Education is no longer about meeting the needs of children but the needs of the workforce.

Education is no longer about meeting the needs of the child but meeting regional business needs for the workforce.

State Senator John Proos has once again introduced two bills SB 343/344 to help prepare Michigan students for the workforce.  SB 343 requires school boards to make the latest “career outlook” for their region available to students from a very specific source, the department of of Technology, Management, and Budget Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives.    Senator Proos told Gongwer News Service,

“Having that kind of detailed knowledge and information is what we would all like our students to have,” he said. “If you knew what kind of occupations and jobs were available to you, wouldn’t you have the best opportunity to be an engaged student, in perhaps taking the kind of coursework that would be necessary to achieve that goal?”

Senator  Proos’ comment is very sad to me.  He doesn’t appear to be at all concerned about fulfilling the goals or dreams of the student but matching kids to careers to meet regional business needs.   The goals of the region are NOT necessarily the goals of the student; it is THEIR goals which should be preeminent.

I am all for students having an awareness of what the job prospects are in different fields.  The information is already available for schools to use, let the local district decide when and how to use it. Why do we need a law?

Because education is no longer about meeting the needs of the child but meeting regional business needs for the workforce.  

It’s about matching kids to careers based on data not their dreams.  SB 344 creates a STEM endorsement or credential designation on transcripts for coursework completed beginning in 7th grade.   Twelve years old is far too early an age to determine high school or career plans for life.  However, they are an integral part of the planned fundamental change in the purpose of education.  These bills are part of the plan to take us from a well rounded American citizen, who can change his skills with the changing job market to a planned workforce based on regional business needs.   

A STEM endorsed diploma must be approved by the MDE which gives the department control of individual student advancement and further erodes local control of education by stripping districts ability to control the curricula and requirements for graduation.  Todd Gustafson, the CEO of the workforce and education nonprofit Kinexus, the Michigan Works! Agency for three southwest Michigan counties, endorsed the bills at hearing on the bills held May 16 in the Senate Education Committee.  He told Gongwer News Service,

“both bills address the “talent pipeline” and issues that lead to labor shortages and higher unemployment among youth.
“This is a no-brainer,” he said. “By including in-demand occupation information in the educational development plans and beginning the conversation at 7th grade, Michigan students will have a jumpstart in how they can use their high school education in achieving a meaningful, successful career.”

This is only a “no-brainer” to those who view our children as a commodity to fill the “talent pipeline” for their bottom line.

Education is no longer about meeting the needs of the child but meeting regional business needs for the workforce.

We defeated this initiative when it was previously introduced by Senator Proos in 2015 but they are back at it again.   Two years ago when we objected to the STEM credential Senator Colbeck, a co-sponsor of the past and current bills, said to me in a Facebook comment,

“simply adds the education equivalent of a “good housekeeping seal” to a student’s high school diploma if they take a certain number of math and science courses at the discretion of the local school district or homeschooler. This designation is optional. I am disappointed that discussions have strayed beyond the text of the bill and into the realm of false accusations and innuendos that are harmful to the end goal of ridding Michigan of Common Core”

Why do we need a law to add a “good housekeeping seal” to a high school diploma?  That’s the job of the local district not the state legislature.

Further, this is one of six planned career pathway credentials based on Common Core and other national standards.    That’s why this is all coming back around again.  This is an essential part of the P-20 system for workforce development aligned to national standards.   It is going to take significant and consistent pressure to defeat it again.   WE NEED YOUR HELP!

Please contact the following members of the Senate Education Committee and tell them to vote NO on SB 343/344

Senator Phil Pavlov at (517) 373-7708 (chair)
Senator John Proos (517) 373-6960 (sponsor)
Senator Patrick Colbeck (517) 373-7350
State Senator Marty Knollenberg (517) 373-2523