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The Chamber of Commerce and National Governors Association Global Workforce Plans

By: Linda Murphy

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has a plan for workforce development called "Talent Pipeline" Management. The pipeline starts with "Raw Material" symbolized as "FE," which stands for the most common element on the earth, iron. This raw material (FE) is your child, the student, who is supplied by the parents. Are you willing to supply your child to be the "raw materials" in this system which is planned to centralize control of education, training, jobs and opportunities? What could possibly go wrong with this great plan? The Chamber's (3.5 min.) video gives you an overview of a part of the planned system:

This and other big plans for centralizing control of workforce development are moving forward at the Oklahoma State Chamber of Commerce, in the U.S. Chamber, in global corporations, and at non-profit organizations, as they work together and pour millions of dollars into marketing and lobbying to impose their version of government policies in our K-12th grade schools. They say that we must "align education with the needs of business" and we must make these changes to compete in the global economy to improve our state economy.

Following the Chamber's shock at their defeat in Oklahoma's repeal of Common Core Standards in June 2014, the State Chamber of Commerce CEO and President, Fred Morgan announced a new foundation to gather support for their "Oklahoma Educated Workforce Initiative." He asserted that the Chamber will stay in the battle for control of what Oklahoma students are taught. Morgan said business is the biggest consumer of education. His rhetoric should not replace the knowledge that our public education system was established for the benefit of individuals, children who become adults, Oklahomans who will live a better and more productive life with a good education. It was not established to serve the profits of business.

National Governors Association

The Chamber's pipeline corresponds with the National Governors Association's "human capital pipeline." This is described in the "America Works" initiative introduced by Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, then Chairman of the NGA, at a press conference in July 2013. "America Works" is the updated version of President Clinton's "School-to-Work" system (as former Superintendent Barresi acknowledged during our November 2013 debate at the GOP 2nd district meeting).

The plans first emerged in President Clinton's Administration, following his term as Chairman of the National Governors Association (NGA) where he worked out details and gathered major corporate backing. The NGA has long worked hand-in-hand with the Chambers of Commerce and global corporations to set education policy. I attended the NGA meeting for education advisors in Chicago in 1995, where I represented Governor Keating and the state of Oklahoma. In an afternoon session advisors were pressed to agree to the education agenda which had been developed under Clinton while Chairman of the NGA. I rejected endorsement of the agenda for Oklahoma and was joined by the Governors' advisors from Virginia and New Hampshire. Nationwide opposition to School-to-Work was high and growing at that time.

Boeing Corporation paid for the Chicago conference and presented their education policy goals. (Oklahoma's Chamber has a Boeing representative on the board for their Workforce Initiative Foundation.) Marc Tucker with Carnegie Foundation's National Center for Education and the Economy (NCEE) was also in the Chicago meeting promoting a program, which he described in writing as "cradle to grave" control of education and the economy. He said that employers were more concerned about students' behaviors and attitudes than their ability to use math and that is incorporated in the plans. NCEE's blueprint included an extensive student data base for tracking which is now in place in every state under the requirements attached to receiving stimulus money from President Obama.

Marc Tucker wrote to Hillary Clinton back in 1992 (in a now infamous letter found in the Congressional Record) about his anticipation to put in place those plans which they had designed together along with David Rockefeller and Michael Cohen, while Hillary was First Lady of Arkansas. Michael Cohen was with the Clintons in Arkansas and then in Washington D.C. He later became director of the non-profit Achieve, where he worked in 2006-2007 with NGA chairman Janet Napolitano, who was Governor of Arizona. They produced a 2008 report benchmarking education levels of countries under the direction of the international Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The NGA report is entitled, Benchmarking for Success: Ensuring U.S. Students Receive a World-Class Education, and states: "We are living in a world without borders. To meet the realities of the 21st century global economy and maintain America' competitive edge into the future, we need students who are prepared to compete not only with their American peers, but with students from all across the globe for the jobs of tomorrow. States have voluntarily taken the lead in developing standards-based education, but policymakers lack a critical tool for moving forward-international benchmarking. This report is intended to help states take the next steps toward ensuring that American students receive a world-class education that positions them to compete and innovate in the 21st century."

A world without borders? What about sovereignty? This statement (goal?) is right in line with the ideology of the revisionist history that says America is NOT exceptional and we need to admit it. In fact we need to repay and repair all damage done from our first days as a nation. In other words redistribute wealth. To acknowledge our American exceptionalism sets us apart and that causes those who embrace globalism to be very distressed so the "old school" thinking must be eradicated to accept the "world without borders."

NGA Chairman, Napolitano led America's governors in receiving an official endorsement of globalist ideology in the benchmarking report that helped give "official" sanction to a nationwide promotion to reform public education to train a global workforce. At the same time, Michael Cohen and others at Achieve, including David Coleman were hard at work writing the Common Core State Standard. Common Core was marketed as simply a set of "state led" standards but they are more accurately identified as a component of the system being built for the global workforce. They are coded and set in a framework with a limited number of items to be taught and measured for each student's skills file. They were written by a panel that set outcome goals for what they decided businesses want in workers then wrote backward from those goals. These standards are aimed at aligning education with business and were never about improving what we have traditionally expected to be goals for academic achievement for all students. David Coleman now heads the College Board, which developed the very controversial AP History Standards that are full of anti-American revisionism, staying true to his course in transforming education.

