"School-to-Work"
STW

[STW is the plan hatched by the federal dept of ed, and probably by the international crowd, to control how students graduate and into what careers they will go.  It is Soviet style-education brought to the US of A.  The indications of government intention to control the lives of the people under the guise of educating us continues to mount.  They create an education disaster, and then tell us that they know how to fix it.  That is nonsense.  The only viable answer to the problem is getting civil government toally out of education.  E.Fox.]

From: Jeanne D

Subject: Break the weakest link in STW (School-To-Work)

Dear All,

In a recent post I suggested we might be knocking on the wrong doors in our battle to fight school-to-work. If you missed it, I copied a quote from the USDE Strategic Plan for Education in which they admit to a weak link in their plan:

=============================================================================== http://www.ed.gov/pubs/StratPln/key.html Business community's support for education, particularly school-to-work.

Short-term economic considerations may limit the willingness of employers to support Departmental efforts by undertaking effective school-to-work partnerships and linking hiring with a student's education achievement.  [E. Fox emphasis.  This is the control aspect, get businesses to refuse to hire anyone without the proper state credentials - the CIM (Certificate of Initial Mastery) which will replace the diploma granted by the local school board.  Only in a tyranny does the government decide who shall and shall not be hired.]

Departmental response: Persuade employers to build a stronger workforce through supporting high-quality school-to-work activities, including meaningful work experiences. Support efforts to provide employers with access to objective student performance information.

===============================================================================

The National Skills Standards Board is working very hard to achieve these strategic goals.

After sending this post, these thoughts developed:

Up to now we devote a lot of our energies to writing letters to the newspapers and legislators, and talking to other parents. While all of this is very important and should continue unabated, I think it's time we approached small businesses as well through their associations and trade publications.

This is new territory for me; that is, how do we find them? The Small Business Administration comes to mind as a resource for addresses. Perhaps some of you know other ways. The library? At any rate, once we know who to contact, we could then begin a concerted campaign, state-by-state, to write articles for submission to their membership. We have to convince them that they (and America) have much to lose by signing on to the skill standards and school-to-work movement. The federal government is marketing its perspective to them; we need to market ours to them as well.

In Texas, we have the benefit of at least two links which we can utilize. In the first (link broken) we learn about how STW will be funded in Austin: "The Capital Area Training Foundation has an estimated three-to-five year window to devise and implement mechanisms for continuous financing. Under various financing schemes currently under consideration, all firms in the industry would pay for the administrative expenses of the training-whether or not they sponsored trainees."

In the second (link broken), we're told "Working in collaboration with Mayor Bruce Todd and the Austin City Council, the Austin Community College, and the Austin Independent School District, we propose to establish a tax diversion scheme in which Austin firms each year contribute a portion of their local taxes into a dedicated training fund geared to improve school-to-work transition and entry-level worker training."

HOW MANY BUSINESSES DO NOT KNOW THIS, AND HOW DO YOU SUPPOSE THEY WILL RESPOND TO THE NEWS THAT THEIR POCKETS WILL BE PICKED? (DO YOU HAVE SIMILAR LINKS SPECIFIC TO YOUR STATE THAT YOU COULD QUOTE IN AN ARTICLE THAT YOU MIGHT WRITE? PERHAPS WE COULD FIND SOME NATIONAL QUOTES ALONG THESE LINES--maybe there's something at the National STW site.)

ARE THERE ANY TAX EXPERTS IN OUR MIDST WHO CARE TO TACKLE THE FUNDING QUESTION ONCE FEDERAL DOLLARS EXPIRE? CAN YOU ENLIGHTEN THE LOOP?

Businesses buying into STW do so because they're unhappy with the product coming out of the school system. Would they be so willing to partner with educators if they were personally acquainted with Public Agenda's "Different Drummers" survey? (http://www.publicagenda.org/aboutpa/aboutpa7.html). Those very same educators will still be in charge of the school system! If they failed us once, won't they fail us again--and this time business will look bad as well if they're working with the schools? Could we suggest to business that if they REALLY want to help education, they can help us recruit education professors who march to a back-to-basics drummer instead!

Isn't it time we reminded businesses of the value of the free market system--before we lose it? Could we remind them that the free market system benefits schools just as it does business? If a monopoly hurts businesses, shouldn't it also hurt schools? At this point, we could draw quotes from Andrew Coulson's research paper "Markets versus Monopolies in Education" (http://olam.ed.asu.edu/epaa/v4n9.html).

If businesses don't buy into STW, STW won't work. Any thoughts?

Jeanne Donovan, Coordinator Education Consumers Association of Fort Worth and Crowley

The most important education we do is that which we do first at the primary and secondary level - N. Donovan

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