full of CREP

A day after the worksheet debacle, Mr. Brown comes into my room.  "Can you believe we have to take time out of social studies to teach Career Readiness Exploration Program?"

"I'm sure the districts spent barrels of money on it, what with all the worksheets and workbooks and . . ."

"You nailed it.  They're worksheets and workbooks, but nothing is a thinkbook anymore.  It's about productivity and results and not the cognitive process anymore.  Might as well turn them into machines."  

"I'm upset with the conflict of interest.  Am I really supposed to believe that a program developed by Carnegie can be trusted?  Can I really separate out Carnegie the corrupt robber baron from Carnegie the educational reformer?  Yes, it's fine that he wants to give back, but that feels a bit like robbing a house and then returning a few pairs of slacks and some silverware."  

"They want me to teach CREP, well this is CREP, this is total CREP, this is a pile of stinky CREP," and he says it with just the right Scottish accent that it makes me smile, if not laugh.

"Are you really that upset about it?"

"See, Techno-Tommy, I'm worried about this.  I really am.  Students need social studies, because our community needs civic-minded people.  We need people who can explore the world with a critical eye. We need students to know the narratives of the past to make sense of the present.  It's not a fluff subject just because it doesn't help create better factory workers."

"What scares me is that teachers seem to love this program simply because it uses technology.  So, for a day they'll have access to a camera and through the entire unit, they'll have paper and pencil.  They're using novelty to sell us CREP."  I try a Scottish accent on the CREP part, but I end up sounding mildly drunk instead.

My friend Paul the Preindustrial Poet thinks the best way to prepare someone for the workforce is to prepare someone for life.  I'm thinking he and Mr. Brown both have a point here.  We're educating sixth graders.  Do they really need job preparation right now?  Is this really the time to have them develop a Career Readiness Plan?  

"So, Mr. Brown, what is your plan? Are you just going to play ignorant and claim you never had training on it?" 

"No, I have another idea.  They'll fill out the worksheets alright. You'll see."

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