Pandemic’s Utility as a Massive Shared Meaning Making Tool to Force Widespread Systems Thinking

How many of us recognize the current widespread school and higher ed cancellations and switch to online and virtual learning as fitting with the education template various global institutions are pushing called the Libre process of digital pedagogies we covered in the last post? Never let a crisis go to waste, indeed. If you read as many global plans and conference materials for using education to force change as I do, it is hard not to notice that the word ‘pandemic,’ like man-made climate change, has long been considered a tool to force the desired sense of interdependence and communitarianism. Here’s a quote from a 2019 paper  that makes the desired shift explicit:

The starting point must be around the holistic development of living in a better world–to be changemakers. I am convinced that ecosystemic approaches are necessary to move from mechanistic education systems to learner centric ones…It is clear that education needs to become an avenue through which global society will overcome the challenges, gaps and barriers we have created: the digital divide, the growing economic and social inequality, religious, ethnic, and cultural divides, and the extreme ecological pressures we are placing upon the Earth…An active search is underway for new ways of learning and new organizational forms for education that will be consistent with the emergent social and economic reality. In such a context, perhaps it is unsurprising that inspiration for change is sought from biological, as opposed to mechanical, analogues.

A biological lens is certainly easier to practice with during and after a global hype of deadly pandemics, isn’t it? Here’s another quote from that same paper that again fits where we are all suddenly being forced to go:

Across the globe there is a growing consensus that education demands a radical transformation if we want all citizens to become future-ready in the face of a more digitally enabled, uncertain and fast changing world…As learning frameworks outlining ambitious global agendas for inclusive education and lifelong learning begin to emerge, and as societies become more connected and intertwined, it is becoming clear that society has a collective role to play in equipping people to create meaningful futures, through lifelong learning.

Deriving from the field of evolutionary biology, an ‘ecosystem’ is a community of interdependent organisms acting in conjunction with the natural environment…This type of ecosystem comprises complex, evolving networks of organizations including think tanks, foundations, governmental and global agencies and others who are consciously connecting to facilitate the sharing of new knowledge about education and learning, innovation, funding opportunities and more. It is largely concerned with building the global shared knowledge base, scaling innovation and enabling the better use of resources and opportunities to tackle shared global learning challenges, not only within but between networks.

What is meant by a ‘global shared knowledge base’ we might ask and how does that tie to ‘shared meaning-making’ via common global learning standards? It reminded me of the requisite ‘systems thinking’ push over the decades that I first covered in my book Credentialed to Destroy and have since found in recent federal statutes and a new vision of Regulatory Governance pushed by a New Zealand professor, Jeroen van der Heijden, that has made its way here for broader dissemination. It helpfully (with italics) pointed out  the need for a shift from:

thinking of systems as something ‘out there’ –an ontological approach –and systems thinking as a tool that helps us to think about reality–an epistemological approach.

The kind of conceptual learning frameworks I have covered repeatedly on this blog that require a common understanding to become widespread (that the Soviets also pushed as Ascending from the Abstract to the Concrete) fits right in with what that paper above covers as “Regulation and Soft Systems Methodology (SSM)”.

SSM requires a careful understanding and defining of the system at hand–known as ‘root definition’. Defining the system and the problem it seeks to address is best done by a variety of individuals and organizations from within the system. In short, the definition includes the basic transformation a system seeks to achieve (T), the worldview that provides meaning to this transformation (W), system ownership (O), system operators (A), the customer or target of the system (C), and the environmental constraints of the system (E)…After establishing the root definition–again, done in a deliberative process with a variety of individuals and organisations from within the system–conceptual models are developed to actualize the stated aims (C). These conceptual models then must be compared with the real-time, real-world situation to define possible and feasible changes.

In late February in the US a paper came out called “Changing Expectations for the K-12 Teacher Workforce” that laid out such Conceptual Models as the new kind of knowledge all teachers are to develop–Deeper Learning. Reading the paper it is impossible not to recognize that without a deep and broad knowledge base that comes from being well read with an Axemaker Mind, the typical student, and the adult they will become, is not in a position to know whether the required Conceptual Models fit with reality or not. What a useful means of covert regulatory governance by governments at all levels and the institutions that serve as their cronies and proxies. It all fits perfectly with this SSM, 21st century global vision, of “regulation as a (cybernetic) system of control” where people and the organisations they are a part of can be:

configured in relation to each of the three components of a cybernetic system: that is, at the level of standard-setting (whether behavioural standards are ‘simple’ /fixed or ‘complex’ /adaptive) [Common Core/Competencies!], information gathering and monitoring (reactive or pre-emptive) [formative assessment and continuous improvement], and behaviour modification (automated or recommender systems) [aka Learning!]…

A call for applying systems thinking to a regulatory problem is a call to focus on the emergent behaviour of a collection of parts and their interactions as they ostensible relate to that regulatory problem…systems thinking sets boundaries to delineate what is relevant and what is not–such boundaries are often operational rather than spatial. Systems thinking introduces a set of concepts that help to map, explore, interrogate and give meaning to a complex problem at hand.

Finally, let’s quote from yet another paper being linked to globally on what learning standards and a transformed vision of education is really intended to do. It is by Ervin Laszlo’s son Alexander from 2014 and came out of ISSS’s 57th meeting on the meta-theme of Curating the Conditions for a Thrivable Planet. Called “Connecting the DOTS: The Design of Thrivable Systems Through the Power of Collective Intelligence,” it sought (with italics in original) systemic leverage points for emerging a global eco-civilization. Number one leverage point? The

centrality of meaning-making to human activity systems–at both individual and collective levels…This meaning-making drive brings us together…[it creates] a community of interest–around systems perspectives and approaches; a community of practice–around the application of systemic ways of thinking/ doing/ being; and a community of place–that sees and appreciates the interdependence of a globally interconnected world.

As we self-isolate in the coming days and weeks, let’s remember that creating a common vision and vocabulary for meaning-making is a prerequisite for the desired transformational change–first, at the level of each individual, but then also in broader political, social, and economic spheres. Notice how often the rhetoric is looking to foster, at both a visual and emotional level,  those very communities of interest, practice, and place needed for transformational change for a different type of collective future. Notice how the release of a new virus from Wuhan China somehow gets used to reenforce the desired changes at an internalized, personal, level that global education conferences have been laying out graphically and with explicit transformational rationales for about a decade.

What a fortuitous kickstart as long as we remain in the vast majority of this planet that will probably not get seriously ill or even know someone who has.

Timely, isn’t it, with only a decade left to the declared finish line of 2030.

120 thoughts on “Pandemic’s Utility as a Massive Shared Meaning Making Tool to Force Widespread Systems Thinking

  1. Yep, yep, and yep.

    Was thinking, too, that the so-called AIDS epidemic was an earlier ‘go’ at this, though it did not involve the digital learning aspect. It was based on BAD SCIENCE, and the complicity of the media in eliciting wide-spread and irrational fear, and it did drive wide-spread behavioral change among members of the population who likely never knew an AIDS victim, or even someone who knew one.

    And, note, the immediate response of certain more ‘sophisticated’ commentators on this crisis to ‘sense make it’ using data, while not asking necessary questions about that data.

    On another but related note, I have been reviewing with an est/Landmark ‘survivor’ an exercise that is staple to a lot of these groups, though the flavors may change. It is a ‘choice’ exercise in which participants are asked to choose between two flavors of ice cream, chocolate or vanilla. Most people have a preference and express it. Next, the preferred flavor is removed and they are asked to ‘choose’, which flavor they prefer, and explain why. Of course, many participants respond that they ‘chose’ X, because there was no longer a choice possible, but this is NOT the right answer, and this is a RIGHT answer. The agonizing over this may go on for hours until the participant says in exasperation, “I chose it because I chose it.” EUREKA, the ‘aha’ moment, whereby it is understood that ‘no choice’ equals ‘choice’ if one is in the right ‘frame of mind’.

    Now with the latest virus scare, choices ARE to question it and reap social opprobrium, to ignore it and risk same, to embrace ‘new’ behaviors and feel that one is contributing to a ‘solution’.

    Somebody mentioned the media response to the Swine Flu epidemic that occurred during the Obama administration, and which was quite lethal. Here, there was a measured approach that seemed to actually have something to do with limiting the scope of a contagion but did not involve memes like ‘social distancing’. We need to build “heard immunity” to b.s.

    • Have you seen this?

      Remember that ISSS conference I was quoting from in this post took place in Vietnam and systems science fits well with these plans. The Chinese have also been all over the related Living Cities push that I have covered here at ISC in the past. Ascending from the Abstract to the Concrete and the HOTS emphasis on Enduring Understandings etc to guide perception and the interpretation of daily experience are essentially an update of DiaMat.

      Just imagine what the laid out information system plans will do when overlaid with the IEEE Standards on Autonomous Systems that include people and tie to ISCED learning standards globally.

      Adding this from unesco that is just out, since we know they are involved with Libre and ISCED is their baby too. Never let a crisis go to waste indeed.

      New ways of learning amidst virtual reality immersions was already the agenda.

    • Once again we must not let this crisis go to waste and we must think in terms of ‘systems’, not individuals. came out yesterday.

      That said, these events have shown that our systems – education, health care, economic – are not designed to respond and flex in these ways. In our forecast on the futures of young children and their families, we pointed to the fact that people have had to self-organize solutions in response to a stretched social fabric. I think we are seeing that very clearly; individuals are doing a great deal and are responding in some amazing ways, and many of them are doing so with no safety net. The systems, however, are showing that they are able to function only in the best-case scenario, and even then so many people have not been served well by them.

      Jason Swanson: I think the formation of networks, education clusters and ecosystems, all of which are built on a density of partnerships, are themselves a direct result for a desire to be more sustainable. As we grapple with the effects of COVID-19, such partnerships are indispensable for getting the word out about the virus and actions that should be taken, as well as providing resources for learners and their care givers as many physical places of learning are temporarily closed.

      This moment in time has really caused us to realize what an important role schools and other learning institutions play in our lives – from custodial care to feeding people to simply having a fun place to go to see other learners. Without those institutions, issues of equity are being exacerbated. Conversely, as we take a collective pause, it might also be an opportunity to look at what we might we need to let go of that is not serving us well.

      I am adding a bit more as it really is the excuse for the Human Development Society Uncle Karl dreamed of as the byproduct of a certain level of society. Human-centered systems to meet needs the article calls for as it notes the joining together of the education and healthcare systems. Then there is this

      Katie King: We are seeing people make some sacrifices on behalf of others, and I wonder if this is an opportunity to shift our mindsets to lead us toward greater levels of educational equity and justice. Parents, communities and leaders often say they want equity, but we often behave in ways that perpetuate inequity and protect privilege. The system and the incentives are set up to promote that behavior. But if those of us with privilege were willing to sacrifice something, whether comfort, certainty, status or even something material, I believe that we all would gain a great deal more in well-being and could make way for more equitable outcomes. As a result of the event, a new foundation could form for new types of approaches to learning and to community building.

      Jason Swanson: This has made me think about privilege. The virus lays bare a lot of the social and economic inequalities in our society. We need to think about how to maintain high quality learning in the face of disruption, which is something we explored in Navigating the Future of Learning. There is a need for education to develop some level of capacity with futures thinking about deep disruptions in terms of trends and other patterns of change, but to also future events like the one we’re experiencing now and what implications they might pose.

      Virgel Hammonds: I wonder how the empathy and human-centeredness our world is displaying today may have an impact on our behaviors, systemic designs and outcomes in the future. May this pandemic help our world feel the systemic inequities that thrive in our current structures? May this global crisis inspire new, more inclusive structures that ensure the vibrancy of our communities? I believe so, I hope so; our children and families are counting on it.

      Pandemic’s Utility to destroy privilege. Yeah, right. Privilege here is only available to the politically connected in an Upravleniye vision of the future.

      • Pandemic’s Utility to destroy privilege.

        Yeh, right, what I am seeing is the privileged trying to make a buck peddling everything from Corona ‘masks’ (designer) to consulting related to remote work strategies/technogies. This whole thing is a little TOO well-organized.

        On a personal front, my research partner in Madrid reports that he tested positive for the virus upon disembarking an international flight. He reports that the symptoms are similar to that of a mild cold. He is under house quarantine.

        I wonder if, during any cold/flu season, you pulled people off trains, airplanes and tested them, how many would test positive for cold or flu strains. I think that number would be very high.

        • I hope you are right, but with a husband in the hospital for several days in January we have to be careful here. Good thing I like to cook from scratch and can easily shift to what is available. Had swiss chard with bacon and red wine vinegar Wednesday night which was a big hit with the baked haddock I made.

          More use of crisis.

          This is not a snow day. It’s not a holiday break. It’s a crisis.

          So what can we do to support ourselves and our students in getting through these difficult times? We need to look to social and emotional learning (SEL) for evidence-based practices to help us now and to support us when we eventually return to school.

          SEL is for everyone. It’s especially critical for students with the greatest needs—the ones who will be severely impacted by the psychosocial and fiscal effects of this pandemic. But it’s also for teachers and students in the most well-resourced districts and institutions.

          The crisis around COVID-19 is leaving an indelible footprint on the hearts and minds of multiple generations of children and adults—even our youngest ones who are not yet old enough to realize it. The impact and ripple effects across our collective livelihoods is likely too vast to comprehend.

          It’s scary. But it’s not hopeless.

          Now is when we need to apply everything we’ve learned about SEL. Recognizing your emotions and leveraging the science of SEL is more important now than ever. SEL skills are real skills that can support us in managing the roller coaster of emotions we will be having over the coming days and months. For many of us it’s dealing with daily uncertainty and new ways of interacting socially….
          Briefly, SEL is the teaching of an interrelated set of cognitive, affective and behavioral competencies that underscore our capacity to learn, develop and maintain mutually supportive relationships, and be both physically and psychologically healthy. The field of SEL is replete with programs and approaches, which support schools in embedding five large dimensions into teaching and learning. These include self-awareness, self-management, social-awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision making.

          At the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, we use the power of emotions to create a healthier, more equitable, productive and compassionate society, today and for future generations. Our approach to SEL, the RULER Approach, provides tools and resources grounded in the theory of emotional intelligence to promote the psychosocial health and well-being of educators and their students and parents.

          Reason to go where we were always supposed to go anyway. Yale is simply using the RULER acronym to push what Bela Banathy recognized in the 80s as the needed focus to shift students and the people they would become towards thinking with systems and acting predictably as one as a result.

        • Here’s another example

          How do schools prioritize mental wellbeing right now?

          Reshan Richards: It might be figuring out the close networks or clusters of people around a child or a family to make sure that more proactive check-ins are happening. And maybe from a sense of prioritization, if the school has a high percentage of students or families who need that, maybe that is what takes priority over figuring out what video conferencing solution we are going to use.

