Targeting Each Student’s Beliefs About the Purpose of Life Influences Every Perception, Feeling or Action

We are dealing with a fundamental shift in the nature of education from the transmission of knowledge to targeting the “mental process that activates and/or directs behavior and action.” That quote is from a different William Huitt paper from 2005 called “An Overview of the Conative Domain.”  The schemers who have major plans to remake the way society and the economy work in the 21st century are quite familiar with the psychological and behavioral science research that says individual human behavior remains unpredictable unless you get at motivations and values and other drivers of action. We are the ones who see the word ‘conative’ and wonder if there is a typo. If you read that paper you will notice that the real David T Conley definition of College Ready that he developed in 2007 for the Gates Foundation fits at getting at the conative domain like the dovetailed joints of a Duncan Phyfe antique table.

Before we talk about what is being aimed at, let’s go back in history to a perceptive soul who had a ringside seat in Austria at what led to both the Great War launched in 1914 and then saw the rumblings again in the 1930s and fled in time. This is from a 1957 book published by Yale University called Theory and History: An Interpretation of Social and Economic Evolution. The author was talking about the popularity of utopia projects which is precisely what we are dealing with here again more than 50 years later as we have UNESCO and the OECD and school districts declaring Subjective Well-being and personal unconscious motivations to be within their jurisdiction of control.

Ludwig Von Mises noted these projects “enrapture the intellectuals. A few skeptics observe that their execution is contrary to human nature. But their supporters are confident that by suppressing all dissenters they can alter human nature.” And Von Mises was writing about the behavioral science temptation before Big Data and supercomputers. Ponder this quote from Tom Vander Ark, the former executive education director for the Gates Foundation, from his book Getting Smart: How Digital Learning is Changing the World. Tellingly it is at the beginning of Chapter 4 on Motivation:

“we need a much more sophisticated and individualized sense of what will capture students’ attention and cause them to persist through discomfort and distraction. Our ability to quickly and efficiently get and use a deep understanding of the intrinsic and extrinsic factors that together cause focused and persistent behavior in each student–a personal motivational profile–will fundamentally change education and the learning professions.”

And society and the economy too as we have seen in other initiatives of all these groups wanting such intrusive info on what does or will drive future individual behavior. Think of all this as Data for Utopian Planning. Since the typical school district administrator or consultant is unlikely to know history, let’s go back for Von Mises insights again.

“planning for eternity [which is precisely what Sustainability is seeking to do], to substitute an everlasting state of stability, rigidity, and changelessness for historical evolution, is the theme of a special class of literature.[Now it is the topic of many degree programs!]. The utopian author [District Super or Professor] wants to arrange future conditions according to his own ideas and to deprive the rest of mankind once and for all of the faculty to choose and to act. [Precisely what is driving Digital Learning and the Conative research]…There will no longer be any history, as history is the composite effect of the interaction of all men. The superhuman dictator [here we have multiple agencies and NGOs seeking the title of Planner-in-Chief but you get the idea] will rule the universe and reduce all others to pawns in his plans. He [think all the empowered bureaucrats here] will deal with them as the engineer deals with the raw materials out of which he builds, a method pertinently called social engineering.”

Now is the typical Super or Consultant or Principal thinking in those dictatorial terms? No but they are brooking no opposition either and their plans add up to those levels of intrusive social engineering even if the individual pushers are only motivated by greed or envy or just stupidity. It can also be all three. Maybe they cannot even spell the word ‘conative,’ much less define it. But they can still be a pusher for practices that are grounded explicitly in psychological practices from an Abraham Maslow or a Mihaly Csiksentmihalyi intended to transcend the conscious mind.” With a history of disastrous effects.

Last year I wrote two posts explaining first the PEAK model–Performance Excellence for All Kids–and its links to Transformational OBE and the tragedy at Columbine. And I wrote that before the conative researchers kept pulling in Abraham Maslow and his peak experiences as what they would be aiming for in the classrooms. Hardly seems possible that the acronym PEAK is coincidental. Do you know what the conative researchers say they must have to finally get their desired emphasis in place? Site-based management like School Governance Councils or Advisory Management Councils.

