Education is a Religion and Marc Tucker Speaks. What’s Going on in Utah?
There’s a new term in education reform: Chief Education Evangelist. What’s the definition of a technology evangelist? From Wikipedia:
A technology evangelist is a person who builds a critical mass of support for a given technology, and then establishes it as a technical standard in a market that is subject to network effects. An evangelist promotes the use of a particular product or technology through talks, articles, blogging, user demonstrations, recorded demonstrations, or the creation of sample projects. The word evangelism is taken from the context of religious evangelism due to the similarity of relaying information about a particular set of beliefs with the intention of converting the recipient.
As with traditional religious evangelists, these technology evangelists possess similar fervor and strive to convince others that their products and services are the way to educational salvation. There are several types of technology evangelists who hawk their message to increase the use of their products or services:
Platform evangelism is one target of technology evangelism, in which the vendor of a two-sided platform attempts to accelerate the production of complementary goods by independent developers. (e.g., Facebook encourages developers to create games or develop mobile apps that can enhance users’ experiences with Facebook.)
Professional technology evangelists are often employed by firms seeking to establish their technologies as de facto standards.
Open-source evangelists operate independently. Evangelists also participate in defining open standards. Non-professional technology evangelists may act out of altruism or self-interest (e.g., to gain the benefits of early adoption or network effect).
History of term
The term “software evangelist” was coined by Mike Murray of Apple Computer‘s Macintosh computer division. The first so-identified technology evangelist was Mike Boich — who promoted the Macintosh computer. The job is often closely related to both sales and training, but requires specific technology marketing skills. For example, convincing a potential buyer or user to change from older methods to new ones. Technology evangelism is sometimes associated with an internal employee assigned to encourage new practices within an organization. The marketing aspect of the role was strongly influenced by Geoffrey Moore and his books concerning the technology adoption lifecycle.
Notable technology evangelists
Notable technology evangelists in the commercial arena include Steve Jobs (Apple Inc.), Vint Cerf (Google), Don Box, Guy Kawasaki, Alex St. John, Myriam Joire (Pebble), Dan Martin (MasterCard). Court records indicate that James Plamondon was a leading theorist, strategist, and practitioner of technology evangelism at Microsoft during its establishment of Microsoft Windows as the de facto standard PC operating system.
Casap is a featured speaker at the Joint Commission of Education in Utah which began today. You can find the agenda here and access live streaming of the two day conference. It’s a presentation affirming the need and strategies for competency based education with these speakers and topics (excerpted from the first day’s agenda):
Intended outcome: Develop a common understanding of K-20 competency-based education, and determine high-level changes needed in various settings to achieve desired student outcomes.
National Perspective on Competency-Based Education
Participants will hear about a working definition for competency-based education and about the implementation of competency-based education throughout the country.
Tom Vander Ark, CEO, Getting Smart
Karla Phillips, State Policy Director, Competency-Based Learning, Foundation for Excellence in Education
Assessing Student Competencies
Participants will hear about current practices in assessments, barriers to assessing competency, and policy implications of moving toward competency-based education.
Christie Fox, Director, Utah Scholars and Completion Initiatives, Utah System of Higher Education
Rich Nye, Associate Superintendent, Accountability and Assessment, Utah State Office of Education
Participants will have the opportunity to discuss questions about competency based education in Utah in small groups at their tables.
Facilitated by Sydnee Dickson, Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction, Utah State Office of Education
The first day’s agenda has set the tone that competency based (not classical) education is the goal. Who is scheduled as a keynote speaker on the second day to further the Utah Deparment of Education’s educational reforms? Since competency based learning and assessment is the focus of Utah education, the obvious choice for the keynote speaker would be the Chief Evangelist of Competency Based Education, Marc Tucker:
Tucker’s educational reform rise to fame began in 1992 when he penned his now famous 18 page Dear Hillary letter about his theories. The letter was later inserted into the Federal Record for historical purposes. It is a document detailing how the American educational system should/could be transformed into a workforce planning endeavor:
On Sept. 25, 1998, Rep. Bob Schaffer placed in the Congressional Record an 18-page letter that has become famous as Marc Tucker’s “Dear Hillary” letter. It lays out the master plan of the Clinton Administration to take over the entire U.S. educational system so that it can serve national economic planning of the workforce.
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.
Tucker’s ambitious plan was implemented in three laws passed by Congress and signed by President Clinton in 1994: the Goals 2000 Act, the School-to-Work Act, and the reauthorized Elementary and Secondary Education Act. These laws establish the following mechanisms to restructure the public schools:
- Bypass all elected officials on school boards and in state legislatures by making federal funds flow to the Governor and his appointees on workforce development boards.
- Use a computer database, a.k.a. “a labor market information system,” into which school personnel would scan all information about every schoolchild and his family, identified by the child’s social security number: academic, medical, mental, psychological, behavioral, and interrogations by counselors. The computerized data would be available to the school, the government, and future employers.
