FTF Tuesday: “Align and mine”, Part 2

Last week I shared with you detailed information about the U.S. Dept. of Labor’s grant awards given in rounds to help align data mining with the U.S. Dept. of  Education. The connector? CCSS aligned Workforce. For a reminder of last week’s post, see this picture.

Click to enlarge to see which round your state receive 'align and mine' money. IF you do not see a color on your state, you've not been awarded money yet.
Click to enlarge to see which round your state receive ‘align and mine’ money. IF you do not see a color on your state, you’ve not been awarded money yet.

In the past few days, Missouri Education Watchdog (as well as a few other anti CC warriors) has posted information about global connections in education via India. As a result, a ‘new’ resource was revealed. “Connectallschools”. What struck me, was the year the program is using as its goal: 2016. Then, I remembered, in researching the first article, I saw a page on the “Workforce” website about big changes in 2016. Coincidence? Let’s find out.

“Common Measure”:

On the DOL’s (Department of Labor) website,  http://www.doleta.gov/performance/guidance/tools_commonmeasures.cfm, {“ETA”, this stands for Employment and Training Administration. ETA is a part of Dept. of Labor (DOL)} Before we get too far, don’t read the top portion of the page just yet, I want you to understand FIRST, the foundation for what’s written at the top. Why? Because, if you only read the top, it sounds so normal, so innocuous, you may not catch the true meaning of what’s in store.

For our purposes, let’s start at the section that’s titled “Common Measure”. At the beginning of this section are the changes being made OR those which WILL be made. Don’t go there just yet.. It is the attachments you want to start looking into. Go to “Attachment D” (Workforcemeasure). This pdf goes into detail about which groups of people have been measured since 2005. Why is this important in the context of CCSS? Because one of the largest groups measured is the Youth. It’s so big, it is broken into 2 subcategories, Younger Youth, 14-18 and Older Youth, 18-21. You’ll find this age group at the bottom of page 15 and ending at the top of page 21. The document also tells you 3 funding streams from the federal government are used with not only the Youth, but Adults (those 22 and older) and the Displaced Workers. For brevity’s sake, we’re focusing on the Youth, however, since by the time all the changes are in place, it appears everyone will be impacted, you should go back and read the entire document.

From pages 15-21, notice how many times the different youth age sub categories are being measured, how many ways they are measured. Note when the measuring begins (age 14 in most cases). Okay, so you didn’t see CCSS in there by name did you? No, it’s not there. However, knowing what we know now about all the job assessments, Career Pathways, etc. is it coming together for you where this is connecting? I hope so. However, if you’re not quite sure, that’s okay too.

There’s even more to help us connect the dots.  For instance, “Attachment C” should help.  (see: workforceeddescript) These, my friends are the parameters the federal government is using to gauge how competent we are. Notice when you access the document, the assessments used at the bottom of each page. You should see “WorkKeys” in there. Well, what’s so bad about “WorkKeys”? 1) It’s from ACT, Inc., owned by the College Board; 2) it’s being used as a job profiler for students AND a ‘you want to work, you have to have been assessed and matched for your job’ for adults; 3) Because it’s owned by College Board, it’s 100 % CCSS aligned; 4) massive amounts of data collection that is shared all over the globe.

As far as those other measures? CASAS, or Comprehensive Adult and Student Assessment Systems. In other words, they measure basic skills. Here’s where they are employed: “CASAS is a nonprofit organization that focuses on assessment and curriculum development of basic skills for youth and adults. CASAS is used by federal and state government agencies, business and industry, community colleges, education and training providers, correctional facilities, and technical programs.” They, too are aligned to the hilt with CCSS. (See how: https://www.casas.org/product-overviews/curriculum-management-instruction/CCCS) ABEL, or Adult Basic Learning Examination, is owned by Pearson Publishing, Inc. Pearson is one of the most CCSS profitable companies in existence. Here’s who’s measured on their assessments: ‘ABLE™ is appropriate for use with adults in a variety of adult education programs, including Tech Prep programs, GED programs, and adult literacy programs. The content is appropriate for adults and accommodates the non-reader. Level 1 – Adults with 1-4 years formal education, Level 2 – Adults with 5-8 years formal education, Level 3 – Adults with 8+ years formal education.’ (want to read more about ABLE? http://www.pearsonassessments.com/learningassessments/products/100000311/adult-basic-learning-examination-second-edition-able-able.html#tab-details)

Let’s move on:

Okay, you, by now, hopefully have the full understanding of why I wanted you to go these places BEFORE you went to consider those new changes. Remember, all of the above has been going on for a while.

Where we are now:

With the passage of the 2014 WIOA (Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act)  it has embedded Workforce training and education to align with Career Pathways. Career Pathways are CCSS aligned via middle schools, high schools and stretch into CTE or CT (College Tech Career CCSS or College Transfer CCSS). I hope you see the pattern. Get everything to align via education, assessments, then put them to work. Here’s an excerpt from the DOL’s WIOA website, “DOL, in coordination with the U.S. Departments of Education (ED) and Health and Human Services (HHS), is working diligently to ensure that states, local areas, other grantees, and stakeholders are prepared for implementation of WIOA.” One date the trio of U.S. Federal Departments is holding out for: January 18, 2015 is when the 3 Depts. reveal the proposed rules for WIOA and January 22, 2016 is when the 3 get to publish the final rules for implementing the WIOA. A full 1 and 1/2 AFTER the Act was signed into being.

