Monday, September 10, 2018

What next Scott Walker, child labor apprenticeships?

Scott Walker is pushing 7th and 8th-grade middle school vocational training because according to right-wing orthodoxy, people don't have worth unless they're working. Employers give them "value." Proof? Just look at the GOP backed work requirements for food and healthcare, two items they claim are earned privileges." You can't get any more obvious than that.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker would make the state's youth apprenticeship program available to seventh- and eighth-grade students under a plan he described this week ... Walker's proposal would expand the program. "We’re putting Wisconsin’s students in control of their learning and future," read a fact sheet from the governor's campaign.
Because 12 and 13-year-olds, 7th and 8th-graders, should be in control of their learning and future, right?

Welcome back to Turn of the Century Child Labor?: Coincidentally, I just happen to run across a Washington Post article about child labor, and then it came to me. The headline above took on a whole new meaning. By defining a person worth by requiring them to be "workers," the next step won't so hard to sell, which takes us back to early 1900's:
The National Child Labor Committee (the NCLC) mission wasn’t about showing the public that children were being used for financial gain — that was already a well-known fact. At the time, many believed the practice had substantial benefits. Youths could learn the value of hard work. Businesses could ... decrease the hourly pay. Parents could depend on their children to support the family, meaning the adults could work less or not at all. 

As one mother remarked to the NCLC in 1907: “I am really tired of seeing so many big children ten years old playing in the streets.”
Let's go back to child labor and fewer costly regulations?
Walker Plan Nothing like Germany's VET System: Republicans like Walker like to point to European success stories that supposedly justify their agenda and cancel out Democratic objections. But in every case, they always leave out that one important factor they would never agree to: Education, Health Care, and now Germany's VET job training program are all standardized by their national governments, an important issue no Republican would ever support. But without national standards, the programs could collapse into chaos. Vouchers are one great example; some work and many don't.

I highlighted a few facts below that separates what Walker's Wisconsin is doing and what Germany's training programs accomplish; Germany has tight federal control and standards, nothing like the unregulated patchwork of programs that are untested and probably thrown together by campaign contributors:
A Brief Description of Germany’s VET System: Despite being a federal country in which individual states have autonomy over educational matters, Germany has established a fairly uniform and highly regulated VET system nationwide. There are a number of different training programs including full-time school programs, but most vocational sector students enroll in the dual system. This system straddles ninth or tenth grade, and continue in vocational programs lasting two to four years. Participating companies are obligated to provide training in accordance with national regulations and pay students a modest salary ... regulated and funded by both the federal government and the German states ... the final graduation examinations are uniform throughout the country and lead to formal vocational qualifications. Graduates earn a state-examined or state-recognized vocational title or a journeyman certificate, all of which are official certifications recognized throughout Germany. 

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