Tag Archives: US Dept of Labor

Ed/Workforce’s Dirty Laundry?!

Hello, my Anti Fed Ed/CCSS Warriors! As you know, I’ve dedicated years to researching just how deep the roots to the shift in American education to workforce training are.

Today’s article will give you a rundown which is sure to help your War vs the Core in your State.

Why you need such a rundown of items is simple. The CCSS Machine’s rhetoric will somewhat slow down during the summer months. A perfect opportunity for us to make some moves of our own. No battle is won without specific preparation.

D.C.’s Dirty Laundry:

So far, during the current Congressional session, there are PLENTY of ‘dirty’ education/workforce bills in the making. Using the Congress.gov website (where you can easily look up bills), there are 733 Workforce bills for the 2017 session.

Since we know what happens in D.C. travels to each of the 50 States, we know what to look for at our General Assemblies, State Congresses, etc. Much like the proverbial red towel left in the load of white sheets, the goal of the CCSS Machine is simple, make all education ‘pink’ (ie: workforce training, not academic-minded). As we also, know, once dyed pink, sheets do not return to their former color easily, if at all.

Below are only a few of the ‘dirty’ bills:

S268, Investing in Student Success Act of 2017 (Senator Young from IN is the main sponsor).
Sounds not so ‘dirty’ right? I mean who doesn’t want to invest in their child’s post-secondary education?! Ah, but Warriors, the ‘dirt’ is that your student and someone not related to you invests in their education via an ISA (Income Share Agreement).

Some hidden ‘dirt’ for S268 is that this FEDERAL bill goes above any existing State law about investment agreements! Targeted group for S268? Low-income students.

HR1837, The 21st Century Energy Workforce Act (Representative Norcross from NJ is the main sponsor)
This bill points out that energy in the United States is the 3rd largest industry. As such, it needs more skilled workers than other industries.
The ‘hidden dirt’ to this bill? Using community colleges for the uniting of all educational choices for STEM/CTE aligned Common Core workforce educated students. (*Note: STEM is short for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math; CTE is short for Career Technical Education. Both are tied to Common Core and have been for years.)

The embedded ‘pink’ stain to this bill? The Secretary of Energy will be in charge of grants for creating apprenticeships to carry all this alignment out. This will, of course, involve the U.S. Dept. of Labor, and the U.S. Dept. of Education.
This HR1837, also establishes a National Center for Excellence for the  21st Century Workforce Advisory Board.(see pages 3 and 4)


Warriors, notice the ‘pipeline’ begins in elementary school!

A Former ‘Stain’ Which Will Not Wash Out:

Our Senate, over the past 2 Congressional sessions, has tried to get a bill to support a National Workforce Board. See below from Sen. Cantwell’s (WA):

S1304, was last introduced during the 2015-2016 Session by Sen. Cantwell. If you read the 9 pages, it is very similar in several instances to the HR 1837 language. Talk about ‘dirty laundry’….

New Wash Load, Same Old Dirt:

During THIS Congressional Session (2017-2018) The Senate’s 21st Century Energy Workforce Act is mainly sponsored by Sen. Heinrich, NM. It is S895.

S895’s title is officially “Energy Workforce for the 21st Century Act of 2017”. This bill specifies an increase in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) especially for low-income students of ALL ages (like the House’s bill, this one will begin in elementary schools and go all the way to the workforce). This bill also specifies WIOA (Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act’s) definition of ‘education’..just like ESSA did.

S895 will have not only the Secretary of Energy creating education collaborations, but awarding all kinds of incentives to them.


Warriors, if you missed my article from earlier this year about how the major Cabinet agencies all have CTE/STEM plans to streamline education to workforce skills, I urge you to access that information here. It is absolutely key to what we see Congress plotting NOW.

Also, take into consideration that the Federal Budget has millions of taxpayer funds earmarked for job creation. On Page 2 of the 2018 Federal Budget, energy development is at the top of the continued priority list. Education is last. On Page 8, funding/discussion for American jobs is highlighted.

Back in March 2017, when the Blueprint for the Federal Budget was released, I shared with you just how the education/workforce stream of money was being kept alive, in spite of all the noise about reining in the federal overreach into education.
Here is that article. (*Note: be sure to access my special 5 page guide to see just how the Cabinet level agenices are involved. It will help in understanding the Congressional bills we are exposing in this article.)

Continuing the Spin Cycle:

S1186 is sponsored by several Senators from across the nation. Leading them is Sen. Baldwin from WI. This bill, the Domestic Maritime Centers of Excellence Act of 2017, would have the Secretary of Transportation select existing community colleges (and technical schools) for an increase in educated workforce training. This Secretary’s assistance also includes funding, use of federal resources, AND, create new career pathways!

S628, Educating Tomorrow’s Workforce Act of  2017 is mainly sponsored by Sen. Kaine of VA. While it’s been rumored VA never had Common Core, it’s been researched and proven VA has Common Core’s ‘adult version’ of education, CTE (Career Tech Education). This bill should be an absolute dead ringer for exposing the shift in education. Why? See below:



Warriors, as you can see, these are just a few of the over 700 bills Congress has created in the name of job creation, education, workforce skills, and more. The bottom line, however, is 100% alignment to WIOA via ESSA. HEA (Higher Education Act) is also to be included. Career Pathways, STEM, and so much more connects every one of these existing laws and proposed bills. Will every one of these bills survive? No, but even if ONE of them succeeds, look at the agenda it embeds, not only federally, but LOCALLY.
The ‘stain’ of CCSS Machine reform is becoming permanently marked on America.


Human capital concept in tag cloud
Is this what we will continue to allow Congress to see when it comes to our children?!