Now that you know all this, go back and re-read the changes to be made with this new knowledge. Then, go back up to the to and read the introductory paragraph again.  Are you able to better grasp what is being accomplished? If you would like to see the other key dates for the Workforce plan. http://www.doleta.gov/wioa/pdf/WIOA-Key-Implementation-Dates.pdf

A “Unified Plan”:

Have you already looked at the WIOA timeline? If so did you notice a ‘deadline for state Unified Plan submission? While we’ll get to the ‘state UP’, let’s look at the federal one first.

Yes, the ‘good ole’ WIOA includes a “Unified Plan”. Here are a few of the highlights:

  • Requires States to Strategically Align Workforce Development Programs: WIOA ensures that employment and training services provided by the core programs are coordinated and complementary so that job seekers acquire skills and credentials that meet employers’ needs.
  •  Every state will develop and submit a four-year strategy – in the form of a single unified strategic
    plan for core programs – for preparing an educated and skilled workforce and meeting the workforce needs of employers.
  • Promotes Accountability and Transparency: WIOA ensures that Federal investments in employment and training programs are evidence-based and data-driven, and accountable to participants and tax-payers.
  •           Core programs are required to report on common performance indicators that     provide key employment information, such as how many workers entered and retained employment, their median wages, whether they attained a credentials, and their measurable skill gains.
    Core programs must measure the effectiveness of services to employers for the first time.
    DOL and DoED, with input from stakeholders, will establish a common performance accountability system for the core programs.
    • Negotiated levels of performance for the common indicators will be adjusted based on a statistical model that takes into account economic conditions and participant characteristics.
    • Performance reports for states, local areas, and eligible training providers will be publicly available.
    • Programs will be evaluated by independent third parties at least every four years.
    Fosters Regional Collaboration: WIOA promotes alignment of workforce development programs with regional economic development strategies to meet the needs of local and regional employers.
    • States will identify regions within their state.
    • Local areas in regions will have coordinated planning and service delivery strategies.
    Improves the American Job Center (AJC) System: WIOA increases the quality and accessibility  (to see the rest of the overview: http://www.doleta.gov/wioa/pdf/WIOA-Overview.pdf)

My State’s Unified Plan is called “NCWorks!”:

As aligned to CCSS as NC is, I really didn’t think we WOULDN’T have a plan, I just was a bit surprised who has the document. NC Dept. of Commerce! (see: http://www.nccommerce.com/Portals/11/Documents/Commission/Commission%20on%20Workforce%20Development%20Strategic%20Plan%202014-16.pdf) In this report, it is shared that no less than 6 State level departments have aligned to streamline our NC Workforce. Leading the charge? Our governor and the General Assembly, according to the Dept. of Commerce. The State and the Community Colleges according to the Governor’s Press Release from April 2014. Either way, it’s further proof that more and more of a dragnet is being readied for our citizens.

Key Words: 

Have you noticed in each of these files, or each of the resources that the same words are being used to make everything sound so positive? For example, data will be collected, but only for accountability purposes. The unifying is for speed and ease of use by all.
“ConnectAllSchools”:

How this ties in? Partnership for 21st Century Skills. Now, you wouldn’t guess if all you saw was the cute video:

To access Connect/Schools, http://www.connectallschools.org/about/overview Partnership for 21st Century Skills can be found at: http://www.p21.org/

Partnership? 

Straight from the P21’s website, P21 Members: American Camp Association, Apple Inc., Bahcesehir K-12 Schools, Cable in the Classroom, The College Board, Common Sense Media, Crayola, Destination Imagination, EdLeader21, EF Education, Education Networks of America, Fisher-Price, Ford Motor Company Fund, Gale Cengage Learning, Goddard Systems Inc., Intel Corporation, JP – Inspiring Knowledge, Learning.com, LEGO Education, National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, National Education Association, PBS, Pearson Foundation, People to People Ambassador Programs, Project Management Institute Educational Foundation, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, VIF International Education, and The Walt Disney Company. The U.S. Leading states: Arizona, California, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont, Wisconsin and West Virginia.

There will be nothing very American about any school by the time the Global 6 anchors are in place. No more USA education standards, no, these will be replaced by global ones..for students AND teachers. Language learning will be revamped, schools will get made over to become ‘whole child’ (don’t get me started), school districts will regulate and align even more, and tons of global competitions. The framework: P21_State_Framework_on_Global_Education
How did P21 feel about the recent passage of WIOA? They were thrilled. Here’s the press release, http://www.p21.org/news-events/press-releases/1463-p21-applauds-bipartisan-action-on-workforce-innovation-and-opportunity-act

Last but not least: 

The National Governor’s Association, half of the CCSS copyright owner, back in 2013, had this to say about a trained Workforce, “For Americans to stay competitive in the global economy, it will take bold transformation and modernization of our nation’s education and workforce systems and a stronger federal-state partnership.   Every member of the workforce must be given the opportunity to realize their full potential over the course of their careers in order to keep pace with the ever- evolving demand for new skills and knowledge.” This is from the Preamble to their Policy Position on Workforce. The document is called, “Building a World-Class Workforce”.

Conclusion:

Not only did we prove “ConnectAllSchools” and Workforce are connected, look how many other entities we picked up along the way. {Note: If you wish to look back on my blog entries for any of the related topics mentioned here, please do. If you would rather access more information elsewhere and would desire my help in pointing you in the right direction, please leave me a comment. Thanks for your support.}

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