Are you starting to feel that 2013 reality seems like something George Orwell or Aldous Huxley or HG Wells would have dreamed up in fiction? Or satire? One of the key tools for confusing perceptions in politically useful ways, and bringing those always reliable emotions into play, is to skew what language really means. Notorious theories get warm, appealing names for a third bite at the apple of the student’s mind and her “full personality.” The Whole Child. Likewise, the historic purpose of school and university to transmit culturally and economically valuable knowledge? The transmission curriculum gets quietly dropped as “inequitable”and referred to disparagingly as “deficit-based orientations toward youth of color.” Have you ever noticed everyone not being equally good at something is not wiping out football or basketball as acceptable activities?
In 2012 the SRCD journal Child Development Perspectives published “Youth Organizing as a Developmental Context for African American and Latino Adolescents.” It advocated using schools to focus “attention to the political context of young people’s lives, both in how youth interpret their sociopolitical world and how they participate in changing it.” If you, like me, are wondering what the likelihood is of students getting accurate info of what the actual causes are and target the real predators, don’t hold your breath. I am willing to bet it will look similar to what the influential New Economics Institute envisions for its Campus Connect initiatives–http://neweconomicsinstitute.org/content/campus-network . Whatever these students are being told and however they are guided, there is no dispute that education is the place where they are compelled to gather together for many years. That long duration access is seen to be politically useful. For fundamental change.
How’s this? “Organizing enables young people growing up in working-class and poor communities to identify the social origins of problems and take action to address these problems.” In fact here’s a link to the Funder’s Collaborative Report laying out “An Emerging Model for Working with Youth: Community Organizing+Youth Development=Youth Organizing.” http://www.fcyo.org/media/docs/8141_Papers_no1_v4.qxd.pdf . Don’t miss the Tides Foundation support just as with the restructuring the inner-cities around Green Energy Initiatives I wrote about. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/well-no-wonder-no-one-listens-to-common-core-complaints-if-it-is-tied-to-federal-revenue-sharing/ Also appreciate that this becomes an acceptable focus of the classroom and a formal measure of school success since political action to “work collectively to address quality-of-life and human rights issues” gets classified as engaging and relevant.
It’s the real reason the Common Core was needed to take out objective tests of knowledge since that is no longer to be the focus. Anywhere. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/keep-urban-schools-weak-to-force-economic-and-social-justice-then-make-the-suburbs-close-the-gap/ . Now we get that amorphous term Student Growth which is really convenient as “studies of youth organizing” in, of all places, the Chicago Public Schools, “provide evidence that youth participants experience growth in three developmental domains: civic development, psychological wellness, and academic engagement.” The other two are self-explanatory but psychological wellness refers to “a sense of hope, empowerment and purpose in life” that “researchers theorize” can come from “building an awareness of justice and inequality, combined with meaningful social action.”
And if this all sounds alarming and intriguing there’s the Free Minds, Free People conference starting July 11 in Chicago that Ed Week is trumpeting. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/parentsandthepublic/2013/07/conference_aims_to_promote_education_as_a_tool_for_justice.html?cmp=ENL-EU-NEWS2 Note that K-12 students AND parents are invited so they can “understand the root causes of inequality” and “learn to take action to dismantle those inequalities.”
Now I am going to pivot for a moment to remind you that the Common Core is usually referred to by the politicos as “college and career ready standards” so changing the nature of most college work to be about creating a “robust democracy” is rather pertinent to what can then go on in high school and middle school. We have met Harry Boyte before (he has his own tag and is said by Stanley Kurtz to have been a major influence on President Obama’s choice to be a community organizer). The White House and the federal DoED have committed to the American Commonwealth project involving changing the nature of higher ed. http://www.nifi.org/stream_document.aspx?rID=21022&catID=19164&itemID=21020&typeID=8 . Readers with a good memory will remember that the “cooperative commonwealth” was Boyte’s name for a reimagined US society that functioned like small C you know what. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/viewing-education-as-the-prime-lever-for-international-social-change-community-organizing-everywhere/ That post was an alarming enough vision before we knew about this formal relationship to DC power and money and AASCU.
