Archive for the ‘data collection’ Tag

Salt Lake Tribune Hosts Video Interview: Judy Park v. Christel Swasey on Common Core Aligned SAGE Tests   4 comments

This week, the Salt Lake Tribune invited Utah Assistant State Superintendent Dr. Judy Park and me to a filmed interview concerning the increasing number of Utah parents who are opting their children out of the Common Core aligned SAGE testing.  Here is the link if you want to watch the half hour at “Trib Talk.”

(I will return to this post to update it soon.  There is so much more that needed to be explained about the psychometrics that are apparent when you read the AIR (test writer) contract with Utah; about the data collection SLDS machine that is fed by student participation in SAGE and other digital testing/learning; about the need to defend teaching time and teacher professional judgment which are harmed by this testing; about the national opt out movement that is growing in strength and numbers across the nation.  I also want to transcribe some of the questions and answers, word for word, later.)

Conspiracy Fact: Obama Budget to Cement Common Core   3 comments

Conspiracy theory: not.  This is conspiracy fact.

It’s become impossible to ignore the Constitutionally illegal federal takeover of education that uses federal grants, corporate partnerships with federal agencies, and now, the federal budget, to wrench power away from “we the people.”  They are successfully moving the levers of control from us to these non-transparent, unaccountable-to-voters, closed-door organizations which are officially partnered with the federal government.) The voter and her representatives are forgotten in the process.

I didn’t know, until I read Neal McClusky’s blog at Cato Institute this week, though, that Obama had planned to cement Common Core via his latest budget proposal.  But now I’ve seen it for myself.

obama

If Obama succeeds unimpeded by Congress, how will states still claim the option of withdrawing from the Common Core –and all the tests and data collection that Common Core entails?  How I hope Congress is watching –and will act.  This is where we need those checks and balances –ACTING.

President Obama, McClusky explained, “wants to make the Core permanent by attaching annual federal funding to its use, and to performance on related tests. Just as the administration called for in its 2010 NCLB reauthorization proposal, [the President] wants to employ more than a one-time program, or temporary waivers, to impose “college and career-ready standards,” which–thanks to RTTT and waivers–is essentially synonymous with Common Core. In fact, President Obama proposes changing Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act – of which NCLB is just the most recent reauthorization – to a program called “College- and Career-Ready Students,” with an annual appropriation of over $14 billion.

This was utterly predictable … RTTT was the foot in the door, and once most states were using the same standards and tests, there was little question what Washington would eventually say: “Since everyone’s using the same tests and standards anyway, might as well make federal policy based on that.”

Perhaps given the scorching heat the Common Core has been taking lately, most people didn’t expect the administration to make the move so soon, but rational people knew it would eventually come. Indeed, the “tripod” of standards, tests, and accountability that many Core-ites believe is needed to make “standards-based reform” function, logically demands federal control… the end game is almost certainly complete federal control by connecting national standards and tests to annual federal funding.  And that, it is now quite clear, is no conspiracy theory.” 

So much for  the Utah State Office of Education’s oft-published claim that Common  Core is federal-strings-free.  Maybe now they’ll remove those lies from the USOE website.  Maybe now our State School Board will stop dismissing people’s concerns by assaulting them with the label “conspiracy theorists.”  Maybe.

But I’m finding no relief in the thought  that the state school board can’t keep calling us names anymore.  (It really never bothered me that much, to tell you the truth.  I just took it as a sign of their confusion.)

But I wish– oh, how I wish– that Utah had never given away the right to keep control.  We had a Constitutional RIGHT to locally control that “tripod” — standards, tests, and local accountability.  We did not fight for it.   Too few made a peep.

If Obama’s budget succeeds,  we appear to be toast.

Call your Congressmen.

 

———————

 

P.S.  If you live in Utah, be the 10,000th petition signer at http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com

Fighting Manipulation in Education Reform Bills   1 comment

brian greene pg

Rep. Brian Greene of Pleasant Grove –

His fair and transparent state school board elections bill passed the House vote and may pass into law if the Senate votes yes this week

———————–

We are fighting manipulation in education reform. Utah legislators have written multiple bills this year that take important steps to curb it.  Before I give links to these very important bills –which we need to beg the senators and representatives to vote YES on– let’s talk briefly about the question of how  manipulation happens under the guise of education reform.

This six minute video featuring Dr. Peg Luksik, starting at 1:15, explains a lot.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aY4iMwlarNA

This speech was given a few weeks ago, when education expert Dr. Peg Luksik spoke about the manipulation that happens in computer adaptive, standardized tests.

Luksik explains:

The problem isn’t that it’s self-paced; the problem is that the test is open to manipulation.” (minute 1:15-1:20)  Test creators can adapt the test to make it appear to the average taxpayer, parent or policy maker to have been more difficult or easier.  It’s an internal mechanism, not a valid assessment.  A child has to agree or comply with questions along the way, or he/she cannot move on to take the rest of the test.

Dr. Luksik gives examples of this compliance.  In the 1990′s she saw internal documents of these tests that explained that the test was not to assess objective knowledge at all; it was to test –and score for– the child’s threshhold for behavior change without protest.

A sample question wanted a child to answer whether a child would join a vandalism group. There was no way a child could answer that he/she would not ever join a vandalism group; he or she could only indicate whether he/she would join if a best friend was in the group or if mother would not find out or other similar options.  Another example asked whether a child would cry, be upset, argue, when the family was moving to another country.  There was no option that was not outc0me based.  This prevents individual thought.

(FYI:  In Utah, these tests are called S.A.G.E. and are co-created by the federally funded Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and a company called American Institutes for Research which has taken at least $39 million Utah tax dollars to deliver Utah’s children a computer adaptive, Common Core aligned test.)

Dr. Luksik also explains that test questions that are supposed to be testing reading, are aiming to test other things, such as this example: a child’s level of honesty was tested in what was supposedly a reading test:  If he/she found a wallet with money in it what would he/she do?  No option was: return it.

Now, these tests were 1990′s Outcome Based Education (OBE) tests.  But the embedding principle is the same in today’s Common Core tests; just much easier for test creators to hide, since they’re not pencil and paper  tests anymore.

A child will simply answer questions on a test,  Dr. Luksik points out: “No child would think to say, ‘Is this a reading question?’ because they’re kids; they just take the test.’”  But how can teachers or parents protect them?

Three Bills:

Now, in Utah, we have the opportunity to take small steps in a better direction–  small but important steps.

mike kennedy

Right now, Rep. Mike Kennedy has a bill that  expands a committee of parents or guardians of Utah public education students to review computer adaptive test questions.  The bill also requires the State Board of Education to prepare and publish on its website a report containing information about test questions identified by the committee as problematic.  http://le.utah.gov/~2014/bills/static/HB0081.html

It has passed the House vote.   Hope and pray that it also passes the Senate.  And write to your senators and reps!

brian greene pg

Another great education bill in Utah that passed the house and may, possibly, pass the Senate and become a rare, good new law is Rep. Brian Greene’s bill for fair and transparent, partisan state school board elections. (Our system is horrible and MUST change: it begins with a closed-off, exclusionary, and Common Core-promoting questionnaire, followed by a small, biased committee making recommendations to the governor and then the governor appointing two preselected candidates from which the voters can choose.  And voters are not allowed to know whether these two are each or both Democrats, Republicans, Independents, or of any other party.)  http://le.utah.gov/~2014/bills/static/HB0228.html  We need this bill.

anderegg

There’s also Rep. Jake Anderegg’s important house bill 169 which aims to restrain the sharing of student data without parental or adult student consent.   http://le.utah.gov/~2014/bills/static/HB0169.html

These  bills are wonderful.  I’m so grateful for them.  But they’re far from silver bullets.

They do not stop Common Core standards.  They don’t stop Common Core testing.  They don’t stop the stalking being done by the un-opt-out-able State Longitudinal Database System (SLDS).  They don’t take away the 15% rule (meaning that Utah can’t add to its math and English standards because of the Common Core copyright and the federal 15% ceiling over the standards.)  The bills don’t change the fact that Common Core standards are still dumbing down the top level high school students by removing almost all of the calculus and trigonometry requirements that Utah had prior to Common Core; nor do they restore to high school students the missing 70% classic literature that’s been robbed.

But–

They are important steps in the right direction, in the direction of restoring parental (and voter/taxpayer) control over what’s going on in education today.  They work around the manipulation and put individuals in better control of what has felt like an almost overwhelmingly unfair education system.

Thank you, Rep. Kennedy, Rep. Greene, and Rep. Anderegg.

Thank you.  Thank you. Thank you!

7 Links to Evidence of Federal Control of Common Core   8 comments

arne barackk

Folks, there can be no question that the federal government is using Common Core to take away our freedoms.

So why do many people still believe that “there’s no federal control of Common Core”? Because trusted education leaders are not being forthright with –or are not in possession of– the truth. Here in Utah, for example, the Utah State Office of Education, has a “fact-versus-fiction” pamphlet which still says that the standards “are not federally controlled.”

The fact is that states that adopted Common Core standards are being co-parented by two groups in partnership, neither of which takes seriously the constitutional rights of the states to govern education locally: these partners are 1) The federal government and 2) Private trade clubs financed by Bill Gates– NGA and CCSSO.

So first, here’s evidence of terrible federal controls: (click to fact check, please)

1. Federal micromanagement in Common Core testing grant conditions and now, Race to the Top grant lures that go directly to districts and ignore state authority over districts.
2.Federal ESEA 15% capped waiver conditions that deny states the right to add more than 15% to our standards;
3. Federal reviews of tests
4. Federal data collection
5. Federal
disfiguration of previously protective FERPA laws that removed parental rights over student data;
6. President Obama’s four assurances for education reform which governors promised to enact in exchange for ARRA stimulus funds;
7.Obama’s withholding of funds from schools that do not adopt Common Core as read in his Blueprint for Reform (aka The Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act) which says, “Beginning in 2015, formula funds will be available only to states that are implementing assessments based on college- and career-ready standards that are common to a significant number of states.”

barack arne

And here’s evidence of unelected, corporate controls of Common Core:

1) Common Core copyrights (and “living work” alteration rights) are held solely by two unelected, private clubs, the superintendents’ club (aka CCSSO) and a governors’ club (aka NGA).
2) These two clubs’ Common Core creation was influenced and funded not by voters/taxpayers, by the politically extreme Bill Gates, who has spent over $5 Billion on his personal, awful version of education reform– and that dollar amount is his own admission.
3) No amendment process exists for states to co-amend the “living work” standards. The “living work” statement means that OUR standards will be changed without representation from US as the states; it will be controlled by the private trade groups CCSSO/NGA.
4) Bill Gates and Pearson are partnered. (Biggest ed sales company partnered with 2nd richest man on earth, all in the effort to force Common Core on everyone.)
5) The speech of corporate sponsor Bill Gates when he explains that “We’ll only know [Common Core] this works when the curriculum and the tests are aligned to these standards.” This explains why he is giving away so much money so that companies can be united in the gold rush of creating Common Core curriculum.
6. Virtually every textbook sales company now loudly advertises being “common core aligned” which creates a national monopoly on textbook-thought. This, despite the fact that the standards are unpiloted, experimental (in the words of Dr. Christopher Tienken, Common Core is education malpractice.)
7. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and many huge corporations (ExxonMobil) are loudly selling Common Core as a way of creating wealth, despite the standards’ untested nature.

The federal partnering with the private groups like CCSSO/NGA, means that mandates and thought-monopolies of Common Core are truly beyond even legislative control. –Because they are privately controlled, they’re beyond voters’ influence.

This is why nothing short of an outright rejection of all things Common Core can restore us to educational freedom.

Why should you care? Why should you fight this, even if you don’t have children in school? Because of the Constitution.

The Constitution sets us apart as the only country on earth that has ever truly had the “freedom experiment” work. This makes us a miraculous exception. Why would we ever shred the Constitution by accepting initiatives that disfigure our representative system?

The G.E.P.A. law states that “No provision of any applicable program shall be construed to authorize any department, agency, officer, or employee of the United States to exercise any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum, program of instruction, administration, or personnel of any educational institution, school, or school system, or over the selection of library resources, textbooks, or other printed or published instructional materials by any educational institution or school system…”

So the federal government is prohibited from creating tests or instructional materials– but the private groups NGA and CCSSO, funded by Gates, are not! This is why the federal Department of Education officially partnered with these unelected, private corporate interests –groups which are not accountable to G.E.P.A. laws, to teachers, principals, taxpayers, voters or children. (This may also explain why Arne Duncan goes to such great lengths to distinguish between standards and curriculum. Everybody knows that standards dictate curriculum like a frame dictates the height and width of a house. But GEPA law doesn’t use the word “standards.”)

We are in unrepresented dire straits: In no way do voters or teachers (or states themselves) control what is now set in the Common Core standards.

This is true in spite of the so often-repeated “the standards are state-led” marketing line. Don’t believe the marketing lines! So much money is money being spent on marketing Common Core because of Bill Gates. Gates sees this whole Common Core movement as a way to establish his (and Pearson’s) “uniform customer base.”

Watch Gates say these words in his speech if you haven’t already. This speech needs to be widely known, especially by school boards –so that we can boycott this monopoly on thought and on our precious taxpayer dollars.

Please don’t let people keep getting away with saying that the Common Core is free from federal controls, or that “we can add anything we want to it” and “there are no strings attached.” It simply isn’t true.

(How we wish that it was.)

arne barack

TODAY: FEDERAL COURT TRIES U.S. DEPT OF ED. FOR DESTRUCTION OF FAMILY PRIVACY/CONSENT   8 comments

Today is big.

The federal district court in Washington, D.C. is hearing arguments today from Khalia Barnes and Marc Rotenburg of the Electronic Privacy Information Center in support of nationwide student privacy, in support of parental consent laws, in support of protective definitions of terms.

So, who on earth is on the opposite team? Who’s actually arguing against student privacy? Drumroll….

THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION.

Yes, really.

Read:
EPIC to Defend Student Privacy Rights in Federal Court

On July 24, EPIC President Marc Rotenberg and EPIC Administrative Law Counsel Khaliah Barnes will present arguments in federal district court in Washington, DC in support of student privacy. In EPIC v. Dept. of Education, No. 12-327, EPIC is challenging recent changes to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) that allow the release of student records for non-academic purposes and undercut parental consent provisions. In 2011, EPIC submitted extensive comments to the agency opposing the changes. After the Education Department failed to modify the proposed regulation, EPIC filed a lawsuit and argued that the agency exceeded its authority with the changes, and also that the revised regulations are not in accordance with the 1974 privacy law. EPIC is joined in the lawsuit by members of the EPIC Board of Directors Grayson Barber, Pablo Garcia Molina, Peter Neumann, and Deborah Peel. For more information, see EPIC: EPIC v. The U.S. Department of Education and EPIC: Student Privacy.

http://epic.org/2013/07/epic-to-defend-student-privacy.html

The big question is, why isn’t this gigantic, unbelievable story being covered by the mainstream media?

It’s not important enough? People don’t really care about the privacy rights of children? Parents don’t really care that their parental consent rights have been undercut by the U.S. Department of Education? It’s no big deal that the U.S. Department of Education redefined terms that include “directory information,” “educational agency,” and “authorized representative,” –loosening and widening each term to make students’ privacy easier to hack?

No big deal?

Shame on the mainstream media for blacking this out in favor of non-news, celebrity scandals and trumped-up racism stories.

Share, share, share.

Video: What We Shared at Beck’s Man in the Moon Event   7 comments


Here’s a video from the conference at Glenn Beck’s Man in the Moon event in Salt Lake City this weekend. Thanks to FreedomWorks for introducing and filming this presentation.

In this video, Renee Braddy, Alisa Ellis, Christie Hooley and I speak.

In this one, Wyoming teacher Christie Hooley speaks again.

You are invited: Alisa, Renee and I are presenting tomorrow at Salt Lake City’s Grand America Hotel   3 comments

Tomorrow at 2:00 at Salt Lake City’s Grand America Hotel ballroom, Alisa, Renee and I will be making a presentation about Common Core, courtesty of Freedom Works and Glenn Beck’s Man in the Moon Event.

Hope to see you there.

Deseret News Op-Ed: USOE Officials Provide No Operational Assurances of Student Data Privacy   Leave a comment

In today’s Deseret News opinion piece, Matt Sanders makes the observation that similar, disturbing trends make the National Security Administration’s actions and the Department of Education’s actions snooping mirror images of each other. These trends are First Amendment violations, government overreach, and cradle to grave data tracking. The article also makes the point that on the local level, the Utah State Office of Education has provided no legal or operational assurances of student data privacy, although the USOE is quick to offer verbal assurances and to “soothe fears of ever more federalism by labeling opponents as detractors and alarmists.”

Sanders also writes:

“…[A]nother problematic revelation has roiled Washington, D.C. This time it goes beyond snooping around journalists looking for a scoop. It involves the National Security Administration collecting phone data on of Verizon customers.

This is a problem. A real problem. The U.S. federal government derives its power through the consent of the governed through a system of duly elected representatives acting as agents for their local populations. Additionally, the Constitution goes to great lengths to curb the tendency of government to overreach its bounds, and therefore set up a system of checks and balances.

… In light of the federal agency’s incursions, parents and lawmakers should likewise revisit the data privacy standards in Common Core testing approach… While Utah State Office of Education (USOE) officials verbally assured community members that they should not be concerned, they’ve provided no such assurance legally or operationally.”

Read the whole article: http://reframingthedebate.blogs.deseretnews.com/2013/06/06/3-reasons-why-nsa-snooping-worries-parents-and-lawmakers/

Orem, Utah – Video Presentation about Common Core by Three Moms   8 comments

Common Core presentation- this week in Orem, Utah.

U.S.O.E. Informational Meetings on Common Core Tests: Clueless on the Big Issues   5 comments

Did you watch the Deseret News live feed of the Davis District meeting tonight?

I had an “A-ha!” moment, as I again watched Judy Park of the Utah State Office of Education present information about the Common Core tests.

I realized that Judy Park just does not know the answers to the big, big questions that are being asked.  She isn’t actually being dishonest; she is simply clueless.  It’s tragic.  I feel almost sorry for her.

What makes me say this?

One example:  When parents asked about the data collection issue she seemed to be blissfully unaware that the Utah State Longitudinal Database System collects personally identifiable information on every student –without parental consent and without any opt-out alternative.

“There’s federal laws. There’s all the protection in the world,” she said, and added a little simile:

As banks can’t give away your money, databases can’t give away your personally identifiable information, she said.

Really?

– Does she not know that there’s a huge lawsuit going on right now because the Department of Education has loosened and ruined privacy regulations so entirely that parental consent has been reduced from a legal requirement to an optional “best practice”??

– Does she not know that the State Longitudinal Database System is federally interoperable, and that that was one of the conditions of Utah receiving the grant money to build the SLDS in the first place?

– Does she not know that the SLDS is under a (totally unconstitutional) mandate to report to the federal government via the “portal” called the EdFacts Exchange?

– Has she not seen the hundreds of data points that the federal government is “inviting” states to collect and share on students at the National Data Collection Model?

– Has she never studied the Utah Data Alliance and the Data Quality Campaign?

– Is she unaware that the Federal Register (following the shady alterations by the Dept. of Ed to federal FERPA privacy regulations) now redefines key terms such as who is an authorized representative and what is an educational agency, so that without parental consent and without school consent, vendors and corporate researchers can access data collected by the SLDS (State Database)?

– Does she not know that state FERPA is protective and good, but federal FERPA is utterly worthless because of what the Dept. of Education has done?

Ms. Park said:

“FERPA [federal privacy law] doesn’t allow that,”   and:   “I don’t believe that,” and “Personally identifiable information is not even in our state database.”

Dear Ms. Park!   I wish I could believe you.

But last summer, at the Utah Senate Education Committee Meeting, we all heard (and Ms. Park was in the room) when Utah Technology Director John Brandt stood up and testified that “only” a handful of people from each of the agencies comprising the Utah Data Alliance (K-12, Postsecondary, Workforce, etc.) can access the personally identifiable information that the schools collect.  He said it to reassure us that barring dishonesty or hacking, the personally identifiable information was safe.  But he simultaneously revealed that the schools were indeed collecting that personal information.

Sigh.

Why don’t our leaders study this stuff?  Why, why?

Even Ms. Park’s secondary title, which is something about “federal accountability” is disturbing.  It’s an illegal concept to be federally accountable in the realm of state education.  Has nobody read the 10th Amendment to the Constitution at the State Office of Education?  Has no one read the federal law called the General Educational Provisions Act, which forbids —FORBIDS— the federal government from supervising, directing or controlling education or curriculum in ANY WAY.

I am not the only one flabbergasted at what I saw and heard on that live feed of the Davis District meeting today.

 

This portion is reposted with permission from clinical psychologist Gary Thompson.

Gary Thompson:

I’m mortified at USOE.

I’m half tempted to shoot off (another) letter to the State Superintendent of Schools demanding that they stop all future “informational”meetings until they themselves either know the correct answers, or can be honest and simply state, ” we are investigating these issues currently, and we will get back to you when we know the answers.”

Anything other than that is pure deception, and if they (Judy Park, ect) are deceiving tax paying parents, then they should be asked to resign from their positions of trust. If I here one more meeting filled with deception and plausible deniability, I may take it upon myself to publicly ask for those resignations myself in a very public manner that will make the my Glen Beck appearance look like minor league.

It is just common respect. THEY asked for my letter of assistance and clarification. Attorney Flint and myself spent an entire weekend drafting it for them and the parents in our community.

Their response over a week later?

Crickets.

Not even a thank you note….and then they have the gall to present a LIVE feed to the entire State filled with definitive answers to parents questions that not only could they not answer during our 2 hour in person meeting, but asked for our assistance to clarify the issues they did not understand.

