U. S. Committee on Education and the Workforce

When we think about special education over-identification of at-risk school children, we must think about higher levels of government policy-making and their effects on local education all the way down to the IEP TEAMS.  We need foundational knowledge of how our government operates to address disproportional representations of minority children.  We make the case that EXCLUSION of  undesirable children from mainstream classrooms is the historical pattern followed by government.  The techniques have been many.

Ms. Shah of Education Week points out the need to reduce the over-identification of black school children. “While African Americans make up approximately 17 percent of public school enrollment, they account for 31 percent of students identified as having mental retardation or intellectual disabilities, 28 percent of students labeled as having an emotional disturbance, and 21 percent of students who have learning disabilities. Some of these categories aren’t pure medical diagnoses, calling judgment, and perhaps bias, into play.”   When black children are put in special education, they’re excluded from ordinary school experiences.  

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/speced/2012/01/a_new_initiative_hopes_to.html

Girl Scouts Marching on Main Street.

Committee on Education and the Workforce

The Committee on Education and the Workforce is central, a committee whose mission is described on-line in companion websites, operated by the  two principal political parties. In 2011, there is no independent member.  The Committee is situated in the House of Representatives.   The history of the committee is stated as follows:

“The current Committee on Education and the Workforce, Democrats was established on January 5, 2011. The Committee’s basic jurisdiction is over education and labor matters, generally.

The first Committee of jurisdiction, the Committee on Education and Labor was established on March 21, 1867 in the aftermath of the Civil War and the growth of American industry. On December 19, 1883, the Committee on Education and the Workforce, Democrats was divided into two standing committees: Committee on Education and Committee on Labor. On January 2, 1947, the Legislative Reorganization Act again combined the Committees, renamed the Committee on Education and the Workforce, Democrats. On January 4, 1995, the Committee was renamed the Committee on Economic and Educational Opportunities. On January 7, 1997, the Committee was renamed the Committee on Education and the Workforce. On January 4, 2007, the Committee adopted its original name: the Committee on Education and Labor. Finally, the Committee was renamed the Committee on Education and the Workforce once again on January 5, 2011.”

http://democrats.edworkforce.house.gov/about/history-jurisdiction 

“While Congress has been concerned over education and workforce issues since its beginning, attempts to create a Committee with jurisdiction over education and labor failed in early Congresses due to Representatives’ concern over the constitutional grounds for such a federal role and the belief that education was more properly the responsibility of the states.”

http://edworkforce.house.gov/Committee/

A Facebook page states: “The Education and Labor Committee’s purpose is to ensure that Americans’ needs are addressed so that students and workers may move forward in a changing school system and a competitive global economy.”

http://www.facebook.com/pages/United-States-House-Committee-on-Education-and-the-Workforce/135660126464255?sk=wiki

Hearings in 2011:   http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.

cgi?dbname=112_house_hearings&docid=f:64229.wais

Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions

Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions – 428 Senate Dirksen Office Building Washington, DC 20510

“The committee began in 1869 as the Committee on Education and in 1884 through the mid-1900s it was known as the Education and Labor Committee.  In 1999, then Chairman James Jeffords of Vermont, worked to officially name it the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee.”

For years Senator Edward Kennedy was a key member of the Committee notably involved in education reform.  “Senator Kennedy was Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.”  He was instrumental in passage of IDEA 2004.

http://tedkennedy.org/biography

In 2011, hearings were held on the renewal of NCLB, the Elementary and Secondary Education Reauthorization Act.  National Public Radio has provided a critique of the issues at hand.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=18432881

“S.541 — Achievement Through Prevention Act (Introduced in Senate – IS)

S 541 IS

112th CONGRESS, 1st SessionS. 541

To amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to allow State educational agencies, local educational agencies, and schools to increase implementation of schoolwide positive behavioral interventions and supports and early intervening services in order to improve student academic achievement, reduce overidentification of individuals with disabilities, and reduce disciplinary problems in schools, and to improve coordination with similar activities and services provided under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.”


 COMMENTS ON PHILOSOPHY
Professor Robert N. Barger brought forth posts as late as 2004 on selected topics in American education, developed cooperatively with his students.  Highlighted is the “Progressive Period” of  American education.  Tonjia Miller wrote on the influence of business on education from 1880 to 1920.

“During the progressive period American business and industry rapidly expanded. Along with the increase in business and industry came an increase in the amount of immigrants entering the United States. Mr. Friedrich Winslow Taylor helped the expansion of industry with the “efficiency movement.” This movement was basically concerned with making the factories more efficient in producing more with less cost, effort and material.

The schools were influenced by this efficiency movement. The school was viewed essentially as a workplace and learning was perceived in terms of productivity. The amount of children that were immigrating to the United States with their families increased as well. Elwood Cubberly, a turn-of the century historian, stated that schools should be like factories. Referring to the teachers as the factory workers and the students as the raw material to be turned into the product which was to meet the specifications of the needs of the 20th century.

Cubberly believed that the public schools’ mission was to assimilate the new immigrants into a nation that would remain English speaking and thinking. He was quoted as saying that Public Schooling would implant “The Anglo Saxon conception of righteousness, law and order, and popular government” into the immigrant children. The children who could not be processed to completion were considered as scraps. Therefore they were considered to be dropped out of the production line which is where we get our most accurate definition of “drop outs.”

Due to the large family size of the immigrant families most parents wanted to send children into the work force instead of school. These families wanted to benefit from the income they would receive if more of the family worked. This lead to the Compulsory Attendance and the Child Labor Laws. The Compulsory Attendance laws were mandated by each individual state to ensure that the immigrant children were in school receiving an education and not working in industry.”

http://www.nd.edu/~rbarger/www7/

Thus the U. S. government maintains a confounded philosophy of what schools are supposed to do, and as year-to-year elected officials come along their positions are naturally  conflicted. Many political leaders, however, studied the classics, represented by the “Great  Books” tradition.  The purpose of education is to promote education for education sake, for an “enlightened citizenry.”  Former secretary of education William Bennett advocated classic lessons and moral training.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Bennett

Yet  contemporary policy-makers hold views consistent with Taylor’s management principles despite the fact that manufacturing is in decline in the U. S.:

“It is the writer’s judgment, then, that while much can be done and should be done by writing and talking toward educating not only workmen, but all classes in the community, as to the importance of obtaining the maximum output of each man and each machine, it is only through the adoption of modern scientific management that this great problem can be finally solved. “

http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1911taylor.html

Oddly, policy makers admire Steve Job’s career for intellectual range and creativity but in this post industrial era they continue to promote skills development in the government schools.  The Imac sold because it was also a beautiful piece of plastic art.

Possibly, special education children are kept away from the regular classroom because they do not contribute to economic outcomes.  There was the, … Anglo Saxon conception of righteousness, law and order, and popular government” implanted into the immigrant children. The children who could not be processed to completion were considered as scraps. Therefore they were considered to be dropped out of the production line which is where we get our most accurate definition of “drop outs.”  So one might guess over placement is an economic strategy to improve economic efficiency.

One is reminded of Pink Floyd’s (1979), Another Brick in the Wall:

We don’t need no education

We don’t need no thought control

No dark sarcasm in the classroom

Teacher leave them kids alone

Hey teacher leave them kids alone

All in all your just another brick in the wall

All in all you’re just another brick in the wall

Advertisements
Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: