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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Invisible Designed Neural Coercion: Controlling Guided Missiles and Misguided Men

Since it is summertime and the living is supposed to be easy, I wish I was off on vacation or taking a break from the blog. Instead, I have been dealing with a tsunami of corroborating research materials from all over the world on this neural emphasis in education. When I was writing my book Credentialed to Destroy and documenting what the required classroom practices would be under a Competency-focus, the Common Core, or any performance ‘standard’, I came to accept that what was being mandated would have a clear neural effect. It would alter how students’ brains functioned going forward. More research assembled in various places subsequently on this blog has made it clear that those neural effects are both known and desired. It is easier to rule people with little recognition they are being coerced.

The age demographics of who voted for BREXIT seem to show that as well as a desire to be coddled. As Bandura put it in our last post, the young people in the UK believe in proxy agency and institutions instead of individual achievement. What I have now had to come to grips with though is that the neural manipulation is the purpose of education reforms and standards-based education. It is the goal precisely because it makes a person amenable to manipulation without either recognition, resistance, or protest. Surely I am exaggerating, right? On Friday, the OECD linked to this paper on “The Neuroscience of Mathematical Cognition and Learning.” It has pictures and graphs of the targeted areas as it is now clear that education intends to use “the scientific study of the biological substrates underlying cognition, specifically the neural basis of mental processes.”

Oh, c’mon, lighten up with seeing bad motives when all anyone really wants to do is help everyone learn to read fluently and be good at algebra, I can hear a few of my readers whispering. Except that is not the purpose and it is more than what is detailed at length in Credentialed to Destroy. The desire is to get everyone to ‘on-level performance’ and only to there. The hope is simply to get everyone to literacy and numeracy so they can understand and work with print, visual images, and numbers in ‘everyday life’. Prescribe a theory of classroom practices that creates “changes in neural pathways and synapses due to changes in environment and behavior.” Now are we beginning to understand the real implications of the federal ESSA law stipulating that all states must have ‘challenging academic content standards’ where behavior is the means to show ‘achievement’?

Please remember what I explained about Constructivism in Chapters 2 and 3 when you read this passage from that OECD paper’s conclusion (my italics and bolding):

“Research in cognitive neuroscience has allowed the possibility of exploring the neural basis of complex and sophisticated cognitive processes such as numerical cognition. Using an expanding range of tools from single-cell recording to brain stimulation, progress is being made in not only localising brain regions involved in overall functions, but also mapping the complexity of networks engaged in mathematical learning.

Overall, advances in cognitive neuroscience research is beginning to shed light on the ontogeny [physiology or neural formations are synonyms for that $100 word] of mathematical cognition, how cognition and behavioral performance can be modulated based on the knowledge of neuroplasticity, and how such findings can be used to understand the workings of the brain as a whole. Collaborations between scientists and educators and professionals relevant to the field of mathematics learning promises further advances in the understanding of not only mathematical cognition, but also learning in general, with long-term implications to enrich the mental wealth of mankind.”

That blog link also cites a 2007 OECD paper that came to my attention earlier in the week–“Understanding the Brain: The Birth of a Learning Science.” It outlined with numerous graphics precisely what the term Transdisciplinary is to alter and should be viewed through what UNESCO had in mind when it piloted this curriculum shift in Queensland, Australia covered here. Since what is going on in education in the name of brain-based learning was not news to me, I went quickly to the chapter called “The Ethics and Organisation of Educational Neuroscience” with its cover quotes that “Science without conscience is but the ruin of the soul” and HG Wells’ belief that “Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.”

The chapter opens with a Martin Luther King Jr quote that–“Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.” Anyone detecting a theme among these quotes on the need to force internalized shared beliefs and values via education? How about if I further quote the authors acknowledgment that “traditionally, the ethical rules concerning biomedical research on human beings follow the Nuremburg Code of 1949 and the Declaration of Helsinki of 1964.”  See what I mean about purpose and aim? The bi-directional exchange between Trans-disciplinary Research on Learning and Mandated Classroom Practices and Required Assessments of what a Student has Internalized at a Neural Level are not the only reason I linked to that Queensland post.

