Destroying the Dominant Social Paradigm Via Education for 21st Century Political Power and Personal Gain

Who knew that targeting the Dominant Social Paradigm to facilitate future social change was so thoroughly underway in countries like Germany and the US and the UK by the early 80s that books were being written simply shorthanding the goal as DSP? No wonder Outcomes Based Education and systems thinking were needed via K-12 education reform globally starting in earnest in the 80s. Now that I have firmly attached my deerstalker hat on my head of curls and pulled out by magnifying glass to peruse the footnotes, let’s go back to Lester W. Milbrath and his Environmentalists:Vanguard for a New Society before pivoting to go through the troubling Brookings Institute presentation yesterday of the new Oxford report. Pushing for “a collective vision for society” and “shared global values around which a unified and enduring pathway for society can be built.”

Whew! Good thing thing Brookings has no interest in education or social policy or we might need to be worried about what they are pushing. Why? How? Who really benefits? will all need to become our habitual inquiries as we embark upon our continuing investigation into this hoped for wholesale transformation away from individualism and personal choices to a planned public sector centric economy and society. As we saw in the last several posts, this aim has gone on for decades but whether we know it or not, we are in the final stages.

So let’s go back to 1984 without Orwell to lead us and make it satirical. These have been very real, long term aims. To develop and then unite a new “sophisticated understanding of how the world works with a normative/ethical system that recognizes and addresses those realities.” That would certainly explain why as I traipse around the world via the Internet examining global ed reforms over the last 10 years or so I just keep encountering diagrams of concentric circles with “core values and core beliefs” at the center.

As Milbrath wrote, “social change begins, and is most fundamentally and widely expressed, in the beliefs and values of the people.” And I would add that this level is much easier to access in a mind that has been deprived of its own store of facts and lots of practice with logical thought. Which certainly explains why fluent reading and math and science textbooks and lectures have all come under attacks with explanations that never hold up to detailed scrutiny. That would be due to an organized effort to substitute “an agreed upon ‘story’ that guides the beliefs and behavior of the people.” Well, we didn’t agree. But annoyed by the failures of attempts in previous decades, politicians and profs and district supers and accreditors and state boards of education are brooking no opposition this time from anyone in the way of the desired little c common core. The prevailing beliefs and values to be targeted at school, at work, at church, and especially in higher ed.

Colleges really should just tell parents that a New Worldview comes with the tuition payments and drop the expensive subterfuge. Milbrath used another word in addition to Worldview and the now more common Mindset–paradigm. All of these terms quite simply mean the “belief structure that organizes the way people perceive and interpret the functioning of the world around them.” No wonder constructivism has become all the rage in the Common Core implementation and reading, math, and science instruction. Until reality can be changed, altering the widespread personal perceptions of it will have to do. And that is precisely what is under continuous and coordinated attack now via education. Think of it as cultivating mindsets suitable to prompt action for transformative social, political, and economic change every time you hear of a troubling incident at a university or a curriculum assignment designed to instill hate or confusion or fear.

Here’s what is officially under attack.  Every organized society has a dominant social paradigm–the DSP–which consists of:

“values, metaphysical beliefs, institutions, habits, etc., that collectively provide social lenses through which individuals and groups interpret their social world. [Doesn’t the C3 Social Studies Framework and the Bronfenbrenner Ecological Systems metaphor presence make more sense now?]

Social paradigms condition individual goals and expectations, provide a definition of social problems, establish a structure of social and physical rewards for various types of preferred behavior, and create shared gains and deprivations which make social harmony in complex societies possible.”

Now things would certainly not be so harmonious if it were better understood that governments and their beneficiaries and allies have decided to use education to push for new structures and institutions and values and beliefs that reject “once accepted patterns and relationships among people.” I personally deplore analogizing individual choices and markets to slavery and colonialism as other once accepted patterns but then I hate a bad analogy. Milbrath was only too ready to create new premises “about the way we should structure our society and conduct our public business” and going after DSP was the way to do it. Still is but most people do not read the Great Transition documents the OECD is pushing now or the UN’s post-2015 report we have also considered. Much less this Oxford Martin global commission report http://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/downloads/commission/Oxford_Martin_Now_for_the_Long_Term.pdf that came out in mid-October.

All of these sought global transformations get pushed at meetings we are not invited to and seek to dramatically transform our future and disregard the current political structures and safety valves we take for granted. Education is the way in and altering the DSP invisibly and quickly means the shift is an irreversible done deal while even the attentive are still arguing on whether the Common Core State Standards Initiative tramples  federalism. What? Under a US Constitution that provides no genuine protection when the means of attack is against the DSP once a majority of voters have been affected? We have to understand how the game is actually being played better. We have to understand the nature of political power.

If you do read that Oxford Martin report, don’t stop until you figure out who the C-30 companies are behind this vision and more importantly you trace the C-40 Cities to the core involvement of the Clinton Global Initiative, Bloomberg Philanthropy (also sponsored the NYC citylab recently), and the World Bank. All of this planned transformation has your tax money and the ability to incur debt, loads of contributions hoping for additional political careers, and the ability to regulate and impose public policy. No wonder everyone is talking about mayors and cities as being the correct level to impose change for the future. Usefully also with a high concentration of totally dependent voters looking for a public sector to take care of them.