          Again, I can’t say it enough: If your online school gets delayed by two weeks because you’re solving the mental health question, then I think your energy’s in the right place. The long-term health of the institution—like our society—will be better off if that becomes the priority. We’ll figure out the math, we’ll figure out Hamlet and the Odyssey. That’ll be all right. It’s all of these other things that school provides that you can’t diminish and you can’t create online.

          Also think of all the constructivist math thinking that will get undone while stuch working from home parents actually teach multiplication tables and explain ratios and fractions. One of my kids commented on the number of conference calls now with the sound of children in the back ground.

          • I am adding this as I wrote a post on EcoMuve a few years ago and this successor VR experience is being pushed for stay at home resources during covid

            It all tracks back to David Perkins (AI from MIT like Kahn as in Kahn Academy) and the CORE–Conceptual Reorganization–NSF grants I also covered in the past. Now called Visible Thinking, but ties to Howard Gardner as well as IB globally.

   is the overall template.

            isible Thinking is a flexible and systematic research-based conceptual framework, which aims to integrate the development of students’ thinking with content learning across subject matters.

            Visible Thinking began as an initiative to develop a research-based approach to teaching thinking dispositions. The approach emphasized three core practices: thinking routines, the documentation of student thinking, and reflective professional practice. It was originally developed at Lemshaga Akademi in Sweden as part of the Innovating with Intelligence project, and focused on developing students’ thinking dispositions in such areas as truth-seeking, understanding, fairness, and imagination. It has since expanded its focus to include an emphasis on thinking through art and the role of cultural forces and has informed the development of other Project Zero Visible Thinking initiatives, including Artful Thinking, and Cultures of Thinking.

    • Look at all the systems thinking videos being hyped to get the desired visuals in place. We have this

      Plus the Infection Game is available for downloading.

      As we deal with a world-wide epidemic of a novel virus, there are many ways to help our students cope. One of them is just talking about what is going on, how they are feeling, the practicalities of their lives in a quarantine situation, and how to think about infections from a 10,000perspective (meta-cognition.) Another is figuring out what useful enrichment activities would be helpful and fun.

      This simulation, especially for younger students, is a start in meta-cognitive understanding of a large and scary topic. Sensitivity in introducing something like this is needed, but may actually give some students a way of handling their upside-down world. This short lesson is taken from the Shape of Change, (The Infection Game). Explore other CLE Simulations on the CLE website. We are in the process of converting some of the CLE simulations to the isee Exchange, a great resource for accessible simulations. A simulator for COVID-19 is available on isee.

      Other resources that may be of interest to your students who are on home-stays:

      Splash! – our small simulation app for hand-held devices. Fun to play with and helpful for learning to create little, simple models. A guide called SplashCards is available for purchase from the CLE website.

      Making Thinking Visible Videos – short videos demonstrating the building blocks of systems thinking.

      Model Mysteries – An Exploration of Vampires, Zombies, and Other Fantastic Scenarios to Make the World a Better Place. Available to purchase in book format or downloadable.

      Micro-lessons – Short lessons focused on encouraging students (of all ages) to use systems thinking to solve problems.

      And the headers for all these pushes actually hype it as not letting a crisis go to waste.

      Plus we have this calling for New Age of Mutuality.

      2/14/20 note: This post was written a few weeks ago when China was in the early days of battling COVID-19. It was not yet clear that it would mushroom into a global pandemic.

      What is clear is that we live in an age of what Kay and King called Radical Uncertainly “for which historical data provide no useful guidance to future outcomes. Radical uncertainty concerns events whose determinants are insufficiently understood for probabilities to be known or forecasting possible.”

      When I wrote this post I was thinking primarily about the intersection of the two biggest change forces impacting life on earth—the rise of AI and global warming. This pandemic suggests a third vector of complexification—in short, we have no idea how natural and manmade system will collide and interact.

      The five implications listed below are just the beginning for this new era of human existence. A sixth implication is that leadership matters. I hope this post provokes deep thought about the nature of public leadership required in this challenging time.

      Finally here is the link to the referenced Future of Humanity report.

      • “The five implications listed below are just the beginning for this new era of human existence. A sixth implication is that leadership matters. I hope this post provokes deep thought about the nature of public leadership required in this challenging time.”

        Well, if leadership matters, how does one explain the leaders selected for Trump’s COVID-19 task force? Robin, I don’t know if you have watched Deborah Birx in action but she has made bold statements to the effect that solutions to the issues posed by COVID-19 will require the flexible, systems-thinking minds of younger generations. So, why is she a leader on this task force? Fauci, Birx and others have DEEP connections to HIV/AIDs combines and to the Gates and Clinton foundations, organizations, which have shown an incredible flare for graft in their third-world activities. Could NYC become Haiti?

        Regarding your earlier post, Project Zero caught my eye. This is the foundation-funded Harvard think tank that also sponsored the Good Work Project. Yeh, Gardner is involved and Czick. Look out!

        Robin, I have a question. I consider myself to be a good interdisciplinary thinker and feel this is a useful activity. I sense something very different is going on with systems-thinking, though — beyond the fact that they don’t really DO IT.

        Any thoughts on this?

        • Your neural system that dictates how you perceive the world and interpret your experiences is something YOU developed. This envisioned neural net which acts as a dependable ‘system’ controlling thinking and future decision-making is prescribed to have that desired effect. Notice all the hype over disinformation that, upon examination, amounts to using unapproved mental analysis. We do that a lot here at ISC as you know. You can see it though in the graphic at visible thinking link. Good time to bring back this old post.

          Also with links to Classical Ed and the Templeton Foundation we have this essay from this week

          The Coronavirus Has Unveiled a Deeper Political Disease
          March 23, 2020By R.J. Snell
          A crisis like a pandemic forces citizens to confront what they hold in common. But the coronavirus has revealed that many, whether boomer or millennial, do not even see themselves as citizens—as participating in and being partially responsible for the common good.

          …In other words, this is not a question of age. Whether boomer or millennial, it hardly matters, for many do not see themselves as citizens—as participating in and being partially responsible for the common good. Even if we bracket the moral duty to avoid needlessly harming the health and well-being of others, which is a real duty, the sense of civic friendship, that we’re “in this together” as fellow members of a joint project, seems absent from the minds of so many. (Not of all, to be sure, and thankfully.) Pericles’ famous “Funeral Oration,” in which he recounts how Athenian soldiers “fought and died” for Athens’s good while the survivors remain “ready to suffer in her cause,” reads as if from an impossibly foreign culture and time, assuming as it does that the glory and good of the city come before private interest. In our own moment, many appear to have concluded that the nation is no more than “a bureaucratic supplier of goods and services, which is always about to, but never actually does, give its clients value for money.” The invitation “to lay down one’s life on its behalf . . . is like being asked to die for the telephone company.” And let’s be honest, no one is going to sacrifice for their cell phone provider.

          If one views, as many do, the civic project as little more than a bureaucratic—if largely inefficient—way of delivering goods and services, then citizenship is experienced as mostly irrelevant or an outright inconvenience. Citizenship is an occasional visit to the DMV, in other words.

          The gross irresponsibility of some in the face of coronavirus is not simply a failure of their moral character, but also symptomatic of an underlying political disease. According to Manent, our misunderstanding of rights is largely to blame: “Our political regime has progressively brought about its own paralysis. . . . The rights of man have been separated radically from the rights of the citizen, and, instead of freeing members of society in order to make them capable and desirous of participating in what is common, [individuals] are now supposed to suffice to themselves, and public institutions are nothing more than their docile instrument. We are probably the first, and we will surely remain the only, people in history to give over all elements of social life and all contents of human life to the unlimited sovereignty of the individual.”…

          Our society, and its schools and colleges, have devoted themselves to unmasking, unveiling, and deconstructing the really human things, in order to reveal them as artificial: as nothing but power, privilege, or a religious hangover: as things that need to be destroyed, so that the individual qua individual can define himself or herself as he or she wishes to be. Rights are ascribed to the denuded, not-fully-human individual; they are all but devoid of content. And thus there is really nothing reasonable to say or think about rights, since they are mainly expressions of how and what the individual wishes for himself—not as a human living under law, but as a self-defining will.

          Understood in this way, individuals are unlikely to view themselves as citizens, for each is an anarchic kingdom unto himself. It becomes highly improbable that such little tyrants could envision the common good, let alone make sacrifices for it, no matter how painless and inconsequential.

          Some are arguing that COVID-19 will change everything. On the contrary, it simply reveals how many of our fellows have long ago stopped being citizens. Since they do not understand themselves as living under law, the loss of ordered liberty that is (very likely) to result from the pandemic was all but inevitable in a nation that is composed of consumers who claim rights rather than of citizens who claim responsibilities.

          Snell sounds just like John Goodlad in the quotes I used in CtD, as well as other Social Reconstructionists I quoted. Citizens do not get to create their own neural nets. That’s what global learning standards are for.

          • I wish I was reading this in real time and not hindsight. But I could not help to remark here.
            The person with the political disease is this Snell person, who has with the simple few paragraphs created in me a deep hatred for Him/her , While revealing exactly what has taken over the minds of our precious children when we send them to college – thus The statue of Christopher Columbus at the bottom of a body of water, and church is burned synagogues defaced.
            “… Our society, and its schools and colleges, have devoted themselves to unmasking, unveiling, and deconstructing the really human things, in order to reveal them as artificial: as nothing but power, privilege, or a religious hangover: as things that need to be destroyed, so that the individual qua individual can define himself or herself as he or she wishes to be…”
            A hammer to your head would give you a nice hangover Snell!. When they have you on the ground and they are stomping on your head with their Nike’s, who will you be crying out for? Will you be screaming “but I am on your side?” Or calling for G-d to save you from these wretched soulless creatures.
            I just watched a presentation on The Vandee, the genocide that took place in France in 1790’s during the French Revolution that has been swept under the rug.
            The juxtaposition of events that led up to that event with events in our country since 2012, as Obama Methodically unmoored Us from our Founding, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Church, and connected Us to his Dear Uncle Karl & fast tracked Progressivism, Sends chills up my spine.
            The degradation of human beings right now has reached a point where it is not so hard to see Antifa and it’s stooges (America’s sons & daughters) become like those communists of the French Revolution who came to Vandee and slaughtered their countrymen for not Bending the Knee to their empty slogan “Liberty, Equality & Brotherhood (or death).” They performed unspeakable atrocities in their fellow countrymen.
            We are close to the point of no return – this is not going to end well, but for whom?

        • Take a look at this.

          One of the most inspiring insights from neuroscience, according to Shapiro, is that our brains change throughout life. By engaging in mindful practice, we can increase our psychological resources and change our brains. She emphasizes that change occurs in small increments, and continual practice matters most. Even just twelve minutes of daily mindfulness practice has been linked to improved outcomes. Specifically, mindfulness has been shown to increase or improve empathy, compassion, social relations, ethical decision-making, happiness, attention, memory, creativity, immune function, sleep, and cardiovascular functioning. It also reduces depression, anxiety, stress, pain, and mind wandering.

          Shapiro contends that intention, attention, and attitude are the three pillars of mindfulness. Intention involves building a connection to and being guided by one’s aspirations and motivation. What we attend to is what becomes the basis of our mental life. People experience tremendous temptation to multitask. Doing so, however, decreases productivity and happiness. Shapiro emphasizes that we should have a kind and curious attitude about that to which we attend. For example, when we consider our own painful emotions with kindness and curiosit;, when we understand that pain, but not suffering, is inevitable; and when we label our emotions and appreciate that they serve a purpose, we can then develop self-compassion, learn from our failures, and engage in better behaviors for our physical health and the health of our relationships. Too many people today feel lost and lonely. Meditation can help us appreciate that we all belong to one another and that everything and everyone is connected.

          That’s what has become a focus of K-12 education. So we can appreciate we all belong to one another is precisely what the CCP, when not launching and lying about this virus, insisted be known as Universal Love and become part of the Hong Kong Citizenship Curriculum.

          • Plus we have this.

            The central questions we should care about revolve around things like: Are all students—each and every one—learning what they need to thrive as adults? Are we preparing them to participate in a vibrant democracy as informed citizens? Are they healthy? Are they receiving the social and emotional support and external relationships they need?…The good news—amidst a sea of bad news with the COVID-19 pandemic—is that there may now exist an opportunity to begin to reset our nation’s focus on inputs over individual student outcomes…

            Instead of measuring the wrong end of the student and focusing on the minutes that students sit in seats, we can ask—for each student—are they mastering meaningful competencies? These competencies can range from academic ones around what students know and can do to those focused on habits of success like agency and executive function—and even what it means to be a good citizen, like when it’s prudent to stay home.

            In such a system, we would acknowledge honestly that all students don’t take the same amount of time to master concepts. Some will need several days on something, whereas others will have learned it outside of school or require less time. Some students will choose to go deeper on certain topics about which they have burning questions. Others will be eager to move on to other concepts.

            The point is that we won’t need to be focused so much on the inputs, but on the outcomes. Are students learning? Are they engaged and making progress?

            It was the author’s emphasis on competencies at a think tank breakfast he spoke at in 2012 that I attended that made me understand that was the real focus of the Common Core learning standards. Became reflected in CtD, which is why its insights remain so relevant.

            Adding more in the same vein.

          • No Higher Power, no Creator, we are the beginning and the end. Humanism. Science. Is That mindfulness stuff triggers me. Being kind and curious about our emotional pain? What does that even mean? Is there no place people will be Alone and able to be to figure things out on their own without a master mind showing us the way? Holy moly yes Robin CCP This is unsustainable. Human beings will at some point reject this. Tell me I am right , please? Say it is in the DNA of Americans and immigrants who came here to get away from this hive mind, central control, and once realized won’t stand for it.
            I wonder how all this works in inner city schools where kids eat dinner on the floor so they don’t get hit by a stray bullet from a drive by.

          • This launched today

            On June 11, the Race, Prosperity, and Inclusion (RPI) Initiative at Brookings has officially launched How We Rise—a new policy blog focused on solutions to upend structural racism and create a more equitable society for all.

   The tenet isn’t just that race, gender, or class should not impact outcomes, which is ridiculous given just how much experiences impact who a child will become. They also do not want ability to affect outcomes. That assumes total control over what a person can become. It is an appalling vision where no aspect of the mind or personality is off limits for governmental meddling for “our own good.”

            You probably remember I had long correlated school shooting sites with schools piloting the Tranzi OBE template. The more we recognize its neurological aims for change it becomes much easier to grasp why that correlation exists. It’s not less totalitarian when pushed at the local level using euphemisms and carrying out a more centralized template. Pretending it is about flourishing or Freedom, Justice and a rather unique vision of Liberty doesn’t change its true function either.

  2. COVID-19 — a global perspective
    This ‘event’ seems to be over in Japan, with workers sitting at their desks, and large- scale sporting events going forward. Kinda funny, huh, and given the amount of CN/JP traffic that must have occurred just prior to the outbreak in Wuhan.