When I first located that 2007 paper, I followed up on the Bibliography telling me that the US NSF had established Science of Learning Centers in 2003. I pulled up those materials and presentations and recognized numerous relevant professors and institutions. We have the creator of the 1987 HOTS report and the co-director of the New Standards project in the 90s–Lauren Resnick and Roy Pea of Stanford who is also now tied to NSF’s Cyber learning initiative and Charles Fadel’s Center for Curriculum Redesign at Harvard. I knew back then these machinations were global, but not yet that we were looking at education research involving the physiology of real students in actual classrooms to “integrate insights about ‘micro-level’ mechanisms with evidence about aggregate, ‘macro-level’ outcomes that emerge from processes of implementing these mechanisms.”

In less stilted English (which I am capable of when I don’t have to quote for accuracy about indisputable aims), that would translate into monitoring the student’s neural network and which brain regions fire on prescribed tasks and how all that fits their shown behavior and how it changes. Data, data, data. Personal Identifiability is so NOT the needed area of focus in the Era of Sought Educational Neuroscience. I also wanted to go back to Queensland because there is a new Journal called the Science of Learning there and the Director of the SLC program at NSF wrote a letter to the Editor about two weeks ago. See how real time we are here at ISC in tracking what is planned for us?

I started to write that Soo-Siang Lim was with the US NSF or the US SLC Centers with their declared emphasis on the “internal world of mind and brain” since so much of the prescribed emphasis has made it to all US classrooms in the name of the Common Core standards, but yesterday when I put her name into a search engine, I found out NSF has an office in Beijing and does Science of Learning work with jetsetting PIs at the University of Hong Kong. I found out Dr Lim sued for gender discrimination after she did not get tenure for an Anatomy Professorship at Indiana before joining the NSF and beginning her tour of the world. Found videos of interviews in Rio and dubbing into other languages. Perhaps most crucially though I found a January 23-24, 2012 OECD/NSF SLC conference in Paris called “Innovation in Education: Connecting How we Learn to Educational Policy and Practice.”

Notice the presence of Dirk Van Damme. We met him when I wrote about Global Education Futures Forum and Redesigning the Future and the presence of Alexander and Kathia Laszlo as Co-chairs of the Silicon Valley event.  I could be sarcastic and say that coincidences abound but none of this is coincidental. The neural transformations being sought are the common glue that allows control without effective opposition and every wanna-be planner in the world seems to know it. It’s time we all knew it too. Also remember the quote from the head of the OECD in the Conclusion to my book that all of the OECD’s education policies are to pursue their desired plans of social, political, and economic transformations.

I must admit these last several weeks have produced many “Oh. Wow” moments in my research so I decided to go back to earlier works from decades ago, as well as now, where these aims were both clearly hoped for and sought. Turned out that in 1989 Paul Ehrlich and Robert Ornstein in New World New Mind called for governments to “make new ways of thinking and new ways of handling our problems immediately available to society’s decision-makers. And while changing the form and content of education would be a major step toward conscious evolution..” They go on to state that “there is a new understanding of the human mind, developed from modern brain research and studies of thought processes.” I have never thought it was just coincidental that under President Obama the NSF and all these education initiatives like the League of Innovative Schools report at the White House to a close Ehrlich associate–John Holdren.

Could have the motto: “Finally in a position to make it so.” Let’s come back to the present and Rebecca Costas’ 2010 book The Watchman’s Rattle: Thinking Our Way Out of Extinction. Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson wrote the Foreword and is quoted as saying in 2009 that “the real problem of humanity is the following: We have paleolithic emotions; medieval institutions; and god-like technology.” Sounds just like the quotes prefacing the OECD’s Chapter on the Ethics surrounding Educational Neuroscience and its potential, doesn’t it? It should make us all very nervous that the well-connected Ms Costas thought that the way to avoid civilizational collapse was to reject thought involving “analytical processing [and] deliberate application of strategies and operations to gradually approach a solution.”

