Educators, think tanks, and other social scientists are not the only ones who can ‘backwards map’ from desired individual and social outcomes to the policies that need to be prescribed by law to put them in place. We writers can also use papers on desired New Forms of Governments by 2030 to lay out the new citizen characteristics needed to supposedly get these transformations. As a recent paper from the EU laid out https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/news/future-government-2030-citizen-centric-perspective-new-government-models the FuturGov game creates a process (bolding in original):
through which participants immerse themselves into the future, take on roles that are not theirs, and strategize the achieve their goals…[This will] Trigger imagination and creativity [and] Immerse people into possible futures…shaking up people’s preconceived ideas about the future. The aim is to avoid linear thinking in order to be more receptive to emergent changes…New literacies will be needed for the future. Futures literacies are needed to enable citizens to participate in anticipatory decision making recognising the context of uncertainty and complexity and building up individual and societal resilience to work collaboratively to address these…Critical thinking should be nurtured, through the education system and beyond in the workplace and civil society, including understanding digital media [media literacy] but also other aspects of people’s lives. Policy literacy is also very important, both for the present and for the future.
[Prescribing and standardizing values, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors is simply part of the] “New practices and innovative strategies needed for governments to be able to tackle the emerging challenges. It is essential that governments nurture the culture of innovation, as well as the openness and responsibility for society.” Student-centered learning then, and a 21st century focus on prescribed outcomes on what is to be internalized at the level of the mind and personality. should be seen as simply a necessary component that are “enablers of new forms of government from 2030+ onwards…[part of] Putting citizens at the centre, not only is an opportunity to rethink government formats, and individual relationships with the state and institutional ways of working.”
Apparently an Axemaker, linear thinking, logical mind with a store of factual information is an impediment to an envisioned “‘hard-wiring’ of equality into the economy.” In this other recent, complementary, vision https://media.nesta.org.uk/documents/Imagination_unleashed-_Democratising_the_knowledge_economy_v6.pdf just quoted:
It is not only ‘economic’ institutions that require transformation. The power of disruptive imagination needs to be unleashed in every citizen. Education systems and participative democracy needs to encourage a spirit of experimentation. Critically, these must be accompanied by the protection of vital stakes, safeguards, and endowments, making it possible for people to remain unafraid in the midst of quickened change.
Somehow I can just hear Sean Connery’s voice from The Hunt for Red October, but instead of the accented “One Ping Only”, we get policy planners and politicians all over the globe with these transformational plans for us insisting students now just need “Essential Content Only” and then attributing that to the presence of AI or search engine and Internet availability. Factual knowledge and a logical mind gets in the way of being ‘unafraid’ as the above quote called for. It gets in the way of the supplied conceptual understandings and prescribed categories of thought designed “to realise this cultural change, [which needs] education that fosters an attitude of lifelong questioning.” Going to the title of the previous post, genuine factual knowledge impedes the willing use of:
alternative pictures of how the future world, in which citizens live and governments operate, might look. Narratives do not claim to be unique truths, they are considered as frames that facilitate making sense of the world, frames that usually combine past and future, fact and fiction. Made of hopes, desires and fears, narratives frame people’s understanding of the past, perception of the present and imagination of the future. We took into account assumptions about the situation in 2030+ that related to the following categories: society, technology, economy, policy/legislation of the state, relationships between citizens and the state, new actors in citizen-government relationships, and role of corporations.
It is a vision that claims to be “citizen centric” and responsive to societal needs and it requires an education system where the obligation “requiring citizens to engage in regular and ongoing local policymaking” has been joined with ‘numeracy’ and ‘literacy’ as “the key pillars of the school system from Year 1 of schooling.” Anyone with actual, unrestricted knowledge of history and political theory would read aspirations of a future where “To avoid a divided state and a broken social contract, democracy work needs more resources and extensive engagement from all citizens. Democracy needs to permeate the entire society” and recognize it for the authoritarian, anti-individual, conception it actually is. Therefore we get Essential Content Only because it allows the necessary “shaping and constraining how governments, citizens, businesses and others interact with one another.”