    Some of the locals believe we are not being told the truth…I kinda think the truth is not being told in other locations.

    But get this, and it is so Japanese. The utility companies are maintaining service for those who cannot pay their bills. Landlords are forgiving back rent. I guess we have had a lot of practice with disasters and they have become the new ‘normal’.

  3. Saw an interesting doc discussion the other day in which a cool-headed virologist observed that a virus really needed to have three characteristics to drive mass hysteria. It needed to:
    1) be formidably lethal — (think MERs, or even Avien Flu)
    2) kill children (think so-called Spanish Flu)
    3) cause permanent disability or disfigurement (think polio)

    This thing lacks all of these criteria.

    • I am going to quote at length from something the Frameworks Institute has put out that makes the Upravleniye function of this virus crystal clear.

      Topic #2: Making a powerful case for the role of government
      To come through this crisis we need governments to act. There are actions that only governments can take – and our communications can shape a robust mandate for this critical leadership.

      An effective narrative about government responsibility is also a powerful antidote to us-vs-them thinking.

      If government responsibility goes off the radar, we fail to get the action we need – and stigmatized groups can quickly become targets. Our narratives can help prevent simmering ageist or xenophobic resentments from boiling over into full-blown questioning of which lives are worth saving and at what cost.

      But government responsibility is also a topic we must navigate carefully. When people see governments as wholly useless or corrupt, it perpetuates inaction and drives disengagement. A singular focus on partisanship, special interests, or dissatisfaction with elected leaders can obscure the potential for an effective government response. When we trigger the idea that government is all about the people in power, it’s harder to focus attention on the powerful structures that we have, and need, to mount an effective response.

      Here are three framing strategies that can help us lead a more productive conversation about the mission, role, and responsibility of governments at this crucial time.

      Emphasize that we need and deserve a robust public response to this crisis.

      Talk about what governments can and must do. Be clear that government action is do-able and in line with how our society can and should function.

      Instead of starting and ending with government failure
      “Our government is failing all of us and the most vulnerable will pay the biggest price. There is no concerted plan, dangerously unclear guidance, and crushingly inadequate support for those in most need. This is no time for politics as usual but we’re seeing again and again that today’s leaders are not up to the job.”

      Hold government accountable. Call leaders to action.
      “We all rely on government leadership and action to keep our society going. Our leaders must take immediate action to slow the spread of the virus and mobilize the medical equipment and supplies needed to keep us all safe. And they must lead us all through the problems that lie ahead, using the best tools humanity has to rebuild our societies.”

      2. Be clear that government action has a distinct role – different from the things businesses, nonprofits, or individuals can do.
      The term “government,” on its own, can spark mistrust, fear, or ridicule. It helps to pair the term government with a description of how it should act – as a protector, a long-term planner, or as the people’s voice.

      Instead of calling for others to fill in the gaps
      “Businesses must step up, do the right thing, and look for how they can provide a product or service that fills our new needs. To protect the elderly and frail, the young and strong must put personal desires and fears aside, avoiding the temptation to stockpile food or take unnecessary outings. And we all must do what we can to support our heroic doctors and nurses – whether that’s staying at home, donating supplies, or sewing protective masks.”

      Emphasize the roles and democratic ideals that only government can fulfill
      “We are all relying on our public institutions to protect us from physical harm and economic hardship during this pandemic. Businesses, nonprofits, and individuals can all play a part, but only government can channel public resources into the things we all need like vaccines or ventilators. Only government can set and enforce the rules that keep us all safe and well. We need action that makes the biggest difference for everyone and this must be led by government.”

      . Don’t play the individual blame game. Instead, call leaders to action.
      Avoid activating a sense that our leaders are too inept or self-serving to trust. Instead, focus on the concrete actions that specific agencies or jurisdictions can and must take now for the common good. Once attention is focused on specific elected officials, the conversation quickly shifts away from collective action and gets stuck in politics-as-usual.

      Instead of talking about personalities, politicians, or politics
      “Unfortunately, our current leader is more focused on protecting his reputation than he is on protecting public health. And the rest of the party is going along with it. In the end, the very voters that put him in office will be the ones who suffer the most from this pandemic. It will be interesting to see how this turns out when – or if – the next election is held.”

      Focus on the actions that citizens should hold government accountable for
      “We all need our governments to respond swiftly to new information about the virus and act quickly to protect us. We call on agencies at every level of government to deploy every policy tool at their disposal – and to do it now. And we call on citizens to stay informed, stay engaged, and hold their representatives accountable for doing the right thing.”

      n this uniquely challenging moment, we need to connect people to the bigger picture. We need ways to explain health, enhance community, and offer hope.

      We’re pulling guidance from twenty years of framing research and practice to help advocates and experts be heard and understood in a time of global crisis. Every few days, we’ll share a few ideas that can help us all amplify the values of justice, inclusion, and interdependence.

    • Plus we have this from GSV and what used to be iNACOL:

      The Coronavirus has changed the attitudes and behavior of society overnight. And while the global pandemic will eventually be extinguished, the shift of the way people, business, and government go about doing things is likely changed forever.

      We’re moving from B.C. to A.D….
      ”Before Coronavirus, After Disease”

      Join GSV, Minerva, and a distinguished group of thought leaders in an important and timely program around the accelerated role of online learning in our New World:

      Sal Khan
      CEO, Khan Academy

      Paul LeBlanc
      President, Southern New Hampshire University

      Marni Baker Stein
      Provost & Chief Academic Officer, Western Governors University

      Ted Mitchell
      former U.S. Undersecretary of Education

      Sam Chaudhary
      CEO, Class Dojo

      Ben Nelson
      CEO, Minerva

      plus more speakers to follow…

      Being Digital has been a Megatrend for 30 years, and online learning has gone from a concept to a $100 billion industry. The fundamentals of the Knowledge Economy and Digital Infrastructure have been in place to see a massive market evolve—with COVID-19 clearly a catalyst for the market exploding right now.

      Converging technologies such as video, 5G, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, blockchain, and collaboration tools provide a way to reimagine how people learn—which, in many ways, can be superior to the traditional physical model.

      We had the World before Coronavirus. And we will have a New World after this challenge subsides. While we are all going through a turbulent storm right now, over the horizon is the Dawn of a New Age with great promise. The future is here.

      It’s all an excuse to push the UN’s global governance via learning standards agenda. Change people at the level of their minds so they accept the organized society Ervin Laszlo laid out in the early 70s for the West.

    • One more from someone with ties to both the NEA and AFT that I have followed since the Bipartisan Summit on Capitol Hill that soros helped finance a few years ago (2014 0r 15)

      There has never been more need and more opportunity for a new kind of education system to emerge from these incredibly trying times.

      In this moment, what if we let the humanity of our kids, families, and communities guide us? Rather than relying on an educational system that selects a narrow range of standardized knowledge every child in this country must be filled with, what if we put trust in a young person’s natural curiosities, help strengthen their self-confidence in pursuing their interests, and honor the unique journeys of each individual learner?

      • I’ve seen a number of talking heads in both MSM and alternative media touting this ‘transformation’ that has occurred via COVID-19. In that its actual impact has been fairly localized, to date, I cannot imagine how the mass of humanity has collectively awakened to this need to throw off the shackles of standardized knowledge.

        I am appreciating, though, that some citizens are resorting to five-senses methods, are out filming their local hospitals and COVID-19 testing centers in search of a pandemic. See: #filmyourhospital. Also, a steady stream of AXMAKER MINDED docs and researcher seem to be posting about the data issues related to COVID-19. Maybe, this was all another “ice cube challenge”?

        • Well, we have these suggestions. And the same site offers this quote that certainly sounds like what MGIEP or Humanity 2.0 already intended for us.

          The other side of this pandemic can be a more generous, kind, socially-conscious, community-minded society. Be mindful of this possibility and lean into its unfolding.

          On the data, it will be hard for governments to give up the insights created from what they have been able to pull from cell phone records to allow contact tracing. It certainly will enhance the surveillance state’s aspirations once this excuse is over and this is all premised supposedly on governments providing for the well-being of every life. The panic CAGW had only engendered in the young gets created across the board and we all end up feeling ‘ruled’ by someone else’s goals for us. The essence of treating people as ‘systems’ who should desire what is being dictated to them.

          We also have this:

          This is a great moment to ask yourself and your learning community – including students! – a few questions:

          What are the skills and dispositions you guarantee your graduates will leave with?
          What learner-driven pathways will support the development of those skills?
          What opportunities could education provide for students to discover and cultivate the unique gifts, talents and interests they possess?
          In what ways do learners and the broader community think working will be different in the future? How might those changes impact learners’ aspirations?
          What traditional notions of success are at play in your learning community? How might they need to shift as the world of work shifts?

          In a personalized, competency-based learning environment, the goal is for students to be adaptable, resilient, collaborative and self-aware – with research showing that these skills will serve students well regardless of the choices they make for their futures after graduation.

          From here which works closely with Institute for the Future, whose founding just happens to be mentioned in the founding documents from the 1968 Bellagio retreat the Rockefeller F hosted that first treated all of us as systems and laid out the vision for backwards mapping from desired transformational goals for society. It would become the Club of Rome and not go in the direction Nicholas Christakis’ dad wanted in using the social sciences. Well, they are using them now, in earnest and somehow it fits the plans in Blueprint too.

          • Well, I think humans feel so socially fragmented that ‘any’ common concern can feel like a ‘positive’ experience. That said, I think the sheer over-kill in response to this event and the obvious manipulation in play will backfire. People are becoming more media-savvy, and when they are told in lock-step to dramatically modify their way of living by people have ceased to be perceived as credible…well. I just watch for the installation of memes…the pat little NLP routines they all role out…and, the very evident hypocrisy. On that front, I think David Icke of all people, made a great point, today, that being that citizens of the U.K. are being asked, in essence, to dramatically alter their routines in order to protect the most vulnerable to the disease — the elderly. This would be the same country whose healthcare system attempts to persuade older patients to sign “do not resuscitate” forms under circumstances when their quality of life is still good. I guess that’s another systems thing. I think they have overplayed their hand with this one.

            Also, I think that we will see the nation-state make a comeback in the light of things like the EU’s response to the crisis in Italy.

            Oh god, and who could not shudder at Bill Gates pushing home testing kits, when the industrial ones have not even been perfected. I think they have overplayed their hand, and could we please have a respite from the mindfulness language!!!

          • This article goes directly to your point about technology and its use. Hard not to see the aims of Herman Kahn, who founded the author’s employer in this quote:

            If we come out of this crisis with a single widely shared belief, if some previously ignored idea could become a new consensus, it will likely be a recognition that the history of technology is far from concluded. There is no way to stop technological progress, even if, by hypothesis, one were happy with the current plateau. The coronavirus proved that our natural environment continues to be as dangerous and hostile to human life as it has always been.

            Of course, the ongoing public debate about climate change pointed to the same conclusion, but with a critical difference: climate change seemed to show that human activity was the problem, or that technology was the problem. The coronavirus turns this intuition on its head. Far from believing that our natural environment needs to be liberated from human interference, we are now much more likely to think that it needs to be colonized anew. Nature is once again the problem. The present moment feels like a beginning, almost as if humanity is once again discovering the Neolithic.

            My state is going to a mandatory state-wide lockdown tomorrow and my county was already there. Luckily I live somewhere with lots of sidewalks that go on for miles literally. I logged 280 minutes of walking last week and am getting in plenty of balance core work. Since several of the biggest area hospitals are near me and that so-called Pill Hill is one of my walks maybe I should add a spin through its grounds to check out traffic. Yesterday was my venture out and I found the grocery store far more depleted than the previous wednesday. I feel sorry for anyone who does not know how to cook from scratch. The frozen case was strikingly empty.

            Am adding this link. Government approved broadcasts.

  4. Ah yes, the saved by technology angle, but what to do about the rotten, withered souls of those who are so obsessed with it, and progress and the march toward that wonderful tomorrow. Frankly, they are BORING.

    • Yes, look at the excuse for the already desired ‘Reset’:

      Post-pandemic, more people will think of education as a public service more than a place.

      Better safety net: millions of Americans suddenly out of work is forcing U.S. Congress and state legislatures to quickly improve social safety nets. This will not only address short term challenges but improve long term ability to weather dislocation; we’re in for a long, bumpy ride.

      New mutuality: perhaps the most foundational change will be a recognition of our new mutuality—we’re all in this together. We think that will translate into difference-making: more schools focusing on helping young people find and begin making their unique contribution.

      We’re experiencing a terrible shock—one that will get worse before it gets better, but some good will come from it if we work together. Remember too VanderArk was at the GEFF 2030 conference in Russia with Pavel Luksha and wrote about the new kind of consciousness intended.

      Time for my Vitamin D exposure while I walk.

    • Precisely to your point of concern and not going back in the genie’s bottle with this ’emergency’ is over.

      Although ad-hoc mechanisms can be effectively (but not easily) developed at the local or national level, regional or even global collaborations seem all but impossible given the number of actors, the range of interests and priorities, the variety of legislations concerned, and the need to protect civil liberties. The global scale and spread of the COVID-19 pandemic highlight the need for a more harmonized or coordinated approach.In the following sections, we outline in what ways and how mobile phone data can help to better target and design measures to contain and slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. We identify the key reasons why this is not happening on a much broader scale, and we give recommendations on how to make mobile phone data work against the virus.

      Also this quote, which again will outlast this pandemic

      Finally, during the deceleration and preparation phases, as the peak of infections is reached, restrictions will likely be lifted. Continued situational monitoring will be important as the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to come in waves [Ferguson et al. 2020, see Fig. 2]. Near real-time data on mobility and hotspots will be important to understand how lifting and re-establishing various measures translate into behavior, especially to find the optimal combination of measures at the right time (e.g. general mobility restrictions, school closures, banning of large gatherings), and to balance these restrictions with aspects of economic vitality. After the pandemic has subsided, mobile data will be helpful for post-hoc analysis of the impact of different interventions on the progression of the disease, and cost-benefit analysis of mobility restrictions. The experience may also help design technology such as the Korean app (Corona100m) to help people re-starting a (careful) social life without too much stress and further minimizing the spread of a disease. Along this line, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and other collaborators are working on Private Kit: Safe Paths [Barbar et al., 2020], a free open-source and privacy-first contact-tracing technology that provides individuals with information on their interaction with diagnosed COVID-19 carriers.

        • Friends in beta-test California are reporting they are conducting K-12 classes via ZOOM and it is chaos.

          Let’s look for a bright side. Could this situation backfire and result in more homeschooling?

          • Take a look at this.

            If the homeschooling is digital learning tied to ISCED learning standards as many are, hasn’t this ‘crisis’ merely accelerated the SDG agenda we also see in that McKinsey article. Think of all the ed architects like Angela Duckworth who once worked at McKinsey.