Well, everyone cannot live at the expense of others and ignoring the inherent parasitic nature of governments under the best of circumstances is dangerous if we hope to keep even the current weakened levels of the economy (that everyone seems intent on redistributing). But getting that essential fact requires some knowledge of history and how can education built around problem and project-based learning create such necessary knowledge? And that seems to be much of the point behind the new games-based focus and design emphasis in the classroom. It encourages the kind of “trial and error [as] the basic element in this kind of social change; it constitutes a type of social learning.” That social learning intention is designed to create “a growing awareness that the present system is not working well.” Milbrath laid it out in his concluding chapter called “Can Modern-day Prophets Redirect Society?” Prophets like the regularly cited Paul and Anne Ehrlich and their rather troubled by now record of catastrophe hyping.

But students raised on a curriculum diet of “successfully navigating open-ended challenges” won’t know that. Expect more of these types of priming projects http://d1lhirsz7m8sbi.cloudfront.net/mindshift/wp-content/blogs.dir/42/files/2013/10/iLab_infographic_11x171.pdf as students are taught everything around them can be redesigned for a better 21st century. For everyone.

Just need to give the Governors at all levels more power and decision-making authority.

Meanwhile, students will be doing helpful things like:

“After collecting information, students then strive to infer the underlying thoughts and feelings of a user. By immersing themselves in the experiences of users and developing ‘deep empathy,’ they are able to develop a deeper understanding that can lead to key insights.”

Insights that guide future behavior without any likely connection to reality. Such a perception contrary to reality was so helpful for English Prime Minister Chamberlain in Munich in 1938.

So many had that lovely feeling of Peace in Our Time right up until the invasion emboldened by the false perceptions.

History and reality vs perceptions and hope and key insights from ‘deep empathy.’

Where would you place your bet on the 21st century future?

Developing Adequate Personalities and Psychosynthesis: An Odd Way to Define College & Career Ready

Sometimes I think I am suspected of shopping for gruesomely grabbing quotes to try to crystallize the extent to which the new focus of education is to be at a psychological level. I wish. These well-paid, frequently tenured or pensioned-for-life clowns really do write and talk about accessing the unconscious so that future actions will be guided as if by auto-pilot. (Search out RSA Social Brain Centre & Robert Kegan if and only if you have an adult beverage handy. A sense of humor and irony will serve you well too.) I can in fact take this all forward in multiple places but first let’s go back and thoroughly check out the enduring vision. And remember we went back to look at psychiatrist Roberto Assagioli’s 1965 Psychosynthesis vision of education used interchangeably with psychotherapy as a means of creating a desired self-identity NOT because I was bored and looking for something tantalizing to read.

The League of Innovative Schools planned research involves conation and personal motivations as does the OECD’s current Subjective Well-being push. Looking into that pulled up 4 giants: Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers, Mihaly Csiksentmihalyi, and a Roberto Assagioli. Who I had never heard of. That book title was a grabber. Even more troubling was seeing the book had been brought back into print for use in 2002, 2008, and 2012. If I was role playing Sherlock Holmes we would call that a keen indicator of current interest.

As I talk in this post about targeting personal perception, if the names Yrjo Engestrom (Finland) and Evald Ilyenkov (Soviet) and the Enduring Understandings and Understandings of Consequence and the C3 Social Studies Framework component to the Common Core classroom vision are not ringing a bell or if you are new to the blog, they all have tags. They are all examples of how crucial getting at the personal perceptual level is if you have the pursuit of government power and utopian transformation of the future as a goal. Let’s go back to 1962 and a vision of dealing with the conflicts and competing ideologies involved in the Cold War globally via education. Here’s Perceiving, Behaving, Becoming:A New Focus again (my bolding):

  “The new situations and new problems we face today and which we cannot predict tomorrow call for new ways of seeing and dealing with the world. Subject matter is too often used as a way of teaching people to look backward, to recite past performances, instead of as a medium for preparing students for future developments. Content then becomes sterile, even negative, if it inhibits new leads and new solutions. Education must deal with subject matter, not as an end in itself, but as a means of helping children to achieve the intelligent imagination and creativity necessary to find adequate answers to the world’s increasingly complex problems.”

I am going to interrupt the quoting for a dictionary alert to add to your Orwellian Decoding Glossary of Education terms. That’s right. It is the ubiquitous but vague term of 21st Century schools–‘learning to learn.’ Now if the 1962 vision had gone as planned and for sure in the new Positive School Climate (PSC) classrooms of 2013 the “exciting experience of exploring and discovering meaning is the central activity.” We need a PSC of course because ALL students need to feel an ‘atmosphere’ that is ‘fundamentally accepting’ so they will NOT keep their perceptions safely tucked inside themselves. They will share with their fellow comrades, I mean students, so they can all explore for meaning. That way those personal perceptions can be examined and changed to create new ways of looking at the world.

That’s right ‘if’ the new “objective of instruction becomes that of perception building, students may become aware of, or sensitive to, the importance of meaning…They learn how perceptions or meanings are broadened or changed and how they are built. They learn how to learn.

In 2013 learning how to learn gets billed frequently as self-authoring–Robert Kegan’s 4th stage of consciousness, or Carol Dweck’s Growth Mindset. It is alive and well and coming to a K-12 or college classroom or workplace retreat near you soon. The global bureaucrats and politicians and Big Business are intensely determined that this time we will get a paradigm shift, starting at the unconscious mental level. And it all really does track back to what Maslow and Rogers sought for their humanistic psychology that led to a strikingly Marxian human development vision. Today HP runs around most often calling itself Transpersonal Psychology. As always, new names for enduring transformative ideas anytime notoriety intrudes.

So one more time here’s the vision that is viewed as aiding transformative political, social, and economic change, coming in invisibly via stealth:

“It is the unsolved problem rather than the factual question and answer that encourages freedom of thought and children’s respect for their own mental processes. It can help them to change concepts in light of new evidence and to build a sense of personal responsibility for increasing knowledge and solving problems.”

