RMT Sunday: VP, Common Core and Jobs

Repeatedly, I’ve written about the Workforce plans for the US that are wrapped up with CCSS (Common Core State Standards) laden Career Pathways. So, what would you say if I asked you to believe me when I say, Vice President Biden was given a big job to do by overseeing the workforce plans for America take shape. Would you believe it or would you think it a riddle?

The President:

Yes, VP Biden was given the job earlier this year (2014) by the President himself. Dated 1/30/14 is a Presidential Memo directing the VP, along with others, to put into motion Workforce alignment.  “Job-Driven Reform of Federal Employment and Training Programs. (a) Within 180 days of the date of this memorandum and in coordination with the Office of the Vice President, the National Economic Council, the Domestic Policy Council, the Council of Economic Advisers, the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and the Office of Management and Budget, the Secretaries of Labor, Commerce, and Education (Secretaries), in consultation with other executive departments and agencies as appropriate, shall develop a specific action plan, to be provided to me through the Vice President, to make the workforce and training system more job-driven, integrated, and effective.” Among one of the ‘concrete steps’, is this:  “ensuring better alignment across secondary, post-secondary, and adult education, and workforce training, including coordinating Federal programs and promoting foundational skill development for employability, on-the-job training, and apprenticeship options..” then:  “encouraging effective regional partnerships among industry, educators, worker representatives, nonprofits, and the workforce system to prepare, support, and train youth, unemployed workers, low-skilled employed adults, and others for career path employment and advancement.”

See the rest of the Presidential memo: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/01/30/presidential-memorandum-job-driven-training-workers

Note: the 2015 budget that the President has laid out asks for $6 billion for the community college-businesses relationships are continued (ie: public private partnerships).

The Vice President:

See this excerpt, “Q. How does WIOA(Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act) align with the Vice President’s review of federal job training programs? A. The Vice President’s review of federal job training programs highlights several key elements that characterize job-driven programs and best practices to make our national training and skills investments more job-driven. WIOA also includes these key elements. The Vice President’s report and WIOA complement one another and both advance the goals of preparing workers for 21st century jobs and ensuring American businesses will have skilled workers to be competitive in our global economy.” I found this in a pdf file from the U.S. Dept. of Labor. The pdf is a ‘Workforce FAQ file’.

His job as directed by the President?  “The vice president’s charge was to work in consultation with the heads of other executive agencies, including the secretaries of labor and education, to develop an action plan with key policy recommendations.” Just some of the policies are a Career Pathways Exchange, online program for states to build their Pathways even stronger; for up to 10 of the states to be selected to broaden Career Pathways in their school districts’ Each of the participating U.S. States (at this time, all states will eventually be involved) must present unified plans from their Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act 2014 integral departments (such as education, labor, etc.).

Back in June 2014, the Vice President was the main speaker at a Third Way Workforce Panel. I’ll include the video, but, first, here are some interesting folks you need to know about.

The Panel assembled was fairly well stacked with not only industry leaders with union connections, but educators who are making headway in helping align their domains with the federal agenda. One Panel member is convinced there’s such a skills gap, he’s written numerous books about it. (If there’s such a skill gap, why are we investing money to write about it, when that investment could go to a better solution?) Another Panel member is from Aspen Institute, which not only is a known CCSS supporter, but according to the President of Third Way, the leader in career pathways strategy for America! While there are many other note worthy members of the Panel which can be tied to STEM, CCSS, it’s the Walla Walla WA Community College that I want to finish this portion with. Why? Because WWCC is consider the pioneering leader in using wage data to target students career paths in education. This Panel’s job is to not only assist the VP, but to help solve the Workforce problem in America.

