2018

Teaching Children that the Family Business Matters for Them as Well

Yes, it took some extra time for us to do this with our children, but there were so many benefits that we considered it an excellent investment of our time. Not only do our children understand our home-business a bit better now, but they can actually help out with things in case one of us is at a conference or doesn’t feel well. The more we thought about this, the more the benefits added up.….

Fatiga Económica y el Impacto en Nuestros Estudiantes

Durante los últimos años, las conversaciones sobre la calidad de nuestros estudiantes en grados K-12 y las instituciones educativas post-secondario han recibido mucha cobertura en las noticias sobre este tema. Uno de los muchos asuntos que ha recibido muchos de la discusión es la materia de la resistencia. El artículo del Señor Gray es un ejemplo de este discurso, que habla sobre a la opinión de la resistencia que declina en nuestros niños….

The Cost of a College Education?

This article made me reflect on the popular media buzz surrounding the relevance and value of a post-secondary education. The tone of the rhetoric has mostly been negative – and it divides us along political lines. Despite that fact, both sides say that cost is the main issue. However, when asked if college tuition should be free, the political devide was still there, so perhaps cost is not the issue, but politics is....

Do Colleges Prepare Students for a First Job or a Career? The Answer May Not Be So Simple.

While the evidence does support that colleges prepare students for their first job, the debate is about whether college prepares them for their second job and their actual career. One view is that colleges do so by encouraging a broad curriculum and soft skills in addition to hard skills. The opposing view is that colleges do not prepare students well and instead it is up to the first employer to complete the training. I believe that both views are incomplete…

Tracking: the Eventual Result of Merging the Departments of Education & Labor

students-640x420.jpg

This past week the president outlined a proposal to merge the Department of Education with the Department of Labor. This new department would be called the Department of Education and the Workforce. According to Education Secretary DeVos, “This proposal will make the federal government more responsive to the full range of needs faced by American students, workers, and schools”.

However, the consistent call from professional educators has been that public education needs to be fully funded. Likewise, those who work in worker advocacy have been calling for a national minimum livable wage with more robust worker protections. In addition, the consistent call from employers has been that there are not enough qualified workers to fill the jobs available. Nowhere in these long-standing discussions has anyone articulated a need to merge Education with Labor.

From my professional experience as an educator, I believe that merging education with labor will lead to tracking in schools. Tracking is the practice of placing students in the 7-12 grade into specific academic tracks that lead to separate tracks: college or career. This practice was the norm in the US in the past and produced a lot of low & lower-middle class workers, but also few managers, thinkers and creative people to lead companies forward. Bringing back tracking is something that neither educators nor employers consider a desirable outcome.

As with all mergers, jobs in these departments will be eliminated, and resources will be reduced to focus on a narrower scope. Specifically, we will be reducing the ability of each department to do what they do now. This will have significant impact on their ability to set policy. The mission of the Department of Labor is to provide resources that better serve American workers at all levels. If merged with Education, they will have fewer resources to meet the needs of American workers, which will inevitably reduce wages, worker protections, and retirement benefits.

The Department of Education sets educational priorities, provides equity and access, and informs state curricula so that we educate a globally competitive workforce. By merging this department with Labor, these policies will become truncated to serve a more insular, narrow, and trade-focused mission. This in turn will create more lower and lower-middle-class jobs, but not create a dynamic workforce that can compete on a global scale.

How this trickles down to the K-12 curriculum is that it will force states to re-direct resources to meet more trade-oriented skills and aptitudes. In essence we would be reducing the arts, humanities, and social sciences to better serve this new mission. This is tracking, plain and simple. As we now know, tracking has many undesirable outcomes, not the least of which is a less educated, less competitive, less diverse, and low-income earning workforce.

Instead of moving backwards, we should be moving forward.

_______________
This blog post is part of a newsletter I publish weekly called The Gigster 'Zine. It is a production of the Colégas Group, an organization that seeks to offer new opportunities for anyone with a college degree. To learn more about us, to receive valuable strategies for improvement, and to find innovative employment opportunities, sign up for the complete newsletter at colegasgroup.com.