How hard would it had been to simply say, “We do not know.” ???
Ms. Parks response to questions regarding adaptive testing to children with learning “quirks” (out new name for disabilities) was so devious and deceptive that I had to turn it off.

Alisa Olsen Ellis, don’t you ever stop this fight as long as you have life in you.

God bless you.

-Gary Thompson

— — —

Please, if you live in Uintah District, attend the meeting about the Common Core (AIR/SAGE) tests to be presented by the USOE on

April 25, 2013 @ 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm at the  Maeser Training Center 1149 North 2500 West Vernal,UT 84078 USA

 

Texas Student Data System Calls for Unique ID: Surveillance for Every Texas Student   2 comments

“Person enrollment tracker”?  “Single unique I.D.”? 

The following page is not written by me.  It’s pasted  word for word, directly from the Texas Student Data System, the group which collects data on every student in every governmentally funded school in Texas.  They are not even pretending to protect student privacy anymore. 

See:  http://www.tea.state.tx.us/TSDS/Education_Data_Warehouse/Unique_ID/

— — — — — — — —

Why Is TSDS Unique ID Necessary?

TSDS Unique ID is necessary in order to integrate the various subsystems of TSDS smoothly and accurately.  Since TEA will run both TSDS and the legacy EDIT+ systems in parallel for some time, Unique ID must be used with both systems.

Read TEA’s official letter on Unique ID training and TEA Login (TEAL).

How Will Unique ID Be Used?

NOTE: Unique ID training is now available from the ESCs!  Contact your ESC for details.

Local education agencies (LEAs—Texas school districts and charter schools) must use Unique ID numbers to load student and staff information to the TSDS Education Data Warehouse (EDW). Each student and staff member will have a single unique identifier for his or her entire career within the Texas educational system (from early education programs through the twelfth grade).  Individuals will retain the same unique identifier even if they leave the Texas education system and return years later or transition from being a student to a staff member.

Implementing Unique ID is the first phase of TSDS project implementation. TEA will create the initial Unique ID database from the existing Person Identification Database (PID). Once Unique ID is in production, all student and staff additions and changes will be made through Unique ID  instead of PID.

All LEAs must implement TSDS Unique ID in Spring, 2013 in order to load their PEIMS data for the 2012-13 Summer Collection.

How Will TSDS Unique ID Benefit my LEA?

The TSDS Unique ID system provides enhanced matching logic to assist users in reconciling individuals who have closely matching demographics (first name, last name, date of birth, etc.).  Through Unique ID’s user-friendly interface, LEA users will be able to assign IDs and update student and staff demographics more quickly and efficiently than in the past.

What Does My LEA Need To Do?

NOW: Contact your source vendors to ensure they are:

  • Developing the batch file process needed to (a) upload student and staff data for the initial assignment of Unique IDs and (b) import the resulting assigned Unique IDs into their systems
  • Adding the required Unique ID data elements to their databases
  • Revising their PEIMS submission extracts for the upcoming PEIMS 3 and 4 submissions

TEA is currently working with many vendors on the changes for Unique ID.

FEB – MAR 2013: Attend training provided by your Education Service Center (ESC) Unique ID champion.  A Unique ID champion has been identified by each ESC.  TEA will train these champions the first week in February, and the champions will offer training to LEA staff in February and March.

FEB – MAR 2013: All TSDS Unique ID users will need a TEAL account.  Further instructions will be available prior to the go-live date.

Unique ID TEDS Standards

LEAs and vendors must ensure that their Unique ID extracts are compliant with TEDS Section 9 standards. Unlike all other TEDS extracts, extracts for Unique ID must be in comma-separated variable (CSV) format.

Data loaded to the EDW will be validated against the Unique ID system, ensuring that every person is assigned a unique identification number.

Rollout Plan

*NEW* Unique ID Rollout Progress : Update

*UPDATED* Detailed ESC-by-ESC rollout plan (3/15/2013)

Feb – Mar 2013 – Ensure all TSDS Unique ID users have a TEAL account and have applied for access to the TSDS application and Unique ID role.

Mar 11, 2013 – TEA will create the TSDS Unique ID database.  PID and Person Enrollment Tracker (PET) updates through EDIT+ will no longer be available.  PET Files cannot be submitted March 11 – 25, 2013.

Mar 25, 2013 – The TSDS Unique ID system is in production (except for web services).  Unique IDs are made available to LEAs.  Demographic updates will be made through the TSDS Unique ID system.

Mar – Apr 2013 – LEAs upload batch files to the TSDS Unique ID system containing any student or staff member active in the 2012-13 school year in order to assign them Unique IDs.

Apr 2013 – TEA adds student and staff Unique IDs to EDIT+ for PEIMS Submission 3 and 4.

Apr 8, 2013 – LEAs populate their student/staff source systems with Unique IDs, enabling the data to be submitted to EDIT+ in Submissions 3 and 4.

Jun 1, 2013 – The Unique ID application is available to LEAs via web service interface.

Aug 2013 – TSDS early adopters submit data to the EDW, which requires student and staff Unique IDs.

PET and TREx

  • TSDS Unique ID will be added to the PET submission file and the TREx extraction file in the 2013-14 school year.
  • March 11 – 25, 2013, LEAs cannot submit a PET file while the TSDS Unique ID database is being created.
  • Starting March 25, 2013, the PET submission file will be checked against the TSDS Unique ID database to ensure the student has a Unique ID.
  • Starting March 25, 2013, all demographic updates will need to be made through the TSDS Unique ID system.

For More Information

  LEAs will be able to assign Unique IDs to student and staff in two ways:  via a batch file created in CSV format or via individual record entry through the Unique ID application.

 

Videos: Meet Some Educational Freedom Fighters   3 comments

School Data Collection Facts Summary   32 comments

 
  • Does every state have a federally funded, interoperable State Longitudinal Database System that tracks people throughout their lives?  Yes.
Every state has accepted 100% federally funded data collection (SLDS). The Data Quality Campaign  states:  “every governor and chief state school officer has agreed to build statewide longitudinal data systems that can follow individual students from early childhood through K-12 and postsecondary ed and into the workforce as a condition for receiving State Fiscal Stabilization Funds as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).  A condition of getting the funding (ARRA money) was that the system would be interoperable.
  • Is the SLDS accessible by the federal government?  Yes.
The SLDS grant explains that the SIF (state interoperability framework) must provide interoperability from LEA to LEA, from LEA to Postsecondary, from LEA to USOE, and from USOE to the EdFacts Data Exchange.  The EdFacts Data Initiative is a “centralized portal through which states submit data to the Department of Education.”

The P-20 workforce council exists inside states to track citizens starting in preschool, and to “forge organizational and technical bonds and to build the data system needed to make informed decisions” for stakeholders both in and outside Utah. — http://www.prweb.com/releases/2012/2/prweb9201404.htm

Is personally identifiable student information gathered, or only aggregate group data?  Personal, identifiable, individual data is collected.
  • Many of us in Utah were present last summer when UT technology director John Brandt stood up in the senate education committee and testified that there are roughly twelve people in the state of Utah who have access to the personally identifiable information of students which is available in the Utah Data Alliances inter-agency network of student data.  So it is not true that we are talking about only aggregate data, which leaders often insist.  The Utah School Board confirmed to me in writing, also, that it is not allowed for any student to opt out of the P-20/ SLDS/ UDA tracking system, (which we know is K-workforce (soon to include preschool) citizen surveillance.)
  • Is the collected private student data accessible to agencies beyond than state education agency?  Yes:
There are state data alliances that connect agencies.  The Data Quality Campaign states:states must ensure that as they build and enhance state K–12 longitudinal data systems, they also continue building linkages to exchange and use information across early childhood, postsecondary and the workforce (P–20/workforce) and with other critical agencies, such as health, social services and criminal justice systems.”
  • What data will be collected?  According to the new FERPA regulations, pretty much anything.  Social security numbers, psychometric and biometric information (see pg. 4 and 6) are not off the table.   According to the National Data Collection model, over 400  points.  Jenni White mentioned another federal model that asks for thousands of data points.
The types of information that the Department will collect includes biometric information (DNA, fingerprints, iris patterns) and parental income, nicknames, medical information, extracurricular information, and much more. See page 4 at  http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/pdf/ferparegs.pdf and see http://nces.sifinfo.org/datamodel/eiebrowser/techview.aspx?instance=studentPostsecondary
  • How does this affect parents?
Data linking changes being made in regulations and policies make former privacy protection policies meaningless. The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) sued the Dept. of Education, under the Administrative Procedure Act, arguing that the Dept. of Ed’s regulations that changed the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act in Dec. 2011 exceeded the Department of Education’s authority and are contrary to law. http://epic.org/apa/ferpa/default.html
The Federal Register outlines, on page 51, that it is not now a necessity for a school to get student or parental consent any longer before sharing personally identifiable information; that has been reduced to the level of optional.

It is a best practice to keep the public informed when you disclose personally identifiable information from education records.”  http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-12-02/pdf/2011-30683.pdf

Dec. 2011 regulations, which the Dept. of Education made without Congressional approval and for which they are now being sued by EPIC, literally loosen, rather than strengthen, parental consent rules and other rules.  http://www.jdsupra.com/post/documentViewer.aspx?fid=5aa4af34-8e67-4f42-8e6b-fe801c512c7a

The Federal Register of December 2011 outlines the Dept. of Education’s new, Congressionally un-approved regulations, that decrease parental involvement and increase the number of agencies that have access to private student data: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-12-02/pdf/2011-30683.pdf (See page 52-57)

Although the Federal Register describes countless agencies, programs and “authorities” that may access personally identifiable student information, it uses permissive rather than mandatory language.  The obligatory language comes up in the case of the Cooperative Agreement between the Department of Education and the states’ testing consortium http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-assessment/sbac-cooperative-agreement.pdf

Effectively, there is no privacy regulation governing schools anymore, on the federal level.  Khalia Barnes, a lawyer at EPIC disclosed that these privacy intrusions affect not only children, but anyone who ever attended any college or university (that archives records, unless it is a privately funded university.)

  • Why did the Dept. of Ed need to alter FERPA regulations?

