I actually am not nostalgic for the castles, moats, or medieval armor. For one thing I like to cook, but not without centralized plumbing or over an open hearth. No, I keep thinking of terms from the Middle Ages because public policies being quietly enacted in the United States as well as other countries via K-12 education remind me a great deal of the previously accepted relationships between ordinary people and political power that was the hallmark of those times. Political authorities dictated what we could be, know, and what we must do while promising to take care of us and to meet our basic needs. It’s always fascinating to me to listen to an elected politician, their advisors, or college professors laying out a ‘new’ view of 21st century ‘rights’ and responsibilities and never quite grasping this is all a reversion back to a much earlier view of citizenship and the entitled prerogatives of those who hold political and economic power.
Stated simply, throughout history, people with power will collude to keep it and expand it using the coercive power of the public sector over people, their behavior, and their property. They do it for their own personal benefit as well as the benefit of those who empowered them. Either by electing them, appointing them, or simply bankrolling them. I am actually not philosophizing here without a purpose. This was one of those rare weeks when I got a chance to ask the kind of legislators who get invited to Education Commission of the States meetings (see last post) if the Common Core was really about Workforce Readiness and didn’t various non-hyped state and federal initiatives tie K-12 as now about career preparation for all students in a politically-driven view of economic development in the future?
I got a yes answer from some rather shocked people who probably wish I had stayed home with my documents. I suspect each of you would get a similar answer if you get to quiz legislators, mayors, or representatives from the Governor’s office in your state. The difference is I had the chance, used it respectfully, but against the background of the kind of documentation of the openly-laid out vision I am going to lay out here today. Just in case any of us get a chance to buttonhole someone during the holiday parties or as legislatures or city councils reconvene after the New Year. Because I understand how all this fits into a dirigiste 21st Century economy (the French term for such political direction), I am paying attentions to sites and sources that are probably not on your radar. We are about to remedy that.
I explained that Congress had nationalized the K-12 education vision back in July 2014 and tied it tight to a Workforce vision for all students and states in this post http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/priority-economic-citizenship-for-some-officially-sanctioned-status-as-prey-for-most-of-us/ . On November 20, 2014 a webinar on “Realizing Innovation and Opportunity in WIOA: A Playbook for Creating Effective State National Skills Coalition Plans” went over this detailed report. http://www.nationalskillscoalition.org/resources/publications/file/2014-11-NSC-WIOA-state-report.pdf WIOA remains news to most people because an announcement that Congress has laid out a detailed plan to “improve the nation’s workforce development system” would have poor PR value, especially with the open embrace and advocacy for cronyistic “sector partnerships” of industry and the related Career Pathways in a given state.
I have a lot more to lay out and we need to keep moving. This past week, CCSSO, one of the formal sponsors of the Common Core so it can tout itself as the more politically palatable “state-led initiative” released its Opportunities and Options: Making Career Preparation Work for Students. The Task Force made 3 recommendations in this detailed report. First, “Enlist the employer community as a lead partner in defining the pathways and skills most essential in today’s economy.” In my book, I explained the 1976 Turchenko vision of how to take control of Western economies while still appearing capitalistic and this CCSSO document fits right in. Secondly, “Set a higher bar for the quality of career preparation programs, enabling all students to earn a meaningful postsecondary degree or credential.”
I am the last person who thinks college is appropriate for all people, but politicians skip over the part of this vision that now sees a 6th grade level of math and literacy skills as all anyone will need in the 21st Century. The third recommendation is to “Make career readiness matter to schools and students by prioritizing it in accountability systems.” Accountability is much like accreditation. It is a largely invisible means to make something mandatory in the classroom without adequately disclosing the changed reality to students, parents, or taxpayers. Now in reading that report, there is no inkling that any of these ideas are anything other than state employees trying to meet industry needs and satisfy that much-hyped skills gap.
We know better though. We are not just aware of WIOA, but also all the federal programs at Labor and Education mandating this shift to a reenvisioned Career Technical Education for all students. I laid out all the federal mandates here. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/banishing-any-distinction-between-academic-technical-and-lifeemployability-skills-active-deceit-everywhere/ Even more fascinating in all the calculated deceit going on to prevent a widespread accurate perception of the true nature of the shifts involved is a mention that the Southern Regional Education Board had a Commission on Career and Technical Education also pursuing this agenda. Now that got my attention since I have been following Gene Bottoms’ work since he first developed his K-12 vision of Techademics while working for the Georgia Department of Education in the 70s.