- Use “national standards” and “national testing” to cement national control of tests, assessments, school honors and rewards, financial aid, and the Certificate of Initial Mastery (CIM), which is designed to replace the high school diploma.
Designed on the German system, the Tucker plan is to train children in specific jobs to serve the workforce and the global economy instead of to educate them so they can make their own life choices.
Read more here. Lest you think only those on the right were concerned about Tucker’s restructuring of American education into workforce planning for NGOs and is some sort of ‘right wing conspiracy’, read Susan Ohanian raising serious concerns about his connections and reforms:
Read her article for previous research on Tucker and how this is the transformation of the American educational system designed by choice architects. Anthony Cody provided a rebuttal in 2014 to Tucker’s current reforms and arguments here:
So I call bullshit. I do not believe the economy of the 21st century is waiting for some more highly educated generation, at which time middle class jobs will materialize out of thin air.
Corporations are engaged in a systemic drive to cut the number of employees at all levels. When Microsoft laid off 18,000 skilled workers, executives made it clear that expenses – meaning employees, must be minimized. Profits require that production be lean. There is no real shortage of people with STEM degrees.
On the whole, it is still an advantage for an individual to be well educated. But the idea that education is some sort of limiting factor on our economic growth is nonsense. And the idea that the future of current and future graduates will be greatly improved if they are better educated is likewise highly suspect.
Bill Gates recently acknowledged in an interview at the American Enterprise Institute, “capitalism in general, over time, will create more inequality and technology, over time, will reduce demand for jobs particularly at the lower end of the skill set.”
This is the future we face until there is a fundamental economic realignment. Fewer jobs. Continued inequality and greater concentration of wealth.
Tucker is the education workforce planning evangelist invited to participate in the Joint Education Conference. Parents, taxpayers and knowledgeable legislators should be protesting that this conference is occurring in their state. Utah Mom and blogger Christel Swasey published not only the announcement to parents nationwide that Tucker was invited to speak, but she also provided the reason that former US Congressman Bob Schaeffer (R, CO) successfully had Tucker’s Dear Hillary inserted into the Congressional Record for historical purposes. From whatiscommoncore.com:
The following is authored by former US Congressman Bob Schaffer and is posted with his permission. In light of the fact that Marc Tucker has been invited to advise the Utah legislature on education at this week’s two day education conference, it seemed important to remember the history behind the changes that are culminating now, which Tucker and Hillary Clinton detailed in motion in the 1990s. Thanks to Bob Schaffer for his timely update.
I am grateful for your inquiry and certainly wish you well in your patriotic efforts in Utah. Incidentally, your readers can find PDF files of each page of Marc Tucker’s “Dear Hillary” letter in the 1998 Congressional Record through these links: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7.
The “Dear Hillary” letter is as relevant today as it was in 1992. Though I doubt anyone in the halls of government much remembers the letter itself, it is the concise, clear, and intentional nature of the letter that is instructive to those of us who still find value in the idea of a constitutional republic self-governed by free and intelligent citizens. Tucker’s sweeping 1992 blueprint for nationalizing the American public-education system is especially pertinent now because, at least since the day it was penned, it has been brilliantly executed with virtually no deviation.
It is instructive to note Tucker’s blueprint does not stop at nationalizing primary public education. It entails merging nationalized primary-education goals with a nationalized higher-education system and a nationalized labor-administrative function. Think of the 1990s doublespeak “School-to-Work” and you get an accurate picture. School-to-Work, as you know, was the apt title of the Clinton-era initiative setting the Tucker letter into actual national public policy. More practically, think of the “Prussian-German, education-labor model” because it is the same thing. Tucker actually says so in the letter itself: “We propose that (President-elect) Bill take a leaf out of the German book.”
Truly, Tucker’s ideas are not new. They were formalized by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, refined by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, embedded by Hegel in the German university structure, then exported throughout the world including to virtually every “teachers college” in America. Specific to the perpetual, anti-intellectual quest to undermine the traditions of “classical” education, Rousseau’s “social-contract” ideas (wherein individuals are understood as subordinate to state interests and royal continuity) were perfected for European classrooms by heralded social engineers such as Heinrich Pestalozzi and Friedrich Froebel. These ideas were most powerfully applied to American classrooms by John Dewey. Despite being deeply embedded in the curriculum of modern American teacher’s colleges, these collectivist ideals and progressive-romantic philosophies have been held in marginal abeyance by the brilliant American design of decentralized, independent, sovereign states each in charge of its own public-education system.
Accordingly, this is where Tucker’s “Dear Hillary” letter earns its notorious repute. An acolyte of the worn Rousseau-Dewey, progressive-romantic line of thinking, Tucker eloquently maps in his 1992 letter to the new First Lady a sharp and detailed political plan for mutating American primary education, secondary education, and labor policy in ways that can breach the pesky firewalls of the Tenth Amendment if not the core revolutionary ideal of federalism itself. Hegel would have been elated. Dewey’s, Pestalozzi’s, and Froebel’s names are already painted on the ceiling of the Library of Congress – main floor, at that.
