The Department of Education is increasingly creepy.
There’s no other word for it. It’s as bad as any Orwellian-styled fiction. I say this without being in the least speculative– proof is published openly in the actual source documents coming out of the current Department of Education.
I invite you to scan over the Department of Education’s document entitled “Promoting Grit, Tenacity and Perserverance.”
This 126-page report was published four months ago by the Office of Educational Technology and the U.S. Department of Education.
The whole document is about student data mining– but not just the type of data mining we’ve talked about before, where math and English and a student’s personal name and address are the issues.
Here, the issue is having schools/governments collect data about a student’s will, character, beliefs and attitudes using multiple measures that go beyond standardized testing to physical control and measurement of the child, by eye tracking and nerve sensory devices.
On page 44, see exhibit 11. It shows how affective sensors are used in some areas to measure student “engagement”. You’ll see facial expression cameras, posture analysis seats, a pressure mouse, and a wireless skin conductance sensor.
These are supposed to be good things?!
We see clearly that it is not enough for the “education reformers” to nationally control, via common standards and testing, the math and English teaching; they also desire to test, analyze and control, noncognitive individual attitudes.
How is freedom of thought, freedom of belief/attitude/religion, or freedom of expression, upheld by these “reforms” in any way?
The document also says:
“There is a growing movement to explore the potential of the “noncognitive” factors— attributes, dispositions, social skills, attitudes, and intrapersonal resources, independent of intellectual ability…”
I re-read Orwell’s 1984 recently. Do you remember it? The main character lives in a world completely controlled by the government, which watches all citizens through virtually omnipresent screens and makes all citizens daily chant, with the same expressions on their faces– or else.
“Of course he chanted with the rest: it was impossible to do otherwise. To dissemble your feelings, to control your face, to do what everyone else was doing, was an instinctive reaction.”
In Promoting Grit, Tenacity and Perserverance, as in other documents and speeches promoted by the current administration, you will also see the marginalization of parents. Parents are not seen as the primary instructor and authority figure over the child. Parents are seen as just the supporting cast. They can play a role. They can support. They can be educated about governmental “best practices” to practice at home. Think I’m kidding?
From page xiv: “Conclusion 6: Parents and guardians can also play a direct and important role in promoting
their children’s grit, tenacity, and perseverance… Recommendation 6a: Parents may employ some of the research-based best practices at home as they work with their children around academic goals… Parents can also support children in structuring their home work
environments to support effortful control…
Recommendation 6b: Educators… should consider outreach to parents and guardians as an important support for
students… parents may need to be educated about best practices.
This goes right along with Obama’s Lean Forward campaign, where the video spokeswoman, Melissa Harris-Perry said, (see below) “We haven’t had a collective notion of ‘these are our children.’ We have to break through this kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents.”
Last I heard, our Utah State Office of Education was claiming that Utah’s Common Core tests (A.I.R.) will only test math and English, and will not test behavioral indicators, attitudes, grit or tenacity.
Do you believe it?
I wish I could.
But while the Department of Education is pushing behavioral indicator measurement, and while the testing company Utah has chosen to create its Common Core tests –American Institutes for Research– has a mission statement “to conduct and apply the best behavioral and social science research and evaluation,” and while the Utah legislature has passed HB15, a bill that requires “behavior indicators” in school testing, and when Bill Gates, the main funder of all things Common Core, is promoting the merger of technology, games, education and biometric-psychometric control– when these forces combine, how can anyone still believe that all is well?
All is not well.
Parents, teachers and legislators must stand up, speak out, and not be quiet until we stop this erosion of individual rights.
If we don’t, who will?
This week, concerned parents of the Conejo Valley Unified School District in California held a forum about Common Core.
One of the first panelists in the video is Stanford Professor and Hoover Institute researcher Bill Evers, who shares facts, experiences, lively stories and teacher quotes that point out the absurdity of accepting the Common Core, on academic and on federalism-related issues.
Professor Sandra Stotsky is another panelist. Dr. Stotsky served on the official Common Core validation committee and refused to sign off on the standards because they do not prepare students adequately and because they reduce literary study.
Here’s the video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=srYHUdSpuR0
In the video posted here, David Coleman speaks. (Coleman is current president of the College Board, a non-educator, who was the chief architect of Common Core English Language Arts standards.)
