Windows on the Mind to Confiscate and Control Our Very Essence

Building on the last post’s emphasis on the public sector’s plans for us that are rarely acknowledged to our face and which have always quietly persisted whatever the popular outcry, I want to cover quite a few specific acknowledgments of the End Game that have occurred in just the last week. We may get nothing but deceit from those we elected or whose salaries we pay, but in meetings we are not invited to and reports we are unlikely to see, the coordinated juggernaut is open, explicit, and being pushed at a frenzied pace. Well, that’s not quite true, Needs to Get a Real Life here at ISC did manage to get an invite and does pay attention to all the elements of the web my research has previously indicated I should monitor. Let’s take a look and start with this true confession from UNESCO:

“One of the biggest challenges is how the Framework for Action will link education with the broader sustainable development agenda. Here we believe that more can be done – we must go deeper in exploring the connections and must reposition education at the heart of the post-2015 agenda. We have yet to make a compelling enough case that education is not just one of 17 SDGs but rather a key facilitator for achievement of all the goals. We are pleased to see that this is an issue to be addressed in the Report out next year by the EFA GMR team. Fundamental changes are needed in the world and this requires a new generation of active global citizens with new knowledge, attitudes and behaviours – for which education is the essential catalyst.”

For those of us being asked to turn over our children for years at a time to education and whose taxes pay the costs, maybe we should recognize that statement as the Declaration of War against our culture and the political structures we take for granted that it actually is. Taken from here , these nonconsensual shifts that supposedly must occur are in preparation for the UN and the OECD’s Post-2015 plans for both people in the developed and developing countries of the world. Instead of Ripley’s “Believe It or Not” Exhibition, perhaps we need an ISC equivalent exhibition of all the confessions called “Desired or Not, Consensual or Not.”

Here’s another from the well-connected Columbia prof Jeffrey Sachs, who also managed to jet to Rome recently to lobby for a papal encyclical on Climate Change, head up the UN’s World Happiness Reports (started in 2012) pushing measures of subjective well-being as the proper concerns of governments, and be on the Broadband Commission pushing the Internet as a human right. Here’s that confession on the need for ‘data’ to force the new global economic vision and if you go to page 23 of the underlying report he talks about, you will find the call for an essential component in every country called an emis. Education Management Information System that will track all students to ensure that all schools have “quality learning” in the UNESCO vision (see above for where it leads) and practices that create Equity for all.

Now for those of you who have already located that 2008 “Seeing the Future: A Planning Guide for High Schools” document or soon will, just remember this global call for an emis that will allow education to be the invisible catalyst for the UN’s post-2015 plans while being implemented at local levels to gain control and hopefully avoid detection. Ooops on that one. Sometimes sarcasm is the most potent relief, but seriously that document is just rife with calls for data as are digital learning initiatives generally and adaptive and personalized learning specifically. Carving out protections under Student Privacy Acts (as Georgia just did in legislation touted as a model) for those types of uses means that there really is no privacy from governmental officials and their cronies to manipulate that data that offers a Window on the Mind.

That was an italicized term used to describe what ‘understand’ is to mean under all these new visions for K-12 education we covered in this post. When I decided to crosscheck this week what one of the co-authors Joseph D. Novak was doing now, it led me troublingly to the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition. He works there now and I had run into that entity before when I was tracking another troubling theorist who is also there. I remember noting at that time that the composition of its Board of Directors reminded me of a group of people whose personal livelihoods would certainly incline them to push a political power should control the economy, mercantilist view of how the future could be shaped. However fine and nice they are as individuals, there is a clear trend to that board membership.

Think of how handy connections like that are when WIOA is mandating State Plans and calling for the states (in the Playbook linked in last post) just to go ahead and describe all their plans for education and how it will be incorporated in every locality into economic development. Then we have the new vision of high schools (2008 report) insisting that all high schools “build and sustain relationships with local employers, community and government agencies, industry associations, labor unions, and post-secondary institutions.” Well, won’t that marry well with the WIOA obligations, especially given the call to “set defined goals and a clear vision for meeting the needs of community youth”?

That old meeting the needs vision of Uncle Karl’s that was also reenforced this week by Google’s (wave hi! to our Internet monitors) UK subsidiary which takes all the education, links to the workplace, digital learning, etc changes we are encountering and calls for explicit changes in public policy to redesign society “to develop and democratise the Power to Create.” Well, maybe that can be a category of Quality Learning and Equity those emis systems are gathering data to force and then monitor.

Anyone else think Google might have a business stake in this vision of the future? Just like a board composed of real estate developers, bankers, and Chamber of Commerce types might have a stake in a vision of learning as internalized psychological change at a neurological level that makes people highly unlikely as adults to forego the pathway that has been laid out for them. Even less likely to defy the herd. One more example from just this week was the first ever Gigabit Cities conference where everyone seemed to want to push broadband as a human right, especially this speaker . The hyping of the common good and communitarianism was so constant before I felt sickened and left that I felt tempted to stand up and affirm that historic American vision of people as something other than an instrument of government ambitions.

Seriously, how can people do slides showing the Berlin Wall coming down and mentioning the recognition that “centralized planning does not work” while less than a minute later call for an economy created by the coordination of “governments, universities, civil institutions, and tech companies.” At least no one will be making decisions on our behalf that has any kind of financial conflict for taking the positions they are taking on where K-12 education must go or why Broadband must be a human right or how a requirement of Equity in a naturally unequal world means that intrusive governments will be constantly necessary.

All those financial conflicts of interest in the public, non-profit, AND crony private sector are precisely the impetus for these ed reforms that seek to Confiscate and Control Our Very Essence without notice, or consent, or even knowledgeable consideration of the likely consequences. Is all this intended localized planning somehow going to work because it will be based on real-time data and not be centralized in DC or Brussels? I don’t think so, but these very real, widely-expressed intentions, once we know where to look, are precisely the impetus for these high school reforms and the Common Core.

We must shift to high schools everywhere designed around “rigorous project-based learning experiences in the school, workplace, and communities” (to quote the 1998 NUHS abstract) for the political and social transformation purposes Michael Cole and Yrjo Engestrom usefully described in the last post. Plus the economic cronyism and UN Power-Grabbing laid out in this one.

Clearly I am going to have to make this part 2 of a Trilogy because we still have not chronicled the essence of the manipulation. We should all have a superb handle on the whys behind this manipulation now. We now know that the ubiquitous references to “high standards for all students” designed to reassure us that all these changes are good and necessary actually means the abolition of any distinction between a “college prep” curriculum and a “vocational” one. Add that revelation to our ISC Glossary of Terms.

Let’s close this part of our wading through the muck by quoting something from the 1998 document from a header called “Stories of Change.” It’s a reminder of why everything must be changed and locked in as a mandate for the broader social, economic, and political transformations everyone keeps pointing to to have any chance of occurring.

“High schools are not closed systems: their work and their structure are influenced profoundly by post-secondary entrance requirements, teacher training practices, district policies [hence all the current hyping of charter systems] and assessment practices [why progs love to start Opt Out movements], and community pressures.”

Now of course we know many of the community pressures are deliberately created by the public sector and that the public is being systematically lied to at a level that meets the high thresholds associated with fraud.

We also understand why these calls for a new kind of citizen are rampant at all levels and from every direction.

Next we will close our trilogy with the cited specifics and then link it to the Turchenko vision laid out in my book Credentialed to Destroy as well as the Robert Beck polytech rationale we covered in it as well. That book remains the lens for seeing the rest of the story. This blog cannot do it alone.



Fraud of the Century Via Our Public Sector: the Real Common Core Purpose for Education

Is fraud too strong a word for organized deceit that seeks to override constitutional rights and evade public outcry every time School to Work has reared its unpopular head in the past? Do we have massive, actual, repeated deceit? Check. Are we giving up something of value? Yes, our children’s minds, our tax dollars, plus the foreseeable carnage of all this economic and social planning. Now how many of us upon hearing the now ubiquitous phrase “high standards for all students” understand that this phrase is intended to quietly prescribe project-based learning for all high school students? To marry vocational with academic for all students? To insist that schools be linked with the “adult world of work and learning” and that it is that mandated nexus that constitutes “high standards”?

