Tag Archives: Workforce

Guest Post: Common Core Standards Usurp Leadership Clubs in our Schools

This is a guest post article from a concerned parent. It is a follow-up to a previous article: CCS and honor societies
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Common Core Standards Usurp Leadership Clubs in our Schools

You may have fond memories of your days in school where you attended, especially if you were a member of clubs such as FFA (Future Farmers of America) or the FHA (Future Homemakers of America, which by the way has been re-named & updated to become the FCCLA (Family, Career & Community Leaders of America). Maybe you belonged to DECA (formerly Distributive Education Clubs of America)?

Well, times, they are a-changing. While these extra curricular clubs DO exist in our modern day schools for our students, they too have been transformed by none other than the Common Core Standards!

Before we begin a look at the 11 such youth leadership clubs, here’s a bit of context for you, in June 2011, a 4-page PDF was created, titled “EXPANDING CAREER READINESS THROUGH CAREER AND TECHNICAL STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS”.

Note: CTSOs are operated as non-profit organizations & their existence is authorized by Congress via the Perkins Act. The U.S. Dept. of Ed. recognizes these 11 NP groups. In the report, it stated: Ensuring students are “college- and career-ready” has become a critical issue as concerns rise about the success of the U.S. education system and, ultimately, the country’s economic competitiveness.

The discussion surrounding college readiness is generally limited to academic skills, but actual career readiness requires an even more rigorous blend of academic, technical and employ-ability skills, and the ability to apply these skills in authentic career situations.

The foundations for strengthening career readiness are already in place through career and technical education (CTE), which offers this unique blend of skills through comprehensive programs of study. One of the most critical components of strong CTE programs is student participation in related leadership organizations, known as career and technical student organizations (CTSOs).

With more than 1.5 million student members combined, CTSOs provide “a unique program of career and leadership development, motivation and recognition for secondary and post secondary students enrolled, or previously enrolled, in career and technical education programs.”

Now, again, like the previous article about CCS and honor societies, the concept, in & of itself isn’t so bad…BUT, when Common Core Standards are added and the global agenda, not to mention the one-size-fits-all, drone like mentality/realities, it doesn’t take much to see part of the plan — groom leaders by starting them young. The 11 such recognized & aligned for grooming groups: FFA, FCCLA, DECA, FBLA-PBL, FEA, PAS, SkillsUSA, TS, NYFEA and HOSA. Relax, each ‘alphabet soup’ name will be revealed.

A small bit of background into WHY groomed youth leaders are a great idea for CCS to succeed
The excerpt below was focusing on just one student club when it was written, the FCCLA (see above). However, using the Common Core Standards as our lens, we want to look at the following words with a 21st Century view, where we know, ‘career & college ready’ really mean something!

From the “Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences Education, Vol. 24, No. 2, Fall/Winter, 2006” publication:

‘The need for the development of leadership skills is germane to the success of youth organizations including those within career and technical education(Seevers & Dormody, 1995).’.. The student organization connected with family and consumer sciences (FCS) is Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) which is the only national career and technical education student organization with the family as its central focus. FCCLA assists young men and women in becoming leaders and addressing important personal, family, work, and societal issues through family and consumer sciences education (FCCLA, 2000). Career and technical student organizations are an integral part in providing leadership experiences to students, both in and beyond the classroom (Wonacott, 2001).’

The Journal goes on to state:

“Gardner (1987) defined leadership as the process of persuasion or example by which an individual or leadership team induces a group to pursue an objective held by the leader or shared by the leader and followers.”

According to Avery (1995), leadership can be conceptualized as providing visionary skills that enable members to provide direction to the profession and empower themselves and others to meet their full potential.

Johnson and Johnson (2003) determined that leadership skills were the sum total of one’s ability to help the group achieve its goals and maintain an effective working relationship among members.

Wheatley(1992) acknowledged that leadership is now being examined for its relational aspects.

Leadership is viewed as a skill that can be taught and learned just as you learn academic knowledge and skills which support the statement, “leaders are made not born.”
Furthermore, Johnson and Johnson (2003) postulate that since leadership takes practice, anyone can learn leadership skills. Although there are numerous ways to define leadership, it is clear that these skills and traits can and should be developed for the purpose of guiding a group or organization toward its desired goals.’

Hmmm…What are the desired goals of Common Core Standards?! Rigorous standards that prepare our students for a robust, 21st global economy. At least, it is supposed to be something like that, right? What better way to encourage rigor, prepare students than by usurping the extra curricular clubs & call it ‘leadership training’? Think I’m making this stuff up? Read on. Continue reading

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