Uncloaking Mandarins, Oxymorons, and the Leap Frog Straight to Wave 4 Education Reforms

Let’s go back in time again to pertinent facts that prominent people do not bother to mention in describing whether they are “pro-Common Core” or “anti-Common Core”. In the 80s, it turns out, most everyone that matters now had a common vision for the “reinvention” of public education and where and how it should be carried out that still controls the actual implementation today. Now it is firmly mandated by federal law that is far better understood with some of these old quotes taken from the the Educational Excellence Network created by the well-known Diana Ravitch and Chester Finn back in 1981.

I thought I had used juicy quotes in my book Credentialed to Destroy explaining the links between the Common Core and competency-based ed now and what were called the Reading and Math Wars in the 90s. Maybe that legacy is why people pretend to be for (or against) something that functions precisely as what they once funded or advocated for. Never pointing out those relevant links. I do think everything gets put into the accurate frame though when someone in charge acknowledges that ‘Curriculum Frameworks’ (someone should have told the Catholic Schools that that term actually was in use long before ‘standards’) are always about “fundamentally new notions of school curriculum” and that the implementation therefore:

“will be complex. They require paradigm shifts in understanding math and science, shifts that basically require a brand-new view of mathematics and science. The good news is that teachers and local educators are responsive to these new views. But full, deep, and complete implementation of them is likely to take at least several years of concerted effort.”

Public controversy over what was usually just thought to be Outcomes-Based Education threw off the full implementation in most places and the real purpose of the Common Core was to get everyone in K-12 education anywhere in the United States (actually the world, but this is a post not another book) on the same page as what was laid out first in the 80s. It appears to me that much of the anti-Common Core organized effort has been coordinated and financed by groups with ties to both the pro-Common Core effort as well as that Educational Excellence Network (EEN) and its vision.  The Internet and the computer servers it accesses can be purged, but not all the old books that were written crowing about that new vision. Once the details are laid out, it has not been hard to get copies of enough verifying sources to prove the consistency of the vision to what federal law now requires and what is being pushed as School Choice on President-Elect Trump.

Old books then are almost as good as HG Wells’ Time Machine so let’s consult them in earnest. California was the first state to roll out Curriculum Frameworks and it started with math and science with language arts (what we know as the infamous Whole Language) and history in the following year. Diana Ravitch was co-author of that California History-Social Science Framework while she also served as Director of EEN. Chester Finn left to be an Under Secretary of Ed under Bill Bennett between 1985-1988 (during Project Education Reform: Time for Results) . Here’s a short overview of the shift away from facts and towards what we now call in statutes “higher order thinking skills” and “challenging academic standards” in ESSA that must be assessed annually for ALL students.

“Subsequently, concern about the technical core shifted toward a curriculum that emphasized concepts rather than isolated facts, thinking and the creation of meaning rather than passive knowing, and problem-solving and expression so that knowledge could be used to address meaningful problems. There has been a corresponding shift in instructional strategies away from just direct instruction on a narrow view of issues to a complex set of instructional strategies that promotes inquiry, active learning, group cooperation and social cohesion in a heterogenous classroom.”

That’s the real reason academic tracking had to go away. The Wave Theory has nothing to do with the beach unfortunately and was a means to lay out the phases of state education reforms since 1983. The 1987 California PACE Study found that the needed change in teacher practices and support for the kind of “demanding curriculum” laid out above (Wave 3) needed a new conception of schools and how they would work (Wave 4).  Wave 4 then is what now goes by the euphemism School Choice and it presupposes and is designed to accomplish that kind of wholesale transformation of school content and what is to now constitute knowledge.

Here’s the money quote–“Wave IV involves a restructuring of school organization  and resources to support fundamental changes in curriculum and instruction. The restructuring typically involves shared decision-making, site-based management, major curriculum reform and a renewed sense of teacher professionalism. But rather than seeing these reforms in isolation, Wave IV involves linking these reforms to changes in the schooling experience for students.” Being an Education Advocate, Insider, or a nominee for the Department of Education who claims to be “Anti-Common Core” and “Pro-School Choice” is to either be deliberately disingenuous or to fail to understand the factual history of these education reforms.

