Willingness to Make Personal Sacrifice for the Good of the Whole to Become an Integral Component of Student Identity

After last year’s stealth release of the hugely troubling C3-College, Career and Civic Ready Framework over Thanksgiving week to avoid anyone noticing what was actually changing under the invisibility cloak of the Common Core, I was watching like a hawk this year. But I really was not expecting anything like what I saw. A new definition of US civic education and to be required and assessed values that literally would have transformed Mao’s cold dark totalitarian heart in the manner of the end of the cartoon The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. Why such joy from a bloody tyrant? Because the only way to describe the Youth Civic Development & Education: A Conference Consensus Report released by the Stanford Center on Adolescence on November 27, 2013 (but oddly with a 2014 copyright) is suitable for schools in a country that aspires to authoritarianism over the individual. Any knowledge of history would clue that the actual result in practice is likely to be even worse.

Everything any dictator could ever want from his or her schools sounds hyperbolic and you may be wondering how many cups of espresso I have had this morning. Two cups of Lapsang Souchong tea so that’s not the reason I am writing in such dramatic terms. And I have done some additional reading in recent days to verify both the seriousness of what we are looking at and the price of what we are scheduled to lose. Invisibly and soundlessly. No notice means no protest in time and using technology as is planned means no offensive textbook coming home to alert parents or taxpayers to the wholesale transformation.

The paper’s primary author, William Damon, has already been quoted on this blog as seeking to use education “to direct the course of the future.” http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/what-if-higher-order-thinkingdeliberate-confusion/ . After reading this report one has to wonder if he or any of the other authors was tempted to jet to London and visit Highgate Cemetary to put a bound volume at Uncle Karl’s tomb to pay homage to his hoped for view of the future and human development. So much more meaningful than flowers at this point across the centuries of this bloody pursuit to finally gain full submission over even the idea of the legitimacy of the individual.

The first book I dove into to verify what I was reading a description for was a 1973 book by Ivan Illich called Tools for Conviviality. Illich made no pretense that he was calling for socialism globally and how to get there. The book came on my horizon because it is a part of a World Perspectives series that began in the 60s with Kenneth Boulding’s The Great Transition that we have already alarmingly discussed. Illich insisted that “society must be reconstructed to enlarge the contribution of autonomous individuals and primary groups to the total effectiveness of a new system of production designed to satisfy the human needs which it also determines.” Like Broadband for all?

We have encountered this human needs focus (instead of individual choices vision) before and it did start with Uncle Karl’s writings. Illich called it the convivial society and Gar Alperowitz calls it the Good Society or the pluralist commonwealth and Shoshona Zuboff called it a support economy and distributed capitalism. Apparently there’s a good reason why this same vision with a variety of names keeps lurking in the shadows of radical education reform. It is the Illich/Marxian vision of submission to “public controls over tools and institutions” and apparently people too.

Education is the invisible, no need to gain consent from the masses, means of finally shutting down what Daniel Hannan in his fine new book Inventing Freedom: How the English-Speaking People Made the Modern World calls the Anglosphere Miracle. The uniquely English idea “that the law existed not to control the individual but to free him.” The highly unusual in most parts of the world and throughout much of history “idea that the government ought to be subject to the law, not the other way around.” As Hannan notes “oppression and power are far more usual” which is why “politically, a medieval European monarchy would not have been so very different to a modern African kleptocracy. Once people are in a position to set the rules, they tend to rig those rules in their own favor.”

So changing the definition of required civic values in the US so that “all citizens must be prepared to make sacrifices for the common good” as what will be mandated and assessed in K-12 public schools is quite simply an insistence from government that citizens now submit to the suzerainty of majority political will. Administered by politicians and bureaucrats who intend to plan and confiscate. In case you think I am taking damning quotes out of context to rally outrage against the Common Core, how about insisting that “Democracy requires that citizens be willing to make personal sacrifices for the common good”? Doesn’t that phrase bring home why Ayn Rand’s personal experiences with the Bolsheviks in Russia in the 1920’s led her to fret so about “mandated social altruism” imposed by state edict?

It is hard not to visualize all those white crosses and stars in the Arlington National Cemetary or the monuments to the fallen in the D-Day invasions in Normandy France and be appalled that US education and law professors and writers are now seeking to revise. The very definition of what is to constitute politically acceptable 21st century US patriotism.