To match their data collection goals (stated in the Dept. of Ed cooperative agreement with testing consortia) which contracts with testing consortia to mandate triangulation of tests and collected data. This federal supervision is illegal under G.E.P.A. law and the 10th Amendment).   http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-assessment/sbac-cooperative-agreement.pdf

  • Who can access collected data?
The National Data Collection Model (the federal request for what states ought to be collecting) represents 400 data points schools should collect and “it is a comprehensive, non-proprietary inventory… that can be used by schools, LEAs, states, vendors, and researchers”.  Vendors are already using this.
  • How can we get free of this system?
Jenni White of ROPE (Restore Oklahoma Public Education) states that the only way to get free of this federal data collection invasion is to put political pressure on our governors to give that ARRA money back.  As long as we keep it, we are in data collection chains by the federal government; also, our increasing buy-in to common core exacerbates the educational tech scam on the corporate side. Dept. of Education infringements upon state law and freedom are explained in the white paper by Jenni White entitled “Analysis of Recent Education Reforms and the Resulting Impact on Student Privacy”  –  http://www.scribd.com/doc/94149078/An-Analysis-of-Recent-Education-Reforms-and-the-Resulting-Impact-on-Student-Privacy
  • What else is at stake?
Sheila Kaplan has provided expert testimony about the student data collection, but has also said that an educational data monopoly is an issue, too.  She explains that a group exists, including Bing, Yahoo, Microsoft, etc., that assigns high or low attention to content and directs internet traffic.  So if code uses hashtags and common core aligned taxonomies, your education data will get traffic.  If not, it won’t.  If you are searching for any educational data it won’t come up unless it’s using that coded taxonomy.  This wrecks net neutrality and is, in her educated opinion, an anti-trust issue of the internet. She mentioned the CEDS, (common element data system) that is ending net neutrality.  She also finds appalling the Learning Registry, funded by the Department of Defense and the Department of Education, which is a place for teachers to advertise for common core aligned products– all using stimulus money.
  • Why did the Dept. of Ed redefine FERPA’s meaning of the term “educational agency” to include virtually any agency and redefine “authorized representative” to mean virtually anyone, even a “school volunteer?

When FERPA is weak, linking of data allows easy access to data, both technologically and in terms of legal policy.  It also trumps other laws, such as HIPPA.  For example, as both Gary Thompson and Jenni White have pointed out, the new, weak FERPA law takes precedence over HIPPA (patient privacy) when medical or psychological services are provided in schools or when educational services are provided in jails.

In that document, states are obligated to share data with the federal government “on an ongoing basis,” to give status reports, phone conferences and other information, and must synchronize tests “across consortia”. This triangulation nationalizes the testing system and puts the federal government in the middle of the data collecting program.

For understanding of the motivation of the federal government, read some of US Dept. of Education Arne Duncan’s or Obama’s speeches that show the passion with which the federal agency seeks access to data to control teachers and educational decisions. http://www2.ed.gov/news/speeches/2009/06/06082009.pdf
  • Are teachers also to be studied like guinea pigs, along with students? Yes.
The Common Core of Data (CCD) is another federal program of data collection that studies TEACHERS as well as students.  It calls itself  “a program of the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics that annually collects fiscal and non-fiscal data about all public schools, public school districts and state education agencies in the United States. The data are supplied by state education agency officials and include information that describes schools and school districts, including name, address, and phone number; descriptive information about students and staff, including demographics; and fiscal data, including revenues and current expenditures.”  http://nces.ed.gov/ccd/
The system also allows the governments to track, steer and even to punish teachers, students and citizens more easily. http://cte.ed.gov/docs/NSWG/Workforce_Data_Brief.pdf
  • How does Common Core relate to the federal and corporate data collection movement?
 Chief of Staff Joanne Weiss at the Dept. of Education has been publicly quoted saying that “data-mashing” is a good idea.  Secretary of Education Arne Duncan gives speeches calling for “more robust data.” And at the recent White House Datapalooza, the CEO of eScholar stated that without Common Core tests being “the glue” for open data, this data movement would be impossible.

Top Ten Scariest People in Education Reform: #6 – Linda Darling-Hammond   23 comments

Top Ten Scariest People in Education Reform

 Linda Darling-Hammond

Countdown # 6

This is the fourth in a countdown series of introductions, a list of the top ten scariest people leading education in America.

  For number 7 ,  number 8number 9 and number 10,  click here.

Don’t be fooled by her sweet-baby face.  Linda Darling-Hammond stands for one thing:  forced national redistribution of wealth.

Yes, really.

And does Darling-Hammond wear  powerful hats!   A pillar of the Common Core movement, she’s been helping run closed-door meetings of the standards since before they were created, as a member of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) Advisory Group since 2006.  She also leads (or plays key advisory roles) in all top educational bureaucracies, both governmental and corporate, including The Obama Administration, the National Governors’ Association, the  Common Core testing consortiaCSCOPE, WestEd, the American Institutes for Research (AIR), Alliance for Excellent Education, the American Educational Research Association, the National Academy of Education and many more.  She is a hero to communist reformer Bill Ayers. Why?  And what is she likely saying behind the closed doors?

Try this on for an explanation:  it’s a speech she gave last summer at a UNESCO conference in Paris.

In the speech, Darling-Hammond says that “we allow this extraordinary inequality” in America which may cause us to “innovate our way to failure.”  She shows a chart entitled “The Anatomy of Inequality” (see minutes 15:06- 16:00) that explains that taking away money from the areas of richer kids’ schools is a good idea (she mentions rich schools having too many swimming pools).

In her book, “A Flat World and Education: How America’s Commitment to Equity will Determine our Future,” she further explains why pushing for equity (communism) will solve the problems of education.  The book illustrates poverty’s effect on education (tell us something we didn’t know) and she comes to the false conclusion that a governmentally forced attempt at financial equity (redistribution) can create better education.  She doesn’t mention how this is to happen without harming individual liberty and without punishing the kids in financially stable schools.

Her ideas are being absolutely shoved down the throats of state school boards and legislators nationally.

And she is dead set on Common Core being the means to these ends.  Always has been.  She knew that others on the Common Core validation committee refused to sign off that the standards were legitimate; she was aware that common core would be an experiment on millions, implemented without any empirical data supporting its superiority claims. She not only supported this baseless decision making and the copyrighting and implementation of the common standards –but she’s now helping to write the common tests!

She provides professional development for CSCOPE teachers. (CSCOPE is the extremely controversial, secretive curriculum that parents cannot access, which now used in Texas schools.)

Darling-Hammond and her ideas are mentioned 52 times in the EEC report  For Each and Every Child, a “strategy for equity report” that she co-wrote.  In the words of Congressman Honda, another EEC member, it’s a “bold new vision on the federal role in education”  that wants to see “transformations in school funding.”

What does it mean that Darling-Hammond headed Obama’s  education policy team and is a member of Obama’s Equity and Excellence Commission (EEC)? What is she aiming to do for him?

Take a look at the EEC’s Opportunity to Learn Campaign.  Included in the “opportunity” is also the cessation of any semblance of liberty.  Dropping out is not an option; you can’t get suspended or expelled from school no matter how hard you try.  The EEC calls this “positive discipline.”  Also included in the “Opportunity to Learn Campaign” are “wraparound supports” such as extended learning time which might sound good until you realize that we’re moving away from a family-centered to a school-centered way of life that pushes parents to the periphery of children’s lives.

To translate:  Linda Darling-Hammond pushes for communism in the name of social justice, for a prison-like view of schooling in the name of extended opportunity, and for an increased federal role in education in the name of fairness.  She gets away with it because she comes across as sweetly compassionate.

But she scares me.   And people who listen to her scare me too.

Interview: Data Collection With Jenni White of Oklahoma R.O.P.E.   5 comments

There may be someone in America who has studied the education data collection scheme more than Jenni White of Restore Oklahoma Public Education. But I haven’t found that person. Here’s a video interview that Alisa, Renee and I filmed with Jenni this week.

Highlights:

What is the State Longitudinal Database System?
Why does every state track every citizen with the SLDS?
What is the P20 system?
Why did the federal government pay every state many millions to build the system?
Why did they require states to build interoperable systems if they were not to share data outside the state?
How do schools, prisons, hospitals and military agencies now share data?
Is this really just career path assistance or is it citizen surveillance?

Because Stalking is Creepy –Especially When the Government Does It   Leave a comment

Michelle Malkin’s true to her word. She said her New Year’s Resolution would be to expose the truth about Common Core, and she’s well on her way. Her fourth installment in the series “Rotten to the Core” is out.

In “The Feds’ Invasive Student Tracking Data Base” Malkin brings up the fact that while millions of Americans worry about government drones spying on citizens from the skies, millions are unaware that Washington is already spying on us using a web of recent “education reforms” known as the Common Core Initiative.

Malkin shares a link to the National Data Collection Model which asks states to report intimate details of an individual’s life, including bus stop times, parental names, nicknames, languages spoken, and more.

Reading her article made me think of last year’s “child privacy no more” revelation.

Last year, when I first learned these student data tracking facts, I contacted my state school board to ask if there was an opt-out privilege.  Could my public school attending child NOT be intimately tracked by the state’s SLDS data collection system?  The answer came back, eventually.  They said NO.  They blamed it on the technology: the technology doesn’t allow us to opt certain children out.

Agencies mashing data = citizen surveillance but under the nice concept of "sharing".

The idea of “data driven decision making” has become a passion to many educrats, corporate icons  and government leaders (Think Obama, Duncan, Joanne Weiss,  –or Utah’s  own John Brandt, David Wiley, and Judy Park).

“Data Driven” is a  concept used as justification  for behavior that in the end amounts to corporate/government stalking of children –without any parental consent.

I’m not using the word “stalking” facetiously. Does the governmental obsession with personal data collection differ from stalking?

Individual stalkers have their reasoning for doing what they do, that makes sense to them, just as gleaning student data without parental consent  that makes sense in Utah’s education leaders’ own heads, too.

I can think of only one answer to the question of how these differ:  an individual stalker tends to stalk just one person at a time and rarely “inspires” millions to help stalk.

So what do we do? Let’s look at our options. We can:

1. Dismiss facts and call student stalking by government a silly conspiracy theory –even though there’s nothing secret about it– as many do.

or–

2. Wake up, stand up and tell our state leaders that we and our children have had enough.

J.R. Wilson: Parents Need to Know About Student Data Privacy

Our Governor’s To-Do list:

1. Read the Constitution closely and think about what freedom looks like, in comparison to what Utah leaders promote;

2. Shut down Utah’s SLDS, P-20, and Prosperity 2020 systems;

3. Fire John Brandt, Judy Park, the Utah Data Alliance staff, and everyone who works as if “1984″ was an instruction manual for school improvement;

4. Stop accepting money and directives from the Dept. of Ed.;

5. Cancel membership with the National Governors’ Association;

6.  Get rid of the trojan horse of Common Core which serves the tracking goals of the federal and corporate elite;

7. Insist that only parents of school-aged children, people who honor freedom, not socialism –and know the difference– serve on any school board;

8.  End cradle to grave tracking in the state.

DATA COLLECTION UPDATE   1 comment

WHAT WE KNOW:

1. ALL UTAHNS ARE TRACKED VIA SCHOOLS USING A FEDERALLY PROMOTED AND PAID-FOR SLDS.

I have an email from the State School Board that says there is no possibility for my student to opt out of being tracked. When a parent signs his/her child up for school, the information is gathered and added to, throughout the life of that child because of the State Longitudinal Database System (SLDS). The SLDS was paid for by the federal government and all states accepted the money and built this interoperable system. It works with the P-20 (preschool through workforce) council, which is appointed by the Governor.  http://nces.ed.gov/programs/slds/state.asp?stateabbr=UT

2. THE TRACKING OF CITIZENS GOES BEYOND THE SCHOOL DISTRICT AND STATE OFFICE OF EDUCATION.

The Utah Data Alliance, directed by John Brandt, links six state agencies to share the data collected by schools. These include workforce services; the system is a socialist program to align education and workforce and manage the people as “human capital,” one of their favorite phrases. According to a John Brandt online powerpoint, federal agencies also receive access to the data in the Utah Data system. According to the Joanne Weiss, chief of staff of the Dept. of Education, federal agencies are mashing data and are going to be “helpful” to states “wishing” to do the same.