FTF: More Tracking the Workforce Aligned Society


As promised, anti CCSS/CTE Warriors, here’s the article detailing more information on how our nation is slowly, but surely becoming a workforce aligned nation.  Over the weekend, if you read my “Weekend News”,  I shared 2 distinct graphics from the federal government’s Education and the Workforce Committee.  See: https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2015/09/27/weekend-news-tracking-the-ccsscteworkforce-aligned-society/

SKILLS Act? It’s a Law Now and It Has a New Name!:

In today’s ‘From the File Tuesday’, we’ll look at several legislative moves meant for the express purpose of aligning our nation. First up, the SKILLS Act (Supporting Knowledge and Investing in Lifelong Skills Act). It’s bill number was HR803. It was put before Congress in the 2013-14 Session. According to the Library of Congress, HR803 has had 6 makeovers. The very first one appeared in Feb. 2013. Now, if you’ll remember, I shared with you over the weekend, that I’d tie the SKILLS Act to the WIOA (Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014). Folks, you may already know this, or you may not. The tie? Quite simply, over the course of the Congressional ins/outs/swapping Chambers, etc. The SKILLS Act was renamed to become the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act!

(*Note: The WIOA became law in July 2015. One of my Nov. 2014 published articles detailed  information on how  legislation set in Washington trickled down to the state level and how the data collection in the name of Workforce was happening. If you’d like to see just HOW Workforce Data is handled in your state, see: https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2014/11/06/tech-thursday-workforce-commissions-education-and-common-core/)

When it was SKILLS:

When HR803 was known as “SKILLS”:
1) The bill (introduced by NC legislator Virginia Foxx)  ‘will empower employers, rein in bureaucracy, and provide America’s workers with a more dynamic, flexible, and effective network of job training services.”

2) The bill used a 2011 Government Accountability Office document, which reveals connections to  the 2009 “Recovery Act”. (remember this was the Act which gave us ‘shovel ready’ projects, Affordable Health Care, and a host of other changes?)
The document:  2011GAOreport

3) A program “Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)” was included. Why is this important in 2015? Did WIOA keep this program? Expand it? Keep reading, my warriors!

4) The bill gave our governors even more power when it comes to workforce training programs. (If you’ve not seen any of my published work on just HOW far NC has gone to align education for the good of NC, here’s one where not only will you see the selling out of the citizens of NC to the Common Core, you’ll also get to see how the state used its grant money from the Workforce Quality Data (in the Nov. 2014 article above) : https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2015/08/27/ccss-follow-up-system-more-than-money-will-follow-your-students/

5) The bill also gave greater power to businesses (the ‘private’ in “public, private partnerships embedded in the CCSS Machine). All the ‘bonuses of HR803’ are included in this archived ‘fact sheet’. See: http://edworkforce.house.gov/uploadedfiles/short_bill_summary_-_skills_act_final.pdf

I give you these items so we can look at where these programs/efforts have been increased through the WIOA or other legislation (will include federal and state levels).


The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families certainly sounds like a noble cause, and I’m sure for those in need, the help is appropriate. However, in the vane of aligning education for workforce needs, is it truly noble? To learn more about TANF, see their website: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ofa/programs/tanf
TANF is part of the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services (one of the 3 federal agencies using education as an alignment tool to reform America)
One of the features about TANF mentioned in that Government Accountability Report? The ‘one-stop-job-centers’ created by combining at least 2 programs. Here’s an excerpt, “Options that may increase efficiencies include colocating services and consolidating administrative structures, but implementation may pose challenges. While WIA Adult and ES services are generally colocated in onestop
centers, TANF employment services are colocated in one-stops to a lesser extent. Florida, Texas, and Utah have consolidated their welfare and workforce agencies, and state officials said this reduced costs and improved services, but they could not provide a dollar figure for cost savings.”

Did TANF get included in the WIOA (what SKILLS turned into)? You bet it did! Here’s a document called “Aligned by Design”: WIOA and TANF2015-06-Aligned-by-Design-WIOA-and-TANF

TANF funds include Title 4 funding for each state, Anita Hoge, a well known anti CCSS Warrior has shared many times how Title 4 funding is being abused to align our schools. The abuse WILL continue in the current Student Success Act (HR5), the Every Child Achieves Act (S1177), and the upcoming efforts toward re-authorizing the HEA (Higher Education Act).

In Kansas, TANF funds, the GED, and students highlight the stealthy Career Tech, College Readiness portions of CCSS. See the story: http://ksn.com/2014/12/11/state-focuses-on-g-e-d-and-tech-students/

In Utah, TANF funds are tying STEM (also connected to the CCSS Machine as one of the foremost nationally aligning efforts in education, workforce, and our nation) to the state’s Dept. of Workforce. See that story: http://ksn.com/2014/12/11/state-focuses-on-g-e-d-and-tech-students/

Here in NC, a TANF report will reveal how the state’s “Common Follow Up System” is involved in CTE for Workforce trained citizens. Access: NC TANF report

More Workforce/CTE resourced information:

The Career Tech Education (part of the Common Core) which made it from the SKILLS Act into the WIOA? Access this other “Aligned by Design”2015-06-Aligned-by-Design-WIOA-and-CTE

To find out how the Career Pathways (part of the Career Tech Education) made it into the WIOA, see: https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2014/11/02/rmt-sunday-vp-common-core-and-jobs/

If you’d like to see the state of Arkansas’s TANF for Career Pathways funding/presentation:

If you’d like to see how Job Development Grants (given by the feds to the states) is also Common Core aligned and will continue to carry out the mission of helping align our nation to ‘workforce readiness’, see:

Workforce/Education Historical Evidence you can use:


Tech Thursdays: Anti CCSS Need to Know Items

We must listen to how CCSS has infiltrated ALL aspects of education, not just K-12!
We must listen to how CCSS has infiltrated ALL aspects of education, not just K-12!