“Patriotism requires an ethic of sacrifice and duty, and the capacity to act on that ethic. It requires sacrifice in the form of civic activity that involves giving back for the benefit of the whole society.

We have already encountered the mandate of a recognition of the “interdependence of all people across the world” also in that report. It is straight out of the Global Citizenship mandate the UK and Australia and Scotland all imposed under Michael Barber’s insistence before he left the Tony Blair Administration to push global ed reforms through McKinsey Consulting and now Pearson Education. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/mandating-global-citizenship-mindsets-by-assessing-whether-students-adopt-social-altruism/ The US is about to join the rest of the Anglosphere in closing down this ancient view of the individual and his rights before the government and no one was really supposed to notice. No statutes here. Just ambitious Principals and Supers and Consultants and accreditation agencies seeking to lead cultural change towards public control over all institutions.

How many of you have heard about all the founding primary source documents that are to be an essential component of the Common Core classroom implementation? Better read this consensus report then. Those documents are to be read through the lens of what constitutes “authentic liberty.” The report states that

“a nation cannot have authentic liberty, for example, if conditions of severe inequality render freedom an illusion for some members of the democratic community. Nor can we understand the areas in which equality is essential unless we link those elements of meaningful access and opportunity to the freedoms we ultimately must exercise in order to flourish throughout our lifetimes.” [That is unabashedly Marx’s theory of human development or what Martha Nussbaum and Amartya Sen are pushing now via the UN and OECD as capability as a human right.] To continue with the quote after making that crucial observation:

“Similarly, some citizens feel a loss of liberty when the government increases regulations of their personal and economic activities in pursuit of particular visions of equality. [Yes we are familiar with those particular visions. See above brackets]. The values of liberty and equality, in turn, are connected to a core notion of human dignity.”

We are NOT being asked to surrender the great Anglosphere invention that enabled unprecedented mass prosperity because production became more lucrative than predation as the way to get financially ahead. We aren’t even being informed. Apparently that joyful message reverts to a snoop like me. Aren’t you enthused that students are to even focus on the proper levers for taking by majority fiat as they learn about “treating political power as a central theme of civic education involves helping young people see how they gain greater control and influence over the many issues that affect them and the people they care about.”

No need to worry about where the lessons of history predict this will all end up because students are to be taught a version of power “firmly grounded in ethical principle.” Yes because any knowledge of reality might foretell the likely tsunami of political oppression that inevitably occurs anytime any group gets this kind of power over individuals who have no effective recourse.

That’s enough. Read the whole thing if you can bear it. I am obviously having a hard time with the no-holds-barred language being used. I think we need to all know our students are to be assessed on whether they are willing to “sacrifice for the the common good or greater good.”

And that this is being defined as “must reflect a commitment to interdependence and improving things for the many and not just the self. Furthermore, students ought to reflect on this principle in terms of a shared humanity beyond the boundaries of the nation, and from the perspective of future generations, considering the worldwide and intergenerational implications of the choices they will make.”

In the name of Common Core and civic education we are about to get all destructive propaganda, all the time. And the specialness of the Anglosphere won’t be all that disappears.

Every radical’s dream coming in as civic education.

22 thoughts on “Willingness to Make Personal Sacrifice for the Good of the Whole to Become an Integral Component of Student Identity

  1. “The debasement of man begins with the debasement of his principal means of communication, with the manipulation of language.” Ashley Montagu commenting on Aldous Huxley’s The Brave New Word.

    Thus with a nation unable to communicate in words that retain an established accurate meaning, we chaos in communication, text thinking, no thinking, and minds that replace values like software updates, bobbing heads and parroting phrases they have not a clue as to the intended, revised 21st global revisionist meaning.

    • Beautifully stated.

      I was quietly ranting in my mind this morning on this very subject: How in our society of words with shifting meanings or specific meanings for one group and other meanings entirely for another, along with labels and brands whose titles are so unwieldy that they become even more meaningless alphabet acronyms,( for convenience of course, never obfuscation ) we have in a place a mechanism for eradicating our historical memory.

      Pol Pot would be overjoyed. Change the words, change the people. Cultural and historical amnesia for all.

