Total Recall

© 1990 TriStar PicturesIn the 1990 movie Total Recall, the actor Arnold Schwarzenegger emerges from his disguise as a woman in an incredible (especially for 1990) computer-generated visual effect.

In August 2004, the real Arnold Schwarzenegger, The Governator who saved "Gali-fornia" from Gray Davis, who triumphantly proclaimed "I am a Republican too" at the party's national convention, emerged from his ostensibly Republican guise with an equally startling transformation.

Well, OK, nobody ever considered Schwarzenegger a conservative, but the Schwarzenegger administration's California Performance Review (CPR) has some groups gasping in horror, as if their helmet's face shield suddenly shattered in the thin Martian atmosphere (watch the movie).

The conservative organization Freedom 21 Santa Cruz says in its review of the CPR:

In truth, Governor Schwarzenegger's plan effectively devolves the constitutionally based government of the State of California by creating a series of councils, conservancies and regional governments that will create new political systems, new methods for educating children and a new land use system that pretends to protect nature by limiting human action in order to consolidate economic power within an elite ruling class.
Schwarzenegger himself said in 1990, "My relationship to power and authority is that I'm all for it... People need somebody to watch over them... Ninety-five percent of the people in the world need to be told what to do and how to behave (U.S. News & World Report, November 26, 1990)."

What does education look like in this brave new world?

The CPR plan for education is an example of the Governor's wish to limit California's choice by eliminating representatives elected by the people. Under the CPR, the Governor's Secretary to Education heads a new organization, the Department of Education and Workforce Preparation. This appointee will be granted broad powers to manage the California education system from elementary schools to community colleges.

What does 'workforce preparation' mean? It means government-private partnerships between schools and business; a centrally planned economy; replacing the learning of facts with assessment of attitudes, values and beliefs, and treating children as biological resources of the state to create global collective citizens. This is even more alarming than changing political mechanics. The significant change is about the purpose of education and the premise we hold about the nature and role of children to reach and seek their full potential as human beings.
Socialism may work in The Golden State, but as Governor Tim Pawlenty and his administration roll out his sweeping education proposals, we'll continue to watch for moves in legislation and rule that would put government and business in the driver's seat of public education, to the exclusion of the parents in each ward.