Does that title give more clarity to why those Essential Learning Outcomes from the last post must now be what the student becomes and believes as a result of school and college? How about the official Democracy push via education for a new cooperative commonwealth in the future? Or using contemplative practices in the classroom to bypass the rational mind and make the Heart the driver of what will become reflexive Habits of the Mind?
We in the US especially, but also as the dominant vision all over the West, simply have always seen ourselves as individuals first. A vision of the Governors and the Governed is alien to our psyche. But unfortunately it is not alien to the druthers of an awful lot of influential people who would like more power please. Or who get together with each other–politicians, foundation heads, Big Business titans, and bemoan their decaying power To Get Things Done. The Loss of Their Grip on Society.
So one way to look at all these education reforms whose true target seems unfathomable to us since it shuts down useful knowledge is as an Oligarch Protection Scheme. Now I have generally known that but in March 2013 the book The End of Power: From Boardrooms to Battlefields and Churches to States, Why Being in Charge Isn’t What It Used to Be was published. Yes, I am considering nominating this book for whiniest title of the year but that is not why it caught my attention. You see, its author, Moises Naim, is a scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the former Editor-in-Chief of Foreign Policy magazine. Now maybe you are unaware of just how many of the controversial ideas in education have been funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York but I am not. So I ordered the book hoping for insights into what Carnegie’s plans were now for all of us. What it is really pushing under the cover of Common Core or EdLeader 21 or High Tech High replicas or Early College High Schools or those Next Generation Science Standards.
Can you say Bingo? Or Touchdown with a conversion for a total of 8 points from the play? Now how’s this for the back cover endorsements of the book–former President Bill Clinton, George Soros, Arianna Huffington, the President of Brazil, and Francis Fukuyama. The last one makes me wonder whether the End of History ended where we thought. The first one is a reminder that all these ed reforms were hoping to be fully implemented in the 90s. If you check the Acknowledgments page, Naim thanks the President of the Carnegie Endowment by name for all her help with the manuscript that became the book. He also thanks the President of the Brookings Institution, Strobe Talbott, by name and former Treasury Secretary, Larry Summers.
So this is the official What the Oligarchs would like to See Going Forward Vision. What drives grantmaking and the research that is pushed in education or other related areas like Metropolitanism or Immigration or Regional Equity generally. I have gradually put together that all these changes are part of a common, governments at all levels, led vision for the future. But the Oligarchs just talk about it over dinner or while jetting to conferences like Davos. They Know because it is part of their ongoing conversations.
But since Naim wrote it down and so many powerful people cooperated, let’s see what the Oligarchs have in mind for us. He bemoans the fact that our elected leaders “are paralyzed by the vetocracy” and he wants to change that. He ends the book with this haunting line:
“Driven by the transformation in the acquisition, use, and retention of power, humanity must, and will, find new ways of governing itself.”
According to Naim, we need to “endow our leaders with the capacity to contain the decay of power.” Now at some point Naim was Venezuela’s Minister of Industry and Trade and also with the World Bank so maybe that’s where his tendency to talk in terms of the Governed and the Governors comes from but he’s not in Venezuela anymore. He works in the US for an endowment tied to one of the richest foundations in the world. A global think tank that aspires to be THE global international affairs go to place. For countries all over the world. So when he writes and thinks in terms of “the societies they wish to govern” repeatedly and nobody even thinks to edit it out, we do have a declaration of how the Oligarchs think of each of us. And what they wish to do to push back against “the decay of power.” They wish to change the “one critical area [that] remains surprisingly untouched: the way we govern ourselves, our communities, nations, and the international system.” Naim writes that “we are on the verge of a revolutionary wave of positive political and institutional innovations.”
Positive for whom? For the family paying real estate taxes that put a strain on the family budget while Supers and their staffs deliberately push Mind Arson in the schools? When you deal with a Principal who refuses to listen to valid concerns or a PTA President who does not care that teacher professional development is being led by someone who has openly held up Mao Tse-Tung as an example of leadership, just remember what is really going on is a struggle for the soul of people and nations. A desire that schools now foster Mindsets of dependence and a belief in the need for collective action to address supposedly insuperable global problems and challenges like Climate Change and Overpopulation and Nuclear Proliferation.
Naim repeatedly belittles the Tea Party for its views and for hobbling “one of the world’s most powerful political machines”– the Republican Party. Well, that certainly explains a lot of why it keeps mounting such ineffective Presidential runs. He also disparages “eighteenth-century readings of the American constitution advocated by characters dressed in period costume” although I suspect he would be no more fond of the language of that document if the speaker had on a Bespoke tailored suit with a European cut. In the name of the “social good” for the future, Naim wants to create:
“an increased disposition in democratic societies to give more power to those who govern us. And that is impossible unless we trust them more. Which is of course even more difficult. But also indispensable.”
Well, indispensable to Oligarchs who want to transform the way “humanity organizes itself” for their own benefit. So they use education for Mind Arson and new beliefs and values. All trackable now via personal data. In the name of economic growth, the urban areas are quietly seeking a shift to a planned Cronyistic regional economy and calling it the Metropolitan Revolution. Have you read it yet? All supposedly necessary again so “we will be able to tackle the most pressing global challenges.” Who are they kidding? These global problems are just the excuse for a feast at our expense and a future of invisible chains and continuous taxes as the Oligarchs enjoy themselves. And take care of each other. We are truly to be just passengers that exist for the sake of the ship.
So when you read a presentation like this recent one http://www.p21.org/storage/documents/Presentations/Education_for_Life_and_Work_Feb_2013.pdf that you and I were not invited to attend since we might have wondered why the Common Core assessments were to actually focus on intrapersonal and interpersonal competencies, remember now it is assessing Mindsets Suitable to be Governed. Don’t forget to notice the slide thanking all the sponsoring foundations including Carnegie.
You may never have heard of the Committee on Defining Deeper Learning and 21st Century Skills of the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences of the National Research Council. But the NRC also tracks back to Carnegie funding. 1919. But with governmental sponsorship now. Cool, huh? Binding and mostly out of sight. Carnegie also funded this report “The Heart of the Matter” issued in June to change the direction of humanities and social sciences instruction to “address major global challenges.” Of course and all we need are basic competencies now from K-12. http://www.humanitiescommission.org/_pdf/hss_report.pdf . Don’t forget to notice that the head of that NRC Behavioral Division is a member of that Humanities Commission.
And when you read that very troubling report, don’t forget that Paul Ehrlich said the humanities are to be the focus now on how to change human behavior. That his MAHB is now doing for UN entities.
Which are also tied to Carnegie funding. Not having to pay taxes just leaves so much more money to use to mess with the psyche of those of us who do. And to plan and scheme and coordinate. Especially with those other foundations. Who all have such transformative plans for us.
Let us be forever grateful that the Oligarchs put so much in writing upfront.
And that we can still read and think and act.