School-to-Work

THE NATIONALIZATION OF EDUCATION “I was in a Senate hearing room when one of Michigan’s leading business people turned to me and said, ‘there comes a time when somebody must say to this child – you go to college – and to this child – you go to work’. My concern is: who is going to play God with the future of our children? What business person, educrat, bureaucrat or politician will decide what will be the career path, the life calling of our children?”

Michigan State Representative Harold J. Voorhees

Who will play God with our children? Judging from his “State Of The Union Address,” Bill Clinton apparently thinks he’s already filling the role.

But what is the 105th Congress up to? Its first action, on its first day in session was to change the name of its Education Committee to “Education and the Workforce.” Is there now no other purpose for education in the eyes of Congressional leaders?

When did we stop being Americans and, instead, become “human resources” for the workforce?

Actually one can track that transformation to a specific date – May 4, 1994. That’s the day the 104th Congress (under Republican control) passed the School-to-Work Opportunities Act. From that day forward, education in America has not been the same.

THE WRONG SOLUTION FOR THE

WRONG REASONS

Employers are screaming because today’s job applicants can’t even fill out the paperwork. So the education bureaucracy has sold Congress a bill of goods that says the entire education system must be restructured to meet the needs of business. In other words, students must use their schooling days, from kindergarten through high school, in job-preparation training.

Big business, seizing on an opportunity to turn schools into their own job-training facilities, have joined forces with the Federal Department of Labor, the Department of Education, the National Governors Association and the Chamber of Commerce, and, of course, Bill Clinton, to push for more and more federal intervention programs to solve the “crisis” of a dumbed-down, unqualified job force.

The only problem is, the real culprit in the education “crisis” is the same as the proposed solution. Children are coming out of school uneducated, and therefore unqualified to be employed, as a direct result of the federal policies which implement radical behavior-modification programs instead of the teaching of academics.

Children can’t fill out job applications or prepare for future careers because they can’t read or write. No one is teaching them to perform these simple basic skills. But that problem, far from being addressed, is actually being compounded in the so-called “solution” cooked up by the education potentates.

Their solution to this supposed emergency, also promoted by industry, et al, is an atom bomb called “School-To-Work” and it is rapidly taking over entire school systems as basic academics are tossed out in wholesale form. As the program is implemented, schools are changing.

Gone is the liberal arts education that provides well-rounded academic teaching. Gone is the freedom of choice for the student to make his own career decisions. Gone is the student’s purely American ability to adapt to new technological developments through the shear force of his over-all academic knowledge. Gone is American individuality and all of the creativity that goes with it.

All of that is replaced with a federal program that looks at students as little more than “human resources” to fill the needs of the “workforce.” America’s children are now being assessed for their abilities, placed on specific tracking paths, licensed, checked and registered for a lifetime of servitude in a government-controlled economy.

Their every grade, attitude and action will be noted and placed in electronic government records which will be used and added to for the rest of their lives. Such information is even now being made available to potential employers, police forces, social workers and psychologists, to be used at their discretion.

Schools are beginning to replace high school diplomas, which were a mark of academic achievement, with “skills certificates” which simply imply that the student has wound his way through the assigned training courses. There is now a strong push on in the new Congress to pass legislation to require employers to hire only those who hold such certificates. All others could be left out of society.

Here are just a few of the radical provisions of the School-To-Work Opportunities Act that are now changing America’s education system forever:

1. SHIFTS THE HISTORICAL FUNCTION OF EDUCATION FROM ACADEMICS TO VOCATIONAL EDUCATION AND WORKFORCE TRAINING.

This shift places the emphasis of education, not on the individual and his or her potential, but on what the individual can provide and produce for businesses as workers. The School-To-Work Act requires that states provide for “all” students’ “career awareness and career exploration and counseling (beginning at the earliest possible age, but no later than the 7th grade).” Section 102 (1).

Each and every student is to have; (1) a planned program of job training and work experiences that are coordinated with learning in the school-based learning component (classroom); (2) a school-site mentor; (3) a work-place mentor. To participate, students must first choose a “career pathway” in elementary school and be placed in a “career track.” Sections 103 & 104, Section 3 (a) (1).

