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

Betsy DeVos Signs Swiss Apprenticeship Agreement: Replace Academic Education With Workforce Training

By Carole Hornsby Haynes, Ph.D. December 13, 2018

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and the secretaries of Labor and Commerce recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the Swiss government to collaborate on apprenticeships and workforce development.

Earlier this year, DeVos announced her desire to merge the departments of Education and Labor, which effectively changes the purpose of education from the teaching of knowledge to training children for the workforce. Despite DeVos’ claim that a merger will reduce the footprint of the federal government in education, the result will be a sweeping expansion of federal control.

After her visit to Switzerland in June, DeVos wrote at her Education Department blog that the U.S. can learn much from the Swiss about an apprenticeship program for K-12 students. DeVos is enamored with the European centralized model for education and workforce development which she believes will be made possible for America with the merger of the Education and Labor Departments.

In her blog, DeVos lists 15 facts about the Swiss education model, noting that two-thirds of Swiss students are in apprenticeship programs with about 3-4 days each week spent getting actual work experience. That leaves very little time for students to receive an academic education.

In her 15 facts, DeVos notes that employers play a major role in determining what Swiss children are taught with corporations beginning employee recruiting in the seventh grade and apprenticeships beginning in the tenth grade.

DeVos is enthralled that Swiss corporations “don’t ask for permission from the government to partner with educators.” She obviously believes that control of American public education rightfully belongs to money-hungry corporations rather than local communities as provided in the Constitution.

Perhaps DeVos has forgotten the deep anger of tea party conservatives when Rex Tillerson, CEO of Texas-based Exxon Mobil, arrogantly informed the public, “I’m not sure public schools understand that we’re their customer—that we, the business community, are your customer....What they don’t understand is they are producing a product at the end of that high school graduation.” Tillerson dug himself into a deeper hole with American parents when he compared students to defective products that schools are turning out and for whom there is no future.

It seems these billionaire busy bodies believe the job of American K-12 is to feed the workforce pipeline. They choose to ignore that our nation was founded on the belief that our citizenry needs a broad academic education so we can remain a free, self-governing people who are prepared with a broad education for an ever changing market place.

It’s clear that DeVos is a globalist whose real intention is not to return education to local control, but to prepare students for a centralized, government-planned economy that has never worked anywhere. DeVos needs to be reminded that it was the American free market economy that allowed her non-wealthy family to achieve billionaire status in just a few decades.

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