Before I talk further about the federally-financed, 1998 New Urban High School Project that spun out the High Tech High that is now held up as the exemplar of world-class learning or its 2008 Update called “Seeing the Future: A Planning Guide for High Schools” that made it clear that this vision would be applicable to all high schools and every student in each and every community, I want to go back to explaining what is wrong with such a Project-based Learning mandate in the first place. Imagine that we were invited to visit the lovely island of Tortola in the BVI as part of the Social Science Research Council meeting held there in 1989 with so many of the education professors interested in using education for transformational change of the West and its institutions at what was known to be a pivotal time in the world.

Well, we weren’t invited, were we? We will simply have to rely on the book created by participants in that meeting (many of whom already had tags on this blog because of their promotion of Vygotsky and Cultural-Historical Activity Theory) called Distributed cognitions: Psychological and educational considerations. When I was preparing to write this post I discovered an article by an Alex Kozulin called “The Concept of Activity in Soviet Psychology: Vygotsky versus His Disciples” which revealed just how active the deceit has been about the real purpose for pushing these instructional changes. Kozulin tells us that when the first major work of Vygotsky, Thought and Language, was translated into English it eliminated virtually all of the references to Marx, Engels, or Hegel and the philosophical and methodological discussions.

In other words, we in the English speaking world were to get the practices without a heads-up on the purposes. That, of course, would be known to anyone who spoke Russian and many of the behavioral scientists pushing the work. American taxpayers and parents though, if they were even aware of Vygotsky, got referred to the cleansed and much-shrunken (318 pages in Russian to 153 in English with fewer words on each page). Since this blog does not do sound effects I cannot say “we wuz robbed” in an irksome, high-pitched voice, but we were being lied to systematically from the get-go about what was sought for education just like with the “critical thinking” and outcomes-based education we have been covering.

Two of our Tortola-invited profs well-known to ISC readers, Michael Cole and Yrjo Engestrom, were kind enough to tell us what cultural-historical activity theory and its better-known sibling in our curriculum now–project-based learning–was intended to disrupt. They quoted an anthropologist from 1942, Leslie White, describing the capacity that makes human special animals and it is the capacity that transformational education or what I call Radical Ed Reform in my book MUST disrupt, impede, erect an insuperable barrier in front of, etc.:

“man differs from the apes, and indeed all other living creatures so far as we know, in that he is capable of symbolic behavior. With words man creates a new world, a world of ideas and philosophies. In this world man lives just as truly as in the physical world of his senses…This world comes to have a continuity and a permanence that the external world of the senses can never have. It is not made up of the present only but of a past and future as well. Temporally, it is not a succession of disconnected episodes, but a continuum extending to infinity in both directions, from eternity to eternity.”

That capacity reenforces building up from the world as it currently exists in light of what has worked well or poorly in the past. In other words, that capacity is in the way of political power whenever and where ever it seeks to usurp decision-making power away from the individual and bestow it to public officials at the local, state, federal, or UN/OECD global level. As my book made clear those goals had begun in earnest by 1989 in the West, especially the United States. As this blog has repeatedly made clear with cite after cite, similar goals of social, economic, and political transformation are occurring now.

The public sector at every level wants to be in charge of us and what we can become. Rather than be honest with us that they now insist on Overlord Status with no ability to escape, they are using a reimagined type of K-12 education especially to invisibly create the desired barriers. At its core that is what Project-based learning, cooperative learning, required Critical Thinking, mandated assessment of Higher Order Thinking, mental health assessments, social and emotional learning apps for students , and constructivism generally are all about: creating minds and personalities amenable to subjugation by the public sector.

And no, subjugation is not too strong a word. I am not sure slavery is either, except this time the chains are to be imposed via formative assessments and classroom activities at a neurobiological level. Cole and Engestrom tell us that the unification of the social and physical sciences like that by changing culture and then locking those changes into place at a neural level was what both John Dewey and the Soviet psychologists always wanted. Why what a wonderful reason to lock those instructional practices into place for all students in every state and then hide those mandates. Cole and Engestrom admit one more time in their own words what must be disrupted if transformational schemes of a different sort of future are to be realized. (my bolding for emphasis)

“only a culture-using human being can ‘reach into’ the cultural past, project it into the future, and then ‘carry’ that (purely conceptual) future ‘back’ into the present in the shape of beliefs that then constrain and organize the present sociocultural environment  ..

The public sector, politicians of both parties at every level, think tanks of every label along the spectrum, foundations, business cronies, self-confessed radicals are all desirous now of using K-12 education to sever that “assumption that the cultural future will be more or less like the cultural past.” Rather than saying so to our faces and dealing with our ire, we get lied to repeatedly. I believe that is why the New Standards Project simply rolled forward in 1998 in many states and six urban districts. That’s why this New Urban High School Project began at the same time and then became updated in 2008 ready to have its covert influence on all US secondary schools without anyone bothering to confess what was up.

I think this is why no one wants to talk about WIOA and its clear determination to force a planned economy in every state.  This playbook released recently makes it quite clear that plans for the entire state’s economy and all the K-12 system should be rolled into  each state’s strategies going forward.

All the active deceit involving the NCLB Rewrite and misportraying its actual language and the clear purposes has the same ultimate goal. Public sector power without confessing as much. This post is running too long to cover all of the stated purposes of the New Urban High School Project. Let’s just call attention for now to the admission that “the great power of School-to-Work is that it situates students in the adult world of work and learning, confronting them with unpredictable situations, new perspectives that cut across subject matters, and invaluable lessons in dealing with people in the world.”

School-to-Work as it is envisioned as part of this Project-based learning remake of US secondary schools severs that historic constraint that linked the cultural future with the cultural past because that cultural past ceases to be the classroom focus. There goes the constraint and no one need be the wiser. Just lots of hype about engagement and the Whole Child and how “exemplary School-to-Work practice puts students—their observations, their actions, their reflections—at the center of learning.” The hype continues without anyone admitting how well the barrier to the cultural past is being created at the level of each student’s mind. Instead we get this salesmanship, “inclusive and democratic [STW] invites students to participate in the creation of new designs for learning.”

The fascinating part for me is that both the 1998 and 2008 reports talk about each student being able to meet their district or school’s “common core goals” such as listed Habits of Mind, Student Learning Objectives, or the skills laid out in the notorious SCANS report of 1991. All of these are examples of listed “common core goals.” That means that the list of desired generic personality traits and skills your school or district is mailing out or creating as a poster on school walls is the real ‘common core’, whatever your state decides to rename its poorly appreciated state ‘standards’.

Anyone else feeling lied to and the object of social engineering to create a new kind of citizen for the future?

See why what is going on in K-12 matters to everyone even if they have no children?

Locking in Marx’s Dream: Psychophysiological Means Precisely What We Fear as the Real Goal of Education

I always feel odd writing down that infamous name, but as I learned when I was researching my book, Uncle Karl is never very far away from the theories behind the actual classroom implementation. Sometimes the link is too direct and too huge in its implications for me to use a cute euphemism either. Especially when Marx is cited directly as the support that leads to all the current hyping of Neuroscience and Brain-based instruction. How direct? Well, Etienne Wenger from our last post wrote a book Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning, and Identity that I found deeply troubling. Diving into the relevant footnotes pulled up a book I had never heard of that turned out to be $800 used on Amazon when I looked.

Not wanting to eat PB& J sandwiches for the next 6 months to secure a copy of The Concept of Activity in Soviet Psychology, I decided to go internet surfing to see what cited Soviet psychologist AN Leontiev actually wrote about “The problem of activity in psychology.” In case you haven’t noticed, the requirement of active learning and a shift away from print, lectures, and textbooks is what I would call omnipresent in the real Common Core implementation. Knowing how crucial learning tasks are I thought I would gain some more useful insights. What I was not anticipating was for Leontiev to lay out aims and practices I recognized from all my research and then cite repeatedly to pages from Marx and Engels or from some of Marx’s other works.

Suddenly euphemisms won’t do, not with stated aims like using education and carefully crafted classroom or digital virtual activities to literally “lead to a reconstruction of the ensemble of brain psychophysiological functions.” If the aim becomes analyzing which kinds of student activities produce what types of physical changes in their brains, it sure would explain all the interest now in functional MRI, adaptive software, and longitudinal data. When I read those words and others being attributed by Leontiev to what Marx and Engels really desired that are as provocative as stating:

“This convenient formula [of separating psychology and physiology] leads into a greater sin, the sin of isolating the psyche from the work of the brain”

Waiting until the next book could be published simply will not do. Just last week, independent of this research, someone asked me if I was familiar with the White House’s new Fattah Neuoroscience Initiative. The answer was no, but it did not take much insight to guess that it would be linked to John Holdren, which turned out to be quite correct. is some recent testimony from him on all that federal activity involving the physical structure of the human brain. Notice though that Holdren leaves out that Digital Promise and the League of Innovative Schools also report to him and they happen to be carrying out precisely the kind of education activity that Leontiev wrote about.

