Thursday, October 21, 2021

Sell key feature: The 'Competencies‘ of Activism - forgetting to be gotten away with

So in previous posts we've gone through how Semantic Deception is at the heart of modern education, and how that's reflected in the nature of CASEL, the organization formed to promote SEL, and now in this post we'll start looking into CASEL 5's 'Competencies', and the disturbing issues they lead us into. The more obvious issue with what they've dubbed ‘evidence-based competencies', is that when
The third of five posts making up the substance of a presentation I gave to parents in the Lindbergh School District
you see ‘Evidence Based’, you need to understand that that entails data collection and the data-mining industry, which is what made SEL so integral to Common Core, and its successors - every school survey that you or your child takes, is collected into databases and monetized, with the intention of it being used towards affecting both of your futures - and, of course, the income of Atty General Garland's kids. Troublesome as that is though, the more important aspect is the Competencies themselves (don't miss those outer rings - we'll come back to those), and their intentions for them:
  • “Social and emotional learning (SEL) is a process through which children develop in their ability to integrate thinking, feeling, and behaving to succeed at important developmental tasks. The process includes, but is not necessarily limited to, recognizing and managing emotions, caring about others, making good decisions, behaving ethically and responsibly, developing positive relationships, and avoiding negative behaviors...“

  • , and are divided into:
  • The CASEL 5 addresses five broad and interrelated areas of competence and highlights examples for each: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making.
If you crank that glop through the ol’ disgronificator, and extract the ideology, misdirection and jargon, what you end up with are allegedly 'new & improved!' versions of courtesy & manners, morality, ethics & civic mindedness, personal integrity & friendship, and developing the ability to make prudent decisions, which were the hallmark of a person of good character. And of course it was by attending to those qualities and forming them into habits, that a person engraved their character upon their soul,
  • Character:
    1. A mark made by cutting or engraving, as on stone, metal or other hard material; ...
    4. The peculiar qualities, impressed by nature or habit on a person, which distinguish him from others; these constitute real character, and the qualities which he is supposed to possess, constitute his estimated character, or reputation. Hence we say, a character is not formed, when the person has not acquired stable and distinctive qualities...” 
, and they and society as a whole, benefited greatly from that. In those dark ages prior to the coming of SEL 26 years ago, a person acquired those qualities of character through studying the stories, poems, songs, fables, and parables written by authors of skill and often genius - Homer, the Bible, Aesop, Plutarch, Shakespeare, and so on, which sparked private thoughtfulness and public conversations, and habitually acting on their understanding of them, which formed the popular cultural awareness of how a person should behave, and why.

Virtue & Character from Aristotle,
to Franklin, to the Boy Scouts


OTOH, what the practice of these 'Competencies' will engrave upon a person's soul, for reasons we'll soon see, is not something that anyone of good character would want to see embodied in anyone in their society, least of all themselves, or their children. The CASEL 5 might appear to be a nerdy attempt to restate the same general ideas as those of virtue and character, but here again, as with so many issues of semantic deception within our educational system, the similarity ends at the surface of their appearances, and below the surface, the purposes being aimed at by them are very different, both in their origins, and in their ends. SEL isn't using those ‘Competencies’ as a means towards thoughtfulness, but as givens to be accepted or imposed and reinforced with techniques for instilling them into a 'cancel' fearing public, such as by Transformative SEL's manipulative use of 'Lived Experiences':
SEL inserted into Families
    “Core features of Transformative SEL include:
  • Authentic partnering among students and adults with a deep focus on sharing power and decision-making between young people, educators, families, and communities.
  • Academic content that integrates issues of race, class and culture.
  • Instruction that honors and makes connections to students’ lived experiences and identities, and scaffolds learning to build an understanding of others’ lived experiences…”
Your first thought might be that 'Lived Experiences' deal with experiences that people have lived through, and most of the boiler plate lets it sound something like that, but unsurprisingly that is not the case. Recall from the previous post, that CASEL's current page for "Transformative SEL", was until a couple months ago when parents began to revolt, entitled "Transformative SEL for Social Justice", which is important to keep in mind, because as James Lindsay explains, “lived experience” is interpreted through the theory of Critical Social Justice, so that:
"... lived experience is the overwhelmingly primary way in which knowledge can be obtained. This should not be mistaken to mean one’s firsthand experience, which most of us already recognize to provide a rather weak claim upon knowledge, though it is both implied and claimed that this is what “lived experience” refers to in Critical Social Justice. Lived Experience... refers more specifically to one’s life experiences in allegedly systemic power dynamics of dominance and oppression that shape society structurally as understood with a critical consciousness and interpreted through Theory.... it is only the “lived experience of oppression,” as Theory will have it, that counts...."
What that means is, that 'Lived Experiences' are contrived anecdotes that follow from assumptions such as Robin DiAngelo’s famous assertion that: "The question is not ‘Did racism occur?’ but ‘How did racism manifest in that situation?'”, which is the sort of loaded question that surveys often use to lead students toward the ''authentic *woke*" position. One such position would be like this one described in a Teacher's College Press, publication, "Is Everyone Really Equal?", for 'Systemic Racism":
"...From a critical social justice perspective, the term racism refers to this system of collective social and institutional White power and privilege..."
, and 'Lived Experiences' will be anecdotes, brief or extended, taken from the supposed perspectives of those who feel oppressed by that power and privilege. Here a few examples of 'Lived Experiences' that I found in 'Pioneering Research from Boston University:
 
"Not only am I, you know I’m rebellious to authority—that may have me biased somewhat, but, my life experiences, man, I’ve always seen police mishandling me and my people. It leaves a nasty taste in my mouth, you know?" - A middle-aged man from Baltimore

"Now, you and I would say this…I tell anyone this…what restrains us African Americans is the Constitution. We wanna see—although we’re not in the Constitution—we wanna see our kids grow up. We wanna see our family members excel…" - A middle-aged man from Los Angeles

"It’s not a justice system. It’s a justice system to the point, it’s just for us—to go through. It’s nothing for us to get anything out of, but for us to go through" - A 69-year-old man from Los Angeles"
As is typical, they are given without citation or a means of verification, but they are 'authentic', soOooo... why would you need to verify them? Right? Ahem.

DiAngelo's question of "...How did racism manifest in that situation?" might be thought of as the (w)academically approved form of "Have you stopped beating your wife?", and questions such as those, through endless surveys, are meant to lead students into whichever authentic position is being discussed, which in the case of the 'beating your wife' question, might be something like: "Marriage is a patriarchal institution which empowers cisgender men and oppresses women.", and any number of anecdotes from women expressing the oppression they felt as wives, would be their 'Lived Experience' of a women subjected to marriage.

To continue with that ridiculous sounding but true to life example (if you think I exaggerate, you probably haven't heard about "Identifying and Countering White Supremacy Culture in Food Systems" ), if a man were to answer "But... I'm not beating my wife", that would be seen as his being complicit with the "dominant narrative'', and be evidence of his guilt in enabling the interests and ideologies of oppression.

For those who might attempt to logically explain their position by replying with something like "The problem I have with your question, is that I never have beaten my wife, so...", the WokeFolk at the U of Michigan have helpfully identified some handy strategies for dealing with such inauthentic instances of 'wrong think':
"To address the prevalence of 'Perfectly Logical Explanations' that students often bring to re-establish dominant narratives."
That begins with a helpful introductory example of how to deal with other such dominant narratives as "Slavery is good for slaves", and from which it moves to another offensive example - The American Dream:
"... America is a meritocracy, and anyone can achieve their ambitions through hard work and perseverance.”
, to which it provides a list of questions that the teacher should lead students through, once they've formed them into groups for considering the 'problems' with that statement. A few of those are:
"Who do you suppose would say this?...Who does this narrative benefit? Who does it harm?... What narrative is it attempting to silence?... How is participation in/belief in this narrative enforced?... How has this narrative impacted you? How do you benefit from it? How does it harm you?... How have you participated in/resisted this narrative?"
Inauthentic replies are problematized before the class, and woke ones are congratulated and elaborated upon. The questions such as those above, are meant to problematize the scenario, and like the 'beating your wife' question, they first presume your guilt,  and then 'explore' how that can be exposed through 'critical' questioning. Replying that "But I'm not beating my wife!", would be an inauthentic answer, and subjected to a problematizing 'critical examination', to which you either submit, or be cancelled.

A correct - woke - answer, depends upon which role you are expected to play - if you're a cisgender white male, then your answer must conform to the role of an oppressor, with something like "Yes, I am guilty of beating my wife - every time I expect her to make me a sandwich, that is what I'm doing.".

The wife's reply would be expected to conform to the role of the victim: "I experience an oppressive beating every time I'm expected to do laundry or prepare food! He murders my soul!". If she instead were to answer "But my husband doesn't beat me!", then she would be deemed as being complicit with oppression as well, and unless she quickly changed her tune, would be seen as being just as inauthentic as is Thomas Sowell, or Ayaan Hirsi Ali, or anyone else, regardless of color, gender, etc., who is not woke.

Remember, it's not really about race, or gender or anything else, it's about Power, as attained through the ideology of what is authentically woke.

Students discover what it is that they should affirm as being woke, through the leading nature of the survey questions that SEL subjects them to, which typically can include such educationally irrelevant quaint as how a student feels about their height, hair, breasts, gender, gender fluidity, sadness, anger, racial discomfort, etc., and of course whatever the current topic is, the sensitive details which the student's survey questions have exposed about themselves and shared with the class, will be used by the teacher who's been led to believe that they're competent to, to 'adjust' the classes' feelings and beliefs, until the subjects accept and align with the 'Lived Experiences' at hand.

There is to be no discussion outside of acceptance - students aren't meant to question the validity of the 'Lived Experiences', but to conform with the authentic narrative in a way that 'scaffolds' their acceptance into place without any weighing of evidence, or developing an understanding of the issue. These ‘Lived Experiences’ are pervasive and unquestionable propaganda to be asserted and reasserted wherever a question might be in danger of appearing. But propaganda for what?

What are these 'Competencies‘– competent at?
To understand what 'Competencies‘ are about, let's first look at what they are not about, what they are in fact replacing via education today, that being the Western understanding of character, morality, purpose, and virtue, which had been considered essential knowledge for the last 3,000 years, from Aristotle, up through to Ben Franklin and even the Boy Scouts. In that, the four most essential virtues were known as the Cardinal Virtues - Prudence (Wisdom in action), Justice, Fortitude (Courage), Temperance, to which the Christian age added (not re-invented, mind you, but added) three additional virtues of Faith, Hope, and  Charity, and those who habituated themselves to practicing these virtues could reasonably look forward to becoming people of good character - moral, self-regulating, and better able to live lives worth living because they understood what such a thing was, and why, and how to achieve it.

These timeless stories out of Western history which provided an inexhaustible source of lessons and questions, also served as the means of learning how to reason and apply logical thinking (Grammar used to be the means of studying and teaching Logic) within the reality of their own lives. For the diligent student, it became self-evident to them that becoming a person of good character made them more capable of living lives worth living, in liberty and society with others. That content, prior to 26 yrs ago, was understood to be the means for developing their character, from the inside out, by being attentive to them, by being respectful of what was objectively true, which entailed exercising their personal responsibility.

Those histories and stories, BTW, became the first targets of modernist education (see The Story Killers), beginning in the early 1800s, under the cover of adding topics that were more relevant, such as something useful for entering the workforce, or related to current events, and the old stories were gradually sidelined more and more, until now their removal, even banishment, is openly admitted to and promoted as 'decentering' literature and other fields from the oppression of 'Western dominance'.

OTOH, what the pedagogies of modern education are peddling, is something very different. With their 'competencies', aligning as they do with what teachers are taught in classes by the likes of Gloria Ladson-Billings, who is one of, if not the most referenced 'thinker' in our Teachers Colleges today (if you didn't read the paper of hers that I linked to in the last post, 'Toward a Critical Race Theory of Education' from 1995, - Read IT, you'll 'get it' in the first few paragraphs, it's short, you'll survive - no guarantees though if it continues to be ignored by parents and spread into their kids), they are taught to reject objective reality outright, and to reject individual rights in favor of collective privileges - which entails rejecting truth in favor of acquiring power. The CASEL 5 Competencies of SEL are similarly unconcerned with either content or truth (sorry, 'your truth', means no truth), and instead embrace emotional conformity to what's centered around gathering and exerting collective power for power’s sake, accordingly, its social ‘Virtues’, are:
  • Activism,
  • Social Justice,
  • Cancel Culture,
AKA: Wokeness (the *woke* now hate the word 'woke', BTW, because... they're *woke*). The Woke-Folk of CASEL make no excuses for casting the old materials of The West aside; having replaced it with whichever scientistic jargon best excuses their experimenting on students with new theories for 'producing' more desirable behaviors - or at least the marketable appearances of them. Above all, their materials, and the data mining and monetizing of them, are utilized as tools for promoting Social Justice, as "Transformative SEL as a Lever for Equity & Social Justice" (even if they don't say it as publicly as that now), whose
SEL is for Social Justice
purpose was and is to redistribute power as CASEL defines those goals as being - look back up at the outer rings of 'CASEL 5's Family, Caregivers, Community - they intend to, are, extending their reach well beyond the classroom & school, into your family, and every aspect of your life.

SEL’s ‘Competencies’ lead students in school (and increasingly adults in their workplaces) to repeatedly ‘confess your privilege’, which is part of a deliberate process for demoralizing a person and making them more malleable to influencing, further distancing, them from what was once known - 'Decentering' them away from the content, knowledge and wisdom which the West was derived from, as this example from the not-at-all-ironically-named 'American University' assures, in a course offering for its Technical Writing and Rhetoric Class:
"...In addition, students in Technical Writing and Rhetoric will focus on issues of accessibility, equity and justice, and how they relate to modern communication, says Lacey Wootten, director of American University’s Writing Studies Program. These include human-centered design of technical materials, technical communication that accounts for people with disabilities, and decentering Western values, assumptions, and languages in technical communication...."
It should be no surprise then, that as more and more of the old knowledge has become forgotten, more that more has been able to be gotten away with, in injecting ideological and politically partisan views into the unsuspecting character of those that these lessons are being taught to, and that is the nature of the character that is being engraved upon the soul of those unfortunate students whose parents are allowing them to be subjected to it.

Where sound character was once developed by a studious attention to virtue and morality, and reinforced and understood by an essential grasp of knowledge across time, SEL's competencies are focused upon the moment, the ever 'relevant!' now, which all moments are to be judged by (though without reference to other moments), so that the emotional moment becomes the justification for taking action in the moment, no matter what basis there may or may not be for those actions, AKA: Activism.

