Part 5 of a “Technology in the Classroom” Series: Dramatically transforming the primary purpose of Texas education from academic learning to workforce training
By Carole Hornsby Haynes, Ph.D.
OBJECTIVE 11: The State Board of Education, the agency, and the commissioner shall assist school districts and charter schools in providing career and technology education and effective workforce training opportunities to students.
This bill, if passed, will dramatically transform the primary purpose of Texas public education from academic learning to workforce training for the supplying of workers for businesses. Education will no longer be focused on providing a well-rounded education so the individual can adapt to the evitable changes in the workplace.
During the Clinton Administration in the 1990’s, three federal laws were passed, forming a new governing structure that opposes free enterprise and representative government. Our free market economy is being replaced by a system that concentrates power in the federal government to centrally plan and manage our economy. This system adopts the failed ideas of a state planned economy similar to those of the former Soviet Union.
History is littered with the remains of regimes – such as the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany — that have tried to herd people into a government designed lifestyle only to crash after destroying the lives of millions.
This concentration of power by the government has already begun to destroy the freedom of Americans.
These three federal laws created a scaffold for the centrally planned system, with implementation by the states in a three-way public-private partnership — Government, Education, & Business.
- Goals 2000 – partnership between federal government and education requiring a dumbed down national curriculum standards, national curriculum, national test, and national teacher licensure. Thus, the need for national Common Core Curriculum Standards with standardized testing and data mining of student personal information during testing to create a “cradle to grave” workforce database.
- School-to-Work (STW) – education / business partnership that changes the purpose of American education from acquiring knowledge to supplying workers for business. Schools are job training centers with narrowed curriculum for the career choices that are decided by federal economic forecasters. Bureaucratic agencies will match workers and jobs, deciding where workers will need to live. Freedom over one’s life will be lost.
- Workforce Investment Act (WIA) – nationwide network of workforce boards composed of “government-appointed representatives” from business, education, and government to implement and manage the central system through local centers.
School-to-Work is often said to be about expanding opportunities for those who do not plan to attend college. In reality, it is designed to alter radically the purpose of American education for all.
“Curriculum integration” is a vital leg of STW that merges core subjects with vocational education and school-based learning with workplace learning – “applied learning.” In effect, academics are watered down. Rather than being about the general knowledge of liberal arts, STW is about the servile arts — with student learning to be relevant to the workplace.
Throughout our nation’s history, young people have had workplace training as apprentices, but that has been a choice, not an education requirement.
Under the School-to-Work Act, students will choose careers by the end of the 8th grade with a narrowed curriculum designed for the selected career instead of classical learning that prepares one to be adaptable to life’s changes, even career changes.
Since STW locks students into career paths early, what about late bloomers who decide at age 18 they want to be scientists, doctors, or lawyers?
What if Dr. Ben Carson had been relegated to a vocational career in the 8th grade based on his academic performance and economic background? Under STW this poor black student living with a single mom, who could not read, would never have been prepared to attend college and then medical school. Ben Carson would not have had the opportunity to become a world renowned neurosurgeon and a Cabinet member in the U.S. government.
Since the 1990s the federal government, with state assistance from all 50 states, has been implementing policies that will lead our nation into poverty. Individual choice is being narrowed in economics, career, and education by the federal government.
With the 1996 federal grant for STW implementation and the help of state agencies, Governor George W. Bush, led the way for Texas to move full steam ahead toward a state planned economy.
Bob Offutt, Texas State Board of Education Representative, wrote in a letter to the Texas State Senate in 1997:
School-to-Work came to Texas like a thief in the night. One morning parents will wake up to learn that the American Dream has been stolen from their children…unlimited educational opportunity has been replaced by limited job training options determined by regional workforce needs.
The State Board of Education didn’t approve this radical transformation of the public education system, and we are powerless to change.
Offutt stated that the Texas Legislature had not voted to adopt STW and the state education code had not been amended to legislate the specific provisions of STW. He further urged the members of the Texas Legislature to review education reforms initiated by state agencies that “emanate from federal legislation.”
If HB 136 is passed, job training to meet government objectives for a centrally planned economy will officially become a purpose of Texas public education.
Now we must address the heart of the matter. What is the main purpose of taxpayer funded public education?
Our Founding Fathers understood that an academic education is necessary to prepare all citizens to be guardians of the American democracy. Yet our government run schools focus on everything except academic learning – expensive sports programs, extracurricular activities, indoctrination for social change, and job training for a planned economy.
Given this, we must ask the obvious question. Education is the largest expenditure for Texas, making up 37.6% of all spending for fiscal year 2016-2017. Are Texas taxpayers willing to continue funding these government run schools?
What You Can Do: Tell your State Representatives to vote NO on HB 136.
Call Governor Abbott (512) 463-2000, and contact legislators in both the: