Common Core Standards Usurp Leadership Clubs in our Schools


GUEST POST ICONThis is a guest post article from a concerned parent. It is a follow-up to a previous article: CCS and honor societies


Common Core Standards Usurp Leadership Clubs in our Schools

You may have fond memories of your days in school where you attended, especially if you were a member of clubs such as FFA (Future Farmers of America) or the FHA (Future Homemakers of America, which by the way has been re-named & updated to become the FCCLA (Family, Career & Community Leaders of America). Maybe you belonged to DECA (formerly Distributive Education Clubs of America)?

Well, times, they are a-changing. While these extra curricular clubs DO exist in our modern day schools for our students, they too have been transformed by none other than the Common Core Standards!

Before we begin a look at the 11 such youth leadership clubs, here’s a bit of context for you, in June 2011, a 4-page PDF was created, titled “EXPANDING CAREER READINESS THROUGH CAREER AND TECHNICAL STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS”.

Note: CTSOs are operated as non-profit organizations & their existence is authorized by Congress via the Perkins Act. The U.S. Dept. of Ed. recognizes these 11 NP groups. In the report, it stated: Ensuring students are “college- and career-ready” has become a critical issue as concerns rise about the success of the U.S. education system and, ultimately, the country’s economic competitiveness.

The discussion surrounding college readiness is generally limited to academic skills, but actual career readiness requires an even more rigorous blend of academic, technical and employ-ability skills, and the ability to apply these skills in authentic career situations.

The foundations for strengthening career readiness are already in place through career and technical education (CTE), which offers this unique blend of skills through comprehensive programs of study. One of the most critical components of strong CTE programs is student participation in related leadership organizations, known as career and technical student organizations (CTSOs).
With more than 1.5 million student members combined, CTSOs provide “a unique program of career and leadership development, motivation and recognition for secondary and post secondary students enrolled, or previously enrolled, in career and technical education programs.”

Now, again, like the previous article about CCS and honor societies, the concept, in & of itself isn’t so bad…BUT, when Common Core Standards are added and the global agenda, not to mention the one-size-fits-all, drone like mentality/realities, it doesn’t take much to see part of the plan — groom leaders by starting them young. The 11 such recognized & aligned for grooming groups: FFA, FCCLA, DECA, FBLA-PBL, FEA, PAS, SkillsUSA, TS, NYFEA and HOSA. Relax, each ‘alphabet soup’ name will be revealed.

A small bit of background into WHY groomed youth leaders are a great idea for CCS to succeed
The excerpt below was focusing on just one student club when it was written, the FCCLA (see above). However, using the Common Core Standards as our lens, we want to look at the following words with a 21st Century view, where we know, ‘career & college ready’ really mean something!

From the  “Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences Education, Vol. 24, No. 2, Fall/Winter, 2006” publication:

 ‘The need for the development of leadership skills is germane to the success of youth organizations including those within career and technical education(Seevers & Dormody, 1995).’.. The student organization connected with family and consumer sciences (FCS) is Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) which is the only national career and technical education student organization with the family as its central focus. FCCLA assists young men and women in becoming leaders and addressing important personal, family, work, and societal issues through family and consumer sciences education (FCCLA, 2000). Career and technical student organizations are an integral part in providing leadership experiences to students, both in and beyond the classroom (Wonacott, 2001).’

The Journal goes on to state:

“Gardner (1987) defined leadership as the process of persuasion or example by which an individual or leadership team induces a group to pursue an objective held by the leader or shared by the leader and followers.”

According to Avery (1995), leadership can be conceptualized as providing visionary skills that enable members to provide direction to the profession and empower themselves and others to meet their full potential.

Johnson and Johnson (2003) determined that leadership skills were the sum total of one’s ability to help the group achieve its goals and maintain an effective working relationship among members.

Wheatley(1992) acknowledged that leadership is now being examined for its relational aspects. 

Leadership is viewed as a skill that can be taught and learned just as you learn academic knowledge and skills which support the statement, “leaders are made not born.”
Furthermore, Johnson and Johnson (2003) postulate that since leadership takes practice, anyone can learn leadership skills. Although there are numerous ways to define leadership, it is clear that these skills and traits can and should be developed for the purpose of guiding a group or organization toward its desired goals.’

Hmmm…What are the desired goals of Common Core Standards?! Rigorous standards that prepare our students for a robust, 21st global economy. At least, it is supposed to be something like that, right? What better way to encourage rigor, prepare students than by usurping the extra curricular clubs & call it ‘leadership training’? Think I’m making this stuff up? Read on.

 A look at the list

FFA or Future Farmers of America‘s publication titled “Making a Difference” has this to say:

““The common core mission statement (at, which discusses making standards relevant to the real world, could be a statement about FFA career development,” says David Frazier. “in career development activities, students take what they’ve learned in the classroom and in FFA, and then they go out and test their knowledge. We see if they’ve learned what we want them to learn, and they get the chance to compete. In the real world, you have to know how to compete.” (David Frazier is a teacher)

How about the FCCLA (Family, Career & Community Leaders)?
What do they say about CCS?
Check out the “2015 Plan”, a simple, yet powerful statement: “. Integrate Career Clusters and Common Core standards in FCCLA’s program materials.” If you aren’t familiar with “Career Clusters” those are the 16 categories assigned to careers via the Common Core Standards funnel for Technical Schools (known as CTE).
Link to the FCCLA’s plan here.

