Is Accreditation the Enforcer for UNESCO’s Vision of Solidarity?

From its beginning UNESCO and other UN affiliates refused to see education, science or culture (the “E, S, and C” in the name) as most of us would. And do as we pay those property taxes and income taxes and tuition and student loans. Things to be cherished and nurtured and transmitted and built up. To the best of each of our abilities. Instead each of these treasures of the ages is viewed as a tool to create social change. In order to build up a new vision for what people could be like in the future.

Now a knowledge of history tells us that this has never worked well. It was behind many of the tragedies of the 20th century and before. UNESCO’s designers though believed they could create new norms of moral responsibility and human conduct and then find allies to enforce them. Leaving all of us unsuspecting of course since none of us like to feel we are being managed by others. Especially at our own expense. But since the late 1940s UNESCO has dreamed of using education to promote the intellectual and moral solidarity of mankind. All of us.

And not as individuals either. The dream has been to foster human values, beliefs, feelings, and attitudes that promote collective norms, collective behaviors, and collective patterns for action. Apparently UNESCO and the other UN agencies in its orbit weren’t listening when Karl Popper said in 1957 that:

“Even the emotionally satisfying appeal for a common purpose, however excellent, is an appeal to abandon all rival moral opinions and the cross-criticisms and arguments to which they give rise. It is an appeal to abandon rational thought.”

Well we know from the previous post on what Quality in education really means that individuals abandoning logic and reason and any real ability to think abstractly is precisely what certain utopian or just greedy schemers have been targeting for 100 years. Since John Dewey and then Ralph Tyler and Professor Bode and their 8 Year Study we discussed on May 15 and May 16 in previous posts.

So in all the UN activities involving education we have talked about in the last several posts–Educations for All, MDGs, and Education for Development, the vision for the basic education that everyone is to get does not really vary in its purpose. It:

“should equip all people, women and men, to be fully participating members of their own communities and also citizens of the world.”

That’s in the fundamentally reoriented and restructured world where UN agencies and their employees will take the lead in integrating “social, economic and environmental policy” at the local, national, and global levels.  And that aspiration is from the March 2012 State of the Planet Declaration getting ready for the Rio Conference in mid-June so the ink is barely dry.

Does that aspiration seem silly to you? Impossible? Something that should earn a ticket to a Mad Hatters Tea Party? Me too. Here’s the thing though with these aspirations that involve using our money and political power to Try to control us and our behavior. It doesn’t have to be possible for it to be tried. And great, expensive, difficult to fix harm can still flow from simply attempting bad ideas and impossible feats. That’s why we are talking about this now. Before Rio. Before Common Core’s full implementation. While the accreditors like AdvancED or New England are moving their devoted Gypsy Principals and Gypsy Supers and others into place to enforce this vision.

Whether anyone involved truly appreciates or is even aware of the full vision behind what they are promoting and requiring. As I have mentioned before, we have an autopsy to perform as to what happened and why with education. Right now we need to slow and stop any more damage from these misguided but official policies and practices. Coming to a school and district near you right now.

So the UN agencies like UNESCO and others use the so-called Quality Assurance process to systematically review education programs around the world for compliance with its vision. In fact in 2002 UNESCO created the Global Forum  on International Quality Assurance, Accreditation and the Recognition of Qualifications in Higher Education to act as the coordinator of that vision. We in the US and my readers in other countries thus have a real problem. The regional accreditors we think are local and checking to ensure academic excellence are using accreditation and their almost dictatorial power over the schools, including many private, and higher ed to pursue a much different vision for education.

Some of it we have already talked about. More will come out. None of it is good. Some of it may feel treasonous. All of it though is part of a group of people we are largely unaware of actively coordinating to implement a common global purpose. And no one told us or asked our permission and it absolutely cannot work as envisioned. And the attempts may wreck us all. It really is past time for school officials and the accreditors themselves to be forthcoming with the public that pays all the bills.




You Mean I Can’t Teach Because the Economy Should Not Grow?

