Monday, January 30, 2006

Jeb Bush joins the chorus

Jeb Bush has an opinion piece in today's Wall Street Journal. In the article he outlines his Five Rules for School Reform. (Reg. req'd) Here's an excerpt,

Our proposed reforms will bring rigor and relevance to middle schools...

We're also looking to revamp high schools to better prepare students for the future and for post secondary education by creating career academies, where students can major or minor in math and science, or fine arts, or on career and vocational skills, depending on their goals and interests. The goal is for students to graduate knowing what they want to do with their lives...

"Rigor with relevance" is the new buzzword around the nation. I wrote about a similar proposal in Michgan here. It matches those of Florida in many key areas. Governor Bush's reform is part of a push nationally toward one core curriculum and test. The first step in that is to require all the states to require "rigor with relevance" in the middle and high school level.

More information on career academies can be found at the North Central Regional Education Laboratory. (This laboratory is one of 10 such centers divided by region and funded by the Department of Education.)
In career academies, each student takes a core of academic courses, and receives workplace exposure and career counseling, all of which integrate occupational and academic material based on an occupational theme. Students develop individual occupational and career goals, but do not earn formal, occupational skill credentials. Local employers help design school curriculum, donate equipment, and provide mentoring, and summer internships.
Again, a similar proposal is in place here in Michigan. I have our state's grant proposal. In the proposal the stated goal is to have the students select their career by the tenth grade. (I have not been able to find the document on the internet.) Then continue on into their "chosen" field in either a college, vocational, or job apprenticeship programs. The standardized tests help determine whether the child is "choosing" appropriately for their abilities. Colleges and employers work together to determine eligibility for acceptance based on core curriculum performance and test scores. Notice who is designing the curriculum...employers in partnership with the state. Just as Gatto talked about in the Fourth Purpose of Education.

(Spunky's note: I understand that this is not an exciting topic to write about. I would much rather spend my time writing about other topics. But understanding what is really happening in our country takes a willingness to learn and think about things that may not be the most glamourous. If we don't take the time to learn we are at the mercy of those that do know what all this means. I would much rather play offense then defense any day.)

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