            When it comes to resilience, a major priority is building the capability to truly understand, qualitatively and quantitatively, corporate vulnerabilities against a much broader set of scenarios, and particularly physical events. In that context, it will also be important to model and prepare for situations where multiple hazards would combine: it is indeed not difficult to imagine a pandemic resurgence coinciding with floods or fires in a given region, with significant implications for disaster response and recovery. The same holds true for public entities, where resilience thinking will have to take greater account of the combination and correlation of events.

            For all—individuals, companies, governments, and civil society—we see two additional priorities. First, use this moment to raise awareness of the impact of a climate crisis, which could ultimately create disruptions of great magnitude and duration. That includes awareness of the fact that physical shocks can have massive nonlinear impacts on financial and economic systems and thus prove extremely costly. Second, build upon the mindset and behavioral shifts that are likely to persist after the crisis (such as working from home) to reduce the demands we place on our environment—or, more precisely, to shift them toward more sustainable sources.

            Also, during all this the UN dropped the 8th edition of its World Happiness Report that we know is tied to Positive Psych in ed and Martin Seligman’s work. Same goals, more rationales for its urgency.

            Also, speaking of learning standards, we suddenly get this push to adopt John Deweys’ vision for all adaptable systems. including systems.'s_Ethics_of_Moral_Principles_and_Deliberation_Extending_IEEE's_Ethics_Initiative_for_Adaptive_Instructional_Systems

            How prescient Credentialed to Destroy has been on Dewey.

            Notice the conclusion’s applicability too to homeschooling as well as the virtue ethics push we saw with the Pope’s Humanity 2.0

            Essentially, our effort to establish ethical framework standards that would provide
            some governance for adaptive instructional systems is not limited to the ethical design
            of these systems. Rather, it is our position that within these standards we provide
            recommendations to designers and educators to consider developing adaptive instruc-
            tional systems that support the development of ethical thinking and reasoning, pursue
            fundamental research to unpack the relationship between ethical thinking and mediat-
            ing effects of engaging with these systems, and consider expanding their preoccupa-
            tion with simple learning outcomes to address broader ethical considerations of de-
            signing conditions that more explicitly link outcomes to promoting ethical agency.

          • McKinsey was instrumental in promoting the early development of transformational models in the ‘coaching’ field (e.g. John Whitmore’s work), and, more recently contracted with a provider of “ontological coaching” programs to deliver to their consultants, globally.

          • Robert George of Witherspoon and APP who set off the False Narrative around the Common Core back in 2011 in what appears to be coordinated choreography is talking with Blueprint‘s Nicholas Christakis about what we do and do not know about the pandemic. is from April 7.

            A quote:

            This is a fundamental human experience that we’re having. Plagues have been described for a very long time. It’s just that we ourselves are not used to having it. I would happily stay at home for three months if it meant that my neighbors are not going to die.This interview is adapted from the Webinar conversation “Pandemic! What Do and Don’t We Know? Robert P. George in Conversation with Nicholas A. Christakis.”

            Remember too Alexander Christakis, his father, was part of the original Bellagio retreat in 1968 that led to the Club of Rome. He also worked with Riane Eisler and her husband David Loye on the Darwin Project to push cultural evolution.

            Doesn’t the pandemic hype and the powers governments at all levels have taken on enhance the so-called Good Society push Christakis laid out?

            Am adding this from this past week as well. Jobs for the Future works with federal government as well as Aspen Institute.

            And then this from April 8 “Do we go back to normal or do we invent something else?” And the something else just happens to be what John Dewey always sought for education to do.

  5. Hi Robin,
    Hope you are well during these strange times. Just finished reading your post and the comments. I thought of you as I am writing an analytical paper that has a bit to do with climate change. School, even graduate for me, has switched to all online. I recalled from your book the Styrofoam cup episode. My course is having me write about this particular lawsuit.
    Why on earth this would need to be analyzed in a course completion series for forensic accounting I do not know…. eye roll…. Well, never mind, I do know. I wish I did not have to parrot what I know they want me to align my thinking to but alas I get the 4.0 and Deans list if they think I am following along. :p
    Meanwhile I am sickened.
    Here is the link for the case. Have you heard of it? Good little soldiers working together.

    Stay well.

    • I am glad you are well, even if your degree work leaves you exasperated. Can you believe this's_Ethics_of_Moral_Principles_and_Deliberation_Extending_IEEE's_Ethics_Initiative_for_Adaptive_Instructional_Systems just came out and links digital learning, the panacea for this overhyped pandemic, to the creation of Dewey’s Moral Deliberation Qualities needed for a Democracy?

      Also ties to the False Common Core roadshow since a common participant now works for both IEEE and APP.

      We also have this in rather broken English but we get the point.

      Gradually, these techniques are being incorporated in the contour of the study of mediated moderation or moderated mediation. An entire child approach towards education focuses awareness on the community, emotional, psychological, corporal as well as cognitive progress of students. At its central part such a arrival to observe the principle of schooling as developing future citizens and providing the foundation for every child to carry out their future. It has five creed based upon child growth, which emphasizes the approach and affirms that all child in both school and in society earns to be healthy, safe, engaged, supported and challenged. This structure has been worn as the gallows in the expansion of a choice of school upgrading processes that make certain that the approach is incorporated and classified into the progression and strategy of the school, locality, and society. The outline does not seek out to dissociate itself from intellectual increase but it does seek out to enlarge what comprise academic advance in the 21st century and intends to relocate concentration on all traits essential for enlightening and communal accomplishment.

  6. On the Christakis interview, I am struck by the extraordinary level of elitism and moral superiority — almost on par with that of liberal Hollywood celebrities. Taking this moral high ground consigns everyone who might question the wisdom of this approach to the opposite position — we don’t care if our neighbors die. I would suggest that Dr. Christakis head out to the front-lines of his community, that he actually serve the people who don’t have lavish homes to ‘shelter’ in, and who will have no jobs to go back to. Oh, wait, this would mean a brush with reality.

  7. The current situation and the comments Robin has been posting causes me to remember a personal and horrific experience of LEFTIST disconnects with reality.

    In late 2010, I had been encouraged by two academics at a major U.S. university to form a doctoral cohort in Japan. They pledged that if I could accomplish this, they would teach a program on-site in this country, as opposed to my having to travel to the U.S. to fulfill residency requirements. I won’t name the individuals, the instituttion, or the program of study, but suffice it to say, Dr. Christakis could have been a guest lecturer.

    I worked for several months securing a venue, designing informational events, evangelizing the program, and securing meetings with local leaders and academics.

    The 3/11 earthquake/tsunami/Fukushima melt-down occurred just prior to the dates scheduled for the professors to visit Japan. I strongly advised them not to come. I was concerned about their safety and whether we could produce an audience for their presentations.

    Undaunted, they arrived in this country utterly unprepared to deliver what they had committed to, and seemingly unaware of the dimensions of the disaster, its implications. Not one word of empathy was expressed to the ragged, stressed-out people who braved transportation challenges to attend learning events. Multiple complaints were lodged about minor inconveniences and cultural challenges,, e.g. that food labels were not written in English. Few to no questions were asked, no interest in the host culture was exhibited. I felt these people saw themselves as rock stars or celebrities and that we could all be eternally grateful for the body of knowledge they proposed sharing with our backward community.

    Wish I could say this was an anomaly.

    • Just out of Lenten quarantine from my favorite blogs. Have only skimmed this post and comments. But I can’t resist saying that the rock star attitudes Leslie observed post Fukushima remind me of Fauci’s reference to economic shutdown and millions of unemployed, with its attendant suffering and death, as “inconvenient.” If this has already be alluded to, forgive the redundancy.

      At least the standardized tests have been scrubbed, in Colorado at least.

      • Welcome back. This is very good.

        Hard for education not to be transformed when Equity is the focus and more kids than ever will start the next school year in k-12 or in higher ed, with or without needed knowledge and skills, largely based on what has been going on in their homes and the role taken on by their parents during this shutdown. Have been doing cleaning and came across the Kingfisher History Encyclopedia each of my children happily spent hours perusing when they were tweens and later. Which quarantined homes have those kind of books matters more than ever.

        Hopefully will get something new up this week. Worked on it this weekend before the storms came. We were noisily and brightly blowing transformers around my house last night, just like a classic ice storm.

          • Lots of money to be had for getting it wrong. I always believed that the majority of friends I lost to ‘AIDS’ were AZT victims. And, wasn’t/isn’t AZT a chemotherapy agent originally used on cancer victims but discontinued (toxicity)? I remember reading back in the day that the NIH, and related bodies had come to a dead-end in research related to DNA/cancer causes/cancer cures and were looking for a ‘new’ cash cow research focus. I recall Fauci and others promising that a vaccine would be found by the mid-’90s, and we are still waiting.

            Hearing many docs now say that ventilating COVID-19 patients may not be an appropriate or optimal treatment choice. Wonder ‘who’ owns ventilator concessions. Why test cheap drugs that appear to be somewhat efficacious, when you can pull a useless and expensive drug out of a stockpile of useless and expensive drugs?

            As the articles suggest, people need to look at Fauci’s connections to Gilead and other drug manufacturers.

      • Deborah, I have an Indian client based in Mumbai. He/I both know the “lockdown” is a death sentence for many, marginal, living on the edge Indians.

        • Am watching the COVID-19 comments on my undergrad alumni blog. Mine was an IR school, and full of children of Ford Foundation, and other foundation-types. They are enthusing about pollution levels in India decreasing. That is not all that is decreasing.

        • Although it is not comparable with the vulnerability of the population of Mumbai, I am seeing the relative devastation in my own city. A modest household, the parents having been laid off, with three growing young boys, can’t afford enough food to stave off hunger, and the gas tank is on empty. This is a case that I recently heard about from a friend when he was approached by the youngest of the three boys and asked for a piece of the KFC chicken he was eating. My friend followed up and discovered the circumstance I just described. Multiply this scenario by hundreds of thousands. Inconvenient, indeed.

      • On rockstar attitudes and CLUELESSNESS, I really want to write that experience up in depth. Oh heck, I will do it, here, but will only share best bits.

        The ‘he’ of what was an academic couple was a Fulbright ‘Global’ Scholar who asked me questions like, “What is APAC?”, “How big is Tokyo?”

        The ‘she’ was a Ukrainian who looked and talked like “Natashia” of Boris & Natashia cartoon fame.

        When I expressed to them the perfectly rational fear that we might not be able to attract students to study in what had become a “radiation wonderland” — international universities in Japan had already lost 50% of their students — this is vat I vas told:

        “Dahlink, radiation is actually quite good for people and animals, and plants. Chernobyl is now a paradise with plants and trees growing to twice their size…and the birds are singing there.”

        He proposed that we move the program to Hokkaido, though I doubt he knew where that was.

        Ultimately, they came clean with their mission. They were working for G. Soros, as they had been a few years earlier in the Ukraine. They wanted to know if quake-ravaged Japan was ready for a “color revolution”. FYI, these people were attached ot a catholic university.

        • All roads lead to Soros. Oh yeah, I know those catholic universities. And the bird song was probably especially notable coming from birds with two heads.

          • Yes, the double-headed, double-beaked ‘Sorosian’ is known for its unique song.

          • Look at this topic that went on this morning.

            The COVID-19 pandemic has not only been devastating for public health, it has also caused economic downturns across the globe, with fears of recession abounding. While many countries around the world are still grappling significantly with the virus, China has begun to start the long trek toward economic and social recovery.

            The impact of COVID-19 on economies, societies, and government responses are substantial and will continue to play out for months and years to come. As the outbreak continues to disrupt jobs, businesses, trade, supply chains, foreign investments, and tourism, the global economic impacts are expected to grow and worsen. And despite a reported ‘tentative truce’ between the U.S. and China on COVID-related matters, other aspects of the bilateral relationship continue to deteriorate.

            What effect did the coronavirus outbreak and the response to it have on China’s economy, and how does the situation look right now? How are economies across Asia and around the world responding to the economic fallout of the pandemic? And how will the world economy be changed as a result of the coronavirus spread?

          • The funny thing is how very often the Acknowledgements page to these ideas has a shout out to the Open Society Foundation. I used material from the Asia Society in my book and ISC has covered its creation by the Rockefellers just like CASEL. Got this blurb from them yesterday

            I hope all of you and your families and friends are healthy and coping as best as possible in these very disrupted times. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the uncertainty it causes is stressful for all. In such times I find it critical to remind myself that this is not the new normal, that it will pass, and we will come back to a less anxious and more stable time.

            Going forward, your work to develop globally competent youth will be ever more important. The rapid spread of COVID-19 starkly demonstrates that it is no longer possible for any one country to isolate itself in today’s interconnected world. And alongside the spread of COVID-19, we have also seen the spread of racism and xenophobia. We need now more than ever to provide all of our students – our future leaders – with the skills of global competence to better prepare them to live, work, and lead among interdependent cultures and societies.

            along with a link to this from November 2019, which of course, essentially aligns CASEL and the Asia Society’s aims to CASBS and its Growth Mindset network.

            Your story of hunger was so poignant. I actually got a 12 pack of TP last week as well as more paper towels and wondered if they were there because they were a premium brand and were more costly because they had several rolls. With all the house cleaning we have turned our garage closet into a storage pantry when I see needed supplies. When I do go to shop I am there when store opens and I know precisely what I want and how to cook whatever I can find. My middle child laughs and said only I would see turkey nexk for $2.71 and immediately think of a delicious stock that is easy to make since someone is always home now.

  8. On this:

    I hope all of you and your families and friends are healthy and coping as best as possible in these very disrupted times. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the uncertainty it causes is stressful for all. In such times I find it critical to remind myself that this is not the new normal, that it will pass, and we will come back to a less anxious and more stable time.

    “Going forward, your work to develop globally competent youth will be ever more important. The rapid spread of COVID-19 starkly demonstrates that it is no longer possible for any one country to isolate itself in today’s interconnected world. And alongside the spread of COVID-19, we have also seen the spread of racism and xenophobia. We need now more than ever to provide all of our students – our future leaders – with the skills of global competence to better prepare them to live, work, and lead among interdependent cultures and societies.”

    May I say that the development of ‘global’ leadership skills is my wheelhouse. I have spent the lion’s share of my professional career focused on this topic and this activity. I have performed this function in international firms, in a global city, global cities. What I can observe is that HEALTHY, functional teams and organizations focus very little on equity issues, on staving off racism and xenophobia — too busy with business activities that require robust performance from ALL members.

    I have come to really wonder about this OBSESSION among individuals who promote ‘Open Societies’ — and have concluded, based on WAY TOO MUCH contact with such people, that they are PROJECTING their own biases onto others, and their cultural myopia — and, of course, there are other agendas.