Well the US economy that is. And economies in the developed West in general like the UK, Europe, Australia. Because the yellow brick road behind Michael Barber’s recommendation to NYC to use Cambridge Education and Cambridge’s own activities, and the activities of its owner all take us quite quickly somewhere else. To a world where international bureaucrats and other “policymakers” who somehow claim to magically Know Better live at our expense. They generally work for one or more of the various UN agencies eager to plan and then manage our very existence and make fundamental life-altering decisions FOR us.

Not to worry though about this attempt to move beyond and away from GDP (Gross Domestic Product is what the nation produces economically in products and services) to a holistic growth in our Well-being as the focus. (Planet Under Pressure: New Knowledge Towards Solutions, a March 2012 conference in London)

Now do you feel better about the Gypsy Principals and Gypsy Supers, and whatever it is that the accreditors are actually pushing? Me neither but then I think they have the advantage on us. Not knowing much history or any economics would definitely make you more likely to push these troubling ideas. Especially if there’s a taxpayer funded lucrative job or stream of revenue as a result. But its our country and our money and our future at stake here so it is time for us over the next several posts to examine where They are taking us.

Who is Michael Barber for starters in pinpointing some of our “They”? Well right now he is the Pearson conglomerate’s Chief Education Advisor. At the time he pushed Cambridge in 2007 he was a consultant for McKinsey heading their global public policy practice. He was pushing his ideas on how the world’s best school systems keep getting better except it is tied to the OECD’s practices on education and PISA. Measuring selected and open-ended problem solving competencies as the international standard of education for all seems like a bad idea to me. But I think we were not supposed to read the actual reports or policy briefs. Or the fine print in footnotes. Sir Michael Barber as he seems to prefer being called in the US to bolster his statements is the person who hired Georgia’s State School Super, Kathy Cox, away suddenly after nominations had closed but before her primary back in 2010. That’s how he came onto my radar screen. He was an education advisor to British Prime Minister Tony Blair when the UK adopted education reform in the late 1990s that has functioned quite differently from its sales pitch.

Barber has been and is quite busy trying to push global policies to obtain the UN’s Millenium Development Goals and its Education for All (EFA) initiative by 2015. Yes we will unfortunately get to know those well. Here’s a link that lays out the UNESCO vision of a “basic quality education is an essential human right.” Barber is presiding over this 2011 meeting.

And no I am not a Scrooge. I just know that basic skills in literacy, numeracy, and then life skills is all EFA wants for any student. Anywhere. Plus the desired attitudes and values. That’s the real common core and it is an international attempt to limit what American students can know or do. It is far less about bringing barefoot children in the plains of Africa up or girls in the Middle East than it is about finally shifting American schools away from a focus on knowledge and academics. They do intend to make the world equal in wealth and income even if the attempt impoverishes most of us.

And Cambridge? Well inspecting for the pursuit of that EFA vision seems to be what it is ultimately looking for in its Quality Reviews. But it is also heavily involved with the UN push for a life skills focus for education. You know how I have mentioned vocational and life roles and career pathways as a key component of Transformational OBE? And how other countries are pushing skills development and Qualifications Frameworks as a means of interconnecting education and work in a way that means little new job growth? Like using BBC and government agencies adoption as Proof It Works? Well here is Cambridge Ed from last week heading up the project to bring this vision to India.  is the news release. There is Cambridge Education in the 5th paragraph leading the consortium of EU government agencies.

Because none of those countries would have any interest in trying to make India’s dynamic economy less competitive and more stagnant like theirs. Countries NEVER engage in practices of spread our dysfunction. The last player that will make Cambridge’s practice of telling US school teachers and schools and districts they must move away from teacher delivery of facts and content clearer and put it further in context is its parent company. It is owned by a huge British consulting group, Mott MacDonald, that gets its large revenue stream representing various governments around the world and UN agencies and the OECD and the World Bank.  Moving to get those Millenium Development Goals in place in time. Changing the nature of the world’s economies to Green Growth. Forgetting to tell the masses that behind the global green economy and Green Growth is No Growth for you or me.

We are supposed to just make up for our greatly diminished prosperity by cultivating better relationships with each other. Yes they really do say that sort of a thing. Explicitly.

I think it makes far more sense to get to the bottom of all this nonsense and pull it out by the roots. Now that we have a better sense of the players and why, next we will look into what they wish for education to make us Believe.