My last quote confirms just how often the phrase ‘evidence-based policy’ in education or ‘best practices’ is obscuring a sought neural transformation in the parts of the brain trained to respond and the very nature of the student’s brain itself. Frequently the sales pitch is also put out in the name of Equity as in a 2014 paper called “Neuroscience and Education: Prime Time to Build the Bridge.” It stated that “rising education inequality is among the gravest of the world’s problems.” Now, education inequality is a natural condition of humanity throughout history. Only by interfering with people’s brains and how they process is Equity possible and that very interference is totalitarian, especially when the nature of what is being targeted is the subject of so much organized deceit.

Anyone else chilled to the bones by all this global coordination with known and Proud-of-It Authoritarian or Communist States? As I mentioned to someone yesterday, individual liberty is precious and rare in the annals of history. In the era of unrecognized Educational Neuroscience it is about to become extinct within the current generation.

In the name of obscuring slogans like Choice, Higher Standards, Personalized Learning, and Brain-Based Instruction.

I’d like to Opt Out Please.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That would also be the same Maslow that the NEA hired back in 1962 to create its desired new vision of education grounded in psychology.

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

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

No wonder there has been such deceit.


Bogus Excuses to Always Hype What Extinguishes or Controls the Analytical, Rational Mind

In the ancient world, if all roads did in fact lead to Rome, it would not be much of a stretch to decide that Rome was the place where those who took the time and expense to travel likely needed to go to. Likewise, if every K-12 education reform that I know is part of the mandatory classroom vision has the same actual or intended effect on the human mind and a student’s personality, we can conclude that the global transformationalists we met in the first two posts of this trilogy need a certain mindset for their success. In fact, I considered naming this post “Becoming a Plant” after the video game Reach for the Sun where students will be “challenged to ‘become a plant’ and balance resources like starch and water. “Extend your roots, sprout leaves, and make your flowers bloom before winter hits.'”

Now if I had described that “learning activity” before Christmas and linked it to the Arational Mind push we have been noticing going back to this post , I would have had the makings of a good freestanding post. Knowing the goals of the global CIFAL Network, the desire to use ICT to extinguish the Left Hemisphere’s historic dominance per that Global Village book, plus the explicit goals transformational goals laid out by ValuesQuest and the Institute for the Future, and the new vision of the role of the law globally, just make it so much easier to grasp why fact-filled, analytical minds would be regarded as barriers to all that planning and collective transitioning.

We have been having a discussion in the comments about the federally required MPOs–Metropolitan Planning Organizations–that push metro-wide transportation projects and how they are now being urged to explicitly get into economic and workforce development. I have noted that one of the things WIOA requires is that all students be trained in ‘systems thinking.’ At a DC conference this week the federal Transportation Secretary Foxx proclaimed transportation plans as the ultimate “system of systems” that merited a 30-year lay-out of plans. Into all this planning about us, our future, and using our money, I believe it’s no accident that videogames and digital learning are being pushed into classrooms.

Paul Ehrlich’s co-author of that 1989 New World New Mind book discussed in the linked post above, Robert Ornstein, wrote a 1974 book The Psychology of Consciousness pushing a desire to move away from the rational, analytical mind fostered by phonetic reading and traditional math, science, or grammar to a holistic right brain orientation that would perceive the world in interdependent, relational ways. Very helpfully he tied the ability and need for such a shift to the world now being in a position to meet everyone’s ‘biological needs.’ Time then for a more collaborative, communitarian focus to global problem-solving. Needless to say, K-12 education would need to shift and Ornstein saw great possibilities once “computer-assisted instruction” was able to “take the ‘state’ of the learner into account.”

What would such instruction, maybe called ‘personalized learning,’ look like? How about the Mindshift confession that “When it comes to assessment, many games have robust back ends that provide assessment data about the students who play them. That data can be extremely useful, providing information about your students that is applicable well beyond the game itself.” Information the students themselves may very well not be aware of. Data that adaptive learning ICT platforms need if they are to have the desired effects of changing the child’s perceptions, values, beliefs, and attitudes as the new focus of student-centered K-12 education.

