President Donald Trump wants to combine the Education and Labor Departments into a single Department of Education and the Workforce. The DEW would “centralize and better coordinate Federal efforts to train the American workforce.”

Let’s be clear. It is not the role of federal government to train the American workforce.

Top down workforce engineering is dangerous for the economic health of our nation. Does the federal government really know how many janitors or accountants we will need in 15-20 years? Is the government going to force people to prepare for a specific career or trade just because they are needed on a government-approved project? Will the government decide where they will work and live?

For years the U.S. has been moving toward a centrally planned economy. Forming a new DEW would further move education away from academic learning and toward a workforce development model intended to train workers so businesses will have a ready supply.

Students will no longer receive a well-rounded education so they can adapt to the inevitable changes in the workplace.

During the Clinton administration, three federal laws were passed to replace our free enterprise system. These laws created a scaffold for a centrally planned economic system to be implemented by the states through public/private partnerships with government, education and business.

Goals 2000 was a partnership between the federal government and education that required dumbed down national curriculum standards with national tests. Personal data would be collected to create a workforce database stored in state longitudinal databases.

School-to-Work was an education/business partnership that shifted the purpose of education to training workers. Schools have become job training centers with a narrowed curriculum for the career choices decided by federal economic forecasters. Bureaucratic agencies will match workers and jobs, deciding where workers will need to live.

The Workforce Investment Act created a nationwide network of workforce boards to implement and manage the central system through local centers.

Throughout our nation’s history, young people have had workplace training as apprentices, but that has been a choice, not an education requirement.

Now students must choose careers by the end of the eighth grade. From a narrowed curriculum they select a career instead of receiving a classical foundation that prepares them for adapting to life’s changes, even career changes.

Our free market economy is being replaced by a system that adopts the failed ideas of a state planned economy similar to that of the former Soviet Union.

The way to escape this centralized engineering through education is to decentralize education and return local control. Merging two departments will not do that and, indeed, could make matters worse with the creation of what is essentially an industrial labor department.

The federal government needs to get out of education and the workforce and focus on the security of America.

Instead of merging departments, let’s just abolish the U.S. Department of Education!

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