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School to Work; Goals 2000; Outcome Based Education

Mar 16, 2017 by

By Dr. D. L. Cuddy –

With `School -to-Work ‘ (STW) legislation (H.R. 1617/S. 143) soon going to conference committee in Congress, it’s important to look at the background of this concept. Plank 10 of Marx’s Communist Manifesto provides for a `combination of education with industrial production,’ and in 1913 when Stalin was having difficulty getting his Marxist cadres into key positions for the `class struggle,’ he described a `regionalism’ strategy (e.g., NAFTA, later) against nationalism and used the slogan `workers of the world unite.’

Self-described American communist Scott Nearing in The Next Step (1922) described how a world economic organization (e.g., GATT and World Trade Organization, later) would be the first step toward world government, but first in The New Education (1915) he applauded `breaking away from the 3 Rs’ and Cincinnati’s `half time in shop, half time in school ‘ system.

In the Oct. 12, 1917 New York Times, Judge John Hylan wrote about a letter by Dr. Abraham Flexner (Secretary of the Rockefeller General Education Board and formerly of the Carnegie Foundation) describing a `secret conference’ of New York City Board of Education members to elect a Board president who would institute a type of STW/OBE (Outcome-Based Education) program. Hylan became Mayor of New York and `pitched out the Rockefeller agents, . . . the kind of education the coolies receive in China . . . for the mill and factory,’ William McAndrew, who had been in charge of the `new-program schools ,’ admiringly referred to the `polytechnic institute’ (which the Soviets would adopt). And in Raymond Fosdick’s memorial history of the General Education Board (GEB), he described the Board as part of Rockefeller’s effort toward `this goal of social control.’

After Hylan’s expose of this STW/OBE plan, it wasn’t until the `Eight-Year Study’ (1933-41) funded by the Carnegie Corporation and the GEB that another major attempt was evident. Research Director for the study’s Evaluation Staff was Ralph Tyler, who would later conduct a project for the Carnegie Corporation that would in 1969 become the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). One of Tyler’s associates in the `Eight-Year Study’ was `values clarification’ originator Louis Raths, and another associate was Estonian `change agent’ Hilda Taba.

In the early 1950s, Ford Foundation president H. Rowan Gaither told Congressional committee Research Director Norman Dodd that they were operating under directives from the White House `to make every effort to so alter life in the U.S. as to make possible a comfortable merger with the Soviet Union.’ And in 1960, HEW published Soviet Education Programs, stating `wherever we went, we felt the pulse of the Soviet government’s drive to educate and train a new generation of technically skilled citizens. … USSR plans to bring all secondary school children into labor education and training experiences through the regular school program.’

By 1970, Americans were coming to be thought of as `human capital’ (note Lester Thurow’s 1970 book, Investment in Human Capital), and in 1971 UNESCO’S Secretariat asked George Parkyn to `outline a possible model’ for an education system that resulted in Towards a Conceptual Model of Life-Long Education describing how students would choose a vocational field and work part time, and receive `certificates’ of educational attainment.

Two years later, Michael Lerner (who would become an important advisor to Hillary Clinton) wrote The New Socialist Revolution, proclaiming: `Education will be radically transformed in our socialist community … the main emphasis will be on learning how to … live and work collectively … The next level is learning some series of skills, for one’s first set of jobs.’ And in Vladimir Turchenko’s The Scientific and Technological Revolution and the Revolution in Education (1976) imported into the U.S. is described `linking instruction with productive labor.’

In the early 1980s, neither the Soviet nor German socialist education systems had been adopted nationwide in the U.S., as Prof. Eugene Boyce in The Coming Revolution in Education (1983) wrote that `in the communist ideology … education is tied directly to jobs … No such direct, controlled, relationship between education and jobs exists in democratic countries.’

However, in 1985 two things happened. At the beginning of the year, the Carnegie Corporation gave $600,000 to establish the Carnegie Forum on Education and the Economy; and later that year the Carnegie Corporation negotiated the Soviet-American Exchange Agreement for the U.S. government, whereby Soviet educators became involved in planning curricula for some U.S. schools . In the Winter 1987/1988 edition of Action in Teacher Education, Professors Martin Haberman and James Collins wrote in `The Future of the Teaching Profession’ that `schooling is now seen primarily as job training and, for this reason, quite comparable to schooling in non-democratic societies. Once education is redefined as a personal good and as emphasizing preparation for the world of work as its first purpose, our schools can appropriately be compared with those of the USSR.’

