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"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." - Nelson Mandela

Should Texas Pass Workforce Training and D.C.-Style Education Planning?
......What’s Wrong with “Career & Technology Education and Workforce Training”
By Carole Hornsby Haynes, Ph.D.  |   May 17, 2017   Texas Insider

The Texas House passed HB 136, amending the Texas Education Code to include “career and technology education and workforce training” in the mission statement of public education.

In today’s confusing language of the over-complicated issue of education, it is easy to see why well-intentioned House members thought they were doing the right thing.

I support vocational training, but contrary to what many believe, workforce training is not about vocational training. Rather, it is a vehicle for a new governance structure that opposes free enterprise and representative government in favor of a centrally planned and managed economy. The government – in alliance with Big Business – herds unsuspecting parents and students into early workforce paths in order to crank out ready-made “widget-producers” or computer coders for Big Business.

Simply put, this is a freedom-crushing and individual liberty-stealing agenda. Government schools and Big Business have no business “shaping” a career path for little Bobby or little Susie because they are deemed at an early age as being unsuitable for medical school or mechanical engineering.

Students, along with their parents, will no longer have the freedom to make their own career choices – when they are ready to make them. The master plan, modeled on the German system, further federalizes education and integrates academic and occupational learning for the purpose of serving the global economy in jobs selected by workforce boards. This is being implemented by combining three federal laws passed in the 1990s (Goals 2000, School-to-Work Opportunities Act, and Workforce Investment Act) that include the following:

  • Public/private partnerships of government, education, and business (hallmark of authoritarian state);
  • National standards, curriculum, and standardized testing (Common Core);
  • Uses failed methodologies of Progressivism (previously Outcome-based Education and now Competency Based Education);
  • Collection of personal student data for workforce database (privacy-invading data mining);
  • Integration of academic and occupational learning with “on the job training” during school hours;
  • Federal Department of Labor carved the U.S. economy into private industry sectors with skill certificates;
  • Guidance of ALL children in the early grades into career tracks;
  • Career counseling is to begin “at the earliest possible age, but not later than the 7th grade”;
  • ALL students must select a “career major” not later than the 8th grade, with narrowed curriculum choices;
  • Issuance of skill certificates for all the jobs in the government-defined economic sectors, with skill certifications expected to become mandatory to get a future job;
  • ALL students, schools (public, private, home) and businesses expected to participate;
  • Central agencies match jobs and workers to fill regional workforce needs;
  • Government defines new “covenant” with parents for rearing children, subordinating parents to government;
  • Performance reporting to the federal government; and
  • No Child Left Behind (2001) embedded the entire system in place.

Some people are late bloomers. What if a 23-year-old decides the career choice made in his teens is now the wrong choice for his adult life? Since he has no government-issued skill certificate in the new career choice, is this young adult just out of luck? What if this 23-year-old lacks the basic academic skills in reading, math, and English because the emphasis on workforce training crowded out strong foundational academics?

If HB 136 becomes law, it will codify the unconstitutional intrusion of the federal government in education to meet government economic objectives for a centrally planned economy. Simply adding the new mission to the Texas Code does nothing to better educate students for any career.

As called for in the Texas GOP platform, the educational system should focus on basic standards including the development of good reading comprehension skills and the ability to do the basic math functions required in most jobs and in civic life. The platform opposes the Common Core and CSCOPE materials and methods currently used in Texas and which are having a negative impact on student literacy. Eliminating the use of these is the first step toward positively preparing students for their work lives.

The last thing Texas needs to do is subject more of our education system to Washington, D.C.-style central planning!  Texas public education needs to be freer with less dependency on the federal government.

Let’s embrace educational freedom -- Texas-style -- by urging the Texas Senate to vote NO on HB 136.

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