Eureka Moments Pierce Through the Hoax to Hype Student Privacy to Control Student’s Minds and Actions

A Eureka Moment is when a piercing epiphany takes an area of concern over the effects I am seeing from some education reform and I discover that those very effects were part of the original design. It’s not as dangerous as a heroic rescue from a Thai cave, but it may be about as painstaking in its approach to detail. Regular readers know that I have been concerned for a while, especially in discussions in the comments of these posts over the last two years or so that the widely circulated narratives surrounding student privacy and the social and emotional learning standards simply do not track to the documentable facts about how learning standards like the Common Core or a competency framework really work.

The second Eureka moment I will lay out was the one I wrote the previous post while expecting to explain it here and tie together a trilogy of disclosures around GDPR. That was before I saw a reference on the Acknowledgments page to the 2013 book Big Data to a Rueschlikon Conference on Information Policy that seemed to be linked through some of the same people to that Eureka Moment. Searching that out pulled up the ultimate epiphany as I learned a new earth shaking term-‘data-driven governance’ and the recommended technique–education–to gain control over people’s thoughts, emotions, and motivations to act while pretending that the regulation is a dispute over how and what to teach or, necessary to protect student privacy. The 2017 article in the European Journal of Social Theory was called “Digital, politics, and algorithms: Governing digital data through the lens of data protection.”

‘Data-driven governance’ turns out to “lie at the very heart of governing people and things” so that we begin to “understand governance not as a set of institutions, nor in terms of certain ideologies, but as an eminently practical activity that can be studied, historicised and specified at the level of the rationalities, programmes, techniques and subjectivities that give it form and effect” to quote from the above article. If you want to believe that is not what learning standards, learning technology standards, Project Unicorn, and interoperability standards actually do, when they are accurately described instead of misexplained for purposes of creating the hype that gets more data regulation like GDPR, let me quote from a different book called Reinventing Data Protection? which described the shift from a disciplinary society with a multiplicity of ‘detention’ facilities to a “control society that can increasingly do without physical constraint and direct surveillance [because] it is individuals themselves who have to impose themselves not only to respect but also to adhere to the norms, who have to integrate those norms in their biography, through their own actions and reiterations.”

If that creates a gulp moment how about the desire to accomplish these feats via the italicized “will to govern through data and the will to govern data“? All the False Narratives I have encountered and fought to dispel through my book Credentialed to Destroy, and subsequently through this blog as they arise, make perfect sense suddenly if the accurate truth might defeat the desire of the “socio-political actors” funding those narratives and enacting the tools of ‘data-driven governance’, to “straightforwardly implement technologies of governance without meeting any kind of resistance.” In other words, FERPA redrafting or Student Data privacy Toolkits will not do anything to impede the data-driven governance agenda and GDPR actually helps cements it.

Let me give another example, on June 26, 2018 Cheri Kiesecker wrote a post for the Missouri Education Watchdog blog that mentioned a World Bank paper as supposedly bolstering the workforce readiness agenda. I had previously been mystified by Cheri’s work on Project Unicorn as it appears contrary to documentable facts so I read the linked “From Compliance to Learning” paper that covered “harnessing the power of data in the state of Maryland.” The report confirmed my continuing concern that the False Narrative treats student data as a static database instead of the changes in the student at an internalized, neural, level, which are what constitute “learning.” Secondly, in the “institutionalizing a data System” the paper accurately lays out how Project Unicorn really works without calling it that. It explains in ways pertinent to ‘data-driven governance:

“Across the public, private, and social sectors in the United States, an array of organizations, associations, and communities helps to expand and institutionalize data utilization by strengthening data standards and easing interoperability issues…The first category, Consistent Data Definitions, focuses on providing a common language and structure for data, a necessary step that makes it possible to share data across different systems and applications. Structuring data so that the data can be used across different systems makes institutionalization possible. From an International perspective, UNESCO’s International Standards Classification of Education (ISCED) is a similar framework that enables comparison of educational statistics and indicators across countries on the basis of uniform and internationally agreed definitions. ISCED 2011 is the most recently revised version of the framework.”