      Of course we will be told that a flexible, collaborative and empathic understanding of the meaning of words is really something to embrace because adopting such a mind set is supremely Zen. No attachment to specific meaning means no struggle, yes ? Perfect.

      Would The Buddha be delighted?

      • It is staggeringly obvious at this stage why See/Say reading instruction is vital to the revolutionary, transformation of education and global citizenship.

        Don’t know what a word says? Unsure of its meaning? Just apply the next best word that makes sense to you and determine a meaning ( so many great meanings to choose from! ) that you perceive to be fair to everyone.

        The document you are signing your consent to naturally has your best interests, and by yours we mean the community’s best interests of course, at heart.

        Mark your X right…..Here. Carry On.

      • It is also staggeringly obvious at this point how vital See/Say reading instruction is to the revolutionarily, transformative educated citizen that is being entrained.

        In a society where word meaning is flexible one need not worry about misconstruing meaning or simple ignorance of a word’s definition, much less the language of a contract/law one is agreeing too.

        “Dear Boy! Just substitute the next best word you think makes sense in this sentence! And what is that you say? Not sure of its meaning here? Worry not. Just apply the meaning that you believe will serve the group in the best way possible! Well Done. Now. Mark your X riiiiigght…Here….. Brilliant. Carry On young man. Your Community awaits.”

      • Would you be shocked to learn that when my son was in 10th grade he had an English teacher who received his Ed degree from Harvard and began every class with these instructions:

        “Empty your minds of thoughts and just feel physically present. Imagine you are a balloon and visualize yourself floating up toward the sky.”

        Yup. Not even lying a little. It is arrived.

        • Mari,

          This is the 6 minute 10th anniversary video of the Garrison Institute. http://www.garrisoninstitute.org/about-us

          Notice that Contemplative Teaching & Learning was the first initiative. At about the 3:30 mark Mark Greenberg is interviewed. His work is behind the Positive Behavior Intervention Systems and mental health “first aid” and bullying programs and now required Positive School Climate.

          The link I wrote about in this post talks about a new obligation of “reflective citizenship.” And later in the video the subject of bringing this to students in classrooms is again mentioned.

          It is arrived indeed but it is about to be ubiquitous as a matter of law.

        • This post from about a year ago should also be helpful on this issue. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/truly-effective-teaching-involves-the-awakening-of-all-three-heart-mind-and-the-soul/

          In that post I mention Spence Rogers and also using school for reconstruction of the sense of self. That ties back to Mihali Csiksentmihalyi’s social psychology work. This is also what the term Excellence means. Trying to get students to align what they feel, believe, think, and want in a common goal. Csik was a co-author of that Good Work with William Damon from this post that pushes the idea that you can get cultural transformation by using education and the media to shift prevailing memes of what people believe.

  2. Read the post yesterday. I let it marinate in my mind all day. Last night was a school board meeting that left me feeling discouraged. They introduced two new teachers they flew in from China for the the local IB charter. 5 days a week in full dual immersion Mandarin. They also introduced the new area they will be covering at the charter, exploring Brainology. Now, my ears perked up remembering your post on that.
    My children do not that attend that charter and I am glad about that. It did leave me feeling that I have few alternatives in escaping this monstrosity.
    It seems perhaps we are past the point of no return, headed for serfdom. It would be encouraging to see lots of others pick up on the underlying vision and fight.

  3. Adding to what Mari said about “no struggle,” does anyone else find it disconcerting that the English standards for CCSS do not mention “conflict,” an essential component of the world’s great literature. Is this, perhaps, because cooperation for the group’s good is more important than the great conflicts we see in the Bible, Shakespeare, and even The Lord of the Rings? Do the standards rob of us of the ability to discern the difference between the Greek polarities and those of the Judeo-Christian tradition? Is the purpose for our youth to see all things as equal and nothing as either good or bad or light and dark?

    • Nimbus,

      There are few qualities that are going to be emphasized more than an obligation to reach a consensus and to defer to the will of a majority. None of this “you are wrong and I will simply go my own way” anymore.

      In fact the Next Generation Science Standards even treat scientific “knowledge” as negotiable to popular will and using models instead of reality.