I wrote another post about the Achieving Excellence Model implicated in Columbine that is also relevant to what is being sought. I will link to that as well as the stitches in my right hand that made the blog go silent for almost a week have started telling me the rest of the story can wait for the next post. Quiet please. It cannot all wait lest this be coming to a boil somewhere else. . If you remain unfamiliar with the name Bela Banathy or the link of all this to systems thinking, you must read that post. More dovetailing by a Master Manipulator with blueprints of a utopian tomorrow through education.

This morning I discovered that the Achieving Excellence Program was actually international and the subject of a “School-Year 2020” International Conference in October 1988 as a joint venture with the McREL (where the term Second-Order Change now comes from) ed lab in Aurora, Colorado and a Norwegian education group, IMTEC. Anyone know of any tragedies in Norway involving schoolchildren? The Autumn 1989 issue of the 2020 Newsletter pointed out that “McREL’s A+ is a site-or school-based management system.” Now the accreditors are pushing all schools to this model but none faster than charter schools or charter districts.

Now last week Tom Vander Ark’s blog ran a puff piece from a taxpayer paid PR consultant touting the wonders of site-based management, Fulton’s charter, and its potential for “innovative practices.” Yeah, that’s not how School Governance works and the language of that charter is all about using technology, fostering life skills and soft skills, and closing the achievement gap in a diverse district. So we have taxpayer money going to sing the praises of the charter nationally while the former District Deputy Super who helped draft the charter now runs a consulting business training School Governance Councils in the district on their rights and responsibilities. While chairing the local school’s governance council and insisting when asked that this is no conflict.

The School Governance Council actually seems to have very few rights according to the parent-member who spoke last week at the PTA meeting. That was the same PTA meeting where the PTA turns out to have transferred $20,000 from the pot of required to join dues money to continue to fund Spence Rogers and PEAK no matter what the teacher and parent outcry. Even after a 60% teacher turnover since the training started.

The interest in the conative, the psychological change-the-child model, and site-based management are all inextricably linked. If you have a child at a school with one, you need to get to the bottom of what is considered to be student achievement or Growth going forward at your child’s school.

Take good notes and pay attention. The schools and too many politicians are engaged in a planned assault against students AND teachers.

And I am trying my best to arm everyone with the needed info and the nature of the conflicts of interest.

25 thoughts on “Targeting Each Student’s Beliefs About the Purpose of Life Influences Every Perception, Feeling or Action

  1. What if they don’t tell you what your student’s achievement is?

    Last spring, as usual, our kids in grades 3-8 took multi-day NY state tests in ELA and math. We were told that the tests were aligned with Common Core this time, and that they would be harder. Our sixth grader reported that they were more challenging, but he managed to answer all the questions. He didn’t notice any funny business with the questions, they seemed legit. We looked forward to the usual report over the summer telling us how he did on these tests, as they send every year.

    A couple weeks ago we all got an ominous email from the District telling us that scores and proficiency assessments were way down this year. Same happened in every other district. More grades “below basic proficiency”, less grades “advanced proficiency”. And we continued to look forward to the individual report they said was coming soon. It still hasn’t arrived. I’ve called the District to ask about this and gotten nothing. Two voicemails and not return phone calls. School for us starts right after Labor Day, but isn’t anyone around at least in the District office?

    I noticed that in the local newspaper serving another district in our county, it says that these scores will NEVER be released to parents. Something about “security concerns”. We are not asking to see the questions, just the scores! Imagine if your kid took the SAT and they never told you the scores. The only difference here is that these state tests are designed to assess the schools rather than the students. (I don’t know why the instrument would be different, frankly.)

    Bizarre. I feel we are being indoctrinated to expect less feedback and communication from the school. Also, if they fuzz this result up enough, in coming years they can put in the new-age Common Core curriculum and magically have the scores go up, and then we’ll be locked in, there’s no way we could go back to a curriculum that was “proven” to be inferior at raising student outcomes.