It’s been an honor to be a trusted ‘go to’ person in this War Against the Core (as I call it). Especially when it’s come to the aspect that Common Core is extremely embedded in our post-secondary world. Why is it so important to repeat this? Because no matter where your pre-K through 12th grade education took place (ie: homeschools, private schools, parochial schools, charter schools, virtual schools, or public schools), post-secondary schools (meaning 2 year community colleges, public (and some private) 4 year colleges/universities, for profit trade schools, on-line courses, etc.) ARE aligned to Common Core via Career and Technical Education, Career Pathways, Career Clusters. This includes education majors.

So, while I’ve written about this extensively before 2015 and in 2015, I’m giving you the most important articles from 2015 which can be extremely helpful in helping educate others in the fight against Common Core. Listed in no particular order.

For Cradle to Career Information:

1) https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2015/02/19/tech-thursday-cradlecareer-conference/
Be sure to access the related articles posted at the bottom of the article. If you don’t know about Knowledge Works, you truly need to investigate them.
2) https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2015/01/08/tech-thursday-national-career-pathways-network/
While not beginning in the earliest of school years, the Career Pathway tracks are showing up as early as third grade in some states. This article gives you an inside informant’s view.

The Difference Between ‘Career Clusters’ and ‘Career Pathways’:

One of these is older than the other one, however, they’ve both got Common Core alignment as their conjoining factor. Why it’s important to know the difference isn’t so much what the students and teachers have to perform, it’s who is involved in ‘gifting America’ with all of this.

How Workforce is Embedded in HR5:

This article from March 2015 ties how the Workforce (as in WIOA: Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014) has been woven into the current HR5 legislation. The common tie to HR5 and HEA: Higher Education Act? Sen. Lamar Alexander. How does the HEA play into WIOA? An aligned education that’s seamless in transition.

Apprenticeships, CCSS Aligned:

Here’s a program being touted as a great alternative education choice yet is also under the CCSS/Career Pathways realm. Known as AAI, the American Apprenticeship Initiative, this Career Pathways baby is a gift from the U.S. Dept. of Labor to America. This also connects to the Workforce Act.


Attracting the Students Via Extra Curricular Clubs:

Back in Feb. 2015, I shared with you how our students are being sought after by the extra curricular clubs. The problem with this? Many are now going by CCSS/CTE guidelines. Would you know which ones? Do you know someone who needs to know? Share this one.




Be sure to let me know if you have found any of the recap articles to be helpful to your fight. I strive to do my best to serve you in being the best prepared CCSS warrior out there.

FOM Friday: Diplomas, a Thing of the Past?!

It's Friday, you know what that means! Time to measure what's truth, what's fallacy/fib or what's in between.
It’s Friday, you know what that means! Time to measure what’s truth, what’s fallacy/fib or what’s in between.

Imagine, if you will…a society where those diplomas we worked so hard to earn are rendered useless. A society where Common Core has so overtaken us, we work for the credential authorized card. It’s not that far fetched.

Watch this short video produced by the NCCER (National Center for Construction Education and Research):

NCCER has been around since 1996. Since it’s all about construction, you wonder why it’s on an anti CCSS blog. Especially on the Fib-o-Meter Friday category. Well, hold on to your coffee, folks. Here’s the first ‘statement’ we’ll measure. Look at the screen shot below and know it’s a “Total Truth”.


Well, it’s ‘Total Truth’ according to Pearson, but what does the NCCER have to say about Career Tech Ed?
Straight from the NCCER’s “Curriculum” website page, In cooperation with publishing partner Pearson, NCCER develops and publishes a world-class curriculum created by Subject Matter Experts from industry and academia throughout the United States. Subject Matter Experts ensure exceptional training programs meet or exceed national industry standards. The NCCER curriculum, which includes more than 70 craft areas, is taught worldwide by contractors, associations, construction users, and secondary and post-secondary schools.”

As far as those “Subject Matters Experts”, who knows, notice the academia/industries are not specifically mentioned, rather a general statement. Hhmmmm…just what is a ‘Subject Matter Expert’? According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, a SME (Subject Matter Expert) can be a ‘first level supervisor’ and on up the workforce ladder. The website even states that those with recent successful experience can be considered SMEs!! The entire definition of who is considered as a SME is quite nebulous, in my opinion. Why? (see for yourselves: (http://www.opm.gov/FAQs/QA.aspx?fid=a6da6c2e-e1cb-4841-b72d-53eb4adf1ab1&pid=c9d6d33b-a98c-45f5-ad76-497565d58bcf)

So, as far as our Fib-o-Meter goes for how expert the ‘experts’ are? We’ll have to stick with ‘Neutral’ until more evidence surfaces. However, with a Common Core loving partners like Pearson and the Association for Career and Technical Education, I don’t think it’ll be long before we see more proof surfacing. Oh, by the way, if you type in “Subject Matter Expert” into a general search engine for the internet, don’t fall over when you see how many free, on-line assessments there are to determine your expert level. Which kind of smacks of the “I-learned-it-on-the-Internet-so-it-must-be-true.” mindset. That’s “Total Fallacy”!

I’m Not the Only One:

Huffington Post featured an almost exact phrasing of their question concerning diplomas as I have. See:
(http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/27/value-college-degree_n_5399573.html) Of course, the article is discussing the lower value of high school diplomas these days.

Design Today for that Credential Tomorrow!

Seeing how CCSS and all that’s connected seek to re-arrange everything we know about quality education, it’s not hard to find credential based information for our students. The U.S. Dept. of Labor has an entire website, tutorials included, on how you, the student, or educator can build a custom career competency model. So, I built one based on the heavy construction Career Cluster. (since our newly Pearson/NCCER curriculum will be included, I thought I’d see just what I’d have to do as a student. Here’s the results, (click to enlarge it)

If I complete everything in my competency model, I can have a career! Yippee!!
If I complete everything in my competency model, I can have a career! Yippee!!