Fits the Ornstein desire for educational activity with the student “embedded in the environment” perfectly, except most people would not be familiar with the Ornstein or Marshall McLuhan work we have looked at. They would simply accept the sales pitch that games-based learning would “replace a points-based extrinsic motivation system with a contextualized hands-on learning experience.” Not being in the habit of reading federal statutes like WIOA or federal agency plans, they probably would not appreciate the significance of the confession:

“Keep in mind: The common attribute of all effective learning games is that they simulate systems [or real-world social structures the trasfomationalists want students to believe are systems comparable to how the heart and lungs reliably interact]. They teach students how to understand academic concepts in relationship to the world around them. Certainly this increases engagement [what Ornstein called Being in the Moment that he tracked to ancient Asian religious practices] and retention, but what really matters is about using knowledge in interdisciplinary ways. [Don’t feel under control just because your personal use of knowledge is being prescribed in advance].

Digital or analog, game-based or not, good teaching and learning [Remember obuchenie?] is also about building social awareness, considering the individual’s impact on the wider world.”

Now won’t that latter effect work well with the Sustainability aspirations for the future laid out by the UN CIFAL Network, ValuesQuest, and that Institute for the Future Toolkit to prepare students for new forms of governance? We covered all the proposed role-playing in history classes as part of my AP US History Trilogy, but MindQuest proposes teaching American Government by having a student “role play a member of Congress.” A new form of Governance in utter disregard of the US Constitution is highly likely once curriculum is an “immersive experience” where “students sponsor bills, trade in influence, awareness, and approval. The game simulates meeting with lobbyists, donors, and volunteers. The object is to get reelected to office.”  Now that certainly suffices as allowing “teachers to present academic concepts in a contextualized, experiential way.”

Interestingly enough, precisely what Ornstein said a Right-Brain oriented curriculum should be doing if it intends to shift the focus from intellectual content to personal knowledge. Oh, our joy at effective school reforms that will raise student achievement in meaningful, authentic ways knows no bounds. Why did I start this post’s title with Bogus Excuses? Well, should we buy that games-based learning is OK for the classroom because “a generation of gamers has grown up without a civilization collapsing”? Someone was not listening when their English teacher covered the dangers of hyperbole. How about this rationale? “Positive mood states” or empathy “toward people from another country.” I am also afraid that being told “the way corporations, foundations, and research organizations are thinking about games and learning” is no justification when they are all on record seeking transformational social change using K-12 education.

That’s it, isn’t it? K-12 education globally must be shifted to producing a mind and personality suitable for a collectivist orientation. The simulation will prime the students to act in predictable ways without being in a position to recognize that real world consequences do not follow the prearranged instructions of the software developer. It’s no accident that Jane McGonnigal of Institute for the Future is quoted on this point of how students will come to see the real world, without noting her IFTF affiliation. Only that she wrote a book called Reality is Broken that I covered here.

If you want a transformed economy, then push education based on “connected, networked ways of knowing that will dominate the digital future. Sharing and collaboration go hand-in-hand with integrating non-competitive and non-commodified ways of playing games.” Will that lead to a shareable economy? Maybe but it will be necessary since so few graduates in such a vision will have the mind or skills that have always been necessary for wealth to arise outside of war and just taking.

Is it true that “The way students play and learn today is the way they will work tomorrow”? Maybe, but they will be quite poor in such a world unless they can get elected or appointed to office or get a tax-free job in the UN System. Mostly the gaming is prepping for the student to be a participating member of a planned and controlled system, blindly accepting from a deep emotional level that increasing levels of material deprivation are inevitable and not a result of predation by the public sector.

Instead of declaring war on another country for wealth this is a system of predation on citizens. For those of us with a base of history knowledge not grounded in role play, it’s what the nobility did when they imposed serfdom. People exist for the use and benefit of those with power and are not free to make their own choices. No thanks. Another bogus excuse is that “the distinction between STEM and ELA is an arbitrary and superficial one” since they are each “simply forms of expression.” That really is someone determined to extinguish the analytical, rational mind for reasons laid out in Chapters 2 and 3 of my book. “All good games offer challenges in intuitive ways.” Want to guess which side of the brain acts intuitively and which does not?