In June 2014, while the NGA was chaired by Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, HB 3399 was passed by our legislature to repeal the NGA created Common Core Standards from state law, sending an important message nationwide. The repeal of the standards was fought hard by the Oklahoma State Chamber of Commerce who urged our state legislators and governor to ignore the concerns of the citizens and listen to the Chamber which knew best. They even distributed a brochure that falsely claimed Kentucky had greatly improved their student scores in one year using Common Core, but different scoring methods were used each year creating a false picture.

Global Workforce Training in Communist China

Global workforce plans, as stated earlier, are directly tied to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and its Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), which is used to make comparisons between countries. The education system which is rated #1 on PISA is Shanghai China. There are many troubling problems with these comparisons, but a quite simple and obvious one is that China does not educate all students and America does. China is a communist country and most people know that. It shouldn't be surprising that Oklahomans were disturbed to hear our State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister recently took a trip to China with education officers from seven other states and their organization, the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), to learn methods being used in that country.

China's methods for teacher training and evaluation were highlighted on that trip. Teacher training and evaluations are two of the components of the comprehensive system changes that we are concerned with in Oklahoma. Teachers are being trained to be moderators, to work in groups rather than independently and in a narrow compliance system. This is what China does very well. Their teachers are closely scrutinized by other teachers in their Professional Learning Community (PLC), a small cell group which works collectively. American teachers are accustomed to having the freedom to teach according to their own professional determination.

Common Core Nationalized Testing vs Oklahoma Standards Testing

This past legislative session, spring 2015, State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister, the State Chamber of Commerce and Gates funded organizations like Stand for Children put legislation forward to implement a new testing system even before our new standards are finished. Instead of following the intent of the law which gives our state and local schools control over each part of the education process, the Chamber and Hofmeister have a plan for testing which would once again tie Oklahoma to the Common Core Standards in 3-8th grades and sort students into college bound and job training categories in high school.

What they promote is a new system of testing but it carries the old familiar name of the "ACT." That sounds great. It sounds like using the ACT testing will get all the students ready for college with high level academics, but that is not the case. ACT's 3-8th grade "Aspire" is actually the product of a recent partnership with Pearson Corporation based in Europe. Pearson is the world's largest testing and curriculum vendor and highly controversial. Pearson is in partnership with the Federal Department of Education in writing test questions for the Common Core tests developed by the two Federally funded and highly controversial state testing consortia called PARCC -- Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for Careers and College and the SBAC -- Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. These test providers all work in conjunction, even as they compete for contracts, in building the pipeline for the global workforce.

In 2013 Oklahomans rejected the centralized control of education in PARCC. Our participation was dropped, by former State Superintendent Barresi, who was under strong opposition from the public. We then rejected the use of Common Core Standards in 2014. Our legislators listened and heard the concerns of school administrators, teachers and parents statewide. They soon found concerns of their own regarding Common Core and its unknown costs. They came to see Common Core is a "one size fits all" set of standards that narrow and limit creative teaching and learning opportunities. Common Core creates a long list of problems including: standards which are developmentally inappropriate in lower grades, advanced level math classes are eliminated in higher grades and teaching methods for math and reading which are unproven and arguably illogical or even harmful. Above all of these concerns is the fact that the standards are owned and centrally controlled outside of our state. The copyright for the standards is co-owned by the NGA along with the CCSSO.

Stopping Top Down Control

The U.S. House and Senate are in a heated battle reauthorizing the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Regardless of what degree of the "heavy hand" of the federal government is retained in the final bill, we must continue to fight for our State's right to determine education, local control of our schools and parent's rights in their own child's education.

In Oklahoma we have gained a lot of ground in our grassroots battle for education. Oklahomans together from across the state stopped PARCC testing and Common Core Standards. Unfortunately the power and persuasion of Washington D.C. network groups and what some call the bipartisan "cartel" of elected officials working with global corporations will continue to put the interests of the people aside and attempt to override us with their big plans and agendas. We hear a lot about the accountability needed in education. The accountability we need includes first and foremost the commitment of our elected officials to represent us and not corporate interests. Big donors, lobbyists and corporations support the public-private control system for the workforce and they support the elected officials who champion their agenda.

Our elected officials need to hear from us about what is working in our schools and what isn't so they can make the changes needed in public education. Big plans from the top down do not work, regardless of who is at the top. Do not be fooled by a few minor fixes while the bigger plan continues to develop. Local teachers, administrators, school boards, students and parents must work together and stand together at the state capital to insure the mandates and policies put into place will give us local control and stop the corporatism in education.

Linda Murphy was a candidate for State Superintendent of Public Instruction and was appointed by Governor Keating as Secretary of Education. Murphy was appointed as Deputy Commissioner of Labor, Administrator of the Eastern Oklahoma Department of Labor, Member of the State Job Training Coordinating Council, and the Governor's School-to-Work Council. She also served on the Governor's Commission on the Status of Women. To contact Linda or learn more go to: http

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