AASCU stands for American Association of State Colleges and Universities which would make this trade group VERY influential about what is to constitute “college” and “coursework” in the 21st Century. And last month in Denver AASCU had a conference with the now ubiquitous goal for K-12 AND college students. “21st Century Citizens: Building Bridges, Solving Problems.” Here’s the program http://www.aascu.org/meetings/adptdc13/FullProgram.pdf .If you go to page 2 you will find the Opening Speech with a blurb that perfectly explains where K-12 and higher ed are actually going. Without telling most of us and with taxpayer money and mounds of student debt. All that debt simply fuels a demand for political and economic change. I am going to quote at link since, for once, no one is speaking in Orwellian Doublespeak. And the intentions for ed are graphic.
” This is both the best of times and worst of times. The worst is the unprecedented level of global change and the uncertainty and insecurity that come with change. Our environment, our economy, our civil society are in a tailspin. The tools for mediating these new and turbulent terrains are evolving slower than the change itself. The good news is that a generation of idealists–the Millenials–are coming of age to navigate these murky waters.
But this is only if we effectively prepare them for this brave new world. We cannot use old methods for addressing this new world; we need to redesign our educational system for major social and economic transformation. Millenials need skills to tackle tomorrow’s key challenges, including sustainability, civility and global citizenship, and above all, ambiguity. These challenges are best addressed through experiential learning focused less on service-learning (learning how to do what is already being done) and more on innovating social change experiences for Millenials, so that they may deliver in these new times.”
How? Boyte’s cooperative commonwealth or Peter Senge’s Regenerative Society? You can vote it in. You can teach about a vision for a new world but you cannot make it so. You can though break everything that works now and end up with a generation with expectations of the future that are unmeetable. Or they are meetable but only with an old-fashioned vision of education that tolerates differences among people and seeks to make everyone as mentally strong and accurately informed and as autonomous as possible.
Off the high horse for one more phrase you will recognize from K-12, the goal of “Educating Globally Competent Citizens.” AASCU has even come up with a Global Challenges framework for colleges to use in building curricula and coursework for our young scholars/Change Agents To Be. Conveniently it aligns with the UN’s priorities for change in the West and a shift to the Primacy of the East as well. We get population, resources, technology, information, economic integration, conflict/security and governance.
As you can see from preschool through K-12 and higher ed, no one will have much accurate knowledge unless they get it from home. Or are stealthily a voracious and fluent reader. But we are to be overwhelmed by students completely indoctrinated in the need for fundamental changes that will require a Government-directed economy and society at all levels. That cannot get to where these students want to go because we have completely severed knowledge from power in this vision. And genuine prosperity always requires that a knowledgeable individual have power to make their own decisions. And suffer from poor consequences.
And there are no knowledgeable individuals in this vision. It is utterly consumed with creating high school and college students primed for change and dedicated to “active citizenship” before the next 2016 US Presidential election. Actively gathering data.
Fulfilling every nightmare a Founding Father ever had about what majoritarian democracy could do. Or take.
Especially if no one with the knowledge of what constitutes irreplaceable cultural seed corn has a say. Or even a shield from the Predatory State to protect themselves.
And the children. The Millenials.
The http://www.nifi.org link gave me the error: Duplicate headers received from server
The response from the server contained duplicate headers. This problem is generally the result of a misconfigured website or proxy. Only the website or proxy administrator can fix this issue.
Is it working for others?
http://www.nifi.org/stream_document.aspx?rID=21022&catID=19164&itemID=21020&typeID=8 just pulled it up for me. But when I was typing that particular link there was a problem earlier.
Boyte is with Augsburg College and there is also an interesting brochure put out by Boyte’s Center for Democracy and Leadership. The link to it is on this page of news of what the American Commonwealth Partnership is up to. http://www.nifi.org/news/news_detail.aspx?itemID=24285&catID=23664
The brochure says that it was the White House Office of Public Engagement who asked Boyte to create the PS in 2012.
