Thursday, December 15, 2011

Ex-NCEE Marc Tucker Is Dangerous to American Education?

also see


He's already created tons of misery and miseducation and ruined the lives of thousands of students who had to live through the horrors of OBE like WASL and other "standards-based" atrocities. The purpose of education is to give kids an education, NOT require or promise that anybody will be "proficient"  whatever the hell that means, at ANYTHING, let alone the insane policy of requiring EVERYBODY to be proficient at "world class levels" (whatever the hell that means) at EVERYTHING. It's like the impossible Russian or Chinese 5-year plans that failed miserably. Require all students to master algebra or be able to write (or even read) the Great American Novel by grade 10 and you will ruin the education of just about everybody.

If you hear anybody in your town state "We need to set high world class standards, assess to those standards, and hold all stakeholders accountable to those standards" RUN THEM OUT OF TOWN.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Is Marc Tucker More Dangerous than Bill Gates to American Education?

Who is Marc Tucker and why is his article "Why Innovation Can't fix America's Classrooms" published by The Atlantic important?  It is important for what it contained (Tucker's partial vision) and what it didn't contain (his decades long push for national aka federal standards).  It can be summed up into these two sentences:

Forget charter schools and grade-by-grade testing. It's time to look at the best-performing countries and pragmatically adapt their solutions.  

He argues American exceptionalism is a thing of the past and America needs a national curriculum:

The apostles of exceptionalism say we need more innovation. But our problem is not lack of innovation. Our problem is that we lack what the most successful countries have: coherent, well-designed state systems of education that would allow us to scale up our many pockets of innovation and deliver a high-quality education to all our students.

I am not a fan of the Bill Gates design of crony capitalists dictating American educational policies.  The "innovation" currently offered by the multi-million dollar lobby based school choice crowd only speaks to the delivery of education, not the content.  Tucker's vision also provides the framework of the education via common core standards but he expands it to include tracking children to specific career paths.  To understand how chilling Tucker's vision of a "well-designed state system of education" is, you need to discover his definition of "innovation".  

Tucker has been on the educational front for decades.  His "reform" vision can be found in an 18-page letter to Hilary Clinton in 1992. Mathematically Sound Foundations has linked the letter and provided brief biographies of the players of this reform.  

What is the basic gist of this letter?

The "Dear Hillary" letter, written on Nov. 11, 1992 by Marc Tucker, president of the National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE), lays out a plan "to remold the entire American system" into "a seamless web that literally extends from cradle to grave and is the same system for everyone," coordinated by "a system of labor market boards at the local, state and federal levels" where curriculum and "job matching" will be handled by counselors "accessing the integrated computer-based program."
Tucker's plan would change the mission of the schools from teaching children academic basics and knowledge to training them to serve the global economy in jobs selected by workforce boards. Nothing in this comprehensive plan has anything to do with teaching schoolchildren how to read, write, or calculate.  

It parallels the report  "A Human Resources Plan for the United States" from the National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE) in 1992.  This plan to "nationalize" (Tucker makes huge pains not to call it "federal") has been in the works for decades.  Tucker collaborated in this report.  

The following is from a reader who has followed Tucker's plans and references the "Human Resources Plan".  The parentheses denote the reader's additional information and thoughts:

The preface is one paragraph by Marc Tucker.  Tucker wrote, “ The advent of the Clinton admin. creates a unique opportunity for the country to develop a truly national system for the development of its human resources, second to none on the globe.  The National Center on Education and the Economy and its predecessor organization; the Carnegie Forum on Education and the Economy, have been elaborating a national agenda in this arena over the last 8 years.  Here we outline a set of recommendations to the incoming Clinton administration in the area of resources development.  It builds directly on the the proposals that the President-elect advanced during the campaign.  This report is mainly the work of a small group of people with close ties to the National Center:  Tim Barnicle, David Barram, Michael Cohen, David Haselkorn, David Hornbeck (who wrote the AL and KY OBE plans of Goals 2000)  Shirley Malcom, Ray Marshall, Susan McGuire, Hilary Pennington, Andy Plattner, Lauren Resnick (she and Betsy Brown Ruzzi are still in NCEE pushing for CCSS and she and Larry Berger of WirelessGeneration are pushing the Excellence for All plan),   David Rockefeller, Jr., Betsy Brown Ruzzi ), Robert Schwartz, John Sculley, Marshall Smith, Bill Spring and  me (Tucker).  While all of these people are in general agreement with what follows, they may not agree on the details.”

