At this time of year, many of us are focused on the future ahead. A season of togetherness, a new year…and yet, we find that Common Core Standards are STILL with us. But, what if it’s more than Common Core in our future for America?! What then? Well, my friends, depending on where you live, life as you knew it may have already begun to change. What’s worse, is you may not know it. Read on as I explain.
CCSSO’s (Council of Chief State School Officers) “Knowledge Works” (KW) has a disturbing plan:
I first learned about Knowledge Works while researching the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). You know them, right?! They are one half of the owners to the Common Core State Standards. BUT, they are involved in SO much more than Common Core. Much of what has been planned has been done by dividing tasks between several of their offshoot groups. One such group, Knowledge Works. In my research, there was an offer to be able to receive materials from them to explain their vision for America. Silly me, I was thinking these were documents to download, but, no. These were items that were mailed to me via the old-fashioned postal delivery. When I opened the package, I was dumbfounded. What I read and saw instantly caused me to think I was not in America, but another place altogether.
Of the two hard copy folders, one is titled “Recombinant Education (Knowledge Works 3.0)”, the other, “2020 Forecast: Creating the Future of Learning” (this one is shared with the Institute for the Future.) For the first folder, the main point is to share 5 distinct ways education will be disrupted–intentionally. The second folder described ways in which to embrace our collective future, especially in education. Copyright date for the first report is 2012, the second one is 2008. There is an updated pdf of the 2nd one on the website with a copyright date of 2011.
Why This Matters:
Disrupting something on purpose usually carries with it a negative image. The “Recombinant Education” has the following description, “Just as genetic recombination increases diversity by producing new forms of DNA, so too education recombination promises to bolster the learning ecosystem’s resilience.” What is the main goal for all this reinventing? Student-centered learning. All with that ‘global minded citizenry’ agenda with it. The entire report is written to invoke a sense of urgency. A sense of fear, for good measure as well. How so, you may ask? “If we do not effectively engage in ongoing education recombination, we risk letting…” The sentence rambles on, but basically it sums up how we, as a nation, will be letting everyone down. Now, what’s truly ironic, is that spanning the entire bottom of the report in a big red box with white letters saying “Five Disruptions that will Change Everything”. Why would you call out the reader with disrupting the nation, yet use the same word to discuss your agenda as positive?
Consider these questions:
- Hasn’t Common Core disrupted our nation enough?
- Hasn’t CCSSO’s co-ownership of the Standards been harmful already?
- Why are they so devoted to finding even more ways to project the CCSS on us?
KW’s 5 purposed disruptions:
1) “Democratized startup” – Are you reading that and scratching your head trying to figure out what that even means? You are not alone. By reading the description, one gets the message of ‘open social and financial infrastructure’; ‘collective economic and social impact’. How? By opening the opportunities up for entrepreneurship, of course. The description goes on to share how much money has been devoted to education venture funding. It’s gone from “$59 million in 2001 to $334 million in 2011. (there’s been even more since then.) The point? By all this openness and funding, the education landscape can be changed.
2) “High-fidelity Living” – This disruption is all about how to manipulate the ‘big data’ to redesign education. *With all data mining going on with our students, I hardly think we need a better explanation of what this ‘disruption’ really means.
3) “De-institutionalized Production” – This disruption is supposed to appeal to the need for ‘lifelong learners’, however it’s the delivery system I think that’s suspect. Here’s an excerpt, “college and career readiness will no longer be a static benchmark, instead career readiness will be a continuous and dynamic need over a lifetime.”
4) “Customizable Value Webs” – In the disruptive sense this means using all the personalized techie items to help shape our students. If that’s not familiar, think of it this way, the ‘learning anytime, any where’ spiel, However, there’s even more to attach to this, “schools will no longer be singular, enclosed organizations. Instead they will serve students by harnessing and brokering resources and talent across the global community.”
