Using the Common Core’s Performance Assessments to Create a New Kind of Person

Now if the US Common Core Initiative or any other country’s similar UNESCO inspired shift to skills and attitudes and desired personal dispositions were to be accurately described as being about “shaping a kind or person” or:

“about creating a kind of person, with kinds of dispositions and orientations to the world, rather than simply commanding a body of knowledge. These persons will be able to navigate change and diversity, learn-as-they-go, solve problems, collaborate, and be flexible and creative.”

Such a future capacity general focus for all students instead of fixed content knowledge would not be politically popular. Parents and taxpayers and non-politically connected future employers would likely rebel from such Mind Arson via taxation and tuition.

So of course the Parasitical Class of too many professors and education administrators and vendors who want both their inflated salaries and pensions AND political, social, and economic Transformation simply lie to us about what is really going on. Once a controversy develops, we get new names and severed parts but usually not real changes in practices. So when the Future Empowerment Paradigm associated with Transformational Outcomes Based Education and William Spady in the 90s (described here )  became controversial, the critical End Game of Life Role Performances got severed. Keep the function. Change the Name. Hire someone other than Spady.

Now it is very difficult for the public to get their arms around just how much scheming and looting and psychological manipulation is going on in this Change the Student Future Capacity Template. When they hear terms like “Performance Standards” they automatically think solid academics at a high level of expected expertise. When they hear Performance Assessment, they think testing that expects solid academic achievement. They certainly do not think of an education model doing everything it can to take mental activity out of the classroom. They would be horrified to know performance standards are all about creating desired behaviors and attitudes in each student at a reflexive level. No conscious thought required.

When the school talks about ability to access information or interpret or produce or communicate, parents and taxpayers assume these are desired abilities within the context of a body of knowledge. Not generic abilities with real world value that are ALL that is desired in the student. Just “life-functioning performance” abilities. That assessments are actually all about:

“Great care should be taken to identify the exact action that will be taught and assessed.”

Action, not knowledge. Project or activity, not tests. When we read references to problem solving most of us assume a math or science word problem. Not necessarily easy but useful. Very bolstering to both a verbal ability to conceptualize mentally and a logical ability to reach a step-by-step, methodical solution. No. No. No. In performance assessment world:

“the problem needs to be ill-structured. [By the way that is also what rigorous means in Ed World]. The problem should not have a single approach or response–in fact, the route taken and the determined solution should be almost unpredictable.”

John Dewey called that type of problem the Indeterminate Situation and valued it greatly because it required emotion and frustration instead of intellectual skill and knowledge. He believed such problems were conducive to striving for a different kind of society instead of accepting the capitalist, individualistic society he abhored. Today’s assessment developers still have a similar intent even if the Principals or teachers themselves are unaware of the history of this peculiar notion of rigor to drive revolution via mental and emotional transformation over time.

So Transformational OBE and Spady became too controversial in most places to acknowledge when that was what was going on in a school or district. So those Life Role Performances got renamed as Performance Assessments and less well-known OBE players like Spence Rogers or Willard Daggett pursued the OBE implementation via their focus on actual classroom activities. All of the activities quoted came from the Third Edition of Spence Rogers’ book The High Performance Toolbox:Succeeding with Performance Tasks, Projects, & Assessments.

Those tasks, projects, and performance assessments are what drives the actual classroom implementation of every Common Core curriculum I have seen. The Schemers know that what is measured is what gets taught. So the Future Capacity/Empowerment/New Kind of Focus comes in under the poorly understood Performance assessments. Where the task or project is the evaluation. And the task or project is not checking content knowledge but looking for action and generic abilities like the ones described above. This would all be hard to spot unless you were monitoring curricula all over the world and over decades. Which I have. The future capacity orientation gets hidden also in the US under the lovely euphemism College and Career Ready. Sounds like knowledge but avoids the “entrenched subject matter” orientation of traditional education that bolsters those undesirable (if you want state control of society and the economy) Axemaker Minds.

Why you say? You know if ten years from now we continue on our present trajectory I will likely be forced to write a book explaining that the US and the West lost prosperity because too many of the beneficiaries of capitalism never understood how much individual and cultural attitudes and values mattered to economic prosperity. And ALL the anti-capitalism schemers knew precisely how much these mattered. And they used education, K-12 and higher ed, to get at and change the attitudes and values of independence and self-reliance.