The Central Purpose of SEL is activism
SEL's 'competencies' are anti-virtues which promote envy, resentment, and hostility towards the forgiveness of others, as being desirable ‘character traits’, instilling an unquenchable thirst for political activism. That activism is encouraged not just in your student’s classrooms, but in their and your home life, and throughout your community, and in activities of businesses, community organizations, arts, sports, and other activities which its many surveys and programs are dedicated towards making happen.

SEL inserted into Families

SEL inserted into Communities
However guilty Social and Emotional Learning is of promoting this ideological approach to education, it isn't the source of it, and that source is less new, than something old that's been newly revealed to the public. The collectivist mindset of modern education is and has been thoroughly embedded into academia, and through subjects such as 'Social Studies', it has instilled that framework into one generation after another, through material that has always been more concerned with the social and emotional doings of the moment, than with the meaningful content of our history.

Believe it or not, following from its roots in Rousseau and forward through Wilhelm Wundt, and John Dewey, modern educational theory has actually changed very little in substance since the late 1800's. What has changed, has been in the appearances of it, and as more has been forgotten, more has been able to be gotten away with, and so has become more clearly and openly revealed - the last forty years in particular have been a sort of macabre dance of the seven veils, slowly unveiling the monster to be what we're now able to see so clearly before us today - it was always there though, but most of us just couldn't be bothered to look. The sad fact is that our educational system has, and has had, as little to do with education (as it was once understood) as it can get away with, and as much to do with ideological activism, as it can get away with - which today is almost unlimited.

And again, if you think I'm exaggerating, take a look at what the Social Studies bible, 'C3'(College, Career, and Civic Life Framework for Social Studies), has been setting as the our schools expectations for students, from Kindergarten, to graduation: These are your school and your school district's 'Social Studies' expectations for Kindergarteners and Second Graders!:
  • D4.6.K-2. Identify and explain a range of local, regional, and global problems, and some ways in which people are trying to address these problems.
  • D4.7.K-2. Identify ways to take action to help address local, regional, and global problems.
  • D4.8.K-2. Use listening, consensus-building, and voting procedures to decide on and take action in their classrooms.
, by the end of the Fifth Grade they expect your child to have been well indoctrinated enough to be able to:
  • D4.7.3-5. Explain different strategies and approaches students and others could take in working alone and together to address local, regional, and global problems, and predict possible results of their actions.
  • D4.8.3-5. Use a range of deliberative and democratic procedures to make decisions about and act on civic problems in their classrooms and schools.
, by the end of Eight Grade these emerging activists should be able to:
C3 Activism
  • D4.7.6-8. Assess their individual and collective capacities to take action to address local, regional, and global problems, taking into account a range of possible levers of power, strategies, and potential outcomes.
  • D4.8.6-8. Apply a range of deliberative and democratic procedures to make decisions and take action in their classrooms and schools, and in out-of-school civic contexts.
, and by the time they graduate, you will be the proud parents of full scale woketivists who will mobilize to:
  • D4.7.9-12. Assess options for individual and collective action to address local, regional, and global problems by engaging in self-reflection, strategy identification, and complex causal reasoning.
  • D4.8.9-12. Apply a range of deliberative and democratic strategies and procedures to make decisions and take action in their classrooms, schools, and out-of-school civic contexts
Note: Do not mistake "engaging in self-reflection... and complex causal reasoning", for what you naturally assume them to mean - they embody the most significant case of Semantic Deception of them all, which we'll go into in a later post.

The only way that any of that became possible, was by the knowledge that was once considered to be the norm for all to know - the knowledge that the West in general, and America in particular, were formed from and of - has been forgotten, is now unknown, and/or is now so successfully ridiculed by the 'educated' of today, that people are too embarrassed to admit to having any regard for it. And of course 'theories' like social and emotional learning, are the means by which they are able to pay as little attention to that 'decentered' content, as they can get away with, and with which they are able to get away with even less each new year, than the year before.

It is, IMHO, vitally important that we understand that this is not new, and in fact that even  the substance of SEL is itself not ‘new’, and neither is what is being advanced by (C3); what is new is only how openly they are now revealing their purposes and intentions to be. The reason that's important, is that if these roots continue to remain unknown, then all that this current call for educational 'reform' will do, is pluck off the thistles and stem of the visible weed, and with its roots still securely in place, it will regrow and spread even further and more rapidly yet again, as it has done so many times in the past, as is partly noted in this:
"...But one of the strategies the educators use to fend off the opposition is to propose educational “reform,” which requires billions of dollars to implement but never solves any of the problems that parents complain about. The teachers’ unions make sure that the legislators toe the line of phony “reform.” Indeed, in the name of “reform” the teachers’ unions have been able to get billions of dollars out of the pockets of the taxpayer, while delivering dross. The dross is celebrated as “improvements.”..."
Again, I'm not exagerating. 120 yrs ago, John Dewey was making clear to his fellow academics in the teachers colleges (which, BTW, we got as a result of Republican reforms that were pushed through in the mid 1860s), what goals that the new 'Progressive' schools should be pursuing, goals which he described in detail in his collection of lectures in 'School and Society', were published in 1900(!). Among his many goals, was one for our schools to become the active arm of government in each person’s home, business, and ‘individual’’ life, so that communities would be guided by 'those who know best' - that is what was being pursued, where he said that:
Totalitarian Education

  • "...so far as possible, the child shall have the same attitude and point of view in the school as in the home;..."
, and 'actuating' the child into action,
  • "...It is a question of the unity of the child's experience, of its actuating motives and aims, not of amusing or even interesting the child..."
And long before SEL's focus upon 'social learning' at the deliberate expense of content, virtue, morality and truth, Dewey had argued that modern education should not only not be too concerned with content, but that a student learning content on their own, was a bad thing:
  • "...The mere absorption of facts and truths is so exclusively individual an affair that it tends very naturally to pass into selfishness. There is no obvious social motive for the acquirement of mere learning, there is no clear social gain in success thereat...."
Soon after that publication by Dewey, another committed 'Progressive', Elwood P. Cubberly, who was a key designer of our very modern School District/Superintendent system, the system by which schools were consolidated, and administrators and elected representatives were effectively inserted in-between parents, students & teachers (for the purposes of dividing them and making parents and teachers less relevant to what and how students were taught), boasted in 1909(!), that:
  • “Each year the child is coming to belong more to the State and less and less to the parent.”
Of course, there was a parental backlash then as well, as America turned away from the 'Progressives' of Teddy Roosevelt & Woodrow Wilson, and began swinging, partially, towards the constitutional conservativism of Calvin Coolidge, but... because the nature of the ideas that they'd reacted against went unidentified, the pendulum was able to swing back under the cover of 'reform'.  So much so, that by 1991 our schools had sunk to the level where Rita Kramer, writing from within the Teachers Colleges, warned in her book "Ed School Follies: The Miseducation of America's Teachers", that they were no longer concerned with education, but that
"...The function of the schools is to achieve educational equity as a means to social and economic equity..."
Ideology instead of Education
Ed School Follies - 1991
, showing how successful the backward swing of the Pro-Regressive's 'Progress', was. 