    On the poignant food story — I must report that I am living by the grace of a local food bank. The business I was relying on to bootstrap my new coaching and business model was canceled or postponed in a heartbeat. Many independent business people, such as myself fall completely through the cracks when it comes to government subsidies. I am currently exploring “GoFundMe” and other crowdfunding vehicles as a means to generate survival cash. If anyone on this forum has any ideas, I would be MOST GRATEFUL. What it is!!!!

    • Leslie-

      So sorry to hear that. Thank goodness for the local food bank. I literally go with what is available and so far have been able to stay out of what is frozen. I did notice today meat supplies seem to be shifting from previous weeks and the omnipresent turkey has vanished.

      Thought you would find this angle interesting on our useful crisis theme.

      And this article states that schools have been closed in 185 countries

      Widespread school closures, she found, have deep and lasting impacts on kids, affecting both long-term academic metrics and mental health, for example. But there are things educators and school leaders can do now, and plan for down the road, to keep kids academically engaged and emotionally connected to their school communities.

      “[Students] will need lessons and school structures that help them cope with the new realities, that give them hope and the skills they need to be part of the solutions,” Kamenetz writes. “This might mean assessing students’ new starting points, summer school, remediation or acceleration. It might mean studying public health and epidemiology. It will certainly mean social and emotional supports that help children, teachers, and families recover from this unprecedented break.”

      Don’t Japanese cities rely heavily on mass transit, somewhat like NYC? Do you think the visuals from there may be impacting willingness to venture out in other urban areas globally? I find the difference between LA and NYC in terms of mortality and infections interesting. Here the National Guard will be cleaning my dad’s assisted living/memorycare facility tomorrow after 3 workers have been diagnosed. Since they only yest when someone has a fever we have to wonder how many unaware, asymptomatic employees or private workers are infecting away worldwide. Meanwhile the poor residents are locked in their rooms. Luckily we got the last available private room looking out over the garden and not a parking lot.

      • Yes, Japanese rely heavily on mass transit.

        I have still yet to see studies, which evidence a correlation between social distance/distancing and reduced rates of infection. Also, I think that until actual rates of infection can be established in reasonably-sized sample groups, true mortality stats cannot be developed. If/when the dust settles and it is discovered that COVID-19 was, approximately, as lethal as common flu strains…I wonder how communities and states who have had their livelihoods and economies decimated will respond.

        Extrapolating scenarios based on data generated from the NYC ‘situation’, may be as useful as doing same based on the Lombardia region of Italy. I have lived through an epidemic of a disease HIV/AIDS (S.F., early 90’s) that was understood at the time to be 100% lethal for its victims, and for which the means of transmission was yet to be ascertained. Recall that discussions of a quarantine of actual victims were VIGOROUSLY opposed by health officials and the liberal political guard of CA. This was a quarantine of people who had been diagnosed, not the entire population.

        As I mentioned before, I have been polling people in my global network as to how many people they know who have been diagnosed…and I am coming up with a donut. I know ‘one’…and he was just seen at a public press conference introducing his new book. The American media has shown itself over many decades to be completely incapable of accurately reporting on any international crisis. I cite, as an example, Anderson Cooper and Sanjay Gupta patrolling the streets of Tokyo, post-3/11 quake/tsunami/nuclear melt-down — wearing protective gear (anti-radiation suits), and declaring that the stupid residents of Tokyo were trying to protect themselves from radiation by wearing paper masks. It was the flu/allergy season. Truly the U.S. is an international joke, in this regard, and it might be time to start pointing the finger at its citizenry, rather than its talking heads. Actually, I think it is well past time.

        • My middle child discovered yesterday that her sorority ‘grand little’ had it and was quite ill. Unfortunately, the definitive diagnosis took two weeks because some data had been manually entered wrong. The girl’s roommate had it as well.

          A friend of my sil who was at my mom’s last year for Easter had it. Good point on the way the AIDS diagnosed patients were treated and the pressure NOT to close down the bathhouses. I read And the Band Played On years ago. Remember how many that male flight attendant who flew international routes infected?

          It is hard not to see this all as a means to push the 2030 global agenda that seeks to make ‘subjective well being’ the primary domain of government responsibility and us all political and economic science lab rats I suppose.

          • I would like more information about what ‘it’ is. I have heard that in some countries they are simply testing for anything that can be classified as ‘a’ “coronavirus”. I have also heard that the ‘test’ is extremely fallible. This was the case with early testing for ‘HIV’. Since the media seems intent on hyping every single case of ‘it’, who is to say that the statistics are not being padded. Also read that hospitals receive US37,000 for every use of a ventilator, which would certainly incentivize ventilator use. The CDC has in the past conflated cases of flu and pneumonia and toward the end of hawking flu vaccines. HIV/AIDS is a permanent pharma cash cow, with the cost of treating each victim with anti-viral drugs running about 1,000/mo/ FOREVER.

            On the Canadian flight attendant (patient one), I believe that story has been debunked.

  9. To shift gears for a moment, Robin, have you seen the concept of “self-management” rearing its head in global education frameworks? If so, where and how?

    • Usually, the term used is ‘self-regulation’ or self-governance and it has popped up in Angela Duckworth’s work and in Charles Fadel’s CCR work and in pieces Larry Arnn of Hillsdale’s devotees have written for The Federalist on the purposes of education and those usually include a mention of Aristotle.

      I would also say it goes to the essence of the OECD’s Key Competences work that is, of course, grounded in Robert Kegan’s work and his Transpersonal psych partner is Ken Wilber of Integral philosophy fame.

      Got distracted yesterday as inlaws drove up to check on my 91 year old fil who is a widower living alone. He stayed in his house with glass door open and screen closed and we sat out on back deck far apart. I got my vitamin d for the week, while we chatted. Came home and made baked salmon cakes using cans of wild sockeye and a remoulade sauce I made yesterday morning. Today is lacinato kale soup. I go with what I can locate. Tuesday night was penne a la vodka with slightly less cream than needed because I was running low.

      We have been eating a lot of cruciferous vegetables because they are the easiest thing to find.

      • Thanks for the references…this matter “self-management/regulation/governance” is rearing its had in my immediate circle. As usual, it is “what’s not to like?” until you check under the ideological hood.

        Glad you are getting your Vitamin D and all, but I would ask you why you seem to think that ‘medu’, is less corrupt that ‘edu’?

        While this may be a matter of “never letting a crisis go to waste,” it could also be a matter of crisis manufacture. If one sat down and examined the stream of messages pumped out about HIV/AIDS over decades, one would have to doubt the competence of everyone involved. I’m guessing if you had been a direct witness to the ‘in extremis’ habits, associated early on/ and still with ‘acquired’ immune deficiency, you would have to wonder HOW the medical community managed/manages to ‘delete’ these as causal factors in its disease model. Not to be graphic, but I will be, I used to live in a community in S.F., in which adult diapers were the hottest selling item in most drug stores, and this was pre-HIV. I will leave it to your imagination as to why 20 something males were snapping these up. Throw in the poppers, the cocaine, the alcohol, and the prophylactic over-prescription of antibiotics and you don’t really need a viral explanation for immune system compromise. The same result can be achieved via extreme poverty, malnutrition, poor sanitation that prevails in the HIV/AIDS zones in Africa. Just saying that ‘virus’ theories/constructs serve a multitude of purposes.

  10. I agree with you, Leslie, that the health profession is compromised. According to Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai, the pharmaceutical industry wields enormous influence, through its financial heft, on the pharmacological emphasis of medical training. The anti-vaccination movement is the product largely of the explosive number of vaccinations administered to children before the age of 18; I think the last count was 53. There are many, many anecdotal reports of children becoming autistic after a battery of immunizations. One woman I spoke to saw her two sons become autistic after getting shots. When her third child came along, she said, No way. American newborns are administered a dose of hepB within 12 hours of birth; I have read that the U.S. has the highest rate of neonatal death in the industrial world. Neither of the instances just mentioned constitutes proof of anything, but they are suggestive. One thing that is a fact is that the rate of autism is exploding. Why? Could it have anything to do with overwhelming an immature immune system with powerful vaccinations? Nobody looks into it; there are very few studies on long term effects of vaccinations given to the young.

    Everybody is talking about The Vaccine as the Great White Hope for coronavirus. (Btw, and as an aside, the success of flu vaccines among the elderly is very limited because of the drop in antibody production as age goes up. Not propitious for the success of a vaccine for precisely the most vulnerable demographic succumbing to the virus.) Anyway, Bill Gates is from the Gates Foundation and He Is Here To Help. Just as he helped in the field of education.

    Finally, speaking of the behavioral component in diseases like HIV which it is politically incorrect to mention, Keith Richburg sheds interesting light on why Africa’s rate of infection among women was so high compared to the West, in his book, Out of America. I’ll spare you the details, which are clinically distasteful and culturally chilling.

  11. I can imagine the details…have seen some of these up close and personal.

    I just watched a Peter Deusberg presentation on HIV/AIDS, and I think his work is important because he suggests, proves I think, that HIV/AIDS has become the string theory of immunology, i.e. and wrong turn and dead-end, a Concorde Fallacy, too, resource-wise.

    What stood out for me were the following points:

    HIV does not satisfy any criteria associated with contagious diseases, e.g. no health worker or researcher has ever developed AIDS based on even very direct exposure to the virus. He mentions an animal study, ongoing, in which several hundred chimpanzees were directly injected with HIV and none has developed conditions associated with AIDS — the study is on-going and costs YOU 50,000 per ape, per year. There is another longitudinal study going with hemophiliacs who are HIV positive, and all they have learned is that these people are enjoying significantly longer lives than hemophiliacs of a generation ago.

    If one posits sexual transmission, the oft-projected LEAP into the heterosexual should have occurred, universally, but has really only occurred under the conditions you reference above.

    Virus replication rates — dormancy, latency

    Because so many HIV positive people are asymptomatic for many years, e.g. of an estimated 17 million ‘infected’ persons in the U.S. less than 1,000,000 have ARC’s…researchers have had to postulate that HIV does not replicate in the manner of other viruses — which have very predictable replication cycles.

    Lots of funny business with T-cell counts, and that 30% of AIDS RELATED CONDITIONS, e.g. Kaposi’s Sarcoma don’t entail any changes in T-cell counts.

    Most AIDS sufferers in N. America and Europe are male, 60% are homosexuals who are VERY sexually active. Other’s are IV drug users who have tended to hit bottom.

    Yet, safe sex and clean needle campaigns have not put a dent in what remains a very steady rate of ‘infection’, not exponential, but steady. 35 years, 7 billion spent every year, and no vaccine in sight.

    • From the UN from a few days ago.

      Yes, health and education are the 2 prongs of ‘subjective well being’ which is the declared primary purpose of government. Saw that abe put the whole country into lockdown yesterday.

      Adding this as you will recognize the desire to run away when they start the references to a ‘System of Systems’ approach.

      Also notice this 2nd paper is from the same group that issued the Belmont Challenge that caused me to start this blog.

      • Robin, I see how often you have referenced “subjective well-being” as an end goal. This would tie directly into Seligman’s work related to ‘resilience’, and also the HAPPY, HAPPY Positive Psychology track.

        Just read that residents of a village in Siberia score higher on the Happiness Index than most other humans — they are very happy to be warm, with full stomachs.

        I would like anyone’s thoughts on if/whether the focus on subjective well-being might tend to promote attitudes and behaviors that would ultimately undermine well-being, e.g. selfishness, narcissism, TOTAL FRIGGING AMORALITY.

        • This is the post from right before christmas 2013 after the release of the “Joint UK/US Statement on Subjective Well-Being”.

          Then my famous Obuchenie Trilogy followed that. Some of my most read posts over the years.

          Later in 2014 I created the IPCC Adaptation Trilogy laying out the desired ‘shared cognitive base” that would be under intentional attack. It started with this post.

          Notice the last part of the Trilogy acknowledges the use of Mindfulness and “engaged Social Consciousness”. Nothing like a pandemic to have that effect, is there?

        • Note this from the Frameworks Institute on this exact point

          2. Show that bold, collective action is the only response that makes sense.

          We need bold action to shape a better future. But calls for major change are tricky to get right in this moment. Depending on the framing, ideas can come off as extreme or utopian—– or they can feel important, right, and necessary.

          We need to energize and mobilize people to support a big vision—– without leaving the impression that we’re asking for the impossible.

          We can do this by emphasizing how much we can achieve despite difficulty—– not how much people have to abandon or sacrifice. Balance “bold and necessary” with “feasible and possible.” Show that real and lasting change can be made to work—– and what the shared benefits will be.

          Instead of “now we can change everything”

          Try “this is necessary and within reach”

          “The pandemic has demonstrated that human societies are capable of transforming themselves more or less overnight. Now is the time to usher in broad systemic changes to our economies—– and indeed, our entire way of life. We have a chance to reckon with all that our society gets wrong and to start fresh. This is the moment to finally and utterly reject extractive capitalism and neoliberalism, which have failed us.”
          “Government action has been the main factor in how well different countries have responded to the pandemic. When leaders set and enforce smart policies, it saves lives and protects our wellbeing. We can apply this same principle now to redesign our economy and improve our systems. Let’s set new standards and develop better mechanisms to make sure that the private sector considers people and the planet alongside profits.”

          I am adding this from part 3 because it is clear the pandemic is the excuse for the MH society globally just as when UNESCO was launched and then in the early 60s and now in everything the UN does:

          3. Help people see this time as a moment when change is possible, necessary, and desirable.

          The way we talk about time—– the past, present, and future—– can either increase or decrease public will for policies and actions that will make a difference.

          When we use catastrophe terms like “wake,” “aftershocks,” or “aftermath,”we leave the impression that the issue is an impersonal natural disaster and impossible to control. If we suggest that there will soon be a time “when things get back to normal,” we send people toward the comfort of nostalgia—– rather than keeping them engaged in a conversation about change. If we suggest that “we can never go back to the way things were,” people may feel overwhelmed and tune out.

          We’ll need to strike the right notes when talking about what and how we learn from this moment. If our tone invites people to think and reflect with us, many will. But if we come off as telling them they’ve had it wrong all along, they’re unlikely to think we are right.

          Connect the past (the conditions created—– or revealed—– by the pandemic) to the present (what governments, citizens, and societies can and must do now) and the future (possible outcomes that matter to us all).

          Instead of “we’ve been getting it so wrong for so long”

          Try “we’re at a juncture where we can get it right-or get it wrong”
          “As the dust settles, it’s becoming clear just how misguided we have been. We must learn the lessons the pandemic is trying to teach us—– heed the wake-up calls and warnings. We must never go back to a normal where so many are so vulnerable—– and a way of life that threatens life on earth. The old ‘normal’ was a car crash, a disaster. We can, and must, do so much better. There is no other option.”
          “This moment calls us to reflect on the kind of world we want to build as we move ahead. We have seen that effective government plays a vital role-and also that delayed or uncoordinated action can have grave consequences. We’ve seen how deeply we all need each other, and how our current setup fails to meet the needs of too many of us. Any of the possible paths ahead will be difficult. Let’s choose one that leads to the future we want.”