Robin, I admire your intellect, passion, and tenacity in unmasking the education reform hoax (among other things). I am very moved by this entry, especially since I have just heard a state education official talk about “culture change,” that our(education) work (at this time) is about “building a better democracy” (alludes to James Madison), and that CCSS prepares us for “civic discourse.” Content? Content? I love that you can explain what is behind the curtain I am forced to observe.
For all your hard work and knowledge I cannot believe there is not one article on this site that even mentions Montessori. In fact I’m ashamed for you and a little insulted. It makes me suspicious that you are not exactly on the right track here. You are so good at uncovering the bad, but you also need to give existing, sound solutions and not just heart attacks to parents.
Maria Montessori figured out, quite completely (and over 100 years ago), how to educate the whole child and develop free will. It truly is the best, full and complete educational method on the planet and the best way to fight against all that is happening to our prison planet.
There are only 18 fully accredited AMI Montessori schools in the United States serving ages 0 – 12. If you are a parent you should be doing whatever it takes to locate, get accepted and attend one of these schools if you love your children and are upset about the paths the skinner/pavlovians have taken with their Common Core and Agenda (21). http://amiusa.org/
Peace on earth.
My youngest attended a Montessori from the age of 2 until middle school.
I cannot write about everything. Mostly I am sticking to heads up over disasters coming our way at the moment on the blog. Which is not Montessori. Especially for kids who get structure at home.
But we do talk about alternatives and fixes in the comments.
…and it’s good what you’re doing. This world needs many, many more people bringing together the information you’re bringing to light here. I’m not knocking that, but Montessori seems to fit directly with this entire site’s concept and since you have personal experience I shouldn’t have to tell you how powerful and useful it is as an alternative. To speak of people being surfs of the system, and not bring up an obvious alternative with 100 years of success which you have utilized yourself just seems strange to me. I don’t believe getting structure at home makes up for the outcome based education children face all day long – there is not ‘patch’ for that.
But many people are unable to pay property taxes and private school tuition. The idea that property taxes are now paid so that mediocre people can lie to taxpayers about what they are doing and tell fine teachers that they may not teach content anymore is appalling. We are funding our own destruction while intellectual eunuchs feast on our taxes. Being promoted because of their willingness to be deceitful and tolerate psychological abuse of children.
I taught the Montessori kid to read like my other kids so she really got a lot out of the curriculum. When she was in 5th grade, one of her friends found out I had taught her to read, not the school. She said she always wondered why she could read anything even if she had not seen word before.
She says she’s the only kid in her high school that writes in cursive.
“We are funding our own destruction while intellectual eunuchs feast on our taxes.”
That’s the statement of our times in regards to education.
I hear you. My wife and I dropped everything to create a Montessori school because we would likely not be able to afford one. It has shocked our lives financially but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I feel like some kind of freedom fighter and we’re taking 100+ children along with us.
This is just as much a financial war as an educational one.
People need to learn to live with less to give their children more. Nice new houses and consumer trinkets are all traps to keep us down. How many people have a BMW X5 but send their children to the public goulag? By percentage I’d guess all of them.
We’re all slaves in nicer huts.
Surfs up Ed Revivalist,
your comments seem more suited for Diane Ravitch’s blog or maybe Edushyster would enjoy your solutions. to be “ashamed” of this blog is absurd. Indeed montessori is one of many alternatives but that is not the focus of this author’s writing. You should read it.
Well I’m sorry to make you more mad that you already are but I think this is exactly what this blog is about which is why I was so surprised not to find what seems to be the best, most fully-formed solution out there. If Robin wants to avoid hitting the ‘iceberg’ then that would include solutions too I suppose. To not mention once the exact solution he has used for her very own children just makes me wonder. The problems are pretty obvious (we’ve had Iserbyt for how many years?) but so are some solutions so let’s not leave them out.
montessori schools will be subjected to common core as much as any other alternative school, yes? Our school’s preschool to 1st is montessori and we are 100% common core so why then would it be an alternative and or solution? thanks for your amazing historical research!