3. INTEROPERABILITY WAS REQUIRED OF ALL SLDS SYSTEMS FOR FEDERAL PURPOSES.

http://nces.ed.gov/programs/slds/state.asp?stateabbr=WA

4. REGULATIONS HAVE BEEN ALTERED WITHOUT CONGRESSIONAL APPROVAL CONCERNING PRIVACY LAW.

The Dept. of Education changed definitions and broadened allowances of the Family Education Rights Privacy Act. Though they have been sued for this move, the fact remains that without parental consent, researchers, federal agencies and any “authorized” volunteer can look at the collected data, which includes biometric information (personally identifiable).

5. DATA POINTS TO BE COLLECTED BY STATES HAVE BEEN “RECOMMENDED” BY FEDERAL GOVERNMENT:

According to the National Data Collection Model, the government should collect information on health-care history, family income, family voting status, gestational age of students at birth, student ID number, and bus stoptimes among other pieces of information on the student and their families. You can view the National Data Collection Model database attributes (data categories) at http://nces.sifinfo.org/datamodel/eiebrowser/techview.aspx?instance=studentPostsecondary

6. DEPT. OF EDUCATION COOPERATIVE AGREEMENTS CONTRACTED WITH TESTING CONSORTIA MANDATE INFORMATION SHARING

This means that there is a triangulation of tests, test data and federal supervision (all highly illegal under G.E.P.A. law and the 10th Amendment).  http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-assessment/sbac-cooperative-agreement.pdf

WHAT WE DON’T KNOW:

1. John Brandt has not revealed the exact number of people or agencies in Utah (or elsewhere) who have access to the personally identifiable information collected by schools on individuals. He does not return emails or phone calls.

2. At what point does “allowance” to share information turn into “must” share information? The FERPA alterations right now only removed the requirement for schools to keep the data on students private without parental consent. They have not yet mandated that schools must share the data without parental consent. But we also don’t know which identified information is being shared with which agency in Utah, or which agency outside Utah. We just don’t know.

3. What effect will the Common Core (national) testing have on the data collection and ease of persual by the federal agencies? Is there a “Cooperative Agreement” between Utah’s test writer, the American Institutes for Research, and the federal government, as there is with the other testing consortia SBAC and PARCC?

Alabama Bursts Free of 2 Common Core Testing Consortia Memberships   Leave a comment

Alabama has cut its membership ties with both of the Common Core testing consortia– with PARCC and SBAC.

This is big news because those who want to federalize eduation and control citizens thereby cannot do so very easily without the shackling effect of having virtually every person in America labeled and tracked using the common testing data collection system.   Yay for Alabama.

Alabama hasn’t cut ties with the whole Common Core State Standards Initiative, but according to Truth in American Education, Governor Bentley of Alabama said:

“Every state is different. Every Legislature is different. I think having one standard goes against the intent of the founding fathers of the United States.” 

The Governor cast his vote against the standards.  State Board of Education Members Stephanie Bell and Betty Peters also voted against the standards.

http://truthinamericaneducation.com/uncategorized/governor-bentley-alabama-condemns-common-core-standards/

And Ed Week’s Catherine Gewertz reports:

“In an email to EdWeek, the state’s assessment director, Gloria Turner, confirmed that Alabama has bowed out of both the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. She said the department of education “has decided to go in another direction,” but didn’t offer any more detail.

The move wasn’t yet official within the two consortia, since the requisite processes haven’t yet been completed. The decision leaves PARCC with 22 members and Smarter Balanced with 24.

Alabama, you might recall, has been one of the dwindling number of states that have been playing ‘participating,’ or ‘advisory’ roles in each consortium.”

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/2013/02/alabama_withdraws_from_both_te.html?cmp=ENL-EU-NEWS2

Schools Are Sharing Private Information Via SLDS and P-20 State/Federal Systems   7 comments

Our schools (teachers, adminstrators, and even State Office of Education workers) are being used. –Used to collect private data, both academic and nonacademic, about our children and their families.  I choose the word “used” because I do not believe they are maliciously going behind parents’ backs.  They are simply expected to comply with whatever the U.S. Dept. of Education asks them to do.  And the Dept. of Education is all for the “open data” push.

Unknown to most parents, children’s data is being shared beyond the school district with six agencies inside the Utah Data Alliance and UTREX, according to Utah Technology Director John Brandt.  The student data is further being “mashed” with federal databases, according to federal Education Dept. Chief of Staff Joanne Weiss:  http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/inside-school-research/2012/07/ed_urges_states_to_make_data_s.html  While John Brandt assures us that only a handful of people in Utah have access to the personally identifiable data of children, recent alterations to federal FERPA (Famly Education Rights Privacy Act) regulations which were made by the U.S. Dept of Education, have radically redefined terms and widened the window of groups who can access private data without parental consent.  For more on that, see the lawsuit against the U.S. Dept of Education on the subject: http://epic.org/apa/ferpa/default.html

But first, an interjection: I want to introduce this article: http://seattleducation2010.wordpress.com/2013/01/02/your-students-privacy/

I like this article because it exposes the facts plainly, that parents are unaware that their children’s information is being shared without parental permission, beyond the school, beyond the district, and even beyond the state.  It is verifiable and true.

What it means:  Courses taken, grades earned, every demographic piece of information, including family names and income, is being watched by the U.S. government via schools.

Verify for yourself: The U.S. Dept. of Education’s own explanation is here, showing why SLDS systems exist:  http://www2.ed.gov/programs/slds/factsheet.html

   There are 12 elements that states had to share or they would not have received ARRA stimulus money.  The twelve elements of the SLDS (State longitudinal data system) include enrollment history, demographic characteristics, student’s scores on tests; info on students who are not tested; transcripts, grades earned; whether they enrolled in remedial courses; and the sharing of data from preschool through postsecondary systems.

While all this data gathering could theoretically, somehow, benefit a child, or community,  it can definitely hurt a child.  Denial of future opportunities, based on ancient academic or behavioral history, comes to mind…

These databases (State Longitudinal Database Systems, SLDS; also, P-20 and state data combinations such as the Utah Data Alliance) are to share data with anybody they define as “authorized,” according to alterations made to FERPA (Family Education Privacy Act) regulations by the Dept. of Education.

These now-authorized groups who will access student data will most likely include the  A-list “philanthropists” like Bill Gates,  as well as corporate snoops (Microsoft, Pearson, Wireless Generation, and K-12 Inc., Achieve, Inc., SBAC, PARCC, NGA, CCSSO, for examples) as well as federal departments that are far outside of education, such as the military, the workforce agencies, etc.)

Furthermore, even psychometric and biometric data (behavioral qualities, dna, iris and fingerprints) are also acceptable data collection points, to the Dept. of Education (verify: http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/pdf/ferparegs.pdf  )

This is a nightmare of Big Brother in action, except it’s not a fiction. You can verify it all on the government’s own public sites, such as:

http://www2.ed.gov/programs/slds/factsheet.html

http://www.dataqualitycampaign.org/stateanalysis/states/UT/

http://www.utahdataalliance.org/links.shtml

http://nces.ed.gov/forum/datamodel/edview/edview.aspx?class=StudentTracking

http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/pdf/ferparegs.pdf

http://nces.ed.gov/whatsnew/conferences/Statsdc/2012/STATSDC2012keynote.pdf

States would not get stimulus money if they didn’t agree to build the SLDS system.

So they all agreed.  All.

I happened to ask the Utah State Office of Education myself whether it is even allowed to have a student attend a  school without being tracked by the Utah Data Alliance and the federal SLDS.

They finally gave me a straight answer, after I nagged them many a time, finally, and it was simply “No.”

No!

No child, no citizen may escape tracking. We are and will be tracked.

I ask you, dear readers, to turn your feelings about this intrusion toward positive action.

Call your governor.

If you are from Utah, Governor Herbert is here 801 538-1000 and here: http://demo.utah.gov/governor/contact/index.html

Public feeling and individual actions are the only, only chance we have to alter the course we are currently traveling.

Dear Superintendent Menlove   Leave a comment

Dear Superintendent Menlove,
Congratulations on your new role as Superintendent of Utah Schools.
As a Utah teacher with an up-to-date credential, who has taught high school English, 3rd grade, and Freshmen and Remedial English at Utah Valley University, I’m writing to ask four questions:
1.  Why have Utah education leaders allowed classic literature to be minimized –and almost eliminated– by the time our students reach 12th grade, under the new Common Core?
I do not believe that increasing the amount of informational text and decreasing the amount of time-tested classic fiction that we expose students to, is a good idea. (Neither do many of my colleagues and friends, including, notably, Professor Alan Manning of BYU, an English Language/Linguistics expert who told me he is also alarmed at the damage Common Core is going to do to our educational system.)
2.  Why was the theft of classic literature from high school seniors and others done without transparency?  The decision remove so much classic literature from our schools has been done without any sort of vote or vetting, and without a request for input ever being put out toward lifelong educators like me or Professor Manning, and without parents being told what kind of transformation was happening to their children’s literacy program –without their consent.
3. Why have we accepted a cap on learning?  I have learned that Utah is under a mandate not to add more than 15% content to the Common Core minimum standards, and that the Common Core is under copyright by a nonelected group called CCSSO/NGA.  This troubles me; we should not have given away our voice over our own educational standards.  We should not allow anyone to put a cap of 15% or any other percent, on what we teach our students.  This seems like a sovereignty issue as well as an educational issue, to me.
4. Why won’t Utah Technology Director, Utah Data Alliance Director (and state database-combiner) John Brandt answer a teacher’s or a parent’s questions?
It is of great concern that our students are being tracked with personally identifiable information, not aggregate data, by a State Longitudinal Database that  creates a permanent record of nonacademic, family, health, psychological, and academic data for every child in Utah.  This, too, has been done without parental knowledge; the only reason I know is that I asked the Utah State School Board if it was true.  I asked them if I could opt out of this P-20 surveillance of children.  Their email indicated that the answer was no; there is no way to opt out of the tracking.
I have repeatedly emailed Utah Technology Director John Brandt to ask him about the data collection issue, and he will not respond to me nor to other citizens’ emails.
These issues are deeply troubling.  Please let me know what you understand about these issues, and what you plan to do to right these wrongs.
Sincerely,
Christel Swasey

You Are Invited: Public Information Meeting About Common Core – Provo, Utah   Leave a comment

  • If you live in Utah, please come to this informational meeting about Common Core at the Provo Library next week.

If Obama Gets Elected   Leave a comment

If Obama wins another term as president, you can expect to see the tightening of control over education via Common Core, national tracking of students, and more anti-American ideas being promoted across the country and especially in schools, because of the influence of the Gates Foundation, UNESCO, and others.

