuit. From the UK this time and a report called “Transforming Behaviour Change: Beyond Nudge and Neuromania.” http://www.thersa.org/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/553542/RSA-Transforming-Behaviour-Change.pdf Before we get to that November 2011 report, let’s go back for that great psychological law: “images and mental pictures tend to produce the physical conditions and the external acts corresponding to them.” Another way of saying this is to point out the “immense power of images.” Assagioli says:

“It seems high time that this law should be utilized for higher and more constructive purposes [than advertising is what he means], and the fullest use of it should be made for the purpose of psychosynthesis.”

As I first explored in this post http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/when-gaming-intends-to-shape-and-distort-our-perceptions-of-everything-around-us-viva-la-revolution/ , educators and the ruling elite and those who would like to join have a modern day tool in the computer and adaptive software and especially the coming classroom emphasis around gaming that would have made Assagioli and Maslow drool. No wonder UNESCO sees media education as the means to achieve Marxist Humanism. No wonder CCSSI wants media and digital literacy to be as important as print literacy. The power of images. Especially when schools define ‘engaged learning’ as the goal and immersion in a virtual reality as the means. Then the student can regularly try out utopias or envision potential future catastrophes that MUST be avoided. And precisely what will tell a student that something is in fact unworkable in reality or unlikely to really happen? An actual catastrophe with real lives?

The “Transforming Behaviour Change” report talks about preparing the “brain for social bonding and empathy” but what if we are bonding with bullies who have no desire for Peace in the real world? What if we are being primed to use the “motor-power of imagination” to redesign an economy and society in ways that ultimately cannot maintain the prosperity we will need to consistently keep most people well-fed? Feeling and intuition may create adaptability to transformative change but it is only knowledge that can deal with the inevitable consequences. And personal knowledge is precisely what is being extinguished in order to gain a widespread personality that seeks, or is amenable to, such wholesale change.

“The baby will have disappeared with the bath water” before most of us will even know any water has been drawn. But meanwhile the ruling elite will be “reworking the foundations of economic models” as that 2011 document put it. In a disinterested way of course. No wonder the report keeps mentioning George Soros. We simply use student-centered education to “change your sense of who you are and what you value” and voila! Reimagined human societies and economies can be ours. Education merely needs to create “the development of an inner authority which can ‘write upon’ existing social and psychological productions rather than be ‘written by’ them.”

Maybe we could call that inner authority the common core or triune consciousness (see previous post under that tag) obtained via the techniques of psychosynthesis brought in to achieve a Positive School Climate. All as we chase after this OECD-endorsed utopian vision of “21st Century enlightenment” to get “successful lives in well-functioning societies.”

“Behaviour change becoming an explicit goal of government policy” sounds like something from a science fiction novel, doesn’t it? Not a well-funded initiative of  the present called the Social Brain Project. Never forget please that the US and UK are already working together as lead partners in seeking behavioral, economic, and social change as part of the Belmont Challenge and Future Earth Alliance [see tags] work. Hiding conveniently from prying eyes over in Sweden. So once again this is NOT a matter of pulling together sensational quotes. However, I do intend to end with one more from the Social Brain Project so we can ponder what freedom will mean in such a future vision.

“The ‘Think’ approach is more democratic, and contends that if we deliberate collectively as rational agents responsive to argument, we will find a suitable course of action and collectively follow it through.” Now the Social Brain Project clearly likes all that collective decision-making on behalf of all of us but it thinks the “Think’ approach is too reliant on reason and not enough on the unconscious mind and habits. It wants a ‘steering’ approach to behaviour change that “literally changes the subject.”

The subject is not Algebra or English. It is us and our children.

Being launched via transformative education into a world where our perception of reality and new values and attitudes are to be shaped just as surely by deliberate propaganda as anything a Khrushchev or Brezhnev ever sought to do during the Cold War.

 

Developing Adequate Personalities and Psychosynthesis: An Odd Way to Define College & Career Ready

Sometimes I think I am suspected of shopping for gruesomely grabbing quotes to try to crystallize the extent to which the new focus of education is to be at a psychological level. I wish. These well-paid, frequently tenured or pensioned-for-life clowns really do write and talk about accessing the unconscious so that future actions will be guided as if by auto-pilot. (Search out RSA Social Brain Centre & Robert Kegan if and only if you have an adult beverage handy. A sense of humor and irony will serve you well too.) I can in fact take this all forward in multiple places but first let’s go back and thoroughly check out the enduring vision. And remember we went back to look at psychiatrist Roberto Assagioli’s 1965 Psychosynthesis vision of education used interchangeably with psychotherapy as a means of creating a desired self-identity NOT because I was bored and looking for something tantalizing to read.

The League of Innovative Schools planned research involves conation and personal motivations as does the OECD’s current Subjective Well-being push. Looking into that pulled up 4 giants: Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers, Mihaly Csiksentmihalyi, and a Roberto Assagioli. Who I had never heard of. That book title was a grabber. Even more troubling was seeing the book had been brought back into print for use in 2002, 2008, and 2012. If I was role playing Sherlock Holmes we would call that a keen indicator of current interest.

