Echoes from the Past: Preparing the Ground for Social Engineers Requires Malleable Human Material

The rather graphic quote in the title of the last post is so useful because it was so upfront about the intention to condition students via education to act in disregard of their natural instincts. Today’s title is from the lead-in to a book chapter called “Education in the Service of Conditioning” from a 1971 book called The New Totalitarians by UK writer Roland Huntford. It is a book specifically on Sweden and how Huntford saw Sweden as embodying the vision laid out by Aldous Huxley in his classic book Brave New World. A place where politicians and bureaucrats used their power over media and education to “induce the requisite change in mentality, so that physical compulsion is superfluous.”

It has always bothered me how often education in Sweden comes up in the story of Radical Ed Reform in other countries. For example, it was where Benjamin Bloom and UNESCO chose to put the summer institutes that started in 1971 to shift countries all over the world towards outcomes-based education. When I researched the creation of the PISA assessment by the OECD in the 90s and what Competency really means as I wrote my book, I learned the OECD already regarded Sweden as being where it wanted PISA to drive other countries towards. When I tracked Paul Ehrlich’s work in education it pushed me towards the Scandinavian model and the UN’s World Happiness Report created in 2012 has the same effect. Recently there was a mention of new charter schools in NYC grounded specifically in the Swedish model. Can you say omnipresent, given what is in fact a small country?

Huntford laid out the reasons he said “of all people it is the Swedes who have come closest to the state of affairs” described by Huxley in the Foreword of his book of the “really efficient totalitarian state would be the one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude.” We are not there yet in the West, but what I have read and listened to make it quite clear we are dealing with a conscious effort to create an electoral majority of people who do feel that way so they can then bind everyone else to the declared consensus.

To appreciate why we are dealing with what is coming in the US and elsewhere via assessments and curriculum and altered instructional practices and massive amounts of intrusive data on unconscious beliefs, feelings, attitudes, and values, let’s go back to Sweden to find out what made it such a fertile ground for education and societal change research. As Huntford pointed out Sweden was the ideal place to study what it takes to make a person servile since “the Swede has never emerged from behind the veil of the group; he is conscious of himself only through some general category, as a member of a people, a clan or a party.” As we saw in the last post, when race and ethnicity and social justice become must provide ‘lenses’ to bring into a Common Core math classroom, we are being compelled to take on the perspective of the aggrieved group, and not the individual, as well.

This is how Huntford began the chapter on education. It remains dangerously pertinent to what we are dealing with today. Since we have trouble getting officials to be honest with us on their true intentions, we will need to rely on the confessions Huntford obtained so long ago. In a 2014 world where a belief in the Common Good and an obligation for the well-being of others is to be nursed via the classroom, let’s go back to a place where the collective mentality is so strong that there were no words in the Swedish language for the concept of the individual without derogatory overtones. There also were not any words for the collective that do not have positive overtones, as in glorifying it. Sweden by 1971 was a place where Swedes were raised to have a “feeling that solidarity is a cardinal virtue.” It was a place where “Swedes are afraid of owning up to an opinion against the consensus” with a widely-held nurtured belief that it is proper to “repress the individual in order to preserve the consensus.”

As the then Swedish Prime Minister (who had once been Minister of Ed), Olof Palme stated in an address to schoolchildren: “You don’t go to school to achieve anything personally, but to learn to function as members of a group.” What Huntford described here as the need of Swedish planners now seems to be the guiding desire behind the US Common Core and what is called Competency and 21st Century Skills everywhere else. Think of it as the new mantra for the wanna-be nomenklatura all over the world:

“For their intended society, the Swedish planners require a type of person that, thinking collectively, and suppressing his individuality in favour of the group, is technologically orientated, and socially well adjusted. To this end, the educational system was profoundly altered during the 1950s and 1960s. From imparting knowledge, its aim was changed to that of guiding social behaviour.” Remarkably reminiscent then of what we are seeing as the actual implementation and the focus on social and emotional learning and assessing non-cognitive factors in each student. So let’s go back to the social engineering purposes repeatedly stated by the Swedes for comparable ed reforms.

Teaching practices and textbooks (and for us now obtained via the inherent control possible with digital learning) were all tightly controlled by State officials as a “means of controlling what was put into the minds of the population–and what was kept out.” A passage that Huntford wrote about adult education “study circles” in Sweden also reflects what I am seeing as the vision behind the Fostering Communities of Learners Mandate and the so-called Discourse Classroom:

“Participants are taught that, once a decision has been made, then all further discussion is necessarily at an end and that, whatever their feelings might be, it is their duty to submit to the will of the group.”

Huntford called attention to this intention to deliberately create submissiveness as a “kind of conditioned reflex” that is then evoked whenever needed “by this phrase: The decision has been made in a democratic manner, and accepted by the majority.” One of the speakers I heard last fall describing her version of the future and the fulfillment of King’s Beloved Community at last uttered almost verbatim that same phrase. Coming here and soon, indeed. Just like the now ubiquitous phrase of “Equity and Excellence” as the new vision of K-12 education coming from all levels of governments in the US, the Swedish reforms of the 50s and 60s were sold to the public as a “device to promote egalitarian principles.”

Today’s teachers upset over the extent to which their classroom activities are so scripted can relate to the Swedish desire to deliver instruction “in the form of discussions so guided that the pupils felt that they had themselves arrived at the conclusions.” This method ensures that “conviction was deep” within each student and is frighteningly reminiscent of the Common Core’s steady drumbeat of the now required “deeper learning.”

A university prof wrote an editorial admiring the Swedish ed system in a Stockholm paper where he pointed out precisely what we are seeing with the insistence on “authentic tasks” and relevance of curricula to real world problems. He wrote that in Sweden “we’ve got to concentrate on society today” and relate everything taught to “reality.” He noted the need for schools to produce “people predisposed to change. If they were not, they would be unhappy.” Building up on that same theme of avoiding unhappiness, the prof declared it was “useless to build up individuality, because unless people learned to adapt themselves to society, they would be unhappy.”

Reading such plans via education on malleable minds compelled to attend for years of the most impressionable time in their lives makes me unhappy. So does the intention I am also reading regularly of our now aping the Swedes by constantly pointing “out the necessity of togetherness as the only tenable way of life.”  I could go on providing quotes of comparable intentions and the use of agitprop in both ed and the media so that “slogans fall on fertile ground” and people become primed to vote reliably as desired by the current political class.

Instead I will end with a warning that is pertinent to the current reworking of the nature of educational and social science research generally in the US, using students as guinea pigs in real time. Theory in practice in schools near you, including private and parochial ones.  Education in Sweden then like education virtually everywhere now is being reformed with the goal as “not the advancement of knowledge, but the manipulation of society is the highest of aims.”

Therefore we need to remember what Huntford wrote so long ago and why he named his book as he did.

Because when “government and [political] party say that education is to be used to change society, it is no idle chatter.”

Now if we can only widen the circle of those listening in time.