Now, do you think all this should be considered truth or fallacy? Remember..all this competency, career alignment is filtered through the Common Core lens. From what I’ve been able to uncover, it should all land on the “Fallacy” end of the Fib-o-Meter! Why? When you base everything off a lie, it’s still a lie in the end!

Related resource: The U.S. Dept. of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration has a handy, dandy guide for what constitutes a diploma, a credential, a degree, etc. Since CCSS is diluting education at break neck speed, be sure you hang on to this linked resource. See:DOLETA resourcedefinitions

Finally, here’s one “Total Truth” that to this day, I cringe when I consider the directions credentials, not, diplomas are taking us. Why? In my opinion, the diploma equals knowledge and freedom. The credential, notsomuch of anything except constriction. Listen for the smoothly delivered line, “No national career certificate, no need to apply.”

The “WorkKeys” the manager refers to? It’s owned, written, and administered by ACT, Inc. It’s “Total Truth” how ACT, Inc. is sold out to Common Core. (see: http://ladyliberty1885.com/2014/06/23/common-core-aligned-workkeys/) Note: Lady Liberty’s opening sentence about Common Core? Nails it with ‘biggest lie’! Around here, that’s good enough for a “Total Fallacy”!

Tech Thursday: National Career Pathways Network

CP Network: A national outreach full of strings on all levels with one goal in mind: your aligned, trained student.
CP Network: A national outreach full of strings on all levels with one goal in mind: your aligned, trained student.

The Network:

If you’ve followed my blog long, you know each Thursday is devoted to Common Core beyond high school. Today is no different. If you’ve not been made aware of this network, you’ll want to get to know about it. It’s called the “National Career Pathways Network” and they have quite an agenda. (website: http://www.ncpn.info/index.php)

The Agenda:

Career Pathways is post-secondary Common Core and is coming at our students (regardless of age or school choice) via the recent Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014. I’m providing the links to the 2 articles I wrote about CP/WIOA on the “Prevent Common Core” website. (see: http://preventcommoncore.com/?p=1187 from 09/14 and http://preventcommoncore.com/?p=1201 from 10/14)

According the the Network’s website there are 10 agenda points for POSs (Programs of Study) for Career Pathways. So every time a student takes a CP course, you’ll know these 10 are woven into it:
1) Legislation and Policies (ie: from federal, state, and local levels)
2) Partnerships (ie: more P3s or public/private partnerships)
3) Professional Development (ie: career tech alignment courses)
4) Accountability and Evaluation Systems (ie: more data mining)
5) College and Career Readiness Standards (ie: more Common Core disguised as not CCSS)
6) Course Sequences (ie: aligning the track between secondary and post-secondary schools)
7) Credit Transfer Agreements (ie: keeping the alignment accountable)
8) Guidance Counseling and Academic Advisement (ie: can’t have trained workers without trained guidance)
9) Teaching and Learning Strategies (ie: more project based, collaborative learning)
10) Technical Skills Assessments (ie: assessments from federal, state, and local levels)

To see the entire pdf of  these 10 agenda items and to learn even more about HOW they factor into Career Tech Education/Career Pathways: 10ComponentsofPOS

The U. S. Dept. of Labor’s Six Key Elements of Career Pathways:

From the DOL’s website, a report dated September 2011, was written by an outside group for the DOL under the ‘Career Pathways Technical Assistance Initiative’ project. That outside group? Social Policy Research  Associates. The report is chock full of more ways to collaborate, to align, to join forces, more global competitive rhetoric, more skills gap pleas, and assessments to impact everyone involved.

Here’s an excerpt of how CPs (Career Pathways) are defined by the Dept. of Labor, “WHAT ARE CAREER PATHWAYS? Career pathway-oriented workforce development has the goal of increasing individuals’ educational and skills attainment and improving their employment outcomes while meeting the needs of local employers and growing sectors and industries. Career pathway programs offer a clear sequence, or pathway, of education coursework and/or training credentials aligned with employer-validated work readiness standards and competenciesThis systems approach makes it easier for people to earn industry-recognized credentials (through more flexible avenues and opportunities for relevant education and training) and to attain marketable skills so that they can more easily find work in growing careers.”  *Note: Repeatedly throughout the report, you’ll see that the CPs were to target ADULT learners, CPs were to include those individuals who find they are displaced, or incarcerated. So WHY are we finding more and more CP alignment in elementary and secondary schools? Simple answer: Common Core.

So, what are those Dept. of Labor 6 keys to CPs? 1. Build cross-agency partnerships and clarify roles; 2. Identify sector or industry and engage employers; 3. Design education and training programs; 4. Identify funding needs and sources; 5. Align policies and programs; 6. Measure system change and performance.  In anti Common Core speak, these keys mean 1) sharing vision of outcomes, getting politicians to support vision; 2) have industry/business help lay out CP; 3) lessons taught follow the framework of #2; 4) find the money for leveraging purposes; 5) promotes the CP on a united front; and 6) assess, assess, assess. The Dept. of Labor has a nice picture graphic of the Pathway (oddly enough, in the shape of a circle):

The path that leads in a circle soon gets you nowhere.
The path that leads in a circle soon gets you nowhere.

Meet the ‘designers’ of the Career Pathway, per the 2011 report,  see the picture below (click to enlarge it):


You’ll definitely want to look at the entire report, it details the key people needed in your community to pull a successfully aligned Career Pathway off. See: CareerPathwaysToolkit2011

Has anything been updated since 2011 in the Career Pathway Initiative? Not too much has actually changed. There are still the 2011 resources seen above in use.

