Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Florida, I weep for you!

When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up? When did you finally decide? Was it in eighth grade? Probably not for most of us. For the first time, Florida eighth graders will be asked to select their career major.
That's because Florida's eighth-grade students, including more than 13,000 in Palm Beach County, will be the first in the country who must select high school majors. The statewide majors are a provision of Gov. Jeb Bush's "A-plus-plus" plan designed to make Florida schools more relevant to children.
There will be more than 80 "state-approved" majors. And what about a child who wants to do something that isn't "state-approved?" I noticed mother, missionary or pastor were not on the list. And I wonder how much longer they'll offer ROTC and the military as an option. The list actually looked more like the offerings for those headed to the local community college not a university. The comment of one school board member was telling,
"As long as we encourage students to think about it and let them know they have choices, and as long as we keep it flexible, I don't think it will do too much damage."
Too much damage? Is that how government intrusion into our private lives is now measured? It's none of the government's business what a child wants to be when they grow up. Career majors are part of the process of tracking students from preschool through college. (P-16) into a seamless educational system. This has nothing to do with encouraging children, but everything to do with creating a managed economy according to the needs of the state. Florida is the first, but every state is in various stages of implementation in the same direction. (More about that here.)

Interesting, even charter schools need to comply with this requirement. I know Florida has a Florida Virtual School (FLVS) which is part of the public school system. According to their data, 22% of the students enrolled are using the curriculum at home. But since FLVS does not grant diplomas, it's unclear how this requirement will apply to them. In any case, all homeschoolers will be affected by these reforms in one way or another. Even if they don't require them to declare a major, colleges and employers will begin to consider only those who have the credentials that go along with the diploma.

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