Finale of the Dangerous Mindset Trilogy: Spreading the Contagion to Fundamentally Alter How We Think and Live

How many of you read the comment this past week by Christiana Figueres, head of the UN’s Framework on Climate Change, on how much easier it is for a dictatorship like China to do what the UN insists is necessary to deal with climate change? Many people wondered where the mental governor was that would have prevented such a politically inept statement, but immersion in the taxpayer-funded institutions seeking wholesale transformation globally seems to make the people involved tone-deaf about the ramifications and validity of what they are advocating for. The same directness about intentions and acceptable methods can be found in the related 50+20 Agenda of Management Education for the World. Let’s take a look at the future being envisioned by the current K-12 and college “reforms” so that we can become the “content, unified” people who are “ultimately cooperative” in a “well-organized civilization working towards the singular goal of sustainability.”

We can see where the jet-setting bureaucrats could begin to believe they are entitled to strong arm people into new sets of values and morals and beliefs. After all they have decided they are working toward a “world worth living in.” One that of course benefits them instead of us, but then we are not supposed to read the small print. With 12 years or so of obuchenie ‘teaching and learning’ and ‘guided reflection’, even if future graduates do read the small print, few will appreciate what is wrong with such intentions.

“Everything within the State” as a motto of a very dark period in World History simply won’t be part of the syllabus of coursework or approved, pre-supplied Enduring Understandings. This time there will be the collaboratory of leaders working together with all stakeholders to ‘solve’ the world’s complex problems as they arise and plan the future. If things do not turn out as envisioned, adjustments can be made. It’s not like such a history-blind approach would be squandering national resources or committing permanent Mind Arson or anything.

In case you don’t recognize the significance of same of the names quoted in that report, they include Peter Senge’s Society for Organizational Learning-SOL-and his long-time collaborator Otto Scharmer (who has his own tag plus his Capitalism 3.0 tag). We also have Howard Gardner of Multiple Intelligences and Harvard’s Project Zero and Joseph Stiglitz who took part in Anthony Gidden’s Global Third Way Debate book and panel that we have looked at as well as heading the Subjective Well-Being (also tagged) panel that commenced in 2009 at French President Nicholas Sarkozy’s request. So please don’t tell me that this vision is unrelated to the so-called Great Transition or that the transformative learning described is not related to the US Common Core or the Australian Core Skills or the Canadian Learning for a Sustainable Future. It’s all the same interconnected ‘transdisciplinary’ vision and we will remain imperiled until we begin to realize this better.

There’s a Goethe expression that keeps being quoted as part of this transformative vision. It goes “Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do.” We also need to take it to heart before deliberately kept ignorant credentialed Change Agents, and business professors who don’t understand how economies work, and self-interested politicians and their cronies and consultants blow up what currently works.  We saw numerous well-compensated false statements in out last post, and PRME quoting, with pictures, George Bernard Shaw’s statement that “We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future” suggests we need to keep our Ignoramus alert gauges firmly in our hands at all times in 2014.

If K-12 education reforms like the Common Core or blended learning or the college tour at that expensive Ivy League school confessed that the “time has come to initiate a fundamental change in the way we think and live,” the alarm bells that need to be going off now would start to peal in more people’s minds. And they would properly keep their wallets shut. Which is precisely why no one in school or higher ed administration or the public sector is being that honest. We have to rely on sleuthing like those Great Transition documents or unwise declarations like Giddens conceding that actual temperature changes do not really matter, it’s just all an excuse for desired social, political, and economic changes in the West. The “Management Education for the World: An Agenda” report is much the same way. Because it is linked but tangential to the area of most people’s focus, its authors are brutally honest about the entire picture.

Making the purpose of K-12 being ‘Career-Ready’ takes on new meaning if management education globally has been simultaneously tasked with the “transformation of business and the economy” so that it serves what the politicians and planners in academia and think-tanks determine to be “serving the common good.” No more relying on consumers and individual choices. It rather puts a new light on selling K-12 education reforms as “What Business Wants” when those businesses have been told they get to be established players “in a new kind of society” with “a revised economic framework where business is celebrated for its contribution to society and the world.”

I will take a break in this quote as we think about how dangerous it is to have management students trying to earn degrees and get jobs in business or governments being told they are to “become custodians of society.” [italics here and elsewhere are in original report] It will be quite flattering to a twenty-something ego, but oh-so-dangerous to the rest of us for them to be trained and believe that is their acceptable 21st century role.

Especially when we realize how few will have enough knowledge of history to know what Fascism looks like, what its dangers are, and why people wrote about ‘vampire economies’ in the 30s. This is the rest of the quote that I broke from (top of page 6). Please pay attention because we have to be the ones who recognize all this for the self-interested, rent-seeking, parasitic justifying nonsense that it is. This is not a minor report.

“The starting point for reframing business is to reassign economics to its appropriate status as a subset of a larger system, not its center. We must develop a global society that is supported by the economy, based on a new environmental, societal and economic framework that serves the global common good. Businesses need to become intimately involved in this transformation by accepting challenges and responsibilities that lie beyond short-term economic performance. The purpose of business should be measured through its positive contribution to the transformation of society towards a better world.”

So the envisioned purpose of business in the future is to no longer satisfy customers making voluntary decisions on how to spend their own money. It will be about satisfying the politicians and bureaucrats like Ms Figueres who get to decide what they believe would be a better world based on a misguided fallacy that economies are a finite collection of goods and resources that can simply be rearranged. It is hardly a shock to those of us who have been tracking all the machinations in education over the decades, and the layers of deceit to hide the actual objectives, that the key to all these sought changes is transformative learning. This requires an awareness of the viewpoints of others and how to change our own beliefs, values, and ethics and proceed with action even in the face of uncertainty. “Achieving such awareness” says the report “requires a fundamentally different approach to teaching and learning.”

There’s that obuchenie reference again where we began our trilogy. Essential to what is sought is always “the process of perspective transformation, enabling individuals to revise their beliefs and modify their behavior. We understand transformative learning not only as a rational or intellectual exercise but fundamentally consider personal experience as a critical enabler to trigger a transformation in the participant. Such learning is embedded in the philosophy of whole person learning: respecting a person in their mental, emotional, physical and spiritual dimensions, and recognizing the need to develop all these aspects of the individual in order to progress towards an increasingly integrated and therefore ‘whole’ person.”

Now let’s end this with some of the names in K-12 education for just that very aim that we have covered on this blog. Assagioli called it psychosynthesis. Carol Dweck is doing CCSSI professional development webinars calling it Growth Mindsets. ASCD has a Whole Child Initiative that it wishes to be an essential component of the Common Core implementation. Personal experience is also the project-based learning being pushed now or hands-on science. References to head, heart, hands, and soul are rampant in the rhetoric being used by Superintendents. We called it Triune Consciousness in our League of Innovative Schools research.

Transformative learning and perspective transformation are the real purpose of the K-12 reforms as well as college. It attaches to the same planned alteration of business and the economy as what the 50+20 report describes.

No wonder we have legislators travelling around states bragging about the collusion going on between politicians and education administrators to promote this vision. They would have probably been more careful if they knew we had the rest of the story.


Obscuring the Reinvention of All Education Around Envisaging New Ways of Being in the World

I am afraid All really does mean all. No matter how hard that graduate school is to get into or how high the tuition is, there really are deliberate plans laid out to shift graduate business, law, and other professional degrees to align with the planned shifts in K-12 and college, plus the economy and political structures, as we have been discussing. In fact, as I laid out in my book that came out last October, education at all levels is seen as the primary driver to change the future. Without tenure, a bias-inducing grant, or a political career on the line, everything I am reading and hearing the outlines for is likely to be malevolent in actual practice and reality, whatever anyone’s actual intentions.