That’s solving problems by creativity and imagination and feelings unimpeded by a body of knowledge about previous consequences of a similar set of facts. It may be a grand way to encourage attempts to model and redesign societies and economies but the consequences will come from reality. Not the perceptions that launched the attempts to transform. But hey, I am a history major and I just don’t see how peace in our time is going to flow from stressing “emotional as well as intellectual experiencing. Learning about people involves an empathy, a feeling with them, an acceptance of differences, and an appreciation of variability in values and behavior.” That is the kind of nonsense that forgets that there really are bullies in the world who can only be held in check from fear of power and likely retaliation. It also forgets that not all cultures are compatible or willing to co-exist peacefully. It is all a prescription to ignorantly and in good faith lay down and await your fate. No wonder history now is only about reinterpreting the present.

The ‘adequate person’ by the way reminded me greatly of the current drive that students only need to be ‘competent,’ not well informed. The adequate person in 1962 being prepped for social change was to have “a field of perceptions, rich and extensive enough to provide understanding of the events in which he is enmeshed and available when he needs them.”

Available for what? Glad you asked. So the individual “will act on his information when the appropriate time and place occur.” And this kind of hoped for behavioral pre-programming was before Big Data and adaptive computer software and the planned gaming emphasis. Same desire now but much better and effective tools.

What was so special about the 1962 new focus that has guided education as the real pursuit going forward was the “recognition of the part played by perception and the emphasis placed upon perception at the immediate moment and in the life and behavior of the individual. The job of the school is to work with present perceptions, with feelings, attitudes and ideas of learners so that they grow in the direction of greater adequacy.”

That’s adequate for the future plans of transformation. Then and now and at all times in between. Psychosynthesis‘s publication in 1965 gave another tool in targeting the psychological and conation. Assagioli regarded a search for self-identity as the new purpose of education. Of course since he was a psychiatrist, he used the techniques of psychotherapy. Now we just call the same techniques brain-based learning theories or epistemological reflection and launch them on students in return for tax dollars and tuition payments in the case of private schools and colleges and universities.

I used the term ubiquitous before and these theories are everywhere now. And not well understood. The typical doctorate program credentialing a Principal or Super doesn’t go through this as I have. It might impact the sought role as a Social Change Agent. Once again we parents, taxpayers, and students are going to be called on to understand the real drivers in education better than the credentialed professorate and the public sector and their consultants. All of whom we are paying handsomely.

I will close with a mention of a potential tragedy that happened locally last week when a middle schooler took a loaded gun to school. Parents have been concerned with how the incident was handled and what info was provided and the lack of interest in any public airing of what happened. School districts can deal with the world as it is or they can put their energy into switching to this Maslow inspired humanist psychological vision of changing the student at the level of their inner core.

But reality does intrude. I suspect another tragedy that goes all the way through is only a matter of time because the focus of the administrators at all levels is on psychological innovations to gain social transformations. While hiding from the public that this is what is up.

And duplicity takes even more energy and is a distraction from the realities all these students bring to school.

Something to keep in mind.

Staring Down the Sudden PISA & 21st Century Learning Hype Leads Straight to Planned Welfare State

I am going to interrupt our troubling tour into the psychological theories and practices being pushed on our students at our expense. Using euphemistic names like soft skills or student growth or metacognition or ‘innovative practices’ for suburban schools. Including lovely confessions that if it works in achieving desired behavioral changes in students it can be rolled out nationally. Some innovation. Certain school districts really need to stop calling parents anytime there is a school shooting tragedy or potential tragedy claiming that “student safety is our first priority.” Horse manure and lots of it. If that is true then we have a widespread epidemic of administrators and consultants pushing ideas on schoolchildren and parents at great expense and calling themselves “Doctor” without having the foggiest notion of what they are doing.

Which is entirely possible so that leaves it up to we the parents and taxpayers to get to the bottom of the tsunami of fundamental social, political, and economic transformation coming at us in time. We will need to point out to the current Living Large on the Public Payroll recipients that a vast expansion will simply lead to greater dysfunction and a complete loss of overall prosperity.

Now when I hear and read a coordinated push all of a sudden around a topic, I get to fall back on a specialist horde of knowledge that in fact remains quite useful whatever the OECD bureaucrats like Andreas Schleicher have to say. We have discussed what the OECD’s push to monitor subjective well-being globally will mean for education. What I know and may have forgotten to pass along is that everything the OECD pushes in education, and it is a primary driver globally, comes out of its desire for a public-sector dominant social welfare state and planned economy globally.  Especially in the US.

And Schleicher basically says so in this hugely troubling article from 2010. http://www.oecd.org/general/thecasefor21st-centurylearning.htm “Shifts in ways of doing business, of managing the workplace or linking producers and consumers” are just the kind of wholesale reimagining of our economy that we just keep encountering as attached to education reform. Like the changed Mindsets and New Worldviews created by humanist psychology theories and practices in the classroom, this is all a means to an end.

If you get a chance to read that 2 page paper you will see that Schleicher is describing 21st Century Learning in language that others have come outright and called dialectical thinking. It is to prepare students for a belief quite useful to proponents of wholesale fundamental transformation into Governors and Governed.