But they had a problem. As successful as their ‘progressivism’ was at gaining a controlling voice in education, in politics, in law, in entertainment, and in the business world, something was still missing from their quiver. Something was keeping them from exerting the power they had collected, upon the society that they despised.

Gramsci's 'long march through the institutions' gave them control in each realm, but solid though it was, they were effectively siloed, so that one particular directive given in one realm, couldn’t easily crossover into another - something declared to be 'problematic' by the post-modernists, had difficulty moving beyond the bounds of the openly Marxist humanities in academia, or into civic action in positivist law, or into the lessons that could be publicly voiced in school, and so had little affect upon the daily actions of private life. Some vague sense of it did, to be sure, particularly with those flush with college degrees, but they were unable to go much further - comedians still made "PC" a punchline.

What they lacked was a means of inserting and asserting their power and control, over an individual’s thoughts & actions outside of the elitist silos. And that’s where ‘Wokeness’ came in, and came in with an ability to successfully jump from the easily mocked world of Political Correctness, into the unassailable world of Wokeness of today, and that was all thanks to the concept of Intersectionality, which is what we'll go into next.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

'Ain't No Sunshine When Education's Gone' - The Show Me State's Troubling Response to Sunshine Requests

What is the purpose of Sunshine Requests? To let in a sanitizing sunlight on govt activities that seem shadowy to citizens who have concerns that they are possibly involved in improper or illegal behavior, right? Do you suppose that the legislation was proposed so as to help govt officials to feel more at ease in the exercise of their powers, or... instead to focus their attentions more closely upon their defined roles and responsibilities? Right. So it's strange then that we have govt officials that are involved in our school systems, who seem to be stymieing, obstructing, intimidating, and abusing, the citizens they serve, who dare to bring seek to a little sunshine into those govt activities which they have found cause to be concerned about.

This got my attention a few weeks ago when I was asked what I thought about Sunshine Requests being delayed beyond the period allowed by law, and then presenting people with a bill to be payed, before receiving the requested information - and I had no answer because I hadn't paid much attention to the few headlines I'd seen. I should have taken more notice of these stories, such as the first one involving a set of Sunshine Requests from Missouri's Show-Me Institute's request for:
"...A copy of any lesson plan or curriculum approved for the 2021-2022 school year that mentions critical race theory, 1619 Project, whiteness, antiracism, or systemic racism.
A copy of any public statement made by the school, including any email directed to parents, that mentions critical race theory, 1619 Project, whiteness, antiracism, or systemic racism. A copy of any public statement made by the school announcing that the school and/or its staff member has secured grant money or other financial support to teach or develop curriculum featuring critical race theory, the 1619 Project, whiteness studies, antiracism studies, or action civics...."
That may not be a small request, but it sounded like a very doable one to me, one which, back when I routinely had to produce detailed materials & costs reports on particular aspects of an international companies production and sales activities, down to petty cash expenses in offices ranging from Nome Alaska to Kuala Lumpur, would've been dealt with as a minor annoyance amidst an afternoon's worth of other tasks to attend to.

There are a few obvious issues with the replies they received, which you can browse through here.

First, the most common reply, is 'No, we're not teaching that', which was the response from my friendly neighborhood Francis Howell School District: (you might recall my recent 'interaction' with them), which gave a very grammatically telling reply from a school district, that:
"...Francis Howell School District does not have of these items requested."
Which, given what I'd mentioned of their 2020 riots 'Resolution' which itself contains references to both systemic racism and antiracism, as well as their 'black history' curriculum which is riddled with everything the request asked about, FHSD's response was not only grammatically incorrect (while painfully aware of my own grammatical shortcomings, their arrogance permits no such concern), but they flat-out lied in stating it. Replies like that can and should be publicly taken to task.

Second, is that their responses were for the most part received outside of the three days allowed for by law... or as with this gem of a trifecta from the St. Louis Public Schools 'oops.pdf', their reply is late, it lies about having any such evidence, and includes emails they're simultaneously sending out which contained evidence of their having lied in their reply,

And third, those who did respond, responded with some hefty bills that ranged from hundred$ to thousand$ of dollars. This one from Lee's Summit's charge of over $40,000+, as with other such responses, demanded payment before beginning to find the requested information. And we should give a special shoutout for those like the Grandview C-4 District, who replied with an itemized bill for making paper copies... while stating that the results will be delivered in the form of electronic pdf's which will be emailed. Um... [images of them stuffing paper into the PC's cooling vents] oh dear.

Maybe it's just me, but this all sounds like it has less to do with overburdened worker's grumpiness, than with fearful and obstinate govt officials attempting to stonewall the people asking them to comply with the law. Those govt school officials, however, on being questioned about their preventing the sun from shining, will point to a justification for their replies in the Attorney General's FAQ's for Sunshine Law requests shows:
How much can a public governmental body charge for records requests?
Section 610.026.1(1), RSMo, allows a public governmental body to charge up to 10 cents per page for standard paper copies, the average hourly rate of pay for clerical staff to duplicate documents, and the actual cost of the research time for fulfilling the request. This provision also requires that the public governmental body use the lowest salaried employees capable of searching, researching, and copying the records. Fees for accessing records on other media, or non-standard paper copies, shall reflect actual cost involved. The requestor may wish to ask for a breakdown of the costs associated with the request to determine how the public governmental body arrived at the final charge.
True enough, however it should be noted that what is left out of that FAQ, is the end of that paragraph of the statute which it summarizes, which states:
"...Documents may be furnished without charge or at a reduced charge when the public governmental body determines that waiver or reduction of the fee is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the public governmental body and is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester;"
IOW: In assessing these fees against concerned parents looking into the care of their children, these govt officials have determined that even though these concerned parents have no commercial interest in the request, they've decided that a clearer understanding of their actions concerning issues such as Critical Race Theory, transgenderism, pornography, etc., are not in the interests of public understanding,

So, sure, if a request was so extensive that finding the requested electronic files, paper files, memos, related to CRT, over a span of many years... a day or two, maybe even several, might be required to work through physical file cabinets. But no, that kind of time is not needed to work through electronic files - that's far more likely to be a matter of an intern writing a simple wildcard query, and running it - even if it must be run at several sites - the time involved is negligible. But these bureaucrats are wanting to claim a need for weeks, months, even years worth of time and effort?

Sorry, no, The only way that's credible is if they're scooping up the homeless off the streets and teaching them to code by having them write and run those queries for them. No, not buying that. At all.

Of course, if you push back like that, you're going to get a response such as
"Your request was poorly worded and could not be complied with."
Which brings us to those replies received for the Sunshine Requests that were requested by Missouri Prosper (MO Prosper is a group of parents who are working hard to help our students out, help them out if you can). Their request was written by Ashley Lawson, who has had experience handling Sunshine Requests while working in the Attorney General's office of Missouri, and the request which they filed with school districts across the state of Missouri, asked specific questions about the usage of a number of relevant keywords associated with programs such as Critical Race Theory:
Dear Sir or Madam,

This is a request for records under the Missouri Sunshine Law, Chapter 610, Revised Statutes of Missouri.

We request that you make available to us all records that have the attached terms (see attached document “MO Prosper list of terms”), including any abbreviation, nicknames, misspellings, or shortened version of those terms for the calendar years 2015-present. This includes records that relate to all documents in their original format and undoctored, electronic or tangible, including but not limited to: emails, memorandums, notes, pamphlets, videos, audio recordings, text messages, social media posts, and any third party messaging application on phone or computer, from all district school board members, administrators, custodian of records, persons employed through the school counseling, psychology, psychiatry office, hired consultants, hired contractors, and any person that has assisted in the development of curriculum and lesson plans for schools within the recipient school district mentioned above.