          That was my bolding. but the reason for the hype and the desire to create panic is so clear and aligns with what the ‘systems thinkers’ have sought all along as well, especially Ervin Laszlo and Kenneth Boulding, which is why they have tags here at ISC.

      • From the Aspen Institute that brought us NCSEAD and RETOC–the Racial Equity Theory of Change in ed

        The global pandemic has transformed our lives in sudden and unexpected ways. Much is still unfolding, but the available data suggest the economic and human cost of this crisis will be profound. And these costs will not be borne equitably. Our long-standing divides by class, race, and ethnicity are widening as the coronavirus has a disproportionate impact on workers in low-wage jobs and communities of color.

        In a timely new book, American Poison: How Racial Hostility Destroyed Our Promise, New York Times economics reporter Eduardo Porter examines “how racial animus has stunted the development of nearly every institution crucial for a healthy society, including organized labor, public education, and the social safety net.” Now these institutions are failing us all. We invite you to join us for a virtual book talk on Wednesday, April 29, at 2 p.m. ET with the author to discuss how we arrived here and the lessons history holds for finding a better way forward. As we make plans to rebuild from this crisis, we must not repeat the exclusionary mistakes of the past. We can emerge to a healthier society—and a stronger economy—than the one we left behind, if we choose to make it so.

        • All of these many statements are describing a process of trauma-based mind control, coupled with or utilizing the Lewin model.

          FYI, this ‘victim’ does not feel in the least bit transformed, just PISSED OFF.

          • Last night, I watched a YouTube vid produced by an American couple who had just lost to COVID-19, the wife’s father, “Dave”.

            “Dave, age 63, had come home from his job at Home Depot (still operating) complaining of a scratchy throat. Two days later and after some EMS bungling, Dave was found dead in his bed.

            Now, maybe, I am suffering from some sort of cognitive dissonance and have yet to grasp the scope and implications of COVID-19, but I was not remotely moved by this ‘chocked full of talking and teaching points’, grief-stricken family vid. The couple was just a bit TOO attractive, looked like people go get walk-on parts in daytime dramas, or who appear in tooth-whitener commercials.

            My point is, that there is so much evidence that this story is being shaped and in a manner that suggests pre-meditation.

            Heard it announced, yesterday, that the singer/songwriter, John Prine was a ‘victim’…NPR, Rolling Stone. Read the fine print and discovered Mr. Prince was ’73’, a ‘survivor’ of throat and lung cancer, and had just had a stent placed in his heart. These details did not appear in the HEADLINE.

            Just sayin’

          • No doubt, but we have this aspiration

            Public schools are grappling with delivering on their mission to educate the nation’s youth, and they are understandably focused on their students’ hunger, mental and physical health, and social connection, followed by learning. But it’s not a great leap to imagine public schools playing a crucial role in this kind of campaign to protect their students’ and communities’ well-being, as they have in other social-purpose campaigns such as reducing smoking or promoting Victory Gardens during World War II. Teachers are among the three most trusted professions (nurses and military officers being #1 and #2) and their messages carry enormous weight.

            The point is this: a vast social science research base that has informed our understanding of next gen change tells us what motivates people to act. People may take swift action out of fear; but it is purpose, belongingness, service, and a sense of ownership and mastery that makes for lasting change. So far, all the American public has heard is overpowering messages of danger, restriction, and taking-away, mixed with confusing and conflicting messages from all different levels of government. We need to unite—all of us—around a national crisis-solving plan and crusade in which each one of us plays a crucial part.

      • And we have this with powerful players, including aft and nea via Education Reimagined, on April 28–

        For education, we can’t go back to “business as usual” once facilities re-open. Such action would signal to millions of children and their families that we don’t promise to serve their unique needs, honor their wonderful gifts, or acknowledge the shortfalls of the standardized, one-size-fits-all education system.

        It’s time to explore A New Way Forward.

        On April 28th, join the leaders at Boundless, Design39Campus, Getting Smart, Education Reimagined, Altitude Learning, and Big Picture Learning for a free virtual summit for educators, parents, and students who are ready to explore new and powerful ways to think about education and learning.

        The COVID-19 pandemic has presented myriad challenges on multiple fronts. It has also provided a unique opening for us to reinvent how we serve our nation’s youth. Learner-centered leaders have been reinventing education in small pockets around the country for decades, and it’s time we use their expertise to transform education for every single child in every single zip code.

        We’ve gathered incredible learner-centered changemakers who are ready to share their inspiration and ideas, as well as hear from you! If you believe education transformation needs to happen now and are itching to take action, this is the event for you.

        • “For education, we can’t go back to “business as usual” once facilities re-open. Such action would signal to millions of children and their families that we don’t promise to serve their unique needs, honor their wonderful gifts, or acknowledge the shortfalls of the standardized, one-size-fits-all education system.”

          I would think that, if anything, millions of children would find it reassuring to go back to “business as usual”.

          Listened to a recent Charles Murray interview in which he observes that humankind has experienced numerous plagues, and these have not resulted in fundamental transformations of human behavior, values, activities.

          • Note the use here to ‘self-organization’ in answer to your previous question. I wrote about Donella Meadows and her models previously here at ISC.

            In these times of unprecedented change we oscillate between making sense of the here and now and considering new possibilities for change. For those of us in Christchurch, Ōtautahi we have experienced nearly a decade of these oscillations, with earthquakes, fires, the mosque terror attack and now a pandemic. We have moved from crises that are localised to those that impact us on the global stage. There is no ‘new normal’. If the definition if normal is “conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected.” then its time is over. This is the time of complexity, of emergence and of increased uncertainty. As we move through levels of pandemic alert we can be sure that the world has changed irreversibly. How can we lead in these times in ways that are adaptive and consider the interconnected nature and needs of our planet?

            My reflections have drawn me back to the seminal work of Donella Meadows, and her work on systems, self organisation and collective intelligence. In 1997 she proposed 12 leverage points to consider when moving to change a system. She described the list a being “tentative and its order is slithery” not a checklist for leadership success or a ‘how to’ list that we should all follow. The following 12 points and quotes are taken from Meadow’s work, as referenced at the bottom of this post.

            I remember her husband Dennis being at the Xian, China conference that was supposed to be another global gathering a la Davos.

            I will say I disagree with Mr Murray in that the Black Death had a dramatic effect in eliminating feudalism as it made it almost impossible outside Russia to tie people to the land. It made wage labor possible and individuals took advantage and benefited without a “by your leave”. Was talking with someone today about what the Plague year did for Newton;s productivity and how the isolation showed he and Leibniz really did independently develop calculus without knowledge another was on a comparable track. Systems science is essentially the death of such idiosyncratic minds.

          • Well, based on what you observe in this last post, I am amused at the vociferous kick-back against anything coming out of the mouth of the alleged tech maverick, Bill Gates, and much of this coming from people who question, even, the expertise he claims in his stated field. In essence, though, I think as E. Michael Jones observed, we are being asked to trust the wisdom of various technocrats as opposed to that of democratic systems and elected officials. This, in a way, runs counter to the systems thinking solution that is endlessly touted in so many things you post.

            Another thought I had is that this world of ours is probably no more messed up than it has ever been, and is maybe less so, but with media shaping perception of discrete and isolated disasters and human tragedies as belonging to all of us, we appear to be skittering toward a sort of END TIMES, if ‘we’ don’t act NOW.

            We have talked before, or I have, about Lewin’s recommendation that groups can be made more group’y/gluey by the identification of external enemies or lofty transcendental goals. With COVID-19, we have an unseen enemy, which can be coupled with group-based solutions. Just watching Peter Hitchens discuss the enormous hubris that is now part of strategies to beat a ‘virus’, which few have taken the time to actually understand. As was the case with HIV/AIDS, the medical complex lept to conclusions and solutions, which were announced from on-high in a global press conference, after which dissenting voices were actively stifled. It wasn’t really about a virus, or saving human lives then, or now.

          • I prefer the name ccp flu myself since, however, it escaped the deceit about its existence, origin, and whether there was human to human transmission cost lives and crashed economies. Notice the number 1 way Donella Meadows seeks to intervene in ‘systems’.

            Places to Intervene in a System(in increasing order of effectiveness)
            9.Constants, parameters, numbers (subsidies, taxes, standards)
            8.Regulating negative feedback loops
            7.Driving positive feedback loops
            6.Material flows and nodes of material intersection
            5.Information flows
            4.The rules of the system (incentives,punishments, constraints)
            3.The distribution of power over the rules of the system
            2.The goals of the system
            1.The mindset or paradigm out of which the system—its goals, power structure, rules,its culture—arises.

   From page 4.

            Adding this from later on as it goes to the function of learning standards as well as using the pandemic hype to change the rules and goals of social and economic systems, as well as people.

            4. The power to add, change,evolve, or self-organize system structure
            The most stunning thing living systems and social systems can do is to change themselves utterly by creating whole new structures and behaviors. In biological systems that power is called evolution. In human society it’s called technical advance or social revolution. In systems lingo, it’s called self-organization. Self-organization means changing any aspect of a system lower on this list: adding completely new physical structures, such as brains or wings or computers; adding new negative or positive loops: making new rules.The ability to self-organize is the strongest form of system resilience. A system that can evolve can survive almost any change, by changing itself. The human immune system has the power to develop new responses to (some kinds of ) insults it has never be-fore encountered. The human brain can take in new information and pop out completely new thoughts. The power of self-organization seems so wondrous that we tend to regard it as mysterious, miraculous, manna from heaven.Economists often model technology as literal manna, coming from nowhere, costing nothing, increasing the productivity of an economy by some steady percent each year.For centuries, people have regarded the spectacular variety of nature with the same awe. Only a divine creator could bring forth such a creation…
            Self-organization is basically the combination of an evolutionary raw material—a highly variable stock of information from which to select possible patterns—and a means for experimentation, for selecting and testing new patterns. For biological evolution the raw material is DNA, one source of variety is spontaneous mutation, and the testing mechanism is something like punctuated Darwinian selection. For technology, the raw material is the body of understanding people have accumulated and stored in libraries and in brains. The source of variety is human creativity (whatever that is) and the selection mechanism can be whatever the market will reward or whatever governments and foundations will fund or whatever meets human needs or solves an immediate problem.

            Nothing like a global pandemic hyped as if it’s another Black Death to be the immediate problem that must be solved via “we are all in this together’ hype.

            Not how anyone is behaving in the produce aisles. It’s more “I have a mask on, let me knock you down because there is celery on my list.”

          • Just listening to John Ioannides at Stanford questioning the wisdom of school closures. He is saying that this might net a 2% reduction in total deaths, but even this is uncertain in so far as lockdowns, for some families, would entail young children sequestering in cramped housing with older relatives. He is calling the early projections, “science fiction”.

          • It is science fiction with a similar transformational purpose to the term “guiding Fiction’ we have encountered in education. It is what people believe that guides their future behavior and how they perceive and interpret their daily experiences.

  12. A good example of what you are saying about “guiding fiction” is the Johns Hopkins’ digital global COVID-19 map — the source of information even and, especially, doctors are consulting. A researcher with common sense observed that if you wanted to convey real and useful information, you would do a ‘hot’ chart, meaning color code countries according to numbers of infections/deaths, e.g 4,000> gets a RED, <100 gets a GREEN, etc. He made such a chart using the WHO's real numbers, right or wrong, and derived a very different perspective. He also found oddities such a Vietnam and Cambodia with no deaths, despite their sharing a border with China, Shanghai with '5' deaths despite its being connected to Wuhan by a bullet train. Staggering death statistics in Nassau County, NY…WHY?

    The point is that the Johns Hopkins' graphic rendering is not designed to inform but to terrorize.

    In re Japan, a local doctor friend says his public hospital (Narita) is seeing many cases. At the same time, a citizen journalist surveyed with his I-phone camera, hospitals in Osaka — empty. I believe them both, but what do we make of it? Japanese citizens are up in arms because they believe their government and medical system did not properly prepare for this 'crisis'. Real stats indicate more hospital beds per capita than any other country in the world.

    How could the Royal College in early projections be 'off' by a magnitude of, well, 500,000 deaths vs. 20,000 deaths? I guess this would be comparable to the WHO/CDC in the 90's projecting a global pandemic of HIV/AIDS — the virus which expresses itself in no less than 29 different diseases — which never happened. Nobody, and particularly the media seems to remember these gaffes.

    On another and very strange note, I observed my church from earliest days of the 'epidemic' suspending services and well before the Abe lockdown, which is quite 'soft'. I just checked the website for another religious order that shall go nameless and found no mention of the virus on its website as of April 20th, no announcement of events or rituals suspended owing to the 'crisis'. Must be nice to live in an alternative universe, or MULTIVERSE.

  13. I would not be too hasty with your ‘ccp’ designation. There were American researchers in that lab, and joint research agreements floating around.

    Whole thing reminds me a lot of the Fukushima debacle. Those plants had been installed by GE, and were operated under a maintenance agreement with GE. There were American engineers doing just that, on the day the quake/tsunami hit. I saw one of these guys interviewed on Japanese TV. And, then they disappeared and the whole thing was TEPCO’s fault.

    • Don’t know if you read this blog from Australia, but the lockdown there with huge swaths free from the virus does make it look like an excuse for transformation.

      Today was weekly trip for groceries and the workers outnumbered the shoppers during ‘senior hours’ for the first time. I am guessing with this state starting to reopen later this week, to much criticism, people feel less need to stock up. I am under great pressure from family to limit my trips and I keep explaining I want to pick what we are eating on the basis of what looks good compared to last week. For some reason the dececco dried pasta was gone. Maybe problems with supplies from that part of Italy? I switched to tagliatelle instead of fettuccine since cannellini beans is one of my kids’ favorites and my hands are getting tired from all the cooking.

      • You could also look at it as the “Jeffrey Sacks’ing” of the American economy.

        I have been meditating on the concept of “subjective well-being” in that it nicely explains a number of recent encounters I have had with family members and sundry other Americans from my past.

        With regard to the former, I broke silence because I wanted to discuss the role “gestalt therapy”…we had a practitioner in our family — had played in a trajectory of family relationships…not positive, as you can imagine. My concern, beyond the carnage inflicted on our own family, related to what might have been a large network of individuals who treated with, were influenced by “X”. I guess you could ascribe this to a sort of “cognitive empathy” on my part, and as an act of familial “due diligence”. Note, I feel the same way about what might have been my father’s activities in certain WWII campaigns.