As I talk in this post about targeting personal perception, if the names Yrjo Engestrom (Finland) and Evald Ilyenkov (Soviet) and the Enduring Understandings and Understandings of Consequence and the C3 Social Studies Framework component to the Common Core classroom vision are not ringing a bell or if you are new to the blog, they all have tags. They are all examples of how crucial getting at the personal perceptual level is if you have the pursuit of government power and utopian transformation of the future as a goal. Let’s go back to 1962 and a vision of dealing with the conflicts and competing ideologies involved in the Cold War globally via education. Here’s Perceiving, Behaving, Becoming:A New Focus again (my bolding):

  “The new situations and new problems we face today and which we cannot predict tomorrow call for new ways of seeing and dealing with the world. Subject matter is too often used as a way of teaching people to look backward, to recite past performances, instead of as a medium for preparing students for future developments. Content then becomes sterile, even negative, if it inhibits new leads and new solutions. Education must deal with subject matter, not as an end in itself, but as a means of helping children to achieve the intelligent imagination and creativity necessary to find adequate answers to the world’s increasingly complex problems.”

I am going to interrupt the quoting for a dictionary alert to add to your Orwellian Decoding Glossary of Education terms. That’s right. It is the ubiquitous but vague term of 21st Century schools–‘learning to learn.’ Now if the 1962 vision had gone as planned and for sure in the new Positive School Climate (PSC) classrooms of 2013 the “exciting experience of exploring and discovering meaning is the central activity.” We need a PSC of course because ALL students need to feel an ‘atmosphere’ that is ‘fundamentally accepting’ so they will NOT keep their perceptions safely tucked inside themselves. They will share with their fellow comrades, I mean students, so they can all explore for meaning. That way those personal perceptions can be examined and changed to create new ways of looking at the world.

That’s right ‘if’ the new “objective of instruction becomes that of perception building, students may become aware of, or sensitive to, the importance of meaning…They learn how perceptions or meanings are broadened or changed and how they are built. They learn how to learn.

In 2013 learning how to learn gets billed frequently as self-authoring–Robert Kegan’s 4th stage of consciousness, or Carol Dweck’s Growth Mindset. It is alive and well and coming to a K-12 or college classroom or workplace retreat near you soon. The global bureaucrats and politicians and Big Business are intensely determined that this time we will get a paradigm shift, starting at the unconscious mental level. And it all really does track back to what Maslow and Rogers sought for their humanistic psychology that led to a strikingly Marxian human development vision. Today HP runs around most often calling itself Transpersonal Psychology. As always, new names for enduring transformative ideas anytime notoriety intrudes.

So one more time here’s the vision that is viewed as aiding transformative political, social, and economic change, coming in invisibly via stealth:

“It is the unsolved problem rather than the factual question and answer that encourages freedom of thought and children’s respect for their own mental processes. It can help them to change concepts in light of new evidence and to build a sense of personal responsibility for increasing knowledge and solving problems.”

That’s solving problems by creativity and imagination and feelings unimpeded by a body of knowledge about previous consequences of a similar set of facts. It may be a grand way to encourage attempts to model and redesign societies and economies but the consequences will come from reality. Not the perceptions that launched the attempts to transform. But hey, I am a history major and I just don’t see how peace in our time is going to flow from stressing “emotional as well as intellectual experiencing. Learning about people involves an empathy, a feeling with them, an acceptance of differences, and an appreciation of variability in values and behavior.” That is the kind of nonsense that forgets that there really are bullies in the world who can only be held in check from fear of power and likely retaliation. It also forgets that not all cultures are compatible or willing to co-exist peacefully. It is all a prescription to ignorantly and in good faith lay down and await your fate. No wonder history now is only about reinterpreting the present.

The ‘adequate person’ by the way reminded me greatly of the current drive that students only need to be ‘competent,’ not well informed. The adequate person in 1962 being prepped for social change was to have “a field of perceptions, rich and extensive enough to provide understanding of the events in which he is enmeshed and available when he needs them.”

Available for what? Glad you asked. So the individual “will act on his information when the appropriate time and place occur.” And this kind of hoped for behavioral pre-programming was before Big Data and adaptive computer software and the planned gaming emphasis. Same desire now but much better and effective tools.

What was so special about the 1962 new focus that has guided education as the real pursuit going forward was the “recognition of the part played by perception and the emphasis placed upon perception at the immediate moment and in the life and behavior of the individual. The job of the school is to work with present perceptions, with feelings, attitudes and ideas of learners so that they grow in the direction of greater adequacy.”

That’s adequate for the future plans of transformation. Then and now and at all times in between. Psychosynthesis‘s publication in 1965 gave another tool in targeting the psychological and conation. Assagioli regarded a search for self-identity as the new purpose of education. Of course since he was a psychiatrist, he used the techniques of psychotherapy. Now we just call the same techniques brain-based learning theories or epistemological reflection and launch them on students in return for tax dollars and tuition payments in the case of private schools and colleges and universities.

I used the term ubiquitous before and these theories are everywhere now. And not well understood. The typical doctorate program credentialing a Principal or Super doesn’t go through this as I have. It might impact the sought role as a Social Change Agent. Once again we parents, taxpayers, and students are going to be called on to understand the real drivers in education better than the credentialed professorate and the public sector and their consultants. All of whom we are paying handsomely.

I will close with a mention of a potential tragedy that happened locally last week when a middle schooler took a loaded gun to school. Parents have been concerned with how the incident was handled and what info was provided and the lack of interest in any public airing of what happened. School districts can deal with the world as it is or they can put their energy into switching to this Maslow inspired humanist psychological vision of changing the student at the level of their inner core.

But reality does intrude. I suspect another tragedy that goes all the way through is only a matter of time because the focus of the administrators at all levels is on psychological innovations to gain social transformations. While hiding from the public that this is what is up.

And duplicity takes even more energy and is a distraction from the realities all these students bring to school.

Something to keep in mind.