Holdren also leaves out his long time ties to Paul Ehrlich and his stated desire for Newmindedness no longer grounded in a logical, rational mind. Just think of the implications of all this Neuroscience and Grit, Perseverence research for Ehrlich’s current global research project–MAHB–the Millennium Assessment of Human Behavior. Now that I have reminded everyone of the real current links to where K-12 in the US and globally is going, let me add one more thing. I found this graphic Leontiev book on servers at the Laboratory for Comparative Human Cognition at UC-San Diego. The place where Michael Cole and Yrjo Engestrom [see tags] have created the global base for Cultural Historical Activity Theory in the years since the Berlin Wall fell.

Happy 25th anniversary for that Happy Event by the way. Let’s commemorate that Death of Tyranny by continuing to expose that so much of the ideology we thought we were leaving behind in 1989 came on into the West invisibly through a new kind of psychology and a new vision for K-12 education. To bury such destructive required collectivism once and for all we have to know it is there. If you have not yet read my book Credentialed to Destroy: How and Why Education Became a Weapon, get it.

The findings on this blog are not a substitute for it. They are the icing, cherries, and birthday candles. It simply keeps getting more pertinent with time. Given Leontiev’s disclosures though, we simply cannot escape the fact that everything now envisioned for the K-12 classroom globally in the 21st century is based on  a decision “at the beginning of the 1920s” in the Soviet Union to “consciously structure psychology on the basis of Marxism.”

Specific cites and everything. That psychology is sensory in its base, not mental as we have historically assumed, which really does explain all the links in the previous post. It is a view of psychology and education that “in the modern world psychology fulfills an ideological function.” Yes, which is why Leontiev keeps mentioning its use to create a consciousness in people suitable for a “socialistic, communistic society.” All three words, just like that. Apparently all our encounters with communitarianism and the references to meeting needs are part of this vision linked now directly to Uncle Karl. There’s that softening euphemism again. I guess I just cannot quite adjust to open proclamations of intent of the sort Leontiev uses:

“It must not be said that psychology has exhausted the treasure chest of Marxist-Leninist ideas. For this reason we turn again and again to the works of Karl Marx, which resolve even the most profound and complex theoretical problems of psychological science.”

What do we do when the actual and only support for what a charter or Principal or District Office or foundation grant are mandating for a K-12 classroom turns out to be Karl Marx’s social theories for how to gain the kind of brain and personality that would fit his vision for the future? Here again is what Leontiev wrote, the old view of psychology and education:

“isolated cognition from sensory activity, from the living practical ties of man with the world that surrounded him…Introducing the concept of activity into the theory of cognition, Marx gave it a strictly materialistic sense: For Marx, activity in its primary and basic form was sensory, practical activity in which people enter into a practical contact with objects of the surrounding world, test their resistance, and act on them, acknowledging their objective properties.”

What happens when doing all that as a physical, sensory activity involving group participation becomes the very assessment of student ‘achievement’ or Growth?

What happens when the purpose of digital learning is to access a student’s internal “picture of the world” so that learning tasks, virtual reality gaming, and adaptive software can provide virtual and physical experiences to alter that picture in desired ways? Ways that are chosen by others for their intended effects on the student at a physical level.

What happens when, having cited to Marx and Engels on the effect of vocabulary and words generally on consciousness and perception, educators then do everything they can to limit vocabulary, manipulate the words and concepts that are supplied, and minimize the historic role of print on the mind?

What if K-12 education seeks to circumscribe human thought in the 21st century so that it is “nothing else but a derivative of practical activity”? With the stated goal being a “true solution to this problem of the origin and essence of human thought.” And why is human thought problematic?

Because independent rational human thought with access to a store of facts does not submit to Overlordship easily. All these required practices hiding now as pedagogy and Effective Teaching are all actually about subjugation of the mind.

And personality too. Leontiev’s Chapter 5 has with a lead-in header of “Personality as a Subject of Psychological Investigation.” How’s that for aspirational? Do free societies do that nonconsensually using deceit? That analysis, by the way, has to get to the relationship of “motives and needs” just like innovative education seeks to do.

Let’s end with an aspiration that does explain all the intended use of social and emotional learning and an emphasis on the Whole Child. It fits with all the current UN hype of the post-2015 Sustainable World that will meet the needs of all. It fits with the goals we have encountered that we become a “Spirit Society”. This is how Leontiev ended his vision of a new kind of education arising from a scientific, materialistic psychology grounded, he declared, in Marxism:

“Lost from view here is the fact that it is necessary also to go through a transformation of material consumption, that the possibility for everyone to satisfy these needs does away with the intrinsic value of things that satisfy them and eliminates that unnatural function that they fulfill in private ownership society…”

Lost no more and just in time. Historian Richard Pipes in the book mentioned in the two previous posts pointed out that even animals show repeatedly that acquisitivesness is innate. Trying to dislodge what is innate via K-12 Whole Child education premised on practical activity and social participation is simply not going to end well.

Now would be a great time to start recognizing the ancestry of all these required changes in the nature of education.

No more euphemisms. Not with the stakes this high or the aims so personally intrusive.

House of Tomorrow: Targeting Behavior Change Requires Move Away from Declarative Knowledge

If you hang out in the dungeons and attics of the Transformation Blueprints like I do, one of the omnipresent confessions that is crucial, but not making it into the public domain YET, is that classroom activities and experiences are now “aims-based” or “goal-directed,” not “subject-matter based.” History, math, literature, or science course names still get used, but it hides the new broader purposes of social change. They have ceased to be, unfortunately, ends in themselves. The very phrase “standards-based” over the last two decades is also intended to hide what is indisputedly a shift to a personal behavior emphasis that is still too obscured.

This post is designed to remedy that and build on the facts and declarations laid out in the recently finished APUSH trilogy as well as particularly Chapter 7 of my book–“What if Common Core Actually Limits What Everyone Can Know or Do While Targeting Feelings,  Beliefs, and Values Instead?” The Question that Grows in Pertinence on a Daily Basis. Often times the best way to illustrate what is being required in education is to consult a professor in another area, who is unlikely to mask his statements about what is intended. Do you remember the London School of Economics where that troubling Fabian Stained Glass window has now found a new home? As a symbol of reverence, not infamy, unfortunately.

Back in 1994, LSE’s then Director, sociologist Anthony Giddens, kindly explained the role of History to political radicals in a book called Beyond Left and Right. It matters because not enough of us appreciate that the Fall of the Berlin Wall, death of Mao, or dissolution of the USSR, never altered the widespread desire for History to be progressing somewhere. If facts get in the way, education becomes the preferred tool to get the process headed in the desired direction again. Tell me this quote is not behind the spirit of the activities I spelled out in the previous posts: “For socialists, the past is not comforting; it is valued at most because it has provided the means whereby we can actively move on to grasp and appropriate the future.”

If you make K-12 education about altering and creating desired feelings, values, beliefs, perceptions, and behaviors (performances or learning are the preferred K-12 euphemisms obscuring this reality), education can supposedly create the conditions for the House of Tomorrow.  When I write posts explaining the NEA CARE Guide created with the Southern Poverty Law Center to use in the Common Core classroom or the Aspen Institute’s  RETOC-Racial Equity Theory of Change, tie those intentions to highlight race, class, and ethnicity to create feelings of grievance or guilt to Giddens telling us that Marxism’s allure for so many is and was the “metaphysical idea that history, in its more consequential and revolutionary moments, is made by the oppressed.”

If that quote seems a bit too ‘metaphysical’ for anyone’s taste, let’s simply make real-world problem solving the focus of K-12 education, and see if the classroom over time doesn’t create a consciousness precisely as Uncle Karl would have wanted. In 2013 the Journal of Teacher Education for Sustainability published a helpful confession from Erin Redman complaining that traditional education and declarative knowledge like facts, lectures, and textbooks were too “value-free, didactic” and “one-way methods of communication” (instead of the now glorified classroom ‘Dialogue” among ‘Equals’).  Education in the 21st Century is supposed to be about long-term behavior change from an unconscious basis at the level of each individual. Those Aims or Goals require “require real-world, experiential and problem-based learning.”