That is not a tear at Ms DeVos and other discussed nominees are even more tainted by these ties to EEN. The same Bradley Foundation that helped finance the book in the last post also financed EEN as well as the 1987 Bradley Commission on History in Schools. Let’s quote from a 1989 book published by EEN as it sounds remarkably similar to the California vision and Wave  3. “To develop judgment and perspective, historical study must often focus upon broad, significant themes and questions, rather than the short-lived memorization of facts without context. In doing so, historical study should provide context for facts and training in critical judgment based upon evidence, including original sources, and should cultivate the perspective arising from a chronological view of the past down to the present day.”

A less convoluted way to say that would be to cultivate a Worldview to guide each student’s future perception and their interpretation of daily experiences. That is what curriculum reforms and learning standards now like the Common Core have in common with what California and the EEN pushed in the 80s with common financing of both EEN and School Choice, then and now. In his 1991 book We Must Take Charge, Chester Finn thanks both the Olin and Bradley Foundations for their support of EEN as well as special shout-outs to both Lamar Alexander and Bill Bennett. Since both of these men would also serve on the Education Policy Committee of EEN in the early 90s with so many others who are well-known School Choice advocates, before EEN closed up shop formally and rolled into the Fordham Institute in 1996, let’s look at that book. I will note first though EEN’s path. Columbia U, then Vanderbilt where Finn was an ed prof, then the Hudson Institute, and now Fordham.

“Conservative’ is another adjective that is an oxymoron when applied to public policy think tanks engaged in advocacy for this transformational view of education. Let’s think of how useful it has been in obscuring this actual agenda to pretend it is conservative or locally-based. In a 1986 paper, “American Schools and the Future of Local Control,” that points out that School Choice will allow per student spending to no longer be tied to property taxes which vary community to community, Finn and his co-author Denis Doyle from yet another think tank, AEI, that likes to cloak its advocacy behind that ‘conservative’ oxymoron, admitted that School Choice was actually ‘radical’ and that local control was an “antiquated doctrine.” Not in today’s rhetoric when the School Choice lobby wants taxpayer money.

In the “New Constitution for American Education” chapter, Finn said in italics that “in the United States in the 1990s the outcome we must concentrate on and gauge our success by is cognitive learning.” In other words, governments at all levels, cloaked by declaring their intentions to be a matter of public policy pursued by think tanks, decided that the internalized functioning of each student’s mind was theirs to dictate, control, and assess. Since that reality would never be sanctioned by informed parents and taxpayers, this actual vision and intention gets obscured by rhetoric about standards, Excellence, School Choice, and a ‘thinking curriculum’. It’s not just the mind being targeted either. Finn reiterated that: “let me say it again, if we are serious about guiding the moral, spiritual, and emotional development of all our children, we cannot limit ourselves to government.”

All institutions and people connected to education must subscribe to the same vision that seeks to build a desired Worldview into Habits of Mind. In reality that is what School Choice has always been about. It’s why homeschoolers will need to take ‘high-quality assessments’ to check for the presence of the desired Worldview and motivating values as a condition of accessing Education Savings Accounts. It is how this contagion that wants to design, monitor, and control human thought itself gets put invisibly in place. Supposedly as an aid to better decision-making. Finn stated that America needed a “universal mastery of a common core is what will hold us together as Americans, equalize our opportunities for happiness and prosperity, and revitalize the nation’s civic, economic, and cultural life.”

In reality, it puts governments at every level in charge of all these areas, using education as a transformation process, for what each student must internalize as the basis and motivation for future action. It turns out that my old books made it crystal clear that ‘public policy’ is just a euphemism for governments assuming control instead of individuals themselves. Market-based public policy then is just another oxymoron cloaking who is now to be in charge and what they intend to do. I wrote Credentialed to Destroy and then started this blog with its prescient title because I wanted to try to make the hidden, but provable, transformation visions visible in time. Transformation is just another euphemism for a revolution. This one is quite nonconsensual and intended to be invisible and permanent at a neurobiological level.

I will close with another Finn/EEN quote that also explains why controlling Worldview is so important. Think of the anti-Common Core/School Choice coordinated manipulation as being about cloaking the reality below the treeline.

“In any real revolution, only the treetops are visible. The roots, trunks, and branches that support them are concealed in the minds and hearts of the populace. This is why revolutions only succeed when a revolutionary spirit invades people’s attitudes and actions…”

That would also explain the Deceit and False Narratives surrounding Social and Emotional Learning Standards, wouldn’t it?