Another bogus excuse? Gaming needs to be a part of early childhood education because it “teaches those students to associate screens with refined cognitive skills.” In other words, those children are to never know what rational, non-designed, grounded in facts, spinning out of various scenarios and likely consequences actually feels like. And won’t that be helpful to all our self-confessed transformationalists and futurists?

I am going to close this with an update to what has been one of the most controversial Values Clarification exercises for decades. It is called the Lifeboat but gaming lets a similar scenario, and obligation to reach a consensus, be visual so that the body’s physiology gets pulled into the plight. It will respond as if it is actually in a Life or Death situation as Willis Harman recognized in the 80s in his Global Mind Change book. Carried out as part of a Zombie Apocalypse in Norway classrooms, MindQuest ends on that example of a “sociocultural view of learning” where students and teachers “believe in sharing and constructing knowledge together.”

So they and others can build a new kind of economy and society together. Never appreciating in time that none of these things actually are ‘systems’ ready to fall into place like a game.

Reimaging the Nature of the World in the Minds of Students Alters Future Behavior and Social Events

When I read something troubling and manipulative about change in the nature of education for the 21st century or in a recent book like America the Possible: Manifesto for a New Economy, I have recourse to comparable pushes from previous decades to help me examine what is really going on. And what the likely consequences will be. Professor Lester Milbrath, who we met in the last post, also had a 1989 book Envisioning a Sustainable Society: Learning Our Way Out where he laid out the vision for the to-be-sought wholesale transformation that remains current today. Key of course is what Milbrath called social learning-new values and beliefs of cooperation that would guide perception and thus learning itself. Milbrath especially wanted “systemic and futures thinking modes” to be developed first in students and then applied by a variety of institutions until “the public could learn to demand this kind of thinking in the planning and decisionmaking of their governments and other social institutions. This mode of thinking would be a key component of a society programmed to learn.”

Now society is NOT demanding that kind of thinking nor that governments take on that kind of decision-making Overlordship but federal agencies have usefully (to themselves) seized this kind of coercive authority anyway. Either by Executive Order or regulation or overly broad readings of court cases. And now of course the public sector wants Mindsets in citizens amenable to someone having such sovereign power. Over the decisions that history shows are best made by private individuals who have to bear the consequences of lousy decisions. In unlikely to be accidental timing, the Obama Administration in the US and the OECD and UNESCO globally are currently pushing wholesale transformation of K-12 and higher ed. They can thus try to cultivate worldviews that either embrace, or ignore, wholesale changes in governance of society and citizens.

We have already encountered the Humanist Psychologists like Maslow and Carl Rogers whose theories for change are so useful to turn to. Let’s go back to one of the main creators of systems thinking, Kenneth Boulding, and a book published in 1964, The Meaning of the Twentieth Century: The Great Transition, to examine the importance of what a person thinks the world is like. So we can understand why this is the bullseye in the middle of the noetic transformation template and has been for decades. Before I lay out Boulding’s quote, let’s follow it up with his next concession that what people “think need not of course be true.” As he says “It is sufficient to note that the presence of any image will affect a system in a certain way.”

So those seeking transformation first need to create beliefs about the nature of the system they want to change and then plant beliefs about why it is unsatisfactory, and then prime for what should be changed. Education has always been useful for this goal but the advent of computer gaming and immersion of students in virtual, deliberately created worlds, takes the possibilities of implanting the desired images to a whole new level. A fact quite apparent here for reasons that seem to have everything to do with what SRI has always pushed in education (more in a moment). Here’s the crucial point that schemers who want the world to now be guided by social science theories have long known. It’s time we all did too.

“the social systems of ants and bees are essentially static in nature and do not exhibit adaptation to the environment beyond what biological mutation can provide. With man, however, comes self-awareness and awareness of a whole system in which the self is embedded. This can produce conscious effort toward  a change in the system of the world whether biological, physical, or social.