Thanks for the honesty even if it is tucked away. Keep in mind the calm assertion that “Behavioural scholars have, however, clearly established that the linear, information-deficit approach [aka Transmission of Knowledge of the Best that has Been Thought or Done by the Sages of the Past] to education is insufficient in promoting behaviour change.” Since we have been concentrating on what these Aims and Goals do to history coursework, let’s end with the recommendation that this Normative view of the purpose of curriculum results in a suggestion for “shifting away from scientific facts as the primary discourse in sustainability.” That ‘s why it’s so important to emphasize feelings and the Whole Child.

It is why Procedural Knowledge gets so hyped now in the form of the Skills Deficit. That is the needed action-related process knowledge and how-to skills useful for real-world transformations. Effectiveness Knowledge now gets hyped because Beliefs about the Need for transformations in the present to alter the future are very much influenced by “perceived consequences associated with different behaviours as well as beliefs about who is responsible for given outcomes.” That’s the Aim that really finds factual knowledge to be an obstacle since it might prevent viewing the assigned Villains as culpable or notice that local politicians will blow even more money if given ever more planning power.

But then I am no teenager and we have already concluded I would be on the first shipment to Perception Re-education Camps to extinguish Factual Knowledge as an Impediment to Fundamental Change. The typical adolescent will be easy prey though for classrooms built around: “One of the central ways for enhancing effectiveness knowledge is by focusing on problems that are locally relevant and at a scale with which students feel empowered to act, while also examining the positive impact of individual and collective change.” Lack of much factual knowledge, unless the parents have stepped in or the child is the rare fluent, voracious reader, means that a capacity or willingness to conceive of any negative impact is unlikely happen in most classrooms anymore.

Finally, “social knowledge (i.e. norms) encompasses subjective and local knowledge including the motives, intentions and actions of other people. In order to enhance social knowledge, it is critical that sustainable behaviours are positioned as the normal and the desired way to act.” Objective, norm-referenced tests of knowledge have to go away quietly in this sought scenario for the future since they center on Declarative Knowledge. Radicals always needed alternative assessments to examine whether the desired behavior and attitude changes were occurring and what strategies and concepts are used when there is no correct answer and not enough information is given. Today’s Rigorous Assessments merely build on what was known as the New Standards Reference Examination in the 90s Created again by the Mother of both Higher Order Thinking Skills as well as the related term Rigor, Professor Lauren Resnick.

We should simply view them correctly as Cultural Activity Research on our kids with our tax dollars. Remember the ISCAR 2011 Conference in Rome, Italy? It’s all about Aims-Based Education too. Transformational Aims with Political and Social Purposes. Just like the Common Core or 21st Century Learning or Competency-Based Instruction now. It’s all about Behavior Change if we climb down to the dungeons or up to the attics or just trace back to the footnotes in the typical Aspen Institute Report.

Those interested in fundamental transformations in the political and social spheres that is the Progressive View of the Role of History now need the tool of K-12 education, if not preschool as well, to reach those same Aims and Goals. It’s why so many education graduate degrees today openly trumpet their grounding in Change Agent Theories. To make students the mass carriers of new cultural memes and behaviors without most parents or the typical taxpayer even being aware of the shift. That’s the purpose of all the Orwellian language that has me climbing down, then up, and flipping back to those footnotes again and again.

I may have to understand all this at a very nerdy level just bursting with facts and wordy declarations of intent to once again try out notorious theories in the real world, but that is not the level where most people live. When I explain what is intended in order to get real traction in the real world, I always have to find ways to bring these intentions into the everyday lives of my readers. Unfortunately, though, I am not the only one who understands that crucial point.

In fact, the shift away from Declarative Knowledge to granting parity to subjective ways of knowing and interpreting, along with that targeting of Procedural, Effectiveness, and Social Knowledge we have just talked about, is all about meeting people and students at the level of knowledge that “guides conduct in everyday life.” Just the arena, in other words, if long-term behavior change is the admitted (if only quietly shared among insiders), new Goal or Aim of K-12 education.

Behavior Change Architects intent on Political and Social Transformations to kick History Back into Gear on the Planned Pathway of Change would need to appreciate each person’s “subjective experience of reality.” To get at the perception of reality held by the “common-sense of the ordinary members of society.”

That’s what alternative ‘high-quality’ assessments like the NSRE above got at and what the Common Core and formative assessments get at now. It’s what adaptive software gets at as well.

Then we have performance standards under their variety of masking names like College and Career Ready or Next Generation Learning to capture and then remediate over time behaviors, values, and attitudes that are not desirable for transitioning to the Planned Pathway for History.

Not to mention what all the social and emotional programs being sold as Character Education or Bullying Prevention or Positive Behaviors for the Whole Child do.

Am I finally reaching the everyday recognition of what is coming at all of us?

Anesthetizing Any Ability to Blow Up Or Contaminate a Chosen Politically Useful Narrative

In both adults and children it now turns out. We all are to have our ability to accurately perceive what is going on around us, its true causes, and the likely consequences under deliberate, guided assault. We get to be inadvertent active participants in fundamental transformations we might object to if we were aware. All the coordinated lies or declarations in conferences we are not invited to and books and reports we were never to see. I have seen them though and it propels this compulsion to play Paul Revere to yell “The Bad Ideas that are a-coming” to a classroom, newsroom, or PR campaign soon. Some are already in place with unfortunate psychological effects unappreciated by parents and taxpayers lured into believing that higher graduation rates or greater levels of “student achievement” or Student Growth are necessarily a good thing. Instead, many are masking changes in personality and deliberate efforts to “shatter the rule of law and regularity in the mind.”

That last quote was from a Chapter called “Direction for Human Development” in that The Great Adventure book I mentioned in the last post. Before we discuss what is planned, I want us to remember the game of Red Rover most of us played as children. As adults if we happened upon kids arguing over a badly bruised arm or shoulder injuries from a determination to hold tight against breaking the grip and accusing the fast, aggressive runner who broke through of deliberately wanting to hurt them, we would recognize the problem. Everyone intended their respective actions, but no one gave any thought to consequences beyond their own goals. Think of all the plans for credentialing students, teachers, and administrators to be change agents. Fundamentally transforming economic, political, and social systems they have deliberately been given false understandings of.

Misapprehension of what actually works, why elements really do not, and what all the likely consequences of the sought actions will be. The creators of these theories want everyone involved playing as if they were still children in Red Rover, moving through the POWER Model and securing data as to what to do next. Totally unable to accurately perceive what is bound to occur, lest that inhibit future action. In that same chapter the authors confess:

“Our use of representation, leaving immediate experience behind, and living within the confines of our constructs [or as my own children call it when I am writing ‘mom’s been in her head all day thinking’] can be particularly limiting. If we use our capacities to build edifices of knowledge that are fundamentally static and closed, we can become trapped in limiting worldviews, strangled by our own assumptions.”

Unwilling then, of course, to be Change Agents to try to force changes in the real world that will redirect history going forward. That’s why “a reform in thinking is needed…a kind of thinking that does not reject uncertainty and ambiguity [and in fact nurturing this capacity is what the hype about Rigor and Higher Order Thinking Skills is all about], but rather feeds on [the uncertainty, ambiguity, lack of a correct answer] it for a constant process of self-eco-re-organization.”

It’s no secret that I believe there is a connection between the mass school shootings and their links to communities aggressively pushing using school to dissolve the rational mind and manipulate perception from the inside-out. Today though we are talking about how all this invisibly goes global and why. The ties to violence in the past though are a component of why I am so worried. The social radicals seeking wholesale transformations have always known that “education and learning are what chiefly drive us at all the levels of activity explored by psychology, sociology, political science, economics, and all the other fields of social science, systems science, the humanities, and what we call spirituality, as well as in every other human activity that—as it most clearly does involve evolution—calls out for a newly inclusive definition and a vastly expanded and updated theory and story.”

Our Toronto planners and friends (look here from 2011 to Common Core and 90s version architect Lauren Resnick and her involvement with the International Society for Cultural and Activity Research Scientific Committee ) really are targeting prevailing mental maps for extinction and extensive alteration. To gain the very real transformations in the actual world that so many involved in public policy are determined to have, the necessary target is “the bottom line is the perception of large masses of people–a perception oriented by the paradigm that dominates their society.”