We request that all fees for locating and copying the records be waived. The information obtained through this request is in the interest of the public. It is information that has not been made readily transparent between the school district and its community.

If portions of the requested records are closed as a result of a personnel matter, please segregate the closed portions and provide me with the rest of the records.
And yet, typical of the responses which they received, were complaints about ".. the scope of your request..." and "...voluminous amount of potentially responsive records..." and that "...the District will need 644 business days..." for their records to be "...searched at a rate of 2,000 records per hour to locate responsive records....".

Again, sorry, no. The only way that their max search rate is 2,000 records per hour, is if they're using a Win 95 PC with 8mb of ram - it's no great feat for relatively modern systems to search through tens of millions of records, within a minute. What it looks like they are doing instead, is dodging, weaving, obfuscating, and flat out lying, in order to avoid having the sunshine streaming in unexpectedly on matters which they'd prefer to remain in darkness.

Even more than the time and $upposed costs involved, do these responses seem more than a tad similar in their responses to you? I've looked through well over fifty of these responses to the Missouri Prosper requests, and they read like they were formed from the same, rather hostile, template.

See what you think, here's one from the 'Reorganized School District No. 1 of Moniteau County, California, MO 65018,
"... the search time for your request is estimated at approximately 1,287.50 hours of Professional email research at the hourly rate of $35.57, 200 hours of clerical time to make copies and do curriculum/lesson plans research at an hourly rate of $14.28, and approximately 10,000 copies at a rate of 10 cents per page, for a total of $49,652.38....
...the District will need 644 business days to complete this request."
, and from the "Harrisonville Cass R-IX School District":
"...In regards to your request for the District’s responsive records, the search time for your request is estimated at approximately 6 hours of professional staff time at the hourly rate of $35.20, 1,000 hours of clerical time to review the documents and make copies at an average hourly rate of $20.22, and approximately 120,000 copies at a rate of 10 cents per page, for a total of $32,431.20. Due to the scope of your request, the District is unable to waive the cost of locating and copying the records requested, as the amount of material from your request for records is potentially substantial and requires extensive work on the part of the District. Once I am in receipt of your payment of $32,431.20, we will begin to compile these records for you...
...the District will need 500 business days to complete this request..."
Which is nothing in comparison to the response received from the "HAYTI R-11 SCHOOL DISTRICT" of Hayti, MO 63851, whose server farm's vastness must surely be the envy of Silicon Valley, in order to justify their needing:
"...
- 8900 hours of staff time at an hourly rate of $12.47 to search for responsive records
- 4450 hours of staff time at an hourly rate of $12.47 to make copies of responsive records
- 300,000 pages of copies at a rate of 10 cents per page
The total estimated fees for your records request is $196,474.50 and the District will begin fulfillment of your records request upon my receipt of your payment in full.
...The District estimates that the total time to fulfill your records request is 4 years or 1,460 days..."
which are typical, and I mean very typical of the replies received from school districts across the Show Me State, to Sunshine Law requests for public records containing those terms common to Critical Race Theory.

Something else, leaving aside the fact that they say they'll need up to four years to complete this arduous task, does it strike you as being odd that they can give a total, which includes copies, even saying that they'll need 300,000 pages before they've run the search that they are submitting the bill for? How do they know it will take, as one says, '1,287.50 hours of 'Professional email research', to find out whether or not they have any of these materials? This is a bill they are submitting, they mention estimates, but they are submitting a bill and demanding payment up front - how do they know that they'll need that many pages? Or any pages at all, if they haven't already searched for them?!

Or... did they... maybe... perhaps... already have an intern take an afternoon to run some or all of the query, and then on seeing the material that they'd have to deliver, they then concocted an intimidatingly hefty bill in order to avoid delivering the incriminating goods?

Right? Before we move on, in case you thought that those estimates were ridiculous, there were at least two others that deserve special mentions, for a moment of comedic and insultaining relief. The first of these comes from the 'Hickman Mills C-1 School District', who had their Clayton, MO Attorney's reply, again using the grammar that I've come to expect from such as these:
"...The estimated cost for compiling the documents you requested it $289,371.00. If the estimate is ends up not being sufficient to cover the costs associated with responding to this request, you will be charged the additional amount prior to receiving the records..."
Not to be outdone, lil' ol Lee's Summit R-7 gives a repeat performance and takes the win, with this 'estimate':
"...this task would take 215.3 years. The records would be available no later than December 1, 2236....The updated total for this request is $4,409,577.32..."
, and their reply was sent, not on letterhead, but by email, complete with a signature logo signifying their valuing of "~Achiever~Restorative~Individualization~Empathy~Connectedness~", followed by a footer quote that is at least as sincere as their 'estimate': "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." - Maya Angelou", all of which conveys a level of disrespect from those in 'public service' that will not soon be forgotten.

Continuing on with what some of the less ridiculous responses had to say in denying their involvement with CRT or the like, it's interesting, as Ashley Lawson noted something about the phrasing of the denials being voiced by these govt school officials, such as FHSD:
It’s interesting that schools say, “we’re not teaching it”.
What's interesting about that, is that it's phrasing is very similar to DESE's recent *effort* to find out if schools were teaching CRT, by sending out a 'survey' whose questions were neatly worded to enable an easy denial, to which it was no surprise to see that 420 out of 425 school districts responded:
"Nope, no CRT here!"
I encourage you to read Dr. Mary Byrne's open letter in reply to DESE's 'survey', which points how and why:
”...The design of the two survey questions, whether intentionally or unintentionally, will mislead legislators to the conclusion that CRT is not used …”
, when as with Question 1,
...It asks whether the “board approved” curriculum “includes lessons ABOUT critical race theory.” One does not have to teach ABOUT Critical Race Theory in K-12 classrooms to inform decisions about content selection and activities that teach the principles of critical race theory through the lens of a race-first worldview …”
The same applies to 'teaching it' - CRT, trash though it is, is a college level course, and 'it' would never be taught in elementary and secondary schools, but its ideas can, and indeed are, being taught throughout our school systems today, and that is what they are working so hard to evade. If you read my previous post on educators practice of Semantic Deception, this would be an example of that.

Lawson went on to note that:
"...DESE acknowledged it was a flawed survey and schools acknowledged they don’t want to get caught up in this nat’l discussion. The requests show:
1) it exists in the school (responses that say how many hits they’ve gotten on a prelim search, amount of time and resources estimated) and
2) schools don’t want to be transparent and work with families bc we meet the criteria for no charge and
3) they are charging thousands of dollars, aren’t sharing lesson plans and course content with families, etc
We want to be clear this is not a political motive on our part.

Families are seeing that vocabulary show up in all classes, from music to math. That is what they are trying to navigate through. We are supporting families accordingly. This is our effort to bring more transparency between schools and families. One issue facing families in public education isn’t more important than the other…but bringing transparency to public education reigns supreme..."
The treatment of such requests being made to fulfill the legislative mandate for transparency, are unseemly, seemingly corrupt, and should be quite disturbing to anyone living under the power of these governments.