And precisely what I warned about in the previous post that the Common Core was benchmarked to. It’s a means of governing through data at the level of the mind and personality and it has nothing to do with PII. I promised two Eureka moments and the second intends to use “bottom-up standards” where “systems thinking can help us avoid repeating past failures stemming from attempts to control and govern the complex-adaptive systems we are a part of. Responsible living with or in the systems we are a part of requires an awareness of the constrictive paradigms we operate in today. Our future practices will be shaped by our individual and collective imaginations and by the stories we tell about who we are and what we desire, for ourselves and the societies in which we live.”

Of course education standards get at those levels quite well and the co-sponsor, along with MIT Media Lab, is an entity called IEEE that also happens to have created the Learning Technology Standards that are a part of Project Unicorn when it is properly described. Good reason I suppose not to accurately describe it lest there be that warned  about resistance. I revisited IEEE’s involvement recently after I cited the Hoover paper on math that did not reflect what the Center for Curriculum Redesign said was the new global purpose of math activities. One of the co-authors, Ze-ev Wurman, was shown as now working for IEEE, which seemed awfully coincidental. He has been speaking at Anti-Common Core forums for years. A bit more research into the acclaim for GDPR as supposedly protecting student privacy instead of enabling noetic manipulation led me to discover that Wurman is also listed as a fellow at the American Principles Project that has done so much to create so many of the False Narratives surrounding K-12 education reforms.

It also bolstered my instinct that articles like this recent hype function to create a demand for “data protection” that magically turns into an enacted tool of ‘data-driven governance” per international design. CXI Global wants to “develop and use broader metrics…that governs setting goals and measuring success…These metrics for success must be utilized in the setting of standards, ethical principles and policy that holistically reflect the explicit values and expectations of the communities where metrics are deployed.” We always get back to that communitarian and normative function, don’t we? We actually don’t need to speculate either on the specific type of education desired for the “evolution of our species” that will “serve inclusive and sustainable development that increases political autonomy and global democracy.”

The CXI vision cites to the template on “Happiness and Well-Being Policy as embodied in the first Global Happiness Policy Report,” which I happened to have read when it came out in February when it was released at the World Government Summit in Dubai. It pushes a vision of Positive Education that I noted after last year’s summit aligns with Betsy Devos’ rhetoric and recommended policies. What this year’s released report adds in that Policy Report is an address at the end that ties the entire agenda to a seminary across the street from Riverside Church near the Columbia University campus. In other words, what happened in Dubai was never meant to stay in Dubai at all.

Getting at the true function of data in education is not a side issue at all. I think it is why the Program on Education Policy and Governance is housed at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government as well as that Rueschlikon Conference I mentioned above. It may take place in lovely Switzerland but the Information Infrastructure Project apparently includes you and me and our children and grandchildren even if we never make it to Switzerland at all. Let me close with a recent blog post tied to this agenda because the goals, outcomes, prescribed learning, and metrics created for us and embodied in learning standards few will accurately describe are intended to create and “support a democratic and socially inclusive future.”

Without accurate information we are left tilting at windmills while all these plans avoid the needed scrutiny that would cause virtually all of us to resist. I hope these Eureka Moments can be the beginning of the resistance that is not bound up in narratives on data that serve as useful Guiding Fictions that actually enable ‘data-driven governance’ in the 21st century.


11 thoughts on “Eureka Moments Pierce Through the Hoax to Hype Student Privacy to Control Student’s Minds and Actions

  1. Fantastic explanation of what is really happening! This material rang so many bells in my mind. There are those of us still kicking who recall the roots of all this effort. The revolutionary activity on a global scale has never halted its forward progress. When your grandson tells you in a discussion about the Inquisition that he knows what that was about—a small uprising within the Catholic Church!—and you hand him eight pages of information from an out of date encyclopedia that comes close to an overview of that unspeakable period, you have a clear picture of what is NOT being taught.