So that paradigm, that is nurtured by fluent reading and algebra problems and geometry proofs, has to go. Without admitting that true explanation. My thanks here to the reader who pointed out the work of the FrameWorks Institute and their Strategic Frame Analysis. It describes the lies and how a perception marketing theme is uncovered and how to make sure it is not blown up or contaminated.

One of the biggest prevailing memes now–that everyone must go to college–is generally cited to Professor Anthony Carnevale of Georgetown. In an earlier version of his life he was the author of those New Workforce Training Manuals that so much of the real implementation guidelines appear to be lifted straight out of. I had looked into his background before since so many pernicious recommendations he or groups citing him are pushing for go back to a previous paper he wrote. In other words, a foundation of druthers, not factual research. That’s why I loved that he put his detailed CV in one of the manuals, apparently taking the equivalent of a victory lap. Not knowing 25 years later it would be damning.

Carnevale wanted us to know he was a Board member of the Carnegie-sponsored National Center on Education and the Economy that was created after those 1985 Carnegie agreements between the US State Department and the USSR. I think that is why Carnegie sponsored the Competency-Based Learning Summits in 2011 to get Next Generation Learning across the hype of the Common Core. It’s why Competency to me looks so much like the essential skills Carnevale laid out as Learning to Learn in the 1990 manual.   Carnevale also listed having been the governmental affairs director for AFSCME, the union for state, county, and municipal public employees, the only area of union membership that grew in the last half of the 20th century.

It is Carnevale’s degrees that remind us how to use education and learning changes to invisibly drive cultural changes in collectivist directions without admitting what is going on. Or gaining consent. He listed a BA in “intellectual and cultural history” from Colby College, a rather euphemistic phrase to disguise a Marxian view of history as a process of cultural change in prevailing mindsets. An MA in “social science and public administration” from Syracuse is again quite consistent with wanting social science to be able to design human [that would be people like us], social, economic, and physical environmental systems like cities going forward, just as our Toronto planners and Cultural-Historical Activity Theorists all have in mind. (Wave to Michael Cole and Engestrom too if you click on the ISCAR link). Finally, his PhD is from the Maxwell School of Public Affairs. Billing yourself as an ‘economist’ for deference to your beliefs that the public sector should control the economy seems to me to be False Advertising in order to get Theory into Action.

Everyone wants to use education and the media too to alter how we perceive the world in predictable ways.  To again get political theory into action without admitting it. Our Toronto planners in the “What Should It Look Like” chapter though gave us something else highly useful in their plans for cultural change without permission.

“In bringing the ‘active agent’ into the picture…we come to what used to be billed as the dialectical perspective. During the twentieth century the words ‘praxis’ and ‘dialectical’ became taboo within much of science and Western society because of their historical association with the ‘dialectical’ materialism’ of Marxist theory, communism, and the grim years of the Cold War…[but] “because of its enduring intellectual power…and reached its philosophical high point with Hegel, Marx, and Engels [that’s continued open admiration and reverence, folks!] has been resurrected under other names in cybernetics, chaos and complexity theory, as well as in new ways in the works of most of the authors of these chapters, as we’ll next see.”

I am going to pause here for a second. David Loye is saying that virtually all the theories guiding K-12 and higher ed ‘reforms’ are grounded in some of history’s most notorious collectivists. To mask that fact, various labels likely to be difficult to understand are being used. I guess to stop any opportunity for a blow up or contamination during the process of fundamental transformations. Now what Loye said next takes us to the very heart of the new envisioned K-12 classroom as well as what the 4 Cs of 21st Century Learning are really getting at. Here goes, with the italics as usual in the original.

“The basic dynamic for dialectics is the idea of two or more ‘forces’ and their interaction, either in conflict or working together, which shape our lives into what becomes known as history or human evolution. (Thanks to Marxism, the dialectical model is misrepresented as being solely restricted to conflict…to remedy this problem, the idea of dialogue, or the dialogical model is used to describe the alternative of two forces that complement or otherwise peacefully work together.)”

Puts a whole new spin on group projects, doesn’t it? And the omnipresent word Du Jour–collaboration.

I am going to stop here as following up on this brought me all sorts of startling real-life consequences, including the use of these Dialogic Design principles during the lead-up to the 2008 Presidential campaign and what MOOCs really intend to accomplish.

This would be easier to bear if these theories were in a sci fi novel instead of a book and blog devoted to real-time revelations.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Something to keep in mind.

Digital Trilogy’s End and Perhaps Ours? Revolutionary Transformation as Explicit Goal of the National Ed Tech Plan

In 2010 the US federal Department of Education issued the National Education Technology Plan (NETP) report named Transforming American Education: Learning Powered by Technology. It calls explicitly for “revolutionary transformation rather than evolutionary tinkering.” Thereby confirming the worst fears of anyone concerned the Common Core was some sort of an attempt to nationalize ed policy. Now I maintain the feds are actually plugging American ed into the internationalization of ed as a vehicle for systematic change with UNESCO and also the Paris-based OECD as the lead drivers but that is not today’s story. But do keep that in mind as part of the why. The Grit Perseverance Report and Digital Promise and media education and the computer gaming as classroom activity and assessment are ALL part of NETP.

So is the Common Core State Standards Initiative that I just abbreviate as CCSSI. Its purpose is described in NETP as creating the standards (used consistently and interchangeably in report as a synonym for outcomes in students) and new alternative assessments to “measure 21st century competencies.” Now I will come back to all this while you mull over the fact that CCSSI was always merely a temporary means to force states and local school districts to make the desired shifts laid out in the NETP and its collateral documents. That were never really intended to be widely read or known about.

CCSSI takes the political heat. NETP lays out the real sought transformation. Except it’s the same transformation at the level of the individual student and future voter as what was sought in the 90s as well. And we know that because in numerous places NETP mirrors both UNESCO’s DeLors, The Treasure Within, report from 1996 and Chapter 9, “A Curriculum About Humanity,” of the Paul Ehrlich book New World New Mind that I wrote about in the last post. Think of it as a long sought global vision for ed.

So why do we need to change what goes on in the classroom? Because we need to literally change the way people think says Ehrlich: “most important, we have to shift our understanding of ourselves as separate individuals, each seeking our own welfare, to an understanding of how we fit into social, biological, and physical environments.[a Blue Ribbon for every reader recognizing that description of Urie Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory graphic] It is not that increasing scientific knowledge makes learning morals obsolete, but that the new world we’ve created makes the nature of moral choices unprecedented.”

Now hiding a deliberate shift in values, attitudes, and beliefs through adaptive software and in vague terms like competencies and 21st century skills and learner outcomes and social and emotional learning to supposedly prevent bullying and create mental health for all is obviously a great back door in for such a Change the Way We Think goal. Especially if you want to teach all these needs to alter moral choices “to children right at the beginning of their education.”

Remember Ehrlich was writing back before the Internet and today’s generation of videogames and stunning, visually compelling multimedia graphics. So his suggested way “to introduce young children to a new view of humanity might be through a cleverly crafted series of Saturday morning cartoons. The first might present humanity, metaphorically, as one single animal. We could show that if humanity were one animal, that ‘creature’ would now weigh more than 100,000 times its original weight. Think about an animal growing until it is now 10 million times more powerful than it was at birth. Wouldn’t that creature have to behave differently at the time of its great power than in its great power than in its weak infancy?”

Now before I continue on with the quote, I want you to keep that intentional manipulation via visuals and emotions on impressionable children in mind from now on every time you read or hear of an intention to use technology in the classroom to engage all students. Or here’s another quote from the NETP “leverage the learning sciences and modern technology to create engaging, relevant, and personalized learning experiences for all learners that mirror students’ daily lives and the reality of their futures.” Elsewhere, NETP lays out technology’s ability to assess non-cognitive features like motivational influences and to do it through virtual reality simulations that can assess personal responses “within the context of relevant societal issues and problems that people care about in everyday life.”

Ehrlich, much like all these education professors whose theories we have looked at, wants to figure out how to change people’s perceptions of their daily reality. Here’s the rest of the quote from above. Ask yourself if Ehrlich would be a fan of David Christian’s Big History curriculum we have discussed.

“If we imagined humanity this way, we and our children could begin to think differently. Instead of pondering the local problems of our own life, we need to think about the collective life of our species. If, instead of thinking in terms of decades, centuries, or even the millenia of recorded history, we contemplated our history for many millions [italics in original] of years, then the problems we now face would take on a vastly different purpose.”

