The National Governors Report of December 2004, when Virginia's Democratic Gov. Mark Warner was chairman, makes clear that the purpose is to use the public schools to build a planned economy. The report speaks approvingly of "using schools to feed workers into selected corporations," "identifying their state's key industries and needs for skilled workers in order to define a common agenda between their work force and economic development programs," "the integration of education, economic development, and work force development policies," "seamless connections between the components of the (education) system and with the skill demands of the work place," and "connecting work force development to economic needs."
It's hard to see any difference between the 2004 National Governors Association plan and the earlier plans floated when Clinton was president. The plan uses a lot of mumbo jumbo to change the United States from free enterprise to a planned economy, and to turn public school students into a compliant work force for multinational corporations.
The new buzzwords are "career pathways," "education pipeline," "redesigning high schools," "smaller learning communities," and "cluster-based economic development strategies." Recycled buzzwords from prior years include "school-to-work," "work force development system reform," "business-education partnerships," and "meaningful outcome measures."
Six public hearings on the proposals were held in Idaho in October, and 500 people showed up at the Boise hearing. The reaction was overwhelmingly negative from both parents and teachers.
The Idaho Board of Education announced this month that after receiving "hundreds of comments," it has made "modifications to Idaho's plan to redesign high schools and middle schools," but those changes are minimal. The original plan would have required all sixth-grade students to select their learning plan for a specific career pathway and choose "career focused electives" to enter the work force.
Under the revised plan, students will have to do this only by the eighth grade.
But how many eighth-graders do you know who can (or should) map out their career pathway and narrow their education options to meet that single goal?
What about the colossal conceit of politicians and businessmen who think they can predict the jobs that eighth-graders can or will want to fill in their future years? Planned economies are always a failure. Students should be educated to reach their potential- whatever it is.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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