Factual knowledge gets in the way of the transformative need to “generate conversations about what the future may look like by allowing us to displace our understanding of the present.” Provided concepts that can be used to address perceived problems “produce new ways to explore uncertainty and to have dialogues with stakeholders about complex and dynamics issues.” Making so much K-12 and higher education about the use of computers and virtual reality allows the needed “expressing different ideas and stories of the future through tangible objects allows the public to challenge their imagination; to see the possible future more as a multiplicity of ideas rather than separate space and time as well as to address the present critically.” No wonder we have such an emphasis now that all curricula be Relevant to the lives of students and perceived problems.
Let’s go back to that Nesta vision with its desire to create “an inclusive knowledge economy” that “gives expression to our distinctive human ability to reimagine the world around us” to advance ‘human freedom and realisation’ for everyone. That requires “promoting experimental government,” reforming education, and altering the “stories societies–and politicians–tell.” No wonder I keep encountering False Narratives from think tanks on education, data privacy, and how evidence-based policymaking really works if the crucial lever towards these transformations is to create stories to engage “the power and potential of the individual and collective imagination.” Factual knowledge and a logical mind get in the way of Nesta’s story of a reimagined vision for education where (bolding in original):
We must equip citizens not only to participate in the economy and society but to transform it, through a lifelong education system that promotes cooperation and prioritises the power of imagination…[Required Learner Profiles and Portrait of a Graduate come in handy where] the knowledge economy, therefore calls for education, both in youth and throughout life, that develops character, mindset, and non-cognitive as well as cognitive skills. This style of education crosses the divide between general and technical education. Rather than emphasising job-specific and machine specific skills, it requires a new model focusing on generic, flexible, high-order capabilities…they also form part of a larger challenge: how to equip every student with the tools they need not only to flourish within their societies as they currently exist but to transform them for the better. Teachers and students must have the political, legal, and financial means to deal experimentally with the central tension in education under democracy: preparing people to flourish within present arrangements and assumptions while equipping them to defy those assumptions and arrangements.
That flourishing and defiance requires “Essential Content Only” with prescribed beliefs, values, and categories of thought. It requires active learning so the needed Habits of Mind that will motivate the requisite transformational change in the present are embedded at a neural level in each student’s mind and personality. It creates a Marxist Man as a Maker of History which is not a surprise to anyone familiar with the work of its author, Harvard law prof Roberto Unger, which is why he has a tag here at ISC already.
If we have been led to see Marxism though as about the USSR and the Iron Curtain, and to believe socialism is about state ownership of the means of production, we will never recognize in time the little ‘c,’ Human Development Society vision, embedded in both these linked documents. If we only know what the think tanks tell us about education reforms and how standards, competencies, and social emotional learning work, we will not grasp that the requisite education laid out above to fit this sought transformation to ‘democracy’ is precisely the education being imposed by public and private schools right now.
Factual knowledge and a logical mind are viewed now by institutions, politicians, think tanks, and civil society operators as impediments to this desired “push forward into the realm of the adjacent possible.” It is the only thing that can liberate us from this clearly planned intention to enslave the mind and person in the name of inclusion for all. flourishing, and meeting our needs.
History as a body of knowledge, and not as this planned march to alter and control the future politically, would reveal this will not go as planned. The question becomes though how many of us will recognize in time where these education visions are actually going.
My thanks though to all the promoters of the deceitful narratives. It made the desired Super Collaborative Government, Scenario #3, easy to see because it was full of all the many things I had noticed, that were factually not true, in various published White Papers.
The Future of Government is apparently all-intrusive according to anyone, of every persuasion, involved officially with formulating public policy. Education reforms are their favorite, largely invisible when misexplained, tool.
Good to know now, huh?