Mitt Romney  wants to turn back the trend of socializing, nationalizing education.  If you are able to donate some time to Mitt’s campaign, they need serious amounts of volunteers. There are a few call centers below and you can also make calls from home. Please get involved.

I received this email today and will post the rest for those willing to help Romney get elected.

***********

A Utah friend writes:

“I just talked to a Romney campaign staffer at the Orem call center who said he was very disappointed in the turnout of volunteers for Governor Romney.  In a state where Romney may get 80 percent of the vote, far too many people are apathetic.  They don’t think they can make a difference.  NOT TRUE!! These call centers are targeting voters in swing states such as Nevada, Colorado, and Ohio.  Utah volunteers are desperately needed in a very tight election.”

This election could prove to be a cliff-hanger.  One prognosticator last night suggested that Romney might win the popular vote but lose the Electoral College.  In other words, states like Nevada, Colorado, and Ohio could make all the difference.  And if you imagine that, living in Utah or Idaho or some other safe Romney zone, you can’t have any impact on the races there, you’re absolutely wrong.

Monetary donations, even small ones, can still make a difference.  Unless I’m mistaken, Barack Obama substantially outraised Mitt Romney last month, for the first time in quite a while.  What a pity it will be if, having come this far, we falter at the end and fail by a hair’s breadth.

This is the time for the final push in the race, the final burst of energy that guarantees the victory.  Or the fatal loss of will that turns triumph into failure.

You can also volunteer to make phone calls.  The ground game is everything at this point.  The candidate who gets his voters out will win the vital contested states and take the presidency for the next four years.

Romney Call Centers in Utah, open Monday-Saturday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

If you would prefer to call from home, please click on this link to find out how you can set up your phone and computer.  It will, I think, work from anywhere in the country.  So you non-Utahns shouldn’t feel that you’re off the hook!  You’re needed, too!

Orem Office:

Staff Contact, Colton Miles:  colton@utgop.org

801.835.7239 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting FREE 801.835.7239 end_of_the_skype_highlighting

Address: 1120 S 1350 W

Orem, UT 84058

(It’s just over on the west side of the freeway, not far from the University Parkway exit, more or less opposite UVU.)

Midvale Office:

sensi@utgop.org“>sensi@utgop.org 801.674.4124 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting FREE 801.674.4124 end_of_the_skype_highlighting

47 East 7200 South

Midvale, UT 84047

Logan Office:

Amber@utgop.org

435.374.4704 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting FREE 435.374.4704 end_of_the_skype_highlighting

1451 North 200 East, Ste. 190-B

Logan, UT 84341

St. George Office:

Gary@utgop.org

435.703.9484 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting FREE 435.703.9484 end_of_the_skype_highlighting

134 North 200 East, Ste. 202

St. George, UT 84770

What is SLDS and Why Should I Care?   1 comment

SLDS means: Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems.

SLDS is a citizen tracking program, and a grant program, that rewards states financially for participating.  It’s also called P-20, which stands for preschool through age 20 (workforce) tracking.  I see citizen tracking as creepy and Orwellian.  What do you see?

The federal website shows, here– http://www2.ed.gov/programs/slds/factsheet.html — that SLDS was presented as a financial prize to states, a grant, under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  It sounded good, but in reality, its purpose –besides the uneven redistributing of taxpayers’ money– is to track citizens (students).

The assumption was that everyone everywhere would approve of citizen tracking and would want to be tracked.  A secondary assumption is that the government’s holding detailed, intimate information about its citizens would never be used against anybody wrongly, and that none of this has nothing to do with constitutional rights to privacy.  (For more on that, click here: http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/conlaw/rightofprivacy.html )

I highlighted the first element of data to be collected because it speaks about PII, personally identifiable information.  PII can be a name, a social security number, a blood sample, handwriting sample, a fingerprint, or almost anything else.  The fact that the government included “except as permitted by federal/state law” is VERY significant because the federal Department of Education did the dastardly deed of changing federal privacy law, known previously as the protective, family-empowering, FERPA law.  The Department of Education did this without Congressional approval and are now being sued by the Electronic Privacy Information Center for doing it.  But as it stands now, FERPA has been altered and won’t be put back to its formerly protective state.  So parental rights over children’s data, and parental consent rules, have been cast aside.  –All in the name of getting lots and lots and lots of data available, whether with malignant or benign intention, especially for federal use.

Here it is, pasted directly from the government site and available in English or Spanish:

en Español

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act: $250 million

Grantees: States

Type of Grant: Competitive

Purpose:

The program provides grants to states to design, develop, and implement statewide P-20 longitudinal data systems to capture, analyze, and use student data from preschool to high school, college, and the workforce.

Program Requirements:

Since it started in fiscal year 2005, the program has awarded grants worth $265 million to 41 states and the District of Columbia. The Recovery Act competition requires that the data systems have the capacity to link preschool, K-12, and postsecondary education as well as workforce data. To receive State Fiscal Stabilization Funds, a state must provide an assurance that it will establish a longitudinal data system that includes the 12 elements described in the America COMPETES Act, and any data system developed with Statewide longitudinal data system funds must include at least these 12 elements. The elements are:

  1. An unique identifier for every student that does not permit a student to be individually identified (except as permitted by federal and state law);
  2. The school enrollment history, demographic characteristics, and program participation record of every student;
  3. Information on when a student enrolls, transfers, drops out, or graduates from a school;
  4. Students scores on tests required by the Elementary and Secondary Education Act;
  5. Information on students who are not tested, by grade and subject;
  6. Students scores on tests measuring whether they’re ready for college;
  7. A way to identify teachers and to match teachers to their students;
  8. Information from students’ transcripts, specifically courses taken and grades earned;
  9. Data on students’ success in college, including whether they enrolled in remedial courses;
  10. Data on whether K-12 students are prepared to succeed in college;
  11. A system of auditing data for quality, validity, and reliability; and
  12. The ability to share data from preschool through postsecondary education data systems.

—-

Tonight at 6:05, I’ll be on the Morgan Philpot show as a guest, speaking about this important issue and all its many tentacles, including the E.P.I.C. lawsuit against the Dept. of Education, the statements on data-mashing by Utah’s John Brandt and D.C.’s Joanne Weiss, letters I’ve received from the USOE on the subject of student tracking, and what we can do about it.

Tune in if you live nearby.  KNRS.

What Is Going On With Pearson and Utah?   Leave a comment

Untangling the Choice Solutions/Pearson/UEA/Utah Data Alliance Partnerships

So today I’m imagining Utah’s State Technology Director, John Brandt, and Pearson’s CEA Sir Michael Barber having a conversation over crumpets and tea about all the data Sir Michael Barber hopes to collect on the “global” citizenry –and how John Brandt can help. http://youtu.be/T3ErTaP8rTA

Brandt did set up the 2011 UTREX contract that allowed Pearson to design and deliver Utah’s massive data sharing project.  Then, suddenly, in 2012 Pearson also “partnered” with John Brandt’s Utah Data Alliance.

Meanwhile, not only does Pearson’s Sir Michael Barber go around praising Common Core and similar nationalized education systems worldwide while calling the shots for Pearson as its Chief Education Advisor…

 —also, Pearson’s Sir Barber recently founded a business in the United States called EDI (Education Delivery Institute) which partners with many state education departments (not in Utah, yet, thank heaven) to “drive delivery of the state’s reform agenda as outlined in its Race to the Top (RTTT) proposal.”  -Translation: to implement the federal Common Core.

EDI’s and Pearson’s Sir Michael Barber openly advocates for global environmental education standards, to be mandated for every human on the earth, as a priority over giving students knowledge or the ability to think for oneself.  He says “we want them to have some knowledge.” He calls his formula for all:

E(K+T+L)  Think I’m making this up? See his speeches:  http://youtu.be/T3ErTaP8rTA

Yet, John Brandt and the USOE apparently support Utah’s close partnership with Pearson and Barber. Maybe they don’t know what Pearson’s goals really are.  Or maybe they share those goals.

I don’t know.  But I think it’s strange that Brandt never responds to an email on the subject.

  Juggling all of that, keep in mind, too, that Joanne Weiss, the U.S. Dept. of Education’s Chief of Staff, has spoken recently for federal agencies “data-mashing” as much as possible.  She’s also spoken about being “helpful” to states who want to partner in data sharing.  Nice.

If you’re interested, here’s the press release that explains (some of) it.

Press Release:  Utah Data Alliance Partners with Choice Solutions to Implement a P-20W Statewide Longitudinal Data System

Salt Lake City, Utah (PRWEB) February 15, 2012

“The Utah Education Network (UEN) working as a key partner of the Utah Data Alliance (UDA) has selected Choice Solutions to deliver a secure data warehouse of de-identified early childhood, K-12, post-secondary, and workforce data provided by multiple state agencies that will use this warehouse for analysis and research in support of data driven decision making.

Statewide longitudinal data systems (SLDS’s) are a single solution to manage, disaggregate, analyze, and leverage education information within a state. In recent years, the scope of these systems has broadened from the K-12 spectrum to now encompass pre-kindergarten through higher education and workforce training (P-20W)…  The challenge is in the linking, in determining how best to forge the organizational and technical bonds, and to build the data system needed to make informed decisions. Choice Solutions, the leader in P-20W SLDS’s, has worked with 15 states across the nation to customize, integrate, and implement edFusion™, their enterprise grade P-20W SLDS. Choice’s level of P-20W data linking experience, in concert with the edFusion™ product stack, will serve Utah’s system requirements.

The P-20W SLDS project won’t be a cold start to the partnership; the Utah State Office of Education and Choice (in partnership with Pearson Data Solutions) have been working together for the past year to implement the Utah e-Transcript and Record Exchange system (UTREx).  UTREx is being phased into production with the core (collection, validation, reporting) functions having been implemented statewide in August 2011. In addition, UTREx allows individual, detailed student records to be exchanged electronically between any two Utah local education agencies (LEAs). UTREx is currently piloting submission of official student transcripts to any institution of higher education in the country from any Utah high school…  Choice Solutions is an end-to-end global Enterprise IT Service and Solutions provider… Choice has the privilege of serving many government organizations, including 15 state Departments of Education and numerous districts, regional education centers, and privately run agencies. For more information about Choice Solutions visit choicep20 dot com.”

(P.S.    I went to the Choice.com website and read that Choice’s partners are not only Pearson, but also CCSSO– the ones who copyrighted the Common Core, the ones whose board membership includes Utah’s Larry Shumway.  Choice also partners with the U.S. Dept. of Education.  –The point is that John Brandt’s Utah Data Alliance partnered with Choice/Pearson which is partnered with Superintendent Shumway’s own CCSSO.  And Brandt is a member of NCES, so he’s a federal and a state officer.  Unless I read it wrong.  See for yourselves.  Just google NCES and John Brandt and you’ll see how many speeches he’s making for the federal NCES nationwide. http://nces.ed.gov/whatsnew/conferences/statsdc/2012/session_VII.asp)

Look Behind You   4 comments

The federal government uses lots of different agencies– but increasingly, schools– to track us. It’s citizen surveillance.  But they call it research.

