Tag Archives: department of commerce

Winter 2016: A Look Ahead, NC and the USA

Bond, bad bond

I call this picture above, “Bond, bad bond”. Why? As a dedicated education policy and law researcher who has uncovered many ties to Common Core and its related entities, I can smell a foul stench when I see something like this. The great news is, I am NOT alone! I will go back to the Bond later in this article, but first, these important pieces of the ‘picture’ NOT seen above:

A) With the recent news of the ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) and its purposed exclusion of the phrase “Common Core State Standards, or, CCSS”, we have all been told CCSS is dead, is no longer an issue.
Ha, ha, I am not laughing. Nor are many of the other anti CCSS Warriors I know. Why? We have discovered the ESSA replaced CCSS with the following (interchangeable phrases):

1) ‘College and career readiness’, ‘college and career readiness standards’ (in some instances ‘career pathways’ and ‘career technical education’  were also variations)
2) ‘Challenging state academic standards’
3) ‘Workforce’ (WIOA, Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act) which was usually located in the direct vicinity of ‘education’.

If you missed my articles exposing these phrases and their locations in the ESSA, please see: https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/?s=ESSA

B) So what does the ESSA have to do with ‘Bond, bad bond’?

In my opinion, it will have a  great impact. However, knowing that the workforce based education movement involves not only education, but labor and commerce, we need to know what those projects will be as well. And since we, across America, have seen how non-transparent a lot of the projects are, we must be ever watchful!

C) So, if you don’t live in NC, what can you glean from this type of bond activity?
1) As always, use it as an example of what is going on in your state!
Every state has departments for education, labor, commerce. Every state has bonds placed on their ballots.
2) In this day and age if one side says the bonds are imperative for education, find out how and WHY!
3) We can NO LONGER assume the supportive side in ANYTHING related to education is all that we are being told it is. NOR, can we always assume the non-supportive side in ANYTHING related to education is being up front.
4) With 2016 being SUCH an important election year, we CANNOT let any sneaky move by the CCSS Machine pass. Their omnibus bonds, bills, etc. CANNOT live on! Why? Not only does it grease the Machine’s gears, it lassos our future generations into MASSIVE debt.

 

Back to Bond, Part One:

Returning to the graphic you see and the statement I have about NC higher education being sold out, here is what I am referring to.
“Here’s the basic idea about state policies in education, at least in the CBP(Competency Based Pathway) Way:
a) ‘good’ policy moves include using students outcome to drive precedents.
b) ‘guarding’ those high quality academic standards
c) ‘create’ a community wide education effort (ie: must include ALL ‘stakeholders’)
d) offer incentives to help force certain outcomes and remove any rules or regulations not encouraging ‘more ways to learn/earn’.” (source: https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2015/08/06/tech-thursday-career-pathways-meet-competency-based-pathways/) In  this August 2015 article, you can not only see NC’s progress in CBP but how it encompasses CTE (Career Tech Education)! You can find the links and other resources for what to look for in your state, too!

The Connections:

So, what has the supportive side for this mega bond for NC stated? The Bond’s real name is Connect NC. According to the Raleigh News and Observer, the entire Bond will be for infrastructure projects. Here is an excerpt,
“The $2 billion worth of projects expected to be paid with bond dollars include university and community college infrastructure, parks and North Carolina Zoo improvements and N.C. National Guard and agricultural projects. On its website, NC Against the Bond points out that the funding wouldn’t pay for transportation projects or K-12 education programs.” (see the rest of the article: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/under-the-dome/article53288900.html)

I would like to pause to remind you, my fellow anti CCSS Warriors, that this media source is very CCSS Machine friendly, and has slanted many articles concerning education in the past.

Another media source, from a smaller county in NC (Alamance) had this to report in support of Connect NC: “If voters do approve, Alamance Community College would get $6,100,339 out of $350 million earmarked for state community colleges. President Algie Gatewood said ACC’s Board of Trustees would need to talk about how best to spend the money, but much of it would probably go to nursing and other medical training programs.”, Wait, there is more you need to read! “BOND SUPPORTERS, and there are many, say the focus is on funding education in growing areas of employment like the medical professions, engineering and the sciences.“This allows the community college to train more nurses, medical assistants and nurses’ aides,” said Dan Ingle, ACC trustee and chair of the Alamance County Board of Commissioners. (see the rest of the article: http://www.thetimesnews.com/article/20160109/news/160109142)

I would like to point out that the ACC President is stumping this Bond. It is in the article.