If someone were to make a Herculean effort to give them the benefit of the doubt by imagining how there could be some truth behind these response from the govt functionaries in our school systems, it occurred to me that perhaps there's a bit of a Goldilocks issue involved in the requests, you know - too hot, too cold - around the two sets of requests from the Show Me Institute and MO Prosper being perhaps too specific, or too general? If that were the case, then you'd expect that a request which landed in the middle, would be found to be "just Right!", with all fees waived, and the asked for results given over promptly without complaint, right?

But no, sorry, that's a big nope as well, as other parents organizations in Missouri, such as "No Left Turn in Education - Missouri" (their 'Statewide Report of CRT and its Concepts' is comprehensive), recently made a request in their request for 'transgender' related materials in the Houston R-I School District libraries, curriculum, or lesson plans, and was stonewalled as well to the tune of $10,383.24.

Even a single concerned parent's request, associated with a local St. Charles County group of parents (help them out at 'SCC Parent Association'), for a single pornographic book, "Gender Queer", in the libraries of a single Wentzville School District, was met with several days delay and a $50 bill to be paid prior to receiving their 'information' - meaning once again - they already have the information, but they do not feel it would contribute significantly to public's understanding of their operations, or they would prefer that the little people not find that information out. The Sunshine Request Law makes allowances for billing charges for requests that involve excessive time and effort to meet, and there is no possible way that that request can be viewed as being or involving an excessive amount of effort to meet.

If any doubts somehow remain about whether or not there is something very wrong here in the Show Me state, they should evaporate with the news of a MO State Representative from Springfield, whose Sunshine Request for CRT related materials was recently met with a bill for $190,000!:
"SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – After Springfield Public Schools (SPS) teachers were given a “teaching guide” using Critical Race Theory concepts, State Rep. Craig Fishel sent a Sunshine Request to the district seeking all documents mentioning any of 24 terms often associated with CRT. Those terms included white privilege, white fragility and systemic racism, among others.
However, the school district’s response – including an invoice totaling over $190,000 for the cost of retrieving the documents – brings up major “integrity and transparency” issues, according to Fishel..."
Something is very wrong here in Missouri, and across the nation, those in the shadows most definitely do not want any fool parent letting the sun shine in on their activities. As RedState's Sister Toldjah noted:
"Because opponents of Critical Race Theory have seen some successes at the local level in their battle to prevent the racial brainwashing of impressionable young children in public schools, the mainstream media has officially declared war on their grassroots efforts by portraying them as mindless (and racist) Astroturf props who are being fed lies about CRT from well-funded conservative groups and “propagandists” like Tucker Carlson and other prominent conservative movers and shakers.

...Get the message? We better start putting limits on FOIA requests to keep those pesky conservatives from getting their hands on information that might help them be better able to raise awareness about issues important to local parents and students and other educators. "
What's becoming apparent, is that parents daring to ask for the truth about what their children are being exposed to on behalf of their governments, whether by speaking out at their local School Board meetings, or filing Sunshine Requests at their district and state levels on FOIA's at the national level, are being met by the same anti-sunshine actions of those in government who are too deeply involved in our 'educational system'.

It's even reached the point where the National School Boards Association has smeared concerned parents in a letter to Joe Biden,
"... which represents 90,000 school officials, including the ones who’ve been caught blacklisting and doxing dissenting parents, is facing backlash for asking President Joe Biden to label upset parents “domestic terrorists” and deploy federal authorities to rein them in."
, a request which was received favorably, and despite (or perhaps because of) Atty Gen Garland's undisclosed personal interests in the matter, he committed the Biden Administration not only to smearing concerned parents as 'domestic terrorists', but to threatening to sick the FBI on them for daring to object to school policies which they believe are harmful to their children.

Bottom line for the Show Me state of Missouri, a legislative measure designed to enable concerned citizens to bring a little sunshine to possible improper behavior on the part of govt, is being flipped by those in power, into being a means to stonewall, intimidate, and even threaten them for attempting to avail themselves of the laws of their state.

Are you listening Gov Parson? Are you listening Missouri? If so, Show Me. Show your legislators. And show some support for organizations such as Missouri Prosper, No Left Turn in Education, SCC Parent Association, who've come together to put some much of their own time and effort in hopes of benefitting our children and our society.

Monday, October 11, 2021

SEL – A foundation in unsettled science

In the previous post, we looked at how Semantic Deception is central to the selling of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL), and that's also the case with the organization most responsible for promoting it, Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), which is the consortium that was formed in 1994 to promote SEL. CASEL's 'product', SEL, and its subset of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) in particular, make extensive use of semantic deceptions, carefully phrasing matters so that they seem one way to most people, while conveying an entirely different meaning to others - and justifying actions based upon that less understood meaning. That is a pattern that can be seen repeating itself throughout who they purport to be as an organization, how they portray their own history, in SEL's claims to being 'science based', and in the experimental nature of what it proposes as *education* for our students.
The second of five posts making up the substance of a presentation I gave to parents in the Lindbergh School District


A good place to start looking into this, is with two points that CASEL has made about SEL, one from their About page, and another from last year's 'bold new updating' of SEL's purpose, which gives a good glimpse into the nature of who they see themselves as being, and how they intend that to impact everyone else. The first comes from a their claim that:
  • 1)“…Social and emotional learning (SEL) is an integral part of education and human development."
, the less important but more jarring thing to note, is that the statement is a bit like saying ‘Veins are the means by which blood circulates through the body”, while actively evading any mention or hint of the role that's played by the arteries, lungs or even the heart. But more to the point, that is not a policy statement of how best to go about learning - in that it’s not a “Learning is promoted by orderly classrooms” sort of statement, or even a ‘Graphics make textbooks easier to digest’ bit of foolishness - instead, it makes a broad philosophical claim about the nature of learning in general, and in that grand statement there's something of the magician’s flourish drawing our attention towards it... and away from what their statement about learning leaves out:
  • Content.
The keyword in SEL is ‘Social’, and it is not a process for learning content, but for manipulating and conforming behavior to the targeted perspectives of the ‘authentic’ group (see psychological manipulations through surveys), without regard to content. They aren't seeking a society that is built from the inside out by individuals who understand what should be understood, in order to become informed and capable of living lives worth living in society with others - a society such as that, requires an education that is focused upon content, and a content carefully selected, at that.

SEL envisions a very different sort of society, and a very different kind of world than a Western, or American, one. SEL is intended and designed as a predetermined – equitable – solution to be imposed from the outside -> in, and from the top->down, with students, and you, and me, forced to fit into the *woke* mold that 'those who know best' have prepared for us.

Their second point speaks volumes about their nature and approach towards us:
  • 2) "In the 26 years since CASEL introduced the term “social and emotional learning,” the research and practice of SEL have grown tremendously."
Keeping in mind that SEL is actively being injected into every subject in our schools (and more), including math & sports, we should consider what that means and requires: that educational practices that’ve been refined over millennia, are to be meddled with, corrupted, or jettisoned outright in favor of a few theoreticians newest pet theories that they've concocted in less than a few decades, and which they’d like nothing more than to experiment with upon everyone else's kids.

Of course you could say that sometimes traditions do need to be overturned, and it’s usually mavericks that do so, but... when that happens, they’ve usually got a surprisingly remarkable track-record that demonstrates the amazing ability and effectiveness of their insights - someone like a Marva Collins comes to mind (though sadly, not to theirs) – do the people behind SEL have that? Is the position that they arrived at, a result of solid proven results, or of arrogance, or something else?