To begin the journey down the “career path” children in kindergarten begin receiving lectures on “career awareness” and “work values.” By high school, instruction is organized around specific career decisions that the students must begin to make. Their “pathway” is then integrated with limited academic curriculum that deals specifically with their chosen career path. Basic subjects that have little or nothing to do with the selected field are not taught to the student. Instead the student is placed in vocational or technical classes.

Under California’s School-To-Work law, (in compliance with the federal Act) if a student does not make a career choice by the ninth or tenth grade, the decision can be made for him or her after a student/career counselor review. In other words, in contrast to America’s history of free enterprise and individual choice, the law will dictate career decisions. Such compulsory labor dictates will remove the very incentives of self improvement that have made the United States of American the envy of the world.

2. ESTABLISHES A NEW EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM THAT WILL GREATLY INCREASE THE FINANCIAL BURDEN OF STATE AND LOCAL EDUCATION.

Section 3,(a), (4) of the Federal School-To-Work Act states: [the purpose of this act is] “to use Federal funds under this Act as venture capitol to underwrite the initial costs of planning and establishing statewide School-To-Work Opportunities systems that will be maintained with other Federal, State, and local resources;”

In other words it will be up to the States to create the means to implement and fund the local School-To-Work programs and integrate them into other educational programs. The feds will only provide the “seed” money to get them off the ground. States are in for a rude awakening when the bill comes due for the federally-mandated destruction of their local school systems.

3. REDUCES THE AMOUNT OF ACADEMIC LEARNING BY REQUIRING STATES TO CHANGE PRESENT SCHOOL CURRICULUMS TO INTEGRATE VOCATIONAL INSTRUCTION, WORK-BASED LEARNING, AND OCCUPATIONAL LEARNING WITH REDUCED ACADEMIC INSTRUCTION FOR ALL STUDENTS. DIRECT LINKS TO GOALS 2000 AND OUTCOME-BASED EDUCATION.

The School-To-Work Act is the federal government’s means by which “Transformational Outcome-based Education” will become the nation’s educational methodology. Section 102 (4), Section 104 (4). OBE’s behavior modification procedures makes it the perfect tool to mold children into a “group think” mentality rather than the old method which required individual thought and solutions. And that’s what School-To-Work must conquer in order to produce and control a well-managed workforce.

To tie the whole education system together with job-training programs, School-To-Work must be tied in with the Department of Education’s over-all plan. That means that it must be tied directly to Goals 2000. Goals 2000 legislation “promotes integrated systems of service delivery to children (from birth to age 18) and their families, by facilitating linkages and cooperation among…health and social services, head start, child care, labor organizations and business and industry.” (Goals 2000 Educate America Act of 1994).

4 PLACES NEW FINANCIAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE BURDENS ON BUSINESSES BY MAKING THEM “JOINT PARTNERS” IN EDUCATION “AS AN INVESTMENT IN FUTURE WORKPLACE PRODUCTIVITY AND COMPETITIVENESS.”

Employers, including small and medium sized businesses, who participate will initially receive some financial incentives to participate in the program. But that federal funding will soon run out and business will be forced to pay for work-place “mentor” training, work-place learning components, and student work. Section 3 (a) (3), Section 3 (a) (6), Section 205 (5), Section 215 (b) (2) (D) & (E), Section 215 (b) (4) (L).

School-To- Work and Goals 2000 create “partnerships” between schools and the business community. But many see this as government control of free enterprise.

Some multinational corporations have the funds and the staff to create a partnership with the school to bring children into their facilities.

But for the vast number of American businesses which are already ruled, regulated and taxed to the point of suffocation, there is no room in the budget or staff-time to take on the task. However, once fully implemented, it is obvious that the burden of job training will be placed upon these small and medium sized companies anyway. Such is the nature of a government-controlled market place.

5. SKILL CERTIFICATES WILL BE REQUIRED FOR JOB PLACEMENT

School-To-Work requires the issuing of a skills certificate instead of a diploma. The certificate is not based on the mastery of academics but on the mastery of predetermined “outcomes” based on the values and attitudes of the student. That means that the government will decide which values are proper for students to hold in order to get a job. The requirement of the skills certificate will, by nature, force the public school curriculum to use Outcome-based Education methods.

In addition, it will require private schools and home schoolers to be pulled into the system of federal control or their students will not receive the certificate.

Once the issuing of skill certificates has been fully implemented, new legislation will require that businesses hire only students who hold such a certificate. That means that those private schools and home schoolers who don’t comply will see their students shut out of society, unable to get a job and perhaps other government services including driver’s licenses and marriage licenses.

