An article posted this morning's Albert Lea Tribune, Parry calls primary ‘bump in the road,' illustrates why Mike Parry earned his place on Buzzfeed's list of "8 Craziest Candidate's of 2012." The article also reminds Bluestem why we'll be sad if Parry ends up being the GOP candidate who's roadkill on that road.
At the end of the piece, Tribune staff writer Danielle Boss writes:
"The country’s leaders also need to show the youth it’s OK to be a welder or to attend vocational school, instead of forcing youth into attending a four-year college, when they could better work in a different field, he added."
Because forced college educations are such an awful thing and four-year college slavery must end now.
This is truly peculiar language, since no one is "forcing" students to go to four-year colleges. In fact, Minnesota has a fairly robust system of technical and comprehensive community colleges within MNSCU. It's pricey compared to other public technical and two-year community colleges systems around the country, but still a bargain when compared to private vo-tech schools and online learning. Last fall, MPR checked out MnSCU’s new push for career technical education.
One wonders just who the hell Parry is talking about when he asks for national leaders who will show youth it's okay to be welders rather than "forcing" them to go to college. Parry might have been channeling NAS's Peter Wood channeling Rick Santorum on that snotty president who supposedly wants everyone to go to college. Like that snob said in his 2009 state-of-the-union address:
Tonight, I ask every American to commit to at least one year or more of higher education or career training. This can be community college or a four-year school; vocational training or an apprenticeship. But whatever the training may be, every American will need to get more than a high school diploma.
The U.S. Department of Education laid out its goals for CTE in a 20-page pdf in April, since the Perkins Act is up for reauthorization.
Ryan and MNGOP cuts to technical education
Parry apparently has been successful in finding a national leader who doesn't want to force anyone to learn--although that generosity might also stop some from picking up training as welders or money to go to vocational school, public or private.
Parry and Quist both lavished praise on Romney's selection of Rep. Paul Ryan, and yet the New Ryan Budget Disinvests in America, with education and training slashed percapita by 48 percent, according to a review of the veep-in-waiting's budget proposal last spring by the Center for American Progress.
The National Association for Career and Technical Education, which opposed the Ryan Budget, blogged in March in Committee Passes House Budget Resolution:
. . .the controversial Ryan budget, which proposes to cut spending by $5.3 trillion over 10 years, sets the FY 2013 discretionary spending cap at $1.028 trillion, $19 billion below the $1.047 trillion spending cap agreed to in the August 2011 debt limit deal.
There are 17 major government functions for which the budget committee recommends spending ceilings. CTE programs are part of the Function 500 category of education, training, employment and social services. The Ryan budget proposes to cut combined mandatory and discretionary spending for Function 500 programs by $9.5 billion below the current baseline.
On the state level, Parry is part of a party and caucus that thought A little learning will be an expensive thing: MNGOP budget cuts to drain the higher ed spring. As the Republican Eagle reported:
Minnesota lawmakers voted to cut $300 million from college and university spending as they craft a state budget while plugging a $5 billion deficit.
That proposed cut was hard on the local technical college. The Eagle reported:
Jim Johnson, president of Minnesota State College-Southeast Technical, said because over 80 percent of the college's budget goes to staffing, the cuts would definitely mean laying off employees.
"We will be looking at less staff, doing some layoffs, looking at how we can do things more efficiently," he said.
Bills passing the House and Senate Tuesday set a $2.5 billion two-year budget for state-run colleges and universities. That is down from $2.8 billion in the current budget.
The technical college would have to shave off about $1 million from its budget this year and another $1 million next year, Johnson said. . . .
So in his haste to get away from those forced four-year college camps, Parry supported slashing technical schools. More mixed messages from the Parry-Dox.
Walz support for tech ed
But the comment is an odd thing to campaign on given Walz's support for technical education. Three days ago, KEYC-TV reported in Walz Wants Increased Focus on Industrial Tech Education:
Touring Jones Metal in Mankato today, Walz says the company told him they needed two things to remain successful: good roads to get their products where they need to go, and a workforce skilled in industrial technology:
"We have got to be producing students and have high quality folks that have the ability to follow directions, to read schematic drawings. One of the things they said was get technical education back into our schools and make the case that manufacturing is a noble profession. You're going to make good money here, you're going to get good benefits and you're going to end up doing something with your hands."
Edwatch's history of bashing STW; employer involvement in tech education
Even more strange: Quist and Parry both love them some Bachmann, who gained some earned media by bashing school-to-work programs in Minnesota. Both Quists were deeply involved in EdWatch, which trashed technical education and school to work in favor of high school curriculums that were geared toward the liberal arts.
Take the opening of a 2004 Edwatch page, Senator Bachmann on School-to-Work:
The following article in yesterday's Naples Sun Times reports on a presentation Minnesota Senator Michele Bachmann recently gave in Florida regarding School-to-Work. Since the 1994 federal School-to-Work Act was not re-authorized in 2001, some try to make the case that School-to-Work is no longer an issue. Nothing could be further from the truth. Picking up where the 1994 School-to-Work Opportunities Act left off, federal funding for a federal STW system is generously funded and implemented through a number of other federal laws, including the Workforce Investment Act and the Carl Perkins Act. For a glimpse of that vast system, visit the website of the Career and Technical Dissemination Center, all funded with our tax dollars. It exists in every state, and it is transforming knowledge-based learning into job training for all students beginning at early as kindergarten.
Oh scary. (Aside: when Parry was asked at Farmfest about use of Perkins dollars to promote ag tech programs, he launched into a rambling screed about how all control should be local and didn't seem to understand the question; both Walz and Quist grasped why the question was important for farming).
As Tim Murphy noted in The Education of Michele Bachmann:
[Bachmann and Michael Chapman] argued that public schools, in collaboration with business interests, would then funnel children to specific careers through a program called School to Work. Officials in Washington, in that dystopian scenario, would form "workforce boards" to promote different sectors of the economy—green jobs, say—depending on their political whims.
"Government is implementing policies that will lead to poverty, not prosperity, by adopting the failed ideas of a state planned and managed economy similar to that of the former Soviet Union," Bachmann and Chapman wrote. "The system is based upon a utilitarian worldview that measures human value only in terms of productive capability for the 'best interests of the state.'"
And so it appears that in Minnesota at least, leaders like Bachmann discouraged the notion that technical education had value, but was rather part of a Big Government plan to force kids into non-liberal arts programs. Or whatever.
Maybe the MNGOP can tell us when they make up their mind about whether four-year liberal arts degrees or technical programs are the road to serfdom.
Also on the menu in Albert Lea: Parry demogoguing on immigrant and English-only. Neither issue has been on the radar in this race--and those anti-job-creator business groups like the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce seek national comprehensive immigration reform because they're worried about having a workforce at all. Parry seems to be treading water here.
Who will Republican voters throw a lifeline to tomorrow? Neither isn't on the ballot.
Photo: A bump in the road for Mike Parry?