Back to the Bond, Part Two:

Now, as far as the Connect NC Bond, it is part of a movement. It has the Governor’s blessing. If you missed my Weekend News article, it focused on the NC State Board of Education resolving to align education NOT to true academics, but to career tech education/college and career readiness/workforce related education for BUSINESSES and the ECONOMY in 100 % support of the Governor’s plans!(See:https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2016/01/08/weekend-news-tangled-webs-of-educratic-moves/)

When you take into consideration the Resolution in support of the gubernatorial office to the alignment to all things CCSS/CTE/CCR related it isn’t hard to see where the statement made in support of Connect NC is too far removed. Here is an excerpt, “The $2 billion bond will connect North Carolina to the 21st century through statewide investments in education, parks, safety, recreation, and water and sewer infrastructure.”

In the screen shot below, you can see the Connect NC projects are already in the works to some degree. In this PDF you can see Alamance County’s project specifically states ‘new construction, repairs, renovations’
With as crafty as the CCSS Machine is, you can see the education updates will most likely fall in the renovations portion of the funding. Very non- transparent, don’t  you think?! Get the pdf:
http://connect.nc.gov/Final%20Bond%20Project%20List_12.11.15.pdf

connectingnc

Oh, if you are wondering, there is NC State legislation for the Bond. See:
http://www.ncleg.net/gascripts/BillLookUp/BillLookUp.pl?BillID=H943&Session=2015

It is here in the language of the law you can find the loophole Alamance County appears to be taking advantage of with its plans to use the bulk of its Connect NC Bond money for educational courses. “It is the intent of the General Assembly by this act to provide, subject to a vote of the qualified voters of the State, for the issuance of two billion dollars ($2,000,000,000) general obligation bonds of the State for the purpose of providing funds, with any other available funds, to update the State’s public facilities for the 21st century, including, without limitation, construction, repair, renovation, and furnishing of new facilities in order to (i) enhance other economic development efforts of the State and (ii) attract new and assist existing industry, business, technology, and tourism for the benefit of the State and its citizenry.” (NOTE: you can access the rest of the ratified law by clicking on the embedded link to it from the website above.)

Again, if you don’t live in NC, how can you find similar activity in your state? Use the upcoming primaries to see what bonds, taxes, etc. are being added which are connected to education in ANY way. Then, see what connecting legislation (and/or policy) is being used as the justification!

More Connections:

Since STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) are part of CCSS, CCR, and CTE; as well as being so specifically pointed to in the Bond and the Law providing for it, we need to see where NC has STEM (already in the works, too).

From the NC level:

https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2014/12/02/wybi-wednesday-rttt-stem-ed-waivers-and-more/ (This ties our Race to the Top funding to STEM as well as CCSS)
https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2015/11/09/monday-musings-global-readiness-and-ccss/ (Since Global economy and global competency were including in the NC SBE Resolution, this article will be important)
https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2016/01/07/the-great-education-experiment/ (This shows not only NC in the thick of STEM, but Workforce alignment to CCSS/CTE, too)From the federal level and to where to watch for in 2016:
https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2015/07/28/ftf-update-for-stem-workforce-and-the-hea-part-one/
https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2015/07/30/tech-thursday-part-two-of-the-hea-stem-the-workforce-and-america/
2) https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2015/06/17/wybi-nc-businesses-and-common-core/
3) https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2015/03/25/wybi-job-development-grants-and-ccss/Again, if I am not an NC resident, why should I read these?
Since all 50 states have state governments, are aligned to the CCSS Machine via federal funding in some fashion, have jobs and careers where those businesses are forming the educational plans, educational institutions which must carry out the P3 (public private partnerships), we can use each others PRO CCSS movements to see where in the other states similar activity may be.