“Promote students dialectical thinking–the understanding that what is ‘true’ now may not be true in the future and may not have been true in the past.” [Professor Robert Steinberg, 2009, ASCD, ‘How to Teach the Other 3 Rs’]

Andreas is quite busy and it was the sudden promotion of his July 2012 TED talk hyping PISA but not mentioning the planned roll-out in many American school districts this fall that is part of what caught my interest. It was called “Use Data to Build Better Schools” and the kind of schools to be remade will of course depend on what data is being collected. Schleicher was kind enough to mention in the 20 minute talk that it was international assessments like PISA that have globalized education. I knew that and it’s time everyone else did too. PISA is measuring student values, attitudes, and beliefs and how they apply knowledge (as in Big Ideas or Concepts like Social Justice) to novel situations. Non-linear, no clear cut solution problems that the students have never encountered before.  Can you say Messing with the Mind or Dialectical again or the more common Higher Order Thinking Skills?

There is another very troubling slideshow on “Learning in the 21st Century-Lessons from Around the World” http://prezi.com/fuvde8bjh6qg/learning-in-the-21st-century-policy-lessons-from-around-the-world/ that was Schleicher speaking last fall at WISE in Qatar, the World Innovation Summit in Education. So good to know that the Muslim world has such an interest in limiting the intellectual and economic capacity of the West. It’s especially interesting given that Schleicher mentions that 21st Century Learning is a way to “avert the risks” of new technology. Is that why Big Blue sponsored his TED talk? No more unapproved competition? If that kind of collusion strikes you as unlikely you might want to read the OECD’s “Better Skills, Better Jobs, Better Lives” detailing the extent of the sought collaboration among government and existing employers around a global skills agenda. With the foundation of the largest education company in the world   http://www.pearsonfoundation.org/pr/20120523-Pearson-Foundation-and-OECD-Launch-skills-oecd-org.html signing on as a partner.

I could be here all day explaining the elements but it is clear that 21st Century Learning is tied to the OECD vision of the future global society and PISA functions as the means of measuring how schools and teachers are doing in creating the new desired mindsets amenable to such wholesale political change. Hopefully even clamoring for it as expectations for middle class employment are dashed as the combo of government interventionism in the economy and divorcing actual knowledge from credentials creates its foreseeable dire effects.

That’s why the other component of the full-court propaganda press suddenly surrounding PISA caught my attention. It turns out on August 13, 2013 Simon & Schuster (owned by CBS. Think media education and UNESCO) published a book The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way about who does well on PISA and how combining excellence with equity is necessary for being globally competitive. Now we know what PISA measures and that’s not my definition of smart. Is it yours? If you watch Schleicher’s presentation on prezi, you will hear the Ontario Premier touting Ontario’s success. It also has Ben Levin speaking but his authority on education reform has been compromised since his July 2013 arrest on child porn charges.

The Ontario Premier says that 4 in 10 Canadian students are now immigrants and it is important to change education to deal with that diversity. He points out Ontario is now considered high achieving because immigrant children and Canadian born children do equally well on PISA. If that is so, then they are practicing dialectical type, open-ended thinking in the classroom instead of academics and knowledge transmission and that is what PISA is picking up on. It’s Ontario’s business but we in the US and elsewhere need to not blindly jump aboard the PISA bandwagon like we are being led to do. Just look at the endorsements and reviews on Ripley’s book. Talk about the Appeal to Authority fallacy.

Ooops. I had forgotten her name. Amanda Ripley. She does human behavior and public policy stories for Time Magazine and The Atlantic. Since I assumed she knew the book title was deceitful to put it kindly, I looked into her background and discovered she was a fellow at the New America Foundation. When I took a look at what they were pushing with that troubling name, it turned out that shortly after the President’s reelection and through his inauguration, numerous public policy papers were created on the New America vision. That miraculously dovetails with precisely the sorts of things the OECD wants pushed globally. What. Are. The. Odds. The capstone, culmination paper was released in June and is called the Next Social Contract. http://nsc.newamerica.net/sites/newamerica.net/files/policydocs/Lind_Michael_NextSocialContract_2013.pdf

The New Social Contract completely remakes the America we have known and turns it into a public-sector dominated economic sewer. Complete with VAT, the federal takeover of Medicaid, turning health insurance into social insurance, eliminating “tax-privileged” retirement accounts, and best of all, federal revenue sharing to ensure regional equity of fiscal resources based on population. How exciting for California, NY, Illinois, and poor mismanaged Detroit. It’s a future that sees education and healthcare and state and local governments as the biggest employers and all at taxpayer expense.

“Privileged Americans should not be allowed to use sub-national jurisdictions as excuses for shirking their responsibility to contribute to minimum levels of public services throughout the United States as a whole.”

Welcome to the planned 21st Century America. I can see why that quote did not come out before Florida’s electoral votes were successfully grabbed for reelection.

That’s what we are dealing with behind all the rhetoric. No wonder OECD has taken up password protecting the pdfs surrounding its global Well-being conferences.

I am going to close with something federal Ed Secretary Arne Duncan said in connection with the 50th Anniversary of King’s March on Washington. He “called on educators and students to advance a civil rights agenda that presses for equal opportunities-and not just equal rights.”

He seems to be referring to the vision of that New Social Contract. But a knowledge of history and economics would reveal that the attempt is likely to destroy what does work. We are questing after a unicorn ride and pretending it is possible and jettisoning our current vehicle as we go a-dreaming. Some dreams are impossible.

How far down this road of creating new Mindsets and a new vision of the future will we go before we recognize we have expensively destroyed knowledge and expertise and social institutions we cannot easily remake?

Where will we be when the epiphany finally hits of all we have deliberately trashed? Ridiculously enough, in the name of education for all.

Some common core.