Well if that doesn’t give additional clarity to all the hyping about catastrophic man-made global warming whatever actual temp trends or trumpeting weather events like Hurricane Sandy as proof of too much “carbon” in the air, how about the acknowledgment that “If we could teach this understanding of our history and capabilities, both students and adults might begin to channel the development of humanity in new directions.” Directions that, like NETP’s vision for revolutionizing education, have a likely effect of making people far more malleable to being governed. And more susceptible to the social engineering aspirations of the behavioral sciences.

If you think of curricula in the 21st century not as a body of knowledge but as the prescribed set of learning experiences, it is a lot easier to see that learning sciences and cognitive theory as mentioned repeatedly in these reports as what the new classroom is to be about gets you to Ehrlich’s New Mind goals. Here’s another quote consistent with his intent that “the key to getting new-minded adults seems to be training them early.”

“When we say change the curriculum, therefore, it is really a code for saying change the whole society (since curricula are determined largely at the local level [Not anymore! How convenient.]) and changing the entire education system. It is a big order, our survival depends on it, and it is a task for grown-ups.”

Preferably those grown-ups with an Edudoctorate and a title to mandate all these changes that seek to transform society invisibly at taxpayer expense. These Supers and profs and principals and overpaid consultants have all been totally immersed in all these learning theories that are either political theories that track back to Uncle Karl or based on Soviet psych research. The lack of genuine knowledge in the typical ed degree program at any level leaves these Determined to be Change Agents almost the last people to be able to appreciate the likely dire implications of what they are pushing. Or its known tragic history.

Let’s get back to the NETP since it really is how the federal DoEd and the foundations and the tech companies for starters intend to get Ehrlich’s New Minds in a sufficient number of voters to drive the rest of the sought changes through the ballot box. Two explicit goals that actually sound nice and worthy drive this entire transformation of the ed system. Which of course is intended to drive revolutionary transformations in everything else.

Goal Number 1: “We will raise the proportion of college graduates from where it now stands (around 41 percent) so that 60 percent of our population holds a two-year or four-year degree by 2020.”

That’s a requirement that forces the nature of both K-12 and higher ed to change so that we have equity in credentials without real knowledge. Which in turn sets up voters who are likely to have expectations for their adult lives that cannot be met under current economic and social structures. They will have no idea that it is government interventionism and overregulation and the “learning sciences and theories” themselves driving the economic stagnation. They will thus be ready to vote for every demagogue promising change.

Goal Number 2: “We will close the achievement gap so that all students graduate from high school ready to succeed in college and careers.”

That second goal again forces changes on what can go on in the classroom since no achievement gap is allowed despite different life experiences, parenting, or language issues. The emphasis on ready to succeed again fuels the drive to reform higher ed AND the nature of the workplace AND the nature of the economy.

It will then become a necessary role of governments to ensure that anticipated adult success. Which is really convenient as I will lay out in the next post what the planners have in mind when they say they want governments to be the designers of new social systems.

For all of us.

Say what?



Digital Promise and 21st Century Skills as the Long-Sought Rapid Change of Minds for the Future

When I was looking for a way to explain what the effects would be from seeking new kinds of minds and personalities through ICT and tracking affective responses, I remembered the 1989 book New World New Mind: Moving Towards Conscious Evolution. Now I do occasionally pull books off the shelf to help illustrate a point vividly but the link of that book to the Digital Promise and 21st Century Skills initiatives is actually quite direct. is a July 31, 2013 story on the meeting of League of Innovative Schools Supers and Admins with reps from the federal DoEd, the White House Domestic Policy Council (this push is a high priority for this Administration), and the Office of Science and Technology Policy. John Holdren heads OSTP and his long-time mentor and associate Paul Ehrlich of hyping various global catastrophes fame (with his own tag) co-wrote the New World New Mind book. Ehrlich mentioned and thanked Holdren for his help on the Acknowledgments page.

Chapter 8, “The Beginnings of Real Change,” makes it clear this is a global program to use education to change “the nature of our minds and the training we give them.” According to Ehrlich and Robert Ornstein: “although the problems that humanity now faces are immense, at least they are of our own making. The mismatch of our brains with our environments has been produced by millenia of effort, by the skill, ingenuity, and drive of our species–by the very minds that are now out of step with the world they live in.”

Ornstein and Ehrlich wanted to extinguish that independent ingenuity and drive some people have through “a revolution in the way we bring up children and in the way we teach and what we teach.” They recognized, as all of us now need to, that traditional “schooling also changes the structures of children’s minds significantly [they mean at a physiological level]. Reading, writing, and arithmetic, so commonly taught, are not [emphasis in original] natural acts of the mind, but are radical transformations of the way the nervous system operates. The mind’s default positions are for talking and listening…”

Which is precisely why talking and listening as the purpose of the Discourse classroom, and required projects and group collaboration and communities of learners, is such a huge focus of the actual Common Core implementation. It is why print literacy is minimized and media and digital literacy are held to be just as important. It’s not a better way to learn. It’s an active pursuit using ICT of these New Kinds of Minds. After all Joel Klein, head of Rupert Murdoch’s tech-focused ed subsidiary, Amplify, actually said that was the goal to my face at a luncheon last fall.

So New Kinds of Minds remains the pursuit almost 25 years later and the other Ehrlich/Ornstein goal then becomes changing prevailing attitudes on politically useful topics. Cultural-historical activity theory or CHAT is a learning theory imported from the USSR created to change  the course of the future by changing the dominant culture itself. Through school specifically but also education generally. I’ll put it this way CHAT theorists also care about what stories get pitched on the nightly news and what the headlines read. What themes will the typical person come to believe are an issue as they go through busy lives? One of the CHAT theorists, a Finnish prof who also works in the US. Yrgo Engestrom (also tagged), kindly put his Learning by Expansion’s theory’s purpose into explicit published words in 2010.

The article acknowledges a reality that the Supers and ed profs and principals do not bother to tell parents, politicians, and taxpayers so I will: “there are two basic metaphors competing for dominance today: the acquisition metaphor and the participation metaphor.” Now I will stop quoting Yrjo for a minute to point out that the entire actual Common Core classroom implementation this blog has been describing is dedicated to requiring the participation vision. Using misleading terms like equity and excellence and Quality Learning to get there. As I have been explaining, every entity that has a legal ability to regulate or mandate what goes on in the classroom is insisting that participation now win this competition. And it gets hidden in the insistence on group projects and collaboration. But Yrjo was even more graphic about what his and other CHAT learning theories are designed to do and change.

The key dimension underlying the acquisition vs participation “dichotomy is derived from the question: Is the learner to be understood primarily as an individual or as a community?” The participation purpose comes down on the community side of that question in direct contradiction to the West’s historic belief in the primacy of the individual. That is the question at stake in all these ed reforms. Pushing for this new answer behind our backs and without our consent is precisely what Digital Promise and 21st Century Skills are really about.

Yrgo again kindly says there are three more dimensions at stake with all these learning theories like his that are designed to push participation as the new radical vision of education to create “new activity structures for society.” Think workplace, neighborhoods, political processes. These ed profs and administrators have great ambitions while they are living at taxpayer expense. In each of these questions, it is the part I bolded after the “or” that is what is stealthily coming at us like a high-speed freight train whatever our state says it is doing on the Common Core. And in other countries too. Oh, and the ICT focus is a huge tool for gaining this shift.

*Is learning primarily a process that transmits and preserves culture or a process that transforms and creates culture?

*Is learning primarily a process of vertical improvement along some uniform scales of competence or horizontal movement, exchange and hybridization between different cultural contexts and standards of competence? [Think of this as hip hop being as valid a means of communication as a well-written insightful factual paper]

*Is learning primarily a process for acquiring and creating empirical knowledge and concepts [reflects reality in other words] or a process that leads to the formation of theoretical knowledge and concepts?

Now theoretical knowledge and concepts is of course another term for ideology but what do you expect from a theory designed to achieve massive social change as a direct successor to Uncle Karl’s now infamous theorizing? Yrjo leaves no doubt where we are all going with this quote: “While traditional schooling is essentially a subject-producing activity and traditional science is essentially an instrument-producing activity, [expansive] learning is an activity producing activity.” [his italics]

Now that kind of graphic lay out of intent to create transformative action in students is what is coming to our classrooms but the graphic warning is nowhere in sight. Instead we get far more innocuous sounding initiatives being paid for by the National Science Foundation such as Janet Kolodner’s “Learning by Design’s Framework for Promoting Learning of 21st Century Skills.” Janet is also the listed PI for the troubling and related NSF Cyberlearning push that I described here Now Janet’s CV is simply too solid for me to believe that she really thinks that a case-based method that is suitable for adult med students, who have a well-stocked brain of knowledge and analytical skills to be where they are, is somehow suitable for middle schoolers who generally have neither.