I had framed another trilogy to gradually lay out what is being attempted, how the new assessments fit in, why I won’t be able to ban the nauseating word ‘Soviet’ in 2014 either, and how all this manipulation gets masked. Now if you think that sometimes my posts can seem a bit hyperbolic, I always try to tone them down from the aspirations and declarations I am dealing with. But somehow I just could not come up with an easy way to tell everyone that the Russian word obuchenie was going to be the January 2014 first entry in the ISC Vocabulary Hall of Fame. It will be quite the revelatory post though.

First I think we need a Prequel to remind us all once again just how transformative at every level imaginable the hoped for vision of the future really is. Plus all the influential people and institutions involved with this comprehensive effort that remains off most people’s radar screen. Thankfully the Eager For Fundamental Change folks at the Garrison Institute sent me this pdf as part of their aspirations for what needs to be taking place in 2014. . Like the Schemers for Change at the UK’s RSA that we went into in December, Garrison simply intends to take physical climatic, assumed likely to be catastrophic, change as a given that will no longer be debated.

Time to move straight to laying out the intended social and cultural changes for all of us. If you do read the report and you give yourself a dime every time you read the phrase “behavior change,” you should be able to treat yourself to a nice lunch somewhere. Seems like just compensation for the mental anguish of once again wading through plans of social engineering and discovering how many people these days earn lucrative livings laying out and enforcing awful things to do to us and our children at our own expense. I think we can all admit that the real classroom implementations we have been discussing will be highly useful for “working on climate change from the social and behavioral facet means we are working towards wellbeing for all in a brighter, healthier and more fulfilling future.”

Even more useful to getting at those personal behavioral and social ‘facets’ may be this “Proposed Revisions to the Common Rule for the Protection of Human Subjects  in the Behavioral Sciences” just announced. It looks to me like the feds want to amend the law to allow the education research that is already going on in places so it can be expanded as desired. No effective recourse once people start to notice. I guess there are truly to be no legal barriers to the planned transformation.

If it seems like we are dealing with an entirely different view of the law than what used to go on in law school or civics class, it’s not your imagination. The law really is now seen as a useful tool to require normative change in individuals from the inside-out. “Make them do it so they will come to believe it” sounds just like the approach to education change Vicki Phillips and Michael Barber advocated for in the UK in their “Irreversible Change” paper. It is now coming to the US through education, legislation none of us asked for, and regulations we are not getting any chance to read.

It is all part of a fundamental shift of viewing the law “as a means of changing the wind” according to Gerald Torres of Texas-Austin School of Law (page 18). What we are seeing elected officials at all levels enact makes much more sense given these admitted transformative aspirations once you read that:

“for those interested in social change, it is useful to view lawmaking from the perspective of popular mobilizations and other sustained forms of collective action that make formal institutions, including those that regulate legal culture, more democratic. One of the important functions of law resides in its power to tell persuasive stories about individual fairness and social justice.”

Now that really does strike me as encouraging a mentality that legalizes a majority going after whatever it covets or just generally wishes for. From the bully pulpit of an elite law school and the forum of an exclusive symposium. Torres really leaves no ambiguity at all when he goes on:

“social movements and organized constituencies of non-expert participants play an important role in the creation of authoritative interpretative communities. [Not sure precisely where the authority comes from then except tyranny of a voting majority and Might Makes Right]. Many believe that social movements are most effective when they translate their claims into law.”

Italian Communist Antonio Gramsci wrote back in the 20s that the way to effectively go after the West was to March Through the Institutions and those quotes above are what that march looks like. It’s what the Common Core is a part of as we will see better in the upcoming trilogy. When the blurb heading on page 7 announces “Culture is the Change Agent” and advocates “Shifting Culture through Community,” Gramsci may not be mentioned by name, but his blueprint could hardly be more intact.

One of the most revelatory series of posts in 2013 to me were the ones we did talking about Daniel Bell and his 60s and 70s vision of what he called the Post-Industrial Society. It appears to me that the 2013 Garrison Climate, Mind and Behavior Symposium is simply renaming Bell’s vision as the post-consumption society. So if we had not done all that tracking of all these now familiar aspirations with a variety of names and advocates throughout 2013, these might seem like fresh ideas. Just created as an answer to the troubles of the Great Recession.

Instead it is new packaging and better PR sound bytes on an age old pursuit. Political power as usual wants to control economic power and the average person should simply do as they are told.

With neither complaint or effective remedy.

Now we are ready to start the Trilogy describing Tactics of Transformation designed to avoid detection.

Going to wear out the T and D keys at this alliterative rate.


Gratitude over the Timely Official Admissions that Now Leave 2014 Intentions Beyond Dispute

As I write this, I can practically hear the refrain from that 1984 Band Aid concert “Do They Know It’s Christmas Time?” playing in my head. And I certainly do know that. The gifts are wrapped here and the ingredients for pasta bolognese are ready for Christmas Eve dinner. I hope every one of my readers gets the opportunity to engage in the festivities and rituals they and their loved ones also cherish at this unique time of year. I am going to just play mom, chauffeur, and cook  through the New Year after this post although I will likely keep the conversation going in the comments. But two important admissions that clarify what has been going on and what we will likely encounter in 2014 and beyond globally have come my way. This post is just a head’s up, and a reminder that there is a language involved with all these transformational intentions, we now speak it, and we can correctly translate and appraise Whatever comes our way in 2014 in both education and social policies generally.

Clarity is always something to be grateful for even if it does not come in a box with pretty paper and a bow. Some of it did come, however, on this slideshow that arrived in my email to Wish Me a Happy Winter Solstice. I suppose longer days of daylight from now on is something to celebrate, but you will find quite a bit of meddling about what is supposed to make us “happy” going forward. Very much grounded in communitarianism as so much else seems to be these days. We had already noted in previous posts that the UN started a World Happiness Report in 2012 and the OECD has been pushing Subjective Well-Being as a means of aiding its Great Transition emphasis.

GT also has its own posts, but briefly one of our 2013 discoveries is a shockingly widespread political  belief that it was always the West, not Russia or China, that actually met Karl Marx’s criteria of the high level of technology produced by capitalism (in our case computers and broadband and ICT generally) that would be necessary to achieve his envisioned little c communism stage of human development -“From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.” The ‘needs’ or support economy (also distributed capitalism and other tagged names) then is another way of philosophers or sociologists or economists or bureaucrats saying we are shifting to this little c vision without anyone actually needing to inform taxpayers or use either the alarming c word or the notorious M name.

A few weeks ago (Dec. 11, 2013) the US National Research Council and UK (Economic and Social Research Council) released a joint report called “Subjective Well-Being: Measuring Happiness, Suffering, and Other Dimensions of Experience.” When governments decide to shift the “focus of economic measurement from production [i.e. consumer choices] toward people’s well-being,” that is a significant enabler of stealthily shifting to a needs economy. Especially when there is to be a focus on “equality, sustainability and nonmarket dimensions of well-being that cannot be captured well by conventional ‘objective’ means.” We could add that all that data on youth from digital learning will prove useful here, but let’s stick to the actual report for now. It wants to have the feds measuring the  experienced (hedonic) well-being (ExWB).

