"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Human Capital Being Groomed for the Workforce. Is this the Function of Education?

We begin our synopsis of Kathy Wilmot's presentation at the Constitution Coalition meeting about the implementation of the Longitudinal Data System (LDS) in the states through either Race to the Top mandates or as a requirement when signing on to common core standards.

Ms. Wilmot attended a US Department of Education conference in September 2009 entitled "Leveraging ARRA (American Reinvestment and Recovery Act) and Other Federal Funding Sources for P-20/Workforce LDS (Longitudinal Data System)". The webcast of the conference may be accessed here. It is two hours long, so we will condense what is in the webcast and Ms. Wilmot's presentation of the webcast over the next several days.

The conference was moderated by Aimee Rogstad Guidera, Executive Director, Data Quality Campaign. She gave a brief introduction of the history of LDS in terms of function and funding. The funding came from stimulus funds. She indicated that systems now are close to being operational, and this would mean the government would know when children are ready for school and the workforce. (Note this conference was held in September 2009, before Race to the Top or common core standards had been introduced to the states for their review or adoption).

Pay attention to the theme of this conference as we talk about it over the next few days. There is much emphasis on tracking children from birth to age 20 and into the workforce...this is what the "P-20/Workforce" designation means in the title of the conference. This is the function of a longitudinal data system; to track students and their information. What information they are using to track your child is not only name, address and phone number, but also personality traits, family situations (social and wage information), ancestry information, and baptism information. These are just a few of the tracking "cookies" attached to your student. We will be referring to the student as "human capital", the preferred name to describe students in Race to the Top and LDS language.

The human capital tag is important in this discussion. After hearing Ms. Wilmot and listening to the webcast, it is apparent your child is a commodity being prepared for the workforce. That's the premise behind Race to the Top, common core standards, and the use of LDS. It is imperative to track children to determine their strengths and weaknesses so they may be placed in the correct job according to their temperament and educational standing.

Here is a document from the US Government detailing a National Broadband Plan and its mission is as follows:

The United States has some of the best schools and research universities in the world and produces top professionals in every industry. The public education system has effectively developed a workforce for the industrial age, and its graduates have helped the United States become the most prosperous nation in the world.

However, the demands of the new information-based economy require substantial changes to the existing system. American businesses have pointed to a widening gap between the skills of graduates and modern workforce demands.1 The U.S. Department of Labor predicts “occupations that usually require a postsecondary degree or award are expected to account for nearly half of all new jobs from 2008 to 2018.”2 The 21st century workplace requires both a better-educated and a differently educated work force.

Keep your eyes open when you see quotes about the "work force". As Ms. Wilmot stated in her speech about the government's role in this reform movement: "you know where you want the people to go, you know where you want your end result to be, so you begin backward planning" to obtain that result. This is what common core standards and the LDS can achieve: a differently educated work force for the 21st century workplace. Human capital must supply the workforce and the human capital will be assessed at how well it can be used in that workforce.

We'll talk tomorrow about why Ms. Wilmot's and the government's own documentation suggests this has less to do with education and more to do with supplying human capital into pre-determined slots. The line "it's all for the children" might not hold true in this newest educational experiment.


  1. I am just now beginning to focus on this, and need help dealing with it and fighting against it.
    I have noticed approximately 20% of a grade is now the standard per class as to how workplace-ready a student is.
    I sent letters saying I do not want my student to begin reading any books, including text books, without my review. She is also NOT to volunteer any information, or fill out any forms which require personal information that relates to herself or family, and that I want to see what information is being requested.
    This is in the rural Hillsboro High School, and I am ticked:
    1. This is a new thing in what I have been proud to say, has been a more traditional school.
    2. It reduces greatly the individual's choice to be and work towards what THEY want to do when they graduate...specifically career-wise.
    3. It assumes a workplace and not one's own private business.
    4. It assumes employment, as opposed to raising a family, and seems to promote further breakdown of the family.
    This is NOT what I believe an education is for.
    It should support critical thinking and promote/support the freedom and individualism of people to choose for themselves.
    This. along with a good knowledge of major academic subjects and a knowledge of what is right and wrong, is imperative to a person's well-being, self-esteem and motivation to succeed.
    I know there is so much more to this, but I'd like to be able to intervene more in my child's education!
    This is needed NOW, and I need help with steps I can take.

  2. Anonymous, contact me at stlgretchen@gmail.com.


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