  2. The secrecy is fascinating, no? For what possible reason would the questions/tests not be available for public inspection and critique? Why are public school test questions locked in a vault?

    I was just surfing around today, looking for some pedagogical trouble, and, as usual, I found some. This is rather interesting, not only for its intellectual content but for its venue. Keep in mind this is from the graduate school of education at UCLA:

    This is from 2005, but its quite representative, I think, of much of what Robin’s been excavating here as so much of modern pedagogy seems deeply enmeshed, in one way or another, no matter the other concerns it promulgates, with “sustainable development,” environmentalism, deep ecology, and green ideology.

    Its just one great, blossoming watermelon patch, or so it sometimes seems.

    • Green on the outside and red on the inside. As Anthony Giddens says, it doesn’t matter if the theory is correct if it forces the desired restructuring.

    • Back in the early 1970’s when I took the SAT, the test questions were reused year to year and were not available for inspection. Actually back then we were somewhat carefree about it and had better things to do than trawl back over the test we had already ruined a Saturday for. My expectation is not that the test questions would be available for the state tests my son took last year.

      But they so far aren’t even telling me my son’s scores, and the rumor is that the scores are being hidden for security reasons.

  3. Oh my…

    It looks like this guy Richard Kahn is a certifiable sugar frosted flake. If you read the piece I linked to, you’ll see, if you have an educational background in this kind of thing, that his writing sounds reminiscent of the kind of thing one could find in the Daily Worker or in the publications of any Soviet front group present in United States from the 1930s through the height of the Cold War in the middle eighties. His piece written in 2005 as, apparently, a graduate-level term paper, is, as one can clearly see, an ideological rant devoid of anything that could remotely be called scholarship.

    Although we all understand American education to be quite thoroughly dominated by the Left, its still tempting to think that someone in an eccentric an orbit as Kahn could not possibly be taken seriously by even the powers that be in positions of key influence on what our little tykes learn and absorb K-12. Apparently, that temptation should be avoided.

    It didn’t take long to “discover the networks” here. I went to Kahn’s website ( and choose one of his essays at random. Here we find that “ecopedagogy” is a subset of critical pedagogy, which is, of course, a derivative of critical theory generally, the reigning ideology governing much of what goes on within the humanities and social sciences in higher ed and known colloquially as “political correctness.”

    A search for “ecopedagogy” found a number of hits, including this ( Eric (or IES) is the Institute of Educational Sciences and the research wing of the Dept. of Education. Alone with ecopedagogy, they are are, of course, deeply involved in Common Core (

    Its a short hop, skip, and jump, in other words, from a feverish eco-communist radical pseudo-intellectual who openly advocates support for domestic terrorism and political violence to the U.S. Department of Ed. This kind of thing must be the best kept secret of the century (almost), but with our present MSM, it can fester and grow in peace.

  4. Kahn’s piece, which I’m not sure I linked to, as the post hasn’t appeared yet, ” Ecopedagogy for a Posthuman Age,” was published in a book entitled “Critical Pedagogy in the Twenty-First Century: A New Generation of Scholars. Critical Constructions: Studies on Education and Society,” and is reviewed on the ERIC website:

    This is our tax dollars at work, as one might wish to point out.

    • Definitely designed to destroy axemaker minds and prevent anything that (in standard English) we would call deep learning.

      You’re supposed to learn the material then see how it fits. If the teacher tells you how it fits before teaching it, that can kill your independence

      Yep, just as Robin was saying.

      Doesn’t it make you want to strangle the second woman, when she repeats “Cues, Questions and Advance Organizers”, always the whole phrase as if it’s a mantra? Like “College and Career Ready” and all this other stuff that means something different from its apparent meaning.

        • Either that link is off, or the video just got pulled.

          To answer your rhetorical question: if you learn good stuff, it hardly ever becomes passe. The engineering skills I learned in school are not at all passe, over 30 years later. None of them.

