Archive for the ‘family education rights and privacy act’ Tag

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.

And Now, A Vocabulary List   Leave a comment

A big difference between the pushers of Common Core and normal people is this: The Common Core pushers are experts on speaking in euphemisms and in acronyms. We ask for clarity, but this is never supplied by the pushers. Even state educators fall for the “eduspeak” and soon join the top Common Core pushers, who label those of us asking for clarity (or evidence or measurable answers) as conspiracy theorists.

College Readiness – this term means nothing beyond maybe a two year nonselective college prep under Common Core.  Common Core throws the term around a lot.  They hope you think it means four year college.  It doesn’t.   (See what Stanford Professor Michael Kirst said about this when he examine the Core Standards for math.) http://collegepuzzle.stanford.edu/?p=466

High Standards – this term means nothing.  Common Core throws it around.  They say that adding a requirement for info-texts in English classes, pushing classic literature into a confined half or less of allotted teaching time, or pushing Algebra I to 9th grade from 8th grade (!) is raising standards.  They say a lot of things that aren’t proven, and certainly the Common Core has never been piloted anywhere.

Global Competitiveness – see “college readiness” and “high standards” – one more pretty phrase Common Core tosses around, without substantiation or evidence that Common Core achieves it.  Another word we teachers and parents naturally take to, like a fish takes a shiny fly, not asking what it really contains:  a federal hook that won’t let us go.

FERPA – Family Education Rights and Privacy Act.  A great thing.  But  under attack due to Common Core.

Privacy – this term means less than nothing in Common Core.  State FERPA laws that protected families and students are being overridden by federal regulations created this year without the permission of Congress.  In Wasatch County, for example, the school board took away parental consent over student data in favor of giving federal access to it.

SBAC – Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium – Utah’s boss under Common Core; we have to obey other states, especially Washington State, who can sign us up for what they see fit for our educational system, and we must obey. We must also obey the terms of grants Washington State receives, even when we do not get any money from that grant.  The SBAC is federally controlled. See “Cooperative Agreement” document http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-assessment/sbac-cooperative-agreement.pdf  We must give our data to the SBAC who must give it to the feds.

PARCC – the other consortium.  Florida’s boss.  They are to synchronize testing with SBAC and share “across consortia,” triangulating with the feds.

NCLB – No Child Left Behind.  A federal program that crashed miserably.  The Dept. of Ed. is offering waivers so states can escape it, in exchange for their nextborn child:  states have to do Common Core.

GEPA- General Educational Provisions Act. Like the Constitution, it protects us and promises states can educate kids, free of federal control, but the feds are ignoring it and trying to take over education anyway.  “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” – GEPA law.

Sustainable Development   –  a term that means taking care of the earth but has been twisted by the pushers to mean “we must take rights and freedoms away from individuals and hand all to the much wiser government so that we can ensure sustainable development at all costs.”

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