And they used education to force out every aspect of the curriculum known to nurture the rational, logical, conceptual mind. Which is the real reason for the math and reading wars. It’s not about how to teach. It’s about limiting the oxygen that ignites the fires of individual mental cognition. That useful ability to spin your own mental scenarios within the privacy of your own mind. Scenarios that can sometimes turn into innovative inventions that alter the known world. Like the Axe did or the computer.

Throughout history and even today in most countries in the world the political sovereign–whether king, dictator, or legislative body and state-employed bureaucrats–controls the economy. That’s the historic norm. What is going on in education in the US now and globally is simply a stealth reversion to that norm. Ironically the changes are frequently being done under the banner of becoming or remaining Internationally Competitive. Yes in the sought Dirigiste, Mercantilist economies of the 21st Century where Education is the Method of Personal Subjugation. And Catastrophic Manmade Global Warming and the spectre of other planet-wide environmental disasters is the Excuse for such planning and control over economies and people’s personal behaviors. And politically connected businesses hope to benefit as well.

If the Statist Schemers living at our expense were honest about what is going on most of us would say No. Freedom may be a burden but it is a burden most of us desire if given the choice.

So we are not being given the choice. And education seeks to become a walled-off profession where no one but the Properly Credentialled may have a say. And the Credentials are grounded in the Marxist political theories that caused so much destruction in the 20th century. And yes I am quite sure about that as well.

It’s also why CAGW, like Marxism in its heyday, must be treated as the unexamined Theory never to be contradicted with reality. Like Marxism or Dewey’s Social Reconstruction, it’s an aspirational theory for changing the future not a scientific theory based on facts. None of these political theories for social control can bear the scrutiny of reality because that is not what they are grounded in.

But reality is still the world every one of us inhabit. And it thus has to govern how we respond to all these sought changes. It’s the reality behind the current “Grab the Guns, Gut the Mind, and Ignore the Temps” that too many are still treating as unrelated.


11 thoughts on “Using the Common Core’s Performance Assessments to Create a New Kind of Person

  1. This isn’t directly relevant to your piece here, Robin, but I was just looking at the website of my granddaughter’s middle school and noticed a “career day” and a body of 16 “career clusters” that represent general vocational-technical areas of study that begin in these grades. South Carolina has been in the forefront of resistance to Common Core, but I’m just wondering is what I’m seeing here is a form of “tracking” so popular in some other countries (like Germany) in which children are pigeonholed early into a vo-tech area and future classes or concentrations of study oriented toward that “track.”

    I have no problem with vo-tech training per se, but at this age, while some children may think they know what they may want to do in adulthood, and certain aptitudes may stand out, I have concerns, given the general decrepitude of the classic liberal arts subjects and the inability of many adults to read much beyond 7th grade level or make coherent, logically connected arguments to express or defend their views, about public schools attempting to settle in a child’s mind (my granddaughter is 11) a planned trajectory of intellectual development.

    Is this something I should be concerned with, or is this benign?

    Here’s the list:

    “A career cluster is a group of occupations that relate to an industry or profession. South Carolina has adopted sixteen (16) career clusters. The Education and Economic Development Act of 2005 (EEDA) requires all high schools in South Carolina to offer courses in at least three (3) career clusters. Chesterfield County offers courses in Twelve of the Sixteen clusters.

    A career major is an area of study within a larger occupational field or career cluster. EEDA requires all students in South Carolina to complete an Individual Graduation Plan (IGP) in the eighth grade and declare a major of study in the tenth grade. Students may complete more than one major in high school.

    South Carolina’s 16 Career Clusters
    * denotes clusters offered in Chesterfield County

    * Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources
    * Architecture and Construction
    * Arts, AV Technology & Communications
    * Business, Management and Administration
    * Education and Training
    * Finance
    * Government and Public Administration
    * Health Science
    Hospitality and Tourism
    Human Services
    * Information Technology
    * Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Security
    * Manufacturing
    Marketing, Sales and Service
    * Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
    Transportation, Distribution and Logistics”

    • Those career clusters are NOT a form of tracking because they are applicable to all students.