Now that mouthful term means that the governments now want insights into the “emotional states and experiences of people belonging to different groups.” With those insights, factors like “long-term unemployment, depression, or lack of income” that are shown to be drivers of long-term suffering can supposedly be reduced. Because LBJ’s Great Society policies turned out so well. The idea is also that positive experiences can be enhanced or increased. Yes, ‘enhance’ was the word used and this could easily turn into a parody with the  catch-phrase “I’m from the government and I’m here to help,” but the intentions are quite serious. The feds also want to evaluate the purpose or purposelessness in people’s experiences so that they do not miss what the report regards as ‘crucial,’ ‘central drivers of behavior’.

Going into 2014, let’s keep in mind the intentions described in that report which are clearly laying the ground work for attempts at extraordinary levels of social engineering for the future. Think of it as teed up in the dark away from prying eyes that could ring an alarm. We were quietly lurking in the outfield though and have caught what was intended to be a most troubling concept. Now we get to frame sought 2014 policies through the “lens” of making Subjective Well-Being the domain of governments in the 21st century. As if we are all merely wards of the state in need of constant oversight.

Now for that second admission we can make great use of in 2014. We have long known that the accreditors answered to UNESCO and intend to use education to drive cultural change. We also knew that UNESCO globally is the driver of all the tremendous changes in higher ed. We have suspected UNESCO is the driver of K-12 reforms globally including the US Common Core, but I have been looking for the proverbial indisputable link beyond UNESCO being a named partner in the global 21st century skills movement. I now have that proof downloaded and hard copied along with UNESCO’s desired global curriculum and methods. Helpfully available on CD-ROM so with digital learning we parents will never see it.

Here’s the really fun part, UNESCO says it has, since 2002, been addressing education reforms with “renewed vigour” because it serves as the “Task Manager of Chapter 36 of Agenda 21.” So much for people who consider any mention of Agenda 21 to be proof you are a “conspiracy theorist.” It appears that the Paris-based UNESCO bureaucrats and their supporters have clearly been the ones theorizing how to best conspire and with the aid of our money and children. The stated aim is “the educational strategies and action plans at all levels and sectors of education in all countries.” All means all, folks. UNESCO also confirmed what many of us have long suspected. The International Baccalaureate Organization is working hand in hand with it in implementing Chapter 36 of Agenda 21 in unsuspecting schools and districts. Frames the true intentions behind that IB Learner Profile, doesn’t it?

In this time when we commemorate Peace on Earth and Good Will Toward Men, I think we actually enhance our chances of ultimately getting there in as many places as possible through awareness of what the UN is actually up to in our classrooms through the aid of ambitious local administrators and oblivious politicians. I now have the needed proof of all those connections and aspirations.

And with those brief disclosures I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Circumscribing Knowledge: Part 2 of Imposing Mindsets to Fit a New Political Philosophy

Back in the 1960s during the era of both the Cold War and the Vietnam War and thus dramatically different circumstances, we still find the foundations of the sought social, political, and economic changes being imposed through education “reforms” now. Off our collective radar screens but no longer off mine, we can find the reports of the Carnegie-funded Commission on the Year 2000. It sought to shift the US away from “hackneyed notions about decaying capitalism or creeping socialism” so that the US could transition to a “national society committed to some form of directed social change.” And none of us were consulted about who would be steering that wheel or holding the compass and issuing directions. I guess we can assume though Carnegie officials believed they had ringside seats from financing the plans.

Systems Thinking creator Kenneth Boulding’s writing about the Great Transition and what was needed to achieve it from the last post was cited by Commission members. Just like Lester Milbrath in the 1980s and UNESCO and the OECD now, there was a call for “some sort of computing and planning agency outside the legislative process” that would be in charge of “weighing of interrelationships within the society and within the technological processes.” In fact, Harvard psych prof George A. Miller wrote of “large, centralized, integrated data bases in the social sciences. Without them, the planners in the year 2000 will be scarcely better off than we are today.” Gulp. Gulp.

And how will such intrusive databases be created? Why computer systems used as part of education of course. In fact, Miller writes of a concern that there will be a “temptation for government to keep complete dossiers on all its citizens, and particularly on those who are intellectually most active.” Should we all just wave now? Hi NSA. Just fulfilling an old dream of the “application of computers to the study of man”? Seriously. Ponder this MIller quote as Common Core and blended learning launch us into the era of personalized learning and adaptive software and mandated Statewide Longitudinal student databases:

“The computerization of psychology is already well advanced, and the other behavioral and social sciences are not lagging far behind. Larger data bases and more ambitious data analysis are only part of the story. The machines can be programmed to simulate complex psychological and social systems, to conduct experiments, and to provide communication among scientists. The computer could become as important to the behavioral sciences as the microscope is to the biological.”

Harvard was not alone in being the Cambridge representative on this push. Perhaps getting ready for all its Limits to Growth social systems computer modelling work and urban planning and Peter Senge’s version of systems thinking, MIT Neuroscience prof Gardner Quarton wrote that “one can safely predict that techniques for controlling behavior and modifying personality will grow more efficient by the year 2000.” Maybe this post should come with a warning about reading on an empty stomach. But I want to put the shocking shifts in the nature of what is now being imposed on classrooms and what must be shunned to avoid teacher demerits, if not downright dismissal, within the context of what is REALLY being sought.

The SRI Rethinking Education link from the last post and the related “Naturalizing Assessment” article need to be seen through the Lens of the declared social science aims. That’s why we find statements  about how “the conception of knowledge shifts from ‘in the head’ facts, procedures, and professed attitudes, to participants’ abilities to participate meaningfully in valued activities while bringing to bear personal, material and social resources.” In other words just showing up and being ‘engaged’ will do.

This shift in the classroom is not a dispute about how students best learn. It is about what kind of education can best propel the sought sociocultural shift. And to do it at the level of the student’s mind and personality.That emphasis will alter the future even if the actual consequences are not as planned. It’s also how you “manipulate the public” as the Commission admitted it sought to do. As SRI has sought to do as well over the decades.

Social psychologist Lawrence Frank helpfully lets us know that “the need for a political theory for this emerging ‘Service State’ is, therefore, especially urgent.” And what’s a Service State we ask? Why it sounds just like the OECD’s current focus on citizen subjective well-being as the purpose of 21st century governments. The Service State is to be “oriented to the enhanced ‘wellbeing’ of everyone.” And explaining so much behind the inexorable growth of US governments at all levels since the 60s, the Service State:

“marks the acceptance of human conservation as the basic democratic task; each year sees the enlargement and extension of services furnished directly or financed by the Federal Government and reinforced by state and local agencies. These services embrace medical and health care, improved housing and urban rehabilitation, educational facilities and programs from early childhood into adult years, plus the improved care and support of the indigent, the handicapped, the impaired, and all others incapable of fending for themselves in our money economy.”