What has happened is the net that’s cast has broadened. Website: https://learnwork.workforce3one.org/page/about 

( my previous post from 11/14 delved into more about Career Pathways/Tracks, etc.)see below:

https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2014/11/06/tech-thursday-workforce-commissions-education-and-common-core/ *Note, links to connect more dots between CP and CCSS will be at the bottom of this post.

Selling the Career Pathway:

I’m including a 2012 Success School Network video that will help illustrate how CPs are being ‘sold’ to our schools. Speaking is the Ga. State Superintendent (John Barge). The Harvard study he refers to is one I’ve written on before “Pathways to Prosperity”. It was a joint effort between Harvard University and Pearson Publishing. The Summit this video was featured in was provided by the School Success Network. All 3 (Harvard, Pearson, and School Success) have well documented ties to Common Core Standards. So, objectivity? Not a chance! By the way, the way in which we’re being sold? State legislation!! Departments of Commerce!!

Related: School Success Network to Common Core: http://www.schoolimprovement.com/products/common-core-360/

How to effectively implement CC: http://www.schoolimprovement.com/effective-common-core-implementation/

Tying Pearson, Harvard, and Common Core:

Another link to use in relation to Career Pathways, Pearson, Harvard, corporations, and the US Government:

Social Policy Research Associates can help you build a ‘talent pipeline’at your school : http://www.spra.com/2014/07/15/building-a-smart-talent-pipeline/

Social Policy’s 2013 Report/Study on a CA based Youth Workforce Project:
http://testspra.com/wordpress2/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/FINAL-DCYF-YWD-Mid-Project-Report.pdf (look for ‘intentional skill building’, employer engagement, etc.)

RMT Sunday: VP, Common Core and Jobs

Repeatedly, I’ve written about the Workforce plans for the US that are wrapped up with CCSS (Common Core State Standards) laden Career Pathways. So, what would you say if I asked you to believe me when I say, Vice President Biden was given a big job to do by overseeing the workforce plans for America take shape. Would you believe it or would you think it a riddle?

The President:

Yes, VP Biden was given the job earlier this year (2014) by the President himself. Dated 1/30/14 is a Presidential Memo directing the VP, along with others, to put into motion Workforce alignment.  “Job-Driven Reform of Federal Employment and Training Programs. (a) Within 180 days of the date of this memorandum and in coordination with the Office of the Vice President, the National Economic Council, the Domestic Policy Council, the Council of Economic Advisers, the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and the Office of Management and Budget, the Secretaries of Labor, Commerce, and Education (Secretaries), in consultation with other executive departments and agencies as appropriate, shall develop a specific action plan, to be provided to me through the Vice President, to make the workforce and training system more job-driven, integrated, and effective.” Among one of the ‘concrete steps’, is this:  “ensuring better alignment across secondary, post-secondary, and adult education, and workforce training, including coordinating Federal programs and promoting foundational skill development for employability, on-the-job training, and apprenticeship options..” then:  “encouraging effective regional partnerships among industry, educators, worker representatives, nonprofits, and the workforce system to prepare, support, and train youth, unemployed workers, low-skilled employed adults, and others for career path employment and advancement.”

See the rest of the Presidential memo: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/01/30/presidential-memorandum-job-driven-training-workers

Note: the 2015 budget that the President has laid out asks for $6 billion for the community college-businesses relationships are continued (ie: public private partnerships).

The Vice President:

See this excerpt, “Q. How does WIOA(Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act) align with the Vice President’s review of federal job training programs? A. The Vice President’s review of federal job training programs highlights several key elements that characterize job-driven programs and best practices to make our national training and skills investments more job-driven. WIOA also includes these key elements. The Vice President’s report and WIOA complement one another and both advance the goals of preparing workers for 21st century jobs and ensuring American businesses will have skilled workers to be competitive in our global economy.” I found this in a pdf file from the U.S. Dept. of Labor. The pdf is a ‘Workforce FAQ file’.

His job as directed by the President?  “The vice president’s charge was to work in consultation with the heads of other executive agencies, including the secretaries of labor and education, to develop an action plan with key policy recommendations.” Just some of the policies are a Career Pathways Exchange, online program for states to build their Pathways even stronger; for up to 10 of the states to be selected to broaden Career Pathways in their school districts’ Each of the participating U.S. States (at this time, all states will eventually be involved) must present unified plans from their Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act 2014 integral departments (such as education, labor, etc.).

Back in June 2014, the Vice President was the main speaker at a Third Way Workforce Panel. I’ll include the video, but, first, here are some interesting folks you need to know about.

The Panel assembled was fairly well stacked with not only industry leaders with union connections, but educators who are making headway in helping align their domains with the federal agenda. One Panel member is convinced there’s such a skills gap, he’s written numerous books about it. (If there’s such a skill gap, why are we investing money to write about it, when that investment could go to a better solution?) Another Panel member is from Aspen Institute, which not only is a known CCSS supporter, but according to the President of Third Way, the leader in career pathways strategy for America! While there are many other note worthy members of the Panel which can be tied to STEM, CCSS, it’s the Walla Walla WA Community College that I want to finish this portion with. Why? Because WWCC is consider the pioneering leader in using wage data to target students career paths in education. This Panel’s job is to not only assist the VP, but to help solve the Workforce problem in America.