6 GREATLY REDUCES THE ROLE OF LOCAL SCHOOL BOARDS AND PARENTS IN CONTROLLING SCHOOLS BY GIVING “LOCAL PARTNERSHIPS” THE PREDOMINATE ROLE IN THE SCHOOL RESTRUCTURING THAT SCHOOL-TO-WORK MANDATES.

Under the Act, the actions of state governments take precedence over local school boards. School boards will be relegated to merely raising money to run the school. The curriculum, teaching methodologies, standards and assessments will all be formulated to conform to federal requirements. Section 205 (12), Section 213 (d) (8).

Local partnerships, as described in the Act, are the true center of control. These will consist of the following members: employers, representatives of local educational agencies and schools, teachers, counselors and administrators, representatives of labor, properly-sanctioned parent organizations, private industry councils, local government agencies and students.

These unelected partnerships, answerable to no one but government authorities, will be in charge of implementing all of the provisions of the Act on the local level. This will include selecting school curriculum to obtain the kind of workforce deemed necessary by the Department of Labor.

7. ASSESSMENT AND LIFELONG TRACKING

Traditionally, education has been the unbiased pursuit of knowledge and truth. Under School-To-Work, the shift is toward acceptable behavior outcomes. The students will be continually assessed and tracked to determine that they are acquiring the “acceptable” attitudes through the use of performance-based tests.

And finally the Department of Education and the Department of Labor are busy creating complete electronic profiles on each student which will be used as a permanent record. It cannot be changed and nothing can be deleted. It will contain school records, including comments and evaluations made by teachers and counselors. It will contain personal family information, including financial records, number of children in the family, cross referencing of all government computer records, and records with law enforcement, service records and so forth.

State are being encouraged to set up systems for employers to receive this information. The records will be tied directly to the Certificate of Initial Mastery by account numbers. Eventually, the Certificates may be issued on a plastic card which employers can insert into their computers in order to obtain information on job applicants. Without it, there can be no application and no job. Simply put, “he who controls the certificates controls the student.

AN END TO

THIS MADNESS

“Human resources,” “workforce development,” “skills certificates,” “skills standards,” “career awareness,” “work place mentors,” “facilitators,” “labor market areas,” “school-to-work.” These are not the words used by a free society in which individuals make their own decisions. These are the terms used to direct a managed society and a planned economy. This is the language of Mussolini, Hitler, Lenin and Stalin.

In the School-To-Work scheme where is there room for the development of our future doctors, lawyers, scientists and entrepreneurs? Who would dare leave the “path” to strike out on their own? And after going through the “group think OBE behavior modification programs, who would know how?

The ability to cultivate renegades and free thinkers is the very heart of American success. This is what made America the envy of the world, second to none.

Compete in the “global economy? America created the global economy. But now – because we’ve abandoned our own unique system and adopted failed policies of foreign despots, we are struggling to stay in the race.

In February of this year, Back-To-Basics activists from across the country converged on the nation’s capitol. They met among themselves to plan strategy and they met with their elected Representatives to deliver a message.

These moms and dads and activists drew a line in the sand. No longer, they told Congress, would they fight a defensive battle, hoping to slow the onslaught of education restructuring. There would be no more waiting for the next assault on the schools.

Those who believe in an education system that teaches basic academics instead of behavior modification and workforce training, those who believe in parental rights and freedom of choice are declaring an offensive war.

Targeted for total annihilation are Goals 2000, in-school health clinics and School-To-Work. The activists are organized as never before through fax alert systems, local action at school board meetings and Congressional Town Hall meetings, national radio talk shows like The Home Education Network, Mike Reagan and Brannon Howse, the internet and word of mouth.

They are researching, communicating and ready for battle. Any bill introduced in the 105th Congress that threatens to make matters worse will feel the full fury of their assault.

If Americans truly want their children to be the best in the world, ready to compete in a “global economy,” then they will do it through an old-fashioned American education, complete with the ability to read and write and add and subtract. And they will do it as free individuals, ready to make their own personal career choices, in their own time.

The insanity ends now.

Tom DeWeese
[email protected]

Tom DeWeese is one of the nation’s leading advocates of individual liberty, free enterprise, private property rights, personal privacy, back-to-basics education and American sovereignty and independence.