21 thoughts on “Uncloaking Mandarins, Oxymorons, and the Leap Frog Straight to Wave 4 Education Reforms

    • Interesting Jane should bring up Philanthropy Roundtable as my original source on the Educational Excellence Network and who funded it originally came from their site. http://www.philanthropyroundtable.org/site/print/1982_educational_excellence_network The Bradley Foundation is created in 1985 and almost immediately begins to fund visions of ed reform that align with the Rockefeller Foundation’s 1980 vision Humanities in Everyday Life for a revised K-12 curriculum. Jane’s boss, Princeton prof Robert George, is on the Board of Bradley, which also funds the Harvard School of Government’s PEPG, which we will cover next. So the charges of “government-foundation cartel” are something APP, who Jane works for and Atlas Network members generally all use. Pot calling the kettle black basically.

      All the hyping over local control doesn’t fit with the facts in this and the previous post, but Jane Robbins is one of the Queens of the False Narratives. Not that uncommon with lawyers as they create the story they are paid to push all the time, especially in courtrooms but also in print. I guess Salem Communications, which Owns TownHall, wants to push false info on K-12 ed reforms so they gave her a platform. In both the “Cogs in the Machine” APP/Pioneer paper as well as the writeup on Catholic Education Beyond the Common Core use information that came directly from footnotes in my book Credentialed to Destroy without giving any credit to where the information came from and the only place it had ever been put together. This game of what are they willing to disclose and intellectual property theft to make herself appear authoritative on education appears to be some kind of sanctioned, organized effort. Since I know this cold, having read all the cited books and sources and so much more I can see what is being grasped at, misconstrued, left out, etc. Basically it has served as the gingerbread crumbs to help me uncover the why behind all this deceit.

      That article actually contradicts Greg Forster’s piece that came out yesterday from Ed Choice on the purpose of SEL Standards. https://www.edchoice.org/blog/next-accountability-part-5-get-want/ That is a doozy of a confession, especially the desire to see that “students genuinely internalize the transcendent goals of education…nurtuting individuals who achieve and appreciate things that are true, good and beautiful as faithful citizens of a free and diverse community committed to living in harmony…” It won’t be the student deciding what is True, Good, and Beautiful or determining what is a faithful citizen.

      EdChoice was the name chosen by the Friedman Foundation which is also involved in PEPG. The Friedman Foundation was formed in 1996 to push the School Choice vision covered in the last two posts in Indianapolis, where the Hudson Institute is also based. So in the same year that EEN rolls into Fordham based in DC and Ohio that decides it will only be about ed reform, another related entity forms in that same city to keep the School Choice hype going. That entity is also an Atlas member like Hudson, Fordham, Pioneer, APP, Heriatge (where Finn’s co-authot Doyle had shifted to when he was a member to that EEN Committee). Moreover, when Greg Forster wrote a supporting article http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2011/05/3263/ hyping the Education Next (financed by Bradley and the print arm of PEPG) story on the Bill Evers led PEPG push “Closing the Door on Innovation” to create the Right Pincer false narrative on usurping local control that contradicts what Chester Finn acknowledged in this post from 1986. The Witherspoon Institute is also founded by Robert George and is essentially a sibling entity to Jane’s employer, APP. Fascinating connections, huh?

      There is a coordinated, false narrative going on around the Common Core and School Choice and somehow someone is worried that DeVos may not be as reliable in what she pushes as fed Ed Sec as other candidates might have been. As I wrote in the comments on the prior post I too am concerned that someone from Jeb’s board was picked, but given what I know I was not going to like anyone prominent in education reform since the reforms do not work as either side has presented to the public.

      Finally, and I noticed this in the “After the Fall” paper too, Jane is trying to equate competency-based ed as workforce development and it is so much more than that. It’s also why it is so crucial to know that OBE is a product pushed by local authorities who simply lie to the public about the nature of what they are pushing.