Sound familiar? Nothing wrong that the social sciences and policies to “revise anachronistic and obsolete institutions” can’t fix. Just keep minds empty of facts that might pick up on the flaws in these plans so students will design away for better societies in the future. And if the parallels to what is being pushed today are still not apparent enough, how about Frank suggesting that “a promising model for a political theory is that of a communications network, with many different channels for transmitting a variety of messages.” Just like the background on the slides at that Atlanta (co)lab summit? Or as former SRI employee Marina Gorbis laid out in her recent book, including a visual on its cover, as I described alarmingly here?

Interdependence, holistic thinking, and a systems approach were touted as a means to “unify now separate social sciences” to reframe “what we believe, value, and aspire to” so we will have a different political philosophy impacting the “choices and decisions that guide our individual and group living.” If all of this was about a new planned social order in 1965, the same ideas and intentions remain about that in 2013. Even if those pushing these ideas have never heard of the Commission on the Year 2000.

And all of this gets accomplished now by (quoting SRI in 2010 again) “adjusting one’s conception of knowledge or the nature of valued outcomes” as well as the nature of “participant assessment.” And as SRI put it, to accomplish the sought Mindset and personality changes “these shifts need to occur in tandem.” All these think tanks like SRI, Rand, Gorbis’ Institute for the Future, or Willis Harman’s Institute for the Noetic Sciences are all fascinated by a hoped-for ability for the “intervention of man into the evolutionary process.” Yet such manipulation is the lied about and hidden push by a self-appointed elite over masses of people just trying to make their lives work and erroneously assuming K-12 schooling remains about the transmission of knowledge.

A more accurate Image (to use Boulding’s term) for where the sought preschool, the K-12 Common Core and digital learning reforms, and the massive changes in the nature of higher ed should be filtered through one more Daniel Bell quote as he concluded where the Year 2000 Commission sought to go:

“The formulation of social policy that seeks to reknit underlying social networks and solidarities as it works toward manifest solutions is, therefore, one of the important intellectual tasks for the social sciences if our goal of ‘understanding’ the future and making meaningful choices is to be realized.”

Education in 2013 has become all about imposing such social science theories on real people and schools and then seeing what happens. Only a background devoid of solid knowledge or polluted by a desire for radical change or driven by acute greed could fail to see we have a disastrous future building up if these plans continue their march toward full implementation.






Forging New Categories of Consciousness Globally to Make Political Power the Key Determinant of 21st Century Life

If you are like me when I initially encountered the true story behind education reform, you wish political change was not a crucial aspect to the story. Let’s face it, it’s quite off-putting and can seem to be quite kooky at first. It’s an unbelievable story except it’s a factually provable one even if it’s hard to believe. So like it or not I had to go there in my new book. And I have to go there now on the blog to give additional information about what is coming at us from our politicians and agencies but also from international groups like UNESCO and the OECD that can bind us without being on our radar.

When I raise the concept of the little c theory of future human development from a certain notorious historical figure I mischievously refer to as Uncle Karl, or I simply keep reiterating the political purpose behind all these education reforms and the OECD’s PISA or the UN’s sustainability pushes and climate hyping, it is natural to want me to stop it. Keep it simple. Only tell the story from the angle someone is prepared to hear it from. That is really difficult to do though if we are to have any chance for avoiding this fiasco. Tracking all this over decades really does lead us to statements like “restructuring social, economic, and political systems was much more effective” in order to “bring about a desirable future.” So said one of the Club of Rome’s favorite world system modellers, Donella Meadows, in her 1982 book Groping in the Dark: The First Decade of Global Modelling.

Donella conceded something that is crucial for understanding what the UN is really up to with its IPCC Climate reports since plenty of observers have noticed there seems to be little effort to reflect reality. That’s not the purpose of these models. Their purpose is to model social systems. There was a great deal of frustration at the 1978 6th Annual Meeting of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) that the book came from that the world’s environment and its social, behavioral, and political systems were so hard to model. Who else thinks that between the education reforms that began in earnest in the 80s and the Sustainability push that commenced via Our Common Future in 1987, the policy makers hit upon strategies to try to make people conform better to the desired model of the future? And a single world system that everyone in 1978 seemed to assume was coming into being over the next several decades.

Who knew? Now we know why I found what I describe in the book or the World Order Models Project I previously described on this blog that began in 1973. Did you know Moscow had an “All-Union Institute for Systems Studies” or that it participated in IIASA’s work? No wonder the emphasis of all this is towards collective planning and decision-making and “managing human affairs during the transition.” The kind of transition I laid out in the last post was being assumed by East and West in the 70s. At least if tied to the UN or OECD or the Club of Rome and now it is hurtling at us. Before I shift back to the current vision, let me quote Donella since I believe it explains why we cannot ignore the little c pursuit:

“There is no known physical or technical reason why basic needs cannot be supplied for all the world’s people into the foreseeable future. These needs are not being met now because of social and political structures, values, norms, and world views, not because of absolute physical scarcities.”

That’s the dangerous wealth as a fixed sum view of the world. And it guides international entities, systems thinkers, national and local politicians, and too many public employees. They see the environment as the justifying issue and education as the favored method for changing all those things Donella just listed to make such redistribution towards the poor in the North and South generally the point of public policy globally in the 21st century. Because those are goals that require the dominance of political power in all decision-making and the ability to bind the individual. There was actually a particular world model that was created in South America and financed by the Canadians that fits with the scenario laid out as the Great Transition. It was called the Bariloche model and was all about “fundamentally” changing global “values and institutions” and “sketching a way of arriving at the final goals of a world liberated from backwardness and misery.”

The Bariloche model from 1976 envisioned a world “in which human needs and human rights, rather than the desires to consume and to accumulate wealth, would become the basis for resource allocation.” And of course create the need for both a dominant public sector globally and docile masses capable of doing little more than Groping in the Dark. Except now with spiffier names like Competency and 21st Century Skills and Capability as a Human Right. Always essential to this vision though is a new way of thinking grounded in emotion that will see the world and its inevitable problems in ways that are beneficial to those who currently hold political power or would like to. Think of it as Mindsets suitable for an Oligarchy in power pretending it is really all about human needs, Gaia, and Successful Learning for All Kids.

Let’s come forward in time to the culminating 2006 document outlining the Great Transition. Called “World Lines: Pathways, Pivots and the Global Future” it gives further insights into all the social and emotional learning and Whole Child pushes as a means of “cultural innovation and social adaptation” that call for “emergent social forms [that] were also realms of the heart that broadened the affective sphere of community and reciprocity.” And such realms are necessary now you ask? Well, yes, we are supposedly in a “pivotal” historical moment to achieve a “peaceful, just, and sustainable world.” Don’t you just want to start a list of all the troubling regions of the world that haven’t gotten the memo about the Great Transition we have embarked on?

Do you think everyone will start behaving well if we just give them more of the world’s physical resources and learn to live with less ourselves? Lots less. How about if we use education to create in each student a “sense of planetary affiliation, kinship, and citizenship”?  Is that the ticket to social justice or just more power and resources to an increasingly parasitic public sector that gets to pursue its self-interest at everyone else’s expense while acting as the administrators of the Great Transition society? Making education policy globally and the 21st century visions of governments at all levels about adjusting to “a global future based on human solidarity, human fulfillment, and ecological sustainability–a vision we refer to as a Great Transition” will be a not-so-great transition to devastation of everything that has ever worked. Transitioning based on incentives that have never worked for the benefit of anyone not connected to political power.