Yes. Montessori is also not trademarked so they actually vary widely. It can be a great education for the right kid. Others need more structure.
Remember also the accreditors started accredited preschools about 2 years ago. Head Start has added SEL criteria formally to its program.
As you know I don’t think there are any solutions apart from widespread recognition of where the problems are coming from and what they look like. And then the solutions flow from breaking the legal strangleholds certain groups have over what can go on. I have no doubt Ed Revivalist is doing a fine job but somehow or another within next 2 years, this will hit.
Part 3 will be quite binding but it is not somewhere a parent or taxpayer would look. It applies to both colleges and high schools so you get a continuous transformational process. Like most juicy tidbits, it was mentioned in a footnote.
There’s a link for you on the previous post.
Just for the record, we practice and only recommend AMI, Association Montessori International, the body created by Maria herself. All other variations are derivatives and are sometimes referred to as “Montes-somethings”. The montes-somethings do vary in quality and are not to be taken as the correct approach although many do a decent job. To be accredited by AMI is the highest level possible though which is why I recommended the site in my original post if parents are searching for a school (there’s a school locator).
So far, our school has had to refer only 5 out of 200 out, so it’s not for everyone but so far it has fit most children we find.
Colleagues of mine have put Montessori ed on the law books of IL which currently allows us (and all other Montessori schools in the state) to practice as-is with no influence from the outside. No DCFS, etc. We going to work on more legislation going forward, in cooperation with AMI USA, to continue to protect this. We also take no corporate or govt. funding whatsoever which is part of our overall plan.
We do not believe nor will we tollerate any change to Maria Montessori’s approach which we believe does a fine job and has generated incredible students. It’s like chemistry – change just a little bit and you get a different reaction.
Montessori schools who ‘align’ themselves with Common Core do so voluntarily as far as I know at this time. Probably pressure from parents and others to show equivalencies. So, what Robin said about knowing what to watch out for is certainly in play.
Educational Revivalist, “Knowing what to watch out for is certainly in play” is a big part of this blog. Your comment is exactly the reason many read this blog. We have seen and experienced these schemers come into our schools and communities without anyone noticing or it being too late to stop it.
Just by you posting your comments about your experiences help others to know that there are still schools out there that haven’t been touched yet.
Keep on the lookout though, they have to have complete participation to get their “shared vision” and they don’t ask for permission.
Don’t just look out for some of it, look our for all of it.
My ‘problem’ if I may call it one is that I have no faith that any form of education which involves direct instruction is good for children. Because of this opinion my bar is set extremely high for interlopers. If people just stick to what they know and don’t get involved in any new ‘mothods’ I think they’re safer IMHO. My attraction to Montessori is that it seems so wholly formed and unnecessary to change it (through age 12 at least).
However – we deal with this – parents wanting to get their children into ‘selective enrollment’ high schools, etc. which means towards middle schools age we have to teach how to take a test. We believe parents should have even higher goals than a ‘good, free high school’ but we understand the limitations all around being financial and choice.
In order to solve THAT problem we are looking into the possibility of creating a high school. Funny, the elementary school was created to solve the transition from Primary to Elementary (originally we were just Primary). So, I guess I should get ready to create a college too?
Completely ironically, my family helped start the University of Chicago, a place I would now burn to the ground. I’m being facetious but you get my point based on what’s come out of that place over the years in regards to education.
I have spent a great deal of time looking into how the term Behavioral Sciences came from U Chicago and how the sociology of George Herbert Mead gets Uncle Karl’s intentions in place without the M word.
I have also spent a good deal of time looking at WM McNeill and his views of history because they are relevant to what David Christian and Gates are really pushing with this Big History Project. That’s next on my Blog to Do List after I end this trilogy. It’s already researched.
We all wish you good luck with your school and students. But this blog has been a litany of schools and districts that thought they were autonomous until an unappreciated governing authority or regulation or change in principals or supers changed everything.
Hang around. Offer insights but the best way to get to solutions is to diagnose the nature of the poisons. And who is pushing them. Which is what I am doing.