In any human social system, therefore, the image of the world possessed by its human participants is a vital element in the over-all dynamics of the system. We cannot tell what the system will do unless we know what the people in it think of it, for what they think affects their behavior and their behavior affects the system.”

And that Crucial psychological fact with a capital C is what has guided higher ed for at least two decades now. Common Core and 21st century learning are designed to bring it to K-12, public and private, globally, in any country with a tradition of individual liberty. especially the US. Think of it as cultivating Milbrath’s needed Social Learning component. But also have no doubt about what is going on via education and its close ally, the media, that insist dangerously that we should “stop dichotomizing the world and develop a pragmatic, indeed a social scientific approach to the problem.” As when Boulding wrote that in 1964 and now, there remain groups that wish us harm just waiting for us to naively simply begin to “see mankind as a whole.”

Last week MIT announced a new videogame to teach students empathy called Quandary. Players “win the most points by accurately predicting each character’s reaction.” Helpfully the game is said to address multiple Common Core standards and be appropriate for grades 3-8. Now since the characters are not real people, the game is also a highly useful technique for fostering false beliefs about people and their values and what drives them. Unlike the real world or even an accurate history textbook, the Quandary characters will be driven by what the game designers want students to believe about the world. Those desires become the guiding images for students during their most pliable, personality formation, years. And in that post I linked above, game designer Jane McGonnigle was quite forthright in the intentions to use games to create images of a desired future and the need for change.

Both Jane’s boss, Marina Gorbis (see tag for her) and Willis Harman (discussed in linked post) worked during the 80s at SRI. Now I first became familiar with what used to be known as the Stanford Research Institute when SRI kept coming up as the grant evaluator for university partnerships aggressively pushing constructivist math and science on K-12 in return for multimilliondollar grants from the National Science Foundation. Just imagine how much better I would have understood the dynamic of why aggressive implementation (whatever the outcry or results) brought renewals for a new term if I had better understood SRI as a hive of Humanist Psychology. But better late than never as we evaluate this interview with SRI’s Director of Research in Informal Learning Environments being pushed by the MacArthur Foundation as part of their Reimagining Education digital learning initiative. is a good basic short overview of the belief about learning now being pushed by the foundations and the federal DoED. It asserts without proof based on desires for cultural change that “learning is not about knowledge accumulation and test performance, but about participating in activities that are well designed or that naturally provide an opportunity to become better at something.” Now if that sounds to you like a shift to Milbrath’s Social Learning without saying so, here’s a bit more of this new vision of 21st century mandated education. In these new school environments:

“it’s much more about kids trying, maybe failing, and maybe succeeding, all the while engaging with the materials and each other and doing so in ways that show they are attending to the resources and the possibility for building skills in that environment that help them solve a problem, accomplish a goal, or succeed at a game.”

Maybe Quandary? This is education that assumes a Great Transition is to finally be eminent. Seeking to create the Mindsets to make it so all while misrepresenting to parents, taxpayers, and teachers what is really going on. Lest we all rebel and tell the Malevolent Marshmallow Brain Superintendent or Consultant to quit trying to blow up the society and economy that produces the taxes that overpay them for their willingness to push such nonsense without scrutiny and usually with deceit.

That link mentions another April 2010 paper “Naturalizing Assessment” that I managed to secure with some appreciated help. In case you cannot get a copy, it graphically explained the whole point of such reimagining and new theories of learning and the nature of the classroom as being this newsworthy goal–Redefining Learning to Focus on How Well Prepared Individuals Will Be for Adaptive Behavior in New Situations.

Now the New Situations are of course the sought Great Transition wholesale social, political, and economic transformations being masked under euphemisms like Martin Luther King’s Beloved Community or Harry Boyte’s cooperative commonwealth or just the term ‘democracy’ as Gar Alperowitz likes to now use.

Let’s take a hard look in the next post on the erroneous assumptions in the required classroom implementations to get us to a new “sustainable” public sector centric collectivist society.

That no one tells us about unless we start with the Great Transition and trace backwards to the how.