Who Knew Karl Marx had a Human Development Model? Or that It Fit Our Facts So Well?

Or that it could be put in place in the US by executive fiat at the federal level? All you have to do is misinterpret the nature and language and case law of the federal civil rights laws. And then repeat. Early, often, and adamantly. It’s not like someone with a working knowledge of con law also reads education declarations and documents. It’s also not like changing the nature of education in the classroom could have any impact on a society or economy. Or political beliefs. Or future behaviors.

About a week ago the US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan sent school districts a letter announcing that “We Must Provide Equal Opportunity in Sports to Students With Disabilities.” It included a 12 page Dear Colleague letter from the DoEd’s Office of Civil Rights. A number of commentaries (Rick Hess and Mike Petrilli among them) have wondered where such a pronouncement came from and noted how impractical it is. Equal opportunity in sports at whatever cost. What no one seems to be paying attention to is what both letters declared. To  quote Arne directly:

“Federal civil rights laws require schools to provide equal opportunity.”

No actually federal civil rights laws do no such thing. Congress can rewrite them or the courts can change their interpretation of them. But Arne and his employees, even the ones with law degrees, may not. Especially on a Friday afternoon in the first week of a Second Term in office. If you read  http://www.ed.gov/blog/2013/01/we-must-provide-equal-opportunity-in-sports-to-students-with-disabilities/ the OCR letter you will see that sports is just an illustration of a much broader right Arne and his Department want to create. And they explicitly want to include learning disabilities, not just physical ones.

Think about that. If federal law did mandate that those with learning disabilities have an equal opportunity to students without disabilities or who are just plain brilliant, then school and high ed could not really be about intellectual pursuits anymore. That’s a playing field where inequalities in capabilities exist. Must change playing fields then. How about social and emotional learning since everyone has feelings? That would be an equal opportunity arena. All students can also interact at some level. Especially with computers. We also have a push now to promote life skills. Everyone can do that too. Except they usually leave off the full name: Life Skills for Psychosocial Competence. Can’t imagine why anyone would want to ditch such a graphic tipoff as to what is really going on.

There’s another possibility for our Equal Opportunity classroom. A developmental progression that focuses on personality development in a social context. That would be the education theories of Erik H Erikson. He practiced in Chicago and it’s hard to imagine Arne is not familiar with his views of child development or the sociocultural approach to education. Especially since the University of Illinois in 2007 published a paper in Educational Theory announcing all of this as the new approach to education. http://ematusov.soe.udel.edu/vita/Articles/Matusov,%20DePalma,%20Drye,%20Whose%20development,%20ET,%202007.pdf . And also because numerous government agencies including the Department of Education and the National Science Foundation embraced sociocultural theories instead of cognitive theories grounded in individual thinking as the basis of their future work.  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/so-now-common-core-rejects-individual-thinking-to-embrace-soviet-psychology-ecology/ is the post from July 2012 describing that official report and its troubling implications.

What I had not read in July was a 1982 book by CCNY/CUNY professor Marshall Berman called All That Is Solid Melts Into Air: The Experience of Modernity.  That book laid out Marx’s developmental ideal and “how crucial” it was to all his political beliefs. Also that it was grounded in the German humanist and Romanticist culture of Marx’s youth. Berman did leave out the part about how that ideal facilitated the national collective mindset that led Germany to launch two world wars in the 20th century. But then Berman is an admirer of Marx and that’s such a picky little detail for me to mention. Berman does mention though that this Marxian/Romantic German developmental ideal was “still very much alive in our own day” and that Erik Erikson is its “most distinguished living exponent.” Erikson actually passed away in 1994 but his work does clearly seem to be gaining momentum. Probably because without Berman’s book it would be harder to link it directly to Marx.

With that book though we don’t even have to infer. We can quote directly from Berman and Marx (pages 96-98 if you want to locate a copy).  Marx has a vision of education that does not transmit the values and knowledge of the current culture which he of course wanted to disappear. Hence the Melt into Air metaphor he used. Educators pushing Marx’s personal development theories today through later adopters, like Dewey or Erikson or Vygotsky, are pushing the same goals. Change the foundations that support the current economy, society, and political structures.