      Everyone is to pick out a potential career. Other states are doing this but Georgia and SC have all the careers listed in I think it’s the Department of Labor site except Georgia has added a 17th for Green Energy. I have had this discussion as there is no academic orientation track. It’s all Vocational.

      Remember what makes Transformational OBE transformational is the emphasis on life role performances. Career Paths get us back to that without saying so.

      It’s also consistent with the UNESCO focus I wrote about here

      Everything is to be experiential or physical activity or life role. Very little abstract and what is conceptual is treated as if it is concrete.

      SC may be resistant to the Common Core but like Colorado they have a huge, poorly understood problem coming out of their higher ed system that affects K-12. Every college in SC with a college of education, public or private, is part of Professor John Goodlad’s National Network for Educational Renewal. Dedicated to Dewey’s Social Reconstruction via education to accomplish small “d” democracy.

      Goodlad was also in charge of UNESCO’s education initiatives in the 70s. He was a student of Ralph Tyler’s (8 Year Study and inventor of the term assessment to obscure anti-academic focus) at Chicago and they were close friends. So Goodlad is directly linked to Tyler who actually knew and worked with Dewey.

      Those career clusters tell me SC is going to Transformational OBE in terms of the K-12 classroom whatever Nikki Haley’s intentions. I am quite sure on the link to OBE because I first learned about Transformational OBE and what made it different following up on Georgia’s adoption of the Career clusters.

      I was able in Georgia to track back who influenced the legislature to Gene Bottoms of the Southern Regional Education Board. I suspect he also influenced SC as it has been enamored of his tecademics and High schools That Work approach in the past.

      Usually the career clusters are sold as “something Business wants’ that will help attract Business to state. Big business that is politically connected yes but not the entrepreneurs who are the actual drivers of building wealth.

  2. hi again, its MADMOMMY,

    I just realized on your other post about SELthat it is LIFE SKILLS, which I mentioned in another comment that my kids all have either once a week or once a month. this is where they are asked prying questions like
    ” have you ever had a secret?” . I need to get some of the papers and read what my kids have answered. anyway, i searched social emotional learning,
    I came up with life skills and exact language on our local public high school website, exact… so there ya go. the average parent has not a clue, and why should they it is hidden in double speak jargon spitshined and glossy with insider teachers who run you in robot linguistic circles..
    to me it is revolting and obvious, you too i imagine. once you read 3 degrees into a search, or even 2 you reach the bloviating repetative point, agenda evident. and it seems to be all coming from one or 2 places, right?!

    • Life skills is part of the duplicitous language in Fulton County Georgia’s district charter that I have written about.

      It ties into UNESCO documents.

      My child’s middle school had similar affective meetings once a month and my youngest was usually sick that day. Actually at the recommendation of numerous horrified veteran teachers.

      CASEL actually arose originally out of James Comer’s work.

  3. All of this reminds me of the IB Programme (UN agenda, values based education vs content, promotion of the global citizen vs national sovereignty, etc.).
    Thank you for delving into Common Core and sharing with those who are not quite on the front lines but who are concerned for our kids and our country.

    • LC-it is very much like the IB programme. Especially the Middle Years Programme that actually began in Julius Nyerere’s Tanzania in the 60s. It has to do with the UNESCO cultural evolution influence. Hence the IB Learner Profile and the student centered approach to the actual implementation per the accreditors and the Effective Teacher eval criteria.

      Before Christmas Ed Week ran a story on how the Common Core was emulating the IB model except it was missing IB’s social and emotional, affective component. I don’t know how many of my posts you have read but SEL completely permeates the Common Core’s actual implementation. Comes in through the PBIS Response to Intervention mandate for all students under an interesting view of federal disabilities law. Also President Obama’s Positive School Climate executive order. And ASCD’s Whole Child initiative.

      And the day after the Aurora tragedy, knowing of Aurora’s behavioral sciences notoriety because of McREL, I took a look at what was going on in Holmes’ high school in San Diego. Westview opened to pilot a different, student centered approach to curricula with a heavy SEL focus. The accreditors report from the year Holmes graduated was still available and it outlined precisely the educational “innovation” going on there. It so looked like the template I had seen too many times on IB I double-checked to make sure it was not an IB school.