Trying to use education reforms like the poorly understood actual intentions of the US Common Core or Quality Learning and Global Competency and 21st Century Skills everywhere as an effort to create “thought and action [that] must rise to the level of this emergent totality, as well as its separate manifestations” is utter madness. Especially when the supposed emergent reality is a factually false statement like:

“History has entered the planetary phase of civilization in which humanity and the biosphere are entwined in a common fate.” Repeat after me, none of us deserve to be classified as comparable to inanimate objects or as just another animal. Well, maybe  certain notorious fraternities on certain college campuses. Here’s more of the attempt to diminish every single one of us as an individual and to try to make us mere parts of a greater whole with no fundamental right to our own decisions.

“rather than independent, these phenomena are separate expressions of a larger process, the formation of a unitary global system.”

Now if you thought the communitarian aspects of all these sought social reforms were intrusive, who exactly will any of us be in a “unitary global system” apart from a source of tax revenue and needed labor in a world where all of the incentives have been perverted to chase after a possible future?

I did not lay out all this info to scare anyone so much as to force us to see the vision that people with considerable power and access to the coffers of public money really are pushing on us. Now.

The actual common core to be cultivated in everyone is a “new suite of values-human solidarity, quality-of-life, and respect for nature” that will be the foundation for a public sector administered “egalitarian social contract, poverty eradication, and democratic political engagement at all levels.” Right. Plus unicorn rides every Wednesday.

We apparently really are at a historical moment.

Will the independent individual really cease to have political legitimacy in the 21st Century?

Propitious Timing: A Book, Credentialed to Destroy: How and Why Education Became A Weapon, is Born

I have now discovered that when Amazon says it will take 5-7 business days for a book to be listed for sale not to take them literally. More like two hours actually but then the journey to bringing a book to print is an odyssey of twists and turns. In my case the book was written and then put aside as I started this blog in response to alarming developments as the actual Common Core implementation took on an increasingly psychological and communitarian focus. I took on the role of Paul Revere and have been writing away, instead of riding, to spread my concerns over what I was seeing in current documents as I monitored all the announcements and reports that continue to come out weekly. When concerned people would ask me why I was giving away the book, I would always say that I wasn’t. The blog was and is a separate creation.

In many ways it turned into a second book told in a serial fashion as I reacted in horror to whatever I saw coming at us. But early this summer I picked the manuscript back up knowing the story needed to be out this fall. Although I did use the knowledge developed from the blog’s research to reframe slightly how I presented the story weaving through the book, by and large, the book had simply become even more relevant while it sat quietly on my hard drive. Here is the link to Amazon where anyone can now find it . Those hoping for a Kindle option, that will be available in a couple of weeks. Lots of citations require specialized professional conversion.

I named this announcing post “Propitious Timing” because I have had numerous reasons in just the last week to recognize how many nefarious things that relate to what I explain in the book would still be going invisibly forward otherwise. Now at least we have some chance of putting it all into proper context. Giving us an opportunity to fight off the kind of visions I have laid out in recent posts. Education Week was on a roll on October 9th alone. It posted “Racial Equity 50 Years After King’s Speech” and then “Transforming Our Schools Requires Building Our Democracy” which stated rather preposterously that “only public institutions have the capacity to be rigorously accountable to the interests of communities.” That may make a nice pitch to increase power in the public sector but it is nonsense to anyone who has visited the DMV or a tag office.

But the real shocker to me, consistent with what was clearly building up as the drumbeat for social change, was this article “Our Nation’s Schools Remain Contaminated with Inequity.” It was a reminder on why it has mattered so much that someone telling this story is also a lawyer. We tend to recognize when someone arguing that the “law requires” is actually just hoping everyone will take that assertion as a given. And not recognize that current laws do no such thing and the writers are arguing aspirationally. What they wish the law said. I have seen that more and more as the law is seen not as a set of agreed-upon rules common to everyone but a tool for advocating social change. That is especially the vision of the book Contesting the Myth of a ‘Post Racial Era: The Continued Significance of Race in US Education written in 2013 by that article’s co-authors.

Race and ethnicity and inequity then get used as the excuse to push the idea that “the purpose of P-20 education is active social change.” And not in just any direction mind you but towards Relational Pluralism which:

“runs counter to the American Dream meritocracy by locating the individual as a member of a community, an individual who will succeed or fail as the community succeeds or fails. I believe that a commitment to relational pluralism is important for teachers who want to disrupt notions of meritocracy based on individualism and self-reliance, and thereby engage in the struggle against racism.”

That essay’s author, Judson Laughter, says this is “the social vision espoused by President Obama” and that it is time for it to spread. The mere fact that Education Week is now promoting the book and its point of view and Harvard developed it as part of its Black Studies & critical thinking series tells me we are about to have a real problem on our hands in terms of policies designed to ensure:

“Ending racism through education is not about every person having an equal chance. Ending racism through education is about letting go of the desire to be individually successful, and taking up the call to be the keepers of my sisters and brothers.”

Our political transformationists with their visions of a communal future have real plans for all of us and they see education as their premier weapon. But we are right up there with them and ready to follow in real time what is being sought. As I said: propitious timing. And yesterday Ron Radosh and David Horowitz issued a story and and old letter about one of England’s dedicated radicals, Ralph Miliband. I had never heard of him but apparently his son Ed Miliband is the current head of the British Labour Party and a possible future Prime Minister there. Apparently on October 1, a British writer said that Ed wanted to bring about his father’s vision of 21st century socialism. Up arose a dispute as to how radical the father was with Ed disputing what had been written and Horowitz responding with the old letter he had written. Asking why Ralph Miliband continued to push socialism in the early 90s after so many tragedies.

Again propitious timing. Ed Miliband’s response reminded me of a quote I use in the book that if what is being pushed is accurately perceived too soon “we will have to pull back.” Plus Horowitz’s long Open Letter reminded me again of the dangers of so many of the aspirations we are now seeing everywhere. Laid out in the book over decades of influential scheming and it is clearly still coming at us in the Relational Pluralism vision above. It’s also apparent in the ideas now pushed by UNESCO and the OECD via subjective well-being and capability as a human right and a return to Scientific Humanism as Irina Bokova is now advocating.

I wish this was not all going on but I am very glad that between the book and the blog we are going to be in a position to see what is coming at us. We will need to perceive all of this accurately in order to fight for the continued legitimacy of the individual in this vision of a transformed future.

All this sent me back to a troubling book from 1993. Harlan Cleveland wrote this as part of his vision on Birth of a New World:

“Perhaps most important of all, there is a role for educators in making sure that children in all cultures grow up with, and their parents develop, a feel for the new global/behavioral issues and relate them constructively in their own cultural identities and traditions. Education about the global commons from preschool through adult learning should be aimed at patterns of behavior and value systems consistent with a sharing environment. Not only the schools but the media, political leaders, and nongovernments of many kinds will have to be teachers about human conduct compatible with life in a shared commons.”

Harlan’s vision remains current in the US and UK and many other countries. Led via poorly understood education reforms. Designed to take us all towards a vision of collectivism none of us have consented to.