That’s in fact why this type of education is not just called Progressivism. It’s also known as Social Reconstruction and that is precisely where that Equal Opportunity declaration takes us. Very similarly to the goal Goodwin Liu also laid out for the Common Core here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/morphing-the-common-core-into-a-new-rewritten-us-constitution-by-mandating-false-beliefs/ . Same basic desired Transformation goals coming from a variety of directions. With the same vehicle–education, K-12 and higher ed and creating false beliefs and new values to get different future behaviors. At least from a voting majority. What Paul Ehrlich and his MAHB seek as well

Berman first quotes this passage from Marx’s Communist Manifesto:

“In place of the old bourgeois society, with its classes and class antagonisms, we will have an association in which the free development of each will be the condition of the free development of all.”

A desire that 21st century educators will relabel as the Universal Love Principle or Kohlberg’s Moral Development Theory and impose in the classroom in the name of Character Education or a Positive School Climate. Let’s continue on with how crucial this developmental ideal was to Marx. Berman cites several examples but this one rings consistent with the actual current definition of  College Ready: “the goal of communism is ‘the development of a totality of capacities in the individuals themselves.’ Berman goes on with this passage from The German Ideology that is consistent with the Communitarianism we are have found in Career Ready Practices and the Positive School Climate (again!):

“only in community with others has each individual the means of cultivating his gifts in all directions; only in the community, therefore, is personal freedom possible.”

Bill Ayers just loves that definition of freedom. I do believe it’s what sent him into education in the first place. I mean who would know? Who reads Marxist professors to locate such a quote back to Marx himself? Me when the footnotes cite someone.

This final quote from Marx is reflected in the actual definitions of Student Growth and Student Achievement being used in the States as part of Common Core. It’s why feelings and social and emotional learning and changes in values, attitudes, and beliefs measured through collected data about each student and classroom are so much a part of the actual Common Core implementation. This is from Volume One of Capital:

“it is essential to communism that it transcend the capitalist division of labor [that would be differences in knowledge and skills among students in less stilted language]… the partially developed individual, who is merely the bearer of one specialized social function, must be replaced by the fully developed individual, fit for a variety of labors, ready to face any change in production, for whom the different social functions he performs are only so many modes of giving free scope to his own natural and acquired powers.”

That’s a fairly concise summary of what is now being called College and Career Ready if you go back to the original documents as I have. It also fits perfectly with the OECD’s definition of Competency driving international education reforms through PISA.

Now I am not saying everything going on in education globally is about resurrecting Communism. For one thing it now has a terrible reputation. But education globally is trying to displace any right of individuals to make their own decisions about how to live their lives. Right now the 21st century being shaped for us through education is the Age of Statism where politicians and government employees and Business and Nonprofit cronies make decisions for us. It’s not to be the Age of the Individual or the Consumer or widespread prosperity.

And the educational theories being used to mold New Kinds of Minds and Different Personalities really do track back to Marx. Which then makes 20th Century history hugely relevant to where we are headed in the 21st.

I wish this was not true but it is. And the only way to get us off this current planned pathway is to stare this Marxian foundation square in the face.




6 thoughts on “Who Knew Karl Marx had a Human Development Model? Or that It Fit Our Facts So Well?

  1. 1st installment: Response to Robin on the Catholic Church

    “If it is the point I think it was it goes to the idea of an Ideocracy and how the lack of widespread literacy, keeping Bibles in Latin instead of the vernacular, and the pre-printing press days when books were rare all meant that beliefs were shaped by accepting others words for it. There was no real ability to investigate the truth of what you were told by the official powers.”

    I understand your charges against the Catholic Church to be composed of these elements:

    1. that the Church taught doctrines that were mere ideology or theory, as the definition of ideocracy connotes;
    2. that these doctrines were taught as part of a desire for power and control, also a part of the definition of ideocracy;
    3. that the Bible alone contained the truth, and the universal investigation of its content was the key to arriving at that truth;
    4. and secondarily, by implication, that the Church kept the Bible in Latin rather than in the vernacular as a way of keeping the truth from the mass of people.

    Let’s examine these elements systematically.

    The Church in this rendering is regarded as a man-made apparatus which created an ideology as an instrument of control. The Bible is regarded as the repository of the truth, accessible to any man able to read it in his own language. But the question must be asked: Why the unquestioning Protestant reverence for the Bible? Why do Protestants accept the Bible as the exclusive repository of truth? The Bible never makes that claim for itself. “Because Luther said so” will not do. Luther was merely a man with an opinion, like any other.