        What I am encountering, though, is resistance to the consideration of ANYTHING, ANY ACTS, that may disturb “subjective well-being” in the here and now. I am wondering if this is somehow tied to …well, let me say that I think American culture has been a “therapeutic” one for a very long time — and, that what I think of as Third Wave therapeutic techniques, essentially diminished the importance of past trauma, past experience — in favor of a rewiring of neural pathways in the now.

        Not to say that the onus of a family member’s behavior should fall on that person’s spawn, but, the creed of “subjective well-being” would preclude ANY examination of the sins of the father(s), etc.

        Make any sense?

        • Yes and your personal experience with the effects of gestalt therapy also influences your interest in esalen. This piece is full of information and I must admit not being familiar with ID2020. Seeing the big oil/banking foundation coupled to ms and global business consultants looks like something that would catch your eye as well.

          The thing about ‘subjective wellbeing’ is that it is a subtle way to push the MH agenda while making it necessary for governments to take on an ‘all-invasive’ approach toward citizens. The interior version of the exterior lockdown power claimed via this novel covid. Flattening the curve goes from being about hospital admissions and deaths to no new cases now that this state’s governor wants to start reopening. Brought to us by the same media circulating a petition before the statewide lockdown insisting local lockdowns wer not good enough. Meanwhile, most of this state is unaffected. I live in the hot spot, but apart from having a full house (which does get in the way of writing I have discovered) it simply means I am careful when I go out and keep trips to a minimum. My youngest child did find me a mask, which replaced the soccer balaclava my middle child loaned me for errands.

          One thing I have noticed is my kids seem more worried than me. I think in part because their news feeds slant them in certain directions whether they realize it or not.

          • Thanks for all of this. I read up on the history of the term “subjective well-being”…and, delved into its Positive Psychology roots. To me, it looks like a “designer mood state”…and, maybe, the inverse of a state or states based on objective moral order. Yes, I would agree that it represents an internal lockdown of a whole range of emotions, which would include ’empathy’. I think the same people who would gravitate to “enlightenment in a weekend” would eat this stuff up.

            Right now, I see the “subjective well-being” imperative guiding a global nervous system to ooze with empathy for a very small bandwidth of those being impacted by the ‘virus’ — a demographic that had never inspired much caring in the past, i.e. we can virtue signal around protecting old people, while ignoring a 10,000 car line-up at a food bank in Texas.

            The recent Pelosi-hosted tour of her ice cream collection smacks of this…as, does California culture in general.

          • Look at the graphic Harvard’s Center for the Developing Child just put out.

            Wellbeing has become the ubiquitous explanation, hasn’t it?

            We all want to build up the long-term wellbeing of children and families in our communities. That’s why we as a society need to support responsive caregiving everywhere. This includes caregiving in homes, schools, and childcare centers. Together, this will allow us to weather whatever storms we come up against, now or in the future.

            From this link:

            Fits well too with the Mahatma Gandhi Center work we looked at in recent months hyping the same agenda as a means of instilling ‘kindness’ globally.

            Am adding this agenda in full swing, as hubby was on a conference call earlier so I couldn’t easily get to my computer. It was a good time to mop hardwoods as I finally located more Murphy’s oil soap at a reasonable price yesterday. It’s good to have a house smell clean when you are stuck inside.

            Living and Learning During A Pandemic is the theme of an online youth summit being organized by the Mastery Collaborative, a network of student-centered schools in New York City that use culturally responsive-sustaining and mastery-based practices. The youth summit is a terrific strategy for centering student voice and community-building during the COVID-19 school closures.

            The Spring 2020 Youth Summit is structured as a daily video chat this week on Monday through Thursday from 3:00-4:00 pm. It’s billed as “Conversations, Surveys, and Leadership Training—in a student-centered, collaborative, generative, anti-racist, egalitarian online space.” They encourage students to participate, and “one adult from each school may join to support/listen.”

            I exchanged emails with Joy Nolan, Director of the Mastery Collaborative, who shared valuable context and rationale for the youth summit: “The pandemic is hitting NYC very hard right now, and there is a lot of fear. The familiar patterns of daily life are upended, a huge number of people are losing jobs, and many have lost and will lose people they love. Students are taking in all of this while grappling with learning remotely for the first time.

          • Oh. My.

            The evidence for Dimon and Friedman’s grand claims about capitalism is presumed obvious. Had the West never abandoned feudal and mercantilist systems for capitalism, there would never have been an industrial revolution, nor the technological progress we enjoy today: powerful pocket-sized computers, self-parking cars, robots that vacuum and mop, drugs that reverse overdoses and fend off HIV, maps that predict hurricane routes. The staunchest defenders of the status quo would tell you that a socioeconomic system any less individualistic could never have produced any of it. Without the pressure of competition and promise of riches, they say, no one in their right mind would invest time in useful discoveries. But what if this perspective fundamentally misunderstands the elements that drive innovation? What if innovation actually happens in spite of capitalism?

            Innovation is not synonymous with mere “invention.” Rather, innovation describes a process—the stages of developing an existing discovery, moving it into production and disseminating it to a wider audience. Three ingredients seem necessary for innovation to flourish: ample resources (like education and equipment), free and creative minds, and the free sharing of information to expand the universe of people able to build on discoveries. Together, these ingredients make a powerful recipe for maximizing innovative output. Yet, American capitalism obstructs each of them. Taking a closer look at what actually drives innovation helps explain how we got to such a bleak place, and the transformation we need to push our research institutions ahead of societal needs.

            Yes, socialism is really looking for ‘creative minds’. That’s why Mind Arson is always such a critical component.

        • Look at what part of the False Ed Narrative crowd wants to get from this manufactured crisis:

          Who Are We Becoming? Spiritual and societal growth in a time of crisis

          Tuesday, April 28, 2020 | 7:00 – 8:15 PM EDT

          Zoom Webinar | RSVP below to receive details to join

          The COVID-19 pandemic and accompanying social-distancing measures have now been a reality for most Americans for over a month, and it seems likely that the impact of the pandemic will last months longer. There is much to be discussed and debated during this challenging time, but among the most important questions are those which are introspective in nature. Namely, who are we becoming—as individuals, as a church, and as a society—during this time?

          For those who believe that all things, including suffering, are mysteriously ordained by God, how do we make sense of times of crisis and tragedy? How can we view these circumstances as an opportunity for personal and societal growth? And what positive fruit—in virtue or character—can we hope will result from this time?

          Please join us for a hopeful, forward-looking conversation on this important topic co-hosted by AEI’s Initiative on Faith & Public Life and The Trinity Forum. Moderated by Trinity Forum President Cherie Harder, the discussion will feature Matthew Lee Anderson (Baylor University; Mere Orthodoxy), Timothy Dalrymple (Christianity Today), and Esau McCaulley (Wheaton College).

          • This caught my eye, above.

            “…drugs that reverse overdoses and fend off HIV..”

            Don’t know if you have seen Whitney Webb’s latest work, but she has been digging into who owns patents for various vaccines. I believe the same firm that holds anti-HIV drug patents, produces a NARCAN-type inhaler that paramedics and police use to reverse opioid overdoses. This drug costs US127 a pop and many firms have attempted to produce a generic facsimile at a much lower cost. This has been blocked by the patent holder. I recall her reading a press-release of some sort, which stated that the pharmaceutical firm saw junior high and high schools as potentially great markets for their offering.

          • My kids have always thought that the attention span drugs like ritalin were the gateways for drug use because the mood alteration becomes natural. I would not be surprised by the blocking you describe.

            Look what KW put out yesterday. Remember how they do the ed forecasts with Institute for the Future?


            The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the education system and the economy, revealing weaknesses in our education infrastructure and jeopardizing the financial security of state governments, school systems and families. The long-term effects of this pandemic will be pronounced, calling into question the future of traditional education systems.

            State Guidance for Building Resilient and Equitable Education Systems
            Communities are witnessing growing academic and social inequities; millions of students have become disconnected from their social safety nets; and educators and leaders are scrambling to provide services and supports for their students in the midst of this crisis. These challenges will only compound as policymakers face the stark reality that policy waivers and stimulus funds are only temporary solutions. Policymakers and stakeholders need to consider how to build on these immediate interventions with longer-term measures that will help the education system weather future disruptions. This may include revisiting what high-quality instruction, assessment and learning look like, including how we deliver it, how much time it takes, how credit is awarded and how we evaluate district and school performance.

            Never let a crisis go to waste, even if you have to create the ‘crisis’ to provide the desired nudge. This is in next paragraph

            States can seize this moment to undo systems not designed to support the needs of all learners and replace them with resilient and equitable education systems that provide each student with a personalized pathway to success regardless of future uncertainties, ability, income, language, race, ethnicity or location. The guidance provides education stakeholders with important considerations for this calendar year and beyond on how to advance personalized, competency-based systems that empower students to master rigorous learning pathways regardless of time or place.

            I have finished that paper and note that at the end they link to a paper on their personalized learning vision that they issued in May 2019. Pandemic is the kerosene I suppose.

  14. The poiint is, ‘who’ owns the patents to various drugs and vaccines and these would include anthrax, smallpox, HIV, and opioid overdose treatment. I think COVID-19 (relevant tests, and proto-vaccines) would fall in this category, as well. If you are going to stage an event, it is simpler to do so if control of the cause, and remedy is consolidated in a small number of hands.

    I guess we can see the same in consolidation of ownership and control of various educational ‘remedies’, right?

    • Thanks. Will do. Take a look at this quote and remember Strive Together is tied to Knowledge Works that created that Restoring Hope in Crisis vision I linked to yesterday.

      Equity work is hard, messy and complex. The foundation of this country is rooted in racism; our institutions were built to create a society that perpetuates inequities and marginalizes Black, Indigenous, Latinx and people of color. The current crisis is widening the gaps between those with privilege and those who are most vulnerable. When disaggregated data is available, we are seeing that Black people are dying from the pandemic at a disproportionate rate.

      But what’s happening today gives us an opportunity to make our world a better place by rebuilding education, health care, housing, employment and more of the systems that continue to fail communities of color. These systems have been in place for centuries and it will take time to dismantle them. But systems are made of people — and people can and must change, especially white people like me who hold positions of power and privilege.

      By the way, the link ends with this:”We invite you to join us as we use our collective power for the well-being and success of every child, cradle to career.” I bolded your favorite word.

      • I think we need T-shirts: “Strive Together!”, “Well-being, Being-well!!”, “Flourishing Together!”. I KNOW this is a stupid question, but what color are the Indians who are currently dying of lockdown-induced starvation? What color(s) are the 50% unemployed in L.A. county? I guess HIV/AIDS had to be made a more equitable disease by its African jump into the heterosexual population. We must be equal in everything, even death. These people are completely insane.

        • Yes, indeed. Somebody mentioned to me that the explanation of the Michigan governor for banning the purchase of seeds in the Walmarts that were remaining open was that it would give Walmart an unfair advantage over the mom and pop gardening shops that were ordered to close. The obvious alternative never occurs to these social justice nazis.

          • Deborah, please get with the equity program, resistance is futile!!!

            Mom and Pop stores are kulaks that must be eliminated.

            Was thinking that I saw early signs of a collective future in China…where they are removing the human element from every transaction. See, the government took a survey (yeh, right!), which determined that Chinese people really do not want any human contact, whatsoever, during their consumer experience — so, now, all their convenience stores are self-serve!

  15. On the subject of well- being….My sister teaches kindergarten. She alerted me to a technology called Pear Deck, which is used as a presentation add-on for classroom “conversations.” Her colleague sent her one for first graders.

    The child is faced with an emotional check-in splash page: “Adventurers always check in before exploring:” then big letters: “How are you feeling today?” The child may click Happy Face, No Emotion Face, or a Sad Face emoji picture, OR the written phrase “Or skip.” Gee, I sure hope Mom or Dad are sitting nearby to stop the SEL data collection! Imagine the data sets they’ll compile for every child!

    Google Classroom is going to have fun parsing all the data they’re collecting too!

    • Good to see you commenting. Hoping to get back to a more normal schedule with less people in the house soon. Knew you would appreciate this too.

      Smart Brains Are Efficient Brains: The Role of Myelin in Learning

      We sometimes treat learning like a switch that is turned on or off—either students learn something or they don’t. But learning is a spectrum, with surface learning and a lack of skill on one side and deep learning and mastery on the other. To better understand learning, we need to know what happens in students’ brains when they move from surface learning to deep learning.

      Learning involves three key components of the brain: neurons, synapses, and myelin. Neurons are nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that have “branches” to receive brain signals and a “wire” to send messages to other neurons. Neurons do not touch each other, and the space separating the wire of one neuron from the branches of another is called a synapse. Learning occurs when experiences connect neurons together. This learning leads to thoughts and behaviors when brain signals travel from neuron to neuron.

      Imagine a student’s brain as a field. Creating learning through new connections among neurons is like clearing a path and making a dirt road in that field. At first, brain signals can travel, but not quickly or efficiently. But repeated practice—guided by feedback to correct errors—tells the brain that this dirt path is not sufficient. The brain responds by paving the road so that signals can travel faster.

      Specialized cells called glial cells are the brain’s construction workers. Myelin is the brain’s pavement. When brain signals repeatedly travel through neurons, glial cells create myelin, a fatty substance that wraps around the wires (called axons) connecting the neurons. Myelin plays the essential role of making brain signals faster and stronger. The more the brain signal is “practiced,” the more myelin gets wrapped around the wire. A well-myelinated brain signal travels over 100 times faster than an unmyelinated brain signal.

      When students first learn a skill, the connections between neurons are weak—much like a dirt path. Mastery occurs when those neural connections are constructed into freeways by the accumulation of myelin. So how do you help students go from dirt paths to freeways? By creating desirable difficulty through productive struggle.

      Not my understanding of myelinization, which is, of course, what gets attacked tragically in MS. It seems to be attributing to myelin what is normally attributed to synapses and dendritic connections from repeated experiences, but those are not necessarily lead to mind arson. This, of course, makes constructivist reading, math, and science practices a good thing. How many readers of Edutopia have been thinking about the myelinazation process for more than 30 years. Ah, notice, that mindfulness too is supposedly good for myelin production.

      Maybe it can cure the virus as well?

      • This topic was covered in a “Principles of Adult Learning” course that I recently had to suffer through with a uber left leaning super young prof, who mentioned he was still highly in debt for his masters in some dead end degree like cultural studies. He’s now trying so very hard to warp other minds as his was. Anyway, I am sure I rolled my eyes so hard it was annoying to him as many times as he mentioned “fixed” mindsets and new growth pathways in the brain.
        Anyhow, in all your readings did you ever read the book “The Great Society” by Graham Wallas in 1914? Supposedly this is where LBJ got his title from. It came up in a history class and made me wonder if you ever looked at it. Mr. Wallace likely received the benefit of an education that did him well before the mind arson began. Thoughts?