I wrote to the Utah State Office of Education a few months ago to ask a simple yes or no question:  can my child attend public school without being specifically and individually tracked by name, school record, social security number etc.?

No.  The answer was, no.  Your child will always be tracked using personally identifiable information.  But this will never be shared outside the State Office of Education, they assured me.

After studying the NCES website, the federal FERPA website, the lawsuit between E.P.I.C. and the Dept. of Education, the machinations of CCSSO’s John Brandt with the Utah Data Alliance, Open Education specialist Professor David Wiley’s statements about the necessity of gathering data without parental consent, and Dept. of Ed Chief of Staff Joanne Weiss’s statements on federal data-mashing and “helping” states to partner with data, I do not believe the USOE’s assurances.  I wish I could.

Under agencies like “National Center for Education Statistics” and “Institute for Education Sciences” the federal government is asking schools to collect and share hundreds of data points about your school, your teachers, and yes, your child.

There’s a federal “Common Core of Data.”  There’s a National Data Collection Model that asks for so much private information about each student, way, way beyond math and reading scores– it asks for family information, languages spoken, health information, extracurricular programs, social security numbers, bus stop descriptions– you name it.  Right here:  http://nces.ed.gov/forum/datamodel/eiebrowser/techview.aspx?instance=studentElementarySecondary  There is even a private school survey– private, not government.  On the federal data collection website.

If you start to talk about it with people, they’ll pat you on the head and say, “Oh, but FERPA law is here to protect you; it’s a groundless conspiracy theory.”

When they say that, please pat them right back on their own little heads and say, “Federal FERPA regulations were altered by the Department of Education quite recently. Now definitions have been rewritten and parental consent has been shoved aside: it’s an agenda.  Not a theory, an actual, verifiable, factual agenda being pushed under the radar upon Americans who still think they are protected and free.”  http://epic.org/apa/ferpa/default.html

If they haven’t walked away from you, talk on.  Say, “Definitions that have been reshaped –loosened–  by the Dept of Ed. without Congressional approval include such details as the term AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE– now it could be literally anyone, anyone who is authorized to view your child’s personal information under federal FERPA regulation.  Even a school volunteer can have access to a child’s personally identifiable data, including biometric, physical data like fingerprints or DNA.  If parents have allowed the school to collect it.  Unless our state FERPA can stand up to the federal FERPA.”

Your listeners will still find it hard to believe that this could be legal.  Then take them to this federal 34 CFR Part 99  FERPA pdf page and type in the search terms “volunteer” or “biometric”:

http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/pdf/ferparegs.pdf

The point:  unless many of us look at this and talk about it, and then stand up and say, “No way” to the absolute flood of data-sucking agencies all around us, that are aiming to know everything about everyone, via data mashing and data sharing, we will lose our freedoms, we will lose our way of life as we have known it in the United States and elsewhere.

Bureaucracies of mass data-collection and sharing grow slowly but relentlessly.  Will they build a web we can’t break by the time we think it’s time to fight back?  Will we be intimidated by the clever sounding “government-speak” and the researchers’ arrogance?

Or will we take back our identities, our privacy, our freedom?

If you have time, just look at the words they use:

“The Common Core of Data (CCD) is a program of the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics that annually collects fiscal and non-fiscal data about all public schools, public school districts and state education agencies in the United States. The data are supplied by state education agency officials and include information that describes schools and school districts, including name, address, and phone number; descriptive information about students and staff, including demographics; and fiscal data, including revenues and current expenditures.”  http://nces.ed.gov/ccd/

“Policy Makers – If you are an LEA or SEA policy maker, focus on Chapters 1, 2, and 4 of the User Guide.
“Data Modelers – If you are coming from a background in other data model domains such as banking, healthcare, etc. and want to familiarize yourself with the education data model domain, read Chapter 3: How to use the Data Model. Review Appendix C: Common Attributes. Then go directly to the Education Data Model…”

 

Look behind you.

If you were taking a nice walk in the park and someone said, “Look behind you. There’a a fast moving river of hot lava coming your way,” you could call that person a liar or a mad conspiracy theorist and keep enjoying your walk.

–Or you could just take that one look behind you.  What would it hurt to just turn your head and take a look?  Do you really not want to know?

http://nces.ed.gov/ccd/elsi/

This is what I’m asking you to do.

Just look for yourself.

10 Reasons Not to Adopt Communities That Care (CTC)   5 comments

I gave the speech below, at the Heber City council meeting tonight, asking the council not to adopt Communities that Care, right after three state employees gave speeches encouraging the city to adopt Communities That Care. 

http://youtu.be/YtecukxKAhY  (Click to watch the video of the presentation)

Please write our city council here:

jbradshaw@ci.heber.ut.us

erowland@ci.heber.ut.us

rpatterson@ci.heber.ut.us

phillips1005@msn.com

manderson@ci.heber.ut.us

amcdonald@ci.heber.ut.us

I also shared the actual youth survey itself with them:

http://www.sdrg.org/ctcresource/CTC_Youth_Survey_2006.pdf

 http://store.samhsa.gov/product/Communities-That-Care-Youth-Survey/CTC020 

– and the “availability-of-firearms-as-a-risk-factor-for-behavior-problems” page from the CTC pdf available online here:

 http://www.sdrg.org/ctcresource/Community%20Assessment%20Training/Participant%20Guide/CAT_PG_mod3.pdf

10 Reasons Not to Adopt Communities That Care (CTC)

1. We know so little about the obligations of joining this coalition.  The general public cannot get online access to read the grant itself.  But what is it, really, other than $10,000 of our federal taxes returned to us?

I used to write grants professionally, full time, for a consortium of charter schools in Utah County.  As a grant writer, I learned that federal grants are extremely bureaucratic and agenda-driven.  I learned to apply for private grants from local corporations instead.

Grants are not Christmas presents or free money without strings attached.  Grants come with obligations. What are the CTC obligations?  Has Heber City had a professional grant writer or lawyer assess the application’s obligations fully? I suggest Heber refrain from “getting married” to CTC, this federally operated coalition, before we “date” it thoroughly.

The question is not whether or not some Heber City youth have serious problems that need our help. (We do have great programs in place already that we are underutilizing; I’ll address them llater. ) The question is whether we want/need the federal supervision and lack of flexibility that always comes with federal money and “free training.”

2. University of Kansas has done a study of the pros and cons of CTC.  Citing Univ. Kansas:

- CTC is a copyrighted, structured process.  It was previously private, owned by the Channing-Bete Corporation, but has been sold to the federal government.

- University of Kansas  calls the CTC approach “only inclusive and participatory for certain people,” and notes that
“While it claims to involve the whole community, the formal CTC approach is actually top-down, starting with a small number of “key community leaders.” These leaders who may or may not be representative of the whole community in terms of race, socioeconomic class, or interests – then “invite” other participants “from all sectors” to make up a community board of 30. The reality is that they’ll usually invite people they know, who are apt to be much like them and may not represent the true diversity of the community.”

Especially in a large community, it takes research to know whom to include, and 30 may be too small a number to be truly representative of all sectors. Furthermore, some sectors – youth themselves, for instance, or single parents on welfare – are unlikely to be included unless specifically targeted by the process. And if the “key community leaders” see themselves as leading the process, its participatory nature can go out the window.

-CTC allows the choice of only a finite number of approaches. University of Kansas found that “CTC’s claim of allowing communities the freedom to devise their own solutions is only partially accurate. Communities can create combinations of interventions that speak to their needs, but only from a limited pool of choices. “

…”On the one hand, it presents…the security of set curricula … On the other, it can limit the possibilities for creativity and the use of local wisdom that might arise if there were more freedom of choice and the chance for the community to craft its own program.”

- “Choosing from among best practices may encourage communities merely to follow directions, rather than throwing heart and soul into the effort. Though it simplifies the process, it’s an intervention that’s laid out for the community, rather than built from the ground up…

-CTC is narrowly focused. CTC “implies taking a small-picture view of community health and development, and not necessarily planning for the long term or for the whole community. If the ultimate goals are as narrow as reducing one or more of the problem behaviors, they can give the impression that reaching those goals “fixes” the problem and the community. If the goal is the end of the process, there’s no community commitment to long-term social change. And long-term social change is usually needed to fully solve community problems.”

- “CTC is, to a certain extent, based on assumptions. While the theory behind it and the best practices have been subject to a fair amount of research, the program has only been shown to be effective in the short- to mid-term range. Long-term data have not yet been collected.”

- “CTC is sold as a package that includes literature, training, and support. While there are some obvious advantages to this, it also means that there can be less flexibility in the model than might be desirable… whether they’re the most appropriate or effective possibilities for the community or not.

Moving on from University of Kansas, I have made the following observations about some additional disadvantages of CTC:

3.  CTC is owned by federal government; it makes us beholden to mandates and rules set by bureaucrats far from Heber City, long after the grant money has been spent.

4.   CTC will require ongoing solicitation of federal funding or finding other grantors or raising of taxes to continue.

5.  CTC adds a layer of bureaucracy and government salary.

6.  CTC asks for archival and ongoing data to be collected and shared with the federal government.  There may be serious data privacy concerns for some Heber citizens.

7.  Most concerning of all to me is blind acceptance of the values embedded in the CTC training and youth surveys.  They appear in some instances to indoctrinate with collectivism, and with specific biases that do not match my own, or may not match your own. (See youth survey questions.)

For example, on the risk factors page,  it places drug abuse and alcohol abuse and availability of firearms in the same category, all labeled as risk factors for behavior problems.  In Heber, a lot of teenagers shoot guns but they aren’t in gangs; they’re hunting deer or recreationally shooting targets.  There’s a disconnect there.  I quote two cited risk factors: one,

“Availability of firearms:  Statistics show that the more available firearms are in a community, the higher the violent crime rates tend to be, and, conversely, fewer firearms in a community is correlated with lower violent crime rates.”   [Yikes. Where do they get those nutty statistics? Ask a Swiss citizen!]

two:

Community laws and norms favorable to drug use, firearms, and crime. ” 

–In the same sentence!  Drugs, firearms and crime.  Some are norms in Heber, some aren’t.  That’s not going to give us accurate data.  Nor will it give our kids the message we want to send them about firearms.  Is it?

Another example.  I quote this from CTC itself: “…The ideal here… is one where the community speaks with one voice about values and standards.”  That sounds extremely collective. We should have many voices heard in our community.  Not one.  That’s always been the American way. Because if there’s only one voice, who gets to speak? Who gets to set those standards for our children– the federal government, or the people of Heber?

There’s also an “innocence alert” issue.  What happens when very young children are exposed to these types of questions?  Sometimes, that’s their first introduction to deviant behavior and it could have the opposite effect on some children of creating curiosity.  On the youth survey, there are specific questions about drugs which would require a child to know the difference between prescription drugs and illegal drugs that I don’t even know.

I quote from the drugs cited in the youth survey.  Do you know which of these are which? :  adderall, LSD, peyote, psychedelics, PCP, ecstasy, vicodin, oxycontin, tylox, xanax, valium, ambien, methamphetamine, crank, meth, crystal meth, etc.  And are you going to ask a 10 year old these questions?