Points that I’d like to feature for you (in the event you don’t have the hour to watch the video)
“Upskills”; American Job Centers and the Dept. of Labor are the Match.com approach; people who work with their hands (this was repeated several times); the Workforce programs are accredited by the U.S. Dept. of Ed/Labor, known as ‘stackable’, because not only can you punch a ticket to middle class, but to education super highway. (middle class is the highest goal that was repeated by all those who spoke in this video); ‘when middle class is doing well, everyone does well’; ‘middle class not gone, just redefined’; ‘we have respect for intellectual property’; ‘we, as a nation, can change quickly’; citizens of America have never let Her down’; we must reward colleges for outcomes achieved. Main point: Matching skills to jobs, that’s where community colleges, business partnerships enter. “Community college is the single most flexible educational institution out there.” (VP said that)

Video: [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qt88d-biI8Q&w=560&h=315]

Third Way:

If you’re like me, you haven’t heard of this think tank organization. However, that’s about to change. This group says it represents the middle, not the left or right. It tackles some of the biggest issues in America and helps suggest policies. Among their most pride filled accomplishments: helping reduce America’s deficit, helping with climate change issues, and other hot button social conundrums I refuse to mention. However, it’s their take on education you really need to look into. Things like ‘preK is largely for the affluent, so while universal pre-K is one solution, the third one…’pre-K Plus’, BUT only for some. Here’s an excerpt: “As we envision it, pre-K plus doesn’t just mean focusing on enrolling low-income students — it also means ensuring they are being taught the skills they need to be successful in school and in life (not just their ABCs). Learning the alphabet is important, but at least as important to future success are things like executive functions and non-cognitive skills like grit, delaying gratification, controlling impulses, self-regulation, and focusing attention that help both children and adults deal with confusing or unpredictable situations and thrive.” Can we please remember how old kids are in Pre-K?! (op-ed piece is where I got this quote, however, under their ‘education’ tab, you can find the full report complete with a community wide ‘we’ll take care of you’ component not mentioned in the above.) http://www.thirdway.org/op-ed/its-time-to-rethink-education-policy-and-consider-pre-k-plus

Their take on Common Core?! Oh, you’ll ‘love’ this.. “In most states where the standards have not been adopted, the existing standards were substantially similar or equal in rigor, and of the states which have dropped the standards, most are doing so basically in name only. The truth is that Common Core is here to stay.” There is an infographic image that is supposed to give you all the facts, but I didn’t see that is was worth sharing. It’s the same old groupings of this state adopted, this state didn’t, this state pulled out, etc. However, if you’d like to view it:  http://www.thirdway.org/infographic/facts-over-frenzy-common-core-is-more-commonly-accepted-than-you-may-think 

As far as Third Way’s ideas on Workforce, again complete services to ‘take care of you’ type thinking. treating education like a business, and embracing community colleges to help all this happen. (I’ll be writing more about this in the upcoming Tech Thursday post, so I’ll save the rest for then)

To fulfill the line Third Way requires accompanying any of their information, I am to have the following credit appear, so please apply this credit to anything you decide to share.
“This material [article] was published by Third Way”

The Media:

Boston Globe, in an October 2014 article had this to say about Third Way: “Third Way, backed by Wall Street titans, corporate money, and congressional allies” Further down, in the article, “Third Way raises just over a third of its $9.3 million annual budget from undisclosed corporations. The remainder, the bulk of its funding, is donated by individuals, almost all of whom are members of Third Way’s board of trustees.” The article does share a direct quote from the President of Third Way and one of the co-founders,“We are centrist Democrats, not centrists,” Cowan said.  Wait, didn’t the website say they were left or right, but in the middle?? Hmmm..word play..by using ‘centrist’ and not ‘central’, I did what most of us would do, see the word as what I thought is was being suggested as, not for what it truly is. Nice, deceiving move, there Third Way.

Not knowing you, my readers personally, I have no idea how you would react to the rest of the information in this article, so I’m sharing the link for you to read on your own. I will tell you, it is quite illuminating.
http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2014/10/06/struggle-for-soul-democratic-party-pits-wall-street-backed-think-tank-against-elizabeth-warren/pYk3SXRnZDmpi7C7N4ZpXN/story.html

The NY Times, in December 2013, in an article about think another think tank and its donors included Third Way  in a small bit of press in the article: ‘Sean Gibbons,  a spokesman for Third Way, rejected any suggestion that the group’s work was distorted by the origin of its financing. “No one — not our donors, our political allies or our friends — tells us what to think, write or say,” he said.’ (To see the rest of the article, which is another illuminating read: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/14/us/politics/think-tank-with-ties-to-obama-discloses-corporate-sponsors.html)