Points that I’d like to feature for you (in the event you don’t have the hour to watch the video)
“Upskills”; American Job Centers and the Dept. of Labor are the Match.com approach; people who work with their hands (this was repeated several times); the Workforce programs are accredited by the U.S. Dept. of Ed/Labor, known as ‘stackable’, because not only can you punch a ticket to middle class, but to education super highway. (middle class is the highest goal that was repeated by all those who spoke in this video); ‘when middle class is doing well, everyone does well’; ‘middle class not gone, just redefined’; ‘we have respect for intellectual property’; ‘we, as a nation, can change quickly’; citizens of America have never let Her down’; we must reward colleges for outcomes achieved. Main point: Matching skills to jobs, that’s where community colleges, business partnerships enter. “Community college is the single most flexible educational institution out there.” (VP said that)


Third Way:

If you’re like me, you haven’t heard of this think tank organization. However, that’s about to change. This group says it represents the middle, not the left or right. It tackles some of the biggest issues in America and helps suggest policies. Among their most pride filled accomplishments: helping reduce America’s deficit, helping with climate change issues, and other hot button social conundrums I refuse to mention. However, it’s their take on education you really need to look into. Things like ‘preK is largely for the affluent, so while universal pre-K is one solution, the third one…’pre-K Plus’, BUT only for some. Here’s an excerpt: “As we envision it, pre-K plus doesn’t just mean focusing on enrolling low-income students — it also means ensuring they are being taught the skills they need to be successful in school and in life (not just their ABCs). Learning the alphabet is important, but at least as important to future success are things like executive functions and non-cognitive skills like grit, delaying gratification, controlling impulses, self-regulation, and focusing attention that help both children and adults deal with confusing or unpredictable situations and thrive.” Can we please remember how old kids are in Pre-K?! (op-ed piece is where I got this quote, however, under their ‘education’ tab, you can find the full report complete with a community wide ‘we’ll take care of you’ component not mentioned in the above.) http://www.thirdway.org/op-ed/its-time-to-rethink-education-policy-and-consider-pre-k-plus

Their take on Common Core?! Oh, you’ll ‘love’ this.. “In most states where the standards have not been adopted, the existing standards were substantially similar or equal in rigor, and of the states which have dropped the standards, most are doing so basically in name only. The truth is that Common Core is here to stay.” There is an infographic image that is supposed to give you all the facts, but I didn’t see that is was worth sharing. It’s the same old groupings of this state adopted, this state didn’t, this state pulled out, etc. However, if you’d like to view it:  http://www.thirdway.org/infographic/facts-over-frenzy-common-core-is-more-commonly-accepted-than-you-may-think 

As far as Third Way’s ideas on Workforce, again complete services to ‘take care of you’ type thinking. treating education like a business, and embracing community colleges to help all this happen. (I’ll be writing more about this in the upcoming Tech Thursday post, so I’ll save the rest for then)

To fulfill the line Third Way requires accompanying any of their information, I am to have the following credit appear, so please apply this credit to anything you decide to share.
“This material [article] was published by Third Way”

The Media:

Boston Globe, in an October 2014 article had this to say about Third Way: “Third Way, backed by Wall Street titans, corporate money, and congressional allies” Further down, in the article, “Third Way raises just over a third of its $9.3 million annual budget from undisclosed corporations. The remainder, the bulk of its funding, is donated by individuals, almost all of whom are members of Third Way’s board of trustees.” The article does share a direct quote from the President of Third Way and one of the co-founders,“We are centrist Democrats, not centrists,” Cowan said.  Wait, didn’t the website say they were left or right, but in the middle?? Hmmm..word play..by using ‘centrist’ and not ‘central’, I did what most of us would do, see the word as what I thought is was being suggested as, not for what it truly is. Nice, deceiving move, there Third Way.

Not knowing you, my readers personally, I have no idea how you would react to the rest of the information in this article, so I’m sharing the link for you to read on your own. I will tell you, it is quite illuminating.

The NY Times, in December 2013, in an article about think another think tank and its donors included Third Way  in a small bit of press in the article: ‘Sean Gibbons,  a spokesman for Third Way, rejected any suggestion that the group’s work was distorted by the origin of its financing. “No one — not our donors, our political allies or our friends — tells us what to think, write or say,” he said.’ (To see the rest of the article, which is another illuminating read: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/14/us/politics/think-tank-with-ties-to-obama-discloses-corporate-sponsors.html)

Bringing this back to CCSS and Workforce:

Remember the original assignment the President gave the Vice President? Head the Workforce Initiative? Here’s what Mr. Biden’s final report to the President said, “Two days later, in Waukesha, Wisconsin, he( Obama) signed a Presidential Memorandum on Job-Driven Training for Workers, assigning Vice President Biden and the Secretaries of Labor, Commerce, and Education – working closely with the National Economic Council, the Domestic Policy Council, the Council of Economic Advisers, the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and the Office of Management and Budget….”

Here’s another excerpt pertaining to the foundation for what has happened, “Under the leadership of Vice President Biden, Secretary of Labor Tom Perez, Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, the Administration engaged in an intensive review to identify, initiate, and implement actions to make federal employment and training programs and policies more job-driven and effective, consistent with existing statutory authority. ” Here’s something else you’ll need to know, ” constructive engagement of Cabinet Secretaries and leaders of employment, training, education, and workforce development programs in the Departments of Agriculture, Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Justice, Transportation, Veterans Affairs, the Social Security Administration, and Environmental Protection Agency, and from the expertise of the Department of the Treasury, the National Science Foundation, and the Office of Personnel Management.” 

Under the ‘stakeholder’ sidebox on page 6, education is the second largest one. Here’s how it is described, “Educational leaders at community colleges, universities, and high school CTE programs” and also, “Workforce and job training partnerships, American Job Centers, community leaders” Note: In case you don’t know or don’t remember, “CTE” is ‘Career Tech Education’ which is short for ‘Common Career Core Technical Education’.

Promote a seamless progression from one educational stepping stone to another, and cross work-based training and education, so individuals’ efforts result in progress. Individuals should have the opportunity to progress in their careers by obtaining new training and credentials. Job-driven training programs should make it easy for individuals to transition from one post-secondary program to another, including Registered Apprenticeship and occupational training programs, and from basic education programs into post-secondary programs.” Here’s a question, all this money, all this effort and career paths are being established right now, as early as in middle school! Then carried on into high school. So, the question is, why is all the information, while open, not open enough to include this?!