Link to CTE here. (You’ll want to bookmark this site, it will prove most helpful in looking even closer to the Common Core Standards.)

DECA (formerly Distributive Education Clubs of America) has this to say about CCS & youth leadership grooming:

“DECA has worked closely with the National Association of State Directors of Career and Technical Education’s (NASDCTE) Career Clusters Project and MBA Research to assist with the development of Career Clusters Project and MBA Research to assist with the development of National Curriculum Standards and Career Cluster Programs of Study. Beginning in 2008, DECA undertook a significant multi-year effort to align our competitive events program with these career clusters, enabling teachers to better incorporate DECA into their curriculum and courses.”

Hey, if we hurry, we can join them in Phoenix,AZ in July at their “Emerging Leader Summit” where they will have 2 tracks for the attendees..’Empower’/”Elevate”.

Bonus: Look at the DECA media kit & you’ll see why DOE might be so ready to recognize these CTSOs, these kids represent the future and BIG bucks. $200 billion in spending power, $500 billion in indirect spending & 25 % of the population.

FBLA-PBL (Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda), this is the largest & oldest business student organization and they ‘bring business and education together’. Oh, yeah, they are a world-wide club. This organization follows you from school to career, if you’d like. Some the organization’s partners are huge CCS supporters/funding or beneficiaries of the Standards (Gates is among them).

From the FBLA’s 2012 Conference, here’s one workshop:

 ‘Integrating Common Core Literacy into Business, Marketing, & IT’Presented By: Eric Ogle, Business, Marketing, & IT Specialist Literacy Specialist, PE Specialist Indiana Department of Education

In this session, learn instructional strategies for integrating the Common Core Literacy standards in a Business, Marketing, or IT class. These strategies can help enhance the content and prepare students in content-specific literacy. (FBLA Advisers—Business) Serves middle school & up.

Want to see the partners?  Be sure to spot the National Technical Honor Society, it was mentioned in the CC & Honor Society article.

FEA (Future Educators Association).
When you visit their website, be sure to see the “Go Teach” magazine’s feature about cultivating global leaders.

Yes, this is by, far the easiest group to tie to CCS. Here’s the course of study for those high school students desiring to become teachers (link). Notice you see “West Virginia Standards for 21st Century Learning, but Google that & you get the W.VA’s Department of Education. Where you see “Teach 21“, look to the right of the triangle: CCS. Look below the triangle, Next Gen Standards!

BPA (Business Professionals Of America)
A search of their website turned up a pilot program where students had to compete in workplace skills. One of the categories they appear to be judged on is “Common Core”, see the attached PDF. Oh, yes, the folks are really big into the 16 Career Clusters. No surprise, Microsoft & Shell Gasoline are 2 big partners.

HOSA (Future Health Care Professionals)
Ever efficient, as all health care folks should be, their tie to CCS is literally on one page for us. Be sure to notice how many skills these future doctors, surgeons and nurses will need and how they are aligned. The National Principals Association recognizes this organization, as well as the US Dept. of Ed. Lucky ducks.

NYFEA (National Young Farmer Education Association)
Looking at their Educational Overview, they are seeking to fulfill the promise of agriculture in a local and global economy. They state that through 4H, FFA and other AG leaders, this is how the promise can be met. See the entire page. Now, that leads you back to FFA (we started with them), but what about 4H, are they CCS too? It would appear so.

In a  2013 “Common Measures” presentation, alignment is laid out. When you Google search, you’ll need to get specific to your state. My state has no problem sharing it has aligned to CCS. Now, back to the NYFEA, by clicking on this link, you can access a PDF that ties NYFEA to FFA and other groups in the career cluster of Agriculture.

Note: National Post Secondary Agriculture Student Organization is also included in the above Council Report. To access their website click here.

TSA (Technology Student Association)
This group serves from middle school ages & up.
This organization is big into STEM (which is part of the CCS, read this:

“The good news is we can commit to both the immediacy of the math and English standards required by the basics of Common Core, while ensuring the long-term college- and career-readiness of our students by focusing on STEM. It’s right there in black and white within the standards themselves. Grade level specific targets have been set to make sure that all students reach the College and Career Readiness (CCR) Anchor Standards by the time they graduate from high school.” from the Sally Ride Science Blog.


Back at the TSA site, you can see Verizon is a partner. They are a very identifiable CCS supporter/benefactor. From this ‘slick’ PDF, they appear to make finding a career cluster fun!   If you click on the “Career Path” page, you can see the likes of “College Board” (think David Coleman) and many, many others.

The last CTSO is SkillsUSA.
 Again, encompassing many grades/ages. From their website’s main page, you can see the ‘work force ready’ assessment. and you can purchase the assessment. This link shows you, as a citizen or an educator, the Career Clusters.  This organization includes a student to student mentoring program.

In closing, remember, one of the reasons this generation is being targeted is that their spending worth tops the charts. If you have done any amount of research into CCS, you know a global agenda, workforce training represent HUGE portions of the success of CCS.

We know our students go to school to learn, we know they join extra curricular clubs to help become more well rounded. They are unique, not cogs in a wheel of the machine for Common Core. If your students club is listed, get involved. If they belong to another club, not listed, get involved! Ask questions, look at the websites, ask to see the guidelines, press releases, check out the sponsors. The corporate greed & participation with CCS is staggering. However, we, as parents, concerned citizens CAN be the wrench that stops the cog in the wheel!

NOTE: This article was originally published on Lady Liberty 1885 [ ]

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