      Remember there is a desire by these readicals to ensure that there is no longer any “tyranny of the past over the imagination” that will act as a brake on taking action for change. The idea is to have social experimentation and see what happens. It is shocking to us , but we see that wealth and an economy are not a fixed sum. Social science radicals like those involved in education and political transformation do not get that crucial fact because they see paychecks as just showing up in return for their showing up.

    • Nimbus,

      I suspect you will find this slideshare put up yesterday to be interesting. Notice the non-cognitive slide and the one saying technology helps with behavior management particularly.


      The head of New Schools Venture Fund was just named the number 2 at federal DoEd, just under Arne Duncan. He also cooperated on Pearson’s Oceans of Innovation report laying out the 21st century as the rise of Asia. Yes especially with this focus as what American students do at school. Quite mindless and manipulative. As one commentator mentions the computer becomes “the lens through which student sees the world.”

      And that lens is being actively manipulated. Also at the new Schools annual conference a few months ago New Schools mentioned that the CCSSI is just a phase to get the new assessments and technology focus. Notice the slide that refers to the new assessments as “deeper learning’ assessments and that is why the scores have fallen in NY State and other areas already implementing.

      It’s Lauren Resnick’s Higher Order Thinking Skills in other words where there frequently is no fixed answer and the assessment is looking to see what concepts and strategies get used in an ambiguous, non-linear question.

      Too bad Ilyenkov committed suicide and failed to see the triumph of his life’s work in US classrooms with most parents and taxpayers completely unaware of what is being tracked and measured as Growth.

      Brave New World indeed.

  4. I was wandering the net and tripped over this: http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/warsaw-climate-conference-shows-capitalism-root-of-climate-failure-a-937453.html

    The article describes companies linked by the willingness to work for the common good.

    Here’s a quote from the article:

    “There are in fact already more than 1,400 companies, if small ones, in German-speaking countries that have made a commitment to the concept of the “economy for the common good,” an idea developed a few years ago by Christian Felber, the Austrian co-founder of Attac. Around one third of these companies have annual balance statements to show it.” …

    …”But serious clout could be achieved if the endowments of American colleges and universities, the assets of church organizations and city budgets, were no longer invested in companies that destroy the foundations of future human survival.”

  5. So I decided to go for broke and read the Stanford Edu civics report and on page 9 I read this:

    In our currently dominant understanding of citizenship, we sometimes emphasize the rights of citizens and neglect the responsibilities that such rights imply. An initial mission of educators should be to convey to students both the rights and responsibilities of citizens in a democracy, thereby cultivating a commitment to contribute to the common good through active civic participation.

    Hmmm, Rights and Responsibilities…now where have I heard this before..? Oh jeeze silly me- that bit of NewThink is straight out of the Amitai Etzioni Communitarian (Socialist) playbook.


    I know you must be familiar with Mr. Etzioni. Its just incredible to me how quickly a contagious theory can spread when repeated loudly and often enough with authority regardless of actual fact.

    And from the same article I linked to this statement makes my skin crawl as it is articulated as fact without any supporting evidence. Hubris at its most awful.

    “Today about half the families no longer see it as their duty to pass along values from generation to generation. Unless somebody embraces the agenda of instilling values, children won’t have the strength of their values to fall back on.”

    • Mari-I think I warned that report was best read with an adult beverage. Given the holiday season, a bracing cup of egg nog?

      Etzioni has his own tag. I was barely familiar with him, but the Positive School Climate mandate referenced his work as does the rather odd definition of what it means to be career ready. I have gone back into the 70s in his books. Before he left Columbia to shift to GWU.

      Also if you remember from book, John Goodlad in the 60s first laid out this new vision of ed where the student would be taught about his or her responsibilities as a citizen. The obligation owed to others and to the State.

      I have said there is more to the story than what is in the book, but it remains the foundation of everything else I have found. Accepting that level of shenanigans is necessary to getting the rest of the way. There is tremendous consistency across the decades though.

      It is a full-scale assault now, but at least we are monitoring all the elements in very close to real time. We also accurately recognize the forebears.

      • Also fwiw-just attended my daughters winter concert and nary a song or instrumental number included anything related to a Christian Christmas, Jewish Hannukah, political Kwanza, not even a White Christmas or Frosty the Snowman. Nothing to remind anyone of the past. Nada.

        Extremely creepy.

        Going for my adult eggnog now.

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