Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Pick your major

Did you know there is a move in education to have children select their career by the tenth grade, or possibly sooner? Read on to find out what Florida (and most other states are doing.)

As I said in my previous post, I am working on a talk on education reform. (I'm blogging my thoughts to prepare.) One item of documention for reform I have is a print resource Michigan School-to-Work Initiative of 1994. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find a similar document on line. This document outlines the long term strategy for education reform in Michigan. The document states on page 35,
The School to Work initiative System will rpovide all students with the opportunity to engage in a program of job training and work experience that are relevant to a student's career major and lead to the award of a skill certificate, including pre-employment and employment skills to be mastered at progressively higher levels. Students will be encouraged to make a career decision by the tenth grade and no later than the eleventh grade. The decision will be based on an entire school experience, kindergarten through grade ten,"
By 1998 all 50 states had implementation strategies in place. While federal funding of School to Work may have ended a few years ago, the plan to implement a national "school to work" type plan is still going strong. Up until now I haven't been able to find many politicians or educrats willing to admit that this is still the long term plan. That is until today. I stumbled upon this article about the proposed changes in Forida's education.
Gov. Jeb Bush's proposal to dramatically overhaul Florida's education system would give him a much stronger hand in turning around struggling schools, force educators to rethink their priorities for fine arts and physical education and require middle-schoolers to pick college-like majors.
I can't imagine any eighth grader being ready to pick a "college-like major". I went to the Governor's own website announcing the A++ Plan for Education. The bill concentrates heavily on middle and high school reforms.
Offering students the opportunity to graduate with a major or minor area of study - just as college students do - in the arts, advanced studies or career preparation, after completing a rigorous core curriculum.
I will have to do some digging to see what the actual language says. And I am sure there will be a debate over the finer points of the bill such as including arts and physical education but most will completely miss the larger picture.

This is NOT about what's best for the children but what is best for the state. Picking a "career path" is a path toward socialism and "fourth purpose schooling". The state views our children as a commodity for their best interests. Here's what one supporter of the plan had to say,
This is an excellent example of connecting the workforce system's demand side with the education system's supply side, said Curtis Austin, President of Workforce Florida, Inc. "The result is a winning proposition for businesses who need access to a highly qualified workforce."
The law of supply and demand with your child as the resource. This may be a winning proposition for business but what about the children? Oh, that's right they're a workforce now. In Florida they call the plan "Ready to Work". Real creative. Switch the name and maybe no one will know.

Ready to Work
Quote from Governor Bush's State of the State address last week in regards to graduation requirements he stated,
The remaining nine required credits can be taken in a major or minor program chosen by the student, such as math, science, fine arts, or career and vocational skills. Students who can see the relationship between their classes and their dreams are more likely to stay focused, and stay in school. Our "Ready to Work" certification program will give vocational students the credentials that tell employers they're ready for the work force and have the skills required to succeed.
This will all lead to certificates of mastery (CIM). The CIM will be necessary for further advancement in education, training, or a job.

It's funny. When I first began researching this years ago, I called various newspaper editors and education columnists to tell them what coming down the road. The ones that didn't just hang up scoffed, saying I was out of my mind and that the American public would never stand for it. They were wrong on both counts.

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