    The unexamined elevation of the Bible to this level of supremacy is accepted as axiomatic; it is not a deduction from demonstrated, irrefutable facts. The search for the truth must be acknowledged to be based on an act of faith, not of reason: namely the conviction, unproven and unprovable, that the Bible contains the fullness of divine revelation.

    The Catholic Church considers the Bible as supernaturally inspired and thus a source of revelation. Indeed, the entire Mass (at least the Latin Mass) consists basically of Scripture, far more than I have ever heard in any Protestant service. But the Catholic Church has a rationale for its belief in the supernatural character of the Bible; it is the fact that Christ’s representative on earth, the Pope, was given the keys of the kingdom and thus the power to proclaim the truth; and through the magisterium of the Church, he confirmed the exalted status of the Bible.

    What’s more, he created it. That Bible, identified by Luther as the sole source of divine truth, was composed by the Catholic Church. The Bible did not exist in Jesus’ day. The Old Testament did, although the canon was still quite fluid. In the early Apostolic years, scores of “gospels,” “epistles,” and “revelations” circulated and were often read in churches. The Gospel of Peter, the Revelation of Peter, the Gospel according to the Hebrews, the Gospel according to the Egyptians, the Gospel according to the Twelve Apostles, the Gospel according to St. Philip, the Gospel according to St. James, the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew, the Gospel of St. Thomas, the Arabic Gospel of the Infancy, The Transition of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Shepherd of Hermas, the Gospel of the Ebionites are a few of the titles.

    These were quite often repudiated by scholars and authorities of the early Catholic Church as spurious or heretical. (The term “Catholic” first appears in a letter of St. Ignatius, who died in 110AD.) Irenaeus, for example, as early as the latter part of the 2nd century, recognized only the four Gospels as authentic and inspired. Nevertheless, although Irenaeus was an esteemed bishop and his opinion commanded respect, it was not decisive. In fact, Paul himself tells Timothy that all Scripture is inspired by God – but he doesn’t identify the corpus.

    There was no way to know with certainty what was inspired text and what was not. For more than 300 years debates raged. St. Athanasius, who almost single-handedly defended Christianity against the Arian heresy, defined the canon of the New Testament. Still, not a decisive opinion. Then, a few years later, in 382, Pope Damasus I settled the matter at the Council of Rome. Through the Decree of Damasus he defined the canon of Scripture. He instructed Jerome to translate the Old Testament Scriptures from the Greek Septuagint and the New Testament as established in the Decree (and in agreement with Athanasius). Jerome produced the Vulgate, a term that means – please take note! – “the common language of the people, or the vernacular.” Subsequent Councils, up to and including the Council of Trent 1200 years later, reaffirmed the canon.

    How did orthodox Christianity survive and spread over three centuries and more with no Bible? If the Bible is the sole source and nourishment of knowledge of the truth, how is it that that light was not entirely extinguished during those long years and the birth and death of many generations? The answer rests on what the Church teaches is the second pillar of revelation, Sacred Tradition. Sacred Tradition can be discerned in 2 Thess. 2:15, where Paul exhorts the people to “… stand fast: and hold the traditions, which you have learned, whether by word or by our epistle.” The oral word is confessed by St. Paul to be of equal value with the written. (Actually, I would suspect even more value: the function of memory among the Jews, as among many ancient peoples, was so highly esteemed that anything of supreme value was committed to memory, as being more trustworthy than the work of scribes.) The teachings – the traditions, the doctrines – handed down by the Apostles and their successors were recognized as genuine and reliable and an authentic part of the deposit of Faith.

    To be continued…

    • Deborah-

      I have said that the Schemers who I read who would like to fundamentally transform the US and the globe for their own benefit have said they would like to have the capacity that the Catholic Church had before the printing press was invented and before the Reformation. That is what THEY wish. To have that power to create guiding beliefs and emotions and values. Beliefs and values and feelings that will guide future behavior.

      That’s not my charges against the Catholic church. I am reporting on the troubling aspirations. They want an Ideocracy now in the 21st century. We know it’s an Ideocracy because contrary facts have no impact. I am about a million miles away in my brain right now from theology as I finish David Conley’s 1993 Roadmap to Restructuring. He says in there that what is now being nationalized via Common Core has never been tried before. Well we know that in schools and districts that did pilot restructuring and an insistence that an assumption of students as individuals be jettisoned, tragedies have occurred. With enough correlation to merit stopping if the results mattered. But results do not matter until the individual and collective political transformation occurs. That’s an Ideocracy.