Let’s take a look.

SEL – A foundation in unsettled science
The genesis for SEL, was a 1960’s program run under Yale University’s Child Study Center umbrella, with Dr. James Comer's "Comer School Development Program". Comer’s plan was to organize three teams within each school, made up of psychologists or certified evaluators, school staff, and parents, whose point was to get teachers & parents to be more actively involved with students in their social & educational development. A worthy ideal perhaps, though it bears pointing out that having parents and teachers involved in students' education was the norm before the progressive industrial school model was established six decades earlier, which was specifically designed to eliminate that, so... what he purports to be attempting to do, is to reinstate within the current system, a feature which the current system was, and still is, designed to eliminate, which... although apparently worthy, is hardly practical or forthright.

Not surprisingly, its results didn’t live up to its aims. One professor looking into it, commented that:
"...The Comer Program can be very successful. However, its success relies on the enthusiasm and commitment of the people involved in the change. Teachers, administrators, and parents need to be committed to making it work, or else it will not work. Some schools even see staff turnover as a positive opportunity for new enthusiasm....
Aside from the fact that seeking to maximize ‘burnout’ is not typically seen as the sign of a sound plan, Comer claimed to have improved achievement and diminished behavioral problems in the several hundred New Haven schools he was ‘given’ to experiment upon. And yet:
  • Critics note that he dropped one of the schools altogether and replaced it with another and took seven years to record any substantial improvement.
  • Thirty years later, Comer himself admitted that only about a third of the 650 schools implementing his program had been able to “sustain the reforms.”
  • Other researchers also studied the program’s implementation in various cities and found little benefit to either academic achievement or juvenile-justice interactions.
On top of that, researchers studying Comer's system, found that:
  • Quasi-experimental... psychological outcomes not achievement content
  • "...assessed annually between Grades 5 and 8 using a self-report measure of acting out. The present study ... revealed no evidence favoring SDP between Grades 5 and 8, and the same was basically true during the high school years...."
IOW, students figured out what the ‘teams’ wanted to hear them say and self-reported to the researchers what they wanted to hear about how much they felt they'd changed, but their actual performance and delinquent behaviors, remained unchanged.

All of which indicates that there’s no sound basis for claiming a ‘scientific justification’ for the program. Nevertheless, aspects of reports on the Comer approach are cherrypicked and presented in such a way as to deceive people into believing that some substance follows from the appearances, and those deceptive 'successes', have been cited as the scientific foundation for much of the current push for SEL. Idea Laundering in action.

More 'Science!’ than Science
CASEL itself was formed years later out of the reputations of Yale programs such as Comer’s, and of W.T. Grant (with one of the Kennedy/Shriver kids), and around the growing fad of ‘Emotional Intelligence’ which hit its stride with the popularity of Daniel Goleman’s 1995 book “Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ”, which argues that:
'Character matters and, more significantly, the skills that build character can be taught'
Someone saying that they’ve ‘discovered’ that character can be taught and how to do it, should raise a number of red flags, but more importantly than that, Character is not a skill, or even the result of skills. Character (Websters Dictionary 1828 - Webster's Dictionary 1828 - Character):
“... 1. A mark made by cutting or engraving...4. The peculiar qualities, impressed by nature or habit on a person, which distinguish him from others; these constitute real character, and the qualities which he is supposed to possess, constitute his estimated character, or reputation. Hence we say, a character is not formed, when the person has not acquired stable and distinctive qualities....”
, character is the quality of engraving who you are and who you are going to be upon your soul, by your careful & continuous attention to what’s True, Right & Wrong - your character is what results from how well you've become the lessons that you've learned.

Skills, OTOH, are techniques and actions which require little or no understanding, and can be learned through periodic practice by anyone, for any purpose, good or bad. Anyone can be trained to be handle a gun, anyone can be trained in hand-to-hand combat, but not everyone has the character to be a good police officer. And the person who is so impressed with their skills that they give little thought to their character, tend to suffer from that failing that the Greeks were so concerned with: Hubris. Neither is it wise to forget the person who has developed no worthwhile character or virtue, but picks up the skills of how to ingratiate themselves to normal, unsuspecting people (Shout out to Ted Bundy).

Pretenses aside, Daniel Goleman, is not a scientist, he’s a New York Times journalist who wrote stories about science, and of course he's one of the founders of CASEL. But his articles and book on 'Emotional Intelligence' both rode and fanned the waves of similar books and articles elevating emotional skills over our traditional understanding of intelligence.

The problem is, that many if not most intelligent and informed scientists, clinicians, psychologists, have rejected those claims. From the start, Goleman’s conclusions have been disputed, and even the existence of the concept of “emotional intelligence" itself, has been extremely questionable. One particular psychologist did his best to make his opposition to the program very clear:
“Let me say it again: THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS EQ. Scientifically, it’s a fraudulent concept, a fad, a convenient band-wagon, a corporate marketing scheme… “
, that particular psychologist, years before he gained popularity, was Jordan Peterson.

Yet CASEL used ideas such as those expressed in the book to justify SEL, and its baseless popularity was influential enough for SEL to become incorporated into fed & state laws, beginning with Clinton's 'GOALS 2000: Educate America Act‘, 1994.

Once again, cultivating false appearances to be used to make significant changes in peoples lives, which have little or no basis in the facts, being used to justify consequential actions in all of our lives.

The heads behind the ideals guiding CASEL
Linda Darling-Hammond was an early Board Member, and now member Emeritus, and a very influential voice in CASEL. Her ideas were such that she became the preferred DoEd nominee of 60's radical terrorist turned 'educator' - Bill Ayers. Regardless of how well they did or didn’t personally know each other, Ayers understood Darling-Hammond's ideas and agreed that they were what he found to be of ‘value’, and wished to see actively in charge of the federal Dept of Education. If that isn't worrisome to you, you've got some studying up to do on the subject.

Do these 'Mavericks' somehow have a track-record to support their ideas? It’s a natural hope, but... nope. Ayers' attempt to implement his ideas in an Annenberg Challenge, failed miserably, and Darling-Hammond's 'experimental school' had the distinction of making the 'lowest achieving 5% list in California. Go figure.

Linda Darling-Hammond is also a frequent co-author with and collaborator of, Gloria Ladson Billings, a name you might recall from the previous post, as one of those developing the 'discipline' of 'Critical Pedagogy' and "Culturally Relevant Pedagogy" into the 'normal' pedagogy that's taught to teachers in teachers colleges. Ladson-Billings was also the author of 'Toward a Critical Race Theory of Education' in 1995, which she described as being a means of injecting Critical Race Theory into the popular form of pedagogy that's been taught to waves upon waves of teachers in teachers colleges, across our nation. One of the purposes she intended that pedagogy to convey, was her own personal opposition to that understanding of property rights and individual rights which she (correctly) understood America to have been founded upon,
  • "... race is still a significant factor in determining inequity in the US and that the society is based on property rights rather than human rights..."
, and she opposes that for reasons that rest upon one of those rare points of agreement (though at cross-purposes), between the ideas of John Adams, James Madison, and Karl Marx:
"Property must be secured, or liberty cannot exist."
John Adams, 'Discourses on Davila', following his 'A Defense of the Constitutions of the Governments of the United States of America'
"...Government is instituted to protect property of every sort; as well that which lies in the various rights of individuals, as that which the term particularly expresses. This being the end of government, that alone is a just government, which impartially secures to every man, whatever is his own...."
James Madison, 'Property', 29 Mar. 1792
"In this sense, the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property."
Karl Marx, 'Communist Manifesto'
Meaning that Linda Darling-Hammond, and other board members and staff of CASEL, echo, support, and write on, the need for CASEL & SEL to reflect those ideas which are compatible & intertwined with both CRT, and an ideology of explicitly anti-American ideas & 'values', which are seen as being very compatible with those of the very anti-American and unrepentant terrorist, Bill Ayers. One reason why that is, is that they share the same goals, reasons and purposes - ending Western Civilization in general, and America in particular.