The next year, the National Center on Education and the Economy (formerly the Carnegie Forum) with Marc Tucker as president was asked to help in developing the National Education Goals upon which `America 2000’ and `Goals 2000’ would be based. Then in June 1990, NCEE (with Board members Hillary Clinton and David Rockefeller, Jr.) produced America’s Choice: High Skills or Low Wages? (proposing a `Certificate of Initial Mastery’), which greatly influenced the establishment of the Secretary’s Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS) by the Department of Labor.

In September, Polytechnical Education: A Step (funded by the U.S. Department of Education) by Robert Beck was published, stating: `The Soviet Union. . . (has) developed a curriculum known as polytechnical education. . . . rooted in Marxist-Lennist ideology. .. . The German Democratic Republic has accomplished a good deal with its polytechnical education. . . The ideology of Soviet education has blessed the melding of restructured academic studies . . . and the preparation of students for skilled labor. . . . That this should be carefully monitored for possible adaptation in American public education is not a farfetched idea.’ (Polytechnical Education: A Step was published by the National Center for Research in Vocational Education at the University of California at Berkeley just 3 months after America’s Choice: High Skills or Law Wages?, a report by the NCEE’s Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce which included Laura D’Andrea Tyson, the Director of Research for the Berkely Roundtable on the International Economy at the University of California at Berkeley, who has been a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and would become Chairman of President Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers.)

In June of the next year (1991), the SCANS report recommended establishing a national system for certifying competency, similar to Germany’s `certificate of mastery.’ Also in 1991, Carnegie Foundation chairman David Hornbeck’s so-called Human Capital and America’s Future was published describing an approach he admitted might be subject to the charge of `big brotherism.’

On Aug. 2, 1992, Assistant Labor Secretary Roberts Jones announced that the federal government was preparing to deny aid and student loans to schools that fail to prepare their graduates with the skills needed to compete for jobs in the modern workplace, saying `this is a touchy subject.’ Shortly thereafter, Marc Tucker wrote a letter to Hillary Clinton saying he had just come from David Rockefeller’s office where they were `celebrating’ Bill Clinton’s election as president, as that will allow putting into place their agenda to integrate education into a national system of `human resources development . . . from cradle to grave . . . (for) everyone. . . . We propose that Bill (Clinton) take a leaf out of the German book’ (regarding required) `apprenticeship slots.’

Relevant to this, however, was a paper commissioned by the School -to-Work Transition Team in the Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI) within the U.S. Department of Education (one of a set of commissioned papers published by OERI in June 1994). In this paper, `Determinants and Consequences of Fit Between Vocational Education and Employment in Germany,’ Professors James Witte and Ame Kalleberg stated that `the German apprenticeship’s system is so expensive. . . Germany’s contemporary vocational education system is closely linked to its secondary educational system. At age 10, students are tracked in a rigid educational system. . . . After initial assignment, movement between tracks is rare’

NCEE Board member Hillary Clinton had been promoting the Certificate of Initial Mastery concept, and in April 1994 NCEE’s Tucker had published The Certificate of Initial Mastery: A Primer. The same year, Senator Ted Kennedy’s School -to-Work Opportunities Act was passed, and a national campaign is underway to promote the concept. Recently, Miss America 1996, Shawntel Smith in Michigan spoke about `our investment in human capital. That’s what School -to-Work is all about.’

Currently, students have the most to say about what career paths they take. But as `human capital,’ their paths increasingly will be directed by society via STW/OBE educational programs so that they `demonstrate certain skills.’ A leading OBE consultant today, Harvard University Professor Howard Gardner, (who was involved in the infamous MACOS project), wrote Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences, in which he proposed that `ultimately, the educational plans that are pursued need to be orchestrated across various interest groups of the society so that they can, taken together, help the society to achieve its larger goals. Individual profiles must be considered in the light of goals pursued by the wider society; and sometimes, in fact, individuals with gifts in certain directions must nonetheless be guided along other less favored paths, simply because the needs of the culture are particularly urgent in that realm at that time.’

Student `profiles’ are an important part of certain STW initiatives, with employers having continual access to these as part of a permanent file on all individuals who are now considered to be `lifelong learners.’ In Communist China, the file is called a `Dangan’ and describes the value of the individual (`human capital’) to the State. Gardner has also written To Open Minds: Chinese Clues to the Dilemma of Contemporary Educations.

If Americans aren’t careful, STW/OBE educational programs will pave the way toward an ominous techno-feudal world of the future.

Source: School to Work; Goals 2000; Outcome Based Education

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1 Comment

  1. Dennis Cuddy

    It is important that people know that this article was posted in the Congressional Record by Congressman Henry Hyde in 1997, so they don’t think this is happening in Congress today.

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