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How the Feds Steer Your Career

Tuesday, 14 May 2002 12:00 AM

The upshot, according to Robert Holland, author of "Not With My Child, You Don’t,” who has issued a study of the process, is to discourage young people from making their own choices on a career path. The enabling legislation, the Workforce Investment Act, sailed through Congress with bipartisan support and the backing of the business community.

The idea of fitting the students to the perceived needs of the state is a brainchild of the likes of Hillary Clinton and Ira Magaziner.

However, Charlotte Iserbyt, whose Web site points out that she served as senior policy adviser in the Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI) in the Education Department during the first Reagan administration, tells NewsMax.com that the groundwork for this was laid long ago. Further, she says, every administration since Woodrow Wilson must share some of the blame for letting the planners get as far as they have.

The scheme has international ramifications. In a study for Free Republic, Holland says the Clinton administration and the European Community agreed on a trans-Atlantic agenda on "human resource development” and "portability” of worker/student credentials. Supposedly a "Smart Card” would become a de facto "passport to employment.”

School to Work is seeping into the government's school systems in many ways. For example, the so-called Work Keys tests in schools evaluate worker-competence skills. Some of them presume to "teach” such things as how to mop a floor and how to answer a phone message.

Career counseling begins "as early as possible,” but no later than the seventh grade. The students are asked a series of questions, and then a computer tells them which line of work they should enter.

Should a student be encouraged to put aside his ambitions because a computer tells him he’s better suited for a lesser job and that he should lower his sights?

Before computers came upon the scene, a young man was told his IQ wasn’t up to snuff and that he was best suited for manual labor the rest of his life.

That man became a giant in the broadcast industry in the mid-20th century, could build a radio more quickly than most professional radio engineers, and became a vice president for television at the National Association of Broadcasters. He had acquired a national and international reputation.

If the School to Work program had been in effect, he might very well have spent his "needs of the state” years as a street sweeper.

Under STW, students should declare their career majors as early as the eighth grade and no later than the 10th grade.

This allows no room for a later change of mind or change of careers or finding one’s niche in life after the school years.

The efficient STW school says, in effect, "Get into your pigeonhole and stay there.” Or as Holland puts it, "The efficient STW school will take care to kill dreams at an early age.”

It is the requirement of the almighty state that matters.

The so-called SCANS program (Secretary’s Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills) is notably bereft of any emphasis on English literature, Western civilization, or government. The emphasis is on the utilitarian skills, all the better to assure a docile workforce.

The U.S. Department of Education is developing the SPEEDE/EXPRESS system. The purpose is to exchange student data around the nation and to prospective employers. Further – and talk about Big Brother! – every employer in the country, right down to the "Mom and Pop” operations, must report information about people whom they have just hired.

Though the comparison with Hitler’s "workbook” in 1935 is apt, Holland suggests, in his report for Free Republic, that STW has the potential of a closer resemblance to Benito Mussolini’s corporate fascism in the 1920s and '30s.

Under Mussolini, businesses were grouped by government into "syndicates,” thus enabling government to "secure collaboration between the various categories of producers in each particular trade or branch of productive activity. This idea for an aggressive national industrial policy was proposed by Robert Reich, left-wing labor secretary in Clinton’s first term, in a 1982 book appropriately titled "Minding America’s Business.”

F.A. Hayek, author of the classic "The Road to Serfdom,” warned of the dangers in a program such as School-to-Work.

"We are not educating people for a free society,” he wrote, "if we train technicians who expect to be ‘used’ who are incapable of finding their proper niche for themselves, and who regard it as someone else’s responsibility to ensure the proper use of their ability or skill.”

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The upshot, according to Robert Holland, author of Not With My Child, You Don't," who has issued a study of the process, is to discourage young people from making their own choices on a career path. The enabling legislation, the Workforce Investment Act, sailed through...
Tuesday, 14 May 2002 12:00 AM
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