Backtracking to the Point of Failure

Last night, I attended a meeting at which Tom Luna, the Superintendent of Public Education gave a presentation about Common Core.  In preparation, I spent a few hours reviewing Common Core and then went looking for more information so that I could figure out what question I would ask if given the opportunity.  I settled on a question pertaining Common Core standards and the integration of school and workforce development because in the information I found yesterday, it's pretty clear that the subtext of the reading assignments has to do with vocations and concepts associated with those vocations. 

After I asked my question, Tom Luna lied - right there in front of God and everybody.  He said he knew nothing at all about the integration of school and workforce development.  I was so stunned I didn't know what to say.  I said, well, Karen McGee was on the coordinating council.  He said, yes, I know Karen.  She's on my - something committee.  But he insisted he knew nothing about the integration of school and workforce development.   So, I handed him a document I'd captured from the Idaho Department of Education website concerning the vision and mission of the Workforce Development Council (ignore the font error)  and I resolved to build a webpage with all of the information I have showing the evolution. 

Luna is past President of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and to hear him tell it, the CCSSO, just out of the blue - nothing connected to anything else, decided to develop a set of national standards which became the Common Core.  Of course, it wasn't the CCSSO that developed the standards.  They just put their stamp on it.  The organization that developed the standards is Achieve, Inc. that was formed in 1996.  Notice:

1996: Achieve is founded at the National Education Summit by leading governors and business leaders.

Craig R. Barrett
Former CEO/Chairman of the Board
Intel Corporation

Board Members
Mark B. Grier
Vice Chairman
Prudential Financial, Inc.

Chairman Emeritus
Louis V. Gerstner, Jr.
Former Chairman & Chief Executive Officer
IBM Corporation

(Note:  this is not all of them - just the notables.  Also, it should be noted that Lou Gerstner became CEO of IBM after IBM's stock was driven down as a result of a negative media campaign against the company.  Following Gerstner's stint at IBM, he went to work for the Carlyle Group.)


Anyway, I did a search on CCSSO and SCANS.  SCANS is the acronym for the Secretary's Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills.  If you don't know what SCANS is - don't worry about it.  I'll get to it later when I build the new web pages on the destruction of the public schools.   For the moment, I found a report on the WestEd website titled, Skills for Tomorrow's Workforce.   Here is an excerpt from the article:

The Present:  Greater Integration

The move to create an integrated academic and vocational system is an attempt to address these high performance workplace needs. Since the early 90s, state and federal government proposals have aimed to upgrade the caliber of curriculum by creating a coherent system of aligned standards and assessments. These standards and assessments are designed to promote high level competencies through applied, work-based learning experiences.

The passage of the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Applied Technology Education Act (Perkins II) in 1990 significantly advanced this concept of integrated academic and industry standards by encouraging broad-based consensus building. This pivotal law required vocational education programs to develop and implement a system of performance standards, assessment measures, and services that provide "strong experience in and understanding of all aspects of the industry students are preparing to enter, including planning, finance, management, technical and production skills, underlying principles of technology, community issues, labor issues, and health, safety and environment" (Perkins II).

I then went to THOMAS, the Library of Congress website to find the legislation. 

H.R. 7
Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Applied Technology Education Act Amendments of 1990
Signed by the President September 25, 1990
Public Law No. 101-392

As I started reading, it hit me... O.M.G.   1990 -  the PC's were just taking off and the schools were unprepared for it.  And actually, most corporations weren't ready for it either in point of fact.  What they did in this legislation is akin to nuking a city because one building in the city wasn't up to code.   The children needed to learn how to use PCs and the teachers didn't know how to teach them because they didn't know anything about computers either.  Rather than setting up computer classes like Driver's Ed, they redesigned the whole damn system of education around training for computers. 


I guarantee you, that the businessmen involved in this couldn't care less about the children.  They saw the dollar signs along with the license to "creatively destroy" the schools.  And I have no doubt that the teachers and principals were intimidated by the techies.  As a person who spent twenty years in the business, I can tell you that's not hard to do.  "If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, then baffle them with bull****"  is the motto in the consulting business.  Most people will not challenge an alleged expert.  They are afraid to look ignorant and that has always been an advantage of the techno-scammers.

Luna-Wiki redux:  What was the online degree earned by Idaho's schools chief?

At the meeting last night, there was one teacher who had a question about accountability and a contradiction in what was written about whether the state was responsible or the local school board was responsible.  She was very concerned because at one of the high schools, the teachers were told - "get rid of everything you have - your teaching materials - everything - we are going to change it all". 

All I can say is that Teachers better get off their dead asses, understand where the point of failure occurred and why it occurred and then start rolling these "reforms" back because the wrong path was taken for the wrong reasons and the mistakes are compounding and it's going to be the children who will pay for it.

Vicky Davis
September 12, 2013