Because ownership and control of the Common Core Standards are in the hands of the National Governors Association (NGA), the chair of the association is notable and her impact on education is significant.
Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin became the chair of the NGA at their summer meeting on August 5. Fallin announced her yearlong initiative, America Works: Education and Training for Tomorrow’s Jobs, (PDF) Quoting from the document,
Preparing America’s 21st century workforce to keep pace and stay competitive is an issue that not only calls for national attention, it also demands gubernatorial leadership. Ensuring our states’ and citizens’ future economic security will require significant improvements to our education system and workforce training programs. It also will require closer relationships among our high schools, colleges, workforce training providers and employers.That’s why I’ve chosen to focus my 2013- 2014 National Governors Association Chair’s Initiative on America Works: Education and Training for Tomorrow’s Jobs.
Governors are uniquely positioned to foster stronger connections between education and the workforce because within states, they are the sole individual who has responsibility for both public education and economic development. States and the businesses that drive state economies can help secure their own economic future by aligning education institutions and workforce training efforts with the projected demands of tomorrow’s labor market. (Emphasis added)
Governor Fallin’s purpose for education appears to be workforce development. This is similar to Michigan Governor Snyder who said at an Education Summit earlier this year,
“One of the key reasons we have an education system is to better connect kids and people to careers,”
“…exposing students to careers at an early age, starting with more elementary school tours of businesses. It also includes more coordination between schools and employers to make curriculum less theoretical and more practical.”
Aligning education institutions to workforce development should NOT be the primary reason for education!
In a lecture on education and the Common Core Hillsdale Professor Daniel Coupland said it well,
“As long as students are told that the end of education is a job or a career, they will forever be servants of some master....We are not programming machines. We are teaching children. We are not producing functionaries, factory-like. We are to be forming the minds and hearts of men and women… to be human beings, honoring what is good and right and cherishing what is beautiful.”
Professor Coupland’s sentiments seem to be shared by the Michigan Constitution (PDF),
Sec. 1. Religion, morality and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.
The common core goal of college and career readiness for workforce development is too low for Michigan or any state.
The goal of public education should be to foster the love of learning for good citizenship and the betterment of mankind not learning how to make a living for a better workforce.