      • This morning’s Politico states that this is an organized media push by APP. “A conservative anti-Common Core group, the American Principles Project, is launching a media push against Betsy DeVos, President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for education secretary. DeVos has aligned herself with organizations that support the Common Core, like the Foundation for Excellence in Education, which was founded by Jeb Bush. Amid pushback last week, DeVos said that she has never supported the standards. But that wasn’t enough for the American Principles Project. “Perhaps she now recognizes that the standards lock children into an inferior education, as evidenced by stagnated or diminished student performance on national tests,” writes APP senior fellow Jane Robbins in the conservative news site Townhall. “If so, she should admit her error and commit herself to work vigorously to fulfill Trump’s promise to restore local control and end federal ties that bind states to Common Core.”

        Interesting as the ties cited above are just the beginning of how PEPG works and the ties among Harvard, Hoover, and Fordham on this issue. I did these posts in a particular order for a reason. Am checking to see what happened with email notification of yesterday’s post.

    • I would like someone to ask Ms DeVos what she believes is the definition of personalized learning and whether she thinks this is an appropriate decision for governments in a free society to be making. http://www.knowledgeworks.org/sites/default/files/knowledgeworks-recommendations-new-presidential-administration-2016.pdf

      This theory of K-12 education where the student is a system where his or her mind and personality are manipulable at will, while parents are misled to think the Growth and Learning are factual is horrific. Ask her what she thinks of government’s specifying a desired trajectory for what the student is to become. At least the Rockefeller F is honest about its intentions on how it intended to use education and the social sciences. We cannot have the honest discussion we are entitled to have in a free society with all these false narratives abounding.

      • I don’t see how you get from the content of this document to the contention that “the student is a system where his or her mind and personality are manipulable (sic) at will.” If you read this document http://education-reimagined.org/, you will see that learner centered education, powered by 21st century technology, combines the rigorous acquisition of knowledge based on achieving clearly defined competencies with the skills and dispositions every child needs to become a successful, contributing adult.

        • I am not basing what I am saying on a single document. What is your definition of ‘knowledge; by the way? Rigor?

          You might also want to take a look at the new IES paper released today on Executive Function and its distinctions between crystallized knowledge and fluid knowledge. It clearly sees the student as a goal-seeking, purposeful system. We have also covered the ACES acronym on this blog this fall–Anticipatory Cognitive Embodied System.

          What precisely are you objecting to? If you are saying that the student’s mind and personality are not being manipulated now via education, especially via adaptive learning and 21st century technology as you call it, you are contradicting many official reports confessing intentions to do precisely that.

          I take it this is you? http://www.inacol.org/about/board-of-directors/dr-gisele-huff/

          And this http://learningaccelerator.org/about-us/board-of-directors

          And this http://www.gettingsmart.com/2010/08/gisele-huff-executive-director-hume-foundation/

          Back to wrapping.

          • Fortunately, if one simply goes to Getting Smart and types in the requisite name in the search field the info. in the last link above ( now vanished) will appear.

          • It has been taken down since yesterday? Why, because of her mention that the states are the best place to regulate education? Or, perhaps, we will see the link between that story and Tom VanderArk’s work with GEFF 2035?

            Here’s a 2011 interview where everyone involved pretends there can be a “free market” in education. https://ssir.org/podcasts/entry/gisele_huff_philanthropy_and_the_free_market_in_education

            I read SSIR and know what it advocates for and what it defines innovation to be. Do we really think the Rockefeller Foundation would be involved with sponsoring its upcoming webinars https://ssir.org/webinars/entry/the_gig_economy_complimentary if we were talking about actual free markets? This fits with all the ties between the Hoover Institution and Brookings.

            Here https://www.hekademia.com/blog/gisele-huff-honored-with-a-life-time-achievement-award-for-her-work-in-education/ she says “learning is about relationships”. Funny, that’s precisely what Riane Eisler says and we have covered her role in GERG-General Evolution Research Group and who else is involved. This is all just following-up on this desire to evolve consciousness and culture without that being accurately perceived in time.

            I am perfectly willing to have a factual discussion on the issues raised and I have a library behind me. I also have iNACOL papers describing what they mean by ‘knowledge’ and ‘attributes’ to be internalized as desired within the student. My consistent position going back to when I wrote CtD to starting this blog is that if the implementation of these learning standards, by whatever name, is accurately understood, political authority at every level is assuming a role only found in authoritarian regimes. We have ceased to be a free society as traditionally understood.