Psychological Approach to a Humane Politics: Restructuring the West Quietly and Effectively Via Ed

We stopped to pick up that nerdy expression Triune Consciousness in the last post because it rather succinctly explains why nothing in education over the last several decades makes much sense to us. We have a worldview on what education should be that makes it very difficult to accurately perceive that education has become about creating a new “framework of values, a philosophy of life, a religion or religion surrogate to live and to understand by.” The German expression for such an all-encompassing guide of daily perception is weltanschauung. We just translate it Worldview and it has been officially under attack for decades. Why? Because of a belief that humanistic psychology could adopt the human development component of Uncle Karl’s vision and use K-12 and higher ed institutions to invisibly change personal perceptions and culture. Shifting “personal politics can make for a more humane politics for both America and our larger world.”

Triune consciousness then simply reflects the idea that a new, radically different structure of social relations needs to be grounded in emotion and passion. In order to create a need to act to change the world as it now exists to the vision desired. I think such “a ‘knowing-of-the-heart’ which is not an unambiguous knowledge like that of clear and distinct ideas…” is a dangerous thing for our schools, churches, or universities to be cultivating. But I am also warning everyone that such a dramatic shift is precisely what is being sought in the Positive School Climate, Flow, systems thinking, happiness, mental health first aid, and other pushes we have discussed previously. How do I know for sure? Why the people involved have told me in their books and conferences and websites. It is all grounded in the humanistic psychology of Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers. That appears to be the all-encompassing vision we are dealing with. Still.

I am beginning to think that this naive idea that we can redefine what humanity is and promote specieshood and use education to target the foundation of all social institutions: “how people think and feel, how they comprehend the meaning of being human, how they experience the self, how they perceive their relationship to the environment and each other” really came under an organized, global attack back in 1962. First we have Robert Tucker, the Princeton poli sci prof laying out the idea that the US was closer to little c communism than the USSR and pushing Uncle Karl’s human development vision of the future. Then we have Evald Ilyenkov coming up with his new dialectics that supposedly will later inspire Gorbachev but was also very interested in altering perceptions. Remember our trips through the nerdy expression “Ascending from the Abstract to the Concrete” and how Ilyenkov’s work has recently been brought back into print in the US by those Cultural-Historical Activity Theorists in San Diego?

To that interesting cauldron of timing that was almost certainly impacted in a delaying way by the Cuban Missile Crisis later in 1962, let me add a fascinating link. In 1962, the ASCD, then a division of the National Education Association–the NEA–published Perceiving, Behaving, Becoming: A New Focus proposing that the nature of education be dramatically shifted with Maslow and Rogers among the authors. The new type of education would be centered in the psychological tenets of humanist psychology in order to build on human potential to change, instead of the transmission of knowledge. Sound troublingly familiar?

The 1960s and taking these ideas in the direction of hedonism may have stopped much of the historic role of schools in academic learning but the desire to use school’s to alter student’s personalities hit a snag. The Journal of Humanistic Psychology created a dialogue all through the 70s and early 80s on what a good instrument for changing society and the nature of the economy HP (no, not Hewlett Packard even though all the foundations now are imbibing these theories deeply) would make.

Somehow that magical year of 1986 became the point in time to put all those broader political and social intentions and Maslow’s ideal of using education to integrate self-improvement and social zeal into another book. This one was called Politics and Innocence: A Humanistic Debate with Maslow, Rogers, Rollo May and others participating. One of those was a Walter Nord who pointed out that the “writings of Karl Marx have much in common with what modern writers have described as the essence of humanistic psychology.” That’s our HP and we had noticed that striking resemblance in function and sought effects. Nord simply points out that HP needs to be used to create support for “major changes in economic organization and the distribution of power.” Systems thinking and outcomes-based education to the rescue please!

Then in 1999 during the last round of Radical Ed Reform at the federal level before Gore’s loss slowed down the full implementation, the ASCD published an updated book edited by H Jerome Freiberg. It contained the original 1962 essays with new contributions from people like Barbara McComb’s from the Aurora, Co ed lab, McREL, involved in the A+ Achieving Excellence systems thinking, OBE innovation, that would later become an issue in Columbine. This “Motivation and Lifelong Learning” paper  http://www.unco.edu/cebs/psychology/kevinpugh/motivation_project/resources/mccombs91.pdf published in 1991 gives a good feel for what HP sought whatever it calls itself. Plus it makes its links to the current lifelong learning push and what that League of Innovative Schools is really trying to research on suburban school kids without parental consent. The 1999 book was called Perceiving Behaving Becoming: Lessons Learned.

In 2013 HP comes in as the social and emotional learning mandate that the accreditation agencies are requiring in their standards for what constitutes “Quality” as well as what gets incorporated into all that planned gaming. How am I so sure about Positive School Climate though? Because Carl Rogers writes repeatedly about what he calls the “psychological climate” and the “growth-promoting climate.” It’s the necessary school, classroom, and social environment that may prove Rogers belief:

“I do not find that this evil is inherent in human nature. In a psychological climate which is nurturant of growth and choice, I have never known an individual to choose the cruel or destructive path. Choice always seems to be in the direction of greater socialization, improved relationships with others. So my experience leads me to believe that it is cultural influences which are the major factor in our evil behavior.”

I think Rogers is wrong. Rollo May did too but that is the guiding philosophy behind the Positive School Climate mandate. Use education to change the student’s values, attitudes, beliefs, and emotions and you can change future behavior. Do it in enough students, especially if the heads of foundations and other social and political institutions are quietly on board with this invisible revolution and you can supposedly get an out of sight revolution.

How else do I know for sure that we are still dealing with HP in 2013 in the plans for the actual Common Core implementation? Because Martin Seligman of the Positive Psychology and global School Wide Positive Behavior and Happiness pushes said it tied to Maslow’s work.   http://www.pursuit-of-happiness.org/history-of-happiness/martin-seligman/ Because Mihaly Csiksentmihalyi, whose work is described here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/excellence-means-education-putting-what-we-feel-wish-for-and-think-in-harmony/  also ties his work back to Maslow and does the research on that nerdy word “conation” that is tied to the OECD’s Subjective Well-being excuses for making us the Governed.

Finally there was the Third World Congress on Positive Psychology, June 27-30, 2013 in LA that Seligman and Csik basically led. http://www.ippanetwork.org/assets/1/7/IPPAThirdWorldCongressProgram.pdf is the program that clearly ties it all to Maslow and shows the global importance of the Positive School Climate model to achieving the desired transformations.

I think I will close with the admission from the End of Innocence book (citing Frankfurt School member Erich Fromm) on how important it is to use education to reframe “all perceptions of reality” whenever social change is sought. School then becomes a method of social conditioning that gets at the “system of categories which determines the forms of awareness. This system works, as it were, like a socially conditioned filter; experience cannot enter awareness unless it can penetrate the filter.”

Whoever creates that mental filter creates what is perceived as reality. What will guide future action and what will be ignored despite real consequences.

Now you know why we keep hearing about conceptual lenses and Understandings of Consequence and Generative Metaphors and Mental Schemas and frameworks. Every radical with plans of transformations is familiar with Fromm’s insight. We needed to be too.

Student-centered learning=humanist psychology emphasis in the 21st century classroom

Now you know why all recourse from an alarmed parent or taxpayer or teacher is being turned off.

Reorienting World Order Values Via the Intervention of Activist Education and Progressive Politics

Why yes that is a quote from a Future Worlds Project financed by the Rockefeller Foundation and the Carnegie Endowment for Peace in the early 70s. At least we now know why education just keeps coming up as the vehicle of choice to initiate social change without that fundamental fact being particularly noticeable. Even if caught, we just get told to defer to the professionals so that the political coup can continue at a slower pace. Drastic Gradualism is actually the term used to get the West to a radically different social, economic, and political system. Hopefully by the year 2000 was the Plan. The 70s were to have been the years to use education to change the prevailing Consciousness before initiating the mobilization for change in the 80s. The precise language used was to:

“supplant the outmoded values/ belief system associated with the state system [they mean nation-state, not those pesky political units the US has 50 of] in a pre-ecological age. [in other words, before Paul Ehrlich started writing about impending disaster]. The emergence and diffusion of a new value/belief consensus [helpfully provided as a Conceptual Understanding so ALL students will know it] is a vital precondition for the kind of active politics that would accomplish the transformation of the structures of power and authority in subsequent period of time.”

Now how many of you have heard that Common Core cannot be incremental? It MUST be comprehensive. Reforms in teacher evals, curricula, assessment, instructional practices, etc. ALL at once. The kind of social engineering that even a weak student of history would know better than attempt. Even if everything about the Common Core was actually about academic content. Which it most decidedly is not.

Well our new World Order planners as they honestly appear to be proud of being [again from then Princeton prof Richard Falk’s book] said it was because (their italics) mechanical penetration of existing curricula was not enough. No,

organic reorientation  of the educational program, which is what would enable students to develop an understanding of what is needed, what is desirable, and what can be done. By organic reorientation we mean more than new materials for old courses, or even curriculum revision; we mean, in essence, changing  the implicit symbol and belief systems that underlie the whole way citizenship, national goals, and even personal fulfillment are approached in the educational system.”

That’s what Outcomes Based Education was trying to achieve in the 90s and why it really set off what were misleadingly called the Math and Reading Wars. That’s what the laundry list of actual changes coming in under the heading of the Common Core are actually up to now. So your question is why? Which honestly calls for a vocabulary alert. Ding. Ding. Courtesy of a different Ivy League professor who originally published his book in Germany in 1970.

The phrase is Humanist Marxism and as you might gather the M word gets dropped from most discussions of its elements. At least in public and especially in the United States even though the book by Wolfgang Leonhard did get translated and published for English consumption in 1974. The same year as Falk’s book. Think of it as game plans and rationales. Not really for my consumption but footnote tracking is a superb researching tool. Especially if you are willing to make musty old used books your Mothers Day present.

It turns out, according to Professor Leonhard, that the Russians and the Chinese broke Uncle Karl’s and Engels’ well-laid out rules for revolution when they launched their plans on agricultural societies. To get a classless society that will stick you supposedly need a certain high level stage of economic development: “without it only want is made general, and with want the struggle for necessities and all the old filthy business would necessarily be reproduced.” So obviously Humanist Marxism is a strategy for a redo. This time targeting the wealth of Europe, the US, Canada, Australia and basically any place where a respect for the individual and the rule of law and industrialization had allowed wealth to accumulate. Those were and are the places that met the real ground rules for Revolution and if the proper Framework were followed, the idea is that the transformation can be peaceful.

Of course that is premised on using education to change those prevailing values and beliefs and that has just never gone as planned. Which is really annoying to lots of NGOs and public sector employees and multinational companies wanting to just deal with the appropriate Ministry in every country where they do business. Otherwise consumers can be fickle to deal with and satisfy consistently. Bureaucrats can be satisfied with good pensions and gourmet meals and regular conferences at luxury locations. Much easier way to do business as long as you already have a seat at the table and lobbyists at the ready.

So there’s good reason we keep encountering the phrase about using education to transform the economic, social, and political system. Except the M word gets left off now and the actual idea is that after gaining the support of a majority of voters, the “laws and institutions obstructing the advancement of [the redistribution vision] will be abolished.”  Use the rope ladder to gain control and then change the rules. No wonder the US IRS targeted the Tea Party with these very real contemporary plans for change using democratic methods and education and the federal printing press to lure compliance with the HM vision.