It’s also worth noting, that the two most assigned authors in Teachers’ Colleges, are Billings & Hammond

So basically, these people who are intent upon undermining the basis of our society and rule of law, have new theories and experiments which they are intent upon trying out upon our children, to see if the ‘outcomes’ match those outcomes which they want to lab-rat them into, even though according to every measurable outcome of the 3R's aspect of education, they repeatedly fail on every count , demonstrating that the 3R's which are what most of us still think of as being the point of education, are not the educational outcomes which they are concerned with. What they are concerned with, is how successfully the appearances of their programs goals, are at deceiving the public into tolerating more, and more, of their experiments upon us.

Transforming science into science!'
The fine folks from the DEI office of Lindbergh School District, gave a presentation on the wonders of SEL for their schools, using a couple of CASEL's selling points for SEL, to sell their program to the public. They note that:
  • "Research shows that SEL not only improves achievement by an average of 11 percentile points, but also increases prosocial behaviors (such as kindness, sharing, empathy)..."
    (Durlak et al., 2011)
The problem is that the research showing SEL improving an average achievement of 11 percentile points, increasing prosocial behaviors, improving student attitudes toward school, less depression & stress... is 'flawed'. The Durlak meta-analysis itself admitted several limitations:
  • Only 16% of the studies collected information on academic achievement at post [intervention].”
  • Only 32% assessed skills as an outcome.”
  • Because there is no standardized approach in measuring social and emotional skills, there is a need for theory-driven research that not only aids in the accurate assessment of various skills but also identifies how different skills are related.”
  • Only a few studies tested and found a temporal relationship between skill enhancement and other positive outcomes.”
  • With over half of studies based on elementary students, it’s difficult to know if the interpretations for the youngest age group are developmentally appropriate for older children and adolescents.
But wait! There’s more 'science!' The Lindbergh SEL staff also used this slide to sell SEL to the Lindbergh School District Board of Education:
  • "Programming in social and emotional learning across the school year drives increases in executive functioning, self-efficacy, persistence, prosocial behavior, grades, and scores on standardized tests...."
    The Evidence Base for How We Learn Supporting Students’ Social, Emotional, and Academic Development. National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development. The Aspen Institute, September 2017."
, and as with the other slide, the Aspen Institute itself, in (March 3, 2018), p. 12, acknowledged that legitimate assessment of such skills is 'a challenge', because despite the almost unlimited benefits claimed for SEL (from wage growth and long-term employment to reduction in violence, delinquency, and drug use), they noted that:
  • “...caution is warranted in interpreting the assessment results.  While learning-condition surveys are valuable in guiding next steps, they are not valid for accountability purposes.”
  • Sheldon Berman, Sydney Chaffee, & Julia Sarmiento, The Practice Base for How We Learn: Supporting Students’ Social, Emotional, and Academic Development, National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development, The Aspen Institute
,which, as CASEL Board Member Linda Darling-Hammond is also a co-chair of the Aspen Institute, CASEL is fully aware of these results, but they've in no way allowed to slow or stop them from promoting such false appearances to school districts and parents.

Given the nature of CASEL, it's not surprising that the team selling SEL failed to mention these very relevant scientific facts in their presentation - the fact is that the ‘science!’ being used to sell SEL to the American public, isn’t supported by the actual science that they are using to sell it with - Semantic Deception is in their cultural DNA.

"Because, because, because, because..."
When the fine folks at CASEL say they are doing X, because of Y, you can safely assume that is as at best, a ploy. They propose to do X, because they think they can get away with X, if they tell you it's because of Y. You can see this, in how they've changed their tune since CASEL's CEO, Karen Niemi, made her bold statement updating how they meant to put SEL in line with Social Justice, but... after the nationwide anti-CRT backlash from parents, CASEL has sanitized their website. A month ago this link to: "https://casel.org/research/transformative-sel/" opened to the page on the right in the picture below, on "Transformative SEL as a Lever for Equity & Social Justice", which spoke boldly of the importance of schools promoting the active pursuit of "social justice!", whereas today, that link quietly redirects to a much more sanitized "https://casel.org/fundamentals-of-sel/how-does-sel-support-educational-equity-and-excellence/" version on "How Does SEL Support Educational Equity and Excellence?", with much happy talk and no mention of Social Justice at all. 

Rest assured, their aims have not changed, only their pretexts for them have, they are still very actively pursuing hardcore social justice... but on the bright side, it shows that the reaction of parents nationwide is one outcome that rocked them back on their heels, and it is one that they are monitoring very closely.
Now, vs a month ago

You can make a difference, but only if we don't continue to fall for their deceptions.

It is important for us to note that when we see a repeated pattern of such deceptions as using appearances to justify unrelated actions, over and over, as we already have, then what we are seeing is evidence that logic and reason have been abandoned, and because that is so, whenever you see the *Woke* using the word ‘because’, you need to be aware that more than likely it is being used as a means of semantic deception

This is not a small point, but a central one that needs to be taken to heart.

The word ‘because’ indicates and presumes a logical connection between what came before, and what follows after it, which they take full advantage of the appearances of the language they use, but their actions, their history, their 'scientific' justifications, their 'thinkers' hidden motivations, demonstrate that they have flatly rejected the reality and responsibility of making any such logical connections. That disregard for reality follows from their rejection of 'objective reality' and what their true focus is, the pursuit of power, over truth, and we'll soon begin looking at their explicitly saying just that.

In short, they use ‘because’, because you do, because you presume that it is being used to convey an effect which has logically been shown to follow from a cause. But they do not use it that way, instead they use ‘because’ as a convenient means of stringing random assertions together, a way to assert X, and then assert Y, by counting upon the strength of what YOU will assume they conveyed in their statements, and not wanting to admit that you weren't able to follow their reasoning, they count on your nodding along with them as if you were convinced by what they've said.

For them, your nodding along is power, power which they eagerly take from you, and twist to their own purposes to be used upon and against you. Whenever you hear the *Woke* say ‘because’, pay attention, because they’re hoping to slip some bit of illogical nonsense past you as if they'd just given you a logical reason that justified it.

IOW: As with that old saw about “The operation was a success… but the patient died”, the important part as SEL sees it, is not that one thing follows from or achieves another, but that you were swayed by the appearances that it had, so that for their purposes, the 'logical operation' was a success, even though the patient, Truth, died. For those behind SEL, the patient dying is of no concern - this particular doctor’s patients typically do die - yet from their perspective, the operations are all successful, and that appearance of success is what they use to continue performing their educational malpractice upon the kids in our schools.

Next, we'll get into what SEL substitutes for Character, and why.