    • Thanks. Did you see this story? Talk about making the focus How to Think, not What to Think. You will feel as told, believe as told, act as told. Here is the ISCED 2011 definition of ‘Learning outcomes’ and political authority gets to stipulate all of this for every person.

      “The totality of information, knowledge, understanding, attitudes, values, skills, competencies or behaviours an individual is expected to master upon successful completion of an education programme.” Here’s the definition of Learning objectives: “Specification of learning outcomes to be achieved upon completionof an educational or learning activity. These encompass improving knowledge, skills and competencies within any personal, civic, social or employment-related context. Learning objectives are typically linked to the purpose of preparing for more advanced studies and/or an occupation, trade, or class of occupations or trades.”

      Consistent with that link the described Rocco Bellanova 2017 paper points out that “Nowadays, profiling systems mostly work with data at the ‘aggregated level’, from which they produce profiles that ‘provide means to inferknowledge about an individual who is not actually observed’. While aggregated data have somewhere to be initially collected–and at that point they are personal data–once they are ingested, they largely can be anonymized. The governing ambition of this type of algorithms does not rest on the identification of people: ‘instead, the profile is appliedto the individual user to infer additional facts, preferences or assumed intentions.'”

      We have hysteria and fundraising off of Child Abuse in the Classrooms and the disinfo campaign enables that very child abuse. We will talk about the why of that more in the next post. When I read that Robbins/Effrem article my first thought was that if they actually wanted to protect the children from being lab rats they would accurately explain how learning standards work. That, however, would take away this very effective tool for managing people and things as ‘systems’.

    • This merger makes perfect sense when you understand the nature of the data really being gathered and what ‘data-driven governance’ actually is.

      This is the product and notice that “Student Privacy Pledge” sticker in the corner of site. Noetic manipulation but it’s all anonymized so the individual-level data runs afoul of nothing statutorily. Project Unicorn is not something from a story book and not accurately comprehending the engrenage involved with these geared elements is dangerous. That’s what really turns our kids into Lab Rats–inaccurate info on the nature of the data and what its true purpose is. My Eureka Moments are all about grasping that the effects I am monitoring are actually intended goals needed to get a useful mindset for what is quite frankly a steered, experimentalist society. 300,000! test items to compare against the desired Learning Progression of conceptual categories of thought and related skills. “With nearly 15 million students and almost 300K formative assessment items on our combined platform, the opportunity to personalize learning is groundbreaking”.

      You can’t comprehend this without what is in the last three posts, including this one. “With complete respect for privacy, a commitment to interoperability, and a singular focus on learning, Illuminate Education serves the art of teaching for positive student outcomes and ultimate success. By enabling teachers to teach to each student rather than teaching to the middle or to the test, both teachers and students win.”

      “KDS is an educational research and content company serving K-12 educators by providing highly curated industry-leading item banks and a suite of over 500 pre-built formative assessments and solutions that combine rigor, innovation, and integrity. In 2017, KDS joined forces with Fluence Learning and Progress Testing to form the largest collection of formative assessment items in the education industry to inform instruction for increased student learning. KDS currently supports close to 12.5 million students in 43 states.”

      InBloom went away, but what it sought to achieve did not and the so-called scalp then morphed into an accelerant to data-driven governance. This is all about a template on how the student’s mind is to work and normatively who they are to be.

    • There is a shout-out to Oren Etzioni in the Acknowledgments section of the Big Data book and we know Amitai was at cybernetics conferences in the early 60s as he shows up in references. Communitarianism would simply be a stepped up level from the microlevel of the mind/brain in Urie Bonfenbrenner’s Bioecological Systems Theory. Amitai was also at Columbia before moving to GWU. Since politics provides a means for the levers of control cybernetics needs for implementation the shift to DC makes perfect sense. I was working this weekend through the insight of viewing learning standrads like the Common Core and competency frameworks as a means of “regulating subjectivity” and that insight pulled up this document tied to the National Institutes of Health. Self-regulated learning is an updated name for what Kenneth Boulding saw as systems theory in education and students as “purposeful systems”.

