Oct. 5, 1995
Republican Presidential candidates criss-crossing the country have
discovered that one of their best hot-button applause lines is "I
promise to abolish the Department of Education." Out in the byways
of America, parents know that public schools are a disaster area
and that Federal Government spending has hurt, not helped, the
So it is a puzzlement why the Republican House just passed an
education bill that increases federal control and involvement in
the public schools rather than reducing it. Called the "CAREERS"
bill, it uses federal dollars to expand and institutionalize one of
the worst Clinton bills passed last year, the School-to-Work
Republican Congressmen who voted for this bill are sending six-page
handouts to their constituents purporting to show how amendments
have "answered parents' concerns." But opponents of CAREERS didn't
merely have "concerns" about the CAREERS bill; they recognize it
as the philosophy we thought we defeated in the 1994 election.
When one takes time to read the CAREERS bill, it is obvious that it
is the legislative implementation of an 18-page letter written by
Marc Tucker, president of the National Center on Education and the
Economy, to Hillary Clinton on November 11, 1992, just after the
Presidential election. This letter states that it was the result
of a meeting in David Rockefeller's office, at which those present
were "literally radiating happiness" at Clinton's victory.
They were celebrating their plans for what "you [Hillary] and Bill
should do now about education, training and labor market policy."
Tucker's letter laid out their master plan to "remold" the public
schools into a "national human resources development system," which
would be "guided by clear standards that define the stages of the
system for the people who progress through it, and regulated on the
basis of outcomes that providers produce for their clients."
Tucker's vision is aggressively ambitious. His letter called for
"a seamless web" that "literally extends from cradle to grave and
is the same system for everyone -- young and old, poor and rich,
worker and full-time student."
Tucker's "seamless web" includes a national employment service in
which "all available front-line jobs, whether public or private,
must be listed in it by law." Then, "a system of labor market
boards is established at the local, state and federal levels to
coordinate the systems for job training, postsecondary professional
and technical education, adult basic education, job matching and
Tucker's "seamless web" calls for government to be in the drivers'
seat at every stage of the "human resources development system."
The "labor market boards" will decide what jobs may be allowed, and
the schools will "train" students (the human resources) for jobs
selected by the "labor market boards."
The "new general education standard" (i.e., a state-certified
"certificate of mastery" rather than a diploma) will become a
"prerequisite for enrollment in all professional and technical
degree programs," as well as for all hiring. Tucker's letter lays
out how, under his system, schools will be required to provide
information "to government agencies in a uniform format."
Tucker's letter makes it clear why so much of the discussion about
Congressional appropriations for education includes references to
the Department of Labor. Tucker and his friends have been planning
to meld Labor and Education functions ever since Lynn Martin,
Secretary of Labor in the Bush Administration, published the SCANS
Much of Marc Tucker's ambitious plan is already in place. Last
year, Clinton signed the Goals 2000 Act, which requires schools to
adopt "standards," and the School-to-Work law, which lays the
groundwork for using high schools to train students for occupations
selected by the local labor market boards.
The CAREERS bill expands on School-to-Work and perfectly tracks the
Tucker letter. The CAREERS text states that the Governor of each
state (if he wants the funds) shall "designate" the establishment
of "a local workforce development board" in each local area. In
the House debate on CAREERS on September 19, Education
Opportunities Committee Chairman William Goodling (R-PA) stated
that the bill requires that "training be tied to occupations in
demand in the local community."
CAREERS makes it clear that government will now assume the power to
set up workforce development plans, with a comprehensive and
coordinated labor market computer system, and that students will be
trained only to work in the occupations prescribed by the
In the House debate, Goodling boasted that the White House is
pleased with this legislation. He admitted that the CAREERS bill
has been in preparation "for 2 years," which places the date at
long before Republicans became a majority in the House.
When you combine this workforce system with the schools' obvious
failure to teach children to read and the dumbing down process
called Outcome-Based Education, the result will be a Third World
education to accustom Americans to Third World wages. The "powers
that be" want public school graduates to be content to compete with
workers in foreign countries who work for 1/40th of American wages.
Think about that every time you hear politicians, businessmen,
educators and bureaucrats talking on television about "competing in
the global economy" and becoming "citizens of the world."
Phyllis Schlafly column 12-14-95