Career Clusters, Part of the Whole Mess: 

Notice that Alamance County Community College wants to use the bulk of its money for updating courses. (see above) How does that factor into the CCSS Machine and Connect NC Bond? The short answer is they are part of the Career Technical Education arm of CCSS.These clusters usually begin in the K-12 area of education, but are also in post-secondary education. My article from 2015 about the Clusters and data mining may be of help in your state as well. Linda Darling-Hammond is connected. See: https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2015/01/20/ftf-tuesday-career-readiness-and-data/
Impacting all 50 states is the U. S. Dept. of Ed’s Career Clusters road map for education, see: https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2015/03/12/tech-thursday-difference-between-careers/
How special needs students and those deemed as ‘alternative’ will be sucked in: https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2014/12/03/tech-thursday-career-techcommon-core-and-alternative-education/

And the biggest way in which not only NC is tied to this, but your state as well: Perkins Funding! See: https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2014/11/20/tech-thursday-perkins-gets-the-common-core-squeeze/

Closing:

If you want to find out more about NC Against the Bond, you can find them on Facebook. Here is their link: https://www.facebook.com/AgainstTheBond/


If you wish to sign the petition against the Bond and pledge your vote to a ‘no’ on March 15, 2016, visit: http://againstthebond.com/petition/
(I will happily share that I am among those who are saying “No!”)

As far as a federal level of education bonds or legislation which would impact infrastructure in education’s name, that will be another article for another day.

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WYBI Wednesday: We Owe Our Souls to the Company?!

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‘Would You Believe It Wednesday’ has us looking at aligning school and work for one ‘seamless transition’. Before we get too deep into this topic which will take more than one post, I want to see if you remember an old song from Tennessee Ernie Ford, called “Sixteen Tons”. The reason I am curious is, the song is about toil, trouble and a longing soul. In my opinion what we’re seeing happen , or will see in the future, with all the aligned careers, pathways, workforce agendas, etc. being created for our students.

Here’s the first verse to “Sixteen Tons”:

‘Some people say a man is made outta mud
A poor man’s made outta muscle and blood
Muscle and blood and skin and bones
A mind that’s a-weak and a back that’s strong.’

A bit of background:

I don’t know about where you live, but here, in North Carolina, where I live there’s a big push to start students out on a career path very early in life. While I’ve known this to be the case due to all the researching I do, I really learned quite a bit more when I attended a morning long “Align4NC” Workforce Learning Summit. Lots of powerful people were there, at least 3 state legislators. The Governor and the Secretary of Commerce made an appearance as well. Many public school officials were in attendance as well.

It appears NC has been aligning education and workforce for quite a while, at least since 2009. I do believe it has been going on before then, but since I’ve not verified that, we’ll just stick with ’09. About every 3 or 4 years, educational standards are looked at, incorporating commerce needs at the same time. Why? Because, businesses are looking to the students (‘really looking at them’) as part of the ‘supply chain‘. You see, here in NC, the biggest ‘partners’ for aligning work/school are the following: industry, the Dept. of Public Instruction, the Dept. of Commerce and our community colleges. I had to stop several times to remind myself we were, indeed, referring to humans, not manufactured goods. Terms like, ‘human capital’, ‘youth pipeline‘, ‘supply base‘ were freely spoken. It’s a shame I wasn’t collecting a nickel for every time I heard such vernacular. All this & more, served up with enthusiasm and a smile. NC, according to the rhetoric of the day, has a more aggressive workforce strategy than any other state. Which should give ‘us’ the #1 workforce in the nation. (Pardon me if I don’t jump up & cheer over this ‘victory’) Don’t misunderstand me, work is good, just as long as ‘greed’ isn’t the winner. Especially when such attention to a ‘co-ordinated awareness plan’ is currently in motion.

‘You load sixteen tons, what do you get
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go
I owe my soul to the company store.’

Second verse of “Sixteen Tons”

Aligning in the schools:

In order for us to have a better workforce, schools are plotting to begin the ‘pipeline‘ in K-12. Fourth grade may begin writing resumes soon (certainly by 8th grade). Careers being assessed in 6th grade. Helping all this along? Guidance counselors. Why? Because their access to both the students and the parents is quite wonderful. According to those speaking, the counselors usually begin ‘career talks’ in the autumn season by seeking out those students who don’t know what their interests are. They then continue discussions about careers/the future so that by the early part of December, it’s time for open house. This is where the parents & counselor can interact. Now, there’s a 3 way communication. However, again, according to the information shared, only certain information is shared in this 3 way. School officials/business partners view this as ‘investing in kids’. Students, make the best salespeople in situations like this. They’ve been guided to a path by their counselor, the parents are ‘on board’ and the future appears set. A ‘return on investment’ will now begin for some lucky company. According to one of the Career Tech directors present ‘we’re waiting too late for dual enrollment.’ Traditionally dual enrollment (aka: ‘Career/College Promise’ in NC) is available to Juniors and Seniors in high school. According to the words spoken on this subject, we need to begin as early as 6th grade! “Make students want IT (job, success, more money).” Another quote shared at the meeting, “If we wait until 8th grade to find out a student’s affinities in life, we’re ‘too late'”. One other school official shared the reason why business/industry is listened to when it comes to education, “so we can supply the pipeline.’

‘I was born one mornin’ when the sun didn’t shine
I picked up my shovel and I walked to the mine
I loaded sixteen tons of number nine coal
And the straw boss said “Well, a-bless my soul”.’

Third verse of “Sixteen Tons”

Parents, we’re the problem:

Parents are key to putting kids in a pathway were work and education intersect. Did you know that about yourself? I sure didn’t! I sincerely thought my children’s pathway in life was something they were to discover. As a parent, I have raised my children to be independent when it comes to personal choice. In my mind, their lives, their paths ARE personal choice. However, I understand that personal choice is opposite of the ‘collective good’ so prevalant not only in this alignment pow-wow, but Common Core altogether. (oops, I’m digressing)

Back to the meeting, Parents are considered the problem by many of the school officials who were in the room. I almost expected to be tarred and feathered as I sat there. We’re not up to date on the what jobs are available today OR we have such preconceived mindsets, we’re woefully out of date about jobs. For ‘great ed reform’, schools want to increase work based learning..it’s the ‘perfect platform’. It’ll get the students excited when they see the actual work & hear about the company benefits!. Appealing to parents: “FREE classes (dual enrollment); “Career Pathways” don’t lead to college debt!” Yes, reduced college debt would suit my family well. However, the federal government’s involvement in student debt is WHY so many families are saddled with massive debt. But, consider, it’s NOT the parents facing the debt load… the students are! According to those wishing to further align education and work, they realize in order to ‘sell’ the parents are the greatness, more than FREE college will need to be offered up.

Did you know it’s because of us parents (in NC) that the new school grading system has been put into effect?! Yes, I was amazed that a state legislator uttered those words for everyone to take note of! According to his other words, it was we (parents) who couldn’t understand ‘schools of excellence’, ‘blue ribbon schools’ and other such titles BUT we (parents) could understand letters! I didn’t take a survey, but it is curious how many in the room bought that lie as the truth. What grading system? What lie, you ask? The new grading system for schools that gives letter grades, A-F. The better letter grade your school gets, the more federal/state funding you get in the future AND the more flexibility (to what with, I’m not sure) the school is afforded. What a terrible thing to throw parents under the bus as to why NC is using letter grades! Want to know the reason why states have letter grades for schools now?! Common Core Standards are the main culprit, however, so is the legislative body!!! (here’s the announcement the NC Dept. of Public Instruction made: http://www.ncpublicschools.org/newsroom/news/2012-13/20120807-01) At the root is Race to the Top funding, not parents!

Just for kicks, know that ‘NC’s Project Ready’ is tied to ‘Home Base’ data mining which is tied to Pearson Publishing’s “Power School”. As far as the parents understanding the letter grades or not, there’s a real fear (to the point it’s a threat to some educators) that when the newest round of grades is given in Jan. 2015, the messages about the schools will be mixed because only math, language, etc. are assessed..NOT workforce related subjects. So, for us parents, to ‘buy in’, we need to understand all the success and greatness of aligning everything and we can’t if a mixed message is given.

One last thought:

I shared with you, this would take more than one post to convey all that was gleaned from the Learning Summit and I will follow up, however, I leave you with one youthful comment shared by an apprentice who was in attendance and up on the stage. “Like any job you don’t know what each day holds. We must be ready for anything.” True of everything in life. However, here’s a question I leave you with today: How can we accomplish this type of flexibility when we’re so busy being aligned to constrictive lessons and scripted agendas? Thoughts?

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