Censorship Before the Fact: Prescribing What the Child Does and Believes Invisibly but Reliably Binds the Adult

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The prob­lem with cen­sor­ship, apart from the loss of per­son­al lib­er­ty not to have gov­ern­ments inter­vene in what we think and how we must act, is two-fold if you are a wan­na-be Steer­er of Human Keels in the 21st Cen­tu­ry. Some infor­ma­tion always gets through and every­one knows that their flow of infor­ma­tion is being reg­u­lat­ed and manip­u­lat­ed. By using K‑12 edu­ca­tion glob­al­ly in the 21st Cen­tu­ry to “con­trol learn­ing expe­ri­ences” or cre­at­ing behav­ioral goals for what stu­dents are to “think and do” and then euphemisti­cal­ly labelling those aims as “stan­dards” or “out­comes,” our Steers­men get to cre­ate what I am going to call Cen­sor­ship Before the Fact. They intend to rule and they get to con­trol what most of us will pay atten­tion to, or ignore, in our dai­ly lives. Plus we will not try to resist what we do not even rec­og­nize is there.

Win, Win if the 21st Cen­tu­ry con­tin­ues in the exist­ing desired direc­tion glob­al­ly where those who are elect­ed at any lev­el of gov­ern­ment are being told repeat­ed­ly they get to gov­ern, in the lit­er­al sense of the word, those who elect­ed them. We can­not resist what we are unaware of and my job on this blog now and in my book pre­vi­ous­ly has been to point out the things that are intend­ed to bind us with­out our active knowl­edge or gen­uine con­sent. Yes­ter­day this sto­ry caught my eye. I knew at least the Hong Kong peo­ple could see how the same edu­ca­tion reforms being adopt­ed in K‑12 glob­al­ly have been designed to change what their young peo­ple val­ue, believe, know, and per­ceive.

I want to go back to the 2014 book The Fourth Rev­o­lu­tion that I first men­tioned in the Sep­tem­ber 21 post (2 back).

Chi­na is doing more than pro­mot­ing a web of con­nec­tions: It is delib­er­ate­ly pro­mot­ing a mod­el. When for­eign offi­cials come to Chi­na [Heads Up!! This means our may­ors and state Gov­er­nors and Cham­bers of Com­merce on ‘Trade Mis­sions’], their tutors at places like CELAP [Chi­na Exec­u­tive Lead­er­ship Acad­e­my at Pudong. It is else­where described as the ‘cadre train­ing school’ that is “an orga­ni­za­tion bent on world dom­i­na­tion”] now empha­size the virtues of the Chi­nese model–the way the state can focus on nation­al cham­pi­ons or attract for­eign invest­ment into spe­cial eco­nom­ic zones or ensure the entre­pre­neurs join the Com­mu­nist Par­ty [sub­sti­tute believe and act on the desired Big Ideas and it will fit the era here of new SATs and for­ma­tive assess­ments] and there­by con­tribute to polit­i­cal sta­bil­i­ty as well as eco­nom­ic dynamism. They also com­pare China’s sleek gov­ern­ment [no vis­its then to their trou­bling Ghost Cities] with America’s grid­lock and India’s chaos. The gov­ern­ment has seed­ed Con­fu­cius Insti­tutes in uni­ver­si­ties across the world and is try­ing to use the Boao Forum for Asia as an ide­o­log­i­cal coun­ter­weight to Davos.”

We can just imag­ine how joy­ful the vet­er­ans of these trade jun­kets to Chi­na are to have had the US Con­gress enact that Work­force Inno­va­tion and Oppor­tu­ni­ty Act in July now requir­ing all states and local­i­ties to cre­ate state and local eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment plans tied to edu­ca­tion. I just want to point out that the Con­fu­cius Insti­tutes men­tioned are the same ones the Col­lege Board announced a for­mal alliance with this sum­mer. Com­mon Core Chief Archi­tect David Cole­man even made a very odd servile com­ment about “They are the Sun and we are the Moon.” The Boao Forum men­tioned left Asia for the first time for a meet­ing and decid­ed Seat­tle, Wash­ing­ton with Microsoft sup­port and Bill Gates keynot­ing was a good place to meet. Bush Trea­sury Sec­re­tary Hank Paul­son, who presided over the tax­pay­er bailout of polit­i­cal favorites dur­ing the finan­cial melt­down in 2008, also is deeply involved with Boao.

All of that is rel­e­vant to what is com­ing to the US, Cana­da, UK, and Aus­tralia, but those are con­nec­tions no one is sup­posed to be mak­ing. Since I have the planned tem­plate and blue­prints, I know where to look and what counts as con­nect­ed that would be off most people’s radar screens. We know though from Michael Barber’s Oceans of Inno­va­tion report for Pear­son cov­ered here that he, the US Depart­ment of Edu­ca­tion, and Pear­son all see Chi­na and a col­lec­tivist future as where K‑12 edu­ca­tion reforms are going glob­al­ly. I am sure it is total­ly coin­ci­den­tal that the book was pub­lished by a Pear­son enti­ty and the authors write for a dif­fer­ent Pear­son enti­ty–The Econ­o­mist.