5) “Shareable Cities” – The final disruption that CCSSO’s ‘Knowledge Works’ has planned is truly quite ‘Orwellian’ in nature. Due to the continued struggles of some of our nation’s cities, the need for large scale problem solving will get a boost via ‘open governance, with high levels of citizen engagement and leadership, to solve problems, support social welfare, and revitalize economies.” There’s going to be an ‘abundant sensor data’ that will be used by citizens to create urban, evidence based policies.” Shared, open learning and education are encompassed for certain in this.
**You can access the entire pdf for yourselves here. The links and other vital information to help you against the educational reform that ties us to Common Core, Career Pathways and more are ‘must haves’. Look into each one and find the connection. For example, one weblink given is ‘Aristotle Circle’ (takes PreK students and matches them with career learners (parents are involved in the entire process.) Some companies have had no problem identifying their alliegence to CCSS, while some hide it. If you suspect a company, keep looking deeper, more than likely, the connection will surface.
Helping KW with this masterful plan was Saveri Consulting and the Institute for the Future. Andrea Saveri of the consulting firm is a blogger for Edutopia (George Lucas’ Foundation foray into education.) In case you didn’t know it, Edutopia has many, many resources for CCSS, social-emotional learning, project-based learning, STEM, and several other CCSS related forms of resources. As far as Institute for the Future, we’ll get into them in a bit.
2020 Forecast: Creating the Future of Learning, the other folder I received. This one is just a glossy, information filled, and other world-like as the first one. More rhetoric about the ‘greater collective’, how we all need to become ‘educitizens’. Where this document is different is it defines roles of citizens into different groups that will be driven by transformation (meaning events or movements that create a need for transforming), Trends (meaning new patterns in behavior that will shape how one learns), and Signals (meaning data usage.) The following is a list of how everyone will become involved in being an educator:
Learning Partners (student-to-student peer based); Personal Education Advisor (certified local education staffers assign or select someone to work with families to create learning environments); Learning Fitness Instructor (biometric feedback; social, emotional mentoring, and maintenance of a healthy body); Edu-vator (those who are interested in innovations will partner with learners so they can get credit for learning about innovations); Community Intelligence Cartographer (local community members who access collective data. Use of leverage to create ‘smart mobs’ or ‘swarms’ to connect community with education); Assessment Designer (will create appropriate ways to measure learners); Social Capital Platform Developer (links infrastructure to learning while using tracking systems for accountability); Learning Journey Mentor (works with all the above to create learning opportunities for small groups of students); and Education Sousveyor (keeps learning process transparent; will keep education on the forefront of everyone’s mind). Not only is all this broken into other related groups (like economics, civics, etc.) there are organizations and people already accomplishing all this!! See if any of these groups sound familiar: Green Schools Initiative, Moodle, Flat Classrooms, Center for Eco literacy, Hole-in-the-Wall Education, Here Comes Everybody, Instructables, 3D Printers, Gapminder, and World Without Oil.
**Note: the entire document has been recently updated. See it here.
Institute for the Future:
You’ll want to steer directly to their Projects page and go to their education one called “Mapping Educational Institutions to Learning Flows” (see here: ) At least 2 of the project sponsors are known CCSS supporters. (Intel and WestED) Some of the IF’s sponsors include not only Microsoft (a very well known CCSS supporter), but the Rockefeller Foundation, Siemens, Knowledge Works and others. Toyota is a known Career Pathways supporter. (Career Pathways in an adult CCSS format.) To see their other partners go here.
1) From my full-time blog, the very first published article I wrote on Knowledge Works. This will give not only more information, but also highlight the joint projects that the CCSSO has and how these all interconnect.
4) To access Knowledge Works Common Core pages.
6) To see how the CCSSO has packaged all the joint efforts of CCSS, Knowledge Works, and Strive Together (you won’t hear any group mentioned but Strive Together), watch this short video. (see: ) You might want to know that the man speaking in the video is the one in charge of Strive Together. He’s a former 21st Century School Fund employee. That plays into all this because it’s a D.C. based non-profit group which has received funding from several donors known to support and fund CCSS.
While we are certainly looking forward to a happy new year in 2015, we need to be aware of what more CCSS and all that accompanies it has in store for our communities.
Editor – Mark Hare