This really is like a tsunami coming and I want as many people as possible to run and climb when the tide goes out.
Then we can come down and talk about long term solutions.
I don’t intend to bang the Montessori drum again but the big history project sounds extremely close to Maria’s ‘cosmic education’. Again, I certainly hope they researched the already fully-formed educational plan that’s been in practice for 100+ years. Does look awesome though…
Sounds like a time to form a more perfect union, again.
You are really helping a lot of people here. I wish you all the very best of luck in your fight for awareness and educational freedom – whatever high ground you find.
Also, Looking forward to more information about Big History.
This scares me: “The course structure and delivery are designed to promote literacy and instill critical thinking skills – prioritizing alignment with Common Core Literacy standards throughout.”
I hope you tear this one apart because it’s starting to stink already… Yet another bastardization of a Montessori course that’s been in full swing for 100 years – just internet-ized!
Hi. Hope this finds you well. Stumbled across this, and I thought you might be interested in it.
Hope you are having a good summer across the pond. Yes, corporatist is the perfect word for who benefits from the Common Core and the essential Digital Literacy component especially. In fact I view that as one CC’s primary purposes along with getting rid of objective assessments.
Are you seeing a comparable digital push in the UK? I know Australia and Canada are on the same template and you guys are usually out ahead on ed.
Good to hear from you again. You are especially going to find the Big History story interesting. It will explain why I kept finding it linked to those Understandings of Consequence that were false that NSF is pushing.
You may find this link from Australia interesting. All about changing the student. At least this gives visuals. http://www.unity.net.au/allansportfolio/edublog/?p=1002
“In Cold New World: Growing Up in a Harder Country, a 1998 ethnography of teenagers, youth culture, and contemporary social conditions, social journalist William Finnegan highlights how rising juvenile crime, disillusionment with the political process, and suburban nihilism reflect the
level of disconnection and desperation felt by racially and socially diverse groups of American youth. “We jail the poor in their multitudes, abandon the dream of equality, cede more and more of public life to private interests, let lobbyists run the government,”
Finnegan writes. “Those who can afford to do so lock themselves inside gated communities and send their children to private schools. And then we wonder why the world at large has become harsher and more cynical, why our kids are strange to us.
What young people show us is simply the world we have made for them.”
Does one laugh or cry? Lofty psychobabble of this kind presents us with a very consternating choice of whether to disengage from it completely for mental health reasons, to to do what must be done, and intellectually engage it at its very root.
In one sense, the nihilism, alienation, disillusionment, disconnection, acting out behavior, drug use, crime, and violence this author claims exists from the ghetto to the suburban middle class world is a direct and settled result of the nihilism, alienation, antinomian atomistic individualism, and value relativism people precisely like those who wrote this paper promoted and celebrated from the late sixties through the mid-seventies and which were shouted from the housetops as “revolutionary” and “liberating.”
Now that we’ve been liberated from both the classical liberal roots of the American political and economic order and the, broadly, Judeo-Christian eithical, moral, and worldview superstructure that makes classical liberalism and maximal freedom viable, The Left wants to extend the community organizing model that has brought us the Trayvon Martin show trial, a serious voter fraud problem across the nation, imbued countless of the poor with an attitude of permanent grievance and the desire to seek rent from their fellow citizens rather than become producers; the “Obama’s stash” mentality; the collapse of the economy beginning in the sub-prime mortgage loan industry where grievance/class war politics had replaced sound economic policy as its guiding principles, and produced racial division, forty years after King, of a kind and magnitude only a madman could have dreamed would be present in America so long after the triumph of the civil rights movement.
Organize youth? Uh huh. And the ideology upon which this initiative is grounded? Oh, that’s right, we’re going to call it “progressive” and talk of “activism.” Yes…right.
Here’s my prescription (one which the leftists I debate now and then through the week online would gag themselves laughing over were I to mention it among them) for moving toward alleviating the nihilism, alienation, disconnection, disillusionment, and cynicism of modern youth. I won’t do a bullet point thing here, but its just, in a nutshell, that youth do not need organized political activism in their lives to give their lives meaning, they do not need to believe that everything negative that happens to them or that seems to challenge them in their desires to succeed and get what they want is “structural” or has “social roots,” and that politics and political activism is the key to making their hopes and dreams come true and achieving their potential as human beings.
