Moms and Dads, when you looked into your newborn’s eyes for the first time, did you think, I wonder what job our government will steer our baby into?
A merger of the Department of Education (DOE) with the Department of Labor (DOL) is about just that.
Here’s a quote from this administration’s manual called “Delivering Government Solutions in the 21st Century: Reform Plan and Reorganization” (p.23-28).
The workforce development program consolidation would centralize and better coordinate Federal efforts to train the American workforce, reduce administrative costs, and make it easier for States and localities to run programs to meet the comprehensive needs of their workforce. (p.23)
Where is the word child or teen in that quote?
Chances are when you looked into your baby’s eyes, you weren’t thinking of the government at all.
No, when you marveled at the miracle of your child, your hopes were, and still are, for them, not a government that caters to corporations.
The recent announcement that President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos are going to combine the DOE and the DOL, worries both Republican and Democratic parents.
We have listened for years about the importance of a prepared workforce, 21st century skills, and global economic needs. And we have watched business interject their ideology into public schools, changing the landscape in a variety of ways, including charters, vouchers, Common Core State Standards, technology, all unproven, but thought to be better for the economy.
Poor schools reduced their curriculum to the basics, and all students have been browbeaten by high-stakes testing. The achievement fever always attached itself to the “better workforce” message and how to make more money. It has never been about the child.
More and more we have also watched as schools push learning that is developmentally unjustified into earlier grades. Even middle schools now focus on getting children to know about skills and career options, before they know enough subject matter to understand what they are truly good at doing!
In North Dakota, they are pushing high school juniors and seniors to get into the workforce before they graduate!
What parent wants their child to be used this way? Words like “alignment” and “steering” have no place in a school curriculum.
While a good government should forecast the kinds of jobs that will be available in the future, its focus should be on the students themselves, and what will help them make the best career choice. It should be about helping students realize their interests and their hopes for the future.
That focus should include how to help young people get to college without incurring terrible debt.
We should quit trying to fund two education systems, charters and public schools, and shore up one dynamic public school system that serves the diverse needs of everyone.
Helping children find their way in a difficult and changing world is reasonable. Steering children into jobs that meet the needs of a corrupt government, that does not treasure the dreams of its children, is not the America we believe in.