Now I am not going to dwell on the Personal Identity and Development of the Full Personality aspects of this vision because we have addressed it repeatedly. But it is why there is so much emphasis in the actual mandated implementation of the Common Core on social and emotional learning. And why Karl Marx’s Human Development Model fits our facts so well as I explained in an earlier post.

My readers interested in Agenda 21 and the restrictions on land development and equitable regional development will be fascinated to know this is straight out of Marx and a big part of what Humanist Marxism planned to pursue in the West. Yes it was news to me too. Can’t imagine why the typical poli sci prof forgets to mention that Marx and Engels wanted:

“measures designed to overcome the differences between town and country and aimed at ‘combining the advantages of urban and rural life without the citizens having to suffer from the one-sidedness and the disadvantages of either.”

And the HM economic vision is about co-operative enterprise that meets needs, not wants. Planned to meet the needs of the community and each individual. Which would explain why we keep encountering that very economic vision in so many places now and so many previous posts. M&E as interpreted via HM also plans to liberate the “human personality from the division of labor” which does rather explain the rise of the Competency movement since it is assumed that “nobody has one exclusive sphere of activity.” Someone wrongly believes it is better to have a fully developed surgeon than an able one.

Combined with everyone’s “comprehensively developed abilities and aptitudes” we get education that demands “first of all that intellectual and physical work should be fused, and that schooling should be combined with practical work through polytechnical education.” For ALL. Which is precisely where high school reforms are quietly going in state after state as a stealth component of the Common Core.

Now I think you are getting a feel for Humanist Marxism whatever it is calling itself for PR purposes. Even when it is wisely broken into parts in an effort to avoid detection. And I promised in the last post we would talk a bit about Gorbachev and the so-called New Thinking he embraced in the mid-80s. A book published in 2000 seems to have had everyone’s cooperation to be the definitive story of  what happened. Called Russia and the Idea of the West: Gorbachev, Intellectuals & the End of the Cold War it tells us the New Thinking was

“To be sure, many reformist intellectuals retained a broadly Marxist outlook. But theirs was less the Marx of class struggle and revolution and more the Marx of broader humanistic interest and concern for mankind’s alienation. It was a Marxism that led back to a European tradition of social-democratic reformism. And, given the Stalinist legacy, it led to a search for ‘socialism with a human face,’ …For most liberal, these goals were embodied in the model of the Prague Spring.”

All three of these books used that phrase “socialism with a human face” as the aspiration. It’s the aspiration for the related education reforms as well. It also means whether known or understood by the average person or not, these remain the intentions for the Common Core. Now the purpose of English’s book is to give a palatable story of why the USSR ended peacefully. Changed ideas. Except English has the New Thinking as coming from Evald Ilyenkov and his philosophies of a revised dialectics based on social problems generally, not just issues of class. And Gorbachev would have known of the Humanist Marxism movements going on in the West, especially in higher ed. And the related movements in the UN and OECD . And all those trips of educators to the USSR and providing Soviet psuchology and philosophy for English translations. What led to the Cultural-Historical Activity Theory school now being pushed all over the World.

That’s where the New Thinking fits. Lots of people have known that. It is we parents and taxpayers who have not been in the knowledge loop. Who were not told these plans for education. Who did not attend the conferences laying out how to mobilize action to get the desired transformation.

We are the ones who were and are supposed to remain ignorant for long enough for this to be a done deal. Now the question will be can enough people find out in time to avert these visions of where we are to be taken in the 21st Century. Without permission.

Sorry this went long but it was too important to break up.

 

Desiring a Radical Dialectic Change in Social Reality Necessitates Enduring Misunderstandings

Why is there nothing as practical as a good theory? Why do I mention annoyingly named theories like “Ascending from the Abstract to the Concrete” or Engestrom’s Learning by Expansion? Am I playing, look what I know? No, two reasons require such specificity. The first is the gravity of what I have been explaining on this blog. As an avid reader, I get that these truths sound a bit like the plot to a B-Grade thriller. But sometimes the truth really does trump the acceptable storylines of even an imaginative fiction writer. Trust me, you are not the only one with an “Are you kidding me?” response to all these revelations. Especially how all these links to Soviet pedagogy and psychology and philosophy just keep appearing. Since that is not what I am looking for, the constant appearances must have something to do with creating a consciousness in the West useful to those who want to keep and expand political power.

More importantly though is the second reason. A theory can get included in the coursework of a college or university where it affects the beliefs of people who in turn mold the minds of the next generation. You may have guessed I had one of those old-fashioned, first-rate, liberal arts educations. And I loved it. Well, maybe not Aristotle so much or Spinoza but all in all it was broad and deep and gave me a solid base in adult life for recognizing when I am reading a false explanation. A faulty argument. A pre-arranged set of facts to bolster a case that actually was not supported in the least. But the typical college student now or teacher or principal in graduate programs or professional development are much less likely to recognize they are dealing with a theory that just isn’t so.

Theories allow widespread collaboration in pursuing radical social, political, and economic change without most of the participants recognizing the actual intent behind the theory. You thus can get a widespread organized implementation without much of an actual conspiracy. Darn useful especially when all this is essentially going on an taxpayer expense. So no teacher or principal or even the mendacious supers being inflicted on too many school districts is likely to have studied Soviet Philosopher, Evald Ilyenkov, or why the Soviets created Developmental Instruction after Stalin’s death.

