Guess what? Those troubling Career Ready Practices we had already noticed as requiring that schools create a community first mindset in each student (June 25, Birth to Career) were celebrated in an Ed Week article this week. It advocates for the rather misguided belief that the US needs a K-12 system “aligned to workforce needs” and that “will propel this country forward.” Only off a cliff. I really need to send the Asia Society those posts on Mind Arson and creating genuine innovation. So now Global Competence equals those Career Ready Practices that treat employment as something people get together to do to earn a living with a magic paycheck producing machine somewhere in the background to reward time put in?
I found this nice virtual graphic for you we can call Pretty In Pink to illustrate what the Ed Reformers envision as the Globally Competent Student. Try not to break into laughter or cry when you see the absurdity of this vision. http://www.smithsonianconference.org/shout/vgf-global-competence/ So after years of a very expensive education the goal is to have a young adult who can Take Perspective and have a Global Consciousness and Understand Cultural Interactions. Really? And who is ready to Investigate World and Communicate Ideas. And apparently the communication can be multimedia. The graphic explicitly suggests that students learn to “Use Art to Make a Point, To Make a Difference.” Anyone else wondering what ed reformers think economies will be based on in the 21st century? I am definitely thinking this is more confirmation that they envision returning to a Mercantile “People must Buy Whatever We Produce” economy. That’s not the type that created the Apple I-Pad.
Now this is especially rich. The author, Heather Singmaster, bemoans the lack of an explicit Take Action component to Career Ready Practices making me wonder yet again where she thinks everyone will be working. Who has money in their budget to pay for employees who “act personally, collaboratively and reflect” about problems like “Hiroshima and Nagasaki?” Apparently the Globally Competent citizen will be taught nothing about World War II or probably World War I either. But somehow will be ready for work after sitting around and discussing whether atomic weapons should have been used to end the war against Japan without invading that island. Not to be mean, but do we really want to encourage students to believe that their personal opinion matters if it is grounded in ignorance of the relevant history surrounding the event being discussed? Isn’t Global Competence of the type being envisioned about what 21st Century students Feel and Believe, not what anyone is being encouraged to actually Know? How can that create employees ready for the workplace?
Once again all these education changes are premised on a radically new economic vision for the 21st Century. Have you noticed that reality of Common Core keeps being omitted in the sales pitch? Only in side articles do we get reminded that the planned Globally Competent citizen the Common Core will produce is to be “boundless in their ideas and endeavors to stimulate positive economic change.” Positive for who? The average person? This is daffy stuff to base a country’s future on but I think the real answer to the economic shift planned tracks back to that communitarian emphasis in the Career Ready Practices.
Yesterday I went back and looked at the New Economics that went along with that vision. It was definitely a reminder of why social and emotional learning is so vital to changing people. And why we should think long and hard about turning over our children to administrators whose education degrees are based on implementing the theory that there is a “myth of the individual as thinker and decision-maker.” What ! The central idea is you use the school to create students who think in terms of We, not I. Who will recognize an obligation to “sustain one another’s emotional stability and inner security” and that a cooperative economy can be built around this relationships-first emphasis. Not only is this horribly misguided and a terrible theory to be putting in place as a national research project, but it shows a tragic ignorance of history. Late 19th Century Germany is the prime example of what happens when you try to cultivate a sense of collective obligation grounded in emotion.
A better knowledge of history would set off multiple alarm bells on what happens when this “hearts and minds” vision gains legitimacy.