Greetings, my fellow Anti Fed Ed Warriors! Who’s ready for a fresh start to what’s left of 2020?!
Can we trust our Congress men and women to hit a ‘re-set’ button?
Will they use ‘education’ as a means to an end, once again?
“What end?”, you may ask. As usual, the answer will be the economy and jobs over academics. Sure, “Common Core” may not be what your Congress member calls the shift away from academics to workforce prep, but it’s still there.
If you are wondering what the ‘means’ are, it will have to be CTE and STEM (Career Technical Education and Science, Technology, Engineering, and, Math). It’s also worth noting that included with the ‘means’ will be lots and lots of digital learning. Both CTE and STEM directly connect to the Common Core State Standards (or whatever rebranded name your State uses).
So, what IS Congress planning for an educational ‘re-set’ for what’s left of their terms? We’ll look at several Bills currently in various Committees. In every one of these Bills, digital learning is the unifying theme.
Two Sets of “Sister” Bills:
Warriors, S 3659 and HR 6646, are both called the “Relaunching America’s Workforce Act”.
Both will use CTE as a solution for COVID-19 job and economic relief. The Senate version is 69 pages long. The House version is only 66 pages long. Both will use the WIOA (Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act) mandates for education and job training. Both will award States funds for streamlining education to workforce training. HR 6646 seeks $2.5 billion dollars until FY 2022 to do this. The Senate is seeking a mere $1 billion dollars for the same set-up.
Next, are the DIPLOMA Acts (HR 6106 and S 3405). These ‘sisters’ are otherwise called “Developing Innovative Partnerships and Learning Opportunities that Motivate Achievement Act”. Unlike the CTE bills above, these Acts are identical in content. Both will authorize the U.S. Dept. of Education the power to award States grants and sub-grants for communities and schools to unite their efforts so that all children can succeed. The opening lines for HR 6106 are:
“Congress finds the following:
(1) The future strength of the Nation’s democracy, as well as the Nation’s economy, is dependent
upon the investments made in children and youth today.
(2) Evidence demonstrates that effective partnerships among schools and communities increase
student achievement by addressing the academic needs of students as well as the challenges the students face outside the classroom.”
Warriors, these ‘twins’ set up new hierarchy for communities, where education and CCR (college/career readiness) are concerned. Grants will be competitive based among the States. There are many ties that bind in these Bills. The cost? At least $200 million each year.
Bring On The “Safety”:
Warriors, as we know, more on-line presence means more data mining. It also means way too much screen time. Congress has at least 3 Bills where on-line safety or related concerns are addressed.
First up, the KIDS Act (S 3411). This Senate Bill stands for “Kids Internet Design and Safety Act”. The Secretary of Commerce will be in charge of awarding grants to States/entities which can streamline personalized learning and keep the content ‘safe’. The price tag for this starts at $4 million for FY 2021 and expands each year to a whopping $12 million by FY 2024. Because ESSA embedded WIOA as the ‘post secondary readiness standards’, no personalized learning will actually be customized to each child. Every algorithm and assessment will regulate what’s learned.
From the Senate, S 3362 or the Homework Gap Trust Fund Act. This Act will allow the FCC to use certain proceeds to go towards school aged children’s internet access everywhere they go. Again, an ESSA mandate for 365, 24/7 internet access was written into the law. This Bill simply helps move that along. The proceeds will range anywhere between $2 billion and $4 billion.
Lastly, in this section, is S 3151, The Connected Rural Schools Act. This Bill amends the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self Determination Act. Warriors, the goal here is simply more internet access in and out of schools.
With 5G and AI concerns, this will mean data tracking.
The Workforce Based Learning Bills:
Warriors, in this last section for today, there are 4 workforce/service based or STEM workforce Bills.
HR 6415 or the Inspired to Serve Act combines civics and service based learning. At a whopping 222 pages, there’s quite a bit to this Bill. The U.S. Dept. of Education would get new funds to create the Civics Education Fund. These funds would be awarded in competitive grants to any group participating in combining service based jobs and civics as part of our national duty. Children of all ages and from every type of school, as well as adults will be ‘encouraged’ to serve in their communities, States, or federal levels. At least 1 million children each year are expected to spend their summers in some sort of public service. National awards will be given and an expanded Executive Branch (a new National Council) will oversee Americans practicing their civic services. Also of note, national internet based tracking is included.
HR 5685, The Securing American Leadership in Science and Technology Act, will use STEM in several federal agencies or programs for ‘investing in America’s technology’. Aritificial intelligence, the ‘internet of things’ (cyber profiles citizens), the NSF (a non government funded agency) are all set to have a STEM 21st Century trained workforce. In the 233 pages of this Bill, you can find LOTS of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals embedded. This Bill, like several above, sets the stage for increased P3s (public private partnerships) from a federal level on down to your local level. Billions of dollars will be involved.
S 3555 or the Trade Adjustment Assistance for Workers Reauthorization Act, will use work based learning to streamline education and job training. This Bill will use apprenticeships, pre-apprenticeships, data collection, on site skilled workers, and, cyber workers to complete jobs. Tariffs, under this Bill will also be impacted.
HR 6216, National Artificial Intelligence Initiative Act, will also expand the federal government and increase STEM.
This Bill will combine several federal agencies and corporations as partners, as well as give those federal agencies millions of dollars for anything and everything related to AI. Young children will be groomed in AI Career Tracks, too.
We can expect massive amounts of data collection, sharing, and, tracking.
Warriors, it appears whatever ‘re-set’ button Congress hits in our post COVID-19 state, it’s going to be full of agenda to serve globalism, not Americans. It is very tellling that so much of these ‘new’ plans are combining work and education, but we’ve seen this increase at break neck speed since ESSA was signed as a law. If ever we believed teachers make all other professions possible, that time is NOT now.