Tucker’s document says this is a vision of the kind of national—not federal—human resources development system the nation could have.  It is “interwove with a new approach to governing” , is a “seamless web of opportunities to develop one’s skills that literally extends from cradle to grave and is the same system for everyone...”  It includes an “apprenticeship system as the keystone of a strategy for putting a whole new postsecondary training system in place” including “reforming postsecondary education finance (like Obama’s administration has done).”  There would be a “national system of education in which curriculum, pedagogy, examinations and teacher education and licensure systems are all linked to national standards  (like CCSS) but which provides for substantial variation among states, districts and schools.  This new system ... will abandon the American tracking system, combining high academic standards with the ability to apply what one knows to real world problems and qualifying all students for a lifetime of learning in the postsecondary system and at work.”  (like the CCSS College and Career Standards) .... “All students who meet the new national standards ... are entitled to the equivalent of three more years of free additional education ... So a student who meets the standard at 16 would be entitled to two free years of high school and one of college. (The college year will be at a community college/tech school by the way which they admit is “redefining college”). 

The 1993 plan was to be funded in 4 ways: 
  • dropouts under 21 would get the same amount of funding they would have received had they stayed in high school
  • the chronically unemployed and dislocated workers would be funded by the federal government such as state unemployment insurance funds
  • employed people could access the system through the requirement that their employers would have to spend an amount equal to 1 1/2% of their salary on training leading to national skill certification
  • those in prison could get reductions in their sentences when they participate 

All jobs would be required to be listed and fully computerized There would be a system of labor market boards and means testing would be removed. Much like Race to the Top, the 1993 plan was for groups of states to sign on, a few at a time. A data base is required to combine data at local labor market board offices with employment data so counselors and clients can look at programs offered by colleges and other vendors.

How does Tucker propose to accomplish this massive shift of political power? He would:

1. Eliminate local school boards. (This is also what ACHIEVE’s CEO Emeritus Lou Gerstner wrote Obama at the time of his election).
2. Shift teacher's employment and compensation from local boards to the state.
3. Require that students pass 10th grade tests, based on UN content standards, in order to be free to continue in a school.
4. Make free college preparatory education (based on UN content standards) available for all present workers.
5. Establish universal pre-school for all children (even though scientific research reveals that pre-school has no academic benefit past 3rd grade. Other programs are inserting the UN's curriculum into pre-school education, as well as child care).
6. Create regional development authorities that will plan economic development as well as education in areas larger than states. These authorities will be given the power to tax and will take over what little authority the states have left.
7. Have states take over teacher training which can be expected to require teachers to follow the UN value system. (Private colleges that train teachers will be out of luck. Private colleges will also lose their right to determine who may attend their colleges and who may not, because admission requirements will be dictated by, and measured by, the government.)
8. Establish merit-pay for teachers who best meet the goals of the plan. 

The Atlantic Monthly article doesn't give the reader Tucker's background and his plans for American education.  Tucker can complain all he want about how "innovation" can't fix America's classroom.  HIS plan is a total takeover by the federal government that is truly a cradle to grave agenda and the goal is to supply the workforce with your human capital.  From

In the total quality environment of performance-based education, training children to meet the needs of the new customer of education – business – becomes the primary focus of education. America's Choice: high skills or low wages! (Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce, National Center on Education and the Economy, 1990) made this statement regarding the level of education sought by business,

But in a broad survey of employment needs across America, we found little evidence of a far-reaching desire for a more educated workforce.

Providing children with a broad but intensive liberal arts education—indeed, educating for intelligence—is out. Using the education system as a means to inculcate in children the behaviors – the attitudes, values and beliefs – supposedly wanted by business, is the new focus of education in the classroom.

While the battle rages on about school choice, it would behoove legislators, parents and taxpayers to understand the real war is the implementation of common core standards Marc Tucker has been wanting for over two decades.  The common core standards are the vehicles needed for the longitudinal data base that will track your child (and your family) throughout his/her life and dictate his/her placement in a career track and employment.

THIS is the "innovation" Tucker has envisioned.  He said it himself:

Our problem is that we lack what the most successful countries have: coherent, well-designed state systems of education that would allow us to scale up our many pockets of innovation and deliver a high-quality education to all our students.

What he doesn't reveal in this article is the "high-quality state systems of education to all our students" consists of: 
  • data gathered on your child by the state 
  • career tracks chosen for your child by the state to be used by a workforce board controlled by the state

I wish the Atlantic would alert its readers to this bit of information Tucker didn't bother to include.  Do you think it might have garnered some concern from parents? 

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