One question there was how often the child had “Used prescription stimulants, such as Ritalin or Adderall without a doctors’s orders during the past 30 days?”

The question did not allow the child to say “I used it but it was actually 31 days ago,” or “What the heck is Adderall?”  We can write better questions that are more appropriately crafted.

8.  Examples of questions from the youth survey:

  • What are      the chances you would be seen as cool if you a) smoked cigarettes b) began      drinking alcoholic beverages regularly c) smoked cigarettes d) carried a      handgun [umm… Shouldn't this at least be an essay question? Should guns      and alcohol both be in the same question? ]
  • –Used      derbisol in your lifetime? [what the heck is derbisol and how do I mark      a multiple choice quiz to say huh?]
  • We argue      about the same things in my family over and over. [what a question. Is      there any family in the world that never has a disagreement?  What is the point of asking whether the      disagreements vary or are about the same things?  We should write our own survey at the      very least, and make it essay based.

9.  There are some very controversial issues surrounding bullying-prevention workshops.  And bullying prevention workshops are sponsored by CTC. See http://www.communitiesthatcarecoalition.org/

To many this seems noncontroversial, but in fact, in many places, anti-bullying legislation has been used to promote gay lifestyle acceptance via the protection of gays from bullying above any others who may be bullied.  This may be an unfair bias, and carefully worded surveys may produce student results that try to legitimize what is actually a political agenda, not an agenda of equal compassion for all groups.

10.  Under-utililizing our current resources – Heber City is overflowing with churches, schools, 12-step groups and other resources that stand ready to deal with youth problems.

Families and extended families

Heber City police

D.A.R.E. program

Church youth programs in many denominations

Long established  12-step groups

The WHS Cool To Care program

Wasatch District schools’ guidance counselors

Scouting and sporting programs

I spoke this week with the facilitator of one of the valley’s 12-step groups.  He told me the groups have very small attendance for people of any age and need to be promoted.  The groups welcome all religions, all ages as long as a parent attends if the addict is under age 18, and have separate groups for men and women.  They have groups several times a week for groups that include sex addiction, drug abuse, and alcohol abuse.

Utah’s First Lady has been campaigning for EmpowerParents.Org, a Utah coalition designed to help parents learn how to keep their children from underage drinking.   The organization gives parents resources

Groups that have joined and support EmpowerParents.Org include

Northeastern Counseling Center

Bear River Health Department

Davis Helps

Four Corners Behavioral Health

Tooele Valley Mental Health

Summit Valley Mental Health

Utah Substance Abuse and Anti-Violence

Weber Human Services

Associated Foods

Intermountain Healthcare

Larry H. Miller

Mothers Against Drunk Driving

O.C. Tanner

The Power In You

Utah Dental Association

Utah PTA

Salt Lake Police Dept.

Salt Lake County Sanitation

Utah Attorney General

–and many more

In closing, here are a list of questions we must answer before we move forward with  CTC:

1. What will be our ongoing our obligations to the federal government for accepting the $10,000 and how will we pay for the program when the money runs out?

2. Do we want to use our current resources better, or do we want to add a layer of bureaucracy to implement this program, and then pay for that layer indefinitely, regardless of whether the program “works” or not?

3.  Do the values embedded in the youth survey align with our own; for example, how do gun control, homosexuality, and family privacy issues come up in CTC?

4. What will be Heber’s ongoing “accountability” for the CTC program to the federal government, if it accepts the grant rather than paying for CTC ourselves?

5. Are there better, less expensive, more autonomous or higher quality alternatives Heber can choose to use, to work on youth drug use prevention and other important youth issues?

6.What will be the up-front and ongoing-maintenance costs to Heber City for adopting CTC?

7. How will the privacy of data be assured?

Let’s use our local resources.

Christel Swasey

Heber City Mom

801-380-0422

Data Collection is Out of Control   Leave a comment

     Yes, the data collection push is out of control.

Data collection issues and privacy rights were the last thing on my mind, until last April, when I learned what Common Core was (besides educational standards that are communizing America’s education).  When I learned that common core tests gather kids’ data that is nonacademic, personally identifiable, and longitudinal –meaning it goes from preschool through adulthood and is tracked by the government and researchers who will not need permission to study it– I was horrified.  But the data collection desperation of agencies worldwide, continues.  For example:

 

  • Just this morning I got an email from a company that contracts with a company I work with to translate foreign documents.  They wanted to purchase –in any language– full blogs, full email accounts, and other writings, for a secret client that they said needs a lot of data to practice a new spellchecker.  Nuts!  (I’ll post the full “job” email* at the bottom.)
  • This week, I learned about a German man, Malte Spitz, now an international data privacy freedom fighter.  Here’s part of his story (for full text:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/25/malte-spitzs-ted-talk-_n_1701775.html   )

    In 2006, the EU issued the Data Retention Directive, Directive 2006/24/EC. This allowed European phone companies to store user data for six months to two years — including phone numbers, addresses, the times emails and data were sent, as well as users’ locations. Since then, several countries have either rejected or declared unconstitutional this legislation. In 2010, Germany’s Federal Constitution Court suspended the directive, calling it “inadmissable.”

The directive does state that the content of users’ text and voice conversations are not to be stored.

Police agencies could request information from mobile phone companies to access user data, but only via the court system.  Spitz filed a suit against his phone company Deutsche Telekom in order to receive his own stored data.

After reaching a settlement, Spitz received a CD of his records in the mail. “At first I thought, okay — it’s a huge file,” he said, “But then I realized, this is my life. This is six months of my life […] You can see where I am, when I sleep at night, what I’m doing.”

  • Then there’s Joanne Weiss, Chief of Staff of the U.S. Dept. of Education, who openly admits to “data-mashing,” meaning blending the databases from different federal agencies.  She also has said she wants to be helpful to states who want to “partner” and share data.
  • Then there’s John Brandt, our Utah Technology Director, CCSSO chair, and NCES member (translation: he’s a fed).  He openly admist on his powerpoint online, that the Dept. of Education can be one of the recipients of Utah’s inter-agency data mashing.
  • Then there’s “Communities that Care,” a nice-sounding euphemism for a federal lure to give up local data via a program that on the surface, is all about preventing teen drug use and crime.  But it’s also a way for the federal government to access what we are thinking, both via ongoing youth surveys, and via archived family and individual data kept by the city.
  • My own doctor said that he was offered thousands to share data with the government about his patients.  He opted not to accept the money because he believes in patient privacy.

    Why are governments so desperate to gather so much private data on citizens?  So desperate that they’re overriding Congressional FERPA laws, so desperate that they’re cutting out parental consent.

 

To read more about this topic:

Department of Education Being Sued for Invasion of Privacy:   http://epic.org/apa/ferpa/default.html

Oregon Senator’s Website:  http://www.merkley.senate.gov/newsroom/press/release/?id=457f640a-2995-49c4-b386-27ca44c639a8

Federal Surveillance of data via Common Core tests: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-assessment/sbac-cooperative-agreement.pdf

TrapWire Surveillance:  http://thenewamerican.com/usnews/constitution/item/12473-trapwire-the-federal-govt-is-literally-watching-every-move-you-make  http://thenewamerican.com/tech/item/12635-trapwires-alleged-corporate-and-government-connections-grow

SmartMeter Opt-Out: http://thenewamerican.com/tech/energy/item/12344-privacy-and-health-concerns-on-%E2%80%9Csmart-meters%E2%80%9D-growing-globally

 

 

*Job email:

Hi

Many thanks for your interest in our program and for providing your experience in translation. Unfortunately we are not looking for a translation service at present; however, as mentioned in our advert we are collecting many versions of data on behalf of a client of ours. This data will be used to assist them in the development of their language tools. If this is something which you think you can assist us in, then please review the details below.

Below you will find some frequently asked questions which will provide you with more data on the program. Please read carefully to check if your language is available.

Note: We are only accepting languages which are available on the list at present.

We aim to collect a large amount of data for each language, so we hope we can collect a minimum of 150,000 words from each person participating. If you think you can reach this number, please let us know. If not, then please continue to save your data and contact us again in the near future.

Unfortunately everyone who contacts us may not be able to join this program, however, if you do know of someone that has their language included, please pass our information to them. We encourage all people to review their language / data.

On reading the FAQ, please reply and let us know what type of data / language you can provide to our program. We can then work on the collection process.

Please note, we do allow participants to donate more than one language if available.

We look forward to working with you.

Kind Regards, Lionbridge Data Collection Group

——————————————————————————————————————————————

FAQ Questions:

1)      What languages are available?         In our program we are now looking for the following languages: English UK, English US, Basque, Bulgarian, Croatian, Estonian, Finnish, Galician, Hungarian, Kazakh, Lithuanian, Romanian, Serbian (Latin and Cyrillic), Slovak, Slovenian, Turkish, Ukrainian, Arabic (Standard), Brazilian Portuguese, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Czech, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Latvian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese European, Spanish European, Swedish, Indonesian, Latin American Spanish, Danish and Thai.

2)      What if my language is not on the list?         We are beginning with the languages listed above. However, we may begin collecting for your language in the future. Please begin to save your emails / reports etc. Also, you may know of a friend / colleague who may be able to join now. If so, then pass on our information to them.

3)      Who gets my data?         We are collecting all data in conjunction with a client who requires a large amount of words to help develop their language tools e.g. spellchecker. No other party will have access to your data

4)      What data can I include? a.      Email – you can include personal emails which you have written in your own language b.      Reports – If you are at college, you can include draft reports which you have written for college (i.e. these are the first writings of your reports, not the   final   delivered version to your lecturer). If you are a journalist, you can include drafts of articles you have written. Note draft articles should contain both grammar and  spelling mistakes i.e. they are not proof read. c.      Letters – any letters which you have written in your native language d.      Blogs – If you have created a blog and write regular updates, this could be included.

5)      If I send email, what happens if I include personal email?         Once you send us your email, we will first change all of the email addresses and numbers to xyz@xyz.com <mailto:xyz@xyz.com> and 000 to remove any      personal identification. Your name / signature however will remain on the email if included.

6)      Can I use any email account?         Yes you can use most email accounts which can be setup either on the internet or at home. Note we are having some issues with exporting from yahoo.

7)      How much data to I need to send you?         We are looking to collect 600,000 words from each person; however we understand that this is a lot of data for one person. Therefore to assist you we are willing to receive as low as 150,000 words: -       On average 2,000 emails. -       200 pages

8)      What if I do not have enough data?         Don’t worry if you don’t have enough data right now. You can begin to save your data and join our program at a later date. Also, remember, if you have emails and reports, you can join both to reach the required number. We can help you with this.

9)      How long do I have to collect the data?         We appreciate it can take time to get this detail together and to assist you we will be providing step by step instructions. This program is running until September 30th 2012.

10)     Do I get paid for my data?         Yes you do! For every 100,000 words you send to us, we will pay you $110.

11)     How do I know my data is secure?         On acceptance of your data, you will sign a data release form to say that our client can now use your data. No other party will have access to your data.

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