          • Fixed now. Thanks for telling me. Worth your time. Especially when you look into the research he did for xerox in the 90s push.

          • I think they hope there are no Axemakers Minds listening who do not have their hand in the taxpayer and foundation grant money cookie jar.

          • Well David, this link sure puts that John Seely Brown link and the gaming vision into perspective.

   . There’s even an embedded link to a Brown essay promoting the sharing economy.

            Boy doesn’t it sound like Zuboff’s distributed capitalism and the cooperative commonwealth and all those other names we have encountered for a radically revised economic vision attached to these ed reforms?

            No wonder the footnotes keep leading me to a social and economic transformation. Means to a hoped-for end that does not look promising or prosperous to me. You just want to holler out “Hello! I know we aren’t invited to Davos but we do need to talk about this.”

          • I think the sharing model works well in NYC and San Francisco (bike sharing) because both are such wealthy cities with strong police forces. It’s an extra perk of living in the city. In NYC it really can take forever to get crosstown (between the east and west sides of Manhattan) and subways don’t even run that way very much.

            It would not work as well in a poorer city. The bikes would just get stolen. Like with schools. Trying to force sharing where there isn’t enough surplus (students have no surplus, they deserve to spend ALL their time productively) amounts to theft.

            A more organic solution for a sharing economy is described here: which is a sort of a local Craigslist for rentals and has no involvement of government. But I don’t see a good analogy with schools. Requiring students to spend their time on group activities in the Common Core manner isn’t it. Schools are fundamentally not an economy. I think that was understood when we required education and forbade child labor.

          • The sharing economy and collaborative consumption at the level of what the mayors say they are seeking does actually dovetail with what Shoshana Zuboff laid out in her Support Economy book from about 2003.

            It’s also consistent with Gar Alperowitz’s vision and Neva Goodwin’s new economics textbook that we have also covered.

            The vision of the schools and the economy for these people is seen in terms of a series of social relationships nested within each other with the person at the core but it’s a view of the person that maintains there is no separation from others.

            Von Mises went on to point out:

            “While the group-mind school tried to eliminate the individual by ascribing activity to the mythical Volksgeist, the Marxians were intent on the one hand upon depreciating the individual’s contribution and on the other hand upon crediting innovations to common men.”

            Some things remain eternal like saying all differences are due to environmental factors but the drive to prevent innovation anytime a government views it as a threat to its own power seems eternal. You really did get spontaneous exchange and trade developing initially in places where central authority was weak.

            I frequently say this vision won’t work. It’s why it is so important to talk about it now.

  5. Regarding secrecy, i was assured of the absolute safety of the data collected in my 8th graders NAEP testing by the headmaster. There was an outside monitor, different tests for different kids, some got calculators sone didn’t. They would not show me the test or questions. I have read since that 60% or more are personal questions such
    as ” how many books do you have in your house? “. So why if the questions are secret and subjective and personal, perhaps graded by a temp from craigs list with an unknown rubric, would any of this data collection have any validity? Espe ially over oyr childs future?? It is absurd. But as we continue to tolerate our abusers and their abuses we continue to get what we deserve. It is not going to suddenly change to all good and classical education these schemers have been at this for decades and and they are a juggernaut. like the scene in apocalypto when only the sudden
    full eclipse of the sun puts a stop to the bloodthirsty entertainment of human sacrifices, a brief reprieve giving opportunity for escape, and enough courage to run or fight. We need an educational eclipse.

    The secrecy is a huge RED FLAG!!!!

    • Madmommy-you can tell much about whether the school’s focus remains academics or whether they have transitioned to OBE and if so how aggressively.

      You were in the filter while I played chauffeur to 2 dance classes at a studio nowhere near my house. Ugh.

    • Madmommy, did you try debriefing your 8th grader about the test, especially in the evening of the same days he/she was taking it?

      Every day when my 6th grader was taking the NY state tests, we asked him how it went and whether they were normal test questions. That’s why I am pretty confident there wasn’t much funny business in the questions themselves.

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