Pear­son, Microsoft, Intel, and a new enti­ty head­quar­tered in Wash­ing­ton State which has gath­ered actors from all over the world–Collaborative Impact–have devel­oped a part­ner­ship designed to pro­mote a new con­sis­tent vision for K‑12 edu­ca­tion glob­al­ly. This lays out their vision. You may have noticed that today’s post is less about the how of K‑12 ‘reforms’ and more about turn­ing a spot­light on the most­ly invis­i­ble end game. Before We are Bound and while the Nec­es­sary Keels are still being laid in the young peo­ple who are the vot­ers of tomorrow.

Point Num­ber 1 is that the report acknowl­edges these are all exper­i­men­tal prac­tices based on behav­ioral the­o­ries. Stu­dents are guinea pigs because it is the desired change that is impor­tant, not the peo­ple being changed by fiat. Sec­ond­ly, the list of orga­ni­za­tions involved includes the fed­er­al­ly-cre­at­ed Dig­i­tal Promise and thus the White House spon­sored League of Inno­v­a­tive Schools. Please do not tell me there’s no con­nec­tion to the Com­mon Core. Yes, because it has already passed Go, col­lect­ed $200, and gone straight to the Com­pe­ten­cy-Based Next Gen­er­a­tion learn­ing all these enti­ties are push­ing glob­al­ly. Third and most cru­cial­ly, the whole­sale changes are explic­it­ly about “What kind of learn­ing work pre­pares [stu­dents] to be healthy, hap­py, pro­duc­tive mem­bers of our new soci­eties?”

Par­tic­i­pants in a Col­lec­tive in oth­er words. Ruled and Gov­erned. Although Michael Bar­ber is a key com­po­nent of this part­ner­ship, the Lead Glob­al Change Agent is Cana­di­an Michael Ful­lan. In his 2001 book The New Mean­ing of Edu­ca­tion­al Change, Ful­lan cit­ed per­son­al com­mu­ni­ca­tion to him from Bar­ber, who was then head­ing up the equiv­a­lent large-scale reform in the UK for Tony Blair. Use­ful­ly for us, is the state­ment that for gov­ern­ments to be suc­cess­ful in the long term requires “cre­at­ing frame­works for the account­abil­i­ty of pub­lic ser­vices includ­ing edu­ca­tion.” Remem­ber in our new “joined-up cap­i­tal­ism” we have pri­vate ven­dors but pub­lic reg­u­la­tion of what they do and how they do it. The mirage of free enter­prise. Cor­po­ratist Enter­prise as I have seen it called. Any­one sur­prised to learn that last week the Cen­ter for Rein­vent­ing Pub­lic Edu­ca­tion and Ford­ham released those very account­abil­i­ty stan­dards to go along with the Com­mon Core?

Sec­ond­ly, Bar­ber acknowl­edged K‑12 reforms are only a means to a trans­for­ma­tive end. Get­ting there requires “plac­ing edu­ca­tion at the heart of a wider approach to social and eco­nom­ic renew­al.” Else­where Ful­lan wrote that schools and adults need­ed to leave “Nos­tal­gia behind” them and focus on the “knowl­edge and skills your chil­dren will need as they become cit­i­zens and work­ers in the future.” Notice that order and the assump­tion edu­ca­tion is about fit­ting future life roles, not equip­ping any­one for inde­pen­dent. ratio­nal per­son­al deci­sion-mak­ing. One more time, Ful­lan made it clear that this new type of learn­ing that is about chang­ing, pre­scrib­ing, and then mon­i­tor­ing stu­dents’ thoughts and behav­iors and ‘recul­tur­ing’ the schools to require just that was to “enable the present gen­er­a­tion to adapt to this rad­i­cal­ly new and demand­ing world.”

Adapt means change. Adapt means trans­form. Legal­ly impos­ing this via K‑12 edu­ca­tion is the kind of Cen­sor­ship Before the Fact that would be resist­ed if done vis­i­bly or to adults with Axe­mak­er Minds.

I want to stop here so next time we can tie every­thing we know is com­ing to our schools and class­rooms to the lat­est vision (2008) to come out of WOMP apart from that Richard Falk essay cit­ed in the pre­vi­ous post. It’s called cos­mopoli­tan democ­ra­cy and it ties to every­thing in this post and the pre­vi­ous ones on e‑Governance and Delib­er­a­tive Democ­ra­cy ground­ed in Dia­logue. It also fits with the Shar­ing Econ­o­my so many of our may­ors and cities are sign­ing on to.

Since no one else is will­ing to admit that all these glob­al K‑12 edu­ca­tion reforms are about “mov­ing from the polis, found­ed on bor­ders, to that of the cos­mopo­lis, found­ed on shar­ing,” I will keep at it until Epipha­nies Abound.

I guess we have also found yet anoth­er rea­son why tra­di­tion­al Amer­i­can His­to­ry is becom­ing for­bid­den. Did I men­tion the for­mer Head of the Gates Foun­da­tion, Tom Van­der­Ark, start­ed push­ing the Gates-fund­ed/Russ­ian-cre­at­ed Big His­to­ry last week as well?

Or as I like to call it, His­to­ry Suit­able for a Col­lec­tivist Future any­where in the World.