Though eight years of the Clinton administration have come and gone (maybe), the tactics of the “Dear Hillary” letter roll onward. Not a single manifestation of “Dear Hillary” policies was curtailed during the Bush presidency. In fact, many were accelerated through “No Child Left Behind.” The Obama administration has effectuated “Dear Hillary” objectives to nearly complete fruition.
As to your curiosity about why I petitioned the House of Representatives in 1998 to allow me to preserve the Tucker letter as I did, my best explanation follows.
After discovering, studying and digesting the transformational implications of the “Dear Hillary” letter, and concluding it carried credible political heft, I thought it important to enshrine the missive via The Congressional Record perhaps as a self-explanatory and incontrovertible marker as to whom, when, where and how the United States of America finally and completely disconnected itself from the proven ideals of classical education – the kind of education the country’s Founders received. As a youngish, backbench first-term Member of Congress in 1998, I thought someday maybe someone working on a Master’s thesis would like to pinpoint the moment our former republic opted instead for the amply disproven, constrained and anti-intellectual objectives of formalized “training.” Maybe my Congressional-Record entry would be of good use to an aspiring scholar or two.
Indeed, history is replete with examples of classical education leading to strong, powerful individuals; and formalized training leading to a strong, powerful state. I regarded this letter as a signal of an epic American turning point. I actually did imagine the letter would one day be regarded as an important historic document worthy of being singled out and remembered. I maintain that belief even now, and am delighted you are among those who recognize its significance.
It seemed to me at the time, the “Dear Hillary” letter was the most concise, honest and transparent political document of its kind. It reminded me of the moment Gen. George McClelland at Sharpsburg came into possession of Gen. Robert Lee’s plans for an offensive at Antietam Creek. Here in these plans, one actually reads a credible battle strategy for overcoming American federalism. Tucker’s war cannons were fully charged and tightly packed with progressive-romantic canister, aimed directly upon the Founder’s revolutionary idea of republican, self-government and our traditions of states’ rights.
I had anticipated my colleagues in the Congress and various state-education leaders would benefit from knowing, in advance, of Tucker’s offensive strategy especially as his battle plan was specifically addressed to, and received by, the occupants of the White House. The last thing I ever imagined at the time (and I am heartbroken to realize it now), is how political leaders in the several states have stood indolently for it. Never did I picture the baleful scene we are witnessing today – state leaders themselves dutifully lowering Tucker’s linstock to the touch hole of statism.
At least for the past couple of decades, the vast majority of elected leaders in both political parties have clearly – if not enthusiastically – worked to outdo one another in applying Rousseau-Hegel-Dewey ideas to public education. They offer little, if any, impressive resistance to policies, laws, rules, and mandates relegating American education to a job-training enterprise despite the prescient warnings of Albert Jay Nock, E.D. Hirsch, Tracy Lee Simmons and others who have underscored the crucial difference between classical education and anti-intellectual training. As such, Tucker’s letter and goals, though overtly political, cannot be fairly regarded as a partisan. No, the epic transformation of American culture and national character is being achieved rather quickly due to an overwhelming advantage of spectacular bipartisan cooperation.
Henceforward, when intelligent people scratch their heads and wonder how it was that the citizens of the United State of America inexplicably stood by and unwittingly participated in the systematic demise of their blessed republic, at least they’ll find one comprehensive and compelling explanation, assuming it survives the censors’ notice, in The Congressional Record on September 25, 1998.
Thank you for finding me, reaching out to me, and granting me an opportunity to underscore the perilous certainties of the country’s education system.
Very truly yours,
This response from Schaffer says it all. Why are Utah legislators following the workforce development mantra supported by the CCSSI evangelists? We look forward to reading more from the Utah activists covering the conference. What do you want to wager Tucker will be pushing his current educational reform which supports his original 1992 Dear Hillary letter? Yong Zhao provides information on Tucker’s current education reform plans. The data gained from the NGO created tests will create a data set for your student from cradle to grave:
A few weeks ago, I wrote a response to Marc Tucker’s response to Diane Ravicth and Anthony Cody’s comments on Tucker’s proposal for fixing our national accountability system. My response was posted on Anthony Cody’s blog Living in Dialogue. Tucker followed with a response, in which he sort of agrees with my critique:
If [Tucker] believes “…that our test-based accountability system ‘is not only ineffective but harmful,’ he would logically suggest that system be abandoned. Instead he tries to fix it and the fixes include more tests, more high stakes tests, and more standardized tests.
“Yup, that is what I proposed,” writes Tucker. I was happy to read that because my purpose was to to point out that his proposed fixes would result in “tests, more high stakes tests, and more standardized tests.” Thanks, Marc for the clarification.
But of course, we have different views on standardized tests, and more fundamentally what education means. Marc has much more faith in standardized testing than I do. He writes “I do not think all standardized tests are bad, nor did I ever suggest that I think they are.” I, however, don’t believe standardized tests have much value in improving education and have not seen many good examples of them in the world as he has.