The truth is the whole Next Generation Science and Learning By Design and Case-Based Learning is just a rejection of science as an “instrument-producing activity” as in sharp ingenious minds or new unapproved technology without saying so. What Ehrlich and Ornstein sought in their book so long ago. It’s the excuse for a classroom centered around social interaction and designed to limit the cultural transmission of knowledge built up over generations that makes humans a very special species and some people downright extraordinary in their impact on all of us and the direction of civilization.

Kolodner sees people as “goal processors who make our way through the world trying to achieve our goals” which strikes me as a horrifically hobbling vision for the future. Like so many other reformers she wants to shift our daily perceptions going forward and limit us to our previous experiences coupled to theoretical framing school will provide. Yrjo would approve. The end result of these classroom activities are students who are adaptable to uncertain, new, and rapidly changing conditions. Which of course the ed reforms intend to drive. Students who are capable of complex communication and social interaction. The world trembles at the thought of a superpower preparing ALL students to be in the habit of listening and asking questions of each other and making presentations. We also get students capable of non-routine problem solving and self-management which is starting to sound a great deal like David Conley’s definition of College and Career Ready  created for the Gates Foundation.

Finally, students learn to be good systems thinkers and to see themselves as embedded in systems. Even if it is not true in reality, it is such a useful metaphor to get students to see themselves as part of a community instead of an independent individual.

No wonder Paul Ehrlich is running around giving UN presentations that humanity is more than 5 years into a global program to radically change human behavior.

Yes indeed, driven by education reforms that are poorly understood and collectivist political theories masquerading as learning theories.


Experimenting on American Children with Soviet Psych and Political Theories as Federal Policy

What’s that line from the movie Casablanca about “of all the gin joints in all the world you had to walk into mine?” I read so much troubling stuff, from theories to open declarations, that I tend now to take what is going on for granted and try to figure out ways to explain it.  When I read statements about research into “characteristics of users” I know users refers to actual children and their personalities and what makes them tick and what their family background is. When a federal report talks about “solid evidence of combinations of user characteristics and specific adaptations that matter” the report wants to use American students as guinea pigs to see what it will take to make students change behaviors and feelings and values and other motivational factors. The report seeks to examine how the level of resistance or ease corresponds to personality traits and family back ground.

When I first read released by the federal DoEd in February about “assessing noncognitive features” I knew the feds wanted to investigate feelings and beliefs and values at a horrifically intrusive level that does not belong in a free society. is a piece I wrote more than a year ago explaining that under the US Constitution the feds are targeting areas that constitute personal private property that is supposed to be off limits. I had no idea then at the level of sought intrusions, only that I was looking at principals and Supers who seemed to assume there were no barriers except personal ambition on what they and their staffs could do to students in the classroom. Think of it as a cultivated belief that a title or Ed doctorate authorizes all except sex with an underage student or embezzlement.

The recognition that the schools plan to conduct cutting edge research through “learning sciences theory” into “metacognitive factors” that have previously been inaccessible in a mass way and use “educational data mining and learning analytics [to] uncover patterns of learner behavior” that can lead to “insights as to whether alternative A or Alternative B is more promising” was alarming when I read it in that federal report. It also put the controversy last winter when both Glenn Beck and Michele Malkin did stories on the hugely troubling Grit, Tenacity and Perseverance Report into context. .

Grit, tenacity, and perseverance are all the so-called “metacognitive factors” the federal DoEd wanted to use digital learning to do research into. When the stories came out the media dutifully responded with attempts to portray the stories as out-of-line, over-hyped to get readers and viewers, and consistent with a black helicopter view of the world. A rather strange way to characterize accurate reporting of an official federal agency report. That had been quietly released without publicity.

The critical reports would have had more bite if Beck and Malkin and others had known about “Expanding Evidence Approaches Learning in a Digital World” that laid out the broader research agenda. Especially looking at all the Recommendations on page xii that the federal government wants to do or have others push with its support. And great gratitude with its coffers of taxpayer treasure and ability to regulate to show its thanks. When recommendation 2 says “Learning technology developers should use established basic research principles and learning science theory as the foundation for designing and improving digital learning resources,” the feds are saying to the private sector and venture capitalists that to gain the lucrative education contracts, they need to design based on the cultural-historical activity theory that radical professors who studied with Soviet psychologists like Luria and Leontiev developed. The theory that rejects individual mental thought altogether except what is picked up from personal experiences interacting with others. I first explained this shift here

Coincidentally I was actually reading a 2005 book this week called Culture & Context in Human Behavior Change: Theory, Research and Applications to clarify why this new sociocultural emphasis for the classroom that comes from Soviet psychologist Lev Vygotsky had become so vital to the actual Common Core classroom. The book kindly informed me that references to improved student performance or achievement or learning are all euphemisms in sociocultural, learning sciences, theory for changed human behavior. And that emotions are a type of behavior. Comforting, huh?

So who are the lucky schools and districts doing this experimental research on their students to use computers as the Vygotskyian sociocultural tool that mediates thought and makes collaboration with others the whole point of education? Well the initiative is called Digital Promise and the feds are hyping that it is bipartisan and authorized by Congress. Arne Duncan also likes to call it an independent third party nonprofit which is rather Orwellian since the seed financing was $500,000 from the federal DoEd with another $2,000,000 or so from the Gates, Carnegie, and the Hewlett Foundations. The very foundations who asked for and underwrote that Education For Life & Work report rejecting traditional education research as too oriented to individual thinking. And its governing Board is congressionally appointed. Does anyone on the Rep side on Capitol Hill appreciate what CHAT and learning sciences theory is and why all this matters? Why getting digital and blended learning to US classrooms is an essential part of a stealth long-term political coup financed with taxpayer dollars?

The initial guinea pigs are students in the 32 districts and schools that have signed this Organizational Charter to join the League of Innovative Schools. Unfortunately one of the districts who signed was my school district, Fulton County. I was not following what Fulton was doing but looking at what is cutting edge research now. And Fulton, like many districts with a strong property tax base and lots of upper middle class neighborhoods, is quite full now with ambitious people who want to sell what they are willing to do to children as a means of getting the next promotion or maybe even their own school district to manage.

That’s how ed administration works these days. “What will you agree to do no matter how horrified parents, teachers, students, and taxpayers are? Are you good at deceit? Can you dissemble with a grin as if you care?” Many of the districts on that list like Chicago, NYC, Houston, and Baltimore are typical urban districts but in a suburban district like Fulton, administrators are agreeing to take high schools that used to regularly produce 5s on the AP Calculus B/C exam and leave students only with a “strengthened ability to leverage cutting-edge technologies and to demonstrate 21st century skills.” That’s vocational as the new definition of what it means to be college and career ready. Deliberately levelling down while targeting the student’s personality for change.

To get the desired “real-time updates about what’s working and what isn’t” means taking the taxpayers’ property and sales taxes and using it to fund human behavioral experimentation. On their own or neighborhood children. There is no term better known from the controversial BF Skinner era of behavioral research of Stimulus-Response than the Black Box as in “I don’t care what goes on in the Black Box of wishes, I can train people like pigeons.” So when Digital Promise’s Charter agreement says ” A series of micro-level experiments will be rapidly conducted to unlock the black box of achievement and discover how technologies should be used to make classrooms and schools work more effectively.” these districts and schools are agreeing to impose CHAT sociocultural theory on classrooms and then conduct the kind of noncognitive research outlined above. The research that cared about student characteristics and what it took to gain adaptation. Change within the student.

There are only a few countries in the world that are listed as attempting to carry on the type of research that the League of Innovative Schools has agreed to deliver up their students as sacrificial lambs to do. Denmark, Norway, the UK, and now the US. The type of shifts that will constitute the new learner outcomes and the planned shift in both the classrooms and future workplaces (the attached new type of capitalism, remember?) are laid out if you have the time in a 2010 book called Learning Across Sites: New tools, infrastructures and practices.