That way lies in intact, two-parent families, committed marriage and the hard work needed to maintain it, a life based in sound moral, ethical, and civic principles of virtue and community responsibility that have lasted through ages; in not using drugs, having early sex, getting pregnant out of wedlock (or getting someone pregnant); hard work, perseverance, patience, individual initiative, creativity, dream, and imagination, and, per this blog, education in the broadest and deepest sense of the classic liberal arts.
It means choosing his/her own path based upon principle and allowing others to do the same but never, NEVER under any circumstances feeling guilty or in some sense responsible – and never allowing others to make you feel guilty – because others have chosen another path of their own volition and choice that led them to well below their potential and possibilities, or to disaster, whether the aspect of life in question be intellectual, educational, political, or economic.
Nihilism, alienation, and cynicism are major symptoms of the dominance and acceptance of leftist/progressive philosophy and its dominance of the popular, academic, media, and entertainment culture; the Left, ironically, has no solutions to these social pathologies because it was the Left that promoted and celebrated them in the first place on the mass cultural scale that we now must deal with.
No one should be fooled: the Left worships power, and once that is understood, all these countless educational initiatives and their associated acronyms becomes much more fully intelligible.
Hear, hear! I would hazard a guess that based on the complaints I’ve heard from school administration about the misuse of our district’s cyber school, and complaints about the lack of discipline in many of PA’s public schools from people attending the PA State Board of Education meeting this week, having loving, involved parents (or at least another consistent adult) in their lives is one of, if not the most important, determiners of whether or not a child succeeds in school and in life. The breakdown of the family has led many of those who work in schools to now feel they “know better” than parents, which leads to surprise when the parents who are still involved push back against questionable content or programs coming out of a school. Or, teachers and administrators use the educational doublespeak I have become so familiar with thanks to this blog to silence us and make us think they do indeed know more about our kids and what their education should entail than we. I, for one, am silent no longer, and am working to tell other people about all that is happening. You can lead a horse to water….
From Loran’s link. …..”Alinsky’s ideas about community organizing and social change gave shape to many of the nation’s most visible and effective community organizing groups: the Industrial Areas Foundation (which Alinsky founded), the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), and the Pacific Institute for Community Organization.”
Thanks for sharing the link to this paper Loran. May I ask where it is that you engage Liberals on the Internet? I would love to see that. You put your argument so well. The link Robin supplied Free Minds Free People conference put on by Education for Liberation ……what liberation? From who/what? The buzz words a common theme throughout…..sustainability (Agenda21), climate change, social justice, activism;Loran said it so well, these activities won’t give these people true meaning in their lives.
A radio commentator talked about this today sort of. Liberals cannot be happy. They are so busy locked in their politically correct, always outraged, world view that joy is impossible. The idea that Al Gore and the left has created an atmosphere of unadulterated fear in the hearts of young people which has caused some of them to be preoccupied with a problem so huge, they will spend their entire lives focused on fixing it, makes me shake with frustration.
And this Contemplative Education BS. Another generation of guinea pigs who will be lost as to how to fix concrete problems, or Lord knows what they will be like after years of naval gazing, reflection, and meditating. Not to mention how the powers that be continue to use the words “research”and “experiment”because they don’t truly have a clue what this may create once they bring it to the classroom. How dare they? This is another example of idealogs who can’t accept certain aspects of human nature.
The Trayvon Martin case shed light on the failure of the education system as we saw his friend Rachel in all of her inarticulate ness, and lack of basic skills, On CNN she spoke of the jury being “0ld and Old School”, and that she and her generation are “New School”. Old rules don’t apply. She was confident as she spoke to Pierce Morgan and completely unashamed, Kids like her who fall through the cracks and attend sub par schools will be spared the brainwashing that the suburban middle and upper class kids will get. What a mix that will be down the road.