I wish these stories from the blog and the book were not true. But they are and it is all well documented. I am glad that because of propitious timing we can hopefully make enough people in enough places aware in time to turn away.


Staring Down the Sudden PISA & 21st Century Learning Hype Leads Straight to Planned Welfare State

I am going to interrupt our troubling tour into the psychological theories and practices being pushed on our students at our expense. Using euphemistic names like soft skills or student growth or metacognition or ‘innovative practices’ for suburban schools. Including lovely confessions that if it works in achieving desired behavioral changes in students it can be rolled out nationally. Some innovation. Certain school districts really need to stop calling parents anytime there is a school shooting tragedy or potential tragedy claiming that “student safety is our first priority.” Horse manure and lots of it. If that is true then we have a widespread epidemic of administrators and consultants pushing ideas on schoolchildren and parents at great expense and calling themselves “Doctor” without having the foggiest notion of what they are doing.

Which is entirely possible so that leaves it up to we the parents and taxpayers to get to the bottom of the tsunami of fundamental social, political, and economic transformation coming at us in time. We will need to point out to the current Living Large on the Public Payroll recipients that a vast expansion will simply lead to greater dysfunction and a complete loss of overall prosperity.

Now when I hear and read a coordinated push all of a sudden around a topic, I get to fall back on a specialist horde of knowledge that in fact remains quite useful whatever the OECD bureaucrats like Andreas Schleicher have to say. We have discussed what the OECD’s push to monitor subjective well-being globally will mean for education. What I know and may have forgotten to pass along is that everything the OECD pushes in education, and it is a primary driver globally, comes out of its desire for a public-sector dominant social welfare state and planned economy globally.  Especially in the US.

And Schleicher basically says so in this hugely troubling article from 2010. “Shifts in ways of doing business, of managing the workplace or linking producers and consumers” are just the kind of wholesale reimagining of our economy that we just keep encountering as attached to education reform. Like the changed Mindsets and New Worldviews created by humanist psychology theories and practices in the classroom, this is all a means to an end.

If you get a chance to read that 2 page paper you will see that Schleicher is describing 21st Century Learning in language that others have come outright and called dialectical thinking. It is to prepare students for a belief quite useful to proponents of wholesale fundamental transformation into Governors and Governed.

“Promote students dialectical thinking–the understanding that what is ‘true’ now may not be true in the future and may not have been true in the past.” [Professor Robert Steinberg, 2009, ASCD, ‘How to Teach the Other 3 Rs’]

Andreas is quite busy and it was the sudden promotion of his July 2012 TED talk hyping PISA but not mentioning the planned roll-out in many American school districts this fall that is part of what caught my interest. It was called “Use Data to Build Better Schools” and the kind of schools to be remade will of course depend on what data is being collected. Schleicher was kind enough to mention in the 20 minute talk that it was international assessments like PISA that have globalized education. I knew that and it’s time everyone else did too. PISA is measuring student values, attitudes, and beliefs and how they apply knowledge (as in Big Ideas or Concepts like Social Justice) to novel situations. Non-linear, no clear cut solution problems that the students have never encountered before.  Can you say Messing with the Mind or Dialectical again or the more common Higher Order Thinking Skills?

There is another very troubling slideshow on “Learning in the 21st Century-Lessons from Around the World” that was Schleicher speaking last fall at WISE in Qatar, the World Innovation Summit in Education. So good to know that the Muslim world has such an interest in limiting the intellectual and economic capacity of the West. It’s especially interesting given that Schleicher mentions that 21st Century Learning is a way to “avert the risks” of new technology. Is that why Big Blue sponsored his TED talk? No more unapproved competition? If that kind of collusion strikes you as unlikely you might want to read the OECD’s “Better Skills, Better Jobs, Better Lives” detailing the extent of the sought collaboration among government and existing employers around a global skills agenda. With the foundation of the largest education company in the world signing on as a partner.

I could be here all day explaining the elements but it is clear that 21st Century Learning is tied to the OECD vision of the future global society and PISA functions as the means of measuring how schools and teachers are doing in creating the new desired mindsets amenable to such wholesale political change. Hopefully even clamoring for it as expectations for middle class employment are dashed as the combo of government interventionism in the economy and divorcing actual knowledge from credentials creates its foreseeable dire effects.

That’s why the other component of the full-court propaganda press suddenly surrounding PISA caught my attention. It turns out on August 13, 2013 Simon & Schuster (owned by CBS. Think media education and UNESCO) published a book The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way about who does well on PISA and how combining excellence with equity is necessary for being globally competitive. Now we know what PISA measures and that’s not my definition of smart. Is it yours? If you watch Schleicher’s presentation on prezi, you will hear the Ontario Premier touting Ontario’s success. It also has Ben Levin speaking but his authority on education reform has been compromised since his July 2013 arrest on child porn charges.

The Ontario Premier says that 4 in 10 Canadian students are now immigrants and it is important to change education to deal with that diversity. He points out Ontario is now considered high achieving because immigrant children and Canadian born children do equally well on PISA. If that is so, then they are practicing dialectical type, open-ended thinking in the classroom instead of academics and knowledge transmission and that is what PISA is picking up on. It’s Ontario’s business but we in the US and elsewhere need to not blindly jump aboard the PISA bandwagon like we are being led to do. Just look at the endorsements and reviews on Ripley’s book. Talk about the Appeal to Authority fallacy.

Ooops. I had forgotten her name. Amanda Ripley. She does human behavior and public policy stories for Time Magazine and The Atlantic. Since I assumed she knew the book title was deceitful to put it kindly, I looked into her background and discovered she was a fellow at the New America Foundation. When I took a look at what they were pushing with that troubling name, it turned out that shortly after the President’s reelection and through his inauguration, numerous public policy papers were created on the New America vision. That miraculously dovetails with precisely the sorts of things the OECD wants pushed globally. What. Are. The. Odds. The capstone, culmination paper was released in June and is called the Next Social Contract.

The New Social Contract completely remakes the America we have known and turns it into a public-sector dominated economic sewer. Complete with VAT, the federal takeover of Medicaid, turning health insurance into social insurance, eliminating “tax-privileged” retirement accounts, and best of all, federal revenue sharing to ensure regional equity of fiscal resources based on population. How exciting for California, NY, Illinois, and poor mismanaged Detroit. It’s a future that sees education and healthcare and state and local governments as the biggest employers and all at taxpayer expense.

“Privileged Americans should not be allowed to use sub-national jurisdictions as excuses for shirking their responsibility to contribute to minimum levels of public services throughout the United States as a whole.”

Welcome to the planned 21st Century America. I can see why that quote did not come out before Florida’s electoral votes were successfully grabbed for reelection.

That’s what we are dealing with behind all the rhetoric. No wonder OECD has taken up password protecting the pdfs surrounding its global Well-being conferences.

I am going to close with something federal Ed Secretary Arne Duncan said in connection with the 50th Anniversary of King’s March on Washington. He “called on educators and students to advance a civil rights agenda that presses for equal opportunities-and not just equal rights.”

He seems to be referring to the vision of that New Social Contract. But a knowledge of history and economics would reveal that the attempt is likely to destroy what does work. We are questing after a unicorn ride and pretending it is possible and jettisoning our current vehicle as we go a-dreaming. Some dreams are impossible.