            The only way out is for this reality to be widely grasped and consistently attacked for what it is trying to do. We have no obligation to have this discussion at the level of the preferred rhetoric as if the terms being used do not have documentable meanings contrary to what most parents and taxpayers are being led to believe.

            Merry Christmas to me is having CtD selling more copies this December than last. That’s a nice trend.

  1. The role a Ravitch is playing is very interesting. The left pincer clamoring and parroting her every word. Saying there’s an agenda there is unfathomable to many.

    • Remember my writing about the Holmes Group in CtD? The staff director was part of the Bradley Commission as was the Executive Director of the Paideia Group, Paul Gagnon. Thomas Bender was also a member, which may explain why Stanley Kurtz called attention to him in his APUSH criticisms without ever explaining what a shift to a Conceptual Framework approach actually means.

      William McNeill was also a member. He was one of the first people Obama gave a Medal of Freedom to and I have never seen his body language more relaxed. If you remember there are videos of McNeill and David Christian of the Gates-financed Big History discussing their new approach to history.

      This is what the Commission that Ravitch was a part of had to say about the Habits of Mind it wanted students to develop as the ‘principal aim’ of history:

      “* understand the significance of the past to their own lives, both private and public, and to their society.
      * distinguish between the important and the inconsequential, to develop the ‘discriminatory memory’ needed for a discerning judgment in public and personal life.
      * perceive past events and issues as they were experienced by people at the time, to develop historical empathy as opposed to present-mindedness.
      * acquire at one and the same time a comprehension of diverse cultures and of shared humanity.
      * understand how things happen and how things change, how human intentions matter, but also how their consequences are shaped by the means of carrying them out, in a tangle of purpose and process.
      * comprehend the interplay of change and continuity, and avoid assuming that either is somehow more natural, or more to be expected, than the other.
      * prepare to live with uncertainties and exasperating, even perilous, unfinished business, realizing that not all problems have solutions.
      * grasp the complexity of historical causation, respect particularity, and avoid excessively abstract generalizations [I made a note that Ascending from the Abstract to the Concrete is desired].
      * appreciate the often tentative nature of judgments about the past, and therby avoid the temptation to seize upon particular ‘lessons’ as cures for present ills.
      * recognize the importance of individuals who have made a difference in history, and the significance of personal character for both good and ill.
      * appreciate the force of the nonrational, the irrational, the accidental in history and human affairs.
      * understand the relationship between geography and history as a matrix of time and place, and as a context for events.
      * read widely and critically in order to recognize the difference between fact and conjecture, between evidence and assertion, and thereby to frame useful questions.”

      Quite an agenda there and it is impossible for me not to think about what is laid out in the last chapter of my book such as the noosphere and Harlan Cleveland’s confessed activities. Education reforms were always about creating the needed mindset to go along with the envisioned shift that was essentially a perestroika of the West. Speaking of Ascending from the Abstract to the Concrete, that theory was created in the USSR to create that very same kind of mindset and was at the precise time, 1062, that numerous old books declare that the West, especially the US, had embarked on a push to create a Human Development Society just as Marx outlined. Now that vision gets hidden behind words like Equity, Democracy, and the New Governance but this is all in play now with ‘conservative’ public policy think tanks taking the lead to obscure that reality.

    • Against the Director of the Neuroscience Imaging Center. That would be the person in charge of what the fMRI showed at the same place where Damasio and Immordano-Yang are profs. It’s also the grantee under the BRAIN Initiative grants to be doing that research. The neuroscience community after Aurora thought his research and its nature would be made an issue. Instead, Holmes was depicted as some kind of pre-med grad student.

      Yesterday in the midst of tree decorating and making turkey chipotle chili to have friends over to watch football, I fifnished a book on the New Governance that School Choice is actually a part of. It sounds so much better than its other name of Third Party Government. It cited two profs, Janet V Denhardt and Robert B Denhardt, and the concept of The New Public Service: Serving, Not Steering that fits in perfectly with Greg Forster’s vision of schools in his Accountability article. They had been at Arizona State, which made me think of the Science of Consciousness and all the charters and ESA piloting there. It showed up though that they had left ASU and shifted to the Price School of Public Service at USC. The vision that gets called Positive School Climate and ‘affirmatively nurturing of all students’ in last week’s ESSA regs fits in perfectly with how the New Governance intends for all institutions to work and for people to think and feel. It quoted some of Chris Argyris’ work on something called organizational humanism that fits with how PSC mandates work as well as what charters and school mission statements generally now require. None of this is coincidental and it explains the omnipresence of poli sci PhDs as the education fellows at these supposedly conservative think tanks who advise politicians and foundations.

