Me too, but as usual following up on coordinated deceitful narratives like I laid out in the previous post led to pay dirt. So today let’s try to avoid using the M word at all and focus on the related upfront transformational plans laid out once we know where to look. It even pops up in that long-winded Sermon of Love by Bishop Michael Curry at the Meghan Markle/Prince Harry wedding if we are familiar with Curry’s Beloved Community work that the Episcopal Church launched in May 2017. The so-called Formative Project is a belief that governments at every level (not just the federal that the False Narrative always wants to make the Bogeyman) have an obligation NOT to be “neutral towards the values and ends that its citizens espouse.” If your dictionary isn’t handy think of ‘espouse’ as a fancier term for what ‘motivates’ people to act and then remember that this aim is precisely what ‘learning standards’ like the Common Core or any competency frameworks also want to target for control.
Before I quote further from a seminal 1996 book by Harvard law prof and communitarian Michael Sandel called Democracy’s Discontent: America in Search of a Public Philosophy, I want to pull this broader discussion of why K-12 education reforms matter to broader plans to a MYWays document that came out this week. https://s3.amazonaws.com/nglc/resource-files/MyWays_06CompetencyList.pdf sets out “Habits of Success–for learning, work, and well-being”; “Creative Know How–for a novel, complex world”; “Content knowledge–for the life students will lead”; and “Wayfinding Abilities–for destinations unknown” that get at what a student has internalized as beliefs, concepts, and values that motivate behavior and guide perception.
That internalized mindset is what learning standards always target and the euphemisms used to obscure this common aim vary from “self-discipline” per the Fordham Institute this week and also Grit advocate Angela Duckworth (who also heads up a Character lab). The OECD calls it ‘self-regulation’ and says it is the central purpose of education globally in the 21st century. Sandel, Hillsdale College, and the Heritage Foundation all seem to prefer the term ‘self-government’. However these entities bill themselves on the political spectrum, these euphemisms function the same as what Sandel terms as a “republican conception of freedom” and liberty, which “requires a formative politics, a politics that cultivates in citizens the qualities of character self-government requires.”
That vision of changing the person, which I guess we could euphemise as “student-centered learning” like Jeb Bush and the Aspen Institute like to do, needs a new kind of education. K-12 students get the MyWays Competencies or some kind of formative pillars or Portrait of a Graduate laying out the person they are to become. Adults get something like the Antiracism Training Manual of the Episcopal Church Seeing the Face of God in Each Other https://www.episcopalchurch.org/files/antiracism_book-revise3.pdf to lay out “a theology of inclusion and justice for our work in this time and place in our history” or the http://www.reclaimingjesus.org/sites/default/files/downloads/reclaiming_jesus_civil_discourse_curriculum_2018_1.pdf which lays the Curry Agenda beyond just the Episcopal Church that led him to a Candlelight Vigil at the White House the week after the wedding.
Everybody seems to want to use institutions like churches, the media, and schools to dictate what we are all to believe in the future and what we are to act to bring about in a collective, non-individualistic manner. Let’s get back to those plans in Sandel’s book (that I really did find following up on something odd the Hoover Institution wrote) as he wants us to move away from the procedural republic we have been for the last 50 or so years according to him (that would be 70 years now in 2018) and use our social institutions to instill in students and adults the “capacity to deliberate well about the common good.” In order to be able to engage in the (required for our own good so that we are no longer ‘discontent’) roles of “sharing in self-rule…then citizens must possess certain excellences–of character, judgment, and concern for the whole.” Also remember that since we live in the world of K-12 that mandates Success for All and churches now want Inclusion for All, both visions effectively mean:
“…given the demands of republican citizenship [we could substitute Beloved Community, depending on our audience, with no real loss of meaning], the more expansive the bounds of membership, the more demanding the task of cultivating virtue. In Aristotle’s polis, the formative task was to cultivate virtue among a small group of people who shared a common life and a natural bent for citizenship. When republican thought turns democratic, however, and when the natural bent of persons to be citizens can no longer be assumed, the formative project becomes more daunting. The task of forging a common citizenship among a vast and disparate people invites more strenuous forms of soulcraft.”
Not usually what a parent has in mind when they hear the euphemism “learning experiences”, but at least we know now why social and emotional learning is so ubiquitous and embedded in daily activities. Sandel, by the way, called the idea that “liberty can be detached from the exercise of self-government and conceived instead as the capacity of persons to choose their own ends…the voluntarist conception of freedom, [which]…no longer needs soulcraft, except in a limited domain.” No wonder we get euphemisms like parental or school choice or the classical theory of education so that political power anywhere in the 21st century is “accorded a stake in the character of its citizens”, whatever their wishes. We should be wary of the term ‘civil society’ too when we read Sandel concluding with:
“different forms of political association would govern different spheres of life and engage different aspects of our identities. Only a regime that disperses sovereignty both upward and downward can combine the power required to rival global market forces with the differentiation required of a public life that hopes to inspire the reflective allegiance of its citizens.”
Is it treasonous to say “No Thanks”? That a formative project of governments enabled through the human mind and deceitfully euphemised about by philanthropies and the think tanks, professors, media outlets, and others they pay is no way to successfully run the 21st century, no matter how much data is now available?
How many people now reflexively use the term “self-government” to mean I am my own person and should be able to select my own ends in life? In the last post, we noted that what now turn out to be some of the same actors pushing this coercive vision of self-government were not being accurate in describing King’s Agenda, at least by the end of his life. If you look at the Beloved Community materials through the links provided, have any Familiarity with the Marxist Humanist agenda from earlier posts, and look at what Sandel wants to solve Democracy’s Discontent, they are all headed to the same place. They also all need a new vision for education. As Sandel notes:
“To assimilate the civil rights movement to the liberalism of the procedural republic is to miss its most important lessons for our time. More than a means to equal rights, the movement itself was a movement of empowerment, an instance of the civic strand of freedom. The laws that desegregated public facilities and secured voting rights for blacks served freedom in the voluntarist sense–the freedom to choose and pursue one’s purposes and ends. But the struggle to win these rights displayed a higher, republican freedom–the freedom that consists in acting collectively to shape the public world.”
We, and especially our children caught up in these related education reforms, are involved with a Formative (re)Project hiding behind deceit and euphonious euphemisms like liberty, freedom, and high standards for all. At their core though, these are all psychological changes being sought in each of us “aimed at the moral and civic ‘transformation of a whole people’. Our minds and personalities targeted for political purposes to transform the neural levels that “tell the tales that order our lives.”
The only way out is to understand it and I seriously doubt it was any accident that the MyWays document was put out the week of so many Memorial Day vacations when few but the designated change makers would ever read it.
came out the same day. Remember Logic Models turn out to be a euphemism used for Evidence-Based Policymaking that turned out to be another euphemism for scientific techniques employed in the name of that word we were not going to use today.
Methinks someone views summertime as a wonderful time to get significant changes in place without anyone paying alarming attention. If it’s pretty where you are, just read these summer posts on a rainy day.
Some times people tell me they are best read with a stiff drink anyway.