How far down this road of creating new Mindsets and a new vision of the future will we go before we recognize we have expensively destroyed knowledge and expertise and social institutions we cannot easily remake?

Where will we be when the epiphany finally hits of all we have deliberately trashed? Ridiculously enough, in the name of education for all.

Some common core.

Psychological Approach to a Humane Politics: Restructuring the West Quietly and Effectively Via Ed

We stopped to pick up that nerdy expression Triune Consciousness in the last post because it rather succinctly explains why nothing in education over the last several decades makes much sense to us. We have a worldview on what education should be that makes it very difficult to accurately perceive that education has become about creating a new “framework of values, a philosophy of life, a religion or religion surrogate to live and to understand by.” The German expression for such an all-encompassing guide of daily perception is weltanschauung. We just translate it Worldview and it has been officially under attack for decades. Why? Because of a belief that humanistic psychology could adopt the human development component of Uncle Karl’s vision and use K-12 and higher ed institutions to invisibly change personal perceptions and culture. Shifting “personal politics can make for a more humane politics for both America and our larger world.”

Triune consciousness then simply reflects the idea that a new, radically different structure of social relations needs to be grounded in emotion and passion. In order to create a need to act to change the world as it now exists to the vision desired. I think such “a ‘knowing-of-the-heart’ which is not an unambiguous knowledge like that of clear and distinct ideas…” is a dangerous thing for our schools, churches, or universities to be cultivating. But I am also warning everyone that such a dramatic shift is precisely what is being sought in the Positive School Climate, Flow, systems thinking, happiness, mental health first aid, and other pushes we have discussed previously. How do I know for sure? Why the people involved have told me in their books and conferences and websites. It is all grounded in the humanistic psychology of Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers. That appears to be the all-encompassing vision we are dealing with. Still.

I am beginning to think that this naive idea that we can redefine what humanity is and promote specieshood and use education to target the foundation of all social institutions: “how people think and feel, how they comprehend the meaning of being human, how they experience the self, how they perceive their relationship to the environment and each other” really came under an organized, global attack back in 1962. First we have Robert Tucker, the Princeton poli sci prof laying out the idea that the US was closer to little c communism than the USSR and pushing Uncle Karl’s human development vision of the future. Then we have Evald Ilyenkov coming up with his new dialectics that supposedly will later inspire Gorbachev but was also very interested in altering perceptions. Remember our trips through the nerdy expression “Ascending from the Abstract to the Concrete” and how Ilyenkov’s work has recently been brought back into print in the US by those Cultural-Historical Activity Theorists in San Diego?

To that interesting cauldron of timing that was almost certainly impacted in a delaying way by the Cuban Missile Crisis later in 1962, let me add a fascinating link. In 1962, the ASCD, then a division of the National Education Association–the NEA–published Perceiving, Behaving, Becoming: A New Focus proposing that the nature of education be dramatically shifted with Maslow and Rogers among the authors. The new type of education would be centered in the psychological tenets of humanist psychology in order to build on human potential to change, instead of the transmission of knowledge. Sound troublingly familiar?

The 1960s and taking these ideas in the direction of hedonism may have stopped much of the historic role of schools in academic learning but the desire to use school’s to alter student’s personalities hit a snag. The Journal of Humanistic Psychology created a dialogue all through the 70s and early 80s on what a good instrument for changing society and the nature of the economy HP (no, not Hewlett Packard even though all the foundations now are imbibing these theories deeply) would make.

Somehow that magical year of 1986 became the point in time to put all those broader political and social intentions and Maslow’s ideal of using education to integrate self-improvement and social zeal into another book. This one was called Politics and Innocence: A Humanistic Debate with Maslow, Rogers, Rollo May and others participating. One of those was a Walter Nord who pointed out that the “writings of Karl Marx have much in common with what modern writers have described as the essence of humanistic psychology.” That’s our HP and we had noticed that striking resemblance in function and sought effects. Nord simply points out that HP needs to be used to create support for “major changes in economic organization and the distribution of power.” Systems thinking and outcomes-based education to the rescue please!

Then in 1999 during the last round of Radical Ed Reform at the federal level before Gore’s loss slowed down the full implementation, the ASCD published an updated book edited by H Jerome Freiberg. It contained the original 1962 essays with new contributions from people like Barbara McComb’s from the Aurora, Co ed lab, McREL, involved in the A+ Achieving Excellence systems thinking, OBE innovation, that would later become an issue in Columbine. This “Motivation and Lifelong Learning” paper published in 1991 gives a good feel for what HP sought whatever it calls itself. Plus it makes its links to the current lifelong learning push and what that League of Innovative Schools is really trying to research on suburban school kids without parental consent. The 1999 book was called Perceiving Behaving Becoming: Lessons Learned.

In 2013 HP comes in as the social and emotional learning mandate that the accreditation agencies are requiring in their standards for what constitutes “Quality” as well as what gets incorporated into all that planned gaming. How am I so sure about Positive School Climate though? Because Carl Rogers writes repeatedly about what he calls the “psychological climate” and the “growth-promoting climate.” It’s the necessary school, classroom, and social environment that may prove Rogers belief:

“I do not find that this evil is inherent in human nature. In a psychological climate which is nurturant of growth and choice, I have never known an individual to choose the cruel or destructive path. Choice always seems to be in the direction of greater socialization, improved relationships with others. So my experience leads me to believe that it is cultural influences which are the major factor in our evil behavior.”

I think Rogers is wrong. Rollo May did too but that is the guiding philosophy behind the Positive School Climate mandate. Use education to change the student’s values, attitudes, beliefs, and emotions and you can change future behavior. Do it in enough students, especially if the heads of foundations and other social and political institutions are quietly on board with this invisible revolution and you can supposedly get an out of sight revolution.

How else do I know for sure that we are still dealing with HP in 2013 in the plans for the actual Common Core implementation? Because Martin Seligman of the Positive Psychology and global School Wide Positive Behavior and Happiness pushes said it tied to Maslow’s work. Because Mihaly Csiksentmihalyi, whose work is described here  also ties his work back to Maslow and does the research on that nerdy word “conation” that is tied to the OECD’s Subjective Well-being excuses for making us the Governed.

Finally there was the Third World Congress on Positive Psychology, June 27-30, 2013 in LA that Seligman and Csik basically led. is the program that clearly ties it all to Maslow and shows the global importance of the Positive School Climate model to achieving the desired transformations.

I think I will close with the admission from the End of Innocence book (citing Frankfurt School member Erich Fromm) on how important it is to use education to reframe “all perceptions of reality” whenever social change is sought. School then becomes a method of social conditioning that gets at the “system of categories which determines the forms of awareness. This system works, as it were, like a socially conditioned filter; experience cannot enter awareness unless it can penetrate the filter.”

Whoever creates that mental filter creates what is perceived as reality. What will guide future action and what will be ignored despite real consequences.

Now you know why we keep hearing about conceptual lenses and Understandings of Consequence and Generative Metaphors and Mental Schemas and frameworks. Every radical with plans of transformations is familiar with Fromm’s insight. We needed to be too.

Student-centered learning=humanist psychology emphasis in the 21st century classroom

Now you know why all recourse from an alarmed parent or taxpayer or teacher is being turned off.