We know from past researched links and resulting posts, that career paths begin much too early for our students. Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act will only continue to force this issue into classrooms.
We know from past researched links and resulting posts, that career paths begin much too early for our students. Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act will only continue to force this issue into classrooms.

Here’s the entire report: skills_report_072014_2

Money buys Workforce Education/Training:

September 2014, $450 million dollars given to boost Workforce Education/Training. Here’s the announcement, http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/09/29/fact-sheet-vice-president-biden-announces-recipients-450-million-job-dri

Part of the funds will be used to increase Career Tech Education both online and in schools. Notice in the below image that by the time the students get to high school, they’re already in the training pipeline.

As part of the video featuring the Vice President, the phrase ‘learning quicker to earn quicker’ or very close to those words were used. Why? In one word, ‘economics’. At the price of our students.

Tech Thursday: Blast from our “Workforce” Past

A Common Core aligned Workforce's closet is full of these skeletons: Manpower,Jobs Corps, CETA, Workforce for Year 2000, School-to-Work, Goals 2000.
A Common Core aligned Workforce closet is full of these skeletons:
Manpower, Jobs Corps, CETA, Workforce for Year 2000, School-to-Work, Goals 2000 and WIOA 2014.

Each Thursday, since I began my blog, I’ve devoted Thursdays to the lesser talked about post secondary Common Core aligned schools, curricula, etc. Just recently, a question from CT along the lines of when did the Dept. of Ed. and the Dept. of Labor really join forces to do all this, was asked of me. Excellent question. I’ve been burning many hours trying to find the information.  From the incredibly researched Charlotte Iserbyt, the answer, start looking around “Goals 2000”. Her advice was to begin there. As usual, with the government, there’s more than one skeleton in the closet..Especially when that closet is connected to CCSS.

Let Me Tell You a Story:

In searching, I was ‘silly’ enough to think if I typed in the 2 U.S. level Departments, I’d get an instant result that would be worth cheering over. But alas, it wasn’t to be. If you do an internet search with only those 2 names, you’ll get results that are more than likely suitable for filling an encyclopedia, not open a good ‘mystery’ novel.  So, taking one Department at a time, we’ll be introduced to each skeleton in this story.

U.S. Department of Labor’s website revealed, this big skeleton:

Begun in 1913, it turned 100 back in 2013. It’s motto:  “To foster, promote, develop the welfare of wage earners, job seekers and retirees of the US; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment and assure work-related benefits and rights.” From what I could glean from their historical timeline, the Dept. pretty much stayed out of the U.S. educational system until 1958, when a policy group began to address the concern of an adequate supply of trained workers for the future skills that would be needed (possibly) by 1978. From there, in 1962, the “Manpower Act” was established. It was to develop and train the unemployed. There was also research into training workers. Then 1969, “Jobs Corps” was moved from one government office to the Dept. of Labor. Both the 1962 and 1969 actions were part of the “Great Society” and “War on Poverty” that President Johnson was promoting. Some of Pres. Johnson’s other programs: “Neighborhood Youth Corps”, “Special Impact”, and “New Careers” programs.

In 1973, CETA (the “Comprehensive Employment and Training Act”) replaced the “Manpower Act”. President Carter revamps CETA in 1977 into “Jobs Corps” (not to be confused with the earlier program). In 1978, a “Private Sector Initiatives Program” began. It’s purpose? To have the most disadvantaged be trained for jobs by private companies. Then, fast forward to 1983, CETA gets replaced by JTPA (the “Job Training and Partnership Act”). This moved workforce training from a national level to state controlled one. During 1985-87, “Work Force for Year 2000 Project” began and co-operated with “Project Literacy US” to meet future skill needs.

In 1990 the “Secretary’s Commission of Achieving Necessary Skills” was appointed. This group, whose work was completed by 1992 found that competencies needed were a)effectively be able to use resources, b)  interpersonal skills, c) information, d) systems and technology. Enter 1993, the (then) Secretary of Labor begins to really hone in on building skills for the workers. By 1994, when the ” School-to-Work Opportunity Act” rolled out, it was to ease the transition for many in high school to go to work. Followed by “Goals 2000”, which established national skill standards to certify workers. States were given money to establish ‘one-stop job centers’. Since then, from 1997-2001, Sec. Perez oversaw the reorganization of the “Workforce Investment Act”. 1998, due to the WIA, means were created for businesses to participate in workforce training and career pathways. It also replaced the JTPA of 1982 as well as gave funding to communities via local, state, and federal resources.

From there, workforce/education mixing is involved in the 2010 release of the “Affordable Healthcare Act” with Title Four. Most recently, the revamped “Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act” ties Common Core to Workforce via the “Career Pathways” in, at least 21 ways (which I detailed on Prevent Common Core’s website in my article, “Common Core and the Workforce”).

Added note: For a fascinating objective review of some the above mentioned government workforce programs, http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa077.html

Dept. of Education, the next big skeleton:

Directly from their website’s historical page: ‘Beginning in the 1950s, political and social changes resulted in expanded federal funding for education. The successful launch of the Soviet Union’s Sputnik in 1957 spurred nationwide concern that led to increased aid for science education programs. The 1960s saw even more expansion of federal education funding: President Lyndon Johnson’s “War on Poverty” called for the creation of many programs to improve education for poor students at all levels—early childhood through postsecondary. This expansion continued in the 1970s with national efforts to help racial minorities, women, people with disabilities and non-English speaking students gain equal access to education. In October 1979, Congress passed the Department of Education Organization Act (Public Law 96-88). Created by combining offices from several federal agencies, the Department began operations in May 1980.’ (source: http://www2.ed.gov/about/overview/focus/what_pg2.html) Page 3 of their history lays out their 4 main goals, 1) all things financial aid, 2) data mining, 3) identifies major problems and nationally addresses them, 4) ensures everyone behaves in schools. {if you want a more serious look at what the DOE does, be sure to access their website}.