      If some people believe that there have been times that the Catholic Church operated as an Ideocracy, I don’t think your articulate exposition will dissuade them.

      The point is these unelected profs and administrators aspire to impose an Ideocracy now. Through education. On young minds that remain malleable. Preschoolers. Kindergarten.

      PATHS to PAX for All. Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies as a way to shift mindsets and behavior. Sold as mental health first-aid with Colorado always as ground zero. Shirley McCune of McREL wrote the Preface to Conley’s 1993 book. Second Order Change was in their 2007 Guide to School Improvement. And Second Order Change is listed as synonymous with Irreversible Change, the term Vicki Phillips and Michael Barber used in 2000.

      If you had read what Senge and Scharmer and Csik and Thomas Berry have written about ANY faith in the supernatural instead of the here and now and the kind of spirituality practices they plan to foist via education plus their disdain for any element of the JudeoChristian tradition, you would see just how dangerous these is to anyone of faith or who just believes in Individuality at all. They do mean to train children to see themselves as Systems Citizens with an obligation to act daily to transform the here and now. Without much accurate knowledge. Driven by false beliefs and emotion.

      I am very very worried. I cannot imagine reading what I am reading now if my kids were still young. As it is I monitor the 9th grader recognizing there are teachers at her high school that Spence Rogers has trained for what amounts to intentional psychological abuse. And the teachers are now divided among those who recognized what he was pushing from the beginning. Those who grasped it after going through the training that involved standing and chanting among other things. And those who embrace. Who are now regarded as dolts or naifs by the other groups. The antithesis of a team-building experience.

      You keep writing and I will keep reading but my brain cannot possibly take on another area to try to master.

      Thanks as always.


  2. Robin,

    I totally understand your state of “overload,” and that is the reason I was so reluctant to start going down this path. In any event, my objective is not to persuade or dissuade anybody, but to defend the honor of the Church I love with every fiber of my being. I am called to be faithful, not successful.

    That fact nefarious individuals envy the power, reach, and influence of the Church is nothing new; go back to the Book of Acts where Simon Magus thinks he can buy the spiritual power that he envies in Peter. Simon interprets what he sees in Peter at the level of his own evil and depraved mind. The fault and the deficiency lies with Simon, not with the Church.

    I fully share your worry about the things you are reading and generously sharing with the rest of us. I, too, tremble for the children being born into this hideous web. It has been many, many years since I was able to sleep well at night.

    I will only add that the proof that the Church never desired to destroy the individuality of human beings can be seen in the list of canonized saints, huge numbers of whom came out of those so-called totalitarian Middle Ages. They are as varied as the landscapes of earth. The only thing they have in common is having led lives of “heroic virtue.” The Catholic Church from beginning has exalted such persons, reveling in their uniqueness; the Soviet Union, in contrast, placed them in the Gulag.

    God bless you for your work, Robin.


    • Deborah-

      A big Part of the reason the JudeoChristian foundation is under attack via education and no other religion is precisely because it is seen as a nurturer of a sense of Individuality.

      I will have more to say on the attack on Individualism later today. Right now I want to grab some pdfs before launching another attack. I do think you will sleep better tonight.

      In fact I have been reliving the circuitous events that led me to be in so many of the only places where I could have gotten the relevant piece of the puzzle to propel further epiphanies.

      I promise though to never analogize to Indulgence selling again.


  3. The Duncan sports piece you linked to is classic. The numbers of truly disabled cannot be large enough to warrent this were it not for adhd diagnosis being given to every kid who shifts in their seat.
    My babysitter who is NYU grad and at law school told me her grades were not up to par, so prof recommended she get tested and POOF she has adhd and gets extra time during tests.
    I know this has beefed up the numbers.
    What this seems to me is a destablization and intimidation exercize for schools teachers admin parents to distract from the actual purpose of constitutional transformation goals, as you indicate that they are not accurate on the con law. Their methods though are pretend it is true, say it enough and e entually a legal change will be easy, propaganda and conditioning. Marx, bernays, freud, dewey, et al. Just another tool in their tool box. Also,
    In the article read the comments. You can tell it is a manufactured dialogue, helping to strengthen imagined sterotypical bigotry. My guess duncan and staff wrote all comments, another helpful deceptive tool.

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