      Your document reminds me a great deal of Integral Consciousness and especially Ken Wilber’s four-quadrant model of learning. That would fit too with self-regulated learning as the OECD has said it is the new purpose of education and they use Robert Kegan’s Key Competences as what PISA is looking for a the outcomes of K-12. Ken Wilber and Robert Kegan have worked closely together for years.

      Bringing this all together and tying it to the False Narrative that has pushed so much misinfo on data gathering, SEL, competency-based ed etc, while asserting Classical ED and especially Hilsdale’s Barney Charter School Initiative and other classical templates like Circe as the answer, let me quote from Steve McIntosh’s Integral Consciousness and the Future of Evolution (my bolding):

      “when we recognize the dialectical dance of evolutionary progression more clearly through the use of this system of understanding, this inevitably reveals new opportunities for us to directly participate in cultural evolution. These opportunities for improvement have been there all along, but we can now begin to see them better as we are awakened to this new conception of evolution. That is, what all forms of consciousness really need, what feeds people spiritually and causes them to grow, are services of kindness, teachings of truth, and expressions of beauty. The skillful application of beauty, truth, or goodness makes any situation more evolved. And the values of beauty, truth, and goodness can be applied most skillfully when we recognize how they work together in a dialectical system. Thus, when we use integral philosophy to see how every conflict contains a transcendent synthesis that is waiting to be achieved, we are practicing the method of integral consciousness.”

      That not only ties then to Classical ED and called for Revolutions of the Heart or Character Initiatives, but the last is essentially a restatement of the Rockefeller-funded and UNESCO sought Discipline of Anticipation with problems substituted for the word ‘conflict’ in that quote.

      There really is only one template when properly grasped, which is why the False Narrative was and is an integral component of implementation with fidelity this time. The only that changes is the rhetoric.

      • This from this morning is describing Self-Regulated Learning without using that phrase.

        Notice all the references to “the competency” and “the artefact” to “demonstrate understanding”. The artefact demonstrates that the ontological understanding as your link describes it is present neurally in the student’s mind. It is part of their personal knowledge structure. The real purpose of constructivism, which gets obscured when the False Narrative insists it is about “dicovery learning” of an academic subject. The subject is only a conduit for creating the desired and implanted knowledge structures.

        This on “Embodied Legal Education” using Bloom’s Taxonomy is quite upfront about bringing in the affective and psychomotor realms in order to create new neural pathways. It’s the same for learning standards and competency rubrics as shown above except that in K-12 there is less forthcomingness unless someone looks very hard as you and I do.

    • This misreading of Hayek’s points and misexplanations of School Choice and the function of charters from someone I do not regard as any more ‘conservative’ than Jeb Bush in his ed proposals is straight out of a local government as the levers of policy model the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences developed in the late 60s with Carnegie funding. “authority should be devolved” plays right into what we now know about the true agenda of ‘data-driven governance’ and what the learning standards do to the consciousness of these supposedly independent individuals.

      CASBS was created by people who had left U-Chicago where Hayek taught. CASBS was also involved with the creation of the charter template. Noetic enslavement at a neural level imposed by devolved political authority is NOT conservative. As a history major like me, we get the true difference between authoritarian and totalitarian aims is that the former restricts behavior but not thought and the latter wants to control conduct by controlling thought and motivations to act.

      The truth though has a hard time getting through all these blogs, publications, and think tanks determined to push a False Narrative.

      I am adding this as Smarick now heads a new Civil Society, Education and Work Initiative and much of the funding traceable to the False Narrative also has a focus on Civil Society. Probably not a coincidence.

      • is for the 25th anniversary of and it’s all about community and SEL and using “prosocial data” for school improvement. Notice there is a session pitching sel as a means to “stop a school shooter”.

        Also here we have further proof that the classroom prep for citizenship is tied to “furthering the common good”.

        “Our country desperately needs our next generation to have the passions, desires, and knowledge of how to become informed and use that information to act for the common good in our society.

        It is up to us as educators to light that fire.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.