"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Assassination of Children and Critical Thinking as Presented by Choice Architects

I'm fascinated in a horrified way about the choice architects who are running our educational system. As we've noted in previous blogs, it's not only in education, but also in health care, the financial world, and in climate theories. I'm wondering how much the politicians are running the show vs the special interest groups.

Here's an interesting blog on choice architecture that focuses on how this affects children and advertising. Expand the author's contention and relate it to the choice architecture set forth in Missouri (and other states) in terms of education; in fact he talks about this in terms of education in his opening paragraph:

There are people in the world whose sole mission is to consciously engineer, direct and influence every decision our kids make, from the time they get up each morning, to whom they associate with, to what they manipulate us to buy for them, to what college they go to, or if they go to college at all.
These “missionaries” operate as society’s “Choice Architects.”

I like the term he uses..."missionaries". The definition of missionary is:

"someone who attempts to convert others to a particular doctrine or program"

This describes these choice architects to a tee. Mark Brady writes how they get people to start believing what they want them to believe, even though those same people can see the fallacy of what the choice architects are pushing. We know increased federal funding doesn't work for increased test scores, we can see the results over the last forty years. So why would we buy the idea of Race to the Top and common core standards as the answer to our educational woes? Chris Nicastro, Missouri Educational commissioner believes we need to be nudged because we can't make correct decisions ourselves. But I would like to ask Ms. Nicastro: who has directed the increased spending with no increased test scores? That would be the Federal government, NOT the people who are so allegedly misdirected.

Choice Architects are attempting to transform our culture. They will show us why we are wrong and why they are morally and ethically superior to our individual beliefs. Brady states fear is a potent factor in choice architecture:

Choice Architects know that one of the greatest threats we fear is social ostracism, to which we are especially vulnerable as teenagers.

Education in the K-12 grades is the perfect time to advance an agenda. Remember this video from the group 10:10? (Disclaimer: graphic content). Is this not a shining example of choice architects using fear to further their agenda? Take a different position and you are exterminated. This English reporter likened it to Eco Facism.

The video is a clear example of choice architecture and what we are facing in the re-shaping (aka "transformation") of our public education system. We are to go along with the choice architects or face extermination. We are told we are incapable of fixing our own problems and this forced "belief" results in governors and Boards of Education handing over our local and state control to the centralized government to fix it for us. Rather than focusing on mandates and teacher redistribution and more standardized testing and the loss of individualism and the republic, I would suggest the goal of the Department of Education should be the following:

...we need to teach our children that the decisions and choices we are tempted to make in response to fear in our lives, really needs to be respected – respected in the sense of the original meaning of the word: to look once again. Kids need to learn to trust in fear as a signal calling them to pay closer attention, and that it’s probably best to delay fear-based decisions and get other people’s perspectives to help us manage our own limbic system and beat the Choice Architects at their own game.

I think in common sense language "to look once again" and "delay fear-based decisions and get other people's perspectives to help us" is called critical thinking. This is what students need to be taught and this is exactly what choice architects themselves fear. If our students are taught to think for themselves instead of being nudged, the choice architects will find themselves ostracized and ridiculed. But don't be fooled, they don't go away. Now that Al Gore has been proven wrong in many "facts" of his research, "global warming" has now been renamed to" global climate disruption":

The White House wants the public to start using the term “global climate disruption” in place of “global warming” — fearing the latter term oversimplifies the problem and makes it sound less dangerous than it really is.

White House science adviser John Holdren urged people to start using the phrase during a speech last week in Oslo, echoing a plea he made three years earlier. Holdren said global warming is a “dangerous misnomer” for a problem far more complicated than a rise in temperature.

Is the fear factor at work? Are you seeing a pattern?

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