Ilyenkov’s reimagining of Dialectical Materialism through his Ascending Theory and his idea of “theoretically guided education” that would “teach children to think” comes in through activity theory and making Understandings the focus of the classroom and assessment. No further need to know where the theory came from. Or even that it is a theory designed not to reflect reality but to change it.

But the purpose for the creation of the theory still matters even if it remains widely unknown. Well until this and earlier posts. But it matters that the Professor most identified with Cultural-Historical Activity Theory in the US, Michael Cole, who worked with Engestrom at UC-San Diego, wrote the Preface for Ilyenkov’s classic activity theory book when it was republished in English in February 2009. Interesting timing. Getting ready for what implementation in the US?

Not to be too nerdy but Vygotsky and his followers want to emphasize human experience. Being interested in radical social change, they recognized that there are two planes involved. What actually happened and the perception of it. So if what goes on in the classroom can alter or, even better, create an “internal cognitive schematization” in the student’s belief system, you can permanently (that’s the hope) affect how the student filters their daily life. And thus their future behavior.

So the Abstract becomes that guiding theory. As a 1998 book Psychological Tools published by the Harvard Press helpfully put both the point and the rationale:

“Traditional education was essentially retrospective. The universal model and the cultural tradition were givens, and the task of a student was to absorb this tradition and the intellectual tools associated with it. Thus a student was taught to deal with problems that reproduced past cultural patterns. Under the dynamic conditions of modernity [another theory by the way] the necessity for prospective, rather than retrospective, education became obvious [but conveniently omitted from any PR campaign for reforms].

Prospective education implies that students should be capable of approaching problems that do not yet exist …To achieve this capability, the student should be oriented toward productive, rather than reproductive knowledge. Knowledge should thus appear not in the form of results and solutions but rather as a process of authoring.”

Quite a different view of knowledge and likely to be very controversial if widely known. So that fundamental shift in the nature of education and the Soviet inspired developmental focus gets hidden under euphemisms like “higher order skills” and “21st Century Skills.” Or just “Critical Thinking” with the typical parent or taxpayer thinking analytical within the realm of existing and still highly useful relevant facts.

But that would be reproductive of the existing social and economic order and thus not allowed. But being honest that “critical thinking” in the Enlightenment sense “stops right at the point where it touches all those problems of a capitalist society” that need to be reexamined in a new light and with new theories, could very well derail the hopes of developing “alternative prospects for humankind.” Through education.

That quote from the Journal of Critical Education Policy Studies tells us that “the notion of critical thinking takes on different dimensions when associated with the “ideals and practices geared towards a radical change in social reality. From such a perspective, critical thinking emerges as a critical consciousness of the changing world conditions, trends, and mechanisms.”

That kind of definition of critical thinking fits with the curriculum for the common core I am seeing all over the world. A classic example is one the Smithsonian’s Global Competence Initiative references. An interdisciplinary textbook called Exploring Global Issues: Economic, Social and Environmental Interconnections put out by Facing the Future. Education becomes about creating what JCEPS called an “active attitude vis-a-vis social reality, to the conscious pursuit of changing it.” Some of you may have wondered why commenters keep mentioning Hegel and I keep bringing up Uncle Karl. Both men pushed what they called dialectics because they refused to accept the “historic cultural constructs as given.” So the idea is to “perceive possibilities and prospects for alternative social development.”

And to do that is to be “creative” and “innovative” and “imaginative” and engaging in “higher-order thinking.” It helps then not to be too bogged down in facts and knowledge of what existed in the past and why it did or did not endure. Left out of all this talk of CORE, Cognitive Reorganization, and other “thinking” programs we have examined in the last several posts is what JCEPS acknowledges explicitly in the 2003 published essay:

“fostering critical ability with the aim of radical social change is equivalent to fostering dialectical thinking.” I am not going to weave you in and out of this Periklis Pavlidis essay further except to say it tells its tale through Ascending from the Abstract to the Concrete. By name. Making it much easier to spot whatever it is calling itself. Which brings us back to all the presentations Lynn Erickson has been doing all over the world explaining her “Enduring Understandings” to IB audiences. She is now being quoted in Texas for CScope training and in many other state DOEs as they prepare to implement the Common Core.

The quote from her I took from a 2009 Georgia Social Studies Presentation is pretty representative: “Trying to teach in the 21st century without conceptual schema for knowledge is like trying to build a house without a blueprint.” Except what made me a good student was my ability to come up with my own conceptual understandings from the facts. Here the Enduring Understandings get assigned and put up on a Concept Wall in the classroom. The purpose of facts is now merely to illustrate that Enduring Understanding.  And the purpose of that Concept Wall is to help students to see the relationships among concepts. And to get there the teachers are to ask Essential Questions. And the students are to copy down those Essential Questions and Enduring Understandings. “A smaller version for their notebooks” is what the powerpoint said.

All of this does look much like Understanding By Design as well which also relies heavily on those Essential Questions. And UbD, Understandings of Consequence, and Enduring Understandings all function as the guiding theories in the sense Ilyenkov intended as a means of changing consciousness when he first developed Ascending from the Abstract to the Concrete. And as nerdy as all these names sound they all have a common purpose, wherever they are being pushed and whether the speaker is aware of the actual intent or not.

“successful guidance of transformative social action.”

That’s why the theories created are transferable “through time and across cultures” as Erickson describes it. They are theories for social change or imagining a radically different social reality. They are productive education as Psychological Tools described above.

And quite hidden until you know the authors and the terms and then they are everywhere. Very much a part of the planned implementations. If not already in use.

But I for one beg to differ on whether this will be productive. Unless you are being paid to push it.