      One of the things it was piloting in particular were the Best Practices Standards for Teaching and Learning approach created in Chicago in the early 90s with Joyce Foundation funding. So I got the cited book all the Westview teachers were supposed to be basing their classrooms on. About a month later when President Obama and Ed Week both started referring to the Standards for Teaching and Learning as the real common core I knew it was a term of art. The book preface had mentioned the standards were also funded and pushed by the Chicago Annenberg Challenge that Obama chaired at the recommendation of Bill Ayers.

      And Ayers book I have from 1998 has his relationship to the CAC as his proudest accomplishment. Those Standards are actually notorious but by their parts, not the whole. It’s better known as Whole Language and the math that provoked so much controversy etc. Performance assessments were always to be a key part of the Standards for Teaching and Learning template.

    • Thank you. If there is something in particular you need to know or want to share, I will try to pull up the applicable info.

      This isn’t just for the children. It’s all of us.

  4. “Great care should be taken to identify the exact action that will be taught and assessed.”

    Indeed, this is not education. It’s operant conditioning, right?

    Inferior teachers will love this. They don’t have to know their subject area any more!

    And in a “student centered” classroom, they won’t just leave you alone and let you take the tests. They poke and prod you all the time.

    Reminds me of the “active man” premise of Soviet Marxism. I never understood why it was important to be so active all the time, how could one think then? I guess now that WAS the point.

    But it was just an ideal in the Soviet Union. In the reality, the people pretended to work and the government pretended to pay them. At least in the latter part of the Soviet Union, from which I’ve heard stories directly. The productivity was ruined but not the spirit.

    I really have a hopeful feeling now. Why? Because this sh*t cannot work. With the internet, you cannot prevent people from reading wikipedia to learn about whatever they have a question about. Content centered education will always be available, just not necessarily in the accredited classroom. So unless they can tie in those job standards (I forget what they are called) that supposedly define what an engineer, or a lawyer, or a graphic designer is supposed to possess in terms of demonstrated competencies, and you can’t prefer a different candidate with a different background, then this whole (very expensive) educational system will go off talking to itself as anyone who is interested in productivity (both employers and employees) pursue an available (very cheap) alternative. That’s how the capable will implement tracking: they will have to create their own track.

    But maybe the Schemers are not so stupid and they see this too. So they have to keep enough good stuff in the existing system to keep employers and students attached to it. To succeed I think they would have to boil the frog slowly, gradually making school more like stimulus-response groupthink training, until people lose the ability to read wikipedia and it becomes an artifact of that time when men and women were intellectual giants in a way, but sadly misguided and not right-thinking.

    • The term is Qualifications Frameworks.

      And you are right. That is why poor reading instruction is always an essential component as is targeting math because it cultivates abstract, sequential logic.

      I am relatively optimistic too but only because I really have managed to get my hands and mind around this from so many different angles that were supposed to remain unknown or certainly considered to be separate silos. They like to mention interdisciplinary as a means of gutting content. I suspect they do not care for my kind of interdisciplinary thinking. Mastering the separate disciplines and then relating them.

      And you are also right, in the short-term while the implications of this vision are still being understood, the families paying attention who can remediate at home or who reach out consciously for tutoring and supplementation will create long-term and lasting advantages for their offspring.

      But I do not think like that. Widespread, deliberately cultivated ignorance and a reflex to respond from emotion is lethal to a democracy.

      • I guess I do think a bit differently, in that I gave up on the democracy idea a while ago. Too many fixed elections, too many crisis points past (“if they did that, there would be a revolt!”) with no revolt. I am not young, and my whole adult life has been facing a headwind of political correctness and weird agendas. My attachment is to the things worthy of my affection, not to the system as a whole.

        If I cannot beat them, and it would make me gag to join them, then I will go do something else. I do have a duty to try to throw sand in the gears of this machine, and I am doing what I can. But the collective action that will work is likely to come from each individual and family responding to that urgent instinct for self preservation. Your putting information out there is very helpful in giving us perspective to help us think and information to help us act successfully.

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