So once again what is masquerading in the US as the Common Core is actually part of a much broader global vision to use education and technology to remake the nature of the economy and society. In the West that did not just try to overlay Uncle Karl’s vision of the future on an agricultural society but went though the Industrial Revolution and created high levels of wealth and technology. It is redistribution time.

You know how one of the 4 Cs of 21st Century Skills is Collaboration? That Learning Across Sites book makes it clear that collaboration, either at school or the workplace, is NOT just joint activity. No, participants must see each other’s perspectives and appreciate each other’s experiences and aptitudes and collectively reach an agreement of how to proceed. Collaboration is priming the student to break down beliefs that he or she is entitled to their individuality. Instead, he or she is to adjust to being a contributing member of the group and a proficient user of the tools of technology.

I wish I was exaggerating or making this up. I wish I was straining to make pieces fit to tell a good story instead of dropping pieces into places they were created to fit.

I wish our children were not the next targets to be created to fit.

Muzzling Minds All Over the Globe While Trumpeting Higher Order Skills

One of the hardest aspects for those of us who have grown up in free countries, especially the United States, is to grasp what it is like to live in a society committed to having its citizens think ideologically. Through the prisms of political theory. With the lens of  models supplied and practiced with until the filtering becomes quite unconscious. Reflexive. Habits of mind common to almost everyone that are at the core of perceptions and daily behavior.

I should have had this insight last Christmas when a friend who had grown up behind the Iron Curtain began to tear up at hearing some of my stories on what was being targeted and why. She knew ideological thinking from her childhood. Maybe it was reading that 1988 KEEP book I wrote about a week ago on creating the “dialectical growth of concepts” to be interpretive and integrative filters in each child’s mind. I was ready to really grapple with this painful aspect of the real implementation template of these global education reforms.

But I think the epiphany started with reading The Devil in History by Rumanian emigrant, now Maryland poli sci professor Vladimir Tismaneanu, and phrases like “their [the Communist regimes in the USSR and Eastern Europe] main weakness was a failure to muzzle the human mind.” Oh. Just imagine importing their theories and this time trying on an unsuspecting West via unappreciated education reforms. Describing from his experience, you can imagine my shock at reading descriptions of “conceptual frameworks” that “acted to make sense of general experience for all: all real phenomena could be judged against it and were ascribed value, form and essence in its light.” Do you know how often I have encountered conceptual frameworks in tracking the real Common Core? CRESST itself even told the Hewlett Foundation reassuringly that the actual assessments would be built around those, not the content standards.

Tismaneanu in describing the “continual assault on the mind” he associated with building new values and beliefs and a new Identity (and yes those terms do get used interchangeably in Ideological societies along with Worldview) reminds us pointedly that:

“However socially conditioned the individual’s thinking may be, however necessarily it may relate to social questions, to political action, it remains the thought of the individual which is not just the effect of collective processes but can also take them as its object.”

I have never lived in a society where it is considered “seditious” to maintain your individuality but plenty of people have and they have written about it. When I first wrote this alarming post on Yrjo Engestrom and where I saw the Global Cities Education Network taking us , I grasped that he did not sound like he was describing a dead philosophy or theories. But I did not yet know that in 1991 he wrote an essay called “Activity theory and individual and social transformation.” Gulp. That sounds just like the aspirations we have been encountering. And it took some searching but this weekend I located a copy. On the servers at Harvard Graduate School of Education as an assigned reading. Maybe to go with the 10 Cs I first described here? And if you are not sure yet we are dealing with ideology notice how often trains get used as the desired metaphor. I am just repeating all the uses. Which begins to make more sense once we know that (from the essay):

“Activity theory has its threefold historical origins in classical German philosophy (from Kant to Hegel), in the writings of Marx and Engels, and in the Soviet Russian cultural-historical psychology of Vygotsky, Leont’ev, and Luria.”

OK then. That also brings in Urie Bronfenbrenner and his Ecological Systems Theory that is at the center of the Common Core Social Studies Conceptual Framework. And Activity Theory is now centered at UC-San Diego and Michael Cole’s CHAT research which I have mentioned several times. But the very First International Congress on Activity Theory took place in Berlin in 1986 with Cole and Engestrom participating. That’s about the same time that Cole was thanking the Carnegie Corporation for financing the importation of psychology theories from “our Soviet colleagues.” Following up on the links between the term “Authentic Pedagogy” and Vygotsky and Cole’s work pulled up a 1987 seminal document I had never seen before. Published by the National Academies of Science and written by Lauren Resnick (who would co-chair the New Standards alternative assessment project in the 90s version of these ed reforms before serving on the Common Core creation panel) the document is called “Education and Learning to Think.”

That report, which I found on a server listed as a Common Core Precursor Document, is the source for the now ubiquitous term–Higher Order Thinking. And that document also thanks Cole and his Laboratory for Comparative Human Cognition for related work that Carnegie also was financing. Thanks a lot Andrew. Might have been better to let your heirs dissipate the fortune with too many mansions and gaudy vehicles. Since Higher Order Thinking is such an important term to today’s actual classroom emphasis under the Common Core and Texas version but also the ancestry of these ideas, let me quote Lauren’s definition with her italics intact. And remember this is for all children. Concepts and expansionary thinking for all you might say.

–Higher order thinking is nonalgorithmic. That is, the path of action is not fully specified in advance.

–Higher order thinking tends to be complex. The total path is not “visible” (mentally speaking) from any vantage point.

–Higher order thinking often yields multiple solutions, each with costs and benefits, rather than unique solutions.

–Higher order thinking involves nuanced judgment and interpretation.

–Higher order thinking involves the application of multiple criteria, which sometimes conflict with one another. [We have discussed in other posts how this type of mental dissonance can force the need for new mindsets and models.]

–Higher order thinking often involves uncertainty. Not everything that bears on the task at hand is known.

–Higher order thinking involves self-regulation of the thinking process. We do not recognize higher order thinking in an individual when someone else “calls the plays” at every step. [Here Lauren seems to be alluding to sequential, linear mathematics or science where you learn theories that someone else developed and proved. AKA traditional math and science]

–Higher order thinking involves imposing meaning, finding structure in apparent disorder. [If that reminds you of RECAST, David Perkins of Project Zero is listed as involved with this report].

–Higher order thinking is effortful. There is considerable mental work involved in the kinds of elaborations and judgments involved.”

Well, it is my belief that all those are euphemisms for saying higher order thinking is ideological. It is training students to think in terms of assigned categories and imagine different futures for everyone one involved. Planning. Imagining a different economic structure. Other ways to organize societies. Solutions for alleged catastrophes. Creativity that is not impeded by knowledge of what worked or led to catastrophe in the past. Not your own conceptual understandings as gifted students have developed them through the ages but supplied concepts and models and definitions.

There were more congresses on Activity Theory and they were absolutely chock full of Russian psychologists. Which actually makes sense as I will show you in the next post that CHAT and what is now called ISCAR–International Society for Cultural and Activity Theory–are related to the so-called New Thinking that Mikhail Gorbachev transitioned to in the mid-80s as part of perestroika. And why it appears that the restructurings were not just physical but also altered mindsets, values and beliefs, and new interpretive theories. Global this time.

Remember Davydov and his Ascending from the Abstract to the Concrete as the new mode of ideologically oriented systems thinking was called? He died in 1998 and was revered at that year’s ISCAR Congress in Copenhagen where his planned address was read instead. The most recent Congress was in 2011 in Rome, Italy. Guess which names showed up as part of the International Scientific Committee for that ISCAR conference? Why that would be Michael Cole, Yrjo Engestrom, and Lauren Resnick. Just in time to make sure the US Common Core implementation and assessments align with ISCAR philosophy and those higher order skills criteria from so long ago.

In case you are too busy to check, the described foundations of ISCAR fit perfectly with what Engestrom described above in 1991 as the source of Activity Theory. Which is also the current basis for most education degrees in the US. Especially the Masters and Doctorates.

Now I am just getting started on all the links involved. And I have read too much history not to have a perspective on what we are looking at here.

But I want you to get used to an idea that I have known for a while but this time approached through a new direction.

The Cold War simply did not end quite in the manner we believed. And the potentials of Activity Theory and a stealth noetic assault on Western values and beliefs appear to be the reasons we were played.

It was a good strategy but unfortunately the answers of why lie in history and political theory books I have now read.

Digest the above revelations and then we will talk some more. And no I am not speculating here. This is way too serious for conjecture. But it is fascinating too because it also makes perfect sense. Actually more sense than the spun stories once you get used to the idea.