    • Have you seen this? http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/2128748-educator-jeremy-tate-the-classics-can-help-us-build-a-better-future/

      How you think, how you read, how you live your life is the same goal as the Common Core when it is accurately understood in terms of what it internalizes and how it prompts action. Everybody seems to want to use the same behavioral science template without that being appreciated. Agency-based education is also promoting as well as Donna Garner in Texas http://www.educationviews.org/seemingly-clueless-education/

      How precisely is it conservative to want to control thought itself? This is precisely the method I encountered in the UK madrassahs where they shifted about two years ago to wanting students to be trained to read through lenses instead of simply reading. It was the research that eventually led me to the Tarbiyah Project. No wonder I recognized the resemblance to the behavioral science template there and its ties to what Kurt Lewin created at U-Michigan that certain founders of systems theory then built on.

      • This link to the CLT and its use http://sacredheartacademygr.org/reliqua-sacra-sha-weekly-newsletter-october-26-2016/ directly ties it to David Purpel’s (secular/New Agey) Moral and Spiritual Framework as it lays out these Sacred Heart Academies as exemplars. It pointed out that the original one was in Princeton, New Jersey and the About page says this was some sort of ‘conversion’ to this Classical Ed template in 2013 after dwindling enrollment. Grand Rapids is the DeVos/Prince stomping grounds. Not what I was looking for, but interesting nonetheless.

        Here is also the Heartland Institute. https://www.heartland.org/news-opinion/news/meet-the-clt-a-test-wholly-unlike-sat-or-common-core

        Quoting from article apart from the part about reading by engaging a moral compass, “Tate foresees one certainty: ‘We are not going to be aligned in any way with Common Core, and we will be around long after Common Core is gone.’”

        Much of the False Narratives/ Common Core deceit turns out to be tied to wanting to use the same template, but call it virtues instead of Dispositions. PISA uses Values and Ethics as does Charles Fadel of Curriculum Redesign. It is all using Common Core in the same way John Goodlad did as laid out in my book on his vision in the mid-80s.

        • The Catholic Standards are not afraid to use the term Dispositions. They are totally explicit in their reference to “non-cognitive” attributes and the need to “assess” them by various measures, since the student might use evasion tactics to veil the true state of his soul.

          • I am sorry if I was not clear. I was tipping off that all these supposedly different alternatives to the Common Core are actually using different terms to target the same thing. My notes on the Catholic Frameworks is they used Dispositions and that’s why I called attention to that. Holistic education calls it Attributes ties to values and it is all functioning the same as what Paulo Freire and Henry Giroux, both critical theorists and avowed cultural Marxists, called a Curriculum for Compassion and Justice.

            Assessments, unlike the parentheticals in what Emmett McGroarity and Jane Robbins write which always note (standardized tests), are always looking for the presence of desired outcomes in what the learner has internalized. It ties to what UNESCO calls its GEQAF–General Education Quality Analysis/ Discourse Framework. I am just swimming in converging info these days which means I am outlining the next post and in turn pushing material into the next one.

            Take a look at this and appreciate it is also on ERIC now. http://www.ccsenet.org/journal/index.php/ies/article/view/17024 Why are we utilizing a model that works in Iran under the mullahs?

  2. Thank you for continuing to set the record straight on the pitfalls of government funded school choice. Having been one of the state homeschool leaders who fought off proposed inclusion of homeschoolers in the original version of the Nevada ESA bill in 2015, your insights into why we fight the fight against government control of our children’s education have helped me tremendously!

    • You are welcome. You should definitely appreciate the post I just published as well. Please make sure you read the Vicki Eager report that the Texas Public Policy Foundation and the Independent Institute (where Bill Evers is apparently also a fellow) on Education Savings Accounts. It appears to force the monitoring of the internalized that is what a ‘high quality assessment’ actually means on any homeschoolers that want to utilize ESAs. As one of the papers I had today stated, the education reform model has to apply to all children and schools to have the desired broader effects on consciousness.

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