Coleman says in this 2013 video: “When I was involved in convincing governors and others around this country to adopt these standards, it was not ‘Obama likes them.’ Do you think that would have gone well with the Republican crowd?“
Special interests, meaning money-hungry businessmen like David Coleman and Bill Gates, led Common Core. I hope this video clip helps put to rest the oft-repeated mantra that Common Core was in any way “state-led” or that it in any way represented the actual will of the American voters, teachers, principals, parents or students.
Watch the video.
More detailed commentary is available at the Missouri Education Watchdog about this David Coleman video, too. See it here.
I love this educator’s site, entitled Betrayed –by Laurie Rogers.
This most recent article on the Betrayed website is greatly enriched by Laurie Rogers’ use of Animal Farm quotes, like: “He would be only too happy to let you make your decisions for yourselves. But sometimes you might make the wrong decisions, comrades, and then where should we be?” (Animal Farm)
Article reposted in full, with permission from Laurie H. Rogers
Click on link to read the original, with electronic links to referenced items.
Children are the key to America’s future. The government wants control of that key.
Those who exert the first influence upon the mind, have the greatest power.– Horace Mann, Thoughts
The writing is on the wall. In a June 7, 2013, statement, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said President Obama is planning to “redesign” America’s high schools. This redesigning will take place through “competitive grants” (also known as “bait”). Who will pay for this redesigning? (Taxpayers will, as we always do.) How much will it cost? (The secretary and president haven’t said, as they rarely do.) Does the president have the legal or constitutional authority to “redesign” America’s high schools? (No.) According to 20 USC 3403, Obama and Duncan also lack the authority to direct standards, curriculum and teaching approaches. That isn’t stopping them. They say their interventions are for our own good.
He would be only too happy to let you make your decisions for yourselves. But sometimes you might make the wrong decisions, comrades, and then where should we be? (Animal Farm)
Please take note of the language in Duncan’s press release. The “redesigned” high schools will entail:
•”Project- or-problem-based” learning
•”Real-world experiences” and “real-world challenges”
•”Evidence-based professional development”
•Engaging in “complex projects” and working with others to apply knowledge
•Moving “away from the traditional notion of seat time”Uh, oh.
Math advocates will recognize that language. It typically alerts us to reform math – to fuzzy content, “discovery learning” (or constructivism), excessive group work, teachers who don’t directly teach, and lofty concepts presented before skills. That approach has not worked well for students for the last three decades.
It seems Duncan is a reformer, and why wouldn’t he be? Public education systems, colleges of education, curriculum developers and policy makers all have been bathed in reform philosophy and approaches since the 1980s. The president’s new mandate – excuse me, his new initiative – appears to mandate an instructional model that has completely failed children for 30 years.
Duncan and Obama also push the controversial Common Core initiatives, which are leading many districts to fuzzy math and weak English programs. The CC math standards contain a separate section, called the “Standards for Mathematical Practice.” Many states and districts are emphasizing the SMP, and the SMP supports a constructivist approach. Voila: more reform math.
It’s noteworthy that the publisher of Singapore Math – a series long praised by traditionalists – released a new “discovery” version based on the CC. Other publishers also have done so. They appear to believe the CC embraces constructivism, and they’re going along with it.
And now we have this high-school initiative, announced with the same language used by proponents of reform math. After three decades of grim failure, reform approaches to math are unlikely to suddenly work for students just because the feds throw another trillion taxpayer dollars at them.
In April, Obama also announced plans to “expand” early learning programs for 4-year-olds, rolling them into the K-12 system. Initially, children will be from low-income families, but other families and toddlers are to be rolled in, too. “Preschool for All” is estimated to cost taxpayers $75 billion over 10 years.
This de facto federal takeover of public education is cunning and devious. Many Americans have been persuaded that the Common Core and related initiatives are “state-led” and academically better; that nothing is federally mandated; that our right to privacy is intact; and that the Standards are the key.
Proponents say the CC initiatives are voluntary; internationally benchmarked; research-based; rigorous; proved to work; that they’ll save money; they’ll provide commonality and consistency; and that they aren’t “one-size-fits-all.”
The CC initiatives were never internationally benchmarked or academically sufficient. They aren’t grounded in scientifically conducted, replicable research. They’re unproved, with no student data behind them. They’re a national experiment on children. They won’t save taxpayers money. A base cost estimate just to get started is $140 billion nationwide (14,000 school districts x $10 million each).
The CC initiatives are voluntary only in a technical sense. States and districts have been threatened with the loss of federal funds, with the loss of money for impoverished students, and (ironically) with punishments under the No Child Left Behind Act if they don’t comply.
