Tech Thursday: NC’s “Workforce” Despicable Moves

Last Wednesday (October 2nd), I wrote about my recent attendance to a ‘NC Workforce Learning Summit’ and promised you a follow up. Common Core Standards are so ingrained in NC, it is truly despicable. **NOTE: While I am basing this off what I discovered here, in NC, do not assume if you live elsewhere, you are not impacted. ” CCSS aligned Workforce” is alive, implemented, and growing in all 50 states!

NC is working hard to align its students from PreK to Workforce.
NC is working hard to align its students from PreK to Workforce.

Refreshers:

Last week’s post explained how NC, when planning education, listens to the business communities first because they, after all will need specifically schooled workers. We also learned that, NC considers parents to be a problem because we’re so out of touch with today’s ‘real world’. We also learned in last week’s post about this, that Common Core is being woven from the earliest of ages all the way to adulthood.  What about your state? Is it doing something eerily familiar? Again, people, all this is….despicable!

When tax payer funded education comes from somewhere OTHER than your state’s Dept. of Education:

Here in NC, everyone wants in on the educational direction our students take. We have the Dept. of Commerce firmly involved, we have the NC Chamber of Commerce foaming at the mouth to put their money’s worth in, private corporations have become education’s pimp. All the while, the most of the politicians smile and tell you how ‘great’it is!

From what I gathered at the ‘learning summit’ I attended, it is clear: money is to be had by anyone involved. Money buys a place at the education table, money is waving in front of the student as an worthy aspiration in life. What happened to letting a student live a little?

Back in the days before TV, there were traveling salesmen (sorry, ladies, this was before women were outside of the home workers) who hawked ‘miracle potions’ that would cure anything wrong with you. They became known as ‘snake oil salesmen’. Why? What they sold turned out to be worthless. Fast forward to today, and we have modern day ‘snake oil salespeople’…only this time, they are holding your student’s future as the product. I’m not suggesting your student’s future is worthless, however, CCSS is NOT educating our students very well, certainly not up to their potential of ‘awesomeness’!

Selling out, one family at a time:

From one of the hosts speaking at this meeting, it was shared that all 58 of NC’s Community Colleges are in tune with the businesses in our state. The “master plan”? Kindergarten-12th grades, as well as community colleges (those 4 yr colleges will be added soon, or so it is hoped) to have classroom lessons in tune with the jobs in manufacturing , finances, logistics and healthcare.

Now, those pointing out we parents are ‘so out of the loop’ were quick to condition manufacturing as ‘advanced’, the logistics as so much more than tradition has constricted it to be and so on. IT (Information Technology) jobs are especially in need. Public, private partnerships (P3s) are being encouraged like never before to ‘step it up’ and get involved.

The reason community colleges and P3s make so much sense,according to the tone of the Summit,  is that LOCAL interests can be met, LOCAL economies can be increased and LOCAL education (esp. community college) is the last great hope for some people. Strange, some of the very same people speaking said ‘Common Core’ was our last great hope. While we’re looking at it, if all this LOCAL activity is happening, why is the ‘competing in a global 21st century economy’ being shoved in our faces?

Families, of course, are being sold all of this with rhetoric like “If we can’t find the labor, talent or skills, we’ll die.” So, what better way to do all this than by having P3s, schools join as an alliance! “We’re doing good, but we can do better.” This is the ‘we’re all in this together’ mindset so prevalent in the global, greater good kind of way. Families are also being told all of the great education/job success comes with ‘ease’ (as in ‘it’ll be easier to transfer credits), or with ‘value’ (as in company benefits). Now, don’t misunderstand me, success in education and jobs ARE vital, however, if we could have much more transparency from the education side, remove the Common Core ‘trained drone’ component AND remove the P3s, THEN education success might truly mean something. Think of all of this as if you were on a football team. You’ve trained hard, you’ve become part of the team. You get your jersey on. Then, you sit  on the bench the entire game. Why? Because all the P3 jerseys won’t get out of your way. Remember, P3s have a profit or a return on their investment as their #1 goal..and they are proving they will do ANYTHING to get it. If you are not familiar with how P3s in education are ruining it, I invite you to look up what a public-private-partnership is, what it is truly supposed to be limited to and how our students are, once again, caught in the middle of it all.