Bringing this back to CCSS and Workforce:

Remember the original assignment the President gave the Vice President? Head the Workforce Initiative? Here’s what Mr. Biden’s final report to the President said, “Two days later, in Waukesha, Wisconsin, he( Obama) signed a Presidential Memorandum on Job-Driven Training for Workers, assigning Vice President Biden and the Secretaries of Labor, Commerce, and Education – working closely with the National Economic Council, the Domestic Policy Council, the Council of Economic Advisers, the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and the Office of Management and Budget….”

Here’s another excerpt pertaining to the foundation for what has happened, “Under the leadership of Vice President Biden, Secretary of Labor Tom Perez, Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, the Administration engaged in an intensive review to identify, initiate, and implement actions to make federal employment and training programs and policies more job-driven and effective, consistent with existing statutory authority. ” Here’s something else you’ll need to know, ” constructive engagement of Cabinet Secretaries and leaders of employment, training, education, and workforce development programs in the Departments of Agriculture, Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Justice, Transportation, Veterans Affairs, the Social Security Administration, and Environmental Protection Agency, and from the expertise of the Department of the Treasury, the National Science Foundation, and the Office of Personnel Management.” 

Under the ‘stakeholder’ sidebox on page 6, education is the second largest one. Here’s how it is described, “Educational leaders at community colleges, universities, and high school CTE programs” and also, “Workforce and job training partnerships, American Job Centers, community leaders” Note: In case you don’t know or don’t remember, “CTE” is ‘Career Tech Education’ which is short for ‘Common Career Core Technical Education’.

From page 9, “STEPPING STONES
Promote a seamless progression from one educational stepping stone to another, and cross work-based training and education, so individuals’ efforts result in progress. Individuals should have the opportunity to progress in their careers by obtaining new training and credentials. Job-driven training programs should make it easy for individuals to transition from one post-secondary program to another, including Registered Apprenticeship and occupational training programs, and from basic education programs into post-secondary programs.” Here’s a question, all this money, all this effort and career paths are being established right now, as early as in middle school! Then carried on into high school. So, the question is, why is all the information, while open, not open enough to include this?!

We know from past researched links and resulting posts, that career paths begin much too early for our students. Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act will only continue to force this issue into classrooms.
We know from past researched links and resulting posts, that career paths begin much too early for our students. Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act will only continue to force this issue into classrooms.

Here’s the entire report: skills_report_072014_2

Money buys Workforce Education/Training:

September 2014, $450 million dollars given to boost Workforce Education/Training. Here’s the announcement, http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/09/29/fact-sheet-vice-president-biden-announces-recipients-450-million-job-dri

Part of the funds will be used to increase Career Tech Education both online and in schools. Notice in the below image that by the time the students get to high school, they’re already in the training pipeline.
What_Is_CTE_infographic

As part of the video featuring the Vice President, the phrase ‘learning quicker to earn quicker’ or very close to those words were used. Why? In one word, ‘economics’. At the price of our students.

9 Comments

  1. I recently had to complete a comparative education project for a graduate level education course. The country I was assigned was Germany. If you study the educational history of Germany, you will discover that Germany has a dual track system. In elementary school, students are tested and the results of those tests of ability and aptitude determine the type of secondary school the student will attend. The type of secondary education the student receives determines if the student will enter into a vocational track or a college track. Basically, this type of system maintains the status quo and limits upward social and economic mobility. I see the very same thing happening in American education. It is quite disturbing to see this happening in country that once had a well-respected and high achieving educational system. It seems to me that the type of changes the “centrists” as they call themselves are implementing are intended to keep the poor in poverty and maintain the wealth, status and power of the rich and elite. We are moving more and more towards a socialist/fascist ideology that will do away with the freedoms and rights we were granted in the Constitution.

    1. Author

      Excellent points, my reader! If you’d like to share more of your findings, please feel free to do so. You are correct, it is quite disturbing.








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