        I am growing tired of the “all in this together” brainwashing on the radio and TV. Emails from school and Oregon Health about practicing mindfulness as we are locked in the house. Did you hear that? That was the sound of my eyes rolling in the back of my head again… ding!

        The messaging in nothing less than predictable.

        • I will have to check my ctd notes but my remembrance is that the great society was dewey. That book date fits with someone taught by him at chicago or later columbia. Will look into and get back.

          Yes, I could do a map of my neighborhood and available loops through adjacent neighborhoods. As we have talked about in ctd and now here at isc, the plans are laid out, the word pandemic was laways in the list of interdependent global problems that would be potential triggers, but this is still surreal.

          Speaking of messaging, brought to us by mit press and thus tied to ccr and fadel as well as the Earth Science Partnership–

          Just as the natural world is besieged by a climate crisis, our digital world is besieged by a network crisis. Polarization is at a fever pitch. Polluted information floods social media. Even our best efforts to help clean up can backfire, sending toxins roaring across the landscape. Old solutions have failed to solve new problems. We need a better way to navigate our increasingly treacherous terrain.

          By diagnosing the causes and consequences of a fundamentally polluted information ecosystem, You Are Here offers a path forward. It presents a series of ecological metaphors and the stories they inspire—the sky above, the roots below, the land all around—to emphasize how our individual me is entwined within a much larger we. These metaphors help position all of us, regardless of profession or ideology, within an ever-shifting network map. Knowing where we stand in relation to everything else allows us to make more humane, more reflective, and more ethical choices online. We may not be able to change our world overnight. What we can do, what we must do, is begin planting different seeds for a different future.

          Take care of yourself. This stuff is important to grasp as we know, but not fun. Good to know to protect our children, but also let it go and just enjoy our lives with that background understanding.

          • Don’t know why this is on my mind, but a million years ago and when I was a child growing up in a multicultural neighborhood on the Left Coast, I had a friend. I will call her, “Julie”. From the earliest days, “Julie” was ‘mindful’ of the behavior of everyone around her, nothing and no one escaped her attention. “Julie” was also endlessly prescriptive — she had a vision of how we each of us should see the world, and each other, AND she shared this. Last I heard, she had become a psychologist and was attached to a department of education.

          • This out today fits with your point. Look at that Futures Triangle and this quote

            Although at the moment the push of the present weighs heavily on our minds, the weight of history might be lighter than usual because of the circumstances thrust upon us. As we process how we are responding to the current crisis, we should take this opportunity to ensure our actions are aligned with what we hope education will look like down the road. Today we can build plausible futures of learning together by better understanding the dynamic tension between past, present and future, escaping the tyranny of the present and using the temporarily light weight of history to catapult our visions.

   builds upon this from yesterday

            Dealing with change can be daunting. Whether it involves thinking through the implications of a decision, considering possible outcomes of an event such as COVID-19 or ideating on the impacts of a trend, facing change means grappling with a certain level of uncertainty. No one can know the future, and it is impossible to think through the full range of implications of a change.

            However, using Futures Wheels can help surface implications beyond the immediate, first-order consequences of change and can help develop an understanding of causality by mapping how a change can create a ripple effect of other changes. Examining those implications can help clarify how to navigate the murky waters of change and can bring to light other potential changes that might have gone unexamined.

            Futures Wheels were created by futurist Jerome C. Glenn in the early 1970’s to help visualize the direct and indirect implications of a decision, trend or event. I find them to be a fantastic visual idea generation tool. While Futures Wheels can be completed solo, they are best done in groups. If you are grappling with change, you can use Futures Wheels to help push your thinking beyond the immediate, sometimes obvious implications of change by creating your own Futures Wheel using the steps outlined below…Step 2: Identify the change

            Pick a change you wish to explore. This could be an event, a trend or a decision that needs to be made. Write the change in the center of a piece of paper or on a flipchart or type it in the center of your mind map. Then circle it if you are using paper or your software does not do so automatically.

            And then this from the day before that fits with what we know Luksha has been up to and GEFF 2030 and UNESCO says is the new role of education. What a useful ‘pandemic’ to jumpstart again the existing agenda that might have gotten stuck.

            Take a look at what this shutdown has done to the zone of plausibility described here in how students will come to think of roles of governments at any level, whether they have obligations to one another, and how an economy should be structured and who should be the drivers.

            which reminds me greatly of how the ed lab McREL in Aurora (near Columbine) has been pushing Second Order Thinking as the purpose of ed reforms for decades.

          • I mean they outright claim it. “Mindfulness changes mental processes”.
            More than anyone realizes…..

  16. Was just assured by a friend in the mental health field that there would be plenty of work in future months…helping to pick up the wreckage of people and organizations. There seems to be no ‘mindfulness’ related to cause and effect. Shit just happens…

  17. Sorry, to go off topic, but you cannot make this stuff UP!

    “The Program for Evolutionary Dynamics [PED] was established in 2003 by Harvard University President Lawrence H. Summers following an imaginative proposal by Jeffrey Epstein and Benedict Gross. The center operates under the auspices of William Kirby, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Martin Nowak, Professor of Mathematics and Biology, is the Faculty Director.” [brackets mine]

    • Interesting tie to the Templeton Foundation and its funding of Evolutionary Dynamics. Fits with their push for cultural evolution via the noosphere manipulation via education.

      Also noted that Nowak came from the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, which comes up in research almost as much as CASBS over the years.

      Adding this as it fits with never let a crisis go to waste.

      For many in a more privileged sphere, the coronavirus has broken the comfortable illusion that a global catastrophe like this just won’t happen, at least not in my bubble. Catastrophe is now a reality and “global” means “global,” as in everyone.

      With the bursting of this comforting bubble and the definition of the “global” in “global catastrophe” clearer than ever, it is now time to seriously invest in a climate crisis curriculum for our students. We have a new sense of what it means to be affected by and to tackle something globally, and we need to equip our students with the practical and political power to address these challenges, as well as build a sense of global solidarity and shared responsibility…

      However, coronavirus forced many to go through the denial of the “global” definition quickly, as it did make its way to our front door, much like the “in our lifetime” climate predictions, and soon many who were in denial a week ago were out of school or work and sheltering in place the next. We can now learn from this in our approach to climate change, pressing forward with our students’ new understanding of “global,” and the realization for many that yes, it will impact me. And yes, there is a shared responsibility to address it. From this, we can both show that we are in this together and promote the idea that it shouldn’t take a crisis coming to our front door to build global solidarity.

      If global solidarity were built from the beginning in the coronavirus, the situation may have turned out much differently, with all our political power and resources going to help China battle what could affect us all. But with the climate crisis we have a few advantages — one being time.

      From a high school English teacher in Maryland. No need for expertise to have an opinion. Still using this downtime to organize my files and I just culled some research from 2013 that I rightly saw as problemmatic, but now I can see better how it fits with this cybernetic citizen project I have been ferreting out these last several years. It is also clearly a driver in the False Narrative. I think it drives a great deal of the “let’s establish a narrative and everyone will simply accept our characterization.”

      • Look at where the desired remedy leads.

        We must now use this realization in order to implement a curriculum that leads to action and solidarity. This curriculum would give students a better understanding of why this climate crisis is happening, what effects have become inevitable, what effects can be mitigated, what effects can be stopped, as well as ways to build political power and global solidarity to address them.

        In many ways, it would be a hopeful curriculum, and one that helps keep students from relying on the emotional defense mechanisms seen during the coronavirus. Overall, the curriculum could embody a version of Martin Luther King Jr.’s statement, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” as an environmental mantra for global solidarity and shared responsibility, especially now that students see how true this really is.

  18. With regard to a lack of expertise constituting no bar to the expression of an opinion — I am recalling that our local mental health clinic fact totem on all things COVID-19, was back in 2011 a repository of advice on all things Fukushima/radiation threat. I think this harkens back to the concept of “ideology worker”.

    Update on my local food bank experience.

    What had previously been a sort of dignified, gentle experience, has been rendered something close to a TSA cavity search. Now there are chock lines drawn around whole blocks to organize STANDING, and one has to submit to a temperature check before being allowed in the facility — also, major ID required and beyond the ID card, which had required major ID to obtain. There have been less than 300 COVID-19 ‘deaths’ in this ENORMOUS city, and I would bet that most entail co-morbidity or ADVANCED old age.

    On a happier note, I observed that MANY small businesses are simply ignoring government edicts — and, short of rolling the Self Defence Forces in, what are they going to do?

    As for the ‘global’ impact of all of this…it seems to me that this perception is only so because some members of the human heard consider their lives SO incredibly valuable that a 1/1,000 chance of death by virus — actually, its much smaller, constitutes an unacceptable risk.

    Yes, I noticed the Templeton Fund connection to the PED project. It looks like Epstein used this fund to direct money to PED after his presence on the Harvard campus was causing too many people to hold their noses. Per that report, he seems to have been a regular at the PED research facility, and he was accompanied by young female ‘assistants’ during his visits. This mirrors what was going on at MIT, when a female whistleblower at that institution said, enough of the waif-thin ‘assistants’ who could not speak English. Apparently, members of that faculty sat these women down and tried to determine if they were there of their own volition.

    I have been listening the Maria Farmer testimony — she was the first Epstein victim to report him to the ‘authorities’ — and this was back in the mid-’90s. Beyond being intrinsically cringe-worthy, a lot of what Ms. Farmer reports resonates with the kind of language, attitudes, and ‘manners’ I have observed in my own field. Also, anyone who has an interest in the NYC art scene should give her a listen.

    • This mirrors our earlier discussion on ‘self-regulation’ and its synonyms and once again covid gets used as the excuse to make desired changes.

      When learners are able to self-regulate—when they can successfully manage thoughts, behaviors, and emotions—they are better able to initiate and sustain focus and effort on difficult tasks. Students may be highly motivated but not have the skills necessary to manage the emotions they experience in the process of learning. Thus, students need coaching to build the social and emotional skills to manage the stress they experience from situations in or out of school, the metacognitive skills to monitor their learning and the self-regulation skills to change strategies as needed.

      From here in the last week.

      So sorry to hear that the food bank process has been made so onerous. The only upside to all this here is that the blue angels/thunderbird flyover is here this afternoon and goes over my house twice per the plan. Never seen them together and it’s been years since we used to take the kids to the airshows at dobbins where the blue angels performed before that was disallowed by the density in that area of Atlanta.

      It is a warm, cloudless day here so it should be quite a show. of course, one of my kids keeps referring to it as ‘propaganda’.

    • Notice how this leads to a UBI, just as we discussed, although this author describes it without using that term

      Add to this toxic stew the fact that some jurisdictions, citing infection fears, have released dangerous criminals onto the streets. Crime has predictably spiked from New York to San Francisco. Even before the pandemic set in, the big American cities—unable to curb large homeless populations spreading filth and Medieval disease—took on the hazardous cast of ancient Rome, Victorian London, New York’s Five Points, or the favelas and ghettos of Third-World cities like Sao Paulo, Mexico City, or Manila. The rising number of people unable to pay rent—now one in three—could provide fodder for a new round of urban disorder.

      Ultimately such disorder threatens the power of both the oligarchs and the clerisy. Their likely response may be embracing what I call “oligarchal socialism,” where the very notion of work disappears in favor of a regime of cash allotments. This notion of providing what Marx called “proletarian alms,” widely supported in Silicon Valley, could prove a lasting legacy of the pandemic. This is how Rome, as slaves replaced the middle orders, kept its citizenry in line, and how the Medieval order in times of economic stress relied on the charitable efforts of the Church.

      The virus that now dominates our daily lives may soon begin to slowly fade, but it will have a deep, protracted impact on our society and class structure. Covid-19 will likely leave us with conditions that more resemble feudalism than anyone could have imagined just a few years ago.

      Also notice the reference to the need for the masses to have a belief system that can be exploited. Precisely what Learning Standards and competency framework mandates create.

      • Well, they cannot even pull off ‘oligarchical socialism’ in my location. Payments were announced weeks ago, but no one eligible has received the form by which to apply for said payments. So, where did all the ‘work’ go? It was there one week and had disappeared the next. I have an economist friend in Madrid, who is coincidentally a COVID-19 survivor. He stated with regard to the Spanish economy that never in the nation’s history had so much wealth simply evaporated. Where did it go? The people, the resources, the means of production did not go anywhere.

        Student-centered learning is such a misnomer. This concept reminds me of a battle I had during my ill-fated law school career. I had a passionate interest in Property Law, and I think this was the case because it was impossible to teach this suject w/o teaching a good bit of history in the process; the subject made no sense absent historical context. I believe this historical dimension had been deemed racist, sexist or otherwise unacceptable, ergo the professor had to introduce constructs around property rights as though they had been discovered under a cabbage leaf, or had revealed themselves in a burning bush — they just were, and were there to be memorized. I kept noting this phenomenon and insisted on asking, who, what, how, why…until I was not called on anymore.

        Amazing story about the adult illiterate who becomes a champion of literacy, which is to say remedial literacy.

        My head hurts.
        My head hurts!

  19. I did connect with the 2 hour Webinar — A New Way Forward: Building a Learner-Centered Future — April 28, link posted on ISC April 18. Thanks for the link as I would not have heard about this otherwise.

    Technically, it was a well-organized event. The keynote speakers were good and the topics for the 18 breakout sessions appeared wide-ranging to suit particular interests. I chose the System Leaders for a New Way Forward with Tom Vander Ark as moderator.

    There was nothing disappointing in the conversations — provided you were a progressive educator or a supporter of progressive schooling: standardized assessments are demoralizing, kids need to thrive, inequities must be addressed, social learning is important, there are many models of progressive education . . .

    For me it was disturbing because I believe that inequities actually result from “progressive” school practices. These schools do not place an emphasis on the fundamental skills of reading, writing or arithmetic. I’m reading a book by John Corcoran right now, a teacher who wrote the book “The Teacher Who Couldn’t Read”. Because he himself was never taught to read and suffered serious self-esteem problems, when he became a teacher he considered himself a “learner-centered” teacher. Yet, he states, “Still today one of the real shortcomings of progressive education is the de-emphasizing of basic skills.” He learned to read at age 48 and went on to found literacy organizations.

    In this COVID period when so many education organizations are organizing to stay not only relevant but to actually, as opportunistically as possible, advance their particular agendas, we need to be alert to pitfalls if we embrace some of their passionate plans. It’s hard to know what to suggest that would enable parents and public to be more critical and discerning about the way forward.

    I’ve just seen an opinion piece in a Michigan paper that clearly announces that since “More than half of Michigan’s third-grade students were not reading at grade level”— even before COVID — that this deficiency needs priority attention. But will this comment make a difference? Does each community need to have outraged advocates get their opinions posted in their media? And, would that make a difference? Would polls be taken that clearly ask if people want “progressive” or “traditional” or other styles of education and would this make a difference in choices for people?

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