This work was strictly voluntary, but any animal who absented himself from it would have his rations reduced by half. (Animal Farm)
The CC initiatives aren’t “state-led.” The feds are pushing them very hard. They were rammed through states before they were completed, with many proponents appearing to have had a financial reason to support them. The Department of Education has yet to fulfill my FOIA request from four years ago on its role in the development of the CC, but even if the initiatives really were “state-led,” why do the organizations in charge claim to not be subject to public-disclosure laws?
The nature of the CC also is expanding rapidly. Initially, this was K-12 standards in mathematics and English/language arts, but now it’s to be a complete nationalized educational program – with standards, tests, curricula and professional development; from cradle through workforce (P-20); in all subjects, all grades and all schools; in daycares, preschools, K-12 systems and colleges.
The CC initiatives also include an intrusive national database on children and their parents and guardians. Data and information are to be collected and shipped around public agencies, corporations and organizations without our knowledge or consent. Certain state and federal laws were altered or ignored in order to allow and facilitate this sharing of private information. Citizens were not informed.
At the foot of the end wall of the big barn, where the Seven Commandments were written, there lay a ladder broken in two pieces. … [N]ear at hand there lay a lantern, a paint-brush, and an overturned pot of white paint. (Animal Farm)
The CC initiatives appear to entail serious violations of the U.S. Constitution and the U.S. Code. The overall deceit is so huge, few believe it. Fewer in leadership have questioned it. Legislators on all sides, media, state agencies, governors, districts, money advocates, unions, corporations and foundations have lined up at the Common Core trough, ready for a treat and a pat on the head.
The birds did not understand Snowball’s long words, but they accepted his explanation, and all the humbler animals set to work to learn the new maxim by heart. (Animal Farm)
How long will it be before the feds threaten the loss of taxpayer dollars if states don’t comply with the new high school “grant” initiative or the new early learning initiative? How long before states and districts shrug off questions from parents and taxpayers, saying they had no choice in these matters?
Considering the unproved and dictatorial nature of these federal initiatives, they can’t be about academics. I expect the feds will find it necessary to redesign middle schools to “align” with redesigned high schools. Elementary schools will have to “align” with redesigned middle schools. Preschools will have to “align” with redesigned elementary schools. Colleges are already aligning. It will be one brick at a time, each ripped from the fabric and foundation of the country. This is about control.
With this incredible taxpayer expense – and with academic programs that continue to be as weak as a White House explanation – the children and the country will sink into economic and academic dust. Education policy makers have learned nothing over three decades. Or, perhaps they’ve learned everything. Choose your poison. No doubt, Obama and Duncan will report great improvements.
Somehow it seemed as though the farm had grown richer without making the animals themselves any richer – except, of course, for the pigs and the dogs. Perhaps this was partly because there were so many pigs and so many dogs. (Animal Farm)
The Department of Education is now dictatorial and intrusive, assisted by non-government organizations and corporations working together behind our back. Did you think fascism was just for right-wingers? Read up on “fascism” (but do look beyond Google’s definition). This is educational tyranny.
There are some things you can do, however:
Help your child. Fill in academic gaps. Leave the public system if it isn’t working for your child.•Support Alabama Representative Martha Roby’s effort to rein in the U.S. Department of Education. Ask your representatives to support H.R.5 (the Student Success Act 2013), introduced in Congress on June 6, 2013. This bill won’t undo everything, but it’s a step in the right direction.
Say no to the intrusive data collection that comes with a district’s participation in the CC. Don’t tell them anything about your family that you don’t want Bill Gates, Pearson Education, the ED, the IRS, the Department of Justice, and other government agencies to know. Refuse questionnaires and surveys. Don’t tell them your voting status, political preference or religion.
“In a world of locked rooms, the man with the key is king…” (BBC series Sherlock). Don’t let them have the key.
Rogers, L. (June 2013). “Children are the key to America’s future. The government wants control of that key.”
Retrieved June 17 2013 from the Betrayed Web site: http://betrayed-whyeducationisfailing.blogspot.com
A friend of mine says that her husband gets angry on the Fourth because of hypocrisy– the people waving the flags and celebrating as if unaware that our nation is losing all its liberties, one by one.
My husband’s co-worker, who is from another country, says that America is less free than his home country. It’s so regulated, and there are so many licenses and rules; the government puts its nose into every aspect of life, he says.
These people may be right.
But I still believe in people. I believe that they believe in liberty. As they wake up to the fact that it’s quickly going away, they will stand up.
They will see through the socialist lies. They will preserve this beautiful country and the freedom that made it so great.
