|Back to Mar. Ed Reporter|
|NUMBER 242||THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS||MARCH 2006|
|Redefining Education for Global Citizenship|
Global education reforms lurk behind the changes being foisted on U.S. schools: redesigning American high schools, promoting universal preschool, expanding technology, increasing data collections, linking secondary and higher education, and more. But where will these lead? In revisiting the old ideas behind reforms, we would be wise to ask, "Do we want the kind of life these changes will bring?"
Promoted through United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Organisation (sic) for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), the lifelong education principle is influencing school, workforce, and economic reforms worldwide.
Despite formal withdrawal from UNESCO in December 1984 by then-President Reagan, the global lifelong education scheme nevertheless began spreading throughout the U.S. during the nearly 19-year period of non-membership.
Long before President George W. Bush rejoined the U.S. with UNESCO in 2003, the UNESCO-endorsed idea received U.S. tax dollars through federal laws that funded different aspects of the principle.
Upheavals in education are linked to building the system. Included are efforts to: combine the academic with the vocational for all students; use technology for teaching, training, and data collections; eliminate public control through creation of appointed councils; establish school-business partnerships; and much more.
Technology in particular combined with surveys, assessments, and evaluations plays an indispensable data-gathering role for monitoring individuals and forcing accountability to those with the power to dictate the systems' goals.
Strip away the hype about equality, justice, diversity, human rights, and 21st century workplace skills and what remains is nothing less than a global system of social and economic control.
Lifelong social engineering
Parkyn explains, "A comprehensive model for life-long education needs to start with two basic dimensions: first, the span of a human lifetime, and second, the range of human behaviour." (p.19) He asserts that establishing lifelong education requires "radical changes in the structures, functions, methods, and content of education systems at all levels . . ." (p.15)
With lifelong education, the traditional goal to develop the intellect is replaced with an emphasis on attitudes, values, habits, and social behaviors.
Parkyn explains that the focus of childhood and adolescent education needs "to aim at producing not educated people but educable people . . . " Another aim is to produce "people who are adaptable in changing circumstances, who realize the provisional nature of knowledge, the tentative nature of decisions, and the need for constant evaluation of the results of their actions . . . " (p.17)
With lifelong education, K-12 school systems link to higher education; universal infant care and preschool are added; and elementary and secondary levels transform as follows:
Basic general education (ages 6-15): The first five years, a child is introduced "to the universe of space and time in which he and his community are located, to open up to him through his own activities the wide range of interests and potentialities . . . to lay the foundations of those learning skills and interests on which subsequent development will depend." (p.39)
The next four years start the "process of educational and vocational choice." By the end of this "transitional cycle," children pick "a provisional field of employment." (p.39-40)
Secondary education (ages 15-18): This three-year period consists of "part schooling and part working." Successes are noted for China and the former USSR:
"Many attempts have been made to devise a method that satisfactorily combines general education, vocational education and specific vocational training during this period, and for some occupations considerable success has been achieved notably in the USSR and in China." (p.40)
Lifelong education also involves expanding adult education to address economic, political, and personal needs (p.12); use of Marx's theory and practice (p.14); occupational training and retraining (p.24); integrating culture and vocation (p.28); self-education (p.31); certification (p.31); centralization of general policy making (p.32); and more.
Putting the nation at risk
Comments in the report include: "The world is indeed one global village"; " . . . we must dedicate ourselves to the reform of our educational system for the benefit of all old and young alike, affluent and poor, majority and minority"; "The search for solutions to our educational problems must also include a commitment to life-long learning"; " . . . life-long learning will equip people with the skills required for new careers and for citizenship." [Emphasis added]
Since A Nation at Risk was published, U.S. presidents have presented similar lifelong education supporting plans. A Feb. 4, 1994 Congressional Record entry by then-Senator Moynihan (D-NY) reveals:
"In 1984, President Reagan proposed a set of education goals to be achieved by 1990. And in 1990, President Bush devoted a sizable portion of his State of the Union address to setting forth his education goals for the year 2000 . . . President Bush then listed his education goals, which were similar to President Reagan's goals and virtually identical to those now proposed by President Clinton."
A Nation At Risk provided excuses to begin nationwide school reform, but the report was flawed in its assessment of U.S. schools. A paper prepared for the National Education Goals Panel stated:
". . . A Nation at Risk may have been flawed as an accurate, balanced assessment of American schooling in the early 1980s, but it was a key factor in mobilizing public opinion on behalf of educational reforms. And while the reforms that it helped to stimulate were not enough by themselves to increase sufficiently student achievement in the 1980s, the report was followed by other initiatives focused more on the restructuring of the schools." (The Road to Charlottsville The 1989 Education Summit, 1999, p.12)
UNESCO & vocational education
"Technical and vocational education should be designed to operate within a framework of open-ended and flexible structures in the context of lifelong education and provide: (a) an introduction to technology and to the world of work for all young people within the context of general education; (b) educational and vocational guidance and information, and aptitude counselling; (c) development of an education designed for the acquisition and development of the knowledge and know-how needed for a skilled occupation; . . ." [Emphasis added]
For-profits brought on-board
The National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE, est. 1988; formerly the Carnegie Forum on Education and the Economy) has prominently supported lifelong education. Included among the 1988 NCEE Board of Trustees were Marc Tucker (President), Hillary Clinton, Mario Cuomo, Ira Magaziner, Lauren Resnick, John Sculley, James B. Hunt, Jr., Anthony Carnevale, David Rockefeller, Jr., Vera Katz, and others.