What about the “Goals 2000” Mrs. Iserbyt talked about?

Ahh, my fellow anti CCSS readers, you’ll love this skelton. G2 established a national framework that identified world-class academic standards, upped the assessments factor, all while giving students all the tools they needed to meet the 8 goals (see the six above and add on these 2: a) teachers development and b) parent participation).

It was here, with G2, we got the every child will begin school at a certain performance level; that nationwide graduation rates would be 90% or as close to it as possible; that mandatory assessments at certain grade levels must occur. Focused on was the competency of math, English, science, and foreign languages. Civics, government, economics, art, history, and geography must also ‘measure up’. All to ensure that all students, every school be a responsible member of society, be productive and most of all, contribute to the economy.

It was with G2, we were told we’d be #1 globally by doing all this, especially in math and science; that our illiterate adults would be able to overcome that, possess knowledge and skills to compete in the 21st century. It was here, we were told our teachers would become a force and that every school would participate with others, especially the parents. It was, in fact, the creation of the National Education Standards and Improvement Council that the standards began their journey to become national, in more ways than had ever been seen before.

It was G2 that also created the National Skill Standards Board to develop rigorous occupational education grouped into clusters, thus creating a system of unified instruction, assessing, and certifying. In short, ‘Goals 2000’  was ‘all encompassing’ in paving the way for where we are now in our current fight.

There is more about the U.S. Dept. of Education’s role in Career Pathways, Common Technical Education Core, and the like, by accessing my previous Tech Thursday posts. (if you are new to my blog, please feel free to start there or to read this and then go back) However,  let’s move on, I’ve got a surprise ending you just have to read!

Money and Data, the ‘biggest, baddest’ skeletons in the closet:

The reason I’m lumping these two together is, thanks to our federal government, they have so masterfully intertwined these two you’d need a board certified ghost buster to separate them. Thanks to my querying reader, I was able to uncover a bevy of documents detailing when each of the (to date) 29 states involved in this aligned Workforce Career Pathways Training was granted money…and lots of it. For a two fold purpose; this is the ‘surprise’ ending, but before I tell you, do you think you can guess?

Workforce Quality Data Initiative, one of the newest skeletons:

This is being conducted through the U. S. Dept. of Labor, HOWEVER, it’s what the initiative does, who it involves that you’ll want to know about.  The program takes educational data and workforce data and combines them to better align to each other!

All that student longitudinal data? Here’s just one of the places it lands! Look at the 2nd goal the Initiative has:

“Enable workforce data to be matched with education data to ultimately create longitudinal data systems with individual-level information beginning with pre-kindergarten through post-secondary schooling all the way through entry and sustained participation in the workforce and employment services system.”

While there is even more to this skeleton, this by itself is huge! Yes, just like Race to the Top, this Initiative involves lots of money that has been handed out in rounds to certain states. As with any government funding, there are strings for those states accepting. By taking the money, they MUST, within the 3 years the grants are good for, begin the database or expand their existing ones.

Where I live, Where You Live:

As you may know by now, I live in North Carolina. NC was in the group of states awarded grant money via Round 3 of the WQDI, in 2013. We got $1, 156,348 to ‘align and mine’. Round 1 states, got their money in 2010, Round 2 states, 2012. Round 4 states were awarded their money this past June (2014). There are states yet to be awarded, but, don’t be surprised if and when they do.

Here’s the press release that accompanied NC’s award (as see on the DOL’s website):

“The U.S. Department of Labor today announced the availability of approximately $6 million in grants for the third round of the Workforce Data Quality Initiative. These funds will enable up to six additional states to build or expand longitudinal databases that link workforce and education data, enabling them to improve the performance of workforce programs. “These grants will provide access to high quality data, which will help improve how the workforce system serves those who need assistance most,” said Jane Oates, assistant secretary of labor for employment and training. “Better data means better guidance for consumers, practitioners and policymakers. Better guidance means stronger workforce programs and a stronger U.S. workforce.” Grantees will be expected to use these longitudinal databases to conduct research and analysis aimed at determining the effectiveness of workforce and education programs, and to develop tools to inform customers of the publicly funded workforce system. This grant opportunity stems from the Obama administration’s focus on access to high-quality data and is related to the U.S. Department of Education’s Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems grants to build longitudinal education databases. Grantees will be expected to achieve multiple goals during the three-year grant period. These include developing or improving state workforce longitudinal data systems with individual-level information, enabling workforce data to be matched with education data to create longitudinal data systems, improving the quality and breadth of data in the workforce data systems, using longitudinal data to provide useful information about program operations, analyzing the performance of education and employment training programs, and providing user-friendly information to help consumers select the training and education programs that best suit their needs.”

One lone sentence to add to the above from the 2014’s Round 4 press release tells of a larger looming agenda item, “expand longitudinal databases that link workforce and education data and help these states to better understand how education and workforce development programs complement each other.” As I have shared with you before it is illegal for national database of this magnitude to exist..however, if the states build them one, by one and then join them..that’s a whole different scenario, right? The government would like for us to believe that.

*NOTE: In the event you are not aware of the 3 federal laws that prohibit this: The HEOA (Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, The NCLB(No Child Left Behind) legislation amending the ESEA’s (Elementary and Secondary Education Act’s)  ERSC (Education Reform Sciences Act) 2002, and the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Act).

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 received ‘align and mine’ money. IF you do not see a color on your state, you’ve not been awarded money yet.

The end?

No, it appears this saga is far from over, but for now, we’ll open the closet and let the skeletons rot in peace.