I plan to celebrate this year’s American Independence Day as never before. So much is still right and many U.S. liberties are still reclaimable– including educational liberty.
I thought about this last night, at our boy scout camp, after a day of BB-gun shooting, archery, geology, flag history, boondoggle, and picnics, at a closing campfire.
Three Native Americans did a “retiring” for a huge, old American flag as we all sat in a wide circle their huge teepee. They reverently unfolded the flag, held it high, and lowered it over the fire. A woman sang a native warrrior song and beat her drum. I felt tears filling my eyes as we remembered the warriors who fought to earn and keep the liberty that the flag stands for.
Experiences like this are rare.
Patriotism is being marginalized by the current administration, and global citizenship is promoted in schoolbooks as the thing to seek, over local citizenship, so it’s never been more important to teach our own kids to love our country, and to be loyal to the principles of individual liberty, local sovereignty, and the U.S. constitution. How can you do it?
This year, we’re attending kids’ patriot camp.
We’re going to do as many of the amazing activities as possible at this year’s Provo Freedom Festival. http://www.freedomfestival.org/events/
At home, we’re reading the stories of American history together from the book “The Making of America.”
And we memorized the 50 States song this year in home school and practiced making the U.S. map puzzle to learn where the states are located. We really had fun with it.
There is so much we can do. And we really have to do it.
Hooray, Hooray! Today, the Deseret News published my op-ed. Here’s the link and the text:
Utah state delegates officially disapproved Common Core when they passed the anti-common core resolution this year by a 65 percent vote.
Was that not enough for our state school board and governor?
Gov. Gary Herbert continues to promote the Common Core-dependent Prosperity 2020 initiative. And the state school board continues to label teachers and others who long to reclaim local control and who want legitimate, non-experimental education standards, “the misinformed.”
The fact is, we are not misinformed; we know what Common Core is, and we reject it.
The board won’t even respond to requests for specifics about what we’re so misinformed about.
Now, despite the Utah anti-common core resolution passing; despite the examples of Michigan, Indiana and other states passing time-out bills against Common Core implementation; despite Obama’s recent announcement that he plans to tax Americans to pay for Common Core technologies in his ConnectEd Initiative; still, Utah’s school board has not softened its rigorous-praise-of-Common-Core talking points and is moving it forward as if nothing is wrong.
In fact, the board markets Common Core as being beyond debate; it’s so minimalistic, so consensually adopted, so protective of privacy rights and so academically legitimate (none of which is true) that it is too big to fail and is beyond any future need for amendments (which is indeed fortunate for them, since there is no Common Core amendment process).
Something is truly amiss when experienced Utah teachers with credentials, like me, are perpetually rejected for requests to the state school board to discuss the pros and cons of Common Core. The board doesn’t want a two-sided discussion.
The board is silent on these simple questions:
Where is a shred of evidence to support the claim that Common Core improves education?
Where are any studies showing that the reduction of literary study improves college readiness?
Where is some evidence that slowing the age at which students learn math algorithms improves college readiness?
Where is any amendment process for Utah’s math and English standards, under the copyrighted Common Core?
How can one opt out of the Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS) tracking and the Common Core tests?
Where is the legal — constitutional — authority for people outside our state to set our local standards and to create and monitor our tests?
Why does Utah stand by while Obama announces that he will redesign schools and tax all Americans to pay for it, without Utah putting up a fight?
Why is there a spiral of silence culture now, that demands everyone pretend to agree; where is freedom of expression and freedom of speech in the common agenda, now that teachers and principals don’t speak out for fear of losing their jobs?
How on earth can anyone call Common Core “state-led” when unelected boards that operate behind closed doors, that are not accountable to the public, developed and copyrighted the standards, bypassing voters and the vast majority of teachers and legislators?
Where is the line-item cost analysis of taxpayers’ money being spent on Common Core technologies, teacher training and texts?
When will state leadership address Common Core’s specific damages with the people who elected these leaders to serve us, rather than bowing to every federal whim?
Will the board and governor ever stand up to the Department of Education’s tsunami of assaults on liberties?
Will they continue to fight against local teachers and citizens who rightfully demand local liberty and who rightfully ask for proven, non-experimental, amendable standards — following the example set by the national and world-leading education system in Massachusetts, prior to Common Core?
Truth in American Education also published the article. This one’s actually a later draft, and is a bit better, with links to references. http://truthinamericaneducation.com/common-core-state-standards/were-not-misinformed-we-know-what-common-core-is-and-we-reject-it/