The NCEE's 1992 A Human Resources Development Plan for the United States suggested "a national system of education in which curriculum, pedagogy, examinations and teacher education and licensure systems are all linked to the national standards . . ." The new system would qualify "all students for a lifetime of learning in the post-secondary system and at work." [Emphasis added]
In a Nov. 11, 1992 letter to Hillary Clinton, NCEE's Marc Tucker wrote extensively about a "human resources system" . . . 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 fulltime student" . . . for a "lifetime of learning." (Congressional Record, 9-17-98. See http://www.eagleforum.org/educate/marc_tucker/)
U.S. Dept. of Labor's SCANS
What Work Requires of Schools, A SCANS Report for America 2000 (1991) highlights the link between Bush Sr.'s America 2000 and UNESCO's lifelong education: "The strategy [America 2000] would change lifelong learning from a slogan to a reality for all." (p.20)
Vo-tech paves the way
"The 1990 Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Applied Technology Education Act ('Perkins II') mandated that federally-funded CTE [Career Technical Education. Ed.] programs develop the following: tech prep programs; integration of vocational and academic curricula; promotion of work-related experience; and accountability for funding continuation. [Emphasis added]
Of interest, Stone observes, "The notion of curriculum integration goes back almost a full century to John Dewey (1916)."
U.S. Federal aid
UNESCO education reforms currently continue through President Bush's No Child Left Behind Act. At the February 2005 EFA (Education for All) conference, Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings stated: "The No Child Left Behind Act and UNESCO's Education for All campaign complement each other." ("Mrs. Laura Bush Pays Tribute to UNESCO's Education for All Week," U.S. Dept. of Education, 4-27-2005)
State boards of education rallied
"Developing the capacity of all citizens for . . . lifelong learning is an absolute necessity . . ." (p.4) [Emphasis added]
Using schools for planned change
Poised to sit at the helm of the global system is the United Nations and its agencies like UNESCO, World Bank, WTO, WHO, ICC, and other entities situated to regulate a part of the system.
In the first half of the 20th century, the League of Nations failed to establish itself for governance and was replaced by the United Nations in 1945. With U.N. agencies and partners promoting global initiatives lifelong education, world citizenship, international standards setting, free trade and sustainable development schemes eroding national economic control, and other national sovereignty encroaching activity the U.N. is not far from establishment as a world governing body.
The chance of living under oppressive U.N. global authority surely rests upon whether or not determination exists to uphold individuality, liberty, and a Constitutional Republic for serving (not enslaving) citizens. One can only hope the hundreds of thousands throughout America's history, who risked their lives to uphold these ideals, will not have done so in vain.
© 2006 Debra K. Niwa. All rights reserved.
A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform, National Commission on Excellence in Education, U.S. Department of Education, 1983.
Back to Basics Reform or . . . OBE Skinnerian International Curriculum, Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt, 1985. http://www.deliberatedumbing down.com/pages/back_to_basics_reform.html
The Road to Charlottsville The 1989 Education Summit, Maris A. Vinovskis, Department of History, Institute for Social Research, and School of Public Policy, University of Michigan, September 1999. Paper prepared for the National Education Goals Panel.
Convention on Technical and Vocational Education, adopted by the UNESCO General Conference, Paris, Nov. 10, 1989.
"Dollars to the Classroom Act," Congressional Record, Sept. 17, 1998, pp. E1819-E1825. Entry contains the letter to Hillary Clinton, Nov. 11, 1992 written by Marc Tucker (National Center on Education and the Economy, Rochester, NY). Copy of text may be read at: http://www.eagleforum.org/educate/marc_tucker/
What Work Requires of Schools, A SCANS Report for America 2000, U.S. Department of Labor, Secretary's Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills, 1991.
A Human Resources Development Plan for the U.S., National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE), 1992.
Remarks by Senator Moynihan (NY), Congressional Record, February 4, 1994, Online at GPO Access. Accessed Dec. 2005.
Framework for the Future: Creating a School-to-Work System for Learning, Livelihood, and Life, Report of the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) School-to-Work Study Group, 1995.
Tangled Web The Mastery Learning/OBE/STW-TQM Connection, researched and compiled by Joe Esposito, 1996, 1997.
"Background of 'School-to-Work' Concept," D.L. Cuddy, Ph.D., Extension of Remarks-May 16, 1997, Congressional Record, pp. E945-E946.
"International Implications of School-to-Work Programs," D.L. Cuddy, Ph.D., Extension of Remarks-June 26, 1998, Congressional Record, pp. E1274-E1275.
the deliberate dumbing down of america . . . A Chronological Paper Trail, Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt, Conscience Press, 1999, 2000, 2001. Go to http://www.deliberatedumbingdown.com and click on "e-book download free to all."
"Death Sentence for Private and Home Education, Courtesy of Supreme Court," Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt, NewsWithViews, July 8, 2002. http://newswithviews.com//iserbyt/iserbyt1.htm
"The Impact of School-to-Work and Career and Technical Education in the United States: evidence from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, 1997," James R. Stone III, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, Journal of Vocational Education and Training, Vol. 54, No. 4, 2002
"Laura Bush named Honorary Ambassador for the United Nations Decade of Literacy", Office of the Spokesperson, UNESCO, Feb. 14, 2003.
"First Lady Laura Bush Says U.S. Is Proud to Rejoin UNESCO," U.S. Department of State, Office of International Information Programs, Sept. 29, 2003.
"Mrs. Laura Bush Pays Tribute to UNESCO's Education for All Week," U.S. Department of Education, Press Release, April 27, 2005.