I knew from my research of the background for Everyday Math that the Soviet Union had adopted the same general idea for its typical student at the same time in the 70s. (The story and cite are in Chapter 3 of my book in the interview with Isaak Wirszup). Now we have a CCSSO document wanting to “align education and the economy” in precisely the treatment of people as “human capital” that governments have the power to dictate to and manipulate as what the USSR envisioned. Needless to say, the phrase “gotta find that” aptly described my thought process. Sure enough, I found “Career Pathways Connecting High School, Work-Based Learning and Postsecondary Education.” Here’s a link, complete with a futile command “Do Not Disseminate.” I can see why given who is listed as involved. http://publications.sreb.org/2014/FINAL_CTEReportExecSumSREBBd061914.pdf
Why, there’s Texas, confirming it did not need the Common Core. June Atkinson from North Carolina is also on board, which would rather explain why she chose to protect the College Board this week over APUSH. That makes more sense if you have a document connecting the revised AP courses to this CTE vision. http://www.careertech.org/sites/default/files/CTE-AP_FINAL.pdf From my state of Georgia, there is the head of the State Board of Education, which is fascinating since a legislative committee after months of hearings decided recently that K-12 curriculum supervision should be the jurisdiction of that Board, not the elected legislature. No effective recourse for rebellion is one way to put it. Also, two-time Broad Foundation winning school district Super, Alvin Wilbanks, who was the first to tell us that the Common Core was really about remaking the nature of the traditional high school. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/listening-in-on-the-confessional-drumbeat-of-the-common-cores-true-purpose-jettisoning-traditional-high-school/
If you live in a southern state from Texas to Virginia, including Oklahoma, you will want to check that list for the officials listed. I want to make sure though that the presence as consultants of people like Marc Tucker, who headed the controversial national standards/ School to Work attempt in the 90s and Anthony Carnevale, who were both with the Carnegie-created National Center on Education and the Economy to align the US to the Soviet vision of education, are not missed. Before his current perch at Georgetown, Carnevale has been pursuing this vision for decades as I laid out here. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/anesthetizing-any-ability-to-blow-up-or-contaminate-a-chosen-politically-useful-narrative/ The listed David Stern is a subsequent director of the same center polytech visionary Robert Beck (Chapter 4 in the book) previously led.
We have also met Aneesh Chopra before in his previous capacity as this country’s first Chief Technology Officer. Remember I explained his alarming new book Innovative State: How New Technologies Can Transform Government? http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/journey-to-the-center-of-the-core-yields-the-yoke-of-citizen-centric-governance-to-force-a-shared-vision/ All of this hyping of STEM learning and using computers as an essential component of classwork makes more sense once we appreciate that STEM is simply a more politically palatable description to obscure the shift away from subject content to CTE embedded in group academic tasks for all. http://www.careertech.org/sites/default/files/CTEYourSTEMStrategy-FINAL.pdf is the federally sanctioned revelation from a year ago.
In case someone really wants one more smoking gun firmly linking the Common Core to this CTE vision, here’s a 2 page solid confession for us. http://www.careertech.org/sites/default/files/IntegratingCTE-CCSS-Mar2012.pdf
This was a link heavy post because all of this is quite documentable. Most of the people involved in all these reforms have no incentive to connect these dots. We parents and taxpayers though have no choice if we want to escape a future of us and our children functioning as vassals living in a dirigiste fiefdom. All planned around an illusory utopian vision of changing people’s personalities and mental models to voluntarily accept a far more collectivist vision where we each exist to meet other people’s needs.
The extent to which all of this comes together with a Bespoke Fit makes much more sense once we are aware that the global name for this type of K-12 education for this kind of directed economy and society has a name. Productive Learning.
Next time we will exercise our still existing privilege to deny any obligation to accept this vision with fealty, bowing, or general homage.
No wonder there is such an intense desire to limit the capacity to read fluently.