Oh, if you’re a part of a family and you get any of the slick looking postcards or visit the websites promoting ‘workforce education’ be sure to note how much of a ‘win-win’ it is for everyone. Then consider this: one of the biggest tools for Workforce education is a test called “WorkKeys”. There are other tests as well, “AccuPlanner”, “Plan”, “Aspire”..each one not only data mines your information, but each is CCSS aligned. Not only that, the push for “WorkKeys” goes hand in hand with the pigeon holing  job placement manipulation this country hasn’t experienced on a grand scale in many years. Below, is a video on the ‘virtues’ of “WorkKeys”, however, listen closely for the phrase, ‘no national number, no job’.

NC for sale:

NC’s Governor McCrory was there at the meeting I attended. One of the things he said had to do with venture capitalism. “If we compete as a state, we have to get more venture capital, entrepreneurial skills.” He went to talk about the state of NC being part of the National Triangle that stretches from Silicon Valley, northeast to Boston and then south to Charlotte. Now, had I not just completed a lot of research into Common Core/technology in Silicon Valley (which led me to uncover lots about the vast fortune venture capitalists are pouring into the success of CCSS and education) I might be impressed with the Governor’s words. However, I HAD just learned all that and it wasn’t more like being hit in the stomach. (see my post about the GSV and Silicon Valley). 

NC is one of the ‘Top 10 Friendliest States’ to conduct business in, that was something I did learn at this Summit that was new. According to the CNBC (see here: http://www.cnbc.com/id/101758236#.) “America’s Top States for Business”, NC is #5.

How did we get to number 5? Simple, CNBC used publicly collected data to come to their conclusion. Yes, data mining at work!! Now, what’s interesting is when you look at the parameters for ‘workforce’, “Many states point with great pride to the quality and availability of their workers, as well as government-sponsored programs to train them. We rate states based on the education level of their workforce, as well as the numbers of available workers. We also consider union membership and the states’ right-to-work laws. While organized labor contends that a union workforce is a quality workforce, that argument, more often than not, does not resonate with business. We also look at the relative success of each state’s worker-training programs in placing their participants in jobs.” Let’s please remember, some of these same authoritative groups/people refer to our sons and daughters as ‘talent supply’, ‘pipeline’ and other degrading words.

At what price will education come? Let's get back to education and leave the commerce out of it!
At what price will education come? Let’s get back to education and leave the commerce out of it!

What struck me throughout this entire Summit was that the longer it went on the more about business, returns on investment (both human capital and financial capital), being #1 in the nation it became. Yes, supposedly this is all so Johnny and Suzy have a great lifetime career. However, Johnny and Suzy, much like you and I probably won’t stay in one career for their entire lives!

What, are all these businesses, commerce aligned classroom lessons, etc. going to do IF Common Core is repealed in NC? My belief? That no one, not the NC DPI, not the NC Chamber of Commerce, not the Governor, not anyone has any sort of ‘Plan B’ should the Repeal committee find Common Core is all wrong for NC. Well, if you don’t live in NC, what about YOUR state? Is anyone having a mature enough conversation about here’s education with CCSS and here’s education WITHOUT? Has anyone in the P3s realm even dared to consider ‘what if’? My question to all of them, “WHY NOT?” You have contingency doomsday plans for your states, why NOT an education contingency plan that actually puts the student first?!

Game changer:
Terminology is changing. With the agenda behind Common Core, Career Tech Education (CTE) which is post secondary Common Core, the creators and supporters of national standards, you need to know doublspeak lives on! What do I mean? What do you think of when you hear the word ‘college’? That’s right, you think 4 year institution. More than likely you do NOT think community college, vocational tech, proprietary schools (for-profit post secondary schools). However, in the scope of the information above, ‘college’ no longer means that. According to the new vernacular, ‘college’ now means ANY type of education beyond high school. As I heard it put, ‘one job, many paths to get there’.

Any questions, comments or real life experiences you can share, please do. These real life stories need to be shared to awareness can be raised and this insidiousness can be stopped. Thank you for sharing.

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